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Geopolitics / Re: 👮‍♂️ Why Police Kill So Often
« on: Today at 06:00:32 AM »
But you just keep dancing Mr. Bojangles, dance. The air is thick with irony.

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And you never did answer the questions about "Picturing Christ."



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Published on the Doomstead Diner on September 23, 2018

Discuss this article at The Pantry Inside the Diner

OK, I was WRONG!  This doesn't happen often, once a decade or so maybe, but ocassionally I am wrong.  In the aftermath of the failed Last Great Alaska Bucket List Adventure, I came home with a ton of STEAKšŸ„© that didn't get cooked up while cruising trapped in the Bugout Machine Jump Seat to see Denali one more time and do some Whale Watching down on the Kenai Peninsula.  So for about a solid week afterward I was eating some form of STEAKšŸ„© every day for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner and on some days all 3 meals, plus some snacks.  I overdosed on STEAKšŸ„© so bad I was sure it would be at least 2 weeks before I could eat STEAKšŸ„© again.  But I was wrong, it was only about 3 days before I once again craved some RED MEAT!  My addiction to cow flesh is so intense I decided that The Diner needed a Signature SteakšŸ„© Sandwich as a regular Featured Menu Item. šŸ™‚

Before I get into my 2 week long search for the perfect SteakšŸ„© Sandwich though, I do want to respond to some criticisms I have been getting lately in my email from some of the long time readers and lurkers on the Diner Blog.

The main critique is that I don't write all the Economics blogs I used to or the History blogs.  People who came to read the Diner to get my take on why Collapse was ongoing are disappointed I don't do much of that anymore. šŸ™  They aren't terrifically interested in my health problems or my obsession with food either.  For me though, I feel as though I said what I have to say on the main issues of Collapse (read the archives!) and I don't have a lot of motivation to repeat myself.  Of course there are still Collapse Newz items which crop up periodically and give my muse inspiration to write, such as the latest Strafing Run by another Hurricane, this time Florence which innundated the Carolinas and in fact is still causing plenty of havoc down there as I begin this article.

However, even this Collapse Newz Reporting gets a bit tiresome, and there are plenty of other websites concerned with Weather and Climate that cover this stuff, often in excruciatingly long detail and with a ton of Hyperbole attached as well.  The images are great though if you are a Kollaps-aholic, not to mention the videos which get better all the time with the Drone footage.

Regardless of the grumpy Kollapsniks who are unhappy with my current focus though, I write mainly for myself on whatever is occupying my mind in a given week, and these days that tends to be either my health problems or my obsession with food.  My health issues you can file under "Personal Collapse" or "Health Care Collapse", so they are at least tangentially a valid collapse topic.  Similarly, Food is a Valid collapse topic Kollapsniks concerned with life after SHTF Day worry about where their meals will come from.  Besides that, the methods of food production we currently rely on (Industrial Agriculture for the most part) and the food choices which dominate the menus in the Industrialized Nations (a lot of MEAT) are the subject of much debate.  Then there is the Methane from all the Cow Farts, not to mention the pollution from all the Pig Farms with their open air manure ponds, which are causing an environmental disaster in North Carolina in the aftermath of Florence.

Image result for florence pig farm flooding

Image result for florence pig farm flooding

Given all the problems we have as meat consumers, many environmentally concerned Kollapsniks have gone Vegan, and make a good case for why EVERYBODY should go Vegan if we want to try and save the general ecosystem of the Earth, which as the population of Homo Saps and their Domesticated Food Animals increases becomes increasingly overtaxed.  So I take a lot of heat for my diet which is basically full-on Paleo consisting of a lot of meat and cheese and FAT.  However, my quitting eating meat won't save the planet, the STEAKšŸ„© I don't eat somebody else will.  I also probably won't live all that much longer anyhow, so I figure to go to the Great Beyond eating the foods that I like.  Maybe that is selfish of me, but that's the way it is.

This brings us back around to the ostensible topic for this article, which is my search for the Perfect SteakšŸ„© Sandwich.  Searching for this over the last couple of weeks required me to eat a LOT of STEAKšŸ„©. šŸ™‚

Image result for philly cheese steak To begin with, one thing I definitely did NOT want was for the Diner Signature SteakšŸ„© Sandwich to be confused with a "Philly Cheese SteakšŸ„©" sandwich, which generally speaking are absolutely gross, especially if you buy one from Subway.  Not sure what the meat actually IS on those heros, it is so over-cooked it's beyond recognition.  Then they load on so much cheap cheese its impossible to actually taste the beef (if it is beef and not rat or a stray cat).  I have had a few good Philly Cheese SteakšŸ„© Sandwiches, but not from the chain restaurants that serve them up or the street vendors.  There was a good one served up at a little hole-in-the-wall lunch place in Springfield when I lived there.  But mostly they are Puke on a Bun and don't order one.  I wanted the Diner Signature SteakšŸ„© Sandwich to taste like STEAKšŸ„©!

The first main decision was on the cut of meat to use for this Signature Sandwich, and my two Leading Contenders were Filet MignonšŸ„© and RibeyešŸ„©, but both have some issues.  For the FiletšŸ„©, it comes in pretty pricey often topping $20/lb unless you find it ON SALE.  RibeyešŸ„© comes in a bit cheaper, but has the problem of having a lot of FAT on it.  I like this on my SteakšŸ„© Sandwich, but most people don't like big hunks of animal fat in their sandwich and like a leaner cut of meat.  So I experimented also with other cuts of meat, including Top SirloinšŸ„© and Bottom Round for London BroilšŸ„©.  The London BroilšŸ„© came in the cheapest at $3.59/lb, cheaper than Hamburger!  However the downside there is this cut requires a lot of preparation and a long time marinating to get it tender enough to effectively use in a SteakšŸ„© Sandwich.  The marinade you use also imparts its own flavor to the meat, so you're not tasting the beef so much as you are whatever you used to marinate it with.  In my case I am partial to a modified Teriyaki-Cabernet-Balsamic Vinegar marinade which is very tasty but even after 2 days of marinating in the fridge it was still a little tough for me to eat given my lack of decent teeth.

So, in the end I decided that despite the price, the Diner Signature SteakšŸ„© Sandwich should be made with Filet Mignon.  To keep the price within reason for the sandwich, I keep the total weight of the filet down to about 1/4 lb, but then add some fixin's to make it more filling without losing the great STEAKšŸ„© flavor.

Image result for hellmann's real mayonnaise The next decision was on what to baste the bread with?  I experimented with Caesar Dressing and Blue Cheese dressing and even Grey Poupon Mustard, but in the end decided to go with straight "Real" Mayonaise.  Is there "Fake" Mayonnaise? Adds some fat and moisture to the sandwich but doesn't interfere much with the great STEAKšŸ„© flavor.  It also comes in cheap as dressings go, which was an important consideration considering I went with Filet Mignon as the cut of beef to use.

Next, what veggies to add?  Mushrooms were a must, I am a big MUSHROOM fan.  Sauteed up they have a nice meaty texture which goes well with beef, and I use plenty of chopped Garlic doing the sautee which enhances the total flavor of the sandwich without losing the flavor of the meat.  I added a slice of Tomato and then some Avocado as well, and it was pretty close to perfect as far as I was concerned, so this is the basics of the Diner Signature SteakšŸ„© Sandwich.

However, I have tried any number of variations, including adding BACON to the sandwich which makes it meatier and adds more FAT.  I used different types of fresh baked rolls and flatbread wraps and even bagels.  I tried different types of breads, Ciabatta and Foccacia and also grilled the sandwich in my Panini Press.  I tried different cheeses with it, Cheddar, Mozarella, Colby-Jack and Parmesan and Pecorina Roman cheeses.  Each different addition gives a different overall flavor to the sandwich, and you just have to decide precisely what you are in the mood for when you make it.

