Aug 222022
 
 August 22, 2022  Posted by at 8:10 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  63 Responses »


Edouard Vuillard The window 1894

 

‘Russophrenia’ From Supposedly Smart People In The West (Diesen)
Russian Ambassador: We Simply Have No Contact With Western Diplomats (Antiwar)
US And Its Allies Lack Self-awareness (Robert Bridge)
German Chancellor’s Ratings Hit New Low (RT)
Scholz Told Putin When Ukraine Could Join NATO (RT)
Scholz Promises Kiev More Weapons ‘Soon’ (RT)
China Is Preparing To Go To War (Chang)
Drought Causes Yangtze River To Dry Up, Sparking Shortage Of Hydropower (G.)
Britain Warned Of ‘Humanitarian Crisis’ (RT)
UK Energy Bills To Skyrocket (RT)
British Soldiers To Prepare For Fighting Russia (RT)
Saskatchewan Warns Trudeau’s Federal Nitrogen Agents Could Be Arrested (TCS)
Peter Strzok: Fired FBI Official Is Making the Case Against Himself (Turley)
No Evidence Of Political Motivation Behind Mar-a-Lago Raid – Liz Cheney (CNBC)
In FBI vs. Trump, The People Lose (Maté)

 

 

Biden rent

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucker T celll damage

 

 


Swedish artist Karl Jilg shows how much public space we’ve surrendered to cars

 

 

 

 

“We have been moving slowly towards a major European war for 30 years and there are no good solutions anymore..”

‘Russophrenia’ From Supposedly Smart People In The West (Diesen)

The author and holocaust survivor, Victor Klemperer, identified two distinct styles of language that defined Hitler’s propaganda against the Jews: either “scornful derision” of the inferior race or “panic-stricken fear” of their threat to civilisation. Anti-Russian propaganda over the past centuries has similarly produced two contradictory positions – disdain for Russians as an uncivilised and backward people, and simultaneously an immeasurable threat looming over Europe. A state of affairs described by one writer as “Russophrenia: the idea that Russia is simultaneously about to fall apart, and also take over the world.” Russia is hopelessly inept and weak, yet it is also capable of subverting the democracies of the world and restoring a global empire.

Moscow is so impaired that the West does not need to acknowledge or accommodate its basic security interests, yet NATO’s 30 member states need ever-more weapons to defend against the dreaded Russians. Exaggerating the weakness or the strength of an adversary (or both) is a key component of propaganda, which carries with it the obvious risk of miscalculations, as the real capabilities of the opponent are not accurately assessed. The war in Ukraine is a good case study of this phenomenon. To encourage more NATO, more military spending and containment of Russia, it is commonly argued that we have underestimated the threat of the Russians. During the Cold War, it was falsely argued that the Soviets enjoyed a huge positive missile gap vis-à-vis the US, which incentivised further military spending in the US.

After the Cold War, NATO expansion and raison d’etre have continued to rely on an exaggerated Russian threat. To encourage a more forceful approach to Russia, it is now argued that we have overestimated Moscow’s strength. Case in point, an article by The Atlantic argues that “Ukraine Has Exposed Russia as a Not-So-Great Power”. It suggests that because the Russian army “has seized only 20 percent of Ukraine”, it is time to shed the illusion of Russia being a great power. This conclusion supports an even more hard-line position towards Russia as opposed to Kissinger’s argument that great powers must be accommodated for peace. In other words, more of the same policies that fuelled tensions and brought us to this horrific conflict. [..] We have been moving slowly towards a major European war for 30 years and there are no good solutions anymore. But an end to wishful thinking must be the beginning.

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“..the lack of contact between officials means there is no potential to end the war through talks.”

Russian Ambassador: We Simply Have No Contact With Western Diplomats (Antiwar)

In an interview with the Financial Times, a top Russian diplomat says there is no communication with Western diplomats at the UN. The complete freeze in contact led the Kremin to assess there is no possibility of a diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine. Gennady Gatilov, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, told FT, “We do not have any contacts with the western delegations,” he said of his day-to-day work in Geneva. “On the protocol side we do not see each other … Privately we do not have any contacts, unfortunately … we simply do not talk to each other.” He said the lack of contact between officials means there is no potential to end the war through talks.

“Now, I do not see any possibility for diplomatic contacts. And the more the conflict goes on, the more difficult it will be to have a diplomatic solution,” Gatilov said. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has only spoken with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov once in the past six months. Gatilov said Western military support for Ukraine and preventing peace talks means the war will have a military end. “And so they [Kiev and its western supporters] will fight until the last Ukrainian,” he said. Lavrov said Ukraine made a workable proposal in March before Kiev broke off talks the following month. Multiple sources reported, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Kiev as talks were progressing, discouraging Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky from engaging with the Kremlin.

Gatilov praised Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan for attempting to facilitate a diplomatic end to the war in Ukraine. Ankara has hosted talks between Kiev and Moscow. Turkey and the UN were essential in crafting a deal that allows wheat to be exported through Black Sea ports. While Russia is happy with Turkey’s mediation efforts, FT reported two weeks ago that Western diplomats were concerned about Ankara’s ties with Moscow. On Saturday, deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told Turkish Deputy Finance Minister Yunus Elitas that Russian companies and individuals are attempting to bypass Western sanctions in Turkey. Adeyemo warned the White House was attempting to enforce those sanctions.

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“.. Islamic State militants, who scattered their forces throughout the civilian population thereby turning civilians into ‘human shields’ – a technique now being employed by Ukraine.”

US And Its Allies Lack Self-awareness (Robert Bridge)

Efforts are underway in the US Senate to designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. Before going down that road, lawmakers may wish to consider some inconvenient facts. If Russia’s military operation in Ukraine is doing anything – aside from eradicating the resurgence of fascism on the European continent – it is revealing the shocking lack of self-awareness in Western capitals. Perennial American Russophobes from opposite sides of the political spectrum, Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Sen. Lindsey Graham, are now agitating members of Congress to include Russia in Washington’s list of ‘state sponsors of terrorism,’ which presently includes North Korea, Iran, Cuba and Syria. Meanwhile, the Baltic State of Lithuania signed off on its own legislation in May declaring Russia a ‘terrorist state.’

Yet Vilnius didn’t stop there, accusing Russia of carrying out ‘genocide’ on its neighbor’s territory. The resolution states that Russia is committing “genocide against the Ukrainian people,” while saying that the Russian military, like some kind of modern-day Huns, “deliberately and systematically target civilian targets…”. Consider how US-led coalition forces ‘liberated’ the Syrian city of Raqqa from Islamic State militants, who scattered their forces throughout the civilian population thereby turning civilians into ‘human shields’ – a technique now being employed by Ukraine. The US-led Coalition’s relentless four-month ‘precision’ bombardment against IS killed and injured thousands of civilians, while reducing homes, businesses and infrastructure to rubble. Surveying the damage on the ground, Amnesty International concluded that the US-led Coalition “launched strikes likely to cause excessive harm to civilians and failed to distinguish between military targets and civilians.”

The tragic irony of the situation, from Russia’s perspective, is that while Moscow is attempting to spare infrastructure and human lives, it is branded the ‘terrorist state,’ whereas Ukraine is granted hero status as it employs those same tactics that put civilian life at grave risk. Naturally, tragedies will occur and Russia, like any country that finds itself at war, will eventually be accused of killing innocent civilians. Yet these casualties are vastly exacerbated by the fighting techniques of the Ukrainian military, which, it should be emphasized, has been receiving its training from NATO forces since 2014. Time and again, when Russian troops enter a city, they find the enemy fortified behind civilian infrastructure, like hospitals, kindergartens and schools. This automatically turns the facility into a military target for Russian forces, which Ukraine then uses as ‘proof’ that Moscow is deliberately targeting civilians.

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Did Mutti pick this dude, for his lack of charisma?

German Chancellor’s Ratings Hit New Low (RT)

The approval rating of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has reached the lowest mark since he took office in December. Only 25% of the public is satisfied with the job he’s doing, a survey published by Bild on Sunday reveals. “It’s not working” for both Scholz and the ‘traffic light’ coalition government, the tabloid said as it shared the results of the poll, conducted by Germany’s INSA research institute. A mere 25% of those surveyed approve of the chancellor’s job, with 62% expressing disapproval. If an election were held right now, Scholz would only finish third with 18% of the vote. Economy Minister Robert Habeck of the Green Party and Friedrich Merz, who heads the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU), are currently more popular, backed by 25% and 19% respectively, the poll shows.

The numbers for the ‘traffic light’ coalition, which unites the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Free Democratic Party (FDP), and the Greens, were as bad as those for Scholz. Only 27% told the pollsters they were happy with the government, while 65% said they have a negative view of its decisions. Scholz’s ratings have been on a steady decline since becoming chancellor eight months ago, Bild said. In March, when the conflict in Ukraine – in which Berlin sided with Kiev, supplying it with arms and slapping harsh sanctions on Moscow – had just started, he was backed by 46%, but in April, the number dropped to 38%.

Economic problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have been further exacerbated by the Western restrictions on Moscow and the subsequent decrease in Russian gas supplies to the EU. Despite being Europe’s top economy, Germany has been hit hard by soaring gas prices as it faces the risk of energy shortages this winter. On Sunday, the head of the German central bank warned that “an inflation rate of even 10% is possible in the autumn months,” something which has not been seen in the country for more than 70 years.

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Imagine you’re Putin and you have to listen to this:

“..Ukraine would have been blocked from joining NATO for 30 years..”

“..NATO was never a threat to Russia..”

