Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Defeat is Victory

John Holcroft
[In italiano]

On the wall of George Orwell's Ministry of Truth from his novel 1984 there were three slogans:

WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

It occurred to me that these apply just a little bit too well to the way the Washington, DC establishment operates.

War certainly is peace: just look at how peaceful Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Syria and the Ukraine have become thanks to their peacemaking efforts. The only departures from absolute peacefulness which might be taking place there have to do with the fact that there are some people still alive there. This should resolve itself on its own, especially in the Ukraine, where the people now face the prospect of surviving a cold winter without heat or electricity.

Freedom is indeed slavery: to enjoy their “freedom,” Americans spend most of their lives working off debt, be it a mortgage, medical debt incurred due to an illness, or student loans. Alternatively, they can also enjoy it by rotting in jail. They also work longer hours with less time off and worse benefits than in any other developed country, and their wages haven't increased in two generations.

And what keeps it all happening is the fact that ignorance is indeed strength; if it wasn't for the Americans' overwhelming, willful ignorance of both their own affairs and the world at large, they would have rebelled by now, and the whole house of cards would have come tumbling down.

But there is a fourth slogan they need to add to the wall of Washington's Ministry of Truth. It is this:

DEFEAT IS VICTORY

The preposterous nature of the first three slogans can be finessed away in various ways. It's awkward to claim that American involvements in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Syria or the Ukraine have produced “peace,” exactly, but various lying officials and assorted national teletubbies still find it possible to claim that they somehow averted worse (totally made-up) dangers like Iraqi/Syrian “weapons of mass destruction.” What they have produced is endless war financed by runaway debt which is leading to economic ruin. But ignorance helps a lot here.

Likewise, it is possible, though a bit awkward, to claim that slavery is freedom—because, you see, once you have discharged your duties as a slave, can go home and read whatever crazy nonsense you want on some blog or other. This is of course silly; you can stuff your head with whatever “knowledge” you like, but if you try acting on it you will quickly discover that you aren't allowed to. “Back in line, slave!” You can also take the opposite tack and claim that freedom is for layabouts while we the productive people have to rush from one scheduled activity to another, and herd our children around in the same manner, avoiding “unstructured time” like a plague, and that this is not at all like slavery. Not at all. Not even close. Nobody tells me what to do! (Looks down at smartphone to see what's next on today's to-do list).

With ignorance, you don't even have to make the case: ignorant people are some of the most knowledgeable people on earth—according to them. I see that all the time in the hundreds of blog comments I delete; ones that start with “Surely you must know that [something I don't know]” or “By now it should be clear to everyone that [something unclear]” are particularly amusing. On some days I find such ignorance almost overpowering, and so ignorance is indeed strength.

But it is very hard to claim that defeat is victory, and herein lies a great challenge for the Washington, DC establishment. When they are victorious, your leaders get to have their way with the world; when they are defeated, the world has its way with them. This is something that is hard to hide: your leaders say what it is they want to do; and then they either succeed at it or fail. When they fail, they still try to call it a success, but if you look at their original statements of purpose, and then the results, and the two don't match at all, then it looks just a bit like a defeat-ish sort of thingy no matter how they writhe and squirm and twist. This is a good thing, because with all the propaganda the Ministry of Truth puts out, it is hard for the average person to ascertain the nature of the “facts on the ground.” But when it comes to victory vs. defeat, you can usually take it straight from the horse's rectum. Yes, the Ministry's public relations consultants can still claim that “we forced the enemy to give us a free deep-tissue massage of our glutei maximi,” but a precocious 8th-grader can still decode that to “We got our asses kicked.”

So, allow me to enumerate some American victories. Or should I say defeats? Your choice; the two are the same.

