Category Archives: Uncategorized

even more raving loony

Boris Johnson’s bizarre model buses claim raises eyebrows
Kate Lyons, Groan, Jun 26 2019

The internet has been scratching its collective head after Boris Johnson’s bizarre comment in an interview that to relax he crafts and paints model buses, an answer one political scientist called “so bizarre that it’s mesmerising.” Speaking on Talk Radio on Tuesday, the frontrunner to replace Theresa May was asked by the interviewer, Ross Kempsell, what he did to relax. Johnson replied:

I like to paint. Or I make things. I have a thing where I make models of buses. What I make is, I get old, I don’t know, wooden crates, and I paint them. It’s a box that’s been used to contain two wine bottles, right, and it will have a dividing thing. And I turn it into a bus. So I put passengers – I paint the passengers enjoying themselves on a wonderful bus – low carbon, of the kind that we brought to the streets of London, reducing C02, reducing nitrous oxide, reducing pollution.

Some people on social media put forward the theory that Johnson’s claims might not be entirely based in truth.

Others suggested the story was a sign of Johnson’s feeling of entitlement, a sense that he feels he can say whatever he wants, no matter how absurd or questionable and get away with it. One wondered: is Johnson’s “most basic faculty deserting him?”

Several people speculated as to whether campaign internswere now frantically building model buses in case they were asked to produce proof of Johnson’s hobby. Australian journalist Matt Bevan said:

Boris and his girlfriend have been up all night painting bus models and then knocking them around a bit to make them look old.

As historian and author Greg Jenner noted, this is not the first time Johnson’s name has been linked to bus art. A sketch of a London bus by Boris Johnson raised £1k in a charity auction earlier this year.

While Johnson was trying to draw a connection between his hobby and the buses he introduced to London during his tenure as mayor, others found a stronger link with another sort of bus: those painted with Brexit campaign slogans, which Johnson was pictured with so often during the lead-up to the EU referendum. BBC presenter Simon McCoy speaking after the clip was broadcast, quipped:

Wonder what he writes on the side of it.

4815

max at MeK rally outside state dept

venezuela – the graft

How Rick Scott became Big Oil’s point man on Venezuelan regime change
Dan Cohen, Grayzone, Jun 25 2019

While Bolton, Pompeo and Rubio have helped drive the Trump administration’s maximum pressure-style campaign against Venezuela, Rubio’s counterpart, Senator Rick Scott, has been every bit as fanatical about regime change in Caracas. Speaking to a packed house of former government officials, oil executives, and lobbyists at a Jun 20 Atlantic Council event entitled “Russian Influence in Venezuela: What Should Pindostan Do?,” Scott launched into a tirade against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Scott declared:

There is clearly genocide happening in Venezuela right now! Tens of thousands are dead, and it’s clearly genocide and it’s in our hemisphere!

Scott wasn’t referring to the tens of thousands of Venezuelans that have died as a result of the crippling Pindo sanctions regime since 2017. He was pointing instead at Venezuela’s president. Scott bellowed:

We are watching little children like my grandson Eli starve to death, intentionally! And there is one person that’s primarily responsible for it, and his name is Nicolás Maduro! … I think we have to be very clear, whether it’s Pres Putin, Pres Xi or the Castro regime or Iran, they are part of killing little children!

In Aug 2017, as Pindostan launched the opening salvo of its economic assault on Venezuela, Pindo oil and gas corporations who poured huge sums into Scott’s electoral campaign colluded in an attempt to suffocate the country’s energy sector. At the same time Scott, whose oil-heavy investment portfolio stood to grow as a result of the prospective coup, led the way in the halls of power in Faschingstein. Scott’s donors in big oil have a clear interest in toppling Venezuela’s government. Since 2007, when Pres Hugo Chávez nationalized the assets of Venezuela’s national oil company, Petroleum of Venezuela (PDVSA), companies like ExxonMobil have been cut out of the country’s market. Chávez thundered that year on his weekly TV show Alo Presidente:

They will never rob us again, those bandits of Exxon Mobil! They are imperialist bandits, white collar criminals, corruptors of governments, over-throwers of governments, who supported the invasion and bombing of Iraq and continue supporting the genocide in Iraq!

