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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Further Examination

Looking Back,​

Ron Paul​ stops short of saying that Hoover's FBI assassinated Martin Luther King​:​ ​
​ ​The FBI has a long history of targeting Americans whose political beliefs and activities threaten the FBI’s power or the power of influential politicians. The then-named Bureau of Investigation participated in the crackdown on people suspected of being communists in the post-World War I “Red Scare.” The anti-communist crackdown was headed by a young agent named J. Edgar Hoover who went on to become FBI director, a position he held until his death. Hoover kept and expanded his power by using the FBI to collect blackmail material on people including politicians.
​ ​In the 1930s and 1940s, the FBI spied on supporters of the America First movement, including several Congress members. Two of the most famous examples of FBI targeting individuals based on their political activities are the harassment of Martin Luther King Jr. and the COINTELPRO program. COINTELPRO was an organized effort to spy on and actively disrupt “subversive” organizations, including antiwar groups
​ ​COINTELPRO officially ended in the 1970s. However, the FBI still targets individuals and organizations it considers “subversive,” including antiwar groups and citizen militias.  

 The more aggressive the U.S. becomes, the more it reveals its tactical, operational and strategic limits, which in turn only serves to accelerate its loss of hegemony.
​ ​If the U.S. could deliver a nuclear first strike without having to worry about a retaliatory second strike thanks to its ABM systems, then its quest for perpetual unipolarity could possibly be realistic. But Washington’s peer competitors have shown that they have the means to defend themselves against a nuclear first strike by being able to deliver an unstoppable second strike, thereby communicating that the doctrine of mutually assured destruction (MAD) is here to stay. With that, Washington’s efforts to maintain its status as uncontested global hegemon are futile.

​Tom Luongo explains how "Putin Has Purged The West From The Kremlin"​, while adjusting the governance system better for Russia.
​ ​The end result of this move to devolve the cabinet appointments to the whole of the Duma is to ensure that a strong President which Putin believes is best for Russia is tempered by a cabinet drawn from the whole of the electorate, including the Prime Minister.
​ ​That neither opens the door to dysfunctional European parliamentary systems nor closes it from a strong President leading Russia during crisis periods.
​ ​Once the amendments to the constitution are finalized Putin will put the whole package to a public vote.

 By having Iranian General Qassem Soleimani assassinated in Iraq, President Trump nearly provoked the Third World War. At least that is the version of the US opposition and the international press. For Thierry Meyssan, what happens behind the scenes is very different from the show on stage. According to him, there is a move towards a coordinated military withdrawal of the United States and Iran from the Middle East.​ Alternative insight from France. Thanks Eleni

​Eleni also sends this article about the real Mideast Nuclear Threat:
​ The Israëli arsenal, shielded by a dense cloak of secrecy and omertà, is estimated at between 80 and 400 nuclear warheads, plus sufficient plutonium to build hundreds of others. Israël certainly also produces tritium, a radioactive gas with which it is building new generation nuclear weapons. Among these are mini-nukes and neutron bombs which, since they cause minimal radioactive contamination, would be more adapted to targets close to Israël. The Israëli nuclear warheads are ready for launching on ballistic missiles which, with the Jericho 3, have a range of 8 to 9,000 kilometres. Germany supplied Israël (in the form of a gift or for knock-down prices) with four Dolphin submarines modified for launching Popeye Turbo nuclear missiles, with a range of approximately 1,500 kilometres. Silent, and with the capacity to remain under water for a week, the Dolphins are cruising in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, ready on twenty-four hour alert for a nuclear attack.

Who Targeted Ukraine Airlines Flight 752? Iran Shot It Down but There May be More to the StoryPhilip Giraldi, former CIA counter-terrorism expert has lots of thought provoking details and context.

French Intellectual Sentenced to 2 Months in Prison For Calling Mass Immigration an “Invasion”
Forced to pay 1800 euros to anti-racism organizations for his crime of opinion.

​Good thing these guys waited until after the trial of that dastardly French intellectual!
Syrian fighters abandon Libyan War, flee towards Italy: report

Thanks Ray:  (Reuters Health) - U.S. insurers and providers spent more than $800 billion in 2017 on administration, or nearly $2,500 per person - more than four times the per-capita administrative costs in Canada’s single-payer system, a new study finds.

Thanks Charles:
 “The effort of collecting, transporting and cleaning plastics for possible recycling has largely failed, created much more pollution and contributed massively to climate change. The idea of burning plastics and using the energy to heat our homes was proposed by the plastics company Dow more than 30 years ago: it suggested treating all plastics as “borrowed oil”. At that time, ordinary domestic waste had a calorific value of low-grade coal, so the suggestion was that this waste should be burned in efficient plants with heat recovery and treatment of the gases produced, perhaps even trapping the carbon dioxide produced, rather than trying to recycle the complex (and dirty) mix of plastics.  Today, with higher use of more complex plastics, this makes even more sense. Mixed plastics cannot really be recycled: they are long-chain molecules, like spaghetti, so if you reheat and reprocess them, you inevitably end up with something of lower performance; it’s called down-cycling.”
​ ​While this could be polluting if not done right, people will certainly turn to burning plastic and anything else they can get their hands on at some point of energy decline. Better to do it correctly now in an incinerator than in backyards in the future as well as to protect our land and waterways from plastic pollution right now.

​The internet is responsible for about 10% of global CO2 production, headed for 20% in this decade. Most of that is due to pop-up ads and streaming video. Unfortunately, nothing at all can ever be done... well, uh...​ Thanks Charles.


Thursday, January 16, 2020

Walking A Path

Considering Proposals,

Putin's address to the Russian nation is here: 
Some comments about comments in the news about proposed changes in the Russian constitution are here: 
I've read both the article and the speech in entirety. (Thanks Eleni)
The speech is the main thing.
Putin suggested in his December press conference that constitutional changes were being called for and considered, fairly widely.
The dramatic statements about this being a move to enhance an imperial presidency are clearly false, completely at odds with his proposal to limit successive presidential terms.
Also, the imperial presidency, similar to that of France, was intended to serve the purpose of rapid change after the fall of the USSR. We know it was intended to serve the interests of global capitalism, but somehow, Russia got her DeGaulle in Vladimir Putin.
France now has Macron, the Rothschild puppet, with DeGaulle's powerful office.
Putin and his government see that they have accomplished the core task of rebuilding a robust Russian society and economy, and the work still to be done.
He addresses this first, supporting the needs of people, families with kids, kids, schools, hospitals, and so on.
The new constitutional proposal is designed to increase the power of elected officials, so a PM is appointed by the Douma, not the president, but is subject to dismissal by the president. Judges are independent, but will be subject to dismissal for cause, under the constitution. There are more degrees of freedom, more transparency is requested, and there are shorter loops of control, more mechanisms to prevent cronyism from taking hold. I see mechanisms to prevent establishment of a permanent deep-state, as the President, who will not be a permanent fixture, but will keep changing, will appoint security agency heads and fire them. This will avoid what Trump faces, or attempts to avoid it.
Russia has survived the life-or-death crisis, is thriving, and undergoing self directed therapy beyond rehabilitation, now.
This is very forward-looking to support healthy Russian society in the longer term after current leaders have passed on.

