• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

maandag 25 september 2017

Climate Armageddon Revisited



Climate Armageddon Revisited

Photo by NASA Goddard Space Flig | CC BY 2.0
It was only five years ago that Scientific American published this article: Climate Armageddon: How the World’s Weather Could Quickly Run Amok, d/d May 25, 2012. The subheading to that article read: “Climate scientists think a perfect storm of climate ‘flip’ could cause massive upheavals in a matter of years.” Well now….
That 2012 article also explained how the eminent British scientist James Lovelock (98) switched allegiance from his original theory of Gaia, which states that Gaia (Earth) will always compensate for changes in climate by natural occurrence, a self-correcting mechanism, not too hot, not too cold, not to worry. That was back in the 1970s.
Contrariwise, thirty-plus years later in 2006 Lovelock rejected his own theory, ominously stating: “I have to tell you, as members of the Earth’s family and an intimate part of it, that you and especially civilization, are in grave danger.” (Published in The Independent in 2006), Ibid.
Thus, Lovelock rejected his own Gaia hypothesis of a self-regulating planet and embraced the “flip” school of thought, which refers to dynamic systems or mathematics that describe things that tend to change suddenly, difficult to predict as to timing. Ergo, this refers to the fearsome tipping point, when the climate system suddenly turns wacky like a wild beast poked with a stick (Broecker), self-reinforcing its destructive path, hands-free, no stopping its ruinous behavior! This may already be happening on a scale that is downright scary in fact singularly scary because it’s so soon. This is not normal. The planet is on Speed!
Massive hurricanes (Harvey, Irma, Maria) and torrential flooding (Houston, Sierra Leone, Bihar-India, Assam-India, Nepal, Mumbai, Southern Asian Noah’s Ark territory) are only telltale signs, minor events in a bigger picture, like canaries in the proverbial mineshaft, warning of a much larger canvas painted with darkened hues, threatening like the distant rumbling of an upcoming mega storm.
In that regard, it’s unmitigated insanity to ignore the bellwethers of Armageddon when big time trouble brews, like now. Ominous changes in the planet’s ecosystem are so blatant that anybody ignoring these warning signals should be slapped on the back of the head: Wake up and pay attention!
After all, Greenland’s entire surface turned to slush for the first time in scientific history, raising the question of whether a tipping point is at hand, in turn, raising sea level by a lot. According to the climate models of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), Greenland’s entire ice sheet was not expected to turn 100% slushy for decades to come. Surprise, surprise, it’s here now!
Another big surprise that hits right between the eyes is the colossal humongous loss of Arctic and Antarctic ice, astoundingly ahead of the scientific model indicators by decades upon decades. Precariously, according to knowledgeable scientists, West Antarctica is already at a tipping point. “That’s bad news” is the understatement of the century.
Along the way, the world watched with great fascination as three gigantic Antarctic ice sheets the size of states splintered apart over the past decade, gone in record time: (1) Larsen A disintegrated in January 1995, (2) Larsen B, which was perfectly stable for all of 10,000 years, until global warming hit over the past 200 years, partially collapsed in 2002, and (3) a large portion of Larsen C broke away in 2017.
Scientific expeditions discovered the culprit as ocean warming stealthily beneath those icy behemoths. Once again, global warming doing its dirty work, and once again, surprise, surprise as tick-tock, tick-tock nature’s timing mechanism accelerates beyond the boundaries of natural variability whilst the ecosystem chokes on exhaust fumes!
It’s worth noting that ice shelves typically lose mass by iceberg calving and by melting at upper and lower surfaces but not via large scale sudden breakoffs and disintegration like Larsen A, B, and C, highly irregular behavior and unusual by past standards. This is likely one more signal of impending trouble spelled with a capital T.
All of this anomalous climate activity is getting a little too familiar for comfort, in part, because it has a nasty doom and gloom ambience. Not only is Antarctica splintering ice shelves the size of states, thereby exposing large-scale (big time) glacial runoff immediately behind the ice shelves, which served as backstops, but also in addition to Antarctica’s horror story at the bottom of the world, the Arctic, at the top of the world, is an ecological basket case.
According to the U.S. Naval Research Lab, multi-year ice has disappeared, thus losing the entire infrastructure of the North Pole. The cause: Too much anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming. In turn, as a consequence, according to scientists with the International Arctic Research Centre/University of Alaska, the East Siberian Arctic Shelf’s extraordinarily shallow waters (50m) have reached a thawing point for subsea permafrost, thereby exposing gigatons of ancient methane to too much heat, which, in turn, could evolve into nasty ole runaway global warming, in short, the worse of the worst case situation for all of humanity, as agricultural fields fry to a crisp.
