Riots

War of the Lefts

gc2smFrom the keyboard of Pepe Escobar
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Published on RT on May 27, 2016

A striking French labour union EDF employee stands near a burning barricade that blocks the entrance of the depot of the SFDM company near the oil refinery to protest the labour reforms law proposal in Donges, France, May 27, 2016 © Stephane Mahe

A striking French labour union EDF employee stands near a burning barricade that blocks the entrance of the depot of the SFDM company near the oil refinery to protest the labour reforms law proposal in Donges, France, May 27, 2016 © Stephane Mahe / Reuters

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France paralyzed by the ‘War of the Lefts’

Paris burns as Hollande fiddles. Take it as shorthand for nationwide protests in France against a proposed labor “reform” while the President poses at the G-7 in Japan as if he’s one of the Masters of the Universe.

France is semi-paralyzed – from dockworkers in the port of Le Havre (a key trade hub) to workers in refineries, oil depots, nuclear power stations (accounting for 75 percent of the national electricity supply), airports, and the metropolitan Paris rail system. This has translated into panic at myriad petrol stations – with much of the French transportation system brought to a standstill.

All this because the cataclysmically unpopular, nominally “socialist” Hollande administration has introduced a draft law that drastically modifies the French labor code and essentially adopts Anglo-Saxon neoliberal “hire and fire” in a deeply regulated, regimented nation where workers’ rights and protections are taken extremely seriously. Hollande and his astonishingly mediocre Prime Minister Manuel Valls defend it as the best way to fight chronic unemployment.

Scrap the bill to unblock the nation

May 2016 in France is certainly no May 1968 remix. It features a vortex of complicating factors, such as the “terra terra terra” psychosis (Paris is in a semi-disguised state of siege); the ongoing Nuit Debout movement at the Place de la Republique – the French version of Occupy Wall Street; and police with their nerves on edge complaining, and even demonstrating, that they are not getting all the love they need from the general population.

May 2016 is essentially configured as a battle between the socialist government and French unions. It’s bound to get nastier. Police figures suggest 153,000 strikers/demonstrators this past Thursday – a huge mobilization day that touched public services and air transport; unions claim there were almost 300,000. The executive is beginning to use force to unblock key refineries. Panic at empty petrol stations is becoming the norm.

The Hollande-Valls duo has gone hardcore; the labor reform bill must be approved, otherwise that’s the end of the government. Valls’ red line is that if the bill goes, he also goes. Yet he’s already been forced to (slightly) backtrack; he’s now allowing “modifications” and “improvements” to the bill.

So this is essentially a battle of the French Lefts – a radical, working-class branch against a nominally social-democratic one in power, actually neoliberal. It’s also a dialogue of the deaf. The Prime Minister is not exactly a participant of social dialogue. For him these two Lefts are irreconcilable. You don't need to be a reader of Barthes or Deleuze to infer that France is running the risk of reaching degree zero of social democracy.

After the eighth day of demonstrations, the secretary-general of the powerful CGT union, Philippe Martinez, is now demanding to be received by the President and the President only – actually throwing Valls into the dustbin. From Japan, Hollande emitted a laconic “I’m being briefed.”

A case can be made that the Hollande-Valls duo is so disconnected from the street pulse that they had no idea this bill would be met with so much hostility. They should have gone for a wider reach – and should have previously invested in a lot of dialogue, not to mention semantic niceties, with the unions.

So what does the French public think about this mess? Essentially, three-quarters of the population is against the bill. And you can’t “modernize” France without the French. Yet this being France, subtle nuances matter. According to one of the latest polls, 69 percent are in favor of the bill being scrapped, to avoid the nation being paralyzed. Another poll shows that 62 percent consider the strikes “justified” despite parts the country being paralyzed. So a sound cross-pollination of these polls tells us that social movements are legitimate even as most people don’t want to see the nation paralyzed.

In a lighter vein, Paris café talk now rules that the Socialist Party better not even try to stage an upcoming presidential campaign; what’s going on is proof that the working class hates their guts. It’s a fact that the current état d’urgence – as in the French version of the US Patriot Act – plus the neoliberal drive made the Socialist Party (PS) lose the votes of artists and intellectuals as well as ‘bobos’ (bourgeois bohemians) which used to be the mainstay of their electoral base. And all this while CEOs so much courted by the PS will continue to vote for the right.

Time to be an ‘indignado’ with a cause

So what next? The sound money is on some sort of compromise; the text of the bill will be amended by the Senate next month, before coming back to the Assembly. This means it will be “retouched” – as even the government is now admitting; and that will mean a victory for social movements. Whatever happens the War of the Lefts won’t be over. And the final result may even come up in the form of a collective suicide – to the benefit of the Right.

Meanwhile, growth in France remains feeble at best. Euro 2016 starts in only two weeks, on June 10. France may expect to receive as many as 1.5 million foreign tourists and profit to the tune of €1.3 billion. The fan zone under construction in front of the Eiffel Tower will attract at least 100,000 people daily.

If there is no solution in the coming days, the Hollande-Valls duo will have to back down. The French security system won’t be able to cope, simultaneously, with a high terrorist alert and policing myriad demonstrations (a huge one is already scheduled for June 14). A lot is riding on the success of the Euro football, not the currency. Football, in this case, is far from politically neutral; if the whole show is a major success, it’s Hollande who will reap the benefits.

Socialists in France, meanwhile, could do worse than take a look at neighboring Spain.
In Spain under Franco, communists and socialists were at the vanguard of democratic resistance, incorporating in their struggle those who created Workers’ Commissions and some of the best intellectuals of the times.

But then came the recent neoliberal drift of the European socialist parties – which led them to lose their historical hegemony. They have not adapted to being able to defend their social base – and the welfare state – and at the same time satisfy the harsh requirements of the financial casino system as well as a European Commission economic policy of fiscal austerity as demanded by Germany and financialization as influenced by Britain.

During Franco and the Cold War, it was common to use “communist” and “socialist” as a disqualification of any political argument. What reigned was the politics of fear. France, for its part, was way more sophisticated politically (and not under a fascist regime.)

What’s left for the ‘Lefts’ in Europe is to pay close attention to the emerging path opened by social movements, bent on rebuilding the welfare state and creating worthy forms of employment; all that has been denied by market fundamentalism and the austerity TINA (There Is No Alternative) mindset.

Among the Spanish ‘indignados’ one finds anarchists, communists, socialists – a microcosm of modern history in Spain rooted in the indignation against dictatorship and social injustice, all trying to reinvent themselves while neoliberalism flounders. If only the French Lefts would pay attention.

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Pepe Escobar
Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia Times Online. Born in Brazil, he's been a foreign correspondent since 1985, and has lived in London, Paris, Milan, Los Angeles, Washington, Bangkok and Hong Kong. Even before 9/11 he specialized in covering the arc from the Middle East to Central and East Asia, with an emphasis on Big Power geopolitics and energy wars. He is the author of "Globalistan" (2007), "Red Zone Blues" (2007), "Obama does Globalistan" (2009) and "Empire of Chaos" (2014), all published by Nimble Books. His latest book is "2030", also by Nimble Books, out in December 2015.

 

 

Violence Cometh

Off the keyboard of Michael Snyder

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Published on The End of the American Dream on May 28, 2015

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Prepare Your Homes And Neighborhoods For The Violence That Is Going To Sweep America

Crime - Bloody Handprint - Public DomainThe thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted on a daily basis is beginning to disappear, and a new era of chaos and anarchy is coming to our cities.  I don’t know if you have noticed, but violence is increasing on the streets of America.  Over Memorial Day weekend, 29 people were shot in Baltimore and 55 people were shot in Chicago.  But of course the trend that I am talking about is much broader than that.  According to the FBI, the number of police officers “feloniously killed” in the line of duty rose by an astounding 89 percent in 2014.  We live at a time when Americans are becoming extremely angry and extremely frustrated, and this is only going to intensify as economic conditions worsen.  But already we have seen some of this anger and frustration boil over into violence in Ferguson and in Baltimore.  And you know what?  The vast majority of Americans expect more of the same in the coming months.  According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey that was recently released, 96 percent of all Americans believe that there will be more civil unrest in America this summer.  What we have seen up until now is just the warm up act.  The main event is still to come.

If things are this bad already, how bad will they be when the next great economic crisis hits this nation and unemployment skyrockets and poverty is everywhere?

That is why I am encouraging people that currently live in the heart of our major cities to consider moving.  Unfortunately, most Americans are completely dependent on the jobs that they currently have, so moving is not really a practical option for a lot of people.

