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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Pat Tillman Lives

Living Archetypes,

Spenser Rapone, "The Commie Cadet", who graduated West Point with a history degree, including studies in economics, after being an Army Ranger in Afghanistan, is somehow alive, somehow able to tell us what he saw in these travels. He accepted an Army commission and was fairly quickly discharged other than honorably. Chris Hedges ha this story after interviewing our hero.
“When you get to RASP [the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program], you’re told you not only have to understand Ranger culture and history, you have to adopt what’s called an airborne Ranger in the sky,” he said. “They make you go online and look at Rangers who were killed in action. You have to learn about this person and print out a copy of their obituary. It’s really unsettling, the whole process. This was a class leader acting on behalf of the cadre, he said something to the effect of ‘I’ll give you a hint, don’t pick Pat Tillman.’ ”   Rapone began to read about Pat Tillman, the professional football player who joined the Rangers and was killed in 2004 in Afghanistan by friendly fire, a fact that senior military officials, including Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who at the time was the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, covered up and replaced with a fictitious Hollywood version of death in combat with the enemy. Rapone watched the 2010 documentary “The Tillman Story” and would later read the 2006 Truthdig essay “After Pat’s Birthday,” written by Pat’s brother Kevin, who was in the Rangers with Pat. Pat Tillman, who had been in contact with Noam Chomsky, had become a critic of the war. In addition to lying to the Tillman family about Pat’s death, the Army did not return, and probably destroyed, Pat’s papers and diary.

Ralph Nader still lives, too.
"Would be nice if Laura Bush and Michelle Obama had expressed similar heartfelt concern for the tens of thousands of children killed or seriously maimed by the wars of their husbands in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere," he tweeted.
Eleni sends this, and I can see that this is actually what occurs in institutional invluntary psychiatric commitments in the US. I can testify that these procedures are routinely used. The courts watch for lots of little points, like hourly notes, constant visual monitoring, and so on, but the courts may not watch the illegal kids...   Court documents made public in Virginia and Texas give a glimpse of the systematic brutality being meted out to immigrant children in both public and private jails. Children are strapped down, hooded and beaten, or drugged by force, as part of the everyday procedure in what can only be called the American Gulag.

Mish Shedlock lays out the 5 points that make the EU immigration crisis politically insoluble in the current context.

Putin and Lavrov have something that Bolton wants, but what?

Trump-Putin summit will be July 16 in Helsinki, Finland. Deals will be made.

It looks like Americans will vote on issues, if given a chance...
Establishment Democrat Joe Crowley's nearly two-decade career in Congress came to an end Tuesday night in a shocking primary loss to 28-year-old Democratic Socialist and former Bernie Sanders organizer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - a harsh critic of Israel and immigration enforcement. 

Here is a review of a historical assessment, or two, of the history of fossil energy to expand human population, and the tchnological adaptations that it subsidized and enegized, and what is next as oil, gas and coal peter out...
If, following Rhodes’ thinking, we give science the whole credit for making a population explosion possible, we should also credit science with blowing through millions of years of accumulated energy resources in just a few hundred years. We should give science credit for the fact that billions of people live in areas already being severely impacted by climate change caused by fossil fuel emissions (even though those people typically have used minimal quantities of fossil fuel themselves.) And we should ask, why can’t science come up with a cost- and time-effective way of replacing all those fossil fuels, so that all 7 billion of us plus our more numerous descendants can keep on living the high-energy lifestyle to which (some of) us are accustomed?

​A Medical Case for a Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet, Ankush Bansal MD

Eating Solar Energy

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Negotiating Settlements

​Assessing Risks,​

North Korea's MAD threat against South Korea is massive artillery dug into mountains that can rain death on Seoul, killing millions​. 
The ICBM to place an EMP nuke 50 miles above Kansas and knock out half the US electric grid is far less certain. 
Having both hands empty of plausible threat must feel terribly wrong. It is what is being "asked" by the US and South Korea."​
North Korea has deployed an estimated 1,000 artillery pieces along the border, posing a significant threat to Seoul and the metropolitan area.
In a speech marking the 68th anniversary of the outbreak of the 1950-53 Korean War, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said that "moving (North Korea's) long-range artillery to the rear is under discussion," as he explained what types of good-will steps between the sides have been taken in recent months.
Lee's comments appear to be Seoul's first official confirmation of media reports that South Korea demanded that the North reposition its forward-deployed artillery pieces during inter-Korean military talks this month. Seoul's Defense Ministry, which has denied those reports, said it had no immediate comment on Lee's speech.​"​
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/06/25/us-to-present-north-korea-with-post-summit-asks-report.html

A history of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula, is interesting but uses officially released and partial military documentation. It has been
​told​ to me, for instance, that US Nuclear subs still visit the underground cave-base in Yokosuka​
that the Japanese navy made in WW-2. Official US military stance is that there are no nuclear armed vessels in the Western Pacific. That is more politically comfortable in Japan, where people are sensitive about nuclear weapons.
“Tree-Trimming Incident” in August 1976, US forces in Korea were placed on alert in response to a fatal skirmish between US and North Korean border guards over American attempts to trim a tree in the demilitarized zone. As part of the alert, the United States deployed nuclear and other forces in operations that signaled preparations for an attack on North Korea. Nuclear-capable B-52 bombers flew north from Guam in the direction of Pyongyang. It is not clear whether North Korean radars could see the bombers, but since North Korean soldiers did not interfere with tree trimming again, some people may have concluded that the US nuclear threat worked.
https://www.globalresearch.ca/a-history-of-us-nuclear-weapons-in-south-korea/5623878

