01.16.2018

Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018

Mueller subpoenaes Bannon President Trump’s former chief strategist Stephen Bannon was reportedly subpoenaed last week by Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify before a grand jury. This is the first known instance of a grand jury subpoena being used on someone in Trump’s inner circle, and “could be a negotiating tactic,” The New York Times writes, noting that Mueller “is likely to allow Mr. Bannon to forgo the grand jury appearance if he agrees to instead be questioned by investigators.” Bannon also testified behind closed doors Tuesday in front of the House Intelligence Committee which, like Mueller, is looking for evidence of Russian interference in the election. Source: The New York Times, The Week

Kushner was reportedly warned Wendi Deng Murdoch might be Chinese agent In early 2017, U.S. counterintelligence officials told President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner that Wendi Deng Murdoch, a friend of Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, could be using her relationship with the pair to push Beijing’s agenda, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal. There was also concern she was lobbying for a Chinese garden at the National Arboretum, paid for by the Chinese government, which the intelligence community feared could be used for surveillance. Murdoch, the ex-wife of Rupert Murdoch, came to the U.S. from China in 1988, and is a U.S. citizen. Her spokesman said she “has no knowledge of any FBI concerns or other intelligence agency concerns relating to her or her associations.” Source: The Wall Street Journal

Police arrest California parents after 13 kids found shackled, malnourished Authorities in Perris, California, arrested a husband and wife who allegedly kept their 13 kids, ranging in age from 2 to 29, captive inside their home, with some shackled to their beds and all of them malnourished. Early Sunday, a 17-year-old girl was able to escape from the house with a cellphone and called 911. When police entered the home, they found “several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings,” the department said. David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, were “unable to immediately provide a logical reason why their children were restrained in that manner,” officials said, and were both arrested. Neighbors said they were “devastated” and had no idea what was happening inside the house. Source: The Press-Enterprise

Monday, Jan 15, 2018

Turkey threatens to “strangle” the United States-backed Syrian Border Security Force “before it’s even born”, while Syria vows to crush it and expel American military personnel from the country. Russia called the plans “a plot to dismember Syria”. (Reuters)

American actress Eliza Dushku says that a stuntman molested her when she was 12 years old. (The Guardian)

A 910 ct “D colour Type II A” diamond is dug up in the Letseng diamond mine, Lesotho. (MiningMX)

The mezzanine overlooking the main lobby of the Indonesia Stock Exchange in Jakarta, Indonesia, collapses, injuring at least 70 people. The Indonesian National Police ruled out terrorism as the cause. (The Australian)(Daily Express)

Nabil Shaath, the foreign affairs adviser of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, says that the Palestinian Central Council freezes its recognition of the state of Israel until Israel recognizes Palestine as a state. Palestine will freeze the Oslo accords. (Sputnik)

A knife fight between students breaks out in a school in Perm, Russia. Twelve injured are reported, with three of them in serious condition. (BBC)

Mohamed Anwar al-Sadat, the nephew of the assassinated Egyptian president Mohamed Anwar al-Sadat, announces that he will not run in March’s presidential election, blaming an environment of fear surrounding the vote. (The Guardian)

Romanian Prime Minister Mihai Tudose resigns after losing the support of the Social Democratic Party (PSD). (Reuters)

Four Pakistani soldiers are killed in shelling by the Indian Army across the disputed Kashmir frontier. (Reuters)

Sunday, Jan 14, 2018

The U.S.-led coalition confirms reports that it will form a new 30,000-strong Syrian Border Security Force (BSF). Half of the forces will be Syrian Democratic Forces veterans. Another 15,000 will be recruited and trained in the near future. (Daily Sabah)

The Israel Defense Forces report the complete destruction of an underground tunnel dug by Hamas under the Kerem Shalom crossing. Israel shut down the crossing before its jets bombed the tunnel opening in Gaza Saturday night. The crossing remains closed. (Ynetnews)(CNN)

The National Iranian Tanker Company-operated MV Sanchi sinks, following its January 6 collision with a Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship off Shanghai, China, leaving no survivors. (BBC)