Even worse yet, Russian scientists that annually travel to the Arctic have discovered increasingly wider extensive water columns of methane (CH4) bubbling up to surface. They believe there may be hundreds, maybe thousands, bubbling water columns up to one-kilometre (1,000 metres) diameter whereas those columns at the same exact locations only a few years ago were 100 metres in diameter but expanding fast! IPCC models for potential global warming do not include mention of this can of worms.
Speaking of risks of future global warming not included in IPCC models, scientists in Alaska discovered massive carbon emissions seeping out of land permafrost, essentially emitting as much carbon in two years as US commercial sources emit per annum. This has the signature of a tipping point that self-reinforces emission of carbon into the atmosphere. After all, Alaskan temps have been really hot. And, deadly methane-laden permafrost melts in heat.
Further, speaking of high heat levels found at high latitudes, Russian scientists report massive numbers (7,000 counted but likely thousands more) of pingos as well as melting permafrost spreading all across Siberia. Perniciously, this is likely more self-reinforcing carbon emission spewing into the atmosphere, no further human influence required.
As such and horrifyingly, the discombobulated ecosystem may be in the process, heaven forbid, of overtaking human influenced carbon emissions/global warming. No more anthropogenic or human influence required to overheat the planet; it may be starting to heat up on its own volition. That’s what Venus (865°F) did. All of its carbon is now in its atmosphere whereas most of our carbon is still underground, under ice. What to do?
Of course, everybody talks about geo-engineering and how engineers can shoot particles like sulfate aerosols into the stratosphere to reflect solar radiation back into outer space (which may damage ozone as an unintended consequence) or maybe remove carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it or maybe put mineral dust like olivine into the ocean to combat global warming, blah, blah, blah. This will save humanity from its own vices, but oh contraire, nobody knows if geo-engineering works at scale. In fact, the National Academy of Sciences, the European Transdisciplinary Assessment of Climate Engineering, and several prominent scientists claim it is not a solution for several reasons, including “unintended consequences” that are worse than the initial fix.
It’s entirely possible that humanity is in the lurch by already passing the 11th-hour and now forced to adapt to higher temps, fierce storms, severe droughts, serious crop failure, destructive weather patterns, bouts of human starvation, Biblical flooding, and restless angry masses of eco migrants roaming the countryside, or in short, the dystopian films Blade Runner (1982) and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) combined and including pissed-off people bearing arms, open carry, in a throwback to Revolutionary American times (1775-1783). Based upon recent political/societal behavior, there are plenty of people looking forward to this.
On the other hand, what if the world comes together with a Marshall Plan effort, all hands on deck, to convert fossil fuels to renewables ASAP? What would that do? According to Kevin Anderson of Tyndall Centre for Climate Change/UK, in order to stay below the guardrail 2°C, lesser-developed nations must go to zero CO2 emissions by 2050 but wealthy nations must go to zero CO2 emissions by 2035.
On the other-other hand, according to Michael Oppenheimer (Princeton), an author of the IPCC 4th assessment, the odds of staying under 2° C are maybe 10%, and the last time the world was 2° C warmer, sea levels were 18-30 feet higher.
But then again, according to Wally Broecker (Columbia, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory), who coined the term “Global Warming” in 1975; when he was in grad school in the 1950s fossil fuels accounted for 85% of energy sourcing. Today, it’s basically the same with fossil fuels at 81%. Go figure.
Withal, nobody knows for certain what will happen, in part, because we’ve never been here before. All the same, abrupt climate change continues to negatively outpace expectations of scientists, leading to serious concerns that their worse case scenarios are too soft, too conservative.
What then should be done remains the most compelling question of the 21st century.
According to several top-flight scientists, like James Hansen, the Paris Agreement of 2016 signed by almost 200 nations is too flimsy and misguided to solve the problem.
“If you talk to glaciologists privately they will tell you they are very concerned we are locking in much more significant sea level rises than the ice sheet models are telling us,” James Hansen-Columbia University. (Source: Oliver Milman, James Hansen, Father of Climate Change Awareness, Calls Paris Talks “A Fraud,” The Guardian, Dec. 12, 2015)
Postscript: “If it turns out that global warming and ocean acidification are consequences of capitalism’s carbon-based energy system, the entire world could end up dead from the external costs of capitalism,” Paul Craig Roberts, American economist
More articles by:
Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at roberthunziker@icloud.com

