Sunday, June 30, 2019

Political Popularity

​Caitlin Johnstone paints Kamala Harris as having attributes of Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi combined. She's ​the neoliberal oligarch's dream.
​ ​California Senator Kamala Harris won the Democratic presidential debate last night. It was not a close contest. She will win every debate she enters during this election cycle. If she becomes the nominee, she will win every debate with Trump... 
​ ​The moment everyone’s talking about was when Harris created a space for herself to attack Biden on his citing his collaboration with segregationists as an example of his ability to reach across the aisle and “get things done”. Harris had not been called upon to speak, and once given the go-ahead by moderator Rachel Maddow after interjecting went way beyond the 30 seconds she’d been allotted in tearing Biden apart. She skillfully took control of the stage and engineered the entire space for the confrontation by sheer dominance of personality, and Biden had no answer for it.
​ ​That’s the moment everyone’s talking about. But Harris had already been owning the debate prior to that.
​ ​The goal of a political debate is to make yourself look appealing and electable to your audience. You can do that by having a very good platform, or you can do it with charisma and oratory skills. It turns out that Kamala Harris is really, really good at doing the latter. She made frequent and effective appeals to emotion, she built to applause lines far more skillfully than anyone else on the stage, she kept her voice unwavering and without stammer, she made herself look like a leader by admonishing the other candidates to stop talking over each other, and she hit all the right progressive notes you’re supposed to hit in such a debate.

​Harris was born to two high level elites from foreign countries, who were good enough to be recruited to the US. Her mother is an Indian breast cancer research scientist. Her father is a Jamaican born Economics Professor at Stanford University. Still, she is able to assume the cloak of racial underdog in America. Here is the Wikipedia read, which is fairly careful to avoid saying anything negative, but you may draw your own inferences about her political progression, and stances when she played various roles. She works hard to not be open to attack, and counterattacks for the jugular.​ (Wanna' attack her?)

This was the the first political attack against Kamala:
Kamala Harris launched political career with $120K 'patronage' job from boyfriend Willie Brown

How Kamala won her first election against that attack on her relationship with Willie Brown's power machine:
 ​ S​o, when an audience member inside the church asked how, if elected district attorney, she could operate independently from Brown’s political machine, Harris was ready with not just an answer, but a counterpunch. “Make them understand that if they’re going to try to hurt you, they’re going to get more hurt,” Stearns said he counseled her.
​ ​“That was her cue,” Stearns said. Harris dismissed the question for its negativity while highlighting the most salacious elements of her opponents’ records, displaying a mix of flint and charisma that would one day lead her supporters to believe she could become president of the United States.
​ ​As Stearns tells it, Harris rose from her seat at the front of the sanctuary and stepped behind Terence Hallinan, the incumbent who billed himself as “America’s most progressive district attorney.” She told the audience, “You know Terence Hallinan has attacked Bill Fazio for being caught in a massage parlor,” a reference to a 1998 raid. Fazio, a former prosecutor who had run two close races against Hallinan and was now taking a third shot at the office, maintained he was there to conduct interviews for a legal case he was working on. He was never charged with any crime.
​ ​Then, Harris walked behind Fazio, Stearns said, and recounted the times her opponent had criticized Hallinan “for people having sex in his office,” referring to an incident in which two of Hallinan’s prosecutors were found in flagrante delicto inside the building.
​ ​“And then she walked back to the middle and said, ‘I want to make a commitment to you that my campaign is not going to be about negative attacks,’” said Stearns, who is still a Democratic strategist in the city. “’I believe we need to talk about the issues and the policies and the way we’re going to move our criminal justice system forward.”

​ ​The response was immediate. “People just jumped on their feet and gave her a standing ovation,” Stearns said. “And I was at the back of the church, and the look on the face of Terence Hallinan and Bill Fazio was, ‘Oh, shit.’’  

​Eleni sent this excellent, long interview with Vladimir Putin, by London's Financial Times.​
​ "​What is happening in the West? What is the reason for the Trump phenomenon, as you said, in the United States? What is happening in Europe as well? The ruling elites have broken away from the people. The obvious problem is the gap between the interests of the elites and the overwhelming majority of the people.
​ ​Of course, we must always bear this in mind. One of the things we must do in Russia is never to forget that the purpose of the operation and existence of any government is to create a stable, normal, safe and predictable life for the people and to work towards a better future.
​ ​There is also the so-called liberal idea, which has outlived its purpose. Our Western partners have admitted that some elements of the liberal idea, such as multiculturalism, are no longer tenable.​"

​The very next thing I looked at, after reading that interview for an hour was Moon of Alabama, which excerpts that same interview, picking out the same points I picked out (how gratifying!).
​Important article about the Russian S-400 missile system as a foil to "Full Spectrum Dominance" of US/NATO, Thanks Eleni:
​ ​If nations like India, and Turkey who were meant to be participants of the encirclement of Russia and China were to adopt next generation defensive radar/missile systems like Russia’s S400, then the entire formula for unipolar dominance breaks down. Already, China has adopted the S400 as of 2015 which features short to long range supersonic interception of missiles, aircraft and bombs at altitudes of 38 km and at distances of 400 km. Other nations which have expressed interest in the S400 include Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Vietnam.
​ ​The rise of the S400 and the new security architecture which comes with it has come to be known as “Full Spectrum Defense” and is one of the most important transformations of the world order. 

