Palestine

Cuba’s Second Special Period – 2016

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Published on Peak Surfer on June 12, 2016

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Discuss this article at the Economics Table inside the Diner

"Cuba’s economy minister told the Cuban Parliament last week, in a closed session, (drum roll) that the country would have to cut fuel consumption nearly a third in the second half of this year."
 

Foodlines in Soviet Union 1991 (photo by A. Bates)

The story of Cuba’s Special Period has been told here before, but just to refresh. (light bongo beat) In 1992 the Soviet Union was undergoing great social upheaval at home and in the shifts that followed could no longer support its massive foreign aid dole-out to client states such as Cuba. Without Russian fuel and food aid — and more importantly without the Eastern European export market for its sugar and other commodities — and still under the 30-year-old embargo imposed by the United States, Cuba sank into catastrophic recession. The caloric intake of its population shrank by a third. Oxen replaced tractors and combines. Cuba teetered at the brink of collapse.

In the face of these challenges, the spirit of the 1953-59 student-led revolt revived and bolstered the willingness of the population to come together, tighten their belts and do what needed to be done. (light guitar comes in with the bongo beat) Urban gardens led by permaculture instructors arriving from Australia and South America sprung up along sidewalks, on balconies, and on rooftops. Bicycles, horse taxis and “camels” (massive 300-passenger buses) replaced the diesel classic car fleet. Ride share coops, farmers coops, barefoot doctors and street markets ignored the daily power blackouts and kept the country alive, even thriving. (conga beat picking up, maracas coming in) It was an historic moment, although if you ask the average Cuban, as we did four years ago, they would tell you they would never want to repeat the experience.

Generalisimo Batista and his rival, medical student Ernesto "Che" Guevara


When we visited in 2012 we noticed, and blogged here, that Cuba was doing some remarkable things but that much of their economic development came from and is planning to go forward on, their alliance with friends in the South, notably Venezuela and Bolivia. Instead of being addicted to Soviet fossil energy, they were becoming enslaved to Orinoco Heavy. (castanet roll) Cuba uses 80,000 barrels per day of Venezuelan oil, but when we visited they had ambitious plans for offshore fracking, a giant harbor that would handle oil supertankers and Chinese container ships too large to dock in Miami or Houston, and a revival of the sugar industry using Brazilian next-gen technology to make ethanol. In Havana, the neighborhood gardens were still there, but they were beginning to look a little seedy. (tambourine, cow bell)

Following the student-led revolt, conditions improved markedly.


Cuba’s economy minister told the Cuban Parliament last week, in a closed session, (drum roll) that the country would have to cut fuel consumption nearly a third in the second half of this year because the Venezuelan spigot was slowly squeezing shut. Venezuelan oil exports to Cuba have dropped 40% since January. As the news rippled out through Havana there was a universal sense of Déjà vu. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, won’t be fooled again (as George W. Bush said in his being-folksy mode, unable to recall where he was in the fool-me-twice-shame-on-me proverb and so reverting to a rock anthem lyric from his Yale fraternity days).

 

Havana 2012 (photo by A. Bates)

Venezuela is running dry, as is neighboring Mexico, and bargain basement crude sales to bolster Venezuela’s economy don’t help. Venezuela can no more supply the Citgo stations in Havana than it can keep the lights on in hospitals in Caracas.

Since we are not exactly getting the White House morning briefing we can only speculate on connections between the US military/intelligence community (triple oxymoron there)’s goals in Venezuela. We know that as the curtain comes down on the Pentagon-mesmermized Drone King Administration and up on an uncertain successor, it could be a chessboard moment. (bass drum and brushed cymbals)

 

Havana 2012 (photo by A. Bates)

We know, for instance, that the shortages in Venezuela are specific products, so other food and consumer goods remain available. Could it be that the crisis in Venezuela is less about the oil economy and more about black ops by opposition elements? Those elements would include domestic food companies controlled by long-standing opponents of the Bolivarian revolution of 1999. They control, for instance, 62% of every arrepa, a staple of Venezuelan cuisine.

