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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Undercurrents

Going Down,

Imperial decline update from Moon of Alabama":
A U.S. made fighter jet that is claimed to evade radar, finally evades radar:
Japan's Air Self-Defense Force says an F35A fighter jet disappeared from radar over the sea off Aomori Prefecture, northern Japan, at around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Japan Time.
ASDF officials said the aircraft took off from Misawa air base at around 7:00 p.m., and disappeared at a point about 135 kilometers east of Misawa City...
The F-35 may have some good electronics but is not a good plane to fly against any competent competitor. The Marine version which can take off and land vertically, is a remake of the Soviet Yakovlev 141 which first flew in 1989 (vid). The derived Air Force and Navy versions do not have the vertical take off and landing capabilities, but inherited the disadvantages the basic design brings with it. The F-35's stealth does not workagainst modern radar:
[T]o shoot down F-35 one has to have two different bands radar, good sensor-fusion algorithms and decent signal processing protocols and voila'. S-300 PMU2 Favorit can do this, certainly S-400, and its inevitably coming iterations for which there is literally a line of customers, can. In general, this whole BS about "stealth" should end at some point of time--it was a good propaganda while it lasted. Reality is, with modern processing power and radar design F-35 is not survivable against modern cutting edge air-defense and air-forces.
The Turkish President Erdogan knows this. That is why he is not deterred by U.S. threats to not sell F-35s to him while he buys Russian air defense systems. He just flew to Moscow to discuss futher purchases which will likely include a Russian designed fighter:
The two sides must "strengthen cooperation in the military-technical sphere," Putin told Erdogan as they met in the Kremlin. "These regard first of all the completion of the contract to supply S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems to Turkey," he said. "There are other promising projects on the agenda related to the supply of modern Russian military products to Turkey," Putin added...
The US military is showing signs of being unable to create effective advanced military equipment: as with the F-35, which basically can’t fly. It is showing signs of intense incompetence, as when it let multiple planes be destroyed on the ground by a hurricane rather than, uh, fly them out or get them under effective cover...
The "stealth" DDG-1000 Zumwalt class destroyers were supposed to support ground troops with their long range guns. Built at $4 billion a piece the ships are now losing their guns because the ammunition turned out to be too expensive to buy. Before that they lost much of their stealth capabilities because some necessary communication equipment was left out of the original design. The ships new task will be that of a missile launch platform, a job that any commercial ship, carrying containerized Russian missiles (vid), can likewise fulfill...
The US is a gold flecked garbage heap slowly rolling towards the ocean. On fire.
There is a lot of ruin in a nation, but for almost 40 years now America’s elites have treated the US as something to loot, and assumed that the good times would keep rolling. They were uninterested in actually governing. They were happy to move much of America’s core manufacturing overseas, to the most likely nation to replace America as a hegemon, because the Chinese were smart enough to make American elites rich.

They found some debris from that F-35, but no remains yet...

Make no mistake, citing the Monroe Doctrine is little more than a plausible excuse to get rid of the Venezuelan government, which is legitimate, like it or not. The recent electrical blackouts in the country are only the visible signs of an aggressive campaign to destroy the Venezuelan economy. The United States is engaging in economic warfare against Caracas, just as it is doing against Tehran, and it is past time that it should be challenged by the international community over its behavior. Guns may not be firing but covert cyberwarfare is total warfare nevertheless, intended to starve people and increase their suffering in order to bring about economic collapse and take down a government to change it into something more amenable to American interests.  

Bibi is expected to be PM of Israel after votes are counted, not appearing in court as defendant...
We noted Monday that just hours after President Trump formally designated Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organization, Iran's foreign ministry responded in kind, immediately put forward a bill placing US Central Command on a list of organizations designated as terrorists, akin to Daesh.
A number of analysts were quick to point out how this sets the stage for further unnecessary tit-for-tat escalation inevitably making things messier for US forces in the Middle East, and significantly increases the changes of direct war. Soon after the White House's IRGC designation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked President Trump in a tweet, the Hebrew version of which bragged it was all the prime minister's idea.
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-04-09/eve-election-netanyahu-boasts-trump-designated-irans-guards-his-request  

"It belongs to the people, not the bankers", Italy moves to seize gold from Italian central bank. 

