09.07.2017

09.07.2017

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What the Media Isn’t Telling You About North Korea’s Missile Tests
Mike Whitney • September 4, 2017 • 1,700 Words

What the media failed to mention was that, for the last three weeks, Japan, South Korea and the US have been engaged in large-scale joint-military drills on Hokkaido Island and in South Korea. These needlessly provocative war games are designed to simulate an invasion of North Korea and a “decapitation” operation to remove (Re: Kill) the regime. North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un has asked the US repeatedly to end these military exercises, but the US has stubbornly refused. The US reserves the right to threaten anyone, anytime and anywhere even right on their doorstep. It’s part of what makes the US exceptional.

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09.04.2017 News

First week September

https://www.thenation.com/article/unverified-russiagate-allegations-promoted-by-an-irresponsible-congress-and-media-have-become-a-grave-threat-to-american-national-security/

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/08/whose-side-is-the-new-york-times-on.php

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/07/ishmael-jones-phoniness-of-the-trump-dossier.php

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/google-being-evil-again/

https://www.lewrockwell.com/author/mark-thornton/?ptype=article

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/buchanan/what-still-unites-us/

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/28/us/cia-interrogations-torture-psychologists.html?mcubz=3&_r=0

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/why-todays-conservatives-are-useless-debaters/

 

 Tuesday,   Sep 5, 2017

Congress returns from August break with full agenda

Congress returns from its five-week summer recess on Tuesday with several pressing issues to address, including raising the $19.9 trillion federal debt limit by the end of the month, funding the federal government, and reauthorizing children’s health insurance payments and the national flood insurance program. At the top of the agenda is voting on immediate aid for victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana. The House will vote on President Trump’s initial $7.9 billion request first, then the Senate will vote, possibly tacking on raising the federal borrowing limit. House GOP conservatives object to linking the two pieces of legislation. Congress may also start grappling with Trump’s expected decision to end the DACA program for immigrants brought to the U.S. as young children. Source: The Associated Press, Axios

Nikki Haley says North Korea is ‘begging for war’

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Monday urged the U.N. Security Council to enact “the strongest sanctions” against North Korea to curb the nation’s growing nuclear program. “Enough is enough,” Haley said at the emergency meeting. “We have taken an incremental approach, and despite the best of intentions, it has not worked.” She said that Kim Jong Un is “begging for war” and the stakes “could not be higher.” The meeting was called after North Korea conducted a test Sunday of what appears to have been a hydrogen bomb. Both President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have called for sanctioning countries that do not cut business ties with the defiant Hermit Kingdom. “The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea,” Trump tweeted Sunday. Source: CNN

Lego to cut 1,400 jobs citing declining revenue in U.S., Europe

Toy maker Lego will cut 8 percent of its workforce, or about 1,400 jobs globally, in an attempt to “reset the company” following declining revenue in the first half of 2017. With the U.S. and European markets struggling, the Danish company added that it is looking to China as a “growing market” to bolster its mainstays. “We are disappointed by the decline in revenue in our established markets, and we have taken steps to address this,” explained Lego chairman Jorgen Vig Knudstorp. Lego employs more than 19,000 employees worldwide. “Unfortunately, it is essential for us to make these tough decisions,” said Knudstorp. Source: The Guardian

 

Monday,  Sep 4, 2017

Syrian state television reports the Syrian Army reaches a point 3 kilometers from Deir ez-Zor, a city besieged by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant since 2014. (Reuters)

Two Russian soldiers, escorting the military staff ceasefire monitoring convoy, are killed in Deir ez-Zor Province by ISIL shelling. (Reuters)

United Technologies Corp will buy airplane parts maker Rockwell Collins for USD$30 Billion, including seven billion in debt previously incurred by Rockwell Collins. (Reuters)

South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo says it is worth reviewing deployment of U.S. strategic assets (aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, and B-52 bombers) to South Korea more regularly. (The Washington Post)

The opposition movement in Venezuela seeks help from France. (ABC news)

Italian fugitive and ‘Ndrangheta member Rocco Morabito is arrested in Montevideo, Uruguay, after 23 years on the run. He is now expected to be extradited to Italy in the coming months. (BBC)

Premier of the Republic of China Lin Chuan offers his resignation as head of the Executive Branch of Taiwan. (Reuters)

 

Sunday,  Sep 3, 2017

Hurricane Harvey is projected to possibly become the second costliest hurricane in the United States’s history, with estimates ranging from US$72 billion to over $125 billion. In comparison, Hurricane Katrina’s total damage is estimated to be around $118 to $160 billion. (ABC News)

Large portions of Frankfurt, Germany, are evacuated as local authorities work to defuse a bomb left over from a Royal Air Force raid during World War II. The evacuation is the largest to occur in Europe since World War II. (CNN)

