Saturday 20th of April 2019

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by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2019-04-18 14:34
Thanks to the internet, we are bombarded 24/7 with news of disasters and impending disasters, to the point of ennui. Are things really as bad as the media and Hollywood say? Or are we headed for a happy techno future?

The other evening, in search of some entertainment, I stumbled upon a film by Australian director John Hillcoat entitled, The Road (2009). This riveting post-apocalyptic drama focuses on the travails of a father and son as they set out on foot across a devastated American wasteland following some cataclysmic disaster.

What motivates the characters to persevere in their impossible journey, which presents them with every sort of imaginable and unimaginable nightmare, is simply the quest for survival. Why anyone would want to survive amid such total devastation is another question.

An interesting element of the film is that we are never told what caused so much destruction. All we know is that some overnight event turned America, and possibly the entire planet, into a scorched wasteland. Hillcoat plays on our modern fears that some uncontrollable event, either by force of nature or man-made, is lurking just around the corner, waiting to devour us. The media is certainly culpable for giving life to these fears.

By way of a few examples, consider the terrors lurking in deep space. It seems that every month or so NASA discovers some new asteroid or, worse, a gang of asteroids that "just missed" hitting earth by millions of miles, sparing us yet again the fate of the dodo bird.

But if death by asteroid isn't your cup of tea, you may tremble at the thought of the supervolcano bubbling just below the surface in the US Northwest. Known to scientists as the Yellowstone Caldera, America's largest volcanic system last blew its magna some 640,000 years ago. Volcano watchers are giddy about the prospects of it blowing again in our geologically short lifetime.

Although the chance of some such disaster ruining our morning cup of coffee is low, just the possibility that one could occur has gripped our collective imagination. This dark, foreboding view of an unpredictable future is one that tends to dominate Western mentality. A quick glance at the sheer number of dystopian Hollywood productions over the years seems to validate the point.

The problem is that we have been conditioned to believe in the inevitability of an Orwellian future that it risks becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or perhaps Hollywood and the media are serving as our collective conscience, so to speak, warning tinkering humans that we have pushed the boundaries of science and technology too far and are now risking severe consequences - much like the mythical character Prometheus, who was punished for stealing fire from Zeus and giving it to mortals.

And perhaps in no other field has mankind pushed the technological envelope further than on the battlefield.

World War III, the final frontier?

If ever there was an event that could literally wipe out the planet in the blink of an eye, WWIII is it. As Albert Einstein once quipped, "I do not know with what weapons WWIII will be fought, but WWIV will be fought with sticks and stones." Such a grim prophecy may have thus far succeeded in cooling enthusiasm for a global conflict, but it has not thwarted the belief that, in the words of Clausewitz, "war is the continuation of politics by other means."

This type of thinking is no longer realistic unless we are willing to accept the gravest consequences.

Consider the dire situation in Syria, where about a dozen different players are now jockeying for position, to understand the incredibly high stakes involved. In one of the latest developments, a Russian reconnaissance plane was accidentally shot down by a Syrian missile as Israeli fighter jets were conducting an illicit raid on the sovereign Arab Republic. Further tragedy was averted, but the incident brought the overall climate in Syria to an even higher degree of uncertainty.

In the past, nations had a tendency to rush into war with great gusto. However, the atomic bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the waning moments of WWII had a way of changing our minds on the subject. Yet, at the same time, that cruel lesson has done nothing to curb our willingness to stockpile enough weapons of mass destruction to destroy the planet many times over.

What is the answer to this deadly conundrum? The choice seems rather straightforward. Although it will be a tall order, especially given how much money is generated by military expenditure, political leaders must ultimately accept the fact that resorting to military means to resolve global issues is an extinct form of 'politics'. It is a paradox, but the awesome lethality of weapons of mass destruction has made war nearly impossible.

Either we accept this fact or understand that humans themselves, together with the planet and its other myriad life forms, will be extinct. It's the simplest choice of all, yet which country would be the first to surrender their weapons?

Capital breakdown

Not all events that result in catastrophe are related to 'acts of God' or military conflict. Consider our current relationship with the so-called 'free market.' Although many argue that this is the best system for organizing the economic affairs of countries, it is occasionally hit by violent downturns that can best be described as disastrous.

When such downturns do happen, as was the case with the 2008 financial crisis, it is the "too big to fail" banks and corporations that are generously bailed out by the government, while the average person is forced to sink or swim for land that seems nowhere in sight. This proving the aphorism that what we really have is 'socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor.'

Recently, there has been a number of warning signals – including steep drops on Wall Street – that we are once again approaching dangerous times. Former Republican congressman Ron Paul, in a recent interview with CNBC, warned that a massive downturn is inevitable because the US economy is sitting on "the biggest bubble in the history of mankind."

Earlier, the investor Jim Rogers, pointing to the massive amount of debt in global markets, especially in the US, predicted that "When we have a bear market again, and we are going to have a bear market again, it will be the worst in our lifetime."

