open menu; add what you’d like

my sole offering:

‘Hotel Intercontinental Siege: Is Kabul Falling?’, by Andre Vltchek,, January 27th, 2018

“Afghanistan is now facing mortal danger. It has to survive, but it is not clear how it can manage.

Hotel Intercontinental in Kabul, which was attacked by gunmen last Saturday, used to fit like a glove, like a grandmother’s couch. Outside, the war has been raging. Millions of Afghan lives were aimlessly broken, hundreds of thousands lost. The price of more than 16 years of NATO occupation has exceeded $1 trillion, but instead of bringing peace and prosperity, it has reduced Afghanistan to rubble.”

on edit: with great regret, i’ll add this far more important and distressing news:
Robert Parry’s Legacy and the Future of Consortiumnews’, January 28, 2018

“Robert Parry, editor and publisher of, died peacefully Saturday evening. In this tribute, his son Nat Parry describes Robert’s unwavering commitment to independent journalism.”

This is the background of his pariah/outcast status as a true journalist, and what may have led to his stoke:  ‘An Apology and Explanation’ December 31, 2017

It’s really taken the wind out of my sails; may he rest in peace and power.


31 responses to “open menu; add what you’d like

  1. greyson smythe put up several links to herr schmuckerberg & his homies having said many times that they’d hired multiple thousands of ‘brave new world’ spies to see who’s bringing terr’ist speech to FB, and they chop their hydra-heads off or something… to the nov. 22 open menu just as i was posting this new one. under the psyop: “That’s why we support a variety of counterspeech efforts.”

  2. 1. At the local level, homeowners are fascinating contradictions–socialist ownership of common grounds of multifamily housing and common outside maintenance in the midst of capitalist alienation of ownership from actual living with each owner buying the absurdity that their house is an asset not a monthly sunk cost. Board fights and lawsuits are inevitable; nonsense rules abound as do power trips and drama.

    2. Michigan State University has two claims this week. The resignation of several people including the university president (female) over the failure to protect 300 female athletes from sexual assault by Dr. Nassar over years; Nassar was sentenced to 175 years for rape.

    But more important is the study that showed that the Pentagon spent over $21 trillion (not known the study time period) that was unauthorized by Congress, causing DoD to do an audit that found $2.3 trillion in one year and prompting calls that DoD finally do the audit requested 20 years ago.

    That’s how many times the national debt — $21 trillion?

    • well holy crow, good on skidmore and fitts! far more than nick turse ever found. hadn’t heard about nassar and rape, but: good.

      as for your #1, for now i’ll have to take a pass on reading more carefully. robert parry’s death has hit me hard, and jason’s homeless encampment in olympia was raided, folks evicted, ‘cleaned up’ by local prisoners (as the seatlle city council was ‘shocked, i tell you, shocked!’ to discover) yesterday. haven’t heard a word, may not fow sometime, but i hope all his belongings weren’t tossed into trash bins as in occupy days.

      nice to see you, darlin’, by the by. my best to miz thd, as always. save a bit for yerownself. ;-)

    • oh, bother, thd. your #1 is still too (unintentionally) enigmatic for me to parse.

      but ha! is the official ‘national debt’ a con (case of creative book-keeping) as well?

      on edit: arrgh; here’s the nassar story. includes video; haven’t watched.

  3. In my zest for Commentary, I challenged French, a consummate writer for the National Review regarding his misguided approach to “nationalism” with my approach to Chicano “nationalism.” And surely enough, the response was not from French or the National Review but from the Trump White House’s minion for an approach to “ethno-nationalism.” Of course I responded accordingly and from the standpoint of military vets–‘wrapped in our national flag’ and which has discombobulated these ambidextrous ‘minions’ and their tangential approach to today’s toxic politics.

    Of course this subject matter is a waste of my time, and yet, finding a tad of fun for poking the centralized ‘eye of conservative’ politics, provides my daily chuckle of enjoyment. And yes, I can be a timid jouster with a consecrated head bandana and thusly, today;s Art of Becoming, has to be addressed accordingly.


