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Showing posts from February 24, 2019

Mark Blyth - Austerity, Europe and the Euro

Robert Fisk: Israel is playing a big role in India’s escalating conflict with Pakistan

The ever-relevant Fisky on this "anti-Islam" axis.

Some choice cuts:
Two thousand five hundred miles separate the Israeli ministry of defence in Tel Aviv from the Indian ministry of defence in New Delhi, but there’s a reason why the usual cliche-stricken agency dispatches sound so similar. For months, Israel has been assiduously lining itself up alongside India’s nationalist BJP government in an unspoken – and politically dangerous – “anti-Islamist” coalition, an unofficial, unacknowledged alliance, while India itself has now become the largest weapons market for the Israeli arms trade. Not by chance, therefore, has the Indian press just trumpeted the fact that Israeli-made Rafael Spice-2000 “smart bombs” were used by the Indian air force in its strike against Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) “terrorists” inside Pakistan. [...] India was Israel’s largest arms client in 2017, paying £530m for Israeli air defence, radar systems and ammunition, including air-to-ground missiles – most of them t…

Doug Henwood, Modern Monetary Theory Isn't Helping

Click-et-vous. There's been an upsurge in belief that deficits never matter. That's just false. (For background, read up on MMT at Wikipedia. Henwood is a Marxian economist who knows his shit, so worth paying attention to, but here's a rejoinder to Henwood's critique from an MMTer.)

Convincing. If “MMT” really means “anti-austerity/lunacy,” great. I think it means, “We don’t have to have any kind of conflict to fund our programs.” 

One, that won’t happen. If everyone went full MMT, the second there’s inflation, it’ll be blamed on the programs. In general, there will be a near-endless fight forever. That’s human politics; these MMT guys are in la-la land. The right never gives up. Neither do we. Haves vs have-nots; just read Mommsen on Rome. Same shit, different system.

Two, if you really do cause an inflationary spiral out of fanatical rejection of reality, well, you’ve screwed yourself. Tempting to leap at it, politically, in the short term but that should be resisted.


A Climate Sociologist Explains the Green New Deal

Aaron Maté On Trump's Relationship With Russia

First sane, rational, reasonable debate/discussion on this issue I've seen on the left. There aren't many of those on any topic, sadly.

MediaLens on Bregman/Carlson interview: "We Don't Do Propaganda"

MediaLens uses this great interchange (see it here) as an example of the really-existing propaganda system, not the idiotic "it's all fake news" version nor the "I trust everything the WaPo and NYT tell me because Daddy read it" reaction.

See, it's, like, more complex, and shit. Sort of what you tell your kids if you ever catch them not doing something to increase their future status and/or earning potential: you actually have to put in "effort." You have to "learn" how the system works, and then, even worse, you have to "think" and "use judgment" when you read any source.

Any. Including this MediaLens article. Yes, every single time.

Critical fuck thinking is what it's called. Try it, you'll like it, after you give up the crack of your self-inflicted, endlessly self-congratulating and -aggrandizing echo-chamber-of-mirrors (to mix a metaphor even within a hyphenated string!).

You: "But I had so much fun o…

Specter of Fascism: Cohen Says Trump Won’t Leave Peacefully in 2020

It's not just Cohen: Trump's warned about this constantly, with his lies about election results, his threats that if anyone tried to remove him, there would be violence. Pure fascist bullying, and I would not be surprised if a small but still numerically large percentage of worshipers of the Dear Leader would demonstrate, heavily armed.

We will have to call this bluff, most likely. What can you do? General strike--if Trump loses in 2020 or is impeached and convicted and won't leave, shut the motherfucking country down till he goes. That's the nonviolent way, and better than having the military remove him. And they probably won't.

FYI: Nuclear Nightmare: Fallout from an India-Pakistan War

"Author Richard Rhodes presents a simulation of the potential climate impacts of an India-Pakistan nuclear exchange. The immediate destruction, he says, would kill 20 million -- followed by another billion from failed crops in the aftermath."