The BBC has some higher quality worried speculations here:

This looks to me more like protection from transnationals in treaty enforced arbitration between corporations and nations.
A summary via TASS:
 Putin has suggested a putting up a package of constitutional amendments for a plebiscite. At the same time, the Russian president stated that he sees no grounds to adopt new constitution in Russia.
 Putin also suggest stipulating the supremacy of the Russian Constitution over international norms in Russia.
 “The time has come to make some changes to the nation’s fundamental law that would directly guarantee the priority of the Russian Constitution in our legal space. What does this mean? It means that requirements of international law and decisions of international bodies can only be enforced in Russia to such an extent that does not violate human and civil rights and freedoms and does not violate our Constitution,” Putin emphasized.

Eleni sends this from Whitney Webb:  
How an Israeli Spy-linked Tech Firm Gained Access to the US Government's Most Classified Networks
(First we gave it away to them, then we rented it back with spyware installed. Foreign aid to Israel is the BEST.)
Cybereason’s main investors turned partners have integrated Cybereason’s software into their product offerings. This means that the clients of these Cybereason partner companies, the U.S. intelligence community and military among them, are now part of Cybereason’s network of more than 6 million endpoints that this private company constantly monitors using a combination of staff comprised largely of former intelligence operatives and an AI algorithm first developed by Israeli military intelligence.  
​ ​"Look guys, we set up a war game of what happens if somebody hacks the 2020 election and it has to be invalidated and martial law imposed. Interested?"

 The mystery of what presidential rivals Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders said to each other in a heated exchange after Tuesday night’s Democratic debate has been solved, with debate host CNN revealing that Warren accused Sanders of calling her a liar on national television.
​ ​In an exchange caught on camera after the debate but unable to be heard by the television audience, Sanders responded to Warren that it was she who had called him a liar. Moments earlier Warren had refused to shake Sanders’ hand.
​ ​The two U.S. senators and liberal standard bearers in the Democrats’ nominating contest to pick a candidate to take on Republican President Donald Trump in November had been locked in a dispute before and during the debate over an allegation by Warren that Sanders had told her in a private 2018 meeting that a woman could not be elected president.
​ ​Sanders disputed that claim before and during the debate but Warren insists it’s true.

Remember how Iran landed a US drone in one piece a few years ago by spoofing it's GPS coordinates into a landing?
This appears to be somewhat similar of a claim. It is possible that a Ukrainian passenger jet was sending signals to Iranian air defense systems to spoof some kind of incoming attack. There's a lot to consider, still.
​ ​Iran Guardian Council chairman Ahmad Jannati stated Wednesday that “enemy sabotage” cannot be ruled out, while Brigadier General Ali Abdollahi directly suggested that US military forces hacked Iran’s radar systems to make it appear that the airliner, containing 176 people, was an incoming missile.  

Trump Secretly Threatened Europe With Auto Tariffs If It Didn't Declare Iran In Breach Of Nuclear Deal

​The US is in a "Freight Recession". How well can the "real economy" be when transport of stuff has been down so long?

Going Nowhere

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Rejecting Both Sides


CNN tried again to discredit Bernie Sanders, who now leads the Democratic pack in California polling, by painting him sexist. Caitlin Johnstone has the story:
 Sanders explicitly denied ever saying any such thing. He said there’s Youtube footage people can look up of him saying a woman could become president many decades ago, adding that he only ran for president in 2016 because Warren refused grassroots efforts to persuade her to run (efforts which he’d supported).
 “So Senator Sanders, I do want to be clear here, you’re saying that you never told Senator Warren that a woman could not win the election?” asked Phillip.
 “That is correct,” Sanders replied.
 “Senator Warren,” Phillip then asked without missing a beat. “What did you think when Senator Sanders told you that a woman could not win the election?”...
​ ​The belief that a woman cannot be elected president in 2020 is not a thing. Nobody believes that, and anyone who pretends to believe that anyone believes that is simply telling you that they are an unprincipled liar who would rather take a nonsense stand on a nonsense issue than promote actual policies and changes. The heavy favorite to win the 2016 election was a woman, and were she not literally in the middle of an FBI investigation during that election she would have overcome the narrow margins she lost by.  

Eleni sent 2 articles from the Saker blog about Vietnam's political position in a tough neighborhood, which are informative. I read them both entirely, and nothing is without bias, but these were useful information for me.
The comments following the 2015 "Conical Hat" historical perspective piece served to round it out a little better, but it's still Vietnamese history from a Vietnamese perspective. Vietnam is the only regional country which has fought the Chinese army to a standstill (which both claim as victory), fairly recently, and without air-superiority.

The second article, from 2020, by a Vietnamese writer whose analysis vastly exceeds English language skills, and awareness of diplomatic subtleties, concludes like this:
​ ​This is my own craziest theory: US, and Israel want Vietnam become A WATCHDOG on China and Russia helps Vietnam in order to give a hidden warning to China. From my own knowledge, I will explain with each country:
​ ​US wants to turn Vietnam into their new factory that can make US products to them. Vietnamese today trust US so blindly, and they always think that US will protect Vietnam from China. I am not surprised that Vietnamese want their own country become a vassal state of US due to the myth “US’s vassal state always rich and have happy life than anti-imperialist countries.” US need to weak China first so they can destroy China because China will be weakness in both economic and military after the war with Vietnam even if they win Vietnam. US also does not want to lose their new cheap labors, and a new place that willing import trashed every year for money, of course.
​ ​I think Russia help Vietnam because they want to give a warning sign to China: WE ARE WATCHING YOU AND DON’T TRUST YOU ENTIRELY, CHINA. China is just best ally to China because they have strong border to each other not friendship. I theorize that Putin will never forget China betrayal on Soviet Union when China Invaded Soviet Union in 1969 (they accused Soviet invaded China but I believe that China invaded Soviet), China funded Mujahideen during 1980s. I mean how can Russian military officers can forget China crime against Russia. I believe Russian will not forget China betrayal and they must being skeptical on China. China may possible so some potential in South China Sea so they entrust Vietnam more than China. Helping Vietnam is also message to China from Russia that China should know how to behave and Russia is not fool.
Israel secretly considers Vietnam a useful animal that need to be feed and train to die for their master due to their Talmudist Ideology. Jewish Elites is considering Chinese Elite a thorn in their eyes. China and Israel are playing double faces to each other right now so they need a slave or animal that has experiences to fight China: Vietnam. This is reason why Israel secret help Vietnam like Soviet helped Vietnam, seduced Vietnam in emotional way so Vietnamese will become good Goys that will die for their new Jewish Master.
​ ​I also (try to) believe that Vietnam right now try to maintain their neutral position as much as they can like what they have done before 2013. With the neutral position, Vietnam don’t give US, Russia, and Israel other reasons to hate, but cannot tell the country trust Vietnam entirely, of course. Vietnam can use the relationship with three countries above to pressure China to know how to behave in South China Sea (I hope I’m right this time).
​ ​I hope my analysis help you guys understand about Vietnam relationship with the superpower country and I hope you guys can give me feedback as much as you can.

