August 2018______________________________________

Extreme Weather in India - (2018-08-18)

"At least 324 people have been killed in flooding in the southern Indian state of Kerala in what local officials say is the worst flooding in 100 years."

So perhaps this isn't much of a surprise.

Treasury Imposes Sanctions on Myanmar Military - (2018-08-18)

"Four Burmese military and Border Guard Police (BGP) commanders and two Burmese military units for their involvement in ethnic cleansing in Burma's Rakhine State and other widespread human rights abuses in Burma’s Kachin and Shan States"

Uighar Detention Camps Grow in China - (2018-08-18)

"Up to one million people, or about 7% of the Muslim population in China's Xinjiang region, have now been incarcerated in an expanding network of 'political re-education' camps"

NSA Cracking VPNs - (2018-08-18)

"The National Security Agency successfully broke the encryption on a number of 'high potential' virtual private networks, including those of media organization Al Jazeera, the Iraqi military and internet service organizations, and a number of airline reservation systems"

Facebook Asked (Nicely) to Decrypt Messenger - (2018-08-18)

"The Messenger issue arose in Fresno, California, as part of an investigation of the MS-13 gang, one of the people said"

The CIA is nowhere near as polite when it wants something.

Former Spy Masters Protests Clearance Loss - (2018-08-18)

Because up until now they have all enjoyed the tacit credibility bestowed upon those with access to official secrets. Take it away and they lose their op-ed spots, media interviews, baseless authority. Decreased secrecy is a win for democracy.

China Resembles North Korea - (2018-08-17)

"Chinese authorities are creating a global registry of Uighurs who live outside of China, threatening to detain their relatives if they do not provide personal and identifying information to Chinese police."

Greece Exposes EU Failings - (2018-08-17)

"Greece created its own problems, but was largely a bystander while 'solutions' were imposed by others... Greece, left with threadbare public services, eye-watering tax rates, weak institutions and appalling demographics, is supposed to run large primary surpluses (ie, before interest payments) for the next four decades."

And why did Syriza blink?

"Greece turned out to have a simple choice: a devastating Grexit, or capitulation to the punishing terms its creditors required to keep it inside the euro."

CEO Compensation Surged in 2017 - (2018-08-17)

"Average compensation for CEOs of the top 350 publicly traded firms increased 17.6 percent to $18.9 million; the compensation of a typical worker in these industries, meanwhile, rose 0.3 percent."

Where Have All the Nazis Gone? - (2018-08-17)

"One part of this counterinsurgency PSYOP is to delegitimize anyone and anything that stands in the way of global capitalism. It does not matter one iota whether the opposition stems from what most of us think of as the 'left' or the 'right.' Global capitalism does not care."

Bank in India Hacked for $13.5 Million - (2018-08-16)

"Unidentified hackers stole customer information through a malware attack on its automated teller machine (ATM) server, withdrawing 805 million rupees in 14,849 transactions in just over two hours on Aug. 11, mainly overseas"

Leak: POTUS Makes Cyber Attacks Easier - (2018-08-16)

"National security adviser John Bolton reportedly sought to reverse the rules when he joined the administration earlier this year, according to the Journal"

Opiod Deaths in 2017 Spike - (2018-08-16)

"Drug overdoses killed about 72,000 Americans last year, a record number that reflects a rise of around 10 percent, according to new preliminary estimates from the Centers for Disease Control. The death toll is higher than the peak yearly death totals from H.I.V., car crashes or gun deaths."

Gig Economy: Road to Serfdom - (2018-08-16)

"They squeeze rates to below operating costs and force professionals like me out of business. They count their money and we are driven down into the streets we drive becoming homeless and hungry. I will not be a slave working for chump change. I would rather be dead"

At Least 48 Dead, School Bombed in Afghanistan - (2018-08-15)

While MSNBC fixates on Mueller et al...

Afghan Base in Ghormach District Surrenders to Taliban - (2018-08-15)

"The attrition rate was running at 30 percent a year, according to the last figures, made public in 2016. Since then, the military has classified the attrition and desertion rates as secret."

Turkey Doubles Tariffs on Booze, Cars, and Tobacco - (2018-08-15)

As Qatar promises to spend $15 billion.

