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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Financial Asphyxiation

Externalizing Losses,

Jim Hightower was Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, an elected office, from 1983 to 1991. He presents here, the past and current American history of choking farmers to death and suicide.
The current result of the average farm losing money for the past 5 years happens due to political and market arrangements, which give farmers no say in what they are paid for what they produce, but large financial firms, trading commodities, can rig prices every day. Seed and pesticide companies have ramped up their prices, and put farms out of business if they don't cooperate. US farm policy since Nixon/Kissinger/Earl Butz has been to "get big or get out", and to only support massive corporate players like Monsanto and Cargill. This puts all the farmers in the world at the "mercy" of these weaponized multinational corporations. Their interests are to dominate as part of the financial-capitalism-war-machine.
Thanks for the link, Ray. (God bless me, I've got the "black dirt" in Yoakum!)
In Democratic Promise, Larry Goodwyn’s definitive history of America’s 19th century Populist Movement, he describes the migration of hundreds of thousands of abjectly poor Southern farmers into Texas in the 1870s and ’80s. They were escaping the scurrilous “company-store” system of crop lending that predatory financiers had imposed on the rural South, trapping farmers in perpetual peonage. The people’s only way out of oppressive debt was literally to abandon their farms and flee the state. Family after family loaded their meager belongings onto horse-drawn wagons, nailed a “Gone to Texas” note to their cabin doors, and headed west, seeking land and some sort of positive future.  
But the rich blackland prairie of East Texas was out of their financial reach, so their caravans pushed into the sparsely populated west-central region, ending up on the thin dirt of the Edwards Plateau.  

How to Thrive in the Next Economy, John Thackara's preface to the upcoming Chinese Edition
​ ​A cultural disconnection between the man-made world and the biosphere lies behind the grave challenges we face today. We either don’t think about rivers, soils, and biodiversity at all – or we treat them as resources whose only purpose is to feed the economy. This ‘metabolic rift’ – between the living world, and the economic one – leaves us starved of meaning and purpose. We have to heal this damaging gap.  
​ ​This book is about the design of connections between places, communities, and nature. Drawing on a lifetime of travel in search of real-world alternatives that work, I describe the practical ways in which living economies thrive in myriad local contexts. When connected together, I argue, these projects tell a new ‘leave things better’ story of value, and therefore of growth. Growth, in this new story, means soils, biodiversity and watersheds getting healthier, and communities more resilient.  

​The chlorofluorocarbon-cheat emitters have been located!​
After much speculation, the whereabouts and magnitude of these harmful emissions has been confirmed in scientific research. As earlier reporting in The New York Times had already suggested, they seem to be coming from the northeast coast of mainland China...
 These violations are likely going unreported because even though CFC-11 is illegal, it is also one of the cheapest ways to produce new foam insulation in refrigerators and buildings.
After tracking down documents and international sources, journalists at The New York Times and independent investigators discovered that in some factories in China, illegal CFC use has been slipping through the cracks for years...
 Gathering atmospheric observations from locations in South Korea and Japan, the researchers compared global monitoring data and atmospheric chemical movements to figure out whether these emissions came from eastern Asia - the area most suspected as the source of CFC-11...
China currently produces about one-third of the world's polyurethane foam, and the emissions so far may only represent a fraction of what has already been manufactured. The rest of the CFC-11 may still be trapped inside a slowly-emitting foam bank, and the only way to know for sure is to find the ones responsible.  


​Internalizing Profits​

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Transparent Lies

​Aghast,​
Don't miss the important point that up to 3 "Putin apologists"​ donated to the presidential campaign of anti-war-soldier, Tulsi Gabbard (shudder...)
​...psst, Bernie Sanders loves commies, too...​
“This is how they control self-serving politicians whose only concern is their career,” Gabbard says. “Unfortunately for them, I am a soldier — not a career politician.”  
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/taibbi-tulsi-gabbard-bernie-sanders-trump-2020-838156/  

​Paul Craig Roberts:
​ ​Everyone who is aware of the US government’s extraordinary criminal actions at home and abroad bears a heavy weight.  The millions of peoples murdered, maimed, orphaned, widowed, and displaced by gratuitous American military aggression comprise a Holocaust of deaths based entirely on lies and false accusations in order to advance secret American and Israeli agendas.​..
​ This storyline converts the illegal brutal war crimes of the US government against women, children, defenseless citizens, schools, wedding parties, funerals, and farmers in their fields into glorious and brave defenses of our liberty and virtue. If you want the truth watch the video leaked by Manning of US troops enjoying themselves while from the air they machine-gun reporters and innocent civilians walking along a street and follow up by machine-gunning a father and his two young children, babies, who stopped to help the wounded bleeding in the street.  The leak of the video that showed the true picture of Washington’s wars is the reason Manning was tortured and imprisoned.  It is the person who told the truth, not the criminals who committed the murders, who was punished.

​Eleni sends this real journalism from Craig Murray, former UK Ambassador.
​ ​In Sweden, prosecutors have applied to the Swedish courts to issue a warrant for Julian’s arrest. There is a tremendous back story to that simple statement...
​ ​Assange’s initial appeal up to the UK Supreme Court was in large part based on the fact that the warrant did not come from a judge but from a prosecutor, and that was not a judicial authority. I have no doubt that, if any other person in the UK had been the accused, the British courts would not have accepted the warrant from a prosecutor. The incredible and open bias of the courts against Assange has been evident since day 1. My contention is borne out by the fact that, immediately after Assange lost his case against the warrant in the Supreme Court, the British government changed the law to specify that future warrants must be from a judge and not a prosecutor. That is just one of the incredible facts about the Assange case that the mainstream media has hidden from the general public...
 The law having been changed, this time the Swedes have to do it properly and actually go to a court to issue a warrant. That is what is now happening...
​ ​When it comes to Assange, he is simply to be reviled. He is provably treated differently by both state and MSM at all points. It does not matter to them that his arrest warrant was not from a judge, or that the media apply entirely different rules to investigating his case, enforced by a feminist mantra they do not believe or uphold in other cases. He is simply to be hated without question.
​ ​Why has there never been a documentary in the UK like the brilliant “Sex, Lies and Julian Assange” from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s flagship Four Corners programme? Please do watch if you have not done so already:  https://www.abc.net.au/4corners/sex-lies-and-julian-assange/4156420
​ ​Julian Assange revolutionised publishing by bringing the public direct access to massive amounts of raw material showing secrets the government wished to hide. By giving the public this direct access he cut out the filtering and mediating role of the journalistic and political classes.​..
  There is an interesting parallel with the reaction to the work of Reformation scholars in translating the Bible into vernacular languages and giving the populace direct access to its contents, without the mediating filters of the priestly class. Such developments will always provoke extraordinary venom from those whose position is threatened.​..

