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  1. #181
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    Fintan O'Toole on the political collapse of the UK unfolding before our eyes:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...it-for-purpose


    It was never about Europe. Brexit is Britain’s reckoning with itself

    www.theguardian.com

    Brexit is just the vehicle by which a fractured state has come to realise that its politics are no longer fit for purpose


    At least the Sun thrives on chaos. The savage parliamentary mauling of Britain’s withdrawal agreement with the European Union allowed Rupert Murdoch’s pet tabloid to unveil on Wednesday morning a front page of grandly gleeful malevolence. Under the headline Brextinct, it conjured a creepy chimera of Theresa May’s head pasted on to the body of a dodo. But the thing about such surreal pictures is that it is not easy to control their interpretation. From the outside, this one seemed to suggest much more than the immediately intended message that both May and her deal are politically dead. When, it prompted one to ask, did Brextinction really happen? Was this strange creature ever really alive or was it not always a grotesquely photoshopped image of something else, a crisis of belonging that has attached itself to the wrong union? Do the events of this week point us, not towards the EU, but to the travails of a radically disunited kingdom?
    The dodo, after all, may be proverbially dead but it has a vivid afterlife in that great trawl of the English unconscious, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It is the Dodo, when various characters have fallen into a pool of tears, who suggests how they might dry themselves – the Caucus-race. “There was no ‘One, two, three, and away’, but they began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over. However, when they had been running half an hour or so, and were quite dry again, the Dodo suddenly called out, ‘The race is over!’ and they all crowded round it, panting, and asking, ‘But who has won?’”

    This seems, this week more than ever, a perfect description of the state to which British politics has been reduced – a lot of frantically anarchic running overseen by a defunct creature, the Brextinct dodo. And who has won? Carroll’s Dodo, of course, decrees: “Everybody has won, and all must have prizes.” Having emptied Alice’s pockets to provide rewards for everyone else, the Dodo solemnly presents her with the only thing that’s left: her own thimble. “We beg your acceptance of this elegant thimble.”

    The Brexit game is patently not worth the thimble to be presented at the end of it. Yet in Theresa May’s humiliation on Tuesday, there were prizes for almost everybody else: a glimpse of opportunity for her rivals in cabinet; a revival of their sadomasochistic no-deal fantasies for the zealots; the hope of a second referendum for remainers; proof of the near-collapse of the Westminster order for nationalists; the hope of a general election for Jeremy Corbyn. But in truth nobody has won anything – it is a losing game all round.

    For all of this is the afterlife of dead things. One of them is Brexit itself. When did Brextinction occur? On 24 June 2016. The project was driven by decades of camped-up mendacity about the tyranny of the EU, and sold in the referendum as a fantasy of national liberation. It simply could not survive contact with reality. It died the moment it became real. You cannot free yourself from imaginary oppression. Even if May were a political genius – and let us concede that she is not – Brexit was always going to come down to a choice between two evils: the heroic but catastrophic failure of crashing out; or the unheroic but less damaging failure of swapping first-class for second-class EU membership. These are the real afterlives of a departed reverie.

    If the choice between shooting oneself in the head or in the foot is the answer to Britain’s long-term problems, surely the wrong question is being asked. It is becoming ever clearer that Brexit is not about its ostensible subject: Britain’s relationship with the EU. The very word Brexit contains a literally unspoken truth. It does not include or even allude to Europe. It is British exit that is the point, not what it is exiting from. The tautologous slogan Leave Means Leave is similarly (if unintentionally) honest: the meaning is in the leaving, not in what is being left or how.

    Paradoxically, this drama of departure has really served only to displace a crisis of belonging. Brexit plays out a conflict between Them and Us, but it is surely obvious after this week that the problem is not with Them on the continent. It’s with the British Us, the unravelling of an imagined community. The visible collapse of the Westminster polity this week may be a result of Brexit, but Brexit itself is the result of the invisible subsidence of the political order over recent decades.


    It may seem strange to call this slow collapse invisible since so much of it is obvious: the deep uncertainties about the union after the Good Friday agreement of 1998 and the establishment of the Scottish parliament the following year; the consequent rise of English nationalism; the profound regional inequalities within England itself; the generational divergence of values and aspirations; the undermining of the welfare state and its promise of shared citizenship; the contempt for the poor and vulnerable expressed through austerity; the rise of a sensationally self-indulgent and clownish ruling class. But the collective effects of these interrelated developments do seem to have been barely visible within the political mainstream until David Cameron accidentally took the lid off by calling a referendum and asking people to endorse the status quo.

    What we see with the lid off and the fog of fantasies at last beginning to dissipate is the truth that Brexit is much less about Britain’s relationship with the EU than it is about Britain’s relationship with itself. It is the projection outwards of an inner turmoil. An archaic political system had carried on even while its foundations in a collective sense of belonging were crumbling. Brexit in one way alone has done a real service: it has forced the old system to play out its death throes in public. The spectacle is ugly, but at least it shows that a fissiparous four-nation state cannot be governed without radical social and constitutional change.

    European leaders have continually expressed exasperation that the British have really been negotiating not with them, but with each other. But perhaps it is time to recognise that there is a useful truth in this: Brexit is really just the vehicle that has delivered a fraught state to a place where it can no longer pretend to be a settled and functioning democracy. Brexit’s work is done – everyone can now see that the Westminster dodo is dead. It is time to move on from the pretence that the problem with British democracy is the EU and to recognise that it is with itself. After Brextinction there must be a whole new political ecosystem. Drop the dead dodo, end the mad race for a meaningless prize, and start talking about who you want to be.

    • Fintan O’Toole is a columnist at the Irish Times and author of Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain

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  3. #182
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    http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2019/0...oyed.html#more

    Why must Venezuela be destroyed?

    Last week Trump, his VP Mike Pence, US State Dept. director Mike Pompeo and Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton, plus a bunch of Central American countries that are pretty much US colonies and don’t have foreign policies of their own, synchronously announced that Venezuela has a new president: a virtual non-entity named Juan Guaidó, who was never even a candidate for that office, but who was sorta-kinda trained for this job in the US. Guaidó appeared at a rally in Caracas, flanked by a tiny claque of highly compensated sycophants. He looked very frightened as he self-appointed himself president of Venezuela and set about discharging his presidential duties by immediately going into hiding.

