Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Robot Density

Hive Members,

Nate Hagens, Energy, Money and Technology: From the Lens of the Superorganism 
A lecture that Professor Hagens recently gave at a Science and Engineering University in Saudi Arabia, January 2018. 
(I don't do videos, but Nate packs this as tightly as anything in print. He has had a unique path to qualify him for this overview of Reality 101)

Is it Possible for Everyone to Live a Good Life Within our Planet's Limits? (An honest look)

Future US oil production will collapse just as quickly as it increased. (Regular version and Kunstler's version :-)

Yes, its true. The stock, equity and bond markets are rigged. It's pretty much all insider trading in the long run. Insiders vs "Muppets".
The Economist, owned by the Rothschild family, spells it out.

Stocks dive after retail price index goes up, meaning the Fed will keep increasing interest rates, tightening money supply, turning down the faucet. 
(The short-volatility funds that blew up last week were the tip of the short-volatility iceberg. This is not over. that was just the crackers with cream cheese and canapes.)

The Education of Kim Jong-Un. This is a fascinating character study by a Senior Fellow at the Brookings institute, a Korean woman, who was a CIA analyst. It came out a little before the recent Olympic Diplomatic Coup. It does not predict it in any way. Knowing young Kim does not make him predictable, and that is acknowledged fairly early on. He appears to be way more like his grandfather, Kim Il-Sung, in both appearance and manner, than he is like his dad, Kim Jong-Il.

Winter Olympics Gold: Kim Jong-Un Calls for Further Reconciliation (This ball is now in play.)

Israeli police recommend that Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted for bribery. ("I was only doing what's good for the country, Police have no role in this democracy", he responds.)

How many Russian soldiers-of-furtune did American airstrikes in Syria just kill? Apparently, hundreds. What's next?

Lebanon to Open its Ports to Russian Warships: 
(Remember that Syria's port of Tartus is a Russian base, and Russia got the contract to develop oil and gas off the Lebanese coast. Israel can't safely attack Russia.)

Russia asks BRICS group to invest in rebuilding Syria, which happens to be a hub on China's Belt and Road Initiative. There's a lot of rebuilding to do; might as well build the Chinese trade initiative into it, huh?

President Trumps' Belt-and-Road infrastructure plan for America isn't really for most Americans, or even mostly for Americans...
The plan, which the White House bills as a $1.5-trillion program, only provides $100 billion in federal funds over 10 years for major federal-state projects — and those funds are mostly, at this moment, mythical. The plan bristles with incentives to allow private investors to profiteer, to expand tolls and other user fees on crucial roads and bridges, and to despoil public lands with pipelines. It aims to fast-track the most environmentally hazardous projects, the better to keep experts and local communities from weighing in. And it increases obligations on state and local governments just at the moment when their ability to raise funds has been hamstrung by Congress.

Robot-Density in Manufacturing: How many robots per 10,000 humans, is a useful metric to compare industries in different countries and different regions. 
Look who is #1, and by how much. I didn't guess that.

Sweden hasn't wanted Julian Assange since 2013, but London made them keep the warrant out for him, to keep him in his little prison in the Ecuadoran embassy. Cat's out of the bag, now. Some official correspondence has surfaced:
Ny wrote to the CPS: “We have found us to be obliged to lift the detention order … and to withdraw the European arrest warrant. If so this should be done in a couple of weeks. This would affect not only us but you too in a significant way.” Three days later, suggesting that legal concerns were far from anyone’s mind, she emailed the CPS again: “I am sorry this came as a [bad] surprise… I hope I didn’t ruin your weekend.” In a similar vein, proving that this was about politics, not the law, the chief CPS lawyer handling the case in the UK, had earlier written to the Swedish prosecutors: “Don’t you dare get cold feet!!!” 

Donald Trump's lawyer paid porn star, Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep her mouth shut; his own money, never asked, never reimbursed, goodness of his heart... So THERE!

How Antibiotics Created the Chicken Industry. (It's more than you may think. This is a good historical presentation.)

