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.”

Groupthink at The Deep State

 

Sanctions, Smoke and Mirrors from a Kindergarten on LSD
THE SAKER • JULY 31, 2017 • 3,100 WORDS

“Israel Lobby” is, of course, a misnomer. The Israel Lobby has very little interest in Israel as a country or, for that matter, for the Israeli people. If anything, the Israel Lobby ought to be called the “Neocon Lobby”. Furthermore, we also have to keep in mind that the Neocon Lobby is unlike any other lobby in the list above. For one thing, it does not represent US interests. Neither does it represent the interests of Israel. Rather, it represents the interests of a specific subset of the US ruling elites, in reality much smaller than 1% of the population, which all share in the one common ideology of worldwide domination typical of the Neocons.

These are the folks who in spite of their 100% ironclad control of the media and Congress lost the Presidential election to Donald Trump and who are now dead set to impeach him. These are the folks who simply use “Russia” as a propagandistic fulcrum to peddle the notion that Trump and his entourage are basically Russian agents and Trump himself as a kind of “Presidential Manchurian Candidate”.

 

Trump signs bill levying new sanctions on Russia, immediately criticizes it

President Trump signed legislation Wednesday that imposes new sanctions on Russia and curbs his own ability to lighten them down the line. The House and Senate overwhelmingly passed the bill last week with veto-proof majorities, putting Trump in a tough spot if he had declined to sign. The sanctions come in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and amid several investigations of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. In a statement about signing the bill, Trump wrote that the legislation is “significantly flawed” and that Congress “included a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions.” In another statement, Trump added that “despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity.”

 

Groupthink at the CIA
Hating Russia and Trump is de rigueur
PHILIP GIRALDI • AUGUST 1, 2017 • 1,800 WORDS

…That unanimity of thinking is what is peculiar while academics like Stephen Cohen, Stephen Walt, Andrew Bacevich, and John Mearsheimer, who have studied Russia in some depth and understand the country and its leadership far better than a senior CIA officer, detect considerable nuance in what is taking place. They all believe that the hardline policies current in Washington are based on an eagerness to go with the flow on the comforting inside-the- beltway narrative that paints Russia as a threat to vital interests. That unanimity of viewpoint should surprise no one as this is more of less the same government with many of the same people that led the U.S. into Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. They all have a vested interested in the health and well-being of a fully funded national security state.

Oil Is Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy
Pushing fossil fuels is the administration’s top priority

“Our country is blessed with extraordinary energy abundance … We have nearly 100 years’ worth of natural gas and more than 250 years’ worth of clean, beautiful coal … We have so much more than we ever thought possible. We are really in the driving seat. And you know what? We don’t want to let other countries take away our sovereignty and tell us what to do and how to do it. With these incredible resources, my administration will seek not only American energy independence that we’ve been looking for so long, but American energy dominance.”

 

Against The New Optimism

 I’m reading right now Michel Houellebecq’s first novel, The Elementary Particles. It’s an amazing book, though a difficult one to read in parts, because of the pornographic descriptions of sex acts. That’s part of the author’s point: he’s writing about a world grown cold and loveless, where sex has been separated from love, family, and meaning. The novel is about two half-brothers who were abandoned by their selfish hippie mother (Houellebecq’s mother did this to him) and socialized by the aridity of consumerism and materialism.

[…]

Michel Houellebecq’s new novel, Submission, is set in a France of the near future in which a Muslim is elected president, in a Europe which has reached such a state of “putrid decomposition” that it cannot save itself. It is a shocking vision of where we might all be heading. The book is especially disturbing for Catholics, because it implies that Catholicism, for all that its young adherents have “open, friendly faces”, is no longer vital enough to offer an alternative to Islam. The once great religion that powered 1,000 years of high civilisation during the Middle Ages is, in Houellebecq’s vision, enfeebled.