​ ​Ecuador has begun giving the US some of Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange's possessions left behind following his stay in its London embassy.
​ ​The country's foreign minister José Valencia authorised the seizure of equipment earlier this month.
​ ​The material includes manuscripts, legal papers, medical records and electronic equipment.
​ ​Mr Assange's lawyer said the move was "completely unprecedented in the history of asylum".
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-48335692   

​ ​I am writing you from Montpellier, France, where I am a participant-observer in the Yellow Vest movement, which is still going strong after six months, despite a dearth of information in the international media.
​ ​But why should you take the time to learn more about the Yellow Vests?  The answer is that France has for more than two centuries been the classic model for social innovation, and this unique, original social movement has enormous international significance. The Yellow Vests have already succeeded in shattering the capitalist myth of “representative democracy” in the age of neo-liberalism. Their uprising has unmasked the lies and violence of republican government, as well as the duplicity of representative institutions like political parties, bureaucratic unions and the mainstream media.
​ ​Moreover, the Yellow Vests represent the first time in history that a spontaneous, self-organized social movement has ever held out for half a year in spite of repression while retaining its autonomy, resisting cooptation, bureaucratization and sectarian splits. All the while, standing up to full-scale government repression and targeted propaganda, it poses a real, human alternative to the dehumanization of society under the rule of the capitalist “market.”

​Theresa May is still keeping the Brexit, which Britons voted for, impossible within the terms she has set. (Probably her job...)​
EU despairs at emptiness of May's latest Brexit offer
Brussels no longer interested in negotiating with May, says former official
Theresa May’s “bold offer” to MPs ahead of a final vote on the Brexit deal consisted of a series of platitudes and the restatement of negotiating objectives that have already been rejected, EU officials said in response to the prime minister’s appeal to the Commons.​..
 Hours before May’s speech, the Irish deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney had warned the cabinet in Dublin that a no-deal Brexit was more likely than ever before.

​EU Parliamentary elections begin 5/23/19 in the UK and will be completed in all EU member states on 5/26/19.

People everywhere have become completely dispossessed politically, with their votes failing to have any real power where the financial decisions about their lives are made. They want their countries back. That was the last arrangement, within which they were afforded any political say.
Have the nationalists of Europe caught the wave of the future?
Or will the future see the revival of the idea of One Europe, a political and economic union that inspired the dreamers of yesteryear?
From here it looks like Matteo, not Macron.

​Charles Hugh Smith:​
 The two dynamics transforming the economy--technology and financialization--are intertwined yet widely viewed as unrelated. Critics and proponents of each largely ignore the other dynamic: critics of institutionalized fraud and other manifestations of financialization implicitly assume the economy will return to some golden age if we get rid of financialization's skims and scams...
 In reality, both dynamics reinforce the disruptive effects of the other on non-elites. Financialization concentrates wealth and political power in the hands of those closest to the sources of cheap credit--central banks and private-sector banks. ..
 In effect, the negative network effect generated by America's pay-to-play political structure creates a winner take most economy in the tech sector that mirrors the the winner take most dynamic of financialization.
 Non-elites already live in a winner take most economy--a reflection of asymmetrical concentrations of wealth and power in tech and financial corporations. The commoditization of credit and institutionalized fraud such as corporate buybacks have served to strengthen the negative network effect that arise from the unholy alliance of Big Tech and the central state.

 Superficial financial analysis of the possibility of a Chinese ban on export of rare-earth metals, such as neodymium needed for Prius and Tesla motors, misses important strategic points. 
 Firstly, this process is vastly degrading to the environment where these are mined, then extracted via massive acid pits, to get just a little to sell overseas. China accepted environmental degradation that other countries rejected, and did it cheaply. Now the other countries are hooked. America used to mine this stuff, and could do so again, and it would take a minimum of 5 years, would cost a LOT more, and Trump's EPA would have to cancel some laws.
 Secondly, the world is hooked on the things made from rare-earths, all of which can be made in China, in fact, many versions already are. Why export a raw material, when you can export a finished product or twenty, with a near monopoly? That's better business.
​...​China watchers expected Beijing to respond to Trump's tariff hikes by blocking the exports of one or more rare-earths, although fast forwarding one year later this still hasn't happened. But that doesn't mean it won't happen, and overnight President Xi Jinping’s visit to a rare earths facility fueled speculation that the strategic materials will soon be weaponized in China’s tit-for-tat war the US.
​ ​As Bloomberg reported overnight, shares in JL MAG Rare-Earth surged by the daily limit on Monday after Xinhua said the Chinese president had stopped by the company in Jiangxi, a scripted move designed to telegraph what China could do next...
 ​Why does China have a clear advantage in this area? Simple: the U.S. relies on China, the dominant global supplier, for about 80% of its rare earths imports.
​ ​The visit “sends a warning signal to the U.S. that China may use rare earths as a retaliation measure as the trade war heats up,” said Pacific Securities analyst Yang Kunhe. That could include curbs on rare earth exports to the U.S., he said.

​Oh...
The U.S. Has a Fleet of 300 Electric Buses. China Has 421,000
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-15/in-shift-to-electric-bus-it-s-china-ahead-of-u-s-421-000-to-300  

​ ​Here we go again with a claim that seems to surface every Spring: the US says it is looking into allegations the Syrian government has used chemical weapons as it continues an offensive against jihadists in northwest Syria.
​ ​Just as in prior incidents, it appears the sole originator of the claim is al-Qaeda in Syria, currently battling it out with pro-Assad forces near Idlib. And like with prior chemical attack allegations, it comes at a moment the jihadists are fast losing ground in the area.​..
 However, ironically these new allegations have surfaced just after a leaked report produced by the international watchdog, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), paints a very different picturecontracting the US version of events on Douma last April 2018.

​ ​There's fresh hope that unrest in Donbass raging since 2014 could find resolution as Ukraine's new president, comedian and presidential impersonator turned overnight real political leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy, was just sworn in on Monday, and immediately he is dissolving parliament and urging peaceful settlement in the country's east.
​ ​The 41-year old Zelenskiy said in translated comments via The Moscow Times: “Our first task is to end the conflict in the Donbass.” With a clear mandate from Ukrainian voters who overwhelmingly want to see an easing of tensions with Russia, and the exit of oligarchs from power to halt mass political corruption, he announced during the inauguration ceremony from Kiev he wants to achieve a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, even if it means losing his post.

​Helen has this breaking/broken story:
​ ​It's almost as if Mossad agents have psychic powers. After exciting the bloodlust of the Trump regime’s hawk-in-chief John Bolton with an impossibly vague yet somehow “credible” tip that Iran (or its proxies) was plotting to attack US interests (or allies) somewhere in the Middle East, they have delivered the promised attack, right on time, with a “rocket strike” on Iraq that landed a mile outside the US embassy in Baghdad’s American-occupied Green Zone.
​ ​The plucky little rocket injured no one, and the launcher that fired it was immediately found in a canal in East Baghdad, which Israeli media breathlessly report is “home to Iran-backed Shiite militias.” "Non-emergency" US government personnel had already been safely bundled out of the Iraqi embassy by the State Department last Wednesday, supposedly due to an "imminent threat" from Iran, and even Exxon-Mobil interrupted its plunder of Iraq’s resources, pulling 30 engineers off a Basra oil field as a "temporary precautionary measure." But despite its apparent futility, the lonely rocket fulfills the deliberately broad criteria set forth by “Rapture Mike” Pompeo earlier this month when he warned that any attacks on “US interests or citizens” by “Iran or its proxies” would be met with a “swift and decisive” response.

