Monday, October 22, 2018

To The Edge


It’s not that Putin’s stance was any different than in the past. Russia will strike back at an aggressor under any circumstance where the future of Russia is at stake.  It was his assurance that in doing so 1) it would be just and righteous “dying like martyrs” and 2) so swift and brutal the aggressors would “die like dogs” bereft of the chance to ask for salvation...
 It is really no different than the attitude of Secretary of State James Mattis who said, “I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you f$*k with me, I’ll kill you all.”
Men like this are not to be tested too hard.  And Putin’s response to the shooting down of the IL-20 plane and its crew was to cross a bunch of diplomatic lines by handing out S-300s to Syria and erecting a de facto no-fly zone over Western Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean... Putin sees himself, quite rightly, as the custodian of the Russian people and, as such, the Russian state as the reflection of Russian culture.  If you are going to have a state and someone is going to be the head of it, this is the attitude that you want from that person...
Putin knows where Trump is.  He was there himself seventeen years ago, except an order of magnitude worse.  The problems Trump is facing are the same problems Putin faced, corruption, venality, treason all contributing to a collapse in societal and cultural institutions.
Putin knows the U.S. is at a crossroads, and he’s made his peace with whatever comes next.  The question is have we?

The INF treaty signed in 1987 between the USSR and the United States eliminated nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. The historic accord marked the first time the superpowers had agreed to eliminate an entire category of nuclear arms and introduce on-site inspections for verification. The deal brought much-needed detente to an atmosphere of tense Cold War stand-off, and allowed Europe, which housed much of the American arsenal, to breathe a sigh of relief.
The deal didn’t affect aircraft- and sea-based missiles, an area where the US had a clear strategic advantage at the time, so it was widely seen as a gesture of good will by the USSR at a cost to its own national security. Another significant problem with the INF treaty was that other nuclear-armed nations were never party to it – including US allies France and the UK, as well as China.​..​
Russia has vowed to observe the INF treaty as long as the US does. However, should Washington choose to pull out like it did from the ABM deal, President Vladimir Putin said:
“Russia’s response would be immediate and mirror-like.”

A no-fly zone on both sides of the Korean DMZ is suggested as a confidence building measure. [It mainly improves the security of North Korea, which is threatened again and again by American bombers flying close, especially nuclear-capable bombers.]

US and South Korean militaries announce that they will not carry out December war games, to "give peace a chance".

​Can we hear the tapes now, guys? This is a whole lot of specific information already, and some people say Turkey is making it up.​ 
(Erdogan wants the Ottoman Empire reconstituted, and for that, he will have to be "Guardian of Mecca and Medina". 
He is proving the House of Saud unworthy to guard "the two holy places"..)
In the latest bombshell report involving the Khashoggi murder, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly spoke on the phone with journalist Jamal Khashoggi moments before he was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish pro-government daily Yeni Safak disclosed the new alleged details of the case in a report on Sunday, contradicting claims by Saudi authorities that Prince Mohammed played no part in Khashoggi's murde​ ​r.
"Khashoggi was detained by the Saudi team inside the consulate building. Then Prince Mohammed contacted Khashoggi by phone and tried to convince him to return to Riyadh," the report said.
"Khashoggi refused Prince Mohammed's offer out of fear he would be arrested and killed if he returned. The assassination team then killed Khashoggi after the conversation ended," it added.

In a phone call with President Donald Trump, the Turkish leader emphasized the need to disclose all circumstances of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death. Earlier Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to make an “important statement” soon.
“We seek justice and this will be revealed in all its naked truth, not through some ordinary steps but in all its naked truth. This is not an ordinary case. I will make statements on Tuesday at the AK Party parliamentary group meeting,”Erdogan said on Sunday afternoon, as cited by the Sabah newspaper.
“The incident will be revealed entirely,” he emphasized.  
[Well, ok, if you say so. We can wait a couple more days.]

​MbS doesn't let any of the other princes talk to his dad, King Salman. None of them. They're scheming to stab him in the back, after all.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been appointed to head a ministerial committee tasked with restructuring the General Intelligence Agency, after its deputy director was sacked amid the Khashoggi death scandal.
The decision to appoint MbS to head the restructuring process came after King Salman issued a decree firing the agency's vice president, Ahmed bin Hassan bin Mohammed Asiri. The King has also issued orders to terminate some officers and appoint new ones within the primary intelligence agency of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

​​Jordan announced a bombshell on Sunday in relation to its peace treaty with Israel, stating it would not renew a 25-year lease of two tracts of territory along its border which is set for renewal on Thursday.
Under the 1994 historic treaty brokered under Bill Clinton, Israel retained private land ownership and special travel rights in Baquora — called Naharayim by the Israelis — in the northwestern part of the kingdom, and Ghumar — or Zofar in Hebrew — in the south. Part of the agreement signed at the White House in which Jordan became only the second Arab country after Egypt to make peace with Israel was that Jordan would lease sovereign Jordanian land to Israel.
But after sizable protests last Friday in Amman involving marchers demanding that Jordan reclaim full sovereignty over the territory, King Abdullah announced the cancellation of this part of the treaty, saying an official message has been relayed to Israel on the matter.
“Baqoura and Ghumar were at the top of our priorities,” King Abdullah tweeted via his official account. “Our decision is to terminate the Baquoura and Ghamar annexes from the peace treaty out of our keenness to take all decisions that would serve Jordan and Jordanians."
Both sites, which Israel had leased and utilized primarily for agriculture and considers key strategic security points, are located on the Jordan-Israel border. Israel is expected to attempt to retain lease rights to the land as strategic locations essential to its border security...
Currently, there are dozens of Israeli farmers and their families living on the strips of land Jordan has said it will repossess when the treaty fails to be renewed on Thursday...  
The Israeli official further called in "inconceivable" that the territories would be given up by Israel: "The agricultural areas in the Zofar enclave are very significant for the security of the region, the state, for livelihoods and agriculture in the central Arava. It is inconceivable that after so many years, the world order will change. I call upon the prime minister of Israel to solve this crisis immediately," he said.  

