All Of This And Nothing

a phonebook full of accidents
a girl to drive your car
a suit to wear on mondays
and a coat a magazine
a heavy rain a holiday
a painting of the wall
a knife a fork and memories
a light to see it all
you didn’t leave me anything
that i can understand
hey i never meant that stuff
i want to turn you round
dominoes a pack of cards
a picture of the queen
a dress to wear on sundays
and a handle for the door
a letter that i sent for you
a note you left for me
a wave a pack of cigarettes
a pocket full of beads
you didn’t leave me anything
that i can understand
hey i never meant that stuff
i want to turn you on
you didn’t leave me anything
that i can understand
hey i never meant that stuff
i want to turn you round
you didn’t leave me anything
that i can understand
hey i never meant that stuff
i want to turn you on
the sound of people getting drunk
a ceiling and a sky
a bank that’s full of promises
a telephone that lies
a visit from your doctor
he crawls in through the door
a mirror you can look in
so that you know where you are
you didn’t leave me anything
that i can understand
hey i never meant that stuff
i want to turn you round
you didn’t leave me anything
that i can understand
now i’m left with all of this
a room full of your trash

 

Tuesday,   Mar 27, 2018

Trump remains silent on Stormy Daniels President Trump has remained uncharacteristically quiet on the topic of adult film star Stormy Daniels in the wake of her 60 Minutes interview on Sunday night. “He’s really not in a punch-back mode,” explained one friend. “Everyone is telling him, look, you can’t win here, so just do nothing.” Privately, Trump has reportedly vented that Daniels’ claims about their alleged 2006 affair are a “hoax” and that he “personally did not think Daniels appeared credible,” The Washington Post and New York Times write. On Monday, White House spokesman Raj Shah confirmed Trump “does not” believe Daniels’ statement that she was threatened by an anonymous man to keep silent about the alleged affair. In her interview with Anderson Cooper, Daniels said Trump “knows I’m telling the truth.” Source: The Washington Post, The New York Times

 

Monday,  Mar 26, 2018

U.S. firearms and ammunition manufacturer Remington Arms files for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after amassing US$950 million worth of debt. (Bloomberg)

China launches an oil futures market in a bid to compete with oil benchmarks from the United States and Europe. (MarketWatch)

More than 100 Russian diplomats are expelled from over 20 countries. (BBC)

U.S. President Donald Trump orders the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle. (BBC)

European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker conclude talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The parties say they have been unable to agree on human rights issues but pledge to hold more talks. (The Financial Times)

Spanish police in Alicante arrest the suspected leader of a bank hacking scheme believed to have stolen over €1 billion. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

Six alleged members of banned neo-Nazi group National Action appear in court. One is accused of planning to murder MP Rosie Cooper and another is charged with inciting murder. (The Independent)

The Egyptian electorate vote in their presidential election, with incumbent President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi facing only one opponent. (The Washington Post)

ArXiv publishes research that a gas giant may be orbiting a brown dwarf. The exoplanet, designated OGLE-2017-BLG-1522Lb, orbits its host at a distance of 0.59 AU and could be the first known gas giant to have formed inside the protoplanetary disk of a brown dwarf. (Phys.org)

 

Monday,  Mar 26, 2018

White House: Trump ‘doesn’t believe’ Stormy Daniels’ claims are accurate During Monday’s press briefing, White House spokesman Raj Shah dismissed adult film star Stormy Daniels’ 60 Minutes interview. In the segment, which aired Sunday, Daniels detailed an affair she says she had with President Trump in 2006. “The president doesn’t believe that any of the claims that Ms. Daniels made last night in her interview were accurate,” Shah said, confirming that Trump “does not” believe Daniels’ statement that she was threatened by an anonymous man to keep silent about the alleged affair. Shah also dismissed speculation about why Trump’s lawyer paid Daniels $130,000 to sign a nondisclosure agreement, explaining: “False charges are settled out of court all the time.” In her interview with Anderson Cooper, Daniels said Trump “knows I’m telling the truth.” Source: CBS News

Trump to expel 60 Russian diplomats after spy poisoning President Trump on Monday ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian officials as well as the closure of the Seattle consulate in response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter who were living in Britain, The Washington Post reports. The officials have a week to leave the U.S. At least 10 European countries have also banded together to expel Russian diplomats in a coordinated response. Russia has warned it will retaliate in kind, and the Russian embassy in the U.S. has claimed on Twitter that the accusations against Moscow are “another large-scale anti-Russian campaign.” European Union leaders have said that there is “no plausible alternative explanation” other than Russia being behind the poisoning of the ex-spy and his daughter. Source: The Washington Post, Bloomberg

