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Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Human Factors

Disillusioned,

As Brexit ticks ever closer, some get clearer perspective. The problem solving has not yet begun. Alexander Aston, View From The Brextanic
I, as the rest of us, have no idea where our current moment in history will lead. However, there are a few things that I feel confident are occurring. The long twentieth century that began in 1914 is at the end of its cycle. Whatever comes next will be something new, a difficult and demanding opportunity for profound creativity and the chance to step out of the long shadow of our past. In all ecosystems, diversity generates resilience. It is the reason and the strength of building consensus. Yet we cannot build consensus if we refuse, alienate and straw man the voices of others and refuse to examine and discuss the contradictory predicaments in which we find ourselves.
Those that lead us are blind, they are blind because they are true believers and they lack either the wit or compassion to imagine something different beyond more wealth extraction and violence. We have seen Neoliberalism’s Capitalist Utopia and it has failed. Only open and honest discourse coupled with pragmatic action will allow us to navigate to a new shore.

​The changes in the biosphere have been way bigger, already than we comprehended until just lately. (Thanks Oceans!)​ We are way past the edge of the cliff, looking down. It's not just Oxbridge-entitled Great Britons that're baffled. It's all of us who can read.
Adaptation is new territory. Here is the realm of healing, reparation (spiritual and psychological, among other ways) and collaboration. It is strangely rich with a new brand of fulfillment and unprecedented intimacy with the Earth and one another. It invites us to get to the roots of what went astray that has led us into the sixth mass extinction. Given that with even our own extinction a very real possibility, even if that worst-case scenario is to run its course, there is time left for amends, honorable completions, and the chance to reconnect in to this Earth with the utmost respect, and in the gentlest of ways.
The window for practical preparation for accelerating collapse and chaos is now open.
“Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well,” Czech dissident, writer and statesman Václav Havel said, “but the certainty that something is worth doing no matter how it turns out.”

​But the good news is:
If a person truly believes that energy prices can and will rise forever, then it is an easy corollary to assume that all fossil fuels that we can identify within the earth’s crust will eventually become extractable. There are no limits except for the limits imposed by climate change.
Of course, if we are really hitting price limits here and now, the situation is likely to be very different. These price limits will cause a very near-term decline in energy supply, which we essentially have no control over. Financial systems are likely to collapse; international trade will be scaled way back; world population is likely to fall. CO2 levels will, in time, adjust to this radically changed world.
I showed earlier (in How the Peak Oil story could be “close,” but not quite right) that the models used to “prove” that wind and solar can be helpful to the system greatly overstate their benefit to the system. As a result, we don’t really have evidence that wind and solar are even helpful to the system.
Consequently, we really have two false models working together to give an illusion that we have a huge problem which is fixable, if we just exert enough effort. Physics puts a cap on our efforts, however. The physics of the system makes the system collapse before policymakers can hope to even make a small fix.

​"Look at this, right here!" , Monsanto
The IARC stated that the evidence for glyphosate’s genotoxic potential is “strong” and that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen. While IARC referenced only peer-reviewed studies and reports available in the public literature, the EPA relied heavily on unpublished regulatory studies commissioned by pesticide manufacturers.
In fact, 95 of the 151 genotoxicity assays cited in the EPA’s evaluation were from industry studies (63%), while IARC cited 100% public literature sources. Another important difference is that the EPA focused its analysis on glyphosate in its pure chemical form, or ‘glyphosate technical’. The problem with that is that almost no one is exposed to glyphosate alone. Applicators and the public are exposed to complete herbicide formulations consisting of glyphosate plus added ingredients (adjuvants). The formulations have repeatedly been shown to be more toxic than glyphosate in isolation.
https://off-guardian.org/2019/03/01/poisoning-the-public-toxic-agrochemicals-and-regulators-collusion-with-industry/

Juan Guaidó, the random guy who claims to be 'interim president' of Venezuela, just arrived back in Caracas. He was not arrested. It seems that President Maduro's strategy is to simply ignore Guaidó and to wait until the guy campaign runs out of steam...
 Maduro can sit this out. Guaidó's claims to the presidency are clearly illegal. He has failed to gain support at every step of his way. The army stands strongly behind the government. No human waves appeared to carry the 'humanitarian aid' across the border. The opposition does not know what to do next.
All neighboring countries spoke out against a military intervention. Russia and China will prevent negative steps at the UN. While the U.S. wages an economic siege against the country, others are willing to help. Sanctions alone hardly ever bring a government down.
Maduro can simply let Guaidó clown around in Caracas or wherever he wants to go. The guy seems unable to deliver results. The longer his campaign takes the less support will he have. In a few month the whole thing may well fizzle out.