    His whereabouts remained unknown until much later, when he surfaced at a press conference, at which he gave a wishy-washy non-answer to the question of whether he had been pressured to declare himself president or had done so of his own volition. There is much to this story that is at once tragic and comic, so let’s take it apart piece by piece. Then we’ll move on to answering the question of Why Venezuela must be destroyed (from the US establishment’s perspective).

    What stands out immediately is the combination of incompetence and desperation exhibited by all of the above-mentioned public and not-so-public figures. Pompeo, in voicing his recognition of Guaidó, called him “guido,” which is an ethnic slur against Italians, while Bolton did one better and called him “guiado” which could be Spanish for “remote-controlled.” (Was that a Freudian slip or just another one of Bolton’s senior moments?) Not to be outdone, Pence gave an entire little speech on Venezuela—a sort of address to the Venezuelan people—which was laced with some truly atrocious pseudo-Spanish gibberish and ended with an utterly incongruous “¡Vaya con Dios!” straight out of a hammy 1950s Western.

    Some more entertainment was provided at the UN Security Council, where the ever-redoubtable Russian representative Vasily Nebenzya pointed out that the situation in Venezuela did not pose a threat to international security and was therefore not within the purview of the Security Council. He then proceeded to ask Pompeo, who was present at the meeting, a pointed question: “Is the US planning to yet again violate the UN Charter?”

    Pompeo failed to give an answer. He sat there looking like a cat that’s pretending that it isn’t chewing on a canary, then quickly fled the scene. But then most recently Bolton, as he was presumably exiting a national security meeting and walking to a White House press briefing, accidentally flashed his notepad before reporters’ cameras. On it were written the words “5000 troops to Colombia” (that’s a US military base/narco-colony on Venezuela’s northern border). Was this another one of Bolton’s senior moments? In any case, it does seem to answer Nebenzya’s question in the affirmative. The appointment as special envoy to Venezuela of Elliott Abrams, a convicted criminal who was complicit in the previous, failed Venezuelan coup attempt against Hugo Chávez, automatically making him persona non grata in Venezuela, is also indicative of hostile intent.

    It would be quite forgivable for you to mistake this regime change operation for some sort of absurdist performance art. It is certainly a bit too abstract for the real-world complexities of the international order. Some poor frightened minion is thrust in front of a camera and declares himself President of Narnia, and then three stooges (Pence, Pompeo and Bolton) plus Bozo the Trump all jump up and yell “Yes-yes-yes, that’s surely him!” And a pensioned-off failure is pulled off the bench, dusted off and dispatched on a mission to a country that won’t have him.

    Meanwhile, back in the real world, the Venezuelan army and the Venezuelan courts remains squarely behind the elected president Nicolas Maduro and a list of countries that comprise the vast majority of the world’s population, including China, Russia, India, Mexico, Turkey, South Africa and quite a few others speak out in Maduro’s support. Even the people in the remote-controlled Central American countries know full well what a dangerous precedent such a regime change operation would set if it were to succeed, and are thinking: “¡Hoy Venezuela, mañana nosotros!”

    To be thorough, let’s look at the arguments being used to advance this regime change operation. There is the contention that Nicolas Maduro is not a legitimate president because last year’s elections, where he was supported by 68% of those who turned out, lacked transparency and were boycotted by certain opposition parties, whereas Juan Guaidó is 100% legit in spite of him and his inconsequential National Assembly being opposed by 70% of Venezuelans according to the opposition’s own polling numbers. There were also some unfounded allegations of “ballot-box stuffing”—except that the Venezuelans do not use paper ballots, while according to international election-watcher and former US president Jimmy Carter, “the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.”

    There is the contention that Maduro has badly mismanaged Venezuela’s economy, leading to hyperinflation, high unemployment, shortages of basic goods (medicines especially) and a refugee crisis. There is some merit to this contention, but we must also note that some of Venezuela’s neighbors are doing even worse in many respects in spite of Maduro not being their president. Also, many of Venezuela’s economic difficulties have been caused by US sanctions against it. For instance, right now around 8 billion dollars of Venezuela’s money is being held hostage and is intended to be used to finance a mercenary army which would invade and attempt to destroy Venezuela just as was done with Syria.

    Finally, a lot of Venezuela’s predicament has to do with the oil curse. Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world, but its oil is very viscous and therefore expensive to produce. During a period of high oil prices Venezuelans became addicted to the oil largess, which the government used to lift millions of people out of abject poverty and to move them out of slums and into government housing. And now low oil prices have caused a crisis. If Venezuela manages to survive this period, it will be able to recover once oil prices recover (which they will once the fracking Ponzi scheme in the US has run its course). We will return to the topic of Venezuelan oil later.

    As a side comment, a lot of people have been voicing the opinion that Venezuela’s woes are due to socialism. According to them, it’s fine if lots of people are suffering as long as their government is capitalist, but if it is socialist then that’s the wrong kind of suffering and their government deserves to be overthrown even if they all voted for it. For example, the site ZeroHedge, which often publishes useful information and analysis, has been pushing this line of thinking ad nauseam. It is unfortunate that some people imagine that they are being principled and right-thinking whereas they are just being dumb jerks at best and somebody’s useful idiots at worst. The politics of other nations are not for them to decide and they should stop wasting our time with their nonsense.

    This naked attempt at regime change would set a very dangerous precedent for the US itself. The doctrine of legal precedent is by no means universal. It comes to us from the dim dark ages of tribal English common law and is only followed in former British colonies. To the rest of the world it is a barbaric form of injustice because it grants arbitrary power to judges and lawyers. The courts must not be allowed to write or alter laws, only to follow them. If your case can be decided on the basis of some other case that has nothing to do with you—well then, why not let somebody else pay your legal fees and your fines and serve out your sentence for you? But there is an overarching principle of international law, which is that sovereign nations have a right to keep to their own laws and legal traditions. Therefore, the US will be bound by the precedents which it establishes. Let’s see how that would work.

    The precedent established by the US government’s recognition of Juan Guaidó allows Nicolas Maduro to declare Donald Trump’s presidency as illegitimate for virtually all of the same reasons. Trump failed to win the popular vote but only gained the presidency because of a corrupt, gerrymandered electoral system. Also, certain opposition candidates were unfairly treated within the electoral process. Trump is also a disgrace and a failure: 43 million people are on food stamps; close to 100 million are among the long-term unemployed (circularly referred to as “not in labor force”); homelessness is rampant and there are entire tent cities springing up in various US cities; numerous US companies are on the verge of bankruptcy; and Trump can’t even seem to be able to keep the federal government open! He is a disaster for his country! Maduro therefore recognizes Bernie Sanders as the legitimate president of the United States.