The Okinawa nuclear missile attack order mistake, during DEFCON-2 status in Cuban Missile Crisis:
By Bordne's account, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Air Force crews on Okinawa were ordered to launch 32 missiles, each carrying a large nuclear warhead...
According to Bordne's account—which, recall, is based on hearing just one side of a phone call—the situation of one launch crew was particularly stark: All its targets were in Russia. Its launch officer, a lieutenant, did not acknowledge the authority of the senior field officer—i.e. Capt. Bassett—to override the now-repeated order of the major. The second launch officer at that site reported to Bassett that the lieutenant had ordered his crew to proceed with the launch of its missiles! Bassett immediately ordered the other launch officer, as Bordne remembers it, “to send two airmen over with weapons and shoot the [lieutenant] if he tries to launch without [either] verbal authorization from the ‘senior officer in the field’ or the upgrade to DEFCON 1 by Missile Operations Center.” About 30 yards of underground tunnel separated the two Launch Control Centers.
https://thebulletin.org/okinawa-missiles-october8826

Captain William Bassett received the orders to launch his four nukes. They even went through three layers of security codes, getting confirmation each time that they were correct.
https://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/another-day-another-story-about-how-america-almost-sta-1738998649

​What's to be gained from the US/Russia July summit?​  (There are lots of possibilities and good trades to be made. What will the deep state allow?)
​"​Both Russia and the United States are set to invest billions in modernizing their nuclear arsenals, which, although positive from a safety and reliability standpoint, create the impression of a new “arms race,” as the presidents acknowledged in a March phone call. An especially worrying new dimension to the nuclear risk is the possibility that cyber attacks by states or non-state actors could lead either party to raise its nuclear alert level, thus triggering a matching response from the other side, and possibly touching off a dangerous escalatory cycle.
.. A simple but vital step toward such de-escalation could be for the two presidents to reiterate the joint view of Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev from their 1986 Reykjavik summit, that “a nuclear war cannot be won, and so should never be fought.” In fact, thirty-two years ago the U.S. and Soviet leaders discussed the possibility of eliminating nuclear weapons altogether, a goal which then Presidents Obama and Medvedev confirmed and supported in 2009."

​Tom Luongo has a more in-depth view, and reminds that the US only negotiates when it is in a weak position, as in Syria. He believes this summit is mostly about getting the US forces out of their Al Tanf base in southern Syria, which will otherwise be overrun, by Syrian Army forces, backed up by 1000 elite Russian infantry now waiting near Palmyra.​ Assorted "moderate rebels" in Southern Syria have been supplied with advanced weapons, like TOW missiles, across the Jordanian border, but just now told that they are "on their own" and won't get US air support. They will have to negotiate their way out or fight...
"Trump needs to walk away with a win from any meeting with Putin and in Syria there is one.  He can Declare victory over ISIS in Dara’a and the Southwestern Syrian desert.
Negotiating a withdrawal of troops from Al-Tanf is the first part of a deal towards a new multi-party reality which lessens Iran’s future threat to Israel, which is what this is all about now anyway.
I don’t think there’s much more on the table than this officially at the moment, unfortunately.  Trump is still fully committed to trade and tariff wars to force substantive change to the way the world trades goods.  So, he’ll offer up concessions on Nordstream 2 and sanctions on Rusal, the State owned Russian aluminum company, to get Putin to give up his support of Iran and its ‘nuclear ambitions.’
This Kissinger-esque approach of offering nothing for something will not work since Putin holds all the cards on these issues.  The more likely scenario is a Singapore-like agreement to begin draw downs of U.S. troops in Central Asia, including Afghanistan and Iraq, in exchange for a security guarantee from Putin on Iran’s presence in Syria.

​How the US created Europe's Refugee Crisis (on Obama's watch, but he was just a spokesmodel...) "Arab Spring", Afghanistan, and so on. 

1% of the (surviving) humans in the world are refugees. (Thanks for the "freedom", America!) There's also a downside. "Peaceful" places are "less peaceful".

Immigrant parents are no longer being referred for criminal prosecution (They have to take the kids away from anybody jailed on criminal charges.)

“We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came.”  (Of course it is stickier than that.95% of current immigrants are fleeing undeclared-war in central America, and have legitimate asylum claims, involving American dirty-war in their home countries. The empire does not want that explored in the courts, or anywhere else.)