Here is what is in the China-US trade deal, still insufficiently detailed, and always subject to evolving-reality:

Economics must examine underlying assumptions and change when they change. Energy inputs are critical.
​ ​How do economic analyses account for the roles and impacts of both the cost and quantity of natural resource consumption?
​ ​This question has been debated perhaps as long as there has been the profession of economics.  Before the use of fossil fuels, early “classical” economists knew that most products of interest, such as food and building materials, came from the land as it harnesses the energy from the sun. Thus, land as a natural resource was front-and-center to economic thinking.
​ ​With industrialization and the use of fossil fuels (that provide energy independent of current sunlight) economic analyses became less focused on the role of natural resources as an input into economic production such that in the 1900s most mainstream (i.e., Neoclassical) growth models do not directly account for energy and natural resources.

The Fed Can't Reverse the Decline of Financialization and Globalization, Charles Hugh Smith​
​ ​The global economy and financial system are both running on the last toxic fumes of financialization and globalization.
​ ​For two generations, globalization and financialization have been the two engines of global growth and soaring assets. Globalization can mean many things, but its beating heart is the arbitraging of the labor of the powerless, and commodity, environmental and tax costs by the powerful to increase their profits and wealth.
​ ​In other words, globalization is the result of those at the top of the wealth-power pyramid shifting capital around the world to exploit lower costs of labor, commodities, environmental regulations and taxes.
​ ​This manifests as offshoring of jobs, the stripmining of forests, minerals, etc., the degradation of local ecosystems, the decline of tax revenues derived from capital and the explosive rise in stock market valuations as wages stagnate or decline.
A key element in globalization is the transfer of risk from the owners of capital to the workers and public resources.


Monday, January 13, 2020

People Get Hurt

Mourning Again,

 Over the weekend we heard, from Iran, that Iran shot down a civilian flight, taking off from Tehran, shortly after the Iranian military responded to US assassination of of General Suleimani, on a diplomatic peace mission to Baghdad, as requested by President Trump. 
It took a few days, but Iran admitted to it. 
Missile defenses were on hair trigger for US retaliation, and People Got Hurt. 
Flashing back...
On July 3, 1988, in the late days of the Iran-Iraq war, the USS Vincennes mistakenly shot down Iran Air Flight 655 over Iranian waters and killed 290 people.
 In the days immediately following the incident, US President Ronald Reagan issued a written diplomatic note to the Iranian government, expressing deep regret.[15] However, the United States continued to insist that Vincennes was acting in self-defense in international waters.
​ ​In 1996, the governments of the United States and Iran reached a settlement at the International Court of Justice which included the statement "...the United States recognized the aerial incident of 3 July 1988 as a terrible human tragedy and expressed deep regret over the loss of lives caused by the incident..."[16] As part of the settlement, even though the U.S. government did not admit legal liability or formally apologize to Iran, it still agreed to pay US$61.8 million on an ex gratia basis in compensation to the families of the Iranian victims.

 Yet another video of Democratic primary front runner Joe Biden passionately defending the 2003 Iraq invasion and occupation has resurfaced and is going viral. In it he even sings George W. Bush's praises at a moment which came a mere few months after the now infamous "Mission Accomplished" stunt aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln.
 This comes in a campaign where he's lied repeatedly about his leading role in pushing the war authorization through the Senate five months before the March 2003 invasion, seeking to distance himself and methodically conceal the facts now that public opinion has long shifted. It also has resurfaced at a moment John Kerry is currently making the rounds on major networks defending Biden against Bernie Sanders’ criticism of Biden's clear pro-war record.
 At a crucial moment Biden's speech, delivered at the Hawkish DC Brookings Institution in July 2003 actually slammed anti-war Democrats and simultaneously upheld Bush and his disastrous war as "bold and popular" and promised further support to the neocon administration.

Evidence portrays the plot to assassinate General Suleimani originating with John Bolton, then National Security Advisor, and being canned by Trump as being excessive to the shoot down of a drone last June. "No American was killed". That became to loaded plan, awaiting a trigger, and a means to execute.
 For the past 18 months, officials said, there had been discussions about whether to target General Suleimani. Figuring that it would be too difficult to hit him in Iran, officials contemplated going after him during one of his frequent visits to Syria or Iraq and focused on developing agents in seven different entities to report on his movements — the Syrian Army, the Quds Force in Damascus, Hezbollah in Damascus, the Damascus and Baghdad airports and the Kataib Hezbollah and Popular Mobilization forces in Iraq...
​ ​Defense Secretary Mark Esper presented a series of response options to the president two weeks ago, including killing Soleimani. Esper presented the pros and cons of such an operation but made it clear that he was in favor of taking out Soleimani, officials said.
​ ​Trump signed off and it further developed from there.

​Under the US-backed Shah, the only places the Savak Secret Police did not closely monitor were the mosques, so ...​
 ..Anti-government protests over Iran's mistaken shoot-down of UIA Flight 752 continued on Monday for a third straight day, following the regime's admission of responsibility on Saturday.
 During the protests, which erupted out of anger over the regime's initial lies about Flight 752 (it initially insisted that a "mechanical error" was responsible despite video evidence suggesting a missile strike), Iranian security forces fired both live ammunition and tear gas into crowds of angry demonstrators.  
 Videos posted to social media on Sunday recorded gunshots in the vicinity of protests in Tehran’s Azadi Square. The wounded could be seen being carried off on stretchers as riot police fired what looked like rubber bullets. Other videos showed riot police beating protesters with batons, while others nearby screamed "Don’t beat them!"
 Moreover, shouts of "Death to the dictator" could be heard in footage circulating on social media. It showed protesters shouting, directing their fury at Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the system of clerical rule.

But wait, there's more. The Iranian General helping Yemenis fight Saudi Arabia survived.
 On very day of the US drone strike on Baghdad International Airport which took out Soleimani and his convoy, which included Iraq's top paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, a separate but parallel operation was taking place in Yemen at the same time against a "top financier and key commander in Iran’s elite Quds Force who has been active in Yemen," per the Post's description.
 US officials now say they also attempted to kill Islamic Revolutionary Guard commander Gen. Abdul Reza Shahlai on the same day (Jan.2), but failed.

Military "head-fake" or "wardrobe-malfunction"? 
Is this what Trumpian-de-escalation looks like?
 Just like that, it was over. General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff called it ‘a kerfuffle’. A letter was sent to their Iraqi peers that the U.S was repositioning troops out of Iraq in accordance with legislation from Iraq ending the U.S military presence in the war-torn country, and suddenly then it was retracted by higher-ups. Running interference, Mark Esper backed Milley and said it was ‘an honest mistake’. It all went down within a day of the irrational assassination of Iran’s Soleimani.

In what states is it legal to "smoke Biden" these days?
"He Needs To Stop": Democrats Freaking Out After Sanders Says Trump Will Smoke Biden
​ ​According to those complaining, the 78-year-old Sanders will make it harder for Democrats to unify around a nominee after months of taking flack from their own side of the aisle - despite the fact that a Friday poll has him in the lead, and that his no-holds-barred approach may earn him the nomination.
​ ​"He needs to stop," said one Democratic strategist who is unaffiliated with any candidates. "It's not helpful and it actually hurts the party. It’s like he didn't learn his lesson the last time. It’s incredibly short-sighted and terrible."