​Italy and the ECB are ramping up into war. The Euro, as constituted, cannot last, but Any country that fights the ECB can be made to suffer.
Since the ECB is the only marginal buyer of Italian debt, which has been the case for more than a year now, any sharp rise in bond yields is a result of the ECB simply backing off that buying and market forces taking over.
This is the ECB’s biggest weapon. It will try to scare everyone by allowing Italy’s fiscal position to erode quickly making it impossible for them to issue debt at sustainable yields. But, it does so at the expense of the value of the bonds it and other European banks already hold. Because they are dropping in value, undercutting the solvency of those banks.
If the Italian leadership holds the line and refuse to back down, then they call the ECB’s bluff on allowing rates to rise. The ECB has to come back in, begin buying to support the price, and the regroup for the next battle.

This week in a CNBC interview Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the former Dutch minister of finance who served as the President of the Eurogroup, declared war on the Italian government. The European financial establishment is prepared to destroy the banking system and cause the Italian economy to implode. Like a Mafia boss, Dijsselbloem warned that Italy could run into trouble if it does not comply with Brussels’ directives. Of course, his statement was cloaked in diplomatic language:
“If the Italian crisis becomes a major crisis, it will mainly implode into the Italian economy … as opposed to spreading around Europe,” he said. “Because of the way that the Italian economy and the Italian banks are financed, it’s going to be an implosion rather than an explosion.”​  
[Yeah, sure, just Italy. will get hurt.]​

​"Sears didn't die. Vulture Capitalists killed it." 
Actually, that is exactly the case. Standard business model since Michael Milken worked out how to do "leveraged buy outs" of a company, sell all it's stuff, then rent the stuff back to it, while lending it a lot of money, until it chokes in debt, and the vultures have all the nice money and assets that it earned and saved it's whole life.​

Electricity is the power source that is most critical for industrial civilization. Vanadium based flow batteries may be what can buffer the production of wind and solar electricity enough to support industrial civilization. The oil will be needed for other things, and the coal to make cement...

Think, as I did, about why we do not change as a species, or as groups at various levels of size and complexity. Whoever uses less resources and fuel right now, gets buried by whoever uses more right now. That is the current growth based system, until it collapses. Short term defeats long term, then dies.
If we were indeed paying attention, what would we do differently? We would make sustainability—real sustainability, not just eco-groovy gestures—our first priority. Conserve and reuse non-renewable resources. Use renewable resources only up to their regrowth rates. Protect natural systems from pollution. Conserve biodiversity. We would aim for a truly circular and regenerative economy. If it turned out that the economy were just too big to operate within those guidelines, we would shrink it (taking some time to identify ways that cause the least harm and create the greatest benefit, and ensuring that those who have gained least from our centuries-long growth bonanza get an equitable share of our reduced budget). And if the human population were too big, we would shrink that too (again, taking time to minimize bads and maximize goods).  

​Cooperating With Weasels​

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Divided House Of Saud


The first Khashoggi-murder fall guy, the rude one, who threatened the Saudi Consul, is dead in a car accident. Some say the Consul is next. 
MbS says nothing, nothing at all.

Trump's Alliance with Body Choppers, Death Squads and Child killers, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Israel (The title is overt, but looks at the necessity of raw and widespread power to be brutal, in order to keep controlling and extracting wealth.)

Why Israel Gets Away With Murder In Occupied Palestine (still, same as ever)

There is fear and embarrassment inside Saudi Arabia, and dissension, and insecurity at all levels, and tattling, and billionaires in "confinement". There was royal family consensus-rule in the past, but now tyranny from MbS. MbS spends more time out at sea on his yaght, lately, they say...

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchen cancels his attendance at Saudi Investment Summit. Trump told him to.
In a succinct tweet, just minutes after SecState Pompeo suggested President Trump give the Saudis more time to come up with an excuse for killing WaPo journalist Khashoggi, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has announced that he will pull out of the Saudi investment conference...  

The White House gives the House of Saud a few more days to come up with an adequate deal/lie. (It may be that Washington has had enough of MbS)

Saudis transfer $100 million to State Department, which is way to small to be anything close to a deal.

Escalating Bribe

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Crashing Down

Observing Reality,

It turns out that among the Saudi "interrogation team" that flew in to interrogate Jamal Khashoggi there was a Medical Professor in forensic pathology, and 3 close associates of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. That doesn't sound like rogue-interrogators-gone-wild to me. It sounds like a murder and cover-up premeditated at the highest level. That will cost more to ignore, lots more...

