"Democracy, especially in the United States, is a farce" (Chris Hedges).
"I believe that if we had and would keep our dirty, bloody, dollar soaked fingers out of the business of these [Third World] nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own. And if unfortunately their revolution must be of the violent type because the "haves" refuse to share with the "have-nots" by any peaceful method, at least what they get will be their own, and not the American style, which they don't want and above all don't want crammed down their throats by Americans." - General David Sharp - Former United States Marine Commandant
Articles, Latest FirstThom Hartmann: How the GOP Used a Two Santa Clauses Tactic to Con America for Nearly 40 Years This scam has been killing wages and enriching billionaires for decades.
The Republican Party has been running a long con on America since Reagan’s inauguration, and somehow our nation’s media has missed it – even though it was announced in The Wall Street Journal in the 1970s and the GOP has clung tenaciously to it ever since.
In fact, Republican strategist Jude Wanniski’s 1974 “Two Santa Clauses Theory” has been the main reason why the GOP has succeeded in producing our last two Republican presidents, Bush and Trump (despite losing the popular vote both times). It’s also why Reagan’s economy seemed to be “good.”
Here’s how it works, laid it out in simple summary:
First, when Republicans control the federal government, and particularly the White House, spend money like a drunken sailor and run up the US debt as far and as fast as possible. This produces three results – it stimulates the economy thus making people think that the GOP can produce a good economy, it raises the debt dramatically, and it makes people think that Republicans are the “tax-cut Santa Claus.”
Second, when a Democrat is in the White House, scream about the national debt as loudly and frantically as possible, freaking out about how “our children will have to pay for it!” and “we have to cut spending to solve the crisis!” This will force the Democrats in power to cut their own social safety net programs, thus shooting their welfare-of-the-American-people Santa Claus.
Think back to Ronald Reagan, who more than tripled the US debt from a mere $800 billion to $2.6 trillion in his 8 years. That spending produced a massive stimulus to the economy, and the biggest non-wartime increase in the debt in history. Nary a peep from Republicans about that 218% increase in our debt; they were just fine with it.
And then along came Bill Clinton. The screams and squeals from the GOP about the “unsustainable debt” of nearly $3 trillion were loud, constant, and echoed incessantly by media from CBS to NPR. Newt Gingrich rode the wave of “unsustainable debt” hysteria into power, as the GOP took control of the House for the first time lasting more than a term since 1930, even though the increase in our national debt under Clinton was only about 37%.
The GOP “debt freakout” was so widely and effectively amplified by the media that Clinton himself bought into it and began to cut spending, taking the axe to numerous welfare programs (“It’s the end of welfare as we know it” he famously said, and “The era of big government is over”). Clinton also did something no Republican has done in our lifetimes: he supported several balanced budgets and handed a budget surplus to George W. Bush.
When George W. Bush was given the White House by the Supreme Court (Gore won the popular vote by over a half-million votes) he reverted to Reagan’s strategy and again nearly doubled the national debt, adding a trillion in borrowed money to pay for his tax cut for GOP-funding billionaires, and tossing in two unfunded wars for good measure, which also added at least (long term) another $5 to $7 trillion.
There was not a peep about the debt from any high-profile in-the-know Republicans then; in fact, Dick Cheney famously said, essentially ratifying Wanniski’s strategy, “Reagan proved deficits don't matter. We won the midterms [because of those tax cuts]. This is our due.” Bush and Cheney raised the debt by 86% to over $10 trillion (although the war debt wasn’t put on the books until Obama entered office).
Then comes Democratic President Barack Obama, and suddenly the GOP is hysterical about the debt again. So much so that they convinced a sitting Democratic president to propose a cut to Social Security (the “chained CPI”). Obama nearly shot the Democrats biggest Santa Claus program. And, Republican squeals notwithstanding, Obama only raised the debt by 34%.
Now we’re back to a Republican president, and once again deficits be damned. Between their tax cut and the nearly-trillion dollar spending increase passed on February 8th, in the first year-and-a-month of Trump’s administration they’ve spent more stimulating the economy (and driving up debt by more than $2 trillion, when you include interest) than the entire Obama presidency.
Consider the amazing story of where this strategy came from, and how the GOP has successfully kept their strategy from getting into the news; even generally well-informed writers for media like the Times and the Post – and producers, pundits and reporters for TV news – don’t know the history of what’s been happening right in front of us all for 37 years.
Wanniski was tired of the GOP failing to win elections. And, he reasoned, it was happening because the Democrats had been viewed since the New Deal as the Santa Claus party (taking care of people’s needs and the General Welfare), while the GOP, opposing everything from Social Security to Medicare to unemployment insurance, was widely seen as the party of Scrooge.
The Democrats, he noted, got to play Santa Claus when they passed out Social Security and Unemployment checks – both programs of the New Deal – as well as when their "big government" projects like roads, bridges, and highways were built, giving a healthy union paycheck to construction workers and making our country shine.
Democrats kept raising taxes on businesses and rich people to pay for things, which didn't seem to have much effect at all on working people (wages were steadily going up, in fact), and that added to the perception that the Democrats were a party of Robin Hoods, taking from the rich to fund programs for the poor and the working class.
Americans loved the Democrats back then. And every time Republicans railed against these programs, they lost elections.
Wanniski decided that the GOP had to become a Santa Claus party, too. But because the Republicans hated the idea of helping working people, they had to figure out a way to convince people that they, too, could have the Santa spirit. But what?
“Tax cuts!” said Wanniski.
