Sunday, March 31, 2019

Different Arrangements

Changing Tables,

Middle East Entente; New Alliance begins to displace Gulf Cooperation Council
The first priority was to build Qatar’s new oil and gas pipelines to the Mediterranean via Iran-Iraq-Syria and also connect to the pipelines in Turkey. These pipelines would substitute for the originally planned “Sunni pipelines” which were to transverse Qatar-Saudi Arabia-Iraq-Syria and which had originally led to the Qata-ri support for the Syrian jihad. The new pipelines would move to the shores of the Mediterranean — mainly the Syrian port of Latakia — gas and oil from both Qatar and Iran. The pipelines would be followed by electricity lines and a fully integrated transportation infrastructure on a regional basis.
The long-term strategic infrastructure envisioned by “the Middle Eastern Entente” reflected the grand-strategic aspirations of Iran and Turkey.​..

Taken together, the transportation cooperation agreement between the three bloc members (Qatar, Iran, and Turkey), and the transportation agreement between Iran, Iraq, and Syria, provide for a road and rail-way system linking all these states. This makes Iran the lynchpin of the regional transportation networks, and, thus, a crucial purveyor of access for the PRC. Indeed, PRC senior officials consider Iran to be “a key pivot to China’s BRI in the region”. 

Joe Biden doesn't recall hair-sniffing or long kiss...
Describing the 2014 incident, the then-35-years-old Flores says she raced to a November 1 campaign rally with unwashed hair - spraying some "dry shampoo" in, only to have Biden creep up from behind and 'do his thing.'
As I was taking deep breaths and preparing myself to make my case to the crowd, I felt two hands on my shoulders. I froze. “Why is the vice-president of the United States touching me?”
I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified. I thought to myself, “I didn’t wash my hair today and the vice-president of the United States is smelling it. And also, what in the actual fuck? Why is the vice-president of the United States smelling my hair?” He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head.

Helen of DesTroy has this story: A freelance journalist has gone public about a bizarre intimidation attempt by a senior MSNBC editor who tried to "bully" him into keeping a story under wraps – on behalf of the Democratic National Committee, not the network. MSNBC politics managing editor Dafna Linzer tried to pressure Yashar Ali, a journalist who has written for the Huffington Post and New York Magazine, into holding back the release of the Democratic primary debate dates, Ali has claimed in a series of tweets. Linzer wasn't trying to beat him to the story, or calling on behalf of her own network at all – she was acting wholly on behalf of the DNC.
​"Over one million acres of US Farmland devastated by floods" will change things. This may be a pivotal event for American agricultural policy (or not).​

Where are the most pesticides and herbicides used in the US, and which ones? Maps of the Monsanto-Belt...

Once again, walking and being active daily, much of the time, not occasionally, is what our species bred itself for. 
To be healthy, be what you are...

Our son, Jim took a picture of me and Jenny in the Austin garden late Saturday afternoon.

Facilitating Life

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Narratives Breaking


Syria's UN Ambassador Bashar Jaafari offered a stark rebuke to the US-backed Israeli claim to the occupied Golan Heights at the UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday. Jaafari said the Trump administration does the bidding of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the UN to curry favor with the powerful Israeli lobby in the US.
In a remark that elicited a chuckle and a head-shake from his Israeli counterpart, Jaafari suggested that Washington bargain away land that is actually its to give.
​"​You can give them North and South Carolina, for example, why not? South Carolina is a great piece of land... So, give Israel a couple of states if this administration really wants to have Israeli support​."​
Trump's decision to back the Israeli claim to the Golan Heights comes just ahead of the Israeli general elections on April 6 and has been widely considered as an electoral boost for Netanyahu, who is facing charges of fraud, bribery and breach of trust at home.

The Trump administration should make good on its own promise to pull troops out of Syria before telling others where they should or shouldn't be, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in reply to Washington's threat over Venezuela.
"Before they have their say in the lawful interests of other nations, I would advise the US administration to fulfill the promises that it had given to the international community," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, referring to US President Donald Trump's pledge to get American troops out of Syria.

​Global financial elites: "Let them eat rubber bullets".
Macron outed himself as the very symbol of what animates the globalist elite he represents.
The disdain he holds for the people he leads is palpable. It’s as palpable for his disdain for the British who voted for Brexit.
To him the EU is all, the EU is inevitable and when faced with the choice of serving France or serving the EU, he chooses the EU every time.
That is what led him to this disastrous decision to deploy the French military to the streets for the first time since 1948 with orders to shoot protestors.

Parliament voted on 8 options, and voted all of them down. There is no decent option. That has been prevented by two and a half years of play acting by people who really need Brexit to fail, and better if Britain loses sovereignty as part of the "deal". Time is shorter thn it seems, since procedures must be followed, and they take set amounts of time. "Crash-Out-Brexit" happens, even if everybody votes against it.
Mrs Leadsom told the Commons: "The motion tabled will comply with the Speaker's ruling."
She added: "The only way we ensure we leave in good time on 22 May is by approving the withdrawal agreement by 23:00 GMT on 29 March."

Just get out...​
The most controversial "meme ban" part of new EU copyright law was voted through by MEPs by mistake, it has emerged.
This week, the European Parliament voted to pass the new copyright regulations, which critics claim could fundamentally alter how the internet works. And one vote on those specifics of those rules appears to have been decided on the basis of MEPs who approved them by accident...
But desp​i​te the fact that the voting records now show the corrected results, the original ones will still stand. There is no way for those MEPs to change the official vote, even though the records can be corrected.
The new EU copyright rules force technology companies to take responsibility for the content that is shared on their platforms. That has proven controversial among copyright activists, internet campaigners and the technology companies themselves – with Google suggesting that it might have to fundamentally alter its search results, and YouTube suggesting it could be forced to ban people within Europe from uploading videos at all.

