Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 17, 2015

A Movie Recommendation And Open Thread

Adam Curtis' new masterpiece, Bitter Lake, was unfortunately only released for the iPlayer platform. But there are now some free sources available online. 

The movie, again with fantastic music and pictures, tells the grant political story of the last seventy or so years using historic and current footage. The (non-)development of our world is investigated using the example of Afghanistan and the outer forces involved in it.

From Curtis' own description:

It tells a big historical narrative that interweaves America, Britain, Russia and Saudi Arabia. It shows how politicians in the west lost confidence - and began to simplify the stories they told. It explains why this happened - because they increasingly gave their power away to other forces, above all global finance.
...
[I]t is important to try and understand what happened. And the way to do that is to try and tell a new kind of story. One that doesn’t deny the complexity and reduce it to a meaningless fable of good battling evil - but instead really tries to makes sense of it.

The movie is quite long, some 140 minutes, but highly recommended.

Part 1, 2 and 3.

Use as open thread.

Posted by b on May 17, 2015 at 18:42 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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Is Macedonia another color rev? pro nato/eu protesters are out now in masses.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 17 2015 19:36 utc | 1

I've seen it recently. Curtis made some of the most interesting documentaries. I would highly recommend especially the following:

1) The Century of the Self
2) The trap
3) All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace

to be seen as a trilogy. Really great work.

Posted by: nmb | May 17 2015 20:21 utc | 2

The following article was inspired to a great extend by Curtis' trilogy above, to anyone interested:

How Western societies lost their faith in Vision

Posted by: nmb | May 17 2015 20:25 utc | 3

AlJazeera, owned by sectarian Catar – which has been largely funding islamic mercenaries in Syria from the start – has an interesting take on the matter.. the tv host goes full mad and proposes the genocide of Alawites.
Watch and vomit:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULtNYSUqYHw

Posted by: Luca K | May 17 2015 21:57 utc | 4

@1 - Yes. Look where Macedonia lies in relation to the route to Europe of Russia's alternative to South Stream.

Posted by: Yonatan | May 17 2015 22:00 utc | 5

Luca K
Yes, vomit.

Posted by: okie farmer | May 17 2015 22:25 utc | 6

@1
refer to my OT post on the last thread.

Posted by: okie farmer | May 17 2015 22:28 utc | 7

Can't find 'Bitter Lake' on the iTunes store. My paranoia makes me inclined to think it's been blocked from US consumption? I'd surely like to give Mr. Curtis his due, so I'd rather purchase if possible.

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | May 17 2015 22:46 utc | 8

Thanks for the tip b, sounds great.

ISIL is putting a threat out to Italy now.

So sad - some more innocent people are going to have to pay because their governments are up to no good in Syria. Yet who wins when these attacks take place? ISIL gets the gruesome publicity and new recruits for their war in Syria and Iraq, the security states get their excuses for more power (though they again failed to prevent the attacks). The US pulls the EU tighter into its orbit...

Yeah, it's a big game with only one real loser - the innocent civilians getting killed in the streets. When are we going to realize our enemies are not just ISIS, but our own governments who have refused to be serious about fighting them?

Posted by: guest77 | May 17 2015 23:01 utc | 9

Wikileaks - nuclear danger:

https://wikileaks.org/trident-safety/


"Please make sure this information is released. I don't want to be in prison without anyone knowing the truth. "

These are the words of UK Royal Navy "Trident" nuclear weapons submariner William McNeilly, aged 25.

Mr McNeilly, who has been in communications with WikiLeaks since the beginning of May, has decided he wants to go public about the detailed nuclear safety problems he says he has been "gathering for over a year".

"This is bigger than me, it’s bigger than all of us. We are so close to a nuclear disaster it is shocking, and yet everybody is accepting the risk to the public."

Though just you watch, this will be used in the media as an excuse to call for the billions to now be spent on Trident. Just you watch.

Posted by: guest77 | May 17 2015 23:04 utc | 10

A beautiful movie. I would not recommend it lightly though, as it could easily be mistaken for a documentary, instead of the propaganda it is.

While it is pretty convenient to put all blame on the House of Saud(especially as the bets on their fall seem open), it completely ignores that the USA happily cooperated with the Gehlen org, the Vatican, the Mafia and various other nationalist, religious and/or criminal organisations to fight communism.

Two good jokes: The movie mentions the Mujahedin, the training, the weapons and the drug trade, but not the CIA. And it start somehow at "we should not use this good-vs-evil-scenarios" and ends at "it's all the evil Wahhabis' fault".

Posted by: jaqwith | May 17 2015 23:10 utc | 11

@10

Yes. One of the themes used successfully by SNP in the latest Parliamentary election was that of the Tories defunding NHS, while leading a debate to "renew and modernize" Trident.

I find it interesting that this leak is made public, coincident with an SNP sweep of all Scotland, minus 1 district. The Trident bases are in Scotland and moves toward greater independence or national autonomy have potential to threaten the future of these submarine ICBMs.

The leaker is probably genuine. But he plays right into the hands of the powers interested in channeling billions to US-style cold war weaponry in the heart of austerity coupled with de facto regional independence devolution. Notice that his great worry is that nuclear weapons fall into the hands of "terrorists" - not that this horrifying machinery of global inferno is allowed to persist on the bellies of starving British children...

Posted by: Jeremiah Cornelius | May 17 2015 23:52 utc | 12

Has anyone heard of this horseshit "The Mitrokhin Archive"? It appears to be this "archive" of one KGB official that purports to show the most ridiculous garbage. Every US dissident of the 1970s-1990s is said to be a KGB agent. Every Soviet loss is multipleid by 10.

It appears to be a whole bunch of garabage, yet it is mentioned in Wikipedia all the time.

Wikipedia has major major problems. The inclusion of this shit is only one such example.

Posted by: guest77 | May 18 2015 1:12 utc | 13

@1 @5 @7

There was an interesting video ... monologue ... by Joaquin Flores on Macedonia at Fortrus. I transcribed it, if anyone is interested.

Posted by: jfl | May 18 2015 3:45 utc | 14

@13

wikipedia is run by gangs of vandals. It's OK for things on which there is little controversy, but for 'hot', topical items it's a war of the vandals ... and the ones who stick it out the longest or have the best inside connections/moles usually win.

You can sometimes discover the parameters of a given controversy at wikipedia ... and sometimes not : sometimes it's pure propaganda.

Posted by: jfl | May 18 2015 3:52 utc | 15

I meant to say thanks for the link to the film, b. Sounds interesting. I'll try and find it.

Posted by: jfl | May 18 2015 3:54 utc | 16

g77 -- That's the one where he is said to have hand-copied documents and snuck them out. How did he have the time to do his job and copy this stuff?

I note that the positive evaluations Wikipedia cites are all interested parties in western intelligence services and their intellectual infrastructure. And I find it quite revealing that they conclude with the evaluations of independent scholars. That Wikipedia pulls it punches 'til the end is fine by me.

The pros not only make the (obvious) point that I did about time, they underline the fact they they are "notes" about the documents, not the texts themselves. And that the copying of such an array of materials is unlikely given the information controls within security services and Soviet archives generally.

The article suggests to me there are problems with verification. It quotes noted conspiracy journalist Joseph Trento (an admirer of J.J. Angleton with long list of publications arguing the KGB had subverted and defeated the CIA) arguing that the archive is "real because it fills in the gaps in Western files" and "the operational material matches western electronic intercepts and agent reports." Which I read to mean -- Mitrokhin knew what they were looking for and provided enough genuine material to lend an air of veracity to the rest. There is no indication that anyone has attempted to find the "originals" in the KGB/FSB archive.

So they have about as much reliability as Bunin's ravings about a "pre-emptive" Operation Barbarossa forestalling Stalin's invasion and conquest of Western Europe. Wiki quotes Bahukutumbi Raman, a former senior security official in India, about the British lending their imprimatur to the revelations. According to him, "their interest seems to have been only in the publication of a book on the misdeeds of the KGB.... The Mitrokhin notes and the two books based on it written by Andrew are part of the MI-6's psywar against Russia".

Posted by: rufus magister | May 18 2015 3:58 utc | 17

A wry rule of thumb about internet services is,


"If it's free, you're the product."

That's obviously true of services like gmail ... where not only you but all your correspondents, wily nily ... are the product, but also about google search, google maps, google a-z.

But also about any (more or less) open service like wikipedia which can be exploited by people with a cause to implant their ideas in your brain. Making you their finished product.

But it's always been thus, hasn't it? Textbooks in school ... used to be free usage, don't know anymore ... the official 'cannon' of whatever discipline you're studying ... not consciously engineered to deceive but ...

Caveat emptor, especially if it's free.

I'm not arguing for acceptance of scum like google and the cia, it's just that if when we lop off their heads, two or four more will pop up to replace them.

Posted by: jfl | May 18 2015 4:45 utc | 18

Seriously?

