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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Changing Course

Captains Courageous,

"Trump Isn't Going To Save The United States": 
This is kind of fun for the HUH? factor.  It is useful, because Trump is the sort of accidental president that he is, still himself, character flaws galore, but also authentic, and not easily guided. His mind is unusual, and it is fun for him to be unpredictable, and to take twisty roads to his destination. It is presented here that a big Trump weakness is that, whatever he says, he does not actually do harm to those he has worked with and held as friends, such as the Clintons. He scoffs at the rules of the club, but adheres to the core rules, anyway. The country club machine may wait him out...

Trump rehabilitates North Korea in a press conference.

North Korea rehabilitates the US on the streets and TV screens of Pyongyang. North Korea is westernizing. (Kim Jong Un attended Swiss boarding school.)

South Korean President Moon is a smart and practical man. He foresees that the current Washington crowd wants to keep the bases in South Korea, or will not consider any peace that gets rid of them. He preemptively says he wants them to stay to provide regional security. (Korea's permanent near threat is China, as always.)
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in an interview with Fox News that the presence of the US forces on the Korean peninsula would still be necessary even if the two divided countries signed a peace treaty and the reunification took place.
Asked, whether he wanted the US troops to leave the peninsula one day, he said “I would say, no.”
”The US forces in [South] Korea not only beneficial for our deterrence of [our] vis-a-vis North Korea but also it plays a large role in terms of upholding peace and stability in the North East Asian region as a whole. Even after the peace treaty is signed and even after the unification is achieved, I can see the US forces in Korea remain in place for the peace and stability of the North East Asian region,” Moon said.

About "Fort Trump" in Poland...
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The stationing of a US military base in Poland will mean the dismantlement of the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, which directly bans deployment of substantial combat forces along the border on a permanent basis, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told Sputnik.
“This will mean that the NATO-Russia Founding Act, which directly bans the deployment of substantial combat forces on a permanent basis, will be dismantled. I reiterate that this step would significantly worsen the security situation," Grushko said
“This will require us to take additional military and technical precautions that will reliably guarantee our security under the new circumstances. We have various opportunities, including cost-effective ones, how to strengthen our security,” the former Russian envoy to NATO stressed.

How can the current $US sanctions against almost every other country be undertaken, except with the assumption that the days of the $US as global reserve currency are ending, anyway?
It should be noted that sanctions earn a lot of ill-will and generally accomplish nothing. Cuba would likely be a fairly normal country but for the US restrictions and other pressure that gave its government the excuse to maintain a firm grip on power. The same might even apply to North Korea. And sanctions are even bad for the United States. Someday, when the US begins to lose its grip on the world economy all of those places being sanctioned will line up to get​ ​their revenge and it won’t be pretty.

​​The EU, Russia, and China have banded together in open defiance against unilateral steps taken by the US. Moscow and Beijing are in talks on how to combine their efforts to fend off the negative impacts of US trade tariffs and sanctions. A planned Sept 24-25 visit by Chinese Vice-Premier Liu, who was coming to the United States for trade talks, was cancelled as a result of the discord and President Trump added more fuel to the fire on Sept. 24 by imposing 10% tariffs on almost half of all goods the US imports from China. “We have far more bullets,” the president said before the Chinese official’s planned visit. “We’re going to go US$200 billion and 25 per cent Chinese made goods. And we will come back with more.” The US has recently imposed sanctions on China to punish it for the purchase of Russian S-400 air-defense systems and combat planes. Beijing refused to back down. It is also adamant in its desire to continue buying Iran’s oil.

​Italian populism is big enough to break the EU, unlike Greek populism. Populist movements have sprung up and flourished in Spain, Hungary, Poland, and now Sweden and Germany. Don't mention the UK, please... Will the EU restructure to meet all of these co-emerging forces against the unsustainable single currency? When?Despite the resistance of Italy's finance minister Giovanni Tria who had pushed back against demands by the League and the Five Star Movement to push Italy's budget deficit above 2% in 2019, demanding a hard stop at 1.6%, moments ago the Italian budget negotiations reached a successful conclusion, when Italy's Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini, and League leader, said that agreement had been reached on the 2019 deficit to be at 2.4% of GDP, as he and Di Maio demanded in recent days to fund what had emerged as key sticking point, namely Universal Basic Income for the people.
Commenting on the outcome, Italy's other deputy premier Luigi Di Maio, said he had succeeded in a "budget for the people" adding that the budget cancels poverty thanks to "citizen’s income," at a cost of €10 billion. He added that other measures include reform of job centers, pension reform, and a €1.5 billion fund for victims of bank crises.

Jeremy Corbyn has sparked fresh fears in Brussels of a no-deal Brexit after saying during talks with senior EU Brexit officials that he will vote down anything that fails to deliver the same benefits as membership of the single market and customs union...
The Guardian revealed on Wednesday that the EU was intensifying its no-deal preparations amid increased concerns over the ratification of a deal. EU leaders have also insisted on their right to go over the head of the European commission and strike mini-deals with the UK in the event of a no-deal scenario in order to mitigate the worst effects of a cliff-edge Brexit, including the grounding of flights and blockage of haulage routes.

Yanis Varoufakis calls for UK general elections ahead of the critical March 2019 Brexit deadline. He assumes that the EU continues to exist in it's present form. Why? Why assume what is broadly agreed to be fatally flawed?
The answer, as called for by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, is an immediate general election, to be fought on all of the relevant issues at once and presenting the various alternatives in full. The people’s next vote on Brexit must concern not only their preferred exit path but, crucially, the mix of domestic economic, social, and institutional reform policies that go with it.

Assistant AG, Rod Rosenstein was so afraid of being fired that he offered to resign repeatedly, to anybody who would listen, from last Thursday, all through the weekend. No poker face on Rod-the-wire. He is potentially most valuable to Team Trump in his current position, since he has gained the public sympathy of Team Clinton. Rosenstein must now fully embrace the interests of Team Trump. That process is underway, and will now proceed formally. Team Clinton insiders will be picked off, as Team Trump insiders were last year.
Roughly nine months after Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein testified before the House Judiciary Committee that he would not fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller without "good reason", House Republicans are again moving to haul him in for questioning following a steady drumbeat of pressure that has intensified over the past week. This comes after they said they would subpoena the memos themselves late Thursday.
According to the Washington Post, Rosenstein will be called back to Capitol Hill to testify, and if he refuses, the House will subpoena him, said Rep. Mark Meadows, who tweeted Friday that GOP leadership had agreed on a plan.

​This seems like a good idea all around. As many facts as can be had, please...
During a day of blurred and frequently confusing drama on Capitol Hill, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday voted 11-10 to approve Brett Kavanaugh for a confirmation vote in the full senate. But it did so, only after an 11th hour intervention from Jeff Flake, a senator from Arizona, who said his support in the later confirmation vote was dependent on the FBI being given a week to carry out an investigation into Mr Kavanaugh, the subject of sexual assault allegations from several women, all of which he denies.
“This country is being ripped apart here,” Mr Flake told the committee, after a vote scheduled for 1.30pm was delayed. “We ought to do what we can to make sure that we do all due diligence with a nomination this important.”

