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16 September 2016


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it seems likely to me. pl


LA Sox Fan,

There is something revealing about Russia's stance towards "modernity" in Hitchens' piece, in the description of the monastery that was confiscated by the Bolsheviks and turned into "the Museum of Female Emancipation." I tend to flinch when I hear the word "liberation"--to me and people who come from the same background as I do, "liberation" has a sinister connotation associated with communism. No doubt the same is true with the Russians, who saw their cultural heritage smashed, often literally, in the name of godless "progress." At least the Bolsheviks promised bread, to go with "progress." The West is offering a return to serfdom to go with this "progress" that looks suspiciously like the old (maybe the new serfdom is different, or not--the original serfdom came about because of markets and globalization too--Eastern European aristocrats and landowners doubled down on serfs since they could now export grain to Western Europe, thanks to advances in shipbuilding technology...and crow about how great and enlightened they are because they are importing Voltaire.)


And the predictable UN intervention. See https://twitter.com/Charles_Lister/status/776821919895068673

So Assad is winning, and we have a one-sided "ceasefire" and now a UN finding that he used poison gas inexplicably last week.

Putin has the patience of Job.


What it costs the government to support seniors in their dotage is a pittance compared to what it tosses into the black box of DOD every year. In fact the supports for corporations from Exxon to Apple, from Tesla to GE would easily float Social Security in a much brighter future than the one it faces.

A State that refuses to care for its population won't stay one indefinitely.


While trading paper for real goods and services may be very beneficial in the short to medium term you don't need a reserve currency to do that. All you need are your vendors to accept your paper.

Having the reserve currency is not necessarily an unalloyed good.



The primary reason the dollar is the reserve currency is that dollar instruments have the most market depth relative to others. In any case any producer of goods and services can set whatever terms of trade they want. The Russians can choose to trade their nickel in Swiss Francs if they want or coconuts. Everything have pros and cons.

Reserve currency imperative is another of those Internet conspiracy theories.

You are right however that systemic leverage is growing in the US. And that increasing leverage is not increasing productivity. But leverage is also growing at a more insane rate in Japan and China. Since the IYI have convinced the pols (not that they needed any convincing) that there is a free lunch when central banks "buy" assets including government debt we'll see more of it until confidence wanes and psychology changes.

Keith Harbaugh

"At root the Borgist problem with Russia seems to me to be
a threat to the self-image of the American Borg
(the foreign policy establishment both left and right)."

Well, might I intrude on your psychoanalyzing with a few facts?

I spent the years from September 1967 to January 1973
(preceded by a USAR commission in June 1967 and followed by EAD, IOBC 73-2, and EW/Crypto Basic at USASATC&S at Fort Devens)
as a graduate student in mathematics at Brandeis University.
How different was Brandeis from my undergraduate university, Rice?
At Rice the USA was good, the establishment was good, and the US Army was fighting a war against Communist aggression in SE Asia to save the Vietnamese from Communist tyranny and godlessness.

As to what the campus ambiance at Brandeis was like,
two writers at the Washington Post really capture that whole ambiance:
Dana Milbank and Petula Dvorak.
Reading them is like being back at Brandeis, reading The Justice or viewing what was posted on the bulletin boards.
Milbank captures the sense of humor, irony, and detachment there.
(His writing is somewhat reminiscent of that in one of the most discussed books at Brandeis of that time, Portnoy's Complaint.)
Dvorak captures the dyspeptic desire to dredge up grievances,
part and parcel of the agenda of such groups as the SDS and the Weathermen.
The SDS was a very strong presence on campus; it had been totally absent at Rice.
And it wasn't merely "the system" and "the establishment" which needed to be smashed, in the words of some;
it was more specifically "the WASP establishment".
(Something worth noting when you consider how WASPs have been purged from the Supreme Court and the upper ranks of the Fed.)

I was amazed at the encouragement the Brandeis Jews gave to homosexuality and what they called "gender-bending". That seemed to be really cool to them.
In fact, almost anything that was "counter-cultural" was wonderful.
Another popular book there was Steal This Book by Abbie Hoffman.

And as to the US Army?
As I said, at Rice the Army was regarded as virtuous and noble in advancing democracy and freedom in Vietnam;
at Brandeis the US Army were "babykillers".
The misdeeds and war crimes of a few bad apples were considered to be emblematic of the whole US Army.
On the other hand, the Israeli Army (this was just after the 6-Day War of June 1967) were heroes.

Anyhow, what does this have to do with attitudes towards Russia?
Well, a running theme in the campus newspaper was articles written by students talking about their ancestors who had lived in "the Pale".
There was much talk about how virtuous their ancestors had been,
and how sorely they had been persecuted by the Russian authorities of the time.
There was much talk of "shetls" and Cossack raiding parties.
There was a real sense of grievance against the Russians,
who they felt had suppressed and repressed their ancestors.
And indeed today, is it not true that the vast majority of the Oligarchs were Jewish,
and that one of Putin's thrusts has been their suppression?

