Wednesday, May 11, 2022

1984

 I first read 1984 in the '60s. It took me more than 50 years to understand it. Airstrip 1 keeps changing its allegiance. It is allied with Eurasia against Eastasia for years. All the media (and the media morgues) say Airstrip 1 has always been allied with Eurasia against Eastasia. Then Airstrip 1 is allied with Eastasia against Eurasia, and Winston Smith must edit all books and news media so they all report that Airstrip 1 has always been allied with Eastasia against Eurasia. And then back, and it all has to be changed again back to the way it was before.

I figured Eastasia was the PRC and Eurasia was the USSR, and had no idea Airstrip 1 (i.e., the UK) had ever been allied with either one against the other. Silly me. The PRC did not exist when Orwell was writing 1984. Now I know that Eurasia is Europe and the Ottomans, and Eastasia is Russia/USSR.

I also know that, in 1800, Airstrip 1 (i.e., the UK) was allied with Russia against Napoleonic France. Then in the Crimean War, Airstrip 1 was allied with France and the Ottomans against Russia. Then in WWI, Airstrip 1 was allied with Russia against Germany and the Ottomans. After WWI, Airstrip 1 was terrified of the USSR, tried war, lost, then, in 1933, when Hitler said he would abrogate the Treaty of Versailles, the UK figured Hitler would be a good buffer against the USSR and let him take over as Chancellor and abrogate Versailles, and tried to work with him against the USSR.

By 1938, Airstrip 1 realised that war with Germany would be essential, but Airstrip 1 was not ready. As Waugh put it, In 1938, when Germany demanded the Sudetenland, "war was inevitable, but in 1938, the war would have been for the wrong reasons, with the wrong allies, in pitiful weakness". France wanted Maginot completed before declaring war. Chamberlain wanted the radar completed before war.

Then, in 1939, Eurasia and Eastasia formed an alliance to split Poland, and Airstrip 1 and France declared war on Germany and lost, but Airstrip 1 fishermen managed to save most of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk. Airstrip 1 demanded a scapegoat, and Churchill gave them Chamberlain and Appeasement. If only Airstrip 1 had gone to war in 1938, it would have been very easy to defeat Germany with no allies. Completely wrong, but eaten up by those who needed a scapegoat.

Had Britain declared war in 1938, there would have been no miracle at Dunkirk, the whole BEF would have been killed or captured. No radar shield, so the Luftwaffe bombing raids would have arrived unexpected with few defenders and few airships lost, so the Battle of Britain would have gone Germany's way. And Airstrip 1 would have had no choice but to surrender. And with no base from which to bomb Germany, the US could not have done much after Germany declared war on the US in 1941. Europe would still be under the swastika had Chamberlain not waited until 1939.

And now the US has a brand new Ministry of Truth. They have not yet renamed the Defence Department the Ministry of Peace, but they still call themselves that, even if it's not their official title.

Some though 1984 was a warning. Turned out, the US is using it for a guidebook. And figure it's the Right Way to Go!

Thursday, April 28, 2022

State of the Western News 3

 Before, I glanced at all the different news, but did not go in depth, so I'm not sure if this is new, or if I just missed it before.

Basically, the Russian news says they are liberating the pro-Russian Ukraine. The Western news says the entire Ukraine hates everything Russian, and, as the Russians invaded, all the Ukraine joined the Ukrainian military and repulsed the Russians, just about all of the first attack force has been eradicated, but the Russians have sent a few more soldiers in to be slaughtered as well.

Only, before being slaughtered, those evil Russian soldiers murdered civilians and raped all the women and girls.

So now the West are promising war crimes trials of the surviving Russian soldiers and the Russian leadership, something like Nuremberg. Russia, it seems, at least on the Western news--all of it: CNN, France 24, BBC, DW, Euronews, etc., etc.--is now in the same state as Nazi Germany in 1945. The Russians, they inform us, are lying and trying to deny their defeat and their crimes, but the world can see.

