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Messages - sidd

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The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency
« on: Today at 08:37:27 AM »
Meanwhile, blowback in flyover country: Mueller report is a gift that keeps on giving

"Trump was exonerated."

"Still most people in town are like the Smiths, the so-called "forgotten people" who support the president and believe that the special counsel, members of Congress and others in Washington just get in his way.

"They have forgotten who their bosses are," says Mrs Smith, "we, the people, are the ones that put them there."


Hedges at truthdig on Mueller and media:

"It further erodes and may prove fatal to the credibility of a press that has steadfastly rendered most of the country invisible and functions as little more than an array of gossiping courtiers to the elites."

"The press endlessly repeated such allegations while ignoring the expanding social inequality and suffering of a country where half the population lives in poverty, as well as the collapse of our democratic institutions. These facts, not Russian manipulation, saw enraged American voters elect a demagogue ..."

Read at:


The rest / Re: Empire - America and the future
« on: Today at 08:11:10 AM »
Sjursen has been writing a history and i have been reading some forawhile. His latest is on the cold war after WWII, quite long but worth reading.

"Nothing is inevitable."

"Weren’t the U.S. and the Soviet Union ideological enemies long before they were allies (of convenience)? "

"The United States has never ceased, in the postwar era, to have an allegedly existential enemy. "

"Stalin knew, better than anyone else, the limits of Soviet power and potential. As a result, he would push only so far and no further. There was no serious consideration of conquest of Europe or global empire in the late 1940s. That fear, as is so often the case, was in Americans’ collective heads—projection rather than reality. It was to remain so for nigh on 50 years."

"it is the United States, primarily, that must bear the larger share of responsibility for early escalation of the Cold War"

He quotes Niebuhr: "Our copybook versions of democracy are frequently as obtuse as Russian dogmatism."

"the Republicans and conservative Democrats would never forgive Truman for “losing China”—as if it ever was ours to lose—a sentiment that inflicted a psychological wound far deeper than any actual strategic wound on the capitalist West."

" we do know that throughout the Eisenhower administration no more than a handful of U.S. soldiers died in combat the president had initiated. How many U.S. presidents—before, but especially since—could boast such an accomplishment? "

"If Eisenhower detested conventional wars and the deaths of American soldiers, he showed no such concern for the sovereignty, liberty or lives of foreigners."

"Truman made two monumental decisions ... 2) not to seek congressional approval or a declaration of war ... it is the second decision that looms larger and turned out to be more fundamental."

"That (mostly) Korean blood must rest, at least partially on America’s hands."

" the Cold War, such as it was, existed most fervently in the head of America and Americans; more real, there, in fact, than along the divided frontier of East and West Berlin. "

"By the mid-1950s three-fourths of the federal budget went to military spending. "

"Then came Korea—which, as NSC-68 proponent Dean Acheson exclaimed, “saved” the campaign for higher spending. "

"Washington’s goals and actions are always mostly benevolent; conflict, on the other hand, results when nefarious actors don’t realize what’s good for them, don’t play by the (American) rules. It is through this twisted prism that the U.S. citizenry views its history and its conflicts. "

"The Cold War that the two sides waged was never as “cold” as it was touted to be. More than 100,000 U.S. soldiers died in various local hot wars; so did millions of (mainly Asian) civilians caught in the crossfire. "

Do read the whole thing:

In fact, every chapter of the series that i have read is quite good. The previous chapters are linked in the article.  I shall have to read them in sequence someday.


Scheer interviews Gordon in his latest at Scheer Intelligence: Nuremberg on the Potomac

Gordon: "We have destroyed human life out of all proportion."

Gordon: "what they do to you in basic training is actually a slightly lighter version of what they do when they train torturers. "

Gordon: " especially among upper-class liberals in the United States, the objection to Trump is his manner, and his manner is crude and obnoxious, as you say. But what he’s really doing is not only continuing to kill people, and in fact increasing the number of drone strikes, for example, over the already great number that the Obama administration–

Sheer: "A man of impeccable manners. Barack Obama. I even feel that way about Bill Clinton. When Bill Clinton’s on television, I smile. I like him. He’s warm, he’s encouraging. And then I forget, he’s the guy that ended the welfare system"

Scheer: "American exceptionalism ... to my mind, is a really, it’s the most profound problem that American people have to face."

Gordon: "By definition, the United States is a country that does not torture. Therefore, whatever it is that you are observing, it cannot be torture, because that would be a logical contradiction, because we are the nation that doesn’t do that. And it’s almost impossible to enter into that understanding of the world, because no amount of evidence that you can present to the person who believes that is going to break that worldview. And so American exceptionalism allows us not only to have military bases in over 100 countries around the world; not only to conduct secret wars that the people in this country don’t even know about ... This whole idea that we are a unique bearer of human rights and democracy in the world–it’s very hard to break, because it’s a concealed, hermetically sealed worldview that people imbibe in grade school. And they imbibe it as they grow up, and it takes a lot of effort to break through."

Scheer: "most of the terrible wars since World War II have been fought under democrats, and financed enthusiastically."

Gordon: " It’s no accident that the reservists who were downstairs at Abu Ghraib, they were from West Virginia, and most of them in their civilian life were prison guards."

Gordon: "torture actually is a red thread that runs through the entire history of the United States, beginning with the Native American population ... Slavery itself would not have been as successful as it was at allowing the amassing of capital ... unless, the farmers figured out, they were caused physical pain. And it was the use, the concerted, intentional, well-documented use of physical pain in the cotton fields a century later that forced people to develop a physical technology of their bodies that allowed them, in the course of 40 years, to multiply by eight times the amount of cotton a human being could pick in a day, because the alternative was to have the skin taken off your back with a whip."

Scheer: " we don’t care about the people we bomb, and we don’t care–they’re expendable, they’re throwaway people. You want them out of sight, out of mind. It’s very deliberate ... the wars don’t make sense. And growing that cotton that way didn’t ultimately make sense. And slavery didn’t make sense. Except–except if we have a barbaric part of our nature, if we have a need to exploit others. Not just for economic reasons; if power corrupts. "

Listen or read: Scheer is a jewel


The rest / Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« on: Today at 05:29:02 AM »
van Buren at american conservative: there was no russiagate

"Everything—everything—else we have been told since the summer of 2016 falls, depending on your conscience and view of humanity, into the realm of lies, falsehoods, propaganda, exaggerations, political manipulation, stupid reporting, fake news, bad judgment, simple bull, or, in the best light, hasty conclusions."