    Vladimir Putin could then build on these two precedents by also recognizing Bernie Sanders as the rightful US president. In a public speech, he could say the following: “I freely admit that we installed Donald Trump as US president as was our right based on the numerous precedents established by the US itself. Unfortunately, Trump didn’t work out as planned. Mueller can retire, because this flash drive contains everything that’s necessary to nullify Trump’s inauguration. Donny, sorry it didn’t work out! Your Russian passport is ready for pick-up at our embassy, as are your keys to a one-bedroom in Rostov, right next door to the Ukraine’s former president Viktor Yanukovich who was violently regime-changed by your predecessor Obama.”

    Why the unseemly haste to blow up Venezuela? The explanation is a simple one: it has to do with oil. “It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.” said John Bolton on Fox News. You see, Venezuelan oil cannot be produced profitably without high oil prices—so high that many oil consumers would go bankrupt—but it can certainly be produced in much higher quantities at a huge financial loss.

    Huge financial losses certainly wouldn’t stop American oil companies who have so far generated a $300 billion loss through fracking—financed by looting retirement savings, saddling future generations with onerous debt and other nefarious schemes. Also keep in mind that the single largest oil consumer in the world is the US Dept. of Defense, and if it has to pay a little more for oil in order to go on blowing up countries—so it will. Or, rather, you will. It’s all the same to them. The US is already well beyond broke, but its leaders will do anything to keep the party going for just a while longer.

    Here’s the real problem: the fracking bonanza is ending. Most of the sweet spots have already been tapped; newer wells are depleting faster and producing less while costing more; the next waves of fracking, were they to happen, would squander $500 billion, then $1 trillion, then $2 trillion… The drilling rate is already slowing, and started slowing even while oil prices were still high. Meanwhile, peak conventional (non-fracked) oil happened back in 2005-6, only a few countries haven’t peaked yet, Russia has announced that it will start reducing production in just a couple years and Saudi Arabia doesn’t have any spare capacity left.

    A rather large oil shortage is coming, and it will rather specifically affect the US, which burns 20% of the world’s oil (with just 5% of the world’s population). Once fracking crashes, the US will go from having to import 2.5 million barrels per day to importing at least 10—and that oil won’t exist. Previously, the US was able to solve this problem by blowing up countries and stealing their oil: the destruction of Iraq and Libya made American oil companies whole for a while and kept the financial house of cards from collapsing. But the effort to blow up Syria has failed, and the attempt to blow up Venezuela is likely to fail too because, keep in mind, Venezuela has between 7 and 9 million Chavistas imbued with the Bolivarian revolutionary spirit, a large and well-armed military and is generally a very tough neighborhood.

    Previously, the US resorted to various dirty tricks to legitimize its aggression against oil-rich countries and its subsequent theft of their natural resources. There was that vial of highly toxic talcum powder Colin Powell shook at the UN to get it to vote in favor of destroying Iraq and stealing its oil. There was the made-up story of humanitarian atrocities in Libya to get the votes for a no-fly zone there (which turned out to be a bombing campaign followed by a government overthrow). But with Venezuela there isn’t any such fig leaf. All we have is open threats of naked aggression and blatant lies which nobody believes, delivered incompetently by clowns, stooges and old fogies.

    If Plan A (steal Venezuela’s oil) fails, then Plan B is to take all of your US dollar-denominated paper waste—cash, stocks, bonds, deeds, insurance policies, promissory notes, etc.—and burn it in trash barrels in an effort to stay warm. There is a definite whiff of desperation to the whole affair. The global hegemon is broken; it fell down and it can’t get up.

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  5. #183
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    ...once the fracking Ponzi scheme in the US has run its course.
    So depressing.

    As is the rest. Black Goo for real. It's been right in our faces the whole time.

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  7. #184
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    Quote Originally posted by Dreamtimer View Post
    So depressing.

    As is the rest. Black Goo for real. It's been right in our faces the whole time.
    It's always about the oil, isn't it?

    You can pretty much explain all of the major events of the 20th and 21st centuries by looking at oil flows, supply, demand, prices and the wars that were fought to control it. This includes both world wars, the cold war, the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia's resurgence and subsequent weakening, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Venezuela and the list just goes on.

    Personally, I think oil is on the way out and the geopolitics of the future will be very different as a result. Conventional oil production has peaked in 2006 anyway, leading to the oil price spike and the 2008 financial crisis. That in turn has lead to lower oil prices today, and of course fracking and other unconventional oil is papering over the cracks for now. The remaining oil reserves are vast, but uneconomical to take out of the ground. Hopefully, we will learn to continue on as a civilisation without it.

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    The oil companies are responsible for so many things... And that's why we still don't have free energy.

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  11. #186
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    Don't know what to think about this piece, Dmitry's pro-Russia bias does grate on me sometimes, but he does make some good points I must admit.

    http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2019/0...-americas.html

    RIP INF Treaty: Russia’s Victory, America’s Waterloo

    On March 1, 2018 the world learned of Russia’s new weapons systems, said to be based on new physical principles. Addressing the Federal Assembly, Putin explained how they came to be: in 2002 the US withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. At the time, the Russians declared that they will be forced to respond, and were basically told “Do whatever you want.”

    And so they did, developing new weapons that no anti-ballistic missile system can ever hope to stop. The new Russian weapons include one that is already on combat duty (Kinzhal), one that is being readied for mass production (Avangard) and several that are currently being tested (Poseidon, Burevestnik, Peresvet, Sarmat). Their characteristics, briefly, are as follows:

    • Kinzhal: a hypersonic air-launched cruise missile that flies at Mach 10 (7700 miles per hour) and can destroy both ground installations and ships.

    • Avangard: a maneuverable hypersonic payload delivery system for intercontinental ballistic missiles that flies at better than Mach 20 (15300 miles per hour). It has a 740-mile range and can carry a nuclear charge of up to 300 kilotons.

    • Poseidon: an autonomous nuclear-powered torpedo with unlimited range that can travel at a 3000-foot depth maintaining a little over 100 knots.

    • Burevestnik: a nuclear-powered cruise missile that flies at around 270 miles per hour and can stay in the air for 24 hours, giving it a 6000-mile range.