Saudi Arabia is said to have taken the "strategic decision" to acquire "off-the-shelf" nuclear weapons from ally Pakistan, senior US officials told the Sunday Times.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10141096005

Posted by: ben | May 18 2015 5:23 utc | 19

Agree about Adam Curtis and his docos.
His 3-part Power of Nightmares (2004) proved so persuasive and popular with TV audiences that the Right-wing Cranks commissioned a hastily cobbled together 3-part riposte/ pile of steaming Neocon crap called The New Al Qaeda. I believe that every TV station in Oz, US & UK which had broadcast Power of Nightmares, was obliged to broadcast The New Al Qaeda in a similar time slot.

Talking about piles of steaming Neocon crap ... 60 Minutes (Oz) broadcast an "investigation" into MH17 last night. It was so "thorough" that they forgot that the Ukrainian govt is a Western-sponsored coup govt. And after pointing the finger at the Russian-backed separatists (Putin) they also forgot to include a Russian motive for shooting down a civilian airliner over Ukraine. They also forgot to find out why the Dutch are investigating the crash of a Malaysian airliner, or to ask if the prolonged (and opaque) Dutch investigation raises any doubts about Dutch competence/ trustworthiness.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 18 2015 7:07 utc | 20

ad 20 (MH17).
Today, 60 Minutes (Oz) website had very little info on their crappy MH17 "expose" and no online comment facility. They did, however, have a link to a website called BellTheCat, which appears to be the source of their beat-up. That website has a comment page for the MH17 story, notable for its trollish defensiveness.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 18 2015 7:41 utc | 21

I liked it but thought he left too much that was significant out. My crit here http://tubbytowntales.co.uk/bitter_lake.html

Posted by: Stubbs | May 18 2015 9:47 utc | 22

For 3 days now, the French media is focusing (today again, listening to a governemental radio for the lunch time news)on the fight of "the Westerners" protecting Palmyra against da'esh.
At the same time, the governorate of Homs to which Palmyra belongs, has denied that to RT.
What are the French trying to cook up?

Posted by: Mina | May 18 2015 11:46 utc | 23

The US has had a change of heart. Say ..press titles like: “The US is making moves to repair relations with Russia…” (See for ex. Fort Russ 16 may for articles in this mode.)

The telling sign is Kerry’s trip to Sotchi, a few days after the US was absent at the Commemoration in Moscow.

Apparently aggregate sites haven’t noted that Radio Liberty (USA) published a damning article about Poroshenko. When I read it the top lead article was about more proof of a Russian Buk downing MH17, in true RL style. May 16.

Makes it official I think and points to Poro *perhaps* being a sacrificial victim. He is certainly looking dead stressed.

What happened? In some situations, slow attritition, build up of negativity, or even just an unfavorable stasis that lasts too long explain turnabouts. The docs finally reluctantly decide to intern the patient; Marie-Lucille wakes up one morning and just decides to split after her uplifiting dream, her marriage to Jean-Luc has been dead for years. (see for ex. Escobar and the May 9 Moscow parade below.) Maybe. I’m not keen.

One US faction winning over another and managing to reverse, or change course? Obama is fast in the grip of the neo-cons, neo-libs, and that can’t just miraculously change. So? Kerry is being presented as a ‘realist’, as per usual. Disarray certainly.

Was there some event or some new information? What occurred? I haven’t a clue.

One has to take into account that Minsk 2 rests on negotiations. (See wiki.) In the MSM, the terms autonomy, decentralisation, federalisation, are tossed about but nobody says what exactly they mean, feel-good words without content. The devil is in the details.

The Federation -DPR + LPR- have made a proposal, or proposals, (from various readings, it is all very murky, the below is my interpretation from several sources, please correct if.)

These include conditions that come out of ‘federalist’ and ‘autonomous region’ playbooks. While in my eyes they leave important matters in the shade, and are in part contradictory, the crucial point is that Kiev cannot ever accept them.

Ex. Novorussiya (to call it that for now, NovR) to have only its own police force / militias. This demand makes sense (Kiev Pravy Sektor cops can’t possibly be tolerated) - but leaves aside that then indepedent criminal law and an ind. Judiciary is to needed and neglects the ‘Crimes against the State’ issues. Leaves the potential Ukr. Federation with no police powers in part of its Regions. There is only one successful Federal model in the world that has structure close to / approaching that (and its an iffy ex.), Switzerland, which can’t be a model for Ukr. Scotland perhaps for a judiciary model...not suited either.

Ex. NovR proposes that it be free to make its own trade agreements (bi-lateral between it and others), and not be bound by Central Gov. deals (e.g. with the EU.) Again, this makes complete sense from their pov. However, that is not possible in a Federation, I don’t need to explain. NovR also proposes to make itself ‘finlandised’ and commits to refrain from entering any military treaties / blocs / orgs, and to not allow any ‘foreign forces’ to act on its territory. Once more, a good move, yet incompatible with a minimal adherence to National Defense.

Yet, at the same time, NovR as a possible part of ‘Unitary Ukraine’ demands that the Central Gvmt. restore payment for State employees, pensions, transport, banking, etc.

Conclusion: it is *inevitable* that NovR will end up as autonomous / result of partition, or as part of the Russian Federation — the only two possible ‘positive’ outcomes. (The others are more dire.) If I can glom this, it is certainly understood by the likes of Putin and Kerry.

I haven’t even mentioned the ‘fascists’ in Kiev who want to Genocide and/or Cut Off (as a cancer that poisons the Pure State) NovR, a gaol, even oath, from which they now cannot turn back. See for ex. Yats who ‘admitted to genocide.’ Nor that the violent hate and now lasting bitterness can’t be overcome by big-wigs around a dinner table in Belarus. So what we see now is posturing and temporising rather than a true move towards some kind of solution.

radio liberty http://tinyurl.com/k33jo54

minsk 2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minsk_II

escobar http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article41871.htm

yats https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdNecwGjFoM

-thx for the vid recommendation, I will watch.

Posted by: Noirette | May 18 2015 13:49 utc | 24

re 23

What are the French trying to cook up?
The French have a deeper emotional attachment to the Romans and Classical civilisation tha

Posted by: Laguerre | May 18 2015 14:53 utc | 25

The French have a deeper emotional attachment to the Romans and Classical civilisation than the rest of us. They really believe they are the direct descendants of the Romans (even though Palmyrans were actually Arabs - still there are lots of columns). I should think that's what is going on. It won't make any difference, because nobody is going to war to defend an archaeological site.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 18 2015 14:56 utc | 26

@19

This rumor is not to be taken too seriously! The Saudis have stated publicly that they will use the Iran nuke deal as a template for developing their own nuke program and Pakistan might legally help them with that.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | May 18 2015 16:38 utc | 27

I found the film and watched it. I have to say that I didn't like it. It was way too long. It actually seemed to take Reagan and Obama seriously. It talked about spreading democracy in Afghanistan as though that were really 'the story'. At the end it talked about a 'new story' ... but it was a 140 minute 'coming attractions' loop. It had no new story. I didn't find anything there.

Posted by: jfl | May 18 2015 19:37 utc | 28

the curtis film is on youtube if your connection is too slow to stream 720p.

Posted by: ruralito | May 18 2015 20:11 utc | 29

@29

Is that the "history teacher's cut"? He cut about 40 minutes to the strictly historical parts, so you don't get the full Curtis flavor, but the gist is there. I seem to remember seeing an earlier cut of this a while back...

Posted by: chuckvw | May 18 2015 21:17 utc | 30

laguerre #26

the pipelines and pumping station run through palmyra

in fact why not start in iraq and follow them all the way to syria....they are parallel lines

Posted by: mcohen | May 18 2015 22:35 utc | 31

in fact if you follow them out of palmyra towards iraq you will even find a big oil spill

in fact if you over lay the pipelines with a map of isis activity you will be ........surprised maybe

but it is palmyra to syrian coast that is a lot more interesting as that is happening in real time

Posted by: mcohen | May 18 2015 22:42 utc | 32

Noirette at 24 -- Over at the other open thread, you might find this article from the NYT of interest, as well as this Reuters item.

It seems to the product be a number of factors converging -- no success in Kiev, hostility from the Euroclients, growing and more pressing problems in the Mid-East. Stalemate has been in the cards since Minsk-II. Kiev probably stays on the leash, but the Reuters piece clearly documents them pulling at the lead.

To muddy the waters, this bit from Fort Russ suggest a likely source of indiscipline. Ukrainian conscripts revolt at the Lvov base with American instructors over the preferential treatment received by the volunteer battalions and the neglect of the draftees. The battalions used to be poorly equipped and ill-disciplined, now they are becoming well-equipped and ill-disciplined. It would only take a few rambunctious volunteers to go off on there own and resume the war.

