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The Coming Persian War

Posted by DanielS on Friday, 20 October 2017 00:09.



The Coming Persian War, Jason Reza Jorjani, 16 Oct 2017
:

On Friday the 13th of October, 2017, President Trump gave a speech on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that Persians will forever remember as “the Arabian Gulf” speech. Seven months earlier, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that the United States was initiating a “comprehensive review” of its Iran policy, including the JCPOA colloquially known as “the Iran nuclear deal.” About a month after Tillerson’s April 19th statement, the Secretary of State accompanied President Trump on a state visit to Saudi Arabia where the President addressed tens of Arab nations in a speech that identified Iran as the leading state sponsor of terrorism. This, despite the fact that Iran has never carried out an act of terrorism on American soil whereas, during his campaign, Donald Trump himself rightly identified Saudi Arabia as responsible for helping to plan and organize the 9/11 attacks. A comparison of the remarks of candidate Trump regarding Saudi Arabia to the policies of President Trump on Saudi Arabia is one of the clearest examples of Donald Trump’s hypocrisy and charlatanry. Another is his not having included the Saudis in his “Muslim ban” that does prevent Iranians from immigrating to the United States. The candidate who lambasted Hillary Clinton for taking money from Saudi Arabia went on to literally do a war dance with the Saudis, and to form a coalition with them against Iran. Several weeks after this trip to Saudi Arabia, Secretary of State Tillerson referred to the Persian Gulf as “the Arabian Gulf”.

During his Friday the 13th speech decertifying the JCPOA and laying out a strategy for regime change in Iran, President Trump echoed his Secretary of State when nearly six minutes into the twenty minute speech, he said that Iran “harasses American ships and threatens freedom of navigation in the Arabian Gulf and Red Sea.” Trump’s speech presented the outcome of the “comprehensive review” of Iran policy announced by Tillerson back in April. In summary, the new Iran policy includes renegotiating the nuclear deal to remove the time limits on the heavy restrictions of Iran’s nuclear energy program, to target Iran’s ballistic missile development, especially its efforts to acquire ICBMs, as well as measures not directly related to the nuclear program but targeting the regime, such as the imposition of crippling sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which “has hijacked large portions of Iran’s economy”, and finally, to support “regional allies”, i.e. Sunni Arab states, in confronting the Iranian military and paramilitary presence in Shiite-majority countries like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen.

For someone who has long been involved in the Iranian opposition to the Islamic Republic, and who was outraged by Obama Administration policies toward that regime, there were certainly elements of Trump’s speech that, on the face of it, seemed positive. These included his description of the regime as a tyranny that does not reflect the character and will of “a proud people”, a regime that has “raided the wealth of one of the world’s oldest and most vibrant nations.” Trump rightly condemned the Islamic Republic for brutally crushing the peaceful mass demonstrations of the summer and fall of 2009. He rightly chastised Obama for a nuclear deal that “threw Iran’s dictatorship a political and economic lifeline, providing urgently needed relief from the intense domestic pressure…” Indeed, Obama was penning secret letters to the Supreme Leader at the same time that the latter was ordering the murder and torture of young unarmed protestors whose chants included “Obama, Obama, either with us (the Iranian people) or with them (the Islamic regime)!” Trump’s evocative description of Obama’s perverse physical transfer of “huge piles” of cash to the Mullahs by airplane was particularly compelling.

There is, however, good reason to question the sincerity of the President when he claims that in his proposed policy of confronting the Islamic Republic, the United States government stands “in total solidarity with the Iranian regime’s longest suffering victims… The Iranian people [who] long to… reclaim their country’s proud history, its culture, its civilization…” The bare minimum of showing respect for the people of Iran’s millennial Persian civilizational heritage is to refer to the Persian Gulf by its proper name, which dates from the time of classical Greek geographers and has since been officially recognized by all major international organizations. Wanting to get under the skin of the Mullahs and threaten them is no excuse, since from the moment that they seized power in 1979, they have been Arabizers that tried to suppress Iran’s Persian identity. At one point they even wanted to bulldoze Persepolis and change Iran’s language to Arabic. President Trump’s use of the bogus term “Arabian Gulf” was bound to terribly offend the Persian people themselves. It reveals that the rest of his rhetoric about Persians being oppressed and victimized by the Islamic Republic was primarily for domestic consumption, preparing Americans for the “liberation” of yet another country.

