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Your HANDY Guide to Civilizational Collapse

A Report on Precarious Civilizations
by Ray Grigg - Shades of Green
Anthropologists such as Ronald Wright in his book, A Short History of Progress, and Jared Diamond in his, Collapse, are not the only ones who are noting the precarious condition of civilizations. Now, a report by a multi-disciplinary team of natural and social scientists from the University of Maryland, led by an applied mathematician Safa Motesharri of the US National Science Foundation, has brought the precautionary message from the past much closer to the present.
Their report, called the “Human And Nature DYnamical model (HANDY)”, uses research tools developed by NASA to examine the durability of our current civilization.

Their conclusion, like the one in the books of Wright and Diamond, is:

Civilizations are fragile, that they rise and fall, and that ours exhibits some of the historical characteristics of vulnerability.

As expected, the credibility of an academic report such as HANDY is automatically doubted because every civilization proceeds with the blind confidence of its own ideology, believing it has the formula for perpetual success — until it belatedly realizes it doesn't. Careful academic study, however, can expose the fiction of this confidence by analyzing the evidence beyond such ideological myopia. This is what HANDY has done.

What's Up with Washington's Putin Bashing?

Why is Putin in Washington’s Crosshairs?
by Mike Whitney - CounterPunch
“Washington wants to weaken Moscow economically by slashing its gas revenues and, thus, eroding its ability to defend itself or its interests. The US does not want an economically-integrated Europe and Asia. The de facto EU-Russian alliance is a direct threat to US global hegemony.”

US provocations in Ukraine cannot be understood apart from Washington’s “Pivot to Asia”, which is the broader strategic plan to shift attention from the Middle East to Asia. The so called “re-balancing” is actually a blueprint for controlling China’s growth in a way that is compatible with US hegemonic ambitions.

There are different schools of thought about how this can be achieved, but loosely speaking they fall into two categories, “dragon slayers” and “panda huggers”.

Dragon slayers favor a strategy of containment while panda huggers favor engagement. As yet, the final shape of the policy has not been decided, but it’s clear from hostilities in the South China Sea and the Senkaku Islands, that the plan will depend heavily on military force.

The Abject Mr. Kerry: Can't Say He's Sorry Enough for "Israel Apartheid" Gaffe

Kerry Grovels over Israeli ‘Apartheid’
by Robert Parry - Consortium News
kerry-aipac 2014It is a mark of how upside-down Official Washington has become over facts and evidence that Secretary of State John Kerry, who has developed a reputation for making false and misleading statements about Syria and Russia, rushes to apologize when he speaks the truth about the danger from Israeli “apartheid.”
After public disclosure that he had said in a closed-door meeting of the Trilateral Commission last week that Israel risked becoming an “apartheid state,” Kerry hastily apologized for his transgression, expressing his undying support for Israel and engaging in self-flagellation over his word choice.

Secretary of State John Kerry speaking to the AIPAC conference on March 3, 2014.
“For more than 30 years in the United States Senate, I didn’t just speak words in support of Israel,” Mr. Kerry said in his statement. “I walked the walk when it came time to vote and when it came time to fight.”

He then sought to clarify his position on the A-word:
“First, Israel is a vibrant democracy and I do not believe, nor have I ever stated, publicly or privately, that Israel is an apartheid state or that it intends to become one. Anyone who knows anything about me knows that without a shred of doubt.”
Kerry added: “If I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two state solution.”

The West's Model Democracy... in Afghanistan

'Hard Clay' - Remaking Afghanistan In 'Our' Image
by David Edwards  - Media Lens
Last month, we reviewed the mind-boggling contrast between corporate media coverage of the January 2005 election in Iraq and the March 2014 referendum in Crimea.
Whereas all media accepted the basic legitimacy of an Iraq election conducted under extremely violent US-UK military occupation, they all rejected the legitimacy of a Crimea referendum conducted 'at [Russian] gunpoint'.
It was not difficult to guess how the same media would respond to the Afghan presidential election of April 5 under the guns of Britain and America's occupying force.
The Daily Telegraph had welcomed 'the first democratic elections' in Iraq (Leader, 'Mission accomplished,' December 6, 2004) and dismissed the Crimea vote as 'an illegal referendum conducted at gunpoint'. As for Afghanistan:
'The sight of millions of Afghans defying the Taliban to vote in their country's presidential election should induce genuine humility. We might take democracy for granted; they emphatically do not.'

