Borat interviews Trump

Russia wants to join the ISIS battle in Iraq

“I would say the Russian Ministry of Defense statements are about as accurate as their air campaign,” Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, previously told reporters at a televised Pentagon briefing in November. The statements by Dillon were made after the Russian defense ministry posted screen shots of a video game as evidence of U.S. collusion with ISIS fighters.

However, the likelihood of any U.S. military cooperation with Russia in Iraq is low. “Our communication with the Russians, from a DoD standpoint, is limited to deconflicting our operations in Syria to prevent accidents,” said Eric Pahon, a Pentagon spokesperson.

Russian and U.S. military officials use a communications channel on a daily basis to help deconflict ground operations and air space over a tightly congested battlefield. But, there has been no direct military cooperation between Russian and American forces in the region.

But today’s statement by a Russian military official does beg the question of Russian interest in western Iraq.

Trump administration pushes back against narrative of imminent Syrian military victory in civil war
Dec 4, 2017

…officials cited a recent battle to recapture Bukamal, along the Syria-Iraq border, that included almost no Syrian government units.

The Trump administration believes that about 80 percent of the military manpower fighting in support of the Syrian government is made up of foreign forces from Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Iraqi militias and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

When government units undertake offensives against opposition forces, the official said, they must leave behind poorly trained and sparsely equipped troops to defend those reclaimed areas, making them vulnerable to militant attack.

That picture is sharply different from the one presented by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who assured Assad during a recent visit to Russia that the long Syrian conflict is “nearing completion.”

Joint Statement by the President of the United States and the President of the Russian Federation
Nov 11, 2017

President Trump and President Putin today, meeting on the margins of the APEC conference in Da Nang, Vietnam, confirmed their determination to defeat ISIS in Syria. They expressed their satisfaction with successful U.S.-Russia enhanced de-confliction efforts between U.S. and Russian military professionals that have dramatically accelerated ISIS’s losses on the battlefield in recent months.

The Presidents agreed to maintain open military channels of communication between military professionals to help ensure the safety of both U.S. and Russian forces and de-confliction of partnered forces engaged in the fight against ISIS. They confirmed these efforts will be continued until the final defeat of ISIS is achieved…

The two presidents, today, welcomed the Memorandum of Principles concluded in Amman, Jordan, on November 8, 2017, between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America. This Memorandum reinforces the success of the ceasefire initiative, to include the reduction, and ultimate elimination, of foreign forces and foreign fighters from the area to ensure a more sustainable peace. Monitoring this ceasefire arrangement will continue to take place through the Amman Monitoring Center, with participation by expert teams from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Russian Federation, and the United States.

 

Syrian forces capture ISIS border stronghold as pressure shifts to last enclaves
Nov 9, 2017

Phony Virtue is Ruining Western Society
From Hollywood to our foreign policy, Rousseau’s joke is on us.
By WILLIAM S. SMITH • December 7, 2017

In Hollywood and other elite institutions, puffed-up paragons of “virtue” reign, but backstage are characters such as Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer, people wholly lacking self-control, decency, moderation, temperance, and civility. In short, many of “the beautiful souls” who have been telling us how to live are reprobates–or protecting them, either tacitly or directly.

 

 

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/454382/vladimir-putin-conspiracy-theorists-jealous-unchecked-authoritarian-power

This is an astonishing exaggeration of Putin’s power. Russia’s actual influence efforts are troubling and deserve countering, but they do not explain away political discontent in the West, much less invalidate election results.Trump’s campaign was foolish to reach out to foreigners promising dirt. But the media manipulation attributed to Russia is small, and sometimes quite silly. The exaggerations of Putin’s ability to influence our political disagreements don’t just distort our debates; they strengthen Putin at home. His potential rivals loathe the way that the Western world makes him out to be a world-bestriding genius, a master of geopolitics. This reputation papers over his mixed record. The fact is Putin’s Russia suffers under sanctions. The American government is now in the habit of kicking out Russian diplomatic personnel and shutting down their facilities. Putin essentially lost the great game of influence over the neighboring government in Kiev and settled for an undignified scramble to collect the vitally important land around his nation’s naval base in Crimea. His government is often reduced to playing the role of petulant jerk, spoiling little diplomatic meetings with the U.S. president.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/23/world/europe/russia-vladimir-putin-liberals.html

 

 

 