• Thanks to the trillion or so spent on the war effort, the 1.5 million Iraqi casualties, and the 5,000 dead US soldiers, there is no longer any al Qaeda in Iraq now (just like there was under Saddam Hussein) and the country is free and democratic.
• Thanks to many years of continuous effort which cost well over half a trillion dollars and the lives of 3500 or so coalition soldiers, the Taleban in Afghanistan have been vanquished and the country is now at peace.
• The Syrian regime has been overthrown and Syria is now peaceful and democratic, and not at all a war-torn basket case that has produced over a million refugees, a large part of it ruled by Islamic militants that are too radical even for al Qaeda.
• Overall, the problem of Islamic extremism has been dealt with once for all, and George W. Bush's “Islamofascists” (remember that term?) are but a vague memory. ISIS or ISIL or the Islamic State are something else entirely, plus us bombing them sporadically at great expense has “degraded” them a tiny bit... maybe.
• Thanks to a perfectly legal and very necessary US-managed coup, Ukraine is on its way to being a stable and prosperous member of the EU and NATO, and the freedom-loving Ukrainians are no longer at all dependent on Russian gas, coal and nuclear fuel for being able to merely survive the winter of 2014-15, or on Russian good will to send in humanitarian relief convoys, house and feed the refugees from their civil war, or broker their peace agreements with each other.
• In accordance with our grand geopolitical strategy for eternal world domination, we successfully kicked Russia out of Crimea and are busy building a huge NATO military base there to make sure that Russia never becomes a great world power again but is forced to comply with our every whim.
• Thanks to our relentless diplomatic efforts, Russia is now completely isolated, which is why it can't be constantly signing gigantic trade agreements with countries around the world or championing the cause of non-western nations who don't like being pushed around by the west and have no desire to westernize.
• Our sanctions have really hurt Russia, and not at all the EU which didn't lose a huge export market and is not at all at risk of losing access to Russia's natural gas which it doesn't need anyway. Nor did they provide any sort of a huge protectionist benefit to Russia's domestic producers, or a big new export market to our economic rivals.
• Regime change in Moscow is a white ribbon's throw away, and our expensively nurtured political pets inside Russia are more popular than ever and are feeling all sorts of love from the Russian people. After all, fewer than 90% of Russians respect and support Putin for the great things he has achieved for them, so our stooges like Khodorkovsky or Kasparov should have no problem getting at least 1% in the next presidential elections, sending them straight into the Kremlin.
• Thanks to our relentless political pressure, Putin is now a chastised man, ready to be reasonable and bend to our will, and not at all saying things like “This will never happen!” in an internationally televised annual address to his nation's elected leaders. In any case, nobody listens to his speeches because our national media doesn't need cover them because they are so long and boring.

...and, last but not least...

• America is the world's indispensable nation, world's (second) greatest economic power (but rising fast), and American leadership is respected throughout the world. When President Obama said so in a recent speech he gave in China, the audience did not at all laugh out loud right in his face, roll their eyes, make faces or move their heads side to side slowly while frowning.

How can you avoid recognizing the importance of such things, and the fact that they spell DEFEAT? Easy! Ignorance to the rescue! Ignorance is not just strength—it is the most awesome force in the universe. Consider this: knowledge is always limited and specific, but ignorance is infinite and completely general; knowledge is hard to convey, and travels no faster than the speed of light, but ignorance is instantaneous at all points in the known and unknown universe, including alternate universes and dimensions of whose existence we are entirely ignorant. In short, there is a limit to how much you can know, but there is no limit at all to how much you don't know but think you do!

Here is something that you probably think you know. The American empire is an “empire of chaos.” Yes, it sort of fails somehow to achieve peace, prosperity, democracy, stability, avert humanitarian crises, or stop lots of horrible crimes. But it does achieve chaos. What's more, it achieves a wunnerful new type of chaos just invented, called “controlled chaos.” It's much better than the old kind; sort of like “clean coal”—which you can rub all over yourself, go ahead, try it! Yes, there are naysayers out there that say things like “You reap what you sow, and if you sow chaos, you shall reap chaos.” I guess they just don't like chaos. To each his own. Whatever. 

Want more? Consider this. If you live in the US, you probably celebrated Thanksgiving a little while ago, by gorging yourself on turkey and stuffing with cranberry sauce, and maybe some pumpkin pie. You think you know that this holiday is related to the Pilgrims, who first celebrated Thanksgiving at Plymouth, Massachusetts, but I am sure you don't remember the exact year. But I am sure you think that these Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving by feasting with the natives. You might even tell your children this story, and think that you are teaching them a bit of history rather than expanding their field of ignorance.

