Monday, 25 September 2017

Extreme weather report - Hurricane Maria

Climate & Extreme Weather News #69 (September 17th-24th 2017)


Macron reveals his conception of the world

According to Emmanuel Macron, the days of popular sovereignty are over


by Thierry Meyssan, September 5, 2017, via VoltaireNet


Delivering a keynote speech before the most senior of French diplomats, President Macron revealed his conception of the world and the way in which he intends to use the tools at his disposal. According to him, there will be no more popular sovereignty, neither in France, nor in Europe, and therefore no more national or supra-national democracies. Neither will there be any more collective interest, no more Republic, but an ill-defined catalogue of things and ideas which compose the common good. Describing their new programme of work to the ambassadors, he informed them that they should no longer defend the values of their country, but find opportunities to act in the name of the European Leviathan. Entering into the details of certain conflicts, he described a programme of economic colonisation of the Levant and Africa.


Participating in the traditional Ambassadors’ Week, President Macron gave his first general speech on foreign policy since his arrival at the Elysée Palace [1]. In this article, all the quotations in inverted commas are taken from his speech. The President did not give an overall account of current international relations, nor did he explain the role that he imagines for France in the world but the way in which he intends to use the tool of diplomacy .

According to him, France has not proved capable of adapting to the changes in the world since 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the triumph of US globalisation. In order to rebuild the country, it would be absurd to wish for a return to the ancient concept of national sovereignty. On the contrary, it is necessary to advance by seizing the available levers. This is why, today, – «Our sovereignty is Europe».


Of course, the European Union is a monster, «a Leviathan» [2].  It has no popular legitimacy, but becomes legitimate when it protects its citizens.  In its current format, it is dominated by the Franco-German couple.  Therefore he, Emmanuel Macron, and Chancellor Angela Merkel, govern it together.  Thus, in his quality as French President, he was able to travel to Poland and, with the agreement of his German partner, who could not, in the light of history, allow itself to attack Poland, speak there as the implicit representative of the Union, insult the Polish Prime Minister, remind him that Poland does not enjoy sovereignty, and pull it back into the European rank and file.


Already, with the Chancellor, he has decided to act in four sectors –
1.  the protection of workers ;
2.  the reform of the right to asylum and European cooperation in questions of migration;
3.  the definition of a commercial policy and means of control of strategic investments ;
4.  the development of European defense.


These objectives obviously determine the national policies of each of the member states, including France. For example, the measures that Macron’s government has just adopted concerning the reform of the Labour Code, lay down minimal limits for the protection of workers, in conformity with the directives which had already been laid down by the civil servants in Brussels a good while ago. European cooperation concerning migration will set the limits of hospitality which will benefit German industry [3], while the reform of the right to asylum will set the capacity of France’s welcome within the Schengen area. European Defense will allow the unification of the armies of the Union and their collective integration into the ambitions of NATO.


In order to push the European Union along as fast as possible, France and Germany will organise strengthened cooperations on different themes, choosing their partners on a case-by-case basis. The principle of unanimous decision will be maintained, but only between preselected states which are already in agreement.

The cohesion of this structure will be maintained around four common values –
1. «elective and representative democracy ;
2.  the respect for the human person ;
3.  religious tolerance and the freedom of expression ;
4.  and the belief in progress ».

«Elective and representative democracy» will only apply at the local level — (communities of communes and administrative regions, since communes and departments are programmed for elimination) – since there will no longer be any national sovereignty.

«The respect for the human person, religious tolerance and the freedom of expression» should be understood in the sense of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and no longer in the sense of the Declaration of 1789, which figures, after all, as the introduction to the Constitution.

«The belief in progress» will enable the mobilisation of European citizens in a period where everyone can see the richer countries of the Greater Middle East suddenly wiped from the map and beaten back to the Stone Age.

The Macron method


France should use the European tool to adapt itself to a «multipolar and unstable world», given that there is no question of re-establishing the Franco-Russian alliance that President Sadi Carnot and Emperor Alexander III concluded — and since the European Union is the civilian wing of the Atlantic Military Alliance, it is pointless to base French diplomacy on history or values.

It is better, on the contrary, to play the role of «counterweight» in order to maintain «the links with the great powers whose strategic interests are diverging».  Let’s be clear about this, the President is not talking about diverging interests between the United States on one hand Russia and China on the other, but about maintaining the links that the two major powers should have with the United States.

«For that, we must (…) become part of the tradition of existing alliances and, opportunistically, forge these alliances of fortune which will enable us to be more efficient».  Therefore the role of the diplomats is no longer to defend the long-term values of France, but to sniff out the short-term opportunities, the promising deals.