Grand Jury Report on Massive Vatican Coverup - (2018-08-15)

"The grand jury said it believes the real number of abused children might be in the thousands since some records were lost and victims were afraid to come forward. The report said more than 300 clergy committed the abuse over a period decades, beginning in the mid-1950s."

"In June, Chile's 34 bishops were summoned to Rome by the pope after Vatican investigators produced a 2,300-page report alleging that senior Church officials in Chile had failed to act on abuse claims and in some cases hid them"

Treasury Announces More N. Korea Sanctions - (2018-08-15)

"The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on a Russian port service agency and Chinese firms for aiding North Korean ships and selling alcohol and tobacco to Pyongyang in breach of U.S. sanctions aimed at pressuring North Korea to end its nuclear programs."

Los Angeles Subway Body Scanners - (2018-08-15)

"We're looking specifically for weapons that have the ability to cause a mass-casualty event"

Notable Candor on State of War in Korea - (2018-08-14)

"For some American officials, the troop presence in South Korea is not just a deterrent toward North Korea. It also helps the United States maintain a military footprint in Asia and a grand strategy of American hegemony."

Turkey to Boycott U.S. Electronics - (2018-08-14)

Not much punch behind this, mostly theater.

Pentagon $10 Billion Contract Favors Bezos - (2018-08-14)

"According to insiders familiar with the 1,375-page request for proposal, the language contains a host of technical stipulations that only Amazon can meet, making it hard for other leading cloud-services providers to win—or even apply for—the contract"

Entire W. Virginia Supreme Court Impeached - (2018-08-14)

"They failed to control office expenses, including more than $1 million in renovations to their individual offices, and not maintaining policies over matters such as working lunches and the use of state vehicles and office computers at home."

Behavioral Biometrics Used by Banks - (2018-08-14)

"When clients log in to their Royal Bank of Scotland accounts, software begins recording more than 2,000 different interactive gestures. On phones, it measures the angle at which people hold their devices, the fingers they use to swipe and tap, the pressure they apply and how quickly they scroll. On a computer, the software records the rhythm of their keystrokes and the way they wiggle their mouse."

Afghanistan: Ghazni Province Primarily Under Taliban Control - (2018-08-13)

"By Monday, only two of the province’s 18 rural districts were confirmed to be completely in government control. That raised the prospect that if the insurgents did fully take the city, they might also be in a position to control an entire province for the first time in the 17-year war in Afghanistan"

To take Afghanistan the Taliban only need to be better organized and less corrupt than the existing government. Not a tall order despite billions in arms and training.

Five Star Party Caves to Western Deep State Power - (2018-08-13)

"Under pressure from the United States, the European Union and international business interests, Five Star is awkwardly walking back its opposition and stalling in the face of billions of euros in penalties and the loss of credibility for future investment."

Google is Tracking Your Location - (2018-08-13)

"Many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you've used a privacy setting that says it will prevent Google from doing so."

Arms Depot Explodes in Syria, Killing 39 - (2018-08-12)

"The building in the Sarmada town is said to have contained munitions belonging to an arms trafficker"

Wave of Civilians Flees Venezuela - (2018-08-12)

"Since the beginning of the year, some 547,000 Venezuelans have entered Ecuador through the Colombian border at a daily average of between 2,700 and 3,000 men women and children"

67 Arrested in Iran - (2018-08-12)

"Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Saturday for 'swift and just' legal action to confront an 'economic war' by foreign enemies, state television quoted a judiciary spokesman as saying"

Companies Sell Youtube Views, Likes - (2018-08-12)

"YouTube would not disclose the number of fake views it blocked each day, but said its teams worked to keep them to less than 1 percent of the total"

175 Murders in Brazil Every Day - (2018-08-11)

"Brazil's murder rate has soared as rival drug gangs battle for territory in a country that shares borders with the three biggest cocaine producing countries in the world — Colombia, Peru and Bolivia"

Massive Re-Education Camps in China - (2018-08-11)

"Gay McDougall, a member of the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, cited estimates that 2 million Uighurs and Muslim minorities were forced into 'political camps for indoctrination' in the western Xinjiang autonomous region"

Monsanto Ordered to Pay $289 Million - (2018-08-11)

"Dewyane Johnson, 46, claimed in the lawsuit that his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was caused by his use of Roundup weedkiller and one other Monsanto product during his work as a school groundskeeper."

