Germany Tightens Ists Grip on Its European Empire

Germany Tightens Its Grip on Its European Empire (Source thetrumpet.com) In the latest long-term budget plan, EU budget commissioner Günter Oettinger (who happens to be German) unveiled a new policy proposal. It would strip member nations of their EU funding if they failed to comply with EU requirements on “rule of law.” In theory.

In practice, it would give Europe’s largest states the ability to blackmail the smaller ones. You can see this in the way Europe is already using its “rule of law” controls. The EU is currently pursuing Poland for violations of the rule of law. If it succeeds, it will be able to strip Poland of its EU voting rights—if all other countries agree. What is Poland’s great transgression against the basic tenant of liberty? The EU accuses the Polish government of tampering with the composition of its judges on its constitutional court. That’s a sham. Spain did almost exactly the same thing and the EU said nothing. The difference is, the EU approves of Spain’s government, but not Poland’s.

Ottingher’s proposals would dramatically expand the EU’s power. If the European Commission deems that a country has violated the rule of law, financial penalties would come into effect. Only a large majority in the European Council could stop those penalties. In the Council, voting rules take into account population. Germany is the most populous nation in Europe. So if it wants sanctions on a country and it gets a few other nations on its side, the rest of the Council could not stop them. We could soon have an EU that tells its member states how to run their own countries. The EU bureaucracy is already fighting democratically elected governments in Poland and Hungary. If it gains the power Oettinger is proposing, it would have even more authority to make member nations do as they are told. This is just the latest in a long-standing trend. Hans Kundnani noted in the Berlin Policy Journal last month that in Germany’s vision for Europe, “more Europe would mean more Germany―as in many of the steps already taken in the last seven years since the euro crisis began.”

Emmanuel Macron receives Charlemagne Prize for European Unity

Emmanuel Macron receives Charlemagne Prize for European unity in Aachen (Source dw.com)

French President Emmanuel Macron was recognized for his contributions to European cohesion and integration on Thursday, as he received the Charlemagne Prize in the German city of Aachen. In his acceptance speech, Macron praised the European project for maintaining a “miraculous” 70 years of peace on the continent and outlined his vision for the future. The French president called for more unity among member states and warned that the divisions that appeared during the eurozone and migrant crises risked undermining the EU project. Macron insisted that a common eurozone budget was crucial to guaranteeing EU unity. He urged Germany to get over its “fetish” for budget surpluses and work with him on forging deeper economic co-operations.

“We need an ambitious European budget and a eurozone with its own budget allowing for investments and convergence between member states,” he said. “We have to fight for a new and stronger Europe … Now is the time.”

 

Oklahoma wildfires kill hundreds of cattle blacken pastures

Oklahoma wildfires kill hundreds of cattle, blacken pastures (Source Reuters) Wind-driven wildfires that began in mid-April, fueled by severe drought, have killed hundreds of cattle and destroyed more than 300,000 acres in Oklahoma, authorities said. Oklahoma has been grappling with several wildfires this month, including the Rhea Fire in the western part of the state. Oklahoma’s governor, Mary Fallin, recently issued a state of emergency for 52 counties due to the wildfires that blackened close to 350,000 total acres – an area roughly equal to half the size of Rhode Island.

Oklahoma is the nation’s fifth-largest cattle producing state with more than 5 million head. While cattle losses were devastating for affected ranchers, overall livestock prices should not be affected, said economists and state officials.

Rod Hall, Oklahoma state veterinarian, put preliminary cattle deaths at roughly 1,100 head and expects that number could eventually climb to around 2,000.

“We’ll never know the exact number and people are also still finding dead animals,” Hall said in an interview, adding that recent rains helped contain most of the blazes.

Some cattle died directly from the fires while others were later euthanized due to injuries or smoke inhalation, he said.

Many Oklahoma pastures had not received adequate moisture for more than 200 days. Animals in these areas were caught off-guard when flames were fanned by winds of up to 60 miles per hour. Some of the acres destroyed were much-needed grazing land for cattle, state officials said.

The ranchers’ most immediate need is hay to feed their cattle, said Michael Kelsey, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association. Hay inventories were already low in the wake of last year’s wildfires and an unusually long, cold and dry winter, he said.

 

 

Residents in Florida neighborhood evacated due to massive sinkholes

Residents in Florida neighborhood evacuated due to massive sinkholes (Source Yahoo) Residents in a central Florida neighborhood have been forced to evacuate due to massive sinkholes that have formed over the last week.

At least a dozen sinkholes have been reported in the Wynchase neighborhood of Ocala, Florida, about 80 miles northwest of Orlando, according to local media reports. The holes have been forming around a retention pond.

Residents from at least eight homes close to the pond were evacuated, with no clear indication of when they might be able to return home, according to ABC affiliate WFTV.

One resident, Maren Pinder, said the holes just seem to keep popping and they’re getting larger and larger. It’s put the entire community on edge, she said.