US Military Faces Its Collapsing Hegemony


The US Military Faces Its Collapsing Hegemony

Monday, September 25, 2017 By Ryan HarveyTruthout | Report 
(Photo: Matt Harvey; Edited: LW / TO)(Photo: Matt Harvey; Edited: LW / TO)
Wars can jump-start slumping economies and manufacture legitimacy for unpopular or embattled states, but they can be all-on-the-table gambles as well. Even hegemonic global powers -- deceived by their own arrogance, the egos of their leaders, or fatal assumptions about the willingness of their people to fight -- have walked this road straight into their own collapse.
One may recall that all the major powers involved in the initiation of the First World War saw their empires crumble in the trenches -- and one in the streets -- with terrifying violence. But as the first bullets sounded in the summer of 1914, the czar, king and kaiser each assumed their victory would come quickly and easily. Rising from the ashes was a new fledgling super-power, the United States.
Self-deception is not the only road toward the collapse of significant powers. Another classic route is the emergence of conflicts or political crises in which a ruling power has an "impossible" choice between action and inaction in relation to a rival or insurgent power. In such situations, inaction exposes weakness, while action risks defeat.
Such "gray zones" were the subject of "Outplayed: Regaining Strategic Initiative in the Gray Zone," a report released last year by the United States Army War College (USAWC) Strategic Studies Institute (SSI), under the direction of retired colonel Nathan Freier. In the report, Freier's team urged the Department of Defense to adapt to a new global environment in which American power faces increasingly complex forms of resistance.
The report focused on the guiding theory of a declining American hegemony, warning of "irreversible strategic consequences" if the Department of Defense failed to adapt to shifting power dynamics in the post-Iraq War world.
A lot can change in a year, as the report's follow-up, "At Our Own Peril: DoD Risk Assessment in a Post-Primacy World," released in June, admits in its title. The term "post-primacy" -- describing a global environment in which the United States no longer commands global military, economic, and political hegemony -- was not mentioned by Freier in last year's report, but it is the overall anchor of the new report.
According to the study team, which interviewed dozens of senior-level defense leaders in the public, private and military sectors and reviewed hundreds of articles, a "volatile restructuring of international security affairs currently underway marks the American entrance into a third transformational era since the end of the Cold War," citing the collapse of the Soviet Union and the September 11 attacks as the starting points of the two former eras.
Framed as a wake-up call to the Department of Defense, "At Our Own Peril" states bluntly, "the status quo that was hatched and nurtured by U.S. strategists after World War II ... is not merely fraying but may, in fact, be collapsing" and suggests that "the United States has recently entered, or more accurately has freshly recognized that it is in the midst of what can only be described as the early post-U.S. primacy epoch."
"Consequently," it concludes, "the United States' role in and approach to the world may be fundamentally changing as well."

