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Monday, July 22, 2019

Same Boat

Titanic Passengers,

Rugged Individualism cannot save us. Only Enlightened Collectivism can.​ ​ Caitlin Johnstone
 Individualism cannot save humanity from the crises it faces. It’s not the right tool...
 ...Collectivism by itself is worthless. What we need is not just our healthy impulse to collaborate, but to collaborate in a wise and intuitive way that is not manipulated by the propaganda narratives of the powerful. We need an enlightened collectivism in which we all collaborate toward the good of the whole, not because we’ve been manipulated into it, nor even just because we’ve been convinced to by compelling arguments, but because we’ve become wise and compassionate enough to understand that that’s what’s best for everyone. This means fundamentally changing how our minds operate. It means a collective evolution into a wildly new relationship with thought...
 The belief that humanity can and must undergo a profound psychological transformation if we’re to survive isn’t flaky “out there” spiritualism, nor is it in fact “spiritual” at all; it’s a political position just as mundane and valid as the belief that the working class can and must rise up against the plutocracy. There isn’t actually any mechanism in place preventing us from doing this; the only thing stopping it is our not wanting it badly enough yet.
 Humans were never meant to operate as individuals. We’re not descended from solo creatures like tigers or polar bears, we’re descended from monkeys, group-oriented throughout our DNA. We need each other. It’s how our brains and nervous systems are wired. There’s no getting out of this. We’re going to wake up together or not at all. We’re going to evolve together or die together.


 This is the fantasy: we can rebuild our entire global industrial society every generation or two forever.​..​  Charles Hugh Smith
​ ​The revelation that strikes me is the insanity of pursuing eternal economic growth, not as an option but as the only possible path: there is literally no alternative to extracting ever greater quantities of the planet's resources to enable ever greater consumption by the planet's 7.7 billion humans.
​ ​Stripped to its essence, this mad drive is about profit and power. The necessity is sold as the only path to prosperity for humanity, but it's really about securing wealth and power for the few.

​Dmitry Orlov has some good news. (It might just be disinformation to mislead Russia and China, but the US military has one big huge punch for the world, ONE...)
​ Within the vast bureaucratic sprawl of the Pentagon there is a group in charge of monitoring the general state of the military-industrial complex and its continued ability to fulfill the requirements of the national defense strategy. Office for acquisition and sustainment and office for industrial policy spends some $100,000 a year producing an Annual Report to Congress. It is available to the general public..
 What knocked Russian analysis over with a feather is the fact that these INDPOL experts (who, like the rest of the US DOD, love acronyms) evaluate the US military-industrial complex from a… market-based perspective!  ...
 By this standard, it is doing well: for 2017 the gross margin (EBITDA) for US defense contractors ranged from 15 to 17%, and some subcontractors—Transdigm, for example—managed to deliver no less than 42-45%. “Ah!” cry the Russian experts, “We’ve found the problem! The Americans have legalized war profiteering!” 
 ​ ​
​ ​The insistence on market-based methods and the requirement of maximizing profitability turns out to be incompatible with defense spending on a very basic level: defense spending is intermittent and cyclical, with long fallow intervals between major orders. This has forced even the Big Six to make cuts to their defense-directed departments in favor of expanding civilian production.​..​  
...Theoretically the Pentagon is still capable of doing small production runs of weapons to compensate for ongoing losses in localized, low-intensity conflicts during a general time of peace, but even today this is at the extreme end of its capabilities.
 There are lots of specific problems in each area described in the report, but the main one is loss of competence among technical and engineering staff caused by a low level of orders for replacements or for new product development. The situation is such that promising new theoretical developments coming out of research centers such as DARPA cannot be realized given the present set of technical competencies. For a number of key specializations there are fewer than three dozen trained, experienced specialists.
 This situation is expected to continue to deteriorate, with the number of personnel employed in the defense sector declining 11-16% over the next decade, mainly due to a shortage of young candidates qualified to replace those who are retiring. A specific example: development work on the F-35 is nearing completion and there won’t be a need to develop a new jet fighter until 2035-2040; in the meantime, the personnel who were involved in its development will be idled and their level of competence will deteriorate.
 Although at the moment the US still leads the world in defense spending ($610 billion of $1.7 trillion in 2017, which is roughly 36% of all the military spending on the planet) the US economy is no longer able to support the entire technology pyramid even in a time of relative peace and prosperity.  