Nowhere else in my experience have I seen such intense antipathy towards "Old Russia" (versus the USSR) as at Brandeis.
Nor such a desire to "smash the (WASP) establishment".

In general, I know something of the fears, goals, interests (heavily into medicine, finance, and education), methods, and abilities (I taught Honors Calculus for two and a half years) of the Jews, at least those who were at Brandeis.
When the editorial page of the Washington Post argues for policies which uncannily track those fears, goals, and interests,
in foreign, economic, and social policy,
while they work against the broader American interest,
do you think that is a pure coincidence?


Keith Hatbaugh. Analyzing the cultural roots of group attitudes is "psychoanalysis?" Well, my freind, I think think our group attitudes have deep roots in the diseased culture of Puritan New England. I think our group attitudes are our own problems. The "Chews" are IMO recent comers who have exploited the existing game. BTW my five direct and one collateral Mayflower ancestors set sail for Virginia today in 1620. They were not as bad in intolerance and small mindedness as the Massachusetts Bay Puritans who came ten years later. Ah, I remember you are a fervent defender of those who created "America's home town." I guess i am a self-hating Yankee. pl


It seems obvious to me that the Russians knew what they were doing in agreeing to another cease-fire in Syria. They'd been through all that before in the last cease-fire. But I don't see much discussion of their plan. They are hardly being forced.

I'd presumed that Putin's idea was to extract the locations of "moderate" rebels, in order to separate them from the "terrorist" al-Nusra, who could be bombed. However the US is not revealing the locations.

What else, for Russian objectives?

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

If Russia and China managed to break the Anglo-American stranglehold on international finance, they'd be doing not only the world but the West itself a big favor. Wall Street and The City have amassed far too much political power than is good for anyone, including themselves.

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

From some direct experience with people in the US military back in the 80s when the USSR was still a thing, I distinctly remember that a lot of what drove the ferocious Russophobia was the idea that the US somehow fought on the wrong side in WW2 and that history went all wrong when the USSR beat Germany (getting by with a little help from its friends, mind you) and that Roosevelt and Truman somehow betrayed Western Civilization at Yalta.
Without getting into the weeds on the postwar carve-up of Germany, I really sensed a weird acceptance of wartime German propaganda about asiatic bolshevik hordes raping Europe. Naturally, the same people indulged in the mental gymnastics that allowed them to simultaneously be enthusiastic supporters of the most right wing elements of the Isreali project.

On top of this, people like Brzezinski practically invented "neo-conservatism" - Someone who doesnt seem to have accepted that the Polish-Lithuanian Empire is a thing of the past.

People who want to use the current crop of 22 year olds to fight over wrongs done to people two or three (or 300) generations back was supposed to be a European failure that America was quite above. But here we are, being subjected to a barrage of belligerent propaganda by people who want Americans to fight over the sins of the Russian Empire of 1855. I don't envy young people today.

The Beaver

@ Matthew
based on An international inquiry has identified two Syrian Air Force helicopter squadrons and two other military units it holds responsible for chlorine gas attacks on civilians, a Western diplomat told Reuters.

The finding by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the global chemical weapons watchdog, is based on Western and regional intelligence, the diplomat said.

"It was the 22nd Division, the 63rd Brigade and the 255 and 253 squadrons of the Syrian government," the envoy said.

western intel: who the French again, like in 2013 in East Ghouta?
The Brits are busy in Yemen , thus it is either the US or the French


Stephen Cohen asked a DC insider why was the US was being so hostile to Russia. His source said it was due to Germany. There is apparently a real fear in the borg that Russia and Germany were entering into an economic alliance that would exclude US interests. Putin's goal of a common economic zone from Vladivostok to Lisbon, as he so tactlessly put it, caused some real concern in Washington. Redefining NATO as anti-Russian is seen as a mechanism to drive a wedge between Russia and Europe and keep Germany in line.

So what does the US do -- drive China and Russia into a political, economic and military alliance. This makes absolutely no sense.



The video cited by Will above is too interesting if shot at Al-Rai of a convoy of technicals and 2 tanks in support of Turkey’s invasion of Syria. To my very out of date eye the convoy is a mélange of westerners, military contractors, forward air controllers and Russian tanks. No military I know would have put that collection together in one place. If working T-72s, they had to be from somewhere like Libya and refurbished by somebody with lots of money; like the CIA.

This is a new world order global war. 100% propaganda. Not fought with a sovereign nation’s conscript army but by proxy forces, military contractors and bombers. Not to win but to remain the hegemon plus rake in war profits. Damn the consequences.


