AuthorTopic: Knarf's Knewz Channel  (Read 1946196 times)

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Chinese migrants found hiding in appliances at US crossing
« Reply #14850 on: December 10, 2019, 02:54:40 PM »

This photo released Monday, Dec. 9, 2019 by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shows hands held up by a person or persons hiding in a washing machine, among 11 Chinese nationals found by CBP agents hiding in furniture and appliances inside a moving truck stopped Saturday, Dec. 7, while entering the U.S. from Mexico at the San Ysidro border crossing near San Diego, federal officials said. The truck driver, a 42-year-old U.S. citizen, was arrested on suspicion of human smuggling, according to a statement.

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Eleven Chinese migrants were discovered hiding in furniture and appliances inside a truck stopped by agents as it entered the U.S. from Mexico at a Southern California border crossing, federal officials said.

At least one person was crammed inside a washing machine and another was curled up inside a wooden chest, according to photos provided Monday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Authorities searched the truck Saturday evening at the border crossing between Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego, the federal agency said.

The truck driver, a 42-year-old U.S. citizen, was arrested on suspicion of human smuggling, a Customs and Border Protection statement said. He was not identified.

The 11 Chinese citizens were detained pending criminal and immigration proceedings, the statement said.

“These are human beings that smugglers subject to inhumane conditions that could have deadly consequences,” Pete Flores, director of field operations in San Diego for Customs and Border Protection, said in the statement. “Fortunately no one was seriously injured.”

Six Chinese nationals were found last month at the same border crossing concealed behind a false wall in a truck trying to enter the U.S., officials have said.

https://apnews.com/79a46e960a0de20ac960db2065568b03?utm_medium=APWestRegion&utm_source=Twitter&utm_campaign=SocialFlow
NECROCAPITALISM at http://openmind693.wordpress.com ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

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The majority of refugees worldwide are not men older than 19
« Reply #14851 on: December 10, 2019, 03:10:12 PM »
A meme claims that 75 percent of refugees are men between age 19 and 45, while only 13 percent are women, and 12 percent are children. This is false; United Nations High Council on Refugees (UNHCR) numbers from 2018 show that out of the 20 million refugees under its mandate worldwide, one quarter are men between 19 and 59 years old, while half are under age 18, and 48 percent are women and girls.
A meme first shared at the height of the European migrant crisis of 2015 has resurfaced on Facebook in North America in late 2019. It claims that official figures from the UNHCR, the international body in charge of protecting refugees, show that 75 percent of these people forced to flee their countries are men between 19 and 45 years old, while only 13 percent are women, and 12 percent are children.

“This is not the profile of a humanitarian disaster but the demographics of an invasion,” the post concludes.



The post was also shared on Facebook here by a candidate for US Senate and on Pinterest here.

However, these numbers differ greatly from real UNHCR data, which is a combination of numbers collected in UNHCR refugee camps and government agency figures.

“We do not endorse this communication at all,” Emmanuelle Paciullo, a communications officer for the UNHCR in Canada told AFP in an email regarding the figures in the meme above.

A refugee as defined by the UN agency is “someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence.” At the end of 2018, there were 20,360,562 refugees under the UNHCR’s mandate. Another 5.5 million Palestinian refugees fall under the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

Of those twenty million, 50 percent were under 18, 48 percent were women, and 24.4 percent were men between the ages of 18 and 59.

These proportions do vary based on the country or region in which refugees settle. In Canada, UNHCR data counted 114,109 refugees and people in refugee-like situations at the end of 2018. Of those, 37 percent were under 18, while 48 percent were women, and 31.27 percent were men between 18 and 59 years old.

The numbers also show that, both globally and in Canada, four percent of refugees are over 60 years old, an age category that was left out of the false publication.

The current global refugee population registered with the High Commissioner for Refugees is the highest on record. Turkey hosts the largest refugee population, with nearly four million individuals at the end of 2018. More information on refugee statistics is available on the UNHCR’s webpage here.

https://factcheck.afp.com/majority-refugees-worldwide-are-not-men-older-19
NECROCAPITALISM at http://openmind693.wordpress.com ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

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Juice Wrld: Guns, metal-piercing bullets and drugs found on dead rapper's jet
« Reply #14852 on: December 10, 2019, 03:21:53 PM »
Juice Wrld fell ill after touching down at a Chicago airport and was taken to hospital, where he later died.


Juice Wrld was considered a rising star in the rap scene

Guns. metal-piercing bullets and drugs were found on the plane that rapper Juice Wrld was travelling on before his sudden death.

Authorities said federal agents and police had been tipped off and were waiting for the private jet to land in Chicago on Sunday.

The award-winning music star, 21, and about a dozen other people were on the plane when it landed from LA at around 2am.

Juice Wrld won best new artist at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards
Juice Wrld, real name Jarad Anthony Higgins, fell ill shortly after touching down and was taken to hospital, where he later died.

The hangar where the plane landed was being searched when Higgins went into convulsions, and a dog found luggage carts with bags of suspected marijuana.

Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said three guns, metal-piercing bullets and a high-capacity ammunition magazine had also been found - plus several bottles of prescription cough medicine.

Two security guards who were on the plane have been arrested on gun charges but none of those on board have admitted to carrying the drugs, with analysis under way to determine who owned which bags.

Toxicology tests are also being carried out to find out how Higgins died.

Medical officials are waiting for the results before drawing any conclusions from Monday's post-mortem examination, but foul play is not suspected.

The rapper was from Chicago
Higgins did wake up after his convulsions when he was given Narcan - a medication to block the effects of opioids.

He remained incoherent after waking up and was rushed to Advocate Christ Medical Centre in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead.

His girlfriend told officials he had been taking Percocet, an opioid painkiller.

Fans and fellow rappers have paid tribute, with British star DJ Semtex describing him as "mad cool, insanely talented, and just getting started".

Higgins, who was from the Chicago suburb of Homewood, was considered a rising star and was named top new artist at the Billboard Music Awards in May.

https://news.sky.com/story/juice-wrld-guns-metal-piercing-bullets-and-drugs-found-on-dead-rappers-jet-11883152
NECROCAPITALISM at http://openmind693.wordpress.com ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

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Iran Has Launched ‘Malicious’ New Malware That Wipes Windows Computers,Warns IBM
« Reply #14853 on: December 10, 2019, 03:28:03 PM »
Iran’s state-sponsored hackers have deployed a new strain of malicious malware, warns IBM, which has been aimed at the “industrial and energy sectors” in the Middle East. No specific companies have been identified, but there’s no surprise in the nature of the attack. For Iran, its ongoing hybrid conflict with the U.S. and its allies has made these sectors a target. IBM has attributed the latest “destructive attacks” to Iran’s hyperactive APT34 “and at least one other group, [also] likely based out of Iran.”

APT34 has hit the headlines a few times this year, including with a phishing attack using LinkedIn. But it’s the identity of that “one other group” that’s arguably more interesting. The sectoral targets and use of wiper malware points towards Iran’s APT33, arguably the best known of its threat actors. This is the group behind the Microsoft Outlook exploit in July, prompting a U.S. government warning, and which deployed its own VPN to veil “aggressive attacks” on U.S. and Middle East targets in the oil and gas sector. APT33 was also behind the infamous 2012 Shamoon attack on Saudi Aramco, an attack which erased the data on most of the company’s computers.

IBM’s X-Force team has dubbed the new wiper malware “ZeroCleare.” According to the team’s report, “we were not surprised to find that ZeroCleare bears some similarity to the Shamoon malware—ZeroCleare aims to overwrite the Master Boot Record (MBR) and disk partitions on Windows-based machines.” As with Shamoon, the attack misuses EldoS RawDisk to attack files and disks on target machines.

The Iranian malware used RawDisk “to wipe the MBR and damage disk partitions on a large number of networked devices—sowing the seeds of a destructive attack that could affect thousands of devices and cause disruption that could take months to fully recover from.” Here, again, are parallels to Shamoon. An attack intended to disable strategic targets and cause realtime economic harm. IBM does not think this strain of malware has been seen before, and so this may be its first known exploit in the wild.

Iranian hacking groups are now demonstrating a tenacity and an increasingly sophisticated set of cyber weapons to target strategic industries. And while U.S. commercial entities are definitely in the crosshairs, the Middle East is seen as a softer target. The twist here is that this latest attack included multiple tools deployed by different Iranian threat groups to bypass system security layers, brute force network credentials and plant the wiper malware—a major concern to the industry.

IBM described the attacks as a “low-cost, and potentially non-attributable means of conducting hostile, and even warlike activity,” warning it has the “potential to disrupt critical services, damage or destroy highly specialized equipment, and ultimately inflict detrimental cascading effects upon global energy security and industries.”

For the taskmasters in Teheran, as I have commented before, the deployment of cyber offensives against strategic industrial targets effects outcomes against nation states that would be much harder to hit in the military sphere. This is the hybrid warfare that has become an escalating reality this year. And with near limitless industrial targets, most poorly protected against nation state attacks, it is set to become the norm.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/zakdoffman/2019/12/04/iranian-hackers-launch-malicious-new-wiper-malware-ibm-warns-of-destructive-attacks/#7c2077c37ec2
NECROCAPITALISM at http://openmind693.wordpress.com ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

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House Democrats introduce Trump impeachment articles on abuse of power, obstruction
« Reply #14854 on: December 10, 2019, 06:48:23 PM »
Latest impeachment updates
House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against President Trump, accusing him of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The Judiciary Committee said it will start debating the articles Wednesday night, setting up a vote in the committee sometime Thursday.
Download the free CBS News app to stream live coverage of the announcement at 9 a.m.


Washington -- House Democrats are moving forward with two articles of impeachment against President Trump, deploying the most powerful tool Congress has under the Constitution for just the fourth time in U.S. history.

