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Geopolitics / Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« Last post by Eddie on Today at 07:19:01 AM »
All the talk about Cohen flipping is completely speculation and extremely premature. This isn't some mob attorney who knows where the bodies are buried. Besides, Mueller is probably going to stay very focused on JUST the election, and ignore Trump and Cohen's long term criminal collusion in other matters. He has given every indication that this is the case.
Doom Psychology & Philosophy / Re: Honorary Doomer for a day.
« Last post by Eddie on Today at 07:13:53 AM »
I agree with most of what he says.

As more and more promises come due for Medicare and Social Security (not to mention paying for the endless wars, which are always fought on credit), then taxes can and will become more onerous.  The income tax is not that onerous now by historic measures, but fees and local and state taxes are always creeping up.

  Not applying for federal programs is another way along with state programs, Medicaid, Medicare....

I see no reason for anyone not to receive their SS and Medicare. This is the one  thing I read that does NOT make sense. How does that make you more resilient? The point I think he might be getting at (I haven't watched the video) is that one should not plan of being completely dependent on the state for health care and retirement, because it might not be there. (More correctly, it probably will be there but  pared way down and  not worth much in actual buying power.)

To start with, exactly nobody is going to refuse to participate in Medicare and SS, anyway, unless they're in a special group that doesn't pay into that system and therefore don't get benefits. (Like some teachers, and the Amish, for instance). Why would anybody refuse government benefits?

Medicaid is different that SS and Medicare, because it isn't limited to the old. I still see no benefit to an individual to avoid receiving the benefits if you are poor enough to qualify. I see no problem with taking disability either, although it's already getting harder to qualify for, and people who get the benefits get screwed around to some degree.

Geopolitics / 🤡 Flipping Cohen against Trump may not be so easy
« Last post by RE on Today at 05:49:39 AM »
Isn't the legal system great?


 Flipping Cohen against Trump may not be so easy

Secrecy issues make turning a lawyer against a client a legal minefield, experts say

04/24/2018 05:00 AM EDT

Michael Cohen is pictured. | Getty Images

FBI agents raided President Donald Trump's attorney Michael Cohen’s (pictured) home and office earlier this month and seized records and electronic devices which reportedly contain communications with the president. | Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AFP/Getty Images

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Politico Magazine

    Church of The Donald

    By Ruth Graham
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    By Ayanna Alexander
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    By Jennifer Palmieri

Getting Michael Cohen to rat out President Donald Trump may not be as simple as it sounds.

Although Trump’s detractors are rooting for Trump's personal attorney to “flip” on the president and cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller to escape a potentially harsh prison sentence, legal obstacles make it difficult for lawyers to expose their clients’ guarded secrets.

Even if Cohen is determined to break his confidences with Trump, legal ethics might deter federal prosecutors from coaxing him to betray his professional confidences with Trump, legal veterans and experts say.

"This idea of 'flipping' Cohen—they can't just flip a lawyer to testify against a client," longtime defense attorney Harvey Silverglate said. “Even if Cohen doesn't know better, one would think the FBI and the prosecutors would know better."
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Silverglate said not only Cohen but prosecutors could be disbarred for overstepping the well-established ethical boundaries.

FBI agents raided Cohen’s home and office earlier this month and seized records and electronic devices which reportedly contain communications with Trump, whom Cohen has represented for more than a decade.

Because Cohen was Trump’s lawyer, many of those communications are likely covered by the legal principle of attorney-client privilege, which would typically prevent them from being admissible in court.

While the privilege can be waived, only Trump—and not Cohen—has the right to do so.

"It is absolutely the case that, even if he is criminally liable himself, Michael Cohen is not allowed to disclose client confidences learned through the attorney-client relationship about any client without their permission," said Paul Rosenzweig, a former legal adviser to Whitewater Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.

Attorneys for Cohen and Trump declined to comment for this story. But other lawyers expect the president's legal team would vigorously object to Cohen discussing Trump's past dealings to prosecutors. Lawyers for Trump are already fighting in court to block prosecutors' access to information that the FBI seized on the grounds that it is covered by privilege.

There are exceptions to what privilege will protect. Communications made with the intent of committing or concealing a crime or fraud are exempted, for instance.

