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

So Long

Just kicked all my vices
In time for her next crisis
Shit’s crashing around us
No use pretending we trust
She’s better
No wonder every day gets longer
You push I shove
Just like we were in love

Forgive forget
But she ain’t done yet
Its total disaster
To duck, try to slip past her
-Helmet

What Putin Really Wants
Russia’s strongman president has many Americans convinced of his manipulative genius. He’s really just a gambler who won big.

 

 

Wednesday,  Dec 20, 2017

Cardinal Bernard Law, key figure in Catholic abuse scandal, dead at 86

Cardinal Bernard Law, the former archbishop of Boston whose handling of child sex abuse by priests set off a global scandal and reckoning in the Catholic Church, died early Wednesday in Rome. He was 86 and had reportedly been in poor health. When he resigned as archbishop in December 2002, Law was the most senior Catholic official in the U.S., but his position became untenable after The Boston Globe revealed that he had shuffled abuser priests among parishes, most infamously defrocked priest John Geoghan, without telling the new churches. Upon Law’s resignation, Pope John Paul II moved him to Rome and appointed him archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, a position he held until his 80th birthday in 2011 Source: USA Today, Boston Herald

EU court deals major blow to Uber

The European Union’s highest court handed Uber a major defeat on Wednesday by declaring that the ride-hailing service must comply with the same tough rules as conventional taxi companies. Uber had argued that it should be exempt because it is really just a digital services provider, helping to connect riders with independent drivers through its ride-hailing smartphone app. The decision threatens to hamper Uber’s plans to expand in Europe by forcing it to spend a fortune on licensing fees and employee benefits. It also could signal broader changes in store for the gig economy, in which a growing number of people work as freelancers or under short-term contracts rather than as full-time employees with clear rights and benefits under established labor rules. Source: The New York Times

 

 Tuesday,   Dec 19, 2017

Houthis say that they launched a Volcano H-2 missile targeting at the Al-Yamamah Palace in the Saudi capital city of Riyadh. According to the Saudis, the missile was intercepted south of Riyadh and caused no casualties. (Wall Street Journal)

The Secretary-General of the OIC, Yousef Al-Othaimeen, says the repeated launch of ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia served to confirm the Houthis’ “hostility and criminality” and further claimed “The Houthis are trying to destabilize Saudi Arabia and the entire region.” (AA)

An NTSB spokesperson says that preliminary indications are that the train was travelling at 80 miles per hour (130 km/h) on a 30 miles per hour (48 km/h) track. The Positive train control (PTC) safety system was not operational on the train, says Amtrak. (BBC)

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announce the formation of an international group that seeks to increase pressure on North Korea regarding their nuclear program. The group, comprised of 18 countries, will meet for the first time on January 16, 2018 in Vancouver(AFP)

Excessive speed cited in Amtrak derailment that killed 3 people An Amtrak train derailed Monday morning in Washington state, causing “multiple injuries and fatalities,” said Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. At least three people died in the crash. The train was carrying 78 passengers and five crew members when it derailed roughly 40 miles south of Seattle just before 8 a.m. local time, causing a train car to dangle over Interstate 5. Thirteen of the train’s 14 cars jumped the track, and on the freeway five cars and two semi-trucks were also involved in accidents because of the derailment. It was the inaugural run of a new, high-speed route connecting Seattle and Portland, and the National Transportation Safety Board said preliminary data shows the train was traveling 80 mph in a 30 mph zone. Source: The Associated Press

Trump unveils national security plan President Trump unveiled a new national security strategy on Monday, presenting China and Russia as rivals seeking to “challenge American power, influence, and interests, [and] attempting to erode American security and prosperity.” Trump’s policy statement additionally reflects the America First themes of his campaign, reversing Obama-era warnings about climate change, and emphasizing the economic implications of U.S. foreign policy. In comments Monday, Trump called the strategy “principled realism” and explained: “To succeed we must integrate every dimension of our national strength and we must compete with every instrument of our national power. Source: The Washington Post

Senate committee investigating Russia asks for documents from Jill Stein Jill Stein, the Green Party’s 2016 presidential nominee, has been approached by the Senate Intelligence Committee and asked to turn over documents as part of its investigation into Russian meddling in the election, her former communications director told BuzzFeed News Monday. Dennis Trainor Jr. said Stein told him this on Friday, and he was informed because during the campaign, his personal cell phone was a “primary point of contact” for people who wanted to speak with Stein, including several producers from the Russian state-funded news agency RT who called him to book Stein appearances. When asked by BuzzFeed News what the committee was looking for from Stein’s campaign, committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) responded, “collusion with the Russians.” Source: BuzzFeed News

Report: Mueller team expects probe to continue well into 2018 When White House lawyers meet later this week with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, they are expected to ask how much more information they will need before deciding their probe is over as far as President Trump is concerned, several White House advisers told The Washington Post. People with knowledge of the probe say it’s likely the investigation will continue well into 2018, especially as they gather new leads from witnesses who have pledged to cooperate: former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos. Trump has told associates he’s not concerned about the probe, with one telling the Post he is “confident, even arrogant” about having done nothing wrong. Source: The Washington Post

 

Monday,  Dec 18, 2017

Twitter suspends the accounts of well-known white nationalists per recently implemented new offensive content rules. (AP via Time)

At least three people are killed and 77 injured when an Amtrak passenger train derails on an Interstate 5 overpass in Pierce County, Washington. This train is part of a new Cascades service from Tacoma that launched the same morning. (CNN)

The Unites States vetoes an United Nations Security Council resolution calling for it to withdraw its declaration of a capital in Jerusalem, which was approved by the other 14 members. (Reuters)

