Lives of the rich and famous

Fidel Castro had his own private island, where he kept a couple of yatchs, plus 20 other homes. 

Aerial photos of Cayo Piedra, Fidel's private island

When I lived in Russia, I moved into a "dacha" (a country house outside the city) located in Barvikha. This dacha was located on a property assigned by the KGB to a very senior officer. The property was large, about 300 meters by 100 meters, fenced with a tall wooden fence facing the road, and a lower fence in the back, which allowed a view of the woods and the Moscow River. 

In 1991, as part of the reforms, the government issued a law which gave title to the dweller of whatever property they had been assigned. This gave the guy who now owned the property a gift worth several million dollars. I'm discussing my first hand experience because Raúl Castro has issued a decree giving ownership of real estate to whichever person was dwelling in or controlled the property. 

And guess what? The communist party elite and upper military caste just happened to end up owning mansions, penthouses and nice country estates. This is the new "hybrid system" which peddles communism and its irrational economic principles as it creates a fascist dictatorship which keeps slaves and schemes to spread its cancer. 

Now I'll return to the Moscow dacha so you see a teensy bit about how socialism works in real life: 


Renewables and Fossil fuels

If we say we will invest in a green economy and phase out fossil fuels over a period of 150 years I’m sure that’s feasible. If you mean doing it in 35 years, I think you will find its impossible. 
I’m not “interested in fossil fuels” in the sense that I really don’t worry about increasing their consumption. I’m interested in not seeing Europe do a lemming over the economic cliff by mindlessly pursuing renewables out of a dogmatic belief that fossil fuels are evil. 
I look closely at the situation in Spain, and I don’t see how the economy can carry those renewable costs, while at the same time they have to grapple with communists posing as populists (Podemos) and the rather cumbersome regulatory and monetary system they have. And I’m simply looking at this coldly on a technical and economic basis. Neither solar nor wind justify the costs unless there’s cheap storage, and the only cheap available storage is hydro, which enviromentalists oppose (besides, regulations make it impossible to build a dam). 
I see many of you repeating the opinion that politicians are bought and so in. I guess you don’t realize the turbine and solar power corporations also lobby. In their case they are a parasite lobbying for subsidies, preferential generation rights, etc. This means we need to do our own analysis, rather than trust urban legends and propaganda. 
Regarding stranded assets, most agencies seem to be predicting a gradual increase in oil consumption until 2040. So let’s say the world averages 90 million barrels of oil per day over the next 25 years. That’s over 820 billion barrels. 
Now let’s take a conservative approach and say that somehow we get oil demand to drop at 5 % per year thereafter. That’s an additional 720 billion barrels. 

The pope and Raúl Castro

There's a significant amount of writing on the Pope's political aims. His cozy relationship with Raúl Castro is seen as an indicator. 

Francis shakes hands with a senile Fidel Castro

I'll give you a flavor as follows: 
From Babalu Blog: 
...during his visit to Cuba, it became disappointingly clear that Pope Francis made a conscience decision to turn a blind eye to the evils of communism and the suffering of the Cuban people under the tyranny of the communist Castro dictatorship. Pope Francis went out of his way avoid offending Cuba’s apartheid regime and paid little to no attention to the island’s brave and courageous Catholic dissidents. Throughout his visit, as the Pope enjoyed his events with Castro regime officials and social gatherings with Raul and Fidel Castro, Catholic dissidents were being viciously beaten and arrested .
The Stream Blog
"Marxists, Marxist ideas and Marxist regimes have brought death and destruction to millions. Yet according to Pope Francis, “if anything, the communists think like Christians.” What’s going on here?
Within the first year of his pontificate, Francis’s strong criticisms of economic globalization and capitalism resulted in him being accused of having Marxist sympathies. Such charges, however, are demonstrably false.


In like Flynn

We cant discount the probability that Raúl Castro is now tempted to continue to advocate a Stalinist system mixed with very small and weak private enterprise and joint ventures with foreign capitalists (a bit like China and Vietnam, but with limits on the growth of native private enterprise). This system would be run by a military caste topped by a Castro.

Raúl Castro and his grandson Raulito Castro, in line 
to be the fourth Castro after his father Alejandro.

