Wednesday 24th of April 2019

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by Gus Leonisky on Tue, 2019-04-23 21:58


Arrested Saturday, journalist Gaspard Glanz, specializing in the coverage of social movements, alsways has had a tense relations with the police.

The arrest of independent journalist Gaspard Glanz, in full act XXIII yellow vests, has attracted a large amount of support on social networks.

Arrested Saturday in Paris, for "participation in a group to commit violence or degrading" and "insulting persons representing public authority", he spent 48 hours in custody and will be judged on October 18 in a Paris court. Meanwhile, he has been forbidden to set foot in Paris on Saturdays until that date, as well as May 1st. This is a decision that his lawyer Raphael Kempf intends to challenge and which, according to him, "undermines the freedom of the press and that of working" of Gaspard Glanz.

Specialising in social movements

For a few years this photojournalist, head of the agency Taranis News, which he founded in 2011, has specialized in the coverage of social movements, including, in recent months, that of the yellow vests.

Diplomed with a degree in criminal sociology from the University of Rennes, he is considered "one of the leaders of the new generation of daredevil journalists who do not hesitate to go where the protesters and police officers 'confront', as described by L'Obs in 2016. This has given him "a dozen scars caused by shooting Flashball", he says. And he has already been arrested three times in the past: during the COP 21 in November 2015, during protests against the labor law in 2016, and in October of the same year during the evacuation of the Calais jungle.

Sued for defaming police with publication on Facebook of a picture of several policemen, with the inscription "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer", the Nazi slogan, he was eventually let off. He was also fined € 500 for stealing a walkie-talkie, an action he has always denied, claiming that the walkie-talkie had fallen from a policeman's pocket.

During this arrest he had also discovered that he was labeled "S" (criminal considered as an "individual likely to engage in violent actions"). His lawyers challenged this charge before the Council of State in February. But their request was rejected. As Gaspard Glanz describes himself as a "street journalist", practicing "urban journalism, for young people", who is interested "in the crowd in general: festivals, demonstrations, rallies", the Parisian police consider him a dark character, "close to the ultraleft" or "zadistes", according to Le Point.

"His highly tense relations with the police are also due to his revelations of police behaviour," adds the Libération. Though he denies any militancy and says he is "independent", he regularly denounces police brutality. He has also provided several video footage that helped compromise Alexandre Benalla. "Nothing to make him popular with the people in power," says the Libération.



Translation by Jules Letambour.

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by Gus Leonisky on Tue, 2019-04-23 21:22

Climate change activist Greta Thunberg: 'Listen to climate scientists'

Teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg has said that climate change is an "existential crisis" and has urged politicians to "listen to the scientists".

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the onus was on "corporations and states" to bring about change.




The release of methane and carbon dioxide from thawing permafrost will accelerate global warming and add up to $70tn (£54tn) to the world’s climate bill, according to the most advanced study yet of the economic consequences of a melting Arctic.

If countries fail to improve on their Paris agreement commitments, this feedback mechanism, combined with a loss of heat-deflecting white ice, will cause a near 5% amplification of global warming and its associated costs, says the paper, which was published on Tuesday in Nature Communications.

The authors say their study is the first to calculate the economic impact of permafrost melt and reduced albedo – a measure of how much light that hits a surface is reflected without being absorbed – based on the most advanced computer models of what is likely to happen in the Arctic as temperatures rise. It shows how destabilised natural systems will worsen the problem caused by man-made emissions, making it more difficult and expensive to solve.

They assessed known stocks of frozen organic matter in the ground up to 3 metres deep at multiple points across the Arctic. These were run through the world’s most advanced simulation software in the US and at the UK Met Office to predict how much gas will be released at different levels of warming. Even with supercomputers, the number crunching took weeks because the vast geography and complex climate interactions of the Arctic throw up multiple variables. The researchers then applied previous economic impact models to assess the likely costs.


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by Gus Leonisky on Tue, 2019-04-23 20:23

I believe Pravda in English has been "terminated"... I do not know why but I suspect foul play. This is what comes up when trying to log in:




I will have to read it in Russian, but it's a bit rusty...

by Gus Leonisky on Tue, 2019-04-23 19:59

Taking Back ‘We the People’ From the Left

Constitutional populism, from Barry Goldwater to Donald Trump, built the modern right and changed the world.

What is populism? Rather cynically, Merriam-Webster first defines a populist “as a member of a political party claiming to represent the common people.” Its second definition is less polemical: “a believer in the rights, wisdom, or virtues of the common people.”