«The stability of the world»


Having established the framework of the European workplace and his method, the function of French diplomacy will be to ensure the safety of the French people by participating in «the stability of the world», and to earn influence by defending «universal common treasure».

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of national sovereignty, France has no more conventional enemies, and so has no further need of an army to defend its territory. However, it has to face a non-conventional enemy, «Islamist terrorism», which requires both an omnipresent police force and a mobile army capable of intervening in the sources of terrorism abroad — Syria and Iraq on one hand, Libya and the Sahel on the other. It is obviously this change of objective, and not a question of budget, which led President Macron to fire the Army chief of staff. The police reform is still to come.

France will continue to protect its Muslim citizens while remaining aware of the link between the Islamist political ideology and the Muslim religion.  In this way, it can continue to keep an eye on the practice of the Muslim cult, supervise it, and de facto influence the faithful.

The fight against terrorism also necessitates drying up its finances, which France is pursuing via numerous international institutions ; given that because of «regional crises and divisions, divisions in Africa, and divisions in the Muslim world», certain states secretly participate in this finance.  However, first of all terrorism is not a question of men but a method of combat, and secondly, terrorist actions have been considerably better financed since the pretended effort to stop terrorism — it is evident that this system has been put into place by Washington, not against the Muslim Brotherhood but against Iran.  And though this has no apparent connection with the financing of terrorism, President Macron brought up the question of Saudi-Iranian antagonism, taking the part of Saudi Arabia and condemning Iran.

Since the attacks by Daesh against «our interests, our lives, our people», peace in Iraq and Syria constitute «a vital priority for France».  This is the source of the change of method which has been on-going since the month of May – of course, Paris «had been sidelined» from the Astana negotiations, but it is today «instigating definite progress of the situation» by talking, one by one, with the participants in the Astana meetings. It has convinced them to adopt the objective fixed long ago by President Obama — the outlawing of chemical weapons and admission of humanitarian access to the combat zones.  Finally, France has created an «international contact group» which will meet at the occasion of the UN General Assembly around Jean-Yves Le Drian.  The return of Syria to the rule of Law «should be accompanied by legal retribution for the crimes committed, notably by the rulers of that country».

President Macron is therefore making a U-turn on his previous declarations.  There is no longer any question of accepting the Syrian Arab Republic and supporting it against Daesh, as he had stated in an interview with the Journal de Dimanche, but on the contrary, to pursue the old double game of using the humanitarian pretext to continue supplying the jihadists with weapons to use against Damascus.  The announcement of judgment for the Syrian leaders means the defeat of the Syrian Arab Republic, since never before, absolutely never, has a state brought victorious generals to trial for war crimes.  President Macron does not specify which court will be called to judge the rulers, but his language recalls the plan by the Director of Political Affairs for the UN, Jeffrey Feltman, who had already planned in 2012 (that is before generalised war) for the «condemnation» of 120 leaders — a plan which had been drawn up under the direction of one of Madame Merkel’s civil servants, Volker Perthes [4].

Concerning Libya and the Sahel, President Macron reminded his audience of his initiative at La-Celle-Saint-Cloud, during which he brought together «Libyan Prime Minister» Fayez Sarraj and the «head of the Libyan National Army» Khalifa Haftar — a summit at which he had assured the two men of the support of the European Union on the condition that they write off the mysterious disappearance of 100 billion dollars from the Libyan National Treasury [5].

The first consequence of the overthrow of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya was the destabilisation of Mali, a country whose economy was very largely supported by Libya [6].  Mali split into two parts – on one side the sedentary Bantus, on the other the nomadic Tuaregs.  French military intervention took note of these facts and prevented their immediate consequences for the civilians.  The G5-Sahel was created by France in order to stop the consequences of the war against Libya and to prevent the confrontation between blacks and Arabs, which only Mouamar Gaddafi had been able to contain.  As for the Alliance for the Development of the Sahel, it is aimed at replacing – with far fewer resources – the programme of aid for development that Libya had spearheaded in the region.  All these measures will ensure the stability of this part of Africa until, in about ten year’s time, the Pentagon implements its plan for the extension of chaos to the black continent [7].
President Macron mentioned the common declaration which he has just had adopted with his African and European partners which sets up European immigration offices on the African continent.  Their purpose is to make a primary selection of the immigrants who will be accepted by the Union, and put an end to the different routes of exile. «The roads of necessity must become the paths of liberty» – a formula which resumes the Presidential point of view – Africa is necessity, Europe is freedom.