Iraq's Long Shadow

While perhaps shocking to read from the Army's own strategists, the concept of a collapsing United States hegemony is not new, and was perhaps best summarized in renowned sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein's 2003 book The Decline of American Power. "The United States wields the most formidable military apparatus in the world," Wallerstein correctly suggested as American tanks again rolled across the Kuwaiti border. "But does that mean, then, that [it] can invade Iraq, conquer it rapidly, and install a friendly and stable regime? Unlikely."
Indeed, interviewed in early June by the Defense & Aerospace Report, Freier suggests that 2005-2008 -- the height of the sectarian conflict in Iraq -- was the period in which the ground really shifted underneath the US foreign policy establishment.
Today, only a decade and a half after the invasion, former Middle East allies and new non-state formations dangle between the West and new power blocs, Europe faces resurgent nationalist movements and a fraying European Union, and US forces are drawn into supporting conflicts initiated against their strategic approval. No one in the United States defense establishment desired these scenarios.
The rise, fall and resurrection of ISIS (also known as Daesh) helps us understand the story of the decline of US power in the Middle East, and thus, on the global stage. It was in Iraq that the group grew to prominence, first by steering the insurgency into a sectarian conflict in the aftermath of the US invasion, and second, by exploiting the new Iraqi state's sectarian policies in Sunni-dominated cities like Fallujah, Ramadi and Mosul.
By 2007, US strategists were trying to figure out how to get out of Iraq. After some trial and error in Tal Afar, President Bush announced a "surge" to push into neighborhoods, secure them, and leave US soldiers in place until Iraqi forces could take over. This surge had two components; the deployment of 30,000 extra troops to strategic areas of the country, and the "Sahwa" councils, which facilitated the transfer of an estimated 30 million dollars a year into the hands of 100,000 fighters and former-insurgents who were beginning to turn on ISIS (then al-Qaeda in Iraq).
The surge did what it had set out to do: It facilitated a period of relative calm in which multinationals might begin exploiting various sectors of the economy -- specifically the oil -- and the United States could go home. Though it had a brutal start (as Sarah Lazare and I described in 2010 in The Nation), the period that followed the surge saw a dramatic decline in casualties across the country.
When the oil began flowing, unfortunately for the United States, it did so in the direction of China and Russia.
By 2009, when US troops began leaving cities and major towns in the leadup to the general withdrawal in 2011, ISIS had been militarily defeated and economically isolated. But a sectarian rift opened by the invasion, then by the exploitation of the invasion by various groups, then by the Iraqi state's vengeful and corrupt policies, had left the social fabric of the country in ruins. Food scarcity and energy shortages were fuel for the fire.
Only two years after the "end of the war," after entering the Syrian uprising to exploit its rebel factions and seize territory amidst the chaos, ISIS followed the Euphrates River from Raqqa to Fallujah and conquered it in less than a week.
It was clear by then that the United States had neither a plan for the Middle East nor the political ability to implement one. And when Russia stepped in to defend the Assad regime from both a popular revolt and sectarian exploitation, it also intended to, and did, challenge US power in the region.

What Does This Mean Now?

