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Wed, 18 Sep 2019
The World for People who Think

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Pepe Escobar: Trapped between East and West, Hong Kong protestors are really protesting hyper-capitalism

Hong Kong protesters
© AFP/Anthony Wallace
Protestors run past a fire during clashes with riot police in Hong Kong on Sunday, September 15. Hong Kong riot police fired tear gas and water cannon at hardcore pro-democracy protesters who were hurling rocks and petrol bombs on September 15, tipping the violence-plagued city back into chaos after a brief lull in clashes.
Fringe practicing wanton destruction for destruction's sake surely have learned tactics from European black blocs

What's going on deep down in Hong Kong? For a former resident with deep cultural and emotional ties to the Fragrant Harbor, it's quite hard to take it all in just within the framework of cold geopolitical logic. Master filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai once said that when he came up with the idea for Happy Together, he decided to shoot the story of his characters in Buenos Aires because that was as far away from Hong Kong as possible.

A few weeks ago I was walking the streets of far away Buenos Aires dreaming of Hong Kong. That Hong Kong that Wong Kar-Wai refers to in his masterpiece no longer exists. Unfortunately deprived of Christopher Doyle's mesmerizing visuals, I ended up coming back to Hong Kong to find, eventually, that the city I knew also no longer exists.


Caitlin Johnstone: Stop telling veterans that they are heroes

Crenshaw Sanders
Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw has a popular post going around on Twitter at the moment admonishing Senator Bernie Sanders for saying that the US government should not go to war if it can't afford to take care of its veterans.

"Watching Bernie pander to different groups to get their vote has always disgusted me, but now it's personal," Crenshaw tweeted. "I didn't go to war so that you would take care of me, Bernie. I went because I wanted to serve and our country needed it."

This "look at me, I'm a veteran" song and dance is par for course with Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL who lost an eye to an improvised explosive device on his third deployment in America's evil and unjustifiable Afghanistan occupation. When Crenshaw says "I went because I wanted to serve and our country needed it," he is being delusional, and feeding into his delusion allows him to continue dominating public discourse with obnoxiously propagandistic takes like the notion that the US should continue its forever war without even so much as ensuring that it can take care of the people whose lives are chewed up and spat out by the imperial war machine.


30-year mystery solved as South Korea's worst serial killer likely identified through DNA evidence

serial killer south korea police sketch
© Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police Agency
Sketch of the suspect in the Hwaseong murders.
South Korea's worst serial killer looks like he has finally been identified after his violent crimes inspired a hit movie and confounded investigators for more than 30 years.

After decades of unsuccessful searching, police believe they have finally made a breakthrough in the infamous "Hwaseong murders" case, announcing that the prime suspect is a man in his 50s who is currently serving a prison sentence for another rape and murder, the Yonhap news agency reports.

Stock Up

BRICS countries will soon account for over half the global economy

globe earth world
© Pexels / Valentin Antonucci
The combined economies of the BRICS member states - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - are set to expand by about 20 percent in roughly a decade, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has announced.

"The BRICS countries' economy today accounts for a third of the global economy. According to our conservative estimates, by 2030 our economies will make up more than half of the entire world economy," Siluanov said at the BRICS International Competition Conference in Moscow on Wednesday.

Members of the alliance continue to work on eliminating trade barriers between them and can set an example for other counties, the minister added.

BRIC was established in 2006 by Brazil, Russia, India and China, before South Africa joined the bloc in 2010, adding the "S" to the acronym. As of 2018, combined nominal GDP of these five emerging economies amounted to $18.6 trillion.

In line with efforts to boost trade, members are working on the integration of payment systems, increasing payments in national currencies, as well as the establishment of an independent channel on information exchange. It was earlier reported that BRICS states are set to create a new joint payment system called BRICS Pay that will be similar to existing Apple Pay and Samsung Pay services.

"Cooperation in terms of developing the use of our national currencies in international settlements seems very promising," Russian President Vladimir Putin said in June as he met BRICS leaders ahead of the G20 summit.

Comment: As the unipolar hegemon crumbles, the multipolar world is rising. The West can try to stop it, but it doesn't look like they'll succeed.