For those that cannot move, you are just going to have to get prepared right where you are.  That means making your home and your family as unattractive a target to potential criminals as you possibly can.  The goal should be to avoid a violent confrontation if at all possible.  So you will want multiple layers of security between you and those that would potentially harm you and your family.  You want to try to deter the bad guys from ever coming on to your property in the first place, but if they do come, you need to be ready to deal with them.

At the moment, we are still in the midst of relatively stable economic times.  But even in these relatively stable times, violence is escalating.  Just consider what happened in Baltimore over the recent holiday weekend.  A grand total of 29 people were shot…

Police say 29 people were shot, 9 of them killed over this weekend, adding to the  record-breaking violence.

The shooting didn’t stop on Monday night after a 9-year-old boy and another man were both injured by gun fire in the 2900 block of Arunah Avenue. Police say the child was shot in the leg and another man suffered a graze wound to the head.

Overall, this past month has been the deadliest month for Baltimore in 15 years.

Things are even worse in the city of Chicago.  Over this past weekend, 55 people got shot…

Twelve people were killed and at least 43 — including a 4-year-old girl — were wounded in shootings across Chicago this Memorial Day weekend, police said.

The 4-year-old, identified by her family as Jacele Johnson, was shot about 8 p.m. Friday in the West Englewood neighborhood. She and her 17-year-old cousin Romare Wilson were inside an SUV in the 7000 block of South Justine when another vehicle pulled up and someone inside opened fire, according to their family and Chicago Police.

Early in April, I went on the record and specifically named Chicago and Baltimore as two of the cities where we would be seeing civil unrest.  Since that time we have seen horrible rioting in Baltimore and the violence in Chicago continues to spiral out of control.

Other experts are issuing similar warnings.  For example, consider what an assistant professor at New Jersey City University recently had to say

Urban unrest expert Dr. Max Herman says that the United States is on the “cusp” of a wave of domestic disorder and that the country will see more race riots.

Herman, Assistant Professor of Sociology at New Jersey City University, told the New Republic’s Joel Gillin that the economic downturn, in addition to incidents of police brutality, have provided fertile conditions for civil unrest.

He sees the re-emergence of a 60’s-style “protest ideology” amongst black communities which will lead to more disorder.

“It’s very clear from studying history that these things tend to run in cycles,” said Herman, adding, “I think we are at the cusp of another cycle.”

Author Chris Hedges is saying similar things.  The following comes from a recent article about him in the National Post

The United States is primed for a rebellion. So argues Chris Hedges in his new book, Wages of Rebellion, in which the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and polemicist examines revolts from 1700s to the ending of apartheid in South Africa, as well as the “sublime madness” that drives the people at the centre of such rebellions.

When asked by the National Post why he wrote his new book, this is what Hedges had to say

I didn’t write it as a warning or a prediction. I wrote it more as an assessment. I covered disintegrating societies like Yugoslavia. I know how they break down; I know what the warning signs are, so it’s familiar. I don’t think at this point there’s much dispute. Even just the financial indicators in terms of wealth disparity and chronic unemployment. The fact that Congress has a nine-per-cent approval rating. Where I’m coming from, the book is an attempt to explain where we are in this particular historical period.

But it isn’t just that we are entering a new cycle of unrest.  Our “leaders” have made things much worse by the decisions that they have made.  For instance, Barack Obama’s decision to leave our southern border virtually unguarded has resulted in a massive flood of illegal immigrants coming into this country.  As a result, violent gangs that have roots in Central America and South America have mushroomed in size.  So now major cities far from the border such as Charlotte, North Carolina are being absolutely terrorized by these gangs…

Recent busts of murderous MS-13 gangsters put the lie to President Obama’s sympathetic amnesty narrative of illegal immigrants as “workers who mow our lawns, make our beds (and) clean out bedpans.”

Authorities Wednesday rounded up 37 MS-13 gang members in Charlotte, N.C., on racketeering conspiracy charges, along with charges of murder, attempted murder and firearms violations. All of them are illegal aliens from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Several are round-trippers — illegals who broke in once, committed crimes, got deported and broke back into the U.S. — proving that our border is porous and unsecured.

Charlotte police discovered the rat’s nest of foreign gangsters after some of them started shooting up local nightclubs and bars.

In 2015, it isn’t just our own citizens that we need to be concerned about.  At this point, many of our biggest cities are absolutely packed to the gills with gangs made up primarily of illegal immigrants.

I discussed Chicago earlier.  Did you know that it is estimated that approximately 150,000 gang members now live there?

When things start really breaking down in this country, those gangs are going to have a field day.

America is changing, and not for the better.  And when violence starts sweeping this nation, don’t count on the government to come in and rescue you.  After watching what happened in Ferguson and in Baltimore, you should know better than that by now.

It is time for the American people to prepare their own homes and their own neighborhoods for the chaos and the violence that is coming.

For the moment, things are still relatively stable so we have a little bit of time to prepare, but it won’t last for long.

High Expectations of Civil Unrest Coming

Off the keyboard of Michael Snyder

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Published on The Economic Collapse on May 3, 2015

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96 Percent Of Americans Expect More Civil Unrest In U.S. Cities This Summer

Are you ready for rioting, looting and mindless violence in major U.S. cities all summer long?  According to a brand new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 96 percent of all Americans believe that there will be more civil unrest in America this summer.  That leaves only 4 percent of people that believe that everything will be just fine.  In this day and age, it is virtually impossible to get 96 percent of Americans to agree on anything.  So the fact that just about everyone agrees that we are going to see more civil unrest should really tell you something.  The anger that has been building under the surface for so many years in this country has finally started to erupt.  If you have been following my website for a while, you know that this is something that I have been warning about for a very long time.  Many people may have thought that I was exaggerating when I talked about the civil unrest that was coming to American cities.  But I was not exaggerating at all.  In fact, if anything I was downplaying it.  In the years to come, we are going to see things happen in our cities that are going to absolutely shock the world.

Ever since the violence first erupted in Baltimore, what has surprised me more than anything has been the level of hate that I am seeing all over the Internet.  I am seeing white people openly proclaim how much they hate black people.  I am seeing black people openly proclaim how much they hate white people.  I am seeing things said about the police that are absolutely horrifying.  Yes, there has been a tremendous amount of police brutality in this nation.  In fact, I have been one of the leaders in writing about it.  But most police officers are just trying to serve their communities the very best that they can.  So why is there so much hate for anyone that is a police officer these days?

If all of this hate continues to grow, it is going to eat our nation alive.  Why can’t we just learn to forgive one another, love one another and work together to rebuild our once great nation?

I know that what I just said is going to mostly fall on deaf ears.  But it needs to be said.

I wish that we could change course as a nation and avoid all of the rioting, looting and senseless violence that is coming.  Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening, and neither does the rest of the country

Americans are bracing for a summer of racial disturbances around the country, such as those that have wracked Baltimore, with African Americans and whites deeply divided about why the urban violence has occurred, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll has found.

A resounding 96% of adults surveyed said it was likely there would be additional racial disturbances this summer, a signal that Americans believe Baltimore’s recent problems aren’t a local phenomenon but instead are symptomatic of broader national problems.

What happened in Ferguson set the precedent, and now what has happened in Baltimore has provided the spark for a national movement.  Similar “demonstrations” are popping up all over the nation, and a number of them have already turned violent.

For example, check out what happened in Seattle on Friday night…

Demonstrations turned violent in Seattle after night fell, with police reporting that protesters hurled rocks and wrenches at officers and damaged 25 vehicles. Police reported that an “explosive device” was thrown at officers, and a trash bin was pushed down a hill toward police.

Three officers were injured, two seriously enough that they were taken to a hospital, Seattle police said on Twitter. At least 16 people were arrested Friday night, police said.

And just down the coast in Portland, we also witnessed some very ugly violence…

One Portland, Oregon, police officer was injured by a protester, according to police. Portland Police reported on Twitter that protesters were throwing “projectiles” and “incendiary devices” at officers.

Police used pepper spray on protesters who tried to march on a bridge Friday afternoon and later sheriff’s deputies used stingballs, filled with tiny rubber balls, on protesters who were throwing chairs at police, according to the department.

These protesters are just copying what they saw in Baltimore.  And things would not have ever gotten so bad in Baltimore if the police had not been ordered to stand down and let the riots spiral out of control.  Now, we have learned that many police officers were so outraged by this that they want Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to immediately resign…

During a Baltimore-based radio talk show on Thursday, a man who identified himself as a Baltimore police officer named “Jeff” called into the program and said fellow police officers were organizing to push out the city’s mayor.

