• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 10 maart 2018

Lang Leve de Besnijdenis!

Ook deze is geestig, en tevens onthullend voor wat betreft de denkwijze van fanatieke Joden in Israel:

Rabbi Cardozo: outlawing circumcision would ‘end the state of Israel’


More Non-existent Job Growth

More Non-existent Job Growth Reported

More Non-existent Job Growth Reported
Paul Craig Roberts and Dave Kranzler
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US economy added 313,000 jobs in the 28 days of February, causing a big jump in the Dow Jones average. Where does BLS find these jobs?
The BLS finds 61,000 in construction, which, if correct, suggests in view of falling new and existing home sales, that those building at this stage are going to experience financial difficulties.
Manufacturing conjured up 31,000, but in high tech areas such as computer and electronic products only 1,100 jobs were created. Communications equipment actually lost 100 jobs and electronic instruments lost 800 jobs.
50,300 jobs were created in retail trade, allegedly. This is inconsistent with store closings and what seem to be round-the-clock sales at online retailers. Is February the month people purchase cars, garden supplies, and clothing? The BLS seems to think so.
According to the BLS, 50,000 jobs were creared in professional and business services, of which about three-fifths were in administrative and waste services, almost all of which were in temporary help services. In other words, we are not talking about employment for architects and engineers.
Waitresses and bartenders did not supply the usual out-sized number of new jobs, adding only 11,500 new jobs.
Local government added 31,000 jobs, almost all of which were in education.
As my long-term readers know, my analyses of the monthly payroll jobs reports are a tradition on this site. I am doing less of them, as I am sure it bores you to hear again the same conclusion that we are being lied to about job creation. The jobs, of course, are not the higher paid jobs we were promised by globalists in exchange for moving offshore American industrial and manufacturing jobs. That promise was never anything more than a lie, even though it was the repeated assurance from Ivy League economists and Washington policymakers. The lie protected itself by wraping itself in the holy grail of “free trade.” Any economist or financial media presstitute who dared to point out that jobs offshoring is the antithesis of free trade was kaput. The economists were well paid for serving the jobs offshoring corporations.
As I explained yesterday, the economic information we are fed is false. It is intended to give us a non-existent, fake reality picture of the economy. https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/03/08/make-believe-america/ 
For almost a decade the economic policy of the US, Europe, UK, Canada, Japan has been directed to the support of the financial speculation that caused the 2008 worldwide economic crisis. Nothing has been done for the populations of the countries who experienced the crisis. Indeed, many of these populations, such as the Greeks, have had their living standars forced down in order to protect the big banks. This proves beyond all doubt that in the “Great Western Democracies,” economic policy only serves the hyper-rich and the hyper-powerful. Citizens simply do not count. They are as nothing.
To give you a break from my analysis, I offer you below the analysis of my sometime coauhor Dave Kranzler, an experienced Wall Street participant who went good:
313k Jobs Added? Nice Try But It’s Fake News
by Dave Kranzler
March 9, 2018: The census bureau does the data-gathering and the Bureau of Labor Statistics feeds the questionable data sample through its statistical sausage grinder and spits out some type of grotesque scatological substance.  You know an economic report is pure absurdity when the report exceeds Wall Street’s rose-colored estimate by 53%.  That has to be, by far, an all-time record-high “beat.”
If you sift through some of the foul-smelling data, it turns out 365k of the alleged jobs were part-time, which means the labor market lost 52k full-time jobs.  But alas, I loathe paying any credence to complete fiction by dissecting the “let’s pretend” report.
The numbers make no sense.  Why?  Because the alleged data does not fit the reality of the real economy.  Retail sales, auto sales, home sales and restaurant sales have been declining for the past couple of months.  So who would be doing the hiring?  Someone pointed out that Coinbase has hired 500 people.  But the retail industry has been laying off thousands this year. Given the latest industrial production and auto sales numbers, I highly doubt factories are doing anything with their workforce except reducing it.
