Israel-Gaza Strip: The real story

From Nightwatch, 17 May 2018 
Copyright (C) 2018 NightWatch, LLC All rights reserved.

Italics added

 Israel-Gaza Strip

The Jerusalem Post reported on 17 May that up to 8,700 Palestinians have been wounded and around 100 people killed in the rioting that Hamas started on 30 March.

The Great March of Return that Hamas launched in Gaza on 30 March culminated on Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe) on 15 May. Fewer civil disorders occurred on 16 and 17 May.

 Comment:  In 1988, Yasir Arafat instituted Nakba Day to commemorate the exodus of some 700,000 Palestinians before and after the Israeli declaration of independence in 1948.

These were not peaceful protests in any sense because the participants gathered at the fences prepared for violent confrontation. The Israelis also were prepared and issued multiple warnings. The confrontation was one-sided, as it always has been.

The Jerusalem Post published on 14 May – Israeli Independence Day — a lengthy, cogent analysis of the Hamas-instigated movement as self-destructive and self-victimized. The so-called marchers twice burned the only border crossing point for humanitarian aid and goods to Gaza. They disrupted the power and fuel lines for the Gaza Strip which is chronically short of power. The Palestinian men sent women and children to the border fences, knowing they would be shot.

The Israelis understand the problems in great detail, but the Hamas-instigated riots appear driven by pre-modern impulses that defy modern solutions and prescriptions.

Palestinian leaders say the marches and clashes are important because they send a message to the world.  For two weeks, the Palestinians have been heard around the world. They have raised awareness at a great cost in lives and treasure. The message has been sent. The world is aware.

Every time the Palestinians send their message, the Muslim and western nations say all the right words of outrage. The Israelis get blamed for excessive use of force, until the next time. The major change is that the Palestinians in Gaza make their people’s living conditions worse.

In a living system’s analysis, the actions of the Palestinian leadership in Gaza and the West Bank are sufficient to sustain the life of their system, but only because they are in a power-sharing relationship with Israel and aid donors. The Palestinian component of the power-sharing system is not self-sufficient and cannot prevent the collapse of its population without help. The Palestinians are dependents of the external components of the power-sharing arrangement.

The external components of the power-sharing arrangement – Israel and the aid agencies — provide sufficient systemic sustenance to prevent the Palestinians from collapsing but not enough to make them whole, healthy or prosperous under present management.

The power-sharing system contains no capacity for the Palestinian people to normalize as a living system. It has been surviving under these conditions for 70 years. The judgment is inescapable that the living system exists the way the leaders of the system prefer.

 

 

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The swamp. H/T My cousin Larry. Long Beach PD (ret)

Subject: It’s A Small World Indeed
To: tc

The roots in the swamp appear to be deep.  This from a media friend.  Further, Theresa Heinz Kerry, John Kerry’s wife, funds many Soros enterprises.
A MAJOR part of “THE SWAMP” Trump is trying to drain.  It may prove impossible.

Elite: St Paul’s in New Hampshire is one of the boarding schools of choice for
‘conservative Wasp families’. Mueller (circled, front) and Kerry (circled, rear)
played together on three teams, including lacrosse – which Mueller captained

Mueller (left) and Kerry (right) also played on St Paul’s soccer team.

 

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The DPRK’s full statement.

KCNA released this on May 16:

The south Korean authorities, together with the U.S., have been staging the largest-ever ‘2018 Max Thunder’ joint air drill throughout south Korea since May 11 in a bid to make a preemptive air strike at the DPRK and win the air.”

“Involved in the drill are over 100 fighters of various missions including B-52 strategic nuclear bombers and F-22 Raptor stealth fighters under the supervision of the U.S. imperialist aggressor forces in south Korea and the south Korean air force.”

“It is to last till May 25.”.

“Public opinions at home and abroad comment that the maneuver is the largest-ever and a reflection of the invariable stand of the U.S. and south Korea to persist in the ‘maximum pressure and sanctions’ against the DPRK.”

“The DPRK-targeted drill across south Korea is an undisguised challenge to the Panmunjom Declaration and a deliberate military provocation to the trend of the favorably developing situation on the Korean Peninsula.”

The north and the south solemnly declared in the declaration that a new peace era was ushered in and reached an agreement on making joint efforts to defuse the acute military tensions on the peninsula and substantially ease the danger of war and the U.S. also fully supported it.”

“However, even before the ink of the historic April 27 Declaration got dry, the south Korean authorities and the U.S. started such a drill against the DPRK, reacting to all the peace-loving efforts and good intentions which the DPRK has shown with rude and wicked provocation and arousing serious concern and disappointment among all the fellow countrymen and the international community wanting the declaration to be implemented.”

“If the U.S. and the south Korean authorities regard the phase of improving inter-Korean ties and the DPRK-U.S. dialogue provided by the proactive and broadminded efforts and measures of the DPRK as something allowed any time and any hour, then they are sadly mistaken.”

“The south Korean authorities, in particular, resorted to such improper acts quite contrary to the promise to make efforts for the peace, prosperity and reunification on the peninsula together with the north and are allowing even human scum to brazenly hurl mud at the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK and its system and play down the Panmunjom Declaration in front of the building of the ‘National Assembly’.”

“There is a limit in showing goodwill and offering opportunity.”

“The historic Panmunjom Declaration cannot be implemented by the unilateral efforts of a single party but can result in a good fruition only when the two parties create favorable conditions and climate by pooling their efforts.”

We cannot but take a step of suspending the north-south high-level talks scheduled on May 16 under the prevailing seriously awful situation that a mad-cap north-targeted war and confrontation racket are being kicked up in south Korea.”