What some find amazing is how the Western media can be in such agreement on such a proposition, but they are.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

State of the News 2

 I used to glance at CNN, France 24, BBC, Euronews, etc., etc., and all had the same news: Russia attacks Ukraine, wants to reestablish USSR, Ukraine defenders winning. The Russian version was fairly well blocked.

I note that the Iran version, presstv.com, was blocked for one day. Then the Iranians opened presstv.ir which the US cannot block. The Taliban website alemarahenglish.com was blocked for about a year, but they figured out how to get around US blocks: alemarahenglish.af 

But Russia is still having trouble getting past the US blocks and massive DDoS. The Russians need to ask the Persians and Afghans for help!

The Western media now repeat Ukraine military talking points: Russians do not take prisoners: any Ukrainian who surrenders will be tortured and killed. The Russians are raping all the Ukrainian women and girls. The Russian atrocities demand justice, and the US will ensure that justice is delivered!

Seeing the Russian version is difficult but not quite impossible. A Chechen soldier who saw the A3OB killing a mother and child, so he and the other Chechens attacked and killed the A3OB Battalion murderers: odysee.com/@EoTInternational:1

So what's TRVE?

Russia reports from the front lines. CNN also reports from the front lines in Warsaw. Or Manhattan, from which one gets an excellent view of the Ukraine. A few insist the CNN version is fake. Not the dead bodies, but the timings: CNN says they have proof the dead bodies were there when the Russian military was there, and not before. Others say those dead bodies appeared after the Russian military left.

The unipolar world is truly unipolar. A team from the OPCW went to Syria and said they saw no evidence of anyone using chemical weapons. Their report was edited by the Director to say they had irrefutable proof the Syrian government had used chemical weapons to kill many innocent civilians, and since he was the Director, his version was the official version. Some members of the team complained, and were told they had to be team players or they'd be fired.

The US version is the only version allowed. Back in the day, when I was a lad, one night Walter Cronkite said he had proof the US government had been lying about Vietnam. 

The US government learned. Only those who repeat the official US government version can be allowed as news anchors. So never again has any US news said the US government lied. And now the US dominates NATO, the EU who are not in NATO, plus most Europe countries not yet in the EU. Also Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Nothing but the US version of the news. Even the English Chinese news reiterates the US version of the news (but not the Chinese Chinese news).

So, again, what's TRVE? Could it be the Western version? Or the Russian version? Or are both lying?

Sunday, April 17, 2022

State of the News

Turn on CNN, BBC, France 24, DW, Euronews, etc., etc., and get the exact same news: Putin is trying to rebuild the USSR. He started by lopping off a piece of Georgia. If I may borrow from Walt Kelley, he was trying to annex President Carter's peanut ranch, and might have gotten part of it. And now Putin is trying to add the Ukraine. The world must stand up to Putin. If the world let Putin destroy the democracy flourishing in the Ukraine, he will not stop at the Ukraine, but will try to impose Soviet rule on the entire world.

Before 24 February, Russia had a national broadcast channel, a much smaller version of the BBC that had English/Spanish/French-speaking staff who tried to give the Russian take on the news in English, Spanish, and French. The English-speaking staff were based in the US, UK, and Russia. After 24 February, every effort was made by the West to shut down all the Russian channels, banning them and blocking them.

As a native English speaker, I watched the English version of the Russian national channel to get the Russian take on the news and compare that with the Western take, but after 24 Feb, the US and UK banned the Russian channel from operating in their country, so the English version lost most of its staff, and now produces very little new material: a single, 30 minute news summary, repeated all day long, and about five 30 minute discussion program a week, also repeated many times. Plus some old documentaries, many about the history of the Ukraine, all several years old.

Meanwhile, the Western version that everything on the Russian national channel is a lie is broadcast 24/7 on all the Western channels, along with the warning that Russia must be stopped, must be evicted from the Ukraine, must have all trade cut off to kill the Russian economy and thereby kill the Russian military and keep peace in the world. Or else face a brutal, world-wide dictatorship, a much larger, possibly worldwide version of the old USSR.

The West has won the narrative, at least in the West. Given that the Russian channel is blocked, most believe the Western channels about what is really happening. But is this perception that the West is more reliable than Russia based on reality or Western propaganda?