Modern American populism grounded in the Constitution has been a major force in American politics, especially in the conservative movement, for nearly six decades. Since the Draft Goldwater Committee of 1962 to 1963, constitutional populism has helped to shape the politics of American conservatism and its chosen political instrument, the Republican Party. Populism on the Left as personified by Senator Bernie Sanders and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is far different—with its socialist, secular, globalist, and utopian roots.

Donald Trump’s capture of the Republican presidential nomination and then the presidency in 2016 was the latest manifestation of conservative populism’s consequential role. Trump tapped into the deep populist reservoir in the heartland of America that stretches from the South to the Midwest in states like Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. In his victory speech, Trump promised that “the forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer,” referring to working- and middle-class Americans left behind economically and culturally in the fast-paced Age of Information. Ironically, Franklin D. Roosevelt used the same language, invoking “the forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid” in a 1932 campaign speech. But Roosevelt and Trump had far different ideas of who the “forgotten” American was.

FDR’s forgotten American was an out-of-luck worker stuck between the breadline and a Hooverville whom Roosevelt would rescue through the New Deal and add to the new political coalition he was building. Trump was non-ideological with his “Make America Great Again” slogan, but targeted so-called Reagan Democrats. He was the latest in a long line of populist politicians on the Right.

The Forgotten American has had different names over the years—Silent Majority, Moral Majority, Tea Party—but has sought most of the same things: a respect for the Founders and the founding documents, a less intrusive federal government, a balanced budget and a reduced national debt, a code of law and order that favors the victim and not the criminal, and a strong national defense. The Forgotten American loves America, which he considers exceptional, and is protective of its Judeo-Christian heritage and historic symbols like the American flag. He is more conservative when times are good and more populist when the times are not so good, but always looks to the Constitution as his political compass.


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This explanation does not make "right-wing populism" correct about de-mo-cra-cy. In most political populism, exploitation of ignorance and prejudices "of the people" is paramount. For most people to become aware and understand issues such as global warming demands an enormous amount of efforts and some reliance on "experts". There are some good experts and some crooked ones. Since more than 2000 years ago, we've been told by the Rabbis to be aware of false prophets, but we buy the snake oil anyway. The price is cheap. And it's hard to know the real ones from the fake ones. Unfortuntely, on some issues like wars and global warming, we cannot buy the crap any more. Recent wars, either from the Republicans or the Democrats have been horrid affairs. Denying the concept of global warming will cost the earth. Populism is not "the rights, wisdom, or virtues of the common people" but should be. At present populism is crass, fearful and ignorant.



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by Gus Leonisky on Tue, 2019-04-23 19:20

In the video with Jenny Brockie and professor Stephen Schneider above, there was one segment about filling a bathtub. Apparently the analogy was not fully understood by Doctor Ian Rivlin. With no disrespect to the doctor, we have to make a few points.


Most of the points about global warming are made in and in Antarctica conundrum. There are also many other Gus Leonisky posts to see.


But some of the comments made about the video extract (2011),, were sarcastic and some completely wrong. Here on this site we're not afraid of tackling big issues, including giving "little easy" bites on quantum mechanics and about global warming. 


The good doctor Rivlin begs for fairness:


Please don't be offensive - I haven't been offensive to you or anyone else. Politeness costs nothing. I have degrees in physics, engineering and medicine. I've studied climate science since the early 1970's. Schneider said we were all going to succumb to global COOLING in 1972. He had his ardent supporters 40 years ago, who were just as passionate as the present AGW proponents.  (Where are they now?) You have been mislead by this false prophet's disingenuity.

Yes sir... Read again (and again) But it is about the bathtub that this article is about. One of Rivlin (possible) supporter, John Eurek comments:

Funny, If you don't change the drain size, as the water level goes up, the pressure at the drain will raise. This will cause the water to drain faster.  Nature can balance herself fairly well.  Which is what makes his tub anology [sic] so funny, if the inflow goes from 1.0 gpm to 1.03 gpm the water level will raise --- A little, and the tub will find a new equilibrium, it will not flood the house.


In fairness to all, this is crap. The image of the filing bathtub may not have been the best analogy to describe global warming, but there is a point (an EXTRA portion of gallons per minute) at which, the outflow won't match the inflow — and the tub will spill out. This is where we're at.