​Maybe John Bolton will run for president on the American Cannibals ticket. 
Peace-Negotiations must be stopped!
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the visiting emir of Qatar that de-escalation is the "only solution" to the regional crisis sparked by the US killing of Iran's top general, Qasem Soleimani, according to AFP citing the emirate's ruler.
​ ​"This visit comes at a critical time in the region," said Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, adding "We agreed... that the only solution to these crises is de-escalation from everyone and dialogue."
​Other than being made a lesson to scare everybody else again, it's a really good deal. 
Let's give it a try!
Is Iraq About To Become A Chinese Client State?

​Drilling For Dollars​

Thursday, January 9, 2020


Diplomatically Inclined,

This is a quick encapsulation:
​ ​Days after the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, new and important information is coming to light from a speech given by the Iraqi prime minister. The story behind Soleimani’s assassination seems to go much deeper than what has thus far been reported, involving Saudi Arabia and China as well the U.S. dollar’s role as the global reserve currency.
​ ​The Iraqi prime minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, has revealed details of his interactions with Trump in the weeks leading up to Soleimani’s assassination in a speech to the Iraqi parliament. He tried to explain several times on live television how Washington had been browbeating him and other Iraqi members of parliament to toe the American line, even threatening to engage in false-flag sniper shootings of both protesters and security personnel in order to inflame the situation, recalling similar modi operandi seen in Cairo in 2009, Libya in 2011, and Maidan in 2014. The purpose of such cynicism was to throw Iraq into chaos.​..

​ Abdul-Mehdi spoke angrily about how the Americans had ruined the country and now refused to complete infrastructure and electricity grid projects unless they were promised 50% of oil revenues, which Abdul-Mehdi refused.
​ ​This is why I visited China and signed an important agreement with them to undertake the construction instead. Upon my return, Trump called me to ask me to reject this agreement. When I refused, he threatened to unleash huge demonstrations against me that would end my premiership.
​ ​Huge demonstrations against me duly materialized and Trump called again to threaten that if I did not comply with his demands, then he would have Marine snipers on tall buildings target protesters and security personnel alike in order to pressure me.
​ ​I refused again and handed in my resignation. To this day the Americans insist on us rescinding our deal with the Chinese.
​ ​After this, when our Minister of Defense publicly stated that a third party was targeting both protestors and security personnel alike (just as Trump had threatened he would do), I received a new call from Trump threatening to kill both me and the Minister of Defense if we kept on talking about this “third party”.​..
​[​The House of Saud ​openly ​folds it's hand​]​
​ "The kingdom of Saudi Arabia was not consulted regarding the U.S. strike. In light of the rapid developments, the Kingdom stresses the importance of exercising restraint to guard against all acts that may lead to escalation, with severe consequences.​"​...
​ ​What clearly emerges is that the success of the operation against Soleimani had nothing to do with the intelligence gathering of the U.S. or Israel. It was known to all and sundry that Soleimani was heading to Baghdad in a diplomatic capacity that acknowledged Iraq’s efforts to mediate a solution to the regional crisis with Saudi Arabia.​..
 The petrodollar is what ensures that the U.S. dollar retains its status as the global reserve currency, granting the U.S. a monopolistic position from which it derives enormous benefits from playing the role of regional hegemon.
​ ​This privileged position of holding the global reserve currency also ensures that the U.S. can easily fund its war machine by virtue of the fact that much of the world is obliged to buy its treasury bonds that it is simply able to conjure out of thin air. To threaten this comfortable arrangement is to threaten Washington’s global power.​..​
​ ​Washington would like to prevent any Eurasian integration by unleashing chaos and destruction in the region, and killing Soleimani served this purpose.  The U.S. cannot contemplate the idea of the dollar losing its status as the global reserve currency. Trump is engaging in a desperate gamble that could have disastrous consequences​..​
​ ​The assassination of Soleimani is the U.S. lashing out at its steady loss of influence in the region. The Iraqi attempt to mediate a lasting peace between Iran and Saudi Arabia has been scuppered by the U.S. and Israel’s determination to prevent peace in the region and instead increase chaos and instability.  

​Original translated tweet thread, Thanks Helen of DesTroy.
A translation of the below thread by Ahmad Khazraji on Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, in which he reveals the reasons he held his silence and resigned. (Most significantly, he reveals that US Marine snipers fired at Iraqi protestors.)  

Moon of Alabama (1/7/20, updated) has good details and further context on this story.
 The chicken-hawks of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who have all lobbied the U.S. for war on Iran, now fear the consequences:
 Gulf Arab states, potential targets for retaliation after the U.S. assassinated Iran’s top general, are working on multiple tracks to try to keep tensions between Tehran and Washington from building into a military confrontation.
 Earlier today Russia's President Vladimir Putin arrived in Damascus for talks with the Syria's President Assad. Could there also be a meeting between Putin and Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah? Putin will next go to Turkey to inaugurate the gas pipeline between Russia and Turkey.

Eleni sends this translated report about the highly accurate Iranian strike on US weapons, an hour after warning the Swiss Embassy , so as to avoid injury to Americans, who went to bomb shelters. 
NO DEFENSIVE AMERICAN MISSILES! Where were the surface to air missiles defending the bases?
 Iran has bombed the largest US military base in Iraq, Ayn al-Assad, where for the past two days the American command has concentrated most of its forces. Many US bases, particularly in areas under Shiite control and around Baghdad, have been evacuated in recent days to Ayn al-Assad, where anti-nuclear shelters are located, for security reasons. Ayn al-Assad is located in the Anbar Desert, near the Iraqi-Syrian border. It is from this base that the drones that murdered Sardar Soleimani and his companions at Baghdad airport took off. Iran also bombed another US base in Erbil, Kurdistan​.
​ Another message was addressed to Israel. The new commander appointed to head the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' al-Quds brigade, Ismail Qaani, met with representatives of all Palestinian groups in Tehran. According to an informed source, Iran has pledged "its unrestricted support for all Palestinian groups until they reach their goal." Iran also announced that "Israel participated with the United States in the assassination of Sardar Soleimani".

M​oon of Alabama has more updated information:
Trump confirmed that there were no U.S. casualties. The situation is thereby de-escalating as the U.S. will now stand down. Trump called the damage on the base "minimal" even while several airplane/drone hangers were obviously hit and completely destroyed with everything they contained. Iran must have had very good intelligence about the site. Trump also lauded an early warning system that, he said, prevented casualties. The Swiss embassy in Tehran will have a good laugh at that comment.
​ ​Higher quality daylight pictures of the crashed Ukrainian plane show that at least some of the "shrapnel impact holes" are not holes at all but are debris or dirt lying on top of the aircraft pieces. Additional pictures also show no evidence of an externally induced event.

​This is exactly the circumstance, passenger jetliner at take-off, where a shoulder fired manpad missile​ can reliably shoot down a big jet. Of course, sabotage of a US made Ukrainian airliner would have been easy for US/Ukraine. 
Who benefits?
​ ​Kiev will establish if its airliner, which crashed near Tehran with 176 on board, was hit by a ‘Russian-made’ missile, collided with a drone, or was targeted by terrorists, a Ukrainian security council official has said.
​ ​Ukraine has sent dozens of investigators to Iran to look into possible causes of the crash, including “an explosion inside the plane following a terrorist attack,” collision with an unmanned aerial vehicle, or a direct hit by “a surface-to-air missile,” Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the security council, told Censor news outlet.
​ ​Kiev is now in talks with Tehran regarding access to the crash site, the official added. They said investigators will search it for any “wreckage of a Russian-[made] Tor missile,” referring to allegations that popped up on social media.

