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?


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