Which version is correct? The Russian? The Western? Neither?

All the Western channels reiterate the exact same story. Is this because there is only one TRVTH, and, since all are telling the TRVTH, all are telling the same story? Or is it because the establishment media channels are owned by a very small number of owners, all of whom agree to propagate the same lie, crafted by the US, translated into every major language, and then printed or broadcast on all the establishment news networks?

And then the social media are all dominated by Alphabet, Meta, Apple, and Twitter, so do the owners stamp out every site that carries a version that deviates from their preferred version if it has more than a few thousand followers? Is that why few have ever seen alternative versions of what is really happening?

So the Western version has definitely won the narrative, but is it correct?

And how can we find out?

Friday, April 8, 2022

Lost Key?

 People keep referring to the US$ as the World Reserve Currency. This is not the correct terminology (I got this from Adam Smith in his book, Paper Money, 1982). The Reserve Currencies are all those currencies kept in reserve by international banks. These are the US$, UK£, €, Swiss CHF, and Japanese ¥.

Before, the two major currencies were the UK£ and the French ₣, but after WWI, both were weakened, and after WWII, both quickly descended to a fraction of their old value, while the US$, guaranteed to be worth 0.88 gm of 24K gold (approx: the real value was 1/35 Troy oz, but even those who know a normal ounce have no idea what a Troy ounce is, but 1/35 Troy oz is approximately 0.88 gm).

So the US$ became the world's Key Currency, all other currencies had their value defined in US$. So, in the absence of any alternatives, the US$ became the currency of just about all International Trade, since the value of the US$ was set in 24K gold, while other currencies values varied, so a seller did not want to be paid in the buyer's currency which might be devalued, nor did a buyer want a contract to pay in the seller's currency which might be up-valued. So international transactions were (mostly) denominated in US$, making the US$ the Key Currency.

***

For years, the US has attacked and forced regime change in horrible dictatorships with massive armies that threatened the entire world: Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and similar. Now, the US is taking on the weak, impuissant Russia and the PRC, which should be much easier than any of their predecessors, since both are weak, primitive nations without major militaries. At least according to US intelligence (an oxymoron).

So now the US is starting with severe sanctions. Note that, when Saddam said he wanted to be paid in Euros, not US$, the US military saw that he was hanged. And when Gaddafi said he wanted to be paid in Euros, the US had him killed (the US had been trying since President Reagan, but Obama finally got him, confirming the validity of Obama's Nobel Prize as America's Best President EVER).

Russia is no Libya nor Iraq nor Panama, but is now (according to US intelligence) so weak that regime change should be a bowl of borscht.

After all, what does Russia have? One of the top 3 exporters of oil and gas (didn't help Saddam nor Gaddafi); top exporter of corn; leading exporter of metals and fertilizer; & etc., but the world can do without Russian oil or gas or corn. Prices have doubled, and will treble or quadruple (if we're lucky), but we still have to sanction Russia, so we're just going to have to live without heat in winter nor A/C in summer and not enough food.

 ***

But another thing: Saudi now accepts payment in c, and Russia accepts payments in ₹, something we haven't seen since Bretton Woods, 1944. And if other currencies become common for International Trade, those currencies will  rise in value. And then the world will not have a Key Currency!

Monday, March 28, 2022

Do the Taliban ban all girls from school?

 One of the things I find strange is that the Iranian channel, PressTV, was shut down by the US. For one day. Then they had it back up. The Taliban had a website, but the US shut it down, and it stayed down for almost a year, but they got it back up. But Russia, supposedly a major tech power, has been shut down for months and is still inaccessible. The Russians suffered from a Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attack that blocked everyone. They suggested Tor, but their DDOS protection software blocks Tor. They suggested a different system, but it is also blocked. So the Russians have been far less successful than the Taliban in keeping their news channel open and available (heck, they live right next to the Taliban, they should pop in and ask for advice).

