Monday, December 30, 2019

Eventually Advancing

Advanced Life Forms,​

Eric Zuesse sees Obama in ​legal​ crosshairs for coordinating illegal investigation to thwart candidate Trump. "Treason"
​ ​Americans who vote for reform will be only increasing the likelihood of hell-on-Earth. Reform is no longer an available option, given America’s realities. A far bigger leap than that will be required in order for this country to avoid falling into an utter abyss, which could be led by either Party, because both Parties have brought the nation to its present precipice, the dark and lightless chasm that it now faces, and which must now be leapt, in order to avoid a free-fall into oblivion.
​ ​The problem in America isn’t either Obama or Trump; it’s neither merely the Democratic Party, nor merely the Republican Party; it is instead both; it is the Deep State.

​Massive international criminal conspiracy, including Democratic politicians and deep state, is rightly worried about being subject to legal consequences, including prison. The Saul Alinsky, "accuse them of whatever you did to confuse people" strategy of impeaching Trump is a hoped-for get-out-of-jail-free card.​

​Bernie Sanders could win the Democratic nomination. It is being said. There is some opinion that the Democratic Party that Trump is battling, typified by Clinton, Biden, Obama would already have been beaten before the election, if Sanders got the nod. 
(It depends on what you mean by "beaten", though. They would need to be assured immunity from prosecution, hundreds of 'em.)​

 I wish this were more complicated, like economists make it sound on TV and radio.
Understanding The U.S. Economy: Lots Of Rotten Jobs

​Yanis Varoufakis imagines a world without capitalism, and gives a narrow definition of capitalism, and suggests tools for deconstruction of corporate capitalism. Good thoughts and historical analysis.
In this system, calls for a gentler capitalism are mere fads – especially in the post-2008 reality, which confirmed the total control over society by mega-firms and mega-banks. Unless we are willing to ban tradable shares, first introduced in 1599, we will make no appreciable difference to the distribution of wealth and power today. To imagine what transcending capitalism might mean in practice requires rethinking the ownership of corporations.  

​Tom Luongo postulates that (Rothschild backed) Emmanuel Macron and UK PM Boris Johnson made a deal in October to pull off a no-deal Brexit, in a way that would betray German interests, increase French prerogative within EU governance (and probably be good for Rothschild banking on both sides of the "chunnel", sez I).

​Moon of Alabama has an important story:
​ On Friday a volley of some 30 107mm Katyusha rockets hit the K1 base which houses Iraqi and U.S. troops near Kirkuk, Iraq. One U.S. mercenary/contractor died, two Iraqi and four U.S. soldiers were wounded. Instead of finding the real culprits - ISIS remnants, disgruntled locals, Kurds who want to regain control over Kirkuk - the U.S. decided that Kata'ib Hizbullah was the group guilty of the attack.
 Kata'ib Hizbullah is a mostly Shia group with some relations to Iran. It is part of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) which were founded and trained by Iran to stop and defeat the Islamic State (ISIS) when it occupied nearly a third of Iraq and Syria. KH is like all PMU units now under command and control of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense.
 To take revenge for the death of one of its mercenaries the U.S. air force attacked five camps where Kata'ib Hizbullah and other Iraqi forces were stationed...
The strikes were designed to kill those who still fight ISIS in its most virulent hide outs.​..
 In the aftermath of the American strikes, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said, “We have already confirmed our rejection of any unilateral action by coalition forces or any other forces inside Iraq. We consider it a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and a dangerous escalation that threatens the security of Iraq and the region,”
The U.S. and Israel have already killed hundreds of Iraqi forces that are aligned with Iran. But these were the most egregious strikes. 
There is no doubt. The U.S. forces will have to (again) leave Iraq​.​  (I have doubts. JD)

What the World’s Most Controversial Herbicide Is Doing to Rural Argentina
After enormous lobbying efforts, Monsanto’s GMO soybeans, treated with Roundup, became the country’s largest export, as cancer rates and other health issues skyrocketed.

​Scientists assess where one might best live in North America as this century grinds on, considering climate change, aquifer depletion, storms, infrastructure breakdowns, local agriculture and other practical matters.  

Restoring natural forests is the best way to sequester atmospheric carbon (not growing pulp timber and chopping it down in 10-20 years, but actually letting big, complex forests keep growing and making wood, and moss and pine needles for centuries)

Chimpanzee with AK-47 wins. Short and intense video with no apparent fatalities. Thanks Bosco.

Naked Ape

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Don't Believe Your Thoughts


​ ​Another thing you have the power to do, which I highly recommend, is to get rid of beliefs which do not serve you and replace them with nothing at all. When you notice a belief you have about the world, or about yourself, or about someone else, or whatever, you can ask yourself how that belief is beneficial to you. If you conclude that the belief harms your ability to enjoy life or to succeed at your goals, or even if it’s just not particularly useful, you can simply consciously relinquish it by ceasing to energetically hold it in yourself as true and real. You don’t actually need to replace it with another belief if you don’t want to; you can just let it exist as one big question mark.
​ ​In fact it’s possible to live life with very few beliefs, because very few of them will be useful to you at any given time. You can comb through your entire belief system and consciously relinquish almost all of it one item at a time, leaving nothing in its place but question marks. You can choose to experience life as a mystery.

​4 million Muslims killed since 1990, but the American Empire has been at it a LOT longer than that.
("White Man's Burden", signed copy for you, T.R.)
​ ​After the U.S. defeated the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay and annexed the Philippines under the 1898 Treaty of Paris, the Moro population were not even consulted. The U.S. then sought to “pacify” them using brute force.
​ ​“I want no prisoners,” ordered General Jacob Smith on Samar Island during the war in 1902. “I wish you to kill and burn, the more you kill and burn the better you will please me.”
​ ​Fast forward over 100 years later and it is difficult to see how U.S. military doctrine has changed for the better. A video came to light in 2010 of then-General James Mattis saying that it was “a hell of a lot of fun to shoot” people in Afghanistan. 

Rat Line Reversal will solve problems for Turkey by getting rid of heavily armed "refugees" from Syria, at bargain price, while exerting "regional influence" in oil-rich Libya. Libya's the cheapest place to send that riffraff.
​ President Erdogan in a speech on Thursday presented plans to send Turkish national troops bolster Tripoli as well.
 Possibly thousands from among the so-called Turkish Free Syrian Army (formerly the FSA), with most of its fighters currently attacking Syrian Kurds in the ongoing 'Operation Peace Spring', will now be sent into Libya.
 There are reports suggesting Turkey is ready to pay $2,000 a month for each Syrian 'rebel' willing to go to Libya...
 And akin to the current proxy war which has seen both the US, Kurds, and Sunni Islamists backed by Turkey wrangle over Syria's oil rich eastern region, Libya is heating up to be the latest 'oil and gas prize' — but with immensely more at stake.

 Wikileaks has released their fourth set of leaks from the OPCW’s Douma investigation, revealing new details about the alleged deletion of important information regarding the fact-finding mission.
​ ​“One of the documents is an e-mail exchange dated 27 and 28 February between members of the fact finding mission (FFM) deployed to Douma and the senior officials of the OPCW. It includes an e-mail from
("Voldemort") Sebastien Braha, Chief of Cabinet at the OPCW, where he instructs that an engineering report from Ian Henderson should be removed from the secure registry of the organisation:[Documents Registry Archive]​:​
‘Please get this document out of DRA [Documents Registry Archive]… And please remove all traces, if any, of its delivery/storage/whatever in DRA.'”  