Friday, Dec 8, 2017

Senate passes spending bill, averting government shutdown Shortly after the House passed a two-week spending bill on Thursday, the Senate followed with a vote of 81-14, averting a government shutdown on Friday. The stopgap measure will keep the federal government open through Dec. 22. Republicans, who are trying to finish work on their tax bill, need the support of Democrats in order to put together a two-year budget deal that will pass. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday Democrats “will not leave here without a DACA fix,” meaning the budget must include deportation protection for undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children. Source: Politico

Muslims worldwide protest against Trump’s Jerusalem decision Muslims around the world took to the streets after midday prayers on Friday to protest President Trump’s decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. America’s decision is highly controversial, because Palestinians seek eastern Jerusalem as their future capital, and the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem comes across as taking Israel’s side. Protests were as widespread as Jordan and Indonesia, although the heart of the demonstrations was across the West Bank. “In several cities and towns, angry protesters hurled stones at Israeli troops who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets,” The Associated Press reports. “Smoke rose over Bethlehem.” Militant groups like Hamas and al Qaeda have called for violence, and the State Department issued warnings to U.S. embassies around the world. Source: The Washington Post

Thursday, Dec 7, 2017

The Czech Republic recognizes West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “in practice”. (Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte expresses interest in moving his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. (Haaretz)

The President of Turkey embarks on a two-day state visit of Greece. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s démarche is a first in 65 years. (The Guardian)

Peoples’ Democratic Party’s co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş remains behind bars until the next hearing, scheduled for February 14, 2018. He risks 142 years in prison. (Turkey Purge)

In a 491-page ruling, a court indicts former President of Argentina Cristina Fernández for treason and orders for her arrest for “trying to cover up Iran’s possible role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people”. Former foreign affairs minister Héctor Timerman is also concerned. Both have previously denied wrongdoing. (Reuters)

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło resigns just hours after surviving an opposition no-confidence motion. She will be replaced by Finance Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, according to the ruling Law and Justice party. (BBC)

Wednesday, Dec 6, 2017

President Vladimir Putin announces his participation in the 2018 presidential election. (The Western Journal)

President Vladimir Putin declares victory over the Islamic State terror group across both banks of the river Euphrates. (TASS)

Police raid the wrong tent of an activist camp in Kiev and fail to arrest the stateless opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili. A police source says police are preparing a special operation and will be unleashed “in the near future”. (The Daily Star)

The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art is brought to reply to an online petition signed by thousands of people. The museum refuses to stop displaying a Balthus painting, Thérèse rêvant(The Telegraph) (Le Nouvel Obs)

The “Silence Breakers”, including those involved in the #MeToo movement, are named Time Magazine’s 2017 Time Person of the Year. (Time)

President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas says the move undermines the U.S. position as a peace mediator while the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas says that the decision would “open the gates of hell on U.S. interests in the region.” (BBC)

Pope Francis urges respect for the status quo for Jerusalem and calls for “wisdom and prudence” to avoid further conflict. (ABC News)

A French court does not order the custody of Suleyman Kerimov but sets a €40 million bail and tighter controls. Kerimov was arrested on November 21 in a money laundering and tax fraud case. (TASS)

The Lebanese cautiously welcome a political agreement that enables Prime Minister Saad Hariri to officially withdraw his unexpected November 4 resignation. (The Daily Star)

A study published in Nature and the Astrophysical Journal Letters describes the discovery of the most distant supermassive black hole ever, around 13.1 billion light years away. (The Verge)

More Below The Fold

Continue reading “Borat interviews Trump”

You Don’t Need Medicine

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/an-interview-with-james-howard-kunstler/

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/friedmans-love-letter-to-a-war-criminal/

http://news.antiwar.com/2017/11/24/observatory-estimates-340000-killed-in-syrian-war/

http://www.news.com.au/world/north-america/us-navy-floundering-under-sea-of-crises-according-to-jawdropping-reports/news-story/8fda86f46683247bc1586dfd34ec056b

Tuesday,   Nov 28, 2017

Cyber Monday sales set record Cyber Monday set a record with $6.59 billion in sales, making it the biggest U.S. shopping day in history, according to a report by Adobe Analytics. The total marked a 16.8 percent increase over the previous record of $5.65 billion set last year. Retailers this year also brought in $5.03 billion on Black Friday, and $2.87 billion on Thanksgiving. The global record was set on China’s Singles’ Day, with $25.4 billion earlier this month. In the U.S., 47.4 percent of Cyber Monday visits were from mobile devices, mostly smartphones. That’s also a record. Revenue from smartphone sales rose by 32.2 percent to a record $1.59 billion. Amazon probably took the biggest share of online sales, with an estimated 42 percent, according to marketing research firm Slice Intelligence. Source: Forbes, USA Today