To make this work, the Republicans would first have to turn the classical world of economics – which had operated on a simple demand-driven equation for seven thousand years – on its head. (Everybody understood that demand – aka “wages” – drove economies because working people spent most of their money in the marketplace, producing demand for factory output and services.)
In 1974 Wanniski invented a new phrase – "supply side economics" – and suggested that the reason economies grew wasn't because people had money and wanted to buy things with it but, instead, because things were available for sale, thus tantalizing people to part with their money.
The more things there were, he said, the faster the economy would grow. And the more money we gave rich people and their corporations (via tax cuts) the more stuff they’d generously produce for us to think about buying.
At a glance, this move by the Republicans seems irrational, cynical and counterproductive. It certainly defies classic understandings of economics. But if you consider Jude Wanniski’s playbook, it makes complete sense.
To help, Arthur Laffer took that equation a step further with his famous napkin scribble. Not only was supply-side a rational concept, Laffer suggested, but as taxes went down, revenue to the government would go up! Neither concept made any sense – and time has proven both to be colossal idiocies – but together they offered the Republican Party a way out of the wilderness.
Ronald Reagan was the first national Republican politician to fully embrace the Two Santa Clauses strategy. He said straight out that if he could cut taxes on rich people and businesses, those tax cuts would cause them to take their surplus money and build factories, and that the more stuff there was supplying the economy the faster it would grow.
There was no way, Wanniski said, that the Democrats could ever win again. They'd be forced into the role of Santa-killers by raising taxes, or anti-Santas by cutting spending. Either one would lose them elections.
When Reagan rolled out Supply Side Economics in the early 80s, dramatically cutting taxes while exploding spending, there was a moment when it seemed to Wanniski and Laffer that all was lost. The budget deficit exploded and the country fell into a deep recession – the worst since the Great Depression – and Republicans nationwide held their collective breath.
But David Stockman came up with a great new theory about what was going on – they were "starving the beast" of government by running up such huge deficits that Democrats would never, ever in the future be able to talk again about national health care or improving Social Security.
And this so pleased Alan Greenspan, the Fed Chairman, that he opened the spigots of the Fed, dropping interest rates and buying government bonds, producing a nice, healthy goose to the economy.
Greenspan further counseled Reagan to dramatically increase taxes on people earning under $37,800 a year by doubling the Social Security (FICA/payroll) tax, and then let the government borrow those newfound hundreds of billions of dollars off-the-books to make the deficit look better than it was.
Reagan, Greenspan, Winniski, and Laffer took the federal budget deficit from under a trillion dollars in 1980 to almost three trillion by 1988, and back then a dollar could buy far more than it buys today. They and George HW Bush ran up more debt in eight years than every president in history, from George Washington to Jimmy Carter, combined.
Surely this would both starve the beast and force the Democrats to make the politically suicidal move of becoming deficit hawks. And that's just how it turned out.
Bill Clinton, who had run on an FDR-like platform of a "New Covenant" with the American people that would strengthen the institutions of the New Deal, strengthen labor, and institute a national health care system, found himself in a box.
A few weeks before his inauguration, Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin sat him down and told him the facts of life: he was going to have to raise taxes and cut the size of government. Clinton took their advice to heart, raised taxes, balanced the budget, and cut numerous programs, declaring an "end to welfare as we know it" and, in his second inaugural address, an "end to the era of big government."
Clinton was the anti-Santa Claus, and the result was an explosion of Republican wins across the country as Republican politicians campaigned on a platform of supply-side tax cuts and pork-rich spending increases. State after state turned red, and the Republican Party rose to take over, ultimately, every single lever of power in the federal government, from the Supreme Court to the White House.
Looking at the wreckage of the Democratic Party all around Clinton by 1999, Winniski wrote a gloating memo that said, in part: "We of course should be indebted to Art Laffer for all time for his Curve... But as the primary political theoretician of the supply-side camp, I began arguing for the 'Two Santa Claus Theory' in 1974. If the Democrats are going to play Santa Claus by promoting more spending, the Republicans can never beat them by promoting less spending. They have to promise tax cuts..."
In reality, his tax cuts did what they have always done over the past 100 years – they initiated a bubble economy that would let the very rich skim the cream off the top just before the ceiling crashed in on working people. Just like today.
The Republicans got what they wanted from Wanniski's work. They held power for thirty years, made themselves trillions of dollars, and cut organized labor's representation in the workplace from around 25 percent when Reagan came into office to around 6 of the non-governmental workforce today.
Over time, and without raising the cap, Social Security will face an easily-solved crisis, and the GOP’s plan is for force Democrats to become the anti-Santa, yet again. If the GOP-controlled Congress continues to refuse to require rich people to pay into Social Security (any income over $128,000 is SS-tax-free), either benefits will be cut or the retirement age will have to be raised to over 70.
The GOP plan is to use this unnecessary, manufactured crisis as an opening to “reform” Social Security - translated: cut and privatize. Thus, forcing Democrats to become the Social Security anti-Santa a different way.
When this happens, Democrats must remember Jude Wanniski, and accept neither the cut to disability payments nor the entree to Social Security “reform.” They must demand the “cap” be raised, as Bernie Sanders proposed and the Democratic Party adopted in its 2016 platform.
And, hopefully, some of our media will begin to call the GOP out on the Two Santa Clauses program. It’s about time that Americans realized the details of the scam that’s been killing wages and enriching billionaires for nearly four decades.
The Increasing Likelihood Of Nuclear War Should Straighten Out All Our Priorities We are facing the very real possibility of near-term human extinction.