Chicken Crossing Road

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Self(ish)

Less Entitled,

Israel has openly attacked Syria over 100 times in the past year, and Syria has stopped accepting the attacks. Putin phoned Netanyahu and asked him not to escalate this further...
"A major battle broke out on Saturday between the Israeli Air Force and Syrian Air Defence Force over the occupied Golan Region, south Lebanon and the west Damascus region. During the confrontation that lasted for hours, Israeli warplanes and Syrian anti-aircraft systems traded missile fire – literally dozens of such munitions were fired – as the latter launched a general attack against ‘Iranian and regime’ bases west of Damascus. 
And in a major escalation, one which has the potential to escalate into all out war, at the beginning of the battle,  a Syrian surface-to-air missile downed an Israeli F-16 fighter jet over the occupied Golan Heights (described as ‘northern Israel’ by Israeli sources)."

Strategic postures of Israel, Syria, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah (2/8/18, before this action began).

The area Northeast of the Euphrates river in Syria is where Syria's best oil wells lie. The US has attacked Syrian government troops there and killed around 100, to prevent them from retaking Syrian oil. It looks like American artillery and airstrikes killed some Russians, too. This is more open and illegal war against Syria, by the US, on behalf of... "Your freedom" and stuff.

Caitlin Johnstone: " Believe it or not, it appears very likely that the US military’s latest act of butchery waged upon Middle Easterners on their own land was not about self-defense at all, but about oil."

Lebanon's offshore gas and oilfields, which Israel intends to prevent Lebanon from accessing ("My Preciousss") may be developed in Joint Russian-Lebanese venture.
"We work for broad engagement of Russian partners in large-scale and promising projects in Lebanon," Shaaban said. "This topic was discussed in detail during talks in Sochi between Prime Minister Saad Hariri and President Vladimir Putin last September," Shaaban said.
http://tass.com/economy/989354

Al Jazeera sent a mole to Washington DC to infiltrate the Israeli lobby and get some audio and video. This went well, similarly to a prior project in London. There is now a Qatari documentary about the AIPAC control of Washington DC. Informal negotiations between Alan Dershowitz and friends, and the Emir of Qatar, worried about war upon his regime from Saudi/Israeli coalition, have been interpreted favorably by AIPAC lobby as blocking release of the documentary. Latest word from Qatar confounds that, but does not say when it will air.

Kim Jong Un sends his sister to Korean winter Olympics as an emissary. Undiplomatic diplomats call names.

Sister Kim Yo Jong gives South Korean President Moon a nice letter inviting him to talks in North Korea, at his convenience.

Korean unification flag marches into Winter Olympics, ahead of unified North-South Korean Ice Hockey Team (Kim Yo Jong sits close to Mike Pence, too  :-) Awkward?)

Pence skips dinner to avoid sitting at table with North Koreans (Wow, he showed them!)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/09/kim-jong-uns-sister-arrives-in-south-korea-for-winter-olympics
Kim Yo-jong and Mike Pence

Why the Trump administration can't hire an ambassador to South Korea (The job description disqualifies all capable applicants. Catch-22)

Douglas Wilson writes about the big issue with the FISA memo, and other related memos, now, is the pervasiveness of the "so what? It's nothing" response, which means the actual totality of the corruption needs to sink in. The totality of corruption is the message. The actual governance is through the deep state and almost all the politicians in full cooperation. Thanks Eleni. Colorfully written, as well.

The State of the American Debt Slave, by Wolf Richter. 3 bar-graphs, mainly. (What will be demanded of the debt slaves, as payment?)

Cancel Student Debt for the good of all of us.

Here is a good description of how volatility investment "products", being traded rationally and professionally, created a 3PM market volatility event that went into full collapse after hours, and is not over yet. It is pointed out that this was the little problem that was certain to happen soon. There are much bigger ones, involving all of the big banks and financial firms.

David Stockman is not actually taking a pot shot at Janet Yellen here (though he does), but examining the last 30 years of fed financial policy and it's direct and indirect consequences, including the actual gutting of the real economy. That is toward the end. Real investment went away about a decade ago. Yeah, you noticed too?