    • Peresvet: a mobile laser complex that can blind drones and satellites, knocking out space and aerial reconnaissance systems.

    • Sarmat: a new heavy intercontinental missile that can fly arbitrary suborbital courses (such as over the South Pole) and strike arbitrary points anywhere on the planet. Because it does not follow a predictable ballistic trajectory it is impossible to intercept.

    The initial Western reaction to this announcement was an eerie silence. A few people tried to convince anyone who would listen that this was all bluff and computer animation, and that these weapons systems did not really exist. (The animation was of rather low quality, one might add, probably because Russian military types couldn’t possibly imagine that slick graphics, such as what the Americans waste their money on, would make Russia any safer.) But eventually the new weapons systems were demonstrated to work and US intelligence services confirmed their existence.

    Forced to react, the Americans, with the EU in tow, tried to cause public relations scandals over some unrelated matter. Such attempts are repeated with some frequency. For instance, after the putsch in the Ukraine caused Crimea to go back to Russia there was the avalanche of hysterical bad press about Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, which the Americans had shot down over Ukrainian territory with the help of Ukrainian military.

    Similarly, after Putin’s announcement of new weapons systems, there was an eruption of equally breathless hysterics over the alleged “Novichok” poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter. A couple of Russian tourists, if you recall, were accused of poisoning Skripal by smearing some toxic gas on the doorknob of his house some time after he left it never to return. Perhaps such antics made some people feel better, but opposing new, breakthrough weapons systems by generating fake news does not an adequate response make.

    Say what you will about the Russian response to the US pulling out of the ABM treaty, but it was adequate. It was made necessary by two well-known facts. First, the US is known for dropping nuclear bombs on other countries (Hiroshima, Nagasaki). It did so not in self-defense but just to send a message to the USSR that resistance would be futile (a dumb move if there ever was one). Second, the US is known to have repeatedly planned to destroy the USSR using a nuclear first strike. It was prevented from carrying it out time and again, first by a shortage of nuclear weapons, then by the development of Soviet nuclear weapons, then by the development of Soviet ICBMs.

    Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” was an attempt to develop a system that would shoot down enough Soviet ICBMs to make a nuclear first strike on the USSR winnable. This work was terminated when Reagan and Gorbachev signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in December, 1987. But then when Bush Jr. pulled out of the ABM treaty in 2002 it was off to the races again. Last year Putin declared that Russia has won: the Americans can now rest assured that if they ever attack Russia the result will be their complete, guaranteed annihilation, and the Russians can rest secure in the knowledge that the US will never dare to attack them.

    But that was just the prelude. The real victory happened on February 2, 2019. This day will be remembered as the day when the Russian Federation decisively defeated the United States in the battle for Eurasia—from Lisbon to Vladivostok and from Murmansk to Mumbai.

    So, what did the Americans want, and what did they get instead? They wanted to renegotiate the INF treaty, revise some of the terms and expand it to include China. Announcing that the US is suspending the INF treaty, Trump said: “I hope we're able to get everybody in a big, beautiful room and do a new treaty that would be much better…” By “everybody” Trump probably meant the US, China and Russia.

    Why the sudden need to include China? Because China has an entire arsenal of intermediate-range weapons with a range of 500-5500 (the ones outlawed by the INF treaty) pointed at American military bases throughout the region—in South Korea, Japan and Guam. The INF treaty made it impossible for the US to develop anything that could be deployed at these bases to point back at China.

    Perhaps it was Trump’s attempt to practice his New York real-estate mogul’s “art of the deal” among nuclear superpowers, or perhaps it’s because imperial hubris has rotted the brains of just about everyone in the US establishment, but the plan for renegotiating the INF treaty was about as stupid as can be imagined:

    1. Accuse Russia of violating the INF treaty based on no evidence. Ignore Russia’s efforts to demonstrate that the accusation is false.

    2. Announce pull-out of the INF treaty.

    3. Wait a while, then announce that the INF treaty is important and essential. Condescendingly forgive Russia and offer to sign a new treaty, but demand that it include China.

    4. Wait while Russia convinces China that it should do so.

    5. Sign the new treaty in Trump’s “big, beautiful room.”

    So, how did it actually go? Russia instantly announced that it is also pulling out of the INF treaty. Putin ordered foreign minister Lavrov to abstain from all negotiations with the Americans in this matter. He then ordered defense minister Shoigu to build land-based platforms for Russia’s new air and ship-based missile systems—without increasing the defense budget. Putin added that these new land-based systems will only be deployed in response to the deployment of US-made intermediate-range weapons. Oh, and China announced that it is not interested in any such negotiations. Now Trump can have his “big, beautiful room” all to himself.

    Why did this happen? Because of the INF treaty, for a long time Russia has had a giant gaping hole in its arsenal, specifically in the 500-5500 km range. It had air-launched X-101/102s, and eventually developed the Kalibr cruise missile, but it had rather few aircraft and ships—enough for defense, but not enough to guarantee that it could reliably destroy all of NATO. As a matter of Russia’s national security, given the permanently belligerent stance of the US, it was necessary for NATO to know that in case of a military conflict with Russia it will be completely annihilated, and that no air defense system will ever help them avoid that fate.

    If you look at a map, you will find that having weapons in the 500-5500 km range fixes this problem rather nicely. Draw a circle with a 5500 km radius around the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad; note that it encompasses every single NATO country, North Africa and Middle East. The IMF treaty was not necessarily a good deal for Russia even when it was first signed (remember, Gorbachev, who signed it, was a traitor) but it became a stupendously bad deal as NATO started to expand east. But Russia couldn’t pull out of it without triggering a confrontation, and it needed time to recover and rearm.

    Already in 2004 Putin announced that “Russia needs a breakthrough in order to have a new generation of weapons and technology.” At the time, Americans ignored him, thinking that Russia could fall apart at any moment and that they will be able to enjoy Russian oil, gas, nuclear fuel and other strategic commodities for free forever even as the Russians themselves go extinct. They thought that even if Russia tried to resist, it would be enough to bribe some traitors—like Gorbachev or Yeltsin—and all would be well again.

    Fast-forward 15 years, and is that what we have? Russia has rebuilt and rearmed. Its export industries provide for a positive trade balance even in absence of oil and gas exports. It is building three major export pipelines at the same time—to Germany, Turkey and China. It is building nuclear generating capacity around the world and owns a lion’s share of the world’s nuclear industry. The US can no longer keep the lights on without Russian nuclear fuel imports. The US has no new weapons systems with which to counter Russia’s rearmament. Yes, it talks about developing some, but all it has at this point are infinite money sinks and lots of PowerPoint presentations. It no longer has the brains to do the work, or the time, or the money.