 Up until the OPCW leaks, WikiLeaks drops always made mainstream news headlines. Everyone remembers how the 2016 news cycle was largely dominated by leaked Democratic Party emails emerging from the outlet. Even the relatively minor ICE agents publication by WikiLeaks last year, containing information that was already public, garnered headlines from top US outlets like The Washington Post , Newsweek, and USA Today. Now, on this exponentially more important story, zero coverage.
​ ​The mass media’s stone-dead silence on the OPCW scandal is becoming its own scandal, of equal or perhaps even greater significance than the OPCW scandal itself. It opens up a whole litany of questions which have tremendous importance for every citizen of the western world; questions like, how are people supposed to participate in democracy if all the outlets they normally turn to to make informed voting decisions adamantly refuse to tell them about the existence of massive news stories like the OPCW scandal? How are people meant to address such conspiracies of silence when there is no mechanism in place to hold the entire mass media to account for its complicity in it? And by what mechanism are all these outlets unifying in that conspiracy of silence?
​ ​We can at least gain some insight into that last question with the internal Newsweek emails which were published by journalist Tareq Haddad two weeks ago.

​4 years ago Wikileaks found some emails from nice Mr Soros. (Hey, Joe, Hunter, Check This Out!)
​ Rarely does the world get a true look inside the corrupt world of Western oligarchs and the brazen manipulations they use to enhance their fortunes at the expense of the public good. The following comes from correspondence of the Hungarian-born billionaire, now naturalized American speculator, George Soros. The hacker group CyberBerkut has published online letters allegedly written by Soros that reveal him not only as puppet master of the US-backed Ukraine regime. They also reveal his machinations with the US Government and the officials of the European Union in a scheme where, if he succeeds, he could win billions in the plunder of Ukraine assets. All, of course, would be at the expense of Ukrainian citizens and of EU taxpayers.

2 years ago, George moved almost all of his chips into his charity, remember?
​ ​Uber-liberal billionaire George Soros infused “the bulk of his wealth” -- $18 billion -- into his activist charity arm Tuesday, making the philanthropic organization second only to Bill and Melinda Gates' Foundation in U.S. assets and further extending and strengthening Soros' tentacles worldwide.
​ ​It's unclear what Soros' group will use the billions of dollars toward. He recently posted on his Twitter page articles about the Open Society Foundations' work in countries including Albania and Macedonia.

​Is Social Media The New Tobacco? Charles Hugh Smith 
(Is killing bicyclists while texting the new second-hand-smoke?)

Pipe Dreamer

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Troubled World

Seekers of Peace,

This is something we don't really see in our world, but I look at most years, or rather I read the transcript of Vladimir Putin's year-end press conference and watch a little bit, to see how he looks. He looks good, at ease, in command of the facts, conversant with all that he is asked. The conference is 4 hours and 20 minutes. It's a really long transcript, yet it was worth the read to me. Where is another political leader like this? He comports himself as a public servant. His knowledge and humility are hard for me to describe. I come up short. He is an important human for this historical epoch, I believe.

Proof That America's "Deep State" Exists and Controls the Government, Eric Zuesse  (lots here, poor organization)
​ ​As everyone knows who has been closely following the most-reliable evidence regarding the question of how DNC emails had been copied and supplied to Wikileaks, there has been much credible, soundly-sourced, speculation that the DNC employee Seth Rich had physically copied the data from a computer there onto a thumb drive (or “USB stick”), which then was picked up in the U.S. by a Wikileaks agent, who physically delivered it to Julian Assange at London’s Ecuadorean Embassy. The great independent investigative journalist (virtually barred since 2007 from being published in the U.S. anymore), Seymour Hersh, personally investigated the records of the murder of Seth Rich, both at the Washington DC police and at the FBI, and this is from the transcript I had made of his statement in a Web-posted phone-call​.

Gladio, The Story of a Conspiracy  Thanks Dan.
​ ​When in the early 1970s an Italian right-wing journalist told me about a secret army training in Italy’s mountains, I scoffed at first thinking he was repeating a rumor picked up from some scoop-obsessed reporter. But my tune began changing when he gave it a name—“Stay Behind Army”—and explained it was a secret army to fight the Soviet armies which someday soon would invade West Europe. He gave me the name of a member of that secret army who would talk with me... 
​ ​Years later, in the late 1980s or early 90s, it happened by chance that I met in a Rome hotel bar an American who knew details about that secret army. I was sitting on a stool at the bar of the luxurious Grand Hotel waiting for an appointment with a well-known writer when the man sat down on the stool next to me. I recognized William Colby from pictures of him in the press announcing the presence in Rome for a conference of the former Director of the CIA. I nodded, said hello, and we chatted bar talk until the chat turned into a short interview, which I subsequently published in the European press. I told him I knew who he was, and as we spoke I asked him point-blank about the mysterious Stay-Behind Army.
​ ​To my surprise Colby almost boasted that the covert action branch of the CIA to which he was attached in the 1950s built throughout Western Europe what in intelligence trade parlance were known as ‘Stay-Behind Nets’, in Italy known as Gladio, the headquarters of which was in Rome. In that post-war period Colby was a young intelligence officer assigned to the CIA station in the US Rome Embassy. Officially the network was clandestine, he related, ready to be called into action as sabotage forces when the time came, confirming the few words of those two young Romans of years earlier. Colby said that in 1951 the chief of the CIA in West Europe sent him to the field to help build the Stay-Behind network. ‘Our aim was the creation of an Italian nationalism capable of halting the slide to the left,’ he said, as if speaking of ancient Greek history.

The Real Revolution In Military Affairs, Pepe Escobar gives the high points of the American military's complete vulnerability to Russian and Chinese hypersonic weapons, both at sea, and every American military base in the world. Mutual Assured Destruction has never been more robust.​ The most expensive military in the world can only kill, not protect.  

​It's not the new normal. It's the new slavery.
Sanders Report Shows How Millennial Generation Is 'Being Punished With Crushing Student Debt and Low-Paying Jobs'
"In the richest country in the history of the world, we have an obligation to turn this around and make sure our kids live healthier and better lives than we do."

Child slaves reduce retail prices...
 There’s a chance that the iPhone you’re about to get for Christmas contains cobalt mined by a six-year-old. There’s also a chance that that six-year-old has been killed or maimed in the processes of mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the lion’s share of the world’s cobalt comes from.
​ ​Or, maybe, for those whose Christmas lists are more upscale, you’ll be driving around in a new Tesla next week, with a battery containing cobalt from that same mine.
​ ​Our luxuries are necessarily someone else’s sacrifice – and sometimes that sacrifice is the ultimate one.

"Byzantine"  It's hard to see exactly which objectives Turkey hopes to achieve in this very complex regional dance to dominate oil and gas wells and pipelines.
Turkey may now intervene directly in Libya's civil war after a military cooperation deal was ratified between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Al Sarraj.​..
Sputnik Comment:
 Turkish snipers and storm groups are fighting in the ranks of Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) in the capital of Tripoli. The LNA units gain control over new positions in Tripoli daily.
"We saw Turkish soldiers fighting on the ground in the direction of Khallet al-Furjan in Tripoli among the GNA armed militias. We saw them with our own eyes... snipers and Turkish storming groups. The progress is slow but continuous."

