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Open Thread

Use to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts. (Nothing about Ukraine, etc…)


The Features of Good Leadership In Societies & Large Groups


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – March 20, 2022


  1. Z

    Put on the galoshes, here comes another surge of hasbara …

    The Israeli cabinet approved on Sunday a project that could inject up to NIS 100 million [$30 million] toward covertly funding government propaganda in the United States and other Western countries. Led by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, the initiative is expected to revive a failed plan entrusted until recently to the now-defunct Strategic Affairs Ministry, which closed in 2021. The plan is to transfer money indirectly to foreign organizations that will spread Israeli propaganda in the countries in which they operate, all while hiding the fact that they are backed by the Israeli government.

    If Russia was doing anything similar, the NYZ Times, the Grey Jezebel, our rulers’ paper of propaganda, would make it front page news.

    And speaking of the NYZ Times, it looks like one of their most pro-Zionist columnists might be cashing in on his hasbara:

    Amnesty International’s report accusing Israel of practicing “apartheid” continues to make news, albeit not in America’s most influential news source. American Jewish leaders recently took credit for discrediting the report both nationally and internationally in advance of its appearance. The executive director of Amnesty’s Israel office criticized the language of the report, albeit without taking issue with any of its evidence. Paul O’Brien, Amnesty’s executive director, told reporters that he thought Israel should not exist as a Jewish state, which led all 25 Jewish members of Congress to condemn him.

    The New York Times did not mention anything about the reaction to Amnesty’s report. Had it done so, of course, it would have had to explain what it was in the first place. Loyal Altercation readers may remember that I noted my surprise that the Times chose to ignore both the 278-page, 1,559-footnote report and the enormous reaction it engendered entirely. Times spokesperson Danielle Rhoades Ha’s explanation, published here the following week, was that “it is not our practice to cover every report published by NGOs.”

    Our email conversation continued, however. I noted in my response to her note that, during the same month the Times had no time for either the Amnesty report or the enormous reaction it inspired, it ran four stories inspired by Whoopi Goldberg’s opinions on the Holocaust. (If the Times had published one article on the Amnesty controversy, then it would have deemed Whoopi four times as important as Amnesty International, but since it published zero, that number is infinity.)

    My new inquiry to the Times concerned a different matter: the dark-money Maimonides Fund that is paying Times op-ed writer Bret Stephens as editor of the right-wing Jewish journal Sapir. In my email to Ms. Rhoades Ha, I noted that the Fund does not anywhere reveal the identity of its donors. I also noted that the Israeli government has committed many millions of dollars to secretly funding publications and institutions that support its views, as, without exception, Sapir happens to do.

    If Stephens wrote critically about Israel in the NYZ Times do you think he’d have gotten this gig? Do you think if he started writing critically about Israel in the NYZ Times he’d keep this gig?

    I doubt it.


  2. someofparts

    Thanks Z. I hope that as the US loses power globally and over OPEC in particular, Israel is made to pay.

  3. Trinity

    The battle for dominion over the Earth continues in the radio band. The new 5G is believed to interfere with weather forecasting, just when we need more accurate information the most. I don’t think this is incompetence, it’s just insane-levels of greed. Apparently the Treasury Dept got all the big bucks for auctioning off parts of the radio spectrum. They’ll need it to pay for all the damages from extreme weather events.

    Mother Jones has a more readable version of this ongoing story, but with an interesting little blurb at the top about a Russian news agency named Medusa being shut down by Putin. My guess is that is probably a good thing, and MJ is paying their bills by featuring it as a bad thing.

  4. Trinity

    This is an interesting, short article on solving the problem of neoliberalism:

  5. Z


    Yeah, you gotta love the NYZ Times: run four stories on Whoopi Goldberg’s rather innocuous remarks about the Holocaust … an event, while though horrific, happened well over 70 years ago and in which there are very few people alive, if any, who played a role in … and then completely ignore Amnesty International’s report accusing Israel of practicing “apartheid” RIGHT NOW.

    That filthy, war-mongering rag will run and re-run an anecdote that supports their agenda to imprint it into mainstream consciousness even though Whoopi’s words harmed practically no one and then completely ignore findings that came from thousands of current actions and inactions by the Israeli government and populace which involve and affect hundreds of thousands of people, actually millions, when they don’t support what they are trying to sell to the U.S. public.


  6. Lex

    Israel must be feeing a lot of heat these days. UAE meeting with Assad, KSA refusing to take calls from Biden, and Iran leveling an intelligence outpost that was theoretically defended by the best western air defenses. And the US is stretched too thin to do much anywhere. Any reenforcement of Europe will have to come at the expense of other regions. And any escalation in Europe almost certainly means the gloves come off elsewhere. Especially in Iraq but quite likely in Israel proper.