​Paul Craig Roberts points out that identity politics is at the point of becoming race-war, to divide and conquer. Who benefits? Nobody I know...
The black actor, Justin Smollett, who staged and falsely reported to the Chicago police an attack on him by white supremacist Trump supporters wearing MAGA hats who allegedly put a rope around his neck, was arrested on 16 felony accounts carrying 48 years in prison for making a false report that no doubt stirred more hatred of white people and Trump among the black and always gullible liberal/progressive/left communities.
According to reports, Michelle Obama’s former chief of staff, Tina Tchen who is also a close friend with the wife of former Obama official and currently Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, intervened in behalf of Smollett with the Chicago prosecutor, Kim Foxx, who dropped all charges.
The Obama regime’s protection of a black criminal has enraged the Chicago Police who are demanding a federal investigation into Cook County’s top prosecutor for dismissing the case after being contacted by Michelle Obama’s aide.  The president of the Chicago police union sent a letter to the US Department of Justice (sic) demanding an investigation of what appears to be a corrupt Cook County state attorney named Kim Foxx, who used her influence to get charges dropped against Smollett who staged a fake attack on himself by Trump supporters.

President Trump says the FBI and Justice Department will investigate the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of 16 felony charges against Empire star Jussie Smollett, who Chicago PD accused of staging his own hate crime.
 Two Nigerian-born brothers caught on surveillance camera buying ski masks and red hats were ready to testify that Smollett paid them $3,500 to stage the January 29 attack, and that the 36-year-oldactor was behind a threating letter received a week prior.

Moon of Alabama
Judge Identifies CIA Related Man Who Led The Raid On North Korea's Embassy In Spain
A Spanish judge released new information about a raid on the embassy of North Korea in Spain. The leader of the raid was a shady U.S. 'activist' who earlier reports from Spain associated with the CIA.
On March 13 the Spanish newspaper El Pais Spain reported that Spanish authorities identified two CIA related persons who took part in a raid of the North Korean embassy in Madrid. The raid happened on February 22, a few days before the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi, and seemed designed to influence that event. We asked Who Ordered The CIA To Assault North Korea's Embassy In Spain? ...
De la Mata identified citizens of Mexico, the United States and South Korea as the main suspects being investigated on charges that include of causing injuries, making threats and burglary. He named Adrian Hong Chang, a Mexican citizen living in the United States, as the break-in’s leader.
Hong Chang flew to the U.S. on Feb. 23, got in touch with the FBI and offered to share material and videos with federal investigators, according to the court report.
While in Madrid, Hong Chang also applied for a new passport at the Mexican Embassy, the investigation found, and used the name “Oswaldo Trump” to register in the Uber ride-hailing app.
Others identified as part of the assailants’ group were Sam Ryu, from the U.S., and Woo Ran Lee, a South Korean citizen. Their whereabouts and their hometowns weren’t immediately known. None of the suspects were thought to be still in Spain, the judge wrote.

​Massive short attack on Turkish Lira wipes out 1/3 of Turkish foreign reserves overnight. 
If Turkey is excluded from the global dollar regime, what else might it possibly do?​
As a recession settles in over Turkey following a currency crash last summer and a selloff in local markets, the stakes are getting higher. Turkey relied on foreign capital to finance its credit-fueled growth in 2016-2017, a period when portfolio inflows averaged $1.3 billion a month and the current account sank deeper into deficit. Investors fled Turkish assets last year, and outflows continued for eight months straight before stabilizing.
This week, Turkey further roiled markets by preventing foreign banks from accessing the liras they need to close out their swap positions. That’s made it almost impossible for bankers to short the lira or exit carry trades, and forced the overnight lira rate up to about 1,000 percent from 23 percent.

A federal jury ruled that Monsanto was liable for a California man’s cancer and ordered the Roundup manufacturer to pay $80m in damages.
The ruling on Wednesday, which holds the company responsible for the cancer risks of its popular weedkiller, is the first of its kind in US federal court and a major blow to Monsanto and its parent company, Bayer. A spokesperson said Bayer would appeal.
pokesperson said Bayer would appeal.
The case has attracted international attention and raised new questions about the potential health hazards of Roundup. It also challenged the conduct of Monsanto, now owned by the German pharmaceutical company Bayer. The corporation is facing more than 9,000 similar lawsuits across the US that allege Roundup has caused cancer.  

​Burning fossil fuels is the economy we know. There is no alternative on tap. That is a popular delusion. Whether we (who have some choice) massively cut our use "voluntarily" or involuntarily when it is depleted will make a big difference. 
The current economy will collapse (again) before we are prompted to make such decisions. 
The Trump administration is doing all that it can to burn more fuel. It has taken the only politically viable option at this point. 
How long can it persist? 
The world burned more coal, the cheapest fuel, last year. 
Big short-term win for Western Capitalism...
Global energy experts released grim findings Monday, saying that not only are planet-warming carbon-dioxide emissions still increasing, but the world's growing thirst for energy has led to higher emissions from coal-fired power plants than ever before.  


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

River Of Change


At a high-level meeting in Rome this week, it seems that Russia reiterated a grave warning to the US – Moscow will not tolerate American military intervention to topple the Venezuelan government with whom it is allied...
 The encounter in Rome this week was described as “frank” and “serious” – which is diplomatic code for a blazing exchange. The timing comes at a high-stakes moment, after Venezuela having been thrown into chaos last week from civilian power blackouts that many observers, including the Kremlin, blame on American cyber sabotage. The power grid outage followed a failed attempt by Washington to stage a provocation with the Venezuelan military over humanitarian aid deliveries last month from neighboring Colombia...
After the Rome meeting, Ryabkov said bluntly: “We assume that Washington treats our priorities seriously, our approach and warnings.” 
One of those warnings delivered by Ryabkov is understood to have been that no American military intervention in Venezuela will be tolerated by Moscow.
For his part, Abrams sounded as if he had emerged from the meeting after having been given a severe reprimand. “No, we did not come to a meeting of minds, but I think the talks were positive in the sense that both sides emerged with a better understanding of the other’s views,” he told reporters.
“A better understanding of the other’s views,” means that the American side was given a red line to back off.