Poroshenko is a valuable front -- he has electoral legitimacy, the US have steadily moved to reinforce him since Minsk-II, they are not going to sacrifice him. But as you can see from this, he has some dangerous opinions about retaking the Donbas: Poroshenko promises to "liberate Donetsk airport" in violation of the Minsk agreement

Posted by: rufus magister | May 18 2015 23:11 utc | 33

further to 33 -- or you could just cut to Alexander Mercouris' recent analysis. Originally at Russia Insider, I prefer the ad-free formatting of the New Cold War repost. He quotes a recent Bloomberg article.

"The administration’s cautious engagement with Moscow is logical: Why not seek a balance in a complicated and important bilateral relationship? But by choosing a middle ground between conciliation and confrontation – not being generous enough to entice Russia’s cooperation yet not being tough enough to stop Putin’s aggression in Eastern Europe – Obama’s policy risks failing on both fronts."

Mercouris goes on to stress the need for Western pressure on Kiev if peace for the Donbas is to come to pass. He does not consider it likely.

Given the vocal public support the Western powers have given to the Ukrainian government, it is now probably too late politically for the Western powers to undertake the sort of public volte face that would be needed to enable them to put pressure on it. In the absence of such pressure, war is all but inevitable....

Ukraine has utterly failed to implement any part of the Minsk Memorandum’s political provisions. Ukraine refuses to negotiate directly with the leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics as the Minsk Memorandum required it to do. It continues to call them “separatists” and “terrorists”.

He sees the war resuming shortly. Russia will continue its de facto guaranty of Novorossiyan independence, while the West will offer only rhetorical support. "That all but guarantees another Ukrainian defeat," with another conference imposing even more stringent terms on the junta. Mercouris sees the regime's economic problems catching up to it and leading to its eventual, but not-soon-enough demise.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 19 2015 2:39 utc | 34

rufus magister @34: Great link, excellent analysis by Mercouris.

Posted by: fairleft | May 19 2015 4:46 utc | 35

fairleft -- tx, pc. is best of show so far on analyzing recent developments, in part due to the large no. of links to his previous bits and other info. Mercouris always does good work.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 19 2015 10:51 utc | 36

Is the economy catching up with the junta? 5,000 people march on Khreshchatyk Boulevard against raising utility tariffs, declare indefinite rally

Posted by: rufus magister | May 19 2015 11:25 utc | 37

Good news on GMOs? Are Monsanto’s Worst Fears Coming True? That link is from counterpunch, the original is at Independent Science News, but I couldn't get the article to open there.

The bottom line, to me, is that this is happening independent of the 'authorities', the mob, who are in fact all bought up and doing their best to help Monsanto & their droogies poison us all off and mother earth as well.

Perhaps there's even hope for direct action, not just indirect action in response to 'market forces' ... see the gyrocopters ... Gyrocopter Pilot Flew for Reform, Might Land in Prison, and Can the Gyrocopter Gang Start a Political Reform Movement?

Will we zc's finally realize that we're the only ones here with our interests at heart, and so just pursue them directly, ourselves?

Posted by: jfl | May 19 2015 11:35 utc | 38

Pakistan military says its spies will cooperate with Afghanistan

I wonder if this and what it may imply could be a major effect of Pakistan's recent mega-deal with China. If Pak stops funding Afghanistan's Taliban, and Afghanistan stops funding Pakistan's Taliban ... A peace dangerous to US 'Great Game' interests might break out.

Posted by: fairleft | May 19 2015 12:18 utc | 39

@39

I hope you're right. The deal seems to me to be a gas pipline from Iran to China. The Chinese are paying for it so it seems a safe bet it's going to China, unless it's just a financial deal ... through Pakistan ... and Afghanistan, Tajikistan? The Pakistani tap is all I've seen mentioned. Seen any more on the route? maps?

Posted by: jfl | May 19 2015 12:31 utc | 40

rufus at 33, about Ukraine. Yes, converging factors, etc, I hadn’t seen that article, thx. (Kiev Post.) As for the Army revolt in Lov, it post-dates Sochi, and looks more like a go-slow strike than a revolt. I also read somewhere or other that the US ‘trainers’ are also of course ‘inspectors’ in the sense that they, once on the ground, can judge the skills, efficiency, readiness, equipment (boots seems to be a major bone of contention in Lov!), morale, of the Ukies, and will have reported back extremely negative reviews. Morevoer training soldiers to cut barbed wire and use a crow-bar seems somewhat beside the point.

I agree w you that Poro will not be sacrificed by the US/west. However that opinion ignores the dynamics in Kiev: Poro might do it himself, or someone else might take care of the matter.

Mercouris is always good.

Posted by: Noirette | May 19 2015 14:24 utc | 41

@28, agree. America is portrayed as bumbling but well-intentioned and Assad is dismissed out of hand as a Brutal Tyrant© . The Shtetl State barely gets a mention.

Posted by: ruralito | May 19 2015 16:43 utc | 42

jfl @40

There are many maps but perhaps the best one is here. The map shows how China currently imports 80% of its oil 11,900 miles by sea, and the Pakistan pipeline will cut that to down 2,000 miles.

It's a gas and oil pipeline and a rail and highway project. If it is completed it will bring a reliable supply of Iranian oil and gas into Pakistan (and then, of course, to China). Pakistan currently suffers blackouts and so on because it has no steady source of oil/gas. Amazing, actually, that it has never connected up to the massive supplies just across the border. The pipelines are already constructed across Iran and up to the Pakistan border. For Pakistan, the project would also build a major port at Gwadar and tie together northern and southern Pakistan with modern highways and rail projects.

As I've said before, Great Game enthusiasts on the other side -- the anti-development and anti-China side -- may attempt to play the Balochistan card. The project must cross that part of Pakistan, and creation of chaos there would ruin the entire project. And ruin a great chance for Balochistan to climb out of poverty and get integrated economically and transportation-network-wise with the rest of Pakistan and the world. Here's a little from the article I linked to above:

Pakistan’s strong political relations with China may mean this initiative succeeds where other regional energy projects have become mired in security problems and political disagreements, says Vaqar Zakaria, energy sector expert and managing director of environmental consultancy firm Hagler Bailley Pakistan. “The Pak-Iran pipeline is on hold, the World Bank-backed Central Asia South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade Project has to contend with security of passage through Afghanistan, and importing power from India has to wait for core issues between the two countries are resolved,” he said.

Energy-poor Pakistan certainly seems to have found a saviour in China, which has promised to stand by the country in its dark hour (parts of the country suffer power cuts for up to eighteen hours a day). ...

At the same time, the new silk roads are bound to intensify ongoing competition between India and China–and to a lesser extent between China and the US–to invest in and cultivate influence in the broader Central Asia region, says [Michael] Kugelman [Michael Kugelman, senior associate at the Washington DC based Woodrow Wilson Center]. “India has long had its eyes on energy assets in Central Asia and Afghanistan, even as China has gobbled many of these up in recent years. The US has announced its own Silk Road initiative in the broader region,” he said.

Posted by: fairleft | May 19 2015 16:43 utc | 43

Should've said "... cut that down to 2,000 miles."

Posted by: fairleft | May 19 2015 16:49 utc | 44

Here's an outstanding map of what looks like an enormously beneficial economic development project, almost entirely paid for by China. But _so_ many Pakistani commenters are absolutely certain their politicians are gonna screw it up.

Posted by: fairleft | May 19 2015 17:38 utc | 45

Adam Curtis: good stuff - at least the primary theme. When Curtis throws off one or two lines on macroeconomics, it is clear he's just repeating what someone has told him.

@fairleft #43
data point:
http://atimes.com/2015/04/pakistan-enters-the-new-silk-road/
There’s a new highway from Kashgar to Osh, in Kyrgyzstan, and a new railway between Urumqi and Almaty, in Kazakhstan. We may be a long way away from the new high-speed Silk Rail, but trade between, for instance, the megacities of Chongqing or Chengdu in Sichuan with Germany now moves in only 20 days; that’s 15 days less than the sea route.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | May 19 2015 18:08 utc | 46

jfl | May 17, 2015 11:45:26 PM | 14

Thanks for that translation. Very interesting.

Posted by: MRW | May 19 2015 18:10 utc | 47

in OT news - Wikipedia founder supports Israel, but keeps site neutral, keeps site neutral - lolol

Posted by: james | May 19 2015 18:12 utc | 48

fairleft | May 19, 2015 1:38:07 PM | 45

Wow. What a map. And we here in the US are blocking our development.

Posted by: MRW | May 19 2015 18:14 utc | 49

james | May 19, 2015 2:12:38 PM | 48

Bullshit. The Ministry of Information or whatever it's called in Israel pays its soldiers and ordinary citizens to alter Wikipedia all day long. But, of course, you knew that. I think Naftali Bennett was in charge of that effort before he became 100% political.

Posted by: MRW | May 19 2015 18:16 utc | 50

Adam Curtis' films cannot be sold on iTunes because the BBC owns the footage.

You can find Adam Curtis' films here, or linked to from here: http://adamcurtisfilms.blogspot.com. Click on "visit a great site HERE" for the others.