Although these two individuals may be wrong, there can be no doubt that another economic downturn will eventually happen again. So how should we prepare now for the inevitable? Given the lessons of the 2008 financial crisis, it seems imperative that the banks and corporations understand that the government will not be available to cover for their bad business practices.

Big bailouts for big business is not the answer. If companies understand that they will go belly up in the next crisis, they will behave more responsibly.

At the same time, assurances should be made to average citizens that they will not be left behind if and when the next downturn occurs. Since unemployment always increases as profits on Wall Street decreases, one way to deal with any future market meltdown is to ensure long-term unemployment and medical plans for those affected by any sudden shocks to the system.

Perhaps this is the best way to deal with the daily news of impending gloom and doom, which we see from a variety of places from the military battlefield, to the economic battlefield: Let the people know that not only are solutions being sought, but that their best interests are at heart.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/445247-asteroids-war-economic-collapse/

 

 

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And Global Warming heads the list... Though not as immediately devastating as a nuclear war, Global Warming is insidiously fast, though we feel like frogs enjoying the early warmth, though we are being boiled...

 

 

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2019-04-18 10:06
Our children’s generation is going to have to reduce their carbon emissions by 90 percent if we want to avoid being the first species in history to document its own extinction.

Last week, zoologist, environmentalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough went global across the media when speaking at the International Monetary Fund, warning that on present trends part of the world would soon become uninhabitable and mass migrations would transform the world. He warned that all governments had to meet their commitments to reduce carbon emissions that they had made at the Paris Climate Change conference in 2015.

Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF, asked David about the link between climate change and migration. He replied “It is happening in Europe. People are coming from Africa because they can’t live where they are.” He warned that the crisis would worsen as temperatures continued to rise: “More parts of the world will become uninhabitable, that’s what will happen. I find it hard to exaggerate the peril. This is the new extinction and we are halfway through it. We are in terrible, terrible trouble and the longer we wait to do something about it, the worse it is going to get.”

Pointing out 70 percent of bird species around the world were extinct, he said “We have time now, ten years, perhaps twenty years, to do something about it. The longer we leave it the more difficult it is going to be and if we leave it too long… the natural system will collapse.”

To save our planet, he said governments have to risk the wrath of voters by ending fossil fuel subsidies and by imposing tax on the use of carbon. “We are supporting and subsidising the very things that are damaging our planet. The natural world is so delicate. It needs all the protection it can get. Sometimes that means governments have to take decisions that are painful and cost money.”

I have been a fan of David ever since I started watching his animal programmes on the TV back in the 1950s, now at the age of 92 he is still campaigning hard to save our world from extinction. The issue of global warming was first raised back in 1975 in an article by Wallace Smith Broecker, a professor at Columbia University. His article predicted that rising carbon dioxide levels would lead to the warming and he urged political action to tackle the problem. In 1984, he told the American Congress of the need for urgent action to tackle greenhouse gases in the air, warning that the system could “jump abruptly from one state to another with devastating effects.” Broecker died just two months ago at the age of 87.

Tragically, politicians around the world are failing to tackle the greatest threat in human history. Last year was the fourth hottest on record with a massive UK heatwave, floods in India, and storms across South East Asia, as well as wildfires in Europe and the US. Greenpeace warned“A year of climate disasters and a dire warning from the world’s top scientists should have led to so much more. Adopting a set of rules is not nearly enough, without immediate action even the strongest rules will not get us anywhere.” At the same time, Attenborough warned“We are facing a manmade disaster, our greatest threat in thousands of years. The collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world in on the horizon.”

At the end of last year, United Nations biodiversity chief Cristiana Pașca Palmer warned that unless governments agreed on a new deal to save our planet in the next two years, humanity would be the first species in history to document its own extinction.

We need to force our governments to act and set ambitious world targets by 2020 to protect the plants, mammals, birds, and insects that are the basis of global food production and clean water. “The loss of biodiversity is a silent killer,” Cristiana Pașca Palmer told the Guardian, but people do not notice it in the way they notice climate change. Since 1992, over 30 percent of our planet’s ecological wealth defined by species, rivers, soil and forests has been wiped out with huge consequences for hundreds of millions of people.

In the four billion years of earth’s history, we have seen five mass extinctions caused by decades-long ice ages, massive volcanic eruptions, and the asteroid believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs, but now we face a sixth mass extinction caused by the impact of humanity on our planet. In our brief history, 83 percent of all wild mammals have died out, and in the last 50 years, the populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish have been slashed by 60 percent.

One of the factors that led to so many people migrating has been the dramatic increase in flooding which has become more and more severe. Britain’s Met Office has warned that we will see much wetter winters and summers and our temperature could be 5.4 centigrade higher by 2070. We are now seeing an increase in rainfall leading to flash flooding with the prospect that sea levels could rise by nearly well over one metre by the end of the century. Our government has had to spend £2.6 billion on flood defences in the last five years to try and protect 300,000 homes at risk of flooding.