Good for bidness. Change the facts. Keep the conclusion. Drill-baby-Drill!
Last month, deep in a 500-page environmental impact statement, the Trump administration made a startling assumption: On its current course, the planet will warm a disastrous 7 degrees [Fahrenheit] by the end of this century.
A rise of 7 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 4 degrees Celsius, compared with preindustrial levels would be catastrophic, according to scientists.
But the administration did not offer this dire forecast, premised on the idea that the world will fail to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, as part of an argument to combat climate change. Just the opposite: The analysis assumes the planet’s fate is already sealed.
"The child already fell into the well, there is no longer any need to cover it."

Russia's Oceanic parallel to the Trans-Siberian Railway prepares for business.
A Danish-flagged cargo ship has successfully passed through the Russian Arctic, in a trial voyage showing that melting sea ice could potentially open a new trade route from Europe to east Asia...
The Northern Sea route could be a shorter journey for ships travelling from east Asia to Europe than the Northwest Passage over Canada because it will likely be free of ice sooner due to climate change.

S​teerage Passenger​

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Cyber Optics

Differing View,

Thierry Meyssan has a different take on the shoot down of the Russian surveillance plane in Latakia, 9/17/18. He sees it as part of a French/British/Israeli coordinated push to ramp up their colonialist war against the elected Syrian government. He presents that a British fighter, French missiles and Israeli fighters were all part of a coordinated attack to assassinate Syrian missile scientists. Russia chose to go along with the S-200 having shot down the Il-20, but Meyssan presents evidence against that mechanism, saying the S-200s are heat seeking, not radar guided, and would not prefer the propeller driven Il-20 to the Israeli jets.
In his read, the US military was not informed, just as the Russian military was mis-informed, clearly misled about the location of an attack, already underway. Meyssan likens this to the Suez Crisis, and gives further historical perspective, a century or more. At this point, Israel is scapegoated, while UK/France are secretly sanctioned, and not supported by the US, which is quietly seeing an alignment of interests with Moscow. The US deep-state has been cut-off from Anglo-French connections in this read. (I see the US deep-state as warring factions, now, myself.) Trump deals with mid-term elections and must keep a poker-face, not smiling at Russia, nor frowning at Israel, but militarily sitting-out this hand, which plays to his long term non-colonial-nationalist strategy. Worth considering. Thanks Eleni.

Moon of Alabama looks at how Rod Rosenstein is still Assistant Attorney General, after Trump failed to bite the bait and fire him, which would have opened Trump to more media attack going into November mid-term elections.

​Will the real wang-waggers Please Stand Up!
WASHINGTON — Senate Judiciary Committee staff interviewed two men who said they believed that they, and not US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, had "the encounter" with the woman who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers, according to new information released Wednesday night by committee Republicans.

Trump's UN Speech Transcript (Less carrot; more shtick. I can't watch or listen to any of these fellow-humans, myself.)
“America is governed by Americans,” he said to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday in one his highest-profile speeches of the year. “We reject the ideology of globalism and accept the doctrine of patriotism.”

I think Macron is setting France up for a huge fall. This declaration supporting the Paris Accords is meant to discourage the UK from doing a bunch of free-pollution-no-union-worker bilateral trade deals with China, India and the US. It looks to me like another factor presaging the collapse of the Euro in the next crisis.
Emmanuel Macron has announced France will no longer accept “commercial agreements” with countries that do not “respect” the Paris Climate Accord during a fiery speech at the United Nations General Assembly.
The French president called for the upholding of trade rules that “guarantee fair competition on equal footing” during his Tuesday speech, following a Monday afternoon meeting with Donald Trump and the US president’s speech on Monday morning. Mr Macron appeared defiant towards Mr Trump, suggesting he’d no longer negotiate trade deals with the US after its withdrawal from the climate agreement last year.

Just in case of a no-deal Brexit, the UK appoints a former Pepsi executive as Food-Supplies-Minister, a new position. (What could go wrong?)
Several major UK firms have warned of the risks from tougher border controls, including the retail chain Next. The short shelf life of food products, which could be rendered inedible by just a few hours’ delay, makes them particularly vulnerable.

UK farm EXPORTS could not go to the EU for 6 months after a no-deal Brexit, and only after tremendous hassle and expense.

EU "member"-colony, Greece has humans packed into horrific unregulated-prison conditions on Lesvos. 30% have attempted suicide at least once and 60% have considered it. 70-80 humans per latrine or shower, and feces flowing onto sleeping children."Loss of sovereignty" looks like this. Thanks Eleni.

Europe buys a lot of Russian gas on long term contracts, and Russian oil on shorter term basis, and the transactions are denominated in $US, which is the globalized, systematized, institutionalized, computerized-platform trade currency. For any two parties wishing to buy and sell oil or gas outside of the $US framework, conversions to dollar value must be done by both parties, and risk-hedging costs related to currency fluctuations, must be calculated and born by both parties. A new or non-standard electronic trading platform must be used, which has costs of availability and of uncertainty of reliability and security. These costs are high enough to prevent parties from creating and using alternative platforms, unless they are having some other high cost, like sanctions, to justify bearing this new cost. Russia, China, Iran, Turkey, North Korea, Venezuela, the EU and anybody trading with them are now bearing costs of the "weaponized dollar", so platforms are being created to trade outside the dollar, which is presented here in it's cost and complexity. Focus on EU/Russia energy trade.

Claudio Borio is a BIS (Bank for International Settlements, "central banker's central bank) economist, who predicted the 2008 financial crisis (gently observed mechanisms leading there) in 2006. He observes very similar financial structure now, and that nothing was fixed last time, and that the room-to-move with loosening up money has long been used. It was used to re-inflate bad debt assets, like the infamous Mortgage Backed Securities. Other zombie-asset classes followed, then the whole "everything bubble". All of this zombie-asset-puffing destroyed price-discovery, which is the vaunted principle of capitalist markets. There is no price discovery. That means nothing to most people, and doom to a few. In the next doomlike crash, price-discovery (bargains) will return. Also, governments will have to spend money into circulation, and that can take several forms. That money will need to provide jobs and wages. Trickle-down economics never worked, because the very rich invest to get richer. They don't buy Chevys and groceries. They do hire asset managers and other assistants. They favor bureaucracy, but that is mostly parasitic on real economy. Great Depression jobs programs, paying people to fix infrastructure, and remake it for future purposes, a government-employment economy, is envisioned. This has a lot of negatives if it is all directed from Washington, not locally. There is still no "value-discovery" in place. How can that be put in place, when everybody feels like it is free-money?