Scholz Told Putin When Ukraine Could Join NATO (RT)

The German chancellor said he had sought to assure the Russian president that Ukraine would not join the bloc in the near future German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Ukraine would have been blocked from joining NATO for 30 years, in a bid to assure Moscow of the military bloc’s good intentions. Over the weekend, the German leader revealed some details of his talks with Putin before Russia began its military operation in Ukraine, adding that he now believes Russia sought to “conquer its neighboring country” all along. “NATO was never a threat to Russia,” Scholz said he told Putin. The chancellor did not specify which conversation he was referring to, though Scholz met Putin in Moscow in mid-February.


Speaking to journalists this weekend during an ‘open-doors day’ at the chancellor’s office, Scholz also denied that the military alliance had disregarded Russian security interests. When the two leaders spoke about the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO, Scholz assured Putin that “it will not happen in the next 30 years,” the chancellor revealed. Scholz also said that he would not abandon dialogue with Russia but struck a harsher tone when assessing Moscow’s motives. He particularly accused Putin of starting the conflict for “completely absurd” reasons. “This is a war that Putin, Russia, started, … clearly with the intention of conquering its neighboring country,” he told journalists, adding that he believes “that was the original goal” that Moscow had in its military campaign. The chancellor also recalled how Putin had “explained” to him that Ukraine and Belarus should not be “separate states.”

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Problem is, they don’t have them.

Scholz Promises Kiev More Weapons ‘Soon’ (RT)

Berlin supplies “a lot of weapons” to Kiev and will continue to provide Ukraine “with what it needs for its defense,” Chancellor Olaf Scholz said, in response to criticism from a former Bundeswehr general. Germany is currently “in the process of supplying the most modern and efficient equipment,” Scholz stressed during a traditional ‘open-doors day’ this weekend, citing recent multiple deliveries of self-propelled ‘Gepard’ anti-aircraft guns and PzH 2000 howitzers. The German leader claimed that his main focus remains on “ensuring that there is no escalation of the war,” when a retired Bundeswehr general Klaus Wittmann accused him of a lack of “leadership” and appearing “intimidated” by Russian President Vladimir Putin, as cited by the German news outlet NTV.


Even more weapons “will be there soon,”Scholz vowed, apparently referring to the long-promised deliveries of an Iris-T SLM anti-aircraft missile system and a Cobra artillery radar, but providing no clear timeline. Back in June, Berlin promised to send Kiev one Iris-T unit for free, but Ukraine wants at least a dozen and has offered to purchase the rest directly from the manufacturer, even though Germany’s armed forces reportedly do not have enough air-defense systems themselves. Kiev is expected to receive the first such system no earlier than November, according to previous reports. Last month, Germany also committed a Cobraartillery radar to Ukraine, reportedly set for delivery in September. According to German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, Kiev has already signed the contract for the materials and troops should have starting training to operate “this highly complex system.”

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Centralizing decision making.

China Is Preparing To Go To War (Chang)

Last month, a Chinese entrepreneur making medical equipment for consumers told me that local officials had demanded he convert his production lines in China so that they could turn out items for the military. Communist Party cadres, he said, were issuing similar orders to other manufacturers. Moreover, Chinese academics privately say the ongoing expulsion of foreign colleagues from China’s universities appears to be a preparation for hostilities. The People’s Republic of China is preparing to go to war, and it is not trying to hide its efforts. Amendments to the National Defense Law, effective the first day of last year, transfer powers from civilian to military officials. In general, the amendments reduce the role of the central government’s State Council by shifting power to the CMC, the Communist Party’s Central Military Commission.

Specifically, the State Council will no longer supervise the mobilization of the People’s Liberation Army. As Zeng Zhiping of Soochow University told Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, “The CMC is now formally in charge of making national defense policy and principles, while the State Council becomes a mere implementing agency to provide support for the military.” In one sense, these amendments were window dressing. “Recent changes to China’s National Defense Law that diminish the power of the State Council are largely political posturing,” Richard Fisher of the Virginia-based International Assessment and Strategy Center told me soon after the amendments went into effect. “The Chinese Communist Party and particularly its subordinate CMC have always held supreme power over decisions regarding war and peace.”

Why then do we care about the National Defense Law amendments? The amendments, Fisher tells us, “point to China’s ambition to achieve ‘whole nation’ levels of military mobilization to fight wars and give the CMC formal power to control the future Chinese capabilities for global military intervention.” “The revised National Defense Law also embodies the concept that everyone should be involved in national defense,” reports the Communist Party’s Global Times, summarizing the words of an unnamed CMC official. “All national organizations, armed forces, political parties, civil groups, enterprises, social organizations, and other organizations should support and take part in the development of national defense, fulfill national defense duties, and carry out national defense missions according to the law.”

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Small impact for now.

Drought Causes Yangtze River To Dry Up, Sparking Shortage Of Hydropower (G.)

A record-breaking drought has caused some rivers in China – including parts of the Yangtze – to dry up, affecting hydropower, halting shipping, and forcing major companies to suspend operations. A nationwide drought alert was issued on Friday as a long-running and severe heatwave in China’s heavily populated south-west was forecast to continue well into September. The loss of water flow to China’s extensive hydropower system has sparked a “grave situation” in Sichuan, which gets more than 80% of its energy from hydropower. On Sunday the provincial government declared it was at the highest warning level of “particularly severe”, with water flow to Sichuan’s hydropower reservoirs dropping by half. The demand for electricity, meanwhile, has increased by 25% this summer, local media reported.

Last week the province suspended or limited power supply to thousands of factories and rationed public electricity usage due to the shortage. Toyota, Foxconn and Tesla are among companies reported to have temporarily suspended operations at some plants over the last fortnight. On Sunday the South China Morning Post reported plans to restart production this week had been postponed. The Yangtze is the world’s third largest river, providing drinking water to more than 400 million Chinese people, and is the most vital waterway to China’s economy. It is also crucial to the global supply chain, but this summer it has reached record-low water levels, with entire sections and dozens of tributaries drying up. Water flow on the Yangtze’s main trunk is more than 50% below the average of the last five years.

Shipping routes in the middle and lower sections of the river have also closed, the SCMP reported. Across the affected regions of China authorities are rushing to ensure water and power supply, as the region approaches harvest season for water-intensive crops like rice and soy. On Sunday authorities discharged 980m cubic meters of water from reservoirs in an effort to replenish lower levels of the river, state media said. The drought has affected at least 2.46 million people and 2.2m hectares of agricultural land in Sichuan, Hebei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Anhui and Chongqing. More than 780,000 people have needed direct government support because of the drought, according to China’s ministry of emergency management.

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I’d venture it’s too late already.

Britain Warned Of ‘Humanitarian Crisis’ (RT)

The UK could face a “humanitarian crisis” involving ill health, excess deaths and rising inequality if the government does not take urgent action on rising energy bills, the National Health Service (NHS) Confederation warned on Friday. The organization wrote to the chancellor of the exchequer, claiming that failing to act would add more pressure on health services that were already strained. According to the NHS, if energy bills become unaffordable, the country’s health and social care system will be left to “pick up the pieces.” “The country is facing a humanitarian crisis. Many people could face the awful choice between skipping meals to heat their homes and having to live in cold, damp and very unpleasant conditions,” wrote the head of the NHS Nadhim Zahawi.


“This, in turn, could lead to outbreaks of illness and sickness around the country and widen health inequalities, worsen children’s life chances and leave an indelible scar on local communities.” The NHS highlighted that, in addition to causing more sickness, mass fuel poverty was also likely to “increase the already high number of annual deaths associated with cold homes.” It noted the situation could also affect mental health. “Health leaders are clear that unless urgent action is taken by the government, this will cause a public health emergency,” Zahawi stressed. The warning comes as energy bills for the average household in Britain are projected to rise to more than £4,200 ($4,960) per year from January 2023 after the next increase in the price cap. Last October, it was set at £1,400 ($1,653).

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Worse than Germany?!

UK Energy Bills To Skyrocket (RT)

The average British household can expect to see annual energy bills soar to £6,000 (nearly $7,100) in 2023, according to the latest outlook issued by the UK independent energy consultancy Auxilione on Saturday. The analysts project that the price cap on bills, an officially set reference point, could reach £6,089 as soon as next April. The cap, which currently stands at £1,971, is expected to climb to £3,576 in October and £4,799 in January. Last October, it was set at £1,400 ($1,653). Earlier this month, the UK energy industry regulator Ofgem announced plans to adjust the cap quarterly rather than every six months due to the volatility in energy markets.


The latest figure represents a substantial increase to what was already a gloomy forecast made last week, when the consultancy projected annual average energy bills growing to more than £5,000 (nearly $6,100) next year. Auxilione expects bills to peak at over £6,000 in April before slowly decreasing in the second half of next year, eventually coming down to £5,160 in October. According to the latest poll by Opinium, about 40% of respondents said they would not be able to afford the rise in the cap due to be announced by the energy regulator Ofgem without falling behind on other essential bills.

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“We are the generation that must prepare the Army to fight in Europe once again.”

Maybe feed your people first?

British Soldiers To Prepare For Fighting Russia (RT)

The UK’s top ‘other ranks’ soldier has said that British troops must be ready to fight Russia, and should prepare their families for the prospect of an “extended” deployment. His advice comes after the UK’s new head of General Staff said that British forces must become capable of “defeating Russia in battle.” Writing for the latest issue of the British Army’s ‘Soldier’ magazine, Carney said that “the Army is shaping itself to meet the threat from Russia,”and “will be ready, with the right equipment, to play our part in deterring a future war in Europe.” “Deterring” in this case seemingly means deploying. “I want us all to check we are physically fit for operations. And it is also important we prepare loved ones and families, who often have the hardest role in our absence,”he continued.

