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Don midwest
Don midwest

Sy Hersh has never been wrong

Ken Klippenstein: Why is the deconfliction process by which forces in Syria notify each other of air operations to avoid accidents so important?

Seymour Hersh: More air force is involved than people think. It’s not only Russian… Syria’s flying, Russia’s flying, America’s flying… The Brits fly, the Canadians fly, the Aussies fly. It’s sort of like air [traffic] control at an airport…We have something called AWACS. It’s a big plane that monitors everything and the Russians and the Syrians will communicate their routes and their packets and where they’re going and what they’re delivering in English to these aircraft, AWACS, which monitor large parts of Syria. So there’s a lot of coordination. That’s what deconfliction is.

KK: Can you take us through the extraordinary events you reported on in rebel-held Syria and how they unfolded?

SH: So the story I wrote is simply about the fact there was a very special mission. It was a secret mission, it was a mission to bomb a meeting of the jihadist headquarters in this town Khan Shaykhun. It was a major town of about 48,000 (before the war began anyway) and the Russians told us about a serious meeting of the leadership there on the fourth and we had it early. It was a command-and-control for the region. One way they control the areas is by controlling food, medicines.

Russia and Syria do a lot of bombing in that area. It has propane gas tanks, it has plastic canisters of cooking oil, it has fertilizer, it has insecticides—it’s a big farming area. We also assumed some weapons were stored there because it’s a big operational base for al-Nusra [Syria’s Al Qaeda affiliate], so they expected some secondary explosion; they weren’t surprised to see a cloud arise.


Exclusive: Seymour Hersh Dishes on New Exposé Upending the Official Story About Trump and Syrian Chemical Attacks
The veteran investigative reporter is turning the narrative upside down with his latest investigation.

Link from Glenn Greenwald

Replying to @ggreenwald @kenklippenstein

Hersh shows how someone is marginalized for dissenting from US orthodoxy despite abundant mainstream credentials (see also: Chomsky, Noam).



In forceful remarks before Germany’s Parliament on Thursday, Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed to defend the international climate agreement spurned by the Trump administration, anticipating a difficult meeting of the leaders of the world’s major economies next week in Hamburg.

Despite the withdrawal of the United States, the world’s second-largest polluter, the E.U. remains committed to the Paris climate accord, she said. But she was blunt about the obstacles posed by American retreat from the deal, which was signed by 195 nations in an attempt to forge global consensus around limiting greenhouse gases.

“Since the U.S. announced that it would exit the Paris agreement, we cannot expect any easy talks in Hamburg,” Merkel said, referring to the Group of 20 summit scheduled for July 7-8. “The dissent is obvious, and it would be dishonest to cover it up.”

Without naming him, Merkel appeared to lament President Trump’s uncertainty about human-induced climate change, saying, “We can’t, and we won’t, wait until the last person on earth is convinced of the scientific evidence for climate change.”


As global warming cooks the United States in the decades ahead, not all states will suffer equally. Maine may benefit from milder winters. Florida, by contrast, could face major losses, as deadly heat waves flare up in the summer and rising sea levels eat away at valuable coastal properties.

In a new study in the journal Science, researchers analyzed the economic harm that climate change could inflict on the United States in the coming century. They found that the impacts could prove highly unequal: states in the Northeast and West would fare relatively well, while parts of the Midwest and Southeast would be especially hard hit.

In all, the researchers estimate that the nation could face damages worth 0.7 percent of gross domestic product per year by the 2080s for every 1 degree Fahrenheit rise in global temperature. But that overall number obscures wide variations: The worst-hit counties — mainly in states that already have warm climates, like Arizona or Texas — could see losses worth 10 to 20 percent of G.D.P. or more if emissions continue to rise unchecked.

“The reason for that is fairly well understood: A rise in temperatures is a lot more damaging if you’re living in a place that’s already hot,” said Solomon Hsiang, a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a lead author of the study.


