Friday, December 29, 2023

United Underdogs

 Good Citizens,

  On Christmas Day we drove from Austin up to Fort Worth  to help our son Jim with his "new" 1950s house structural assessment for repair and remediation work, mostly in the attic. 
We also visited our other son Steve, and our granddaughter on the other side of the DFW megalopolis, in McKinney. Steve came over to help his dad and brother on Tuesday, as we were cutting 2X4s and making measurements and plans. It was nice to be working together
  We drove back to Austin last night after a couple of "good" days beginning attic structural repairs, with consulting help from Lester, an Architectural Engineer "friend indeed". Jim and "dad" got a good start on the structural repairs, figuring out the process along the inside of the crest of the roof, and also began insulating the bare ducting for heating and cooling with fiberglass blankets and duct tape. It seemed like a pretty good "meaning of Christmas" endeavor, and we worked out some good methods.

  It is the reflective time of year to look at our world, where industrial society is being drained by rising expense of fuels, especially oil, and rising extraction of value as "profits" from the productive economy, through "financial innovations". European nations have forsworn Russian oil and gas, except as passed through Indian refineries to raise prices. They are using Liquified Natural Gas at 3-4 times the cost. More people can't afford that, and industries are shutting down, as they can't sell products like fertilizer and plastics at high enough prices to make money. Global oil production (even redefined "oil and natural gas liquids") peaked in late 2018, and is as good a reflection of productive economy in the world as anything. Electrical generation points out where economies have been stagnant or expanding.
  The Honest Sorcerer has that story: 
Goodbye 2023, Goodbye Old World​ , The year when western industrial civilization slipped

​"Ruh-Roh"; used up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve ... Global gasoline consumption hit a record 26.9 million barrels per day (bpd) this year, exceeding the 2019 peak and defying estimates that the last pre-pandemic year was the time when gasoline demand worldwide would peak.

​  Charles Hugh Smith points out that there is not a good historical analog for 2024. After WW-1 industrial economies were in decline following peak-anthracite-coal (the good, hard, black stuff in steam-engines). That drove Italy into the arms of Germany, when England could not export coal to her. The predations of global banking were similarly bleeding economies, by forcing "allied" nations to repay their vast debts at interest, which they could not, and tried to extract from Germany, which really could not pay those bills, which led to the adaptive strategy called "World War 2".​ The US, as the largest oil producing country, had begun the transition to oil-based economy, and replacing horses with cars and motorized trucks. The US Navy had transitioned to oil, as well. 
  Differences are that there is no new-oil to become a dominant fuel as oil, coal and natural gas deplete. Additionally, the amount of debt compared to productive economy is vast, and predicated on just service of the debt in perpetuity, by an exponentially growing economy.
  There are countries which meet the needs of their citizens more efficiently, but most of us live where the energy and financial efficiencies of providing for human needs are low. There is extraction of value at every level in the US, for instance, due to "rentier" financial interests having long prevailed politically over productive industrial enterprises. Restructuring along the lines of "Classical Economics" would minimize rent-extraction, the goal of classical economic theory, but there is no political structure to serve this need, as globalist rentier-interests have bought the political apparatus in western economies.
​  What If There Are No Analogs for 2024?​ , Maybe we'll get 1893, 1929, 1968 and 2008 analogs mixed into a heady cocktail of surprises.

​  Righting a wrong: Burying decades of US-led warsToday's global conflicts – whether in Eastern Europe, West Asia, or East Asia – are spawned by a fading US hegemon desperately clinging to power.
​  Official US documents, including last year’s National Security Strategy, underscore Washington's conviction that waiting is a luxury it cannot afford; that it “will act decisively” to maintain its global leadership. As such, the US involvement in conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, as well as the militarization in Southeast Asia, must be seen through this lens of international dynamics.
​  Broadly, tensions in Africa and Asia are interconnected with the west's frenzied initiatives to maintain a dominant position and decisive role in the new multipolar order.​..