Two-thirds of the ice in the glaciers of the European Alps will have melted by the end of the century, with the possibility that it could be much worse, with virtually all ice gone by 2100. The same is happening in Asia where ice on the mountains will melt with devastating consequences for the two billion people who live downstream. Cutting emissions from forest fuel burnings is the most important factor in preventing the ice melting.

My children’s generation is going to have to reduce their carbon emissions by 90 percent if we are to avoid the risk of extinction. Fortunately, many young people realise the threat they face, and this has led to a wave of school children striking around the world to protest about climate change.

It is the Western world that has fuelled the worst of this crisis. Each US citizen is on average responsible for an annual carbon emission of 16.5 metric tons, whereas a citizen in India is responsible for just 1.7 tons, yet politicians and businesses seem not to recognise the danger. Just last month, the first new deep coal mine in Britain in 30 years was given permission by Cumbria County Council whilst our government continues to slash funding for green energy.

Climate change isn’t just forcing millions to migrate as rising temperatures make their countries uninhabitable, but many of the tropical diseases will spread to Europe as rising temperatures will allow insects like mosquitoes to move from Africa to Europe and Canada, bringing with them yellow fever, zika, dengue, and chikungunya. The study warning of this can be found in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Back at the Paris Climate Change Conference, governments from around the world agreed to limit the rise of temperature to just two degrees centigrade, and if possible just 1.5 degrees, but the simple truth is that we have already seen global temperature rise by one degree centigrade, and the catastrophic weather events of recent years have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, so even keeping the rise to just 1.5 centigrade is going to see tens of millions die over the years to come. Britain’s Met Office warned in February that we could see a 1.5 centigrade rise before 2023.

Although America suffers from a president who is a climate change denier, last November, a US government report warned that climate change is harming Americans’ lives with substantial damage set to occur. The impact of climate change was already being felt across the US with disastrous wildfires, flooding on the east coast, soil loss in the midwest, and coastal erosion in Alaska. The report pointed out that sea levels have risen along the US coast by 23 centimetres in the last 100 years, and that if emissions aren’t reduced, “many coastal communities will be transformed by the latter part of this century.” The report also warned more frequent and larger wildfires portend increasing risks to property and human life, as cited by the Guardian. But even as the report was released, California was devastated by its most deadly wildfire, in history killing over 80 people. Trump, of course, continued to be in denial.

Back in the days when I was mayor of London, I went to lunch with David Attenborough to talk about what is happening to our world, and everything he said is turning out to be true and more worryingly, it’s happening even faster than we originally thought. The simple fact is that all around the world we have to tackle carbon emissions, consume less and waste less, and that will need politicians with the courage to impose new laws which change the way we live in the most dramatic way. That won’t make our lives worse. What is most important in our lives is our relationships with our family and our friends, not how much we can spend and waste. When I look at the spineless and cowardly nature of so many presidents and prime ministers, I think David Attenborough is absolutely right in warning that humanity faces extinction by the turn of this century.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/456701-humans-extinction-attenborough-carbon/

 

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And add insecticides and other poisons, of which Novichok is the least of our worries...

 

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2019-04-18 10:03

Sharma does his best to explain modern diplomacy which is basically the same old neo-con crap using modern technology:

 

"There's no point in running dead or lying low when a controversial issue is unfolding."

And he [Sharma] contrasts Australia to Israel, the United Kingdom and Russia, which actively use social media to shape public opinion at home and overseas.

Russian diplomats in the UK used outlets such as Twitter to spread disinformation and muddy the waters after two agents poisoned former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury.

Israeli diplomats have also taken to social media to mock Iranian leaders who continue to call for the destruction of their country.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-18/former-ambassador-to-israel-dave-sharma-dfat-irrelevance/11026588

 


When MI6, MI5 and the CIA run the show, you can be sure disinformation will be spread like rancid butter on your toast. Don’t blame the Russians for the confusion bathing the Skripal case. So far all we know from the Skripal saga, is that they’re not dead, have been prevented to talk to Russian officials about their ordeal, have not been see in public for more than a year — and had the poison designated by the UK, Novichok , been use, they woud be completely dead, with a bunch of other people. This sad story here has been kept hop-running by the British secret services, with more titbits of doubtful value falling down for the tree of porkies, from time to time, to keep the stint alive in the mind of the public. The subterranean spying activities on behalf of the brits against the "Russian Mafia” (unrelated to the Russian government) by Sergei Skripal have been swept under the carpet. 

Sharma is frothing up his self-importance in the oneupmanship of the diplomatic game, where he was a good dog named Fiddlestick, for Australia, designed to lick the arse of the Israelis, unless it was brown-nosing the same spot, which is equivalent...

The USA does diplomacy by Trump’s twittering about destroying Iran, and with Israel becoming more Nazi by the day and bombing Syria, one wonder about "diplomacy"… Ugly.

