Posts Tagged ‘resources’

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Which is it, Joe?

Joe Biden Launches Campaign with Charlottesville Condemnation after Supporting Neo-Nazis in Ukraine

 

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Giants: Who Really Rules The World?

 

“80% of the stories… television news stories, are packaged or prepared by public relations firms working for government or corporations.”
-Peter Phillips

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15,000 scientists give catastrophic warning

 

 

“By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivise renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and constrain invasive alien species, humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperilled biosphere.”

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Prosperity Movie

 

You can trade your email and watch the full movie.

 

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Here’s How NASA Thinks Society Will Collapse

Elites grow and consume too much, resulting in a famine among Commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society.”

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Leader of US war effort against Islamic State stepping down

[General] Allen is reportedly frustrated with a lack of resources to counter the jihadist group, according to US officials. Allen had unsuccessfully lobbied administration officials for increased tactical air control teams to more efficiently target IS on the ground in Iraq, Bloomberg reported. Meanwhile, administration officials have portrayed his decision as one made out of concern for his wife’s poor health.

Of course they did. All bullshit all the time.

Dear General, you can’t go bombing the CIA’s trainees. That would be counterproductive.  You are a pawn with stars. Your little war is a show, a farce, a propaganda offensive to sell the idea that the US doesn’t like terrorists, when in fact your own bosses have helped create them.

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The BAU scenario results in collapse of the global economy and environment (where standards of living fall at rates faster than they have historically risen due to disruption of normal economic functions), subsequently forcing population down. Although the modelled fall in population occurs after about 2030—with death rates rising from 2020 onward, reversing contemporary trends—the general onset of collapse first appears at about 2015 when per capita industrial output begins a sharp decline.

‘Limits to Growth’ vindicated: World headed towards economic, environmental collapse

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[Editor’s Note: It all makes sense now.  Condi Rice, Victoria Nuland, $5Bn invested to get US oil and gas companies into the Ukraine and overthrow its government.

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JP SOTTILE FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

“For example, [Rice’s] steadfast belief that Ukraine “should not be a pawn in a great-power conflict but rather an independent nation” might have something to do with Chevron’s 50-year lease to develop Ukraine’s shale gas reserves.”

aukraineUkranian protests in late 2013
(Photo: Wikipedia)


Everybody’s got an opinion about the “showdown” with Russia.

Some say it’s about freedom and the right to self-determination. Some say it’s about standing up to aggression and halting a dictator’s march. Some say it’s about the future of everything—from Syria to North Korea to Iran’s nuclear program—and, according to Sen. Lindsey Graham, it all stems from Obama’s failure to kill the people who killed Americans at Benghazi.

But the most-revealing voice in the chorus is Condi Rice.

She penned a tension-filled op-ed on Ukraine for the Washington Post—the newspaper of broken records. Her nostalgic, “Baby, It’s a Cold War Outside” ditty on the “Ukrainian Problem” came just two days after a Teflon-coatedHenry Kissinger opined about the “art of establishing priorities” in his own Ukraine-themed op-ed for the Post.

As the world learned through painful experience, Condi Rice, much like Henry Kissinger, was all about establishing priorities. But now that she’s out of power, why should anyone waste any time considering Ms. Rice’s opinion about anything, much less about the “crisis” in Ukraine?

Why? Because it’s telling.

Like most American Exceptionalists, her bluster and posturing can be reverse-engineered to find the banal truth about U.S. foreign policy. For example, her steadfast belief that Ukraine “should not be a pawn in a great-power conflict but rather an independent nation” might have something to do with Chevron’s 50-year lease to develop Ukraine’s shale gas reserves.

When that lease was signed on November 5, 2013, it stoked Russian fears about losing its influence on, and a major gas market in, a former satellite. It also came on the eve of the much-disputed trade deal with the European Union that, once abandoned due to Russian pressure, led to the toppling of Ukraine’s government. Reuters characterized Ukraine’s “$10 billion shale gas production-sharing agreement with U.S. Chevron” as “another step in a drive for more energy independence from Russia.”

Of course, Ms. Rice knows something about driving for more energy. She sat on Chevron’s board of directors for ten years before resigning to become President Bush’s National Security Adviser in January of 2001. She was such a titanic figure at Chevron and so beloved by their corporate captains that they even named a 129,000-ton oil tanker “Condoleezza Rice.” Do people name tankers after people? People do!

