open menu; feel free to contribute [updated]


(The kids got in yesterday afternoon, we’re busy, you’re busy, but…just in case..talk to one another, as I always hope you will.)  Here are my offerings.

‘Amazon launches ‘Secret Region’ cloud service for US intel agencies’ from RT, Nov. 20, 2017, a few snippets

“Amazon announced it has launched a “Secret Region” on its cloud computing service for use by US intelligence and other government agencies. The provider is now able to store government information classified as “Top Secret.”

The computing giant Microsoft made a similar announcement in October when it said its government cloud program, called “Azure Government Secret” would support US government agencies working with data classified as “secret.”

“By storing all of their information on a private company’s servers, the intelligence community will become an even more attractive target to hackers.”

 

UnHoly Babylon!  How many people were bombed in your Taliban ‘opioid war’  Does this signal ‘reconciliation w/ the Taliban’, Mr. President?

Via wsws.org:

“Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, confirmed this weekend that the world’s largest Internet company is, in close coordination with the state, manipulating search results to censor sites critical of the US government.

Responding to a question about the “manipulation of information” on the Internet during an appearance at the Halifax International Security Forum, Schmidt announced that Google is working on algorithms that will “de-rank” Russian-based news websites RT and Sputnik from its Google News services, effectively blocking users’ access to either site.”

On Nov. 24 edit:  ‘Why is Google’s Eric Schmidt So Afraid?’ by Jan Oberg, CP, Nov.24

“If I were Eric Schmidt think I would be afraid of being perceived as a “useful idiot” or an an evil operator on behalf of US militarism – since he is targeting Russia in a the new Cold War atmosphere.

After all (he) is/was a member also of various US government security and Pentagon related boards. And after all, he spoke at the Halifax Security Forum filled with military defence people and hardliners who see only Russia, North Korea and Iran as problems, never the US itself. One of the panels deals with the “Post-Putin Prep”!

Regime change in Russia too in the future and with truthful news from Google?”

Updated Dec. 1: If you read no other analysis of the Trump Tax Reform and Jobs Act, read this, and I’m assuming Rasmus is correct.  It may cause you to go postal, but…there it is.  The House and Senate versions will need to be reconciled, of course, but whatever emerges might be a little gentler rape of the 99%, but will still cause a hella lotta pain, death, hunger, and homelessness.  As Rasmus says, this rape has been going on since Reagan, and has been accelerating ever ince, including of course, under St. Obomba.

‘The Trump-US House $4.6 TrillionTax Cut–Who Pays?, by Jack Rasmus at CP, Nov.13, 2017

Here’s my in-depth analysis of the latest iteration of the Trump tax plan as it was defined in the US House of Representatives version this past week.

He did explain the reason for prventing a filibuster, although I’d thought that only one bill per year could be claimed under ‘budget reconciliation’.

”By Congressional rules, if the Trump-Ryan version can keep the budget impact to $1.5 trillion, it needs only 50% votes (plus one) in Congress to pass; but if the hit to the deficit is more than $1.5 trillion, it takes 60%.”

31 responses to “open menu; feel free to contribute [updated]

  1. Chris Floyd comments on changes to the British NHS: Blood Sport: The Radical Extremism of the Transatlantic Elite

    I might quote from it, but it’s only 2 paragraphs long. Suffice here to say that all is going according to plan.

    • “The enrichment of the rich and the empowerment of the powerful is the doctrine of these transatlantic extremists; and they don’t care how many people have to die, how badly society degenerates, how low the quality of life becomes, as long as Mammon’s will be done. They are vile and wretched creatures, eaters of their own souls, hollowers of their own humanity. We are living in an age when all the masks are coming off and our rulers are showing their true faces at last: rapacious, ravening, cruel and implacable. ”

      i only wish that more peeps were awakening and actually allow themselves to see what’s below the masks, greyson smythe. but yes, it’s not accidental, but rapacious greed…all of the time. thank you.

      on edit: and a good thaknsgiving to you.

  2. fortunately, wsws has part of the answer to my question on how many were bombed in the ‘opium factory’. ‘US bombing of Afghanistan up by 300 percent’, bill van auken

    “Not just the Taliban, but government officials, from the top of the US-backed regime of President Ashraf Ghani to local police, are heavily involved in the trafficking of drugs, as are the collection of warlords cultivated by US imperialism as a counterweight to the Taliban.

    Local leaders in Helmand province condemned the US raids, saying that they targeted rudimentary sheds in rural areas and did nothing to stop the production and trafficking of opium.

