Sunday, October 19, 2014

An interview with D. Neumann

That producer from BBC never called back, so I decided to interview myself. Here goes;

D: Why do you call your blog Falling Downs?

D: Because I live on a 100 year old farmstead that is literally falling down. Thought I'd borrow the...

D: Ya ya, I get it... have you thought of fixing it up?

D: No, but the Farm Manager thinks about it all the time.

D: What's the deal with the Farm Manager?

D: No clue. Really smart Jewish chick. No idea what she's doing here.

D: Are you an actual hillbilly?

D: Well, there are some parts cars on the premises, and I am storing a car battery behind the door in the kitchen, which by the way, the Farm Manager hasn't noticed yet, but overall my hillbilly cred is probably on the light side.

D: Are you pot-addled?

D: Sometimes.

D: Do you swill beer?

D: Sometimes.

D: What about Junior?

D: What about Junior?

D: Union or non-union?

D: Union.

D: Israel or Palestine?

D: Jews and Arabs living together in peace.

D: Gay marriage?

D: Sorry, I'm spoken for.

D: Minimum wage?

D: I think $20/ hour is a reasonable goal. Everybody who wants to work is entitled to work, and nobody who works should live in poverty.

D: Obamacare?

D: Obama had the same fantasy that Hillary once had; to bring single payer universal health care to America. The health care lobby has showed them who's in charge.

D: War?

D: Never.

D: Peace?

D: The worst peace is better than the best war.

D: Thank you for your time, Mr. Neumann.

D: No problem.

US Air Force now flying support missions for al Qaeda in Syria

Yup, that al Qaeda, our worst enemies who brought down the twin towers etc.

I was a little confused about the tale of the al Raqqa Brigades fighting ISIS in Kobani.

So I did a little research.

Far from "coming out of nowhere," ISIS was a well documented presence in Raqqa a year and a half ago.

Here's a nice over-view of the infighting among various jihadi groups that clearly shows that the al Raqqa Brigades abandoned the Free Syrian Army and aligned themselves with al Qaeda.

Here's a story that suggests the fall of Raqqa happened with the connivance of the Assad regime.

The city of Raqqa was the scene of much internecine combat between al-Qaeda aligned jihadis and ISIS factions. ISIS eventually prevailed.

That fight has in the last month been transferred to Kobani, where ISIS and the al Qaeda factions are again fighting for supremacy.

This battle is being sold in Western media as a Kurds vs. Islamic State struggle. In reality it's a continuation of the battle between ISIS and al Qaeda, in which the Kurds are backing al Qaeda.

And so is the USAF.

The USAF is now the al Qaeda Air Force!

Who's fighting who in Kobani?

I don't know about you, but I'm a little confused by all the space the supposed ISIS siege of the Syrian border town of Kobani has been getting in the news.

For the most part it's a story spun to champion the valorous Kurds and demonize Turkey, because Erdogan refuses to go along with the plan, very popular among beltway strategists at the moment, to supply the Kurds with US weapons.

ISIS already have plenty of US weapons, which at the moment are being targeted by US bombs.

We know that the Kurds are the good guys here, because they are fighting ISIS, although they were never fighting the evil Assad all that hard, and remain on the official US terror list.

The evil Assad, by the way, was not considered all that evil until very recently.
Evil Assad has chit-chat with John Kerry

Evil Assad meets her Maj

So now Assad is a bad guy, and the ISIS moderates we trained and armed have morphed into even badder guys, so we have to fly over Syria to bomb the Syrian petroleum infrastructure, which apparently hurts ISIS, who are really really bad because they do not respect the rights of women, whereas the Kurds are the good guys who although they are a culture that practices female genital mutilation, are otherwise all aboard for the equal rights of women.

Or something like that.

Meanwhile, even though this Kobani deal has been spun as the evil ISIS vs. the hard-pressed Kurds, today it emerges that while Kobani may have been a predominantly Kurdish city, it's not just Kurds fighting ISIS, but other Islamist groups fighting ISIS as well.

Like the al-Raqqa Brigades, who are sometimes linked to al Qaeda and sometimes not, and possibly the al-Nussra Front, who are also sometimes al Qaeda, and sometimes not and sometimes associated with ISIS... gosh, it's confusing!

It would probably be just as true to spin Kobani as an al-Qaeda attack on ISIS, with the Kurds throwing their lot in with Qaeda for the moment, and the US Air Force serving, at least for the moment, as the al-Qaeda Air Force.

At least there's one thing not confusing; every bomb and bullet flying in either direction was paid for directly or indirectly by the US taxpayer!

That's got to warm the hearts of the war profiteers.  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Ebola sweepstakes

Ebola is the NEXT BIG THING that you and your loved ones must fear.

Fear is good!

Fear will stampede millions of consumers into buying any anti-Ebola vaccine they can get their hands on.

At any price!

Here's why it's so important for Ebola to make a beach-head in the rich world. Look what happened to Sovaldi. That's a hep C cure that costs American consumers $84,000. It's available overseas for as little as $300 in its generic versions. When you are a pharmaceutical company peddling cures to terminal illness, you want customers who can pay!

The generics who dole out Sovaldi rip-offs at $300 per treatment are making money, but think of how much more money you can make at $84,000 per!

What's going on right now behind the Ebola scenes is that armies of patent attorneys, intellectual property wizards, and financial wheeler-dealers are jockeying for position to have their Ebola cure be the first to market.

Hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake.