​Human anguish as a weapon.​
​ ​At a moment Erdogan has his hands dirty in Syria and is preparing to get more militarily involved in Libya, Turkey's president has yet again threatened Europe with a refugee horde so large no country will be able to handle it. He's now specifically threatened Greece as being among the first to bear the brunt of the first waves of refugees unleashed by Turkey.
​ ​His threats are now centering on the major uptick in airstrikes by Russia and Syria on Idlib province, said to number in the "hundreds" since a new operation began on Dec.16. Since then, tens of thousands of civilians living under al-Qaeda's Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) have reportedly fled.
​ ​"Turkey cannot handle a fresh wave of migrants from Syria​"​, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, warning that ​"​European countries will feel the impact of such an influx if violence in Syria’s northwest is not stopped," Reuters reports.  

​Acting Israeli PM, Netanyahu says the International Criminal Court has no standing to investigate Israeli war crimes in Palestine, because only countries can appeal to the ICC, and Israel doesn't recognize Palestine as a country.
The UN General Assembly does, but the General Assembly is just racist and anti-semitic and hates Israel's freedom and democracy.​

Don't forget how anti-semitic Jeremy Corbyn is. He supports Palestinian​s​. 
​ ​When is a war crime not a war crime? When, according to British officials, that war crime has been given a makeover as a “charitable act”.
​ ​The British state is being asked to account for its financial and moral support for a UK organisation accused of complicity in the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland. So far, it appears determined to evade answering those questions.
​ ​The target of the campaign is the Jewish National Fund UK (JNF UK), which describes itself as “Britain’s oldest Israel charity”. Noting its role in “building Israel for over a century”, the organisation boasts: “Every penny raised by JNF UK is sent to a project in Israel.”
​ ​In fact, donations to JNF UK were used to buy some of the 250 million trees planted across Israel since 1948, the year when 750,000 Palestinians were forced out at gunpoint from their homes by the new Israeli army. Those expulsions were an event Palestinians call their Nakba, or “catastrophe”.
​ ​Afterwards, the Israeli army laid waste to many hundreds of Palestinian villages, turning them into rubble. Forests planted over the villages were then promoted as efforts to “make the desert bloom”.

Gosh, what's this mean?  Obama was like the billionaires' and bankers' best friend ever. 
 While Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) spent most of her campaign railing against the donor class while refusing to accept large checks from Democratic bundlers, former President Obama has been privately talking up the 2020 candidate who formerly identified as a Native American.
 According to The Hill, Obama has advised reluctant donors to back the Massachusetts Democrat despite her plans to separate them from as much of their wealth as she can. If she becomes the nominee, according to Obama, donors will have no choice but to throw their support behind her.

More on Tulsi Gabbard's principled stance voting "present" at impeachment hearing, and then...
She also introduced a resolution calling on the House to censure Trump on five issues she implied were far more substantial. Those include carrying out wars without congressional approval, illegally “occupying and pillaging” Syria, “recklessly enabling” Turkey to invade Northern Syria and ethnically cleanse Kurds (a U.S. ally), continuing to support Saudi Arabia’s “genocidal war” in Yemen and scrapping nuclear agreements with Iran and Russia, thereby strongly increasing the risk of nuclear proliferation.  (but this is the stuff they ALL agree on​!​)  

Only RT seemed to have a piece on Julian Assange testifying in Spanish trial of company that spied on him 24:7 in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, for the American deep-state. No "fair trial" in America is remotely possible. 

Trump Impeachment Slapstick Is A Diversion From Reality, Finian Cunningham 
(Thou shalt not upset the consumers minds with harsh reality during Christmas shopping season.)

Steve Mnuchin says $1.5 trillion in $100 bills are lying low, somewhere on earth and that's just the officially printed ones. (Paging CIA to white courtesy telephone) 

Mohamed El-Erian is worried about the "new normal" without economic growth, and thinks Europe is first in line at the chopping block. The whole interview is realistic, but targets very rich audience. Upshot is "dump risk now!"
What’s going on in the advanced world is structural. It’s about productivity and growth potential. If you run complex liberal democracies at low growth for a long time, things start to break. So as good as the «New Normal» was for the last ten years, I don’t think it will expand the next ten years. We’re going to see a tip, and in Europe we’re getting much closer to it: If Europe hits stall speed in 2020, which is a growth rate of below 1%, the chances of a recession are increasing. Yet, with better policies, Europe can also bounce back quite quickly. So Europe is really heading for this tipping point or T-junction. The same is true for China and the US. But Europe is most advanced in that process.  

​Pat Buchanan makes the point (from his value-perspective, but a valid point) that France is breaking politically and economically, and the US is steadily headed in that direction. It's basically El-Erian's concern, but from a political vantage. He offers no solution.​ (Do keep watching Rothschild-man Macron for clues of what not to do.The problem has not been worked yet, but it involves massive sharing of losses by the top echelons of the wealth pyramid: Demotions, Real investment of shared national-outcomes by trapped humans of all classes.)  

​Don't try to interpret this study at home! 
It won't actually have a real, verified meaning until we have a medicine to sell you for a few thousand dollars per month, for the rest of your life.​ (I eat chilies 4 times a day, myself.)
​ ​For many years, chili has been hailed for its therapeutic properties, and now researchers have found that eating chili peppers regularly can cut the risk of death from heart disease and stroke.
​ ​Carried out in Italy, where chili is a common ingredient, the study compared the risk of death among 23,000 people, some of whom ate chili and some of whom didn't.
​ ​Participants' health status and eating habits were monitored over eight years, and researchers found that the risk of dying from a heart attack was 40% lower among those eating chili peppers at least four times per week.
Death from stroke was more than halved, according to results published Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.  

​Ima Pepper​

Thursday, December 19, 2019


Balancing Checkbooks,

Dmitry Orlov, famous for being a Russian who went through the collapse of the USSR, sees the world through that lens. Hell, he thinks he sees it coming in the western financial system. What a laugh! He sounds like a "Putin puppet".
​ ​Looking at the numbers for October and November, the Fed monetized over half (50.7%) of new US government debt. A straight-line projection is that if it took the Fed to go from 0% to 50% in four months, then it will go from 50% to 100% in another four—by April Fool’s 2020. But who’s to say that the increase will be linear rather than exponential? Whichever it is, the trend is unmistakable: the market in US government debt—once the deepest and most liquid market in the world—is dead. The only thing propping up the value of USTs is the Fed’s printing press. And the only thing propping up the value of the output of the Fed’s printing press is… what is it, exactly? Exactly!
​ ​Let’s add one more salient detail. Over the course of 2020, $4.665 trillion of USTs will mature and will need to be rolled over into new USTs. This is an all-time record, and this is on top of new debt that will have to be issued in order for the US government to be able to stay open. Over the past year the US budget deficit has amounted to $1.022 trillion, which is a 15.8% increase over the previous year. If this trend continues, the new deficit will be around $1.183 trillion. In order to keep the wheels of finance from grinding to a halt, over 2020 the Fed will have to monetize, or print, close to $6 trillion.
It appears likely that at some point over the coming months Fed chairman Jerome Powell will have to announce “not not QE,” and then “not not not QE,” and then “Milk-milk-lemonade, ’round the corner fudge is made!” and run for the unigender restroom sobbing inconsolably.  