The market distortion is curious. Venezuelans can purchase yogurt, cheese, teas, vegetables, chocolate and fruit, but not meat, corn flour, milk, coffee, and personal hygiene products like soap, toilet paper, sanitary napkins and diapers. In a managed socialist economy you’d think the reverse would be true. It is only when you look at the ownership of the companies where scarcity exists that it begins to make sense.
 

V.P. candidate Mike Pence and actor Everett McGill – Under Siege 3?

The Friday night military coup in Turkey is another one of those things that can be explained by other factors but the timing is curious. There is no love lost in either Washington or Moscow for the Erdogan regime. Russian press and other sources linked Turkey to the CIA-covert resupply chain for the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS), which the Syrian Army, supported by spectacular Russian air strikes, is in the process of decimating. Erdogan was a klutz, but he was Washington’s klutz. He made that very clear when he shot down a commercial Russian airliner and then okay’ed a new pipeline to take offshore oil and gas Israel was stealing from Gaza through Turkey to Europe. That will potentially square US accounts with kleptocrats in Kiev who keep siphoning gas meant for Europe and not paying for it.

 

Havana 2012 (photo by A. Bates)

As we penned this Friday night this we were watching the air battle over Ankara not knowing who was fighting for whom over what. That Russia Today is a more reliable witness than The New York Times is the new normal.

Cubans have been here before, and actually, this time it may not be as bad. The embargo is lifting. Although Donald Trump is out-polling Hillary Clinton in Florida, especially with Cuban-Americans, his war-chest is no match for hers and

Havana 2012 (photo by A. Bates)

nationwide, at this point in the election cycle, he is a diminishing threat to US-Cuba détente. (muted instruments, brushed cymbals, then just bongo) With air routes opening, tourist hotels being planned, and Havana’s notorious nightclubs a shorter hop than Las Vegas for half the population of the United States, Cubans only have to hold their breath while they turn off the fans 8 hours per day.

Then the

Dystopias and Eutopias

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Published on Peak Surfer on January 3, 2016

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Discuss this article at the Environment Table inside the Diner

"Cities like Miami, New Orleans, Tokyo and Venice will squander billons to forestall the inevitable and for a while may even seem to succeed, only to lose it all in one spin of the wheel — a single bad day with some monster storm."
 

The wind billowing out the seat of my britches,
My feet crackling splinters of glass and dried putty,
The half-grown chrysanthemums staring up like accusers,
Up through the streaked glass, flashing with sunlight,
A few white clouds all rushing eastward,
A line of elms plunging and tossing like horses,
And everyone, everyone pointing up and shouting! 

—Theodore Roethke, The Child on Top of the Greenhouse

Watching the development of the Arctic superstorm on earth.nullschool.net, our eyes drifted to the Eastern Mediterranean, curious about the lake effect of that large body of water on Palestine and the Middle East. We had seen a photo earlier in the week from Instagram of a trolley making its way through snow in Istanbul, and we knew Eastern Mediterranean weather was likely cold. 

We latched onto two curious patterns. The first was that cold air mass descending out of the Russian steppes, crossing the Black Sea, passing through the Dardanelles and entering the Mediterranean, where the hot air mass in Africa wheeled it around to lash the shores of Gaza. It was no surprise to see our heroic permaculture pioneer there in Ramalla, Murad AlKhufash, bundled up against the cold. 

The other pattern we saw was farther west, beyond the boot of Italy, where two air masses converge and bend up into the continent. The first comes in off the North Atlantic, collides with that hot high in North Africa and swings up into Provence. The second is a westward flow of cool Mediterranean air moving down from the Italian Alps, out through the San Remo Bay and then along the gold coast, past Nice, Cannes, Monaco, before suddenly sweeping north, drawn like a magnet to that same compass heading in the Golfe de Lyon. 

