nuclear-tensions between america and china escalate into pacific.. 

Beijing risks stoking new arms race with move although military says expansion of the US missile defence has left it with no choice.

The Chinese military is poised to send submarines armed with nuclear missiles into the Pacific Ocean for the first time – arguing that new US weapons systems have so undermined Beijing’s existing deterrent force that it has been left with no alternative.

Chinese military officials are not commenting on the timing of a maiden patrol – but insist the move is inevitable.

They point to plans unveiled in March to station the US Thaad anti-ballistic system in South Korea and the development of hypersonic glide missiles potentially capable of hitting China less than an hour after launch – as huge threats to the effectiveness of its land-based deterrent force.

A recent Pentagon report to Congress predicted that ‘China will probably conduct its first nuclear deterrence patrol sometime in 2016’ though top US officers have made such predictions before.

Until now Beijing has pursued a cautious deterrence policy – declaring it would never be the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict and storing its warheads and its missiles separately – both strictly under the control of the top leadership.

Deploying nuclear-armed submarines would have far-reaching implications.


Source: China to send nuclear-armed submarines into Pacific amid tensions with US | World news | The Guardian

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clinton won’t debate sanders – trump says he will..

After Hillary Clinton refused to debate her Democratic rival the Republican presumptive nominee offered to step in – and Sanders is keen to take him on.

After Hillary Clinton declined an invitation to debate her Democratic rival Bernie Sanders ahead of the 7 June California primary – Donald Trump signaled on Wednesday night that he would be willing to take her place.

‘If I debated him we would have such high ratings and I think we should take that money and give it to some worthy charity’ said Trump who after the Florida primary in March refused to take part in remaining Republican debates as the field winnowed down to three candidates.

‘If we paid a nice sum toward a charity, I would love to do that’.

Sanders – the leftwing senator from Vermont who is lagging behind Clinton in the delegate race to clinch the Democratic nomination responded immediately in a tweet.

Sanders’ campaign confirmed he was serious about the opportunity if Trump was – despite the unusual nature of holding a debate between candidates from both parties before the conclusion of the nominating process.

Sanders had hoped to face off against Clinton for potentially their last debate encounter before next month’s primary in California but the Democratic frontrunner turned down an invitation from Fox News to debate him earlier this week –

– citing the need to shift gears toward the looming battle with Trump in November.


Source: ‘Game on’: Bernie Sanders ready to debate Donald Trump in California | US news | The Guardian

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americas’ nukes are controlled by 8 inch floppy-discs from 1970’s..

Government Accountability Office report details ‘museum-ready’ machines controlling nuclear force messaging system that are ‘obsolete’.

The US military’s nuclear arsenal is controlled by computers built in the 1970s that still use 8in floppy disks.

A report into the state of the US government, released by congressional investigator, has revealed that the country is spending around $60bn (£40.8bn) to maintain museum-ready computers – which many do not even know how to operate any more – as their creators retire.

The Defense Department’s Strategic Automated Command and Control System (DDSACCS), which is used to send and receive emergency action messages to US nuclear forces, runs on a 1970s IBM computing platform.

It still uses 8in floppy disks to store data.

We’re not even talking the more modern 3.5in floppy disk that millennials might only know as the save icon.

We’re talking the OG 8in floppy – which was a large floppy square with a magnetic disk inside it.

They became commercially available in 1971 but were replaced by the 5¼in floppy in 1976 and by the more familiar hard plastic 3.5in floppy in 1982.

Shockingly the US Government Accountability Office said: ‘Replacement parts for the system are difficult to find because they are now obsolete’.


Source: US nuclear arsenal controlled by 1970s computers with 8in floppy disks | Technology | The Guardian

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yanis varoufakis on all that is wrong with the australian economy.. (+ op-ed..)

The former Greek finance minister has a laundry list of suggestions to fix Australia’s economy.

Here for Sydney Writers’ festival – he doesn’t hold back.

The former Greek finance minister is in town for the Sydney Writers’ festival to promote his new book – And the Weak Suffer What They Must? and he’s touched down at an excellent time for an interview: on the verge of an election – Australia is having the most fervent debate about fairness that it’s had in decades.

Who better to intervene than Varoufakis – a man who in challenging European elites to be fair to his bankrupt nation reached rock star status and was subsequently labelled “the most interesting man in the world”.

Varoufakis is quite possibly the man who made fairness fashionable again.

His anti-austerity views may have been dismissed in Brussels but they earned him a global audience.

He contributes articles to news organisations from the BBC and the Guardian to CNN, Le Monde and the Financial Times.

He is also a star recruit on the speaker circuit – addressing parliaments – financial institutions (‘the fact they want me to talk to them is a sign of how deep this crisis is’ he told the Australian) and universities.

He recently appeared in conversation with Noam Chomsky to a sold-out audience at the New York Public Library in what looked suspiciously like a passing of the mantle.