  4. Between the Chicano Veterans Organization and White House. In the past, ‘third parties’ have been utilized to demean the folks who deliver the unwanted critiques that are deemed annoying/

  5. From, Jan. 25, 2018: ‘Akicita’: What is the legacy of the #NoDAPL movement at Standing Rock?’; In our final look at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, The Stream explores a new documentary about the fight to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline across Native American lands.

    A movement against the construction of a multi-billion-dollar oil pipeline across Native American lands last winter spurred solidarity indigenous peoples and civil rights activists. Now, a new documentary premiering at the Sundance Film Festival explores the trials and tribulations of the “Water Protectors” who gathered to say “No” to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

    “Akicita: The Battle of Standing Rock” chronicles the widespread opposition to DAPL, which drew thousands of people to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in the US state of North Dakota. According to local tribes, construction of the pipeline through their territories would contaminate the water supply, rendering it impure and unsuitable for use in religious ceremonies. Tribes also argued that the US government failed to consult with them before the project was allowed to proceed.”, etc.

    The above video is at this link.

    Watch ’Akicita’ Live 12:30 PM / 19:30 GMT Every Monday through Thursday on Al Jazeera English or stream, download it here, requires free registration ) about 2 hrs.

  6. wooot!

    i’d gotten mr. wd a t-shirt w/ this alternative logo:

  7. the moon was lovely last night but I couldn’t really see anything extra special.

    anyway, there are trucks rumbling thru town from dawn till dusk loaded with lumber that make me wince every time I see them. now i’m sure that bill gates & co at Davos are working on a device that harnesses the natural properties of trees so that, in effect, cutting down trees becomes the same thing as planting & growing trees. here’s how it works:
    before the clear cutters come in to remove that wasteful do nothing old-growth forest for something beautiful & useful like tar sands production, we put devices on the trees that stimulates their natural responses to trauma, warning other trees of what’s coming, what that buzz saw noise means, which of course helps trees reproduce. b/c, under stress, they produce chemicals to make rain & other cool stuff that helps little saplings grow. If we can get the right balance of cutting trees down & stimulating tree growth, cutting down forests will become the most efficient means of new forest growth.
    (applause all around)
    thank you world economic forum! I mean, everything coming out of that gilded scum pond is about this speed, ain’t it? the owners of technology, who brought us to this eco-nightmare have only one thing to say: more of our technology will fix the problems our deployment of technology has caused.

    (comments getting lost…)

  8. Fight for $15 is organizing? announcing? a fast-food workers strike across the South. At this moment of intense racism and white assumptions that they don’t need African-Americans and Hispanics, this will be an interesting gauge of whether there is change afoot under the surface in the South. Not expecting anything but the taking of the temperature of worker dissatisfaction in the world of “right-to-work” ,,,for less.

    Also note that the IT world in RTP has evolvend into one major market segment — security (business, national, personal). Everybody’s protecting; nobodies doing. That’s heading toward a hell of an economy.

    What happens when those two trends meet?

    • what’s ‘RTP’, thd? whoa, typing that was funny. a one-day strike? more? and isn’t $15 a small ask not that bidness thinks so. but barely a living wage, and not even close in some states, esp. where housing is soaring to the skies.

      • Right on both counts. But expectations of the ability to organize in the South are low to nil. They last major movement was Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement, and as someone mentioned about what Martin Luther King did, it was getting an entire black community across the South to stand up to the terror in a political climate that turned out to end the surface boldface legality of terror. Getting workers to face the terror of the enforcers is by far the biggest task in successful strikes. And having either overpowering numbers or actual friends within the government. None of which is visible right now and some of which might be questionable, but that is where the slim hopes are centering. If it happens, it will be as unexpected as the defeat of Roy Moore.

        • thanks, but still: what’s RTP, please, and is Rev Barber and social gospel allies organizing? most cities, states that have acquiesced to $15 are doing it very incrementally over several or more years, iirc. baby steps, iow.

          also, i thought you might be interested in the entry on akicita, standing rock, and:

          Watch ’Akicita’ Live 12:30 PM / 19:30 GMT Every Monday through Thursday on Al Jazeera English or stream, download it here, requires free registration ) about 2 hrs.

          long for me, and i dunno how to stream nuttin’, but when i have time to sit in this cursed chair for some length of time while not busy on other quests, i may register and watch. might be srsly good.

