Jan 222020
 January 22, 2020  Posted by at 10:06 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jack Delano Repair and overhauling in Chicago & North Western Railroad locomotive shops, Chicago 1942


New Coronavirus Has Unusually High Ability To Bind To A Human Protein (SCMP)
Life After Putin (Dmitry Orlov)
Senate Votes Down Democrats’ Subpoena Proposals (G.)
Adam Schiff Caught ‘Fabricating’ Evidence (US24)
Hillary Clinton Kicks Off ‘Stop Sanders’ Movement. Will Obama Follow? (Y!)
Why Congress Must Keep Investigating Trump After the Impeachment Trial (Pol.)
Ukrainian Prosecutor Biden Pushed To Oust Heavily Investigated Burisma (RT)
Joe Biden’s ‘Conspiracy Theory’ Memo To Media Doesn’t Match The Facts (Solomon)
Brazil Charges Glenn Greenwald With Cybercrimes (ZH)
Boeing Has Officially Stopped Making 737 MAX Airplanes (CNN)
You Won’t Be Flying On A 737 MAX Anytime Soon (CNN)
General Strike Planned On Greek Aegean Islands Today Over Migration (K.)
US Drinking Water Widely Contaminated With ‘Forever Chemicals’ (R.)
People Still Want Plastic Bottles, Says Coca-Cola (BBC)



A pretty good description. of the virus. There are 11 million people living in Wuhan. Officials now suggest no-one should leave or enter the city. Cases in Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, US.

New Coronavirus Has Unusually High Ability To Bind To A Human Protein (SCMP)

The coronavirus discovered in Wuhan may share the same bat-related ancestor as Sars, according to the latest study by Chinese scientists, which said the strain was weaker than the devastating 2002-03 Sars outbreak but was still “highly infectious”. The new virus shares a common ancestor with severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), in HKU9-1, a virus found in fruit bats, they found. The connection with wild animals was confirmed on Wednesday by Gao Fu, director general of China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. According to Gao, the coronavirus, which has sickened more than 400 people across the country and led to nine deaths, originated from wild animals sold at a seafood market in Wuhan.

Gao warned that a major challenge was that the new strain was adapting and mutating. The scientists’ findings, published on Tuesday, suggested that the danger posed by the pneumonia-like virus may have been underestimated by the research community, and came a day after the Chinese government’s announcement of emergency measures to contain its spread. A joint research team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the People’s Liberation Army and Institut Pasteur of Shanghai estimated how the viral strain would interact with cells in the human respiratory system using computer simulation based on released data. “The Wuhan coronavirus’ natural host could be bats … but between bats and humans there may be an unknown intermediate,” the researchers said in a statement released with the paper.

Previously, most scientists believed the new virus could not cause an epidemic as serious as that of Sars because its genes were quite different. According to their calculations, the binding-free energy between the virus and the protein would be minus 50.6 kcal per mol, five times what was “usually considered significant”. “Although comparably weaker [than Sars], the Wuhan CoV S-protein is regarded to have strong binding affinity to human ACE2,” they wrote in a paper published on China Science Bulletin. What surprised the scientists most, however, was that the virus could maintain the strong binding ability despite its significant structural differences from Sars. Of the virus’ five amino acids that play important roles in the binding process, four are different from those of Sars.

Further examination of the virus’ structure showed that overall its binding protein had a high resemblance to that of Sars. The researchers also traced the evolution of the new virus in a government coronavirus database. On the evolutionary tree, the new virus belonged to Betacoronavirus, on a close but different branch to Sars. The two shared about 70 to 80 per cent of genes, less than the similarity between pigs and humans. Meanwhile, a senior researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which was not involved in the new study, told the South China Morning Post on Wednesday that the new strain was an RNA virus, meaning that its mutation speed was 100 times faster than that of a DNA virus such as smallpox. RNA (ribonucleic acid) molecules are simpler than DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) molecules.

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Always happy to see my view of Putin shared by others, and certainly when it’s Dmitry. Any major country on the planet could only wish they had Putin to lead it, and serve the best interests of its citizens. Of course we can’t get any real picture of this in the western press, who treat him as the bogey man, along with their governments.

Can you even imagine where the US would be if Putin had been its leader for the past 20 years? Try this stateside: “Proposed changes will insure that incomes and pensions are such that everybody has decent living conditions

Life After Putin (Dmitry Orlov)

[..] we need to draw a distinction between Putin the man and the system of governance he has built over the past 20 years. There is always plenty to complain about, but overall it has been quite effective. During Putin’s period in power, Russia has solved the problems of separatism and domestic terrorism, reigned in the predatory oligarchy, paid off virtually all of its foreign debts including ones it inherited from the USSR, grew its economy by a factor of six (vs. China’s five and USA’s one), regained Crimea (which had been part of Russia since 1783), rebuilt its armed forces to a point where international security is no longer a major concern, and achieved an overall level of societal well-being that is unparalleled in all of Russian history.

The system of governance he has built has worked well with him as the head of government, but it will require some adjustments in order to work well under future presidents, who may not be equally gifted. Recognizing this fact, on Wednesday Putin has launched a limited overhaul of the Russian Constitution. In addition to an entire raft of minor tweaks that will limit the powers of the President and give more powers to the Parliament, to provide for better checks and balances and a more democratically responsive system, there are a few proposed changes that stand out.

[..] Proposed changes will insure that incomes and pensions are such that everybody has decent living conditions. There are also proposed legislative changes to what’s called “maternal capital” to make having more than two children financially attractive. The demographic situation in Russia is not as dire as it was in the 1990s, and certainly a lot less dire than in Western Europe whose native populations are rapidly going extinct, but the fact remains that to achieve its stated goals Russia is going to need a lot more Russians. The Russian government has the money to spend on these initiatives, and getting the job done is largely a matter of lighting a fire under the federal and regional bureaucracies.

Spelling out the social guarantees right in the Constitution is a good way to make that happen. Putin proposed that the constitutional changes be voted for in a referendum. Beyond the procedural nicety and the legitimizing effect of this exercise, it is sure to stimulate a lot more public interest and civic participation, making it more likely that the ever foot-dragging Russian bureaucrats (in the more remote regions especially) will be prevailed upon to act swiftly to enact the changes.

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And this is just the beginning. God help us. More Adam Schiff show.

Senate Votes Down Democrats’ Subpoena Proposals (G.)

Democratic hopes that a moderate bloc of Senate Republicans would join their demand for witnesses and testimony at Donald Trump’s impeachment trial were temporarily disappointed, if not dashed, as arguments on the first proper day of the trial extended past midnight into Wednesday morning. In seven consecutive votes split precisely along party lines, the Senate voted down Democratic proposals to subpoena testimony from four potential witnesses and documents from multiple government agencies. An eighth vote defeated a proposal to prevent the selective admission of evidence. “I know it’s late, but it doesn’t have to be late,” Adam Schiff, the lead impeachment “manager”, or prosecutor in the case, said as the proceedings entered their 12th hour. “We don’t control the schedule. There is a reason why we are still here at five minutes till midnight, and that’s because they don’t want the American people to see what’s going on here.”

Democrats fruitlessly called for testimony and documents from the former national security adviser John Bolton; the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney; Mulvaney’s aide Robert Blair; the budget official Michael Duffey; the White House; the state department; the defense department; and the budget office relevant to an alleged scheme by Trump to twist the powers of the presidency to extract personal political favors from Ukraine. Each of the proposed subpoenas was defeated by a 53-47 vote. Democrats accused Republicans of failing to commit to a fair impeachment trial and of engaging in a “cover-up” of misconduct by the president. “The president is engaged in this cover-up because he is guilty, and he knows it,” said Representative Val Demings of Florida, one of the impeachment managers .


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A bit sensational, but still you want to ask: Why?