And so what would the erratic Marxist make of the former Australian treasurer Joe Hockey’s obsession with labelling Australians as either ‘lifters’ or ‘leaners’?

Or the current treasurer Scott Morrison’s claim that eight of 10 taxpayers work just to pay the social services bill?

Varoufakis shakes his head.

‘The vast majority of the social net funding comes from the poorer people’ he says.

‘If you look at how the system works – and this is how it was designed from 1945 onwards – in Britain where it started and in Australia afterwards – it’s the working class paying for the working class primarily.

The rich contribute a very small quantity of money to this.

Don’t forget they have the best lawyers and they have the best accountants and they know how to work the system.


(ed:..pretty much everything varoufakis says about the australian economy also applies to the new zealand economy..

..’negative-gearing’ for the richest/ al…)

Source: Yanis Varoufakis: Australia’s negative gearing is ‘scandalous’ | World news | The Guardian

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donald trump: the mafia connections..and more..

If Donald Trump ever talks to a real journalist – these are the questions he should answer.

(ed:..this link takes you to 21 questions for donald trump – here is a sample of the tone/timbre of those questions..)

The questions posed by David Cay Johnston include some tough-to-avoid queries about Trump’s involvement with the mafia – the regulatory findings against his company for unfair and unsafe employment practices and times when Trump had admitted to shading the truth or lying outright about his affairs.

Given Trump’s butthurt tantrums when journalists are anything less than hagiographers it seems unlikely anyone will put these questions to him unless they come during a presidential debate.

I wonder if the cognitive dissonance among his base will cause them to care though?

Whether or not they do the list is a reminder that the American penchant for equivocating wealth and worthiness and the justice system’s unofficial policy of ignoring the crimes of the very wealthy means that out-and-out criminals can continue in public life as influences and even reality TV stars and even go on to run for high office.

Trump isn’t the only high-profile wealthy criminal in the public life whose bad deeds are rarely mentioned.

If he fails to attain office expect other narcissistic sociopaths to follow in his footsteps.

6. Trump Tower is not a steel girder high rise, but 58 stories of concrete.

Why did you use concrete instead of traditional steel girders?

7. Trump Tower was built by S&A Concrete – whose owners were “Fat” Tony Salerno – head of the Genovese crime family and Paul ‘Big Paul’ Castellano – head of the Gambinos – another well-known crime family.

If you did not know of their ownership what does that tell voters about your management skills?

8. You later used S&A Concrete on other Manhattan buildings bearing your name.


9. In demolishing the Bonwit Teller building to make way for Trump Tower you had no labor troubles even though only about 15 unionists worked at the site alongside 150 Polish men – most of whom entered the country illegally – lacked hard hats – and slept on the site.

How did you manage to avoid labor troubles like picketing and strikes and job safety inspections while using mostly non-union labor at a union worksite — without hard hats for the Polish workers?


Source: If Donald Trump ever talks to a real journalist, these are the questions he should answer / Boing Boing

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new monkees album gets a good review…

The Monkees’ modest promise of Good Times! is generously borne out in a series of songs custom-built by simpatico songwriters like Andy Partridge – Noel Gallagher – Paul Weller and Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard.

In the sweetly wistful tones of Mike Nesmith the latter’s ‘Me & Magdalena’ is as cute as a button – while Gallagher and Weller pool their retro sensibilities for a miasmic swirl of psych-rock ‘Birth Of An Accidental Hipster’ – decked out in complex layered harmonies and counterpoints that confirm The Monkees – not unlike The Beach Boys – as it happens – knew how to nail their vocals whatever madness was going down behind them. 

The album is produced by Fountains Of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger – who also chips in his own song ‘Our Own World’ which along with Partridge’s springy power-pop ode ‘You Bring The Summer’ and Rivers (Weezer) Cuomo’s ‘She Makes Me Laugh’ keeps the updated Sixties vibe fresh and clear.


(ed:..i have long been a monkees fanboy – their 60’s stuff sounds as fresh as the day it was recorded..)

Source: The Monkees, Good Times!, album review: ‘Probably the band’s best album, after their hits compilation’ | Reviews | Culture | The Independent

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donald trump and the $100 million tax-‘deal’..

Donald Trump put his name to a business deal intended to prevent the US Government collecting up to $100m in taxes – it is claimed.

The Daily Telegraph obtained copies of two letters signed by the presumptive Republican presidential nominee in 2007 – in relation to a $50m deal between the Bayrock Group – a US property firm and Iceland’s FL Group.

In the first letter the money is characterised as an investment by FL in four of Bayrock’s subsidiary partnerships – including the Trump SoHo – Mr Trump’s cherished Manhattan hotel and apartment building.

But in the second letter signed several weeks later the deal is instead described as a ‘loan’.


Source: Donald Trump signed off deal preventing collection of millions in US taxes | US elections | News | The Independent

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