And Cohen is entitled to disclose conversations with Trump that are directly related to charges he might face.

"The ethics rules allow lawyers to disclose client confidences from a representation if the lawyer is charged with wrongdoing arising out of the representation," said New York University law professor Stephen Gillers. "You can't trade on client information unless you're charged with wrongdoing because of the representation of that client."
Donald Trump, Aras Agalarov and Emin Agalarov are pictured. | Getty Images

White House
Trump’s false claims to Comey about Moscow stay could aid Mueller


Lawyers said prosecutors are likely to tread carefully because any misstep could jeopardize the investigation by the U.S. attorney's office in New York into Cohen, which includes his payment of $130,000 in alleged "hush money" payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims she had sex with Trump and was paid to buy her silence shortly before the 2016 election. Trump says he was unaware of the payment.

That federal probe also reportedly involves Cohen's personal business dealings, including financing of dozens of New York City taxi medallions that Cohen has owned.

Casual treatment of information from Cohen could even put at risk Mueller's investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, attorneys said. It was Mueller who uncovered and referred to New York federal prosecutors the information that triggered the raid on Cohen’s addresses.

On Saturday, Trump lashed out at press reports that Cohen might choose to 'flip' against his former boss and client, but the president also seemed to emphasize that Cohen was engaged in business Trump had nothing to do with.

"Michael is a businessman for his own account/lawyer who I have always liked and respected. Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if it means lying or making up stories,” Trump wrote. “Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!”

Even if Cohen is inclined to share information about Trump with prosecutors, the government would likely want a judge to rule explicitly that the attorney-client privilege doesn't apply—either because Cohen was engaged in order to commit a crime or because the matter in question did not involve confidential legal advice.

"They have to be very careful. They don't want to taint the members of the Mueller team," said one former federal prosecutor who handled a case where an attorney was charged criminally. "They get tainted with that, they're off this case. It's a pretty heavy penalty... They certainly could not simply bring [Cohen] in. They could not break that privilege without some court deciding that."

Adding to the complexity is the fact that Cohen also served as an attorney for the Trump Organization and acted on his own in various business deals. That means prosecutors could be entitled to ask some questions about Cohen's experiences in dealings with Russia, for example, but may not be entitled to pry into what Cohen told Trump on such issues or vice versa.

"They could ask about what he negotiated with the Russians but cannot ask what he told Trump or what Trump told him," said Silverglate. "The relationship between Trump and his lawyer was probably very mixed. If they were in business together and had a part of some deal together that wouldn't surprise me."

Ultimately, divining that line will likely require a court-appointed special master to consider what is fair game for prosecutors. Any rulings on those questions could spur protracted litigation, but could provide a road map for what prosecutors can talk to Cohen about and what they can't

"It's incredibly complicated.... The special master is really essential," Silverglate added.
Donald Trump is pictured. | AP Photo

White House
Trump lashes out as legal risks pile up


Veteran prosecutors says they can recall few, if any, instances where attorneys agreed to testify freely about their clients—even in cases where attorneys have been prosecuted for alleged complicity in mafia or drug activity.

Cohen's dilemma does have at least one significant historical echo.

After President Richard Nixon's personal attorney, Herbert Kalmbach, pleaded guilty in 1974 to illegal fundraising for GOP Congressional candidates, he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors to reduce his prison sentence and revealed that he knew of payments of illegal "hush money" to Watergate burglars.

Former White House Counsel John Dean said Monday he does not recall attorney-client privilege being an issue because Kalmbach's activities were clearly in the fundraising and financial realm and not the provision of legal advice.

Dean, who served as White House counsel to Nixon from 1970 to 1973, said the president ultimately waived any attorney-client privilege to allow his own testimony. However, the president dropped the privilege issue only after Dean made clear he was planning to testify anyway on the ground that some of his actions amounted to crimes.

"Nixon waived the privilege, although he did know that I was going to blow right through it," said the former White House counsel, who pleaded guilty in 1973 to conspiracy to obstruct justice in connection with the payments Kalmbach made to the burglars. "I'd already flipped."