Rex Tillerson, who was CEO of Exxon Mobil at the time, sued Venezuela in international arbitration court, demanding the full $10b in lost assets. Tillerson was initially awarded $1.6b, but the compensation was reduced to approximately $188m before a Pindo appeals court blocked the award altogether. In 2017, Tillerson became Trump’s first Sec State and initiated the administration’s push for regime change in an apparent attempt at revenge. When Rick Scott launched his first campaign for Florida governor, he relied on heavy donations from the same US-based oil titans seeking to retake Venezuela’s oil wealth. As the wealthiest person to serve as Florida’s governor, Scott also dipped into his $500m family fortune to fund his campaign. But those assets were also heavily tied up in oil industry investments. During his 2018 campaign for the Senate, Scott raked in tens of thousands of dollars from oil and gas industry political action committees, many of which had previously been customers of Venezuela’s national PDVSA oil company. FEC records show Scott received $7,500 from Marathon Oil Corporation in 2018 through its PAC. Marathon had long anticipated the rounds of sanctions against Venezuela and had weaned itself off of the country’s crude in preparation. Prior to the Jan 2019 sanctions that made importing fuel from PDVSA illegal, Marathon slashed its imports by 90%. Marathon CEO Gary Heminger said:

We saw this coming a long time ago. Five years ago they would have had impact.

As president of Sunshine Gasoline Distributors, Cuba-born Maximo Alvarez contributed $38.5k to PACs supporting Scott’s run for Senate, while funneling a joint total of $66.2k in individual contributions with Sunshine Vice-Pres Sandra Reuss. Alvarez currently owns more than 300 gas stations in south Florida, maintaining gasoline contracts with Marathon, CITGO, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP and Texaco. Valero Energy Corporation was the top purchaser of Venezuelan oil until the US embargo choked off the country’s exports. When Scott ran for Senate, this oil titan’s PAC contributed $5k. Scott’s campaign bragged that companies supported Scott because of his hard-line stance against Venezuela’s leftist government.a spokesperson told Politico:

Those who contribute to the campaign do so to support his candidacy, which includes calling for an end to the Maduro regime.

Chevron’s PAC gave Rick Scott $10,000 in 2018 after it had cut Venezuelan oil imports by 27%, and Exxon’s PAC had contributed $5k to the campaign as well. Scott and his wife owned as much as $30k in Chevron stocks and $65k in ExxonMobil stocks at the time the companies were funding his campaign, putting the couple in prime position to reap profits from regime change. By 2014, Scott had a stake of $528,032 in Phillips 66. This oil giant was the fourth-largest importer of Venezuelan crude oil until 2017, and stopped importing Venezuelan oil altogether when the country was placed under embargo the following year. As governor of Florida, Scott was the driving force behind his state’s decision to prohibit investment in Venezuela in 2017. A year later, he led the charge to enshrine that measure into state law. From the Atlantic Council podium, Scott opened up the floor for new ideas on attacking Venezuela’s economy. the senator remarked, gazing out at the audience:

I tell people every day: “If you have an idea, I will see if I can make it happen.”

As the event transitioned into Q&A, a fresh-faced young Venezuelan emigre named Daniel DiMartino rose nervously from the crowd to deliver a plea for Pindostan to wage a military assault on Venezuela. DiMartino declared insistently:

I think this is just what every Venezuelan is asking right now, and I think the most important question here is what will it take from Pindostan to give a real threat of military action to free Venezuela and actually follow through on that threat?

While DiMartino sought to portray himself as an average Venezuelan, he was, in fact, a member of the hard-line Vente Venezuela opposition party founded in 2012 by María Corina Machado, one of Venezuela’s most extreme right-wing rabble-rousers, implicated in an alleged plot to assassinate Pres Maduro in 2010. This January, when the Pindo-backed coup was put into motion, Machado’s party introduced a call for the Pindo military to invoke the “R2P” doctrine, a thinly-veiled call for invasion. DiMartino is also an intern for Thug Sen Todd Young, and a regular guest on Fox News and CNN, where he implores Pindostan to invade Venezuela, just as he did at the Atlantic Council. There, his call fell on deaf ears. Former Pentagon official Evelyn Farkas lamented:

We in Pindostan don’t have a lot of public support for a military intervention in Venezuela at the moment, or anywhere else for that matter.

Farkas might have been as hawkish as anyone on the stage. She oversaw the Obama administration’s Russia policy until 2015 and proposed sending offensive weapons to far-right militias in Ukraine, a plan that was shelved until the Trump administration approved it in 2017. But even a hardliner like her understood that an invasion of Venezuela was a recipe for political and military disaster. With Maduro still entrenched in the Miraflores presidential palace and firmly in control of PDVSA, Rick Scott may have to wait a while for his Exxon stocks to skyrocket.

i’m not sure how much of a role humor has to play around here … probably not very much ….