A 6.3 magnitude earthquake is detected near the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site in Kilju County, North Korea, after North Korea tests its sixth and most powerful nuclear weapon to date. North Korean state media claims the country tested a hydrogen bomb that can be fitted on an ICBM. (New York Times)

 

Saturday,  Sep 2,  2017

Both the FBI and NSD declare that they possess no records indicating that Trump Tower in New York City, New York was wiretapped earlier in March. (CNN)

 

Friday,  Sep 1, 2017

Researchers report, in the Environmental Science & Technology journal, the discovery of antidepressant concentrations in 10 kinds of fish in the Niagara River, which links to the Great Lakes via Lakes Erie and Ontario. Speculated causes include inadequate treatment of water re-introduced into said bodies of water. (New York Daily News)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump agree to revise the South Korea Ballistic Missile Range Guidelines which caps South Korea’s missile development. (Reuters)

Asteroid 3122 Florence, which is roughly 2.7 miles (4.4 kilometers) wide, comes within 4.4 million miles (7 million km) of Earth — approximately 18 times the distance from our planet to the moon. (Space)

End

08.31.2017 News

Thursday, Aug 31,  2017

Harvey brings floods to East Texas, Louisiana, as death toll rises

Houston saw clear skies on Wednesday as water levels crested and floodwaters began to slowly recede, but Harvey, downgraded to a tropical depression late Wednesday, continued to bring new flooding to the east of Houston and into Louisiana. The deaths attributed to Harvey reached at least 38, and search-and-rescue teams expect to find more bodies as the waters recede. About 100 miles east of Houston, small cities like Port Arthur and Beaumont and towns like Orange and Newton were largely underwater, with bowling alleys becoming refuge points and rescue crews trying to find dry shelters for displaced residents. Harvey is expected to drop up to 10 inches of rain on Louisiana before moving northward, after dumping record amounts of rain on Texas. Source:  The Washington Post

Explosions reported at flooded Houston-area chemical plant

The Harris County Emergency Operations Center reported two explosions and black smoke early Thursday from a flooded Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, about 25 miles northeast of Houston, the company said in a news release. After the explosions, at about 2 a.m., Harris County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to keep people away from the area; one was taken to the hospital after driving through a plume of smoke and nine others drove themselves to the hospital. On Wednesday, Arkema’s North American chief executive, Rich Rowe, warned that since the main power and backup generators had failed, tanks of volatile organic peroxides were heating up and “there is no way to prevent an explosion or fire.” Harris County authorities ordered an evacuation in a 1.5-mile radius around the Arkema facility. Source: Houston Chronicle

Report: Mueller working with New York AG in Manafort investigation

Members of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team and the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have been sharing evidence about a potential case involving President Trump’s onetime campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his financial transactions, Politico reports. Both teams have collected evidence on financial crimes, including possible money laundering, one source familiar with the matter revealed, although they have not made a decision regarding filing charges and “nothing is imminent.” Trump has no pardon power over state crimes, and state and federal prosecutors think the prospect of a presidential pardon could affect whether or not Manafort cooperates with federal investigators working on a Trump probe, one person familiar with the investigation said. Source: Politico

 

 Wednesday,  Aug 30, 2017

At least 11 Afghan civilians are killed and 16 wounded when a NATO helicopter attacked a house where Taliban insurgents had taken shelter in Logar Province, east of Kabul(Reuters)

CJTF–OIR jets destroy a section of road, blocking the path of a convoy carrying ISIL evacuees from the Lebanon–Syria border en route to Abu Kamal in the Deir ez-Zor Governorate. The convoy, carrying 308 militants and 331 civilians according to Hezbollah, is now effectively stranded in Syrian government-controlled territory. (Reuters)

At least 14 people are killed in the Indian city of Mumbai as nearly a month’s average rainfall fell yesterday during the worst monsoon in years. More than 1,200 people have been killed across India, Nepal and Bangladesh(The Telegraph) (Reuters)

Tropical storm Harvey (hurricane earlier this month) makes its second landfall, this time in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The death toll since last Friday is now 38, according to local officials in Texas. Moving northeast, Harvey is expected to gradually weaken to a tropical depression by tonight. (The New York Times) (Weather Channel) (The New York Times²)

Researchers at the Breakthrough Listen initiative announce they have detected 15 new powerful fast radio bursts (FRB) from FRB 121102, located in a dwarf galaxy about three billion light-years from Earth. FRB 121102 was first detected in 2012, and gained further attention after FRBs were detected from there again in 2015. (New Scientist) (Phys)

 

Tuesday,   Aug 29, 2017

Sky UK stops broadcasting Fox News in the United Kingdom after 15 years due to low audience figures. (BBC)