​Later the same yesterday:
HAJJAH, YEMEN — Saudi Arabia has claimed that its air defenses shot down two ballistic missiles over the city of Taif, just 65 kilometers east of Mecca, in the early hours of Monday morning. Saudi officials claim that another missile was intercepted over the Haddah in western Saudi Arabia.
 Saudi newspaper Okaz reported that the missiles were intercepted as residents were breaking their day-long Ramadan fast. The paper claimed that the attempted attack was evidence that the Houthis had no regard for the safety and security of Muslim pilgrims visiting Mecca during the nights of Ramadan. The Houthis have unequivocally denied any involvement in the attacks.

Thanks for this link, Cat:
 For nearly two decades, one of the most overlooked and little known arrests​ ​made in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks was that of the so-called “High Fivers,” or the “Dancing Israelis.” However, new information released by the FBI on May 7 has brought fresh scrutiny to the possibility that the “Dancing Israelis,” at least two of whom were known Mossad operatives, had prior knowledge of the attacks on the World Trade Center.
​ ​Shortly after 8:46 a.m. on the day of the attacks, just minutes after the first plane struck the World Trade Center, five men — later revealed to be Israeli nationals — had positioned themselves in the parking lot of the Doric Apartment Complex in Union City, New Jersey, where they were seen taking pictures and filming the attacks while also celebrating the destruction of the towers and “high fiving” each other. At least one eyewitness interviewed by the FBI had seen the Israelis’ van in the parking lot as early as 8:00 a.m. that day, more than 40 minutes prior to the attack.​...
 The men — Sivan Kurzberg, Paul Kurzberg, Oded Ellner, Yaron Shimuel and Omar Marmari — were subsequently apprehended by law enforcement and claimed to be Israeli tourists on a “working holiday” in the United States where they were employed by a moving company, Urban Moving Systems. Upon his arrest, Sivan Kurzberg told the arresting officer, “We are Israeli; we are not your problem. Your problems are our problems, The Palestinians are the problem.”

​This is Helen's story for RT. She says all these chips are manufactured in Israel. Go figure...
​ ​Researchers have found another security flaw in the Intel processor chips that power most of the world’s computers, one that can compromise users’ private data – and that can’t be fixed without a major performance drop.
​ ​The exploit, dubbed ZombieLoad, is embedded in Intel’s processor chips themselves, meaning even the best-designed software patches can only go part of the way toward plugging the hole without reducing the chips’ performance. The vulnerability may allow attackers to ‘resurrect’ critical data processed by the chip – from browser history and passwords to disk encryption keys and other system-level sensitive data.
​ ​Its reach isn’t even limited to the end-user’s computer, according to researchers Michael Schwarz, Moritz Lipp, and Daniel Gruss from Graz University of Technology and Jo Van Bulck from KU Leuven: it “can also be exploited in the cloud.” 

F​inally, a well designed crossover study comparing a processed food diet, to an unprocessed food diet, then vice-versa with each group.
​ The team’s final results were striking. On the ultra-processed diet, the volunteers ate an average of 500 extra calories a day, gained body fat and about a pound of weight by the two-week mark; on the unprocessed diet, they lost body fat and dropped that same pound.
​ ​The results were published Thursday in Cell Metabolism.
​ ​While the findings may seem obvious on the surface, Hall said that it’s not clear why people overate on the ultra-processed diet. In recent years, many experts have gravitated to the simple, intuitive idea that since ultra-processed foods tend to be richer in fat, sugar, and salt, it’s these three nutrients that are largely to blame for the rise in weight, obesity, and metabolic disorders. But given the design of this study, that explanation seems to fall short.
​ ​“I was kind of suspecting that once you matched for these nutrients—for the fat, sugar, and salt—there wouldn’t be much difference, but I was wrong,” Hall said.

​Surprising Reality​

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Surprise

Unsuspecting,

​ ​A billionaire philanthropist and technology investor told the graduating class of Morehouse College that he would wipe out the student debt of the entire graduating class, estimated to be around $40 million, according to Time.
 Robert F. Smith, this year’s commencement speaker, made the announcement Sunday morning while addressing nearly 400 graduating seniors of the all-male historically black college in Atlanta. Smith is the Founder and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm that invests in software, data, and technology-driven companies.
​ ​"On behalf of the eight generations of my family that have been in this country, we’re gonna put a little fuel in your bus," said Smith, adding "This is my class, 2019. And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans." 
​ ​Stunned students looked around in disbelief upon the announcement, before breaking into wild applause. Morehouse said it is the single largest give to the university.
​ ​Smith - who received an honorary doctorate from Morehouse as part of the ceremony, had already announced a gift of $1.5 million to the college. He said he expected the graduates to "pay it forward," and said he hoped that "every class has the same opportunity going forward."
​ ​In the weeks before graduating from Morehouse on Sunday, 22-year-old finance major Aaron Mitchum drew up a spreadsheet to calculate how long it would take him to pay back his $200,000 in student loans — 25 years at half his monthly salary, per his calculations.
​ ​In an instant, that number vanished. Mitchum, sitting in the crowd, wept.


 Speaking to ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Gabbard said that deteriorating relationships with nuclear-armed countries such as Russia and China "has brought us to a very dangerous point," reports The Hill. She added that, if elected, she would "end these counterproductive and wasteful regime change wars," and would "work to end this new Cold War and nuclear arms race." 
On Friday, the Daily Beast published a story claiming that Gabbard "is quickly becoming the top candidate for Democrats who think the Russian leader is misunderstood," based on people who had donated to her campaign. (We somehow missed the Daily Beast article on Hillary's alleged Saudi donors in 2016, but we digress).
 On Sunday, Stephanopoulos asked Gabbard about the Beast article, and noted that she met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as well as her defense of Russia's military presence in Syria, and her comments suggesting that Russian election interference was on par with American election meddling around the world. 
​ ​"Is Putin a threat to national security?" he asked.
 ​"You now it's unfortunately you're citing that article, George, because it's a whole lot of fake news. What I'm focused on is what's in the best interest of the American people​.​ What's in the best interest of national security? Keeping American people safe," said Gabbard. "And what I'm pointing out consistently, time and time again, is our continued wasteful regime change wars have been counterproductive to the interests of the American people and the approach this administration has taken in essentially choosing conflict ... has been counterproductive to national security."

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-05-19/tulsi-gabbard-says-boost-putin-bots-fake-news  

​ Iraq has spent the better share of the last 16 years under US military occupation. Despite this, time and again US-Iraqi relations have come to be defined by US hostility toward neighboring Iran, and Iraq’s desire to not get mixed up in that.
​ ​So while Iraq’s parliament was already bristling under Pentagon talk of staying in Iraq, and Trump saying that the US was staying in Iraq to “keep an eye on Iran,” the recent escalation of US rhetoric about a war against Iran has sparked action within parliament.
​ ​It has been said for awhile that Iraq will be voting on a bill that would aim to expel all foreign troops from Iraqi soil, and singles out US troops in particular as needing to leave. The bill is endorsed by Iraq’s top two Shi’ite blocs, and is expected to pass fairly easily.