President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas describes President of the United States Donald Trump’s Middle East peace efforts as the “slap of the century.” (Euronews)

The Tunisian government announces a wave of social and economic reforms after violent anti-austerity protests that have resulted in at least one death and the arrest of more than eight hundred people. (BBC)

A study in Biological Psychiatry asserts that increasing the activity of the habenula brain region leads to social problems in rodents, whereas decreasing activity of the region prevents social problems. (Brinkwire)

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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

MBS

US Sailors Face Grim Diagnoses After Fukushima Mission

 

Yeah, but tell us how you really feel. Haha

The Future of Black America
by Christopher DeGroot
November 17, 2017

For that way of life does at least provide a sense of masculine value, the young belonging with other men. Like soldiers in war, they live against the (law-abiding) grain. Although progressives, driven by anxious resentment, believe men and women are interchangeable, both the teaching and the enforcement of moral conduct require male leadership. Morality derives historically from religion—a distinctly male affair. You men reading this will remember being young and ignoring what mom told you to do—until dad, that bigger, fearsome fellow, came along. That is the natural order of the family. Once its government became dominated by women, Sweden soon became the rape capital of the Western world. That is the collective folly, the herd sentimentalism of female leadership. When it comes to obedience, men are by no means inclined to submit to women, nor, as a general rule, to anyone who does not cause them to feel fear, something that usually only other men can do. Accordingly, proper authority has always been and must continue to be a masculine business.

 

The Dog That Didn’t Bark
Imprisoning and Torturing Billionaire Oligarchs
ISRAEL SHAMIR • NOVEMBER 30, 2017 • 2,700 WORDS

The Daily Mail, in an exclusive report, tells us that “the Saudi princes and billionaire businessmen arrested in a power grab earlier this month are being strung up by their feet and beaten by American private security contractors. The arrests have been followed by ‘interrogations’ which a source said were being carried out by ‘American mercenaries’. ‘They are beating them, torturing them, slapping them, insulting them. They want to break them down,’ the source told DailyMail.com.

(‘Blackwater’ has been named as the firm involved, and the claim of its presence in Saudi Arabia has also been made on Arabic social media, and by Lebanon’s president. The firm’s successor, Academi, strongly denies even being in Saudi Arabia and says it does not engage in torture.)

The torture in the glamorous hotel had been reported by one of best old-hand journalists in the Middle East, David Hearst. Several detainees were taken to hospital with torture injuries, he writes.

 

Friday,  Dec 1, 2017

Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to the FBI Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to making “willfully” false statements to the FBI about his contact with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn resigned as national security adviser less than a month after President Trump’s inauguration for lying about his contacts with Russian officials. Congressional Democrats have also told ABC News that Flynn hid information about overseas trips and contacts with foreign officials when applying for his security clearance, and The Wall Street Journal reported that Flynn and his son had considered kidnapping exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gullen — who the Turkish government blames for 2016’s failed coup — on behalf of the Turkish government for $15 million. Source: CNN, ABC News

Michael Flynn confirms he’s cooperating with special counsel Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn confirmed Friday that he has agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI. “After over 33 years of military service to our country … it has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of ‘treason’ and other outrageous acts,” Flynn said in a statement. He added: “I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right.” He called his decision to cooperate with Mueller “in the best interests of my family and of our country.” Source: Yahoo News

Trump requested top Republicans end Senate Russia probe This summer, President Trump asked Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and other senior Republicans in the Senate multiple times to bring to a close the panel’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, several lawmakers and aides told The New York Times. “It was something along the lines of, ‘I hope you can conclude this as quickly as possible,'” Burr told the Times. He said he told Trump that “when we have exhausted everybody we need to talk to, we will finish.” Several Republicans were concerned about Trump’s “forceful” requests to end the inquiry, but Burr downplayed the incidents, arguing that Trump has “never been in government” and doesn’t know what is proper. Source: The New York Times

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Quagmire

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

 

 

How Syria’s Victory Reshapes Mideast
September 30, 2017

 

How Billionaires Become Billionaires
JAMES PETRAS • OCTOBER 4, 2017

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

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

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

 