“The south Korean authorities, lost to all senses, should be held wholly accountable for the scuttled north-south high-level talks and the difficulties and obstacles in the way of the north-south relations.”

The U.S. will have to think twice about the fate of the DPRK-U.S. summit now on high agenda before a provocative military racket against the DPRK in league with the south Korean authorities.”

 “We will closely watch the ensuing behavior of the U.S. and the south Korean authorities.”

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FBI report concerning armed citizens.

From David Codrea via Oathkeepers

 

A recently released report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation credits armed citizens with saving lives. “Active Shooter Incidents in the United States in 2016 and 2017” was released  in April, and provides hard evidence that gun-grabbers who ridicule the efficacy of keeping and bearing arms are demonstrably agenda-driven liars.

“The FBI has designated 50 shootings in 2016 and 2017 as active shooter incidents,” the report summarizes. “Twenty incidents occurred in 2016, while 30 incidents occurred in 2017.

“The FBI defines an active shooter as one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area,” the report continues. “Implicit in this definition is the shooter’s use of one or more firearms. The active aspect of the definition inherently implies that both law enforcement personnel and citizens have the potential to affect the outcome of the event based upon their responses to the situation. “

And how have citizens “affected the outcome”?

“Eight shooters were stopped by citizens,” the report documents, up from six credited in a 2014/2015 report:

“In four incidents, citizens possessing valid firearms permits successfully stopped the shooter. In two incidents, citizens exchanged gunfire with the shooter. In two incidents, the citizens held the shooter at gunpoint until law enforcement arrived. In one incident, a citizen possessing a valid firearms permit exchanged gunfire with the shooter, causing the shooter to flee to another scene and continue shooting. In one incident, a citizen possessing a valid firearms permit was wounded before he could fire at the shooter.”

That’s a pretty good record, especially considering how the doctrinaire gun-grabbers scoff at the idea, say it never happens, and claim “untrained” people would either end up getting killed or killing innocents themselves.

It also belies charges that gun owners are violent and bloodthirsty, just looking for an excuse to kill someone. The reported incidents reflect appropriate actions and judgment, and while it’s true that one citizen was wounded, no one has ever claimed having a gun makes someone invincible – what it can do (and based on results does) is offer a better chance than being defenseless and helpless.

What the report does not do is specify which locations where armed citizens did not help stop a shooter were so-called “gun-free zones.” We can make educated guesses about some of the incidents, such as school shootings, but as presented it’s difficult to extrapolate on lives that could have been saved had an armed presence been encouraged rather than forbidden by ignorance and/or law.

As things stand, there’s no reason to doubt the potential for more saves, and it’s up to anyone who disputes that to produce proof that the FBI is wrong when it acknowledges:

“Armed and unarmed citizens engaged the shooter in 10 incidents. They safely and successfully ended the shootings in eight of those incidents. Their selfless actions likely saved many lives.”

There is, however, one major flaw in the report that defenders of gun owner rights should be sensitive to. Jeff Knox, director of The Firearms Coalition advocates that using the term “active shooter” to describe scumbag murderers is wrong and ought to be reclaimed by the real – and peaceable – active shooters.

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From the National Security Archives

The CIA Black Sites Program and the Gina Haspel Nomination

Will the Hearings Fill in the Redacted Blanks in the Record?

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 626

View the posting

Washington, D.C., May 9, 2018—Today’s nomination hearing for Gina Haspel to be CIA director provides an opportunity for the agency and Haspel to fill in the blanks on the CIA “black sites” and interrogation program.  The National Security Archive has already identified key questions about Haspel’s record [see box below].  Today, the Archive provides the basis for an evidence-based review of the Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program, posting a selection of the most recent versions of declassified documents that reveal the RDI’s background.

The materials presented here are actual CIA records, not journalistic reporting or other second-hand accounts. They come from ACLU lawsuits and court cases, CIA’s electronic reading room and former officers’ web site, and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) report on the agency’s controversial program.

Check out today’s posting at the National Security Archive

Read Unredacted, the Archive blog

_______________________________________________-

THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A tax-exempt public charity, the Archive receives no U.S. government funding; its budget is supported by publication royalties and donations from foundations and individuals.

PRIVACY NOTICE The National Security Archive does not and will never share the names or e-mail addresses of its subscribers with any other organization. Once a year, we will write you and ask for your financial support. We may also ask you for your ideas for Freedom of Information requests, documentation projects, or other issues that the Archive should take on. We would welcome your input, and any information you care to share with us about your special interests. But we do not sell or rent any information about subscribers to any other party.

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Consequences of the US unilaterally pulling out of the Iranian nuclear deal.

We knew the US was going to pull out.  If there was any question, that ended after Israel bombed Iranian facilities in Syria and Iran threatened Israel with a missile attack if it happened again. If Trumps mind wasn’t made up before, that did it.

Domestically, the JCPOA deal was Obama’s only foreign policy success – reason enough to blow it up. But internationally there are problems. The US reneged on a deal it made, and which was approved by the UN, after eleven detailed reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since 2016 which have stated consistently that Iran was in compliance with their part of the bargain. That means the US is in violation of the terms of the bargain – we didn’t keep our word.  And THAT makes it is obvious to the world that the US can’t be trusted and that the treaties we sign are only as binding as any current administration wants them to be.  Basically it means that after the other party does what they agreed to do and can’t go back – for instance after verifiably and permanently dismantling their nuclear weapons program, the US can and will back stab them by reverting to whatever policies caused them to agree to the deal in the first place.  We did EXACTLY the same thing to Libya and Iraq and before that to Russia at the end of the cold war.

