I never heard so much fucking nonsense in my life.

Instagram deleted this video of Russian oligarchs allegedly partying with prostitutes on a yacht

 

 A man is caught impersonating Kim Jong-un after walking through North Korea’s cheerleading squad. (Business Insider)

 

We have a spreadsheet of Elon’s whoppers, along with a longer spreadsheet of all the executive departures at Tesla.

Chanos: And anybody that can do that and then rise to CEO, you know, had to be able to sell pretty much anything. And that I think is Elon’s greatest quality. He’s a pretty good salesman. He’s always pitching the next great idea. The problem is that the execution of the current ideas is falling short. And that’s where I think it’s problematic. And on top of that, I think — increasingly — he’s making promises that he knows he cannot keep. And I think that’s a much more ominous, turn.

Lopez: What is the most recent promise that he’s made that he can’t keep?

Chanos: Well I think the the biggest whopper that I’ve seen, and we have a spreadsheet of Elon’s whoppers, along with a longer spreadsheet of all the executive departures at Tesla. But I think the latest one that kind of stunned me was when he unveiled the semitruck — EV.

Lopez: But he hasn’t really even given us a regular car. The $30,000 car that he promised everyone.

Chanos: Well forgetting that, he said that truck will be out in 2019. And if that’s the case, those production lines have to be up now. That factory has to be up now. And where is that? I mean what factory line is going to be making a truck in 2019 and a roadster sports car that he unveiled in 2020? You can’t simply say things like that without having some evidence to back them up. You’re a public company’s CEO. And, you know, I’d want some clarification on where exactly this truck is going to be built to be out in 2019. But, you know, he’s missed production estimate after production estimate. He thought there’d be 10,000 Model 3s a week by the end of ’17.

Lopez: Isn’t it 5,000?

Chanos: Now it’s 5,000 by June. I think even worse is that people have thought they were getting a car for what amounted to $27,500 — the $35,000 base plus the federal tax credit. Now they’re realizing that the federal tax credit’s going to, basically, be over by this year. And every manufacturer has a limit.

Lopez: So then it’s a $60,000 car?

Chanos: Well the Model 3s he’s delivering now are $50,000 base pretty much. And with delivery charges and sales tax they’re probably closer to $55,000. So they’re almost twice what he promised people. And the car for $55,000 is not a particularly great car in our view. It might be for $27,500. But it competes against basically luxury cars at $55,000. And that’s a pretty competitive area and going to get more competitive.

Lopez: Gotcha,

Chanos: But he’s already talking about the Model Y.

Lopez: And Mars?

Lopez: Yeah, I mean Mars looks good I guess.

Chanos: And Mars doesn’t have a current extradition treaty with the US from what I understand.

Lopez: He could go; it’s fine. So you once said that the single most important market in the world is the Chinese property market. China has been incredibly quiet in 2018. We didn’t see our normal China puking that we do every year at the beginning of the year. So what’s going on there? And is it still the most important market in the world?

 

 

Yet Another Year of Magical Thinking
Clusterfuck Nation

Thursday, Feb 15,  2018

Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed South African President Jacob Zuma South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will succeed Jacob Zuma as president, after Zuma announced his resignation Wednesday in a nationally televised speech. Ruling party legislators officially elected Ramaphosa on Thursday. The BBC writes that there is “a renewed sense of hope” as Ramaphosa assumes the leadership role he has had his eye on since 1994. Zuma was at the center of several scandals during his nine-year tenure, with critics claiming that his friends and family profited handsomely from his presidency. The leadership of Zuma’s party, the African National Congress, had called for his resignation on Monday. Source: BBC News

 

Wednesday,  Feb 14, 2018

At least 17 people are killed and over 14 wounded in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida – the most deadly high school shooting in U.S. history. The suspected shooter is apprehended and identified as a 19-year-old former student. (CNN)

Eurozone GDP rises by 2.5% in 2017, a pace not seen since 2007, and industrial production is up 5.2% year-on-year. The production of durable consumer goods is up 7.4% and capital goods, indicating investments, are up 7.6%. (Reuters via Arab News)

A car accident at the headquarters of the United States National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland, injures three people. Police officers shoot at the driver, who they say was attempting to attack the building. (The Verge)

The residence of the Gupta family is raided by the South African Police Service’s elite Hawks unit and three people are arrested. (BBC)

Michael D. Cohen, the private lawyer of U.S. President Donald Trump, says he made a “lawful” US$130,000 payment to porn star Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, from his own private funds. The statement to The New York Times comes after the Common Cause organization on January 22, 2018, filed a complaint about the payment with the Federal Election Commission. (ABC News)

Mikheil Saakashvili, leader of the opposition Movement of New Forces party, who was deported from Ukraine to Poland, relocates to the Netherlands. (NOS) (Xinhua)

 

 Tuesday,   Feb 13, 2018

Russia wants YouTube and Instagram to remove videos posted by Alexey Navalny, a prominent opposition figure, describing his investigation into Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire with bribing Sergey Prikhodko, Russia’s deputy prime minister, and offering information about the 2016 U.S. election he had received from Paul Manafort. (ABC News)

In closed-door proceedings at an Israeli military court in Ofer Prison, near Ramallah, 17-year-old Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi is indicted on 12 counts of assault and incitement. She is ordered held until the end of the trial, which is adjourned until next month. (PRI) (VOA)

Israeli police recommend indicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with charges of corruption and bribery. Netanyahu calls the accusations “baseless”. (NBC News)

Halbe Zijlstra offers his resignation as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. Minister Sigrid Kaag takes over the portfolio ad interim. (NOS) (The Washington Post) (De Telegraaf)

A new plane that would fly from London to New York City in three hours has just received crucial funding. The aircraft, officially named Quiet Supersonic Transport (QueSST) and dubbed the “Son of Concorde”, was proposed by NASA and has just been given the go-ahead by US officials. QueSST could make its maiden voyage in 2021 if all goes according to plan. If so, it will halve the current travel time between London and New York City. (Metro)

 

Monday,  Feb 12, 2018

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte calls for female communist rebels to be shot in the genitals. Duterte’s comments are described as “a funny joke” by his spokesman, while drawing heavy criticism from others. (Al Jazeera)

Egypt bans Saturday Night Live Arabia for using “sexual expressions that are inappropriate for viewers”. (The Guardian)

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) confirms its deputy leader Khalid Mehsud has been killed in a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan, near the border with Afghanistan. (BBC)

The European Union urges calm and restraint after Turkish Navy warships obstruct a Cypriot offshore drilling vessel in the Eastern Mediterranean, which was approaching an area to explore for natural gas. (Reuters)

Mikheil Saakashvili, leader of the opposition Movement of New Forces party, who has been stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship by Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko on 26 July 2017, is detained by the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Kiev and deported from Ukraine to Poland. (U.S. News) (Kyiv Post) (Sputnik News)

U.S. President Donald Trump sends his US$4.4 trillion 2019 budget proposal to Congress. (The New York Times)

 

Sunday, Feb 11, 2018

An Antonov An-148 of Saratov Airlines with 71 people on board crashes shortly after take-off from Domodedovo Airport, Moscow, Russia. The TASS agency cites an emergency source stating that none of the 65 passengers and 6 crew members has survived. (BBC) (Reuters via The Daily Star)

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani proposes a referendum to heal country’s divisions, according to the Article 59 of constitution. (Guardian)

 

 Saturday,  Feb 10, 2018

The Israeli Army says that it shot down a Syrian UAV manufactured in Iran and, in response, it bombed the Tiyas Military Airbase in Homs Governorate, Syria, where it was launched from. (Reuters)

