Silence, or ridicule, or disinformation…re: Putin

WAY: we recently published a speech by Putin.  Following are some views of that speech and other concerns regarding Putin.

Putin to Western elites: Play-time is over

Regardless of what you think or don’t think of Putin (like the sun and the moon, he does not exist for you to cultivate an opinion) this is probably the most important political speech since Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech of March 5, 1946.

In this speech, Putin abruptly changed the rules of the game. Previously, the game of international politics was played as follows: politicians made public pronouncements, for the sake of maintaining a pleasant fiction of national sovereignty, but they were strictly for show and had nothing to do with the substance of international politics; in the meantime, they engaged in secret back-room negotiations, in which the actual deals were hammered out. Previously, Putin tried to play this game, expecting only that Russia be treated as an equal. But these hopes have been dashed, and at this conference he declared the game to be over, explicitly violating Western taboo by speaking directly to the people over the heads of elite clans and political leaders.

Washington Is Defaming Putin

I did not see any reporting of Putin’s address in the US print and TV media. Clearly in the US there is an absence of public discussion of US foreign policy and foreign reaction to it. A country in which propaganda and silence rule out awareness and public discussion is not a democracy regardless of what it calls itself.

Washington long ago learned the dark art of silencing truth with defamation. Washington used defamation to overthrow Iran’s elected leader, Mossadegh in 1953, to overthrow Congo’s prime minister Patrice Lumumba in 1960, to overthrow Guatemala’s President Arbenz in 1954, to overthrow Venezuela’s President Hugo Chevez in 2002, a coup that was cancelled by the Venezuelan people and military who threw out Washington’s stooge replacement and reinstalled Chavez, to overthrow Ukraine’s elected President Yanukovych in 2013, to overthrow Honduras President Manuel Zelaya in 2009 , to overthrow in 2013 Mohamed Morsi, president of the first democratically elected government in Egypt’s history, to overthrow Gaddafi in Libya, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, in ongoing efforts to overthrow Assad in Syria and the government of Iran, and in failed attempts to overthrow Indonesia’s Sukarno, Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, and Castro in Cuba.

Today Washington’s target is Vladimir Putin. This is the height of folly and hubris. Putin’s public support far exceeds that of any American president in history. Currently, the level of public support for the Obama regime and the US Congress is far too low to be compatible with a functioning democracy. If the US is actually a democracy, it is the most dysfunctional democracy in world history. Practically no one, except the powerful private interest groups who own Washington, supports the US government. Everyone else despises Washington.

Latest Putin-bashing invention: Putin about to be sacrificed

I am getting a flood of emails asking me about the article Putin’s Head – Who will remove the head of Russian President Putin and offer it on a platter to the U.S.? (also here) I normally don’t comment any of the nonsense which circulates on the Internet, but this one seems to have a lot of people worried.

Friends, the key to the entire article is right at the beginning: “It seems that Russian authorities have found a way towards accommodation with the West. Liberals have become more powerful and are leading the talks“.  Every word in these two sentences is utterly false.  For one thing, Putin is “the Russian authorities”.  His power stems from three sources:

1) He was elected by the Russian people.
2) He is solidly backed by the “power ministries” (Internal, Security, Military, Police, Intelligence, Emergencies).
3) His current popularity is somewhere in the high 80%.
In other words, removing him would be legally impossible, physically impossible and politically impossible.

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a newer look at fracking…

Drilling Deeper: New Report Casts Doubt on Fracking Production Numbers

Hughes analyzed the production stats for seven tight oil basins and seven gas basins, which account for 88-percent and 89-percent of current shale gas production.

Among the key findings:

-By 2040, production rates from the Bakken Shale and Eagle Ford Shale will be less than a tenth of that projected by the Energy Department. For the top three shale gas fields — the Marcellus Shale, Eagle Ford and Bakken — production rates from these plays will be about a third of the EIA forecast.

-The three year average well decline rates for the seven shale oil basins measured for the report range from an astounding 60-percent to 91-percent. That means over those three years, the amount of oil coming out of the wells decreases by that percentage. This translates to 43-percent to 64-percent of their estimated ultimate recovery dug out during the first three years of the well’s existence.

-Four of the seven shale gas basins are already in terminal decline in terms of their well productivity: the Haynesville Shale, Fayetteville Shale, Woodford Shale and Barnett Shale.

-The three year average well decline rates for the seven shale gas basins measured for the report ranges between 74-percent to 82-percent.

-The average annual decline rates in the seven shale gas basins examined equals between 23-percent and 49-percent. Translation: between one-quarter and one-half of all production in each basin must be replaced annually just to keep running at the same pace on the drilling treadmill and keep getting the same amount of gas out of the earth.

The report’s findings differ vastly from the forward-looking projections published by the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA), a statistical sub-unit of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Fracking’s Slow-Motion Train Wreck Revealed In New Report

Those of you who know your Westerns are familiar with the “ghost town” phenomenon of abandoned mining communities that lost their raison d’être once the mining company pulls out.

In real life, the ghost town effect doesn’t just mean a loss of employment. It can also saddle the community with a toxic environmental legacy that thwarts new economic activity.

You could make the case that mining boom towns wouldn’t have existed in the first place if it wasn’t for the mine, so no foul, no harm. But that doesn’t apply to the current oil and gas fracking boom. In many areas it is intruding into established communities that already have a firm footing in sectors like agriculture or tourism, or that have the potential for long term economic grown.

The Post Carbon report underscores that the fracking boom is just that: a relatively short-lived boom. Given emerging evidence of the negative impacts of fracking and fracking wastewater disposal, communities that already host a healthy economic platform would be well served to pass on the opportunity to make a quick buck, and focus on more long term, sustainable sources of income.