We watched, rapt, this vacuum in Southern France, endlessly drawing warm air up into Southwest Europe. It is a weather pattern as old as human history. This is where the oldest known hominid settlement, a stick and sealskin family lodge around a central firepit, is found at Terra Amata, 400000 BCE. "Tautavel man" (possibly Homo heidelbergensis) built refuge there, moving along an annual coastal hunting route during the Mindel glaciation. The cave paintings at Lascaux date to the middle of that Ice Age, when this part of Europe was relatively warm and food was plentiful, although stone tools discovered at Lézignan-la-Cèbe in 2009 date humans in France to at least 1.57 million years ago.

What we are looking at now, with this modern satellite imagery, is the climate signature of very old refugia — the places to which our kind, the two-leggeds, repaired when climate changed abruptly. 

As the weather warmed again, there was an expansion of peoples from southwest Asia into Europe from the Aegean and Eastern Steppes, about 8500 years ago, marked by the introduction of Indo-European speech. Vascons bear the remnant genome — related to none other in the world and retaining a fragment of Neanderthal DNA — and pre-Indo-European linguistic roots. These peoples were likely forced from the lowlands and pushed upland by Middle Eastern migrants from 6500 to 4000 BC, moving eventually into the Pyrenees, where they live today in the Basque region of Spain and Andorra.

As an aside, when we were researching the history of the conquistadors for The Biochar Solution, we came across the fascinating tale of Lope de Aguirre (1510-1561), nicknamed El Loco ('the Madman')  who was psychotically depicted by Klaus Kinski in Werner Herzog's B-film, Aguirre: the Wrath of God, in 1972 (where our friend, the bioregional poet and singer, Christopher Wells, performed as an extra). Aquirre, a Vascon, was said to be nearly 7 feet tall and was uncomfortable in leather boots, which compells us to muse about the possibility of his Neanderthal bloodline. When Aguirre was sentenced to public flogging for his cruelty towards the indigenous peoples he conquered and enslaved, he endured his whipping but then pursued the judge who sentenced him. Over three years he ran 6,000 km (3700 miles) through the mountains and jungles on foot, unshod, on the trail of the judge, who slept in armor to protect himself. He caught and killed the judge but was pardoned in exchange for his Indian-fighting services, until once more atrocities and his open rebellion against the Spanish crown made him a hunted rogue agent, gone off the reservation, and he so was recaptured and terminated with extreme prejudice. 

The people living in the highlands of what is today Bolivia might of thought they had a pretty good life for themselves in a place of great natural beauty until that guy showed up.

Five hundred years before Aguirre, the Southern French and Italian coast was the tribal homeland for the Ligurians, whose language carries as many Celtic words as Indo-European, and who were conquered in the Punic Wars by Rome. The ancient Roman port of Ventimiglia, on San Remo Bay, lies close to one of Europe's most treasured ecovillages, at Torri Superiori, which perches just back up that river valley, at the transition point where paved roads give way to mountain trails, and a days' walk will take you through many vacant, or nearly vacant, fieldstone towns and cobbled hamlet ruins in the foothills.

In 1834, Henry Brougham, Lord Chancellor Lord Brougham and Vaux, discovered the sleepy fishing village of Cannes and built a winter villa there with immense lawns of turf imported from Britain by sail. Lord Brougham, epitomizing Britain's ruling class, is remembered for his stern attack on the radical idea of providing public education:
 

I should regard anything of the kind as utterly destructive of the end it has in view. Suppose the people of England were taught to bear it, and to be forced to educate their children by means of penalties, education would be made absolutely hateful in their eyes, and would speedily cease to be endured. They who have argued in favour of such a scheme from the example of a military government like that of Prussia have betrayed, in my opinion, great ignorance of the nature of Englishmen.

— Report of the Parliamentary Committee on the State of Education (1834).

