Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Temporary Death Sentence

Commuted,

How it felt for a half hour in Honolulu:
Once we felt like we were in the best place in the building, we frantically checked our phones again as we continued to envision the apocalypse that was going to occur any second.  I then saw that Hawaiian representative Tulsi Gabbard had just announced on Twitter that she had been calling authorities, and had confirmed it was a false alarm.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard: "We know that North Korea has these nuclear weapons because they see how the United States in Libya for example guaranteed Gadaffi - 'we're not going to go after you, you should get rid of your nuclear weapons.' He did, then we went and led an attack that toppled Gaddafi, launching Libya into chaos that we are still seeing the results of today. North Korea sees what we did in Iraq with Saddam Hussein, with those false reports of weapons of mass destruction. And now seeing in Iran how President Trump is decertifying a nuclear deal that prevented Iran from developing their nuclear weapons, threatening the very existence and the agreement that was made. At this point an incredulous Stephanopoulos stopped the Congresswoman and asked, "Was it a mistake for the United States to take out Gaddafi and Hussein?" Gabbard responded firmly with, "It was, absolutely."  Apparently this was enough to end the interview...

This story from Russia Today: 
Anti-Russia conspiracy theorists have developed another outlandish claim, stating that Moscow is behind Chelsea Manning’s Senate bid, since she’s taking on an incumbent who is against so-called “Russian aggression.” Manning says she’s running because “we need someone willing to fight... we need to stop expecting that our systems will somehow fix themselves.” ... Foreign policy and strategy consultant Molly McKew called Manning’s decision to run “a little too convenient,” noting that she is running against Senator Ben Cardin, who is “one of [the] most active senators on foreign policy and [a] leader in making policy/legislation to respond to Russian aggression.”  In a separate tweet, she referenced Manning’s whistleblowing and the apparent motive behind it. “The agent of a foreign power coerced this individual, leveraging their emotional distress, into breaking their oath to the country and disclosing classified secrets.” 

Your smartphone is making you stupid (and worse stuff than that, but you can forget it, a goldfish has a longer attention span)

50% of people always tell the truth, convenient or otherwise. 15% of people always say whatever gets them the most money (lies, usually) and the rest of folks lie when it is of the most benefit, at least in this one study, YMMV.

Over 100 murders, suicides, mysterious deaths – the strange fate of those who saw Kennedy shot.

"Let's Wrench Power Back From the Billionaires", Bernie Sanders (Senator Sanders is a little old to be killed in action, himself...)

Charles Hugh Smith points out that stocks are in a "Blowoff Top" right now. It is what it is. Proof here. Looks, walks and quacks like it...

Russia really wants to know more about who programmed those swarming drones with bomblets to attack their planes at their Syrian airbase. Pictures here. Chainsaw motors and propellers. They had perfect coordinates for each plane they targeted; sophisticated, pinpoint intelligence and guidance. Where did that come from?

Cat sends this essay comparing Donald Trump and Muhammad Ali, a pretty good comparison, engagingly presented.  

Violent crime rates go down where marijuana gets legalized. It seems that having gangs run a business in your city is linked to all kinds of violent crime. Catch-22? No solution?

Non-victim

Monday, January 15, 2018

Test Missile Alert

Unprepared,

Around 8:05 a.m., the Hawaii emergency employee initiated the internal test, according to a timeline released by the state. From a drop-down menu on a computer program, he saw two options: “Test missile alert” and “Missile alert.” He was supposed to choose the former; as much of the world now knows, he chose the latter, an initiation of a real-life missile alert. (There could have been value to the military to see what people actually did in the face of such a warning. There could have been intent to do this as a large scale experiment.)

Centuries of shitting in Haiti by France, then America, have made it particularly insulting to refer to Haiti as a "shithole". 
Please keep looking the other way politely while the exploitation of this slave colony continues. 
Please do not try to fix anything. Just donate to the Clinton foundation.