​Trump and Putin talked for 90 minutes at the G-20 in Japan. No details...
"He is a nice guy, I think. We've had an excellent meeting", Trump told Rossiya-24. "Our two great countries, Russia and the United States, must trade with each other. Yesterday's meeting was great. He [Putin] is an extraordinary man."  

​This may have been discussed. WOW! 
Trump hops over to the Korean border for a handshake with Kim Jong Un and an invitation to Washington.
Prior to leaving the G-20 summit in Japan for South Korea, Trump tweeted he would be willing to meet with Kim at the Demilitarized Zone: "If Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say hello."
trump kim jong un handshake

​The Forever War is so Normalized, that Opposing it is "Isolationism". 
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is not "isolationist".​ Caitlin Johnstone
Calling an aversion to endless military violence “isolationism” is the same as calling an aversion to mugging people “agoraphobia”. Yet you’ll see this ridiculous label applied to both Gabbard and Trump, neither of whom are isolationists by any stretch of the imagination, or even proper non-interventionists.  

​I think this will not just be applied to Donald Trump. Look where shadow banning is already. Even I get blocked from sending more often than not in the past 2 weeks. You may not see this, unless you go to the blog, of course...​
 In essence, Twitter is telling us that they are going to start suppressing President Trump’s tweets.  And if other conservative government officials get out of line, they will be censored too.
This is happening right out in the open, and Twitter is brazenly admitting that any tweets that they slap with this “notice” will “feature less prominently on Twitter”…
When a Tweet has this notice placed on it, it will feature less prominently on Twitter, and not appear in:
Safe search
Timeline when switched to Top Tweets
Live events pages
Recommended Tweet push notifications
Notifications tab

I'm trying to send this again, since it is important, but I use gmail, and Google is suppressing this news. Trying again...
 In an otherwise slow news-cycle, the mainstream media has somehow failed to report on an undercover exposé by Project Veritas in which a senior Google employee admits that the company is manipulating its algorithms ahead of the 2020 election in order to prevent the "next Trump situation."  
​ ​"We all got screwed over in 2016, again it wasn’t just us, it was, the people got screwed over, the news media got screwed over, like, everybody got screwed over so we’re rapidly been like, what happened there and how do we prevent it from happening again," said longtime Google employee and head of "Responsible Innovation," Jen Gennai, in the undercover Veritas sting.
"We’re also training our algorithms, like, if 2016 happened again, would we have, would the outcome be different?" she added.

​ ​As noted by Infowars' Jamie White, "CNN, WaPo, CNBC, HuffPost, The New York Times, Vox, Vice, Newsweek, Politico, and even The Daily Beast haven’t written a single piece on the devastating evidence."
​ ​Meanwhile, YouTube parent Google has scrubbed the video from its video sharing platform (also ignored by the MSM).

​Is cyber WW-III already underway? Who the hell are the players? It looks like cyber-terrorist-freelancers are using the leaked NSA malware against small town America.​
​ ​Cyber-criminals have struck for the second week in a row, this time on a small Florida city called Lake City, according to the WSJ. The city has agreed to pay ransom to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars after a ransomware attack crippled its systems.
​ ​Lake City's council approved the measure during an emergency meeting Monday night and will be paying about $462,000 via Bitcoin, by way of the city's insurer. This payment follows a similar incident in Riviera Beach, a city of 34,000 near West Palm Beach, where the city's council authorized a similar $600,000 ransom payment.​..
​ ​Ironically, the hacking measures appear to come thanks to a hack of the NSA's own weaponized hacking arsenal, which is now being used against the US.​..
​ ​The attacks occur "every day and many are never publicized". Local governments are especially vulnerable if they lack resources to update infrastructure and invest in security.​..
 At the start of this month, we detailed a similar ransomware attack on the City of Baltimore. Officials have estimated that attack, where Baltimore rejected a $76,000 ransom, will instead cost the city about $18 million in IT costs and lost revenue.

​"5G Ready" at a music festival in the English countryside... What does that mean?
​ ​This weekend, a group of us drove around the site of Glastonbury Festival in Pilton, Somerset UK). We had an electromagnetic field radiation detector that was continually bleeping alarmingly and flashing red, indicating that the EMFs it was detecting were way above World Health Organisation recommended safety levels. They were penetrating on to the main road which runs past the site, and there were several hotspots in the quaint little village of Pilton itself, including the village hall and the Working Men’s Club.  
​ ​A couple of weeks before, I had attended a meeting of Pilton’s parish council. It was standing room only as residents packed in to express their dismay about a telecommunications mast that had been erected, without any consultation with them, in the children’s skate-board park.​..
   5G technology was installed at Glastonbury Festival this year by EE as part of a governmental agenda called 5G Rural First. This is a promotional push dreamed up by urbanite marketeers that purports to be about giving better internet access to country dwellers. In reality, though, good folks have paid £250 a ticket to be used as guinea-pigs in a 1.4 square mile test bed for an untested technology that could have serious implications for their health.​..
 But they are ignoring the evidence of 230 scientists and doctors who are appealing to the World Health Organisation to move the 5G wireless signal from a Group 2B carcinogen to a Group 1, the same as asbestos and arsenic.