Russian specialists are in Venezuela as part of the 2001 military-technical cooperation deal with Caracas that doesn’t need further approval, Moscow said after reports of the arrival of two military planes with troops and cargo.
Russia develops its relations with Venezuela “in strict accordance with the Constitution of this country and in full respect of its legislation,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
The existing deal was ratified by both Russia and Venezuela, and it “doesn’t require any additional approval from the National Assembly of Venezuela,” 
she pointed out.

The United States has again put both Venezuela and Russia on notice, after days ago two military planes carrying a contingency of about 100 Russian troops led by a high ranking officer touched down in Caracas. National Security Adviser John Bolton warned that foreign military "meddling" in Latin America would not be tolerated, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Russia to "cease its unconstructive behavior"...
Monday's outage affected a little over half the nation, including parts of Caracas. Shortly after most of the country's electricity was restored, Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez made a televised statement saying the “fascist right” and their American “imperial masters” had attacked key transmission lines, impacting about 57% of Venezuela.  
 Rodriquez called out Pompeo, Bolton, as well as Republican Senator Marco Rubio specifically for orchestrating attacks on the Maduro government to cause a coup. He dubbed them “the trio of misfortune, perversity and criminality”.
Maduro's vice president questioned, “What was the objective of this new attack? It was to deprive Venezuela’s people of electricity as happened so terribly just two weeks ago.”

​We should do more than hope that nobody knocks out America's power grid...
In what would be a major about-face for the federal government, President Trump is reportedly preparing to sign an executive order to study the risks of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the US.
Despite the fact that a growing number of scientists and national security experts see an EMP attack on the US electricity grid as one of the greatest terror threats facing the country, the DoD decided in late 2017 to defund a Congressional committee that had been studying the EMP threat since 2001. The DoD terminated funding for the Commission to Assess the Threat to the US from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack in September 2017...
"Nuclear EMP attack is part of the military doctrines, plans, and exercises of Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran for a revolutionary new way of warfare against military forces and civilian critical infrastructures by cyber, sabotage, and EMP," the report continues.
"The Commission sees the high-altitude nuclear explosion-generated electromagnetic pulse as an existential threat to the survival of the United States and its allies that can be exploited by major nuclear powers and small-scale nuclear weapon powers, including North Korea and non-state actors, such as nuclear-armed terrorists."...
EMP attacks do not require accuracy, nor do the bombs require a re-entry vehicle, heat shield or shock absorbers like standard nuclear weapons, and they can be delivered through several methods - including satellites, short - medium - long range missiles, or even from a jet, commercial airliner or a meteorological balloon.

​I wonder whose interests might be served by a rocket flying out of Gaza to hit a house near Tel Aviv, just before Israeli elections, with Bib in a win-or-go-to-prison situation. Really, I wonder...​
An early morning rocket, allegedly fired from the Gaza Strip, struck a home in central Israel on Monday, wounding seven people and prompting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cut short a trip to Washington...
  An Israeli military spokesperson said the rocket attack was carried out by Hamas, adding that the army was set to deploy two brigades and infantry units to the southern Gaza area. It also called up reserves after the rocket attack...
Later on Monday, a Hamas official denied to AFP news agency that the movement was behind the attack.
"No one from the resistance movements, including Hamas, has an interest in firing rockets from the Gaza Strip towards the enemy," the official said on condition of anonymity.

"​A friend in need..."
In a brief proclamation, witnessed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump declared that
“the United States recognizes that the Golan Heights are part of the State of Israel.”

He argued that Israel’s illegal seizure of the Golan Heights in 1967, its unilateral annexation of the territory 14 years later and its continued assertion of control along with the aggressive buildup of Jewish settlements and Israeli capitalist exploitation in the territory were all justified by “Israel’s need to protect itself from Syria and other regional threats,” including Iran.​..
The present election cycle has seen Netanyahu ally himself with the fascist Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party, which is an offshoot of the Kach Party of Meir Kahane, which was defined by the US State Department as a terrorist organization. Together with the religious Zionists of the Jewish Home party, Netanyahu’s coalition stands for the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population from Israel and the occupied territories in pursuit of the goal of a “Greater Israel,” an imperialist and colonialist project that is bound up with the subjugation of the Middle East to US imperialist interests and the preparation for war with Iran.

​Helen of DesTroy via RT points out the simple elegance of the Trump/Kushner Mideast Peace Plan...
It has become clear that US President Donald Trump, despite his vaunted prowess as the Dealmaker-in-Chief, isn't interested in brokering peace between Israel and Palestine. His Middle East peace has no room for Palestine at all.​..
Trump claims the deal will be revealed in all its glory after the Israeli election in two weeks, when Netanyahu is presumably reelected​...
Bezalel Smotrich, deputy speaker of the Knesset, knows a giving mood when he sees one and has matter-of-factly asked Trump to recognize over half a century of illegal West Bank settlements by handing over the whole territory.​..
 Trump's primary financial backer, casino magnate and IDF fan-boy Sheldon Adelson, is one of the main funders of West Bank settlements​.​..
Netanyahu applauded the financial coups de grace, calling the millions of Palestinians descended from those who were evicted from their land during the 1948 Nakba "fictitious refugees." Kushner himself has called for two million Palestinian refugees living in Jordan to be delisted as "refugees."  

US Vice President Mike Pence has slammed the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates that ditched the pro-Israel policy conference.
The pro-Israel top Republican slammed the multiple Democrats who skipped the annual conference of American Israel Public Affairs Committee that opened Sunday.
"Let me be clear on this point, anyone who aspires to the highest office in the land should not be afraid to stand with the strongest supporters of Israel in America," said the former Indiana governor. "It is wrong to boycott Israel and it is wrong to boycott AIPAC."