Charles sent this article about the Cuban Missile Crisis. "Everything you know is wrong" 
I had studied this in college in early 1982, and this is pretty close to what I learned then. The big deal was Khrushchev's offer to remove missiles from Cuba, if the US removed missiles from Turkey, was perfectly reasonable, which was agreed strategically. The political position Kennedy was in was the real problem. It was untenable. The US was no more at risk with missiles in Cuba than without. It was just an opening for some sensible trading. The rest of the world was aghast at the American brinksmanship.
(What is not said here is that Kennedy was considered a traitor by many in the military industrial complex for making the secret deal with the Russians, to do exactly the trade Khrushchev offered. What is also not said in this story is that it was a really good deal for Kennedy to make, because the decision had already been made to remove US nuclear missiles from Turkey. It had not been announced. Kennedy secretly traded away the destabilizing missiles in Turkey that the top strategists were going to get rid of quickly, already.)

Charles Hugh Smith: The nation is fragmenting because the Status Quo is failing the majority of the citizenry (The social contract made under FDR has been broken, will soon be in complete default, and must be renegotiated. This keeps happening in history.)

Chelsea Manning is running for Senate in Maryland. (I'd trust Chelsea to renegotiate the social-contract on my behalf.)

2 major Apple shareholders push the company to study iPhone addiction in children. (This is important, like toddlers smoking cigarettes.)

Damage Done

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Syndicalism Forever

Armed Peasants,

The Archdruid, John Michael Greer, has a post about the main forms of political economy, with which we are familiar.
Feudalism is the most stable historically, and the default system in collapse, because economic responsibilities and benefits are closely tied up and down the chain of "ownership" between king and peasant-farmer. Each link is reciprocal and subject to direct negotiation of costs and benefits.
Capitalism is inerently unstable, because all of the ownership of the means of production is held by the capitalist class, which increases profits and destroys markets, by squeezing the workers/consumers harder and harder until the system fails again. Great Depression and massive war happen.
In great depression and massive war, both socialism/communism and fascism get explored. Capitalists like fascism better; still their game.
Financial capitalists ("bankers") will fund communism/socialism if it is far enough away for their safety.
The result of all of that bloodshed last time was Democratic Socialism, what Europe has a fading form of, and the US had between FDR and Reagan.
Is there any other possible form of political economy?

Systems That Suck Less: Greer examines Democratic Socialism, what Bernie Sanders professes, and Richard Nixon and Dwight Eisenhower manifested. He also discusses a system which was favorably viewed 100 years ago, is manifested by many established enterprises, with variations, and which has an awkward name that nobody uses, Syndicalism.
Syndicalism is the system where the workers cooperatively own and manage the means of production. Sole proprietorship is the simplest example. Family Farm is next up the food chain. Worker owned cooperatives have very tight connections between those who really know what is happening, and those who benefit and suffer from that reality. They are either the same, or there is one degree of separation. There are no perverse incentives to load a company with debt, offshore production to China, run the stock up, and sell the shares you got for destroying the means of production and the jobs it made at home.

Russia defended it's air base in Tartus, Syria from drone attack, in a similar way to how the Saudis have used Patriot missiles to defend from cheap Yemeni rocket attacks. Expensively... These cheap drones were small and carried mortar rounds about 60 miles, guided by GPS, to attack the base. Russian forces brought some down with electronic jamming, and the rest with expensive missiles that make more sense against American bombing attacks. This seems to be a new trick to bleed down defenses with cheap and shoddy mass attacks. I'm sure it is trending.

The Yemeni Army just shot down a Saudi F-15 over the Yemeni capital of Sanaa. Time for Saudi Arabia to buy more, better American weapons against this "threat", right?

The last American President to Declare war with Congressional approval, constitutionally, was Franklin Roosevelt. How the hell did that happen? It's just so much easier to make war when you don't have to ask permission to kill milions of eople. Give-em-Hell-Harry got shown how to do that. It's gotten as easy as rolling off a log since then, just like borrowing the money to do it has.

James Galbraith examines the Democratic Party after 2016, the election they lost to the Joker. The party had devolved away from any actual support for labor, totally supporting and funded by financial capitalists and war-capitalists, and pandering cheaply to any grouping of identities which could get 51% of votes. The did not, and do not have a plan-b. (Oprah could have won in 2016, as could Sanders, but that is all a blind alley now.)