When are America’s global corporations and Wall Street going to sit down with President Trump and explain to him that his trade war is not with China but with them.  The biggest chunk of America’s trade deficit with China is the offshored production of America’s global corporations. When the corporations bring the products that they produce in China to the US consumer market, the products are classified as imports from China...  “Making America great again” means dealing with these corporations, not with China...  The job loss from offshoring also has had a huge and dire impact on Federal Reserve policy.  With the decline in income growth, the US economy stalled. The Federal Reserve under Alan Greenspan substituted an expansion in consumer credit for the missing growth in consumer income in order to maintain aggregate consumer demand. Instead of wage increases, Greenspan relied on an increase in consumer debt to fuel the economy... The credit expansion and consequent rise in real estate prices, together with the deregulation of the banking system, especially the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, produced the real estate bubble and the fraud and mortgage-backed derivatives that gave us the 2007-08 financial crash. The Federal Reserve responded to the crash not by bailing out consumer debt but by bailing out the debt of its only constituency—the big banks...  The Federal Reserve has learned that it can keep afloat the Ponzi scheme that is the US economy by printing money with which to support financial asset prices.  The alleged rise in interest rates by the Federal Reserve are not real interest rates rises.  Even the under-reported inflation rate is higher than the interest rate increases, with the result that the real interest rate falls.  If the stock market tries to sell off, before much damage can be done the Federal Reserve steps in and purchases S&P futures, thus driving up stock prices... As I have explained previously, the Ponzi scheme falls apart when it becomes impossible to continue to support the dollar as burdened as the dollar is by debt levels and abundance of dollars that could be dumped on the exchange markets.  This is why Washington is determined to retain its hegemony.  It is Washington’s hegemony over Japan, Europe, and the UK that protects the American Ponzi scheme.  The moment one of these central banks ceases to support the dollar, the others would follow, and the Ponzi scheme would unravel.

Dear High School Graduates, Charles Hugh Smith:
Here's the summary: the status quo is pressuring you to accept its "solutions": borrow mega-bucks to attend college, then buy a decaying bungalow or hastily constructed stucco box for $800,000 in a "desirable" city, pay sky-high income and property taxes on your earnings, and when the stress of all these crushing financial burdens ruins your health, well, we've got meds to "help" you--lots of meds at insane price points paid for by insurance-- if you have "real" insurance without high deductibles, of course.

An essay on 25 years of being homeless, by an Australian man with mental illness, raised in an orphanage, beaten and shunned on the streets, who moved to a forest for 10 years, and almost died. This is fairly brief and extremely good. (I suspect Gregory Smith was in the orphanage due to a parent having bipolar, which is passed down as an autosomal dominant trait, which he got. It is quite treatable for the majority of people. He seems clear and lucid.)

AT&T collaborates with NSA spying through web of secretive buildings in the US. 
https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/25/nsa-att-intercept-surveillance/

The latest study shows that the US oil and gas supply chain emits about 13 million metric tons of methane, the main component of natural gas, every year. That's much higher than the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) estimate of about 8 million metric tons.

​Our future is "crumbling before our eyes", Chris Hedges looks at how the steel reinforcement in concrete inevitably rusts and destroys the concrete. You've seen it, especially curbs, especially where salt is used on the roads, because the chloride ions work particularly quickly to cause rust where you can't see it.
The time lapse video of the building of a wind turbine is especially informative, in the middle of this essay. 96,000 pounds of welded steel rebar and 53 mixing trucks full of concrete are only the beginning.​

Here is the concrete engineering science regarding "corrosion of embedded metals".

How to Start and Maintain a Microrevolutionary Project: This is a German Commune, started in 1986, by  17 completely committed and apparently successful adults and 3 children, who bought a large property outright and began living it it with all money held communally. This is full commitment of already-saved and substantial resources, by people competent enough to have accumulated those resources. They are now 60 adults and 20 children/teens.
"To become a member, one needs to give all the property and savings to the commune. However, it is possible to negotiate a sum of money in case of exit from the commune to start a new life."

Considering the Cost

Sunday, June 24, 2018

No Dichotomy

Noticing Changes,

The world transformed and nobody in the West noticed. India and Pakistan have joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The 17 year-old body since its founding on June 15, 2001 has quietly established itself as the main alliance and grouping of nations across Eurasia. Now it has expanded from six nations to eight, and the two new members are the giant nuclear-armed regional powers of South Asia, India, with a population of 1.324 billion and Pakistan, with 193.2 million people (both in 2016).In other words, the combined population of the SCO powers or already well over 1.5 billion has virtually doubled at a single stroke. The long-term global consequences of this development are enormous. It is likely to prove the single most important factor insuring peace and removing the threat of nuclear war over South Asia and from 20 percent of the human race. It now raises the total population of the world in the eight SCO nations to 40 percent, including one of the two most powerful thermonuclear armed nations (Russia) and three other nuclear powers (China, India and Pakistan).

This piece by Andrew Korybko is better than it's title, which is meant to catch the attention. Narendra Modi of India does not have to choose Trump or Putin, not even today, and this may get even easier by the end of the year. Still, there has been a strong campaign to win India over, beginning in the Clinton years, but now India is taken for granted. There is a permanent resentment in India to being taken for granted by a foreign empire. India has had a fairly long and friendly cooperative relationship with Russia, which is again blossoming. there is a lot oc complexity here. Indians exist in complexity, as do Russian diplomats. No artificial false dichotomy can be imposed upon India. Changes in global power relations are well underway. Actual global peace and cooperation, instead of knives-in-everybody's-backs, would be a welcome help for all of us.