Berkshire Hathaway Inc has become the largest shareholder of Bank of America by exercising its right to acquire 700 million shares at a steep discount, more than tripling an investment it made six years ago. Bank of America on Tuesday announced the exercise of the warrants, which gave Berkshire, controlled by Warren Buffett, the right to buy the bank’s shares for about $7.14 each. Bank of America shares closed down 14 cents at $23.58 on the same day. (Reuters)

The death toll from Hurricane Harvey reaches 30 as Sylvester Turnerthe mayor of Houston, Texas, introduces a curfew to deter looters. (The New York Times)

North Korea fires a Hwasong-12 ballistic missile which flies 2,700 kilometres (1,700 mi), passing over Hokkaido, northern Japan, prompting the activation of the nationwide J-Alert warning system. This is first time since 2009 that a North Korean missile has passed over Japanese territory. (South China Morning Post) (The Independent)

grand jury in Washington, D.C. has issued indictments for 19 people, including 15 identified as Turkish security officials, for attacking protesters in May 2017. (AP)

 

Monday,  Aug 28, 2017

ISIL militants and their families, estimated to be around 600 people, begin to leave their strongholds on the Lebanon–Syria border and Qalamun Mountainsfor the Deir ez-Zor Governorate under Syrian military escort. A ceasefire was reached between warring parties yesterday. (Reuters)

At least eight people have died in the American state of Texas with 30,000 residents in the city of Houston expected to seek temporary shelter. (Los Angeles Times)

Sunday,  Aug 27, 2017

The Iraqi Army announces it is in full control of the Iraqi Turkmen city of Tal Afar in the Nineveh Governorate, after eight days of clashes with ISIL militants inside the city. (Rudaw)

A car bomb in Helmand Province kills up to 13 people, including Afghan Army soldiers and civilians, and wounds 18 others, according to government spokesman Omar Zwak. (Reuters)

The entire Texas National Guard is activated by Texas Governor Greg Abbott for search and rescue operations, as weather forecasters stated that Harvey would move back over the Gulf of Mexico and restrengthen. (CNN)

Five people were killed and one seriously injured after a mountain accident on Sunday in the Austrian state of Salzburg. (Reuters)

Police issued a warning and evacuation orders after a unknown chemical “haze” leaves over 200 people on Britain’s south coast, between the towns of Eastbourne and Birling Gap, suffering irritation to their eyes and throats. (BBC)

Pakistan postpones a visit from U.S. acting Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells, its foreign ministry says, as some protest President Donald Trump’s accusations that Pakistan is harbouring terrorists. (Reuters)

Far-right protesters and thousands of far-left counter-protesters clash in Berkeley, California, leading to the arrest of at least 14 people. (Los Angeles Times)

In boxing, Floyd Mayweather Jr. defeats mixed martial artist Conor McGregor in the 10th round by technical knockout to improve to 50–0, breaking Rocky Marciano’s 61-year-old record. (ESPN)

 

Saturday, Aug 26,  2017

Harvey is now a tropical storm with sustained winds of 70 mph (110 kmh). It made landfall on Texas’s eastern coast, the eye striking the town of Rockport, as a Category 4 hurricane. It’s the strongest storm to hit the state since 1961. Harvey is expected to maintain tropical storm strength, with heavy rains and flooding, for at least four days. (National Hurricane Center)

Downtown Houston has collected about 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) of rain with 7 inches (18 cm) recorded in some areas. Nearly 9 inches (23 cm) was tallied in First Colony early this morning. The National Hurricane Center predicts up to 30 inches (76 cm) of rain and isolated totals as high as 40 inches (100 cm) by the time the storm leaves. (The Dallas Morning News)

The South Korean military reports North Korea has fired several short-range projectiles into the sea from its eastern Kangwon province. The U.S. military says three short-range missile launches either exploded on launch or failed in flight. (Reuters)

 Friday,  Aug 25, 2017

New Zealand announces the stationing of three more non-combat military personnel in Afghanistan, boosting its military commitment to 13. (Reuters)

Riots erupt in Panchkula and later spread to other parts of the Northern Indian state of Haryana, as well as the state of Punjab and the Indian capital of New Delhi, after a special CBI court found the Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh guilty of rape. At least 28 people have been killed and 250 others injured. (The Washington Post)

United States-supported Somali forces shoot and kill 10 Somalis, including three children, in Lower Shebelle’s Bariire village near Mogadishu. While the Somalia government reports the other dead were members of the al Shabaab militia, Lower Shabelle deputy governor Ali Nur Mohamed says the victims were all civilians, farm owners, workers and their children. The U.S. Africa Command says they are investigating these civilian casualties reports. (Reuters)

