Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Webs Of Life

Working Out Bugs,

The Mediterranean Gas Great Game. 
Thanks Eleni. There is lots to gain from cooperation, and it's easy to thwart the profit of any adversary. Can Israel cooperate? How about Turkey?

In the past, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) justified its militarization of large swaths of Eastern Europe by pointing to the omnipresent threat of terrorism, or some 'rogue' foreign state, inherently understood to be Iran. Today the mask has slipped and it is no longer denied that NATO's primary target is Russia."

East Ghouta, the suburb of Damascus, which is occupied by various rebel factions, supported by the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia, against the Syrian government, may be the last battle (What about the oilfields?) of the Syrian proxy-war. The western press dutifully presents the official government propaganda.
"The reality is that since the Jihadi fighters in east Ghouta are practically by definition members of “undertakings and entities associated with Al Qaeda or ISIL”, who are excluded from the ceasefire, there is no one in east Ghouta to negotiate a ceasefire with. In the run up to the voting on the Resolution on Saturday the Russians made the point that the draft of the Resolution with which they were presented – officially sponsored by Kuwait and Sweden, but in reality drawn up by the Western powers – failed to identify who the Syrian government is supposed to negotiate the ceasefire with. " 

State Department Troll Farm gets Huge Cash Infusion. (Be a Troll! Operators are Standing-By!)

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says "I can't talk about that", when asked if Broward country deputies in parking lot were ordered to crouch outside by their patrol cars with guns holstered, instead of taking some risks inside the school with students. There will be an investigation...  Thanks Tom.

There's lots to investigate:  Over the weekend Israel fought back on calls for his resignation saying the actions of his deputies were “[not] his responsibility” when they failed to enter the high school that was under siege by Nikolas Cruz, 19. Police responded to calls regarding Cruz over 45 times over a seven-year period, although Israel disputes the report, stating his office only received 23 calls during that time frame.  The FBI also received a detailed call on Jan. 5,  warning that Cruz had posted disturbing images of slaughtered animals and comments on his Instagram saying he wanted to kill people, according to reports. The FBI stated on Feb. 16, that the tip was not forwarded to the FBI Miami Field Office.

Kiliing a Parasite, Cancelling Student Debt, Part 1, Yves Smith: (Parasitic Capitalism vs productive Capitalism explained. Let's get those leeches off, ok?)

What is "buying power"? It's not what you make. It's what you have left after the bills you must pay. How does that figure into micro and macro economics, for you, and for me?

"The Real Game Trump is Playing on NAFTA" (Keeping everybody guessing is working very well right now, and it's the plan, for as long as it can be sustained. 6 more months? More?)

China has taken on a massive project of farmland rejuvenation. It will be costly. Who will fund it? China has sustained agriculture for thousands of years, but has blown that on the "green revolution" lately. I wish them well in this attempt at recovery.

The Good Life, Permaculture micro-farm in Tasmania. Dry journalism first, then link to informative blog. (What's your current favorite seasonal insect snack from the garden?)

Eating to Live

Monday, February 26, 2018

Reunification Peace Prize

Mastering the Obvious,

 This essay presents the argument that the current administration should embrace the only rational solution to the Korean Crisis, Reunification, since nuclear war is really, obviously bad for all of Korea, Japan, China, Russia and Americans. 
Nobel Peace Prize for Donald Trump!

China "Blasts" (respectfully disputes) new US sanctions on North Korea. (A blockade is an act of war.)

South Korean government announces that their Northern brothers and sisters are open to negotiations.

The White House has responded to North Korea's willingness to hold talks with the United States, saying in a statement Sunday that "there is a brighter path available for North Korea if it chooses denuclearization." "We will see if Pyongyang's message today, that it is willing to hold talks, represents the first steps along the path to denuclearization," the statement read. "In the meantime, the United States and the world must continue to make clear that North Korea's nuclear and missile programs are a dead end." South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in a statement on Sunday that he'd met with the North Korean delegation in Pyeongchang before the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games, and told them that North Korea-US talks should happen "as soon as possible." (Hopefully, Ivanka's peace-mission works better than Jared's.)

Mediterranean Gas War Preparations are underway (There is something worth fighting for!)

Back on the Home Front, DNC lawyers argue that primary rigging is the first amendment right of their party. (Apparently, they have no case that they did not do it.)