​There are so many "scores" on each of us, sold to businesses, which charge us more or less, entice or repulse us, or try to sell us diapers and car seats. Tell me again about the "smart coolers" with camera's and AI that can tell if I'm in a buying mood at the big box store!
​Always Watched​

Friday, June 28, 2019

As Advertised

Targeted Demographic,

The second night of Democratic debate went to Kamala Harris, with good wordmanship and instincts. Kamala got lots of Google searches, the new measure, but also subject to Google's "social responsibility" department... (I'm told that Tulsi Gabbard's search wave has been attributed to "Russian 'bots" by some). What course does Kamala have planned? Hold that thought for awhile. Medicare for all is the only thing agreed upon so far. Who has a clear vision for the upcoming economic reset? Bernie Sanders has shaped political discourse and direction. Is he just too old? (Despite his rebel persona, he has always cut good deals for business.)

Moon of Alabama digs into the different presentations of Tulsi Gabbard's first night "win"/"loss" as portrayed by Google searches, alternate media, and network media/pundits. She was supposed to be nowhere, not the front of that modest pack. That place was reserved for Elizabeth Warren.

Here is fairly broadband proof that Warrior-Sister Gabbard won the first night debate, real polls and all.

Here  more of what Gabbard opposes, and the others ignore.
Venezuela foils attempt on President Maduro's life: government
An attempt to assassinate Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has failed, the crisis-hit country's government said. The leader has accused the United States of being behind an alleged coup plot.

CIA funded Venezuelan opposition denies it all. It's OK, they didn't have to be much of a part of it. Mostly out-of-that-loop.

Pat Buchanan says Trump should trade Bolton for Gabbard as National Security Advisor. I think Trump never had that choice, and that train left the station a long time ago. Buchanan's point goes farther, to what America wants, which is not supposed to be on America's menu in 2020.

Poland is way hotter than central Texas! Asphalt is folding. Naked fat Germans seen on scooters. End of life as we know it!

Facebook may Pose a Greater Danger than Wall Street (catchy title of article looking at how Chinese buy stuff with smartphones, not cash, and how Facebook cryptocurrency could displace banks and credit cards in the US and western capitalism. The power structure can adapt to this. We still get controlled.)

Revolted Populist 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Real Alternatives


This rare alternative view of another option of human life is worth putting first today. 
Children don't have to be stuck in a little screen all the time. They can be normal if they are born into a normal world. 
Can we provide them a normal world?
 If you ever wanted to see what the world might look like after the Tribulation, you could do worse than visit the Burren land on the Atlantic coast of Ireland...
...In the 1930s no one here had electricity or cars, no lights or radio, and people lived much the way they had in the 1830s, or for that matter the 1830s BC. Dersie Leonard, who grew up in the Burren then, later described how she and her childhood friends walked miles every day in all weather, barefoot and wearing clothes made from old flour sacks. Modern American kids, growing up in a cocoon of toys, clothes and Xboxes, would struggle to picture a more depressing existence.
 Perhaps surprisingly, then, Leonard wrote joyfully about her early life, saying she and her friends had “lakes and rivers, good land and bad, bog and rocks, not to mention fairy rings and forts – in fact everything a person could wish for.” They spent their days exploring, playing games, singing and telling stories, immersed in the adventure of childhood, and she considered herself lucky to live as she had...
 Relying only on local village schools, Ireland then had a literacy rate higher than the USA does now, and produced generations of celebrated novelists, poets and scholars. Even taking their poverty into account, and even without the advances of the last 50 years, their average health was still better than most Americans’ today. And they were much happier than modern people, both according to surveys at the time and the memories of people who lived through those days. They lived their lives and I didn’t, and I’m not going to tell them that they’re all wrong...
  “We were real happy children, never bored,” said Jenny Buckley, who grew up in County Offaly in the 1930s. Most of the elders I interviewed said the same – their early years were filled with picking wildflowers and finding birds’ nests, climbing trees and looking under logs, swimming to islands or rowing boats, declaring themselves kings and queens of their domain, swearing eternal friendship, and engaging in the feral joy of a hunter-gatherer childhood.
 Mind you, they had plenty of chores on their family homesteads -- picking crops, caring for animals, all the other duties that kept their families fed. “Our farm kept us going; we bought nothing but tea, sugar, rice and sultanas,” she said. “Now our pocket money was that we had a hen each and collected her eggs and sold them.” I hear the same from many of my neighbours; by the time they hit the hormones of adolescence, they had already gained more business savvy and shouldered more responsibility than most 50-year-olds today. 