Trailing in Brougham's turfboat wake, wealthy Victorian scoundrels landscaped themselves along the gold coast and over the present Italian border to Bordighera, San Remo and other Ligurian villages (until 1860, Nice and Menton were in the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia), building exotic terraced gardens and palatial estates befitting the rewards of extractive colonial empire. It was in a family villa near Ventimiglia that Lord Balfour hosted the San Remo conference to design the partition of Palestine, haughtily issuing "Israel's Magna Carta," and precipitating the Jerusalem Nebi-Musa riots of 1920-21.

It was not just the warmth and healthy winter climate that attracted the British gentry. The cost of living was lower there than in London, Belfast or Edinburgh, and if one had served her Majesty in one of her distant colonial outposts and remembered fondly being waited on by servants — and the cool tropical drinks out on the veranda — one could hire poor French peasants for a pittance. These were the years following Napoleon's ruin, when empirical overreach sank French fortunes in a foolhardy Russian winter campaign and then got mopped up and tossed into history's dustbin by Wellington and the Prussians.

To some British ex-pats, the Riviera was simply an escape from Victorian morals, a place for singles and gays to freak freely — as Somerset Maugham put it, "a sunny place for shady people."
 

 

Last week we listened to a Kunstlercast podcast in which James Howard Kunstler chatted with Chuck Marohn of StrongTowns.org.  The two mused at how estate prices had fallen in the rust belt and how easy it would be for aspiring youth and young families of like-minded kith and kin to move in, build collaborative, regenerative local economies while incurring zero debt, and even be supported in that reclamation process by the greater city, state and county taxsheds interested in recovering misallocated and stranded assets amid cascading petrocollapse.

Personally, we think climate change should be a major consideration. As we listened to scientist emeritus James Hansen in his Paris talks last month, we heard the urgency of his concern for sea level rise and took that to heart. But no one can say with certainty how fast an individual section of coastline will give itself up to the waves and that provides some comfort to coastal dwellers. Cities like Miami, New Orleans, Tokyo and Venice will squander billons to forestall the inevitable and for a while may even seem to succeed, only to lose it all in one spin of the wheel — a single bad day with some monster storm.

In Climate in Crisis (1990) we speculated that the hot interiors of continents were not going to be pleasant places in the coming years. With some exceptions, most will become dreadfully hot and water starved, subject to tornadoes, wildfires and even dust bowl conditions. The Pacific Northwest will be more wet, as will the American Southeast, but that also means much greater humidity and unless you can power air conditioning with renewable energy, not very happy places in warm times of the year. Mosquitoes and biting flies will love the change, and will proliferate too in thawing regions closer to the poles.   Much of the Amazon Basin (another lockbox of untapped viruses) is expected to desertify at 3 degrees above now, and that will alter rainfall patterns for a very large part of the world. Being on the Equator, their climate may begin to resemble the lower quadrant of Saudi Arabia in a few decades.

When we taught our most recent permaculture course in Iceland we thought that would be a lovely place for young people to settle and build ecovillages. Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, fits a similar mold. We used to think that might be a great place to relocate our family and maybe take up fishing. After watching earth.nullschool.net and the gigantic storm now churning through the Arctic, we have second thoughts.
 
One thinks of higher elevations as refuges, and indeed, some very spectacular real estate can be found in the Rockies, Alps and Snowy Mountains. Insofar as the rain-shadow effect of cross-mountain winds continues, these may provide some areas of refuge, albeit gradually shrinking. So may certain islands, if they rise up from the sea to secure elevations and can shelter from superstorms.
 
As refugees continue to pour north into Europe we are reminded what it may look like in these more comfortable microclimates like Southern France in the not distant future. Human numbers are already staggering, our fecundity rates show no sign of abating, and we add 220,000 to the number of us at procreating age, every day.

 
In the end, it matters not where we are. It matters who we are, and what we do with our knowledge and skills in the time we are given.
 