Trump to meet with party leaders ahead of looming budget deadline President Trump will sit down with congressional leaders from both parties at the White House on Tuesday as lawmakers enter the frantic final weeks of the year with a federal budget deadline looming on Dec. 8. With military spending as a major point of debate — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected at the meeting, too — Democrats are attempting to use their leverage to protect so-called “DREAMers,” or immigrants brought to the United States unlawfully as children. Party leaders are bracing for the unpredictable: At the last such sit-down, Trump unexpectedly sided with “Chuck [Schumer] and Nancy [Pelosi]” over raising the debt ceiling, leaving members of his own party “livid” and “shell-shocked.” Source: The Washington Post

Washington Post foils conservative activists with fake Roy Moore story On Monday, The Washington Post reported that a woman, Jaime T. Phillips, who works for conservative muckraker James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, had been falsely claiming to reporters for weeks that Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore had gotten her pregnant in 1992, when she was 15, and driven her to get an abortion. The Post reporters became suspicious at the woman’s repeated request for assurance that her story would cause Moore to lose, and fact-checking revealed inconsistencies in her story. A GoFundMe page she had set up announcing her move to New York to work for a conservative organization matches the description of Project Veritas. In a fundraising email, O’Keefe said on Monday that Phillips was an “investigative journalist” working for Project Veritas. Source: The Washington Post

Monday,  Nov 27, 2017

Authorities in Beijingevict thousands of its migrant population in wake of a fire that left 19 people dead earlier this month, leaving many homeless in sub-zero temperatures. (Radio Free Asia) (Quartz)

The PakistanMinister for Law Zahid Hamid resigns after days of protest over proposed changes to blasphemy (CNN)

The Attorney General of Catalonia, José María Romero de Tejada, unexpectedly dies in Barcelona of pneumonia at the age of 69. (El País)

Trump calls Elizabeth Warren ‘Pocahontas’ at event honoring Native Americans President Trump used a racially insensitive nickname for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Monday during an Oval Office event honoring Native American code talkers. “You were here long before any of us were here,” Trump told the assembled group after initially declining to give a speech. “Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago,” Trump added, speaking beneath a portrait of Andrew Jackson, who signed the 1830 Indian Removal Act. “They call her Pocahontas.” The insult has been a favorite of Trump’s, stemming from Warren’s claim that she is of Native American descent. Trump earlier declared November to be Native American Heritage Month. Source: Toronto Star, Reuters

Meredith Corp. agrees to buy Time Inc. for $3 billion, with Koch financing On Sunday night, Meredith Corp. reached a deal to buy Time Inc. for $18.50 a share, or nearly $3 billion, combining under one company Time’s Sports IllustratedPeople, and Time with Meredith’s Better Homes and Gardens and Family Circle, among other titles. The boards of both companies approved the deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018. Meredith, based in Des Moines, made a bid for Time Inc. in 2013 and then again earlier this year, but it was unable to raise the funds for the all-cash deal until the private equity firm of conservative industrialists Charles and David Koch stepped in with $650 million in financing. Meredith says the Koch brothers will play no editorial role in the company. Source: The New York Times

Sunday,  Nov 26, 2017

Popocatépetl volcano continues to erupt in Mexico. (CNN)

Pakistan’s government calls for troops to be deployed in the capital, Islamabad, after violence breaks out during protests by Islamists that were organized by the Tehreek-e-Labaik. (BBC)

John Conyers stands down as the ranking Democrat on the United States House Committee on the Judiciary following a series of sexual harassment allegations. (The Globe and Mail)

 Saturday,  Nov 25, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin signs into law amendments that allow foreign media outlets in Russia to be listed as foreign agents. Earlier this month, RT America has been forced to be registered as a foreign agent in the United States. (CNN) (Reuters)

Former Zimbabwe finance minister Ignatius Chombo, who was arrested during Operation Restore Legacy, is charged in Harare Magistrate’s Court with three counts of fraud, abuse of power, and corruption. (Reuters) (The Citizen)

The United States and Russia begin fighting over the extradition of Yevgeniy Nikulin, who was detained in October 2016 in the Czech Republic, after the U.S. Justice Department issued an international arrest warrant for him. However, soon after the U.S. issued its arrest warrant, Russian authorities also sought his extradition. The Russian charge accuses Nikulin of stealing from an online money transfer company back in 2009. (CNN)

Far-right protesters from La Meute and Storm Alliance, counter-protesters, and the Quebec City Police Service clash, and more than 40 people are arrested. (CBC.ca)

More After The Fold

Continue reading “You Don’t Need Medicine”

SHOULD YOU ALWAYS SCREW PEOPLE OVER?