Darren Samuelsohn contributed to this report.
Doom Psychology & Philosophy / Re: Honorary Doomer for a day.
« Last post by David B. on Today at 05:24:47 AM »
Small is your friend. I know My collapse scenario has always involved every level of government trying to squeeze you harder and harder in an attempt to keep it going just a few years longer... At least a third of my acquaintances could not take a mere 2 or 3 percent interest rate increase let alone a doubling of tax burden. They would not struggle they would be crushed...
Notes to self:
Stay out of dept, build small and efficient, make everything last as long as possible. Exchange services as much as possible do not exchange money unless absolutely necessary.  Grow as much food as you can you will never have enough of it. Build a financial plan that sees government money as a luxury not a necessity, try to keep the kids humble and easy to satisfy...
Mantras for the morning...
Cheers,  David B.
Geopolitics / 💢 Russia and the War Party
« Last post by RE on Today at 04:16:59 AM »

April 24, 2018
Russia and the War Party
by Carl Boggs

Photo by Upendra Kanda | CC BY 2.0

The steady deterioration of American political discourse seems to have reached its lowest ebb in historical memory, visible in the rightward shift of both Democrats and Republicans.  One sign is the frenzied Democratic assault on Republicans from the right, especially in foreign policy.  Another is the resounding silence on the most crucial problems facing humanity: threat of catastrophic war, nuclear arms race, ecological crisis, health-care debacle, the worsening miseries of global capitalism.   Tabloid-style spectacles have increasingly filled media space.  Still another sign is the intensifying anti-Russia hysteria promoted by unhinged liberals in Congress and the corporate media, reminiscent of the worst McCarthyism.

Another example of this descent into absurdity is the book Russian Roulette, by liberals Michael Isikoff and David Corn – Beltway writers whose shrill anti-Russian crusade has received highest accolades by the New York Times and such promoters of the permanent warfare state as Rachel Maddow (whose gushing endorsement is on the back cover).  The subtitle – “The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump” – reveals the political obsession of Democrats (and plenty of Republicans) for the past eighteen months, to the exclusion of most everything else.   More than anything, the volume illustrates the staggering level of ignorance in the U.S. about Russian history and politics, crude propaganda easily displacing coherent analysis.  (A more general – and devastating – review of Russian Routlette by Paul Street appeared earlier in CP.)

Russian Roulette is filled with 300 pages of meticulous detail – Trump’s (actual, planned, or failed) business dealings in Russia, endless goings and comings of shady characters and “operatives”, electronic transactions across the great divide, a litany of speeches, conferences, dinners and other activities, computer hacking and trolling schemes, breathless tales of lurid behavior, Russians clandestinely entering the U.S., reports on secret files, and of course the menacing specter of Russian “oligarchs”.  All this is believed to demonstrate Putin’s ruthless war against America, his supreme goal being to “destroy our democracy”, instill chaos, and neutralize U.S. as well as European geopolitical power.  As we have been ritually informed by CNN and kindred venues, cyber warfare (for now) is the Russians’ preeminent mode of combat – and it has been so devastatingly effective as to paralyze normal American politics.  It was cyber warfare, moreover, that delivered the 2016 presidential election to the Russia-loving Trump.

Trump, it turns out, was guilty of the most grievous sin: he went so far as to mention the possibility of cooperative relations with Russia, the idea being to help fight terrorism and better manage the nuclear threat. His other crime was to question the neocon/Democratic/Clintonite agenda of regime change in Syria – an agenda (still alive) that could bring military confrontation with a nuclear state. Trump’s fanciful hope meant that he had to be a willing “stooge” of Putin and his nefarious plots.

It turns out that the myriad claims, charges, and allegations set forth by Isikoff and Corn amount to little of substance – surely nothing to prove that Putin has been conducting warfare against the U.S., or that Russians had decisively influenced the 2016 presidential election.  Evidence that Trump conspired in any way with Putin or his imagined assemblage of henchmen, former KGB agents, cyberwarriors, and oligarchs is similarly lacking.   Yet, for the authors the only way Hillary Clinton could have lost the presidency that was rightfully hers was because the Russians intervened, with help from the treacherous Wikileaks, the authors writing: “Never before had a president’s election been so closely linked to the intervention of a foreign power.”