There is right now over 50 of us officers who are immediately asking for [Baltimore Mayor] Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to step down for what she did to us Monday,” the caller told WBAL radio host Derek Hunter.

The Baltimore mayor has denied giving “stand down” orders and blamed the media for misinterpreting her comments about providing “a space” for protesters to loot.

“Any other time in my career, if somebody were to throw a brick or a block at me, we would take immediate actions to pull our weapons on them. Numerous times on Monday when our officers were being injured, our commanders are telling us ‘stand down, stand down.’  You had no idea what it did to us as police officers to sit there,” said the self-described “21-year veteran” of the Baltimore police department.

Scenes of protesters attacking police were broadcast all over the nation, and it was inevitable that we would start to see “copycat attacks” against the police start to happen.  In New York City, a plainclothes police officer was shot in the head on Saturday…

A plainclothes New York City police officer was shot in the head and critically injured while in an unmarked police car Saturday as he and his partner attempted to stop and question a man they suspected of carrying a gun, officials said.

Officer Brian Moore and his partner, Erik Jansen, noticed Demitrius Blackwell “walking and adjusting an object in his waistband” when they pulled up on him in their car, exchanging words with him before he turned and suddenly fired at least two rounds into the car, police Commissioner William Bratton said.

“The man immediately removed the firearm from his waistband and turned in the direction of the officers and deliberately fired several times at the vehicle, striking Officer Moore in the head,” Bratton said at a press conference at a Queens hospital. The 25-year-old Moore was undergoing surgery but listed in stable condition.

We are seeing the same thing when it comes to racially-motivated violence.  This is something that we witnessed in Baltimore, and now all over the nation people are being attacked just because of the color of their skin.

For instance, one young man in California attacked a random passerby with a baseball bat

A Fontana man accused of beating a passerby with a bat in an apparently random attack in Rialto, leaving the victim with life-threatening injuries that he was not expected to survive, was charged Wednesday with attempted murder allegedly committed as a hate crime.

Jeremiah Ajani Bell, 22, was arrested Monday, a day after a daylight assault on 54-year-old Armando Barron, who was walking down the street when he was attacked.

So why did this happen?  Well, apparently it was because the passerby had the wrong skin color

“It appears he was targeting anybody who wasn’t black,” Rialto police Detective Sgt. Paul Stella said Wednesday.

We witnessed an even more disturbing example of racially-motivated violence just the other day in South Carolina

Witnesses and police say a mob of 60 black teens took to the streets of Charleston, South Carolina, to unleash attacks on unsuspecting drivers and pedestrians, all but one of whom were white.

And of course police in some areas of the country are also using unnecessary violence.  Just consider what happened to a group of peaceful protesters in Denver on Wednesday…

With much of the nation focused on the police abuse protests happening in Baltimore and New York City, the Denver police and their actions against a group of protesters on Wednesday has largely gone unnoticed.

But police were dressed for war. Paramilitary style. And they weren’t going home without using a few cans of pepper spray and filling up a paddy wagon.

Video that surfaced shows a group of about 100 protesters walking the streets of downtown Denver where they were met with line of motorcycle cops who forced the group on to the sidewalk.  One overzealous officer can be seen breaking away from the pack chasing down pedestrians, using his motorcycle as a large weapon.

It’s war on the streets of America, and this is only just the beginning.

As we enter the next major economic downturn, people are going to become angrier and even more desperate.  And desperate people do desperate things.  The next few years are not going to be a good time to be living in urban areas.  Even if you only have peace and love in your heart, that doesn’t mean that you won’t get caught in the crossfire as the violence escalates.

For years, most of our politicians have been preaching hate and division.  For years, the mainstream media has been preaching hate and division.  For years, Hollywood has been preaching hate and division.

Now we have a nation that is deeply, deeply divided and that is filled with hate.

Things didn’t have to turn out this way, but they did.  I hope that you are getting ready for what comes next.

Ready to Riot

Off the keyboard of Michael Snyder

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Published on The Economic Collapse on April 27, 2015

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In Every City In America There Are People Ready To Riot, Loot And Set Things On Fire

Baltimore Riot - YouTube ScreenshotThe city of Baltimore has been transformed into an “absolute war zone“, and the governor of Maryland has declared a state of emergency as the rioting in “Charm City” continues to escalate.  The funeral for Freddie Gray has unleashed a firestorm of violence, and none of it is going to do anyone any good.  To their credit, some of the leaders of the African-American community are standing up and loudly condemning the violence.  They know that smashing cars, throwing rocks at police and looting stores is not going to solve anything.  But just like we saw in Ferguson, there are lots of people out there that are ready to riot, loot and set things on fire at the drop of a hat – all they need is an opportunity.  The social decay that has been eating away at the foundations of our society for generations is now manifesting in some very ugly ways.  We have raised an entire generation of young people in a “value free” environment, and now we are getting to experience some of the consequences of our foolishness.  And what we are witnessing in Baltimore right now is just the start.  Eventually, we are going to see scenes like this all over the nation.

Thanks to social media, the violence that we saw in Baltimore on Monday is being broadcast to the entire planet.  The whole world is getting a really good look at what the decline of America looks like.  The following is how the New York Times described what took place…

Angry youths could be seen surrounding a police cruiser and smashing its windows in what police described as an organized attack by criminals — not demonstrators. Cars were set on fire, and stores’ windows were smashed in. Heavy smoke poured out of a CVS drugstore, which had earlier been overrun by looters. Several other businesses, including a liquor store and a check-cashing shop, were also looted.

You can find some incredible photos of looting in progress right here.  Do those young people believe that they are actually doing something constructive that will make a difference in our society?  Of course not.  They are opportunists that are taking advantage of the chaos to commit crime.

And you know what?  A lot of older African-Americans were absolutely disgusted by what they were seeing.  The following is just one example

Barbara Taylor, 60, has lived in the neighborhood near the store for 15 years. As she spoke, a group of teenagers carrying cases of soda and Arizona Iced Tea walked by. “All I can see is crime,” said Taylor. “The people doing this don’t live around here. They’re kids coming in to our neighborhood and breaking it apart. There is no reason for this.”

Of course the biggest targets on Monday were police officers.  It is becoming extremely dangerous to be a police officer in America today, and this is something that I wrote an entire article about recently.  During the violence on Monday, seven police officers were seriously injured.  At least some of the injured had broken bones, and one was described as being “unresponsive”

“We have seven officers who were injured during the course of this,” said Baltimore Police Capt. Eric Kowalczyk. “They have broken bones, one of them is unresponsive. This is not okay. Our officers went out to that situation to make sure that the people who live in that community were safe and we’re going to continue to do what we can to make sure that those people stay safe.

“It’s a group of lawless individuals,” Kowalczyk said of the rioters. “What we know is that they are a group of criminals with no regard for the people in the community.”

Later on Monday, we found out that a total of 15 police officers had received some sort of injury during the course of the day.  To say that the streets of Baltimore have become a “war zone” is not an overstatement in the least.

This is what America is becoming, and this is only just the beginning.  As I mentioned yesterday, I went on the record publicly regarding my belief that civil unrest was coming specifically to Baltimore during a speech I gave on the evening of April 11th.  That was about a week before Freddie Gray died.  But little did I know that it would start happening before the end of the month.  The following are some tweets that contain scenes from the violence that we witnessed on Monday…

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Make sure to watch that last video.  It shows a man literally being dragged out of his store and ruthlessly beaten by a gang of young thugs.  Because of the decisions that we have made as a society, this is what the future of our country is going to look like.  This is something that I have been warning about for years, and now it is here.

So let us mourn for America, because the nation that so many of us love is slipping away a little bit more every single day.

Did They WANT More Violence in Ferguson?

