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Thread: Generational Dynamics World View - Page 52

Post#1276 at 04-05-2014 05:44 AM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
04-05-2014, 05:44 AM #1276
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Quote Originally Posted by TimWalker View Post
Regarding foreign affairs...I'm starting to think that the Obama administration would do just as well if it did nothing.
Unfortunately, the world won't tolerate a U.S. administration that isn't "engaged."


Post#1277 at 04-05-2014 09:57 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
04-05-2014, 09:57 PM #1277
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6-Apr-14 World View -- U.S. fails to reaffirm its mutual defense treaty with Japan

*** 6-Apr-14 World View -- U.S. fails to reaffirm its mutual defense treaty with Japan

This morning's key headlines from

  • U.S. fails to reaffirm its mutual defense treaty with Japan
  • U.N. leaders realizing Central African Republic genocide is unstoppable
  • Chad withdraws from Central African Republic peacekeeping force

**** U.S. fails to reaffirm its mutual defense treaty with Japan

Chuck Hagel and Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on Saturday

Russia's effortless annexation of Crimea has raised concerns in
countries throughout Asia that the U.S. will not honor its commitment
to defend them against attacks from other countries, such as China.
When America became policeman of the world after WW II, thanks to the
Truman Doctrine in 1947, the deal was that other countries could focus
on economic growth and not worry about military spending, because
America would rescue them if necessary. But after America took no
action in Crimea or Syria, and the Obama administration appears to
have completely abandoned the Truman Doctrine for the first time, many
countries are understandably nervous that now they're completely on
their own.

According to one analyst:

<QUOTE>"The hard question, particularly when leaders in this
region look at what is gone on in Syria, what's gone on in
Ukraine, the president drawing red lines and not actually backing
up its words, there are questions, legitimate questions
particularly I would say in Japan what would happen if there was
conflict between China and Japan? Would the United States actually
come on the side of Japan as strongly as the Japanese might
hope?"<END QUOTE>

In a meeting on Saturday with Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe,
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel tried to remove these fears by
means of a speech full of reassuring words:

<QUOTE>"It’s a pretty predictable, I think, reaction, not
just of nations of this area and this region but all over the
world. I think anytime you have a nation — Russia in this case —
try to impose its will to refine and define international
boundaries and violate the territorial integrity and sovereignty
of a nation by force, all of the world takes note of that. ...

[There is no] weakness on the part of the United States as to our
complete and absolute commitment to the security of Japan. So I
don’t think there is any indication or any evidence that we’re
doing anything but strengthening our commitment to the security of
Japan."<END QUOTE>

Hagel also said that Russia suffered unnamed "consequences" for the
invasion of Crimea.

So Hagel doesn't actually say that the commitment is being
strengthened. He says that "there's [no] indication or evidence" that
it's not being strengthened. Pretty clever wording. He's managed to
sound good, while saying absolutely nothing. If I were running an
Asian nation, I wouldn't be reassured at all. Japan Times/AP

**** U.N. leaders realizing Central African Republic genocide is unstoppable

This weekend, the United Nations is commemorating the 20th anniversary
of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The majority Hutus tortured, burnt,
raped, mutilated and killed over 800,000 Tutsis over a six month
period. As usual, we're hearing the phrase "Never again!" over and
over, though it's also mixed in with recriminations, many people
blaming the French and Belgians for not stopping it, and some accusing
the French of actually participating.

But in the midst of the ceremonies about Rwanda, U.N.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is saying that the genocidal acts in
Central African Republic (CAR) are increasing, and the peacekeeping
forces sent to stop the violence are "overwhelmed":

<QUOTE>"The international community failed the people of
Rwanda 20 years ago. And we are at risk of not doing enough for
the people of the CAR today.

Ethno-religious cleansing is a reality. Most members of the Muslim
minority have fled. Muslims and Christians have been placed in
mortal danger simply because of who they are or what they believe.

People have been lynched and decapitated. Sexual violence is on
the rise. Gruesome acts have been committed while others cheered
on the perpetrators. There has been total impunity – zero
accountability. This must change."<END QUOTE>

As I've been writing for months, a CAR genocide cannot be stopped.
This is an elemental force of nature. The last time this happened in
CAR, the last generational crisis war, was the 1928-1931 Kongo-Wara
Rebellion ("War of the Hoe Handle"), which was a very long time ago,
putting CAR today deep into a generational Crisis era. There are
probably no survivors left from the Kongo-Wara Rebellion, and so it's
not surprising at all that a new war of extermination is breaking out
in CAR today. It's as simple as that. This is the way that the real
world works. They may say "Never again!", but the truth is "Always
again!", because that's part of the human DNA, just as much as sex is.
Toronto Star and United Nations and AFP

**** Chad withdraws from Central African Republic peacekeeping force

Chad is withdrawing its 850 soldiers from the 6,000 soldiers in the
multination peacekeeping force in Central African Republic (CAR).
There have been suspicions all along that the mostly Muslim Chadian
troops were taking the side of the Muslims against the Christians in
the CAR conflict. Then last Saturday (March 29), a group of Chadian
soldiers fired indiscriminately into a crowded market, killing about
30 civilians and wounding another 300. According to a U.N.
investigation, the perpetrators were Chadian troops, though they
weren't part of Chad's troops in the peacekeeping force. According to
a statement by Chad's foreign ministry explaining the decision to

<QUOTE>"Despite the sacrifices we have made, Chad and
Chadians have been targeted in a gratuitous and malicious campaign
that blamed them for all the suffering in (Central African
Republic)."<END QUOTE>


KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Japan, Shinzo Abe, China,
Truman Doctrine, Crimea, Syria, Russia, Chuck Hagel,
Central African Republic, Rwanda, Ban Ki-Moon,
Kongo-Wara Rebellion, War of the Hoe Handle, Chad

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Post#1278 at 04-06-2014 11:05 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
04-06-2014, 11:05 PM #1278
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7-Apr-14 World View -- President Obama declares 'Mission Accomplished!' on Obamacare

*** 7-Apr-14 World View -- President Obama declares 'Mission Accomplished!' on Obamacare

This morning's key headlines from

  • Pro-Russians riot in cities across eastern Ukraine
  • President Obama declares 'Mission Accomplished!' on Obamacare

**** Pro-Russians riot in cities across eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian protester breaks a window of a government building in Donetsk on Sunday (BBC)

In Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, pro-Russian
protesters on Sunday stormed government buildings, clashed with
police, hung Russian flags from the buildings and called for a
referendum on independence similar to the one that led Russia to annex

Russia's president Vladimir Putin has said that Russia has "no
intention" of invading eastern Ukraine, despite the tens of thousands
of Russian troops on the border, all active, well-trained,
well-supplied with food and spare parts. However, Putin has also said
that Russia WOULD invade eastern Ukraine if it became necessary to
protect ethnic Russians.

Thus, Sunday's riots and protests are exactly the excuse that Putin
needs to go ahead with the invasion. We'll have to see if he avails
himself of that excuse. Itar-Tass and BBC

**** President Obama declares 'Mission Accomplished!' on Obamacare

President Obama was visibly gloating this past week when he declared
that 7.1 million people had "signed up for" Obamacare. He claimed to
have no information on how many of those had even made a single
payment, or how many were subsidized, or how many of these were for
free Medicaid. He declared that "Obamacare is here to stay!"

When I first wrote about the "Obama's health plan, a proposal of economic insanity"

in 2009, I said that this plan would never be implemented because it
would destroy markets and be economically disastrous. I compared it
to President Richard Nixon's wage-price controls which were not as
disastrous for the markets as Obama's health plan, but still wrecked
the economy for close to a decade. I've repeated that many times
since then, and I'm going to repeat it today: Obama's health plan will
never be implemented.

Obama's health plan called for employer mandates, individual mandates,
a working federal health care marketplace, and integration of all
health records in the country into the IRS's data bases. None of
these things has been implemented yet, and most will probably never be
implemented. In just this past week alone, close Obama advisor Robert
Gibbs sent out a trial balloon, saying in a speech that the employer
mandate will be killed completely:

<QUOTE>"I don’t think the employer mandate will go into
effect. It’s a small part of the law. I think it will be one of
the first things to go."<END QUOTE>

Gibbs has a good sense of humor. The employer mandate is an essential
core component of the law, not a small part of the law.

So the markets have been all but destroyed by Obamacare. The
7.1 million signups that Obama was gloating about are irrelevant
to the markets. It's his economic philosophy that it's all right
for a business to lose money, because they can make it up in

Suppose President Nixon had announced something like, "Citizens,
please sign up for NixonCarePriceControls, and if you sign up, you can
buy as much Coca-Cola you want for just a penny a bottle." Then we
can assume that many millions would sign up for
NixonCarePriceControls, even more than 7.1 million. The problem is
that the Coca-Cola company would go out of business. That in fact is
what happened to many businesses. The one that I've always remembered
was that chicken farmers were killing chickens, rather than bringing
them to market, because chickens were price-controlled, while chicken
feed was a commodity and could not be controlled, so it cost more to
grow a chicken than the farmer could get under NixonCarePriceControls.

So the fact that 7.1 million signed up for unsustainably cheap
insurance may be a victory to President Obama, but it's a disaster for
the economy. The only thing that would have been worse is
if 10 or 15 million people had signed up.

You'd think that an economist would have to be particularly
incompetent and stupid to know nothing about an event as recent as
Nixon's price controls, but incompetence and stupidity are available
in abundance these days.

The public loved President Nixon's wage-price controls when they
were first announced, but then the shortages starting occurring
-- gasoline, heating oil, red meat, soybeans, and numerous other
products. Nixon did everything he could to save the controls,
granting special exemptions and perks to favored people, announcing
frequent rule changes to resolve each new problem as it arose,
and so forth.

Nixon's wage-price controls were supposed to reduce inflation from
4% to 2%. That didn't happen. Instead, the economy was so screwed
up with shortages and misallocations that the inflation rate
rose to 12%.

In other words, Nixon's wage-price controls destroyed the economy, and
not only accomplished nothing, but were much worse than nothing.

Now we have the same thing with Obamacare. It's hard to know what's
going on with all the confusion and chaos, with Obama changing the
rules every week and refusing to release any figures that he considers
unfavorable. But apparently, the number of uninsured people today is
comparable to the number of uninsured people before all this started.
So nothing has been accomplished.

Obama has lied repeatedly and often. He's bribed cronies with perks,
and extorted political enemies. Even among his ardent supporters,
you'd have to be crazy to believe anything he says. He'll say one
thing on Monday, and the reverse himself the next day and screw the

Insurance costs have significantly increased, people have lost their
health insurance policies, people have lost their doctors, even people
who have signed up are often not sure whether their next visit to the
emergency room will be insured.

There's also a constitutional crisis on the agenda. Obama has simply
ignored the constitution and changed his own Obamacare law repeatedly
to suit his whims. That violates the constitution, and at some point
in the next year or so, the Supreme Court is going to have its say,
creating a legal and constitution disaster comparable to the IT disaster. There's apparently no law and no
constitutional provision that Obama is unwilling to violate.

And the worst is yet to come, because there's a huge bill to be paid.
Those 7.1 million people, as an aggregate, will incur far more medical
costs than they will pay for in premiums. This means that when the
bill comes due in the next few months, the insurance companies will
have to be bailed out (which is apparently permitted by the Obamacare
bill), and they'll have to substantially increase insurance premiums
for next year. And so far, Obamacare has simply wasted something like
a trillion dollars. (See "1-Dec-13 World View -- Obamacare: 500M lines of code, $500M, only 60% completed"
from last year.)