As India and Pakistan Issue Veiled Nuclear Threats, New Ceasefire Urged to Defuse Kashmir Conflict

No big deal.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ:Tension is continuing to escalate between the nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan. Pakistan is claiming it has shot down two Indian military jets and captured a pair of Indian jet pilots. Meanwhile, India says it has foiled an attempt by Pakistan to bomb military installations inside of India. This comes a day after India carried out airstrikes inside Pakistan for the first time since 1971. India alleges it was targeting a camp of the militant separatist group Jaish-e-Mohammed, which claimed responsibility for a recent attack in the Indian-administered region of Kashmir that killed more than 40 Indian soldiers. India accused Pakistan of being directly involved in plotting the February 14th bombing; Pakistan, however, denies the claim.
AMYGOODMAN: Meanwhile, there are reports that Pakistani and Indian ground forces have exchanged gunfire in more than a dozen locations. India has also reportedly conducted four ground raids on Kashmiri separatist leaders. Ear…

What Does Venezuela Tell Us About Socialism in the USA? - with Paul Jay

Here's what it tells us: nothing, really. Or rather, that investment in people pay off. Yeah, it could tell us that.

Here's a better question: what does Scandinavia tell us about socialism in the USA?

Investigating Venezuela's 'humanitarian crisis': Max Blumenthal tours a supermarket in Caracas

Not that there's no problem in Venezuela--or here, for that matter. It'd be nice to know what kind of neighborhood this was in, too, but the point here is that it sure don't look like some Road Warrior hellscape. Of course this is an upscale market--you can see the differences in the US in your own town, if you like. Doubt this is entirely Potemkin-groceries, though.

Oh, and have a look-see into the US sanctions. It's great: a slightly or not leftwing government starts to move the state toward helping people and the US cracks down, "makes the economy scream," says, "Holy shit, told you--look how bad Totalitarian Socialism is!" and thus disciplines its two main enemies--the not-entirely-spread-open economy trying to, like, do some corruption for the good and, perhaps most crucially, the domestic US population.

Max is funny in this but not as funny as The Adults in the Room who know nothing of the realities of the world, think themselves immune from b…

The Coup in Venezuela, Explained

It's not the main reason for this postmodern coup, but the right here and abroad will be riding this "socialism ruined Venezuela" against any hint of social democracy or really anything that isn't neoliberal suicide. You see it already; some examples run through at the beginning of this.

Thing is, that idiocy--something pretty much on the epistemological order of the kind of racist xenophobia that undergirds our current "national emergency"--has been embraced by the oh-so-liberal, Ivy League latte-sippers.

Of course!

By the way, this might have something to do with US support for the opposition.

And for what it's worth--and you don't see this kind of in-depth interview in the media, much, do you?--here's the foreign minister of Venezuela (the real one) in a series of interviews over the past month. Yes, he's biased. No shit.

The “Permanent War State” Aims to Plunder Venezuela - Wilkerson and Jay

On Contact: Climate emergency with Dahr Jamail

This is pretty much what the deal is, and it ain't good. I honestly know maybe ten people who both know this and accept it. Most of my friends are in some form of denial or another--while bashing the Trump denialists. Of course.

The blurb:

The glaciers in Alaska alone are losing an estimated 75 billion tons of ice every year. The oceans, which absorb over 90 percent of the excess heat trapped by greenhouses gases in the atmosphere, are warming and acidifying, melting the polar ice caps and resulting in rising sea levels and oxygen-starved ocean dead zones. We await a 50-gigaton burp, or “pulse,” of methane from thawing Arctic permafrost beneath the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, which will release about 2/3 of the total carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial era. Some 150 to 200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal are going extinct every 24 hours, 1000 times the “natural” or “background” rate. This pace of extinction is greater than an…

Noam Chomsky - History of US Rule in Latin America (2009)

The historical background and general US policy hasn't changed in the past ten years. Keep this in mind when you're watching the Venezuela crisis unfold.

What's really happening in Venezuela? Reporting on coup attempt from inside Caracas w/ Diego Sequera

Here's an hour from a different point of view--Max Blumenthal, Ben Norton, and a Venezuelan reporter who strikes me as pretty smart.

Now, even though they're generally on "my side," Max and Ben sometimes mirror the position-rigidity of their adversaries. It's tempting to counter total, simplistic bullshit with simplified reality, but it should be avoided.

Here's Abby Martin talking to Alfred De Zayas, who was, like, the actual UN rapporteur sent to Venezuela recently to see what was going on--before this latest crisis.

Try to find reporting on what he found. Here's the report, by the way.

Here's De Zayas taking part in a France24 debate: