Aletho News


UN seeks rare labor probe against Venezuela

Press TV – March 21, 2018

The UN’s labor body on Wednesday set up an investigation into alleged violations in Venezuela, following a request by a private-sector group long opposed to the Caracas government.

The United Nations’ International Labor Organization rarely creates this type of probe, known as a Commission of Inquiry. The last case was launched against Zimbabwe in 2008.

The entrepreneurial association, Fedecamaras, took its complaint to the Geneva-based ILO, alleging it was the victim of multiple violations committed by President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government.

Those included breaching freedom of association rights of unions and trade groups seen as opposed to the government; and raising minimum wages without consulting employers — a violation of ILO rules.

In a statement, the ILO said its governing body “has discussed this complaint six times since 2015.”

It asked Caracas “to take measures to put an end to the alleged interference, aggression and stigmatization directed against Fedecamaras, its affiliated organizations and its leaders,” the statement said.

The ILO also noted that it had to cancel a high-level trip to the country scheduled for last year after the government objected to the mission.

“A Commission of Inquiry is generally set up when a member State is alleged to have committed persistent and serious violations of ratified International Labor Conventions, which are binding international treaties, and has repeatedly refused to address them,” the statement further said.

The ILO has only set up 12 such inquiries in its 100-year history.

Venezuela’s crushing economic and political crisis has caused widespread shortages of basic goods, in addition to hyperinflation.

Maduro’s government has at times portrayed certain private-sector groups as enemies and agents of foreign powers hostile to Venezuela’s interests.

March 22, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , | Leave a comment

Why the UK, the EU and the US Gang-Up on Russia

By James Petras :: 03.20.2018

Introduction: For the greater part of a decade the US, the UK and the EU have been carrying out a campaign to undermine and overthrow the Russia government and in particular to oust President Putin. Fundamental issues are at stake including the real possibility of a nuclear war.
The most recent western propaganda campaign and one of the most virulent is the charge launched by the UK regime of Prime Minister Theresa May. The Brits have claimed that Russian secret agents conspired to poison a former Russian double-agent and his daughter in England, threatening the sovereignty and safety of the British people. No evidence has ever been presented. Instead the UK expelled Russian diplomats and demands harsher sanctions, to increase tensions. The UK and its US and EU patrons are moving toward a break in relations and a military build-up.

A number of fundamental questions arise regarding the origins and growing intensity of this anti-Russian animus.

Why do the Western regimes now feel Russia is a greater threat then in the past? Do they believe Russia is more vulnerable to Western threats or attacks? Why do the Western military leaders seek to undermine Russia’s defenses? Do the US economic elites believe it is possible to provoke an economic crisis and the demise of President Putin’s government? What is the strategic goal of Western policymakers? Why has the UK regime taken the lead in the anti-Russian crusade via the fake toxin accusations at this time?

This paper is directed at providing key elements to address these questions.

The Historical Context for Western Aggression

Several fundamental historical factors dating back to the 1990’s account for the current surge in Western hostility to Russia.

First and foremost, during the 1990’s the US degraded Russia, reducing it to a vassal state, and imposing itself as a unipolar state.

Secondly, Western elites pillaged the Russian economy, seizing and laundering hundreds of billions of dollars. Wall Street and City of London banks and overseas tax havens were the main beneficiaries

Thirdly, the US seized and took control of the Russian electoral process, and secured the fraudulent “election” of Yeltsin.

Fourthly, the West degraded Russia’s military and scientific institutions and advanced their armed forces to Russia’s borders.

Fifthly, the West insured that Russia was unable to support its allies and independent governments throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Russia was unable to aid its allies in the Ukraine, Cuba, North Korea, Libya etc.

With the collapse of the Yeltsin regime and the election of President Putin, Russia regained its sovereignty, its economy recovered, its armed forces and scientific institutes were rebuilt and strengthened. Poverty was sharply reduced and Western backed gangster capitalists were constrained, jailed or fled mostly to the UK and the US.

Russia’s historic recovery under President Putin and its gradual international influence shattered US pretense to rule over a unipolar world. Russia’s recovery and control of its economic resources lessened US dominance, especially of its oil and gas fields.

As Russia consolidated its sovereignty and advanced economically, socially, politically and militarily, the West increased its hostility in an effort to roll-back Russia to the Dark Ages of the 1990’s.

The US launched numerous coups and military intervention and fraudulent elections to surround and isolate Russia. The Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Russian allies in Central Asia were targeted. NATO military bases proliferated.

Russia’s economy was targeted: sanctions were directed at its imports and exports. President Putin was subject to a virulent Western media propaganda campaign. US NGO’s funded opposition parties and politicians.

The US-EU rollback campaign failed.

The encirclement campaign failed.

The Ukraine fragmented – Russia allies took control of the East; Crimean voted for unification with Russia. Syria joined with Russia to defeat armed US vassals. Russia turned to China’s multi-lateral trade, transport and financial networks.

As the entire US unipolar fantasy dissolved it provoked deep resentment, animosity and a systematic counter-attack. The US’s costly and failed war on terror became a dress rehearsal for the economic and ideological war against the Kremlin. Russia’s historical recovery and defeat of Western rollback intensified the ideological and economic war.

The UK poison plot was concocted to heighten economic tensions and prepare the western public for heightened military confrontations.

Russia is not a threat to the West: it is recovering its sovereignty in order to further a multi-polar world. President Putin is not an “aggressor” but he refuses to allow Russia to return to vassalage.

President Putin is immensely popular in Russia and hated by the US precisely because he is the opposition of Yeltsin – he has created a flourishing economy; he resists sanctions and defends Russia’s borders and allies.


In a summary response to the opening questions.

1) The Western regimes recognize that Russia is a threat to their global dominance; they know that Russia is no threat to invade the EU, North America or their vassals.

2) Western regimes believe they can topple Russia via economic warfare including sanctions. In fact Russia has become more self-reliant and has diversified its trading partners, especially China, and even includes Saudi Arabia and other Western allies.

The Western propaganda campaign has failed to turn Russian voters against Putin. In the March 19, 2018 Presidential election voter participation increased to 67%. Vladimir Putin secured a record 77% majority. President Putin is politically stronger than ever.

Russia’s display of advanced nuclear and other advanced weaponry has had a major deterrent effect especially among US military leaders, making it clear that Russia is not vulnerable to attack.

The UK has attempted to unify and gain importance with the EU and the US via the launch of its anti-Russia toxic conspiracy. Prime Minister May has failed. Brexit will force the UK to break with the EU.

President Trump will not replace the EU as a substitute trading partner. While the EU and Washington may back the UK crusade against Russia they will pursue their own trade agenda; which does not include the UK.

In a word, the UK, the EU and the US are ganging-up on Russia, for diverse historic and contemporary reasons. The UK exploitation of the anti-Russian conspiracy is a temporary ploy to join the gang but will not change its inevitable global decline and the break-up of the UK.

Russia will remain a global power. It will continue under the leadership of President Putin. The Western powers will divide and bugger their neighbors – and decide it is their better judgment to accept and work within a multi-polar world.

March 21, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Attack Against Nord Stream 2 Renewed with Vigor: Whose Interests Does It Meet?

By Alex GORKA | Strategic Culture Foundation | 20.03.2018

Economics dictate national interests. Foreign policy is the tool used to advance it. Moscow has to fight back on all fronts, but the truth is that Washington does not care much about chemical attacks in Eastern Ghouta, the Salisbury poisoning, election meddling, or so many other fairy tales used to justify its anti-Russia policy. These are just pretexts to promote US economic interests abroad.