So a couple of things are going to happen. When Trump gets to the summit with Kim, there isn’t going to be any deal for the DPRK to drop their nuclear weapons program. Furthermore, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea are going to start looking hard at obtaining nukes because they can no longer trust the US to honor its commitments to protect them. We can say we will, and sign agreements, but they aren’t binding because we discard them at will.  Who will make us keep our word?  No one.  Superpowers make their own rules.  The problem becomes that if we don’t have to keep our word, no one else has to either and tha’t basically he end of international law. Treaties and binding agreements no longer matter – only military might matters. Unfortunately, that’s the way the world has always worked.  But it’s a bad idea in a nuclear world.

In fact, it’s a bad idea at any scale.  Agreements only work if both parties trust each other. We told the American Indians they could have their own lands and we’d leave them alone.  We signed a treaty. That lasted until someone found gold on their land.  Then we killed them for it. They didn’t even want the gold.  They just wanted to be left in peace on their own lands. We got the gold.  They lost their land and their lives.

Except…nothing is ever as it seems to be in politics.  When Hillary Clinton started the ‘Russiagate’ nonsense to try and destroy Trump’s credibility, it forced him to push Russia away, impose sanctions, and not attempt the rapprochement with Russia that he (and most rational people) wanted and still want. While Israel was retaliating against the Irananian missile attack against them on the Golan Heights*, Netanyahu was marching in Russia’s 73rd annual Victory Parade and its March of the Immortals with Putin.  So it’s pretty clear that the tide is turning and that the US and Russia are going to get closer after all as soon as Hillary’s evil influence wanes a bit more.

There are several deeper reasons, too.  Hezbollah runs Lebanon and Iran supports Hezbollah. Israel needs to get rid of Hezbollah, permanently occupy Lebanon, and push Iran (but not Russia) out of Syria to secure it’s borders. The US wants to get rid of Assad and so does Turkey, which has permanently occupied the north of Syria and will eventually push its border to the Euphrates river. Russia has agreed to this and will keep it’s presence in Syria .

*The Golan Heights was Syrian territory until Syria and Egypt attacked Israel in 1973.

Rant begins here:

My neighbors and I are pretty well armed and so we are secure in our property and polite when we meet. Go to Alaska, or Plano Texas, or anywhere that people are well and legally armed and you will find that crime rates are very low. Most victims of crime depend on the government to protect them, not on themselves. They choose to abrogate their personal responsibility – for security; for food security; for everything.  If the government doesn’t give it to them they are lost.  They can’t quite grasp that the  government can only give them things by taking them from someone else in the form of taxes or by force from other nations in the form of economic sanctions backed by a threat of war – or by war itself.

At the local scale, people are smart enough to know that if we kill each other, we both lose.  That lesson has always been lost on governments which don’t die themselves.  They send us out to die for them.

Almost NO ONE in any metropolitan area knows where their food, power, gas or water comes from,  where their sewage goes, or how to live for more than a day if all of that isn’t provided for them; God forbid their cellphone stops working or the Internet goes off.  Countries are like that after a fashion. Like my neighbors and me, they depend on each other to trade for things they want. In my case it’s food and vegetables and the occasional helping hand. For countries it’s commodities like food,  oil, raw materials and manufactured goods but the concept is the same as long as no one becomes covetous or greedy…and everyone keeps their word.

When they don’t, they have to revert to threats or force which only works as long as you can scare everyone individually to keep them from banding together.  If you create too many enemies all at once they will get together and you can’t beat all of them. The US has pushed Russia and China together and is pushing all the BRICS countries except India to join them in addition to Venezuela, North Korea and a bunch of others.  Japan is on the wire as well as the Philippines, Turkey, Afghanistan, Mexico and so forth.  Smaller countries align with whoever will trade with them without imposing huge tariffs and won’t destroy them militarily. It used to be us and it might still be, but not much longer. It has only been ~250 years since England, Spain, France and the Native Americans owned North America – less than that since Mexico owned California and most of Texas and Arizona.  Things change quickly.

 

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Kilauea volcano: Explosive ash eruption and rock ejecta possible within a limited area near the summit.

04:37HST Thursday, 17 May: Update

Kilauea erupted sending an ash cloud 30,000 into the air.

14:35HST, Wednesday, 16 May: UPDATE

(Kilauea hasn’t gone off yet, but it’s close if it continues to deform.)

HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY INFORMATION STATEMENT
U.S. Geological Survey
Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 2:35 PM HST (Thursday, May 17, 2018, 00:35 UTC)

KILAUEA VOLCANO (VNUM #332010)
19°25’16” N 155°17’13” W, Summit Elevation 4091 ft (1247 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WARNING
Current Aviation Color Code: RED

KĪLAUEA INFORMATION STATEMENT

Strong earthquakes within the summit of Kīlauea Volcano continue in response to ongoing deflation and lava column drop. As of the afternoon of May 16, the floor of Kīlauea caldera has dropped approximately 3 feet (90 cm). This movement is stressing faults around the caldera of Kilauea, causing them to move and resulting in strong earthquakes of up to magnitude 4.4 thus far.

Employees at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park and nearby residents are reporting frequent ground shaking and damage to roads and buildings. Hawaii County Police reports cracks across Highway 11 between mile markers 28 and 29. Although these are passable, motorists are urged to use caution.

As deflation continues, strong earthquakes in the area around Kilauea Volcano’s summit are expected to continue and may become more frequent. Areas further from these earthquakes may feel some ground motion as well, but much less severe.

