All Our Better Angels Are Dead

Killed for $3 haircut


US porn king offers $10mn for ‘smoking gun’ to impeach Trump

 

KNOWINGLY EXPOSING OTHERS TO H.I.V. NO LONGER A FELONY IN CALIFORNIA

Even though it’s homophobic to allege that AIDS is a gay disease, it is also homophobic to criminalize intentionally infecting someone with HIV, even though, you know, it’s not a gay disease. In other words, for you laymen out there, it’s not a gay disease, but you’re a homophobe if you’re afraid of catching it.

That’s why a new bill sponsored by California state senator Scott Weiner—who looks gayer than 100 penises in 99 male rectums—has demoted the act of intentionally infecting someone with this fatal illness from a felony to a mere misdemeanor. From henceforth, HIV-positive “gift givers” don’t necessarily have to be shooting their deadly semen all over the mucus membranes of willing “bug chasers.” Now, in the interest of progress and to protect the feelings and self-esteem of those wish to deliberately infect the unwitting with a virus that will likely kill them, gift givers can give the gift that keeps on giving anonymously. To Scott Wiener and all those like him, intentionally injecting someone with a fatal virus is not the real crime—treating that person like a criminal is.

No Joy in Trumpville

As I watched the endless stream of tourists and hipsters stride by in their selfie raptures, I pictured the various downtowns of the Midwest I’ve visited over the years — St Louis, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Detroit, Akron, Dayton, Cleveland, Louisville, Tulsa, and many more — and remembered the incredible desolation of their centers. There was no one there, certainly no tourists or hipsters, really no activity to speak of. They were ghost cities. The net effect of financialization has been the asset-stripping of every other place in America for the benefit of a very few cities on the coasts, and especially the financial engineers within them.

Thus, the ironic rise of New Yorker Trump as the avatar and supposed savior of all those people “out there” in their dying hometowns and beyond. And their tremendously bitter enmity against the “blue” coastal elites, of which Trump is a nonpareil exemplar. History is a trickster.

 

The Bronx’s Quiet, Brutal War With Opioids

 

The Elites “Have No Credibility Left”
An interview with journalist Chris Hedges
OCTOBER 6, 2017 • 3,900 WORDS

Silicon Valley Is Not Your Friend

 

Thursday, Oct 12,  2017

Trump attacks press freedom, says it is ‘disgusting’ media can write freely President Trump attacked the free press Wednesday, telling reporters that “it is frankly disgusting that the press is able to write whatever it wants to write.” The comments followed Trump’s tweets Wednesday morning, which reacted to an NBC News story that claimed the president had called for the nuclear arsenal to be increased “tenfold.” “With all of the fake news coming out of NBC and the networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their license?” Trump asked. When pressed in the afternoon about whether there should be limits on the media, Trump said “no,” but added that reporters should write “more honestly.” Citing no evidence, Trump said: “When they make up stories like that, it’s just made up … They make up sources.” Source: Bloomberg News

 Wednesday,  Oct 11, 2017

Three suicide bombers attack a police command center in Damascus, killing two people and injuring six others. (Reuters)

Last year a hacker stole non-classified information about Australia’s Joint Strike Fighter program and other military hardware after breaching the network of a defense contractor. (Reuters)

The Peruvian Pedro Pablo Kuczynski Administration through the Ministry of Justice appoints a new head to the Direction of Presidential Graces, which is believed to be a first step towards granting a pardon to 79-year-old former president Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000), although the president Kuczynski has denied it. In April 2009, a three-judge panel had sentenced Fujimori for acts of corruption, Human Rights violations, and various others crimes. Fujimori, who has been in jail since 2007 and whose health has deteriorated, including alleged tongue cancer, has applied for a pardon unsuccessfully on two occasions. (RPP Noticias)(El Comercio)(Diario Correo)

Nature publishes research from The Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia at the Glorieta de la Astronomía of Granada, Spain, describing the discovery that a ring system orbits the dwarf planet, trans-Neptunian object, Haumea. (The Verge)(Nature)

SpaceX launches a Falcon 9 Full Thrust rocket at Cape Canaveral, Florida, to supersynchronous orbit an Airbus-built communications satellite for Luxembourg-based SES and U.S.-headquartered EchoStar. (Space Flight Now)

 

Confusion lingers about Las Vegas shooter’s timeline MGM Resorts International, the parent company of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, released a statement Tuesday night disputing the latest police timeline of the Oct. 1 mass shooting targeting the Route 91 Harvest Festival. MGM Resorts spokeswoman Debra DeShong said her company “cannot be certain about the most recent timeline that has been communicated publicly, and we believe what is currently being expressed may not be accurate.” On Monday, Sheriff Joe Lombardo said a Mandalay Bay security guard was shot before Stephen Paddock fired down at the music festival, not after, and that Paddock checked in on Sept. 25, not Sept. 28. Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal

Boy Scouts to begin admitting girls in 2018  A program for older girls will roll out in 2019, allowing them to earn the rank of Eagle Scout for the first time in its 107-year history. “This decision is true to the BSA’s mission and core values,” said the BSA’s chief scout executive, Michael Surbaugh. “The values of Scouting — trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave, reverent, for example — are important for both young men and women.” Cub Scout units, or “dens,” will be single-gender. A similar organization, Girl Scouts, has so far resisted allowing boys to join due to the desire to nurture an environment specifically to promote female leaders. Source: NBC News, ABC News

 

The Rest of The News Below the Fold

Continue reading “All Our Better Angels Are Dead”

Quagmire

The Kurdish Independence Referendum Was a Political Miscalculation
PATRICK COCKBURN • OCTOBER 1, 2017

 

 

How Syria’s Victory Reshapes Mideast
September 30, 2017

 

How Billionaires Become Billionaires
JAMES PETRAS • OCTOBER 4, 2017

One of the most likely sources of billionaire wealth is through tax evasion in all of its guises and forms.