OK, this really is Stockman attacking Yellen, as the easy-money-heroin-dealer that got America (hey, the world!) hooked, but not sparing Bernanke and Greenspan, either. It is still factual and informative as to mechanisms.

Scientists studying psilocybin discover that the "self" is an illusion. (Buddha:1, Freud:0, Timothy Leary: Dead)
Still, the hallucination of consciousness is one we’re all having in tandem. When we agree about our hallucinations, we call it “reality.”  

Universal Mind

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Volatile World

Prematurely Relieved,

You may recall that incoming Fed Chair, Jerome Powell let this slip (in December), about the Fed needing to unload it's short-volatility position. 
"It is about $1.2 trillion in sales; you take 60 months, you get about $20 billion a month. That is a very doable thing, it sounds like, in a market where the norm by the middle of next year is $80 billion a month. Another way to look at it, though, is that it’s not so much the sale, the duration; it’s also unloading our short volatility position." 
[Monday, the VIX Explosion Day, was Powel's first day as Fed Chair. He had given fair warning, hadn't he?]
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-01-05/fed-chair-makes-striking-admission-we-have-short-volatility-position

Betting a lot of money against the usual odds, that the stock market would just placidly rise and rise, was making "investors" some steady little returns over the last year or so. That game has suddenly closed up shop.

The big shift in volatility bets happened after the 4:00 PM market close Monday, and it was the biggest "purchase of volatility" ever, to close out those shortt-volatility bets, all at once. The market for volatility just broke, and it's not clear if it will "exist" any more.

Not only is the 116% surge in the VIX from yesterday accelerating, it is now up another 35%, above 50 - the highest level since March 2009 - extending its record surge as the vol eruption continues, and crushing the world's vol-sellers, assuring that all those who were collecting pennies in front of a steamroller, end up, well, fully steamrolled...

XIV, the short-volatility fund, is closed. Settlement with "investors" will be made February 21, at about a 96% one day loss. Still, that's 4 cents back on the dollar...

This spike in the Volatility Index "should" correspond to a 15% drop in stock market valuations (but who can tell with everything so manipulated? This is just the weakest layer of manipulation vaporizing.)

This article from 5 days ago is about the Fed's "QE unwind", or slowly selling back into the "markets", all of that rotten zombie flesh it has been buying for the last 9 years. That process just really started to have effects in January.

The American military is still fighting, and winning the Vietnam war, for well over 60 years now...
Thanks Eleni. Very instructive piece about our brightest military minds.
The hearts and minders and Clausewitzians atop the military establishment since 9/11 are never likely to stop citing their versions of the Vietnam War as the key to victory today; that is, they will never stop focusing on a war that was always unwinnable and never worth fighting. None of today’s acclaimed military personalities seems willing to consider that Washington couldn’t have won in Vietnam because, as former Air Force Chief of Staff Merrill McPeak (who flew 269 combat missions over that country) noted in the recent Ken Burns documentary series, “we were fighting on the wrong side.” 

Ron Paul on the "FISA memo":
First, the memo demonstrates that there is a “deep state” that does not want things like elections to threaten its existence. Candidate Trump’s repeated promises to get along with Russia and to re-assess NATO so many years after the end of the Cold War were threatening to a Washington that depends on creating enemies to sustain the fear needed to justify a trillion dollar yearly military budget. 

Jim Kunstler fleshes out Congressman Paul's insights with a funny bone and some bits of meat.
It is the super-duper quandary of the moment: choose between the oafish, charmless, and possibly not-so-stable-genius Leader-of-the-Free-World… and a security state that will do whatever it takes to get rid of him, for instance, engineering a nationwide hysteria over Russia.

It matters little whether you believe an individual candidate is a ‘good’ person, or a ‘bad’ person. Once in office he or she becomes a tool for the maintenance of the status quo – evidently. Why is this? Because the system is not run for your benefit. Its primary function is the concentration of power and wealth within the system itself, to serve the vested interests of a relatively tiny group of people. 