The articles include abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, and were announced by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler on Capitol Hill.

"Today, in service to our duty to the Constitution and to our country, the House Committee on the Judiciary is introducing two articles of impeachment, charging the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, with committing high crimes and misdemeanors," the chairman said, speaking alongside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other committee chairs.

The articles accuse Mr. Trump of "[using] the powers of the Presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process."

The Judiciary Committee will begin marking up the articles Wednesday at 7 p.m. and continue Thursday morning, setting up a vote on referral to the full House sometime later that day.

Democrats allege Mr. Trump abused his power by seeking to leverage a White House meeting and nearly $400 million in security assistance for Ukraine to force the country's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and the 2016 election.

They have also criticized the Trump administration for blocking all subpoenas and documents related to the inquiry across the executive branch, arguing the president is seeking to stonewall legitimate congressional oversight.

https://www.cbsnews.com/live-news/trump-impeachment-updates-articles-of-impeachment-today-2019-12-10/
NECROCAPITALISM at http://openmind693.wordpress.com ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

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15 Million Iranian Bank Accounts Hacked During Protests
« Reply #14855 on: December 10, 2019, 06:51:34 PM »
Following massive anti-government protests in Iran in November, during which demonstrators set fire to banks across the country, the details of 15 million Iranian debit cards were published online, exposing the account information of almost one-fifth of Iran’s population.

“This is the largest financial scam in Iran’s history,” conservative Iranian outlet Aftab News reported. “Millions of Iranians are worried to find their names among the list of hacked accounts.”

The affected banks had been sanctioned by the U.S. in 2018 over allegations they transferred money for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps in violation of international law. The elite security force was labelled a terrorist organization by the U.S. in April.

Iranian information and telecommunications minister Mohammad Jahromi denied the breach was the result of a hack. However, cyber experts told the New York Times the attack was likely carried out by a state or state-sponsored organization.

The attack revealed a “high technological capability, which is usually at the hand of state intelligence services,” said Boaz Dolev, chief executive officer of cybersecurity company ClearSky.

The protests, initially set off by increases in the price of fuel, were the “the worst political crisis the regime has faced in its 40 years,” according to State Department Iran Envoy Brian Hook. Hook also said the regime may have killed up to 1,000 people in response to the protests, although he did not cite evidence for the figure.

COMMENTS
Human rights groups have estimated the total number of dead at between 180 to 450. Efforts to verify the number of dead were hampered by the regime’s near-total internet blackout imposed during the protests.

In one incident reported by the Times, members of the IRGC massacred up to 100 protesters in a marsh in the southern city of Mahshahr.

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/15-million-iranian-bank-accounts-hacked-during-protests/
NECROCAPITALISM at http://openmind693.wordpress.com ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

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'World's first' fully-electric commercial flight takes off
« Reply #14856 on: December 11, 2019, 09:05:02 AM »
The deal, announced Tuesday, settles a dispute over an ad campaign the for-profit college unrolled in 2012.



An all-electric powered seaplane has taken flight in Vancouver, Canada, in what the operators describe as a "world first" for the aviation industry.

The short test flight by Harbour Air and magniX involved a six-passenger aircraft fitted with an electric motor.

The companies said it was a first step to building the "world's first all-electric commercial fleet".

The push to electric could help slash carbon emissions in the high-polluting aviation sector.

"This historic flight signifies the start of the third era in aviation - the electric age," Harbour Air and magniX said in a statement.

The flight involved a six-passenger DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver with a 750-horsepower (560 kW) magni500 propulsion system.

Launched at the Paris Air Show earlier this year, Australian company magniX said its propulsion system aims to provide a "clean and efficient way to power airplanes".

Canadian seaplane operator Harbour Air hopes to electrify its entire fleet by 2022, provided it secures safety and regulatory approvals.
Electric ambitions

Shifting to electric engines is seen as one way to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the aviation sector.

It comes amid growing concern from travellers over the polluting impacts of flying.

In the UK, aviation is set to be the biggest source of emissions by 2050.

A recent survey by Swiss bank UBS found people are beginning to cut air travel over concern for the environment - as the Swedish concept of "flygskam" or "flight shame" appeared to spread.

Still, electric aircraft that can travel long distances remain a big challenge for the sector.

Electrical motors, generators, power distribution and controls have advanced rapidly but battery technology has not.

An aircraft like the one flown in Vancouver could only fly about 160km (100 miles) on lithium battery power, according to AFP.

"The [flight] range now is not where we'd love it to be, but it's enough to start the revolution," said magniX chief executive Roei Ganzarski, the news agency reported.