Contrary to the propaganda pushed by the business press, between 67% and 72% percent of corporations had zero tax liabilities after credits and exemptions … while their workers and employees paid between 25 – 30% in taxes. The rate for the minority of corporations, which paid any tax, was 14%.

According to the US Internal Revenue Service, billionaire tax evasion amounts to $458 billion dollars in lost public revenues every year – almost a trillion dollars every two years by this conservative estimate.

 

Thursday, Oct. 5th,  2017

Tillerson downplays reports he called Trump a ‘moron,’ wanted to quit Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attempted to defuse rumors that he is unhappy in the Trump administration on Wednesday, after reports surfaced that he called President Trump a “moron” in a private Pentagon meeting over the summer. “My commitment to the success of our president and our country is as strong as it was on the day I accepted his offer,” he said, dismissing the “moron” rumor as “petty nonsense.” NBC News reported Tillerson threatened to quit over the summer after Trump gave a campaign-style speech to the Boy Scouts, and tensions flared again last weekend when Trump tweeted that Tillerson should stop trying to use diplomacy on North Korea. A State Department spokeswoman denied Tillerson ever called the president a “moron.” Source: Fox News

Wednesday,  Oct. 4th, 2017

 The Iraqi Army and allied paramilitary fighters storm the ISIL-held city of Hawija in the Kirkuk Governorate. Hawija is one of the last remaining ISIL strongholds in Iraq. (BBC)

 

3 Green Berets killed in Niger Three U.S. Army special operations commandos were killed Wednesday after they were ambushed in southwest Niger, U.S. officials said. Two others were wounded, and are in stable condition. The officials told The Associated Press the commandos were Green Berets, and likely came under fire by militants from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. U.S. Africa Command said in a statement the commandos were near the Mali border, on a joint U.S. and Nigerien patrol, when they were attacked. The Green Berets are training Nigerien Armed Forces and offering security assistance as they fight extremists. Source: The Associated Press

An apparent ambush in Niger near the Malian border leaves three U.S. Special Forces soldiers and five Nigerien soldiers dead during a joint patrol.    (Reuters)

Suspected Russian military jets target makeshift rubber dinghies and boats carrying dozens of families fleeing the town of al-Ashara along the western banks of the Euphrates that lies south of Deir Ezzor city, killing at least 60 civilians. (Middle East Eye)

According to the Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov, ISIL has undertaken several attacks on Syrian positions “from U.S.-controlled areas, implying that the recent well-coordinated actions of the terrorists indicate that they somehow possess intelligence data that could only be obtained as a result of … [U.S.] … air reconnaissance.” (RT)

The human rights group, Physicians for Human Rights, accuses Russia and the Syrian government of mounting the “worst string of attacks” on hospitals in Syria since April despite an agreement on “de-escalation” zones, saying it believes either Russian or Syrian government jets were behind at least five air raids on three hospitals in September in rebel-held Idlib province. (Al Jazeera)

Brazilian police detain fugitive Italian former left-wing guerrilla and convicted murderer Cesare Battisti, as he was attempting to flee across the border into Boliviato avoid extradition back to Italy and facing his life sentence prison term for four murders in the 1970s. (Reuters)

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy deploys the 41st Logistic Support Group of the Spanish Armed Forces in Catalonia to support riot police in Barcelona. (The Sun)

The Nobel Committee awards Swiss Jacques Dubochet, German Joachim Frank, and British Richard Henderson the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structural determination of biomolecules in a solution. (The Guardian) (Nobelprize.org)

 

 

Tuesday,   Oct. 3rd, 2017

The Scottish Government Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse announces that he will seek an indefinite ban (an existing moratorium has been in place since 2015) on crude oil recovery in Scotland by means of the process of hydraulic fracturing. (BBC)

Yahoo! reports that all three billion of its accounts were hacked in the August 2013 data theft. (Reuters)

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Ellen S. Huvelle awards Amir Mirza Hekmati, a U.S. Marine who was imprisoned in Iran as a falsely accused CIA spy, a default judgment of $63 million for his ordeal. (The Washington Post)

Pro-independent trade unions, businesses, and schools in Catalonia hold a general strike to protest Spanish police brutality during the October 1 independence referendum. (CNBC)

The Nobel Prize committee awards Americans Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish, and Kip Thorne the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration that discovered gravitational waves. (Nobel Prize.org)(The Washington Post)

Two women charged with the assassination of Kim Jong-nam plead not guilty in a Malaysian court because they thought it was a TV prank. Kim Jong-nam was the eldest son of deceased North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and the half-brother of current North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (BBC)

 

 

Warning

Some say it was a warning
Some say it was a sign
I was standing right there
When it came down from the sky
The way it spoke to us
You felt it from inside
Said it was up to us
Up to us to decide

You’ve become a virus
The keeper of this host
We’ve been watching you with all of our eyes
And what you seem to value most
“So much potential” or so we used to say
Your greed, self-importance and your arrogance
You piss it all away

We heard a cry
We’ve come to intervene
You will change your ways and you will make amends
Or we will wipe this place clean

Your time is tick-tick-ticking away

 

 

Spain agrees to extradite Russian programmer accused of hacking to the US
Oct. 3rd, 2017

 

Tesla is struggling to be 2 different car companies at the same time

As my colleague Danielle Muoio reported, the focus was rightly on a big miss for Model 3 deliveries: 220 official sales, with just 260 vehicles produced.

