Saturday, March 9, 2019

Blame Dead Victims


Deeply Embarrassing to the Deep State, Putin's doing, again...
Vovan and Lexus, Russian telephone pranksters known for their trolling of politicians from around the world, have struck again, targeting US special representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams to find out more about the US-backed effort to unseat that country's legitimate government. Sputnik got ahold of the full audio from the talks.
Posing as Swiss President Ueli Maurer, who also serves as the country's finance minister, the pranksters contacted Abrams on two occasions – in mid-February and early March, speaking to him for over 23 minutes about Swiss policy on the ongoing effort to freeze the Venezuelan government's assets as part of broader plans to replace President Nicolas Maduro with US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido.  

S​topping Venezuela's heart... This is like bombing cities. Even the rich Venezuelan's get hurt. This will reduce their support for the US.
A massive power outage at the Guri Dam in Venezuela caused 18 of the country’s 23 states to go dark on Thursday, bringing life to a halt. Caracas has alleged it’s the work of Washington, where key politicos seemed to know about the attack almost as it happened. An activist told Sputnik it’s the “first act in a new play” of regime change.​..
Venezuelan Vice President Dulcy Rodriguez pointed the finger firmly at Washington, which since January 23 has backed the self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela, a parliamentarian named Juan Guaido, as the legitimate leader of the country, seeking Maduro's ouster. She noted that only three minutes after the blackout began, US Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted about it, gloating that the "Maduro regime is a complete disaster."

​I've been watching the story of the 40 tons of stolen Syrian gold being accepted by US Special Forces, to give ISIS safe-passage out of their tomb. The Syrian press has now broached the subject of US theft of Syrian gold, which it obviously is. Gold is worth stealing from enemies of the dollar.
The Syrian National News Agency headlined on February 26th, “Gold deal between United States and Daesh” (Daesh is ISIS) and reported that,
Information from local sources said that US army helicopters have already transported the gold bullions under cover of darkness on Sunday [February 24th], before transporting them to the United States.
The sources said that tens of tons that Daesh had been keeping in their last hotbed in al-Baghouz area in Deir Ezzor countryside have been handed to the Americans, adding up to other tons of gold that Americans have found in other hideouts for Daesh, making the total amount of gold taken by the Americans to the US around 50 tons, leaving only scraps for the SDF [Kurdish] militias that serve them [the US operation].
Recently, sources said that the area where Daesh leaders and members have barricaded themselves in, contains around 40 tons of gold and tens of millions of dollars.
Allegedly, “US occupation forces in the Syrian al-Jazeera area made a deal with Daesh terrorists, by which Washington gets tens of tons of gold that the terror organization had stolen, in exchange for providing safe passage for the terrorists and their leaders from the areas in Deir Ezzor where they are located.”

​Satellites are different from ballistic missiles. The launch vehicles need very different burn characteristics. North Korea will resume satellite testing, not ballistic missile testing. Moon of Alabama:
To understand why North Korea is using this satellite launch to maybe bring the U.S. back to the table we have to go back to the negotiations between the two parties.
Before the first summit between Trump and Kim in Singapore both sides agreed that the U.S. would freeze large scale maneuvers in and around Korea while North Korea would stop ballistic missile testing as well as nuclear tests. This 'freeze for freeze' agreement was held up since. Trump recently reconfirmed that no large maneuvers would take place.
North Korea would like to keep the 'freeze for freeze' agreement alive. A satellite launch is not contrary to that agreement. Unfortunately  some U.S. officials, i.e. John Bolton, and North Korea hawks like Victor Cha may well want to use a satellite launch to declare it dead.
The first summit ended with a signed Joint Statement, a sequenced four step agreement in which the U.S. promised to lift some sanctions (1) and an end to the state of war (2) while North Korea commited "to work towards complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" (3) and to recover remains of U.S. personal killed during the Korea war (4).
Trump had asked for and was granted an additional personal favor. Kim promised Trump to blow up North Korea's nuclear test tunnels and to dismantle a missile engine test stand. He fulfilled both but is now walking back on the second point.

The U.S. has not fulfilled its side of the bargain. The Trump administration still demands the "full denuclearization" of North Korea before the lifting of sanctions. That position contradicts the Joint Statement. It is also utterly delusional. North Korea never agreed to and will never agree to completely denuclearize. The best deal the U.S. can get (pdf) is one that limits the extend of North Korea's nuclear arsenal and prevents the proliferation of its nuclear technology. The logic is simple:
North Korea has the bomb. This is how deterrence works. If Saddam Hussein or Muammar al-Qaddafi had finished their bombs, they’d both likely still be around.
During the recent summit in Hanoi North Korea offered to destroy its largest nuclear complex which includes the Yongbyon reactor used to make plutonium and an uranium enrichment site. As a "corresponding measure" it demanded the lifting of those sanctions that most directly hurt its people. But the U.S. side was not willing to take that deal:
With Trump preparing to leave the hotel, North Korean Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choe Son-hui hurriedly brought the US delegation a message from Kim, two senior administration officials and a person briefed on the matter said. The message amounted to a last-ditch attempt by the North Koreans to reach a deal on some sanctions relief in exchange for dismantling the Yongbyon nuclear complex.
US and North Korean officials had been haggling over a shared definition of the sprawling, three-square-mile [Yongbyon] site and the last-minute overture sought to advance the North Koreans' proposal for dismantling it. But the message did not make clear whether the North Koreans shared the US's expansive definition of the facility and US officials asked for clarity.
Choe rushed back to get an answer. Kim replied that it included everything on the site.
But even when Choe returned with that response, the US delegation was unimpressed and didn't want to resume the negotiations. Within hours, Trump would be wheels up for Washington.
"We had to have more than that," Trump said when asked about Yongbyon before leaving Hanoi. "We had to have more than that because there are other things that you haven't talked about, that you haven't written about, that we found."...
The U.S. continues to walk away from the Joint Statement Trump signed in Singapore and is back to making threats​...
During the latest round China, Russia and South Korea were on the side of the United States. Now, after North Korea demonstrated that it is reasonable and made good offers to get to a deal, neither China nor Russia will support further sanctions. China already urges to​ ​lift sanctions in response to the "positive will" that North Korea demonstrates.
China is North Korea's biggest trade partner. If it reopens its border to North Korea trade, all U.S. sanctions are in vain.

