A dovetail joint of news, art, science, politics, philosophy & global affairs

Grasping the currency true to our time

"Πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει"







April 15th
2:02 PM
"Russia is a power in structural decline. Its economic growth is anemic, it has an uncertain demographic future, and the state budget is highly vulnerable to any shift in oil prices. That being said, for the next several years it will have the most modern and effective military it has had since the Soviet Union collapsed. Russia’s leaders realize that right now they are the strongest they are ever likely to be, economically and militarily. Conversely, the West is at its weakest point of willpower, exhausted by crises and conflicts abroad, along with the pull of domestic agendas at home. NATO defense budgets are hardly a credible threat and will continue to decline. Even some of the Baltic states, who decry Russia as an existential threat, barely spend 1 percent of GDP on their own defense. Moscow knows that nobody wants to spend more money on defense to confront them. Putin likely calculates that if now is not the time to take on the West, then it will never come. He is rolling the dice while Russia still has dice to roll."
March 16th
1:47 PM
"I am afraid that I am interested in a cold war with the West. I was very patient. I waited for 20 years. I did everything I could so that this war would begin. I worked day and night."
—  Aleksandr A. Prokhanov, Foes of America in Russia Crave Rupture in Ties
January 21st
8:29 AM

Kiev: “akin to a war zone”

Protests are continuing in the Ukraine, often turning violent. Monday marked a second night of clashes, prompting Russia to warn the EU not to intervene.

A heavily commented reddit thread on the situation includes a link to a live video stream.

The situation is highly complex and perhaps threatens a wild sideshow to the Sochi Winter Olympics on an order greater than terror threats in the wake of Volgograd.

December 22nd
1:17 PM
Dana Priest  |  Washington Post »

The 50-year-old Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), once considered the best-funded insurgency in the world, is at its smallest and most vulnerable state in decades, due in part to a CIA covert action program that has helped Colombian forces kill at least two dozen rebel leaders, according to interviews with more than 30 former and current U.S. and Colombian officials.

The secret assistance, which also includes substantial eavesdropping help from the National Security Agency, is funded through a multibillion-dollar black budget. It is not a part of the public $9 billion package of mostly U.S. military aid called Plan Colombia, which began in 2000.
The previously undisclosed CIA program was authorized by President George W. Bush in the early 2000s and has continued under President Obama, according to U.S. military, intelligence and diplomatic officials. Most of those interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity because the program is classified and ongoing…  >continue<

Dana Priest  |  Washington Post »

The 50-year-old Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), once considered the best-funded insurgency in the world, is at its smallest and most vulnerable state in decades, due in part to a CIA covert action program that has helped Colombian forces kill at least two dozen rebel leaders, according to interviews with more than 30 former and current U.S. and Colombian officials.

The secret assistance, which also includes substantial eavesdropping help from the National Security Agency, is funded through a multibillion-dollar black budget. It is not a part of the public $9 billion package of mostly U.S. military aid called Plan Colombia, which began in 2000.

The previously undisclosed CIA program was authorized by President George W. Bush in the early 2000s and has continued under President Obama, according to U.S. military, intelligence and diplomatic officials. Most of those interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity because the program is classified and ongoing…  >continue<

December 13th
1:46 PM
200km-high geysers seen on Jupiter&#8217;s moon Europa

The search for life in the solar system has taken a dramatic turn with the announcement that Europa, a moon of Jupiter first discovered by Galileo, shows signs of water geysers erupting from its south pole.
"If there&#8217;s a geyser 200 kilometres tall, and you could fly a spacecraft through it and sample the water coming out from Europa, that would be phenomenal&#8230;"  &gt;continue&lt;

Caveats &amp; Excitement  |  Europa Beckons  |  Hubble Pushed

200km-high geysers seen on Jupiter’s moon Europa

The search for life in the solar system has taken a dramatic turn with the announcement that Europa, a moon of Jupiter first discovered by Galileo, shows signs of water geysers erupting from its south pole.

"If there’s a geyser 200 kilometres tall, and you could fly a spacecraft through it and sample the water coming out from Europa, that would be phenomenal…"  >continue<

Caveats & Excitement  |  Europa Beckons  |  Hubble Pushed

October 20th
2:10 PM

Saudi Arabia mysteriously withdrew, after having campaigned for and won a seat on the UN Security Council. They said it was over Western inaction on Syria and the the Palestinians.
&#8230;all of a sudden on Friday, Saudi Arabia resigned its seat. It said that it did so over UNSC inaction on Syria and on the lack of progress in resolving the problem of Palestinians’ statelessness. Some observers also suggested that it was an implicit protest against the possibility that the US and Iran will make up.
It is hard to know what to make of the Saudi action, which has never occurred before in the history of the UN.   &gt;continue&lt;

Saudi Arabia mysteriously withdrew, after having campaigned for and won a seat on the UN Security Council. They said it was over Western inaction on Syria and the the Palestinians.

all of a sudden on Friday, Saudi Arabia resigned its seat. It said that it did so over UNSC inaction on Syria and on the lack of progress in resolving the problem of Palestinians’ statelessness. Some observers also suggested that it was an implicit protest against the possibility that the US and Iran will make up.

