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Mon, 03 Oct 2022
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Bullseye

China's 'lack of response' to Pelosi visit is not weakness - it's strategy

Pelosi Taiwan
© Getty Images
Speaker of the US House Of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (L) and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (R) in Taipei, Taiwan, August 3, 2022. After the world watched with bated breath for Beijing's reaction to the American stunt, the lack of a flare-up may seem underwhelming - but it's not.
Sparks flew on Tuesday night as Nancy Pelosi commenced her highly publicized trip to Taiwan, proclaiming a global struggle between democracy and authoritarianism and effectively poking her fingers into Beijing's eyes. It goes without saying that China was furious, yet amidst the social media storm which precluded the visit, a bizarre atmosphere of disappointment arose afterwards among some, who decried Beijing's response as "weak" for having not physically intervened to block Pelosi's flight. Twitter was awash with "hot takes" demanding Pelosi's plane be intercepted and declaring that China's "bluff" had been called.

This rush for an "on the moment narrative" and expectations being out of control naturally overlooked the fact that Beijing immediately declared afterwards a daunting set of military exercises to be undertaken across the next few days, set in Taiwan's own territorial waters, with some designated spots even being as little as 12 miles away from the coast. These exercises have effectively closed parts of Taiwan's airspace. China initiated a growing series of sanctions against the island which has involved the blacklisting of over 100 food companies, as well as a ban on fish imports and the sale of natural sand (critical for semiconductor production).

Comment: Also check out SOTT radio's: NewsReal: Will US Provoke China-Taiwan War? Possible, But Only as 'Trump' Card to Upend Global Economy




War Whore

Eva Bartlett: Today, Ukraine bombed a Donetsk hotel full of journalists - here's what it felt like to be there

bombing hotel donetsk
© Eva Bartlett
Another attack from Kiev has hit central Donetsk, targeting a funeral and a hotel where numerous reporters stay and work.

At 10:13 am today (Thursday), Ukraine began shelling central Donetsk. There were five powerful blasts in the space of ten minutes. The last explosion blew out my hotel's ground-floor glass, including a sitting room - where journalists often congregate before and after going out to do field reporting - and the lobby. About one minute earlier, I had passed through the latter. A cameraman's assistant who was there at the time of that fifth explosion suffered a concussion from the force of the blast.

A woman walking outside the building was killed, as were at least four others, including a child. Donetsk Telegram channels are filled with videos locals have taken, of the dead, the injured and the damage, and of grief-stricken people. One such hard-to-watch Telegram post (warning: graphic footage) features a man in shock at the gruesome sight of the bodies of his murdered wife and grandchild on a street two blocks from the hotel.

Cloud Precipitation

At least 35 dead, hundreds still missing in eastern Kentucky flooding - 11 inches of rain in 8 hours - North Fork Kentucky River smashes record level by 5 feet (UPDATES)

Water nearly swallows some buildings Thursday morning in the community of Lost Creek in eastern Kentucky's Breathitt County.

Water nearly swallows some buildings Thursday morning in the community of Lost Creek in eastern Kentucky's Breathitt County.
[Breaking news update, published at 12:59 p.m. ET]

At least three people have died as a result of widespread flooding in eastern Kentucky -- two people in Perry County, and one in Knott County -- Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday afternoon.

"I do believe it will end up being one of the most significant, deadly floods that we have had in Kentucky in at least a very long time," Beshear said. "Unfortunately, I expect double-digit deaths in this flooding."

[Original story, published at 12:29 p.m. ET]

Eastern Kentucky is enduring "one of the worst, most devastating flooding events" in the commonwealth's history Thursday after heavy overnight rains caused untold damage and forced some residents to the roofs of their swamped homes to await rescue, the governor said.

"We expect the loss of life. Hundreds will lose their homes, and this is going to be yet another event (where) it's going to take not months, but likely years, for many families to rebuild and recover," Gov. Andy Beshear said in a news conference Thursday morning in Frankfort.


Comment: Update July 29

The Guardian reports:
At least 16 people dead after flash flooding in Kentucky

Kentucky: rescue teams deployed after deadly flash floods

Kentucky: rescue teams deployed after deadly flash floods
At least 16 people have died in widespread flash flooding in Kentucky, including families with children, a toll the authorities expect to rise on Friday as extreme weather hits several states.

The Kentucky governor, Andy Beshear, said on Friday morning he expected to receive a federal state of emergency declaration later in the morning, which gives state governors extra powers and access to special funding to deal with such a catastrophe, and has been in contact with the White House.

He announced the latest death toll after visiting affected areas but added on Friday morning: "I expect that number to more than double, probably even throughout today."