 

Mykonos

 

The Dow Jones industrial average topped 22,000 points for the first time ever, right after the opening bell Wednesday morning. The roughly 0.2 percent overall surge was spurred by big gains from Apple, which posted a 6 percent bump based on optimism about the latest iPhone, bringing the company to a record high. On Tuesday, one day before the record-setting trading day, President Trump tweeted about the impending milestone, noting the “stock market could hit [an] all-time high (again) … was 18,000 only six months ago.” The Dow is up more than 3,600 points since Election Day, CNN Money notes.

 

‘Dunkirk’ Is a Booming, Bloodless Bore
War has never been this dull

 

This is why nobody takes you seriously.

07.15.2017

 

The New Silk Road Will Go Through Syria
PEPE ESCOBAR • JULY 14, 2017 • 900 WORDS

 

Tucker Carlson Is Doing Something Extraordinary
He is offering a glimpse into what Fox News would look like as an intellectually interesting network.

On Tuesday, Carlson told retired Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters he thought the U.S. should team up with Russia to defeat ISIS. Peters responded that, “You sound like Charles Lindbergh in 1938.” Carlson called that comment “grotesque” and “insane.”

Then, on Wednesday night, Carlson told the Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow, and former Mitt Romney adviser, Max Boot, that he opposed overthrowing Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and didn’t see Russia as a serious threat. Boot responded by accusing him of being a “cheerleader” for Moscow and Tehran. Carlson called that comment “grotesque” too. And declared, “This is why nobody takes you seriously.”

 

Russia Baiters and Putin Haters
By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN • July 14, 2017

As for favoring “repression over democracy,” would that not apply to our NATO ally President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, our Arab ally Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt, and our Philippine ally Rodrigo Duterte? Were U.S. Cold War allies like the Shah of Iran and Gen. Augusto Pinochet of Chile all Jeffersonian Democrats? Have we forgotten our recent history?

The Post brought up the death in prison of lawyer-activist Sergei Magnitsky in 2009. Under the Magnitsky Act of 2012, Congress voted sanctions on Russia’s elites.

Yet China’s lone Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Liu Xiaobo, sentenced to 11 years in prison for championing democracy, died Thursday of liver cancer, with police in his hospital room. Communist dictator Xi Jinping, who makes Putin look like Justin Trudeau, would not let the dying man go.

Will Magnitsky Act sanctions be slammed on China? Don’t bet on it. Too much trade. Congress will do what comes naturally — kowtow. Yet our heroic Senate voted 98-2 to slam new sanctions on Russia.

What are the roots of this hostility to Russia and hatred of Putin, whom a Fox analyst called “as bad as Hitler”?

 

A Euro-African West?
By NOAH MILLMAN • July 14, 2017

 

The Syrian Test of the Trump-Putin Accord
RAY MCGOVERN • JULY 10, 2017 • 1,300 WORDS

 

Trump’s Tweets Are Not Harming National Security
Former intel officers-turned-Cassandras peddling crisis and self-promotion
By PHILIP GIRALDI • July 14, 2017

 

Russian Rap

 

The Redemption of Richard Florida
By AARON RENN • July 14, 2017

But to tar Florida with the ills of the knowledge economy is like blaming Thomas Friedman for the problems of globalization just because he wrote The World Is Flat. Both men clearly celebrated, profited from, and are in agreement with the values of people who benefit from the phenomena they described—but are certainly not the architects or creators of these trends. It is perhaps fair to critique Florida for some of the failed projects and civic turnaround efforts that cities undertook at his recommendation or inspiration. But then the critics would have to give credit to Florida for the positive stories and results, something they never do. Florida didn’t cause Detroit to go bankrupt even if former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm’s “cool cities” initiative he inspired is now widely mocked.

