80% of refugees fleeing to Europe are fleeing war, famine, the destruction of their countries, not just looking for handouts in a nice welfare-state. This is a large study. Can we stop slaughtering people and destroying their homes and crushing their economies?
Putin, Lavrov, Trump and Tillerson talked for over 2 hours Friday. They agreed to a broad cease-fire in Syria, among all of the warring parties, and they agreed to the integrity of the state of Syria (someday, I guess) Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov stressed that the ceasefire agreement clearly states that “Russia, Jordan, and the United States are committed to Syrian sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as UN Security Council resolutions that pave the way to political reconciliation”
Pepe Escobar figures the Putin-Trump meeting was win-win, albeit modest, but some people will not be murdered, as a result. Diplomacy is better than pretending there is a demon you must kill... Thanks Elani.
John Helmer has an update on the Russian economy, the most self-sufficient and diversified in the world, and growing a bit this year, despite sanctions and high Russian central bank interest rates. Helmer critiques another article, which creates a good back and forth between glowing positives and the counterpoints of practical business analysis and more mundane ground-level realities. This economy is well dug in and proceeding very cautiously.
The US intends to force Europe to pay more for gas and get less gas, in order to hurt Russia, which the US wants. Europe says "it hurts us not them". The US is fighting to control the gas supply to Europe, because that will be good for power and good for American business. Europe would just ignore the US if it were not a patchwork of militarily-occupied countries (since WW-2) and debt-serf-tributary-states. Sputnik figures this can't work, and should be negotiated amicably all around.
Nothing personal, but... Russia has not had diplomatic compound property in Maryland returned after US government theft last December, and there has been no formal apology or recompense for that, or the diplomats being expelled, so it has come to tit-for-tat...
Interview with The Saker on US "policy" in Syria.
"I'm not convinced there is a US strategy. I think there is a CIA strategy, a Pentagon strategy, a State Department strategy. There used to be a White House strategy. Right now, I am not even sure. We should go deeper into who is doing what inside the Pentagon and the military. I mean, there is chaos. There has been chaos since at least Obama because he was an extremely weak president. When a superpower like the United States is ruled by more or less an absent man in the White House, the agencies themselves start implementing their own policies. This is happening now under Trump, who was elected under specific platform and now is basically giving it up. There has been a coup against him by the neo-cons who basically got him under control. He wanted to drain the swamp, but the swamp basically drowned him... The Saudis and the Israelis have the same exact interest for the Arab Muslim world, which is to keep it in chaos and weak. That allows them to rule it. It's that simple... I'm convinced the neocons are not American patriots. They have their ideology. They have their agenda. They are just like parasites sitting in the United States and using that country for their own petty ideological interests... By patriot, I simply mean a person who loves his country. Through that lens, Americans should immediately see that Russia and the United States have no conflict... Both the Democratic party and the Republican party don't let the people who are for a non-aggressive foreign policy -- like someone like Ron Paul -- get anywhere near power. "
Paul Craig Roberts says Trump is now unable to affect American Foreign Policy, to make peaceful common cause with Russia.
"Trump has zero authority over “his” government. He can be contradicted at will by his own appointees. The President of the United States is a joke. You can find him on Twitter, but nowhere else, not in the Oval Office making foreign or military policy...The Trump administration was destroyed when the weak Donald Trump allowed the neoconservatives to remove his National Security Advisor, General Flynn. Trump has never recovered. "
In the Saudi-Qatari staring match, Qatar and Iran are winning since the Gulf-Gang threats have come to nothing, Qatar is still a working economy, and they seem to have played all their cards, except for war, which they are rightly afraid of.
Secretary of State Tillerson has landed in Kuwait, on his mission to defuse the political situation between Qatar and Suaudi Arabia. He figures this will take months, will have to be a two-way-street, and he wants to find out who is pissed-off about what, and how badly...
Al Jazeera has the story, since it is not shut down yet...
Charles Hugh Smith says American political parties just obsoleted themselves.
(He goes easier on the Republicants) "It's unclear what the Republican Party stands for: it's for Small Government, except when it's for Bigger Government, which is 95% of the time; it's for more law enforcement and the militarization of local police, and more intrusion into the lives of the citizenry; it's for stricter standards for welfare, except for Corporate Welfare; it's for tax reform, except the thousands of pages of give-aways, loopholes and tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations all remain untouched, and so on." "Political parties arose to consolidate centralized control of the central state.We have now reached the perfection of this teleology: the political elites and the financial elites are now one class." "Those who have gotten rich inside the bloated machinery of the parties will never accept their era has ended." The citizens who just awakened to the truth: the legacy parties have no solutions; their game plan is to milk the system as long as they can before it collapses."
Keynsian economic interventions have not worked right since 1990, and worse and worse. Those formulas are still being followed, and it is worse than futile. This is yet another analysis of the economics of exponential growth, which show it to be completely broken. We need an economics of steady state and shrinkage of monetary/financial economy.
The Sixth Mass Extinction of Life on Earth is way ahead of our perceptions. We have taken no action to mitigate it. None, just press releases...
“a biological annihilation occurring globally, even if the species these populations belong to are still present somewhere on Earth”.
“When considering the frightening assault on the foundations of human civilisation, one must never forget that Earth’s capacity to support life, including human life, has been shaped by life itself,” the paper stated.
Mr Ehrlich said: “We are losing species at an extraordinarily rapid rate compared to the background rate in which we lost them between the previous five great extinctions —a couple of species a year disappearing. It turned out to be 10 to 100 times as fast as it happened in the past.”
Nowhere to Run