World is Burning While Western Left is Quarrelling By Andre Vltchek February 04, 2018
Cowardice, bloated egos, lack of discipline and intellectual pettiness are often to blame, but that is not all.
It is now absolutely clear that the Western LEFT lost patently and shamelessly. It has almost no power, it has no courage to fight or to take risks, and it counts on no real political following in Europe, North America, Australia or New Zealand. ‘The masses’, those proverbial ‘oppressed masses’, have lately been electing and voting in various semi-fascist populists, unapologetic right-wing demagogues, and mainstream pro-business brutes.
To a great extent, what is now happening is absolutely natural. The European left betrayed as early as in the 1980’s, by becoming too soft, too undisciplined, too cautious and too self-centered. It put pragmatism above the ideals. It rapidly adopted the lexicon of the liberal ideological establishment, complete with Western perceptions of human rights, democratic principles and political correctness. It ceased to be revolutionary; it essentially stopped all revolutionary activities, and it abandoned the core element of any true left-wing identity – internationalism.
Without at least some basic internationalist principles, the left is now essentially reduced to some sort of local trade union level: “Let us fight for better labor conditions and health care at home, and to hell with all that neo-colonialist plunder of the world which is expected to pay for almost all of our benefits. As long as we eat well and have long vacations, why should we rebel, why should we fight?”
Book Excerpt: ‘When Google Met WikiLeaks’: An Exclusive Excerpt By Julian Assange. JA: That’s the most optimistic thing that is happening—the radicalization of internet-educated youth. People who are receiving their values from the internet and then, as they find them to be compatible, echoing them back. The echo back is now so strong that it drowns the original statements completely... The people that I’ve dealt with from the 1960s’ radicals who helped liberate Greece and fight Salazar in Portugal, they say that this moment in time is the most similar there has been to what happened in that period of liberation movements.
'This Ship is Sinking' Says Former Bush Official What interests are behind U.S. wars, the manipulation of intelligence and why the U.S. Empire is doomed.
Wilkerson talks about the unfixable corruption inside the establishment and the corporate interests driving foreign policy.
Abby Martin interviews retired U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former national security advisor to the Reagan administration, who spent years as an assistant to Secretary of State Colin Powell during both Bush administrations.
Video - The Empire Files
$10 Trillion Missing from Pentagon and No One — Not Even the DoD — Knows Where It Is By Claire Bernish - March 26, 2017
After Trillions Mysteriously Go ‘Missing,’ DoD Getting Audited for First Time in History By Matt Agorist - December 10, 2017
Donald Trump’s First Year Sets Record for U.S. Special Ops Elite Commandos Deployed to 149 Countries in 2017
By Nick Turse  December 17, 2017
“We don’t know exactly where we’re at in the world, militarily, and what we’re doing,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in October. That was in the wake of the combat deaths of four members of the Special Operations forces in the West African nation of Niger. Graham and other senators expressed shock about the deployment, but the global sweep of America’s most elite forces is, at best, an open secret.
FBI: American Gestapo There is a Cold Civil War underway in the United States to determine who should control the federal government.
Any government agency with law enforcement and surveillance authority that uses those powers for political purposes is the definition of a secret police, no better than the Nazi Gestapo or the Soviet KGB.
There is indeed probable cause to conclude, meaning indictable offenses, that employees of the Department of Justice and/or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), sympathetic to the Democrat Party, used the power of their offices and with the assistance of foreign nationals to influence the 2016 election in favor of Hillary Clinton, first to exonerate her and then obtain information to prevent the election of Donald Trump or to provide a basis for his impeachment should he win.
More Than Half of Total Trump-GOP Tax Plan Benefits Go to Richest 5% In order to pay for massive cuts for wealthy and permanent tax giveaway to corporations, rates on low- and middle-income families will increase significantly in 2027. Who benefits? Probably not you.
By Jon Queally  December 17, 2017
It's simple. Profit-hungry corporations get a permanent windfall and the rich receive massive cuts. Everyone else—sooner or later, like it or not—gets to help pay for it all.
The above graph, ITEP explained in a statement, "divides Americans into five equal groups based on income and illustrates how only one of these groups, the richest fifth of Americans, will receive more benefits from the tax bill than foreign investors. This is because the biggest tax cut in the bill is the reduction in the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. The corporate tax cut will mainly benefit those who own shares in American corporations. While some middle-income people own shares, most are owned by high-income Americans and foreign investors."
American Taliban Our long national nightmare has just begun
By Lucian K. Truscott IV [in Salon originally] December 17, 2017
I had a nightmare some years ago. I had moved from Los Angeles to a southern state that had gone from marginally purple to bright red in the last election. The Republicans held the governorship and both houses of the legislature for the first time in generations, and every day you could pick up the paper and watch them go to work. They didn’t have a state income tax, and most of the state revenue was raised by sales taxes, and a weak economy had caused those to come up short recently, so what did they do? They raised the state sales tax on groceries. That’s right, they raised taxes on food. While they were at it, they raised taxes on drugs. So poor and middle class people in the state would pay more taxes to feed their children and to keep them healthy. But they weren’t finished. They cut funding for education, they cut funding for infrastructure repair, they cut funding for health care, and when Obamacare passed, they refused the funding it offered that would have increased enrollment in the state Medicaid program, causing funding to be cut to hospitals all over the state, and at least seven rural hospitals to close.
Republicans aren’t a political party anymore. They’re the American Taliban. They’ve set out to lay waste to America as we’ve known it
The latest scam they came up with was as predictable as it was venal. The “deficit hawks” in the Republican party who wouldn’t pass a single bill during the eight years Obama was in the White House unless it was “paid for” are in a so-called conference committee splitting hairs over how many trillions they’re going to add to the national debt.