This hedge fund manager says the next crisis will come in 1​2​-24 months, but they are getting out of the bubble now. ​(​Huh?​ Oh, "buy from us, greater fool!")​
With Ray Dalio predicting that the US has about 2 years until the next recession, earlier today the head of hedge fund Citadel, Ken Griffin, echoed the Bridgewater founder and predicted that there are "at least 18-to-24 months left in the market rally", thanks to the "giant adrenaline shot" of the U.S. tax overhaul.
Speaking at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York Wednesday, Griffin said that "we are in this debt-fueled buying binge."  He said that the U.S. economy is “running hot now” thanks to President Trump’s actions: "The Trump policies, whether deregulation or tax reform, are certainly pushing corporate America to go, go, go," he said, citing low unemployment and meaningful wage growth.
That's the "good" news. The bad new: the artificial "binge" that will extend what is already the longest bull market of all time is "laying the seeds of the next financial crisis", said Griffin.
And what may come as a surprise to many, Griffin admitted that that he’s already managing his fund for the next economic downturn. "My position today is very much focused on managing the tail risks for that... we are late in the cycle, the animal spirits have been unleashed and when these correction occur they happen with very little notice", he said.

Watch this space:
Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) addresses these questions, but reality is what will really address them soon. (We will all need to build a new ecological economy to meet human and environmental needs much more efficiently. The top 10% will need to lose their assets and have "skin in the game". The top 0.01% will need to see pitchforks in their dreams, not billionaire-bunkers.)

LIVERPOOL, England — Jeremy Corbyn made continued membership of the EU’s customs union his price for backing any final Brexit agreement struck by Theresa May, as he set out an alternative negotiating strategy at the party’s annual conference in Liverpool Wednesday...
“Brexit is about the future of our country and our vital interests,” he told the packed auditorium in Liverpool. “I say this to her in all sincerity and helpfulness. If you deliver a deal that includes a customs union and no hard border in Ireland, if you protect jobs, people’s rights at work and environmental and consumer standards — then we will support that sensible deal. A deal that would be backed by most of businesses in world and trade unions.”
The offer is not new in substance — mirroring five of Labour’s long-trumpeted “six tests” — but is far more conciliatory in tone than the original demand that any Brexit deal must achieve “the exact same benefits” of both single market and customs union membership.
Corbyn said that if May could not negotiate continued customs union membership “you need to make way for a party that can and will.”​ ...
Corbyn reannounced plans for more child care, new taxes on the wealthy and a complete overhaul of Britain’s foreign policy. “No more reckless wars of intervention like Iraq or Libya,” he declared. The loudest cheers were saved for his announcement that he will recognize a Palestinian state as soon as Labour takes office.

​Oh, this scientific paper presents an important paradigm shift in the heredity-vs-environment debate!​ 
The structure of personality refers to the covariation among specific behavioral patterns in a population. Statistically derived models of personality---such as the Big Five or HEXACO models---usually assume that the covariance structure of personality characteristics is a human universal. Cross-cultural studies, however, have challenged this view, finding that less complex societies exhibit stronger covariation among behavioral characteristics, resulting in fewer derived personality factors. To explain these results, we propose the niche diversity hypothesis, which predicts that a greater diversity of social and ecological niches elicits a more diverse set of multivariate behavioral profiles, and hence lower trait covariance, at the population level. We formalize this hypothesis as a computational model in which individuals assort into niches, which influence their behavioral traits. We find that the model provides strong support for the niche diversity hypothesis and reproduces empirical results from recent cross-cultural studies. This work provides a general explanation for differences in personality structure between populations in both humans and other animals, and also produces several new empirical predictions. It also suggests a radical reimagining of personality trait research: instead of reifying statistical descriptions of manifest personality structures, research should focus more attention on modeling their underlying causes.

​Fitting In​

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Gated Community

New Neighbors,

Miami and New Orleans will be gone pretty soon, due to rising waters. Where will people go from these and other coastal areas, swamped by global warming? (Austin-San Antonio corridor looks like a big destination, according to the map provided.)

Oil will all get burned as soon and as fast as possible, then POOF!
World oil production will soar to new records over the next five years, as a dramatic expansion in demand from airlines offsets the arrival of electric cars, according to a report from O​PEC.
Most of the production increase will come from countries outside Opec, led by explosive growth from frackers in the United States, with China and India leading the increase in demand.

​Four Disastrous US Presidential Policies that Continue to Destroy the Nation (There are more...) Charles Hugh Smith:

Chinese re-education camps treat Islam as a mental illness. It takes a long time to cure, too. Folks may need to remain in treatment more than a year. (This is different from France ordering Marine LePen to undergo psychiatric testing, for posting video of horrors of Islamic terrorism. She's bound to be found sane, tried for posting it, convicted and sent to prison, like normal.)

Three Phases of Surveillance to Totalitarianism: It is Happening Now, Jeremiah Johnson. (Cool, just one more part to go!)

The Russian military has established a no-fly zone over the Latakia province of western Syria, Russian Senator and former Air Force commander Viktor Bondarev stated on Monday.
“The establishment of a no-fly zone over the Russian military base in Latakia will prevent a repeat of the IL-20 aircraft tragedy,” Bondarev told the Russian Federation’s Council this evening.
“After creating a no-fly zone in Latakia, it is necessary to announce that any unauthorized objects in the sky over Hmeimim Airport will definitely be eliminated,” he added.

​Russia, as I suggested would be the case, has already gotten some S-300 systems into Syria, and associated gear has been airlifted in​. 
No time was wasted after announcement of intent.

"When we listen to experts they say that when Russia says it “will deliver,” it most definitely means “it has already delivered,” and we have seen that in the statements issued by the Russian Ministry of Defense, when they said that the Syrian generals have already been trained to operate the S-300. So basically, the S-300 is there. The generals have already been trained to use them, so now, they will just start operating them. "

​Rod "the wire" Rosenstein will remain as Assistant Attorney General, overseeing investigation of Russian Collusion allegations against Trump campaign. (He'll be very good.)
The Wall Street Journal has confirmed something that many suspected all along: that last week's bombshell New York Times story detailing a purported coup attempt by Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, as well as subsequent reports that Rosie's firing/resignation was imminent, were planted to distract from the ongoing Kavanaugh confirmation saga - if only for a little while.

​Is globalism collapsing down to nationalism, "globally"? (Finian doesn't like Steve or Jim.)
Bannon was addressing a rightwing forum in Italy at the weekend in which he declared that he would be devoting “80 per cent” of his time to help anti-European Union parties win seats in the next European parliamentary elections due in May 2019.
Bannon said he was setting up a coordinating committee, called “The Movement”, in Brussels, from where his political project would direct “war rooms” across Europe to ensure that anti-EU and anti-immigrant parties would succeed in gaining up to a third of the total seats in the 27-nation member bloc’s parliamentary elections. In short, a declaration of political warfare. Unapologetic. Brazen. Arrogant.
The American ideologue and former Goldman Sachs banker, who is accused of inciting racism and neofascism in the US, has openly backed nationalist politicians in Europe, from the UK’s Nigel Farage to France’s Marine Le Pen, Hungary’s Victor Orban and Italy’s Matteo Salvini
Bannon is threatening to explicitly unravel the European Union which he views with contempt for what he calls is its “cultural Marxism”.
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/09/25/bannon-declares-war-rooms-win-european-elections-that-not-meddling.html

​(So if the EU will collapse before the US and NATO...)​ John Ward, "The Slog" has some insights on Brexit theatrics and who is revising Theresa May's script.
 Laughter followed by tears and fears in this post. In a small island off a small-minded continent, Little Englander pols are doing hysterical verbal somersaults in a bid to avoid being pigeon-holed as anything other than Brexmain in their outlook. But whatever her reasons were, May has put the European Commission on the back foot, and it is a joy to watch. Less amusing is the reason why she was allowed to do so: first because we don’t know what it was, and secondly because the 0.2% of usual suspects will have been behind it.

