Monday, 7 August 2017


in your feed: BBC Culture recommends five-and-twenty arts and history podcasts with recommended episodes to try on for size

qvc: Dear Leader launches a propaganda network with weekly praise-a-thons as a refreshing alternative to fake news

automata: governments issuing guidelines to encourage manufacturers to redress lax security for smart cars and the internet of things

store brand: having accumulated billions of data points on sales, giant retail emporium turns, covertly, to selling its own line of products

zeitgeist: apps and internet dating platforms had already become part of the culture with two clubs in 1920s Berlin that facilitated flirtation via anonymised pneumatic tube, via Messy Nessy Chic

Friday, 4 August 2017

i am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people in the country

In a desperate plea for help, some brave soul at the White House leaked the full transcripts of Dear Leader’s conversations with the president of Mexico and the Australian prime minister, demonstrating that in private, one-on-one situations he’s still every bit as sub-literate, narcissistic and nasty as he is in public—for those holds-out that hoped he might have cultivated two personรฆ like his presidential opponent prescribed since he seems to be guilty of all the accusations that he hurled at Clinton. The transcripts are indeed humiliating and undermine America’s position when it comes to future negotiations on anything, but it is necessary to expose this regime for the vacuous and nihilistic sham it is. Imagine that these conversations occurred just after his inauguration (epochs ago in Trumpian time)—I wonder how much more unhinged he’s become since then.

Thursday, 3 August 2017


Disconcertingly the Russian prime minister has issued a statement in reaction to Dear Leader’s reluctant signing into law a bill continuing sanctions against Russia, North Korea and Iran (Dear Leader had reservation because he believed that Congress was undermining his executive authority and as a businessman who founded a company worth many billions, he was far more qualified than the legislative branch to negotiate a deal with foreign powers) that characterises the decision as a trade-war.
Dear Leader could have tried vetoing the bill but given almost universal bipartisan support to levy the embargo, which began in 2014 in response to the annexation of the Crimea, but that would have been even more damning confirmation of collusion and there was support enough to overturn any attempts to block its passage. The previous US administration expelled dozens of Russian diplomats and commandeered some of their property holdings that weren’t accorded extraterritorial status, but at the time, the Russian response was not symmetrical or immediate. Instead, Russia barred US citizens from adopting Russian orphans, ostensibly, over gay marriage—with adoption understood as code for sanctions throughout. Just now, the American mission to Moscow is being told to reduce staffing by half and its properties are being seized. The continued embargo foremost jeopardises the profitability of the Russian energy sector by making it harder to seek investors and business partners for its natural gas pipeline to western Europe. The broadly accepted narrative holds that Russia was motivated to interfere with the US presidential election with an aggressive social media campaign of sophistry to make Dear Leader appear to be the more palatable alternative.

Saturday, 22 July 2017


Though Germany’s message in support of social justice and democratic reform in Turkey might have withered (as we’ve seen in other milieu) if the country’s economic prosperity were under threat by maintaining its criticism, Germany nonetheless deserves our plaudit for not compromising its values in order to eke out just a little more profit.
Most regimes have no moral qualms when it comes to enabling dictatorships when there’s money and influence to be gained. Even businesses and the robust German tourist industry are showing some character, however, insofar as they’re not—overtly at least, cowing the government to acquiesce to their ambitions and agenda with palaver and ignorance—putting something much bigger at stake than vacation plans or market saturation or even the politics of the present. Though Germany’s foreign minister also enjoys the high-ground in this challenge—the tantrums that ErdoฤŸan is throwing are just as laughable and hollow but far more fraught for the people of Turkey—and authorities have stopped short of saying don’t travel to or invest in (although so much is implied by saying that Germany cannot vouch for one’s safety after multiple arrests and detention of activists, accusations supporting terror and of diplomatic embargoes and restricted access) the setbacks to Turkish relations to the West (Dear Leader’s affinity not counting towards the positive) and for the population are potentially immense and generational. I think Germany can take the name-calling, realising the gravity of the situation.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