The Ongoing Restructuring of the Greater Middle East
CJ Hopkins, Jun 25 2019

Map showing the 40 military bases Pindostan has been compelled to position around Iran to combat Iranian aggression.

So, according to the corporate media, and to President Literally Hitler, himself, while Pindostan was sleeping last Friday morning, the USAF was just minutes away from bombing the bejesus out of some desolate outposts somewhere in the Iranian desert and launching another catastrophic military blunder in the Middle East. At approximately 0400 Zulu time, President Hitler and his top advisors (among them, John “the Walrus of Death” Bolton) were gathered in the Pentagon’s War Room, flight paths arcing across the big board. The hotline to Vladimir Putin’s office in St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow had been activated. The full force of the Pindo military was about to be brought to bear upon a package of top-level Iranian targets with no strategic value whatsoever. Apparently, “planes were in the air!” It was all so terribly, terribly exciting.

This awesome demonstration of Pindo resolve was meant to be punishment for the vicious slaughter of an expensive Pindo military drone, which was peacefully invading Iranian airspace, and not at all attempting to provoke the Iranians into blowing it out of the sky with a missile so the Pindo military could “retaliate.” The military-industrial complex would never dream of doing anything like that, not even to further the destabilization and restructuring of the Greater Middle East that they’ve been systematically carrying out the since the collapse of the former Soviet Union, which … more on that in just a moment. Nor did the incursion into Iranian airspace of this non-provacative military drone have anything whatsoever to do with the crippling economic sanctions the Pindostan has imposed on Iran in order to completely destroy its economy and foment a coup against its leaders, who are allegedly conspiring with Hezbollah and AQ to develop an arsenal of nuclear weapons to launch at Israel and Toad Arabia, and other peaceful Middle Eastern democracies, and who were possibly responsible for the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and, who knows, maybe even the Holocaust!

Iran callously displaying the butchered remains of the inoccent $220m surveillance drone they ruthlessly murdered.

Remember, Iran is a “terrorist nation,” which is not playing ball with the “international community,” which is why NATO has it completely surrounded and is flying hundred million dollar military drones up and down its coastline. Also, they don’t like homosexuals (the Iranians, not NATO of course), and they burn big Pindo flags on television, and are generally Hitlerian in every other way. On top of which, they’re allies of Russia, the fount of all democracy-hating, fascist evil in the world today. Which, I don’t know, makes it kind of weird that President Hitler would want to attack them, and destroy their economy with those crippling sanctions. I mean, why would Putin allow him to do that? What was the point of brainwashing all those African Americans with those Facebook ads if his Manchurian President Hitler Puppet was just going to let The Walrus of Death and his deep state cronies bomb his allies? Honestly, the more I watch of this movie, the less the plot makes sense to me … but, hey, I’m just a political satirist, and not a professional Putin-Naziologist, or a geopolitical analyst, or whatever. If I were a geopolitical analyst, I guess I might want to take a step back and try to frame last week’s events within a broader historical context, rather than getting all worked up by the manufactured mass hysteria of the moment. If I did that, things might look a bit clearer, albeit somewhat less terribly exciting. For example, that destabilization and restructuring of the Greater Middle East I just mentioned above, which has been in progress since the early 1990s, regardless of who was sleeping in the White House. The Gulf War, the Iraq War, the “Arab Spring,” Egypt, Libya, Syria, et cetera … if I were a geopolitical analyst, I might be able to discern a pattern there, and possibly even some sort of strategy.

If I were a particularly cynical analyst, it might look to me like global capitalism, starting right around 1990, freed by the collapse of the USSR to do whatever the hell it wanted, more or less immediately started dismantling uncooperative power structures throughout the Greater Middle East. My cynical theory would kind of make sense of the “catastrophic policy blunders” that Pindostan has supposedly made in Iraq, Libya, and throughout the region, not to mention the whole GWOT and what it is currently doing to Syria, and Iran. Take a good look at this Smithsonian map of where Pindostan is “combating terrorism.” Note how the Pindo military (global capitalism’s unofficial “enforcer”) has catastrophically blundered its way into more or less every nation depicted. Or ask our “allies” in Saudi Arabia, Israel, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Turkey, UAE and so on. OK, you might have to reach them in New York or London, or in the South of France this time of year, but, go ahead, ask them about the horrors they’ve been suffering on account of our “catastrophic blunders.” See, according to this crackpot conspiracy theory that I would put forth if I were a geopolitical analyst instead of just a political satirist, there have been no “catastrophic policy blunders,” not for global capitalism.