Ah, here's the ticket! With hard-Brexit, the UK can have excellent bilateral trade deals right away with the US, China and India. Environmental and labor protections will have to "harmonize" with the lowest common denominator agreed by those countries, to avoid regulatory slowdowns. Sign Here!

The Slog has been on a roll recently. I believe this is the best summation of the debt-enslavement and neo-colonialization of Greece that I have seen, and written in lovely, jabbing, whimsical and insightful English.
That is the real story of how the banking, globalist and political √©lites ground the Greek population into the dust. Because that is what the unelected √©lites have done, are still doing and will continue to do: enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else, and then blame the dysfunctional economies that result on taxes that “are too high”. Especially on them.

Charles Hugh Smith sees "The Lord's Right" in Feudal society, manifested as the wrist slaps for "date rape" compared to hard time for lower-class rapists.
Same song; different verse... Weinstein and Clinton sing along.
This implicit privilege to non-consensual sex was known as Droit du Seigneur(right of the lord) in feudal Europe. While scholars debate whether the right of lords to have their way with female subjects was institutionalized, it doesn't take much imagination to see the lack of recourse unmarried female serfs had if summoned to the lord's lair.
The "right" to non-consensual sex is simply one facet of class privilege in America. One need only examine the histories of Harvey Weinstein and Bill Clinton to see how Droit du Seigneur works in America: from the perverse perspective of the privileged, the female "owes" the "lord" sex as "payment" for his interest in her, or (even more offensively, if that's possible) the female is "fortunate" to have attracted the violent sexual gratification of the "lord."

Joseph Stiglitz and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talk social and economic justice. (She could do a lot worse than talking more to Joe Stiglitz.)

Index of countries with efficient and inefficient health care systems puts the US near the bottom (and dropping) with Hong Kong and Singapore up top, and Thailand rising fast.

It's a good thing they will get rid of the name "Monsanto" soon. Round-Up contributes indirectly to early bee death, based upon how much is used in the area the bees pollinate. Glyphosate – the most used pesticide ever – damages the good bacteria in honeybee guts, making them more prone to deadly infections

Maybe it is time to do the obvious and let team Bayer/Monsanto take some losses!
In a massive victory for independent science, it was announced Sunday that the U.S. Senate and Congress appropriations committees have deleted text from a controversial Bill, which would have cut all the U.S. funding to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), after they challenged the chemical industry by classifying the world’s most used herbicide, glyphosate, as a probable human carcinogen in 2015.

Worker Bee​

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Feeding The Machine

Carbon Footprints,

Gail Tverberg again presents, in a lecture to a naive audience. the complex relationships between energy costs, economic growth and recession, and wealth disparity. We live in a nested complex system, of solar energy input to our planet, with local resources like sun, water, soil, coal, oil, forests, human workers, mechanical workers, and financial capitalists. Financial capitalists are a mixed blessing economically, and worse for the environment. Systems grow until energy and raw materials cannot support the growth, or even sustain the level, and they die back to what can be sustained. One problem with the die-back is that what built the system to that level, like horse and wagon, no longer exists to support it.
Jobs move to where workers, energy and resources are cheaper. Pollution moves, too. Wars happen to stave off collapse in one place by causing it somewhere else and taking it's oil.

Revisiting the Limits to Growth After Peak Oil is a good scholarly article, without obfuscation. I wrote an email to one of the authors. Guess which one.

The powerful position in geopolitics is one of strictly controlling flow of energy from an area of cheap production, to advanced centers of manufacturing and population that produce "wealth" and are able to pay-dearly for it. 
Gas and oil pipelines are the biggest prize, but shipping routes are also important. 
Being able to choke a flow is also valuable. For instance, the US military can currently choke off any pipeline and any shipping route. 
That is an expensive capability to maintain. Once the flow of tribute stops, that capability will quickly disappear.
The US really wants to control the balance of power in the Mideast. Israel is the dominant Mideast power and is shifting alliances somewhat. The port of Haifa could ship Saudi oil to the Mediterranean if Saudi-Israeli relations allowed. China will manage that port, starting in 2021. 
That takes out the Strait of Hormuz as a choke-point, and ingratiates Israel with the rising power.
Israeli/US hegemony is currently fading away around Syria, as Russia prepares an air-exclusion zone to protect Russian military from air attack. 
Israli/US power-projection will be much weakened by S-300 missile defense, added to the existing short range shoot-down missile systems already in place.
The war in Syria, covertly started by U/Israeli/Saudi money, was partly to open the way for a Saudi-Qatari gas pipeline to Europe. Iran has a similar, competing plan. Both tap a massive gas-field, shared by Qatar and Iran. Turkey will benefit from either. Syria ultimately decides. Assad decided against the US/Saudi/Qatari pipeline before the war started. The US seeks to keep forces in Syria, to at least prevent the Iranian pipeline from going through. That does not serve Europe, Iran, Qatar, or Turkey. It does serve Israel, but Israel is diversifying alliances, as noted.
We can serve our individual purposes by growing vegetables, riding bikes for tasks, and coordinating with friends, neighbors and family.

Trump addressed the UN General Assembly. Here is the punchline:
"Today I stand before the United Nations General Assembly to share the extraordinary progress we've made. In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country," US President Trump said, while addressing the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly in New York. The president's boast prompted laughter from the audience.
Overall, Trump is taking a Nationalist stance, inviting others to do the same (except Iran), and seeking to step down from imperial domination of the middle east, massive military spending and force-projection. This is in accordance with historical trends. It is inevitable, but directly confronts current vested interests in the military-industrial-spook complex (vicious neighbors)

Europe prepares to bypass the $US as global reserve trade currency, as it arranges non-dollar SWIFT system (Very big deal!)
However, despite the diplomatic consequences, Europe was intent on creating some loophole to the US ability to weaponize the global currency of account at will, something observed most recently as part of Trump's latest sanctions on Iran, and as a result, late on Monday, the European Union said that it would establish a special payment channel to allow European and other companies to legally continue financial transactions with Iran while avoiding exposure to U.S. sanctions.