Did Jesus speak Greek? Thanks Eleni. 
This is not a trivial question at all. Gallile was part of a thriving Mediterranean economy, with many primarily Greek-speaking Jews and also Hebrew-speaking Jews, who carried different name designations, and lived in the same towns, doing business, socially engaging. There is biblical evidence of Jesus employing Greek words and phrases in some of his speech. Apostles were fishermen, who would have had to do business in Greek, and some bore Greek names. Greek was a widespread spoken and written language in that day and that area, very useful. This language, if the primary or secondary language of Jesus, would have tied him into the vast Greek intellectual/philosophical and economic discourse. What teachings of his remain, may be seen in a different light, if they come from 2 traditions, not just one.

Not mentioned in the article above is the ancient rumor that the "real dad" of Jesus was a Macedonian archer in the Roman army, named Pantera, or Panthera, who would have spoken Greek. Wikipedia actually has a lot on this. I had not looked into it for a decade or so. Ancient allegations that the teachings of Jesus were Greek are included in this detailed entry. 

Michael Hudson, the premier economist of our current historical epoch, is also a historian of Mideast economy, and presents a strong argument that the "Gospel" or "Good News" was specifically the debt jubilee returning, nothing more or less. this was a battle being fought throughout the ancient world at that time, partuclarly in Greece. People were dying over this. The same battle was being fought between the Pjharisees, who privately owned a lot of debt, and the indebted classes, who had not had a jubilee for 200 years. There was no jubilee. Jesus was crucified, ad horrible execution, reserved by Rome for threats to the political order (not weird rabbis, claiming to be the son of God.)

"Shooting the Messenger", the chilling effect of criminalizing journalism, seems appropriate here, somehow...

Pedophrasty, Bigoteering, and Other Modern Scams (What is that first word? It's not "pederasty". It is important.) Nicholas Taleb, Black Swan Author:

More science on how and why and how much coffee is good for people (and rats).

Green tea and Disease Prevention, Jason Fung MD (I'm living proof that it does not have to be one or the other. Coffee first in the morning, then green tea all day at work is sustainable...)

Cooperative Worker (Pictured in kitchen garden summer solstice 2018)


Saturday, June 23, 2018

Global And Local

Forest and Trees,

War has been the traditional solution for ruling elites to maintain their power in times of economic upheaval. Our current local and global economies are "inseparably" connected in the current globalist financial structure. This structure excels at extracting value and reducing current market prices, at the expense of strip-mining all of the production centers, including their environments and people. The exponential growth of this system is fated to meet hard limits, but a little bit before it hits the hard limits, the exponential growth collapses, which makes the financial system collapse, since the growing exponent is the flat-baseline of the current global financial regime. That's sort of a saving grace, really... It tried to happen in 2008.
There will be a financial reset to a system that functions well without exponential growth. (Or we can just have chaos.) Ideally, it will be functional in wide fluctuations, since we can expect that. That's what the world has had until the industrial revolution. 
China has the longest contiguous history of financial ups and downs, alternating between paper money in growth and gold during declines, each serving a phase of economic cycles. These can be decades and centuries long. China has now come out of a couple of centuries of slump, and is in a sharp rise, but aware of Chinese history, and prepared for a reversion to the gold standard. 
Russia has been through her reset, is economically and financially resilient, has lots of natural resources, including oil and gas that other countries need, the means to defend it, and pipelines to move it to markets. 
Among the big 3 powers, Russia has the most flexible and least vulnerable position, but way too small of an economy to dream of subduing China or the US/Western-empire. Russia is focusing her brilliance on diplomacy, being the deciding voice in any awkward stalemate in the world. 
Russia, China and the US, as "rational actors", know that nuclear war is a threat to hold over the heads of their own populations, not a rational alternative. 
Expunging irrational actors, like the playground-bully neocons, is of primary importance. Then the real deals can be made to carve out spheres of influence, and cut back on wasteful military spending. It looks like negotiations regarding Korea are the start of that.
The US affords military-financial-empire right now, because the global trade currency standard is still the $US. That will not persist, partly due to the decline of American industry, which it has created, as with prior empires. No national currency persists as global trade currency, as a quick review shows.
We can expect is a return of basic industrial production in North America.  This will be in the contexts of much lower wages and much lower total bureaucratic cost structure, or it won't happen at all. 
That restructuring of productive economy must mean a cheapening of the upper layers of government, and a return of agency to less remote state and local governments, without any increase in revenues for state and local governments, just a decrease in Federal spending. 
Within that overall picture, basic services will still need to be provided, in ways that are least costly to the overall economy. 
Natural monopolies, owned and run by local, state and regional government include electricity, roads, waterways and railroads, water and wastewater, communications networks, regulatory agencies and enforcement, means of taxation, law enforcement, education and medical care. I'm sure I have left things out. 
The necessary losers here are the portion of the 5% who are not actually skilled contributors to economy, but who manipulate the legal-financial system to draw off skim. They have to get real jobs. They will be tremendously stressed, and many will not be able to perform useful work. They are the politically powerful contingent, screaming "No, No, No"! They are what "pulled us out" of the 2008 financial crisis, by promising lots of nice money to everybody, if they would all just cooperate. 
That nice money is promises of a cut of future wealth. Those promises are impossible, like our retirements. 
Who loses the most, and when? 
That deal may have been cut, but is not yet made public, or will work itself out in very messy ways, especially in the USA.