“My ask is that you have discussions about a potential deployment with them now…we could be out of contact for extended periods on tour.” Carney’s warning does not signal an imminent change in the UK’s role in the conflict in Ukraine. However, a warning in June by Britain’s new chief of the General Staff, General Patrick Sanders, suggests that the Army views Russia as its next major opponent. “There is now a burning imperative to forge an Army capable of fighting alongside our allies and defeating Russia in battle,” Sanders wrote in a letter to his charges. “We are the generation that must prepare the Army to fight in Europe once again.”

The UK has given Ukraine £2.3 billion ($2.7 billion) in military aid since Russia’s military operation began in February. British forces are currently training Ukrainian recruits in the UK, and its intelligence agencies are allegedly sharing information with their Ukrainian counterparts. The UK is a member of the NATO alliance, and in the event that it became involved in open war with Russia, the bloc’s 29 other member states, including the US, would be obliged to enter the conflict.

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Private land.

Saskatchewan Warns Trudeau’s Federal Nitrogen Agents Could Be Arrested (TCS)

Saskatchewan Minister Jeremy Cockrill has sent a warning to the Trudeau government that officers sent by Ottawa will be arrested if they continue to trespass on farmland to test nitrogen levels. According to Cockrill, Trudeau’s government has been unlawfully sending federal employees onto Saskatchewan farmlands to test for nitrogen levels without the consent of landowners. In the letter, the Minister raised multiple complaints from Saskatchewan farmers that raised “serious concerns about Government of Canada employees, in clearly marked Government of Canada vehicles, trespassing on private lands.” The farmers reporting these trespasses made clear that these government agents did not request permission to access the land and were not in any other manner given consent to access it.

Minister Cockrill further pointed out to the Trudeau government that these actions constitute a breach of the Saskatchewan Trespass to Property Act, and warned that these actions could carry with them serious penalties, including fines of up to $200,000 and up to six months in prison. By sending this letter, the Saskatchewan government has provided a clear order to the Trudeau government to cease and desist with any unlawful trespasses and warned them that should it continue, their employees could face arrest and prosecution. What is more concerning to some than the actual trespass are the motivations of the federal agents. According to the land owners who confronted the federal agents trespassing on their land, they were told that the purpose of them being there was to test the water in the farmers’ dugouts to measure nitrate levels.

For those following recent news in the agricultural world, this is being seen as connected to the Trudeau government’s recently announced policy to reduce the use of fertilizer on Canadian farms by 30%. This policy has been widely criticized by farmers across the country and by provincial governments in the Western provinces. Some observers have said that there is reason to suspect that these actions are the first steps in replicating the attacks on farmers that have provoked widespread unrest in the Netherlands and other places in Europe. While the federal government has not yet confirmed it, there is speculation that the water sampling we now know is underway, will be used as baseline measurements to enforce reductions in fertilizer usage going forward.

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“After he was fired, the former special agent was given a lucrative book deal, lionized on the left, featured prominently as an expert by CNN, and given a teaching job at Georgetown.”

Peter Strzok: Fired FBI Official Is Making the Case Against Himself (Turley)

Peter Strzok is back in the news this week. Career colleagues at the Justice Department previously referred Strzok for possible criminal charges and he was fired for his bias and unprofessional conduct. However, Strzok was immediately embraced by many in the media and establishment for his anti-Trump sentiments. After he was fired, the former special agent was given a lucrative book deal, lionized on the left, featured prominently as an expert by CNN, and given a teaching job at Georgetown. It was an extraordinary recovery from a scandal where he showed flagrant bias, engaged in an affair with another married colleague at the FBI, and fought to continue to investigate Russian collusion claims despite early warnings over the questionable basis of the allegations pushed by the Clinton campaign. (Strzok’s colleague and former paramour, Lisa Page, was given a contract as a legal analyst with NBC and MSNBC).

Now, Strzok appears liberated in showing precisely the bias and unhinged hostility alleged by his critics. He has been in the news lashing out at Trump and trolling his objections to the raid on Mar-a-Lago. The seizure of Trump’s passports has raised more doubts about the seemingly unlimited scope of the search. One of the passports taken in the raid was Trump’s active diplomatic passport, according to an email from the Justice Department made public by Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich. The other two passports alleged were expired. Last week, Strzok was one of the first to jump on the bandwagon with CBS News anchor Norah O’Donnell, who blasted out a tweet claiming DOJ sources refuting Trump’s claim that the FBI took his passports.

The “CBS Evening News” anchor reported that the Department of Justice did not have Trump’s passports, tweeting, “According to a DOJ official, the FBI is NOT in possession of former President Trump’s passports.” In fact, the FBI did take the passports and had to later return them. The clear import of O’Donnell’s tweet was that Trump was lying. That was clearly the message received by various critics, including Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who is purportedly serving as an unbiased member of the January 6th committee. Kinzinger, R-Ill., wrote, “Lies lies lies and more lies.” Notably, Strzok was also among those eager to spread the O’Donnell report, tweeting, “And unsurprisingly, Trump’s statement turns out not to be true.” He later deleted it.

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None at all.

No Evidence Of Political Motivation Behind Mar-a-Lago Raid – Liz Cheney (CNBC)

Representative Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., told ABC News that there was no political motivation in carrying out an FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s resort home in Palm Beach, Florida. “I’ve seen no evidence that there was any political motivation,” Cheney told ABC News when asked about the Mar-a-Lago raid carried out by FBI agents. “I was ashamed to hear Republicans immediately and reflexively attack the FBI agents who executed the search warrant. I was disgusted when I learned that President Trump had released the names of the agents when he released the unredacted search warrant, and that has now caused violence,” Cheney said in the interview, which aired on Sunday. “This is a really dangerous moment,” she added.

On the heels of her congressional primary loss, Cheney also said that she will work with bipartisan political leaders to ensure that Trump never holds the nation’s highest office again. “I think, I think we have to make sure that he is not our nominee,” Cheney told ABC News. Cheney warned that Trump’s characterizations of U.S. elections as rigged is dangerous and disrupts the “fundamental function and principle at the center of our constitutional republic.” “There’s just simply no way that the nation and in my view, excuse that and put him in a position of power again,” Cheney said, referencing Trump’s 2020 presidential election loss and then the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

When asked about the Jan. 6 committee, which she serves as vice chair, Cheney declined to say whether Trump would be called to testify. “I don’t want to make any announcements about that this morning. I think it’s very important. As I said in the first hearing and the second hearing. His interactions with our committee will be under oath,” she said. Cheney noted that the committee has been in discussions with former Vice President Mike Pence’s legal counsel. “When the country has been through something as grave as this, everyone who has information has an obligation to step forward. So I would hope that he will do that,” Cheney said.

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“..an intra-elite, symbiotic feud that simultaneously boosts Trump among his base, and the national security state among his foes..”

In FBI vs. Trump, The People Lose (Maté)

For my money, the early beneficiary of the FBI’s espionage investigation of Donald Trump is Donald Trump. According to the Washington Post, “Trump has told advisers that in the nearly two years since leaving office, no issue had better galvanized Republican voters around him.” A Politico poll of Republican voters in the aftermath of the Mar-a-Lago raid gave Trump a 10-point boost over his closest possible primary rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Trump’s ensuing fundraising campaign has done even better, quickly topping $1 million on at least two days, a jump of at least 700%. Over the long run, it is difficult to form a conclusive judgment on Trump’s potential culpability in the absence of any confirmed detail about both the contents of the documents that Trump allegedly mishandled, and the evidence to support the Justice Department’s suspicions.

But if the last six years of routine Trump standoffs with the national security state are any guide, the walls are nowhere closer to closing in. Whatever your views on Trump, it is undeniable that the permanent military-intelligence bureaucracy in Washington does not see him as one of their own, and has gone to extraordinary lengths to target him when it sees fit. It is also undeniable that the national security state’s spats with Trump have distracted the public from vital issues that impact working people’s lives and the future of the planet. This includes, I have long argued, Trump’s most harmful policies as president, which were routinely overshadowed and even exacerbated by his standoffs with the “deep state.”

Accordingly, it is reasonable to expect that this latest “scandal” over the potential mishandling of classified documents will continue the trend that has defined the Trump era: an intra-elite, symbiotic feud that simultaneously boosts Trump among his base, and the national security state among his foes. Pundits and politicians are resoundingly confident that the FBI must have the goods on Trump to have taken the unprecedented step of searching the former president’s home. This argument can only be made by ignoring that the FBI and other intelligence agencies took far more unprecedented and consequential actions against Trump when he was president, on grounds that were not only baseless, but fraudulent.

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Peptides

 

 

 

 

 

29/2 1956

 

 

 

 

Ode to Joy 2
https://twitter.com/i/status/1561070756343300096

 

 

 

 

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Mar 012019
 


Marcel Duchamp Sad young man on a train – Nude study 1911-12

 

 

Longtime Automatic Earth friend Alexander Aston talks about finding himself at Oxford at a point in time when the British themselves appear overcome by a combo of utter confusion and deadly lethargy, and one can only imagine what it must be like for ‘foreigners’ residing in Albion, who face large potential changes to their lives and know there’s not a thing they can do about it, not even vote.

I like the observation that the entire British political system, the place where decisions are made, is the size of a small village. That’s a visual we can all relate to. It’s a physical limit as well as a mental one. I’m all for sovereignty and self-determination, but how’s that going to work if you can’t even see the boundaries of your own territory?