Tariffs on Turkey Doubled - (2018-08-10)

"I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar! Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%"

Who Gets Hit if Turkey Goes Down - (2018-08-10)

"Spanish banks are owed $83.3 billion by Turkish borrowers; French lenders $38.4 billion; and banks in Italy are owed $17 billion... Japanese banks are owed $14 billion, U.K. lenders $19.2 billion and the United States about $18 billion."

Federal Court Orders Pesticide Ban - (2018-08-10)

"In a split decision, the court said Thursday that Pruitt, a Republican forced to resign earlier this summer amid ethics scandals, violated federal law by ignoring the conclusions of agency scientists that chlorpyrifos is harmful."

Saudis Bomb School Bus in Yemen - (2018-08-09)

"A hospital supported by our team in Yemen received the bodies of 29 children under the age of 15"

Saudi Temper Tantrum Continues - (2018-08-09)

Another blatant error: like Yemen, or the Qatar blockade. Odds are they won't be able to transition their economy off oil. And when it runs out...

U.S. to Impose More Sanctions on Russia - (2018-08-09)

"The imposition of a presumption of denial for all national security sensitive goods or technologies that are controlled by the Department of Commerce pursuant to the Export Administration Regulations... in approximately the 22nd of August or so."

Erdogan Diverts Attention from Central Bank - (2018-08-09)

"Keeping rates so low that it lets inflation creep up to 15.9 percent instead of the 5 percent it's supposed to keep it at... Turkish banks and companies have borrowed a lot of dollars — foreign currency debt is about 30 percent of their GDP — that are getting harder to pay back now that their currency is falling so much"

Voting Security Lawsuit in Georgia - (2018-08-09)

"Georgia is one of four states that uses voting machines statewide that produce no paper record for voters to verify, making them difficult to audit"

NYC Caps Uber Licenses - (2018-08-09)

"For a year while the city studies the booming industry. The bills also allow New York to set a minimum pay rate for drivers."

SIGAR: Afghanistan is a Failed State - (2018-08-08)

No country for old men, or civilians. There you have it, the United States making the world safe for democracy...

Pakistan Sending 60,000 More Troops to Afghan Border - (2018-08-08)

"Pakistan has come under increasing pressure to act against the Afghan Taliban and the affiliated Haqqani network since President Donald Trump accused Islamabad of allowing them safe haven"

North Korean Talks Turn Kafkaesque - (2018-08-08)

"North Korea hasn't yet disclosed to the United States exactly how many nuclear bombs it even has. So even if North Korean negotiators did agree to the US timeline and handed over what it says is 60 to 70 percent of its arsenal, it would be difficult to verify that"

Pension Reform Sparks Protests in Russia - (2018-08-08)

"The pension reform which, starting from 2019, is due to gradually increase the retirement age from 60 to 65 for men and from 55 to 63 for women... Russia’s average life expectancy is 66 for men and 77 for women."

Big question: does Putin have more credibility than Ortega in Nicaragua.

W. Virginia Smart Phone Voting - (2018-08-08)

"It's internet voting on people's horribly secured devices, over our horrible networks, to servers that are very difficult to secure without a physical paper record of the vote"

What could go wrong?

Mayhem in Hodeidah - (2018-08-07)

"After an eruption of what aid groups have described as indiscriminate violence against civilians in Yemen's crucial Red Sea port city, one basic fact is clear: 55 people are dead and 170 others wounded."

Afghanistan: Taliban Attacks Kill 12 - (2018-08-07)

"A string of Taliban attacks in Afghanistan have killed 12 people, including four women who died in the crossfire during a shootout between insurgents and soldiers, while an errant NATO airstrike killed nine Afghan police, Afghan officials said Tuesday."

U.S. Re-Imposes Sanctions on Iran - (2018-08-07)

"We are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran"

A stark message to North Korea; don't expect the U.S. to keep its word.

Chicago: 72 People Shot over Weekend, 12 Dead - (2018-08-07)

"At the end of July, the city had recorded more than 300 murders –more than any other U.S. city"

Tech Companies Censor Alex Jones - (2018-08-07)

First they came for the right-wing conspiracy theorists, and I did not speak out...

Facebook Wants Bank Data - (2018-08-07)

"The social-media giant has asked large U.S. banks to share detailed financial information about their customers, including card transactions and checking-account balances, as part of an effort to offer new services to users."

