Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Violation of Minsk Agreement

Elections scheduled in November in the special regions in Eastern Ukraine is a violation of the Minsk agreement. That is the claim that is regurgitated in the press without one word on the why? The Ukrainian government has passed a law that, for at least three years, makes those regions self administrating. The elections in those regions were originally scheduled for Dec 7, but were apparently moved to Nov 2.

UN: What is its value?

Israel’s Settlements in Jerusalem Unlawful, Security Council Should Step In: AmbassadorUN Secretary General Calls to Cancel Planned Elections in Eastern Ukraine.

One wonders why anyone looks to the UN as a solver or even a mediator of disputes of international law. The UN is the (well supposed to be) international law giver, interpreter and enforcer. It does neither. The nations, well the US, that were responsible for establishing the UN generally ignore the UN when they don't agree with it.

The Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and the UN has so determined. Yet, nothing happens because the US will veto any action for enforcement. Other member states apparently don't have the balls to stand up to Israel because of the US bullying. Israel treats the Palestinians as subhuman and routinely and illegally takes their land. So what has the UN done - nothing. And what will it do - nothing.

It is unclear why the UN seems to find it necessary to make any statement on the Ukraine dispute between a government that came about as US initiated coup and a sizable part of Ukraine disgusted with the coup that in reaction thereto started a movement to separate from that government. The UN was silent when a legitimately elected government was overthrown by a fascist coup supported by the US, but when citizens of that country organize in response to that coup - the UN seems fit to speak.

And what international law prohibits the elections in Eastern Ukraine? And what is the value of the UN's chief speaking about those elections, when in fact his comments will, in fact, make no difference? He is like the hall monitor that no one pays any attention to.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Russell Brand and London media

London Mayor - Good For Business: Russell Brand The Trews (E176) - YouTube. Brand's YouTube channel The Trews (truth in the news) offers an interesting and somewhat humorous at times view of politics and capitalism in the UK. In this particular case, Brand demonstrates just how duplicitous the London media is especially when it comes to depicting what Russell has to say. Outright lies and major distortions. View for yourself - it is worth the view.

Explore Careers in Welding

Explore Careers in Welding - Jay Leno's Garage - YouTube. Since Leno left NBC, he has expanded his use of his YouTube show Jay Leno's Garage. The story is familiar to me. In Portland Oregon, not too long ago, the welding industry was complaining about the lack of applicant for welding jobs. It pays well and the industry was sweeting its approach with better than average job benefits. Here are jobs that are creative with good pay and benefits - yet they were begging for applicants. WTF?

Building the infrastructure to blame Afghan government later

Afghan Government Better Not Fuel Insurgency After NATO Drawdown: Former US Ambassador: "The newly-elected Afghan government must eliminate corruption and rule more competently than the previous regime after NATO drawdown, otherwise it will only empower the insurgents, former Ambassador to Afghanistan Peter Tomsen has told RIA Novosti."

Green Berets Reportedly Criticize Performance of Afghan Troops | Military.com

Green Berets Reportedly Criticize Performance of Afghan Troops | Military.com: "Elite Army troops have disparaged the fighting capability of Afghan troops to military investigators probing the deaths of five soldiers in a friendly fire incident earlier this year, according to a published report."

West Point responsible for military leadership - we are in big trouble.

West Point Superintendent Takes Blame for Football Scandal | Military.com: "West Point's top officer Sunday took full blame for the school's recruiting violations this year that included courting high school football players with alcohol and VIP treatment on a raucous bus ride."

Every time there is an emergency - we find out how unprepared the US is

US Mismanages Program to Handle Ebola Outbreak: Homeland Security Department: "The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) mismanaged its program to handle the current Ebola outbreak, the Department's Inspector General told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Friday." Is there any program not mismanaged by Homeland Security?

Litmus-like paper Ebola test. Sorry not available.

