Thursday 23rd of September 2021

liberal views from the attic...

views from the attic...

The Economist takes an editorial stance of classical and economic liberalism that supports free tradeglobalisationfree immigration, and cultural liberalism (such as supporting legal recognition for same-sex marriage or drug liberalisation).[2] The publication has described itself as "...a product of the Caledonian liberalism of Adam Smith and David Hume".[15] It targets highly educated, cultured readers and claims an audience containing many influential executives and policy-makers.[16] The publication's CEO described this recent global change, which was first noticed in the 1990s and accelerated in the beginning of the 21st century, as a "new age of Mass Intelligence"

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soft collision of clouds and of democracy...

satirical views from the cellar...


More to come...

when "the economist" swims in the sewers...

How much should we let humans interfere with the functioning of machines and algorithms designed to kill people?

The Economist, published a 16-page special section called “The Next War” in its issue of Jan. 27 – Feb. 2. 

In what is probably an unplanned revelation of the truly sick and twisted thinking of global capitalist militarist Davos elites – i.e. a mistake — The Economist, never a fan of authentic democracy, in a breakout quote in the article on autonomous weapons on p. 16 dryly says: 

Most people agree that when lethal force is used, humans should be involved. But what sort of human control is appropriate?” 

Instead of asking “what sort of HUMAN control is appropriate” the question that SHOULD be asked is: 


Who needs drugs when reading this sort surreal delusion?

It seems the global capitalist elites have already decided to go forward full tilt boogie with more and more technological / Artificial Intelligence AI control of lethal force to kill humans. Those toy drones you can now purchase at Best Buy and online that can really fly and have cameras just normalize drones. Well, weaponize and militarize them and they could soon be armed kill you, no human intervention required. SWARMS of them. Imagine how quickly Occupy Wall Street could have been wiped out. 

Worse. The special section reports that DARPA of the Pentagon is developing insect-sized killer drones that can penetrate buildings and, voila! Kill the people inside with no outside human management required.

So the only question being considered by The Economist and the Ruling Capitalist Imperialist Davos Elites seems to be how much should we let humans interferewith the functioning of machines and algorithms designed to kill people? 

In thinking about that, one might remember that two Soviet officers singlehandedly — twice — prevented accidental all-out thermonuclear nuclear war. 

In one case, a Soviet naval officer stopped a panicked Soviet submarine captain from launching nuclear torpedoes during the Cuban / Caribbean Missile Crisis of 1962. 

In the other case, a Soviet Air Defense Systems Lieutenant Colonel refused to forward up the chain of command a technological report of a US nuclear first strike on Russia because he, the Soviet Officer, thought it was a technical malfunction. It was.

The name of the Soviet Naval Officer who stopped the firing of a nuclear torpedo that would have sparked all-out thermonuclear war in 1962, was Vasili Arkhipov, deputy commander and executive officer of the submarine B-59. Like the US, the Soviets had a two-key system and Arkhipov refused to turn his key. The sub captain believed that nuclear war had already broken out but Arkhipov thought they should wait for more information. In 2002 Thomas Blanton, who was then director of the US National Security Archive, said that Arkhipov “saved the world.”

The name of the Lieutenant Colonel. in the Soviet Air Defense Forces, who thought the reports from the Soviet technological early warning systems that (only) FIVE Minuteman missiles were streaking toward Russia might be wrong, was Stanislav Petrov. The report WAS wrong and Petrov, despite all the instant tension the missile launch reports caused in the Soviet command and control center, declined to forward the report up the chain of command which would almost certainly have resulted in Soviet retaliation for a five-missile, US nuclear first strike that wasn’t. 

The false alarm was apparently set off when the satellite mistook the sun’s reflection off the tops of clouds for a missile launch. Artificial Intelligence AI indeed. The computer program that was supposed to filter out such information had to be rewritten. 

“We are wiser than the computers,” Petrov said in a 2010 interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel. “We created them.” 

But it seems that US military planners as reported by The Economist want to make sure that the computers are smarter than humans … a phenomenon called a “singularity” in AI circles. Given that, one wonders if US military officers in the same situations would have acted in a similar fashion … or would US military officers have set off worldwide all-out thermonuclear war based on Artificial Stupidity AS ?

Or, given the US / NATO aggression against China and Russia, would Russian or Chinese or American military officers even have the authority that Arkhipov and Petrov had to interfere?