Toronto’s Sheraton Cadwell Orchestras closes and its management resigns following public backlash to a fat-shaming email that said only “physically fit and slim” singers would be featured in shows. (Fox News)

In anticipation of Hurricane Harvey, residents from Corpus Christi to Galveston, Texas, and workers from Gulf of Mexico oil platforms are evacuating the region. The storm makes landfall between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor as a Category 4 hurricane around 11 p.m. EDT (0300 UTC, August 26) as the strongest storm to hit the United States mainland since 2004. The National Hurricane Center predicts Harvey will linger over Texas for days, dumping 15–25 inches (38–64 cm), and as much as 35 inches (89 cm) of rain on some parts of the state. (CNN)

An American UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter on a training mission crashes off the coast of Yemen with six aboard, five of whom have been rescued. The search continues for the other U.S. service member. (Reuters)

The Cabinet of Japan imposes sanctions on various companies in China and Namibia for their business relations with North Korea. (The Japan Times)

Lee Jae-yong (Jay Y. Lee), the vice-chairman of the Samsung Group is sentenced to five years for graft for his involvement in the 2016 South Korean political scandal that led to the impeachment of President of South Korea Park Geun-hye. (Bloomberg)

Former Volkswagen engineer James Liang is sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Sean Cox to 40 months in prison and a $200,000 fine for his role in the decade-long scheme to cheat on federal emissions tests for diesel-powered cars sold in the United States. He is the first company employee sent to prison in the scandal.  (Reuters)

U.S. President Donald Trump pardons former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, Joe Arpaio. (Reason)

Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka resigns expressing unhappiness with the direction of the Trump administration’s foreign policy. (New York Daily News) (The Federalist)

FORMOSAT-5, the first satellite fully designed by Taiwan’s National Space Organization, is launched into low-earth orbit by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. (AP via Bloomberg)

Trump Derangement Syndrome

Trump Derangement Syndrome and the American Left
Russia-gate divides writers over at The Nation
Justin Raimondo
August 28, 2017

And while a disturbing proportion of self-avowed liberals and “progressives” are doing just that, this phenomenon is not universal. Over at The Nation, Russia scholar Stephen Cohen has been warning about the dangers of the new Russophobia, and James Carden has been asking why the CIA narrative about the alleged “hacking” of the DNC is being taken at face value. Now a new study by cyber-war experts has challenged the forensics – or lack of them – behind the official narrative: the investigation is conducted by a group of independent researchers and Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). I covered their findings here, but to reiterate I quote the VIPs report:

“There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee’s system on July 5 last year – not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak – a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system. This casts serious doubt on the initial “hack,” as alleged, that led to the very consequential publication of a large store of documents on WikiLeaks last summer.

Russia-gate’s Fatally Flawed Logic
Robert Parry
August 12, 2017

 

Russia-gate’s Evidentiary Void
Robert Parry
August 18, 2017

 

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

 

http://news.antiwar.com/2017/08/25/apple-cracks-down-on-iranian-apps-citing-us-sanctions/

08.25.2017 News

 

Friday,  Aug 25, 2017

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/two-cia-contractors-successfully-sued-for-black-site-torture/

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/28/us/cia-interrogations-torture-psychologists.html?mcubz=3&_r=0

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/why-todays-conservatives-are-useless-debaters/

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/after-16-years-of-war-afghanistan-still-worlds-heroin-supplier/

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/sparks-fly-between-u-s-air-giants-and-oil-rich-sheiks/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2017/08/15/the-nation-is-reviewing-a-story-casting-doubt-on-russian-hack-of-dnc/?utm_term=.7377f3c77bb0

Samsung heir sentenced to 5 years for corruption
On Friday morning, a court in Seoul found Samsung’s acting chairman and heir apparent Lee Jae-yong guilty of bribery, embezzlement, perjury, hiding money overseas, and other corruption-related charges and sentenced him to five years in prison. Lee, 49, has maintained his innocence. Prosecutors said that Lee gave $38 million in bribes to foundations operated by Choi Soon-sil, a friend of since-impeached President Park Geun-hye, on the presumption that Park would support a merger that strengthened Lee’s control over his family’s lucrative business empire. Park and Choi are also on trial, separately. Prosecutors were seeking a 12-year sentence for Lee, who can still appeal the verdict. Source: BBC News

 

 Thursday, Aug 24,  2017

A 6th century mosaic dated from the rule of Justinian I is discovered while installing communication cables in Jerusalem’s Old City. (Reuters via ABC Australia)

 Qatar restores diplomatic ties with Iran. Tehran welcomes the move. (Financial Times