For those of you new to the topic, those impacts are only just beginning to emerge because for many years fracking (short for hydrofracturing, a longstanding but formerly uncommon method for recovering oil and gas from shale formations) was largely confined to thinly populated areas in the western US, where it attracted little attention from the outside world.

However, a Bush-era exemption from federal water protection regulations has enabled thousands of fracking rigs to blossom in new territory, including the heavily populated northeastern and mid-Atlantic states.

As a result, fracking has become an incendiary issue for some communities, as has fracking wastewater disposal. That’s on top of the meta-issue, which is the role of natural gas in climate change.

We’re already beginning to see significant pushback against fracking on the local level, particularly in fracking hotspot Pennsylvania as well as in New York State, where communities are deploying their zoning authority.

The Full Report from the Carbon Institute:
Drilling Deeper: A Reality Check on U S Government Forecasts for a Lasting Tight Oil Shale Gas Boom

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“Transparency is coming”…

Second leaker in US intelligence, says Glenn Greenwald

The investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald has found a second leaker inside the US intelligence agencies, according to a new documentary about Edward Snowden that premiered in New York on Friday night.

Towards the end of filmmaker Laura Poitras’s portrait of Snowden – titled Citizenfour, the label he used when he first contacted her – Greenwald is seen telling Snowden about a second source.

Snowden, at a meeting with Greenwald in Moscow, expresses surprise at the level of information apparently coming from this new source. Greenwald, fearing he will be overheard, writes the details on scraps of paper.

The specific information relates to the number of the people on the US government’s watchlist of people under surveillance as a potential threat or as a suspect. The figure is an astonishing 1.2 million.

The scene comes after speculation in August by government officials, reported by CNN, that there was a second leaker. The assessment was made on the basis that Snowden was not identified as usual as the source and because at least one piece of information only became available after he ceased to be an NSA contractor and went on the run.

The Snowden documentary shows that only government transparency can stop leaks

Others have hinted in the past that the government better act fast to stem the tide of unnecessary secrecy or have a revolt on its hands. Shortly after the first Snowden leaks (which are chronicled in real-time in the film), journalist Glenn Greenwald told Newsweek:

“Government and businesses cannot function without enormous amounts of data, and many people have to have access to that data,” Greenwald says, adding that it only takes one person with access and an assaulted consciences to leak, no matter what controls are in place.

But during the enthralling second act of the film, where Poitras and Greenwald met a then-unknown Edward Snowden at his Hong Kong hotel, Snowden hints at how realistic that prediction would become.

As he talks to Poitras about the potential consequences of his actions on his own life, Snowden explains that he’s confident that the coming government pursuit of him will only encourage others. It’s like the internet principle of the Hydra, he says: “They can stomp me if they want to, but there will be seven more to take my place.”

In the dramatic conclusion of the film, Snowden learns on-camera Poitras and Greenwald now have a new source, who gave The Intercept information about the US government’s enormous “terrorism” watchlist. That watchlist, which contains 1.2 million names – most of which have no direct nexus to terrorism – is governed by Kafkaesque secrecy rules that were recently ruled unconstitutional (and which took another blow from a fed-up federal judge on Friday night).

Edward Snowden wins Guardian readers’ Nobel peace prize poll, ahead of Malala Yousafzai

Edward Snowden should have won the 2014 Nobel peace prize, according to Guardian readers who put the NSA whistleblower ahead of official winners Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi.

Snowden, who leaked documents revealing global surveillance by the US and UK to the Guardian and others last year, received 47% of reader votes, with educational campaigner Malala gaining 36% and Snowden’s fellow American whistleblower Chelsea Manning at 15%.

Guardian reader Norbert Schuff explained the reasoning behind his vote:

Snowden is the only one on this list who deserves the peace price. His revelations of the broad government surveillance of digital communications not only had the most global impact but will also shape actions for freedom of expression and right of privacy for years to come.

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“So, what is in store for us if we choose not to live by the rules…?”

Putin’s Speech at Valdai International Discussion Club

Let me say in this respect that I will also not let you down and will speak directly and frankly. Some of what I say might seem a bit too harsh, but if we do not speak directly and honestly about what we really think, then there is little point in even meeting in this way. It would be better in that case just to keep to diplomatic get-togethers, where no one says anything of real sense and, recalling the words of one famous diplomat, you realise that diplomats have tongues so as not to speak the truth.

We get together for other reasons. We get together so as to talk frankly with each other. We need to be direct and blunt today not so as to trade barbs, but so as to attempt to get to the bottom of what is actually happening in the world, try to understand why the world is becoming less safe and more unpredictable, and why the risks are increasing everywhere around us.

Today’s discussion took place under the theme: New Rules or a Game without Rules. I think that this formula accurately describes the historic turning point we have reached today and the choice we all face. There is nothing new of course in the idea that the world is changing very fast. I know this is something you have spoken about at the discussions today. It is certainly hard not to notice the dramatic transformations in global politics and the economy, public life, and in industry, information and social technologies.

Valdai Club

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The Next Crisis, Pt. III…

 The World Turned Upside Down

It is true that there is a palpable despondency in the air. But I believe it is more from shock than despair. People, I think, have been genuinely  sickened and slightly stunned by how massively they have been betrayed. There is something which leaves you feeling winded for a moment, when someone betrays you. People feel violated. But this moment of stunned silence is passing. And what might follow frightens our Dear Leaders and the people they work for – the Over Class. And in my opinion they have every reason to be afraid and we have reason for hope.

So now we come to the heart of it: Items 6 and 7 from the Manifesto for the 1%.

6) Effective ways must be found to convince people that democratic rule is no longer sufficient to protect them.

7) An alternative to Democracy must be introduced and praised. That alternative must be the Rule of International Law as written and controlled by the lawyers of the 1%.

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