So while the Diner Signature Steak šŸ„©Sandwich has a basic form, the menu also offers choices of additions to put on it to Customize it for your lunch meal.  You can vary it endlessly, which means you don't get bored eating a STEAKšŸ„© Sandwich for lunch every day for 2 straight weeks!  This week I am trying out a Basil Pesto and Hearts of Palm as additions.

Moving forward into the post-SHTF Day world of the future, many of the ingredients you might drop on your STEAKšŸ„© Sandwich might not be available in your neighborhood, for instance I sincerely doubt I will be able to get Avocados up here in Alaska, and even right now the price on them is skyrocketing.  Beef will eventually become mostly unavailable, but I could substitute Moose or Caribou.  That would of course change the flavor quite a bit.  So before SHTF Day arrives, this is a good time to enjoy the wide variety of STEAKšŸ„© Sandwiches you can put together with a trip to your local Food Superstore.

Diners are welcome to add their favorite ingredients to drop on a STEAKšŸ„© Sandwich Inside the Diner in the Pantry thread.

London Broil on the Grill over Hickory Chips

London Broil Hot off the Grill ready to carve

London Broil carved for Sandwiches


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Geopolitics / The Chickenhawks have come home to Roost
« on: Today at 03:37:08 AM »

Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!

Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!

+ The transformation of the Democrats into the party of the neocons is now complete. The Senate just passed a  $674 billion military budget, the largest since the peak of Iraq War and a $17 billion increase from last year. There were only seven “No” votes, none of them Democrats: Rand Paul, Pat Toomey, Ben Sasse, Mike Lee, Jeff Flake, David Perdue and Bernie Sanders.

+ The original political neocon was Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson, the Democrat from Boeing, before they all fled into the lethal embrace of Reagan.

+ Now the chickenhawks have finally come back home to roost!

+ Trump at the press briefing with Polish president Andrzej Duda: “Costs, yes, costs. Something you didn’t hear anything about over the last 25 years.”

Trump, 20 seconds later: “We just got the biggest military budget in history, $670 billion. People have never seen anything like it.”

+ No wonder more and more “people” are saying: Take your two parties and shove them…

+  As Trump began his tour of Florence’s path of destruction across the Carolinas, he asked a North Carolina official how Lake Norman was doing. “I love that area. I can’t tell you why. But I love that area.” Really…?

+ In the Carolinas, it’s the poor who are being hit the hardest by Hurricane Florence, which comes as no surprise to any of us who have read Mike Davis.

+ Too bad about your home, but at least you got a nice yacht out of it…

+ It’s hard to take the media handwringing over Trump’s denial of the death toll in Puerto Rico (still an undercount) seriously, since it isn’t much different than what the press itself did for eight months, passively accepting the ludicrous 64 deaths figure, until the Harvard study came out..

+ Why didn’t CNN show scary footage of the real looters of Hurricane Maria….Wall Street?

+ Number of Americans killed in Benghazi: 4
 Length of Congressional hearings into Benghazi: 28 months, 0 days
 Number of Americans killed on 9/11: 2977
 Length of Congressional hearings into 9/11: 19 months, 25 days
 Number of Americans killed by Hurricane Maria: 3000+
 Length of Congressional hearings on Hurricane Maria: 0 days

+ The Russians are here!

+ Will historians refer to this edition of the Supremes as the Thomas-Kavanaugh Court…?

+ As the GOP prepares to gut his accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, let’s recall Brett Kavanaugh’s justification, when he worked for Ken Starr, for asking how many times Clinton ejaculated into Monica Lewinsky’s mouth…

+ Xeni Jardin: “Poor Kavanaugh. How will he ever explain all of this to the girls’ basketball team?”

+ Mazie Hirono is a breath of fresh air. The senator from Hawai’i speaks clearly and bluntly and has a sense of humor. She’s also a cancer survivor. Give me her over Kamala Harris any day…

+ A now deleted Facebook post from a woman named Cristina King who went to Holton Arms, knew Brett Kavanaugh and Dr Ford, and claims “everybody heard about it.”

+ The rape allegation against Kavanagh is being dismissed as a “last minute” accusation. But it’s not. The Washington Post had the story months ago and Dianne Feinstein has been sitting on it for weeks. What’s been “last minute” has been the declassification of Kavanaugh’s files from Bush Administration, which is so” last minute” that it won’t take place for months….

+ Kavanagh: I have a clear recollection of never attending any parties in the 1980s.

Kavanagh: I can’t remember anything I did in the Bush administration.

+ Trump claims the FBI doesn’t want to investigate Kavanaugh for attempted rape. And as we know, Trump always does what the FBI wants.

+ Kamala Harris brags about her prosecutorial expertise, mainly inflicted upon poor, desperate minorities represented by overworked & underpaid public defenders. Now she has a chance to pick on someone her own size. Where the hell is she?

+ How stupid are the Democrats for sending out male members of the Judiciary committee, like Chris Coons and Richard Blumenthal, to press the case agains Kavanaugh? Where are Harris, Klobuchar, and the feisty Mazie Hirono?

+ Here’s an informative profile of Dr. Ford in the Mercury News. Of course, being a smart, articulate, credible, professional probably won’t help her anymore than it helped Anita Hill.

+ PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor went on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to proclaim that the Kavanaugh Affair made the GOP the “party of sexual harassment and mistreatment of women.” Don’t buy it. This kind of brutish behavior has always been a bi-partison affliction: JFK, William O. Douglas, Teddy Kennedy, Wilbur Mills, Allan Howe, John Young, Wayne Hays, Robert Leggett, Gus Savage, Gerry Studs, Gary Hart, Brock Adams, Bill Clinton, Mel Reynolds, Gary Condit, Tim Mahoney, John Edwards, Eric Massa, Anthony Weiner, David Wu, Al Franken, John Conyers, Keith Ellison…

+ I’m fairly confident that the new Moral Majority will remain fully supportive of all of Brett Kavanagh’s vices and crimes–perjury, gambling, drunkenness, torture, rape–in exchange for a vow to overturn Roe v. Wade and finding a constitutional right to sell hetero-only cupcakes.

+ Proof? This just in from “Rev.” Franklin Graham: “Well, there wasn’t a crime committed. These are two teenagers and it’s obvious that she said no and he respected it and walked away…”

+ Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC): “Did y’all hear about this? Ruth Bader Ginsburg came out and said she was groped by Abraham Lincoln.”

+ A constituent tried to grope Norman once, but couldn’t find anything to grasp on to…

+ Conservatives: You can’t hold Kavanaugh responsible for something he did as a teenager.

Conservatives: Juvenile life without parole.

+ Rape allegations aside, binge drinking, alcoholic blackouts, wild spending sprees and gambling are probably not the ideal qualities for a Supreme Court justice.

+ Surely the accusations against Kavanaugh will doom one political career: Joe Biden’s. No one can re-watch his interrogation of Anita Hill and envision that callous cad as president.

+ Stanley Cohen: “Hopefully Biden will pick McCain as a running mate.”

+ Remember, the Democrats controlled the Senate during the Clarence Thomas’ nomination. 11 voted for him, putting him on the bench by a 52-48 margin.

+ Number of GOP women who have ever served on the Senate Judiciary Committee: 0

+ Ari Fleischer: “Should committing sexual assault in high school deny us a chances later in life?”

+  Should committing mass murder in Iraq deny us the chance of being part of the Resistance© later in life?

