Author: Michael Collins

About Michael Collins

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The 587,688 Man ISIS Army

turkishflag

The Commander in Chief of Turkey’s half million-man military, President Recep Tayipp Erdogan, is a supporter of ISIS and a financial beneficiary of the ISIS oil trade. It is entirely reasonable to say that Turkey is aligned with ISIS and is actively supporting that group and other extremist jihadist groups in the attack on Syria. Image: Creative Commons

Since the start of the attack on Syria in 2011, Turkey has been a key transit point for foreign jihadists, supplies, and weapons headed for rebels fighting to bring down the Syrian government. Jihadists enter Turkey and get bussed to the Syrian border. Along the way, many are trained at facilities like that in Adana, Turkey.   The Turkish military has done nothing to stop this.

The Turkish military did nothing in 2012 when local authorities in southern Turkey stopped a shipment of weapons to jihadists in Syria. When intelligence officials in Ankara instructed the local authorities to stand down and allow the weapons to pass to Syrian rebels, the army passively observed and silently endorsed the delivery of deadly munitions to jihadist extremists.

When the Syrian city of Kobani was under attack by ISIS in October 2014, the Turkish military lounged on their tanks in the hills above the besieged city and did absolutely nothing.

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Call for Diaries!

(originally published Dec 9, 2013)

Agonist Diaries are back!

One of the best features of the old Agonist was USER DIARIES. After considerable effort, we’ve restored that function to the new WordPress platform.

All Agonist registered users can now create their own Diary entries.  Posts can be on any subject but are subject to respecting the copyright of others and a few other obvious rules. Continue reading

Rust Cohle’s Conversion – True Detective Finale


This world is a veil and the face you wear is not your own.
Preacher Joel Theriot, True Detective

Tent preacher Joel Theriot’s full sermon from episode three of True Detective provides a preview and explanation of detective Rust Cohle’s conversion from a laconic nihilist extraordinaire who can barely live with himself to an enlightened soul with some prospect for peace.

In episode 7, Cohle laments his long journey through violence and depravity then says I’m ready to tie it off. Many suspected that this forecast death for Cohle in the final episode. In a very real sense, that theory proved correct but it was a different type of death.

As it turns out, True Detective is the story of a seeker of truth. Rust Cohle’s moment of enlightenment in episode 8 came after years of searching and suffering.

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Ukraine Landlocked – Navy Mutinies Joins Crimea

Why are we not surprised?   The United States neoconservative-initiated action in the Ukraine is backfiring.  The head of the Ukrainian Navy, Admiral Denis Berezovsky, just announced that the navy is now in the service of the Crimean Autonomous Republic.

I, Berezovsky Denis, swear allegiance to the Crimean people and pledge to protect it, as required by the [army] regulations. I swear to take orders of Crimea and Sevastopol’s Supreme Commander,” Berezovsky said as seen in video footage.   All Navy troops dislocated in Sevastopol are ordered to disregard any commands coming from Ukraine’s new self-proclaimed authorities,” the PM also declared. “Do not take any orders of using arms till my personal instructions.”
RT (Russia Today), Mar 2, 2014

With Crimea out of the question, there are only four regions of the Ukraine that offer access to the Black Sea, Odessa, Kherson, Zaporizhia, and Donet’z each more aligned with the Russian Federation than their parent country.  That leaves the new government of the Ukraine virtually landlocked.  It also raises questions about the remaining forces in the Ukraine military.

Will other forces mutiny?  Will other forces follow orders by the self-proclaimed government of the Ukraine?

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The split of the Ukraine – based on economic data

Distribution of exports by region
Distribution of exports by region – larger version

We are witnessing the traditional corporate media propaganda emerging regarding the troubles in the Ukraine:  the portrayals of great heroics, old faces emerging with new promises, and, oh those pictures.

Setting all of that aside, readily available economic data tells the tale of both present and the future realities in the Ukraine.  The nation is split between on the basis of economic prosperity (in relative terms) and productivity.  That split divides wealth that is a fraction of what it should be due the expropriation of much of the nation’s wealth by a few oligarchs and their minions.

Two sets of data demonstrate the east-west split.  (Data etc. translated from Russian in this blog, with commentary on sourcing:  “Everything is annihilated”: the split of Ukraine on the basis of economic data )

Productivity, in terms of economic exports are greater in the Southeastern region than they are in the center and Western part of the country.  The capital, Kiev, has minimal export power. (See image left.  Darker shades indicate higher exports.)

Economic development, defined by salaries, is split between the center-West and the Southeastern part of the country.  (See image below.  Darker shades indicate higher salaries.)

