The Little Duck Wants To Lie Down

Mrs. Dinh Nhu Ngo firing .38 pistol.

 

Chapter 11.
The Huxleyan Warning

There are two ways by which the spirit of a culture may be shriveled. In the first—the Orwellian—culture becomes a prison. In the second—the Huxleyan—culture becomes a burlesque.

No one needs to be reminded that our world is now marred by many prison-cultures whose structure Orwell described accurately in his parables. If one were to read both 1984 and Animal Farm, and then for good measure, Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, one would have a fairly precise blueprint of the machinery of thought-control as it currently operates in scores of countries and on millions of people. Of course, Orwell was not the first to teach us about the spiritual devastations of tyranny. What is irreplaceable about his work is his insistence that it makes little difference if our wardens are inspired by right- or left-wing ideologies. The gates of the prison are equally impenetrable, surveillance equally rigorous, icon-worship equally pervasive.

What Huxley teaches is that in the age of advanced technology, spiritual devastation is more likely to come from an enemy with a smiling face than from one whose countenance exudes suspicion and hate. In the Huxleyan prophecy, Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours. There is no need for wardens or gates or Ministries of Truth. When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.

In America, Orwell’s prophecies are of small relevance, but Huxley’s are well under way toward being realized. For America is engaged in the world’s most ambitious experiment to accommodate itself to the technological distractions made possible by the electric plug. This is an experiment that began slowly and modestly in the mid-nineteenth century and has now, in the latter half of the twentieth, reached a perverse maturity in America’s consuming love-affair with television. As nowhere else in the world, Americans have moved far and fast in bringing to a close the age of the slow-moving printed word, and have granted to television sovereignty over all of their institutions. By ushering in the Age of Television, America has given the world the clearest available glimpse of the Huxleyan future.

Those who speak about this matter must often raise their voices to a near-hysterical pitch, inviting the charge that they are everything from wimps to public nuisances to Jeremiahs. But they do so because what they want others to see appears benign, when it is not invisible altogether. An Orwellian world is much easier to recognize, and to oppose, than a Huxleyan. Everything in our background has prepared us to know and resist a prison when the gates begin to close around us. We are not likely, for example, to be indifferent to the voices of the Sakharovs and the Timmermans and the Walesas. We take arms against such a sea of troubles, buttressed by the spirit of Milton, Bacon, Voltaire, Goethe and Jefferson. But what if there are no cries of anguish to be heard? Who is prepared to take arms against a sea of amusements? To whom do we complain, and when, and in what tone of voice, when serious discourse dissolves into giggles? What is the antidote to a culture’s being drained by laughter?

I fear that our philosophers have given us no guidance in this matter. Their warnings have customarily been directed against those consciously formulated ideologies that appeal to the worst tendencies in human nature. But what is happening in America is not the design of an articulated ideology. No Mein Kampf or Communist Manifesto announced its coming. It comes as the unintended consequence of a dramatic change in our modes of public conversation. But it is an ideology nonetheless, for it imposes a way of life, a set of relations among people and ideas, about which there has been no consensus, no discussion and no opposition. Only compliance. Public consciousness has not vet assimilated the point that technology is ideology. This, in spite of the fact that before our very eyes technology has altered every aspect of life in America during the past eighty years. For example, it would have been excusable in 1905 for us to be unprepared for the cultural changes the automobile would bring. Who could have suspected then that the automobile would tell us how we were to conduct our social and sexual lives? Would reorient our ideas about what to do with our forests and cities? Would create new ways of expressing our personal identity and social standing?

But it is much later in the game now, and ignorance of the score is inexcusable. To be unaware that a technology comes equipped with a program for social change, to maintain that technology is neutral, to make the assumption that technology is always a friend to culture is, at this late hour, stupidity plain and simple. Moreover, we have seen enough by now to know that technological changes in our modes of communication are even more ideology-laden than changes in our modes of transportation. Introduce the alphabet to a culture and you change its cognitive habits, its social relations, its notions of community, history and religion. Introduce the printing press with movable type, and you do the same. Introduce speed-of-light transmission of images and you make a cultural revolution. Without a vote. Without polemics. Without guerrilla resistance. Here is ideology, pure if not serene. Here is ideology without words, and all the more powerful for their absence. All that is required to make it stick is a population that devoutly believes in the inevitability of progress. And in this sense, all Americans are Marxists, for we believe nothing if not that history is moving us toward some preordained paradise and that technology is the force behind that movement…