Paul Craig Roberts points out that shooting yourself in the foot with a 50-caliber machine gun should be telling us something about our deep state rulers about now. Thanks Eleni:
The orchestration “Russiagate” proves that the CIA, the NSA, and the FBI are so corrupt and unaccountable that they comprise the greatest threat to the American people in the entire history of America. The only solution is to break these agencies into a thousand splinters, as President John F. Kennedy intended, and rebuild them from scratch with total transparency. No more protecting their vast crimes under the cloak of “national security.” No classification of any so-called intelligence unless it can pass a unanamous vote of Congress and the ACLU.

Chinese ultrasonic missiles are very impressive, and they are building hard on that lead to make American power-projection assets, like fleets and bombers, completely vulnerable.

The Golden Rule of Technological progress: Innovation doesn't solve problems, it creates them. (Now, for our next act...)

Gail Tverberg points out an underlying dynamic of our current global capitalist imbalance. Actual wealth depends on current production, which depends upon energy from fossil fuels, and other mineral wealth. These fuels and ores have gone up in real cost for over 15 years. The gap between cost increase and the lack of increase in wages, which allow purchases, has been papered over with increasing amounts of debt, promises for everybody to pay everybody nicely in the future. These are impossible, because future wealth production will continue gradually declining (What's a $1000 iPhone "worth"?), until it collapses, because it's capitalism, and capitalism does that periodically. The rebuild will be in a world of expensive energy and expensive ores, which pollute massively, due to extracting from low purity left-overs. She observes that our current global human population cannot be supported. We are among the most unsupportable.  The very-most unsupportable population is making all the decisions. How is this going to work?

Using a Shovel

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Midas Or Caligula

Known Unknowns,

Our current entertainment features a story of a very rich , forgetful man with a popular TV show, running for president on other people's money, to improve his brand after losing, but failing to lose, and being thrust into a dangerous world where it is safer to eat Big Macs in bed than the meals served to the President, as none of his advisers agree with each other.
We can't really know what the chief executive of the global empire is. It is not one man. Kennedy was the last one to try that. Eleni in Athens says that the rest of the world is relieved that President Donald seems to be a fairly regular and well meaning guy, not a serpent like the Clintons, Bushes and Obama. We can, perhaps agree that American foreign (aka "war") policy under the current administration is fragmented, and appears disconcerting to "allies" and "adversaries" alike. The Empire with Obama at the rudder was sreering paths through dangerous shoals, trying to avoid running aground, while using the naval artillery against any target in range. That was somewhat predictable. Nobody knows what the shifts at the rudder are now, who is taking them, or what course will be taken. Straight over that sandbar into an iceperg is suddenly plausible. Is this by design? Who is on the design committee? 
My own take is that we, you and I can't know, and that other world powers are acting like they can't know either, so they are working around the American ship-of-state, in any way they can. This was already happening. Now it is universal. Israel is trying to run the Battleship-America onto a sandbar in the Persian gulf, where it will become fixed-artillery against Iran.
Included as background music is King Midas in Reverse, by the Hollies

Michael Wolf's book is a hit-piece. How much is flavored and shaded to depict mental incompetence? Regime-change in 2018?
"The author of a book that is highly critical of Donald Trump’s first year as U.S. president said his revelations were likely to bring an end to Trump’s time in the White House."

Here is a lot of the hit piece. It is entertaining, garishly illustrated, and with artistry in the cynicism. This is a full frontal assault in the media by one power elite group against another power elite group. It appears to be about the drafted-by-history accidental winner, Donald Trump. Consider it current historical fiction; obviously a great read...

Jim Kunstler points out the uncertainty of success of the media coup-d'etat.
Michael Wolff’s juicy book, “Fire and Fury,” would be a career-ender for any self-respecting politician, but the narcissism of Trump is altogether a different mental state. Speaking of which, it sounds like some of the amateur psychologists in congress are taking a deep Talmudic dive into the 25th amendment, to see if they can pound the square peg of Trump’s head through that particular round hole in the constitution.

Trump asked "Why can't Medicare just cover everybody?" (Not inherently stupid or evil, but with short attention span, and susceptible to good sales pitches.)