"The short version of Russiagate? There was no Russiagate."

"Another generation of journalists soiled themselves."

"The short version: there were no WMDs in Iraq. That was a lie and the media promoted it shamelessly while silencing skeptical voices ... Russiagate was a lie and the media promoted it shamelessly while silencing skeptical voices."

Read the whole thing:


The rest / Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« on: Today at 05:24:59 AM »
Bershidsky at Bloomberg has a thoughtful take:

"the level of Russia expertise in the U.S. media and intelligence community is lower than it should be."

" while spies, former and current, make titillating sources ...  it may not be a great idea to trust them without fully understanding their agenda."

"the Mueller investigation has provided a valuable collection of facts on what Putin’s Russia can and cannot do against the U.S."

"The Kremlin, in other words, picked some low-hanging fruit. But Mueller’s inability to find collusion despite leaving no stone unturned shows the limited reach of Kremlin networks in the U.S. "

" I’m also willing to allow that Russian intelligence lacked the skills and access needed for a conspiracy. Like other Russian institutions under Putin, it has lost the subtlety and the skill to pull off such a gamble. "

"But the most important learning I draw from Russiagate is about the search for external enemies as a political method beloved of both Russian and U.S. politicians. Russiagate fueled that love in both countries. "

"It allowed the domestic Russian propaganda to portray the U.S. as inherently Russophobic and willing to disregard or twist facts in fits of McCarthyism ... it distracted many Americans from the real causes of Hillary Clinton’s defeat and Trump’s victory. "

"Both countries’ biggest enemies, of course, are inside, not outside"

I do no necessarily agree in entirety, but read the whole thing:


The rest / Re: Economic Inequality
« on: March 25, 2019, 07:14:04 AM »
Food aid for the poor in the USA: meals under wheels

Hungry ? go run over your own food, you deadbeat ! Also, us taxpayers pay less for road cleaning crew.

"27 states have passed legislation allowing drivers to turn their roadkill into their dinner"

To be fair, this has been goin on for a long time, glad to see they are legalizing.

There are some very poor people out there. I was on the side of a road, cabbage harvester had just gone thru the field beside. I see two kids and a woman gleaning, picking up what the harvester left behind. I got the story from the farmer, they live in a little shack on his property, husband went walkabout, he lets them get what they need from his land.


The rest / Re: Elections 2020 USA
« on: March 25, 2019, 06:27:22 AM »
We know some of the main themes from Trump on this campaign : No Collusion ! Witch Hunt ! Fake News ! ...

As Taibbi has alluded, now Trump could shoot someone on live TV and half the country wouldn't believe it. The media have lost whatever shreds of credibility they retained after WMD. The only reason people watch em is to laugh at them. We live in a world where the newschannels are comedy, and even the comedy channels have better news.

As Hopkins wrote:

"Trump is going to reach over, grab that report, roll it up tightly into a makeshift cudgel, and then beat the snot out of his opponents with it."

2020 looks bad for the democrats. They have given Trump a huge campaign weapon. Now the battle is truly uphill. If they beat the drums about ongoing investigations, half the country will tune em out, they will waste more time, energy, money. You ain't gonna get him on Russia. Mebbe about finances, but looks like democratic investigations of anything trump related will founder in public eye. And time is running out. Mueller spent a couple years, tens of millions, came up short. Ain't gonna get anything definitive before the election, and worse, now nobody believes you anyway.

Biden will kill the democrats. Bernie is probably the best chance, he can mobilize more votes than anyone else on that bus. I think he should do a repeat, like with the Hilary emails: I don't wanna talk about it. Do the same with Russiagate: Don't wanna talk about Russia-Trump, lets talk about poor people getting screwed.

Get real. Talk about money and why so many don't have any. And go with grassroots media because the major channels have no credibility left. The only way to beat Trump is to grab that populist flag from him.



please could someone correct the misspelling in the title ?


The rest / Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« on: March 24, 2019, 11:40:34 PM »
Attorney General letter on Mueller enquiry:

"did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities."

"determined that there were two main Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election." [social media hacking and email hacking]

Re: obstruction

"while this report does not conclude that the President that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him"

"Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel's investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense."

O dear. No Russian conspiracy by campaign. No evidence for prosecution on obstruction of justice. No more indictments. But wait a minute: perhaps Mueller is Russian agent.

One of my favorite quotes from "Yes, Prime Minister"

“if one of us could one of them, and if two of us could be, you know, two of them, then all of us… could be… that is to say… could be…”

"…all of them?”


The rest / Re: Elections 2020 USA
« on: March 24, 2019, 09:26:49 PM »
Cohen at counterpunch: democrats running on obama era policies will lose

"We need to remember the vacillation – and worse, the opportunism and corporatism. As well as cause and effect: that Obama’s tenure paved the way for the rise of Trump."

He refers to an article by Stoller in 2017 at wapo:

" the past eight years of policymaking have damaged Democrats at all levels. Recovering Democratic strength will require the party’s leaders to come to terms with what it has become — and the role Obama played in bringing it to this point."

"The resulting policy framework of Tim Geithner’s Treasury Department was, in effect, a wholesale attack on the American home (the main store of middle-class wealth) in favor of concentrated financial power. The second was the administration’s pro-monopoly policies, which crushed the rural areas that in 2016 lost voter turnout and swung to Donald Trump."

" Obama prioritized creditor rights, placing most of the burden on borrowers. This kept big banks functional and ensured that financiers would maintain their positions in the recovery. "

“We can either have a rational resolution to the foreclosure crisis, or we can preserve the capital structure of the banks. We can’t do both.”

" Obama’s administration let big-bank executives off the hook for their roles in the crisis. "

"Obama enabled and encouraged roughly 9 million foreclosures. This was Geithner’s explicit policy at Treasury. "

"When Democratic leaders don’t protect the people, the people get poorer, they get angry, and more of them die."