This is what he is doing in Cuba right now. And there's no sign he would ever let go of Venezuela. On the other hand he and his leadership cadre may consider Venezuela the key piece in a future mini empire. Given the central command and control, the dogmatic nationalism, the militarism, the use of brown shirts, leader worship, and other traits, this budding empire would be using a hybrid of Stalinism and fascism. 

As for Ileana and Marco, they don't have the intellect to deal with Castros. Trump is a huge unknown, but the best outcome may be to see him shut down the efforts Obama made to keep both Castro and Maduro in power, and focus elsewhere. 

Regarding Russia, I suggest you hit the books. The best option for the USA is to resolve the conflict it has with Russia, and get them on the USA side. I know this won't go over well with you since you are obviously following the "common wisdom" as sold by the USA neocons. The Russians are simply responding to what they see as USA aggression, which began with Clinton, continued with Bush, and escalated with Obama. Hilary Clinton is a neocon golem, she may have risked nuclear war ratcheting tension even higher. 

And don't forget I'm not inventing this "crap". I worked and lived in Russia for almost a decade before I moved to Venezuela, and I know how the Russians think, why Putin is in power, and what he expects from the USA. I think Flynn does too, and I'm 87 % in tune with him.

Further reading: Flashpoint in Ukraine


When world temperature increases 1.5 deg C

At 1.5 degrees C above “preindustrial” : 1. Sea level will be about 10 to 30 cm higher. 2. Ocean ph changes won’t have much of an impact on corals. 3. Farmers in the Republic of Scotland will have better wheat crops. 4. The Islamic People’s Republic of Turkey will declare a unilateral ceasefire to allow Kurdish withdrawal from Mosul. 5. Alejandro Castro, the third dictator in the Castro Dinasty, will announce his favorite son Raulito will become Communist Party First Secretary and Governor of Venezuela. 6. Spain will announce its navy has successfully interdicted 32,000 would be invaders trying to cross the strait into its Autonomous Province of Gibraltar. 7. China’s Shanghai stock market will hit another record high after Ying Lee Green Solar claims it has patented a cheap battery.
Earth after temperature increases 1.5 deg C above pre-industrial


Judeo-Christian Tradition?

I’m still trying to figure out where’s the “Judeo-Christian tradition”. There’s a huge difference between Reform and Ultraorthodox Jews. There’s an even larger difference between the way a NY Rabbi thinks today, and what a Temple priest thought in 35 CE. Christians are the same. Is this tradition Catholic as advocated by the Red Pope? Anglican? USA Evangelical?  I can't see a common "Judeo-Christian tradition" in these groups at all. 
Evo Morales gives Pope Francis  
his "Jesus nailed to the hammer and sickle" 
I think it’s safe to call me an atheist who studies religion to figure out where it fits into politics, and to help me survive as I have moved from country to country (it’s never a good idea to mess with the local customs). I repeat, I conclude there’s no such thing as a “Judeo Christian” tradition. That seems to be a term coined to make sure Jews don’t feel excluded, or to somehow lump Christians and Jews into a single identity, which in turn leads to exclusion of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, etc. 
I suggest Americans get over this by simply usng the term “American tradition”, which, whether some like it or not, includes individualism, a belief in freedom and the right of people to choose leaders, a sense of being unique (to the point of arrogance), a willingness to help those who are weak, and a fairly widespread belief that men and women should have equal rights.

Some of you extend that to “minorities”, and some don’t. But I assure you, Ameicans treat minorities better than the French, Russians, Japanese, Congolese, etc. And that’s got little to do with an imaginary “Judeo-Christian tradition” which includes maxims such as “give unto Cesar what is Cesar”, separates women from men during worship services, and says nothing about the right of the individual to free speech, freedom of worship, the right to bear arms, etc, etc. 
So, let’s just say Americans are not really unique, other than they lucked into being born in the USA. What is unique is the American tradition. And that tradition goes way way beyond any religious texts, beliefs, or dogma.

State of the Climate Fall 2016

I like looking at climate data, it helps me understand a bit better what may be going on, and sort through the intense propaganda campaigns being waged in the climate front. Unfortunately the subject has been hijacked and made into a political hot potato, and nowadays about 95 % of what's published or shown on social media and TV is tainted, or bullshit, or a one sided view crafted using cherry picked data.