[…]

Gratuitously attacking Silicon Valley techies out of some desire to punish the successful would be bad, but policies that reduce the urban creative class’ outsized share of success—while raising GDP and median income curves—should not be ruled out. Barack Obama was the first president since Herbert Hoover to never once hit 3 percent annual GDP growth. President Bush’s economic record was likewise dismal. Job growth in the U.S. since 2000 has averaged 0.5 percent per year, compared to 1.9 percent during the 1980s and 1.9 percent during the 1990s. (Recent years have seen better growth rates than this anemic average.) And real median incomes are lower today than in 2000.

 

Mexican Drug Violence Only Getting Worse
El Chapo’s capture created a power vacuum, a ‘vicious’ power struggle.
By TED GALEN CARPENTER • July 6, 2017

Matters have not turned out at all the way drug warriors and other optimists assumed. Instead, El Chapo’s capture has made the violent chaos in Mexico worse—much worse. His fall created a power vacuum throughout Mexico’s ruthless drug trade. The extent of the upsurge in violence as his would-be successors maneuver for control is horrifying. In May alone, there were 2,186 fatalities—the third time in 2017 when the monthly death toll topped 2,000. That is more than twice the average monthly pace of the bloody years of Felipe Calderon’s presidency (2006-2012), when more than 60,000 Mexicans perished in drug-related carnage. The May total was a new record, and it brought the total number of deaths in 2017 to 9,906. That was an increase of 33 percent over 2016, which had already seen a worrisome rise.

 

U.S. Charges 412, Including Doctors, in $1.3 Billion Health Fraud

In one case, prosecutors said, the owner and operator of a drug-treatment center in Delray Beach, Fla., recruited addicts to aid him in his schemes, attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and visiting “crack motels” to persuade people to move to South Florida to help him. He offered kickbacks in the form of gift cards, plane tickets, trips to casinos and strip clubs as well as drugs.

The owner, Eric Snyder, and an associate were charged with fraudulently billing insurance companies for more than $50 million for false treatment and urine tests over nearly five years, the authorities said.

[…]

Opioid addiction is an escalating public health crisis in America, with drug deaths rising faster than ever. Hydrocodone and oxycodone, two powerful opioids, are among the most commonly abused prescription drugs, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 91 Americans die each day of an opioid-related overdose.

History and Utopia

06.26.2017

“X. no longer knows what to do with himself. Events trouble him to excess. His panic is salutary to me: it forces me to calm him, and this effort of persuasion, this search for soothing arguments, soothes me in my turn. In order to keep on this side of madness, you must frequent those more demented than yourself.”
-Cioran

Teen YouTuber Shoots and Kills Boyfriend

 

Hersh’s new Syria revelations buried from view
26 June 2017

As for the substance of Hersh’s investigation, he finds that Trump launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian air base in April “despite having been warned by the US intelligence community that it had found no evidence that the Syrians had used a chemical weapon.”

In fact, Hersh reveals that, contrary to the popular narrative, the Syrian strike on a jihadist meeting place in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4 was closely coordinated beforehand between Russian and US intelligence agencies. The US were well apprised of what would happen and tracked the events.

Hersh’s sources in the intelligence establishment point out that these close contacts occurred for two reasons. First, there is a process known as “deconfliction”, designed to avoid collisions or accidental encounters between the US, Syrian and Russian militaries, especially in the case of their supersonic jets. The Russians therefore supplied US intelligence with precise details of that day’s attack beforehand. But in this case, the coordination also occurred because the Russians wanted to warn the US to keep away a CIA asset, who had penetrated the jihadist group, from that day’s meeting.

“This was not a chemical weapons strike,” a senior adviser to the US intelligence community told Hersh. “That’s a fairy tale. If so, everyone involved in transferring, loading and arming the weapon … would be wearing Hazmat protective clothing in case of a leak. There would be very little chance of survival without such gear.”

Who Tried to Kill Putin – Five Times?
Oliver Stone’s ‘The Putin Interviews’ (Part I)
by Justin Raimondo
June 26, 2017

“Five assassination attempts, I’m told. Not as much as Castro whom I interviewed – I think he must have had 50 – but there’s a legitimate five that I’ve heard about.”