"This comes on the back of the worst tornado disaster we have ever seen," Beshear told CNN on Friday morning, referring to the western part of the state being hit by deadly tornadoes several months ago.

Search and rescue teams backed by the national guard are searching for people missing in the record floods that have wiped out entire towns in some of the poorest places in America.

"There are hundreds of families that have lost everything," Beshear said. "And many of these families didn't have much to begin with. And so it hurts even more. But we're going to be there for them."


The flooding has hit eastern Kentucky, while extreme weather has also badly affected parts of Arizona, Missouri with flooding, and Nevada, where parts of the main commercial strip in Las Vegas have been under water.

In Kentucky, powerful floodwaters swallowed towns that hug creeks and streams in Appalachian valleys and hollows, swamping houses and businesses, leaving vehicles in useless piles and crunching runaway equipment and debris against bridges. Mudslides on steep slopes left many people marooned and without power, making rescues more difficult.

Krystal Holbrook's family started moving possessions to higher ground long before dawn on Thursday, racing to save them from the rapidly rising floodwaters that were menacing south-eastern Kentucky.

Her family scurried in the dark to move vehicles, campers, trailers and equipment. But as the water kept rising on Thursday, killing at least eight people that day and then the death toll rising to 15 overnight into Friday, they began to worry that they might run out of higher ground.

"We felt we had most of it moved out of the way," Holbrook said. "But right now, we're still moving vehicles even to higher ground. Higher ground is getting a little bit difficult."

The same was true throughout the region, as another round of rainfall loomed in an area already hammered by days of torrential rainfall.

The storm sent water gushing from hillsides and surging out of stream beds in Appalachia, inundating homes, businesses and roads. Rescue crews used helicopters and boats to pick up people trapped by floodwaters. Parts of western Virginia and southern West Virginia were also hit by flooding.

Beshear asked for prayers as the region braced for more rain. "In a word, this event is devastating," he said.

In Whitesburg, Kentucky, floodwaters seeped into Appalshop, an arts and education center renowned for promoting and preserving the region's history and culture.

"We're not sure exactly the full damage because we haven't been able to safely go into the building or really get too close to it," said Meredith Scalos, its communications director. "We do know that some of our archival materials have flooded out of the building into Whitesburg streets."

Meanwhile, dangerous conditions and continued rainfall hampered rescue efforts, the governor said.

"We've got a lot of people that need help that we can't get to at the moment," he said. "We will."

Flash flooding and mudslides were reported across the mountainous region of eastern Kentucky, western Virginia and southern West Virginia, where thunderstorms dumped several inches of rain over the past few days, with additional flooding that is more extreme than usual still being possible.

Poweroutage.us reported more than 33,000 customers without electricity in eastern Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia, with the bulk of the outages in Kentucky.

Rescue crews worked feverishly to try to reach people trapped by the floodwaters.

"There are a lot of people in eastern Kentucky on top of roofs waiting to be rescued," Beshear said on Thursday.

The storms hit an Appalachian mountain region where towns and houses are often perched on steep hillsides or set deep in the hollows between them, where creeks and streams can rise rapidly.
Update July 30

The New York Times reports:
Search for Victims Continues in Kentucky After Floods Kill at Least 25

Homes and vehicles flooded on Friday by
© Austin Anthony
Homes and vehicles flooded on Friday by overflow from heavy rains in Breathitt County, Ky.
The response to some of the worst flooding in Kentucky's history was entering a pivotal phase on Saturday morning, with the confirmed death toll at 25 and the search for victims poised to accelerate over a battered stretch of central Appalachia.

A cold front is expected to bring clearer weather to flood-stricken areas on Saturday, giving rescue personnel one less obstacle to contend with as they work to pluck more residents off rooftops. Nearly 300 people have been rescued in Kentucky so far, about 100 of them by aircraft, Gov. Andy Beshear told reporters on Friday.

But state officials expect the death toll to keep growing, possibly for weeks, as rescue efforts continue across rugged hills and valleys that remain hard to reach. And with rain in the forecast for Sunday, they feel urgency to make more progress before water levels have a chance to rise again.

"There's still a lot of people out there — still a lot of people unaccounted for," Mr. Beshear said on Friday, as President Biden approved a disaster declaration for the state. "We're going to do our best to find them all."

Plenty of challenges remain. One is that some Kentucky communities are either without electricity or cut off from cellphone service. According to poweroutage.us, a website that tracks power interruptions, more than 17,000 households across the state were without power as of 4 a.m. Saturday.

