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Sat, 25 Jan 2020
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Biggest 'black swan' event for oil markets is disruption in the Strait of Hormuz - expert

oil transit choke points
The biggest black swan event in the oil market is a disruption to the most critical chokepoint in the Middle East, according to an analyst from S&P Global Platts.

"The market is extremely exposed to any disruption to vessel traffic in the Strait of Hormuz," Dave Ernsberger, the firm's global head of commodities pricing, told CNBC's "Capital Connection" Thursday.

The Strait of Hormuz is a crucial channel that oil producers use to transport crude from the Middle East to markets around the world. It is 21 miles wide at its narrowest point and, in 2018, around 21 million barrels were transported via the waterway daily, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Comment: Iran is unlikely to block the straits unless backed into a corner. Although it's understandable the US is concerned, considering how reliant it's leverage is on the flow of oil: America escalates its "democratic" oil war in the Near East


60 injured in clashes between protesters and police in eastern Iraq

iraq protests
© AP Photo / Nasser Nasser
Nearly 60 people, including 48 police officers, were injured in clashes between security forces and students outside the University of Wasit in Iraq's eastern Wasit province, media reported on Sunday, citing a security source.

"Forty-eight police officers were injured. Eleven demonstrators were also wounded," the source told Alsumaria broadcaster.

The anti-government protests in Iraq began in October with demonstrators demanding economic reforms and calling on the government to step down amid a poor economic situation in the country. Hundreds of people died and thousands of others sustained injuries as the protests were suppressed by the authorities and turned violent.

Comment: Whilst these protests likely reflect public sentiment - after all, similar grievances are being expressed all over the globe - it's worth noting that evidence emerged months ago that US was stoking these protests. And now, with Iraq's government moving to expel the US from the country, one wonders whether these movements will be incited further in the hopes that they can garner some advantage by sowing even more chaos.


Europe: Anti-Christian attacks reach all-time high in 2019

Notre-Dame, Paris, fire
© Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images
Anti-Christian hostility is sweeping across Western Europe, where, during 2019, Christian churches and symbols were deliberately attacked day after day. The issue made headlines in April 2019, when a suspicious fire gutted the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris (pictured). Since then, however, the European media are once again shrouding facts in silence.
  • The issue of anti-Christian vandalism was rarely reported by the European media until February 2019, when vandals attacked nine churches within the space of two weeks. The issue made headlines again in April 2019, when a suspicious fire gutted the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Since then, however, the European media are once again shrouding facts in silence.
  • "Seeking to destroy or damage Christian buildings is a way of 'wiping the slate clean' of the past." — Annie Genevard, MP, Republicans Party, in an interview in Le Figaro, April 2, 2019.
  • "In the past, even if one was not a Christian, the expression of the sacred was respected. We are facing a serious threat to the expression of religious freedom. Secularism must not be a rejection of the religious, but a principle of neutrality that gives everyone the freedom to express his faith." — Dominique Rey, Bishop of Fréjus-Toulon, in an interview with the Italian magazine Il Timone, August 5, 2019.
  • "We are witnessing the convergence of laicism — conceived as secularism, which relegates the faithful only to the private sphere and where every religious denomination is banal or stigmatized — with the overwhelming emergence of Islam, which attacks the infidels and those who reject the Koran. On one hand, we are mocked by the media ... and on the other, there is the strengthening of Islamic fundamentalism. These are two joint realities." — Dominique Rey, Bishop of Fréjus-Toulon, in an interview with the Italian magazine Il Timone, August 5, 2019.
Anti-Christian hostility is sweeping across Western Europe, where, during 2019, Christian churches and symbols were deliberately attacked day after day.


Roadside bomb kills two US soldiers in Afghanistan - Taliban claims responsibility

kabul us troops
© AP Photo / Mohammad Anwar Danishyar
Two U.S. soldiers were killed and two wounded when the army vehicle they were traveling in struck a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, the NATO press office said in a statement.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the January 11 attack, saying it occurred in the southern Kandahar Province, where U.S. and Romanian forces are stationed. NATO confirmed the incident took place in Kandahar.