And if the job market is “so strong,” how comes wages are flat?  In fact, adjusted for real inflation, real wages are declining.  If the job market was robust, wages would be soaring.  Speaking of which, IF the labor market was what the Government wants us to believe it is, the FOMC would tripping all over itself to hike the Fed Funds rate.  And the rate-hikes would be in chunks of 50-75 basis points – not the occasional 0.25% rise.
The Housing Market Is Starting To Fall Apart
Last week I summarized January existing home sales, which were released on Wednesday, Feb 21st. Existing home sales dropped 3.2% from December and nearly 5% from January 2017. Those statistics are based on the SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Rate) calculus. Larry Yun, the National Association of Realtors chief salesman, continues to propagate the “low inventory” propaganda.
But in truth, the economics of buying a home has changed dramatically for the first-time and move-up buyer demographic plus flipper/investors. As I detailed a couple of issues back, based on the fact that most first-time buyers “buy” into the highest possible monthly payment for which they can qualify, the price that a first-time, or even a move-up buyer, can afford to pay has dropped roughly 10% with the rise in mortgage rates that has occurred since September 2017. The game has changed. That 10% decline results from a less than 1% rise in mortgage rates.
That same calculus applies to flipper/investors. Investors looking to buy a rental home pay a higher rate of interest than owner-occupied buyers. Most investors would need the amount of rent they can charge to increase by the amount their mortgage payment increases from higher rates. Or they need to use a much higher down payment to make the investment purchase. The new math thereby removes a significant amount of “demand” from investors.
It also occurred to me that flippers still holding homes purchased just 3-4 months ago are likely underwater on their “largesse.” Most flippers look for homes in the price-range that caters to first-timers (under $500k). This is the most “liquid” segment of the housing market in terms of the supply of buyers. Any flipper that closed on a home purchase in the late summer or early fall that needed to be “spruced up” is likely still holding that home. In addition to the purchase cost, the flipper has also incurred renovation and financing costs. Perhaps in a few markets prices have held up. But in most markets, the price first-time buyers can pay without significantly increasing the amount of the down payment has dropped roughly 10%. Using this math, any flipper holding a home closed prior to October is likely sitting on a losing trade.
Similar to 2007/2008, many of these homes will be sold at a loss or the flipper will “jingle mail” the keys to the bank, in which case the bank will likely dump the home. I know in some areas of metro-Denver, pre-foreclosure listings are rising. Some flippers might turn into rental landlords. This will increase the supply of rental homes which, in turn, will put pressure on rental rates.
New home sales – The plunge in January new home sales was worse than existing homes. New home sales dropped 7.8% from December. This follows December’s 9.3% plunge from November. The December/January sequence was the biggest two-month drop in new home sales since August 2013. Back then, mortgage rates had spiked up from 3.35% in June to 4.5% by the end of August. The Fed at that time was still buying $40 billion worth of mortgages every month. With QE over and an alleged balance sheet reduction program in place, plus the Fed posturing as if it will continue nudging the Fed Funds rate higher, it’s likely that new home sales will not rebound like they did after August 2013, when mortgage rates headed back down starting in early September 2013.
Contrary to the Larry Yun false narrative, the supply of new homes jumped to 6.1 months from 5.5 months in December. How does this fit the Yun propaganda that falling sales is a function of low inventory? The average price of a new home is $382k (the median is $323k). New home prices will have to fall significantly in order for sales to stop trending lower. What happens if the Fed really does continue hiking rates and mortgage rates hit 5%?
January “Pending” Home Sales – The NAR’s “pending home sales index,” which is based on contract signings, was released this past Wednesday. It plunged to its lowest level since October 2014. The index dropped 4.7% vs. an expected 0.5% rise from the optimist zombies on Wall St. It’s the biggest 1-month percentage decline in the index since May 2010. On a year-over-year comparison basis, the index is down 1.7%. December’s pending home sales index was revised down from the original headline report.
Years ago when the US still had an honest, or semi-honest, financial press, you could have read this story in the Wall Street Journal. But not today. You have to read it here on my site or on Kranzler’s site: http://investmentresearchdynamics.com/313k-jobs-added-nice-try-but-its-fake-news/

