Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 19, 2020

The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-05

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

Iran has a 'shockingly strong' war-crimes case against Trump over Soleimani's killing — and it could win - Business Insider
Trump recounts minute-by-minute details of Soleimani strike to donors at Mar-a-Lago - CNN

>In his speech — held inside the gilded ballroom on his Mar-a-Lago property — he claimed that Soleimani was "saying bad things about our country" before the strike, which led to his decision to authorize his killing.

"How much of this shit do we have to listen to?" Trump asked. "How much are we going to listen to?"<

Other issues:

Self driving cars ain't a thing:

Key Volkswagen Exec Admits Full Self-Driving Cars 'May Never Happen' - The Drive
Reality Check: Tesla, Inc. - Plainsite

>Our fourth Reality Check report: Tesla, Inc. $TSLA. The company's financial disclosures are largely fraudulent and litigation is piling up because CEO Elon Musk is a habitual liar unfit to serve as an officer or director of any publicly traded company.<

737 MAX:

Boeing is working on a new software issue on the 737 Max- ABC News

>Boeing is working to fix a newly discovered problem with software powering up on the 737 Max, adding to the list of tasks the aircraft maker faces to get the grounded plane back in the air.<

Boeing claims that it found the problem itself but the issue comes up in the very same week in which regulators arrived to audit the software.

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on January 19, 2020 at 14:43 UTC | Permalink

next page »

There is talk of a brokered convention where Hillary steps in and get nominated as she appears to be the only one that can contend with Trump. The impeachment trial requires all Senators to be at the trial and that keeps Sanders, Klobuchar, and Warren off the campaign trail.

Hillary is too physically weak to campaign. As a president she will just like Regan. Wind here up for a spell with some drugs then put here to bed while the Borg runs the country. If the impeachment trial runs long this will become more apparent. Already the Democratic convention appears to become a brokered convention and no clear leader will emerge. If they steal it from Bernie again you may see a repeat of the '68 convention as the new Left is better organized and becoming much more armed and radicalized at its base.

Posted by: dltravers | Jan 19 2020 14:52 utc | 1

Iran has a 'shockingly strong' war-crimes case against Trump over Soleimani's killing — and it could win
You'd think that the Democratic Party would be all over this given how pathetic their impeachment effort is, but no, they're perfectly happy with murdering but they'd just prefer that a Democratic president was doing the murdering. So most likely, the corporate Democrats will claim that this is all a Russian disinformation operation to discredit the United States.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 19 2020 15:00 utc | 2

...she (HRC) appears to be the only one that can contend with Trump.
If the corporate Democrats accept this claim then they fully deserve to be ground into the dirt. BTW, you'd think that going after the billionaires that they do, you'd think that corporate Democratic candidates would be able to out fund raise Trump. But can they? No.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 19 2020 15:05 utc | 3

Re new software for Boeing Max 737. Before this is resolved, Boeing will need a .gov bailout ....
blowback from costing for which the company is known. Only a secret for those choosing not to be in the know.

Make it two

Internal Boeing Emails Claim 777X Shares MAX Problem

[/] Emails dated from June 2018, months before the first MAX crash, said the "lowest ranking and most unproven" suppliers used on the MAX program were being shifted towards the 777X program.

The email further said the "Best part is we are re-starting this whole thing with the 777X with the same supplier and have signed up to an even more aggressive schedule."

Another Boeing employee warned about cost-cutting measures via selecting the "lowest-cost suppliers" for both MAX and 777X programs.[.]

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 19 2020 15:08 utc | 4

Latest about the Working Group on Syria on the Douma "gas attack" from Vanessa Beeley. There even a suggestion that Bellingcat might have been involved in the positioning of the fake gas cylinders.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 19 2020 15:11 utc | 5

On the subject of the Iranian missile attack, recent evidence is supporting the idea that the attack shook up the US leadership quite a bit. Photos have come out that show extensive damage to the Ain Al-Assad base, and the US DoD is now saying that some soldiers suffered traumatic brain injuries. Finally, interviews with US soldiers who were present during the attack indicate that the soldiers were quite surprised by it. Apparently they didn't really expect to ever face such a capable adversary.

There seem to be two main possibilities. Either Trump wanted to make good on his threat to attack 52 Iranian sites in the wake of the missile attack, and was talked down (perhaps quite firmly/sternly) by his advisers, or Trump himself was also shaken up by the attack. It doesn't really matter which possibility is true though, because the outcome would be the same either way - the US refrained from an overt counter-attack in favor of a covert operation. Perceptive people will realize that this reversal means that the US leadership believes that a war with Iran would result in a Pyrrhic victory at best, which means that the US is weaker and/or Iran is stronger than the US leadership would have people believe.

Posted by: Cynica | Jan 19 2020 15:52 utc | 6

On China's latest macroeconomic figures:

China GDP grows at slowest pace in 29 years

The Chinese economy advanced 6.0 percent year-on-year in the December quarter of 2019. This was the weakest growth rate since the first quarter of 1992. For 2019 as a whole, the economy grew by 6.1 percent, the slowest pace in 29 years but still within the government's target of 6 to 6.5 percent.

Manufacturing investment, a gauge on the robustness of the factory sector, fell to 3.1 per cent last year, a record low and a sign that the trade war had taken a toll on China in 2019.

The National Bureau of Statistics noted on Friday morning that China’s economy had “sustained the general momentum” during a difficult period but warned of risks involving “structural, systematic and cyclical problems at home”.

As a saver, China’s industrial production grew 6.9% year-on-year in December, which is the strongest in nine months. Retail sales grew by 8.0%, which was also stronger than expected, while fixed asset investment beat forecasts with 5.4% growth.

Long story short, China has indeed suffered from a major manufacturing slowdown, but nothing catastrophic. Investment fell a lot, but industrial production went up more than twofold said decrease, which indicates there's no idle capacity problem yet.

Besides, consumption per retail sales grew 8%, and overall non-financial investment grew 5.4%. China is still growing well, and is definitely in a completely different situation than the Western powers (USA, Germany and Japan).

The most impressive of these figures, however, is the context: we're one decade deep in one of the two most spectacular collapses of capitalism's history, and even then China continues to grow strongly, without distorting its own system. Isolated, China's numbers are very far from impressive - the old USSR itself grew much more - but the Chinese are growing 6% at a time the rest of the (capitalist) world is growing 2%, which was never the Soviet case.

In fact, the Chinese are confident:

Commentary: May "China collapse" theories rest in peace

In the link, there's a very interesting and true analysis:

Sadly, the promising changes taking place in China, if not simply ignored, will likely be misinterpreted as part of China's ill-motivated ambition under the "China threat" or "China demise" theories -- the other side of the "China collapse" doctrine. After all, it is beyond the understanding of some people to properly rate an economy that used to develop at a blistering speed and then steadfastly holds strong amid a slowing global economy.

That's correct: in the 1990s and 2000s, the Westerners bet on apocalyptic theories about China. Deep down, those "theories" reflected much more what they hoped would happen ("shoulda") then the objective reality. Now that this "shoulda" didn't happen, they shifted gears to "China threat" theories, i.e. if China refuses to collapse by itelf, we'll bring collapse to China (by hot war and economic sanctions).

The imbecilization of the West continues. My prediction is the USA and Western Europe will become fascist in a decade or so.


Speaking on the imbecilization of the West, there's this bizarre retrospective on Lenin's 150th anniversary in the Kommersant:

«Большевик каждую минуту застрелить может» В чем сила ленинского наследия? Исторический экскурс Леонида Млечина

Quoting a bunch of people (both living and dead), TV anchor Leonid Mlechin creates an absurd theory that states the October Revolution only happened because the poor peasants were "envious" of the rich and prosperous peasants (kulaks) and that, had the Reforms of Stolypin time to be implemented, said revolution would've never happened.

Mlechin also laments the fact that the October Revolution "destroyed" Russia's "European sophistication" and "culture".

It also reproduces the Western narrative that, ultimately, the Bolsheviks only emerged victorious because they simply used more terror and more efficient propaganda than its enemies', completely erasing WWI and the betrayal of the February Revolution from History. And don't even talk about the humiliating defeat in the war against Japan in 1905 - that war was definitely thrown in a parallel dimension and simply never happened from the point of view of the empire apologists/saudosists.

Of all the false narratives I've read in my life about the Russian Revolution, this is by far the most false and the most absurd. It is even more absurd because it was published essentially at the same time the Russian Government is publishing online its documents about WWII as a tool to fight pro-Polish (pro-capitalist) European propaganda.


About the "self-driving" cars sheananigans: we called it here first, you read it here first.

Posted by: vk | Jan 19 2020 16:15 utc | 7

"About the "self-driving" cars sheananigans: we called it here first, you read it here first."

Posted by: vk | Jan 19 2020 16:15 utc |

Sorry you are wrong😉 go to twitter and check out the TESLAQ community..
Teslacharts, tweetenmeyer, bloodsportcapital, ex_tesla, Plainsite etc etc etc etc...

The subsidy trouffle hound (F)elon Musk have been in the sights off fintwit for years, every time (F)elon opens his mouth about something you need expertise in he makes a specialist a member off TESLAQ, why do you think that tslaQ have THE biggest botnet on twitter???

Posted by: Per/Norway | Jan 19 2020 16:31 utc | 8

@ Cynica | Jan 19 2020 15:52 utc | 6

Yes. You're probably about right. But the basic imperial necessity of dominance remains unchanged. It seems likely that what we are seeing in merely re-positioning and a modification of Strategy, not an abandonment of war. Just a change in war.

Personally I don't think there is a viable alternative strategy...but it's they who decide, and they are delusional and ignorant as hammers.

And I doubt that Iran regard the matter as anything but an ongoing war...takes two to agree.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 19 2020 16:35 utc | 9

VK i just read the Russian link you posted and i agree, that must be one of the worst bs articles i have read to this day.