Mea culpa: Social Constructionist confesses 'I basically just made it up'

gender roles identity politics
© mcmgoogie/Etsy
If I had known, 20 years ago, that my side in the ideological wars over gender and sex was going to win so decisively, I would have been ecstatic. Back then, I spent many evenings at the pub or at dinner parties debating gender and identity with other graduate students; or, really, anyone who would listen — my mother-in-law, my relatives, or just a random person unlucky enough to be in my presence. I insisted that there was no such thing as sex. And I knew it. I just knew it. Because I was a gender historian.

This was, in the 1990s, the thing to be in history departments across North America. Gender history — and then gender studies, more generally, across the academy — was part of a broader group of identity-based sub-disciplines that were taking over the liberal arts. History departments across the continent were transformed. When the American Historical Association surveyed the trends among major fields of specialization in 2007, and then again in 2015, the single largest field was women's and gender history. This was right up there with social history, cultural history, and the history of race and sexuality. Each of these fields shared the same worldview as I did — that just about every identity was a social construction. And, that identity was all about power.

Comment: Mr. Dummitt is courageous in admitting his part in the current societal disaster, but the fallout is everywhere. Will Dummitt continue to raise his voice against the poisonous ideology he helped spread?


Ed Buck, prominent Democrat donor, arrested, charged with running drug den after latest 'guest' overdose

Ed Buck drug dealer dead black gay men
© Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images
Ed Buck, shown in 2010, was charged with one count each of battery causing serious injury, administering methamphetamine and maintaining a drug house, according to L.A. County prosecutors.
Ed Buck, a prominent Democratic Party donor, was arrested Tuesday and charged with operating a drug house after a third man reportedly suffered an overdose inside his West Hollywood home last week and survived.

Buck has faced public scrutiny after two black men died from overdoses 18 months apart inside his home. He was not charged in those cases.

Buck is due in court Wednesday to respond to three counts of battery and injecting the alleged third victim with methamphetamine on Sept. 11, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Comment: More from the Los Angeles Times:
Moore's mother, LaTisha Nixon of Texas, has questioned whether Buck's ties to elected officials and differences in race and class influenced the investigation. Buck, who is 65 and white, is a longtime political donor, onetime West Hollywood City Council candidate and a well-known figure in LGBTQ political circles. Moore had been homeless and had worked as an escort.

In February, Nixon filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Buck, alleging he was a drug dealer who injected her son with a fatal dose of crystal methamphetamine.

"If the dead body of a blond-haired, blue-eyed white man was found in the home of an older black man, he'd be lucky to even make it to the police station alive," Hussain Turk, an attorney for Nixon, said in a statement at the time of the lawsuit's filing.

About 9 p.m. Tuesday, about a dozen onlookers gathered across the street from Buck's apartment building, as police redirected cars on the blocked street. It was a quiet scene, with no protest chants or signs.

"Today is like a celebration for us," said Jasmyne Cannick as she spoke to those gathered.

Cannick, a political consultant and spokeswoman for Moore's mother, said she was giving a speech in Leimert Park on Tuesday evening when she started getting calls from Buck's neighbors saying he was being arrested.

She pulled up to Buck's West Hollywood apartment building just as a police car was driving away.

Cannick has said she believed Buck got special treatment because of his political activism and fundraising for Democratic candidates, a charge officials have denied, and because he was white and Moore and Dean were black.

"I feel vindicated for all the people who said it was never going to happen," she said. "I feel really good for all the young men he took advantage of because they didn't feel like anyone took them seriously, like their lives weren't important enough for anyone to really care about."

Cannick said she called Moore's mother and Dean's sister to tell them about the arrest, and "we were all crying."