Oh ... "They cut him up while he was still alive" ... Oh ...  
Dr. Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, who was identified by the Times and other media outlets as an "autopsy expert" whose presence cuts against Saudis' suggestions that the killing wasn't premeditated, started cutting Khashoggi's body into pieces while the journalist was unconscious, but still breathing. 
  After Khashoggi had been knocked unconscious (never to awaken again), al-Tubaigy put on his headphones and started the grim process of dismembering the body with a bone saw...
As he started to dismember the body, Tubaigy put on earphones and listened to music. He advised other members of the squad to do the same.
"When I do this job, I listen to music. You should do [that] too," Tubaigy was recorded as sayin​g...
The United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet has called for the lifting of diplomatic immunity for any facilities and persons tied to the killing, which means that, even if Saudi Arabia gives its nominal "rogue operatives" a pass, extradition requests from Turkey or another UN member would greatly increase their chances of arrest.

Those on the list handed over to MBS by Kushner were all subjects of NSA and CIA communications intercepts of phone calls, video conferences, and emails. Kushner is said to have had a phone conversation with MBS a day before Khashoggi was murdered.  
​(That would have been October 1, the day Kashoggi went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and asked for his divorce papers, and was told to return the next day.)​
Reports from U.S. intelligence sources report that the NSA had intercepted high-level communications between the Saudi government in Riyadh and the Saudi consulate-general in Istanbul indicating that there was a plot afoot to either kidnap Khashoggi and fly him back to Riyadh or murder him on the spot.  

Turkey changes the name of the street that will host the new US Embassy to "Malcolm-X." Malcolm-X was a black Muslim political activist, who is almost universally believed to have been assassinated by the US Government, probably under FBI auspices. "We know who you are, America." Thanks Eleni.

Pepe Escobar looks at the chaotic power struggles across the globe, heading into the G-20 summit next month. He does a good and detailed job, without losing the big picture of relationships. There is no summation to excerpt. Each paragraph is valuable. It's concise.

Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism looks at how not to get a "Nobel Prize in Economics" for evaluation of the relationships between business and environmental degradation. Specifically; do not do the rigorous science that proves what bankers don't want to hear. What will win the prize is a little softball work with wide margins of error that endorses a very modest carbon tax and waiting to see what happens after we die. (Wake up, yourself!)
The Nordhaus/Romer combo is so artificial and unconvincing it’s hard to avoid the impression that the prize not given to Weitzman is as important as the one given to Nordhaus.  This is a clear political statement about how to deal with climate change and how not to deal with it.  The Riksbank has spoken: it wants a gradual approach to carbon, one that makes as few economic demands as possible.  

​Here is another interesting take on how capitalism can't stop global warming. Recently I have seen that Baby-Boomers can't be trusted with decisions, because we will all die before things get really bad, though I think they will be really bad before 10 years pass, myself.
The think is that climate change is only one part, the least threatening part, of the global human overgrowth and environmental devastation, which is now finally about to hit the economy really hard. That's why all of the urgency in the centers of global power. Reset is about to happen. It can't be pulled out like 2008. Everything that can be done is being done to forestall the next, final collapse of the current world order.
Fascism is capitalism with a gun and $1 billion per vote.​ I don't agree that fascists see this as a "solution", but billions of people dying is ok for them.
My friends, catastrophic climate change is not a problem for fascists — it is a solution. History’s most perfect, lethal, and efficient one means of genocide, ever, period. Who needs to build a camp or a gas chamber when the flood and hurricane will do the dirty work for free? Please don’t mistake this for conspiracism: climate change accords perfectly with the foundational fascist belief that only the strong should survive, and the weak — the dirty, the impure, the foul — should perish. That is why neo-fascists do not lift a finger to stop climate change — but do everything they can to in fact accelerate it, and prevent every effort to reverse or mitigate it.​..
 Things like climate change and inequality and fascism are not really “problems” — they are emergent processes, which join up, in great tendrils of ruin, each piling on the next, which result from decades of neglect, inaction, folly, blindness. We did not plant the seeds, or tend to our societies, economies, democracies, or planet carefully enough — and now we are harvesting bitter ruin instead.

North and South Korea continue to work to decrease the risks of Korean War-II by demilitarizing the DMZ, and getting rail and road connections built.

Taking Initiative

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Mousetrap World

Building Better,

DARPA's work on cyborg warriors who never tire, and may have any mechanical body imaginable, controlled by an "unrestricted" human brain, grown around little network interface wires, and trained in that brave new world, is underway. The poster project is more lifelike prosthetic arms for soldiers with amputations. 
It's going quite well, if you talk to the folks who only do the soldier-rehabilitation work. 
The other part of the project is silent and invisible to us. It might be upsetting.

The US Army regularly produces deadly viruses, bacteria and toxins in direct violation of the UN Convention on the prohibition of Biological Weapons. Hundreds of thousands of unwitting people are systematically exposed to dangerous pathogens and other incurable diseases. Bio warfare scientists using diplomatic cover test man-made viruses at Pentagon bio laboratories in 25 countries across the world. These US bio-laboratories are funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) under a $ 2.1 billion military program - Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP) - and are located in former Soviet Union countries such as Georgia and Ukraine, the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa. 
Look: Anthrax, Ebola, Tularemia, Botulism, Cholera, Swine Flu, Hemorrhagic Fever, bats, mosquitoes, biting flies, ticks, spray nozzles, rockets, bombs, artillery, Georgia, Ukraine, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Liberia, Sierra Leone, USA!

