Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Rabid Hierarchy

Run Amok,

The United States is no longer supplying its enemies only with conventional weapons – that list now also includes cyberweapons.
 While Baltimore has been struggling with an aggressive cyber-attack over the last three weeks, previously profiled here , it has now been revealed that a key component of the malware used by cyber-criminals was actually developed just a short drive from Baltimore - at the NSA, according to the New York Times.
 The tool used - called EternalBlue – has been used by hackers in North Korea, Russia and China to "cut a path of destruction around the world", and resulted in billions of dollars in damages.
Now, it has come full circle and is back in the US, wreaking havoc just miles from Washington. In fact, security experts say that attacks using EternalBlue have soared and cyber-criminals are honing in on vulnerable towns and cities, using it to paralyze governments. The NSA's connection to the attacks had previously not been reported and the NSA hasn’t commented about it since an unidentified group leaked the weapon online in April 2017.
The NSA and the FBI still don’t know whether or not it was leaked by foreign spies or US insiders.
The leak has been referred to as “the most destructive and costly N.S.A. breach in history,” by Thomas Rid, a cybersecurity expert at Johns Hopkins University. He continued: “The government has refused to take responsibility, or even to answer the most basic questions. Congressional oversight appears to be failing. The American people deserve an answer.”
An answer that we're sure they won't get.
Commenting on the leak in April 2017, Edward Snowden said that the "NSA just lost control of its Top Secret arsenal of digital weapons; hackers leaked it."

The 5-Eyes deep-state wants Julian Assange dead-not-alive. He has taken a turn for the worse in solitary confinement in a British prison. He's sick in the prison hospital now. Wonder what happened? This sets the right example for potential leakers and spies/journalists.
“One of the reasons is that Assange's health situation on Friday was such that it was not possible to conduct a normal conversation with him,” Samuelson said. The lawyer said that any hearing should be stalled until Assange could talk the case through with his legal team “in peace and quiet.”  

Just charging Assange and then killing him in custody will work fine and be less complicated.
 “If Assange can be declared guilty of espionage for working with sources to obtain and publish information deemed ‘classified’ by the US government, then there's nothing to stop the criminalization of every other media outlet that routinely does the same,” Greenwald wrote in a Washington Post op-ed on Tuesday, highlighting what he considers “the greatest threat to press freedom in the Trump era, if not the last several decades.”  

Helen of DesTroy wrote this piece for RT. 'Ratf***er and spy': British academic sues FBI informant & MSM for calling her Russian 'honeypot'Russian-born British historian is suing FBI informant Stefan Halper and several news outlets for defaming her as a "honeypot" working for the Kremlin to seduce Trump aide Michael Flynn. She says the scandal ruined her life.
Former Cambridge University academic Svetlana Lokhova has demanded $25 million from Halper, along with the Washington Post, New York Times, MSNBC, and Wall Street Journal, charging their "combined character assassination" over the past three years "injured her business as an academic and author, and propelled her to the epicenter of a massive fraudulent hoax about 'Russian collusion.'"

Keep-killing-for-Jesus, a talk from Rapture-Mike Pence, to West Point grads:
 “Men and women of West Point, no matter where you’re deployed, you will be the vanguard of freedom, and you know that the “soldier does not bear the sword in vain.”The work you do has never been more important. America will always seek peace, but peace comes through strength. And you are now that strength.
 It is a virtual certainty that you will fight on a battlefield for America at some point in your life. You will lead soldiers in combat. It will happen.
 Some of you will join the fight against radical Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some of you will join the fight on the Korean Peninsula and in the Indo-Pacific, where North Korea continues to threaten the peace, and an increasingly militarized China challenges our presence in the region. Some of you will join the fight in Europe, where an aggressive Russia seeks to redraw international boundaries by force. And some of you may even be called upon to serve in this hemisphere.
 And when that day comes, I know you will move to the sound of the guns and do your duty, and you will fight, and you will win. The American people expect nothing less.”

This military PR blunder made the rounds. Colleen sent it, and I saw it several of my favorite sites.
After posting a video of a young recruit talking to the camera about how service allows him to better himself “as a man and a warrior”, the US Army tweeted, “How has serving impacted you?”
As of this writing, the post has over 5,300 responses. Most of them are heartbreaking.
“My daughter was raped while in the army,” said one responder. “They took her to the hospital where an all male staff tried to convince her to give the guy a break because it would ruin his life. She persisted. Wouldn’t back down. Did a tour in Iraq. Now suffers from PTSD.”
“I’ve had the same nightmare almost every night for the past 15 years,” 
said another.
Tweet after tweet after tweet, people used the opportunity that the Army had inadvertently given them to describe how they or their loved one had been chewed up and spit out by a war machine that never cared about them. This article exists solely to document a few of the things that have been posted in that space, partly to help spread public awareness and partly in case the thread gets deleted in the interests of “national security”. Here’s a sampling in no particular order:
“Someone I loved joined right out of high school even though I begged him not to. Few months after his deployment ended, we reconnected. One night, he told me he loved me and then shot himself in the head. If you’re gonna prey on kids for imperialism, at least treat their PTSD.”...