The Restructuring of the Greater Middle East is proceeding exactly according to plan. The regional ruling classes are playing ball, and those who wouldn’t have been regime-changed, or are being regime-changed, or are scheduled for regime change. Sure, for the actual people of the region, and for regular Pindos, the last thirty years of wars, “strategic” bombings, sanctions, fomented coups and other such shenanigans have been a pointless waste of lives and money, but global capitalism doesn’t care about people or the “sovereign nations” they believe they live in, except to the extent they are useful. Global capitalism has no nations. All it has are market territories, which are either open for business or not. Take a look at that map again. What you’re looking at is global capitalism cleaning up after winning the Cold War. And yes, I do mean global capitalism, despite all evidence to the contrary, not Pindostan, the “nation” most Pindos think they live in. I know it hurts to accept the fact that Pindostan is nothing but a simulation projected onto an enormous marketplace … but seriously, do you honestly believe that the Pindo government and its military serve the interests of the Pindo creeple? If so, go ahead, review the history of their activities since WW2 and explain to me how they have benefited Pindos, not the corporatist ruling classes but regular working-class Pindos, many of whom can’t afford to see a doctor or buy a house or educate their kids, not without assuming a lifetime of debt to some global financial institution.

OK, so I digressed a little. The point is, Pindostan is not at war with Iran. Global capitalism is at war with Iran. The supranational corporatist empire. Yes, it wears a Pindo face, and waves a big Pindo flag, but it is no more Pindo than the corporations it comprises, or the governments those corporations own, or the military forces those governments control, or the transnational banks that keep the whole show running. This is what Iran and Syria are up against. This is what Russia is up against. Global capitalism doesn’t want to nuke them, or occupy them. It wants to privatize them, like it is privatizing the rest of the world, like it has already privatized Pindostan, according to my crackpot theory, of course, but then again I’m just a political satirist, not a geopolitical analyst. What the hell do I know about anything? Probably if we just impeach Donald Trump or The Walrus of Death or elect Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders or some other individual, we can put an end to all these catastrophic blunders that Pindostan keeps making in the Middle East. So forget about my crackpot conspiracy theories, and let’s get back to whatever terribly exciting crisis is unfolding today. Seriously, my brain kind of hurts. I can’t wait to switch on the Internet and find out who’s threatening Pindostan at the moment … Russians, Iranians, Venezuelans, anti-Semites, Mexican migrants, Nazis? The possibilities are endless. Ready? OK, here we go.

touching base

Israel tightens screws on Gaza
Maureen Clare Murphy, Electronic Intifada, Jun 25 2019

A protester in Ramallah holds a sign reading “Palestine is not for sale,” Jun 24 2019. (Photo: Ayat Arqawy/APA)

While the Trump administration goes through the motions of its doomed Bahrain peace summit, Israel is tightening the screws on Gaza’s long-suffering two million Palestinians. Israel announced on Tuesday that it had indefinitely halted the transfer of fuel into the territory “following the launching of incendiary balloons from Gaza.” The ban on fuel transfers to Gaza’s sole and aging power station will drastically reduce the number of hours of electricity available to residents during the sweltering summer heat.

The measure comes days after Israel lifted its week-long maritime closure of Gaza’s coastal waters. Israel’s total prohibition on Gaza fishers from working their trade was also a collective punishment measure imposed due to incendiary balloons and kites launched from the territory.

The punishment of a civilian population over acts for which they bear no responsibility is prohibited under the Fourth Geneva Convention, which was ratified by Israel. The ICRC holds that the air, land and sea blockade on Gaza, imposed since 2007, “constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law.” Last year, the World Bank said that Gaza’s economy was “in free fall” after more than a decade of blockade, successive Israeli military assaults and internal division between Palestinian factions. the World Bank added:

The result is an alarming situation with every second person living in poverty and the unemployment rate for its overwhelmingly young population at over 70%.

