Friday 21st of June 2019

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by Gus Leonisky on Tue, 2019-06-18 06:55

Wikipedia tells us:


Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (born 19 June 1964) is a British politician, journalist and popular historian who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Uxbridge and South Ruislip since 2015, having been the MP for Henley from 2001 to 2008. He was Mayor of London from 2008 to 2016, and from 2016 to 2018 he served as Foreign Secretary. A member of the Conservative Party, Johnson identifies as a one-nation conservative and has been associated with both economically and socially liberal policies.

Born in New York to wealthy upper-middle class English parents, Johnson was educated at the European School of Brussels, Ashdown House, and Eton College. He read Classics at Balliol College, Oxford, where he was elected President of the Oxford Union in 1986. He began his career in journalism at The Times but was sacked for falsifying a quotation. He later became The Daily Telegraph's Brussels correspondent, with his articles exerting a strong influence on growing Eurosceptic sentiment among the British right wing. He was assistant editor of the Telegraph from 1994 to 1999 and edited The Spectator from 1999 to 2005.



So what is a popular historian? It's a stand-up comic with non academic sub-arsolic view of history through the underpants of funny stories and fart jokes:


Here is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel view of US President Donald Trump, in 2016:


"I would invite him to come and see the whole of London … except that I wouldn't want to expose Londoners to any risk of meeting Donald Trump”.

"The only reason I wouldn't go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump."


Meanwhile, The Daily Telegraph, The Telegraph and The Spectator are not reference materials. Imagine the employment record: "Boris was our best bullshitter. We were sorry to see him go"...


He will fit nicely as Prime Minister of : " ... these English. A nation that "prostitute" to whoever can pay. From country to country, [England] goes out to the whole world, offering its fake horrible joy and its gross extravagance"


Should I be a Chinese astrologer, I could certify that the date of birth of Boris (oh, so close to that of Donald Trump in June) but being a Dragon instead of a Dog, is that of a perfectly born bullshitter for the next bullshitocracy... You're welcome.

by Gus Leonisky on Tue, 2019-06-18 06:13
Egypt’s former president Mohamed Morsi has died suddenly following a court appearance in Cairo, according to Egyptian state television. He was 67.

The former president and Muslim Brotherhood leader collapsed after a trial session in an espionage lawsuit on Monday for alleged contact with Hamas. He had reportedly been given permission from the presiding judge to address the court before he fainted.

Morsi came to power after Hosni Mubarak was deposed in mass Arab Spring protests in 2011. However, he ruled for only a year after being elected to the post before he was toppled by the military following mass protests in 2013.


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On this note, the entire Saudi royal family should bury themselves for being totally undemocratic and for being the main supplier of terrorism in the world. Mind you, you could say the same about their friend, the USA: totally undemocratic, with colleges and gerrymandering, and using state terrorism, such as sanctions and false flag events, to make other countries submit to the empire.

by Gus Leonisky on Mon, 2019-06-17 18:47

MICHAEL FOX: Workers are striking around Brazil today against President Jair Bolsonaro’s push for pension reform. They say if approved, pension reform will drastically decrease benefits and increase the number of years necessary to acquire those benefits. The unions here say that it’s a push toward privatization which would be disastrous for workers if this is pushed through, and they say they are up in arms and they’ve hit the streets. Banks are closed, schools are out, post offices are closed, and public transportation in major cities has been ground to a halt. That’s the situation here, with the bus system here in Florianopolis, not happening.

So people have been out since very early this morning, since before dawn, blocking roads around the country. Here people are about to start marching around the city against the pension reform, but also against Bolsonaro’s major cuts to to federal universities and to education. Students is one of the main sectors that have come out. Many students slept out at their universities and at their high schools, and were able to come here, and they’ve been amassing here today. And so they are obviously against the cuts, but they’re also against pension reform. They’re one of the major sectors that’s going to be hit by this pension reform if it is approved, because they say they still have their whole working lives in front of them.

I was interviewing people earlier today, and they say they are ready and they’re out in the streets against this. The other thing that people are calling for is the release of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Obviously with the recent leaks of The Intercept that came out just this week showing that there was collusion between former Judge Sergio Moro and federal prosecutors in the case against Lula. People are calling for that case to be thrown out and for Lula to be free. They say Lula is innocent, and that he is necessary to be out in the streets. And that is one of the major rallying cries.