The Syrian Air Defense Force shoots down an Israeli F-16 over the Golan Heights after it fired on alleged Iranian targets inside Syria. Both pilots parachute to safety. (BBC) (RFERL)

The Kurdish YPG shoots down a Turkish Air Force T129 ATAK helicopter over Syria’s Afrin District, killing both pilots. (Al Jazeera)

Mary Lou McDonald is confirmed in the position of president of Sinn Féin. She succeeds Gerry Adams, who was Sinn Féin’s leader since 1983. (Reuters)

 

Friday,  Feb 9, 2018

Trinity Mirror agrees to buy British publishing group Northern & Shell from Richard Desmond for £126.7 million. The deal gives Trinity Mirror ownership of the Daily Express and Daily Star newspapers. (The Guardian)

A Vice Motherboard report traces the origin of a significant iOS source code leak to an Apple intern and five “friends” in the iOS jailbreaking community. (The Verge via Slashdot)

The New York Times reports that the CIA handed $100,000 to an unnamed Russian intelligence source in a Berlin hotel room, allegedly expecting to get back stolen NSA hacking tools. (Newsweek)

Turkey arrests 17 leaders of the left-wing Peoples’ Democratic Party for opposition to the ongoing Afrin offensive. (Reuters UK)

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh claim they have successfully brought prepubescent-sourced, immature human egg cells to maturity in a laboratory for the first time. The work may be significant because it may allow the harvesting and preservation of eggs from young girls undergoing toxic cancer treatment before their lifetime reservoirs of those cells are destroyed. (BBC) (Oxford Academic)

As predicted, asteroid 2018 CB, estimated to be between 15 and 40 metres (50–130 feet) in diameter, makesa fly-by past Earth at a distance of around 64,500 km (40,100 mi). This is the second asteroid to make a fly-by this week. (The Guardian)

 

Thursday, Feb 8,  2018

Mexican authorities arrest American-born Jose Maria Guizar Valencia, the alleged leader of the Zetas drug cartel, as he was entering a hotel in Mexico City’s upscale neighborhood of Roma. (Los Angeles Times) (BBC)

Syria and the Russian Federation once again state that the United States’ military presence in Syria is “illegal”. United States and US-backed forces now have control of about a quarter of Syrian territory. (The Washington Post)

A force of five hundred Syrian pro-government troops supported by tanks and artillery launched a ground assault on a local headquarters of the Syrian Democratic Forces near the town of Khasham, in the Deir ez-Zor Governorate. More than one hundred Syrian government fighters were killed in the battle, including Russian private military contractors of Wagner Group. (The Washington Post)

Germany’s trade surplus shrank in 2017 for the first time since 2009, reflecting strong domestic demand. (Reuters)

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales. Trump thanks Morales for having supported the decision of the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. They discuss various issues about the crisis in Venezuela, drug trafficking and the UN anti-corruption commission. (The Times of Israel)

THE END

Volatility


Tuesday, Feb 6, 2018

Massive Dow plunge triggers global sell-off  The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down more than 1,170 points on Monday, or 4.6 percent, following a drop of almost 1,600 points earlier in the afternoon. The plummet marks the Dow’s worst one-day point plunge in history, and the stock-market volatility index (VIX) jumped 85 percent in its biggest one-day leap ever. The Dow’s decline follows a rocky week that culminated in a 666-point drop last Friday. The turbulence, fueled in part by inflation and interest rate fears sparked by a strong January jobs report, spread overseas Tuesday, with Asian markets closing sharply lower — Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed down 4.7 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng ended down 5 percent — and European benchmark indexes down 1-2 percent. Source: BBC News, The Washington Post

 

Monday,  Feb 5, 2018

 Syrian government airstrikes pound rebel-held Eastern Ghouta enclave near the capital Damascus, killing at least 23 civilians including four children. (Al Jazeera) (Times of Israel)

The Wall Street stock market sheds 4.6% of its value, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping a record 1,175 points at close. At one point during the day, the benchmark index loses a record 1,579 points. (NPR) (BBC) (USA Today)

The Netherlands withdraw their ambassador in Ankara and say that they will not accept a new Turkish ambassador in The Hague. Dutch foreign ministerHalbe Zijlstra says, “We have not agreed on how to normalise ties.” (BBC)

Esmond Bradley Martin, a world-renowned ivory investigator whose detailed reports contributed to the fight against elephant poaching and the illegal wildlife trade, is murdered at his home in Kenya. (The Guardian)

Scientists using data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory discover new exoplanets in galaxies beyond the Milky Way for the first time. (NBC News) (National Geographic)

 

2018 Sunday, Feb 4, 2018

The Cabinet of Israel decides to legalize a previously unauthorized outpost “deep inside the [occupied] West Bank”, Havat Gilad, allegedly in reaction to the recent killing of an Israeli rabbi there. (Voice of America)

Israeli authorities tear down parts of a European Union-funded school in the Palestinian village of Abu Nuwar, on the occupied West Bank, saying it was built illegally. Palestinians say this is the fifth such demolition since 2016, with residents and NGO’s each time reconstructing it. (Reuters)

An Anglo-Eastern Group oil tanker with 22 Indian crew members on board is reported missing off the coast of Benin. The area is well known for piracy. (BBC)

2011 Nobel Peace Prize co-winner Tawakkol Karman is ordered suspended from the Islah party’s ranks after she likened the Saudi-led intervention in Yemento “reckless adventurism” and “ugly occupation”. (Reuters)

A ~600 meter asteroid named (276033) 2002 AJ129 makes a close approach to Earth of 0.028 Astronomical units (4.2 million km, 2.6 million mi). (Space)

The Philadelphia Eagles win their first Super Bowl, defeating the New England Patriots 41–33. It is their first championship title since 1960. (AP)

 

 

Saturday,  Feb 3, 2018

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that unidentified rebel factions have shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-25 jet over the Idlib Governorate, near Maarrat al-Nu’man, also killing its pilot. The pilot had escaped with his parachute but was killed on the ground while he fought with a pistol to evade capture. No groups claim responsibility. Russia’s Ministry of Defence corroborates this version of events. (Deutsche Welle)

The Turkish Army suffers its deadliest day of Operation Olive Branch so far after seven soldiers are killed in clashes with the Kurdish YPG. (BBC)

1992 QB1), the first discovered Kuiper belt object, is officially named by its discoverers. (Minor Planet Center)

Friday, Feb 2, 2018

Amid a perceived erosion of freedoms in Hong Kong, British Prime Minister Theresa May concludes a three-day visit to China, said to have generated £9 billion in trade deals. (Hong Kong Free Press)

YouTube announces that YouTubers who make “egregious” content will be punished. Critics of the move call it censorship. (BBC)

YouTube, in a move to boost transparency and combat propaganda, announces that it will start to label videos by broadcasters that receive state-funding. (The Hill)

Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs Luis Videgaray Caso, flanked by visiting United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Canadian counterpart Chrystia Freeland, rejects “any option that would imply the use of violence” on the subject of Venezuela. On the eve of his visit, Tillerson had defended the 19th-century United States policy in Latin America and suggested that the Venezuelan Army could manage a “peaceful transition” from President Nicolás Maduro. (Reuters)

After two days of questioning, influential Islamic academician and Oxford professor Tariq Ramadan is charged with the alleged rape of two women and jailed in Paris. (The Guardian)

 