Putin doesn’t deny it. Instead, he talks about his discussion with Fidel Castro on the subject, who told him “Do you know why I’m still alive? Because I was always the one to deal with my security personally.” However, Putin doesn’t follow Castro’s example. Apparently he trusts his security people: “I do my job and the security people do theirs.” What’s interesting is that the conversation continues along these lines, in the context of attempts on Castro’s life. Stone is surprised that Putin didn’t take Castro’s advice on the security question, saying “Because always the first mode of assassination, from when the United States went after Castro, you try to get inside the security of the president to perform assassination.” “Yes,” replies Putin, “I know that. Do you know what they say among the Russian people? They say that those who are destined to be hanged are not going to drown.”

 

The Latest Escalation in Syria – What Is Really Going On?
THE SAKER • JUNE 23, 2017 • 2,700 WORDS

The kind of missiles fired by S-300/S-400 batteries are extremely fast, over 4,000mph (four thousand miles per hour) which means that a missile launched as far away as 120 miles will reach you in 2 minutes or that a missile launched 30 miles away will reach you in 30 seconds. And just to make things worse, the S-300 can use a special radar mode called “track via missile” where the radar emits a pulse towards the target whose reflection is then received not by the ground based radar, but by the rapidly approaching missile itself, which then sends its reading back to the ground radar which then sends guidance corrections back to the missile. Why is that bad for the aircraft? Because there is no way to tell from the emissions whether a missile has been launched and is already approaching at over 4,000mph or not.

Saudi king ousts nephew to name son as first in line to throne
Mohammed bin Nayef replaced by Mohammed bin Salman, 31-year-old in charge of economy and war in Yemen

Rain Dance
Clusterfuck Nation
June 23rd, 2017

The standard explanation is that, first, Medicare jacked up overall healthcare activity in the 1960s, hauling in a customer-base of old folks who previously received no special treatment and were, generally, less well than non-old folk. Secondarily, technological innovation opened up so many new methods of disease control for everybody, young and old, that we’re able to treat more sickness in more complicated ways — and that drove costs up way further.

The greater part of the story remains neatly concealed within the matrix of rackets erected around the money-flows since the big cost bump-up in the 1960s, and these involve insurance companies, Big Pharma, corporatized doctors’ practices, hospital monopolies, and, of course, politicians on-the-take dividing amongst each other a colossal pool of grift that exists mainly for one simple reason: the cost of everything is hidden from public view.

Eloquent Obfuscation Expressed With ‘High Confidence’

06.15.2017

So Good:

 

The ‘Global Order’ Myth
Teary-eyed nostalgia as cover for U.S. hegemony
By ANDREW J. BACEVICH • June 15, 2017

The world has changed in fundamental ways. So too has the United States. Those changes require that the principles guiding U.S. policy also change accordingly.

However ill-suited by intellect, temperament, and character for the office he holds, Trump has seemingly intuited the need for such change. In this regard, if in none other, I’m with the Donald.

But note the irony. Trump may come closer to full-fledged historical illiteracy than any president since Warren G. Harding. Small wonder then that his rejection of the mythic past long employed to preempt serious debate regarding U.S. policy gives fits to the perpetrators of those myths.

 

NBC’s Kelly Hits Putin With a Beloved Canard
To prove their chops, mainstream media stars can’t wait to go head-to-head with a demonized foreign leader, like Vladimir Putin, and let him have it, even if their “facts” are wrong, as Megyn Kelly showed
June 13, 2017
by Ray McGovern

As I noted in a Jan. 20 article about Obama’s news conference two days earlier, “Did President Barack Obama acknowledge that the extraordinary propaganda campaign to blame Russia for helping Donald Trump become president has a very big hole in it, i.e., that the US intelligence community has no idea how the Democratic emails reached WikiLeaks? For weeks, eloquent obfuscation – expressed with ‘high confidence’ – has been the name of the game, but inadvertent admissions now are dispelling some of the clouds. …

 

kILL yOURSELF

Ms. Carter, then 17, was about an hour away at the time. But she had urged him, through screen after screen of texts, to kill himself.