+ It’s hard not to see Yale Law School as a co-conspirator. They minted the two most conservative justices now on the bench: Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. Yale not only seeds the court with justices, but it also serves as a pipeline for law clerks–a perk that Yale advertises to entice young students to go into debt to the tune of $83,000 a year to buy a Yale law degree.

+ As eager Yalies pine for coveted slots as clerks for federal judges, they often consult with two prominent law professors at the school: Jed Rubenfeld and “tiger mom” Amy Chua, both fanatical supporters of Brett Kavanaugh. Rubenfeld and Chua are married, though Rubenfeld is currently under investigation by the university for his own comportment with female students. Over the years, both have endeavored to groom female law students for clerkships with Kavanaugh. Earlier this year, Chua told a gathering of students that Kavanaugh preferred a “certain look” in his female clerks, saying it wasn’t “an accident” that all of his women clerks “look like models.” Chua told the students that they confer with her before they audition for the judge and she would advise them how to perfect the “model-like” and outgoing look” he desires.

+ This begs the question: how does Judge Kavanaugh prefer his male clerks to dress? Or do they just have to be brawny enough to lift the kegs?

+ If things really go south for Kavanaugh and he loses his seat on the appellate court as well as his bid for the Supremes, perhaps he could open a law practice with his disgraced mentor Alex Kozinski, who retired from the 9th Circuit Court after being accused of sexual harassment by as many as 12 women. Maybe they could represent Harvey Weinstein?

+ A very powerful story by Elizabeth Bruenig on what happened to a High School student in Arlington, Texas who, unlike Dr. Ford, reported her rape and watched the majority of the town turn on her. Read it once for the shock value and again for the political relevance.

+ Sean Penn thinks the MeToo movement is “too black and white” and is “dividing men and women.” A case could perhaps be made, though Penn’s hardly the best messenger. Here’s a sample of Sean Penn’s “prose,” from his turgid novel, “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff”….

+ Jeet Heer: “I want a Venn diagram of people willing to argue ‘Give Kavanaugh a break, he was only 17’ and ‘Trayvon Martin got what he deserved.'”

+ If things get really desperate for Kavanaugh, I guess he can always hire Hillary Clinton to smear his accuser…

+ Brett Kavanaugh:  “What happens at Georgetown Prep stays at Georgetown Prep.” Nope. What happened at Georgetown Prep was merely prep for some place much more depraved: Yale. A hundred keg a year boy in high school (775 gallons), Kavanaugh matriculated to the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Yale, where among other debauched activities Kavanaugh marched across campus a flag woven with women’s underwear and bras, stolen from the ransacked rooms of coeds. His little band of misogynists was known as the “buttholes.” The DKEs, whose members included both Bushes and Dan Quayle, were notorious drunkards.

+ No, stop laughing, he really did. Honest…

+ Pompeo Maximus muted his staff’s criticism of US support for the slaughter in Yemen because he didn’t want to jeopardize $2 billion in arms sales to the Saudis. I guess the price was worth it, right Mike? This makes Reagan’s arms for hostages sound like a humanitarian transaction. Trump & Pompeo pursue arms sales for civilian corpses.

+ Michael Bloomberg is thinking of running for president, as a Democrat, naturally. His platform: liberal Democrats are too hard on big banks, stop-and-frisk is good policy, and men like Charlie Rose might have been wronged by the Me Too movement.

+ Amazon worker: “It really is great to work at Amazon.”

Reporter: “What is it you do at Amazon?”

Amazon worker: “My job is to Tweet: ‘It really is great to work at Amazon.'”

+ Spain’s foreign minister Josep Borrell says that Trump told him he had a solution to Europe’s migrant crisis. No, not ending US military operations in Syria. Instead, Trump recommended that the EU fund the construction of a great wall across the 3,200 mile breadth of the Sahara Desert. Great idea, Donald! Please dispatch Don Jr. and Eric to oversee the construction…

+ A recent case study in the sick way Trump’s demylenating mind works. During a recent interview with The Hill, Trump said that his visit to the 9/11 memorial in Pennsylvania inspired him to work even harder to build his border wall with Mexico:

“They built this gorgeous wall where the plane went down in Pennsylvania, Shanksville. And I was there. I made the speech. And it’s sort of beautiful, what they did is incredible,” he said. “They have a series of walls, I’m saying, it’s like perfect. So, so, we are pushing very hard.”

+ From that same interview with The Hill:

“If I did one mistake with Comey, I should have fired him before I got here. I should have fired him the day I won the primaries. I should have fired him right after the convention, say I don’t want that guy. Or at least fired him the first day on the job. … I would have been better off firing him or putting out a statement that I don’t want him there when I get there.”

What? “The day I won the primaries?” Was Comey starring in a secret Deep State Edition of the The Apprentice?

+ Noam Chomsky: “In the Occupied Territories what Israel is doing is much worse than apartheid. To call it apartheid is a gift to Israel, at least if by ‘apartheid’ you mean South African-style apartheid. What’s happening in the Occupied Territories is much worse.”

+ A horrible decision was rendered this week by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which rules that prosecutors are not required to reveal exculpatory evidence to defendants before they plead guilty. This is the most reactionary circuit in the federal judiciary, loaded with judges who constantly jabber about the sanctity of the Constitution…

+ Probably a third of Bob Woodward’s book Fear: Trump in the White House (now the fastest selling book in history thanks to Trump) is devoted to tedious denunciations of Trump’s antipathy to international trade pacts. Woodward doesn’t pause long enough to consider whether Trump might have a point about the destructive consequences of NAFTA, GATT and their brethren for labor and the environment. That’s because Woodward is too busy taking dictation from his primary source Gary Cohn and what he feeds the reader is Goldman Sachs “locker room talk,” where instead of boasting about grabbing pussies, they brag about gripping working people by throat and shaking them of every thing they own.

+ Steve Bannon should’ve demanded co-author credit from both Michael Wolff and Woodward, since he seems to have been the principal source for both writers, feeding each fresh meat. One worries that he has shot his narrative wad and won’t have much left spin in his own book.

+ Despite the big deficit in generic polls, three factors may save the GOP in November: gerrymandering, voter suppression and, of course, the Democrats….

+ A record 67 million Americans don’t speak English at home. What are they saying? “Hasta la vista, Ted Cruz“….

+ Trump at CIA: “Can they hear the bombs coming? We should make the bombs silent so they can’t get away.” (As quoted in Greg Miller’s The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy.)

+ Pompeo Maximus on Iran: “Make no mistake, they’re going to be held accountable!” For what? Abiding by the nuclear agreement?

+ Don’t worry, go shopping. Wilbur Ross on how hard American families will be hit by tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods: “Because it’s spread over thousands and thousands of products, nobody will actually notice at the end of the day.”

+ Ross is making a huge sacrifice for his country. Last year, he only made $30 million from his stock portfolio.

+ The Trump administration has detained a record number of child migrants. It is now holding 12,800 children in internment camps and other facilities, a five-fold increase since May 2017.

+ ICE agents killed 97 people last year, including several children. That’s three times the number of victims killed by MS-13.

+ Before the Resistance© nominates Gen Mattis to be on the Democratic ticket in 2020, they might consider this line from Woodward’s “Fear”: “Mattis was worried about Iranian expansion. At one point, he later referred to “those idiot raghead mullahs.”

+ Don Jr. and his current squeeze Kimberly Guilfoyle, ex-wife of Gavin Newsome and former Fox News talking sexpot, are scrambling to find a new venue for a fundraiser in Montana after being being rebuffed by the Midtown Tavern. The next time you’re in Bozeman be sure to stop in at the Midtown Tavern for lunch and leave a generous tip…

+ This tract in Oakland (once America’s greatest city) is the most quickly gentrifying section in the Bay Area, going from 4% white in 2000 to 24% white in 2015…

+ “Get rid of the fucking braille,” Trump screamed at his architect, who was insisting on following ADA rules for signage in Trump Tower. “No blind people are going to live in Trump Tower. Just do it.”