Now, here are some points of fact. The Pilgrims weren't Pilgrims at all, but colonists. They were re-branded as “Pilgrims” in the 19th century. Believe me, nobody ever went on a pilgrimage to Plymouth, Massachusetts! These colonists ended up there because, being incompetent sailors, they missed Boston Harbor by half a day's sail, and ended up in Plymouth Harbor, which is as exposed, shoal and as useless today as it was then. They did not celebrate Thanksgiving; being weird religious zealots, they didn't even celebrate Christmas. Despite fake “evidence” from “social media” of the period, they certainly didn't feast with the locals, who by that time spoke pretty good English and traded with the world. The locals thought these colonists were a bizarre religious cult (which indeed they were), that they were lousy and smelly (they never washed and had no idea about saunas or sweat lodges) and had repulsive personal habits (such as carrying their snot around with them wrapped in a rag). They were also quite hopeless at hunting or fishing, and survived by plundering the locals' kitchen gardens, then starved. To top it off, the “national” holiday was first created by Abraham Lincoln during the height of the Civil War, which (this you must surely know!) was much, much later. And he didn't call it “Thanksgiving”; he called it “Day of Atonement” for the horrible crimes Americans were committing against each other at the time.

But that's before the Frozen Turkey Marketing Association had a go at adjusting that story. It was a plan as simple as it is brilliant: they overdose you on Tryptophan, then, next day, while you are still groggy, they send you out into an over-hyped shopping frenzy and, sure enough,  you will be rack up some high-interest debt, which it will take you well into the next year to pay off. Plow some of that interest back into turkeys and holiday hype, and you have a national industry—one that drives people into debt buying imported products they don't need (remember, if doesn't say “Made in China” then it's probably fake) until everybody is broke.

With a history that fake, the American Ministry of Truth may yet manage to project it into the future as well. They may produce a level of ignorance so astonishingly high that Americans at large won't know that they have been defeated, thinking that the torrential downpour of the world's rancid slops raining down on their heads is God's rain, and being thankful for it. Unless, that is, enough Americans wake up and start making the word DEFEAT part of the national vocabulary. This is not a exceptional nation, not an indispensable nation, but a defeated one. Defeated by their own hands, mind you, because nobody particularly went out of their way to defeat them. They showed up to get beaten, over and over again, until they got what they came for.

Now, defeat has proven to be a great learning experience to many countries that then went on to be quite successful: Germany (on second try), Japan, Russia after the Cold War... Of course, the first step in that learning process is to admit defeat. But if you don't want to do that, that's OK, because there is always ignorance to give you all the strength you need.

36 comments :

forrest said...

By now it must be clear to everyone that surely you must know that a War Against Bad Stuff requires the continued existence of Bad Stuff to war against!

Therefore, the fact that we can continue to hire police and security guards and pay contractors to not wipe out Bad Stuff is not a defeat, but a successful effort towards keeping that war in operation. Ignorance is not weakness, but a windfall for eduhustlers. Slavery is not slavery, but an opportunity to feel good about our ability to eat dirt and smile. War is not war, but an ever-expanding market for ammunition and medical services.

LeGrand said...

I just knew we'd get slopped, us pigs. So lucid. Thanks.

afterthegoldrush said...

Dmitry, I've not posted here before, but have been following for years - but couldn't resist commenting on this post. Your dark humour and wry observation are in full flow here! A lively and brilliant summation.

It is really amazingly perplexing that the ignorance levels are so high - the dissonance brought about by that ignorance is off the charts too. One can only conclude that the ignorance is wilful.

I'd have to add that I doubt they'll be admitting defeat any time soon - over here in the UK the establishment still talk the talk of self-importance. We have a whole 'commonwealth' of countries to which we (belatedly) freely gave independence. Lost? Good heavens old boy, don't you know we brought them God, democracy, and freedom! (oh and wage slavery).

It seems that empires take a long time to die, and even longer to admit the fact. Thanks for your great work.

Matt

Marc L Bernstein said...