Michael Chossudovsky teases out the Mideast relationships in transition, with the US being an unreliable, but armed-to-the-teeth partner. The alliances the US has nurtured for decades are unstable without steady US/NATO care and feeding. Turkey is no longer in a stable orbit". There is a lot more here. (Chossudovsky reads like Google-translate, but it's worth the bit of bother, especially after the first 1/3.)

The US bitch-slaps Pakistan and cuts out funding. Pakistani Foreign Minister responds:
The Pentagon “carried out 57,800 attacks on Afghanistan from our bases. Your forces were supplied arms and explosives through our soil. Thousands of our civilians and soldiers became victims of the war initiated by you.”
“China lives next to us and we have a common wall. Russia can also be our good friend.”

Suddenly, out of NOWHERE:
Beijing plans to build its second offshore naval base near a strategically important Pakistani port following the opening of its first facility in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa last year.

Lies We Tell Ourselves: 
Seven of my soldiers are dead. Two committed suicide. Bombs got the others in Iraq and Afghanistan. One young man lost three limbs. Another is paralyzed. I entered West Point a couple of months before 9/11. Eight of my classmates died “over there.”

The Constitution turns out to be amended differently than we have thought for the past couple of hundred years. Some papers got misfiled in Connecticut after the original 12-point Bill of Rights (not 10) was ratified in 1790, making it national law. It seems that there must, Constitutionally, be one representative in the House, for every 50,000 Americans. (Uh, what's 323,100,000 divided by 50?)
It is commonly thought that Connecticut did not ratify the Bill of Rights Amendments until 1939, a pro forma ratification. But in fact, misfiled documents newly discovered in Connecticut’s archives show that Connecticut ratified the first 12 – significantly, not 10 – Amendments to the Constitution, commonly called “the Bill Of Rights,” in 1790.
“After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative for every forty thousand persons [sets a minimum of 100 Representatives thereafter, and creates a ‘floor’ of 40,000 persons per District], until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons [sets a minimum of 200 Representatives thereafter, and creates a “ceiling” of 50,000 persons per District].”

Two Hung Juries; now a mistrial. Will the BLM try one-more-time to convict Cliven Bundy and family? They really were brutally breaking the law to make an example of him.

The incoming Chairman of the Federal Reserve sorta' drops the fact that the Fed is "short volatility" (Oh GAWD! He Said It!)

There is no night. Maybe we will have it back some day. What would have to happen for that?
The data also cast doubt on the idea that the LED lighting revolution will lead to energy cost savings. Between 2012 and 2016 the median nation pumped out 15 percent more long-wavelength light as its GDP increased by 13 percent. And overall, countries’ total light production correlated with their GDP. In other words, Kyba says, “we buy as much light as we are willing to spend money on.”

Mushroom in Dark

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Control Fraud Democracy

Likely Voters,

Charles Hugh Smith pins the tail on this donkey:
If we strip away the pretense of democracy, what is the core of our political System? Answer: control fraud, which I define as those with control/ power in centralized institutions enriching themselves at the expense of the citizenry by selectively modifying what's permissible, and doing so in a fully legally compliant process, i.e. within the letter of the law if not the intent of the law.

Global Military-Financial Empire retrenches against threats to hegemony with Trump tax plan. Good analysis. Here's the summary:
"In short: the main purpose of this tax law is to strengthen certain sectors of the U.S economy as part of the “America first” economic-military agenda. But there is no guarantee that lower corporate taxes will in fact stimulate major new investment. The “tax reform” will, however, lead to greater income and wealth inequality, and new hardships on the poor and many in the middle strata. The fascist regime’s gamble here is that they will be able to ram through to a more dominant role in the world economy; that they can kick-start higher levels of capital investment; and that they will succeed in jamming these vicious attacks on living standards down the throats of the masses."
https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-imperialist-logic-of-trumps-tax-bill-the-economic-military-agenda/5624716

Top 5 Buried Stories of 2017 (c'mon, just a peek  :-)

Russia and China are openly supporting Iran against already-fizzled US color-revolution face-slap.
(What's up? This was not a serious assault, just for Western media narrative-control. What are WE supposed to support next?)

So the Russiagate probe just keeps turning up Clinton-machine criminal conspiracy... When is the deep-state deal between elite factions coming? Trumpf team at tiller...