          • maybe not; first i’d tried ‘into the breach’, i was wrong about the meme on twitter, but even rev barber on twitter: did he call out obomba’s similar shit? that’s one of the major disconnects i see in the current zeitgeist. as in: no antiwar movement under a D prez, no issues now under the pink pussyhat mcresistance™. not issues per se, just #assholeTrump.

          • Sorry. Research Triangle Park, the research office park that put the trianglel of Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill on the map.

  9. At the most expansive, we are living in the chaos of the collapse of the American empire and the collapse (or radical realignment) of the US two-party system. Both are very risky processes with lots of contradictory trends and little clarity.

    This by emptywheel hits on the intersection of both processes.

    “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times…”

    Yes, I’ve become a little less real worldy and a little more looney because realists do not have a clue about collapses and realignments; in fact, nobody does, even those pushing their agendas. Might as well cut a Gordian knot or two along the way.

    • yep,i’d just read it, and i guess i don’t trust her ‘trusted sources’ much for one thing, and for another, her bitter take on putin. but i did think your comment was the best on the thread (save fr repurposing nuke for electrical power) , asking all the most pertinent Qs. bravo!

      myself, stephen cohen’s take on trrn is the most cogent take on it all, not only in the disgusting internecine warfare, but his report on whassup in russia among the oigarchs. sorry to be in a tear; busy morning.

      i’d been trying to brush up on what ‘memo’ everyone was all a-twitter about (pun unintended), but assange had re-tweeted this:

      • Nukes for nuclear power are the altogether best way to dispose of nuclear weapons as long as nuclear weapons are indeed being built down. Think how you would dispose of nuclear weapons materials in the absence of running the transition phase of renewables development. But it depends on enough folks with your attitude to not let off the leash. I did not say and typically do not assert what I prefer. And it was a bit of a wry comment anyway, given the complete ambiguity of the Trump-Putin relationship. Too many are too sure about what is going on.

        So I thought, “Why not test the relationship by trying for world peace?” Reagan rattled his staffers that way. Afraid of disarmament.

        • thanks for reminding me/us about RTP.

          ‘But it depends on enough folks with your attitude to not let off the leash.’ not sure what you mean there, but of course i get no say-so in the matter. given my ignorance as to ‘how’ it’s accomplished, though, including risks, i went a huntin’, followed many different false leads, and finally found info from npr re: ‘Soviet-era nuclear warheads provide 10 percent of US electricity’, dec. 2013 the work was done in the soviet union, a great boon to workers, and hell, the shit was just lyin’ around unprotected. dunno what the truth is of that, but i remember a west wing episode claiming it was so. ;-)

          also ran into ‘Nuclear Fallacies: the Problems With James Hansen’s Promotion of Generation IV Reactors’ (at cop21, iirc) by Jim Green at counterpunch, as well as a few articles by the union of concerned scientists on ‘reprocessing’, not ‘repurposing’ nuclear material. but what i’d imagined might be one the problems was that it would lead to more nuclear plants, thus meltdown dangers, plus the dangers involved while turning bombs into fuel rods. but as i say, my ignorance as to how it’s accomplished is almost total.

          given history, i’d rather nuclear power stations were all shut down.

          on feb. 6 edit: much worse than i’d imagined but should have: ‘Nuclear Reactors, Bankrupting Their Owners, Closing Early’ by John Laforge

  10. What You Need To Know?

    At present, I am writing a political column in which I am addressing the mind-boggling effort to establish the Latino Certification Board to be utilized in our nation’s urban areas and where progressive-oriented candidates seeking either to become an Elected or Appointed Official status, can be effectively addressed. And in doing so, a large segment of volunteers are going to be needed, and that’s just for starters.

    And I am open to and I am welcoming of and for any ideas that will concretize this Latino Board of Certification, and in particular, the politics that animates the Progressive Coalition consisting of Latinos, European Americans, African Americans, Native Americans and Asian Americans.

    And if anyone here at Café Babylon wants to participate, feel free to post to this thread. Thanks!


    • thanks for offering café denizens a chance to help, although i admit i’m not getting the gist of ‘ a Latino Certification Board’, and even bingling kicked up nothing. but a rainbow certification board, rather. kewl.