SHOULD YOU ALWAYS SCREW PEOPLE OVER?

 

Legendary daredevil dies while attempting 22,000-foot base jump

Tuesday,   Nov 14, 2017

Sessions considering second special counsel to investigate Clinton Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering appointing a second special counsel after Republican lawmakers expressed concerns that Special Counsel Robert Mueller might not have a broad enough mandate to look into such issues as alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation and the actions of former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, according to a letter obtained by The Washington Post. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) has called for a second special counsel to investigate Democrats’ actions during last year’s election campaign. Brian Fallon, who was press secretary for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, called the news part of a Trump administration “fog machine to distract from the Mueller probe” into Russian election meddling and possible collusion by Trump associates. Source: The Washington Post

Under new guidelines, half of all U.S. adults have high blood pressure More than a dozen medical groups have agreed to change the guidelines for what constitutes high blood pressure in adults, based on the findings of a major study conducted two years ago. For decades, the upper threshold for high blood pressure has been a top reading of at least 140 or a bottom number of 90; the new guidelines, announced Monday at the American Heart Association’s conference in California, drop the numbers to 130 over 80. That means an additional 30 million Americans now have the condition, and it affects half of all adults in the United States. The study found that when people tried to keep their top number at 120, it lowered their risk of having heart problems. Source: The Associated Press

 

Monday,  Nov 13, 2017

A Korean People’s Army soldier defects to South Korea via the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). He was shot and injured by fellow North Korean soldiers as he crossed to the South Korean side at Panmunjom, and has been taken to hospital. (BBC)

The BBC reveals that a secret deal allowed hundreds of ISIL fighters and their families, including some of their “most notorious members”, escape from Raqqa in a convoy that was between 6 to 7 km long. The United States government confirms that the deal with ISIL was made and that the evacuations took place. (BBC) The deal was previously reported here on Wikipedia on October 14th. (Rudaw) (The Guardian)

Twenty-three European Union countries sign a defence integration pact known as the Permanent Structured Cooperation. NATO members Denmark, Portugal and the United Kingdom (withdrawal from EU underway), and non-NATO members Malta and Ireland opt out. (Reuters)

RT America registers with the U.S. Department of Justice as a foreign agent in the United States. (Reuters)

U.S. President Donald Trump selects Eli Lilly’s American division president and former HHS deputy secretary Alex Azar to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, replacing Tom Price who resigned on September 29. (ABC News)

Italy fails to qualify—for the first time since 1958—for 2018 FIFA World Cup after being defeated by Sweden in the UEFA Second Round. (Independent)

Mitch McConnell calls on Roy Moore to ‘step aside’ from Alabama Senate race Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday called for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore to “step aside” from the race, following a Washington Post report last week that alleged Moore had initiated intimate relationships with teenaged women while he was in his 30s. Moore, who is the Republican candidate in Alabama’s Dec. 12 special Senate election, has mostly denied the allegations, telling a Christian Citizen Task Force forum that the Post had printed false allegations “for which they will be sued.” McConnell said Republicans are exploring whether a write-in candidate could be “an option” and said he found the allegations against Moore to be credible: “I believe the women, yes,” he said. Four polls since Thursday show a dead heat between Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. Source: Axios

Uber seals big investment by SoftBank Uber on Sunday approved SoftBank’s offer to invest billions in the ride-hailing company. The Japanese conglomerate will lead a consortium of investors to buy at least 14 percent of Uber. SoftBank reportedly plans to buy about $1 billion of fresh Uber stock at the ride-hailing service’s current valuation of about $68.5 billion, and purchase about $9 billion worth of existing shares from current Uber shareholders. The deal is expected to pave the way for sweeping governance changes at Uber, which has shaken up its leadership following complaints about sexual harassment and a toxic corporate culture, and a move to take the company public by 2019. Source: Bloomberg

 

Sunday, Nov 12, 2017

 Hundreds of sexual abuse survivors and their supporters march in Hollywood, California. (Los Angeles Times)