Vote for Kerryn Phelps. She knows far more than Sharma on all subjects, including diplomacy.
by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2019-04-18 09:55
Assange is a thorn in the side of the US elites which explains the effort they made to capture him, ex-Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters told RT, adding that it’s appalling the UK has become an accomplice “of the American Empire.”

Watching WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange being physically removed from his shelter at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London last week “was absolutely chilling” to legendary musician Roger Waters, who gave RT’s Going Underground his take on Assange’s arrest.

To think that the UK has become such a willing accomplice and satellite of the American Empire that it would do such a thing in contravention with all laws, moral, ethical, and actual legal restrictions is absolutely, stunningly appalling and makes me ashamed to be an Englishman.

Assange’s arrest was made possible after Ecuador last week withdrew his political asylum, which was granted seven years ago, and stripped the renowned whistleblower of his Ecuadorian citizenship. UK authorities will soon decide whether to deport Assange to Sweden, where he faces possible rape charges, or to the US, where he is wanted for conspiring with former army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break into a classified government computer.

READ MORE: If we lose WikiLeaks, we lose a whole stratum of freedom — Pilger

The second scenario would be worse, Waters believes. Citizens “barely have rights anymore” after the Patriot Act was adopted, and “everything is at the whim of the commander-in-chief.”

If we let the UK get away with allowing him to be extradited to the United States, we allow the United States government, at their whim, to torture him and to detain him possibly for the rest of his life.

Assange, along with Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, and other whistleblowers, “are the heroes who help us gain some of the knowledge that the [powerful] would keep secret if they could,” the Pink Floyd legend added.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/456798-roger-waters-assange-arrest/

 

 

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by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2019-04-18 07:43

PARIS — The pledges came in quick succession.

François-Henri Pinault, France’s second-richest man, put up an eye-popping 100 million euros to rebuild Notre-Dame, just as firefighters were dousing the last flames at the cathedral early Tuesday morning. Not to be outdone, Bernard Arnault, France’s wealthiest scion and a fierce rival to Mr. Pinault, upped the ante with a 200-million-euro gift a few hours later.

By Wednesday, the government had welcomed some 850 million euros — more than $960 million — offered in the patriotic name of salvaging the cultural treasure, as money from wealthy French families, French companies and international corporations poured in.

But the spectacle of billionaires trying to one-up each other quickly intensified resentments over inequality that have flared during the Yellow Vest movement, just as President Emmanuel Macron was looking to transform the calamity into a new era of national unity. There were accusations that the wildly rich were trying to wash their reputations during a time of national tragedy.

“Can you imagine, 100 million, 200 million in one click!” said Philippe Martinez, the head of the militant CGT labor union. “It really shows the inequalities in this country.”


“If they’re able to give dozens of millions to rebuild Notre Dame,” he added, “they should stop telling us that there is no money to pay for social inequalities.”

Ollivier Pourriol, a French philosopher and novelist, summed up the sentiment more drolly.

“Victor Hugo thanks all the generous donors ready to save Notre Dame and proposes that they do the same thing with Les Misérables,” he wrote on Twitter, referring to another one of Hugo’s famous novels, about the lives of the poor.


Manon Aubry, a senior figure in France Insoumise, the main radical left party, called the funding an “exercise in public relations.” She said the donors’ list “looks like the rankings of companies and people located in tax havens.”


She added: “I want to tell them: Start by paying your taxes. That will add to the state culture budget.”

The firestorm began when Jean-Jacques Aillagon, a former culture minister and now adviser to Mr. Pinault, went on Twitter after Mr. Pinault announced his gift Tuesday to suggest that corporate contributions to Notre-Dame’s restoration be given a 90 percent tax deduction, rather than the 60 percent that corporations normally get for charitable contributions.

“That’s when the whole thing exploded,” said Pierre Haski, a commentator for France-Inter, the public radio station. “That produced outrage, that this act of generosity turns into fiscal advantage.”

The reaction was so intense that Mr. Aillagon went on the radio Wednesday morning to retract his suggestion. The Pinault family then announced that they would seek no tax deduction at all for the gift.

“It was very revealing about the sensitivity of the whole issue,” Mr. Haski said, coming in the midst of a great national debate about the yellow vests and their protests against inequality and fiscal privileges.

In general many are relieved that Notre-Dame still stands, and if there is now a billion euros to reconstruct it, without calling too deeply on an already stretched national budget, that may be enough.

 

 

Read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/17/world/europe/yellow-vest-notre-dame-fire-donations.html?

 

 

Read from top where I mentioned NOT FLIPPANTLY that the resconstruction would demand 1.2 billion Euros. In terms of time? 15 years to the last copper nail on the roof. with problems such as using "green" timbers of SHORTER lenghts and finding enough of it. And more... I know plenty of "five minutes jobs" that take a couple of weeks EACH...

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2019-04-18 07:22

You Don’t Have to Like Julian Assange to Defend Him

The effort to extradite and prosecute the WikiLeaks founder threatens the free media.