Posted by: Per/Norway | Jan 19 2020 16:39 utc | 10

'There seem to be two main possibilities. Either Trump wanted to make good on his threat to attack 52 Iranian sites in the wake of the missile attack, and was talked down (perhaps quite firmly/sternly) ' Cynica

Maybe...But Trump's tweets sometimes do seem to be a bit cryptic...and I can't help wondering if the 52 reference might have referred to something maybe a flight number....

I know that this sounds a bit crazy, but these are crazy days....

Posted by: Bluemot5 | Jan 19 2020 16:50 utc | 11

@Cynica #6
The choices put up are a false dichotomy.
The ability to target that base, especially given that it is embedded within a surrounding Iraqi installation (thus has many, many opportunities for surveillance and targeting measurement), is not in question.
Equally, while some falsely downplayed Iran's capabilities - the Saudi oil complex attack showed that great precision is achievable. Iran's actual own capabilities cannot be less than what the Yemenis accomplished.
Lastly, I wrote previously that there are published articles documenting that were a number of drone pilots that stayed on station because there were many hundreds of millions to billions of dollars of drones in the air - abandoning their positions meant these drones would be at best, unsupervised and at worst, would crash. And that these pilots were directly affected by the attacks because their building was a primary target - such that a major effort was necessary to rewire the control positions after the attack in order to restore control (and be able to land the drone in between the craters).

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 19 2020 17:17 utc | 12

Ghostship @ 2, 3, the most shocking to me was that the Dems said not a word (as clarioned in the MSM, to be heard loud and clear) about Trump cutting food stamps. The pretense that the Dems are more socially sensitive, caring, on the side of the ordinary folk, etc. is long gone, and should have been recognized ages ago. (Clinton -> third wayers or before..)

In any case, the Presidential Election is a performance, a TV reality show, produced to cover up that the US is an oligarchy, run by a small yet fluid group of régime insiders (includes head of Big Corps, the Media, and War Production, aka Defense Industry, which is combined with Internal Repression) who have shifting alliances, commitments, and obligations, via various forms of corruption, crime or just ‘allegiance’ in Mafia-like circuits. The actors are willing participants, they get quite good pay, in recognition and other, etc.

The PTB loathe Trump because he exposed that they fight amongst themselves, tearing down the facade of facticious political disagreement. (“Drain the Swamp” - to Killary “You’d be in jail for e-mails”, etc. etc.) Life has become more difficult for ‘them’ all, ironically enough, because of their own nefarious, ridiculous economic policies (e.g. Trump being good for the economy implied *for* US workers, is hogwash) as well as total mishandling of foreign policy. Heh, from a Wilsonian State pov, which is not that espoused by any of the oligarchy, so…there ya go.

The first fault is internal. I have left Banking out - another issue.

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 19 2020 17:20 utc | 13

This ">wikipedia page entry confirms that the Tor M1 has an electro-optical tracking system:

"To allow engagements in the ECM heavy environment that is the modern battlefield, the 9K332 is equipped with an optical tracking system, complementing the main radar."

It is extremely unlikely that the destruction of the civilian airliner was accidental. The same entry also
suggests that the Tor M1 can be hacked by remotely emulating the Polyana-D4 command and control system:

"Tor vehicles are accompanied by the mobile Polyana-D4, which provides automatic interaction with the SA-15,17,19,23 (S-300V, Buk, Tor, Tunguska), (integrates all functions of several different systems into a single whole + various air force aircraft + direct transfer of target designation).[13][14]

Tor-M1 receiving commands from Ranzhir-M / Polyana-D4 can shoot down targets in the range of 0–84 degrees.[4] Tor-M1 system (the time of creating the version, 1991[10]) can operate in a * pair *, then the angle of observation was 0–64 degrees (vertical)"

If foul play was involved, Iran might also bring this incident to the ICC.

Posted by: evilempire | Jan 19 2020 17:21 utc | 14

@ 6 cynica / @ 9 walter.. i pretty much agree.. the only thing missing is a public announcement from the usa of what they are already doing - making war on iran.. i wonder if the announcement is that far off? i knew they were crazy, just not how much.. i don't know that they are smart enough to stand back..

speaking of usa-israel doing assassinations on leaders, i read this yesterday from 2015 with the usual usa rationalizations..

Why the CIA Killed Imad Mughniyeh

@ 10 per/norway..are you referring to the first russian link in russian, or the bottom one in english? thanks.

Posted by: james | Jan 19 2020 17:24 utc | 15

More global warming stuff
Gavin Schmidt claim breakdown

Let me [Willis Eschenbach] start by saying he [Gavin Schmidt] is badly conflating three very separate and distinct theories.

Theory 1) Increasing CO2 increases atmospheric absorption, which affects the overall temperature of the various layers of the atmosphere, and increases downwelling so-called “greenhouse” radiation.
Theory 2) In the short term, large changes in downwelling radiation change the surface temperature.
Theory 3) In the long term, small continuing increases in downwelling radiation lead to corresponding small continuing increases in global surface temperature.


a) Increasing CO2 will cause the stratosphere to cool. [evidence confirmed]


b) Increasing CO2 will cause warming at surface to be detectable by 1990s. [evidence but no confirmation because of Little Ice Age warming that would occur anyway, and has been occuring for 200+ years]


c) Warming from increasing GHGs will lead to increases in ocean heat content. [same as b)]


d) Eruption of Pinatubo will lead to ~2-3 yrs of cooling. [fail. models both overestimated amount of cooling and duration of cooling. Just plain wrong]


e) Increases in GHGs will be detectable in space-based spectra. [evidence confirmed]


f) Increases in GHGs will lead to continued warming at ~0.18ºC/decade. [evidence, but not proof of anthropogenic CO2 based warming because again, 200+ years of warming already has been occurring]

Lastly, the models in question are highly suspect. Even disregarding the clear non-competency of climate modelers' programming, the actual behavior of said models shows just how tuned, i.e. not physics based, they are:

Model performance graph

When it is necessary to heavily customize inputs in order to prevent runaway Iceball Earth or runaway Venusian Earth, this gives even more scope to human bias - and the biases of the prominent climate panic mongering group are very clear.

So the premise of doomsday climate due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions is very unsupported. Even if we assume said models are accurate, there is equally zero possibility of going carbon neutral on emissions in the next decade or two - meaning the catastrophe is avoided even if it is real.

This doesn't mean alternative energy isn't a good idea - because fossil fuels absolutely are a finite resource - but it does mean there is no reason to push for rapid and widespread adoption of poorly performing alternative energy. Which is what all of the alternative energy technologies are today with the exception of hydropower.

And then there's nuclear. If CO2 emissions are really so bad, nuclear power makes sense as it is the lowest CO2 emissions energy technology today - from concept to end of life. Yet it seems the majority of the CO2 panic mongers hate both dams and nuclear as well.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 19 2020 17:30 utc | 16

Reading some essays @ The Russian International Affairs Council

Predictions for 2020 and 2020-2025

They do not paint a pretty picture. But they seem realistic, except for what ClownCo bashes into conflagration. That;s a big unknown.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 19 2020 17:31 utc | 17

Bluemot5 "and I can't help wondering if the 52 reference might have referred to something else"

52 hostages.

"The remaining 52 hostages were held until January 1981, up to 444 days of captivity."

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 19 2020 17:49 utc | 18

noirette@13 hits the nail squarely on the head. I'm unsure of the detail but the cuts in the SNAP foodstamps programme must propel very large numbers of Americans into dangerous poverty.
The fact that this is of so little interest, it would seem, to the Democratic candidates-most of whom are probably afraid to be seen siding with starving kids against billionaires- is significant.
It is not unlike the Australian Labour Party's refusal to criticise government inaction while bushfires rage uncontrollably. Or the British Labour Party's commitment to the EU. In the faux democracy of these party duopolies it is sometimes necessary, for the benefit of the ruling class, for oppositions to walk away from the opportunity to win.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 19 2020 18:03 utc | 19

What’s wrong with these interpretations:
- USA conquered Iran in 1953. It held all Iranians hostage until 1979.
- Anyone working in the embassy during that time was a soldier, rather than a civilian.
- The embassy workers weren’t hostages but POWs.
- USA war on Iran since 1979 (via Iraq and other means) proves Iran returned those POWs prematurely, after all, since the war continues to this day.

Posted by: oglalla | Jan 19 2020 18:13 utc | 20

Peter AU1 @18

I think Bluemot5's referring to UIA flight PS 752.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 19 2020 18:28 utc | 21

On the idea that the CIA/Mossad may have hacked the aircraft's computer system and at least shut off the transponder so the Iranian TOR crew would mistake it for a "hostile"...

Hopefully the reports are true that Iran is holding onto the black boxes, attempting to "decode" it themselves. NO WAY should the boxes go to any EU or US/NATO country for decoding.

The data should be extracted and analyzed in full public view, so there is no possibility of tampering and fabricating/hiding information like happened in the MH17 "investigation" by the Dutch.

Posted by: A P | Jan 19 2020 18:34 utc | 22

Bluemot5 @11

By referring the 52 hostages, Trump got Rouhani to refer to the 290 that lost their lives when the Iranian flight 655 was shot down.

Did Trump intentionally prompt Rouhani?

Thus it seemed that Iran still held a grudge about that and might be desirous of shooting down a commercial airliner as retribution.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 19 2020 18:38 utc | 23

>The pretense that the Dems are more socially sensitive,
>caring, on the side of the ordinary folk, etc. is long
>gone, and should have been recognized ages ago.
>Posted by: Noirette | Jan 19 2020 17:20 utc | 13

It was obvious by 1947 that Dummycrats were just a bunch of back-stabbers who love to slip the knife between the ribs while smiling sweetly. They are more despicable than the Repugnants who don't hide their opinion that poor people are all Useless Eaters.