​  Mike Mihajlovic does a really good job of explaining what Yemeni ballistic missiles and drones can do, how they do it, and what that means for shipping to and from Israel, Israeli-owned ships, and western navies within range. This effectively closes the Red Sea to Israeli interests, and if the US Navy attacks Yemeni missile sites, it will receive heavy damage to military vessels.
The Red Sea Show [i]​ , Yemeni Ansar Allah (Houthis) vs 'the Coalition'

​  John Helmer says that the Yemenis know who owns what ships through shell companies, and exclusively attack Israeli shipping interests.
​  Since the start of Israel’s genocide of Gaza, it has been the claim of the Israelis, their lawyers,  and allies that there are no innocent civilians in Gaza, so they say that killing them all is neither a genocide nor a war crime.
​  Israel’s President Isaac Herzog said it in India in October.   US Congressman Brian Mast said it, following the Israeli lead.    The US Navy analyst who spied for Israel and served half a life in US prison for his treason has declared it in print.   A French-Israeli lawyer has argued the legality on French television.  
​  The reply the Arab militaries fighting against Israel have made is that there is no innocent oil tanker or container ship moving within missile or drone range of Israel, the Red Sea or the Indian Ocean unless it can prove it. This answer by the Ansar Allah government of Yemen, aka the Houthi military, is that they will attack any vessel which they know to be owned or controlled by Israel through its shipping families, companies, and their cutouts.
​  As a result, Houthi drone and missile attacks have exposed the elaborate scheme of corporate camouflage and false-flagging which Israel has been employing to conceal the vessel identities  and movement of its international shipping operations. The Anglo-American maritime industry media, privy to these secrets, have not published them. The mainstream western press remains in the dark.
​  In today’s Gorillla Radio podcast, this isn’t dark any longer. Not genocide in Gaza but money in shipowner pockets is blowing the gaff.
​  There is much more at stake. The effectiveness of the Houthi ship targeting campaign has so threatened the movement of vital cargoes into and out of Europe that shipping, port, and military officials in France, Italy, Spain, and Greece are now trying to avert a commercial disaster for themselves by arranging secret safe-passage deals with Yemen and Iran in exchange for which they are applying a blockade on Israel’s cargoes, vessels and ports.
​  This is the secret which is torpedoing the Pentagon’s multinational Red Sea naval escort plan, called OPERATION PROSPERITY GUARDIAN.

​  Pepe Escobar may be projecting a little ahead of events, but just a little bit.
How Yemen changed everything​ , In a single move, Yemen's Ansarallah has checkmated the west and its rules-based order.
​  Yes, a pawn can impose a seismic checkmate. That’s where we are, geopolitically, right now.
​  The cascading effects of a single move on the chessboard – Yemen’s Ansarallah stunning and carefully targeted blockade of the Red Sea – reach way beyond global shipping, supply chains, and The War of Economic Corridors. Not to mention the reduction of the much lauded US Navy force projection to irrelevancy.
​  Yemen's resistance movement, Ansarallah, has made it very clear that any Israel-affiliated or Israel-destined vessel will be intercepted. While the west bristles at this, and imagines itself a target, the rest of the world fully understands that all other shipping is free to pass. Russian tankers – as well as Chinese, Iranian, and Global South ships – continue to move undisturbed across the Bab al-Mandeb (narrowest point: 33 km) and the Red Sea.
​  Only the Hegemon is disturbed by this challenge to its 'rules-based order.' It is outraged that western vessels delivering energy or goods to law-breaking Israel can be impeded, and that the supply chain has been severed and plunged into deep crisis. The pinpointed target is the Israeli economy, which is already bleeding heavily. A single Yemeni move proves to be more efficient than a torrent of imperial sanctions.
​  It is the tantalizing possibility of this single move turning into a paradigm shift – with no return – that is adding to the Hegemon’s apoplexy. Especially because imperial humiliation is deeply embedded in the paradigm shift.
​  Russian President Vladimir Putin, on the record, is now sending an unmistakeable message: Forget the Suez Canal. The way to go is the Northern Sea Route – which the Chinese, in the framework of the Russia-China strategic partnership, call the Arctic Silk Road.​..
..A total naval blockade of Israel, meticulously engineered, remains a distinct possibility. Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Commander Hossein Salami said Israel may “soon face the closure of the Mediterranean Sea, the Strait of Gibraltar, and other waterways.”...
​..As part of the Axis of Resistance, Yemen's Ansarallah is now a key actor in a complex Eurasia-wide drama that redefines Heartland connectivity; and alongside China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the India-Iran-Russia-led International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC), and Russia's new Northern Sea Route, also includes control over strategic chokepoints around the Mediterranean Seas and the Arabian peninsula.
​  This is another trade connectivity paradigm entirely, smashing to bits western colonial and neocolonial control of Afro-Eurasia. So yes, BRICS+ supports Yemen, who with a single move has presented Pax Americana with The Mother of All Geopolitical Jams.