APR 11, 2019

James Ball

Writer and journalist based in London


LONDON—You do not have to spend a long time in a room with Julian Assange to realize that he will be difficult. It takes a little longer, though, to realize just how difficult dealing with him can be. This was the lesson I learned in 2010, working first with Assange, and then for him at WikiLeaks, as we published tranche after tranche of bombshell material, leaked by Chelsea Manning.

That was the year Assange—and the whistle-blowing website he runs—came to the world’s attention. First it published the dynamite “Collateral Murder” video, showing an attack on a group of people, including two Reuters journalists, by American military helicopters in Iraq.


Though few knew it at the time, this was the first in a series of ever larger and more dramatic leaks of classified documents, shedding unprecedented light on how the United States conducted its wars, its diplomacy, and its detentions: the Afghan and Iraq War logs, the American diplomatic cables, and the Guantánamo Bay files. These were published in partnership with some of the world’s biggest news outlets, including The New York Times, The Guardian, and Le Monde. These organizations quickly learned Assange was not the kind of person they were used to dealing with.


On a personal level, the editors and reporters did not warm to him. He would turn up in their newsrooms wearing a stab vest and no shirt, tell lewd jokes, and make high-handed demands. They complained—sometimes in public. Yet these irritants were the least of their problems: News outlets quickly ran into serious ideological issues with Assange, primarily over the handling of material and how it would be redacted.


As an organization that believed in radical transparency, WikiLeaks wanted all the material in the public domain. Journalists, meanwhile, wanted to redact information from the reports that could put people named in them, most of whom had done nothing wrong, at risk. The clashes became bitter, but having handed over the material already, Assange was chained to what came to feel like a doomed marriage with his publishing partners.


This barely scratches the surface of the difficult relationships Assange has had with those he’s worked with. The real problems ran far deeper. As it rose in prominence thanks to the array of leaked documents, WikiLeaks internally had all but fallen apart. The six people who had done most of the work running the website had a major difference of opinion. It is telling that Assange, the sole holdout against what he saw as insubordination, was the one who stayed. That left WikiLeaks as a virtual one-man band, forced to bring in new acolytes largely in their early 20s (of which I was one) to run the show, a comically inexperienced team for a story that could not have been more complex.


All of which came before the most obvious of the impediments to working with Assange: In late 2010, he was arrested on allegations of sexual assault and rape—accusations he angrily denied, and which his supporters claimed were deep-state smears. Those working with, and for, him were now faced with trying to advance a story and a cause they believed in that were inextricably entwined with a man accused of serious sexual crimes.


As if all of that wasn’t enough, one of Assange’s close associates, introduced to me and other colleagues and associates as “Adam,” turned out in reality to be Israel Shamir, a pro-Putin anti-Semite who was photographed leaving the interior ministry of Belarus just days after being given 100,000 U.S. diplomatic cables. In a world that likes its morality to be black and white, that likes its heroes and villains to be distinct and discernible, Assange in 2010 gave no one what they wanted. He was both a confirmed annoyance and a possible criminal, but also a man who had enabled a new kind of journalistic collaboration and transparency, revealing previously unknown stories of the U.S. at war.


On the surface, Assange has since made himself easier to categorize. Despite his protestations that he was fleeing U.S. prosecution by taking sanctuary in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, the case he was facing at the time came from Sweden, in connection to the rape and sexual-assault allegation against him. Having exhausted every legal avenue against extradition, Assange used the asylum process to evade arrest, denying two women their day in court. One case has been dropped. The other is unlikely to get going, as the U.S., which has filed charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, has taken precedence in extradition.


Not only did Assange evade the justice system that way, but per indictments filed by Robert Mueller’s team, WikiLeaks served as a cutout for Russian intelligence efforts* to disrupt the 2016 U.S. presidential election, via its publication of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee. Coupled with the revelation of Twitter correspondence between WikiLeaks and Donald Trump Jr., Assange’s estrangement from his onetime liberal base seems complete.


Indeed, on almost every level—personal, professional, and ideological—Assange has found himself with few longtime associates, and with plenty of people holding him in contempt.


So, then, the easy option is to shrug off his new arrest and the extradition effort that will follow it. Authorities on both sides of the Atlantic are clearly hoping few will rally to support him. By filing computer-misuse charges rather than relying on the Espionage Act, prosecutors are apparently trying to hive off free-speech and free-media concerns.


That effort should not be allowed to succeed. The charges leveled against Assange stem from the 2010 Manning leaks, which were judged to have been in the public interest by some of the world’s most significant and thoughtful news publishers, who ran some of the revelations in their pages. That material was received from a source who acted in what she perceived to be the public interest, and was not motivated by malice or personal gain.