Thursday, Oct. 5th,  2017

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

 

Wednesday,  Oct. 4th, 2017

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Tuesday,   Oct. 3rd, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Moral Vacuum

Freedom for the Speech We Hate
ANDREW NAPOLITANO • AUGUST 17, 2017 • 1,000 WORDS

 

Hate is the New Sex
by John Michael Greer

If you have any doubts concerning this, dear reader, observe the way that the same people who were sporting LOVE TRUMPS HATE bumper stickers a year ago talk about Donald Trump and his supporters today. Back in January of 2016, when I first predicted Trump’s victory, I pointed out that if you wanted to hear really over-the-top hate speech, all you had to do was listen to a group of comfortably well-to-do Americans in the bicoastal urban bubble talk about white working class Americans in the flyover states. That’s become even more true now than it was then. Take the rhetoric currently being flung by well-off Democratic voters at Trump supporters, swap out the ethnic labels for any other set you choose, and you’ll have a hard time telling it apart from the rantings of any other group of bigots.

 

Ann Coulter: When Liberals Club People, It’s with Love in Their Hearts

And let’s recall the response of Hillary Clinton to the horrifying murder of five Dallas cops last year. The woman who ran against Trump displayed all the moral blindness currently being slanderously imputed to him.

In an interview on CNN about the slaughter that had taken place roughly 12 hours earlier, Hillary barely paused to acknowledge the five dead officers — much less condemn the shooting — before criticizing police for their “implicit bias” six times in about as many minutes.

 

If We’re Tearing Down White Supremacy, Start With Planned Parenthood
AUGUST 15, 2017
By Daniel Payne

It is also in killing black people that Planned Parenthood really shines. Around 941 black babies are aborted in this country every day. Planned Parenthood, netting more than a third of the abortion market in the country, is responsible for 329 of those daily deaths. That averages out to a little more than 120,000 black abortions at Planned Parenthood per year, or around a third of the total abortions the organization performs—this from a demographic that makes up about 13 percent of the United States population. According to the Guttmacher Institute, black women get abortions at five times the rate of white women.

If you were a white supremacist who wanted to sharply reduce the black population to make way for more whites, what would you be doing differently than Planned Parenthood?

Nothing, as it turns out. Spencer, the lily-white organizer of the infamous tiki-torch protest in Charlottesville last week, is a proponent of legalized abortion, precisely because it does very well the thing Spencer is most enthusiastic about, i.e. reducing the number of black people in the United States. “I would say that it is the unintelligent and blacks and Hispanics who use abortion as birth control,” Spencer says, favorably, while also speaking poorly of “people who think in terms of human rights,” i.e. pro-lifers.

 

Smoke and Fire
Clusterfuck Nation
by James Howard Kunstler
08.14.2017

The “Antifa” movement would be funny if it wasn’t itself prone to violence, since it espouses exactly the same kind of despotism against free thought that it pretends to fight against. It wants to shut down and stamp out debate in the public arena and trample over principles that make it uncomfortable, for instance, the First Amendment asserting the right to free speech. It makes a mockery of the battle cry for “diversity” (diversity only for Antifa-approved ideas). That so many current college students subscribe to the movement ought to make thoughtful people very uneasy about the politics of the coming generation. In their black battle garb and masks, they resemble the very fascist mobs of the 1930s that the name “Antifa” supposedly evokes as its enemy.

 

Al Gore’s Pivot to Idiocy

 

White-On-White Riots: A Theory

They need an absolution of guilt. They need there to be a moral code, so they can perform the appropriate rites and make themselves pure. Without it, there’s no metric at all that allows them to say — even to themselves — whether they’re good people. And there’s a lot of evidence against it. Like those homeless people you keep passing on the street.

The shrill protestations of commitment to the code just speak to how steep the dropoff is. Because behind it, in our society, there is nothing but a moral vacuum.