    Moreover, among the victims of the airstrikes, unseen in the video-game style footage broadcast on US television news, were Afghan civilians, men, women and children. The entire family of a Helmand resident identified by local authorities as Habibullah was wiped out when a bomb struck their home on the western outskirts of the Musa Kala district center. A total of 12 were killed, including the man, his wife and their children.”

    on morning edit: ‘Amazon announces new cloud to host “Secret” government data’, wsws.org…expands and seems to the Amazon news correct the RT version (three bits):

    “John Edwards, the chief information officer of the CIA, declared, “The AWS Secret Region is a key component of the Intel Community’s multi-fabric cloud strategy. It will have the same material impact on the IC at the Secret level that C2S has had at Top Secret.”
    Edwards’ claims that C2S is nearly impenetrable are belied by revelations made last week that a massive database created by the Department of Defense (DoD) and hosted on an AWS server has been publicly exposed. The database contained upwards of 1.8 billion internet posts from thousands of people across the world that had been compiled by the Pentagon over the past eight years, apparently as part of a vast intelligence-gathering operation. In all likelihood, this database was classified as Top Secret and therefore could have been hosted on the supposedly impenetrable C2S cloud.”

    “The internet posts compiled by the Pentagon included “content captured from news sites, comment sections, web forums, and social media sites like Facebook, featuring multiple languages and originating from countries around the world,” according to UpGuard.”

  3. Two essays well worth consideration at counterpunch.org this morning:

    The top one by Michael Hudson is lengthy but worthwhile in that the main points are capable to be understood by a non-economist like me. Here are a couple of points that we may already feel we know, but which are surrounded by historical data that serve to establish their validity.

    First – “By shifting from gold to the dollars thrown off by the US balance-of payments deficit, the foundation of global monetary reserves came to be dominated by the US military spending that continued to flood foreign central banks with surplus dollars…” [Prof. Hudson confesses that while this could have been an unforeseen result at first, lectures he gave pointing out what was happening became a ‘how to’ guide for it to continue, something he had not at all intended.]

    Secondly, “…Current plans …[for TPP, TTIP, TAFTA]…disable government planning power…[in favor of ] the financial and corporate sector.”

    A memorable statement from Prof. Hudson is that this was not what the Enlightenment had intended. He ends with a sobering prediction concerning the longevity of the neoliberal system. I sure hope he is wrong on that.

  4. The second essay at counterpunch. org is “Borneo: Island Devastated” by Andre Vltchek and Mira Lubis.

    It isn’t very long, just a heartbreaking story of the elimination of natural fauna and flora by agro corporate greed. I hope what the essay describes can be reversed. It will take many lifetimes to do it. No more palm oil products for me.

  5. A little bird flew in over the transom from the news internet and tweeted that Modi in India envisions a greater role and even leadership for India in the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth is not currently a mutual defense pact, but Modi might anticipate regenerating the functions that were dropped during decolonization should he be able to convince other members. This most likely is the result of understanding that the US cannot be relied upon to behave in the way it has up to 2017. And that neither Russia nor China seek India’s best interest through the SCO and they are the dominant countries in that mutual defense pact, which includes Pakistan. It gives the Brexited, no-longer-empire UK a mutual defense pact should it decide to also leave NATO should the US make that decision. However, after Mr T.’s stunt yesterday, I’m not sure that the current regime will follow suit with anything the US does. It is not often that the UK ambassador files a formal protest at the White House.

    I’m now thinking that Putin is thinking that the rump EU under Alt-Right regimes might be a hedge against Chinese hegemony implicit in a Belt-Road Initiative that has deals with European countries. Apparently some lefties, like Slavoj Zizek are selling the idea of Left/Alt-Right coalitions like similar attempts at coalitions between the world wars. They tended to be catastrophic for the left.

    The blip about India also is after Nepal withdrew from BRI talks with China as a result of the financial terms. The Himalayas might be a tough economic-political barrier at the start of developing infrastructure. There is also the fact that transportation systems are inherently of dual civilian-military use.

    • i sure do wish i could decipher this, including orange julius’s stunt yesterday. i just checked, and the commonwealth (hadn’t even hear the term for years) is 52 nations.

      i do understand that modi is power mad, wow, his PR folks played the US and world right, didn’t they? and of course his tour guide…tulsi gabbard. i guess zizek is a lefty, but what a sexist pig he is! sorry to be so clueless, but…there it is. ;-) i have seen speculation that the EU is building militarily in case they leave nato, but i hadn’t credited it much. meanwhile, greece is turning into one major nato base. jeezum crow.