Look! Nothing! (Didn't there use to be something there last week?) Caitlin Johnstone (temporarily reinstated, after deletion for "abusing John McCain")
It is now clear that there is either (A) some degree of communication/coordination between Twitter and Facebook about their respective censorship practices, or (B) information being given to both Twitter and Facebook by another party regarding targets for censorship. Either way, it means that there is now some some mechanism in place linking the censorship of dissident voices across multiple platforms. We are beginning to see smaller anti-establishment alternative media outlets cut off from their audiences by the same sort of coordinated cross-platform silencing we first witnessed with Alex Jones in August.​..
 Any time you try to talk about how internet censorship threatens our ability to get the jackboot of oligarchy off our necks you’ll always get some guy in your face who’s read one Ayn Rand book and thinks he knows everything, saying things like “Facebook is a private company! It can do whatever it wants!” Is it now? Has not Facebook been inviting US government-funded groups to help regulate its operations, vowing on the Senate floor to do more to facilitate the interests of the US government, deleting accounts at the direction of the US and Israeli governments, and handing the guidance of its censorship behavior over to the Atlantic Council, which receives funding from the US government, the EU, NATO and Gulf states? How “private” is that? Facebook is a deeply government-entrenched corporation, and Facebook censorship is just what government censorship looks like in a corporatist system of government.

​Google finally acknowledges censored Chinese search engine project.​ (Huh? It's been a secret? Some secret!)

The bonds holding Julian Assange so tightly are loosened a bit. Why? What deal will he be offered? Who in the shadow world anticipates benefit?
The Wikileaks founder has been cut off from internet and phone communication since March 2018.
The Ecuadorian government has partially restored communications for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, an ITV report claimed Sunday.
“Ecuador has told WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange that it will remove the isolation regime imposed on him following meetings between two senior UN officials and Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno on Friday," a Wikileaks statement noted.
“Mr Assange was informed of Ecuador’s decision hours after Mr Grandi and Mr Kaye met with President Moreno," the statement added.
According to Wikileaks, the decision to restore Assange's communication was made after UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression David Kaye met with the president of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno.  

​Tom Luongo noticed the change in Assange's status, and had these thoughts. Trump considered pardoning Assange in 2016. Remember?
The pressure on Ecuador’s new President to keep Assange silent must have lifted otherwise he’d still be in effective solitary confinement.   And why would that pressure lift all of a sudden?
Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS ‘took the Fifth’ in Congressional testimony.  Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein ignored the summons from Congress.
Everyone knows Julian Assange can put the finger on Hillary for what happened in 2016 (and so many other things).
So, putting the last piece to this puzzle together, it should be getting clearer here that some very important people are about to be indicted and/or arrested.
Containment around Hillary’s crimes has been breached and all that’s left now is for the people close to her to start turning on each other.  The mid-terms were their last, best hope for a stay of execution.

​Secretary of State Pompeo flew to Saudi Arabia and back to talk with King Salman for 15 minutes.​ The deal is presumably outlined.
Update: After this morning's mini-meeting, Pompeo said that King Salman had agreed to a "timely" investigation. Meanwhile, Turkish officials have told Western media inside the Saudi consulate to suggest that Khashoggi was killed there.  

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday said that Turkey was the only country that could lead the Muslim world.
“Turkey, with its cultural wealth, accretion of history and geographical location, has hosted diverse faiths in peace for centuries, and is the only country that can lead the Muslim world,” he said in a meeting with religious officials.
The "Custodian of the two Holy Mosques" (in Mecca and Medina) is the official title of the Saudi king. It implies leadership within the Muslim word. Since Saladin the title was used by many Islamic rulers, including the Ottoman Sultans. Erdogan wants it back. His aspirations pose an open challenge to the Saudi rulers.
But when a deal has to be made, a deal will happen. Even it it takes some time.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has urged the US to come to terms with the North’s demand for a formal declaration of an end to the Korean war, amid growing differences between the two major allies...
 South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told the nation’s legislators earlier this week that Seoul was reconsidering its own sanctions relief against Pyongyang. However, reports said she later backtracked, with her ministry announcing that no active review of its North Korea policy was in the works.
Reacting to Kang's remarks however, US President Donald Trump stated, "They won't do it without our approval. They do nothing without our approval," referring to the South Korean government...
The US has refused to declare an end to the 1950-53 Korean war – when hostilities halted with a ceasefire instead of a peace treaty – insisting that the North must first take more steps towards giving up its nuclear arsenal.
However, Pyongyang -- which has long maintained that it needed nuclear arms as an only viable counter-measure against a potential US military invasion -- has vowed only to work towards denuclearization "of the Korean peninsula," demanding simultaneous, reciprocal efforts by Washington, pointing to a peace declaration as its first priority.