An Arizonan ammunition dealer is charged in a Nevada federal court with “conspiracy to manufacture and sell armor-piercing ammunition without a license” after his fingerprints were discovered on unfired armor-piercing ammunition inside Stephen Paddock’s suite. (Reuters)

U.S. President Donald Trump authorizes Congress to release the Nunes memo, against the wishes of the FBI, Department of Justice, and lawmakers from both sides, all of whom say that the document’s release poses a risk to national security. (NPR)(USA Today)

The United States releases a new policy on nuclear arms, the first update since 2010. It calls for the introduction of two new types of weapons in the U.S. nuclear arsenal: low-yield nuclear submarine-launched ballistic (SLBM) and cruise (SLCM) missiles. (Denver Post) (NPR)

THE END

Klaatu Barada Nikto

 

All hell breaks loose in Syria after rebels shoot down Russian jet over the weekend

 

The Canadian Senate agrees with the House of Commons to make the Canadian national anthem, “O Canada”, gender neutral. The second line of the song will now read “in all of us” instead of “in all thy sons.” (NPR)

The upcoming Formula One season will abandon the practice of using “grid girls”, arguing that the practice does not “resonate” with Formula One’s values. Four days before, the Professional Darts Corporation abandoned the use of “walk-on girls” to accompany men onto the stage. (CNN)

Friday, Feb 2, 2018

Trump set to approve unredacted release of controversial Nunes memo President Trump on Friday will sign off on the release of a four-page memo compiled by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, led by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). It will likely be made public sometime during the day. Trump is expected to have no objections to the Nunes memo and request none of the redactions requested by the FBI and other intelligence agencies. The classified memo, released under a never-before-used House rule, purports to show that the FBI did not identify one of its sources in a FISA warrant, to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, as working on a dossier funded indirectly by Hillary Clinton. The FBI and Justice Department have expressed “grave concerns” about the effects and accuracy of the memo. Source: The New York Times, The Washington Post

U.S. economy added 200,000 jobs in January, beating forecasts U.S. employers added 200,000 jobs in January, beating economists’ expectations of 190,000 jobs gained. The figure marked a pickup from December, when the economy added a modest 160,000 new jobs, a number adjusted up from the originally reported 148,000. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1 percent, a 17-year low. Wages rose by 2.9 percent over the last 12 months, the biggest jump since the Great Recession ended nearly nine years ago, as employers battled for candidates to fill record-high job openings. The figures were the latest in a long series of signs of strengthening employment. Stocks extended their losses after the report, with Dow Jones Industrial Average futures down by 255 points. Source: MarketWatch

 

Thursday, Feb 1, 2018

Apple Inc. removes the Telegram messaging service from its iOS App Store. Telegram CEO Pavel Durov says Apple claims “inappropriate content” is available on the service. (The Verge)

Two 15-year-old students are seriously wounded and three other people injured in a shooting at Sal Castro Middle School in Los Angeles, California. A 12-year-old female student is taken into custody. (CNN)

The Palestine Liberation Organization “rejects and condemns” the United States decision to put Hamas leader Ismael Haniyeh on the OFAC SDN terror blacklist. (Times of Israel)

Morgan Geyser is sentenced to 40 years in a mental institution for her role in the attempted murder of Payton Leutner. (ABC News)

United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives in Mexico to meet with President Peña Nieto and Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray. (Reuters)

NASA confirms that Scott Tilley, a Canadian amateur astronomer and satellite tracker, has rediscovered NASA’s IMAGE (Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration) satellite while he was searching for the U.S. government’s classified Zuma satellite. NASA engineers will try to analyze the data from the spacecraft to learn more about the state of the spacecraft. (The Independent) (Phys.org)

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018

A BBC study finds that, as of October 2017, the Taliban presently maintains control of or has some territorial presence in 70% of Afghanistan, with full control of 14 districts (totaling 4% of the country) and demonstrating an open physical militant presence in 263 others (encompassing the remaining 66% of the group’s occupied territory). (Reuters)

Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald resigns as head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention following a report that she purchased stock in food, health insurance, and tobacco companies shortly after taking up her federal government position. (CNBC)

A lunar eclipse is seen in Oceania, Asia, and North America, coinciding with a supermoon and blue moon. (AP via Los Angeles Times)

Tuesday,  Jan 30, 2018

The Southern Transitional Council (STC) takes control of the Yemeni port city of Aden following two days of fierce fighting in the city which has left dozens dead. Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr, and members of the President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi-led government are confined to the presidential palace which has been surrounded. (Reuters)

Reports about the publication on January 29 by the United States of a list of Russian politicians and oligarchs that the U.S. government was required by CAATSA to draw up surface. Russian President Vladimir Putin says that the list, on which he is not included, is an “unfriendly act” that complicates ties between the two countries. (BBC1)(BBC2)

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his first State of the Union Address to the 115th United States Congress in the chamber of the House of Representatives.(The New York Times)

THE END

Just Let The World Die

Saturday, Jan 20, 2018

The Syrian Army seizes control of the strategic Abu al-Duhur Military Airbase in the Idlib Governorate. (Reuters)

Tens of thousands of Romanians protest in Bucharest and major cities against perceived corruption and changes to judiciary. Romanians in diaspora stage protests in dozens of cities worldwide in solidarity with the anti-corruption movement in the country. (Associated Press) (Balkan Insight)

The United States federal government shuts down after the United States Senate fails to pass a budget bill. (The New York Times)

China claims its sovereignty was violated when a United States Navy ship sailed close to the Scarborough Shoal near the Philippines. (The Japan Times)

Thousands of women protest throughout the United States in support of women’s rights. (The New York Times)

Former candidate for the presidency Manuel Baldizón was captured in the United States accused of receiving bribes from Odebrecht. (Reuters)

 

Friday, Jan 19, 2018

An Atlas V rocket successfully deployed the fourth SBIRS satellite for the United States Air Force. This launch completes the geosynchronous segment of SBIRS and provides a global missile detection system for the United States. (Spaceflight 101)

Presenting a new national defense strategy, the United States Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis, says terrorism is no longer the focus of the national security of the United States. Now it is competition between great powers. (BBC)

With a cross-border artillery bombardment into the Afrin Canton, Turkey starts its announced military campaign to “destroy” the Syrian Kurdish YPG group. (Reuters)

Outside the Fleury-Mérogis prison, French police clash with prison guards who are striking over the detention conditions in French jails. (Reuters)

Citing a national “fervor”, the Communist Party of China proposes writing the Xi Jinping Thought into the state constitution, after it was already added to the party constitution. (Reuters)

Carl Higbie, Corporation for National and Community Service Chief of External Affairs, apologizes and resigns from his position with the agency that runs AmeriCorps after racist and anti-Muslim remarks he made in 2013 are reported by CNN(NPR)

 

Thursday, Jan 18, 2018

The Emirates airline announces an order for up to 36 Airbus A380s. Emirates is already the aircraft’s largest operator, with a fleet of over 100. (BBC)

A bus carrying Uzbek migrant workers catches fire in Kazakhstan’s Aktobe Region, killing 52 people. Five people escape and are treated by rescue workers. (BBC)

Police in Serbia arrest three Australians, one of them Rohan Arnold, a known businessman, for allegedly smuggling 1,280 kilograms (2,820 lb) of cocaine into Sydney in 2016. (Sydney Morning Herald)

In a world’s first, a drone rescues two people off the coast of Lennox Head, New South Wales in Australia by dropping a safety device to them. John Barilaro, the Deputy Premier of New South Wales, praises the rescue as historic. (Channel News Asia) (BBC)