"Though 58 percent of Americans were in favor of government action to halt foreclosures, Obama’s administration balked. And voters noticed."

" the reality is that the Democratic Party has been slipping away from the working class for some time, and Obama’s presidency hastened rather than reversed that departure."

Stoller's article is at:

Cohen continues:

"Like Emanuel, Obama’s next two chiefs of staff also came out of big finance: William Daley from JP Morgan Chase and Jacob Lew from Citigroup."

"Yes, Obama faced intense Republican obstruction in Congress. But it wasn’t Mitch McConnell who stacked the Obama administration with corporatist appointees and policies."

"The last two Democratic presidents gave “hope” a bad name."

"To win back these voters – and to inspire voters of color and youth – will require a Democratic nominee who is a forward-looking, progressive populist."

"While it’s true that “any Democrat is better than Trump,” reverting back to the Obama era is a return to a status quo that stopped working for millions of voters long ago."

Read the whole thing:


The rest / Re: The Media: Examples of Good AND Bad Journalism
« on: March 24, 2019, 08:10:59 PM »
Taibbi: Russiagate is the new WMD

"news that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is headed home without issuing new charges is a death-blow for the reputation of the American news media. "

"The Special Prosecutor literally became a religious figure during the last few years"

"in a brutal irony everyone should have seen coming, the press has now handed Trump the mother of campaign issues heading into 2020. "

"Nothing Trump is accused of from now on by the press will be believed by huge chunks of the population, a group that (perhaps thanks to this story) is now larger than his original base. "

"There was never real gray area here. Either Trump is a compromised foreign agent, or he isn’t. If he isn’t, news outlets once again swallowed a massive disinformation campaign, only this error is many orders of magnitude more stupid than any in the recent past, WMD included. "

"As a purely journalistic failure, however, WMD was a pimple compared to Russiagate ...  it’s led to most journalists accepting a radical change in mission. We’ve become sides-choosers, obliterating the concept of the press as an independent institution whose primary role is sorting fact and fiction."

Read the whole thing:


The rest / Re: The Media: Examples of Good AND Bad Journalism
« on: March 24, 2019, 06:38:29 PM »
Morrow at city journal on editorial groupthink:

"Both papers [NYT,Wapo] have in effect declared a state of emergency because of Trump and have granted themselves the editorial equivalent of dictatorial powers ...  The newspaper becomes the Pequod: President Trump is the white whale."

" ... opinion and dogmatic speculation are the currency of politics and journalism. Facts have become elusive or even unnecessary ... the world is fluid and angry and ideological ... the new journalism—more theater than journalism, a slugfest of memes—is a lot easier to practice. Much of it, on either side, is little more than noise. "


The rest / Re: The Media: Examples of Good AND Bad Journalism
« on: March 24, 2019, 12:48:57 AM »
Johnstone in no mood to take prisoners:  Never stop mocking them

"We must never let mainstream Democrats forget how crazy they got, how much time and energy they wasted, how very, very wrong they were and how very, very right we were."

I'm not so sure. This is almost like the hate levelled toward Trump voters from some democrats. Neither side, in my experience, is totally crazy. Sure, they're all crazy about some things, but then, hell, so am I.

At the end of the day, in my neck of the woods, regardless of my neighbours' views on politics or religion or race or war or much else, we still help each other out. We raise each other's barns, fix each other's tractors, attend each other's christenings and weddings and festivals and funerals. We comfort each other in grief and we share in joy.

Sure they're all nuts, but about different things. And none are irredeemably evil and none irredeemably lost.


The rest / Re: The Media: Examples of Good AND Bad Journalism
« on: March 23, 2019, 10:01:20 PM »
Taibbi at rollingstone recalls the liars of yesteryear: amazing how many of the same beat the McCarthy drums today

"the multiple rounds of post-[Iraq] invasion deceptions that followed, issued by many of the same pols and press actors. These were designed to rewrite history in real time, creating new legends that have now lasted 16 years."
"It’s been forgotten this was actually a business-wide consensus, which included the enthusiastic participation of a blue-state intelligentsia."

"Exactly one major news organization refused to pick up pom-poms, the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain. "


The rest / Re: Economic Inequality
« on: March 23, 2019, 09:57:05 PM »
van Buren at american conservative argues that class, rather than race is key: an "Apartheid of Dollars"

"a newly arrived Chinese migrant and a 70-year-old Mexican American CEO and people from Trinidad, Ghana, and the Bronx with three different levels of education were all seen as having something inherently in common. And they all had something inherently not in common with everyone tainted by various shades of pink."

"Americans spend so much time worried about race they miss what we Europeans understand in our bones. It is class which divide societies."

"It is about money, not melanin.”

"The people at the top are throwing nails off the back of the truck to make sure no one else can catch up with them ... The goal is to eliminate the competition. They’ll have it all when society is down to two classes, the .1 percent and the 99.9 percent, and at that point we’ll all be effectively the same color ... Historians will recognize it as feudalism."

"Convince average Americans to vote against their own interests by manipulating them into opposing any program that might benefit black and brown equally or more than themselves. Keep the groups fighting left and right and they’ll never notice the real discrimination is up and down"

" Whichever candidate admits that we’ve created an apartheid of dollars for all deserves your support."

Read the whole thing:


The rest / Re: Elections 2020 USA
« on: March 23, 2019, 06:19:36 AM »
Re: "This is the story Donald Trump is going to tell the American people."

Here it comes.


The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency
« on: March 23, 2019, 06:16:56 AM »
Mueller done, no more indictments. Jared, Ivanka, Don (sr and jr) and the rest walk. Of course, expecting the guy  who did the bulger coverup to actually do anything embarassing always was a losing game. Sorta like waiting for Holder to indict torturers. 

Like the bookie at the bar sez: the fone call came down, the fix went in, long b4 the game started.


Acreage to feed a person really depends on climate zone and soil condition. An acre of desert sand in the tropics is quite different from an acre of bottomland silt in the temperates. And really really depends on the person(s) doing the cultivation.

I, too, have seen estimates as low as a quarter acre per person. For some people and some areas, mebbe.