Democracy it was, then. Had the editors forgotten that the vote was taking place under US-UK military occupation? In fact, no:
'The idea that the Taliban are waiting to sweep back to power as soon as American and British troops depart has also taken a knock. If this poll continues to proceed smoothly, the country should have the inestimable benefit of a legitimately elected leader.'
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Under Fire: Another Day in Damascus

Not Only Mortars, But Gunfire Too On Damascus
by Eva Bartlett - In Gaza
This afternoon, having been walking through crowded streets on an notably warmer day, I took a breather in the shade, against the wall of the old city, between Bab Touma (Thomas Gate) and Bab Sharqi (East Gate). The grassy patch is small there, but better than nothing. Ten meters away, the sidewalk, then the busy road encircling the old city.
To the east lies Jobar, somewhere just under a kilometer away, from where “rebels” have been firing mortars in all directions, including into the old city of Damascus and other areas. But I wasn’t expecting gunfire from there to here.
Shortly after 3 pm, as I sat along that wall, a dog near a tree to my right, couple and groups of friends ten meters or so away (closer to Bab Sharqi), bullets whizzed past me, half a meter to my right, to my left, and nearby.
Everyone in the vicinity jumped up and ran, most looking panicked.

They Whys and Whos of Russia Destabilization Program

Why Neocons Seek to Destabilize Russia
by Robert Parry - ConsortiumNews
vladimir-putin-russiaNow that the demonization of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is in full swing, one has to wonder when the neocons will unveil their plan for “regime change” in Moscow, despite the risks that overthrowing Putin and turning Russia into a super-sized version of Ukraine might entail for the survival of the planet.

Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Russian government photo)
There is a “little-old-lady-who-swallowed-the-fly” quality to neocon thinking. When one of their schemes goes bad, they simply move to a bigger, more dangerous scheme.
If the Palestinians and Lebanon’s Hezbollah persist in annoying you and troubling Israel, you target their sponsors with “regime change” – in Iraq, Syria and Iran. If your “regime change” in Iraq goes badly, you escalate the subversion of Syria and the bankrupting of Iran. [See’s “The Mysterious Why of the Iraq War.”]
Just when you think you’ve cornered President Barack Obama into a massive bombing campaign against Syria – with a possible follow-on war against Iran – Putin steps in to give Obama a peaceful path out, getting Syria to surrender its chemical weapons and Iran to agree to constraints on its nuclear program.
So, this Obama-Putin collaboration has become your new threat. That means you take aim at Ukraine, knowing its sensitivity to Russia. [For details, see’s “What Neocons Want from Ukraine Crisis.”]

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Janos Maté, Eva Golinger, Janine Bandcroft April 28th, 2014

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook -
che kokoOver the weekend, Victoria commemorated the 44th Earth Day with a rally, march, and the Creatively United for the Planet festival. The hope is, we can bring the various quarters of our human society together to bring some semblance of sanity to the way we live upon this, our only viable address within the next few million light years,or so.

Going back more than half the distance to that first Earth Day, my first guest has devoted his creative energies to addressing some of the most urgent environmental issues we face.

In 1989, Janos Maté joined Greenpeace, and in 1992 took on its campaign to protect the ozone layer from the misuse of industrial chemicals - and though his work was recognized in 2010 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Montreal Protocol Award, he reminds; the campaign goes on.

Listen. Hear.