 

 

 

Corpse Left Hanging from Overpass As Cartel War Rages in Mexico

 

Sacrificing Smart Asians to Keep the Racial Peace
ROBERT WEISSBERG • AUGUST 16, 2017 • 1,500 WORDS

In effect, racial preferences in elite higher education (and beneficiaries includes students, professors and the diversity-managing administrators) separates the top 10% measured in cognitive ability from their more violent down market racial compatriots. While this manufactured caste-like arrangement hardly guarantees racial peace (as the black-on-white crime rate, demonstrates) but it pretty much dampens the possibility of more collective, well-organized related upheavals, the types of disturbances that truly terrify the white establishment. Better to have the handsomely paid Cornel West pontificating about white racism at Princeton where he is a full professor than fulminating at some Ghetto street corner. This status driven divide just reflects human nature. Why would a black Yalie on Wall Street socialize with the bro’s left behind in the Hood? This is the strategy of preventing a large-scale, organized rebellion by decapitating its potential leadership. Violence is now just Chicago or Baltimore-style gang-banger intra-racial mayhem or various lone-wolf criminal attacks on whites.

 

Nuclear-Powered Cars, Tesla, Gore, Solar Power, Elon Musk, and More
A Broad Spectrum Column
FRED REED • AUGUST 10, 2017 • 1,100 WORDS

The CIA Runs Everything for You Know Who

Yes Congress, Afghanistan is Your Vietnam
Does any member have the courage and vision to take responsibility?
By ANDREW J. BACEVICH • August 11, 2017

 

Bring Me the Head of Jeff Bezos

 

Absolutely hilarious. I can’t stop reading this guy. Is he serious? Some of what he says might actually be true. Which is, well…really disturbing.
Jeff Bezos looks like another CIA Front

 

…in case you are easily amused, like me, and want more…
http://mileswmathis.com/updates.html

 

 

You can always count on The Economist to keep you up-to-date with knowledge:

Electric cars
The death of the internal combustion engine
It had a good run. But the end is in sight for the machine that changed the world

 

Saudi Arabia Is Trying to Remake the Middle East In Its Image
No country has done more to spread radical Islam than Saudi Arabia.
By MICHAEL HORTON • August 8, 2017

In 1744, Muhammad ibn Saud made a Faustian bargain with Muhammad Abd al-Wahhab: al-Wahhab would back al-Saud in his battle for supremacy if he pledged allegiance to al-Wahhab’s puritanical vision of Islam. This interpretation of Islam, which differs little from the militant Salafi beliefs that inform the Islamic State’s and al-Qaeda’s understanding of Islam (the Islamic State uses Saudi produced textbooks in its schools), became known as Wahhabism.

The Saudis, who are not descended from the Prophet and have no particular claim to rule even in their territorial heartland of Najd, relied on the clerics of the al-Wahhab family for religious legitimacy. The bargain struck in 1744 held fast. In 1926, Ibn Saud took over the Hejaz and in 1932 the country of Saudi Arabia was created. Ibn Saud’s conquest of most of the Arabian Peninsula would not have happened without the support of the fanatical warriors (the Ikhwan) who, more than anything else, fought to purge the peninsula of what they deemed to be heretical beliefs and practices.

 

 

 

Wow. This is good. I like this guy. How can you not? Everything is a conspiracy. Everything. I bet his own mother is a CIA project. Definitely makes you think. Y’all are gonna wanna read this

The BRAVE NEW WORLD of Stephen Hawking
by Miles Mathis
November 21, 2011

“Controlling majorities has never helped these fascists, although they are obsessed with controlling majorities. No, the problem is they can’t control themselves, and they always overreach. As the last example, we can look at the Nazis, who had the war won but decided they needed to attack Russia as well. The German people didn’t restrain the Nazis, the Nazis destroyed themselves. The same could be said of Stalin and the later Communists. They overreached and collapsed. Like the Nazis, they wanted world domination and couldn’t manage it. And we see the same thing happening now. The rich here in the US were already raking it in in the 1990’s under Clinton, but that wasn’t enough. They already had a bloated CIA and military, the world was already dotted with our bases, but it wasn’t enough. The banks were already stealing freely from the people, but it wasn’t enough. The CIA had already been running the media since the 1950’s, but it wasn’t enough. The success just made them hungry for more. So they repealed Glass-Steagall and all other regulations, pulled 9/11, started wars in a dozen places, dismantled the Constitution, and installed the new police state. All I can say is, IS IT WORKING? Have they created a successful system of control and theft, one that is self-perpetuating so that their children can steal as easily as they have? No. They are killing the host. You can’t tax or steal from people that are huddling in concentration camps or living off welfare. You can’t loan money to people who are in jail.

