Thursday, February 18, 2016

Throw out your dead

"Saudi, Turkey backpedaling on Syria invasion?"

"Obama at a Crossroads: to Join Russia or to Fight against It"

"In Brazil, Zika conspiracy theories are contagious"

"Collapse of Iraqi Kurdistan"

"Who Says “Je Suis Faurrisson”?"

"Hezbollah’s Nasrallah Flags Ability To Deter Israel From Third Lebanon War – Barbara Opall-Rome/Defense News":
"In a televised speech commemorating Martyr Leaders Day in Beirut, Nasrallah cited reports in the Israeli media about the vulnerabilities of an ammonia storage tank in Haifa Bay containing more than 15,000 tons of ammonia gas.
“The inhabitants of Haifa are afraid of an attack … that will lead to the death of tens of thousands of inhabitants out of a population of some 800,000. What does this mean? It means that a few missiles on this ammonia site could have the result of a nuclear bomb,” Nasrallah said, according to a simultaneous English translation carried on Iran’s Press TV."

"Can we make sense of the Malheur mess?" There is a destruction-of-the-commons-for-the-sole-benefit-of-the-0.1% conspiracy theory here:
"It is tempting to use the venerable Santayana quote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” but it doesn’t fit here. Ammon Bundy (I did not meet him during my visit to the refuge) may or may not know the history of land use in the West, but there will be no repeating the free-grazing era of the late 19th century. Not in the fastest-growing developed nation on earth, on a planet that will soon play host to nine or 10 billion human beings. Nothing will be free. What the militants are asking for is almost exactly what more mainstream political leaders like Rep. Rob Bishop, from Utah, or the American Lands Council, now headed by Montana state Sen. Jennifer Fielder, say they want, too. The Malheur occupation, with the incessant press coverage in its early weeks, was the soapbox for disseminating payloads of misinformation about America’s public lands, about their management, about how and why we have them. Every soundbite was delivered to further the goal of privatization.
The Bundys and the militants who follow and support them are the agents of their own destruction.
Should these adherents to the land transfer movement succeed and have the public lands given or sold to the states, some version of the State of Deseret will almost certainly flourish. Such a place already exists, of course: the Deseret Ranches, owned by the Church of Latter Day Saints, 235,000 acres in Utah and 678,000 acres in Florida (2 percent of Florida’s landmass). The LDS corporation would certainly be prepared to make some very large purchases of what is now public land, but it is highly unlikely that any of the Bundy family, or any of Finicum’s many children, would be grazing their cows there. Smaller operators cannot own lands that do not put enough pounds on cows to pay property taxes. It is unlikely that any of the current crop of smallholder ranchers anywhere in the West will be able to bid for productive land against the Church; or against families like the Wilks of Texas, who have so far bought over 300,000 acres of austere grazing land north south of the Missouri Breaks in Montana; or the Koch family, whose ranch holdings comprise about 460,000 acres (including almost a quarter million acres in Montana); or Ted Turner, who has some 2 million acres across the US; or Stan Kroenke, who two years ago purchased the 165,000-acre Broken O Ranch in Montana and has just bought the 510,000 acre W.T. Waggoner Ranch in Texas.
Buyers, in a world packed and competitive beyond the imaginations of those who set aside these unclaimed and abandoned lands as forest reserves and public grazing lands in the early 1900s, are now everywhere, planet-wide. As Utah State Rep. Ken Ivory, when he was president of the American Lands Council, famously said of privatizing federal lands, “It’s like having your hands on the lever of a modern-day Louisiana Purchase.”
When that lever is pulled, and it will be, unless a majority of Americans know enough about what is at stake to oppose it, we will live through the transformation of our country. Federal water rights that underpin entire agricultural economies, and that are critical to some of the last family farms and ranches in America, will be in play. Few Americans, even those in the cities of the east who know nothing about these lands, will be untouched in some way by the transformation. Once the precedent for divesting federal lands is well-set, the eastern public lands, most of them far more valuable than those in the West, will go on the international auction block. The unique American experiment in balancing the public freedom and good with private interests will be forever shattered, while a new kind of inequality soars, not just inequality of economics and economic opportunity, but of life experience, the chance to experience liberty itself. The understanding that we all share something valuable in common – the vast American landscape, yawning to all horizons and breathtakingly beautiful – will be further broken. These linked notions of liberty and unity and the commons have been obstacles to would-be American oligarchs and plutocrats from the very founding of our nation, which is why they have been systematically attacked since the Gilded Age of the 1890s."
"Hillary Looks Like She’s About to Die" Between her and Bill it's a cadaver-fest.
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