The shallow depths of these earthquakes make them more damaging in the immediate vicinity of the epicenter, and individuals need to take precautions to minimize damage from the shaking, including the removal of unstable items from walls and shelves. Steep slopes should be avoided as they may become destabilized during strong earthquakes.

HVO Contact Information: askHVO@usgs.gov

MORE INFORMATION

Activity Summary also available by phone: (808) 967-8862

Subscribe to these messages: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vns2/

Webcam images: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_webcams.html

Photos/Video: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_chronology.html

Lava Flow Maps: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_maps.html

Definitions of terms used in update: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/extra/definitions.pdf

Overview of Kīlauea summit (Halemaʻumaʻu) and East Rift Zone (Puʻu ʻŌʻō ) eruptions:
https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/extra/background.pdf

Summary of volcanic hazards from Kīlauea eruptions:
https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/extra/hazards.pdf

Recent Earthquakes in Hawai’i (map and list):
https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo/earthquakes/

Explanation of Volcano Alert Levels and Aviation Color Codes:
https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/activity/alertsystem/index.php
https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2006/3139/

CONTACT INFORMATION:

askHVO@usgs.gov

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is one of five volcano observatories within the U.S. Geological Survey and is responsible for monitoring volcanoes and earthquakes in Hawai`i.


21:30, 14 May:

There have been 3 MAG 3.0-3.1 earthquakes in Kilauea at a depth of ~1600 feet.  That’s very close to the water table which I estimate to be ~1640 feet.  When the lava drops below that (at the current rate of 6.5 feet/hr) there will be a major steam and ash eruption. Two more fissures have opened and are spewing lava, so the lava level is still dropping.  An eruption t is still imminent.

06:00 13 May:

The summit hasn’t erupted yet, but a fissure just opened and an emergency evacuation has begun…Where?  Exactly where I said three days ago in the text below. NO ONE else called it or pinpointed the location beforehand.


21:40 local, May 11.

I have beaten this horse to death but hopefully I made a valid point.  I’ll continue updates as eruptions warrant.

********************************************************************************

In a world full of idiots, only the best idiots make it to the top.  You read all of this right here beginning May 7. It has finally been validated by the USGS and Civil Defense today, May 11 – thereby reducing by five days the heads-up the public could have had if they had released the data in a timely manner.

My unconfirmed understanding from an employee there is that nonessential personnel in the summit area were quietly evacuated YESTERDAY.

Update: Hawaii County Civil Defense issued this at 5pm on Friday, May 11.  Nine minutes later they sent it out as a text message:

http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts

UPDATE:  USGS POSTED THIS TODAY, May 11:

https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vsc/file_mngr/file-180/PreliminaryAnalysisOfCurrentExplosionHazardsSummitKilauea_May8_2018.pdf,


May 11: NOW the news is full of the potential explosive eruption of Kilauea.  That’s great.  People who are likely to be impacted have no time to make plans except, basically, to grab and run.  If anyone had bothered to read this blog five days ago, or Civil Defense or the USGS had  been empowered or willing to take a chance and issue public statements five days ago,  people would have had time to take precautions, not that anyone would have. 

My plan: Issue a public notice on May 7.

“By Saturday, May 12, the potential for an explosive eruption at the summit of Kilauea may exist, potentially affecting people and property within about six miles of the caldera.  The possibility of significant ash fall and rock ejecta will exist if the eruption occurs. Residents should be aware of the possibility.

The governments plan: Do essentially nothing and wait for the news media to create panic on May 11.

“OMG! Hot lava fireballs may start dropping through your roof at any time!”

Which plan makes more sense?

*****

As of 8am May 9, the USGS finally issued a vanilla potential eruption notice on their website but it didn’t hit the news as far as I heard. I don’t watch the news. I prefer to be well-informed.  Talking heads creating drama don’t do it for me. :-O

USGS Kilauea volcanic activity notice:

https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/status.html

*****

USGS fails to make the comparison because (1) they report activity after it happens – they don’t predict it because predicting the future isn’t science, (2) their careers could be on the line if they did and got it wrong, and (3) they issue public statements for the benefit of median readers. Retired scientists aren’t encumbered.  If we miss, no one remembers. If we hit, we look prescient.  But we aren’t – there just isn’t a downside for us. Personally, I like to think that the few people who read this are well above median intellect and can absorb the information.

What is happening now is, I believe, essentially a repeat of the 1924 eruption of Kilauea. It is a deflationary event.  This type or eruption MAY not happen again, but as of May 11 the lava level in Kilauea crater has dropped to around 1,450 feet below the rim.  If it drops below the water table at ~1,640 feet (at the last measured rate of 6.5 feet/hr that will be sometime on Saturday, May 12) there will be a spectacular and impressive explosive steam eruption – just like 1924. Even then there won’t be a huge lava emission or a destructive lahar but there will probably be some 10 ton chunks of rock tossed around and hot golf balls can fall up to about 6 miles from the summit.

In addition, the lava draining out of Kilauea is pooling under the East Rift zone. I’ll tell you where…and this part IS science.  Shallow earthquake clusters along a rift zone during a summit deflation are caused by lava pooling because that’s all that CAN cause them.  When the lava has nowhere else to go, it will break out on the surface because gravity forces it to (as opposed to volcanic eruptions caused by inflationary upwelling from magma being pushed up under pressure from the mantle).  This is a deflationary event. Lava is collecting between Highway 132 and a mile SSE of Hwy 132 at  Halekamahina Rd. because that’s where the earthquakes from Kilauea lead directly to and then stop. That doesn’t mean it will break out there, but lava doesn’t flow uphill. If and when it does break out, that area is the likely spot.  Specifically, between Kalapana and Kaoho, around 19°29’24.94″N latitude, 154°52’13.84″W longitude on the north and 19°28’5.29″N latitude, 154°51’54.11″W longitude on the south.   We’ll wait and see but I call the center at LAT-154.8753357, LON19.4693336 at 10:45, 5/11/18.