The combination of an ideologically (rather than financially) motivated whistle-blower with firsthand knowledge of the material alongside the editorial judgment of major outlets forms the bedrock of public-interest journalism. Any attempt to swing the needle against that, or to criminalize it by tying it to hacking on a technicality, threatens quality journalism and threatens the free media. More simply than that, while Julian Assange might deserve punishment for other things he is accused of having done in his life, he does not deserve to be punished for what he published in 2010. Barring some new and major revelation, neither extradition nor prosecution over his work with WikiLeaks is merited.


Assange might be an asshole. Scratch that; Assange is an asshole. But we’re going to have to stand up for him anyway.


We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.

 

 

Read all:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/04/julian-assange-arrested-journalists-defend/586936/

 

 

Larrikin is an Australian English term meaning "a mischievous young person, an uncultivated, rowdy but good hearted person", or "a person who acts with apparent disregard for social or political conventions".[1]

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the term generally meant "a lout, a hoodlum"[2] or "a young urban rough, a hooligan",[1] meanings which became obsolete.[2]

Australian vernacular speech commonly inverts a word-meaning ironically to a diametrical opposite, e.g, nicknaming a red-haired person as "Bluey".[11] In similar fashion highly derogatory terms such as "bastard" and "larrikin" are frequently deployed with affectionate, even respectful connotations. For example, in 1965 Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser was banned from competition by the Australian Swimming Union for various incidents at the previous year's Summer Olympics. Fraser was later described as having a "larrikin streak" as well as being an "iconic figure", and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1988.[12]

The evolution of larrikinism in Australia is summarised in the publisher's description of a 2012 book by Melissa Bellanta, Larrikins: A History:

From the true-blue Crocodile Hunter to the blue humour of Stiffy and Mo, from the Beaconsfield miners to The Sentimental Bloke, Australia has often been said to possess a 'larrikin streak'.

Today, being a larrikin has positive connotations and we think of it as the key to unlocking the Australian identity: a bloke who refuses to stand on ceremony and is a bit of a scallywag. When it first emerged around 1870, however, 'larrikin' was a term of abuse, used to describe teenage working-class hell-raisers who populated dance halls and cheap theatres. Crucially, the early larrikins were female as well as male[13]

It can be argued that the larrikin tradition of disdain for authority, propriety and the often conservative norms of bourgeois Australia (as evident, for example, in the country's history of censorship and the nation's receptiveness to paternalistic leaders) are two sides of a self-reinforcing dynamic; the social conservatism of the mainstream fuels the undercurrent of larrikinism and rebellion, which, in turn, is seen as demonstrating that a firm hand is needed. This is sometimes referred to as the "larrikin-wowser nexus", "wowser" being an Australian colloquial term for a person of puritanical mores.[14]

 

The spirit of Eureka lives on... far more edgy than "Crocodile Dundee"... We have to defend Julian. 

 

 

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"... reports that could put people named in them, most of whom had done nothing wrong, at risk." This has been used by many journalists to denigrate Assange. In fact, "people who have done nothing wrong" are part of the problem, because they support the dark side of the empire by being the lovely and innocent front-shopkeepers of it. This has been discussed in our exposé of the Double Cross System where ordinary people are used unknowingly to do the dirty work, ordinary people who often end up dead...

This was obvious when Wilson exposed the Uranium deals as fake and his wife, Valerie Plame, a CIA operative was exposed by the US administration as such, to punishing Wilson. This distracted the media's attention from the reality that the Administration was using FAKE documents and carried on using the said documents to prove "Saddam's guilt".

 

*Eventually, we will find that the Russians had nothing to do with the dump on Hillary bt Wikileaks, but disaffected DNC member(s) who got pissed off by the treatment of Bernie Sanders. Nothing more.

 

In all of this, Assange is Hacker Number One in the world. His expertise on the technique of hacking is based on understanding the deviousness of human nature coupled to a massive intuitive mind that understands the processes of encryption. Some hackers may be more agile now, because Assange has been "holed up", while we need to consider that the internet is like the universe — 75 per cent of it being "dark"... Unseen... 

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2019-04-18 06:50

Iran, Iraq and Syria confirmed on April 14, 2019 their intention to launch a regional railway project to link the Iranian port of Khorramshahr, in the northern Arabian-Persian Gulf, to the Syrian coast in the Mediterranean, passing through Iraq.

The initial decision on the project was taken in 2010 within the framework of the regional common market in place at the time, but its implementation was interrupted by the war which led to the dissolution of the regional common market and the eventual destruction of the Syrian side of the railway by the so-called "Free Syrian Army".

In order for the three sovereign nations to exercize their right to realize this project they will have to overcome United States sanctions currently in force against the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Syrian Arab Republic.

The existence of an extended railroad connecting Iran, Iraq and Syria would permit intensive industrial, agricultural and commercial exchanges. It is estimated that in the first 5 years, this railway connection would not only quadruple trade between the three countries involved but also save communities currently threatened by starvation.