Anyhow, below I'll show you the temperature reanalysis time series published by the "Climate Reanalyzer" site at the University of Maine*. Here's the world's average temperature at 2 meters elevation, for every September since 1979, estimated using the PRISM reanalysis:

And here's the NCEP model 2 meter average temperature for September in the sector poleward  of 60 degrees South latitude (Antarctica and surrounding waters). I used September because September 2016 is being uploaded now, in mid November. The first plot uses the Prism model with September 2016 loaded, but the second plot, which uses NCEP, didn't  have it as of two days ago.

I decided to show you these to encourage you to visit their website, go to the Climate Reanalysis time series page, and learn to make your own plots.



Somebody made a comment about the extreme right being violent. I observe that both extremes are very similar. They are autocratic, intolerant, and very willing to use violence. They are so close, in recent decades we have seen hard core communist regimes in China, Vietnam, and Russia evolve towards a neofascist brand of authoritarian, highly stratified caste based regime. 

I'm now observing the Castro family dictatorship struggle as Raúl Castro tries to drive Cuba towards the neofascist mold while trying to satisfy the remaining Marxist hard core's wishes to preserve the communist system even though it's such a huge failure. And what I see Raúl trying to accomplish is possibly similar to what is advocated (silently) by the hard core right wing elite in the USA, a repressive autocracy which uses modern technology to brainwash and control the population. An approach the extreme left will also use and is using wherever it gains control.

It's amazing, but what George Orwell wrote about is happening. What he didn't see was the advances in computer hardware and software, surveillance methods, and biological/medical sciences. The Castro dictatorship is working very hard in these fields, they even have a standard procedure which includes taking a series of biological samples when they "request" that suspected dissidents present themselves at the political police center for questioning. They are setting up a data base to identify suspected "enemies of the state" by their smell, looks, etc. Orwell never imagined how horrible it could turn out.

For further reading you may wish to read the following posts:









Trump, troglodytes and the end of democracy

This is taken from an article I think is a pretty good read. If you want the full contents please go here http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/11/sneering-response-trumps-victory-reveals-exactly-won/ 
If you want to know why Trump won, just look at the response to his winning. The lofty contempt for ‘low information’ Americans. The barely concealed disgust for the rednecks and cretins of ‘flyover’ America who are apparently racist and misogynistic and homophobic. The haughty sneering at the vulgar, moneyed American political system and how it has allowed a wealthy candidate to poison the little people’s mushy, malleable minds. The suggestion that American women, more than 40 per cent of whom are thought to have voted for Trump, suffer from internalised misogyny: that is, they don’t know their own minds, the poor dears. The hysterical, borderline apocalyptic claims that the world is now infernally screwed because ‘our candidate’, the good, pure person, didn’t get in.
This response to Trump’s victory reveals why Trump was victorious. Because those who do politics these days — the political establishment, the media, the academy, the celeb set — are so contemptuous of ordinary people, so hateful of the herd, so convinced that the mass of society cannot be trusted to make political decisions, and now those ordinary people have given their response to such top-down sneering and prejudice.

Oh, the irony of observers denouncing Middle America as a seething hotbed of hatred even as they hatefully libel it a dumb and ugly mob. Having turned America’s ‘left behind’ into the butt of every clever East Coast joke, and the target of every handwringing newspaper article about America’s dark heart and its strange, Bible-toting inhabitants, the political and cultural establishment can’t now be surprised that so many of those people have turned around and said… well, it begins with F and ends with U.
The respectable set’s allergy to Trump is fundamentally an allergy to the idea of democracy itself. To them, Trump’s rise confirms the folly of asking the ignorant, the everyday, the non-subscribers to the New York Times, to decide on important political matters. They’re explicit about this now. In the run-up to election day, big-name commentators wondered out loud if democracy is all it’s cracked up to be. Trump’s ascendancy showed we need better checks and balances on ‘the passions of the mob’, said Andrew Sullivan. We should ‘cool and restrain [these] temporary populist passions’, he said, and refuse to allow ‘feeling, emotion’ to override ‘reasoned deliberation’. The little folks only feel and wail, you see, and it’s down to the grown-ups in the system to think coolly on their behalf.


José Feliciano cancelled his gig in Maracaibo.