– Neil Postman
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business Paperback (1985)

 

The Little Duck Wants To Lie Down

 

VIETNAM WAR: NEW KEN BURNS DOCUMENTARY DISMISSES THE ORIGINS OF THE FUTILE, DISASTROUS CONFLICT
BY JEFF STEIN
Sept. 17th, 2017

 

Anticipating the Forthcoming PBS Documentary, ‘The Vietnam War’
by Camillo Mac Bica
July 20, 2017

 

The CIA Runs Everything for You Know Who

Yes Congress, Afghanistan is Your Vietnam
Does any member have the courage and vision to take responsibility?
By ANDREW J. BACEVICH • August 11, 2017

 

Bring Me the Head of Jeff Bezos

 

Absolutely hilarious. I can’t stop reading this guy. Is he serious? Some of what he says might actually be true. Which is, well…really disturbing.
Jeff Bezos looks like another CIA Front

 

…in case you are easily amused, like me, and want more…
http://mileswmathis.com/updates.html

 

 

You can always count on The Economist to keep you up-to-date with knowledge:

Electric cars
The death of the internal combustion engine
It had a good run. But the end is in sight for the machine that changed the world

 

Saudi Arabia Is Trying to Remake the Middle East In Its Image
No country has done more to spread radical Islam than Saudi Arabia.
By MICHAEL HORTON • August 8, 2017

In 1744, Muhammad ibn Saud made a Faustian bargain with Muhammad Abd al-Wahhab: al-Wahhab would back al-Saud in his battle for supremacy if he pledged allegiance to al-Wahhab’s puritanical vision of Islam. This interpretation of Islam, which differs little from the militant Salafi beliefs that inform the Islamic State’s and al-Qaeda’s understanding of Islam (the Islamic State uses Saudi produced textbooks in its schools), became known as Wahhabism.

The Saudis, who are not descended from the Prophet and have no particular claim to rule even in their territorial heartland of Najd, relied on the clerics of the al-Wahhab family for religious legitimacy. The bargain struck in 1744 held fast. In 1926, Ibn Saud took over the Hejaz and in 1932 the country of Saudi Arabia was created. Ibn Saud’s conquest of most of the Arabian Peninsula would not have happened without the support of the fanatical warriors (the Ikhwan) who, more than anything else, fought to purge the peninsula of what they deemed to be heretical beliefs and practices.

 

 

 

Wow. This is good. I like this guy. How can you not? Everything is a conspiracy. Everything. I bet his own mother is a CIA project. Definitely makes you think. Y’all are gonna wanna read this

The BRAVE NEW WORLD of Stephen Hawking
by Miles Mathis
November 21, 2011

“Controlling majorities has never helped these fascists, although they are obsessed with controlling majorities. No, the problem is they can’t control themselves, and they always overreach. As the last example, we can look at the Nazis, who had the war won but decided they needed to attack Russia as well. The German people didn’t restrain the Nazis, the Nazis destroyed themselves. The same could be said of Stalin and the later Communists. They overreached and collapsed. Like the Nazis, they wanted world domination and couldn’t manage it. And we see the same thing happening now. The rich here in the US were already raking it in in the 1990’s under Clinton, but that wasn’t enough. They already had a bloated CIA and military, the world was already dotted with our bases, but it wasn’t enough. The banks were already stealing freely from the people, but it wasn’t enough. The CIA had already been running the media since the 1950’s, but it wasn’t enough. The success just made them hungry for more. So they repealed Glass-Steagall and all other regulations, pulled 9/11, started wars in a dozen places, dismantled the Constitution, and installed the new police state. All I can say is, IS IT WORKING? Have they created a successful system of control and theft, one that is self-perpetuating so that their children can steal as easily as they have? No. They are killing the host. You can’t tax or steal from people that are huddling in concentration camps or living off welfare. You can’t loan money to people who are in jail.

So while their subsistence base diminishes, their appetite does not. They don’t know when to stop. Like junkies, they keep going until they hit the wall. What wall is that? I don’t know. Could be Russia or China or both, could be financial meltdown, could be a military coup, could be class warfare between the rich and superrich, could be Mother Earth biting back. All we know is that “the mighty will fall.” They always do. There are no masters of the universe in this part of the galaxy.”

“You live in a morally compromised system. You’re already fucked.”