Through sunny fields
And valleys deep
Through noisy streets
And river's sweep

Although I may race
With the wind
I keep that quiet place
Within

My heart; a chamber
Safe and warm
To give you shelter
From the storm

 

— Gabriela Duricova

 

 

 

 

 

Beware: Israel the Eager Provocateur

Off the keyboard of Anthony Cartalucci

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Published on Land Destroyer on August 8, 2014

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August 8, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – With hostilities once again erupting between Israeli forces and Palestine, onlookers must keep in mind the greater agenda in which the current violence is playing out and the stated agenda of achieving hegemony over the Middle East in which Israel plays a pivotal role – as the “unilateral aggressor.”

FOB Israel 

Of course, Israel does nothing unilaterally. It is a stunted, militaristic faux-state that depends entirely on the West for its continued existence. From the funds it builds its military with, to the very hardware it buys and maintains, starting from the day the modern state of Israel was founded up to and including today, Israel is in reality a state-sized forward operating base (FOB). Wikipedia defines a FOB as follows:

“The base may be used for an extended period of time. FOBs are traditionally supported by Main Operating Bases that are required to provide backup support to them.[citation needed] An FOB also improves reaction time to local areas as opposed to having all troops on the main operating base.”  

As such, Israel’s constant and otherwise irrational belligerence makes perfect sense. An FOB’s priorities are not prosperity and peace as would a nation’s, but rather to engage forward into enemy territory. The trick over the years has been to portray Israel as a nation, while propping up its constant belligerence and aggression as “self-defense.” To keep this illusion in motion, Israel and its regional and Western collaborators have even created full-time enemies, including Hamas itself – a creation of Israeli intelligence and to this day primarily propped up by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, both of which are defacto regional partners with the West and of course Israel itself.

The Wall Street Journal reported in their article, “How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas,” that (emphasis added): 

“Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel’s destruction.

Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. Israel cooperated with a crippled, half-blind cleric named Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, even as he was laying the foundations for what would become Hamas. Sheikh Yassin continues to inspire militants today; during the recent war in Gaza, Hamas fighters confronted Israeli troops with “Yassins,” primitive rocket-propelled grenades named in honor of the cleric.

 

This is in fact exactly what Hamas is still being used today for – to counter real opposition movements by dividing against each other different factions of Muslims and secular organizations alike, in confusion and armed combat, preventing a greater, unified front against Western expansion and exploitation throughout the region. Extremist groups closely aligned to Hamas, including Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, would flood into Iraq during the US occupation to “serendipitously” disrupt united Sunni-Shia’a resistance, and create bloody infighting that broke the back of meaningful opposition against foreign occupation. The same method is being used again in Syria, and with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) incursion into Iraq weeks ago, yet again against Baghdad



Divided and in perpetual conflict, the Arab World across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has not been able to create strong, secular, nationalist nations to protect Arab socioeconomic and political interests. In the process, the West has been able to exploit, divide, and conquer regions of MENA over and over again. Israel’s role as the ultimate casus belli, instigator, and aggressor, has been instrumental in keeping this hegemonic enterprise alive and well with the region kept in a perpetual and crippling defensive posture. 

Israel’s Role as “Unilateral Aggressor” is Stated US Policy

Logistically, it is obvious Israel does not exist without Western support, and therefore does not act without Western approval. The illusion of its unilateral aggression is designed specifically to lend the West plausible deniability for brutality and unprovoked aggression it believes it cannot afford to be associated with directly. This is stated across years of US policy papers, including the most definitive report on the subject, Brooking Institution’s 2009 report “Which Path to Persia?” 