​(massive) Tor Missile System

Nice little manpad, which litters the Mideast these days after all the wars and CIA gifting to "moderate-rebels".
 Infrared homing missiles are designed to home-in on a heat source on an aircraft, typically the engine exhaust plume, and detonate a warhead in or near the heat source to disable the aircraft. These missiles use passive guidance, meaning that they do not emit signals to detect a heat source, which makes them difficult to detect by targeted aircraft employing countermeasure systems.  

"Freedom of Speech", You probably already noticed. Of course it violates US treaty with UN to do this. Thanks Colleen.
Trump Administration Blocks Iran’s Top Diplomat From Addressing the U.N. Security Council
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had sought to give a speech condemning the U.S. assassination of Qassem Suleimani.

​Note to Self: 
"Don't Carry Sign ​Saying Americans Die for Israeli Controlled Mideast Policy at Antiwar Rally"
I've got to wonder if the heroic guy who keeps asking for an explanation is Palestinian American. "NAZI, NAZI, NAZI, NAZI, NAZI..." Thanks Eleni
​Dude, Where's my brain-slice?
Working with slices of human brain tissue, the team found unexpectedly complex electrical activity in the dendrites of human pyramidal neurons. Modeling this activity then showed that single neurons were capable of solving computational problems which were thought to need a lot more brain power.

 Somewhat Impaired

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Murder Most Foul


​ ​The bombshell facts were delivered by caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, during an extraordinary, historic parliamentary session in Baghdad on Sunday.
​ ​Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani had flown into Baghdad on a normal carrier flight, carrying a diplomatic passport. He had been sent by Tehran to deliver, in person, a reply to a message from Riyadh on de-escalation across the Middle East. Those negotiations had been requested by the Trump administration.
​ ​So Baghdad was officially mediating between Tehran and Riyadh, at the behest of Trump. And Soleimani was a messenger. Adil Abdul-Mahdi was supposed to meet Soleimani at 8:30 am, Baghdad time, last Friday. But a few hours before the appointed time, Soleimani died as the object of a targeted assassination at Baghdad airport.
​ ​Let that sink in – for the annals of 21st century diplomacy. Once again: it does not matter whether the assassination order was issued by President Trump, the US Deep State or the usual suspects – or  when. After all, the Pentagon had Soleimani on its sights for a long time, but always refused to go for the final hit, fearing devastating consequences.
​ ​Now, the fact is that the United States government – on foreign soil, as a guest nation – has assassinated a diplomatic envoy who was on an official mission that had been requested by the United States government itself.​..

​ ​Killing Soleimani does prove that Trump, the Deep State and the usual suspects all agree on the essentials: there can be no entente cordiale between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Divide and rule remains the norm.

​Former UK Ambassador Craig Murray:
​ ​In one of the series of blatant lies the USA has told to justify the assassination of Soleimani, Mike Pompeo said that Soleimani was killed because he was planning “Imminent attacks” on US citizens. It is a careful choice of word. Pompeo is specifically referring to the Bethlehem Doctrine of Pre-Emptive Self Defence.
​ ​Developed by Daniel Bethlehem when Legal Adviser to first Netanyahu’s government and then Blair’s, the Bethlehem Doctrine is that states have a right of “pre-emptive self-defence” against “imminent” attack.

“Why don’t we simply take their oil?”  Donald Trump
​Michael Hudson, the original author of the idea of the Petrodollar, in his book, Super Imperialism, which Nixon and Kissinger used after Nixon had to default on the gold standard, explains the current military and financial status of the Petrobuck Empire. US military must support American dollar trading of Mideast oil, and must effectively prevent countries like Iraq, Libya and Iran from selling oil outside the $US regime. Failure to assure the need for dollars to buy oil will demote the $US to just another global currency. The US/empire will quite getting stuff for freely-conjured dollars, and won't be able to afford the imperial army.​ The imperial army consists of democratic air force and navy, with mercenary jihadis like ISIS and al-Qaeda on the ground getting killed. Lessons of Vietnam... 
This is reality. Iran is not threatening New York with terrorist attacks. Iran is not who does that..

Dan White's military analysis of the (in)ability of the US to defeat Iran, from 2015, remains pertinent and instructive. The US has no will to lose tens of thousands of American soldiers in a meat grinder. The grinder would keep on grinding,too.

What if we invade Iran with a robot Terminator army. That would save lives, right? Helen of DesTroy has the story:
Make no mistake: Military robots are not there to preserve human life, they are there to allow even more endless wars

​Your move, Don...
​ ​Last night Iran fired 22 Qiam missiles towards two U.S. bases in Iraq. Between 1:45 and 2:15 local time (~22:00 UTC) seventeen missiles hit the Ain al Asad airbase west of Ramadi. Five missiles were aimed at Erbil airport in the northern Kurdish region of Iraq. There were no casualties.
​ ​The Swiss embassy in Tehran, which represents the U.S., was warned at least one hour before the attack happened. Around 0:00 UTC the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) which prohibited civil U.S. flights over Iraq, Iran, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
​ ​This attack was the "open" and "proportional" response for the U.S. assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani which Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had promised. It will certainly not be the only response but represents the opening shot of a long and much more silent campaign to kick the U.S. out of the Middle East.​..​

The Ain al Asad airbase which was hit is where the drones that killed Soleimani and the Iraqi leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were launched from. Erbil airport is the logistic center for the U.S. forces in Syria.​..​ 
​ ​Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 2:45 UTC · Jan 8, 2020
All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.  

​What is up with this Boeing 737  that plummeted to the ground right after take-off from Tehran last night, killing all aboard? Does it mean anything that it was owned by a Ukrainian company?​ 
American media is saying "Maybe Iran accidentally shot it down". I don't think so.
​ ​Nothing was wrong with the Ukraine International Airlines jet that came down in Iran with 176 on board, the company has said. It was one of the best planes in UIA’s fleet and had undergone maintenance just days before the crash.
​ ​Delivered to UIA in 2016, the Boeing 737-800 was “in excellent condition” before its last flight from Tehran to Kiev, Evgeny Dykhne, the company’s president, told reporters in Kiev, also describing the aircraft as “one of the best.”