As a judge considers whether Ms. Carter is legally responsible for Mr. Roy’s death, the pain and dependency of two desperately unhappy teenagers have spilled into the courtroom here in excruciating detail. Both had a history of emotional instability and, in his case, four failed suicide attempts. The copious texts between the two provide a stark window into their mind-sets, and the case will probably turn on the question of whether one person’s words can cause the suicide of another.

 

A GOLDEN AGE FOR DYSTOPIAN FICTION
What to make of our new literature of radical pessimism.
BOOKS
The New Yorker
JUNE 5 & 12, 2017 ISSUE
by Jill Lepore

 

Anything goes and nothing matters:
Corinne kept ‘sliding under water’ and DeMario tried to ‘hold her up and at the same time he appeared to be having intercourse with her’

Filming on the fourth season of The Bachelor spin-off was suspended on Sunday, over allegations of misconduct.

The incident that caused Warner Bros to halt production and launch an investigation centered on a hook-up between cast members Corinne and DeMario on the first day of shooting.

DeMario admitted to performing oral sex on Corinne when she put her genitals in his face, but Corinne says she was blacked out drunk and could not have given consent, according to sources who spoke to TMZ.

 

Police Hunt For Suspects In Bronx Avocado Assault

 

A Handmaid’s Tale

This show is fucking good. It’s the new ‘Game of Thrones.’

THE HANDMAID’S TALE — “Offred” – Episode 101 – Offred, one the few fertile women known as Handmaids in the oppressive Republic of Gilead, struggles to survive as a reproductive surrogate for a powerful Commander and his resentful wife. 

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Renewed for Season 2 at Hulu

 

How Harvard Business School Has Reshaped American Capitalism

But how and why that might be the case isn’t really what interests McDonald, the author of previous books about McKinsey, the consulting firm, and JPMorgan’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon. In “The Golden Passport,” he’s determined to call the Harvard Business School to account, citing its founding doctrine, which was to develop “a heightened sense of responsibility among businessmen” (and eventually women) who “will handle their current business problems in socially constructive ways.” In that regard, McDonald is scathing in his critique: Harvard Business School has not only “proven an enormous failure,” but its very success has made it positively “dangerous.”

He drives home the point in chapter after chapter, picking up steam in more recent decades: Harvard, he maintains, provided the ideological underpinnings for the junk-bond-induced takeover mania and resulting scandals of the 1980s; the corporate scandals of the 2000s; the egregious increase in the pay gap between chief executives and ordinary employees; the real estate mortgage bubble and ensuing financial crisis; even the election of Donald Trump. In McDonald’s view, the school has contributed to pretty much every bad thing that has happened in American business and the economy in the last century. In the wake of whatever scandal or financial collapse or recession to which it has contributed, it wipes its hands, distances itself and still has the nerve to put forth its experts as the solution to problems.

 

Macron’s Unusual Marriage Is OK—But NOT What His Type Are Doing to France (And America)
JOHN DERBYSHIRE • APRIL 29, 2017 • 1,300 WORDS

In my study, there hang portraits of my two literary heroes. One of them, Samuel Johnson, at age 25 married a woman twenty years his senior—a widow who, like Mrs. Macron, brought three children to the marriage. Johnson loved his wife dearly, to the bafflement of his friends. After she died seventeen years later, he mourned her for the rest of his own life.

My other literary hero, George Orwell, lost his wife Eileen after nine years of marriage, then remarried on his death bed to the prettiest girl in the office.