Posted by: MRW | May 19 2015 18:44 utc | 51

The "others" include a full and complete version of Bitter Lake.

Posted by: MRW | May 19 2015 18:46 utc | 52

@50 mrw..thanks. i thought it was bullshit too, but glad to see you are confirming it for me here..

Posted by: james | May 19 2015 18:55 utc | 53

mrw and others.. i happened to notice the al-monitor site being hit with a lot of comments from zionists, or pro israel folks more recently.. i guess they couldn't stand some of the info that al-monitor was providing.. a concerted effort seems to have developed to swamp it with zionist bullshit..

Posted by: james | May 19 2015 18:59 utc | 54

maybe it has something to do with this which i hadn't read today at al-monitor.

Posted by: james | May 19 2015 19:02 utc | 55

@51

I get "Blog not found The blog you were looking for was not found. If you are the owner of this blog, please sign in." at your link.

Posted by: jfl | May 19 2015 22:32 utc | 56

In Saudi Arabia they are beheading are beheading so many people they need more executioners.

Posted by: Vintage Red | May 19 2015 22:58 utc | 57

@43 @45

Thanks for the links on the CPEC, its lots more than just the 'Iran-Pakistan' pipeline deal. It looks from here like a buy-out of Pakistan by China, they're helpfully both rendered in pink on the first map you linked, and if it looks like that to the people in Pakistan outside of the Punjab ... it could be a tremendous problem for Pakistan and for China.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: Lines of development – not lines of divide - your 2 above


It was on China’s demand for security and early completion of the route that led to the finalisation of the eastern corridor. The western route, where the Pakhtoon and Baloch belts lie, cannot be developed at a faster pace and is riskier in terms of security. However, there is a counter argument that development would address the security concerns.

Pakistan enters the New Silk Road


Beijing, for its part, has been very explicit to Islamabad; the Pakistani Taliban must be defeated, or at least appeased. That explains why since June 2014 the Pakistani army has been involved in a huge aerial bombing campaign – Zarb-e Azb – againt the Haqqani network and other hardcore tribals. The Pakistani army has already set up a special division to take care of the corridor, including nine battalions and the proverbial paramilitary forces. None of this though is a guarantee of success.

Yeah, the Chinese are in a hurry. If the Han don't slow down and get it right with the rest of people under their yoke they're going join the West in the war against the world's indigenes.

Thanks for the links. I was lucky enough to ask the right person :)

Posted by: jfl | May 19 2015 23:27 utc | 58

Noirette at 41 -- "Revolt" in Fort Russ's headline clearly overstates it, especially since they say they'll walk if they're not trained and supplied. But it does underscore the ongoing tension btw. the regulars and volunteers.

I recall that seeing something about evaluation component of the military mission. So it's probably not accidental that DC began to make serious kissy-face with Moscow after taking stock of their mercenaries. Oh, sorry, allies.

I doubt if Poroshenko will take himself out. But I agree that there are any number of other figures who are quite willing and able to take the task on. But I doubt if DC would support anyone who managed to muscle him aside. Doesn't mean they won't try.

I think the thorniest problem is war vs. not war. Again, its the militias. Graham Philips looks into What Is Behind Azov's Claim Rebels Could Easily Take Mariupol? The subtitle at Russia Insider asks "Azov wants more funds? Wants to underline its importance? Wants Marioupol residents to rise up so it can justify a crack down?" Or maybe justify a pre-emptive strike?

Posted by: rufus magister | May 19 2015 23:38 utc | 59

The gist of Russia has “hardened” her southern border, politically and militarily is


Russia plans to invite India, Pakistan and Iran into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

That, coupled with the Chinese economic offer they cannot refuse, would put Pakistan right in the middle of the multi-polar camp.

Presuming it's Lavrov and not the Saker saying this, and further presuming that the Russians (and Chinese) have the finesse to make only offers they know will be accepted, mindful of the Pakistani parliament's unanimous refusal to be involved with US/KSA's 'punishment' a la Azov of the Yemenis, and even noting in reaction the timing of the Hersh reminder of the Hillhouse story on Pakistan ISI ... it seems that big strides are being taken by the rest of the world to protect itself from the mad death throes of the Evil Empire.

Posted by: jfl | May 20 2015 0:01 utc | 60

Maybe this time the wolf really, really is at the door?

Life is good for the offspring of the Kiev junta


The eldest daughter of the chief of traffic police of Ukraine - Anastasia Ershova and ... Paris Hilton. Nightclub in Cannes in the South of France.

Kiev junta is packing the bags


Escape. This short word describes the state of the Ukrainian elite. Foreign advisers are actively quitting the junta government. Businessmen are taking their money out.

Ukraine: the game is over


The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine by the majority of votes adopted a practice unprecedented in world, granted the Cabinet the right to impose a moratorium on payment of foreign debts. Kiev is in fact acknowledged its powerlessness to avoid a default.

Posted by: jfl | May 20 2015 0:08 utc | 61

I have to remember that Russia, as the world's largest, or one-of-the, fossil fuel producers and China the world's largest, or one-of-the, fossil fuel consumers are not the 'good guys' in this struggle for hegemony.

This is like a junkie scoring from a better-looking heroin dealer.

What we're applauding is the construction of fossil fuel pipelines to further the degradation and debasement of life on earth ... because they're in the hands of 'lessor evils'.

Where have I heard that before ...

Posted by: jfl | May 20 2015 1:15 utc | 62

in re 59 --

Well, I don't recall the Saker being in the habit of making shit up, but there is a very simple verification procedure. But perhaps it is unknown to zombies.

The Saker provided a link to Russian-language Rossiiskaya Gazeta. Bing didn't like it, but Google produced the machine language below; I've only polished it a little.

Is it possible accession of Iran into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit organization in Ufa?

Sergei Lavrov: Iran has submitted an application to the SCO. It did it for a long time. Considering that the criteria for membership in the SCO includes a provision according to which a candidate should not be under UN Security Council sanctions, this application is not formally been reviewed. But as soon as an agreement will be fixed on the Iranian nuclear program, any barriers to the entry of Iran into the SCO will not. Under the circumstances, Russia is in favor of at the Ufa summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which will be officially opened accession to the SCO of India and Pakistan, a decision that will emphasize our commitment to promote and Iran's membership in the organization, as progress in resolving the Iranian nuclear program. And, accordingly, that the grounds for the conservation Security Council sanctions. It is still too early to say, because for nearly two months left before the SCO summit, a lot of events can occur, but I have every reason to believe that progress is sufficient to Ufa Heads of State have received an offer from the ministers that this summit is prepared to take a political decision. It would indicate a clear perspective of membership in the organization and Iran.

Personally, I found the opening question and answer about the "Victory" sedan used at Sochi most interesting.

I find Pakistan's proposed membership (the Saker notes China rather insisted on it, largely to balance India) intriguing. I would judge the links to US security services too vital, and more to the point, the deep pockets of their Saudi paymasters to useful, for Pakistan to actually disentangle itself the Western web of intrigue. I read it more as bargaining ploy and bit of domestic theatre.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 20 2015 4:11 utc | 63

How America’s ‘News’ Media Killed America’s Democracy: TPP & TTIP


TPP and TTIP have been represented in America’s press as “trade” deals, but instead they’re actually about sovereignty. They’re about America and the other participating countries handing their democratic sovereignty — on regulation of the environment, consumer protection, worker protection, and finance — over to panels, all of whose members will be selected by the large international corporations that for years have been working with U.S. President Obama’s Trade Representative to draft these ‘trade’ treaties.

The idea that these are 'free market' treaties is the biggest of all Big Lies. They’re a transfer of sovereignty from national democracies to a fascistic world government. This is the biggest news-story of our times, and it’s been virtually ignored, until it’s too late to stop.


Don't worry. There's no discussion of these 'trade' deals in the media. Soon they'll be passed ... and there will be no more illusory 'democratic' government to complain about.

The 'world' will be safe for the 1%. They won't have to worry about any sort of opposition any longer. They'll have made it illegal.

Sooner of later we'll all find our way to prison ... assembling spiPhones for $0.75 an hour. They'll bill our families, or the state, for disposing of our bodies, minus any salvageable/saleable organs, when we die.

Posted by: jfl | May 20 2015 4:46 utc | 64

@jfl | May 19, 2015 6:32:57 PM | 56

That's weird. I got that too. Try this: put this into google, just this without the quotes: "adamcurtisfilms"

Then click on the first thing that comes up which is the link I gave above. You'll notice the Google+ logo under it in the search results. That might have something to do with it because Google bought blogspot years ago. You'll get in.