“They just keep coming,” Pinder told WFTV. “Are we safe? We don’t know. It’s really scary. “We just have a bag ready in case they say, ‘Yeah, you need to evacuate,’ we can just grab it and get out.”

‘Salmon People: The Risks of Genetically Engineered Fish for Pacific NW

‘SALMON PEOPLE: THE RISKS OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FISH FOR THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST’ FILM PREMIERES (Source ECO Watch)

In 2015, the FDA approved genetically engineered salmon, the first ever GE animal to be approved for human consumption anywhere in the world. The Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians called for sufficient consultation with Tribes to assess the environmental impact of GE salmon production, a legal requirement the FDA did not honor.

In 2016, the Quinault Nation joined 11 environmental and food safety organizations in a lawsuit against the FDA. On April 30, 2018, Center for Food Safety and Community Alliance for Global Justice premiered, “Salmon People: The Risks of Genetically Engineered Fish for the Pacific Northwest,” followed by a panel discussion featuring indigenous and advocacy perspectives on the risks, labeling, and lawsuits currently surrounding GE salmon.

“Salmon is the pillar of our culture,” said Valerie Segrest, cofounder of the Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project, featured in the film and on the panel. “For thousands of years the Coast Salish people have organized our lives around salmon. Corporate ownership of such a cultural keystone is a direct attack of our identity, and the legacy our ancestors have left us.” Dr. Pete Knutson, a local fisherman who teaches environmental anthropology at Seattle Central College, connected the dots between aquaculture and GE salmon. “Salmon feedlots in our waters are subsidized by the degradation of the wild marine environment. Salmon farming multinationals have now joined biotechnology giants to produce synthetic salmon-like fish which presents new dangers,” Knutson cautioned. George Kimbrell, senior attorney for Center for Food Safety and co-counsel for the plaintiffs argued that the FDA didn’t have the authority to approve and regulate GE salmon in the first place. The FDA claimed The 1938 Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act grants it the right to approve and regulate GE salmon, but those provisions were meant to ensure the safety of veterinary drugs given to livestock, not address entirely new GE animals that can pass along their altered genes to the next generation. “This case is about the future of food: FDA should not, and cannot, responsibly regulate this GE animal, nor any future GE animals, by treating them as drugs under a 1938 law,” said Kimbrell.

“Cruise Missile Left” Complicit in American Escalation toward World War II

“Cruise Missile Left” Complicit in American Escalation Toward World War III (Source globalresearch.ca)

The US-led alliance of imperial nations has waged war on Syria for eight years with the hopes of overthrowing the independent Arab nationalist state led by President Bashar Al-Assad. Syria was believed to be another domino destined to fall in imperialism’s great power game to contain any international threat to its rule. Former NATO general Wesley Clarke revealed US plans in 2007 to use the September 11th attacks to justify the overthrow seven countries in five years: Iraq, Iran, Libya, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan, and Syria. Most of these countries have since been thrown into chaos by way of US imperial expansion in the Middle East and North Africa. Clarke’s admission should be enough to clarify the Trump Administration’s most recent airstrikes on Syria as an escalation of the broader war for US hegemony in the region and the world. The US military occupies a large portion of Syria, coincidentally in the country’s most resource rich region . Also ignored is the fact that US allies such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey have loathed the Syrian government for its decision in 2009 to construct an independent pipeline with Iran and Iraq to transport precious gas and oil resources to European markets. Never mind that the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and Israel to name a few have funded and armed hundreds of thousands of jihadist mercenaries for seven years in hopes that they would rid of pesky Assad and his nationalist policies. Imperialism wants Assad out because he stands in the way of US goals to dominate the region and keep Iran, Russia and China’s rise to global prominence at bay. Syria is the number one target of US imperialism. The ongoing war there has the potential to spark a confrontation between great powers unforeseen in human history. In many ways, this confrontation has already begun. Russian forces in Syria have daily confronted US-backed jihadists armed with American-made weapons. US coalition strikes have killed Russian military personnel . Just prior to Trump’s airstrikes, seven Iranians were murdered in Syria by Israeli fighter jets. Russia has spent years enhancing its military capabilities in preparation for a major confrontation with the US, whether in Syria or at its own borders with NATO.

 

No negotiations under threat: Warning from Juncker to Trump on US trade tariffs

No negotiations under threat: Warning from Juncker to Trump on US trade tariffs (Source RT)

The European Union will not accept threats from the United States in the talks to secure a permanent exemption from US tariffs on steel and aluminum, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said.