​North Koreans are starving under US imposed sanctions. Security Advisor, Joshua Bolton announcing more sanctions, after North Korean goodwill demonstrations last year, resulted in North Korea closing it's communication channel with South Korea. 
South Korean President Moon called President Trump for some quick help, and Trump announced a rolling back of some of the starvation, which appears to be getting countered by Team Bolton, because there can never be too much starvation and war...​

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron said in a newspaper interview Monday he hoped a 73-year-old yellow vest protester who suffered serious head injuries after being charged by police in Nice gains “wisdom” over the incident.
Anti-globalization activist Genevieve Legay remained hospitalized after riot police carrying shields suddenly pushed toward people defying a protest ban Saturday.
An Associated Press reporter saw Legay, who was waving a rainbow flag marked “Peace” and holding a yellow vest, fall to the pavement as blood spilled from her head.
In an interview published in Nice Matin on Monday, Macron suggested Legay didn’t behave “responsibly,” saying that “fragile” people shouldn’t attend “places that are defined as prohibited.”

​You can see in the video that Genevieve was righteously brave, holding her rainbow peace flag high and chanting for liberty as police closed in around her​. Then we see her lying still in a pool of blood around her head. (The police appear to be under orders to inflict pain for any justification.)
According to her daughter, cited by AFP, she suffered from several fractures of the skull and petrosal bone (inner ear). “She has to stay another 48 hours under surveillance. She is conscious, under morphine infusion, because she has severe headaches,” she said, adding that the doctors were “very, very scared” for her. The activist told her daughter, who she did not recognise at first, what happened: “I remember that a policeman charged at me and afterwards I do not remember anything”.​..​ 
The Yellow Vests started to leave Sacré Cœur and march South. What followed was an unsanctioned march that for sure was spontaneously decided on. After 15 minutes of marching the column was suddenly blocked off by the regime and then gassed. This caused a tense standoff with “revolution” being chanted en masse by the “Yellow Vests”. After about 15 minutes the Yellow Vests decided to turn around, since their path was blocked, and head the other way. But sadly this direction was also blocked off by the police. It is at this moment that the chaos began.
The Yellow Vests would spend the next 30 minutes being pursued by the police down street after street. Law enforcement on motorbikes soon caught up with everyone, including me, and started to detain the Yellow Vest wearers (not me, fortunately) who they were able to catch. I escaped with only a burst of CS gas in my face, which immobilised me for at least 5 minutes.

Of course, in many respects there is a chess game ongoing here. Macron thought that by sealing off the Champs-Elysees he would prevent the Yellow Vests from repeating what they did on March 16th – firing a proverbial, and in many respects literal, missile up his ass. But in reality, by doing this he drove himself into a corner, since now the Yellow Vests (and their partisan allies) will try to reclaim it, either by force or by outmanoeuvring the regime with asymmetrical actions.
The next 3 weeks are critical – on the 30th there will be a demonstration against home evictions in Paris, which I will attend, on the following Saturday it is planned to gather in Toulouse, on the 13th of April it is planned to all gather in Bordeaux, and on April 20th the next Yellow Vests barrage of artillery is planned for Paris. Unless Macron has a lobotomy and starts implementing fully-fledged “democracy” before this day, we can only brace ourselves. I know that the “Black Blocks” are preparing a new strategy against “Manu” as I type.​..
Despite the heavy artillery out of the government, there were more Yellow Vests on the street yesterday than in Act 18. The picture is strong and clearly indicates that Macron attempted poker move hasn’t worked. And it will not work.​..
A torrent of hope and revolt cannot be stopped by police blocks. It impedes it, but it does not stop it. The government must now deal with a part of its population that has risen and will not lie down soon.

It was meant to be a routine visit by a journalist to another journalist. Instead, I found myself locked in a cold, surveilled room for over an hour by Ecuadorian officials, as a furious argument raged between the country’s ambassador and Julian Assange on Monday.
The room was inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where 2019 Nobel Peace Prize nominee Julian Assange currently lives under the ostensible protection of political asylum. Yet the WikiLeaks publisher was barred from entering the room, where he was supposed to join me for a pre-approved meeting, because he refused to submit to a full-body search and continuous surveillance.

​What is the Brexit decision-tree which parliamentarians face? 
It appears to guide them in a series of lesser-evil steps to something that is not "Sovereign Brexit".​

John Ward, The Slog, has this out this morning.
To the surprise of many, the Letwin amendment reviving Theresa May’s Magnificent Seven options passed the House of Commons last night. This means that tomorrow (Wednesday) MPs will vote on them to give “an indication” of what they can support as a group. It also, effectively, should​ ​render May’s Withdrawal Agreement “plan” dead, but don’t bank on it: I only hope somebody somewhere has a good supply of silver bullets and sharp stakes.
As I posted last week, the seven options are a liar’s card trick designed to create Brino – Brexit in Name Only. Only ‘No Deal Leave on April 12th’ and ‘Tariff-free trade deal’ would deliver clean Brexit…and the latter wouldn’t solve the backstop problem….