​Lest we forget:​
Iran Air Flight 655 was a scheduled passenger flight from Tehran to Dubai via Bandar Abbas, that was shot down on 3 July 1988 by an SM-2MR surface-to-air missile fired from USS Vincennes, a guided missile cruiser of the United States Navy  

Monday, January 6, 2020



I would like to propose to the Iranian government that they "paint" all tankers​,​ carrying oil paid for in $US through the Strait of Hormuz, with missile targeting radar, and announce that they won't actually start sinking them yet.
China can start paying for oil in Yuan/Renmenbi, or even Euros. 
Lloyd's of Lond​o​n can say that insurance will be higher for oil bought in $US.​ ​
​That will hasten the fall of the Petrobuck-Empire.​

​ ​Former UK Ambassador, Craig Murray discusses the change in Mideast power politics, which has just been brought about.
​ ​US influence was balanced by strong Iranian aligned militia forces who were an alternative source of strength to the government of Baghdad, and of course by the fact that the centre of Sunni tribal strength, the city of Falluja, had itself been obliterated by the United States, three times, in an act of genocide of Iraqi Sunni population.
​ ​Through all this the Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi had until now tiptoed with great care. Pro-Iranian yet a long term American client, his government maintained a form of impartiality based on an open hand to accept massive bribes from anybody. That is now over. He is pro-Iranian now.
​ ​Such precarious balance as there ever was in Iraq was upset this last two months when the US and Israelis transported more of their ISIL Sunni jihadists into Iraq, to escape the pincer of the Turkish, Russian and Syrian government forces. The Iranians were naturally not going to stand for this and Iranian militias were successfully destroying the ISIL remnants, which is why General Qassem Suleimani was in Iraq, why a US mercenary assisting ISIL was killed in an Iranian militia rocket attack, and why Syrian military representatives were being welcomed at Baghdad airport.
It is five years since I was last in the Green Zone in Baghdad, but it is extraordinarily heavily fortified with military barriers and checks every hundred yards, and there is no way the crowd could have been allowed to attack the US Embassy without active Iraqi government collusion. That profound political movement will have been set in stone by the US assassination of Suleimani. Tehran will now have a grip on Iraq that could prove to be unshakable.
​ ​Nevertheless, Tel Aviv and Riyadh will also be celebrating today at the idea that their dream of the USA destroying their regional rival Iran, as Iraq and Libya were destroyed, is coming closer. The USA could do this. The impact of technology on modern warfare should not be underestimated.​..
 So what happens now? Consolidating power in Iraq and finishing the destruction of ISIL in Iraq will be the wise advance that Iranian statesman can practically gain from these events. But that is, of course, not enough to redeem national honour. Something quick and spectacular is required for that. It is hard not to believe there must be a very real chance of action being taken against shipping in the Straits of Hormuz, which Iran can do with little prior preparation. Missile attacks on Saudi Arabia or Israel are also well within Iran’s capability, but it seems more probable that Iran will wish to strike a US target rather than a proxy. An Ambassador may be assassinated. Further missile strikes against US outposts in Iraq are also possible. All of these scenarios could very quickly lead to disastrous escalation.  

Iraqi Parliament votes to expel US troops, as expected.
The US State Department has expressed its "disappointment" at the Iraqi parliament's vote to expel US forces. However, as Axios' Jonathan Swan notes in a tweet, that he just spoke with a senior Iraqi government official, who explained that people should be very cautious about drawing certain conclusions from Iraq's parliamentary vote to expel the U.S.  
We'll pay for your base, if you pay for what you did to our country.​..​
Trump Says "US Will Not Leave" Iraq Unless Billions For Air Base Are Repaid, Threatens Baghdad With "Very Big" Sanctions  
Gail Tverberg reads the hydrocarbon-fuel tea leaves. ​   ​The real situation is different. We already seem to be on the road toward a new crisis; this crisis is likely to be much worse than the Great Recession of 2008-2009. This time, a major problem is likely to be energy prices that are too low for producers. Last time, a major problem was oil prices that were too high for consumers. The problem is different, but it is in some ways symmetric.​                                                       ​​ ​ Last time, the United States seemed to be the epicenter; this time, my analysis indicates China is likely to be the epicenter. Last time, the world economy was coming off a high growth period; this time, the world economy is already somewhat depressed, even before hitting headwinds. These differences, plus the strange physics-based way that the world economy is organized, explain why the outcome seems likely to be worse this time than in 2008-2009.​ ​ 

​Michael Hudson lays out the economic reasons why Americans are feeling so very stressed by finance, despite a booming stock "market".
​ Payments on the economy’s rising debt should rightly be viewed as a subtrahend from national income. But the GDP accounting format treats this rising debt as a necessary cost of production. In this line of theorizing, creditors provide a productive service whose value is reflected in the rate of interest and the magnitude of fees and penalties. Ultra-low interest rates, resulting from financial lobbying pressures, have held down the cost of carrying this debt, but these low official rates mask the reality that many debtors fall behind and have to pay penalty fees and high penalty interest rates.
 These payments are added to today’s GDP measure, even as they leave less family income available to be spent on products. The result is a statistical confusion concerning how much GDP growth is actual income and product growth, and how much is rent extracted from disposable personal and corporate income. That is the basic conceptual issue addressed in this paper.

Charles Hugh Smith, to whom we are also beholden for drawing attention to the above financial news, asks
 "Is this the top?"
It's not an idle question. Look at both posts for the broadest picture.

Australian bushfires have mostly been started by people,about 85% of them, especially kids on school holidays. Almost 200 people have been arrested. Lots get away, of course.

Inescapable Consequences

Saturday, January 4, 2020

To Stop A War


Moon of Alabama says this murder of Qassim Suleimani (and a dozen Iraqi military personnel) was the assassination of an Iranian official, openly seeking to attend an Iraqi state funeral, after taking a commercial flight from Lebanon. 
It is particularly another act of war against Iraq, after the 5 attacks last weekend. (The attack Friday 12/27/19 which killed an American mercenary is broadly thought to have been an Israeli false-flag provocation.)
Earlier today a U.S. drone or helicopter killed Major General Qassim Soleimani, the famous commander of the Iranian Quds ('Jerusalem') force, while he left the airport of Baghdad where he had just arrived. He had planned to attend the funeral of the 31 Iraqi soldiers the U.S. had killed on December 29 at the Syrian-Iraqi border near Al-Qaim.
 The Quds force is the external arm of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Soleiman was responsible for all relations between Iran and political and militant movements outside of Iran. Hajji Qassim advised the Lebanese Hisbullah during the 2006 war against Israel. His support for Iraqi groups enabled them to kick the U.S. invaders out of Iraq. He was the man responsible for, and successful in, defeating the Islamic State in iraq and Syria. In 2015 Soleimani traveled to Moscow and convinced Russia to intervene in Syria. His support for the Houthi in Yemen enabled them to withstand the Saudi attackers.

​The US is on a killing spree in Iraq, using drone forces based in Iraq, and has killed more Iraqi command level officers late Friday US time. This is more war against Iraq from inside Iraq. US Army reinforcements are already arriving...

Trump gets CIA briefings every morning, and frequent updates. Garbage in, garbage out? What "reality" is this?
President Trump on Friday said that America does not seek "regime change" in Iran, and that the United States "took action last night to stop a war" by killing Iran's #2 commander, Qasem Soleimani, on Thursday.
​ ​Speaking from Mar-a-Lago one day after the strike, the president said that Soleimani "made the death of innocent people his sick passion."
​ ​"We caught him in the act and terminated him," said Trump, adding that The US is "ready and prepared to take whatever action is necessary."
"We took action last night to stop a war."