“Bolshevik freedom” – Polish propaganda poster with nude caricature of Leon Trotsky

07.21.2017

 

Almost nobody that writes about these things understands how this stuff works. The people that understand what is happening don’t talk about it. Sandi Arabia is the most awful government and system in the world with the exception of North Korea, which can’t really be considered part of the planet most days.

The United States has the “relationship” it does with Sandi Arabia for one reason only – that is where the remaining oil will be in the future. There and Russia and Iraq and Iran. This is why everything that happens between any countries that matter happens the way it does.

We are not “friends” with Sandi Arabia. They are not our “allies.” No matter what anybody may say or write. We let them do anything they want. We sell them all the weapons they want. They can do anything they want with their oil most of the time. We can get ours other places. For now. They can have a pointless, stupid war in Yemen for no reason and NOBOBY – not Hillary Clinton, or Samantha Power, or fucking Bernie Sanders – will say anything. Because, well just because – Iran. All you have to do is mumble something about Iran and terrorists. Nobody has any idea that we are running out of oil.

There is only one reality in this “relationship.” The United States has Sandi Arabia completely surrounded with bases, aircraft carriers with F-18 Super-Hornets, and thousands of combat-hardened special operations troops that could take over Riyadh and Ras Tanura in about an hour.

Nobody has to say anything. This is well understood in Washington and Riyadh. It is an awkward truth. The Ruling House of Sand serves at Washington’s discretion.

There is no reason for Sandi Arabia and Iran not to get along. A visitor from Mars just looking at the stats on paper would assume that we would be closely allied with Iran in the region and trying to foment regime-change in Sandi Arabia. Believe that. The actual reality is absurd. Israel and the United States would rather this extreme tension exist – so the conflict is kept alive.

The relationship is only embarrassing if you fail to understand or won’t admit that The American Empire is dependent on our controlling where the oil comes from and who gets it in the future.

Michael Brendan Dougherty doesn’t get that. Because Elon Musk is going to make America great again or something. It never ends.

Our Relationship with Saudi Arabia Is an Embarrassment
by MICHAEL BRENDAN DOUGHERTY
July 20, 2017

 

Fracking Around with the Russians
What will those rascals in Moscow do next?
PHILIP GIRALDI • JULY 18, 2017 • 1,400 WORDS

 

Trump Ends Syrian Regime Change Campaign
Neocons and liberals howl
by Justin Raimondo Posted on July 21, 2017

 

Retirement, Brought to You by Prisons, Inc.
Future pensioners of the world, unite!

“You live in a morally compromised system. You’re already fucked.”

 

Boomerangski
Clusterfuck Nation
by Jim Kunstler

How come the Clintons have not been asked to explain why — as reported on The Hill blog — Bill Clinton was paid half a million dollars to give speech in Russia (surely he offered them something of value in exchange, pending the sure thing Hillary inaugural), or what about the $2.35 million “contribution” that the Clinton Foundation received after Secretary of State Hillary allowed the Russians to buy a controlling stake in the Uranium One company, which owns 20 percent of US uranium supplies, with mines and refineries in Wyoming, Utah, and other states, as well as assets in Kazakhstan, the world’s largest uranium producer? Incidentally, the Clinton Foundation did not “shut down,” as erroneously reported early this year. It was only its Global Initiative program that got shuttered. The $2.35 million is probably still rattling around in the Clinton Foundation’s bank account. Don’t you kind of wonder what they did with it? I hope Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller wants to know.

 

Fun with Slavery
Dark Spots in a Shining Sea of Twaddle
FRED REED • JULY 13, 2017 • 1,500 WORDS

 

Trump Ends CIA Program to Arm Syrian Rebels
Program Had Been Frozen Back in February
Jason Ditz
July 19, 2017

 

Anticipating the Forthcoming PBS Documentary, ‘The Vietnam War’
by Camillo Mac Bica
July 20, 2017

In truth, South Vietnam was an illegal construct made possible by the intervention of the United States in violation of the provisions of the Geneva Accords that forbade foreign intervention during the interim period of national reconciliation following the defeat of the American funded French colonialists at Dien Bien Phu and required a democratic election to unite all of Vietnam within two years – an election that was prevented from occurring by Saigon’s puppet regime and its U.S. overlords for fear that Ho Chi Minh would emerge victorious. Consequently, rather than to describe the North Vietnamese as “overrunning” an “ill-fated independent country,” it would be more historically accurate, not merely a different perspective, to describe the end of hostilities as the liberation of the occupied south.