The Eagle, The Dragon and The Bear is a fairly stock pro-Trump analysis, which does not assume that exponential growth must stop. It is a static analysis, holding most codependent variables as constants. It's limited, but it presents some basic nuts-and-bolts considerations.
Three realities confronted Trump when he assumed office. The US empire is unsustainable, so too is the trajectory of its spending and debt, and the government is fundamentally corrupt. It would be foolish to bet Trump doesn’t understand these issues and the linkages between them. 
https://straightlinelogic.com/2018/06/21/the-eagle-the-dragon-and-the-bear-by-robert-gore/

Localization, a Strategic Alternative to Globalized Authoritarianism: (A personal approach for disenfranchised social liberals, who also can't wait.)
Under globalization, competition has increased dramatically, job security has become a thing of the past, and most people find it increasingly difficult to earn a livable wage. At the same time, identity is under threat as cultural diversity is replaced by a consumer monoculture worldwide. Under these conditions it’s not surprising that people become increasingly insecure. As advertisers know from nearly a century of experience, insecurity leaves people easier to exploit.

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, has launched a scathing attack on the UN monitor on extreme poverty, dismissing his recent report on America ...  Instead, Haley suggested, the UN monitor should have used his voice “to shine a light” on countries where governments were causing pain and suffering on their own people, such as Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo...  On Tuesday, Haley announced that the US was pulling out of membership of the human rights council. ...  Sanders on Thursday issued a further response to Haley’s attack on the UN rapporteur. The 2016 runner-up for the Democratic presidential nomination agreed with Haley that Burundi and the Democratic Republic Congo faced far worse problems, but pointedly remarked that America’s poverty was taking place “in the richest country in the history of the world and a time when wealth and income inequality is worse than at any time since the 1920s”...  “I hope you will agree that in a nation in which the top three people own more wealth than the bottom half, we can and must do much better than that,” Sanders said.

Merkel and Macron have a financial restructuring plan for the EU, but no other EU members seem to accept it. (The EU remains in financial structural crisis, and will have to devolve central control to allow nation-states to financially restructure their unsustainable debts, as they reach the limits of borrowing-more-to-make-payments. It looks to me like China can outlast the EU before a reset, and the Fed sure can, Everything will change in a reset, but first blame still matters. The EU desperately needs oil, gas and electricity from outside.)

"First they came for the Hondouran families..."  "Internally displaced persons" may later be served in these camps with concertina-wire.
The US government is, in fact, planning to build a series of massive tent cities that could potentially house thousands of migrants for months at a time. A Pentagon spokesperson said Thursday that the US is planning to shelter as many as 20,000 migrant children on four American military bases, according to the New York Times. Meanwhile, just this afternoon, Time Magazine reported that the US Navy is planning to build several massive tent cities to house thousands of immigrants in a few different states. Time, which obtained a Navy memo outlining the plan to build "temporary and austere" tent cities, said the document was sent to the Navy Secretary for his approval. The cities will house roughly 25,000 migrants in abandoned airfields just out side the Florida Panhandle near Mobile, Alabama, at Navy Outlying Field Wolf in Orange Beach, Alabama, and nearby Navy Outlying Field Silverhill...  There are also plans for a camp that will hold as many as 47,000 people at former Naval Weapons Station Concord, near San Francisco. And another facility that could house 47,000 near Camp Pendleton, the largest training facility for US Marines situated along the SoCal coastline. 

Here is an article on Russian Pipeline Geopolitics. Russia has gas that India, Pakistan and China all need. Russia can provide this as long as all parties remain at "peace". Russian gas-diplomacy serves all interests, as long as non-war prevails. The Western Empire prefers war to divide and conquer.

In geopolitics it is not necessary to defend an advantage. Being able to negate the expensive advantage of another may well suffice. Russia puts weapons systems in shipping containers, that can go on any ship. Who can tell which ones are on which ships? It makes things risky for the American Navy.

American bombing in Afghanistan is at it's highest level ever. (What is up? Is this the prelude to withdrawal? The US has spent a lot on Afghanistan to keep Chinese mining companies and pipelines out, and to destabilize post-collapse Russia with heroin, and to destabilize Iran by militarily supplying ethnic minorities. It has been very hard on "ally", Pakistan. The sensible thing to do is to secretly negotiate and quickly exit, while declaring "mission accomplished".)

Syrian war update. US threats and air-strikes will not be enough against combined Syrian and Russian resolve, with contributions from local interested parties: Turkey, Iran, and Hezbollah. Israel cannot field a credible infantry challenge at this point, and will have to make reasonable concessions. Air power is not enough, and mercenary-jihadis are being hammered and hammered and hammered.

Jordan moves more tanks and forces to the border with Syria. It's time to consider Jordanian needs, isn't it? What are the bids?

In the first visit of a member of the British Royal Family to Palestine/Israel, Prince William announces that he will visit Palestinians in "Occupied East Jerusalem". Israel makes loud complaints and demands a retraction, and is waiting.......

"The Murder of Julian Assange" is a cautionary tale for those who would injure the empire by revealing truth about the evil it does. Assange is a "dead man walking", and cut off from any activity, or contact with family or friends, or Wikileaks. The new Ecuadorian government seeks a politically expedient way to hand him over to the empire, but he's just an empty shell now, anyway...