The first question one must ask when reading such a report is, is it all true? Does the decline of US military power in this current period mean that US hegemony as a whole is on the decline? If it is, what does that mean for the world?
Truthout spoke with several scholars and activists for their insight on this question, including author Vijay Prashad, who described numerous vectors from which to gauge US power.
"I am of the view that US strength has declined," he said, "but not its hegemony. The US continues to have the largest military force on the planet. If you accept the view that power cannot just be ideological and financial, but military, there is no counter-military force to the US."
Furthermore, he added, the US still wields nearly uncontested power in shaping policies and discourse in global financial and political institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. In this, its ideological power is still running the show. "Even if the Chinese [have] increased votes in the IMF, the Chinese representatives at the IMF still accept the premises of neoliberal policy," Prashad explained.
Still, he said he finds himself in a type of agreement with the notion that, whether or not US hegemony is in decline, we are certainly in an era of significant international political and economic changes that will present vast challenges for the world's people, and has already begun reshaping both global power politics and the ways in which grassroots pushback develops.
Both USAWC reports focus on this when describing the role of popular unrest, the unraveling of political allegiance in countries the world over, and "non-state actors" in creating conditions that have challenged US power. With a wave of revolt spreading from the Middle East, 2011 seemed to introduce the new era. But as we have seen from the rising attraction of groups like ISIS, the Golden Dawn, and the rebranded neo-Nazi movement in the US, this political unraveling is not all good news.
"Today, all states are experiencing a precipitous decline in their authority, influence, reach, and common attraction," last year's "Outplayed" report warns. "The increasing chasm between governments and their governed over the basic right to rule is likely to extend beyond the most vulnerable usual suspects."
It is beyond doubt that the Arab uprisings shook military and political strategists in the United States. It was US allies in the Maghreb that took the first falls, and it was US geopolitical power that was challenged by default when such uprisings threatened the regional order.
It's also clear that the global eruptions that followed the 2011 uprisings were recognized within the United States military not just as isolated incidents of domestic unrest, but as a general wave of political anger and disenfranchisement.
In the assessment of "At Our Own Peril," "hyperconnectivity," the "dissolution of political cohesion and identity" and "leaderless instability" are some of the core post-primacy characteristics affecting this instability in the global system. These characteristics are, the report says, "fundamentally changing the strategic context" within which the United States, and many other powers, operate.
But there are very few signs that a collapse or weakening of US hegemony will, by itself, lead to a more peaceful or just period for the world. The question is, ultimately, what powers will fill these voids, and how will they relate to the needs and desires of people? Also, how will regular people and their movements contend in this new environment?
Writing six years ago, sociologists Beverly Silver and Giovanni Arrighi discussed a waning US hegemony through the lens of material expansion, drawing a comparison to the period of "systemic chaos" that followed the collapse of the British Empire and the subsequent dawn of US dominance; what they've termed "The long twentieth century."
"In the past, declining powers lost their ability to maintain the necessary global institutional conditions [to continue material expansion] before rising powers had the capacity to take over the role of leader," they explain in "The End of the Long Twentieth Century." "Thus, periods of transition from one long century to the next historically have been periods of widespread warfare and economic crises."
As it stands now, rising far-right and nationalist tides in Western and Eastern Europe, Turkey, Russia and the United States suggest a dangerous road ahead. In Asia, a rising Chinese economic behemoth that has already displaced the United States in key regions and has challenged US and allied dominance in the South China Sea looms large in the eyes of US strategists. So, too, does the gray zone challenges presented by a North Korean nuclear program and that country's open challenging of US power. In the Middle East, a whole new set of political circumstances has rocked the region.
From his position, Prashad sees a bleak immediate future, and emphasizes the need for activists and thinkers to take these moments seriously. He explains a recent shift in his outlook, and gives context to how the last decade has shifted around us.
"When the BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] alliance emerged in the 2000s, I looked at the emergence favorably, not because I thought these powers would save the world, but, my hope was that the emergence of the BRICS project would rebalance world power and create a multi-polar world that would allow more regional powers to develop and thus more tightly control their economic and political choices," he told Truthout.
Prashad said he initially hoped this development would create conditions in which social movements might build popular power and take the reins of states (as they had in Latin America), or achieve objectives outside the state. He had hoped these conditions would also further build an alternative bloc that would oppose neoliberal policies, whether pursued by the US, China, or anyone else.
But with Modi taking power in India and the right-wing taking power in Brazil (as well as significant unrest in Zuma's South Africa), he said the BRICS alliance is no longer interested in creating a real alternative.
"We are entering into an era of competitive capitalism on a global scale, and this is going to intensify much more," Prashad told Truthout. "Many countries will be rocked by this ... the question isn't whether or not there will be suffering, but, are peoples' movements in these countries prepared? And I think that peoples' movements are not prepared for what I think will be much more extreme turbulence between Russia, China and the US, as well as other entities.
Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

RYAN HARVEY

Ryan Harvey is a musician, writer, activist and the cofounder of Firebrand Records. He spent the month of February volunteering in the refugee solidarity movement in Lesvos, Greece.

