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SAVING FOR A VERY RAINY DAY
by Eric Margolis

The really wealthy, vexed by tax collectors, pesky relatives, ex-wives and just plain thieves, long ago learned the wisdom of hiding their money and property. This is twice true for politicians.

An investigation by an international consortium of journalists just examined a massive leak of 11.9 million records of offshore financial firms that have been evading taxes and financial disclosure for their many clients. The result of what is known as The Pandora Papers has been a cascade of scandals.

This column has long maintained that the US has been deeply involved in massive international corruption. Chief tawdry examples are the largest recipients of US ‘aid,’ Israel, Afghanistan and Jordan. Washington spent over two trillion dollars on the now lost, 20-year Afghan conflict.

All that money has vanished. Among the largest recipients was the Afghan Communist Party and the drug mafias that made US-run Afghanistan the world’s largest producer of illegal heroin and morphine.

SAVING FOR A VERY RAINY DAY « Eric Margolis

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23 minutes ago, JCon said:

Absolutely shocking and saddening news. 

There is a lot of evidence that there is polarizing of political beliefs to the point where violence is assumed to be acceptable. I would bet that the assailant is an anti-vaxxer but this all falls on Trump and his GOP supporters for legitimizing violence as a response to perceived grievances and an acceptable political expression.  Barring aggressive prosecutions, it seems inevitable that the targets of right-wing/neo-Nazis will start responding in kind, and this will provide police and Fox News an excuse to escalate their attacks.

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Just now, Tracker said:

There is a lot of evidence that there is polarizing of political beliefs to the point where violence is assumed to be acceptable. I would bet that the assailant is an anti-vaxxer but this all falls on Trump and his GOP supporters for legitimizing violence as a response to perceived grievances and an acceptable political expression.  Barring aggressive prosecutions, it seems inevitable that the targets of right-wing/neo-Nazis will start responding in kind, and this will provide police and Fox News an excuse to escalate their attacks.

This is the second murder of an MP in the UK in the past 5 years in their constituency. I'm not sure what the root cause of this attack was. Certainly some form of extremism, either on the right or the left. 

We know that populism is a worldwide phenomenon. Brexit is/was populism. 

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20 hours ago, JCon said:

This is the second murder of an MP in the UK in the past 5 years in their constituency. I'm not sure what the root cause of this attack was. Certainly some form of extremism, either on the right or the left. 

We know that populism is a worldwide phenomenon. Brexit is/was populism. 

Brexit was a really odd affair all around. Tony Blair initiated it believing it would fail but to get him elected. Then walked away when  it became serious. It seems like one of the least thought through major shifts in a country that I have ever seen. They jumped into a separation  referendum without any idea what to do if it succeeded. A classic example of   " careful what you ask for, you might get it "

Now one of the lingering effects could be that they could lose Scotland .The place that has all the oil ( although that has a limited lifespan ) I was there right before the last independence vote. What I noticed is that most of the independence people were 50 +.  Most young people wanted to stay in the UK .Their reason was often because they liked being part of a larger country ( UK ) and a part of a larger organisation  ( the EU ) . Their independence party is now promising a return to the EU. There is also the start of a movement that wants to unite Scotland, Wales and Ireland into some kind of a loose federation. 

It's quite a mess and all in the hands of a mini-Trump.

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https://www.reuters.com/world/china/us-watching-chinas-weapons-development-austin-says-after-hypersonic-missile-2021-10-18/

Quote

GENEVA, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Washington is concerned about hypersonic missile technology and its potential military applications by China and Russia, a U.S. arms control official said on Monday, after a media report that Beijing had tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic glide weapon.

Hypersonic weapons are usually defined as missiles that fly more than five times the speed of sound, and a race is under way for the next generation of long-range weapons that are harder to detect and intercept. read more

The Financial Times, quoting five people familiar with the matter, said at the weekend that China had tested a weapon in August that flew through space and circled the globe before cruising down towards a target which it missed.

The Chinese foreign ministry denied the report. It said it had carried out a routine test in July, but added: "It was not a missile, it was a space vehicle." read more

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

History's Lessons

Beyond all the critical details of who did what and when, there were deeper historical forces at play, suggesting that Donald Trump's urge for a political coup that would return him to power may be far from over. For the past 100 years, empires in decline have been roiled by coup attempts that sometimes have overturned constitutional orders. As their military reverses accumulate, their privileged economic position erodes, and social tensions mount, a succession of societies in the grip of a traumatic loss of global power have suffered coups, successful or not, including Great Britain, France, Portugal, Spain, the Soviet Union, and now the United States.

Britain's plot was a bit fantastical. Amid the painful, protracted dissolution of their empire, Conservative leaders plotted with top generals in 1968 to oust leftist Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson by capturing Heathrow airport, seizing the BBC and Buckingham Palace, and putting Lord Mountbatten in power as acting prime minister. Britain's parliamentary tradition simply proved too strong, however, and key principals in the plot quickly backed out.