It is always, Always, ALWAYS OK to Question Official Narratives: Caitlin Johnstone (you bet'cha!)

Labour's Jeremy Corbyn prepares to announce Labour Party position to "pick-and-choose" as a member of the EU, rather than as an outcast. This is already the trend, isn't it? It would be easier this way, I suspect. Break the rules from inside the crumbling club.

Cheating Properly

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Empire With Fever


"Mapping Trump's Empire, Assets and Liabilities", by James Petras, is a comprehensive assessment, region by region, and also the big picture of an empire in decline, with political infighting and divisiveness at home, and lashing out viciously against friend and foe, rather than negotiating for mutual benefit. 
Today's recommended read...

The Coming War To End All Wars, Edward Curtain (Korea, China, Russia, Iran... I believe that it may be prevented, but it is very hard to prevent. Curtain believes a global anti-nuclear protest movement is needed. I think it's Russia, China, Iran and pragmatists in Europe that have to prevent it, through thousands of small moves and adjustments, to contain the impatient tantrums of flailing ideological totalitarians.)

East Ghouta is an area near Damascus, still a stronghold of mercenary "rebel" forces of various stripes, supported by the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. Mortar attacks from this area continue to kill Syrian civilians, and the civilians within Ghouta are human shields. The Syrian army has been preparing to liberate the area. The US, again, is desperate to shield it's proxies. A UN Resolution for cease-fire has been passed. Only one side can actually keep it. It's not the unruly mercenaries.
The huge propaganda campaign about east-Ghouta is certainly not over humanitarian concern or over adherence to some legal rules of war. Last year the U.S. destroyed Raqqa with more than 31,000 artillery rounds and a large air campaign and killed more than 3,200 civilians. It even destroyed the water pipeline to Raqqa that supplied the inhabitants of the city - a clear war crime. Back then the UN requested a ceasefire to evacuate civilians. The U.S. rejected that out of hand. It latter let the remaining Islamic State fighters escape from Raqqa and is now retraining them for further attacks on the Syrian state...  The campaigns around Ghouta are part of “cold” war between the USA and Russia which is dividing Syria. The current U.S. campaign to keep east-Ghouta under terrorist is in support of four goals:
  • to demonstrate to the word that the Syrian government is unable to keep Damascus safe
  • to show that Russia was wrong in claiming victory in Syria
  • to protect ISIS and al-Qaeda as they are still needed as U.S. proxy foot-soldiers
  • the justify the U.S. occupation of north-east Syria and its oil fields and to thus limit the financial resources of the Syrian state. (This also gives the U.S. and Israel an operational area for further attacks on the Syrian state.)                                                                                                     

There was a January warning about Nikolas Cruz doing what he did a month later, which the FBI just added to it's file, on his planning to be "a professional school shooter" on social media. There were all those calls to local police about home violence before his adoptive mom died. He liked to vivisect frogs and birds, too. The transcript is here:

The FBI admits "mistake made", but won't talk about it at all. Wants to maintain "faith and confidence of the American people", and stuff.

The FBI never contacted Google - which owns YouTube, after it was reported that suspect Nikolas Cruz, under his own name, said "I'm going to be a professional school shooter" in a YouTube video comment last September...  When the uploader of the video, Ben Bennight, contacted the FBI shortly after Cruz left the comment, officials spoke with him for 20 minutes, after which there was no follow up until the same agent or agents came to his home on Wednesday.   In a press conference late last week, Special Agent Robert Lansky who is in charge of the Miami FBI division said that the FBI received the tip, however they were "unable to further identify" the person who made the comment, despite conducting "database reviews" and "checks." What they didn't do is contact Google - which would have been able to help confirm Cruz's identity. 

It turns out that there was not just one armed Sheriff's deputy outside the school, waiting for somebody else to come do the dangerous work, while students got slaughtered. There were 4. (I'm sure teachers with revolvers in purses would have done the job, though...)

"The Gun Control Debate Could Break America" (Naaah, it's already broken. It just hasn't collapsed yet, and this won't collapse it.)