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Aleppo, Yabrud, and the end of the war on Syria

Syrian Arab Army troops celebrate recent victory (liveleak.com)
Syrian Arab Army troops celebrate recent victory (liveleak.com)

The Syrian Arab Army may be on the verge of another set of victories that go far beyond those gained in the summer of 2013 when the Syrian army and Hezbollah took the rebel held city of Qusayr.   The hotly contested battles rage in the major city of Aleppo and the much smaller mountain city of Yabrud. Major gains in either locale would be significant.  Victories in both would raise questions about the various rebel factions and their ability to continue contesting for control of the country

Syria’s commercial center and largest city, Aleppo, was divided at the start of the Syrian conflict in July 2012.  The government lost control of half of the metropolitan area, key towns surrounding the city, and the international airport.

The situation has changed substantially since October 2013.   The Syrian army captured key towns in the countryside surrounding Aleppo, a critical army base, the international airport, and scores of smaller villages.   Government forces continue to take key locations in preparation for a final push to retake the city.  The tactics on both sides are brutal.  Syrian forces drop barrel bombs on Aleppo’s rebel strongholds.  Rebels recently executed twenty-one Syrian government sympathizers.    Continue reading

Fusion fruition in California

NIF experiments show initial gain in fusion fuel
NIF experiments show initial gain in fusion fuel

A 2009 story on nuclear fusion caught my eye.  Brian MacGowan PhD of the National Ignition Facility (NIF) had launched a nuclear fusion effort.  There were no pie in the sky promises but the scientist betrayed a certain confidence that I found encouraging.

“When I look forward to what my grandkids are going to be faced with, I really worry about fuels,” he [MacGowan] admits. “People talk about renewable energy – solar, waves, wind – but that’s a tiny fraction of the amount of energy we really need. Even if you leave aside global warming, it’s just really scary. So the fact that there’s this possibility [of fusion], even though it might be really hard to implement, just gives me hope that we’re not heading for some kind of nuclear winter-type environment out of an old science-fiction movie.” The Independent, May 3, 2009

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Huey P Long’s Share Our Wealth Society

longDuring his State of the Union speech, President Obama acted semi worked up about the nation’s skewed distribution of wealth.  After all these years as president, he finally noticed.  No discernible plan has emerged.   During Franklin D Roosevelt’s first term as president, his policies were influenced by Louisiana Governor Huey P. Long’s national standing and policies.  Long’s scheme for redistributing wealth went far beyond anything Roosevelt ever proposed and is far beyond whatever Obama might gin up.  Long’s program was harshly criticized by Norman Thomas, the Socialist Party candidate for president.  Long was assassinated in 1935, ending the Share the Wealth program and national organization.  Roosevelt was reelected in 1936 on a “balanced budget” platform.  This led to the mini depression of 1937-38 and reversed the decline in unemployment and gains in real GDP.     

Spartacus Educational
Huey P. Long supported the presidential campaign of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932. However, he was highly critical of some aspects of the New Deal. He disliked the Emergency Banking Act because it did little to help small, local banks. Long bitterly attacked the National Recovery Act for the system of wage and price codes it established. He correctly forecasted that the codes would be written by the leaders of the industries involved and would result in price-fixing. Long told the Senate: “Every fault of socialism is found is this bill, without one of its virtues.”  Continue reading

Davos – the people who brought you the financial collapse and endless war

It's a happening!  PTB parties in a locked down Swiss enclave
It’s a happening! PTB parties in a locked down Swiss enclave

The World Economic Forum hosts the world leaders, the special people who routinely screw things up because they can.  The conference is held annually in Davos, Switzerland to avoid the angry protests the conference generated.  Davos is cold, exclusive, and hard to access. There are no crowds at Davos…by design.

Imagine the most self-involved awards shows, the country music awards or that Broadway fete, multiply the narcissism and sappiness by about 100, and you’ve got Davos.  For the most part, Davos consists of high profile Mandarins and other flunkies for the real money.  There’s a Gates or two there but the real money stays in the background.

Here’s the leading topic: What should be at the top of the agenda for the global economy in the year ahead?

Let’s see… How about some #X@%ing jobs!!!

Here are some photographs of ass kissers to the extremely rich who, the  exception of Gates, stay in the background.  The images are interspersed with passages from the end of Day of the Locust, when crowds were really important.

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NSA spying for business – Snowden

So they start calling Snowden a Russian spy and we wonder, what’s up with that.  Turns out the accuser,  Rep Mike Rogers of the House intel committee, was challenged on why he’d make such a charge.  The response (in essence) – ‘Duh, I don’t know.’  Typical Money Party defamation from the hired help.    But, now our questions are answered.  Here’s why they have to make Snowden evil.  He’s spilling the beans on the very worst secret that he could reveal:  Snowden says NSA engages in industrial espionage: TV

matrix(Berlin, Reuters, 26 Jan) The US National Security Agency is involved in industrial espionage and will grab any intelligence it can get its hands on regardless of its value to national security, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden told a German TV network.