The exact spot of the breakout when it finally happened 1t 06:00 13 May is..right there.

Update:

At 11am Friday, May 11, Hawaii County Civil defense issued the following text alert . It was posted on their website at 1:40 pm.

“As a precautionary measure, residents of Lower Puna, between Kapoho and Kalapana should be alert for possible gas emissions and volcanic eruption. There may be little to no advance notice to evacuate, be prepared to evacuate immediately.”  www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts

Better late than never.

Maybe they didn’t want to scare anyone earlier in the week, but people fear the unknown. If  they knew what was going on and that it has happened before, they wouldn’t have to be afraid of it.  I think it is dereliction not to let people know what is possible and becoming more likely as time passes, even if it isn’t a sure thing.  If they know and are still afraid, the fear derives from their personal need to create drama.  People do that when they are bored to death with their meaningless lives.

To understand what is happening and why, here are a couple of addresses you can plug into your browser and all will become immediately clear.

A little history of Kilauea:

https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/geo_hist_summary.html

The 1924 eruption:

https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/geo_hist_1924_halemaumau.html

While all of this is going on, dozens of people are running around claiming that the lava outbreak in Puna was caused by our geothermal plant.  That is complete nonsense.  There are dozens more who think Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess is mad – again, because of the geothermal plant.  They think drilling wells to tap geothermal energy is like sucking Pele’s blood. Again, complete nonsense.  I don’t want to disrespect cultural beliefs, but these aren’t valid beliefs. There are historical precedents which predate the geothermal plant.

As of  6am May 11, 36 structures have been destroyed and 140 acres have been covered by lava. The outbreaks continue although the lava has abated.

My off topic/irrelevant rant begins here (you can stop reading now):

A pilot at Blue Hawaiian helicopters  suggested that people who CHOOSE to live exactly ON the rift of an active volcano, and who are aware that they can’t get insurance there because of the imminent danger are well aware of the fact that a volcanic outbreak WILL occur and that it’s a matter of when, not if.  Sadly, he went on record to say he had no sympathy for people who lost their homes and he was fired from his job. Even I, cold-hearted bastard that I am, empathize and (like everyone else) offer help and support to the victims because we care and because that’s what people in a society do.  He was partially right. He just shouldn’t have been an asshole about it.

For instance, it’s polite to offer prayers to victims but impolite to observe that the entity you are praying to for relief caused the disaster in the first place.  Humans have freedom of choice.  Nature doesn’t. If you want to believe in an omnipotent deity, He gets all the credit – not just for the good things. And He and doesn’t believe about you what you believe about Him..or Her..or Them.

I live about six miles from Leilani. I chose a location that is out of the rift zone and out of the nominal lava flow zone from the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent of Kilauea.  No one who chooses to live on the side of an active volcano is ever safe, but safety is like happiness or reality.  People create their own. To me, safety isn’t about how much freedom the government takes away from other people in order to provide a false sense of security to people who aren’t willing or able to assume personal responsibility for themselves.  You simply can’t create a utopian, fairy tale world in which everyone is safe. We each choose to live in circumstances which create the level of security we are comfortable with. My comfort zone exists a few miles away and a little uphill from the live lava zone in a working class semi-farming community.  Most of the people I know own firearms. Some hunt and fish but all are in stable, long-term relationships and have jobs or businesses. Some are religious, some aren’t.  Every one of them is honest; none are perfect, least of all me.

If shit happens, these are the kind of people you want around you.  They don’t whine because the government isn’t protecting them from criminals with guns because criminals with guns choose victims who don’t shoot back.  They don’t complain because the government isn’t giving them free money, housing and medical care because it’s not the government’s job to be their mommies.  The government can’t protect anyone from natural disasters or, usually, predict them.  They can tell you that hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes and wildfires happen and that live volcanoes erupt. They can tell you to have a plan and be prepared for when, not if, it does.  But no one pays any attention and the government can’t protect people from themselves.

Eventually the government has to put warning labels on everything – to tell you coffee is hot..to tell you not to put plastic bags on your head or put your penis in the toaster. But warning labels aren’t to protect you from the products.  They aren’t even to protect you from doing stupid things you ought to know are dangerous. They are there to limit the legal liability of companies from idiots who hurt themselves doing the stupid things which would have removed them from the gene pool a couple of generations ago.  But there are no warnings on television sets to explain that most of what people see on them isn’t real and when people actually NEED a warning, no one will step up.

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Battle capabilities: US-Russia-China

All military services have a tendency to fight the last war and be unable to understand the real challenges of the next one.  That is understandable because those challenges can’t be understood until it happens. The ones who adapt most quickly and adapt their tactics have the best chance.  For reference, various estimates suggest that 300 – 500 strategic nukes will cause a nuclear winter and kill any remaining humans. The US has a military presence on every continent and in every ocean.

The best strategy against the US in a nuclear war is to detonate only ONE 1.3 megaton nukes 400 km over Kansas. (More is always better but one is enough).  It would destroy the US electrical grid (which could not be replaced), our entire infrastructure, every computer and cellphone and every plane, train and automobile. There would be no electricity, communications, water, food, transportation, emergency services, fuel, gas, money, TV, radio, Internet…nothing.