Jordan to spearhead Saudi Arabian arms drive

Syria: Jordan to spearhead Saudi Arabian arms drive

Fears over rising power of al-Qaida-linked groups drives move to channel weapons to moderate rebel fighters through Jordan
A Syrian refugee camp in Zaatari Jordan
 A Syrian refugee camp in Zaatari, Jordan. Photograph: IBL / Rex Features
Jordan has agreed to spearhead a Saudi-led push to arm rebel groups through its borders into southern Syria, in a move that coincides with the transfer from Riyadh to Amman of more than $1bn (£650m).
It marks a significant change for Jordan, from a policy of trying to contain the spillover threat posed by the civil war across its border to one of actively aiming to end it before it engulfs the cash-strapped kingdom.
Jordan's role as a conduit for arms has emerged in the past two months as Saudi Arabia, some Gulf states, Britain and the US have sharply increased their backing of some rebels to try to stop the advances of al-Qaida-linked groups among them.
A push to defeat al-Qaida, rather than an outright bid to oust Syria's leader, Bashar al-Assad, is Jordan's driving force. Officials in Amman concede it heightens a risk of retaliation from its increasingly cornered neighbour.
Western and Arab diplomats say Jordan is treating al-Qaida's rise in prominence as an increasing existential threat. Security figures in the kingdom also fear a boost to the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, which has long been at odds with the monarchy and boycotted this year's parliamentary elections.
Until this year, King Abdullah had been reluctant to take a direct stake in the Syrian crisis, opting to open Jordan's borders to refugees and defectors, but not to allow them to be used for gun-running, or a concerted attempt to topple the four-decade Assad dynasty.
Jordanian, Syrian opposition and western sources say Abdullah's calculation is that the sooner the Syrian crisis is over and the more moderate elements are able to defeat Assad, the better the chances are of a moderate regime taking over in Damascus. "It's a race between them [al-Qaida] and the regular rebels to Damascus," said one western official. "And it's in no one's interests if al-Qaida win."
Last week, Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaida-linked group at the vanguard of much of the fighting in north and east Syria, renewed a pledge of allegiance to al-Qaida's overall leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri. A day earlier, the Islamic State of Iraq, the main al-Qaida current in the heartland of Arabia since the US-led invasion, claimed it was formally allied with al-Nusra.
The Syrian opposition's civilian body said that it was "deeply concerned" about the Jabhat al-Nusra statement. "The Syrian coalition urges Jabhat al-Nusra to stay within the ranks of nationalistic Syrians, to continue its efforts in fighting the Assad regime, and in supporting and protecting the freedom of all Syrian sects," it said.
Light and medium-sized weapons and funds have recently been sent across the Jordanian border to Syrian rebel groups vetted by the CIA, which has run a training programme inside Jordan since early 2012. Some of the weapons were sourced from Croatia over the past year by the Jordanian air force.
While not explicitly conditional, the Saudi money is the first for Jordan in more than a year. Jordan has historically received backing from wealthy patrons in the Gulf, as well as the US.
The Jordanian industry minister, Hatem al-Halawani, said at a recent conference in Qatar established to support the Syrian opposition that the amount transferred from Riyadh totalled $1.25bn.
In 2011 Jordan is believed to have received $1.4bn from Saudi Arabia but in 2012 failed to gain any of the $1bn payment expected. It has had just $200m so far this year, most of which went on the aid effort.
Jordan is increasingly unable to provide for the 460,000 Syrians in its refugee camps and the failure of the international community to deliver on aid pledges of $1.5bn has sharpened fears of a humanitarian catastrophe. Some MPs have even called for the borders to be closed with the government declaring the north of the country, where refugee camps have been erected, a crisis zone.
Jordanian officials are aware of possible retaliation from an increasingly cornered Damascus, which this week accused Amman of "playing with fire" by opening its border to a military push.
Last week, a government spokesman said Jordan was "not part of the crisis" in Syria and supported a political solution. "The Jordanians are happy to channel support but they say 'don't put us in the frontline'," said one Syrian opposition figure. "They used to be afraid that Assad's intelligence system could hit back and hurt Jordan but now he is weak they feel emboldened to be more active."
Syrian rebels have made significant gains in the past six weeks near Deraa, the southern town where protests in March 2011 sparked the uprising, and in the Hauran area. Jordan has closed the Quneitra crossing with Syria, near the strategically vital Golan Heights.
The Guardian reported last week that Austria, the lead component of the UN peacekeeping force on the Golan Heights, was considering withdrawing its troops, which would likely make the UN force's position untenable.
Austria's foreign minister, Michael Spindelegger, spoke to commanders on the Golan Heights on Thursday and later confirmed Vienna may pull out its troops, especially if European states lift an embargo on supplying arms to rebels.
A vacuum in the Golan Heights would pose a dilemma for Israel, which is already dealing with the withdrawal of thousands of Syrian troops from the area. Officials in Israel and Europe have suggested that if the Austrians withdrew, Tel Aviv would be tempted to cross the ceasefire line and establish a buffer zone inside Syria, adding another regional dimension to the crisis.
Syrian forces are believed to have retreated to defend the capital, which despite being under siege by rebel groups, al-Nusra among them, is at no imminent risk of falling.
One western diplomat cautioned that recent gains in the south, though dramatic on paper, would slow as rebels edge towards the capital. "It was the same in the north," the diplomat said. "The heady rush into Aleppo last August has led to a stalemate ever since. I'm not sure the southern border is going to soon change the equation."