​Always the voice of reason: ​
​Lindsay ​Graham Tells Trump To ​"Crush Iranian Economy' By Targeting Oil Refineries After Assassination​'​

​Tom Luongo has a good synthesis of the situation: (Again, think Obi Wan Kenobi.)
​ ​Like it or not Trump executed the man most responsible for the systemic destruction of ISIS and neutering of Al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq. He’s also a man, over the years, who has fought the U.S. to a standstill across the Middle East.
​ ​Those were his pertinent crimes.
​ ​This is the most dangerous escalation of Trump’s administration. Nothing he’s done to this point compares with killing Solemaini and taking immediate credit for it.
​ ​Nothing he’s done is more tone deaf or disproportionate to whatever crimes were the proximate cause. And nothing he could have done would be more galvanizing of resistance to U.S. occupation of Iraq and Syria.

"​In case of emergency, break glass and pull"​
​ ​The U.S. military in September ordered the largest stress test of its wartime sealift fleet in the command’s history, with 33 out of 61 government-owned ships being activated simultaneously. The results were bad, according to a new report.
​ ​In an unclassified U.S. Transportation Command report posted to its website, the so-called turbo activation revealed that less than half of the sealift fleet would be fully prepared to get underway for a major sealift operation in a crisis.

​Craig Murray on the rise of the Zombie State:
​ ​The ruling Establishment has learnt a profound lesson from the debacle over Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction. The lesson they have learnt is not that it is wrong to attack and destroy an entire country on the basis of lies. They have not learnt that lesson despite the fact the western powers are now busily attacking the Iraqi Shia majority government they themselves installed, for the crime of being a Shia majority government.
​ ​No, the lesson they have learnt is never to admit they lied, never to admit they were wrong. They see the ghost-like waxen visage of Tony Blair wandering around, stinking rich but less popular than an Epstein birthday party, and realise that being widely recognised as a lying mass murderer is not a good career choice. They have learnt that the mistake is for the Establishment ever to admit the lies.

​Thanks Eleni, for the updated Israeli 2-state-solution-but-we-take-it-all peace plan.
​ The Israeli right is preparing to present a plan to overthrow the Jordanian king after annexing the Jordan Valley in the West Bank to realise the dream of Jordan being converted to Palestine. They aim to establish a confederation between the PA and “Palestinian Jordan” because the Israeli right is interested in annexing the West Bank without the millions of Palestinians within it. Forcing them to head to Jordan.
 Israel’s Haaretz newspaper revealed in late December the Israeli right-wing’s approaches and plans, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This is based on the claims that Israel has major plans for Jordan, but these plans do not include the same king.

Going whole-hog at Davos. Watch out for Iranian counter-attack, everybody!
  US.Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will lead a group of US officials who will attend the World Economic Forum later this month in Davos, Switzerland, the White House said Wednesday.
 Mnunchin will be joined by officials including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and White House senior advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.
Also attending will be Keith Krach, a State Department under secretary for growth, energy and the environment, and Christopher Liddell, a White House deputy chief of staff...
 A White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Wednesday that Trump is still expected to attend at this time.
​French President and House of Rothschild representative, Emmanuel Macron will not be deterred from looting the, surprisingly healthy by globalist standards, French pension plans, no matter how many workers strike, or for how long, "because that's where they keep the money".​

Ellen Brown points out that we may have been barking up the wrong, or not-the-best, tree. Thanks Travis.
I hope Davos gets the memo.
 Perry observes that before farmland was cultivated, it had soil carbon levels of from 3% to 7%. Today, those levels are roughly 1% carbon. If every acre of farmland globally were returned to a soil carbon level of just 3%, 1 trillion tons of carbon dioxide would be removed from the atmosphere and stored in the soil – equal to the amount of carbon that has been drawn into the atmosphere since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution 200 years ago. The size of the potential solution matches the size of the problem.
​ ​So how can we increase the carbon content of soil? Through “regenerative” farming practices, says Perry, including planting cover crops, no-till farming, rotating crops, reducing chemicals and fertilizers, and managed grazing (combining trees, forage plants and livestock together as an integrated system, a technique called “silvopasture”).

​Grows On Trees​

Friday, January 3, 2020

Tortured Existence


Professor Anthony Hall has an article about Israeli torture of Palestinian prisoners of all ages, most often detained indefinitely without charges or trial or any particular rights. Israel is the illegal military occupying power of the world which these rightful citizens inhabit. No Israeli guard/interrogator has ever been charged with wrongdoing.
​ ​One example is Mahmoud Zakarner, 19, from Kabatya village. Mahmoud had his testicles smashed in front of his uncle in an effort to force his uncle to provide the names of those who participated in the killing of a collaborator in February 1988. Mahmoud is now paralyzed and unable to speak as a result...
 ​ ​The misrepresentation of 9/11 was used to infuse into US military policy the Israeli embrace of the strategy of so-called “pre-emptive war.” This policy of hitting targets immediately on the suspicion that combatants may be preparing attacks has oozed into many aspects of public policy. One of the casualties of the shift has been the legal presumption of innocence until guilt is proven. The sharp increase in rates of arbitrary detention followed by frequent rounds of torture of Palestinians provides a classic example of post-9/11 practice in Israel.​..

​ ​How much is torture used these days to draw from victims desired explanations to give the appearance of evidence for concocted narratives? The Global War on Terror originates in a concocted narrative supported with supposed evidence obtained through illegal torture. The ongoing Global War on Terror continues to require a steady stream of concocted narratives to give a steady stream of deceptions some resemblance to truth. Since torture victims can be terrorized into saying almost anything in order to make the pain stop, torture victims can easily be pressured to produce the false narratives needed to keep culprits in power.​..
 Why is it that whenever and wherever torture is taking place, whether it be in Latin America, Abu Ghraib or the Balkans, Israeli individuals tend to have some involvement as protagonists. In the post-9/11 world the governments and companies of Israel have marketed themselves as leading practitioners of anti-terrorism, counter-terrorism. This claim is often justified by pointing to the Israeli experience of repressing the Palestinians​..​.
​ ​When the people of France discovered in the 1950s that torture was being inflicted by French soldiers on Algerian foes, the uproar was such that France itself was plunged into a chaotic state approaching the severity of civil war. So far the travesty of proliferating torture in our times, including in Israel and the USA, has yet to arouse the level of popular opposition it deserves. Of this crime against humanity Yara Hawari has written, “torture requires the total dehumanization of the person, and once that occurs the boundaries of degradation are limitless.”

A United Nations official says the U.S. is torturing Chelsea Manning with detention, in a letter to the U.S. government released Tuesday.
​ ​Nils Melzer, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture, accused the U.S. of torture by holding Manning in “civil contempt” of court for refusing to testify in front of a grand jury, in a letter sent in November.
​ ​Melzer says in the letter that the former Army intelligence analyst is being subjected to “an open-ended, progressively severe measure of coercion fulfilling all the constitutive elements of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Iran's Top Military Commander, Qasem Suleimani, Assassinated In US Airstrike
It looks like US drones killed General Suleimani and a fair number of other people at Baghdad airport early Friday 1/3/20.​ I expect Iran to be very careful and patient in responding.​

​Here is the situation in Iraq, as the US assassinated General Suleimani on Iraqi soil, with the usual collateral damage:
​ ​When on December 29 several missiles hit a U.S. base in Iraq and killed one U.S. contractor the Trump administration did exactly that. It bombed five sides at the Iraqi Syrian border hundreds of kilometers away from the original attack. Some 32 people died of which only nine were members of the of the Kata'ib Hezbollah group of the PMF. The others killed were Iraqi border policy men and regular Iraqi soldiers.
​ ​We immediately predicted that the incident was likely to end the presence of U.S. military in Iraq.
After the official mourning family members and comrades of the deceased soldiers stormed the perimeter of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. They left yesterday after the prime minister guaranteed them that the Iraqi parliament would soon vote on a law that would evict all U.S. forces.