    • oh, lordie. this is one of his stunts yesterday. #WhatanAsshole. #WhataBigot. ‘Trump retweets fascist anti-Muslim videos from Britain‘, wsws.org

      “The British political establishment felt obliged to issue its own disclaimers. A few Labour parliamentarians struck an angry pose. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Trump’s actions were “abhorrent, dangerous and a threat to our country.” Prime Minister Theresa May’s reaction was notably bland, with May declaring, “It is wrong for the president to have done this.” Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, added his meek plea for Trump to make a statement “to make clear his opposition to racism and hatred in all forms.”

      Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper spoke more directly to the interests of American imperialism, summing up the reaction in these circles as he has in the past. Clapper, who served under both Bush and Obama, said he worried that Trump’s actions could encourage anti-Muslim violence, “and it causes our friends and allies around the world to wonder about the judgment of the president of the United States.”

  6. Senate races to pass Trump tax cut for corporate America’ , Barry Grey, wsws.org, today

    “Senate Republicans were hoping to hold a floor vote Thursday night, but were delayed when the nonpartisan congressional Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) reported Thursday afternoon that the Republican plans, even assuming increased federal tax revenues from faster economic growth, would still result in a $1 trillion deficit by 2027. This analysis, broadly confirming a host of previous reports by economic think tanks and organizations, shattered one of the Big Lies being used to ram through the tax overhaul—the claim that the loss of $1.5 trillion in federal revenues due to tax breaks, going overwhelmingly to corporations and the rich, would be offset by a massive growth in tax income resulting from a more rapid rate of economic expansion.”

    the list of financial crimes against the rabble are extensive, chilling, especially as far as the host of deductions that would no longer be allowed: state and local taxes, (‘ which would make it politically impossible for state and local governments to raise taxes and force them to slash social services), the house version: eliminates most state and local tax deductions and, in addition, repeals tax deductions for medical expenses and nursing home care, limits tax deductions for home mortgage interest, and attacks college students by ending tax deductions for student loan interest and taxing tuition waivers for graduate students, (although i don’t understand the mechanism) The CBO has warned that the tax bills could trigger automatic cuts in Medicare totaling $25 billion a year.

    “There are other reactionary provisions, completely unrelated to tax policy. These include the repeal of a 1954 law banning churches from partisan political activity and the opening up of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.”

    reza fyyouzat at CP ‘Tax Cuts for the Super Rich, Financial Assault on the Working People’ rebrands trump’s ‘reform’ as ‘Jacking Up the Social Rent for the Working Peoples Act’. it’s a pretty exhaustive exposé with loads of links, charts, demonstrating how many ways ‘wealth will be destroyed in myriad directions, but not the 1%’s wealth. of course but along the way he/she writes:

    “That’s just one example; the wealth destructions intended by this tax plan go further. According to a thorough analysis by Jack Rasmus (CounterPunch, Nov. 13, 2017) the actual amount of budget deficit this tax plan will create over the next ten years is over $4.5 trillion, and not the $1.5 trillion its architects are projecting.”

    The Trump-US House $4.6 TrillionTax Cut–Who Pays?’, jack rasmus, CP (yes, he call’s it his ‘initial take on what’s emerged so far)

  7. OOOOOOOOOEEEEEEEEEE! The Senate Republicans have sent out for some chitlins to put in the sausage of that great tax bill they are rewriting this afternoon and evening in order to pass the offal tonight. Watch Manchin, Heitkamp, Collins, Murkowski, Johnson, Flake, and McCain to see what they got for their Yes votes.

    The text handwritten in the margins is really great for speed-reading and due diligence on a 500-page bill that is mostly references to existing codified law. The charcuterie is going to be smelly tonight.

    • almost done for the night. but i did try to give rayne jack rasmus’s analysis, but i tried three times, got freakout messages, ‘you’re not registered’, but..no place to register. fook, how closed a community it is, w/ bmaz as the club bouncer. wot a jerk.

      guess we’ll know tomorrow what they got, as rasmus said, the dems/obama were a few steps less rapists for the rabble. reconciliation will be almost as..satirical. sorry, i’m sooooo tired, and still chores to do tonight. but none of it will bode well as the rabble…well, you know what i mean. sausage makin’ is the least of it, isn’t it? it’s the toxic product that’s the thing in the end, and we’re gonna bleed.

  8. here’s this a.m.’s wsws.orgThe US Senate tax bill: The financial oligarchy on the rampage’. holy hell.