Translation 
Artemis Pittas

 

Read more:

https://www.voltairenet.org/article206124.html

 

 

This is one of the projects strongly opposed by the West because, it could challenge the Suez Canal and the control of it by Egypt's Western friends... This will also runs against the US proposed pipeline between the gulf and the Med, rejected by Syria, leading to the war in Syria, spurred by the US supporting the Wahhabi rebellion (terrorism).

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2019-04-18 05:51

About suffering they were never wrong, wrote W. H. Auden in the poem Musée Des Beaux Arts.” 

These lines occurred to me last week when all eyes were focused on the brutal British seizure of Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

No one should have been surprised by this despicable spectacle carried out in the noonday light for all to see, for the British government has not served as America’s jailer for the past seven years for no reason. It doesn’t take x-ray eyes to see that the British and the Moreno government in Ecuador are twin poodles on the American leash. After a phony display of judicial fairness, the British, as required by their American bosses, will dispatch Assange to the United States so he can be further punished for the crime of doing journalism and exposing war crimes.

Assange has suffered mightily for American sins. The Anglo-American torturers know how to squeeze their victims to make old men out of the young. Abu Ghraib was no aberration. The overt is often covert; just a thin skin separates the sadists’ varied methods, but their message is obvious. No one who saw Assange dragged to prison could fail to see what the war-mongers, who hate freedom of the press when it exposes their criminal activities, can do to a man. Nor, however, could one fail to see the spirit of defiance that animates Assange, a man of courageous conscience cowards can’t begin to comprehend.

Bought and sold, compromised and corrupted to their depths, the American, British, and Ecuadorian governments and their media sycophants have no shame or allegiance to law or God, and have never learned that you can imprison, torture, and even kill a person of conscience, but that doing so is a risky business. For even the corpses of those who say “No” keep whispering “No” forevermore.
While the media spotlight was on central London, Auden’s lines kept running through my mind:


About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters, how well they understood
Its human position: how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just
Walking dully along

 

His words transported me from London to a lonely jail cell in Virginia where Chelsea Manning sat brooding. Chelsea hearing the news about Assange. Chelsea realizing that now the screws would be further tightened and her ordeal as a prisoner of conscience would be extended indefinitely. Chelsea summoning all her extraordinary courage to go on saying “No,” “No,” “No.”

Chelsea refusing the 30 pieces of silver that will be continually offered to her, as they have been for almost a decade, and that she has refused in her emphatic refusal to give the Judas kiss to Julian, to whom she is wed in this non-violent campaign to expose the truth about the war criminals.

Auden’s words reminded me not to turn away, to pay attention, to not walk dully along and ignore the lonely suffering of truth-tellers. How can anyone who claims to oppose the American wars on Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, etc., turn away from defending Manning and Assange, two brave souls who have already spent nearly 15 years combined imprisoned for exposing the war crimes of the American and British governments, crimes committed in our name and therefore our crimes.

Who will have the bad faith to buy the torrent of lies that the propagandists will spew forth about Assange as they wage a media blitz to kill his reputation on the way to disposing of him?

The jackals in government and media, so-called liberals and conservatives, will be sadistically calling for blood as they count their blood money and wipe their lips. Only cowards will join this bleating crowd and refuse to go to that lonely, empty place – that cell of conscience – where the truth resides.

All should remember that Chelsea Manning spent more than seven years in prison under the Obama administration for revealing a video about George W. Bush’s war crimes in Iraq; that Assange had to escape the Obama administration’s clutches by seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy; and that now that Trump is in office, the reimprisonment of Manning and arrest of Assange are perfectly in accord with the evil deeds of his predecessors. These men are titular heads of the warfare state. They follow orders.

Who can sail calmly on and pretend they don’t see the gift of truth and hear the forsaken cries of two lonely caged heroes falling into the sea? Who can fail to defend such voices of freedom?

 

Read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2019/04/17/a-marriage-of-conscience-julian-assange-and-chelsea-manning/

 

 

Where is the early Christian spirit of Paul the Apostle, Matthew, Luke and Mark, when you need it to defeat the "evil" Empire? Where are the Teutonic tribes to ransack the modern Rome on the Potomac Sewer? And I don't mean the Ottoman Empire revival, now cleverly contained by the ruthless Wahhabi/Jewish?US alliance... Presently, with the Murdoch' and Soros' scribes writing the gospel, we're screwed....

 

See toon at top. Read from top.

by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2019-04-17 21:39


Please note: this is not a satirical piece...

 

 

By Timothy Benson | Policy analyst with The Heartland Institute



As someone whose spot on the political spectrum is somewhere between “Tory imperialist” and “warmongering neocon,” I have been encouraged by the apocalyptic and militant rhetoric from Democrats on climate change.

For example, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called climate change “the existential threat of our time.” Sen. Bernie Sanders labeled it an “existential crisis.” In fact, nearly all of the Democratic presidential hopefuls have described global warming as an existential threat.