Walrus of Blood, Bolton, locks and loads.
All in all, it must be understood very clearly that the US not only refuses to accept defeat in the Syrian conflict, which it engineered some 7 years ago, but is determined to be the winner, and will use all power at its disposal to reach that desired goal. This means that the Washington expects Moscow not to stand in the way of the Pentagon’s action plan to degrade the Syrian government forces to a point where they stood in a priori history in mid-2015 before the Russian intervention.
Enter Israel. The US-Israeli congruence in the above project does not need elaboration, because a regime change in Syria and the potential dismemberment of that country could guarantee that Israel’s illegal occupation of the Golan Heights will never be challenged on the ground, leaving the Trump administration a free hand to accord international legitimacy to that occupation as part of any “Syrian settlement”...
The logical conclusion of the US-Israeli project lies in the removal of the Russian bases from Syrian territory. Neither the US nor Israel can countenance a military presence superior to Israel’s in the entire Middle East region. The actual Russian deployment to Syria may not be big, but Israel is very well aware that Russia has vast strategic depth, which it cannot hope to match.
The bottom line is that so long as Russia has a strategic presence in the Middle East, Israel cannot regain its military dominance in the region. And time doesn’t work in Israel’s favour, either. Iran is rising and Turkey remains unfriendly. The sooner things get done, the better for Israel – preferably while Trump remains in office.
Clearly, Bolton has thrown down the gauntlet. The tragic incident of September 17 cannot be viewed in isolation.

Here is more analysis of the complex working relationship between Russia and Israel.

This air-superiority story is currently contested by the US. If you look at the photograph from the Russian Su-35S, you will note that the jet exhaust is directly in the crosshairs of the heat-seeking-missile gunsights. 
That counts as a "kill" in mock-combat dogfights.
A Su-35S air-superiority fighter jet of Russia’s Aerospace Force has intercepted and visually identified the U.S. F-22 Raptor Raptor combat aircraft flying over Syria.
A photographs posted by unofficial Russia’s military pilot Instagram account on 24 September has confirmed an intercept of the U.S. F-22 Raptor Raptor combat aircraft by the Russian Su-35S fighter jet.

More collateral damage on social media: "Content Moderator" sues Facebook for PTSD:
"Every day, Facebook users post millions of videos, images, and livestreamed broadcasts of child sexual abuse, rape, torture, bestiality, beheadings, suicide, and murder," the lawsuit reads. "To maintain a sanitized platform, maximize its already vast profits, and cultivate its public image, Facebook relies on people like Ms. Scola – known as “content moderators” – to view those posts and remove any that violate the corporation’s terms of use."
"You’d go into work at 9 am every morning, turn on your computer and watch someone have their head cut off. Every day, every minute, that’s what you see. Heads being cut off," one content moderator recently told the Guardian.
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-09-24/facebook-sued-ptsd-stricken-moderator-over-rape-torture-bestiality-beheadings
Autonomous Widget

Monday, September 24, 2018

Russian Restraint

Seeking Justice,

The Russian Ministry of Defense has completed it's investigation, including high level Israeli delegation to Moscow on Yom Kippur, and finds that Israeli failure to keep her agreement led to the death of 15 Russian military personnel as a direct result. ("Accident" excuse is "accepted".)
A minute-by-minute account of the Il-20 downing shows Israel's culpability and either its military bosses' lack of appreciation of relations with Moscow, or their control of commanding officers, the Russian defense ministry said.
"We believe that the blame for the Russian Il-20 aircraft tragedy lies entirely with the Israeli Air Force," said spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov, before revealing a detailed account of events leading to the downing of the Russian Il-20 military aircraft on September 17. The plane was shot down by the Syrian air defense units as Israeli's F-16s effectively used it as a cover during the attack on its neighbor.
The report featured previously undisclosed radar data and details of communications between Russian and Israeli militaries, and concluded that "the military leadership of Israel either has no appreciation for the level of relations with Russia, or has no control over individual commands or commanding officers who understood that their actions would lead to tragedy."...

"This is an extremely ungrateful response to all that has been done by the Russian Federation for Israel and the Israeli people recently," Konashenkov said.

Russia will supply S-300 missile systems to Syria right away. This will exclude foreign aircraft from Syrian skies, and can easiiy take down intruders on the run after they attack, even in Israeli airspace.
“The situation has changed, and not due to our fault.”...
“In 2013 on a request from the Israeli side we suspended the delivery to Syria of the S-300 system, which was ready to be sent with its Syrian crews trained to use it,” the statement said.
The S-300 is a relatively modern system capable of engaging targets at the range of up to 250 km. Syria’s current anti-aircraft systems are older models that didn’t stop Israel from attacking targets on Syrian territory.
The Russian military will also supply better control systems to Syrian Air Defense Troops, “which are only supplied to the Russian Armed Forces,” defense chief Sergey Shoigu elaborated. This will allow integration of Syrian and Russian military assets, allowing the Syrian to have better targeting information. “The most important thing is that it will ensure identification of Russian aircraft by the Syrian air defense forces.” Potentially it would also expose Israeli aircraft tracked by Russian radar stations to Syrian fire.
The third measure announced by the Russian defense ministry is a blanket of electronic countermeasures over Syrian coastline, which would “suppress satellite navigation, onboard radar systems and communications of warplanes attacking targets on Syrian territory.” ...
Commenting on the development later in the day, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stressed that the Russian leadership made the decision to protect Russian aircraft in Syria from further friendly fire incidents and “is not directed against third nations.” (heh, heh, heh. You made your bed, now lie in it!)

Moon of Alabama:
The area where these electronic measures will be applied will certainly include most of Lebanon which air space Israel used several times to attack Syria. That and the upgrades of Syria's defenses will not be the only steps Russia will take. There will be additional political measure against Israel which are yet to be announced.
Israel knows that it can only do little against the Russian responses to its devious attack. That is why some of its lawmakers now ask for even greater U.S. involvement in Syria. The U.S. military will not be happy about that.

​Josh Bolton hopes Russia will reconsider S-300 sale to Syria".​ "It would be a significant escalation", quoth the walrus-of-blood.
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-09-24/russia-will-supply-advanced-s-300-anti-aircraft-system-syria-cites-downed-plane

Thanks Tom:  
President Trump has revealed what he considered to be the biggest mistake in American history in an interview with The Hill, pointing the finger at his Republican predecessor George W. Bush.
"The worst single mistake ever made in the history of our country: going into the Middle East, by President Bush," the President said. "Obama may have gotten [U.S.] soldiers out wrong, but going in is, to me, the biggest single mistake made in the history of our country."
Trump went on to claim that the US had spent a fortune on its military campaigns in the Middle East. "We spent $7 trillion in the Middle East. Now, if you wanna fix a window some place they say, 'oh gee, let's not do it.' Seven trillion, and millions of lives — you know, ‘cause I like to count both sides. Millions of lives," Donald Trump added.
"To me, it's the worst single mistake made in the history of our country. (The US) Civil War you can understand. Civil War, Civil War. That's different. For us to have gone into the Middle East, that was a bad day for this country, I will tell you."

It was the acts of 9/11/01 which provided the justification for that "biggest mistake in American history".
I received this link just before 9/11/18, and have been keeping it as a tab, reluctant to send it, but.... 
It proposes that the Russians leaked what they knew about 9/11 to Veterans Today, and this is it. American recycled artillery mini-nukes, W-54, were diverted to Israel, instead of being recycled, and put to multiple uses, as the Mossad saw fit, and business made profitable.