The U.S. soldiers were conducting operations as part of NATO's Resolute Support Mission. They are the first U.S. military members to be killed in Afghanistan in 2020.

Last year, 20 U.S. service members died in combat-related incidents in the war-torn country.

The U.S. Department of Defense will not release the names of the soldiers killed until 24 hours after their relatives have been notified.

There are currently around 12,000 U.S. soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, down from a peak of roughly 100,000 in 2011.

Comment: This may be the same blast, or a separate one, since no casualties were reported:
A bomb explosion has hit a military vehicle carrying Romanian troops in the Dand district of Afghanistan's Kandahar Province, a source said Saturday.

"A bomb went off on Romanian troops in the Haqdad Karez area of Dand district this morning, but no casualties were reported", the source told reporters.

Sources say the vehicle was damaged in the blast, and the area was blocked by foreign forces afterward.

The Taliban has taken responsibility for the incident, claiming, however, that the blast killed all the soldiers in the vehicle.

"A militant tank was completely destroyed in a powerful mine explosion this morning near the airport in Krow Shelley, in the Dand district of Kandahar Province, and killed all foreign soldiers who were in the tank", Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.

People 2

Political correctness vs customer base: UK computer retailer with 87.5% male buyers forced to pull ad that featured only men

tech ad
© PC Specialist / Youtube
A PC Specialist ad has been pulled in the UK for "harmful gender stereotypes," after a handful of politically correct whiners reported it to the Advertising Standards Authority for showing just three men and zero women.

Following the implementation of new guidelines less than a year ago, marketing within the United Kingdom is coming under scrutiny from the weakest in society's rank who choose to take offense at nearly everything. The victim this time being a PC retailer who was simply trying to market to their core demographic, but ran into the other kind of PC - political correctness.

After receiving a mere eight complaints, the company was forced to pull a recent ad in which three ethnically diverse men are seen making music, gaming, and coding. According to those taking offense, the advert pushed the notion that only men are interested in fancy tech.

The absurdity of the situation revolving around the current marketing rules is that companies are being stripped of their creative freedom, all to provide comfort to people who choose to play victim. Browsing the stories behind various banned ads shows that often they're canceled because of just a handful of complaints. The offended are quite literally being empowered, and now we must all conform to their will or suffer the consequences. Creative expression be damned.


Anti-Jordan Peterson professor accused of abuse of power by former colleague, students

jordan peterson
On January 7th, The Post Millennial reported that a Professor at the University of Calgary tweeted about failing students if they cited Jordan Peterson. Ted McCoy, chair of the Law and Society program at the UoC, apologized shortly after his tweet went viral, asserting that the flippant comment was "a joke" and insisting that he did "take seriously ... students' right to free expression."

In wake of the social media fallout, sources from within the University of Calgary have come forward to The Post Millennial to assert that McCoy's comments were anything but a joke. The identities of those who spoke out are being protected for their safety due to their proximity to McCoy.

"He absolutely was not kidding. He absolutely does penalize students for holding divergent views." Said one source, a former professor at the University of Calgary and current professor at another institution.

"He literally tells students to not read Quillette," the source revealed, drawing from discussions had with McCoy's students, "He's walked into class and expressed how disappointed he was in the amount of conservative ideas being expressed."

The source noted that students often came to her with complaints about McCoy's in-class political proselytizing, fearing poor grades because of their ideological differences.

"Students have just learned to shut-up and parrot whatever he wants to hear." The source revealed that McCoy was the only professor teaching a mandatory capstone exit course required for some students' successful degree completion in the Law and Society program.