And for what? What the hell was it all for? Obama announced "Mission
Accomplished!", but what exactly was accomplished? What has Obamacare
accomplished except to feed Obama's ego?

This brings up an important difference between Obamacare and
NixonCarePriceControls. Nixon was a member of the G.I. Generation,
and had fought in and survived World War II. Like most WW II
survivors, he was willing to put the good of the country ahead of his
own ego, because he understood how dangerous the alternative is. So
when it became clear that Nixon's wage-price controls were a disaster,
he ended them. It was the right thing to do, and it was for the good
of the country.

Obama is in Generation-X, whose people typically put their egos at the
highest importance level, and put the good of the country about 50th
down on the list. Obama is following the standard generational Nomad
archetype. (See "The nihilism and self-destructiveness of Generation X"
from 2008.) Obama
is determined that to save something called "Obamacare" for his
legacy, no matter how disastrous it is for the country. And that's
just something the rest of us will have to suffer for. BenefitsPro and Forbes and Nixon's Wage and Price Freeze

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Ukraine, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv,
Russia, Vladimir Putin, Obamacare, Nixon's wage-price controls

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Last edited by John J. Xenakis; 04-08-2014 at 07:05 AM.

Post#1279 at 04-07-2014 10:29 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
04-07-2014, 10:29 PM #1279
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8-Apr-14 World View -- Narendra Modi may change India's 'no first use' nuclear policy

*** 8-Apr-14 World View -- Narendra Modi may change India's 'no first use' nuclear policy

This morning's key headlines from

  • Narendra Modi may change India's 'no first use' nuclear policy
  • Taiwan's proposed trade deal opens old wounds with China

**** Narendra Modi may change India's 'no first use' nuclear policy

Narendra Modi (AP)

India's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is widely expected to win India's
parliamentary elections, the first round of which began on Monday.
India is the largest democracy in the world, and so national elections
are help in separate regions over a five-week period.

Self-described Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) Narendra Modi is the head
of BJP, and he's promising a substantially more aggressive foreign
policy for India, including a promise to get tougher in territorial
disputes with China. He's the "hope and change" candidate for this
election, and he's expected to become the next prime minister.

Modi is also promising to review India's "no first use" policy for
nuclear weapons. The no first use policy was adopted with reference
to India's arch-enemy Pakistan, and the previous administration has
promised that it will not be the first to use nuclear weapons in a
war. However, Pakistan does NOT have a no first use policy, and so
Modi is promising to review India's.

India's last generational crisis war was the war between Hindus and
Muslims that followed the partitioning of the Indian subcontinent and
the creation of the states of Pakistan and India in 1947. This action
precipitate among the worst and bloodiest wars of the 20th century, as
Hindus from the new Pakistan state migrated to the India side of the
partition, and Muslims from the India side migrated to Pakistan,
butchering and slaughtering each other along the way.

India's current prime minister is Manmohan Singh, born in 1932.
Although he's a Sikh, he and his family witnessed the massive
slaughter of the Partition war, as his family migrated from Pakistan
to India at the time. Like many people who survive a generational
crisis war, Singh has devoted his life to making sure that nothing
like that ever happens again, and he's been remarkably conciliatory
towards Pakistan and China since he became prime minister in 2004.

If Narendra Modi, born in 1950 after the Partition war, becomes prime
minister, it will mark a significant generational change. Modi's
Hindu nationalism is already strongly asserting itself, and
it's made him very popular. If he wins, we can expect to
see relations with China and Pakistan become considerably more
Times of India

**** Taiwan's proposed trade deal opens old wounds with China

A boisterous protest by hundreds of students blocking the parliament
building in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is now entering its third
weeks. The demonstrators are protesting a proposed trade pact
with China. Supporters of the pact say that it will bring new
jobs to Taiwan, while opponents say that Taiwan will lose jobs
to China.

The protests are opening old wounds that haven't healed since the
bloody Communist Revolution civil war, when Mao Zedong's forced the
Nationalist (KMT) forces, led by Chiang Kai-shek, to flee to Formosa
(Taiwan), passing through Hong Kong, in 1949. China still considers
Taiwan to be a province of China, but whether Taiwan will declare
independence has been a highly emotional issue since 1949. Taiwan's
independence movement took a big stride forward in 1989, when Taiwan's
population watched in horror as China's security forces brutally
massacred and killed thousands of innocently protesting students in
the Tiananmen Square massacre. This triggered a Taiwan student
movement called "the Wild Lily rebellion," and led to the creation of
a new political party, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which
explicitly favors independence. (See "Taiwan's Wild Election Battle" from 2004.)

DPP has been in power in Japan for about half of the last 15 years,
and whenever they're in power, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
in Beijing totally freaks out, issuing one threat after another,
since that it Taiwan makes even one tiny step in the direction
of independence, the China will declare war.

However, the KMT have back in power in Taiwan for the last five years,
and relations between Taiwan and China have been relatively calm.
Ironically, as I reported last month,
China's new president Xi Jinping is redirecting China's
ideological culture towards Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalism, and away
from Mao Zedong's Marxist ideology, for fear that a new peasant
revolution would throw the current CCP out in the street.

Xi Jinping also said, last year, that the situation with Taiwan could
not go on much longer, with the implication that China was preparing
to use military force to take control of Taiwan. It may have been
that remark that triggered the anxieties that led to the current round
of protests among those who are bitterly opposed to reunification with
China. Reuters and LA Times

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, India, Narendra Modi,
Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP, Pakistan, China,
Partition war, Taiwan, Chiang Kai-shek, Formosa,
Mao Zedong, Communist Revolution, Tiananmen Square massacre,
Wild Lily rebellion, Xi Jinping

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Post#1280 at 04-07-2014 10:51 PM by David Krein [at Gainesville, Florida joined Jul 2001 #posts 604]
04-07-2014, 10:51 PM #1280
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John, G.I. Richard Nixon was born in 1913, the same year as my mother, and was as far removed from an adaptive type as can be imagined.


Dave Krein '42
"The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on; nor all your Piety nor Wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line, Nor all your Tears wash out a word of it." - Omar Khayyam.

Post#1281 at 04-08-2014 07:08 AM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
04-08-2014, 07:08 AM #1281
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Quote Originally Posted by David Krein View Post
John, G.I. Richard Nixon was born in 1913, the same year as my mother, and was as far removed from an adaptive type as can be imagined.


Dave Krein '42
Hi David, it's been a while.

Thanks for the correction. I corrected the article.


Post#1282 at 04-08-2014 10:58 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
04-08-2014, 10:58 PM #1282
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9-Apr-14 World View -- Russia and U.S. exchange accusations as east Ukraine unrest

*** 9-Apr-14 World View -- Russia and U.S. exchange accusations as east Ukraine unrest escalates

This morning's key headlines from

  • Russia and U.S. exchange accusations as east Ukraine unrest escalates
  • Ebola continues to 'evolve rapidly' in Guinea and Liberia
  • Kerry blames Israel, but hopes Mideast peace talks will continue

**** Russia and U.S. exchange accusations as east Ukraine unrest escalates

Violence is escalating in large cities in east Ukraine, along the
border with Russia, where pro-Russian protesters have stormed and
looted government buildings, demanding secession from Ukraine to
become part of the Russian federation. According to Ukraine's
Security Service, separatists armed with explosives and other
weapons were holding 60 people hostage.

Russia blamed the increasing violence on American mercenaries:

<QUOTE>We are particularly concerned that the operation
involves some 150 American mercenaries from a private company
Greystone Ltd., dressed in the uniform of the [Ukrainian] special
task police unit Sokol. Organizers and participants of such
incitement are assuming a huge responsibility for threatening upon
the rights, freedoms and lives of Ukrainian citizens as well as
the stability of Ukraine."<END QUOTE>

Russia is also accusing Ukraine's government in Kiev of trying to
start a civil war.

It turns out that Greystone used to be an affiliate of
Blackwater and may or may not have provided security services
in Russia or Ukraine. Reports of Greystone working in Ukraine
are unconfirmed.

Secretary of State John Kerry, testifying before the Senate on
Tuesday, called the situation by Russia to "create a contrived

<QUOTE>"And everything that we’ve seen in the last 48 hours
from Russian provocateurs and agents operating in eastern Ukraine
tells us that they’ve been sent there determined to create
chaos. And that is absolutely unacceptable. These efforts are as
ham-handed as they are transparent, frankly. And quite simply,
what we see from Russia is an illegal and illegitimate effort to
destabilize a sovereign state and create a contrived crisis with
paid operatives across an international boundary engaged in this

Russia’s clear and unmistakable involvement in destabilizing and
engaging in separatist activities in the east of Ukraine is more
than deeply disturbing. No one should be fooled, and believe me,
no one is fooled by what could potentially be a contrived pretext
for military intervention just as we saw in Crimea. It is clear
that Russian special forces and agents have been the catalyst
behind the chaos of the last 24 hours. Some have even been
arrested and exposed. And equally as clear must be the reality
that the United States and our allies will not hesitate to use
21st-century tools to hold Russia accountable for 19th-century
behavior. We have stated again and again that our preference – and
the preference of our friends and allies – is de-escalation and a
diplomatic solution. But Russia should not for a single solitary
second mistake the expression of that preference as an
unwillingness to do what is necessary to stop any violation of the
international order."<END QUOTE>

What's interesting about this statement is the sharply escalating
rhetoric on the American side. For months, Kerry has been following
Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov around like a little puppy
begging for a bone, and has been fooled every time. So the
administration is now changing to a new hardline approach,
with the old "reset button" approach completely abandoned.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this illustrates how
nationalism is increasing in this generational Crisis era, even in the
United States. It's a small incremental increase to be sure, but it's
a part of a continuing trend of increasing nationalism in countries
around the world. Russia Today and ABC News and Dept. of State

**** Ebola continues to 'evolve rapidly' in Guinea and Liberia

The World Health Organization (WHO) is describing this as one of the
most challenging situations they've ever faced. Ebola continues to
spread rapidly in Guinea and Liberia, with 178 suspected cases, 106
confirmed, resulting in 111 death in the two countries. Spread of the
virus has was given a boost when it spread last week to Conakry, the
overcrowded capital city of Guinea. From there, it's spread to widely
dispersed regions, and can't be contained. Cases have been reported
in Sierra Leone, Mali and Ghana, but none has been confirmed. There
has been some panic as, on Friday, an angry mob attacked an Ebola
treatment center in Conakry, accusing the staff from Médecins Sans
Frontières (MSF, Doctors without Borders) of bringing the disease to
the town and spreading it. WHO is advising people to stay calm,
though is warning that controlling the outbreak could take months.

**** Kerry blames Israel, but hopes Mideast peace talks will continue

Speaking before the Senate, Secretary of State John Kerry said that
the Mideast "peace talks" collapsed when Israel refused to release the
fourth batch of prisoners who had been convicted of terrorist acts
prior to the 1994 Oslo accords. However, he still hoped that
negotiations would continue. "It is stopped. Recognize reality!" said
Republican Sen. John McCain. AP

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Russia, Ukraine, Greystone, Blackwater,
John Kerry, Ebola, Guinea, Liberia, Conakry,
Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF, Doctors without Borders,
World Health Organization, WHO, Israel, John McCain

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Post#1283 at 04-09-2014 08:56 AM by TimWalker [at joined May 2007 #posts 6,371]
04-09-2014, 08:56 AM #1283
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Found some interesting comments about Hungary in the Future Timelines forums. It seems that under prime minister Viktor Orban that the government is becoming authoritarian, beginning to resemble Russia's.