Off the keyboard of Michael Snyder

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Published on The Economic Collapse on November 25, 2014

Ferguson-Protestor

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Did They Want More Violence In Ferguson? 10 ‘Coincidences’ Too Glaring To Ignore

Ferguson Civil Unrest - Photo by LoavesofbreadWas it a conspiracy or was it incompetence?  Those appear to be the only two alternatives that we are left with after the horrific violence that we witnessed in Ferguson on Monday night.  The first round of Ferguson rioting back in August took everyone by surprise, but this time authorities had more than three months to prepare.  They had the ability to control precisely when the grand jury decision would be announced and how many cops and National Guard troops would be deployed on the streets.  But despite all this, the violence in Ferguson on Monday night was even worse than we witnessed back in August.  Either this was a case of almost unbelievable incompetence, or there was someone out there that actually wanted this to happen.  If someone out there is actually trying to provoke more violence in Ferguson, then the rioters are being played like a fiddle.  Most of them have no idea that they could potentially just be pawns in a game that is far larger than they ever imagined.  The only other alternative to explain what we just saw is incompetence on a level that is absolutely laughable.  Something definitely does not smell right about all of this, and let us hope that at some point the American people get the truth.  The following are 10 “coincidences” from Monday night in Ferguson that are too glaring to ignore…

#1 Federal, state and local law enforcement authorities had more than three months to prepare for the violence that would follow the announcement of the grand jury decision.  The mainstream media endlessly hyped this controversy and everyone knew that trouble would be brewing.  But despite an enormous amount of time to prepare, very little was actually done to prevent any violence from happening.

#2 Someone made the decision to make the public announcement about the grand jury decision in the evening.  Anyone involved in law enforcement knows that crowd control is far more difficult after dark.  This also ensured that instead of being tied up with work or school, a maximum number of protesters would be able to be involved in the violence.

#3 Fortunately for the mainstream media, the announcement of the grand jury decision was perfectly timed to provide the largest possible number of prime time viewers for the big news networks.

#4 Just like back in August, no law enforcement authorities of any kind responded while dozens of businesses were vandalized, looted and set of fire.

#5 According to Ferguson Mayor James Knowles, National Guard troops were purposely held back from intervening in the rioting that was unleashed when the grand jury decision was made known to the public…

In a press conference, he called the delay “deeply concerning” and said the Guard troops were available but were not deployed when city officials asked.

The troops had been readied last week by Gov. Jay Nixon as the grand jury announcement neared. But as gunshots rang out in the night and looters torched buildings, they were nowhere to be seen.

#6 It is being reported that the heavily armed National Guard troops were limited to “keeping the peace at a courthouse, patrolling the outskirts of town and preventing disturbances in other suburbs” as horrific violence raged in the heart of Ferguson on Monday night.

#7 Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder has accused Missouri Governor Jay Nixon of holding back the National Guard troops because of pressure from the Obama administration.  On Monday night, he angrily made the following statement to Fox News…

“Is the reason that the National Guard was not in there because the Obama Administration and the Holder Justice Department leaned on you to keep them out? I cannot imagine any other reason why the governor who mobilized the National Guard would not have them in there to stop this.”

#8 The Washington Post has documented that Attorney General Eric Holder had been in direct contact with Governor Nixon and had expressed “frustration” with the fact that the National Guard had been activated…

A top aide to Holder called the governor’s office earlier this week to express Holder’s displeasure and “frustration,” according to a Justice Department official.

“Instead of de-escalating the situation, the governor escalated it,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the subject. “He sent the wrong message. The tone of the press conference was counterproductive.”

#9 Firefighters in Ferguson did not immediately respond to calls to put out the multiple fires that were set by protesters.  As a result, many businesses essentially burned to the ground.  But this did make for some amazing television footage.

#10 In the worst of the “war zones”, journalists with cameras and microphones were crawling all over the place while there were hardly any police to be seen at all.  How is it possible that law enforcement could have failed so badly?  Could it be possible that this was orchestrated on purpose?

Sadly, as I have written about previously, the civil unrest that we are witnessing in Ferguson is just a small preview of what is coming to America.

The anger and frustration that are seething under the surface in this country have reached a boiling point.  Instead of coming together, we are seemingly more divided than ever.  Americans have been trained to hate one another, fear one another and blame one another.  I fear that we are not too far away from actually becoming ungovernable.

And when the next major wave of the economic crisis strikes and we start experiencing real suffering in this nation, the temper tantrums that we are going to witness in our major cities are going to make what is happening in Ferguson right now look like a Sunday picnic.

So buckle up and hold on, because it is going to be a really bumpy ride from here on out.

Ferguson is not the end – it is just the beginning of a horrible new chapter in American history.

…and so it BEGINS!

Off the keyboard of RE

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Published on the Diner Forum on November 25, 2014

Ferguson-Protestor

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Note:  Obviously, much more will be coming down the pipe here as this story develops.  Just my initial thoughts here from inside the Diner Forum.

Not gonna paste the latest Zero Hedge report since it is a pain embedding all the feeds and tweets.

Go read it HERE.

The question has been answered as to where the first Riots and Protests would start.

Now we get to see just how well DHS can handle multiple cities going ballistic at the same time.

Some Highlights so far:

Quote

BREAKING NEWS: PROTESTERS HAVE JUST SHUT DOWN THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE IN ADDITION TO THE MANHATTAN & TRI-BORO BRIDGES

The scene in NYC right now

 

Quote

LOS ANGELES: 10 freeway from La Brea backed up for miles after #Ferguson protesters block freeway.

 

I am reminded here of the closing of the NYS Thruway when Woodstock went down.  Here’s Arlo…

Note the commentary about electricity out and no gasoline!  A little ahead of his time was Arlo!

Sadly, I do not think this time goes as peacefully as Woodstock.   :(

We live in interesting times, and it’s going to get a lot more interesting from here.

US “Democracy” no different than Chinese “Democracy”

Off the keyboard of Anthony Cartalucci

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Published on Land Destroyer on October 7, 2014

Hong Kong, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

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US-style “Democracy” No Different than Beijing’s Version, US Labor Activist

October 7, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – With the “Occupy Central” protests in Hong Kong still ongoing, the movement’s leadership has been exposed as completely backed, funded, and directed by foreign interests, particularly those of the US State Department through its National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its subsidiary the National Democratic Institute (NDI).

At the core of “Occupy Central’s” demands, as articulated by co-organizer Martin Lee during his trip to Washington D.C. with Anson Chan earlier this year, is the belief that Beijing should honor the demands made by parting British occupiers who held Hong Kong territory for nearly a century and a half. This includes the “one nation, two systems” approach that the US and British hope will allow Hong Kong to be used to “infect” mainland China with a Western controlled political orders and institutions.

“Occupy Central” insists that they simply want “universal suffrage” and “total democracy” instead of allowing Beijing to approve who can and cannot run in elections to be held in 2017. This implies that the alternative to Beijing’s arrangements would be “free and fair” elections. In reality this simply is not the case. In reality, instead of Beijing putting up candidates for Hong Kong’s elections, the next most influential political backers would vet and put forward candidates – not the Hong Kong people -but rather those foreign interests in Washington, upon Wall Street, and in the City of London who are currently backing “Occupy Central” and many of the leaders who would contest upcoming elections.

The notion of “free and fair elections” is one of absolute naivety. Former Berkeley labor activist Michael Pirsch now residing in Thailand shared his thoughts on what he sees as somewhat hypocritical or perhaps misguided thinking among “Occupy Central’s” genuine followers – misconceptions “Occupy Central’s” US-backed leadership is all too happy to exploit.

Pirsch first points out the ultimate problem with the US backing political movements in foreign countries, stating:

Are there any foreign countries promoting democracy and human rights inside America? There are none, it is not allowed. However, America, through the National Endowment for Democracy disburses millions of dollars in countries in order to effect regime change to a regime much friendlier to America’s policy goals of controlling the planet. 

Pirsch then compares Beijing’s policy of vetting candidates for Hong Kong’s elections to the US primaries, in which big-business ultimately decides who can and cannot run because of the immense financial means required to stand in an election:

It seems to me, to borrow from Noam Chomsky, China is run by “criminal communists” and America is run by “corporate criminals”. In America we have the hidden (financial) primary. where potential candidates demonstrate their ability to attract millions or hundreds of millions for campaigns ranging from local level to national level. If the candidate is unable to attract shiploads of dollars their candidacy is not viable. Nearly all this money comes from the “criminal capitalists”. We are allowed to choose from only those who swear to protect the financial criminals.

In Hong Kong, the system is much the same, except that it is the “criminal communists” who choose the candidates. Both systems provide the same outcome: there is no benefit to the citizens of either Hong Kong or America.

Ultimately, Beijing’s style of “democracy” is no different than the US-style “democracy” “Occupy Central” protesters are rallying for. Of course, Pirsch is only scratching the surface. Support for US candidates, and in fact the functioning of the whole electoral process also hinges on how that process is presented to the public through the media. The media, just like the American primaries, are tightly controlled by advertisers and sometimes directly by corporate-financier interests themselves – just as Martin Lee and Anson Chan complained was the case in China in regards to Beijing’s control over the political process there.