TOKYO (Sputnik) - North and South Korean authorities have agreed to hold a ceremony for the launch of work on interconnecting roads and railways through the buffer zone that separates the countries in late November – early December, Yonhap news agency reported on Monday...
Earlier, North Korean Railways Ministry's Department of the External Affairs Deputy Director Kim Chang Sik noted that North Korea would develop the project on connecting the railways jointly with Russia and South Korea, noting that the countries of the Korean peninsula should become "owners" of the project.
The North and South Korean authorities have also agreed to hold general-level military talks as soon as possible, the joint statement released on Monday said.

​"No Way Out"​ Into the Brexit Labyrinth lays out all of the paths tried so far, and all of the potential paths, including walking back out, sitting down at the entrance, and burning down the labyrinth. Personally, I see the only flaw of this excellent essay as being the assumption that the labyrinth does not change.
Call it the Brexit Impossibility Maze. Prime Minister Theresa May marched boldly through the main entrance on March 29, 2017, when she triggered Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon. She has been wandering through a political and logistical labyrinth ever since.

Ignoring warnings from the European Commission, the ECB and the European Commission (as well as practically every other supranational organization in Europe), the populist-led Italian government managed to submit their draft budget to the Commission before a midnight deadline - an outcome that was cheered by BTP traders, who bought back into Italian bonds, once again compressing the spread to bunds, which has blown out in recent months.
But rather than representing a deescalation of tensions between Italy and Brussels, the game of fiscal chicken in which both sides are presently engaged is instead entering its most acute phase, as Brussels now has two weeks to review the budget proposal before it can either accept the plan, or send it back with requests for revisions. And anybody who has been paying even passing attention to the populist government's denigration of EU budgetary guidelines over the past few months should already understand that Brussels won't just sit back and accept the budget for what it is.​..
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is set to address EU leaders at a summit in Brussels on Thursday, despite fears that he might hijack the summit's agenda, which leaders have hoped would focus on finalizing a draft Brexit deal. But while some EU leaders have pushed to give Italy a pass, fearful of provoking an EU "showdown," Juncker has continued to insist that the EU must abide by its rules.​..
"Europe needs Italy and Italy needs Europe," Juncker said, answering "No" when asked if Europe could survive an Italian exit.

​Searching for Cheese​

Monday, October 15, 2018

Dead Man's Tale


Jamail Kashoggi is dead. That's now agreed. He was kidnapped, interrogated under torture, murdered, dismembered and air-freighted out of Istanbul the same day. The first story looks into his extensive background with the royal family of Saudi Arabia. Khashoggi served Prince Turki, Head of Saudi Intelligence, for decades. That branch of the family is out of power now. It seems that US intel. knew what was about to go down, and did nothing. 
The Washington Post this week is reporting that US intelligence sources knew from telecom intercepts that the Saudis were planning to abduct Khashoggi. That implicates the House of Saud in a dastardly premeditated act of murder.
But furthermore this same disclosure could also, unwittingly, implicate US intelligence. If the latter knew of a malicious intent towards Khashoggi, why didn’t US agents warn him about going to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul? Surely, he could have obtained the same personal documents from the Saudi embassy in Washington DC, a country where he was residing and would have been safer.
Jamal Khashoggi may have known too many dark secrets about US and Saudi intel collusion, primarily related to the 9/11 terror incidents. And with his increasing volubility as a critical journalist in a prominent American news outlet, it may have been time to silence him. The Saudis as hitmen, the American CIA as facilitators.

​This high-profile murder is very bad for public relations and business ventures. There will be "a price to pay".
Saudi Arabia has found itself further isolated over the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi after the business world turned its back on a high-profile investment conference in the kingdom and US officials claimed audio and video recordings had captured the moment the journalist was murdered in Istanbul.
The Future Investment Initiative conference, to be held in Riyadh later this month, was rapidly turning into a fiasco on Friday after most media partners​ ​and several top business allies pulled out. More were expected to follow. All said they had been disturbed by the circumstances of Khashoggi’s disappearance from the Saudi consulate in Turkey and the lack of credible responses.​..
On Friday, US officials revealed to Khashoggi’s employer, the Washington Post, that Turkish investigators had claimed audio and video tapes existed of conversations between the missing 59-year-old and his alleged killers.
“You can hear his voice and the voices of men speaking Arabic,” an official said. “You can hear how he was interrogated, tortured and then murdered.” The references to recordings could suggest that Turkish intelligence officers had bugged the consulate or some of the accused killers.
Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s Turkish fiancee, told the Associated Press on Friday that Khashoggi was wearing an Apple watch when he entered the consulate and investigators were examining his cellphones, which he had left with her.​.. ​
 “He said ‘See you later my darling’ and went in,” Cengiz said, and they were his last words to her.

​Ilargi, at The Automatic Earth says to stop buying Saudi oil, but that is the basis for the petrodollar, Nixon's secret deal with King Faisal​, the cornerstone...
As the what someone actually labeled “unfolding diplomatic crisis” takes shape, there is really only one thing to say about these people and organizations: they the worst group of hypocrites ever. And their reasons to boycott the conference must be questioned.
Because before Khashoggi vanished they all apparently though it was quite okay to go feed at the Saud trough, despite the still ongoing slaughter of millions of people in the ‘war’ in Yemen. Which makes one suspect it’s not so much about their principles but about their public image.
Donald Trump said he won’t stop weapons sales to the Saudi’s because they would just buy their arms from someone else, like Russia (it would be interesting to get Putin’s view on Khashoggi). And while Trump is completely wrong here, at least he’s not hypocritical about it.