Anyway, Curtis links to this site on that site for the rest of the films. (Who's-on-First-ish) http://thoughtmaybe.com/by/adam-curtis/

Posted by: MRW | May 20 2015 5:03 utc | 65

@jfl | May 20, 2015 12:46:52 AM | 63

"I’ve Read Obama’s Secret Trade Deal. Elizabeth Warren Is Right to Be Concerned." By Michael Wessel
Published today. EVERYONE READ IT.
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/05/tpp-elizabeth-warren-labor-118068.html
Michael Wessel is a cleared liaison to two statutory advisory committees and was a commissioner on the U.S. Trade Deficit Review Commission, as well as the international trade co-chair for the Kerry-Edwards Presidential Campaign.
And he opens with this paragraph:

“You need to tell me what’s wrong with this trade agreement, not one that was passed 25 years ago,” a frustrated President Barack Obama recently complained about criticisms of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). He’s right. The public criticisms of the TPP have been vague. That’s by design—anyone who has read the text of the agreement could be jailed for disclosing its contents. I’ve actually read the TPP text provided to the government’s own advisors, and I’ve given the president an earful about how this trade deal will damage this nation. But I can’t share my criticisms with you.

Posted by: MRW | May 20 2015 5:10 utc | 66

The TPP, TTIP, and TISA are the legal framework for the Global Governance they are trying to set up in Paris this coming December under the guide of Climate Change. Check out UNEP's Financel Initiative website: it's all for the 1%. That's why Obama wants Fast Track. UNEP's website where you can see this: http://www.unepfi.org/

They tried to get Global Governance in Copenhagen '09. They couldn't. The man in charge of Copenhagen '09 was Michael Froman. Check his bio. http://cop15.state.gov/about/bios/133538.htm

Now he's the US Trade Representative, the guy handling all this secret shit in Geneva.

The Wikipedia entry on him says that he was a classmate of Obama's at Harvard, and an associate of Obama's on the Harvard Law Review.

We have been scammed big time. If CO2 is such a pollutant, why do we exhale 40,000 PPM every 3-5 seconds? Why aren't there danger reports against mothers kissing their babies?

Posted by: MRW | May 20 2015 5:26 utc | 67

under the guide of Climate Change. Check out UNEP's Financel Initiative website

Should read:

"under the guise of Climate Change. Check out UNEP's Finance Initiative website"

Autocorrect !

Posted by: MRW | May 20 2015 5:48 utc | 68

Re the TPP
Published today. EVERYONE READ IT.
Posted by: MRW | May 20, 2015 1:10:45 AM | 65

Anyone who doesn't know what "Totalitarian Capitalism" means should acquaint themselves with the TPP which spells it out chapter and verse.
Once you begin reading it'll soon become patently obvious why it's being perpetrated in secret by treacherous politicians.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 20 2015 6:01 utc | 69

' The TPP, TTIP, and TISA are the legal framework for the Global Governance ... '

I agree that's all you have to know about the TPP, TTIP, and TSA (I don't know that last 'T').

I'm not surprised you're big on CO2 and, really, on fossil fuels ... you're big on the Federal Reserve, too, aren't you?

I'm not big on either of those but, just as you point out ' The TPP and TTIP are the legal framework for the Global - make that Trans-National Corporate - Governance ... '

That's all anyone needs to know. Finance, trade, labor laws ... they'll all be dictated by corporate councils and countries and their peoples will be fined for passing legislation not in compliance with those councils' orders. It's the surrender of popular sovereignty to the TNCs.

This is the biggest and most basic of Barack the Manchurian Candidate Obama's betrayals. And the 535 traitors in the American Congress as well, of course. They pass this one and it's a lifetime sinecure ... bargain basement for the TNCs ... there's just over 500 of 'em to pay off and the world, literally, to gain.

Posted by: jfl | May 20 2015 13:52 utc | 70

This is just a snippet, but I thought it might interest. I was reminded of it by mention of Pakistan by fairleft, jfl, others. (Pak-Chin.) The US is undergoing its review at the UN Council of Human Rights. For the first time *ever,* the status of Alaska and Hawaii were brought up, in a follow up to a long report on the auto-determination of ppl (which predates Crimea > Russia.) Both Hawaii and Alaska have tireless if not very rich (?) lobbyists / champions of independence. The country that brought this matter up: Pakistan.

Had a quick look at the UN Hum. Rights site but saw nothing, which is unsurprising.

rufus at 58 if you understand French a guy called Xavier Moreau is consistently good. (Meaning only natch that I agree with what he says..) Here a vid of him on the support of the US-W-Nato to Kiev and various implications. He takes on the topic of war / not war (I agree w you about that btw) and his take is the US-w is giving minimal, symbolic, encouragement and support to Kiev for once more attacking the Donbass, while expecting a Kiev defeat. The aim is to prolong the conflict, buy time, keep blaming Russia, and possibly move from ‘classical war’ to ‘terrorist actions’…see the training that is being given (for ex. how to kidnap ppl..) I myself am sure Russia will not rise to that bait and that all parties (except Kiev) are deliberately moving towards a sort of frozen conflict scenario, a contained mess, etc.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVrTpwEfshU

Posted by: Noirette | May 20 2015 14:10 utc | 71

@jfl #61
You said: "What we're applauding is the construction of fossil fuel pipelines to further the degradation and debasement of life on earth ... because they're in the hands of 'lessor evils'."

I think you need to clarify a bit what you mean by "life" above.

Increased CO2 levels are visibly greening the earth. So, for plants - humans burning fossil fuels is a wonderful thing.

The real problem environmentalists have is that the ultimate root of all ecological problems on Earth is ... people. But few people will voluntarily sign on to self-annihilation, and the ones who do just make room for all those that don't.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | May 20 2015 18:11 utc | 72

The gist of the matter : How banksters are strangling the Kiev regime


The only tragedy is - the Ukrainian people are hostages in this big game. It is a high price to pay for relinquishing control of their destiny or becoming a tool of self-destructive mechanism of their own demise for a short-term gain. Let it be a cautionary tale to others.

It has always been all about the money in Ukraine, with the CIA and the usual geopolitical bad actors piggy-backing their cause on top of the banksters' supposed gain.

At this point the only way any of the banksters are going to make a gain is for those presently un-'invested' literally to take possession of the Ukraine.

And this is exactly what the TPP and TTIP mean for us in the West. The only avenue left to the banksters to make money from us ordinary Westerners, bled pale as chalk already, is to completely eliminate what little agency remains to us, deliver us and our remaining assets over to the jurisdiction of the TNC Councils, with which they will replace our governments, in dismal repair, such as they are.

We may ask, how could the poor Ukrainians allow themselves to be played so nakedly and so badly. Well Nuland spent $5 billion on her PR campaign ... and desperate people will grasp at straws.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls ... Here come the TTP and TTIP in real time ... It tolls for us.

Posted by: jfl | May 20 2015 23:30 utc | 73

noirette at 71 -- I had a few years of French in High School (I used to play a mean game of Mille Borne), I can usually pick up the gist of a text (lets all thank the Normans for those cognates) but the spoken word is beyond me.

Which is too bad, I found a piece of his from Nov. 2014. République féodale d'Ukraine Saison 1
Episode 2 : Le "populicide" du Donbass
("The feudal republic of the Ukraine"). I'll GoogleTrans it at my leisure, as I was struck by the section heading "An energetic schizophrenia and economic destruction." As a St. Cyr grad and former parachutist, well-qualified. Good analysis and a catchy phrase, what's not to like?

The 64,000 hryvnia question is -- will it be a frozen conflict, Nagorno-Karabakh-style, or just a long-term pause, Croatian-style.

in re 67 --

If CO2 is such a pollutant, why do we exhale 40,000 PPM every 3-5 seconds?

This could well be the most ill-informed statement yet posted on MofA.

We exhale it because it's toxic.

from wikipedia -- "In concentrations up to 1% (10,000 ppm), it will make some people feel drowsy. Concentrations of 7% to 10% may cause suffocation, even in the presence of sufficient oxygen, manifesting as dizziness, headache, visual and hearing dysfunction, and unconsciousness within a few minutes to an hour. The physiological effects of acute carbon dioxide exposure are grouped together under the term hypercapnia, a subset of asphyxiation." It goes on to discuss the dangers posed to miners, especially.

But of course, the greenhouse effect is the primary problem here.

Back in the 50's and 60's, the UN was the preferred modality of "One World Government" for Birchites and other rightist paranoids. It at least had some power (to the degree that the Powers found it convenient). Now it's ineffective global conferences with no teeth. Ain't progress grand?

in re 64

Sooner of later we'll all find our way to prison.

Well, even if this were so (you really can't jail everybody), here's a musical reminder of your options.

When they kick at your front door
How you gonna come?
With your hands on your head
Or on the trigger of your gun?

I know what my answer would be, but I'd prefer not to spoil the surprise.

ps -- for all you fans, it's come to my attention that the demo of London Calling was recently found and released. I like the finished product better, but the rough draft is not without interest.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 21 2015 0:06 utc | 74

Speaking of MSM silence and disinformation, As Long as the War on Terror Continues, There Will be More Dzhokhar Tsarnaevs

Unbelievably, no mention of the CIA's fundamental role in the Tsarnaev's coming to America, their grooming of the elder brother as Chechen terrorist, the FBI's inaction at CIA direction : the CIA's ultimate responsibility for the Boston Marathon Massacre.

