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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Negotiations

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.
https://www.rt.com/news/462533-iran-cyber-attack-unsuccessful/  

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.)
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-06-22/iran-activated-air-defenses-syria-after-learning-us-attack-report  
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.  
https://off-guardian.org/2019/06/25/the-ongoing-restructuring-of-the-greater-middle-east/  

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?
https://www.rt.com/news/462513-putin-trump-talks-steamroll/  
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?”  
https://lobelog.com/most-democratic-candidates-still-afraid-to-criticize-israels-violations-of-palestinian-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   http://helenofdestroy.com/  
 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. 
https://www.rt.com/usa/462437-amazon-patents-surveillance-delivery-drones/  

"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

Pre-Criminal

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.
https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/06/iran-shoots-down-strategic-us-drone-is-ready-for-war-puts-maximum-pressure-on-trump-.html#more  


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.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-06-19/israel-holds-largest-hezbollah-war-exercise-years-amid-iran-tensions  


 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.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-06-20/xi-kim-hold-historic-meeting-pyongyang  


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 ​

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Perception Management

Not Spilling Beans,

President Donald "thinks he knows who was behind the 9/11 attacks", and "it wasn't Iraq". 
OK, now what? Is that the end? He can't really say who did it, can he?

Caitlin Johnstone (Reminds me of Carl Rove, here...)
​ ​In the movie The Matrix, the film’s hero is plugged into a digital simulation and asks his guide, “This… this isn’t real?”
​ ​“What is real?” the guide replies. “How do you define ‘real’? If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.”
​ ​In exactly the same way, what we take to be “real” about world events is information that we have taken into our senses and assessed as true. We’ll often put as much faith in these beliefs as we do in what we’ve seen, heard and touched for ourselves, but understandings of world events are made of narrative, and narrative can be manipulated in the interests of the powerful.
​ ​Those who engage in narrative management are not merely guilty of diddling with a few stories; they are actively controlling people’s experience of reality. As far as human experience is concerned, perception is reality. The most talented manipulators among us are fully aware of this and understand that, by controlling people’s perceptions, they can in a very real way control their reality.
​ ​What happens when you can control people’s experience of reality? Well, in a world of social creatures who build their society based on dominant consensuses about circumstances and events, you can to an extent control reality itself. You can create a reality where all resources are funneled toward you, your allies and your lackeys.


​The View From Abroad, America as Others See It​, from Eleni, in Athens

 President Trump wasn't thrilled by this morning's selloff in the euro, and for the first time, is lashing out at ECB chief Mario Draghi, accusing him in a tweet of intentionally manipulating the value of the shared currency with his stimulus talk.
Earlier, Mario Draghi sent the euro tumbling and German yields to record lows when he said that rate cuts or more asset purchases could be part of the central bank's toolkit for fending off a recession.
 Update: Trump isn't letting this go, and is now attacking Draghi because European stock markets rallied on Draghi's stimulus remarks, which isn't "fair" for the US.
 

"America has enough uranium to power it for 100 years" (Perfect! What could go wrong?.) 
American Association of Petroleum Geologists in San Antonio. The report assessed that the U.S. has more uranium than we would need to fuel hundreds of years of nuclear power generation, even if nuclear power was being relied on as a much more significant source of energy in the U.S. This is great news for nuclear supporters in the United States, though historically the country has not mined its own uranium but imported the radioactive metal from other countries--and there’s a reason for that.As Forbes reports: “Since the 1990s, mostly from other countries like Canada and Australia. This is a good thing, as the uranium ores in these countries are much higher grade than ours and requires a lot less mining and refining to get the same amount of energy into the fuel. And, except for Russia, most of these countries are our allies.”

 Over the next several weeks, our planet will have a close encounter with the Taurid meteor swarm.  It will be the closest that we have been to the center of the meteor swarm since 1975, and we won’t have an encounter this close again until 2032.  So for astronomers, this is a really big deal.  And hopefully there will be no danger to Earth during this pass, but some scientists are absolutely convinced that the Tunguska explosion of 1908 which flattened 80 million trees in Russia was caused by an object from the Taurid meteor swarm. 

​Celestial Shotgun​

Monday, June 17, 2019

Subterranean

​Wonderlandians.

