Horowitz Toothless. Now Waiting On Durham & Barr's Bigger Bite.

“The War of the Narratives” – Kunstler

And so the Horowitz report has come and gone, passing by as a toothless and mostly harmless piece of work, but which does at least condemn as negligently incompetent, if not criminally so, an FBI organisation that has forever tainted at least its recent history.  There is nothing there from the author of the report and indeed he is not in a position to construct any legal proceedings arising from his findings.

Not so with the upcoming (not sure when) work of the John Durham investigation, backed by the Attorney General William Barr.  Criminal proceedings have already begun from that unfinished and much broader inquiry.

The unknown timing of the Durham work may be what has urged the Democrats to begin their unwise and very weak impeachment process this week.  It is to be noted that they have dropped any mention of collusion with Russia over 2016, a matter now totally debunked.  Donald Trump has nothing to fear from this but the Dems will suffer many years of regret for pursuing this path – if they even survive what is lining up for them over the next 12 months. 

The Year of Humpty Dumpty

“This year was marked by global unrest — and 2020 is likely to be worse” ABC News Analysis

Well, I have been saying that, perhaps in fewer words and less detail, all this year and in previous recent years.  2020 is not going to be a happy year, for anybody much.  I don’t even feel that I need to sell that idea very much now.  It is becoming perfectly obvious and even the media is picking up on it.

I made a practice several years ago, at the end of each year, of giving a name to the following year. The last one was, if I remember correctly, 2016 – ‘the year we enter a new dark age’. We haven’t come out of that yet so I haven’t bothered naming years since then and in any case nothing came to mind. But this year I have a name for 2020 – The Year of Humpty Dumpty. The next paragraph explains.

I will say that my expectation of the next year is several shades more gloomy that portrayed in this ABC analysis.  It is my full expectation that next year we will begin to see things that are already stretched to the limit start to irretrievably break down.  Irretrievably, because when such things as globalisation, climate disruption, national cohesion, financial bubbles, environmental/biospheric stability, and economic inequality, start to collapse, explode, erupt, or simply cease to work any longer, those things will never recover – in a world where mankind has pushed the boundaries as far as they will go, they never can recover (except for the environment of course) – because the forces that created them will no longer exist or be entirely inaccessible. It will be ‘ 2020 – The Year of Humpty Dumpty’ – the year of falling off walls – the year of broken shells – the year when ‘all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, cannot put Humpty together again‘.

When, at the end of 2020, if we are still here, and we look back at the world of today and the recent past, and if we can still picture what we have today, we will be astonished at how far we have fallen and what little remains of our former lives.  I am convinced of that.

OK, it may take longer than one year, it may take a decade, or longer, but once things start to move, the slide will be unstoppable and it may well be that at the end of just one year there are not too many proverbial rocks still rolling.

Remember this when someone wishes you a happy new year in a little while, and stand for a moment and look at all the irrepressible fools still partying on unaware of what is shortly about to happen to their personal world.

But you will be ready, won’t you? The best of luck. And may the fates be on your side.

None of us will be unscathed and I dare say that many of the world’s super rich will get their comeuppance because they are mostly only rich in pixels on a screen which, just like their wealth, can vanish in a moment. And ‘things’ (solid touchable objects) to which today are attached great value, in a world brought back to the realities of bare existence will be virtually worthless.  It is going to be a great leveller.

Useful Satisfaction ≈ No Progress

So, the Normandy Four meetings held on Monday are hailed as having been both useful and satisfactory.  Does that equal ‘success’?  Well, only if you consider success to mean nothing has changed and no progress has been made. 

TASS has produced 5 separate stories on this today, none of which indicate that anything happened which could be interpreted as progress, other than a restatement of basic principles.  I suppose that could be said to be better than any retrenchment from earlier stated positions, but it doesn’t mean that anything positive is going to happen.  Anything at all, at least within the foreseeable future.

All that is needed of course, and what will eventually happen, is for Ukraine to kiss Donbass goodbye and redraw its own borders along the declared borders of the new republics.

I suggest that no such thing is yet on the cards and as a result more people are going to die every day on either side of those borders.  Mainly Donbass civilians who are even now constantly under Kiev army shelling and also Kiev soldiers who don’t seem to know how to handle live munitions or remember where they buried land-mines (so much for US/NATO advisory assistance).

“Ceasefire in Donbass should be synchronized with political reforms in Ukraine — Putin”

Image from related TASS story

OPCW Discredited – Syria Vindicated – US Knows No Shame

Shared without comment – none needed.

“A leaked email accuses the OPCW of doctoring a report to suit the US government’s justification for its illegal bombing of Syria in April 2018. I explain the scandal mainstream media is trying to suppress” – Dan Cohen

Embracing Jugaad

With apologies for any possible confusion, I have changed the title of this post from ‘Raising Questions?’ to ‘Embracing Jugaad’ (see the link for definition) since this is a concept we all most probably will eventually need to adjust to using.

These words form part of the report from ABC South Asia correspondent Siobhan Heanue shared below. 

“Now that I’ve been through three ‘apocalyptic’ Delhi winters — known here as pollution season — I have an idea of what the end of the world might look like. 

Add in worsening droughts, floods and heatwaves and you have a pressure cooker of calamities that could prompt population crises of a scale we’ve never seen. 

Delhi, a city with a far bigger population than all of Australia, faces running out of groundwater by next year. 

Bangladesh’s fertile lowlands are at risk of being destroyed by rising sea levels, and when a cyclone hits coasts along the Bay of Bengal, it’s not unusual for the authorities to have to evacuate 2 million people at once. 

The scale of the threat and consequences are mind-blowing, and if governments don’t start planning to counter things like the air pollution that costs 8 million lives a year, there are parts of South Asia that will become uninhabitable.”

“ABC South Asia correspondent Siobhan Heanue signs off from New Delhi”

Raising many questions and confirming others, it makes you stop and think, doesn’t it?

Raising questions? Here’s just one.  When (not ‘if’) large parts of South Asia become uninhabitable (and that region is not alone in that situation, by any means), where will all those people go?   

OK, that question necessarily leads to a follow-up.  Who, or what, is going to stop them (and others in similar situations) from going wherever they want to go? – What’s that song line from ‘I Am Woman’? – “…hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore.”

Cossetted Homestead Chooks

Have chooks? (That’s Australian for ‘feathered clucksters’, or chickens if you prefer)  I’ll bet they are not as cossetted (yes, that is correct spelling) as these ones, from Bev at Foodnstuff blog.  Without being in any way condescending (I understand she’s no spring chook herself), I don’t know how she manages all that.  This post is, I just noticed, from 2014 (how time flies) and I’m not sure how it came to my attention today, but it is still worth sharing for the information it contains.

“New chook run & coop”

Some excellent ideas – and lots of pictures to explain them.  Homesteading at its finest.

Homesteading? That doesn’t sound quite the right word for Australia – though it is commonly used. I don’t think we have a peculiarly Aussie word for ‘homestead’ – but then I have only been here for 38 years, so I’m not an authority on that. Perhaps if we put the word ‘Bush’ in front of it – Bush Homestead – that sounds a bit more Australian.

‘Property’ is another common term, better if adjusted to ‘bush property’. But properties in Australia can be huge affairs which at some point in size become morphed into being called a ‘station’. At the bottom end of the scale I know of no particular size for a ‘property’ to be differentiated from a ‘homestead’ but there is, at least conceptually, some difference. So, neither ‘property’ nor ‘bush property’ really fits the bill.

Why am I concerning myself with this? Umm, it was just a thought to play around with for a while. I am now happily living, with few regrets, free from most responsibilities and with hardly a care in the world, on a ‘property’ that is perhaps 10 metres by 10 metres, fenced on three sides, with nothing much more to do than write these sort of blog posts, play computer games and think about how I can grow some edibles or at least some herbs in the small amount of garden space I have available, after fixing up all the things I have to do around the house. Is that homesteading? Well, it’s not quite what I had in mind originally, but it will have to do (I’m not moving again – unless forced by circumstances), and I am surprisingly – even to myself – quite enjoying it.

Normandy Four – Designed To Fail

Tomorrow, Monday 9 December, is going to be an important day in more ways than the one I talked about in my previous post.  It will mark the latest summit meeting of the so-called Normandy Four in Paris, ostensibly to “look for solutions to the conflict in Donbass”.

It will fail.  It will fail, as I have said several times before, because there are no points of agreement between the various parties and because only one side of the main parties involved in the dispute – The Kiev government of Ukraine – are represented in the talks.  The other side, the two new people’s republics of Donbass are not and cannot be represented by the presence and voice of Russia (as influential as that may be).

It will fail because there is no will on the part of either of the two main sides to make it work.

It will fail also because the Kiev government, even with the military backing of the US/NATO, is unable to impose its will on the people of Donbass.

It will fail because the people of Donbass also have zero interest in reintegrating with Ukraine.

All other matters that may be discussed, are therefore largely irrelevant.

The most important outcome from this summit then can only be that the member states come to agree that it is pointless to continue the reintegration charade, and allow the Ukrainians and Neorussians to sort out their own problems.

For the Donbass republics, the future looks bright and secure. they are already getting on with the business of developing as separate nations and beginning to gain recognition.
For Ukraine itself, which as I recently came to understand is not the name of a country but simply means a ‘frontier or border region’, and what today we think of as a country is based purely on myth, now a basketcase hotchpotch of various regions that without the prosperity and resources of the Donbass simply can have no stable economic future unless integrated with other nations (but who would want it – apart from the Americans as a thorn in Russia’s side).

So, while nothing much can eventuate from tomorrow’s discussions, I want to see it happen, and see it fail, so that a great many people can get on with their lives unhampered by the current unsettled impasse.

“Kiev names four key issues for Ukraine at Normandy Four summit”

“DPR stands against ‘updates’ to the Minsk Agreements”

“LPR ready for dialogue with Kiev if Donbass status law is extended – Pasechnik” – but has already “…chosen the path towards integration with the Russian Federation”

Who Will Stand Against Trump With The Demise Of The Dems?

“The last time the Democratic Party blew up in a presidential election year was 1860,” says James Howard Kunstler to kick off his latest blog post titled “A fraught Moment”.  A fraught moment indeed, and that blog post is a real scorcher to set the scene to next week’s beginning of possibly very dramatic events.

Kunstler continues…

“It had evolved from Jefferson’s 1800 bloc of yeoman farmers to Andrew Jackson’s rowdy caucus of frontier populists in the 1830s, and settled into a slough of pro-slavery apologists by the 1850s, including two do-nothing Democratic presidents, Pierce and Buchanan. The party held a nominating convention in the spring of 1860 and couldn’t come up with a candidate when a claque of southern “fire-eaters” walked out. They tried again a few months later and cracked up into three separate parties with three nominees — and of course Mr. Lincoln won the election. The result was the bloodiest war in US history. 

That’s one way to drain a swamp. Historical obfuscators might say the Civil War was a lofty, legalistic quarrel over “state’s rights,” but of course it was really about the intolerable depravity of slavery. A hundred years later, the mysterious inversions of history converted the old slaver’s party into the Civil Rights party. That had a good fifty-year run. It included a hearty side-dish of anti-war sentiment, and a general disposition against the Big Brother treatment of citizens, including especially the overreach of the CIA and the FBI.”

A magnificent backdrop. Then comes the obvious following question:

“What is the Democratic Party today? Well…”

Well, for anything further, and I hope you are not satisfied with what has been revealed so far but champing at the bit for more, you will need to read the rest on Kunstler’s blog site.

Oh, all right, one last sentence, in fact the final one in the piece:

“All this may be enough to put the party down, like a dog that has peed on the carpet one time too many. Somebody else, from some other hastily assembled party, may have to stand against Mr. Trump in 2020.”

Kunstler never fails to impress with just the right turn of phrase to nail the situation.  I think it may just be the right time to plump up the cushions and get the popcorn and cola out.  The 2019/20 Democratic Put-Down Show is about to begin.