CEO Elon Musk had predicted total production of 1,500 for September.

On the other hand, the company delivered 26,150 of its Model S and Model X vehicles, putting it on track to deliver around 100,000 cars for 2017 without hitting Musk’s ambitious targets for the Model 3, which is supposed to ramp to a production target of 5,000 per week by the end of the year.

The markets seem to have priced this in, as Tesla’s stock hasn’t fallen off a cliff. In pre-market trading on Tuesday, shares were sliding, but only about 2%, to $333. Year-to-date, Tesla is up 55% and at times has pushed toward $400. The company’s market cap, at $57 billion, is neck-and-neck with General Motors.

 

Monday,  October 2nd, 2017

The death toll rises to at least 59 people with an additional 527 others injured. (The New York Times)

The attack is the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history. (The Guardian)

Stephen Paddock’s former neighbors in Reno, Nevada, describe him as having a possible gambling problem. (Newsweek)

CBS fires Hayley Geftman-Gold, vice president and senior counsel of strategic transactions at CBS, for a social media post stating that she did not have sympathy for the shooting’s victims because “country music fans often are Republican gun toters”. (Fox News)

 

 

After suffering a cardiac arrest in his Malibu, California home, American singer and songwriter Tom Petty dies at the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California, at the age of 66. (Rolling Stone)

The Nobel Prize committee awards Americans Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young the prize for their work on molecular mechanisms that control circadian systems. (The Guardian) (Nobel Prize.org)

Thirty-thousand North Korean rocket propelled grenades are seized off the coast of Egypt by American forces after being purchased by Egyptian business executives for $23 million (E£406 million/₩20 billion). (Haaretz)

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha meets with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Oval Office. Trump says he wants to lower the U.S. trade deficit with Thailand. (Reuters)

Russian opposition leader and hopeful presidential candidate Alexei Navalny is sentenced in Moscow to 20 days detention for organizing unauthorized public meetings. This is Navalny’s third jail term this year. (Reuters) (RT)

Ecuador’s Supreme Court orders that Vice President Jorge Glas be jailed for his alleged acceptance of bribes from the Odebrecht construction company. Prior to this, Glas had been free but barred from leaving the country. (AP)

 

Catalonia votes in favor of independence The Catalan regional government announced early Monday that 90 percent of voters in Sunday’s referendum on independence from Spain voted in favor of a split. A spokesman said that there are 5.3 million voters in the region, with 2.26 million casting ballots. The Spanish central government views the vote as being illegal, and hundreds of people were injured when police raided polling stations and fired rubber bullets at voters. Catalonia is an autonomous region bordering France, and many of its residents believe because it has its own culture and history and its revenue pays to subsidize other areas of Spain, it must become independent. Source: The Guardian

 

Supreme Court returns with weighty cases The Supreme Court begins a new term Monday with a weighty list of cases on its docket. The high court is slated to review mandatory dues for public-sector unions; religious liberty and discrimination in the wedding cake business; gerrymandering; digital privacy rights; and the practice of purging inactive voters from voter rolls. “There’s only one prediction that’s entirely safe of the upcoming term, and that is it will be momentous,” said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. With the seating of Justice Neil Gorsuch, the court has a full bench. Source:  Fox News

 

Sunday,  October 1st, 2017

Houthi forces claim to have shot down a S. MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Yemeni capital Sana’a. Footage released by Saba News Agency appears to show crowds gathering around the wreckage of an aircraft. (Reuters)

Soldiers in Bueaand Bamenda, Cameroon, shoot dead a total of at least eight people during various protests by Anglophone (Reuters)

The Islamic Stategroup seizes the Al-Qaryatain town in the central province of Homs in a surprise attack against Syrian government forces. (Firstpost)

A gunman opens fire in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino from the upper floors down upon a Jason Aldean outdoor concert, with at least 2 people dead and 26 others injuried. Authorities believe the lone gunman is dead. (The New York Times)

The United Kingdom‘s Monarch Airlines goes into financial bankruptcy administration, suspending all flights, cancelling 300 thousand bookings, and leaving 10’s of thousands of passengers stranded. (Reuters)

Nevada prison authorities release former NFL player  J. Simpson on parole after serving nine years for a 2007 Las Vegas armed robbery. Previously, a jury had acquitted Simpson of the 1995 murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. (CNN)

Spanish riot police clash with some protesters in Gironaand Barcelona, with 844 people and 33 police reported injured. (Sky News) (NBC News) (BBC) (The Independent)

The Mayor of BarcelonaAda Colau calls on Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to resign following the police crackdown on Catalan protestors which has left hundreds injured. (Euronews)

The government of Cataloniadeclares that the “yes”-to-independence-vote has won a landslide victory. (AP)

Some players throughout the National Football League hold demonstrations before or during the U.S. national anthem. These demonstrations include kneeling, raising fists, or praying, as a show of unity or protest of social inequality. (CNN)

SkanskaUSA implodes the Old Kosciuszko Bridge in New York City after 78 years of connecting Brooklyn and Queens. (NBC)

The rest of the week’s news below the fold

Continue reading “Warning”

Mykonos

The Worst Financial Crash You Have Ever Seen Is Coming

Despite President Trump threatening to “totally destroy North Korea,” devastating hurricanes, monstrous earthquakes hitting Mexico and uncertainty with the Federal Reserve unwinding its massive balance sheet, famed investor Jim Rogers says the worst is yet to come.