Meanwhile, their gimlet-eyed death ferret speaker of the house just announced plans last week to lay waste to “entitlements.” You remember “entitlements,” don’t you? Those are the programs you actually pay for with your payroll taxes, Social Security and Medicare, which aren’t entitlements at all, but rather the federally established insurance policies that protect the elderly against poverty and disease.
The Case Against Iraqing Iran By David Swanson  December 16, 2017
The case against Iraqing Iran includes the following points:
Threatening war is a violation of the U.N. Charter.
War supporters said the U.S. urgently needed to attack Iran in 2007. It did not attack. The claims turned out to be lies. Even a National Intelligence Estimate in 2007 pushed back and admitted that Iran had no nuclear weapons program.
Having a nuclear weapons program is not a justification for war, legally, morally, or practically. The United States has nuclear weapons and no one would be justified in attacking the United States.
Dick and Liz Cheney’s book, Exceptional, tell us we must see a “moral difference between an Iranian nuclear weapon and an American one.”
Must we, really? Either risks further proliferation, accidental use, use by a crazed leader, mass death and destruction, environmental disaster, retaliatory escalation, and apocalypse.
One of those two nations has nuclear weapons, has used nuclear weapons, has provided the other with plans for nuclear weapons, has a policy of first-use of nuclear weapons, has leadership that sanctions the possession of nuclear weapons, and has frequently threated to use nuclear weapons.
I don’t think those facts would make a nuclear weapon in the hands of the other country the least bit moral, but also not the least bit more immoral. Let’s focus on seeing an empirical difference between an Iranian nuclear weapon and an American one. One exists. The other doesn’t.
The long history of the United States lying about Iranian nuclear weapons is chronicled by Gareth Porter’s book Manufactured Crisis.
The history of U.S./Iranian relations matters here. The U.S. overthrew Iran’s democracy in 1953 and installed a brutal dictator / weapons customer.
The U.S. gave Iran nuclear energy technology in the 1970s.
In 2000, the CIA gave Iran nuclear bomb plans in an effort to frame it. This was reported by James Risen, and Jeffrey Sterling now sits in prison for allegedly being Risen’s source.
The Scary Void Inside Russia-gate Despite a lack of evidence at its core – and the risk of nuclear conflagration as its by-product – Russia-gate remains the go-to accusation for “getting” the Trump administration, explains Russia scholar Stephen F. Cohen.
By Stephen F. Cohen December 15, 2017
The foundational accusation of Russia-gate was, and remains, charges that Russian President Putin ordered the hacking of Democratic National Committee e-mails and their public dissemination through WikiLeaks in order to benefit Donald Trump and undermine Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, and that Trump and/or his associates colluded with the Kremlin in this “attack on American democracy.”
As no actual evidence for these allegations has been produced after nearly a year and a half of media and government investigations, we are left with Russia-gate without Russia.
Does the United States Have a Future? By Gilbert Doctorow is a historian, political analyst and expert in Russian affairs going back to 1965. A graduate of Harvard College in 1967, Doctorow did his graduate research in Moscow as a Fulbright Scholar and got a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1975. He later worked in international business, including eight years as managing director of Russia for multinationals, beginning in 1994. Doctorow began writing on international affairs in 2008 and was a visiting scholar at Columbia in 2010-2011. Doctorow, who has a new book called “Does the United States Have a Future,” delivered the following talk at The National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 7.
the questioning of America’s future has become a mainstream issue ever since the election of Donald Trump.
The movement to obstruct and take down Trump began immediately. Open and public attacks not just on his policies but on his intellectual faculties and mental balance have appeared in our mainstream press every day. A beleaguered president is lashing out in all directions. We see chaos in policy formation. Executive staff contradicts one another and contradicts the president on a nearly daily basis.
The author believes that the United States is well on its way to becoming a banana republic. And for this he blames Trump and his cronies in high federal offices. They are a threat to national security, a disgrace on the world stage.
Senator John McCain. He described American politics at the federal level as simply not working due to overheated partisanship that compromises the national interest (a problem to which he has himself contributed handsomely) and due to a never-ending electoral cycle.
Indeed, a country which appears to be unable to govern itself is hardly the exemplar and all-powerful state suitable to govern the rest of the world.
However persuasive these points of analysis may be, they overlook what I believe is the main determinant of the onset of America’s decline as a world power that we are presently witnessing and of its possible withdrawal into true isolationism: the decision going back to 2007 to break the back of Russia.
Why Russia? Because it has been the only major power to publicly reject the U.S. global hegemony both in word and in deed.
The U.S. has applied all imaginable efforts to put Russia in its place, as Washington sees it—namely as just another regional power, a European state that is in decline, that nods approvingly to whatever policy line comes out of Washington.
On What Basis Can North Korea Trust The U.S.? By Kristin Christman December 11, 2017
Americans are instructed that North Korea is an aggressor that violates international agreements and doesn't negotiate. Until North Korea denuclearizes, we are told, the U.S. must continue rejecting its peace proposals.
After all, North Korea withdrew in 2003 from the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Its subsequent nuclear and missile testing violate the 1953 Korean War armistice agreement and 1994 Agreed Framework, by which North Korea agreed to end its nuclear weapons program.
It all sounds so principled and practical until you realize we're getting only half the story. And if you paint a one-sided story, you'll never get a two-sided solution.