It is hard to know what to make of the Saudi action, which has never occurred before in the history of the UN.   >continue<

September 11th
7:01 PM
NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans&#8217; data with Israel
Greenwald, Poitras, MacAskill | Guardian&#160;&#187;

The National Security Agency routinely shares raw intelligence data with Israel without first sifting it to remove information about US citizens, a top-secret document provided to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals.
Details of the intelligence-sharing agreement are laid out in a memorandum of understanding between the NSA and its Israeli counterpart that shows the US government handed over intercepted communications likely to contain phone calls and emails of American citizens. The agreement places no legally binding limits on the use of the data by the Israelis.
The disclosure that the NSA agreed to provide raw intelligence data to a foreign country contrasts with assurances from the Obama administration that there are rigorous safeguards to protect the privacy of US citizens caught in the dragnet. The intelligence community calls this process &#8220;minimization&#8221;, but the memorandum makes clear that the information shared with the Israelis would be in its pre-minimized state.  &gt;continue&lt;

NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans’ data with Israel

Greenwald, Poitras, MacAskill | Guardian »

The National Security Agency routinely shares raw intelligence data with Israel without first sifting it to remove information about US citizens, a top-secret document provided to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals.

Details of the intelligence-sharing agreement are laid out in a memorandum of understanding between the NSA and its Israeli counterpart that shows the US government handed over intercepted communications likely to contain phone calls and emails of American citizens. The agreement places no legally binding limits on the use of the data by the Israelis.

The disclosure that the NSA agreed to provide raw intelligence data to a foreign country contrasts with assurances from the Obama administration that there are rigorous safeguards to protect the privacy of US citizens caught in the dragnet. The intelligence community calls this process “minimization”, but the memorandum makes clear that the information shared with the Israelis would be in its pre-minimized state.  >continue<

July 19th
12:49 PM
'Explosive' NSA Spying Reports Are Imminent
Der Spiegel&#160;&#187;

Glenn Greenwald says new reports from the trove of NSA data supplied by whistleblower Edward Snowden can be expected in the next few days. Speaking on a German talkshow, he said they would be even &#8220;more explosive in Germany&#8221; than previous reporting&#8230;
&#8230;He told host Reinhold Beckmann that he and journalist Laura Poitras had obtained full sets of the documents during a trip to Hong Kong, with around 9,000 to 10,000 top secret documents in total. Greenwald said they had been in possession of the data for around seven weeks and had not had a chance to analyze all the material, noting that some of the documents were extremely complicated. &#8220;We&#8217;re working on it,&#8221; he said.  &gt;continue&lt;

'Explosive' NSA Spying Reports Are Imminent

Der Spiegel »

Glenn Greenwald says new reports from the trove of NSA data supplied by whistleblower Edward Snowden can be expected in the next few days. Speaking on a German talkshow, he said they would be even “more explosive in Germany” than previous reporting…

…He told host Reinhold Beckmann that he and journalist Laura Poitras had obtained full sets of the documents during a trip to Hong Kong, with around 9,000 to 10,000 top secret documents in total. Greenwald said they had been in possession of the data for around seven weeks and had not had a chance to analyze all the material, noting that some of the documents were extremely complicated. “We’re working on it,” he said.  >continue<

July 18th
1:00 AM
Wednesday recollections of import:   
Coup or Revolution?, Juan Cole diving beneath abstractions 
Egypt Media Roundup | SCAF shakes Turkey | Salafists Gain
 _________________┌ elsewise ┐_________________
Free Syrian Splinters | Turkey&#8217;s Telekinetic Threat | Issa Charade
Space Teleology | Politics of the Body | Valentino&#8217;s Ghost
Exemplars &amp; Ends, Islam and the ergon of a polity
Rocking the Cradle, gauging historical force in Egypt
philosophical archeology: Kant

Wednesday recollections of import:   

Coup or Revolution?, Juan Cole diving beneath abstractions 

Egypt Media Roundup | SCAF shakes Turkey | Salafists Gain

 _________________ elsewise _________________

Free Syrian Splinters | Turkey’s Telekinetic Threat | Issa Charade

Space Teleology | Politics of the Body | Valentino’s Ghost

Exemplars & Ends, Islam and the ergon of a polity

Rocking the Cradle, gauging historical force in Egypt

philosophical archeology: Kant