Trump’s deployment of the phrase “Arabian Gulf” was no more accidental than Secretary of State Tillerson’s seven months earlier. It signals the true end game of the new Iran policy: the transformation of the Persian Gulf into the Arabian Gulf through targeting Iran’s nationwide Persian cultural identity by engineering ethnic separatism, reducing Iran to an impoverished rump state of ‘Persia’ surrounded by resource-rich “microstates” exploitatively controlled by Saudi Arabia and the rootless global capitalists whose cancerous Deep State has destroyed America’s moral compass. That Trump and Tillerson intend to pursue a war with this outcome was made clear in statements that Walid Phares volunteered to Fox News on October 13th during a preview and preliminary analysis of the President’s “Arabian Gulf” speech.

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Pence brought to you by the Koch bros anti-EPA, Evangelical, Heritage fndn & all right wing concerns

Posted by DanielS on Thursday, 19 October 2017 00:01.

Pence owes his position to doing the dirty bidding of the Koch brother’s interests, starting with lobbying against carbon tax, an initiative that wound up putting oil man Scott Pruitt in charge of EPA - the proverbial fox in charge of the hen house. That’s not the half of Pence’s classic story of right wing corruption.

NPR, “Understanding Mike Pence And His Relationship To Trump: ‘His Public Role Is Fawning”, 18 Oct 2017:

Though President Trump ran as an outsider, New Yorker writer Jane Mayer describes his vice president as “the connective tissue” between Trump and the billionaire donors in the Republican party.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I’m Terry Gross. Many of President Trump’s critics are hoping he won’t serve his full term, but what kind of president would Mike Pence make? That’s one of the questions Jane Mayer sets out to answer in her new article about Pence titled “The President Pence Delusion.” It’s published in the current issue of The New Yorker.

She writes about how Pence became an evangelical Christian and how he became a favored candidate of billionaire backers, most especially the Koch brothers. She traces how religion and money shaped his ideology. She investigates how Pence became Trump’s running mate and how much power he has in the White House and how he’s used it.

Mayer is a staff writer for The New Yorker. She’s also the author of the bestseller about the Koch Brothers titled “Dark Money: The Hidden History Of The Billionaires Behind The Rise Of The Radical Right.” Last March in The New Yorker, she profiled another billionaire funder of right-wing causes, Robert Mercer, who she says has become a major force behind the Trump presidency.

Jane Mayer, welcome back to FRESH AIR. So I feel like I don’t see Mike Pence very much, and I often wonder if he’s a power behind the scenes or if he really doesn’t matter that much within the Trump administration. So what’s your impression?

JANE MAYER: Well, it’s really hard to tell. He is - as Joel Goldstein, a specialist in the vice presidency, told me, he calls him the sycophant in chief because when you do see him, he’s usually acting as an emcee to Trump or kind of echoing Trump and praising Trump. So his public role is really fawning. Behind the scenes, though, according to Newt Gingrich, he’s 1 of the 3 people who have the most power in the Trump administration along with the chief of staff, John Kelly, and Trump himself.

GROSS: What are the signs that he’s that powerful?

MAYER: Well, (laughter) that’s a good question - because I think he acts as the connective tissue between the Trump administration and Congress, between the Trump administration and the - kind of the socially conservative base of the party. And most importantly, he is the connector between the Trump administration and the billionaire donors in the Republican Party. He is the guy who does most of the fundraising and outreach to the money.

GROSS: And the money includes the Koch brothers and Robert Mercer.

MAYER: It does. And one of the interesting things to me in writing about Pence is it poses such a juxtaposition between the way that Trump ran, which was as a populist outsider who was attacking the big-money forces in the Republican Party as corrupt and saying that they were puppeteers trying to control the candidates as puppets. And Trump made a huge point of saying, I’m my own man; I’m so rich; no one controls me. Yet as his vice president, he chose Mike Pence. And you could hardly find a candidate in the American political scene who has closer ties to the big donors and particularly the Koch brothers. He’s been sponsored by them for years.

GROSS: So how do the Kochs first start backing Mike Pence?