Yet not a word about either Arkhipov or Petrov in The Economist’s special section on “The Next War” about turning over human-killing functions exclusively and far more “efficiently” to algorithms and machines. High-speed financial trading by algorithms and “narrow” artificial intelligence” has consequences, but those machines can’t kill people. Using the same sort of algorithms and AI for machines to operate “as entrepreneurs” in selecting human targets and then killing them; well, what could possibly go wrong? 

But The Economist and Pentagon / Think Tank revolving door US military analysts quoted profusely in these articles seem to think that turning everything over to algorithms and Artificial Intelligence AI is A-OK — to use the term from the early NASA Project Mercury manned space program. It is the way to go, foreordained, fate, destiny, the only common-sense, problem-solving solution. Get the messy humans out of the loop. Especially since those Big Meanies China and Russia are always bullying VictimAmerica.

But can we count on algorithms and Artificial Intelligence to come up with the same solution in reality – in real time –– that the computer in the Matthew Broderick film “WarGames” did? That all-out nuclear war results in “WINNER: NONE.”

Does The Economist consider any of this? In a word, “No.”

Is it not preferable to have Arkhipovs and Petrovs; Smiths, Washingtons, Joneses and Hernandezes; Lius and Zhous with authority to interfere in the efficient workings of algorithms designed to kill humans?


Another curious failure in The Economist special report on “The Next War” is that on close, critical reading – some call it deconstruction –one notices that deployment of fake news adjectives and verbs proliferate.

For instance, on p. 5 of the report: 

The main reason why great power warfare has become somewhat more plausible … is that both Russia and China are ***dissatisfied*** powers determined to change the terms of a Western-devised, American-policed international order which they ***believe*** does not serve their legitimate interests.

Are Russia and China “dissatisified” powers? Or are they sovereign nations in a multi-polar, non-US dominated geopolitical world who are determined to protect their national interests against outside interference from a “Western-devised, American-policed international order.”

Worse, look how that sentence worships and glorifies – to use liturgical words — the “Western-devised, American-policed international order…” as if the Divine Right of Kings has been inherited by “the West” and especially by “America” to rule the planet as America aka The United States — sees fit. Perhaps some of the other 200 nations on the planet might beg to differ?


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the dark ages...

a dangerous event...

May you live in interesting times, goes the Chinese proverb. Few can doubt that we are indeed living in such an interesting time. Big changes are afoot in the world, it seems.

None more so than the collapsing of the American Empire.

The US is going through an historic "correction" in the same way that the Soviet Union did some 30 years ago when the latter was confronted with the reality of its unsustainable political and economic system. (That's not meant to imply, however, that socialism is unviable, because arguably the Soviet Union had fatally strayed from its genuine socialist project into something more akin to unwieldy state capitalism.)

READ MORE: Uncle Sam Rolls in His Grave: US Youth Favor Socialism Over Capitalism

In any case, all empires come to an end eventually. History is littered with the debris of countless empires. Why should the American Empire be any different? It's not. Only arrogant "American exceptionalism" deludes itself from the reality.

The notable thing is just how in denial the political class and the US news media are about the unfolding American crisis.

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Like with the collapse of other empires, such event is usually dangerous. We cannot be complacent.

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the dark ages...

the social window of the empire...

It didn’t take long from the birth of the world wide web for the public to start using this new medium to transmit, collect and analyze information in ways never before imagined. The first message boards and clunky “Web 1.0” websites soon gave way to “the blogosphere.” The arrival of social media was the next step in this evolution, allowing for the formation of communities of interest to share information in real time about events happening anywhere on the globe.

But as quickly as communities began to form around these new platforms, governments and militaries were even quicker in recognizing the potential to use this new medium to more effectively spread their own propaganda.

Their goal? To shape public discourse around global events in a way favourable to their standing military and geopolitical objectives.

Their method? The Weaponization of Social Media.

This is The Corbett Report.

Facebook. Twitter. YouTube. Snapchat. Instagram. Reddit. “Social media” as we know it today barely existed fifteen years ago. Although it provides new ways to interact with people and information from all across the planet virtually instantaneously and virtually for free, we are only now beginning to understand the depths of the problems associated with these new platforms. More and more of the original developers of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter admit they no longer use social media themselves and actively keep it away from their children, and now they are finally admitting the reason why: social media was designed specifically to take advantage of your psychological weaknesses and keep you addicted to your screen.