 

Guys, it’s 4 weeks to D-Day today. How about we call off the landing, get a few pints instead, and talk? First round’s on me.

Here’s Alexander:

 

 

Alexander Aston: I arrived in the UK in 2015 to undertake interdisciplinary research at the University of Oxford. I am a child of the Empire, a cultural product of Britannia’s oldest colonies in the British Isles, her most important colony now turned empire as well as one of her youngest, Zimbabwe. The UK is both an intimately familiar society and yet one that is also strangely alien for me, like a wealthy, often charming and deeply abusive parent that sparks both self-recognition and rejection.

The ‘leave’ referendum occurred close to a year after I arrived in the UK and is one of the few political events over the past few years that surprised me. I suppose that I assumed, given the power and wealth afforded to UK elites by the EU, that those who benefited so greatly from the status quo would do anything to manipulate or fudge the results. Nonetheless, history decided to swerve, and over the past four years, I have watched the inhabitants of this island stumble into an profound identity crisis. Having spent a good portion of my life in Greece, I do not have particularly warm and cuddly feelings toward the European Union and was never a natural ‘remainer’.

The single markets and the long peace are significant achievements, and the ability for Europeans to move freely and form new discourses, relationships and endeavours has value that is impossible to quantify. The EU is technocratic, unaccountable and enthralled to a neoliberal ideology that knows only how to extract wealth from the most vulnerable and concentrate it in the hands of the most powerful. I have lived in Athens, I have family in Greece, I have seen well enough the true costs of EU membership.

What strikes me most in my experiences of the United Kingdom are the incredible levels of cognitive dissonance demanded by its media, politics and economics in order for the society to function. I live in one of the most expensive and unequal cities in the entire country. I am surrounded by the grandeur of powerful and wealthy institutions that are older than the Aztec empire and filled with some of the most powerful and elite humans on the planet and their heirs in waiting. Every time that I enter a building, go to a lecture, meet with a colleague, or sit for some grand meal in one of the colleges I must walk past dozens of human beings that are cold, hungry and occasionally dying on the streets.

 

This is in a country that provides social housing and millions in basic income to a single family, where it is accepted that the most vulnerable people are relentlessly bullied into poverty through cuts, inspections and ever increasing demands of performance. In a country where the Beatles and J.K. Rowling all started their careers on the dole. I don’t know the answers to our predicaments, but the conversation is extremely lopsided and blind to the real misery it is creating. Every time I walk through Oxford, I am filled with a profound sense of guilt and remorse, I marvel and benefit from the treasures surrounding me and I wonder… is this the best we can do? Are these the limits of our social imagination and creativity?

Shortly after I arrived, Jeremy Corbyn was elected to the leadership of the labour party. It was an early prefiguration of the political disruptions that were about to sweep the world. The neoliberal managerialism of New Labour had lost control, and its partisans wage an increasingly desperate guerrilla war with no small amount of aid from the establishment media.

Long before Brexit was a reality I became aware of the repetitious delirium of innuendo, slander and fear-mongering through which the media managed the perspective and narrative in the country, much like the American system but with its own uniquely British aesthetics and sense of authority. This somnambulant fever has only grown as the country has tripped and stumbled through the unexpected circumstances and self-engineered traps of austerity, political deadlock, and delusions of grandeur.

 

 

Day in and day out we are subjected to a litany of failure by one of the most incompetent governments in history while the media clucks, puffs and turns a path of ruin into mere spectacle. Yet, day after day we find ourselves in a state of inertia, nothing seems to change as the country hurtles towards historical rupture. The dissonance created between a seizing political system, PR firms masquerading as journalists and a dysfunctional economy requires that the people of the United Kingdom smooth over, ignore or forget the increasing contradictions of their lived experience.

Anthropologically speaking, the nuance of British culture that has perhaps had the most profound impact upon me is the detail to which the English are able to infer region, class and schooling through the voices of their fellow citizens. The subtle encoding of social hierarchies into the dialects and accents of the United Kingdom to degrees that I have never experienced in the rest of the Anglophone world. Despite my ignorance about many intricacies of British linguistics, one thing I do feel relatively confident about is that even though the English have the vast majority of the wealth and power in the United Kingdom, the Celts have received the warmer sense of humour.

For me, one of the few truly positive possible outcomes of Brexit is the potential for Irish reunification and even the chance of an emerging “Celtic sphere” to provide a new counterbalance in the British Isles. The partition of Ireland stems from one of the deepest and oldest wounds inflicted by the British Empire. It is an ironic twist of fate that the Tories now find themselves dependent upon the Unionist partisans and descendants that they so eagerly fostered to maintain dominance over Ireland. The United Kingdom’s mythology of itself has run headlong into the contradictions at the heart of its empire. The country that is partitioning itself from Europe finds its politics paralysed by an older act of partition.

The contradictions of Brexit have riven the political parties and the governing process has ground to a halt. It is an intractable predicament, the interests of the Unionists, Capitalist Utopianists, Neoliberal reactionaries, Political Elites, Nationalists, Independents and Socialists are all pulling in different directions. Consensus is only achieved in moments of near universal rejection, yet with no ability to pass any meaningful legislation the Tories only coalesce in obstinate refusal to change the situation.

 

Meanwhile the ship of state drifts towards a political, economic and moral abyss. What I can say from my time at Oxford is that the political masters of this country are indoctrinated with an imperial hubris in a political system that operates like a small village. The institutions of power here produce all too many children with no experience of the daily struggles of common people, that are all together convinced as to their entitlement to rule over millions with a PPE degree in hand.

The country is in an intractable prisoners dilemma, the logic of which makes a no-deal outcome highly possible. My fear with a no deal is that this would result in a bond shock, and with economic disruptions in Ireland, the Benelux, a France mired in a political crisis and the financial precarity of Italy all create excellent conditions for an absolutely roaring debt calamity. Yet, the UK blithely dithers on as Theresa May puts on her best performance of Neville Chamberlain and tries, tries again. The fact is that the government has lost all political legitimacy and Parliament is an omnishambles.

Those that lead us are so committed to their own narratives, so convinced of their acumen and power, so insulated by their privilege that they will sacrifice the health and prosperity of this nation in the absolute conviction that they are right and that all their problems are the fault of stupid people that don’t listen and do what they are told. The folks in the ERG think they only need sit on their hands and they can, they will, find themselves in a libertarian Aristocracy sea steading off the shores of Europe.

The London centric remainers think that they can paper over the past four years with a second referendum and that all can go back to normal and Brexit can be safely tucked away as a terrifying aberration. I am reminded of the H.L. Mencken quote that “for every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.”

 

The only pathway I can see to restoring political legitimacy at this point is a general election. Only after an extension of article 50 and a new government has negotiated an alternative deal is it really feasible to begin speaking about holding further referendums that won’t cause great harm to democratic society. Citizen assemblies would need to be formed and plans for three referenda drawn up, a choice between Mays and the Alternative deal followed by a decision between the winning deal and a no-deal option which would culminate in a final choice between a popularly demanded type of Brexit and remaining within the European Union.

I, as the rest of us, have no idea where our current moment in history will lead. However, there are a few things that I feel confident are occurring. The long twentieth century that began in 1914 is at the end of its cycle. Whatever comes next will be something new, a difficult and demanding opportunity for profound creativity and the chance to step out of the long shadow of our past. In all ecosystems, diversity generates resilience. It is the reason and the strength of building consensus. Yet we cannot build consensus if we refuse, alienate and straw man the voices of others and refuse to examine and discuss the contradictory predicaments in which we find ourselves.

Those that lead us are blind, they are blind because they are true believers and they lack either the wit or compassion to imagine something different beyond more wealth extraction and violence. We have seen Neoliberalism’s Capitalist Utopia and it has failed. Only open and honest discourse coupled with pragmatic action will allow us to navigate to a new shore. I feel strongly about these things, that and that no matter what ones political persuasion, voting for the Tories should be beneath anyone’s dignity at this point.

To be awake from this collective dissonance we must approach our predicament with humility and honesty. Without a democratic commitment to an open and honest discussion, pragmatic decision making processes and a functioning political system capable of mitigating the worst damage, this country will become a mere serfdom ruled by Lilliputian lords.

 

 

“For we each of us deserve everything, every luxury that was ever piled in the tombs of the dead kings, and we each of us deserve nothing, not a mouthful of bread in hunger. Have we not eaten while another starved? Will you punish us for that? Will you reward us for the virtue of starving while others ate? No man earns punishment, no man earns reward. Free your mind of the idea of deserving, the idea of earning, and you will begin to be able to think.”
– Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed

 

 

 

 

Alexander Aston is a doctoral candidate in archaeology at the University of Oxford and is on the board of directors with the Centre for Cognitive Archaeology at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. He has prior degrees in philosophy and history. His work lays at the intersection of Cognitive Archaeology, Deep History and Natural Philosophy, examining the relationship between ecology, material culture and social cognition. Alexander grew up between Zimbabwe, Greece and the United States. He has worked as a stone mason, community organiser and collaborative artist focused on issues of sustainability, alternative education and economic justice for nearly two decades. He has helped to establish community collectives, free schools, participatory art projects, sustainability and education programs in several international projects.

 

 

Sep 052018
 
 September 5, 2018  Posted by at 2:18 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  8 Responses »


Pablo Picasso The actor 1904

 

 

I’ve had a few comments lately wondering why I’m against Brexit, while before the referendum I was not. Someone even remembered I had been talking about Beautiful Brexit back in 2016. It’s real simple. Brexit could be, or could have been, a good idea. There’s a lot wrong with the way the European Union is set up. There’s nothing democratic about Germany always having the last say when it comes to important decisions. Slaughtering the entire nation of Greece on the altar of saving Deutsche and Commerzbank says it all.