Dow spikes nearly 670 points, rebounding amid trade turmoil The Dow Jones Industrial Average rebounded after a tumultuous run last week, jumping nearly 670 points by the time markets closed Monday afternoon. The index surged nearly 3 percent in part thanks to Microsoft, the top-performing stock of the day. The gains suggest the market is recovering after President Trump last week announced tariffs targeted at China, which sparked fears of a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies. Investors “have apparently recognized that a trade war is in no one’s best interests and therefore extremely unlikely,” market strategist Jeremy Klein told CNBC in explaining the rebound. The S&P 500 also saw a more than 2 percent bump Monday, while the Nasdaq composite jumped 2.6 percent. Source: CNBC, MarketWatch

 

Sunday, Mar 25, 2018

Two suicide bombers strike a Shi’ite mosque in Herat, Afghanistan, killing one person and wounding seven others. Security forces kill one bomber while the device kills the other. ISIL claims responsibility. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

ISIL releases a statement claiming responsibility for killing or wounding 103 Iraqi soldiers within one month. The group also claims to have abducted 13 more soldiers, and destroyed 12 armoured vehicles. (Iraqi News)

Houthi forces fire several Burkan-2 ballistic missiles at targets in Saudi Arabia with at least one person, an Egyptian national, being killed in Riyadh. The Royal Saudi Air Defense says it intercepted seven missiles, three of them targeting Riyadh, two targeting Jizan and one apiece targeting Najran and Khamis Mushait. (The Washington Post)

A fire in the Winter Cherry complex, a shopping centre in Kemerovo, Russia, kills at least 64 people, the majority of which are children. (BBC)

South Korea and the United States reach agreements on trade and steel tariffs. (Bloomberg)

EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini holds crisis talks with Markus Ederer, the bloc’s recalled ambassador to Russia. (France24)

Sheikh Tamim of Qatar visits Russia to discuss the situation in Syria, Yemen and Palestine. (Al Jazeera)

A former French Parliamentarian candidate of the La France Insoumise party is arrested for tweeting that the death of Lt-Col Arnaud Beltrame was “great” and “one less vote for Emmanuel Macron.” (BBC)

Researchers publish observations of a possible nova (ASASSN-18fv) in the constellation Carina. (AAVSO)(APOD)

Qantas Airways Flight QF9 becomes the first ever regularly scheduled non-stop flight between Australia and Europe after making the 17-hour journey from Perth to London. (The Evening Standard)

An anomalous weather event caused due to dust from a sandstorm in the Sahara, leads to an orange snow blanketing several Eastern European countries, including Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania and Russia. This weather event happens roughly every five years, a similar event occured in Siberia in 2007. (The Guardian)

More Below The Fold

Continue reading “All Of This And Nothing”

03.12.2018

Monday,  Mar 12, 2018

China’s National People’s Congress approves the removal of presidential term limits, in a move that allows current president Xi Jinping to remain president for life. (BBC)

A Brooklyn federal court sentences Martin Shkreli to seven years in prison for securities fraud in his hedge fund and pharmaceutical companies. (CNBC)

Black Panther reaches $1 billion worldwide Black Panther continued to dominate as it reached $1 billion in the global box office in just four weeks, according to estimates released by Box Office Mojo on Sunday. It is the 16th Disney movie to reach the billion-dollar mark, and the first Marvel superhero film to top ticket sales for four weeks in a row. Black Panther has grossed $562 million domestically, making it the No. 7 highest-grossing movie ever in North America, without adjusting for inflation. It has now surpassed The Dark Knight to become the second highest-grossing superhero movie ever in the U.S. Source: The Washington Post

 

Sunday, Mar 11, 2018

A helicopter crash in Manhattan’s East River kills five people. (ABC News)

A private plane from Sharjah to Istanbul crashes in the Zagros Mountains in Iran, killing Turkish socialite Mina Başaran along with, according to Iranian state media, ten other people on board. (The National (Abu Dhabi))(BBC)

Activist and journalist Lauren Southern is detained at Calais and prevented from entering the United Kingdom, with the reason given by the UK Home Office that her presence ‘was not conducive to the public good’. (The Evening Standard)(Newsweek)