So while their subsistence base diminishes, their appetite does not. They don’t know when to stop. Like junkies, they keep going until they hit the wall. What wall is that? I don’t know. Could be Russia or China or both, could be financial meltdown, could be a military coup, could be class warfare between the rich and superrich, could be Mother Earth biting back. All we know is that “the mighty will fall.” They always do. There are no masters of the universe in this part of the galaxy.”

Climate Change

click on image to view full size

 

New research suggests that large parts of Southern Asia may be uninhabitable by 2100 due to levels of humidity dangerous to humans. (National Geographic)

 

Dunkirk, the War and the Amnesia of the Empire

 

Did Hillary Scapegoat Russia to Save Her Campaign?
MIKE WHITNEY • AUGUST 1, 2017 • 2,000 WORDS

 

The Only Other News:

 Wednesday,  Aug 2, 2017

Trump vents frustration at generals over Afghanistan

President Trump reportedly criticized the military team tasked with developing a new strategy in Afghanistan in a recent meeting, and repeatedly suggested firing Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, NBC News reported Wednesday, citing senior administration officials. “We aren’t winning,” Trump said, according to the officials. “We are losing.” Trump, who has never met with Nicholson, also reportedly directed his anger at Defense Secretary James Mattis. During the two-hour meeting in the White House Situation Room, a frustrated Trump also complained about China making money off of Afghanistan’s rare minerals, and tasked the advisers with finding a way to get American businesses in there quickly to get rights to the minerals.  Source: NBC News

Teams of United States-based researchers, composed of American, Chinese and South Korean scientists, successfully edit a piece of faulty DNA that causes a deadly form of heart disease from cells in human embryos.  (Science News Magazine)

President of the United States Donald Trump signs a Congress bill enacting sanctions on Russia. Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev calls it a “trade war”. (Reuters)

 

Tuesday,   Aug 1, 2017

A two-meter (6.5 feet) tall 12th century sandstone statue of a human figure is unearthed by archaeologists during an excavation of a Khmer Empire-era hospital built during the reign of King Jayavarman VII at Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple complex in Siem Reap Province. (BBC)

Three so-called GTA gang members are shot dead and four others are wounded, including two guards, at a courthouse in Moscow, Russia, after they attempted to escape. (The Independent)

Venezuelan opposition leaders Leopoldo López and Mayor of Caracas Antonio Ledezma are seized at their homes overnight by the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) and taken to Ramo Verde Prison. They had been arrested previously by the Venezuelan government, but were under house arrest at the time of being seized. (BBC)

The United States Senate, in a 92–5 vote, confirms Christopher A. Wray as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (Reuters)

 

Groupthink at The Deep State

 

Sanctions, Smoke and Mirrors from a Kindergarten on LSD
THE SAKER • JULY 31, 2017 • 3,100 WORDS

“Israel Lobby” is, of course, a misnomer. The Israel Lobby has very little interest in Israel as a country or, for that matter, for the Israeli people. If anything, the Israel Lobby ought to be called the “Neocon Lobby”. Furthermore, we also have to keep in mind that the Neocon Lobby is unlike any other lobby in the list above. For one thing, it does not represent US interests. Neither does it represent the interests of Israel. Rather, it represents the interests of a specific subset of the US ruling elites, in reality much smaller than 1% of the population, which all share in the one common ideology of worldwide domination typical of the Neocons.

These are the folks who in spite of their 100% ironclad control of the media and Congress lost the Presidential election to Donald Trump and who are now dead set to impeach him. These are the folks who simply use “Russia” as a propagandistic fulcrum to peddle the notion that Trump and his entourage are basically Russian agents and Trump himself as a kind of “Presidential Manchurian Candidate”.

 

Trump signs bill levying new sanctions on Russia, immediately criticizes it

President Trump signed legislation Wednesday that imposes new sanctions on Russia and curbs his own ability to lighten them down the line. The House and Senate overwhelmingly passed the bill last week with veto-proof majorities, putting Trump in a tough spot if he had declined to sign. The sanctions come in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and amid several investigations of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. In a statement about signing the bill, Trump wrote that the legislation is “significantly flawed” and that Congress “included a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions.” In another statement, Trump added that “despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity.”

 

Groupthink at the CIA
Hating Russia and Trump is de rigueur
PHILIP GIRALDI • AUGUST 1, 2017 • 1,800 WORDS

…That unanimity of thinking is what is peculiar while academics like Stephen Cohen, Stephen Walt, Andrew Bacevich, and John Mearsheimer, who have studied Russia in some depth and understand the country and its leadership far better than a senior CIA officer, detect considerable nuance in what is taking place. They all believe that the hardline policies current in Washington are based on an eagerness to go with the flow on the comforting inside-the- beltway narrative that paints Russia as a threat to vital interests. That unanimity of viewpoint should surprise no one as this is more of less the same government with many of the same people that led the U.S. into Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. They all have a vested interested in the health and well-being of a fully funded national security state.

Oil Is Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy
Pushing fossil fuels is the administration’s top priority

“Our country is blessed with extraordinary energy abundance … We have nearly 100 years’ worth of natural gas and more than 250 years’ worth of clean, beautiful coal … We have so much more than we ever thought possible. We are really in the driving seat. And you know what? We don’t want to let other countries take away our sovereignty and tell us what to do and how to do it. With these incredible resources, my administration will seek not only American energy independence that we’ve been looking for so long, but American energy dominance.”

 

Against The New Optimism

 I’m reading right now Michel Houellebecq’s first novel, The Elementary Particles. It’s an amazing book, though a difficult one to read in parts, because of the pornographic descriptions of sex acts. That’s part of the author’s point: he’s writing about a world grown cold and loveless, where sex has been separated from love, family, and meaning. The novel is about two half-brothers who were abandoned by their selfish hippie mother (Houellebecq’s mother did this to him) and socialized by the aridity of consumerism and materialism.

[…]

Michel Houellebecq’s new novel, Submission, is set in a France of the near future in which a Muslim is elected president, in a Europe which has reached such a state of “putrid decomposition” that it cannot save itself. It is a shocking vision of where we might all be heading. The book is especially disturbing for Catholics, because it implies that Catholicism, for all that its young adherents have “open, friendly faces”, is no longer vital enough to offer an alternative to Islam. The once great religion that powered 1,000 years of high civilisation during the Middle Ages is, in Houellebecq’s vision, enfeebled.

 

Mykonos

 

The Dow Jones industrial average topped 22,000 points for the first time ever, right after the opening bell Wednesday morning. The roughly 0.2 percent overall surge was spurred by big gains from Apple, which posted a 6 percent bump based on optimism about the latest iPhone, bringing the company to a record high. On Tuesday, one day before the record-setting trading day, President Trump tweeted about the impending milestone, noting the “stock market could hit [an] all-time high (again) … was 18,000 only six months ago.” The Dow is up more than 3,600 points since Election Day, CNN Money notes.

 

‘Dunkirk’ Is a Booming, Bloodless Bore
War has never been this dull

 

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”

“You live in a morally compromised system. You’re already fucked.”

“Bolshevik freedom” – Polish propaganda poster with nude caricature of Leon Trotsky

07.21.2017

 

Almost nobody that writes about these things understands how this stuff works. The people that understand what is happening don’t talk about it. Sandi Arabia is the most awful government and system in the world with the exception of North Korea, which can’t really be considered part of the planet most days.

The United States has the “relationship” it does with Sandi Arabia for one reason only – that is where the remaining oil will be in the future. There and Russia and Iraq and Iran. This is why everything that happens between any countries that matter happens the way it does.