MAYER: So this was when Pence was in Congress in 2009. He really did the Kochs a big favor. There was legislation pending that might have put a tax on carbon pollution, and it would have been terrible for Koch Industries. And Pence took up the cause and tried to help defeat that legislation and specifically carried around a pledge that the Kochs had created, trying to get people to sign it. And after he was successful in that, the Kochs invited him to come to their secret donor summits. And at that point on, they started showering him in money. So it was - it’s really became a working relationship then. And I hadn’t realized that until recently.

GROSS: One of the things you say Mike Pence is responsible for is bringing the Kochs and Donald Trump together. The Kochs didn’t support Trump’s candidacy. Charles Koch described the choice between Trump and Hillary as one between cancer or a heart attack. (Laughter) So what did Pence do to bring the Kochs and Trump together?

MAYER: Well, so this is what was interesting to me - is that Pence has been very close with the Kochs, and they have just showered money on his campaigns. And he’s kind of act as a peacemaker between the Kochs and Trump. And but in that process, what interested me most was that I really do think that Trump ran as a different kind of Republican. He ran against the big-donors orthodoxy and kind of libertarian vision of people like the Kochs. He said he was going to deliver something for the little guys and build infrastructure all across the country and use the government in various ways that the Kochs disapprove of.

And what you’ve seen with Pence is that in many ways, Pence has brought in a ton of people who are allied with the Kochs into the government, and he’s brought a lot of their policies in - so whether it’s on environmental issues or tax policy now where the Kochs are working very closely with the Trump White House on the Trump tax plan. And it is a tax plan that the Kochs love, and it’s a tax plan that’s going to help the super-rich according to many nonpartisan analyses and not do very much for the middle class. So you’re beginning to kind of see the government moving in the direction of the Kochs.

GROSS: You say 16 high-ranking officials in the Trump White House have ties to the Koch brothers.

MAYER: Well, and that’s according to a study by a group called the Checks And Balances Program. And you can count them. You can see it online. They’re - that’s in the White House. There are also many, many people who’ve worked for the Kochs in the government at large, in the cabinet, in the other departments. And a tremendous number of people who work with and for Pence have gone in and out of working for the Kochs to the point that you had Politico saying - they quoted a Republican operative saying that the Koch operation really was the shadow campaign for Pence for president.

And chief among them really has been Pence’s former chief of staff, Marc Short, who went - after working for Pence in Congress, he went to run the Koch’s political operation, Freedom Partners. And then when Pence was chosen as vice president on the ticket, Marc Short came back, worked with Pence in the campaign and is now the head of Congressional Liaison in the Trump White House. So the man that actually ran the Koch’s political operation is a key player inside the Trump White House.

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Trump’s cryptic warning ahead of the Iran decision: “this could be the calm before the storm”

Posted by DanielS on Saturday, 07 October 2017 06:48.



The Hill, “Trump: ‘You’ll find out’ what ‘calm before the storm’ means”, 6 Oct 2017:

President Trump on Friday kept the public wondering about his cryptic warning regarding a “calm before the storm.”

“You’ll find out,” Trump told reporters at the White House when asked what he meant by his comment. 

The president left many people scratching their heads after he offered mysterious remarks before a Thursday dinner with military leaders.

“You guys know what this represents?” Trump asked reporters in the room. “Maybe it’s the calm before the storm.”

Asked what he was referring to — such as possible action against Iran or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — Trump responded, “We have the world’s greatest military people in the room.”

“You’ll find out,” he said when he was pressed again.

Later Friday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to say whether the president was hinting at a military action.

“We’re never going to say in advance what the president is going to do,” she said.

Trump’s comments came after a meeting with the military brass that touched on Iran and North Korea. Multiple reports indicate the president is prepared to decertify the landmark nuclear pact with Tehran.

White House reporters were called in to cover the photo-op after staff informed them Trump would be making no more public appearances, raising speculation he was prepared to make a major announcement.

But the president has given no indication what he was referring to, an indication he may have been trying to be provocative rather than offering a hint of future action. 

Sanders said she believes Trump was making “just a general comment.”

“I’m not aware of anything specific that was a reference to,” she said.

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Trump expected to decertify Iran nuclear deal, official says.

Posted by DanielS on Friday, 06 October 2017 12:09.

Ending the Iran deal has been the veritable raison d’être for the Trump Presidency.