Venezuela’s National Commission of Telecommunications(Conatel) takes Colombian television channels, Caracol Televisión and RCN Televisión, off air due to their coverage of the 2017 Venezuelan constitutional crisis. (BBC)

Massachusetts Powerball ticket buyer wins $759 million mega-jackpot
Powerball officials say a sole ticket-buyer in Massachusetts has won the massive $758.7 million jackpot, the second-largest Powerball win in U.S. history, after correctly picking all six numbers for Wednesday night’s drawing — 6, 7, 16, 23, 26, and Powerball 04. The lucky Bay Stater snapped a streak of 20 jackpot-less Powerball draws. There were also some lesser winners — two tickets sold in Florida matched the first five numbers, earning $1 million apiece, while four people won $200,000 and 24 players won $50,000. Powerball tickets — sold in 44 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands — cost $2, and the odds of winning the jackpot were about 1 in 292.2 million. The winner can take a lump sum of about $480.5 million or opt for 30 payments over 29 years. Source: USA Today

 

Wednesday,  Aug 23, 2017

 The Air Force awards Raytheon and Lockheed contracts to work on the new Long Range Standoff weapon, the replacement for the AGM-86B air-launched nuclear cruise missile. (Reuters)

The United States Navy relieves vice admiral Joseph Aucoin as commander of the United States Seventh Fleet following four collisions in Asia this year that claimed the lives of 17 sailors. (New York Times)

A headless dismembered torso found washed ashore in Copenhagen two days ago is identified as Kim Wall. According to a police spokesperson, the body was deliberately mutilated, and had metal attached to it so that it would not float. (BBC)

 

 Tuesday,   Aug 22,  2017

Renewed clashes between Islamist extremists and the Fatah-supported Joint Palestinian Security Force at the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugees camp, near Sidon, Lebanon, wound three more Palestinians. (Daily Star)

 

 Monday,  Aug 21,  2017

The United States Navy’s USS John S. McCain collides with the Liberian-flagged Alnic MC near Singapore. Rescue efforts are underway with ten sailors reported as missing. (Reuters)

The U.S. Navy orders an investigation into its Pacific Fleet following the collision, which is the fourth crash involving a U.S. Navy ship in the past two years and the second in the past two months. (BBC)

 

Sunday,  Aug  20,  2017

Iraqi security forces, along with Shi’ite volunteers and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, launch a ground offensive to take the city of Tal Afar back from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant The city has been isolated from the rest of the ISIL-held territory since the recent Mosul liberation. (Reuters)

Iranian MPs approve 16 out of 17 cabinet members nominated by recently re-elected President Hassan Rouhani. (Washington Post)

 

Saturday,  Aug 19,  2017

The wreckage of the USS Indianapolis heavy cruiser, torpedoed by the Imperial Japanese Navy submarine I-58 and sunk in 1945 after delivering parts for the Little Boy atomic weapon, is discovered on the floor of the North Pacific Ocean. Only 317 of the U.S. Sailors/Marines who survived the sinking were finally rescued after 4–5 days in shark-infested waters. (CNN)

 

Friday,  Aug 18,  2017

Steve Bannon resigns as President Donald Trump’s White House Chief Strategist. (ABC News)

Carl Icahn steps down as special advisor to the President. (CNN)

All 17 members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, including actor Kal Pennand artist Chuck Close, resign. (AP via Miami Herald)

(UPI)The controversial National Constituent Assemblyvotes unanimously to assume the powers of the opposition-led National Assembly of Venezuela. (BBC)

 

Thursday, Aug 17,  2017

The US Navy has announced that about a dozen sailors of the USS Fitzgerald are to be disciplined in the aftermath of the collision with a container ship last June, where 7 crew members died. (BBC)

Internet firm CloudFlare ceased CDN support for the neo-Nazi, white supremacist, alt-right website The Daily Stormer, after The Daily Stormer claimed that the company supported their cause. The Daily Stormer website had already lost web-hosting services by the domain register GoDaddy and Google.  (CNN Money)

Stephen Bannon says there’s ‘no military solution’ to North Korea

The latest Stephen Bannon interview comes from a surprising source: The American Prospect, a progressive publication. Bannon associates told CNN and Axios that the White House chief strategist did not know his conversation with magazine co-founder Robert Kuttner would be turned into an article, published Wednesday, and that he had only called to chat with Kuttner because he liked his stance on China in a recent story. Bannon told Kuttner there is “no military solution” to North Korea and its nuclear threats, said the “economic war with China is everything” and the U.S. must be “maniacally focused on that,” and called white nationalists “losers,” “a fringe element,” and “a collection of clowns.” Kuttner said Bannon never asked for the conversation to be off the record. Source: CNN

 

08.01.2017

 