    Part of Putin’s orders upon pulling out of the INF treaty was to build land-based medium-range hypersonic missiles. That’s a new twist: not only will it be impossible to intercept them, but they will reduce NATO’s remaining time to live, should it ever attack Russia, from minutes to seconds. The new Poseidon nuclear-powered torpedo was mentioned too: even if an attack on Russia succeeds, it will be a Pyrrhic one, since subsequent 100-foot nuclear-triggered tsunamis will wipe clean both coasts of the United States for hundreds of miles inland, effectively reducing the entire country to slightly radioactive wasteland.

    Not only has the US lost its ability to attack, it has also lost its ability to threaten. Its main means of projecting force around the world is its navy, and Poseidon reduces it to a useless, slow-moving pile of scrap steel. It would take just a handful of Poseidons quietly shadowing each US aircraft carrier group to zero out the strategic value of the US Navy no matter where in the world it is deployed.

    Without the shackles of the INF treaty, Russia will be able to fully neutralize the already obsolete and useless NATO and to absorb all of Europe into its security sphere. European politicians are quite malleable and will soon learn to appreciate the fact that good relations with Russia and China are an asset while any dependence on the US, moving forward, is a huge liability. Many of them already understand which way the wind is blowing.

    It won’t be a difficult decision for Europe’s leaders to make. On the one pan of the scale there is the prospect of a peaceful and prosperous Greater Eurasia, from Lisbon to Vladivostok and from Murmansk to Mumbai, safe under Russia’s nuclear umbrella and tied together with China’s One Belt One Road.

    On the other pan of the scale there is a certain obscure former colony lost in the wilds of North America, imbued with an unshakeable faith in its own exceptionalism even as it grows ever weaker, more internally conflicted and more chaotic, but still dangerous, though mostly to itself, and run by a bloviating buffoon who can’t tell the difference between a nuclear arms treaty and a real estate deal. It needs to be quietly and peacefully relegated to the outskirts of civilization, and then to the margins of history.

    Trump should keep his own company in his “big, beautiful room,” and avoid doing anything anything even more tragically stupid, while saner minds quietly negotiate the terms for an honorable capitulation. The only acceptable exit strategy for the US is to quietly and peacefully surrender its positions around the world, withdraw into its own geographic footprint and refrain from meddling in the affairs of Greater Eurasia.
    Last edited by Chris, 7th February 2019 at 21:15.

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  13. #187
    Senior Member Amanda's Avatar
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    It seems to me that the consuming paradigm in which we live, is reaching a critical juncture. How long can we keep consuming? How long can the multinationals keep taking resources from the Planet. I think of oil as the blood of the planet. When we drain a Human of their blood they die and I view our Earth as the same.

    How long can we keep buying items - only to run out and buy the newest device when the one in our hand is still viable? I see many many many People ready to jump into the 5G devices - their naivety and ignorance is stunning. I say that with respect because so many are yet to rouse from their slumber.

    Great to visit here and know that soooooooooooooooooooooooooo many are well awake and well aware.

    Much Respect - Amanda

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  15. #188
    Senior Member palooka's revenge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Amanda View Post
    It seems to me that the consuming paradigm in which we live, is reaching a critical juncture. How long can we keep consuming? How long can the multinationals keep taking resources from the Planet. I think of oil as the blood of the planet. When we drain a Human of their blood they die and I view our Earth as the same.

    How long can we keep buying items - only to run out and buy the newest device when the one in our hand is still viable? I see many many many People ready to jump into the 5G devices - their naivety and ignorance is stunning. I say that with respect because so many are yet to rouse from their slumber.

    Great to visit here and know that soooooooooooooooooooooooooo many are well awake and well aware.

    Much Respect - Amanda
    some of us will go to extreme way over on the far end of the other side of the balance point in an effort to re-balance the scale. ie, i had a pair of readers i bought at dollar tree (where EVERYTHING really IS a dollar). after 2 months of repetitive on/off one of the temples broke at the hinge point which i was able to fix with super glue and a shade tree clamping device invented to hold in place while the glue dried. a few weeks later same-o happened to the other temple. then the frame broke while i was cleaning them. fixed that too. 3 extra lives squeezed out until one day i accidentally knocked them off the top of my head where i keep them when not in use so's to know exactly where they are when i need them. they fell to the ground and in the same motion that knocked 'em off, i stepped on 'em... a fate that spelled ultimate demise. but somewhere in universe, things feel better as a result...

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  17. #189
    Senior Member Hungary
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    http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nati...taken-futures/

    Mistaken Futures

    And so the Democratic Party has gone and hoisted the flag of “socialism” on the mizzenmast of its foundering hulk as it sets sail for the edge of the world. Bad call by a ship without a captain, and I’ll tell you why. Socialism was the response to a particular set of circumstances in time that drove the rise of industrial societies. Those circumstances are going, going, gone.

    The suspicion of industry’s dreadful effects on the human condition first sparked in the public imagination with William Blake’s poem “Jerusalem” in 1804 and its reference to England’s newly-built “dark satanic mills.” Industry at the grand scale overturned everyday life in the Euro-American “West” by the mid-19th century, and introduced a new kind of squalor for the masses, arguably worse than their former status as peasants.

    And thus it was to be, through Karl Marx, Vlad Lenin, and the rest of the gang, ever-strategizing to somehow mitigate all that suffering. Their Big Idea was that if government owned the industry (the means of production), then the riches would be distributed equally among the laboring masses and the squalor eliminated. You can’t blame them for trying, though you can blame them for killing scores of millions of people who somehow got in the way of their plans.

    Nobody had ever seen anything like this industry before, or had to figure out some way to deal with it, and it was such an enormous force in everyday life thereafter that it shattered human relationships with nature and the planet nature rode in on. Of course, the history of everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and we’re closer to the end of the industrial story than we are to the middle.

    Which opens the door to a great quandary. If industrial society is disintegrating (literally), then what takes its place? Many suppose that it is a robotic utopia powered by some as-yet-unharnessed cosmic juice, a nirvana of algorithms, culminating in orgasm-without-end (Ray Kurzweil’s transhumanism). Personally, I would check the “no” box on that outcome as a likely scenario.