around the horn

We’ve known for some time that the fall of the Byzantine Empire—precipitated by the Ottomans’ taking of Constantinople—in May of the year 1453 was an event chronically adjacent to the dawn of the age of exploration with Christopher Columbus’ voyages in 1492 and Vasco da Gama’s five years later (preceding both and inspiring the success of his fellow countryman subsequently was Bartlolomew Diaz). We, however, failed to recognise the collapse of the Eastern Roman Empire and the blockade of overland routes to Asia directly, like the series of Crusades to recapture the Holy Land of Middle Ages and safeguard caravans of pilgrims, was aimed to re-establish trade-routes severed by Muslim occupation.

Unlike what Marco Polo had done a century prior, one could no longer walk to India and China and so a sea-route was sought in order to satiate those willing to spend exorbitant amounts of wealth on exotic spices and silks. Exchanges of goods and culture still continued by the Venetians, with whom the Ottomans had developed a business-relationship, but no one else thought that that maritime empire should enjoy a monopoly on supply. Betting that the globe was in fact smaller than Greek geomancers calculated, Columbus first embarked on a route to the East by going west and never realised that his progress had been arrested by two intervening continents, it was da Gama that actually reached the Orient first by sailing around the southern horn of Africa and on to Asia—prompting the Pope to negotiate a treaty decreeing all lands outside of Europe belong to one of the two Iberian kingdoms. The line of demarcation was the Cape Verde Islands (Repรนblica de Cabo Verde) and everything to the West belonged to Spain, whilst (inclusive their colony on the archipelago) belonged to Portugal—stopping at Cuba and Hispaniola, and while repudiated many times over the centuries basically held until colonial ambitions for all of the European powers erupted. Though the Byzantine capital was subject to many sieges in over a milleuium until its fall—it took the Ottoman forces’ knowledge of gunpowder from the Chinese to breach the city’s defences, it had resisted capture until the fifteenth century and kept open the lines of communication between the West and East. One wonders if that if the old logistical network hadn’t become a less than ideal option, then would there have been an impetus for exploration.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

gipfel oder hanseatic league

The CDU party economic summit earlier this week may have gotten a fore-taste of what’s to be expected from the G20 summit that’s to take place in less than a week in Hamburg when Dear Leader’s commerce secretary, due to a scheduling conflict, attended by looming video teleconference and droned on well beyond his allotted time, chiding NATO partners for not paying their fair share, accusing Germany of protectionist trade policies that presented a barrier to entry for the US, unwillingness for the EU to buy genetically modified and untested crops or hormone laden beef—for which there will be consequences.
Event organisers eventually muted the US commerce secretary in mid litany, repeating the grievances that Dear Leader had already expressed and cut the video-feed.
Some in attendance at the Berlin conference centre applauded and laughed. The Chancellor was next to speak—but I believe she realises that what’s coming will be even more fraught with difficulties and there will be no kill-switch for the race-baiting, misogynistic and selfish court of amateurs that are coming.
The American regime has demonstrated itself to be far misaligned with the rest of the world when it comes to immigration, the environment and especially trade—preferring bullying and bluster to negotiation and dialogue and seeking to bust down those institutions that have given smaller nations leverage against tyranny and hegemony.
As America is poised to shirk more and more of its global commitments—not just the voluntary reduction goals of the Paris Climate Accords but also the financial regulations put in place to prevent another banking sector collapse like in 2008 and for which the G20 was created as a safeguard against it reoccurring, Germany is taking the lead on forming a united front upholding those values of a free and open market that have become rather inimical to the US. Hopefully Dear Leader is not foolish enough to precipitate a trade war.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

