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

 

Once Upon A Time

“If you try to convert someone, it will never be to effect his salvation but to make him suffer like yourself, to be sure he is exposed to the same ordeals and endures them with the same impatience. You keep watch, you pray, you agonize—provided he does too, sighing, groaning, beset by the same tortures that are racking you. Intolerance is the work of ravaged souls whose faith comes down to a more or less deliberate torment they would like to see generalized, instituted. The happiness of others never having been a motive or principle of action, it is invoked only to appease conscience or to parade noble excuses: whenever we determine upon an action, the impulse leading to it and forcing us to complete it is almost always inadmissible. No one saves anyone; for we save only ourselves, and do so all the better if we disguise as convictions the misery we want to share, to lavish on others. However glamorous its appearances, proselytism nonetheless derives from a suspect generosity, worse in its effects than a patent aggression. No one is willing to endure alone the discipline he may even have assented to, nor the yoke he has shouldered. Vindication reverberates beneath the missionary’s bonhomie, the apostle’s joy. We convert not to liberate but to enchain.”

-E.M. Cioran
“Civilized Man: A Portrait”
The Fall into Time
1964

 

 

How I Believe Facebook Was Censoring My Political Speech
Forget China, the Internet police are already here in U.S.
By PHILIP GIRALDI • September 15, 2017

They are well placed to shape what the public knows and what it is able to discover. Erasing old content and restricting searches is not so much different than George Orwell’s Winston Smith watching the evidence for no longer politically-acceptable events being dropped down the memory hole.

 

Saudi Arabia Detains Critics as New Crown Prince Consolidates Power
SEPT. 14, 2017

 

The Roof Korean Option

 

How History Explains the Korean Crisis
August 28, 2017

 

How Sony, Obama, Seth Rogen and the CIA Secretly Planned to Force Regime Change in North Korea
The secret backstory to the U.S.-North Korea standoff.
By Tim Shorrock / AlterNet September 5, 2017

 

The Other News:

 

Wednesday,  Sep 13, 2017

The United States Senate blocks an amendment that would have repealed the war authorizations for the use of force in Iraq and Afghanistan. (CNBC)

United States Homeland Security bans Kaspersky Lab products from government computers due to fears from alleged Russian intervention. (Gizmodo)

The Supreme Court of Israel strikes down the exemption on the conscription of ultra-Orthodox Jews. (The Los Angeles Times)

Former businessman Martin Shkreli has his bail revoked for threatening former politician Hillary Clinton, after a Twitter post in which Shkreli said that he would offer $5,000 to anyone who could directly obtain a lock of Clinton’s hair. Shkreli was convicted of fraud in August and is awaiting sentencing. (CNN)

Scientists hope to revive the extinct Floreana island tortoise using a ‘genetically-informed’ captive breeding program with the tortoises closest ancestors. (Phys.org)

Sanders introduces universal health-care bill with Democratic backing Backed by at least 15 Democratic senators, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced long-shot legislation Wednesday to expand Medicare into a universal health insurance program. The Medicare for All Act of 2017 would replace the current health-care system with a public system paid for by higher taxes, covering everything from prescription drugs to mental health treatment, with no co-payments. Employers would pay higher taxes, but would no longer have to cover health insurance for workers, and there would still be private insurers for people who wanted elective treatments like plastic surgery. Doctors would be reimbursed by the government. On Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) vowed to end Sanders’ single-payer “dream” with the introduction of the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson health-care bill. Source: The Washington Post

Supreme Court lifts limits on Trump’s refugee ban, blocks Texas redistricting The Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked a federal appeals court ruling issued last week that would have let refugees with support from resettlement agencies enter the U.S., despite President Trump’s travel ban. About 24,000 people could be affected by the 5-4 ruling, which was issued without comment. The Supreme Court in June lifted a block on Trump’s executive order that barred certain people from Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Libya, and Yemen from entering the country. The justices are scheduled to hear arguments over the legality of the executive order on Oct. 10. On Tuesday night, five justices also blocked a lower court’s order that Texas redraw two congressional districts due to racial disenfranchisement. Source: CNN

 

More Below The Fold

Continue reading “Once Upon A Time”

Burn Them All. God Will Know His Own.

Surplus Energy Economics
How the economy REALLY works
Tim Morgan

 

Don’t Blame Lack of Zoning Laws for Houston Floods
By MATTHEW ROBARE • September 1, 2017

According to Charlie Gardner, around 20 percent of Downtown Houston is surface parking, while another 40 percent is devoted to streets—while in a typical city built before the 19th century, only about 15 percent of land would be devoted to roadway. This huge amount of urban land given over to asphalt dwarfs the amount of space available for housing and parks. Writing at PlanetizenTodd Litman calculates that as much as 4,000 square feet of land per automobile is given over to roadway and parking—that’s a lot of land consuming taxes instead of producing them. For comparison, according to Michael Lewyn, until 1998 the minimum lot size in Houston for a new home was 5,000 square feet. This is important because standard planning practices are based around retaining storm water on site, meaning that buildings need large green space foot prints to absorb water, but if the effect of such regulation is to separate buildings, then they could lead to more driving and hence more asphalt.