New Evidence Confirms Risk That Mideast May Become Uninhabitable

New evidence is deepening scientific fears, advanced few years ago, that the Middle East and North Africa risk becoming uninhabitable in a few decades, as accessible fresh water has fallen by two-thirds over the past 40 years.

This sharp water scarcity simply not only affects the already precarious provision of drinking water for most of the region’s 22 countries, home to nearly 400 million inhabitants, but also the availability of water for agriculture and food production for a fast growing population.
“Looming water scarcity in the North Africa and Middle East region is a huge challenge requiring an urgent and massive response” – Graziano da Silva.

The new facts are stark: per capita availability of fresh water in the region is now 10 times less than the world average. Moreover, higher temperatures may shorten growing seasons in the region by 18 days and reduce agricultural yields a further 27 per cent to 55 per cent less by the end of this century.



Avoiding dangerous levels of climate change is still just about possible, but will require unprecedented effort and coordination from governments, businesses, citizens and scientists in the next three years, a group of prominent experts has warned.

Warnings over global warming have picked up pace in recent months, even as the political environment has grown chilly with Donald Trump’s formal announcement of the US’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement. This year’s weather has beaten high temperature records in some regions, and 2014, 2015 and 2016 were the hottest years on record.

But while temperatures have risen, global carbon dioxide emissions have stayed broadly flat for the past three years. This gives hope that the worst effects of climate change – devastating droughts, floods, heatwaves and irreversible sea level rises – may be avoided, according to a letter published in the journal Nature this week.

Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, added: “The maths is brutally clear: while the world can’t be healed within the next few years, it may be fatally wounded by negligence [before] 2020.”

Scientists have been warning that time is fast running out to stave off the worst effects of warming, and some milestones may have slipped out of reach. In the Paris agreement, governments pledged an “aspirational” goal of holding warming to no more than 1.5C, a level which it is hoped will spare most of the world’s lowest-lying islands from inundation. But a growing body of research has suggested this is fast becoming impossible.

Paris’s less stringent, but firmer, goal of preventing warming from exceeding 2C above pre-industrial levels is also in doubt.


I keep asking the same question, and maybe I’ll come up with some way to fight it if I can even get close to an answer: How did we ever get to this stage, where our global “leaders” are literally killing people, in one way or another, all over the globe? And for what–a little more power, another yacht, another island? So fracked.


Not sure that Maine would actually benefit from milder winters. They might lose fish in the sea, beetles may kill their pines, many unseen consequences can occur. I actually get a little mad when any author uses “benefit” when discussing climate chaos. It’s a fracking, killing mess.



Senate Republicans are adding $45 billion to their ObamaCare replacement bill to fight opioid abuse, according to sources familiar with the discussions.

The move was widely expected as an attempt to win over moderate Republicans like Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who have both made the opioid epidemic a priority.

But both Portman and Capito have said that their concerns extend beyond opioid money to the deep cuts the legislation would make to Medicaid.

Capito said explicitly earlier this week that more opioid money would not be enough to win her over.

“More opioid funding would be very good and very beneficial, but the core for me is the Medicaid provision,” Capito said.


(Deleted and moved one post down)


The Trump administration’s dangerous position on the UN, in one tweet

The deep cuts the Trump administration wants to make to the United Nations peacekeeping budget go too far even for Republicans, a number of whom expressed opposition to UN Ambassador Nikki Haley during an appropriations subcommittee hearing on Wednesday.

“Some of these cuts are massive and just devastating,” Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) told Haley, according to Bloomberg. “Our leadership is irreplaceable.”

Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) described the cuts as “severe” and criticized the administration for not providing more details about its proposal, which would cut the US’s share of the UN peacekeeping budget to about 25 percent of total costs from 28.5 percent currently, and reduce the UN’s peacekeeping budget by 37 percent overall.