According to Isikoff and Corn, the scheming Russians managed to infiltrate party machinery, elections, and the Internet, deploying squads of cyberwarriors from the notorious Internet Research Agency and other sites.  They also placed ads in Facebook and other social-media sites.  How many American voters were even exposed to such fare, much less swayed by it, cannot be established, but vague popular awareness of this Russian skullduggery did not appear until the Mueller investigation called attention to it more than a year after the election.  No one denies the actuality of Russian trolling and hacking enterprises. The problem for the authors here is that such operations are so universally practiced as to be rather commonplace, while it has yet to be shown they can alter election outcomes in the U.S.. Moreover, in this area of intelligence work (as in so many others) the U.S. has long been unchallenged world champion.

The authors describe Putin as an “autocratic, repressive, and dangerous Russian leader” who routinely kills his political enemies and crushes dissent.  Such oversimplified descriptions of Putin and the Russian scene in general are set forth as established truths, no discussion or evidence needed.  Why a duly-elected leader (with 76 percent of the vote earlier this year) can be so ritually dismissed as a ruthless tyrant Isikoff and Corn never get around to explaining.  Were election irregularities or illegalities reported?   Were voters threatened or coerced?   Is Putin any more authoritarian than the vast majority of leaders around the world?  Would Netanyahu in Israel, Macron in France, or Merkel in Germany (all elected by much slimmer margins) be described as simple despots?

As for Trump, Russian Roulette seeks to demonstrate that the candidate and then president somehow “aided and abetted Moscow’s attack on American democracy.” That’s right: the White House served as a willing, secret accomplice in Putin’s criminal schemes.  So many Trump associates –Paul Manafort, General Michael Flynn, Carter Page, et. al. – had indeed previously traveled to Russia, talked and dined with Russians, and (gasp) seemed to want something of a cordial relationship with business and other interests there.  (Why this should have been shocking is hard to fathom, since in 2016 and 2017 the Russian Federation was still an integral part of the global capitalist economy and the U.S. has been doing plenty of business there since the early 1990s.)

The authors’ unfounded generalizations are based mainly on three sources, most crucially the all-important (but phony) Christopher Steele “dossier” that was said to implicate Trump in a variety of offenses and scandals that even Isikoff and Corn admit is comprised of “sensational and uncorroborated claims” – that is, fake news.  They argue, further, that Putin hacked DNC communications and passed along damning emails to Wikileaks, but investigation (by William Binney and others) suggests they were more likelyleaked than hacked; Julian Assange firmly denies that the files (never viewed by the FBI) came from any state actor.  The establishment media paid little attention to the damning content of these emails, so their impact on the election in any case could not have amounted to much.  Even the Mueller Committee report earlier this year, which indicted 13 Russian trolls and hackers, conceded they had no appreciable impact on the 2016 election results.

In Russian Roulette the authors seem infatuated with the American “intelligence community” – purported last word on the question of Russian interference — writing confidently but misleadingly: “The intelligence community has identified Moscow as the culprit in the hacks of Democrats in October [2016].”  One cannot help wondering what sort of “community” Isikoff and Corn have in mind.

By “intelligence community” do they include the NSA, an agency that has been spying on Americans and the world with impunity for years while a spokesperson (James Clapper) lied about it before Congress?  Could they be referring to the CIA, active for decades in clandestine and illegal operations such as unwarranted surveillance, sabotage, torture, drone strikes on civilians, and regime change (by military force, not just computer meddling) in Vietnam, Iran, Guatemala, Chile, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, and too many other countries to list here, all aided and abetted by flagrant lies and cover-ups?  Perhaps they have in mind the FBI, an agency long dedicated to destroying popular movements (Civil Rights, anti-war, etc.) through COINTELPRO and other illegal operations.  Or the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), which for decades has squandered hundreds of billions of dollars on a futile but disastrous and racist War on Drugs, filling jails with people targeted, harassed, jailed, and ruined for the crime of using banned substances?

Can Isikoff and Corn actually take seriously the murky claims of the most Orwellian surveillance apparatus in history?  Do they believe that this “community” is subject to any meaningful oversight and accountability?  Their remarkably clueless account – basic to virtually every narrative in Russian Roulette – reveals an astonishing disconnect from postwar American (and world) history.