Adam Schiff Caught ‘Fabricating’ Evidence (US24)

A bombshell new report is derailing the Democrats’ momentum against President Trump on Day One of the Senate impeachment trial. The article — in the left-leaning Politico of all places — on Tuesday night alleges that House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff appears to have “mischaracterized” evidence that was used in House Democrats’ impeachment investigation. But Republicans are ridiculing the report as an attempt to “soft-pedal” his actions, insisting that Schiff “fabricated evidence” in a naked attempt to “frame” Trump. Either way, the shocking late-night report has thrown the Democrats’ Senate plan into complete chaos.

The stunning report focuses on a letter that Schiff sent to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) last week that summarizes “a trove of evidence from Lev Parnas, an indicted former associate of Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani,” Politico reported. “In one section of the letter, Schiff claims that Parnas ‘continued to try to arrange a meeting with President Zelensky,’ citing a specific text message exchange where Parnas tells Giuliani: ‘trying to get us mr Z.’ The remainder of the exchange — which was attached to Schiff’s letter — was redacted.”

Politico added, “But an unredacted version of the exchange shows that several days later, Parnas sent Giuliani a word document that appears to show notes from an interview with Mykola Zlochevsky, the founder of Burisma, followed by a text message to Giuliani that states: ‘mr Z answers my brother.’ That suggests Parnas was referring to Zlochevsky not Zelensky.” Democrat officials did not dispute the suggestion that Schiff’s claim was false. [..] one senior GOP aide told Politico: “[..] given the selective redactions and contextual clues, it seems as though Chairman Schiff sought to deliberately portray an innocuous meeting with Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky as an insidious one with the President of Ukraine simply because both of their surnames start with the letter Z.”

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As I said yesterday: “This week, Bernie is sexist. Stay tuned for next week, when we’ll find he’s racist too. If his numbers still don’t plummet then, he’ll be an anti-semitic Jew.”

Hillary Clinton Kicks Off ‘Stop Sanders’ Movement. Will Obama Follow? (Y!)

Nothing the Clintons do is accidental. And so when the news broke less than two weeks before the Iowa caucuses that in a forthcoming Hulu documentary, Hillary Clinton badmouths her 2016 rival Bernie Sanders as a “career politician” whom “nobody likes,” it didn’t just call attention to the ill feeling still lingering from that year’s bitter primary campaign. It also signaled that Clinton has thrown her weight behind the nascent “Stop Sanders” movement gaining steam among Democratic power brokers. The question now is whether Democratic voters will follow her lead — and whether Barack Obama himself might come out of semiretirement to join the cause. Asked by the Hollywood Reporter whether she would endorse and campaign for Sanders if he were to win the nomination, Clinton refused to commit. “I’m not going to go there yet,” she said.

Clinton immediately added, however, that her beef is “not only” with Sanders but with “the culture around him” — a culture she considers sexist. “It’s his leadership team,” Clinton said. “It’s his prominent supporters. It’s his online Bernie Bros and their relentless attacks on lots of his competitors, particularly the women. And I really hope people are paying attention to that because it should be worrisome that he has permitted this culture — not only permitted, [he] seems to really be very much supporting it. And I don’t think we want to go down that road again where you campaign by insult and attack and maybe you try to get some distance from it, but you either don’t know what your campaign and supporters are doing or you’re just giving them a wink and you want them to go after Kamala [Harris] or after Elizabeth [Warren].”

Then Clinton twisted the knife: “I think that that’s a pattern that people should take into account when they make their decisions.” Clinton’s timing is conspicuous. Since the start of the 2016 primary, pundits and mainstream Democrats have refused to consider Sanders a serious threat for the nomination. That’s changed in recent weeks as Sanders has surged to the top of the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, cementing his status as the nearest competitor to frontrunner Joe Biden while also out-fundraising the entire field. Meanwhile, the headlines about Clinton’s remarks come on the heels of Sanders’s clash with Warren over the same subject: his (and his campaign’s) alleged sexism. In other words, this isn’t coming out of nowhere: Clinton is piggybacking on a fresh controversy at a pivotal moment.

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But of course. It must be perennial.

Why Congress Must Keep Investigating Trump After the Impeachment Trial (Pol.)

Unlike a typical trial, the upcoming impeachment trial of President Donald Trump won’t establish facts or put an end to investigations about the Ukraine scheme at the heart of this case. Given that new allegations and evidence continue to emerge, a new investigation will be necessary. Although we still don’t know exactly what the trial will look like, public statements by senators suggest that we won’t hear from many witnesses—and could hear from none at all. That’s exactly what Trump’s legal team is asking for, which comes as no surprise because lawyers rarely want to prolong trials if they think they’ve already got the jury on their side. As it stands now, there is little doubt that Republicans are prepared to vote against removing Trump from office—which is why Democrats want to shake things up with witnesses they haven’t had the opportunity to interview, like former National Security Advisor John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

But the fact that months of Congressional inquiry into Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine is almost certain to end in acquittal does not mean that Congress’s work is done. So much of the story of the Ukraine scheme at the heart of Trump’s impeachment still is not public that Congress is obligated to resume its inquiry regardless of the outcome in the Senate. There can be no serious question that Trump held up military aid in order to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations that would help him politically, but many details of the scheme are still not known. How little we know about the Ukraine scheme headlined by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was underscored by public interviews given last week by Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, who currently faces a federal indictment in the Southern District of New York.

Parnas made sweeping claims, such as his assertion that Trump was “aware of all of my movements” and that Attorney General Bill Barr was “basically on the team.” These are provocative and damning assertions. But how exactly does Parnas claim to know all of this? [..] Parnas presented evidence that former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was under surveillance. The American people—and Yovanovitch—deserve to know whether that allegation is true and exactly why Trump’s associates were surveilling our own ambassador. After all, it is possible this scheme constituted a federal crime, such as a conspiracy to threaten or assault a federal official.

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We knew that already. But Biden is sending around a memo denying it.

Ukrainian Prosecutor Biden Pushed To Oust Heavily Investigated Burisma (RT)

The Ukrainian prosecutor who Joe Biden pushed to oust had six cases against Burisma but they fizzled out after he left, a new documentary shows challenging the narrative by the former vice president that the media failed to check. When Joe Biden lobbied Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to replace Viktor Shokin with Yuriy Lutsenko in 2015, his entourage claimed that Shokin had failed to thoroughly investigate corruption, and by pushing for his replacement “saint” Biden even acted against his family’s interests. But the second episode of the documentary series ‘UkraineGate: Inconvenient facts’ produced by French investigative journalist Olivier Berruyer, founder of popular anti-corruption and economics blog Les Crises, shows information that undermines this narrative.

The American media reported that Shokin’s case against Ukrainian energy company Burisma had gone “dormant,” and that by pressing for Lutsenko’s appointment, Biden was quashing corruption, even if that meant subjecting his own son to investigation in the process. Hunter Biden was on the company’s board from 2014 till 2019. However, documents collected by Berruyer show that Shokin’s Burisma probe was far from “dormant.” Shokin himself even told ABC News that his office had six investigations into Burisma open at the time of his resignation. Lutsenko, he said, “stopped all those cases.”

ABC didn’t air this part of the interview, and the American media – including the Washington Post and the New York Times – continue to label Shokin’s investigation “dormant,” despite a number of publicly available documents showing otherwise and presented in the documentary.

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John Solomon is back.

Joe Biden’s ‘Conspiracy Theory’ Memo To Media Doesn’t Match The Facts (Solomon)

Former vice president Joe Biden’s extraordinary campaign memo this week imploring U.S. news media to reject the allegations surrounding his son Hunter’s work for a Ukrainian natural gas company makes several bold declarations. The memo by Biden campaign aides Kate Bedingfield and Tony Blinken specifically warned reporters covering the impeachment trial they would be acting as “enablers of misinformation” if they repeated allegations that the former vice president forced the firing of Ukraine’s top prosecutor, who was investigating Burisma Holdings, where Hunter Biden worked as a highly compensated board member.

