Drinkable water please …

10 Sep

I’m a huge fan of Caitlin Johnstone’s wittily penetrative and deceptively simple ways of showing how insane a world run by and for a tiny elite truly is, when what she is up against are systems of opinion manufacture controlled by that elite 1 and working 24/7 to normalise the insanity.

In her blog offering today – Having a Queen was Stupid: Having a King is TOO stupid – she moves from that topic …

Just stop having a royal family; it’s so dorky. This isn’t Lord of the Rings. They’re fantasy LARPers running around with swords and scepters and crowns and junk, except fantasy LARP props aren’t encrusted with priceless jewels stolen from colonized territories.

… to this one:

Americans: drinkable water please

US government: Sorry did you say send billions of dollars worth of weapons to Ukraine and Taiwan?

Americans: no, drinkable water

US government: Alright, you drive a hard bargain but here’s billions of dollars of weapons for Ukraine and Taiwan.

She follows by referencing a study commissioned by the Pentagon and delivered by the RAND Corporation – one of the more important of the many “think tanks” established by the military industrial complex to confer a veneer of impartiality on organisations funded at arm’s length by DC on the one hand, Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin et al  on the other. Says Caitlin:

We don’t talk enough about the fact that a 2019 study commissioned by the US Army found that the US could advance its geostrategic interests in Eurasia by baiting Russia into overextending itself in conflicts with US proxies in Ukraine and elsewhere.

As it happens, in a post of January this year apropos the failed coup in Kazakhstan, I cited this (abridged) passage from the 2019 RAND report Caitlin has in mind:

Some level of competition with Russia is inevitable. This report defines areas where the USA can gain advantage. We examine nonviolent measures to exploit vulnerabilities and stress Russia’s military and economy, and political standing at home and abroad. These would not have defense or deterrence as their prime purpose, although they might aid both. Rather, these are elements in a campaign to unbalance the adversary, leading Russia to compete in domains or regions where the USA has a competitive advantage, causing Russia to overextend militarily or economically or to lose domestic and/or international prestige and influence.

I went on to note that:

Chapter 3 of the [RAND] report assesses four “economic measures” to that end. For each, the potential benefits, risks and likelihood of success are set out, and a conclusion given. The four measures being:

    1. Hinder Petroleum Exports
    2. Reduce Natural Gas Exports and Hinder Pipeline Expansions 2
    3. Impose Sanctions
    4. Enhance Russian Brain Drain

In Chapter 4, the same template is applied to six “geopolitical measures”:

    1. Provide Lethal Aid to Ukraine 3
    2. Increase Support to the Syrian Rebels
    3. Promote Regime Change in Belarus
    4. Exploit Tensions in the South Caucasus
    5. Reduce Russian Influence in Central Asia
    6. Challenge Russian Presence in Moldova

In its overarching conclusion for Chapter 4, the report says this:

Russia’s commitment in Eastern Ukraine is its greatest point of external vulnerability; local opposition is active and Ukraine is a more capable adversary than any of the other states where Russian troops are committed. But even here, Russia has local military superiority, so controls the possibility of escalation dominance. Any increase in US arms and advice to Ukraine would need to be carefully calibrated to increase the costs to Russia without provoking a much wider and even more violent conflict.

What does this all add up to? Allow me to quote Caitlin again, this time from a post three days ago on September 7:

It’s not OK to be a grown adult in September 2022 and still say the invasion of Ukraine was unprovoked. You have a brain between your ears, and an internet at your fingertips. Use them!

* * *

  1. I’ve no wish to overcomplicate and thus dilute the point here but in speaking of the elite’s control of opinion manufacture I don’t say the control is necessarily – or even usually – a matter of deliberate scheming. That does happen, to be sure, but the issues go wider and deeper. Ideology is a massive subject but the bottom line is that those who rule the West behind the chimera of democracy speared in Caitlin’s “dialogue” between America and its criminal governments – for specimen charges see footnote 1 to my September 9 post – steer us into opinions we fondly imagine we arrived at independently. As Marx put it, the ruling ideas of any age are those of its ruling class. (Yes, there are those who push back, like you and me, but as long as our voices stay marginal they are not only unheeded and by that fact inconsequential. From a certain point of view they actually abet the illusions of democracy and an open society.)
  2. The RAND objective of “hindering pipeline expansion” has been a resounding success for the USA; rather less so for Europe, whose energy nightmare could be over tomorrow – assuming a Russia willing to let bygones be bygones – were EU and Scholz in particular to defy the USA and assent to Nordstrom 2; an anathema to Washington because, unlike Nordstrom 1, this newer pipeline is under Russian control hence immune to hostile acts – implanting the American-Israeli Stuxnet computer worm, say – by external powers.
  3. In 2019, “lethal aid to Ukraine” could only be to help Kiev crush Donetsk and Luhansk in its brutal civil war in the east – ignored by most Westerners, for whom Ukraine did not exist until 2022 – but already five years old following the CIA backed ouster of Viktor Yanukovitch in the 2014 Maidan coup. Not, I hasten to add, that RAND’s brief was to find ways to crush Eastern Ukraine. Such a project fell well below its pay grade. Rather, RAND was tasked with finding ways to “exploit vulnerabilities to stress Russia’s military and economy, and political standing at home and abroad”  and so “unbalance”  herUnlike an EU in frozen but thus far obedient horror (see footnote 2) Washington would love for this war to go on and on as it fights Russia down to the last Ukrainian exactly as it would fight China down to the last Taiwanese.