​  Moon of Alabama , Biden Needs To Come To Israel's - And His Own - Rescue
​  For now Israel seems to lose its war against the Palestinian resistance.
​  The October 7 attempt to gain hostages by Hamas and Islamic Jihad was successful. Israeli outrage about it should have been directed against the Israeli government and its army for their chaotic response. They likely killed more Israelis than Hamas did.
​  But outrage was instead instigated against the external enemy. In this case all Palestinians.
​  A united Israel urged its government to wage revenge. The government's announced aim is to remove Hamas. That however is impossible to do to a social movement with deep roots in its society. The real aim is to remove all Palestinians from Gaza, to either kill them or to dump them in some foreign land. This would be followed by an attempt to remove all Palestinians from the West Bank before capturing and annexing the south of Lebanon.​..
..The Ansar Islam movement in Yemen has blocked maritime traffic to Israel's Eilat port. The U.S. attempt to counter that has failed...
​..There are also threats to Israel's Mediterranean coast line. Hezbollah has the ability to close down Haifa and and other Israeli ports. Missiles, cruise missiles and drones from Gaza, from Lebanon, Yemen and from resistance fighters in Iraq and Syria continue to target Israel day by day.
​  With more than 350,000 Israeli troops mobilized and Palestinian workers from the West Bank banned, Israel's economy is, for lack of workers, in deep trouble.
​  Its military forays into Palestinian cities in Gaza have so far achieved little results but incurred significant losses. All the army can do is to destroy those cities block by block. But Hamas continues to fight back, even in rubble.
​  The current plan is to make Palestinian life in Gaza so miserable that leaving it will be for them the only alternative to certain death
​..With the war going into a prolonged, unsustainable phase the Israeli government needs to do something else, or fail.
​  It plans to open a new front in Lebanon against Hezbollah. But a repeat of the 2006 war, which Israel lost, can not be risked. To fight Hezbollah on the ground Israel needs active U.S. backing, not only by U.S. delivery of weapons, but by U.S. forces on the ground.
​  A new U.S. war in the Middle East  against a well prepared enemy is the last thing President Biden needs for his re-election campaign.

​  ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 82: Israel accused of harvesting organs from dead Gazans
Despite a UNSC resolution calling for humanitarian aid in Gaza amid Israeli attacks, Gazans remain starving. Meanwhile, Palestinian bodies returned by Israel were "mutilated" and missing "vital organs" according to Gaza officials
.20,915+ killed* and at least 54,536 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
311 Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem
Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,405 to 1,139.
498 Israeli soldiers killed since October 7, and at least 1,952 injured.
Israeli Army Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi: Israeli forces will not refrain from operating in declared “safe zones” if it “identifies terrorist organization activity.”
Israeli teen sentenced to 30 days in prison after refusing to join military.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas: What is happening in Gaza is greater and more horrific than the Nakba in 1948.

​  Serbian Maidan Attempt a 'Desperate Flailing Response' by NATO to Ukraine, Red Sea Failures
​  About 2,500 radicalized opposition supporters gathered in Belgrade on Sunday and attempted to storm city hall after contested snap parliamentary elections last week. Sputnik asked leading geopolitical analysts, including a top American Balkans expert, for their takes on what happened, and who could be pulling the strings behind the scenes.
​  Ultimately, the OSCE mission concluded that it could not find any instances of vote rigging, confirming that “election day was smoothly conducted,” barring some “procedural deficiencies.”
These “procedural deficiencies” were apparently enough for Serbia’s opposition to attempt to violently storm Belgrade’s City Hall on Sunday. Riot police quickly intervened, pushing protesters back using teargas and batons, with at least thirty officers injured, two seriously, in scuffles with demonstrators. 38 protesters were detained.​..
..Belgrade Mayor Aleksandar Sapic concurred with Vucic’s assessment of events, calling the violence the attempted “Maidanization” of Serbia’s capital...
​..“Serbia, along with the Republika Srpska (half of Bosnia and Herzegovina) have been the holdouts on NATO. Neither entity wants to join NATO. And both entities have refused to go along with the NATO-EU policy towards Russia. Both refused to impose any kinds of sanctions on Russia,” Szamuely, a renowned expert on the Western policy toward the former Yugoslavia, recalled.
​  “So this is a sore point because essentially NATO has encompassed the entirety of the European continent, with the exception of Serbia and the Republika Srpska, and NATO obviously wants to bring that to an end…They’ve been trying to push Vucic out for some time, and they’ve been trying to get rid of Milorad Dodik, the president of the Republika Srpska at the same time,” the observer said.
​  “What’s also important is that from the beginning, from the 1990s on, Serbia has always been seen as a substitute for Russia. Where Serbia is, there is Russia. It’s the one thing that prevents NATO from complete dominance of the Balkans. And it’s the area where Russia continues to have some influence in Europe. So if you want to push Russia out of Europe altogether, you have to deal with the ‘Serbia problem’. They came close from 2000 on, when you had the color revolution that overthrew [Slobodan] Milosevic.​..
​..Veteran international relations expert and Eastern European affairs specialist Dr. Gilbert Doctorow concurs with Szamuely’s assessment.
“We are witnessing this new attempt at a Maidan coup, because the authors of this attempt to overthrow Vucic are the same superficial Ivy League scenario plotters in the State Department, in the CIA, that have been guiding America’s disastrous foreign policy adventures for the past thirty years.”​...
​..“On top of the above short-term issues arising from the Ukraine debacle, the disruption to shipping in the Red Sea has pushed the Chinese Belt and Road project back up to the top of the geopolitical agenda. The close relations established recently between Hungary and Serbia, which include major improvement works to the railway links between the two, take on greater significance with the possibility that ongoing tensions and conflict in the Middle East will make overland trade routes from China to Western and Arab markets much more important and profitable,” Griffin explained, highlighting the complex difficult calculations at play in the Balkans.​..
​..“Serbia has the potential to be hugely important as the final stepping stone to the Adriatic and beyond – especially if the victory of Russia in Ukraine were to convince Vucic to stop trying to walk the tightrope and to come down firmly on the Russian side and to push to connect Serbia properly to the Serbian enclaves on the coast,” the observer stressed.
​  Asked whether the West could ultimately succeed in its efforts to oust Vucic, Griffin stressed that this “depends on Russia!”