Biden’s memo argues there is no evidence that the former vice president’s or Hunter Biden’s conduct raised any concern, and that Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin’s investigation was “dormant” when the vice president forced the prosecutor to be fired in Ukraine. The memo calls the allegation a “conspiracy theory” (and, in full disclosure, blames my reporting for the allegations surfacing last year.) But the memo omits critical impeachment testimony and other evidence that paint a far different portrait than Biden’s there’s-nothing-to-talk-about-here rebuttal. Here are the facts, with links to public evidence, so you can decide for yourself.

Fact: Joe Biden admitted to forcing Shokin’s firing in March 2016.

Fact: Shokin’s prosecutors were actively investigating Burisma when he was fired.

Fact: Burisma’s lawyers in 2016 were pressing U.S. and Ukrainian authorities to end the corruption investigations.

Fact: There is substantial evidence Joe Biden and his office knew about the Burisma probe and his son’s role as a board member.

Fact: Federal Ethics rules requires government officials to avoid taking policy actions affecting close relatives.

Fact: Multiple State Department officials testified the Bidens’ dealings in Ukraine created the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Fact: Hunter Biden acknowleged he may have gotten his Burisma job solely because of his last name.

Fact: Ukraine law enforcement reopened the Burisma investigation in early 2019, well before President Trump mentioned the matter to Ukraine’s new president Vlodymyr Zelensky.

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Accused of “..hacking the cellphones of Brazilian prosecutors and public officials..”

Brazil Charges Glenn Greenwald With Cybercrimes (ZH)

Prosecutors in Brazil charged American journalist Glenn Greenwald with cybercrimes on Tuesday for his role in spreading embarrassing text messages that exposed corruption within the Brazilian judicial system, according to the New York Times. In a 91-page criminal complaint made public on Tuesday, Greenwald is accused of participating in a “criminal organization” that spread text messages which called into question the “integrity, professionalism and motives of key members of Brazil’s justice system — particularly of figures directly involved in the investigation of a vast corruption scheme that resulted in the imprisonment of powerful business and political figures.” Greenwald – who moved to Brazil in 2005 with his husband David Miranda – now a congressman, went beyond simply receiving the texts and publishing newsworthy information according to prosecutors.

“Citing intercepted messages between Mr. Greenwald and the hackers, prosecutors say the journalist played a “clear role in facilitating the commission of a crime.” For instance, prosecutors contend that Mr. Greenwald encouraged the hackers to delete archives that had already been shared with The Intercept Brasil, in order to cover their tracks. Prosecutors also say that Mr. Greenwald was communicating with the hackers while they were actively monitoring private chats on Telegram, a messaging app”. -New York Times. Greenwald – an attorney, rose to international prominence in 2013 for his role in the release of classified documents revealing America’s extensive NSA surveillance apparatus, after National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked documents to Greenwald, who worked for The Guardian at the time.

In 2016, Greenwald launched The Intercept Brasil, which began publishing articles based on the leaked text exchanges last June. “The articles raised questions about the integrity, professionalism and motives of key members of Brazil’s justice system — particularly of figures directly involved in the investigation of a vast corruption scheme that resulted in the imprisonment of powerful business and political figures. Among the revelations in the articles, for instance, were chats in which Sérgio Moro, a former federal judge who handled the prosecution of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2017, provided strategic guidance to prosecutors, in violation of legal and ethical norms. Mr. Moro is now Brazil’s justice minister. -New York Times.

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Someone lend them the $10 billion.

Boeing Has Officially Stopped Making 737 MAX Airplanes (CNN)

The Boeing 737 Max is officially on hold. The assembly line in Renton, Washington, has stopped building Boeing’s bestselling plane, the company confirmed late Monday. Boeing announced plans to temporarily halt production for an undetermined period in December, but it had not previously announced a precise day for the shutdown. Boeing will not furlough or lay off workers because of the shutdown, but pain will ripple through its supply chain and could hurt America’s economic growth. The shutdown will make restarting production and recovering from the crisis more difficult for Boeing once it finally gets permission for the plane to fly again. The 737 Max has been grounded since March..

Although Boeing couldn’t deliver the 737 Max planes to customers, the company continued to build the jets, albeit at a slightly reduced pace of 42 a month. It now has about 400 completed jets parked in Washington and Texas, waiting to be delivered to airlines around the world. But Boeing doesn’t get most of its money from the sale of the jets until they are delivered, and it could not indefinitely continue to incur the costs of building them without being able to deliver them. The company hoped that the plane would fly again before the end of 2019. But in December Stephen Dickson, administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, announced approval would not come until some time in 2020. Shutdown plans were announced a week later.

Boeing would not release a headcount for people who had been working on the plane. The company said the employees will be reassigned to other duties during the shutdown, and there are a number of reasons for that. First, under federal labor law, Boeing would have to pay them for 60 days following a layoff notice. Since Boeing is still hoping to resume work on the plane soon, it probably would have limited cost savings to go through the process of laying off the workers. And with unemployment in the Seattle metropolitan area at 2.9% – lower than the national unemployment rate that’s at a 50-year low – Boeing can’t risk losing the workers it needs once production resumes.

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All pilots in the US must now do simulator training. The exact issue that made Boeing screw around with the plane to make it appear like it was the same as with the much smaller engine, so no training was needed. Very dumb. When this thing started, there were lerss than a handful simulators available. Have they built a lot more since? I’d like to know. These things don’t come cheap.

You Won’t Be Flying On A 737 MAX Anytime Soon (CNN)

No one knows when the Boeing 737 Max will return to service. But it won’t be any time soon. Boeing eagerly awaits the US FAA’s approval to allow the grounded plane to fly again. But the FAA refuses to provide a specific timeframe, saying only that it will make a decision sometime this year. “We continue to work with other international aviation safety regulators to review the proposed changes to the aircraft,” said the FAA’s most recent statement on the plane, issued on January 9. “Our first priority is safety, and we have set no timeframe for when the work will be completed.” The plane has been grounded since March. Boeing had initially hoped a fix for the safety system, known as MCAS, could be approved in a matter of weeks after the second crash.

But it has missed target date after target date for completion of the process. Aerospace analysts believe regulatory approval could come in the spring. Cai von Rumohr of Cowen now forecasts March. Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group says he’s thinking April or perhaps May. But they both say that is only their best guess at this point. [..] It’s also unclear whether aviation regulators around the world will follow the FAA’s lead and approve the plane to fly when it is cleared to fly in the United States. More than 80% of the planes are in foreign countries. One of the reasons the FAA has emphasized its work with other regulators is the agency hopes they will quickly follow its lead. But the process of getting that consensus is also causing delays, according to industry experts.

After the 737 Max is approved to return to service, it will be at least weeks, if not months, before any of them are carrying paying passengers once again. Boeing and the FAA have agreed that as part of the return to service 737 Max pilots will first complete simulator training. Pilots were previously permitted to fly the 737 Max without learning the specifics of the aircraft on a simulator. The new trainings won’t start until the certification process is complete. That will slow the time it will take to have the teams of pilots necessary to handle the flights. [..] Southwest and American Airlines have both announced they have canceled flights until early June, at the start of the summer travel season.

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The EU has done it. It’s turned the Greeks against immigrants.

General Strike Planned On Greek Aegean Islands Today Over Migration (K.)

The Greek government is under growing strain over immigration amid ongoing protests against plans to create at least 10 closed pre-departure centers across the country coupled with a delay in the disbursement of European Union funds for that purpose. Meanwhile tension at existing hotspots is brewing. A 17-year-old Afghan girl was hospitalized in serious condition on Monday after being stabbed by a 20-year-old fellow Afghan at Lesvos’ Moria camp. The attacker was arrested. On Sunday, newly installed Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarakis was heckled by locals during visits to Lesvos and Samos.

During his trip, Mitarakis stressed that reducing immigration flows is a top priority of the government. However, a general strike is planned on the Aegean islands on Wednesday in response to its perceived failure to do so. Meanwhile, a survey by the diaNEOsis nonprofit think tank shows that most Greeks believe migrants and refugees have a negative impact on the country. The survey found that 85.2 percent of respondents said that the number of immigrants in Greece is “very or too high.” Just 12.1 percent said that the number is “normal.” At the same time, 79 percent disagreed with the statement that migrants are a solution to the country’s demographic problem.