Comment: Professor vows to fail students if they cite Jordan Peterson


New Indian citizenship law fulfills wishes of Mahatma Gandhi & other freedom fighters - PM Modi

© Money Sharma / AFP
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures beside a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi in New Delhi on October 2, 2019.
The new citizenship law aimed at helping religious minorities that come to India from Muslim-majority states is in line with the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi and other independence heroes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

"I repeat again, Citizenship Act is not to revoke anyone's citizenship, but it is to give citizenship," Modi said on Sunday at a rally at Belur Math Monastery in the state of West Bengal, bordering Bangladesh.
After independence, Mahatma Gandhi and other big leaders of that time all believed that India should give citizenship to persecuted religious minorities of Pakistan.

Comment: See also: Gandhi was a racist who forced young girls to sleep in bed with him


CNN video of US airbase ruins: 'Unimaginable damage' from Iranian attack

Arwa Damon
© CNN.com
CNN correspondent Arwa Damon on Al-Assad Air Base in Baghdad
In an exclusive report from the al-Assad airbase where the US soldiers were based in Iraq, CNN described the extent of the damage to the base as unimaginable.

The hosts exclaims incredulity that no U.S servicemen were injured. FRN previously ran video appearing to demonstrate that U.S soldiers were at the base. Iranian domestic media reported between a dozen to eighty killed and injured U.S solders.

The U.S anti-air defenses were entirely useless against the Iranian missiles. 100% of the launched missiles penetrated U.S defenses, with high accuracy.

This demonstration of force and the U.S inability to stop these next-generation Iranian missiles may serve well for western audiences, inculcated from early childhood into believing the mythology of an invincible U.S.


Mea Culpa moment on Iran's shoot down for alt-media, this author included

© Unknown
UAI-752 wreckage
This is one of those extremely rare times that I'm writing an article in the first-person in order to take responsibility for (mostly) getting my analysis about UIA-752's downing wrong, explain the flawed thought process that went into yesterday's piece on the topic, and challenge all of my Alt-Media peers -- both fellow analysts and casual commentators alike -- to also take responsibility for their words over the past few days if they too were ultimately proven wrong by the latest twist in this tragedy.

There's No Shame In Being Wrong

Let me dispel all ambiguities right off the bat -- I was wrong in comparing UIA-752 to MH-17 in yesterday's analysis, and I take full responsibility for my inaccurate portrayal of what ultimately turned out to be the tragic reality, namely that Iran just admitted that it accidentally shot down the Ukrainian passenger jet due to human error. I hold my audience in high regard and always challenge them to hold others to account whenever they're wrong about something significant, so true to my mission of restoring credibility to the Alt-Media Community, I'm explaining my flawed thought process that went into yesterday's piece on the topic.

Car Black

Tesla, the 'serial killer'

Accident involving Tesla
© EricPetersAuto
Tesla may have just killed its 14th victim; there are at least 13 confirmed kills so far - as the result of Autopilot. Excluding auto-immolation.

This qualifies Tesla for serial killerhood.

But no FBI investigation - or even a recall.

Instead, an "advisory" from the National Highway Traffic Safety (sic) Administration that drivers of Autopiloted Teslas must always "keep their hands on the steering wheel and pay attention at all times" - which is right up there with Don't Squeeze the Charmin.

What is the point of Autopilot and "autonomous" - automated - cars if you have to pay any attention at all?

If, on the other hand, it is necessary for them to pay attention - which NHTSA concedes by warning of its necessity - then Autopilot is inherently dangerous precisely because it is inevitable that people won't pay attention. Do the passengers on a cruise ship go below to check whether the ship is taking on water? Are they expected to visit the bridge, to make sure the ship is headed in the right direction? That the captain isn't drunk or asleep on the sofa? The whole point of being a passenger is to not have to pay attention - whether you're a passenger on a cruise ship or a passenger in an Autopiloted/automated car.

But Tesla gets away with building cars designed to encourage drivers to become passengers; to take their hands off the wheel - and their eyes off the road - and then blames the driver when the car drives itself into something.

Or someone.