It seems that there is a party that advocates a secessionist movement in western Ukraine, due to the presence of Hungarians there; also, persecution of Roma, and deporting Hungarian Jews to Israel.

Post#1284 at 04-09-2014 06:47 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
04-09-2014, 06:47 PM #1284
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Quote Originally Posted by TimWalker View Post
> Found some interesting comments about Hungary in the Future
> Timelines forums. It seems that under prime minister Viktor Orban
> that the government is becoming authoritarian, beginning to
> resemble Russia's.

> It seems that there is a party that advocates a secessionist
> movement in western Ukraine, due to the presence of Hungarians
> there; also, persecution of Roma, and deporting Hungarian Jews to
> Israel.
Populations of the Eastern European countries today are splitting up
along pro-German and pro-Russian lines that are similar to those in WW

Post#1285 at 04-09-2014 10:58 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
04-09-2014, 10:58 PM #1285
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10-Apr-14 World View -- New terrorist bombing in Pakistan, Taliban ceasefire expires

*** 10-Apr-14 World View -- New terrorist bombing in Pakistan, as Taliban ceasefire expires

This morning's key headlines from

  • New terrorist bombing in Pakistan, as Taliban ceasefire expires
  • John Kerry's 'Poof' speech infuriates the Israelis
  • Palestinians develop political plans to defeat Israel
  • 'Heartbleed Bug' requires all users to change their passwords

**** New terrorist bombing in Pakistan, as Taliban ceasefire expires

Bombed marketplace in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Wednesday (The News)

A powerful explosion in a fruit and vegetable market in Islamabad,
the capital city of Pakistan, killed at least 24 people and
injured hundreds. It's believed that the bomb was stored
in a wooden fruit crate and was detonated when the fruit crate
was delivered to the market.

A Taliban linked terrorist group, United Baloch Army (UBA) claimed
responsibility for the bombing, giving as reasons revenge against
government security forces, and demanding a separate state for

However, Pakistan's Interior Ministry is denying that UBA was
responsible for the bombing, and is saying that it was the consequence
of a disagreement among factions of the Pakistani Taliban
(Tehrik-e-Taliban - TTP). Last month, TTP announced a unilateral
ceasefire, in order to give peace talks with the government a chance.
( "11-Mar-14 World View -- Terrorist bombings continue in Pakistan despite so-called 'cease-fire'"

That one-month ceasefire expires on April 10, and there is bitter
disagreement among the leadership of various TTP groups about whether
the ceasefire period should be extended. It's believed that the
bombing attack is related to that disagreement. However, a TTP
spokesman said that the TTP had nothing to do with the bombing.

Like the Mideast peace talks, the Taliban peace talks are considered
something of a joke by observers. TTP originally demanded that three
conditions be met before any peace talks can begin: TTP prisoners must
be released from jail, the army must be withdrawn from the tribal
areas where it has been fighting the Taliban, and the government must
agree to impose Sharia law on the entire country. Finally, the TTP
agreed to the one-month ceasefire, but it only recently emerged it
turned out that this commitment was made because prime minister Nawaz Sharif agreed
to release 19
Taliban militants from jail. Sharif secretly kept this process last
month, though the secret was revealed last week.

If it weren't so serious, it would be amusing that both the Mideast
"peace talks" and the Pakistan "peace talks" were both considered a
joke, are both about to expire, and were both based on a promise to
release convicted militants from jail. Daily Times (Pakistan) and The News (Pakistan)

**** John Kerry's 'Poof' speech infuriates the Israelis

As I reported yesterday,

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry blamed Israel in a Senate hearing
for the collapse of the Mideast "peace talks" that he had set up last
year in July. I quoted the official transcript on the State Dept. web
site, but apparently there was an additional statement that didn't
make it onto the web site.

Kerry said that the Mideast "peace talks" collapsed when Israel
refused to release the fourth batch of prisoners who had been
convicted of terrorist acts prior to the 1994 Oslo accords.
And then, according to Kerry, Israel moved ahead with plans to
approve 700 West Bank settlements.

<QUOTE>"And, poof! That was sort of the moment. We find
ourselves where we are."<END QUOTE>

Kerry was implying that, until that moment, the "peace talks" were on
track, or close to being on track, but "poof!", Israel threw it all

This particular remark is infuriating Israelis, who point out that the
Palestinians had broken a number of commitments, and had
refused to commit to continuing the peace talks before applying
to 15 United Nations agencies.

At any rate, as I've written many times, the "peace talks" that Kerry
set up were never more than a theatrical show, considered a joke in
the Mideast, and now Kerry is painting himself as a victim, as if to
say, "I worked soooooooooooooo hard to set up these peace talks, but
the two of you, especially Israel, just won't listen to me and do what
I say." Jerusalem Post and Commentary

**** Palestinians develop political plans to defeat Israel

There are still military resistance groups among the Palestinians, but
Palestinian leaders don't have faith in them because they don't appear
to have serious, workable plans to change the status quo with respect
to Israel. Instead, Palestinian leaders are pursuing two
nonviolent resistance plans to defeat the Israelis:

  • The "anti-wall resistance" is essentially a public relations
    effort focusing on the wall around Israel, which allow Israel to
    easily adopt oppressive practices, denying Palestinians their rights
    and maintaining an illegal military occupation.
  • The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that
    advocates economic measures to be taken against Israel.

Leaders of both Fatah and Hamas have praised both movements,
but some, include Mahmoud Abbas, oppose the idea of boycotting
the state of Israel, because it generates sympathy for Israel.

The total collapse of the peace negotiations, which many people now
expect, will boost the anti-wall and BDS resistance movements, and
without the distraction of the negotiations, these movements may be a
lot more successful. Al-Monitor

**** 'Heartbleed Bug' requires all users to change their passwords

Security experts are warning that a newly discovered security
vulnerability exposes almost all web sites to compromise by a hacker.
The bug was accidentally put into the popular OpenSSL (Open source
Secure Socket Library) software library that's used to encrypt secure
conversations between user browsers and web sites. The library is
widely used within web servers for e-mail, banking and other web
sites, but the bug permits a hacker to steal usernames and passwords
of logged on users. The bug has been around since December 2011, but
was only recently discovered, and was announced on Monday. Once
discovered it was easy to fix, and most major web sites have fixed the
bugs by now.

However, the real question is whether any hackers discovered the bug
before it was announced and fixed, and have been harvesting usernames
and passwords for weeks or months. This is not a far-fetched
scenario, since there are teams of hackers in China, Russia and
eastern Europe who work full time to discover vulnerabilities like
this. For these reason, security experts are strongly recommending
that all users change their passwords on all the sites they visit,
starting with the most important sites.

The bug was discovered in a specific function in the OpenSSL software
called the "heartbeat" function. This function causes your browser to
exchange information with a web site every few seconds, in order to
verify that the connection still works. The bug is that the server
leaves the heartbeat information in unencrypted form in server memory
for a brief period of time, and during this period a hacker could
download it. For this reason, it's called the "Heartbleed Bug."
CNet and

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Pakistan, Tehrik-e-Taliban, TTP, Pakistan Taliban,
Islamabad, United Baloch Army, UBA, John Kerry, Israel,
anti-wall resistance, Boycott Divestment and Sanctions, BDS
Heartbleed bug, OpenSSL

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Post#1286 at 04-10-2014 10:42 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
04-10-2014, 10:42 PM #1286
Join Date
May 2003
Cambridge, MA

11-Apr-14 World View -- France says Central African Republic has totally collapsed

*** 11-Apr-14 World View -- France says Central African Republic has totally collapsed

This morning's key headlines from

  • Rwandans leave Catholic churches for evangelical churches
  • UN Security Council approves 11,800 peacekeepers for Central African Republic
  • France's Ambassador: Central African Republic has totally collapsed
  • Israel imposes sanctions on the Palestinian Authority

**** Rwandans leave Catholic churches for evangelical churches

Sunday Evangelical restoration service in Kigali Rwanda on Sunday (AFP)

This week, Rwanda and the United Nations are commemorating the 20th
anniversary of the start of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, when majority
Hutus tortured, burnt, raped, mutilated and killed over 800,000 of the
minority Tutsis over a six month period. The commemoration speeches
have been assigning blame, most often to the former colonial powers,
France and Belgium. The criticisms of France were so harsh, that
France chose not to send a representative to Rwanda for the ceremony.

Rwanda is 50% Catholic and 40% Protestant, but those percentages may
be changing because many Rwandans blame the Catholic Church and the
Vatican for complicity in the genocide, and are abandoning the
Catholic Churches for new evangelical churches that have arisen since
the genocide. The new evangelical religions were brought back to
Rwanda by refugees returning from Uganda and Democratic Republic of
Congo, where they were already established.

On Monday, the representative of Rwanda to the commemoration ceremony
accused members of the Catholic Church of "covering up their criminal
actions" during the genocide. In particular, Rwanda is still dotted
with the ruins of Catholic churches where the Tutsi sought shelter,
but were massacred by the Hutus within the church, sometimes with
members of the clergy acting in complicity with the killers. AFP and 7sur7(Trans)(Belgium)

**** UN Security Council approves 11,800 peacekeepers for Central African Republic

The United Nations Security Council on Thursday unanimously approved
the creation of a peacekeeping force for the Central African Republic.
There are already 2,000 French troops and 6,500 African Union troops
in CAR. The troops will be deployed on September 15. Violence
between Christians and Muslims has been increasing, leading officials
to fear a repeat of the bloody Rwanda genocide in 1994. CNN

**** France's Ambassador: Central African Republic has totally collapsed

Gerard Araud, France's ambassador to U.N. was interviewed on the BBC
on Thursday, after the Security Council approval of deploying troops
to the Central African Republic. In CAR, the Muslim Seleka militias
were committing atrocities last year. The French troops disarmed the
Seleka militias, but then the Christian anti-balaka militias "rushed
into the vacuum" and began committing atrocities this year, for
revenge. Araud was asked why the deployment is being delayed until
September 15, in view of all the atrocities that are occurring, and
will continue to occur. He responded that the country has collapsed
and will to be rebuilt, which will take a long time, possible years
(my transcription):

<QUOTE>"Unfortunately, you know, we are facing a very
challenging situation, which means that I should say, even if we
have 12,000 soldiers, I'm not sure that actually the atrocities
will cease.

What does it mean? It means that law and order have totally
collapsed in this country. There is no police, no gendarmes, no
prisons. We are not facing any sort of identifiable enemy. We
are facing thugs. We are facing bandits, who are killing, raping
and looting. So what we have to do is -- it's long term efforts
-- which means to restore, rebuild a state, and an administration
in the country.

[[Question: There are some who say that the French strategy at the
beginning, when the troops there targeting Seleka, were the wrong
ones. They should have been there to try and stabilize both sides
in the conflict, instead of targeting one group.]]

In the beginning, when we arrived in the 5th of December, the two
nights before our arrival hundreds of people were killed by the
Seleka. And on the other side, there was no anti-balaka, you
know. So the absolute urgency in December was to disarm the
Seleka, which had committed these atrocities.

What happened was when we had disarmed the Selekas, suddenly the
anti-balakas which were not there suddenly rushed into the vacuum,
so after that, we had to shift our positions to disarm the
anti-balaka, and that's what we have been doing.

