On November 8th, Britain’s Daily Mail bannered “NATO tells Europe to prepare for ‘rapid deployment’:” and sub-headed “Defence chiefs say roads, bridges and rail links must be improved in case tanks and heavy vehicles need to be quickly mobilised” (to invade Russia, but the newspaper’s slant was instead that this must be done purely defensively: “In October, NATO accused Russia of misleading them, saying that Moscow had deliberately violated international rules of military drills”).
The article continued:
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called for the infrastructure update across Europe as NATO is set to overhaul its command structure for the first time since the Cold War
During a press conference in Brussels, Stoltenberg said NATO needs a command structure to ensure ‘we have the right forces, in the right place, with the right equipment at the right time.’
He then added: ‘This is not only about commands. We also need to ensure that roads and bridges are strong enough to take our largest vehicles, and that rail networks are equipped for the rapid deployment of tanks and heavy equipment.
‘NATO has military requirements for civilian infrastructure and we need to update these to ensure that current military needs are taken into account.’
The NATO military alliance against Russia has been continuing the Cold War, and is now intensifying it, after the voluntary end of the Cold War in 1991, by the Soviet Union, and by its mirrored military alliance, which was the Warsaw Pact.
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On Tuesday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on whether Trump can just up and nuke people or not. The hand-picked witnesses, all former military, all said there was some chance that if Trump ordered a nuking, somebody might refuse to carry out the order. On what grounds? No witness or Senator ever mentioned the illegality of war under the UN Charter or the Kellogg-Briand Pact. But one witness brought up “necessity” and “proportionality” as grounds for deeming a particular apocalypse-creating act illegal and another legal. But these “just war” concepts are not empirical. There’s no standard for determining whether an action is “necessary” or “proportional.” It comes down to the mood the commander of Strategic Command is in that day, or the partisan identity of some official, or the courage and integrity of rank-and-filers ordered to begin the earth’s destruction. If, like me, you’re not convinced that’s good enough, here are some other possible approaches:
1) Pass a new law for North Korea and one for each other country on earth pointing out that a stronger law already exists called the U.S. Constitution which forbids presidents from launching wars that have not been declared by Congress, and include a ban on using any funds to violate the law.
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One of the enduring mysteries in conventional economics (along with why wages for the bottom 95% have stagnated) is the recent decline in productivity gains (see chart). Since gains in productivity are the ultimate source of higher wages, these issues are related. Simply put, advances in productivity are core to widespread prosperity.
But that’s only half the problem–productivity gains have flowed to the top of the income-wealth pyramid as financialization and cartels have replaced real-world wealth creation as the source of wealth-income.
Longtime correspondent Zeus Y. recently identified one cause of declining productivity and the narrowing of financial gains in the top: the quasi-cartels that dominate our economy profit by introducing and maintaining inefficiencies, not eliminating them. This runs counter to the accepted wisdom in classical free-market capitalism that generating efficiencies increases profits.
Here is Zeus’s explanation of this perverse dynamic:
“With Big Data and Big Profit dominating the products, services, and platforms of everything from iOS operating updates to delivery of healthcare, let’s make the plain-as-day argument: PROFIT and EXTRACTION MEANS PRODUCING INEFFICIENCIES, NOT ELIMINATING THEM.
They make their money by creating inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and gatekeepings that they can profit from. Every middleman function they can stick in their system is a potential profit source for them.
This was especially apparent to me in all the bugs I have experienced with Apple upgrades on my phone. I have to take the time to fix their screw-ups, which are designed to aggregate my data and usage to profit them. You see this with the manipulation of Facebook, creating a very black and white world that motivates and manipulates people to a froth with filters and algorithms that reinforce their biases.
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It’s newsworthy that CIA head Mike Pompeo recently met with Bill Binney – who designed the NSA’s electronic surveillance system – about potential proof that the DNC emails were leaked rather than hacked.
It’s also noteworthy that the usual suspects – Neocon warmongers such as Max Boot – have tried to discredit both Binney and Pompeo.
But there’s a huge part of the story that the entire mainstream media is missing …
Specifically, Binney says that the NSA has long had in its computers information which can prove exactly who hacked the DNC … or instead prove that the DNC emails were leaked by a Democratic insider.