In April 1974, while Portugal was fighting and losing three bitter anticolonial wars in Africa, a Lisbon radio station played the country's entry in that year's Eurovision Song Contest ("After the Farewell") just minutes before midnight on an evening that had been agreed upon. It was the signal to the military and their supporters to overthrow the entrenched conservative government of that moment, a success which became known as the "Carnation Revolution."

However, the parallels between January 6th and the fall of France's Fourth Republic in the late 1950s are perhaps the most telling. After liberating Paris from Nazi occupation in August 1944, General Charles de Gaulle headed an interim government for 18 months. He then quit in a dispute with the left, launching him into a decade of political intrigue against the new Fourth Republic, whose liberal constitution he despised.

By the mid-1950s, France was reeling from its recent defeat in Indochina, while the struggle against Muslim revolutionaries in its Algerian colony in North Africa turned ever more brutal, marked as it was by scandals over the widespread French use of torture. Amid that crisis of empire, an anti-elite, anti-intellectual, antisemitic politician named Pierre Poujade launched a populist movement that sent 56 members to parliament in 1956, including Jean-Marie Le Pen, later founder of the far-right National Front.

Meanwhile, a cabal of politicians and military commanders plotted a coup to return General de Gaulle to power, thinking he alone could save Algeria for France. After an army junta seized control of Algiers, the capital of that colony, in May 1958, paratroopers stationed there were sent to capture the French island of Corsica and to prepare to seize Paris should the legislature fail to install de Gaulle as prime minister.

As the country trembled on the brink of a coup, de Gaulle made his dramatic entry into Paris where he accepted the National Assembly's offer to form a government, conditional upon the approval of a presidential-style constitution for a Fifth Republic. But when de Gaulle subsequently accepted the inevitability of Algeria's independence, four top generals launched an abortive coup against him and then formed what they called the Secret Army Organization, or OAS. It would carry out terror attacks over the next four years, with 12,000 victims, while staging three unsuccessful assassination attempts against de Gaulle before its militants were killed or captured.

I've witnessed a coup attempt before — and history bodes poorly for America's future - Alternet.org

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https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10279477/Ukraine-Russia-border-Satellite-images-reveal-Putins-troop-build-continues.html

Quote

Satellite images have revealed huge new camps of Russian troops, tanks and artillery near the Ukrainian border as Vladimir Putin continues massing his forces on Europe's doorstep amid warnings he could invade within weeks. 

Newly-published images document at least three camps housing seven battalions of troops near at Yelnya and Pogonovo, between 100 and 150 miles from the border, which analysts say have arrived in the last month.

More images taken from Russian-occupied Crimea shows what appears to be dozens of tanks and artillery pieces parked on a base at Novoozerne, around 80 miles from the border, which have also arrived in recent weeks.

The pictures were released off the back of a leaked US intelligence report that warned there are now 50 Russian battalions at the border with another 50 being rapidly assembled in reserve, meaning Putin will be ready to launch an invasion using up to 175,000 soldiers some time early next year.

The Kremlin today called the state of US-Russia relations 'quite lamentable' on the eve of a video call between Putin and Joe Biden which is aimed at defusing the hostility. 

Tensions along Europe's eastern border have been simmering since Putin annexed Crimea back in 2014, and have been threatening to boil over ever since Moscow began massing forces in the region starting in April this year. 

This **** is just right ******.

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45 minutes ago, blue_gold_84 said:

It's inevitable. They will roll in and take over and we'll have lost a big buffer between NATO and Russia. No way the West retaliates with force, it will be simply economic sanctions. China will do the same with Taiwan. 

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19 hours ago, JCon said:

It's inevitable. They will roll in and take over and we'll have lost a big buffer between NATO and Russia. No way the West retaliates with force, it will be simply economic sanctions. China will do the same with Taiwan. 

You may be right in NATO not defending Ukraine or Taiwan militarily, but economic sanctions would be devastatingly effective. Russia, for all its size, has an economy the size of Spain, and both Russia and China are oligarchies run by the rich who would suffer the loss of their luxurious lifestyles if their income dried up and they were no longer allowed to winter on the Riviera or Costa Del Sol. Even a month's blockade of petroleum income for Russia and consumer goods from China would cripple their economies for months, if not years.  We live in interesting times.

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5 minutes ago, Tracker said:

You may be right in NATO not defending Ukraine or Taiwan militarily, but economic sanctions would be devastatingly effective. Russia, for all its size, has an economy the size of Spain, and both Russia and China are oligarchies run by the rich who would suffer the loss of their luxurious lifestyles if their income dried up and they were no longer allowed to winter on the Riviera or Costa Del Sol. Even a month's blockade of petroleum income for Russia and consumer goods from China would cripple their economies for months, if not years.  We live in interesting times.