For Emmanuel Macron, «re-establishing security» in Africa means reliance on the three D’s – «Defense, Development and Diplomacy», in other words the presence of the French army, French investments and French administration – the classic programme of economic colonisation.

The defense of common treasure


Far from neglecting the advantages of the French language and tourism, President Macron spoke of them at length. On this subject, he launched the idea of profiting from the French legal system in order to expand the country’s influence. So doing, he is using the so-called «Korbel doctrine», according to which, the way in which a treaty is drawn up extends the influence of the country which conceives the concepts – a doctrine used by his daughter, Madeleine Albright, and then by his adopted daughter, Condoleezza Rice, in order to transcribe international treaties in the language of Anglo-Saxon law.
The first common treasure is the planet.

This speech was delivered during «Ambassadors’ Week», during which the minister came to explain to his staff that as from now, the primary function of his administration was economic diplomacy.  When he was minister for Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius had the idea of mobilising the French diplomatic network in order to develop exports.  To this end, he created Business France, a public establishment headed, at Fabius’ initiative, by Muriel Penicaud.  She used public money which had been entrusted to her in order to launch Emmanuel Macron’s electoral campaign overseas, which is causing her some current trouble with the law.  She is today the Minister for Labour, and drew up the measures intended for the «protection of workers».  As for Laurent Fabius, he has become the President of the Constitutional Council.  As such – and in violation of the role allotted to him by the Constitution – he has drawn up a Pact for the Environment which President Macron will present to the United Nations.

The second common treasure is peace.

Through «European Defence», President Macron intends to «give new energy» to NATO. The objective of the Alliance is clearly the promotion of «peace», as we can see in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine.

The third common treasure is the law and human rights.

President Macron, who had previously mentioned the common values of the European Union , which are «respect for the human person, religious tolerance and freedom of expression», now declares that «the place of women, freedom of the press, the respect for civil and political rights» are universal values.  

Unfortunately, he did not specify the distinction that he operates between those which are European and those which are universal.  Although he developed a taste for philosophy after he met Paul Ricoeur, he does not seem to have thought much about political philosophy, and in his speeches, he confuses humanitarian law with human rights, and also, while we’re on the subject, their Anglo-Saxon meaning (protection of the individual faced with state abuse) and their French meaning (responsibilities of individuals, citizens and the nation).

The fourth common treasure is culture.

President Macron declared during his electoral campaign that there is no French culture, but there is culture in France.  In the same way, he does not consider that culture in general is a development of the mind, but a collection of marketable goods. That is why he will continue the work of his predecessor for the protection of cultural treasures, rather than people, in the theatres of war.

Conclusion


We would need a lot of time to assimilate all the lessons of President Macron’s vision of the world.

The most important fact remains that, according to him, the days of popular sovereignty are over, for the French as well as for Europeans in general. The democratic ideal may well continue at the local level, but is devoid of meaning at the national level.

Secondly, his conception of the Public Good (res publica), to which all political regimes – whether monarchic, imperial or republican – have been attached, also seems to be of another age.  In their view, they intended to serve – or pretend to serve – the collective interest.  Of course, Emmanuel Macron mentioned the law and rights, but immediately relegated these noble ideals to the same level as objects, like the Earth and marketable cultural products – and a dishonour, the slavery to NATO.  It would therefore seem that the Republic is also dead.


At the end of his speech, the audience applauded him warmly.  And neither the national press, nor the leaders of the opposition, expressed any objection.

Translation:  Pete Kimberley

NOTES:

[1] « Discours d’Emmanuel Macron à la semaine des ambassadeurs de France », Emmanuel Macron, Réseau Voltaire, 29 août 2017.
[2] Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes, 1651.
[3] “How the European Union is manipulating the Syrian refugees”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 2 May 2016.
[4] “Germany and the UNO against Syria”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Al-Watan (Syria) , Voltaire Network, 28 January 2016.
[5] “Macron-Libya: the Rothschild Connection”, by Manlio Dinucci, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Il Manifesto (Italy) , Voltaire Network, 1 August 2017.
[6] “War against Libya: an economic catastrophe for Africa and Europe”, interview with Mohammed Siala, by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, 4 July 2011.
[7] “The US military project for the world”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 22 August 2017.