Caitlin Johnstone jumps us down another rabbit-hole:​
​ ​The New York Times has published an anonymously sourced report titled “U.S. Escalates Online Attacks on Russia’s Power Grid” about the “placement of potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before” which could potentially “plunge Russia into darkness or cripple its military,” with one anonymous official reporting that “We are doing things at a scale that we never contemplated a few years ago.” ... 
​ ​“New laws, enacted by Congress last year, allow such ‘clandestine military activity’ in cyberspace to go ahead without the president’s approval. So, in this case, those new laws are protecting American interests… by keeping the sitting president out of the loop. What a (scary) time to be alive.” ... 
The US war machine is the most powerful military force in the history of civilization, and the alliance of nations that it upholds is functionally the most powerful empire that the world has ever seen. Because so much power depends on the behavior of this gargantuan war engine, it is seen by those with real power as too important to be left to the will of the electorate, and too important to be left to the will of the elected Commander-in-Chief. This is why Americans are the most propagandized people in the world, this is why Russia hysteria has been blasted into their psyches for three years, and this is why we are all at an ever-increasing risk of dying in a nuclear holocaust...  
UPDATE: Trump now seems like he might be denying that what The New York Times’ sources said is happening is happening. It’s unlikely that the Times would fabricate a story whole cloth, so if Trump is in fact denying the story then either the sources are lying about what they’re doing in their own purported jobs, or Trump is still being kept in the dark, or Trump is just lying.
​ “Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia,” Trump tweeted. “This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country. ALSO, NOT TRUE!​"​

​Well, it happened to Venezuela recently, and everybody knew why...
"This Has Never Happened Before": Millions Without Electricity After Massive Blackout Cripples Argentina And Uruguay
Millions of people and entire cities descended into darkness as a massive, unprecedented power failure kept Argentina and Uruguay in the dark on Sunday morning, the same day as provincial elections were to be held in parts of Argentina.  

​ ​The “B-Team” consists of U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister (nee Dictator) Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and the UAE’s Mohammed bin Zayed.
​ ​When we look seriously at the attacks on the oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman this week the basic question that comes to mind is, Cui bono? Who benefits?​ ​...
​ ​My friends say that Trump wants to end U.S. involvement in the Yemen war, but that Bolton has been insistent that the only way to guarantee the closeness of the U.S. relationships with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates is to keep providing those countries with weapons, aerial refueling planes, and intelligence support.
​ ​So, couple the attacks on these tankers with the timing of Abe’s visit and the vote on Rand Paul’s bill to end selling arms to the Saudis in support of their war in Yemen (which flew through the Senate thanks to this attack getting a number of senators to change their vote at the last second) and we have a perfect cui bono.
​ ​That’s the entire B-Team’s motives distilled down to a couple of drones flying in to create a casus belli which saves Bolton’s job, keeps the weapons flowing to the murderous Saudis and creates an opportunity for Netanyahu to feed Trump bad information via his ‘intelligence’ services.


​GULP!​
​ ​The Japanese government has been requesting the United States for concrete evidence to back its assertion that Iran is to blame for the attacks on two tankers near the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, government sources said Sunday.  
https://japantoday.com/category/national/japan-demands-more-u.s.-proof-that-iran-attacked-tankers  

​What happens when political "troublemakers" disappear in China...
The prisoner was brought in, tied hand and foot, but very much alive. The army doctor in charge sliced him open from chest to belly button and exposed his two kidneys. “Cut the veins and arteries,” he told his shocked intern. George did as he was told. Blood spurted everywhere. The kidneys were placed in an organ-transplant container. Then the doctor ordered George to remove the man’s eyeballs. Hearing that, the dying prisoner gave him a look of sheer terror, and George froze. “I can’t do it,” he told the doctor, who then quickly scooped out the man’s eyeballs himself.
“Chinese dissidents are being executed for their organs, former hospital worker says” by Stephen W. Mosher  

  Beijing has yielded to Hong Kong’s unique economic status. Carrie Lam, chief executive of the special administrative region, on Saturday indefinitely suspended a bill that would have allowed extradition to the mainland, responding to mass rallies and violent street protests that rocked the city. It’s a defeat for her, and leaves the central government embarrassed. But for the Chinese Communist Party, preserving Hong Kong’s financial role still trumps the desire for more political control.