Could Multiple Personality Disorder Explain "Life, the Universe and Everything"? This looks at our modes of perception in a useful way, and the premise that "the universe" is a function of our conscious-modes. From there it explores the valid premise that the universe (no quotes) exists within "consciousness". The ancient Greeks were onto this, too. How we've advanced!

Minding the Store

Friday, June 22, 2018

Lost In Transition

Asking Questions,​

There is something particularly disturbing about the minuscule amount of footage recently released by HHS last week—it only shows boys, and only boys age 10 and up. Where are the girls? Where are the toddlers? Where are the babies? According to official policy, the government does not remove toddlers and babies from their mothers. However, as TFTP reported, a mother from Honduras who came to the U.S. seeking asylum with her family said she was breastfeeding her infant at a detention center when her baby was suddenly taken from her with no warning and no explanation.
Now, the question of “where are the girls?” has become such an issue that it made its way to the White House and a reporter asked Department of Homeland Security Chief Kirstjen Nielsen.
Monday afternoon, during a White House press briefing, a reporter asked,
“Why is the government only releasing images of the boys being held? Where are the girls & toddlers?”
Nielsen could not answer.
​These children are being used as pawns in a political game as rivals bicker over how to handle them while ignoring real factors that would curb this massive immigration problem.Many Americans have been taught to dehumanize these refugees and to believe that it is not our problem. However, these refugees are a direct result of decades-old US policy.
In the heart-wrenching video above, one of the girls claims to be from Honduras. Honduras is currently a crime-ridden hell hole rife with gang violence as coca plantations thrive—all thanks to the war on drugs. https://www.globalresearch.ca/where-are-the-girls-child-trafficking-feared-as-dhs-cant-say-where-immigrant-girls-are-being-held/5644869

​Explaining the details of Trump's executive order to stop breaking up refugee families at the border. It says nothing about rejoining families, already separated. It is clearly meant to diffuse the bad press, so stop paying attention!

Wigs sends this piece by Diana Johnstone, loking at stances towards immigration, and what creates the two camps, for and against. Ms Johnstone does not look at the wars of imperial convenience that are the root cause, but at German responses to this "given".
Finally, it depends on whether you think of immigrants as individuals or as a mass. Concerning individuals, compassion reigns. You want to get to know that person, make a friend, help a fellow human being. As a mass, it is different because you have to think also of social results and you do not know whom you are getting.

How could there be a conscientious objector graduating from West Point? There just was, Spencer Rapone. Thanks Ray.
“I consider myself a revolutionary socialist,” the 26-year-old said. “I would encourage all soldiers who have a conscience to lay down their arms and join me and so many others who are willing to stop serving the agents of imperialism and join us in a revolutionary movement.”
Rapone said his journey to communism grew out of his experiences as an army ranger in Afghanistan before he was accepted into the US Military Academy. And those views only hardened during his studies of history as one of the academy’s “Long Gray Line”.
Spenser Rapone raises his left fist while displaying a sign inside his hat after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point.


It's ALL about money in the Democratic Party. That's not a bug, it's a feature. Change? No, we're only taking $1000 bills today. You, re not a candidate, Bye, now!
But Clegg didn't get to pledge the DCCC frat, and the reason is obvious: funding. If you don't come in the door with your pockets full, your only other way in, almost regardless of policy or background, is to prove you can bring in ass-loads of outside cash.​ ​
"That's what they tell you – that you need money to win, that it's all about the money," Clegg says.

​There are large strategic deposits of rare earth minerals in North Korea. Most of the rest are in China. What's a fading global empire to do?

About those pipelines, and railroads to link North and South Korea, and Russia...

The main issue about the "freeze for freeze" suggested by Russia and china, and now endorsed-without-attribution by the US is verifiability. that will take a global change, because in this world, the US is unaccountable and does not keep agreements.
“It is difficult to imagine what kind of security guarantee the United States can offer that could be trusted. A piece of paper is not going to do it. Nor, on its own, is the signing of a peace treaty formally ending the Korean War,” Elich said. “It may be that the Trump administration would be sincere in signing such a document. But the next US administration may very well have no compunction in abandoning it.” 
https://www.rt.com/news/430265-us-korea-double-freeze-experts/

​Eleni found this, which may have the answer...
One additional clue is that Henry Kissinger is said to be in Moscow right now, and Henry has been an adviser to Trump on policy to Russia ever since the 2016 campaign. He has been the voice urging an accommodation with Russia for a variety of geopolitical strategic reasons.  KA-CHING!  Putin needs to help on the Korean Peninsula, not just Xi.
https://russia-insider.com/en/politics/signs-are-clear-trump-putin-summit-being-prepared-possibly-2nd-week-july/ri23824?ct=t(Russia_Insider_Daily_Headlines11_21_2014)&mc_cid=7abaab8d3e&mc_eid=7a06d680cf 

​Cutting Deals​

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Other Shoe

Apprehensive,

Moon of Alabama, Syrian war update:  There are signs that the long expected liberation of the Daraa region in southwest Syria is about to begin. After a month of negotiations between Russia, Israel, Jordan and the U.S. no peaceful solution has been found. The various terrorist forces in the (green) area, including al-Qaeda aligned HTS and groups loyal to the Islamic State, have rejected all negotiations. For over a month Russian negotiators tried to convince locals to give up and to reconcile with the government. But the hardliners under the rebels have killed anyone who talked with the Russians. The U.S. government has warned against a Daraa operation and threatened to intervene...  The Russian military is warning of a false-flag "chemical incident" in Deir Ezzor governorate. The Syrian Observatory reports that Islamic State remnants in the southeastern desert and in the Rukban camp, both under cover of the U.S. occupied zone around al-Tanf, prepare for a large attack on Syrian government forces. It claims that such an attack is an attempt to occupy the zone between al-Tanf and Albu Kamal at the Euphrates. Both operation would be planned diversions intended to draw Syrian forces away from Deraa and could provide excuses for U.S. intervention on the opposition side... 