Saudi Arabia is prepared to cop a plea and say that Khashoggi died in a "botched interrogation", wherein the intent was merely to torture him and kidnap him for illegal rendition to Saudi Arabia, without knowledge of the royals. That is bound to sell. What is the price?

Moon of Alabama has a magnificent dredge of the dirt of this man and his murderers and their enemies, and "allies". Excerpts:
The negotiation over the Khashoggi case will be extremely difficult. The protagonists are headstrong and dangerous people. The issue could easily escalate...
 There are more tactical aspects to this historic conflict. When the Saudis cut ties with Qatar it was Turkey that sent its military to prevent a Saudi invasion of the tiny but extremely rich country. This gave Erdogan the financial backing he urgently needs. In response to that the Saudis offered several $100 millions to prop up the YPK/PKK proxy force the U.S. uses to occupy north-east Syria. These Kurdish groups fight a guerrilla war within Turkey and are a threat to its unity...
Khashoggi helped in the U.S./Saudi/Pakistani project to destabilize Afghanistan. He met and interviewed Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and Sudan. The man with the RPG in the upper left picture is Jamal Khashoggi himself...
 Khashoggi became a protege of the longtime head of Saudi intelligence, Turki Faisal Al-Saud. He was engaged in several 'projects' in Afghanistan, Sudan and Algeria. Khashoggi followed Turki as 'media advisor' when he became ambassador in London and later in Washington DC.
Jamal Khashoggi supported the Muslim Brotherhood during the 'Arab Spring'. This was in line with the Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama supported regime change program for most of the Middle East. After the fall of President Mubarak in Egypt and the election win by the Brotherhood the Saudi rulers feared to be the next in line. They started to finance counter revolutions in Egypt and elsewhere. Under the reign of King Salman and his son the suppression of all aspects of Brotherhood influence intensified. Having lost his protection Khashoggi decided to leave Saudi Arabia...
Fred Hiatt, the neo-conservative editor of the Washington Post, hired him. The Post published his columns against the Saudi rulers in English and Arabic.
Recently Khashoggi started a number of projects that reek of preparations for a CIA controlled color-revolution in Saudi Arabia...
But Trumps Middle East policy depends on Saudi Arabia and on Mohammad bin Salman personally. MbS finances the U.S. occupation in Syria. Trump's son in law Jared Kushner build his 'peace plan' for Netanyahoo on Saudi endorsement. The sanctions against Iran can only be sustained if Saudi oil replaces the loss of Iranian output. Trump's 'Make America Great Again' program needs the Saudi demand for U.S. weapons. He also needs the Saudis to avoid utter defeat in Afghanistan. Last but not least Trump will perceive the Kashoogi issue as part of the anti-Trump campaign...
The U.S. dollar depends on the secret deal arranged in 1974 that recycles Saudi petro-dollars into U.S. treasuries. If the al-Sauds start to touch that corner stone of the relation, the U.S. will have to invade and smash their shitty country to smithereens. Mecca and Medina would be given back to the Hashemites now ruling Jordan, the Gulf coast line, which holds the oil and oil industry and is mostly inhabited by Shia, would become a state of its own. Yemen would regain its two northern provinces. The plans to do this have long been drawn...
Some 'rogue element' of the Saudi state could admit that it killed Khashoggi. MbS would deny any knowledge. But fifteen of his most trusted men, those who were seen in Istanbul, would have to be punished. (How would the rest of his body guard react to that?)
The real problem is that both sides, Erdogan and MbS, are extremely headstrong. For both men the issue is much bigger than the Khashoggi case. The conflict has historic, strategic and very personal dimensions. That makes it difficult to find a deal.
Erdogan knows that he is extremely lucky that MbS committed this stupid act under the nose of his secret service. It gives him a tool to cut the Saudis to size. He will introduce new evidence bit by bit to increase the outrage over the case and the pressure on Saudi Arabia...
Khashoggi was clearly a danger to the throne. MbS probably feels that he did the right thing and does not deserve any criticism over it. After all, abduction and, if needed, murder of dissidents in foreign countries are a long standing Saudi policy that never caused any serious uproar.
Mohammad bin Salman has one mighty ally that may help him to decrease the noise in Congress and the 'do something' pressure on Trump.
The Zionists already recognize that helping MbS is in their interest.

The negotiation of a price begins. This is going to be good for Turkey. Khashoggi has gotten the decisive last laugh from beyond the veil. Iran's Press TV:
King Salman phoned Erdogan Sunday evening "to thank the president for welcoming the kingdom's proposal to form a joint working group" to discuss the disappearance, the Saudi foreign ministry said.
The Saudi foreign ministry said King Salman affirmed his country's "solid" relations with Turkey in the phone call with Erdogan, stressing that no one could undermine their relationship.
For his part, Erdogan reportedly expressed his keenness to enhance ties between the two countries.
Turkey's investigation into the disappearance of Khashoggi has reportedly revealed recordings made on his Apple Watch, which synced with his iPhone being carried outside the consulate by Khashoggi's fiancée.
T​he recordings purportedly indicated that the prominent Saudi journalist was tortured and killed at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul, according to the Turkish Sabah daily.
The paper cited "reliable sources in a special intelligence department" as saying that Khashoggi is believed to have turned on the recording feature on the phone before entering the consulate.