But there's a difference. The Seleka are armed groups which are
organized, which were possible to disarm and contain. While
anti-balakas basically are civilians - it's very difficult to
disarm them.

[[Question: Do you believe that this peacekeeping force is the
solution to stabilizing the CAR. We're looking a country that has
no proper administration, a country that has no proper army, so to
speak. Is this the solution?]]

You know, there is no army -- it's not "so to speak" -- there is
no army, there is no police, there are no gendarmes. The country
has totally collapsed. On one side, the peacekeeping operation
will restore a modicum of law and order, but again, I'm pretty
aware that there will be still crimes after the force is deployed.

We are engaging to a long term endeavor, which is to rebuild CAR,
to rebuild prisons, police, gendarmerie, and to rebuild an
administration. So frankly it will be long. And CAR will need
everybody - the UN agencies, but also the bilateral donors, like
France or the U.S. There is no quick peace."<END QUOTE>

The timeline is interesting to me. The French forces arrived on
December 5, and it was just a week later, on December 12, that I wrote
Christian revenge attacks on Muslims increase in CAR
, and I speculated, based on a Generational Dynamics
analysis, that the conflict was spiraling into a full-scale
generational crisis war.

**** Israel imposes sanctions on the Palestinian Authority

As the Mideast "peace talks" have been collapsing, Israel and
the Palestinians have been taking tit-for-tat retaliation
steps against each other. The Israelis blocked the scheduled
release of 26 Palestinian prisoners, and the Palestinians
have applied to join 15 international organizations as the
state of Palestine.

On Thursday, Israel imposed economic sanctions on the Palestinian
Authority. Israel will withhold taxes collected on behalf of the
Palestinians, and limit their access to bank deposits in Israel.
Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat has condemned the move as
"Israeli hijacking" and "theft." BBC

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Rwanda, France, Belgium, Vatican,
Catholic Church, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo,
Central African Republic, Seleka, anti-balaka, Gerard Araud,
Israel, Palestinian Authority, Saeb Erekat

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Post#1287 at 04-11-2014 02:39 AM by TimWalker [at joined May 2007 #posts 6,371]
04-11-2014, 02:39 AM #1287
Join Date
May 2007

Future Timelines forums.... In a thread it was mentioned that the National Front of France has a vision for a post EU Europe....a Paris/Berlin/Moscow alliance.

Post#1288 at 04-11-2014 03:14 AM by TimWalker [at joined May 2007 #posts 6,371]
04-11-2014, 03:14 AM #1288
Join Date
May 2007

I read a Boston Globe article about Putin being influenced by Eurasianism. It seems that Putin is thinking of a powerful grouping, led by Russia.
Last edited by TimWalker; 04-11-2014 at 12:15 PM.

Post#1289 at 04-11-2014 11:36 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
04-11-2014, 11:36 PM #1289
Join Date
May 2003
Cambridge, MA

12-Apr-14 World View -- Indonesia upgrades military base to confront China

*** 12-Apr-14 World View -- Indonesia upgrades military base to confront China

This morning's key headlines from

  • NATO says that Russia is preparing for an invasion of Ukraine
  • Indonesia upgrades military base to confront China

**** NATO says that Russia is preparing for an invasion of Ukraine

Russian Su-33 'Flanker' military jets at Yeysk air base near the Ukrainian border -- released by Nato (Digital Globe)

NATO has released satellite photos, taken between March 22 and April
2, that show the extent of Russia's military mobilization on its
border with Ukraine -- including fighter jets, tanks, artillery and
thousands of soldiers who are prepared to invade within 12 hours if
called upon. Nato estimates that there are 40,000 troops massed at
various locations along the Ukrainian border, at more than 100
different site.

Russia is claiming that the photos are doctored or are old photos,
which Nato says is "categorically false." According to Russia's
foreign ministry:

<QUOTE>The US and Ukraine have no reason to worry. Russia has
said several times that it is not conducting any unusual or
unplanned military activity on its territory near the Ukrainian
border. ...

Everyday activity by Russian forces on its national territory does
not threaten the security of the United States of America or other
OSCE member states.

The attempts to accuse Russia of building up armed forces are
groundless."<END QUOTE>

CNN and Ria Novosti

**** Indonesia upgrades military base to confront China

Indonesia is joining Vietnam, the Philippines and other regional
countries to increase their military capabilities in preparation for
an invitable military conflict with China. China has been adopting a
"Lebensraum" policy of claiming all of the South China Sea as its
sovereign territory, including regions that have historically belonged
to Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, often for
centuries. According to China, these countries have no rights to
anything outside their 12-mile territorial seas, while China has the
right to annex everything in sight. China has already used its vast
military power to forcibly annex territories belonging to Vietnam and
the Philippines, and has militarily threatened islands belonging to
Malaysia. (See "29-Jan-14 World View -- China's military moves to seize Malaysia's James Shoal"

China has also claimed regions belonging to Indonesia, but Indonesian
officials have avoided talking about it, for fear of upsetting the
Chinese. But now Indonesia is beefing up its its military base on the
Riau Islands, which borders the South China Sea, to accommodate larger
fighter aircraft. China has particularly claimed the Natuna Seas,
which are strategically located at the southern tip of Malacca Strait,
and which are thought to contain 1.1 trillion cubic feet of natural

According to an Indonesian military official:

<QUOTE>"China has claimed Natuna waters as their territorial
waters. This arbitrary claim is related to the dispute over
Spratly and Paracel Islands between China and the Philippines.
This dispute will have a large impact on the security of Natuna
waters."<END QUOTE>

Indonesia's government is playing down the dispute, but much of the
upgrade work on the airbase has already been completed. Jakarta's
strategy is to develop a "Minimum Essential Force" (MEF), which is the
minimum scale of military capabilities that Indonesia should seek to
deploy in response to a strategic threat. Janes Military Capabilities and The Diplomat and Jakarta Globe (3/13)

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Nato, Russia, Ukraine,
Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Philippines,
Riau Islands, Natuna Seas, Malacca Strait

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Post#1290 at 04-12-2014 02:15 AM by Ragnarök_62 [at Oklahoma joined Nov 2006 #posts 5,511]
04-12-2014, 02:15 AM #1290
Join Date
Nov 2006

*** Jan 15, Rag's entry ***

*** Vietnamese Banksters punished via Firing Squad ***

American bankers who brought on the 2008 global financial collapse, by and large, didn’t get indicted, or face any significant consequences for their actions. In fact, many of them even got huge bonuses.
That wouldn’t have been the case in Vietnam, another nation struggling with corrupt and unscrupulous bankers.
During a recent cleanup of Vietnam’s financial sector, the strictly authoritarian nation sentenced three bankers to death by firing squad in the past six months alone.
A pair currently on death row had embezzled roughly $25 million from the state-owned Vietnam Agribank. Back in March, a 57-year-old former regional boss from Vietnam
Development Bank, found himself sentenced to death by firing squad over a $93-million swindling job.

Credits: Political Blindspot
According to Vietnam’s Tuoi Tre news outlet, many of the co-conspirators got life in prison, with the “Madoffs” of Vietnam being the high-profile characters who were sentenced to death. The point, many in Vietnam say, is to send a message.
Adam McCarty, chief economist with the Hanoi-based consulting firm Mekong Economics, says that “It’s a message to those in this game to be less greedy and that business as usual is getting out of hand.” “The message to people in the system is this: Your chances of getting caught are increasing,” McCarty continued. “Don’t just rely on big people above you. Because some of these [perpetrators] would’ve had big people above them. And it didn’t help them.” “They don’t care about foreigners. It’s all internal politics,” McCarty said. He explains that foreign banking learders wouldn’t be dissuaded by a few executions anyway. “If you really want to want to resolve the problem, you can’t just arrest people,” he said. “You’ve got to improve accountability and transparency in the entire system.”

A local, Vietnames op-ed recently ran, confronting this issue, saying that, “it is better to prevent corruption,” the paper opined, “than deal with it after the fact.”
(Article by M.B. David)
Original source of the article:

Apparently, Vietnam is fed up with a world of financial mayhem and wishes to expunge it from its shores via this "message". E
ssentially, if you commit fraud there, you get shot. The message should be clear, keep your business dealings straight or take a bullet.

*** Pension fund bombs set to go off in Illinois and California: Can kicking until financial Ragnarok arrives ***

Reader Question on the Inevitable Los Angeles Bankruptcy; What About Chicago?

In response to LA Commission Studies Pension Crisis, Recommends New Commission; Bankruptcy Inevitable reader Daniel writes ...
Hello Mish,

Can you please explain why a home owner in a place like Los Angeles would be concerned with their city's future bankruptcy?
Will whatever happens not be short lived?

I understand that city workers will be affected and that unions and union workers will be affected as well, but how would your typical resident/homeowner be affected in such a situation?

Thanks for your wonderful blog!!

Tax Hikes Coming

Hello Daniel

In a futile attempt to prevent the inevitable, the first thing LA politicians are likely to do is raise taxes, all kinds of taxes. They will probably invent new ones too.

Please compare LA's setup to Chicago.

Comparison to Chicago

Via email, Ted Dabrowski at the Illinois Policy Institutes writes ...
Gov. Pat Quinn is in a bind.

He’s being asked to sign a Chicago pension bill that he knows has no real reforms and no way to pay for itself. By signing the bill, Quinn will give Mayor Rahm Emanuel his blessing to raise Chicago property taxes by $750 million over five years.

But that’s just the beginning.

If the Legislature uses the same blueprint to “fix” the city and Cook County’s other pension funds, Quinn will be blessing billions more in tax hikes.

The problem for Quinn is that he promised property tax relief to all Illinoisans in his state budget address just two weeks ago. Here’s what he said:

My comprehensive tax reform plan starts with providing every homeowner in Illinois with a guaranteed $500 property tax refund every year.

[Broken Promise, what else is new? ]

In Illinois, more is collected in property taxes every year than in the state income tax and state sales tax combined. In fact, Illinois has one of the highest property tax burdens on homeowners in the nation – more than 20 percent above the national average. The property tax is not based on ability to pay. The property tax is a complicated, unfair tax, hitting middle-class families the hardest.

For too long, Illinois has … overburdened its property taxpayers.

By signing a pension bill that helps Emanuel raise property taxes, Quinn will break yet another promise. The governor has already asked the Legislature to make the 2011 tax hike permanent, even though he originally promised it would be temporary.

But Quinn has a way out of his predicament. Besides the obvious political reasons to oppose the bill, Quinn has three good policy reasons not to sign it:

1. Property tax hikes won’t solve Chicago’s pension problem. Emanuel needs more taxes because his plan doesn’t reform the broken pension system. Instead, it just props up a failed system run by the same politicians who bankrupted it in the first place.

What Emanuel and supporters of his pension bill won’t tell you is that they’ll be back for even more tax hikes. Emanuel’s current plan calls for additional city contributions (above what the city pays today) to the municipal pension fund totaling $4.1 billion through 2025. But his proposed property tax hikes will raise only an additional $2.25 billion during that time period.

What Emanuel and supporters of his pension bill won’t tell you is that they’ll be back for even more tax hikes. Emanuel’s current plan calls for additional city contributions (above what the city pays today) to the municipal pension fund totaling $4.1 billion through 2025. But his proposed property tax hikes will raise only an additional $2.25 billion during that time period.

That means the mayor’s tax hike will be $1.9 billion short of the extra contributions needed through 2025. Without real reforms, he’ll be back for more.