The protests, the manifestations are happening. Demonstrations are happening around the country. [Name inaudible], the president of Brazil’s largest labor federation, said earlier that roughly 40 million people were expected to participate in today’s general strike. Now, that would rival the general strike of April 2017 against the labor reform under the government of Michel Temer, and that was one of the largest in Brazil’s history.

Now, it’s still too early to tell exactly the impact that today has had and how many people have participated politically, because the whole focus, the idea today, was for people to strike, to not go to work, and to stay home. Now, we still saw relatively large mobilizations in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Florianopolis, and in major cities all around the country. But that was not the focus. That was not the idea. These were not going to be the big protests that we saw over the last few weeks against the budget cuts to education.

Now, that is one thing that the media has already tried to downplay, and show how since there weren’t people in the streets then this was a failure. And union leaders already gave a heads up to their members early on that that was not necessarily what was expected, but that is what the media would be–the angle the media would be trying to play. Again, it’s hard to tell, also, what kind of an impact this will have on the pension reform being pushed through Congress right now. One thing is for sure. The students, the teachers, the unions, the workers that came out today or that stay home from work have promised they’re in it for the long haul, and they’re going to continue to fight regardless.

Michael Fox, The Real News, Florianopolis, Brazil.


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by Gus Leonisky on Mon, 2019-06-17 18:37

“The new robots at Boston Dynamics keep getting more and more sophisticated,” the creators of the video wrote, as if trying to trick gullible viewers into thinking that Atlas, a bipedal humanoid robot designed by the infamous DARPA contractor has finally had enough of it.

Moments later, the robot freezes in place and suddenly kicks one of the abusers in the crotch and unleashes a series of impressive karate kicks at another. The machine then draw a gun on its attackers and chases them away.

To a mix of disappointment and relief, at the end of clip, the audience is shown that no robots were harmed during the making of the video, and that the entire production was created using CGI and green-screen technology. But since the real Atlas is already capable of running on uneven surfaces, righting itself after being knocked over, jumping, and even executing backflips – it is not surprising that many have accepted the idea of an inevitable AI uprising.


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At least it's robot versus robot in the arena... Some of these robots are full sized-humans...


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by Gus Leonisky on Mon, 2019-06-17 18:18


Keats, Byron and Shelley were politically inept. They fooled around with poetry of love, of platonic romantic debauchery, some with men and women — poetry which was defined as “fricassee of dead dog” by some nasty critics — until they died young from various ailment crap. A few years earlier, in France, André Chénier — a poet-trooper for the poor trodden King — paid with his life (aged 31) for being a “misunderstood” satirist on the wrong side of democracy….

Of Greek Franco-Levantine origin, André Marie Chénier (1762 – 1794), became another victim of the Revolution. He had replaced his earlier sensual, emotive poetry — that had marked him as one of the Romantic movement precursors — with bitter satire against the revolutionary movement. He was guillotined for "crimes against the state” three days before the end of the “Terror". 

Chénier's life has been the subject of Umberto Giordano's tragic opera Andrea Chénier and of some other works of art.

He had started to write Hermès in 1783 with the grand ambition to condense the Encyclopédie of Denis Diderot into a long poem in the manner of Lucretius. A remaining fragment of this poem shows man's place in the universe, first as an individual and then in a society. Another fragment called "L'Invention" sums up Chénier's thoughts on poetry: "From new thoughts, let’s make antique verses”. Yep, from concrete let’s make amphoras...

Chénier had remained unpublished, though. In November 1787, a friend of the Chénier family, who had been appointed ambassador to Britain, offered to take André as his secretary. The offer was too good to refuse.

But Chénier was unhappy in England. He ridiculed the Poms in verses. "... ces Anglais. Nation toute à vendre à qui peut la payer. De contrée en contrée allant au monde entier, Offrir sa joie ignoble et son faste grossier.”( ... these English. A nation that "prostitute" to whoever can pay. From country to country, [England] goes out to the whole world, offering its fake horrible joy and its gross extravagance). How perceptive in the days of Brexit placing the final nail in the British empire’s coffin….

Fond of the constitutional monarchy of France, Chénier believed that the Revolution had run its course, apart from the installation of a new system of law. Though his political viewpoint was moderate, his tactics became aggressive: he gave his gentle idyls goodbye, to write anti-revolutionary satire. 

His prose "Avis au peuple Français" (24 August 1790) was followed by the ode "Jeu de Paume", a somewhat moral declamation occasioned by the “Tennis” court (a misnomer as it was a court for bare-hand ball game) oath so famously painted by the radical Jacques-Louis David (digitised painting at top).