I found your article this week to be insightful, funny and quite accurate, which is typical of your writing. But one point you made keeps nagging at me. It pertains to ex-world chess champion Garry Kasparov.

Being a chess master myself and having played over hundreds of Kasparov's games, I certainly have come to respect Garry Kasparov, at least for his natural chess ability, his lasting influence on the game of chess and for his competitive fire. He commands admiration from nearly all knowledgeable chess players.

How good of a politician is Kasparov? Frankly I simply don't know. He failed at an attempt to unseat Ilyumzhinov as president of FIDE (the World Chess Federation). Kasparov is not accustomed to failure, as you can well imagine. Perhaps he overestimates his prospects in contexts other than chess.

I do know of one incident a few years ago in which Kasparov was injured after being hit on the head and had to spend a short time in prison. While he was in prison former world chess champion Anatoly Karpov visited him and begged him to be more careful. That's about all I can remember of that incident.

There was 1 other incident in which Kasparov was at a protest rally of some sort, was spotted by the police and promptly muscled unceremoniously into a van. My memory fails me beyond that point.

You (Dmitry Orlov) seem to regard Kasparov as something of a buffoon within the context of the political arena. I have no idea 1 way or the other.

I am, however, curious. What is wrong with Kasparov as a politician? Perhaps you have inside information that I don't have, or perhaps you are maintaining a high degree of familiarity with the details of the political events inside of Russia, and that includes Kasparov's machinations.

When you get around to it, perhaps you can fill me and the rest of your readers in on what is wrong with Kasparov as a Russian politician.

ArtS said...

Hey, but we're still the number 1 (and almost only) user of the English system of measurements!

We won't ever use meters and grams - you'll have to pry the 12 inch rulers from our cold dead fingers.

After we've accidentally 2nd amendment-ed ourselves.

Cheers!

janeflurry said...

Welll ... yeah..

Knowledge is finite, ignorance infinite.


Around here we just say: " you don't know what you don't know."

Rhisiart Gwilym said...

Another vintage post! Sharp, illuminating insight, with dead-pan Russian hilarity. What a blend! Could Groucho - or Karl - have done better?

God help the poor USAmerican commoners; ASAP: Admit comprehensive defeat; get over it; then go on towards the reduced, modest, much smaller US of NEAmerica, as pencilled-in in John Michael Greer's 'Twilight's Last Gleaming' - the story of what Indispensable Katy did after her final, decisive military defeat (with added nuclear brinking) by China and Russia.

deepian said...

Thanks Dmitri for this simply wonderful article about the hideous state of the "land of freedom". You are a lone voice of reason in an ocean of delusion and madness. Although I rarely comment, I really appreciate the work that you do on this blog and elsewhere, including unspell, and even your undertaking of tedious and toxic job of filtering out the comments of trolls so that your readers are not subjected to their bile... More power to your elbow.

Sixbears said...

The US hasn't had a solid "victory" since WWII -and Russia did the heavy lifting against Hitler in that one.

Well, we were able to deal with Grenada, so there's that.

The powers of denial are strong.

Now that money in the US is free speech I've got very little to say.

On the bright side, since this is not a functional democracy, I don't have to buy into what the government has done or is doing. I'm free to ignore the delusions and go my own darn way.

survivalchicken said...

I didn't know that about Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing the real story. I did stop to visit a rock at Plymouth harbor once and thought to myself "Here? Really?"

We don't eat turkey anymore because it's so full of poison these days, but Black Friday is one of the best days for buying ammo. Fortunately it was easy to order online which allowed us to shelter in place until the streets were safe to walk again.

Mister Roboto said...

And let us not forget that educated cousin of ignorance, cognitive dissonance. The most visible and striking example of cognitive dissonance in this country is embodied in those who still support the Democratic Party imagining that they are supporting some sort of alternative to empire and ruin. They quite literally do so to the point of making this notion into an effective non-falsifiable hypothesis. Seriously, if you want to see what John Michael Greer meant by "civic religion", look no further than those sad and creepy folks.

Professor Diabolical said...

The Imperial measuring system is making a comeback, mark my words!

k-dog said...