The central Isikoff/Corn thesis is not only devoid of factual support but is totally inverted: the present state of affairs is exactly the opposite of what they argue.  There has been no “Putin’s war on America”, but rather sustained U.S. (and NATO) warfare against Russia – political, economic, ideological, military – since 2000, if not earlier.  The Russians occupy the other, targetedend of the power spectrum, obvious to any serious observer.  Who has invoked harsh and repeated economic sanctions on whom?  Who has militarily encircled and targeted whom?  Who has deployed nuclear weapons at whose border?  Who has financed and orchestrated a hostile coup adjacent to whose territory?  Who has carried out non-stop ideological hysteria against whom?

In the world as it now exists, it is worth asking whether Russia could plausibly assume the role of imperial aggressor in its dealings with the world’s leading superpower?   Consider that in 2017 the total Russian GDP as barely 1.5 trillion dollars, roughly one-twelfth that of the U.S. ($19.5 trillion) and not even one-tenth that of the European Union ($14 trillion).  Military spending breaks down accordingly: nearly one trillion for the U.S. and $250 billion for NATO compared to $61 billion for Russia.  As for intelligence operations, the imbalance worsens – a budget of six billion dollars for the FSB and military GRU combined, compared to $75 billion for Washington not counting another $45 billion for the DEA and DHS (Department of Homeland Security) in tandem.

In fact Russia, despite its nuclear prowess, does not have the leverage and resources to threaten American (much less broader Western) geopolitical objectives – the real “threat” coming from the stubborn fact of Russian independence that was squelched during the Clintonite 1990s, when Washington used its power to reduce post-Soviet Russia to puppet status under Boris Yeltsin.   During the Yeltsin period the U.S. was never content with simple “meddling” in Russian affairs: it propped up a weak president, dismantled the public infrastructure, coddled an emergent stratum of oligarchs, and then spent $2.5 billion to sway the 1996 election in favor of a weak and unpopular Yeltsin.  Only with Putin’s emergence in 1999 did the nation regain a semblance of independence, restoring economic and political sovereignty, much to the disgust of Western ruling interests.

American intrusion into domestic Russian affairs is never explored by Isikoff and Corn, as it would undermine their one-sided tract. Nor do the authors have much to say about the post-Soviet eastward march of NATO, which allowed the U.S. and its allies to partially encircle Russia with both nuclear and conventional forces. The opening salvo of this strangulation gambit was President Bill Clinton’s “humanitarian” war against Serbia ending with the 1999 U.S./NATO bombings.   This was followed by President George W. Bush’s decision to scrap the crucial ABM Treaty with Russia in 2002 before invading Iraq in 2003.  CIA and State Department efforts to orchestrate regime change in Ukraine, ultimately achieved in 2014, came soon thereafter.

The ongoing Western campaign of economic warfare, media propaganda, and military provocations directed at Russia has only served to bolster Putin’s legitimacy, as shown by his overwhelming support in the 2018 election.  Yet Isikoff and Corn can write: “He [Putin] was a Russian nationalist to the core.  He wanted to extend Russian power. . . [as] an autocrat in the long tradition of Russian strongmen and had little interest in joining the club of Western liberal democracies – or winning its approval.”  Given the rampant imperial behavior of Washington and its European partners, Putin would have to be certifiably insane to respond in a manner that would permit further Western encroachments.

It is the expansionist U.S./NATO alliance that has maliciously targeted Russia, not the other way around.  Putin is surely a nationalist, but why not?  That just means he will fight for Russian national integrity against Western efforts to isolate and destabilize the country.  Any cyberwarfare activities launched by the Russians will appear to the rational observer as quite intelligible, a proven method to gain information about the plans of a vastly superior adversary overflowing with anti-Russia venom.

Like other Russia-bashing ideologues, Isikoff and Corn see terrible “oligarchs” everywhere, all naturally cozy with Putin. We have references to “Putin and his oligarch friends,” as if large-scale business interests could somehow have nothing to do with government.  They note that payments to IRA trolls “were being made through a holding company owned by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch and restaurateur close to the Russian president and known as ‘Putin’s chef”.”  Along with this disturbing revelation we are told that a “clique of [oligarchic] hardliners was able to outgun Russian moderates – a group including Yury Kovalchuk, billionaire owner of Rossiya bank and friend of the president “known as Putin’s banker”.  It would be a mistake to overlook the infamous Aras Agalarov, a real-estate mogul identified as “Putin;s Builder”.  Left out was any reference to “Putin’s Gardener”.