The report itself conspires to use covert provocations to trigger a war with Iran, to undermine it politically through foreign-sponsored “protests” augmented by covert armed groups, the direct funding, arming, and use of listed terrorist organizations against the Iranian people, and specifically the use of Israel to attack Iran with covert Western backing to make it appear as if Tel Aviv took the steps unilaterally. It specifically states: 

“An Israeli air campaign against Iran would have a number of very important differences from an American campaign. First, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) has the problem of overflight transit from Israel to Iran. Israel has no aircraft carriers, so its planes must take off from Israeli air bases. It also does not possess long-range bombers like the B-1 or B-2, or huge fleets of refueling tankers, all of which means that unlike the United States, Israel cannot avoid flying through someone’s air space. The most direct route from Israel to Iran’s Natanz facility is roughly 1,750 kilometers across Jordan and Iraq. As the occupying power in Iraq, the United States is responsible for defending Iraqi airspace. “Which Path to Persia?-page 105 (.pdf)

“From the American perspective, this negates the whole point of the option—distancing the United States from culpability—and it could jeopardize American efforts in Iraq, thus making it a possible nonstarter for Washington. Finally, Israeli violation of Jordanian airspace would likely create political problems for King Abdullah of Jordan, one of America’s (and Israel’s) closest Arab friends in the region. Thus it is exceedingly unlikely that the United States would allow Israel to overfly Iraq, and because of the problems it would create for Washington and Amman, it is unlikely that Israel would try to fly over Jordan.” Which Path to Perisa?-page 106 (.pdf)

“An Israeli attack on Iran would directly affect key American strategic interests. If Israel were to overfly iraq, both the Iranians and the vast majority of people around the world would see the strike as abetted, if not authorized, by the United States. Even if Israel were to use another route, many Iranians would still see the attack as American supported or even American orchestrated. After all, the aircraft in any strike would be American produced, supplied, and funded F-15s and F-16s, and much of the ordnance would be American made. In fact, $3 billion dollars in U.S. assistance annually sustains the IDF’s conventional superiority in the region.” Which Path to Persia-page 106 (.pdf) 

“…the Israelis may want to hold off until they have a peace deal with Syria in hand (assuming that Jerusalem believes that one is within reach), which would help them mitigate blowback from Hizballah and potentially Hamas. Consequently, they might want Washington to push hard in mediating between Jerusalem and Damascus.” -page 109 (.pdf) 

With the US fully withdrawn from Iraq and Damascus significantly weakened, many of these problems have been adequately addressed, and with the US’ perceived “failure” in and “withdrawal” from the region being eagerly reported by the Western press itself, the stage is set for the ultimate staged “unilateral” attack by Israel, not only against its own Hamas provocateurs, but through a series of dubious associations, Hezbollah, Damascus, and even Iran itself. 

Of course, another possibility exists. As seen before, Israeli belligerence and intentional role as regional arch-villain has been used to undermine targets throughout the region as well as boost others up. That Hamas’ current and most public supporters are Israel’s own regional collaborators, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, a quick and humiliating stalemate for Israel would help boost the credibility of Riyadh and Doha across the region ahead of renewed pushes against both Damascus and Baghdad. 

Whichever route Israel takes, it will be apparent soon enough. Should the conflict expand rapidly and involve Hezbollah, the final battle may be underway. If the conflict remains limited to Hamas, the possibility that the Israel is trying to lend Hamas’ public sponsors in Riyadh and Doha credibility and momentum throughout the region will be greater. 

Israel: The Bottom Line

What Israel is doing across the region is both criminal and demands condemnation. However, it must be condemned in the context of a belligerent client regime acting not in the best interests of the Israeli people or toward peace, prosperity, and coexistence with its neighbors, but rather for foreign interests that see the nation instead as a massive forward operating base. Protesting Israel alone is not enough. Boycotting Israeli businesses and industries is also fruitless and even helps play into the engineered strategy of tension constructed by Israel’s sponsors. Israel does not fund its military might by local cottage or even national industry, it does so via immense foreign aid.

Instead, to protest and undermine Israel’s role as regional provocateur, target the corporate-financier interests that feed it billions of dollars annually. Separate, isolate, and protest Israel’s political leadership rather than Israel’s existence and population. Reach out to Israelis who oppose their government’s current posture of perpetual provocations, and those in the middle who may be swayed one way or another.