And I believe Dr Ian Rivlin did not mention the cumulation of anthropogenic CO2 as he mentioned "3 per cent". At present we're at more than 25 per cent of natural maximum (we have added more than 100 ppm on a natural maximum of 300 ppm) of CO2 for the last 500,000 years. I hope that since this episode of Insight, Ian has gone back to his denialist books and seen how they have been wrong. But who knows... Meanwhile, calling professor Stephen Schneider views "false prophet's disingenuity" is below the belt.


I have been studying global warming since 1979 and I have observed major climatic changes since the 1950s. Daily, I study clouds (since the 1950s), posting many pictures of such. I have studied the Milankovitch cycles, investigated the time when the earth was "iced-up" and I have studied paleogeology in major details, including the major (near) extinctions. On this site, I only use titbits of my information. I have studied weather in both hemisphere and spent time in quite a few countries around the globe. I have also studied volcanoes under professor ..., I wont mention any names here. I have studied quantum mechanics in the 1960s and have been updating my knowledge regularly, daily. I did some in depth studies of atomic bomb and fast-breeder (plutonium based) power generator technology in the 1970s. I did my first cartoons in 1951. I also write about "philosophy" and have many friends, mostly in Germany, with whom we discuss ideas. Mad? Me? Sure...


I will point out that my exclusive article at is only a thinned version of a more complex study of global warming, made for people to easily understand the problem, which I have harped on about on this site since its creation in 2005.

I cannot stress any more:


GLOBAL WARMING IS REAL AND ANTHROPOGENIC.  And the risk factors are getting more and more dangerous. 


I leave the ball in your court.


(note I had to remove some links otherwise this comment was rejected by the site.)


"Schneider said we were all going to succumb to global COOLING in 1972?" I do not know if Schneider said such but one must look at the lack of information back then, when sciences were still iffy on the subject of global warming. The end of WW2 was only 27 years prior and (not strangely) things had cooled a bit after the war, pardon the pun about the cold war but this was about climate as well. And according to the Milankovitch cycles, we should be going towards an ice age. 


Before hand, svante Arrhenius had done some nifty calculations which were very close to the mark, back then in 1896-7. The amount of present information and observations available to correlate Global Warming should place doubt in the dustbin and we should start seriously do better mitigation than what we're doing presently.

by Gus Leonisky on Tue, 2019-04-23 17:40


One of the major problem in the second video (2011) is that at no stage has professor Steven Schneider been able (or allowed) to explain HOW GLOBAL WARMING WORKS (it's complicated, yet far simpler than quantum mechanics. This was quite tragic as he tried to EXPLAIN but was cut off by the moderator who threw questions at PEOPLE WHO BASICALLY KNEW NOTHING ABOUT THE SUBJECT, except about the hype. Should you wish to know with more precision the problem of global warming go to:


Jenny Brockie included... (including an Ian Plimer video rant as a counterpoint to professor Stephen Schneider was RIDICULOUS)...

by Gus Leonisky on Tue, 2019-04-23 15:44

THE MUELLER REPORT is now (mostly) public. The lurid speculation from Democrats and chunks of the corporate media that President Donald Trump was somehow a Russian agent was false. But the report, and Mueller’s previous indictments, should persuade any reasonable person that the Russian government did indeed intervene in the 2016 election in support of Trump.

The response from the U.S. political system to Russia’s meddling has been uniformly appalling, although in different ways from different factions. The whole thing’s such a degrading catastrophe that it’s tempting to give up on politics and human beings generally. But since we’re stuck with both, let’s take a step back and consider some profound advice on this subject from George Washington.

Incredibly enough, Washington called this whole thing back in 1796 as he was leaving office as America’s first president. His Farewell Address, as it became known, was until the 20th century as celebrated as the Gettysburg Address is now. The Senate still reads it every year on Washington’s birthday.

America’s founding fathers, Washington included, had grievous flaws. But they were serious people, who genuinely risked death to rebel against the British Empire. Because their lives depended on thinking deeply about politics, they did so in a way that few U.S. politicians have since.

So we should pay attention to the fact that much of Washington’s Farewell Address is devoted to a specific warning: “Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.”