Scientists create litmus-like paper Ebola tests taking 30 minutes: "US scientists have invented a paper-based test for Ebola which takes just 30 minutes. The test-papers can be freeze-dried and stored at room temperature for up to a year and rehydrated with water whenever they are needed."

But - the mainstream media hype of these stories without even a superficial search for more info represents the failure in journalism. The obvious question here - when is this test available for use? Not soon seems to be the answer. I found these two article from scientific media in seconds.

Scientists Print Ebola Test Onto Tiny Bits Of Paper | IFLScience: "However, the technology needs to be improved before it can be brought into practice as currently it is not sensitive enough to detect very small amounts of target molecules. The team also needs to make sure that the number of false positive results given by the test is low enough to meet specified diagnostic standards."

Biological litmus paper detects Ebola strains - health - 24 October 2014 - New Scientist: "'Potentially, it's wonderful, but it's one thing to do it in the lab and quite another to manufacture it up to the standards required for it to work in real situations,' says Ruth McNerney of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She points out that the test would have to have a very low rate of false positives to avoid putting healthy people at risk of picking up diseases from other, genuinely infected people."

One way around it: God behind Big Bang and evolution

God behind Big Bang and evolution - Pope: "The Big Bang and evolution both happened, but at God’s impetus, according to new comments made by the Pope. He told a religious meeting that the Big Bang theory did not contradict the existence of God, but required it."

Snowden, encryption sad reflection in the world we live in.

Ed Snowden Taught Me To Smuggle Secrets Past Incredible Danger. Now I Teach You. - The Intercept. The story is an interesting story about the author's role in helping Snowden get started in his communication with Laura Poitras. But for me it is a reflection of the sad and tragic events on the part of the US government, not the Russians, not the Chinese.

The burqa

No burqa required: Muslim world weighs in on women's dress. The CNN story is a survey about its use in the Muslim World, i.e., the greater Middle East. This isn't about the burqa, but an amazement and perhaps a recognition of the fear it might create.

I don't understand why anyone - female or not - would wear something that covers everything but the eyes. If you look at the image - it is the top row left and center. I live in an area where there are some women that wear what I guess must be called the burqa, but it is more fashionable along the lines of the image, bottom row, right and center.

And for first 18 years of my life I was accustomed to Catholic nuns wearing something like the image, bottom row, left. The nuns were often called penguins for their dress, not by me though. I wonder what the various political leaders would think about the nuns in today's world.

But honestly, I can understand why people would be against anyone wearing anything that covers the face. Maybe it is cultural? I mean only bad people wear masks - right? Except of course the Lone Ranger who dressed in white and rode a white horse to offset the mask effect.

The face is important as the communication tool. It takes more than the eyes. It is called face-to-face communication for a reason. Covering your face is a means of denying who you are. Militants do it for an obvious reasons, so too demonstrators. Halloween masks are for playfully hiding of your identity. Honest people are those that confront you face-to-face. Mediation of disputes are face-to-face. The legal system requires the full disclosure of your identity - no masking in police lineups. The examples go on and on. But there are few, except the Lone Ranger, examples to demonstrate anything beneficial about masking your identity.

Do a Google search for the face as a communication tool - you see just how important it is everyday in personal and business environments. When I see someone hiding their face - I am suspicious and will avoid that person.

Do a Google search for the religious requirement of wearing the burqa, and it seems there is no religious requirement. It is more cultural than religious. But the wearing of clothing that does not hide the face should not be of any particular concern unless it is a symptom of Muslim bias.

There is no actual religious rationale for wearing something that masks the face, if there is, it must give way to governmental concerns.




Monday, October 27, 2014

And with capitalism: brothel discovered at a Chinese university

Disguised Brothel Uncovered in Chinese University: Reports: "A disguised brothel has been uncovered in a campus hotel of the Wuchang University of Technology in Wuhan, China, Beijing Times reported Monday."

Iraq War: fought by kids when it started.