Dazed and Amused

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Nice Little Projects

Footloose,

Our lives are supported by a vast global economic and financial system which is unsustainable. 
Bye-bye... I guess. 
Image result for wile e coyote

If the internet goes down, and the grid, so do groceries, fuel supplies and water systems.
Murphy's law says that "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong." 
Accept that postulate?
Small systems form spontaneously out of shared efficiencies. Each participant does better with the same amount of work inside the system.
These efficient small systems are energy efficient. That's why they form, and they are stable while the original conditions persist.
Small efficient systems can grow larger, when there is enough energy and other physical substrate to allow that expansion.
The growth requires additional energy and resources above the steady state, and as the larger system becomes more spread out and complex, further energy resources are required to coordinate and control it.
The burden of the coordination and control grows as the size and complexity of the system grows, until it consumes more energy and resources than the primary function that began the system.
As more of the system becomes dedicated to the control and maintenance of the system, that becomes the primary purpose of the system (at least in human systems).
The controlling and organizing elements of the system, the deciders, are primarily engaged in keeping the system they control, intact and under their control.
In America, the system that was most fundamentally formed to feed citizens as they farmed their way across the continent and destroyed smaller native American support systems, has become a global nuclear, financial, energy, commodity-trading empire that feeds people as a basic cost of controlling them and assuring their obedience within the system.
What the global military-financial empire has done since winning absolute victory is to practice the Wolfowitz Doctrine, which is to kill  any potential future rival in the cradle. Russia and China grew back. Iran was never completely dead, Turkey is growing away,...
The Petro-dollar is on shaky ground. Really, the US military threat, and systemic inertia are what supports dollar hegemony. Imperial control of pipelines is critical going forward. Pipelines are perfect control choke points to control people and industry and the resources they need to survive. They can be forced to support the hungry system.
Pipelines carry oil, water and natural gas. Syrian war has been fought over natural gas pipelines. The Saudi pipeline lost. The Iranian pipeline is not yet built.
Here is a Mediterranean pipeline war brewing, maybe just some more "conflict". 
Notice how so many of these projects involve Turkey? Israel?
The complexity of the $US based global financial system is vast, corrupt, horribly wasteful for the primary purpose of supplying the economic needs of human families and communities, but completely invested in maintaining the system itself. Market instability was a systemic threat, so markets have been replaced with controlled pseudo-markets. You can't fight the Fed! You can't lose in an indexed-fund invested in stocks. They keep going up. Part of the price of that is that companies borrow money at (low) interest to buy back their own stock and increase it's price, so their executives can sell shares and skim billions in value from the productive part of the company. 
That sustains the system of control, in it's current ersatz form, until... "The Next Financial Crisis", because things just all became the same kind of broken, and unfixable without breaking the system, which is anathema.  https://www.truthdig.com/articles/next-financial-crisis-will-worse-last-one/
The system has a gun to my head. Yours, too. Still, I can grow vegetables, consider a little homestead with a well and a propane tank, some solar cells to pump water and keep a night-light, and things like that. I have a pen, ruler and graph paper, and books, and I still have the internet and electricity, and some life left in me.
I have a little bit of spare resource, and will have a little more at some time.
I am communicating with you. Maybe that can help us both some day.
Human societies and empires have broken and reorganized into smaller, more inherently stable economic units before.
Dunbar's Number is about 150. That's one kind of group size limit, above which things get less efficient, and more total energy has to be devoted to maintaining the structure.
If most of us can't support something that big, the optimum working group size is probably around a dozen or less.
I'm thinking "family, expandable to friend-with-shared-vision-and-productivity".

Wishing You a Worthwhile 2018

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Envisioning Peaceful Transitions

Squinting,

The Saker looks at the chances of the US military launching major wars on 7 target countries in 2018.
"Today I find myself inclined to think that psychologists are probably better suited to make predictions about the actions of the rulers of the AngloZionist Empire than military analysts.  Furthermore, history shows us that the combination of delusional imbeciles and dishonorable cowards is what typically brings down empires, we saw a very good example of that with the collapse of the Soviet Empire."