The authors deftly uncover a clique of diabolical oligarchs colluding with Putin to launch attacks on the West.  It might be useful to clarify the meaning of “oligarch”. One generally held definition is that they are exceedingly wealthy and powerful business and financial elites – the same interests that Washington zealously supported in Russia during the 1990s. These would be aligned with the very corporate and banking interests that dominate the global capitalist system, everywhere seeming to enjoy close relations with their governments.  American oligarchs (multibillionaires) in fact far outnumber their Russian counterparts – 565 to 96 – and possess many times the wealth and influence.  Further, if Washington really despises oligarchs, why did it install billionaire Petro Poroshenko as Ukraine ruler after the 2014 coup?

For Isikoff and Corn, Hillary Clinton might have been a terribly flawed candidate, but her loss nonetheless would not have occurred in the absence of “Putin’s underhanded intervention”.  No one questions whether Russian trolls and hackers were active in 2016 – or that Facebook ads were placed – but no evidence of their actual effectiveness has been presented, much less their capacity to determine an election outcome.

As they righteously celebrate the virtues of multiculturalism, diversity, and tolerance, liberal Democrats – now more than ever a neocon party of war – have come to embrace just the opposite: fierce hostility against other nations and cultures, smug provincialism, a recycled McCarthyism that spews hatred at even the slightest dissent from super-patriotic orthodoxy.  They pretend victim status when they are the ones targeting, attacking, smearing, and warmongering.

Worse yet, to satisfy their narrow political agendas they are perfectly ready to risk military confrontation with a nuclear power – a conflict that could lead to unprecedented global catastrophe.  Nowhere in this parochial text do the authors express the slightest concern for the horrors that might result from years of U.S./European hostility toward Russia.  Despite an unlevel economic and political playing-field, it is worth remembering that in nuclear matters Russia has rough parity with the West.  This might deter the neocons of both parties or it might not, the sad reality being is that liberal Democrats exemplified by Isikoff and Corn have little to offer the world beyond continuous war shrouded in a flimsy, desperate identity politics.

CARL BOGGS  is the author of Origins of the Warfare State and, most recently, Fascism Old and New (Routledge, 2018).
The Diner Pantry / 🍜 Doomstead Diner Breakfast Special: 4/24/2018
« Last post by RE on Today at 03:35:59 AM »
It's Soup🍜4Breakfast Week on Special here at the Diner!

Today's S🍜4B is one loved by 1.3B Chinese and popular here too in the Chinese Restaurants. but they're not generally open for breakfast.  For me, I like Won Ton or Hot & Sour🍜 soup more than Egg Drop, so I rarely order it for the lunch or dinner soup🍜.  There are also variations on plain EDS🍜 with different veggies in them, we may feature one of these at a future date on the Diner.


Egg Drop Soup🍜
Surly Newz / Doomstead Diner Daily 4/24
« Last post by Surly1 on Today at 03:03:20 AM »

The Doomstead Diner Daily 4/24

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The 'End of the World' Is Today. Here's Why We're Still Here.

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Editor's note

The Doomstead Diner is a hub for discussion and information pertaining to the ongoing Economic Collapse of the Industrial Economy. The Diner is the result of many years of discussion and debate on many other forums. At Doomstead Diner, our goal is to collate much of the information we can to assist in planning for the world to come.
Geopolitics / 🚢 China’s first homemade carrier out for maiden sea trial
« Last post by RE on Today at 12:00:25 AM »
They should have spent the money on more advanced cruise missiles.  Carriers are sitting ducks and archaic technology.


China’s first homemade carrier out for maiden sea trial

Unnamed carrier seen moving out of Dalian shipyard in northeast China with its deck cleared
By Asia Times staff April 23, 2018 5:33 PM (UTC+8)

Photos and video clips appearing online since Monday morning confirm that China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier has started its maiden voyage.

The date of the launch was no surprise – Monday is the day the People’s Liberation Army Navy was established.