+ Whatever happened to Tukkker Carlson?

+ Willie Nelson shrugged off the alleged fan boycott over his benefit concert for Beto O’Rouke: “I don’t care.”

+ More Willie: “We’re not happy ’til they’re not happy.”

+ Neil Clark: “The trouble for Theresa May is that she was playing #Chequers while everyone else was playing Chess.”

+ John Kerry, hawking his new book Every Day is Extra, said Trump harbors “the insecurity of a teenage girl.” Really? In my experience, it was the “teenage girls” who made the boys insecure. Maybe Kerry is recalling the teenage girls in Vietnam, who were fleeing the machine guns of his Swift Boat…

+ The Trump administration’s new work requirements on the poor and the infirm are causing the Medicaid rolls to be slashed in Arkansas, New Hampshire, Indiana and other states.. Can anyone point to a single humane policy advanced by this syndicate of jerks?

+ Memo to Cruella DeVos:  Teachers’ wages are lower than ever…

+ The United States incarcerates 665 out of every 100,000 people compared with 74 per 100,000 in Norway…

+ Memo to Trump & Beauregard: West Palm Beach (20.97 per 100K) has a higher murder rate than Chicago (17.5 per 100K)

+ 87% of those arrested for fare-beating on the NYC subway are black or hispanic.

+ Miami Vice: Miami-Dade police regularly give whites “civilian citations” for marijuana possession, charge blacks and hispanics with crimes…

+ I don’t know who was behind the poisoning of the Skripals or why, but this story gets more and more bizarre. The striking thing about the RT interview with these two characters is how swiftly the Russians undermined the elaborate work of online conspiracy theorists who had “proved” that the CCTV photos had been staged, doctored and/or photoshopped. The two brawny Russian architectural tourists, frightened off of their destination by a little slush, admit that is them in the photos. They place themselves at the scene, at the time of the poisoning. Back to the drawing board…

+ Cue one of the lead conspirators, former British Ambassador Craig Murray, who attempted to out the two Russians as homosexuals on a secret assignation in Salisbury: “Plainly they are not being entirely open. Most likely interpretation of that is that they are a gay couple – not a good thing to admit in Russia, sadly – and that they are involved in the dodgy end of the bodybuilding supplements trade.”

+ Psycho cop breaks into a man’s apartment because he is playing his music too loud, shoots him multiple times, offers ludicrous excuse for her savage crime. Her colleagues smear the victim with old drug squad tactics often used to demean black victims. Enough of this shit.

+ I’m convinced that this New York Times article on the origins of Ranch dressing may explain everything you need to know about the current state of American culture, even the rise of Trump. Prove me wrong…

+ One historic building after another, the destruction of the Village nears its completion…

+ And the smoking gun (according to Stormy Daniels) was a … “mushroom-headed penis!

+ Which recalls James Ellroy on JFK: “He was hung like a cashew.”

+ Workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the most polluted landscape on Earth, just won a $925,000 settlement from the federal government as compensation for being exposed to the hazardous working conditions at the site. The background story for this legal vindication is told in chilling detail in our new book, The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink, in bookstores on October 2.

+ The Big Heat is overflowing with depressing news, but dig this: according to a new study from, uhm, Yale, book readers have a 20 percent lower risk of dying over the next 10 years than non-book readers. So the cost-benefit analysis of reading it looks pretty positive.

+ Losing San Diego, tide by incoming tide…

+ Climate change hits the cradle of “civilization:” a persistent drought has forced Iraq to cut back irrigation of the nation’s wheat fields by 50 percent.

+ The gift that keeps on giving: Fracking chemicals that were dumped in the Allegheny River ten years ago are still showing up in the river’s mussels.

+ This is an intimate, heart-wrenching profile of our friend and longtime CounterPunch writer Peter Stone Brown, a musician and musicologist who has taught me more about Bob Dylan and the folk music scene than I ever thought I’d know. But I’m eager to know more and I hope Peter sticks around a good, long while to teach me.

+ Just learned the awful news that a longtime CounterPuncher, Robert Beal, was hit and killed by a car while cycling in Texas, where he lived. Robert was an occasional writer and frequent correspondent, who was an expert on the environmental economics of the border region. It’s a big blow.

+  “[At the Fillmore] Aretha came walking toward me in a really tight white dress and a turban . I had to turn sideways so she could wedge through the door, and we were nose to nose, and she said to me, ‘Tower of Power. My favorite band.’” — Emilio Castillo

+ The Zapruder film has a 7.8 viewer rating on IMDB. Alexander Cockburn ranked it as the greatest documentary ever made. Alex was also a member of the “Happy Enders Film Society.” Make of that what you will…

I Didn’t Do It, I’m a Real Nice Guy

Booked Up

What I’m reading this week…

The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water Crisis and the American Urban Tragedy by Anna Clark

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

American Eden: David Hosack, Botany and Medicine in the Early Republic by Victoria Johnson

Sound Grammar

What I’m listening to this week (on vinyl)…

Ghetto Music by Eddie Gale

13 Rivers by Richard Thompson

Goodfellas by Joey deFrancesco

False Pledge

William Kunstler: “I never stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, because it is not true; the United States does not provide ‘justice for all.’ It is not the physical flag but the principles for which it stands that are vital to our survival as a free people.”

More articles by:

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Bernie and the Sandernistas: Field Notes From a Failed Revolution. He can be reached at: or on Twitter  @JSCCounterPunch

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Asia’s Troubled Waters: The South China Sea Dispute
By Dhiana Puspitawati
Asia-Pacific Research, September 20, 2018
Region: China, South-East Asia
Theme: Defence, Justice

The never ending disputes over a semi-enclosed sea, the South-China Sea (SCS) was culminated in the consensus between the Philippines and China in bringing the case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). While the PCA under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982) ruled in favor of the Philippines and declare that China’s nine-dash line claims are illegal, China has asserted that they will not obey the final award of the PCA. This paper seeks to analyze legal implications upon China’s refusal on PCA’s award to Indonesia’s border security over the waters around Natuna Islands. It further proposed what should be done by Indonesia in anticipating both legal as well as political consequences of such assertive reaction taken by China.

Prior to the PCA’s award, Indonesian President, Mr. Joko Widodo, commented on the matter of the SCS disputes saying that while Indonesia is located considerably near to the SCS, yet Indonesia does not have a direct interest in the SCS. However, recent development shows different position. During President Jokowi’s visit to Natuna Islands recently, it was reminded that in 1996 China has recognized Natuna’s waters as Indonesia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

This paper argued that while the SCS disputes so far does not have direct impact on Indonesia, yet, some areas of Indonesia’s EEZ in Natuna Islands overlap with the China’s nine-dash line. Since China has declared to refuse the award of PCA, Indonesia should make further legal and policy framework in implementing its sovereign rights over its EEZ in Natuna Islands. In addition to this strong political assertion should also be taken in anticipating china’s movement in the SCS through its nine-dash line claim.

1. Introduction

Coastal State’s claim over the ocean has been accommodated by the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC)  though a quid pro quo arrangement, that is something for something. While Coastal States are given certain degree of sovereignty over their surrounding oceans, yet other states interests should also be respected, which include rights of navigation as well as ocean resources usage rights. While such arrangement can be seen as a ‘package-deals’  offered by the LOSC, however, in practice things would never be as easy as it could be. Complication arising from LOSC’s arrangement varies from geographical condition of both the coastal state and the ocean itself, to broader interests of other states, in this case user maritime states. In addition to this, the problem of maritime delimitation between adjacent states poses another problem.