This “existential” crisis rhetoric has also been mentioned by other prominent Democrats, such as Sens. Ed Markey and Chuck Schumer. The charming and media-savvy Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called it a “direct existential threat.” “The last time we had a really major existential threat to this country,” she added, “was around World War II.”

From the late Latin “existentialis,” “existential” literally means “relating to existence.” By labeling climate change an “existential threat,” what these Democrats mean is that climate change has the capacity to wipe out the human race, or at the very least our way of life. After all, according to the United Nations, we have only a dozen years to act before we reach the point of no return. Among these circles, the belief is if we don’t act in time, the world will shortly devolve into a post-civilizational dystopian hellscape full of misery, rapine, banditry, and ruin. You know, like a “Mad Max” film.

The problem is the United States isn’t the world’s leading emitter of carbon dioxide. Even if we bring our emissions down to zero, it would only eliminate roughly 15 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. Not enough to avoid annihilation, and not even enough to offset the rising emissions of the rest of the world over the next decade. Now, we could probably force our NATO allies, the rest of the European Union, and the British Commonwealth to follow our lead. Likewise with Japan and South Korea.

However, that would only eliminate another 20 percent or so of emissions. Surely, the world’s largest emitter, China, is not going to be so easily persuaded, nor will rising economic power India, the world’s third-largest emitter. Nor will a recalcitrant Russia, the world’s fourth-largest emitter and a country whose economy is almost entirely dependent on natural gas production.

If we can’t persuade, we’ll have to invade. Taking a cue from great neoconservative forbearers and liberators like George W. Bush and Danaerys Targaryen, we are going to have to engage in a little pre-emptive war-making if we are to save the planet. The United States will have to invade and occupy these countries, eliminate carbon dioxide from their societies and, in the case of Russia and China, free these people from brutal dictatorships.

Launching simultaneous land wars on the Russian steppes, the Indian subcontinent, and mainland China isn’t going to be easy. Invading and occupying these great masses of land and pacifying these great masses of peoples (in the unlikely event they don’t greet us as liberators) will far overtax our military as presently constructed. The only way we can ever bring these great civilizations to heel in fewer than a dozen years is through the reinstitution of the draft and the total mobilization of American society towards a war footing.

Now, many might oppose a full-scale draft, but again, we are assured this is an existential threat, the first since the Second World War. In 1940, the United States instituted the draft to prepare to defeat the global menace of Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Fascist Italy. We kept it in place for over a generation to check the global menace of international communism. Surely we can reinstitute it to halt the global menace of life-threatening climate change.

Progressive children already believe they are “fighting for [their] lives” by marching in protest against climate inaction. I say give them what they want and let them actually fight for their lives. These children should be filled with patriotic zeal and fervor, knowing that they would be making a true difference and could be the first kid on their block to get a confirmed kill in the name of saving the planet. Progressive parents should be proud to send their sons and daughters by the tens of millions across the globe to kill an enemy standing in the way of human progress.

Clearly, the urgency of our present crisis calls for something drastic. Perhaps millions of American youth will die ridding the world of the climate menace, but what a noble sacrifice. These heroes would be the first to tell you their lives are a small price to pay to ensure the continued existence of humanity on planet Earth.

 

Timothy Benson is a policy analyst with The Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

 



 The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

 

Read more: 

 

https://dailycaller.com/2019/04/10/climate-change-war/

 

This was not a satirical piece. This was pure sarcasm: Satire is the tool of the oppressed, sarcasm is the tool of the psychopath...

 

MEANWHILE, GLOBAL WARMING IS REAL AND ANTHROPOGENIC

 

We also need to know that

China emits 6.59 metric tons of CO2 per capita.

The USA in second total place emit 15.53 metric tons of CO2 per capita.

India emits 1.58 metric tons of CO2 per capita.

Russia emits 10.19 metric tons of CO2 per capita

Australia emits around 18.5 (or more) metric tons of CO2 per capita

 

 

Read from top.

 

by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2019-04-17 20:28

charlie

In the aftermath of the fire that devastated part of Notre Dame, the satirical weekly made jokes about the timetable of reforms that the executive must propose. The face of the president spreads out on the cover, wearing a cathedral on fire.


Reacting to the fire that ravaged the roof and the spire of the Notre-Dame cathedral on April 15, the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo quips about the disaster on the cover of his number that will be in the stands on April 17 and even , exceptionally, from this April 16 in fifty or so Parisian kiosks.


Representing the face of Emmanuel Macron whose head is crowned with a cathedral in flames, the cartoonist Riss wrote "Reforms" and added a speech bubble that reads: "I start with the roof."

Confronted for several months by a social crisis, Macron was to speak on the evening of April 15 about the construction of new infrastructure projects, following the Great National Debate, but the fire of Notre-Dame de Paris upset the politico-media calendar . Emmanuel Macron postponed his speech to go to the forecourt of Notre-Dame in Paris.

 

The satire here is that Macron gets an unplanned massive new project on his hands and instead of working from the ground up, he will have to start it from the top (the roof)...