The yet-to-be-named vessel set off from its berth at Dalian Shipyard in northeast China, where Liaoning, the country’s first carrier, underwent a seven-year retrofit after a hulk was bought from Ukraine. The latter has now begun service as China’s first seagoing airbase.

Liaoning provincial maritime department gazetted a no-entry zone last Friday, barring ships from entering roughly 1,500 square kilometers of water in the Yellow Sea, off the coast of Dalian from April 20 to 28.
The no-entry zone gazetted by the Liaoning provincial maritime authority, likely for the first sea trial of China’s homemade carrier. Photo: Handout

The Beijing-based Global Times has said the first locally made carrier, not yet christened, is likely to be ready for combat “within two years” after its expected delivery to the navy by the end of this year.

Pictures posted online show that scaffolding around the new carrier has been removed, with an active phased-array radar system clearly visible on the bridge. The flight deck and curled-up bow had also been cleared of items.
China’s first domestically built carrier is technically “all set” for its maiden voyage in the Yellow Sea in northern China. Photo: Weibo

The picture below shows workers using water cannons to clean the deck while the carrier’s anchor is lifted. Several cranes were also spotted on the deck in another picture taken earlier this month when equipment and food and fuel supplies were believed to be transferred on to the carrier.
Photo: People’s Daily via DFIC (newspaper in Shanghai).
Heavy-lifting cranes are seen on the flight deck of the carrier in this photo taken earlier this month. Photo: People’s Daily via DFIC

Beijing started building the carrier in late 2013, and overseas observers believed that it could be a copy of the Liaoning, as Chinese engineers and shipbuilders sought to use the diagrams obtained along with the Soviet-built hull.

Yet the speed with which China has allegedly replicated the Soviet design for a new carrier with indigenous technology input has still surprised analysts. The sea trial comes just a year after the carrier’s dry dock was flooded for the first time in April 2017.

Known specifications of the home-built carrier include a displacement of around 65,000 tons, conventional diesel and steam propulsion, plus a steam-powered catapult launching system for planes on board.

Meanwhile, the Liaoning, was in a convoy over the weekend together with missile destroyers and ship-borne fighters, en route from the South China Sea to the western Pacific for a long voyage to help its crew adapt to coordinated offensives on the high seas, Xinhua reported.

Liaoning is now in waters east of the Bashi Channel, between the Philippines and Orchid Island off Taiwan, in a mock combat with two PLA Navy Type 052C destroyers, according to the PLA Daily.
Doom Psychology & Philosophy / Honorary Doomer for a day.
« Last post by K-Dog on April 23, 2018, 08:53:58 PM »
Here is someone who sees pre-collapse as being more dangerous than actual collapse could be.  He claims we are going into a 'great narrowing' where the death throws of empire will ruin the average Joe.  He sees rising prices bankrupting the average American before shelves go bare, my words.  I think that is what he is trying to say.  Prep for a great fleecing before collapse as business as usual passes an impossible price burden onto consumers while it still can.
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Geopolitical and financial analyst Warren Pollock says Syria is a diversion at best. Pollock explains, “I think Syria is entertainment.  It’s Kabuki Theater.  Certainly, at the local level, it could be a skirmish.  They have this fellow Assad, who was the poster boy on 60 Minutes two decades ago when they said what a wonderful guy he was, and now he is the arch enemy of evil along with Vladimir Putin.  He is running a Kleptocracy, obviously, but at least it’s more honest than we are because our Kleptocracy doesn’t have the integrity to tell us what it is.  We also know what Vladimir Putin is, and if he wasn’t a strongman, it would be a total disaster in Russia.  It is what is necessary to keep that place controlled.  Unlike our form of governance, at least Russia has a 25 year horizon into their future, where the U.S. has nothing but competing interests and competing bureaucracy.  So, we (USA) are a Kleptocracy just like Russia, but the organs of our state are narrowed and are basically failing.  The press is failing.  It is a failed organ of our society.  Our governance has failed.  It is a failed organ of our society. . . . What we have is a veneer of governance.  It’s not the real governance that is in this country.  Our government has some of the elements of the Soviet system, and it has some of the elements of what Chris Hedges calls inverted totalitarianism.  It’s really hard to define our system of government.”