“I would like to reiterate the call that this exemption be made unconditional and permanent,” Juncker said as he presented the EU’s budget at the European Parliament in Brussels. Donald Trump’s decision in March to impose a worldwide 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum “cannot be justified on the basis of national security,” he said as cited by AP. The situation in which Washington and Brussels find themselves on the brink of a trade war “should not happen between allies,” the Commission’s head stressed. “We will continue our negotiations with the US, but we will refuse to negotiate under threat,” Juncker said. The statement came a day after Trump prolonged the temporary exemption for the EU for another month, until June 1. EU hopes of a swift resolution to the tariff standoff with the US will most likely be in vain, Jeffrey Tucker, editorial director at the American Institute for Economic Research, told RT. “Trade war is what he [Donald Trump] intended from the moment he put his hand on the Bible and took the oath of office,”Tucker said, adding that the US President is only interested in creating new conflicts instead of resolving the old owns. He described Trump as “a convinced economic nationalist, who really believes in his heat that if he can create an American national machinery production that’s not dependent on Europe, Canada and the rest of the world – that this will somehow be good to America.” “Donald Trump believes in zero sum kind of world – it’s like either America wins or America loses,” the expert said. However, according to Tucker, if the trade war between the US and EU breaks out producers and consumers on both sides will be among the losers.

The Inside Scoop: What Russia Is Really Saying About Its 100 Megaton Nuke

The Inside Scoop: What Russia Is Really Saying About Its 100-Megaton Nuclear Torpedo (Source nationalinterest.org)

Even as the Obama administration first talked about a “reset” in U.S.-Russian relations, the Kremlin was already starting to implement a major overhaul of its nuclear forces. However, the dam was completely broken by the Ukraine crisis beginning in spring 2014. The Cold War has returned in force with the full flowering of the Russia investigation that shows few signs of easing its “death grip” on Washington, DC and U.S.-Russia relations specifically. The multitudes of Russia hawks on Capitol Hill and elsewhere in the Beltway, now more strident on the Left than the Right, may count the truly grotesque Status-6 Russian naval, mega-nuclear weapon as the fruit of their bellicose ravings.

This “megaton-class nuclear weapon”, as described by one Russian source, is delivered by an unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV) and has the potential to exterminate a significant portion of the U.S. population in a single doomsday blow if deployed against the East Coast of the United States. This source explains: the Status-6 UUV is “designed to defeat important enemy economic facilities in the region of the coast and to inflict guaranteed unacceptable damage to the country’s territory by creating zones of extensive radioactive contamination unsuitable for carrying out military, economic and other activities in these zones for a long time.
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The Yellowstone super volcano is a disaster waiting to happen

The Yellowstone super volcano is a disaster waiting to happen (Source The Washington Post)

Yellowstone National Park sits squarely over a giant, active volcano. This requires attention. Yellowstone has been a national park since 1872, but it was only in the 1960s that scientists realized the scale of the volcano — it’s 44 miles across — and not until the 1980s did they grasp that this thing is fully alive and still threatens to erupt catastrophically. Yellowstone is capable of eruptions thousands of times more violent than the Mount St. Helens eruption of 1980. The northern Rockies would be buried in multiple feet of ash. Ash would rain on almost everyone in the United States. It’d be a bad day. Thus geologists are eager to understand what, exactly, is happening below all those volcano-fueled hot springs and geysers.

Obviously they would like to know if and when Yellowstone will blow again, and with what level of explosiveness. A major eruption would be a low-probability, high-consequence event, a proverbial Black Swan, something that could have societal and planetary effects. The problem for scientists is that these big “supervolcano” eruptions rarely happen, and the most important action is out of sight, many miles below the surface, involving chaotic forces, complex chemistry and enigmatic geological features.

 

 

China flexes muscles with ‘Guam killer’ missile; new drills near Taiwan

China flexes muscles with ‘Guam killer’ missile; new drills near Taiwan (Source Reuters)

China confirmed that it had put into a service a new missile that Chinese media has dubbed the “Guam killer” for its ability to hit the U.S. Pacific Ocean base with a conventional or nuclear weapon. China is in the midst of an ambitious modernization program for its armed forces, developing stealth fighters, aircraft carriers and advanced missiles as it strives to become a world class military by the middle of the century. That, along with an increasingly assertive stance in the disputed South China Sea and around Taiwan, claimed by China as its sacred territory, has rattled nerves around the region and in Washington. Speaking at a regular monthly news conference, Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said that the military had begun putting into service the DF-26 intermediate range ballistic missile – called the “Guam killer” by media and defense experts. Wu gave few details, aside from that it can carry conventional as well as nuclear warheads and attack targets on land or at sea with precision. China has made little secret of the DF-26 program. The missile appeared in a major military parade in Beijing in 2015. In a separate announcement, China’s air force said that its aircraft had again flown around Taiwan, the latest in a series of exercises Taiwan has described as military intimidation. Taiwan is one of China’s most sensitive issues and a potential military flashpoint.

Over the past year or so, China has ramped up military drills around democratic Taiwan, including flying bombers and other military aircraft around the island.

The Chinese air force said in a statement it scrambled fighter jets, early warning aircraft, reconnaissance planes and H-6K bombers from multiple airports for “combat military drills”. The air force said its H-6K bombers had conducted numerous drills circling Taiwan since April 18 “to improve its ability to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity”.