In the meantime Chénier spruiked at the Feuillants Club, after these moderate “revolutionaries" split from the left-wing Jacobins. The Feuillants sought to preserve the king by supporting the National Assembly for a constitutional monarchy, like in England.

The radical Jacobins wished for direct democratic action and for the overthrow of Louis XVI. 

The split was the last attempt by the moderate constitutional monarchists to steer the course of the revolution away from the radical Jacobins. Chénier also contributed to the Journal de Paris from 1791 to July 1792, writing the scorching alexandrine verses to Jean Marie Collot d'Herbois, Sur les Suisses révoltés du regiment de Châteauvieux

The insurrection of 10 August 1792 came along and Chénier escaped the September Massacres by staying with relatives in Normandy

His brother, Marie-Joseph, had joined the anti-monarchy National Convention. André hated all this turmoil and said so in poems like Ode à Charlotte Corday, congratulating France that "one scoundrel less creeps in this mire”, when the young woman murdered the revolutionary Marat. She herself lost her head, age 24, at the guillotine.

At the request of the defense counsel to King Louis XVI, Chénier provided some arguments for the king's defense.

After the king's execution, Chénier laid low on the Plateau de Satory at Versailles and only went out, after nightfall. He wrote the poems inspired by Mme Laurent Lecoulteux, including Ode à Versailles. Nearly a year later, he was arrested at a Mme Piscatory’s house, in Passy. Two agents of the Committee of Public Safety had been looking for a marquise who had vanished, but "an unknown stranger" was found in the house: Chénier. He had just been visiting, but was thus arrested on suspicion of being one of the aristocrats they were searching for.

In various state prisons for 140 days, he wrote a series of alexandrine verses denouncing the Convention which "hiss and stab like poisoned bullets”, that were smuggled to his family by a jailer. In prison he also composed his most famous poem, "Jeune Captive", a poem of enchantment and of despair, inspired by the misfortunes of his fellow prisoner the Duchesse de Fleury.

Chénier might have been forgotten by the revolutionaries, but for the well-meant, indignant officiousness of his father. Marie-Joseph did his best to prevent his brother's execution.

Maximilien Robespierre — a vengeful powerful character who eventually was eliminated for nasty abuse of power — had remembered Chénier as the author of venomous verses in the Journal de Paris and had him hauled before the Revolutionary Tribunal, which sentenced him to death. Chénier was one of the last people executed by Robespierre.

Then came Napoleon… The rest is history… 
by Gus Leonisky on Mon, 2019-06-17 17:45

PM’s department in ‘laughable’ battle to suppress cabinet meeting dates

Senator Rex Patrick, who is trying to access navy chief’s diary, questions why dates are a secret, given government has previously released such details


The prime minister’s department is mounting a costly legal battle to keep secret information the government has previously released, a situation described as “laughable”.

The Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick is trying to secure the release of the navy chief’s diary as part of his attempts to investigate why a $4bn arms contract was awarded to German shipbuilder Lürssen instead of Australian firm Austal.

But the Australian government has resisted his efforts, arguing the diary contains dates of cabinet meetings and would therefore reveal confidential cabinet information and is exempt from freedom of information law.


The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet is so convinced the dates should be kept secret, it is mounting what could prove a costly case in the administrative appeals tribunal (AAT) to keep the diary from the public. Similar cases Patrick has been involved in have cost taxpayers $150,000.

But Guardian Australia has seen documents that show the government has previously released diaries containing the dates of cabinet meetings without objection. Earlier this year, the government released to Patrick the diaries of the resources minister, Matt Canavan, which contained the dates of numerous cabinet meetings. Neither the minister’s office or the prime minister’s department raised any objection to the publication of cabinet meeting dates.

Patrick said the information commissioner has already ruled that the navy chief’s diary should be published, finding cabinet dates were not exempt from release.

“I do not agree with the department that the documents include ‘advice that is proposed to be provided to the cabinet for the purposes of deliberation by a minister or the government of the commonwealth’,” the information commissioner, Angelene Falk, said. “It is my view that the entries recorded in the documents do not contain any opinion, advice, recommendations, consultations or deliberations that have taken place.”