But Brexit today is not the same -anymore- as it was before or during the June 23 2016 vote. What happened is that nothing happened. The Brits wasted two whole years and change, and the complexity of the process never allowed for that kind of delay. There are many thousands of pages of EU rules and regulations that not only has the UK been bound by over the past 45 years, but that have shaped its own society.

It’s not just that these ties have to be untangled, they have to be replaced by other rules and regulations. And no, the UK can’t just go back to what they had before 1973; too much water under the bridge, both domestically and internationally. Politically, the EU may be a disaster, but the single market is quite the achievement. And they’re not going to risk it by letting London cherry-pick the rules it likes while leaving others behind. It’s a package deal.

But that is what the Brits, or at least the Tories, appear to have counted on: cherry-picking. They still do. It’s going to be a cold shower. And obviously, they’re going to blame it all on the EU, but that’s neither true nor credible. Still, expect a huge blame campaign. They’re practicing on Labour and its leader Jeremy Corbyn, who the entire UK press including the BBC and Guardian, who are supposed to balance out the slew of Murdoch rags that shape opinion, started accusing of anti-semitism a few weeks ago.

It’s as concerted an effort as the D-Notice gag orders issued earlier this year in the novichok cases. And now that the few media outlets who once had some degree of independence start saying the same things as their smut peers, Brits can safely assume they have no press left that attempts to inform them. It’s now all a propaganda machine.

 

As for Jeremy Corbyn, one can feel sorry for him, but he doesn’t even try to defend himself. Needs to take some cues from Trump? Still, if Corbyn’s a jew hater, I’m Napoleon. There’s nothing in the man’s life that points to that. Just saying that Palestinians are not treated fairly doesn’t mean you hate Jews. That this has become the thread of the ‘discussion’ is an ominous sign.

How are Brits supposed to find out what’s happening in their own country, let alone the rest of the world? There’s no-one left to tell them who doesn’t subscribe to pre-gurgitated ideas and politics. So Theresa May can claim today they know who poisoned the Skripals, and threaten further sanctions against Russia, without sharing any proof with anyone. She can do that because there are no media left in Britain that will ask questions.

If no. 10 says the Russians did it, everyone reports that. If the Blair section of the Labour party says their own leader is an anti-Semite, everyone reports that. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that both Huxley and Orwell were Brits. There is no proof needed anymore: the media will parrot anything the ‘authorities’ say.

Well, kiddo’s, enjoy it while you can, because Brexit is going to shatter that little controlled world of yours into very little pieces. Pretend won’t do it anymore after that. You will need proof for that one, in the form of actual food, and actual trade and jobs. And you won’t have those to offer.

 

Today, Bloomberg reports that both Germany and the UK are willing to accept less stringent conditions for Brexit, but after Brexit day, March 29 2019, goods can no longer move across borders the way they used to. Yes, there is a 21-month transition period, but British products will have to comply with ALL EU rules and laws to be sold to Europe, including Ireland. The same goes for products and services and people that move the opposite way. And in the meantime, the UK cannot close any trade deals with 3rd part countries that don’t comply with EU rules.

Taking control of the narrative(s), as has been the UK’s model, only gets you so far. Britain can trade with the EU, but it cannot simultaneously trade with the US under entirely different conditions. Likewise, London can let Polish people pick British fruits, but not without letting other Europeans work in Britain as well. These rules are broad, and there can be no exceptions, since 27 other countries will want them too.

Now, if only Britain had a press that would tell people what’s going on. It doesn’t. The press only parrots. And if only Jeremy Corbyn told his anti-Semitism accusers to shut up or be sued for libel, and unveil an actual alternative plan for how to do Brexit -or not-. Nobody’s seen any such plan, and Corbyn doesn’t say a thing.

The whole place is just swirling down the drain, watching silly weddings and cooking shows, sipping gin and dreaming of a lost empire nobody can actually remember anymore. And the pace of the swirling can be adapted a little, but no-one is trying to stop it from happening. Oh well, tragedy can be beautiful too.

 

 

Jul 132018
 
 July 13, 2018  Posted by at 12:57 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  8 Responses »


Mr Incredible and baby Jack-Jack in The Incredibles 2. Photo: Disney

 

Britain launches a Baby Trump Blimp as the US President visits the country, and all the media and the public cheer and celebrate it, almost as enthusiastically as they cheered on their not-so-very-good football (soccer) team until a few days ago.

And you know, what’s so bad about a blimp? Innocent enough, right? Here’s the thing: their own government loves for them to protest Trump and feel good about the ‘courage’ evidenced by allowing the blimp up in the sky, surely a sign of an open democracy and all.

Their own government loves it all because it means they won’t be protesting its own actions, its own cruelty and incompetence. Does nobody at all over there understand that it’s empty and hollow and inane to protest the visit of a foreign leader while your own leaders are guilty of much worse than he is, and have been for decades if not centuries?

Has nobody learned anything from the Windrush openly racist scandal? How many Britons have protested their nation’s involvement in bombing the Middle East to ruins over the past few decades, killing millions of people? The separation of migrant children from their parents? Who the f*ck are you guys to launch a Baby Trump Blimp? Have you lost any and all control of your faculties?

Your present government is turning your immediate future into a nightmare, twisting the Brexit vote into something that you never intended, not even on purpose, but on sheer incompetence. Come March 29 2019, you’ll fall off a steep cliff in Dover as a country, and it won’t be due to Trump. It’ll be your own doing.

Clean up your own home first before you start criticizing other people’s abodes. The entire British empire was always built on rape and pillage and murder. It still is, actively, as we speak. So sh*t the f*ck up about Trump. The hypocrisy exhibited by the Baby Trump Blimp is blinding and deafening.

Your country is a moral pig sty. It’s time you yourselves get in there and do the nasty work of cleaning it up, and get your hands very dirty in the process. Don’t try and point out that other countries, too, are full of dirt and shi*t and stink from here to Sunday.

None of your business, or at least not till you have your own house in order. You, too, stink up the entire neighborhood. I don’t really understand why nobody has come up with a very very insulting giant balloon portraying the Queen and her very very wrinkled 92 year-old ass, and flown it on the same day as the Baby Trump Blimp.

It’s times like these that make me despair for mankind more than any others, because they show how easily and how readily people can be manipulated, while convinced they’re expressing their own emotions and opinions. Yeah, sure, blame your feelings of discomfort and unhappiness on somebody else. Today it’s Trump, tomorrow it’s Putin’s turn again. Novichok. Yada yada.

Britain has been responsible for the death and suffering of millions upon millions of people around the world through its insane and megalomaniac idea of building an empire. These days it can’t even hold its own country together anymore. Good riddance.

So what do you do then? You cheer a blimp that seeks to degrade someone, because that’s all you have left to do to make yourselves feel less despondent about your own sad existence.

No, Trump should never have been the US President, a country of 320 million people surely should have someone, anyone better than him to lead the country, But that’s not your territory. Yours is who leads your own nation. And Theresa May is as bad as the Donald is. Easily.

Like Tony Blair was before her, and David Cameron. You’ve been had and conned by your media -all of them- and your politicians, for many many years, Britain. Your problems won’t vanish until you open your eyes. And cheering a blimp is just another way to prevent you from opening them.

 

 


Daily Star

 

 

Jul 112018
 
 July 11, 2018  Posted by at 5:23 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  4 Responses »


Marc Riboud Forbidden City under the snow, Beijing 1957

 

Okay, well, Trump did it again. Antagonizing allies. This time it was Germany that took the main hit, over the fact that it pays Russia billions of dollars for oil and gas while relying on the US for its defense … against Russia. And yes, that is a strange situation. But it’s by no means the only angle to the story. There are many more.

For one thing, The US has by far the largest military industry. So it makes a lot of money off the billions already spent by NATO partners on weaponry. Of course Raytheon, Boeing et al would like to see them spend more. But once they would have done that, they would clamor for even more after.

At some point one must ask how much should really be spent. How much is enough, how much is necessary. The military-industrial complex (MIC) has every reason to make the threat posed by ‘enemies’ as big as they possibly can. So knowing that, we must take media reports on this threat with tons of salt.

And that is not easy. Because the MIC has great influence in politics and the media. But we can turn to some numbers. According to GlobalFirePower, the US in 2018 will spend $647 billion on its military, while Russia is to spend a full $600 billion less, at $47 billion. And the US Senate has already voted in a $82 billion boost recently.

There are other numbers out there that suggest Russia spends $60 billion, but even then. If Moscow spends just 10% of the US, and much less than that once all NATO members’ expenditure is included, how much of a threat can Russia realistically be to NATO?

 

Sure, I’ve said it before, Russia makes weapons to defend itself, while America makes them to make money, which makes the latter much less efficient, but it should be glaringly obvious that the Russia threat is being blown out of all proportions.

Problem with that is that European nations for some reason love playing the threat card as much as America does. After all, Britain, France and Germany have major weapons manufacturers, too. So they’re all stuck. The Baltic nations clamor for more US protection, so does Sweden, Merkel re-focused on Putin just days ago, the game must go on.

Another way to look at this is to note that UD GDP in 2017 according to the IMF was $19.3 trillion, while Russia’s was $1.5 trillion. NATO members Germany France, Britain, Italy and France all have substantially higher GDP than Russia as well. European Union GDP was $17.3 trillion in 2017.

If this economically weak Russia were really such a threat to NATO, they would be using their funds so much better and smarter than anyone else, we’d all better start waving white flags right now. And seek their help, because that sort of efficiency, in both economics and defense, would seem to be exactly what we need in our debt-ridden nations.