A never-ended problem related to maritime delimitation as well as access to ocean resources, has been the issue of South-China Sea (SCS). The SCS is a semi-enclosed sea which is surrounded by at least eight States; China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan. Such geographic location has made SCS surrounded by the land territory of many states and thus the sovereignty as well as sovereign rights of the surrounding states upon the SCS became complicated. In addition to this, the SCS area consists of four islands, which include Pratas, Macclesfield Bank, Paracels and Spratlys.  Upon such geographical complexion, China declared its claim upon the SCS based on its map known as the nine-dashed lines which encircle almost the entire SCS and within which China claims are China’s historical waters over which it has sovereignty. On the other hand, other littoral states are also claiming sovereignty over small islands in the SCS, namely, Vietnam claims the Spartly Island, while the Philippines and Brunei claims the Kalayan Island Group (KIG).

Spratly Islands military settlements (Source: Public Domain)

While the overlapping claims remain, in May 2009 China submit a claim before the United Nations, claiming several islands, which include Spartly, Scarborough Soal, Paracel and others to be included within its territory based on the nine-dashed lines map, combined with occasional references to “historic waters.” In April 2012, the Philippines Navy caught eight Chinas’ fishing vessels in Scarborough Soal waters, that is 220 km off-shore Philippines. Is should be bear in mind that the Scarborough Soal is claimed by several states, namely China, the Philippines and Taiwan. In January 2013 the Philippines submit its objection to the China’s nine-dashed lines to the Permanent Court of Arbitration demanding the cancelation of the nine-dashed line map proposed by China. Permanent Court Arbitration (PCA) resulted on the illegitimate China’s claim, China has asserted that they will not participate on the proceeding and neither obeys the final award of the PCA.

This paper seeks to analyze legal implications upon China’s refusal on PCA’s award to Indonesia’s border security over the waters around Natuna Islands. It further proposed what should be done by Indonesia in anticipating both legal as well as political consequences of such assertive reaction taken by China.

2. The Philippines vs. China before the Permanent Court of International Arbitration

While conflict between affected littoral states over the South-China Se remains, in 2013 the Philippines brought the case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The disputes concerned was on the legal basis of maritime rights and entitlements in the South-China Sea, the status of certain geographic features in the South-China Sea and the lawfulness of certain actions taken by China in the South-China Sea.[1] In brief, basically there are 4 (four) claim submitted by the Philippines before the PCA.[2]  Firstly, the Philippines seek advice from the PCA to solve existing disputes over the SCS regarding the rights to occupy the SCS. More specifically, asking PCA to declare that the rights to occupy the SCS should be based on the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC) rather than based on ‘historic rights’. Secondly, the Philippines seek advice from PCA to solve maritime delimitation disputes over the Scarborough Shoal and certain resources in Spratly Islands, which has been claimed by both Philippines and China. Thirdly, the Philippines asking the PCA to solve matter related to the validity of China’s claim over the SCS. The Philippines required PCA to deliver award that China has conducted wrong doing upon their actions, as follows: 

    Intervening Philippines’ rights in accordance with the LOSC with regard to fishing, navigation and other natural resources exploration and exploitation as well as the establishment of artificial islands;
    Has failed to save ocean environment by giving support to China’s fishermen, who has caught the endangered species as well as the use of non-environmental friendly fishing method which lead to the destruction of coral reef ecosystem in the SCS; and
    Causing the damage on marine environment by the establishment of artificial islands as well as reclamation in the area of seven coral reef areas in Spratly Islands.

Fourth, that China has worsened the dispute by limiting Philippines’ access to Marine Detachment in Second Thomas Shoal.

The SCS case between the Philippines and China, in fact involves various legal aspect. However, crucial aspect that worth to be discussed is the concept of ‘historical rights’ which has been used as legal basis by China in claiming its sovereignty over the SCS. As this turn out, PCA only used the LOSC as valid legal basis in deciding the case. PCA further stated that:

    “This arbitration concerned the role of historic rights and the Sumber of maritime entitlements in the South China Sea, the status of certain maritime features and the maritime entitlements they are capable of generating, and the lawfulness of certain actions by China that were alleged by the Philippines to violate the Convention. In light of limitations on compulsory dispute settlement under the Convention, the Tribunal has emphasized that it does not rule on any question of sovereignty over land territory and does not delimit any boundary between the Parties”[3].

In its decision, PCA was unanimously giving award to the Philippines and declared that “the Tribunal concluded that, to the extent China had historic rights to reSumbers in the waters of the South China Sea, such rights were extinguished to the extent they were incompatible with the exclusive economic zones provided for in the Convention[4]. While the award clearly stated that ‘historical rights’ were incompatible with LOSC, it is interesting to find out the origin of ‘historic claim’ as well as analyzing whether the term ‘historic rights’ and ‘historic waters’ ever exist within both LOSC and other customary international law of the sea.

Figure 1: China’s nine-dashed lines covering vast majority of the SCS areas

3. Legal Implication on China’s refusal upon PCA Award

Upon PCA award, Chinese Government insists on the position that it will not obey PCA Award due its absence during the trial. This position was stated clearly by China through diplomatic notes titled “Position Paper of the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Matter of Jurisdiction in the South China Sea Arbitration Initiated by the Republic of Phillipines”  dated 7th December submitted before the court and Netherlands Government. In sum, the diplomatic notes declared as follows:

“It is the view of China that the Arbitral Tribunal manifestly has no jurisdiction over this arbitration, unilaterally initiated by the Philippines, with regard to disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea.

Firstly, the essence of the subject-matter of the arbitration is the territorial sovereignty over the relevant maritime features in the South China Sea, which is beyond the scope of the Convention and is consequently not concerned with the interpretation or application of the Convention.

Secondly, there is an agreement between China and the Philippines to settle their disputes in the South China Sea by negotiations, as embodied in bilateral instruments and the DOC. Thus the unilateral initiation of the present arbitration by the Philippines has clearly violated international law.

Thirdly, even assuming that the subject-matter of the arbitration did concern the interpretation or application of the Convention, it has been excluded by the 2006 declaration filed by China under Article 298 of the Convention, due to its being an integral part of the dispute of maritime delimitation between the two States.

Fourthly, China has never accepted any compulsory procedures of the Convention with regard to the Philippines’ claims for arbitration. The Arbitral Tribunal shall fully respect the right of the States Parties to the Convention to choose the means of dispute settlement of their own accord, and exercise its competence to decide on its jurisdiction within the confines of the Convention. The initiation of the present arbitration by the Philippines is an abuse of the compulsory dispute settlement procedures under the Convention. There is a solid basis in international law for China’s rejection of and non-participation in the present arbitration.

Furthermore, China added more statement “[t]his shall by no means be interpreted as China’s participation in the arbitral proceeding in any form.”  Upon such situation, Article 288 of the LOSC and Article 9 of LOSC’s Annex VII provide:

a. Article 288 of the Convention provides that “In the event of a dispute as to whether a court or tribunal has jurisdiction, the matter shall be settled by decision of that court or tribunal.

b. Article 9 of Annex VII to the Convention provides that “If one of the parties to the dispute does not appear before the arbitral tribunal or fails to defend its case, the other party may request the tribunal to continue the proceedings and to make its award. Absence of a party or failure of a party to defend its case shall not constitute a bar to the proceedings. Before making its award, the arbitral tribunal must satisfy itself not only that it has jurisdiction over the dispute but also that the claim is well founded in fact and law.”