The attorney for an FBI informant who was deeply embedded in the Russian nuclear industry is demanding that Attorney General Jeff Sessions investigate a coordinated smear campaign against her client. After several decades working for the CIA and the FBI, William Douglas Campbell uncovered two related bribery schemes involving Russian nuclear officials, an American trucking company, and efforts to route money to the Clinton Global Initiative through an American lobbying firm in order to overcome regulatory hurdles, according to reports by The Hill and Circa. After details of Campbell's undercover work for the FBI first emerged in an October 2017 report by The Hill - which did not divulge his name, Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News and Joel Schectman of Reuters published articles smearing Campbell, saying he was "so unreliable that prosecutors dropped him as a witness" in a case unrelated to his undercover work - while two "senior officials" within the Justice Department fed Congressional investigators the same thing during a December 15 briefing. Both statements were lies, as the case was related to Campbell's undercover work, and he was dropped as a witness after the Baltimore U.S. Attorney's office botched their case, which Campbell's testimony would have weakened. 

BuzzFeed is suing the cash-strapped Democratic National Committee (DNC) to force them to hand over information related to the "Steele Dossier" that might help the news outlet defend itself against a lawsuit lodged by a Russian businessman who was named in the document   Three separate lawsuits have been launched against BuzzFeed in connection to the January 11, 2017 publication of the dossier, which states that Russian tech executive Aleksej Gubarev used his web hosting companies to hack into the DNC's computer systems. “As part of the discovery process, BuzzFeed is attempting to verify claims in the dossier that relate to the hacking of the DNC,” said BuzzFeed spokesman Matt Mittenhal in a statement. “We’re asking a federal court to force the DNC to follow the law and allow BuzzFeed to fully defend its First Amendment rights.” ...  If the DNC is compelled to turn over the full CrowdStrike report and "digital remnants," perhaps Gubarev would then present a counter-analysis by researcher Forensicator which CrowdStrike apparently "missed" - revealing that the DNC files were copied at 22.6 MB/s - all but confirming that the files had to have been copied locally by an inside source. Many have speculated that DNC IT staffer Seth Rich, whose murder is still unsolved, was the source of the emails provided to WikiLeaks. 

Eric Margolis, who was blacklisted by the American government for calling"foul" about the Iraq war, says that There Is No Justice In Our World. The fake accusations, used to completely destroy a country with bombs and disease, were what he got blacklisted for writing about. After the fact the US position was "oops, kinda'sorry". This was war crime. No rebuilding is being done. No responsibility is taken. Impunity. Thanks Eleni.
George Monbiot: "Piketty showed that when the return on capital increases faster than the growth of economic output, inequality spirals, social mobility stalls and the enterprise economy is replaced by a rentier economy. In other words, once you have money and property, you can use it to accumulate more money and property, taking an ever greater share of society’s wealth, through the harvesting of economic rent. By economic rent I mean charging people over the odds to use a non-reproducible resource over which you exercise exclusive control...  By this means, through no enterprise of their own, the rich become richer and the poor become poorer. This process has no natural limits. Eventually, as we’ve seen in the past, the very rich can capture almost the entire production of society. At this point, the debt, destitution and unemployment that results can cause economic collapse: the Great Depression is a good example. This predicament is not a perversity of the system. It is an innate characteristic. It is bound to work this way, unless there is a political movement capable of breaking the vicious circle of wealth accumulation." 

It's now illegal to sleep in a car in LA. Fines range from $25-$75. Most people doing this have low paying jobs but can't afford rent. Social justice?


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Troll Farm Hobby

Underpaid Talent,

David Stockman has the inside scoop on how one Russian food-service oligarch, who started selling brautwurst when he got out of prison, and leveraged that into a floating restaurant where Vladimir Putin wined and dined George Bush, hijacked the American electoral process for nano-pennies on the dollar! $4/hr buys you a whole lot of blogging talent in Russia... "Grass roots" demonstrations in America were synthesized, subverting American patriotism to elect Siberian-Candidate, Donald Trump. I'm joking. All the details are here; the most complete compilation of facts I've seen on this weird story.

Moon of Alabama has a complimentary story on the Russian-Bot-Takeover, looking at the algorithms that track headlines for everybody, and the homogeneous output, which somehow subverts "American Democracy", again, for nano-pennies on the dollar.

Untold billions of dollars and prodigious manpower of the FBI and CIA failed to stabilize the capsizing Titanic of American democracy against the Russian underwear-bombers down in the steerage compartment. A sad day indeed. We are too embarrassed to look. Shuddup!

A Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student was approached by CNN to ask a question at Wednesday night’s town hall, but declined after the network gave him a “scripted question” in
stead of allowing him to ask his own question. 

How the Roman Empire Can Explain the Dramatic Rise in State Violence, Ugo Bardi (You have to scare the slaves enough to keep them from revolting. What about our declining energy-slaves, and our proliferating debt-slaves? What about all of those prisoners?)

The Syrian Arab Army is moving militias into the Syrian province of Afrin, where Turkish troops have invaded, to kill Syrian Kurds, who used to be cooperative with the Syrian government, until they got offered a statelet-with-oil by the CIA. What's going to happen? Brinksmanship. (Afrin is not where the oil is. We can assume that the other American surrogates east of the Euphrates are securing the oilfields.)

A close Netanyahu associate, under investigation, flips to State's-evidence. (Et tu, Schlomo Filber?)

What was the most-documented UFO ever, October 25, 2017, over Oregon and Northern California. The FAA only has a few redactions and a few bits cut out of the tapes of pilots and ground controllers watching this big, fast, maneuverable white aircraft up at 37,000 ft, after it flipped to invisibility on radar.

WASHINGTON—In a new study published Tuesday that surveyed U.S. residents about their attitudes toward current events, the Pew Research Center found that approximately 90 percent of Americans described themselves as strongly opposed to each other. “In the questionnaire we administered, nine out of 10 participants indicated they fundamentally disapproved of the actions currently being taken by their fellow citizens.”...   Randolph went on to note that the 10 percent of survey participants who indicated otherwise did so because they didn’t consider those they disagreed with to actually be Americans.  (Yeah, this one IS from The Onion  :-)

Sowing Division

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Awakening Ghosts

Ghosts in the Machine,

Chrles Hugh Smith: Fifty years on, the ghosts of 1968 are still with us. With the advantage of hindsight, 1968 was the culmination of the belief that it was still possible for the common people to change the political and social order in a positive fashion-- to remake the status quo power structure into something more humane, accessible, just and fair...  Mario Savio's extemporaneous speech to the Free Speech Movement's sit-in on December 3, 1964, on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley. "There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!"... The system needs us as raw material, as "product," as consumers of the output of the machine. That we are consumed by the process--that awareness has faded into the shadows inhabited by the ghosts of 1968. (Grow vegetables. Be a friend. Help family. Anything.)

Remember how cutting taxes on global multinational corporations was going to get them to "repatriate" those funds to America, investing in American business, building the American economy. Actually, it just did the first thing. It electronically came "back to america" and got spent on stock-buybacks, not business investments. The stock market got the money, and the CEOs got bonuses, and shareholders, AKA "the wealthy" have more value in their stock portfolios, which gets taxed as capital-gains some day, maybe. Still, corporations getting a tax cut and the rich getting richer, and no jobs created in America should be no surprise.

The US is executing a global war plan (I'd put "contingency" before "plan", myself) Finian Cunningham:

A view from Russia, seeing WW-1 preparing to enter a third phase, bound to be against Russia, the preliminaries now underway, and what is delaying full blown WW-3. Thanks Eleni.

Washington’s primary objective of bombing the pro-government troops on February 7 - that led to dozens of Russian casualties - was to create divisions between the US-backed Kurds and Russia-backed Syrian government. Clearly, one can’t negotiate and reach a defensive accord with a party whose backers are bombing you at the same time. But Russia has sagaciously downplayed the brazen atrocity and moved on with its efforts to reconcile the divergent interests of competing forces in the Syrian proxy war. 

And then...  "YPG Kurdish fighters in north-western Syria - who are backed by the US - had struck a deal with the Russia-backed Assad regime for Syrian forces to enter the Afrin region and repel a Turkish offensive which began last month...  We didn't have long to wait for this escalation to unfold, and moments ago a convoy of fighters waving Syrian flags entered the northern Kurdish-held region of Afrin, which Turkey is targeting in a cross-border operation, according to footage on Syrian state TV shows... We didn't have long to wait for this escalation to unfold, and moments ago a convoy of fighters waving Syrian flags entered the northern Kurdish-held region of Afrin, which Turkey is targeting in a cross-border operation, according to footage on Syrian state TV shows."  (Syrian Kurds are again coordinating with Syrian government and military, as they had done until 2014 when the US paid them, armed them, gave them air support and promised them a country and oil wells of their own.)