The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 was supported by both parties as they overrode a veto by Truman. It was the beginning of the end for organized labor in the US, as this onerous law forbid "unfair labor practices" such as secondary boycotts, closed shops, and wildcat strikes. It also forced union officials to swear they weren't Commies. It will shock no one that within a year, over 80,000 officials submitted to the new law.

Secondary boycott: sympathy strike in support of a strike initiated by workers in a separate corporation

Closed shop: all employees in a shop must join the union

Wildcat strike: a spontaneous action not "approved" by the leadership

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Jan 19 2020 18:39 utc | 24

Ghost Ship @ 3
BTW, you'd think that going after the billionaires that they do, you'd think that corporate Democratic candidates would be able to out fund raise Trump. But can they?

Hillary raised well over a billion not including all the dirty PAC money. She, by far, out fundraised and outspent Trump. Today is different. Trump has proved himself fully with the Corporations. They will not support the left by any means.

One thing I would like to add, Hillary can be drafted at the convention. By their rules the delegates can change their votes and vote for anybody. They can cast a vote for Stalin if they like. Hillary, I believe, will bring in money again as she would be corporate friendly and bring what they would view as stability back.

This is the corporate winning hand in that they have a sure thing. A good candidate, for them, on either side. Its all just talk of a possible outcome going on with the power brokers behind the scenes.

Posted by: dltravers | Jan 19 2020 18:40 utc | 25

Jackrabbit 21

Trump's hatred of Iran stems from the Tehran embassy drama and the hostages 52 of which were held for 444 days. Apart from being mostly Iranians on board, the plane flight or ID number could be part of the reason it was chosen. (until proven otherwise, I take it Trump US planned the downing of the plane)

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 19 2020 18:44 utc | 26

Emanuel Macron is really stupid, he thought he is being clever calling Persian gulf (Persian Arab gulf), he is getting his ass kicked by his own people in France, he deserves it, not only licking but also deep sniffing and inhaling of rich Arb monarch asses. Maybe this is why one should never have sex with your own teacher.

Posted by: Kooshy | Jan 19 2020 18:45 utc | 27

After all Elon Musk did go to the same undergrad business school that Donald Trump, and Ivanka, Trump graduated from. Wharton, so why expect Tesla cars to be based on solid engineering instead of bling?

And Musk didn't invent the basis of the Tesla electric cars.

The factory in Richmond, Califorina (an old GM-Toyota joint venture) has a horrid safety record for the workers building the Teslas.

Self driving transport machines will be a thing in the future, but not so much for personal cars.

If Musk really wants to revolutionize electric cars, he'll push to develop solid state batteries, able to drive a Tesla car for 400 miles at -15 degrees Celsius, which can then be recharged in 20 minutes. Oh, wait no need to develop such, the technology already exists.

Posted by: Jay | Jan 19 2020 18:49 utc | 28

Seeking to test gear OR an invite for a game of football?

US Forces In Tense Showdown With Russian Convoy On Blocked Syrian Highway

An extremely dangerous and rare incident played out in northeast Syria between the conflict's two most powerful rival forces on Saturday when opposing American and Russian military convoys encountered each other on a highway.

The incident was filmed and published online by anti-Assad opposition group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which described a major traffic jam outside the city of Al-Malikiyah, an oil-producing area of the country which has been occupied by American troops.

SOHR said the busy highway was halted "after US forces prevented a Russian patrol from continuing its way to countryside of Al-Malikiyah city."

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 19 2020 18:50 utc | 29

A P @20

Agree 100%.

Posted by: spudski | Jan 19 2020 18:51 utc | 30

To c1ue: Nuclear power is reasonably safe IF... I repeat IF... it is built and maintained to the highest possible standards, and not located in places where catastrophic geological events are least likely to occur. I won't go into the ecological impacts of fuel mining/production/disposal, that is several other messy cans of worms.

In the time I worked in/around the Canadian nuclear industry, there was an ever-stronger push to do nuclear "cheaper". One key component supplier even went to the extent of setting up with a 3rd party corporation to facilitate the "transition" of the items qualified by the US parent from non-conforming for CANDU reactors to "conforming" to CANDU standards. The US/CANDU standards are sufficiently different in engineering/qualification philosophy and execution so that one does not equal the other in any meaningful way. The 3rd party literally did some paperwork "analysis" to "prove" the items coming in the receiving door conforming to the US standards magically met the CANDU standards... by changing some info on the ID plate. No other physical changes were made to the items, no actual conformance testing done.

Much like in the Boeing case, the nuclear power industry is increasingly "self-regulating", and we all know where that goes.

Posted by: A P | Jan 19 2020 18:56 utc | 31

All smiles as peace plan for Libya is agreed. All Berlin Talks participants Committed to Libya ceasefire

Merkel & Guterres announce results of Libya peace talks in Berlin (Video))


The conference in Berlin was tasked with reaching a lasting ceasefire between Prime Minister of the UN-backed Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez al-Sarraj, and his rival Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, whose forces have been closing in on Tripoli in recent months.

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 19 2020 18:58 utc | 32

Quoting a bunch of people (both living and dead), TV anchor Leonid Mlechin creates an absurd theory that states the October Revolution only happened because the poor peasants were "envious" of the rich and prosperous peasants (kulaks) and that, had the Reforms of Stolypin time to be implemented, said revolution would've never happened.

Mlechin also laments the fact that the October Revolution "destroyed" Russia's "European sophistication" and "culture".

@Posted by: vk | Jan 19 2020 16:15 utc | 7

This "false and absurd narrative" is precisely that held by Putin and his "monarchist" close entourage, plus all the myriad of unconditional ( as soon s Putin holds this views and embrace the lies of Solzhenitsyn...) pro-Putin White Russian diaspora bloggers out there...Stolypin, not Lenin or Stalin, as have got patentely clear recently y own harsh statements, is the genius Putin admires and highly likely tries to emulate...It is known he was stubbornly reluctant to liberate his own serfs when this was recommended by Sergei Witte along with agricultural reforms ( of whose authporship then Stolypin appropiated himself...) in order to appease the growing unrest and try to save the Tsarist no avail by stubborness, inherent meaness, and greed of the Tsar and his close advisers...

I hope that with the new archive to be created, allegedly to be of free access for anyone in the world, they publish all the material, including that which will debunk the Solzhenitsyn and Conquest ciphers on Gulag...

This way we will be able to test that it is not Stalin the main genocide monster in the world history, but, by far hugger scores, the US and its mothership, the British Empire...

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 19 2020 19:02 utc | 33

I think dltravers is too mild in the correction of Ghost Ship. Looking at closely, the wealthy shifted to Trump late in the cycle. Additionally, the Republican party as a whole and the pacs were also ahead. Further, as Bloomberg notes, Trump using his private jet meant millions were counted as his ordinary ride. But, though the Bloomberg article doesn't care to properly emphasize it, the free publicity for Trump gifted to him by the networks should have been counted in the billions.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Jan 19 2020 19:05 utc | 34

:@Jay | Jan 19 2020 18:49 utc | 28

IMO this American/ English so called Ivy League colleges (on politics and law) are as good as their think tanks, after all they make the interns and send the to this think tanks and get future experts/ professors back is revolving elite protected system that is meant to protect ruling class position. Don’t fall for that. The rankings is made by US/ western entities and not credible.

Posted by: Kooshy | Jan 19 2020 19:12 utc | 35

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 19 2020 17:20 utc | 13
he most shocking to me was that the Dems said not a word (as clarioned in the MSM, to be heard loud and clear) about Trump cutting food stamps.

well there is this...nor sure if this was mentioned on MSM

but then maybe he is wearing his 'independent' hat while running for presnit under the democratic party banner - so not sure if that counts as 'saying a word'

another dem saying a word or two - mnind you have to read the whole screed to come across the words

this one here 'blasted' her words
biden has a word
more words to no avail

i guess one can state that NO Demcorat uttered a word not even a whisper. Right?

I get it, the democrats are not the best, but they are not the one cutting the Food stamps, they have said words even if most don't hear them, but then i guess if all has to be the fault of the Democratic party and its members then it does not matter that it is actually the Republicans under the Great Orange Savior Trump that is cutting the SNAP programm into tiny little shreds of fuck all and nothing much.

Posted by: Sabine | Jan 19 2020 19:15 utc | 36

Mlechin also laments the fact that the October Revolution "destroyed" Russia's "European sophistication" and "culture".

@Posted by: vk | Jan 19 2020 16:15 utc | 7

Well, in case we consider "European sophistication and culture" enjoying an idle life jumping from bed to bed, while spending obscene ammounts of money in European art and jewelery which then they amassed in the Winter Palace to be enjoyed only by the close circle of the Tsarist family and court.

What the October Revolution did was to open this enjoyement to the whole Russian people...
And this is not me who says it, but witnesses at all suspicious of being proletarian "true believers", as could be Stefan Zweig, who, in his Travel to Russia, testimonies:

"And here, in this chamber of the Hermitage, in this princely palace, more than imperial, in this palace of the tsars, in this city built thanks to unspeakable riches and foolish wonders, that tension is understood, inconceivable to European spirits, which it had to exist between those two worlds separated from each other: the one from above and the one below, the one from absurd and sacrilegious waste and that from the unfathomable poverty and hell of hunger that the peasants knew, With tear in the soul, it is warned this universal contrast between rich and poor, which in these lands reached titanic proportions until motivating that violent and sudden outburst.Only the history of a people is understood, knowing it first hand.There is therefore no more appropriate place to understand the reasons for the Revolution that these treasure chambers and these lavish palaces - the winter one and Tsárkoye Seló - which the Tsars ordered to construct of for themselves ... "

The fact that all those treasures and riches could be observed by Stefan Zweig in his travel just after the Revolution, and that we are able to witness them today, is the proof that all that "culture" was preserved not only during the Revolution itself, but also along the atrocious Siege of Leningrad, from the rapacious hands of the Nazis who stole all what of value they could found from the rest of occupied, ransacked, Europe...