boundary street

Though arguably the sunset for the British Empire occurred that moment when they could no longer operate unilaterally and the US opposed their seizure of the Suez Canal and the seaways of the Arab Gulf in 1956, those in attendance for the transfer of sovereignty ceremony for Hong Kong on this day in 1997 expressed a palpable sense of the UK’s imperium having come to a close.
Although Hong Kong island and Kowloon peninsula (with that unsupervised exclave within an enclave) were ceded to the UK in perpetuity under the terms of the Treaty of Nanking and only the New Territories around Hong Kong bay were subject to a ninety-nine year lease, but during negotiation between the Chinese government and Prime Minister Thatcher in the mid-eighties, the UK conceded that Hong Kong could continue to be prosperous without the full territorial integrity enjoyed for the last century. And with assurances that the residents’ previous capitalist system and way of life would remain unchanged for the next fifty years. While Hong Kong residents enjoy considerable autonomy and is considered a separate jurisdiction by other nations and international organisations, there is also a sense of incursion and abandonment from its former metropolitan. When the handover occurred, few would have predicted that China would have produced economic centres—bastions of finance and industry—to rival the former colony’s allure. Nonetheless, however, that capital diminished to an extent and Hong Kong, because of its special status, soon became more of a harbour to park wealth and facilitate money-laundering. Thinking strategically, perhaps if Hong Kong had remained unique as an economic powerhouse it was hoped that Hong Kong’s model would become something infectious for the mainland and result in the spread of democracy. With tensions rising on each successive anniversary, it’s becoming less and less clear whether Hong Kong’s culture and politics will be suffered lightly for the next thirty years.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

le tiers รฉtat

Graciously the President of France has invited Dear Leader to Paris for Bastille Day celebrations, which he and his wife will join after his meeting with Russian leadership in Moscow.
Both couples will attend the traditional military parade that takes place on the Champs-ร‰lysees, which will include American troops this year to commemorate the centenary of the US entry in World War I. The revue and joint honours aside, the charity of Macron really strikes me as something really extraordinary—and not just in comparison to the imperial idiocy and ignorance of his guest, given that 14 July not only marks a revolutionary break with the past that did away with feudalism and fealty but also solemnly one year after the horrific truck attack on crowds celebrating their national fรชte and the World Cup finals along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

terra nullis or cincinnatus

Previously we’ve explored how the origins of the American Revolutionary War were less noble than they are usually framed in stories like the Boston Tea Party or the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, and it was refreshing to see that history and scholarship revisited through tracking down a team of colonial surveyors in the 1760s and the charts that they produced that demarcated the boundaries between what lands could be settled and what was the domain of Native American tribes. Many of the maps included both UK and Native American signatories agreeing to rivers, peaks and other landmarks as border markers.
Quite earnest in their efforts to reach a compromise that would promote a harmonious co-existence, all the territory of course still belonged to the Crown but settlers were not infringe further into Indian lands. The colonial governors were not always willing to enforce these treaties and in some cases flagrantly encouraged settlement and coastal, seaboard European communities moved further and further inland and on-going disputes, punctuated with memorable riots and skirmishes, eventually precipitated into rebellion and war. Admittedly conditions for aboriginal people was less than concordant at all times in Canada and Australia and I admit that I haven’t done the research on how things played out differently in those territories, but I think their experience was very different from the systematic “genocidal dispossession” experienced in America.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

big tent politics

Published by the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag (auf Englisch, as Boing Boing reports), veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hirsh—responsible for exposing the massacre at My Lai and equal-opportunity critic of US capers—shares a series of conversations between an American soldier (AS) and a security advisor (SA) that was leaked to him regarding April’s retaliatory missile strike on a Syrian airbase, heavily redacted for security reasons.

AS: This is bad… Things are spooling up.

SA: You may not have seen trumps press conference yesterday. He’s bought into the media story without asking to see the Intel. We are likely to get our asses kicked by the Russians. Fucking dangerous. Where are the godamn adults? The failure of the chain of command to tell the President the truth, whether he wants to hear it or not, will go down in history as one of our worst moments.