I can only conclude that along with the rest of MSM The Intercept's gone presstitute, pushing the USG/MSM line.

Money, as they say, is the root of all evil, and an American billionaire's money seems to have corrupted the bulk of the discourse there. I should not be surprised, I suppose.

Posted by: jfl | May 21 2015 0:37 utc | 75

From Truthout, Joshua Tartakvosky on Donetsk: A Defiant and Besieged City.

While Donetsk is frequently represented as a city run by pro-Russia rebels contrary to the wishes of locals, a visit revealed that the people of Donetsk do not accept the legitimacy of the Kiev government. Residents struggle to continue to live their daily lives despite the ongoing siege and bombardment. The people of Donetsk seek to preserve their independence via the People's Republic of Donetsk and remain firmly anti-fascist while not viewing positively the Kiev regime as it shares a different view of World War II and engages in their demonization.

Glory to the real heroes here, comrades.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 21 2015 0:43 utc | 76

@jfl 70.

I'm not surprised you're big on CO2 and, really, on fossil fuels ... you're big on the Federal Reserve, too, aren't you?

Re: C02: I'm not big on the catastrophe hyperbole. As for fossil fuels? Why aren't we developing an alternative that doesn't require electricity and MORE current fuel to generate it? Or produce the hideous amount of radioactive waste that the rare earth magnets (wind turbines) produce? Where's the new research? Oil has been National Security Item #1 since 1973, when the military globally realized it had two days of fuel left once the embargo hit. Why is Obama approving drilling in the Chukchi Sea?Beause it's 45 miles from Russia and they don't want Russia slant-drilling into the fields. Same reason they opened Prudhoe Bay in 1972/3.

Re: Federal Reserve. NO. I am not big on the Federal Reserve. I could give a shit about it, except to know how it works. {I used to believe the Eustace Mullins/Gary Kah/G Edward Griffins stuff about the Federal Reserve.) I am big on demystifying the bullshit we've been sold. Actually, that's not it either. I just want to know how things work. How can you fix something, no matter what your political persuasion, if you don't know how things work.

I don't think you should be able to hold federal office without, at a bare minimum, knowing how federal accounting works, because it DOES NOT work like a household or business. But that ain't gonna' happen. So I am telling people what I know and what I've been finding out by doing yeoman's work like calling and emailing the US Treasury, the Federal Reserve, and the Congressional Research Service. just basic, dumb research.

The current austerity program these congressmen are putting people through is absolutely criminal. There's no reason for it. They could be creating jobs, fixing the infrastructure, giving everyone free healthcare (Yeah, with no debt to children or grandchildren). We're losing $6-11 billion/ day in lost output because people don't have jobs. Instead, these mo-fos spend their time passing laws for the Ukraine, Israel, and Iran. And it's doubly wrong today because the Republicans who were in office from 1995 thru 2007 were the phucks who dismantled the Great Depression-era regulations that were to protect us from it ever happening again.

Posted by: MRW | May 21 2015 0:53 utc | 77

@rufus magister 74

If CO2 is such a pollutant, why do we exhale 40,000 PPM every 3-5 seconds?

This could well be the most ill-informed statement yet posted on MofA.

We exhale it because it's toxic. [...] "In concentrations up to 1% (10,000 ppm), it will make some people feel drowsy. Concentrations of 7% to 10% may cause suffocation, even in the presence of sufficient oxygen, manifesting as dizziness, headache, visual and hearing dysfunction, and unconsciousness within a few minutes to an hour.


Fercrissake, they're talking about a saturated (concentrated) atmosphere. The upper limit for a submarine, for example, is 8,000 - 10,000 PPM. Time to surface and get some fresh air. Check the OSHA regs.

I have a $150 CO2 meter sitting six feet from me. Right now it's 620 PPM. By the end of summer, it will be back to 465-485 PPM. I can put it beside me for ten minutes and breath out about 120 times, with 40,000 PPM being exhaled each time, and that thing won't register a blip. Why? Because it mixes well with the air. Full auditoriums often register 3,000 PPM. The CO2 count under a forest canopy is 600 PPM.

My aunt was a serious horticulturist, she had a master's degree in it, and I had to help her set up CO2 machines when things got cold in her greenhouse because otherwise the plants would die. We used propane too but not so much for the heat, but for the CO2. She insisted on 1200-1500 PPM because at that rate, the plants needed very little water as well.

Posted by: MRW | May 21 2015 1:13 utc | 78

In re 78 -- I see nothing to cause me to change my view. Horticulture is not climatology or epidemiology.

Don't forget to watch for the black helicopters and polite men in blue helmets, folks.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 21 2015 1:25 utc | 79

further to my 79 --

And you are aware, aren't you, that "greenhouse gases" in the context of climate change refers to various gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, that increase the "greenhouse effect?" It's cooking the planet, not choking us.

I run Receiving at a large commercial printer, and formerly served as safety coordinator, so I have some familiarity with the extensive OSHA regulations on a variety of issues. I found this interesting bulletin from OSHA. "High concentrations of CO2, which displaces oxygen, can result in death in less than 15 minutes.... The current OSHA standard is 5000 ppm as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) concentration." The driver involved was exposed for under 1/2 an hour and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The CDC/NIOSH has a handy compendium of health hazards.

It's kinda funny. You're wondering why mom's breathe isn't toxic, and then presume to lecture me about closed spaces. It's got that pseudo-scientific tone beloved by climate change deniers everywhere. Lends an air of "truthiness."

Posted by: rufus magister | May 21 2015 3:03 utc | 80

Surprise move by European Central Bank to speed up debt purchases


The European Central Bank (ECB) will accelerate asset purchases under its €1.1 trillion quantitative easing program, in a clear sign of growing nervousness in financial circles over the turbulence that has hit global bond markets over the past month.

[Benoit] Coeuré [a member of the ECB’s executive board] cited concerns about the shifts in the market for euro zone debt and said the “rapidity” of a reversal in the price of German 10-year bonds, Bunds, was “yet another incident of extreme volatility in global capital markets showing signs of reduced liquidity.”

The “reduced liquidity” issues raised by Coeuré point to fears that there may not be sufficient buyers in the market for those who want to sell, possibly leading to a “rush for the exits” that could set off a chain reaction.

Officially, quantitative easing is aimed at returning Europe’s inflation rate, at present close to zero, to the ECB’s target range below, but near, 2 percent. The real motivation is to provide massive supplies of cheap money to the banks and finance houses for their speculative activities.

While the ECB respected the taboo on any mention of lowering the value of the euro to secure an advantage in world markets, the latest move is also another shot in the global currency wars.

Concerns have been expressed in the US that the dollar’s rise against the euro and other major trading partners is having an adverse impact on US transnational corporations in high-tech and pharmaceuticals, which derive much of their revenue from international operations. This led to the view that the Fed may delay any interest rate rise until next year, sending down the value of the dollar in recent weeks.

Now the ECB has responded. The euro experienced its second largest one-day fall in three and a half years on the back of Coeuré’s remarks. According to Brenda Kelly, head analyst at London Capital Group: “If there is one thing certain that is evident from today’s early activity, it’s that the ECB is determined to see the euro weaken.”

[Financial Times economics commentator Gavyn] Davies warned that some of the products of the “asset management industry” developed during the ultra-low interest rate regime “might pose a systemic threat to market stability when the central banks normalise policy.” The Bund “tantrum” could be “a warning of things to come, and on a much larger scale.”


Wonder what will happen in Greece?

Posted by: jfl | May 21 2015 3:20 utc | 81

New Cold War has an interview with Boris Kagarlitsky, a leading socialist figure in Russia since the 1980's. Asked about the class basis of the Maidan and the resistance, he has this to say:

Maidan was a strange combination of marginalized people from western Ukraine who backed the far right and Kiev middle and upper-middle classes that backed the liberal nationalists. The movement in the southeast was composed of working-class and small business people. Yet this general geographic breakdown does not convey the whole picture. Resistance to the current Kiev government is in no way limited to the southeast. In fact, resistance is very strong in Kiev itself. Additionally, there are even resistant groups in western Ukraine, though they face severe repression.... The class composition of these resistance movements was very clear as were their sympathies, which can be described as populist left. It is not necessarily anticapitalist, but the common ground is the rejection of neoliberalism and the feeling that one has to fight to re-establish the Welfare State (“Social Republic”) and popular sovereignty. The attitude towards Russia is contradictory. On the one hand, Moscow helps the movement resist Kiev. On the other hand, Russia opposes the social and political reforms that are seen as the goal of the struggle. In that sense, declarations of Aleksey Mozgovoy, one of the most popular comandantes of the rebellion are quite telling.

Let us note that a lumpen/elite alliance is the classic profile of fascism. As Orwell wrote in 1984, the hope lies with the proles.