In 1995, Maté was among the Greenpeace crew that sailed into the French exclusion zone at the Mururoa Atoll to stop nuclear tests. Closer to home, Maté is, with Whale Friends and No Whales in Captivity, pushing to see an end to the 'incarceration for entertainment' of whales and dolphins at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Janos Maté in the first half.
And; few human endeavors pose a greater risk to the natural environment than war. In these last decades, the relentless push of profit-driven conflict has wreaked havoc around the globe. From the occupations of Gaza, Afghanistan, and Iraq, to the more subtle subterfuges provoking violence and social breakdown in Syria, and Ukraine, it's clear; a more nuanced understanding of the workings of the World is required to make some sense of War in the 21st Century.
Eva Golinger is an award-winning American journalist, author, and attorney living in Caracas, Venezuela for almost a decade. Golinger is winner of the International Award for Journalism in Mexico, and was named 'La Novia de Venezuela' by the late President, Hugo Chávez. Some of her English language book titles include: 'Bush vs. Chávez: Washington's War on Venezuela,' 'The Empire's Web: Encyclopedia of Interventionism and Subversion,' and 'The Chávez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela,' which is currently being made into a feature film. Golinger has, since 2003 been analyzing and investigating US interventions in Latin America and, as well as her many articles, has written two books in Spanish on the subject. Her documentary film, 'One Day with President Evo Morales' is a Russia Today "special project" that will air tonight and tomorrow on RT.
Eva Golinger and The Dirty Hand of the National Endownment for Democracy in Venezuela in the second half.
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with some of what's good going on on our city's streets and beyond in the coming week. But first, Janos Maté and twenty-five years on the Green front line.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at:  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:
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Spoiling for a Fight: Will Washington Get the War It Wants?

Does Washington want war with Russia?
by Bill Van Auken  - WSWS
Does Washington want a war with Russia? A review of recent US actions surrounding the crisis in Ukraine clearly poses what would have once seemed an unthinkable question. The Obama administration is playing a very dangerous game of Russian Roulette.
In the last 48 hours, the Pentagon has announced the deployment of US paratrooper units to Poland and the three former Baltic republics of the Soviet Union—Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania—bringing US troops to Russia’s very border. Another American warship has been dispatched to the Black Sea and more US forces are slated to deploy to Ukraine itself this summer under an exercise known as Operation Rapid Trident.
These military moves by Washington are unfolding in the context of an acute crisis within Ukraine that, thanks to the machinations of Washington and its puppets, threatens to erupt into full-blown civil war.

Iron Law of Oligarchy Back with a Vengeance

Oligarchs R' US: That "Iron Law" of Oligarchy Is Back to haunts Us
by Danny Schechter - Global Research
For years, it was a term only used in connection with those big bad and sleazy Mafioso-type businessmen in Russia.
Russia had Oligarchs; we didn’t.
That became a big difference between the official narrative of what separated our land of the free and the home of the brave from THEM, the snakes in the shades and private planes, in the post-Soviet period.
Actually, I first heard the term oligarchy when I was studying labor history at Cornell a half a lifetime ago.
We were taught about something called the “Iron Law of Oligarchy.”

Nation Breakers: The NED's Venezuela Operation

The Dirty Hand of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in Venezuela
by Eva Golinger - Postcards from the Revolution
endowment-democracy-exit-nationalAnti-government protests in Venezuela that seek regime change have been led by several individuals and organizations with close ties to the US government. Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Corina Machado - two of the public leaders behind the violent protests that started in February - have long histories as collaborators, grantees and agents of Washington.
The National Endowment for Democracy “NED” and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) have channeled multi-million dollar funding to Lopez’s political parties Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular, and Machado’s NGO Sumate and her electoral campaigns.
These Washington agencies have also filtered more than $14 million to opposition groups in Venezuela between 2013 and 2014, including funding for their political campaigns in 2013 and for the current anti-government protests in 2014. This continues the pattern of financing from the US government to anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela since 2001, when millions of dollars were given to organizations from so-called “civil society” to execute a coup d’etat against President Chavez in April 2002.

Mission Accomplished: FCC Colludes with Media Oligarchs to Kill Net Neutrality

FCC Plots Murder of Blogs on Behalf of Billionaire Media Lords
by Juan Cole - Informed Comment
If you thought corporations played a big role in your life already, just wait until tomorrow, when the FCC gives up the ghost on net neutrality.

Image: By Matt Wuerker for (which, interestingly, has been suspended).

What does this mean?

It means that the companies with more money and more bankrolling (and a better way to bribe services like Comcast) will have more broadband, while other, smaller companies that haven’t curried favor with their corporate overlords are going to be left with the table scraps. 

ISPs cannot legally slow traffic on purpose, but when you have a two tier system and the corporate approach to ethics (that is, “catch me doing something wrong, I dare you”), how do you tell the difference between slow and “slow?”

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