    “For Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who voted against Obamacare repeal, the price of her vote was incorporating into the tax bill an unrelated provision opening the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas exploration. For Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Steve Daines of Montana, the price was another $60 billion in tax breaks for “S-corporations,” the mid-sized, multi-million-dollar enterprises that were treated less advantageously in the original bill than giant corporations. (the ‘pass-throughs’) The families of both senators own such companies. Senator Susan Collins of Maine extracted a promise from Trump to support increased financial subsidies for big insurance companies participating in Obamacare.

    “The money-grabbing is so reckless that the tax bill does not provide even a fig leaf of “fairness.” In 2027, for example, according to figures provided by the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Congressional Budget Office (both Republican-controlled), the bill raises the taxes of people making $40,000 to $50,000 a year by $5.3 billion and cuts the taxes of those making $1 million a year or more by $5.8 billion.”

    still, w/o knowing who he is, i tend to see jack rasmus’s calculations as more near the true costs. reuters’ post vote coverage was incoherent…crap.

  9. No, no fig leaf of fairness, just the middle finger of the group that thinks it has nearly grabbed absolute power.

    Jack Rasmus (St. Mary’s College, California) per Duckie:
    https://www.stmarys-ca.edu/faculty-experts/find-faculty-by-name-expertise/jack-rasmus-phd

    If the money is not going to labor, its’ going to capital. Specifically it is going to individuals and shareholders and corporate officers. Some things are taken away from those people, but they are given back , effectively simplifying the tax code.

    My caution to the people who voted for the people who voted for this bill is “Careful what you ask for; you might get it.”

    Destruction of Obamacare increases provider-level cost transfer to other patients for unpaid bills, which raises all premiums, most likely more rapidly than were already being raised. But the fact of the tax-cut bill reduces the pressure to jerk up prices for a little while

    Assets are already overvalued, even housing. Labor and resources undervalued. This exaggerates this, setting the stage for a potential bubble-bust if a particular asset party (take bitcoins) suddenly becomes a panic to cover bad decisions and a bust. The Midas fallacy gets ’em every time, no matter how complicated the hedges. And right now that $1.5 trillion addition over 10 years to the deficit (with compounded interest) will be hedged with a 10-year expense of $10 trillion in a military to keep the rabble down (and no-telling how much law enforcement assistance to police departments. Those are the sacred cows of expenses along with the court systems and prisons that finish the process.

    It is getting difficult to see the emerging possibilities with this bunch, isn’t it. But they are there.

    And I guess it good for Mitch McConnell to have at least one giddily happy day (Did you see the victory pic?) in his miserable life as a hack.

    • yep, mitch was positively orgasmic w/ glee. other bubbles are said to be house rentals, yves once noted ‘used cars’, too (i don’t remember how she presented that one), but hell, commercial real estate as mom and pop businesses continue to close.

      but i’m still going with rasmus’s figure or $4.5 trillion, until someone tells me where he’s wrong, of course. ;-) thanks for his brief bio, i looked at all the places he’d noted below his exposé, as well. last thing on his own site was a satirical ‘happy thanksgiving’ piece. and as rasmus said, this particular rape by taxation was pretty ugly under obama and dubya as well, although he failed to note what obomba’s ‘repatriation’ rate was, but abysmal, i reckon. if he’d been a main street man…tRump wouldn’t be prez today.

      someone at NS said we might as well just sign our tax checks directly to goldman sachs. weird how obamacare is ‘better’ that not now, ain’t it?

  10. I’ll look at Rasmus’s figure of $4.5 trillion as a real economic exposure, given the Congress’s cluenessness. But that includes some degree of rolling collapse outside of the coming asset bubble.

    No need for most people to sign their tax checks over to Goldman Sachs. Withholding and the direct pillage from Treasury is sufficient. No effort necessary; the employers take care of all the paper work for you.

  11. Yves Smith put this up from John Helmer. Apparently Kirill is embarking on a campaign of turning the Romanov family into official church martyrs and in the process accusing Jews of the revolution and assassinations. Or at least this is how I read Helmer’s post. Creating Jews as internal enemies in Russia is not a helpful development but is not a far-fetched result of Russia’s right turn.

    http://johnhelmer.net/torquemada-makes-a-comeback-the-spanish-inquisition-has-arrived-in-moscow/

    • “Kirill added in a remark at the same meeting of churchmen that despite a near-century of forensic and scientific investigations of the Romanov deaths, the results remain inconclusive. The final results, Kirill added, will be up to the Church bishops to decide. “The Church will decide the issues, not at scientific conferences but at the Synod of the Russian Church. There we will all be thinking and discussing. Now we are gathering the information we need… This is not just about the remains of ordinary people. We are talking about the phenomenon of Holy relics, and this already has direct relevance to the mysteries in the life of the Church. And only the Cathedral of our Church is competent to judge this.”

      and putin okayed it, but no one will state so on the record? iirc after three minutes. fun stuff, helmer’s links…in russian. i swear i’d seen something about this yesterday, part of the headline being ‘romanov assassination jewish conspiracy’, but i sure can’t find it again, not even w/ an RT search.

      helmer’s total lawlessness in russia: did you click into that diary of his, did he make his case?