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-50738983

NECROCAPITALISM at http://openmind693.wordpress.com ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

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New Zealand has ordered more than 1,290 square feet of skin for volcano victims
« Reply #14857 on: December 11, 2019, 09:09:07 AM »
New Zealand has ordered 1,292 square feet of skin to treat patients injured in Monday's volcanic eruption on White Island, authorities said Wednesday.
A total of 47 people were on White Island, off the coast of North Island, when the eruption occurred. Six have been confirmed dead, while 25 people are currently hospitalized in critical condition. Search and recovery operations are continuing for those still missing and presumed dead on the island.
The skin is now needed to treat patients severely injured by the volcanic ash and gas. On Tuesday, medical officials said 27 people in hospital had burns to at least 30% of their bodies and many have inhalation burns that require airway support. Every burns unit in the country is at full capacity.

"We currently have (skin) supply, but are urgently sourcing additional supplies to meet the demand for dressing and temporary skin grafts," said Peter Watson of the District Health Boards on Wednesday. "We anticipate that we will require an additional 1.2 million square centimeters (1,292 square feet) of skin for the ongoing needs of the patients."

To put that into context, the average human body has about 11 square feet (1 square meter) to 21 square feet (2 square meters) of skin surface area.
The skin order has been placed and will come from the United States, Watson said. Skin and tissue banks from neighboring Australia, like the Donor Tissue Bank of Victoria, are also providing skin grafts and supplies.
The skin grafts come from donors -- like organ donors, skin donors register to donate their skin after death. When skin is donated, usually only a thin layer is taken, like the skin that peels when you are sunburned, according to the Australian government's donation site. The skin grafts are usually taken from donors' backs or the back of their legs.
The demand for skin is particularly high given the unprecedented number of severe burns to the victims, authorities said Wednesday. The patients' burns are already serious from their close proximity to the volcano during the eruption -- but the injuries were also complicated by gases and chemicals, Watson said.
When White Island erupted, there would have been so much poisonous gas released that people would have been able to taste the chemicals, said Jessica Johnson, a volcanologist at the University of East Anglia in England.

The volcano -- which has an acidic lake in its crater -- would also have thrown out boiling hot steam clouds, she added. The patients' severe burns were probably from these steam blasts, she said.
Apart from the steam, they could also have been injured by "very hot rock debris," said Monash University volcanologist Raymond Cas.
These complications meant the patients needed to be rushed to surgical treatment more urgently that with usual burn cases, Watson said on Wednesday, adding, "This is just the start of a very long process that, for some patients, will take several months."

The patients are from a range of nationalities, meaning some of them will be transferred to their home countries for treatment. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday that 10 Australian patients would be repatriated in the next 24 hours to receive "specialist medical care."
Meanwhile, the authorities continue to monitor the volcanic island, which remains too dangerous for rescuers to access. They are also working to identify the six confirmed dead, with the help of forensic pathologists and dentists. Names and faces are beginning to emerge -- an Australian teenager and her stepfather, an Australian mother and daughter, and a New Zealand tour guide are among the victims identified so far.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/11/health/new-zealand-volcano-skin-intl-hnk-scli/index.html
NECROCAPITALISM at http://openmind693.wordpress.com ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

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Arctic Report Card: Record territory for warm temperatures, loss of snow and ice
« Reply #14858 on: December 11, 2019, 09:14:18 AM »
Annual update charts ongoing impact of changing conditions on environment, communities



NOAA’s 14th Arctic Report Card recounts the numerous geophysical and biological changes that occurred in the northern polar region during 2019, with near-record high air and ocean temperatures and melting of the Greenland ice sheet, low sea-ice extents, and shifts in the distribution of commercially valuable marine species.

The Arctic Report Card is an annual volume of original, peer-reviewed environmental observations and analysis of a region undergoing rapid and dramatic change. Compiled by 81 scientists from 12 nations, the 2019 report card tracks a number of environmental indicators to inform decisions by local, state and federal leaders, as Arctic residents confront the challenges and opportunities presented by a rapidly changing climate and ecosystem. It was released today at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting in San Francisco. See our video highlights from the 2019 Arctic Report Card.

“The speed and trajectory of the changes sweeping the Arctic, many occurring faster than anticipated, makes NOAA’s continued investment in Arctic research and activities all the more important,” said retired Navy Rear Adm. Timothy Gallaudet, Ph.D., deputy undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere at NOAA, who led the news conference where the report card was released. “We need the best scientific information to support NOAA’s efforts to better understand how environmental change is affecting the Arctic and weather around the globe, to support adaptation and economic opportunities in the region, and to sustain our ocean-based Blue Economy.”

The Arctic Report Card is organized into three sections. Vital Signs provides annual updates on seven topics: Surface Air Temperature; Terrestrial Snow Cover; Greenland Ice Sheet; Sea Ice; Sea Surface Temperature; Arctic Ocean Primary Productivity; and Tundra Greenness. Other Indicators explores topics that are updated periodically. Frostbites reports on new and emerging issues, and topics that relate to long-term scientific observations in the Arctic.

Some of the report’s major findings include:

    The average annual land surface air temperature in the Arctic between October 2018 and August 2019 was the second-warmest since 1900.

    North American Arctic snow cover in May 2019 was the 5th lowest for that month in 53 years of record. June snow cover was the 3rd lowest measured. Exceptionally early snowmelt was observed in March over the northwestern Canadian Arctic and Alaska, during a month when maximum snow depth is normally reached.