Ismail Haniyeh, the political leader of Hamas, accused Israel last week of “foot dragging” by failing to implement understandings reached through indirect talks coordinated by Egypt and the UN. Those understandings include electricity and job-creation projects and increased cash flow into Gaza. Haniyeh also said that Israel’s frequent increased restrictions on Gaza fishers was “a policy of extortion.” Under the Oslo accords signed by Israel and the PLO a quarter of a century ago, fishers are permitted to sail up to 20 nautical miles out from Gaza’s coastal waters. Israel has never allowed Palestinians access beyond 15 nautical miles, however, and that expanded limit was only introduced for part of Gaza’s coast on Apr 1 this year. Israeli restrictions on the movement of Palestinian fishers and the export of their catch “has led the sector to collapse,” according to the human rights group B’Tselem, which states:

In 2000, there were 10,000 registered fishermen in Gaza; now there are about 3,700. In practice, only about half of the registered fishermen actually fish, as many cannot use their boats due to the lack of supplies to repair them or build new ones, or because the military confiscated the boats.

Nearly all of Gaza’s fishers live below the poverty line of $4.60 per day. The premise of the US-sponsored conference in Bahrain that began on Tuesday is that economic investment “will empower the Palestinian people to build a better future for themselves and their children.” The Trump administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” plan was published online a few days ago. As noted by Ali Abunimah:

The plan amounts to reheated ideas for ‘economic peace’: the hope that a few financial crumbs will buy Palestinians off from demanding liberation and from continuing to resist Israel’s system of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.

Omar Shakir, the director of HRW’s Jerusalem office, observes:

The 40-page document says nothing about why Palestinians are disempowered today and unable to unlock their potential.

In 2013, the World Bank estimated that Israeli restrictions on Palestinians in Area C (the 60% of the West Bank under IOF control) costs the Palestinian economy $3.4b/yr. The World Bank more recently stated:

Israeli restrictions in Area C and the blockade on Gaza represent the biggest challenges to growth, and their removal can generate momentous economic benefits.

Instead of calling on Israel to lift those restrictions that have caused the Palestinian economy to decline, Pindo boxtops visiting Area C this week applauded “the extraordinary importance of Israel’s control of this territory,” in the words of David Friedman, the Pindo ambassador to Israel. Friedman, a longtime funder of Israel’s settlements, has previously stated that Israel has the right to annex West Bank land.

Bolton echoed Friedman’s remarks stating that he “saw first-hand the strategic importance that these locations have on Israel’s national security.”

He added that Trump’s executive order recognizing Israel’s claim of sovereignty over the Golan Heights was an acknowledgement that “for Israel to defend itself, it cannot relinquish strategic ground along its border.” The Golan Heights is Syrian territory captured by Israel during the 1967 war, along with the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the Sinai, from which Israel eventually withdrew. Like collective punishment, the acquisition of territory by war is prohibited under international law. A keyword search for “international law” in the “Peace to Prosperity” document yields no results.

nazi pindostan invites a number of unwanted nationalities to publicly and willingly commit “national suicide”

NYT publishes call for Palestinian “national suicide”
Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada, Jun 25 2019

The anti-Palestinian bias of the NYT has long been a subject of complaint and derision among supporters of human rights and competent journalism. But the “newspaper of record” outdid itself this week by publishing and promoting an op-ed by Israel’s UN ambassador Danny Danon claiming that “a national suicide of the Palestinians’ current political and cultural ethos is precisely what is needed for peace.” Danon argues that a Palestinian “surrender” to Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid “will create the opportunity to transform Palestinian society.” Danon’s grotesque racism drew much sharp outrage from commentators. Though the NYT’s anti-Palestinian record predates their hiring by decades, it is no surprise to see such an execrable piece published in 2019 when the newspaper’s op-ed staff and columnists include Bari Weiss, who as a student mounted campaigns to ruin the careers of Arab and Muslim professors for daring to criticize Israel, and Bret Stephens who has his own lengthy Islamophobic and anti-Palestinian record. As for Danon’s demand that Palestinians surrender, it could well have come from one of the leaders of apartheid South Africa in the 1980s and have been directed at Nelson Mandela. After all, the racist regime in Pretoria, just like its racist counterpart occupying Jerusalem today, held overwhelming, seemingly insurmountable power over its subject population. Yet just as Black South Africans proved a generation ago, and Palestinians are showing again, oppressed peoples have their own insurmountable power: the power to say “no” to the oppressor, the power to refuse to become partners and collaborators in their own eradication. Israel’s demand that Palestinians recognize its supposed “right to exist as a Jewish state” is a demand that Palestinians bless and approve their own oppression and dispossession, it’s precisely the surrender that Danny Danon yearns for. But as I’ve noted previously, this demand is an admission of weakness on Israel’s part: it’s an acknowledgment that the Zionist project and the racist, apartheid state it produced, can never be legitimized or achieve stability without the consent of its victims: the Palestinians. In that context, the Trump administration’s Bahrain conference going on this week, as well as its supposedly forthcoming Deal of the Century, are yet more efforts to bribe, bully and blackmail Palestinians into surrendering their basic human and political rights. But Palestinians have not surrendered despite all the atrocities Israel has committed and commits against them. And op-eds using genocidal terminology inthe NYT will not bring them to their knees either.