Gas exports to Europe present exciting opportunities but supplies from Russia are cheaper and more reliable. So the US needs to get rid of the obstacle in its way — the Nord Stream 2 (NS2) pipeline, which will carry natural gas from Russia to Germany. Washington will do anything to achieve this cherished goal.

On March 15, a bipartisan group of 39 senators led by John Barrasso (R-WY) sent a letter to the Treasury Department. They oppose NS2 and are calling on the administration to bury it. Why? They don’t want Russia to be in a position to influence Europe, which would be “detrimental,” as they put it. Their preferred tool to implement this obstructionist policy is the use of sanctions. Thirty-nine out of 100 is a number no president can ignore. Powerful pressure is being put on the administration. Even before the senators wrote their letter, Kurt Volker, the US envoy to Ukraine, had claimed that NS2 was a purely political, not commercial, project. No doubt other steps to ratchet up the pressure will follow.

Their loyal friends in Europe chimed in almost simultaneously with the US lawmakers. Polish Foreign Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has proven himself to be a master at telling horror stories about the scariest things that might happen once the pipeline is up and running. On March 2, the speakers of parliament in Ukraine and Moldova signed a letter addressed to the chairs of the parliaments of the EU countries, warning about the repercussions. This is “a destabilizing factor” that will weaken Europe, they exclaim. Of course it is. Paying more for gas brought in on ships that can change course to head for a new destination if the price of gas elsewhere becomes more alluring will naturally make Europe stronger. Good reasoning!

On March 11, the leaders of the parliaments of Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania signed another open letter to the parliaments of the EU states to warn them against the construction of NS2. It’s not a commercial project, they say, it’ll make you dependent on Russia. “Gazprom … is not a gas company but a platform for Russian coercionaffirms Anders Fogh Rasmussen, a former head of NATO who now works as a consultant for Ukraine. Estonia has also joined the choir as one of the strongest critics of Nord Stream. The European Commission opposes the project too, but lacks the legal grounds to prevent private investment from flowing in.

Europe needs this commodity and Russia sells it. What makes this “not a commercial deal”? Dependence? From this perspective, any customer who makes a choice then becomes “dependent” on the vendor. Who is keeping them from getting gas from other sources? The sea lanes are all open, if they need to use them. Poland and Lithuania have already built terminals for liquefied gas. But it’s more expensive and the prices in the Asia Pacific region make that market more attractive. To woo US shale-gas exporters Europeans will have to pay more. Don’t they have the right to choose what suits them best?

As practice shows, writing letters is not enough. There are “stubborn” leaders at the helms of some European states who dare to put their national interests first. Just think about it! If “America First” is fine as a slogan, then what’s wrong with an “Austria First” policy? One daring young man who is protecting the interests of his country is Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. He openly supports the Nord Stream 2 project. And he is not alone. Germany continues to back it despite the pressure. Chancellor Angela Merkel believes that the NS2 project “poses no danger to diversification.” The German-based think tank ewi Energy Research & Scenarios has estimated that the project “has a price decreasing and welfare enhancing effect in the EU-28 overall.”

But Washington could not care less about its allies, which is clear from its opposition to this project. Its interests are self-centered. The US is not only promoting its liquefied gas supplies in Europe but is also trying to make it easier to pay for its plan to keep Ukraine in its orbit to use as a springboard right on the Russian border. Nord Stream 2 will make the gas-transit route via Ukraine redundant, depriving that country of much of the €1.8 billion (nearly 2% of its GDP) it earns annually in transit fees. The blow to the Ukrainian economy would undercut the US and EU’s financial support for Kiev. In addition, the revenue from NS2 would mean profits for Russia, thus softening the impact of the West’s sanctions. The European countries that vehemently oppose NS2 also want the US military based on their soil. And even if that presence is already there, they want more of it.

Europe is split over a lot of issues, but in the EU, NATO, and the Council of Europe there is a pro-American camp ready to dance to the US tune. And Poland and the Baltic States are happy campers. Whatever happens, they’ll snap to attention, click their heels, salute, and do as they’re told by Washington. As a result, their taxpayers will pay for US weapons although less costly and more efficient systems could be acquired elsewhere. And it is the ordinary people who’ll have to shell out for US shale gas shipped by sea instead of the much cheaper supplies coming from Russia. It’s just as simple as that. European taxpayers will have to pay for this “America First” policy unless the governments of such European states as Germany and Austria stand tall and refuse to bow to pressure.

March 21, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Putin says Russia will decrease military spending

Press TV – March 19, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he will reduce its military spending during his new term as the leader of the country, a day after he was re-elected in a presidential election with a landslide.

“We have plans to decrease our defense spending both this year and next. But this will not lead to any decline in the country’s defense capacity,” said Putin during a meeting with other presidential candidates in capital Moscow on Monday.

He added that “We will not allow for any sort of arms race.”

Putin’s comments come as ties between Moscow and Washington have plummeted to levels not seen since the Cold War due to the two countries’ disputes over the crises in Ukraine and Syria and after US officials accused Russia of meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

Since September 2015, Russia has been carrying out airstrikes in support of Syria’s ground troops and has helped them recapture swathes of territory from Takfiri terrorists.

In his best election performance ever, Putin, 65, secured nearly 77 percent of the ballots cast in Sunday’s presidential election, according to the official results released earlier today.

Putin, whose new election win will extend his total time in office to nearly a quarter of a century, until 2024, said elsewhere in his remarks that he aims to focus his new term on “domestic policy issues” and strengthening the country’s “defense capabilities.”

“The main thing that we are going to do is of course, first of all the internal agenda, it is first of all ensuring the growth of the Russian Federation economy, and making it innovative, this is development in the sphere of healthcare, education, industrial output and as I’ve said before of infrastructure and other areas crucial for moving the country forward and lifting the standard of living for our citizens” the Russian leader further said.

March 19, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Acceptable Bigotry and Scapegoating of Russia

By Natylie Baldwin | Consortium News | March 15, 2018

Over the last year and a half, Americans have been bombarded with the Gish Gallop claims of Russiagate. In that time, the most reckless comments have been made against the Russians in service of using that country as a scapegoat for problems in the United States that were coming to a head, which were the real reasons for Donald Trump’s upset victory in 2016.  It has even gotten to the point where irrational hatred against Russia is becoming normalized, with the usual organizations that like to warn of the pernicious consequences of bigotry silent.

The first time I realized how low things would likely get was when Ruth Marcus, deputy editor of the Washington Post, sent out the following tweet in March of 2017, squealing with delight at the thought of a new Cold War with the world’s other nuclear superpower: “So excited to be watching The Americans, throwback to a simpler time when everyone considered Russia the enemy. Even the president.”

Not only did Marcus’s comment imply that it was great for the U.S. to have an enemy, but it specifically implied that there was something particularly great about that enemy being Russia.

Since then, the public discourse has only gotten nastier. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper – who notoriously perjured himself before Congress about warrantless spying on Americans – stated on Meet the Press last May that Russians were uniquely and “genetically” predisposed toward manipulative political activities.  If Clapper or anyone else in the public eye had made such a statement about Muslims, Arabs, Iranians, Jews, Israelis, Chinese or just about any other group, there would have been some push-back about the prejudice that it reflected and how it didn’t correspond with enlightened liberal values. But Clapper’s comment passed with hardly a peep of protest.