​  Scott Ritter: US 'Sustainability' in Jeopardy as World Turns Against Hegemony
​  The Ukrainian military will continue to sustain a strategic defeat in 2024 as it is exhausted in terms of manpower, ammo and arms, according to Sputnik's interlocutor. It's up to Moscow and the Russian Armed Forces' operational tempo whether the conflict will drag on until 2025, as per Ritter.
​  Russia's special military operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine has never meant to be a blitzkrieg, the expert stressed, adding that the conflict will end when political and military objectives set by the Russian leadership are accomplished.​..
​.."The Ukrainian-Russian conflict has opened up a new chapter in modern warfare," Ritter stressed. "The drone technology of today has changed the modern battlefield in every way that the machine gun changed warfare during World War I or the tank changed warfare during World War II. The drones have changed the face of modern warfare, and I think that armies all around the world are going to be studying or should be studying what's taking place on the battlefield between Ukraine and Russia today."​...
​..Ritter does not see the Israel-Palestinian conflict spiraling out of control next year and believes that it will wrap up early in 2024. He points to the fact that the rift is already growing between Tel Aviv and Washington and the international community increasingly opposes the "genocide" of the Palestinian people.
​  "I see the Gaza conflict actually wrapping up early in 2024 and then the question is what happens next. Will Hamas be given a chance to lead a new Palestinian state or we will find ourselves in a continued political quagmire? I see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict sort of self-regulating in many ways. I don't see it expanding."​ ...
​..Meanwhile, the Indo-Pacific could turn into a theater of war if the US and China clash over the island of Taiwan, according to Ritter.
​  In January 2024, the Taiwanese will cast ballots in general elections. The stakes are high given that the pro-US ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) could be unseated by the opposition Kuomintang (KMT).
​  While KMT vice presidential candidate Jaw Shau-kong has made it clear that he and his running mate Hou Yu-ih will not talk with China about unification if elected, the two are advocating resuming dialogue and restoring ties with the People's Republic.
​  For its part, the US-backed DPP has adopted a belligerent stance against Beijing, with the Biden administration increasingly arming the island.​..
..Ritter believes that if the DPP wins, a conflict could potentially erupt between China and the US which would have dramatic consequences for the global market and drag the world into recession.​..
​..While the US has already engaged in a series of proxy conflicts, the problem is that it is unprepared for an all-out war with China or Russia, according to Ritter.
According to the military expert, the Ukraine conflict has shown that the idea of the US having technological superiority has been largely overestimated.​..
​..For its part, the US cannot wage a war of attrition and "doesn't have numbers", he noted. In particular, Ritter referred to Washington's incapability of rapidly replenishing its ammo and weapon stockpiles amid the Ukraine conflict.​..
.."Nobody in NATO's prepared for modern warfare because they can't sustain it within a period of a week," Ritter claimed. "These NATO forces would be depleted to the point that they were no longer a cohesive combat unit. So their combat effectiveness had dropped to zero. And now you'd see Russia rolling over them."​...
​..Generally, the US has become a "prisoner of the military procurement system" which is aimed not at improving the nation's security but at making money in the first place, he said.​..
​..To make a long story short, the US does not have the capacity to maintain its global hegemony and engage in high-intensity conflicts worldwide, as per Ritter. The world is turning against the US imperial ambitions, seeking to create a multi-polar environment where all countries are treated equally and with due respect.