Anyway, the Taliban website is back up. What is interesting is that the Western press, on 23 March 2022, said that schools were supposed to be open to girls on 23 March but all the girls were sent home. However, if one checks the Taliban website, it says that one school opened to girls on 25 March.

So the Western press reports (with videos, even though Westerners are not allowed to film inside Afghanistan) that all girls were told to go home on 23 March, girls are not allowed to attend school in Afghanistan. But Afghanistan reports that girls were able to go to school on 25 March. Another story says that both boys and girls will be able to take the university entrance exams.

It must be annoying to the Western press that all can see for themselves the Taliban denials of Western news stories about Afghanistan.

Now if only the Russians would go ask the Taliban how they did it so we can once again see the Russian version of the news.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

The Importance ot the Ukraine

 In 1812, a Frenchman decided to conquer Russia. He started with 500,000 men, lost time, men, and matériel crossing the Ukraine, and returned to France in 1813 with just 10,000 men. After which, the British made short work of him.

In 1914, the Germans planned to be in Paris before the French could mobilise, but they figured they had better secure their eastern front, and so attacked the Ukraine, and the attack on Paris failed, as did their war effort.

In 1941, a German fellow with a red beard tried to conquer Russia the USSR, again losing men and time and matériel in the Ukraine, failed, and could not stop the Americans coming from the west (the Americans were only coming because it looked like the USSR would be taking Paris if they did not).

So, starting in 2014, NATO figured they'd start from the eastern Ukraine. Maybe. In 2021, Russia said NATO in the Ukraine would be a red line, and NATO said that would be the decision of NATO, and Russia would have no say in the matter. So in 2022, Russia moved to de-NATO the Ukraine. NATO, joined by the rest of the EU plus always neutral Switzerland plus Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan declared sanctions on Russia, declared that all Russian assets were confiscated, all Russian US$ and € were confiscated, the entire Russian economy would collapse, and with it the Russian war effort to de-NATO the Ukraine. So Russia demanded payment in rubles and the PRC demanded payment in ¥. Previously, Saddam said Iraq would demand payment in € and the US destroyed Iraq and hanged Saddam. Then Gaddafi demanded payment in € so the US/UK/France destroyed Libya and had Gaddafi killed in an unspeakable fashion. 

Sadly, Russia do not seem to be Iraq or Libya. It looks like Europe can pay in rubles or freeze in the dark. And Saudi seem happy to let the PRC pay in ¥ (or RenMinBi to use the new and improved replacement for PRC¥).

People say the US$ is the world's Reserve currency, which, according to Adam Smith (not the 18th century Adam Smith, the 20th century Wall Street gossip columnist), is not right. The world has several reserve currencies, i.e., the currencies major International Banks must keep in reserve. These are currently the US$, the  €, the UK£, the Japanese ¥, and the Swiss CHF. In Breton Woods, the US$ was declared the world's Key Currency. In 1900, the Great Powers were the UK and France, with Germany trying to become a Great Power, and the US a power in the Western Hemisphere, a Hemisphere most overlooked. So the Great Currencies were the UK£ and the French ₣. By 1944, the UK£ and the French ₣ were collapsing, and the US$ was worth about 0.88 gm of 24K gold (the exact amount was in Troy ounces, a measure with which few are familiar, but it was about 0.88 gm of pure gold). So the US$ became the Key currency, the only currency good for just about all International trade, because it was liquid and the same as gold, so perfect as the Key currency. Until 1971, when President Nixon said the US$ was only worth the paper it was printed on. There was some inflation, as much as 20% a year, but the US$ remained the Key Currency for lack of any alternative: not enough gold, and no other currency that could bear the weight of supporting all international commerce. Having the Key currency gave the US huge economic strength.

The Europeans tried to replace the US$ with the €, which did become a sub-key currency, but only in the Euro zone. There was no currency that could challenge the US$. The banks refused to elevate the RenMinBi to the status of a reserve currency, so it was not really a threat. Until the Russian sanctions, and now it is.

The US, joined by all its allies, tried to destroy Russia. So far, not much luck. But they do seem to have taken careful aim and managed one well-placed shot: 

 in their own foot.