By throwing rocks at Israel as a whole, one plays into the besieged mentality the government invests immense resources in perpetuating among common Israelis. Those who might otherwise see their government as the villain will seek its protection against irrational external hatred directed at the entire nation rather than at those responsible for its criminal extraterritorial brutality – whether it is in the occupied territories of Palestine, or across the borders of its neighbors in Syria, Iraq, Iran, or beyond.

Israel-Palestine Conflict: Modern Era Causes and Conclusions

Of the microphone of RE

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Aired on the Doomstead Diner on August 7, 2014

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Discuss this Rant at the Podcast Table inside the Diner

Snippet:

…What with all the Geopolitical Doom going on in Ukraine as NATO tries to put the Thumbscrews to Vlad the Impaler, California on the verge of drying up and Blowing Away sending Californicators in the OPPOSITE direction BACK to Oklahoma (which is not doing much better really) and Ebola Virus being scare mongered throughout the MSM, one theater of collapse I have notably MISSED covering so far is the ongoing War between the Israelis and the Palestinians inhabiting the so called “Gaza Strip”, which is where after the creation of the State of Israel in the aftermath of WWII is where a lot of displaced Palestinians ended up.

As anyone who has been alive for the last half century knows, this is not a new War, just the latest flare-up in a war ongoing since Israel was created as a modern state back in 1948 or so. From 1917 after the end of WWI when the Brits clobbered the old Ottoman Empire with the modern machines of warfare, the neighborhood belonged to them as a Colony, but in 1948 the VERY dominant FSoA and the newly created United Nations basically created Israel by Fiat, and the surviving Jews from Europe and WWII migrated there en masse…

For the rest, LISTEN TO THE RANT!!!

War Zones

From the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler

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Smoke and fire from an Israeli bomb rises into the air ove Gaza City
Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation  July 21, 2014

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summed it up the other day when he said, “We use our rockets to protect our women and children; they [Hamas] use their women and children to protect their rockets.”

Some time ago, the Left adopted the Palestinians as their pet oppressed minority group so there is nothing that Israel might do that will be okay with them, except to commit suicide, that is, cease to exist — which is the stated policy of Hamas. Every time Israel refuses the suggestion that it cease to exist, the Left becomes inflamed. They cannot imagine why Israel would prefer to fight for its existence than to roll over and die.

The Palestinian leadership doesn’t really want to talk about any resolution to the enduring crisis in which Israel is granted the right to exist. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for negotiation, and so they have literally painted themselves into a geographical corner of the region called the Gaza Strip where one of their other policies is to grow the Palestinian population in the hopes of eventually wiping Israel off the map by sheer demographic pressure. The political Right Wing of Israel is using exactly the same tactic in the contested West Bank. All of that is tragic, of course, because when the oil age comes to an end the entire region of the southern Levant will probably support one-twentieth of the population of all ethnic groups.

The New York Times reported that street protests against Israel had broken out in London and Paris, giving the impression that some broad national sentiment was being expressed when, in fact, the protesters were from the large Muslim communities that these nations had foolishly invited to immigrate there. Has anyone in the West still failed to notice the pugnacity of Islam in our time? Islam does not want to co-exist with the West anymore than the Palestinians want to grant Israel the right to exist.

Luckily for the West, there is enough animosity between the Islamic factions to distract Islam from its mission to defeat all the great-and-small Satans cluttering up their world. All this is happening as that world lurches into the twilight of the oil age, which until lately had given so much financial leverage to Islam. Really, the entire Middle East, including Israel, has overpopulated itself so severely that the only plausible outcome is the desperate fight over what’s left. A hundred and fifty years ago a mere half million people inhabited the place that is now Israel, and more than 90 percent of them were Arabic. Then came the great Industrial explosion of activity, migrations, and soaring birth rates thanks to fossil fuels. When that phase of history concludes, the population there will go down accordingly.