We are not “friends” with Sandi Arabia. They are not our “allies.” No matter what anybody may say or write. We let them do anything they want. We sell them all the weapons they want. They can do anything they want with their oil most of the time. We can get ours other places. For now. They can have a pointless, stupid war in Yemen for no reason and NOBOBY – not Hillary Clinton, or Samantha Power, or fucking Bernie Sanders – will say anything. Because, well just because – Iran. All you have to do is mumble something about Iran and terrorists. Nobody has any idea that we are running out of oil.

There is only one reality in this “relationship.” The United States has Sandi Arabia completely surrounded with bases, aircraft carriers with F-18 Super-Hornets, and thousands of combat-hardened special operations troops that could take over Riyadh and Ras Tanura in about an hour.

Nobody has to say anything. This is well understood in Washington and Riyadh. It is an awkward truth. The Ruling House of Sand serves at Washington’s discretion.

There is no reason for Sandi Arabia and Iran not to get along. A visitor from Mars just looking at the stats on paper would assume that we would be closely allied with Iran in the region and trying to foment regime-change in Sandi Arabia. Believe that. The actual reality is absurd. Israel and the United States would rather this extreme tension exist – so the conflict is kept alive.

The relationship is only embarrassing if you fail to understand or won’t admit that The American Empire is dependent on our controlling where the oil comes from and who gets it in the future.

Michael Brendan Dougherty doesn’t get that. Because Elon Musk is going to make America great again or something. It never ends.

Our Relationship with Saudi Arabia Is an Embarrassment
by MICHAEL BRENDAN DOUGHERTY
July 20, 2017

 

Fracking Around with the Russians
What will those rascals in Moscow do next?
PHILIP GIRALDI • JULY 18, 2017 • 1,400 WORDS

 

Trump Ends Syrian Regime Change Campaign
Neocons and liberals howl
by Justin Raimondo Posted on July 21, 2017

 

Retirement, Brought to You by Prisons, Inc.
Future pensioners of the world, unite!

“You live in a morally compromised system. You’re already fucked.”

 

Boomerangski
Clusterfuck Nation
by Jim Kunstler

How come the Clintons have not been asked to explain why — as reported on The Hill blog — Bill Clinton was paid half a million dollars to give speech in Russia (surely he offered them something of value in exchange, pending the sure thing Hillary inaugural), or what about the $2.35 million “contribution” that the Clinton Foundation received after Secretary of State Hillary allowed the Russians to buy a controlling stake in the Uranium One company, which owns 20 percent of US uranium supplies, with mines and refineries in Wyoming, Utah, and other states, as well as assets in Kazakhstan, the world’s largest uranium producer? Incidentally, the Clinton Foundation did not “shut down,” as erroneously reported early this year. It was only its Global Initiative program that got shuttered. The $2.35 million is probably still rattling around in the Clinton Foundation’s bank account. Don’t you kind of wonder what they did with it? I hope Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller wants to know.

 

Fun with Slavery
Dark Spots in a Shining Sea of Twaddle
FRED REED • JULY 13, 2017 • 1,500 WORDS

 

Trump Ends CIA Program to Arm Syrian Rebels
Program Had Been Frozen Back in February
Jason Ditz
July 19, 2017

 

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

In truth, South Vietnam was an illegal construct made possible by the intervention of the United States in violation of the provisions of the Geneva Accords that forbade foreign intervention during the interim period of national reconciliation following the defeat of the American funded French colonialists at Dien Bien Phu and required a democratic election to unite all of Vietnam within two years – an election that was prevented from occurring by Saigon’s puppet regime and its U.S. overlords for fear that Ho Chi Minh would emerge victorious. Consequently, rather than to describe the North Vietnamese as “overrunning” an “ill-fated independent country,” it would be more historically accurate, not merely a different perspective, to describe the end of hostilities as the liberation of the occupied south.

 

Mayweather is expected to earn at least $100 million, increasing up to four times that amount if the event achieves all of its metrics. McGregor is expected to earn $75 million, but both men signed NDA’s barring them from publicly communicating the financial details. -wikipedia