Boeing announces at the Dubai Airshow that the airline Emirates will purchase forty 787 Dreamliners with a list value of US$15 billion. (BBC)

 

Saturday, Nov 11, 2017

The Iraqi Armed Forces launch an offensive to recapture the last ISIL stronghold in Iraq, Rawa. (BBC)

Mass graves containing at least 400 bodies have been found near Hawija, an Iraqi city that was occupied by ISIL until last month. (BBC)

ISIL regains control of Abu Kamal. (NDTV)

Trade ministers from 11 countries announce that they have agreed on “core elements” of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and plan to move forward with approving the trade agreement. (Bangkok Post)

An estimated 60,000 Polish citizens, including a few hundred nationalists, some with banners “White Europe” and “Pray for an Islamic Holocaust”, march through Warsaw under an umbrella slogan of “We want God”, on the annual Independence March during the celebrations of Poland’s National Independence Day. (Radio Poland) (Fox13)

22 police agents are wounded in Brussels when celebrations for Morocco’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification turn violent. (VRT)

 

Friday, Nov 10, 2017

France’s nuclear safety institute (IRSN) picks up traces of ruthenium-106, suggesting a nuclear accident took place in either Russia or Kazakhstan, in late September and early October. (The Telegraph)

Saudi Arabia, and subsequently the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, urge all citizens currently in Lebanon to leave the country immediately. Recently, Saudi Arabia declared that a missile attack on its airport from Yemen was “an act of war” by Lebanon. (Al-Jazeera)

French President Emmanuel Macron makes an unscheduled visit to Saudi Arabia amidst an escalating crisis between the kingdom and Lebanon. France is a close partner of Lebanon. (BBC)

Hezbollah declares the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri invalid. Hariri has been detained in Saudi Arabia (presumably in Riyadh) for several days. The Saudi government is accused of pressuring Hariri to resign in the first place. (Al-Jazeera)

Louis C.K. confesses to sexual misconduct On Friday, comedian Louis C.K. confirmed allegations by five women who said he masturbated in front of them. “These stories are true,” C.K. said in a statement. “At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay … [b]ut what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them.” C.K.’s new film, I Love You, Daddy, was canceled by its distributor on Friday following the reports of his sexual misconduct. “The hardest regret to live with is what you’ve done to hurt someone else,” C.K. said, adding: “I will now step back and take a long time to listen.” Source: The New York Times

Trump touts America-first policies at Asia summit President Trump said at a regional summit in Vietnam that the U.S. “will not tolerate” trade abuses, saying only countries that “follow the rules” will get U.S. business. Trump said that the U.S. had removed trade barriers to let foreign goods into the U.S., but many countries have not reciprocated by opening their markets. “We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore,” the president said at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Danang. “I am always going to put America first, the same way that I expect all of you in this room to put your countries first.” Source: NPR

 

Thursday, Nov 9,  2017

A senior UN official warns that Yemen faces the world’s largest famine in decades “with millions of victims” if aid deliveries do not resume. (BBC)

Five anonymous women accuse comedian Louis C.K. of sexually inappropriate behavior. The production company for C.K.’s new film I Love You, Daddycancels its New York premiere. (The Guardian)

Saudi Arabia’s attorney general says at least $100bn (£76bn) has been misused through systemic corruption and embezzlement in recent decades. (BBC)

Four women accuse Roy Moore, a former Alabama judge and U.S. Senate candidate, of sexual misconduct during the 1970s and early 1980s when they were between the ages of 14 and 18 and he was in his 30s. (The Guardian)

END

 

You will have a dress of white
You will have a ring of gold
You will have a paper snow
We’ll fall
See the wall
The wall is black
We will have a heart attack
We will be alone and
We’ll fall we’ll fall we’ll fall
Fall in love like sailors do
Tell your lover you’ll be true
Sail upon the stupid sea
We’ll fall
You will have a sheet of red
Paint the trees, the trees are dead
We will be alone and
We’ll fall we’ll fall we’ll fall we’ll fall
Marry me and be my wife
You can have me all your life
Our love will never end
Parties for our stupid friends
Are the children really home?
We will lie upon the lawn
Needles on the beach at Goa
We will have another flower
We will be a part of structure
You will have a face of structure
We will make ourselves a scene
We will live our stupid dream
I am you and you are me
Tie me down i will be free
Our love will never end
Parties for our stupid friends
Marry me and be my wife
You can have me all your life
Our love will never end
Parties for our stupid friends
Are the children really home?
We will lie upon the lawn
Needles on the beach at Goa
We will have another flower
We will be a part of structure
You will have a face of structure
We will make ourselves a scene
We will live our stupid dream
I am you and you are me
Tie me down i will be free
Our love will have no end