​I really respect Ilhan Omar these days, though I fear she will not live out the year. Busting Obama and AIPAC is heresy for Democrats.
Buried near the end of a Friday Politico article on Rep. Ilhan Omar and her polarizing impact on the Democratic party is a stunning comment by the Minnesota Democrat; former president Obama's "hope and change" was nothing more than a mirage.
As she saw it, the party ostensibly committed to progressive values had become complicit in perpetuating the status quo. Omar says the “hope and change” offered by Barack Obama was a mirage. Recalling the “caging of kids” at the U.S.-Mexico border and the “droning of countries around the world” on Obama’s watch, she argues that the Democratic president operated within the same fundamentally broken framework as his Republican successor. -Politico
"We can’t be only upset with Trump. … His policies are bad, but many of the people who came before him also had really bad policies. They just were more polished than he was," said Omar. "And that’s not what we should be looking for anymore. We don’t want anybody to get away with murder because they are polished. We want to recognize the actual policies that are behind the pretty face and the smile." 

The UK and Ireland really have no interest at all in enforcing the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Leave it open, while declaring it to be a border... People won't even stand for a convenient fiction, though...
So the EU has given the U.K. a 48 hour ultimatum to come up with an acceptable change to the Irish Backstop. But, the problem is, and Brussels knows this, there is no acceptable change to the Irish Backstop.
There can be no re-implementation of a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland and the EU will not accept an open border because then it will negate its entire legal structure as a customs union.
Rock meet hard place, but this isn’t the U.K.’s problem. It is the EU’s. And Theresa May has been avoiding the issue the entire time allowing Brussels to set the terms of the surrender negotiations rather than say, “Ball’s in your court. We’re happy to leave the border open.”
That arrangement is anathema to the other 27 countries in the EU. But, again, that is their problem. And it shouldn’t be Theresa May’s responsibility.
Brussels’ bullying on this is pure theatre. There is a solution but they don’t want to admit it. They don’t want to admit it because they don’t have to… yet.
Why? Because they still believe they can get the British people to stand down and allow Parliament to deliver BRINO (Brexit-in-Name-Only) using the Irish border as the stalking horse.

​Heard in West Belfast, by Patrick Cockburn:
“Stupid, stupid English for getting us into this pickle. We were doing nicely and then they surpassed themselves [in stupidity].”...
The most important of these risks can be swiftly spelled out. Focus is often placed on the sheer difficulty of policing the 310-mile border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland because there are at least 300 major and minor crossing points. But the real problem is not geographic or military but political and demographic because almost all the border runs through country where Catholics greatly outnumber Protestants. The Catholics will not accept, and are in a position to prevent, a hard border unless it is defended permanently by several thousand British troops in fortified positions...
 It is unrealistic to the point of absurdity to imagine that technical means on the border could substitute for customs personnel because cameras and other devices would be immediately destroyed by local people. A new border would have to be manned by customs officials, but these would not go there unless they were protected by police and the police could not operate without British Army protection. Protesters would be killed or injured and we would spiral back into violence.

​EU goes "poof" when?
There is a dual Italian crisis brewing in the European Union. On the one hand, it is a political, or even geopolitical, crisis. Italy is undermining the unity of the European Union; blocking the EU’s recognition of those behind the coup in Venezuela as the legitimate authority; preventing the expansion of sanctions against Russia; and even supporting the ‘yellow vest’ movement in France, which is arousing the anger of the French government.
On the other hand, the crisis is economic in nature. Italy is once more sliding into a recession (economic growth was negative in the country); Italian banks are again facing financial problems; and the business media has already estimated that the Italian economic crisis could blow up the entire European banking system.

​Jim Kunstler on the loss of local community to globalized mass merchandise machines:
That was some bargain they got. The chain-stores got approved and the Main Streets died, but that wasn’t the end of it. This dynamic also destroyed networks that gave local citizens an economic and social place. Locally owned business people were the caretakers of the town. They took care of two buildings — their place of business and their home. They sat on library, school, and hospital boards and donated money to running local institutions. They employed people who lived in town and there were consequences for treating them well or badly. There was even a time in this country when local business people wouldn’t dare to put up an insultingly ugly building...
What is your place now? A cubicle in the marketing department of Old Navy? An aisle in the Home Depot? A desk in the Diversity and Inclusion office of some State University, pushing to sort the student population into racial and sexual categories because all other ways of belonging in society are gone? Or do you occupy ten square feet of sidewalk with a tarp and a shopping cart? None of those places are liable to furnish a personal sense that life is worth living.

​Cog in the Machine​

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