Perhaps it would not all be so FUBAR if ignorance didn't pay so well. Get ignorant and happy and doors can open for you. You might even be able to pay your bills. Ignorance is not guaranteed to bring you prosperity but in America having a solid perspective on reality simply does not pay. It is a disadvantage. Get positive!

Anyone who's extracted themselves from long term unemployment recently is very aware it's the bullshit that gets you hired. Truth must be spun until its shiny sweet and fresh with a floral scent. We can't all be published bloggers but it is a great gig if you can get it.

Most of us have to get by any way we can.

Odin's Raven said...

For how much longer will the rest of the world concern itself with the delusions of the American populace or their rulers?

Glenn in Maine said...

Hi Dmitry, regarding Thanksgiving: yes, the textbook version is incorrect, but the reality of how the holiday evolved is a bit less cynical. I’ll defend it as it’s my favorite (who can quibble about an event centered on a feast?). It’s also the lone true New England holiday, something that wasn’t celebrated in the rest of the US until Lincoln, so I’m protective of it. The notion of a day of thanksgiving, where the community paused to reflect on events and consider what they were grateful for, developed out of the Puritan (as opposed to Pilgrim) worldview. I accept that my ancestors were religious zealots, but did they not create a community that abided, or at least survived, to the present day? Much evolved to be sure, but still viable, and if any corner of the US is to remain civilized my money’s on New England, in large measure because of our roots. These include the underlying traditions embodied in the Thanksgiving holiday, and I would argue that is it one of the aspects which ought to survive the ‘cultural triage’ that Archdruid Greer discusses. So to dismiss the core concept because the modern American veneer is vile seems to me a mistake.

Best regards
Glenn in Maine

simon.dc3 said...

Just got to quickly read the title of this piece yesterday afternoon before getting occupied until evening when I sat + caught a little less than the last 1/2 hour of a C-SPAN segment where the Atlantic Council hosted a speech by Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt (the same that is recorded saying, "Oh,exactly..." to Victoria Nuland's "Fuck the EU" soliloquy).

I now found it online (www.c-span.org/video/?323121-1/discussion-ukraine) and intent to watch the whole thing from the beginning.
First, the cognitive dissonance I experienced was amazing. I've never done mind-altering drugs (besides alcohol) but watching this is what being on hallucinogens must be like. And when I stopped to give it the benefit of the doubt, that maybe I was missing something, that his purview is clearly much bigger than mine, etc.

But then, watching the war-hawks getting up to comment --on why the US is delaying kicking Russia out of "Crimea which has so much hydrocarbons in its territorial waters to make the whole of the EU energy independent", and so much more nonsense that left me with the feeling it all was said more to assure each other of their own reality than actual reality on the ground.

Then in the last 4mins a woman gets up, she tries to touch on the instability being caused by the US, how US policy is actually lending support to extremists not unlike WWII national socialists who caused so much mayhem in Europe and Russia. Am thinking they must have known her from before because she was left as the last commenter, she was rushed during her comments. And when Pyatt does answer he does it in a roundabout way answering first some of the warhawks and then incorporating some of her inquiry into his final response. Which did not touch in the slightest her main concerns. Made me chuckle, made me feel like someone was trying to squeeze into one of the pages of Brave New World or 1984 to be one of the non-descript characters residing in it.

You should definitely watch it, it runs for an hour and can be found at www.c-span.org/video/?323121-1/discussion-ukraine.

james cole said...

The real test of human tolerance is to watch the major American media outlets at work. CNN beggars description as it shill for the neoconservative and Zionist agenda. FOX is simply brain washing for people with no brains to start with, as five minutes of their "news" delivered by used car and make up sales people is other worldly in it's non-stop lie fest. The so called liberal MSNBC seems to be a determined to prove liberal support the troops too kind of channel. All these media outlets are owned in part by giant arms manufacturers and their corporate boards. Thus "war" always is a good idea, Obama can carry out any crime and still be the Nobel Peace Prize Winner. You want Orwellian?? Try this. "American President Obama holds the Nobel Peace Prize, and has not yet returned it to it's owners". That is Orwellian. In fact, Orwell was writing about the West in "1984", he was laying out the future direction of democracies of the west. He was right, and we have the evidence right before us, as there is a 100% chance that this post I just made is already being stored and subjected to processing for it's threat level by the American secret police. No person on earth can express in a phone call, news paper, internet post or any other form of communication, any thought that America's secret police does not store and scrutinize for any thought's no approved by America's ruling elites. They admit that this is their right because America is the world exceptional people, and god endows them with this power. And any question of this power makes you a terrorist threat.