 

Sin Dones

 

“…The casual observer can’t avoid dragging Hillary into this. It appears that, among other things, the Clinton Foundation received over a $100 million in “charitable donations” from various Russian companies and individuals over the years. Gosh, they’re a big-hearted people! Maybe it’s all the vodka they guzzle. No doubt, the newly-converted Russian capitalists were yearning to support “impact entrepreneurs” who are creating “new enterprises to generate both social impact and financial returns” by addressing market gaps in developing countries, or to “strengthen the capacity of people in the United States and throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence” — as the Clinton Foundation described their activities.

More likely they wanted to grease their access to the sure-thing It’s-My-Turn Madam President. Except then she went and lost the election… all because of Russian meddling.”

Thar She Blows!
-by James Howard Kunstler

 

Monday,  Oct 30th, 2017

Paul Manafort surrenders to federal authorities    Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office served the first indictment in connection to the Russian election meddling investigation on Monday against President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Manafort’s former business associate, Rick Gates. The pair were told to surrender to federal authorities on Monday morning. Manafort was under investigation before Mueller was appointed, and Mueller’s team absorbed those probes into Manafort’s actions in the election, as well as his real estate and financial dealings, including those in Ukraine, where he worked for a Russia-linked political party. Manafort and Gates face 12 counts on charges including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, and unregistered agent of a foreign principal. Source: The New York Times, Politico

Manafort indictment kicks off long, complex legal process   President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, arrived at the FBI’s Washington Field Office on Monday morning, facing 12 counts including conspiracy against the United States. Extensive FBI investigations historically follow a similar pattern, which includes circling inward from “peripheral figures first,” Wired notes, and then encouraging them to cooperate in exchange for leniency. Trump’s lawyer has dismissed rumors that Manafort would or could offer damaging information on the president. Still, Wired explains Monday’s indictment is just the beginning of a “complex and deeply partisan process,” as Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s task is to identify federal crimes, while Congress will be left to sort through “political problems.” Source: Wired, The New York Times

2 Navy SEALs under investigation in death of Green Beret in Mali   Two members of the Navy’s SEAL Team Six are under suspicion of being involved in the death of an Army Green Beret last June in Mali, U.S. officials told CNN Sunday. The New York Times reports Army Staff Sgt. Logan J. Melgar was found dead in his room at a U.S. government compound near the American embassy in Bamako, Mali. A military examiner has ruled his death a homicide, CNN says, and the Times reports he was strangled. Melgar was a member of the 3rd Special Forces Group, which operates in northwest Africa. The four American service members killed in an ambush earlier this month in Niger were part of the same group. Source: CNN

 

Sunday,  Oct 29, 2017

Archives from Hewlett-Packard founders William Hewlett and David Packard are among those destroyed by fires in a Santa Rosa neighborhood. (Quartz)

Massoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq since 2005, announces that he steps down after November 1. The Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament now has to redistribute the authorities of the presidency. (AFPvia SBS)

Hundreds of thousands of supporters for a unified Spain gather in Barcelona, the capital and largest city of Catalonia, in one of the biggest shows of force against Catalan independence. (The Washington Post) (Reuters)

 

Saturday,  Oct 28, 2017

A “White Lives Matter” gathering takes place in Shelbyville, Tennessee, with 200+ WLM protestors met by 700+ counter-protesters. (USA Today)

 

Friday,  Oct 27, 2017

President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan announces that the Kazakh language will begin using a Latin script, rather than the current Cyrillic script. (Official site of the Kazakh presidency) (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

The United States releases a list of 39 Russian military companies and intelligence agencies targeted by economic sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. (CBS News)

A federal grand jury approves the first charges from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 federal elections. The charges are sealed by a court order. (CNN) (The Hill)

Catalonia declares independence from Spain as Catalan Republic. (CNN)

The Parliament of Catalonia votes and starts a “constituent” process towards independence from the Kingdom of Spain. The Senate of Spain votes to permit direct rule according to article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. (BBC)

The euro drops to a three-month low after the declaration is made. (Reuters)