 Monday,  July 31, 2017

Discovery Communications announces it will acquire Scripps Networks Interactive for US$ 14.6 billion. (CNBC)

Qatar files a legal complaint at the World Trade Organization (WTO) concerning the embargo imposed by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates in June. The parties have 60 days to settle the complaint to avoid WTO litigation. (Reuters)

Newly-appointed White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly fires Director of Communications Anthony Scaramucci less than ten days after Scaramucci took up his post.  (BBC)

 Sunday,  July  30, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin expels 755 United States diplomats in response to new sanctions imposed by the United States. (Al Jazeera)

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad faces sentences on seven verdicts of misusing billions of dollars in government funds while in office, the Supreme Audit Court public prosecutor said. If confirmed, Ahmadinejad will be barred from public office for seven years. (Reuters)

Adrián Beltré of the Texas Rangers becomes the 31st player with 3,000 career hits in Major League Baseball, reaching the milestone with a fourth-inning double in the Rangers’ 10–6 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. Beltré is the first Dominican-born player to reach the milestone. (ESPN)

2016 Saturday,  Jul 29,  2017

The Charles Kuonen Bridge in the Swiss Alps in Randa, Switzerland, opens. At 1,621 feet (494 meters), it is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world. (CNN)

 Friday,  Jul 28, 2017

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/chinese-troops-moving-next-door-to-u-s-base-in-horn-of-africa/

U.S. Appeals Court Judge Patricia Millett rejects the Federal Aviation Administration argument that seat size is unimportant when passengers exit a plane in an emergency, and orders the FAA to set minimum standards for the space airlines give passengers. (Reuters) (Bloomberg)

North Korea launches an intercontinental ballistic missile that flies 620 miles horizontally in about 45 minutes, landing in the Sea of Japan, according to Japan, South Korea and the United States. (Reuters)

U.S. President Donald Trump announces Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly will be White House Chief of Staff, replacing Reince Priebus. (ABC News)

 Thursday, Jul 27,  2017

Ukraine’s domestic intelligence service, the SBU, reports that the March 2017 explosions at Balakliia military base in Eastern Ukraine were caused by a drone carrying a ZMG-1 thermite grenade. The explosions resulted in 1 death and 5 injuries. (Popular Mechanics)

France nationalises the STX Europe-owned Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, Pays de la Loire, to prevent Italian shipbuilding firm Fincantieritaking majority control. Italian Minister of Economy and Finances Pier Carlo Padoan calls the French decision to nationalise the shipyard “grave and incomprehensible”. (Reuters)

A new study, published in the The BMJ medical journal, finds that electronic cigarettes may help smokers stop their habit. The researchers found that a substantial increase in e-cigarette use among American adult smokers was associated with a statistically significant increase in the smoking cessation rate. (ABC News) (The BMJ)

 Wednesday,  Jul 26, 2017

According to the Defense Ministry, between 26 and 30 military personnel are dead and over 80 Taliban militants have been either killed or wounded amid intense fighting at a military base in Kandahar Province. (Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty)

United States President Donald Trump tweets that transgender Americans will not be allowed to serve “in any capacity” in the United States Armed Forces. (The Hill)

The United States Senate rejects “repeal only” propositions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. United States President Donald Trump lashes out at Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, who voted against the proposal. (The New York Times)

Tuesday,   July 25, 2017

Michael Kors buys Jimmy Choo for US$1.2 billion. (The New York Times)

Following a similar move in France, the United Kingdom is to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040 in order to reduce air pollution. A new tax will also be levied on diesel car drivers in 2020. (Sky News)

A study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, finds that 99 percent of the brains donated for scientific research by deceased National Football League players show signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the disease identified in autopsies of numerous NFL players who have committed suicide, and the subject of the 2015 movie Concussion(Reuters)  (JAMA)

The United States Navy says the USS Thunderbolt fired a warning shot at an Iranian patrol boat after it came within 150 yards of the U.S. ship. (ABC News)

The U.S. House of Representatives votes in favor of economic sanctions against Russia for its interference in the 2016 U.S. election, and against Iran and North Korea for their weapons programs. (The Washington Post)

 

07.28.2017

07.28.2017

I could see this happening as it was happening in 2011-13 by reading people like Gareth Porter. If I could see it, Obama could see it – he’s a smart guy. So he he has no excuses, he gets no pass. Obama just wanted to get paid and leave town.

How CIA and Allies Trapped Obama in the Syrian Arms Debacle
And why it ultimately benefitted terrorists like Al Qaeda.
By GARETH PORTER • July 27, 2017

One of the keys to understanding its origins is that the program was launched not because of a threat to U.S. security, but because of a perceived opportunity. That is always a danger sign, prompting powerful national-security bureaucrats to begin thinking about a “win” for the United States. (Think Vietnam and Iraq.)