AS: I don't know. None of this makes any sense. We KNOW that there was no chemical attack. The Syrians struck a weapons cache (a legitimate military target) and there was collateral damage. That's it. They did not conduct any sort of a chemical attack.

SA: There has been a hidden agenda all along. This is about trying to ultimately go after Iran. What the people around Trump do not understand is that the Russians are not a paper tiger and that they have more robust military capability than we do.

This dangerous, deadly incompetent leadership style is about to be put to the test again, as Dear Leader predictably is planning on staging a distraction to side-line public scrutiny as the Senate moves to vote on the future form of healthcare in the United States. The fact that he’d resort to taking lives, putting others at risk and squandering millions on a pretence and as a side-show (not to mention exacerbating already strained international relations) in order to push through a tax-break for the wealthy swaddled in medical insurance reform is beyond despicable. Anyone colluding with his wanton cannibalism is deserving of the same harsh criticism.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

never remember

With amazing stamina, the New York Times’ Opinion column has assiduously documented, sourced and fact-checked every lie that Dear Leader has uttered since the inauguration on 21 January up to the present. This does not include the false narratives of his campaign or the alternative truths of his staff and surrogates and aims to counter that complicity of numbness and exhaustion when it comes to this assault on reality that is by no measure normal and has inspired a million marchers in protest.

Friday, 23 June 2017

dress right dress

The US government squandered millions, as Super Punch informs, outfitting the Afghani army.
Standard- isation in uniform and gear is of course important to signal allegiance on the battlefield and it stands to reason that the army would want something distinctive to discourage impostures. While far cheaper alternatives were available, over a quarter of the hundred million dollar expenditure went towards a proprietary camouflage pattern. The branded camo, Spec4ce it’s called (not pictured), is produced by Canadian firm called HyperStealth whose previous contracts include costuming a rogue paramilitary force for an Iron Man movie. Al Qaeda and company will surely lay down their arms and surrender to international anti-piracy laws. While the costs constitute barely a drop in the bucket in the scheme of that unending war and the American army seems pretty obsessed with window-dressing itself, it is even more regrettable that the choice in pattern was committed with no regard for landscape of Afghanistan and rather than camouflage troops, it makes them more visible.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

in memoriam

Everyone is entitled to their opinions on terms limits and the scope and tenure of soft-powers and could probably summon up a dozen vexing counter arguments—but I think it can be said with confidence that if Helmut Kohl was not allowed to remain chancellor of West Germany from 1982 to 1990, the reunification probably would not have occurred.

The US and the UK preferred a weaker, divided Germany but the statesman was willing to throw his own economy in turmoil by a goodwill gesture to East Germany which dignified both powers and helped usher in an end to the standoff of the Cold War.   Had Kohl not then gone on to govern the whole of Germany for another eight years, the European Union as we know it with its trade partnerships, labour integration and common currency may have never been formed at all—and for keeping true to the course of geopolitics in a steadfast fashion whose alternatives seem rather unthinkable, Herr Kohl is owed a great debt of gratitude. We’d do him an honour in remembering how fragile such institutions are considering their precarious roots that only grit and resilience brought them about and the same qualities are essential in saving them.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

bedfellows or now let’s get to work

With rather alarming alacrity, Prime Minister May visited the Queen on Friday afternoon following the General Election once all jurisdictions had declared—foreboding of what looked to be a hung Parliament—to propose to form a government, whose composition looked to be a less preferable and less tenable option than prolonged anarchy or even relinquishing rule to Her Majesty herself. Her ministerial role propped up by the tacit backing of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland. This socially conservative group that has in the past supported paramilitary forces and stoked sectarian violence, in exchange for being the junior member of a technically workable, minority coalition which gives the Conservatives in total a few more seats than it had prior to the vote, but it’s hard to argue that was calculated, will certainty expect some cabinet appointments and some policy concessions for its support.