  11. hint: i’m befuddled and disappointed that there’s only One comment on my alternate state of the onion diary. i have a mind to let it sit there and turn to dust before i post another one. glad i’d at least cross-posted it as the ‘left leaning’ (who can say as to that?) we’ll have to see how that goes, there’s so much to write, but so few here to read.

  12. I Liked Your Onion!!!
    And give me more.
    In today’s environment, expressing a tad of humor, is always most welcomed and from regardless of who has the moxie for the crafting.

    Keep up the good work.

  13. This from Saker is very interesting. Putin puts on his best JFK imitation in an announcement of a US weapons system in the midst of a Russia-US confrontation (actually several, but this might have to do witth threats to North Korea and the South China Sea maneuvers of China). Of course it’s Russian propaganda; that’s exactly what the military wants to hear publicly from the Russian military. Goose the arms race.

    If the actual capabilities match the press release, the message is that the US no longer has a first strike option for any of the strategic “realms” – land, sea, air, space, cyberspace. And these weapons systems close off sea, air, and space. The surface message is that the US has three carrier groups threatening North Korea that are themselves sitting ducks for rapid destruction. That Russian anti-ballistic missile technology is not 30 years old. That the US submarine fleet is going to be faced with rapidly miniaturizeable and replicable drone submarines with cruise missile warheads. And that increasing the warhead count allowed under treaty or a START treaty breakout is irrelevant. START levels are already maximal destruction. The vaunted nuclear weapon modernization will not change this balance. Now that’s the surface message.

    The backdoor message, like that of JFK, is that “it’s time to negotiate; period. For rational international political actors. Can Trump suck it up and deal from a position of reality and against Kissingerian realism? Or are we in for a dose of Boltonism and Yosemite Sam nuclear policy?

    I’m thinking sobriety; I think it is wise for the rest of the world to think sobriety as well.

    The international structure of power is creaking into a new balance of power. How multipolar is the current question. Xi Jinping has made his play. Putin has responded; Xi is a secondary audience. India (Modi), Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey (Erdogan) stand in balance in relation to Russia and China in Central Asia. (Guess who is now totally irrelevant in the region.)

    The game has moved on; the US has not.

    Where we are now in the midst of information war is having our analysis begin with known Russian propaganda and working backward to the purposes of that particular spin. And the same from US propaganda. (Who qualifies these days as the authoritative US propaganda?)

    • my apologies, but reading at the saker simply makes my brain go almost epileptic fit, so thanks for the capsule. i’ve been reading some of the bits of putin’s speech at various sites, and it all makes me want to throw up. but here’s b’s take at moa’s, and i do appreciate your analysis, although i’m not sure what xi’s play is: in the south china sea, i reckon. on edit: and by way of OBOR realiagnments?

      ‘Russia Shows Off New Weapons – Tells U.S. To “Come Down To Earth”,

      short version, i think:

      “Last week the Trump administration published its Nuclear Posture Review which includes several new elements that threaten early escalation into a new nuclear war:
      In sum, the United States is building a new generation of nuclear weapons and delivery systems, will deploy more usable nuclear weapons in “forward” areas, remains committed to possible “first use” of nuclear weapons even against non-nuclear attacks in defense of 30 countries, retains missiles on active alert ready to launch, is skeptical of the possibility of any progress in arms control and is hostile to the global movement to make nuclear weapons illegal.

      “Noteworthy for its destabilizing effect is the new doctrine of responding to a non-nuclear attack on U.S. early warning, command and control elements with nuclear force.
      President Putin responded to these plans with a strong warning and a renewed offer to talk:

      “I believe it as my duty to say this: any use of nuclear weapons of any yield – small, medium or whatever – against Russia or its allies will be regarded as a nuclear attack against our country. Retaliation will be instant with all the ensuing consequences,” Putin said to draw loud applause from the audience.
      He warned that “nobody should have any doubts on that score.” At the same time Putin cautioned against creating new threats to the world, “but on the contrary to come to the negotiating table to give thought to an updated, future system of international security and the civilization’s sustainable development.”

      The purpose of the new weapons Putin announced is to make the U.S. anti-ballistic missile shield useless and to thereby restore the stable state of Mutually Assured Destruction.”

      pretty high stakes gambit altogether, and meanwhile, the u.s. state dept has approved the sale of $47 million of anti-tank missiles to ukraine. that’s getting dicey as well, as the azove batallions are making some sort of play i’ve been following graham parsons in crimea on twitter for a couple days, and yes, his new films are kinda sorta biased propaganda..