Reuters, “Trump expected to decertify Iran nuclear deal, official says”, 5 Oct 2017:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump is expected to announce soon that he will decertify the landmark international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program, a senior administration official said on Thursday, in a step that potentially could cause the 2015 accord to unravel.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Trump is also expected to roll out a broader U.S. strategy on Iran that would be more confrontational. The Trump administration has frequently criticized Iran’s conduct in the Middle East.

Trump, who has called the pact an “embarrassment” and “the worst deal ever negotiated,” has been weighing whether it serves U.S. security interests as he faces an Oct. 15 deadline for certifying that Iran is complying with its terms.

“We must not allow Iran ... to obtain nuclear weapons,” Trump said during a meeting with military leaders at the White House on Thursday, adding:

“The Iranian regime supports terrorism and exports violence, bloodshed and chaos across the Middle East. That is why we must put an end to Iran’s continued aggression and nuclear ambitions. They haven’t lived up to the spirit of the agreement.”

Asked about his decision on whether to certify the landmark deal, Trump said: “You’ll be hearing about Iran very shortly.”

Supporters say its collapse could trigger a regional arms race and worsen Middle East tensions, while opponents say it went too far in easing sanctions without requiring that Iran end its nuclear program permanently.

Iranian authorities have repeatedly said Tehran would not be the first to violate the accord, under which Iran agreed to restrict its nuclear program in return for lifting most international sanctions that had crippled its economy.

If Trump declines to certify Iran’s compliance, U.S. congressional leaders would have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Tehran suspended under the agreement.

Whether Congress would be willing to reimpose sanctions is far from clear. While Republicans, and some Democrats, opposed the deal when it was approved in 2015, there is little obvious appetite in Congress for dealing with the Iran issue now.

The prospect that Washington could renege on the pact, which was signed by the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, the European Union and Iran, has worried some of the U.S. allies that helped negotiate it.

“We, the Europeans, we have hammered this: the agreement is working,” said a European diplomat who asked to remain anonymous. “We as Europeans, have repeated ... it’s impossible to reopen the agreement. Period. It’s impossible.”

French President Emmanuel Macron said last month there was no alternative to the nuclear accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

A senior Iranian diplomat told Reuters on Thursday the end result of Trump’s expected move would be to isolate the United States since the Europeans would continue to support it.

“Many foreign investors told us that they will not be scared away from Iran’s market if Trump de-certifies the deal,” the diplomat said.

Trump has long criticized the pact, a signature foreign policy achievement of his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama.

The administration was considering Oct. 12 for Trump to give a speech on Iran but no final decision had been made, an official said previously.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a close ally of Trump, last month said that unless provisions in the accord removing restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program over time are eliminated, it should be canceled.

“Fix it, or nix it,” Netanyahu said in a speech at the U.N. General Assembly annual gathering of world leaders on Sept. 19.

Many of Trump’s fellow Republicans who control Congress also have been critical of the deal.

‘CANNOT ABIDE’

Trump blasted the deal in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, also on Sept. 19.

“We cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program,” Trump said, adding that Iran’s government “masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy.”

Trump is weighing a strategy that could allow more aggressive U.S. responses to Iran’s forces, its Shi‘ite Muslim proxies in Iraq and Syria and its support for militant groups.

Trump’s defense secretary, Jim Mattis, told a congressional hearing on Tuesday that Iran was “fundamentally” in compliance with the agreement. He also said the United States should consider staying in the deal unless it were proven that Tehran was not abiding by it or that it was not in the U.S. national interest to do so.

When Mattis was asked by a senator whether he thought staying in the deal was in the U.S. national security interest, he replied: “Yes, senator, I do.”

Last week, Iran’s foreign minister said Tehran may abandon the deal if Washington decides to withdraw.


Joining Wales, Scotland bans fracking.

Posted by DanielS on Thursday, 05 October 2017 04:15.

Scotland’s ban on fracking poses something of a dilemma for nationalists. While it is indisputable that fracking is environmentally destructive, it is also the case that the destruction can be mitigated some in that the process can be turned off such that it is not an endless source of pollution; and it can be turned on when, for example, Russia threatens to withhold oil supply for not yielding to its political pressure as an oil supplier; which it aspires to do and that’s why Russian Active Measures has a certifiable presence in anti-fracking movements, including that of Scotland.

BBC, “Scottish government backs ban on fracking”, 3 Oct 2017:

The Scottish government has announced an “effective ban” on fracking.