Friday, 9 June 2017

strong and stable or disunited kingdom

Castle Mayskull’s gamble backfired with her calling an ill-advised snap, general election in order to reinforce a mandate that her party had already secured to withdraw the UK from the European Union and discourage future referenda on devolution and secession.
The Conservative Party has lost a few seats in Parliament’s House of Commons which brings the critical number to retain an absolute majority. Rebuffing calls to resign as Prime Minister—having squandered her mandate, should the incumbent insist on staying and no coalition can be brought together to support her, she risks precipitating a constitutional crisis and dissolution of government. So called hung Parliaments have occurred in the past but with the political landscape being in such turmoil and congregations so polarised over it seems unlikely that an alliance will be forthcoming and the days to follow will be anything but tidy.  This miscalculation, which drew younger voters in greater than expected numbers to the ballot, threatens to reverse the course of negotiations for a Brexit deal and possibly the decision to leave in the first place and is already boding greater economic disruptions than experienced after the referendum. 

Tuesday, 6 June 2017


Having been repeatedly denied access to visit service members stationed at the NATO airbase in ฤฐncirlik, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that his country has been left with no choice other than withdraw troops and materiel and re-station them elsewhere.
Turkish authorities have blocked visits by government officials since last summer’s questionable coup d’etat and Germany’s refusal to extradite political asylum-seekers caught up in the swift and subsequent purge. Relations further degraded thereafter. Defence Minister von der Leyen offered that the some two-hundred fifty personnel and Tornado fighter jets now at the base in southern Turkey (where the US also has a presence of around five-thousand soldiers and airmen with their families and fifty or so nuclear warheads) could be re-deployed to an installation in Jordan but the transition would be costly and hamper joint efforts in the fight against the Cosplay Caliphate.

the great game or rules of engagement

Just for those who might have harboured a kernel of doubt about Russia’s meddling in Western elections, Jason Kottke directs our attention to a 1997 publication by Duma-advisor and noted fascist and eschatologist Aleksandr Gelyevich Dugin, which is essentially an Orwellian play-by-play script for the destabilisation and subterfuge that we are experiencing presently.
The geopolitical book sets forth that the struggle for world dominance for Russia did not end with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and that the country remains the venue for the new anti-American revolution, with a Eurasian Empire united against a common enemy. Across different theatres of influence, sophisticated instructions are given to ensure absolute and enduring Russian victory—including the suggestion that Germany should be the dominant power over western and central Europe, the United Kingdom ought to be cut off from the continent, Ukraine should be annexed. For the Middle East, Dugin advocates supports that the Iranians, Kurds and the Armenians ought to be supported—especially insofar as they could create chaos in Turkey. China poses a serious threat to Russia and should be dismantled and encouraged to focus it’s only expansion towards Indonesia, the Philippines and Australia. Moreover, Russia should cede the disputed Kuril Islands to Japan to as a way to weaken their allegiance with the Americans. For the USA, Dugin prescribes that special forces be used to provoke instability with racial and social strife, blackmail and undermine internal political processes. With Brexit, Dear Leader, proxy wars, Crimea and fake news, it’s chilling how many chapters have already become headlines and scary to speculate how much further this manual might be carried out.

Monday, 5 June 2017

over a barrel

Arguably emboldened by Dear Leader’s strange and strained whistle-stop tour of the centres of faith of the Abrahamic religions that unanimously positioned US policy and patronage squarely behind regimes that he didn’t come to lecture—code for not wanting to address the hypocrisies of diplomacy based solely on business interest and drag down negotiations with more rarefied talk, Saudi Arabia led others in the region in suspending relations and closing borders with Qatar.
The top US diplomat and former swaggering oil-man himself, despite the fact Qatar is host to the largest US military installation in the Middle East, assesses that this action will have little to no impact on the global war on terror. Tensions already existed between the Saudis and the Qataris over their allegiance with rebellious elements and Iran, whose oil reserves are seen as a match for the kingdom’s, but the timing seems pretty suspect after Dear Leader stomped all over a sectarian hornets’ nest—praising those Sunni majority nations willing to be franchisees of his brand and condemning Shi’a countries, though most perpetrators of terror to include the Cosplay Caliphate have had Saudi associations and have been of the Sunni persuasion—and the simultaneous decision to sell stock to Western investors in the kingdom’s national oil-drilling operation for the first time. Though Dear Leader’s attempt to discredit the world’s commitment to not destroy itself is a fitting failure, one wonders if that too wasn’t decided in concert somehow—in his mind only, as conspirators are not dolts, with a bit of insider-knowledge, which has now been elevated to a crime against humanity.