      • b’s headline reflects Putin’s statement in my opinion. There is now a lot of scepticism about how new the technology is, but it has not been publicly admitted before and some of it could possibly be vaporware mentioned just for effect on Trump.

        The major task for diplomacy in the very near future is to defuse the US’s sense that it still has a pain-free first-strike capability as a result of Reagan’s Star Wars weapons procurement. It is clear that Putin is as scared of US overreach from the edge of Europe as the US is of Xi’s overreach in the South China Sea (the excuse for the pivot to Asia).

        The US sale is dicey only if Ukraine attempts to suppress the political dissent in the Donbass region and recapture Sebastapol. Triggering the Russian use of tanks is what makes it dicey. I sense that Putin knows where danger comes to close to Mother Russia and where a situation is safe to unwind for a bit of time. I lack that confidence with most members of the US national security team with respect to Russia and the expectation that the US team will have a heightened sensitivity to the “homeland” that makes even information wars become elevated to nuclear threats.

        This is a dicey period in the unwinding of the American Century.

  14. The stability of Mutually Assured Destruction is illusory in the absence of a systematic nuclear build-down of weapons with a plan toward elimination of nuclear weapons — and similiar chemical, biological, and cyberspace weapons build-downs.. Keep that in mind. And the amount of fiscal savings that would occur worldwide if militaries were negotiated into a stable system.

    • i did poke about on msm to find reactions. the white house said, as ever, they knew putin was makin’ more hideous secret weapons, and that the missile defense was never about russia, but iran, rogue agents, and north korea, as the obama white house has always said. but the u.s. is ful prepared to defend ‘the homeland”. on rocket scientist (srsly) in munich said he doubts there’s anything like the supersonic missile (the meteor one, iirc).

      “Tom Plant, director of proliferation and nuclear policy at the defense think-tank RUSI, also said he was not sure how much of the announcement to believe.
      “The thing that sounds mad, the nuclear-propulsion thing, is potentially feasible,” he said, adding: “I think it’s insane.”

      Plant added that while “Russia already has a ton of systems that can threaten and overwhelm U.S. missile defenses,” Putin’s announcement reflects his country’s concern that the U.S. missile shield could grow powerful enough to become a game-changer.
      “The Russians have a genuine worry from their perspective about where U.S. missile defense might go,” Plant said. “So it totally makes sense for them to try and find ways to defeat not what it is now, but what it may become.”

      but the military think tanks have been gaming war on russia and dprk for quite some time now, and in the T world, there’s such a thing as surviving a ‘limited nuclear war’. but of course if the game really gets afoot, a huge prize would be taking over the port at sevastapol. nato gets lathered about that to the Nth degree, and ‘the stolen crimea’ is a major part of anti-russian agitprop.

      andre damon’s pissed as hell:
      “As Putin put it, “I hope that everything that was said today would make any potential aggressor think twice, since unfriendly steps against Russia such as deploying missile defences and bringing NATO infrastructure closer to the Russian border become ineffective in military terms and entail unjustified costs, making them useless for those promoting these initiatives.”

      But the attempt to counter the aggressive threats by the United States with nuclear saber-rattling will not secure Russia, and the policy of national defense as elaborated by Putin can lead only to a catastrophe.

      Imperialism has its own agenda. The dissolution of the Soviet Union set into motion a process of the transformation of post-Soviet Russia into a virtual colony of the United States and Europe’s imperialist powers. No concession that Putin makes, short of one that accepts the complete subordination of Russia to American dictates, will be acceptable. In fact, Putin’s statement that Russia’s development of nuclear weapons will make the imperialist powers “listen” is both reckless and naïve.”

      he also has some pithy comments and EU yawns at the US policy from the munich security council.

      so who will the wiser heads and negotiators for build-downs again be? in so many other cases and escalating conflicts, it’s been lavrov himself. but the cool news is that john brennan said on the teevee that trump is “unstable, inept, inexperienced, and also unethical.” and he’s an expert, especially on ‘ethics’.

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