In text released ahead of a lengthy interview to be broadcast on Sunday, ARD TV quoted Snowden saying the NSA does not limit its espionage to issues of national security and he cited German engineering firm, Siemens as one target.

“If there’s information at Siemens that’s beneficial to US national interests – even if it doesn’t have anything to do with national security – then they’ll take that information nevertheless,” Snowden said, according to ARD, which recorded the interview in Russia where he has claimed asylum.   Continue reading

We were right about the “voter fraud” fraud – years ago

“[Voter] Fraud is rare, but when it does occur, absentee ballots are often the method of choice.” Presidential Commission, Jan 2014, p. 56
(I arise from my semi retirement slumber to recall some important history.)

Polite Fascism Contracts the Right to Vote, 03/13/2008
Polite Fascism Contracts the Right to Vote, 03/13/2008

A key figure in the Republican establishment surrendered belatedly on the central tactic for voter suppression, the myth of voter fraud.  For the Presidential Commission on Election Administration, Jan 2014 to admit that voter fraud is “rare” is an understatement.  However, for a commission co-chaired by vaunted Republican election law attorney Benjamin L. Ginsberg to sign off on that admission is epic.

Voter fraud is the rational for voter identification (Voter ID) requirements.  For years, Republican legislatures across the country have enacted voter identification card (voter ID) requirements to suppress the Democratic vote.  There can be no other reason since it was established years ago by the Bush Justice Department that voter fraud didn’t exist.  A comprehensive study in 2007 showed that in three years of Bush Justice Department efforts (2002-2005), only 38 cases of voter fraud were brought with only 24 guilty findings.   Voter fraud isn’t just “rare,” it is virtually non-existent.

Yet, thanks to the fantasy of voter fraud, we have voter ID laws in 20 plus states.   It’s a little late to say “I was wrong.”  But, it is not too late to repeal all those voter ID laws based on the voter fraud scam.   Continue reading

It’s been a pleasure – take care

The Money Party
The Money Party

Today will be my last day as editor in chief of the Agonist.  I’ve appreciated and enjoyed serving in that role.  Personal and professional obligations are pressing and I do not have the time required to continue.   The Agonist has the foundation to move forward and a readership that generated close to 800,000 views since February 2013 despite significant challenges.

I would like to thank steeleweed for his technical and systems support that allowed us to begin to tame the WordPress platform; nymoley and Tina for the expert editorial efforts; Raja for the highly reliable Newswire service; and Graham for his contributions.  And, thank you Jillian for her efforts and support.

Don Henry Ford, Jr., Numerian, actor, and Jack Cluth deserve special praise for contributing engaging and provocative posts over time.  The high quality Diaries posts of Synoia and Jayhawk deserve special recognition.   I’d like to add thanks to Brian Downing for his excellent posts during a critical period.

I wish Stirling Newberry the very best on his journey and want to thank him for his graciousness and willingness to return to posting at the Agonist at a critical time.   His posts were compelling and right on target.

I spoke with site publisher/owner Shavkat Karimov after making this decision.  He asked steeleweed (Ray) to step in as the Editor starting Saturday.  Ray agreed.  This is an excellent move.  Shavkat and the Proaxis folks before him have been very helpful and responsive in sorting out higher order system problems.  There has been a hands-off policy on content.  I have not heard a single word implying even a hint of censorship.

I’m saving the best for last.  I’d like to acknowledge and express deep appreciation to four of my all-time favorite commenters (I’ve been using the Internet well before it was called that – 1981):  Skriz, Synoia, Jayhawk, and dude.   Their comments, insights, and humor were always appreciated.

I look forward to seeing where the Agonist goes and contributing material as time allows.

The very best wishes to all of you,

Michael Collins

Assad – Saudi ideology threat to the world

(Hurriyet Daily News, Istanbul) Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned during a meeting in Damascus on Wednesday with Iran’s foreign minister that Saudi Arabia’s political and religious ideology is “a threat to the world,” state television reported.

He was referring to Wahhabism, an ultra-conservative Sunni Muslim tradition which is predominant in Saudi Arabia, a key backer of Syria’s revolt against Assad.

“President Assad warns during his meeting with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of the threat posed by Wahhabi thinking to all the world, not just to the region,” the report said.

“The Syrian people and some peoples in the region know how serious the threat posed by Wahhabism is, and everyone must contribute to the confrontation against it and to eradicating it from the root,” said Assad, who belongs to the Alawite offshoot of Shiite Islam.

Your morning Christie – Springstein takes on Christie

Highways jammed with pissed off drivers with nowhere left to go…
And the press conference went on and on
It was longer than one of my own damn shows
Some day governor, I don’t know when this will all end but ’till then
You’re killing the working man
Who’s stuck Governor Chris Christie’s Ft. Lee, New Jersey traffic jam

Bruce Springstein and Jimmy Fallon – Jimmy Fallon Show

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