The Next Empire: "China, Russia, and the rest of the world, when faced with American threats and bluster, will not simply fold their tents and accept that the US must be obeyed. They will, instead, create alternatives. And they are doing so exceedingly well and quickly. At this point, the overreach of the US is not only enabling other powers to rise, it is forcing their hand to literally create the next full-blown empire."

How does the Chief Strategist of The People's Liberation Army see the current global geopolitical battlefield? (He sees it as financial warfare.)
“Qiao goes so far to state that the most important event in the twentieth century was not the two world wars, but America’s abandonment of the gold standard in 1971. This is some statement”, exclaims Macleod... And here lies the crux of China’s strategy.  It will be some years before the Yuan assumes the status of a major reserve currency (it had been planning a ‘harmonious’ ascent - in China’s non-assertive parlance), but China dominates world trade, and is in a position at any time henceforth to tie oil (and commodities) to gold – as they originally were.

The Great Dollar "Short-Squeeze" is coming. (This is how the dollar-loanng western investors extracted all of that wealth out of the "Asian Tigers" in the Asian Financial Crisis of the late 1990s. China had already protected herself from that attack. What is China's position when the same extraction phase of the pump-and-dump financial cycle comes around again? Are there white-knights?)

David Stockman points out that the US Treasury will be selling a whole lot of bonds at the same time that the Fed is shrinking it's massive bond holdings, by selling them. This should make the interest rates on US government debt more expensive, more politically painful. (Will the empire score own-goal?)

The CIA history of 60 years of paying for fake news and telling journalists that "they are helping their country":

The Israeli government tells Facebook what Palestinian accounts it finds offensive, and Facebook deletes them (well, 95% of them).

Israeli PM Netanyahu praises Iranan "freedom fighters", while claiming not to be funding them. Iran's Revolutionary Guards are having to reluctantly assume control of rioting in some cities, as police and citizens are getting killed (by somebody).

Moon Of Alabama has more information on US string-pulling and funding and media-repackaging of Iranian economic protests.
The "protesters burn government offices in the Ahvaz Province" video only shows the burning of a trashcan in front of a building. The only noise in the "police using live rounds on protesters" video are from the smashing of windows of an office container. A video promoted as "3 people were killed in police shooting of Lorestan" shows a small but loud group. Two people are carried away but it is unclear who they are or what, if anything, happened to them. No shooting is heard and no police can be seen. In other videos police is responding to stone throwing and vandalizing rioters.

"The vast majority of protesters are either not particularly partisan, or they are sympathetic to Ahmadinejad's criticisms of reformist economic and foreign policy, insofar as this is a policy which has favored an increased polarization of the distribution of wealth and opportunities in the Islamic Republic. So their chief issues are economic concerns, corruption, and distribution of wealth and human services. There is enough sophistication in Iran to understand that in terms of regional politics, everything Iran does in Syria and Iraq is an important move to counter and contain Israel. This is a 'popular militancy' that is carried on from the revolution of 1979 itself... In other words, there are at least two sets of protests going on, and while they are mirroring some similar talking points and general descriptions of grievances, their solutions are wildly at odds... With the more radical wing of the Green Movement (et al, and similar), we see them pulling off various stunts. These are stunts, and not protests as such, because they involve at most several dozen 'activists' using camera angles, and unpopular chants, to simulate a larger protest with, what we are told are, popular radical chants... These are astroturf, not grass-roots type demonstrations...  Orders from central government have been clear - treat all of these with as light a hand as possible. If protesters seem to be irrationally targeting local police, there to generally maintain order, then its better to relocate or withdraw those police rather than have them actually employ their obviously superior force potential, and give reality and proof to, what are until now, imaginary accusations of a serious crack-down going on in Iran (there isn't one)... Astro-turfed demonstrations, placed explosives elsewhere, and perhaps next snipers creating chaos in one of the seven countries on the Pentagon's regime change list of 2001, have one thing in common: it's signature most likely being "CIA"...On the other hand, at least an equal number of people have turned out in today and yesterday's pro-government demonstrations...  Finally to contextualize the reality of any Western media purported 'crackdown' - what we are seeing in Iran today is only a fraction of what we saw in terms of seriousness or size, in 2009. In 2009, about 200 protesters were ultimately arrested. We might compare this to the 'open' and 'pluralist' United States, were Occupy Wall Street protests saw a police-state figure of over 8,000 arrested. "