"We're just completely ecstatic," she said. "Black gay men's lives matter. The whole black LGBT community is going to be celebrating this evening because our lives matter, and people need to know that. Even if we're sex workers, even if we're on drugs, even if we're homeless, we're still part of the black community, still part of the LGBT community."
How is it that this screamingly obvious predator was allowed to roam free for so long? Did Democrat party connections have something to do with it?
Ed Buck Hillary Clinton
© Facebook
Ed Buck, 62 (pictured, right, with Hillary Clinton in June 2015)


Only 38% of Americans believe in man-made climate change, 48% of Norwegians believe there are other factors

climate change man made

You will find more infographics at Statista
By now, most people have accepted that climate change is real, and that it is happening. What we can't all agree on though, is what the main cause is. As Statista's Martin Armstrong notes, close to an absolute majority of the world's scientists are adamant that we as humans are the main factor behind the speed and extent to which our climate is changing.

When though, like YouGov, you ask the people what they think, the picture becomes a bit cloudier.

As this infographic shows, of the countries surveyed, India has the largest share of people that think human activity is mainly responsible for climate change (71 percent).

Comment: Despite the relentless propaganda campaigns, it seems much of the planet is still questioning the official, unsupported government narrative - which is hopeful. And, in recent years, it has been shown there are other drivers which have much more of an impact on our planet's climate: Although there is some truth that human's are responsible, just not in the way we think, for more on that, check out SOTT radio's:

No Entry

'Barbaric': Turkey prepares to flood 12,000-year-old city to build dam

© Alamy
The ancient cave-city of Hasankeyf on the Tigris River.
After the half-hour drive from Batman in south-east Turkey, the ancient city of Hasankeyf, which sits on the banks of the Tigris River, appears as an oasis.

Hasankeyf is thought to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements on Earth, dating as far back as 12,000 years and containing thousands of caves, churches and tombs.

But this jewel of human history will soon be lost; most of the settlement is about to be flooded as part of the highly controversial Ilisu dam project.

Comment: The fertile crescent is renowned for discoveries that have provided critical insights into humanities history, and so, while increasing energy requirements are understandable, when there are viable, much more efficient and less dangerous alternatives, it's all the more puzzling that they're resorting to hydroelectric power:


Comedy's last stand

dave chappelle
It was one of the most unusual impressions from a comic legend who doesn't generally do them at all. But it marked an important moment in the culture wars.

In his new Netflix special Sticks and Stones, Dave Chappelle set a trap for his audience and they walked right into it. "I want to see if you can guess who it is I'm doing an impression of," he said. "All right? Let me get into character. You gotta guess who it is, though. Okay, here it goes. 'Uh, duh. Hey! Durr! If you do anything wrong in your life, duh, and I find out about it, I'm gonna try to take everything away from you, and I don't care when I find out. Could be today, tomorrow, 15, 20 years from now. If I find out, you're f---ing-duh-finished.' Who's that?"

Chappelle waits a beat while the audience — bizarrely — guesses that he's doing an impression of President Trump. Chappelle rears his arm back and points at the audience: "Thaaaaaat's you! That's what the audience sounds like to me!"

Chappelle explains that the modern audience is so tedious to entertain it's almost not worth trying.

Stand-up comics are the frontline fighters of the culture war for a reason: It is their job, more so than even musicians or artists, to push boundaries, to turn sacred cows into hamburgers. They identify and probe societal tension without any mandate to heal the fissures — though humor itself can serve as a salve. This is undeniably healthy for a society, but it's also what makes the industry unacceptable to the militant humorlessness of "cancel culture."

Comment: See also:

Microscope 1

'There is a problem': Australia's top scientist Alan Finkel pushes to eradicate bad science

Alan Finkel
Australia’s Chief Scientist Alan Finkel.
In the main, Australia produces high-quality research that is rigorous and reproducible, and makes a significant contribution towards scientific progress. But that doesn't mean we can't do it better.

In the case of the research sector here and abroad, we need to acknowledge that as good as the research system is, there is a problem.

There are a significant number of papers that are of poor quality, and should never have made it through to publication. In considering why this might be the case, I have found myself reflecting on the role of incentives in the research system.

Comment: The problem of 'bad science' is a growing issue, with many stating that little of what is published is actually believable. Part of the problem, not addressed above, is straight-up corruption, with researchers, journals and grant agencies steering results in desired directions toward the status quo. On top of this, the invention of the 24-hour news cycle has also lead to incentivizing attention grabbing headlines over thorough and truthful research.

See also: