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)

 

 

Warning

Some say it was a warning
Some say it was a sign
I was standing right there
When it came down from the sky
The way it spoke to us
You felt it from inside
Said it was up to us
Up to us to decide

You’ve become a virus
The keeper of this host
We’ve been watching you with all of our eyes
And what you seem to value most
“So much potential” or so we used to say
Your greed, self-importance and your arrogance
You piss it all away

We heard a cry
We’ve come to intervene
You will change your ways and you will make amends
Or we will wipe this place clean

Your time is tick-tick-ticking away

 

 

Spain agrees to extradite Russian programmer accused of hacking to the US
Oct. 3rd, 2017

 

Tesla is struggling to be 2 different car companies at the same time

As my colleague Danielle Muoio reported, the focus was rightly on a big miss for Model 3 deliveries: 220 official sales, with just 260 vehicles produced.

CEO Elon Musk had predicted total production of 1,500 for September.

On the other hand, the company delivered 26,150 of its Model S and Model X vehicles, putting it on track to deliver around 100,000 cars for 2017 without hitting Musk’s ambitious targets for the Model 3, which is supposed to ramp to a production target of 5,000 per week by the end of the year.

The markets seem to have priced this in, as Tesla’s stock hasn’t fallen off a cliff. In pre-market trading on Tuesday, shares were sliding, but only about 2%, to $333. Year-to-date, Tesla is up 55% and at times has pushed toward $400. The company’s market cap, at $57 billion, is neck-and-neck with General Motors.

 

Monday,  October 2nd, 2017

The death toll rises to at least 59 people with an additional 527 others injured. (The New York Times)

The attack is the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history. (The Guardian)

Stephen Paddock’s former neighbors in Reno, Nevada, describe him as having a possible gambling problem. (Newsweek)

CBS fires Hayley Geftman-Gold, vice president and senior counsel of strategic transactions at CBS, for a social media post stating that she did not have sympathy for the shooting’s victims because “country music fans often are Republican gun toters”. (Fox News)

 

 

After suffering a cardiac arrest in his Malibu, California home, American singer and songwriter Tom Petty dies at the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California, at the age of 66. (Rolling Stone)

The Nobel Prize committee awards Americans Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young the prize for their work on molecular mechanisms that control circadian systems. (The Guardian) (Nobel Prize.org)

Thirty-thousand North Korean rocket propelled grenades are seized off the coast of Egypt by American forces after being purchased by Egyptian business executives for $23 million (E£406 million/₩20 billion). (Haaretz)

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha meets with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Oval Office. Trump says he wants to lower the U.S. trade deficit with Thailand. (Reuters)

Russian opposition leader and hopeful presidential candidate Alexei Navalny is sentenced in Moscow to 20 days detention for organizing unauthorized public meetings. This is Navalny’s third jail term this year. (Reuters) (RT)

Ecuador’s Supreme Court orders that Vice President Jorge Glas be jailed for his alleged acceptance of bribes from the Odebrecht construction company. Prior to this, Glas had been free but barred from leaving the country. (AP)

 

Catalonia votes in favor of independence The Catalan regional government announced early Monday that 90 percent of voters in Sunday’s referendum on independence from Spain voted in favor of a split. A spokesman said that there are 5.3 million voters in the region, with 2.26 million casting ballots. The Spanish central government views the vote as being illegal, and hundreds of people were injured when police raided polling stations and fired rubber bullets at voters. Catalonia is an autonomous region bordering France, and many of its residents believe because it has its own culture and history and its revenue pays to subsidize other areas of Spain, it must become independent. Source: The Guardian

 

Supreme Court returns with weighty cases The Supreme Court begins a new term Monday with a weighty list of cases on its docket. The high court is slated to review mandatory dues for public-sector unions; religious liberty and discrimination in the wedding cake business; gerrymandering; digital privacy rights; and the practice of purging inactive voters from voter rolls. “There’s only one prediction that’s entirely safe of the upcoming term, and that is it will be momentous,” said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. With the seating of Justice Neil Gorsuch, the court has a full bench. Source:  Fox News

 

Sunday,  October 1st, 2017

Houthi forces claim to have shot down a S. MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Yemeni capital Sana’a. Footage released by Saba News Agency appears to show crowds gathering around the wreckage of an aircraft. (Reuters)

Soldiers in Bueaand Bamenda, Cameroon, shoot dead a total of at least eight people during various protests by Anglophone (Reuters)

The Islamic Stategroup seizes the Al-Qaryatain town in the central province of Homs in a surprise attack against Syrian government forces. (Firstpost)

A gunman opens fire in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino from the upper floors down upon a Jason Aldean outdoor concert, with at least 2 people dead and 26 others injuried. Authorities believe the lone gunman is dead. (The New York Times)

The United Kingdom‘s Monarch Airlines goes into financial bankruptcy administration, suspending all flights, cancelling 300 thousand bookings, and leaving 10’s of thousands of passengers stranded. (Reuters)

Nevada prison authorities release former NFL player  J. Simpson on parole after serving nine years for a 2007 Las Vegas armed robbery. Previously, a jury had acquitted Simpson of the 1995 murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. (CNN)

Spanish riot police clash with some protesters in Gironaand Barcelona, with 844 people and 33 police reported injured. (Sky News) (NBC News) (BBC) (The Independent)

The Mayor of BarcelonaAda Colau calls on Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to resign following the police crackdown on Catalan protestors which has left hundreds injured. (Euronews)

The government of Cataloniadeclares that the “yes”-to-independence-vote has won a landslide victory. (AP)

Some players throughout the National Football League hold demonstrations before or during the U.S. national anthem. These demonstrations include kneeling, raising fists, or praying, as a show of unity or protest of social inequality. (CNN)

SkanskaUSA implodes the Old Kosciuszko Bridge in New York City after 78 years of connecting Brooklyn and Queens. (NBC)

The rest of the week’s news below the fold

Continue reading “Warning”

Mykonos

The Worst Financial Crash You Have Ever Seen Is Coming

Despite President Trump threatening to “totally destroy North Korea,” devastating hurricanes, monstrous earthquakes hitting Mexico and uncertainty with the Federal Reserve unwinding its massive balance sheet, famed investor Jim Rogers says the worst is yet to come.

“This was not the end of the world because the market is still making all-time highs,” the investor and best-selling author said in a new interview.

But the current bull market – which is the second longest running – will end badly, according to Rogers, warning that the next financial meltdown is going to be the worst yet.

As for the timeline? The famed investor said the crash is coming sooner than we think.

“I would expect it to start this year or the next…and it’s going to be the worst in your lifetime and my lifetime,” he told me back in July.

The sole survivors will be investors that know what they are doing. “And the way to protect yourself is to invest in what you know,” he said.

Rogers added that he plans not to be around twenty-somethings when the crash does come. “I have been around a long time and when things go bad, 26-year-olds don’t have enough experience.”

 

 

In Other News:

Thursday, Sep 28,  2017

Trump announces tax plan with cuts for businesses, wealthy

President Trump on Wednesday announced his intention to cut tax rates for businesses and the wealthy and raise the lowest individual tax rate in a speech in Indianapolis. The plan — which proposes shrinking the seven tax brackets down to three at 12 percent, 25 percent, and 35 percent — is being promoted as a win for the middle class because it will also double the standard deduction for all taxpayers. Additionally, the tax reform plan cuts business taxes: “We need Washington to promote American jobs instead of obstructing them,” Trump said. Analysts, however, fret that if “economic growth projected by Republicans fails to materialize,” then the massive cuts could “balloon the federal deficit and debt,” Reuters writes. Source: Reuters

U.S. GDP growth rate revised up to 3.1 percent for Q2

The U.S. economy recorded its fastest expansion pace in two years this spring, growing at a 3.1 percent annual rate in the second quarter, The Associated Press reports. “We’re focused on growth,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Fox Business. “We think the 3 percent GDP is a very moderate aspiration and we can do higher than that.” The revised numbers for the economy’s output of goods and services between April and June slightly exceeds the 3 percent estimate made a month ago, and shows improvement since the 1.2 percent rate in the January-March period. “Economists believe growth has slowed again to around 2 percent in the current quarter,” AP writes, but the economy could get a boost in early 2018 due to rebuilding stemming from hurricane damage.

 

Wednesday,  Sep 27, 2017

Russia announces it has completed the destruction of all of its chemical weapons under the terms of the Chemical Weapons Convention. (New York Times)

The government of Iraqi Kurdistan announces that they won the referendum by over 92% of the vote. (The Independent)

Iraq’s prime minister has demanded the Kurdistan Regional Government “cancel” the outcome of the referendum on independence that it held on Monday. (BBC)

California moves its 2020 presidential primary to March 3, making it fifth in the nominating process after Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. The 2016 primary was held on June 7. (Reuters)

 

Tuesday,   Sep 26, 2017

The king of Saudi Arabia issues a decree allowing women to be issued driving licenses by June 2018. Saudi Arabia is the world’s last sovereign state that does not allow women to drive. (The Guardian)

Turkey’s president has said Iraqi Kurds could go hungry as a result of the punitive measures it is considering after Monday’s independence referendum. (BBC)

Russian President Vladimir Putin dismisses Nizhny Novgorod Oblast governor Valery Shantsev from his post, the second governor to lose his job in a week after Putin dismissed Samara Oblast governor Nikolay Merkushkin the day before. The dismissals come amid speculation that governors of several federal subjects will resign in anticipation of presidential elections in 2018. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

Africa’s Great Green Wall is successfully reversing desertification. (BBC)

Monday,  Sep 25, 2017

The first ever female United States Marine Corps Infantry officer graduates. (NPR)

Russian police arrest a couple from the southern Krasnodar region that has allegedly murdered as many as 30 people since 1999 and consumed parts of the human bodies. (International Business Times)

The Prime Minister of Japan Shinzō Abe calls a snap election with the election to be held on October 22. (Reuters)

 

Sunday,  Sep 24, 2017

Mortar fire from ISIL militants near the city of Deir ez-Zor, according to the Russian Defence Ministry. Asapov has been described as one of the senior Russian military advisers in Syria. (Al Arabiya)

Iranian forces launch a military exercise near the border of Iraqi Kurdistan, hours before a Kurdish vote on independence from Iraq. Turkey is also conducting a military exercise in the region. (CNBC)

The Iraqi government discourages foreign countries from importing crude oil directly from its Iraqi Kurdistan region. (Reuters)

Exit polls indicate Merkel has won a fourth term in power, and that Alternative for Germany will enter the Bundestag for the first time as the third largest party. (BBC)

Amid criticism of U.S. national anthem protests by U.S. President Donald Trump, some National Football League players and teams react to the controversy by kneeling, linking arms, or skipping game performances of the national anthem. (ESPN)

City officials in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, announce that residents will receive incentives for swapping their petrol engine vehicles for electric ones, including a free Salik tag, and an exemption from RTA registration and renewal vehicle fees. (Khaleej Times)

 

Saturday,  Sep 23, 2017

Iran successfully tests the Khorramshahr missile. (AFP via Yahoo! News)

 

Friday,  Sep 22, 2017

Transport for London announces that it will not issue Uber a new private hire license. (BBC)

A new study shows that Neanderthal brains developed more slowly than those of modern humans, contradicting previous studies. (BBC)

Kim calls Trump a ‘mentally deranged’ dotard, Trump calls Kim a ‘madman’

Late Thursday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un responded to President Trump’s threat on Tuesday to “totally destroy North Korea” with a very rare personal statement saying Trump’s “unprecedented rude nonsense” has “convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is correct.” The colorful statement ends with Kim threatening to “tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire,” and hours later, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters that Pyongyang might test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific as a retaliatory action. On Friday morning, Trump responded, tweeting: “Kim Jong Un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn’t mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before!” Source: BBC News

Facebook to give Congress political ads bought by Russians

 

Facebook will give Congress copies of the more than 3,000 ads purchased through Russian accounts during the 2016 election, Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch announced Thursday in a blog post. “We believe the public deserves a full accounting of what happened in the 2016 election, and we’ve concluded that sharing the ads we’ve discovered … can help,” Stretch wrote. Though Facebook gave the ads to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the social networking site took back ads shown to congressional investigators before they could be thoroughly examined, citing privacy concerns. The move sparked complaints from government officials and the public. In a Facebook Live event after the announcement, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg vowed to “make sure that Facebook is a force for good ahead in democracy.” Source: BuzzFeed News

A new study shows that Neanderthal brains developed more slowly than modern humans, contradicting previous studies. (BBC)

Thursday, Sep 21,  2017

Russian and Syrian warplanes carry out airstrikes in southern Idlib, killing three civilians and wounding others. (Iraqi News)

Google strikes a $1.1bn (£822m) deal with Taiwan’s HTC to expand its smartphone business. (BBC)

China’s credit rating has been downgraded by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) because of worries over the rapid build up of debt in the country. (BBC)

Rescuers are focusing on 10 collapsed buildings where people may still be alive. Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera reports the death toll is now at least 273, with 50 people still missing. (Reuters)

Facebook agrees to disclose ads that ran in the U.S. in 2016 from accounts associated with a Russian entity known as the Internet Research Agency to United States Congressional investigators. Earlier, this information was provided to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. (CBS News)

END

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)

 

“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

South Pars

06.13.2017

 

The Crisis in Qatar
Yet another clumsy attempt by the Three Rogue States to weaken Iran
THE SAKER • JUNE 10, 2017 • 2,500 WORDS

 

The USA has what might possibly the largest USAF base worldwide in Qatar, the Al Udeid Air Base. Furthermore, the forward headquarters of United StatesCENTCOM are also located in Qatar. To say that these are crucial US infrastructures is an understatement – one could argue that these are the most important US military facilities anywhere in the world outside the United States. Thus one would logically conclude that the very last thing the US would want is any type of crisis or even tensions anywhere near such vital facilities yet it quite clear that the Saudis and the Americans are acting in unison against Qatar. This makes no sense, right? Correct. But now that the US has embarked on a futile policy of military escalation in Syria it should come as no surprise that the two main US allies in the region are doing the same thing.

 

Let’s All Calm Down About Russia
by Sheldon Richman Posted on June 10, 2017

 

NBC’s Kelly Hits Putin With a Beloved Canard
To prove their chops, mainstream media stars can’t wait to go head-to-head with a demonized foreign leader, like Vladimir Putin, and let him have it, even if their “facts” are wrong, as Megyn Kelly showed
by Ray McGovern
June 13, 2017

 

Things To Come
CLUSTERFUCK NATION
June 12, 2017
by James Howard Kunstler

The accumulated monstrous debts of persons, corporations, and sovereign societies, will be suddenly, shockingly, absolutely, and self-evidently unpayable, and the securities represented by them will be sucked into the kind of vortices of time/space depicted in movies about mummies and astronauts. And all of a sudden the avatars of that wealth will see their lives turn to shit just like the moiling, Budweiser-gulping, oxycontin-addled deplorables in the flat, boring, parking lot wastelands of our ruined drive-in Utopia saw their lives rendered into a brown-and-yellow slurry draining clockwise down the toilet of history.

 

 

If there is anything unique about the human animal it is that it has the ability to grow knowledge at an accelerating rate while being chronically incapable of learning from experience. Science and technology are cumulative, whereas ethics and politics deal with recurring dilemmas. Whatever they are called, torture and slavery are universal evils; but these evils cannot be consigned to the past like redundant theories in science. They return under different names: torture as enhanced interrogation techniques, slavery as human trafficking. Any reduction in universal evils is an advance in civilization. But, unlike scientific knowledge, the restraints of civilized life cannot be stored on a computer disc. They are habits of behavior, which once broken are hard to mend. Civilization is natural for humans, but so is barbarism.

-John Gray
“The Silence of Animals,” pg. 75

 

 

I am a big fan of clean, green, renewable energy. Give a hoot, don’t pollute. “That’s what happens when you don’t use oil in your windmills.”

Peak Sand

06.05.2017

Peak Sand

A report published in 2004 by the American Geological Institute said that a typical American house requires more than a hundred tons of sand, gravel, and crushed stone for the foundation, basement, garage, and driveway, and more than two hundred tons if you include its share of the street that runs in front of it. A mile-long section of a single lane of an American interstate highway requires thirty-eight thousand tons. The most dramatic global increase in aggregate consumption is occurring in parts of the world where people who build roads are trying to keep pace with people who buy cars. Chinese officials have said that by 2030 they hope to have completed a hundred and sixty-five thousand miles of roads—a national network nearly three and a half times as long as the American interstate system.

 

 

Gimme Shelter
Clusterfuck Nation
by James Howard Kunstler
June 5, 2017

To me, the Paris Accords were just another feel-good PR stunt enabling politicians to pretend that they could control forces that are already way out-of-hand, an international vanity project of ass-covering. The coming economic collapse will depress global industrial activity whether anybody likes it or not, and despite anyone’s pretense of good intentions — and then we will have a range of much more practical problems of everyday life to contend with.

 

The Dangers of Indulging Reckless Clients
By DANIEL LARISON • June 5, 2017

 

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American Identity
David Brown explains his meteoric rise to fame
By PAUL GOTTFRIED • June 4, 2017

 

David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” returns—to its white fantasia

Ali is the title character of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Ali: Fear Eats The Soul (1974), a film that is, among other things, a scornful survey of racial stratification in 1970s Germany. It centers on the romantic relationship between Ali (El Hedi ben Salem), a black Moroccan immigrant in his late thirties, and Emmi (Brigitte Mira), a white German woman nearly twice his age. Through the prism of this relationship, Fassbinder implicates all of white German society in its harsh treatment and exploitation of men like Ali.

Though Fassbinder’s Ali is a masterpiece, it’s an imperfect one. It eventually suffers from some of the ills it critiques. Several times we see Ali stark naked; in fact, he’s one of only two characters in the film to strip down. He bears the brunt of sexuality onscreen, and the objectification of his body doesn’t stop with the people who hurl abuse at him. Fassbinder, too, objectifies Ali—by fetishizing him. How many times do we see Ali’s penis?

 

Every Hollywood Movie This Year Sucks

 

Tainted buffet at Jacksonville strip club blamed after severe diarrhea incident on stage

While the results of the lab analysis are yet to come back, one source familiar with the investigation told reporters that bad shrimp was the most likely cause of the diarrhea. “Typically shrimp are involved in cases like this, particularly when they are not cleaned thoroughly.”

 

There’s one key reason the Fed has been too optimistic for more than a decade

“The Fed has now overestimated the strength of the US economy for 11 consecutive years,” DeLong writes. “Elementary mathematics dictates that credible forecasts should at least overestimate half the time and undershoot half the time. If each year of Fed forecasting were a coin toss, we would now have had eleven heads in a row, and zero tails. The odds of that happening are one in 2,048.”

There’s a key reason for the Fed’s undue optimism: It is not only the economy’s steward, but has also taken on the uncomfortable and dangerous role of cheerleader. This may help maintain confidence in the short-run, but is costly to the central bank’s credibility in the long run.

 

Puppetmasters

05.22.2017

Do You, Mr. Jones…?
Clusterfuck Nation
Monday
May 22nd, 2017

In case you wonder how our politics fell into such a slough of despond, the answer is pretty simple. Neither main political party, or their trains of experts, specialists, and mouthpieces, can construct a coherent story about what is happening in this country — and the result is a roaring wave of recursive objurgation and wrath that loops purposelessly towards gathering darkness.

What’s happening is a slow-motion collapse of the economy. Neither Democrats or Republicans know why it is so remorselessly underway. A tiny number of well-positioned scavengers thrive on the debris cast off by the process of disintegration, but they don’t really understand the process either — the lobbyists, lawyers, bankers, contractors, feeders at the troughs of government could not be more cynical or clueless.

 

 

Heavy Duty:
Seth Rich, Craig Murray and the Sinister Stewards of the National Security State
MIKE WHITNEY • MAY 19, 2017 • 3,200 WORDS

Are we suggesting that the heads of the so called Intelligence Community are at war with the Trump Administration and paving the way for impeachment proceedings?

Yep, we sure are. The Russia hacking fiasco is a regime change operation no different than the CIA’s 50-or-so other oustings in the last 70 years. The only difference is that this operation is on the home field which is why everyone is so flustered. These things are only suppose to happen in those “other” countries.

Does this analysis make me a Donald Trump supporter?

Never. The idea is ridiculous. Trump might be the worst US president of all time, in fact, he probably is. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other nefarious forces at work behind the smokescreen of democratic government. There are. In fact, this whole flap suggests that there’s an alternate power-structure that operates completely off the public’s radar and has the elected-government in its death-grip. This largely invisible group of elites controls the likes of Brennan, Clapper and Comey. And, apparently, they have enough influence to challenge and maybe even remove an elected president from office. (We’ll see.)

And what’s more surprising, is that the Democrats have aligned themselves with these deep state puppetmasters. They’ve cast their lot with the sinister stewards of the national security state and hopped on the impeachment bandwagon. But is that a wise choice for the Dems?

 

A Monster Eating the Nation

Why do you suppose nations employ foreign ministers and ambassadors, if not to conduct conversations at the highest level with other national leaders? And might these conversations include matters of great sensitivity, that is, classified information? If you doubt that then you have no understanding of geopolitics or history.

The General Mike Flynn story is especially a crack-up. Did he accept a twenty thousand dollar speaking fee from the Russian news outlet RT in his interlude as a private citizen? How does that compare to the millions sucked in by the Clinton Foundation in pay-to-play deal when Madame was secretary of state? Or her six-figure speeches to Goldman Sachs and their ilk. Are private citizens forbidden to accept speaking fees or consulting fees from countries that we are not at war with? I’d like to know how many other alumni of the Bill Clinton, Bush-II and Obama admins have hired themselves out on this basis. Scores and scores, I would bet.

 

Trump to Announce $350 Billion Arms Deal During Saudi Arabia Visit
White House Will Present Sale as Targeting Iran
by Jason Ditz, May 18, 2017

 

$110 Billion Weapons Sale to Saudis Has Jared Kushner’s Personal Touch

 

The Special Counsel Comes to Town: It’s the Moscow Trials, Revisited
The witch-hunt begins
by Justin Raimondo, May 19, 2017

 

 

Ford, Trudging Into the Future, Ousts Mark Fields as C.E.O.

The Elementary Particles

04.25.2017

Consumption

In the last 15 years, between 2000 and 2015, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2016, total global primary energy consumption rose by 40 percent from 9,371  to 13,147 Million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe).

This includes, oil, coal, natural gas, hydroelectric power, and nuclear energy.

Nuclear energy use was at about the same level it was in 2000 at 585 Mtoe and accounted for 4.4% of the total down from 6.2% in 2000.

Hydro-electric power usage has increased 48 percent to 893 Mtoe and accounted for 6.8% of the total up from 6.4% in 2000.

Natural gas consumption has risen 43 percent in the last 15 years to 3135 Mtoe steady at 23-24% of total primary energy consumption.

Coal consumption has risen an incredible 62% to 3840 Mtoe, increasing its share of the total from 25% in 2000 to 30% in 2015.

Oil consumption at about 95 million barrels per day of liquid petroleum products, which accounted for 38% of the total in 2000, has only increased 21% in the last 15 years and now accounts for 33% of the total (4331 Mtoe).

Exports

In the last decade, between 2005 and 2015, oil production from the Gulf Arab countries increased from 20 to 26 million barrels per day. These countries are Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, the U.A.E., Qatar, and Oman. These countries are all controlled by Sunnis (with the exception of Iraq) and all can be considered either under American control, American hegemony, American protection or occupied by the United States or simply part of the American Empire. This represents an increase from 25 to 28% of total global oil production in 10 years. Conventional oil production outside these countries (which has already peaked) and deplete

When the numbers are further reduced to exports from these countries as a percentage of total global exported oil and in light of the fact that most of this oil goes to either China or American surrogates – Europe, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea – it becomes quite obvious why the United States is so committed to a military presence in the Greater Middle East.

 

***

 

The Elementary Particles (2000)
by Michel Houellebecq

Prologue

This book is principally the story of a man who lived out the greater part of his life in Western Europe, in the latter half of the twentieth century. Though alone for much of his life, he was nonetheless occasionally in touch with other men. He lived through an age that was miserable and troubled. The country into which he was born was sliding slowly, ineluctably, into the ranks of the less developed countries; often haunted by misery. the men of his generation lived out their lonely, bitter lives. Feelings such as love, tenderness and human fellowship had, for the most part, disappeared. The relationships between his contemporaries were at best indifferent and more often cruel.

At the time of his disappearance, Michel Djerzinski was unanimously considered to be a first-rate biologist and a serious candidate for the Nobel Prize. His true significance, however, would not become apparent for some time.

In Djerzinski’s time, philosophy was generally considered to be of no practical significance, to have been stripped of its purpose.  Nevertheless, the values to which a majority subscribe at any given time deter-mine society’s  economic and political structures and social mores.

Metaphysical mutations—that is to say radical, global transformations in the values to which the majority subscribe—are rare in the history of humanity. The rise of Christianity might be cited as an example.

Once a metaphysical mutation has arisen, it tends to move inexorably  toward its logical conclusion. Heedlessly, it sweeps away economic and political systems, aesthetic judgments and social hierarchies. No human agency can halt its progress—nothing except another metaphysical mutation.