It is clearly stated that in the situation whether the arbitral have competence in deciding certain case, the authority to decide is the arbitral itself and not the parties. In addition to this, in the absence of one party in the dispute, another party have the right to ask the arbitral to continue the proceeding. Thus, it is submitted that the absence of one party cannot prevent the proceeding to be continued. On the awards on jurisdiction, PCA considered the application of Article 281 and 282 of the LOSC, which allow a state to apply other dispute resolution method outside the LOSC, if the parties agreed to. Article 281 and 282 of the LOSC read:

    “If the States Parties which are parties to a dispute concerning the interpretation or application of this Convention have agreed to seek settlement of the dispute by a peaceful means of their own choice, the procedures provided for in this Part apply only where no settlement has been reached by recourse to such means and the agreement between the parties does not exclude any further procedure. 

    If the States Parties which are parties to a dispute concerning the interpretation or application of this Convention have agreed, through a general, regional or bilateral agreement or otherwise, that such dispute shall, at the request of any party to the dispute, be submitted to a procedure that entails a binding decision, that procedure shall apply in lieu of the procedures provided for in this Part, unless the parties to the dispute otherwise agree.”

PCA considered the application of Article 281 dan 282 upon the following documents to find out whether both parties have agreed on other dispute resolution method; (a) the 2002 China–ASEAN Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (the “DOC”), (b) a series of joint statements issued by the Philippines and China referring to the resolution of disputes through negotiations, (c) the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, and (d) the Convention on Biological Diversity (the “CBD”) .

Nevertheless, PCA refused China’s argument which stated that the Document of Conduct (DOC) agreed between ASEAN and China was a political agreement and did not intended to be a binding agreement which is applicable in disputes resolution method.  Since the DOC is silent on the binding settlement mechanism,  and does not exclude any other dispute resolution method,  it is argued that PCA can decide based on Article 281 and 282 of the LOSC. PCA also finds out the same conclusion relating to Joint Statement mentioned in China Diplomatic Notes.  In relation to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia and the CBD, PCA declared that while both agreements bind parties in the disputes resolution chosen by the parties, there is no binding mechanism within the agreement whatsoever.  To conclude, there is nowhere in those agreements prevent the Philippines to bring the case before the PCA. 

As this turn out, PCA reward the Philippines and declared that China’s Claim over the SCS with its nine-dashed lines as illegal and found China to be guilty of conducting illegal maritime activities inside the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. Upon such award, as stated, China refused to apply the award in any cases. Furthermore, instead of moving away from the disputed area, Chinese military and non-military vessels have regularly undertaken activities to strengthen their de facto control of the area. China seems to undertaken the passive assertiveness over the area and avoiding assertive action which could lead to incident, while also expanding its movement in the SCS.  This condition brings several legal implications to the neighboring adjacent states surrounding the SCS, especially to ASEAN’s member states. This includes an increase of China’s maritime power within the South Asia region, which also effect the South-East Region.

In addition to this, it is assumes that China will strengthen its domestic law in claiming several areas in the SCS. This way, a potent disputes may arise between China and other claimant states, in particular ASEAN’s member states.

China aggressive response to the PCA’s award might also bring further legal implication for less affected state like Indonesia. While the SCS dispute does not directly affected Indonesia at the moment, however, it might affected in the near future. As an archipelagic state, Indonesia is entitled to draw archipelagic baselines connecting the outermost point of its outermost islands.  Despite the fact that Indonesia does not claim any of the disputed islands located in the SCS, Indonesia has an outer island group, the Natuna Islands, which are adjacent to the SCS.

These Islands are used as Indonesian basepoints. Due to Indonesia’s sovereignty over the Natuna Islands, consequently Indonesia has the rights over certain areas of waters measures from Natuna’s baselines in accordance with international law. From this baselines Indonesia also entitles various maritime zones established by the LOSC.  This results in the fact that Indonesia has to share such ocean with neighboring states which are also claimant states in the SCS dispute, namely Malaysia and Vietnam.  While agreement has been reached over delineating the continental shelf between states, Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) delimitation remains unsolved. If China strengthen its nine-dashed line claim and keep asserting its military power within the area, it is possible that China and Indonesia involve in a disagreement on maritime delimitation around Natuna Islands. 

4. Conclusion

Prior to the PCA’s award, Indonesian President, Mr. Joko Widodo, commented on the matter of the SCS disputes saying that while Indonesia is located considerably near to the SCS, yet Indonesia does not have a direct interest in the SCS. However, recent development shows different position. During President Jokowi’s visit to Natuna Islands recently, it was reminded that in 1996 China has recognized Natuna’s waters as Indonesia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

This paper argued that while the SCS disputes so far does not have direct impact on Indonesia, yet, some areas of Indonesia’s EEZ in Natuna Islands overlap with the China’s nine-dash line. Since China has declared to refuse the award of PCA, Indonesia should make further legal and policy framework in implementing its sovereign rights over its EEZ in Natuna Islands. In addition to this strong political assertion should also be taken in anticipating china’s movement in the SCS through its nine-dash line claim.



1. See further PCA Case Number 2013-19 in the Matter of the South-China Sea Arbitration before the Arbitral Tribunal Constituted Under Annex VII to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea between the Philippines and the People Republic of China, available on-line at, accessed on 4 May 2017 at 9:56 am.

2. Read further Kristiyanto, Kristiyanto, Puspitawati, Dhiana dan Ardhiansyah, Agis, Konsep Historical Rights dalam Sengketa Laut Tiongkok Selatan berdasarkan Putusan PCA Case Number 2013-19 in the Matter of the South China Sea Arbitration between the Philippines and China, Final Essay, Law Faculty, Brawijaya University, 2017.

3. Press Release Permanent Court of Arbitration tertanggal 12 July 2016 which giving unanimous award to the Philippines over the SCS disputes.

4. Referes to the LOSC. See further, accessed on 30 November 2016.

Seasteading / 🚣 Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore
« on: Today at 12:21:29 AM »

When I was very young, perhaps 4 or so before we left for Brazil, I went out with my sister and her friend Michael in a Rowboat at Rockaway Beach in Queens, NY Shity.  We got caught by a rip tide and Michael had to get us rowed back into shore.  He managed it, but what took only around 20 minutes to get offshore took probably 4 hours for him to get us back to the pier.  I was scared out of my wits, I remember that well.  We sang "Micheal Row Your Boat ashore" probably a 100 times.

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Mostly we remember Pete Seeger as an Old Man.  But Pete was an amazing and captivating performer when he was young.  Remember also, this was the time Pete was called before the Army-McCarthy hearings and was Blacklisted in the Communist Purge.  Tell me again there was ever a time Amerika wasn't a Fascist State.  I dare you.

I never went offshore in a rowboat again after that.  These guys were just nuts.


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The Samson Row Boat Heading Across The Atlantic (video)

12:43 pm October 10, 2014 By Julian Horsey

The Samson

Experienced rower Andras Bakos and his teammate are currently in the final preparations to row across the Atlantic in a specially designed rowboat called The Samson.

The Samson has been in development since 2011 and has been built in conjunction with LOMOcean Design, the design firm that also helped designed and created the TURANOR PlanetSolar solar-powered yacht, and the Earthrace alternative fuel-powered boat.

The Samson measures 13.4 x 2.9 meters in size and has a dry weight of 650 kg, but fully laden with all the supplies the team will require for the Trans-Atlantic crossing the boat weighs in at 1.2 tonnes. The rowboat is not equipped with any motors or sales and relies entirely on the two rowing stations and its crew for propulsion.