​Former UK Ambassador, Craig Murray:​
​ ​The massive economic shock following the banking collapse of 2007–8 is the direct cause of the crisis of confidence which is affecting almost all the institutions of western representative democracy. The banking collapse was not a natural event, like a tsunami. It was a direct result of man-made systems and artifices which permitted wealth to be generated and hoarded primarily through multiple financial transactions rather than by the actual production and sale of concrete goods, and which then disproportionately funnelled wealth to those engaged in the mechanics of the transactions.
​ ​It was a rotten system, bound to collapse. But unfortunately, it was a system in which the political elite were so financially bound that the consequences of collapse threatened their place in the social order. So collapse was prevented, by the use of the systems of government to effect the largest ever single event transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich in the course of human history. Politicians bailed out the bankers by using the bankers’ own systems, and even permitted the bankers to charge the public for administering their own bailout, and charge massive interest on the money they were giving to themselves. This method meant that the ordinary people did not immediately feel all the pain, but they certainly felt it over the following decade of austerity as the massive burden of public debt that had been loaded on the populace and simply handed to the bankers, crippled the public finances.
​ ​The mechanisms of state and corporate propaganda kicked in to ensure that the ordinary people were told that rather than having been robbed, they had been saved. In the ensuing decade the wealth disparity between rich and poor has ever widened, to the extent that this week the BBC announced the UK now has 151 billionaires, in a land where working people resort to foodbanks and millions of children are growing up in poverty.
​ ​With the mainstream media employed entirely in diverting them from the true causes of their difficult lives, it is hardly surprising that ordinary people do not necessarily understand why a society has arisen where working hard does not enable them to eat and stay warm, and why the economic prospects of their children look so bleak.


​A Brief History of Doom, Reviewed by Economista, Steve Keen
​ ​This brief book (196 pages, excluding endnotes) on the history and causes of financial crises usurps Kindleberger's Manias, Panics, and Crashes (Kindleberger 1978) and Mackay's Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (Mackay 1852) as the definitive work on this vital topic. It surpasses both these works for several reasons, not the least of which is the career and experience of the author.
​ ​Mackay was a journalist and gifted writer; Kindleberger, an economist with an impressive record in both public service and academia. Both of them observed financial manias and crashes from their respective professional perches, outside the financial system itself.
​ ​Vague is an ex-banker, whose fortune was carved in the financial crisis emanating from the bursting of the 1979 oil shock bubble, whose hands-on management established two of America's biggest consumer credit card companies (First USA, which he sold Bank One in 1997, and Juniper Financial, which he sold to Barclays PLC in 2004), and whose professional access to the voluminous data he saw on the explosion in mortgage debt - from $6 trillion in 2002 to $9 trillion in 2005 - led him to anticipate the Subprime Crisis and exit banking altogether. Vague has seen financial crises from the inside - and not merely survived but prospered.
​ ​In the hands of most Americans, this experience would lead to a "How to Get Rich" book. Vague's ambition with this book is very different: to make society richer by understanding what causes financial crises, and thereby preventing them in the first place.​..
​ ​The book concludes with a short chapter on the prospects for crises in the immediate future - unlikely for the USA, ameliorated for China by its uniquely powerful government (but if there is no credit crisis, there is and will still be massive overcapacity) - and a brief discussion of remedies. Vague is (pardon the pun Richard!) a bit vague here. Like me, he recommends that the aggregate level of private debt and the rate of growth of that debt - otherwise known as credit - should be made a key economic indicator, every bit as important as the unemployment rate or the rate of inflation:
​ ​The surest method to detect these dangers ... is to measure aggregate lending totals in the whole and by sector. Where loan growth is extraordinary in relation to GDP, it is almost certain that lending standards have been relaxed. It should then be a straightforward matter for regulators to intervene as needed. (p. 194)
​ ​He also notes that, from the historical record, the recommendation that countries with high private debt to GDP levels should grow their way out of it appears impossible:
​ ​Instead, private deleveraging in a given country has almost always occurred through one of three means: offsetting very high growth in public debt, which brings its own concerns; very high and sustained inflation, which is painful; or a very large net export position, which is hard to sustain without trade repercussions. Private debt deleveraging, absent any of these three things, reduces asset values and has a contracting impact on GDP, bringing duress. (p. 195)
 ​He recommends instead "a broader strategy of debt restructuring or forgiveness" (p. 195), but without going into details of how this might be done.


Is this from Helen Buyniski? I can't keep up.​
 ​Facebook has uncovered an extensive Israeli-run political influence campaign that has been ‘changing reality according to clients' wishes’ targeting elections in African, Latin America and Asian nations for years.
​ ​The social media platform has shut down 65 Facebook accounts, 161 pages, 23 groups, 12 events, and four Instagram accounts run out of Israel, citing its policy on “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”...
​ ​The fake accounts masqueraded as locals and local news outlets, pumping out glowing stories and smear jobs on candidates in local elections, including allegedly leaked information. The campaign primarily targeted Nigeria, Tunisia, Angola, Senegal, Togo, and Niger, though “some activity” focused on Southeast Asia and Latin America, according to a Facebook post by Nathaniel Gleicher, the company’s head of cybersecurity policy, on Thursday.
​ ​The Israelis had invested considerable time and money into the deception, dropping about $812,000 on ads over the past seven years in dollars, shekels, and Brazilian reals. This is compared to roughly $100,000 mainstream media claims was spent on ‘Russian bots’ to allegedly sway the 2016 US presidential election.
​ ​Facebook has been much less forthcoming about this particular campaign than some previous mass takedowns, perhaps because the culprits aren’t linked to Russia or Iran, while Facebook regularly cooperates with the Israeli government to have politically inconvenient accounts deleted.


​Fake Local​

Friday, May 17, 2019

Different Angles

Seeing the Forest,

​ ​There is a lot happening in the world all at once right now. The entire planet is rapidly reconfiguring itself. The world is begging for a new, post-capitalist, post-industrial order to be born, but the overabundance of natural resources that have made previous such revolutions possible (coal for the age of steam, oil for the current oil age) simply no longer exist. All that remains is optimizations, enhancements and reconfigurations of the existing order of things, cutting out that which is most harmful and most dysfunctional. To this end, Western European nations are attempting to reclaim the sovereignty they ceded to the United States and the European Union while Eurasia is coming together to form a massive economic and security conglomerate centered on China and Russia. Both are playing for time, because redirecting trade and financial flows away from the US is quite a process.
​ ​The world’s central banks are doing their best to get rid of their US dollar reserves and to buy gold, which, as of this April, they are allowed to consider a risk-free financial asset. Many people now expect gold to go up as a result, but that expectation is based on an illusion. Think of gold as a lighthouse and of fiat currencies as sinking ships: those aboard them may look around and decide that the lighthouse is going up, but that’s just an optical illusion. The purchasing power of fiat currencies is sure to fall (some more than others). The purchasing power of gold will seem to increase, but that will also be an illusion: it will appear to rise against the backdrop of crashing markets, in real estate and physical plant especially. But overall the purchasing power of gold will drop too, because the future purchasing power of any financial asset is determined by just one thing: energy, fossil fuel energy in particular, and energy from crude oil above all. Without energy, nothing within an economy moves, unless it is an agrarian economy based on fodder and animal muscle power.  