Over millennia, Israel or Palestine or the Levant (take your pick) has been under the dominion of rotating empires: Greece, Rome, Byzantium, the Egyptian Mameluks, the Turks, Great Britain. Who owns what has been an expression of a particular slice of time, and the current time is no different. As a geographical crossroads of trade and cultures, the region is one of the most fought-over places in the world and may continue to be as long as human beings are around. Hamas and the Palestinians in effect declared war on Israel by lobbing rockets out of Gaza and now Israel is answering. The Palestinians have got the war they asked for and they are trying to manipulate world opinion by mingling their war machine in the heart of their population center of Gaza City. Their choice.

The other hot zone in the world right now, Ukraine, got hotter the past week when somebody or some faction shot down a commercial Malaysian airliner. The question that no news organ has so far raised: why are any commercial airlines routing their planes over a war zone? Especially a war zone where other airplanes have been shot down recently. Just how dumb has the human race become?

And as sad as this incident may be, what business is it of the USA to get involved over a downed flight of a foreign airline that originated in the Netherlands and was carrying passengers overwhelmingly of Dutch nationality? Our presumption to involve ourselves in this is flat-out insane. It’s the kind of behavior that leads to world wars.

 

***

James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

 

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If 1% of the population are psychopaths, and you have, say 500 Facebook friends, odds are that five of them are psychopath.Here's how you can tell ...

Here’s Why That’s Such a Great ThingClimate change can no longer be debated. Despite what skeptics still say, climate change is not a concept that is happening in the far-off arctic tundra or distant future. The effects of climate change are ha...

“Bridges to the Neverland” (CC) George GrieTo prevent civilizational collapse, a bridge may be necessary—specifically for geeks—between systematic rationality and fluid,...

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Here’s Why That’s Such a Great ThingClimate change [...]

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This and That Vol 4 Mid Winter Musings By Cognitive Dissonance     Probably the one topic Mrs. Cog a [...]

Taking a Pass on Gas – Wood Preferred - Part Three By High Desert Homesteading This is the final ins [...]

Resistance Is Futile: The Borg Empire’s State of Mind By Cognitive Dissonance Despite claims to the [...]

Bitcoin: The Greatest Story Ever Sold By Cognitive Dissonance “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.” – Ol [...]

The Psyops of “The Silence Breakers” Meme By Cognitive Dissonance Time magazine just named their wid [...]

Event Update For 2018-01-18http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2018-01-17http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

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MbS, the personification of the age-old pre-revolutionary scenario in which an expiring regime attem [...]

You know things have taken a turn for the desperate when women have started to drive. Or rather, whe [...]

From Filmers to Farmers is re-launched on the astounding open source blogging platform Ghost! [...]

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Peak México"México is a poster child for the present schizophrenia."The transformation of México in t [...]

Big Bird takes the Prize"We need to walk through walls with a new genre of quantum solutioneering." In the fall of [...]

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Americans are good on the "thoughts and prayers" thing. Also not so bad about digging in f [...]

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i doubt there will be a debt jubilee any time soon, for the reasons you state about the owners. a mo [...]

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How is MMT compatible with stringent energy conservation? Proponents think debt can outpace income f [...]

According to Art Berman, Permian is the only oily game in town ... The other LTO plays are in declin [...]

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RE Economics

Going Cashless

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Simplifying the Final Countdown

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Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

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Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

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Singularity of the Dollar

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Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

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SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

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Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

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Merry Doomy Christmas

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Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

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The urban climate, especially the near-surface air temperature ( T ), is influenced to large amounts [...]

Peer review is an essential part in the publication process, ensuring that Climate maintains high qu [...]

The decadal oscillation of rainfall in Europe that has been observed since the end of the 20th centu [...]

Ecosystem services (ES) were conceived to emphasize the role of ecological processes in supporting s [...]