Senator Elizabeth Warren talks around a suggestion by a Massachusetts newspaper to take a DNA test to prove her Native American heritage. (CNN)

 

Saturday,  Mar 10, 2018

Jeju Island emerges as a possible location for U.S.–North Korea summit talks in May. (The Hankyoreh)

North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong-ho will visit Sweden and meet with Deputy Prime Minister Margot Wallström. (Reuters via The Japan Times)

Congolese President Joseph Kabila signs a law that increases taxes on mining and government royalties on international mining companies working in DR Congo, including on the mining of cobalt, despite the opposition from foreign companies. (BBC)

 

Identitarian leaders Martin Sellner and Brittany Pettibone are detained in the UK for wanting to hold a speech at Speaker’s Corner in London and wanting to interview Tommy Robinson. (Demokracija)(Evening Standard)

 

Friday,  Mar 9, 2018

White House: Trump will accept Kim Jong Un’s invitation to meet South Korea’s national security adviser announced Thursday evening that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is “committed to denuclearization” and “expressed an eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible.” Speaking outside the White House, Chung Eui-yong said Trump “appreciated the briefing, and said he would meet Kim Jong Un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization.” He also said that while talks are underway, North Korea “would refrain from any form of nuclear or missile tests,” and Kim understands that routine military exercises between South Korea and the United States “must continue.” Later, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Trump will accept the invitation to meet, “at a place and time to be determined.” Source: The Week, Twitter

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says that the White House needs to see “concrete and verifiable steps” toward the denuclearization of North Korea before meeting with Kim Jong-un. (Business Insider)

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull urges U.S. President Donald Trump to be cautious in North Korea talks. Turnbull also said that Australia must retain sanctions on North Korea. (Canberra Times)

French President Emmanuel Macron says that Trump should hold tough talks with North Korea. (First Post)

An Afghan War veteran and recently expelled resident takes an executive director and two psychologists into a room at the Veterans Home of California in Yountville, California. Seven hours later, California Highway Patrol officers find all of them shot dead. (The New York Times)

U.S. President Donald Trump pardons Kristian Saucier, who had served a one-year sentence for unauthorized possession and retention of national defense information. (The Washington Post)

Arianespace launches mission VS18 from the Guiana Space Centre, a Soyuz rocket carrying a payload of four O3b communications satellites for SES. (NASASpaceFlight.com)

Manafort pleads not guilty to tax and fraud charges in Virginia President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded not guilty Thursday to tax and fraud charges in Virginia federal court, and will be outfitted with a second GPS monitoring bracelet. His trial will start July 10. The bracelet will be in addition to the original tracking device Manafort was assigned last month, after he pleaded not guilty to Washington, D.C.-based charges. The Virginia probation officer told the judge that she wouldn’t have access to tracking data from the D.C.-based bracelet, hence the need for a second monitoring device. Manafort’s plea of not guilty to the 18-count indictment is part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Moscow. Source: Twitter

 

Thursday, Mar 8,  2018

Kim Jong-un invites Donald Trump to discuss Korea’s denuclearization sometime by May, and Trump accepts. (CBC) (The New York Times)

Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit demands Guatemala reverse its decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, Sandra Jovel says the move is “irreversible.” (Xinhua News Agency)

U.S. President Donald Trump imposes his tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum imported from most countries. Canada and Mexico are provisionally exempt pending NAFTA renegotiations. The tariffs will take effect on March 23. (CBS News)

Eleven countries in Asia, North America, Oceania, and South America sign the revised Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. (The New York Times)

The End

 

Just Let The World Die

Saturday, Jan 20, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Friday, Jan 19, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Thursday, Jan 18, 2018

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018

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

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

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

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

Tuesday,   Jan 16, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE END

The Only News

 

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

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

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

[…]

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Continue reading “The Only News”

Cinco de Mayo

Mexican Drug Smugglers to Trump: Thanks!

 

 

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Tests Come to YouTube

 

Going Off the Rails?
Trump risks a big backlash if he reneges on his campaign promises.
By WILLIAM S. LIND • May 4, 2017

Another theory is that the White House has determined that the so-called deep state makes any real policy change impossible. All the Trump people think they can do is try to expose the deep state in a long-term effort to delegitimize it. If this is true, there are some facts behind it. The deep state—a conglomeration of federal employees, contractors, business allies on Wall Street, and essentially anyone who benefits from the status quo—is powerful in both foreign and defense policy circles. To talk about military reform is to threaten the single largest honey pot on earth. The status quo in foreign policy—which is to say a quest for world hegemony, for Jacobin ideas of democracy and “human rights”—has tremendous ideological backing within the State Department and much of the rest of the government, the media, and academia. Even for a president who enjoys saying, “You’re fired,” these are hard nuts to crack.