Stop militaire berechting Palestijnse kinderen

De 17-jarige Ahed al-Tamimi staat terecht voor een Israëlische militaire rechtbankTali Shapiro / Twitter 
Petitie aan de Nederlandse regering
Houd Israël aan VN-Kinder­rechten­verdrag − Stop militaire berechting Palestijnse kinderen

Midden in de nacht op dinsdag 19 december 2017 drong het Israëlische leger het huis van het zestienjarige Palestijnse meisje Ahed al-Tamimi binnen, om haar te arresteren omdat zij een videoop Facebook had gezet. Op het filmpje is te zien hoe zij op het erf van haar ouderlijk huis ongewapend, met haar blote handen, een zwaar bewapende soldaat dreigt aan te vallen.
Aheds familie en dorpsgenoten in al-Nabi Salih staan al jarenlang symbool voor een geweldloos verzet tegen de Israëlische bezetting. Sinds 19 december betaalt Ahed hier een grote persoonlijke prijs voor. Zij wordt in voorarrest gehouden tot het einde van haar ongetwijfeld lang uitgesponnen rechtszaak, een rechtszaak die tegen haar wens achter gesloten deuren wordt gehouden.
Wat Ahed meemaakt is een voorbeeld van de al lang bestaande Israëlische praktijk van de nachtelijke invallen door zwaarbewapende militairen om Palestijnse kinderen van hun bed te lichten. Dit gebeurt al jarenlang, honderden keren per jaar. Na hun arrestatie worden deze kinderen naar een verhoorcentrum gebracht waar zij worden ondervraagd zonder hun familie en zonder een advocaat. De kinderen worden geïntimideerd, in voorarrest gehouden en berecht door een militaire rechtbank die geen rekening houdt met hun welzijn. Onder deze zware omstandigheden is schuld bekennen de enige uitweg en de meeste kinderen doen dit dus ook. Hierom hebben de militaire rechtbanken zo’n hoog percentage veroordelingen: 99,74 procent en hierom verblijven er honderden Palestijnse kinderen in Israëlische gevangenissen.
De Palestijnse kinderen in Israëlische detentie zijn tussen de 12 en 17 jaar oud. Israël is het enige land in de wereld dat systematisch kinderen vervolgt in militaire rechtbanken, waarbij het voorbijgaat aan het recht op een eerlijk proces volgens het VN Kinderrechtenverdrag. Volgens de Vierde Geneefse Conventie mag de onder bezetting levende lokale bevolking van een gebied niet door de bezettende mogendheid de grens worden overgebracht. Ahed al-Tamimi wordt gevangen gehouden in de HaSharon (Tel Mond) gevangenis nabij Netanya, aan de andere kant van de Groene Lijn.
Ahed is uitgegroeid tot een icoon van het verzet van Palestijnse kinderen.
Zij is echter niet de enige… maar slechts een van de velen.
Daarom vragen wij de Nederlandse regering er bij Israël op aan te dringen:
  • Geen kinderen te berechten binnen een militair rechtssysteem dat een eerlijk proces in de weg staat
  • Te waarborgen dat de rechtsgang van Palestijnse minderjarigen voldoet aan de normen van het VN-Kinderrechtenverdrag
  • Geen kinderen te arresteren in het midden van de nacht
  • Geen vrijheidsbeneming van Palestijnse minderjarigen zonder rechtelijke uitspraak en alleen als uiterste middel
  • Een einde te maken aan de praktijk van ondervraging van kinderen zonder bijstand van een advocaat, zonder audio- en video-opname en zonder begeleidende ouder