But it will be a hard life, and you will do nuttn but survive, if all you got is a quarter acre.


Gravel in ? Makes Bernie look like a young 'un.


Consequences / Re: Floods
« on: March 22, 2019, 05:12:07 AM »
"If this pattern persists, it may signal a larger problem,"

No shit. Guess what, Sherlock, it's gonna not only persist, but get worse.

Now as to :

"The flooding surrounded fuel tanks at Offutt Air Force Base and tipped over one, which military officials said was empty and had been decommissioned"

These people lie and lie and lie. I deal with those large oil tanks. Even when empty there is sludge in the bottom, toxic, the worst stuff settles out during operation. Thats why its impossible to sell a fuel oil tank until you clean out the sludge, and doing that is usually worth more than the tank at end of life. Now that tank in the picture on its side looks about 5-10Kgallon, i guarantee there was 500-1000 gallon of sludge in the bottom. When that thing floats up and tips over it ripped all the plumbing out, and probably popped a weld or two when it tipped. All that sludge is in the Missouri.

Now take a look at the walls around the tanks. Thats the spill containment. When you put a big tank in you got to build a retaining wall round it, enuf to retain spill of all tank contents. Now you can see that the two tanks  still standing also have spill containment full of water.

Now the inside of those spill containments at large facilities are pretty gross places. Place like Offut, been goin for decades, that floor of that spill containment had decades of contaminant from millions of little spills over the long years. All that is in the river.

My tax dollars at play.


Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: March 22, 2019, 04:54:24 AM »
"Japan is Australia’s largest export customer for thermal coal. Of the proposed pipeline of coal power projects in Japan in 2015, figures from the Global Coal Plant tracker show three-quarters are now unlikely to proceed."

Yeehaa. Adnani going downnnn.


The rest / Re: The Empire vs Venezuela - News and History
« on: March 21, 2019, 11:05:12 PM »
Ambani(Mukesh) cocks a snook at sanctions: Reliance still trading with VZ thru EU and from IN


The rest / Re: US intervention in foreign lands
« on: March 21, 2019, 10:51:24 PM »
Solomon at the hill on Obama era State Department strongarm of Ukraine:  hands off those thugs, they be our thugs

Ukraine Prosecutor General:

“Unfortunately, from the first meeting with the U.S. ambassador in Kiev, [Yovanovitch] gave me a list of people whom we should not prosecute,”

Shorter: These our thugs

US State Department:

"The United States is not currently providing any assistance to the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO), but did previously attempt to support fundamental justice sector reform, including in the PGO, in the aftermath of the 2014 Revolution of Dignity. When the political will for genuine reform by successive Prosecutors General proved lacking, we exercised our fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer and redirected assistance to more productive projects."

Shorter version: We bribed em, but they didnt stay bribed

Ukraine Prosecutor General:

“The portion of the funds namely 4.4 million U.S. dollars were designated and were foreseen for the recipient Prosecutor General's office. But we have never received it,”

Shorter: Give us the money anyway


Consequences / Re: Qué se ficieron ?
« on: March 21, 2019, 10:42:09 PM »
Ten years after: torturers dragged into court

"The company, CACI Premier Technology, was contracted by the Pentagon to provide interrogators for the jail. To this day, it still has contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars with the US Department of Defence."

"The firm has fought to stop the case from being heard for more than 10 years, according to lawyers involved in the case. But now, the detainees will have their day in court."

Read and weep:


The rest / Re: Elections 2020 USA
« on: March 21, 2019, 10:39:39 PM »
Hopkins at consent factory predicts Muller report fizzle and Trump election narrative:

"The long-awaited Mueller report is due any day now, or so they keep telling us. Once it is delivered, and does not prove that Trump is a Russian intelligence asset, or that he personally conspired with Vladimir Putin to steal the presidency from Hillary Clinton, well, things are liable to get a bit awkward. "

" Trump is going to reach over, grab that report, roll it up tightly into a makeshift cudgel, and then beat the snot out of his opponents with it. He is going to explain to the American people that the Democrats, the corporate media, Hollywood, the liberal intelligentsia, and elements of the intelligence agencies conspired to try to force him out of office with an unprecedented propaganda campaign and a groundless special investigation. He is going to explain to the American people that Russiagate, from start to finish, was, in his words, a ridiculous “witch hunt,” a childish story based on nothing. Then he’s going to tell them a different story."

"That story goes a little something like this …"

"The American people did not care. They were so disgusted with being conned by arrogant, two-faced, establishment stooges like the Clintons, the Bushes, and Barack Obama that they chose to put Donald Trump in office, because, fuck it, what did they have to lose?"

"Every component of the ruling establishment (i.e., the government, the media, the intelligence agencies, the liberal intelligentsia, et al.) collaborated in an unprecedented effort to remove an American president from office based on a bunch of made-up horseshit … which kind of amounts to an attempted soft coup."

"This is the story Donald Trump is going to tell the American people."


The rest / Re: Empire - America and the future
« on: March 21, 2019, 08:41:48 AM »
Sjursen at antiwar on failing empire:  no one is paying attention anymore

"most of the world simply ignores it"

"No amount of American cash, no volume of our soldiers’ blood, no escalation in drone strikes or the conventional bombing of brown folks, has favorably changed the calculus"

"See those pesky locals – Arabs, Asians, Muslims, Slavs – don’t know what’s good for them, don’t understand that (obviously) there is a secret American zipped inside each of their very bodies, ready to burst out if given a little push!"

"The opposite of love isn’t hate – it’s indifference"

Read the whole thing:


The rest / Re: US intervention in foreign lands
« on: March 20, 2019, 05:14:28 AM »
Astore at tomdispatch on unending war: No Exit

(Yes, that is a reference to Sartre's play, that's one of the things i thought of when reading this. In my twisted reading, those three generals quoted might be in that play. But if this is their hell, then we are in it also. )

"Washington’s invasions, occupations, and interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere in this century have never produced anything faintly like a single decisive and lasting victory."

"There is only war and more war in their (and so our) future."

