Several years ago I wrote a Hip Fish column applying the biblical proverb, “There is a way that seems right, but the end thereof is death” to industrial civilization. Now, as commitment to the present urban high tech civilization continues unabated, we stand at the precipice of mass annihilation. We continue to kill some 200 species of our once fecund earth per day, as we cut down rain and old growth forests, converting them to industrial commodities. As we continue pumping planet warming gases into the air and acidifying the seas, we begin to witness the earth’s sixth great extinction. While other industrial countries like Iceland and Germany have been moving toward sustainability, US leadership either drags its feet, as did the Obama administration, or voices outright denial, as the Republican Party and its leader, President Trump, do in proclaiming human caused climate change a hoax. Amazingly our leaders remain more committed to the specious profitability of business as usual than to the preservation of the planetary biosphere.
There’s no proof that Russia hacked the US elections.
There’s no proof that Russian officials or Russian agents colluded with members of the Trump campaign.
There’s no proof that Russia provided material support of any kind for the Trump campaign or that Russian agents hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails or that Russian officials provided Wikileaks with emails that were intended to sabotage Hillary’s chances to win the election.
So far, no one in any of the 17 US intelligence agencies has stepped forward and verified the claims of Russian meddling or produced a scintilla of hard evidence that Russia was in anyway involved in the 2016 elections.
In the agitated August of 1968, the myopic Soviet Union rolled its drab tank platoons into Czechoslovakia, crushing a spontaneous outbreak of free speech and self-determination known as the Prague Spring. Far away, perhaps cloistered in some poet’s atelier, W.H. Auden scripted his impressions from a distance:
The Ogre does what ogres can, Deeds quite impossible for Man, But one prize is beyond his reach, The Ogre cannot master Speech: About a subjugated plain, Among its desperate and slain, The Ogre stalks with hands on hips, While drivel gushes from his lips.
Auden’s swift and masterful portrait of the autocratic state imagined the Soviet state as Czech citizens surely saw it, though not as inhabitants of the Kremlin saw the monolith whose gears they so crudely engineered. Today the Ogre has relocated, no longer a habitué of Moscow and its onion-shaped domes, but of Washington and its own drab neoclassical domes and pedestals. It peers out of its labyrinth not at the Moskva River but the Potomac.
There is no such thing as cyber security. The only choice is more security or less security, as the recent hack of the National Security Agency demonstrates.
Hackers stole from NSA a cyber weapon, which has been used in attacks (at time of writing) on 150 countries, shutting down elements of the British National Health Service, the Spanish telecommunications company Telefonica, automakers Renault and Nissan, Russia’s Interior Ministry, Federal Express, the energy company PetroChina, and many more.
The news spin is to not blame NSA for its carelessness, but to blame Microsoft users for not updating their systems with a patch issued two months ago. But the important questions have not been asked: What was the NSA doing with such malware and why did NSA not inform Microsoft of the malware?
For at least four million years, our ancestors have been bipedal, they moved around on two legs. This ability evolved on the African savannah, tropical grassland. Being upright exposed less of their bodies to hot sunbeams, and their bushy head hair provided extra protection. Their nearly furless bodies, combined with three million sweat glands, allowed them to shed body heat better than other savannah mammals.
Being bipedal prohibited lightning fast bursts of speed, but it enabled steady long distance running in roasting temperatures. Other mammals could make quick getaways, but they soon had to find shade and chill out. Our ancestors were able to chase large animals in the heat of the day, hour after hour, until their prey collapsed from exhaustion or heat stroke.
The person you see in the mirror has a body that is optimized for running, not walking. Your toes and heel tendons provide a bounce when your foot hits the ground, improving energy efficiency. Your legs and spine are fine-tuned for jogging, keeping your head and eyes steady. Skilled runners seem to move with elegant smoothness, effortlessly gliding along, lightly skimming across the land.
Editor's Note: Africa - cradle of human development, ruthlessly exploited for centuries, dying. “Africa is a continent in flames. And deep down, if we really accepted that Africans were equal to us, we would all do more to put the fire out. We're standing around with watering cans, when what we really need is the fire brigade.” - Bono
The media's constant focus on US President Donald Trump means the risk of famine in Africa and the Middle East is being overshadowed, the head of the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) said, adding that the issue is a "reality," not "fake news."
"I mean literally if you turn on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN – it's nothing but Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump!" WFP Director-General David Beasley told reporters in Geneva. “And very little information about the famines in Syria, northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen."
"We've got to break through all of the smoke," he said, as quoted by AP. "This is not fake news, this is reality."
People across the world are commemorating the Nakba Day which marks the anniversary of the forcible eviction of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland by Israelis in 1948.
The Day of Catastrophe is officially marked every year on May 15, but the occasion this year coincides with a hunger strike being observed by more than 1,600 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
Some 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes during the 1948 war. Today, more than 7 million Palestinian refugees are living in exile, while 1.8 million Palestinians are living in the world's largest open-air prison in the Gaza Strip.
The Washington Post and New York Times editors are trying to relive the glory days of their youth by comparing Trump’s firing of FBI chief James Comey to Richard Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre at the height of Watergate. Donald Trump, it seems, is a threat to democracy just as Tricky Dick was more than 40 years ago, so the only thing that can save us is a special prosecutor who will get to the bottom of Russia-gate once and for all.
Probably later than many of you, I just discovered the source of the concept "ship of fools" on Wikipedia, where else? - and it seemed so fitting I decided to share it. I've edited it into paragraphs for readability.
Plato First Describes a Ship of Fools
Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better.
Venezuela expert Steve Ellner explains the deceptiveness of the mainstream media’s reporting on the country's political turmoil.
