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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Humanity First

Appreciating Family,

John Pilger tells something of the story of his great great grandmother, Mary Palmer.
Mary was the youngest member of a gang of wild young women, mostly Irish, who operated in the East End of London.  Known as “The Ruffians”, they kept poverty at bay with the proceeds of prostitution and petty theft. The Ruffians were eventually arrested and tried, and hanged — except Mary, who was spared because she was pregnant. She was just 16 years old when she was manacled in the hold of a ship under sail, the Lord Sidmouth, bound for New South Wales “for the term of her natural life”, said the judge. The voyage took five months, a purgatory of sickness and despair. I know what she looked like because, some years ago, I discovered an extraordinary ritual in St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney. Every Thursday, in a vestry, a nun would turn the pages of a register of Irish Catholic convicts — and there was Mary, described as “not more than 4ft in height, emaciated and pitted with the ravages of small pox”...  Francis McCarthy had been transported from Ireland for the crime of “uttering unlawful oaths” against his English landlord. That was the charge leveled at the Tolpuddle Martyrs...  Mary and Francis were married at St Mary’s Church, later St Mary’s Cathedral, on November 9th, 1823, with four other convict couples.  Eight years later, they were granted their “ticket of leave” and Mary her “conditional pardon” by one Colonel Snodgrass, the Captain General of New South Wales — the condition being she could never leave the colony.
Mary bore 10 children and they lived out hard lives, loved and respected by all accounts, to their ninetieth year...

​Jim Kunstler, When Collpse Goes Kinetic:
​ The collapse of our techno-industrial set-up has actually been going on for some time, insidiously and corrosively, without shattering the scaffolds of seeming normality, just stealthily undermining them. I’d date the onset of it to about 2005 when the world unknowingly crossed an invisible border into the terra incognito of peak oil, by which, of course, I mean oil that societies could no longer afford to pull out of the ground. It’s one thing to have an abundance of really cheap energy, like oil was in 1955. But when the supply starts to get sketchy, and what’s left can only be obtained at an economic loss, the system goes quietly insane... The next debt blowup will be the end of Mr. Trump’s improbable credibility. It may also be the beginning of serious difficulty in being able to get many of the goods of daily life, because the producers of things will be very unsure of getting paid on delivery of just about anything. A freeze up of short-term lending would quickly lead to empty WalMart shelves and “no gas” signs at the filing stations. That’s when collapse finally goes kinetic, and becomes something more than just bad feeling inane ideas.

Major Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, asks the Israeli government to please stop arming neo Nazis in Ukraine. (Putin may be making the same request of Bibi.)

Tom Luongo on the "Grand Bargain taking shape" and US getting out of al-Tanf , Syria. He remains focused upon Syria negotiations for the Trump-Putin Summit.

David Stockman points out President Trump's redeeming virtue, that he is an existential threat to the deep-state, which is the foremost existential threat to vertebrate life on earth.
Clearly he means to withdraw America’s 29,000 military hostages now stationed in South Korea in return for some sort of peace treaty, economic normalization and denuclearization arrangement with Kim Jong-un...  We also now know – owing to the sullen reporting of the Washington Post – that Trump has been hounding the national security bureaucracy about another utterly ridiculous artifact of the Empire. Namely, the fact that 73 years after Hitler descended into Hades from his bunker and 27 years after the Soviet Union slithered off the pages of history, there are still 35,000 US troops in Germany...  But now comes the piece de resistance. The Donald is going to Helsinki to make peace with Vlad Putin, and just in the nick of time.
Hopefully, in one-fell swoop they can reach an agreement to get the US military out of Syria; normalize the return of Crimea and Moscow’s historic naval base at Sevastopol to the Russian motherland; stop the civil war in Ukraine via a mutually agreed de facto partition; stand-down from the incipient military clashes from the Baltic to the Black Sea; and pave the way for lifting of the absurd sanctions on Russian businessmen and citizens...  So, much is riding in the balance at Helsinki – including the possibility that a strong success could open the door to a real, far more systematic and intellectually cogent America First Policy over the longer haul...  In the first place it needs be observed that lurking not far below the surface of the Donald’s "America First" slogan is the ghost of Senator Robert Taft’s profoundly correct case for nonintervention...  he reasoned that in the nuclear age a US-based bomber and missile force of unquestioned striking capacity would more than adequately protect the homeland from foreign military aggression; and that it could do so at a fraction of the cost of what amounted to permanent imperial legions assigned to patrolling the better part of the planet.