“This was not the end of the world because the market is still making all-time highs,” the investor and best-selling author said in a new interview.

But the current bull market – which is the second longest running – will end badly, according to Rogers, warning that the next financial meltdown is going to be the worst yet.

As for the timeline? The famed investor said the crash is coming sooner than we think.

“I would expect it to start this year or the next…and it’s going to be the worst in your lifetime and my lifetime,” he told me back in July.

The sole survivors will be investors that know what they are doing. “And the way to protect yourself is to invest in what you know,” he said.

Rogers added that he plans not to be around twenty-somethings when the crash does come. “I have been around a long time and when things go bad, 26-year-olds don’t have enough experience.”

 

 

In Other News:

Thursday, Sep 28,  2017

Trump announces tax plan with cuts for businesses, wealthy

President Trump on Wednesday announced his intention to cut tax rates for businesses and the wealthy and raise the lowest individual tax rate in a speech in Indianapolis. The plan — which proposes shrinking the seven tax brackets down to three at 12 percent, 25 percent, and 35 percent — is being promoted as a win for the middle class because it will also double the standard deduction for all taxpayers. Additionally, the tax reform plan cuts business taxes: “We need Washington to promote American jobs instead of obstructing them,” Trump said. Analysts, however, fret that if “economic growth projected by Republicans fails to materialize,” then the massive cuts could “balloon the federal deficit and debt,” Reuters writes. Source: Reuters

U.S. GDP growth rate revised up to 3.1 percent for Q2

The U.S. economy recorded its fastest expansion pace in two years this spring, growing at a 3.1 percent annual rate in the second quarter, The Associated Press reports. “We’re focused on growth,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Fox Business. “We think the 3 percent GDP is a very moderate aspiration and we can do higher than that.” The revised numbers for the economy’s output of goods and services between April and June slightly exceeds the 3 percent estimate made a month ago, and shows improvement since the 1.2 percent rate in the January-March period. “Economists believe growth has slowed again to around 2 percent in the current quarter,” AP writes, but the economy could get a boost in early 2018 due to rebuilding stemming from hurricane damage.

 

Wednesday,  Sep 27, 2017

Russia announces it has completed the destruction of all of its chemical weapons under the terms of the Chemical Weapons Convention. (New York Times)

The government of Iraqi Kurdistan announces that they won the referendum by over 92% of the vote. (The Independent)

Iraq’s prime minister has demanded the Kurdistan Regional Government “cancel” the outcome of the referendum on independence that it held on Monday. (BBC)

California moves its 2020 presidential primary to March 3, making it fifth in the nominating process after Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. The 2016 primary was held on June 7. (Reuters)

 

Tuesday,   Sep 26, 2017

The king of Saudi Arabia issues a decree allowing women to be issued driving licenses by June 2018. Saudi Arabia is the world’s last sovereign state that does not allow women to drive. (The Guardian)

Turkey’s president has said Iraqi Kurds could go hungry as a result of the punitive measures it is considering after Monday’s independence referendum. (BBC)

Russian President Vladimir Putin dismisses Nizhny Novgorod Oblast governor Valery Shantsev from his post, the second governor to lose his job in a week after Putin dismissed Samara Oblast governor Nikolay Merkushkin the day before. The dismissals come amid speculation that governors of several federal subjects will resign in anticipation of presidential elections in 2018. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

Africa’s Great Green Wall is successfully reversing desertification. (BBC)

Monday,  Sep 25, 2017

The first ever female United States Marine Corps Infantry officer graduates. (NPR)

Russian police arrest a couple from the southern Krasnodar region that has allegedly murdered as many as 30 people since 1999 and consumed parts of the human bodies. (International Business Times)

The Prime Minister of Japan Shinzō Abe calls a snap election with the election to be held on October 22. (Reuters)

 

Sunday,  Sep 24, 2017

Mortar fire from ISIL militants near the city of Deir ez-Zor, according to the Russian Defence Ministry. Asapov has been described as one of the senior Russian military advisers in Syria. (Al Arabiya)

Iranian forces launch a military exercise near the border of Iraqi Kurdistan, hours before a Kurdish vote on independence from Iraq. Turkey is also conducting a military exercise in the region. (CNBC)

The Iraqi government discourages foreign countries from importing crude oil directly from its Iraqi Kurdistan region. (Reuters)

Exit polls indicate Merkel has won a fourth term in power, and that Alternative for Germany will enter the Bundestag for the first time as the third largest party. (BBC)

Amid criticism of U.S. national anthem protests by U.S. President Donald Trump, some National Football League players and teams react to the controversy by kneeling, linking arms, or skipping game performances of the national anthem. (ESPN)