These words may sound overwrought or anachronistic. But Washington wasn’t president of the current United States, the center of the largest empire in world history. In fact, Washington implied in his Farewell Address that the U.S. could be considered “small or weak” and faced rivals who were “great and powerful.” Moreover, he had direct experience with the efficacy of foreign interference: The American Revolution would never have succeeded without French troops and matériel, provided by Louis XVI in an effort to humiliate his hated British rivals. This support was so critical that French commanders and Washington jointly accepted the British surrender at Yorktown that ended the war. (Then, in perhaps history’s greatest example of blowback, regular French citizens were so impressed by the American Revolution that they staged one of their own and decapitated Louis. Whoops!)

Americans have almost totally forgotten the relevant subsequent history. But the 223 years since the Farewell Address have proven that Washington’s anxieties were justified. Foreign influence indeed has repeatedly and perniciously warped U.S. politics.

The Civil War would likely have ended in a Union victory years earlier if Great Britain hadn’t unofficially intervened on the side of the Confederacy: The South had a minuscule industrial base and needed the British to build their navy and manufacture their guns. After the war, the U.S. forced Great Britain to pay $15 million for damages caused by the ships it had built for the rebels.


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The XYZ Affair was a diplomatic incident between French and United States diplomats that resulted in a limited, undeclared war known as the Quasi-War. U.S. and French negotiators restored peace with the Convention of 1800, also known as the Treaty of Mortefontaine.

The XYZ Affair and the Quasi-War with France, 1798–1800

The XYZ Affair was a diplomatic incident between French and United States diplomats that resulted in a limited, undeclared war known as the Quasi-War. U.S. and French negotiators restored peace with the Convention of 1800, also known as the Treaty of Mortefontaine.


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by Gus Leonisky on Tue, 2019-04-23 15:18

Frauenkirche Expert on Devastating Fire

'Notre Dame Reconstruction Will Take Years'

The damage to Notre Dame cathedral is massive: The roof was destroyed, a spire collapsed and the stone was exposed to immense heat. What will efforts to rebuild look like? We asked one of the engineers behind the reconstruction of Dresden's Frauenkirche church.


In Germany, architects, art historians, structural engineers and construction workers faced a similar challenge in the 1990s. They wanted to restore Dresden's Frauenkirche, which had been little more than a pile of rubble since its destruction. The magnificent Baroque church was gutted by fire during the air raids on Dresden in World War II and collapsed on the morning of Feb. 15, 1945.

What did the experts learn from the experience? And what do they believe the next steps will be for Notre Dame? We asked Manfred Curbach, a professor and engineer who served on the committee that rebuilt Dresden's iconic structure.

About Manfred Curbach

Manfred Curbach is a professor and the director of the Institute of Concrete Structures at the Faculty of Civil Engineering at TU Dresden university. He also served as a member of the building committee for the reconstruction of Dresden's Frauenkirche church. He has contributed significantly to the development of carbon concrete and is a member of numerous scientific committees.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Curbach, how do you rebuild a church like Notre Dame, which is more than 800 years old?

Manfred Curbach: That depends greatly on how severe the damage to the walls is. The Frauenkirche in Dresden was also destroyed by fire during World War II, with the church's interior burning for 26 hours. The natural stones from which the Frauenkirche and most of Notre Dame are built stand up well to fire. The problem lies in the heat generated by the fire.


Curbach: The high temperatures only slowly penetrate into the rock. So, it gets extremely hot on the outside but remains comparatively cool inside. That temperature difference creates tension in the stone: Parts can burst out or the whole stone can shatter. Entire pillars collapsed inside the Frauenkirche.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What about Notre Dame?

Curbach: We don't know that yet. The fire raged mainly in the vaulted roof. It's made of wood, but it is set on top of the walls. Some weak points in the vault have apparently already been discovered. The big question is how hot the stone became. If just a bit of material broke off, then it can be repaired quite easily. Individual stones can also be replaced if they are damaged. But first they have to examine how stable the structure now is in its entirety.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You saw the photos. How great do you think the chances are that the fire destabilized the entire cathedral?

Curbach: Given that the fire department arrived on the scene quickly, the damage to the walls is certainly not as dramatic as it was in the Frauenkirche. It's likely that stability has been broadly preserved. The cathedral's buttresses, which help support the load born by the walls and the weight of the roof, seem to be undamaged. That's a good sign.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: How can the roof be rebuilt?

Curbach: It's important to have good plans. There's a 3D model of Notre Dame, which will make reconstruction considerably easier, because you know exactly how the beams were arranged before the fire. But it will nonetheless be a great challenge, because Gothic buildings are very delicate and have many fine elements. Notre Dame is a perfect example of this construction style, including the spire that collapsed in the fire.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: After the fire in Notre Dame, will wood once again be used to rebuild the roof framework?