SEAN PARKER: If the thought process that went into building these applications—Facebook being the first of them to really understand it—that thought process was all about “How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?” And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever, and that’s gonna get you to contribute more content and that’s gonna get you more likes and comments. So it’s a social validation feedback loop. I mean it’s exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology. And I think that we—the inventors/creators, you know, it’s me, it’s Mark, it’s Kevin Systrom at Instagram, it’s all of these people—understood this consciously and we did it anyway.


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Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, accused of enabling US President Donald Trump’s rise to power through “Russian meddling,” are facing pressure to de-platform heretics. This has raised fears for the safety of free speech in the US.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this past weekend, media crusader James O’Keefe headlined an hour-long panel on social media censorship, arguing that it targeted mostly conservatives.

“They really make sure you don't see any differing views,” O’Keefe said at the panel.

it takes three to tango...

A president for life, a president for the foreseeable future and a president for the moment.

These are the three men who dominate our planet.

China's Xi Jinping, a man with unlimited tenure, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, a leader about to extend his political life and President Donald Trump, a man some believe won't see out his four years in the Oval office.

What all three exploit is a nationalism aimed at protecting and expanding their power bases: Mr Trump's protectionism as reflected in the steel and aluminium tariffs, Mr Putin's interventions in places like Syria and Ukraine and Mr Xi's expansionist territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Any one of these potentially destabilising features would be concern enough. But to see all three at it at once is creating a world of worry.

The arms race kicks off again

Nothing underlined that more than Mr Putin's announcement of Russia's new generation of weapons of mass destruction; missiles so fast and with such reach it's claimed they can destroy any city on the planet without being detected, let alone intercepted.


If this is all to be believed then it seems the Russians have declared a new phase in an otherwise-paused nuclear weapons race.

Of course, the announcement is timed for the presidential elections later this month and was as much for domestic consumption as a warning to the Americans.

How long do you think it took Mr Trump to call his generals and demand a reply? An hour, a day? There is no doubt the US will respond if it truly believes the Russians have developed a huge nuclear advantage.

The whole WMD show is predicated on a rough military balance. Mutually assured destruction. If one side feels the other now has the ability to destroy them with relative impunity, that sets the whole multibillion-dollar/rouble/yuan arms race off and running hard again.

Some of the world's best and brightest scientists will be employed, not saving lives but designing new systems to destroy them, millions at a time.


Philip Williams' OPINION piece should banned by the boffins at the government for being unbalanced, but of course they will love it since it places ALL THE BLAME of whatever on Russia. Phiip asks "How long do you think it took Mr Trump to call his generals and demand a reply? An hour, a day?". 

Well the answer to this is "last year" when Trump scuttled the 1972 agreement. As well he started to rearm the nuclear arsenal before Putin ever mentioned anything. Yes Putin's guys have been working on NEW ROCKET delivery system but NOT ON INCREASING NUCLEAR WEAPONRY, as the USA have been doing. But before this, there was deceit in the US administrations, including Ronald Reagan's Star Wars programme and more recently Obama's obscene amount of cash to "refurbish" the US nuclear arsenal — which is a euphemism for making "more nukes", especially "local destructive ones". The encirclement of Russia by NATO is obscene as well. That Russia feels threatened is an understatement. It is under the grip of massive hypocritical commercial sanctions from the USA and the European nutsos.

Lucky, Putin had the foresight to send the "Beast from the East" to Europe so, despite the sanctions, he could sell more of his gas to the Europeans in need of a bit of warmth...

That was a bit of lame satire from me... 

Xi and Putin are smart guys, Trump is a kid with a giant loolipop... see from top...





For a prime example of a biased, emotionally charged story that deviates from journalistic best practices, we need only turn to the Guardian’s coverage of this very study. It came under the headline “Fake news sharing in US is a rightwing thing.” Most who read that will take it as license to make broad generalizations about the reading habits of conservatives. But that generalization would be dead wrong. A more rigorous study conducted by Dartmouth political scientists found that, while fake news sharing during the 2016 election was more common among Trump supporters, it was “heavily concentrated among a small subset of people”—60 percent of fake news consumption came from 10 percent of the population. The Guardian’s headline was an invitation to attribute this behavior to an entire half of the political spectrum. Under the Oxford criteria, that sounds like junk news.

However, we don’t even need to analyze the study this far, because one of its authors gave an alarming interview in which it became clear that even these minimal criteria were not fairly applied. When asked what ensnared National Review, professor Philip Howard said “I think they lost points on commentary masking as news.” If that’s the test, storied publications like The Atlantic and The Economist have been failing it for over a century. 