Besty Devos' Summer Home - (2018-08-07)

"Three bedrooms and 10 bathrooms, three kitchens, eight dishwashers, 13 porches, and an elevator"

Recall Rome at its peak.

Saudis Cut Deals with Al Qaeda in Yemen - (2018-08-06)

"The coalition cut secret deals with al-Qaida fighters, paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash, an investigation by The Associated Press has found. Hundreds more were recruited to join the coalition itself."

Why the U.S. is Mum on Saudi Crackdowns - (2018-08-06)

"Saudi Arabia said on Sunday that it is ordering Canada's ambassador to leave the country and freezing all new trade and investment transactions with Canada in a spat over human rights."

Carbon Dioxide Levels Hit Record Level - (2018-08-06)

"The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in Earth's atmosphere reached 405 parts per million (ppm) last year, a level not seen in 800,000 years"

NYTimes Blames the Victim on Climate Change - (2018-08-06)

"The late '80s was the absolute zenith of the neoliberal crusade, a moment of peak ideological ascendency for the economic and social project that deliberately set out to vilify collective action in the name of liberating 'free markets' in every aspect of life. Yet Rich makes no mention of this parallel upheaval in economic and political thought."

Elderly Root, Hog, or Die - (2018-08-06)

"We find more than a two-fold increase in the rate at which older Americans (age 65 and over) file for bankruptcy and an almost five-fold increase in the percentage of older persons in the U.S. bankruptcy system."

Afghanistan Rolls Red Carpet for ISIS - (2018-08-05)

"After watching television footage of the prisoners being fed rice pilaf with meat and vegetables and bottled water, Abdul Hamid, 52, was infuriated. Along with some 10,000 other people over the past two years, he had fled Darzab to a squalid life as a displaced person in Sheberghan, where meat is an unimaginable luxury."

Alleged Attack on President of Venezuela - (2018-08-05)

"Speaking on condition of anonymity, three of them said the incident was actually a gas tank explosion inside an apartment, but did not provide further details, the news agency says."

S. Korean Spies Sacrifice N. Koreans - (2018-08-05)

"When Mr. Heo balked at that, he said, the officer threatened to expose him to the North Koreans himself. He promised the equivalent of millions of dollars if he complied, according to Mr. Heo. Finally, according to Mr. Heo, he promised that South Korea would keep the episode quiet, protecting the defectors' families back in North Korea from retaliation by the government."

"Mr. Heo has received none of the millions he said he was promised. For his work, he says, the spy agency paid him a total of $35,500. He has worked as a cashier at a convenience store and driven a delivery truck. In North Korea, he says, his parents and his sister have disappeared."

Wells Fargo Computer Glitch Caused Hundreds to Lose Homes - (2018-08-05)

"The $8 million accrual is intended for roughly 625 borrowers who should have qualified for a loan modification under a program the Treasury Department set up in 2009 to help Americans who were struggling to make mortgage payments. An error in Wells Fargo’s underwriting tool improperly excluded those borrowers, 400 of whom eventually had their homes foreclosed upon, the bank said"

U.N. Report on North Korea Nuclear Program - (2018-08-04)

"[North Korea] has not stopped its nuclear and missile programmes and continued to defy Security Council resolutions through a massive increase in illicit ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products, as well as through transfers of coal at sea during 2018.""

Qatar Backed Company Leases Kushner Building - (2018-08-04)

"In the 666 Fifth Avenue deal, Brookfield paid about $1.1 billion in upfront rent"

China Counters Trump's Tariff Threat - (2018-08-04)

"China released a list of $60 billion in U.S. goods that Beijing intends to hit with tariffs in retaliation for Trump’s plan to impose duties on $200 billion in Chinese imports. While the Chinese threat isn’t proportional in absolute dollars, it’s actually an escalation on a relative basis, given China buys less from the U.S."

Russia Asked U.S. to Help Rebuild Syria - (2018-08-04)

"The Russian plan, which has not been previously reported, has received an icy reception in Washington. The memo said the U.S. policy was only to support such efforts if there were a political solution to end Syria’s seven-year-old civil war, including steps like U.N.-supervised elections"

Suicide Bombers Kill at Least 30 in Afghanistan - (2018-08-03)

"The spokesman for the Paktia police, Sardar Wali Tabasoom, said that guards had been posted at the mosque because of fears of such an attack. But the attackers used the burqas to get close, then shot the guards, he said."