 

 

Tillerson: U.S. will have an open-ended military presence in Syria Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that 2,000 U.S. troops will remain in Syria, as there are “strategic threats” to the United States beyond the Islamic State. “Iran has dramatically strengthened its presence in Syria […] through its position in Syria, Iran is in a stronger position to extend its track record of attacking U.S. interests, allies, and personnel in the region,” he said during remarks at Stanford University. U.S. troops were sent to northeastern Syria to assist Kurdish fighters battling ISIS militants, and although ISIS has just a small presence in the country, Tillerson said there’s concern of a revival. “We cannot repeat the mistake of 2011, where a premature departure from Iraq allowed al Qaeda in Iraq to survive and eventually become ISIS,” he said. Source: The Washington Post

North and South Korea to march together at Winter Olympics North and South Korea will march under a unified flag at the opening ceremony for next month’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Seoul confirmed Wednesday that the two technically warring nations will march together under a single Korean Peninsula flag. Additionally, North and South Korea will field a joint women’s ice hockey team, and the two nations’ skiing teams will practice together at a resort in North Korea ahead of the Games. The moves are a sign of the most significant thaw in relations on the Korean Peninsula in a decade, though Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono cautioned against overvaluing the symbolism: “It is not the time to ease pressure, or to reward North Korea,” he said. Source: The New York Times,

Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018

In Nazran, Ingushetia, arsonists set fire to the office of Memorial, a Russian human rights organization. (The Moscow Times)

The Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the Norman conquest of England, is to be displayed in the United Kingdom for the first time after French PresidentEmmanuel Macron agreed to loan it out for the first time in 950 years. (BBC)

The South Korean Ministry of Unification announces that both North Korea and South Korea will march together under the Korean Unification Flag during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics. (CNN)

Following the Securities and Exchange Commission of the Philippines’ revocation of Rappler’s license, the National Bureau of Investigation of the Philippineslaunches a probe into Rappler. (Reuters)

Tuesday,   Jan 16, 2018

The Venezuelan government confirms that Óscar Pérez, the rogue pilot responsible for the Caracas helicopter incident in June 2017, was killed in a firefight with the Venezuelan Army yesterday. Two police officers and seven people from Pérez’s group were killed, and six members of Pérez’s group were arrested. (CNN) (teleSUR)

The European Parliament approves a call to ban electric pulse fishing, seen by some as cruel. (U.S. News & World Report)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) names Russell M. Nelson as the 17th President of the Church. (NPR)

The Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches 26,000 points for the first time, after surpassing the 25,000-mark on January 4. (Chicago Tribune)

A meeting of senior officials from countries that backed what is now South Korea in the Korean War begins today in Vancouver which will look at ways to better implement sanctions to push North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons. China and Russia will not be attending the meeting. (Reuters)

The United States will withhold $65 million for Palestinian aid paid via the United Nations Relief and Welfare Agency stating that UNRWA needs to make unspecified reforms. The U.S. says it will provide $60 million, 48 percent of the regular payment. (Reuters)

Oliver Ivanović, the head politician of the Kosovo Serb party Freedom, Democracy, Justice, is killed outside his office in North Mitrovica in a drive-by shooting. (BBC)

Over 1,800 muslim clerics in Pakistan issue a fatwa aimed at prohibiting the use of suicide bombing, declaring it haram. (Sputnik).

The New York Times reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller subpoenaed Steve Bannon last week to testify before a grand jury. The House Intelligence Committee issues a second subpoena, via powers seldomly used by Congress, following Bannon’s testimony today that, while he was willing to answer questions, the White House instructed him not to answer questions related to his White House tenure. (CNN) (NBC News) (The New York Times)

Temperatures reach −67 °C (−89 °F) in Russia’s Yakutia region, four degrees shy of the record low of −71 °C (−96 °F) recorded in 2013 in Yakutia’s village of Oymyakon. (Channel NewsAsia)

THE END

Surprise! It’s Spectre and Meltdown

Friday, Jan 5, 2017

Security researchers disclose two hardware vulnerabilities—Spectre, which affects most modern processors, and Meltdown, which affects most Intel chips. (Reuters) (The Guardian)

Apple joins list of firms whose laptops, phones are vulnerable to security flaw On Thursday, Apple said that Mac computers, iPhones, and iPads are vulnerable to two hard-to-fix security flaws that cybersecurity experts revealed Wednesday. Windows, Google, and other companies that make PCs, smartphones, servers, and tablets had already acknowledged that their own devices have the same issue. The flaws — named Spectre and Meltdown — could be used by hackers to exploit the microprocessors, mostly made by Intel, in internet-connected devices to launch a “side-channel analysis attack” to steal files, passwords, photos, and other documents. Intel, the dominant chipmaker, says the vulnerability has been in every microprocessor it has made since 1995, but apparently nobody realized the risk until a few months ago. No hackers are known to have exploited the vulnerabilities. Source: The New York Times

North Korea and South Korea to hold first talks in 2 years North Korea has accepted South Korea’s invitation to discuss ways to cooperate on the Winter Olympics, and agreed to meet at the border village of Panmunjom on Tuesday, South Korea’s Unification Ministry announced Friday. This will be their first formal dialogue in more than two years, and they will also discuss how to improve ties between the Koreas. On Thursday, the United States and South Korea agreed to postpone their joint military exercises — an annual event that North Korea considers preparation for an invasion — until after the Pyeongchang Olympics in February. While some see this as the first step in bettering relations, others believe this could be Pyongyang’s way of causing friction between South Korea and the United States. Source: The Associated Press

Fire and Fury publisher pushes up release date after Trump lawsuit threat The White House has come out swinging after excerpts from a forthcoming tell-all book — Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House — were published in various news outlets, featuring incendiary quotes from former chief strategist Stephen Bannon. In response, a Trump attorney sent Bannon a letter saying “legal action is imminent,” and demanded the book’s author and publisher halt the book’s release and “issue a full and complete retraction and apology” or else face legal action. Publisher Henry Holt instead pushed up the released date five days, putting it on sale Friday morning. “We see Fire and Fury as an extraordinary contribution to our national discourse, and are proceeding with the publication of the book,” the publisher said. Source: ABC News

U.S. economy added 148,000 jobs in December, fewer than expected U.S. employers added 148,000 non-farm jobs in December, the Labor Department reported on Friday. The numbers fell short of the average increase of about 190,000 predicted by economists, and marked a slowdown from an average increase of 232,000 in the two previous months. Economists had been predicting that hiring would slow down eventually, just not this soon. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1 percent. Wages increased by 2.5 percent over the last 12 months, edging up from November’s 2.4 percent figure, but still considered sluggish. Source: MarketWatch

 

Thursday, Jan 4,  2017

North Korea accepts South Korea’s proposal for official talks, and will meet on January 9 to discuss North Korea’s possible involvement with the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. These are the first high-level talks between the Koreas in more than two years. (BBC)

The U.S. State Department suspends its security assistance to Pakistan. (ABC News)

The U.S. Treasury sanctions five Iranian entities associated with Iran’s ballistic missile program. (Politico)

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinds three Obama-era memos that had adopted a policy of non-interference with states that have legalized recreational marijuana. (Associated Press)

A United Airlines flight headed from Chicago to Hong Kong makes an emergency landing in Anchorage, Alaska, after a passenger allegedly became unruly. (KTUU-TV)

Munich Re reports that the insurance industry faces record claims of US$135 billion from natural catastrophes, such as the Mexico earthquakes, South Asian floods, California wildfires and Atlantic hurricanes in 2017. Overall economic losses from natural disasters are estimated at the second highest amount since 2011. (Insurance Journal)

A massive winter storm hits the East Coast of the United States with up to 18 inches of snow predicted to fall between The Carolinas and Maine. So far, three people have died in North Carolina and a person has died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (AP via Yahoo!)