City officials in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, announce that residents will receive incentives for swapping their petrol engine vehicles for electric ones, including a free Salik tag, and an exemption from RTA registration and renewal vehicle fees. (Khaleej Times)

 

Saturday,  Sep 23, 2017

Iran successfully tests the Khorramshahr missile. (AFP via Yahoo! News)

 

Friday,  Sep 22, 2017

Transport for London announces that it will not issue Uber a new private hire license. (BBC)

A new study shows that Neanderthal brains developed more slowly than those of modern humans, contradicting previous studies. (BBC)

Kim calls Trump a ‘mentally deranged’ dotard, Trump calls Kim a ‘madman’

Late Thursday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un responded to President Trump’s threat on Tuesday to “totally destroy North Korea” with a very rare personal statement saying Trump’s “unprecedented rude nonsense” has “convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is correct.” The colorful statement ends with Kim threatening to “tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire,” and hours later, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters that Pyongyang might test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific as a retaliatory action. On Friday morning, Trump responded, tweeting: “Kim Jong Un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn’t mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before!” Source: BBC News

Facebook to give Congress political ads bought by Russians

 

Facebook will give Congress copies of the more than 3,000 ads purchased through Russian accounts during the 2016 election, Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch announced Thursday in a blog post. “We believe the public deserves a full accounting of what happened in the 2016 election, and we’ve concluded that sharing the ads we’ve discovered … can help,” Stretch wrote. Though Facebook gave the ads to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the social networking site took back ads shown to congressional investigators before they could be thoroughly examined, citing privacy concerns. The move sparked complaints from government officials and the public. In a Facebook Live event after the announcement, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg vowed to “make sure that Facebook is a force for good ahead in democracy.” Source: BuzzFeed News

A new study shows that Neanderthal brains developed more slowly than modern humans, contradicting previous studies. (BBC)

Thursday, Sep 21,  2017

Russian and Syrian warplanes carry out airstrikes in southern Idlib, killing three civilians and wounding others. (Iraqi News)

Google strikes a $1.1bn (£822m) deal with Taiwan’s HTC to expand its smartphone business. (BBC)

China’s credit rating has been downgraded by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) because of worries over the rapid build up of debt in the country. (BBC)

Rescuers are focusing on 10 collapsed buildings where people may still be alive. Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera reports the death toll is now at least 273, with 50 people still missing. (Reuters)

Facebook agrees to disclose ads that ran in the U.S. in 2016 from accounts associated with a Russian entity known as the Internet Research Agency to United States Congressional investigators. Earlier, this information was provided to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. (CBS News)

END

It’s Too Horrible

 

MIT physics professor Daniel Rothman’s mathematical formula, published in the peer-review journal Science Advances, predicts a sixth mass extinction may be set to occur within 10,000 years if by the year 2100 current carbon dioxide emissions are not reduced, and a critical amount of carbon (310 gigatons) is added to the oceans. (Phys.org) (Science Advances)

 

The Other News since last time

Thursday, Sep 21,  2017

Report: Manafort offered Russian magnate ‘private briefings’ on campaign While he was still serving as Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort sent an email to an employee of his consulting business in Kiev requesting he tell a Russian billionaire with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin that if he wanted “private briefings” on the presidential race, Manafort would set it up, several people familiar with the emails told The Washington Post. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team has the emails. No exact name is ever used, but investigators believe the emails refer to Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum magnate and one of the richest men in Russia. The emails could suggest that Manafort was trying to use his access to Trump for his own benefit. Source: The Washington Post

 

Hurricane Maria leaves Puerto Rico completely without power  Puerto Rico is completely without power after Hurricane Maria made landfall early Wednesday as a dangerous Category 4 storm, the first to strike the island since 1932. Early Thursday, Maria was a Category 3 hurricane nearing the Dominican Republic. In Puerto Rico, the hurricane ripped trees from the ground and caused widespread flooding, and more than 10,000 people are in shelters. Puerto Rican officials said it could take six months for full power to be restored. After the Dominican Republic, Maria is forecast to move on to Turks and Caicos and the southeastern Bahamas by Thursday night. Source: CNN

 

SEC says its data was hacked in 2016 The Securities and Exchange Commission said Wednesday night that someone hacked its computer database on company filings last year, accessing private information that could have been used to trade stocks and make profits. The announcement from the SEC, the top U.S. securities regulator, came following the disclosure of a breach at Equifax, a major credit reporting firm, that exposed the personal information of 143 million people. Together, the breaches have intensified concerns about the computer vulnerabilities of key financial institutions. Source: The New York Times

Wednesday,  Sep 20, 2017

The U.S. Federal Reserve announces its benchmark interest rate will not change this month, though it expects an increase by the end of the year, along with three increases in 2018 and two in 2019. The Federal Reserve also says its balance sheet reduction program will begin in October. (CNBC)

Searches continue for possible survivors of the magnitude 7.1 earthquake that hit central Mexico yesterday. By mid-afternoon, 52 people are rescued while at least 226 people have been killed and another 800 injured. (Los Angeles Times)

Hurricane Maria makes landfall on Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane. Effects are disastrous and the entire island loses power. Seven deaths are reported on Puerto Rico, along with two on Guadeloupe. Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló declares a 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. curfew through Saturday.  (Reuters)

Spanish police raid Catalan government offices and arrest Catalan officials as part of the effort to halt a banned referendum on independence. Catalan President Carles Puigdemont says, “The Spanish state has by all rights intervened in Catalonia’s government and has established emergency rule.” (The New York Times)