Grebulocities said...

I caught what must be a mistake: the Ministry of Truth referred to the glorious, pro-Western, even Orangier revolution as a coup. It would be doubleplusungood if this were to get out for general consumption.

More seriously, this post reminds me of something. It does seem that, although the sanctions are laughable, the crash in oil prices may cause some fairly serious damage to the Russian economy. Has the US been pushing Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to keep producing flat out, in order to crash oil prices and punish Russia for its continued disobedience? Even though this will obviously crush the fracking and tar sands industries as well, oil consumers here would benefit, as would the Saudis after prices rebound without as many pesky competitors around anymore. Given that a similar trick was pulled in the mid-1980s and crippled the USSR, it seems quite likely that we'd try it again while it's still possible.

If so, would a serious oil price-related recession eventually force the Russians to appear more cooperative and maybe make some concessions, so that our elites can declare victory without having that be another obvious lie? Obviously Ukraine isn't getting back Crimea and probably won't be reasserting control over Donbass, but it's possible that the US and EU could negotiate a stronger position over the rest of the country than they would if Russia's economy remained strong.

Terry T said...

This post made me laugh so hard I almost fell out of my overstuffed recliner/beer fridge/portapotty/tv remote while watching the 24 hour sports news cycle!

I'm sure you're aware (!) that biotech and big agra have partnered with our elites to genetically alter our food content such that the above-mentioned recliner will have its potty and fridge functions integrated so that the average American will become self sufficient. Perpetual Excrementalism they call it. There's so little effort required that people will "internalize" it immediately. Sounds like victory to me!

It's a colloquialism that says, "Don't piss on my back and tell me it's raining." Our think tanks and propaganda news networks have us begging for more piss.

I sometimes think I'm living in a parallel universe-- or at least some sort of "exceptional" fetishist's dungeon. Then I get some insight of what the halls of power must look like.

badnewswade said...

I've got my differences with you (hello, banhammer!) but I gotta say I love your acerbic wit and wry observations, which keeps me coming back time after time.

Naz Droyvey! (I'm prolly doing that wrong)

seha alturk said...

It's as good as it can get, never known an engineer writing so well before.

Mister Roboto said...

I recently thought up a little ditty that sums up what I think of what this country has become, sung to the tune of I'm A Good Ol' Rebel, which is a pretty offensive song. I managed to make my version equally offensive in its own particular way. :-)

I'm a big city Yankee,
That's just what I am.
And for this redneck nation,
I do not give a damn.
I hope it falls to pieces,
Because that's its just deserts,
And if you don't like to hear that,
Well, the truth it often hurts.

I detest its shallow pop-culture,
And it's money-worship too.
I detest its provincialism,
And I think that so should you.
We think we're so exceptional,
But really we are not.
The only good thing about it,
Is some states have legal pot.

We are a rotten empire,
That has betrayed all faith and trust.
The best that it can hope for,
Is to quickly bite the dust.
The world is getting sick of
How we throw around our weight.
Our vanishing so-called freedom,
Is not the thing they hate.

Because I live in this country,
I'll probably get crushed in its fall,
And people I know will suffer,
And that's not nearly all.
But we chose to reap the whirlwind,
Through ignorance and greed.
We gave in to all the brainwashing,
And that's not what we need.

If we find ourselves back here,
In some future life,
Hopefully we will have then learned
Not to create so much strife.
Selfishness ain't the answer,
And ignorance ain't the way,
To make a stable society,
That in God's grace will maybe stay.

Tom Carberry said...

"
With ignorance, you don't even have to make the case: ignorant people are some of the most knowledgeable people on earth—according to them."

Loved this essay, particularly the ignorance segments.