And what about Mediaite, one of the three left-of-center sites included on Howard’s list? “That one was probably scooped up because the far-right uses links to those stories as if they themselves are news items,” said Howard. Now we’ve entered the Twilight Zone—that isn’t even one of the criteria the study claimed to use. But perhaps it’s a disarmingly honest reveal of the study’s heuristic: what sites are our enemies reading?

Eric Wemple, the Washington Post columnist who conducted the interview, concluded that Howard’s statements raise the possibility that the study “merely caught conservatives sharing conservative journalism.” It looks like he’s exactly right.

Studies like this one are dangerous because they needlessly polarize the academy, enlisting it in a political advocacy project that alienates large sections of the population. A recent Pew survey found that a majority of Republicans now say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country. In 2015, just 37 percent of Republicans rated the effect of universities negatively; in 2017, that shot up to 58 percent.

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Two warriors run towards each other; their weapons

Streak the air with steely flashes and splatter of blood

These games, the clinking of steel are the thunder

Of young men fallen to the mad bleating of love.

The swords are broken! Like our youth,

Darling! But the teeth and the claws of sharp nails

Avenge the broken foil and the devious dagger 

— O fury of hearts, hurt by love in despair!

Into the abyss haunted by wild savage beasts

These heroes, nastily strangling each other, roll

And their skins bloom with blood on the briars' spines

— This abyss is hell, bursting with our friends!

Let's roll there without remorse, inhuman Amazon

To secure the strength of our hate eternal!




Adapted Translation by Jules Letambour


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a landslide...

The Washington Post called Sunday’s vote an “elaborate presidential-election-day spectacle” that sought “to legitimize the election,” which “critics described as a charade,” by boosting the turnout as “a lack of suspense or popular opposition candidates threatened to keep people home.”

Calling the election a “hollow exercise,” the New York Times reached for the most predictable of parallels.

“Gone were the Soviet days when there was just one name on the ballot and the winner habitually harvested 99 percent of the vote. The spirit was similar, however, with pictures of Mr. Putin and his campaign slogan, ‘Strong president, strong Russia,’ blanketing the country,” it wrote.

In its top report. CNN said that Putin “seeks tighter grip on power,” while also reminding its readers that “he is already the country’s longest-serving leader since the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin” (which is not actually true – that would be Leonid Brezhnev). CNN added that Putin is “banking on confrontation with international players this election.”

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp Australia didn’t even bother with such nuances, calling Putin a straight-up “dictator,” though the article was later amended to merely describe the vote as “inevitable.”


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avoidig slapping oneself...

America has pulled back from launching a trade war with China that could have destabilised the global economy, by agreeing to put proposed tariffs on Chinese imports “on hold”.

The Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, said on Sunday that negotiations with Chinese officials have borne fruit, meaning Washington and Beijing can step back from imposing punishing tariffs on each other’s exports.


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Imagine the cartoon of the day:

Trump is trying to slap the Chinese in the face, but Trump's arm is too long and goes around the chinese man to hit Trump himself on the smacker... Gus is too lazy to do it... Use your imagination. Read from top.

a US panto...


From Stan Grant:


Pax Americana is dead. We have entered a post-American world.

Too hasty? Well, according to the Economist magazine the American President is no longer the world's most powerful leader. That mantle belongs to China's Xi Jinping.

It is Xi who talks about being the champion of globalisation and international trade, while Donald Trump's mantra is "America first".

At risk is a global order imagined by Woodrow Wilson, the US president during World War I: democracy, capitalism, interventionism, that laid a platform for economic growth, innovation and human rights.

Political scientist Joseph Nye saw this future more than a decade ago when he published The Paradox of American Power.

Writing after the September 11 terror attack, Mr Nye warned about the dangers of American complacency.

The US changed its gaze

After the collapse of the Soviet empire and the end of the Cold War, Nye said the United States stopped paying attention to the world and turned their sights inward.

Even those who did look beyond America, he wrote, "became arrogant about our power, arguing that we did not need to heed other nations. We seemed both invincible and invulnerable".

Tragically Osama bin Laden reminded America just how vulnerable it was.

Fast forward and America is rubbing up against the limits of its power.

War and recession have left it weary.

The Obama years began with a theme of hope. Remember his victory speech? "This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal."

His critics called it the "Moses speech".

Eight years later, those same critics declared the Obama presidency a failure.

Even in the sober-minded journal Foreign Affairs, Harvard University's Professor of International Relations, Stephen Walt, said it was, "a tragedy, especially when it comes to foreign policy".