Yeah, but Europe needs Russia's oil and gas. So, nothing they do will actually hurt the Russian oligarchs. 

 

And China and Russia will help each other. 

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https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/us-ukraine-putin-1.6277435

Quote

Can an aging superpower still control the course of events in eastern Europe, where Russian troops are massing along Ukraine's border?

We're about to find out.

The United States is counting on new economic threats and old alliances to deter what it says is a possible plan to invade Ukraine by early next year.

It's tempting to write the Americans off.

After all, sanctions didn't make Russia leave Crimea in 2014. And the U.S. position has deteriorated since then on multiple fronts, at home and abroad.

I don't want to live on this planet - Album on Imgur

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Just now, Tracker said:

This is all just a penis contest. Nothing will come of it, but Russia's principle goal is to ensure that Ukraine does not become part of NATO.

They'll invade, I have no doubt about it. They already have forces in Ukraine, despite their claims that they don't. They can take Eastern Ukraine with little effort and will slowly break the resolve of Ukrainians. 

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nice distraction for rulers on  both sides.... russian and american, from the mess in both countries. Russia is disintegrating, and so is America.

but, lets war.

 

I feel sorry for the ukrainan common people.  life  probably not that good them.

Edited by Mark F
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  • 4 weeks later...

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/kazakhstan-troops-clash-shots-1.6305727

Quote

Security forces killed dozens of protesters and 18 police died during extraordinarily violent demonstrations in Kazakhstan that saw government buildings stormed and set ablaze, authorities said Thursday. Two police officers were found beheaded in escalating unrest that poses a growing challenge to authoritarian rule in the Central Asian nation.

Despite the severe response from authorities, protesters took to the streets again in the country's largest city, Almaty, a day after breaking into the presidential residence and the mayor's office there.

Police were out in force again, including in the capital of Nur-Sultan, which was reportedly quiet, and Russian troops were on their way. 

Tens of thousands of people, some reportedly carrying clubs and shields, have taken to the streets in recent days in the worst protests the country has seen since gaining independence from the Soviet Union three decades ago.

Although the demonstrations began over a near-doubling of prices for a type of vehicle fuel, their size and rapid spread suggest wider discontent in a country that has been under the rule of the same party since independence.

Of course Russia has to intervene to "keep the peace."

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On 2022-01-06 at 2:25 PM, blue_gold_84 said:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/kazakhstan-troops-clash-shots-1.6305727

Of course Russia has to intervene to "keep the peace."

UPDATE

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/kazakhstan-protests-arrest-security-chief-1.6308896

Quote

Kazakhstan's Health Ministry said Sunday that 164 people have been killed in protests that have rocked the country over the past week.

The figures reported on the state news channel Khabar-24 are a significant rise from previous tallies. It is not clear if the deaths refer only to civilians or if law-enforcement deaths are included. Kazakh authorities said earlier Sunday that 16 police or national guard had been killed. Authorities previously gave the civilian death toll as 26.

Most of the deaths — 103 — were in Almaty, the country's largest city, where demonstrators seized government buildings and set some afire, according to the ministry. The country's ombudsperson for children's rights said three of those killed were minors, including a four-year-old girl.

The ministry earlier reported more than 2,200 people sought treatment for injuries from the protests, and the Interior Ministry said about 1,300 security officers were injured.

The office of Kazakhstan's president said that about 5,800 people were detained by police during the protests that turned violent last week and prompted a Russia-led military alliance to send troops to the country.

And in Ukraine:
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-us-relations-deterrence-measures-against-russia-1.6309449

Quote

Canada has told the U.S. that it's willing to help with potential deterrence measures against Russia, which could include sanctions, to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine, CBC News has learned. 

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Dec. 31, when the offer was made, according to a source with knowledge of the matter. 

The source said the message was well received by Blinken. 

Bilateral talks between Russia and the U.S. are currently underway in Geneva over the near-eight-year war in Ukraine. Washington is working with allies, including Canada, to deter Russia from a full-blown invasion of Ukraine. Nearly 100,000 Russian troops are stationed near Ukraine's eastern border. 

The New York Times is reporting that the Biden administration and its allies are preparing new possible sanctions against Russia to try and de-escalate the situation. The sanctions could be imposed within hours if Russia were to invade Ukraine.

The sanctions could include cutting off Russia's largest financial institutions from global transactions, imposing an embargo on some American technology, and even arming insurgents in Ukraine...

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  • 2 weeks later...

102 millionaires, including Abigail Disney, have signed another letter asking governments around the world to raise their taxes (msn.com)

  • A group of 102 super-wealthy people have signed a letter asking governments to raise their taxes.
  • The current tax system is unfair and leads to trust erosion, they said.
  • They are calling on leaders meeting at the World Economic Forum this week to address the issue.
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