    The extent and magnitude of ice loss on the Greenland Ice Sheet from fall 2018 through 2019 rivaled the previous record year for ice loss, 2012.

    Arctic sea ice extent at the end of summer 2019 was the second-lowest since satellite observations began in 1979. The maximum ice cover towards the end of winter 2019 was 7th lowest in the satellite record. Bering Sea winter sea ice extent in 2019 narrowly missed eclipsing the record low set in 2018.

    Loss of sea ice and changes in bottom water temperature caused Arctic fish species to shift to more northern waters between 2010 and 2018. Commercially valuable southern species are expanding their range north to take advantage of changing conditions.

In addition to the regular chapters, ARC 2019 brings a specific focus on the Bering Sea, including an essay from the Bering Sea Elders, a group representing 70 indigenous communities across the region.

The report card is one of many ways that NOAA is advancing its mission in the Arctic by improving weather, ocean, and sea ice forecasts, enabling sustainable fisheries and economic activity, and supporting national and homeland security.

https://www.noaa.gov/media-release/arctic-report-card-record-territory-for-warm-temperatures-loss-of-snow-and-ice
NECROCAPITALISM at http://openmind693.wordpress.com ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

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American Culture Loves a Good Killer
« Reply #14859 on: December 11, 2019, 09:17:49 AM »

Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) and Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) debate Hoffa’s next move.

Donald Trump’s narcissistic, authoritarian instincts and the man’s clear admiration of Vladimir Putin’s gangster-capitalist leadership style makes me think of archetypal killers. During his campaign for president he spoke often of killing; he would anonymously refer to some of his business friends as “real killers,” which was meant as a compliment on their skills and effectiveness. There was the remark he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it. Lately, it’s his public intervention in military discipline issues lionizing Seal Team Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, who’s accused of being an overly enthusiastic killer.

This is not so unusual, of course, since Mr. Trump is a bona fide creation of American culture and we tend to revere killers in this culture. Richard Slotkin wrote a powerfully trilogy of books on this aspect of American history beginning with Regeneration Through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier, 1600 – 1860. The final book, Gunfighter Nation, covers the 20th century.

“In American mythogenesis the founding fathers were not those eighteenth-century gentlemen who composed a nation at Philadelphia. Rather, they were those who . . . tore violently a nation from the implacable and opulent wilderness. . . . Their concerns, their hopes, their terrors, their violence, and their justifications of themselves . . . are the foundation stones of the mythology that informs our history.” Thus his thesis: “the myth of regeneration through violence became the structuring metaphor of the American experience.”

Martin Scorcese’s latest (and maybe greatest) gangster movie, The Irishman, is a three-and-a-half-hour paean to the killer in urban America. Robert DeNiro is Frank Sheeran, a made mob killer who’s always algebraically calculating on which side his bread is buttered. The core drama of this gangster epic is how and why Sheeran ends up whacking his good friend Jimmy Hoffa.

Besides its epic drama, the film is a long You Tube how-to lesson in the finer points of knocking somebody off: One, clear the hit with the bosses; two, plan as much as possible to encounter your target in an out-of-the-way place; and three, if you know the victim, walk right up to him, exchange pleasantries and shoot him point blank two or three times in the head with a small, snub-nosed .38. Then you pop off a couple quick shots at the prone, twitching body to seal the deal. Finally, you fling the weapon into the nearest river.

There used to be a code in Hollywood movies that the ending must comport with the idea that crime doesn’t pay. In our age of open-secret corruption, that code no longer prevails. In this case, Sheeran does some jail time for “bullshit” crimes, which is part of the swaggering lifestyle. But they never get our man for murder. The sentence he suffers is permanent alienation from his beloved daughter Peggy who will never speak with him again. The film ends with our urban American killer in a wheelchair ignominiously facing his own death alone in an old-folks home in Philadelphia. He never gets to see how he’s immortalized by Scorsese and Netflicks, which financed the film.

From Edward G. Robinson as Little Ceasar to Paul Muni and Pacino in two versions of Scarface, the gangster killer has fascinated American culture almost as much as the mythic western gunfighter immortalized from John Wayne to Clint Eastwood. Today, our favorite killers tend to be divided into protagonists and their antagonists engaged in our foreign wars.

Donald Trump may be, according to a psychiatrist interviewed by Lawrence O’Donnell recently, a man who thinks in a “simple”, “primitive” and un-empathetic way that was established when he was quite young; one thing he’s particularly good at is couching everything in a cultural fashion that aligns with his narcissistic mind. No one knows better than he does how important the killer is as an American archetype. Beyond this archetypal/mythic reality, Trump clearly understands what a critical tool killers can be in the pursuit and retention of power.

Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, from the stories told about him, is a man who’s good at killing people. His teammates have reported being concerned about his indiscriminating appetite for killing civilians — so much so that one teammate reportedly messed with his sniper rifle’s telescopic sight so he’d miss his targets. The Navy itself was ready to throw Gallagher out of the elite Seals for his homicidal inclinations, specifically his gratuitous knifing of a captive teenager suspected of ISIS connections and, later, his posing with the corpse. The message Trump sends with his endorsement of Gallagher is in line with Trump’s clear admiration of successful despots like Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un and Rodrigo Dutarte, all of whom are known for knocking off people. Just this week the German government linked the Russians with knocking off a Chechyan fighter in Germany.

Some people take pleasure in killing. I recall in the 1980s listening to a lecture by a federal attorney who had wiretapped a Philly mobster, possibly someone in Frank Sheeran’s orbit. The man had just killed someone in an intimate manner and was recounting the act on the phone; he said killing the man had been so pleasurable he wished he could bring him back to life so he could kill him again.

While the US military has a lot of moral baggage to deal with in places like Vietnam, Iraq etc, it’s correct and honorable in wanting to rid itself of someone like Chief Gallagher. But, then, there’s the world of private mercenary operations like Blackwater that would hire Edward Gallagher in a heartbeat — for a better salary than he gets in the Navy. One can’t help wondering whether a Donald Trump acquitted by the Senate and re-elected would feel encouraged enough to expand such off-the-books operations into sophisticated, under-the-radar operations modeled on Putin’s gangster capitalism.

In The Irishman, Al Pacino plays Jimmy Hoffa in such a blustery, loud way that it reminded me of Donald Trump. His Hoffa, just out of four years in prison, is so stubborn and so righteously determined to regain control of what he sees as “my union” that he alienates some big mobsters who, while they tend to like the man and his style, wish he would relax, enjoy his pension and accept that things have moved on; they’re afraid his obsession to regain his Teamster leadership role could potentially affect them in negative ways. Thus, as this fictionalized saga would have it, Sheeran is delegated to whack his friend. As far as Hoffa goes, the film is a classic tragedy where a character’s own decisions lead inexorably to his tragic fall.

Is there a pattern metaphor here? One that applies to a narcissistic president unwilling to compromise or be pragmatic on anything, a man with immense power who doesn’t pay much attention to what’s going on outside his narrow orbit and, instead, stubbornly projects outward what happens to be going on in his head — no matter who it burdens or runs over? When might Mr. Trump become a liability to Republicans? At the UN last year and in London’s NATO meeting this week, he’s become the butt of jokes among world leaders. As things close in on him, despite Sean Hannity’s hagiographic media worship, one can only expect these problems to increase for the man and his reality TV show. Could his ratings plummet?

Like frustrated mobsters in a corrupt world concerned about their gang and their own power, as time moves forward and more rotten details become public, the possibility should not be precluded that at least 20 Republican senators might feel compelled to convict such a wounded and impeached president to save their sorry asses.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/12/10/american-culture-loves-a-good-killer/
NECROCAPITALISM at http://openmind693.wordpress.com ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

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Re: American Culture Loves a Good Killer
« Reply #14860 on: December 11, 2019, 01:35:17 PM »

This is not so unusual, of course, since Mr. Trump is a bona fide creation of American culture and we tend to revere killers in this culture. Richard Slotkin wrote a powerfully trilogy of books on this aspect of American history beginning with Regeneration Through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier, 1600 – 1860. The final book, Gunfighter Nation, covers the 20th century.


In 1923, the British novelist D. H. Lawrence offered a grim assessment of America and Americans: “All the other stuff, the love, the democracy, the floundering into lust, is a sort of by-play. The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.”

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Earliest known cave art by modern humans found in Indonesia
« Reply #14861 on: December 11, 2019, 05:48:46 PM »
Pictures of human-like hunters and fleeing mammals dated to nearly 44,000 years old


 The drawings are nearly twice as old as any previously known narrative scenes.

Cave art depicting human-animal hybrid figures hunting warty pigs and dwarf buffaloes has been dated to nearly 44,000 years old, making it the earliest known cave art by our species.

The artwork in Indonesia is nearly twice as old as any previous hunting scene and provides unprecedented insights into the earliest storytelling and the emergence of modern human cognition.

Previously, images of this level of sophistication dated to about 20,000 years ago, with the oldest cave paintings believed to be more basic creations such as handprints.

“We were stunned by the implications of this image,” said Adam Brumm, an archaeologist at the Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution at Griffith University. “This was just mind-boggling because this showed us that this was possibly the oldest rock art anywhere on the face of this planet.”

The painting, discovered in 2017, is one of hundreds in South Sulawesi, including a red hand stencil, which was dated to at least 40,000 years ago. But the latest finding is exceptional as it is more than twice as old as any previously known narrative scenes and hints at ancient myths and an early capacity for imagination.

“It suggested to us that this extraordinary scene suggests a story or some kind of myth,” said Brumm.