 

The solution to the problems Trump indicated this morning is not for Germany et al to spend more on NATO and their military in general, but for the US to spend less. Much less. Because the Russian threat is a hoax that serves the interests of the MIC, the politicians and the media.

And because America has much better purposes to spend its money on. And because we would all be a lot safer if this absurd theater were closed. To reiterate: developments in weapons technology, for instance hypersonic rocket systems make most other weapons systems obsolete. Which is obviously a big threat to the MIC.

Russia attacking NATO makes as much sense as NATO attacking Russia: none whatsoever. Unwinnable. Russia attacking Germany and other European countries, which buy its oil and gas, makes no sense because it would then lose those revenues. From that point of view, European dependence on Russian energy is even a peacemaker, because it benefits both sides.

Can any of the Russiagate things be true? Of course, Russia has ‘bad’ elements seeking to influence matters abroad. Just like the US does, and France, Britain, Germany, finish the list and color the pictures. How about the UK poisoning stories? That’s a really wild one. Russia had no reason to poison a long-lost double spy they themselves let go free years ago, not at a time when a successful World Cup beckoned.

342 diplomats expelled and risking the honored tradition of exchanging spies and double agents from time to time. Not in Moscow’s interest at all. Britain, though, had, and has, much to gain from the case. As long as its people, and its allies, remain gullible enough to swallow the poisoned narrative. Clue: both poisonings, if they are real, occurred mere miles from Porton Down, Britain’s main chemical weapons lab.

And c’mon, if Putin wants his country strong and independent, the last thing he would do is to risk his oil and gas contracts with Europe. They’re simply too important, economically and politically. Trump may want some of that action for the US, understandably, but for now US LNG can’t compete with Russian pipelines. Simple as that.

Let’s hope Trump and Putin can talk sense in 5 days. There’s a lot hanging on it. Let’s hope Trump gets his head out of NATO’s and the US and EU Deep State’s asses in time. There’s no America First or Make America Great Again to be found in those dark places. It’s time to clear the air and talk. America should always talk to Russia.

Funny thing is, the more sanctions are declared on Russia, the stronger it becomes, because it has to learn and adapt to self-sufficiency. Want to weaken Russia? Make it depend on your trade with it, as opposed to cut off that trade. Well, too late now, they won’t trust another western voice anymore for many years. And we’re too weak to fight them. Not that we should want to anyway.

We’re all captive to people who want us to believe we’re still stuck in the last century, because that is their over-luxurious meal ticket. But it’s all imaginary, it’s an entirely made-up narrative. NATO is a con game.

 

 

Apr 282018
 
 April 28, 2018  Posted by at 12:20 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  14 Responses »


Alberto Giacometti Tête Noire 1957

 

Trump Can Come. But Let Him Know Britain Won’t Stand For His Bigotry, is the headline of an article for the Guardian by Owen Jones. It’s just one of many articles, and one of many ways, I could use to point out what’s wrong in our world. In a TV appearance on ITV he apparently added:

“At the end of the day, if he comes – no one is saying he should be barred from the country by legal means – we’re saying we will take to the streets and say we reject racism, bigotry and will stand for the values most people in this country believe in.” Jones went on to insist “most” of the United Kingdom are against President Trump so it was in the country’s best interest to stand up for their beliefs.

That got him a lot of flack from right wing viewers, who see him as ‘far left’. But it doesn’t matter if he’s left or right, he’s just terribly wrong. Because his own country, Britain, is as we speak exposing itself ever more as the racism and bigotry capital of the world. Who then are Britons to protest perceived racism and bigotry in someone who’s not British?

Jones should focus on cleaning up his own pig sty before speaking out about Trump, because if he doesn’t, he himself is a bigot. As are all his fellow countrymen and women who are planning to protest with him on Friday July 13 when Trump visits. You really think you don’t have enough to do at home? Or are you just trying to divert attention away from that?

 

I don’t want to read Jones’s article, because I already know what’s in it. Jones is part of the echo chamber that feeds off itself on a 24/7 basis with every word Trump speaks and every move he makes. Why read any of it anymore? The problem of course is that the chamber has made any and all constructive discussion impossible about all things Trump that badly do need such discussion.

And not only do they increasingly lose the fake discussion they try to energize all the time, they are giving birth to a whole new development that expresses a deep fatigue with the echo chamber and its machinery. Not based on left vs right, but on echoes vs thinking.

We find that the Democrats routinely rig their own primaries, and Nancy Pelosi isn’t even trying to deny it. Upcoming lawsuits, discovery and investigations will reveal ever more not-so-fine details about the Dems. And then they will end up in the same position as Owen Jones: clean up after your own pigs first, and then perhaps you can speak.

 

So what do we -predictably- get on the heels of this? We get people who are ‘supposed’ to be in the echo chamber, but escape from it. Too deafening, too blinding to think for one’s own. We get Candace Owens and Kanye West, who only have to cast a sliver of doubt on their supposed roles of “every black person must vote for Hillary, and denounce Trump”. Or else.

We get writers like Caitlin Johnstone and Jim Kunstler, themselves miles removed from anything right-wing, expressing the hope they derive from Kanye et al. Simply because what he says doesn’t emanate from the NYT-WaPo-CNN cacophony. People who like me would much rather address where Trump goes wrong, but find that as soon as they do, their words are sucked up by, and lost within, that same cacophony.

Which has monopolized the discussion, and thereby made it impossible. There is no space for our voices, no space for nuance, no space for questions. They’ll come after Kanye with all they got, but they must be careful. If the Dems lose the black vote, they’re done and toast, and going after Kanye will look a lot like going after all blacks. They can try and channel Obama, but would he dare go after Kanye?

Whose message, in no more than few handfuls of words, is simple: love conquers all. Or in old Jamaican: Live it Up and Love it Up. How do you credibly attack that? Even if he uses those words to support Trump? It won’t be easy. And then they will see more prominent black voices sound sympathetic to Kanye, and thereby to Trump. Ain’t life a bitch?

Caitlin Johnstone really got stung by the happy fever:

 

Happy New Universe Day

Could something big be in the works? Something which transcends all our little echo chamber walls and ideological boundaries, which comes not from the repetitive thought loops in our minds but from our deep evolutionary drive to survive? I hope so. And call me naive and deluded if you like, but right now I’m seeing plenty of reasons to hope.

 

And Kunstler is not that far behind:

 

Counter-#Resistance?

Speaking as a white cis-hetero mammal, I’m not quite as dazzled by the president, but it’s a relief to see, at last, some small rebellion against the American Stasi who have turned the public arena into a giant holding pen for identity offenders — though it is but one corner of the triad-of-hysteria that also includes the Hate Russia campaign and the crusade against men.

This nonsense has been going on long enough, while the country hurtles heedlessly into a long emergency of economic disarray. Next in line after Kanye and Candace, a popular Twitter critter name of Chance the Rapper endorsed Kanye endorsing Candace, more or less, by tweeting “black people don’t have to be Democrats.”

[..] Of course, the whole Kanye / Candace dust-up may be forgotten by the middle of next week, and the country can go back to gaslighting itself into either a new civil war or world war three. Candace seems to have drive, guts, and stamina and there’s no sign that she’s going to shut up. Won’t some Ivy League university please invite her to speak, just to see what happens?

 

That’s right, resistance against the resistance, and not from some right-wing bunch of nuts. But from people who are fed up with being told what to think and do and write. Kanye and Candace have now become the voices for everyone who’s not completely deaf yet. And it’s in the nick of time.

Did Trump start WWIII? No, the US bombed a few sheds in the desert. Did Trump bring Kim and Moon around the table? He certainly played a major role in that. Should he get a Nobel Peace Prize for that? Hell, why not, they gave one to Henry Kissinger, and Barack Obama. So why not Trump and Xi and Kim Jong-Un?

A new world, a new universe even? Do we need those? But it won’t be “forgotten by the middle of next week” either. There are far too many people who don’t want any steenking echo chamber to tell them what to think anymore. Who see them for the pig sties they are, trampling in their own filth.

 

For Britain to hit the streets to protest Trump’s alleged bigotry, racism, misogyny is so completely nuts it’s hard to find what to say, in view of their own government’s treatment of their own fellow citizens, let alone ‘foreigners’ like the Yemeni’s bombed to shreds with weaponry that same government sells to Saudi Arabia.

If you live in that kind of climate and you think protesting Trump is the thing to do, you probably deserve the government you got. But yes, Britain has a long history of longing to be held superior to other people(s), and the more than longing is shattered, the more they seem to want it. The US is not much different, if at all. The French suffer from it too. A superiority complex born of fear.

That’s what a ‘journalist’ like Owen Jones should be writing about. About how his own people can solve their own problems. Until then, not another word about Trump.

As for America? They have Kanye and Candace and Scott Adams now. That should suffice to help them along on the path to smashing up the echo chambers that cause so much physical and mental damage. Think for yourself. Don’t let a newspaper or TV channel think for you.

As for Trump, you can’t read or watch any story that’s negative about him anymore and think it has credibility. And they did that to themselves, the overpaid NYT/CNN/MSNBC crews. They didn’t need any help.

Meanwhile, all politicians on all sides in both the UK and US are the very people you should least want in their positions. It’s what our political systems determine: sh*t floats to the top. And until we separate politics from money altogether, that’s not going to change.

I’ve always steered clear of that whole Kardashian clan, they make me shiver, and all they stand for. But wouldn’t it be simple logic for them to wind up in the White House? First a game-show host, then a Facebook family? When it comes to that, Britain is far behind.