Democracy Overshadowed

Australia has given up on democracy and is well on the way to becoming an American style totalitarian state.

PHOTO: It is important to go beyond just the symbolism of what the Prime Minister announced this week. (ABC News: Marco Catalano)

The country has been on that path for years and nobody much, including myself, really noticed.  That’s what happens when a nation gets lulled into a soporific state of false security and false stability, thinking that “it’s all going to be all right” because, well, “we’re Australians” and nobody is going to hoodwink us. 

Well, we have been hoodwinked.  That much is now obvious, with the unexpected election last year that Labour couldn’t lose, but did – either by secret rigging or billionaire Clive Palmer’s $60 million dollar advertising spree under the weak cover of resurrecting his failed political party, which only served to draw away equally weak Labour votes to himself in fantasy hopes of more jobs coming their way.  There are obviously still enough fools in Australia who think that having a job is all they need for everything to be OK.  

And PM Morrison’s autocratic assault on the public service – a continuation of the war begun by Tony Abbott who ensured that there was no government ministry with the word ‘Science’ in its title.  Now there is to be none with ‘Arts’ in its title.  Then a while ago now we were faced with all ministries having a security role being combined into a single all embracing ‘Homeland Security’ department headed by a weird person who has the appearance and style of something one part human, three parts zombie, and who I can see at some point designing for himself a black uniform sporting silver skull heads, knee high boots and riding breeches.   

There are numerous new laws also in these recent years that crack down on personal liberties and allow secret courts to deal out so-called ‘justice’ that the public are banned from ever hearing about.  See “Witness J: How to hide a criminal trial from the public despite Australia’s principle of open justice”    

PHOTO: A range of laws can cloak a trial in secrecy. (ABC News: Danielle Bonica (modified))

Wake up Australia!

Any democracy is only as strong as its public service is effective in maintaining balance and restraining outlandish policy change to the way things operate.  Any government that attacks the public service as Australian neocons have been and still are doing, is not looking to establish more and stronger democracy – just the opposite.

Wake up Australia!

Any national leader who cosies up too closely with any American leader, has lost the plot on defending democracy in their own country.

A fine and timely article by Laura Tingle – Australian ABC’s 7.30 program chief political correspondent.

“Inside the public service shakeup: what it really says about Morrison’s Government”

PHOTO: The institutional memory of how systems had previously been set up to try to do exactly what the Prime Minister says he wants the public service to do has never recovered. (ABC News: Mark Moore)

I should just add, in closing, that the combination of the education ministry with the employment ministry makes perfect sense only in a world where the principal role assigned to education is to simply produce dumbed down drones suitable only for the menial tasks in a society where the many are the destined to be the humble servants of the elite few – whether that be in catering for their personal needs or serving as security or cannon fodder in their armies.

A Childhood No Longer Available

Here’s something interesting.

“See how global warming has changed the world since your childhood”

It will take some time for you to go through this but you would probably be well advised to take that time.  It is made by Australians and mostly covers the Australian situation but obviously has connotations for the rest of the world.

You are asked to select the year of your birth for comparison purposes.  If you are not too far through your lifespan there may not be much to compare.  I suggest that you also try selecting my birth year – 1945 – especially if you are of the opinion that this is something not to be too concerned about.

Concern is a big thing with climate change.  Scientists generally want you to be concerned, perhaps even a little scared – but not too scared – fearing the reaction that might ensue.  So they tend to dampen down what they say on the subject to some extent.  That is also evident here.  For instance, the chance that the planet’s warming can be held down to a rise of 1.5°C is so low as to be considered negligible, and yet the concept of doing that is the only hope anyone can hold out to an increasingly alarmed public.  They, the scientists who produce this type of report, must know, deep down, that this is not going to happen and it is kind of criminal to keep on holding out any hope for such.  Just keep watching the emissions as they rise, not fall.  Nobody wants or is prepared to live the kind of lifestyle that would be necessary to grant such a possibility.  So, in the end we will get what we ask for, which, by default, is what will happen from our not working purposefully and collectively and quickly (even if we started right now) towards any different result.