Nuclear Contradictions, Hypocrisy and Absurdities


Nuclear Contradictions, Hypocrisy and Absurdities

An Allied correspondent stands in the rubble of Hiroshima, Japan, a month after the United States exploded the first atomic bomb ever used in warfare. The bomb was dropped on Aug. 6, 1945. (Stanley Troutman / AP)
Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.
—J. Robert Oppenheimer, American nuclear scientist, after observing an early U.S. nuclear weapons test
The year was 1983. I was still in the womb, as an earlier celebrity president, also obsessed with television, sat down to view a highly touted TV movie, “The Day After.” Ronald Reagan, like Donald Trump, was a star—a famous actor—and also a well-known Republican foreign policy hawk with an aggressive nuclear weapons posture. The movie was a dystopian portrayal of the aftermath of a Soviet nuclear attack in the small college town of Lawrence, Kan., where I now live.
Reagan (like Trump) wasn’t keen on briefing books or detailed memos. He was a visual learner, and “The Day After” deeply affected President Reagan. It wasn’t quite a “road to Damascus” moment, but soon afterward, Reagan began to rethink his combative nuclear posture.
In the ensuing years, Reagan proved willing to work with Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to dampen Cold War tensions and begin a process of gradual nuclear disarmament. For a president, Reagan, who had run on a policy of rolling back communism and had called the Soviet Union an “evil empire,” the shift was profound.