Military rankings are from : https://www.globalfirepower.com/countries-listing.asp


US:  The #1 ranked military in the world. Our forte’ is technology.  Make a few do the work of many.

We want computers and satellites to do the heavy lifting. But technology is fragile and satellites are vulnerable.  Our F-35 Turkey is a prime example along with our useless Littoral combat ships, which are no better than towed targets.  Neither present a threat, so we will have to fight with last generation aircraft.  However, we have hundreds more of them than Russia and China combined and 19 aircraft carriers. Russia has none and China only has one but will have two pretty soon. The US no longer has sufficient heavy industry to go on a serious war footing.  Our main problems are overconfidence, commanders who care more about their careers than their mission, information overload, and a requirement for highly skilled people who cannot be replaced quickly. We can take out all Chinese and Russian satellites but they won’t care too much.  American citizens are much less willing than in the past to fight and die in foreign lands where the people hate us and in wars they feel are unjust. The US has about 1,700 strategic nukes online and another 10,000 or so in storage and the US has military bases ringing both Russia and China except on their mutual borders.

Russia: the #2 ranked military in the world. Reliability and quantity.

Russian weapons systems work in any weather and on any terrain.  They are relatively inexpensive because they are designed to be used in combat and heavy losses are expected, so they can be mass produced quickly and used by less skilled people in some cases. In the worst case, Russia has the will to send as many people as necessary to win by sheer numbers. Russia is ahead if the world in aircraft and missile technology and their S-400 and SW-500 systems can take out stealth aircraft but because they have no carriers they can’t project power anywhere in the world and they have only a few advanced aircraft.  Russia is focused on a defensive strategy.They have never won a naval engagement. Russia can take out our military, communications and GPS satellites in hours. Russia gas about 1,800 strategic nukes online, an effective delivery system and ~10,000 in storage. Russia has leased ONE small military installation in Tartus, Syria.

China: the #3 ranked military in the world. Win by Sun Tzu’s tactics.

China builds to the points of US weakness in order to be competitive in the military arena. China is more than willing to trade diesel-electric subs or hyper-sonic missiles for US carriers.  China will try to fight a conventional war over Taiwan but the US may not want to play nice if we lose a couple of carriers.  The best way to prevent that would be to have them patrolling somewhere other than the South China Sea, ya think?  In any case, China outnumbers our workforce (and our military personnel) 6 to 1 and has a huge excess in heavy manufacturing capacity. China can defend against stealth aircraft and can take out all of our satellites in hours but China has only one small carrier, basically as a test bed.  However, they have at least half a dozen unsinkable islands in the South China sea they can use to interdict US carriers and aircraft, but they are vulnerable because they are fixed in place and they have very few advanced aircraft. They can win in Taiwan because they have more, newer and better missiles of all kinds than the US and more, better and newer smart torpedoes an mines than we can deal with. But they can’t project power and have never fought a naval or air battle. China can lose one BILLION people and still have a larger population than the US. No one mentions it but China NEEDS to lose 500 MILLION people and would gladly do so to solve its overpopulation problem, re-energize the country and take over the world. It’s a win-win for them.  China has about 300 nukes online,  (about the same number as Israel) and has effective delivery systems that we can’t stop. The the US has military bases ringing both Russia and China except on their mutual borders. China has leased land for ONE small military installation in Djibouti, Africa.

 

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WWIII

Taiwan is 81 miles from China and is absolutely critical to China’s security.  Whoever controls Taiwan controls China’s border and ocean trade routes.  For comparison, Cuba is 103 miles from the US and we were ready to go to nuclear war with Russia over it – so to think China won’t do the same over Taiwan is ridiculous.

The US is trying very hard to get Taiwan to declare independence.  If it does, China will invade within hours and the US will be involved in yet another war of our own making.  Comparisons can be made with Cuba (where we maintain a large military base) and our attempt to buy Crimea from Ukraine. But the second example isn’t really accurate because Crimea wants to be part of Russia. Even if the Taiwanese want to be independent, they are Chinese nonetheless and China can’t be secure with Taiwan under US control.

There are historical precedents to the US moves.  We rebuilt Germany and Japan after WWII – not because we gave a damn about them – but because we had switched enemies to Russia and China and we needed allies and bases near them. That’s why we created NATO. We still have US military bases dating back to WWII in Germany, Okinawa and Guam and we had huge military bases in the Philippines until fairly recently. And of course, we are all over South Korea, Iraq. Afghanistan and Syria as well as in the Baltic states bordering Russia. We secretly gave nukes to Israel but they are going to fight for themselves, not for us. We went to Vietnam because of ‘Communism’ and we lost our asses. We won in
Iraq, but we are losing in Afghanistan and Syria.  If we attack North Korea we will lose the hearts and minds of the South Koreans.

None of this is new. The US and Britain have been actively and continuously planning for and working toward a war with Russia and China since the end of WWII, ostensibly because of the spectre of Communism.  Germany is on board but Japan, which borders both of them, is tenuous, so we are trying to get them to re-arm and get into the game. Unfortunately, modern weapons are so destructive that everyone now has too much to lose – but we are still at it. The US now has over a thousand military bases worldwide. China and Russia combined have about two outside their borders. We have become the aggressors. We threaten them; they don’t threaten us.