​ ​With Trump shutting down Huawei and China's entire telecom industry, it was only logical that China would at least try to retaliate, which it has done by formally breaching the US embargo on Iran oil exports. According to ship tracking data on Refinitiv Eikon (i.e. the old Reuters terminal), a tanker carrying Iranian fuel oil in violation of U.S. sanctions has unloaded the cargo into storage tanks near the Chinese city of Zhoushan.
​ ​A representative of the oil storage terminal confirmed that the tanker, Marshal Z, discharged nearly 130,000 tonnes of Iranian fuel oil; that marked the end of an odyssey for the cargo that began four months ago.
​ ​As Reuters reported on March 20, some Iranian fuel oil had managed to evade the United States’ sanctions on petroleum exports "by using ship-to-ship transfers involving four different ships, including the Marshal Z, and by using forged documents that masked the cargoes as originating from Iraq."
 ​Amusingly, a second representative from the terminal operator, Zhoushan Jinrun Petroleum Transfer Co, said the cargo could not be Iranian oil, "as the terminal had not received official shipments from Iran in at least the past four years. Both Jinrun representatives declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter." 


​ ​In the latest provocation against Tehran by the US, two Navy destroyers have entered the Persian Gulf as the American military continues to add to its assets in the region to head off any planned 'aggression', USNI reports.
​ ​The USS McFaul and USS Gonzalez traveled through the Strait of Hormuz Thursday afternoon without being challenged by IRGC forces in the are. They join the USS Abraham Lincoln, which is stationed in the Gulf of Oman, as well as a strike force that includes several B-52 bombers, as the US continues to build up its military presence in the region. Another Aircraft Carrier, the USS Kearsarge, is anchored off the coast of the UAE. 

 
​The Saker gives this tidbit:
​ Diplomatic sources – from Russia and Iran – confirm, off the record, there have been secret talks among the three pillars of Eurasian integration – Russia, China and Iran – about Chinese and Russian guarantees in the event the Trump administration’s drive to strangle Tehran to death takes an ominous turn.
 This is being discussed at the highest levels in Moscow and Beijing. The bottom line: Russia-China won’t allow Iran to be destroyed.
http://thesaker.is/what-putin-and-pompeo-did-not-talk-about/  

So if you poll ALL likely voters, Bernie Sanders is still in the ​Democratic ​lead. Does this remind you of last time, with Joe playing Hillary? 
CNN rigged a poll to censor out nearly everyone under 45 years of age. Based on this nonsensical false sampling they claim Biden is now in the lead.

​The actual, deep crimes, including the murder of leaker Seth Rich, and certainly deep state criminality, are already being investigated. The heat is on this crowd.​ The rats are scattering.
A dispute has erupted over whether former FBI Director James Comey or his CIA counterpart, John Brennan, promoted the unverified Steele dossier as the Obama-era intelligence community targeted the Trump campaign.  

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Something Completely Different

Waiting For It,

Farage and Gabbard, Lions of the Great Realignment, Tom Luongo
​ ​There is a realignment coming in electoral politics. It began with Ron Paul in 2008 and has been building for more than a decade. We know this story well.
​ ​That realignment will be about restoring not just national sovereignty but also personal autonomy in a world the rulers of which are desperate to clamp down their control over.​..

The original Brexit vote was that opportunity for the power elite to get it through their thick skulls that Britons didn’t want to go where the EU was headed.​..​
 ​Theresa May, Dominic Grieve and the rest of those in the Westminster bubble refused to accept that they no longer had control over the situation. ​ ​Theresa May like an autistic monkey keeps putting forth vote after vote to get her Withdrawal Treaty past a parliament that has no business still presiding over the country.​..​

​ Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump were the vessels for our deep dissatisfaction with the D.C. corruption. The realignment was staring us in the face in 2016.
​ ​The Davos Crowd haven’t gotten the message. And they won’t listen until we force them to.
​ ​Trump is compromised because of his vanity and his weakness. There is not much hope going into 2020 unless Tulsi Gabbard catches fire soon and begins taking out contenders one by one.


Short video of interview with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard stating she would pardon Snowden and Assange for doing what is right.
Tulsi clearly makes the point that the system needs to respect and protect conscientious whistle-blowers, like them and Chelsea Manning. 
Tulsi exhibits no hesitation, pushing to speak on this before questions finish...

In Europe, CJ Hopkins is worried about foreign interference in upcoming EU Parliamentary elections:
​ ​So, the election-meddling Putin-Nazi disinformationists are at it again! Oh yes, while Americans have been distracted by Russiagate, Obstructiongate, Redactiongate, or whatever it’s being called at this point, here in Europe, we are purportedly being bombarded with Russian “disinformation” aimed at fomenting confusion and chaos in advance of the upcoming EU elections, which are due to take place in less than two weeks.
​ ​The New York Times reports that an entire “constellation” of social media accounts “linked to Russia and far-right groups” is disseminating extremist “disinformation,” “encouraging discord,” and “amplifying distrust in the centrist parties that have governed for decades.” These accounts share some of the same “digital fingerprints,” and are engaging in “tactics” similar to the “tactics used in previous Russian attacks,” notably the Kremlin’s notorious mass-brainwashing of millions of defenseless African Americans with those deceptive anti-masturbation memes during the 2016 elections.

If this is true, what's there to worry about?
Majority of Europeans 'expect end of EU within 20 years'

Rob Hopkins advocates activating our imaginations. 
(Just pull the pin and THROW IT!)
If climate change is anything, it is a failure of the imagination, the ghastly final playing out of Margaret Thatcher’s assertion that ‘There Is No Alternative’. Of course there’s an alternative, and our survival depends upon our finding it and living it. So, living at a time where our imagination is constrained and unvalued in school, at university, in our work life, our home life, is a very dangerous situation. As author Leah Stella Stephens puts it, “Who has the time or space to hear the barely audible whispers from our long-neglected imaginations? Our imaginations are banished during the day, locked in our internal jails, only to fleetingly emerge at night, if we are lucky“. How might we reverse this, at scale, and with urgency?  

​Not really a lot of imagination is needed to go back to how things were before Margaret Thatcher gave the public treasure to rent seeking financial-capitalists.​
Labour to end energy consumer 'rip-off' and renationalise network
Jeremy Corbyn and Rebecca Long-Bailey will say heat and electricity are a human right

​Let's look at this closely. 
On the one hand, we have the theme of needing to transfer investment to renewable energy, or at least not-coal-oil-and-gas. 
Then there is a big disconnect. 
On the other hand we have projections for global economy and energy use, which are extrapolations of current economic trajectories.
There is no match.
There was big investment in oil until 2014-2014, when global economy went "THUD". That stopped.
There has been a rush to the sugar-high of shale oil in the US, pushed by government and Federal Reserve cheap money and strategic policy. Shale oil is a short term military weapon, which allows the energy-use trendline to extend a few years, but those "investments" won't get paid back. It allows the western empire some expensive oil and gas slack, to enable wars on oil producing countries. 
The longer these wars are delayed, the less possible they become​. 
I vote: Let's do nothing...