The 4.5-metre-wide panel shows six fleeing mammals – two Sulawesi warty pigs and four dwarf buffaloes, known as anoas, small but fierce animals that still inhabit the island’s dwindling forests. The animals are being pursued by human-like figures with some animal features (academics call these therianthropes), who seem to be wielding long swords or ropes. Their bodies are human-shaped but one appears to have the head of a bird and another has a tail.

Human-animal hybrids occur in the folklore of almost every modern society and are frequently cast as gods, spirits or ancestral beings in religions across the world.

“The most fascinating aspect is it has all the key elements of modern human cognition,” said Prof Maxime Aubert, an archaeologist at Australia’s Griffith University. “Hand stencils, a narrative scene, human-like figures that were conceived of something that doesn’t really exist in the real world. Everything is there by 44,000 years ago.”

The cave is in a well-explored system, which researchers had visited frequently over the past decade. The discovery was made after an expedition member noticed what appeared to be an entrance to a high level chamber above and climbed up a fig tree to investigate. “And then, bang, there’s this incredible new rock art site in there that’s essentially like nothing we’ve ever seen before in this entire region,” said Brumm.


The dwarf buffalo species pictured still inhabits forests on the island

Rock art is difficult to date, and the scientists relied on analysing mineral growths known as cave popcorn, that had formed over the painting. Measuring the radioactive decay of uranium and other elements in the deposits gave dates ranging from 35,100 to 43,900 years as a minimum age for the Sulawesi discovery. The findings are described in the journal Nature.

“It’s just amazing and to me it just shows how much more rock art that is out there waiting to be discovered that completely changes our understanding of the human story,” said Brumm.

Before this latest discovery, the oldest undisputed examples of figurative cave art date to about 35,000 years old. The oldest cave art on record is abstract forms attributed to Neanderthals, which have been dated to 64,000 years old. The art features lines, dots and animal-like shapes.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/dec/11/earliest-known-cave-art-by-modern-humans-found-in-indonesia
NECROCAPITALISM at http://openmind693.wordpress.com ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

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Greta Thunberg blasts soft emissions targets at U.N. climate summit
« Reply #14862 on: December 11, 2019, 05:53:54 PM »
"This is not leading. This is misleading," the Swedish activist told world leaders at COP25 in Madrid.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg on Wednesday denounced the pledges of wealthy countries and businesses to curb climate change as hollow and deceptive, calling them "clever accounting and creative PR" in a speech before world leaders at the United Nations' annual COP25 climate meeting in Madrid.

The talks are aimed at finalizing guidelines for implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement, which called for measures to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit and mitigate the consequences of climate change.

Thunberg, addressing the conference hours before she was named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2019, criticized the targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and declarations of climate emergencies for falling short of real, substantial action.

"This is not leading. This is misleading," Thunberg, 16, said. "Only setting up distant dates and saying things which give the impression that action is underway will most likely do more harm than good."

A 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warned that to evade the most serious consequences of climate change by keeping global temperatures from rising more than 2.7 degrees, emissions would have to be reduced significantly by 2030.

The effects of climate change are becoming ever more apparent.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a report on the state of the Arctic on Tuesday that found air temperatures were the second warmest since 1900, contributing to record losses to the Greenland ice sheet and exceptional snow melt in the Canadian Arctic and Alaska.

The melting ice also means permafrost ecosystems could release up to 600 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, contributing to further global warming.

In the wake of calls for action on climate change, many governments have declared climate emergencies and set more stringent targets — including the European Union, which plans to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030. As leaders negotiate how to achieve such targets and who should pay for it, Thunberg said the effort is misleading as global emissions hit record highs.

"Most of these pledges do not include aviation, shipping, importing and exporting goods and consumption, but they do include the possibility for countries to offset their emissions elsewhere," she said. "Without seeing the full picture, we will not solve this crisis."

The shortcomings of world leaders and the inequality at the heart of the climate crisis which is "created by rich countries," was also addressed by Ugandan youth activist Hilda Flavia Nakabuye.

"You have been negotiating for the last 25 years, even before I was born," she said. "Do you want the whole of Africa to perish?"

Following her appeal, a group of youth activists staged a sit-in protest at the climate talks, which is set to lose a key signatory. President Donald Trump last month wrote a letter to the U.N. to start the withdrawal process from the international climate pact.

Michael Bloomberg, the New York billionaire and presidential candidate, reassured climate activists in Madrid this week that Americans remain committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions "even with a climate change-denier in the White House," promoting efforts by U.S. states, cities and businesses to continue to abide by the Paris accord.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/greta-thunberg-blasts-soft-emissions-targets-u-n-climate-summit-n1099551
NECROCAPITALISM at http://openmind693.wordpress.com ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

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France's pension overhaul: a look at the planned changes
« Reply #14863 on: December 11, 2019, 06:17:03 PM »
The French government has unveiled details of a planned overhaul of the pension system that will make younger generations work longer

PARIS -- French President Emmanuel Macron's government on Wednesday unveiled details of a planned pension system overhaul that will make younger generations work longer and has sparked nationwide strikes and protests.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced some concessions, and promised that the changes will be applied gradually. The government plans to pass the bill early next year.