Meanwhile, 56 percent said they believe that migrants have a negative impact on the economy, while 58 percent said that their presence is a “threat to our national identity.” However, 30 percent recognized the cultural enrichment brought by migrants. Asked about crime, 53 percent said they believe that migrants are responsible for soaring crime rates while 44 percent said that Greeks and non-Greeks were as likely to engage in criminal behavior.

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Oh well, overpopulation and things…

US Drinking Water Widely Contaminated With ‘Forever Chemicals’ (R.)

The contamination of U.S. drinking water with man-made “forever chemicals” is far worse than previously estimated with some of the highest levels found in Miami, Philadelphia and New Orleans, said a report on Wednesday by an environmental watchdog group. The chemicals, resistant to breaking down in the environment, are known as perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. Some have been linked to cancers, liver damage, low birth weight and other health problems. The findings here by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) show the group’s previous estimate in 2018, based on unpublished U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data, that 110 million Americans may be contaminated with PFAS, could be far too low.

“It’s nearly impossible to avoid contaminated drinking water from these chemicals,” said David Andrews, a senior scientist at EWG and co-author of the report. The chemicals were used in products like Teflon and Scotchguard and in firefighting foam. Some are used in a variety of other products and industrial processes, and their replacements also pose risks. Of tap water samples taken by EWG from 44 sites in 31 states and Washington D.C., only one location, Meridian, Mississippi, which relies on 700 foot (215 m) deep wells, had no detectable PFAS. Only Seattle and Tuscaloosa, Alabama had levels below 1 part per trillion (PPT), the limit EWG recommends.

In addition, EWG found that on average six to seven PFAS compounds were found at the tested sites, and the effects on health of the mixtures are little understood. “Everyone’s really exposed to a toxic soup of these PFAS chemicals,” Andrews said. In 34 places where EWG’s tests found PFAS, contamination had not been publicly reported by the EPA or state environmental agencies. The EPA has known since at least 2001 about the problem of PFAS in drinking water but has so far failed to set an enforceable, nationwide legal limit. The EPA said early last year it would begin the process to set limits on two of the chemicals, PFOA and PFOS.

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Stop drinking the poison.

People Still Want Plastic Bottles, Says Coca-Cola (BBC)

Coca-Cola will not ditch single-use plastic bottles because consumers still want them, the firm’s head of sustainability has told the BBC. Customers like them because they reseal and are lightweight, said Bea Perez. The firm, which is one of the biggest producers of plastic waste, has pledged to recycle as many plastic bottles as it uses by 2030. But environmental campaigners argue many Coke bottles would still go uncollected and end up in landfill. The drinks giant produces about three million tonnes of plastic packaging a year – equivalent to 200,000 bottles a minute. In 2019, it was found to be the most polluting brand in a global audit of plastic waste by the charity Break Free from Plastic.

But speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Ms Perez said the firm recognised it now had to be “part of the solution”. Coke has pledged to use at least 50% recycled material in its packaging by 2030. It is also partnering with NGOs around the world to help improve collection. However, Ms Perez said the firm could not ditch plastic outright, as some campaigners wanted, saying this could alienate customers and hit sales. She also said using only aluminium and glass packaging could push up the firm’s carbon footprint. “Business won’t be in business if we don’t accommodate consumers,” she said. “So as we change our bottling infrastructure, move into recycling and innovate, we also have to show the consumer what the opportunities are. They will change with us.”

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I know, it’s corny




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Home Forums Debt Rattle January 22 2020

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  • #52880

    Jack Delano Repair and overhauling in Chicago & North Western Railroad locomotive shops, Chicago 1942   • New Coronavirus Has Unusually High
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle January 22 2020]

    V. Arnold

    Jack Delano Repair and overhauling in Chicago & North Western Railroad locomotive shops, Chicago 1942

    Looks a lot like where I used to work in Portland, Oregon…only they didn’t build/repair trains any longer…
    Willamette Iron and Steel Works…

    V. Arnold

    A pretty good description. of the virus. There are 11 million people living in Wuhan. Officials now suggest no-one should leave or enter the city. Cases in Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, US.

    Methinks this could be “the one” that ravages the planet.
    I came to Thailand during the SARS epidemic, on an empty 747 in May of 2003…
    Not much came of that , but; this one? I think one should be very, very cautious, this time around…

    Dr. D

    “Repair and overhauling in Chicago”

    Americans doing stuff: we need to shut that down right away! There’s got to be some kind of safety, environmental or tax excuse we can find: go to it boys! Work is bad, mkay, find that crime so we can prosecute.

    New Coronavirus Has Unusually High Ability To Bind To A Human Protein (SCMP)”

    Don’t know if it’s true, but reportedly behind the scenes, China believed SARS was a human engineered virus meant to attack people by race, i.e. Asians, Chinese specifically. From the spread and death count it seems they were not entirely mistaken. Whether it is or isn’t we can’t know, and doesn’t matter, only that they THINK it is, so they will then respond to our politics that way. …You know a day after all their pigs mysteriously died, leaving them helpless to U.S. imports. Another gol-durned coincidence. Boy those Yanks sure are lucky!

    ““Proposed changes will insure that incomes and pensions are such that everybody has decent living conditions

    ‘Tis but to dream here, but I’ve got an easier one: leave us all the f alone, we’ll be rich in no time.

    Senate Votes Down Democrats’ Subpoena Proposals (G.)”

    Still no idea what they’re doing except prevent Schiff, Nadler, Schumer, and Pelosi from being subpoena’d for crimes one more day.

    Adam Schiff Caught ‘Fabricating’ Evidence (US24)”

    There’s somebody left who didn’t know this? And from a guy who didn’t know the whistleblower “Charlie’s” name, but somehow for weeks knew which name not to say? Along with Google, Twitter, Facebook, who didn’t know either but knew which name to erase? Huh.

    This week, Bernie is sexist. Stay tuned for next week,”

    If only this were a joke. So…TDS, Bernie’s supporters say the DNC is rigging him – again – and with CNN, etc. Right. Then Trump says it. Lo! If Trump was for oxygen, Democrats would suffocate. Bernie then attacks TRUMP for defending HIM, and therefore attacks his own Bernie-supporter base as hostile lunatics. #OppositeLand #Winning! Then comes out not with a “Hey, the party needs to stand together against evil, now is not the time to question Biden…blah blah” Nope! He says, “I apologize, It is absolutely not my view that Joe is corrupt in any way.” In any way. Look, I don’t know who you’re talking to because NOBODY thinks Joe is not corrupt “in ANY way.” Maybe a reasonable amount, maybe unfair to single him out, not “not at all” and ESPECIALLY the far-left i.e. Bernie/AOC: they hate Biden and Obama and think they’re far-right Conservative Nazis. (Yes, that doesn’t exist and is an oxymoron, tell them to read a book: I’ve tried)

    Political takeaway: W T F ? The only person trying to get sink Bernie and election Biden/Trump is Bernie. He hates his own support. #Oppositeland, #AntiLogos what can I say? You win by losing, or in his case lose by being the winning front-runner.

    P.S. HRC says, “Nobody likes Bernie? It’s sad?” Well he whipped you with no media and no support and without trying so imagine how much MORE people dislike you. #EveryoneHatesHillary. More than Bernie. More than Trump. More than Cancer. Sit with that for a minute and have a nice day!

    Ukrainian Prosecutor Biden Pushed to Oust Heavily Investigated Burisma (RT)”

    We only deny public evidence we can see with our own eyes, like Biden’s video from CFR. We accept all evidence that makes no logical sense, we CAN’T see, have never seen, and is illegal to see or ask about. That’s logic! Or at least in a world of American AntiLogic.

    And so Biden gets to tell the media what to do? Must be nice, but they are not biased at all.

    Brazil Charges Glenn Greenwald with Cybercrimes (ZH)”

    Big holy yikes. Because “Exposing deep systemic corruption” was “discrediting the judiciary.” I’ll bet it was! That’s why we have reporters! But remember, in #OppositeLand, we have reporters to HIDE facts.