Look, it wasn’t a perfect process. I’m not even a Reagan fan—all in all, I think he was a terrible president. Nevertheless, Reagan did come to see some of the absurdity of nuclear brinksmanship. His successor, George H. W. Bush—the elder—helped bring the Cold War to a speedy conclusion and promised Gorbachev that the U.S. would not dance on the Soviet Union’s grave or expand the NATO alliance into Eastern Europe. Gorbachev left power in December 1991, Bill Clinton defeated Bush the following November, and the U.S. proceeded (and still proceeds) to renege on all those promises. NATO expanded right up to the very borders of Russia, U.S. military bases encircled the old Soviet Union and, just a few months ago, President Trump’s National Defense Strategy all but declared a new Cold War with Russia and China.
Our present moment, with the doomsday clock ticking closer to midnight, seems like an appropriate time to reevaluate the contradictions, hypocrisy and absurdities at the heart of U.S. nuclear strategy. The realities are shocking and staggering.
Officially, the U.S. insists on a zero-tolerance policy regarding nuclear proliferation—the spread of nuclear weapons technology. In reality, the world has nine nuclear-armed powers today, and the U.S. accepts or objects to these weaponized powers on a case-by-case basis. And guess what? We’re not always consistent.
The first five nuclear powers are the victorious nations in World War II: the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China. These countries also hold permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council. The U.S. doesn’t object to France and Britain, of course. They’re longtime allies. Russia and China are scarier, but after 50 years we’ve learned to live with them as nuclear-armed powers. Then there’s India and Pakistan. These two South Asian regional powers are more disturbing, since they’re mortal enemies with significant arsenals pointed at each other. The U.S. is concerned about Pakistan’s so-called Islamic bomb, because Pakistan is a Muslim-majority country (and those are scary) and it has had a nuclear scientist—A.Q. Khan—collude with al-Qaida in the recent past.
The final two, I call the “rogue” nations. The first is North Korea. That’s an obvious one. The other? Israel. That’s right. Controversial as that’s certain to be, Israel refuses to confirm or deny whether it has nuclear weapons (it does) and insists on remaining the only nuclear power in the Middle East. All the while, it illegally occupies sovereign Palestinian territory in contravention of international law.
Here’s where the hypocrisy starts to creep in: Officially, the U.S. deplores all nuclear proliferation. Unofficially, we look the other way when “friends” and “allies” break the rules and develop an arsenal of their own. That’s why Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger looked the other way when Israel developed nukes (I’ve read their declassified meeting minutes), and President George W. Bush actually signed a nuclear agreement with India. Well, we like India and Israel. North Korea (and dare I say, Iran) not so much.
Look, countries have to look out for their best interests and form strategic coalitions. Still, it would behoove U.S. policymakers to understand why our ongoing nuclear policies might come across as hypocritical in many parts of the world. Furthermore, America’s alarmist proclamations about nuclear proliferation often come across as hysterical, racist and unrealistic.
Consider the rhetoric surrounding North Korea and Iran (which hasn’t even gone nuclear yet). The Trump administration flexes its muscles to intimidate both countries and even threatens to unleash “bloody nose” strikes and “fire and fury” against one or the other power. The prevailing assumption is that if North Korea has even a few missiles, or if Iran builds even one nuclear weapon, that their leaders would inevitably start flinging nukes at New York, Washington, D.C., or Tel Aviv. That’s insane. I’m not a big fan of Kim Jong Un or Ayatollah Khamenei, but it dehumanizes Korean and Iranian leaders to categorically assume they are suicidal and irrational. Believe me, a nuclear war doesn’t end well for Iran or North Korea, or anyone.
Americans don’t seem to see the hypocrisy (but you can bet the rest of the world does) in the fact that, to this day, only the United States has dropped nuclear bombs on the heads of real, live human beings, mostly women and children, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nonetheless, the world is forced to listen to America’s insufferable rhetoric about how no one else (besides our friends) could possibly be trusted with nukes. Let me be clear. I’m by no means in favor of widespread nuclear proliferation. I’d prefer these suicide machines be gradually abolished, but I’m merely deflating the myths and pointing out widespread hypocrisy.
The danger of nuclear war remains staggeringly high to this day, and it doesn’t have to be so. Calmer heads could prevail, various players could cool down the hysterical bombast and world leaders could deescalate the situation. Instead, we’re right back at the brink. Today, neither the U.S. nor Russia (though Gorbachev did once agree to it) will pledge a “no-first-use” policy regarding nuclear weapons. Why the heck not? Because, as always, each side is too busy jockeying for advantage to realize that nuclear weapons are unusable if human life is to continue on planet earth.