The Solution is Pragmatic, Not Political 

Indeed, at the end of the day, the only choice Hong Kong seems to have at the moment is a political process manipulated and controlled by foreign interests upon Wall Street and in London, or by Beijing in China. The fallacy of believing “democracy” can bring about progress or power to the people is laid bare by these two relatively lacking choices.

Image: Believe it or not, growing your own food or visiting your local farmers’ market is more revolutionary and constructive than burning down your own city and killing security forces. Real progress stems from pragmatism, not politics. 

The problem ultimately is large monopolies of corporate-financier and political power, be they of a Western nature or of Chinese origin. The solution is not participating in political rackets meant to give the illusion of self-determination, but to diminish and decentralize those monopolies pragmatically and locally so that people can better determine their own lives by directly controlling the infrastructure necessary for modern, peaceful, and prosperous lives.

Monopolies must begin being dismantled globally, regionally, nationally, provincially, and finally locally. For the people of Hong Kong, then, their next move is simple – expose and oppose the global monopolies that seek to co-opt their destiny via their agents leading the “Occupy Central” movement today. Then they can begin dealing with their national problem in Beijing tomorrow – and do so constructively and pragmatically – not divisively and politically.

China, or any other nation for that matter, to move forward pragmatically and progressively, must possess an educated, technically competent, pragmatic population that believes in evolution, rather than city-burning “revolution.” The process of devolving power away from massive monopolies of corporate-financier and/or political power can take the form of an orderly transition, leveraging modern technology and innovative solutions to begin building up local infrastructure as massive monopolies are slowly diminished. It need not manifest itself in protests, referendums, or any other process of selecting representatives to implement solutions the people themselves are more than capable of organizing and executing.

The “Occupy Central” protesters would serve Hong Kong best if they abandoned their clearly compromised, exploitative leadership, their disruptive tactics, and instead set up direct action committees that pursued pragmatic community projects to improve education, infrastructure, business, health, and environmental concerns.

 

Terrorism and Turmoil: US Containment of China

Off the keyboard of Anthony Cartalucci

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Published on Land Destroyer on October 2, 2014

China_imperialism_cartoon

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October 2, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – With Hong Kong’s “Occupy Central” fully exposed as US-backed sedition, readers should be aware that this latest turmoil is but one part of a greater ongoing campaign by the United States to contain and co-opt the nation of China.

As early as the Vietnam War, with the so-called “Pentagon Papers” released in 1969, it was revealed that the conflict was simply one part of a greater strategy aimed at containing and controlling China.

Three important quotes from these papers reveal this strategy. It states first that:

“…the February decision to bomb North Vietnam and the July approval of Phase I deployments make sense only if they are in support of a long-run United States policy to contain China.”

It also claims:

“China—like Germany in 1917, like Germany in the West and Japan in the East in the late 30′s, and like the USSR in 1947—looms as a major power threatening to undercut our importance and effectiveness in the world and, more remotely but more menacingly, to organize all of Asia against us.” 

Finally, it outlines the immense regional theater the US was engaged in against China at the time by stating:

“there are three fronts to a long-run effort to contain China (realizing that the USSR “contains” China on the north and northwest): (a) the Japan-Korea front; (b) the India-Pakistan front; and (c) the Southeast Asia front.” 

While the US would ultimately lose the Vietnam War and any chance of using the Vietnamese as a proxy force against Beijing, the long war against Beijing would continue elsewhere.
This containment strategy would be updated and detailed in the 2006 Strategic Studies Institute report “String of Pearls: Meeting the Challenge of China’s Rising Power across the Asian Littoral” where it outlines China’s efforts to secure its oil lifeline from the Middle East to its shores in the South China Sea as well as means by which the US can maintain American hegemony throughout the Indian and Pacific Ocean. The premise is that, should Western foreign policy fail to entice China into participating in Wall Street and London’s “international system” as responsible stakeholders, an increasingly confrontational posture must be taken to contain the rising nation.
This proxy war has manifested itself in the form of the so-called “Arab Spring” where Chinese interests have suffered in nations like Libya that have been reduced to chaos by US-backed subversion and even direct military intervention. Sudan also serves as a proxy battleground where the West is using chaos to push Chinese interests off the continent of Africa.
More recently, political turmoil has hit Southeast Asia. Thailand has only just recently ousted a US-proxy regime headed by dictator Thaksin Shinawatra, while neighboring Myanmar attempts to stave off sedition headed by US-British political fronts led by Aung San Suu Kyi.
Within China itself, the US wields terrorism as a means to destabilize and divide Chinese society in an attempt to make the vast territory of China ungovernable. In the nation’s western province of Xianjiang, the United States fully backs violent separatists.
Indeed, first and foremost in backing the Xinjiang Uyghur separatists is the United States through the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED). For China, the Western region referred to as “Xinjiang/East Turkistan” has its own webpage on NED’s site covering the various fronts funded by the US which include: 

International Uyghur Human Rights and Democracy Foundation $187,918
To advance the human rights of ethnic Uyghur women and children. The Foundation will maintain an English- and Uyghur-language website and advocate on the human rights situation of Uyghur women and children. 

International Uyghur PEN Club $45,000
To promote freedom of expression for Uyghurs. The International Uyghur PEN Club will maintain a website providing information about banned writings and the work and status of persecuted poets, historians, journalists, and others. Uyghur PEN will also conduct international advocacy campaigns on behalf of imprisoned writers. 

Uyghur American Association $280,000
To raise awareness of Uyghur human rights issues. UAA’s Uyghur Human Rights Project will research, document, and bring to international attention, independent and accurate information about human rights violations affecting the Turkic populations of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. 

World Uyghur Congress $185,000
To enhance the ability of Uyghur prodemocracy groups and leaders to implement effective human rights and democracy campaigns. The World Uyghur Congress will organize a conference for pro-democracy Uyghur groups and leaders on interethnic issues and conduct advocacy work on Uyghur human rights.

It should be noted that the above list was taken from NED’s website in March 2014 – since then, NED has deleted several organizations from the list, as it has done previously regarding its support in other nations ahead of intensified campaigns of destabilization it wished to cover up its role in.

All of these NED-funded organizations openly advocate separatism from China, not even recognizing China’s authority over the region to begin with – referring to it instead as “Chinese occupation.”

Of the March 2014 terror attack in Kunming, the US-funded World Uyghur Congress would even attempt to justify it by claiming Chinese authorities have left the separatists with little other choice. The US State Department’s “Radio Free Asia” report titled, “China’s Kunming Train Station Violence Leaves 33 Dead,” reported:

World Uyghur Congress spokesman Dilxat Raxit said in an emailed statement that there was “no justification for attacks on civilians” but added that discriminatory and repressive policies provoked “extreme measures” in response.

From full-blown proxy wars in the 1960’s spanning Southeast Asia, to the US-engineered “Arab Spring” in 2011, to terrorism in Xinjiang and turmoil in Hong Kong today – what is taking place is not a battle for “democracy” or “freedom of expression,” but an existential battle for China’s sovereignty. For whatever problems the Chinese people have with their government, it is their problem and theirs alone to solve in their own way. Using the promotion of “democracy” as cover, the US would continue its attempts to infect China with US-backed institutions and policies, subvert, co-opt, or overthrow the political order in Beijing, and establish upon its ashes its own neo-colonial order serving solely Wall Street and Washington’s interests – not those of the Chinese people.

Image: Protest leader Benny Tai – fully entwined with the US State Department’s National Democratic Institute – sitting as a director for years of the Centre for Comparative and Public Law (CCPL) which collaborates with and receives funding from the US government – calls for the “occupation” of Hong Kong. Hong Kong was already occupied – by Britain from 1841 to 1997. 
For the mobs of “Occupy Central,” many have good intentions, but the leadership is knowingly in league with foreign interests seeking to subvert, divide, and destroy the Chinese people – not unlike what China had suffered at the hands of European powers in the 1800’s to early 1900’s.

Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Arctic Oil and Hong Kong Riots

logopodcastOff the microphone of RE

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Aired on the Doomstead Diner on September 28, 2014

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Snippet:

http://cdn.pjmedia.com/lifestyle/files/2013/09/duck-and-cover-drill.jpg…I’ll start today’s Rant with a personal story, we got a 6.2 magnitude Quake in Willow a couple of days ago, just about 80 miles or so from where I am located, which was the cause of much excitement and conversation around here, but very little in the way of damage. Preppers may have lost a few Pickle Jars off the shelves and a few paintings may have dropped off some walls, but not much more than that.

