Some events in history seem significant at the time. They often involve explosions (like the bombing of Nord Stream pipelines) or mass deaths (9/11 attack on NYC skyscrapers). But sometimes they are more subtle. When Iran and Saudi Arabia restored diplomatic relations this week with China brokering the agreement, nothing exploded and no one died. Yet this event is evidence of a seismic shift in global power dynamics as the world moves steadily away from domination by the U.S. hegemon and, not incidentally, the U.S. petrodollar. In short, the U.S. can no longer exploit a regional rivalry that has been resolved.
Meanwhile, China announced it was appointing a new head for the People’s Liberation Army. General Li Shangfu has been sanctioned by the U.S. for buying weapons from Russia. Probably more significant is his expertise in aerospace. The Pentagon has long since established it intends outer space to be the next “warfighting domain” and in fact all nations use communications satellites already to connect their military personnel and outposts.
Some of you may remember China earlier this month publishing a gloves-off document detailing the many war crimes and other belligerent actions of the U.S. If you haven’t yet had time to read “U.S. Hegemony and Its Perils“, I recommend you do. It is also likely to be seen in hindsight as historic, a highly significant departure for usually tactful conduct by Chinese officialdom as it is blunt, truthful, and, well, undiplomatic.
Meanwhile, in the U.S. a cycle of bank failures seems to be underway with the first domino to fall being the Silicon Valley Bank. Most of its deposits were uninsured, and several other banks lost millions upon SVB’s descent into insolvency.
Many more tech firms who banked with SVB could also suffer significant losses. RocketLab USA is among them.
Will we see a repeat of the Obama administration’s signature “banks got bailed out, we got sold out” in 2008? Of course we will. It’s already underway. This just in from CNN:
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Sunday instructed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to guarantee Silicon Valley Bank customers will have access to all of their money starting Monday.
By guaranteeing all deposits – even the uninsured money customers kept with the failed bank – the government can ensure public confidence in America’s banking system, Yellen, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and FDIC Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg said in a joint statement.
Meanwhile, using migrant children as young as 9 to work in meat packing facilities is happening all over the U.S., implicating firms like Whole Foods (owned by Amazon). Some states are even legalizing the practice. Oh, and some in Congress want to raise the Social Security and Medicare retirement age from 65 to 70. So that would amount to six decades of working for the man many earning only a minimum wage that hasn’t risen in decades.
No wonder so many branches of the federal government are engaged in taxpayer-funded thought control via social media platforms. Testimony before a House committee this week by journalist Matt Taibbi went far beyond anything envisioned by Kafka.
The video of the exchange between bonehead reps and a seasoned journalist who believes in both the 1st amendment and protecting his sources is worth watching if only for the astonished expression Taibbi wears throughout much of the hearing. He is clearly struggling not to LOL while remaining respectful in a governmental body that he may have once respected.
If you’re a reader like me, Taibbi’s report after the fact is available here.
Too long, didn’t read? Here’s the executive summary: Multiple agencies of the feds insisted that platforms like Twitter and Facebook shut down user accounts that were telling inconvenient truths or asking inconvenient questions (e.g. Could the covid pathogen been created in a lab rather than evolving in nature?). This was and is done under the guise of combating misinformation, but examining Twitter’s internal documents reveal that it is after all just plain censorship.
The U.S. government does not want people to think thoughts that might threaten its power to rule over us.
Dying empires typically use their remaining strength to control and threaten those who cannot be controlled. While you might think that the U.S. would consolidate its power by regulating banking fraud, railroad safety, and providing for its elderly, you would be wrong. The empire appears determined to keep doubling down until it arrives at nearly zero.
China, Russia, and Iran are mature civilizations whose conduct contrasts sharply with that of the bully who is getting his comeuppance.
May we all survive the next few years.