Let's talk about violations. Paragraph 13d of the armistice prohibits introducing new types of weaponry into the Korean peninsula.
By 1958, the U.S. had begun violating the agreement by rolling in Honest John atomic rockets and atomic cannons into South Korea. Within a year, atomic demolition mines and nuclear-armed Matador cruise missiles were installed. U.S. helicopters routinely flew nuclear weapons near the DMZ. By the 1960s, the U.S. had deployed nearly 950 nuclear weapons to South Korea.
In wild violation of the armistice and the non-proliferation treaty, the U.S. made early use of nuclear weapons in future conflict the bedrock strategy against North Korea. Why? Because North Korea didn't have nukes to fight back. And because it was cheaper to deploy nukes rather than troops.
U.S. policymakers don't trust North Korea. But on what basis can North Korea trust the U.S.? What agreement with North Korea has the U.S. ever not violated?
In 1991 President George W. Bush withdrew nukes from South Korea because precision-guided conventional weapons became more useful. The U.S. nuclear umbrella remained, and the U.S. further trampled the armistice terms by supporting South Korea's ballistic missiles, deploying Patriot missiles and installing an anti-missile defense system.
Whichever agreement is under discussion, the same behavior is seen: the U.S. never sees its own violations as wrong.
Those supporting the controversial U.S./South Korea Key Resolve nuclear war simulations insist that deterring a North Korean invasion requires U.S./South Korea forces to be able to rapidly destroy the North Korean military before it inflicts much damage. Yet such inequality in military strength provokes fear, not peace.
Step into North Korea's shoes. Kim Jong Un maintains that a U.S./South Korea invasion can best be deterred if North Korea has a strong military capacity that can bite back. The U.S. has a history of invading and deposing leaders in militarily weaker nations, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Congo, Chile, Guatemala, etc. So what's so crazy about North Korea trying to deter another U.S. invasion?
Mainstream Media Just Admitted Billions of Your Tax Dollars Are Funding Child Rape on a Massive Scale Americans are funding a massive child rape operation—to the tune of $70 billion—and most people could not care less.
Afghanistan — As the Free Thought Project has previously reported, the US has known about and covered up horrifying acts of sexual abuse committed by US-allied commanders against children. Not only is the Pentagon covering up the abuse, but your tax dollars are funding it—to the tune of $70 billion.
According to the Leahy Law, no assistance shall be furnished to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the “Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.”
It is widely known that U.S.-funded Afghan units routinely engage in “bacha bazi” — boy play. This practice consists of military leaders kidnapping male children and holding them as sex slaves. As TFTP reported at the time, scores of witnesses have come forward to report the rampant sexual abuse committed by their Afghan allies and not only does the US do nothing about it but they are actually funding it.
Email from Socialist Equality Party, 11/26/17:
Kremlin instructs Russian industry to prepare for war mobilization
Reports emerged yesterday in the British press that Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian industry to be prepared to divert all its efforts into war production. After Germany’s formal re-militarization of its foreign policy in 2014 and Sweden’s reintroduction of the draft, this makes clear that, just over a century after the outbreak of World War I in 1914, countries across Europe and the world are again preparing for total war.
Eye-Opening Survey Shows No.1 Fear of US Citizens is Government, NOT Terrorism according to the survey, no other fear even comes close to the percentage of Americans who worry about their corrupt government officials.
The Harmful Effects of Antifa All those who are sincerely on the left, who are in favor of greater social and economic equality for all, who oppose the endless aggressive foreign wars and the resulting militarization of the American police and the American mentality, must realize that, since the Clintonian takeover of the Democratic Party, the ruling oligarchic establishment disguises itself as “the left”, uses “left” arguments to justify itself, and largely succeeds in manipulating genuine leftists for its own purposes. This has caused such confusion that it is quite unclear what “left” means any more.
The Clintonian left substituted Identity Politics for the progressive goal of economic and social equality, by ostentatiously coopting women, blacks and Latinos into the visible elite, the better to ignore the needs of the majority. The Clintonian left introduced the concept of “humanitarian war” to describe its relentless destruction of recalcitrant nations, seducing much of the left into supporting U.S. imperialism as a fight for democracy against “dictators”.
An historic opportunity is being missed. The disastrous 2016 presidential election could and should have been a wakeup call. A corrupt political system that gave voters a choice between two terrible candidates is not democracy.
The U.S. political system is totally rotten, contemptuous of the people, serving the corporations and lobbies that pay to keep them in office. The time had come to organize a genuine alternative, an independent movement to liberate the electoral system from the grip of billionaires, to demand a transition from a war economy to an economy dedicated to improving the lives of the people who live here. What is needed is a movement for the pacification of America, at home and abroad.
Quite the opposite is happening.
Washington, DC – With tensions continually escalating on the Korean peninsula, the U.S. Air Force is reportedly preparing to put its fleet of nuclear-armed B-52 bombers on 24-hour ready alert for the first time since the end of the Cold War in 1991.
The End of Empire By Chris Hedges October 02, 2017
The American empire is coming to an end. The U.S. economy is being drained by wars in the Middle East and vast military expansion around the globe. It is burdened by growing deficits
Our democracy has been captured and destroyed by corporations that steadily demand more tax cuts, more deregulation and impunity from prosecution for massive acts of financial fraud, all the while looting trillions from the U.S. treasury in the form of bailouts.
Overseeing this descent at the highest levels of the federal and state governments is a motley collection of imbeciles, con artists, thieves, opportunists and warmongering generals. And to be clear, I am speaking about Democrats, too.