In fact, it was precisely Fascism, and its promoters from the other side of the Atlantic, which killed the ancient European culture, an assassination process which is to be culminated in our very days, as envisioned by the same Stefan Zweig, who, feeling that Europe would never come back to be the same, in front of the brutalizing and increasing declining and clearly coming absence of interesting intellectual and cultural life, could not but finish his life, while in his Brazilian exile, at Petrópolis...

His own suicide puts in evidence what at all lights is the goal of these monsters assassins of cultures, as William Blum also clearly delineated, "Killing Hope"...

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 19 2020 19:44 utc | 37

If we are going to talk about war crimes, you have to understand first of all that the US is legally immune from being charged with war crimes from an international body. That is by design.

As Chomsky states, in Noam Chomsky & Andre Vltchek, On Western Terrorism: From Hiroshima to Drone Warfare (2020):

Forget about Nuremberg and the rest of modern international law. In fact there is a legal reason for that, which is not too well known. The United States is self-immunized from any prosecution. When they joined the World Court in 1946, the U.S. basically initiated the modern International Court of Justice, which it joined but with the reservation that the U.S. cannot be tried on any international treaty—meaning the UN charter, the charter of the Organization of the American States, the Geneva Conventions. The U.S. is self-immunized from any trial on those issues. And the Court has accepted that.

So for example when Nicaragua brought a case against the United States at the World Court for the terrorist attacks against Nicaragua, most of the case was thrown out because it invoked the charter of the Organization of American States, which bars interventions strongly, and the U.S. is not subject to that and the Court accepted it.

In fact the same happened, interestingly, at the trial where Yugoslavia brought a case against NATO for the bombing to the International Court of Justice, I think, and the United States excluded itself from the case and the Tribunal agreed because one of the charges mentioned was that it was a genocide, and when the United States signed the Genocide Convention after 40 years, it had a reservation saying it was “inapplicable to the United States,” and so therefore the Court rightly excused the United States from prosecution. There are literally legal barriers established just in case anyone dares to try to bring some charge against the powerful."

Posted by: occupatio | Jan 19 2020 20:11 utc | 38

For #38, a correction about the book's publication date: it should read 2013 instead of 2020.

Posted by: occupatio | Jan 19 2020 20:19 utc | 39

Excuse me for mentioning impeachment (all kabuki of course) but Alan Dershowitz (who kept his underwear on at Epstein's house) has come up with Trump's defence. He says abuse of power is not an impeachable offence.

Posted by: dh | Jan 19 2020 20:23 utc | 40

@Posted by: occupatio | Jan 19 2020 20:11 utc | 38

A good reason for, taking advantage of the US destruction of all the stablished system of International Law and "rules-based-order", remake it so that anybody can go scot free from now on, and moeover make it retroactive, to be able to judge the inhuman ammount of war crimes and genocides commited by the US and its allies, especially Israel and UK.

Otherwise, humanity would never be able to progress, and the bullies would never stop, as they feel there is no deterrent punishment...

Why in the Earth the people who negotiated those "treaties" and "deals" allowed that the Us could not be held accountable is a question mandatory to be made at all the historical European archives...and the responsible for this neglecting of responsability or allowance to be bullied, to be judged along with the US, as they all brought us to this state of affairs we suffer the current generations of all natons in the world...

This is a task to be done for honest European case there is one left...

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 19 2020 20:30 utc | 41

@Posted by: occupatio | Jan 19 2020 20:11 utc | 38

Why an isolated nation would try to get unnacountable from legislation against genocide?

Because they were already planning to commit it...otherwise why?

Blanco y en botella= leche...

Because at that point in time, they were already saving the most Nazi high ranking as possible to be fled to the US for future use of their criminal methods to achieve hegemonic power in the world, after the last great war....

That some felt that they would be able to participate in this share and thus allowed the unaccountability of the US is clear.

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 19 2020 20:47 utc | 42

@ Posted by: occupatio | Jan 19 2020 20:11 utc | 38

There are people that even waste their time trying to find out if the killings of the Empire follow the international law!:

Everyone with a brain bigger than a rice grain knows what is the answer

Posted by: DFC | Jan 19 2020 20:49 utc | 43

Below is a ZH link that shows how close the world is to a standoff

US Forces In Tense Showdown With Russian Convoy On Blocked Syrian Highway

I want to see the ME countries throw empire out, not Russia. What is the US going to do when it is Syrian soldiers who say, get out of our way in our country?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 19 2020 20:50 utc | 44

May be now there are appearing some dead US soldiers around the globe that maybe were in an unfortunate place in Iraq at the wrong time, and also it seems that the wounded soldiers were more than 11:

If this is true, the "slap in the face" was severe

Posted by: DFC | Jan 19 2020 21:02 utc | 45

As for US/ZATO "immunity" from prosecution in International Courts... BULLDOODY! That's like the "freemen on the land" tactic, or the monarchist "divine right". Try telling the cop standing at your door with an arrest warrant that you are "immune" from whatever the laws of your nation are because or the freeman idiocy... they will still drag you a way and prosecute you. So when the US can no longer bully the rest of the world into thinking that because they didn't sign some piece of paper that US officials and military are immune to the will of the rest of the world regarding the obvious and innumerable crimes against humanity.

The ICC can adjudicate and convict the US warmongers in absentia, on the strength that 122 countries HAVE signed on to the ICC. Symbolic initially, but if repeated enough times, the US will lose the supposed moral high ground it has abused beyond recognition.

A new International Magna Carta If the US can grab is required, with the likes of Trumpty, NATO leaders, Pompous Pompeo and Bolton in the same position as King John. A large majority of 122 counties and the populations they represent vs. the handful of psychopaths running US/ZATO.

If the US can manipulate the grab Huawei's Meng at a Canadian airport, then the same can be done to US officials under ICC arrest warrants in signatory countries. Need we talk about the US' "rendition" program, where Canadian citizen Arrar was grabbed in the airport in NYC, shipped to Syria for 2 years of detainment and torture on US gov't orders.

If the US can do it, so can the rest of the world. LOCK THEM ALL UP.

Posted by: A P | Jan 19 2020 21:03 utc | 46

The first battle will be against Iraq, and it will be interesting to see the million man march scheduled for 28th January. Remember Trump has threatened to block Iraqi oil funds [35 Billion held in the Fed] plus Iraqs gold. Without those funds the Iraqi Prime Minister said they would go bust and not be able to fund day to day costs, I think up to nearly 2 billion per month is required, here the Chinese should step up to the plate with the offer of cash up front for as much oil as they can take, death by a thousand cuts could await those bases, missiles and mortars [unstoppable] and explosively Formed Projectiles [EFP's] also unstoppable could be the order of the day. The bottom line is no one in Iraq should be subject to Trumps ludicrous demands, any Nation which capitulates to Trumps demands does not deserve to remain a sovereign state and it would not, they would be slaves. The Shia will fight the occupiers [they take their shrouds into battle]. The US will also fight since the loss of Iraq will mean the beginnings of the end for its presence in the Middle East, to the consternation of Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Gulfies, I will not shed a tear for any of them.

Posted by: Harry law | Jan 19 2020 21:25 utc | 47

Regarding spoofing:

"the guided-missile cruiser had destroyed the Iran Air A300 Airbus after mistaking it for an Iranian F14 fighter plane"

Posted by: Jared | Jan 19 2020 21:33 utc | 48

Re 16 and 30, Nuclear power is neither "safe" nor "clean" energy, considering that it produces some of the most lethal and long-lived toxins known to man, which have to be isolated from the biosphere for at least 100,000 years. At present there are something like 300,000 to 350,000 tons of high-level nuclear waste, the majority of which is sitting in "spent fuel pools" adjacent to nuclear power plants. These pools are not within primary containment; any catastrophic release of radiation from them will not be contained. These pools, as well as the reactors they sit next to, will likely become prime targets in wartime, and their destruction would make vast regions of land permanently uninhabitable.

Frank von Hippel outlines the likely consequence of a spent fuel pool fire that almost occurred at Fukushima in Reducing the Danger of Fires in Spent Fuel Pools which could have required the evacuation/relocation of as many as 35 million people.

On average, spent fuel ponds hold five to 10 times more long-lived radioactivity than a reactor core. A single spent fuel pond holds more cesium 137 than was deposited by all atmospheric nuclear weapons tests in the Northern Hemisphere combined

The TORCH 2016 report, an independent scientific evaluation of Chernobyl's health effects based entirely upon peer-reviewed sources, finds that about 5 million people in Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia live in areas still highly contaminated by the Chernobyl disaster (with more than 40 kilobecquerels of cesium-137 per square meter). These areas include 18,000 square kilometers in Belarus, 12,000 square kilometers in Ukraine, and 16,000 square kilometers in Russia. About 400 million people live in less contaminated areas (with between 4 and 40 kilobecquerels of cesium-137 per square meter).

The unfortunate people who must live on these contaminated lands—especially infants and children—suffer greatly from the effects of the long-lived radionuclides (primarily cesium-137) that have contaminated the forests, soils, and foodstuffs to which they are constantly exposed. In 2011, the National Ministry of Emergencies of Ukraine issued a national report entitled "Twenty-five Years after Chernobyl Accident: Safety for the Future." The report found that by 2001, no more than 10 percent of the children living in the seriously contaminated zones of Ukraine were considered healthy. Prior to the dispersal of radionuclides from the Chernobyl explosion, 90 percent had been healthy.

Posted by: Perimetr | Jan 19 2020 21:34 utc | 49

@41 and @42

Of course we agree that intl law should not function that way; I, in citing Chomsky, am merely describing how it has historically functioned: courts follow established legal precedents, in this case, legal immunity for the USA. The court, internally and by inertia, cannot alter that reality; it requires a new reality outside the court -- namely, a truly multi-polar world -- for intl law to create new precedents.