 

The Militarization of the Hamptons
Why is a heavily armed counterterrorism force patrolling the parties of the rich and famous?
Joe Nocera
August 30, 2017

 

The First Time I Met Americans

 

Definition of happiness in Japan remains a mystery

Two CIA Contractors Successfully Sued for “Black Site” Torture
Hired psychologists devised “enhanced interrogation techniques” to break prisoners.
By PHILIP GIRALDI • August 23, 2017

 

After 16 Years of War, Afghanistan Still World’s Heroin Supplier
Drug epidemic here, failing counter-narcotics efforts there.
By JEFFREY JAMES HIGGINS • August 23, 2017

 

https://surplusenergyeconomics.wordpress.com/

 

 

All the other news (below the fold):

Continue reading “Burn Them All. God Will Know His Own.”

Black The Fall

 

The Alt-Right Is Not Who You Think They Are
Southern, uneducated, generational racists? Not quite.
By GEORGE HAWLEY • August 25, 2017

A final problem with contemporary discussions about racism is that they often remain rooted in outdated stereotypes. Our popular culture tends to define the racist as a toothless illiterate Klansman in rural Appalachia, or a bitter, angry urban skinhead reacting to limited social prospects. Thus, when a white nationalist movement arises that exhibits neither of these characteristics, people are taken by surprise.

 

This video game depicts life in an ultra-nationalist dystopia
‘Black the Fall,’ inspired by Romanian communism, was designed to warn against totalitarianism.

 

Wal-Mart Applies for Patent for Blimp-Style Floating Warehouse

 

The Ascent of Society 282
ANATOLY KARLIN • AUGUST 17, 2017 • 2,500 WORDS

Tech oligopolies

The products of tech companies are more and more intertwined with our everyday lives.

The most germane aspect of this influence for dissidents are media platforms: The complex of DNS registrars, web hosts, and CDN providers that you need to run a website; the social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) behemoths that account for an ever greater percentage of news delivery; the online payments systems that finance them.

But it doesn’t stop there. As Egor Kholmogorov succinctly remarked, “In this new world, if your politics aren’t approved of by the owners of Uber, or Airbnb, or food delivery services – you will have to walk by foot and remain hungry and stay at home.” Airbnb has been permanently deactivating the accounts of people it suspected of planning to march on the Alt Right side in Charlottesville. Uber has kicked off people who participated as well.

This trend is only going to intensify. Cars are going to get automated. Google Glass or something similar is a matter of time as well. Combining them with reputational apps will allow the global village to identify its pariahs on sight.

As the Marxists said, you can’t have an ideological superstructure without the economic base; by cutting off the latter, you can strangle the former.

 

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.”

South of the Church of the Resurrection

Has Seymour Hersh Debunked ‘Russia-gate’? (super juicy)
Hersh says Seth Rich contacted WikiLeaks
by Justin Raimondo
August 04, 2017

Well, something did happen to him, but we’ll pass over that and note that Hersh mentions “the NSA report.” So the FBI, in investigating this case, turned to the National Security Agency, which has access to everyone’s online communications, and came up with evidence confirming that Rich was in contact with WikiLeaks, that he had a secure Dropbox, and that he was concerned that he might be in danger. Hersh says “the word was passed” – but to whom? There are more mysteries here than we can uncover with just these bits of information.

[…]

Apparently our brainless media, not to mention our not-very-intelligent “intelligence community,” have never heard of Occam’s Razor.

Hersh, who has been around the block several times, and is intimately familiar with how the intelligence community operates – as well as being personally familiar with the individuals involved – is onto the game that’s being play here. In his words:

“I have a narrative of how that whole fucking thing began, it’s a Brennan operation, it was an American disinformation and fucking the fucking President, at one point when they, they even started telling the press, they were back briefing the press, the head of the NSA was going and telling the press, fucking cock-sucker Rogers, was telling the press that we even know who in the GRU, the Russian Military Intelligence Service, who leaked it. I mean [it’s] all bullshit…. Trump’s not wrong to think they all fucking lie about him.”

 

How the CIA Came to Doubt the Official Story of JFK’s Murder

 

Overweight Asian-Americans Are Seen as More ‘American,’ Study Finds

 

 

A mysterious driverless minivan was spotted driving around the DC area

 

“Such was the sheer number of pilgrims who travelled from across the world to the Holy City that at times it appeared in danger of bursting at the seams. In 516, when a great army of ascetics descended upon Jerusalem a particularly rowdy demonstration of support for Chalcedon, ten thousand of them barged into a single church. A few years later, Justinian, looking to raise a monument proportionate to his self-regard was obliged to extend the ridge on which his new church was being built, so that its foundations ended up “partly on solid rock and partly on air.” Space was running out. Jerusalem, which even in the off-season had some eighty thousand inhabitants, was full to overflowing.

