Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Puerto Rico - a form of cruel mockery

Sick Puerto Ricans suffer as naval hospital ship sits mostly empty—nobody knows how to get to it

The U.S. Naval Hospital Ship Comfort is seen anchored at the San Juan del Sur Port, Nicaragua, Friday, June 24, 2011. The ship will remain in Nicaragua for 10 days to provide humanitarian assistance to residents who lives at the port area. In foreground, a U.S. flag. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

Only about 13 percent of the USNS Comfort's hospital beds are being utilized.

18 October, 2017

This is just sad reporting from CNN:
Sammy Rolon is living in a makeshift clinic set up at a school. He has cerebral palsy and epilepsy and is bedridden. He's waiting for surgery that was scheduled before Hurricane Maria smashed into Puerto Rico. Now, he can't even get the oxygen he needs.
There is help available for the 18-year-old -- right offshore. A floating state-of-the-art hospital, the USNS Comfort, could provide critical care, his doctor says.
But nobody knows how to get him there. And Sammy is not alone.

The US Comfort hospital ship was deployed much later than it should have been but even though it's been in Puerto Rico about two weeks now, it's only at 13 percent capacity (33 of 250 beds being used).

Unfortunately, that's just the tip of the iceberg for the challenges facing the U.S. territory. The AP reports that people are bathing in contaminated water and some are even drinking from contaminated streams.

With hundreds of thousands of people still without running water, and 20 of the island’s 51 sewage treatment plants out of service, there are growing concerns about contamination and disease.
People in the U.S. can’t comprehend the scale and scope of what’s needed,” said Drew Koslow, an ecologist with the nonprofit Ridge to Reefs who recently spent a week in Puerto Rico working with a portable water purification system. 

Meanwhile, thousands of Puerto Ricans are fleeing the island without plans to return.

As of Friday, 83 percent of the island still lacked electricity. At night, most Puerto Ricans are living in the dark and the lights aren't expected to go back on for many until December.

The government’s timeline for fixing the grid calls for 30 percent of the island to be electrified by the end of October, 50 percent by mid-November, and 80 percent by Dec. 1.

And logistics aren't the problem, they're just the excuse, says San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto.
Many officials, including the Puerto Rican governor, have justified FEMA’s slow response on the island since Maria hit by pointing to logistical issues, including road damage and port closures.
That is the most ludicrous, ridiculous, offensive explanation,” Cruz Soto said of the explanation. “The most powerful country in the world cannot get supplies to [an island that is] 100 miles by 35 miles wide? They don’t want to get the supplies there. That’s a different story. How have I been able to get to these towns? I take my trucks, if there’s a tree in the way we get it out and move it out of the way, we push on.”

Cruz Soto said many organizations and people are doing great work, including officials from FEMA, but she compared the federal government's failing response to "genocide."
"But why would you systematically deny food and water and medication to a group of people?,” Cruz Soto continued. “It’s close to genocide. And I know it’s a strong word but it is close to genocide.”

In a Huffington Post video, Cruz Soto added, "We have to get food, we have to get water, or else we are being condemned to a slow death." 

This is the response for which Donald Trump is giving himself an "A-plus."

The REAL Russia story involves the Obama administration and the Clintons

100% Proof Trump Russia Collusion IS A False Flag Operation

Extreme weather - 10/17/2017

Climate & Extreme Weather News #74 (October 14th-17th 2017)

Climate & Extreme Weather News #74 (October 14th-17th 2017)

0:24 Portugal wildfires
12:23 Spain wildfires
24:02 Ireland: Storm Ophelia
28:06 Typhoon Khanun
32:41 Thailand: Bangkok flood
36:56 India: Bangalore flood
40:54 The USA: California wildfires
46:37 Puerto Rico: Caguas flood
48:27 Mexico: Santiago Tuxtla flood

Malta journalist death: Caruana Galizia's son hits out

7:49 am today

John Key and his policy of opening NZ to super-secret trusts hiding criminal money has dragged this country into this sort of corruption and dirt.