Read the whole thing:


The rest / Re: Empire - America and the future
« on: March 18, 2019, 10:47:49 PM »
Taibbi at rollingstone on uncountable costs of eternal war:

"the Department of Defense has remained an organizational black box throughout its history. It’s repelled generations of official inquiries, the latest being an audit three decades in the making, mainly by scrambling its accounting into such a mess that it may never be untangled."

"At a cost of $400 million, some 1,200 auditors charged into the jungle of military finance, but returned in defeat."

" “These systems,” as one Senate staffer puts it, “were not designed to be audited.” "

" the Defense Department a few years ago found about $125 billion in administrative waste, a wart that by itself was just under twice the size of that $74 billion Enron bankruptcy. Inspectors found “at least” $6 billion to $8 billion in waste in the Iraq campaign, and said $15 billion of waste found in the Afghan theater was probably “only a portion” of the total lost."

"In a supreme irony, the auditors’ search for boondoggles has itself become a boondoggle. In the early Nineties and 2000s, the Defense Department spent billions hiring private firms in preparation for last year. In many cases, those new outside accountants simply repeated recommendations that had already been raised and ignored by past government auditors like the Defense inspector general."

"Taxpayers, in other words, are paying gargantuan sums to private accounting firms to write reports about how previous recommendations were ignored."

"Those DFAS accountants in the Reuters exposé were told by superiors that if they couldn’t find invoices or contracts to prove the various services spent their one-year money and two-year money and five-year money on time, they should execute “unsubstantiated change actions,” i.e., lie.

The accountants systematically “plugged” in fake numbers to match the payment schedules handed down by the Treasury. These fixes are called “journal voucher adjustments” or “plugs.”

As a result, those year-end financial statements will look like they match congressional intentions. In truth, the statements packed with thousands of plugs are fictions, a form of systematic accounting fraud Congress has quietly tolerated for decades."

"You’ll see the invented numbers called “forced-balance entries” by the General Accounting Office (which is run by Congress), “adjustments not adequately supported” by the Defense inspector general, and “journal vouchers” or “JVs” or “workarounds” by the Pentagon’s own comptroller general. On the Hill, everyone refers to “plugs.” "

"the Army — with an annual budget of $122 billion — generated accounting plugs 54 times that amount, a full $6.5 trillion worth, in 2015 alone."

" when a suspicious number pops up anywhere in the military’s multiple accounting silos, it typically isn’t investigated, but simply fixed on paper and sent on its way"

"Congress really has only two ways to respond when the DoD breaks the law. Elected officials can shout and criticize the Pentagon, or withhold funds. The former is not terribly effective, and the latter has so far proved politically impossible."

"“We were trying to make chicken soup out of chicken shit,” says an auditor, with a sad laugh. "

"A major problem is campaign finance reform. Ask Hill staffers why it’s hard to pass any bill that even contemplates withholding funding for the Pentagon, and they say you’ll run smack into a bipartisan batch of refuseniks who’ve been gorging on defense-sector campaign contributions, thanks to their status on committees like Armed Services or Appropriations."

"The Pentagon can keep accountants busy forever simply doing the taxonomic job of describing its inauditability. "

"The system of campaign contributions that keeps key committees captive probably locks this problem in place, until there’s reform on that end."

"It’s the ultimate example of the immutability of the American political system."

My fucking tax dollars at work. Read the whole thing:


The rest / Re: Empire - America and the future
« on: March 17, 2019, 07:19:41 AM »
Costs of Empire: Sjursen at truthdig

"Our country—your country—has waged perpetual war, across the globe, against an ill-defined enemy and with scant hope for “victory,” for nearly two decades. It’s cost some 6 trillion tax dollars, sacrificed 7,000 soldiers and contributed to the killing of perhaps 500,000 foreigners, including 240,000 civilians. It has done so with a professional, volunteer military, one that’s disjointed from the populace and largely operates in the shadows. Through it all, you’re no safer now—maybe less so—than on 9/11, when many of the damaged vets I met were just children. America, your government owns the fractious world it helped create, and—like it or not—owns the hundreds of thousands of PTSD-afflicted vets living within its borders."

"Even if the wars ended tomorrow (they won’t, by the way), American society has another half-century ahead of it, laden with the burden of these unnecessary disabled veterans. It’s inescapable. "

Read the whole thing:


The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency
« on: March 16, 2019, 04:37:21 AM »
Veto number 1 of Trump caliphate:


The rest / Re: Empire - America and the future
« on: March 15, 2019, 11:30:05 PM »
Surprise, surprise: Rogue state admits it is rogue state


The forum / Re: Suggestions
« on: March 15, 2019, 07:50:44 AM »
I have noticed that links posted now include a bit that goes "?fbclid=" followed by a long string. That string is a facebook tracker.

for example:

the link allows facebook (and probably the rest of NSAgoofacetwit) knows exactly where the poster saw that link. So now they know also that anyone who clicks that link saw that particular post. Und so weiter.

Please strip goofacetwit trackers off the end of your links. Just that link without everything after and including the "?fbclid=" works fine. For now.

So a perfectly good link is

without the facebook tracker.

But of course i notice that the link target also has a facebook tracker. So if you clicked on the link with the "?fbclid=" bit included,  then facebook knows which link you saw, and who posted it. Your browser probably sends the referrer tag, so they know you saw it on nevens arctic forum.

if you stripped out  the tracker and cut and pasted the rest into an anonymous browser window, then they get your IP and browser fingerprint. (They got those in both previous cases also)

(I notice that reuters and a couple other sites now make unstrippable tags like that, so one needs cleverer defense.)

I am probably boring people, so i will stop.


Cockburn at Harper's on Biden:

"Biden has long served as high priest of the doctrine that our legislative problems derive merely from superficial disagreements, rather than fundamental differences over matters of principle. "

" ... the practitioners of bipartisanship conveniently gloss over the more evident reality: that the system is under sustained assault by an ideology bent on destroying the remnants of the New Deal to the benefit of a greed-driven oligarchy. It was bipartisan accord, after all, that brought us the permanent war economy, the war on drugs, the mass incarceration of black people, 1990s welfare “reform,” Wall Street deregulation and the consequent $16 trillion in bank bailouts, the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, and other atrocities too numerous to mention. If the system is indeed broken, it is because interested parties are doing their best to break it."

