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ATW OPEN THREAD

By Pete Moore On July 8th, 2018 at 5:47 pm

Phew, we’re having quite the summer in Blighty. Combined with the World Cup, beer consumption must be sky high. Mine will be up this evening, at a BBQ. Have yourselves an open thread then. One decorated with a little corner of England this weekend.

Tell us what you know.

Is it over?

By Patrick Van Roy On July 7th, 2018 at 7:56 pm

North Korea Foreign Ministry says talks with Pompeo ‘regrettable,’ accuses US of unilateral demands for denuclearization

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo journey to Pyongyang appears to have hit a snag, with a North Korean official calling his visit “regrettable.”
  • The statement accused the U.S. of making unilateral demands.

North Korea says high-level talks with a U.S. delegation led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were “regrettable” and has accused Washington of trying to unilaterally pressure the country into abandoning its nukes.

The statement by an unnamed North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman on Saturday came hours after Pompeo concluded two days of talks with North Korean officials led by Kim Yong Chol.

The statement says that the United States betrayed the spirit of last month’s summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by making unilateral demands on “CVID,” or the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea.

It says the outcome of the follow-up talks was “very concerning” because it has led to a “dangerous phase that might rattle our willingness for denuclearization that had been firm.”

The Dance starts anew as the Norks continue to spin their side of the negotiations as of course we shall spin our view of them. The issues however do not change.

Sanctions will remain, War Games can be scheduled tomorrow and aggressive action by the Norks can easily be answered by more than games.  The U.S. has 3 Carrier Groups and two additional AirWings stationed in striking distance.

The Norks can dance all they want their position is a binary one. Disarm and join the World, or Fire Missiles and face the consequences.

The fact that those are the only two choices will not stop the dance however. The Norks will push, hem and haw, for as long as they can.

We hold our breaths and wait and see….. more than that there is nothing the people of the world can do, but before Trump leaves office it will get settled.

OPCW: NO SARIN AT DOUMA

By Pete Moore On July 7th, 2018 at 6:49 pm

The OPCW has released an interim report on the so-called attack on Douma in April. It was widely reported as a chemical weapons attack. Sarin was cited. Washington claimed that sarin and chlorine were used. The Guardian reported that an organophosphorus compound, such as sarin, was used. It went on an on. It was such claims that allowed Washington to attack Syria.

The OPCW now reports that no traces of sarin were found. This is the report (pdf). Paragraph 2.5 is key:

“The results of the analysis of the prioritised samples submitted to OPCW designated laboratories were received by the FFM team on 22 May 2018. No organophosphorus nerve agents or their degradation products were detected, either in the environmental samples or in plasma samples from the alleged casualties. Various chlorinated organic chemicals were found in samples from Locations 2 and 4, along with residues of explosive. These results are reported in Annex 3. Work by the team to establish the significance of these results is ongoing.”

Only chlorine residues were found. Jaish al-Islam, which controlled Douma at the time, has a history of using chlorine. The OPCW further identifies (para 2.6) industrial gas cylinders as a possible source of whatever material might have been used in the supposed attack. It also noted (para 2.7) that its inspection of Assad regime facilities found “no indication of either facility being involved in the production of chemical warfare agents.”

The more we learn, the more likely it is that if an attack was carried out, it was Jaish al-Islam.

Bring our Troops in Europe HOME!

By Patrick Van Roy On July 7th, 2018 at 3:28 pm

After 18 months of Donald Trump’s “America First” presidency, European leaders meeting with him next week fear the United States may change its traditional course and begin to bring American troops home from the continent.

It comes as nations, especially in Eastern Europe, are lobbying the United States to increase the number of troops on the continent as they worry about combating an increasingly aggressive Russia.

Trump has talked about bringing U.S. troops home from around the globe since he was on the campaign trail espousing a strategy he dubbed “America First” but he has yet to act.