Further flooding is also possible. Some Kentucky creeks and rivers were still rising on Friday, and even as a flood warning in a pocket of eastern Kentucky with more than 46,000 residents expired at 10 p.m., a similar number of residents in that part of the state were under flood warnings or advisories through at least Saturday afternoon.
Update August 1

CNN reports:
Kentucky flooding death toll rises to 35 as governor says hundreds remain unaccounted for

The death toll in flood-stricken Kentucky has risen to 35, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday afternoon, as rescue workers continue to comb the region for hundreds of missing people, unable to access areas left isolated after floodwater washed away bridges and inundated communities.

"More tough news," the governor said on Twitter. "We have confirmed more fatalities from the Eastern Kentucky floods. Our loss now stands at 35. Pray for these families and for those who are missing."


The death toll could still rise further, according to officials, with "hundreds of unaccounted for people" at a minimum, the governor said at a news conference earlier in the day in Frankfort.

"We just don't have a firm grasp on that. I wish we did -- there are a lot of reasons why it's nearly impossible," he said. "But I want to make sure we're not giving either false hope or faulty information."

The flooding last week swelled over roads, destroyed bridges and swept away entire homes, displacing thousands of Kentuckians, Beshear previously said. Vital electricity, water and roadway infrastructure was also knocked out. Some of it has yet to be restored, though cell service is returning in some of the state's hardest-hit areas, the governor said, which may help people connect with loved ones they've yet to contact.

"I've lived here in this town for 56 years, and I have never seen water of this nature," Tracy Neice, the mayor of Hindman, Kentucky, told CNN, saying his town's main street looked like a stretch of river where one might go whitewater rafting. "It was just devastating to all of our businesses, all of our offices."
Related: Severe flash floods in Missouri after record rainfall of 7 inches in just 5 hours


Fireball 2

Huge meteor fireball up to 16 feet in diameter explodes over Puerto Rico on July 27

Meteor sighted last night was a rock up to 16.4 feet in diameter that exploded in the atmosphere

Meteor sighted last night was a rock up to 16.4 feet in diameter that exploded in the atmosphere
Shocking images captured from the Island show the moment when a large part of a space rock disintegrated over the skies of Puerto Rico on Wednesday night.

"It happened at 11:28 pm and the reports confirm that it was visible from the entire island," said the Caribbean Astronomy Society (SAC).

The educational entity pointed out that both the videos obtained as well as images captured by the NOAA GOES 16 satellite allow a preliminary estimate to be established regarding the size of the rock, which is calculated to have been between 1 to 5 meters (3.3 to 16.4 feet) in diameter.


Vader

'The Special Relationship': How the British Reconquered the United States and Established an Anglo-American Empire

anglo american empire Great Britain United States

The Anglo-American Empire
"Neither the sure prevention of war, nor the continuous rise of world organisation will be gained without ... a special relationship between the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States...not only the growing friendship and mutual understanding between our two vast but kindred systems of society, but the continuance of the intimate relationship between our military advisers". — Winston Churchill, 'Iron Curtain Speech', 1946
This will sound like an outrageous statement to many. How could the British have reconquered the United States?! They never won any war against her and by the 20th century had always fought alongside the United States as a trusted ally. And isn't it rather the opposite, doesn't the United States dictate British foreign policy at this point?

It is true, Britain never won a war against the United States, and it was understood by the mid-19th century that the British would never succeed in conquering the United States externally. Rather, if they were to be successful, she would need to be conquered from within, to which this paper is dedicated to telling the story of.

Better Earth

Russia pledged to help African countries finally complete the process of decolonization

africa russia
When one thinks about liberation, the first thing that comes to the minds of many is Africa's decolonization cause, which regrettably hasn't yet been completed in full. It therefore naturally follows that if Russia wants to obtain credibility for its global revolutionary manifesto, then it must actively support Africa in finally finishing this process, ergo Lavrov's promise to that end.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov published an article on Friday ahead of his visit to Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda, and the Congo Republic articulating his country's policy towards the continent. The most important part concerns his pledge that Russia will help its partners there finally complete the process of decolonization. The first step, as he sees it, has already been accomplished upon the creation of regional integration organizations such as the East African Community (EAC) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Then came the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA), which Lavrov regards as "an important step towards the true economic independence of the continent, its final liberation from any manifestations of discrimination and coercion."

Light Saber

LGBT 'propaganda' faces complete ban in Russia

LGBT community
© Sputnik / Igor Russak
Participants of the rally 'March Against Hatred' aimed at protecting the rights of LGBT community members and immigrants in St. Petersburg.
The promotion of LGBT relations could be permanently banned in Russia under a bill introduced to the State Duma on Monday, which likens such messaging to war propaganda and incitement of hatred.