Furthermore, the U.S. has expanded its NATO (by definition anti-Russian) alliance right up to the borders of Russia. That means the U.S.—because of the mutual defense commitments of the alliance—has extended its nuclear umbrella to, well, Latvia, for example. How many Americans could find Latvia on a map? How many know the U.S. is legally committed to defend Latvia from Russian incursions, up to and including with nuclear war? Think on that for a second. I mean really think. Should the U.S. fight a major (potentially nuclear) war over Latvia? Would it? If the answers to both questions are “no”—and I’ll submit they likely are—what does that say about the brinkmanship of U.S. policies and NATO commitments? Folks, this is serious business.
And Russia, well, it’s got a ready (and equally dangerous) response to NATO expansion. Putin, boasting an economy about the size of Italy or Spain, knows he can’t field an army to overwhelm Western Europe. So in response to NATO expansion, Russian strategists are discussing a new potential policy known as “escalate to deescalate.” In other words, fire off “small,” “tactical” nuclear weapons to convince NATO to back down and back off. Sound crazy? That’s because it is. It’s also a Russian fantasy to believe a first use of nukes, of any size, won’t escalate to outright nuclear war. That’s a heck of a bet, and too rich for my blood.
The U.S. response is to consider increasing its own stocks of “non-strategic” (read: lower-yield) nuclear weapons in and around the Russian periphery. You see how this works? Each side attempts to one-up the other, raising the stakes until we’re all on a hair-trigger war alert. The irony here is that smaller, lower-yield, shorter-range nukes tend to be more dangerous, because they give the country’s leaders the crazy idea that it might just be possible to safely employ these horrific bombs. It isn’t.
In addition to all this madness, there are three other, not-so-small, absurdities about U.S. nuclear weapons “strategy”:
1. Despite all the alarmist rhetoric (even on the MSNBC-“Russiagate”-conspiratorial left), neither Russia, China nor any other nuclear-armed adversaries are actually bent on world conquest. That’s right, all the hysteria and close calls and nuclear bluffs are for nothing. They’re unnecessary and unhinged. Not only are these “adversaries” not out for global empire, they’re also not irrationally suicidal—which you’d have to be to send a nuke flying at an American target. What makes these powers dangerous is their (justified) feeling of military encirclement by the United States. They fear for the survival of their regimes (not an absurd sentiment given what happened to the Taliban, Saddam Hussein and Muammar al-Qaddafi recently), which makes them likely to act like cornered, wounded animals. It’s best to calm the rhetoric and not provoke these folks.
2. The whole hyper-masculine, Trumpian schoolyard-bully analogy is immature and inapplicable to serious, fate-of-the-world foreign policy decisions. President Trump loves this sort of simplistic rhetoric. Standing up to a bully sounds great and all, but—in a nuclear armed contest—no one walks away with just a bloody nose. We’re talking millions dead or the extinction of life on earth. Ever heard of nuclear winter? The reality is that violence begets violence, so let’s cool the grade-school-platitudes.
3. One man, the sitting president of the United States, holds the unilateral power and decision to launch a nuclear apocalypse. Congress doesn’t have to declare war, there aren’t any checks or balances, and that’s that. A recent article referred to the president of the United States—whether it’s Trump or even Barack Obama before him—as a “nuclear monarch.” That’s because he is. The U.S. Constitution placed the power to declare war in the hands of Congress (something it hasn’t done since World War II), and those 18th century patriots couldn’t possibly have foreseen the rise of nuclear technology. Nuclear war could kick off within minutes. Congress couldn’t and wouldn’t be able to retaliate fast enough. So, absurd as it seems, one man (and it always seems to be a man) holds the power of life or death (or human extinction) in his hands.
Let’s review. President Donald Trump (the self-proclaimed stable genius) has the unilateral power to launch a life-on-earth-ending nuclear strike. Reports indicate the man doesn’t read, so he may not understand the nature, and absurdity, of nuclear strategy.
President Trump needs his own “The Day After” moment (just as Reagan did all those years ago) to scare him straight. If only “Fox & Friends” would rebroadcast that old made-for-TV movie some morning.
All kidding aside, there’s an inconvenient truth here: Despite the president’s—and official Washington’s—obsession with the minuscule threat from terrorists, immigrants and other foreign, brown folks, there are only two existential threats to human existence: nuclear winter and climate change.
Tragically, the U.S.—the most powerful and well-armed country in the world—now has a president who possesses god-like powers over the former, and doesn’t believe in the latter.
The takeaway? We aren’t scared enough.

Bourgeois Feminism

Working Women's Liberation or Bourgeois Feminism?

20,000 Scientists Have Now Signed 'Warning to Humanity'

Saturday, March 10, 2018

"If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of
abstinence is from injury to animals."
— Albert Einstein