​Why the Venezuelan army didn't defect.​
The Venezuelan military remembers things like Salvador Allende being fairly elected and then overthrown, or the Contras mass murdering civilians. They know that this type of behavior doesn’t end when the US wins. They know Pinochet threw labor leaders, socialists, and anyone who opposed his trash neoliberalism from helicopters after taking power. They know the Contras and other death squads were bayoneting toddlers to prove a point to scared farmers, often while not even actually engaging whatever force they were ostensibly fighting even a single time.  

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed in a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday that Moscow is ready for talks with Washington on Venezuela, but only in strict compliance with the principles of the United Nations Charter, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
The conversation, held at the US request, focused on the Venezuela crisis, the ministry said.
"In connection with Washington’s proposal to hold bilateral consultations on Venezuela, it was pointed out that we were ready for them but only in strict accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter, since only the people of Venezuela have the right to determine their future," the foreign ministry said.http://tass.com/politics/1047204  

​No, they didn't say what they talked about, did they? No Chinese attended?
Russia's military top brass have met with their US counterparts, discussing issues of regional and strategic stability. The meeting came just as Moscow followed the US and suspended the landmark intermediate-range missile treaty.
Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford met with his Russian counterpart, Valery Gerasimov, in Vienna, Austria on Monday.
“The two military leaders discussed the deconfliction of Coalition and Russian operations in Syria, and exchanged views on the state of US-Russia military relations and the current international security situation in Europe and other key topics,” the US Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
Gerasimov and Dunford have agreed to maintain “regular communication” in order to prevent “miscalculations” between the militaries of the two nations.


​Maybe those talks with North Korea did accomplish something.
Washington and Seoul will no longer conduct the large-scale Foal Eagle and Key Resolve war games, the South Korean Defense Ministry said on Sunday. It comes several days after US President Trump complained about the drills' cost.
The cancelation of the annual war games, originally scheduled to kick off in spring, was announced by the South Korean military, as it made public the details of a call between acting US defense chief Patrick Shanahan and his South Korean counterpart, Jeong Kyeong-doo, Yonhap reported.
Seoul said that the move to call off the exercises was in support of the diplomatic efforts to pursue a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. The drills have been paired since 2001 and traditionally take place in February and March. North Korea saw the allies' annual saber-rattling as preparation for invasion.
"The minister and secretary made clear that the alliance's decision regarding the adjustment of the exercise and drills reflects both countries' expectation to back diplomatic efforts to reduce tensions and achieve the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through a final, full verified method," the ministry said in a statement.  

​Marked Man...
Jeremy Corbyn, head of the British Labor Party, over the weekend, called for the British government to freeze arms sales to Israel and to condemn it for the killing of Palestinians.
Corbyn’s remarks came after a United Nations report, which found that Israeli security forces may have committed war crimes killing scores of Palestinians and wounding more than 6,100 in weekly protests in the besieged Gaza Strip over the past year.
Corbyn posted a tweet on his Twitter account, saying
“The UN says Israel’s killings of demonstrators in Gaza – including children, paramedics and journalists – may constitute ‘war crimes or crimes against humanity.’”
He added, “The UK government must unequivocally condemn the killings and freeze arms sales to Israel.”
https://www.globalresearch.ca/corbyn-uk-freeze-arms-sales-israel/5670369