 

Mayweather is expected to earn at least $100 million, increasing up to four times that amount if the event achieves all of its metrics. McGregor is expected to earn $75 million, but both men signed NDA’s barring them from publicly communicating the financial details. -wikipedia

Cinco de Mayo

Mexican Drug Smugglers to Trump: Thanks!

 

 

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Tests Come to YouTube

 

Going Off the Rails?
Trump risks a big backlash if he reneges on his campaign promises.
By WILLIAM S. LIND • May 4, 2017

Another theory is that the White House has determined that the so-called deep state makes any real policy change impossible. All the Trump people think they can do is try to expose the deep state in a long-term effort to delegitimize it. If this is true, there are some facts behind it. The deep state—a conglomeration of federal employees, contractors, business allies on Wall Street, and essentially anyone who benefits from the status quo—is powerful in both foreign and defense policy circles. To talk about military reform is to threaten the single largest honey pot on earth. The status quo in foreign policy—which is to say a quest for world hegemony, for Jacobin ideas of democracy and “human rights”—has tremendous ideological backing within the State Department and much of the rest of the government, the media, and academia. Even for a president who enjoys saying, “You’re fired,” these are hard nuts to crack.

 

Still Chasing the Wrong Rainbows
What historian William Appleman Williams taught us about foreign policy and the good society.
By ANDREW J. BACEVICH • May 4, 2017

Yet Trump’s first hundred days in residence there offer precious little evidence that he will deliver on that promise. Neither he nor anyone else in the Republican leadership has demonstrated the requisite competence or political savvy. Furthermore, nothing that Trump has said or done since taking office suggests that he possesses the capacity or even the inclination to articulate a unifying conception of a common good. The real, although unarticulated slogan of his presidency, is one that looks to “Deepen American Divisions,” with members of the fiercely anti-Trump Left, his ironic collaborators. On all sides, resentment grows.

Meanwhile, to judge by Trump’s one-and-done missile attack on Syria and the fatuous deployment of the “Mother of All Bombs” in Afghanistan, our president’s approach to statecraft makes Lyndon Johnson look circumspect by comparison. Trump assured his supporters that he was going to break the hold of the foreign-policy establishment. In fact, he has embraced the establishment’s penchant for “using our power for whatever we happen at the moment to want, or against whatever at the moment we do not like.” U.S. national-security policy has become monumentally incoherent, with the man in charge apparently doing whatever his gut or his latest visitor at Mar-a-Lago tells him to do.

 

Facing Aurora
ISRAEL SHAMIR • MAY 3, 2017 • 2,700 WORDS

Paradoxically, the Western workers had been the greatest beneficiaries of the Russian Revolution. The Western owner class had been scared by the Russian communists and afterwards behaved rather nicely. It shared its profits with its workers. Your life has been good because the naval guns of the Aurora threatened your One Per cent. In 1991, the communists were defeated through the treason of their leaders. And since then, the victorious Western owners have gone into full-scale Reconquista. They took away all the achievements of the workers, and created this new world of immense wealth for a few and growing misery for the rest.

 

Stupid Fuck

03.28.2017

 

The Russia You’ll Never See On Postcards Through The Lens Of Photographer Alexander Petrosyan

 

China’s Great Leap Forward: Western Frogs Croak Dismay
JAMES PETRAS • MARCH 23, 2017 • 1,600 WORDS

-Chinese workers are closing the gap with the US minimum wage. At the current rate of growth, the gap, which had narrowed from one tenth to one half the US wage in ten years, will disappear in the near future.

-Faced with growing US political and military hostility, China has diversified its export market, turning from the US to Russia, the EU, Asia, Latin America and Africa.

-The Chinese government is alone among nations in keeping up with and even exceeding its growing transportation needs – spending $800 billion a year on high speed railroads, rail lines, sea- ports, airports subways and bridges.

-Unlike China, the US is wallowing at less than 2% annual growth. Wages stagnate for decades; real wages and living standards decline. The costs of education and health care skyrocket, while the quality of these vital services decline dramatically. Costs are growing, un-employment is growing and worker suicide and mortality is growing.

 

[Dean Baker predicted the crash of the United States housing bubble, which occurred in 2007–08. He warned about the coming crisis and the related government policies in several media interviews from 2002 to 2005. Basing his outlook on house-price data-sets produced by the US government, Baker asserted that there was a bubble in the US housing market in August 2002,[10] well before its peak, and predicted that the collapse of this bubble would lead to recession. His prediction for when this recession would hit was out by only one quarter.