I keep seeing messages from Rosmit Mantilla's mother. She's asking help for his son, who was kidnapped by Maduro's "KGB", the SEBIN, as he was about to have his gall bladder extracted. I get several messages per day asking for help to get medicines, to get away from the country, to please write somebody and get them some help.

Rosmit Mantilla is being literally tortured 
Last night one of three diluted heavy oil pipelines from the Orinoco region breached near a river, which is now contaminated with oil. Gasoline and diesel production is less than half the country's needs.
The busted pipeline is the one from Petrozuata, the old Conoco JV

I get messages from Chavistas insulting and threatening me (maybe they think I'm really a guy named Leanme?). The Guardian published an article saying that Podemos, the Chavista financed party which emerged in Spain in recent years, is Europe's salvation, while Podemos leaders and members keep defending Maduro and his boss, Raul Castro.

There's an odd silence in the media about the close relationship between Castro and Maduro. Nobody explains that Venezuela's key strategic points are controlled by Cubans, they are seen everywhere, from public notaries to military headquarters to the passport and national ID agencies. The invasion includes "doctors" plus several tens of thousands of advisers, clerks, military personnel, spies, technicians, "sports trainers" and so on and so forth. Somehow, this is never discussed on CNN.

Maduro's nephews were caught trying to smuggle 800 kg of cocaine into the USA. They go on trial this morning in a NY federal court. Their lawyers are being paid by an oil tanker mogul who does juicy business with Pdvsa. This guy is also suspected of funneling money to US, European, and Latin Anerican left wing "activists" who are very active defending Maduro, and the Castro dictatorship


Cuban physician tries to escape from servitude

This is copied from 14 y medio, Yoani Sanchez' web "newspaper" via the website  Translating Cuba
She worked for three years at health centers in Dourados, a region of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, as part of the government program Mais Medicos (More Doctors). Karem Guadalupe Saboit Valdes is fighting to stay beyond the three years allowed under the contract between the Cuban government and the Pan American Health Organization PAHO), according to reports in the Brazilian newspaper O Progresso.
Dr Karem Saboit at work in Dourados, Brazil 
Sabot Valdes was the first doctor to reach the city, but her contract expires next week and she must return to Cuba. The doctor, in love with the local people, is looking for ways to stay in Brazil without the mediation of the Cuban government.
The Mais Medicos program was announced three years ago as a “bonus mission” for Cuban doctors. Many were sent to third world countries where they completed their service to fill the quotas offered by Dilma Rousseff’s government to Havana.
A week has passed since a court in Brasilia, in Saboit Valdes’ case, made the unprecedented decision that the Ministry of Health could renew a contract directly with a Cuban doctor, without the mediation of PAHO or the Cuban government. This decision means that, from now on, the doctor will receive the total value of the agreement that the Ministry of Health offers to foreign doctors who work in remote areas of Brazil, some 11,500 reales (3,587 dollars). Until now, their salary has been 2,976 reales (928 dollars), with the difference pocketed by the Cuban government.


The dialogue between Maduro and Opposition

The Maduro regime or dictatorship and the opposition have begun a "dialogue" which is supposed to end the conflict caused by the regime's cancelation of the recall referendum, the hunger and misery that prevail in Venezuela, and the escalating human rights abuses. The talks, which began with a short speech by Maduro, are being guided by a high level Vatican emissary and three ex presidents who appear to be on Maduro's payroll. 
Maduro and opposition General Secretary Chuo Torrealba
This  "dialogue" will fail. The Maduro dictatorship uses it as a cover for the ongoing imposition of a reign of terror by its secret police (The SEBIN), which behaves exactly like the Castro's G2 and Ministry of Interior forces, the Stasi, the KGB, and the Gestapo. This is easy to understand if we study their pedigree. 
Sebiners are trained by Cuban dictatorship agents, quite a few of which are embedded in the Maduro repression machine. The Cubans were in turn trained by the Stasi and KGB, and the Stasi inherited agents and methods from the Gestapo. 
Thus this dialogue is being used to give time to the Cubans to finish implementing their Orwellian repressive apparatus. And this is being done as Obama, the European Union, the Pope, and many others try oh so kindly to help the Castro family remain as the head of one of the most horrifying and evil entities of the 21st century.