Heat Wave Threaten Crops in N. Korea - (2018-08-03)

"The official Korea Central News Agency reported Friday that the temperature had reached 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and that the entire country was now working in a campaign to prevent damage to crops."

Monopoly: It's More than a Board Game - (2018-08-03)

"In 1975, 109 companies collected half of the profits produced by all publicly traded companies. Today, those winnings are captured by just 30 companies"

"Today, almost half of all the assets in the American financial system are controlled by five banks. In the late 1990s, the top five banks controlled a little more than one-fifth of the market. Over the past decade, six of the largest United States airlines merged into three. Four companies now control 98 percent of the American wireless market, and that number could fall to three if T-Mobile and Sprint are allowed to merge."

"This year, five tech companies — Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google's parent, Alphabet — have delivered roughly half of the gains achieved by the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index."

Surveillance Doves in China - (2018-08-03)

"More than 30 Chinese military and government agencies have reportedly been using drones made to look like birds to surveil citizens in at least five provinces"

Saudi Airstrike in Yemen Kills at Least 28 - (2018-08-02)

"The Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Shiite rebels conducted airstrikes in the rebel-held port city of Hodeida on Thursday killing at least 28 people and wounding at least 70"

U.S. Imposes Sanctions on NATO Ally - (2018-08-02)

"Targeting Turkey's Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gul and Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu, both of whom played leading roles in the organizations responsible for the arrest and detention of Pastor Andrew Brunson"

Pakistan Gets $2 Billion Loan via China - (2018-08-02)

The bad news is that Pakistan needs $12 billion. Paging the IMF...

OIG Slams NSA on Security - (2018-08-02)

This is about political will. Offense provides the Director with bright and shiny things to show POTUS. Defense doesn't offer much political impact until catastrophe hits.

NDAA 2018 Has Interesting Provisions - (2018-08-02)

"Would force technology companies to disclose if they allowed countries like China and Russia to examine the inner workings of software sold to the U.S. military"

FBI Arrests 3 Ukrainian Hackers - (2018-08-02)

"In the United States alone, FIN7 successfully breached the computer networks of companies in 47 states and the District of Columbia, stealing more than 15 million customer card records from over 6,500 individual point-of-sale terminals at more than 3,600 separate business locations"

The Facebook Path to Fascism - (2018-08-02)

"If 'Russian' mimics (or cloaked spooks) can reproduce the vocabulary and political program of U.S. dissent, then all of us actual U.S. lefties can be dismissed as 'dupes of the Russians'"

More from Matt Taibbi: "The death-pit for civil liberties is usually found in a combination of fringe/unpopular people or ideas and a national security emergency."

Saudis Planned to Invade Qatar - (2018-08-01)

"Since the current king came to power in 2015, the country has spent more than a third of its $737 billion in reserves, and last year, the Saudi economy entered a painful recession... If the Saudis had succeeded in seizing Doha, they would potentially have been able to gain access to the country’s $320 billion sovereign wealth fund"

Taliban Defeat ISIS in Afghanistan - (2018-08-01)

"More than 150 Islamic State fighters surrendered to Afghan security forces in the northwestern province of Jawzjan after they were defeated and driven out by the Taliban"

Iranian Troops Pull Back in Syria - (2018-08-01)

"Iranian forces have withdrawn their heavy weapons in Syria to a distance of 85 km (53 miles) from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights... Israel deemed the pullback inadequate"

Bombing in Philippines Kills at Least 11 - (2018-08-01)

"The Islamic State group, through its media arm, claimed credit for the attack"

Facebook Alleges Popaganda Campaign - (2018-08-01)

"About two weeks ago we identified the first of eight Pages and 17 profiles on Facebook, as well as seven Instagram accounts... They ran about 150 ads for approximately $11,000 on Facebook and Instagram, paid for in US and Canadian dollars. The first ad was created in April 2017, and the last was created in June 2018."

OMG, $11,000! Pay no attention to American billionaires spewing dark money or entire nations being bombed to rubble by "reformists" (the ultimate in political influence ops).

Google Caves to China - (2018-08-01)

"The app Google is building for China will comply with the country's strict censorship laws, restricting access to content that Xi Jinping’s Communist Party regime deems unfavorable."