Still, it was the biggest Quake here since I moved to Alaska, and you definitely felt it. The cabin did some nice shaking for around 30 seconds or so. Kidz were in skule, and they got the opportunity to do a Duck & Cover Drill under their desks. There was enough time while it was going on for me to think, “Is this gonna get bigger? How long will it go?” Then it stopped.

For me, it gave me my first physical Benchmark feeling for what 6 on the Richter Scale feels like. It’s a logarithmic scale, so a 7 is 10X as severe, 8 100x etc. Anchorage did experience one of the few 9s ever recorded, a 9.2 in 1964, that is 1000X the 6 we just got. Yowza.

10X definitely would have caused damage in the cabin, and 100X would have brought it down for sure. 1000X is overkill here…

For the rest, LISTEN TO THE RANT!!!

SNAP to RIOT 3: Bring on the National Guard

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Aired on the Doomstead Diner on August 19, 2014

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Coming Soon: An Interview with Dmitry Orlov on the Ukraine Conflict and Resource Depletion

SNAP to RIOT 2 in #ferguson             SNAP to RIOT IN #ferguson

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Filed Under: Ferguson, Food Stamps, Militarization, Missouri, National Guard, Nixon, Obama, Police State, Poverty, Race War, Riots, St. Louis, Unemployment, Welfare, Death Penalty, Cop Killers

National Guard troops arrive at a mall complex that serves as staging for the police in Ferguson, Missouri.

Protesters face off with police after tear gas was fired at crowds in Ferguson, Missouri, on Sunday night.

Not such a great holiday: President Barack Obama follows through on a swing while golfing on the island of Martha's Vineyard.

Snippet:

…I was intending on moving on tonight to more International Doom, but #ferguson is the Doom Gift that Keeps on Giving.

For the 3rd night in a row with no sign of slowing down, the looting and rioting continue. The livestreams and pics from tonight’s action look like a War Zone, gas and smoke bombs being fired all over the place, and numerous shots fired, though no reports yet of anyone getting hit.

The Obamanista still hasn’t made an appearance there, you would think after a solid week of this shit escalating it might be worthwhile to fly Air Force 1 into Lambert Field and make an appearance. Even George Bush eventually got the GPS coordinates for where Katrina hit and made it to NOLA.

Even as far as making some speeches are concerned, Potus Telepromptus has so far only been given complete pablum to read by his speechwriters, and Goobernator Jay Nixon hasn’t pitched out anything substantive either.

The Gestapo agent who pulled the trigger has disappeared, his house shuttered and dark. Perhaps he is being given a New Identity by the FBI Shooter Relocation Program. Obviously what the community there wants is to see this guy “brought to justice”, which for them would mean conviction for Murder in the 1st Degree followed by a trip to the High Voltage Recliner. Missouri is a state with the Death Penalty of course…

For the rest, LISTEN TO THE RANT!!!

SNAP to RIOT 2 in #ferguson

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Aired on the Doomstead Diner on August 17, 2014

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http://gdb.voanews.com/A6A1F7C2-388D-4D46-A530-EB908259C838_w640_r1_s_cx0_cy3_cw0.jpg

http://media.komonews.com/images/140810_ferguson_riots_lg.jpg

http://www.teabreakfast.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/ferguson1.jpg

http://static3.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1904207.1408057229!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/article_970/453615832.jpg

Snippet:

…Looks like I spoke a little too soon about the Ferguson Riots calming down. Practically minutes after I published, Ferguson erupted AGAIN.

This time, instead of rolling out the tanks and rpg smoke bombs and tear gas, the Gestapo backed off and let the looters ransack at will.

Now, riots themselves are not amusing, but what is really amusing is reading the commentary on Libertarian type blogs like The Burning Platform.

When the first reports and pics came out with the Gestapo in full riot gear rolling into Ferguson in Tanks wearing enough Body Armour to stop a Depleted Uranium Full Metal Jacket Armor Piercing .50 Cal BMG slug, the commentariat (and bloggers of many stripes) all went ballistic themselves about our expanding Police State and Loss of Freedoms, Militarization of the Police, etc.

In round two of the Libertarian Kabuki Theater, as the Gestapo withdraws and lets the Looters Gone Wild show roll into high gear, the SAME folks are back out there asking “Where are the fucking Cops? Why don’t they get out there and start shooting these criminals?” LOL…

For the rest, LISTEN TO THE RANT!!!

Live Feed from Ferguson:

SNAP to RIOT IN #ferguson

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Aired on the Doomstead Diner on August 16, 2014

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http://freedomoutpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/police-militarized1.jpg

Snippet:

…Today I am going to move away from the international geopolitical clusterfuck going on in Ukraine, MENA et al to return home to the FSoA, where the latest local Clusterfuck is ongoing in Ferguson, MO, which actually is part of the St Louis metro area. Ongoing as I write the script for this rant is some amount of undetermined rioting, but a very determined amount of large scale Gestapo crackdown.

The ostensible reason for the excitement there was the shooting of a young black male by a cop, for unknown reasons in any detail. This followed by numerous other young black males taking to the streets in protest, then taking the opportunity to do some Looting, again of how big a part of this looting is or was is open to conjecture.

All you need far as Newz Propaganda is concerned are one or two good shots of a black male exiting through the broken window with a Big Screen TV on his shoulder, and you get the immediate knee jerk reaction that the whole biz is about stealing merchandise, which happens of course but is hardly the underlying cause of the whole thing. It’s also not even clear how much of that really is going on, and frankly everybody knows the Newz Corps will pull out Stock Photos from some OTHER event in the past (Katrina for instance) with some unidentified Black Male running out of a store with a Big Screen TV. HTF do you know as reader of the story where and when a picture was taken? You don’t. You are just sold the spin with this about Looting being the big deal here, and it takes your eye off the ball of the underlying causes, and reactions by TPTB with their Proxy SWAT Team forces….

For the rest, LISTEN TO THE RANT!!

Don’t Like Global Warming? How About Global Rioting?

Off the Keyboard of Thomas Lewis
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Ukraine-riot

First published at The Daily Impact May 29, 2014

The boiling point of a country is 210; not degrees on a thermometer, but points on a scale of food prices devised by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Reach that mark, and your population, on the brink of starving, will be in the streets kicking ass and taking heads. Pundits natter on about masses yearning to be free, loving democracy, spurning Islam, suddenly intolerant of dictators they were fine with for decades. In reality, the flame that lit the Arab Spring and the Syrian Civil War and the Crisis in Ukraine was a food price index of 210; and the same torch is spreading the flames around the world. The outbreak, according to Dr. Nafeez Ahmed (a security expert and writer for the Guardian of London), is a tsunami of civil unrest  “on a scale that has never been seen before in human history. This month alone [February] has seen riots kick-off in VenezuelaBosniaUkraine,Iceland, and Thailand.”

The Fahrenheit 210 hypothesis, to coin a phrase, was posited not by FAO but by the New England Complex Systems Institute. Its concerns were based on two things; the diversion of staple crops to biofuels production, and manipulation of staple-food prices by speculators. As useful as the index has been in explaining and predicting social unrest, there are additional factors that it does not take into account, and that cause it to underestimate the danger.

One is energy. As the costs of heating, cooling, transportation and production increase, the ability of families to buy food is diminished. At the outbreak of the current difficulties in Ukraineaverage income was about $185 a month and food took half of that, energy and housing another quarter. Ukrainian oil and gas production peaked in 1976 and the country now imports 80 per cent of its needs.  The price of natural gas, most of which comes from Russia, has quadrupled since 2004. If Putin succeeds in taking over this country he will find, as the Egyptian army has found, that victory can not only be hollow, it can blow up in your face.

Climate change is, of course, exacerbating the high costs of staple foods, with its associated floods, droughts and storms. But if the effects of climate change vanished tomorrow, the problem would persist and continue to get worse, because industrial agriculture can trash this planet without any help from greenhouse gases. A study out if the University of Nebraska last year concluded that despite increases in investment, expansions of acreage and applications of all the latest chemicals and hybrids, the output of industrial agriculture over much of the world has either flattened or started to decline. It’s a major reasons the FAO index has hovered around 209 for the past 18 months.