Caitlin Johnstone has the best summary of the first Democratic debate, which was heavily moderated towards Elizabeth Warren.
Savannah Guthrie: Thank you. Congressman O’Rourke, how do you feel about taxing the wealthy?
Beto O’Rourke: Me gustaría informar a todos que puedo hablar español.
Savannah Guthrie: Uhh… Okay?
Cory Booker: Hey I can speak Spanish too!
Savannah Guthrie: Yes, yes you both can speak Spanish. This next question is for Senator Warren. Senator, you have many plans for America. Do you think rich people should be allowed to feast on the flesh of poor people?
Elizabeth Warren: No. We should stop allowing rich people to eat poor people because there are laws against this and my plan is to enforce those laws.
Julián Castro: I can actually speak Spanish better than anyone here, so I pretty much win this debate.
Cory Booker: Yeah well I live in a poor neighborhood...
Bill de Blasio: May I just interrupt for a moment to say that I am a white guy who would like to be president?
Lester Holt: Yes, you may.
John Delaney: Can I?
Lester Holt: Fuck you, limp dick. 

Governor Inslee, you’re a white guy who wants to be president. How do you feel about a woman’s right to choose?
Jay Inslee: I basically invented it.
Amy Klobuchar: I would like to collect my identity politics points for him saying that please.
Cory Booker: The neighborhood I live in is rather poor actually.
Tulsi Gabbard: War is bad.
Tim Ryan: I also am in this debate.

This is drier...
​ ​Everyone on the stage expressed the usual platitudes about providing universal access to healthcare. In true Democratic Party fashion, all ten candidates based their ideas on the assumption that government alone can provide the most efficient and cost-effective healthcare system the United States will ever have...​ ​Warren, who was literally center stage, was given the most time to speak during that first section of the debate. Indeed, there was a definite bias – throughout the event – toward Warren, former Texas congressman Robert O’Rourke, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro. The other candidates had to fight for the opportunity to speak, on many occasions...
 Castro made the biggest impact as one of the lesser-known 2020 contenders. Cory Booker perhaps comes out of the event with a slight boost and Warren, while not especially captivating, certainly retained her position as one of the front-runners...
​ ​Robert O’Rourke continued to flail and did nothing, on the stage, to dispel the feeling that he is entirely out of his depth in a presidential race. He was scolded by Castro for his immigration ideas and falsely assumed that his command of the Spanish language would, perhaps, earn him some street cred, but that did not appear to work either.
​ ​Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard had a moment to shine when she schooled Washington Governor Jay Inslee on the futility of the Afghan war but was not one of the chosen few who were allowed to hog the limelight. Inslee himself has a very limited future in this race.
​ ​Ohio Representative Tim Ryan made little impact, though he was one of only two candidates who acknowledged that his party has lost its way – becoming disconnected from blue-collar America and evolving into the party of the elites. The other candidate who made the same assertion was DeBlazio, who may have an equally limited lifespan in the 2020 race.

​A weird thing happened during the debates, as people did Google searches about the candidates, when they said things. 
One candidate was different, and got the most searches.​
​ ​As Fox News reports, Tulsi Gabbard, an Army National Guard veteran who served in Iraq, grabbed the attention of the viewers every time she spoke about foreign policy and the military.
​ ​During the debate, she called for scaling back of U.S. military presence abroad and accused “this president and his chicken hawk cabinet have led us to the brink of war with Iran.”
​ ​Gabbard's military experience gave her authority in a harsh exchange with Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, who said the U.S. must maintain forces in Afghanistan to ensure the Taliban is kept in check.
"When we weren't in there, they started flying planes into our buildings," Ryan said.
"The Taliban didn't attack us on 9/11, Al Qaeda attacked us on 9/11," Gabbard replied.

​ I keep reading about how capitalism, which turns resources into refuse as a race against time, is not compatible with a healthy and sustainable ecology on the face of Planet Earth. 
Did these very powerful capitalists not get that memo? What is their intention?
LONDON (Reuters) - Investors managing more than $34 trillion in assets, nearly half the world’s invested capital, are demanding urgent action from governments on climate change, piling pressure on leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies meeting this week.