"Rather than admit this, Biden has long found it more profitable to assert that political divisions can be settled by men endowed with statesmanlike vision and goodwill—in other words, men such as himself."

“Whenever people hear the words ‘drugs’ and ‘crime,’ I want them to think ‘Joe Biden.’”

" they [Thurmond and Biden]  created the infamous disparity in penalties between those caught with powder cocaine (white people) and those carrying crack (black people) ... expanding the practice of civil asset forfeiture, law enforcement’s plunder of property belonging to people suspected of crimes, even if they are neither charged nor convicted."

"As far back as 1978, he helped negotiate a deal rolling back bankruptcy protections for graduates with federal student loans, and in 1984 worked to do the same for borrowers with loans for vocational schools. Even when the ostensible objective lay elsewhere, such as drug-related crime, Biden did not forget his banker friends. Thus the 1990 Crime Control Act, with Biden as chief sponsor, further limited debtors’ ability to take advantage of bankruptcy protections."

"These initiatives, however, were only precursors to the finance lobby’s magnum opus: the 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act. This carefully crafted flail of the poor made it almost impossible for borrowers to get traditional “clean slate” Chapter 7 bankruptcy, under which debt forgiveness enables people to rebuild their lives and businesses. Instead, the law subjected them to the far harsher provisions of Chapter 13, effectively turning borrowers into indentured servants of institutions like the credit card companies headquartered in Delaware. "

"Biden was among the ninety senators on one of the fatal (to the rest of us) legislative gifts presented to Wall Street back in the Clinton era: the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act of 1999. "

"he opined in a 2018 talk at the Brookings Institution, “I don’t think five hundred billionaires are the reason we’re in trouble. The folks at the top aren’t bad guys.” "

"An ardent proponent of NATO expansion into Eastern Europe ... voted enthusiastically to authorize Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, was a major proponent of Clinton’s war in Kosovo, and pushed for military intervention in Sudan."

" his son Hunter’s involvement in that nation’s business affairs via his position on the board of Burisma, a natural gas company owned by a former Ukrainian ecology minister accused by the UK government of stealing at least $23 million of Ukrainian taxpayers’ money."

"Biden’s claims of experience on the world stage, therefore, cannot be denied. True, the experience has been routinely disastrous for those on the receiving end ..."

Fuck Biden. Read the whole thing:


Meyer at politico on Warren's feud with the senator from MBNA:

"The credit card giant MBNA—at the time, the third-largest issuer of credit cards—was based in his home state. Its executives and employees were some of Biden’s biggest campaign contributors ... One of Biden’s sons, Hunter, worked at MBNA after graduating from law school and later consulted for the company after a stint in the Commerce Department ... Biden was seen as so close to the company that he felt it necessary to tell the Washington Post at one point that he was “not the senator from MBNA.” "

Biden is a piece of work. Read the whole thing:


The rest / Re: US intervention in foreign lands
« on: March 12, 2019, 08:42:38 PM »
Carpenter at the american conservative: Central African Republic on deck for regime change:

"A lobbying effort now seems to be taking place for U.S. intervention to alleviate suffering in the Central African Republic ..."

"The media treatment would be familiar to anyone who recalls the preludes to U.S. military interventions in such places as Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya, and Syria. There is extensive video of starving, disease-afflicted children and their anguished parents. International aid workers emphasize that the suffering was certain to get worse unless the “international community” (led, of course, by the United States) took immediate action. A U.S. diplomat on the scene or in Washington proceeds to echo that argument. The armed conflict causing the suffering is mentioned, but the treatment is brief and superficial, or it becomes a simplistic melodrama in which a designated villain is causing all the trouble ..."

“the United States is particularly concerned about the potential of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, capitalizing on the instability to establish a presence in the region.”

"If the ISIS menace was not enough to alarm viewers, NBC cited two other bogeymen: the Russians and the Chinese."


Robinson at current affairs on the obama corporate regime:

" but the desire to be “all things to all people” had always been central to the Obama image."

He quotes Taibbi: "…an ingeniously crafted human cipher… a sort of ideological Universalist… who spends a great deal of rhetorical energy showing that he recognizes the validity of all points of view, and conversely emphasizes that when he does take hard positions on issues, he often does so reluctantly… You can’t run against him on issues because you can’t even find him on the ideological spectrum ..."

and Reed: "described the politics of “form over substance” being practiced by a certain “smooth Harvard lawyer with impeccable do-good credentials and vacuous-to-repressive neoliberal politics"

Reed: “Obama’s empty claims to being a candidate of progressive change and to embodying a ‘movement’ that exists only as a brand will dissolve into disillusionment,” and his presidency would “continue the politics he’s practiced his entire career.”

" the Obama staff concludes that Obama is not a “message man,” he’s the “message, man.”  "

“Was it really necessary to flatter these people, just because they were powerful and rich? In a word, yes.”

"He could stand to learn a thing or two from Bernie Sanders, whose approach to this is: The media are going to talk about things that don’t matter. Your job is to talk nonstop about the things that do. "

Read the whole thing:


The rest / Re: The Media: Examples of Good AND Bad Journalism
« on: March 10, 2019, 09:05:12 PM »
Greenwald rips US media for warmongering lies:

"What we have here is classic Fake News – spread on Twitter, by U.S. officials and U.S. media stars – with the clear and malicious intent to start a war. But no western proponents of social media censorship will call for their accounts to be cancelled nor call for their posts to be deleted. That’s because “Fake News” and the war against it is strictly a means of combating propaganda by U.S. adversaries; the U.S. and its allies maintain extensive programs to spread Fake News online and none of those anti-Fake News crusaders call for those to be shut down."

"That’s not because U.S. media stars are ordered to do this. They don’t need to be ordered. They know propaganda is their job. More to the point, they are über-patriotic jingoists who revere U.S. officials "


Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: March 08, 2019, 10:32:55 PM »
Hidden subsidies for coal plants:

"Some utilities appear to be finding a way to undermine the competitive market structure that would have lower cost resource operate more and higher cost resources operate less. Expensive coal plants—which are objectively not competitive—are being operated in such a way that costs consumers money, reduces flexibility, and exacerbates existing pollution problems."