President Trump’s harsh blast at NATO during a rally last night in Helena, Mont., was Europeans’ worst nightmare come to life, Western diplomatic sources tell Jonathan Swan and me:

Trump portrayed the alliance as one-sided, transactional and bad for the U.S., and seemed to suggest that U.S. military support is conditional on the Germans paying more, calling out “Angela” — the German chancellor.

It is time for the American Military to leave Europe to their own means.  The nations of Europe are at Peace. They stand independent (lmao). The American Military needs to be removed from Germany and all other Euro bases and relocated to the U.S. southern border.

There Will Always Be a Sweden

By Mahons On July 7th, 2018 at 2:34 pm

I like ABBA, Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman, Swedish Meatballs, Mats Wilander, and sexually uninhibited blonde women. The Swedish Chef was one of my favorite Muppets. They have a King and a great hockey tradition. I’m not a fan of IKEA or neutrality, but nobody’s perfect. In a few minutes the Swedes will take the field to try to tame the Three Lions and put an end to it’s coming home. English fans are so conditioned to disbelieve that it takes a particularly devious God to give them their gnawing sense of possible hope and glory this day. If the Swedes lose they’ll shrug their shoulders, smile and go back to bonking each other in their hot tubs. If England wins their despair will be almost as bad as a loss because it would mean they are so close to winning it all. English fans could be talked into believing they could win it all and thus setting themselves up for the letdown of a believer who knows they knew better. Deep down, it is inescapable. A national anxiety about developing anxiety. It would be priceless to watch. So I’ll root for England today and wish the Swedes continued success at Eurovision instead.

Sad News

By Patrick Van Roy On July 7th, 2018 at 1:28 am

Elvis Costello reveals cancer diagnosis but plans return

New York (AFP) – Pop icon Elvis Costello revealed Friday that he has been treated for cancer but expected a full recovery and announced plans to release his first album in five years.

The 63-year-old singer and guitarist, who emerged from London’s post-punk scene through erudite songs packed with wordplay, said he was canceling the remaining dates on his European tour this month.

“Six weeks ago my specialist called me and said, ‘You should start playing the Lotto.’ He had rarely, if ever, seen such a small but very aggressive cancerous malignancy that could be defeated by a single surgery,” Costello said in a statement on his website.

He did not specify the type of cancer affecting him.

But the singer of hits such as “Alison” and “Veronica” said that he needed three to four weeks to recover and had reluctantly concluded, after going ahead with initial dates, that he should not be touring.

“But I would rather disappoint our friends there by not appearing than in pressing on with a show that is compromised and eventually puts my health at risk,” he said.

Costello also announced that he had finished a “magnificent new record” with his back-up band, The Imposters, and unspecified other collaborators which he expected to be released in October.

The album would be his first since 2013’s “Wise Up Ghost,” on which he worked with the jazz-infused Philadelphia hip-hop ensemble The Roots.

Costello is scheduled to play in September in Chicago at Riot Fest, which focuses on punk and alternative rock, before a wider North American tour in November.

Costello in 2015 released a nearly 700-page memoir, “Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink,” in which the singer with nerdy glasses and a gap in his teeth — whose Elvis stage-name was initially a self-deprecating joke — related his surprise over his rise to stardom.

ATW FRIDAY NIGHT JUKEBOX

By Pete Moore On July 6th, 2018 at 7:48 pm

Because Friday night is Music Night

The golden rule of life, of course, is that everything was better in the past. Understand this and all becomes clear. But there is the occasional outlier, just to test the rule. The Arctic Monkeys are one of the few modern bands who can play alongside the greats. This is off their latest and just-released album. It’s very good and quite Bowie-ish. If that’s a word.

Thanks to Putin (who could possibly think otherwise?) spreading nerve agent across Wiltshire I must now get out a map and change my plans for tomorrow. A long leg-stretcher is in order before we show the Swedes what’s what. As always, feel free to post your favourite sounds down below. Something to soothe Brazilian hearts maybe? It’s half-time and they’re losing to some chocolatiers.