“my grandpa served in vietnam from when he was 18-25. he’s 70 now and every night he still has nightmares where he stands up tugging at the curtains or banging on the walls screaming at the top of his lungs for someone to help him. he refuses to talk about his time and when you mention anything about the war to him his face goes white and he has a panic attack. he cries almost every day and night and had to spend 10 years in a psychiatric facility for suicidal ideations from what he saw there.”
“My best friend joined the Army straight out of high school because his family was poor & he wanted a college education. He served his time & then some. Just as he was ready to retire he was sent to Iraq. You guys sent him back in a box. It destroyed his children.”

Long-planned big-war is behind schedule, so...
Bolton further said there was "no doubt" that Iran ordered the series of aggressive acts, also echoing prior Pentagon statements. “I think it is clear these (tanker attacks) were naval mines almost certainly from Iran,” Bolton said“There is no doubt in anybody’s mind in Washington who is responsible for this [Mossad?] and I think it’s important that the leadership in Iran know that we know.” ...
 Not only does the US now have a carrier strike group and B-52 bombers on high alert in the Persian Gulf region, but the White House last week signed off on deployment of 1,500 additional troops in response to the heightened Iran threat. 
The national security advisor further described the additional military build-up this month the “prudent and responsible” approach which signaled Iran that Washington was ready to give a “very strong” response to any continued action.

No other country in the Middle East is as important in countering America’s rush to provide Israel with another war than Iraq. Fortunately for Iran, the winds of change in Iraq and the many other local countries under similar threat, thus, make up an unbroken chain of border to border support. This support is only in part due to sympathy for Iran and its plight against the latest bluster by the Zio-American bully.
In the politics of the Middle East, however, money is at the heart of all matters. As such, this ring of defensive nations is collectively and quickly shifting towards the new Russo/ Sino sphere of economic influence. These countries now form a geo-political defensive perimeter that, with Iraq entering the fold, make a US ground war virtually impossible and an air war very restricted in opportunity.
If Iraq holds, there will be no war in Iran.
In the last two months, Iraq parliamentarians have been exceptionally vocal in their calls for all foreign military forces- particularly US forces- to leave immediately. Politicians from both blocs of Iraq’s divided parliament called for a vote to expel US troops and promised to schedule an extraordinary session to debate the matter.

Hey, Venezuela was supposed to be easy...
For the foreseeable future, the US cannot simply unseat Maduro and seize control of the Venezuelan government. In fact, as recent events in Washington DC have demonstrated, it has considerable difficulty even seizing the Venezuelan embassy, which was occupied by Code Pink activists for over a month until their forcible removal on May 16.
Like a child deprived of its favorite toy, sullen US hawks are now faced with the reality that there is no easy military shortcut to their geopolitical goals in Venezuela. However, advocates of regime change have never been on speaking terms with reality, as the recent increased likelihood of a US war with Iran has made clear...
For anti-imperialists in 2019, the lesson of Venezuela is that, against all odds, erecting obstacles to such intervention is now both demonstrably possible and arguably more effective than it was in the early days of the “war on terror.” But war takes many forms. As Empire Files journalist Abby Martin pointed out in January, current US sanctions against Venezuela “are not an alternative to war. They are war, in every way.”...
This crime against humanity, these means by which a country and a people are bled and starved into submission without a shot being fired, continues even now.  

This is the proper role for cryptocurrency, large international transactions. 1:1 gold-backing would be a very strong statement.
According to Russian news agency, TASS, Russia’s central bank, the Bank of Russia will consider issuing gold-backed cryptocurrencies—a rather strange move considering how cryptocurrencies are generally anathema to central banks.
...the head of the Bank of Russia, Elvira Nabiullina, has revealed that the cryptocurrencies are not meant for retail use but rather for conducting big mutual settlements for entities with global jurisdictions.
In other words, only the heavyweights will get to lay their hands on them. Further, she says that she still believes that it’s better for countries to develop international settlement systems such as the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) framework that use their own national currencies noting the said framework has demonstrated good dynamics.