"coal-fired power plants incurred $4.6 billion in market losses over the past 3 years or $1.5 billion dollars in market losses each year. Most of these “losses” were incurred by power plants owned by monopoly utilities and are not absorbed by the investors or owners"

"power plant operators can choose to ignore price signals, and the owner can “self-commit” or “self-schedule,” effectively bypassing the market’s role as the independent system operator."

"The idea that a power plant needs to bypass the market’s decision-making process and self-select (as opposed to market-select) is to presume that the markets are incapable of doing its job"

"Many coal-fired power plants enter into contracts for fuel which have “take-or-pay” provisions. Utilities claim this means there is effectively no cost to burning the fuel"


In my previous comment i mentioned i could not see an efficient method for heat into the ice sheets except rain. As we see, hard rain fallin on greenland. Fast rain induced collapse there is far more likely today than in antarctica.  I watch melt on the 67N saddle, that will be the first to go. Then south dome. thats a meter or so of SLR, not to be sneezed at.

The question is, as always, how fast ? Gregoire saw time scales on the order of a century in the last deglaciation in north american collapse, so mebbe add a meter from 67N saddle/south dome collapse to the high end of SLR projection for 2100.


Re: "weeks or months" for collapse of bentley trench

I think that is impossible under current conditions. First, as Mercer pointed out, oh, so many decades ago, you need the 0C isotherm to migrate into the bentley trench, and then remain there for large fraction of summer. Then you might have substantial surface melt and hydrofracture enuf to meet up with basal crevasses. And then you might have icecube collapse in a few decades.

But the ice wont stay in place. Long b4 that glacier flow rate will skyrocket due to glen's law exponent dependence on temperature and we shall have iceberg armadas in southern ocean thru calving.

So watch the grounding lines rather than surface melt for now. When the westerlies around antarctica start breaking down enuf to allow 0C isotherm incursion deep into heart of WAIS, then you might see Peacock's apocalypse stretched out over a decade or three.  But that will b after a lot of other apocalypse.

From a physics point of view, the problem is  moving enuf heat into the ice sheet fast enuf to cause icecube collapse; fast enuf to surpass and overcome ice export thru flow rate increase due to glen's law exponent increase. I really see no way to do that except rain. CDW incursion really doesn't get into the bulk of the ice, its a basal and frontal thing. And we wont get rain until westerlies break down massively and Mercer's 0C isotherm acts up.

Blanchon(2009) has some interesting graphs which i have posted b4 about rates of SLR. Worst case seems to be a meter evry 20 yrs continuing for 500 yr.




Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: March 07, 2019, 08:14:55 AM »
I sorta suspected there were several backstories to Aramco IPO failure.

Here's one: sabotage in saud bureaucracy

"met with “passive resistance” within his own government to projects such as the attempted flotation of Saudi Aramco, including from Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih"

Falih better take care his head remains attached. And his limbs. Or bonesaw might do a khashgoggi on him.

" after alarm from government officials that the flotation could cost customers a fortune and expose the previously opaque business to public scrutiny, officials within the government were eventually able to delay the project"

" these same officials are determined to make that delay permanent and stop the IPO from ever happening."

" in order to get the company up to [bonesaw]'s valuation of $2 trillion, it would be necessary to sell gasoline and oil products at market prices."

"The result would be a potential tripling of fuel prices in the kingdom, likely provoking a backlash from the population."


Policy and solutions / Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« on: March 07, 2019, 08:07:02 AM »
Late stage capitalism at it's finest: Morgan Stanley comes out in favour of kidnapping and torture

"Gorman, CEO and chairman of the major investment bank, said businesses should not be dissuaded from engaging with Saudi Arabia ..."

" When probed about the detentions in the Ritz-Carlton, where more than 200 of the kingdom’s elite were held until they agreed to hand over a proportion of their assets to the government ... Some of those detained were members of a branch of the Saudi royal family deemed a rival ... was tortured and beaten  ... tortured to death ...  "That is certainly one of the most creative. You could argue one of the most efficient,” Gorman said, to laughter from the audience. "

"Morgan Stanley demanded the WEF remove his name from the list of speakers  ... His name was then removed, however later in the day it reappeared."



Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: March 07, 2019, 07:34:50 AM »
unrest in saud : king at odds with bonesaw

"disagreed over a number of important policy issues in recent weeks, including the war in Yemen."

" ... so alarmed at the possible threat to his authority that a new security team, comprised of more than 30 hand-picked loyalists from the interior ministry, was flown to Egypt to replace the existing team."

"reflected concern that some of the original security staff might have been loyal to the prince"

Looking up the minister of the interior reveals he aint in the bonesaw camp. yet.

"[bonesaw appointed] full brother, Khalid bin Salman, to the ministry of defence."

That might backfire on bonesaw. Khalid seems to have been unwitting of the Khashoggi barbecue, might stick the knife in.

I think the next bit carries more weight in the ulema and the street, the House of Saud is built on alliance between the imams and royal family.

"[bonesaw] angered people last month when he walked on top of the Kaaba in Mecca, the holiest site in Islam, provoking complaints to the king by some religious scholars that the move had been inappropriate"

On the other hand, all of it might just be oil traders talking up prices, or the non bonesaw princes talking their book. Sorta like Kremlinology back in the day.


The rest / Re: Empire - America and the future
« on: March 06, 2019, 10:14:19 PM »
Satrap defends Empire: no justice for the dispossessed

"The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered Britain to hand back the Chagos Islands, including Diego Garcia, to Mauritius"

"an overwhelming majority of 13 to 1, with only the US voting against"

" Diego Garcia, the largest island, is the site of one of the largest US airbases with some 4,000 US troops as well as British troops stationed there. "

"The British government, determined to hold onto its colonial possessions, has rejected both the ICJ’s order ..."

" Britain allowing the CIA to use Diego Garcia as a “dark site” where it detained and tortured people"

"forcibly evicted the vast majority of Chagossians from the archipelago and prevented their return."

