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A while ago I had the pleasure of hearing Sergey Glazyev—economist, politician, member of the Academy of Sciences, adviser to Pres. Putin—say something that very much confirmed my own thinking. He said that anyone who knows mathematics can see that the United States is on the verge of collapse because its debt has gone exponential. These aren't words that an American or a European politician can utter in public, and perhaps not even whisper to their significant other while lying in bed, because the American eavesdroppers might overhear them, and then the politician in question would get the Dominique Strauss-Kahn treatment (whose illustrious career ended when on a visit to the US he was falsely accused of rape and arrested). And so no European (never mind American) politician can state the obvious, no matter how obvious it is.
The Russians have that pretty well figured out by now. Yes, maintaining a dialogue and cordial directions with the Europeans is important. But it is well understood that the Europeans are just a bunch of American puppets with no will or decision-making authority of their own, so why not talk to the Americans directly? Alas, the Americans too are puppets. The American officials and politicians are definitely puppets, controlled by corporate lobbyists and shady oligarchs. But here's a shocker: these are also puppets—controlled by the simple imperatives of profitability and wealth preservation, respectively. In fact, it's puppets all the way down. And what's at the bottom is a giant, ever-expanding, financial black hole.
Do you like your black hole? If you aren't sure you like it, then let me ask you some other questions: Do you like the fact that your credit cards still work, or that you can still keep money in the bank and even get cash out of an ATM, or that you are either receiving or hope to eventually receive a pension? Do you like the fact that you can get useful things—food, gas, airline tickets—for mere pieces of paper with pictures of dead white men on them? Do you like the fact that you have internet access, that the lights are on, and that there is water on tap? Well, if you like these things, then you must also like the financial black hole, because that's what's making all of these things possible in spite of your country being bankrupt. Perhaps it's a love-hate relationship: you love being able to pretend that everything is still OK even though you know it isn't, and you wish to enjoy a bit more of the business-as-usual before it all goes to hell, be it for a few more days or another year or two; but you hate the fact that eventually the black hole will suck you in, after which point things will definitely... suck.
In the United States, so far the black hole has been sucking in individual families (although it does sometimes suck in entire cities, like Detroit, Michigan, or Bakersfield, California, or Camden, New Jersey). With the help of the fraudulent mortgage racket, it sucks in houses, and spits them out again encumbered with bad debt. With the help of the medical industry, it sucks in sick people and spits them out again, bankrupt. With the help of the higher education racket, it sucks in hopeful young people, and spits them out as graduates, with worthless degrees and saddled with mountainous student debt. With the help of the military-industrial complex, it sucks in just about anything and spits out corpses, invalids, environmental damage, terrorists and global instability. And so on.
But the black hole can also suck in entire countries. Right now it's busy trying to suck in Greece, but it's having a hard time with it, because Greece is, of all things, a democracy. This has the black hole's puppets in quite a state at the moment, and starting to clamor for “regime change” in Greece, so that Greece can be made to capitulate before the black hole gets hungry.
The way the black hole sucks in entire countries is as follows. If the black hole doesn't have enough to suck in for a period of time, it gets hungry and makes the financial markets go into free-fall. The financial instruments of countries that happen to be farther away from the black hole—out on the periphery—fall faster. In search of a “safe haven,” money floods out of these countries and into the “core” countries that are clustered tightly around the black hole—the US, Germany, Japan and a few others. The black hole gobbles up this money, but is then hungry for more. But since the periphery countries are now financially too weak to resist, they can easily be turned into black hole fodder. This is done by saddling the country with a foreign debt it can never repay, then forcing it to keep making payments against this debt by making it a condition for maintaining a financial lifeline—keeping the banks open, the ATMs stocked, the lights on and so on. To be able to make the payments, the country is forced to dismantle its society and economy through the imposition of austerity, to privatize everything in sight turning it into collateral for more loans, and to surrender its sovereignty to some transnational organizations, such as the IMF and the ECB, which are directly involved in the care and feeding of the black hole.
Who is in charge of all this? you might ask. If all there is is the black hole, the puppets charged with its care and feeding, and its hapless victims, then who is making the decisions? Well, it turns out that the black hole is sentient. But it is also very, very stupid. And the way is enforces its will is by destroying the minds of its puppets—by making them unable to understand certain things. However, stupidity is a double-edged sword, and in enforcing its will in this manner the black hole also thwarts its own purpose.