facing facts about nazi pindostan

Majority Of Pindo Citizens Would Approve Preventive Nuclear Strike On NK
Moon of Alabama, Jun 25 2019

Today is the 69th anniversary of the Korea War. The war has not ended. It is Pindostan that refuses to sign a peace treaty. The continued state of war is the reason why NK acquired nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. To turn NK back into a non-nuclear state necessitates an end of the war, a peace treaty and security guarantees. But could Pindostan be relied on even when a peace treaty is signed? Or is it inherently too bellicose to ever be trusted? When NK’s leader Kim Jong Un will read this report, he will likely conclude that the later question must be answered in the affirmative:

More than a third of Pindos would support a preemptive nuclear strike on NK if that country tested a long-range missile capable of reaching the CONUS, new research has found, even if that preemptive strike killed a million civilians. The survey of 3,000 Pindos was conducted by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and British research firm YouGov, and asked people to consider a scenario in which NK had tested a long-range missile and the Pindo government was considering how to respond.

The survey question is a bit weird, as NK already tested a “long-range missile capable of reaching the CONUS.” Fortunately not all Pindos are brutes. Most did not want their government to launch a preemptive strike, but a large minority supported such a strike, whether by conventional or nuclear weapons. The report found:

For many of these hawks, support for an attack, even in a preventive war, does not significantly decrease when the story says that Pindostan would use nuclear weapons that are expected to kill 1 million NK civilians. As we have previously found, the Pindo public exhibits only limited aversion to nuclear weapons use and a shocking willingness to support the killing of enemy civilians.

The use of a nuclear weapon against NK would have even higher support after it happened:

They were also asked whether they would “approve” of such a strike if the president ordered it. People would “rally around the flag,” the survey found: while 33% of the public would prefer a nuclear strike that would kill 15,000 NK civilians, 50% said they would approve if one took place.

It is not astonishing that many of these people are so called ‘conservatives’:

Thugs expressed greater support for military strikes than Demagogs, and Trump supporters voiced even stronger approval: a majority of them preferred a military strike in five of the six scenarios described in the survey. Among supporters of the death penalty, support for a nuclear strike actually rose from 38% to 49% when the number of expected NK fatalities increased from 15,000 to 1.1 million; one such respondent explained: “it’s our best chance of eliminating the North Koreans.”

It would require a nuclear bomb with a 1 megaton TNT equvilent to create a million dead in Pyongyang. The city would be totally destroyed. More than twenty five million people live in NK. Those Pindo citizens who were surveyed and support to strike them, seem to believe that the NK survivors of a preventive strike could not or would not retaliate. They of course can and would do that. The Pindo ballistic missile defense does not work. It would not stop an NK missile targeting Seattle, Faschingstein or anything between those cities. With a deeply disturbed Donald Trump in the White House, whose supporters would support him using nukes, Kim Jong Un will of course conclude that NK will have to keep ts deterrent. Other countries will think of building their own. A detailed discussion of the survey and its results is here.

churchill was no better: also a sellout, an opportunist, a liar, a racist etc

Boris Johnson: War Reporter
Sputnik, Jun 25 2019

Tory leadership front-runner and Prime Ministerial hopeful Boris Johnson has done many jobs in his time, from editing the Spectator magazine to being Foreign Secretary, but it’s almost forgotten today that he’s also been a war correspondent, reporting from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia during the time of the NATO bombing campaign. Johnson’s despatches from Belgrade in the spring of 1999 were published in the Daily Telegraph and make interesting reading twenty years on. You can hardly accuse him of peddling neocon propaganda. Johnson called the assault on Yugoslavia, which lacked UNSC authorisation, ‘a miserable war,’ and declared:

War is stupid. War is hell. But never has there been a war so stupendously incompetent in matching methods to aims.