Regarding the housing bubble, Baker has been critical of chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan.

He has been critical of the regulatory framework of the real estate and financial industries, the use of financial instruments like collateralized debt obligation, and the performance and conflict of interest of US politicians and regulators.

Baker opposed the US government bailout of Wall Street banks on the basis that the only people who stood to lose from their collapse were their shareholders and high-income CEOs. Regarding any hypothetical, negative effects of not extending the bailout, he explained, “We know how to keep the financial system operating even as banks go into bankruptcy and receivership,”citing US government action taken during the S&L crisis of the 1980s. He has ridiculed the US elite for favoring it, asking, “How do you make a DC intellectual look less articulate than Sarah Palin being interviewed by Katie Couric? That’s easy. You ask them how failure to pass the bailout will give us a Great Depression.”
-Wikipedia]

The Wrongest Profession
How economists have botched the promise of widely distributed prosperity—and why they have no intention of stopping now
by Dean Baker

Over the past two decades, the economics profession has compiled an impressive track record of getting almost all the big calls wrong.

[…]

If China is removed from the sample, the performance of the rest of the developing world since 1988 looks rather mediocre. While the pain of working people in wealthy countries is acute, they are not alone. Outside of China, people in the developing world have little to show for the economic growth of the last three and a half decades. As for China itself, the gains of its huge population are real, but the country certainly did not follow Washington’s model of deficit-slashing, bubble-driven policies for developing countries.

In this economic climate, it’s not surprising that a racist, xenophobic, misogynist demagogue like Donald Trump could succeed in politics, as right-wing populists have throughout the wealthy world. While his platform may be incoherent, Trump at least promised the return of good-paying jobs. Insofar as Clinton and other Democrats offered an agenda for economic progress for American workers, hardly anyone heard it. And to those who did, it sounded like more of the same.

[…]

Here’s one handy way to break down the real-world costs of deficit hawkery. The cries for fiscal prudence that come from folks like Timothy Geithner and Paul Ryan, which are echoed in the media by the Washington Post and other major outlets, are costing us almost $2 trillion a year in annual output. This amount comes to more than $6,000 per person per year or $24,000 for an average family of four. These deficit hawks are ensuring that our children and grandchildren will live in poverty.

Yes, I’m inverting the traditional alarms raised by deficit hawks about the calamities of intergenerational indebtedness and throwing them in their faces, precisely so we can catalog the ways in which they’ve been spreading nonsense to push bad economic policies for decades. These bad policies have steep and lasting costs, especially following the collapse of the housing bubble and the Great Recession. The constant fear-mongering of the deficit hawks prevented the government from spending the money required to push the economy back to full employment. There was nothing to replace the construction and consumption spending that had been driven by the bubble.

 

Columnists
FRED REED • MARCH 23, 2017 • 1,100 WORDS

 

 

How Should We Then Live?

The philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, which we’ve been discussing for several weeks now, isn’t usually approached from the angle by which I’ve been approaching it—that is, as a way to talk about the gap between what we think we know about the world and what we actually know about it. The aspect of his work that usually gets all the publicity is the ethical dimension.

[…]

To a very great extent, if I may insert a personal reflection here, this realization has been at the heart of this blog’s project since its beginning. The peak oil crisis that called The Archdruid Report into being came about because human beings have as yet no clear idea how to get along with the biosphere that supports all our lives; the broader theme that became the core of my essays here over the years, the decline and fall of industrial civilization, shows with painful clarity that human beings have as yet no clear idea how to deal with the normal and healthy cycles of historical change; the impending fall of the United States’ global empire demonstrates the same point on a more immediate and, to my American readers, more personal scale. Chase down any of the varied ramblings this blog has engaged in over the years, and you’ll find that most if not all of them have the same recognition at their heart: we don’t yet know how to live, and maybe we should get to work figuring that out.