​ ​What I am seeing of late is that the Climate Crisis is destroying environmentalism. What I consider real environmentalism. The Climate discourse is quickly being taken over by monied interests whose desire is to save capitalism before they save the planet. They fly (in jets, often private) to conferences in which avocados (or whatever) are flown in from California (or wherever). And there is aristocracy, literally, in attendance. It feels almost required. The British or Dutch Royals, if we’re talking carbon footprints, are tracking in with size 12 Florsheims– while the indigenous activists who toil and are persecuted in places such as Honduras, or Colombia, are not invitedThey are of an other way of life, the life of actual concern for nature. These conferences are a kind of ceremonial environmentalism.​..
 The new Climate Crisis…or Climate Emergency, feels increasingly distant from radical environmentalists of an earlier time. And I think part of the problem in wrapping one’s head around this crisis is that one has to tie together so many different topics. Fertility, mental health, dropping literacy, infrastructure neglect, pollution, militarism, Big Agra and Big Pharma, as well as digital technology and the psychology of contemporary westerners. A psychology mediated in huge part by lives increasingly spent staring at screens. And rather than expend the effort to actually connect these threads I find most people gravitate toward a simplistic and generalized position on the environment. And that position feels increasingly shaped by a marketing of fear.​..
​ I mean honestly, Coca Cola is going to help save the planet? If you only read the Global Shapers section you will arrive at a pretty clear idea of how this all works. My point is that once you have The Climate Reality Project, Coca-Cola, Salesforce, Procter and Gamble, Reliance Industries, Oando, GMR Group, Hanwha Energy Corporation, Rosamund Zander and Yara International *investing* in saving the planet, you know something is wrong.​..
 The U.S. military hides statistics on its petroleum usage and its disposal of chemical waste, and of course the severe consequences of all the current ongoing U.S. wars (see Cholera in Yemen just for starters). The socio-political landscape is seeing the rise of global fascism as well as a continuing migration of wealth to the very top tier of the class hierarchy.​..
 ...Environmental destruction has been going on a long time. And the industrial revolution intensified the harm and civilization never looked back. The greenhouse emissions theory may or may not be completely true or accurate. But it also doesn’t matter, really. Society itself is unravelling. People are sick, depressed, even increasingly suicidal — and the U.S. seems to want to wage even more war. The madness of this is stupefying — and it again underscores the need for a political vision that begins with a platform that says STOP WAR. All war, all of it. That men like John Bolton or Mike Pompeo are in positions of authority, that such men can manipulate their power to create military conflict speaks to the utter and absolute depravity and decadence of the Capitalist system (of course in a wider sense Bolton and Pompeo are just following the mandate of the ruling class, something they learned and perfected long ago). Capitalism cannot survive. I have no idea if the planet can survive, but I suspect it will, though with rather substantial damage and suffering. But the hierarchical profit driven capitalist system cannot. The new feudalism is here, already, but its not sustainable.

​"Hell Is Coming", Western Europe faces a serious heatwave.
The Sahara moves north. 15,000 people in Paris died when this much heat hit in 2003. 

The European Central Bank says that Italian gold is not really in the possession of Italians, and it's important that they don't try to hold it themselves. They can't be trusted. They might sell it to pay some bills. This is a bone of contention, and the future of Italy and the ECB hinge upon this settlement. Italy has rather large gold holdings, unless they don't have any.


Wednesday, June 26, 2019


Reconsidering Positions,

So, the US cyber-attacks on Iran failed, and all those air-defense systems lit up Thursday morning, before the planned air attack, and it had to be canceled. I like that.  

The Iranian air defenses did not light up where they were expected to by the US/NATO, the tracking systems lit up in Syria, which was not a location the US was prepared to attack (Russian cover? Not mentioned.)  
I guess all of this is being discussed right now.
 This week’s National Security Advisor summit in Jerusalem is an historic event because of the participation of the Russian, Israeli, and American representatives during this multi-day meeting from 24-26 June, but it’s also a juicy one too because of the many rumors that it’s given rise to, the most popular being the possibility of a so-called “grand deal” being clinched about the future of the Middle East.
 US National Security Adviser John Bolton together with his Israeli and Russian counterparts Meir Ben-Shabbat and Nikolai Patrushev will meet behind closed doors in what is described as an “unprecedented summit” in Jerusalem.
 According to the Israeli media: “The chaos in Syria, rising tensions in the Persian Gulf” are on the agenda.

CJ Hopkins has something like a crackpot conspiracy theory:
​ ​See, according to this crackpot conspiracy theory that I would put forth if I were a geopolitical analyst instead of just a political satirist, there have been no “catastrophic policy blunders,” not for global capitalism.
​ ​The Restructuring of the Greater Middle East is proceeding exactly according to plan. The regional ruling classes are playing ball, and those who wouldn’t (cooperate) ​have been regime-changed, or are being regime-changed, or are scheduled for regime change.
​ ​Sure, for the actual people of the region, and for regular Americans, the last thirty years of wars, “strategic” bombings, sanctions, fomented coups, and other such shenanigans have been a pointless waste of lives and money … but global capitalism doesn’t care about people or the “sovereign nations” they believe they live in, except to the extent they are useful.​..​
​ ​Global capitalism has no nations. All it has are market territories, which are either open for business or not.
 What you’re looking at is global capitalism cleaning up after winning the Cold War. And yes, I do mean global capitalism, not the United States of America (i.e., the “nation” most Americans think they live in, despite all evidence to the contrary)...
 The point is, “America” is not at war with Iran. Global capitalism is at war with Iran. The supranational corporatist empire. Yes, it wears an American face, and waves a big American flag, but it is no more “American” than the corporations it comprises, or the governments those corporations own, or the military forces those governments control, or the transnational banks that keep the whole show running.  