We can’t continue to own the world and control all of the oil. We can’t keep destroying countries and installing leaders who are friendly to us because we bought them but we can’t stop trying because we refuse to believe the lessons of history.  Our infrastructure and way of life are dying because all of our attention and resources are focused out, beyond our borders.  That TRILLION dollars we wasted trying unsuccessfully to bring that shithole Afghanistan out of the 11th century and another Trillion we wasted on the F-35 could have rebuilt our country, eliminated the welfare state, saved Social Security and provide for our veterans.  But no.

The best way to bring a country together behind their government is a war. Everyone knows it.  But that only works if they attack us – not if we make up some bullshit excuse to attack them but that’s exactly what we have been doing since the early 1950s. It’s making everyone crazy.  Half the kids in the US are taking prescription anti-psychotics because they have no lives, no goals, and nothing to do.  So while we bomb civilians in 7 countries they go out and shoot up schools because that’s the example the country is providing.  It’s not about guns.  The US is the major weapons supplier to the entire world. People are only doing what they see the government doing.  Grrrr.  Why is everyone so stupid?

 

 

 

 

 

Hiswtorially

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The Arabs and the Jews and Middle East…a continuing story.

Background:

For thousands of years now, Arabs and Jews have been fighting over the same desert.  Since May 1948, part of it has been named Israel but it is historically called Palestine. The Jews claim ownership because God gave them the land…but He didn’t.  They have it because the British gave them a few miles of Palestine in 1948 and they fought for the rest, the same way every nation gets land.  Oh sure, King David proclaimed the Kingdom of Israel in Judea about 1000 BC but it has been owned by almost everyone since then.

The Palestinians claim the same land because they are called ‘Palestinians’ and live on it, but that’s nonsense too.  The Jews have been there as long as the Arabs and over the thousands of the years they both say they have owned it, neither of them actually did.  The area has been the center of conflict almost forever as nations come and go.  Temporary owners have included Assyrians. Philistines, Arabs, Ethiopians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Jews, Persians, Romans, Catholics, Turks, French, Ottomans, British…..

See for yourself:  https://en.wikipedia.org /wiki/Timeline_of_the_history_of_the_region_of_Palestine

The current version of Israel was established in 1948 but the Arabs hate Jews (and each other but that’s another story) so they have been trying to kill off the Jews since 1948.  Before 1948 they weren’t serious about it and only had muskets and camels with which to wage war.  Then they got rich on oil and started buying arms.  By 1967 they had a huge advantage in tanks, aircraft and men-at-arms but they didn’t bother to train their armies.  When Egypt, Syria and Jordan got ready to wipe Israel off the map, the Jews executed a pre-emptive strike, beat the very long odds against them and wiped out the tanks and aircraft of all three of those Arab countries.  In the process they acquired the Golan heights and the Sinai desert as far as the Suez canal.

Then they almost pissed it all away by underestimating their enemies  In 1973 Israel came within a few miles and a few hours of being wiped off the map by Egypt, under Sadat and Syria under the elder Assad.  They pulled off a win – barely – and since then they have been much better at maintaining situational awareness.  And they now have over 200 tactical and strategic nuclear weapons.

The bottom line is that it makes no difference which imaginary friend you believe gave your land.  You only have it until someone else comes along and takes it away from you.  Then you are gone, they have your land and your imaginary friend is now their imaginary friend. Everyone goes to battle with the absolute certainty that God is on their side and it’s the same God for both…but one side wins.

Israel is growing in population and wealth and they don’t intend to be wiped off the map, especially by Egypt and Syria.  So Israel need more land and we need to control global oil with the Petrodollar.  Enter the Arab Spring’. Most middle eastern Arab nations, especially Egypt have been temporarily pacified by a dose of  ‘Arab Spring’, which wasn’t Arab at all.  Syria, however,  wasn’t affected too badly.  Assad wasn’t removed like most of the other Arab leaders. Assad, like Saddam and Qaddafi before him, wanted to trade oil for gold instead of settling in Petrodollars.  Even worse, after we destroyed Iraq and Libya, Assad still refused to let us put in a pipeline from Saudi Arabia and Iraq through Syria to the EU so we could prevent Russia from competing in that market via the Turkish Stream pipeline.

So Israel needs more land and the US needs to control global oil with the Petrodollar. How? Like this: (I’m not taking sides here.  I’m just explaining what is happening).

Israel isn’t going to move further into Egypt than the east bank of the Suez canal unless Egypt becomes a threat again but they are going to keep what they won and stay on the canal to show Egypt that they could own it in a day if they wanted to. Egypt needs the revenue from the canal to survive, so they will stay calm in the near term.

However, Israel is going to remove the ‘Palestinians’ from the land historically known as Palestine.  That means keeping the Golan and maintaining the current border from the Suez canal to Jordan, Syria (minus the Golan) and Lebanon. In order to remove Iranian influence in the immediate area, they must occupy Lebanon again and keep it.

They would like to extend their border to the Euphrates river and share a new border with Turkey after Syria disappears but that’s not politically feasible at the moment.  However, it would be if Russia was forced to abandon Syria as an ally and Turkey rejoined NATO instead of vacillating as Erdogan tries to rebuild the Ottoman Empire.  Both he and the US are in the process of destroying Syria, and we have both invades Syria and have troops engaged there. We both call it ‘The War on Terror’ or some other nonsense but it’s really the war to secure Israel’s borders and control the oil.