For example, some time ago the black hole happened upon a rather large item it wanted to suck in, but couldn't. The item is called Russian Federation. It controls a huge territory that is full of all sorts of natural resources the black hole would love to turn into loan collateral and suck in. The problem is that it is full of Russians, who are a difficult people for the black hole's puppets to deal with. They keep telling the puppets to please keep their toes on the other side of that red line over there, and if they don't then click goes the safety on their guns, precluding further discussion.
This situation calls for negotiation, but the black hole, which, as I mentioned, is very, very stupid, has just one negotiating tactic. It makes its demands, and then waits for the other side to capitulate. If that doesn't work, it applies pressure: imposes sanctions, attacks the currency, complicates financial transactions, arrests the country's foreign assets and so on—and waits for the other side to capitulate. And if that doesn't work either, then the country gets bombed to rubble by NATO or, if NATO doesn't want to come along, by the US alone. That generally works, but in the case of Russia it doesn't. But the black hole, if you recall, is very, very stupid, so it keeps trying anyway. As it does, the minds of its puppets get really warped, to a point where they don't understand what's going on at all.
For example, everybody knows by now that pressuring Russia doesn't work: according to Newton's Third Law, every action produces an equal and opposite reaction, and Russia is big enough that pushing it doesn't cause it to move at all—it just causes whoever is pushing it to hurt themselves. It's like trying to shift the Earth's orbit by jumping off a chair while keeping your knees locked—which is a good ploy if you are clamoring for medical attention. In fact, the Russians are rather grateful for the sanctions, because now they have a reason to finally get serious about investing in domestic economic development and self-sufficiency. But the puppets, having had their minds warped by the black hole, cannot see that, so they just keep pushing, wrecking their own economies in the process.
Since the sanctions don't work, it is time to exercise the military option. Doing so requires concocting a casus belli—a reason to go to war. The black hole does this by hallucinating: Russia invaded Crimea!—sure, a few hundred years ago, and has been there ever since, most recently based on an international agreement, but never mind! (Oh, and legally Crimea was never actually made part of the Ukraine because Nikita Khrushchev botched the paperwork when handing it over.) OK, never mind that, but then Russia invades the Ukraine!—on every day that has the letter “D” in it, but it's very sneaky and withdraws its troops before anybody can snap a single picture of them there. OK, never mind that either, but then Russia is poised to invade Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and maybe Poland too. Invade how? You mean like take a bus to the music festival in Jūrmala? Consider it done, but the festival is already over and the invading music fans are back home. OK, never mind that either. But the puppets keep saying “Russian aggression!” over and over again. It's the brain damage caused by proximity to the black hole. Look at this poor guy, for instance. He keeps flapping his lower jaw, going “Russian aggression! Russian aggression!” while trying to self-soothe by fondling the rump of his imaginary pet cow. God help him.
Back to the real world: the poor puppets are unable to understand that there is no military option when it comes to Russia: it's a nuclear power with an excellent strategic deterrent, a well-defended territory, and no aggressive intentions against anyone. But the puppets, with their warped minds, cannot see that, and so they pile various kinds of obsolete military junk along Russia's borders, and are even threatening to bring into Europe the entirely obsolete Pershing medium-range nuclear missiles. They are obsolete because the Russians now have the S-300 system with which to shoot them all down. The military option just isn't going to work, but don't tell that to the puppets—they cannot absorb such information without sustaining further neurological damage.
Back to Greece: tiny Greece certainly isn't mighty Russia, but it nevertheless refused to capitulate to the demands of the black hole. It was asked to completely wreck its society and its economy as a condition for maintaining its financial lifelines from the IMF and the ECB. Most inconveniently for the black hole and its puppets, Greece is not some obscure “third world” country peopled by dark-skinned people you wouldn't want your daughter to marry, but a European nation that is the cradle of European civilization and democracy. Greece managed to elect a government that tried to negotiate in good faith, but the puppets don't negotiate—they demand, threaten and cause damage until they get their way—or until their heads explode.
This one will be interesting to watch. If the black hole does succeed in sucking in Greece, then which country is next? Will it be Italy, Spain or Portugal? And, as that process continues, at what point will enough people say that enough is enough? Because when they do, the black hole will shrivel up. It's not a real black hole that's made up of incredibly dense matter—so dense that its gravitational field traps even light. It's a fake black hole, made up of everyone's combined greed. It has greed at its core, and fear all around it, and it sustains itself by feeding on fear. If it can continue sucking in people, families and entire countries, it can keep the greed at its core alive, but if it can't, then the greed will also turn to fear, and it will shrivel up and die. And I hope that when it dies all of its brain-damaged puppets will snap out of it, realize how deluded they have been, and go find something useful to do—farm sheep, grow vegetables, dig for clams...