It will take a lot to regain the country’s reputation. However, the consequences will be permanent

Here is my report from yesterday

'There were body parts all around me': Son of anti-corruption journalist killed by car bomb in Malta describes finding her body and accuses Prime Minister of being complicit in her murder

Daphne Caruana Galizia's son Matthew (centre) and husband Peter (second left) walk with police officers past the wreckage of a car bomb that killed the journalist

  • Investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia killed in a car blast on Monday
  • Writer ran a hugely popular blog dedicated to highlighting political corruption
  • Son has described finding 'body parts all around me' after rushing to the scene
  • He also accused Prime Minister Joseph Muscat of being 'complicit' in her killing

Malta journalist death: Caruana Galizia's son hits out

18 October, 2017

The son of an investigative journalist killed in a car bomb attack in Malta has denounced what he called the country's "mafia state".

Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, died in an explosion shortly after she left her home in Bidnija, near Mosta, on Monday.
No captionDaphne Caruana Galizia, 53, died in an explosion shortly after she left her home in Bidnija, near Mosta. Photo: supplied

She was known for her blog accusing top politicians of corruption.

"My mother was assassinated because she stood between the rule of law and those who sought to violate it," said her son Matthew, who was close to the blast.
In a lengthy Facebook post published hours after he attempted to save his mother from the burning vehicle, he accused Maltese police of incompetence and the government of "impunity".

"When the institutions of the state are incapacitated, the last person left standing is often a journalist," wrote Matthew Caruana Galizia, who is also a journalist.
He also took aim at Malta's projected image as a liberal Western nation.

"Yes, this is where we are: a mafia state where you can now change your gender on your ID card (thank god for that!) but where you will be blown to pieces for exercising your basic freedoms," he said.

A government spokesman, Kurt Farrugia, denied the government operated with impunity, and promised a "very tough" and thorough investigation.

Panama Papers

Daphne Caruana Galizia was a harsh critic of the government and effectively triggered an early election this year by publishing allegations linking Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to the Panama Papers scandal.

Mr Muscat and his wife denied claims they used secret offshore bank accounts to hide payments from Azerbaijan's ruling family - and he was returned to power in the election, despite the controversy.

Caruana Galizia's popular blog had also targeted opposition politicians, calling the country's political situation "desperate" in her final post.

After her death, Mr Muscat denounced the killing, calling it an attack "on the freedom of expression in our country."

In other developments:

  • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange offered a €20,000 ($NZ33,000) reward for information leading to a conviction.
  • European Commission condemned the murder, calling her "a pioneer of investigative journalism in Malta".
  • The Malta Independent says that a magistrate assigned to the case requested it be taken up by someone else, because she had been the target of Caruana Galizia's writing in the past.
  • The Times of Malta reports that a police officer who celebrated Ms Galizia's murder in a post on Facebook has been suspended and is under investigation.
In his statement, Matthew Caruana Galizia said he would never forget "running around the inferno in the field, trying to figure out a way to open the door".

"This was no ordinary murder and it was not tragic. Tragic is someone being run over by a bus. When there is blood and fire all around you, that's war," he wrote.
He is a developer and data journalist at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The organisation, which won the Pulitzer Prize this year for its work on the Panama Papers, said it was shocked by Caruana Galizia's death, and "deeply concerned about freedom of the press in Malta".

Police have opened a murder inquiry and Malta has asked for international assistance - including from the FBI - with the investigation.


Sibel Edmonds reveals that there is far more involved in this than just money laundering and the Panama Papers.

On Hurricane Ophelia hitting Ireland

Another Historic Storm: Surreal Ophelia Strikes Ireland with Hurricane Force

Ophelia is breaking new ground for a major hurricane. Typically those waters [are] much too cool for anything this strong. I really can’t believe I’m seeing a major just south of the Azores.” 
National Hurricane Center scientist Eric Blake on Twitter.

17 October, 2017

Warmer than normal ocean temperatures due to human-forced climate change are now enabling major hurricanes to threaten Northern Europe. A region that was traditionally considered primarily out of the range of past powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricanes under 20th Century climatology. One that, in a warmer world, is increasingly under the gun.