 

Still Chasing the Wrong Rainbows
What historian William Appleman Williams taught us about foreign policy and the good society.
By ANDREW J. BACEVICH • May 4, 2017

Yet Trump’s first hundred days in residence there offer precious little evidence that he will deliver on that promise. Neither he nor anyone else in the Republican leadership has demonstrated the requisite competence or political savvy. Furthermore, nothing that Trump has said or done since taking office suggests that he possesses the capacity or even the inclination to articulate a unifying conception of a common good. The real, although unarticulated slogan of his presidency, is one that looks to “Deepen American Divisions,” with members of the fiercely anti-Trump Left, his ironic collaborators. On all sides, resentment grows.

Meanwhile, to judge by Trump’s one-and-done missile attack on Syria and the fatuous deployment of the “Mother of All Bombs” in Afghanistan, our president’s approach to statecraft makes Lyndon Johnson look circumspect by comparison. Trump assured his supporters that he was going to break the hold of the foreign-policy establishment. In fact, he has embraced the establishment’s penchant for “using our power for whatever we happen at the moment to want, or against whatever at the moment we do not like.” U.S. national-security policy has become monumentally incoherent, with the man in charge apparently doing whatever his gut or his latest visitor at Mar-a-Lago tells him to do.

 

Facing Aurora
ISRAEL SHAMIR • MAY 3, 2017 • 2,700 WORDS

Paradoxically, the Western workers had been the greatest beneficiaries of the Russian Revolution. The Western owner class had been scared by the Russian communists and afterwards behaved rather nicely. It shared its profits with its workers. Your life has been good because the naval guns of the Aurora threatened your One Per cent. In 1991, the communists were defeated through the treason of their leaders. And since then, the victorious Western owners have gone into full-scale Reconquista. They took away all the achievements of the workers, and created this new world of immense wealth for a few and growing misery for the rest.

 

A Handmaid’s Tale

This show is fucking good. It’s the new ‘Game of Thrones.’

THE HANDMAID’S TALE — “Offred” – Episode 101 – Offred, one the few fertile women known as Handmaids in the oppressive Republic of Gilead, struggles to survive as a reproductive surrogate for a powerful Commander and his resentful wife. 

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Renewed for Season 2 at Hulu

 

How Harvard Business School Has Reshaped American Capitalism

But how and why that might be the case isn’t really what interests McDonald, the author of previous books about McKinsey, the consulting firm, and JPMorgan’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon. In “The Golden Passport,” he’s determined to call the Harvard Business School to account, citing its founding doctrine, which was to develop “a heightened sense of responsibility among businessmen” (and eventually women) who “will handle their current business problems in socially constructive ways.” In that regard, McDonald is scathing in his critique: Harvard Business School has not only “proven an enormous failure,” but its very success has made it positively “dangerous.”

He drives home the point in chapter after chapter, picking up steam in more recent decades: Harvard, he maintains, provided the ideological underpinnings for the junk-bond-induced takeover mania and resulting scandals of the 1980s; the corporate scandals of the 2000s; the egregious increase in the pay gap between chief executives and ordinary employees; the real estate mortgage bubble and ensuing financial crisis; even the election of Donald Trump. In McDonald’s view, the school has contributed to pretty much every bad thing that has happened in American business and the economy in the last century. In the wake of whatever scandal or financial collapse or recession to which it has contributed, it wipes its hands, distances itself and still has the nerve to put forth its experts as the solution to problems.

 

Macron’s Unusual Marriage Is OK—But NOT What His Type Are Doing to France (And America)
JOHN DERBYSHIRE • APRIL 29, 2017 • 1,300 WORDS

In my study, there hang portraits of my two literary heroes. One of them, Samuel Johnson, at age 25 married a woman twenty years his senior—a widow who, like Mrs. Macron, brought three children to the marriage. Johnson loved his wife dearly, to the bafflement of his friends. After she died seventeen years later, he mourned her for the rest of his own life.

My other literary hero, George Orwell, lost his wife Eileen after nine years of marriage, then remarried on his death bed to the prettiest girl in the office.