He is also critical of the international left.

It has to be said though that this situation can’t be blamed solely on the Moscow leadership. The Left in Donetsk was quite naive and inexperienced. As a result, it not only lost many opportunities, but was also unprepared for the political attack on its positions. But even more, we have to blame that outcome on the international left and many sections of the Russian left who did nothing to support the progressive forces in southeastern Ukraine politically or materially. Instead of helping the real struggle, these people and organizations were engaged in shameful debates about the level of political correctness of activists on the ground and on whether they deserved their support.

Nothing like a little bit of purity mongering, the favored modality of the "ineffectual left." Can't help you fighting for your lives and freedom, someone on the front lines might be thinking impure thoughts. Why couldn't you people just have a nice polite sit-in? Couldn't you get some celebrities to make a piously syrupy fund-raising song?

Posted by: rufus magister | May 21 2015 11:25 utc | 82

@rufus magister #74
CO2 is toxic at very high levels, but then again, so is nitrogen. Especially if you're underwater.
However, we're not talking about 10000 ppm.
Even with respect to the greenhouse effect, if you care to examine closely the claims of the more out of breath chicken little types, you'll notice this:
a) CO2 is a greenhouse gas (correct)
b) increased CO2 levels - for whatever reason (note that we had a little Ice Age in Charles Dickens' time - the Thames was freezing over somewhat regularly) would theoretically raise temperatures 2 degrees Celsius
c) the tipping point claims all revolve around a large net positive feedback by water vapor in response to rising CO2 levels. Water vapor comprises 95% of the overall greenhouse effect by mathematical composition, with CO2 being in the 4-ish percent. However, by introducing the idea of a high net feedback, the argument is then that increasing CO2 causes increasing water vapor greenhouse effect - the mechanism being both unproven and unknown.

This is all fine and good, except that models based upon this concept have been failing to replicate actual real world behavior for nearly 2 decades now.

I'd also note 2 additional things:
1) Plant response worldwide to increased CO2 levels has been proportional to increased emissions. That has translated into visible greening of the earth in desert regions as well as increased yield in food and other crops.
2) The amount of fossil fuels humans will be able to burn is likely pretty close to a peak - certainly within the next 20 years.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | May 21 2015 12:30 utc | 83

Here's another doco.
There's a lot of contradictory info in the following which offers many clues to the very strong suspicion that ISIS is a US/UK/"Israel" crock. This is the transcript of a BBC doco called Brides of ISIS, broadcast by ABC.au Foreign Correspondent on May 19. It's a 30 minute program but according to the note above the body of the transcript, the video is only available to Australian residents.
http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/content/2015/s4239764.htm

For people with access to ABC's Australia-only content, the video is on Foreign Correspondent's Homepage ...
http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/

Googling BBC Brides of Isis brought up a link to a 1 hour BBC2 doco called Jihadi Brides which seems to cover the same ground as Brides of Isis which is N/A but there are two short clips which were included in Brides of Isis.

The program is anecdote-based propaganda - like everything else we "learn" about ISIS from the MSM. I've watched it a few times and each viewing strengthens my conviction that ISIS just another artificial (raghead) threat concocted by US/UK/"Israel."

I've submitted this comment because I found the reasons and motivation (Assad is a Brutal Dictator) ascribed to the girls and women in the doco to be totally unconvincing.

Also ... I'm looking forward to seeing how "Israeli-ish" ISIS' behaviour in Palmyra turns out to be. i.e. whether they destroy a few of its historical sites, or all of them.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 21 2015 16:42 utc | 85

The Plutocrats Republic of China sets up house in the Plutocrats Republic of the USA ...

Chinese Law Firm to Merge With American Firms, Employ Howard Dean, Newt Gingrich

... both follow the same capitalist model, they just strive for ascendancy.

Perhaps this is the first move in the PRC's hostile takeover of the PRU?

Together they will impose the TPP with China as a new charter member?

Popular sovereignty has never been an issue in the PRC.

Posted by: jfl | May 21 2015 22:04 utc | 86

Sowing the GM Seeds of Depopulation?


Millionaires like Ted Turner believe it should be a case of carry on consuming regardless, as long as the population is cut. This is the ideology of the rich who regard the rest of humanity as a problem to be ‘dealt with.’ He says there are “too many people using too much stuff.” He couldn’t be more wrong. For instance, developing nations account for more than 80 percent of world population, but consume only about one third of the world’s energy. US citizens constitute 5 percent of the world’s population but consume 24 percent of the world’s energy.

I don't know about the GM corn that makes you sterile ... but I do note the people calling for others to stop reproducing are the arch-consumers.

Posted by: jfl | May 21 2015 23:05 utc | 87

I think that ...

  1. Fossil fuel mining is undesirable in and of itself, viz.

    a. coal mining's mountain-top removal environmental destruction,
    b. tar sands' atmospheric and environmental destruction and ever diminishing returns,
    c. fracking's aquifer-destruction and poisoning.

  2. Fossil fuel dependence provides a convenient choke-point, fueling the wars for geo-dominance.

  3. And - oh yeah - there's global warming.

It is possible to utilize solar radiation incident upon our planet directly for power generation, rather than indirectly.

  1. So-called bluegreen algae, or cyanobacteria, can produce molecular hydrogen directly with no environmental ill effects.

  2. Photosynthetic hydrogen production is inherently distributed, eliminating the fossil-fuel choke-point fueling wars for geo-dominance.

  3. Recombining stored hydrogen with oxygen in fuel cells producing electricity yields water which can easily be recycled, and stored-hydrogen can provide the energy needed for transport without all the exotic materials and environmental expense of battery storage.

So I see no reason ... other than sloth, greed and/or the desire to continue contention for world domination ... to stick with fossil fuels. And there are strong arguments for the negative effects of burning fossil fuels.

Those invested in the 'benefits' of continued fossil fuel usage disagree with me.

Posted by: jfl | May 22 2015 0:09 utc | 88

@85 Isis have probably been warned against destroying monuments in Palmyra by the Greater Israel Tourist Authority.

Posted by: dh | May 22 2015 0:39 utc | 89

@84

Your link highlights the Chinese move into Pakistan and their concern with Wahabist terror ...

Saudi Arabia's ongoing war in Yemen does more to highlight the kingdom's isolation than its power


The Yemen war is deeply unpopular in Pakistan ... Only the extremist Lashkar-e-Taiba organization, which planned the 2008 Mumbai massacre in India, supported the Saudis.

Pakistan has indeed relied on Saudi largesse and, in turn, provided security for Riyadh. But the relationship is wearing thin.

First, there’s widespread outrage in Pakistan over Saudi Arabia’s support of extremist Islamist groups, some of which are at war with Pakistan’s government. Last year, one such organization - the Tehrik-i-Taliban - massacred 145 people, including 132 students, in Peshawar. Fighting these groups in North Waziristan has taxed the Pakistani army, which must also pay attention to its southern neighbor, India.

The Saudis, with their support for the rigid Wahhabi interpretation of Islam, are also blamed for growing Sunni-Shiite tensions in Pakistan.

Second, Islamabad is deepening its relationship with China. In mid-April, Chinese President Xi Jinping promised to invest $46 billion to finance Beijing’s new “Silk Road” from western China to the Persian Gulf. Part of this will include a huge expansion of the port at Gwadar in Pakistan’s restive Baluchistan province, a port that Bruce Riedel says will “rival Dubai or Doha as a regional economic hub.”

China is concerned about security in Baluchistan, with its long-running insurgency against Pakistan’s central government, as well as the ongoing resistance by the Turkic-speaking, largely Muslim Uighur people in western China’s Xinjiang Province. Uighurs, who number a little over 10 million, are being marginalized by an influx of Han Chinese, China’s dominant ethnic group.

Wealthy Saudis have helped finance some of these groups, and neither Beijing or Islamabad is happy about it. Pakistan has pledged to create a 10,000-man “Special Security Division” to protect China’s investments. According to Riedel, the Chinese told the Pakistanis that Beijing would “stand by Pakistan if its ties with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates unravel.”


... if the CPEC does go through and if the Pakistanis and Chinese together can come to some sort of accommodation with their indigenes, there may be a big realignment - for the better - in Middle East/South Asia. If they cannot accommodate their idigenes it will just be part of the neo-liberal, multi-centered realignment in response to the US' decline.

Posted by: jfl | May 22 2015 1:25 utc | 90

William Engdahl's "What if Putin is Telling the Truth?"
http://journal-neo.org/2015/05/15/what-if-putin-is-telling-the-truth/

Posted by: MRW | May 22 2015 1:47 utc | 91

en1c at 83 --

I'm a little unsure what you're driving at here.

First, isn't everything toxic, or at least unhealthful, in large enough amounts? The NIOSH site I linked earlier notes plenty of hazards at lower levels of exposure as well. My aim was to answer MRW as to why we exhale it. And suggest I knew a little about OSHA.