​2 million people protesting in the streets, after they already "won". What could possibly motivate this?​
Despite City Executive Carrie Lam's major concession to the protest movement - that is, the (not really) 'indefinite' suspension of the extradition bill that catalyzed the protests - a planned protest march went ahead as scheduled on Sunday, marking the second consecutive Sunday of street protests in Hong Kong.
 Though they celebrated the defeat of the extradition bill, many believe Lam was too slow to apologize for siding with Beijing and fast-trafficking legislation that, according Congress, would jeopardize Hong Kong's independence. Now, millions are demanding that she resign, and have vowed to continue marching until she is gone.

Say hello to the Russia-China operating system
The US ban on Huawei is pushing it to develop alternative systems that may rival Google and Android
 G​oogle cuts Huawei off Android; so Huawei may migrate to Aurora. Call it mobile Eurasia integration; the evolving Russia-China strategic partnership may be on the verge of spawning its own operating system – and that is not a metaphor.
​ ​Aurora is a mobile operating system currently developed by Russian Open Mobile Platform, based in Moscow. It is based on the Sailfish operating system, designed by Finnish technology company Jolla, which featured a batch of Russians in the development team.
https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/06/article/say-hello-to-the-russia-china-operating-system/  

One of the most current examples of this newly strengthened relationship between Beijing and Moscow is a new joint venture between state-owned shipping corporations in Russia and China to create a “Polar Silk Road” in the Arctic Sea. a year ago, officials in Beijing announced that China would be pursuing investment across the Arctic Route to encourage commercial shipping through the northern passage as a part of the country’s Belt and Road Initiative...
  The new venture will ship liquefied natural gas from central northern Siberia’s gargantuan Yamal LNG project to a laundry list of destinations including Northern Europe, Japan, South Korea, and China. The initiative will begin with a fleet of a dozen ice-breaking tankers, and Cosco’s China Shipping LNG Investment Co. will reportedly operate another nine tankers.  
​The End of the Supergiants 
(They put in a fracking rig with dormitories and big, bright floodlights and ran it day and night where Hwy 183 intersects Hwy 111, about 11 miles from Yoakum. Very impressive. Jenny took pictures at night. Looked like a moon shot. It was completely gone, already 2 days ago when we drove by. Fracking is really expensive. They have to keep those men and machinery moving constantly.)​
 Giants represent about 1% of the total number of oil fields and yet produce over 60% of conventional oil crude.[3]Very few real giants have been discovered in recent years. The geology of the planet is now known well enough and prospects for new significant giant oil discoveries are known to be low.  In recent decades, discoveries of smaller oil fields have not been able to compensate for the eventual loss of the giants. Figure 1 illustrates the matter. It shows the net flux of addition to reserves per year (additional volumes less volumes used). Since 2010 the steep declining trend has worsened. The level of new discoveries per year is now only about 5% of yearly reserves depletion. That is, since the late 1970s the oil industry has been steadily depleting its stock-in-trade at a rather fast rate.
 The fact that Ghawar is in terminal decline means that we must consider that most of the old giants are in a similar situation.  Some were already known to be in a terminal status, e.g. Cantarell in Mexico or the main North Sea fields.[4]  However, there is a paucity of recent public data on giants.  The matter of their depletion status is commercially sensitive

 
​Still Above Ground

Gardener photographed in Austin garden early Father's Day morning​

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Personalized Censorship Algorithms

Censored,

I started the blog www.johndayblog.com around this time in 2016, when my bcc sends of the news (done for 10 years by then) were blocked by the internet. I did every possible thing to comply with rules and petitioned gmail repeatedly and occasionally got things to send for a day or two until I was shut down again. This blocking stopped 48 hours after the November 2016 election and did not start again until early October 2018. It stopped 48 hours after the November 2018 vote.
This week I have been getting steadily blocked from sending to the 190 of my closest friends (etc.) who usually get my dredge.
This is a really early start to the censorship cycle, but it is probably what is "necessary" this time. After all, I support Peace-Candidate, Tulsi Gabbard, who deserted the DNC for their vote rigging against Bernie Sanders in 2016.