    The EU has done it. It’s turned the Greeks against immigrants.”

    That is the plan. Now they can steer a civil war or peasant against peasant instead of against their machinations where it belongs. It took a couple million to do it BECAUSE humans are so helpful and so tolerant, but if you push enough, and pay for enough media extremism to get out there, then fund enough organizations, you CAN indeed do what is unnatural for everyone, just like every time before. “The terrible Hun!” “Irrational slanty-eyed Japs!” Ah, high points in history, for which Bernays and Madison Avenue were very well paid. –And all those guys from Hannibal, MO died at Omaha. Or Aleppo. Sure wasn’t the Bush sisters.

    US Drinking Water Widely Contaminated with ‘Forever Chemicals’ (R.)

    Should we stop? Nah. Hey, if poisoning people is a crime, should we sue and/or prosecute? Nah. Are you crazy? We don’t arrest folks just for KILLING everyone, you know, ‘forever’! In #OppositeLand that’s a GOOD thing, just ask any environmentalist. Really, we need to give them a medal, or failing that, an enormous tax subsidy and immunity from all prosecution while they run the FDA. What? We already did that for 30 years? #Winning!


    Methinks this could be “the one” that ravages the planet.

    Way too early to say. The “binding affinity” of the virus’s CoV S-protein to human ACE2 (jigsaw pieces fitting together) is worrisome, but 9 deaths out of almost 500 people is not. To get real dangerous would take several additional mutations. Which are sort of random, but not entirely; it’s the virus seeking -and adapting to- the best host to proliferate, so there is a direction. At the same time, we cannot predict the mutations. Some systems are too complex for us to forecast. Though we be better at it than 100 years ago in the Spanish flu, the last great pandemic.


    Then again, deaths went from 9 to 17 overnight. Still caution, but no panic.


    • New Coronavirus Has Unusually High Ability To Bind To A Human Protein (SCMP)
    Don’t worry.
    The virus doesn’t spread by private jets.
    This is only a test of the response time.
    Everything is under control.
    No cases reported in Davos.
    • Why Congress Must Keep Investigating Trump After the Impeachment Trial (Pol.)
    • Ukrainian Prosecutor Biden Pushed To Oust Heavily Investigated Burisma (RT)
    • Joe Biden’s ‘Conspiracy Theory’ Memo To Media Doesn’t Match The Facts (Solomon)

    (see my links from yesterday)

    It was suppose to be a secret memo. Why are all the media printing it.
    Its all lies – Biden


    Boy, am I gullible:

    UN Demands Probe Of Bezos’ Phone Hack

    Despite the Saudi Embassy’s denial of the “absurd” claims that MbS hacked Jeff Bezos’ phone, United Nations experts have called for an “immediate investigation” by the United States.

    What? Why is -no less- the UN itself getting involved in this alleged hacking case -within hours-, and -no less- trying to get the US involved as well? What did I miss? The UN wants the US to investigate its major ally? Perfectly neutral, right?

    “The information we have received suggests the possible involvement of the Crown Prince in surveillance of Mr. Bezos, in an effort to influence, if not silence, The Washington Post’s reporting on Saudi Arabia.”

    Huh? Don”t these people know that Bezos has denied 1000 times having any influence on the editorial part of the paper, and that anti-Trump piece #186,294 can therefore not be blamed on him? What kind of folk do the UN employ these days?

    Oh wait, Khashoggi wrote for Bezos, didn’t he? Is this how “richer than God” Jeff exacts his revenge? Because his entire global network, including US intelligence, could get nothing on MbS in that case?

    I suggest letting Adam Schiff do the talking on this one. I promise not to listen in.


    Love it: “Tulsi Gabbard is running for President of the United States, a position Clinton has long coveted, but has not been able to attain.”

    The Democratic party is falling apart before our eyes, and they have only themselves to blame. This should have happened about 4 years ago, when the DNC ditched Bernie. It was obvious then that there was no way back.

    Tulsi Gabbard Sues Hillary Clinton For Defamation

    Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is suing Hillary Clinton for defamation over the former secretary of State’s remarks on a podcast characterizing the Democratic presidential candidate as a Russian asset.

    Gabbard filed the defamation lawsuit Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Gabbard’s lawyers allege that Clinton’s comments have “smeared” Gabbard’s “political and personal reputation.”

    “Tulsi Gabbard is a loyal American civil servant who has also dedicated her life to protecting the safety of all Americans,” Gabbard’s lawyer Brian Dunne said in a statement.

    “Rep. Gabbard’s presidential campaign continues to gain momentum, but she has seen her political and personal reputation smeared and her candidacy intentionally damaged by Clinton’s malicious and demonstrably false remarks.”

    John Day

    Ron Paul​ stops short of saying that Hoover’s FBI assassinated Martin Luther King​:​ ​
    ​ ​The FBI has a long history of targeting Americans whose political beliefs and activities threaten the FBI’s power or the power of influential politicians. The then-named Bureau of Investigation participated in the crackdown on people suspected of being communists in the post-World War I “Red Scare.” The anti-communist crackdown was headed by a young agent named J. Edgar Hoover who went on to become FBI director, a position he held until his death. Hoover kept and expanded his power by using the FBI to collect blackmail material on people including politicians.
    ​ ​In the 1930s and 1940s, the FBI spied on supporters of the America First movement, including several Congress members. Two of the most famous examples of FBI targeting individuals based on their political activities are the harassment of Martin Luther King Jr. and the COINTELPRO program. COINTELPRO was an organized effort to spy on and actively disrupt “subversive” organizations, including antiwar groups
    ​ ​COINTELPRO officially ended in the 1970s. However, the FBI still targets individuals and organizations it considers “subversive,” including antiwar groups and citizen militias.

    The more aggressive the U.S. becomes, the more it reveals its tactical, operational and strategic limits, which in turn only serves to accelerate its loss of hegemony.
    ​ ​If the U.S. could deliver a nuclear first strike without having to worry about a retaliatory second strike thanks to its ABM systems, then its quest for perpetual unipolarity could possibly be realistic. But Washington’s peer competitors have shown that they have the means to defend themselves against a nuclear first strike by being able to deliver an unstoppable second strike, thereby communicating that the doctrine of mutually assured destruction (MAD) is here to stay. With that, Washington’s efforts to maintain its status as uncontested global hegemon are futile.

    The End of U.S. Military Dominance: Unintended Consequences Forge a Multipolar World Order

    Who Targeted Ukraine Airlines Flight 752? Iran Shot It Down but There May be More to the Story, Philip Giraldi, former CIA counter-terrorism expert has lots of thought provoking details and context.

    Who Targeted Ukraine Airlines Flight 752? Iran Shot It Down but There May be More to the Story

    French Intellectual Sentenced to 2 Months in Prison For Calling Mass Immigration an “Invasion”
    Forced to pay 1800 euros to anti-racism organizations for his crime of opinion.

    French Intellectual Sentenced to 2 Months in Prison For Calling Mass Immigration an “Invasion”

    ​Good thing these guys waited until after the trial of that dastardly French intellectual!
    ​Syrian fighters abandon Libyan War, flee towards Italy: report


    The cartoon may be corny, but Congress as an outboard motor is a charming image. PLus, as corniness goes, one has to admire the sun rising outof Donald’s combover.

    One thing I enjoy about the big GOP political stars in post-Nixon America is their colorfulness. While the DNC mostly selects college-stamped smart-mouth sociopaths like Clinton and Obama, the GOP gave us senile Reagan (“It’s morning in America again”), entertainingly dyslexic Dubya, and blatantly Narcissistic Personality Disordere-d Trump. (I don’t give Poppy the time of day. A miscreant footnote best forgotten.) Biden is the most entertaining chump the DNC has proffered in awhile, but that lizard-lipped smile and those robotically twinkling eyes ruin the punch line.

    I want to see a deep-faked video of Carl Sagan as Bernie Sanders going on and on about billions and billions and billions and billions… of billionaires, apparently.