Currently, LGBT 'propaganda' in Russia is only banned when directed at children, but some politicians have been calling for harsher restrictions and punishments for the "denial of family values" and "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations."

In an explanatory note attached to the bill, the authors argue that LGBT 'propaganda' has become widespread in Russia and is being promoted through the media, public events, streaming services and through the depiction of such relationships in films.

"In Russia, at the legislative level, it is not allowed to promote suicide, drugs, extremism, criminal behavior, as they are considered negative and socially dangerous phenomena. At the same time, formally, until now, there is no ban on propaganda of the denial of family values and non-traditional sexual relations, including with the use of film distribution," the note reads.

Comment: We suppose this is the Russian equivalent of a Chinese Firewall to keep out alien notions. A Christian Firewall?

Meanwhile, in the West: Transgender tyranny in public schools


Cassiopaea

Cosmic Information Transducers: On the meaning of life in its broadest sense

Forgemaster universe
© Brandon Moore
Forgemaster
I recently started hearing about the work of the Russian polymath Vladimir Vernadsky. The guy was a brilliant scientist - he was the founder and first president of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, so not exactly a fringe thinker in his time. Vernadsky took Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's concept of the noosphere and grounded it in his own deep appreciation of biological, geological, and chemical processes - which was a profound understanding indeed as he pretty much invented the field of biogeochemistry. His views seem to have gone far beyond the Gaia hypothesis, probably ultimately inspired by his writing, that was popularized well beyond his death, which merely posits that the biosphere achieves a high-level homeostatic equilibrium.

Full disclosure: I haven't actually read Vernadsky, so everything that follows is just me riffing on what I've gathered from a few podcasts and blogs. I first heard of the man's work from that brilliant lunatic Clif High (see for instance here), the conspirasphere's bald old mountain wizard; while I take everything Clif says with an extra helping of salt, he's consistently one of the Internet's most interesting people. Matthew Ehret's study group has also been getting into Vernadsky recently.
What the heck is life for?

Megaphone

Farmer protests spread across the globe

farm protest netherlands
© VINCENT JANNINK/ANP/AFP via Getty Images
Farm vehicles stopping traffic near the border of the Netherlands and Germany
A WAVE of agricultural protest has swept Europe and the wider world, as a host of issues conspire to pit farmers against national politics.

Farmer-led protests in Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland have sprung up in the wake of action by Dutch farmers, who were first to take to the streets to complain about the impact of new emissions rules.


Comment: More accurately, protests by farmers have been occurring across Europe with an increasing frequency for a number of years now, although, indeed, this time the situation is critical.


German farmers blockaded roads on the border with the Netherlands and gathered in large numbers to protest near the city of Heerenburg. Italian farmers also held tractor protests in rural areas and threatened to take the protests to the streets of Rome.

Polish farmers took over the streets of Warsaw complaining against cheap imports, and the high interest rates which have destabilised their businesses and threatened their livelihoods. The heat of rising inflation has also reached Spain, where farmers blocked highways in the southern region of Andalusia to protest against high fuel prices and the rising costs of essential products.

Comment: Apparently Australia can now be added to the growing list; see below for recent footage of some of the protests:





See also:


Bad Guys

A Conspiracy of Systems, A System of Conspiracies

kraken
© Sebastian Ludke
Kraken Uprising
One of the perennial debates in dissident circles is the old question of whether the rampant weirdness and fuckery of clown world is an emergent consequence of a severely maladaptive society, or a deliberate imposition by malign influences operating from the shadows on high. There are good arguments either way, which is one of the reasons this question is as seemingly intractable as the existence of God or the nature of life after death.

The systemicists currently hold the upper hand within respectable society, which is one of the reasons that the more intellectual commentators seem to prefer this more fashionable position. Broadly speaking, the systemicist view is that no one is really in charge of anything. Instead, social conditions are emergent phenomena, arising due to the intersection of psychological forces, evolutionary drives, economic incentives, and technological capabilities, with the high-level phenomena of mass psychoses, currency crises, wars, the dumbing down of the educational system, and so on arising as the sum of billions of individual decisions. Systemicists emphasize the complexity of the human world, and view it as a priori implausible that any one group could steer the teeming masses of humanity with anything like a sure hand. Systemicists seem to come from professional and academic backgrounds, and have some degree of personal familiarity with the talentless inanity that prevails in our venal managerial incompetocracy, so they have a natural personal bias against any hypothesis that requires such people to be capable of orchestrating any coherent plot on any scale larger than office politics.