More recently, John Sipher, a retired CIA station chief who reportedly spent years in Russia – although at what point in time is unclear – was interviewed in Jane Mayer’s recent New Yorker piece trying to spin the Steele Dossier as somehow legitimate. On March 6, Sipher took to Twitter with the following comment: “How can one not be a Russophobe? Russia soft power is political warfare. Hard power is invading neighbors, hiding the death of civilians with chemical weapons and threatening with doomsday nuclear weapons. And they kill the opposition at home. Name something positive.”

In fairness to Sipher, he did backpedal somewhat after being challenged; however, the fact that his unfiltered blabbering reveals such a deep antipathy toward Russians (“How can one not be a Russophobe?”) and an initial assumption that he could get away with saying it publicly is troubling.

Glenn Greenwald re-tweeted with a comment asking if Russians would soon acceptably be referred to as “rats and roaches.” Another person replied with: “Because they are rats and roaches. What’s the problem?”

This is just a small sampling of the anti-Russian comments and attitudes that pass, largely unremarked upon, in our media landscape.

There are, of course, the larger institutional influencers of culture doing their part to push anti-Russian bigotry in this already contentious atmosphere. Red Sparrow, both the book and the movie, detail the escapades of a female Russian spy. The story propagates the continued fetishization of Russian women based on the stereotype that they’re all hot and frisky. Furthermore, all those who work in Russian intelligence are evil and backwards rather than possibly being motivated by some kind of patriotism, while all the American intel agents are paragons of virtue and seem like they just stepped out of an ad for Nick at Nite’s How to be Swell.

The recent Academy Awards continued their politically motivated trend of awarding Oscars for best documentary to films on topics that just happen to coalesce nicely with Washington’s latest adversarial policy. Last year it was the White Helmets film to support the regime change meme in Syria. This year it’s Icarus about the doping scandal in Russia.

Similarly, Loveless, the new film by Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev (director of Leviathan) is being reviewed – as Catherine Brown points out – by writers from the mainstream American media in a predictably biased fashion. The film focuses on the disintegration of a married Moscow couple’s relationship and the complicated web of factors involved which have tragic ramifications for the couple’s 12-year old son.

American reviewers manage to paint the factors detailed in the film that are prevalent in most modern capitalist cities (e.g. being self-centered, materialistic and preoccupied with technological gadgets) as somehow uniquely Russian sins. They also ignore a prominent character in the film that defies their negativity about modern Russia – a character that represents altruism and the growth of civil society in the country.

A common theme in all this is that Russia is a bad country and Russians can’t help but be a bunch of good-for-nothings at best and dangerous deviants at worst. Indeed, according to media depictions, sometimes they manage to be both at the same time. But what they don’t manage to be is positive, constructive or even complicated. Sipher knows that the average American has been deluged with this anti-Russian prejudice, as reflected in his challenge at the end of his initial tweet about the largest country, geographically at least, in the world: Name something positive.

Countering the Negative

Most people know, at least in the abstract, that few individuals or groups are purely good or bad. Most are a complex combination of both. But many – including those who normally consider themselves to be open-minded liberals – have allowed their lizard brains to be triggered by the constant demonization of Russia in the hopes of taking down Trump whom they deem to be a disproportionate threat to everything they hold dear. So as a counterweight to all the negative constantly pumped out about Russia and to take Sipher up on his challenge, I will list some positive things about Russia and the contribution of the country and its people to the world.

Contemporary Russia’s Domestic Policy

Russia has one of the most educated populations in the world, universal health care for its people, a home ownership rate of 84%, strong gun control laws, no death penalty, 140 days of guaranteed maternity leave for women at 100% salary, and Moscow was just voted the 4th safest megacity in the world for women.

And, despite claims that are often repeated in corporate media and even by many in the alternative press, Russia has independent and critical voices in the print media. Even on television, which is heavily influenced by the Kremlin, the Western position is often given airtime by either pro-Western Russian critics or Westerners themselves. During both of my visits to Russia (in 2015 and 2017) I interviewed a cross-section of Russians who all confirmed that they had access to Western media through both satellite and the internet. Furthermore, while violence against journalists is a concern, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, journalist murders have decreased significantly under Putin compared to the era of Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s.

Am I saying that Russia is a utopia without any problems? No. Like most countries, it has plenty. Most Russians, including Putin, admit this. These problems include still significant poverty rates, comparatively low productivity and life expectancy, and corruption. But it is important to note the direction of trends, which are mostly positive since Putin took over. Under his leadership, poverty rates have been cut in half, life expectancy has increased by several years – especially among men who had suffered the worst mortality crisis since WWII, crime has dropped, pensions have increased and are paid regularly, the unemployment rate has been around 5% for years, great investments in infrastructure and agriculture have been seen along with development throughout the country.

And that development has not just been seen in Moscow and St. Petersburg – the latter city which, by the way, culturally and architecturally rivals those in France and Italy.

There are plenty of medium-sized cities throughout Russia that are becoming well-developed and culturally engaging. As one example, during my 2015 trip, I visited Krasnodar, located in the Black Sea region. The rate of civic construction in the city during 2014 surpassed even Moscow. As a consequence of the challenges of this rapid development, the public felt that decisions were not being made with sufficient feedback from residents, several of whom got together and created a group called the Public Council which eventually found ways to get city authorities to listen to their concerns.

The group had received significant media attention, networked with youth groups and infrastructure specialists, and received foreign experts in urban planning, public arts, transportation and city marketing. They have also organized periodic clean-up and renovation days, which are sponsored by local businesses that donate use of equipment. Currently, they are working on the creation of protected green zones, including one that connects all of the city’s hiking paths and another to connect its 16 lakes. They have received no opposition from the Russian government and have elicited the interest of other cities who want to model their approach to local issues.

While in Krasnodar I met a dozen or more professionals, from lawyers to engineers and doctors, who lived in the city and were part of another civic group engaged in charitable, conservation and youth programs. At one point, I took a walking tour of the city. In terms of architecture, I saw the old and the new side by side, including a large shopping center that was built around a large tower that had been there for generations that local residents saved from destruction by the mall planners, a square with controversial fountains, and a main thoroughfare that was closed to auto traffic, allowing pedestrians free reign. Couples – including some of mixed race, parents pushing baby strollers, and bicyclists – all wound their way through the streets as both Russian and American music was piped in and building walls on one side of the street for a stretch displayed delicate illustrations of Russian history.

Fifteen hundred miles away in the Ural mountain region, the city of Yekaterinburg – named after Catherine I – has the infamous distinction of being the place where Czar Nicholas II and his family were massacred by the Bolsheviks in 1918. On the site where the family’s bodies were exhumed, a magnificent Russian Orthodox Church has been erected and dedicated to the last royal family. Nearby is the Yeltsin Library, denoting the Russian Federation’s first President, although his legacy is not popular in Russia today.


The city is also home to a wide variety of precious metals and gems, along with a thriving economy. According to Sharon Tennison, an independent program coordinator who has traveled there numerous times over the past 15 years, hundreds of new apartment blocks can be seen on the outskirts of the city to accommodate the recent economic and population growth.

Yekaterinburg has a bustling cultural life that includes an opera house, a ballet, numerous theaters and museums, as well as dozens of libraries. In this respect, the city has continued its preoccupation with the classical arts as in Catherine’s period.  At the same time, many modern Russian rock bands with a distinctive sound have formed there (known as Ural rock).

The city also has a low rate of violence and crime.

As the New York Times and NPR like to point out and generalize out from, there are some rural and industrial areas in Russia that still need attention and investment. However, there are other towns in the countryside that are doing well.