Finian Cunningham noticed the same thing yesterday as I did. Thanks Eleni.
​ ​After dramatic and patently scripted warnings of “Iranian aggression” by bellicose US officials, there then follows – conveniently enough – an alleged sabotage incident in the Persian Gulf region implicating Iran.
​ ​Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo poses with a straight face that his country doesn’t want war with Iran. His comments warp credulity given that American forces have suddenly escalated firepower in the Persian Gulf for the purpose of “responding” to alleged Iranian infractions.
​ ​Typically, Western news media are “reporting” (or rather, “echoing”) the purported sabotage incident as if it were fact, basing their source of information on Saudi and Emirati officials, sources which have a vested interest in creating a war pretext against Iran.

​And so on...
​ Saudi Arabia on Thursday blamed Iran for ordering an attack early this week on two Aramco pipeline booster stations, a strike that was intended as part of a broader sabotage campaign to disrupt world oil supplies, according to Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih.
 The drone attacks came one day after a string of attacks on two Saudi oil tankers and two other vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, and caused the temporary closure of a vital east-west pipeline traversing the kingdom, since reopened.
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-05-16/drone-attacks-aramco-pipeline-ordered-iran-says-saudi-arabia  

​Iran: In Preparation of the Battle Space, former UK Diplomat Allistar Crooke. More thanks, Eleni. 
(Same old subdivision map hasn't worked-out yet."Greater Jordan" mainly means "Greater Israel".)
Map ME revision

Moon of Alabama:
 The scare mongering about an attack on Iran continues. Bolton must be laughing his ass off how easy he can play the issue based on nothing. He simply counters any debunking of the alleged 'thread from Iran' by upping the ante. Yesterday a British general denied that any such threat exists in the area of his responsibility:
 “No – there’s been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria,” Maj. Gen. Christopher Ghika, deputy commander of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the coalition responsible for counter-terrorist operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, said in a video briefing, according to the Guardian.
 Today Bolton countered that by again raising the noise level around the imaginary threat:
 The U.S. Embassy in Iraq says the State Department has ordered all non-essential, non-emergency government staff to leave the country right away amid escalating tensions with Iran.
 The alert, published on the embassy's website on Wednesday, comes after Washington last week said it had detected new and urgent threats from Iran and its proxy forces in the region targeting Americans and American interests.
 Bolton is for now achieving the results he wants. He systematically fills the public space with talk about the non-existing 'threat from Iran'. If that threat is established in the public mind by its constant repetition, it will be used for the usual false flag incident to justify to launch a war on Iran.

So that British General spoke out of turn against the position that the "Iranian threat" had increased, and the Spanish navy pulled it's destroyer out of the USS Abraham Lincoln task force for "mission creep", and Germany and Czech Republic are pulling trainers/advisers out of Iraq for "rising tensions"? Does that leave a coalition-of-the-trapped to help out? Who's on-board?

Iraqi government announces it won't permit US forces to use Iraq to launch attacks on neighboring Iran. 
(Yeah, how do they think they can prevent it? Short memories?) 

Iraq announces agreement to purchase Russian S-400 antiaircraft missile defense systems (which is ridiculous because the US Air Force is there to defend Iraqi skies, right?)
​Still Waiting​

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Accurate History

Correcting Assumptions,

Thanks to Cat for this book review by Paul Craig Roberts about WW-II, Hitler's War, and also, Churchill's War. ("He who controls the past...")
​ ​Truth is seldom welcomed.  David Irving, without any doubt the best historian of the European part of World War II, learned at his great expense that challenging myths does not go unpunished.  Nevertheless, Irving persevered. If you want to escape from the lies about World War II that still direct our disastrous course, you only need to study two books by David Irving: Hitler’s War and the first volume of his Churchill biography, Churchill’s War: The Struggle for Power .
​ ​Irving is the historian who spent decades tracking down diaries, survivors, and demanding release of official documents. He is the historian who found the Rommel diary and Goebbles’ diaries, the historian who gained entry into the Soviet archives, and so on.  He is familiar with more actual facts about the second world war than the rest of the historians combined. The famous British military historian, Sir John Keegan, wrote in the Times Literary Supplement: “Two books stand out from the vast literature of the Second World War: Chester Wilmot’s The Struggle for Europe, published in 1952, and David Irving’s Hitler’s War...
​ ​World War II was initiated by the British and French declaration of war on Germany, not by a surprise blitzkrieg from Germany. The utter rout and collapse of the British and French armies was the result of Britain declaring a war for which Britain was unprepared to fight and of the foolish French trapped by a treaty with the British, who quickly deserted their French ally, leaving France at Germany’s mercy.
​ ​Germany’s mercy was substantial. Hitler left a large part of France and the French colonies unoccupied and secure from war under a semi-independent government under Petain...
​ ​Winston Churchill kept Hitler’s peace offers as secret as he could and succeeded in his efforts to block any peace.  Churchill wanted war, largely it appears, for his own glory.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt slyly encouraged Churchill in his war but without making any commitment in Britain’s behalf. Roosevelt knew that the war would achieve his own aim of bankrupting Britain and destroying the British Empire, and that the US dollar would inherit the powerful position from the British pound of being the world’s reserve currency. Once Churchill had trapped Britain in a war she could not win on her own, FDR began doling out bits of aid in exchange for extremely high prices—for example, 60 outdated and largely useless US destroyers for British naval bases in the Atlantic.  FDR delayed Lend-Lease until desperate Britain had turned over $22,000 million of British gold plus $42 million in gold Britain had in South Africa.  Then began the forced sell-off of British overseas investments...
​ ​Hitler forbade the bombing of civilian areas of British cities.  It was Churchill who initiated this war crime, later emulated by the Americans.  Churchill kept the British bombing of German civilians secret from the British people and worked to prevent Red Cross monitoring of air raids so no one would learn he was bombing civilian residential areas, not war production. The purpose of Churchill’s bombing—first incendiary bombs to set everything afire and then high explosives to prevent firefighters from controlling the blazes—was to provoke a German attack on London, which Churchill reckoned would bind the British people to him and create sympathy in the US for Britain that would help Churchill pull America into the war.  One British raid murdered 50,000 people in Hamburg, and a subsequent attack on Hamburg netted 40,000 civilian deaths...
​ The “death camps” were in fact work camps. Auschwitz, for example, today a Holocaust museum, was the site of Germany’s essential artificial rubber factory. Germany was desperate for a work force.  A significant percentage of German war production labor had been released to the Army to fill the holes in German lines on the Russian front. War production sites, such as Auschwitz, had as a work force refugees displaced from their homes by war, Jews to be deported after war’s end, and anyone else who could be forced into work. Germany desperately needed whatever work force it could get.
​ ​Every camp had crematoriums. Their purpose was not to exterminate populations but to dispose of deaths from the scourge of typhus, natural deaths, and other diseases. Refugees were from all over, and they brought diseases and germs with them.  The horrific photos of masses of skeleton-like dead bodies that are said to be evidence of organized extermination of Jews are in fact camp inmates who died from typhus and starvation in the last days of the war when Germany was disorganized and devoid of medicines and food for labor camps. The great noble Western victors themselves bombed the labor camps and contributed to the deaths of inmates...
​ ​In his Introduction to Hitler’s War Irving reports that despite the widespread sales of his book, the initial praise from accomplished historians and the fact that the book was required reading at military academies from Sandhurst to West Point, “I have had my home smashed into by thugs, my family terrorized, my name smeared, my printers [publishers] firebombed, and myself arrested and deported by tiny, democratic Austria—an illegal act, their courts decided, for which the ministerial culprits were punished; at the behest of disaffected academics and influential citizens [Zionists], in subsequent years, I was deported from Canada (in 1992), and refused entry to Australia, New Zealand, Italy, South Africa and other civilized countries around he world. Internationally affiliated groups circulated letters to librarians, pleading for this book to be taken off their shelves.”
​ ​So much for free thought and truth in the Western world.  Nothing is so little regarded in the West as free thought, free expression, and truth.  In the West explanations are controlled in order to advance the agendas of the ruling interest groups. As David Irving has learned, woe to anyone who gets in the way.