Caitlin Johnstone: ​
Rumors are again swirling of an impending false flag chemical weapons attack in Syria, just as they did shortly before the highly suspicious Douma case in April. Warnings from Syrian and Russian intelligence, as well as US war ship movements and an uptick in US funding for the Al Qaeda propaganda firm known as the White Helmets, give these warnings a fair bit of weight.
https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/its-time-to-start-getting-enraged-at-what-western-imperialists-have-done-to-syria-a53529c7c0e7

The European Union is funding a project to prosecute Israel Defence Forces (IDF) officers for committing violations against Palestinian civilians, according to Israel Hayom, which quotes a local human rights organisation.

Civilians are fleeing Hodeidah after hundreds were killed in the Saudi-led coalition’s bomb campaign to take the strategic Yemeni port from Houthi rebels. The death toll and the disruption of vital supply lines has alarmed the UN.
Saudi Arabia will be lonely on the UN Human Rights Council, without the Americans.
​ Nikki Haley's statement below:​

“Earlier this year, as it has in previous years, the Human Rights Council passed five resolutions against Israel — more than the number passed against North Korea, Iran and Syria combined,” Nikki R. Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, said in a speech on Tuesday.
“This disproportionate focus and unending hostility toward Israel is clear proof that the council is motivated by political bias, not by human rights.”
“If the Human Rights Council is going to attack countries that uphold human rights and shield countries that abuse human rights, then America should not provide it with any credibility,” Ms. Haley said.
​This has nothing to do with leaving the Human Rights Council. This is imperial business as usual: 
 ​
The much-discussed report entitled "'War of annihilation': Devastating Toll on Civilians, Raqqa - Syria" revealed the US-led coalition launched "disproportionate or indiscriminate" attacks on buildings full of entrapped civilians "using wide-area effect munitions." The human rights watchdog raised the question whether the coalition conducted "rigorous surveillance prior to the strikes."
"I don't understand why they bombed us... Didn't the surveillance planes see that we were civilian families?" asked Rasha Badran, an air strikes survivor, whose 39 family members including a one-year-old girl named Tulip were killed in three separate US coalition strikes.

​Wars drive injured humans to desperate journeys far away. The US has long had secret wars and secret criminal allies in Central America. That is where the hot flow of traumatized families is coming from. The American Academy of Pediatrics: ​ 
In the dramatic increase in arrivals that began in 2014 and continues at the time of writing thispolicy statement, more than 95% of undocumented children have emigrated from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador (the Northern Triangle countries of Central America), with much smaller numbers from Mexico and other countries. Most of these undocumented children cross into the United States through the southern border.2 Unprecedented violence, abject poverty, and lack of state protection of children and families in Central America are driving an escalation of migration to the United States from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

I can only find stories about this Wal-Mart in Brownsville, where they hold 1500 boys. This is the least horrible detention center, I guess, what they are giving tours of. Up the road from us in Hutto there is something for families where they separate parents and children at night in locked cells. No pictures. The internet is not being fed factual information on this, mainly commentary. My understanding is that thousands of children have been lost to tracking, too.

Moon of Alabama notices that every time the US runs a "counter drug" program, that drugs increase dramatically. (The programs might just limit attacks to the CIA's competition. Manuel Noriega used to do business with the CIA drug runners, but later he became more useful as a target for invasion.)

This is another story about what Bernie Sanders was doing in the 1960s, while Hillary Clinton was campaigning for Barry Goldwater. (That's Bernie, chained to some black ladies,  getting arrested in Chicago.)

Tom Luongo has an article about tipping points in societal perception and orientation. Bernie Sanders was involved in that process, above. First come the innovators. They are a couple of percent, then the early adopters, which brings the new-view up to 16%, but the next leap is hard to bridge, because the 'early majority" folks are far more socially cautious, and need to feel like they are part of a big, coherent group. Tom looks at immigration as a core, deep-brain, group identity issue, and how that is working in German politics now. Merkel may not be able to hold a "center" that lets in a flood of people who will never act like Germans, and will never want to. (This is a case in point, but the principle is really important as we all move to some, yet unseen, new understandings.