​ ​The U.S. has reinforced its embassy guards. It has airlifted an airborne infantry battalion to Kuwait and put another 4,000 troops on standby.
​ ​The Trump administration did not apologize for its attack on the Iraqi troops. Instead it appealed to Iraqi sovereignty, which it had broken when it attacked the PMF, when it demanded better protection for its embassy. Even today, with no demonstrators anywhere nearby, the U.S. was flying helicopters patrols over Baghdad. The Iraqis see that as a further insult.​..
​ The U.S. sees Iraq and Syria as the grounds on which it can fight Iran. Neither country wants to be in such a position.

​Iran puts all forces on high alert. They know what is coming.

We know that God is patient, though...
Iran's supreme leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei, warned in a statement that the "criminals" responsible for the death of a top Iranian general will face "severe revenge", and that his work fighting on behalf of the Iranian people "won't be stopped by his martyrdom," according to a statement published on Twitter.
​The fact is that recycling plastics has always been a scam and will always be a scam. It just allows the manufacturers and industrial users of disposable plastic products to keep increasing output into the world. We just need to stop using plastic packaging, plastic bags and disposable eating utensils. Do you remember before they existed? It will be a change in lifestyle. Eating in traffic will be over.

Choosing Responsibly

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Truth Will Out

Facing Reality,

Jim Kunstler lets it all hang out in his 2020 predictions, best I've seen. Here's some lead-in.
​ W​hat drove the American thinking class insane? I maintain that it comes from the massive anxiety generated by the long emergency we’ve entered — the free-floating fear that we’ve run out the clock on our current way of life, that the systems we depend on for our high standard of living have entered the failure zone; specifically, the fears over our energy supply, dwindling natural resources, broken resource supply lines, runaway debt, population overshoot, the collapsing middle-class, the closing of horizons and prospects for young people, the stolen autonomy of people crushed by out-of-scale organizations (government, WalMart, ConAgra), the corrosion of relations between men and women (and of family life especially), the frequent mass murders in schools, churches, and public places, the destruction of ecosystems and species, the uncertainty about climate change, and the pervasive, entropic ugliness of the suburban human habitat that drives so much social dysfunction. You get it? There’s a lot to worry about, much of it quite existential. The more strenuously we fail to confront and engage with these problems, the crazier we get.  

​George Monbiot on Christmas giving as currently practiced.
 Researching her film The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard discovered that of the materials flowing through the consumer economy, only 1% remain in use six months after sale(1). Even the goods we might have expected to hold onto are soon condemned to destruction through either planned obsolescence (breaking quickly) or perceived obsolesence (becoming unfashionable)...
 People in eastern Congo are massacred to facilitate smart phone upgrades of ever diminishing marginal utility(3). Forests are felled to make “personalised heart-shaped wooden cheese board sets”. Rivers are poisoned to manufacture talking fish. This is pathological consumption: a world-consuming epidemic of collective madness, rendered so normal by advertising and the media that we scarcely notice what has happened to us.

China is investing in Africa for the long term. Wazzat mean? 
China is building Chinese economic areas, with Chinese workers, factories and products, Chinese autonomous cities, with good roads, railroads, ports and utilities. African governments are taking out loans from China to do this, and having to turn over state-owned assets, like electric utilities, when they can't make payments. 
This is colonialism-with-Chinese characteristics, isn't it. 
China could use another continent some day. 
Europeans tried some of this, so some African countries still speak French and English, and Europeans did try to populate South Africa and Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, which are more temperate.
Michael Snyder presents this as "much worse", but I can't really see that. 
It's mainly different, but it might become genocidal by the end of the century.

Google is different, suddenly quite different. A whole lot of core employees and top directors have suddenly left.
​ ​Workers told CNBC that 2018 was a pivotal point in the company’s shift away from upfront communication. That was when news of Project Dragonfly, a secret Google plan to develop a censored search engine for possible rollout in China, first broke in The Intercept. Internally, the existence of the project had been kept on a need-to-know basis.
​ ​The company later canceled Project Dragonfly after employees expressed concern over the secrecy of the project. Some workers left the company altogether.

​Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, talks about meeting with Donald Trump as the impeachment festivities kicked off 12/20/19. Thanks Eleni.
"I like the way Trump discusses international agenda and issues in bilateral relations. He avoids any ambiguity and tries to say what he thinks directly," Lavrov said in an interview aired by Russia's Channel One.
​ ​This "productive approach" that not many top politicians use allows parties "to better understand the opportunities, difficulties and prospects of relations."
​ ​The FM met with Trump on December 10 when the House Democrats announced the articles on which they were going to vote to impeach him for what they call pressure on Ukraine to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son's activities.
​ ​As Democrats had failed to impeach Trump previously for "collusion with Russia" because the probe found none, his meeting on that day fueled up the Resistance. But Lavrov insisted that it was just a "coincidence," with the date of his meeting with Trump agreed a month before his arrival to Washington.
Lavrov described his talks at the White House as "substantial," saying that at least "a dozen of substantial issues" were discussed including bilateral ties, strategic stability, arms control and various regional conflicts, such as those in the Middle East, Ukraine and the Korean Peninsula. "There was an extremely direct conversation on all those topics, with no attempts to cut corners or avoid contentious issues."  

 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has hailed the completion of an against all odds landmark deal with Russia's Gazprom as ensuring "energy security and prosperity for Ukrainians."
​ ​It will keep natural gas flowing to Western Europe via Ukraine for the next five years, which is estimated to net Ukraine $7 billion (€6.25 billion) in gas transit fees by 2024
​ ​After a series of compromise breakthroughs over the past weeks, including Gazprom paying out $2.9 billion legal settlement to Naftogaz and Kiev in turn agreeing to wave a separate legal claim, the two sides finally inked the historic deal on Monday.  

"One Nation Conservatism" is a populist package the Tories are putting into place to give more support to places where most Britons live, that are not London, a completely novel initiative. It seems that this is a serious preparation for holding the country together through Brexit.

"I'm slowly dying", says Julian Assange on Christmas Eve, sounding groggy and sedated in Belmarsh Prison. (There is a lot of interest in having Assange die of something that resembles "natural causes" among certain imperial elites.)

Addicted to Anticipation, what goes on in the brain chemistry of a gambling addict 
​ ​“First you get that euphoric feeling, that rush and excitement,” Townsend-Lyon says, “Once you become addicted, then you get to the point where you don’t care about anything. You’re in a zone and you don’t realize what’s going on around you.”
The high is in expecting an outcome, desiring it, imagining it, not in its fulfillment.

W​all Street Gambler​