Caitlin Johnstone on nuclear Armageddon:  I see us as facing an immediate existential crisis as a species that needs to be dealt with right now, and people say I should be more worried about this or that conservative figure saying rude things on Twitter. We are facing the very real possibility of near-term human extinction; I don’t know how to care about the petty sectarian squabbles in America’s various political factions. It really is time for us to all get over ourselves and grow up.

Here is an article from The Saker, about Russia's rebuilding of Arctic ports and early-warning systems. Russia has a huge Arctic border to protect from attack, and more icebreakers than everybody else put together, and work to do.

There are 2 vacant investor-owned homes for every homeless person in America. (Wow! So many? Not here...)

"80% of care for elderly in Japan will come from robots by 2020."     
He added: “On the side of those who receive care, of course initially there will be psychological resistance.” 
Rescued by Progress

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Unanticipated Changes

Disoriented,

The Magnetic Field is Shifting. The Poles May Flip. This Could Get Bad. (Really, this happens periodically and Earth is way, way overdue for a magnetic pole reversal. The shields against solar storm radiation will be down for an indeterminate period of time (centuries). Hopefully the Romulans won't attack.)
"The latest satellite data, from the European Space Agency’s Swarm trio, which began reporting in 2014, show that a battle is raging at the edge of the core. Like factions planning a coup, swirling clusters of molten iron and nickel are gathering strength and draining energy from the dipole. The north magnetic pole is on the run, a sign of enhanced turbulence and unpredictability. A cabal in the Southern Hemisphere has already gained the upper hand over about a fifth of the Earth’s surface. A revolution is shaping up...   Solar energetic particles can rip through the sensitive miniature electronics of the growing number of satellites circling the Earth, badly damaging them. The satellite timing systems that govern electric grids would be likely to fail. The grid’s transformers could be torched en masse. Because grids are so tightly coupled with each other, failure would race across the globe, causing a domino run of blackouts that could last for decades. "

Earth was torched, then frozen 12,800 years ago by a comet smacking it. This is the Younger Dryass Impact Hypothesis. It is massively supported by recent investigation, on the cusp of becoming the established geological history. The implications for recent human civilization are far reaching. We lost a lot 12,800 years ago, and had to regroup in global winter.
The KU researcher and his colleagues believe the data suggests the disaster was touched off when Earth collided with fragments of a disintegrating comet that was roughly 62 miles in diameter—the remnants of which persist within our solar system to this day.
"The hypothesis is that a large comet fragmented and the chunks impacted the Earth, causing this disaster," said Melott. "A number of different chemical signatures—carbon dioxide, nitrate, ammonia and others—all seem to indicate that an astonishing 10 percent of the Earth's land surface, or about 10 million square kilometers, was consumed by fires."
 https://phys.org/news/2018-02-ice-age-human-witnessed-larger.html#jCp 

Global Warming is likely to breach 1.5 degrees C within 5 years. (oops)

Will the US mount a nuclear sneak-attack on North Korea? All the pieces are in place now. Detailed here.

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has said that he agrees with the aggressive statements President Trump has made towards North Korea. The former Secretary of State said that the Trump Administration “will hit that fork in the road, and the temptation to deal with it with a pre-emptive attack” against North Korea “is strong, and the argument is rational.” 

Israel (an undeclared nuclear power since the 1960s) says the offshore gas fields in Lebanese and Palestinian (Gaza) waters are Israeli property, which oil companies will be wise to observe, because might is right.

"A Tale of Two Americas", about the sharply divergent interpretations of the FISA Memo. It's battle lines that are drawn. (Personally, I agree with the Trump faction about the criminality and ti[p-of-iceberg stuff, but I still see Trump as a symptom, and as drafted by history to break this huge life-sucking global machine, so I'm in neither camp, and you may not be either.)