Yves Smith on the "multipolar world". Look, Ma, it's CORPORATIONS!
  Another important dimension to recognize is that what we understand to be global or international is, for the most part, owned and controlled by industrialized countries: 93 percent of foreign-owned production is controlled by Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD) economies. Even the historic tendency to focus on state power should be questioned in this moment. In 2016, 69 of the world’s largest 100 economies were corporations, with their own range of interests and methods of functioning.
 One of the (self-serving) fears governing the end of American hegemony is that in its absence, the world will inevitably revert to some sort of brutal Hobbesian “state of nature” characterized by a balance of power clashes, in which the strong dictate to the weak.
 Is that a reasonable assumption? The reality of the 21st-century world is that neither the United States nor China can readily force third-party countries to join their respective competing blocs as the United States and Soviet Union were once able to do. Of course, they both have leverage, but these are often overstated. China can periodically raise the specter of a rare earths cutoff (used in everything from lithium batteries, cell phones, wind turbines, or electric cars), or threaten to liquidate its stockpile of U.S. Treasuries to cause a collapse in the dollar and bond market in order to flex its muscles. But rare earth production can ultimately be established elsewhere, and the “nuclear option” of selling U.S. bonds is a fantasy (see here for the reasons). Likewise, the United States can deploy trade sanctions, or military muscle. But this kind of aggressive unilateralism is ultimately self-defeating, as it drives away potential allies in the process.  

Eleni sends EU Parliament elections update. It's a mess. Everybody claims some kind of victory, except UK Tories and Labour. Farage's Brexit Party cleaned up there. The Yellow Vests refuse to field candidates on principle...
In what may be the biggest shock from today’s European parliamentary elections, President Emmanuel Macron suffered a major blow with French voters set to hand a victory to Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, picking the vocal Eurosceptic and nationalist over the former Rothschild banker.
Macron’s En Marche (Republic on The Move) will have just 22.5% of the vote compared with 24% for Le Pen, according to pollsters Ifop. With Macron and Le Pen neck and neck ahead of the elections, the outcome will be a humiliation for the liberal politician who said before the elections that everything less than 1st place would be a defeat.

Macron freezes Yellow Vests out of Facebook on EU Election Day. 
TOUCHE! Macron wins BIGLY!  
On Sunday, polling day in the European elections, the largest Facebook group associated with the “yellow vest” protests in France, with more than 350,000 members, was frozen so that members could not publish or share information in it.  

Joe forgot to act presidential again. What came over him?
Despite his promise to be more "mindful and respectful" of others' (especially womens') personal space, the former vice president oozed sleaze during an interaction with a 10-year-old girl during an American Federation of Teachers Town Hall in Houston.
After the young girl asked Biden a question, he exclaimed "I'll bet you're as bright as you are good-looking" before leading her over to meet the reporters in the room, which produced the following photo. During the impromptu meet-and-greet, Biden was photographed whispering something in the young girls' ear.

This Intercept article looks at how the 2016 campaign to elect Bernie Sanders could not get any experienced campaign workers, who knew they would be blackballed for taking those jobs. They did get some talent, though, and that talent went to work with the multitudes of volunteers, and ended up with a lot of self-organizing groups, with lots of direct human contact and initiative. 
The writer says this "accidentally built a radical movement". This is a mainstream-politics view of some peculiar-events, which have allowed the self-formation of an alternative political organization. Efforts to harness this effectively, without killing it, appear to be underway. 
People have to FEEL like they are connected, like they make a real difference, right?  

Not sure who wrote this RT article. The US is choking and starving Venezuelans, regular people, families...
Ships carrying food and fuel intended for Venezuela have been sabotaged to prevent them from reaching their destination, President Nicolas Maduro has said, labeling the acts “torture to the economic body of the country.”
Vessels carrying food “were sabotaged and did not leave the ports where they were going to leave,” said Maduro during Monday’s meeting with party leaders in Caracas. He added that ten boats carrying fuel were also sabotaged.
At a meeting of the United Socialist Party which leads, Maduro also drew a link between the alleged acts of sabotage at sea and the international sanctions against Venezuela, spearheaded by US administration.

Charles Hugh Smith:
Forget "Money": What Will Matter Are Water, Energy, Soil and Food--and a Shared National Purpose
If you want to identify tomorrow's superpowers, overlay maps of fresh water, energy, grain/cereal surpluses and arable land.
The status quo measures wealth with "money," but "money" is not what's valuable. "Money" (in quotes because the global economy operates on intrinsically valueless fiat currencies being "money") is wealth only if it can purchase what's actually valuable.
As the world slides into an era of scarcities, what will matter more than "money" are the essentials of survival: fresh water, energy, soil and the output of those three, food. The ability to secure these resources will separate nations that fail and those that survive.
In a world of abundance, it's assumed every essential resource can be bought on the open market. Surpluses are placed on the market and anyone with "money" can buy the surplus.
Things work differently in scarcity: "money" buys zip, zero, nada because nobody with what's scarce can afford to give it away for "money" which can no longer secure what's scarce.

 Hey, this is just like what's happening in Africa...
American Soil Is Being Globalized: Nearly 30 Million Acres Of U.S. Farmland Is Now Owned By Foreigners

​Bright and Good Looking​

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