WASHINGTON — At a meeting of President Trump’s top national security aides last Thursday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented an updated military plan that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, administration officials said.
 The revisions were ordered by hard-liners led by John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser. They do not call for a land invasion of Iran, which would require vastly more troops, officials said.


 ​ ​Trump has denied a prior bombshell New York Times report which alleged the White House was planning to send up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East should conflict erupt between Iran and the United States. The president called the report "fake news" but still added that should war actually break out he would send “a hell of a lot more,” according to Reuters.
​ ​“I think it’s fake news, OK?” Trump said of the Times report published late Monday. “Now would I do that? Absolutely. But I have not planned for that. If we did that, we’d send a hell of a lot more troops than that.”


​Pepe Escobar writes:
​ ​The Trump administration unilaterally cheated on the 2015 multinational, UN-endorsed JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal. It has imposed an illegal, worldwide financial and energy blockade on all forms of trade with Iran — from oil and gas to exports of iron, steel, aluminum and copper. For all practical purposes, and in any geopolitical scenario, this is a declaration of war...
​ ​The most glaring reason for the irrational hatred is the fact the Islamic Republic is one of the very few nations on the planet consistently defying the hegemon — for four decades now.
​ ​The second reason is that Iran, just like Venezuela — and this is a combined war front — have committed the supreme anathema; trading on energy bypassing the petrodollar, the foundation stone of U.S. hegemony.
​ ​The third (invisible) reason is that to attack Iran is to disable emerging Eurasia integration, just like using NSA spying to ultimately put Brazil in the bag was an attack on Latin American integration.
https://consortiumnews.com/2019/05/13/iran-squeezed-between-imperial-psychos-and-european-cowards/ 

​Spain moves to avoid entrapment.​
​ ​Spain has ordered its military frigate, the Méndez Núñez, which has 215 sailors on board, out of a US coalition naval group en route to the Persian Gulf, citing "it will not enter into any other type of mission" in the Persian Gulf region, according to the Spanish Minister of Defense.
​ ​Minister of Defense Margarita Robles ordered the “temporary measure of withdrawal of the frigate Méndez Núñez (F-104) from the combat group of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln while it is in the Middle East,”sources from her office told the digital edition of El País.


 WASHINGTON (AP) — Authorities served an eviction notice Monday to activists who have stayed for more than a month inside the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington and asked them to leave immediately.
​ ​The activists have been inside the embassy because they consider Nicolas Maduro the legitimate president of Venezuela
[Duh, he is.]​ ​The U.S. and 50 other countries say Maduro’s reelection was fraudulent and have recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president.
​ ​Gustavo Tarre, Venezuela’s representative to the Organization of American States, told The Associated Press that after the eviction notice was served, three activists left the building. Four remained, Tarre said.

​ N​ow that the US is poised for another intervention, this time in Venezuela, the press is right there again to cheer it along.
​ ​Analyzing 76 total press articles of the “elite” press from January 15 to April 15, 2019, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) could find not one voice that opposed Trump’s regime plans in Venezuela. Meanwhile, 54 percent openly supported these plans.


Cuba launches widespread rationing amid economic crisis
Chicken, eggs, rice, beans, soap and other items to be sold in limited quantities as the US tightens trade embargo.

​Former UK Ambassador, Craig Murray, is fairly widely rumored to have been the conduit between Seth Rich and Julian Assange, who accepted and transferred the memory stick with the DNC email downloads (Clinton & Podesta)​. He does not deny his role, and has long volunteered to testify under oath.
​ ​Mueller gives no evidence whatsoever to back up his simple statement that Seth Rich was not the source of the DNC leak. He accuses Julian Assange of “dissembling” by referring to Seth Rich’s murder. It is an interesting fact that the US security services have shown precisely the same level of interest in examining Seth Rich’s computers that they have shown in examining the DNC servers. It is also interesting that this murder features in a report of historic consequences like that of Mueller, yet has had virtually no serious resource put into finding the killer.
​ ​Mueller’s condemnation of Julian Assange for allegedly exploiting the death of Seth Rich, would be infinitely more convincing if the official answer to the question “who murdered Seth Rich?” was not “who cares?”.

​Why Everyone in the US, Who Matters, Wants Julian Assange Dead:​
​ ​Below is a full video version of Collateral Murder, the 2007 war footage that was leaked in 2010 to Wikileaks by Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning. This version was posted to the Wikileaks YouTube channel with subtitles. It will only take about 15 minutes of your life to view it.  ​ ​It's brutal to watch, but I challenge you to do it anyway. It shows not just murder, but a special kind of murder — murder from the safety of the air, murder by men with heavy machine guns slowly circling their targets in helicopters like hunters with shotguns who walk the edges of a trout pond, shooting at will, waiting, walking, then shooting again, till all the fish are dead.
​ ​The film also shows war crimes that implicate the entire structure of the U.S. military, as everyone involved was acting under orders, seeking permission to fire, waiting, then getting it before once more blasting away. The publication of this video, plus all the Wikileaks publications that followed, comprise the whole reason everyone in the U.S. who matters, everyone with power, wants Julian Assange dead.
​ ​They also want him hated. Generating that hate is the process we're watching today.  
 
Democratic congresswoman and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard said that if elected president she would drop all charges against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.  

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Diplomatic Arts

Forcing The Issue,

This is a direct threat, aimed at the integrity of the head of the Chinese State, and going behind his back, negating his domestic propaganda. It can only be meant to make him refuse to deal with the US. Trump is weird, but not stupid. This is intentional.
Trump whacks the Chinese stock markets when he says this stuff on Chinese time, then says nice things when New York is trading. 
The algos respond. Markets go up and down.
President Trump used a late-night infomercial trick on China, warning in a pair of Saturday tweets that it would be "wise for them to act now" on a trade deal, as it "will become far worse for them if it has to be negotiated in my second term."  