Eleni sends this insightful article. It's down to censorship for the DNC. No Plan-B.
Democrat strategy unlocked – Silence the Public, pretend Clinton isn’t in charge, and run half a dozen candidates representing some puerile pastiche of demography, until the very end.
​ ​While at first glance this may seem to be reflective of an incoherent strategy, we need to step back and see how there is indeed a certain logic at play here. Censorship will have a huge impact on this election, and all politics moving forward.
​ ​Not having a single candidate to focus on, that is, to draw fire on, isn’t the same thing as not having a single strategy. Single candidates and single strategies are not the same thing, not in the DNC, which is still clearly under a unified command structure under H.R Clinton. Yes indeed.
​ ​It’s clear to insiders and anyone nominally looking at the facts on paper that the DNC is still a Clinton monopoly.​..

​ Besides the actual strategy of relying on internet censorship, the nominal, plastered, plausible strategy is to run everyone at once, until the very end. There isn’t a single candidate because democrats in fact do not have a candidate to run. They have a censorship plan, and then simply run half a dozen people simultaneously and work their virtual supporters up into some ‘anyone but Trump’ frenzy, with each candidate taking the historic vow to officially throw their support and their supporters behind the candidate that wins the DNC primaries.

​ ​The most trustworthy of corporations recently announced it is going to selflessly and patriotically secure our elections. It’s a small company run by vegans and powered by love. It goes by the name “Microsoft.” (You’re forgiven for never having heard of it.) ...
 “Microsoft aims to modernize and secure voting with ElectionGuard.”
​ ​Could anything be safer than software christened “ElectionGuard™”?! It has “guard” right there in the name. It’s as strong and trustworthy as the little-known Crotch Guard™.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/microsoft-and-the-pentagon-are-quietly-hijacking-u-s-elections/  

​ ​The Intercept has unearthed some stunning quotes from Facebook's lawyers as the controversial social media giant recently battled litigation in California courts related to the Cambridge Analytica data sharing scandal. The report notes that statements from Facebook's counsel "reveal one of the most stunning examples of corporate doublespeak certainly in Facebook’s history" concerning privacy and individual users' rights.
​ ​Contrary to CEO Mark Zuckerberg's last testimony before Congress which included the vague promise, “We believe that everyone around the world deserves good privacy controls,” the latest courtroom statements expose in shockingly unambiguous terms that Facebook actually sees privacy as legally "nonexistent".

​ ​An internal Facebook document reveals that the social media giant monitors its users' offline behavior as part of how the company determines whether a person should be classified as a "Hate Agent," ...
 Titled "Hate Agent Policy Review," the document reveals that Facebook employs a series of "signals" which include a person's behavior both on and off the platform. Once determined to be a "hate agent," a person is banned from the platform.
​ ​If you praise the wrong individual, interview them, or appear at events alongside them, Facebook may categorize you as a “hate agent.”
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-06-14/facebooks-secret-hate-agent-formula-leaked-insider  

​Another peek at the truth behind the curtain from Eleni, about global-vulture-capitalist-billionaire-Republican-donor, Paul Singer.​
​ ​With nearly 6 million Americans unemployed and regular bouts of layoffs in the U.S. tech industry, major American tech companies like Google, Microsoft and Intel Corporation are nonetheless moving key operations, billions in investments, and thousands of jobs to Israel — a trend that has largely escaped media attention or concern from even “America first” politicians. The fact that this massive transfer of investment and jobs has been so overlooked is particularly striking given that it is largely the work of a single leading neoconservative Republican donor who has given millions of dollars to President Donald Trump...
 ​ Furthermore, many of these companies are hiring members of controversial Israeli companies — known to have spied on Americans, American companies, and U.S. federal agencies — as well as numerous members of Israeli military intelligence as top managers and executives.
This massive transfer of the American tech industry has largely been the work of one leading Republican donor — billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer, who also funds the neoconservative think tank American Enterprise Institute (AEI).
​ ​For a moment on Thursday, it appeared that the US Navy had produced the 'smoking gun' to which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had alluded during his statement from earlier in the day: CENTCOM footage which the Navy said purported to show Iran's IRGC 'caught in the act' of trying to remove an unexploded  mine from the Kokuka Courageous, one of the two tankers damaged in Thursday's attacks...
 After the video's release, Iran continued to deny any involvement in the attacks. And perhaps now we know why.
​ ​In comments that cast the entire narrative promulgated by the US in doubt, Yutaka Katada, the president of Kokuka Sangyo, the owner and operator of the Kokuka Courageous, said Friday that he doesn't completely believe Washington's version of events... "A mine doesn’t damage a ship above sea level," said Yutaka Katada, president of Kokuka Sangyo, the owner and operator of the vessel. "We aren’t sure exactly what hit, but it was something flying towards the ship," he said.  