The team comprises of already mentioned Andras Bakos and New Zealand-based expedition partner Erik Harrewijn who will be rowing 24 hours a day to make the 3,800-mile crossing in somewhere between 60 to 80 days. The team is also looking for help to fund the adventure over on the Indiegogo website. Andras explains a little more :

“I had decided to row across the Atlantic ocean in a way that nobody else did it before,”-“Certainly it is a personal challenge as well (if it would not be, better to not even start) but the main cause is to draw the attention of the widest public possible for the critical need of the environmental preservation, as Earth is the only place where our children can live.”

For more information on the new Trans Atlantic crossing and the futuristic boat the team will use watch the video below or jump over to the official or Indiegogo website for details.


Is Trump Bringing Fascism Or Removing the Liberal Facade from it?
September 21, 2018 branford perry


Curiously, as many things connected with Trump, this man, Janusian to this core, may be bringing the world to a catastrophe in short order, or he may be performing an unwitting service by unmasking the liberal fascist system in operation long before he came to the White House.—Ed.
An Oped by Jonathan Nack

“The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power…. Among us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing.” – President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936
The power of gigantic corporations has been steadily growing in the 82 years since FDR said this.  It is likely, based on this quote, that FDR would not recognize the United States of today as deserving of the term democracy (former President Jimmy Carter doesn’t), and instead FDR would see it as more deserving of being called fascist.

The coming to power of President Donald Trump has many people talking about, and worrying over, the rise of fascism, or neo-fascism.  There’s good reason for that.  Trump’s constant hate speech makes use of classic fascist rhetorical devices.  His nationalist appeals to “make America great again;” demonization of immigrants; attacks on corporate media outlets which oppose him; huge increases in spending on the military and the police; and his contempt for even the extremely limited protections provided by bourgeois democratic government institutions; are straight out of the fascist playbook.
Though still very much a capitalist, in fact many credit him with saving capitalism, FDR had a far more democratic vision for the world than current Western leaders.

Trump’s fascistic discourse has also given comfort to hardcore fascist forces. These forces, openly racist, some proudly declaring their allegiance to fascism, have existed in the U.S. for a very long time.  They are now emerging from the shadows to try and claim legitimacy and space in public.  Just days ago, there was the effort by fascist forces, under the relatively innocent sounding “Unite the Right” slogan, to occupy public space in the nation’s capitol.

There have been many examples of this recently, including fascist rallies in Portland and Berkeley, with the deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, being the most outstanding.

There has also been a rash of reports of attacks on, and murders of, people of color, especially Black people.  Is this phenomenon really something new, or is it something that has been going on for a very long time and is only now getting reported more?  Is it mainly the result of the rise of overtly fascist forces, or the result of a much deeper systemic and institutional racist problem?

Is Trump bringing fascism to the United States?  That is a very legitimate question.  However, there is another legitimate question.  Is Trump merely taking the facade off, and making more overt, a system that was already fundamentally fascistic and deeply racist?

Let’s go back to FDR’s quote, “…the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power…”.
Even in some of his gesturing, Trump reminds us of Mussolini. But the corporate fascist qualities that define the US government, and especially its empire, applied equally to his predecessors, and it will likely define the rule of those who follow him.

The U.S. has been ruled for many decades by a system of control by gigantic multinational corporations.  I call it Corporate Capitalist Fascism.  You may prefer to call it something else, like Corporatism, or Corporate Democracy.  What you call it is much less important than recognizing its characteristics.  Here is an outline of those characteristics.

* A system in which corporations, particularly multinational corporations, and their super rich benefactors (the 1 percent), dominate all aspects of life.

This is very different from the 20th Century iterations of fascism in Europe.  Rather than the state controlling everything, or seeking to control everything, there is corporate control of everything, including the state.

* The candidates backed by corporations in both major parties win just about every election of consequence.  The higher the office, the more this is true.  Money dominates elections.  Where does this money come from?  Corporations and the shareholders and private owners who reap the profits from them.

Corporate lobbyists set the political agenda. The state is used to lavish welfare onto corporations and to pursue policies, foreign and domestic, in the interests of corporations.  This system operates on a global scale, mainly riding on the back of U.S. economic and cultural imperialism, and the U.S. military.

* Corporations control the mass media.  A mass media that is at least a hundred fold more powerful than what existed during 20th Century iterations of fascism. This is, I believe, a key feature.  This enables them to control how most people think.  When the ruling classes control how people think, there is less need for heavy handed repression.  Individual freedoms, such as freedom of speech and freedom to organize are tolerated as long as they don’t really threaten corporate dominance of the mass media. Noam Chomsky’s writings have done much of the heavy lifting regarding the manufacturing of consent.

* Racism, sexism, and every divisive “ism” there is are systematically used to keep the people divided and distracted.  Above all else, the masses must be preventing from seeing that their common struggle should be against their corporate masters.

* Despite all the manufacturing of consent, there is still extensive physical repression as evidenced by the huge population in prison and on parole.  The welfare of much of the population is completely ignored, or ignored as much as possible.  Thus they must be controlled by police repression and incarceration, including brutality and murder. The prison system is dominated, ever increasing so, by a prison industrial complex, for the benefit of for profit corporations.

* Increasing militarism is another feature.  This is driven both by the international interests of multinational corporations, but also by a for profit military industrial complex run by and for corporations.  It’s no coincidence that the most profitable corporations are in the armaments industry.

* The legal system has been completely warped by corporate power.  Corporations, entities not even mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, have far more legal rights, and far less responsibilities than people do.

* Finally, and obviously, corporations dominate the capitalist economy. There is no free market, if there ever was.

With the advent of Trump, we are living in a a much harsher form of what I call Corporate Capitalist Fascism.  The rhetoric is more overtly racist, xenophobic, sexist, nationalist, and aggressive.  Substantive civil political discourse is replaced by personal attacks.  A new level of meanness and selfishness is sweeping the country due to the example set by the first President in our history with a public persona of a smug self-centered arrogant asshole.

Grassroots fascist organizations, always present in the U.S., are taking as much advantage of this situation as they can.  Trump appears to wink and nod at them, except when he’s absolutely forced to distance himself from them – well sort of denounce them.

20th Century Fascism historically rose when the ruling classes felt the need to smash a growing threat from the left.  We are seeing something of that today, but Corporate Capitalist Fascism is also different.  It rose to dominate all political points of view: left, right, and center.

There is a portion of the ruling classes, perhaps about half, probably less, which is opposed to this harsher form of corporate domination.  It may offend their sensibilities, but this is not the real reason they oppose it.  They believe this harsher brand of rule not only threatens their wealth and power, but that it could bring down the entire system of corporate control.  They would much rather hide behind a facade of democracy.  This is why some gigantic multi-national corporations, such as those that own NBC, CBS, and CNN, are engaged in a propaganda war with Trump and the Republicans.  Never in my lifetime have I witnessed such mass media giants attack virtually every utterance and action of a sitting President.

Before I send everyone rushing to jump out of a window with this dystopian view of reality, let me conclude by saying that I believe that there are possible alternatives to the harder and softer brands of corporate control.

There is a growing fight back.  While I can not say that I’m optimistic about the trajectory of the U.S., I still believe that a better world is possible. A world not dominated by multi-national corporations.  A world with there is heart and solidarity.  A world of much less inequality.  A world of real and deep democracy.  I think it was was Antonio Gramsci who said, “pessimism of the mind, optimism of the spirit.”

A better world is possible, but we’re going to have to fight like hell to give birth to it.  We’re going to have to fight like our lives, and the lives of our children, and their children, depend on it.  We’re going to have to be creative and fight in new ways.  This fight, the struggle of our times, will never be won through elections alone.  It’s an uphill struggle against long odds to be sure, but it isn’t over.  We can still win it.  We have to.