​Justin Trudeau is no Jeremy Corbyn. Moon of Alabama says he's finished. 
.In 2016, SNC-Lavalin admitted that some former executives had illegally arranged donations of more than C$80,000 to Trudeau's Liberal Party from 2004 to 2011.
The company had revenues of some C$10 billion in 2018. Some 9,000 of its 52,000 employees work in Canada. The headquarter and 3,400 of its employees are in the province of Quebec where the Liberals need to pick up votes in October's federal election to keep their majority.
It was the task of the Justice Minister and Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to decide if the case should go on trial as the law demands, or if it could be settled out of court. A trial would likely end with SNC-Lavalin banned from all public contracts in Canada for 10 years. It would cost jobs and votes.
The company lobbied the Liberal government which brought in a remediation agreement regime in 2018 as part of a massive budget bill.
During the fall of 2018 Trudeau and his allies tried to press the attorney general, a Canadian aboriginal, to overturn the decision of the director of public prosecutions, to apply the new law and to thereby drop the criminal charges against SNC. She would not do that. In January Trudeau fired her from the justice minister and attorney general job and gave her a minor position as veteran's minister. Under solicitor-client privilege and cabinet confidences Wilson-Raybould could not speak out about the issue.
On February 7 the scandal leaked from anonymous sources. Five days later Wilson-Raybould resigned as veterans minister.​..
Under pressure, the House of Commons Justice Committee invited Wilson-Raybould to testify. Trudeau had to wave some privilege which allowed her to finally speak out about her time as attorney general...
From her long opening statement:
"​For a period of approximately four months between September and December 2018, I experienced a consistent and sustained effort by many people within the government to seek to politically interfere in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in my role as the Attorney General of Canada in an inappropriate effort to secure a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with SNC-Lavalin. These events involved 11 people (excluding myself and my political staff) – from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Privy Council Office, and the Office of the Minister of Finance. This included in-person conversations, telephone calls, emails, and text messages. There were approximately 10 phone calls and 10 meetings specifically about SNC-Lavalin that I and/or my staff was a part of.​"​
Wilson-Raybould gave all the details: who, when, where and how. There is a paper trail. She made detailed notes of everything that happened.
Pressuring the AG to drop charges can be a offense under Canada's criminal code (pdf), section 139(2):
Every one who wilfully attempts in any manner other than a manner. described in subsection (1) to obstruct,pervert or defeat the course of justice is guilty of an in-dictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.
During her testimony Wilson-Raybould noted that she was not yet allowed to speak out about what happened after she was fired as attorney general. There is likely more to come from her. She says that she believes that no law was broken but that Trudeau behaved inappropriately. A jury and court may see that differently.
Trudeau responded in a news conference that he "completely disagreed" with Wilson-Raybould’s version of events.
The tendency across the Western World (notably in Europe) is towards the creation of apparently democratic neo-liberal governments … which not long ago in history were called “proto-fascist” governments.  Whatever their apparent focus – national or international – their basic loyalty was and is to big Capital; their basic intention is to release great wealth from the restriction of the Rule of Law, their basic goal is to create a New World Order characterized by domination of a Deep State over all of the rest of life: human, ecological, spatial….
Canadians are indebted to Jody Wilson-Raybould and her integrity … bringing to the attention of the population not only the shabby values of the PM and PMO and of the Clerk of the Privy Council, Michael Wernick … but also the destructive actions of large corporations in league with a Canadian government to pervert and/or by-pass The Rule of Law in Canada.
The “deferred prosecution” legislation for large corporations must be erased from Canadian legislation.  Which Party will promise that in the coming election??

​A breath of fresh air in The House of Representatives. (Don't fly in small planes!)
Rep. Ilhan Omar has intensified her claims that some Jewish lawmakers have a dual loyalty to Israel, rejecting criticism from Democratic colleagues that she is engaging in anti-Semitism.
“I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee,” Omar tweeted Sunday afternoon. “I am told everyday that I am anti-American if I am not pro-Israel. I find that to be problematic and I am not alone. I just happen to be willing to speak up on it and open myself to attacks.”
Omar, an aggressive first-term Democrat hoping to bring left-wing views to the Foreign Affairs Committee, has drawn rebukes from Democratic leaders after her comments about the U.S.-Israel alliance. Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, who is Jewish, urged her on Friday to apologize for suggesting that Israel supporters “push for allegiance to a foreign country,” a claim that he dubbed “a vile anti-Semitic slur.”

​Unintimidated​

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