Unlike others, he didn’t attempt to whitewash NATO’s actions. He wrote:

NATO succeeded in decapitating a priest as he crossed a bridge in broad daylight on the feast of the Holy Trinity. They killed a toddler as she sat on her potty. Of course, this was not intentional, in the sense that some brasshat at Mons did not target this priest of that toddler. But you could say that it was intentional in that NATO dropped bombs from 15,000 feet in the sure-fire knowledge that civilians would be killed.

Johnson finished that particular article by saying that if there was to be a NATO ‘victory parade’ at the end of the war, he hoped there would be a man behind Clinton and Blair in their chariot to whisper in their ears ‘not only of their own mortality but also of the mortality of the people they claimed to be protecting.’ While condemning violence from Serbian paramilitaries against Kosovan Albanians, Johnson refused to indulge in Serbophobia, which was so fashionable in western circles in the 1990s. In an article entitled ‘The Serbs will blame us and they will have a point,‘ he wrote:

Call me a dupe, but I seem to like most of the Serbs I have met, and feel sorry for them.

The war against Yugoslavia was of course prosecuted by a Labour government in Britain, so perhaps Johnson’s strong criticism of the way it was waged can be seen (at least in part) as party politicking. But it would have been hard for Johnson, based in Belgrade, to have seen the things he saw and not been affected. He wrote:

It was particularly sad, walking up a suburban street, where dead and injured were being taken out of their houses to see the collateral damage. I felt a surge of anger that my taxpayer’s money was being used to fund this destruction, and I am afraid that pathetically, in a mumbled way, I apologised. It is difficult to be in an ancient European capital under bombing and not to oppose the bombardment.

Yet just a few years later Boris had changed his tune. I remember asking him at a party of a mutual friend, just a few days before the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003, whether he believed the guff about Saddam Hussein having Weapons of Mass Destruction which could be assembled and launched within 45 minutes. Johnson looked at me, paused and then replied:

You’ve got to admit Saddam is not a frightfully nice chap.

Writing in the foreword of his 2006 book ’Have I Got Views for You’, Johnson said that in relation to his war reporting from Belgrade:

I think, in retrospect, that I failed to see the wood for the trees; and that has made me approach the second Gulf War with a more open mind. You can say what you like about Blair. But he has participated in the toppling of two tyrants, Milosevic and Saddam, whom Major had left in power.

Johnson also lauded Tony Blair for forming as close a link with Bush 43 as he had done with Clinton 42. The man who had declared ‘War is stupid. War is hell’ in 1999, had come to accept Blair’s military interventions.  Yet that still didn’t stop him saying in 2014 that someone who had called for Tony Blair to be imprisoned over the Iraq War had ‘his heart in the right place.’ That same year, Johnson said that Blair’s argument that the violent insurgency sweeping Iraq had nothing to do with the 2003 invasion was ‘unhinged’. Fast forward to Mar 2016, and Johnson having served two terms as Mayor of London is writing in the Daily Telegraph about Syria. It’s as if the old Belgrade Boris has come back to life. In a column entitled ‘Bravo for Assad- he is a vile tyrant but he has saved Palmyra from Daesh,‘ Johnson said he couldn’t conceal his ‘elation’ as the Syrian Arab Army recaptured the ancient city from the terrorists. The piece followed on from another in which Johnson had argued for a WW2-style Grand Alliance with Britain, the Pindostan, Syria and Russia coming together to defeat said terrorists. These articles would only have increased fears in the neocon establishment,  centred around the Rupert Murdoch media empire, that Johnson was not a ‘true believer’ in regime-change projects and may have helped sabotage his leadership campaign in 2016, as I argued here. But as soon as Johnson became Foreign Secretary, he flip-flopped again, going from ‘Bravo to Assad‘ to ‘Assad must go‘ in a matter of months, performing a similar U-turn to the one he had done in relation to the war against Yugoslavia. All the evidence shows us that Boris Johnson, like Donald Trump, is not by instinct a warmonger or an obsessed ‘regime-changer,’ but will go along to get along. Reporting from post-invasion Iraq in 2003, Johnson made a most revealing admission:

I wrote, spoke and voted for the war, and was hugely relieved when we won. But owing, no doubt, to some defect in my character, I found it very hard to be gung-ho.