Remind me who benefits if Turkey goes to war with NATO "ally", Greece, over some Greek islands that nobody lives on...

The UK has a secret plan to not pay it's EU bills if it does not get a trade deal. (Who would ever suspect?)

Kim Dotcom" "Let me assure you, the DNC hack was not even a hack." Kim Dotcom has evidence that Seth Rich downloaded all that damning evidence onto a memory stick. His lawyer keeps trying to contact Robert Mueller to deliver the evidence, and Dotcom to testify. Stony silence, of course. (This is war, after all.)

Here's a reminder of how a team of Clinton political operatives went to Russia to win the 1996 election for Boris Yeltsin. Your tax dollars proudly at work destroying Russia. Yeltsin had an 8% approval rating, and deserved less than that for betraying Russia to gangsters and foreign vultures. (Thanks Eleni. Only good thing tired, alcoholicYeltsin ever did was to hand operations to this reliable administrative guy named "Putin".)  [Then Jim Kunstler's take on this comparison, "Thirteen Russians and a ham sandwich", Hilarious.]

Former CIA Director James Woolsey, in a friendly interview, comments on American manipulation of political process in the rest of the world since it was created, makes joke, laughs. Everybody laughs; moves on...  The US government’s own data shows that it has deliberately meddled in the elections of 81 foreign governments between 1946 and 2000, including Russia in the nineties. That isn’t even counting the coups and regime changes it facilitated, including right here in my home Australia in the seventies.

Israel wants all the gas and oil, and is willing to make and carry out threats, because anti-semitism, and holocaust, and only-mideast-democracy and stuff... 
Israel has aggressively pushed for major sectors of the field to be internationally recognized as lying within its rightful territorial waters, going so far as to warn "respectable" companies from participating in the tender, which would be a "major mistake". 
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah once again warned Israel to back off its claims over disputed oil and gas field just off the southern Lebanese coast, threatening that Hezbollah could "disable [Israel’s offshore oil installations] within hours." 
"If you prevent us, we prevent you; if you open fire at us, we will open fire." 

Germany is building (free?) missile ships for Israel to expand their missile shield further into their waters, and those of Lebanon, and certainly Gaza... Thanks Eleni.
The sea-based Iron Dome went live last November. Together with three US-built ships already in service, the four corvettes will protect the Jewish state’s gas rigs and shipping lanes from rocket attacks, according to the Times of Israel newspaper. 

Is Angela Merkel unpopular for giving Israel the capacity to hit Germany with nuclear cruise missiles? 
Chancellor Angela Merkel  took the unilateral decision to supply Israel’s navy with a fleet of German-subsidised, Dolphin-class submarines built by a Thyssen Krupp shipyard, which were subsequently retrofitted by the Israelis with nuclear cruise missiles, having a range of over 1500kms. (The distance from, say, off-shore Marseilles in the Mediterranean to Potsdamer Platz in Berlin City Centre).

Global sea ice for January was another record low...

Listening to Spirits

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Wide World Of Putin

3-D Chess Players,

The US is carrying out "Plan-C" in Syria, still trying to drive an imperial wedge into the region with a Kurdish statelet to carve oil and gas fields out of Syria, to keep Syria weak, desperate, and Turkey engaged in fighting Kurds. This is at the bidding of Israel, of course. 
  • The imposition of a de-facto partition of Syria by taking under control the Syrian territory east of the Euphrates river (we could call that “plan C version 3.0”)
  • The theft of the gas fields located in northeastern Syria
  • The creation of a US-controlled staging area from which Kurdish, good terrorist and bad terrorist operations can be planned and executed
  • The sabotaging of any Russian-backed peace negotiations
  • The support for Israeli operations against Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon and Syria
  • Engaging in regular attacks against Syrian forces attempting to liberate their country from foreign invaders
  • Presenting the invasion and occupation of Syria as one of the “victories” promised by Trump to the MIC and the Israel lobby
  • So far the Russian response to this developing strategy has been a rather a passive one and the current escalation strongly suggests that a new approach might be needed. The shooting down of the Israeli F-16 is a good first step, but much more needs to be done to dramatically increase the costs the Empire will have to pay for is policies towards Syria.