When the Iraqi parliament voted and decided that the US troops must leave, the US (falsely) labeled this as as a 'non-binding' resolution, as if it were merely some 'helpful suggestion' of some consulting agency, instead of the decision of a sovereign nation in a Westphalian system. What 'non-binding' really means in this context is that no one, when push comes to shove, can actually bind or constrict the US military. That is to state the obvious, but my point is that US propaganda masks its outlaw impudence with legal terms -- or, more precisely, with legalese jargon designed to deflect and mislead. The "rules based order" is not only rigged, but the very language of rules and laws has been co-opted by doublespeak.

Posted by: occupatio | Jan 19 2020 21:58 utc | 50

A new song will be launched on 24 Jan, Iraq mass protest to evict American troops.

Posted by: arata | Jan 19 2020 22:05 utc | 51

More links about US soldiers wounded in the Iranian missile attacks

In the coming weeks we will see more info about the "slap in the face"

Posted by: DFC | Jan 19 2020 22:14 utc | 52

I read quite recently that the Russians have closed the nuclear cycle. I guess that means burn the poot to zero radiation, zero ionizing emission. I am skeptical about that claim, but maybe it's true.

In every other part I agree with Permetr. There are necessities that can overrule safety, at great cost. We don't get to decide...

And would add - running a power plant is interminably boring and this stretches out painfully, shift after shift where nothing unusual happens and it's tempting to nap or read comic books. Then when something happens the operators panic.

You need stupid operators to avoid boredom problems. And genius operators for the inevitable but rare fubar.

This is institutionally impossible.

While there's lots of bs around LENR "cold fusion" it is established that it can be used to heat's repeatable and useful. The Chinese are way out there with it. LENR in question emit zero ionizing not yet understood.

So far LENR does not have a practical delta T to do more than adiabatic or near adiabatic steam . just enough to heat houses... So far. They say.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 19 2020 22:17 utc | 53

@ 22 AP:
An interesting move would be for Iran to consult and potentially invite the participation of Malaysia in the investigation ...

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Jan 19 2020 22:19 utc | 54

Need we talk about the US' "rendition" program, where Canadian citizen [Maher Arar] was grabbed in the airport in NYC, shipped to Syria for 2 years of detainment and torture on US gov't orders.

If the US can do it, so can the rest of the world. LOCK THEM ALL UP.

Posted by: A P | Jan 19 2020 21:03 utc | 46

Arar was a bit lucky. If his "intense phase of interrogation" were performed on a secret site or Guantanamo, most likely he would spend at least a decade in a hell hole, assuming that he would make it alive. By the way of contrast,

"Upon his release in October 2003 [after 10 months], Syria announced they could find no terrorist links."

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 19 2020 22:23 utc | 55

To add further to my comment on the previous thread about the reasons the Outlaw US Empire's domestic economy isn't competitive on a global basis, I'd like to direct barflies to the following two episodes of a new RT series called Front Running, 2020, this one dealing with China Policy and this one examining the proposed Green New Deal. These programs run 30min and are hosted by Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert who interview "expert" guest commentators about the policy proposal being scrutinized. The newest from this weekend deals with Yang's proposed guaranteed income proposal, which doesn't do anything to impact the fundamental reasons I listed in my earlier comment for the US economy's inability to compete, which is why it's not included.

IMO, the discussion on China Policy exposes the basic reason why the US economy cannot compete on a global level, while the Green New Deal highlights other structural problems long known to be detrimental. Then there're cultural problems that both examine. The bottom line is no President from either side of the Duopoly will be capable of designing a MAGA policy because both are wed to Neoliberalism and its Financialized, Privatized form of Capitalism that relies on outright lies and falsified economic date to continue fooling the public.

Although they've been discussed here before, I prefer not to reveal the points exposed by the programs as they do it much better and thus the incentive to watch. Of course, this will be of more interest to barflies within North America. But for those trying to keep abreast of the geoeconomic and geopolitical struggle, these will both be of interest. The first program has Hudson and Keen on in a discussion about the proposed Wealth Tax, which is fascinating as the global wealthy all evade taxes and thus numerous nations could benefit from their proposals, not the politicos's.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 19 2020 22:24 utc | 56

@Posted by: arata | Jan 19 2020 22:05 utc | 51

Oh, yeah, mate, this is organization, there must be always encouraging music in any national liberation project.

Waiting for the 24th hear the people sing...and dance...

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 19 2020 22:25 utc | 57

Walter @53--

I posted the link to ROSATOM's business model that shows its closed the nuclear cycle, which is now being used as its main selling point--no super expensive burial costs as all fissle material is burned. Here's the basic PP slide. Here's the 2014 RT article announcing the breakthrough. Here's one of many technical papers on the topic.

That Russia has the planet's top nuclear engineers and a commercial company building numerous fixed and portable power plants globally, while another company specializes in marine applications, is very telling when it comes to geoeconomics. China's right there at Russia's elbow in capability--they're like finely trained athletes compared to the Outlaw US Empire's sloth-like couch potatoes.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 19 2020 22:52 utc | 58

@ Sasha 42

For those collecting historical links, here is a NYT story on Operation Paperclip during which "Nazis Were Given ‘Safe Haven’ in U.S.".

The 600-page report , which the Justice Department has tried to keep secret for four years, provides new evidence about more than two dozen of the most notorious Nazi cases of the last three decades.

Posted by: DeQuincey | Jan 19 2020 22:59 utc | 59


Thanks for the scary reality check on spent fuel rod storage issues! It is unlikely the the US has the funds or will to cleanup this nuclear waste let alone the 65 million gallons of high level nuclear waste at Hanford.

The US did sorta cleanup the N-reactor fuel pond because the leaking fuel rods contained high burnout fuel in the metallic uranium state which is highly pyrophoric. Somehow some scientist finally got through to the political hacks that something like a airliner hitting the pond would ignite the uranium and release all the very hot radioisotopes across over 50% of the US.

The Chernobyl Accident had more far reaching affects as my late mother in law living in Belgium developed thyroid cancer following the release of iodine 131.

Keep up the good work...

Posted by: krollchem | Jan 19 2020 23:05 utc | 60

Comic Relief:

"Foreign countries meddling in Libya meet to discuss problems of foreign countries meddling in Libya."

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 19 2020 23:07 utc | 61

Wild ( sarcasm..) stories of the USSR, for you to see that all was then awful, ugly, and inhuman they try to make us believe the international far-right, including the Russian one...It seems that it was not only political archives they were collecting...

77 years ago the site of #Leningrad broke 3 years of siege exceeding -30º. Approximately 1,200,000 Soviets were killed, most of them by starvattion. We want to remember the impressive story of the 13 scientists who gave their lives for the future of humanity. THREAD

They were in charge of preserving the Leningrad seed bank the largest in the world (more than 400,000 varieties) and Nazi objective to deplete the population for 2 reasons:
- Decrease their reservations.
- Undermine their spirit as the project sought to eradicate the hunger of the Earth

At the head of the Pavlovsk experimental station educated in the values ​​of the Revolution, they would honor their vocation by resisting daily bombings, they would not consent to losing the enormous work done during the previous 10 years gathering the seeds all over the world.

First they moved the seeds to the Leningrad Plant Genetics Institute but the situation was getting harder. Food was scarce, there were even cases of cannibalism in the population. Thanks to the rationing depending on the load supported, it was able to resist.

They entrenched themselves in the reservoir, conjuring themselves to endure the last consequences.
Released Leningrad found the scientists dead by starvation, each one in its position, without having caught a gram of rice, not a single potato planted in front of them.

Their legacy for future generations:

"With the world wrapped in the flames of war, we will keep this collection for the future of all peoples."

"Humanity seems to destroy itself, but one day it will need these seeds."

After reading this, perhaps you should ask yourself if, as the media of the regime say, both "sides" were equal and the extremes touches themselves. The objectives that moved some to kill and others to live. And they loved life so much that they died for it.
Eternally in our memory.

More than 400,000 children survived the siege thanks to the level of awareness of the inhabitants of Leningrad and the work of the authorities who knew how to ration food based on the needs of the population.

The song in honor of the heroic city of Leningrad.

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 19 2020 23:10 utc | 62

Posted by: DeQuincey | Jan 19 2020 22:59 utc | 59

Thank you so much, comrade DeQuincey.

Yes, I collect everything I can on truth based history.

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 19 2020 23:19 utc | 63

@A P #31
From my view - the known failures all encompassed (excepting 3 mile island) nuclear power plants that were literally decades past their design lifetimes: Chernobyl, Fukushima.
I wonder how much of this is due to the lawfare against nuclear power plants? Basically due to extended litigation, it is 3 or 4 times more expensive to try and build a plant vs. just its materials due to the legal costs, schedule delays, extra testing etc? What's your view?

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 19 2020 23:22 utc | 64

Question related to nuclear rods:

What is the relationship between spent fuel rods and depleted uranium? Is DU basically a way of basically dumping nuclear waste onto other countries (aside from its military advantages)?

Posted by: occupatio | Jan 19 2020 23:24 utc | 65

@Perimetr #49
Strictly speaking, nothing that comes out of a nuclear power plant is "unnatural".
The fission process would occur with or without enrichment - only a lot slower.
So is the issue the concentration or the longer half-lives? or both?
From my view, the cat is long since out of the bag. Atmospheric nuclear testing, prior to the test ban, has already released bad stuff into the atmosphere, such that overall atmospheric ambient radiation levels have already increased.
Of course, the actual amount of increase peaked at 7% of normal atmospheric radiation levels.
I'd also note that somehow long lived radioactive isotopes are not good, but long lived refined metals - like Aluminum, as well as large structures are pretty long lived as well. Why are these ok, particularly when there is so much more of it?
In any case, the original point was: if human emitted fossil fuel derived CO2 is truly going to cause a catastrophe in the short and medium term, why not deploy nuclear to avert it?
In the real world, choices always have to be made.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 19 2020 23:28 utc | 66

"Come Out Ye Black and Tans" has risen to the number 1 in the iTunes in UK and Eire!