    In other news, the new president of S. Korea has moved the presidential office from the blue house to the military command. It’s now in the former mega base of the US at Yongsan. Looks like Korea got itself a soft military dictatorship like the old days.

  7. different clue

    I have zero power over any trace of government-business-industrial complex policy in America, same as most mere citizens.

    So I was given zero say over whether America suffers a 5G rollout or not. I wasn’t even called up for a telephone poll.

    I suggested on blogs here and there that 5G should be forbidden within the territory of the United States. Let China roll out 5G everywhere in China. Let the ChinaGov treat the Chinese population as the experimental population for the effects of marinating people in 5G communication waves and let America be the control population for not marinating people in 5G communication waves. And see if the health effects come out different after several generations.

    But nobody asked me, of course.

  8. Chuck Mire

    Synthetic media: The real trouble with deepfakes:

    The present state of digital technology in creating fake video, audio and text:

  9. Willy

    @ Trinity, “an interesting, short article on solving the problem of neoliberalism”

    Whenever I’ve tried to invent a new socioeconomic system, I’ve found it best to have a good devils advocate on my team. And also a chronic naysayer, a misanthrope, plus a party pooper or two. Because when it comes to new socioeconomic systems, whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Not to mention be made wrong by psychopathic nitwits.

    Which brings me to that old question which I recently heard, which I hadn’t heard since in my youth: “if they can put a man on the moon, then why can’t they (fix something a whole lot simpler)?” I thought to myself: ”Maybe for the same reason why they can’t even put a man on the moon anymore. Hell, Boeing can hardly keep some it’s airplanes from being grounded.”

    So I came to this place with a question for commentariat. Why does grand ole experienced Boeing suck so bad these days, when newbie SpaceX seems to achieve all its goals? The answer back wasn’t pretty. I had everybody and their mother telling me what an asshole Elon Musk was. Since I was risking being called something pretty ugly, I let it go. There would be no discussions leading towards ideas for a new socioeconomic system that day.

    Could that be another reason why we can’t have nice things anymore? Because everybody wants to play the devils advocate, naysayer, misanthrope or party pooper?

  10. Z

    If the Fed was truly concerned with trying to balance fighting inflation with keeping the economy somewhat strong they’d keep interest rates low and stop expanding their balance sheet, which is used to inject mo’ money into the financial markets.

    Instead they are starting to embark upon raising interest rates which places a burden on the real economy that the working class depends upon for employment while still pumping money into the markets by expanding their balance sheet which secures our rulers’ wealth and power over us.

    It’s what they do …


  11. Willy

    It’s the Volcker method. Kill inflation by starving the economy. Except what worked then may not work the same now. I think of Jack Welch killing his bottom totemed 10%. What seems like capitalist common sense on the surface sometimes doesn’t always work because of prevailing corporate-wide cultural conditions. Such ruthless (and not all that inventive) methodology can prove disastrous, if one doesn’t consider all the prevailing corporate-wide variables before decimation.

    Speaking of Putin, with a tenth of his own invasion force already decimated in such a short time, his method was of course to rebuild the military with half the funds set aside for a rainy day, in his own bank accounts. And then to have his people tell him everything he wanted to hear before committing an undermotivated, undersupported invasion army to quagmire, to then disappear people for telling him what he wanted to hear.

    It seems it’s always something.

  12. different clue

    The Boeing of today is not the grand old experienced Boeing of the old days. All the grand old experience has been deleted and exiled and driven into retirement from Boeing by the looter-hustlers who took Boeing over with the merger with McDonnell-Douglas and the moving of the headquarters to Chicago and the outsourcing of work to anti-union worker-oppression zones all over the world.

  13. Willy

    Yeah, Boeing turned neoliberal. I imagine a team of well-dressed men wearing wizard merit badges getting the ear of top Boeing/Douglass brass, and successfully convincing them to move away from the well-established basic common sense business practices of old.

    As if buying back shares with profits instead of reinvesting them into new development magically produces a better product.

    I think the Clintons went down the same path. I think it’s amazing how much damage teams of well-dressed men wearing wizard merit badges can do, especially if they speak in econogarbage bafflegab. As we all know, speaking in econogarbage bafflegab makes one seem intelligent in a magically mysterious sorta way, and works wonders on naive engineers playing businessmen.

    And as Ian has suggested, the PTB don’t get punished for failure, even disastrous failure. Even ridiculously disastrous clown car failure, full of slapstick pratfalls and silly crashes. That whole thing needs to be seen as the ridiculous shit show it was.

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