 

A REPORTER AT LARGE
MARCH 27, 2017 ISSUE
THE RECLUSIVE HEDGE-FUND TYCOON BEHIND THE TRUMP PRESIDENCY
How Robert Mercer exploited America’s populist insurgency.
By Jane Mayer

Magerman told me, “Bob believes that human beings have no inherent value other than how much money they make. A cat has value, he’s said, because it provides pleasure to humans. But if someone is on welfare they have negative value. If he earns a thousand times more than a schoolteacher, then he’s a thousand times more valuable.” Magerman added, “He thinks society is upside down—that government helps the weak people get strong, and makes the strong people weak by taking their money away, through taxes.” He said that this mind-set was typical of “instant billionaires” in finance, who “have no stake in society,” unlike the industrialists of the past, who “built real things.”

Cunt Power

 

This is an excellent explanation of what is going on.
Karl Rove’s Prophecy
KAREL VAN WOLFEREN • JANUARY 23, 2017 • 3,000 WORDS

A disadvantage of being part of the elite is that you must stick to the accepted story. If you deviate from it, and have your thoughts run rather far away from it, which is quite inevitable once you begin with your deviation, you can no longer be trusted by those around you. If you are a journalist and depend for your income on a mainstream newspaper or are hired by a TV company, you run the risk of losing your job if you do not engage in self-censorship.

Consequently, publications that used to be rightly known as quality newspapers have turned into unreadable rags.

As a result American and European populations have been dropped into a fantasy world, one under constant threat from terrorists and an evil dictator in Moscow.

Sticking to the official story because you have to may not be quite as bad as forced religious conversion with a gun pointed at your head, but it belongs to the same category.

We all owe thanks to writers of Internet-based samizdat literature who’ve recently reminded us that the pejorative use of the conspiracy label stems from one of the greatest misinformation successes of the CIA begun in 1967.

Half of Boston or all of France can be placed under undeclared martial law to tell people: yes, we have you under full control!

You will have noticed a fairly common response when the 9/11 massacre enters a discussion. Smart people will say that they “will not go there”, which brings to mind the “here be dragons” warning on uncharted bits of medieval maps. That response is not stupid. It hints at an understanding that there is no way back once you enter that realm. There is simply no denying that if you accept the essential conclusions of the official 9/11 report you must also concede that laws of nature stopped working on that particular day. And, true enough, if you do go there and bear witness publicly to what you see, you may well be devoured; your career in many government positions, the media and even academia is likely to come to an end.

Mapping the motives of those who decide “not to go there” may be a way to begin breaking through this disastrous deadlock.

The triumph of political untruth has brought into being a vast system of political intimidation. Remember then that the intimidator does not really care what you believe or not, but impresses you with the fact that you have no choice.

 

Heat And Futility
By ROD DREHER • January 18, 2017

Marking another milestone for a changing planet, scientists reported on Wednesday that the Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016 — trouncing a record set only a year earlier, which beat one set in 2014. It is the first time in the modern era of global warming data that temperatures have blown past the previous record three years in a row.

A Parting Shot at Personal Freedom
by Andrew P. Napolitano, January 19, 2017

When Uber Bares Its Hoard
With cities eager for data, how little do the gig-lords have to give?
Jathan Sadowski January 18, 2017

Uber Movement is a partnership that requires feigned ignorance on both sides. Cities welcome the data but fail to ask hard questions about how it was initially collected and stored. Remember, this is the same company that refused to fire a top employee, New York general manager Josh Mohrer, when he used an aerial “God View” of Manhattan to track the exact location of a reporter he perceived as a threat. This is the same company that, as of last month, tracks its passengers for up to five minutes after they’ve disembarked, even if they’re no longer using the app. This is the same company that asks drivers to submit to meaningful supervision of their movements while on the job but continues to insist that they are “gig” workers, not employees.

A Pledge for More of the Same at the Pentagon
James Mattis has no new ideas for solving America’s most intractable conflicts. Neither does congress.

The most intriguing aspect of the exchange between Mattis and members of the committee was the absolute absence of interest, from either side, in how the armed forces of the United States have performed in recent years. In Afghanistan, in the now-resumed war in Iraq, in U.S. combat operations, large and small, in Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Syria—none has yielded anything approximating conclusive victory. However you define U.S. aims and objectives—promoting stability? Spreading democracy? Reducing the incidence of Islamist terrorism?—they remain unfulfilled. Yet no senator thought to ask Mattis for his views on why that has been the case, what conclusions he draws from that absence of success, and how he might apply those conclusions as defense secretary.

 

Jamie Dimon’s head is apparently empty of any insights…or anything. It is hard to be this much of a twit.