Doesn’t it tell us plenty about the political space in which Johnson operates that he sees not being ‘gung -ho’ as a character defect?

the stupid bastard spelled khamenei “khomeini” and strait “straight”

Twitter Fire
Ted Rall, Sputnik, Jun 25 2019

Tensions between Tehran and Faschingstein reached new levels on Tuesday after Iran’s president criticized his Pindo counterpart’s administration, asserting the White House is “full of lies” and “mentally retarded” for its sanctions. Of course, Trump did not let this comment go without a Twitter response. Even before taking office, Trump consistently boasted about his “high IQ” and has used his alleged score to dismiss the intelligence of former Vice President Joe Biden, actor Robert De Niro, and even his former Sec State Rex Tillerson. Therefore one can assume that the president did not take kindly to his administration being dubbed “mentally retarded” by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday in response to recent Pindo sanctions against top Iranian statesmen. Rather than take a jab at the Iranian government’s intelligence in response, Trump fired up his Twitter app and composed a three-post thread promising a response of “great and overwhelming force” if Iran attacks “anything Pindosi.” Apparently, Trump’s reported friendships with “many Iranians living in New York” won’t be enough to stop potential death and “obliteration” if the conflict escalates.

Trump suggests EU out of line in suing Pindo tech firms
Reuters, Jun 26 2019

FASCHINGSTEIN – Trump on Wednesday suggested the EU was out of line in suing Pindo technology companies like Facebook and Google, saying legal action against those firms should be the purview of Pindostan. Trump said in an interview with Fox Business Network, in an apparent reference to EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager:

She hates Pindostan perhaps worse than any person I’ve ever met. What she does to our country! She’s suing all our companies. We should be suing Google and Facebook and all that, which perhaps we will. They should be sued. They (the EU) are suing Apple for billions of dollars. They’re suing everybody. They make it almost impossible to do two-way business.

Europe’s competition authority has taken a tough stance against Google, handing down three fines totaling more than $9b in recent years. In a 2017 deal with the EU, Google agreed to pay $2.7b to resolve claims it unfairly steered business toward its shopping platform. In March, it was fined $1.7b in a case focused on illegal practices in search advertising brokering from 2006 to 2016. The EU’s antitrust system is different from that of Pindostan, with authorities launching investigations and then issuing rulings. Targeted companies can then challenge those rulings legally. Trump also reiterated his view that social media companies were discriminating against conservatives. The Pindo government is gearing up to investigate whether Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google misuse their massive market power, sources told Reuters earlier in June, setting up what could be an unprecedented, wide-ranging probe of some of the world’s largest companies. The White House said on Wednesday it would host a social media summit on Jul 11. It was not immediately clear who would be in attendance.

all options are on the table, says kay bailey hutchinson. who?

NATO calls on Russia to destroy new missile, warns of response
Robin Emmott, Reuters, Jun 26 2019

BRUSSELS – NATO urged Russia on Tuesday to destroy a new missile before an August deadline and save a treaty that keeps land-based nuclear warheads out of Europe or face a more determined alliance response in the region. NATO defense ministers will discuss on Wednesday their next steps if Moscow keeps the missile system that Pindostan says would allow short-notice nuclear attacks on Europe and break the 1987 INF Treaty. Stoltenberg told a news conference:

We call on Russia to take the responsible path, but we have seen no indication that Russia intends to do so. We will need to respond.

He declined to go into more details. But diplomats said defense ministers will consider more flights over Europe by Pindo warplanes capable of carrying nuclear warheads, more military training and the repositioning of Pindo sea-based missiles. Pindostan and its NATO vassals want Russia to destroy its 9M729/SSC-8 nuclear-capable cruise missile system, which Moscow has so far refused to do. It denies any violations of the INF treaty, accusing Faschingstein of seeking an arms race. Without a deal, the United States has said it will withdraw from the INF treaty on Aug 2, removing constraints on its own ability to develop nuclear-capable, medium-range missiles. The dispute has deepened a fissure in East-West ties that severely deteriorated after Russia’s seizure of Crimea and its involvement in Syria. Russia warned on Monday of a stand-off comparable to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis if the United States were to deploy land-based missile systems near Russia’s borders, but Stoltenberg said there were no such plans. Pindo Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison told reporters that at present, Washington was only considering conventional, not nuclear weapons, in any possible response. she said:

All options are on the table but we are looking at conventional systems, that’s important for our European allies to know.

European allies are also worried about the deployment of Pindo nuclear missiles in Europe, as happened in the 1980s, and being caught up in nuclear competition between Moscow and Faschingstein. The INF treaty, negotiated by Reagan and Gorbachev and ratified by the Pindo Senate, eliminated the medium-range missile arsenals of the world’s two biggest nuclear powers and reduced their ability to launch a nuclear strike at short notice. he treaty bans land-based missiles with a range between 500 km and 5,500km.