Charles Hugh Smith:  Those placated by politically correct utterances accept symbolic speech acts as substitutes for real changes in the power structure. This glorification of symbolic gestures--virtue signaling via social media, the parroting of progressive phrases, etc.--is as cheap as the mouthing of PC platitudes. Everybody gets to feel validated and respected at no cost to anyone: the progressives feel smugly superior because the Ruling Elite now feels compelled to parrot "progressive" speech acts in public, and the Ruling Elite is free to pillage without any demands for a radical restructuring of the incentives and distribution of the nation's wealth and income.

"Financial Arsonists", Go Team Trump! :-(
Nearly every regulatory institution in Trumpville tasked with monitoring the financial system is now run by someone who once profited from bending or breaking its rules. Historically, severe financial crises tend to erupt after periods of lax oversight and loose banking regulations. By filling America’s key institutions with representatives of just such negligence, Trump has effectively hired a team of financial arsonists. 

Good essay on "markets" and "mean regression" It's coming. When?

Please look at the video (from Eleni) below, then stop looking and do something real. 
After meditation-group, I'm gardening today. The sun is out.

Reoriented

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

American Gorbachev

Subjects of Empire,

Eleni sends this entertaining and insightful article, which presents Donald Trump as being in the uncomfortable position of Mikhail Gorbachev, presiding over the bankruptcy/reorganization of an empire. There is some good historical insight into the machinations in the US, following the USSR dissolution, which set us on the path we have trodden since then. It has gone way beyond ridiculous, and Americans are the last to see it. Trump seems to see it.
http://www.voltairenet.org/article199471.html

The Mueller probe into Trump's "Russian collusion" keeps finding gold for Trump, and only lead for the Clintonista regulars from the last administration. The FBI/DOJ have taken Andrew McCabe out of his FBI position, with an immediate forced resignation, because it is now public that he suppressed evidence from Anthony Weiner's laptop, which was damning to have been there at all, whatever the content. Huma Abedeen should not have had this on a personal laptop, let alone her husband's teen-sexting-laptop. (I remember the NYPD griping loudly about this suppression of evidence until after the election. They already knew what was in the laptop they found, but the FBI was sequestering it. Even Gorbachev had to consolidate power before closing down the show.)

How the European Union became divided on Russia. (First, there's  such "union" in reality. These countries have all been invaded and subjugated repeatedly throughout their histories, need fuel, need security and must act accordingly.)

Vladimir Putin, at Sochi, declares clearly that only the Syrian people may decide Syria's future. US, Israel, France and others are no-shows.

China is ready to participate in Syrian reconstruction.

Palestinian Chief Negotiator reveals (most) details of Trump Peace Plan (Wait, this is a shit sandwich with an IOU inside!) Thanks Eleni.

The Pentagon still carries out the biological warfare research that led to Anthrax bombing of Tokyo in WW-2. It's just quiet, and in countries that can keep a secret. Thanks Eleni.
Pentagon's Biolabs

US General says that North Korea doesn't really have complete ICBMs, capable of nuking America, because they have not completely proven that they do. For instance, they have not demonstrated successful atmospheric re-entry by something like a warhead. Things burn-up, ya'know? (This is a straw-man, since the most effective North Korean attack would be an EMP device in the ionosphere, to knock out the US electric grid, maybe one for the east coast and one for the west coast.)

UN announces sanctions against North Korea are successfully starving children to death this winter. (It's like all those Iraqi kids who never grew up to hate our freedom, isn't it?)

Brother-in-law-Steve peripherally sends this accounting of US military budget information in recent decades, from Catherine Austin Fitts. Hundreds of billions some years, trillions other years, and lots and lots of blanks. US Constitution, quoted at outset, doesn't allow for this kind of secret spending without public accounting. Well, "dead-letter", right?

Donald Trump, Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos and Jamie Dimon will fix the health care system in America. You can bet on these guys! (oh, my...)

Comrade Peasant

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.
http://theantimedia.org/orwell-huxley-facebook-google/

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?)
https://tomluongo.me/2018/01/28/pipeline-wars-realpolitik-meets-geography/

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.
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-01-30/putin-responds-kremlin-list-its-unfriendly-act

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.

Overflown