Venezuela has been rocked in recent weeks by almost daily protests and counter-protests, as right-wing opponents of socialist President Nicolas Maduro seek to bring down his government.
While the media portrays these events as a popular rebellion against an "authoritarian" government, supporters of the pro-poor Bolivarian revolution initiated by former president Hugo Chavez say the country is witnessing an escalation in what is an ongoing counter-revolutionary campaign seeking to restore Venezuela’s traditional elites in power and reverse the gains made by the poor majority under Chavez and Maduro.
CARACAS.– The United States government has undertaken, through various representatives, a total of 105 hostile actions and statements against Venezuela during the first five months of 2017.
“In the first five months of the year alone we have observed more than 105 hostile actions and declarations based on false allegations aimed at distorting the reality of Venezuela to serve the hegemonic interests of the United States in the region,” read a Venezuelan Foreign Ministry statement issued this Thursday, May 11.
DAMASCUS, SYRIA (9:00 P.M.) – With ISIS on the decline, the SAA and FSA contingents based in the Syrian desert have begun turning on one another, clashing on a daily basis in sparsely populated areas of Rif Dimashq, Sweida and Homs.
Last night, Free Syrian Army (FSA) militants fired dozens of GRAD rockets on strong points controlled by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the desert east of Damascus.
In response, the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) conducted numerous sorties on FSA convoys, even targeting a rearguard headquarter at the Al-Tanf border crossing.
“The regime does not fight terrorism. It’s actually the single biggest cause of terrorism in Syria. It is the cause of ISIS in Syria. And from — if you talk to Syrians, Bashar al-Assad and the regime is the biggest terrorist in the country. The force that’s actually fighting ISIS, which I assume is what he’s referring to, is the YPG, which is backed by the United States.”
My words? Not on your life.
No it’s the controlled opposition at Democracy Now going full frontal regime change on Syria.
First mistake: Emmanuel Macron’s handlers played Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” instead of the French national anthem at the winner’s election rally. Well, at least they didn’t play “Deutschland Über Alles.” The tensions in the Euroland situation remain: the 20 percent-plus youth unemployment, the papered-over insolvency of the European banks, and the implacable contraction of economic activity, especially at the southern rim of the EU.
The clash of civilizations brought on by the EU’s self-induced refugee glut still hangs over the continent like a hijab. That there was no Islamic terror violence around the election should not be reassuring. The interests of the jihadists probably lie in the continued squishiness of the status quo, with its sentimental multiculture fantasies — can’t we all just get along? — so En Marche was their best bet. LePen might have pushed back hard. Macron looks to bathe France’s Islamic antagonists in a nutrient-medium of Hollandaise lite.
A Book Review by Peter Koenig | May 12, 2017 | The Saker
The author, Michael Hudson, is President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), a Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.
Michael’s book, Junk Economics, reads like an economic thriller. It also provides all the answers to: “What I always wanted to know about Economics, but was afraid to ask”. It is a fascinating read, written for ‘experts’ as well as for economic novices. It is a factual account of what so called ‘Propaganda Experts’ want you to believe about economics, and it dismantles the myths. It explains ‘jargons’ that are on purpose coined, so that the average reader has no clue of their real meaning, but they create an illusion that supposedly serves him. When in reality, the invented and fake expressions make the believers into serfs – serfs to the very system they adore and believe it’s freedom. Michael’s book explains, what those economic manipulator ‘experts’ do not want you to understand.
Attempting to further spread its tentacles, the global multinationalist octopus often has to resort to baiting the masses in order to attract them, so that it can gain confidence in an approval of its actions. Globalisation is a complex and difficult process and demands a lot of effort while normalizing its deeds.
As such, measures that would instantly appeal to the masses are needed. Hollywood, video games, bestsellers, popular music, cultural and even religious trends are just some of the many ways how the ruling world order is trying to penetrate people’s lives and keep them under control, making sure they will not “slip” to the other side.
Editor's Note: The US has targeted Venezuela, a for nearly a decade due to its successful socialist revolution against colonialism and exploitatiion of its natural resources, particularly oil. Economic pressure has been increasingly applied since Maduro succeeded Chavez in 2013, in the form of corporate hoarding of food stocks and other suppliles. During the past year, the US has implemented its usual "phase 2", namely the construction of an "opposition" movement to try to turn the population against its own government through manufactured economic scarcities and "opposition" propaganda. This year, that US effort has been amped up in the form of violent "opposition protests" costing the lives of over 30 Venezuelans and by sending in the Venezuelan branch of their white helmets, the USAID-funded "Green Cross".
Academic psychology does not rank high on solutions to international crises, but it does have a concept worthy of our attention, “reactance” or the boomerang effect.
It means that the more you push in one direction, the more the opposite result occurs as a powerful form blowback. The greater the sanctions on North Korea to stop its nuclear program, for example, the more rapidly it develops its weapons, and the further grows the range of its ballistic missiles. The more the U.S. tries to decapitate Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, the more Al-Qaeda storefronts open in over 14 countries from Uganda to Uzbekistan. 
"Over the years we have been warned about the danger of subversive organizations that would threaten our liberties, subvert our system, would encourage its members to take further illegal action to advance their views, organizations that would incite and promote violence, pitting one American group against another... There is an organization that does fit those descriptions, and it is the organization, the leadership of which has been most constant in its warning to us to be on guard against such harm. The [FBI] did all of those things." -- Sen. Philip A. Hart, Select Committee on Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans, 1975, - Ed.
The issue of dismissal of FBI Director James Comey or alleged Russian meddling in US election is a dangerous distraction, according to Daniel Patrick Welch, an American writer and political analyst. [See this.]
Welch said the real issue is the resistance from Russia, China and Iran against a Western hegemony.