The amount of ocean rise from antarctic ice melt has tripled over the last 5 years, and is accelerating.
Inexorably Changing

Monday, June 18, 2018

Doing No Harm

Observing Trends,

At a graduation ceremony for the US Naval War College (barf), US Secretary of Defense James Mattis asserted that Russian President Vladimir Putin “aims to diminish the appeal of the western democratic model and attempts to undermine America’s moral authority,” and that “his actions are designed not to challenge our arms at this point but to undercut and compromise our belief in our ideals.” (He implies an adjustment of imperial strategy is in order, perhaps?) This would be the same James Mattis who’s been overseeing the war crimes committed by America’s armed forces during their illegal occupation of Syria. This would be the same United States of America that was born of the genocide of indigenous tribes and the labor of African slaves, which slaughtered millions in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, Libya and Syria for no legitimate reason, which is partnered with Ukrainian Nazis, jihadist factions in Syria and Iranian terror cultists, which supports 73 percent of the world’s dictators, which interferes constantly in the electoral processesof other countries as a matter of policy, which stages coups around the world, which has encircled the globe with military bases, whose FBI still targets black civil rights activists for persecution to this very day, which routinely enters into undeclared wars of aggression against noncompliant governments to advance plutocratic interests, which remains the only country ever to use nuclear weapons on human beings after doing so completely needlessly in Japan, and which is functionally a corporatist oligarchy with no meaningful “democratic model” in place at all. ... When Mattis says that the Russian government is trying to “undercut and compromise our belief in our ideals,” he is saying that Moscow is interrupting the lies that Americans are being told about their government by the plutocrat-owned media. https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2018/06/17/mattis-putin-is-trying-to-undermine-americas-moral-authority/

Russia is warning (again) that the US is planning false flag chemical attacks in Syria (again) to justify attacking Syrian government forces (again) who are soon to start operations to clear out whatever renamed terrorist mercenaries fail to make a deal to leave without their guns. https://www.mintpressnews.com/russian-syrian-warnings-of-a-coming-false-flag-chemical-attack-have-ring-of-truth/244137/

The US Army plans to deploy autonomous killer robots in battle areas by 2028. ("Coming soon to your neighborhood") There are some things that some soldiers just won't do... right? https://www.activistpost.com/2018/06/what-could-go-wrong-u-s-army-planning-to-deploy-autonomous-killer-robots-on-battlefield-by-2028.html

WASHINGTON, June 16. /TASS/. US President Donald Trump is expected to hold a meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Europe in July. (It's about time they got to talk about things.)
http://tass.com/world/1009827

"The Saudi-UAE Alliance is the Most Dangerous Force in the Middle East Today (except for the US-Israel Alliance, of course). This looks at the genocide in Yemen, now going into total-war summer offensive, as the US "helps". Look; genocide is the historical trend again... http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-saudi-uae-alliance-is-the-most-dangerous-force-in-the-middle-east-today/

There are about 1000 separations of children from their parents at the US-Mexican border every month. Actually, this is not new, but the press kept quiet about ut under nice President Obama, so as not to offend. The reason for this is that criminal-charges are being filed against parents, and children automatically get taken to abandoned Wal-Marts whenever criminal charges are filed. (yeah, feels genocidal,,,) https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-children/u-s-government-says-nearly-2000-child-separations-at-mexico-border-in-under-two-months-idUSKBN1JB2SF

French police cut the soles off refugee children's shoes and torment them as they drive them away, so they won't ever come back. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/14/french-border-police-accused-of-cutting-soles-off-migrant-childrens-shoes

"America's Greatest Crisis is Upon Us, Debt to GDP Makes it Clear" ... (I say it is arguably worse, since current measures of GDP actually include debt as a positive in the financial category of GDP, the only part getting bigger. Thanks Charles.) Since 2001, according to debt to GDP, the US has been in the longest ongoing crisis in the nations history. https://econimica.blogspot.com/2018/06/americas-greatest-crisis-upon-usdebt-to.html


British Bicycling Business is several times larger than the British Steel Industry, so where is the industrial policy to support this business, which has positive economic and environmental multipliers? More thanks, Charles. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2018/jun/16/uk-cycling-steel-industry-strategy

A cataclysmic decline in insects is taking place, virtually unnoticed. Bruce Munro talks to renowned entomologist Anthony Harris about love, loss and the impending Sixth Mass Extinction, which could wipe land-based life from the globe...
More than 80% of this (biomass), 452.5Gt C, is plants. Next comes bacteria (16%, 87.2Gt C) and fungi (2%, 10.9 Gt C). Animals make up just 0.4% of the total biomass. The globe's 7.6 billion people account for just 0.01% of all living things.
And yet our impact on the globe has been enormous - some would say catastrophic.
According to the Proceedings article, humans are responsible for the possibly irreparable loss of large chunks of the animal and plant kingdoms; more than 80% of all wild animals and half of all plants.
Anthony Harris finds it deeply disturbing.
"Farmed poultry now makes up 70% of all birds on the planet, with just 30% wild,'' he says with a shocked tone.
"The picture for mammals is worse. Sixty percent of all mammals on earth are livestock, mostly cattle and pigs, 36% are humans and just 4% of all mammals are wild.''
It is no wonder insects are dying out, he says.
Industrialised farming is one of the main causes.
McCarthy, who noted the decline of moths, writing in October about the dramatic drop in flying insects numbers in Germany, stated, "It seems indisputable: it is us''.
"It is human activity - more specifically, three generations of industrialised farming with a vast tide of poisons pouring over the land year after year after year, since the end of the second world war.
"This is the true price of pesticide-based agriculture, which society has for so long blithely accepted.''
https://www.odt.co.nz/lifestyle/magazine/losing-buzz

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