Nice analogy, Dmitri.
For my part, I look forward to helping those involved in feeding the black hole (aka "Vampire Squid"), such as real estate agents, to gather some useful skills, once they snap out of their collective stupor. Thinking like this helps me to avoid demonizing individuals, which is largely how humanity got into this mess in the first place. Keep up the good work and I'm interested to hear how your engine replacement goes!
big ups and respect from New Zealand
Delightfully put Dmitri, as always. It's fascinating listening to the bleating, wailing and bluster, spewing forth from all directions. I suspect the Greek population may vote yes - like most of the world, their consume bombarded brains have them believing the EU is the land of milk and honey......I await the next sentence(to long till the next chapter) with interest.
funny! -- I enjoyed reading this.
A few other bloggers have said something similar, either about Greece, about Europe or about the entire global financial train wreck that is occurring in slow motion - Paul Craig Roberts, Ugo Bardi and James Howard Kunstler. There are several others, maybe Chris Martenson, who have said similar things about the global financial situation and about the precariousness of finances in the USA.
All of us have to keep saying something to ourselves to cheer ourselves up, realizing that whatever symbolic wealth we have is probably worth a lot less than what it appears on paper. My situation is simple since I have no wife or children, and I assiduously avoid going into debt.
Can you imagine the anxiety and desperation of a man with a family, many different kinds of expenses and a complicated set of liabilities and debts? The thought of financial collapse must be so disturbing that such a person simply refuses to think about it. It's that simple.
What we have is a massive collection of people who simply cannot bear to look at the financial blackhole, to use your analogy.
"It has greed at its core, and fear all around it, and it sustains itself by feeding on fear."
The Greeks are facing this fear, and "throwing the bums out," it seems.
Like the Black Hole? Hardly! No, the best way to describe my emotions towards the Black Hole is feeling trapped. I would happily give up all the amenities you mentioned if the Black Hole would just disappear and alternative systems could be set up quickly and easily. However, I recognize that is just a fantasy too, the end of the Black Hole will be messy, painful, and require a ton of hard work, if it even happens in my lifetime.
The whole "Russian aggression!" thing is the political game of "repeat something often enough and, even if completely untrue, it BECOMES true to the listening audience". It is (mostly) working too. Many Americans actually regurgitate the nonsense about "aggressive Russia" and the "need to slap down Ivan". I look around and wonder "WHAT aggression? WHERE?". The ONLY thing someone can even half-assed point to is Ukraine but then, as you state, Crimea isn't really Ukraine AND it was the US and NATO that started the whole mess with their coup. I try to argue thus: What would happen if Russia were to foment a coup in Mexico and, after the collapse of the Mexican government, selected the replacement government? Would the US stand idly by? Of COURSE not! The US would be alarmed and become much more "aggressive" than Russia has with regards to Ukraine. I do grow so weary of the US belief that everyone should do as it says, not as it does. Or, IOKIADI (It's OK if America does it).
As for the financial Black Hole, that is THE real reason behind US/European aggression towards Russia. China and Russia are twinned on this but China is simply too heavily entrenched in US finance and the Western economy to do anything DIRECTLY to it. Nonetheless, China and Russia and the BRICS are threatening the dollar which threatens the life of the black hole. The black hole CAN continue almost indefinitely so long as the dollar remains THE world reserve currency and the West follows neoliberal/austerian policies. Undermine that setup, however, and the dollar consumes itself and everyone dependent upon it. China and Russia have committed the one unforgivable sin: they have started setup of a competitor to the IMF, a pure tool of the US government, and are moving to creating a competing reserve currency. That cannot be permitted even though there is literally nothing short of actual war, nuclear war by necessity, that can stop it. Washington can try and destabilize Russia economically with the main goal of causing a popular uprising against Putin and his allies (the intent is to then put another Boris Yeltson into power, a puppet who is willing to gut his own country, loot his own people, to feed big banks and, ultimately, the Black Hole.