But four months after leaving Chevron, they “quietly renamed” the tanker, apparently sensitive to the implication that she might prioritize their interests in places like Kazakhstan (a de facto dictatorship never targeted by American Exceptionalists) or the Caspian Sea (where Chevron is heavily invested) or Afghanistan (where they’ve long sought a pipeline from the Caspian region to the Indian Ocean).

In the case of Ukraine, Chevron’s deal continues a long tradition of intermarriage between “national” and corporate interests under the guise of national security. As the International Business Times stated immediately after the deal, “Chevron’s agreement with Ukraine was supported by the U.S. as part of its national security strategy to help reduce Russia’s hold on Europe and Kiev.” As quoted in the article, U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt said, “I’m very determined to cooperate with the Ukrainian government in strengthening Ukraine’s energy independence.”

That “cooperation” is couched in the language of “independence,” but it’s actually about shifting to financial interdependence with powerful, American corporate interests. It’s not about freedom or self-determination or human rights.

It’s about the “Open Door.”

Since the U.S. proposed the Open Door Policy in China at the end of the 19thCentury, American “soft imperialism” has exploited resource opportunities for American corporate interests in dozens of “friendly” regimes—their commitment to freedom notwithstanding.

Whether it was oil in Iranbananas in Guatemala or sugar-cane in Cuba, any move to close the door on U.S. business interests has traditionally been met with dire warnings about the dangers of isolationism and specious claims about America’s national interests, which, oddly enough, always seem to be located in another country.

Throughout the Cold War, those “endangered” national interests inspired CIA hijinks around the world. U.S. foreign policymakers supported regime change in places like Chile (calling Dr. Kissinger) and around Central America, and they doled out generous foreign aid packages to a motley crew of anti-communist “strongmen.” If push came to shove, the U.S. military might even get involved.

Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. policy has been kicking open doors around the world and particularly around the edges of the former Soviet Union. Expansion of NATO and U.S. involvement in the former “Soviet Stans” around Afghanistan extended a semi-circle of U.S. military might around Russia. And the Ukrainian energy independence trumpeted by Ambassador Pyatt amounted to a declaration of economic warfare on Russia’s oil and gas-based economy. Like Condi Rice before him, Ambassador Pyatt’s well-established priority is to ensure that well-connected businesses get in on the ground floor.

Once on the ground floor, they need insurance—either from local clients or from a neighborhood patrol by U.S. forces. Perhaps that’s why Ms. Rice used her Ukraine op-ed as an opportunity to advocate leaving a permanent military force in Afghanistan. She doesn’t want to hear “talk of withdrawal from Afghanistan whether the security situation warrants it or not.” For her, nothing less than 10,000 troops will do. Otherwise, the U.S. is “not serious about helping to stabilize that country.”

Yet, one wonders if she—like all the professional hand-wringers, truculent think tankers, and once and future policymakers who’ve grandstanded on the showdown with Russia—isn’t quietly more concerned about something more basic than freedom, liberty and justice for all.

Perhaps the former Secretary of State, former Chevron big-wig and former oil tanker is more concerned with the ability of Chevron to realize its Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline dream. Her old cohorts practicing soft imperialism at the U.S. State Department have certainly been doing their part to help Chevron score that lucrative contract.

The banal truth is that America’s long-standing policy is to help people anywhere and everywhere when those people just so happen to be living on or near valuable resources. Unless, of course, it’s BahrainNigeriaKazakhstan or anywhere else repressive and corrupt governments are already interdependent upon U.S. corporate interests.

Follow JP @newsvandal and at newsvandal.com.

 

 

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I actually watch more movies than I write about here.  Some are so inconsequential (early 70s vampire soft core?), and some are so stupid that they don’t even deserve mention.  Okay, there’s embarrassment for having chosen and sat through them at all.  We’ve all been there.  I’m pretty open-minded and end up there a lot.

One such film that I decided to ignore here was The Internship with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughan.  If I bothered to review it, then I would have started by complaining how I felt like I was raped by Google Inc.  The product placement has become the movie, a new level of corporate psychological malfeasance.  Additionally, The Internship was stuffed with formula, unfunny generational humor and tired shtick.  Google should have gotten an executive producer credit and probably put up a chunk of money to remind us of the glory of Google, about a hundred times.