​Blind Justice​

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Cliff Diving

Doing the Math,

To contain warming at 1.5C, man-made global net carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions would need to fall by about 45 percent by 2030 from 2010 levels and reach “net zero” by mid-century. Any additional emissions would require removing CO2 from the air.  

​Let's look at what cutting just America's CO2 emissions in half in 12 years would look like. We are not experts but we can lay this out, based on history.
CO2 is directly proportional to real-economy. Financialization is a hall of mirrors and delusions.
Half the current real economy in 12 years is something less of a cut than it might seem like on paper, since the financial fluff numbers have to go away first.
The coming financial reset will deflate those fluffy, bubbly numbers that say your debt is a boost to the economy, rather than the drag that it actually is.
Asset crash of 2008, part-2, will reveal the retirement crisis. All retirement accounts will get bundled into big government to parcel out. 
The top 5% will see their portfolios gutted. They will feel poor, not rich. They will drastically reduce spending, and will stop borrowing, if they can.​
The use of gasoline will drop, and diesel, as people have to save for food. 
Skyscraper building will grind to a halt, reducing CO2 production from cement (coal). 
Perish the thought of military war. We will get financial war, and "Fourth Generation War", like we see in the Mideast, North Africa and Europe now.
We really should cooperate to stop that and just take care of everybody where they are. Most of the world is saying that, except the Western Empire.
Crisis like this is handled by autocracy, something like dictatorship. Remember FDR, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Franco, Mussolini? 
It is looking pretty late to replace Donald with Hillary. Donald wants to downsize and nationalize, which is the right direction. He's autocratic...
The "deplorables" need "breadwinner" jobs where they live,  where there used to be productive jobs, doing and making things America needs.
This change from support of elites to support of the working class is called "populism". President Donald gets it.
This stuff takes awhile, and you don't change horses in the middle of a stream. "Ivanka 2024"?
What structural changes will we see?
Carbon equals cost. Supply chains will have to shorten. Diets will need to get local again. Southern cooking may return.
We will all have to focus on hammering out a better cheap life. Identity wars will have to stop to get jobs done. "What bathroom is working?"
Ride a bike. Grow vegetables. Wear a sweater and wool socks. Try an electric blanket. If you work outside, you'll get used to it being warmer/cooler inside.
A Permaculture principle is that "The problem, itself, is the solution." 
Financial collapse, dictatorship, loss of empire, no A/C, rolling blackouts, massive hurricanes, coastal flooding, loss of identity, people screaming in your face, no food you like, cable service disconnected, no gas in the car... 
Try it on today!

Last Chance to Save The World!

Discuss things now, while it is possible. A lot of blogs have already been taken down, like Scott Creighton's "American Everyman"

Here is how that happened, a culture at Google that defines Arab Spring as "good" and "Trump-conspiracy-theories" as "bad", and acts accordingly. The problem is in the picking of sides and enforcement of opinions. It leads to things like the war in Syria, and Libya, or is instrumental in fomenting them
I'm really not sure that "we" can ever get a free press. I'm doing my little part, while I can. Thanks Tom. (Yeah, Breitbart, yuck, whatever... sigh...)

​Taking the Plunge​

Historical Patterns

Imperial Subjects,

Ugo Bardi paints the picture of Donald Trump as last emperor of the Western Empire. It's his role in history to devolve the empire. He seems to be hastening processes of dissolution, which are already underway, due to the increase in actual cost of extraction of oil and other mineral resources. The multi-level global bureaucracy is too hungry and inefficient to sustain going forward. Smaller, more local systems are more efficient, but many have been taken out as threats to globalism, so need to be reconstituted, which takes resources...
Donald Trump represents well the view of the elites. He seems to understand (or, at least, to sense) in which direction the wind is blowing and what he is doing, apart from the exaggerated boasting, is to try to turn the parasitic imperial economy of the United States into a self-standing national economy. Not an easy task and Trump may well fail in what he is trying to do. But history never fails: empires have always gone through a cycle of growth and collapse, it is just a question of time.
So, the American Empire is destined to go, but what will come after the fall? Most likely, we'll see a situation resembling that of the fall of the Roman Empire, when there were no resources to build another empire of the same size and Europe moved back into an age of independent cities and statelets. Nowadays, many people seem to think that the disappearance of fossil fuels would bring a return of the Middle Ages. It might happen: large organizations need a lot of energy to run and, in addition, our civilization will be badly hit by global warming. The result may be the fragmentation of the current political entities, returning to nation-states or even back to city-states. There will not be another World Empire and Donald Trump could be, if not the last emperor, the last who ruled an empire as large as the current American one.