Macron argues the reform is needed to modernize France's complex pension system. But workers' unions see the changes as threatening the French welfare state.

Here's a look at the planned measures and their effect.

THE CURRENT PENSION SYSTEM

All French retirees receive a state pension. The average pension this year stands at 1,400 euros per month ($1,500 per month) once taxes are deducted. But that average masks differences across 42 different pension systems.

The easy bit: Employees in the private sector are part of the general pension system. They account for about 7 out of 10 workers.

The more complicated bit: many professions have a special pension scheme. Some people, like railway workers and air crews, are allowed to take early retirement. Others, like lawyers and doctors, pay less tax.

Civil servants — who number over 5 million — also have a separate pension scheme.

Over the last three decades, governments have made changes but each reform has been met with massive demonstrations. None of the changes managed to simplify the system.

———

MACRON'S PLANS

Macron wants to replace the current complex system by a unified scheme, so that all workers have the same pension rights.

In his view, the measure is needed to adapt to a more flexible labor market, because with the current system increasing numbers of workers who have had several different jobs and different statuses during their career stand to receive lower pensions.

It's also aimed at making the new system financially sustainable in the long-term, since it is projected to run a deficit in coming years.

The changes won't apply to current pensioners and people born before 1975.

Starting in 2022, young people entering the workforce will directly enter the new system.

Those with special pension schemes will be granted a longer transition period.

———

LABOR UNIONS' CONCERNS

Labor unions fear most workers will need to work longer for lower pensions.

People born after 1974 will have to work until the age of 64 to get a full pension, two years longer than under the current system.

The minimum retirement age will remain at 62, but those who retire before 64 will get lower pensions, while those who will choose to work longer will be offered financial incentives.

Labor unions also say pensions will be reduced with the new system due to a change in the calculation formula.

People who qualify for special provisions fear the loss of benefits.

———

GOVERNMENT CONCESSIONS

Some specific measures will be maintained, such as allowing military, police, firefighters and people with physically demanding jobs to retire early.

The government said the law will ensure that future pensions won't decrease, even in should a new financial crisis develop.

The government set up a minimum pension of 1,000 euros ($1,108) per month for those who have worked all their life — a first in the country. This would affect many farmers, small businesses owners and artisans, who often have very low pensions under the current system.

The new system is also presented as being more favorable for many women, who will be able to retire at 64 on a full pension even if they interrupted their career to raise their children. Under the current system, many had to wait the age of 67.

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/frances-pension-overhaul-planned-67663194
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Winds of hunger: Simultaneous heatwaves to batter food-growing countries
« Reply #14864 on: December 11, 2019, 06:48:44 PM »
ROME, Dec 9 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Climate change could spur stronger crop-wilting heatwaves that hit several of the world’s major grain producing regions simultaneously, potentially sparking food shortages and unrest, researchers warned Monday.

Crop failures in one part of the world – from weather disasters or other causes – have traditionally been offset with increased trade from other areas with normal or above normal harvests, said climatologist Dim Coumou, a co-author of the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change

But a pattern of waves in the strong jet stream winds that circle high above the Earth’s surface, combined with hotter climate-driven temperatures, could threaten crops in multiple breadbasket regions at once, the study noted.

Most vulnerable are the western regions of North America, western Europe, and western Russia and Ukraine, which together grow about a quarter of the world’s staple grains such as wheat, maize, soy and rice, are very susceptible to such heatwaves.

The jetstream pattern was associated with devastating heatwaves in western Europe in 2003 and 2018, and in Russia in 2010, said Coumou, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and an associate professor at VU Amsterdam.

“We show in this analysis that whenever these waves emerge, crops are negatively affected in these regions at the same time,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Two or more hot summer weeks under the weather pattern can cause 4% crop losses in the affected areas, with wider regional losses up to 11%, the paper noted.

Production declines in the regions could lead to global food price spikes if affected countries impose export bans to ensure sufficient food supplies in their own countries, the paper added.

“The 2010 heatwave in Russia caused major harvest failures which led to a national export ban on grains,” said Kai Kornhuber, the study’s lead author and a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University’s Earth Institute.

While many factors affect food prices, the export ban “contributed to a increase of 50% in (global) wheat prices by the end of the year. This price spike has been connected to the Arab Spring unrest,” he said.

The concern, he said, is that “in a warming climate, extreme heat events will get more severe.”

Researchers said it is unclear if these wind patterns would occur more frequently or last longer due to climate change. But even if they remain unchanged their effect would be amplified as the planet’s mean temperature rises, they said.

The latest study on the impact of climate change on agriculture follows recent warnings of simultaneous falls in food production from both farming and marine fisheries and how water shortages could jeopardize crop yields.

https://nationalpost.com/pmn/environment-pmn/winds-of-hunger-simultaneous-heatwaves-to-batter-food-growing-countries
NECROCAPITALISM at http://openmind693.wordpress.com ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)