​A real "whistleblower":
NSA whistleblower, former NSA technical chief, Bill Binney, says CIA created the ‘evidence’ for the Mueller Report’s allegation that Russia had hacked DNC.
BILL BINNEY: I basically have always been saying that all of this Russian hack never happened, but we have some more evidence coming out recently. 
​ ​We haven’t published it yet, but what we have seen is that there are at least five items that we’ve found that were produced by Guccifer 2.0 back on June 15th, where they had the Russian fingerprints in them, suggesting the Russians made the hack. Well, we found the same five items published by Wikileaks in the Podesta emails. Those items do not have the Russian fingerprints, which directly implies that Guccifer 2.0 was inserting these into the files to make it look like the Russians did this hack. 
​ ​Taking that into account with all the other evidence we have; like the download speeds from Guccifer 2.0 were too fast, and they couldn’t be managed by the web. And that the files he was putting together and saying that he actually hacked, the two files he said he had were really one file, and he was playing with the data; moving it to two different files to claim two hacks. Taking that into account with the fabrication of the Russian fingerprints, it leads us back to inferring that in fact the marble framework out of the Vault 7 compromise of CIA hacking routines was a possible user in this case. ​ ​In other words, it looked like the CIA did this, and that it was a matter of the CIA making it look like the Russians were doing the hack. 
​ ​So, when you look at that and also look at the DNC emails that were published by Wikileaks that have this phat file format in them, all 35,813 of these emails have rounded off times to the nearest even second. That’s a phat file format property; that argues that those files were, in fact, downloaded to a thumb drive or CD-rom and physically transported before Wikileaks posted them. Which again argues that it wasn’t a hack. 
​ ​So, all of the evidence we’re finding is clearly evidence that the Russians were not in fact hacking; it was probably our own people. 
​ ​It’s very hard for us to get this kind of information out. The mainstream media won’t cover it; none of them will. It’s very hard. We get some bloggers to do that and some radio shows.  

​US Army Reserve Major, and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard​ voted "I showed up". (I sent her a $50 vote this morning.)
​ ​Throughout my life, whether through serving in the military or in Congress, I’ve always worked to do what is in the best interests of our country. Not what’s best for me politically or what’s best for my political party. I have always put our country first. One may not always agree with my decision, but everyone should know that I will always do what I believe to be right for the country that I love.
After doing my due diligence in reviewing the 658-page impeachment report, I came to the conclusion that I could not in good conscience vote either yes or no.
​ ​I am standing in the center and have decided to vote Present. I could not in good conscience vote against impeachment because I believe President Trump is guilty of wrongdoing.
​ ​I also could not in good conscience vote for impeachment because removal of a sitting President must not be the culmination of a partisan process, fueled by tribal animosities that have so gravely divided our country. When I cast my vote in support of the impeachment inquiry nearly three months ago, I said that in order to maintain the integrity of this solemn undertaking, it must not be a partisan endeavor. Tragically, that’s what it has been.

​Schrodinger's Impeachment is half alive and half dead as long as it does not get looked at by the Senate, so it will be maintained in this condition by House Democrats​ for public relations purposes.
This prevents it being declared "dead" by the Senate, or worse yet, the "autopsy" of the legal discovery process.
This sort of contains the damage to the Democratic Party, but only sort of. It doesn't help their cause, and it doesn't hurt Trump's cause. Trump can keep tweeting and writing letters about facts. 
Giuliani is supposed to spill his dirt on Ukrainian corruption after the Senate vote. What's the new timeline on that? 
​Doing the Limbo​

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Merry Go Round

Quidly Pro Quo,

Former Israeli spy, Ari Ben-Menashe, had another interview, with Whitney Webb, about Jeffrey Epstein's early days of value to Israeli intelligence. He was working with Robert Maxwell, a major Mossad asset, when Bill Clinton's star began to ascend towards the White House. Epstein was ideal, under those conditions, to become a friend of Bill, and procure underage girls for him, to help keep him from turning out bad like Jimmy Carter, and pressuring Israel for a two state solution; things like that. 
(Again, the dead guys head is not Epstein's head )

There is a loss of trust in banking. Banks don't trust banks in the overnight lending, "repo" market. 
Why not? What do they know. They say the same thing happened in summer 2008. 
Here's The Slog, John Ward.
​ ​T​​o see banks in the repo financial sector through to 2020 – that’s exactly two weeks away – the NYFed will whack $130bn of button-created money into that niche to stop collapses…and in the first ten days of January, another $180bn. By the end of the first month of the year, something like 3 trillion dollars will have been thrown at the problem since September...
  After the 2008 Crash1, despite all their attempts (largely successful) to avoid being reined in by regulation, the banks themselves lost all trust in each other. In this playground, there is zero honour between thieves – just children playing at Lord of the Flies. For weeks before 2008 went critical, nobody trusted Lehman. Equally, Wall Street firms stood and watched as other banks circled round Lehman like sharks in a feeding frenzy – sinking their teeth into the bloated whale by withdrawing cash. Barcap wound up buying the bank for a song.
​ ​So repo became a channel for offsetting risk while providing short-term liquidity or credit.  Banks still demanded collateral for their loans to other banks, and so the repo market became a way of avoiding that by spreading risk and using cheap government bonds (T-Bills) as collateral.
​ ​However, since late 2017, lending via the repo has been a quadropoly involving the megabanks. Any reduced willingness by the Big  Four to lend there reduces in turn the liquidity of other banks….who have, of course, spent the last decade overleveraging themselves again.

Interest rates have to be suppressed, despite risks, despite withering pension funds, because the current financial system is so heavily over-indebted, that rises in rates will collapse it, as interest service becomes impossible.
​ ​Herbert Stein, a prominent economist and adviser to presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, once remarked, “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”...
 ​Current global debt levels are simply not sustainable. Debt actually is sustainable if the debt is used for projects with positive returns and if the economy supporting the debt is growing faster than the debt itself.
​ But ​neither of those conditions applies today.
​ ​ Debt is being incurred just to keep pace with existing requirements in the form of benefits, interest and discretionary spending.​ 
(Not just government, but corporate, and household, etc.)

​Proposed Social Security Disability restructuring will kick a lot of people off the back of the bus, older people, sort of pre-retirees, as the system now operates. They spend what they get into the basic economy of food, rent and bills. 
This clearly benefits no player within the economy. therefore, I see it as some kind of contrived bargaining chip.
​ ​Currently, beneficiaries are placed in three separate categories based on the severity of their disability: “Medical Improvement Not Expected,” “Medical Improvement Expected,” and “Medical Improvement Possible.” People with more severe medical conditions face less frequent disability reviews.
​ ​The Trump administration’s proposed rule would another category called “Medical Improvement Likely,” which would subject beneficiaries to disability reviews every two years.
​ ​According to the Inquirer, “an estimated 4.4 million beneficiaries would be included in that designation, many of them children and so-called Step 5 recipients, an internal Social Security classification.”
​ ​Step 5 recipients, the Inquirer noted, “are typically 50 to 65 years of age, in poor health, without much education or many job skills [and] often suffer from maladies such as debilitating back pain, depression, a herniated disc, or schizophrenia.”