 

 

Jun 062017
 
 June 6, 2017  Posted by at 6:41 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  5 Responses »


Joseph Mallord William Turner Wreckers, Coast of Northumberland 1834

 

Is it sheer hubris, or is it just incompetence? It’s a question often asked when it comes to politics. And regularly, the answer is both. Still, what the ruling British political class has put on display recently seems to exist in a category all its own. Less than a year go, then-PM David Cameron lost the Brexit referendum that he called himself and was dead sure he would win by a landslide.

His successor Theresa May, Cameron’s Home Secretary and a staunch Remain advocate, lost the Brexit vote as much as her PM did, but stayed on, was promoted, and acted for 11 months like Downing Street 10 was hers by Divine Decree. Then she did the exact same thing Cameron did: she looked at polling numbers and decided to go for the jugular: more power through a snap vote.

In the process, May has succeeded in accomplishing the remarkable feat of rejuvenating her main opponent Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour party, who had been left for infighting dead until she called the election, while at the same time dividing her own Tories so much they now resemble Labour from just weeks ago.

The thing that sort of irks is that the speed and intensity with which it all came down would have been way more impressive if she had meant to do it. Oh, and what also irks is that despite a performance worthy of the Comedy Capers, May may still win, since there was always little time, there’s so little time left till Thursday and there have been terror attacks.

A nice addition to the comedy sphere, and I mean no disrespect to any of the terror victims, they’ve gotten enough of that from May et al, is the story behind the PM’s refusal to appear in public debates with Corbyn and perhaps others. When I first saw a few weeks ago that she had announced that refusal, I immediately thought she did not make that decision. She doesn’t have the savvy for that kind of thing.

Someone did it for her. I presumed there had been American advisers added to her team, but I didn’t read anything about that. Until a few days ago, when I saw that political -presumed- heavyweights like Australian Lynton Crosby and American Jim Messina had joined around the time of the snap election announcement on April 18.

And now of course I can’t help thinking that these guys are responsible for the epic failure that May has been over the past six weeks. But that might be giving them too much honor, she’s quite capable of screwing up the way she has all on her own.

And yes, it’s hard to escape a comparison with Hillary here. It’s not about gender, it’s about competence. And if you manage to -almost or entirely- lose to the likes of Trump and Corbyn, despite having a huge lead in the polls, as both ladies had, you’re simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Not that Corbyn has won yet, at least not in the election.

Guys like Crosby and Messina get paid the big bucks for their expertise in both clean and dirty tricks. They have plenty experience in both. They don’t have opinions, but they make up voters’ opinions for them. Messina was Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign leader, Crosby did elections in Australia, New Zealand, Canada. Funny thing is if you check their records, they have lost quite a few of these campaigns. Even funnier would be if they lose this one too.

 

But you’re right, it’s not right to be laughing. This past weekend saw another attack on Britain, and another -to put it mildly- far below par performance by Theresa May in its wake. If after this the Britons still hand her a win in Thursday’s general election, give up the country for lost. Stick a fork in it.

May was the one who as Home Secretary was responsible for an investigation into the foreign funding of extremist Islamist groups in the UK that was set to be released a year ago. Instead, we saw last week, she’s actively suppressing its release now that she’s PM, ostensibly because the report mentions Saudi Arabia as a source of such funding, and May recently used her position to help UK arms manufacturers sell billions worth of additional weapons to the Saudi’s.

She’s even on record as saying that arms sales to the House of Saud make Britain more safe, though the report apparently fingers that same House of Saud as funding the very terrorism her country was hit by, three times in a row now, during her stint as PM.

Where does terrorism originate? May won’t admit it’s Saudi Arabia, so she tried, in her first post-attack speech, to deflect the obvious by blaming ‘the internet’. But the internet doesn’t sell arms to countries that support terrorism. Theresa May does.

 

 

As people understandably call for more protection after three hits in a row, May has another thing to suppress: as Home Secretary she has been responsible for cutting some 22,000 jobs in the police force, 20,000 in the army, and 60,000 in the healthcare system. And if she would win on Thursday, more of all that is in the offing. At least, that was what was planned; she may make yet another U-turn on that one.

It’s really quite amusing to see a candidate trying to hide from the very elections she herself called, but -again-, given the short time-frame this hide-and-seek tactic might actually work. Moreover, if the British media and his own Labour MPs had not turned against Jeremy Corbyn the way they did until very recently, would May be anywhere near having a shot at victory? It looks unlikely.

There are already bets going that even if she wins the election, which if it happens is sure to be a very narrow win, she’ll be replaced as PM by Boris Johnson before July 1. But he’s as much of a clown as all other major Tory figureheads are today.

 

 

The problem of course is that the problems for Britain won’t stop on Thursday, no matter who wins. The problems haven’t even started blooming yet, let alone flowering.

If Corbyn might win, he’s have the entire Conservative entitlement class on his back, and that would turn ugly fast. If May wins, she’ll be ousted in no time, she did far too bad of a job. And then in just a few weeks’ time the Brexit negotiations begin. But with what? With a country that’s been divided to the bone, that’s what.

As things are, Corbyn may yet succeed where Bernie Sanders was rejected and suppressed by his own party. The world today needs people like them, not because it needs ‘socialism’ that much, but because the political landscape has been thrown too far out of balance. If the left gets co-opted by neo-liberalism as much as the right is, there is no left left.

And a sound political system needs representation for the people, the poor(er), as much as representation for the richer ruling classes. It’s not about ideology, but about balance. If you allow either one side or the other of the political equation to run rampant, you will inevitably end up with a dysfunctional society.

 

And that is what Britain is today. There are plenty slogans out there after yet another terror attack that say things like ‘Britain Stands United’, “London is United” , but it doesn’t and they are not. It’s not terrorism that has divided the country, it’s the political class. It’s not terrorism that has ‘crippled democracy’, it’s the sense of entitlement that many -on both sides of the aisle- have brought to Whitehall.

You would think that at least Jeremy Corbyn could do something about that if he wins. But he would then face an EU negotiating team that operates with a very similar sense of entitlement. And they’re going to come after the British people the same way they have in Greece. Not exactly an enviable position.

And that’s just Brussels. Then there are the terrorist attacks, and there’s little reason to think they will stop. What Britain refuses to recognize until now, and has for hundreds of years as I said before, is that these attacks in London and Manchester are not where it has all started. They don’t come out of the blue, and they don’t come from people who ‘hate us for our freedom’.

The first step is the UK et al spreading terror in Libya and Syria and Iraq, bombing away and selling weapons to ‘friendly’ regimes, creating utter chaos as a political power tool. If you don’t stop that you don’t stop terrorism. The only way to stop terror directed at you is to stop directing it at others.

Stop bombing these countires with impunity, and use the money you save with that to rebuild what you’ve destroyed. That will take away the main reason why there is terrorism in our streets. It will likely go a long way towards solving the refugee problems as well.

All this seems a long way away. It’ll recede further if the entitlement-laden establishment win on Thursday. But whichever way the vote goes, Britain will face a decade or more of deepening hardship, don’t underestimate that; there is no easy way out, not for the people.

Oh wait, I totally forgot to mention that the housing bubble is going to burst too. Oh, well, when it rains…

 

 

Feb 072017
 
 February 7, 2017  Posted by at 2:35 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  9 Responses »


Paul Cézanne Les (Grandes) Baigneuses 1905

 

Two and a half weeks after the inauguration, and yes it’s only been that long, the media still don’t seem to have learned a single thing. They help the Trump campaign on an almost hourly basis by parroting whatever things, invariably judged as crazy, he says. One day it’s that negative polls are all fake news, the next it’s some list of underreported terror events. All of it gets an avalanche of attention provided by the very people who claim to be against Trump, but greatly help his cause by doing so.

Not a single thing learned. If Trump tweets tomorrow that tomatoes are really fruits and he’s going to have someone draw up a law to make them so, or that Lego should be recognized as an official building material in order to have the Danes, too, pay for the wall, it will be on the front page of every paper and the opening item for every TV news show. The crazier he makes them, the more serious they are taken. The echo chamber is so eager to incessantly repeat to itself and all its inhabitants that he’s a crazy dude, it’s beyond embarrassing.

And it takes us ever further away, and rapidly too, from any serious discussion about serious issues, the one very thing that the Trump empire desperately calls for. The press should simply ignore the crazy stuff and focus on what’s real, but they can’t bring themselves to do so for fear of losing ratings and ad revenues. All Trump needs to do, and that’s not a joke, is to fart or burp into their echo chamber and they’ll all be happy and giddy and all excited and self-satisfied. A spectacle to behold if ever there was one.

 

British House of Commons Speaker John Bercow can play that game too. He has loudly advertized his refusal to let Trump address UK politicians in the House of Commons and the House of Lords: “An address by a foreign leader to both houses of Parliament is not an automatic right, it is an earned honor..” It’s an honor recently gifted to the likes of China President Xi Jinping and the Emir of Kuwait. Fine and upstanding gentlemen in the tradition Britain so likes, nothing like the American President whom he accuses of racism and sexism.

The racism part ostensibly is a reaction to Trump’s Muslim ban, which, nutty though it is, is not a Muslim ban because most Muslims are not affected by it, and besides, ‘Muslim’ is not a race. So maybe Bercow would care to explain the ‘racism’ bit. Has anyone seen the British press pressuring him to do so? Or, alternatively, has anyone seen a thorough analysis of the British role, though its military and its weapons manufacturers, in the premature deaths in the Middle East and North Africa of many thousands of men, women and children belonging to the Muslim ‘race’? Not me.