Russia’s Contributions to the World

Russia has made many cultural and humanitarian contributions to the world. In the 18th and 19th centuries, imperial Russia produced some of the most renowned figures in the world of arts. These include writers, such as Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, whose works are often cited by American readers as among the greatest of all time; great composers include Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Rachmaninoff.

The country also has a rich history of pre-Soviet philosophers who debated questions of politics, history, spirituality and meaning. One of the most famous is Vladimir Solovyev, classified as belonging to the Slavophile school but distinguished from his fellow Slavophiles by his openness to and integration of several lines of thought.

He acknowledged the intuitive as well as the rational. He was friends with Dostoyevsky but had disagreements over Orthodoxy since Solovyev was an advocate of ecumenism and healing the schism between Orthodoxy and Catholicism. Furthermore, he is credited with influencing Nicolai Berdyaev, Rudolf Steiner and the Russian Symbolists, among others. He admired the Greek goddess Sophia who he characterized as the “merciful unifying feminine wisdom of God.” Solovyev was adept at integrating several spiritual strands, such as Greek philosophy, Buddhism, Kabbalah, and Christian Gnosticism.

Solovyev was famous for his debates with Slavophile contemporary, Nicolai Fedorov. In these and other writings, questions about morality and technological progress, how much humans should control nature, and prioritizing which problems to invest man’s resources in solving were all given great consideration by Solovyev and are still relevant today, in both Russian society and the larger world.

It is interesting to note that, of all the early Slavophile philosophers, Putin chose Solovyev, the one who was the least strident and most open to the synthesis of differing values and viewpoints, as part of his assignment of books for Russia’s regional governors to read a few years back. Of course, that didn’t stop several western pundits – who showed they knew virtually nothing of Solovyev but perhaps some cherry-picked and out-of-context tidbits they’d found online – from distorting his writings, which naturally had to be horrible because Putin recommended them.

Moving on to the 20th century, it should not be forgotten that the Soviet Union bore the brunt of defeating the Nazis during WWII, losing 27 million people, and saw a third of their country destroyed in the process.

In the 21st century, Russia provided significant aid to Americans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy. They also provided safe transport to Yemeni-Americans out of that devastated country after the U.S. State Department effectively abandoned them in 2015. Russia provided medical aid to 60,000 people affected by the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014. Last September, Russia provided 35 tons of aid to earthquake victims in Mexico.

For someone who spent years in Russia as a professional expert working for the U.S. intelligence community, John Sipher is either not well-informed on his subject or is intentionally being disingenuous when it comes to the suggestion that Russia has done nothing positive, whether under Putin’s governance or before.

The Purpose of Scapegoating Russia

In early 2017, journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes published a book called Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign. Largely based on interviews with insiders from Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign, the book was an attempt to analyze why she lost. The insiders agreed that Clinton had trouble providing a plausible explanation to voters as to why she was running other than that she simply wanted to be president. They also noted her trouble connecting with average Americans and her failure to campaign in certain rust belt areas that Trump ultimately got support in. The book also states that within 24 hours of Clinton’s loss, members of her campaign had decided to home in on the excuse of “Russian interference” to explain away her humiliating defeat.

In addition to a bloc of Clinton’s supporters continuing to push this excuse for her loss and the ratings motive that channels like CNN and MSNBC have in continuing to milk the scandal, there is also Robert Mueller’s investigation which has dragged on for over a year.

The most notable thing about the Mueller investigation to anyone who takes a sober look at it is its constantly evolving purpose. First, the purpose of the investigation was to find any evidence to support the allegation that Russia had hacked into the DNC’s emails. When no substantial evidence could be found to support that allegation, the purpose evolved into collusion between Trump and Russia to steal the election on behalf of Trump.

When no substantial evidence could be found to support that allegation, the purpose evolved yet again into Russia influencing the election on behalf of Trump, possibly without his knowledge or participation. When no substantial evidence could be found to support that allegation and all that could be found was a paltry number of social media ad buys – many of which were purchased after the election or advocated conflicting positions or didn’t even have anything to do with the election, the purpose became “sowing discord.”

After all of this, we have an indictment against 13 private individuals who worked for a “troll farm” that had been exposed several years ago and is run by a caterer with no proven orchestration by Putin or the Kremlin. Mueller also knows that this indictment will never be legally tested because the 13 individuals will never be extradited and stand trial.

After all the shrieking and howling 24/7 for close to a year and a half that Trump was an illegitimate president installed by the Kremlin, this is the best Mueller and the mainstream Democrats can come up with. It’s pretty obvious by now that this investigation has simply been feeding into the media and Democratic Party circus mentioned above rather than uncovering anything substantive with which to impeach Trump.

The 2016 election showed that the Democrats faced a sleeping giant that had been awakened – one that the Democratic Party had helped to create for decades by enabling lower living standards, outsourcing of good-paying jobs, the proliferation of low-wage jobs, unaffordable education, lack of health care coverage, public health problems, and decrepit infrastructure.

Consequently, there was a demand for meaningful policies that would help average Americans, policies that polls show they want. But mainstream Democrats will not deliver on such policies, like $15/hour minimum wage, Medicare for All, and pulling out of our wars and investing the money saved in jobs and infrastructure. They won’t deliver on these things for the same reason that Republicans won’t deliver on them: because their donors don’t want them to. But they are not going to admit that to the American people who were going to keep demanding, so they needed a scapegoat and a diversion.

It’s a cheap trick that the political elite is using to appeal to the basest instincts of their fellow Americans while shoring up support for their most reckless tendencies in the area of foreign policy.

Natylie Baldwin is co-author of Ukraine: Zbig’s Grand Chessboard & How the West Was Checkmated, available from Tayen Lane Publishing. Since October of 2015, she has traveled to six cities in the Russian Federation and has written several articles based on her conversations and interviews with a cross-section of Russians. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in various publications including Consortium News, The New York Journal of Books, The Common Line, and the Lakeshore.  She is currently submitting her first novel to agents and finishing a second. She blogs at

March 16, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Iran to Open $3Bln Credit Line to Iraq for Post-War Reconstruction

Sputnik – 11.03.2018

Tehran will loan $3 billion to help Baghdad with the restoration of its infrastructure after the defeat of the Daesh terrorist group in the country, Iranian First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri said on Sunday.

“Iran is ready to provide Iraq with a credit line of $3 billion in order to increase the presence of Iran’s private sector in the restoration of Iraq,” Jahangiri said, as quoted by the Tasnim news agency.

Both Iran and Iraq aim to further strengthen their bilateral political and economic ties, according to the official.

Jahangiri also said that it is necessary to connect the railway systems of both countries and the sides are planning to construct a bridge and a 30-kilometer section of the railway.

“By doing this, Iraq will be able to get access to Central Asia and China, and the Iranian railways will reach the Mediterranean [region],” the first vice-president added, as quoted by the agency.

Jahangiri is currently on a visit to Baghdad to hold talks with the country’s officials.

In December, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi declared an end of the country’s fight against Daesh as Iraqi troops re-established complete control over the country’s Syrian border. This came after years of violent fighting, that brought significant damage to the country’s infrastructure.

The Kuwait International Conference of Iraq Reconstruction and Development, which was held in February, managed to raise $30 billion in direct aid, loans and investments for the post-war reconstruction of Iraq’s economy, according to Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sabah Al Salim Sabah.

March 11, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , , | 1 Comment

UK to Roll Out Its Version of Magnitsky Act Amid Ex-Russian Spy’s Case – Reports

Sputnik – 11.03.2018

The United Kingdom is going to introduce its version of the Magnitsky Act targeting Russian nationals, including officials who are accused of violating human rights and of corruption, the Telegraph newspaper reported Sunday.