    The 30-seconds or so of the likes of Adam Schiff that I’ve witnessed is like watching sock puppets with laser eyes read from the phone book (do they still make those things?) as if it were the Book of Revelations. Nancy used to be entertaining simply because I thought she was kind of hot, but even my inane prurience can’t see her in a sexy light anymore and gawdamighty is she dull to listen to.

    I miss Ted Cruz, Man of a Thousand Faces, whom I’d predicted back around 2013 would be our next president but, lacking as I did the ability to understand that America wanted someone REALLY batshit crazy, didn’t see Trump coming until msNBC et al made sure I saw him a thousand times a day, whereupon it was easy to see he’d win once it became clear that the DNC had made Bernie an offer he couldn’t refuse. Ted was very entertaining.

    My old man was a fireman on Chicago’s Southside. When MLK was murdered, I didn’t see him for 3?-4?-5? days (I was maybe 12 at the time) as he fought the fires that burned for, like, a week after his assassination. (The south<>southwest horizon was fire orange for many nights, as I recall.) He was first generation Irish-American, the child of poor Irish immigrants who died by the time he was ten. Had a rough childhood, was a cryptographer in the Pacific Theater of WWII in the closing days (he probably processed cables relating to Hiro-Saki). He was all about the flag and the wonders of modern factory wages, etc. Standard issue New Deal conservative aka Silent Majority.

    He spoke disparagingly of “do-gooder bleeding heart liberals”, often reminded me that “the squeaky wheel gets the oil”, said that MLK got what was coming to him for being a troublemaker. He was hardly a creature of what is commonly called ‘the Left’. (But he supported black men as fire fighters once Affirmative Action opened the door. He spoke reverently of Dudley, his first fire-fighting colleague even though he dismissed most Negroes (is still a proper and respectful designation, fashions be damned: if it was good enough for MLK, it’s good enough for me) as “spooks” and “rugheads”. Complicated person. Ain’t we all?

    But when Carter was running for president, he said, “The country needs this man. (I agreed and still do.) When Reagan was running, he said, “This man scares me. He seems to actually believe the bullshit coming out of his mouth.”

    Last time I saw him, 1997, he spoke very bitterly of how Clinton had ruined what was left of this country (and I tend to agree with him). As the internet mainstreamed, he said, “No way I’ll do that. I value my privacy too much.” As a former cryptographer, he understood that no code is uncrackable.

    I think he would’ve been very much for Obama — until Obama’s notorious Senate vote to implant data transponders in the national rectum, while McCain would’ve given him severe gastrointestinal distress. I suspect he’d have been for Ron Paul after that. As for whom he’d have finally voted for, I wonder if he would’ve made his first ‘protest vote’ (because he strongly believed one must vote). I can hear him muttering something about being unable to smell any lesser evil among the turds presented by the duopoly.

    I’m sure he would’ve dismissed Dubya as a lying weasel (true) and Gore as a lying android (true). He would have seen Trump for the shyster Trump is but, considering the alternatives (Lindsey Graham, the closet queen Boy Scout wafting Barney Fife cologne; Marc Rubio, the Catholic choir boy pimp; some family nimrod named Jeb; the afore-mentioned Cruz — that was a very entertaining cavalcade of clown car enthusiasts, that 2016 GOP primary), and in light of Trump’s obvious lack of affiliation with the duopoly farce, I suspect he’d have voted for Trump, kind of like how you dynamite a well to get things flowing again.

    Ah, the good old days. Now we have a flabby Weimar republic redux and a shadow puppet Hitler who, Lord bless his petulant ass, learned from Hitler what Hitler didn’t learn from Napoleon and the British Empire: don’t fuck with Russia.

    I’ll take what I can get. While I very much doubt Trump will be impeached, and suspect he will be re-elected, it terrifies me to think of the consequences of a successful impeachment and the horrors of whomever our paraschizoid plebiscite might allow to take charge of their Thorazine distribution network aka the USA gubmint.

    Is WTF? an epithet or a government acronym for Won Ton Foo?

    A song to honor the impeachment circus:

    Impeachable Offenses



    Being pro or anti immigrants is a generalization that you can buy into until tragedy strikes.

    I used to be pro – immigrant until 3 of them murdered my beloved nephew on August 2018. He was 25 years old.

    All 3 of them were in the country illegally and have been denied asylum 2 times. Yet they roamed free in the Filopapou hill, right across Acropolis, committing multiple assaults against Greeks and tourists. 2 of them were arrested by the police twice but they were left free to continue their humanitarian operations.

    Five days before they attacked my nephew they robbed two young German girls, sending one of them to the hospital with serious wounds.

    The other girl managed to take pictures of them and she gave them to the police. The police did nothing.

    Mind you, we are talking about the center of Athens, an area with thousands of visitors every day, Greeks and tourists.

    They killed my nephew for a phone.

    In a few days they were arrested. One of them is a minor and got a mild sentence. The other two got life in prison – that means that in 15 years, maybe less, they will be out.

    Up to now my dear sister, while devastated by the loss of her child, had to pay more than 20.000 euros to lawyers in order to get justice. The killers payed nothing, because their lawyers were provided by the state. That means that they were payed by my sister and me and all tax paying Greek citizens.

    Well, yes I guess I’m not very pro-immigrant today.

    Apart from the personal, there are some not so great facts re Greece

    1. Nobody knows exactly how many immigrants are in Greece right now. Official numbers are BS.

    2. For the majority of them the Greek authorities have no idea about their names, origin, ages etc. In the official indictment of one of the killers of my nephew he was called 3 different names.

    3. Greeks watch with apprehension illegal aliens having access to and enjoying benefits that the Greeks don’t even dream of like free apartments, monthly allowances, free public transportation and unlimited access to Greek NHS, a system on the verge of collapse.

    4. Most of these people they don’t want to stay in Greece so they do nothing to grow roots here.

    5. We don’t know how many of them are isis or whatever. We don’t know if some of them are turkey controlled sleeping agents of chaos.

    6. They will be more of them.

    7. Yes, the conditions in the detention-reception centers are appalling.

    8. The NGO s are operating as a parallel state with unprecedented disregard for the Greek authorities. Recently the minister of defense tried to visit a military camp that was used as a “center” for immigrants and he was denied entrance. Nobody knows how many of them operate in Greece, what exactly they are doing, how they are financed and by whom.

    9. One after the other military bases across Greece are being turned into immigrant facilities. Bear in mind that these bases are situated in very sensitive areas regarding security and defense.

    10. After years of austerity the social fabric in Greece has been shredded to pieces. The immigrant matter makes a dire situation worse. Never mind the “Greece is back” horseshit, Greeks are still between a rock and a hard place.

    11. The EU approach to the whole thing is disastrous. It’s not gonna get better.

    12. Greek state cannot protect its citizens.

    13. Greeks live in fear and uncertainty

    14. Current situation with Turkey doesn’t look promising.

    P.S Where is Susan Sarandon and Ai Wei Wei now?


    Oh, Dimitri, I am so sorry for the wound of your loss. I have nothing to offer but a few words in e-text, but they are deeply sincere. I have a favorite niece and her murder would make me want to drown her murderers in my tears.


    From the The End of U.S. Military Dominance: Unintended Consequences Forge a Multipolar World Order article posted by John Day:

    “While Iran does not want war, any pursuit of a nuclear arsenal may guarantee a conflagration in the Middle East. But I have long maintained that the risk of a nuclear war (once nuclear weapons have been acquired) does not exist, with them having a stabilizing rather than destabilizing effect, particularly in a multipolar environment.”

    This a highly rational argument that, alas, presupoposes highly rational behavior by people in power. I’m reminded of that good ol boy golem, Alan Greenspan, speaking of “irrational exuberance” tearing down what little sanity there ever was in 20th century banking capitalism.

    The Roman elites found it not too difficult to destroy their empire even when glaringly faced with the overhwhelming folly of their actions. When you get that many nascissistic sociopaths in charge, one of them’s bound to be a thanatosic lunatic. Add to this our growing disoposition to entrust necessary functions to jittery kludged software programs distributed over a global communications network and another simple fact: any weapon humanity makes, humanity uses.