 

Putin’s New World Order
MIKE WHITNEY • APRIL 28, 2017 • 2,300 WORDS

 

Twenty Truths About Marine Le Pen
JAMES PETRAS • MAY 1, 2017 • 1,000 WORDS

Le Pen’s program will raise taxes on banks and financial transactions while fining capital flight in order to continue funding France’s retirement age of 62 for women and 65 for men, keeping the 35 hour work-week, and providing tax free overtime pay. She promises direct state intervention to prevent factories from relocating to low wage EU economies and firing French workers.

Le Pen is committed to increasing public spending for childcare and for the poor and disabled. She has pledged to protect French farmers against subsidized, cheap imports.

Marine Le Pen supports abortion rights and gay rights. She opposes the death penalty. She promises to cut taxes by 10% for low-wage workers. Marine is committed to fighting against sexism and for equal pay for women.

 

Why Defend South Korean Ingrates?
Trump spills the beans as the “adults” panic
by Justin Raimondo
May 01, 2017

“On the THAAD system, it’s about a billion dollars. I said, ‘Why are we paying? Why are we paying a billion dollars? We’re protecting. Why are we paying a billion dollars?’ So I informed South Korea it would be appropriate if they paid. Nobody’s going to do that. Why are we paying a billion dollars? It’s a billion dollar system. It’s phenomenal. It’s the most incredible equipment you’ve ever seen – shoots missiles right out of the sky. And it protects them and I want to protect them. We’re going to protect them. But they should pay for that, and they understand that.”

Ah, but they don’t understand it – and neither does H. R. McMaster, Trump’s newly-appointed National Security Advisor, who rushed to assure Seoul that the President didn’t really mean what he clearly said. And the South Koreans, who are in the midst of a presidential election – the vote is on May 5 – are in a uproar.

 

More NYT ‘Spin’ on the Syria-Sarin Case
April 28, 2017
By Robert Parry

Further, the U.S. and its allies have been conducting airstrikes across much of Syria in campaigns against Islamic State and Al Qaeda-linked terror groups, which have been supported by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and other Sunni-led sheikdoms. Turkey has been active, too, with strikes against Kurdish forces. And Israel has hit repeatedly at Syrian targets to promote what it regards as its interests, including destruction of Iranian weapons believed headed to the Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah.

Some – if not all – of these entities had a far stronger motive to create a chemical-weapons incident in Syria on April 4 than the Syrian government did. At the end of March, the Trump administration announced that it was no longer a U.S. priority to overthrow the Assad government, an announcement that upset several of the countries involved in the Syrian conflict, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Israel.

[…]

Shortly after the incident at Khan Sheikhoun, I was told by an intelligence source that U.S. satellite imagery had picked up what looked like a drone in the vicinity at around the time that the poison gas was released. Despite some technical difficulties in tracking its route, the source said the analysts believed that it may have come from a Saudi-Israeli special operations base in Jordan, used to assist the rebels.

 

David Ignatius’ 15 Years of Running Spin for Saudi Regime
BY ADAM JOHNSON

Ignatius, of course, is not alone. He joins a long line of faithful Western pundits who frame the Saudi regime as a reformist entity, earnestly pushing change in a fundamentally reactionary country under perma-threat from Shia forces. The Al Saud mafia is not in league with religious extremists, but a bulwark against them; they are not an illegitimate dictatorship, but an enlightened ruling class helping usher in “reform” in the face of a hyper-religious population.

And throughout it all, they are on a 71,500-year reform plan where they are effusively praised for moving their country toward the 19th century every five years or so. Other regimes that oppress their people and bomb civilians “must go” now, and are beyond the moral pale—mere allegations of being friendly with them, a career-ender. But the Saudi regime, a friendly host to light-touch US pundits, is just a well-meaning scrappy band of reformers this close to turning into Switzerland. All they need is a bit more time.

 

04.27.2017

04.27.2017

Teaching a driverless car to turn left

Is it just me or is a “self-driving” car that needs human assistance for the “complex task” of turning left not really a self-driving car?

 

BART Takeover Robbery: 40 to 60 Teens Swarm Train, Hold Up Riders

The attack was so quick, police reported, that the teenagers were able to retreat from the station and vanish into the surrounding East Oakland neighborhood before BART officers could respond. The train was held for about 15 minutes as authorities interviewed victims and witnesses and tended to the injured.

Trost said police arrived at the station in less than 5 minutes, but that the robberies took place in just seconds.