The German election is a disaster for France’s Macron


The German election is a disaster for France’s Macron: Here’s why

Germany now certain to reject Macron plan for EU reform



The election in Germany, which has left Merkel looking mortally wounded and has shattered the German consensus of unconditional support for Germany’s Atlanticist foreign policy and for the EU, is a political earthquake.  One person buried under the rubble is France’s new President Emmanuel Macron.
Macron fought the Presidential election in France at a time of growing disillusion in France with the EU.  He nonetheless fought and won the campaign on a counter-intuitive platform of “more Europe”.  This admitted that EU institutions are dysfunctional and that the eurozone is working against French economic interests.  However it argued that the solution to this problem was not to take France out of the eurozone or the EU but to reform the EU institutions and the eurozone in order to rebalance them in France’s national interest.
To this end Macron during the election proposed some very ambitious changes to the way the eurozone and the EU are run, though the details remain vague.  Here is how Reuters summarises them
Macron has said he would make proposals on about 10 issues including strengthening the economic and monetary union, deepening European defence, reinforcing migration policy and strengthening social and fiscal convergence in the bloc.
Of these the most important obviously is “strengthening the economic and monetary union”, with it widely supposed that what Macron is aiming for is the setting up of a central EU finance ministry and treasury department to complement the European Central Bank on the fiscal front.
That of course is not just a policy of “more Europe”.  It is a clearcut expression of an intention to integrate the EU further, making it still more into a ‘super state’.
Macron has always understood that this very ambitious programme requires German support, and since becoming French President he has pursued policies in France intended to gain that support.  Specifically he has sought to impress Germany’s fiscal conservatives by acting to slash France’s budget deficit, and he has also sought to introduce labour market reforms on German lines intended to make the French workforce, like the German workforce, more flexible.
These policies have come at a high political cost in France where Macron’s popularity has plunged at a faster rate than that of any French President since the creation of the Fifth Republic.
Beyond the predictable unpopularity of the labour market reforms with much of the French workforce, there is also expert criticism that Macron’s emphasis on reducing the budget deficit is delaying essential tax reforms which are of greater importance to the French economy.  Moreover some of these same experts are warning that Macron’s emphasis on budget cutting and labour market reform will at least in the short term reduce the economy’s growth rate, and might aggravate a future recession, causing France’s already high level of unemployment to shoot up.
From Macron’s point of view these risks are worthwhile if on the strength of his domestic reforms he can persuade the Germans to agree to the reforms of the EU’s institutions and of the eurozone that he wants.  As pithily explained in an article in Politico written on 17th September 2017 – ie. before the German election
……Macron’s priority is to help Merkel help him. The French president knows his proposals to deepen eurozone integration can only advance if the German public is convinced Merkel is dealing with a serious partner who knows how to manage his own budget. 
This entire strategy however rested on the assumption that Merkel would convincingly win the German election on Sunday.
That of course was an assumption that was widely made.  The well nigh universal neoliberal belief across Europe and North America before the German election was that Germany’s economic success and the weight of German history would make it impossible for a party like the AfD to make significant inroads, and that the only issue in the German election was the size of Merkel’s majority.
Macron’s confidence in this outcome is shown by his decision to roll out his proposed reforms of the EU and of the eurozone in a speech on 26th September 2017, two days after what he undoubtedly expected would be Merkel’s triumphant re-election.  Obviously he hoped to catch Merkel on a roll, so that he could move forward quickly with her after the election to agree the reforms to the EU institutions and to the eurozone that he wanted.
This was always a bad strategy.  Like Tsipras of Greece Macron was in my opinion making the mistake of treating Merkel’s emollient language about his ideas as an indicator that she would eventually agree to them.  In reality Merkel has always acted to block all change to the eurozone or to the EU’s institutions which did not serve narrow German interests or which might be controversial with the conservative part of the German electorate which votes for her.
The fundamental issue is that of fiscal transfers from Germany to the other members of the eurozone.  Conservative German opinion has always strongly opposed this, and so as a result has Merkel.
In practice fiscal transfers from Germany to the other members of the eurozone have been taking place covertly for some time in the form of the bailouts of the eurozone’s weaker members (first and foremost Greece) and of the European Central Bank’s bond buying and quantitative easing programme.
These transfers have already been controversial in Germany (the Greek bailouts led directly to the creation of the AfD), but they have been grudgingly accepted as the price to pay for keeping the eurozone going and because they have been carried out in an informal and unacknowledged way.  By contrast the reforms Macron is proposing – involving the creation of an EU finance ministry and a treasury department – threaten to make fiscal transfers not only formal but institutional.  As such conservative opinion in Germany was always in my opinion bound to oppose them, as ultimately Merkel would have done.
The question is now anyway academic because in her present severely weakened state following the election Merkel would be in no position to agree to the sort of reforms Macron is calling for even she wanted to.  The AfD, which was created to oppose the bailouts, would of course vehemently object, as apparently does Merkel’s likely coalition partner the FDP, whose leader Christian Lindner has already poured scorn on Macron’s proposals and made clear that fiscal transfers are for his party a “line in the sand”.
Over and above the objections from the AfD and from the FDP, it beggars belief that many of the conservative members of the CDU and the CSU would now agree to institutionalised fiscal transfers, which would expose them to further challenge by the AfD.
Though Macron will no doubt go ahead and pronounce his proposals tomorrow, there is now no possibility that they will ever be implemented, at least in the form he wants.
Needless to say that calls into question the whole logic of Macron’s reform programme at home, and indeed of his victory in the Presidential election on the promise of “more Europe”.  Since that is not going to happen – at least in the way he wants – it is difficult now to see the point of him.
The French system makes it all but impossible to dethrone a French President during his term and Macron will no doubt continue to the end of his term, though bereft of point or purpose.  However it is now looking extremely unlikely that he will be re-elected.
In the meantime France looks like it must live with yet another failed Presidency coming after those of Sarkozy and Hollande, and a further period of drift.