The theme of this essay actually has a scientific name -- the Dunning Krueger Effect. Many studies have replicated the original results, in which stupid people always have a higher view of their own intelligence than warranted. And on the flip side, smart people tend to have lower views of their intelligence compared to others.

Or as Bertrand Russell said, "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

forrest said...

A confirming echo from Michael Hudson today...
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/11/the-new-cold-war-policy-has-backfired/

My donkey said...

Lots of nice zingers in this one. I particularly like "if it's not Made in China it's probably fake".

Regarding defeat/victory in wars, the dividing line is often blurry, especially from a personal loss-of-life perspective in which there are no winners among the dead. Reminds me of a quote by Jean-Paul Sarte: "Once you hear the details of victory, it is hard to distinguish it from a defeat."

Unknown said...

The current oil glut looks like it will be hard on Russian revenues. Today, Dec 12, 2014, oil was going as low as about$57/bbl. One wonders if this is due to US backed Saudi production and the Petro dollar fighting back. Whose defeat? Whose victory? Oil Demand destruction due to high prices may turn into demand creation, but in the meantime, Russia is screwed... so is the US fracking industry.

Dmitry Orlov said...

The whole "Russia is screwed by low oil prices" meme is tiresome. Russia gets 18% of its state revenues from hydrocarbon exports. If oil is down 40% and the ruble is down 40%, the revenues are unchanged. Gas exports are unaffected. On the other hand, western banks who lent to both the US fracking industry and Russian corporations are indeed screwed. The frackers are going bankrupt, while the Russian corporations can declare force majeur due to western sanctions.

Mark Davis said...

Oil prices are collapsing because of the end of QE.Price discovery was destroyed long ago, so it is nothing to do with demand.That is market propaganda.The easy liquidity from the fed trashed the dollar and speculators sought refuge in commodities.This is a signal.It is not just that the money printing has ended for now, but rather some powerful financial forces "in the know" realize that rate hikes are coming and that the indebted West can no longer kick the can down the road.

shrimp said...

Dimitry - just started reading your blog here - great insights and well written.. keep up the good work please! a couple of thoughts on 1984 etc...I watched the movie Idiocracy by Mike Judd a while ago and would recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it for a preview of what might be in store for the usa (and yes I happen to have been born in the good old usa) and on knowledge is ignorance - you have to include Donald Rumsfeld's "known knowns" as a totally classic Geo Orwell 1984 Ministry of Truth type of quote that needs to be remembered when trying to
unravel the BS coming out of any government talking head/puppet ... but very worrisome about what the banks and a few govs are going to be up to as Russia, China and the Brics are going to walk all around the west imperialism soon enough... Thanks again for your great insights!

and this comment from the guy who said one day before 9/11 that he couldn't find where 2-3 trillion dollars had gone missing from the Pentagon budget... maybe for DUMB bases? or for off planet space stations that are not actually in the US gov budget?


"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."

Donald Rumsfeld


Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/d/donaldrums148142.html#EtehygxBIoXc1lZX.99

Mister Roboto said...

@Mark Davis: I find your theory rather more plausible than all this duck-quacking I hear about the Saudis trying to level the US fracking industry or the Obama Administration and the Saudis cutting a deal to try and economically bring down Russia. While those narratives come off as arcane conspiracy theories, it is a well-established fact that QE and ZIRP created quite the bubble in commodities. During the height of this bubble, a contributor to Chris Martensen's website pointed out that even "Dr. Copper" (the relative price of copper being a mostly reliable predictor of where the economy is heading) was wandering around town in a drunken stupor. But now it really looks like the party is over and the punch-bowl is down to the dregs. And yes, Dr. Copper has been laid low by quite the hangover.

Candace Moore said...

I would like to add that VIOLENCE IS TOLERANCE. Americans express their tolerance for different cultures not only abroad but at home too. As a black person I am acutely aware of this tolerance every time the police politely (sarcasm) speak to me for acts like walking near a synagogue to go pray (Apparently I look suspicious, which is really a word for not white...) and I hope I'm not blessed with the tremendous tolerance people of difference classes and races get (murder). At this point people of my background (black) have more of a wealth gap with whites than did blacks under South African apartheid, or even ourselves half a generation ago; but this phenomenon of the country pulling apart based on demography is PROGRESS, or so I'm told....

rapier said...