 

Wednesday,  Jan 3, 2017

A new Icelandic law goes into effect which requires government agencies and companies with more than 24 full-time employees to prove they are paying men and women equally, as required by existing legislation. (NPR)

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announces that Ethiopia will drop charges against all political prisoners and close down the infamous prison camp of Maekelawi. (AP)

 

Tuesday, Jan 2, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump responds to Kim Jong-un’s claim of having North Korea’s nuclear missile launch button on his desk, boasting that the size of the nuclear missile launch button on his own desk is larger and more powerful than Kim’s.  (BBC)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, responding to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s offer during his New Year’s Day address, proposes a meeting to discuss the Winter Olympics and North Korea’s nuclear program next Tuesday at the border city of Panmunjom.  (BBC)

President Donald Trump tweets that the U.S. may withhold future payments to the Palestinian authority, over 350 million dollars per year, because they are “no longer willing to talk peace” with Israel, and that Israel “would have had to pay more” in return for his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (Haaretz) (Politico)

Israel announces plans to deport African migrants residing in the country illegally. Migrants will be given 90 days to leave the country or face imprisonment. (BBC)

Vice Media suspends two of its top executives as it investigates allegations made against them. (ABC News)

Citing national security concerns, the U.S. government blocks Ant Financial’s acquisition of MoneyGram. (Reuters)

Joshua Boyle, a Canadian man recently rescued from a Taliban linked group, is arrested on 15 charges, including assault, sexual assault, and unlawful confinement. (Global News)

Nine prisoners have escaped from a Berlin, Germany prison over the last five days, with two escaping today. (BBC)

There’s Something Different About These Iran Protests
Four days into the protests, there are still more questions than answers.
by Trita Parsi
January 01, 2018

The fact that reformists—who have been at the center of most of the large-scale protests in Iran for the past two decades—appear to be neither driving nor even particularly involved presents a new political phenomenon in Iran.

The protestors likely include some disillusioned Rouhani supporters. But remember that Rouhani won re-election with 57% of the vote (and 70% voter participation) only seven months ago. That means it’s more likely that the core of the demonstrators are of a different ilk.

Their uncompromisingly anti-regime slogans suggest they may belong to the segment of the population who tends not to vote, doesn’t believe the system can be reformed and either never subscribed to or has lost hope in the idea of gradual change. Add to that those who have joined the protests out of a sense of economic desperation and humiliation.

Most analysts have not kept an eye on these segments of the population precisely because they have not been at the center of political change in Iran in recent history. Nor do they have a track record of being able to muster protests of this size.

http://www.businessinsider.com/store-closures-in-2018-will-eclipse-2017-2018-1

http://www.unz.com/comments/all/?commenterfilter=Art+Deco

http://www.businessinsider.com/tesla-deliveries-november-2017-12

This is an outstanding 8,000 word article. You can even listen to it. There is an audio app at the beginning:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/01/01/the-dark-bounty-of-texas-oil

Between January, 2015, and December, 2016, more than a hundred U.S. oil and gas producers declared bankruptcy, nearly half of them in Texas. This figure doesn’t count the financial impact on the pipeline, storage, servicing, and shipping companies that depend on the energy business, or the seventy-four billion dollars’ worth of debt that these bankruptcies left behind. As a gesture of sympathy, Ouisie’s Table, a Houston restaurant in the wealthy River Oaks neighborhood, began offering a three-course meal on Wednesday nights that was pegged to the price of a barrel of oil. When I visited in the early spring of 2016, the meal cost about thirty-eight dollars. (Ouisie’s Table dropped the practice when oil prices inched back up. As of December 13th, the Wednesday special would have cost $56.60.)

Now that oil prices have stabilized, Texas’s economy is robust again. In recent years, it has finally begun to diversify, and now tops that of California in exporting technology, from semiconductors to communications equipment. Conservative politicians in Texas like to claim that the state’s low taxes and light regulation are the magic forces propelling its economy. But oil still sets Texas apart. It has been both a gift and a trap.

Clusterfuck Nation Forecast 2018

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/forecast-2018-go-wrong/

Russian Forecast 2018

http://www.unz.com/akarlin/new-year-predictions-for-2018/

Trump returns to Washington for high-stakes January President Trump returned to Washington on Monday night in an upbeat mood after 10 days at his members-only club in Florida, but White House aides are bracing for “the grim reality of 2018,” including slim legislative prospects, a potentially brutal midterm election, an expected exodus of White House aides with no replacements ready, and the ever-present “shadow of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation,” Politico reports. On the other side of Capitol Hill, Congress returns over the next week with a full plate for January, including funding the government, children’s health care, protection for DREAMers, stability of health-care markets, a looming debt ceiling increase, and other contentious and high-stakes issues. Source: Politico

Deadly anti-government protests grip Iran At least 20 people have been killed in anti-government protests in Iran, including nine overnight Monday, Iranian state TV and semi-official ILNA news agency reported Tuesday. At least 450 others have reportedly been arrested as demonstrators stormed police stations and military bases. The protests, the biggest in the country since 2009, began Thursday, with protesters chanting “death to the dictator” and “death to Khamenei,” the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, despite the government’s threat of an “iron fist” of punishment. On Sunday, Tehran placed what it says is a “temporary” restriction on access to social media including Instagram and an encrypted messaging app call Telegram. Demonstrators have used both to chronicle and coordinate their efforts this week. Source:  CNN

Monday,  Jan 1, 2018

Ten people die at the protests overnight, with twelve deaths total so far as the protests enter their fifth day. (BBC)

Value Added Tax (VAT) has been introduced in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for the first time. (BBC)

U.S. President Donald Trump tweets that Pakistan has been a “safe haven” for terrorists from Afghanistan and has given America “nothing but lies & deceit” after getting more than $33 billion in U.S. aid. (Time)

Pakistan asks U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan David Hale to clarify Trump’s remarks. Pakistani Prime Minister Khaqan Abbasi calls for Cabinet and National Security Council meetings to discuss the tweet. (Los Angeles Times)

Pakistan’s Defence Minister accuses the U.S. of giving Pakistan “nothing but invective & mistrust” after receiving “land & air communication, military bases & intel cooperation that decimated Al-Qaeda over last 16yrs”. (AOL)

An armed standoff between Indian security forces and Kashimiri rebels at a paramilitary base ends after 36 hours and leaves eight people dead. (Al Jazeera)

California becomes the latest and most-populated state to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. (BBC)

Alain Berset takes office as President of the Swiss Confederation. Mr. Berset is the youngest president of Switzerland since 1934. (SWI)

 

Sunday, Dec 31, 2017

Iran blocks access to Telegram and Instagram as the largest anti-government protests since 2009 continue. (The Guardian)

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres issues “a red alert for our world,” saying that conflicts have deepened, global anxieties about nuclear weapons have increased, inequalities have grown, and nationalism and xenophobia are on the rise. Guterres calls for global unity to overcome these growing challenges. (CNN)

China announces the country’s ivory trade is now illegal. In 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping and then-U.S. President Barack Obama announced “near-complete” ivory bans for each country. America’s ivory ban went into effect in June 2016. (National Geographic)