Yet, one part of the city — the most prominent of all — remained undeveloped. South of the Church of the Resurrection, beyond the multitude of golden crosses rising triumphantly above the crowded streets, there loomed a great, flat expanse of rubble-strewn and garbage-piled rock. Evidence, perhaps, that the site was of no great significance?”

-Tom Holland
In the Shadow of the Sword: The Birth of Islam and the Rise of the Global Arab Empire

 

 

Climate Change

click on image to view full size

 

New research suggests that large parts of Southern Asia may be uninhabitable by 2100 due to levels of humidity dangerous to humans. (National Geographic)

 

Dunkirk, the War and the Amnesia of the Empire

 

Did Hillary Scapegoat Russia to Save Her Campaign?
MIKE WHITNEY • AUGUST 1, 2017 • 2,000 WORDS

 

The Only Other News:

 Wednesday,  Aug 2, 2017

Trump vents frustration at generals over Afghanistan

President Trump reportedly criticized the military team tasked with developing a new strategy in Afghanistan in a recent meeting, and repeatedly suggested firing Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, NBC News reported Wednesday, citing senior administration officials. “We aren’t winning,” Trump said, according to the officials. “We are losing.” Trump, who has never met with Nicholson, also reportedly directed his anger at Defense Secretary James Mattis. During the two-hour meeting in the White House Situation Room, a frustrated Trump also complained about China making money off of Afghanistan’s rare minerals, and tasked the advisers with finding a way to get American businesses in there quickly to get rights to the minerals.  Source: NBC News

Teams of United States-based researchers, composed of American, Chinese and South Korean scientists, successfully edit a piece of faulty DNA that causes a deadly form of heart disease from cells in human embryos.  (Science News Magazine)

President of the United States Donald Trump signs a Congress bill enacting sanctions on Russia. Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev calls it a “trade war”. (Reuters)

 

Tuesday,   Aug 1, 2017

A two-meter (6.5 feet) tall 12th century sandstone statue of a human figure is unearthed by archaeologists during an excavation of a Khmer Empire-era hospital built during the reign of King Jayavarman VII at Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple complex in Siem Reap Province. (BBC)

Three so-called GTA gang members are shot dead and four others are wounded, including two guards, at a courthouse in Moscow, Russia, after they attempted to escape. (The Independent)

Venezuelan opposition leaders Leopoldo López and Mayor of Caracas Antonio Ledezma are seized at their homes overnight by the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) and taken to Ramo Verde Prison. They had been arrested previously by the Venezuelan government, but were under house arrest at the time of being seized. (BBC)

The United States Senate, in a 92–5 vote, confirms Christopher A. Wray as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (Reuters)

 

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.

Independence Day

What Would Putin Tell Trump?
ISRAEL SHAMIR • JULY 3, 2017 • 2,400 WORDS

The US fought in Vietnam for years, you lost 50,000 men and killed hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, and still you were defeated and expelled from Indochina. And the bottom line? The Vietnamese now are best friends of the US. They like Americans more than they like us, the Russians, or the Chinese, though we supported them through thick and thin in their wars against you or against the French. What was the Vietnam War for? In a few years, the Americans will ask you: what for did we fight that war in Syria and Iraq? You would be lost for an answer.

Germany Is Destroying A Whole Lot Of Fidget Spinners & The Internet Couldn’t Be Happier

 

Make No Mistake, We Are Already at War in Syria
Trump’s anti-war promises were just glib campaign rhetoric.
By PHILIP GIRALDI • June 30, 2017

 

Russia vs. America in Syria
Using Plausible Deniability Against a Systematically Lying Adversary
THE SAKER • JUNE 28, 2017 • 3,700 WORDS

 

Doped Up Nation
LINH DINH • JUNE 30, 2017 • 1,500 WORDS

 

Democrats in the Dead Zone
JEFFREY ST. CLAIR • JUNE 23, 2017 • 1,500 WORDS

 

How to Think About Vladimir Putin
March 2017

 

 

Gittin’ Our Doom On
Clusterfuck Nation
by James Howard Kunstler
June 30th, 2017

Do you begin to see the outlines of the clusterfuck rising like a bad moon over the harvest season of 2017? The American people, by and large, have no more idea how false and fragile the financial arrangements of the nation are than the average eight-year-old has about why the re-po squad is towing away Daddy’s Ford-F150. We’re just doing what we always do: gittin’ our summer on. Breaking out the potato salad and the Bud Lites — at least those who have enough mojo left in their MasterCards to charge the party supplies.

 

Good stuff with indexed proverbs:

Dad’s Many Proverbs
MICHAEL HUDSON • JUNE 17, 2017

When I went to Russia in 1994, I was brought to the house of some researchers who were reading the then-recently released files on Trotsky. They said that one thing puzzled them: Did he really have an affair with Frieda Kahlo?

I phoned Dad from their Moscow house. Dad got worried that the phones were being tapped and that I’d get in trouble, but I said that all the Russians really cared about those days was money, not old politics. So he laughed and laughed and said that, yes, he used to drive Trotsky back and forth to see Frieda.

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