'The Dotard effect'

SUNDAY WIRE: ‘The Dotard Effect’ with guests Mike Robinson, Basil Valentine




This week the SUNDAY WIRE is broadcasting LIVE from Southwest England with host Patrick Henningsen joined in studio by Mike Robinsoneditor of the UK Column, covering the biggest international stories this week. In the first hour, we’ll cover the North Korea Crisis and Trump’s debacle at the UN General Assembly, and B-1 bomber nuke flyer over. What are the chances for diplomacy? Also, America’s increasingly loopy Russiaphobia rabbit hole, internet censorship and cultural and political speech monopoly of Google and Facebook and their mainstream media accomplices, and the deceptive “academic” projects designed to defame independent media outlets who dare to question the official myth of the White Helmets. We’ll also “unpack” (excuse our use of dumbed-down American pseudo-intellectual slang) the #BREXIT deception, as the smoke and mirrors in Westminster continues, and why Britain will remain in the EU after all the theatrics have passed, and the Kurdish Referendum too and what it means, also with US and its SDF proxies in Syria caught aiding and abetting ISIS again. In the final hour, we may try and connect with SUNDAY WIRE roving correspondent for Culture & Sport, Basil Valentine live from the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, England – where Corbyn Mania continues, along with week’s most shocking stories in internationally, including Tony Blair’s new political party (?). Enjoy the show…






Listen to "Episode #203 - SUNDAY WIRE: 'The Dotard Effect' with guests Mike Robinson, Basil Valentine" on Spreaker.

Volcanic eruption in Vanuatu

Ambae volcano erupts in Vanuatu: Red colored clouds reported around the summit, huge lava fountains, high thermal anomalies

Eruptive activity of Ambae volcano in Vanuatu is now evident on satellite imagery and high thermal anomalies have been detected


24 September, 2017

The Alert Level for Ambae volcano has been raised again to Level 4. Locals are reporting red-coloured clouds around the summit.

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Ambae volcanic eruption and lava fountain captured on September 24, 2017 in Vanuatu. via Facebook
Authorities in Vanuatu were preparing to evacuate as many as 5000 people on Saturday, as a volcanic eruption on Ambae island continued to intensify.
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Satellite video of Ambae volcanic eruption in Vanuatu. via EODIS
The Geohazards Department on Saturday raised the volcanic alert from level three to four (moderate eruption state).
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A column of ash is ejected from the crater of the erupting Ambae volcano in Vanutu
The volcano is one of the most active in the world.
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People report red colored ash for the first time around the crater of Ambae volcano.
Its activity has steadily increased in the past couple of weeks. On Saturday the volcano covered much of the 400sqkm island with ash.
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Ash covers almost the entire island.
The state of the eruption is only moderate, but is likely to be increased in the next hours or days.
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Risk map of the Ambae volcano.
This is why the Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office is preparing the evacuation of half of the island’s 10,000 residents away from the south and north of the island, and relocating them to the eastern and western parts.
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The volcanic eruption of the Ambae volcano is steadily increasing and could lead to the strongest eruption in recent years.
The last significant eruption on Ambae was in 2005, during which 5,000 people were evacuated and could only return to their homes three months later.
This is second time in 2 days that mass evacuations occur around a volcano in the ring of fire, which had 4 earthquakes larger than 6 in magnitude hitting within 24 hours. Two days ago, 11,000 people living around the slopes of the Agung volcano were evacuated amid fears of first massive eruption in 50 years.

Putting together a picture of Puerto Rico


Reports are coming in dribs and drabs. One knows that anything coming from mainstream media is only a fraction of the truth.

The following may provide some clues as to what the people of Puerto Rico on an island and isolated, are having to put up with.

The interview with the mayor of San Juan paints a picture.
Look at Puerto Rico Devastation of Hurricane Maria


Environmental Disaster Looms in Puerto Rico, Lashed by Hurricane Maria & Left Without Power


Democracy Now!

Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico Wednesday as a Category 4 storm, bringing record rainfall and catastrophic flooding, destroying power lines and leaving the entire country in the dark. This comes as many homes on Puerto Rico were still dark two weeks after Hurricane Irma cut electricity to hundreds of thousands. The storm also raised concerns about potential environmental disasters. Puerto Rico is home to 23 Superfund sites, including on the island of Vieques, site of a former U.S. naval test range, which took a near-direct hit from the storm. It is also the site of a coal-fired power plant owned by the private company AES. Residents across the island have been demanding the plant be closed and that the company stop dumping toxic coal ash into their community, saying the waste is poisonous to their health and the environment. We speak with Emily Atkin, staff writer covering the environment at the New Republic, who writes, "Puerto Rico is Already an Environmental Tragedy. Hurricane Maria Will Make It Even Worse."




