You can almost feel the tensions mounting as the US has extended its embassy closures due to concerns that an al Qaeda/militant Muslim attack would occur on American interests somewhere following release of recent video on the ‘net. Worst of all, there’s no clear timing indicated and threats have been followed by action anywhere from a few days to almost a year in the past. Which brings us to this morning’s developments and a few observations, starting with this report from Bernard Grover in our Jakarta, Indonesia bureau:
“Gizmos & Bombs, Chief! Timeline:
Saturday night-public water system for west Jakarta crapped out when the pump(s) caught fire. Estimate 7 days to restore. Water trucks to deliver starting tomorrow.
Sunday 7pm-internet crapped out. All 3 systems I use. Just now able to tie my tablet thru my cell phone others still out.
Sunday 9:30p-the Buddhist temple 600 yards away (that I attended just Saturday morning) had a triple bombing. The two later eplosions were timed to hit after first responders arrived. 3 injured. Police anticipated 2nd and 3rd, and waited to enter. Suspicion falls on Myanmar sympathizers, but the jury still out. This morning’s Kompas strangely silent, but TeeVee full of it.
The sound was of large fireworks, which are common here at the end of Ramadhan, so no one panicked immediately. The area around the temple was in a tizzy most of the night. Will post video when police open the area again.
The RT (neighborhood gendarme) tripled patrols last night.
I’m afraid to ask what next.
From the Eastern front, B”
Odd as this may sound, I don’t know as America is not at much greater risk than Indonesia right now. Indonesia is about 87% Muslim compared with the US which runs about 2-10th’s of one percent Muslim (estimates from 2010).
So as of this morning, we nervously wait and watch, hopeful this is just a false alarm, but realizing that the world situation is somewhat like the old high school physics thought problem: What happens when an immoveable object is struck by an irresistible force?
I mean besides keeping 19 embassies closed for the balance of the week while “specific threats” are considered?
The “Big Picture” laid out in this weekend’s Peoplenomics report is about where we remain as the week gets underway.
Meantime, when you hear polarizing statements from folks like arch neocon Bill Kristol that this is somehow a big change from the Obama re-election claims about having al Qaeda ‘on the run.’ take it with a grain of salt.
I don’t know about you, but seems to me that the ex Project for a New American Century types are at least in large measure the reason for the polarization and distrust of the West nowadays. Promoting regime change likely will engender blowback. Go ask the Russians how that worked out for them in Afghanistan.
Seems unsatisfied with how poorly their regime change ideology has gone overseas, they’re trying to jump-start regime change here… How soon we forget, and how little context people seem to recall.
Love Mediafog: More Surveillance Agenda
Meantime, since we will likely see (looking through the mediafog just so) how the elevated terrorism alert was preceded, ever so slightly, by a report about how the “FBI pressures Internet providers to install surveillance software…”
Reader/lawyer Jeff wonders how dumb people can be as he labels this:
“Another Orwellian move by the police state and you can only read about it on CNET. Where is the lamestream media on these stories?”
They’re doing what the teleprompters tell them to, of course!
Further Terror Threat Analysis
From our resident war gamer:
So a “big al Qaeda attack” is reportedly in the works.
What does this disconcerting news tell us? First, if we hold the reports at face value, al Qaeda was for some reason unusually lax in the operational security (OPSEC). This is interesting from several different perspectives:
(a) The terror group is supremely confident of success, so much so that they disregarded OPSEC in their boastful communications, so sure are they of their imminent success;
(b) al Qaeda is bluffing, either to jerk around American and allied security or they are spoofing to see the measures taken so some yet to be strategic op can counter the observed measures that are taken;
(c) this is a false flag American led operation that either hopes to see how al Qaeda sleeper cells will react (e.g. “Hey, OPSEC is out the door, lets connect with our know assets”), thus outing those deceived cells, or
(d) the administration is simply using the false flag warning to justify the alleged covert tactics and capabilities recently outed by Snowden.
Consider that since the Benghazi news of CIA operatives being on the ground conducting a gun-running operation when the Ambassador and two others were slaughtered, option (e) comes into play – any Middle Eastern attack which may soon occur may have been orchestrated and equipped by U.S. operatives, ala a “Fast and Furious” type of operation.