Global food prices spiked in 2008, 2011, and are expected to jump seriously in the year ahead. In 2008, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Somalia, Cameroon, Mozambique, Sudan, Haiti, and India ignited. In 2011, it was Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Libya, Uganda, Mauritania and Algeria. Flames are visible now in China, Venezuela, Thailand, Syria, and elsewhere. After slow declines since the all-time high of August 2012, food prices have jumped four per cent this year. This according to the World Bank, which in its current issue of Food Price Watch worries openly about food riots.

Americans thus far are not much discomfited by the fact (most would not likely agree that it is a fact) that someone else’s end of the boat is on fire. But now, in this favored nation, pork (because of the deadly virus epidemic) and beef (because of the drought) and produce (ditto) and dairy products (ditto, again) are going through the roof. Yesterday an unemployed workman told me he’s eating nothing but salads now because he can no longer afford a pork chop.

Temperature’s rising. Can Fahrenheit 210 be far away?

See also: Peak Food. It’s Here.

USDA Report Foresees Collapse of Agriculture. 

Top Hedge Fund Guy Sees Worsening Global Food Crisis.

***

 

Thomas Lewis is a nationally recognized and reviewed author of six books, a broadcaster, public speaker and advocate of sustainable living. He also is Editor of The Daily Impact website, and former artist-in-residence at Frostburg State University. He has written several books about collapse issues, including Brace for Impact and Tribulation. Learn more about them here.

 

Send in the Clowns

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Here we go again, for Round 12 or so of the 15 Round Thrilla in Athens & Brussels, as the Greeks will now rev up for yet ANOTHER round of “elections”.  See, they were too fractured to form a Goobermint that could agree on anything, so a  NEW round of elections which likely will see entirely NEW parties emerge outta NOWHERE should be better, right?

Now, probably at this point most Greek Spiros Retsinas all oppose the “Memorandum” and further “austerity”, but no Political Party really has Clue 1 on a “Solution” to the GSR’s problems here.  This for the fairly OBVIOUS reason that there IS no solution that won’t leave Pensioners, Widows and Oprhans starving in the streets of Athens.  Who wants to be part of a Goobermint “responsible” for THAT?

So in this round, you probably will get still MORE “radical” Left Wingers and Nazis winning some Parliament Seats, and even LESS chance in the next Go Round of this farce that various “parties” winning 10-20% of the vote will be able to join in any type of “unity” Goobermint.  So what happens after the NEXT round when 9 days after the election nobody can agree on forming a Goobermint?  Do they schedule ANOTHER election for ANOTHER Month Later here?  Maybe they do that, meanwhile you get thes so-called “Caretaker” Goobermints.  While said Cartakers flail around tying to figure out how to pay da bills with no money coming in, Kind and Generous Fat Asses from Brussels offer to send in a Team of “Technocrats” to help them out.  Sort of like Kindly Kraut Officers during the Nazi Occupation who would “help” the 12 year old daughter of the mother they so kindly “helped” also.  That from a highly respected Historical source, the film “Von Ryan’s Express” with Frank Sinatra in the role of Von Ryan.

In this case, as least so far the Greeks have demurred from being “Helped” by the Technocrats.  However, eventually here this “Democratic” process will break down and some Strongman from the the Right or Left will get enough internal support from the Greek Military and Police forces to take control, regardless of what is happening in “Parliament”.  Looks possible the neo-Nazis will fill this role, since apparently more than half the Greek Police Force voted for the Nazis in the last go round of elections.

Sadly for Greek Nazis, they are not German Nazis.  They don’t have the industrial infrastructure in place the Krauts did prior to WWII, and the idea that the Greeks could set up a 5th Reich here and take over the world is pretty ludicrous.
Also sorta ludicrous though is the idea NATO might roll Tanks into Greece to bring this all under control, like the Krauts did with the Sudetanland.  Does NATO really NEED control of a lot of Olives and Goats?  What do the Greeks have that NATO wants?  NOTHING!

NATO Commandants are VERY busy beavers down in MENA where the peons there ARE sitting on stuff NATO really wants, namely BLACK GOLD, Texas Tea, OIL THAT IS!  So why go into Greece to fight for anything?  Let them Twist in the Wind here and solve their own problems!

Main problem of course remains all that nasty EXPOSURE Eurotrash Banks  have to Greek Debt, not to mention all those nasty Derivatives set to EXPLODE as soon as Greece finally does miss a Bond Payment.  So regardless of the fact Widows and Orphans might be starving in Greece, the ECB or IMF or ESM or some other cockamamie vehicle will pay off on Bonds FOR the Greek “People”, to “Help” them.  No Euros will cross the Greek Border, but plenty will cross into the Vaults of JPMC, Goldman and Deutche Bank!

Anyhow, the nonsensical idea that the Euro problems or even the Greek MINISCULE ones were solved at any point in this long charade of Extend & Pretend is OFFICIALLY squashed here now, NO MEETING of Von Rumplestiltsking, Kukla, Fran and Ollie Rehn, Francoise Hollandaise Sauce or any other newly elected Eurotrash Pol is going to convince ANYBODY that ANY problems have been solved.  They are SOL on Political and Economic Cards to play here now.  The Clown Show has run its course here, so unfortunately the NEW Clowns will be sent in.   The next bunch of Clowns are unlikely to be quite so funny as this last bunch.

Send in the Clowns.

RE

Caretaker government will take Greece to risky repeat vote
Greece to hold new election, jolts euro markets Tue, May 15 2012
By Ingrid Melander

ATHENS | Wed May 16, 2012 1:22am EDT (Reuters) – Greek political leaders meet on Wednesday to form a caretaker government that will lead the country into its second election in just over a month, with Greece’s euro membership at stake in a mounting crisis rocking world markets. Parties deeply divided over an unpopular EU-IMF rescue plan threw in the towel on Tuesday after nine days of failed attempts to put together a coalition, hitting heavyweight financial stocks as investors worried at the prospect that the euro zone weakling would remain in limbo for at least another month.
Opinion polls show that voters enraged with five years of recession, record unemployment and steep wage cuts are likely to elect a parliament as fragmented as the one they chose on May 6. But the vote, probably in mid-June, may well tip the balance of power toward leftist parties opposed to the bailout conditions.

Policymakers from European Union states and at the European Central Bank have warned that they would stop sending debt-choked Athens the cash it needs to stay afloat if a new government tears up the bailout and backs out of commitments to cut the public debt which are blamed by many Greeks for misery.

But many cash-strapped Greek voters shrug off the threat and see no contradiction between their deep-rooted wish to stay in the euro and their opposition to conditions imposed to obtain the bailouts that have staved off bankruptcy but have dragged the nation into its deepest economic crisis since World War Two.

“There is a bit of schizophrenia in our society right now. People want to stay in Europe – have the cake – but they also want to eat it – by attacking the creditors,” said Theodore Couloumbis at Athens-based think-tank ELIAMEP.
“Much depends on whether the Greek people in this repeat election are going to vote with anger and passion or if they will cool off, reflect and see in effect what the real choices are. The choice is between bad and worse.”

Party leaders will meet President Karolos Papoulias at 1 p.m. (6.00 a.m. EDT) to put together a caretaker government. It was not clear on Tuesday who would be part of that emergency cabinet, whose main task would be to organize the repeat election – the third in Greece in as many years.

“DOESN’T LOOK GOOD”

Many in Greece pin their hopes on newly elected French President Francois Hollande, who campaigned on a pro-growth platform. Socialist Hollande offered some hope for more flexibility towards Greece on Tuesday, saying after his first meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel:

“I hope that we can say to the Greeks that Europe is ready to add measures to help growth and support economic activity so that there is a return to growth in Greece.”

But despite encouraging comments from the conservative German leader about wanting to see growth, differences remain over how far austerity programs might be relaxed.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde had earlier in the day joined a string of EU policymakers who have over the past days lifted the taboo of the possibility of an exit of Greece from the euro zone. She said it was important to be technically prepared for that possibility and warned that an exit would be “quite messy”.

European shares fell to their lowest closing level since the start of 2012 after attempts to form a government collapsed. Traders said markets could slump further in the coming days, with fears of a contagion to other crisis-hit EU states including Spain and Italy sending the euro below $1.28.

Patience is also wearing thin among a number of EU policymakers exasperated by the fact that a country which accounts for barely two percent of the euro zone’s economy should drag the bloc back into a deep crisis yet again after over two years of roller-coaster crisis.

“The 16 other governments in the euro zone really are at the end of their patience with Greece. There isn’t room or any willingness to move,” said one official involved in talks over Greece at the European Commission. “The decisions are really in Athens’ hands. But it doesn’t look good.”