 I can't find much at all about Senator Rand Paul (and other Senators?) meeting with the Iranian Foreign Minister Thursday.
 “I think diplomacy is a good idea, and I think that if sanctions are to work, you also have to talk about removing them,” Paul said. “So I think the discussion now, since we have maximum pressure on and maximum sanctions on Iran, now we have to say what would we be willing to remove them for.”
 Zarif, speaking to reporters in New York Thursday, proposed that Iran could move up ratification of the Additional Protocol, ensuring lifelong extensive International Atomic Energy Agency inspections and verification to ensure Iran’s nuclear program is strictly for civilian purposes, in exchange for the United States moving up its lifting of sanctions.
 “If Trump wants more for more, we can ratify the Additional Protocol and he can lift the sanctions he set,” Zarif told the journalists Thursday, The Guardian reported. “He has said that he will take any measure to Congress — fine. Lift the sanctions and you’ll have the Additional Protocol sooner than 2023.”

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/07/iran-zarif-meeting-rand-paul-possible-talks.html  

Iranian oil tankers keep going to China and storing oil there. This hasn't slowed down. China isn't "buying" Iranian oil, because it is in bonded-storage-purgatory. Still, Iran seems to be fulfilling it's oil-for-investment deals with China in this format. China is holding the oil locally, and seems to have developed a lot of storage capacity, somehow. This increases Chinese energy security, in case the US blocks oil. Clever Chinese and Persians, huh?   https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-07-22/millions-barrels-iranian-crude-are-piling-chinese-ports

Tom Luongo has a lot of good insights into the shifting Persian Gulf balance of power as UAE pulls troops out of Yemen and negotiates with Iran, realizing that if a major war breaks out UAE will be clobbered. Saudi Arabian troops, bogged down in Yemen, are lonely and considering despair. Iran upped the ante of retaliation with shooting down the Global Hawk drone. Bolton blinked. The rest of the world against Israel/US/Saudi Arabia is looking stronger. Look at this point, too.  The main reason why Trump and Netanyahu are so angry about the JCPOA is the mutual outsourcing of the nuclear ballistic missile program by Iran and North Korea. North Korea was working on the warhead while Iran worked on the ballistic missile. Trump tweeted about this nearly two years ago, confirming this link....  Trump can’t, at this point, back down directly with Iran. Yemen is deeply unpopular here and ending our support of it would be a boon to Trump politically. Trading that for some sanctions relief would be a good first step to solving the mess he’s in and build some trust.   https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/07/21/as-trump-backs-down-pips-squeak/ 
 
Tulsi Gabbard talked to Tucker Carlson a few nights ago, from Puerto Rico, where she was standing with protesters against the endemic governmental and corporate corruption which bleeds everything from them and "their" island. Corrupt local government taking the last skim to allow outside interests to take all of the major resources is the core of the colonial model. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kirbr1kqFKg 

Hidden in Plain Sight: The Shocking Origins of the Jeffrey Epstein Case  Thanks, Tom.
(The mob, FBI and CIA have had common purpose in arranging girls and boys for powerful men and women of the world , then insisting on their ongoing cooperation, since before WW-2. Hi Mr Hoover. Hi, Mr Lansky. Hi. Mr Cohen. Hi, Mr McCarthy.)
 Epstein is only the latest incarnation of a much older, more extensive and sophisticated operation that offers a frightening window into how deeply tied the U.S. government is to the modern-day equivalents of organized crime.
 by Whitney Webb

The Harvard Crimson ​(2003) ​ran an article telling its readers what a good guy Jeff was.​..​
​ ​In addition to linking Epstein to a number of notables, including then Harvard president and future US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, the article notes Epstein was at the time a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission.
​ ​Described as “one of the most pleasant philanthropists” by professor Martin A. Nowak of Harvard’s mathematical biology and evolutionary dynamics program, Epstein was said to have a “bevy of eminent friends that includes princes, presidents and Nobel Prize winners.”

​Massaging Elites​

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