​Across the pond, Boris Johnson shows which side he thinks his bread will be buttered upon in the coming year, by not going to Davos, and not letting members of his government going to Davos, so as to demonstrate that the Tories have become a party of the workers, not the elites. Hopefully there will be many such signals to follow in the upcoming 54 weeks or so.

This is such a signal. BoJo puts the heat on the EU, whose banking sector is reportedly treading barefoot upon glass shards these days, by declaring intent to make it illegal to extend Brexit transition beyond 12/31/2020. He looks like he can pull this off. It doesn't look like a bluff now. He's got some face cards in his hand.

Television Populist President Donald Trump wrote a letter to wily swamp amphibian , Nancy Pelosi about how she's betraying the constitution and stuff. 
It's all true, and all circus at the same time. 
Big day for circus today. Watch your assets!

Hand on Wallet

Monday, December 16, 2019

Smoke Screens

Losing Interest,

Moon of Alabama on the circus that won't leave town:
​ ​The only reason why the Senate will go the soft way and just vote the impeachment down is because a deal was made between Leader McConnell and Speaker Pelosi.
​ ​The deal prevented an extensive impeachment inquiry and trial that could have hurt both sides with uncertain outcome.
​ ​The narrowness and weakness of the impeachment resolution that can not hurt the president was in exchange for a no-fuzz process in the Senate that will not dig into Biden and will not hurt the Democrats during next year's election.
​ ​That a deal was made explains why Pelosi has chosen impeachment and not censure even as polls were showing opposition to impeachment. It explains why she allowed only a narrow resolution based on weak evidence. It explains why the House agreed to Trump's ginormous defense budget in the same week that it produced an impeachment resolution against him. It also guarantees that there would be no deeper digging by Democrats against Trump. It guarantees the he will under no circumstances be found guilty and impeached.
​ ​Both sides can live with the results of this narrow process. The Democrats demonstrate to their core constituency that they are willing to take on Trump. The Republicans show that they stand with their president and against the lame accusations.

 Rudy Giuliani has been invited to share his Ukraine findings with the Senate Judiciary Committee - after President Trump's impeachment trial, according to the panel's chairman, Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
 In other words, potentially devastating evidence against the Bidens which is integral to the genesis of the entire impeachment effort won't be aired until after Graham's 'witness-less' trial, in order for the impeachment to "die quickly," as Graham put it last week.

Glenn Greenwald, excerpted comments on the Inspector General's very narrow report about "Russiagate" conspiring:​
​ ​If it does not bother you to learn that the FBI repeatedly and deliberately deceived the FISA court into granting it permission to spy on a U.S. citizen in the middle of a presidential campaign, then it is virtually certain that you are either someone with no principles, someone who cares only about partisan advantage and nothing about basic civil liberties and the rule of law, or both. ..​ ​ 
​ ​It’s virtually impossible to turn on MSNBC or CNN without being bombarded with former Generals, CIA operatives, FBI agents and NSA officials who now work for those networks as commentators and, increasingly, as reporters... 
​ ​All of this has meant that U.S. discourse on these national security questions is shaped almost entirely by the very agencies that are trained to lie: the CIA, the NSA, the Pentagon, the FBI. And their lying has been highly effective... 
​ ​Ever since the Snowden reporting – indeed, prior to that, when the New York Times’ Eric Lichtblau and Jim Risen (now with the Intercept) revealed in 2005 that the Bush-era NSA was illegally spying on U.S. citizens without the warrants required by law – it was widely understood that the FISA process was a rubber-stamping joke, an illusory safeguard that, in reality, offered no real limits on the ability of the U.S. Government to spy on its own citizens. Back in 2013 at the Guardian, I wrote a long article, based on Snowden documents, revealing what an empty sham this process was.
​ ​But over the last three years, the strategy of Democrats and liberals – particularly their cable outlets and news sites – has been to venerate and elevate security state agents as the noble truth-tellers of U.S. democracy. Once-reviled-by-liberal sites such as Lawfare – composed of little more than pro-NSA and pro-FBI apparatchiks – gained mainstream visibility for the first time on the strength of a whole new group of liberals who decided that the salvation of U.S. democracy lies not with the political process but with the dark arts of the NSA, the FBI and the CIA.​..
​ ​This system of unlimited domestic spying was built by both parties, which only rouse themselves to object when the power lies in the other side’s hands. Just last year, the vast majority of the GOP caucus joined with a minority of Democrats led by Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff to hand President Trump all-new domestic spying powers while blocking crucial reforms and safeguards to prevent abuse. The spying machinery that Edward Snowden risked his life and liberty to expose always has been, and still is, a bipartisan creation.

​The FBI, everybody running the show, knew all along that Carter Page was working for the CIA, not Russia, and had nothing to do with any kind of election tampering, but hiding that fact from the FISA Court was essential to the plan to wiretap everybody working with Trump, trap them in minor misstatements, and bankrupt them in court with "lawfare". 
The Russiagate Show ran for season after season.
Schiff: 'I Had No Idea FBI Was Committing Serious Abuses When I Said All That Stuff'  

​More government lies, by which to justify murder, but not a "conspiracy", right, guys?
​ ​Late Saturday WikiLeaks released more documents which contradict the US narrative on Assad's use of chemical weapons, specifically related to the April 7, 2018 Douma incident, which resulted in a major US and allied tomahawk missile and air strike campaign on dozens of targets in Damascus.
​ ​The leaked documents, including internal emails of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) — which investigated the Douma site — reveal mass dissent within the UN-authorized chemical weapons watchdog organization's ranks over conclusions previously reached by the international body which pointed to Syrian government culpability. It's part of a growing avalanche of dissent memos and documents casting the West's push for war in Syria in doubt (which had resulted in two major US and allied attacks on Syria).
​ ​This newly released batch, WikiLeaks reports, includes a memo stating 20 inspectors feel that the officially released version of the OPCW's report on Douma “did not reflect the views of the team members that deployed to [Syria]”.​..​
​ ​The aforementioned memo states that around 20 inspectors have expressed concerns over the final FFM report, which they feel “did not reflect the views of the team members that deployed to Douma”. Only one member of the fact finding team that went to Douma, a paramedic, is said to have contributed to the final version of the report. Apart from that one person, an entirely new team was gathered to assemble the final report, referred to as the “FFM core team”.  

​Moon of Alabama explains what is now the end of a Journalistic career.
​ ​The new documents published by Wikileaks include the original Interim Report written by members of the Fact Finding Mission of the OPCW who were on the grounds in Douma to investigate that case. The original Interim Report was suppressed by the OPCW management and a rewritten Interim Report and manipulated Final Report were published. ​ ​ They made it look as if the Syrian government was guilty of a chemical attack. At least two whistleblowers have gone public and some 20 OPCW inspectors have internally protested to their management...
 A journalist at Newsweek, Tareq Haddad, wrote and tried to publish a piece about the OPCW manipulations. The piece was suppressed by the editors of Newsweek. Haddad, who resigned in protest, now published a recommendable long-read which explains what happened:
Lies, Newsweek and Control of the Media Narrative: First-Hand Account.