Re-unification of Ireland seems to a real possibility within the next few years!

Posted by: ADKC | Jan 19 2020 23:38 utc | 67

“Nuclear power is one hell of a way to boil water.”
— Albert Einstein

Posted by: DeQuincey | Jan 19 2020 23:43 utc | 68

Circe @6

I agree.

WWIII has started. But the destruction by precise ballistic missiles of Middle East’s petroleum facilities, if Iran is attacked, forced Donald Trump to back down twice. He desperately needs a deal for re-election. An oil shutoff or a general war and he is out. The assassination of Iranian and Iraqi Shiite militia leaders was stupid. Boasting about it at Mar-a-Lago to GOP donors is gross. Iran has been fighting for 40 years. They won’t back down. The question is what will the Sheiks of Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia do? Without oil income they will become 21st century exiles in a collapsing West. Peace and keeping their heads are a plus for them.

The Empire is playing Russian Roulette as long as it keeps troops in Syria and Iraq. War profiteers (Boeing) are facing bankruptcy. They need to keep the money churning. Impeachment is their play to get the NY Buffoon out, pay off Mike Pence and move Joe Biden up into the Emperor slot. If not that, scuttle the Sanders/Gabbard ticket and the possibility of peace.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Jan 19 2020 23:49 utc | 69

I haven't driven a car in 33 years, and whenever I contemplate the possibility of driving again, my reaction is usually a visceral negative. It's therefore a nice fantasy to visualize getting into a car and telling it where to go and have it simply go there.

But it's not going to happen. And one of the biggest reasons is that hardly anyone will want it to happen.

Self-driving cars would actually be ideal for a limited access superhighway. Those roads were designed with the goal of reducing to a bare minimum the number of decisions, distractions and possible destinations that a driver has to contend with. They essentially turn the driver into a robot, the demands on whom could very likely be met by a machine system.

But driving in town is entirely different. The entire capabilities of human senses, knowledge, and will are necessary. To find a parking space in my town you literally have to know everything about the town, the characteristics of the natural world, and an adult level experience making pragmatic decisions. A self-driving car would also make you a passenger in your own vehicle with hardly more power than a bus rider. The difficulty of suddenly pulling over after spotting your buddy Jim or deciding on the spur of the moment to stop at the drug store would be for all intents and purposes insurmountable.

The self-driving car is a geek dream of having everything controlled, everything orderly. It's actually rather sinister, but fortunately it won't come to actuality.

Posted by: Spike D. | Jan 20 2020 0:39 utc | 70

One of KARMA....and of some people´s own contradictions...

Putin visited the museum of defense and blockade of Leningrad....
In the banner it is read:
"Be ready for the struggle for the cause of Lenin-Stalin!"

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 20 2020 0:42 utc | 71

occupatio | Jan 19 2020 23:24 utc | 65

There are many different fuel mixtures that goes into nuclear fuel rods depending on the reactor design. Most light water reactors will produce spent fuel rod with over 90% Uranium -238 (depleted uranium). It is a very toxic heavy metal and used in bullets artillery shells or bombs. When they hit they burn at a high temperature. High enough to burn through armor.

As a heavy metal a missile with a super dense and heavy head of 500 lbs of U-238 landing in a city would burn on impact and cover a huge area with radioactive dust. The cities are uninhabitable after that but people still live in Fallujah Iraq.

Posted by: Diveshopingoa | Jan 20 2020 0:55 utc | 72

Trailer Trash@ 24
You are right, of course: I did think of Taft Hartley but there was some democratic opposition including Truman's (pro forma?) veto.
It is always necessary to recall that the Democrats were heavily influenced by the Solid South Jim Crow members who were, as they remain, now as Republicans, Right to Work fanatics.

Sabine@30(?) I agree with you. Thanks for the Chapter and Verse corrections. I do think, however, that as is the case with Biden over Soc Security, it is extraordinary that the party could not make a big deal of an issue that I think has lots of support among the Democratic base. Of course we have already established that if the base likes a policy the DNC think it is great politics to go against it in order to appeal to the oligarchs. There might have been votes in defending poor kids and starving families but there was no money in it.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 20 2020 1:02 utc | 73


Spent fuel rods are either enriched uranium in a ceramic matrix for civilian reactors or almost pure metallic uranium-235 in military reactors such as nuclear submarines.

Depleted uranium (DU) is what remains after uranium-235 is enriched. Depleted uranium is used as a counterweight in civilian aircraft and as a munition for penetrating/melting armor.

Given the widespread use by the US of DU in projectile tips it is highly likely that other countries will use it in any upcoming non-nuclear conflict with the NATO powers and Israel.

Posted by: krollchem | Jan 20 2020 1:05 utc | 74

Strong arguments for the US to remain in a "force of good"....

We remember...

The number of people apparently surprised by images of @USArmy & @CIA abuses in Iraq indicate they may be new for them.

Let these images now remain indelible in all memories.

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 20 2020 1:14 utc | 75

Things are not looking good for the Ocidentalists in Russia:

Johnson tells Putin normalization of bilateral relations now is impossible

"He was clear there had been no change in the UK’s position on Salisbury, which was a reckless use of chemical weapons and a brazen attempt to murder innocent people on UK soil. He said that such an attack must not be repeated"

Of course your position on Salisbury remains unchanged: you're the ones who staged the whole thing to begin with.

Posted by: vk | Jan 20 2020 1:19 utc | 76

Sasha @ 167

What if the real "rebellion" consist on the intertwinning of the Executive, Military and Corporate factions to all feed on profit while at the same time better control population and above all dissidents through the control of and proffitering from big data?

What if Israel already captured the flag?

How an Israeli Spy-Linked Tech Firm Gained Access to the US Gov’t’s Most Classified Networks

Through its main investors, SoftBank and Lockheed Martin, Cybereason not only has ties to the Trump administration but has its software running on some of the U.S. government’s most classified and secretive networks.


Just a sample:

The cozy ties between Lockheed Martin, one of the U.S. government’s largest private contractors, and the IDF set off alarm bells, then and now, for those concerned with U.S. national security. Such concern makes it important to look at the extent of Cybereason’s use by federal and military agencies in the United States through their contracting of Lockheed Martin’s Information Technology (IT) division. This is especially important considering Israeli military intelligence’s history of using espionage, blackmail and private tech companies against the U.S. government, as detailed here.

. . .

The Leidos-Lockheed Martin IT hybrid provides a litany of services to the U.S. military and U.S. intelligence. As investigative journalist Tim Shorrock noted for The Nation, the company does “everything from analyzing signals for the NSA to tracking down suspected enemy fighters for US Special Forces in the Middle East and Africa” and, following its merger with Lockheed and consequential partnership with Cybereason, became “the largest of five corporations that together employ nearly 80 percent of the private-sector employees contracted to work for US spy and surveillance agencies.” Shorrock also notes that these private-sector contractors now dominate the mammoth U.S. surveillance apparatus, many of them working for Leidos and — by extension — using Cybereason’s software.

Leidos’ exclusive use of Cybereason software for cybersecurity is also relevant for the U.S. military since Leidos runs a number of sensitive systems for the Pentagon, including its recently inked contract to manage the entire military telecommunications infrastructure for Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). In addition to maintaining the military telecom network, Cybereason is also directly partnered with World Wide Technologies (WWT) as of this past October. WWT manages cybersecurity for the U.S. Army, maintains DISA’s firewalls and data storage as well as the U.S. Air Force’s biometric identification system. WWT also manages contracts for NASA, itself a frequent target of Israeli government espionage, and the U.S. Navy. WWT’s partnership is similar to the Lockheed/Leidos partnership in that Cybereason’s software is now completely integrated into its portfolio, giving the company full access to the devices on all of these highly classified networks.

from the comments @ UNZ reprint:

the grand wazoo says:

We can read and talk all day about what’s supposedly happening versus what should be happening. The bottom line is this nation of ours is owned and operated by ORGANIZED CRIME. How else can any reasonable person explain zero arrests on 911. The day when our President was reading children’s books to 5 year old’s, and our military, with our famous NORAD computers, we were told were hacked, and that same day a dozen war games were in action leaving our air defenses naked over the east coast. In any real nation military commanders would be arrested, court martialed and executed. But in the USA. They all got promoted, the media refused to discuss the matter, and now they’re setting us up for martial law in 2020. Remember folks these masonic Satanists always tip their hand by giving a narrative of what’s about to happen. It eases their conscience and it gives them an: “I told you so moment”.
So, remember I told you so.

Posted by: pogohere | Jan 20 2020 1:36 utc | 77

@ 75 vk.. the uk went to war on iraq under false pretense.. why would anything change here? they seem to thrive on the absence of hard facts and love making up reality as they go, maintaining a hostile attitude to russia which is coincidentally just like the usa - the other liar that brought the world the iraq war.. at least the liars are consistent!

Posted by: james | Jan 20 2020 1:58 utc | 78

Perimetr | Jan 19 2020 21:34 utc | 49

Nuclear waste in the US is a problem, no doubt. Thats not due to nuclear power, its due to the insistence that the spent nuclear fuel rods not be recycled out of the bogus fear they would used to make weapons (in someones basement or cave). Some countries like France do recycle the fuel rods and the small amount that is left over imbedded in glass logs, where it will remain until they build a deep-underground repository . Under Carter they banned recycling and staged/hyped the TMI accident to move away from nuclear (also removing the Shah who was going big on nuclear power with orders for 5 power plants to be constructed by Germany). They need to preserve the petrodollar and pave the way for a future carbon tax, and also control nations by controlling the oil. Cheap energy from nuclear with a resource not as easily controlled is not in their interests.