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse told MSPs that the practice “cannot and will not take place in Scotland”.

He said an existing moratorium on the technique, which has been in place since 2015, would continue “indefinitely” after a consultation showed “overwhelming” opposition.

The government will seek Holyrood’s endorsement for the ban in a vote following the October recess.

But with only the Conservatives now opposed to a ban, the vote is likely to be a formality.

The move was welcomed by environmental groups but has been slammed by Ineos, operators of the huge Grangemouth petrochemical plant, which holds fracking exploration licences across 700 square miles of the country.

  Scotland and fracking: how did we get here?

The Scottish government has previously imposed a similar block on underground coal gasification (UCG) - a separate technique used to extract gas from coal seams deep underground - on environmental grounds.

It followed the introduction of a moratorium on both fracking and UCG in 2015, which saw a series of expert reports published on the potential health, environmental and economic impact of the controversial techniques, as well as a public consultation being carried out.

Mr Wheelhouse said the consultation came back with “overwhelming” opposition to fracking, with 99% of the 60,000 respondents supporting a ban. He said this showed that “there is no social licence for unconventional oil and gas to be taken forward at this time”.

The move comes almost exactly a year on from the UK government giving the go-ahead to horizontal fracking in Lancashire.

Shale gas is currently processed in Scotland at a site in Grangemouth, having been shipped in from abroad, but cannot be extracted from beneath Scottish soil under the current moratorium, which is enforced through planning regulations.

Mr Wheelhouse said local authorities would be instructed to continue this moratorium “indefinitely” - calling this “action sufficient to effectively ban the development of unconventional oil and gas extraction in Scotland”.

He said: “The decision I am announcing today means that fracking cannot and will not take place in Scotland.”

Mr Wheelhouse’s announcement was welcomed by environmental groups, with Friends of the Earth Scotland and WWF Scotland both hailing a victory for campaigners.

WWF Scotland official Sam Gardner said it was “excellent news”, saying “the climate science is clear” that fossil fuels should be “left in the ground”.

Mary Church from Friends of the Earth Scotland said it was a “huge win for the anti-fracking movement” which would be “warmly welcomed across the country and around the world”.
‘Poor decision’

However Ineos said the move could see “large numbers of Scottish workers leaving the country to find work”.

Tom Pickering, operations director of Ineos Shale, said: “It is a sad day for those of us who believe in evidence-led decision making. The Scottish government has turned its back on a potential manufacturing and jobs renaissance and lessened Scottish academia’s place in the world by ignoring its findings.”

Ken Cronin of UK Onshore Oil and Gas also said it was a “poor decision”, which ignored “extensive independent research” and was “based on dogma not evidence or geopolitical reality”.

And the GMB Scotland trade union said the move was “mired in dishonesty” and “an abandonment of the national interest”, saying Scotland would now be dependent on gas shipped in from “the likes of Qatar and Russia”.

The Scottish Conservatives also said Scotland would miss out on a “much needed economic boost” and high-skilled jobs as a result of the decision.

Tory MSP Dean Lockhart said ministers had ignored scientific and economic evidence to take a “short-sighted and economically damaging decision which is nothing more than a bid to appease the green elements of the pro-independence movement”.

However Labour MSP Claudia Beamish said the move did not go far enough, arguing that ministers were merely extending the existing moratorium which “could be overturned at any point at the whim of a minister”.
‘Legally shaky’

Ms Beamish has a member’s bill tabled at Holyrood calling for a “full legal ban”, but Mr Wheelhouse said this would not be needed until his proposals.

The Scottish Greens said the announcement was “a step in the right direction”. However, they also wanted a more permanent ban, with MSP Mark Ruskell saying the moratorium was “legally shaky” and open to challenge.

This was also echoed by Friends of the Earth Scotland, with Ms Church saying ministers should “go further than relying on planning powers” and “instead commit to passing a law to ban the fracking industry for good”.

Scottish Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur welcomed the decision, saying that ministers had taken the “scenic route” but had ultimately decided “effectively to ban fracking”.

MSPs have previously voted to support a ban on fracking, but SNP members abstained from that vote.
What is fracking and why is it controversial?


- Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside.
- The extensive use of fracking in the US, where it has revolutionised the energy industry, has prompted environmental concerns.
- The first is that fracking uses huge amounts of water that must be transported to the fracking site, at significant environmental cost.
- The second is the worry that potentially carcinogenic chemicals used may escape and contaminate groundwater around the fracking site.
- But the industry suggests fracking of shale gas could contribute significantly to the UK’s future energy needs

  find out more…

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Russia’s Geography Problem

Posted by DanielS on Monday, 18 September 2017 02:43.

Related Story: European & Asian Regional Alliance


Hurricane Irmina Gathering - Worst Case Scenario is Worse than Harvey, Worse than Katrina [updates]

Posted by DanielS on Saturday, 02 September 2017 02:54.

  “We’re talking total destruction”

Irma worst case scenario: Cat 5 storm, direct hit on Miami.

“Major Hurricane Irma now ... I’d be surprised if storm didn’t become Cat 5 during next 5-7 days. Many EPS ensembles are very intense.

It would be much worse than Harvey. Miami is built right up to the ocean, all those tall building would receive the impact of Cat 5 winds plus devastating storm surge. We are talking total destruction.”

- Ryan Maue, Meteorologist (PhD) | Free ex parte opinions on Weather | Hurricanes | Climate Science | Politics | Think Tanker @CatoCSS

SethBrown321‏ @FnafSeth Aug 31, replying to Ryan Maue @RyanMaue

“I’d make evacuation plans now everyone in Florida, NC/SC, Georgia, DC, Maryland and Virginia.”

Source, Lion of the Blogosphere

The Economic Collapse, “Category 6? If Hurricane Irma Becomes The Strongest Hurricane In History, It Could Wipe Entire Cities Off The Map”, 1 Sep 2017:

Meteorologists have been shocked at how rapidly Hurricane Irma has been strengthening, and they are already warning that if it hits the United States as a high level category 5 storm the devastation would be absolutely unprecedented.  Of course we are already dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and many experts are already telling us that the economic damage done by that storm will easily surpass any other disaster in all of U.S. history.  But there is a very real possibility that Hurricane Irma could be even worse.  According to the National Hurricane Center, at 5 PM on Friday Irma already had sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.  But it is still very early, and as you will see below, next week it is expected to potentially develop into a category 5 storm with winds of 180 miles per hour or more.

I suppose that it is appropriate that such a powerful storm has a very powerful name.  In old German, the name “Irma” actually means “war goddess”…

  The name Irma is a German baby name. In German the meaning of the name Irma is: Universal, from the Old German ‘irmin’. War goddess.

Irma began forming on Wednesday, and it intensified at a faster rate than any storm that we have seen in nearly 20 years…

Hurricane Irma formed early Wednesday in the warm waters off the coast of West Africa — and took just 30 hours to strengthen to a Category 3. That’s the fastest intensification rate in almost two decades. By Friday afternoon, the storm had also grown noticeably larger in size with a well-defined eye, a classic sign of a strong hurricane.

Though Irma poses no immediate threat to land, the outlook is ominous: In the Atlantic, Irma is expected to pass through some abnormally warm waters — the primary fuel source for storm systems. The official National Hurricane Center forecast says it will remain at major hurricane status for at least the next five days, and, in a worst-case scenario, Irma could eventually grow into one of the strongest hurricanes ever seen in the Atlantic.

So how powerful could Irma eventually become?

According to Michael Ventrice of the Weather Channel, Irma could easily become a “super typhoon” with “sustained speeds of over 180mph”…

Veteran USA forecaster Michael Ventrice posted the track model on Twitter overnight and warned it looked like the storm could be a “super typhoon”, with sustained speeds of over 180mph.

He wrote: “These are the highest windspeed forecasts I’ve ever seen in my 10 yrs of Atlantic hurricane forecasting.

“Irma is another retiree candidate.”

The scale we have right now really never envisioned storms that powerful.  In fact, some have suggested that we need to add a “category 6” to describe the kind of “super storms” that are now developing in the Atlantic.

One of the reasons why Irma is so unique is because it is a “Cape Verde hurricane”…

There are a few factors that worry hurricane forecasters more about this storm when compared to the myriad other tropical storms and hurricanes that tend to form in the Atlantic.

First, it’s a so-called Cape Verde storm, having formed off the west coast of Africa. These storms tend to be the ones that go on to affect the U.S., after gathering strength for many days during their march across the ocean. For example, Hurricane Andrew, which was the most recent Category 5 storm to hit the U.S. in 1992, was a Cape Verde-type storm.