Iraq War Now Being Fought By People Who Were Just Kids When It Started - The Intercept: "Last week, the Pentagon announced the death of the first American serviceman in the war against ISIS. Marine Lance Cpl. Sean Neal was killed in what was described as a “non-combat incident” in Iraq, making him the first American to die in “Operation Inherent Resolve” – America’s latest military excursion into that country.

Hypocrisy: US congratulates Ukrainians voting

US Congratulates Ukrainians for Voting in Parliamentary Elections: White House: "United States congratulates Ukrainians for voting in parliamentary elections, states that the voting was conducted in an orderly manner, National Security Council spokesperson Mark Stroh told RIA Novosti."

Nobel Peace Prize laureates wasting their time

Nobel Peace Prize laureates call on Obama to release CIA torture report: "Twelve winners of the Nobel Peace Prize have urged fellow laureate, US President Barack Obama, to release a Senate report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s post-9/11 Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation Program, also known as the torture report."

16 million children live in poverty - oh yes, capitalism works.

US child poverty remains at highest rate in 20 years: Report: "A new report says nearly 25 percent of American children live in poverty, the highest level in 20 years. The report, published in the US medical journal JAMA Pediatrics, found that over 16 million children live in poverty in America."

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Vulnerable populations: surveillance targeting by DOJ?

DOJ is funding police surveillance targeting "vulnerable populations": The DOJ's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) website: "GPS trackers for vulnerable populations can be purchased through existing JAG Program funding that has already been made available to 56 states and territories and over 1,100 local jurisdictions across the country. In FY 2013, DOJ awarded almost $280 million in JAG funding."

Crimea into Russia - a Russian perspective

October 20 Vladimir Putin Meets with Members of the Valdai International Discussion Club. As part of President Putin's address he restates the events whereby Crimea became part of Russia once again. I am excerpting the entire portion from his address.

Financial Times: Putin’s Valdai speech an important foreign policy statement

Financial Times: Putin’s Valdai speech one of most important foreign policy statements: "The speech of Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Valdai Club in Sochi on Friday was one of the most important foreign policy statements since he surprised the West in Munich in 2007, the Financial Times has reported."

US and media Apartheid enablers; Palestinians have no value.

Why do media value Israeli children's lives more than those of Palestinian kids?: Two incidents set out below receive disparate treatment by the media. The argument, easy to grasp, is that the Palestinian was treated as a terrorist, while the Jewish settler was merely involved in an accident.

Financial Time Kellaway lunches with Russell Brand

Lunch with the FT: Russell Brand - FT.com: "Over soup and red juice in an East End cafe that helps the homeless, the comedian-activist says capitalism has failed, gives money to a drug addict and tells Lucy Kellaway to shut up."

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Without a scintilla of proof - NATO continues to claim Russia has troops in Ukraine

NATO continues claims that Russia has troops in Ukraine: "NATO continues claims that Russia still has troops stationed in Ukraine, Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, told journalists in Mons, Belgium, on Friday."

Proof of Corruption in Hungary’s Government ‘Readily Available’ but not offered.

Proof of Corruption in Hungary’s Government ‘Readily Available’: US State Department: "The existence of corruption among Hungarian officials can be proved with readily available information from numerous sources, Marie Harf, deputy spokesperson for the US State Department, said Wednesday."

Surveillance even when it wasn't so sophisticated

​Well-‘red’: MI5 spied on prominent academics ‘for decades’, secret docs show. "British intelligence services, including MI5, secretly spied on a number of prominent academics with socialist leanings “for decades,” including Oxbridge dons Christopher Hill and Eric Hobsbawm, secret files disclosed on Friday show."
"On the documents, an MI5 officer noted the intelligence was necessary 'to establish the identities of his contacts and to unearth overt or covert intellectual communists who may be unknown to us.'”