​Whitewater Rafting​

Monday, March 25, 2019

Not The News

Ready For A Break,

This past weekend we had a garden party at our "new" house in Yoakum. Pictured below are myself, my wife, Jenny, and our old friend, Dan, who almost got killed last year in a car accident. Dan does what he can, walks more than one would expect, and is getting back to gardening and using his chainsaw again.
Since Yoakum is about a 2 hour drive from Austin, some folks stayed Friday night and some Saturday night. 
Dan made a huge and awesome peach cobbler with Fredericksburg peaches he pitted and froze last summer. I cooked fresh kale from my Austin garden, and black eyed peas saved from last year's garden. Folks brought dishes they prepared, fresh bread, fresh fruit, themselves, their ideas and their curiosity.
We sat and talked on the grass, inspected the garden and fruit trees, took a long walk around our edge of Yoakum, which we share with cattle, goats, plenty of dogs and a few horses. 
Later we went to the HEB grocery on a fact finding mission. It has goat's milk and 10 kinds of soy sauce. Pretty well rounded store...
We feel fortunate to have found this nice town, on the Guadalupe River, with good soil and very nice weather.
I believe that we have an opportunity now to find places which will make the energy descent transition better. Yoakum has a few light freezes in the winter, good soil for growing vegetables year round, July lows at night average 71 degrees and August lows average 73 degrees. 
That's pretty tolerable for humans and for tomatoes. One suggestion at the gathering was that tomatoes are a pretty good marker for environments hospitable to humans. I hadn't thought of it exactly like that, but it's sure true.
Yoakum is right sized for bike errands, too, I notice.
We are down there at least one day on weekends, and I have been taking Mondays off to get work done. I got most of the planting finished today. Just black eyed peas left to go, now...
Over the winter we have gotten a lot of tree pruning done, felled 3 large ans sick Chinese Tallow trees, planted 14 fruit trees, and have deeply prepared what has now become the vegetable garden. Sunday afternoon, Dan rode with me to Devine Avocados, where we spent over an hour with Bill Schneider, the wise old man of cold-tolerant Mexican avocados. We left with 8 potted avocado trees. I fancy an avocado orchard in Yoakum. The two Mexican avocado trees from Cousin Freddy, that we planted in December have fresh spring growth.
There is a lot left unsaid there and so much left to do.
If you didn't make it this weekend, maybe you can drop by another time. 
Maybe you might like to live in Yoakum some day, and grow some vegetables.

Constructive Intent

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Changes Underway

Surviving Together,

US-made "crisis" in Venezuela seems to be coming up short at street level. Meat is short, but there are beans, rice and vegetables.
CG: During blackouts, people told stories, played music, or went out and talked on the streets. It was a paradise, no TVs, smartphones, but real human contact. People cook together. During the day they’re playing board games, dominoes, and kids are having fun. People with kids are possibly more stressed, especially if you live in a tower block, as if you’ve no electricity, you’ve no water. That is why the US hit the electricity grid as it means no water in Caracas – a city of 10 million people. Luckily there are wells with clean water around the city, so people queue up to get it.
PC: So there was a real discrepancy between the image you were given of Venezuela and the reality?
AG: Sure, there are queues for oil, but people are not dying of starvation and, as I said, poverty is no where near what it is like in Brazil. I wouldn’t say a harsh dictatorship, people were open, and criticized the government, and the US, but also Chavez and Maduro. The Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV) have admitted they had made bad economic decisions. I thought it would be more repressive, and it wasn’t. People were not fearful about speaking out. I think Venezuelans blame the Americans for the situation more than Maduro.

​I wonder what will come of this meeting. Trump should be able to quell any dissent, but won't get army boots in Venezuela from these guys.​
"President Donald J. Trump will welcome the leaders of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, the Republic of Haiti, Jamaica, and Saint Lucia on Friday, March 22, 2019, for a meeting at Mar-a-Lago," Sanders said on Tuesday. "The President looks forward to working with countries in the region to strengthen our security cooperation and counter China’s predatory economic practices. The President will use this meeting as an opportunity to thank these countries for their support for peace and democracy in Venezuela."  

​Analysis here favors Hard-Brexit, though others say Theresa May needs to revoke Article 50​ and stay in the EU. City of London bankers would not get hit hard in this analysis.
In conclusion the effect of a "hard Brexit" on Britain itself should be overwhelmingly positive, especially if Britain does in fact remove all tariffs and conclude free trade pacts with the rest of the world fairly quickly. Naturally my advice to Britain is to unilaterally remove all tariffs on all goods, including "sensitive industries." Free trade deals then become irrelevant. Britain could lead the way in showing the world the benefits of unilateral free trade, just as it did in the nineteenth century with the abolition of the Corn Laws. Perhaps this outcome is what the EU fears the most, because it would call into question the benefit of belonging to a closed customs union and would spell the end of the EU itself.  

​Charles Hugh Smith looks at what characteristics will help some societies and countries survive the global economic reset. Groups may get redefined smaller.​
 By the time the populace awakens to the precariousness of the entire status quo, it will be too late to effect meaningful change via removing the parasitic elites from power. Just as Rome was too hollowed out to survive by the end, the status quo structures will be too enfeebled to adapt quickly enough to survive.
 Centralization of wealth, power and control has been the "solution" for hundreds or even thousands of years. We're approaching Peak Centralization and the systemic failure of centralization as the "solution" to anything.
 The only sustainable solution going forward is radical decentralization of capital, political power and control of resources. The parasitic elites rule solely because wealth and power are so highly concentrated in the hands of the few. As the financial and political systems unravel and fail, solutions that are completely outside these centralized hierarchies will arise--if the populace is free to embrace them.
 Solutions will obsolete the existing centralized financial and political structures. Reforms will all fail, as the parasitic elites will never relinquish their control or power. The "solution" will be the total collapse of the centralized financial and political structures and the parasitic elites that control them.
 Adaptability and flexibility will be the core survival traits going forward. The only structures adaptable and flexible enough to respond quickly and effectively enough to survive are decentralized networks-- non-hierarchical, distributed rather than centralized, self-organizing rather than top-down.

In the first significant check on the Trump administration’s “energy-first” agenda, a US judge has temporarily halted hundreds of drilling projects for failing to take climate change into account.
Drilling had been stalled on more than 300,000 acres of public land in Wyoming after it was ruled the Trump administration violated environmental laws by failing to consider greenhouse gas emissions. The federal judge has ordered the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which manages US public lands and issues leases to the energy industry, to redo its analysis.  

​OK, why does North America keep being cooler than the rest of the planet, compared to historical averages? Could it be those chemtrails in our skies?