 

Putin’s New World Order
MIKE WHITNEY • APRIL 28, 2017 • 2,300 WORDS

 

Twenty Truths About Marine Le Pen
JAMES PETRAS • MAY 1, 2017 • 1,000 WORDS

Le Pen’s program will raise taxes on banks and financial transactions while fining capital flight in order to continue funding France’s retirement age of 62 for women and 65 for men, keeping the 35 hour work-week, and providing tax free overtime pay. She promises direct state intervention to prevent factories from relocating to low wage EU economies and firing French workers.

Le Pen is committed to increasing public spending for childcare and for the poor and disabled. She has pledged to protect French farmers against subsidized, cheap imports.

Marine Le Pen supports abortion rights and gay rights. She opposes the death penalty. She promises to cut taxes by 10% for low-wage workers. Marine is committed to fighting against sexism and for equal pay for women.

 

Why Defend South Korean Ingrates?
Trump spills the beans as the “adults” panic
by Justin Raimondo
May 01, 2017

“On the THAAD system, it’s about a billion dollars. I said, ‘Why are we paying? Why are we paying a billion dollars? We’re protecting. Why are we paying a billion dollars?’ So I informed South Korea it would be appropriate if they paid. Nobody’s going to do that. Why are we paying a billion dollars? It’s a billion dollar system. It’s phenomenal. It’s the most incredible equipment you’ve ever seen – shoots missiles right out of the sky. And it protects them and I want to protect them. We’re going to protect them. But they should pay for that, and they understand that.”

Ah, but they don’t understand it – and neither does H. R. McMaster, Trump’s newly-appointed National Security Advisor, who rushed to assure Seoul that the President didn’t really mean what he clearly said. And the South Koreans, who are in the midst of a presidential election – the vote is on May 5 – are in a uproar.

 

More NYT ‘Spin’ on the Syria-Sarin Case
April 28, 2017
By Robert Parry

Further, the U.S. and its allies have been conducting airstrikes across much of Syria in campaigns against Islamic State and Al Qaeda-linked terror groups, which have been supported by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and other Sunni-led sheikdoms. Turkey has been active, too, with strikes against Kurdish forces. And Israel has hit repeatedly at Syrian targets to promote what it regards as its interests, including destruction of Iranian weapons believed headed to the Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah.

Some – if not all – of these entities had a far stronger motive to create a chemical-weapons incident in Syria on April 4 than the Syrian government did. At the end of March, the Trump administration announced that it was no longer a U.S. priority to overthrow the Assad government, an announcement that upset several of the countries involved in the Syrian conflict, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Israel.

[…]

Shortly after the incident at Khan Sheikhoun, I was told by an intelligence source that U.S. satellite imagery had picked up what looked like a drone in the vicinity at around the time that the poison gas was released. Despite some technical difficulties in tracking its route, the source said the analysts believed that it may have come from a Saudi-Israeli special operations base in Jordan, used to assist the rebels.

 

David Ignatius’ 15 Years of Running Spin for Saudi Regime
BY ADAM JOHNSON

Ignatius, of course, is not alone. He joins a long line of faithful Western pundits who frame the Saudi regime as a reformist entity, earnestly pushing change in a fundamentally reactionary country under perma-threat from Shia forces. The Al Saud mafia is not in league with religious extremists, but a bulwark against them; they are not an illegitimate dictatorship, but an enlightened ruling class helping usher in “reform” in the face of a hyper-religious population.

And throughout it all, they are on a 71,500-year reform plan where they are effusively praised for moving their country toward the 19th century every five years or so. Other regimes that oppress their people and bomb civilians “must go” now, and are beyond the moral pale—mere allegations of being friendly with them, a career-ender. But the Saudi regime, a friendly host to light-touch US pundits, is just a well-meaning scrappy band of reformers this close to turning into Switzerland. All they need is a bit more time.

 

The Elementary Particles

04.25.2017

Consumption

In the last 15 years, between 2000 and 2015, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2016, total global primary energy consumption rose by 40 percent from 9,371  to 13,147 Million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe).