Russia and China are targets the same way that Libya was, but Libya was too small and weak to fend off the US and NATO. Libya was on its way to creating an All Africa Development Bank, with reserves backed by gold, tons of gold, acquired by Libya. The sin that must not be allowed to happen unpunished. It would have frozen out the IMF and, by extension, the US from ruling over Africa and its "development" (ie, privatization and looting). Libya was crushed by NATO and, mysteriously, all that gold vanished. Hmmmmm. Now Africa is once again subject to the gentle ministrations of the IMF unless and until the BRICS launch their alternative once and for all.
Basically, the US prefers failed states to coherent and prosperous states that are independent of US economic rule. The US would be happy to see Russia become a failed state if it cannot get its way and install a Yeltsonesque puppet again. Russia just hasn't cooperated thus far. I truly hope it holds out for while I don't particularly like Putins oligarchic government, I can't say I'd prefer to see it become a puppet US oligarchic state.
The best succinct explanation for the black hole that I’ve seen, Dmitry. For readers who’ve not read more extensively on this subject, I suggest Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, by John Perkins, and The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, by Naomi Klein.
As for the black hole’s current target, the people of Greece should build a monument to their independence, in the form of an enormous upraised arm, with middle finger extended, pointed toward Washington.
Hey, I don't know what kind of anti-missle system the Russians have got, but as far as I ever understood these things: With nuclear ballistic missles, you don't 'get them all', while only catching most of them still leaves you with widespread fires & great big holes where a lot of people got cooked.
So while I'd respect 'a nuclear deterrent' much as I'd respect a pissed mama bear or a horde of bees defending their airspace, it ain't nuthin to brag about. It may save Russia, or it may just get everyone of us fried a little sooner, depending on how crazy people can get. I know, people can get very crazy, but so far human intervention has kept The Big One from falling several times when our confusers were recommending we push The Button -- so there may be some limit.
Anyway, it now looks like the Germans aren't entirely the US puppets you describe here -- If they can't buy Russian gas through the Ukraine they're perfectly willing to have it piped to them more directly. http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/06/29/putin-gobsmacks-uncle-sam-again/
They'll go on being polite about our owners' lies & delusions, for awhile, but it looks like they're descretely keeping their own score.
As John D. Wheeler said, I would give up those amenities if it meant the black hole would go away. The problem is that black holes don't negotiate. All they do is eat and eat and eat until nothing is left. Even dumping the whole United States into the black hole right away won't stop it from eating the rest of the world at this point. Globalization just means there's more on the menu for the black hole.
And because we live in extremely sensitive times, I want to note that I use the term black hole NOT as a slur against persons of color (as some might claim), but because it is still the commonly accepted term for the cosmological event also known as a singularity with an event horizon.
Forrest: HAH! Outstanding on the gas line deal. I love to see that sort of thing. The White House is CERTAIN to try and convince Merkel to kill the deal.
The US/NATO playing warmonger in or around Germany was bound to rile them up again, just as it did in the 80s. All the IRBMs in Germany made the German PEOPLE very unhappy. It was a huge bullseye on their country and was an ironclad guarantee that if NATO and the USSR ever came to blows, Germany was absolutely assured of being blown into radioactive dust and sheets of glass. No one wants to be THE subject of that. I had been thinking that all Russia needed to do, if NATO continued its provocations, was to move NEW(er) generation IRBMs into Western Russia - IRBMs that could evade US ABM systems. Boom, suddenly the Germans once again feel the itch between the shoulder blades of being a big bullseye. But then again, that would likely be doing exactly what the US/NATO leaders want. It would be used to fire up the big defense industries again on steroids. I suspect that the military sector, defense spending, is seen as about the ONLY thing left to fire up western economies again (main the US). Without a good boogyman for an enemy, it's hard to get the public behind huge new military spending. They want to be able to get new aircraft carriers, submarines, destroyers, the F-35 and more, all going again in earnest because there's money to be made there for a few AND it is about the only way to create new decent jobs that cannot be offshored. Trade deals or not, Washington isn't going to let Vietnam or Malaysia or any other foreign nation compete for military contracts. That all has to be Made in the USA to fly. Russia needs to cooperate, however, or it is just CLEARLY wasted money spent moving troops and equipment around.
BTW, how about that F-35!
> Washington isn't going to let Vietnam or Malaysia or any other foreign nation compete for military contracts. That all has to be Made in the USA to fly.
Too late for that. Check out how our brave astronauts get to and from the International Space Station. And if that isn't 'military' enough, where does the US MIC get its rocket engines? Are they still made in Alabama or Texas?