Well, it might not happen, anyway...
​ ​Former CIA officer and counter-intelligence expert Kevin Shipp says that former Obama Administration Attorney General (AG) Eric Holder gave a big Deep State panic signal when he wrote in an Op-Ed last week in the Washington Post trashing current AG William Barr and his top prosecutor John Durham. Shipp explains,
​ ​“This is very significant. We all remember that Holder was Obama’s right hand man. Eric Holder was Barack Obama’s enforcer. The fact that Holder comes out this quickly after the Inspector General (IG) Horowitz Report comes out... and makes this veiled threat against Durham’s reputation. The fact that Eric Holder came out and made this statement is a clear indication to me they are running scared.
​ ​We have to understand it was Eric Holder that Barack Obama used to target the heads of corporations that spoke out publicly about Barack Obama. We know Holder was held in ‘Contempt of Congress.’ He spied on AP reporters, ran guns to drug cartels and blacked out the information. He spied on over a hundred journalists, and on and on we go...
​ ​They (Deep State) are convinced there are going to be indictments. Secondly, there is AG Barr’s outrage over (IG) Horowitz’s report and what it did not do. He made statements that there was spying and actions by government officials that need to be criminally looked into. Barr’s outrage over this shows me that there are going to be indictments, and that he is taking this seriously. Again, when Holder comes out and puts out this bombshell in the Washington Post, which is another indication that indictments are coming. John Brennan, former Obama Administration CIA Director, is going to be at the top of the list.”  

Turkey threatens to close critical US/NATO bases if sanctioned. 
(Not mentioned, but known by all, is that the US pretty nearly killed Erdogan in that military coup attempt a few years ago, and he was saved by last-minute Russian intervention.)
​ ​Bottom line: It's Turkey's party, and it can buy missiles from Russia if it wants to. After all, placating Russia is important for an energy importer like Turkey. Russian energy subsidies can be a huge economic boon for an economy - just look at Belarus.
​ ​Plus, now that Erdogan has cemented his control over the levers of power in Turkey, even if his decision to re-run the mayoral elections in Istanbul didn't turn out quite as well as he had probably hoped.  He's eager to establish Turkey as a regional power, and bending to the US on this would make him look week.
​ ​Of course, for the US, Erdogan's demands present a difficult dilemma: The US and NATO need Turkey to host its bases, but they're worried that, if the S-400 system becomes fully operational (expected in April), many worry the Russian system could be used to collect intelligence on the stealth capabilities of the F-5 fighter jet.  

 Here's the deal: Sweet drinks and cheap starchy foods are killing people. Cholesterol medicines are not saving them, but fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and some omega 3 fats will. Thanks Charles. (Insulin Resistance is Futile)

A million times more? Are ya really sure? Where's it all come from?
The ocean is teeming with microplastic – a million times more than we thought, suggests new research
Distribution of sources of microplastics in the worlds oceans

Spying Little Things

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Reversal Of Fortune

Economic Migrants,

Lots of good graphs and analysis. Keep scrolling...
Living On Borrowed Time
How soon until the consequences of our excesses catch up with us?

Fascism isn't the merger of corporations and government that is too vague, and too easy to confuse. Fascism is government functions being replaced by private corporations. Fascism is when the public good is replaced by private profit.

​Jeremy Corbyn has very popular policy stands in the UK. He is against war and for re-nationalization ​of public services, which are bleeding people dry in private hands. He actually supports the national health service, instead of talking support and secretly negotiating privatization to American interests. Why is Corbyn not popular enough to win?
The answer, of course lies in something that we’ve known for a long time. The British press cater to elites. In fairness this is just how the press works. As Noam Chomsky and Ed Herman point out in their classic Manufacturing Consent, Western media function on the basis of a propaganda model. Media companies make money through advertising, which makes more money by catering to wealthy audiences. The result of this is a huge bias in favor of elite opinion.​..
  Whatever the outcome, this is one of the most fascinating elections on record. Arguments for the status quo – that the rich should see the biggest gains when capitalism works and the poor should pay when it doesn’t – aren’t working. Demonization of one’s opponents has always been a part of electoral politics, but in this election that’s pretty much the only tactic in play, at least for the Tories. Their victory would be a huge triumph of the British propaganda system. It would also be a huge failure for democracy.

​ ​Days before the U.K.’s national election on Thursday, British intelligence agencies and U.S. government-backed organizations have escalated their attacks on Corbyn, borrowing tactics from America’s Russiagate hysteria and going to great efforts to portray him — without any substantive evidence — as a supposed puppet of the dastardly Kremlin.
​ ​These government-sponsored attacks on Corbyn, a lifelong anti-imperialist and former chair of the Stop the War Coalition, are far from new. In December, The Grayzone reported on the Integrity Initiative, a U.K. government-funded secret network of spies, journalists, and think tanks that rehabilitated Cold War-era information warfare to demonize Corbyn and smear anti-war leftists as Vladimir Putin’s unwitting foot soldiers.

​RIP: Sammy Davis Junior​ 
Trump Signs Order Interpreting Judaism As A Nationality And Race
This will effectively stifle all constitutionally-protected boycotts, protests or any criticism of Israel on campus.

​Trump: ​"​As President, I want to be very clear my administration vigorously condemns the BDS campaign against Israel. (Applause.) But sadly, BDS has also made disturbing headway on American college campuses. You know that, don’t you?"​  

The Warfare State Lied About Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. They Will Lie Again.

The supergiant Azadegan oil field, comprising major north and south sites, is as important to Iran’s overall strategic plan to survive the current sanctions environment and to prosper when they are lifted as the flagship South Pars supergiant gas field and the added-value products of its petrochemicals sector. Last week Iran’s Petroleum Engineering and Development Company (PEDEC) announced that five new development wells and an appraisal well are to be spudded in North Azadegan to maintain current production levels. understands from various senior energy sources in Iran that this is only part of the picture, with much bigger plans having been agreed for rollout in the coming six months with the help of China and Russia.  

Interim Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu committed again on Sunday that his government will steal the entire Jordan Valley from the Palestinians. He had floated this plan two months ago but now seems to be determined to move ahead. It makes up 25% of the Palestinian West Bank. Israel is forbidden to annex militarily occupied territory by the 1949 Geneva Convention and by the charter of the United Nations, which were enacted to forestall a repeat of Nazi atrocities. Netanyahu would also annex the 5% of Palestinian territory on which Israeli squatter settlements have been built on land stolen from its Palestinian owners.  