    The self-proclaimed socialists are actually seeing the world through a rear-view mirror. What they are really talking about is divvying up the previously-accumulated wealth, soon to be bygone. Entropy is having its wicked way with that wealth, first by transmogrifying it into ever more abstract forms, and then by dissipating it as waste all over the planet. In short, the next time socialism is enlisted as a tool for redistributing wealth, we will make the unhappy discovery that most of that wealth is gone.

    The process will be uncomfortably sharp and disorientating. The West especially will not know what hit it as it emergently self-reorganizes back into something that resembles the old-time feudalism. We have a new kind of mass squalor in America: a great many people who have nothing to do, no means of support, and the flimsiest notions of purpose in life. The socialists have no answers for them. They will not be “retrained” in some imagined federal crusade to turn meth freaks into code-writers for Google.

    Something the analysts are calling “recession” is ploughing across the landscape like one of those darkly majestic dust-storms of the 1930s, only this time we won’t be able to re-fight anything like World War Two to get all the machines running again in the aftermath. Nor, of course, will the Make America Great Again fantasy work out for those waiting in the squalid ruins of the post-industrial rust-belt or the strip-mall wastelands of the Sunbelt.

    Most of the beliefs and attitudes of the present day will be overturned with the demise of the industrial orgy, like the idea that humanity follows an unerring arc of progress, that men and women are interchangeable and can do exactly the same work, that society should not be hierarchical, that technology will rescue us, and that we can organize some political work-arounds to avoid the pain of universal contraction.

    There are no coherent ideas in the political arena just now. Our prospects are really too alarming. So, jump on-board the socialism ship and see if it makes you feel better to sail to the end of the earth. But mind the gap at the very edge. It’s a doozie.

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  19. #190
    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    The party as a whole isn't exactly embracing socialism. Many of the new and younger crop are calling themselves Democratic Socialists, and as people like Ana Kasparian say, they're capitalists. They believe in capitalism. They just don't want to trash all of our social programs and they understand that privatization doesn't substitute for government.

    Many Democrats who got elected are actually from conservative areas and are not socialists and don't call themselves such.

    For those who don't know.

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  21. #191
    Senior Member giovonni's Avatar
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    Thinking

    Will share this here ...

    Some interesting insight into an ongoing hot potato of a topic ...


    Taiwan FM in interview: 'Reunification with China is not an option' | DW News

    Published on Feb 16, 2019
    In an exclusive interview with DW, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu made clear that reunification with China is not an option. This comes in response to Chinese President Xi Jinping, who declared that reunification with the island was "inevitable," and that China reserves the right to use force if necessary. It was a blunt reminder for Taiwan that China has the second largest defense budget in the world and may be prepared to use it. But Taiwan, which functions de-facto as an independent country, is responding by upgrading its own military. Can Taiwan be a model for democracy in China?
    5:21 minutes


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  23. #192
    Senior Member palooka's revenge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Chris View Post
    http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nati...taken-futures/

    Mistaken Futures

    And so the Democratic Party has gone and hoisted the flag of “socialism” on the mizzenmast of its foundering hulk as it sets sail for the edge of the world. Bad call by a ship without a captain, and I’ll tell you why. Socialism was the response to a particular set of circumstances in time that drove the rise of industrial societies. Those circumstances are going, going, gone.

    The suspicion of industry’s dreadful effects on the human condition first sparked in the public imagination with William Blake’s poem “Jerusalem” in 1804 and its reference to England’s newly-built “dark satanic mills.” Industry at the grand scale overturned everyday life in the Euro-American “West” by the mid-19th century, and introduced a new kind of squalor for the masses, arguably worse than their former status as peasants.

    And thus it was to be, through Karl Marx, Vlad Lenin, and the rest of the gang, ever-strategizing to somehow mitigate all that suffering. Their Big Idea was that if government owned the industry (the means of production), then the riches would be distributed equally among the laboring masses and the squalor eliminated. You can’t blame them for trying, though you can blame them for killing scores of millions of people who somehow got in the way of their plans.

    Nobody had ever seen anything like this industry before, or had to figure out some way to deal with it, and it was such an enormous force in everyday life thereafter that it shattered human relationships with nature and the planet nature rode in on. Of course, the history of everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and we’re closer to the end of the industrial story than we are to the middle.

    Which opens the door to a great quandary. If industrial society is disintegrating (literally), then what takes its place? Many suppose that it is a robotic utopia powered by some as-yet-unharnessed cosmic juice, a nirvana of algorithms, culminating in orgasm-without-end (Ray Kurzweil’s transhumanism). Personally, I would check the “no” box on that outcome as a likely scenario.

    The self-proclaimed socialists are actually seeing the world through a rear-view mirror. What they are really talking about is divvying up the previously-accumulated wealth, soon to be bygone. Entropy is having its wicked way with that wealth, first by transmogrifying it into ever more abstract forms, and then by dissipating it as waste all over the planet. In short, the next time socialism is enlisted as a tool for redistributing wealth, we will make the unhappy discovery that most of that wealth is gone.

    The process will be uncomfortably sharp and disorientating. The West especially will not know what hit it as it emergently self-reorganizes back into something that resembles the old-time feudalism. We have a new kind of mass squalor in America: a great many people who have nothing to do, no means of support, and the flimsiest notions of purpose in life. The socialists have no answers for them. They will not be “retrained” in some imagined federal crusade to turn meth freaks into code-writers for Google.

    Something the analysts are calling “recession” is ploughing across the landscape like one of those darkly majestic dust-storms of the 1930s, only this time we won’t be able to re-fight anything like World War Two to get all the machines running again in the aftermath. Nor, of course, will the Make America Great Again fantasy work out for those waiting in the squalid ruins of the post-industrial rust-belt or the strip-mall wastelands of the Sunbelt.

    Most of the beliefs and attitudes of the present day will be overturned with the demise of the industrial orgy, like the idea that humanity follows an unerring arc of progress, that men and women are interchangeable and can do exactly the same work, that society should not be hierarchical, that technology will rescue us, and that we can organize some political work-arounds to avoid the pain of universal contraction.