South Korean (?) leaflet campaign

Hundreds of South Koreans Clash With Anti-Pyonyang Activists Over Leaflet Campaign: "Hundreds of residents of the South Korean town of Paju, located on the border with the North, have clashed with anti-Pyonyang activists, who intended to send tens of thousands of leaflets across the border, AFP reports."

Friday, October 24, 2014

WTF: US to maintain control of South Korea military

US to Maintain Control Over Military Operations in South Korea: Secretary of Defense: "The United States will not turn over control of military operations to the Republic of Korea in 2015 as previously scheduled, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel stated."
"The US has maintained military control in South Korea for more than 60 years."

China launches new World Bank rival — RT Business

China launches new World Bank rival: "China and India are backing a 21 country $100 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to challenge to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank."
"The development bank was proposed a year ago by Chinese President Xi Jinping, and is to offer financing for infrastructure projects in underdeveloped Asian countries."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Made in the USA

New streetcars in Portland, Oregon have large (top to bottom) 'Made in USA' on the full length of the car. Once upon a time - made in the USA was assumed. Now it has to be shouted out. But nevermind they were late in delivery and with excessive cost overruns. And the manufacturer is unique in the USA.

You might want to know, or maybe not - Vegan condoms, and they are fair-trade, are available in Portland. Portland is where young people go to retire. (Question mark deleted.)

The laugh of the century - US State Department

Washington Hopes Crimea Will Participate in Ukrainian Elections: US State Department: "The United States hopes that people from Crimea will vote in the upcoming snap parliamentary elections in Ukraine, a spokesperson for the US Department of State said Thursday."
"'We hope to see wide participations in the elections by all Ukrainians including Crimea, Donetsk and Lugansk,' Jen Psaki said during a press briefing, adding that Washington would strongly condemn any interference in this legitimate democratic process and the ability of the people of Ukraine to peacefully choose their own leaders."

Canada uses shooting as a pretext to keep its citizens in fear

Canada to Strengthen Police Surveillance After Shooting: Prime Minister: "The surveillance powers of Canadian police will be reinforced after the recent attacks in the country that claimed the lives of two Canadian soldiers, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday."
"On Wednesday morning, a gunman shot dead a soldier guarding the National War Memorial in Ottawa and then proceeded to Parliament Hill's Center Block where he was killed in a shootout with a policeman."

ISIL Oil sales via black markets

Oil Sales Through Turkey Help Fuel Islamic State: US Treasury Department: "The Islamic State (IS) earns approximately $1 million a day by selling oil into a black market in Turkey and the region, a US Treasury Department official said on Wednesday." So what is being done to stop it?

I'm stunned: Zuckerberg stuns Beijing crowd with 30 minute Q&A session in Chinese

Zuckerberg stuns Beijing crowd with 30 minute Q&A session in Chinese.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

‘Mumia Bill’ violates constitutional free speech.

‘Mumia Bill’ signed in Pennsylvania lets prisoners be sued over speech: "Prisoners serving time in the state of Pennsylvania can now be sued for speaking up from behind bars after Governor Tom Corbett signed into law this week the Revictimization Relief Act that legislatures rushed to approve only days earlier."

Obama admin manipulating news

US Betrays Commitments as Cradle of Media Freedom: Inter-American Press Association: "The US crackdown on the press freedom is particularly disturbing, as Washington has always been seen as a cradle of democracy and freedom of the media, Chairman of the Inter-American Press Association's (IAPA) Freedom of the Press and Information Committee told RIA Novosti on Wednesday."

Russian warplanes intercepted over Baltic Sea

Map of Baltic Sea
Russian defence ministry says Russian warplane did not violate Estonia’s air space: It seems that Russian aircraft (always designated as warplanes) are being intercepted by NATO forces who have, in fact, moved to the Russian doorsteps.

Take a look at the map - NATO has established itself in many of the former Soviet states. The Baltic Sea is the major, maybe primary, natural flight path for Russian aircrafts.