Matt Taibbi Report on Horowitz Report
‘Corroboration Zero’: An Inspector General’s Report Reveals the Steele Dossier Was Always a Joke
The report throws water on one “deep state” conspiracy theory of the Russia investigation, but validates complaints about “fake news”

Moon of Alabama: 
The FBI - Pushed By John Brennan - Lied To The Court Seven Times To Spy On The Trump Campaign

The Hidden Hand, 
Charles S. (Sam) Faddis, Senior Partner- Artemis, LLC is a former CIA operations officer with thirty years of experience in the conduct of intelligence operations in the Middle East, South Asia and Europe.
​ ​"The essence of a coup, which some might refer to as covert action, is the hidden hand.  One does not announce that a foreign power is overthrowing the government and installing a new government.  One pulls strings as if from behind a curtain, making events that are all part of a carefully orchestrated plan appear disconnected, spontaneous and serendipitous.
​ ​As I read through the recently released IG report for the second time, as someone with a great deal of experience in military and intelligence matters, I see that hand everywhere.​..
​ ​The IG report on the Crossfire Hurricane investigation runs to hundreds of pages, and it contains a wealth of information.  It is the product of what can only have been a massive amount of investigative work by a team of dedicated professionals and is a huge resource for those attempting to understand the origins of the Russian collusion hoax.  Yet, at the same time it misses the essence of what just transpired.  It is like reading a description of the actions and motivations of a troupe of marionettes in a stage play and missing the fact that they are all simply doing what those pulling the strings make them do.
​ ​The FBI did not conduct an investigation of Donald Trump and his associates that ultimately proved to be based on false information and continue that investigation long past the time it should have been shut down simply because some people made some errors in judgment or some procedures need to be changed.  That investigation was simply the most visible piece of a deliberate, covert attempt to overthrow the democratic process.  The perpetrators of that crime have yet to be brought to justice and identified.  Let’s hope that happens soon.​"​

​Last minute trade deal. Trump and Xi both need it
Trump Folds: Will Cancel New China Tariffs, Offers To Cut Existing Tariffs By 50% In Exchange For Pledges

​"Afghanistan Papers" may be a Game Changer for Tulsi Gabbard
​ ​The reason McKinsey could be relevant to Tulsi’s campaign is that one of her main rivals for the nomination, Pete Buttigieg, happened to work for McKinsey from 2007 to 2010. Pete has indicated that his stint with McKinsey involved working on “war zone economic development to help grow private sector employment” in Iraq and Afghanistan. In plain language, Pete appears to have been part of broader effort by the US government to transform Afghanistan into some sort of a mini capitalist democracy—not unlike the silly US plan to create a Jeffersonian democracy in Iraq.​..
  One thing’s for sure… Tulsi’s decision not to participate in the debate, regardless of whether or not she qualifies, has been made thoughtfully and strategically.

Greenland has lost 3.8 trillion tons of ice since 1992. That raised sea level a little over a centimeter. The rest of Greenland's ice, were it to melt, would raise sea level about 22 feet.

Is This the End of Recycling? 
("Recycling" was always more aspirational than real. We need so much less packaging, and things made to last.)
Americans are consuming more and more stuff. Now that other countries won’t take our papers and plastics, they’re ending up in the trash.

Recycled Human

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Not Extinct Yet

Pondering ​Human ​Existence,

Were Other Humans the First Victims of the Sixth Mass Extinction?
 This article opens the paradigmatic question of the essential natural characteristics of social groups of Homo Sapiens. It looks at the genetic and fossil history of our engagements with Denisovans Neanderthal and other human races. We shared genes, then exacted genocide upon them. It was a fairly quick progression, even in ancient times, something like a thousand years. Later, with ships, bankers, guns and smallpox, the Americas would be conquered much faster.
 To my mind, the essential competitive edge described here is sociopathy, the ability to kill without hesitation or reluctance, and to do so at any scale. Perhaps those other human races lacked sociopathy. We can imagine ourselves completely without it in our society, but questions arise about how things happen in wars and finance, and power relations. 
 Sociopaths seem to have been essential to our human tendency to overgrow our systems of food production. Sociopaths lead us to population reduction when this happens. It's brutal, but having sociopaths in a group is a competitive advantage to lacking sociopaths in a group.
 We are at a difficult juncture in history, massively overgrown on the long term support system of agriculture and nature, by the one-time pulse of fossil fuels, fossil water, and the discovery of iron, copper, rare-earth metals and uranium.
 We have the intellectual and cognitive ability to meet our global needs as humans and as parts of nature, differently, but our nature is to be ruled by our sociopathic members in times of crisis. 
 We see it around us, wherever there is mass killing and expropriation of wealth. Our sociopaths get ignored or whitewashed. Their sociopaths, and even citizens, get tarred. 
 The best I can come up with is that the sociopathic rulers are now as threatened as ordinary citizens, by the vast destructive power they wield. Self-preservation dictates that they condone non-destructive methods going forward, but they are human and they panic, too. Meanwhile, they experiment with new forms of war, with their mass control of other humans, through finance and media, as well as armies.
 It's up to us to keep the pressure down and derive day to day solutions which do not involve execution, expropriation and genocide. 
 This will be a long, slow process, subject to immediate catastrophic failure, but what else is there to do?

The UN General Assembly yesterday officially asked Israel to leave the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
​ ​The request was made after the resolution was adopted after 91 UN member states voted in favour, nine rejected and 65 abstained.
​ ​The resolution stipulates that Israel leaves all the Syrian Golan Heights occupied in June 1967, stating this is an implementation of the UN Security Council’s resolution.

​ ​In what's already being hailed as a defining and explosive "Pentagon papers" moment, a cache of previously classified documents obtained by The Washington Post show top Pentagon leaders continuously lied to the public about the "progress" of the now eighteen-year long Afghan war.
​ ​The some 2,000 pages of notes from interviews of senior officials who have shaped US strategy in Afghanistan confirm that “senior US officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false... hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable​.​"​ 
("Winning" could not even be defined before the US ​launched the war​ on Afghanistan.) 

​Turkey is at the crossroads, and moves again to ​dominate flows from East to West, like oil and refugees from Libya.
 Turkey and Libya have signed an expanded maritime, security and military cooperation agreement which gives Turkey the right to deploy troops there if requested by authorities in Tripoli, President Erdogan has told state-run TRT television in an interview on Monday.
​ ​"In the event of such a call coming, it is Turkey's decision what kind of initiative it will take here." Erdogan said, as reported by Reuters. "We will not seek the permission of anyone on this," he underscored.
Turkey has been the most aggressive backer of Tripoli, offering military equipment and even air power, while the UAE has provided most weaponry for Haftar's 'rebel' army in the developing proxy war. While Washington officially recognizes the GNA, the Trump administration has for months verbalized support for Haftar, long seen as the 'CIA's man in Libya'. ​​ "Haftar is nothing but a pirate," Erdogan said earlier this year after six Turkish sailors were briefly detained by pro-Haftar forces...
"With this new agreement between Turkey and Libya, we can hold joint exploration operations in these exclusive economic zones that we determined. There is no problem," Erdogan said.
​ ​"Other international actors cannot carry out exploration operations in these areas Turkey drew (up) with this accord without getting permission. Greek Cyprus, Egypt, Greece and Israel cannot establish a gas transmission line without first getting permission from Turkey," he warned.

The Power of Siberia Pipeline is a massive game changer, which almost did not happen. Russia was forced into alliance with China by the takeover in Ukraine. Kiev is historically a core part of Russia, an ancient capital.​
Ironically, we can title this the ‘Biden Memorial Pipeline.’ Had the Obama Administration not launched their coup d’etat in 2013 at Maidan Square in Kiev, with the subsequent ouster of the elected president in February 2014 in favor of literal neo-nazi parties and corrupt oligarchs under a US puppet regime, the completion of the Power of Siberia pipeline to China would likely not exist today. Negotiations with Beijing for the pipeline had been dragging on for more than ten years when the Ukraine coup took place. After that coup a final agreement was secured by Moscow with Beijing in a matter of weeks as Putin engineered a geopolitical pivot to the East away from NATO.  