(Ophelia roars over Ireland. Image source: NASA Worldview.)

On October 14, Ophelia hit major hurricane status as it moved swiftly toward Europe. Packing 115 mph maximum sustained winds over a region of ocean where we’ve never recorded this kind of powerful storm before, Ophelia set its sights on Ireland. Crossing over warmer than normal North Atlantic Ocean waters, the storm maintained hurricane status up to 12 hours before barreling into Ireland. At that time, cooler waters caused the storm to transition to extra-tropical. But this transition was not enough to prevent Ireland from being struck by hurricane-force gusts up to 119 mph, storm surge flooding, and seeing structural damage reminiscent to a category one storm.

360,000 power outages and two deaths were attributed to a storm that should have not maintained such high intensity so far north and east. Yet another historic storm that forced the National Hurricane Center to shift its tracking map east of the 0 degree longitude line(Greenwich) since they had not planned for a hurricane or its tropical remnants to move so far out of the typical zone for North Atlantic hurricanes (see image at bottom of page).
the terrifying beauty of mama nature #Ophelia
Stiofan mac (@REDEARL777) October 16, 2017
(Human-caused climate change produces angrier seas off Ireland as amped-up Ophelia rages.)
As with many of the recently powerful storms, 1 to 2 degree Celsius above average sea surface temperatures were a prime enabler allowing Ophelia to maintain such high intensity so far north. And under the present trend, it appears that the Atlantic coasts of Spain, Portugal, France, Ireland and England are now all more likely to see tropical storm and hurricane impacts in the future as sea surface temperatures continue to rise. In the past, strikes by tropical cyclones to places like Ireland were considered to be rare — with the last Hurricane to impact Ireland being Debbie in 1961. But recent climate science studies indicate that global warming is likely to increase the frequency of hurricane and tropical storm impacts to Northern Europe:
In a paper published in April 2013, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute predicted that by the year 2100, global warming would greatly increase the threat of hurricane-force winds to western Europe from former tropical cyclones and hybrid storms, the latter similar to Hurricane Sandy in 2012. One model predicted an increase from 2 to 13 in the number of cyclones with hurricane-force winds in the waters offshore western Europe. The study suggested that conditions favorable for tropical cyclones would expand 1,100 km (700 mi) to the east. A separate study based out of University of Castile-La Mancha predicted that hurricanes would develop in the Mediterranean Sea in Septembers by the year 2100, which would threaten countries in southern Europe.

The present Atlantic hurricane season can now only be described as a surreal caricature of what we feared climate change could produce. Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and a dozen or more Caribbean islands are now devastated disaster areas. Some locations may feel the effects of the off-the-charts powerful storms enabled by a warmer than normal ocean for decades to come. Puerto Rico, unless it receives far more significant aid from the mainland than the Trump Administration appears to be willing to provide, may never fully recover.  And now Ophelia has maintained hurricane status until just twelve hours before striking Europe’s Ireland as a powerful extra-tropical storm.
This figure really says it all. #Ophelia is a huge outlier from the typical envelope of major hurricane tracks in the Atlantic
Sam Lillo (@splillo) October 14, 2017

2017 has also been an extraordinary year basin-wide by measure of storm energy. Total accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) for the North Atlantic as of October 15 was 222.5. So far, according to this measure, 2017 is the 7th strongest hurricane season ever recorded since records began in 1851. The most intense season, 1933, may see its own record of 259 ACE exceeded over the coming days and weeks. For storms still appear to be forming over record warm waters. According to the National Hurricane Center, a disturbance off the East Coast of the United States now has a 40 percent chance of developing into the season’s 16th named storm over the next 48 hours. Meanwhile, during recent years, powerful late October storms like Matthew and Sandy have tended to crop up over warmer than normal ocean waters even as late season storms ranging into November and December appear to be more common. In other words, we’re not out of the woods yet and 2017 may be a year to exceed all other years for total measured storm intensity as well as overall damage.


Hat tip to Eleggua
Hat tip to Jeremy in Wales

This is not the end of the story

Two Oceans. Two Superstorms. 1)Another powerful storm aimed at & for Saturday. 2)Category 5 (or 4) to hit on Sunday.