Friday, 2 June 2017

we’re going to have the cleanest air—we’re going to have the cleanest water

To lump the outliers of the Paris Climate Accords in one basket is a real unkindness to Nicaragua and Syria, given that the former objected to the goals set forth were far too modest and the Central American country is aiming for no less than a ninety percent energy sourced in renewable, sustainable resources within the next decade, and the latter was in the midst of a protracted civil war with no functioning government (the same could arguably be said for the third party) and had no delegation to send.
Intent on keeping at least one campaign promise that panders to his base at the disdain for ever other living creature on the planet, Dear Leader proclaimed that he was elected to represent the “citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris” as he announced that after weeks of playing coy about it his decision to reassert American sovereignty by breaking with the pact.  Poor Pittsburgh. Much as is the case with Brexit (Castle Mayskull is the only other world leader not to join the chorus of unanimous dissent over Dear Leader’s bad choice), the divorce proceedings are messy and the US won’t be released from its obligations until 2020—though a frightening amount of damage could be affected domestically by undoing decades’ worth of environmental regulations and protections.
America has no cachet in the world under this tin-pot regime that advocates wilful ignorance and is completely credulous in saying that global-warming is a Chinese conspiracy meant to steal American jobs, and whatever sort of race-to-the-bottom that the US is hoping to spark with its myopic, greedy, grubby recalcitrance—the rest of the world is not having it: Parisians and Pittsburghers are redoubling their efforts for environmental reform, scientists and other subnational jurisdictions and even businesses are committed to the goals outlined in COP21 despite what Dear Leader is advocating. We ought to not need to expend extra energy and effort just to neutralise or contain the arrogant and dangerous stupidity of Dear Leader and his criminal posse of free-loaders, but tyrannies will topple perhaps this was the transgression to trigger the regime’s overthrow and to inspire some real and positive change for our environmental stewardship.

Friday, 26 May 2017

bรถse, sehr bรถse

With truly surpassing bravado and despite attempts to demonstrate to him otherwise, Dear Leader insists on his false narrative that all other NATO members are dead-beats for not honouring the members’ dues—as if this were his tacky White House in the swamp—which is not the case as these proportional contributions do not go into effect for a few years yet and western European members participate in ways far more constructive than maintaining standing armies.
There’s enough military-spending and posturing as it is. Over these imagined short-falls, Dear Leader intimated that the US would begrudge holding up member-states’ mutual defence pact, having already demonstrated his zest for throwing Montenegro under the bus and we’re left to wonder what other former Soviet-satellite might share a similar faith. The other twenty-seven NATO members seemed rather bemused to be scolded—including Germany which received a special chiding over its perceived trade imbalance with the US—too many German cars flooding the market. Apparently Jean-Paul Junckers’ stamina had not been totally spent on trying to teach Theresa May some expectation management and tried to make Dear Leader’s misapprehension a sort of an object lesson in the way the other bloc on the continent, the European Union, operates—offering that Germany as a member does not set manage its export targets and no country can enter into a tariff agreement with another. Never mind that a lot of these automobiles are built in US factories.  For his part Dear Leader would like to see supranational institutions like the EU demolished because the US has better leverage over individual countries than over broader unions and has publicly backed politicians who want to weaken the EU’s powers.