Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Duel At Davos

Jet Setters,

"Oligarchs say the darndest things" might be the opening theme today, but just to underline the point that the call to battle-stations is about to go out. 
Here is the briefing from George Soros, speaking to the generals and other field officers of his branch of the supranational neoliberal elite. 
"Open society" means open to the free flow of Soros finance, leapfrogging slow moving governments and physical trade and industry, to the benefit of George Soros (and associates). These extractive flows of "financial capital" are solvents, leaching value from the "real economy" to the benefit of those controlling those flows. 
"Open" is not absolute. The financial-capitalists need walls to others, while they exploit concentration gradients of wealth, labor, raw materials, pollution, water and fuel across the world, "owning" the difference. Their "funds" to do this are created wholly by mutual agreement by banks and central banks. It's a good gig, but it kills the host.
Google and Facebook are doing with information, what Soros & Co. are doing with financial capital. He's not in the deal. He's threatened. "Financial capital" is just information, after all.
Soros may be the brightest star remaining from the WW-2 generation. He is intelligent, articulate (though voice wavers reading script without glasses), and not afraid to speak the truth, to attack his rivals, then turn the solution subtly to one that benefits the business model of George Soros. Here he speaks of the dangers of almost all information being controlled by Google and Facebook. This technology could not be foreseen by George Orwell. It is supra-Orwellian. It is a threat. George Soros does not adequately control it, so he says it should be nationalized and regulated, through channels that he does have pretty good control over.
There is a link to transcript of the entire address Soros gave. He did not have much time left for questions. He had a lot to say, defining the battle stations and objectives. 
Trump represents a competing elite faction. That much is clear. This is all very instructive.

David Stockwell, Reagan's Office of Management and Budget star, excoriates Donald Trump for lack of an actual visible economic plan, while ejaculating platitudes and self congratulations. It's easy to do. The elite faction Trump fronts for is not actually making their objectives known. They do not seem to be "open" in any way. (I'm sure they will take actions to assign losses to competing factions when the moment comes.) Stockman points out the impossibility of Trump's statements, and that the fake economy only holds on through multiple trillions of imaginary gains in the stock market and a Christmas rush of credit card buying by "consumers" who are increasingly defaulting on all those cards and car payments. (Don't look down!)

Jim Kunstler: "The blow-off orgy in the stock markets is supposedly America’s consolation prize for what many regard as the electoral bad acid trip of the Trump presidency. Sorry to tell you, it’s just another hallucination, something you’re going to have to come down from. Happy landings!"

"All the market indicators right now look very similar to what we saw before the Lehman crisis, but the lesson has somehow been forgotten," said William White, the Swiss-based head of the OECD's review board and ex-chief economist for the Bank for International Settlements. Professor White said disturbing evidence of credit degradation is emerging almost daily... "Central banks have been pouring more fuel on the fire," he told The Telegraph, speaking before the World Economic Forum in Davos... Nobody knows what is going to happen when they unwind QE. The markets had better be very careful because there are a lot of fracture points out there."... "Everything could now go into reverse: the baby boomers are gone; China's working age population is falling; and zombie companies are going to be forced out of business at last as borrowing costs rise." ... "We are running out of ammunition. I am afraid that at some point this is going to be resolved with a lot of debt defaults. And what did we do with the demographic dividend? We wasted it."

The Western military-financial-empire is not doing well in the war to channel natural gas supplies to energy-hungry Europe, via "friends", and exclude shorter, much cheaper and more bountiful gas pipelines from Russia. (Non-war obstructions to Russian gas now appear futile, so what's next?)

The US releases a hit-list of 210 top Russian government officials and oligarchs, but no hit is ordered. Vladimir Putin thinks it's a pity he was not included on the list, and says "It's an unfriendly act", designed to keep President Trump from improving relations with Russia. Russia won't retaliate in this round of veiled-threats.

The House Intelligence Committee votes to make the "shocking-FISA-memeo" public. (This rates a point for Trump and 0 points for "deep state", but I think the deep state is divided. This is a peripheral skirmish ahead of the civil war.)

The Deep State faction fronted by President Trump is advancing a successful attack against rival deep state assets in the FBI now.
FBI Director Christopher Wray was allegedly "shocked to his core" after viewing the four-page FISA memo Sunday night - hours before asking Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe to step down, according to journalist Sara Carter. "FBI Director Christopher Wray went Sunday and reviewed the four-page FISA memo. The very next day, Andrew McCabe was asked to resign. Remember Sean, he was planning on resigning in March - that already came out in December. This time they asked him to go right away. You're not coming into the office. I've heard rep[orts he didn't even come in for the morning meeting - that he didn't show up."

The Saker: Erdogn has made his choice. Turkey is in a unique position to defend (fairly wide) regional interests against the US, which is spending money to spill Kurdish blood, but won't actually spill any American blood to defend Kurdish nationalists.

Two days after we reported that Turkey valiantly demanded that US forces vacate military bases in the Syrian district of Manbij, when Turkey's foreign minister Melet Cavusoglu also said that Ankara is calling upon the US to cease any and all support to Syrian Kurdish forces and militias, not surprisingly the US refused, and on Monday a top American general said that US troops will not pull out from the northern Syrian city of Manbij, rebuffing Ankara demands to withdraw from the city and risking a potential confrontation between the two NATO allies.
“With the Olive Branch operation, we have once again thwarted the game of those sneaky forces whose interests in the region are different,” Erdogan said in a speech to provincial leaders in Ankara last week. “Starting in Manbij, we will continue to thwart their game.”
But not if the US is still there, unless for the first time in history we are about to witness war between two NATO members. And the US has no intention of moving.

Moon of Alabama has a different angle on the American power struggles, external and internal. Neocons need more and bigger war in Syria; lots of American blood. Here is the Kagan family position:
"The U.S. must face reality in Syria. It must recognize the threat Russia poses. It must acknowledge the limits of its current partners on the ground. It cannot put faith in a diplomatic charade. It must implement a real strategy against al Qaeda and Iran. And it must recognize the value of American action over American rhetoric. It will take a long time and a hard struggle to achieve any outcome in Syria that the U.S. should be willing to live with. It is time to focus on it, devote resources to it, and prepare to do so for a long time."... 
The neoconservative writers and their op-eds should be ignored. But the war on Iraq has shown that there is some serious political power behind them. Now someone in the White House will have to pick up those arguments and try to convince Trump with them. Who will that be and will s/he be successful? 

2017's Greatest Hits in Population Genetics. We are an older species than we had been led to believe, and were getting a lot of things done at least 100,000 years sooner on this timeline. Lots of interesting, paradigm-shifting information came out last year.


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