2 Replies to “Drinkable water please …

  1. In regards to sub-note 1: one only has to consider the reactions and behaviours of not only crowds outside Official residences of the Oligarchical British monarchy – complete with all the attendant forelock tugging – but also that of everyone from Union leaderships who called off strike action (whilst speculators never missed a beat) to Councils emailing residents lamenting and gnashing teeth (not to mention the cancellation of sporting events from football to cricket) to witness the success levels of this propaganda control.

    Meanwhile, Matthew Ehret over at Strategic Culture takes a peek at what is in store for us plebeian masses under the new management of the British Feudal Oligarchy:


    In a post-1776 world that began to get a taste for self-government, freedom and democracy as a new mode of self-organization, the “stability” of hereditary institutions came under grave threat. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the past 250 years has been shaped by the clash of these two opposing paradigms of organizing society. Where one paradigm assumes as self-evident the existence of inalienable rights of all people, the other system presumes that the only inalienable rights are those held by an oligarchical master class who wish to rule over subjects (aka: useless eaters) whose population levels must be periodically culled for easier management.

    Moving on:

    The plea for ‘drinkable water’ is likely to be soon heard on these islands following the green light given to Fracking in the UK under Reese-Mogg this week.

    Given the depth of what fields have been identified in the UK the volumes of water required will be greater than those of the US fields. Volumes of water which will be heavily polluted with everything from radium to heavy metals and worse.

    It does not even make economic sense – never mind energy sense (as the Energy Output Input Ration – EORI – for fracking is only just above being an energy sink). Last time i looked the US Fracking industry had a debt level around a third of the US ‘defence’ budget, had never made a dime, and was reliant on State bailouts and funding via junk bonds to gullible pension funds.

    If the British Feudal oligarchy do not cull us via its present trajectory to what is even now an effective WW3 it will do it by starving us “useless eaters” or depriving us of drinkable water.

    Again, the only solution to the ongoing survival threat posed by these people is the one adopted by the French a couple of hundred years back.

    • The Strategic Culture post is well worth a read. Thanks. It addresses matters too many remain unaware of. Since this site is visited often by Australians and Canadians, I was struck by this:

      For Canadians who had thought they would no longer be forced to endure watching their Prime Minister slavishly declare his oaths of fealty (and oaths of secrecy) to an inbred monarch sitting on the other side of the ocean as had occurred in 2017 they will be very disappointed. Canada’s Parliamentary Oaths Act of 1866 demands that both houses of Parliament are required to take pledges of allegiance after the deaths of all sitting monarchs. That’s right, every single member of the supposedly “elected and democratic” government of Canada must declare their oaths of fealty not to the people or non-existent constitution, but to some inbred family bloodline on the other side of the world.

      And as I wrestle to lick into readable shape my thoughts about the rentier elites who rule the Western world, this too got my attention:

      … the British Crown happens to be the world’s largest property owner clocking in possessions amounting to 6.6 billion acres across Australia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Canada, Great Britain and the Falkland Islands.

      On top of the “Crown Lands” and “Crown Corporations” which are legally owned by the monarch of Britain, an organization called ‘The Crown Estate’ is one of the world’s largest property groups. Describing the institution which sends 25% of its earnings directly into the Monarch’s purse every year, Die Welt Business had this to say:

      “The Crown Estate owns property all across the UK, from castles and cottages to agricultural land and forests plus retail parks and shopping centers. It owns more than half the UK’s entire seashore, giving it hugely valuable auction rights for offshore commercial activity, such as wind farms.”

      The Crown controls nearly the entire seabed (and half the seashore) around the UK with any business wishing to build offshore windmills as part of the Green New Deal forced to rent their sea beds from the Crown Estate.

      I’m still some ways from a review of Michael Hudson’s Death of Civilisation, whose overarching theme is the dysfunctionality of unearned income. That’s not just land rents, as Bill Gates buys up hundreds of thousands of acres in the USA. It’s also the looting by FIRE sectors – finance, insurance, real estate. Aided by eye-watering handouts (QE, and refusal to tax wealth) by captured governments, these sectors make killings from deepening ‘austerity’ in the West but in the Alice-in world of conventional economics are counted as additions rather than subtrahends to GDP. Within this broader context, getting the lowdown on the extent of the Crown’s monopoly holdings is timely.

      That said, the passage just cited does segue into this one:

      … the Crown will stand to become “the biggest beneficiary of UK’s Green Agenda” which recently unveiled a 10 point plan for a “green revolution” and full decarbonization by 2050. For anyone confused about the exploding prices of inefficient energy sources across England, they wouldn’t get far without appreciating the tax-payer subsidized boondoggle of windmill farms.

      And this:

      his actions represent a failure to his sole duty as future king – to protect the constitutional monarchy from rising climate fascism and globalism.

      While I agree that attempts to address climate change within capitalism are both futile and certain to make the victims rather than the perpetrators pay, I worry about the author’s failure to acknowledge capitalism’s ecocidal madness.

      Otherwise an excellent piece.

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