The demonizing of Putin continues today on public radio. NPR reports this morning that Putin is part of the Russian Mafia committing malfeasance in Spain. The black stops at nothing.
The first thing I thought of after reading todays blog is you may be likely to have an unexplainable "accident" and that article's like this will cease to be produced......
Fantastic article, Dmitri, thank you, I got so many good laughs out of that, and you're bang on the money. That is exactly what is going down. For once, you've stuck to the truth. Well, mostly, but I won't say anything. It's definitely an article for the record books. Well done, Orlov, it's a great one.
Even out of the perceived major impact zone, here in southern Mexico, doubt creeps in whenever standing in a long ATM line with the dutiful locals, laying in a shitpot of beans and rice, stuffing a delusional mattress with a connoisser buttload of fiat trash, and cultivating some damn fine neighbors. Aware of what’s approaching we celebrate the old guard paradigm and head to to the local mall on the 6 peso city bus to catch the wonder of Jurrasic World at the Cineplex after plopping down a whopping $3.35 for a portion of the working mans liberation….. local brainwash Padre Kino red lovingly liberated from its one litre confinement.
It’s becoming increasingly tiring listening to podcasts from the fading empire extolling folks to freaking-right-damn-now safeguard your wealth in this and that. Just trundling some very meager goods and a tiny stash of “precious” metal down here, from the USSA, has shown me how jacked up it is to hold to the notion you can safeguard the future due to entrenched fear. And how tedious and numbing it is to strategize preserving resources defined by the current financial ridiculousness. More and more I am of the opinion this is a great time to lay in a few years supplies, find a truly benign backwater (best below the northern hemisphere nuclear impact zone), and just celebrate some local culture for a good few years while the current systems destruct and possibly, if we’re really fortunate, redefine into some semblance of global trade and supplies.
If not….. well…. then it is a distinct possibility that what is going on locally is going to be “it” from then on. Chosen carefully is that so bad?
here's some Russian jets for comparison...well, NO comparison...
The U.S. martinets are not really contemplating military action because the U.S. never acts without "overwhelming force." The whole increase in tension is, in part, about keeping Europe in line and it has worked a little--the U.S. has a firmly established carrot and stick approach that all Euro leaders know about and as DSK learned to his chagrin--just to put it all in perspective nearly all officials and heavy hitters in the ruling class have sexual contacts with a variety of people and have for generations. But the real reason for all this nonsense is to keep international tensions high or at least appear high in order to milk more money out of American tax-payers to spend on the Military-Industrial-Security racket that dominates American realpolitik. Putin knows that so he's not worried and, I believe, has received assurances from Kerry that this is all for show--what the U.S. can do, however, is cause problems for the Russians in the economic sphere and continue to run annoying covert operations against Russia and Russian elites.
Thanks, well written, funny and sad at the same time.
Please when there's an update on the sail boat post a picture or two
This black hole analogy, which makes it appear a spinning vortex, demonstrates that it consumes a lot of energy, so it sews the seed of its destruction. It will self destruct when there is too little energy to maintain it.
I read this:
And thought of you...your writings might go down well in that paper...
Do the Russians still maintain kitchen gardens and own their homes mortgage-free? The black hole's survival rest as much on increasing the division of labor as it does on exploiting natural resources, as so it has already exhausted it's greatest source of power: the migration of Chinese peasants from subsistence villages to urban centers to be exploited by global corporations. This isn't really about the survival of the black hole debt racket, because it's doomed anyways even if it consumes the Taiga, but wether any modern nation is able to avoid getting sucked in the maelstrom.
Kropotkin: so-called "individualism" under Capitalism is the attempt to escape the results of Capitalism.
[Or: Capitalism causes "individualism" as a reaction to escape the ravages of Capitalism.]
The fake black hole!? I now have a visual that I cannot forget, Dmitry. Sandy LOL
Sometimes I reflect upon the Georgia Guidestones. Maybe there are those, with the power to construct that monument without any of us knowing who they are, that believe in an earthly utopia of one world governance with only 500,000,000 left on the entire planet. (That would be the black hole that 6.5 Billion +/- of us would be sucked into.)
I have nothing against Russia, nothing whatsoever. And it's good that there are voices that can counter the USA and western media's constant Putin/Russia bashing, like you, Dimitry. However, nations are comprised of people, who collectively gather a nationalistic mindset, largely comprised of their personal histories, and the indoctrination of the system they were raised inside. Russia has been lucky in this regard. America has become a big infotainment commercial. There is little substance or community left in this country.