After the meeting ended, Haley took things a step further. She bragged about the cuts on Twitter as though UN peacekeeping efforts are a business that hasn’t been turning a sufficient profit.

Though Haley thinks the cuts are something to be proud about, in a statement released last month, UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said the UN cuts included in Trump’s proposed budget “would simply make it impossible for the UN to continue all of its essential work advancing peace, development, human rights and humanitarian assistance.”


Thank you jcitybone! That was so awful. But the comments under her tweet were quite good, ‘hey, who needs peace anyway?’ kind of thing, most responses are mocking her.

Meanwhile, I read that McConnell has a $200 Billion slush fund to buy votes for AHCA. Is that where that measly half a billion savings will go?

The reason I’m posting her tweet is to show how happy and pleased with herself she looks about cutting peacekeeping in the pic she posted with the tweet. What kind of a person does that?? (She must have a huge ego) She looks like she’s waiting to be praised for it. Ugh.


Poor poor Nikki


UN ambassador and former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley took to Twitter to say that she was booed at a New York City restaurant during the Pride parade.

Haley wrote that patrons said “hateful things” and she used the hashtag #HateNeverWins, which is ironic considering her current boss stood out in the Republican primary because of his hatefulness, which ultimately led him to victory. Not only does hate sometimes win, it’s been great for her career.

Nikki Haley does not have a good record on LGBT issues. As governor of South Carolina, Haley opposed the Obama Administration’s attempt to protect the rights of transgender students, saying that Barack Obama was “imposing a one-size-fits-all policy from Washington.” Her attorney general filed a brief in federal court “to reject the federal government’s legal authority,” as South Carolina is wont to do from time to time.

In 2013, Haley went to court to keep South Carolina from having to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. She said, “The citizens of South Carolina spoke … they spoke something that I, too, believe, which is marriage should between a man and a woman.”

And while she did release a statement in April condemning detention sites where gay and bisexual men have been tortured in Chechnya, the Trump Administration hasn’t done anything else on the issue, even while France‘s and Germany’s leaders have pressed Russian president Vladimir Putin for an investigation and a stop to the violence. It also says something that a person who has access to the most powerful people in the United States is only willing to condemn homophobia in other countries.

It appears that Haley was able to escape the restaurant unscathed. Here she is later in an empty street with no rainbows anywhere “taking on” Pride.


You may be aware that there is a ‘disinformation’ conference called #disinfoweek going on this week, which in and of itself is somewhat amusing considering who is co-hosting it (Atlantic Council).

Some of the presentations gave me pause, not always in a good way.

For example:

Are TPTB going to use Russia to justify censoring information? Who would be the ones deciding what was propaganda? Sounds like a very slippery slope to me.


A liberal think tank just released its own proposal to fix Obamacare

The most influential center-left think tank in DC has a new plan to fix Obamacare — and, perhaps surprisingly, it includes some of the same provisions as the Republican health bill in the Senate.

On Thursday, the Center for American Progress released new legislative text that proposes repairing Obamacare’s exchanges through a mixture of new subsidies to help insurance companies cover their most expensive patients, and lower taxes to encourage insurers to set up shop in under-served markets.


CAP–Third Way all the way.


Yep, Trump might take away the public service forgiveness for student loans and I will see a 2.5% increase, at the least, in my income-related payment. Among many other things.


This just shows how out of touch ( or should I say incompetent) politicians are.


A bipartisan pair of senators introduced legislation Thursday that would direct the federal government to develop and publish voluntary best practices for “good cyber hygiene.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) couched the bill as an effort to combat cyber crime in the wake of the “Wanna Cry” ransomware attack that infected thousands of computers across the globe.

The “Promoting Good Cyber Hygiene Act,” introduced by Sens. Hatch and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), would direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology to establish a set of baseline voluntary best practices for safeguarding against cyber intrusions that would be updated annually.

They do this rather than reign in NSA which due to a hack was responsible for the recent ransomware attacks having developed the software that is being used.

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