​Seven Reasons to be Highly Skeptical of the Gulf of Oman Incident, Caitlin Johnstone (really, 3-4 is enough)
  In a move that surprised exactly zero people, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has wasted no time scrambling to blame Iran for damage done to two sea vessels in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, citing exactly zero evidence.
 “This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high-degree of sophistication,” Pompeo told the press in a statement. 
[Not mentioned is the US/NATO/Israeli elephant in that pond]

It looks like the mysterious attacks helped some of our elected representatives make up their minds on a difficult political decision.
​ ​A brief report from AntiWar.com's Eric Garris suggests Thursday's tanker attack incident in the Gulf of Oman which the United States promptly blamed on Iran has directly impacted bills placed before the Senate which would ban US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar.
​ ​Garris wrote of the vote which came hours after the Gulf tankers incident: "Both votes were considered highly likely to pass up until they were rushed to the floor today. The timing appears almost certainly to have been related to Thursday tanker bombings in the Gulf of Oman, and shifted a number of Senators’ votes in favor of continuing the arms sales." He noted that "some senators switched sides to kill the bills" following news of the tanker attacks.


​Is the US Preparing for War With Russia? (The answer, we all know, but who is "the US"?)​
The RAND Corporation recently published a document entitled Overextending and Unbalancing Russia. Assessing the Impact of Cost-Imposing Options...
 It is a practical recommendation for how the US can use Russia’s weakness and vulnerability to further limit its political and economic potential.


Informing No-one​

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Usual Suspects

Detectives,

Who possibly would and could torpedo a Japanese oil tanker while Japanese ​Prime Minister Abe ​and Iranian officials were meeting? 
(Supposedly, Trump is using ​Abe​ to negotiate for the US. This looks like it would mess that up.​ Whose interests does that serve?​)
2 Tankers Damaged After Torpedo Attack Near Strait Of Hormuz; Oil Soars

​ ​It appears earlier reports that the Front Altair had sunk were, in fact, incorrect. The ship's captain has said that it is still afloat. VHF radio traffic confirmed that it is damaged but still afloat.
​ ​Hours have passed since the suspected attacks, and still nobody has claimed responsibility. Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has noted how suspicious it is that a Japanese owned vessel would be attacked while Iranian leaders were meeting with the Japanese prime minister in Tehran.
​ ​And as one BBG analyst pointed out: "Fingers will certainly be pointed at Iran as the mastermind behind these events. But the potential benefits to the Persian Gulf nation are outweighed by the risks. And even if Tehran isn't responsible, it will still suffer the consequences."
​ ​Several American warships were nearby when the attack unfolded, per radio traffic, which also showed some signs of tensions with Iranian vessels: "American warship identifying itself as 'Coalition Warship' stating they have multiple vessels and aircraft in the vicinity. Iranian Navy calling vessels asking their intention in the area."