2. People and businesses will flee. Avoiding real reforms and raising taxes is a failed strategy. People and businesses will flee Chicago, just as they’ve been doing for years. Taxpayers will leave because they’ll be paying more money for fewer services.

Each Chicago household is already on the hook for more than $61,000 in future taxes to pay down the massive long-term debt – more than $63 billion in bonds and pension shortfalls – that their city and county governments have racked up.

Tax hikes mean fewer people will stick around to pay a growing bill.

3. There is a plan to fix Chicago without tax hikes. The Illinois Policy Institute offers a reform plan that avoids tax hikes and immediately cuts Chicago’s pension shortfall in half. The core of its solution is a hybrid retirement plan for city workers that gives them a self-managed plan and fixed, monthly Social Security-like benefits at retirement.

The plan makes the tough choices necessary to bring about real retirement security for Chicago’s city workers.

Quinn and Emanuel’s goal must be to end Chicago’s pension crisis and to preserve Chicago’s status as a world-class city.

Massive property tax hikes will do just the opposite and push Chicago further in the direction of Detroit.

Ted Dabrowski
Vice President of Policy
Everyone Affected

No one should assume they are unaffected by the pension crisis, even if they do not live in troubled cities. For starters, more cities are affected than admitted.

For discussion, please see 85% of Pension Funds to Fail in Three Decades.

Secondly, and equally important, Democrat controlled states like California and Illinois are dominated by union sympathizers. Of course that is precisely why those states are in serious trouble.

So even if you live in an unaffected city, states controlled by unions are also highly likely to raise all sorts of taxes to protect union interests.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock


*** Middle Class goes Poof in Chicago ***

As Daniel Kay Hertz explains, the goal of these maps is not merely to depress you (you’re welcome!), but to suggest just how dramatically the reality of Chicago’s “two cities” has changed over the last few generations, how non-eternal its present state is, and that a happier alternate reality isn’t just possible, but actually existed relatively recently.

Daniel Kay Hertz goes on to note, he feels relatively comfortable telling the story of how Chicago came to be so segregated by race; but is much humbler about his ability to explain this, except inasmuch as the ever-widening ghetto of the affluent could not exist without, yes,[prior racially]? radically exclusionary housing laws.

One last piece: the obvious and immediate reaction to these maps is to see them as a direct consequence of rising income inequality. There is some truth to that, but the researchers from which much of this data came have already discovered that income segregation has actually risen faster than inequality. So that’s not the end of the story.
Anyway, here you go: the disappearance of Chicago’s middle-class and mixed-income neighborhoods since 1970, measured by each Census tract’s median family income as a percentage of the median family income for the Chicago metropolitan region as a whole.

Chicago is becoming a true tax hell.


2nd highest propety tax state around.


Essentially, Illinois is pretty much fucked on meeting pension obligations. Chicago already has high propery taxes and an ever widening class polarization. At some point , if property taxes get to high, the Lakeshore folks will leave because property taxes along with all of those other taxes get to a breaking point for anyone. Chicago is where Detroit was some years ago. Taxes and junk fees are going up. Class polarization is also occuring. Landlords will attempt to pass the increased property taxes on, but what happens if the tenents can't pay? They leave, that's what. That then causes the value of rental property to drop, which in turn fucks up the tax base. Mr. Rahm should figure out who exactly is going to wind up paying for these taxes. Lakeshore green? Sure, but they have the means to bail if they see that their tax bills exceed the cost of just moving away. That was the end run for Detroit. After a while, anyone who could leave did leave.


*** Calpers Kerfuffle with Naked Capitalism ***

Correcting the Record on Another Misleading CalPERS Press Release

Posted on April 5, 2014 by Yves Smith An alert reader sent me a link to a CalPERS press release, dated March 14, before the one we rebutted in the post CalPERS Tries Ineffective Mudslinging in Response to Our Ongoing Private Equity Investigation This earlier press release was not as consequential, so we decided to wait till the weekend to address it.
This press release, Naked Capitalism Gets it Wrong and Should Choose Words Wisely, is in response to our post, Has CalPERS’ General Counsel Lied to Its Board About Our Suit? This is the critical section of that post:
As readers may recall, we filed suit against CalPERS on February 27, 2014 to obtain access to private equity fund data that CalPERS previously gave to two academics at Oxford University. We have proof of service as of March 4, 2014 (please find both filings embedded later in this post). At around that time, CalPERS moved the matter over internally from being handled by its Office of Stakeholder Relations, which includes Public Records Act specialists, to a litigator.
You’d think that’s pretty conclusive evidence that CalPERS knows we’ve sued them.
CalPERS’ Interim General Counsel, Gina Ratto, is telling CalPERS board members the exact opposite, that there was no new litigation filed in the past month. That statement is made at the location in the agenda materials where the CalPERS General Counsel reports to the board on new lawsuits to which CalPERS is a party (you can also view this document on the CalPERS website).
It’s worth noting that the intended audience for this press release was likely to be CalPERS board, and not the general public. We had sent letters to board members on February 28 outlining multiple procedural irregularities in the handling of our Public Records Act request (California’s version of FOIA) that should concern them. But it was presumably also intended for me, since the headline’s “Should Chose Its Words Wisely” is a not-too-thinly veiled threat of litigation.
The press release claims that they received service on my suit too late to have included it in the mailing to the board for its meeting March 19. CalPERS was served on March 4. A CalPERS employee has told us that it is likely that they did not mail the materials to the board until March 7, so our belief that CalPERS could have informed its board in writing but chose not to is thus credible.
Perhaps more important, publishing the litigation, although formally a mechanism for informing the board, is also a way to inform the public. As we have previously reported, CalPERS also failed to include the underlying PRA request in its monthly updates to the board until they had deemed it to be closed, at the end of January, again neglecting to observe the procedures set in place to keep the board and the public informed.
In addition, even if CalPERS was somehow unable to organize including information about our pending lawsuit in its mailing to the board and corresponding internet materials, why did the interim general counsel Gina Ratto not orally update the board at the meeting on March 19, since they knew about our suit by then? After all, the press release is dated March 14. If you look at the video of the open board session, you will see Ms. Ratto does not update the board, as would be expected.
The press release states that the board had been informed about the litigation. Since the board did not meet between the time we served them and the date of the press release, they must have sent the board a memo about your lawsuit. That would seem to suggest that CalPERS staff was concerned about our action. Yet the CalPERS beneficiaries was not informed via the usual channels for transmitting this information, the general counsel’s monthly update and the open board meeting. The press release, while mentioning our lawsuit, fails to mention the content of our action and hence is not useful for parties that are not already up to speed on the dispute.
Finally, readers will should take a look at the last two paragraphs. The press release goes to some length to present me as a fringe party and unbalanced (“obsessed” and “self important,” among other derogations). Apparently, CalPERS staff is keen to discourage members of its board from looking into my side of the story.

Aurora Advisors Incorporated All Rights Reserved

So, it's known that Calpers has the same problem that Illinois has. It's underfunded and besides that, it doesn't want anyone to know if it's playing "risk on" due to QE screwing up interest rates. My guess is that California will can kick and raise taxes that happen to land on the disapearing middle class there as well. California is aso Housing bubble 2.0 again, so we'll get the next round of bankruptcies when that bubble pops.

Esseintially, here's the common probem. California and Illinois are already high tax states which limits the amount of new taxes that be levied before folks get fed up or just go bust. [Red states have a problem of a different sort.] They levy regressive taxes [sales, property taxes] and leave those alone. They then go headlong into cutting income taxes and ignore the need for stuff like say road repair. Oklahoma has problems with its pension plan, but is working on it:
like this.

Essentially, the thing to do is make them more like the stuff us private sector folks have.
1. Raise retirement age (Like SS going up to 67)
2. Decruft State Government. I.E. Abolish loopholes, corporate welfare, increase the top rate on income tax, end "double dipping" of public pensioners, and tax pension earnings over $100,000. The tax on pensions is also a means of retaining a progressive solution to a known problem. Public pension deficits need to be recognized as a problem now, and the can kicking needs to stop.
3. As far as education, delete the need for administrative overhead. We do not need diversity experts, vice principals, and overpaid superintendents and coaches. The Taj Majal and Colisium buildings also need to be gone.
MBTI step II type : Expressive INTP

There's an annual contest at Bond University, Australia, calling for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term:
The winning student wrote:

"Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and promoted by mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of shit by the clean end."

Post#1291 at 04-12-2014 03:58 AM by Ragnarök_62 [at Oklahoma joined Nov 2006 #posts 5,511]
04-12-2014, 03:58 AM #1291
Join Date
Nov 2006

Continued, too big.

*** US Power grid fragility

Government Agency Warns If 9 Substations Are Destroyed, The Power Grid Could Be Down For 18 Months

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,
What would you do if the Internet or the power grid went down for over a year? Our key infrastructure, including the Internet and the power grid, is far more vulnerable than most people would dare to imagine. These days, most people simply take for granted that the lights will always be on and that the Internet will always function properly. But what if all that changed someday in the blink of an eye? According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's latest report, all it would take to plunge the entire nation into darkness for more than a year would be to knock out a transformer manufacturer and just 9 of our 55,000 electrical substations on a really hot summer day. The reality of the matter is that our power grid is in desperate need of updating, and there is very little or no physical security at most of these substations.

If terrorists, or saboteurs, or special operations forces wanted to take down our power grid, it would not be very difficult. And as you will read about later in this article, the Internet is extremely vulnerable as well.
When I read the following statement from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's latest report, I was absolutely floored...
"Destroy nine interconnection substations and a transformer manufacturer and the entire United States grid would be down for at least 18 months, probably longer."
What would you do without power for 18 months?
FERC studied what it would take to collapse the entire electrical grid from coast to coast. What they found was quite unsettling...
In its modeling, FERC studied what would happen if various combinations of substations were crippled in the three electrical systems that serve the contiguous U.S. The agency concluded the systems could go dark if as few as nine locations were knocked out: four in the East, three in the West and two in Texas, people with knowledge of the analysis said.

The actual number of locations that would have to be knocked out to spawn a massive blackout would vary depending on available generation resources, energy demand, which is highest on hot days, and other factors, experts said. Because it is difficult to build new transmission routes, existing big substations are becoming more crucial to handling electricity.
So what would life look like without any power for a long period of time? The following list comes from one of my previous articles...
-There would be no heat for your home.
-Water would no longer be pumped into most homes.
-Your computer would not work.
-There would be no Internet.
-Your phones would not work.
-There would be no television.
-There would be no radio.
-ATM machines would be shut down.
-There would be no banking.
-Your debit cards and credit cards would not work.
-Without electricity, gas stations would not be functioning.
-Most people would be unable to do their jobs without electricity and employment would collapse.
-Commerce would be brought to a standstill.
-Hospitals would not be able to function.
-You would quickly start running out of medicine.
-All refrigeration would shut down and frozen foods in our homes and supermarkets would start to go bad.
If you want to get an idea of how quickly society would descend into chaos, just watch the documentary "American Blackout" some time. It will chill you to your bones.
The truth is that we live in an unprecedented time. We have become extremely dependent on technology, and that technology could be stripped away from us in an instant.
Right now, our power grid is exceedingly vulnerable, and all the experts know this, but very little is being done to actually protect it...
"The power grid, built over many decades in a benign environment, now faces a range of threats it was never designed to survive," said Paul Stockton, a former assistant secretary of defense and president of risk-assessment firm Cloud Peak Analytics. "That's got to be the focus going forward."
If a group of agents working for a foreign government or a terrorist organization wanted to bring us to our knees, they could do it.
In fact, there have actually been recent attacks on some of our power stations. Here is just one example
The Wall Street Journal’s Rebecca Smith reports that a former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman is acknowledging for the first time that a group of snipers shot up a Silicon Valley substation for 19 minutes last year, knocking out 17 transformers before slipping away into the night.