Any one of the above options is entirely plausible. There may be other possibilities you or Ure readers may intuit. My gut tells me the [descending] order of likelihood is (b) – (c) – (d) – (e) – (a), meaning deception is the hand most likely being played. By which side is the question, and for what strategic and/or political purpose?
There is another possibility which I’ll table: That is that it’s likely ( c) because there is an increasing public backlash to warrantless surveillance. As pressure mounts on the fools on the Hill to actually do something in response to voter demands, the intelligence community figures it will only have one last window here to try and smoke out all the baddies possible before (pardon this) unwarranted liberties with the Fourth Amendment force changes in techniques which will take time to implement.
Bolstering this view (clock running) is the report out this morning that the Drug Enforcement Administration is also using communications channel monitoring to drum up drug interdiction work plans…
Warrantless search is becoming more and more visible as a major democorp Achilles Heel in 2014 and 2016.
It also bolsters my contention that a lot of liberalistas simply can’t read. The Constitution in general and the Fourth Amendment in particular, ain’t that hard to figure out.
Fanning the (Middle East) Flames
Meantime, you should be just pleased as punch to read how our government is efficiently spending our money. Why look! Just this morning we have a report on how the “CIA moved missiles out of Libya to Syria’s rebels…”
What you’re supposed to believe is that giving small to medium arms to people fighting the existing government in Syria (which includes al Qaeda affiliates!) won’t increase the odds of some of those arms being used against us, the US!
Just a little more fluoride in the water, please…
Market Outlook Cloudy/Greedy Mutha’s
A reasonable person (which is likely not me) looking at the global financial markets might be tempted to link all the weekend talk about terrorism threats to the the elevated condition of financial markets.
Off in the background, little-noticed in the ‘Merican press, is the idea that personal savings should be taxed. No, we’re not talking about the normal tax on interest…we’ve gotten used to that, thank-you, Ben Dover.
No, a bail-in tax is planned for Australia where a 0.05 percent tax on savings accounts is coming in order to line government coffers.
It doesn’t take a real economic genius to figure out that if a nation’s income is going up slower than its spending commitments, you have a recipe for disaster.
Or, as the Aussies are test-bedding for us (thank you, oh thank you) the lack of fiscal restraint will merely result in additional taxes being paid on items previously untaxed.
So we’ll sit back and watch closely as the chefs/TPTP test the boiling water with the smaller Oz-frogs first.
The Weak Ahead
There’s a minor ISM Services report on the agenda this morning, but the real fund this week doesn’t start until tomorrow morning with the Balance of Trade. Wednesday’s big number will come late in the day with release of the Fed’s Consumer Debt Report, although for a preview, just look at your credit card bills and checking balance.
A number of people have asked me to post the link to the “We the People” White House petition which demands government “Ban Monsanto’s Genetically Modified Food Products in the United States.”
But, as on privatizing highways paid for with federal tax dollars, meaningful reform of income taxes to a flat rate above XXX, ending war, returning to the gold standard, corporate bailouts, fiscal restraint, meaningful job creation, ending warrantless surveillance and…oops! (Almost got carried away with my listing here and you don’t have all day!) don’t hold your breath when it comes to meaningful change.
BART Strike Stopped
It took the intervention of governor Jerry Brown to do it, but this morning people in San Francisco will not have to worry about BART being on schedule. At least any more than usual, that is.
Full count, ball one, we’ll call this. A strike and you’re out…figuratively.
Solar Winds & Quakes?
I couldn’t help but notice there was one of those “Presto Alerts” issues this morning for the Sunday arrival of a solar winds shock:
“A solar wind shock was detected by ACE around 16:00 UT on August 4th. The solar wind speed increased from 350 km/s to around 550 km/s and was associated with a density drop and a temperature increase of the solar wind, indicating the arrival of a shock possibly due to an influence of a coronal hole. The interplanetary magnetic field Bz component reached around -10 nT on August 4th, but is currently around 0 nT. Geomagnetic activity is currently moderate to active (3 >= K <= 4), but is expected to quiet down in the next few hours….”
The reason I mention this to you is that the arrival time was about 16:00 UTC and then along about four hours later comes a quake of 5.8 in Tonga.