"a sordid deal with Washington that was kept secret from both Parliament and the US Congress. This granted the US a 50-year lease on Diego Garcia in return for an $11 million discount on the US-made Polaris nuclear weapons system"

" the islanders were illegally deported to Mauritius and the Seychelles, another former British colony, where they have lived in desperately impoverished conditions"

"the Foreign Office finally announced that Chagos islanders would not be given the right of return to resettle, arguing that the cost and US objections made it impossible"

Read and weep:


Developers Corner / Re: Bill Gates' Quick and Dirty Operating System
« on: March 06, 2019, 05:55:18 AM »
Re: Microsoft DOS/Windows

Both were excerable operating systems for decades. I had the misfortune to have to use MIcrosoft DOS on a project in the 80s, after which i refused to use Microsoft product for serious work. After that, over a couple decades, i bought hundreds of computers, each of which had Microsoft product on them which was immediately erased in favour of more competent systems. Nevertheless, i had to pay a license fee for that Microsoft product for the longest time, it was a about 2000+ ish that i began to see blank computers available without the Microsoft fee.

Bill Gates genius was that he figured out that there was a a market for bad software. I can say without qualification, that windows products have caused me more grief than any other software. And that in spite of never using them myself, just having to inhabit the same networks with machines running microsoft.

In fairness, there was one version of windows NT (3.51) that was actually reliable. This was, in some circles, known as Microsoft-VMS. But then it all went pearshaped in 4.0 where they subverted a ton of VMS design by reabsorbing the GUI into kernel space.

In contrast, i had fun with OS/2. It was much saner, and that realtime 15microsec interrupt service guarantee for prioritized jobs was very useful in some cases. But mostly for that kinda thing we programmed to the bare metal.

These days i just run BSD and slackware linux. For realtime, i run RTL linux, does what i need. But i dont run nearly as many machines as i used to.

I am told by those who have to administer microsoft product, that the situation is slitely better now. About time.


In case any have forgotten: Taibbi from 2010 on how corporate democrats colluded with republicans to kill financial reform

"But Dodd-Frank was neither an FDR-style, paradigm-shifting reform, nor a historic assault on free enterprise. What it was, ultimately, was a cop-out, a Band-Aid on a severed artery. If it marks the end of anything at all, it represents the end of the best opportunity we had to do something real about the criminal hijacking of America’s financial-services industry. "

"Do we admit that control over the economy in the past dec­ade was ceded to a small group of rapacious criminals who to this day are engaged in a mind-­numbing campaign of theft on a global scale? Or do we pretend that, minus a few bumps in the road that have mostly been smoothed out, the clean-hands capitalism of Adam Smith still rules the day in America? In other words, do people need to know the real version, in all its majestic whorebotchery, or can we get away with some bullshit cover story?"

"In passing Dodd-Frank, they went with the cover story."

 "we were a nation subsisting on an elaborate check-­bouncing scheme ... And it was all made possible by two major deregulatory moves from the Clinton era"

"The story of how the last real shot at reining in Wall Street got routed tells you everything you need to know about how, and on whose behalf, our government works. It was Congress at its most cowardly, deceptive best, with both parties teaming up to subject reform to death by a thousand paper cuts ..."

"Republican and Democratic leaders were working together with industry insiders and deep-pocketed lobbyists to prevent rogue members like Merkley and Levin from effecting real change. In public, the parties stage a show of bitter bipartisan stalemate. But when the cameras are off, they fuck like crazed weasels in heat."

"Democratic leaders had teamed up with Republicans behind closed doors to double-­cross Merkley and Levin."

"Geithner acted almost like a liaison to the financial industry, pushing for Wall Street-friendly changes on everything"

"the Schumer coalition suddenly decided that the de minimis exemption for banks simply wasn’t big enough ...  banks could now put up to 40 percent more into high-risk investments ... For Bank of America alone, it comes to $6 billion."

"the so-called “Lincoln rule,” put forward by Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, which would have forced big banks to spin off their derivatives desks in the same way the Volcker rule would have forced them to give up proprietary trading. Banks would have to make a choice: Either forgo access to the cheap cash of the Federal Reserve, or give up gambling with dangerous instruments like credit-default swaps ... This, obviously, could not be permitted."

"Dodd came up with a hastily composed, five-page substitute to the Lincoln rule that would create a “financial stability” council with the power to unilaterally kill the rule ... Dodd agreed to withdraw his substitute two days before the Senate vote – but given his track record of legislative maneuvering on behalf of big banks, his fellow Democrats weren’t about to take him at his word. A group of senators from Dodd’s own party – including Maria Cantwell of Washington – arranged to stay on the Senate floor in shifts, ensuring that there would be someone there to object in case Dodd tried to push his substitute through ­during one of those quiet, empty-hall, C-SPAN moments when no one was looking.

The fact that a group of Democrats had to come up with a scheme to prevent one of their own leaders from dropping a ­roofie in their legislative drinks pretty much sums up the state of affairs in Congress. "

" a group of 43 conservative House Democrats calling themselves the “New ­Democrat Coalition” refused to support the reform bill unless the toughest part of the Lincoln rule – section 716 – was gutted. "

"The new deal allowed banks to keep their derivatives desks by moving them into subsidiary units and exempted whole classes of derivatives from regulation ... About 90 percent of the derivatives market was exempted."

Read the whole thing: with democrats like these, who needs republicans ?

That is how the sausage is made.


The rest / Re: The Empire vs Venezuela - News and History
« on: March 05, 2019, 09:27:23 AM »
Re: evil dictators

Since the title has "Empire" in the name, i seem to recall that Empires act this way. They make dictators they like forawhile, then unmake them. Or first they deem someone a dictator and unmake them and appoint their temporary stooge. Hell, in the old days the CIA woulda sprung Lopez outta chokey, bribed enuf generals, had Maduro hanging from a lamppost within a single news cycle. Come to think of it, they tried that with Chavez, but it kinda didnt work.

But i must say, Guaido is quite a joke, even compared to the standard of Empire stooge. That's why i thought Lopez, he has more credibility as stooge.


Policy and solutions / Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« on: March 05, 2019, 05:22:51 AM »
Lordstown: sacrifice zone of late stage capitalism

Theres worse sacrifice zones, but I happen to know the area for decades and this one hits close to the bone.


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