​ ​“If they weren’t being seriously provoked, the Chinese people would not favor any trade war. However, once the country is strategically ​​coerced, nothing is unbearable for China in order to safeguard its sovereignty and dignity,” the Global Times said in the editorial. ​"​If the U.S. is to play a roller-coaster-style thriller game, it will bear the consequences.”
​ ​In an earlier editorial, the Global Times said the U.S. has made a fundamental misjudgment, that is, believing China is unilaterally benefiting from China-U.S. economic and trade relations.”
 ​"The U.S. has misunderstood the interests of both sides, and seriously underestimated China’s endurance," the Global Times warned.


After vowing over the weekend to "never surrender to external pressure", Beijing has defied President Trump's demands that it not resort to retaliatory tariffs and announced plans to slap new levies on $60 billion in US goods.  (Might dump some T-bills, too.)

​More details from the Great-Negotiator​'s leaked "Deal of the Century": Thanks Eleni.
​ ​In addition to the Trump administration’s apparent game plan to force Palestinian compliance with the so-called “Deal of the Century,” the plan also calls for the creation of a demilitarized state of “New Palestine” that would be incredibly small, as the document calls for the Israeli annexation of the entirety of the Jordan Valley (around 30 percent of the West Bank) and the annexation of all illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which now cover well over half of what international law maintains is Palestinian territory.
​ ​This “new” state would be showered in aid from several countries, including the Gulf monarchies, European nations and the United States, allegedly amounting to $30 billion over the next five years. Most of the funding, according to the plan, will come from oil-producing Gulf states like Saudi Arabia. It is unclear whether “New Palestine” would be considered a sovereign state and whether it would be allowed to apply for full membership in the United Nations.
​ ​While the plan would allow “New Palestine” access to Jerusalem as a shared, undivided capital with Israel, Palestinians would be responsible for paying the state of Israel for their security because it would be forbidden from having its own army. In other words, Palestinians would be forced to pay the Israel Defense Force (IDF), the military force that has occupied the West Bank for over 50 years, to “protect” them despite the fact the Palestinians are regularly extrajudicially murdered by IDF soldiers. However, the apparent “concession” offered by the Trump administration in this regard would be allowing the “New Palestine” to maintain a police force with “light weaponry.”

​Turkey is in the crosshairs of Kushner Plan for Greater Israel: Thanks for this and the next one, Eleni.

Washington has recently vowed to cut off both Iranian exports and any and all Syrian imports of crude by force. "Analysts have widely predicted that Iran will step up efforts to smuggle oil into Syria and neighboring Iraq as the U.S. makes it more difficult for Tehran to ship oil to its few remaining customers, including China, India and Turkey," the CNBC report found.
It appears Iran's latest Syria crude delivery was accomplished by "ghosting" - which involves tankers switching off their transponders.

​ ​The U.S. military and their allies from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) opened fire on a Syrian government ferry that was attempting to transport oil in the Euphrates River Valley.
​ ​According to the pro-SDF Deir Ezzor Media Center page on Facebook, the U.S. Coalition forces fired shots at the Syrian government ferry as it was traveling down the Euphrates River.
​ ​The U.S. has been preventing Syria from transporting oil from neighboring countries like Iraq because of the Trump administration’s ongoing sanctions against the government in Damascus.
​ ​Syria is experiencing a nationwide fuel crisis as a result of these sanctions; it has forced the government to ration of fuel to civilians in order to maintain their current supply.
 
Who potentially benefits from secretive attacks on 2 Saudi oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz? 
Just askin'... Nobody I know.

An American military team assessing blasts that damaged four commercial ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sunday has blamed Iran or Iranian-backed proxies using explosive charges, a source told Fox News on Monday evening.
Each ship had a 5-to-10-foot hole in it, near or just below the water line, a U.S. official told The Associated Press. A Norwegian-flagged vessel, two Saudi oil tankers and a bunkering tanker flagged in Sharjah, one of the UAE's seven emirates, all suffered similar damage Sunday.

I wonder if any of these are in the Persian Gulf.
​ ​The Dolphin 2-class are the largest submarines to have been built in Germany since World War II.[3] The Dolphin class boats are the most expensive single vehicles in the Israel Defense Forces.[5] The Dolphin-class replaced the aging Gal-class submarine, which had served in the Israeli navy since the late 1970s. Each Dolphin-class submarine is capable of carrying a combined total of up to 16 torpedoes and submarine-launched cruise missiles (SLCMs).[6] The cruise missiles have a range of at least 1,500 km (930 mi)[7] and are widely believed[8][9] to be equipped with a 200 kiloton nuclear warhead containing up to 6 kilograms (13 lb) of plutonium.[10][11] The latter, if true, would provide Israel with an offshore nuclear second strike capability  

​Behold the beauty of complete un-self-consciousness:
​ The United States would “of course” welcome the opportunity to negotiate with Tehran, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNBC on Saturday. However, a build-up of “deterrent forces” around Iran is necessary so that the US could respond if Iran “decided to come after an American interest – whether that be in Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Yemen, or any place in the Middle East.”
 He insisted that Washington has no interest in inflaming a new conflict in the region, but would still be prepared to act “in the event that the Iranians make a bad decision.”
 “We’re not going to miscalculate: Our aim is not war, our aim is a change in the behavior of the Iranian leadership,” Pompeo said.
https://www.rt.com/news/459134-pompeo-war-iran-sanctions/ 
 
​Dead Horse continues to request further beating...
​ ​Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido confirmed this weekend that his diplomats are seeking to open a direct line of communication with the US military, and would use them for “coordination” of possible military action to impose regime change.
​ ​Guaido said having direct lines of communication between him and the Pentagon would put more pressure on President Maduro to resign. Admiral Craif Faller, the head of South Command, says he “looks forward” to supporting the members of Venezuela’s military “who make the right decision,” which is to say backing the US-supported takeover by Guaido.  
 
What we are seeing is a full-spectrum collapse of the unipolar world and its gradual, but also inexorable, replacement with a multi-polar world in which things like “speaking with your adversaries or even enemies” becomes the norm rather than the exception. Even more importantly, this is a world in which US threats always fall on deaf ears simply because nobody takes the US seriously anymore. While the US military probably has the capability to re-invade Grenada or “bring democracy” to the inhabitants of the North Sentinel Island – no adults in the room will be impressed (least of all the Iranians!).
It is this quiet indifference which enrages the likes of Pompeo, Bolton or Trump – for all their narcissistic chest-thumping – they are, and will forever remain, the ultimate losers – folks who simply couldn’t get *anything* done. Even more terrifying is their sense of total impunity. If Obama was “democracy with a human face” then Trump is “democracy with a simian face” – not much better.

Steve Keen and some highly qualified friends got a grant to remodel neoclassical economic theory, which implies that the masters served by that theory are in decline, and/or see collapse of the current Ponzi scheme. They'll need for a better model for reconstruction after that.
​ ​Economic models today are generally divorced from the ecological impact of production and consumption. We will produce models in which the economy and the ecology are necessarily integrated via the dependence of the former on energy consumption, and the impact of that consumption on the latter.
Farage on Brexit. "The Only Way is Brexit", 
Brexit Party already leads Tories and Labor added together in EU Parliament election polls.

​Slipping Away​