The empire will limp along, steadily losing influence until the dollar is dropped as the world’s reserve currency, plunging the United States into a crippling depression and instantly forcing a massive contraction of its military machine.
Short of a sudden and widespread popular revolt, which does not seem likely, the death spiral appears unstoppable, meaning the United States as we know it will no longer exist within a decade or, at most, two.
The global vacuum we leave behind will be filled by China, already establishing itself as an economic and military juggernaut, or perhaps there will be a multipolar world carved up among Russia, China, India, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa and a few other states.
Or maybe the void will be filled, as the historian Alfred W. McCoy writes in his book “In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power,” by “a coalition of transnational corporations, multilateral military forces like NATO, and an international financial leadership self-selected at Davos and Bilderberg” that will “forge a supranational nexus to supersede any nation or empire.”
Under every measurement, from financial growth and infrastructure investment to advanced technology, including supercomputers, space weaponry and cyberwarfare, we are being rapidly overtaken by the Chinese.
The Department of Defense issued a sober report titled “At Our Own Peril: DoD Risk Assessment in a Post-Primacy World.” It found that the U.S. military “no longer enjoys an unassailable position versus state competitors,” and “it no longer can … automatically generate consistent and sustained local military superiority at range.” McCoy predicts the collapse will come by 2030.
Empires in decay embrace an almost willful suicide. Blinded by their hubris and unable to face the reality of their diminishing power, they retreat into a fantasy world where hard and unpleasant facts no longer intrude. They replace diplomacy, multilateralism and politics with unilateral threats and the blunt instrument of war.
This collective self-delusion saw the United States make the greatest strategic blunder in its history, one that sounded the death knell of the empire—the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. The architects of the war in the George W. Bush White House, and the array of useful idiots in the press and academia who were cheerleaders for it, knew very little about the countries being invaded, were stunningly naive about the effects of industrial warfare and were blindsided by the ferocious blowback.
The deep disillusionment and anger that led to Donald Trump’s election—a reaction to the corporate coup d’état and the poverty afflicting at least half of the country—have destroyed the myth of a functioning democracy. Presidential tweets and rhetoric celebrate hate, racism and bigotry and taunt the weak and the vulnerable.
We are worldwide objects of ridicule and hatred.
“The demise of the United States as the preeminent global power could come far more quickly than anyone imagines,” McCoy writes.
“So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly wrong, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, eleven years for the Ottomans, seventeen for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, just twenty-seven years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003 [when the U.S. invaded Iraq],” he writes.
Many of the estimated 69 empires that have existed throughout history lacked competent leadership in their decline, having ceded power to monstrosities such as the Roman emperors Caligula and Nero. In the United States, the reins of authority may be in the grasp of the first in a line of depraved demagogues.
“For the majority of Americans, the 2020s will likely be remembered as a demoralizing decade of rising prices, stagnant wages, and fading international competitiveness,” McCoy writes.
The empire will collapse and the nation will consume itself within our lifetimes if we do not wrest power from those who rule the corporate state.
Yet Another Major Russia Story Falls Apart. Is Skepticism Permissible Yet? By Glenn Greenwald September 29, 2017
Last Friday, most major media outlets touted a major story about Russian attempts to hack into U.S. voting systems, based exclusively on claims made by the Department of Homeland Security.
Rachel Maddow, was indignant that this wasn’t told to us earlier and that we still aren’t getting all the details. “What we have now figured out,” Maddow gravely intoned as she showed the multi-colored maps she made, is that “Homeland Security knew at least by June that 21 states had been targeted by Russian hackers during the election. . .targeting their election infrastructure.”
So what was wrong with this story? Just one small thing: it was false. The story began to fall apart yesterday when Associated Press reported that Wisconsin – one of the states included in the original report that, for obvious reasons, caused the most excitement – did not, in fact, have its election systems targeted by Russian hackers
Then the story collapsed completely last night. The Secretary of State for another one of the named states, California, issued a scathing statement repudiating the claimed report
this has happened over and over and over again. Inflammatory claims about Russia get mindlessly hyped by media outlets, almost always based on nothing more than evidence-free claims from government officials, only to collapse under the slightest scrutiny, because they are entirely lacking in evidence.
And now we have the Russia-hacked-the-voting-systems-of-21-states to add to this trash heap. Each time the stories go viral; each time they further shape the narrative; each time those who spread them say little to nothing when it is debunked.
None of this means that every Russia claim is false, nor does it disprove the accusation that Putin ordered the hacking of the DNC and John Podesta’s email inboxes (a claim for which, just by the way, still no evidence has been presented by the U.S. government). Perhaps there were some states that were targeted, even though the key claims of this story, that attracted the most attention, have now been repudiated.
But what it does demonstrate is that an incredibly reckless, anything-goes climate prevails when it comes to claims about Russia. Media outlets will publish literally any official assertion as Truth without the slightest regard for evidentiary standards.
Seeing Putin lurking behind and masterminding every western problem is now religious dogma
The Abuses of History By Chris Hedges September 25, 2017
Historians, like journalists, are in the business of manipulating facts. Some use facts to tell truths, however unpleasant.
But many more omit, highlight and at times distort them in ways that sustain national myths and buttress dominant narratives. The failure by most of the United States’ popular historians and the press to tell stories of oppression and the struggles against it, especially by women, people of color, the working class and the poor, has contributed to the sickening triumphalism and chauvinism that are poisoning our society.
The historian James W. Loewen, in his book “Lies Across America: What Our Historic Markers and Monuments Get Wrong,” calls the monuments that celebrate our highly selective and distorted history a “landscape of denial.”