Today, just after Mike Pompeo left Israel, Israel bombed Syrian military sites near Aleppo and Hama causing huge explosions which registered 2.6 on the Richter scale. The targets were supposedly hardened underground Iranian missile plants and storage facilities and come a couple of days after Iran threatened to hit Israel with missiles if there were any more attacks against them in Syria. [It is being suggested that the Israelis used F-35s in the attack.  That’s unlikely.  F-35s can’t carry bunker busters.] I doubt anyone in Iran is stupid enough to shoot missiles at a nuclear-armed Israel and Iran picked a bad time to make the threat.  First, Israel ignored it, and secondly President Trump is almost certainly going to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran on May 12th. In addition, the US commander of CENTCOM just finished a trip to Israel. This attack was completely coordinated with the US and approved by the White House, not only as a message to Syria and Iran, but to Russia as well to get out of Syria because we are going to make it disappear. What we will really do is start WWIII.

With John Bolton talking about regime change in Iran it looks like the US and Israel are teeing up to knock Syria and Iran out of the park…and his new comments suggesting that we apply the ‘Libya model’ to the DPRK makes a North Korea/US summit  looks unproductive.  It will be anyway. Even if it happens the DPRK isn’t going to give up its nukes. The last country the US promised not to attack if they gave up their nuclear program was Libya. After that, Kim Jong Un can’t possibly believe any promise that he won’t be next.

So it has become clear to the world that the US now makes deals and promises; gives guarantees and signs treaties – but breaks them at its convenience – usually after the other side has met their side of the bargain, can’t go back, and has no recourse.

The saga continues.  This is from Nightwatch which is an excellent source apart from the occasional gratuitous Russian slam:

“Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei threatened the United States and its allies during a Monday speech to workers. He called Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu a “liar” after Netanyahu accused Iran of deceiving the world about its nuclear program.
“Netanyahu reproduced what he said were copies of Iranian files detailing a project to build nuclear weapons, which was reportedly stopped 15 years ago. Iran said it had never sought to build a bomb when it signed an international deal to curb nuclear activity in 2015.

Netanyahu’s presentation was forceful, but we have some concerns. The graphics contained no links that established that they came from the Iranian trove or any trove. Some deference to the chain of custody is essential in a briefing meant to incriminate. Most of the images on the graphics are available on the Internet.

The content of the files might make the case of a secret nuclear program, but the content of the briefing did not make that case. In our experience, graphics intended to persuade an audience must be self-proving, without explanations.
A second concern is the sheer volume of the trove would require large numbers of experts fluent in Farsi and nuclear technical terminology in Farsi months just to get a cursory sense of what the files and the CDs contained.

A third concern is the absence of dates and security classifications.  The “Manhattan Project” was heavily classified. Every information security system insists on dating materials. None of the graphics contained dates or security markings.

Nuclear experts familiar with the many reports on Iran by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have posted to the web their judgment that Prime Minister Netanyahu presented no information about Iran that was not already in the public domain. He did not prove his case, but his delivery was top-drawer.”

Nightwatch also made the case that the US has been in Afghanistan for 17+ years; still kills people with bombs or drones a dozen times a day; has spent a TRILLION dollars there; and has accomplished exactly nothing.  In fact, we are losing. The relevant commentary is reproduced below:

“The situation in Afghanistan continues its slow decline. On 30 April, the US Defense Department’s Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) published its latest quarterly report to the US Congress about conditions in Afghanistan. The report runs to 274 pages. This essay summarizes key points in the new report to help answer the question, “How are we doing in Afghanistan?”

Concerning the economy, economic growth stopped after 2012. Per capita GDP was $117 in 2001 and rose to $669 in 2012. This was based on massive foreign spending which was not sustainable after the foreign soldiers began to depart.

Since the US troop drawdown in 2014, per capita GDP dropped to $562 in 2016. Nearly half the population is under 15 years old. The country needs 400,000 jobs annually to keep pace with the growth of the work force. The “shovel-ready” jobs for unemployed young men are with the Islamic State-Khorasan Province and the Taliban.

Focus on private sector development.  During the quarter, the SIGAR completed lessons learned study about the Afghan private sector. The SIGAR published his report in April and it is available online for download.  One key judgment is,

The analysis underscores the difficulty of supporting economic development in a conflict-ravaged country like Afghanistan. For example, the report shows that early signs of economic growth were mainly fueled by inflows of foreign money and were unsustainable. Meanwhile, rosy projections of progress did not take full account of Afghanistan’s economic and security environment, its institutional-capacity limitations, its fraught relations with neighbors, or the impacts of corruption and powerbroker networks.

The SIGAR report on the private sector drew nine lessons about why there has been so little progress in the Afghan economy in 17 years.  The SIGAR also wrote 12 lessons drawn from the US experience of private-sector development in Afghanistan. They include pearls of wisdom such as spending too much money too fast is not good for a primitive economy because it promotes corruption not growth. Introducing a modern market economy into a pre-modern economy won’t work. Most important is the lesson that it is not realistic to expect robust growth when there is no security.

  Nightwatch Comment: The lessons are, of course, valid to the point of being blindingly obvious. They indict the aid agencies as having failed. The record of waste, poor construction, inept management, corruption and neglect is jaw-dropping after more than US$ 1 trillion in investment

Opium is the most valuable crop and export. The SIGAR report contains a map that shows opium culture in nearly every province of Afghanistan, including the northern provinces.

The lack of economic development and of general prosperity are tributes to the success of the Taliban uprising.  In hamstringing the economy, they defeated the one engine of national power that threatened the hold of Islamist traditionalists on a primitive population. That lesson, though, was learned in the Malayan emergency more than a half century ago.”

Nightwatch correctly makes the point that the main crop and export of Afghanistan is opium but stops short of making the obvious observation that US troops serve no other function in Afghanistan than to make sure the opium profits go to the government and not the Taliban or the Islamic State.

To be continued.

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