Getting used to perpetual disaster

The Normalization of Perpetual Disaster
Kenn Orphan

16 October, 2017

In case you missed it…

A hole the size of the Netherlands has opened in the middle of the Antarctic ice sheet40,000 penguins just perished of starvation on the same continent. And earlier this summer an iceberg weighing one trillion tons broke away adding more momentum to inevitable global sea level rise.

Floods have killed thousands and displaced many more over the summer and into autumn from China to India and Nepalto Southeast Asia to West Africa. Scores of people were killed and many still missing from fires that have scorchedNorthern CaliforniaSpain and Portugal. Three and a half million people in Puerto Rico are still in survival mode without drinking water or electricity weeks after Hurricane Irma made landfall. Parts of the Gulf Coast are a toxic soup of chemicals. The Amazon rain forest, the lungs of the planet, are belching out smoke as it reels from 208,278 fires this year alone. And Ophelia, the bizarre tenth hurricane turned mega storm of this record breaking season is battering Ireland.

In geopolitical developments, the most powerful empire on the planet is being led by a narcissistic megalomaniac surrounded by war mongersreligious fanatics and disaster capitalists. He has been madly jostling the fragile chords that stabilize nations by threatening to annihilate 25 million people in a bath of fire and countless other souls in the region and around the world, while demanding a 10-fold increase to one of the most powerfully lethal nuclear arsenals on the planet.

There is no reason to think Trump would not carry out his threats. After all, he dropped the “mother of all bombs” on Afghanistan and launched military strikes on Syria over dessert garnishing high praise from many in the corporate media and politicians from both sides of the aisle. And he will get little objection from establishment Democrats who are enthusiastic cheerleaders for US militarism and voted for the 700 billion dollar increase to the already bloated US military industrial complex.

Despite all of this an eerily bizarre normalization of this descent into global chaos continues apace. The media seems to move on seamlessly from one disaster or scandal to the next. Politicians shift focus and manufacture new outrage. Meanwhile, the real existential crises drifting us ever closer to the collapse of human civilization within this century go largely unreported and vastly underestimated. We are living in an age of convergence where the consequences of decades of excess, greed, willful ignorance and dithering are finally reaching a climax. Where the chips fall in the coming years is anyone’s guess, but if we are honest we can get a pretty good picture of our current trajectory.

Looking honestly at our situation within a profoundly sick culture can often feel alienating. If we look around we may think we are seeing thousands of people simply going about their days as if nothing is wrong. This may be due in part to the normalcy bias which is defined as a belief people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster and its possible effects, because it causes people to have a bias to believe that things will always function the way things normally function.”  But this is also reinforced by a corporate culture in which distraction and denial are encouraged and celebrated as virtues.

Conspicuous consumption is peddled as a remedy to all that ails our society. Some self medicate, some absorb themselves in the shallow, or the spectacle, or the salacious, or the vainglorious.  But still many more are simply too busy for long reflection, caring for children or sick or elderly loved ones at a time when social safety nets are being mercilessly slashed, or working 100 hours a week for a pittance just to make ends meet and struggle to pay off debts for simply living.But on some deep level I believe we all understand our dire predicament and that it will not simply get better or go way.

Each day the unraveling of the biosphere becomes more and more apparent. The illusion that we are separate from the natural world is beginning to shatter as the human generated Sixth Mass Extinction unfurls before our eyes in real time. But in this era of late stage capitalism and the prevalence of inverted totalitarianism the last thing we should expect is for the powers that be to make the bold changes necessary to stop the descent of civilization or even provide meaningful solutions or mitigation of the current and looming catastrophes.

Given the graveness of the situation it is easy to feel a deep sense of powerlessness or even paralyzed. And it may not be exactly comforting, but we should not look at our unease as an unhealthy response to the existential crises of our times. Contrary to the prevailing mantra depression and anxiety should be expected as normal responses to what we face collectively, because our very DNA is threaded with this world’s rhythm. And without a doubt, that collective pulse appears to be quickening.

Kenn Orphan  2017