This includes, oil, coal, natural gas, hydroelectric power, and nuclear energy.

Nuclear energy use was at about the same level it was in 2000 at 585 Mtoe and accounted for 4.4% of the total down from 6.2% in 2000.

Hydro-electric power usage has increased 48 percent to 893 Mtoe and accounted for 6.8% of the total up from 6.4% in 2000.

Natural gas consumption has risen 43 percent in the last 15 years to 3135 Mtoe steady at 23-24% of total primary energy consumption.

Coal consumption has risen an incredible 62% to 3840 Mtoe, increasing its share of the total from 25% in 2000 to 30% in 2015.

Oil consumption at about 95 million barrels per day of liquid petroleum products, which accounted for 38% of the total in 2000, has only increased 21% in the last 15 years and now accounts for 33% of the total (4331 Mtoe).

Exports

In the last decade, between 2005 and 2015, oil production from the Gulf Arab countries increased from 20 to 26 million barrels per day. These countries are Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, the U.A.E., Qatar, and Oman. These countries are all controlled by Sunnis (with the exception of Iraq) and all can be considered either under American control, American hegemony, American protection or occupied by the United States or simply part of the American Empire. This represents an increase from 25 to 28% of total global oil production in 10 years. Conventional oil production outside these countries (which has already peaked) and deplete

When the numbers are further reduced to exports from these countries as a percentage of total global exported oil and in light of the fact that most of this oil goes to either China or American surrogates – Europe, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea – it becomes quite obvious why the United States is so committed to a military presence in the Greater Middle East.

 

***

 

The Elementary Particles (2000)
by Michel Houellebecq

Prologue

This book is principally the story of a man who lived out the greater part of his life in Western Europe, in the latter half of the twentieth century. Though alone for much of his life, he was nonetheless occasionally in touch with other men. He lived through an age that was miserable and troubled. The country into which he was born was sliding slowly, ineluctably, into the ranks of the less developed countries; often haunted by misery. the men of his generation lived out their lonely, bitter lives. Feelings such as love, tenderness and human fellowship had, for the most part, disappeared. The relationships between his contemporaries were at best indifferent and more often cruel.

At the time of his disappearance, Michel Djerzinski was unanimously considered to be a first-rate biologist and a serious candidate for the Nobel Prize. His true significance, however, would not become apparent for some time.

In Djerzinski’s time, philosophy was generally considered to be of no practical significance, to have been stripped of its purpose.  Nevertheless, the values to which a majority subscribe at any given time deter-mine society’s  economic and political structures and social mores.

Metaphysical mutations—that is to say radical, global transformations in the values to which the majority subscribe—are rare in the history of humanity. The rise of Christianity might be cited as an example.

Once a metaphysical mutation has arisen, it tends to move inexorably  toward its logical conclusion. Heedlessly, it sweeps away economic and political systems, aesthetic judgments and social hierarchies. No human agency can halt its progress—nothing except another metaphysical mutation.

It is a fallacy that such metaphysical mutations gain ground only in weakened or declining societies. When Christianity appeared, the Roman Empire was at the height of its powers: supremely organized, it dominated the known world; its technical and military prowess had no rival. Nonetheless, it had no chance. When modern science appeared, medieval Christianity was a complete, comprehensive system which explained both man and the universe; it was the basis for government, the inspiration for knowledge and art, the arbiter of war as of peace and the power behind the production and distribution of wealth—none of which was sufficient to prevent its downfall.

Michel Djerzinski was not the first nor even the principal architect of the third—and in many respects the most radical —paradigm shift, which opened up a new era in world history. But, as a result of certain extraordinary circumstances in his life, he was one of its most clear-sighted and deliberate engineers.

-Michel Houllebecq
The Elementary Particles
“Prologue”

Deplorable

Saw it with my own eyes. Canada Goose. Cargo Bermuda shorts. Flip-flops. Puke-covered scarf-towel. Snapcat tee-shirt. My work here is done.