Palestine recalls their envoy to the United States for “consultations,” following President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas says they will not accept any U.S. peace plan in the wake of Trump’s move. (BBC)

 

Saturday,  Dec 30, 2017

Two protesters are shot dead by Iranian police in Dorud, Lorestan Province, as anti-government protests spread across the country. (Reuters)

Nepal bans solo climbers, double amputees and blind climbers from scaling its mountains, including Mount Everest, in a bid to reduce accidents. This has been criticized by successful double-amputee Everest climbers. (BBC)

A man strapped with explosives takes 11 people hostage in Kharkiv, Ukraine. The Ukrainian police free all the hostages and arrest the man. (Reuters)

 

Friday, Dec 29, 2017

Anti-government demonstrators have taken to the streets of Iran for a second day, with protests being held in a number of cities. (BBC)

Venezuelan communications director Jorge Rodríguez announces that the country’s Petro cryptocurrency, backed by 5.3 billion barrels of oil worth $267 billion, will launch shortly. (CNBC)

In a surprising event, Malian Prime Minister Abdoulaye Idrissa Maïga and his government resign without providing a reason. (The Guardian)

THE END

Banana Sucking Pop-Star

 

I don’t know what to believe anymore. So I don’t believe any of it.

Exclusive: US troops and Syrian forces battle ISIS near key base

 

 

Banana-sucking pop singer jailed for video ‘harmful to Egyptian morality’

 

Thursday, Dec 14, 2017

China about to knock out petrodollar by trading oil in yuan


China’s launch of ‘petro-yuan’ in two months sounds death knell for dollar’s dominance

 

Disney agrees to buy much of 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion On Thursday, the Walt Disney Co. agreed to buy a passel of 21st Century Fox’s movie and TV assets for $52.4 billion, giving Disney the 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight studios and Fox television studios, FX, and the National Geographic Channel. Disney CEO Robert Iger will stay on as head of the combined companies through 2021, Disney also announced. The acquisition will require Justice Department antitrust approval. Analysts say that Disney wanted 21 Century Fox’s content for its upcoming video-streaming services. The deal also gives Disney a 60 percent stake in Hulu. “It gives them a little more leverage to compete against new studios such as Netflix,” says Boston College law professor Dan Lyons. Source: USA Today

PBS suspends Tavis Smiley talk show over sexual misconduct allegations PBS announced Wednesday it has “indefinitely suspended distribution” of the late-night talk show Tavis Smiley after the host was accused of sexual misconduct. “PBS engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation immediately after learning of troubling allegations regarding Mr. Smiley,” the public broadcaster said in a statement. “This investigation included interviews with witnesses as well as with Mr. Smiley. The inquiry uncovered multiple credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS, and the totality of this information led to today’s decision.” Variety reports PBS received several complaints of misconduct by Smiley, and its investigation found credible allegations that Smiley had sexual relationships with several subordinates, with many saying he also created a verbally abusive and threatening workplace environment. Source: Variety

 

Wednesday,  Dec 13, 2017

 The leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, calls for a new revolt or intifada. (Het Laatste Nieuws)

Militant Palestinians fire three rockets towards Israel from the Gaza Strip. The Israel Defense Forces say that the Iron Dome system intercepted two missiles, while one rocket fell in a flat open area and nobody was hurt. (Het Laatste Nieuws)

Dublin City Councillors vote 59–2 to revoke the Freedom of the City of Dublin given to Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi for her apparent failure to protect the Rohingya minority from violence. Singer Bob Geldof returned his Freedom one month ago, protesting that Suu Kyi also held the honour. (The Guardian)(The Guardian)

A 17-pound (8 kg) transport helicopter window lands on school grounds in Okinawa, Japan, marking the second time in less than a week that an American aircraft part has fallen on a school there. Today, a child sustains “minor injuries”. The United States Marine Corps apologizes. (ABC News)

Team Sky professional cyclist Chris Froome returns a non-negative result for asthma medication salbutamol, during the Vuelta a España in September. (Cyclingnews.com)

 

Tuesday, Dec 12, 2017

This year’s Arctic Report Card reveals that the plunge in sea ice extent as well as the amount of ocean surface warming is unprecedented in at least the last 1,500 years. (Mashable)

The Syrian opposition urges Russian president Vladimir Putin to put pressure on Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in order to “rescue” the Geneva peace talks and begin face-to-face bilateral talks. (The Guardian)

Rwanda steps up pressure on France to admit alleged complicity in the 1994 genocide by publishing a report by law firm Cunningham Levy Muse(Financial Times)

 

 

Unibail-Rodamco agrees to purchase shopping mall owner Westfield Corporation for $15.7 billion. (Business Insider)

An explosion and fire at the Gas Connect Austria pipeline hub in Baumgarten an der March kills one person and injures 21. Service to Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and Italy is suspended. Italy declares a state of emergency. (Reuters) (Deutsche Welle)

 

Mayor of San Francisco Ed Lee dies of an apparent heart attack. Supervisor London Breed becomes acting Mayor. (SFGate)

Marshall Faulk, Ike Taylor, and Heath Evans are suspended from the NFL Network due to allegations of sexual harassment. (The Washington Post)

Trump calls sexual misconduct claims made against him ‘fake news’ President Trump is once again denying allegations of sexual misconduct after several of his accusers came forward for “round two” on Monday and asked Congress to investigate their claims. “[T]he Democrats have been unable to show any collusion with Russia — so now they are moving on to the false accusations and fabricated stories of women who I don’t know and/or have never met,” Trump tweeted, adding: “FAKE NEWS!” Trump has consistently denied allegations against him, although he admitted to making comments on an Access Hollywood tape about forcing himself on women without their consent. Samantha Holvey, who claimed in October of last year that Trump inappropriately inspected women who participated in his beauty pageants, called it “heartbreaking” to have gone public with her story “and nobody cared.” Source: Donald J. Trump, The Week

Sessions touts merit-based immigration after 3 injured in New York subway blast Three people were injured Monday when a man detonated an explosive in a Midtown Manhattan subway station. The suspect, identified as 27-year-old Akayed Ullah, was wearing “an improvised, low-tech explosive device” that he “intentionally detonated” around 7:20 a.m. ET in the subway station below the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Ullah, who is of Bangladeshi descent and lives in Brooklyn, was taken into custody after the blast; he sustained the most serious injuries, though none of the four wounded individuals faced life-threatening injuries. In response to the attack, Attorney General Jeff Sessions blamed America’s “failed immigration policies,” saying, “It is a failure of logic and sound policy not to adopt a merit-based immigration system.” Source: ABC News, CNN

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Continue reading “Banana Sucking Pop-Star”

Unholy Hosts of Hell

What Now?

And over the weekend, news comes out that Peter Strzok, the top FBI official assigned to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of collusion between Russia and Trump officials, had been removed from the probe after exchanging anti-Trump and pro-Hillary Clinton text messages with his mistress, who was an FBI lawyer working for Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. This information was concealed from the congressional oversight committee that had formally subpoenaed emails from the FBI all year long, only to be stonewalled by the agency. So, now the committee is threatening contempt citations against the current FBI Director, Christopher Fry and Rod Rosenstein, his deputy

Why should President Trump not fire Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller now? Mueller was James Comey’s mentor at the FBI when Mueller was director. Is there not a train of association and dishonesty that implicates criminal activity by the FBI itself. And if and when Trump does this, and pardons Mike Flynn for the non-crime of back channel negotiation, should a new special prosecutor be appointed by the Attorney General to investigate the activities of the FBI through 2016 and 2017?