The United States and the United Kingdom claim North Korea is directly responsible for the WannaCry ransomware attack which occurred earlier this year. (BBC)

U.S. radio preacher Brother Stair is arrested on eight charges of sexual assault. (Walterboro Live)

Charlottesville Police Chief Alfred Thomas announces his retirement. He was previously criticized for his poor handling of the rally and counterprotests. (NPR)

Sebastian Kurz becomes the new Chancellor of Austria and a new government is inaugurated. (Bloomberg)

Cyril Ramaphosa becomes president of the African National Congress (ANC), defeating Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma by 2,440 votes to 2,261. (News24)

University of California, Los Angeles, and University of Wisconsin–Madison researchers report, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that microscopic fossils discovered in a nearly 3.5 billion-year-old piece of rock in Western Australia are the oldest fossils ever found and the earliest direct evidence of life on Earth. (Phys.org)

 

John Skipper resigns from ESPN, citing substance addiction ESPN President John Skipper resigned from the network Monday, citing a substance abuse problem. “I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction. I have decided that the most important thing I can do right now is to take care of my problem,” Skipper said in a statement, adding that the decision for him to resign was made in tandem with the company. “I come to this public disclosure with embarrassment, trepidation, and a feeling of having let others I care about down.” Skipper joined ESPN in 1997 and became the company’s president in 2012. Former ESPN President George Bodenheimer will oversee a 90-day transition period for the company as it searches for a replacement. Source: ESPN

 

Sunday, Dec 17, 2017

A Russian airstrike using napalm kills at least ten civilians, including four children and six women from one family, in Idlib’s town of Khan Shaykhun, according to the leader of the White Helmets. (Anadolu Agency)

The Russian Ministry of Defense says that Russia and China concluded a five-day computer-generated air defense drill in Beijing. (Newsweek)

Russian President Vladimir Putin thanks U.S. President Donald Trump for sharing intelligence from the Central Intelligence Agency which they say helped prevent a terrorist attack in Saint Petersburg. (Los Angeles Times)

Several hundred people take part in clashes between Ukrainian police and anti-Petro Poroshenko protesters (led by opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili) demanding the president’s resignation at the October Palace in Kiev. (VOA)

Venezuela and Rosneft sign agreements on gas exploration and exploitation. (Marine Link)

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of Turkey says “the day is close when officially, with God’s permission” his nation will open an embassy in East Jerusalem. (The Hill)

 

Saturday,  Dec 16, 2017

The BBC reports that former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron is to head a £750 million ($1 billion) U.K. private fund to improve air, road and railway links between China and its trading partners.  (The Guardian)

Thousands of delegates of the African National Congress gather in Johannesburg to elect a party leader, who may replace President Jacob Zuma before his term expires in 2019. (AP via Newser)

The existence of a U.S. government program that investigated reports of UFOs is revealed. (The New York Times)

 

 Friday,  Dec 15, 2017

The most recent U.S. government statistics show a marked increase in the yearly number of deaths by drug overdose. The number for end May 2017 is 66,324, up 17% when compared to the previous 12-month period. (U.S. News & World Report)

Former economy minister Alexey Ulyukaev is found guilty of soliciting a $2 million bribe from Rosneft’s Igor Sechin. He is sentenced to 8 years in prison. Ulyukayev is the most senior serving official to be arrested in decades. He previously denied the charges, saying he’d been “set up”. (Reuters)

In a Los Angeles Times opinion piece, Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the United States, denounces as “failed” the assumptions underlying the December 6 announcement by President Donald Trump. (Los Angeles Times)

Beate Uhse AG, suppliers of the Pabo erotica catalog, files for bankruptcy in Germany. Only the holding company restructures in order to secure refinancingwith the creditors. Beate Uhse-Rotermund opened the first sex shop in 1962, in Flensburg, under the name “Institut für Ehehygiene”. (Daily Mail)

According to the Spanish newspaper El País, FIFA warned the Royal Spanish Football Federation, threatening to exclude Spain from participation in the 2018 World Cup. FIFA reportedly argues that the Spanish attempt to remove Ángel María Villar (who is accused of corruption) from the national federation’s presidency is an illicit government intervention in the Spanish football federation’s activities. (The Independent)

After disparaging FBI, Trump speaks at FBI National Academy graduation President Trump spoke at the FBI National Academy Graduation Ceremony on Friday after he had vaguely claimed that “it’s a shame what’s happened with the FBI” before the event. On stage, though, the president told the law enforcement graduates, “You rarely get the recognition you deserve. With me as your president, America’s police will have a true friend and loyal champion in the White House, more loyal than anyone else can be.” Clint Watts of the Foreign Policy Research Institute noted that the graduates Trump was addressing are “high level, strong performing state and local law enforcement officers from around the country,” rather than FBI agents — “i.e. Trump’s base.” Source: Mediaite, The Week

3 additional women accuse Dustin Hoffman of sexual misconduct Three women have come forward to accuse actor Dustin Hoffman of sexual misconduct, including one who said he exposed himself to her when she was in high school, Variety reports. One woman said in 1980, when she was 16, Hoffman exposed himself to her in a hotel room. She was friends with his daughter, and had the spent the afternoon with them. Two other women told Variety Hoffman sexually assaulted them while filming 1987’s Ishtar. Hoffman’s attorney, Mark A. Neubauer, called the accusations “defamatory falsehoods.” Earlier this year, Anna Graham Hunter accused Hoffman of groping her in 1985, while she was a teenager. Source: Variety

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”

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)

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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)

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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

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