Saudi Arabia lifts its 2013 ban on internet calls, effective midnight local time (21:00 UTC). (Reuters)

 

Tuesday,   Sep 19, 2017

A magnitude 7.1 earthquake strikes Mexico, killing at least 220 people and collapsing several buildings in Mexico City and widespread evacuations, hours after a yearly earthquake drill in commemoration of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake. (KTLA)

Two African-American men are killed in separate incidents near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and a third home is shot at in what local and federal officials call racially-motivated crimes. A local man is arrested on suspicion of the murders. (CBS News)

Apple Inc. releases the iOS 11 update for most current models of the iPhone and iPad. (CNN)

Monday,  Sep 18, 2017

Toys “R” Us files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States, and also files for bankruptcy in Canada, as it attempts to restructure its debts. (CNBC)

More news below the fold

Continue reading “It’s Too Horrible”

The Little Duck Wants To Lie Down

Mrs. Dinh Nhu Ngo firing .38 pistol.

 

Chapter 11.
The Huxleyan Warning

There are two ways by which the spirit of a culture may be shriveled. In the first—the Orwellian—culture becomes a prison. In the second—the Huxleyan—culture becomes a burlesque.

No one needs to be reminded that our world is now marred by many prison-cultures whose structure Orwell described accurately in his parables. If one were to read both 1984 and Animal Farm, and then for good measure, Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, one would have a fairly precise blueprint of the machinery of thought-control as it currently operates in scores of countries and on millions of people. Of course, Orwell was not the first to teach us about the spiritual devastations of tyranny. What is irreplaceable about his work is his insistence that it makes little difference if our wardens are inspired by right- or left-wing ideologies. The gates of the prison are equally impenetrable, surveillance equally rigorous, icon-worship equally pervasive.

What Huxley teaches is that in the age of advanced technology, spiritual devastation is more likely to come from an enemy with a smiling face than from one whose countenance exudes suspicion and hate. In the Huxleyan prophecy, Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours. There is no need for wardens or gates or Ministries of Truth. When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.

In America, Orwell’s prophecies are of small relevance, but Huxley’s are well under way toward being realized. For America is engaged in the world’s most ambitious experiment to accommodate itself to the technological distractions made possible by the electric plug. This is an experiment that began slowly and modestly in the mid-nineteenth century and has now, in the latter half of the twentieth, reached a perverse maturity in America’s consuming love-affair with television. As nowhere else in the world, Americans have moved far and fast in bringing to a close the age of the slow-moving printed word, and have granted to television sovereignty over all of their institutions. By ushering in the Age of Television, America has given the world the clearest available glimpse of the Huxleyan future.

Those who speak about this matter must often raise their voices to a near-hysterical pitch, inviting the charge that they are everything from wimps to public nuisances to Jeremiahs. But they do so because what they want others to see appears benign, when it is not invisible altogether. An Orwellian world is much easier to recognize, and to oppose, than a Huxleyan. Everything in our background has prepared us to know and resist a prison when the gates begin to close around us. We are not likely, for example, to be indifferent to the voices of the Sakharovs and the Timmermans and the Walesas. We take arms against such a sea of troubles, buttressed by the spirit of Milton, Bacon, Voltaire, Goethe and Jefferson. But what if there are no cries of anguish to be heard? Who is prepared to take arms against a sea of amusements? To whom do we complain, and when, and in what tone of voice, when serious discourse dissolves into giggles? What is the antidote to a culture’s being drained by laughter?

I fear that our philosophers have given us no guidance in this matter. Their warnings have customarily been directed against those consciously formulated ideologies that appeal to the worst tendencies in human nature. But what is happening in America is not the design of an articulated ideology. No Mein Kampf or Communist Manifesto announced its coming. It comes as the unintended consequence of a dramatic change in our modes of public conversation. But it is an ideology nonetheless, for it imposes a way of life, a set of relations among people and ideas, about which there has been no consensus, no discussion and no opposition. Only compliance. Public consciousness has not vet assimilated the point that technology is ideology. This, in spite of the fact that before our very eyes technology has altered every aspect of life in America during the past eighty years. For example, it would have been excusable in 1905 for us to be unprepared for the cultural changes the automobile would bring. Who could have suspected then that the automobile would tell us how we were to conduct our social and sexual lives? Would reorient our ideas about what to do with our forests and cities? Would create new ways of expressing our personal identity and social standing?

But it is much later in the game now, and ignorance of the score is inexcusable. To be unaware that a technology comes equipped with a program for social change, to maintain that technology is neutral, to make the assumption that technology is always a friend to culture is, at this late hour, stupidity plain and simple. Moreover, we have seen enough by now to know that technological changes in our modes of communication are even more ideology-laden than changes in our modes of transportation. Introduce the alphabet to a culture and you change its cognitive habits, its social relations, its notions of community, history and religion. Introduce the printing press with movable type, and you do the same. Introduce speed-of-light transmission of images and you make a cultural revolution. Without a vote. Without polemics. Without guerrilla resistance. Here is ideology, pure if not serene. Here is ideology without words, and all the more powerful for their absence. All that is required to make it stick is a population that devoutly believes in the inevitability of progress. And in this sense, all Americans are Marxists, for we believe nothing if not that history is moving us toward some preordained paradise and that technology is the force behind that movement…