[…]

The payoffs of U.S. alliances in the Middle East have centered on the military bases in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar that allow the Pentagon and the military brass to plan and execute military operations that guarantee extraordinary levels of military spending. But enormous Saudi arms purchases and the financing of any covert operations the CIA doesn’t wish to acknowledge to Congress have long been prime benefits for those powerful organizations and their senior officials.

[…]

But for a second time, Obama also agreed to a CIA program of helping to arm the anti-Assad forces; it was a way of placating his own national security apparatus and U.S. allies while avoiding an open commitment to the war.

[…]

The reason was simple: Powerful national security bureaucracies were threatening to blame Obama for the failure of their heroic effort to save the anti-Assad war.

The lesson of the entire affair is clear: A malignant alliance between powerful national security bureaucracies and the Middle Eastern allies with whom they enjoy mutually profitable relations are pressuring the White House to approve actions that threaten the real interests of the American people—including strengthening terrorists. The only way to reverse that situation is to direct public attention to that malignant alliance of interests, which has thus far gotten a free ride.

Bolding mine. “Powerful national security bureaucracies” is, I believe, Gareth Porter’s way of saying The Deep State.

 

Why Zuckerberg and Musk Are Fighting About the Robot Future
It looks like the two tech titans are arguing about AI’s impact on humanity. Really they’re protecting their personal brands.

I’ve argued before that “artificial intelligence” has become so overused that the term is almost meaningless. Like “algorithm” before it, technologists, businesspeople, and journalists wield the idea like a magic wand that turns ordinary computer software and devices into world-saving (or world-ending) marvels. And given AI’s long history of wonder and dread in science fiction, people are primed to expect it to usher in utopia or dystopia.

Apocalypse Soon

First. Some basics.

Everything is dependent on oil. Crude oil. The United States and China use the most oil. The United States, Russia, and Saudi Arabia with its neighbors produce the most oil. This will not change much in the coming decades.

The United States is more an empire than a nation. It is hegemon over most of the globe outside Russia’s sphere, China, North Korea, and Iran.

The President of the United States is not really a leader, at least they haven’t been leaders for some time. They are more a scapegoat.

Everything revolves around the oil under Saudi Arabia. Mother Earth is continually producing crude oil, but she takes millions of years to do it. Quick in deep time. Slow in human terms. So far, two trillion barrels of crude oil have been produced and sit in reservoirs – 5,000, 10,000, 15,000 feet underground.

“Created” may be a better word. From here on out “produce” will refer to human extraction of oil from the ground.

Edwin Drake discovered oil in 1859 near Titusville, Pennsylvania. In the century-and-a-half since this discovery humans have consumed roughly half of those two trillion barrels.

Currently we produce and consume 95 million barrels of oil per day. Or about 80 million barrels of actual crude oil per day and another 15 million barrels of various by products and oil liquids per day that contain roughly half the energy content but are still fully part of the overall process to produce petroleum products necessary to maintain modern human existence.

Using the lower figure of 80 mbpd (what is called “crude oil including lease condensate” in the industry), we are using 29 billion barrels per year.

Simple math, assuming one trillion or 1,000 billion barrels of oil left in the ground, gives us, that is to say the human race – all seven plus billion of us – 35 years left at this level of oil consumption. And then it is lights out.

Yeah. I know what you are thinking.

But no surprises here. Some of us have been aware of these uncomfortable numbers for a couple decades now. The numbers don’t change. They come back the same every year.

The reaction of almost everybody presented with this information is to argue points they have gotten from CNN or the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal and then change the subject to something inane, like themselves. The cognitive dissonance is too great. People see what they believe. And they believe in progress. The end of the world as they know it and the end of growth is too much for Americans to handle. Easier to use Donald Trump as a scapegoat for everything that is “wrong” in the world.

But, again, the numbers don’t change. They come back the same every year. Whether you get them from BP or from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Agency (EIA) or from the International Energy Association (IEA), they all tell the same story. We are running out of oil, what is left is mostly under the Middle East, as we run out the human population will be forced to downsize, it probably will not be pretty, and we are not really planning for any of this.

What we do is tell ourselves nice things about “progress” and scientific breakthroughs that haven’t happened but are surely just around the corner and blame those who “don’t believe in climate change.”
If you can’t deal with reality, reality will deal with you.

There is no substitute for oil.

While there is a high degree of hype and willful-delusion about the ability of human ingenuity and “scientific progress” to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels by substituting “renewable energy,” the simple fact is that there is no substitute for oil.

The aircraft industry, based around large Boeing and Airbus jetliners, cannot fly economically on anything but crude-oil-based aviation fuel, otherwise known as diesel or kerosene, which are in turn basically only slightly different oil-distillations from gasoline.