The ‘sexism’ accusation refers to Trump’s utterances on for instance the Billy Bush tape(s), and by all means let’s get the Donald to comment on that. But this comes from a man who speaks as an official representative of the Queen of a country where child sex abuse is a national sport, from politics to churches to football, where literally thousands of children are trying to speak up and testify, after having been silenced, ignored and ridiculed for years, about the unspeakable experiences in their childhood. Surely someone who because of his job description gets to speak in the name of the Queen can be expected to address the behavior of her own subjects before that of strangers.

Yeah, that Trump guy is a real terrible person. And he should not be allowed to speak to a chamber full of people directly responsible for the death of huge numbers of children in far away sandboxes, for or the abuse of them at home. After all, we’re all good Christians and the good book teaches us about “the beam out of thine own eye”. So we’re good to go.

 

What this really tells you is to what extent the political systems in the US and the UK, along with the media that serve them, have turned into a massive void, a vortex, a black hole from which any reflection, criticism or self-awareness can no longer escape. By endlessly and relentlessly pointing to someone, anyone, outside of their own circle of ‘righteousness’ and political correctness, they have all managed to implant one view of reality in their voters and viewers, while at the same time engaging in the very behavior they accuse the people of that they point to. For profit.

Child sex abuse has been a staple of British society for a long time, we’re talking at least decades. Only now is it starting, but only starting, to be recognized as the vile problem it is. But still many Britons feel entirely justified in demonizing a man who once talked about touching the genitals of grown women. If that did happen against their will, it’s repulsive. But still, there’s that beam, guys. Read your bible.

The political/media black hole exists in many other countries too; we are truly entering a whole new phase in both domestic and global affairs. That is what allows for the Trumps and Le Pens of the world to appeal to people; there is nobody else left that people can have any faith in. The system(s) are broken beyond repair, and anyone perceived as belonging to them will be cast aside. Not all at the same time, but all of them nonetheless.

 

Whether you call the menu the people have been fed, fake or false or just plain nonsense, it makes no difference. The British House of Commons Speaker may not be such a bad guy inside, he’s probably just another victim of the falsehoods, denials and deceit spread 24/7. The difference between them and ordinary citizens is that Her Majesty’s representatives in the political field MUST know. They get paid good salaries to represent the Queen’s subjects, and looking the other way as children get assaulted and raped does not fit their job description.

That goes for representatives of the church (i.e. Jesus) just as much of course, and for the execs at the BBC, but about as many of those people are behind bars as there are bankers. For anyone at all at any of these institutions to now speak with great indignation about Trump’s alleged racism and sexism is the very core of all of their problems, the very reason why so many turn their backs on them. It shows that the very core or our societies is rotten, and the rot is spreading.

We are facing a lot of problems, all of us, in many different ways, financially, politically, morally. But our problem is not called Donald Trump. And we need to stop pretending that it is. We are the problem. We allow our governments to tell our armies to bomb and drone innocent people while we watch cooking shows. We have believed, as long as we’ve been alive, whatever the media feed us, without any critical thought, which we reserve for choosing our next holiday destination.

The longer this braindead attitude prevails, the worse things will get, and the more Trumps will surface as leaders of their respective countries. And the longer the attitude prevails, the more anger we will spread in those parts of the world that do not belong to our ‘chosen’ societies. And for that we will have only ourselves to blame. Not Trump.

Jun 192016
 
 June 19, 2016  Posted by at 2:39 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  8 Responses »


DPC White Star liner S.S. Olympic, sister ship of Titanic, NY 1911

The reason the Brexit debate has gotten so out of hand is nobody understands what it’s about.

The Brexit campaigns have started anew in the UK, and from what I’ve seen here from left field barely a thing has changed since the murder of MP Jo Cox. Neither side has any qualms about using her death to make their respective points. The main, and perhaps only real, point is that nobody understands what the vote is about. Jo Cox, bless her soul, didn’t either.

This lack of understanding is also, at the same time, the reason why the debate has gotten so out of hand. Nobody seems to understand it’s not about Cameron or Nigel Farage, or Michael Gove vs Boris Johnson, it’s about voting for or against the EU, for or against Juncker and Tusk and five other unelected presidents having a say in one’s life.

And that’s not all either. It’s about voting to leave, or remain in, a Union that is already dead and preserved only in a zombie state. Brexit is just one vote and many more will inevitably follow. Brexit is not the first, Grexit had that ‘honor’ last year. Later this month, elections in Italy and Spain have the potential to turn into preliminary Italix and Spexit votes. And then there will be more.

The reason why these things are taking place, and will be, going forward, is that the economies of all these countries are fast deteriorating. The sole reason why people have accepted the rule of Brussels coming from far away over their daily lives, is the promise that it would make those lives better and more comfortable.

That promise has been shattered. The EU has made things worse for most Europeans, not improved them. And when seen in that light, why should people agree to continue to be told what to do by those who’ve made them poorer? There’s no democratic model in which that remotely makes sense. There are only undemocratic models left.

Britain’s Brexit referendum has run head first into global developments, and there is no sign that any voice in the discussion recognizes this. They all think it’s about something else. And of course Cameron’s policies have devastated the country, and of course the even more right wing Leave campaigners would make that worse. But that’s not what this is about.

 

What Cameron missed when he called the referendum is not that some of his friends could turn on him and go Leave, what he missed is that so many Brits from both the left and the right would turn on him. He never expected that to happen. He always figured his manipulated rosy pink economic numbers would outweigh people’s actual daily lives.

This is a global phenomenon, it has little to do with Cameron himself, other than his neoliberal budget cuts are often even more extreme than those of many of his pan-European and indeed American and global peers. It has a lot more to do with the neoliberalism embedded in Brussels, which has installed technocratic governments in many countries, especially in southern Europe, all with disastrous consequences for the populations.

It’s an exact mirror image of what is happening in the US. The jobs numbers the government and media feed Americans look good once filtered through a hundred layers of manipulation, but people look at what job they themselves have, and what it pays them, and they look at their families, friends and neighbors, and then decide this just ain’t working out or adding up.

The Brexit vote is, in a nutshell, Britain’s last chance to hit the lifeboats and jump the Titanic before it hits the iceberg. This is not even because of the dictatorial character Brussels has taken on, which is starting to display cartoonish properties, it’s because the global economy has hit the debt iceberg well before the EU has.

Voting Remain in next week’s referendum comes down to “Let’s stay onboard so we can help rearrange the deckchairs. And while we’re at it, pick some nice tunes for the orchestra to play on the way down as we sink.”

 

If there’s one outstanding advantage to the Brexit debate, it must be that it has opened up British society to reveal all its festering boils, pimples, pustules, ulcers and neoplasms that had before remained veiled by either stiff upper lips or outright dumb-ass ignorance. Not that the ‘discussion’ has done anything to lift the dumb-assery, mind you; the intelligence level of the Brits has been exposed as yet another hidden sore.

Nothing typically British there either. Neither the people nor the politicians nor the media in the country show any sign of comprehending what is happening to them. Nobody is capable of taking a step back and seeing a bigger picture. Jo Cox’s death has done nothing to fix that issue. Indeed, if there’s one thing Britain has been, and still is, showing the world it’s that it’s incapable of solving its problems.

But that incompetence is not going to be alleviated by handing the reins to Cameron or Johnson, or Corbyn, or indeed Juncker and Tusk. The only remedy is a cold hard look at what’s really going on in Britain itself, a look at its place in a rapidly imploding global economic system, and a look at what being a part of the EU actually means.

To gauge that last bit, all one has to do is to look at Greece, at how the EU has forced the demise of the Greek economy, of its once magnificent health-care system, and of countless other segments of a society still mired today in inexorable decline. A look at the treatment of refugees holds a lesson or two as well.

The summarized lesson from all this is that Brussels will happily throw you under a bus if it feels that would further its ambitions. Of which the EU has many.

The treatment of Greece and the refugees has redefined the term ‘Union’, and everyone should take note.

 

In America, the Democratic and Republican parties have all but internally combusted and destroyed themselves. In Britain, Labo(u)r did that years ago through Tony Blair, and the Tories are doing it today by infighting over Brexit. None of these things are incidents or stand-alone events.

They are part of a much larger pattern, as evidenced by the popularity numbers of people like French president Hollande (8%?!). All but a few incumbent parties in the west are evaporating. And all for the same reason: the demise of the existing economic models and systems that they have based their policies and popularity on.

An economy in decline means the end of centralization and the end of existing political power structures. This is inevitable. Because both can exist only by the grace of ever growing economies. It’s what our economies are based on. It’s what our entire world view is based on. Sometime in the future historians will have a hard time understanding this, but for now it’s all we have, because it’s all we’re willing to consider: growth to infinity and beyond.

Which was, or seemed to be, kind of alright as long as there indeed was growth. But there no longer is any growth. And it will not return for a long time, arguably not in our lifetimes. Which makes it a problem that we haven’t prepared for the end of growth. Which is not terrible smart given that making a point for growth having stopped decades ago looks quite solid.

 

People in Britain try desperately to link Jo Cox’s murder to some sort of larger movement or entity, even if for all they know, for all they can know, the killer is just another warped individual who didn’t take his meds for a long enough period to make him go fully off kilter.

Yeah, he ordered some right wing magazines and books. But that doesn’t mean there’s a conspiracy behind the murder. Nor does it make this fascist and/or right-wing terrorism. Those claims are made solely in an effort to connect the tragedy to the Brexit vote. And that effort all by itself is a huge blemish on Jo Cox’s life, her death and her legacy.

To truly honor her would be to make sure you understand, and help others understand, what she herself did not.