Curbach: I would assume so. Most other materials would probably be too heavy. Gothic builders didn't calculate the stability of their buildings the way that we do today. But they had a lot of experience and knew which materials they could combine in what way to ensure stability. If the people in charge decide on an alternative material, it would at least need to have properties similar to wood.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: And the roof itself?

Curbach: It's difficult to say whether lead will be used here again. It will come down to whether monument conservationists prevail and insist that everything be restored absolutely true to the original, or whether deviations are acceptable. If modern materials are accepted, it would also be possible to install modern insulation with foils and mats.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: How long do you think the rebuilding process will take?

Curbach: In this instance, bureaucratic hurdles are at least comparatively small, given that the cathedral is of great importance to Paris and, so far, all agree that the damage should be repaired. But Notre Dame is also a huge building. When we rebuilt the Frauenkirche, it took almost as long as the construction of the original building, even though we had cranes and modern technology at our disposal. Of course, it took more than 100 years to build the Notre Dame: I don't think it will take that long. But there is a lot of logistics and planning involved in a project like this. The roof truss was a work of art. Reconstruction will take years, perhaps even more than a decade.


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is paris burning?



For decades, the communist regime of East Germany refused to rebuild the most historic and well-known landmark of Dresden -- the city's dominant Frauenkirche church. Its ruins remained untouched as a symbol against war and as a memorial for those who were killed.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the church was finally rebuilt. Together with other sights and monuments, it now dominates the skyline of Dresden once again.

(see image at top.)

Painting of Dresden below by Canaletto (photo by Gus Leonisky):







by Gus Leonisky on Tue, 2019-04-23 14:44

Former Water Minister Barnaby Joyce spent $80 million buying back floodwater from a Cayman Islands company set up by Energy Minister Angus Taylor. The Twitter sleuths who first uncovered this controversy, Jommy Tee and Ronni Salt, report exclusively for IA.

Australia: July 2007

It was a winter’s day in July when an agent from Allan’s Off The Shelf – a firm specialising in setting up and registering companies – visited the Australian Security and Investment Commission (ASIC) offices and lodged a set of registration papers, paid the requisite fee, and established a new company. 

The company that was born that day was Eastern Australia Agriculture Pty Ltd(EAA) and its owners likely held lofty ambitions for its future success.


A lot of water under the bridge... then:


It would not be until 2015 that the fortunes of EAA and EAI changed, a time that coincides with Barnaby Joyce becoming the minister with responsibility for water. Joyce would ditch his long-held opposition to water buybacks and take-up an unsolicited offer from EAA — a deal that resulted in the Coalition Government paying $80 million to EAA. This deal that attracted much ire and controversy when it was concluded and made public in July 2017. 

Matthew Bickford-Smith and Peter Cottle were EAA’s signatories on the relevant contracts. Tony Reid was both an adviser to EAA and EAI during the buyback process and involved in discussions between with Department of Agriculture and Water Resources during the negotiation phase.

After a series of allegations are made about the water buyback deal on Twitter in mid-April 2019, a spokesperson for Angus Taylor announces to Buzzfeed on 17 April 2019:

Allegations currently online that link Minister Taylor with EAA’s sale of water entitlements are incorrect.

Minister Taylor has not had any direct or indirect financial interest in EAA or its parent company at any time. He has never been a shareholder or held an equitable interest in either company. He severed all advisory ties with EAA well before entering Parliament.​​​​​


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by Gus Leonisky on Tue, 2019-04-23 13:40

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation is finally out and here’s the bottom line: he found no conspiracy between the Kremlin and Donald Trump’s campaign to fix the 2016 presidential election.

That’s good news for the president and the country. But it may only be the beginning of a new dilemma for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 

Even in redacted form, the Mueller report is chock full of information that portrays Trump and some members of his team in an unfavorable light. We knew from Attorney General William Barr’s summary that Mueller would not take a firm position on whether the president obstructed justice. But the special counsel laid it on much thicker than the Barr letter implied.

“Wrongdoing is more likely to involve the ways in which the president behaved, used his power, expressed himself, and dealt with underlings and with law enforcement in response to the investigation of Russia’s interference in our election and of his campaign’s involvement in any such interference,” Yuval Levin predicted. “We probably already know most of what the special counsel discovered about these things, but not all—and in any case having it all laid out in one place may mean it adds up in ways that will be striking.”


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