It is a fallacy that such metaphysical mutations gain ground only in weakened or declining societies. When Christianity appeared, the Roman Empire was at the height of its powers: supremely organized, it dominated the known world; its technical and military prowess had no rival. Nonetheless, it had no chance. When modern science appeared, medieval Christianity was a complete, comprehensive system which explained both man and the universe; it was the basis for government, the inspiration for knowledge and art, the arbiter of war as of peace and the power behind the production and distribution of wealth—none of which was sufficient to prevent its downfall.

Michel Djerzinski was not the first nor even the principal architect of the third—and in many respects the most radical —paradigm shift, which opened up a new era in world history. But, as a result of certain extraordinary circumstances in his life, he was one of its most clear-sighted and deliberate engineers.

-Michel Houllebecq
The Elementary Particles
“Prologue”

What Could Go Wrong?

04.17.2017

American Lethargy
The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream, Tyler Cowen, St. Martin’s Press, 256 pages

United Blew It, but End the Passenger’s Pity Party
It was a premeditated temper tantrum gone viral.
By MICHAEL FUMENTO • April 14, 2017

This is obvious nonsense, so how did he get so far with it?

In part, welcome to the world of the Black Mirror. That’s a highly-regarded Netflix series about a dystopian near-future in which social media dictates “the truth.” The name refers to a blank cell phone or tablet screen.

The Sturm und Drang began with a short clip uploaded first to Facebook and then other media. It began just as Dao was pulled from his seat. You didn’t see him being apologetically requested to leave first by United employees and then by security. Nor the phone call nor his daring to be dragged. With social media, he who uploads or tweets first dictates the story.

 

What Would Korean War II Look Like?
ERIC MARGOLIS • APRIL 15, 2017 • 900 WORDS

Assessing Russia’s Military Strength
Is America Seeking “Preventive War” to Forestall the Rise of Russian Power?
ANDREI MARTYANOV • APRIL 17, 2017 • 3,200 WORDS

It took a complete and embarrassing failure of the West’s economic sanctions on Russia to recognize that the actual size of Russia’s economy is about that of Germany, if not larger, and that Russia was defining herself in terms of enclosed technological cycles, localization and manufacturing long before she was forced to engage in the war in Georgia in 2008. Very few people realistically care about Russia’s Stock Market, the financial markets of Germany are on the order of magnitude larger, but Germany cannot design and build from scratch a state of the art fighter jet, Russia can. Germany doesn’t have a space industry, Russia does. The same argumentation goes for Russia’s microelectronics industry and her military-industrial complex which dwarfs that of any “economic” competitor Western “economists” always try to compare Russia to, with the exception of US and China, and then on bulk, not quality, only. Third or Second World economies do not produce such weapons as Borey-class strategic missile submarines or SU-35 fighter jets, they also do not build space-stations and operate the only global alternative to US GPS, GLONASS system.

14,000-year-old village unearthed

17 Rules for Foreign Interventions
Lessons from America’s lost wars
By GEORGE LIEBMANN • April 17, 2017

4. Do not denigrate religious and non-economic values. Without these norms, the survival of morality and social peace becomes a function of the business cycle. Remember that the traditional division of labor between the sexes makes sense in hunter-gatherer, agricultural, and manufacturing economies. Remember also that all occupying armies swiftly earn resentment, as they appropriate or bid up the cost of goods and women. Respect the lessons of the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, which ended the European religious wars that had killed off a third of the continent’s population. It bought relative peace for 150 years.

What Could Go Wrong?
-James Howard Kunstler

The fascinating part of the Syrian gas bombing story is how easily the public swallowed it. Those elected congressmen and senators infesting the cable stations told the public that the Intelligence Community “issued a consensus report” that the Syrian air force has dropped Sarin gas bombs on the hapless civilians. Nobody offered any actual evidence that this was so. These days, mere assertions rule.

That’s how we roll now. I’m still waiting to see some evidence that Trump’s campaign “colluded with Russia” to spin the election toward him. Those claims, too, were put out as “a consensus analysis” by the Intelligence Community. And then in March, months after the disputed election, just-retired NSA director James Clapper told NBC’s Meet the Press that his agency had no evidence of “Russian collusion” with the Trump forces. That was only a few weeks ago.