​Interview with an Israeli military officer about US war with Iran. I think Eleni sent this one:
​ ​There are a few aspects. In purely military terms, it's impossible to defeat Iran. It has a huge amount of territory. The Americans won't have enough forces to deploy there. The logistics are crazy, it's impossible for the Americans. So, there's no opportunity to conduct a war against Iran and win it. And the Pentagon knows that better than anyone. And they warned and said it. To advance by a few miles in small, miserable Kuwait, the Americans deployed half a million servicemen there. They strained their entire army...
In the south of Iran, there are Arabs who are Shia. And there are Arabs who are Shia and live in Iraq. And in Saudi Arabia, the area where the oil is developed is controlled by the Shia. And the majority of Kuwait's population is Shia. 80% of Bahrain's population is Shia. Then, such a big fire will start in the Middle East. And the Sunni won't be able to [stop] the Iranians and pro-Iranian forces. They don't have enough forces. Saudi Arabia has a huge military budget. Its hands are tied, so it can't do anything to tiny Yemen. They can't do anything to the Houthi. Therefore, in this war of Persians against Arabs, the Persians will win. And this is another problem. It means a stronger Turkey. The Americans won't remain whole after that war. The Middle East won't remain whole. If anyone wins, it'll be Russia...
​ ​This tale about 120,000 isn't a tale. The American servicemen, just counted that in order to maintain the U.S. presence, 120,000 servicemen are required. These aren't operational plans. When they ask the military what it's necessary for that, they say that they need 120,000 servicemen in order to stay in the Middle East…
They need one million servicemen to go to Iran. They don't have them...
​ ​Trump came to the conclusion that it's almost impossible to conduct regime change in Iran. Why almost? It's because American specialists, who think like Americans and have no idea what the Middle East is, think that the economic environment in Iran will lead to the collapse of that regime.
​ ​They don't understand what they're talking about. The current government in Iran is stable. And nobody and nothing threats it. If Iranians will have half as much food, the government will stay. This is Iran. It isn't Spain. That's why everyone who thinks like Americans or Europeans, that if somebody doesn't have enough of anything, the government will change. They treat Hamas and Iran like this.
​ ​They don't understand what they're talking about. Another option that Trump has is simple - to conduct negotiations. And all of those shouts, that hysteria, are meant to make Iranians take part in negotiations. But he wants to do it and save face, so he wants them to ask for it​.​



​Eleni certainly sent this article, critical perspective for US/NATO imperial military operations in the post-Soviet era.​
​ On March 24th, 1999, NATO launched its 78-day round the clock aerial assault on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia without the approval of the United Nations Security Council. Over a thousand NATO warplanes delivered over 2,000 airstrikes in nearly 40,000 sorties, dropping over 20,000 bombs over the former Yugoslavia, killing thousands of civilian men, women, and children, as well as upwards of a thousand Yugoslav soldiers and police.[1] [2] [3] NATO employed weapons considered criminal by international law such as depleted uranium and cluster bombs.[4] [5] [6] [7]  ... 
By the year 2000, Yugoslavia had been ripped apart with NATO bombs, IMF restructuring and ethnic conflict. Serbia was destroyed and the rest of the republics were transformed into neocolonies of the Western powers. The most popular narrative is that the West intervened in the region out of humanitarian concern - to stop genocide. However, this claim doesn't hold up when actual facts are brought into play. In reality, the NATO intervention in Yugoslavia was not a humanitarian one; it was instead motivated by the colonial-imperialist, economic and ideological interests of the member states of NATO - namely the United States and Germany.
​ ​Although the bombing was dressed up as 'humanitarian', all it really served to do was dismantle all that remained of socialism in Europe and once again 'Balkanize' and colonize the Balkans. This truth becomes obvious upon a principled analysis of the economic interests and actions of the NATO bloc before formal intervention, an investigation into how the actual intervention was handled, and a look into the current state of the former Yugoslavia. The 'humanitarian' and 'democratic' bombs dropped on Yugoslavia resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars in economic damage which dramatically reduced the living standards of the Yugoslav people - the most damaging in the region since the Nazi occupation during WWII. The strategy of Balkanization and 'humanitarian intervention' has become the West's (often through NATO) modus operandi; the same strategy of partitioning unified economically nationalist and independent states first exercised over Yugoslavia has also been practiced in Iraq, Libya, and now Syria. The results are always the same - a drop in living standards, a huge resentment towards the West and NATO from the populations of the targeted countries, and a profit for the imperialist powers. 

​More correct perspective on the empire from Eleni:​
​ ​Giving a speech at the ACLU last week after the Senate torture report was initially released, Hersh gave some insight into what was on the Pentagon’s secret tape.
 Debating about it, ummm … Some of the worst things that happened you don’t know about, okay? Videos, um, there are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib … The women were passing messages out saying ‘Please come and kill me, because of what’s happened’ and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It’s going to come out.”


​"Who Is Funding Uncle Sam?"​ This is the neoliberal assessment of US Treasury debt, increasingly held by Americans, at this point in the game. You hear this analysis regularly. I've heard it my whole life. It is approaching a breaking point, whenever there is a run on this bank. Thanks Eleni.

Here is MMT, Modern Monetary Theory, looking at the same issue more usefully, not painted into a corner,... but irresponsible kids playing with cans of paint. 
This model is really how they have been thinking at the top for a long time. It will be openly adopted in the next crisis.

 Credit Card