And, what if this is the plan? I surely don't know, but I ponder such notions. I see enough evidence to substantiate such a paranoid, delusional line of thinking, also.
So, while we all pound our chests and raise our flags, what is really going on? We are all in this together really. And my biggest question is, how could any group of humans become so overcome by wealth and hubris to believe that there will even be a planet for humans to survive on in another few decades, given the exponential speed of our own destruction of our finite planet?
Just some thoughts . . .
One has heard of the famous triviality of evil (and this bleakly black hole that it inhabits), but Orlov shows how STEW-EW-EW-PID it is, too. Good for us others, for if it were less STOO-OO-OO-PID (alternative pronunciation to vary the heightening contempt) it might be even more dangerous than it, alas, already is.
One of your best posts ever. The only problem is that... the black hole has no idea it is a black hole. It believes it is part of the universe reasonable people live in. It lives on the assumption that it has to do what it does because... IT HAS BEEN GIVEN A MISSION! Which one and by whom, nobody knows. The black hole claims to be "of God". Everything the black hole ever printed to justify its blackholeness has the word "God" on it. Its constitution, its money, its everything. Every puppet of the black hole acts by and for God. "God bless you" is black hole mantra.
But, and as Nassim Haramein demonstrated, black holes are not empty space sucking in matter. Black holes appear to be quite full and... an entire different dimension altogether, completely disassociated from the universe. A black hole is a portal of sort. A portal to what? A dimension called God or a dimension called hell? A black hole might simply be humanity's ultimate pendulum test: when it swing way too far, the chain has to break. At what level does it? Before complete annihilation such as Mars underwent, according to John E, Brandenburg? Or is Gregg Braden right and black hole won't survive?
I know that, living in Canada (since Québec is just too lazy to separate), I shall suffer the calamity of this "black holerie" that the elites are plunging the Western (stupid) world into. I am not, alas, in the BRICS. As someone in the seventh decade of life, I also know how vulnerable I am. At least I had a pretty great life before this, unlike these poor kids around me who will perish or at least suffer prematurely. I read and read and view and view to understand better what is happening. I also am trying to get out of every li'l bit of debt (fortunately, not impossibly large in my case) that I have. However, times will be unendurably hard when the crash finally happens and chaos and the deepest of depression ensue. I do not have the sheer physical strength and ruggedness to survive all that "is coming down the pike". However, at least I shall have the dignity of understanding what is happening, and that is some consolation for the bleak times and my own end, for an old man incapable of coping, come. That is not much, but it is something, at least.
Seminal... If I filled a page with praise it still wouldn't be enough!
But the black hole has a name - it's the FED. Sound money is best because it specifically prevents the shenanigans you describe. Imagine if they actually had to PAY for the wars - we dummies would finally rout them out, as Jackson says.
Well, that black hole may be the Federal Reserve in the U. S. of A., but it is wider than that. The other "Western" nations' central banks are the Fed's equivalent elsewhere and they all interconnect so horridly that panic and ruin spread from one to another. Only those outside of this international system (outside the U. S. of A., and its slave mates, like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and the European Union's E.C.B., namely), those especially who are among the BRICS, will survive the looming calamitous implosion of the Western elite's central banking.
well done, dimitri, nice blog on the black hole. but you forgot something important: the parasites feeding off this black hole. they promoted deregulations in order to get more and still feed from all of us. it is not just brain damage but also parasite infestation. how go your engine replacement efforts?
As Dmitri keeps pointing out to us, Russia has been an empire for many centuries, i.e. long before we thought we were.
As much as I hate to admit this, V. Putin (ex KGB east German agent) may yet turn out to be the foremost diplomat of the early 21st century.
Well, actually I hope so. He seems to have more common sense and cool than our (USA) current leaders.
Jan's 2nd July comment about parasites reminded me of a far less witty and extremely technical but nontheless valid explanation written a few years ago by a chap by the name of Rothchild (don't know if he's from the same well known banking dynasty) entitled Fractional Reserve Banking as an Economic Parasite.
The paper uses basic engineering equations as an analogy to build equivalent equations for standard economic neo liberal activity to demonstrate just how stupid and unstable things are.
For sure, it's not as concise and elegant an image of an economic black hole sucking everything in. However, for the technically minded it is a useful explanatory tool towards understanding.
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