Daily Digest 1/4 – Revenge of the Gammons, What War With Iran Could Look Like


What war with Iran could look like (edelinski)

So far, a full-scale conflict between the U.S. and its allies and Iran and its proxies remains in the realm of wargaming at the moment. But with tensions rising between the U.S. and Iran, and as the U.S. moves more troops and military assets into the region, Pentagon planners and top U.S. intelligence officials have begun taking a closer look at what such a conflict might entail.

For Trump, a Risky Decision on Suleimani Is One Other Presidents Had Avoided (tmn)

The question was why now? “This guy has been killing Americans in Iraq since 2003,” said Jon Soltz, the chairman of VoteVets.org and an Iraq war veteran. “I was in one of his attacks in Taji in 2011. They were dropping 240-millimeter rockets on us. So this is not a surprise that he’s involved in killing Americans.”

“But the question is what was different last night?” he added. “The onus is on Trump to prove something was different, or this is no different than another weapons of mass destruction play.”

With Suleimani Assassination, Trump Is Doing the Bidding of Washington’s Most Vile Cabal (Sparky1)

While Barack Obama provided crucial military and intelligence support for Saudi Arabia’s scorched earth campaign in Yemen, which killed untold numbers of civilians, Trump escalated that mass murder in a blatant effort to draw Iran militarily into a conflict. That was the agenda of the gulf monarchies and Israel, and it coincided neatly with the neoconservative dreams of overthrowing the Iranian government. As the U.S. and Saudi Arabia intensified their military attacks in Yemen, Iran began to insert itself more and more forcefully into Yemeni affairs, though Tehran was careful not to be tricked into offering this Trump/Saudi/UAE/Israel coalition a justification for wider war.

The US and Israel reportedly signed a secret pact to take on Iran (Ivo M.)

Quoting the Israeli officials, Channel 10 said that the meeting confirmed that the US and Israel “see eye to eye on the trends and processes in the region,” and have now reached agreement on the strategy and policy required to deal with them.

McClatchy freezes some pension benefits (Sparky1)

Chief Financial Officer Elaine Lintecum said Thursday the company halted January payments to a small number of recipients of its nonqualified supplemental executive retirement plan. The move follows McClatchy’s November announcement that it was in talks with its creditors and the U.S. government’s pension insurer, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, about a bailout.

Revenge Of The Gammons (James W.)

Overall, despite the poor performance of the Scottish Conservatives, I am reasonably happy with my forecast. It captured, unlike some commentators, the sizable Tory majority and I never ruled out the possibility that the Tories could be heading towards a larger majority along the lines of Thatcher’s 1987 victory.

Gold nears six-year high, miners rally on Middle East turmoil (Thomas R.)

“Today’s event has probably only brought forward the inevitable test of the September high,” says Saxo Bank’s head of commodity strategy Ole Hansen. “Rising inflation concerns through higher input prices – oil and food – combined with geopolitical uncertainty is a potent cocktail which supports a market already on the move.”

Big Pharma Continues New Year’s Tradition of Squeezing U.S. Sick for Every Last Dime (Thomas R.)

A Kaiser Family Foundation survey last year found that 29 percent of respondents had failed to take prescriptions as directed by medical personnel in the prior 12 months due to cost issues. As Reuters noted, the U.S.’s market pricing model for drugs means that they cost far more than in other nations with more government control (which has also made the U.S. the pharmaceutical industry’s single most lucrative nation).

Hate Crimes Against Religious Groups Up Nearly 35% Between 2014-2018: FBI (tmn)

Most congregations do not have security. Three of the deadliest attacks on congregations have occurred since June 2015, when a gunman killed nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., according to a database compiled by AP, USA Today and Northeastern University. The group crosses denominations and geography.

Seattle passed a $15 minimum wage law in 2014. Here’s how it’s turned out so far (Thomas R.)

Meanwhile, the Seattle law has been life changing for workers like Martin Johnson, who lobbied for higher pay with the advocacy group Working Washington. He works three minimum wage jobs — as a temporary cook on game days at the city’s stadiums, as a janitor at Costco on the overnight shift and as a handyman in his own small business. The raise brought with it more dignity for workers and boosted morale, he said.

“Instead of being paid $9 an hour, you’re getting $15 an hour to do the same work. You feel better about yourself — you feel appreciated,” Johnson, 54, said.

Venezuela’s Latest Problem Is There Are Now Too Many Dollars (Sparky1)

“This is money earned through legal means, yet in a currency that exists entirely outside the country’s constitutional order. This isn’t money laundering,” says Luis Godoy, a former deputy chief of the judicial police who now works as a security consultant. “You have to wonder how many people right now have money stacked inside their homes like Pablo Escobar.”

The Decade of Mars: How the 2020s May Be a New Era of Red Planet Exploration (Thomas R.)

That next step begins this July with the launches of NASA’s 2020 Mars rover and the European-Russian rover Rosalind Franklin, both of which will hunt for signs of ancient Red Planet organisms.

But the alien-life hunt may not be the only Mars-exploration front opening in earnest in the 2020s. If the development of SpaceX’s Starship Mars-colonizing vehicle goes well, it’s possible that humanity could put boots on the Red Planet in the next 10 years as well.

Alzheimers can be predicted before symptoms show as new test detects spread in brain (Thomas R.)

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia and currently scientists are unable to diagnose it until serious symptoms occur – and as yet no cure has been found. But a new study carried out by the University of California in San Francisco could change that, as scientists identify “key driver” of Alzheimers. Cutting-edge brain scans enable experts to track a protein found inside brain cells, which has been found to predict how the disease will develop years before patients show serious symptoms.

Molecular Coffee created in lab goes ‘beanless’ (Sparky1)

Instead of roasting and grinding coffee beans…or even using beans at all, a startup decided to go into the lab to brew a cup of morning joe. Amaze Lab’s Justin Kircher explains.

Oil Prices Climb Higher On Huge Crude Inventory Draw (Thomas R.)

Oil prices were already trending higher when the EIA released its weekly petroleum status report, pushed up by news about a U.S. air strike in Baghdad that killed a high-ranking Iranian military commander. This is the latest move in a fast escalation in the Middle East that has already sparked worry about the security of supply from the world’s number-one exporting region.

Australians Trying to Flee Wildfires Are Getting Stuck in Massive Traffic Jams (Sparky1)

Those fleeing the fires reported being stuck on gridlocked highways for up to 10 hours as some of the state’s major roads were closed due to threats from the fires.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for calm, saying, “The best thing that helps those out there volunteering, out there trying to restore some order to these situations, is for everyone to be patient.”

Indonesia seeds clouds to keep them away from flooded capital (Sparky1)

The floods followed torrential rains on Dec. 31 and into the early hours of New Year’s Day that inundated swathes of Jakarta and nearby towns, home to about 30 million people.

The deluge at the start of 2020 was “one of the most extreme rainfall” events since records began in 1866, the Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said on Friday.

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