According to the media, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Amber Rudd have already agreed that the United Kingdom will impose sanctions similar to the Magnitsky Act.

The move comes amid the incident around former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter who were exposed to a nerve agent on Monday. Western media accused Moscow of orchestrating the assassination of the ex-spy.

The United States adopted the so-called Magnitsky Act, which imposes travel bans and financial sanctions on Russian officials and other individuals believed to have been involved in the death of Sergei Magnitsky, in late 2012. The Hermitage Capital Management hedge fund lawyer was arrested in Moscow in 2008 on charges of tax evasion and later died of heart failure while in prison.

In December 2016, then-US President Barack Obama signed into law the Global Magnitsky Act, which expands the Russia-specific sanctions to other countries.


UK Cabinet Committee to Hold Emergency Meeting on Russian Ex-Spy Poisoning

March 11, 2018 Posted by | Economics, False Flag Terrorism | , , | Leave a comment

ACLU says revised anti-BDS bill remains unconstitutional, in blow to pro-Israel groups

MEMO | March 7, 2018

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has criticised a revised version of draft legislation intended to target the growing Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign, saying that the latest version of the bill remains unconstitutional.

The ACLU had voiced objections to the original bill in July 2017 on First Amendment grounds, and in response to such criticisms, Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) released a revised version over the weekend.

But in a 6 March press release, the ACLU revealed that it had written to senators informing them of the veteran civil liberties group’s opposition to the revised bill, in what is a blow to pro-Israel groups who are hoping that the bill will become law (the letter can be viewed here).

“This bill is unconstitutional because it seeks to impose the government’s political views on Americans who choose to express themselves through boycotts,” said Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project.

“The proposed changes are improvements, but the revised bill continues to penalize participants in political boycotts in violation of the First Amendment”, he added. “If it is enacted in this form and takes effect, we will strongly consider fighting it in court”.

ACLU noted that “the Supreme Court ruled decades ago that political boycotts are protected by the First Amendment, and the ACLU is currently fighting two lawsuits challenging Kansas and Arizona laws requiring state contractors to certify that they are not participating in boycotts of Israel”.

In the case of Kansas, “a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction in January blocking enforcement of the law while the case proceeds”.

The ACLU press release clarifies that the organisation “does not take a position on boycotts of foreign countries”, but “has long supported the right to participate in political boycotts and has voiced opposition to anti-boycott bills in multiple states as infringements on free speech”.

Read also: 

California Democrats reject anti-BDS legislation

March 7, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | Leave a comment

Danish pension giant divests from Motorola over ties to Israeli settlements

MEMO | March 7, 2018

Danish pension fund giant Sampension has officially excluded Motorola over the latter’s ties to Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

Sampension, a DKK290 billion ($43.5 billion) Danish labour market pension fund, made the announcement in an update to its exclusion list, stating that Motorola’s provision of products to Israeli settlements is a violation of UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

According to ActionAid Denmark (Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke), which welcomed the news, Sampension is withdrawing DKK15 million (some $2.5 million).

Motorola has well documented links to the Israeli military occupation and settlement enterprise, and is widely believed to be one of the companies contacted by the UN Human Rights Office, in the context of the latter’s work to publish a database of settlements-complicit businesses.

The latest development follows on from Sampension’s exclusion last October of four companies – including two Israeli banks and telecommunications company Bezeq – for their ties to Israeli settlements in, and the extraction of natural resources from, the oPt.

The companies were excluded for violating Sampension’s guidelines for investments in occupied territories, and specifically, “due to the financing of settlements, and the extraction of natural resources and establishment of infrastructure for telecommunication on occupied territory”.

Read also:

ACLU says revised anti-BDS bill remains unconstitutional, in blow to pro-Israel groups

March 7, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 1 Comment

Venezuela Rejects Trump’s Renewal of Obama “Extraordinary Threat” Designation

Venezuelanalysis | March 5, 2018

Venezuela issued a statement Saturday slamming the Trump administration for its renewal of an executive order branding the South American country an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to U.S. national security.

“The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela denounces the continued aggression of the U.S. regime by extending the executive order that qualifies Venezuela as an ‘unusual and extraordinary threat’ to U.S. security,” reads the text of a communique issued by Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry.

On Friday, the White House opted to renew for a third time Executive Order 13692, which was originally signed by President Barack Obama on March 8, 2015. The decree declares a “national emergency with respect to the situation in Venezuela” and authorizes the application of U.S. sanctions.

Caracas hit back at Washington, describing the latest executive order as intended to “promote and justify the overthrow of the legitimate and constitutionally elected government of President Nicolas Maduro.”

“By extending the executive order, the U.S. regime intends to present itself as a victim, when the entire world recognizes it as the great victimizer. Washington assumes aggression and has transformed the world into an increasingly insecure place, which represents a real threat to international peace and security.”

Renewing the executive order, the statement continues, is a “crime of aggression punishable by international law” that seeks to encourage foreign intervention in Venezuela’s affairs and sway the outcome of May 20 elections.

At the same time, Bolivian President Evo Morales posted a message on Twitter deriding the U.S. government’s latest gesture against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

“The United States qualifies our sister Venezuela as a ‘threat,’ but with the United States’ background of financing coups, manipulating elections in 81 countries and killing hundreds of thousands with atomic bombs in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the United States is the real threat to the world,” Morales wrote.

The renewal of the executive order comes as the Trump administration says it is “considering a lot of different economic and diplomatic options in dealing with Venezuela.”

“We have said we are considering all options to restore democracy to Venezuela, including individual and potentially financial sanctions,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a press conference on Thursday.

Edited and with additional reporting by
Source: teleSUR English

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , , | 1 Comment

Rebuttals to Ten Typical False Claims by Climate Alarmists

Ice Cap | March 2, 2018

Below are a series of rebuttals of typical climate alarmists’ claims such as those made in the recently released Fourth National Climate Assessment Report. The authors of these rebuttals are all recognized experts in the relevant scientific fields. The rebuttals demonstrate the falsity of EPA’s claims merely by citing the most credible empirical data on the topic. For each alarmist claim, a summary of the relevant rebuttal is provided along with a link to the full text of the rebuttal which includes the names and the credentials of the authors of each rebuttal.

Claim #1: Heat waves are increasing at an alarming rate and heat kills
Claim #2: Global warming is causing more hurricanes and stronger hurricanes.
Claim #3: Global warming is causing more and stronger tornadoes
Claim #4: Global warming is increasing the magnitude and frequency of droughts and floods.
Claim #5: Global Warming has increased U.S. Wildfires
Claim #6: Global warming is causing snow to disappear
Claim #7: Global warming is resulting in rising sea levels as seen in both tide gauge and satellite technology
Claim #8: Arctic, Antarctic and Greenland ice loss is accelerating due to global warming
Claim #9: Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations are causing ocean acidification, which is catastrophically harming marine life
Claim #10: Carbon pollution is a health hazard

Claim #1: Heat Waves are Increasing at an Alarming Rate and Heat Kills

Summary of Rebuttal

There has been no detectable long-term increase in heat waves in the United States or elsewhere in the world. Most all-time record highs here in the U.S. happened many years ago, long before mankind was using much fossil fuel. Thirty-eight states set their all-time record highs before 1960 (23 in the 1930s!). Here in the United States, the number of 100F, 95F and 90F days per year has been steadily declining since the 1930s. The Environmental Protection Agency Heat Wave Index confirms the 1930s as the hottest decade.