    There are no coherent ideas in the political arena just now. Our prospects are really too alarming. So, jump on-board the socialism ship and see if it makes you feel better to sail to the end of the earth. But mind the gap at the very edge. It’s a doozie.
    a little birdie keeps whisperin' to my middle eye...

    collapse will prevail before socialism if we don't get somethin' turned around here

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  25. #193
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    Death of Free Speech leads to Fascism

    http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2019/0...cism.html#more

    Freedom of speech is rather important. If people do not feel free to express their thoughts, then all they can do is endlessly repeat what has been said before, creating an echo chamber which no new understandings can ever penetrate. What they repeat may have been a tissue of lies from the outset, or it may have been true or relevant once, but will become outdated and, essentially, as good as a lie.

    Lies beget ignorance. Ignorance begets fear. Fear begets hatred. And hatred begets violence. The ability to speak our minds and to listen to others—even those who are said to be our enemies—is what separates us from wild beasts. Deprive us of this right, and sure as rain we degenerate into subhumans who claw at the ground, howl at the moon and gnaw on raw human flesh… or something like that.

    The practice of free speech is quite a demanding art. Just being able to make intelligible sounds with your mouth or to poke at a keyboard in a way that pleases the spell-checker makes you no more an expert practitioner of free speech than does the ability to get up from your chair and walk to the bathroom make you a ballet dancer. Free speech encompasses the expression of fact and opinion. Facts cannot be fake, or you can stand accused of libel or of spreading disinformation. Opinion cannot be incendiary, or you can stand accused of undermining public order.

    To be on the safe side, free speech should not contain performatives—speech acts that seek to alter the state of the world. Calls to action, unsolicited advice, coercion, intimidation, threats, personal categorizations and the like can all reasonably be banned without hurting the exercise of free speech at all. Demagoguery—attempts to manipulate public sentiment by exploiting popular desires, fears and prejudices—is rather unhelpful, although to some extent unavoidable. Some forms of free speech should be rightfully privileged over the rest: the literary arts (both fiction and nonfiction), cinematography, music, visual and performance arts are at the top; political slogans shouted over swine-toned music at an audience of sloppy drunks are definitely near the bottom.

    The quality of society is directly proportional to the quality of its exercise of free speech, and to assure high quality some form of quality control is usually called for. Governments often have to backstop this need by legislating against certain forms of speech. The older standard against incendiary speech or speech that may cause a panic—shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater—is justified as a matter of public safety. Newer standards against hate speech and discrimination are on shakier ground. They are essentially gag orders that drive the exercise of certain forms of speech underground, thereby making it harder to regulate and more dangerous. The expectation that banning “hate speech” will prevent hatred is unrealistic; nor is the expectation that haters can be compelled to do their hating in silence. Likewise, banning discriminatory speech can only suppress overt expressions of discrimination but not the behavior itself, making it more intractable, since nothing short of a lobotomy can prevent people from discriminating against those they find disagreeable.

    Aside from government-provided backstops (which are blunt, inaccurate instruments) most of what provides for high-quality free speech is self-control and, to the extent that it is needed, self-censorship. Essentially, every negative form of free speech—disinformation, libel, demagoguery, manipulation, incendiary rhetoric, etc.—reduce the level of respect and trust between the speaker and the audience. Taken to an extreme, the concept of free speech itself becomes superfluous as everybody manifests their ignorance while spouting their worthless opinions without bothering to listen to anyone else—because everyone else is equally ignorant and their opinions are equally worthless and meaningless. The only thing that can prevent this backslide into worthlessness and meaninglessness is high standards of social adequacy.

    But how can such high standards persist in a world of trolls and bots, of concocted false narratives endlessly blasted out at full volume, where a thought that is significantly longer than a tweet simply cannot be expressed? How can they be enforced if the modern value system requires tolerance, nondiscrimination and inclusiveness toward all—including the most miserable miscreants—lowering the price of admission to public discourse to zero? Surprisingly, it can, and it does persist: some writers find their readers and some performers find their audiences—somehow. Their numbers aren’t huge, but then, since quality is almost always inversely proportional to quantity, their small numbers don’t matter that much.

    In fact, these numbers are so small that to ascribe any sort of significant agency to those who pay attention, or to those to whom they pay attention. The proper and essential function of free speech is not to somehow remake the world in one’s own image (you should consider yourself lucky if you can bring about a change in yourself, never mind make a difference in your own family or neighborhood). Its function is to keep you sane and grounded and to prevent you from cascading down through lies, ignorance, fear, hatred and violence, eventually degenerating into wild beasts who claw at the ground, howl at the moon and chew on each other…

    The concocted false narratives endlessly blasted out at full volume make such work difficult. The narratives that are designed to generate a misplaced sense of agency are perhaps the most difficult veil to shred. No matter how many times I try to explain that the US is not a democracy and that it doesn’t matter who is president, these facts seem to just bounce off people’s heads. When I try to explain certain facts about technology—for instance, that wind and solar power unfortunately just don’t work and that the countries that pursue them are setting themselves up for economic disaster, but that for all of its dangers nuclear power does seem to have a very important future (although only in certain countries)—in response people demand to know whether or not I am “in favor” of nuclear power.

    What a ridiculous question! That’s like you asking your flush toilet what it thinks of sewage treatment or your office chair whether it is in favor of a sedentary lifestyle. Just like the office chair and the toilet you and I, with respect to nuclear power, are not subjects but objects. If you are reading this, then you are willy-nilly in favor of nuclear power, because if the nuclear reactors were off your screen would be blank and you’d be sitting in the dark with the heat or the air conditioning not working. But that’s a false choice—simply because it isn’t on offer—any more than an office chair or a toilet can decide whether it wishes to be sat on or not.

    And now there is another development that is making the exercise of free speech even more difficult: the phenomenon of “deplatforming.” Various companies, including Twitter, Facebook, PayPal, Patreon and various others, have taken it upon themselves to become arbiters of free speech and interpreters of the First Amendment. Their conceit is that their user base forms a “community” upon which they are entitled to impose “community standards.” In fact, they are privately owned for-profit companies and their clients are individuals or other companies, not communities. They may try to argue that they are publishers of some sort, and publishers are entitled to maintaining an editorial policy, but there is an unbridgeable gap between the editorial process and just typing some text and clicking “publish.” In fact, what they are attempting to do is perhaps best described as vigilante censorship. The most that they are entitled to do is refer their users for prosecution if there is reason to believe that their users have violated specific laws.