At a private lunch in Davos, Jamie Dimon was asked about the elephant in the room

Scenes from a pussy riot

byron27

Fake News

01.05.2016ishamel_jones

This settles it for me. Let’s move on.
Russian Interference in the Election: A Media Hoax?

America Versus the Deep State
-James Howard Kunstler

The fakest of all “fake news” stories turns out to be… “Russia Hacks Election.”

The story may have climaxed with Trump’s Friday NSA briefing, the heads of the various top intel agencies all assembled in one room to emphasize the solemn authority of the Deep State’s power. Trump worked a nice piece of ju-jitsu afterward, pretending to accept the finding as briefly and hollowly as possible and promising to “look into the matter” after January 20th — when he can tear a new asshole in the NSA. I hope he does. This hulking security apparatus has become a menace to the Republic.

No Smoking Gun on Russia Hack
Language used in the intelligence community’s latest report suggests that they may not possess indisputable evidence.
By PHILIP GIRALDI • January 9, 2017

Purge the CIA
They’re a threat to the republic

ISHMAEL JONES: FROM RUSSIA WITH DOUBT

The Human Factor: Inside the CIA’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success. Note: Some of the findings presented in this talk have been referenced in an ongoing debate among social scientists about robustness and reproducibility.

presence

11.29.2016

culture11.29.2016

Idiots:
A potential nightmare scenario has arrived for the electric-car industry

In any case, bringing self-driving tech to gas-powered cars doesn’t ask the automakers to create an entirely new fueling system. The winners in this space could be new entrants who avoid the “old” futurism of EVs and concentrate on the brave “new” future of autonomous mobility. I’m looking at you, Uber.

It’s becoming clear that the legacy problems of EVs are proving to be just as daunting as they always were. For automakers that have already committed to substantial EV programs, the risk is that they’ll be stuck with vehicles nobody wants to buy — and charging networks that nobody wants to use.

Iraqi Troops Increasingly Bogged Down in Mosul Invasion
Special Forces Make Gains, But Everyone Else Seems Stalled
by Jason Ditz, November 28, 2016

Rebels Abandon Northeastern Aleppo as Syrian Military Advances
Rebels Suffer Biggest Defeat in Aleppo Since 2012
by Jason Ditz, November 28, 2016

Pentagon Plans to Replace Afghan Air Force With US-Made Helicopters
US Had Bought Them a Whole Fleet of Russian Helicopters in Recent Years
by Jason Ditz, November 28, 2016

The Rediscovery of Men

Uniquely Talented
Only the Democrats Could Have Lost to Trump
FRED REED • NOVEMBER 24, 2016

They do not know that that in the bleak down-scale strip development of Jeff Davis Highway, a half-hour away, reeking of exhaust and blowing with trash, an aged veteran on crutches lives in a dismal residential motel. Every mourning he hobbles to Dixie Lee’s Diner–I forget its actual name–for a cheap breakfast because it is all he has. Or ever will. He is waiting to die. The elite don’t know, and wouldn’t care.

The upper crust are also moral frauds, though they do not know this either. Nice liberals to the roots of their teeth, in principle they believe that we should all love each other, and they hate anyone who doesn’t.

The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations (1979) – Christopher Lasch

Not the Future We Ordered: Peak Oil, Psychology, and the Myth of Progress (2013) – John Michael Greer
Greer is one of the smartest people alive and a keen observer of human nature, American culture, and resource constraint – but his prophecies continue to fail like everybody else’s. Is he aware of the irony? This is still one of the best books on peak oil and only 140 pages.

Schopenhauer: Essays and Aphorisms (1851) – Arthur Schopenhauer
Superb. Easy to read. Concise philosophy, psychology, and observations of human nature that hold up today.

Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story (2012)- Greg Smith

Chasing Goldman Sachs: How the Masters of the Universe Melted Wall Street Down . . . And Why They’ll Take Us to the Brink Again (2010) – Suzanne McGee

Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World (2011) – William D. Cohan

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Rodin!

I recently spent a rainy morning at the Rodin Museum. The museum is located in Rodin’s old mansion and gardens located in the 7th Arr. of Paris.

Auguste Rodin (1840 – 1917). The museum contains thousands of peices of which perhaps a couple hundred are on display. Bronze, marble, concrete, plaster casts.

I took a lot of photos that day. Here is a sample of the treasure trove. As always, click to enlarge. (Wave the cursor in front of photo to see its reference number.)  Have fun!

Continue reading “Rodin!”