James Hansen, while at NASA in 1999, said about the U.S. temperature record “In the U.S. the warmest decade was the 1930s and the warmest year was 1934”. When NASA was challenged on the declining heat records in the U.S, the reply was that the U.S. is just 2% of the world. However, all 8 continents recorded their all-time record highs before 1980. Interestingly while the media gives a great deal of coverage to even minor heat waves to support the case that man-made global warming is occurring, the media tends to ignore deadly cold waves. But in actual fact worldwide cold kills 20 times as many people as heat. This is documented in the “Excess Winter Mortality” which shows that the number of deaths in the 4 coldest winter months is much higher than the other 8 months of the year. The USA death rate in January and February is more than 1000 deaths per day greater than in it is July and August.

Clearly, there is no problem with increased heat waves due to climate change.

Detailed Rebuttal and Authors: EF_RRT_AC – Heat Waves

Claim #2: Global Warming Is Causing More Hurricanes and Stronger Hurricanes

Summary of Rebuttal

There has been no detectable long-term trend in the number and intensity of hurricane activity globally. The activity does vary year to year and over multidecadal periods as ocean cycles including El Nino/La Nina, multidecadal cycles in the Pacific (PDO) and Atlantic (AMO) favor some basins over others.

The trend in landfalling storms in the United States has been flat to down since the 1850s. Before the active hurricane season in the United States in 2017, there had been a lull of 4324 days (almost 12 years) in major hurricane landfalls, the longest lull since the 1860s. Harvey was the first hurricane to make landfall in Texas since Ike in 2008 and the first Category 4 hurricane in Texas since Hurricane Carla in 1961. There has been a downtrend in Texas of both hurricanes and major hurricanes. Texas is an area where Gulf Tropical Storms and hurricanes often stall for days, and 6 of the heaviest tropical rainfall events for the U.S. have occurred in Texas. Harvey’s rains were comparable to many of these events. Claudette in 1979 had an unofficial rainfall total greater than in Harvey.

In Florida, where Irma hit as a category 4 on the Keys, it came after a record 4339 days (just short of 12 years) without a landfalling hurricane. The previous record lull was in the 1860s (8 years). There has been no trend in hurricane intensity or landfalling frequency since at least 1900.

Detailed Rebuttal and Authors: EF_RRT_AC – Hurricanes

Claim #3: Global Warming Is Causing More and Stronger Tornadoes

Summary of Rebuttal

Tornadoes are failing to follow “global warming” predictions. Big tornadoes have seen a decline in frequency since the 1950s. The years 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 all saw below average to near record low tornado counts in the U.S. since records began in 1954. 2017 to date has rebounded only to the long-term mean.

This lull followed a very active and deadly strong La Nina of 2010/11, which like the strong La Nina of 1973/74 produced record setting and very deadly outbreaks of tornadoes. Population growth and expansion outside urban areas have exposed more people to the tornadoes that once roamed through open fields. Tornado detection has improved with the addition of NEXRAD, the growth of the trained spotter networks, storm chasers armed with cellular data and imagery and the proliferation of cell phone cameras and social media. This shows up most in the weak EF0 tornado count but for storms from moderate EF1 to strong EF 3+ intensity, the trend has been flat to down despite improved detection.

For Rebuttal and Author Credentials See: EF_RRT_AC – Tornadoes

Claim #4: Global warming Is Increasing the Magnitude and Frequency of Droughts and Floods

Summary of Rebuttal

Our use of fossil fuels to power our civilization is not causing droughts or floods. NOAA found there is no evidence that floods and droughts are increasing because of climate change. The number, extend or severity of these events does increase dramatically for a brief period of years at some locations from time to time but then conditions return to more normal. This is simply the long-established constant variation of weather resulting from a confluence of natural factors. In testimony before Congress Professor Roger Pielke, Jr. said: “It is misleading, and just plain incorrect, to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, or droughts have increased on climate timescales either in the United States or globally. Droughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U.S. over the last century.”

“The good news is U.S. flood damage is sharply down over 70 years,” Roger Pielke Jr. said. “Remember, disasters can happen any time…”. But it is also good to understand long-term trends based on data, not hype.”

Detailed Rebuttal and Authors: EF_RRT_AC – Droughts and Floods

Claim #5: Global Warming Has Increased U.S. Wildfires

Summary of Rebuttal

Wildfires are in the news almost every late summer and fall. The
National Interagency Fire Center has recorded the number of fires and acreage affected since 1985. This data show the number of fires trending down slightly, though the acreage burned had increased before leveling off over the last 20 years. The NWS tracks the number of days where conditions are conducive to wildfires when they issue red-flag warnings. It is little changed. 2017 was an active fire year in the U.S. but my no means a record. The U.S. had 64,610 fires, the 7th most since in 11 years and the most since 2012. The 9,574, 533 acres burned was the 4th most in 11 years and most since 2015. The fires burned in the Northwest including Montana with a very dry summer then the action shifted south seasonally with the seasonal start of the wind events like Diablo in northern California and Santa Ana to the south.

Fires spread to northern California in October with an episode of the dry Diablo wind that blows from the east and then in December as strong and persistent Santa Ana winds and dry air triggered a round of large fires in Ventura County. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection the 2017 California wildfire season was the most destructive one on record with a total of 8,987 fires that burned 1,241,158 acres. It included five of the 20 most destructive wildland-urban interface fires in the state’s history.

When it comes to considering the number of deaths and structures destroyed, the seven-fold increase in population in California from 1930 to 2017 must be noted. Not only does this increase in population mean more people and home structures in the path of fires, but it also means more fires. Lightning and campfires caused most historic fires; today most are the result of power lines igniting trees. The power lines have increased proportionately with the population, so it can be reasoned that most of the damage from wild fires in California is a result of increased population not Global Warming. The increased danger is also greatly aggravated by poor government forest management choices.

Detailed Rebuttal and Authors: EF_RRT_AC – Wildfires

Claim #6: Global Warming Is Causing Snow to Disappear

Summary of Rebuttal

This is one claim that has been repeated for decades even as nature showed very much the opposite trend with unprecedented snows even to the big coastal cities. Every time they repeated the claim, it seems nature upped the ante more.

Alarmists have eventually evolved to crediting warming with producing greater snowfall, because of increased moisture but the snow events in recent years have usually occurred in colder winters with high snow water equivalent ratios in frigid arctic air.

Snowcover in the Northern Hemisphere, North America, and Eurasia has been increasing since the 1960s in the fall and winter but declining in the spring and summer. However, as NOAA advised might be the case, snowcover measurement methodology changes at the turn of this century may be responsible for part of the warm season differences.

Detailed Rebuttal and Authors: EF_RRT_CA – Snow

Claim #7: Global warming is resulting in rising sea levels as Seen in Both Tide Gauge and Satellite Technology

Summary of Rebuttal

This claim is demonstrably false. It really hinges on this statement: “Tide gauges and satellites agree with the model projections.” The models project a rapid acceleration of sea level rise over the next 30 to 70 years. However, while the models may project acceleration, the tide gauges clearly do not.

All data from tide gauges in areas where land is not rising or sinking show instead a steady linear and unchanging sea level rate of rise from 4 up to 6 inches/century, with variations due to gravitational factors. It is true that where the land is sinking as it is in the Tidewater area of Virginia and the Mississippi Delta region, sea levels will appear to rise faster but no changes in production would change that.