This article looks at more things Trump and Putin can negotiate, like global security and...
The window of chances is on the issues of digital security. Russia is a major player in this field. At the level of bilateral relations, there are serious developments, although the dialogue remains frozen. The presidents’ meeting can give impetus for its defrosting. Moreover, dialogue on cyber security provides an opportunity to mitigate the issue of the notorious “Russian interference.” There is hardly a topic that is so destructive for bilateral relations on the one hand, and difficult to verify and opaque on the other. New technological realities raise the question of the clear rules of the game. It is difficult to expect emergence of some formal agreements on mutual “non-interference” (claims about this come not only from Washington, but also from Moscow). Moreover, Donald Trump himself is under constant attacks on the topic of “Russian interference” and he will be rather cautious in discussing it. However, the issue requires a solution or at least positive dynamics. Dialogue about the rules of the game in digital space gives such an opportunity.

Moon of Alabama looks at the deep-state machinations to get war with North Korea back on track:
Trump's National Security Advisor John Bolton has a long history of destroying talks with North Korea. It was likely John Bolton who organized the recent intelligence leaks about North Korea's continuing work on its missile programs. In March, before joining the Trump administration, Bolton went on Foxnews and talked about the already agreed upon Trump-Kim summit. He opined (@4:10m) that the purpose of the meeting was, in his view, to  ".. foreshorten the amount of time that we’re going to waste in negotiations that will never produce the result we want, which is Kim giving up his nuclear program.”...
In June Kim Jong-un met U.S. President Trump in Singapore. A "freeze for freeze" - the stop of nuclear and missile testing in exchange for a stop of military maneuvers - was agreed upon. A Joint Statement was signed with a list of future tasks in similar chronological order as in the Panmunjeom Declaration (numbering added):
President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un conducted a comprehensive, in-depth and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to [1] the establishment of new US-DPRK relations and [2] the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. President Trump committed [3a] to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un [3b] reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The program detailed in that paragraph is repeated in an itemized and numbered list:
President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un state the following:
The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
The United States and DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula
Denuclearization of the north AND south is again described as an aspirational goal and as the last item of the longer list.

Egypt hosts millions of refugees from war and deprivation in Africa and the Mideast, and does not get paid a penny, and gives them all the same modest benefits as Egyptians, and rejects the EU plan to pay for concentration camps for these folks in Egypt. These people live free in Egypt. These people are not the "problem".
“The solution to the problem will be to resettle these refugees in their countries,” said Youssef al-Metany, a refugee lawyer at local NGO Egyptian Network for International Law. “This can only happen when the conflicts raging in these countries are settled.”

​A "Parallel Currency" for Italy is completely feasible within current EU law. Here is how it works.

Supreme Court Nominee , Brett Kavanaugh seems to be actually highly qualified and experienced and well regarded as a consistent judge, not always falling on the same side of an issue, but on the same careful and literal interpretation of law and original intent of the lawmakers. Those are good traits in a judge, or at least used to be... Here is a tidbit that makes him poison to Clintonistas, though:
He followed a one-year fellowship in the office of U.S. Solicitor General Kenneth Starr with a clerkship for Justice Anthony Kennedy during October Term 1993. Kavanaugh went on to join Starr at the Office of the Independent Counsel, where Kavanaugh led the investigation into the death of Vince Foster, an aide to President Bill Clinton, and helped write the 1998 Starr Report to Congress, which outlined 11 grounds for Clinton’s impeachment.

As Trial Opens, man dying of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma blames the Monsanto RoundUp he kept getting drenched in for a couple of years before he got diagnosed. It was, he was told, "safe enough to drink", not "cause of cancer in lab animals".

Groundskeeper

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