The lack of a deal after the May 6 election has also angered many Greeks, making widely discredited politicians even more unpopular.

“They should go to hell,” said Giouli Thomopoulou, 59, an unemployed office clerk. “Only God knows what’s waiting for us now. I’m very scared about the future.

“I don’t think elections will solve anything because in a month we’ll be in the same situation.”

Alexis Tsipras, the untested ex-Communist youth leader whose Left Coalition party (SYRIZA) wants to tear up the bailout deal, is now leading in opinion polls but analysts said this election, possibly on June 17, is as unpredictable as the May 6 one.

“Public opinion is in total flux, in my 30 years of polling experience I have never seen anything like that before,” said political analyst John Loulis. “Everything can change until the last minute. On the May 6 election, the mood swung towards SYRIZA in the last 24 hours before the vote”.

(Additional reporting by Harry Papachristou and Karolina Tagaris in Athens and Luke Baker in Brussels; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)

Police riot at Zuccotti; the “American Spring” begins in Norfolk

Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table in the Diner


“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” ~JFK

Which, unfortunately, may be the point.

By now you will have seen some of the news about the police riot at OWS on Saturday night. Why on earth would police feel the need to clear people from the Wall Street area at 11:30 pm on a Saturday night? The streets are empty down there at that hour. The answer will be apparent with a little inference . . .

The NYT article below is pretty good, with one singular exception: I really wish the Times and other journos would stop hiding behind the word “clashed” to describe what occurs between the police and protesters, in what might be more accurately described as a police riot. Being led away in handcuffs is not “clashing” with the police. Having your head smashed into a plate glass window so hard it shatters the window is not “clashing” with police.

A police state is in place, at the beck and call of King Bloomberg, and paid for in large measure by an extra generous JPM donation to the Police Benevolent fund. And the wholesale repression evidenced by Bloomberg’s thugs, obviously designed to crush the movement, should only serve to invigorate it.

The Constitution is clear: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” It does not say you need a permit to march. It does not say you have to confine your march to the sidewalk. It does not say you must have a permit to use a sound system or bullhorn. These are all abridgments of our Constitutional rights, invented by the New York Police Department, and others like them around the country who mirror their example. Bloomberg’s private army is issuing illegal and unconstitutional orders, making illegal arrests and committing scores of unlawful acts.

 

This weekend’s demonstrations and police riot come on the heels of Greg Smith’s indictment of Goldman Sachs. The same week, we are told, that Bloomberg went to GS to lend his support to the robber barons he worked for. This mayor has lost all credibility when it comes to class differences and the plight of the working class and the poor. I suspect OWS and the many groups throughout the country that it has spawned will warm up their activities along with the weather. A weekend protest in Norfolk against the NDAA and EEA was pretty well attended, and even some Tea Party people joined in protesting the endless incursion of what used to be rights. A couple of police cruisers attended these modest efforts, although it was reassuring to see our old friends parked along our gathering.In other news, the final trial for Occupy-related defendants in Norfolk General Court is scheduled for Friday. Thus far, Norfolk Occupiers are 4-0 against the city’s law enforcement and judicial system. Which is much better than my NCAA bracket.

 

-Surly

Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table in the Diner

Read more at

http://www.breakingnews.com/topic/occupy-wall-street-protest

From the NYT:
Scores of Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested on Saturday night as police officers swept Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan and closed it.

Dozens of demonstrators sat down and locked arms as officers moved in about 11:30 p.m. The protesters chanted “we are not afraid” as the police began pulling people from the crowd, one by one, and leading them out of the park in handcuffs.

The operation occurred after hundreds of people had gathered in the financial district to observe the founding of Occupy Wall Street six months ago. Earlier, protesters had embarked upon a winding march, after which police officers made initial arrests of about a dozen people near the park.

By 11:30 p.m., as police officers massed on Broadway, a commander announced that the park was closed. Those inside shouted back that the park was obliged through an agreement with the city to remain open. The commander then announced that anyone who remained inside would be arrested and charged with trespassing.

After clearing the park, police officers and private security guards began placing a ring of metal barricades on the park’s perimeter, as those who had been arrested were placed inside a city bus.

At one point, a woman who appeared to be suffering from seizures flopped on the ground in handcuffs as bystanders shouted for the police to remove the cuffs and provide medical attention. For several minutes the woman lay on the ground as onlookers made increasingly agonized demands until an ambulance arrived and the woman was placed inside.

By 12:20 a.m., a line of officers pushed against some of the remaining protesters, forcing them south on Broadway, at times swinging batons and shoving people to the ground.

Kobi Skolnick, 30, said that officers pushed him in several directions and that as he tried to walk away, he was struck from behind in the neck. “One of the police ran and hit me with a baton,” he said.

Earlier that afternoon, as protesters gathered under blue skies while carrying banners and signs, the day was in some ways reminiscent of the first time the Occupy protesters gathered in mid-September. Just after 1 p.m., brandishing placards with messages like “Take back government from corporations,” the crowd left Zuccotti Park headed south on Broadway, chanting the now familiar slogan “We are the 99 percent.”

When the first protesters set foot in the financial district six months ago, few people imagined what would follow, including a two-month encampment in Lower Manhattan, similar camps in cities across the country and critiques of corporate greed becoming part of the national dialogue.

The movement was mainly quiet during the winter, but organizers said they were aiming for a springtime resurgence.

“It’s just a reminder that we’re here,” Brendan Burke said, as the crowd marched past the New York Stock Exchange. “It’s an opportunity to remind Wall Street that we aren’t going anywhere.”

In several respects, Saturday’s march was similar to the inaugural one. The crowd was small but spirited and marched past the bronze sculpture of a bull at Bowling Green, which had served as a mustering spot for the first march. Marchers were accompanied by police officers on foot and on scooters who at one point blocked access to Wall Street, just as they did on Sept. 17.

And, as they did that day, the marchers made sudden turns that appeared to surprise the police and walked along Wall Street for at least a brief time.

At one point, several demonstrators stood on the steep steps of Federal Hall and chanted “1-2-3-4, I declare class war.”

Later, members of the group ignored orders from the police to remain on sidewalks and flowed onto parts of Exchange Place and Beaver Street. Later, on Broad Street, a deputy inspector turned to a sergeant and said, “We got to start collaring some.”

For the next 30 minutes or so, things remained calm as marchers stuck to the sidewalks and entered Zuccotti Park.

But then, just after 2 p.m., police officers began telling a large group of protesters that they could not stand on the sidewalk on a stretch of Liberty Street. Officers pushed the crowd until more than 100 protesters on the sidewalk were pressed against a wall that borders the park.

Then the police began grabbing and arresting people, taking into custody at least half a dozen. Officers surged into the crowd, dragging protesters toward the street, as people yelled objections.

“They were grabbing people randomly,” Zachary Kamel said, adding that his girlfriend, Lauren DiGoia, had been arrested while dancing on the sidewalk.

One sergeant grabbed a woman wearing a green shirt by the bottom of her throat and shoved her head against the hood of a car. A moment later, another officer approached and forcefully pressed her head against the car before placing her into the back of a police truck.

Over the next few hours, protesters conducted meetings inside Zuccotti Park and held a dance party fueled by a saxophone and a battery of drums. Sporadic moments of tension also arose.

At one point, the police arrested a handful of protesters on Cedar Street near Trinity Place. A few moments later, near Cedar Street and Broadway, a police captain pushed a man by the shoulders for almost a block, then released him when a crowd loudly demanded to know whether the man was under arrest.

The man, Charlie Gonzalez, 31, said that the captain had told him he was not permitted to stand on the sidewalk.

About an hour later, the same captain pushed another man several hundred feet east down Cedar Street, about a block from Zuccotti Park, and briefly detained him.

That man, Yoni Miller, 19, said he was counting officers standing in rows near Broadway when the captain forced him to walk around a corner onto Cedar Street, then asked him if he was a terrorist or was planning any crimes.

Paul Moore, 25, said that he was videotaping the encounter when the captain asked him for identification and began pushing him away, telling him he was not permitted to document what was happening.

After nightfall, the number of people inside the park swelled to more than 500.

About 10 p.m., some of those in the park began a regimen of running and dancing that they called “spring training,” which they said was meant to prepare for coming demonstrations.

At 10:30, protesters sprung up a green tarp, folded over a piece of rope suspended from two trees near the center of Zuccotti Park. Security and police officers looked on from the perimeter.

 

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