The attack was “the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred” in the U.S., Jon Wellinghoff, who was chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the time, told Smith.
Have you heard about that attack before now?
Most Americans have not.
But it should have been big news.
At the scene, authorities found "more than 100 fingerprint-free shell casings", and little piles of rocks "that appeared to have been left by an advance scout to tell the attackers where to get the best shots."
So what happens someday when the bad guys decide to conduct a coordinated attack against our power grid with heavy weapons?
It could happen.
In addition, as I mentioned at the top of this article, the Internet is extremely vulnerable as well.
For example, did you know that authorities are so freaked out about the security of the Internet that they have given "the keys to the Internet" to a very small group of individuals that meet four times per year?
It's true. The following is from a recent story posted by the Guardian...
The keyholders have been meeting four times a year, twice on the east coast of the US and twice here on the west, since 2010. Gaining access to their inner sanctum isn't easy, but last month I was invited along to watch the ceremony and meet some of the keyholders – a select group of security experts from around the world. All have long backgrounds in internet security and work for various international institutions. They were chosen for their geographical spread as well as their experience – no one country is allowed to have too many keyholders. They travel to the ceremony at their own, or their employer's, expense.

What these men and women control is the system at the heart of the web: the domain name system, or DNS. This is the internet's version of a telephone directory – a series of registers linking web addresses to a series of numbers, called IP addresses. Without these addresses, you would need to know a long sequence of numbers for every site you wanted to visit. To get to the Guardian, for instance, you'd have to enter "" instead of
If the system that controls those IP addresses gets hijacked or damaged, we would definitely need someone to press the "reset button" on the Internet.
Sadly, the hackers always seem to be several steps ahead of the authorities. In fact, according to one recent report, breaches of U.S. government computer networks go undetected 40 percent of the time
A new report by Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) details widespread cybersecurity breaches in the federal government, despite billions in spending to secure the nation’s most sensitive information.

The report, released on Tuesday, found that approximately 40 percent of breaches go undetected, and highlighted “serious vulnerabilities in the government’s efforts to protect its own civilian computers and networks.”

“In the past few years, we have seen significant breaches in cybersecurity which could affect critical U.S. infrastructure,” the report said. “Data on the nation’s weakest dams, including those which could kill Americans if they failed, were stolen by a malicious intruder. Nuclear plants’ confidential cybersecurity plans have been left unprotected. Blueprints for the technology undergirding the New York Stock Exchange were exposed to hackers.”
And things are not much better when it comes to cybersecurity in the private sector either. According to Symantec, there was a 42 percent increase in cyberattacks against businesses in the United States last year. And according to a recent report in the Telegraph, our major banks are being hit with cyberattacks "every minute of every day"...
Every minute, of every hour, of every day, a major financial institution is under attack.

Threats range from teenagers in their bedrooms engaging in adolescent “hacktivism”, to sophisticated criminal gangs and state-sponsored terrorists attempting everything from extortion to industrial espionage. Though the details of these crimes remain scant, cyber security experts are clear that behind-the-scenes online attacks have already had far reaching consequences for banks and the financial markets.
For much more on all of this, please see my previous article entitled "Big Banks Are Being Hit With Cyberattacks 'Every Minute Of Every Day'".
Up until now, attacks on our infrastructure have not caused any significant interruptions in our lifestyles.
But at some point that will change.
Are you prepared for that to happen?
We live at a time when our world is becoming increasingly unstable. In the years ahead it is quite likely that we will see massive economic problems, major natural disasters, serious terror attacks and war. Any one of those could cause substantial disruptions in the way that we live.
At this point, even NASA is warning that "civilization could collapse"...
A new study sponsored by Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

Noting that warnings of 'collapse' are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that "the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history." Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to "precipitous collapse - often lasting centuries - have been quite common."
So let us hope for the best.

But let us also prepare for the worst.

OK, this is a big story which I think needs a bit of collaboration. There hasn't been mush discussion on this black swan, "what if".
What if terrorists take out key parts of the power grid and take the whole thing down?
What if a sufficiently sized storm "gets lucky" and takes the whole thing down?
What if a CME hits and takes the power grid down?

Severe Weather threat
Civil Engineering Report
MBTI step II type : Expressive INTP

There's an annual contest at Bond University, Australia, calling for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term:
The winning student wrote:

"Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and promoted by mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of shit by the clean end."

Post#1292 at 04-12-2014 10:19 AM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
04-12-2014, 10:19 AM #1292
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Those are all great stories, all relevant to the coming

This is a long article. Here's a "trick of the trade": Save
some stories for the next day.

Great work!


Post#1293 at 04-12-2014 07:20 PM by Ragnarök_62 [at Oklahoma joined Nov 2006 #posts 5,511]
04-12-2014, 07:20 PM #1293
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Quote Originally Posted by John J. Xenakis View Post
Those are all great stories, all relevant to the coming

This is a long article. Here's a "trick of the trade": Save
some stories for the next day.

Great work!

Thanks and I'll take the "save some stories for another day advice.

Without further adieu here's Today's entry

*** Rag's Apr/4/2014 entry
Why The Standoff At The Bundy Ranch Is A Very Big Deal

Submitted by Michael Krieger of The Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,
If you haven’t been following the unfolding drama at the Bundy Ranch about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas you need to start now. The escalating confrontation between irate local residents and federal agents of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has the potential to take a very dangerous turn for the worse at any moment, as hundreds of militia members from states across the country are expected to descend upon the area and make a stand with 67-year-old Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy.
Before I get into any sort of analysis about what this means within the bigger picture of American politics and society, we need a little background on the situation. The saga itself has been ongoing for two decades and the issue at hand is whether or not Mr. Bundy can graze his 900 head of cattle on a particular section of public lands in Clark County. Cliven Bundy has been ordered to stop on environmental grounds to protect the desert tortoise, but he has stood his ground time and time again. As a result, the feds have now entered the area and are impounding his cattle. According to CNN, Between Saturday and Wednesday, contracted wranglers impounded a total of 352 cattle. The Bundy family, as well as a variety of local residents have already had confrontations with the BLM agents. Tasers have been used and some minor injuries reported. Most significantly, militia members from across the country have already descended upon the area and it seems possible that hundreds may ultimately make it down there.
To me, the argument of who is right and who is wrong in this situation is the least interesting part of the story. I have noted time and time again that the feds are becoming increasingly out of control and belligerent to American citizens. We know the stories (think Aaron Swartz) and we know the overall trend trend. However, the reason the Bundy Ranch confrontation is so interesting, is that for whatever reason this particular incident seems to be striking a chord of dissent. It is often times the most random, unforeseen and innocuous things that spark social/political movements. This standoff has it all.
From CBS News:
LAS VEGAS (CBS Las Vegas/AP) — Militia groups are rallying behind a rancher whose cattle are being seized by the federal government.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that two militia members from Montana and one from Utah have arrived at Cliven Bundy’s ranch.
“We need to be the barrier between the oppressed and the tyrants,” Ryan Payne of the West Mountain Rangers told the Review-Journal. “Expect to see a band of soldiers.”

Payne said that militias from New Hampshire, Texas and Florida are likely to join and stand with Bundy and stay at his ranch.

“They all tell me they are in the process of mobilizing as we speak,” Payne told the Review-Journal, adding that hundreds of militia members are expected.

Lawmakers are adding their voices into the fray, criticizing the federal cattle roundup fought by Cliven Bundy who claims longstanding grazing rights on remote public rangeland about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada said he told new U.S. Bureau of Land Management chief Neil Kornze in Washington, D.C., that law-abiding Nevadans shouldn’t be penalized by an “overreaching” agency.

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval pointed earlier to what he called “an atmosphere of intimidation,” resulting from the roundup and said he believed constitutional rights were being trampled.
The fact that a U.S. Senator and the Governor are publicly coming out agains the feds is in my opinion a very big deal and may signal the beginning of a true fracturing in the social fabric. Something that I have been expecting for many years.
Heller said he heard from local officials, residents and the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association and remained “extremely concerned about the size of this closure and disruptions with access to roads, water and electrical infrastructure.”

The federal government has shut down a scenic but windswept area about half the size of the state of Delaware to round up about 900 cattle it says are trespassing.

Sandoval said he was most offended that armed federal officials have tried to corral people protesting the roundup into a fenced-in “First Amendment area” south of the resort city of Mesquite.

The site “tramples upon Nevadans’ fundamental rights under the U.S. Constitution” and should be dismantled, Sandoval said.
People being rounded up like cattle in these bullshit “First Amendment areas” is completely unacceptable.
BLM spokeswoman Kirsten Cannon and Park Service spokeswoman Christie Vanover have told reporters during daily conference calls that free-speech areas were established so agents could ensure the safety of contractors, protesters, the rancher and his supporters.

Meanwhile, federal officials say 277 cows have been collected. Cannon said state veterinarian and brand identification officials will determine what becomes of the impounded cattle.
The kindling for social upheaval has been growing in America for quite some time. Disrespectful and ignorant statements from billionaire oligarchs like Sam Zell only make it worse. The question in my mind has always been what will the catalyst be to spark the brushfire? Will it be the Bundy Ranch? We’ll have to wait and see.
Personally, I hope cooler heads prevail and there is no violence, because once you head down the road of violent confrontation between the people and the feds you are opening up a can of worms that will not easily be bottled up again. In such a situation, everybody loses. However, my long-term fear is that unless the government and its puppet masters on Wall Street and elsewhere in big business change course, social upheaval will prove inevitable, whether the Bundy Ranch sparks it, or some other incident down the road. These are troubled times and they are likely going to get worse before they get better.
This picture basically says it all:

Full article here.
The latest news is a 'win' for Bundy for now...
The gathering of rancher Cliven Bundy's cattle in northeast Clark County has been stopped by the director of the Bureau of Land Management.

Bundy is meeting this morning with Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie to discuss a possible solution to his dispute with the BLM.

Metro Officer Jesse Roybal confirmed that Gillespie was in the Bunkerville area this morning to meet with Bundy.

The BLM had been using contract cowboys to round up Bundy's 900 head of cattle that have been grazing over 600,000 square acres in northeast Clark County for more than 20 years without his payment of grazing fees.

Neil Kornze, director of the BLM, made the following statement this morning:

"As we have said from the beginning of the gather to remove illegal cattle from federal land consistent with court orders, a safe and peaceful operation is our number one priority. After one week, we have made progress in enforcing two recent court orders to remove the trespass cattle from public lands that belong to all Americans.

"Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public.

"We ask that all parties in the area remain peaceful and law-abiding as the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service work to end the operation in an orderly manner.

Ranching has always been an important part of our nation’s heritage and continues throughout the West on public lands that belong to all Americans. This is a matter of fairness and equity, and we remain disappointed that Cliven Bundy continues to not comply with the same laws that 16,000 public lands ranchers do every year. After 20 years and multiple court orders to remove the trespass cattle, Mr. Bundy owes the American taxpayers in excess of $1 million. The BLM will continue to work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially."