Gilbert Doctorow ,  Will the Russians use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine?
​  Until a few days ago, I regularly dismissed as utterly fanciful and propagandistic in intent all suggestions in Western media that Russia might deploy nuclear weapons in their ongoing war on Ukraine. The notion was put forward by Washington in support of the narrative that Russia was losing the war and could ‘go nuclear’ to prevent a disgraceful defeat...
​..Against this background I paid full attention to a report from the field that was aired on a Vesti news program of Russian state television about three days ago. What I heard was a seemingly casual remark by a Russian soldier manning a new, relatively small and maneuverable artillery piece with 17 km firing range that he said ‘could accept nuclear charges.’ That was absolutely the first time I have heard Russians speak of tactical nuclear weapons since the war began. It is unthinkable that this remark was spontaneous and had not been cleared in advance by the senior editors, of whom Dmitry Kiselyov is the top boss.
​  Now why would the Russians themselves raise the issue of their vast capabilities in tactical nuclear weapons? Why do it now, when even mainstream Western media acknowledge that the Russians hold the upper hand in the fight and that time is on their side?
​  I venture to say that the Kremlin had received intelligence reports of some dastardly American plan to interrupt the natural course of events in this war if only to save face and keep alive Joe Biden’s chances of re-election. With this discrete remark on a news show that American intelligence would be sure to pick up, the Russians were putting them on notice
that two sides can play dirty, if it comes to that.​..
..And yesterday Shoigu reported to Putin on the conquest of Mariinka, a town 5 kilometers distant from Donetsk city, the capital of the Donbas oblast of the same name that has been the object of a struggle for control since the very start of the Special Military Operation. The significance of Mariinka is that it was one of the most heavily fortified outposts of the Ukrainian forces and that it was sending artillery and missile strikes on Donetsk city on a daily basis this whole time, causing great damage and loss of civilian lives.​..
..Swallowing up the whole of Ukraine, the realization of some imperial drive for territorial control was never a Russian objective. This was attributed to Russia by Western propagandists to serve their own purposes.
​  From the outset and to this very day, as emphasized by Vladimir Putin in his Direct Line dialogue with the nation a week ago, Russia has sought denazification, demilitarization and neutrality as the outcome of this military engagement. To this triad, demilitarization is, of course, the element which enables the other two, and demilitarization, measured by the destruction of Ukrainian soldiers and materiel, is proceeding very nicely, thank you.

​  DOJ threatens lawsuit if Texas enforces new border security law​ [Texas is trying to protect the national border, having already shared the mob-facilitated global influx with Chicago, N​ew York and DC.​]
​  The Department of Justice is warning Gov. Greg Abbott that it will sue if Texas moves forward with legislation empowering state officials to remove people from the U.S. who they suspect of being in the country illegally.

​  Malaysia's Consumer Association And MDs Call For IMMEDIATE Withdrawal OF mRNA Shots Amidst Mass Sickness and Death: "The World Has Come To Know That This Vaccine Is Not Safe"
"Our people are dying. Everywhere we see people are dying, most of them are suffering, they cannot work."
​  “In a press conference initiated by the Muslim Consumer's Association (PPIM) in Malaysia on Dec 28, 2023, a collective voice of concern was raised about the safety and efficacy of the current COVID-19 vaccines being administered. The call for the immediate recall of these vaccines comes amidst growing reports of adverse effects from consumers and medical professionals alike.”

​  Meryl Nass MD notes that biological lab leaks are very common and mostly go unreported.
​  A new study reports 309 lab acquired infections and 16 pathogen lab escapes between 2000 and 2021, several deaths/ Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
This from a review of *published* literature and omits thousands of unpublished reports collected in the US alone, but is still valuable at demonstrating the seriousness of lab leaks

​  Dr. Nass has some very good news, but we need to remain on-guard. Globalists are not vanquished, not at all, not even in this WHO battlefield.
New Zealand *rejected* the May 2022 WHO Amendments just before the deadline at end November, the only national government for which there is proof this was done.
This is hugely important. However, the question as to whether the amendments were legally passed remains open, so they may turn out to be null and void for all countries.

​Acting Locally (pictured with one ripening jalapeno pepper and eggplant bush)

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