​Tom Luongo:​
​ ​Ukraine was supposed to fall into the EU’s lap, including Crimea, bottling Russia up permanently. Then they could slowly strangle the Russian economy through monopsony leverage over the gas pipelines into Europe.
​ ​So, if anything, Putin will hold out for everything at this point, since he knows Merkel and Macron deal from weak hands. Zelensky is simply a pawn trapped between them and the U.S. inside his own country.
​ ​The EU has made it exceedingly difficult for Russia to build the pipelines Europe wants, consistently changing the rules of their Gas Directives to make the projects less and less profitable. Some of that is because of U.S. pressure and some of that is the EU’s own arrogance and hubris...

​ ​This meeting, after the disastrous NATO summit last week, should have been a place for Merkel and Macron to push Zelensky into a solid position on something.
​ ​The gas transit contract should have been that thing. It’s something that even the nationalists wouldn’t complain about since it would bring money into the state coffers and shore up European investors that energy supplies into Europe in 2020 wouldn’t be interrupted.​..
​ Putin and Gazprom went into the meeting having made reasonable opening offers. But even with that low-hanging fruit in front of them Merkel and Macron betrayed their political impotence ultimately.
​ ​And so did Zelensky because he can’t agree to anything of substance lest he be gutted politically by the nationalists who are threatening civil war if he bows to Russia...
​ ​Merkel and Macron came into this meeting to burnish their resumes. Macron let slip what his real agenda was when he referred to Ukraine as an ‘open wound’ which needed to be closed. This was him admitting that the war in the Donbass is a manufactured conflict that benefits no one at the table but which they are powerless to affect.
​ ​So, in the end, it was Putin who coached Zelensky through the basics of diplomacy, getting agreement on things like prisoner swaps, ceasefire areas (which never seemed to hold under Poroshenko) and offering a discounted gas price for residential consumers in Ukraine.​..
​ Merkel wants the gas transit deal in place to help right the failed state in Kiev and stop the migration out of the country. And Putin will happily oblige her but only if the EU stands by it as a partner and not treat Gazprom as ‘the help.’
In the end, Ukraine is only important to the U.S. as a pressure point on Russia and its destruction is okay as well since a failed state on Russia’s border is its own reward for the Empire of Chaos.​..
​ So this means, in the end, that Zelensky went to Paris only to find out he still has no friends except the one person he’s not allowed to be friends with, Putin. And that means this situation will grind on without significant movement until the next meeting in March.

​ ​Little has been revealed in terms of precise statements or any potential diplomatic breakthroughs following Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's closed-door, no press admitted meeting with President Trump on Tuesday.
​ ​But the predictable outraged frenzy given the timing didn't disappoint, with CNN pointing out "the extraordinary spectacle of President Donald Trump consulting with Moscow on the day House Democrats unveiled articles of impeachment underpinned partly by Trump's unusual relationship with Russia."
​ ​On that note, Lavrov did punch back on the 'Russiagate' narrative in general as well as the notion that a mere diplomatic meeting would suggest a 'compromised' White House, saying in a joint press conference with Secretary of State Pompeo that his county's alleged election interference is "baseless" and any level of proof "simply does not exist".
This after Rep. Adam Schiff slammed the high level meeting as "a success of the Russian propaganda" while lamenting that supposedly "adversaries" were "invited in" but with "allies locked out."
​ ​“There was no press at our meeting, American or Russian. If Schiff can describe the ministerial-level contacts normal to any country and my meeting with the president in such a way, then I believe that they will soon accuse our diplomats, just as they have our athletes, of doping and call for criminal punishment,” Lavrov said mockingly.
​ ​In a tweet President Trump said he had a "very good" meeting with the top Russian diplomat and listed items discussed as including trade, Iran, North Korea, the INF Treaty, Nuclear Arms Control, and election meddling (on this last topic, Lavrov denied receiving a "warning" from Trump regarding interference).
​ ​A White House statement indicated the potential for greater trade with Russia was also a focus on the meeting.
​ ​Speaking of trade and ongoing sanctions Lavrov boasted before reporters that trade between the two countries has actually grown during the Trump administration.​ 
(See body language in images.)  

​Negotiating from strength...​
​ ​Following the collapse of the arms control regime that for decades aided the US's tenuous grip on power in the region, the US, Russia and China are now engaged in a winner-takes-all struggle for control of territory north of the Arctic Circle.
 And as Russia moves to defend its territory (Russia and Canada have the most territory inside the Arctic Circle), the Russian army is reportedly preparing to upgrade the equipment on the anti-aircraft regiment of its Northern Fleet with its new state-of-the-art S-400 missile defense systems.
​ ​The upgrades will create what RT described as a "missile defense dome" able to stop a flurry of NATO missiles.
​ ​And that's not all: Russian anti-aircraft troops and members of the radio corp. are in the Arctic undergoing what has been described as a "radical retraining" regimen. Ultimately, all military units will be equipped with Russian-made S-400 anti-aircraft missiles.

​What is the reasoning behind Chinese government "graduation" of the Uighurs from closed re-education campuses?​
This article presents it as a simple power-challenge. It may be more complex and multi-faceted. This may be revealed over time. This is a point of attack, now removed.
​ ​In response to global outpouring of anger as well as last week's House Bill sanctioning Chinese officials,the regional governor of China’s infamous Xinjiang region said the people held in camps have now “graduated” and new trainees will have the freedom to come and go, Reuters reported. Commenting on the striking development, Channel News reporter Wei Du said that "under pressure, China appears to be ending concentration camps in Xinjiang. Provincial governor says all those in “training centers” have now "graduated into gainful employment."  

​Why "This Sucker is going down". Trillions of dollars of borrowing from our future did nothing good. Charles Hugh Smith
​ What actually happens is banks "invest" the new money in faster High Frequency Trading (HFT) computers so they can skim even more profit from the rigged "markets." Productivity increase: zero. Social benefits: zero. Economic benefits to the nation at large: zero.
 Virtually all the loose money created by the Fed is socially useless financial activity, enriching the few at the top of the wealth-power pyramid who own the financial machinery of repo's, derivatives, FX swaps, leverage, and all the other tricks of the financial trade that has completely disconnected from the real-world economy.
 The conventional media constantly hypes the fantasy that trade deals matter, holiday sales matter, employment numbers matter--none of that matters. The big money is made by gaming the financial system, buying regulatory approval, i.e. legalized looting, funneling a few measly millions to craven politicos who have zero understanding of how the nation's financial system actually works, and then running a monstrous skimming operation behind the complexity thickets of "modern" finance, which all boil down to the same toxic concoction that's destroyed economies throughout history...
​ ​The banks and financiers have used the Fed's trillions to enrich themselves for eleven years, and nothing will stop their legalized looting except a collapse of the entire machine. The great karmic irony is they've rigged and gamed the system so rapaciously, absolutely confident there's no end to the loose money, that they've overlooked the increasing fragility of the entire system they've ruthlessly exploited.  
​More of Charles, The Taxonomy of Collapse:
​ ​These triggers of collapse can overlap, of course, accelerating the final decline. All complex hierarchical systems are intrinsically fragile and prone to disruption; we don't see the fragility or vulnerabilities until the decline has reached the terminal phase. The higher up the wealth-power pyramid the observer is, the more prone they are to a magical-thinking belief that the empire is forever, even as it is crumbling around them.

​Rabbit in Hat​