The implication that measured, validated, and verified Tide Gauge data support this conclusion remains simply false. All such references rely on “semi-empirical” information, which merges, concatenates, combines, and joins, actual tide gauge data with various models of the reference author’s choosing. Nowhere on this planet can a tide gauge be found, that shows even half of the claimed 3.3 mm Sea level rise rate in Tectonically Inert” coastal zones. These are areas that lie between regions of geological uplift and subsidence. They are essentially neutral with respect to vertical land motion, and tide gauges located therein show between 1 mm/yr (3.9 inches/century) and 1.5 mm/yr (6 inches/century rise). The great Swedish Oceanographer, Nils-Axel Mörner, has commented on this extensively, and his latest papers confirm this ‘inconvenient truth.’

Further, alarmist claims that “Satellites agree with the model projection” are false. Satellite technology was introduced to provide more objective measurement of the sea level rise because properly adjusted tide gauge data was not fitting Alarmists’ claims. However, the new satellite and radar altimeter data lacked the resolution to accurately measure sea levels down to the mm level. Moreover, the raw data from this technology also conflicted with Alarmists’ claims. As a result, adjustments to this data were also made – most notably a Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA). GIA assumes that basically all land is rebounding from long ago glaciations and oceanic basins are deepening. The assumption is that this rebounding is masking the true sea level rise. Alarmists continue to proclaim that their models project a rapid acceleration of sea level rise over the next 30 to 70 years, when those same models have failed to even come close to accurately measuring the past 25 years.

Detailed Rebuttal and Authors: EF_RRT_CA – Sea Level

Claim #8: Arctic, Antarctic and Greenland Ice Loss Is Accelerating Due to Global Warming

Summary of Rebuttal

Satellite and surface temperature records and sea surface temperatures show that both the East Antarctic Ice Sheet and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet are cooling, not warming and glacial ice is increasing, not melting. Satellite and surface temperature measurements of the southern polar area show no warming over the past 37 years. Growth of the Antarctic ice sheets means sea level rise is not being caused by melting of polar ice and, in fact, is slightly lowering the rate of rise. Satellite Antarctic temperature records show 0.02C/decade cooling since 1979. The Southern Ocean around Antarctica has been getting sharply colder since 2006. Antarctic sea ice is increasing, reaching all-time highs. Surface temperatures at 13 stations show the Antarctic Peninsula has been sharply cooling since 2000. The Arctic includes the Arctic Ocean, Greenland, Iceland, and part of Siberia and northern Alaska. Because of the absence of any land mass in the Arctic Ocean, most of area lacks glaciers, which require a land mass. Thus, most of the Arctic contains only floating sea ice. Greenland, Iceland, northern Alaska, and northern Siberia contain the only glaciers in the general Arctic region. Arctic temperature records show that the 1920s and 1930s were warmer than 2000. Records of historic fluctuations of Arctic sea ice go back only to the first satellite images in 1979. That happens to coincide with the end of the 1945–1977 global cold period and the maximum extent of Arctic sea ice. During the warm period from 1978 until recently, the extent of sea ice has diminished, but increased in the past several years. The Greenland ice sheet has also grown recently.

Detailed Rebuttal and Authors: EF_RRT_AC – Arctic, Antarctic,Greenland 123117

Claim #9: Rising Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations Are Causing Ocean Acidification, which Is Catastrophically Harming Marine Life

Summary of Rebuttal

As the air’s content rises in response to ever-increasing anthropogenic CO2 emissions, more and more carbon dioxide is expected to dissolve into the surface waters of the world’s oceans, which dissolution is projected to cause a 0.3 to 0.7 pH unit decline in the planet’s oceanic waters by the year 2300. A potential pH reduction of this magnitude has provoked concern and led to predictions that, if it occurs, marine life will be severely harmed—with some species potentially driven to extinction—as they experience negative impacts in growth, development, fertility and survival. This ocean acidification hypothesis, as it has come to be known, has gained great momentum in recent years, because it offers a second independent reason to regulate fossil fuel emissions in addition to that provided by concerns over traditional global warming. For even if the models are proven to be wrong with respect to their predictions of atmospheric warming, extreme weather, glacial melt, sea level rise, or any other attendant catastrophe, those who seek to regulate and reduce CO2 emissions have a fall-back position, claiming that no matter what happens to the climate, the nations of the Earth must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions because of projected direct negative impacts on marine organisms via ocean acidification.

The ocean chemistry aspect of the ocean acidification hypothesis is rather straightforward, but it is not as solid as it is often claimed to be. For one thing, the work of a number of respected scientists suggests that the drop in oceanic pH will not be nearly as great as the IPCC and others predict. And, as with all phenomena involving living organisms, the introduction of life into the analysis greatly complicates things. When a number of interrelated biological phenomena are considered, it becomes much more difficult, if not impossible, to draw such sweeping negative conclusions about the reaction of marine organisms to ocean acidification. Quite to the contrary, when life is considered, ocean acidification is often found to be a non-problem, or even a benefit. And in this regard, numerous scientific studies have demonstrated the robustness of multiple marine plant and animal species to ocean acidification—when they are properly performed under realistic experimental conditions.

Detailed Rebuttal and Author: EF_RRT_CA – Ocean pH

Claim #10: Carbon Pollution Is a Health Hazard<

Summary of Rebuttal

The term “carbon pollution” is a deliberate, ambiguous, disingenuous term, designed to mislead people into thinking carbon dioxide is pollution. It is used by the environmentalists to confuse the environmental impacts of CO2 emissions with the impact of the emissions of unwanted waste products of combustion. The burning of carbon-based fuels (fossil fuels – coal, oil, natural gas – and biofuels and biomass) converts the carbon in the fuels to carbon dioxide (CO2), which is an odorless invisible gas that is plant food and it is essential to life on the planet. Because the burning of the fuel is never 100% efficient, trace amounts of pollutants including unburnt carbon are produced in the form of fine particulates (soot), hydrocarbon gases and carbon monoxide. In addition, trace amounts of sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and other pollutant constituents can be produced. In the US, all mobile and industrial stationary combustion sources must have emission control systems that remove the particulates and gaseous pollutants so that the emissions are in compliance with EPA’s emission standards. The ambient air pollutant concentrations have been decreasing for decades and are going to keep decreasing for the foreseeable future because of existing non-GHG-related regulations.

Detailed Rebuttal and Authors: EF_RRT_AC – Health

This material is derived from the Fifth Supplement to Petition for Reconsideration of the Climate Endangerment Finding filed with the USEPA on February 9 by the Concerned Household Electricity Consumers Council (CHECC).

February 20, 2018 CHECC Press Release

Electricity Consumers File New Study in Their Call for EPA to Reopen its Endangerment Finding

Key Points:

o Just Released, new research findings demonstrate that Ten Frequent Climate Alarmists’ Claims have each been Rebutted by true experts in each Field by simply citing the most relevant and credible empirical data.

o The new results invalidate 10 very frequent Alarmist Claims in recent years, and thereby also invalidate the so-called “lines of evidence” on which EPA claimed to base its 2009 CO2 Endangerment Finding.

o If the Endangerment Finding is not vacated, whether the current administration likes it or not, it is certain that electric utility, automotive and many other industries will face ongoing EPA CO2 regulation.

This scientifically illiterate basis for regulation will raise U.S. energy prices thereby reducing economic growth, jobs and national security.