[more on vehicles and equipment necessary…]

At the height of the Roman Empire the estimated human population of the globe was…

In 1750, before the Industrial Revolution the population of the globe is estimated to have been 800 million.

In 1900, after the discovery of oil in Pennsylvania and before the rise of the petroleum-powered internal combustion engine, the population had doubled to 1.6 billion. Doubled during 150 years worth of Industrial Revolution advances.

Today it stands at 7.5 billion. Increased five-fold in 120 years.

It is petroleum products that have made this population of 7.5 billion, rapidly approaching 8 billion, humans possible. Industrialized agriculture and moving the food from the farms to the slaughterhouses and processing plants and then on to the local grocery stores is not possible without oil. Nobody produces their own food. And if they do they won’t be able to defend it against the hungry mobs. Without oil, everybody starves to death. Period.

More on the other ways petroleum is crucial and necessary to make modern life possible later.

Of the remaining one trillion barrels of oil in the ground, 260 billion of them are under Saudi Arabia.

The United States consumes roughly 20 million barrels of petroleum products per day (20 mbpd) give or take a million barrels. It reached this level 20 years ago around 1997. A decrease in the long-term overall rate of growth in the American economy, demand destruction, and increased efficiency and “conservation” have all contributed to this relatively stable level of oil use. It should stay around this level of 20 mbpd for the foresee-able future.

The United States only produces about 12 mbpd but the remaining 8 mbpd are mostly and easily acquired from its North American friends and neighbors, Canada and Mexico, together with half a million barrels here-and-there for stable suppliers in the Middle East or North or West Africa.

For all intents-and-purposes and contrary to popular sentiment the United States is energy independent. More on this later.

China, The United States’ main and only economic rival, consumes 12 mbpd of petroleum products, of which it needs to import 8 mbpd. Chinese economic and consequently oil usage has grown phenomenally in the last 20 years. A decade ago, China was only using 8 mbpd of oil. In 2016 Chinese economic growth and energy usage slowed, or rather, the rate of increase slowed. Whether this is the beginning of a trend or simply the Chinese economy taking a breath is impossible to tell.

The Chinese are dependent on oil from the Middle East, the flow of which the United States controls. This is strategic. This is by design. All American military power and effort in the world is focused on playing the role of guard-dog to Middle Eastern and specifically Saudi oil.

All of this explains why Saudi Arabia – what can only be described as the real-life Republic of Gilead from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale – is one of America’s two most cherished and pampered allies. The other being Israel – a truly racist, theocratic police state that views Palestinians as subhumans and keeps half of them on the brink of starvation in an open-air concentration camp called The Gaza Strip. Israel is a democracy only in the sense that Ancient Greece was a democracy when 70% of the population were slaves. It’s all relative…but it guts the argument that Putin’s Russia is some kind of monster and not a viable democracy. Or even that China should be targeted as “authoritarian.”

And the United States basically pays for Israel’s existence to the tune of $6 Billion a year. Absurd and bizarre. Hard to believe…unless explained in terms of the importance of oil to American empire and control. For Israel and Saudi Arabia are actually de facto allies, both working under the protection of the American Deep State and constantly and continually conspiring to undermine stability in the rest of the region and tag Shiite Iran as the origin of all the world’s troubles. Iran – ironically, the closest to an actually stable democracy in the region that concerns itself with the welfare of Muslims.

***

China Tech: Interesting Bits and Pieces
FRED REED • JUNE 29, 2017 • 1,100 words

As I have mentioned before, China came out of nowhere to become the world leader in supercomputers. Also in high-speed rail, of strategic importance in its plan to united Europe and Asia economically. Heavy investment in solar power offers to ameliorate its dependence on oil from the Persian Gulf, vulnerable to blockage by the US Navy. Then there is DF21D terminally guided ballistic missile, specifically intended as a carrier-killer in what China regards as its home waters. The list could go on at length.

In much of America, the Chinese are dismissed as being “unable to innovate,” inventiveness being thought of as unique to white men. Thinner ice has perhaps never been trod.

The Chinese are smart. They are certainly capable of high-grade engineering and scientific research. (Eg., Beijing Genomics Institute) The line between imaginative engineering and invention is blurry. Note that on the numbers China can potentially bring to bear five times as many engineers as America can and, while they are well short of this, twice as many would be–is?–the beginning of a new world.

Cioran

X. no longer knows what to do with himself. Events trouble him to excess. His panic is salutary to me: it forces me to calm him, and this effort of persuasion, this search for soothing arguments, soothes me in my turn. In order to keep on this side of madness, you must frequent those more demented than yourself.
 -Cioran