Jonathan Nack is an activist and journalist based in Oakland, California.  He has more than forty years of experience both in, and covering, social movements.  Developments on the U.S. left; contemporary social struggles; U.S. imperialism, particularly regarding Latin America; electoral politics; as well as local struggles as mass protests are among the topics he has covered.  Nack has been published by,,,,, among other on line publications.  Nack was previously an irregular correspondent for many years for The Guardian newspaper, an independent radical news weekly that was out of New York City.

Energy / 🛢️ Is Oil On Its Way To $80?
« on: Today at 12:19:19 AM »
If it makes it to $80, the economy is back in the toilet zone.


Is Oil On Its Way To $80?
By Tom Kool - Sep 21, 2018, 2:00 PM CDT rig

Bullish news on both the supply and demand side sent oil prices up again on Friday morning, with Brent falling back after flirting with $80.

Oil prices gained this week on outages in Iran and data showing demand from the United States in August was the highest since 2007. “Exports are already down quite a bit and will probably continue to fall,” from both Iran and Venezuela, UBS Group AG analyst Giovanni Staunovo told Bloomberg. Meanwhile, strong U.S. demand is “helping the market to stay in a deficit.” In early trading on Friday, Brent was flirting with $80 per barrel.

OPEC+ meets in Algiers. OPEC+ is set to meet in Algiers this weekend to discuss some of the details stemming from the June decision to increase collective output by 1 million barrels per day. Iran’s oil minister has vowed not to attend in protest of what Iran views as a Saudi attempt to take over market share from Iran, in collusion with the United States. Ultimately, the meeting might not amount to much, and Saudi Arabia could increase production anyway, offsetting declines in Iran. “It’s likely to be a meeting high on politics and low on decisions,” said Ole Sloth Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S, according to Bloomberg. “The producers that count are producing at will.”

India to hedge oil to avoid rupee volatility. India’s government may ask its state-owned oil companies to lock in oil at hedged prices, both to avoid the possibility of a price spike as Iran sanctions bite, but also because of the uncertain value of the rupee. India imports about 80 percent of its oil, and the sharp depreciation of the rupee this year has magnified the cost of imports. Meanwhile, India will use rupees to pay for oil from Iran beginning in November after U.S. sanctions take effect.

Russian oil producers rise to all-time high. Russia’s oil companies are enjoying a bonanza due to higher oil prices but also a weaker ruble. With costs in rubles but earnings in U.S. dollars, the cash is pouring in, pushing an index of Russian oil companies to a record high. The danger is that American sanctions related to the chemical poisoning attack in the UK or election interference in the U.S. could target Russian companies. "All investors are asking themselves -- OK, the Russian companies look attractive right now, but what about the next six months, what about the next 12 months?" Alexandre Dimitrov, head of Emerging Europe EQ Funds at Erste Sparinvest Kap Mbh, told Bloomberg.

Iraq oil exports breaking new records. Iraq’s oil exports through its southern port at the Persian Gulf could once again break a new record. Exports for the first three weeks of September average 3.6 million barrels per day, up 20,000 bpd from the 3.58 mb/d posted in August, which is the current record high. The progress comes even as protests have rocked the oil-rich but deeply unequal southern city of Basra. “There were fears that the protests would get to the terminal,” an Iraqi source told Reuters. “But so far, there is no impact.”

Related: Saudi Oil Inventories Continue To Plummet

Chevron pursues “factory model” for shale drilling. The Wall Street Journal reported on the new large-scale drilling techniques pursued by Chevron (NYSE: CVX). The “factory model” for drilling consists of “master planning an entire region of small shale wells by locking up labor, building infrastructure and securing sand and other needed materials, all at once,” the WSJ says. Economies of scale for large companies like Chevron give them an advantage over smaller drillers. “They can transfer technology and skilled people across assets and parts of their portfolio from North America to Argentina,” Andrew Slaughter, executive director of the Center for Energy Solutions at Deloitte LLP, told the WSJ. “These bigger companies have the scale to build or finance infrastructure and secure the best equipment and supplies. They have come to shale in quite a material way.”

New data on EPA biofuels waivers. In a nod to the outraged biofuels industry, the EPA published data detailing its expanded use of waivers for oil refiners, freeing them of biofuels blending requirements. Biofuels and refiners have been in a fierce war during the Trump era, as the EPA has made decisions favorable to the refining industry. The new data shows that the EPA granted 29 waivers to small refineries in 2017, up from 19 in 2016 and 7 in 2015. The waivers have been a boon to refiners but have undercut the market for biofuels and biofuel credits.

Bakken drillers move to periphery. Bakken drilling has increased significantly this year, but higher activity levels means that drillers are being forced into less desirable locations. As a result, the majority of wells in the Bakken could shift from having a peak monthly production of 1,000 bpd to a majority of wells with just 500 bpd of peak performance, according to a study from the North Dakota Pipeline Authority. In other words, drilling activity may need to double to keep output levels consistent in the years ahead.

Bullish outlook affects hedging. As the oil market outlook takes on an increasingly bullish tone, oil companies have pared back their use of hedging, hoping to gain exposure to higher prices. Meanwhile, major consumers, such as airlines, have boosted their hedging to protect themselves from the risk of higher prices. The reshuffling of the hedging mix is affecting the oil futures curve. “The major story for oil right now is not $80 a barrel, but what’s happening at the back end of the forward curve,” Thibaut Remoundos, co-founder of Commodities Trading Corporation, told the FT. “Hedging by oil producers in Brent-linked contracts is dropping off in expectation of higher prices in the future, while major consumers like airlines have been rushing to buy for the same reason. You would need to go back to 2007 to see this level of hedging from consumers.”

By Tom Kool for

Doomsteading / Re: Meanwhile back at the 'stead
« on: September 22, 2018, 10:57:21 AM »
If the creek starts to look good, I'm going to put the stead on the market. If I can sell it for a good price, I can buy a smaller place closer to the lake cottage, which makes good sense. Maybe wait a bit for the next crash and then shop for it.

Find a Chinese RE Broker.  You'll double your money for sure.


Geopolitics / Re: 👮‍♂️ Why Police Kill So Often
« on: September 22, 2018, 10:51:19 AM »

I think that assessment is overly optimistic. Maybe e more like it:

Maybe you could buy the oars?


Geopolitics / Re: 👮‍♂️ Why Police Kill So Often
« on: September 22, 2018, 10:41:14 AM »
When you head out to the Big Potlatch In The Sky, Surly and I are gonna monetize this thing and make some real cash. We're just biding our time.

(And if you believe that, could I interest you in a nice waterfront bungalow on the banks of the Cape Fear River?.)

If you monetize and sell the Diner, maybe you could buy a nice Rowboat for a Seastead!  :icon_sunny:


Geopolitics / Re: Beto vs. Cruz Debates
« on: September 22, 2018, 10:08:22 AM »
It was on the radio but I can't listen to Ted Cruz for more than about a minute without my gorge rising, so I didn't listen to much of it.

From what I heard, Beto stuck it to Cruz pretty well on his record, which is very assailable. When he was running for President, he more or less abandoned his responsibility in the Senate, for months. That's one thing.

I listened to Cruz try to thump the Bible and wrap himself in the flag, which is what he loves to do, and try to spin Republicans as the party of Lincoln (he used those words), the party that has always supported "equal rights for all Americans".

I'm surprised  he didn't talk about his wife's cloth coat. Maybe he did, I turned it off pretty fast.

You should go to the Houston or San Antonio debates and Heckle.  :icon_mrgreen:  Make some videos!


Geopolitics / Re: 👮‍♂️ Why Police Kill So Often
« on: September 22, 2018, 10:05:16 AM »


Yea, The Diner is worth a LOT::)


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