– Neil Postman
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business Paperback (1985)

 

The Little Duck Wants To Lie Down

 

VIETNAM WAR: NEW KEN BURNS DOCUMENTARY DISMISSES THE ORIGINS OF THE FUTILE, DISASTROUS CONFLICT
BY JEFF STEIN
Sept. 17th, 2017

 

Anticipating the Forthcoming PBS Documentary, ‘The Vietnam War’
by Camillo Mac Bica
July 20, 2017

 

Once Upon A Time

“If you try to convert someone, it will never be to effect his salvation but to make him suffer like yourself, to be sure he is exposed to the same ordeals and endures them with the same impatience. You keep watch, you pray, you agonize—provided he does too, sighing, groaning, beset by the same tortures that are racking you. Intolerance is the work of ravaged souls whose faith comes down to a more or less deliberate torment they would like to see generalized, instituted. The happiness of others never having been a motive or principle of action, it is invoked only to appease conscience or to parade noble excuses: whenever we determine upon an action, the impulse leading to it and forcing us to complete it is almost always inadmissible. No one saves anyone; for we save only ourselves, and do so all the better if we disguise as convictions the misery we want to share, to lavish on others. However glamorous its appearances, proselytism nonetheless derives from a suspect generosity, worse in its effects than a patent aggression. No one is willing to endure alone the discipline he may even have assented to, nor the yoke he has shouldered. Vindication reverberates beneath the missionary’s bonhomie, the apostle’s joy. We convert not to liberate but to enchain.”

-E.M. Cioran
“Civilized Man: A Portrait”
The Fall into Time
1964

 

 

How I Believe Facebook Was Censoring My Political Speech
Forget China, the Internet police are already here in U.S.
By PHILIP GIRALDI • September 15, 2017

They are well placed to shape what the public knows and what it is able to discover. Erasing old content and restricting searches is not so much different than George Orwell’s Winston Smith watching the evidence for no longer politically-acceptable events being dropped down the memory hole.

 

Saudi Arabia Detains Critics as New Crown Prince Consolidates Power
SEPT. 14, 2017

 

The Roof Korean Option

 

How History Explains the Korean Crisis
August 28, 2017

 

How Sony, Obama, Seth Rogen and the CIA Secretly Planned to Force Regime Change in North Korea
The secret backstory to the U.S.-North Korea standoff.
By Tim Shorrock / AlterNet September 5, 2017

 

The Other News:

 

Wednesday,  Sep 13, 2017

The United States Senate blocks an amendment that would have repealed the war authorizations for the use of force in Iraq and Afghanistan. (CNBC)

United States Homeland Security bans Kaspersky Lab products from government computers due to fears from alleged Russian intervention. (Gizmodo)

The Supreme Court of Israel strikes down the exemption on the conscription of ultra-Orthodox Jews. (The Los Angeles Times)

Former businessman Martin Shkreli has his bail revoked for threatening former politician Hillary Clinton, after a Twitter post in which Shkreli said that he would offer $5,000 to anyone who could directly obtain a lock of Clinton’s hair. Shkreli was convicted of fraud in August and is awaiting sentencing. (CNN)

Scientists hope to revive the extinct Floreana island tortoise using a ‘genetically-informed’ captive breeding program with the tortoises closest ancestors. (Phys.org)

Sanders introduces universal health-care bill with Democratic backing Backed by at least 15 Democratic senators, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced long-shot legislation Wednesday to expand Medicare into a universal health insurance program. The Medicare for All Act of 2017 would replace the current health-care system with a public system paid for by higher taxes, covering everything from prescription drugs to mental health treatment, with no co-payments. Employers would pay higher taxes, but would no longer have to cover health insurance for workers, and there would still be private insurers for people who wanted elective treatments like plastic surgery. Doctors would be reimbursed by the government. On Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) vowed to end Sanders’ single-payer “dream” with the introduction of the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson health-care bill. Source: The Washington Post

Supreme Court lifts limits on Trump’s refugee ban, blocks Texas redistricting The Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked a federal appeals court ruling issued last week that would have let refugees with support from resettlement agencies enter the U.S., despite President Trump’s travel ban. About 24,000 people could be affected by the 5-4 ruling, which was issued without comment. The Supreme Court in June lifted a block on Trump’s executive order that barred certain people from Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Libya, and Yemen from entering the country. The justices are scheduled to hear arguments over the legality of the executive order on Oct. 10. On Tuesday night, five justices also blocked a lower court’s order that Texas redraw two congressional districts due to racial disenfranchisement. Source: CNN

 

More Below The Fold

Continue reading “Once Upon A Time”

Burn Them All. God Will Know His Own.

Surplus Energy Economics
How the economy REALLY works
Tim Morgan

 

Don’t Blame Lack of Zoning Laws for Houston Floods
By MATTHEW ROBARE • September 1, 2017

According to Charlie Gardner, around 20 percent of Downtown Houston is surface parking, while another 40 percent is devoted to streets—while in a typical city built before the 19th century, only about 15 percent of land would be devoted to roadway. This huge amount of urban land given over to asphalt dwarfs the amount of space available for housing and parks. Writing at PlanetizenTodd Litman calculates that as much as 4,000 square feet of land per automobile is given over to roadway and parking—that’s a lot of land consuming taxes instead of producing them. For comparison, according to Michael Lewyn, until 1998 the minimum lot size in Houston for a new home was 5,000 square feet. This is important because standard planning practices are based around retaining storm water on site, meaning that buildings need large green space foot prints to absorb water, but if the effect of such regulation is to separate buildings, then they could lead to more driving and hence more asphalt.