Posted by: Pft | Jan 20 2020 2:08 utc | 79

Plutonium has a half life of 24,000 years.
How were things 24,000 years ago?

Posted by: Duncan Idaho | Jan 20 2020 2:20 utc | 80

Hal Turner:

Will Someone Press "RESET" and Cleanse the Planet, Please?

Get the eye bleach ready; the degeneracy coming at our society has reached unimaginable proportions and just keeps getting worse.

Look at the absolute SHIT coming out of major fashion designer "GUCCI" at its "Men's" Fashion show:

Posted by: Mao | Jan 20 2020 3:13 utc | 81

@ Bevin #19

About the Australian Labor Party (of which I was briefly a member in 2004 before tearing up my card a year later) V.I. Lenin had this to say. Reminds me of Gramsci on the union movement—the means by which capital 'bargains' with organized labour in order to continue to be able to extract profit—i.e. unions are a key part of the apparatus of the bourgeoisie.

Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 20 2020 3:19 utc | 82

Addendum to #80

Lenin was spot on for 1913, and nothing has changed a century later. Happy Birthday to you for 22 April.

Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 20 2020 3:21 utc | 83

Sabine said in part;"I get it, the democrats are not the best, but they are not the one cutting the Food stamps, they have said words even if most don't hear them, but then i guess if all has to be the fault of the Democratic party and its members then it does not matter that it is actually the Republicans under the Great Orange Savior Trump that is cutting the SNAP programm into tiny little shreds of fuck all and nothing much."

Thanks for the reality check. Some people consider all Dems catering to big $, but there are some that don't feed at the corporate troughs.

Kudos to perimeter @ 49 for another reality check on nuclear plants..

Posted by: ben | Jan 20 2020 3:42 utc | 84

Re karlof1 | Jan 19 2020 22:52 utc | 58

The technical paper you linked to makes it clear that Rosatam is promoting fast neutron, or "breeder" reactors. These reactors can convert uranium 238 into plutonium 239 and will produce more plutonium than they burn, thus "breeding" nuclear fuel. It has always been the wet dream of the nuclear industry to transition to breeder reactors; as the technical paper points out, there is a limited amount of uranium ore that is rich enough in U235 (the fissile element that is concentrated during the enrichment process) to sustain the current forms of nuclear power plants for another century (or less).

But running reactors on U238, that entirely changes the picture. Historically it has been difficult to run a breeder reactor, because many have used liquid sodium as the primary coolant. Sodium has a little problem as it is highly reactive when exposed to air or water and it can explode, which can create problems if you are using plutonium as a fuel.

Of course, producing more plutonium can also have its downsides, since it is used as the fissile trigger in nuclear weapons. Japan has a stockpile of about 45 tons of plutonium that has been reprocessed from spent nuclear fuel. (Reactor grade fuel can be used to create a nuclear weapo.)

More importantly, the RT article is using semantics to make it appear that there will be "No nuclear waste". Wrong, there will still be large amounts of nuclear waste (although significantly reduced in volume, but still highly radioactive fission products), and there would still be a need to separate the plutonium from the fission products being produced.

Another very disingenous aspect of the pictured "closed" nuclear fuel cycle being promoted by Rosatom is that it ignores the enormous about of "low level" radioactive waste created by uranium mining.

Uranium mining in Canada is projected to create 200 million tons of mine tailings. The huge amount of sand like tailings from uranium milling contain 85 percent of the radioactivity that was present in the original ore. The radioactive materials in uranium mill tailings – isotopes of radium, radon, polonium,and thorium, along with radioactive varieties of bismuth and lead – are all radioactive disintegration byproducts of uranium. Each one of them is far more radiotoxic than uranium – which is itself a dangerous material, being a radioactive heavy metal.

Mining hundreds of millions of tons of uranium ore and bringing it up to the surface, and then dumping the tailings creates a few problems, for example with the radon gas that is released.

So I disagree that there is "No Nuclear Waste" created by breeder reactors. It is just a great sales pitch.

Re c1ue | Jan 19 2020 23:28 utc | 66
"Strictly speaking, nothing that comes out of a nuclear power plant is "unnatural".
The fission process would occur with or without enrichment - only a lot slower."

Seriously? You create hundreds of millions of tons of radioactive waste in the mining process, then use huge amounts of energy to "enrich" (concentrate) U235 to LEU so it can be used in fuel rods (yes you can use U238 in some reactor designs like CANDU, but most require 3-5% enrichment from the 0.7% naturally occuring concentration of U235 in uranium ores), and then create hundreds of thousands of tons of high-level nuclear waste . . . and you want to equate this with a "natural" process?

I guess you could say the same thing about a nuclear detonation? That the fission products would occur "naturally" only a lot slower?

The "issue" is how in hell do we isolate this fiendishly toxic stuff from the biosphere for the next 100,000 years? A few grams of cesium137 are enough to make a square mile of land uninhabitable for a century! Want evidence of that? Look at the map the CIA created of the Chernobyl exclusion zone, and check out the key to the map. The exclusion zones and radiation control zones are defined by the amount of cesium137 per square kilometer.

40 (or more) Curies of Cesium137 makes the land uninhabitable (for at least a century or longer). There are 88 Curies per gram of Cesium137, therefore less than half a gram of Cesium137, made into an aerosol and evenly distributed over a square kilometer, makes that land into a radiation exclusion zone. That translates into 1.2 grams per square mile. A US dimes weigh less than 3 grams.

Most US spent fuel pools have close to a ton of Cesium 137 inside the spent fuel rods. Because cesium is the second most volatile element after mercury, it is a liquid at 83 degrees F, and it becomes a gas at 1240 degrees F. In a catastrophic nuclear accident, when fuel rods heat to the point of rupture or ignition, most of the radioactive cesium in the rods has become a gas. This is why radioactive cesium becomes the predominant long-lived radioactive contaminant in the destruction of spent fuel rods in reactor cores (and fuel pools, if one is destroyed).

You ask why long-lived radioactive elements, such as Aluminum, are ok when there are so many of them? Perhaps because Aluminum is not radioactve? lol

I thought you might point to long-lived radioactive elemments, such as Potassium 40 and ask wny they are not a big problem? I would say that amount of radioactivity per unit mass; Potassium 40 has 71 ten millionths of a Curie per gram, whereas Cesium 137 has 88 Curies per gram.

Re Pft | Jan 20 2020 2:08 utc | 77
"Nuclear waste in the US is a problem, no doubt. Thats not due to nuclear power, its due to the insistence that the spent nuclear fuel rods not be recycled out of the bogus fear they would used to make weapons (in someones basement or cave). Some countries like France do recycle the fuel rods and the small amount that is left over imbedded in glass log"

Hanford, Washington, has about 53 million gallons of highly acidic and highly radioactive waste that is a byproduct from reprocessing plutonium for US nuclear weapons (rods were dissolved in nitric acid to remove the polutonium by chemical processes). These 53 million gallons of waste is sitting in underground tanks that are leaking; the site has become the biggest single Superfund cleanup site in the US, and the EPA has been spending a fortune for years, trying to set up a process to make the glass logs you refer to.

Nuclear waste is a problem because it is toxic at the atomic, molecular level. A single atom or molecule of Cs137 inside the body will highly irradiate a tiny cluster of cells that surround it. The radioactive "safety standards" use calculations that average this dose out over large masses of tissue, which acts to disguise the damange being done at the point of exposure.

Fission products like Cesium137 and Strontium90 will persist in the environment for about 300 years (after 10 half-lives, only about 1/1000 will remain). Radioactive Cesium mimics potasssium and is recycled as a mcaronutrient and is bioconctrated and bioaccumulated as it moves up the food chains; it is conentrated in the endrocrine system, as well as in the heart, liver, pancreas, spleen stomach, brain, and intestines. Cesium has about a 120 day biological half-life (that is how long it will remain in the body), but if you live in a contaminated area and have to eat contaminated foods, you will always be exposed to it.

Posted by: Perimetr | Jan 20 2020 3:43 utc | 85

sabine @ 36 for the above post

Posted by: ben | Jan 20 2020 3:43 utc | 86

Sasha @ 167

What if the real "rebellion" consist on the intertwinning of the Executive, Military and Corporate factions to all feed on profit while at the same time better control population and above all dissidents through the control of and proffitering from big data?

What if Israel already captured the flag?

How an Israeli Spy-Linked Tech Firm Gained Access to the US Gov’t’s Most Classified Networks

Through its main investors, SoftBank and Lockheed Martin, Cybereason not only has ties to the Trump administration but has its software running on some of the U.S. government’s most classified and secretive networks.

Leidos’ exclusive use of Cybereason software for cybersecurity is also relevant for the U.S. military since Leidos runs a number of sensitive systems for the Pentagon, including its recently inked contract to manage the entire military telecommunications infrastructure for Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). In addition to maintaining the military telecom network, Cybereason is also directly partnered with World Wide Technologies (WWT) as of this past October. WWT manages cybersecurity for the U.S. Army, maintains DISA’s firewalls and data storage as well as the U.S. Air Force’s biometric identification system. WWT also manages contracts for NASA, itself a frequent target of Israeli government espionage, and the U.S. Navy. WWT’s partnership is similar to the Lockheed/Leidos partnership in that Cybereason’s software is now completely integrated into its portfolio, giving the company full access to the devices on all of these highly classified networks.