THE WORST OF BRITISH, AND THE BEST OF BRITISH

By Pete Moore On July 6th, 2018 at 7:33 pm

President Trump pitches up in Blighty next week. The itinerary is out. The sensible chap has gone for the five star option.

I see that a baby blimp will be floating around London, approved by Mullah Khan. Great, where do I send my application to send up a blimp of the Islamic prophet in a nappy? It would be approved, yes? This is the age of tolerance after all. The commies are wasting their time anyways. While the rent-a-mob ululates in town, the president will be dining with HM Queen at Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Churchill and a reminder of what a glorious little place we have.

SAMAN GUNAN

By Pete Moore On July 6th, 2018 at 7:03 pm

We remembered Arnaud Beltrame, a great Frenchman who lost his life after swapping himself for a hostage. Saman Gunan was a great Thai who volunteered to rescue the boys football team, stranded deep underground in a cave complex. He lost consciousness after placing oxygen tanks along the route out. Some people just astonish.

(These BBC graphics help show what they’re up against)

Warped Factor One

By Phantom On July 6th, 2018 at 12:06 pm

By Séimí

In a galaxy, far far too close for comfort…one man has gone where only one other man has gone before. For President Trump, it is not enough for America to merely have a presence in space, America must have dominance in space. The Donald announced in June that the USA would create a sixth military branch, which he has given the rather catchy name of Space Force.
“I’m hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces,” Mr Trump declared. He said that it would be “unacceptable” to allow Russia or China to dominate in space, and that he would direct federal agencies to “implement a state-of-the-art framework for space traffic management”.

Does this mean that the USA will police what satellites orbit Earth? How will they do it? Shoot down anything they don’t like? Are the nations he mentioned even thinking about creating their own military space programmes? Is this why Trump is so interested in re-opening coal mines in America – to fuel his rockets?

If this is a resurrection of Ronald Reagan’s failed 1983 Strategic Defense Initiative, or Star Wars, as it was better known, then surely its costs, not to mention the fear that it will only fuel other nations to develop their own space-based weapons systems, will ensure its failure. President Clinton shut down the SDI in 1994 for exactly those reasons, preferring instead to spend the money on Earth-bound weapons of mass destruction. Surely some of Trump’s advisers have pointed this out to him?
Americans appear to be strangely quiet on the subject. Maybe they’re a bit embarrassed by it all. Perhaps they look at their president and think, “It’s life Jim, but not as we know it.”

But the POTUS seems intent on “making it so.” He mentioned it again in his July 4th address. He talked about it in a recent rally in South Carolina, amidst chants of “Space Force! Space Force!” He mentioned it whilst standing beside Buzz Aldrin, who didn’t appear too impressed, although that could be because Buzz was thinking to himself, “I’d better keep quiet. At least if I was in space, no-one could hear me scream.”

Whatever the reasoning behind it, this seems to be a mission doomed to failure. If it was meant as a morale booster, it doesn’t really seem to have caught on, although some Trump supporters are quite vocal about it. “I think ISIS could get to space,” said one woman. “I think that Space Force could help prevent the next 9/11.” One man said that Space Force was like, “…a cloud computer,” while another said, “It doesn’t make a lot of sense and we’d be wasting a lot of dollars, but at the same time, it’s just gonna be cool,” before adding, “Space Force, it’s just a cool name.” Hardly good reasons to blast off anywhere.

What I will say in his defence though – and I never thought I would agree with Trump on anything – is that he has made the commitment to send men (or possibly women!) back to the moon, and that a manned mission to Mars will happen. This at least should be welcomed, and would be a very good use of American money. They may not have been the first into space, but they left the Russians in their wake when Armstrong and Aldrin (and Collins, of course) travelled to our celestial neighbour. Rather than point rockets at ourselves, we should point them towards the stars. Let’s see what’s out there.