Tuesday,   Dec 5, 2017

Supreme Court hears arguments in ‘gay wedding cake’ discrimination case The Supreme Court on Tuesday hears oral arguments in a case that could determine whether businesses can withhold services from gay couples, citing religious beliefs. The controversial case concerns Colorado baker Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakes, who declined to make a custom wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Phillips’ lawyers say he “gladly serves people from all walks of life, including individuals of all races, faiths, and sexual orientations. But he cannot design custom cakes that express ideas or celebrate events at odds with his religious beliefs.” The couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, said Phillips violated a state law guaranteeing them “the same full and equal service” other customers get, and lower courts have sided with them. Source: ABC News

PBS to temporarily replace Charlie Rose with Christiane Amanpour program PBS announced Monday it will replace the now-canceled Charlie Rose with Amanpour on PBS, a global affairs interview program hosted by veteran journalist Christiane Amanpour. Rose’s show was canceled last month after several women came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against the host. Amanpour on PBS will start airing on New York PBS affiliate WNET Monday, and on PBS stations across the United States Dec. 11. PBS said it is also “finalizing plans” for an additional public affairs program to follow Amanpour on PBS at 11:30 p.m. Source: Variety

 

Monday,  Dec 4, 2017

For the second time in three days, Israel carries out a missile strike on military facilities near Damascus. (Daily Star UK)

The British government suspends payments to the so-called Free Syrian Police after a BBC Panorama investigation revealed that the cash has been diverted to the Salafist rebel groups of Nour al-Din al-Zenki and Jabhat al-Nusra, police officers being hand-picked by these groups, dead people appearing on the payroll and some police officers participating in summary executions. (BBC)

Hamas calls the U.S. government’s plan to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel “a flagrant attack on the city by the American administration” and threatens to start a Third Intifada. (France 24)

Turkey’s deputy foreign minister Bekir Bozdağ warns of a “major catastrophe” if the U.S. moves its embassy to Jerusalem as planned in the Jerusalem Embassy Act. The last six-month presidential waiver delaying the move was signed on June 1. (Deutsche Welle)

A high-level United Nations delegation led by Department of Political Affairs head Jeffrey D. Feltman travels to North Korea for talks this week. It will be the first such diplomatic visit in six years. (The Guardian)

Malta arrests 10 people over the investigative journalist’s murder on October 16. (CNN)

U.S. President Donald Trump signs executive orders shrinking the Bears Ears National Monument area by 85% and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by half. (Fox News)

Yemen: Ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh killed

Just two days after this:

The former president of Yemen Ali Abdullah Saleh suggests that he is open to talking to the Saudi-led coalition that his forces have been fighting for years. (BBC)

Coincidence?

U.S., South Korea begin air exercises amid growing North Korea tensions On Monday, about 230 U.S. and South Korean military aircraft began a five-day joint air force exercise in South Korea, just days after North Korea test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile that can probably reach anywhere in the United States. The U.S. Seventh Air Force said the annual fall exercises were not a response to any incident or provocation from Pyongyang, but the U.S. sent an unusually large number of latest-generation stealth fighters: six F-22s and 18 F-35s. In all, 12,000 U.S. military personnel will be involved in the drill, called Vigilant Ace. North Korea said Sunday that this drill pushes the Korean Peninsula “to the brink of nuclear war” and Pyongyang will “seriously consider” countermeasures. Source: The Associated Press

Trump lawyer argues Trump can’t legally obstruct justice John Dowd, President Trump’s personal lawyer and the purported ghostwriter of a Trump tweet that suggests Trump obstructed justice in the federal investigation of his campaign’s ties to Russia, told Axios that the “president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution’s Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case.” Dowd also defended the tweet he says he wrote, insisting that it “did not admit obstruction. That is an ignorant and arrogant assertion.” The House impeached Bill Clinton and was set to impeach Richard Nixon for obstruction of justice and other perceived “high crimes.” The Republican-led House hasn’t demonstrated any appetite to prosecute Trump. Source: Axios

CVS to buy Aetna for $69 billion CVS will buy Aetna, one of the country’s largest health insurers, for $69 billion, the companies announced Sunday. Aetna insures around 22 million people, while CVS runs more than 9,700 drugstores and 1,100 walk-in clinics. The deal, which must be approved by antitrust regulators, has CVS Health Corp. paying $207 in cash and stock for each share of Aetna Inc. The acquisition could lead to CVS turning its stores into places where customers can do more than just pick up their prescriptions and basic household items, like have their blood drawn or meet with a nurse practitioner. Source: The Associated Press

link_https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9dZQelULDk

Sunday, Dec 3, 2017

The Royal Saudi Air Force bombs Houthi positions in southern Sana’a in support of Ali Abdullah Saleh-headed General People’s Congress. (Reuters)

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announces the creation of the Petro cryptocurrency in a bid to ease the country’s ongoing socioeconomic crisis. (BBC)

General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Xi Jinping concludes a two-day “high-level dialogue” with party leaders from 120 countries. The program he announces includes the full funding by the Communist Party of China of 15,000 visits from foreign party leaders over the next five years “to deepen exchanges”. (The Australian)

In Tel Aviv, up to 20,000 people demonstrate in front of the home of the Attorney General of Israel, Avichai Mandelblit, against the slow pace of corruption investigations against Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu. (Newsweek)

The lawyer of Ahmed Shafiq, a candidate for the spring 2018 presidential elections in Egypt, says she met him in a hotel room in Cairo following his arrest the day before in Dubai, U.A.E., after saying earlier today that his family didn’t know his whereabouts.  (BBC)

Several thousand opposition supporters demonstrate in central Kiev, calling for the parliament to adopt legislation on presidential impeachment. (RFE/RL)

The Pontiac Silverdome, former home of the NFL’s Detroit Lions and the NBA’s Detroit Pistons, was to be partially imploded as part of its planned demolition; however, approximately 10% of the explosives do not detonate, and the attempted implosion fails. (NBC)

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Papadopoulos

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/putins-revenge/


Does Russia Now Have Superior Military Technology?

 

The Russian Navy Is Powerful (But Suffers from 2 Big Fatal Flaws)

But the problem for the Russian Navy is that the vessel’s gas-turbine engines are built by Zorya-Mashproekt in Ukraine—a legacy of the Soviet Union. “The frigate program has run into a mess because of Ukrainian engines,” Kofman said. “They’re looking at substantial delays of probably at least five years.”

On the positive side, the Russians have learned to maintain and overhaul Ukrainian-made engines onboard their existing ships, Kofman said. However, the solution was to hire as many Ukrainian technicians as possible who were willing to work in Russia. Kofman noted Russia has not yet been able to indigenously produce its own gas turbines to replace those currently installed in its fleet. But Moscow is exploring the purchase of Chinese-built engines (which are “derived” from German engines made by MTU and China similarly benefitted from extensive cooperation with Ukraine in this sphere).

 

Dr. Tom Fedyszyn on the State of the Russian Navy

The Russian economy is built on exporting minerals (mostly oil and gas). Below that, it’s arms exports. They export almost as much as we do! But they have such a small economy that their arms sales really matter. So, when you look at Russian military capability, sometimes that’s just a small part of why they deploy. A larger part of why they deploy is to show off what type of technology they have and to try to sell it. You mentioned the Indian Navy. When I was in Moscow, there were more Indian officers there than from any other nation. U.S. was second. Why? Because the Russians, by the default of politics, ended up selling India its navy. Still today, about 70 percent of the Indian Navy is Russian.