John Michael Greer looks at the history of dominant civilizations,empires, and how they each have different inherent value systems. Each excels in what it values, then declines when that becomes unworkable, for whatever reason. This is complementary to what Ugo Bardi looks at above. What will the next great civilization value? (I think it will have to value eco-harmonic-efficiency. I like that term. It probably won't catch on for a couple of centuries.) 
Greer argues that "America" and "Russia" are the hinterlands of the current "Faustian" cultural epoch, which is Western  European in origins. These two regions are poised to leap into the gap left by collapsing Faustian culture. It seems that the USA "America" is an extension of Faustian culture, but Greer argues that it is a colony, in the process of developing unique culture, which is only beginning. Greer does not mention China, which seems narrow to me. He can't get around it, and will have to bring up China in future essays.

Thierry Meyssan (Thanks Eleni) looks at the "birth of the post-western-world" in the UN assembly speeches last week. This is really well informed, and again, complementary to the two stories above. He focuses on the themes of Trump's speech, then Macron's flailing globalist-lackey rebuttal, then Iran's rebuttal, based upon American imperial rule-flouting. The synthesis he sees lies in Sergei Lavrov's transcendence of the current context to focus more on real, underlying dynamics and consider remedies. Lavrov points out that the rest of the world is exploring means to work around the bloody train wreck of western colonial imperialism.
To sum up, the strategy of the containment of Russia and China, dreamed up by British deputy Halford J. Mackinder [6] and clarified by US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzeziński [7], has failed. The world’s centre of gravity is being displaced to the East, not against the Westerners, but by their fault [8].  

The World is Quietly Decoupling from the US and Nobody is Paying Attention (Yep, look, its a $20 bill on the ground!)

Ilargi, at The Automatic Earth, looks at the perplexing impossibility of a system powered by exothermic reactions of profit to build a healthy ecosystem. It is powered by burning, by reducing things of higher organization (forests) to lower organization (CO2), and exploiting some of the energy that is released to make some other things, which are always much less than what must be burned and mined to create them This exothermic manufacturing supports a political process which supports more exothermic exploitation, and says whatever is necessary to sell it to people, since their consent is still useful and their rebellion is still a threat to the system. Postulating that their is a subsequent future civilization, what might be the path to a conservative, enlightened-agrarian-stewardship economy. We do have a lot of knowledge, just a counterproductive value system, at this point.

Ukrainian air force begins large scale war games with NATO to create an overhead Russian-exclusion zone. (They are already pretty adept at taking down passenger planes, but we don't talk about that.)

Moon of Alabama has the Syrian update. The Russian air defense system, which is many faceted and coordinates all kinds of spotting, tracking, targeting and take down mechanisms, not merely S-300 missiles, is in place, getting settled in, and makes air sorties too risky for US/NATO/Israel, though Israel will keep testing and gaming, which is also discussed here. The US really has to declare victory and get out. The Russian-Turkish treaty is holding, but there are a lot of dug-in "militants" that Turkey needs to convince to go elsewhere. They are clearly not inclined to go elsewhere.

Eleni sends more detail of the modern integrated management of Syrian airspace by Russian defensive systems. This is impressively comprehensive. What pilot would want to mount an attack into this?

Since entering office President Trump's long term policy on Syria has remained somewhat of a mystery. With at least 2,000 US troops still occupying parts of Syria's east, and with Russia's recent transfer of S-300 anti-missile defense systems to Damascus, the continuing potential for the region to explode into a global war remains high, even as much of the country returns to the government fold. 
But it appears the White House's Syria policy is still uncertain to top advisers and even to Trump himself. Last Friday in a vastly under-reported but hugely import move, Trump authorized the creation of a Congressional 'Syria Study Group' to examine US strategy on Syria.
One of the lead Senators pushing for the panel, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) accurately described in an almost comically ironic quote: it “will bring outside experts together to finally develop a U.S. strategy in Syria.”   

A Saudi reporter, formerly friend of royalty, turned sharp-critic, Jamal Khashoggi, has been staying out of Saudi Arabia for the past few years, for his health. He went into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to get approval for his marriage, bringing proof of his prior divorce. His Turkish fiance' waited outside for 11 hours, then called police. He is rumored to have been cut into pieces and spirited out, or perhaps snuck out in a black op by the 15 Saudis who flew in the day before then disappeared.

Hmmm... Where is this going?
U.S. intelligence services intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture Saudi journalist and government critic Jamal Khashoggi, whose disappearance in Turkey last week threatens to damage the warm ties between the kingdom and Washington.
The Saudis were discussing a plan to lure Khashoggi back to the kingdom, The Washington Post reported, citing a person familiar with the communications, which were intercepted before he vanished. Khashoggi, a columnist for the newspaper, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 and is feared to be detained or dead.
For whatever reason, the Post report buried the lede as the story is headlined simply, Saudis are said to have lain in wait for Jamal Khashoggi.
But the story confirms US intelligence had clear evidence that the Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist was about to be kidnapped and possibly worse. The WaPo story includes the following: "Before Khashoggi's disappearance, U.S. intelligence intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture him...".

China legalizes mass re-education camps for Muslim Uygurs, having been criticized for it's illegal actions against these millions of unwilling "Chinese citizens".

North Korea's Kim Jong Un invites the Pope to Party in Pyongyang. The Pope has been a cheerleader for peace on that peninsula.

Charles Hugh Smith points out that (all) pensions depend on bubbles never popping, but all bubbles pop. (The value is not in existence, just the "valuations".)

Forward Looking