Information brought to Trump Jr. at 2016 meeting had Kremlin ties     Information brought by a Russian lawyer to a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had previously been discussed with the prosecutor general of Russia, Yuri Chaika, The New York Times reported Friday. The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, reportedly touted having compromising intelligence on Hillary Clinton to Trump Jr., although Trump’s eldest son was ultimately unimpressed by the information, which attempted to portray some of Clinton’s campaign donations as “stolen” Russian money. Russia experts told the Times that it was “inconceivable” that Veselnitskaya “would have bypassed her own government to deliver what are now unmistakably official allegations to an American presidential campaign,” saying she must have coordinated with the Kremlin somehow. Source: The New York Times

Trump declares opioid crisis a public health emergency   On Thursday, President Trump officially declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency. “We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic. We can do it,” Trump said. He also said that the government would require a particular “truly evil” opioid to be removed from the market, as well as promote research for non-addictive pain management techniques. Trump had been heavily criticized for not triggering a federal response to the crisis sooner, after saying he would make an announcement back in early August. STAT estimated earlier this year that opioids could kill nearly 500,000 Americans in the next decade. Source: CSPAN, STAT

 Thursday, Oct 26th,  2017

Twitter bans all ads from Russian news agencies RT and Sputnik based on U.S. intelligence’s conclusion that both attempted to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election on behalf of the Russian government. (Business Insider)

A Russian Mi-8 helicopter crashes into the sea off Svalbard with eight people reported missing. A search and rescue operation is underway. (BBC)

At least two Catalan officials defect from the ruling Junts pel Sí party as Catalan president Carles Puigdemont cancels a speech regarding snap elections. Puigdemont plans to draw back from declaring independence from Spain. (Bloomberg)

Nearly 3,000 files related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 have been released, while U.S. President Donald Trump orders others to be withheld citing national security concerns. The documents were scheduled for release today in a 1992 law. (BBC)

Trump to declare opioid crisis a public health emergency today On Wednesday night, President Trump told reporters that he is “going to have a big meeting on opioids” Thursday, and White House officials tell USA Today that Trump will order the Health and Human Services department to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency, a step short of the national emergency he promised to declare in August and again last week. Trump said the order would give the federal government the “power to do things that you can’t do right now,” and White House officials said the renewable 90-day order would give states more flexibility to spend the $1 billion for opioid treatment Congress approved last year, plus tap other funds. Trump’s opioid commission had recommended a more robust national emergency declaration. Source: USA Today

 

JFK assassination documents to be released today     Thursday is the deadline Congress set 25 years ago for the release of the remaining government files on the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. President Trump, who can withhold some of the documents if he decides they compromise government sources or methods, teased the release again on Wednesday, tweeting: “The long anticipated release of the #JFKFiles will take place tomorrow. So interesting!” The CIA has been urging Trump to withhold some information, while scholars and conspiracy theorists — including longtime adviser Roger Stone — are pushing Trump to release every scrap of information. Source: The Associated Press

 

Trump campaign data firm contacted Julian Assange about Clinton emails        Inan email last year, Alexander Nix, the head of Cambridge Analytica, a data-analytics firm hired by President Trump’s campaign, told a third party he had contacted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange about how he could help him release some of Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails, The Daily Beast reports, citing two people familiar with the congressional investigation into ties between Trump associates and the Russian government. Nix’s email indicates that Assange refused the offer, saying he worked alone. If Nix’s claims are true, this is the closest known connection between Trump’s campaign and Assange. Assange told The Daily Beast “an approach by Cambridge Analytica” was rejected. It is unclear if Assange or anyone else has access to Clinton’s deleted emails. Source: The Daily Beast

 

Wednesday,  Oct 25, 2017

A militant group affiliated with ISIL seizes the coastal town of Qandala in the autonomous Puntland region. (Reuters)

Ghor Province Governor’s spokesman claims ISIL insurgents killed 26-42 civilians in his governed province, Afghanistan. (Reuters)

Suspected Syrian or Russian warplanes conduct airstrikes on a residential area and a school in Haas village in rebel-held Idlib Governorate, killing at least 26 civilians, most of them children. (Reuters)

A research team led by an evolutionary biologist at the University of Arizona publishes a paper in Nature on the genetic history of HIV proving that Gaëtan Dugas, the Canadian flight attendant who had been identified for years as “Patient Zero” of the AIDS epidemic in the U.S., did not spread the virus to the country. The study indicates that HIV first spread to the U.S. from the Caribbean around 1970. (BBC) (The New York Times)