​I'm not sure why we have not seen more about this story.
A lot of us have been watching Mt. Popocatepetl for a very long time.  Could it be possible that we are now on the verge of the most destructive volcanic eruption in the modern history of North America?  On Monday night at precisely 9:38 PM, a massive explosion at Mt. Popocatepetl sent a column of volcanic ash nearly a mile into the sky.  A “yellow alert warning” has been issued by the authorities, and they are ordering everyone to stay at least 12 kilometers away from the crater.  They are stressing that the threat has not passed, and as you will see below, an evacuation plan is in place in case an even larger eruption follows.  And if a much larger eruption does follow, the devastation could be off the charts.  Mexico City is only 43 miles away from Mt. Popocatepetl, and approximately 25 million people live within a 60 mile radius of the crater.

​Rigging the trial into 2 parts was supposed to protect Monsanto. Oops, too much damning evidence. The floodgates will open. 
All the dirty dealings will come out in phase 2 , then comes the awarding of damages. 
What I read lately is that glyphosate in RoundUp is actually an antibiotic that also has herbicidal features. It is sterilizing the soils.​
In the first phase of Edward Hardeman v. Monsanto Company, the jury sided with arguments and scientific evidence presented by the attorneys for Edward Hardeman that glyphosate was the cause of his non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
“Today’s verdict reinforces what another jury found last year, and what scientists with the state of California and the World Health Organization have concluded: Glyphosate causes cancer in people,” said Cook. “As similar lawsuits mount, the evidence will grow that Roundup is not safe, and that the company has tried to cover it up.”
Bayer AG bought Monsanto last year for $63 billion and is now liable for claims against it. Bayer faces more than 11,000 U.S. lawsuits alleging that glyphosate causes cancer.
Now the case before the federal district court in San Francisco will enter the second phase of the trial. Hardeman’s lawyers will present evidence to the jury, including internal Monsanto documents, that could show the company knew the dangers of Roundup and glyphosate and attempted to cover them up.

​Lonely people die 15 years younger. Our societal business model makes us sick and sells us solutions that don't work.
Thanks to remarkable new technologies and the widespread use of social media, we are more “connected” than ever before. Yet as a nation, we are also more lonely. In fact, a recent study found that a staggering 47 percent of Americans often feel alone, left out and lacking meaningful connection with others. This is true for all ages, from teenagers to older adults.
The number of people who perceive themselves to be alone, isolated or distant from others has reached epidemic levels both in the United States and in other parts of the world.