    Anyone looking at the historical facts concerning the USA’s use of atomic bombs on Hiro-Saki will see that it was a lunatic decision based on power-mad paranoiac arrogance. Of course we would not maintain our nuclear monopoly. Of course we would soon be positioned on a thermonuclear precipice. Of course we would continue our delusional arrogance with insane notion like Star Wars defense (Hollywood is such a great sales tool for the crackpots in charge).

    Right now, Russia is an uncommonly sane nation, having learned bitter lesson from a century-plus of political insanity. Right now, Putin is firmly in charge, and Putin is that rare thing: a benevolent dictator, the only sane governance humanity has known since it invented the concept of soldiery. Right now, Russia’s military sup[remacy is so great that it would require a Hillary Clinton with a much higher IQ to get the Pentagon to go ballistic (ah, the cliche’ expression returns to its nuclear roots), and I say this knowing that Domninionists have deeply infested our military establishment. (Their vision of starting Armageddon features the West winning, which is currently impossible, and even they can recognize primal impossibility… I think.)

    But all this will change, yea, rapidly. We seem determined to trigger a major extinction event/evolutionary overhaul, and global climate change is proving an insufficient means of diong this. Meanwhile, all the major asteroids seem unwilling to actually hit our planet.

    I simply cannot imagine us not engaging in at least a “limited nuclear exchange” (charming phrase) before this century is over, probably before it even reaches middle age. Right now, it’s still a toddler, and toddlers are notoriously solipsistic.

    Yes, realist geoplolitical theory says that militarily balanced hegemons don’t directly attack each other, but instead chew up smaller nations in proxy wars, and so things like MAD provide stability. But said theory also says that such stabilities are fleeting and when they lapse, all hell breaks loose.

    The myth of Eden and the myth of Pandora’s Box share wisdom we can understand but not employ.

    I’ve shared this before. I share it again:

    Nuclear Testing fromm 1945-1998

    Just leave it on in the background. Like popcorn in the microwave, it will tell you when to pay attention.


    It’s a nuclear arms RACE. Races are contests where people win and lose. This is one where every reaches the finish line and nobody wins.


    I find it interesting that USA went off the gold standard (August 1971) 8 months after France made its first successful launch of a nuclear sub-launched nuclear-capable ICBM.


    Schiff has been talking for close to 2 hours again. What’s the idea, bore the Senate into submission? He’s already said everything multiple times, first in the House, then yesterday in the Senate. It’s just broken record territory now. People are going to turn their backs on him just for this.


    Penalty: Kicking Trump out of office, removing his name from the ballots, barring Trump from ever running or holding any public office.
    “People are going to turn their backs on him just for this.”
    Good thing. Maybe we are seeing the flapping of the wings of the butterfly.

    In other new …. the testing of the response system to a pandemic seems to be progressing smoothly.


    “What’s the idea, bore the Senate into submission?”

    I did a quick google of “Weimar Republic boring”. First result was a 2017 article from Foreign Affairs magazine with the title:

    “Why Does Germany Have Boring Politics?
    Good Institutions Thwart Radicalism”

    I doubt the article is worth reading except as a possible source of previously unknown details. Certainly not for its conclusion as stated in its headline.

    Radicalism is of course deemed bad almost universally even as we almost always applaud our given nations’ founding motherfuckers (I don’t want to indulge the sin of patriarchic chauvinism, so I chose a multi-gender term) for being radical enough to create a polity we could then attempt to sustain.

    Boring breeds lack of involvement, which the elites always prefer. Rabble-rousing is considered a bad thing, but who defines who is/isn’t rabble? Deplorables on the right, snowflakes on the left. How dare members of a democratic republic enjoy universal adult suffrage? Don’t we know that those people are wrong or too dumb to know the difference between wrong and right? Right? (ahem) I said, “RIGHT?!?” Agree with me or I’ll socially belittle you, you deplorable snowflake twitter-pates.

    I’m onboard with Dr.D. that work is what makes human reality, for good or ill. (I remind us that work is not innocent. Work is always about exploiting resources some other critter, human or other, needs to not watch its offspring starve.) …[pause to read a text from someone Working with Bernie to build a coalition or something. deleted]

    Work is what primarily interests us. Work is how we learn. Play, btw, is hard work to attain a preferred state of experience.

    I’ve often derided libertarianism for being a bunch of, to quote dear old Russell Kirk, “chirping secretaries”, but that’s only in relation to modern mass vote partisan politics.

    As a basic personal political philosophy (and those radicals were right: politics is personal or else it’s merely oppression) libertarianism is the only sane political concept I know of. Libertarianism is based on the concept of work, and people tend to respect things they’ve worked for more than things taken for granted including those specious notions that all men are created equal and possess certain inalienable rights. Was it Carlyle or roaring old madman Calhoun who dismissed those lines as bunk? I agree. Saying a thing is doesn’t make it so although saying it often enough tends to convince people it is say if one says so.

    ( John C. Calhoun aka Jubilation T. Cornpone )

    Everyone has to fight to be free, said some Tom Petty dude. Freedom is a constant struggle, I recall chanting at a political rally marching across the Golden Gate bridge led by Angela Davis (very distinguished and elegant person, as I recall, who smoked a meerschaum pipe and dressed with dignified flair). Being dedicated to said premise, i.e., personal liberty, I couldn’t stick with the chant, which in entirety was ‘Freedom is a constant struggle, free the six now!’ (the six being political prisoners of the place/era) and replaced my contribution with ‘Fucking is a constant hard-on, fuck a duck now!’.

    Bored people tend to be compliant and docile… until they either grow too bored and try to ‘improve the system’ (rather like prisoners voting for new guards or something) or their rulers fuck up so much (as they inevitably do) that the rabble is roused to do something, usually worse than what their leaders inflicted but oh so much more interesting, it requiring actual work to be part of a revolution or such.

    Methinks this shrill Mr. Schiff might bore the Senate into something very dangerous: taking serious action.

    But we live in exciting times — when we’re not too bored to pay attention, that is.

    Sorry to be such a blatherer today, Raul. I was up most of the night with unpleasant aspects of a rare medical condition that, among other things, does wonky things to the blood supply to my brain that leave me too mentally weak to put all this graphomania to proper work: a novel I threaten to finish someday. (Ye bin worned.) So, like many scopundrels, I scurry to that last refuge: political discussion.


    Oh, one last thing. Before I take heat for or am dismissed because of quoting Calhoun and deeming him “wise”, please note I also called him a roaring madman. Being raised the son of a slave-holding household generally inflicts social madness on a person.

    His argument that slavery was a “positive good” was as specious as the Declaration of Independence’s assertion of men being born equal with certain inalienable rights. Men are born into what they are born into, period, and no two humans are equal. Ignoring these truths have given us the uber-divisive identity politics of today which prevent people from taking genuine common cause against their elite oppressors, and instead have them squabbling over relatively minor privileges.

    Any man who would order a man whipped because he ran away from bondage to seek his own fortunes, even as a penniless fugitive, deserves to be whipped in kind and then FORCED into fugitive exile.

    Not by some almight social institution but by someone who actually gives a good goddam, a kind of person seemingly in short supply. But ’twas ever thus.


    Portrait of a Madman


    Obviously a madman, but madman often see things most don’t. Even in defending slavery, Calhoun showed the traps that “the North” (to apply a very crude and overly broad label) was leading us into.

    Plus, I was born in South Carolina and know the culture well. Have a soft spot for Southern madmen, I does.


    ‘We seem determined to trigger a major extinction event/evolutionary overhaul, and global climate change is proving an insufficient means of diong this. ‘

    I misspoke, as the senators say. What I meant to convey is that it isn’t happening fast enough to suit our obsession with hurtling ourselves into oblivion.


    Bosco::. Nice picture of puppets! Looks like maybe Jimmy or Clark?