Posted by: pogohere | Jan 20 2020 3:57 utc | 87

Thanks to Perimetr and others for sharing their knowledge about the dangers of nuclear power. Maybe if all nations suddenly decide to live in peaceful harmony from now on, no civil strife, no fanatical religious or ideological extremist groups, no wars, then we possibly could get "lucky" and only suffer an occasional "accident" on occasion such as at Chernoble or Fukushima (and check out John G. Fuller's "We Almost Lost Detroit" about the Fermi 1 near-disaster). Unfortunately our future course looks much scarier than that, and the idea of having hundreds or thousands of vulnerable nuclear plants and waste storage facilities all around the planet, with stable governments a necessity everywhere to secure and protect them against hostile forces for thousands of years, is an insane fantasy. Look at just the twentieth century alone, with two world wars and numerous civil wars, regional wars, etc. Nuclear is a stupid way to boil water for electricity; and producing Plutonium as a by-product is just crazy.

Posted by: Kabobyak | Jan 20 2020 4:06 utc | 88

Depleted uranium is (or was initially) attractive due to the most basic of physical properties: denser mass giving heavier weight in a smaller volume. It is exactly the same reason why lead is (at least usually) favored for bullets (and predecessors like projectiles for slings) instead of for example steel.

Increased mass and weight increases the ability, quality, and efficiency of projectiles and kinetic weapons more than anything else; it is the bottleneck of the engineering.

There are other denser materials than depleted uranium but depleted uranium is vastly more readily available in just the same way as lead is more readily available than depleted uranium.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Jan 20 2020 5:36 utc | 89

karloff @56

Thank you for posting the links to those RT shows. Very good stuff. Thought provoking.

Posted by: Carson | Jan 20 2020 5:58 utc | 90

As this is an open thread, I would like to go back to what I consider a seminal part of President of the Russian Federation Putin's January address, repeating the quote I used on an earlier thread this week:

"..."...Firstly, Russia can be and can remain Russia only as a sovereign state. Our nation’s sovereignty must be unconditional. We have done a great deal to achieve this. We restored our state’s unity. We have overcome the situation when certain powers in the government were essentially usurped by oligarch clans. Russia has returned to international politics as a country whose opinion cannot be ignored..."

I have bolded a strong statement above. I can be corrected if I am wrong, but isn't this the most direct reference President Putin has made to "oligarchical clans" in a public address? And for all the talk about capitalism and communism, Trotskyites and Stalinists, even our beloved Michael Hudson, isn't this the difference between our western, US or UK or EU empiricism and that vast country? That in Russia the oligarchical clans were whittled down, overcome, forced to relinquish power to the state? And the state itself wills to actively listen to the 'bearers of sovereignty' which are, not the oligarchs, and not the state officials but the people? There can be, and are, rich entities within the state. But they must be subservient to the state as the state itself serves the people. These are not just slick words; they have meaning.

I can't see any of the isms having any meaning as far as continuation of governmental functions is concerned. It is the state itself, its functionaries, which can direct this process as middleman between the would be power brokers and the powerless. It won't function properly unless it does this. And the mechanisms are simply that - different for different regions and ethnic groupings but having that characteristic, that the oligarchic clans don't ever rule - if they want to rule they must go elsewhere.

And this, it seems to me is the real balance of power - not just within the state itself but these three branches as power is or is not accorded to them. Unfortunately the US Constitution only addresses the sovereignty of the people in its preamble. Putin's address brings up the attempted sovereignty of the oligarchs - who now rule in western nations but not in his.

And as his state is prospering, his leadership praiseworthy, surely this is the right way for a state to function? Even, I submit, the right way for those oligarchical clans themselves to have a place in a system of government. Instead of looking to other states to conquer, our military should align itself with statesmen that will restore sovereignty to the people. I'm just guessing that is how Putin did it.

It doesn't have to be violent, this restoration of balance. But it needs to start at the top and ultimatums, with military backing, need to be issued. If they are issued in the name of the people and directed internally, much as FDR did, the people will certainly support their own reinstatement as bearers of the sovereignty of the nation. It must happen, or chaos will ensue as the system falls apart on its own. Let nations put their own houses in order, as Russia has done.

Posted by: juliania | Jan 20 2020 7:53 utc | 91

Trump Made a Giant Spectacle of a Deal Signing Xi Didn’t Even Bother to Attend
Tells you all about who needs the "phase one" nothing-deal more

Posted by: Mao | Jan 20 2020 8:14 utc | 92

To Stop Trump’s War with Iran, We Must Also Confront the Democrats Who Laid the Groundwork
Democratic leaders are feigning outrage, but they’ve supported the precursors to war.

Posted by: Mao | Jan 20 2020 8:15 utc | 93

Big thank you to Sasha and DeQuincy. Moved by your thoughts and offerings today. Loved the Leningrad song link especially.

Thank you karlof1 always good offerings. The nuclear fuel cycle is a perpetual disaster for the planet.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 20 2020 8:16 utc | 94

Patroklos #80

Lenin might have had something to say but I doubt it '404 Error link not found". He was clever but not clairvoyant afaik. Try that again please.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 20 2020 8:26 utc | 95

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 20 2020 8:26 utc | 93

Patroklos' link has an extra slash at the end

Right link:

Posted by: Mao | Jan 20 2020 8:43 utc | 96

According to Middle East Eye the new PMF commander replacing Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis will be be Hadi al-Amiri. This aims to bring together the three primary PMF factions.

While Nasrallah’s endeavours have, in principle, resulted in a truce, there are no guarantees that this arrangement will hold, especially if the current collective anger of the paramilitary groups is not channelled towards US forces in Iraq.

With tensions seemingly easing between Washington and Tehran following Iran's non-lethal attacks on US bases in Iraq last week, Iranian-backed Iraqi forces “have received explicit orders not to target any American interests or people until further notice,” one PMF commander told MEE.

But with Tehran apparently happy for now for the Iraqi government to pursue a US withdrawal through legal and diplomatic channels, he warned that the paramilitary groups could return to their old feuds unless they are given something to do.

“Iran will find a way to keep these factions busy. It may allow them to practice their hobbies from time to time by striking a blow here or there against the American forces,” he predicted.

“But there will not be a painful strike. All the warring parties [Iran, its proxies and the US] will adopt a policy of exchanging slaps for the next two or three months.”

Posted by: psychedelicatessen | Jan 20 2020 8:51 utc | 97

Good piece on why it's time for Iran to dump the nuke deal.

It's crystal clear that the deal was never meant to be anything but a weapon against Iran. "Europe" never intended to be anything but lackeys of US aggression.

This quote is good:

Iranian-American scholar Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich has called this moment a “wake-up call” for Iran.

In an interview for Press TV, she said: “The Europeans have shown repeatedly through their actions they are not a European power. They are a European marketplace. And the United States has leverage in this marketplace and even dictates its rules.”

Exactly right, the EU always was designed to serve as a drainage ditch for all European power and sovereignty and to reduce "Europe" to serving as a market for US-driven globalization, and politically for it to serve as a US poodle/attack dog. The Iran fake-deal is just one of the most glaring examples.

The only way for any of Europe's peoples or any combination of them to regain any self-determination is to break free of the EU framework. That's always been the reason to support Brexit, as the only possible way forward, even if in the short run it could mean even greater poodleization (in large part because "the left" in Britain abdicated and revealed itself as pro-globalist frauds; now a new basis for anti-globalization has to arise).

Posted by: Russ | Jan 20 2020 8:52 utc | 98

With tensions seemingly easing between Washington and Tehran following Iran's non-lethal attacks on US bases in Iraq last week, Iranian-backed Iraqi forces “have received explicit orders not to target any American interests or people until further notice,” one PMF commander told MEE.

Posted by: psychedelicatessen | Jan 20 2020 8:51 utc | 95

One could be described as naive to believe that stuff from MEE. There are a lot of anti-Iranian pieces on that site. The Hashd commander is more likely an invention of the writer's brain. In any case the issue is not one of what the commanders say, but of what the individual militias do. There've already been sprays of rockets on US bases since the attack on Ayn al-Asad, and I'd imagine they will continue.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 20 2020 9:58 utc | 99

Kabobyak @86: The plutonium produced by a fast breeder reactor is consumed, either in the same reactor or a different fast reactor, exactly the same way that the uranium-235 is consumed. (In fact, it's to some extent consumed in this way even in a normal thermal reactor.) Once the plutonium atom has been split, it's gone forever. It will not exist as "waste" in the burnt fuel any more than it will magically appear in your mattress while you're sleeping.

Unlike a thermal nuclear reactor, which is highly limited in which actinide isotopes it can burn as fuel, there's nothing in principle that limits a fast neutron reactor to burning just uranium or plutonium. Neutrons in the fast spectrum can either split any actinide, thereby using them as fuel, or transmute them by neutron absorption into a fissile actinide isotope which can then in turn be used as fuel. This is what is meant by "closing the fuel cycle". There's still radioactive waste, but its volume is reduced by orders of magnitude are and the remaining material is far easier to deal with. Since a fast breeder reactor will transmute uranium-238 to fissile plutonium-239, natural or even depleted uranium can be used directly. In other words, once a mature fast breeder reactor infrastructure has been established, there is in principle no longer any need for enrichment of uranium.

In addition, the risk of nuclear material in the waste being diverted to be used in a nuclear weapon is eliminated, since the actinides (uranium, plutonium, americium, neptunium etc.) are all destroyed. It's the actinides that are either fissile or fertile - meaning they're either fissile themselves or produce such material by transmutation (for example of uranium-238 to plutonium-239). Only the actinides can function either as fuel for a nuclear reactor (regardless of the type) or as building blocks for a nuclear weapon.

The reason that fast neutron reactors are typically conceived of and designed as breeder reactors - producing more plutonium than they burn - is that this allows new such reactors to be deployed more quickly (since plutonium-239 is typically the best fuel for them), and incidentally reducing the amount of enriched uranium that must be produced to go into the fuel. If for some reason it's not desirable to produce more plutonium than is consumed, the breeder reactor can simply be reconfigured to burn plutonium (making it a "burner" reactor) instead of making more of it. It's *easier* to build and operate the reactor in this way than as a breeder reactor, not more difficult.

Posted by: Eric | Jan 20 2020 10:03 utc | 100

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