It’s a bit disturbing that the trend is toward corporate promotion and away from art, away from storytelling that matters to people (if that ever was a concern in Hollywood). I may have to belt the next knob who utters the Satanic phrase “branded entertainment.”  Bill Hicks discussed a similar situation two decades ago.

Crass marketing calculus has become the product.  The concern is no longer a wonderful story that brings along side benefits.  The only concerns are the side benefits.

Other films I’ve not bothered reviewing include The Master, which I didn’t take to.  Who could, really?  It was a dismal and ugly thing, quite unlike the other film mentioned, but still it didn’t resonate enough to warrant an additional review.  I’d already posted someone’s take on it here, and I didn’t feel it really earned a revisiting.

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The Total Recall remake was mind numbingly bad too, but I spared the readers hoping it would just fade away like a bad commercial.  The cheezy 80s Arnold version gains in stature.  Others that passed by the wayside include The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Identity Thief, Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie and The Other Guys.  None of these will end up in any pantheon of great comedies no matter how dumbed down the future may be.

I’ve watched and rewatched films, searching for gems, but when they don’t stand out I spare the readers. Yesterday morning I finished watching Hello Herman, a little indie film about the death penalty and school spree massacres.  I wasn’t going to post about it as it’s just not done very well.  The budget of course was a factor but also the specific execution.  Not terrible, but not terribly consequential either.

Today I watched the 1999 film Beat, with Courtney Love and Kiefer Sutherland.  This little historical drama tells of how William S. Burroughs murdered his wife.  Not a terrible film, but also not clicking.  Not worthy of its own post, I’m not going to pretend it’s a Cult Classic or Under the Radar.  The Burroughs barrage of insanity, Naked Lunch, however, directed by David Cronenberg is a true mind bender.

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So many movies fall short that it’s rather a shame in terms of wasted resources, time, effort.  A couple years back they were submitting 10,000 films per year to the Sundance Festival.  That’s 10k full length movies, not shorts, not scripts.

The current film explosion is resource unfriendly, gobbling up time, money and dreams.  The opportunity costs are significant.  All that effort could have been put to something else.  I’ve been of the opinion that 90% of them are just a waste of human potential and the viewer’s time.  How to get to the good ones without a flood of the ghastly?  Can the top 5% exist without the 95% missed opportunities?  Seems that so many aim low, confident in their exploitative power: selling sex, selling violence, selling revenge, selling torture porn.  Of the ones that actually try harder, why so many botched efforts?  Have we seen it all?  Is there nothing new under the sun?

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I think the industry grinds on because it is an industry.  People are in it for the paycheck, and whatever else their “product” foists on the world is not important to most of the people involved. The ideas being spread are largely out of their control, and people need to work.  This capitalist system is responsible for churning out mercenary art, art that exists solely because of the money flows. The participants concoct elaborate defenses as to why their system, the one they are personally invested in, is so valid, but the results, to the dispassionate observer, don’t appear so glorious.

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Jacque Fresco continues challenging humanity to advance and to evolve.  Kickstarter.

Paradise or Oblivion?

 

 

Day of the Falcon-poster-8

Finally a grown-up movie set in the Arab world.  This Is one of the most memorable and epic films I’ve seen in a while, with an international cast, a wonderful poignant story, real issues and intense action.

Drawing obviously from Lawrence of Arabia, Day of the Falcon works better in my opinion.  For several reasons, not least of which is the idea of a British imperial white man (Lawrence) leading the Arabs, I don’t find that film the immaculate classic that others may.

But Falcon features Antonio Banderas in a harsh role as an emir of an Arabian tribe and pitted against his rival, the Sultan of the neighboring tribe.  In a deal, upon the conclusion of a battle, the Sultan’s two sons are taken as hostages to live with the emir and to insure the peace.  The disputed desert region is to be a no man’s land, owned by no one.  When oil is later discovered in the no man’s land, it sets the stage for different world views, different traditions and different approaches to this newly-discovered resource.  That conflict has been at the center of world politics ever since.

It’s a travesty that a film of this caliber apparently lost money, and was not embraced by audiences.

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