ALERT! Nuclear Power Plant in Puerto Rico Hit by Hurricane Maria




The decommissioned Boiling Nuclear Superheater (BONUS) reactor, located northwest of Rincón, Puerto Rico, was developed as a prototype nuclear power plant to investigate the technical and economic feasibility of the integral boiling- superheating concept


Puerto Rico Guajataca Dam fails - Tens of Thousands evacuate + PR Maria footage



Puerto Rico dam weakened by hurricane, forces seniors to evacuate




San Juan mayor: “There is horror in the streets”



Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz recounts the many struggles Puerto Rico's capital city is facing as it tries to regain its footing after Hurricane Maria

This gives some clue as to what was facing  Puerto Rico BEFORE  the hurricanes


Puerto Rico's Financial Future Now in the Hands of a Single Judge Overseeing Massive Bankruptcy





This was written after Hurricane Irma, and before Maria devastated the island
Thanks to Obama, Puerto Rico might never recover from Irma


15 September, 2017

In June 2016, Congress and President Obama passed a bill supposedly to address the economic crisis in Puerto Rico, by imposing external dictatorship on the island. Called the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (or PROMESA), it placed an unelected seven-member board in total control of all important policy.

The supposed justification was to give the island some way to get through bankruptcy. In reality it has set the island up for a decade of mass unemployment and crisis — without remotely fixing the debt problem. It's no accident the locals call the board "La Junta."

And now Puerto Rico has suffered serious damage from Hurricane Irma, adding yet another problem to the pile. Without serious federal help, this crisis will continue indefinitely.

Puerto Rico got into debt trouble through a combination of odd tax loopholes, irresponsible governance, and even more irresponsible lending. The details are complicated, but the most important thing to remember is that every bad loan has two parents, borrower and lender. If it was irresponsible to take money, it was even more irresponsible to give it to an entity that was clearly in over its head. Other Wall Street goons in the form of "vulture funds" have been downright predatory, buying up abandoned debt on the secondary market for a small fraction of its face value, then filing a blizzard of lawsuits to get the government to force Puerto Rico to pay up in full, by cannibalizing its public infrastructure.

The other thing that must be remembered is that the austerity always demanded by creditors during a debt crisis is straightforwardly self-defeating. As many countries have demonstrated since the 2008 financial crisis, austerity during a depression makes a debt problem worse, by strangling the economy and reducing tax revenue. It's like trying to undertake heavy manual labor while on a starvation diet — you just make yourself weak and sick.

What Puerto Rico needs right now is a big check from the federal government to get its economy re-pressurized, coupled to a debt restructuring and partial write-down to get it on a realistic repayment schedule. This would ideally be coupled to a thorough economic overhaul, and finally U.S. statehood. "Structural reform" has become a dirty word due to it usually being code for austerity and neoliberal assault on workers, but Puerto Rico's economy really does need work. Its labor force participation rate and productivity are low, its unemployment and poverty rate is high. Those problems will not be solved with budget cuts, but they are real problems.

What's more, Puerto Rico's infrastructure — long neglected due to the years of fiscal crisis — is in sorry shape, as was shown during Hurricane Irma. It took a fairly bad battering from the storm, which knocked down buildings and left hundreds of thousands without power ever before the highest winds arrived. The island's oil-fired power plants are outdated and fragile, and it has little solar power despite being a prime location (thoughone large plant was opened earlier this year). A big infrastructure update would be a splendid candidate for a federal stimulus plan to restore employment, stop the hemorrhaging of residents to the mainland, and increase productivity over the long term.

But as economist Martin Guzman explains, the PROMESA plan — its board, by the way, still has a fervent right-wing Social Security cutter — goes the opposite direction:
Unfortunately the [Fiscal Control] Board approved a fiscal plan for the next decade, 2017–2026, that is not aligned with what Puerto Rico needs to recover. Even the creators of the plan project another lost decade for the country, and they're being overly optimistic since their projections are based on assumptions that are not sound. They're underestimating the consequences that the plan will have for the Puerto Rican economy and society. As long as the board doesn't settle on a sound macroeconomic plan with a sound debt restructuring proposal, PROMESA will not be fulfilling the role for which it was created. [Institute for New Economic Thinking]
Despite the wreckage left by Irma and its sorry economic condition, many Puerto Ricans generously took in refugees from neighboring islands that suffered a direct hit. That, I suggest, is the attitude with which the American mainland should approach its Caribbean colony, still home to 3.4 million American citizens. They're in trouble and need help — and help could be easily provided.