..as a nation founded on the pillars of genocide, slavery, patriarchy, violent repression of popular movements, savage war crimes committed to expand the empire, and capitalist exploitation, we choose to remember very little.
It feeds self-delusion. It severs us from recognition of our propensity for violence. It sees us project on others—almost always the vulnerable—the unacknowledged evil that lies in our past and our hearts. It shuts down the voices of the oppressed, those who can tell us who we are and enable us through self-reflection and self-criticism to become a better people.
The war of words between the president and black athletes is about competing historical narratives.
Historians are rewarded for buttressing the ruling social structure, producing heavy tomes on the ruling elites—usually powerful white men such as John D. Rockefeller or Theodore Roosevelt—and ignoring the underlying social movements and radicals that have been the true engines of cultural and political change in the United States.
Max Weber wrote, “What is possible would never have been achieved if, in this world, people had not repeatedly reached for the impossible.”
Rohrabacher vs. The Machine By Mike Whitney September 19, 2017
“I’m up against an array of very powerful forces, including the intelligence services and major newspapers … all of whom confirmed a major lie that was being used for political purposes and a lie that was repeated and repeated in order to undercut our new president.”
The California Congressman stepped into the limelight last week when he called White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to request a meeting with President Donald Trump. Rohrabacher, it seems, has some important information to pass along to the president, mainly that he has come across some hard evidence that the Russia hacking story is, to put it mildly, a crock.
Rohrabacher recently met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange who assured the Congressman that Russia did not hack Democratic emails and give them to WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential campaign. Of course Assange has made the same claim many times before, the difference now is that he’s willing to provide solid evidence to back up his claim (according to the Wall Street Journal) “a computer drive or other data-storage device that Mr. Rohrabacher said would exonerate Russia.”
Naturally, the Intelligence honchos are not going to sit quietly and twiddle their thumbs while Rohrabacher blows holes in their fake narrative about Russia espionage and presidential collusion. Oh, no. They’re going to act preemptively and do whatever it takes to discredit Rohrabacher, even if it means making him out to be a Putin puppet or a Kremlin stooge.
They’re going to attack Rohrabacher and his so called “proof” which they’ll try to tear apart with some ponderous, unsourced counter-narrative that appears on the front pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post. These people are experts at twisting the truth into unrecognizable, pretzel-like shapes that convince their readership that up is down and black is white.
But Rohrabacher’s no fool. He knows it’s going to be an uphill slog. He even said so:
“I’m up against an array of very powerful forces, including the intelligence services and major newspapers … all of whom confirmed a major lie that was being used for political purposes and a lie that was repeated and repeated in order to undercut our new president….You’ve got people who are obviously just trying to cover their ass for mistakes they have made. They will probably do their best to keep Trump from knowing about this and knowing about his options to expose this.”
Three things are wrong with this excerpt.
First, the contents of the Kelly-Rohrabacher conversation were immediately leaked to the media which suggests that either the White House is bugged or the Intel agencies have people working for them from inside. Which is it?
Second, “Kelly didn’t make the president aware of Mr. Rohrabacher’s message.”
Why? And what does that say about Kelly? His behavior suggests either willful negligence or divided loyalties. Which is it?
Third, “Kelly told the congressman that the proposal “was best directed to the intelligence community.”
Right. So Kelly wants Rohrabacher to take his proof to the people who concocted this wacky Russian farce to begin with. That’s a great idea. I’m sure the upstanding people at the CIA will be forever grateful to Rohrabacher for his patriotic contribution. What a joke. The congressman will be lucky if he can ever show his face in public again after these cannibals get through with him. Does he really know who he’s messing with? Like Chuckie Schumer said, “These people have a million ways to get to you.” And they will, too.
Naturally, the media is doing its level-best to bury the Rohrabacher story. The media’s strategy, so far, has been to divert attention from the central issue (proof that Russia did NOT hack the election) to the trivial prospect of a “deal” between Trump and Assange. Assange wants guarantees that the US will not prosecute him if he provides evidence that Russia did not hack the election. While this “deal” may be meaningful for Assange, it pales in comparison to the possible revelation that the “Russia hacking” narrative is a fraud perpetrated on the American people by elements of the permanent government who are employing a massive propaganda campaign to advance their political agenda.
The Silencing of Dissent By Chris Hedges September 18, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
The ruling elites, who grasp that the reigning ideology of global corporate capitalism and imperial expansion no longer has moral or intellectual credibility, have mounted a campaign to shut down the platforms given to their critics. The attacks within this campaign include blacklisting, censorship and slandering dissidents as foreign agents for Russia and purveyors of “fake news.”
No dominant class can long retain control when the credibility of the ideas that justify its existence evaporates. It is forced, at that point, to resort to crude forms of coercion, intimidation and censorship. This ideological collapse in the United States has transformed those of us who attack the corporate state into a potent threat, not because we reach large numbers of people, and certainly not because we spread Russian propaganda, but because the elites no longer have a plausible counterargument.
The elites face an unpleasant choice. They could impose harsh controls to protect the status quo or veer leftward toward socialism to ameliorate the mounting economic and political injustices endured by most of the population. But a move leftward, essentially reinstating and expanding the New Deal programs they have destroyed, would impede corporate power and corporate profits.
So instead the elites, including the Democratic Party leadership, have decided to quash public debate. The tactic they are using is as old as the nation-state—smearing critics as traitors who are in the service of a hostile foreign power. Tens of thousands of people of conscience were blacklisted in this way during the Red Scares of the 1920s and 1950s. The current hyperbolic and relentless focus on Russia, embraced with gusto by “liberal” media outlets such as The New York Times and MSNBC, has unleashed what some have called a virulent “New McCarthyism.”