 

04.21.2017

North Korea

The Cost of Free-Riding
Why South Korea may come to regret its dependence on the U.S.
By TED GALEN CARPENTER • April 18, 2017

 

The Problem Is Washington, Not North Korea
MIKE WHITNEY • APRIL 17, 2017 • 1,800 WORDS

 

Who Really Started the Korean War?
Forget the Trumanite mythology
by Justin Raimondo, April 19, 2017

 

How to Bring Down the Elephant in the Room
THE SAKER • APRIL 16, 2017 • 6,300 WORDS

 

NYT Mocks Skepticism on Syria-Sarin Claims

 

The Battle for France
The new intellectualism of cultural anxiety
By SCOTT MCCONNELL • April 20, 2017

Bill O’Reilly Disgraces War Reporting
“The No Spin Zone” host wants war-zone glory without the sacrifices made by real battlefield correspondents.
By MICHAEL FUMENTO • March 4, 2015

An Empire In Decline

 

04.08.2017

Leaving Leninism and anti-Leninism aside, the first thing for the historian to re-establish is the obvious fact, which nobody in the 1890s would have denied, that the division of the globe had an economic dimension. To demonstrate this is not to explain everything about the imperialism of the period. Economic development is not a sort of ventriloquist with the rest of history as its dummy. For that matter, even the most single-minded businessman pursuing profit into, say, the South African gold- and diamond-mines, can never be treated exclusively as a money-making machine. He was not immune to the political, emotional, ideological, patriotic or even racial appeals which were so patently associated with imperial expansion. Nevertheless, if an economic connection can be established between the tendencies of economic development in the capitalist core of the globe at this time and its expansion into the periphery, it becomes much less plausible to put the full weight of explanation on motives for imperialism which have no intrinsic connection with the penetration and conquest of the non-western world. And even those which appear to have, such as the strategic calculations of rival powers, must be analysed while bearing the economic dimension in mind. Even today politics in the Middle East, which are far from explicable on simple economic grounds, cannot be realistically discussed without considering oil.

-Eric Hobsbawm
p.61-2
Chapter 3 – “The Age of Empire”
The Age of Empire: 1875-1914 (1987)

***

Eric Hobsbawm

The Age of Revolution: 1789-1848 – by Eric Hobsbawm (1962)

Industry and Empire: The Birth of the Industrial Revolution – by Eric Hobsbawm (1968)

The Age of Capital: 1848-1875  – by Eric Hobsbawm (1975)

The Age of Empire: 1875-1914  – by Eric Hobsbawm (1987)

The Age of Extremes: A History of the World, 1914-1991  – by Eric Hobsbawm (1994)

****

Conspiracy with and Without Conspirators
KAREL VAN WOLFEREN • APRIL 5, 2017 • 3,600 WORDS

There’s a simple economic reason why the United Airlines incident happened — and why it will probably happen again

First off, it is clear that even as airlines have increased the amount of flights being offered, the demand has been rising to meet that supply.

Bespoke pointed out that the total number of available airline miles have surged since 2008, while capacity — basically how full the flights are — has remained steady. This indicates, at the minimum, sufficient demand for the increased air miles.

“Scheduled airline seat miles have been rising steadily since 2014, while load factors (basically, the percentage of seats filled) have been steady near 85% for domestic flights,” said the note.

A Multi-Level Analysis of the US Cruise Missile Attack on Syria and Its Consequences
THE SAKER • APRIL 11, 2017 • 6,900 WORDS

Book Review: Twilight’s Last Gleaming by J.M. Greer
THE SAKER • APRIL 7, 2017 • 1,000 WORDS

Death on the Prescription Plan
The ‘White Plague’ of the 21st Century
JAMES PETRAS • APRIL 6, 2017 • 3,900 WORDS