The picture of the mushroom cloud juxaposed to cows notwithstanding, this appears to be a classic 4th turning response/counter response dynamic. That dynamic is shown by the polarization folks from assorted states [militias] to public officials in Nevada taking sides and resorting to escalating violence. The undertone is there's a growing distrust and outright hatred of the Federal Government which is being seen as increasingly capricious and ready to just stomp on folks' rights (whether true or to what degree or not) vs. the Federal government indeed doing things which foster distrust in the minds of US citizens. For example, the non prosecution of banksters. The repsonse to fraud in the US as opposed to the repsonse in Vietnam (see prior story) says it all.The non prosecution of banksters and other financial fraud is more typical of a banana republic than a 1st world nation.

Keywords First Amendment, Second Amendment, Sam Zell, Florida, Las Vegas Nevada, Militias, Nuclear Testing, Banana Republic
MBTI step II type : Expressive INTP

There's an annual contest at Bond University, Australia, calling for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term:
The winning student wrote:

"Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and promoted by mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of shit by the clean end."

Post#1294 at 04-12-2014 10:18 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
04-12-2014, 10:18 PM #1294
Join Date
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Cambridge, MA

13-Apr-14 World View -- The Afghan elections and the Afghan-Pakistan Taliban alliance

*** 13-Apr-14 World View -- The Afghanistan elections and the Afghan-Pakistan Taliban alliance

This morning's key headlines from

  • New poison gas attack reported in Syria
  • The Afghanistan elections and the Afghan-Pakistan Taliban alliance
  • The presidential runoff in Afghanistan

**** New poison gas attack reported in Syria

Frame from amateur video showing a crying baby after poison gas attack (AP)

Reports from both the Syrian government and rebel forces claim that a
poison gas attack occurred late Friday in a central rebel-held village
of Syria, killing two people and injuring more than 100. The poison
gas, which is thought to be chlorine, was apparently launched during
air raids that left heavy smoke over the area. The rebel groups are
blaming the Syrian government, while the Syrian government is blaming
the al-Qaeda al-Nusra front.

In August of last year, there was a major sarin gas attack near the
capital, Damascus, killing hundreds of people. The United Nations
Security Council authorized a U.N. inspection team to visit the site,
but was forbidden to draw any conclusions about who was responsible.
This was at the insistence of the Russians, who wanted to protect the
genocidal monster president Bashar al-Assad of proof of guilt.
However, the the United Nations forensic team found a very clever way to defeat the Russians.
In their
scientific analysis of the evidence, they included calculations of the
trajectories of the rockets that delivered the sarin gas. They drew
no conclusions about where the rockets were launched, but they
provided enough scientific information within the report so that
experts studying the report could show that the rockets must have been
launched from a Syrian Republican Guard unit. So they were very
cleverly able to prove al-Assad's guilt without having to say so!

The al-Assad regime agreed to remove and destroy its chemical weapons
stock, but Syria's government missed a Dec. 31 deadline to remove the
most dangerous chemicals in its stockpile and a Feb. 5 deadline to
give up its entire stockpile of chemical weapons. It's widely
believed, though unproven, that al-Assad is hiding other stores of
chemical weapons. AP and AFP

**** The Afghanistan elections and the Afghan-Pakistan Taliban alliance

There has always been a big difference in behavior between the
Pakistani Taliban and the Afghan Taliban, largely because of
generational differences.

The Taliban are ethnic Pashtuns, which spread from southern
Afghanistan, across the border through Pakistan's tribal area, into
northwestern Pakistan. I first wrote about the Afghan Taliban's
behavior when I discussed the world's worst suicide bombers.
According to figures published by the
Jamestown foundation, in 2007 Afghan Taliban suicide bombers almost
always managed to kill only themselves, or at most one other person.
This is an enormous contrast to the Pakistani Taliban, who have killed
literally thousands of people in suicide bombings in recent years.

The difference between the two is a result of history. Pakistan's
last generational crisis war was the war between Hindus and Muslims in
1947 that followed Partition, the partitioning of the Indian
subcontinent and the creation of the states of India and Pakistan.
That was one of the bloodiest wars of the 20th century, but most of
its generations of survivors have now disappeared, and the younger
generations know only of the heroics, but none of the horrors.

By contrast, Afghanistan's last generational crisis war was the
relatively recent bloody Afghan civil war of 1991-96. In 2007, 11
years after that war ended, the bloody horrors were still fresh in all
the survivors' minds, and there was no motivation to inflict more
horrors on themselves or others by blowing up innocent civilians in a
mosque or marketplace. The result is that the bloodiest Taliban
attacks in Afghanistan have come not from Afghan Taliban but from
Pakistani Taliban crossing the border.

It's now seven years later, and the first generation of children
growing up after Afghanistan's civil war are coming of age. Even so,
there still are apparently not enough Afghan Taliban willing to blow
people up, as shown by the failure of the Taliban to disrupt last
weekend's presidential election with any major terrorist attacks,
despite promises to do so.

Leaders of Taliban militants from Afghanistan and Pakistan have been
meeting to try to work together. This attempted alliance is in its
early stages, and the generational differences will continue to
provide obstacles, but they are spurred on by the withdrawal this year
of American and Nato forces. In one way or another, they should be
expected to fill the vacuum left by the withdrawal.

We've reported several times on the ongoing "peace talks" between the
Pakistani Taliban and Pakistan's government. One of the Taliban's
motivations for these talks is to keep Pakistan's military from
carrying out its threat to destroy militant bases in the tribal area
that the militants use for cross-border attacks into Afghanistan.

**** The presidential runoff in Afghanistan

A major issue in Afghanistan's presidential elections, both for
Afghanistan and for the United States, is the pending "bilateral
security agreement" (BSA), which will provide the legal backing to
allow a contingent of American forces to remain in Afghanistan beyond
the end of 2014. Current president Hamid Karzai has refused to sign
the BSA, after previously promising to do so, and has left the
decision to his successor. However, all three of the major runoff
candidates have said they will sign the BSA if they win the election.

The three runoff candidates are described by one analyst as follows:

  • Ashraf Ghani, a former finance minister and World Bank
    technocrat who is respected internationally for his intellect.
  • Abdullah Abdullah, a former close friend of legendary Afghan
    freedom fighter and U.S. ally Ahmad Shah Massoud and a medical doctor
    with a reputation for toughness and integrity.
  • Zalmai Rassoul, who despite being seen as an ally of Hamid Karzai,
    is also a widely respected official with vast international

Ghani and Rassoul are Pashtuns, while Abdullah is a Hazara. The
Hazaras and the Pashtuns were bitter enemies during the 1990s civil
war, so a victory by Abdullah could mean trouble in the form of
increased terrorist activity by the Pashtun Taliban. Defense One

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Syria, Bashar al-Assad, United Nations,
Afghanistan, Taliban, Pakistan, Pashtun, Hazara, India,
Nato, bilateral security agreement, BSA,
Ashraf Ghani, Abdullah Abdullah, Zalmai Rassoul

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Post#1295 at 04-12-2014 11:20 PM by JordanGoodspeed [at joined Mar 2013 #posts 3,587]
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Abdullah Abdullah is not a Hazara, he's mixed Pashtun and Tajik. He is running with Mohammad Mohaqeq, who was (is) a prominent Hazara warlord and power broker.

Post#1296 at 04-13-2014 07:00 AM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
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Quote Originally Posted by JordanGoodspeed View Post
Abdullah Abdullah is not a Hazara, he's mixed Pashtun and Tajik. He is running with Mohammad Mohaqeq, who was (is) a prominent Hazara warlord and power broker.
Thanks for the correction.

Post#1297 at 04-13-2014 07:28 PM by JordanGoodspeed [at joined Mar 2013 #posts 3,587]
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Quote Originally Posted by John J. Xenakis View Post
Thanks for the correction.
Glad to help.

Post#1298 at 04-13-2014 10:39 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
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14-Apr-14 World View -- Russia and U.S. trade accusations as Ukraine issues ultimatum

*** 14-Apr-14 World View -- Russia and U.S. trade accusations as Ukraine issues ultimatum

This morning's key headlines from

  • Syrian army defector explains why Assad regime uses chlorine chemical weapons
  • Russia and U.S. trade accusations as Ukraine issues ultimatum
  • Abdullah Abdullah leads in Afghanistan vote count

**** Syrian army defector explains why Assad regime uses chlorine chemical weapons

Brig-Gen Zaher al Saket, Syrian army defector

As we reported yesterday
there was a new poison gas attack on a rebel-held, apparently
by Syrian government warplanes. It's assumed that the poison
gas attack was under the orders of Syria's genocidal monster
president, Bashar al-Assad, but the al-Assad regime blames
the attack on rebels.

Zaher al Saket was a Brigadier General in al-Assad's army until he
defected last year. He explains why chlorine gas was used, and how
only the Syrian regime has the ability to use chemical weapons, in an
interview on Sunday with al-Jazeera (my transcription):

<QUOTE>"I was given the order by my immediate commander to
use chemical weapons in August of last year. These weapons are
very toxic, but not deadly. I exchanged these weapons. I gave my
officers non-effective elements of these weapons. They used them
because they thought they are deadly.

When they started to investigate the matter, I decided to defect.
In order to use the chemical weapons, you need to have the real
effective elements, and the platform to use them.

The Free Syrian Army and the Islamic Battalions don't have the
tools. They don't have any artillery. They don't have any

Why has the regime resorted to using chlorine mixed with cyanide
in the latest chemical attacks? Because they can't be easily
discovered, even if the monitoring mission arrives 48 hours later.
That's why only those who have been affected is the only
evidence."<END QUOTE>

Al-Zaket gave an interview last year when he defected:

Zaker Al-Saket: "There are three types of chemical weapons:
harassing chemical agents, incapacitating agents, and lethal
agents. When the demonstrations started, the regime used harassing
agents, like any country in the world using tear gas to disperse
demonstrations. As for incapacitating and lethal chemical agents -
the regime used incapacitating agents at first, but when the world
remained silent about this, and the regime thought that the
international community did not care, it used lethal [chemical]
weapons in more than 13 locations. The last incident was in
Utaybah. The regime used sarin gas on three occasions, and I am
increasingly afraid that they will use agents more powerful than
sarin. They have VX gas and mustard gas, also known as iprit. ...

The regime's accusation that the opposition has used chemical
weapons is the most compelling proof that the regime itself has
used them, because the opposition does not have the means to use
chemical weapons. The means of using chemical weapons are known to
the whole world: airplanes, missiles, helicopters, and
artillery. Worst still, this regime has binary chemical
weapons. The world must understand that there are binary chemical
weapons in Syria, and [Bashar Al-Assad] will use them against his
people, because he is the Nero of our age."<END QUOTE>[/i][/indent]

As we described yesterday
, the
United Nations inspection team wrote a report proving that al-Assad
was guilty of last August's sarin attack. The team did not
specifically blame al-Assad, because they were not permitted to do so,
but the report contained technical data that proved to outside experts
that the rockets were launched from a Syrian Republican Guard unit.
Memri (4/29/2013)

**** Russia and U.S. trade accusations as Ukraine issues ultimatum

In three cities in east Ukraine, Ukrainian security forces are
exchanging fire with pro-Russian protesters, who may be Russian-paid
militants, causing several casualties. Ukraine's government in Kiev
has issued an ultimatum to the pro-Russian protesters to stand down by
Monday morning (by 11 pm ET Sunday), or face a "large-scale
anti-terrorist operation" by Ukraine's armed forces. Ukraine’s acting
president, Oleksandr Turchynov, said, "We will not allow Russia to
repeat the Crimean scenario in the eastern regions of Ukraine." This
is assumed to mean that Turchynov will act to prevent Russia from
annexing eastern Ukraine as it's already annexed Crimea.