Slavery is freedom. That is American freedom, the kind celebrated in remembering Americas founding by the constitution, would not had happened if there had not been chattel slavery here. America the land of the free would never have happened without slavery.

Slavery was the dominant factor in creating wealth in America and by 1860 slaves were it's largest asset class. A United States of America only made sense in economic terms because of slavery.

To this very day the most powerful political groups in America equate the ending of slavery with the loss of freedom



Casse Couille said...

ArtS said...

Hey, but we're still the number 1 (and almost only) user of the English system of measurements!

We won't ever use meters and grams - you'll have to pry the 12 inch rulers from our cold dead fingers.
---

Hehe, some of you don't agree. A dear old American friend of mine, Richard Dean, one heck of an engineer and blessed with a functional brain used to complain with something like:

"How can anyone ever accomplish anything well with a system of measurement based on the size of the kings dick?!"

Cheers!

Rodney Hill said...

I think the end of ignorance will be once the middle class becomes aware just how badly they're being kicked around by what Gerald Celente calls the "white shoe boys, from Harvard, Princeton, and Yale". You can blame the educational system and the media for the level of ignorance, with both in decline for a number of decades, and not being stellar to begin with. Neither respects their captive audiences. At least during the 1960s a bright working class kid could go to the University of California or a similar university for very little in the way of tuition. Not now, and military contractors now own the mainstream media. One thing I have learned over the years is that the unreality and corruption comes from the top and filters down. The country can't face the fact that it is controlled by an oligarchy of robber baron families that is several generations removed from the founders and inclined toward fascism and empire to maintain and expand their wealth. Go as a student to Harvard or Yale and right there as faculty and benefactors are the very same people who are responsible for the present plight of the steadily shrinking middle class, and who will sick the FBI/CIA/police intelligence apparatus - the secret police, really - on anybody with a serious critique critical of corporatism who attends these schools or somehow gets the attention of a David Rockefeller or Henry Kissinger, for instance. These are the people responsible for the ills of empire, who are part of the Skull and Bone Yale secret society in many instances, who control the CIA and military contractor corporations, who start the death squads and the torture, who have trained the police in the US since the 1950s to repress protest and social change and to roll back the New Deal.

Sid said...

Dmitry,

Damn I said (to myself) I wasn't going to comment. Now I have a connundrum, am I 1%, 99% or in the Bin? Move along please, nothing to see, no spectral analysis here...

I met a Russian once when staying in a Buddhist monastery not long after the fall of the wall. I recall he had the habit of turning the engine of his car off when going down hill, and he knew a good cabbage when he saw one... lessons I found invaluable.

Atone for ones sins... How does one atone for ones ancestors? It was him (or her) what did it!

Next up Father Christmas was invented by a beverage company, and Orwell was going to call it 1948 but thought it was too close to the present and so called it 1984... As for statements of purpose, John Gall has a system for that system; to paraphrase: Ro/Rs tends to unity for the reality of the leaders, and complete dis-unity for the society they sit atop of.

I blame Job's Apple for not inventing the iTime Machine, then we would have nicely pixilated images and garbled text to tell us exactly what happened back then.

Personally I have more trust in the Hopi prophecy than most of modern science, but then maybe I have only half a brain:
http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20141216-can-you-live-with-half-a-brain
Maybe everyone should get a brain scan, just to prove that its not the brain that is at fault but the damn programming...

But then what do I know about biology? I studied physics but dropped out when I naively queried if the knowledge set I was being given would lead to a career in building WoMDs. They told me to be careful what I said. Still look on the bright side, instead of destroying the world, I destroyed my life (as a slave). Still, while facing personal oblivion (being outcast from a society, even a slave society, still means being an outcast and everything that goes with it, as the Turtle Islanders well new) , at least I have some semblance of integrity...

Ignorance is but believing the (f*ckhtml)windmills(/strike) matrix of the mind.

L,
Sid.

John Smith said...

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