The US Empire is Running the Same Script With Iran That It Ran With Libya and Syria, Caitlin Johnstone, via The Ron Paul Institute:

"Among those killed were six protesters who had attempted to steal guns from a police station in the town of Qahdarijan, Iranian state TV said, as cited by AP. Another two people were killed in the town of Khomeinishahr, and the ninth fatality was a member of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard in the town of Najafabad. The overall death toll after six days of unrest has reached 20 people, according to state TV. About 450 people have been arrested in the last three days, security deputy governor of Tehran Ali Asghar Nasserbakht told ILNA news agency. About 100 of them were arrested on Monday, he added. Pro- and anti-government demonstrations have been taking place in Iran since Thursday. Economic hardship and alleged corruption mostly prompted the anti-government rallies. On Monday Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed to double efforts to resolve Iran’s economic problems, unemployment and inflation, Fars agency reported. Later on Monday Rouhani said that the protests may have been partially stirred up by external forces interested in destabilizing the country. “The enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran are angry with the glory, success, and the progress of the Iranian nation; and they have vowed to bring the regional troubles to Iran,” he said... Earlier Rouhani stated that citizens are “absolutely free” to protest and criticize the government, but that vandalism was another matter. “Criticism is different from violence and damaging public property,” Rouhani warned."

The US "puts Pakistan on notice" as Pakistan considers trading  with neighboring China in Yuan, instead of $US.
Vladimir Putin publicly assures Basher al Assad that Russia will defend Syrian sovereignty (and keep Russian bases there)

Why Are Trump's Troops Training ISIS Terrorists? Thanks Eleni:

"Slaughterbots", "as much death as you want": Cheap face-recognizing, swarming drones, with face-recognition software fly to your face and blow your head apart. Cost-effective.

Jim Kunstler reviews "The Year in Trump":
"Well, he made it through the year. I thought the fu**er would be sandbagged by a claque of Pentagon patriots inside of three months, but I was wrong, wrong, wrong."

"Shirtless Pundit," Zach Haller reports that "Hillary's Goose is Cooked", as Mueller-&-friends find mostly Uranium-One, Wasserman-Schultz,  Huma Abedeen, secret-servers, and Awlaki brothers blackmailing Democratic congresspersons-of-interest.

"Huma Abedin forwarded a trove of sensitive emails to her personal Yahoo account, including passwords to government systems - before every single Yahoo account was affected by a massive hack conducted by a Russian security expert employed by the same Moscow bank former President Bill Clinton gave a $500,000 speech to in 2010, according to Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller"
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-01-02/huma-abedin-forwarded-top-secret-passwords-yahoo-account-hacked-russian-odd-clinton

The New Poverty (Well, it's the current poverty, and well established. Manufacturing got moved out of the US over the past 4 decades, and construction jobs I got as a college student are all done by my Mexican patients, now. There is a vast world of people who don't fit in our non-productive compliance economy. Burger King is fully staffed.}
Imagine "Community Subsistence" Economy"
"Imagine, for example, that every American citizen over the age of 16 can choose to earn a living-wage in exchange for providing a useful service to their local or regional community. Imagine that every local community has a free health and pharmacy clinic (in conjunction with a free methadone and counseling center)—where some of the employees are the living-wage earners. Imagine further that every local community has a housing co-op system (built in part by some of the living-wage earners) that makes available—to every family that needs it—a basic dwelling unit that is warm, dry, well-ventilated, and which provides for cooking, bathing, sleeping, and family gathering. Imagine that every local community has at least one community garden and rookery (managed by some of the living-wage earners) which grows, harvests, and processes vegetables, fruits, eggs, cheese—and perhaps fish—for local consumption. Imagine that every local community has at least one pre-school day-care (manned at least in part by some of the living-wage earners) which provides, free of charge, a safe, early child-hood learning environment between the hours of 6 A.M. and 6 P.M. Imagine that every local community has a system of retirement co-housing villages (built and staffed, in part, by the living-wage earners)."

Cooperatively Gardening