Often purposely overlooked in the media titles is that Russia hasn't violated anyone's airspace. But it makes the news they want us to see and hear. It is all part of the demonizing aspect of the West and its media.




EU to undertake to guarantee Ukraine’s payment of gas debts?

Novak: EU must undertake to guarantee Ukraine’s payment of debts for Russian gas: "The European Union must undertake a commitment to guarantee Ukraine’s repayment of debts for Russian gas, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Tuesday after his talks with Ukrainian Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Yuri Prodan and European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettringer."

Ollie (Oliver Hardy): " Well , here's another nice mess you've gotten me into !" In this case, Ollie is the EU and Stan Laurel is the US.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sanctions have had an effect that maybe US didn't count on

Russian bases to span entire Arctic border by end of 2014: "Russia will have military control of the entirety of its 6,200 km Arctic coastal zone by the end of 2014, just a year after Moscow announced its ambitious plan to build military presence in the region, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has announced."

Russia probably had these plans before, but arguably the sanctions must have caused enough concern to set a faster pace.

HRW: Documents show that Ukraine used cluster munitions.

Kiev’s Use of Cluster Munitions Well-Documented and Confirmed: Human Rights Watch: "There exists a clear and detailed evidence, indicating that Ukrainian government forces used cluster munitions during a recent attack in Donetsk, a senior researcher from Human Rights Watch (HRW) told RIA Novosti Tuesday."

This was apparently in response to the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Perebiynis' denial:

Russia is a big market even for McDonald’s

McDonald’s Corporation Attributes Losses to Russia: "McDonald’s lost 0.92 percent in diluted earnings in the third quarter of 2014 because of temporary store closures in Russia and Ukraine, the company’s statement stated."

Keystone cops: Kurds' weapons dropped off to ISIL

Right into enemy hands? ISIS shows off new weapons allegedly airdropped by US (VIDEO): "Islamic State has published a new video in which a jihadist shows off brand-new American hardware, which was purportedly intended for the Kurds they are fighting in the Syrian border town of Kobani."

The Polish backstep: Polish ex-FM backtracks on scandalous 'divide Ukraine' claim

Sikorski U-turn: Polish ex-FM backtracks on scandalous 'divide Ukraine' claim: "Radoslaw Sikorski — the speaker of the Polish Parliament and that nation’s former foreign minister — was forced to apologize after claiming that he overheard Vladimir Putin in 2008 suggest that Ukraine should be divided between Russia and Poland."

Germany’s BND: MH17 downed by Ukraine militia. Really?

Germany’s intel agency says MH17 downed by Ukraine militia – report: "Germany's BND foreign intelligence agency says a local militia shot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine in July, Der Spiegel reports. The BND is said to possess “ample evidence," though none of it has been made public."

The claim is that "the militia fired a rocket from a BUK defense missile system which it had captured from a Ukrainian base. It then exploded next to the plane, according to the report."

Ukraine: extrajudicial executions; cluster munitions

Amnesty International finds evidence of extrajudicial executions of civilians in Donbass: "A delegation dispatched by Amnesty International to the area of the east Ukrainian city of Donetsk, where the forces loyal to the Kiev government have been conducting a military operation since mid-April, has found strong evidence of extra-judicial executions of 'four men buried into graves near the village of Komunar,' the organization said in a report on Monday. The evidence strongly implicates that Kiev-controlled forces committed these crimes, it said."

Sanctions hurt: Denmark and EU

Denmark acknowledges $680 million loss from Russia’s food embargo: "Danish pig farmers will lose $680 million this year from Russia’s food embargo or twice as much as was earlier expected, Denmark’s Agriculture and Food Council said on Tuesday."

EU sanctions against Russia backfire on tourist industry, retailers: "Anti-Russian sanctions have backfired on the Old World’s tourist industry. Far fewer Russians go to Europe on holiday these days. On some destinations, tourist flow has slumped between 20% and 50% against 2013. Experts see two reasons for this: reluctance to put up with outbreaks of Russophobic sentiment and the ruble’s slump against the euro."