A tiny start-up in Iowa scored the latest media triumph when it was revealed that they held commercial rights to an Ebola vaccine developed in Winnipeg by the Canadian government. NewLink Genetics raised 40 millions in its 2011 IPO. You can find more than that under the couch cushions in the house of Big Pharma.

A little bit of positive media, and NewLink will be a billion dollar concern virtually overnight.

There's big money in Ebola.

Baron Black's attack on Iran would be suicide for Israel

That's why it doesn't happen.

Conrad "Monty" Black's prescription for peace in the Middle East, written on a day he got into the cooking sherry a little earlier than usual, speculates that in the current climate of chaos wrought in the region by the Nations of Virtue, it might be a good idea if Israel, perhaps in concert with Turkey and Saudi Arabia, eliminated the threat of the imaginary Iranian nukes once and for all. (There had to be more than sherry at work here...)

Black, former publisher of the JPost, still hews to the Likud party line, and as the world knows, the Iran nuke has been a bee in Bibi's bonnet for a quarter century now. Yes, those Iranian nuclear engineers have been months away from a nuclear weapon since the early nineties!

So why does the IAF not do something about it?

The IAF/IDF at the upper echelons are populated with serious people who don't take the yapping of ultra-nationalist politicians and armchair warmongers seriously. While Conrad Black can gloat about the IDF's "thrashing" of Hamas from his mansion in Toronto, IDF boss Benny Gantz acknowledges the courage of the Hamas fighters. Gantz understands that the only result of an unnecessary war that took the lives of five dozen IDF troops was to enhance the prestige of Hamas among the Palestinians.

That's what Mr. Black calls a thrashing of Hamas. The only thing thrashed by Operation Over the Edge was Israel's standing in world opinion.

The serious people understand the limits of what the IDF can and cannot do. They can't destroy Hezbollah, they can't destroy Hamas, and they certainly won't destroy Iran. Even in a nuclear first strike, there will be enough assets left over among Iran and her allies that Israel would be obliterated.

For their part, the Iranians understand that any attack on Israel would be suicidal as well.

What we've got here is MAD lite. Might as well get used to it, live with it, and make the best of it. The threat of mutually assured destruction kept the peace between NATO and the Soviet bloc for 50 years; it can do the same for Iran and Israel.

Saudi Arabia saves Ukraine from Putin - Conrad Black

That astonishing revelation comes from no less an armchair general than disgraced peer, convicted fraudster, and failed media magnate Conrad Black.

As Conrad sees it, Putin's order to have Russian troops pull back from the Ukraine border last week was not a goodwill gesture in the ongoing dialogue with Ukraine PM Poroshenko, but the result of pressure put on Russia by Saudi Arabia!

Conrad's musings in the National Post are a toxic stew of Islamophobia, Putin-bashing and wishful thinking.

  • ISIS is fading and will be beaten by the Kurds
  • Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Israel will join forces to liberate Iran
  • more bombing will bring peace and democracy to Iraq and Syria
  • Iran is the main cause of conflict in the region... and so on.
In fact, Mr. Black pretty much gives you the standard PNAC/Likud boilerplate in one condensed easy-to-read article... I didn't have to run for the dictionary once!

Mr. Black, in spite of the many set-backs he has suffered over the past two decades, remains an entertaining spokesman for the smug and self-righteous Western elites. 

Too bad he gets so much so wrong!

Ten years ago, with oil under $50, western companies were pouring billions into the Russian oil fields because it was profitable for them to do so at that price. Now that the infrastructure is in place Russia isn't going to be crippled by a price of $70, but the fracking industry behind America's petro-renaissance will be.

There goes America's so-called economic recovery. 

"Demented theocrats" in Tehran aren't the biggest obstacle to peace in the region; that would be the demented theocrats in Washington who truly believe, in their hearts, in America's God-given exceptionalism.

The Arab people have been mis-governed for the past 65 years because American power has propped up corrupt and repressive governments, and forced repeated wars on the region to affect regime change whenever the vassals strayed too far from their script.

The many uses of ISIS

It has become abundantly clear that the ruling elites throughout the Nations of Virtue have seldom enjoyed such a useful enemy as ISIS.

In the first place, having hordes of disaffected Muslim youth abandon the Islamic ghettos of the great European cities to make jihad in Syria and Iraq serves as a valuable pressure-relief valve. Let them roam around in the deserts of the Levant slaughtering other Muslims, instead of making mischief in Stockholm and Marseilles.

The fear of what these radicalised youth could get up to when they come home in turn gives our rulers another lever with which to further tamp down our ever-eroding civil liberties. What are a few more limits on citizenship and freedom if they'll keep us safe from these fanatics?

Then there is the never-ending gravy train created by the need to train and provision forces that are willing to fight ISIS, because aside from dropping bombs and missiles from a safe distance, we're not. That creates vast wealth for myriad Western defence contractors, sub-contractors, consultants, and weapons manufacturers of all stripes.

ISIS also helps draw the eye away from the systemic human rights abuses among our allies in the region. What's another child shot dead in Gaza by the IDF when compared to this ISIS rampage? What's another dozen be-headings in Saudi Arabia when the blood-thirsty goons of ISIS be-head Western journalists?

And what a great excuse to send our warplanes into Syria to soften up that stubborn al-Assad, all in the name of supporting the moderate opposition, mind you!

Finally, the closer we can come to Iran's borders in the name of fighting ISIS, the shorter that final drive into Tehran will be!

By God, if fate had not provided us with such an extravagantly useful enemy, we would have had to invent them!