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Mon, 21 Oct 2019
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California: Lights are out, the plan all along

no power
© Noah Berger/AP
Shift supervisor James Quinn walks through a darkened CVS Pharmacy as downtown Sonoma, Calif., remains without power on Oct 9, 2019.
The power is out in Northern California. More than 1 million Californians are now without electricity, one of modern life's essentials that is frequently taken for granted. The blackout was done on purpose — to prevent sparks from powerlines that could ignite deadly wildfires.

Before planned blackouts are through in two or three days, as many as 3 million Californians may go without power. On the surface, the blackout and its causes are simple to understand. But the deeper causes are complicated, span decades of public policy, and dozens of overlapping unintended — and intended — consequences of decisions, both related and unrelated.

The wind in Northern California is blowing in from dry Nevada, as it often does this time of year. It's called the "Diablo wind." In Southern California, the comparable current blowing in from the Mojave Desert is known as the "Santa Ana winds."

In both cases, as the wind rises above California's mountain spine, then descends, it compresses and heats up. Forests, chaparral and brush, dry this time of year in California's Mediterranean climate, are primed for wildfires.

This Isn't Climate Change

Comment: See also:


Hong Kong: Metro station smashed with metal bars and hammers by masked protesters defying emergency order

HongKong metro vandals
© Ruptly
Hong Kong vandals destroy metro station
A mob of masked demonstrators vandalized a metro station in Hong Kong, as the city scrambles to restore order. Police deployed tear gas in an attempt to disperse the violent protesters.

Dramatic video published by Ruptly shows activists using metal bars and hammers to smash up ticket machines, turnstiles and other infrastructure inside the Sha Tin Mass Transit Railway (MTR) station on Sunday. Nearly all of the vandals wore masks, in defiance of an October 4 emergency order that bans all face coverings during public assemblies.

Bystanders can be seen hurrying out of the station as the mob descends upon the public transport hub. After the mob's attempts at destroying the station's interior, police are seen advancing on the protesters, firing tear gas in hopes of quelling the riot. One clip shows the protesters spraying fire extinguishers and water hoses in the station.

Comment: More from RT, 13/10/2019: Xi's warning: Any attempt to divide China will end in 'shattered bones'
Chinese President Xi Jinping has issued a blunt and unambiguous warning to any foreign actors trying to tear Hong Kong from Beijing, stating that such plots would not end well for the perpetrators.
HK protester
© REUTERS/Susana Vera
An anti-government protester uses an umbrella to spread a fire over Bank of China ATM machines during a protest in Hong Kong, China October 13, 2019.
The remarks are likely directed at Washington and several of its European allies, who have been accused by Beijing of encouraging and even supporting protests that erupted in Hong Kong in March. At the time, the demonstrations were mostly peaceful and aimed at stopping a proposed extradition agreement with mainland China. The movement has turned violent in recent weeks, with mask-clad rioters destroying public infrastructure and hurling petrol bombs at police.
See also:


Busted! ABC News caught using old gun range footage to push fake news about Turkish 'slaughter' of Syrian Kurds

abc fake news gun footage kurds
© ABC News/Youtube
David Muir lies through his teeth on 'ABC World News Tonight'
ABC News was just busted using two year old gun range footage while reporting on Turkey 'slaughtering' the Kurds in the wake of a US withdrawal from the region.
This video right here appearing to show Turkey's military bombing Kurd civilians in a Syrian border town. The Kurds, who fought alongside the US against ISIS now horrific reports of atrocities committed by Turkish-backed fighters on those very allies" -ABC News


Heart - Black

Mom jailed for putting son through needless surgeries that left him in wheelchair

Kaylene Bowen-Wright
© Dallas County Sheriff's Department
Kaylene Bowen-Wright
A Texas mom who needlessly put her healthy son through hundreds of doctors' visits — including 13 major surgeries that left him wheelchair-bound and with a feeding tube — has been jailed for six years.

Kaylene Bowen-Wright, 36, claimed son Christopher was sick starting from his premature birth, claiming he had a rare genetic disorder and then later cancer that left him with only months to live.

By the time Christopher was 8 years old, his mom had taken him to Dallas hospitals and pediatric centers more than 320 times and subjected him to 13 unneeded surgeries, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

He lived with a feeding tube for the majority of his life, spent time in a wheelchair and was even in hospice care, the paper said, with his two siblings convinced he was dying.

Arrow Down

Ohio school replaces homecoming King/Queen with gender-neutral 'homecoming royalty'

© Reuters / Carlo Allegri
An Ohio high school is doing away with gendered language for its homecoming court after two female students were crowned what would usually have been "king" and "queen" — but will now be known as "Homecoming Royalty" instead.

Milford High School said the "change in terminology was made to reflect the voice" of the student body and to "ensure all students have the opportunity to feel included."

The decision was made after the homecoming votes were tallied at last week's Friday night football game and female students, Abbey Stropes and Trinity Miller, won both titles.