Pollock goes on to say, “What we think of as our government, the voting booth that is just a veneer, that is just to keep people placated. This bureaucracy, I think, is a major vector of theft.  When we look at the actual function of our system, it is actually atrophied.”

So, how do you navigate a bureaucratic system that is out to rob its citizens? Pollock says, “How do you get small?  Not having a website is one way.  Staying out of debt is one way.  Not applying for federal programs is another way along with state programs, Medicaid, Medicare, any large debt acquisition. . . . Getting smaller houses and not getting credit for a new car.  There are lots of ways for you to get small, and you will be happier as a result.”

Warren definitely deserves to be an honorary Diner.  Some of Warren's ideas about 'getting small' may not stick to the walls here though.
Nice Kill Count with no AR-15!

Remember, "People don't Kill People, Carz Kill People"

We need better background checks for drivers, and we should raise the age limit to get a Driver's License.


Toronto van: Ten dead and 15 injured as pedestrians are hit

Media captionWitnesses recall Toronto van incident

Ten people have been killed and 15 injured after a man drove a van into pedestrians in Toronto, police said.

The suspect has been named by police as Alek Minassian, 25.

A man was arrested several streets away following a tense standoff with officers on the street.

Bystander videos appeared to show the driver pointing an object at the officers, who can be heard shouting at him to get down. The man was then detained without any shots being fired.

Toronto deputy police chief Peter Yuen asked for witnesses to come forward and said there would be "a long investigation". He said separate hotlines had been set up for victims' families and for witnesses.

Police would not say if they believed the act was deliberate but Canadian public safety minister Ralph Goodale, in a tweet thanking the emergency services, referred to it as a "horrific attack".
Skip Twitter post by @RalphGoodale

End of Twitter post by @RalphGoodale

Reza Hashemi, who owns a video shop on Yonge Street, told the BBC he heard screaming on the other side of the road.

He said the white rental van had repeatedly mounted the pavement and run into people.
Media captionAmbulance rushes to the scene in Toronto

Van rental company Ryder System Inc confirmed that one of its vehicles was involved and said it was co-operating with authorities.

The incident occurred at Yonge Street and Finch Avenue at 13:30 local time (17:30 GMT) on Monday. The crime scene encompassed a 2km (1.24 mile) stretch of Yonge Street.
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The damaged rental van was sealed off by police

About 18 miles (30km) away in the city centre, foreign ministers of the G7 leading industrialised nations - Canada, the US, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan - were holding meetings.

Pictures apparently taken at the scene showed armed police and paramedics treating the injured. One orange bag, which appeared to contain a body, was loaded on to an ambulance.

Toronto police spokeswoman Jenifferjit Sidhu told CBC News that the vehicle was stopped by police.
Residents left in shock

Jessica Murphy, BBC News, Toronto

A long stretch of Yonge Street in Toronto's North York is cordoned off with yellow police tape for what police say will be a complex investigation.

There are multiple sites where people were hit. At one intersection, debris and a lone shoe mark the spot of one fatality.

In the aftermath, people who would usually be running errands or heading back to surrounding office towers and condominiums reacted with shock at what happened, sharing what they had seen or heard, even though reasons behind the incident remain unclear.

Hours after the event there is mainly just quiet, as police begin the painstaking work of piecing together what happened on a wide stretch of road on Monday lunch hour.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted from Ottawa: "Our thoughts are with all those affected by the terrible incident at Yonge and Finch in Toronto."

"Thank you to the first responders working at the scene - we're monitoring the situation closely."

One witness told City News that the driver was "hitting anything that comes in the way".

"People, fire hydrants, there's mail boxes being run over," said the unnamed man, who said he was driving behind the van during the incident.

As the van continued, the man said he sounded his horn to try to warn pedestrians. "I witnessed at least six, seven people being hit and flying in the air, like killed, on the street," he said.
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Bystanders tried to help emergency responders treat the injured victims

Toronto Mayor John Tory called it "a very tragic incident". He said he had "offered any and all assistance that the city can provide to the police to help this investigation".

The US and Europe have seen an increase in driving attacks in recent years. In October 2017, a man in New York drove a van down a bicycle path, killing eight people.

Are you in Toronto, Canada? Did you witness anything? Please email

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

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