Italian populist politicians may see the writing on the bathroom walls of the "gnomes of Zurich"... 
According to Basel-III rules, gold is money again​. ​(Thanks Bill for unreadable article in machine-translated Russian to prompt finding this other article).
In 2018, central banks added nearly 23 million ounces of gold, up 74% from 2017. This is the highest annual purchase rate increase since 1971, and the second-highest rate in history. Russia was the biggest buyer. And not surprisingly, the lion’s share of gold is flowing into central banks of countries that are in the sights of America’s killing machine—the Military Industrial Complex that Eisenhower warned us about in 1958.  
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), located in Basal, Switzerland, is often referred to as the central bankers’ bank. Related to this issue of central bank hoarding of gold is the fact that on March 29 the BIS will permit central banks to count the physical gold it holds (marked to market) as a reserve asset just the same as it allows cash and sovereign debt instruments to be counted. 
There has been a long-term view that China and other nations dishoarding dollars in favor of gold have been quite happy about western banks trashing the gold price through the synthetic paper markets. But one has to wonder if that might not change, once physical gold is marked to market for the sake of enlarging bank balance sheets.  

Charles Hugh Smith has a thumbnail strategic sketch of Brexit:
In sum: Britain's participation in the EU was always contingent, and despite the continental urge to punish Brexit, Britain's exit doesn't really damage the balance of power. In terms of balancing land-based power, U.S. and NATO engagement with the Eastern European nations is far more consequential to continental Europe than Brexit.
In addition to geography, there's democracy and the asymmetry of the neoliberal economic order. Not to put too fine a point on it, but democracy only works for the political and financial elites as long as the people vote as they're told.
Once democracy becomes a source of resistance to the Power Elites, then elections that go counter to ruling-elite wishes must be declared illegitimate or reversed. (Hence the Power Elite's furious battle to delegitimize Brexit and Trump's election. Little wonder that the infamously bogus Steele Dossier was concocted by MI6 operatives.)
In other words, democracy is only acceptable if the voters rubberstamp the ruling elites' centralized control of capital and power.
The last mechanism clanking away beneath the surface of Brexit is the hollowing out of economies ruled by centralized neoliberal (i.e. globalized) elites. High Street (Main Street in America) is simply not profitable to financial elites, and neither is a decentralized economy that serves localized needs rather than centralized profit centers.
So the economic and social fabric of the nation is ground down to dust in favor of Amazon, Wal-Mart, a handful of banks in London and New York and regulatory satraps in the central state who protect and serve the financial elites and their political and Deep State partners.
 
EU leaders will decide at the talks on Wednesday night whether to grant an extension to article 50 at all but are most likely to offer a longer delay of up to a year involving strict conditions forcing the UK into “sincere cooperation” with the rest of the bloc...  To avoid EU elections, May would probably have to pass her deal by 12 April and have all the necessary legislation pushed through parliament by the day of the polls on 23 May. If no extension is granted and no withdrawal agreement passed, the UK will leave the EU without a deal on Friday.​..​May has already asked for an extension to article 50, but a cross-party bill making her legally bound to seek a delay to prevent a no-deal Brexit cleared parliament on Monday. The government has now tabled an amendable motion for debate on Tuesday saying it will seek a delay to Brexit until 30 June.  

 The Global Empire is  beating up Chelsea Manning again, for not ratting out Julian Assange...
 This time, she’s been thrown behind bars for an indeterminate period of incarceration because she refused to testify before the Wikileaks grand jury. And to make matters worse, she was reportedly held in solitary confinement (or, as sheriff Dana Lawhorne called it, “administrative segregation”) until April 5.
While the hive media has been all but silent, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at least spoke out in support of Manning last week, calling her jail conditions “torture.”
What Manning is doing, in my view, is heroic for myriad reasons. There is no need to rehash what she—then Private First Class Bradley Manning—did in 2011. You don’t have to like Chelsea to acknowledge that she’s a whistleblower. There’s a legal definition of whistleblowing. It is bringing to light any evidence of waste, fraud, abuse, illegality, or threats to the public health or safety. That’s exactly what she did when she downloaded and delivered to Wikileaks thousands of pages of government documents that exposed the real truth about the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The most damning of these for the government were the “Collateral Murder” video, the Afghanistan war logs, the Iraq war logs, and the Guantanamo files.


Julian Assange awaits his further fate for revealing truths of imperial terrorism. People recognize this injustice.
On Saturday afternoon, England’s Yellow Vests and Brexit supporters flooded the area in support of the WikiLeaks publisher. A few steps away from them, also flying the flag for WikiLeaks, was an out-and-proud communist wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt, wheeling around a slogan-adorned cart praising Cuban revolutionaries. It was the first sign that both the far-left and the populist right, despite the gulf of their differences, could stand together in support of a free press. Both leftists and the pro-Brexit right wing crowd chanted “which side are you on” together to the police.  

Here is the first picture of a black hole. Really good weather facilitated the photography. What's that mean?
The massive galaxy, called Messier 87 or M87, is near the Virgo galaxy cluster 55 million light-years from Earth. The supermassive black hole has a mass that is 6.5 billion times that of our sun. For reference, that's larger than the orbit of Neptune, which takes 200 years to make one orbit around the sun.  

Lotta' Nothing

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