February 20, 2018

On February 9, 2018, The Concerned Household Electricity Consumers Council (CHECC) submitted a fifth Supplement to their Petition to provide additional new highly relevant and credible information. It relates to variables other than temperature describing the Earth’s Climate System. With each of EPA’s three Lines of Evidence purporting to support their 2009 Endangerment Finding already shown in the CHECC petition and its first 2 Supplements to be invalid, EPA has no proof whatsoever that CO2 has had a statistically significant impact on global temperatures.

The Council’s original Petition and First Supplement to Petition demonstrated that the Endangerment Finding is nothing more than assumptions that have each been disproved by the most relevant empirical evidence from the real world. The original Petition was substantially based on a major peer-reviewed 2016 scientific paper by James Wallace, John Christy and Joseph D’Aleo (Wallace 2016) that analyzed the best available temperature data sets and “failed to find that the steadily rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations have had a statistically significant impact on any of the 13 critically important tropical and global temperature time series data sets analyzed.” The full text of Wallace 2016 may be found here”>here.

First Supplement to Petition was substantially based on a new April 2017 peer reviewed scientific paper, also from the same authors (Wallace 2017A). Wallace 2017A can be found here. Wallace 2017A concluded that once impacts of natural factors such as solar, volcanic and ENSO activity are accounted for, there is no “natural factor adjusted” warming remaining to be attributed to rising atmospheric CO2 levels.

The Second Supplement to the Petition relied on a third new major peer reviewed scientific paper from James Wallace, Joseph D’Aleo and Craig Idso, published in June 2017 (Wallace 2017B). Wallace 2017B analyzes the GAST data issued by U.S. agencies NASA and NOAA, as well as British group Hadley CRU. (Wallace 2017B can be found here) In this research report past changes in the previously reported historical data are quantified. It was found that each new version of GAST has nearly always exhibited a steeper warming linear trend over its entire history. And, this result was nearly always accomplished by each entity systematically removing the previously existing cyclical temperature pattern. This was true for all three entities providing GAST data measurement, NOAA, NASA and Hadley CRU.
The Second Supplement to Petition states: Adjustments that impart an ever-steeper upward trend in the data by removing the natural cyclical temperature patterns present in the data deprive the GAST products from NOAA, NASA and Hadley CRU of the credibility required for policymaking or climate modeling, particularly when they are relied on to drive trillions of dollars in expenditures.

The invalidation of the adjusted GAST data knocked yet another essential pillar out from under the lines of evidence that are the claimed foundation of the Endangerment Finding. As the Second Supplement to Petition stated: It is therefore inescapable that if the official GAST data from NOAA, NASA and Hadley CRU are invalid, then both the “basic physical understanding” of climate and the climate models will also be invalid. The scientific invalidity of the Endangerment Finding becomes more blindingly obvious and undeniable with each day’s accumulation of reliable empirical data -and, the willingness of more scientists to come forward with such new evidence. (See here.) Perhaps recognizing this fact, Climate Alarmist have over time gone from focusing on Global Warming, to Climate Change to simply fear of Carbon. Thus, this research sought to determine the credibility of Ten (10) very frequently cited Climate Alarmists Claims. Above are Rebuttals to each of these ten typical climate alarmists’ claims. The rebuttal authors are all recognized experts on their topic and each rebuttal demonstrates the claim fallacy by merely citing the most credible empirical data.

The Conclusion of the Fifth Supplement

The invalidation of the three lines of evidence upon which EPA attributes global warming to human GHG emissions breaks the causal link between human GHG emissions and global warming. This in turn necessarily breaks the causal chain between human GHG emissions and the alleged knock-on effects of global warming, such as loss of Arctic ice, increased sea level, and increased heat waves, floods, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.

Nevertheless, these alleged downstream effects are constantly cited to whip up alarm and create demands for ever tighter regulation of GHG emissions involving all fossil fuels, not just coal. EPA explicitly relied on predicted increases in such events to justify the Endangerment Finding. But there is no evidence to support such Alarmist Claims, and copious empirical evidence that refutes them. The enormous cost and essentially limitless scope of the government’s regulatory authority over GHG emissions cannot lawfully rest upon a collection of scary stories that are conclusively disproven by readily available empirical data.

The scientific invalidity of the Endangerment Finding becomes more blindingly obvious and undeniable with each day’s accumulation of reliable empirical data. It is time for an honest and rigorous scientific re-evaluation of the 2009 CO2 Endangerment Finding. The nation has been taken down a tragically foolish path of pointless GHG/CO2 regulations and wasteful mal-investments to “solve” a problem which does not actually exist. Our leaders must summon the courage to acknowledge the truth and act accordingly.

The legal criteria for reconsidering the Endangerment Finding are clearly present in this case. The scientific foundation of the Endangerment Finding has been invalidated. The parade of horrible calamities that the Endangerment Finding predicts and that a vast program of regulation seeks to prevent have been comprehensively and conclusively refuted by empirical data. The Petition for Reconsideration should be granted.

The Council brought its Petition because the Obama-era greenhouse gas regulations threaten, as President Obama himself conceded, to make the price of electricity “skyrocket.” But clearly CO2 regulation does not just raise electricity prices, it raises all fossil fuel prices. America can have, and must have, the lowest possible energy costs in order to attain and maintain its energy, economic and national security.

Media Contacts:

Harry W. MacDougald
Caldwell Propst & DeLoach LLP
Two Ravinia Drive, Suite 1600
Atlanta, Georgia 30346
(404) 843-1956

Francis Menton
Law Office of Francis Menton
85 Broad Street, 18th floor
New York, New York 10004
(212) 627-1796

March 4, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science | | 1 Comment

More Korean War is “Worth it?” To Whom?

By Thomas L. Knapp | The Garrison Center | March 3, 2018

Speaking to CNN on the possibility of resuming hostilities in the nearly 70-year-old Korean War (in uneasy ceasefire since 1953), US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says “all the damage … would be worth it in terms of long-term stability and national security.”

Worth it, Senator Graham? To whom?

The last period of open war on the Korean peninsula cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.5 million lives, including nearly a million soldiers on both sides (36,516 of them American) and 2.5 million civilians in the North and South.

What did the American taxpayer get in return for three years of fighting, tens of thousands of Americans dead, and nearly $700 billion (in 2008 dollars)?

Well, that taxpayer’s government got to decide who’s in charge of part of the Korean peninsula, which, last time I checked, is not a US state or territory.

And that taxpayer’s government got the opportunity to spend hundreds of billions of dollars more of that taxpayer’s money to garrison the North-South border along the 38th Parallel for 65 years. That excludes the off-peninsula costs of the US “security umbrella” covering other Pacific Rim nations.

And that taxpayer’s government got a convenient bugaboo to scare the bejabbers out of that taxpayer with any time peace threatened to break out.

Stability? Well, sure, if what we’re talking about is guaranteeing that the welfare checks continue to reliably arrive in the American military industrial complex’s mailboxes. But apart from that, continued saber-rattling on either side of some of the most militarized acreage on Earth — the so-called “Demilitarized Zone” — is pretty much the definition of instability.

National security? Not so much, if for no other reason than that North Korea never has represented and does not now represent a credible military threat to the United States. If it ever does come to represent such a threat, it will be because the US continues, at the urging of demagogues like Lindsey Graham, to involve itself in the affairs of people thousands of miles away who do not welcome such involvement.

So far, the Korean War hasn’t delivered any benefit of note to the American people, especially in the areas of “stability” or “national security.”

America’s long misadventure on the Korean peninsula has only been worth it to US “defense” contractors and the politicians they own. Yes, Senator Graham, I’m looking at you.

The sooner the US government notifies the South Korean government that America is going home, the better.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (

March 4, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 3 Comments