  12. He made the case that the Russian Orthodox church was hung up on trying to prove “ritual murder” aspects around the assassination in order to maintain its claim for canonization and the care of relics. I believe that a part of the canonization process for Nicholas Romanov has already occurred. So the motive, as I understand it, is to provide the excuse for remembering the life of the canonized as an aspirational hero. The events of Nicholas II’s life require some strong retelling to make that case. The martyr route seems to be resting on some argument that other religions slew him because of his faithfulness to Russian Orthodoxy. That’s how I read what Helmer has written. The danger of that story is it provides a religious scapegoat to absolve the Russian Orthodox revolutionaries who also participated in the assassination of the royal family. And it lays the story for reinstituting oppression of people by their religion, and especially a return to oppression of Jews in Russia. After all, the discrimination against Jews did not disappear even during the entirety of the 74-year-long Soviet period. A lot of the attitudes on the Israeli right arise from reaction to that.

    Any news would be of Kirill’s departure from Alexei’s position. And assertion of the centrality of the church hierarchy in deciding what should have been the factual issue.

    I’ve been amazed at the run of Russian meetings that Helmer seems to have entree into. In the complex power relationships, someone is protecting him. And the state itself does not consider him worth bothering with. Or so it seems to me.

    • i really appreciate your explanation, i’d had no idea about nicholas canonization having been considered, much less partially underway. but it sounds like an open door to anti-semitism. interesting take on helmer’s being privy to so many russian meetings, i dunno his history, although i have have seen yves smith carry his columns now and again.

      on edit: any thoughts as to who might be protecting helmer?

      here’s some mind-boggling and welcome news:

      she links to the abc version, which i’d seen first, and found incoherent, but…it was early.

  13. Forgive me if this is mentioned in comments and/or posts elsewhere, but RT has an op-ed by Vanessa Beeley on the Geneva Press Club conference “They Don’t Care About Us – White Helmets True Agenda” that is very, shall we say, succinct.

    Also an article,about Monsanto destroying crops with its herbicides – my only quarrel was they didn’t mention destroying the environment in general and importantly insects.

    I know we’ve discussed these matters in the past, just my limits on reading what I should presently still apply – stay out of the madding crowds, folk – Russian Christmas is Jan 7, lovely and quiet then!

    • George Monbiot picked up that slack this morning: Mass starvation is humanity’s fate if we keep flogging the land to death

      The reason is that high temperatures at night disrupt the pollination process. But this describes just one component of the likely pollination crisis. Insectageddon, caused by the global deployment of scarcely tested pesticides, will account for the rest. Already, in some parts of the world, workers are now pollinating plants by hand. But that’s viable only for the most expensive crops.

      • fascinating that brits eat more meat than amerikans, greyson smythe. i liked his polemicism pretty well, although some facts are in dispute, but when he got here, he lost me, because biofuels are not a sustainable energy source), imo.

        “All else being equal, stopping both meat production and the use of farmland to grow biofuels…. but the larger problem to me is that the ecosphere is collapsing so there may be very few years before the sixth extinction is upon us, in any event, meat or not. oh, another criticism (sorry) is that he’d touted the higher yield per acre of *small farms*, but it’s more specifically small *organic farms* that are far superior, including no-till farms and similar carbon-sinks for dirt, and they use far less water to boot, which biofuels don’t, i believe. maybe hem, but that’s speculative so far, but which fertilizers?

    • yes to ‘in other posts’, but timely indeed, juliania. in my current post, another hit on julian assange (again starring as the bad whistleblower), at the end:

      “As for The Intercept, they’ve been batting for the Dems and the Empire in some pretty creepy ways, recently extolling the magnificent virtues of the White Helmets (as did Democracy Now!), a disgusting psyop that had long been discredited even when Maz Hussain had written it. But this just in, and christ-in-a-canoe:

      but yeah, monsanto destruction is really a two-fer, isn’t it. well, a three-fer if we count what their products do to humans and other creatures. nice to see you, ww. ;-)

care to comment? (no registration required)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s