http://theduran.com/german-election-disaster-frances-macron-heres/

Obama Trick

Obama figured out how to make NFL players stand, pay them $5.1 million dollars

Under Obama, teams that showed “Veteran’s Salutes” were paid upwards of $5.1 million dollars.

President Trump doubled down on his rhetoric against NFL players who refuse to stand for the national anthem.
Trump is encouraging fans boycott the NFL if the league refuses to “back the U.S.”
Trump is going about the “anthem” controversy all wrong. Former US President Obama had it all figured out in 2009.
If you want professional athletes to stand during the US national anthem…pay them. Or better yet, go to war (in places like Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, etc…), and then pay the athletes to stand up during the national anthem.
Obama, the master of identity politics, understood that a few million dollars invested in the NFL to manufacture a false sense of patriotism, would work wonders in brainwashing the masses into believing that America’s interventionist wars were about all the fuzzy feelings conjured up by the playing of “O say can you see”…
If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!
...NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell claims that the “NFL and players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture” but their weekly show of support towards members of the American military began only after NFL owners realized they could make money off it.
In 2009, Barack Obama’s Department of Defense began paying hundreds of thousands towards teams in a marketing strategy designed to show support for the troops and increase recruitments.The NFL then required all players and personnel to be on the sidelines during the national anthem, in exchange for taxpayers dollars. Prior, the national anthem was played in the stadium but players had the option of staying in the locker room before heading out to the field.
Furthermore, teams that showed “Veteran’s Salutes” during games were paid upwards of $5.1 million dollars.
The NFL has shown degrees of patriotism at different times such as after 9/11, but as Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), noted in 2015, “Those of us go to sporting events and see them honoring the heroes; you get a good feeling in your heart. Then to find out they’re doing it because they’re compensated for it, it leaves you underwhelmed. It seems a little unseemly.”
http://theduran.com/obama-figured-out-how-to-make-nfl-players-stand-pay-them-5-1-million-dollars/