Remember – by way of background – that the NSA basically spies on everyone in America … and stores the data long-term.
After the story of Pompeo’s meeting with Binney broke, Binney told Washington’s Blog:
Here’s what they would have from the programs you list [i.e. NSA’s Fairview, Stormbrew and Blarney spying programs, which Edward Snowden revealed] plus hundreds if not thousands of trace route programs embedded in switches in the US and around the world.
First, from deep packet inspection, they would have the originator and ultimate recipient (IP) of the packets plus packet series 32 bit number identifier and all the housekeeping data showing the network segments/path and time to go though the network. And, of course, the number of packet bits. With this they would know to where and when the data passed.
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Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org
The progressive former Democratic U.S. Senator Ted Kaufman wrote at Forbes, on 22 July 2014:
Another year has passed with no one from a Wall Street bank going to jail for the criminal behavior everyone knows helped cause the financial crisis. Fines against Wall Street banks are reaching $100 billion, but all will be paid by stockholders. Bank CEOs and managers pay no fines and face no prison.
There has been no reform — zilch, nada — of the credit-rating agencies. They are right back rating securities from issuers who pay them for their ratings.
If you still can’t trust the credit-rating on a bond, and if Wall Street’s bigs still stand immune from the law even after the 2008 crash they had played a huge role to cause, then in what way can the U.S. Government itself be called a ‘democracy’?
Kaufman tries to get the American public interested in overcoming the U.S. Government’s profound top-level corruption, but few U.S. politicians join with him on that, because only few American voters understand that a corrupt government (especially one that’s corrupt at the very top) cannot even possibly be a democratic government.
However, America’s aristocracy are even more corrupt than Wall Street itself is, and they control Wall Street, behind the scenes. And their ‘news’media are under strict control to portray America as being still a democratic country that somehow lives up to its anti-aristocratic and anti-imperialistic Founders’ intentions and Constitution. Maybe all that remains of those Founders’ intentions today is that Britain’s aristocracy no longer rules America — but America’s aristocracy now does, instead. And, this isn’t much, if any, of an improvement.
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The late Eduardo Galeano’s forthcoming book, Hunter of Stories, has five or ten sentences on each page — each page a tiny story, their combination engaging and powerful. Galeano includes the story of a war resister who chose to die rather than kill, and that of an Iraqi who foretold and pre-grieved the 2003 looting of the National Museum, also the story of former drone pilot Brandon Bryant who quit after killing a child and being lied to that the child had been a dog, not to mention the story of the World War I Christmas truces. These are all true stories, some new and some familiar, all well documented elsewhere, but Galeano doesn’t bother with the documentation here. He simply tells the stories — extremely simply, he tells the stories. He inspires me to offer the following, and to search for more. If you have ideas for the very best incidents to recount that fit into the following pattern, please let me know. The stories here are meant, not to depict every aspect of war or peace, much less to cover the entire history of war and peace. There’s no need to send me the full list of thousands and millions of stories not included here. The stories below are meant to encourage questioning of war-thinking. Send me the best anecdotes that further that project please.
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While there are numerous dynamics at work in the turmoil roiling Saudi Arabia and by extension, the Mideast, one way to cut to the chase is to follow the oil, follow the money. Correspondent B.D. recently posited a factor that has been largely overlooked in the geopolitical / fate-of-the-petrodollar discussions:
Perhaps the core dynamic is a technical one of diminished oil production. Here is B.D.’s commentary:
“I think the Saudis may be quickly running out of profitable oil to produce/export.
I think they tried to over-produce for a while to damage the competition… and they now have production issues resulting from that. (As has happened in the past)
I think they may have recently slipped over the event horizon for being the world’s swing producer of ‘cheap-ish and abundant’ oil. That has huge ramifications for the global markets ability to quickly respond to supply/demand fluctuations.
I suspect they’re no longer cutting production voluntarily … they are now in the grip of a technically driven decline in output. (Why else begin selling off ARAMCO now?)
I doubt that many national economies can handle $70+ oil for very long… price will be limited by the ability of the consumers to pay. What I assume should happen is relentless severe volatility in the absence of a big swing producer that can open up or shut in production with comparative ease.”
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