Whether this is meaningful, or not, is another matter since quakes down in that part of the world are happening (*more or less) all the time. On the other hand, if you image the Earth as being somewhat akin to a deep-fried Mozzarella cheese ball, which you then hit with an air compressor nozzle while it’s still warm and gooey…well, the crust might move around just a bit and folks living on the cheese ball would notice.
Pretty cool theory, huh? I think I’ll save it for a while as “cheese ball tectonics.” Since it’s pretty grabby visually, I’m sure it will catch hold on the ‘net. Just don’t mention the 5.3 up off the north end of Vancouver Island which ignored the theory by showing up 45-minutes before the solar wind puff.
What a Crummy Sun Cycle
Just out this morning from NASA’s Solar Weather Prediction Center is the July update to how the weather is on the Sun. And, as I have been telling you to expect, this one is something of a turkey…undershooting even very modest expectations:
Now, if look at the longer term view, what you’ll see is that the recent solar peak is actually smaller than the second peak within the Dalton Minimum and if that carries on for another cycle, then Global Cooling really will be the issue du jour in a dozen years, or so.
Not only that, but do you see how the cycle peaks were up in the 200 area during “warming?”
Which will potentially come just about the time we’re slipping past the short “shark tooth” spike in fracking-driven oil production. So if you’re under 40, you may actually get to live long enough to see global famine first hand. Like ol’ George says, grow food or die.
I know, I know…records were set in July, but we need to put on some think here…
Climate Change or Weathering Heights?
Pakistan is up to its butt in rains and flooding. And while folks in Vancouver are going through their driest period ever, while might sucker you into believing in climate change, the flip side is that Winnipeg today is expecting heavy/unusual rains.
What’s more, people in Alberta are still cleaning up from last month’s disastrous flooding – and as of this morning, they’re still trying to figure out the cost of cleanup.
While the MSM is touting the warmest July on record some places, I’d draw your attention to the report that central Oklahoma had near record rainfall. It was also only the fourth warmest July in New Zealand.
Then there’s this note from my friend Robin Handler who has been thinking about all the “water” references about the net of late and he’s come up with something:
I mentioned the Great Water Trine a few weeks ago. A Trine aspect is considered favorable, so we would not expect something bad to happen such as a global coastal event, but the planets will all be moving into Square or Opposition aspects to each other. This is when you expect something bad to happen.
I have been calling for a sharp drop in the stock market during August. With so many astrological events associated with water, I would also expect some bad news having to do with “water”. This influence continues to get stronger between now August 27th.”
Since alchemists and magicians seem to reduce everything they can to ‘elementals’ eventually most physical phenomena can be cited as being related to Earth, Air, Fire, and Water is some proportion, or another. So whether a rise if watery references and thinking is causative or coincidental is obviously debatable.
Still, if you look at the weather maps for the year, there was that unusual ‘hook’ to the jet stream in June & July so yes, that would cause the usual weather patterns to change. It doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the world, so let’s see if we can’t coax you out from under the bed and get you back on the wage(tax)-slave treadmill where you belong on Mondays.
Drought: Cause & Effect
I have been telling you for almost a year now, grow food or die. And one of the reasons is that as the weather patterns have changed (stop looking at under the bed like that!) the result has been less beef production which gets to the point of this incredibly long lead-in to a news story which twists and turns and seems like it could go on forever…but…
That Sinking Feeling
Spied by William and worth mentioning: Another report of a sink hole. Only this time it’s not down in Bayou Corne, Louisiana; this one is in western Kansas and is reported over here to be 90-feet deep and 200-feet wide.
Oilman2 keeps reassuring me that there’s no way the mid-section of the US could just liquify and sink beneath the Gulf like a modern-day Atlantis. He points out there’s just too much shale substrate for that kind of thing to happen. Still, I go back to the Saturday serials up at the local movie house when I was a kid which featured a submarine going through a tunnel to an inland lake.
Why couldn’t that kind of thing be going on in the Gulf? I mean throwing out all the science, seismicity studies and all that; isn’t it a much cooler possibility? Why, think of the drama the mainstreammedia could ramp up with that going on!
Any bigger and it could be a pothole in the Northwest.