Because they begin at a relatively low latitude and move west rather than northwest, it can be harder for upper level winds blowing across North America to pick up and steer these types of storms away from the U.S. coast.

Let us hope that this storm does get steered away from our coastlines at some point, but so far that is just not happening.

Many hurricanes are often weakened by wind shear, but that isn’t happening to Irma either.  In fact, CNN is reporting that “Irma will remain in a low-shear environment for the next several days”…

A strong high-pressure ridge to the north of Irma, over the Atlantic, is steering the storm to the west and limiting the wind shear in the upper levels of the atmosphere, which has allowed the storm to grow so quickly. Wind shear is like hurricane kryptonite, and prevents storms from forming or gaining strength.

Unfortunately, Irma will remain in a low-shear environment for the next several days, so there isn’t much hope that Irma will weaken any time soon.

Basically, conditions are nearly ideal for a “super storm” to develop, and if Irma does make it to the U.S. the destruction that it causes could be absolutely off the charts.

Of course at this point there is no guarantee that it will ever reach the United States.  But if it does, and if it is still a category 5 storm when it arrives, we could be facing an event unlike anything that we have ever seen before.

Do you remember Hurricane Katrina?  Well, scientists now know that when it hit New Orleans it had already been downgraded to just a “low category 3” storm…

To put this all in perspective, Katrina was a Category 5 hurricane out over some hot spots in the Gulf. But when it hit New Orleans, scientists now know, Katrina had winds at a low Category 3, and much of them Category 2, including the “left side winds” that then came down from the north and pushed the surge-swollen waters of Lake Pontchartrain over and through NOLA’s levees. (Hurricanes spin counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere, so when Katrina came ashore just east of New Orleans, its winds hit the city from the north.)

Only three Category 5s have come ashore in the United States in the past century — the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane, Camille in 1969 and Andrew in 1992.

And Hurricane Harvey was just a category 4 storm.

If Hurricane Irma were to make landfall as a category 5 storm with sustained winds of 180 miles per hour, it would rip buildings and everything else in its path to shreds.

Next week we shall find out what happens.  Let us hope for the best, but let us also get prepared for the worst.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Irmina Update:


The Island Packet
, “Hurricane Irma back to Category 2, but its track makes a pronounced turn”, 2 Sep 2017:

Hurricane Irma become a Category 2 storm once more in the National Hurricane Center’s 5 a.m. update, but as its strength fluctuates, its track now shows a distinct northwestern turn.

Tropical weather track

Reload page every few hours
for the latest tracking information.

Source: National Hurricane Center

Irma is currently located about 1300 miles east of the Leeward Islands, and is moving west at 14 mph. It has maximum sustained winds of 110 mph with gusts up to 132 mph.

While Irma has remained in a somewhat weakened state over the past day or so, it is expected to move into warmer waters and better wind conditions in about a day, and is expected to be a major hurricane again as it approaches the Lesser Antilles at the beginning of next week.

It is expected to reach Category 4 status by next Wednesday, with forecast sustained winds of 132 mph and gusts over 160.

The NHC track for Irma looks only five days out, but there are other, more speculative forecast models.

No coastal watches or warnings have yet been issued for Irma. Watches and warnings are typically issued 36 hours before a tropical cyclone poses a threat to a coastal area. So, as alarming as some of the information coming in might be, people can take solace in the knowledge that they will have plenty of warning if Irma looks to threaten the U.S. coast.

“It’s still 2,000 miles away, and anything over the Atlantic Ocean moving generally westward, by geographical definition, would be ‘aiming in the general direction of the United States,’” said NHC spokesman Dennis Feltgen. “It is far to early to tell what, if any, impacts will be felt on the continental U.S.”

Feltgen also said that Irma is a useful reminder that we are in the peak of hurricane season, and that as such, people in hurricane prone areas should be prepared, just in case.

“Check your supplies and make sure you have a hurricane plan,” said Feltgen. “The last thing you want is to be doing this on the fly if you happen to be in an area where hurricane watches or warnings go up. Not that we expect that to happen any time soon, but use this weekend, when stores are open and everyone has supplies, to take advantage of that.


Moscow Taking Control of Venezuelan Oil Assets, Gaining Geopolitical Foothold in Caribbean

Posted by DanielS on Tuesday, 15 August 2017 05:11.