Putin and Xi will talk to President Donald on Friday, peer-to-peer. They are not going to put up with any more dictating to Venezuela and Iran, but they will be nice and polite and flattering. Is the US President "agreement-capable"? Does it matter, now?  
As a post-mortem on the US’s failed regime change operation in Venezuela, it is an excellent case study in how the international community can properly deal with and respond to the often irrational and potentially destabilizing actions of former global hegemons when in a state of decline... 
It’s worth noting also that the general ‘game plan’ of the US has been effectively written about, expounded publicly, and absorbed by private intelligence agencies and government networks alike. The science and art of regime change has given rise to the science and art of the counter-coup.
 When we understand that there is no really viable military option, Caracas knows that it is bracing for further acts of terrorism and sabotage on its critical infrastructure. International help in combatting such state-sponsored terrorism, as reported by Venezuelan state news agency TeleSur has already been had.
 Moon of Alabama (Happy Anniversary, Darling!)
 Today is the 69th anniversary of the Korea War. The war has not ended. It is the U.S. that rejects to sign a peace treaty. The continued state of war is the reason why North Korea acquired nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.
 To turn North Korea back into a non-nuclear state necessitates an end of the war, a peace treaty, and security guarantees.
 But could the U.S. be relied on even when a peace treaty is signed? Or is it inherently too bellicose to ever be trusted?
 When North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un will read this report, he will likely conclude that the later question must be answered in the affirmative:
 More than a third of Americans would support a preemptive nuclear strike on North Korea if that country tested a long-range missile capable of reaching the United States, new research has found, even if that preemptive strike killed a million civilians.
 The survey of 3,000 Americans was conducted by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and British research firm YouGov, and asked people to consider a scenario in which North Korea had tested a long-range missile and the U.S. government was considering how to respond.

Caitlin Johnstone:  “For example, while ‘only’ 33 percent of the US public prefer a US preventive nuclear strike that would kill 15,000 North Koreans, 50 percent approve,” the report reads.

Ahead of the Democratic Party Presidential Debates, this is all they can say about the anti-war candidate:
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) may have met with Donald Trump during the presidential transition and Trump’s transition team may have put together a vetting document on the Hawaii Democrat as part of considering her for the post of Secretary of Veterans Affairs. But a spokesperson for Gabbard now insists to The Daily Beast that she didn’t know she was considered for the position and was never asked about it. 

​ ​The New York Times published a series of video interviews in which it queried Democratic presidential hopefuls on, among other questions, whether “Israel meets international standards of human rights,” in what it described as an attempt to gauge their willingness to voice criticism of the Jewish state.
​ ​Most, the newspaper said, were reluctant to do so...
​ ​The paper asked 21 candidates — excluding former vice president Joe Biden, who refused to participate — the question, “Do you think Israel meets international standards of human rights?” 

What does it cost to kill a nice old man with a security detail?
​ ​Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday released a sweeping higher education plan that includes canceling all of the nearly $1.6 trillion of existing student loan debt that’s owed by roughly 45 million Americans.
​ ​Sanders announced his legislation alongside progressive lawmakers, including Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who are filing a companion bill to Sanders’ proposal in the House.​..
The overall higher education plan, including the debt cancellation, would cost $2.2 trillion. Sanders would pay for it by imposing a new tax on Wall Street transactions. His campaign said the tax would generate more than $2.4 trillion over the next decade.

​ ​In an otherwise slow news-cycle, the mainstream media has somehow failed to report on an undercover exposé by Project Veritas in which a senior Google employee admits that the company is manipulating its algorithms ahead of the 2020 election in order to prevent the "next Trump situation."  
​ ​"We all got screwed over in 2016, again it wasn’t just us, it was, the people got screwed over, the news media got screwed over, like, everybody got screwed over so we’re rapidly been like, what happened there and how do we prevent it from happening again," said longtime Google employee and head of "Responsible Innovation," Jen Gennai, in the undercover Veritas sting.
"We’re also training our algorithms, like, if 2016 happened again, would we have, would the outcome be different?" she added.
​ ​As noted by Infowars' Jamie White, "CNN, WaPo, CNBC, HuffPost, The New York Times, Vox, Vice, Newsweek, Politico, and even The Daily Beast haven’t written a single piece on the devastating evidence."
​ ​Meanwhile, YouTube parent Google has scrubbed the video from its video sharing platform (also ignored by the MSM).

Helen of DesTroy wrote this article  
 Amazon has filed a patent for delivery drones that also surveil customers – for their own good, it claims, suggesting that a drone will inform people if there’s a fire or damage on their property but won’t snoop around.
 Users who consent to the surveillance get a helpful eye in the sky to spot if they’ve left the garage door open, or if someone’s broken their window, or if burglars are walking off with all their newly delivered Amazon goodies.  

"We" can do better, really, and maybe "we" are and you just haven't had that thought yet...
China: The Perfect High-Tech Totalitarian State


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Strait Scoop

Seeing Better Now,

It is clear that Iran is sending the U.S. a stern message. And that message is we can hurt you asymmetrically as much as you hurt us.
Over the weekend Iran’s leadership made it clear there was no mistake in their actions last week. They purposefully shot down one of our most advanced drones to send the U.S. a very clear warning.
‘Our capabilities far exceed your tolerance for withstanding them.’
The more we learn about this incident the more the initial story concocted by the U.S. looks specious. Drone in international airspace? Most likely not.
Trump said someone made a mistake? No, completely deliberate.
The drone that was shot down, an RQ-4A Global Hawk, was the cream of our surveillance drones. It was flying in tandem with an anti-submarine Poseidon P-8 spy plane, which, according to Elijah Magnier was carrying far more than its normal crew of 9.
Try 38...