American failure: war on Afghan drugs

America’s $7.6 billion war on Afghan drugs fails, opium production peaks: "Despite Washington spending $7.6 billion on counter-narcotic initiatives in Afghanistan, 2013 witnessed a record surge in the amount of opium poppy cultivation, according to the US inspector general for Afghan reconstruction."

Of course this assumes that the US wanted to win that war. The irony:

Good advice: law should be the rule, not the tool.

China Voice: China should make law the rule, not tool: "As China's ruling party pledges to advance the rule of law at a key meeting on this theme, government agencies and officials should be reminded that the law should regulate the entire society, rather than simply be a tool to justify their administration."

Poland: a host to CIA torturing. What kind of society tortures humans?

October 21, 2014 - RT News: "Poland to appeal European Court ruling on CIA jails - prosecutor general. Warsaw is preparing to ask the European Court of Human Rights to re-consider its ruling that Poland violated its human rights commitments by hosting a secret CIA jail on its soil, Reuters quoted the prosecutor general as saying on Tuesday."

Poland is necessary to the US so that it can continue its torture while denying it tortures. What kind of society tortures humans?

Sweden PM: must strengthen military [remember the submarine hunt]

Sweden Must Strengthen Its Military Capacity: Prime Minister: "Sweden does not consider Russia's military power to be a direct threat, but must consider strengthening its own military capabilities, Sweden's newly elected Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said Tuesday."

Monday, October 20, 2014

Democracy by force - US military weapons, etc.

National Endowment for Democracy Urges US Military Support for Ukraine: "American support for Ukrainian democracy means providing military support for the country, director of the US non-profit organization National Endowment for Democracy (NED) Carl Gershman said Monday."

UN: Detroit not ensuring water affordability; water is a human right.

UN Says Detroit Initiatives Insufficient to Ensure Water Affordability: "The measures of Detroit city officials are insufficient to ensure the affordability of water, sanitation, and adequate housing, UN special rapporteur on the human rights to water and sanitation Catarina de Albuquerque told reporters at a press-conference in Detroit on Monday."

UK mirrors capitalism at its best

UK risks future divided by rich, poor: Report: "Britain is on the verge of becoming a divided country in the future between the rich and the poor, a new report by a public advisory organization warns."
"'Absolute child poverty increased by 300,000 between 2010-11 and 2012-13' while experts expect it to soar “significantly” over the next few years."

Obama considers allowing torture overseas — RT USA

Obama considers allowing torture overseas: "The White House is reportedly wrestling over how to interpret a ban on "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” ahead of a meeting in Geneva next month concerning the United Nations charter on torture."

US will not promise not to weaponize Ebola - WHY?

US Army withheld promise from Germany that Ebola virus wouldn't be weaponized: "The United States has withheld assurances from Germany that the Ebola virus - among other related diseases - would not be weaponized in the event of Germany exporting it to the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases."

It is important to take notice that "[b]ioweapons were outlawed in the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972 and was signed and ratified by 179 signatories, including Germany, the US and Russia."
"It dictates that signatories, 'under all circumstances the use of bacteriological (biological) and toxin weapons is effectively prohibited by the Convention" and "the determination of States parties to condemn any use of biological agents or toxins other than for peaceful purposes, by anyone at any time.'"

Sweden hunts for Red October

Sweden continues to suffer from Russian submarine syndrome: "Sweden has had the syndrome of Russian submarines since 1981, when a Soviet submarine, due to a navigation error, entered Swedish territorial waters and ran aground near the main base of the Swedish Navy, Karlskrona. Since then, prior to adopting the defense budget, a "Russian submarine" always appears in the Swedish waters. Later, though, it turns out that the submarine was actually a shoal of fish, seals, or abandoned fishing nets," chairman of the St. Petersburg Club of Submariners, Igor Kurdin told Interfax, vest.ru reports.