Here is the Veterans Today story from 2 years ago.

Bill sent this concise, graphic physical analysis of the nukes-in-the-basements theory of 9/11 twin tower collapse, which is a very helpful and physically plausible presentation.

Deputy Atty. General Rod "the wire" Rosenstein Resigns, quickly... The Deep State is loosening-up as the rats start ratting on each other.

"Brexit is All Theater", says Tom Luongo. Thanks Eleni (It looks like there will be November snap-elections in the UK. Theresa may must deeply long for release from the mess she has made. Who will be the assigned captain of the ship, headed for the melting iceberg of the EU? Icebergs get hurt, too, ya'know.

Charlie Chaplain 


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Rotten Fake News

Patching Reality Leaks,

Moon of Alabama: In consequence of the alleged manipulation of new and opinions during the 2016 election, Congress threatened to regulate social media. It demanded testimony by the owners of social media companies - Facebook, Twitter and Google - about their plans to weed out so called "fake news" distributed through their systems. Instead of defending the freedom of individuals and organizations to publish opinions deviating from the mainstream, the companies promised to increase their censorship capabilities. To avoid to make judgments themselves, they decided to outsource these to 'independent' fact checking organizations. Anything those deem "fake news" will then be censored.
Facebook Inc just gave such powers to two well known U.S. government regime change operators. These will now have the capabilities to censor content in foreign countries:
Facebook Inc on Wednesday said it would team with two U.S. non-profits to slow the global spread of misinformation that could influence elections,
...The largest social network, under intense pressure to combat propaganda, said it would work abroad with the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute, created in the 1980s and funded by the U.S. government to promote democratic processes.
The IRI and the NDI are sub-organizations of the infamous National Endowment for Democracy. They "promote democratic processes" to achieve regime change of governments the U.S. dislikes. The NED is an offshoot of the CIA:

PayPal bans Alex Jones, a financial blockade to choke of his still-somewhat-independent voice. He's not pro-empire, and hammered away at 9/11 lies by the Bush-II regime.
Will the PayPal ban hurt InfoWars? According to WaPo, "last month, roughly 1.15 million visitors logged onto Jones’s online storefront, Infowarsstore.com, Jonathan Albright, the Tow Center’s research director, told The Post’s Craig Timberg in a recent interview. Of those, more than 60 percent went to PayPal after visiting his digital shop, implying that Jones is effective at converting visitors into paying customers."

NEVER admitting lies and criminal actions is the MOST IMPORTANT thing for NATIONAL SECURITY!
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said in a Thursday interview that the information contained in the Russia documents withheld by the Department of Justice (DOJ) pose no risk to national security, and would be embarrassing to former CIA Director John Brennan, the DOJ and the FBI. "I’ve read it. Some of it’s embarrassing for the Department of Justice — some of it’s embarrassing for the FBI. Embarrassment is not a reason to classify something," said Gowdy. "A lot of it should be embarrassing to John Brennan, and maybe therein lies why he is so adamant that this information not be released."
Journalist Sara Carter told Sean Hannity during his Wednesday radio show that the FBI has two sets of records in the Russia investigation, and that "certain people above Peter Strzok and above Lisa Page" were aware of it - implicating former FBI Director James Comey and his #2, Andrew McCabe.

In a shocking report citing a bevy of anonymous DOJ officials, the NYT recounted on Friday an aborted mutiny attempt organized by Rosenstein, who allegedly tried to organize members of Trump's cabinet to invoke the 25th amendment to oust Trump from office. In an attempt to persuade the clearly reluctant members of Trump's cabinet, Rosenstein suggested that he or other officials should secretly tape Trump "to expose the chaos" he said was engulfing the West Wing.

​Jim Kunstler, "Ding Dong":
​ On the other flank of the news this week is the much more perilous showdown between the Department of Justice (and the FBI), and Mr. Trump, the cis-hetero-white Golem who happens to be president. He has ordered these agencies to produce a set of un-redacted documents pertaining to the long-running Russia investigation, set into motion by personnel at these very places. It’s his prerogative under the constitution to do that. In turn, these agencies are being egged on by possibly culpable characters in this melodrama, such as former CIA Director John Brennan and Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Cal), to stonewall the Golem. If I were president — and I may get there yet — I’d send federal marshals into Rod Rosenstein’s office to seize these documents before they are mysteriously “lost.” A tremendous tension hangs over this transaction. Imagine the awful possibility that Mr. Trump may have to declare some kind of martial law to roust out these seditious rascals and clean up their departments. There’s your Fourth Turning horror show with whipped cream and a cherry on top.
http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/ding-dong/

The negotiations with Pyongyang (on behalf of the Trump administration) are led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who is accused by the DPRK of carrying out “gangster like tactics”.
The Trump administration has no intention of reaching a peace agreement which would annul the Armistice Agreement of 1953. Under this agreement the US and the DPRK are still at war.
It is therefore essential for the DPRK and ROK within the framework of the inter-Korean dialogue to reach a bilateral agreement which would render the 1953 armistice (US, DPRK, China) null and void.
How to achieve this objective?
A workable ROK-DPRK Peace Agreement requires the prior annulment of OPCON (Operational Control) and the Repeal of the ROK-US Combined Forces Command (CFC) which puts all ROK military forces “in times of war” under the command of a U.S. General appointed by the Pentagon. This procedure is a preamble to the de facto repeal of the 1953 armistice.
In 2014, the government of  (impeached) President Park Geun-hye was pressured by Washington to extend the OPCON (Operational Control) agreement “until the mid-2020s”. As a result of a decision by an impeached president who violated her oath of office, all ROK forces were to remain under the command of a US General rather than under that of the command of the ROK President and Commander in Chief. At present the US has more than 600,000 active South Korean Forces under its command. (i.e. the Commander of United States Forces Korea, (USFK) is also Commander of the ROK-U.S. CFC).​..
​ We are dealing with a diabolical military agenda formulated in Washington: The US seeks under the Combined Forces Command to mobilize the forces of South Korea against the Korean Nation. If a war were to be carried out by the US, all ROK forces under US command would be used against the Korean people. The annulment of the CDC is therefore crucial. A prerequisite to the implementation of the April 27 agreement is that the ROK government of president Moon Jae-in have full jurisdiction over its armed forces.

The ultimate goal, says Bannon - is not just to force China to give up its "unfair trade practices," but to "re-industrialize America" since manufacturing used to be the core of the nation's power. Bannon also criticized the "Made in China 2025" plan for Beijing to catch up with the West in 10 key tech sectors - saying that Chinese firms were relying in generous government support to reduce future technological reliance on the West.
Bannon, who claimed to have helped Trump draw up the trade war plan, said that in the past, tariffs had been limited to imports of between roughly US$10 billion and US$30 billion but the sheer magnitude of the more than US$500 billion in question this time had “caught Beijing off guard”.
“It’s not just any tariff. It’s tariffs on a scale and depth that is previously inconceivable in US history,” Bannon said.
He said Beijing had relied on “round after round of talks” to take the momentum out of the US punitive measures, but the delaying tactics would not work.
“They always want to have a strategic dialogue to tap things along. They never envisioned that somebody would actually do this.”​...
"The elites and the media are trying to convince you that this inexpiable leaving of the factories and jobs is but a law of physics. The opposite is actually true – it is the human action which did it. It can be reversed and it will be reversed," he said, adding "[The] tariff is about human dignity and human pride ... Not everyone wants to work for an insurance company."