I'm going with the 97 pct. of climate science that says we humans are warming up the earth by not only CO2 but methane emissions as well. Why are atmospheric levels rising if the plant life is handling it? Don't we have a serious deforestation problem in the Amazon?

I would further note that the potential releases of methane as the taiga melts and other sources are freed up by temperature increases will soon further accelerate this warming, should present trends continue.

That climate has fluctuated even within the era of written documentation (i.e., after the invention of writing ca. 2500 BC) is well known. The Little Ice Age is well-known in the historical literature and ran from ca. 1350-1850. The subsequent warming has made the traditional Frisian Elfstedentocht an irregular event requiring human intervention to aid in freezing the canals.

Rationalwiki notes that in the 1970's the opinion was that due to the increased cloud cover produced by industrial emissions blocking solar energy, we were due for cooling, not warming. Then the data showed otherwise.

Put simply, do you think human activity is causing global warming? Are you arguing that the present temperature increases are a natural cycle?

Posted by: rufus magister | May 22 2015 1:51 utc | 92

jfl @ 88 -- I'm with you on this one.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 22 2015 1:53 utc | 93

@ jfl | May 21, 2015 8:09:07 PM | 88

USEFUL CHART TO HAVE:
Table 7.2a Electricity Net Generation: Total (All Sectors) thru January, 2015
http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/sec7_5.pdf

GOOGLE ABANDONED THEIR 4-YR RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECT
The Google engineers involved in the project were interviewed in the Journal of the IEEE:

“At the start of RE

Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.”

http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/renewables/what-it-would-really-take-to-reverse-climate-change


In a review of the Nov 2014 IEEE article, The Register pens
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/11/21/renewable_energy_simply_wont_work_google_renewables_engineers/
"Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs"
Even if one were to electrify all of transport, industry, heating and so on, so much renewable generation and balancing/storage equipment would be needed to power it that astronomical new requirements for steel, concrete, copper, glass, carbon fibre, neodymium, shipping and haulage etc etc would appear. All these things are made using mammoth amounts of energy: far from achieving massive energy savings, which most plans for a renewables future rely on implicitly, we would wind up needing far more energy, which would mean even more vast renewables farms - and even more materials and energy to make and maintain them and so on. The scale of the building would be like nothing ever attempted by the human race.

The Oil Sands in Alberta Canada are NOT an environmental disaster. (No one calls them Tar Sands; only people who have never been there.) I downloaded Environment Canada's Air Quality Health Index widget from Apple, and have looked at them X-times a day on my dashboard for the past three years. Occasionally, I copy them. Last time May 5 or 8 (can't remember), 2015

Have a look. The outdoor air quality in Fort McMurray (where the Oil Sands are) is persistently and consistently better than Ontario and Quebec. All sorts of pollutants are included in this index.
http://s22.postimg.org/wg5k875ox/Environment_Canada_Air_Quality_Health_Index_2015.png
If that link doesn't work, try this:
http://postimg.org/image/l3syqewzx/

Another thing, jfl. Here in the US, we do not have the draconian reclamation laws that Alberta has. One or two 30-year mines have been reclaimed.The oil companies (mostly American, btw) have to present plans that take up to a year to get approved by the province that show the land they've rented for all the flora they will be removing, they have to present plans that show how they plan to maintain that flora for the duration of the mining, they have to put money in escrow to pay for the reclamation, which can take 20 years after the mining is over. That's before they can even start operations. They have to prove that they've hired the biologists, zoologists, hydrologists, and all the other -ists that will be managing the reclamation. Why? Because the law in Alberta is that you can take anything you want out of the ground, but you have to pay the people of the province a royalty (called a Heritage Fund) and you must restore the ground to the same or better condition. Or, you go to jail and pay a hefty fund. Ditto for strip-ming coal. The operators have to get certification that they have done it properly before they can leave, and get their money back. You could never do in Alberta what they do in West Virginia.

So far one of the mines has been restored to natural grasses, the bison have come back, and the birds (pic here: http://www.capp.ca/responsible-development/land). Watch a youtubie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgcfFp13lDU&feature=youtu.be

The other is a beautiful community with hiking and bike trails, schools, community buildings and services. Have a photo of that but can't find it.

Reclamation is an ongoing process during the life of a project. Companies apply for government reclamation certification when vegetation is mature, the landscape is self-sustaining and the land can be returned to the Crown for public use. http://www.oilsandstoday.ca/topics/RestorLand/Pages/default.aspx

Posted by: MRW | May 22 2015 2:27 utc | 94

The first quote didn't take because of a 'caret' in the name. Here it is with the caret turned into a # sign.

“At the start of RE#C, we had shared the attitude of many stalwart environmentalists: We felt that with steady improvements to today’s renewable energy technologies, our society could stave off catastrophic climate change. We now know that to be a false hope …
Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.”
http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/renewables/what-it-would-really-take-to-reverse-climate-change

Posted by: MRW | May 22 2015 2:31 utc | 95

I'll bet you james doesn't even know the Oil Sands stuff in #88. ;-)

Posted by: MRW | May 22 2015 2:35 utc | 96

@91

From your link, this is the second of the undesirable characteristics of reliance on fossil fuels that I was trying to make @88 ...


In the early 1990s, Dick Cheney’s company, Halliburton, had surveyed the offshore oil potentials of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and the entire Caspian Sea Basin. They estimated the region to be “another Saudi Arabia” worth several trillion dollars on today’s market. The US and UK were determined to keep that oil bonanza from Russian control by all means. The first target of Washington was to stage a coup in Azerbaijan against elected president Abulfaz Elchibey to install a President more friendly to a US-controlled Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline, “the world’s most political pipeline,” bringing Baku oil from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey and the Mediterranean.

And not only did the CIA's Afghan Arabs subvert Chechnya ...


Graham E. Fuller, an old colleague of Bush and former Deputy Director of the CIA National Council on Intelligence had been a key architect of the CIA Mujahideen strategy. Fuller described the CIA strategy in the Caucasus in the early 1990s: “The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvelously well in Afghanistan against the Red Army. The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power.”

The Chechen Jihadists, under the Islamic command of Shamil Basayev, continued guerrilla attacks in and outside Chechnya. The CIA had refocused into the Caucasus.

Once back in Chechnya, Basayev and al-Khattab created the International Islamic Brigade (IIB) with Saudi Intelligence money, approved by the CIA and coordinated through the liaison of Saudi Washington Ambassador and Bush family intimate Prince Bandar bin Sultan.

The Saudi and CIA-financed Islamic International Brigade was responsible not only for terror in Chechnya. They carried out the October 2002 Moscow Dubrovka Theatre hostage seizure and the gruesome September 2004 Beslan school massacre.


... but Graham Fuller was instrumental in bringing back the Tsarnaev family - among those subverted Chechens - to the US from Dagestan ... his daughter even married Ruslan, the boys' uncle! Fuller sent Tamerlan back to Dagestan for duty in Syria. But the experience blew up in his face, with its consequences blownback in all of ours.

The Boston Marathon Massacre would never have occurred if not for the direct agency of the CIA.

And to keep that quiet ... actually we all have to utilize to the max our doublegoodthink skills - to cooperate with the CIA - to keep that quiet ... the CIA has arranged for the execution of the Tsarnaev the younger. As deadmen tell no tales.

There is no institution on the earth more evil than the US CIA ... and now they have put their man into the Oval Office ... the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate slash CIA Manchurian Candidate. And we, too, must doublegoodthink the consequences of that ... that there is no government on earth more evil than the USG ... into nothingness as well.

We zc's are working very hard maintaining ourselves in our state of passive denial ... mightn't it not ... not even in the long run, but now, before WWW III .... be easier to confront and change reality instead ?

Posted by: jfl | May 22 2015 2:40 utc | 97

@94

As I say, those invested in the status quo will disagree with me.

Posted by: jfl | May 22 2015 2:41 utc | 98

The arguments over the best technology to use for our energy needs miss the factor that no one wants to address, growth in demand. So long as the requirement to moderate GW is stopping the growth in demand and consumption no solar, wind or other tech will matter. All they do is feed that growth with somewhat less carbon production without actually replacing the base carbon generating power sources.

Most people seem to want an easy solution with no sacrifice of their consumption and lifestyle which means we all lose.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | May 22 2015 2:56 utc | 99

@98,

I'm not invested in anything. I did two things.

(1) I read the Royal Society of Canada's (Like our National Science Foundation) 14-month and 414-page "Environmental and Health Impacts of Canada's Oil Sands Industry" report. December, 2010. It was in response to an uproar in Canada that the Oil Sands were poisoning people. When I called one of the scientists at the University of Guelph to ask him what he meant in a certain chapter, he told me I was probably one of six people in Canada who actually read the thing. I found out that we're twice as lax about air pollutants than Canada is; meaning, the level of certain particulates that we allow in the air.

(2) I went up there and looked. Asked questions.

Posted by: MRW | May 22 2015 3:06 utc | 100

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