​Your Friend​

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

No New Deal

Principled Citizens,

We are at another cusp in history where the economic arrangement is on it's last legs, failing around the edges and in pockets, without any reliability going forward. 
This now applies to a truly global economy, mostly controlled by global capitalists, through global multinational corporations, and political "contributions" and the deep state..
Human perceptions have not kept up with that business model. We are social animals, who work in groups of a size where we can know all of the other members, and not just by name, but from experience.
We have limits to what and who we can know, and limits to how clearly we can think about our world, and limits to how clearly we can consider future scenarios.
The ruling elites who own us have about the same human limits, but very different power at their disposal. 
Their interests are at odds with our interests. Their role is to manipulate us to serve their interests.
The first prerogative of the power elites is to own what people need to live. They ration food, water and fuel.
We can see the utility in that, but their ownership is presented as an absolute, not a social utility.
In order to maintain ownership and rationing of wealth, the owners need to have a monopoly, or near monopoly on the use of violence. 
They need to kill threats to their authority sometimes.
Periodically the end of a financial/economic regime leads to the necessity of a reset, the development of a new form of economy, which efficiently suits the current needs of people and availability of resources, and has what looks like a few generations of stability, going forward.
This change of financial/economic regime is really hard, because it only happens when there is not enough to go around, and making the adjustments means dismantling parts of the process of provision of food, water and fuel, so there is even less.
Members of a society, or a nation have agreed rights to their life-supporting rations of food, water and fuel. 
The owner-class have the vast rights, which are threatened by the pressing needs of so very many other people who are acutely shorted of what they need to live.
Desperate  people are willing to kill for their basic needs at that point. 
We reach a point where we are ready to mass and mass-murder to be assured of what we need.
This is no secret to the intelligent owners, and the very bright people they hire to think for them and control the rest of us (think Dick Cheney).
Throughout history the owners/rulers have faced the difficult decision of how to maintain their own position, and survive, when the people they own and rule are at the point of desperate need, and ready to murder for what they need.
It has been straightforward. Find somebody who has some food water and fuel, and convince your slaves/people that it is rightfully theirs, and they need to kill the current holders to reclaim their birthright.
Alternatively, the people do the French Revolution on the king and nobles.
That second alternative, revolution against the power elites is gradually gaining favor in France.
The ruling elites tried ignoring the masses, tossing them a little bone, waiting through the winter weather, and have been ramping up the violence against the protesters, while claiming that the protesters are violent, and a threat to society.
They need help to make that case, like the "black bloc" agents provocateur, who come into the peaceful Yellow Vest protests and destroy and burn.
The police then shoot rubber bullets and rubber grenades to maim and blind, at the Yellow Vests, not the black bloc.
The European working class knows this. The more affluent professional class does not know this and does not want to know this.
None of these usual measures seems to be working much these days.
The French can't really go to war with the Germans or Italians. 
They destroyed Libya (oil) and helped with destroying Iraq (oil) and are helping in the faltering destruction of Syria (gas pipeline, oil, location).
Push will come to shove when the global economic can can't be kicked down the road one more time.
People everywhere feel the tension. 
Some people in some places have guns. "Ooops" for owners.
"Controlling the narrative" is critical for the owners going forward, and they do tests of narrative changes, measure the responses on social media, tailor those responses as much as they can, and try again if it doesn't look good enough. They have tried a lot by now.
The needs of the narrative are internally conflicted.
In the status quo, the people need to be divided against each other, so the rulers can feed and mediate the tension and exercise control.
In the US this was South vs North, black vs white, and so on, but it really wore out after WW-2, the last time that the whole country had to be united to fight an external enemy. 
America is pretty big. It's really not natural for us to go fight external enemies and die on foreign shores and stuff.
Really, and demonstrably in America and the world, it is the military which is using up so much of the resources people need to live, and slaughtering millions of brown people in oil places, to gain control of the oil we all need to eat to live.
We do basically eat oil, with our vast mechanized farming system running on diesel, chemical fertilizers, and V-8 powered water pumps draining fossil water reservoirs which are starting to run dry.
The vast mechanized food growing system is not strictly necessary for anybody to survive. It is a military tool of the owner class, along with Reaper drones and F-35s. The purpose of the vast field of cheaply produced corn and wheat is to bankrupt farmers of the vassal countries, so those countries rely upon grain from the United States to feed their people. 
Kissinger, Nixon and Secretary of Agriculture ("get big or get out") Earl Butz came up with that plan. 
It bankrupted most American farmers, but Cargill is doing fine.
The problem that the globalist elite owners face is that their holdings are the only big bunch of fuel, food and water for the desperate people of the world to expropriate. 
Their holdings do not save and rationally distribute the wealth of the world in good times and bad, as did the Great Inca.
The current global elite squander the oil, water and mineral resources of the world for murder and destruction, just to maintain their position as owners, and protect it from projected rivals in their same league.
What the elites do need to maintain their ownership status is the loyalty of the top 10% to 20% of the population, the professional and managerial class.
It is really hard to come up with any narrative which presents a rational case for the current level of military and industrial-agricultural support for the globalist elites and their servants in politics and industry. They are still trying.
We, the humans of this fair planet, need to work together for the common good, and not cut each other's throats for the owners.
We do currently have communication networks which allow for the living creation of other narratives, based on somewhat more truth than the "New World Order" narrative.
The most difficult and critical step is for the top 20%, the professional and managerial classes, to look for systemic efficiencies, which will reduce their absolute wealth in the short term, to create a more stable social order for their kids and grandkids.
The elites seem to be effectively blocking this kind of meeting of the minds with identity politics and squabbles about virtue signaling among the mid-wealthy, selfish grasping.
Individuals an take their own steps towards a future of burning less fuel, using less plastic, and growing more vegetables at home. 
I am bike commuting and growing vegetables at home, and at work, where people can see that it is possible and normal. 
I'm also starting it up in the smaller town of Yoakum, where there is good soil and climate. 
Grow more vegetables in the good places, especially.
I am currently fortunate to be able to take these steps, right now. It is my responsibility. 
I am just passing through this world. I am a transient life form. I don't really "own" pieces of this world, to defend by violence.
Minor narrative battles are also being fought. This is necessary to keep destroying potential threats to the elite power structure.
People in the US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada have guns. 
The elites needed that 200 to 300 years ago, but it now poses a threat to their power going forward, when the people with guns see who stole the stuff they need to live.
We keep getting stories about how all the people need to relinquish their guns, so that a few people will not shoot innocents in post offices and places of worship.
I am not a violent revolutionary, have no use for a gun, and no interest in owning them. I was raised on military bases, and went to the rifle range with Dad every Tuesday, and have the hearing damage to prove it. I did hunt deer for food as a teenager on my Grandfather's ranch, and did all that a responsible hunter does, field dressing the fresh kills, and so on.
As a doctor, I have sometimes been in the struggle for life against death when people have been shot with guns, including high powered rifles.
People shot with high powered rifles mostly bleed to death, but might drop unconscious in 10 seconds if their heart is shot. 
I always killed with a heart lung shot. The deer would sprint 10 seconds and drop still. 
Head shots are harder to be sure of, but they happen, and I killed a deer this way once, when it was injured jumping a fence on the neighbor's property, sold to him by my Grandfather. Morgan came over Thanksgiving morning at dawn to ask us to deal with a spike buck who had crippled himself trying to jump a fence in the night.
I went over and saw the right rear leg dislocation. He could not stand, and scrambled with his front legs trying.
I sat with the deer and looked in his gentle brown eyes, and talked, and cared that he was in this predicament.
I brought him water to drink, and went back to be with the family until after Thanksgiving dinner, having made a good friend.
When I returned after midday dinner, with a small automatic pistol of Dad's, I was resolute in my mission, and compassionate. I had killed many lab rats compassionately in med school research. Our eyes met with warmth about 25 feet away, and he turned his head away from me and held still.
I carefully shot him at the base of his skull, to destroy his brainstem and centers of perception, to immediately end his life of suffering.
The body of the young deer flipped and flopped around on the ground violently. I waited half a minute. It still flopped. 
I shot him in the head again. Flopping changed some. I had to wait over a minute for it to stop.
I still feel the soul of that young deer and see his warm brown eyes. I had already stopped eating mammals years before we met. We were friends.

At this point, I would like to comment on my one time, careful viewing, without audio, of the 16 minute New Zealand Mosque shooting video.
About 6 minutes is shooting, with the first and last parts being driving around and getting guns in and out of the car.
I do not see convincing evidence, from just the shooting part of the video, that it is real. I am not stating that it is false, but it has lots of aspects which suggest that it might be staged.
Firstly, every single body is face down. You cannot see any single face, which could be identified by facial recognition software, in the many people who are lying still, perfectly still on the floor. The shooter revisits them several times for a closer look. All face down; all still.
People fall in impossible positions when shot with a high powered rifle. 
They need to be re-positioned to administer first aid. I have done this.
A lot of them will be face up, trying to breathe.
Some will flip and flop if shot in the head or neck.
There will be gaping exit wounds where the bullet tore out the other side of the body.
I saw none of those features in the video. It appeared that all of the bodies had chosen their positions, or had been laid neatly face down.
If you choose to look, that is what you will see. I turned off the sound before starting. the video is choppy, and has the look of way more bullets being fired than the clips we see would possibly hold. All of the shooting is at enough of a distance to obscure details.

Oh well; it worked last night. The link has gone dead. That's what I saw.