I’ve spoken to lots of Indian Navy officers about this. The sense is that they don’t like the Russian ships, they don’t work too well, they’re suboptimal, but they can afford them. The U.S. has this double-whammy where we’re not that good at selling high technology, and when we sell it, it costs a lot of money. And the Indian budget makes them buy Russian – and they continue to buy Russian. So, should the Russians be able to continue to build the Shtorm, India would be the most likely nation that would buy it.

But remember, of course, Russia just sold and delivered to them the Vikramaditiya, a ski-jump carrier which was 4 years overdue, 300 percent over budget, and every Indian naval officer I’ve spoken to has said, “Well, it’s not a good ship, but we needed an aircraft carrier and we could afford it, so we got what we got.”

 

Weaken From Within

 

 

Mueller Mugs America: The Case of Baby George Papadopoulos
by David Stockman
November 02, 2017

 

Thursday, Nov 2, 2017

Trump expected to name Jerome Powell as Fed chair Thursday    President Trump is expected to name Federal Reserve board governor Jerome Powell as the next chair of the U.S. central bank on Thursday. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s term expires in February 2018. Powell is largely considered to be a safe pick that “signal[s] continuity with the current low-interest rate environment and take-it-slow approach that Yellen has overseen,” Business Insider writes. Whoever Yellen’s successor, economists warn that the job ahead won’t be easy, as rate hikes could potentially swing the economy back into a recession if they keep inflation below the target. “Tightening too slowly could stoke asset values even further, creating trouble down the road,” Bloombergwrites. “Powell, and Trump by association, will own the outcome.” Source: Business Insider, Bloomberg

 

Wednesday, Nov 1, 2017

A Saudi-led coalition airstrike on a market in Sahar District in Yemen’s northern Saada Governorate, which is under Houthi control, kills at least 26 people, according to medics and local officials. (Reuters)

Citing “inappropriate behavior”, Michael Oreskes resigns from his position as senior vice president of news at NPR after three journalists accuse him of sexual harassment. (CNN)

Shinzō Abe is officially reinstated as Prime Minister of Japan following the election on 22 October 2017. (Reuters)

France declares the end of the country’s state of emergency which was enforced as a reaction to the November 2015 Paris attacks. The state of emergency gets replaced with a new counterterrorism law signed by President Emmanuel Macron. (The Independent)

Michael Fallon resigns as the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Defence amid controversy over reports he touched a female journalist inappropriately in 2002. (BBC)

In baseball, the Houston Astros defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5–1 in the seventh and deciding game of the World Series. It is the first World Series title for the Astros, who had lost 111 games just four seasons earlier. The Astros’ George Springer, who set records for most extra-base hits (8) and total bases (29) in a single World Series, and tied the record for most home runs in a single World Series (5), is named series MVP. (CNN) (CBS Sports)

 

The Rest of the News Below the Fold

Continue reading “Papadopoulos”

The Only News

 

Collateral Damage
U.S. Sanctions Aimed at Russia Strike Western European Allies
DIANA JOHNSTONE • JULY 28, 2017 • 1,600 WORDS

Under U.S. sanctions, any EU nation doing business with Russia may find itself in deep trouble. In particular, the latest bill targets companies involved in financing Nord Stream 2, a pipeline designed to provide Germany with much needed natural gas from Russia.

By the way, just to help out, American companies will gladly sell their own fracked natural gas to their German friends, at much higher prices.

[…]

The United States gets away with this gangster behavior because over the years it has developed a vast, obscure legalistic maze, able to impose its will on the “free world” economy thanks to the omnipresence of the dollar, unrivaled intelligence gathering and just plain intimidation.

European leaders reacted indignantly to the latest sanctions. The German foreign ministry said it was “unacceptable for the United States to use possible sanctions as an instrument to serve the interest of U.S. industry”. The French foreign ministry denounced the “extraterritoriality” of the U.S. legislation as unlawful, and announced that “To protect ourselves against the extraterritorial effects of US legislation, we will have to work on adjusting our French and European laws”.

 

Narratives Are Not Truths
Clusterfuck Nation
by James Howard Kunstler
July 31, 2017

Let’s start with health care, so called, since the failure to do anything about the current disastrous system is so fresh. What’s the narrative there? That “providers” (doctors and hospitals) can team up with banking operations called “insurance companies” to fairly allocate “services” to the broad population with a little help from the government. No, that’s actually not how it works. The three “players” actually engage in a massive racketeering matrix — that is, they extract enormous sums of money dishonestly from the public they pretend to serve and they do it twice: once by extortionary fees and again by taxes paid to subsidize mitigating the effects of the racketeering.

 

The Demolition of U.S. Global Power
Donald Trump’s Road to Debacle in the Greater Middle East
ALFRED MCCOY • JULY 16, 2017 • 4,200 WORDS

 

Media Mourn End of CIA Killing Syrians and Strengthening Al Qaeda
BEN NORTON
JULY 27, 2017

 

Anthropology’s Obsession with African Origins
AUSTEN LAYARD • JULY 28, 2017 • 4,600 WORDS

 

 

The only stuff that happened in the last week after the fold:

Continue reading “The Only News”

Independence Day

What Would Putin Tell Trump?
ISRAEL SHAMIR • JULY 3, 2017 • 2,400 WORDS

The US fought in Vietnam for years, you lost 50,000 men and killed hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, and still you were defeated and expelled from Indochina. And the bottom line? The Vietnamese now are best friends of the US. They like Americans more than they like us, the Russians, or the Chinese, though we supported them through thick and thin in their wars against you or against the French. What was the Vietnam War for? In a few years, the Americans will ask you: what for did we fight that war in Syria and Iraq? You would be lost for an answer.

Germany Is Destroying A Whole Lot Of Fidget Spinners & The Internet Couldn’t Be Happier

 

Make No Mistake, We Are Already at War in Syria
Trump’s anti-war promises were just glib campaign rhetoric.
By PHILIP GIRALDI • June 30, 2017

 

Russia vs. America in Syria
Using Plausible Deniability Against a Systematically Lying Adversary
THE SAKER • JUNE 28, 2017 • 3,700 WORDS

 

Doped Up Nation
LINH DINH • JUNE 30, 2017 • 1,500 WORDS

 

Democrats in the Dead Zone
JEFFREY ST. CLAIR • JUNE 23, 2017 • 1,500 WORDS

 

How to Think About Vladimir Putin
March 2017

 

 

Gittin’ Our Doom On
Clusterfuck Nation
by James Howard Kunstler
June 30th, 2017

Do you begin to see the outlines of the clusterfuck rising like a bad moon over the harvest season of 2017? The American people, by and large, have no more idea how false and fragile the financial arrangements of the nation are than the average eight-year-old has about why the re-po squad is towing away Daddy’s Ford-F150. We’re just doing what we always do: gittin’ our summer on. Breaking out the potato salad and the Bud Lites — at least those who have enough mojo left in their MasterCards to charge the party supplies.

 

Good stuff with indexed proverbs:

Dad’s Many Proverbs
MICHAEL HUDSON • JUNE 17, 2017

When I went to Russia in 1994, I was brought to the house of some researchers who were reading the then-recently released files on Trotsky. They said that one thing puzzled them: Did he really have an affair with Frieda Kahlo?

I phoned Dad from their Moscow house. Dad got worried that the phones were being tapped and that I’d get in trouble, but I said that all the Russians really cared about those days was money, not old politics. So he laughed and laughed and said that, yes, he used to drive Trotsky back and forth to see Frieda.