There was no mistake involved. No IRGC officer panicked. Iran deliberately targeted the Global Hawk after it failed to respond to hails to leave Iranian airspace and turned off its GPS, lights and digital systems. 
 It was acting as a hostile and Iran treated it as such. After sparing the Poseidon P-8 and its crew and passengers Iran shot down the drone.
That said Iran made this decision only after getting confirmation that the U.S. ruled out going to war with them. So, they stood down from shooting the Poseidon, which was the initial target, according to Magnier’s sources within the IRGC.
“Iran was about to hit and destroy the US Navy P-8 Poseidon spy and anti-submarine Boeing that was flying in the area when we received confirmation that the US had decided not to go to war and not to bomb any control and command or missile batteries positions, cleared or non-cleared, along the Straits of Hormuz. Had Trump decided otherwise, we had orders to hit several US and US allies’ targets and the Middle East would have been the theatre of a very destructive war with huge losses on all sides”, said an Iranian IRGC General. 
But even after that confirmation came down Iran still chose to shoot down the drone. This was a clear message that actions speak far louder than words.
The Iranian leadership decided it was time to test Donald Trump’s mettle. They didn’t have to shoot down the drone. But if they didn’t it would give the U.S. carte blanche to violate Iranian airspace without fear of reprisal solely because back-channel communications say, for now, the U.S. has stayed its hand.

The Strait of Hormuz has no "international waters". It's Oman's water or Iran's water. It can't be kept open against Iran's will.
The Strait of Hormuz, located between Oman and Iran, connects the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. The Strait of Hormuz is the world's most important oil chokepoint because of the large volumes of oil that flow through the strait. In 2018, its daily oil flow averaged 21 million barrels per day (b/d), or the equivalent of about 21% of global petroleum liquids consumption.
Chokepoints are narrow channels along widely used global sea routes that are critical to global energy security. The inability of oil to transit a major chokepoint, even temporarily, can lead to substantial supply delays and higher shipping costs, resulting in higher world energy prices. Although most chokepoints can be circumvented by using other routes that add significantly to transit time, some chokepoints have no practical alternatives.

The stick is a failure. What's your carrot?
President Trump delivered on his promise to impose new sanctions on the Supreme leader and other senior Iranian officials on Monday, with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin adding that more sanctions against Foreign Minister Javad Zarif would be handed down later this week.  
Though we imagine the Iranians vastly prefer the sanctions to a missile strike on Iranian soil (a strike that Trump famously speculated could involve 150 casualties), and although the threat of all-out warfare in the Middle East has been averted (at least for now), Tehran is telegraphing a message of defiance, saying the path to a diplomatic solution is now permanently closed.  

Growing Carrots

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Changing Strategy

Voting For Team Captain,

As US-Iran tensions increase, Tulsi Gabbard calls her 2020 candidacy a ‘threat to the foreign policy lies sold to the American people’
This past week, two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman were crippled with explosions that have set the region on edge and sparked concerns that the United States and Iran could soon engage in a bloody war with massive international ramifications.
With little information made public, the Trump administration has begun making the case for a potential conflict, blaming Iran and pointing to a grainy video as proof of its culpability.
Meanwhile, worlds away from the Middle East, congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has been framing her presidential candidacy on avoiding this type of sabre rattling. While some of her better-known Democratic rivals have focused on healthcare or climate change as the number one concern, the army veteran has instead cited nuclear war and US regime-change policy as the number one threat to the the country she hopes to lead.  

Early this morning Iranian air defense shot down a U.S. high attitude reconnaissance drone:
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards have shot down a U.S. “spy” drone in the southern province of Hormozgan, which is on the Gulf, the Guards’ news website Sepah News said on Thursday.
State news agency IRNA carried the same report, identifying the drone as an RQ-4 Global Hawk.
“It was shot down when it entered Iran’s airspace near the Kouhmobarak district in the south,” the Guards’ website added.​..

​ ​Trump does not want to open a military conflict with Iran. But he is already waging a brutal economic war against Iran and the country is pushing back. Trump wants negotiations with Iran without first lifting his sanctions against it. Iran rejects that.​..
 (Interestingly no MQ-4C is supposed to be in the Middle East. The deployment must have been secret. Update: This specific drone seems to have arrived in Qatar only five days ago.​)...​ 
​ ​It does no longer matter what Trump wants. Iran has achieved escalation dominance. It can cause a myriad of incidents that force Trump to react. He can either launch a hot war and thereby risk his reelection bid, or he can cut back on the sanctions that hurt the Iranian people. If he does not do either, more pinpricks will follow and will over time become more costly.

The loss of the Global Hawk drone is significant. These huge birds, with a wingspan larger than a Boeing 737, are considered strategic assets. They were build as replacements for the infamous U-2 spy planes. They carry highly classified sensors and cost more than $120 million a piece.  

All over the world, leaders of important countries, and various "experts" of all stripe are calling 'bullshit" on US evidence that "Iran obviously did it".
 Even Elliot Higgins of Bellingcat – who is famously pro-war against regimes which the U.S. has targeted, like Syria – writes in the New York Times:
 Nothing presented as evidence proves that the object was placed there by the Iranians. The video shows only that the Iranians chose to remove it for an as yet unknown reason.
 This is especially important in light of a statement by Yukata Katada, the president of the operator of the Kokuka Courageous, that the crew had reported that the ship was attacked by a “flying object.” Mr. Katada added, “I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship.”