 

The Militarization of the Hamptons
Why is a heavily armed counterterrorism force patrolling the parties of the rich and famous?
Joe Nocera
August 30, 2017

 

The First Time I Met Americans

 

Definition of happiness in Japan remains a mystery

Two CIA Contractors Successfully Sued for “Black Site” Torture
Hired psychologists devised “enhanced interrogation techniques” to break prisoners.
By PHILIP GIRALDI • August 23, 2017

 

After 16 Years of War, Afghanistan Still World’s Heroin Supplier
Drug epidemic here, failing counter-narcotics efforts there.
By JEFFREY JAMES HIGGINS • August 23, 2017

 

https://surplusenergyeconomics.wordpress.com/

 

 

All the other news (below the fold):

Continue reading “Burn Them All. God Will Know His Own.”

Low Budget

 

Explosions at Houston chemical plant after it was flooded by Harvey

The Arkema plant in Crosby, Texas, is about 25 miles northeast of Houston. It lost power and its backup generators amid Harvey’s deluge, leaving it without refrigeration for chemicals that become volatile as the temperature rises.

 

Russia-gate’s Fatally Flawed Logic
Robert Parry
August 12, 2017

 

Russia-gate’s Evidentiary Void
Robert Parry
August 18, 2017

 


The War That Time Forgot
Jeffrey St. Clair
August 25, 2017

 

Americans Are Strangely Oblivious to the Security Crisis in Mexico
Ted Galen Carpenter
August 29, 2017

 

America’s Darwinian Nationalism
Robert D. Kaplan
August 13, 2017

 

Lincoln or Lee? What Would Hitler Say?
Ilana Mercer • August 28, 2017 • 1,300 words

 

NASA is about to create a $3.26 billion nuclear fireball in Saturn’s clouds

 

 

“A Gallon Of Gas”

I’ve been waiting for years to buy a brand new cadillac
But now that I’ve got one I want to send it right back
I can’t afford the gas to fill my luxury limousine
But even if I had the dough no one’s got no gasoline

I went to my local dealer to see if he could set me straight
He said there’s a little gas going but I’d have to wait
But he offered some red hot speed and some really high grade hash
But a gallon of gas can’t be purchased anywhere for any amount of cash

I can score you some coke and some grade one grass
But I can’t get a gallon of gas
I’ve got some downers some speed all the drugs that you need
But I can’t get a gallon of gas
There’s no more left to buy or sell
There’s no more oil left in the well
A gallon of gas can’t be purchased anywhere
For any amount of cash

Two extra verses from long version:
I love your body-work, but you’re really no use
How can I drive you when I got no juice?
Because it’s stuck in neutral and my engine’s got no speed
And the highways are deserted
And the air smells unnaturally clean.

It’s got power-assisted overdrive and carpets on the floor,
But it’s parked out front just like a dead dinosaur.
And I’ll be paying off the bank for 45 years or more.
It should go 100 miles an hour,
But it’s never moved away from my door.

Who needs a car and a seven-forty-seven
When you can’t buy a gallon of gas
Who needs a highway, an airport or a jet
When you can’t get a gallon of gas
There’s no more left to buy or sell
There’s no more oil left in the well
A gallon of gas can’t be purchased anywhere
For any amount of cash
You can’t buy a gallon of gas

Black The Fall

 

The Alt-Right Is Not Who You Think They Are
Southern, uneducated, generational racists? Not quite.
By GEORGE HAWLEY • August 25, 2017

A final problem with contemporary discussions about racism is that they often remain rooted in outdated stereotypes. Our popular culture tends to define the racist as a toothless illiterate Klansman in rural Appalachia, or a bitter, angry urban skinhead reacting to limited social prospects. Thus, when a white nationalist movement arises that exhibits neither of these characteristics, people are taken by surprise.

 

This video game depicts life in an ultra-nationalist dystopia
‘Black the Fall,’ inspired by Romanian communism, was designed to warn against totalitarianism.

 

Wal-Mart Applies for Patent for Blimp-Style Floating Warehouse

 

The Ascent of Society 282
ANATOLY KARLIN • AUGUST 17, 2017 • 2,500 WORDS

Tech oligopolies

The products of tech companies are more and more intertwined with our everyday lives.

The most germane aspect of this influence for dissidents are media platforms: The complex of DNS registrars, web hosts, and CDN providers that you need to run a website; the social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) behemoths that account for an ever greater percentage of news delivery; the online payments systems that finance them.

But it doesn’t stop there. As Egor Kholmogorov succinctly remarked, “In this new world, if your politics aren’t approved of by the owners of Uber, or Airbnb, or food delivery services – you will have to walk by foot and remain hungry and stay at home.” Airbnb has been permanently deactivating the accounts of people it suspected of planning to march on the Alt Right side in Charlottesville. Uber has kicked off people who participated as well.

This trend is only going to intensify. Cars are going to get automated. Google Glass or something similar is a matter of time as well. Combining them with reputational apps will allow the global village to identify its pariahs on sight.

As the Marxists said, you can’t have an ideological superstructure without the economic base; by cutting off the latter, you can strangle the former.