    I became aware of this new “deplatforming” menace a couple of months ago, when some of my readers started abandoning Patreon after it deplatformed certain people. Prior to that my readership on Patreon had been growing nicely, but then the growth stalled. I’ll never know—and don’t really care—what was behind these decisions, since I don’t see them as legitimate. Typical parting comments from my readers were:

    “You crossed the line with censorship and I cannot support this company.”

    “I believe in freedom of speech. Censorship is not a virtue. Shame on you.”

    “Patreon should not be a moral arbiter. You are supposed to be a payment platform.”

    “This site cannot be trusted to support free speech.”

    In short, Patreon’s censorship, which it disingenuously called “community standards,” was costing me money, and so I complained:

    “Your editorial policy is costing me money. Since Patreon is just a paywalled blogging platform I don't understand why you should have an editorial policy at all. If you find that your clients are violating state or federal laws you should refer them for prosecution; if not, I honestly do not understand what gives you the reason or the right, or the legal competence, to act as interpreters of the First Amendment.”

    The answer I got back was rather terse: “…we do not disclose any details surrounding creator page removals…” First, that isn’t an answer to my question. Second, it shows a remarkable degree of contempt for any sort of fairness. Secret tribunals that result in “removals,” that are based on vague, private, arbitrary rules, that refuse to disclose the basis of their decisions, that cause financial losses but refuse acknowledge them or to compensate for them… doesn’t that sound just a tiny bit fascist?

    And so I set up a SubscribeStar account where I publish all the same materials as on Patreon, and to which my readers have been gradually migrating. SubscribeStar is not quite as feature-rich as Patreon (yet) and it has been banned by PayPal (not a big loss; my readers seem to hate PayPal) but it does have the advantage of being honest: it is simply a blogging platform integrated with a paywall.

    Meanwhile, the “deplatforming” has only grown worse. Most recently, CNN aired a public denunciation of RT (which it accused of being Russian), and based on this denunciation Facebook saw it fit to ban RT from Soapbox, Waste-Ed, Backthen as well shut down a personal project “In The Now” by the American journalist Anissa Naouai (because she works for RT). These were projects with millions of subscribers and billions of views. CNN’s denunciation was phrased as follows: these projects influence America’s young people! The bloody Russians are at it again, contaminating “our precious bodily fluids”!

    None of this has anything at all to do with Russia, or the Russian government, or Putin personally. RT is government-financed, but so is BBC (which, it has now been admitted, lied about the fake chemical attacks in Syria’s Douma, causing Trump to unleash a volley of cruise missiles on Syria, most of which, luckily, the Syrians managed to shoot down). But while the British may lie as they wish (and provoke war crimes as a result) the Russians aren’t allowed to say anything at all—because they are Russian.

    To understand the rationale behind this bout of Russophobia, it is important to understand that it has nothing to do with “containing Russia” or anything of the sort (that project has already failed). Instead, Russophobia neatly serves the internal political needs of the US and other Western countries. Two trends—the gradual suppression of free speech and the gradual dehumanization of Russians—go hand in hand. Free speech can be suppressed because of “Russian trolls” and election results can be manually rearranged as needed because of “Russian meddling.”

    What makes such measures necessary? The West is experiencing an entire series of crises that is beginning to form the classical pattern defined by Lenin as the revolutionary situation: the elites can no longer rule as before while their subjects can no longer live as before. Western establishment (primarily its Deep State component) is forced to confront this problem. How can it preserve its power and maintain control, all without changing course or even swapping out it deeply unpopular public-facing figureheads? It has decided to deal with this crisis by suppressing the public will. Since such suppression is incompatible with maintaining the fiction of democratic governance, democracy has got to go. That’s where the Russians come in handy: if the voters don’t vote as programmed, then an entire election can be annulled because of “Russian meddling.” “Russian trolls” and Russian “fake news” are helpful too: they offer an excuse for suppressing free speech.

    Having a phantom enemy is very helpful. First, there is nothing like the fear of an external enemy to force people to rally around their ruling elites. Second, since the enemy is a phantom, there is no danger of defeat in an actual war. But there is another danger: in the process of vilifying this phantom enemy, Russians as an ethnos are being progressively dehumanized. And the problem is that dehumanizing the enemy always results in degeneracy—not of the enemy, but of the dehumanizers themselves. Inevitably, it is the dehumanizers who end up running around on all fours, howling at the moon and having each other for dinner. Lies engender ignorance; ignorance engenders fear; fear engenders hatred; hatred engenders violence. At some point a horrific crime against Russians will take place, which will baptize both the Western elites and their Untermenschen in Russian blood, tying them together with bonds of criminal complicity. (This scenario has already been tested out in Eastern Ukraine.)

    Before our eyes the most reactionary and the most chauvinistic and homicidal parts of Western financial elites are transforming Western “democracy” into a model terrorist dictatorship. But it is very hard to see what they could possibly hope to achieve other than the physical destruction of their own populations—if that can be considered an achievement. Perhaps their actual achievement will be in being able to carry out this destruction without having their own populations even notice that it is happening, lost as they are in a world of delusions fashioned out of false narratives endlessly blasted at them at high volume. We should feel lucky that a few voices are still able to pierce through the Bedlam, although we don’t know for how much longer. In the meantime, take a look around. This is what fascism looks like.

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  27. #194
    Administrator Aragorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Chris View Post
    Death of Free Speech leads to Fascism

    http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2019/0...cism.html#more

    [...]

    This is what fascism looks like.
    Although it's a good article, the author does misuse the word "fascism" everywhere in the article that the word appears, including in the article's title. The correct word the author should have been using is "totalitarianism". Fascism is a nationalistic, militaristic and usually totalitarian regime where the powers of government actually rest in the hands of private corporations. As such, fascism is a form of totalitarianism, but all totalitarianism isn't necessarily fascism.

    China is a totalitarian state, but it is not a fascist regime ─ it is pseudo-socialist. The USA is a de facto fascist regime, but it is not (entirely) totalitarian, although the US constitution does leave the door open to totalitarianism by allowing the president to declare a state of emergency without the approval of Congress, thereby completely overruling any and all democratic mechanisms toward governing the country.
    = DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR =

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  29. #195
    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    yeeouch...U.S. current power base is new fascist..but I'm not... well maybe...in the early days of my divorce.
    "We are one thought away from changing the world!"

  30. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to NotAPretender For This Useful Post:

    Aragorn (22nd February 2019), Chris (22nd February 2019), Dreamtimer (22nd February 2019), Elen (22nd February 2019)

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