On the Upswing,
The Saker Blog has an updated assessment on the Russian economy, which was deeply decayed by the 1990 dissolution of the USSR, then parasitized by vulture capitalists and oligarch toadies under Yeltsin.
In 2001 the western empire was alarmed to discover that Putin was a competent and resolute Russian nationalist.
Russia is now the most self reliant industrial nation, with the lowest level of imports, and it's economy further diversified after sanctions were imposed in 2014.
Russian debt is the lowest of any industrialized country. That includes government, business and personal. Russian economy has been growing with absolutely minimal lending. Sanctions did not succeed in smothering Russia's economic recovery, but did prevent it from depending upon debt.
The expansion of domestic economy, fed by domestic industries, makes Russia less dependent upon exports and imports.
Russian oil, natural gas and forest products remain in demand, assuring export revenue, though Russia can get by with a lot less export revenue.
The Russian government runs a budget surplus, and has large reserves of foreign currency and gold.
This is a unique position among large economies, going into the credit reset in global finance, which is broadly anticipated, and has been since it almost happened in 2008-2009.
This article anticipates the collapse of the ailing artist previously known as "new-world-order", and notes that Russia is positioned to thrive and possibly help shape the rebuilding of world economy, based upon recent experience, and learned efficiencies.
It was the US that broke the Syrian-Russian cease-fire, and successfully killed a bunch of "Syrian rebel" military leaders at a big meeting they were having to coordinate their plans for looming defeat. (Maybe surrender.) The US has not sought propaganda spotlighting of this. (Maybe those guys know too much and needed to be permanently silenced, before explaining what their support system has been for the last 5-6 years.) The Russian Defence Ministry's Centre for the Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria said in a statement on Saturday that the US had launched an air strike in the northwestern province of Idlib without notifying Russia or Turkey, in violation of all previous de-escalation agreements.
Earlier, the Pentagon confirmed that the US-led coalition had conducted strikes against the leaders of an al-Qaeda*-linked militant group in Syria’s Idlib province.“There are numerous casualties and destruction in the [Idlib] villages affected by the American strike,” the statement pointed out.
This article was written a couple of days ago, just before Hezbollah responded to Israeli military strikes on some offices in Beirut, Lebanon, in violation of agreements. It lays out the political and military considerations going into what is expected to be another Israeli war against Lebanon.
Wealthy Americans quite spending much a few months ago, and are "saving more", protecting their assets. That is one of many indicators that recession won't be staved off much longer. (The real economy never recovered after 2008, as you may be personally aware.)
My read on "canceling bad medical debt" is that it appears populist, but will clearly serve as a bank bailout, making lenders whole(ish) on bad debt that they would otherwise have to write off. "Cancel" means "pay". Shades of Obama's bank bailout, Bernie knows how to play this game... U.S. presidential contender Bernie Sanders proposed a plan on Saturday to cancel $81 billion in existing past-due medical debt for Americans, but offered no details on how it would be financed.
Sanders, an independent U.S. senator from Vermont, said in a statement that under his plan, the government would negotiate and pay off past-due medical bills that have been reported to credit agencies. The proposal, he said, would also repeal some elements of the 2005 Bankruptcy reform bill and allow other existing and future medical debt to be discharged.
A Society is Only As Free as it's Most Troublesome Political Dissident,
Caitlin Johnstone on the imprisonment and psychological torture of Julian AssangeYou wouldn’t know it from any western mass media reporting as of this writing, but musician Roger Waters is about to perform the iconic Pink Floyd song “Wish You Were Here” in front of the office of British Home Secretary Priti Patel in order to draw attention to the persecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange...
The persecution of Julian Assange tells us about the real function of the mass media. The discrepancy between the news media coverage of the Assange benefit event and Richard Branson’s regime change propaganda party are just one of many, many examples we could discuss about the way those outlets reliably slant their coverage in favor of agendas which just so happen to align with the interests of the CIA and the US State Department. Every time Assange’s plight makes headlines, social media lights up with ambitious blue-checkmarked media aspirants posting snarky quips about him in an attempt to show the operators of the billionaire media just how far they’ll go to defend the status quo...
The persecution of Julian Assange tells us about the mechanics of empire. Assange was pried out of the embassy and imprisoned by an extremely obvious collaboration between the US, UK, Sweden, Ecuador, and Australia, yet they each pretended that they were acting as separate, sovereign nations completely independently of one another. Sweden pretended it was deeply concerned about rape allegations, the UK pretended it was deeply concerned about a bail violation, Ecuador pretended it was deeply concerned about skateboarding and embassy cat hygiene, the US pretended it was deeply concerned about the particulars of the way Assange helped Chelsea Manning cover her tracks, Australia pretended it was too deeply concerned about honoring the sovereign affairs of these other countries to intervene on behalf of its citizen, and it all converged in a way that just so happens to look exactly the same as imprisoning a journalist for publishing facts.
The Chinese Lunar-Rover has come across something that seems impossible on the dark side of the moon. The lunar day-night cycle is 26 Earth days. With daytime temperatures 260F/123C, and nighttime temperatures to -280F/-173C. What could possibly be a gel at - 173C, that would not disappear into space at +123C? The mission's rover, Yutu-2, came across a "gel-like" substance on its 8th day - which caused scientists to put a full stop on its planned schedule and try to figure out what exactly the goo is.
On July 28, the Chang'e-4 team was preparing to power Yutu-2 down for its usual midday "nap" to protect the rover from high temperatures and radiation from the sun high in the sky. A team member checking images from the rover's main camera spotted a small crater that seemed to contain material with a color and luster unlike that of the surrounding lunar surface.
(Oh, the little rover didn't step in it yet, just peeked at it. Calling it a "gel" seems premature.
It could just be glass from the heat of a meteor impact. )
“It’s about the big picture,” Harber said. “When you’re trying to blow something up, it’s imperative that you don’t also needlessly cause lasting damage to the ecosystem in the process.”...
Retired Army explosives ordnance disposal technician Billy James has started an online petition claiming that recycling explosives is “fucking stupid. How do you recycle something that just blew up?” ...
“Focus on your recycling goal. Claims that ‘we just can’t recycle this’ are always absurd and typically made by non-specialists. These petitioners simply don’t understand how recycling works.”