Venezuela, a back door against sanctions and a foothold in the Caribbean in the face of America once again: Venezuela’s Maduro selling oil to Putin.

Venezuela tried to build their economy the wrong way, by selling oil and other natural resources rather than developing the infrastructure by which they might process the oil and other resources in order to sustain and advance their economy.

Venezuela is one of the pariah states along with Belarus and North Korea that the Russian Federation likes to play games with; the RF is now swooping-in for a foothold, for what could be increasing geopolitical control over the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

Breitbart, “Report: Moscow Takes Control of Venezuelan Oil Assets amid Socialist Meltdown”, 14 Aug 2017:

Venezuela needs cash, and Russia has it. Venezuela has oil, and Russia wants it. According to a special report at Reuters, the socialist meltdown in Venezuela is likely to end with Moscow controlling a good deal of that tormented country’s most valuable asset: its oil fields.

According to Reuters, Russia’s giant state-owned oil company Rosneft has been holding secret negotiations with its opposite number in Venezuela, PDVSA, to purchase “ownership interests in up to nine of Venezuela’s most productive petroleum projects.”

The number of Venezuela projects Russia would have substantial or ownership stakes in would jump from five to 14 if these deals go through. The new acquisitions would include projects in some of Venezuela’s richest oil and natural gas fields.

The article goes on to note that Rosneft has already floated a billion dollars to PDVSA for promised future oil shipments, and the regime of socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro used Russian money to avoid defaulting on bonds at least twice. Russia announced one of these seemingly risky advance payments immediately after the United States announced a new round of sanctions against Maduro at the beginning of August.

Barron’s explains that Russia’s advance payments for Venezuelan crude are essentially a stealth strategy for buying the oil fields themselves. Russia writes huge checks for barrels of oil, Venezuela is unable to deliver the product or pay the debt, and Russia swaps the debt for equity in the oil projects.

New York Times, “Is Putin Getting What He Wanted With Trump?” 10 June 2017:

In the Senate last week, Richard Burr, a Republican from North Carolina, asked the fired F.B.I. director James Comey if he had “any doubt that Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 elections.” Mr. Comey responded with a single word: “None.”

Indeed, he went on to tell the American public that the Russians “did it with purpose, they did it with sophistication, they did it with overwhelming technical efforts.” And he warned: “They will be back,” adding, “they are coming after America.”

Vodka shots in the Kremlin, right? Not exactly.

Doubtless Vladimir Putin continues to derive satisfaction from having assaulted American democracy and embarrassed Hillary Clinton. But the Russian president had one paramount priority: to lift Western sanctions.

As MR has noted, the parasite “federation” that is the Russian Federation, works with rogue nations such as North Korea and Belarus. The Times article adds -

[ibid]

According to one estimate, a quarter of Russia’s global weapons exports in 2015 were to rogue Venezuela, in transactions predominantly effected via loans. Last week, Moscow cut $1 billion from projected state budget revenues.

The Express -

Express, “TRUMP’S NEW THREAT? US President urged to act as Venezuela forges closer links to RUSSIA”, 8 April 2017:

DONALD Trump could be forced to step in to save Venezuela amid fears the failing South American country could be about to turn to Russia or Iran for support.

The Trump administration in Washington is already dealing with a string of crises across the globe - including deadly conflict in Iraq and Syria and the fight against Islamic extremism.

But improving relations with Russia, who today claimed its relationship with the US was in “tatters”, could prove to be the government’s biggest challenge to date.

Russia has not been a threat to America since the Cold War era - yet Moscow could now have found a sneaky way to stir up new tensions with the US without even lifting a finger.

Venezuela has always enjoyed warm relations with Russia, purchasing more than £3.2billion worth of arms from the former Soviet state since 2005.

And in 2009, Russia approved a whopping £1.6bn loan for the Latin American nation as it struggled with an inflation crisis that has left thousands of people struggling to afford food.

However, experts in the US have now warned there could be more to the ‘friendship’ than meets the eye.

Speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee, a US top military official warned Venezuela could be a “destabilising” factor in Latin America - claiming a “regional response” could be needed following the country’s growing humanitarian crisis.

But he also warned the relationships fostered by Venezuela could pose a real threat to the US in the future.

READ MORE...


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