 

The National Blues
CLUSTERFUCK NATION – BLOG
April 28, 2017

 

These are people who have suffered their economic and social roles in life to be stolen from them. They do not work at things that matter. They have no prospects for a better life — and, anyway, the sheer notion of that has been reduced to absurd fantasies of Kardashian luxury, i.e. maximum comfort with no purpose other than to enable self-dramatization. And nothing dramatizes a desperate life like a drug habit. It concentrates the mind, as Samuel Johnson once remarked, like waiting to be hanged.

On display in the news reports about the mystery of the opioid epidemic is America’s neurotic reliance on supposedly scientific “studies.” Never before in history has a society studied so much and learned so little — which is what happens when you resort to scientizing things that are essentially matters of conduct. It rests on the fallacy that if you compile enough statistics about something, you can control it.

 

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launches Wikitribune, a large-scale attempt to combat fake news

 

Russian spy ship Liman sinks off Turkey after collision with freighter

 

North Korea: Why Trump Should Hold Kim’s Feet to the Fire
EAMONN FINGLETON • APRIL 16, 2017 • 1,000 WORDS

 

How to Build a National Defense We Can Afford
Intervening around the globe is doing far more harm to America’s national security than any other single factor.
By DANIEL L. DAVIS • April 26, 2017

 

Trump and the Thucydides Trap
By NOAH MILLMAN • April 24, 2017

 

The French Elections 2017 (Round One)
ANATOLY KARLIN • APRIL 22, 2017 • 1,200 WORDS

 

The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq

04.24.2017

04.24.2017

Be careful out there.

 

The Capsizing of Damien Hirst
Presenting the artist as shipwreck

Hirst once possessed a similar ingenuity, having wrung a not-quite-full career out of three ideas he had in his twenties. The taxidermied sharks certainly snatch the most attention thanks to their evocation of primal fears—though they induce a frisson of unease more than sublime horror—as well as for drawing a rather obvious parallel with capital itself: like a shark, our economy must move continuously or else expire. As if to illustrate this connection, Hirst’s original tiger shark, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, was obtained for $8 million by hedge fund manager Steven Cohen in 2004, one of the highest prices paid for a piece of contemporary art at the time. Hirst’s two other primary brands are much easier to replicate. Since 1986 he has produced, with a great deal of help from assistants, over a thousand “spot paintings,” in which colorful dots are strung in rows, executed with machine-like precision, or “by a person trying to paint like a machine,” as he has noted. Hirst’s “spin paintings,” generated by pouring paint on a circular canvas that has been affixed to a rotating potter’s wheel (like a larger version of the spin art offered at elementary school fairs), are even easier to duplicate.

 

Why Do We Want a Cooperative Relationship With Russia?
What Time magazine doesn’t understand about the noninterventionist right
By GEORGE D. O’NEILL JR. • April 24, 2017

 

First Transgender President: Trump Becomes Hillary
FRED REED • APRIL 20, 2017 • 1,100 WORDS

 

Ready, Set, Splat.
By Jim Kunstler • April 24, 2017

Macron might serve the interests of the American Deep State, which is determined to drive a wedge between Europe and the Chinese-Russian-Iranian “silk road” economic bloc that would consolidate trade in the Eastern Hemisphere. The US wants “the West” to remain what it had been for seventy years: the dominant posse. Even if the underlying conditions remained the same, this might not be possible.

But those underlying conditions are changing, and in ways that much of the political maneuvering across the West cannot alter, or even comprehend, for instance, the inability of these mature industrial economies to grow anymore. That is largely a function of the end of affordable energy. Unfortunately, the absence of growth portends not stagnation but collapse as society fails to generate enough new wealth to pay its debts.

 

Saudi Arabia restores perks to state employees, boosting markets

 

Britain’s first coal-free day since Industrial Revolution
The country has its first full day without using coal to generate electricity since the 1800s in a “watershed moment” for energy

 

What we know so far about the Larry Page-backed ‘flying car’ coming later this year

 

The retail apocalypse is accelerating

Dangerous

rave_couple02.24.2017

Sex

Postscript: This item from The Stanford [University] Daily newspaper puts a nice gloss on the stupefying idiocy in the campus sex-and-identity debate. Single-occupancy Restrooms Convert to All-gender Facilities: “Single-occupancy restrooms on campus will soon all be converted to gender-neutral facilities due to new California legislature and ongoing administrative efforts. The Diversity and Access Office (D&A Office) has been spearheading the campaign to convert all single-occupancy restrooms….”