Obama's gone, but Kim, Assad and Putin remain

There is a cased to be made that Mr Obama was a poor foreign policy president.

Yes, he got bin Laden. But he was accused of poorly handling the war in Afghanistan, unnecessarily prolonging a conflict that today has failed to oust the Taliban.

Mr Obama underestimated the rise of Islamic State, declaring it a "JV" (junior varsity) terrorist organisation.

He misread the Arab Spring, failing to see the threat of violent extremists who had exploited the upheaval.


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I'm afraid that young Stan is naively reading history from its surface ripples. History should be explained from the sewers of machinations. Read on military "intelligence"... to get an inkling of what Old Gus is talking about. 

It's a dog eats dog world out there, in the rat holes. Actually it's more of a "who is going to pump more oil world". The sanctions on Iran and Russia are only there to promote the oil from the Saudis. The tariffs on "aluminum" are only there to annoy the Chinese billionaires who have been profiting from a few US "crooked" deals. Obama did not underestimate the Islamic State (IS, Daesh, ISIS, ISIL). It CREATED IT (don't tell me the CIA "did not know" that ISIS was being "created") and used IS to overthrow the "regime" of Assad, or at least maintain a Yankee foothold (as ISIS became really smelly, so we had to "intervene to prevent ISIS taking over" — clever, no? While bombing Assad's own troops and destroying more of Iraq, like Mosul...) in those countries, Syria and Iraq, that would become fully independent with regimes that by all account are far better than the "regime" of the Saudis, which in turn is used on our behalf to throw out Assad and destroy Yemen... So we are still in there advising Iraq on how to deal with "rebels" and annoying Syria by stirring the Kurds as well. Goodness!... The Russians messed up our little plan, but we're squeezing the Russians' nuts and Iran's turbans with sanctions to let them know who's boss. The Europeans have to follow us on this otherwise we won't buy their Mercs and their fuming cheating VW...

My Trump pantomime in Europe is designed to unsettle the Europeans by not knowing which side their bread is going to be buttered. Not new. Since Nixon and his "petrol crisis", the Europeans have been left floundering on energy supply. This was unfortunately stabilised by the Russians (USSR). They have been told to hate Russia, especially hate their "gas". Look, Germany's energy rely "68 per cent (?)" on the Russians. We, Americans, can give you a better deal on our "shale gas" — a bit more expensive mind you but so much more beautiful — and it comes in big US boats, registered in the Bahamas. And should you get involved with a new pipeline from Russia, we'll spank your bottoms. And we only demonise Assad because he runs a socialist government, a bit like Cuba. We hate socialism far more than terrorism, because terrorism is only a small loonies' game (that's why we had to destroy ISIS, because it tried to become a "government", while it was only supposed to be a terrorist organisation) while socialism is an annoying structured style of government that spreads profits to all, via free education and free healthcare... Is this not mad? And Assad does not want to let our friends, the Saudis, run a gas pipeline through Syria, because that would upset his mates: our enemy Russia, as confirmed by my friend John McCain. 

And by the way, the "Arab Spring" was started by the CIA (under Obama), to unsettle (destroy) the Shiites (Iran) and promote the Sunnis, our "friends", all in the name of the Petrodollar. That's why we are demonising Russia and China and their friends for trying to deal petrol in Yuans and Roubles... What is the world coming to? Macron is a puppet of the US aristocracy (through the Soros "democratic" media), May is a pissy weak dictator which we love nonetheless because she speaks American, Merkel is a trouble-maker in trouble because we (under Obama) made sure Europe would be invaded by "refugees", "migrants" and "Muslims" to divide it into bits — by destroying that other good-for-nothing Libya (Gaddafi) that wanted to sell its oil in a PanAfrican currency.

So as you can see, our CIA has been very very busy, our Pentagon has been busy, and our Secretary of State has been replaced to better represent our unilateral values... It takes a lot of spies to manage all this crap, so we give you the illusion of "America First", but in reality we want you to tighten your butts and idolize Yankeedom. Yankeedom is presently called Donald. It would have been called Hillarydom had my friend Murdoch not salvaged Neoconservatism. If you don't pray to the dollar, and this go for you as well, the Chinese, we will provoke you, annoy the shit out of you, until you make a mistake and we will denounce your bad will... It takes one to know another... And so on and on and on... Since the time of the American Revolution, our dollar has been designed to conquer the world. Full stop. Don't delude yourself with fake gods or any other currencies. Capice?

And we love the Nazis in Ukraine and the pseudo-Nazis in Israel... Global warming? you're kidding me....