I think this hostility to "the Russians" goes well beyond just Clinton, and not just (knowing) propaganda either. At least among many of the people whom I associate with professionally, there is an underlying belief that Russians will see the world as they do if only they were not being lied to by Putin or whoever is telling them lies (sic). Of course, many of these same people believe that most Americans will agree with them if only they weren't being told lies by whoever is their enemy of choice (that's the charitable half) or that the Americans who don't agree with them are incorrigibly either (Note that I'm talking about both the right and the left.)

Some time in the past, I used to date a girl from Siauliai, who came of age there in the last days of the Lithuanian SSR. She had a rather more complex and nuanced view of the Russians (although much less of the Poles, which I found amusing) than the Lithuanian-Americans I knew. I had initially found this very confusing, but eventually very enlightening about how to think about the world from different perspectives.



"Three workers now support every social security recipient."

What's the subsidy rate for college professor's and administrators who are going to be the beneficiary of the "free tuition" (since it passes right from students to universities with a few folks taking their share of the graft) that the left is proposing?


"This self-image is born of our fantasy political construct of the Exceptional City on the Hill."
May I respectfully disagree with the suggestion that the US "deciders" are some fervent idealists. - No, they are just banal thieves. Hence the visceral hatred towards Russian federation which had a temerity to slow down the planned looting of the Middle East and which refuses to being gang-raped by all kinds of foreign profiteers. The deciders for US (NATO) actions and for MSM drivel are scoundrels, thieves. What is the price for Chelsea Clinton' new apartment in Manhattan - in the millions? This is what plutocracy is fighting for: for having servants and comforts by any means. All these Libyans and Syrians are important only because of their wealth that is either already stolen (like the enormous gold & silver reserve in Libya) or is waiting to be stolen (like Syria's natural resources). What the new technology allowed the world to observe is that Western "deciders" are not able to hide and refuse their psychopathic tendencies, that is, the deciders' natural leaning to steal and murder for personal benefit, all the laws - domestic and international - be damned.

michael brenner

Jerry Rubin wrote and promoted "Steal This Book" - not Abby Hoffmann. You have to be a Russian Jew who carries the cultural DNA of his Cossack-hating forebears to appreciate the difference.


fred, liza

i have been under the impression that SS unlike medicare has been self-supporting. pl


I wrote of US attitudes. pl


Yes, there a lot of primitives. that is why I sought shelter in the Green Berets and MI.

ex-PFC Chuck

It’s amusing, if sad, to consider that the flag-waving right, which exalts Churchill, blames the partitioning of Europe primarily on FDR at Yalta in early 1945 when in fact the acknowledgment of the separate spheres of influence were agreed upon between Churchill and Stalin during the former’s visit to Moscow in the fall of 1944.

ex-PFC Chuck

The Borgistas are singularly incapable of thinking even one step ahead regarding the likely consequences of their actions.

michael brenner

The 1960s seems to bulk large in the minds of many - more as myth than as fact. Keith Harbaugh reflects this in his reminiscence of the trauma experienced in moving from Houston to Waltham. A certain corrective is in order. I offer these observations as someone who was in Berkeley from 1964 (FSM) until 1969 and at Cornell until 1972 - the heyday of the counter-culture.

1. The phenomenon was at once cultural and political. The former was by far more widespread and enduring. Political radicalism stemmed from Vietnam and the racial crisis. The rest of the revolutionary imagery and rhetoric was little more than a fringe activity and primarily verbal. A lot of noise signifying not a hell of lot. Look at what's happening in the ensuring 45 years - a veritable counter-revolution pulling us back to the 1920s with virtually no resistance.

2. Ruben, Hoffmann et al notwithstanding, it was not mainly a Jewish phenomenon. Jewish faculty in particular led its denunciation. Sex - the core of the movement - was an equal opportunity avocation.

3. During the period of 1965-1972, WASPs did not disappear from view. At both Berkeley and Cornell, all senior university positions were held by WASPs - as were governorships. In addition, the college life style associated with WASPS and predominant at places like Rice went on: fraternities and sororities, binge drinking, rape of young women at frat houses, homecoming football rallies, etc etc.

4. Today's university campuses are more like the 1950s than 1965-1972 - except in regard to sex, thank heaven. Here in Austin (supposedly liberal, cosmopolitan), all of the above noted activities are thriving. Politically, no one protests our mindless wars, no one protests the gutting of the Bill of Rights, no one protests the rise of a plutocracy led by predatory finance, no one protests the administration's kow-towing to Texas' dominant radical right. Only identity issues stir a modicum of student interest.

A Rice alum circa 1968 would feel right at home.


"self-hating Yankee"
hey! I like that... I could be that. & a self-hating redneck too!
everyone is so into characterizing the base motivations of the other these days...
I guess it beats self-honesty.

in contemplating American culture that can't / won't move on, let's not overlook Protestant Evangelicals of the fundamentalist / Dominionist type. They see themselves saved (& thus elected) to bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth. they're at least as insufferable as any bunch hell-bent on perfecting society, but with the bonus of having God on their side. that's always fun.

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