Vegetarian Gardener

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Repression Justified

Criminally Knowledgeable,

You may be sentenced to 14 years in prison in New Zealand for sharing the video of the mosque attack, made by the shooter. You can be imprisoned for 10 years for "possessing" it in any way. In England, a young man has been arrested for speaking favorably (we presume) of it on social media.
This is a big jump in the level of punishment to enforce censorship. These things tend to get used more and more liberally as ruling regimes lose their grip on power.

NZ police want all information on any internet user who makes any comment about the Christchurch mosque shooting. 
They "ask" website hosts to "save it for them".
Responding to the preservation request, Kiwi Farms owner Joshua Moon - a US citizen living abroad, asked "Is this a joke? I'm not turning over information about my users. The person responsible for posting the video and manifesto PDF is myself."
Tell your superiors they're going to make the entire country and its government look like clowns by trying to censor the Internet. You're a small, irrelevant island nation barely more recognizable than any other nameless pacific sovereignty. You do not have the clout to eradicate a video from the Internet and you do not have the legal reach to imprison everyone whose posted it. If anyone turns over to you the information they're asking for they're not only cowards, but they're fucking idiots.

W​hat is the next phase for humanity? Thanks Charles.
Transitions are social transformation processes that cover at least one generation. In this article I will use one such transition to demonstrate that humanity is at a crossroads: up to a third world war or will humanity create new heaven on earth.
When we consider the characteristics of the phases of a social transformation we may find ourselves at the end of what might be called the third industrial revolution. Transitions are social transformation processes that cover at least one generation (= 25 years). 
A transition has the following characteristics:
​-​It involves a structural change of civilization or a complex subsystem of our civilization
​-I​t shows technological, economical, ecological, socio cultural and institutional changes at different levels that influence and enhance each other
​-I​t is the result of slow changes (changes in supplies) and fast dynamics (flows) ..
Transitions are initiated by inventions and discoveries, new knowledge of mankind. New knowledge influences the other four components in a society. At the moment there are few new inventions or discoveries. So the chance of a new industrial revolution is not very high...
The five pillars for a stable society: Food, Security, Health, Prosperity, Knowledge.
At the end of every transition the pillar Prosperity is threatened. We have seen this effect after every industrial revolution.
The pillar Prosperity of a society is about to fall again. History has shown that the fall of the pillar Prosperity always results in a revolution. 
Because of the high level of unemployment after the second industrial revolution many societies initiated a new transition, the creation of a war economy. This type of economy flourished especially in the period 1940 – 1945.
​(​I​ vote for One Straw Revolution​ )

"As the U.S. and the EU struggle to iron out their differences on trade, Trump said, “they are willing to talk to us and if they don’t talk to us, we’re going to do something that’s going to be pretty severe economically. We’re going to tariff a lot of their products.”  ...
Trump wants a trade deal that includes agriculture. The EU says no.
Trump wants Germany to increase military spending, Germany has plans to cut military spending according to Eurointelligence. I do not know if Trump is aware of this yet. Discussion below.
Trump wants Germany to scrap Nord Stream 2, a gas pipeline between Russia and the EU underneath the Baltic Sea. The EU sided with Germany.
Trump wants the EU to buy US Liquid Natural Gas, but the EU instead will buy from Russia because its cheaper. This is part of the Nord Stream 2 issue.
Trump wants the EU to abide by his sanctions on Iran. Instead, the EU created a mechanism in which European suppliers can trade with Iran in euros rather than dollars as a means to get around US sanctions. The mechanism is little used, if at all, but the idea infuriates Trump.
EU tariffs on US cars are higher than US tariffs on EU cars. US tariffs on EU SUVs and Trucks are way higher than EU tariffs on US trucks and SUVs but that doesn't matter.
Trump does not want Germany to use 5G technology from China's Huawei. Germany said it will go ahead. It is almost forced to. The reason is Germany is far behind the US. Its 4G technology is made by Huawei. My understanding is that there is compatibility between 4G and 5G if the vendor is the same. Thus, Trump's demand could set back Germany a couple of years.​..
One of the reasons Trump is anxious to close a deal with China is so he can blast the EU with a massive dose of Tariffs. I do not think he wants two simultaneous trade wars.

Next week’s visit to Italy by Chinese Premier Xi Jinping has nearly everyone jittery. The recent announcement by Five Star Movement Leader Luigi Di Maio that his country is prepared to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with China to be a part of China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative has set off a firestorm of response from Donald Trump to Angela Merkel to Di Maio’s own coalition partner, Lega leader Matteo Salvini...
This is a strong statement of independence by Italy as they join Hungary, Poland, Greece and Portugal, who all have MOU’s with China. And it’s not like Hungary and Poland are high on Merkel’s Christmas card list. Both are dealing with Article 7 proceedings to strip them of their EU voting rights. 

France has ended two months of citizen debates in which Yellow Vest supporters were invited to air their grievances. Parisians who spoke with RT said the meetings were a stunt used by Emmanuel Macron and won’t lead to real change.
“It would surprise me if he takes any measures, but I don’t expect anything,” one Yellow Vest supporter told RT.
“Macron has a habit of just talking, but with no results in the end,” another activist said. “In my opinion, nothing will come of it.”

Paris Luxury Stores Looted, Burned In "Yellow Vest" Riots​  [The Mainstream media take invites harsh state repression]
President Emmanuel Macron cut short a skiing trip in the Pyrenees to return to Paris for a crisis meeting, as hooded protesters went on the rampage in Paris, leaving a trail of destruction in the touristic heart of the city.
The police appeared overrun as protesters swarmed the Champs-Elysees, vandalising and later setting fire to Fouquet's brasserie, a favourite hangout of the rich and famous for the past century -- as well as luxury handbag store Longchamp, a bank, another restaurant and several news stands.

​RT has some good video footage and an injured team member in Paris, not injured by Yellow Vests.​ 
There was a lot of Black Block (usually Agents Provocateur) presence. Balaclavas and French flags identify "bad people".
Saturday’s rally saw thousands of people flooding the streets of downtown Paris, with many wearing black balaclavas and holding French flags.   

G​ardening While Rome Burns