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by Gus Leonisky on Mon, 2019-06-17 17:32

Tom Cotton has distinguished himself as one of the worst Iran hawks in Congress over the years. He led the opposition to the nuclear deal, and went so far as to organize a letter to Ayatollah Khamenei telling the Iranian leader that there was no point in negotiating with the U.S. Cotton has been a vocal advocate for sabotaging the deal ever since, and he has supported every aggressive anti-Iranian move by the Trump administration over the last two and a half years. Earlier today, he did it again with a call for attacking Iran in response to their alleged responsibility for the recent tanker attacks:

If anything, we need to increase that pressure and I think this unprovoked attack on commercial shipping warrants retaliatory military strikes.

Cotton’s call for military strikes on Iran is crazy, and I hope that it is received that way by most of his colleagues and most Americans. It is still worth spelling out all the reasons why it makes no sense and why no one should ever listen to Cotton on matters of foreign policy. Start with Cotton’s assessment that Iran was behind the attacks. Iranian responsibility hasn’t been demonstrated to the satisfaction of most other governments, including the Japanese government. It was, after all, a Japanese-owned tanker that was hit in one of the latest attacks, so they have more of an interest in this incident than most. Nonetheless, Tokyo is not yet convinced by what the administration has presented. The same goes for many of our European allies. Most of our allies aren’t even willing to acknowledge that Iran committed the attacks, so they will be even less inclined to support U.S. military action. 

If Iran is responsible for the attacks, they were not entirely unprovoked. When the U.S. wages relentless economic war on the country for more than a year, and continues to pile on more and more sanctions to strangle their economy, Iran is being provoked and pushed into a corner. One has to assume that goading Iran into a reaction is what many Iran hawks have been trying to do all along. If Iran did lash out, the fault lies in large part with the destructive Iran policy that created the current crisis. The smart response to this would be to dial back the pressure and look for a way to de-escalate tensions, but that assumes that the administration wants de-escalation. Obviously launching military strikes against Iranian targets would be the exact opposite of that. Cotton wants to increase the pressure on Iran, which he has to know will lead to more of these incidents. Launching military strikes will in turn provoke Iranian reprisals, and that will drag us into a spiral of escalation that will be a disaster for all concerned. 

Cotton’s reassurances that this wouldn’t turn into a prolonged conflict are not convincing:

What I’m talking about is not like what we’ve seen in Iraq for the last 16 years or Afghanistan for the last 18 years.

Proponents of the invasion of Iraq sold the war on the promise that it would be easy, cheap, and quick, too, and here we are in 2019 with U.S. forces still in Iraq. Rumsfeld was famously quoted as saying that the war would last no more than five months. Cotton cannot promise that attacking Iran wouldn’t turn into another prolonged, bloody conflict that could potentially drag on for years, and hawks have pulled a fast one on the public too many times for us to believe anything they have to say about another unnecessary war now.


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by Gus Leonisky on Mon, 2019-06-17 17:23

Mehdi Hasan reports on the latest outrage by the Saudi government:

Last week, we learned that Saudi prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for 18-year-old Murtaja, who is being tried in an anti-terror court. CNN reports that the prosecutors want to “impose the harshest form of the death penalty, which may include crucifixion or dismemberment after execution.”

Got that? The unelected government of a close ally of the United States is planning on brutally executing an 18-year-old member of a minority group, for crimes allegedly committed when he was 10 years old.

Let me repeat: Ten. Years. Old.

We shouldn’t forget the person who is primarily responsible for this outrage: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS.

Murtaja Qureiris is another victim of the Saudi government’s abuse of political protesters. He was wrongfully detained, and then tortured while in prison. In the end, many of these prisoners are executed for crimes they allegedly committed years before as children, and their convictions are usually secured with the false confessions obtained through torture. There were several other cases earlier this year of young Saudi men put to death for supposed “crimes” they committed as minors. They were among the three dozen political prisoners slaughtered in one day by the government’s executioners in April. The only “crime” that these men seem to have committed was that they participated in public political protests against the government to one degree or another. In Saudi Arabia, peaceful protest is disgracefully equated with terrorism and punished with death. Hasan continues:

“There should be no doubt that the Saudi Arabian authorities are ready to go to any length to crack down on dissent against their own citizens, including by resorting to the death penalty for men who were merely boys at the time of their arrest,” says Lynn Maalouf, Middle East research director at Amnesty International.

The Gulf kingdom is one of the world’s top executioners and, according to Maalouf, Saudi authorities have “a chilling track record of using the death penalty as a weapon to crush political dissent and punish anti-government protesters — including children — from the country’s persecuted Shi’a minority.”