Green Light

Russia to participate in Saudi Arabia's railway network expansion

High speed train
© AFP / Bandar Aldandani
High-speed trains parked at a station in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russian Railways and the Saudi Railway Company have inked a joint agreement for the expansion of Saudi Arabia's railway network.

The agreement was sealed as part of a visit to Riyadh by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday. It "aims to jointly expand the SAR (Saudi Railway Company) network and projects related to the 'Vision 2030' program, as well as the supply of components for SAR," according to an RDIF press release.


Letter to Bayer shareholders: Put health and nature first - stop funding this company!

Toxic mix
Campaigner and environmentalist Dr Rosemary Mason has just written an open letter to Bayer Crop Science shareholders and Chairman of the Board Werner Wenning. She has also sent them a 13,000-word report. Mason is appealing to shareholders to put human health and nature ahead of profit and to stop funding Bayer. In her report, she sets out why shareholders should take this course of action.

Mason outlines how the gradual onset of the global extinction of many species is largely the result of chemical-intensive industrial agriculture. For instance, she argues that Monsanto's (now Bayer) glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide and Bayer's clothianidin are largely responsible for the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and that the use of glyphosate and neonicotinoid insecticides are wiping out wildlife species across the globe. Mason also argues that the science behind (chemical-dependent) GMOs is fraudulent and that the devastating effects of pesticides on human health can no longer be ignored.

She begins by addressing some of her concerns directly to Werner Wenning and Bayer shareholders. The following is a slightly edited (for clarity) version Mason's letter to Wenning (and shareholders) and sets the scene for what is in her report.

People 2

A 'transphobic' 'crime wave' has hit Oxford

police oxford
© Getty Images
Oxford is suffering a crime wave. Police are investigating numerous serious offences over more than six months. Thames Valley Police has issued this sweeping statement about unacceptable acts in the city:
Thames Valley Police is appealing for witnesses following a number of public offences in Oxford.

Officers are investigating a large number of offensive stickers that have been placed across Oxford city centre containing transphobic comments. It is believed they started appearing in March 2019 within the High Street, Catte Street and Parks Road area.

Investigating officer PC Rebecca Nightingale based at St Aldates police station said: "Behaviour like this is not acceptable and we take incidents of this nature very seriously.

"I am appealing for anyone who may of witnesses these stickers being placed around the city or anyone who has information that may assist our investigation to call the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 43190163238 or report online.

"Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Comment: The level of insanity is reaching a fever pitch. So glad police forces are wasting their energy on nonsense like this.

See also:


Is a tech company ever neutral?

Hong Kong protesters
© Mohd Rasfan/AFP via Getty Images
Protesters gather outside the High Court in Hong Kong on Wednesday.
Apple stumbled into a new line of business this week: NBA heat shield. On Wednesday, the company booted from its App Store an app called HKmap.live, which protesters in Hong Kong had been using to track police amid the pro-democracy demonstrations against the Chinese government that have engulfed the city for months. In the few days that HKmap.live had been available, it became the most downloaded travel app in Hong Kong, according to the New York Times — until, reportedly, authorities in the special administrative region and Chinese state media complained. The company said it reversed the app's initial approval because it "violates our guidelines and local laws," since it was "being used maliciously to target individual officers for violence and to victimize individuals and property where no police are present."

Here's what HKmap.live actually did: The map app aggregated available data from other social media sources, didn't show specific locations of individual officers, and had a time lag before data showed up on the app, according to blogger and activist Maciej Ceglowski, who has been in Hong Kong for months. Charles Mok, a legislator in Hong Kong, condemned Apple's decision, pointing out that the app was being used by residents hoping to avoid tear gas and said that some residents were sharing information about police activity to avoid harassment. Facebook, Twitter, and other iOS apps that are available through the App Store in Hong Kong allow users to do the same thing, Mok said in a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, arguing that Apple's rationale was spurious and unevenly applied.

Comment: It seems like Slate has its panties in a twist because tech companies aren't playing partisan politics the way they want them to (it would seem censoring conservative viewpoints on social media isn't enough). Yet they point out an interesting conundrum - where is the line between 'just doing business' and complicity? Is it actually possible for tech companies, or any companies for that matter, to remain apolitical?


Extinction Rebellion: Imagine if these people had real power?

guardian extinction rebellion
© The Guardian
‘Shut the country down’: British climate group Extinction Rebellion heads to US.
THOSE who can make you believe absurdities,
can make you commit atrocities."
- Voltaire

"MUCH that passes as idealism is disguised
hatred or disguised love of power."

- Bertrand Russell

"THE urge to save humanity is almost always a
false-front for the urge to rule it."

- H.L. Mencken

Climatism posts often begin with poignant quotes from past philosophers, scholars, academics, poets. Not only as a link to the subject matter, but as a guide to past thinking that can engender clues to our current existence and provide insight for future pathways.

This author is staunch in the belief that global warming climate change has absolutely nothing to do with the 'environment' or "saving the planet".

If it did, every climate change activist, such as Extinction Rebellion, would be castigating China for unlimited emissions until 2030, as per their Paris Accord commitment.