Russia and the U.S. are blaming each other for the escalating conflict
in eastern Ukraine.

According to Russia's Foreign Ministry, it's the responsibility of the
United States and other Western nations to "stop the civil war":

<QUOTE>"The Kiev authorities, who self-proclaimed themselves
as a result of a coup, have embarked on the violent military
suppression of the protests. Blood has already been spilled as
the result of such actions in the South East. ...

It depends on the West now to stop the civil war in Ukraine. ...

The western sponsors of the Maidan [Kiev] government, especially
those who witnessed the Agreement [of 21 February] and are backed
by the US, have to curb their out of control wards, they have to
make them break away from the neo-Nazis and other
extremists."<END QUOTE>

According to a statement issued by the U.S. State Dept. on Sunday:

<QUOTE>"Russia continues to spin a false and dangerous
narrative to justify its illegal actions in Ukraine. The Russian
propaganda machine continues to promote hate speech and incite
violence by creating a false threat in Ukraine that does not
exist. We would not be seeing the violence and sad events that
we've witnessed this weekend without this relentless stream of
disinformation and Russian provocateurs fostering unrest in
eastern Ukraine. Here are 10 more false claims Russia is using to
justify intervention in Ukraine, with the facts that these
assertions ignore or distort."<END QUOTE>

The statement goes on to describe proof that Russian agents are active
in Ukraine, that Russian internet sites are open recruiting Russian
citizens to travel to Ukraine to incite violence, and that in fact
there is no spiraling civil war in Ukraine, and there wouldn't be any
conflict at all if it hadn't been for Russian provocations. The
statement goes on to point out that there are 35,000-40,000 Russian
troops massed along the border with Ukraine, in addition to
approximately 25,000 troops currently in Crimea. AP and U.S. State Dept. and Russia Today

**** Abdullah Abdullah leads in Afghanistan vote count

In last weekend's Afghanistan election, results based on 10% of votes
from 26 out of 34 provinces showed Abdullah Abdullah with 41.9% and
Western-leaning academic Ashraf Ghani second with 37.6%. A third
candidate, Zalmay Rassoul, backed by two of Karzai's brothers, trailed
far behind with 9.8%.

Correction: Yesterday's report

said that Abdullah is Hazara. Actually, he's mixed Tajik and Pashtun.

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Zaher al Saket,
Free Syrian Army, Islamic Battalions,
Ukraine, Oleksandr Turchynov, Russia, Crimea,
Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, Abdullah Abdullah, Zalmai Rassoul

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Post#1299 at 04-14-2014 10:21 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
04-14-2014, 10:21 PM #1299
Join Date
May 2003
Cambridge, MA

15-Apr-14 World View -- Major terrorist explosion in Nigeria's capital kills over 70

*** 15-Apr-14 World View -- Major terrorist explosion in Nigeria's capital kills over 70

This morning's key headlines from

  • Major terrorist explosion in Nigeria's capital kills over 70
  • European Central Bank to adopt negative interest rates
  • Standoff continues in eastern Ukraine

**** Major terrorist explosion in Nigeria's capital kills over 70

Aftermath of terrorist explosion at bus station in Abuja, Nigeria, on Monday (BBC)

Nigeria's terrorist group Boko Haram is being blamed for a massive
explosion at a bus station during rush hour on Monday in Abuja, the
country's capital city. More than 70 people were killed, and hundreds

Boko Haram has conducted to many terrorist attacks in northeastern
Nigeria that they're almost being ignored (except, of course,
by the people directly affected). 1500 people, mostly civilians,
have been killed this year, and 135 people were killed on
Wednesday and Thursday of last week alone. These attacks have
received little or no international notice, and even in Nigeria
they were considered so remote they could be ignored in Abuja,
where there hadn't been a terrorist attack in two years.

In the past, Nigeria's government has been largely ineffective in
containing Boko Haram, and there have been suggestions that some in
the army are either complicit or supporting. Monday's attack may
force a change. BBC

**** European Central Bank to adopt negative interest rates

The Fed's policy of quantitative easy, which has "printed" tens of
billions of dollars of new money every month and injected it into the
banking system, is now going to be copied by the European Central
Bank, according to reports. For almost two years, the euro zone has
been in a deflationary spiral, with the inflation rate falling, and
with Slovakia, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus already in actual

On Saturday, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi said:

<QUOTE>"The strengthening of the exchange rate requires
further monetary stimulus. That’s an important dimension for our
price stability."<END QUOTE>

This Delphic remark is being interpreted by experts as indicating that
the ECB will soon begin "printing" money and pursuing a policy of
quantitative easing. Draghi may also lower interest rates, and some
reports indicate that he will implement negative interest rates.
Irish Times and CNBC

**** Standoff continues in eastern Ukraine

The government of Ukraine in Kiev allowed its own deadline to pass on
Monday morning without taking any action against the pro-Russian
protesters occupying buildings in cities across eastern Ukraine.
Russia continues to have tens of thousands of troops along Ukraine's
border, and many fear that Russia will invade and annex eastern
Ukraine, just as it annexed Crimea. However, a number of analysts are
pointing out that eastern Ukraine is very different from Crimea. In
Crimea, the ethnic Russian population overwhelmingly favored being
part of Russia. But in eastern Ukraine, polls have shown that many
ethnic Russians are strongly opposed to a Russian annexation, and
there's a possibility that if the Russians invade eastern Ukraine,
then they'll be fighting not only Ukraine's army, but also many
civilians. For that reason, Russia's president Vladimir Putin will be
very reluctant to order an invasion, according to these analysts.
However, if violence in east Ukraine continues to escalate, then Kiev
and Moscow may be forced to intervene militarily. CNN

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Nigeria, Boko Haram, Abuja, European Central
Bank, Mario Draghi, negative interest rates, Ukraine, Crimea, Russia,
Vladimir Putin

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Post#1300 at 04-15-2014 10:32 PM by John J. Xenakis [at Cambridge, MA joined May 2003 #posts 4,012]
04-15-2014, 10:32 PM #1300
Join Date
May 2003
Cambridge, MA

16-Apr-14 World View -- East Ukraine clashes become dangerous as Kiev strikes back

*** 16-Apr-14 World View -- East Ukraine clashes become dangerous as Kiev strikes back

This morning's key headlines from

  • East Ukraine clashes become dangerous as Kiev strikes back
  • Russia and Europe's far right become political allies through anti-Americanism
  • Mali separatists appeal to Russia for support on independence
  • Israel claims secret talks with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait about Iran

**** East Ukraine clashes become dangerous as Kiev strikes back

Ukrainian troops receive munitions at a field in east Ukraine on Tuesday (CNN)

A day later than originally threatened, Ukraine's acting President
Olexander Turchynov announced the beginning of an "anti-terrorist
operation" by Ukraine's army to strike back at pro-Russian separatist
activists in cities in eastern Ukraine. Later, Turchynov said the
airbase at Kramatorsk had been "liberated" from "terrorists."

This clash could go either way, but based on what I've read, I
personally don't feel that there's yet enough "social fuel" in this
population for this to spiral into something major.

However, a victory by Kiev or even a stalemate may not be acceptable
to Russia, who are thought to have been promoting chaos in Ukraine to
have an excuse to invade.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that the sharp
escalation of the conflict in Ukraine puts the country on the brink of
civil war. Putin may be looking for an opportunity to launch a short,
sharp attack to take control of east Ukraine too quickly for anyone to
react. BBC
and Voice of Russia

**** Russia and Europe's far right become political allies through anti-Americanism

In past decades, Russia was usually allied with far left Communists
and Socialists in Europe, but in this generational Crisis era, Russia
is increasingly finding European allies among far right and right-wing
populists. (The phrase "far right" has a different meaning in Europe
and in America.) With the European Parliament elections approaching,
some of these parties are increasingly open about their desire to act
as an advocate for Russia in Brussels.

These parties are natural allies of Russia because of their common
skepticism of immigration and concerns about Islamic extremism. But
the broadest foundation for cooperation is their joint
anti-Americanism, and their opposition to the European Union's close
ties with the United States. According to one right-wing politician:

<QUOTE>"Instead of playing the stooge of the US in the
encirclement of Russia, Brussels must finally be able to build
positive relations with Moscow and show understanding of Russian
interests."<END QUOTE>

It's thought that Russia's objective is to destabilize and weaken the
European political scene, and weaken the European-American alliance.

**** Mali separatists appeal to Russia for support on independence

Following the secession of Crimea from Ukraine, the Russians are
becoming the go-to guys for any secessionist group in other countries.

In April, 2012, the Tuareg ethnic group declared that northern Mali
was seceding from Mali, and the new country would have the name
Azawad. The governing party would be called the Mouvement National de
Libération de l'Azawad (MNLA). ( "7-Apr-12 World View -- Tuareg rebels declare independent state of Azawad in northern Mali"
) This led to an invasion in the
north by al-Qaeda linked militants, followed by the introduction of a
French peacekeeping force in January, 2013.

MNLA officials made a recent visit to Russia:

<QUOTE>"[The goal was to spread] the message of the people of
Azawad everywhere, particularly in the countries that are members
of the UN Security Council, some of which have veto power. ...

All the causes of the conflict were explained to the government of
the Russian Federation. The political, social and cultural reasons
for the recurring revolts and the suffering of the people of
Azawad were discussed at length. The president of the MNLA's
leadership, Mr. Bilal Ag Acharif, clearly expressed the necessity
and the urgency of finding a solution to this never-ending
conflict through a political dialogue. He reaffirmed the
availability of the MNLA to operate by means of political
negotiations provided that they are based on the sincere and frank
willingness of all the parties."<END QUOTE>

Russia has its own secessionist issues, with some activists in
Russia's North Caucasus provinces wanting to form a separate Islamic
state. Russia's foreign ministry reaffirmed to the MNLA the
availability of the Russian Federal government to help the different
parties to find a just, equitable and durable solution for the crisis.

**** Israel claims secret talks with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait about Iran

Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday that Israel
is holding secret talks with some Arab states to establish diplomatic
ties based on a common fear of Iran. He specifically named Saudi
Arabia and Kuwait, neither of which recognize Israel. Israel has
signed peace deals with only two of its Arab neighbors, Egypt and
Jordan. According to Lieberman,

<QUOTE>"For the first time there is an understanding there
that the real threat is not Israel, the Jews or Zionism. It is
Iran, global jihad, (Lebanese Shi'ite guerrilla group) Hezbollah
and al Qaeda. There are contacts, there are talks, but we are
very close to the stage in which within a year or 18 months it
will no longer be secret, it will be conducted
openly."<END QUOTE>

However, both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait deny that any such talks are
taking place or have ever taken place. According to Kuwait's foreign

<QUOTE>"These claims are baseless. There are no meetings,
official or unofficial contacts, public or secret."<END QUOTE>

A similar statement was issued by the Saudis. Reuters and Anadolu (Turkey)

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Ukraine, Olexander Turchynov,
Russia, Vladimir Putin, Mali, Tuareg, Bilal Ag Acharif,
Mouvement National de Libération de l'Azawad, MNLA,
Israel, Avigdor Lieberman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait

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