All of this takes place with the approval and support of the crown prince that the Trump administration embraces and defends no matter what. Hasan explains that Saudi abuses go well beyond persecuting religious minorities:

It isn’t just Shiites, either. MBS has also targeted Sunni clerics who have failed to fall into line. There have been reports that the belligerent and thin-skinned crown prince plans on executing three high-profile Saudi religious scholars — Salman al-Odah, Awad al-Qarni, and Ali al-Omari — all of whom have been held on multiple charges of “terrorism.” 62-year-old Odah is famous in the Arab world for his relatively progressive views on Islam and homosexuality and his 2007 denunciation of Osama bin Laden. His actual “crime”? Tweeting a prayer for reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and its Gulf rival, the Emirate of Qatar.

At the very least, the U.S. should have as little to do with this government as possible. It would be even better if the U.S. called out heinous Saudi abuses the same as it criticizes the abuses of any authoritarian regime. Instead of providing cover for an increasingly repressive despotic government, our government should be doing all it can to distance itself from Saudi Arabia while calling attention to the Saudi regime’s outrageous abuses and murders of prisoners. Failing that, the U.S. should use what influence it still has with Riyadh to intercede on behalf of these political prisoners who are obviously being railroaded because of their criticism of the government.


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Apparently, the Saudi terrorist family has decided not to kill the young man but to keep him in prison... The Saudi Royal family are full of the scum of the earth...

by Gus Leonisky on Mon, 2019-06-17 14:21


A blow to U.S. exceptionalism





No need for tears and hand-wringing, U.S. friends. What happened on Tuesday was not a collapse of your democracy — just a powerful blow to American exceptionalism and the misplaced arrogance of the U.S. elite.

Donald Trump won by using a mix that has been effective in Eastern Europe since the turn of the century: a combination of strong nationalism and an anti-corruption agenda.



At a hotel in an Orlando, Florida, suburb at 7 p.m. Tuesday night, a dozen Osceola County Republicans gathered around a TV tuned to Fox News. They were early comers to an event billed as a victory party — the Osceola Republican Party was going to celebrate some modest down-ballot wins — but these people were more interested in the presidential race.

Many will say Trump’s victory was fueled by racism and xenophobia. It’s more complicated than that. The pro-Trump crowd gathered at an Orlando hotel on Tuesday night to watch the election results wasn’t an all-white, all-male audience. The day before, when Orlando government relations consultant Bertica Cabrera Morris told me the Republicans hadn’t really botched Hispanic outreach and would deliver plenty of votes to their candidate, it was all I could do not to show disbelief. Yet she was right: Spanish was heard in that hotel ballroom. Women, too, were well-represented. Clearly, enough Latinos and enough women didn’t believe Trump’s words about them had been particularly offensive.

This is just anecdotal evidence, of course, and so is the fact that, in my travels around the U.S. this year, I met far more people who were enthusiastic about Trump than about Clinton. But then, do we have anything but anecdotal evidence to go on anymore?


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Read from top. Back then, in 2016, many people misunderstood Trump the trapeze artist and the circus clown. They though he was an American introvert, with a "make America great again" slogan meaning that local hard work and acumen would win the day. Far from it: US exceptionalism is alive and well... The way to make "America great again" has been to destroy countries that tend to compete with the USA. Simple.


This is exceptionalism at its best: nipple twists, blows below the belt, kicks on the shins, blaming opponents unfairly, lead weights in the boxing gloves, six-shooters instead of negotiations... what else do you want to reinvigorate "exceptionalism" with?


Not that we did not warn you...

by Gus Leonisky on Mon, 2019-06-17 11:45


Outside the Minnesota event in April there were two sets of Americans squaring off on either side of the road. One group, some 100 or so Trump fans, urged passing drivers to honk in ­support of the President. The other, dozens of Democrats, dubbed him a racist.

Randal, a 59-year-old dog breeder sporting a Trump T-shirt and a vast American flag, is a ­presidential superfan. He has been to 47 Trump rallies and events. “The number one thing was he spoke like me,” he said of his early conversion. “He spoke my language. I love the fact that he wasn’t beholden to what we call the swamp.”

Maury, 69, was on the other side of the road holding a piece of paper with a message scrawled in pen: “Trump = Hitler”. A Democrat, he saw Trump’s migrant detention camps as being like something from Nazi Germany. Neither man agreed on the President, nor his policies, nor the state of the US today. Both had driven miles to protest against what the other stood for. But they did agree on one thing. Would Trump win again in 2020? Both men said yes.



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