Russia withdraws a request to refuel three of its warships, including the flagship of the Russian Navy, Admiral Kuznetsov, en route to Syria, at the Spanish port of Ceuta following NATO pressure on the Spanish government to not allow the warships to dock. (BBC)

 

Tuesday,   Oct 24th, 2017

The European Commission scraps the draft legislation that would have permitted the EBA regulator to order “too big to fail” banks to split off their trading activities, citing “no foreseeable agreement” in sight on criteria. The draft was supposed to be the EU’s answer to the United States’ Volcker Rule. (Reuters)

Security researchers report on the outbreak of the ransomware nicknamed Bad Rabbit, which has affected computer networks throughout the world, with Russia and Ukraine being the worst affected. (International Business Times) (BBC)

The week-long Communist Party congress in Beijing draws to an end, with General Secretary Xi Jinping set to become its most influential leader since Party Chairman Mao Zedong. (BBC)

Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives launch an investigation into the Obama administration’s decision in 2010 to allow Rosatom to purchase Uranium One. (Los Angeles Times)

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russo-Georgian_War

http://www.loc.gov/law/help/legal-aspects-of-war/russian-georgia-war.php

 

The Guns of August 2008: Russia’s War in Georgia

A Little War That Shook The World: Georgia, Russia, and the Future of the West

Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia’s Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergei_Tretyakov_(intelligence_officer)

 

 

The Russian-Ukrainian Conflict Could Be Escalating
By: Pavel Felgenhauer
July 20, 2017

The situation has turned out to be more complicated, however. President Vladimir Putin’s aide Vladislav Surkov is the Kremlin’s point man on everything concerning Ukraine. He is a true decision maker (together with Putin), unlike Grizlov or any Russian parliamentarians. On July 19, he was reported to have actually supported Zakharchenko at a meeting with experts in the Kremlin. Surkov reportedly said, “All this hype about the fantasy Malorossia state is good—it emphasizes that Donbas is fighting not to separate from Ukraine but for its territorial integrity, for all of Ukraine and not for a part. There is a civil war in Ukraine between forces that see its future differently: Kyiv wants a pro-European utopia, Donbas replies with the idea of Malorossia” (RIA Novosti, July 19).

Surkov’s spin of the Malorossia idea seems to be more than just a way to cover up the embarrassment of a faulty move by Zakharchenko. It is in line with the Kremlin’s longstanding strategic goal to take back all of Ukraine under Russian domination as part of the so-called “Russkiy Mir” (“Russian World”). In essence, Zakharchenko followed up with what the Kremlin has been seeking to obtain all along. Speaking to reporters in Hamburg this month, after meeting President Donald Trump during the G20 summit, Putin once again insisted: “I am absolutely sure the interests of Ukraine and Russia, of the Ukrainian and Russian people fully match, but the interests of Ukrainian leaders and some political forces in Ukraine are different.” Putin accused the Ukrainian leadership of deliberately trying to separate the Ukrainian and Russian people and states, which need and want to be together to jointly develop and build a future. Putin accused Ukraine’s leaders of “trading in Russophobia” to please the West, which appears intent not to allow Russia and Ukraine to move any closer, at any cost. “I believe this situation will end eventually, and we are interested in it ending as soon as possible,” continued Putin (Kremlin.ru, July 8).

The fighting in Donbas has been increasing after the Putin-Trump summit. According to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) special observer mission in Donbas, there has been a 20 percent increase in ceasefire violations in the week after the G20 summit (Militarynews.ru, July 18). According to official Ukrainian military sources, on July 19 alone, nine Ukrainian soldiers were killed and five more wounded in renewed clashes along the eastern frontline. These losses seem to indicate a dramatic increase in violence (Militarynews.ru, July 20).

Meanwhile, the cost of keeping part of Donbas as a Russia-controlled enclave is growing for Moscow, as the fighting continues to simmer while its social and economic infrastructure degrades. But the Kremlin does not need a “frozen conflict” in Donbas with an ever-growing price tag, when the real goal is to take and “integrate” the entirety (or most) of Ukraine. According to Putin, the true enemy is the regime in Kyiv and its Western backers. And it seems increasingly unlikely that these enemies can be defeated by Russia simply maintaining the status quo in eastern Ukraine, instead of going all in to end “this situation as soon as possible,” to quote Putin (Kremlin.ru, July 8).

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”

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”

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