TEL AVIV – A new report from the Emirati news website Al-Khaleej Online has revealed that many of the mercenaries leading the assault against the Yemeni port city of Hodeida were trained in Israel by Israeli soldiers, shedding light on Israel’s covert role in the war in Yemen.
According to U.S. officials close to the House Intelligence Committee with knowledge of the operation, hundreds of mercenaries from various nationalities that fight on behalf of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Yemen had recently received “instance combat training” at training camps in the Negev desert that were created through a secret agreement was reached between the UAE and Israel. Mercenaries at the camp were trained under the “personal supervision” of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).​... ​While Israeli involvement in the war in Yemen has thus far been covert, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated last month that he would consider sending Israeli troops to Yemen to fight on behalf of the Saudi-led coalition if the Yemeni resistance gained control over the strategic Bab al-Mandab strait, which serves as a chokepoint on Saudi oil exports and other important Red Sea commerce.

According to the Center for Public Safety, two security experts from the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory drove to San Antonio, Texas, in March 2017 with a sensitive mission: to retrieve dangerous nuclear materials from a nonprofit research lab there and transport them safely back to their state without allowing the materials to fall into the wrong hands. The materials — plutonium and cesium — as well as equipment were stolen on that trip and have never been found. They were simply left unattended in a car! The incident was concealed from the public, but the information was obtained by the Center for Public Safety under the Freedom of Information Act. That source reports that this was just a part of a much larger quantity of plutonium that over the years has gone quietly missing from stockpiles owned by the US military.​ (Weapons and weapons grade plutonium and uranium have been diverted to Israel repeatedly since LBJ jump-started the process, the opposite of JFK's drive to undo Israeli nuclear weapons development.)
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/09/22/us-nuclear-safety-burning-problem-largely-kept-away-from-public-scrutiny.html

A little-known unit in the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is conducting a covert surveillance, espionage and blackmail campaign against American citizens on a large scale.  Not since the arrest of Jonathan Jay Pollard and the 1992 expose of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith's espionage against civil rights activists has the Israeli government been so actively involved in clandestine influence and espionage against American targets...
The existence and mission of the Ministry first came to prominence in a four-part documentary produced by Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based international news organization.  In 2016, Al Jazeera successfully infiltrated the American Zionist apparatus via James Anthony Kleinfeld, a British Jew who graduated from Oxford, spoke six languages and was well-versed in Middle East affairs.  Kleinfeld infiltrated The Israel Project and other pro-Israel US organizations to such an extent that the leadership welcomed him with open arms and let down their guard about their collusion with the Israeli government, in targeting pro-Palestine organizations and other Israel critics.Armed with a hidden video recorder, Kleinfeld obtained large amounts of material on the inner workings of TIP, AIPAC, the Israeli-American Council, the Maccabee Task Force and the Zionist Organization of America.  He got "straight from the horse's mouth" that the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies is a spy agency working as an unregistered agent of the Israeli government.  One TIP official confided to Kleinfeld that they had to be very careful, because they were "a different government working on foreign soil."
Earlier this year, Al Jazeera was scheduled to air four 50-minute documentary segments on Kleinfeld's findings.  But, Al Jazeera was required to first inform the organizations that were to be featured in the documentary about the pending airing of the series.  At that point, the full weight of the US Zionist apparatus along with the Israeli government came down on the Qatar government to press for censorship of the documentary.  Suddenly, the US Zionist lobby, which had allied with Saudi Arabia and the UAE in denouncing Qatar as a terrorist state, backing Hamas and other jihadist organizations, reversed positions and gave their support to Qatar.  The documentary has never aired.

​Censored documentary link and more about Israeli Facebook fake-news-to-influence-elections is here, thanks to Electronic Intifada.
And a posting in October 2016, soon after the Cup of Jane page was launched, attempted to portray Israeli militarism as cute and empowering for women.
“The Israeli Airforce has painted fighters pink in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. How cool is that?” the post states, accompanied by a photo of an Israeli fighter jet. “This is fierce. Women, by the way, need an air force all their own,” Cup of Jane adds, along with a smiley face.
​Tom sends this chilling article on the US bioweapons (super-disease) program in Georgia. Diplomatic "pouches" carry blood and infected blood around without searches. Some Filipino guys get sick and die, and covered up.​ 
According to these documents, Pentagon scientists have been deployed to the Republic of Georgia and have been given diplomatic immunity to research deadly diseases and biting insects at the Lugar Center – the Pentagon biolaboratory in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi.
This military facility is just one of the many Pentagon biolaboratories in 25 countries across the world. They 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​...
. “There is a smoke – black, red, green at night or especially early in the morning at around 3, 4 a.m. Even the hens have died. They put a big pipe underground and connected it to the drains. This smell comes from there. It smells like rotten eggs and decaying hay. The smell is so bad and is spread in different directions by the wind”, says Eteri Gogitidze who lives in a block of flats next to the laboratory.

​Examining the difference between guided-self-organizing-systems and master-planned grand-schemes lies in the integration of information into the process of creation at the local level, either doing or not doing stupid little things every step of the way.​ Intelligent/adaptive action at all levels works! 
The significance of generated structure lies in the concept of mistakes. Fabricated plans always have many mistakes — not just a few mistakes but tens of thousands, even millions of mistakes. It is the mistake-ridden character of the plans which marks them as fabricated — and that comes from the way they are actually generated, or made, in time. Generated plans have few mistakes
If an [human] embryo were built from a blueprint of a design, not generated by an adaptive process, there would inevitably be one thousand trillion mistakes. Because of its history as a generated structure, there are virtually none.

​Acting Locally​

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Castaways

Reunited,

"Leaders of the South and the North have in fact announced the end of the war on the Korean Peninsula by their agreements," the spokesperson said.Also, the agreement in military sphere was signed by South Korean Defense Minister, Song Young-moo, and North Korean Defense Minister of People's Armed Forces, No Kwang Chol in the presence of the two states' leaders.
According to the joint statement by the leaders, North Korea decided to fully dismantle its rocket testing field in Tonchkhan-ni and will let international observers visit the field.
The statement also said that North Korea was going to dismantle its nuclear reactor in Yonbyon within the framework of agreements with the United States.

​North Korea, bombed to rubble by the US, has struggled to gain a nuclear deterrent to reduce the risk of the US doing that next week, or in the spring, or whatever. North Korea will negotiate with the US to remove the nuclear reprisal threat, as the US removes the threat of sudden attack on North Korea. That will take more than "maximum pressure". That will take cooperation, signing a peace treaty, and removal of American military from Korea. Fair and reasonable...​

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea’s Kim Jong Un wants a second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump soon to hasten denuclearization, but a key goal is declaring an end this year to the 1950-53 Korean War, the South’s President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday.