    As for Trump appearing, I believe Obama paved the way with his “Change You Can Believe In” slogan. He failed to deliver any change except to further insitutionalize the corruption, a Chicago style!

    Obama was the critical ingredient. Without Obama there could never have been a Trump.

    So voters voted for Trump, a disruptor! The status quo is being burnt to the ground daily as we speak!

    Now voters have “Change They Can Believe In”, New York style!

    John Day

    Sorry for the rare medical condition shorting your cerebral perfusion.
    I hope it’s rare and transient.
    That Calhoun dude has little fingers and hands. Not a farmer.
    Pre-Aqua-Net Big Hair, too. Musta’ been hard to do that.

    John Day

    What would a 10 cent deposit per plastic bottle do?
    Pick them up. Get 10 cents each, and use them to generate electricity. They burn fine. http://energyskeptic.com/2019/vaclav-smil-on-natural-gas-ethane-and-plastics/
    Coca-Cola will not ditch single-use plastic bottles because consumers still want them, the firm’s head of sustainability has told the BBC. Customers like them because they reseal and are lightweight, said Bea Perez. The firm, which is one of the biggest producers of plastic waste, has pledged to recycle as many plastic bottles as it uses by 2030. But environmental campaigners argue many Coke bottles would still go uncollected and end up in landfill.

    V. Arnold

    Sorry for the rare medical condition shorting your cerebral perfusion.
    I hope it’s rare and transient.

    Oh, so that’s what it is? I wondered… 😉

    V. Arnold

    Then again, deaths went from 9 to 17 overnight. Still caution, but no panic.

    The decades of forced vaccinations have had a negative effect on our immune systems, IMO.
    The last great flu epidemic was just over 100 years ago.
    In the interim we have become far too “clean” in our life styles. Disinfectants everywhere; soaps, detergents (both clothes washing, and dishes), mouthwashes, tooth pastes, and almost all aspects of modern living.
    Us old farts grew up eating dirt, worms, and handling all forms of reptiles, amphibians, insects, dogs, cats, and pet rats, mice, and hampsters. Then eating our sandwhiches, fruits and what have you, all without washing our hands.
    We lived and thrived in a world of germs from myriad sources; thereby building our immune systems.
    For many, life today is a sterile existence making times ripe for the next epidemic, IMO…


    Hunter Biden Ordered To Explain Why He Shouldn’t Be Held In Contempt Of Court

    An Arkansas judge ordered Hunter Biden on Monday to appear in court on Jan. 29 to explain why he shouldn’t be held in contempt for his failure to produce information about his finances in relation to a heated child support dispute.

    Independence County Circuit Court Judge Holly Meyer ordered Hunter Biden to appear to “show cause, if any exists, as to why he should not be held in contempt for any of the alleged violations of this Court’s orders.”


    “Looks like maybe Jimmy or Clark?”

    JImmy Stewart, bless his honorable soul.

    “As for Trump appearing, I believe Obama paved the way with his “Change You Can Believe In” slogan. He failed to deliver any change except to further insitutionalize the corruption, a Chicago style!”

    Aye, major conservative/indie backlash. I don’t think Trump can begin to damage the republic as much as Obama did, cuzs Obama lied so much more and so much more persuasively than Dubya or Clenis or… have to go back to Reagan, maybe, for a more disillusiooning glibster.

    “That Calhoun dude has little fingers and hands. Not a farmer.”

    Aye. He was a plantationer. His job was to over overseers to make sure they made the slaves performed as expected.

    V.Arnold: I have HHT. Genetic. My body makes lousy capillaries. Mine is relatively mild, meaning that I just get bad nosebleeds very often. They require me to shove big old wads of kleenex up the offending nostril. That places gobs of pressure on one of the three main blood flow regulators feeding the brain. I can feel the correlative part of my brain go wonky from it, and it inflicts major vicious depressions that only weed or opiates alleviate, and I’m tired of both of them, so I have finally learned to stay clean.

    During periods of frequent heavy bleeding, I go seriously anemic real fast, which also creates a form of major depression.

    But I was a self-pitying fool long before the HHT began manifesting around age 30. 😉 And now I have a groovy new word to use to express my woe: cerebral perfusion.

    Since I can’t sing like this guy, words like cerebral perfusion are how I impress the ladies with my sorrowful state:

    When Music Spoke Straight to the Heart

    I got no complaints. No one’s murdered my kin, and I was phuysically pretty vigorous until 2003 or so when it kicked in hard. Used to climb mountains and such. But I do have on major complaint: it sucks to start bleeding all over your wife whiole we’re having sex. Kinda ruins dah mood.

    Sing wid me now:

    We Gotta Set Dah Mood


    MInor correction: Trump lies more than anyone I’ve encountered except maybe a gubernatorial candidate for Washington state circa 2000, but he does it so much it’s obvious.

    Obama, alas, was really really good at it. Little shit.

    V. Arnold

    Well, oh joy, oh joy, not! The Bangkok Post reports a 73 yo woman in our neighboring province (Nakhon Pathom), has the Corona virus.
    Way too close for comfort; about 10 km. (6 miles). Nakhon Pathom is a big province and it doesn’t say where she is in Nakhon Pathom.
    No panic, just concern…

    V. Arnold

    V.Arnold: I have HHT. Genetic. My body makes lousy capillaries.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT), also known as Osler–Weber–Rendu disease and Osler–Weber–Rendu syndrome, is a rare autosomal dominant genetic disorder that leads to abnormal blood vessel formation in the skin, mucous membranes, and often in organs such as the lungs, liver, and brain.[1][2]
    It may lead to nosebleeds, acute and chronic digestive tract bleeding, and various problems due to the involvement of other organs. Treatment focuses on reducing bleeding from blood vessel lesions, and sometimes surgery or other targeted interventions to remove arteriovenous malformations in organs. Chronic bleeding often requires iron supplements and sometimes blood transfusions. HHT is transmitted in an autosomal dominant fashion, and occurs in one in 5,000–8,000 people in North America.[1][2]
    The disease carries the names of Sir William Osler, Henri Jules Louis Marie Rendu, and Frederick Parkes Weber, who described it in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    Major bummer; sorry to hear that.


    I hate it when the soft-bots turn an honest ASCII winkie into some kindergarten emoji.


    “Pre-Aqua-Net Big Hair”

    SOmeone will name their band this before the next decade arrives, I predict.


    “The decades of forced vaccinations have had a negative effect on our immune systems, IMO.”

    Aye. And then, when we eradicated in the will all smallpox, it turns out we cleverly kept them alive in various gubmint labs just waiting for some terrorist ass to blow it up after several generations have developed, collectively speaking, less resistance.

    It’s not like humanity knows wehat it’s doing or anything. It just does stuff, period,


    “Us old farts grew up eating dirt, worms, and handling all forms of reptiles, amphibians, insects, dogs, cats, and pet rats, mice, and hampsters. Then eating our sandwhiches, fruits and what have you, all without washing our hands.”

    Yes and no. My parents were the first generation to have public hygiene taught in school. Washing hands is good. But disinfecting entire living areas, treating germs as if they were alien conquerors from outer space in some Lovecraft story, that has made us very susceptible indeed.

    10-20 years or so, everyone’s gonna be wearing habibs, I suspect.


    “…..73 yo woman in our neighboring province (Nakhon Pathom), has the Corona virus.”

    Let us know how she got it ….. 73 yrs old WOW!

    V. Arnold

    “…..73 yo woman in our neighboring province (Nakhon Pathom), has the Corona virus.”

    Let us know how she got it ….. 73 yrs old WOW!

    From Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom is the next province to the west; then, still going west, is our province, Ratchaburi. We border Burma, another 80 kilometers west.
    Yeah, almost 2 years younger than me. I’ll be 75 in a couple of months.
    I will certainly keep TAE informed as the story developes…
    Life must go on, but with a wee bit more caution than before… 🙂

    V. Arnold

    Update #1:
    Of the 4 confirmed cases here; all visited or were from Wuhan in China.
    Wuhan has been quarantined by the Chinese…

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