Pompeo To Present Military "Options" To Trump As Iran Threatens Carriers With "Precision" Ballistic Missiles

 On May 9 the White House announced that it would nominate Shanahan for the Secretary of Defense position. But it never sent the nomination request to Congress to have Shanahan confirmed. During the usual FBI background check before a confirmation, a 2010 domestic violence incident Shanahan was involved in came up. It seems that it now ended his short career at the Pentagon.
Shanahan had zero experience in the military. He is a former Boeing manager. A recent Politico portrait of Shanahandescribed him as weak leader who allowed the war hawks in National Security Council to directly talk with regional commanders without even informing him. He was no counterweight for Bolton and Pompeo who are eager to wage war on Iran...
Trump already had difficulties to find a new Secretary of Defense. Shanahan was not his first choice. To now find a new candidate will be difficult.
It is unlikely that the U.S. would launch a war without a Secretary of Defense in place.
Bolton and Pompeo obviously want a war on Iran and they try their best to instigate it. They need a new SecDef in place as soon as possible.
Pompeo served five years as an officer in the U.S. army. He has extensive political experience. Would he want to become Secretary of Defense?
 That would leave the Secretary of State position open for John Bolton to move in. The confirmation would be a bit difficult but the Senate is in Republican hands and might go with it.
One of Bolton's cronies could then take over the National Security Advisor position.

Trump Heights, international real estate deal-of-the-century:
 Israeli authorities on Sunday established a new development they coined “Trump Heights”, with Binyamin Netanyahu presiding over the unveiling ceremony alongside U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.
 The location for the new colony is on land stolen by Israel from Syria in the 1967 war, an area known as the Golan Heights, and illegally occupied by the Israeli military since that time. Donald Trump recently announced that he recognizes Israel’s claim to the territory – despite no internationally-recognized treaty or agreement ever having been signed ceding the territory.

​ ​Israel conducted the largest military drill it's held in years during the first half of this week, according to the AP, which described the exercise as intended a simulated "future war" against Hezbollah.
​ ​The four-day war games concluded on Wednesday, and though pre-planned, came just days following the tanker attack incident in the Gulf of Oman which has sent tensions between Washington and Tehran soaring. The exercise focused on an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) multi-pronged all-branch deployment against threats on Israel's northern border.  

 Outrage Against 'Rising Jewish Hegemony' Was Widespread Among Top US Military Brass Before and After WW2
Ron Unz (12400 words, long and detailed, Thanks, Eleni)

Putin and Xi met early this month to finalize and coordinate...
One of the first major confrontations with the US by Russia and the PRC was to be over the greater Middle East. The main reason was the advance negotiations with all key oil producers — including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran — on substituting the petrodollar with a basket of currencies where the yuan, the euro and the ruble dominate. Using the currency basket would enable the sellers and buyers to go around the US-imposed sanctions and quotas. Indeed, Beijing and Moscow were now enticing the oil producers with huge, long-term export deals which were both financially lucrative and politically tempting by offering guarantees for the well-being of the participating governments.
The crux of the proposal is regional and includes flagrant disregard of the US sanctions on Iran.
However, the key to the extent of the commitment of both Beijing and Moscow lies in the growing importance and centrality of the New Silk Road via Central Asia.
Persia had a crucial rôle in the ancient Silk Road, and both the PRC and Russia now expect Iran to have a comparable key rôle in the New Silk Road.
The growing dominance of heritage-based dynamics throughout the developing world, including the greater Central Asia and the greater Middle East, makes it imperative for the PRC to rely on historic Persia/Iran as a western pole of the New Silk Road. It is this realization which led both Beijing and Moscow to give Tehran, in mid-May 2019, the original guarantees that Washington would be prevented from conducting a “regime change”.

President Xi and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are meeting in Pyongyang Thursday after Xi became the first Chinese leader in 14 years to visit North Korea. And although nobody could say for sure what the two would be discussing, most believed that their mutual difficulties with Washington would likely be on the agenda...
 A banner at the airport welcome ceremony read: "Long Live with Unbreakable Friendship and Unity Formed by Blood," a  declaration of the longstanding 'friendship' between the two Communist nations.  

Charles Hugh Smith, Dear Central Bankers: Prepare to be Swept Away in the Next Wave of Populism
The political moment when the "losers" connect their discontent and decline with central bankers is approaching.

The Fed makes noises to cut the discount rate, but not today. Gold jumps.

Where does your plastic in the "recycling" bin go?  Long story. Bad story. Changing and staying the same. 
(Mostly piling up and getting illegally burned in villages of poor countries, where it makes people sick.)

Man, what a lot of fine hand work is done by these villagers! Thanks Ray.
 Every year the last remaining Inca rope bridge still in use is cast down and a new one erected across the Apurimac river in the Cusco region of Peru.
The Q'eswachaka bridge is woven by hand and has been in place for at least 600 years. Once part of the network that linked the most important cities and towns of the Inca empire, it was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 2013.

​Biodegradable ​