I​t is now up to the US to back down the threats and sanctions, and start negotiating the end of America's wartime status in Korea. Finian Cunningham
This is not going to be a unilateral process in which the North gives up its nuclear arsenal without something major in return from Washington. Kim did not specify what US reciprocation would entail. But it is believed to involve security guarantees from the US in the form of a peace treaty to finally end the Korean War.
North Korea would also want a permanent end to the annual US military maneuvers with its South Korean ally, which Pyongyang has always viewed as a provocation to its security. Additionally, if the two Koreas normalize ties and begin a reunification process, then American forces – currently numbering some 28,000 troops – would be obliged to withdraw from South Korean territory.

Let me know how this works out, please. China can't accept this national insult.
It has been barely two weeks since China joined Russia in the "Vostok" war games, the largest display of Eurasian military might since 1981 when the Soviet Union was still a global superpower, and already the US has found an opening to try and drive a wedge between China and Russia, or at least express its displeasure with their increasingly close relationship.
Amid a simmering trade dispute between the US and China, the US has imposed sanctions on a branch of the Chinese military in retaliation for China's recent purchase of Russian combat aircraft and anti-air surface to air missiles.
The sanctions are more of a nuisance than anything else, blocking China's Equipment Development Department from participating in the dollar-based financial system and from doing business with US businesses, while also blocking the agency and its head, Li Shangfu, from applying for US export licenses.

Beijing has threatened that Washington will face “consequences” if it doesn’t withdraw the recent batch of sanctions against China over military cooperation with Russia.
China’s Foreign Ministry did not mince words, saying Washington should immediately correct its “mistakes” before it’s too late or face the consequences for the decision.
“We strongly call on the US to remedy the mistake and cancel the sanctions. Otherwise, the US has to bear the consequences,” spokesperson Geng Shuang said as cited by Chinese media.

​China cancels trade talks at last minute:​
Chinese officials have said such pressure tactics wouldn’t induce them to cooperate.
By declining to participate in the talks, the people said, Beijing is following up on its pledge to avoid negotiating under threat.
“Everything the U.S. does hasn’t given any impression of sincerity and goodwill,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a press briefing Friday.
“We hope that the U.S. side will take measures to correct its mistakes.”

Professor Michael Hudson:
Today’s financial malaise for pension funds, state and local budgets and underemployment is largely a result of the 2008 bailout, not the crash. What was saved was not only the banks – or more to the point, as Sheila Bair pointed out, their bondholders – but the financial overhead that continues to burden today’s economy.​..​
Trying to save the financial overgrowth of debt service by borrowing one’s way out of debt, or by monetary Quantitative Easing re-inflating real estate, stock and bond prices, enables the creditor One Percent to gain, not the indebted 99 Percent in the economy at large. Therefore, from the economy’s vantage point, instead of asking how the banks are to be saved “next time,” the question should be, how should we best let them go under – along with their stockholders, bondholders and uninsured depositors whose hubris imagined that their loans (other peoples’ debts) could go on rising without impoverishing society​...
An over-indebted economy cannot be saved unless the banks fail. That means writing down the financial claims by the One to Ten Percent – in other words, the net debts owed by the 99 to 90 Percent. Wiping out bad debts involves writing down the “bad savings” that are the counterpart to these debts on the asset side of the balance sheet. Otherwise the economy will suffer debt deflation and austerity.​..
Quantitative Easing saved creditors and the largest stockholders and bondholders by lowering the interest rates by enough to make it profitable for new loans to inflate asset prices on credit. This revived the value of collateral backing bank loans and bondholdings. “Saving” the economy in this way actually sacrificed it. That is why our “recovery” is only “on paper,” a result of calculating GDP to include bank earnings and hypothetical homeowner windfalls as rents are soaring.​..
What is celebrated as growth of the GDP since 2008 has been mainly the growth in financial extraction, along with the health-insurance sector profiting from Obamacare.​..
Banks have ceased to be an “engine of growth.” They are not making loans to create new means of production. They are lending to asset strippers, not asset creators.​..​

Charles Hugh Smith presents that data in graphic form We are nearing the edge of a "super-cycle" reset.

What happened to the Journalists? Where did they go? Pulitzer Prize winner, John Pilger (who is getting older...)
The death of Robert Parry earlier this year felt like a farewell to the age of the reporter. Parry was “a trailblazer for independent journalism”, wrote Seymour Hersh, with whom he shared much in common.
Hersh revealed the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and the secret bombing of Cambodia, Parry exposed Iran-Contra, a drugs and gun-running conspiracy that led to the White House. In 2016, they separately produced compelling evidence that the Assad government in Syria had not used chemical weapons. They were not forgiven.
Driven from the “mainstream”, Hersh must publish his work outside the United States. Parry set up his own independent news website Consortium News, where, in a final piece following a stroke, he referred to journalism’s veneration of “approved opinions” while “unapproved evidence is brushed aside or disparaged regardless of its quality.”
Although journalism was always a loose extension of establishment power, something has changed in recent years. Dissent tolerated when I joined a national newspaper in Britain in the 1960s has regressed to a metaphoric underground as liberal capitalism moves towards a form of corporate dictatorship. This is a seismic shift, with journalists policing the new “groupthink”, as Parry called it, dispensing its myths and distractions, pursuing its enemies.​..
Journalism students should study this to understand that the source of “fake news” is not only trollism, or the likes of Fox News, or Donald Trump, but a journalism self-anointed with a false respectability: a liberal journalism that claims to challenge corrupt state power but, in reality, courts and protects it, and colludes with it.​..
When he was U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus declared what he called “a war of perception… conducted continuously using the news media.” What really mattered was not the facts but the way the story played in the United States. The undeclared enemy was, as always, an informed and critical public at home.​..
 In the 1970s, I met Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler’s film-maker, whose propaganda mesmerized the German public.
She told me the “messages” of her films were dependent not on “orders from above”, but on the “submissive void” of an uninformed public.
“Did that include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie?” I asked.
“Everyone,” she said. “Propaganda always wins, if you allow it.”

Ilargi, at The Automatic Earth:
And that’s the thing all along, isn’t it? That people, both readers and journalists, all 200 million Americans of them, think they have acquired the right to judge any person, any situation they read a few lines about, just because they have purchased a smartphone. A faulty notion fed on a daily basis by the fact there are millions who think just like them.​..​
Meanwhile, there are two people (there are many more, of course) who were banned from the platforms so many others use to draw baseless conclusions and spout empty accusations. And we miss them both, or we should: Alex Jones and Julian Assange. Have they really used ‘social’ media in worse ways than those 200 million Americans? Or were they banned because millions of Americans were following and reading their non-mainstream views?

Teba Island, "Tebajima", Shikoku Japan, a "Slow Utopia". (no gas station, no under-65s) Thanks Jeanine; not a bad future, for those whose home it is.

Tebajima Guest House: $53/night  :-)
Gilligan