Syria shot down 13 Israeli Air Launched Cruise Missiles on February 10 (They missed some, too, but they took out the majority, and that Israeli F-16.) Thanks Eleni.

Turkish forces use chemical weapons, some kind of gas (mustard?) on US-backed Kurds inside Syria.

On the heels of a visit by Secretary of State Tillerson to Turkey, the US dismisses as "extremely unlikely" that Turkish forces gassed American Kurdish surrogate-pawns in Syria.
The standard Washington logic is as follows: should NATO ally Turkey or US-backed rebels commit chemical attacks or other atrocities, these will be immediately dismissed as "extremely unlikely" - in the White House's own words; while at the same time any American friendly group on the ground such as anti-Assad insurgents will be taken at their word and on the flimsiest of evidence should claims be made that Assad is using gas - no matter how much evidence stacks up against such claims 

Russia is Taking Over Syria's Oil and Gas (by exclusive invitation) that makes the fields Northeast of the Euphrates, promised to gullible Kurdish pawns, a "Russian interest".

Oil/Gas majors, in  consortium, with Russian and French membership, are set to drill in undisputed waters off the Lebanese coast (not quite where Israel claims ownership), while Israel makes threats. Israel does not want the weak an deeply indebted Lebanese economy to recover, ever, or get regular 24 hour electricity. Israel is prepared for a third war against Lebanon to prevent that, but would it succeed or fail?
Engdahl: "With the Trump Administration declaring its growing hostility to Iran as well as its highly-provocative unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, the preconditions for an Israeli third Lebanon war, this one backed from behind by Washington and up front by Saudi economic sanctions, using the pretext of territorial claims to Lebanese offshore waters, would have the potential to escalate into a far broader war across the Middle East. By inserting its formidable military presence as well as energy presence into Lebanon at this point, Russia at this point may be the only barrier to that new Middle East conflagration."

Can Israel stomach the Russian Grand Bargain?
This is Putin’s Grand Bargain: Russia will assume a certain defined responsibility for Israel’s security, but not if Israel undertakes wars of choice against Iran and Hizbullah, or if it deliberately disrupts stability in the North (including Iraq). And no more gratuitous bombing raids in the north, intended to disrupt stability. But if Israel wants a war with Iran, then Russia will stand aloof.  Israel has now had a taste of President Putin’s ‘stick’: Your air superiority in the North has just been punctured by the Syrian air defences. You, Israel, will lose it completely were our Russian S400s air defences to be enabled: ‘Think it over’.  Thanks Eleni.

US buys more 33,000 pound bunker-buster bombs, useful against North Korean, Iranian and Chinese deeply-buried targets. Cheers! (Pilots report it's fun to fly a B-1 bomber when it drops one of these babies, and suddenly shoots up 100 feet in the air. Yee-HAW!)
Global Debt Crisis II Cometh...

Our Approaching Winter of Discontent, Charles Hugh Smith
That chill you feel in the financial weather presages an unprecedented--and for most people, unexpectedly severe--winter of discontent. Rather than sugarcoat what's coming, let's speak plainly for a change: none of the promises that have been made to you will be kept. 

President Trump castigates Obama-holdover FBI-chief for failing to identify Nikolas Cruz in a social media post where he bragged he would become "a professional school shooter", slyly using his real name to confound the investigation. This could also have been linked better to the tip-off from a friend of Cruz that he might be preparing to do this. Trump also castigates HR McMaster for claiming Russian influence over the last election (which is not actually how things went down; no evidence that anything was influenced...)
Is there, possibly, a common thread here?

Nobody wants to admit the real reason behind American mass-shootings. (Violent culture; always has been. Lotta' inequality and nobodys yearning to be somebody, too.)

One imagines Nikolas sitting alone, watching coverage of the Las Vegas shooting, and thinking, “Why not? What have I got to lose? If this life is so miserable and unlikely to get better, why not go out, spectacularly, like that? If I did, they would remember who I was and what I did for the rest of their lives.” 

"Sudden Stratospheric Warming Event Fractures Polar Vortex In Two" (Wow, that's weird. Putin's fault; bound to be...)