Here’s what I don’t get: if a single-occupancy restroom is going to be used by one person at a time, what need is there to officially designate the sex of any person using it? And why are officials at an elite university wasting their time on this?

France’s Le Pen cancels meet with Lebanon grand mufti over headscarf
Feb 21, 2017

After meeting Christian President Michel Aoun – her first public handshake with a head of state – and Sunni Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri on Monday, she had been scheduled to meet the Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian

He heads the Dar al-Fatwa, the top religious authority for Sunni Muslims in the multireligious country.

“I met the grand mufti of Al-Azhar,” she told reporters, referring to a visit in 2015 to Cairo’s 1,000-year-old center of Islamic learning. “The highest Sunni authority didn’t have this requirement, but it doesn’t matter.

“You can pass on my respects to the grand mufti, but I will not cover myself up,” she said.

The chemical used to kill Kim Jong Un’s half-brother is classified as a weapon of mass destruction

VX is said to be relatively easy to produce in a reasonably sophisticated laboratory.

“Any country with a sophisticated chemical weapons effort can produce VX,” said CNN’s military analyst Rick Francona. “The formula has been around since the 1950s so its nothing new it just has to be made, the political will and determination that we are going to build this weapon.”

Why We Must Oppose the Kremlin-Baiting Against Trump
The Russia-connected allegations have created an atmosphere of hysteria amounting to McCarthyism.
By Stephen F. Cohen

The bipartisan, nearly full-political-spectrum tsunami of factually unverified allegations that President Trump has been sedi-
tiously “compromised” by the Kremlin, with scarcely any nonpartisan pushback from influential political or media sources, is deeply alarming. Begun by the Clinton campaign in mid-2016, and exemplified now by New York Times columnists (who write of a “Trump-Putin regime” in Washington), strident MSNBC hosts, and unbalanced CNN commentators, the practice is growing into a latter-day McCarthyite hysteria. Such politically malignant practices should be deplored wherever they appear, whether on the part of conservatives, liberals, or progressives.

 

Lawsuits could mean that the Silicon Valley self-driving-tech bubble is about to pop

The Chickens Have Come Home to Roost
by Andrew P. Napolitano, February 23, 2017

In the pre-Revolutionary era, British courts in London secretly issued general warrants to British government agents in America. The warrants were not based on any probable cause of crime or individual articulable suspicion; they did not name the person or thing to be seized or identify the place to be searched. They authorized agents to search where they wished and seize what they found.

The use of general warrants was so offensive to our Colonial ancestors that it whipped up more serious opposition to British rule and support for the revolutionaries than the “no taxation without representation” argument did.

Iraqi Forces Begin Bitter Battle for Mosul in Effort to Destroy Isisshutterstock_538451716-600x400
PATRICK COCKBURN • FEBRUARY 19, 2017

Isis depended on mobile squads of snipers, booby traps and over 600 suicide bombers driving vehicles packed with explosives to slow the advance of the counter terrorism service and other elite formation, some of which suffered 50 per cent casualties during a snail’s pace advance. By the end of 2016, the Iraqi Kurdish health ministry was complaining that its hospitals were full to overflowing with 13,500 wounded soldiers and civilians from the fighting in Mosul.

[…]

While Mr Abadi called on the Iraqi forces to be careful of the human rights of civilians in Mosul, videos are emerging of young men being beaten and summarily executed in places already taken by Iraqi troops. Despite frequent claims that it is liberating Mosul, the Shia-dominated Iraqi government is effectively assaulting the last great Sunni Arab city in Iraq. Away from the television cameras Iraqi soldiers often suspect civilians in Mosul of having been much more cooperative with Isis since 2014 than they now claim.

Glad to read our military budget is being used to fall behind, rather than protect us:
How the Pentagon is Preparing for a Tank War With Russia

The T-90’s active protective system is the Shtora-1 countermeasures suite. “I’ve interviewed Ukrainian tank gunners,” said Karber. “They’ll say ‘I had my [anti-tank weapon] right on it, it got right up to it and then they had this miraculous shield. An invisible shield. Suddenly, my anti-tank missile just went up to the sky.’”

$254 Billion in Unconditional US Aid to Israel Is Unique
New drive to compare it with equally suspect military alliance expenditures fails
by Grant Smith, February 23, 2017

Awkward