The corporate elites do not fear Russia. There is no publicly disclosed evidence that Russia swung the election to Donald Trump. Nor does Russia appear to be intent on a military confrontation with the United States. I am certain Russia tries to meddle in U.S. affairs to its advantage, as we do and did in Russia—-
--including our clandestine bankrolling of Boris Yeltsin, whose successful 1996 campaign for re-election as president is estimated to have cost up to $2.5 billion, much of that money coming indirectly from the American government. In today’s media environment Russia is the foil. The corporate state is unnerved by the media outlets that give a voice to critics of corporate capitalism, the security and surveillance state and imperialism, including the network RT America...
The establishment politicians in the two leading parties, each in service to corporate power and responsible for the assault on civil liberties and impoverishment of the country, are no longer able to use identity politics and the culture wars to whip up support. This led in the last presidential campaign to an insurgency by Bernie Sanders, which the Democratic Party crushed, and the election of Donald Trump.
Barack Obama rode a wave of bipartisan resentment into office in 2008, then spent eight years betraying the public. Obama’s assault on civil liberties, including his use of the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers, was worse than those carried out by George W. Bush. He accelerated the war on public education by privatizing schools, expanded the wars in the Middle East, including the use of militarized drone attacks, provided little meaningful environmental reform, ignored the plight of the working class, deported more undocumented people than any other president, imposed a corporate-sponsored health care program that was the brainchild of the right-wing Heritage Foundation, and prohibited the Justice Department from prosecuting the bankers and financial firms that carried out derivatives scams and inflated the housing and real estate market, a condition that led to the 2008 financial meltdown. [for more detailes, see Obama]
He epitomized, like Bill Clinton, the bankruptcy of the Democratic Party. Clinton, outdoing Obama’s later actions, gave us the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the dismantling of the welfare system, the deregulation of the financial services industry and the huge expansion of mass incarceration. Clinton also oversaw deregulation of the Federal Communications Commission, a change that allowed a handful of corporations to buy up the airwaves.
The owner of The Washington Post, Jeff Bezos, also the founder and CEO of Amazon, has a $600 million contract with the CIA. Google, likewise, is deeply embedded within the security and surveillance state and aligned with the ruling elites. Amazon recently purged over 1,000 negative reviews of Hillary Clinton’s new book, “What Happened.” The effect was that the book’s Amazon rating jumped from 2 1/2 stars to five stars. Do corporations such as Google and Amazon carry out such censorship on behalf of the U.S. government? Or is this censorship their independent contribution to protect the corporate state?
In the name of combating Russia-inspired “fake news,” Google, Facebook, Twitter, The New York Times, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed News, Agence France-Presse and CNN in April imposed algorithms or filters, overseen by “evaluators,” that hunt for key words such as “U.S. military,” “inequality” and “socialism,” along with personal names such as Julian Assange and Laura Poitras, the filmmaker. Ben Gomes, Google’s vice president for search engineering, says Google has amassed some 10,000 “evaluators” to determine the “quality” and veracity of websites. Internet users doing searches on Google, since the algorithms were put in place, are diverted from sites such as Truthdig and directed to mainstream publications such as The New York Times. The news organizations and corporations that are imposing this censorship have strong links to the Democratic Party. They are cheerleaders for American imperial projects and global capitalism. Because they are struggling in the new media environment for profitability, they have an economic incentive to be part of the witch hunt.
The World Socialist Web Site reported in July that its aggregate volume, or “impressions”—links displayed by Google in response to search requests—fell dramatically over a short period after the new algorithms were imposed. It also wrote that a number of sites “declared to be ‘fake news’ by the Washington Post’s discredited [PropOrNot] blacklist … had their global ranking fall. The average decline of the global reach of all of these sites is 25 percent. …”
The latest salvo came last week. It is the most ominous. The Department of Justice called on RT America and its “associates”—which may mean people like me—to register under the Foreign Agent Registration Act. No doubt, the corporate state knows that most of us will not register as foreign agents, meaning we will be banished from the airwaves. This, I expect, is the intent. The government will not stop with RT. The FBI has been handed the authority to determine who is a “legitimate” journalist and who is not. It will use this authority to decimate the left.
This is a war of ideas. The corporate state cannot compete honestly in this contest. It will do what all despotic regimes do—govern through wholesale surveillance, lies, blacklists, false accusations of treason, heavy-handed censorship and, eventually, violence.
What the Media isn’t Telling You About North Korea’s Missile Tests By Mike Whitney  September 04, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
Here’s what the media isn’t telling you about North Korea’s recent missile tests.
Last Monday, the DPRK fired a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan’s Hokkaido Island. The missile landed in the waters beyond the island harming neither people nor property.
The media immediately condemned the test as a “bold and provocative act” that showed the North’s defiance of UN resolutions and “contempt for its neighbors.” President Trump sharply criticized the missile test saying:
“Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table.”
What the media failed to mention was that, for the last three weeks, Japan, South Korea and the US have been engaged in large-scale joint-military drills on Hokkaido Island and in South Korea. These needlessly provocative war games are designed to simulate an invasion of North Korea and a “decapitation” operation to remove (Re: Kill) the regime. North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un has asked the US repeatedly to end these military exercises, but the US has stubbornly refused.
The US reserves the right to threaten anyone, anytime and anywhere even right on their doorstep.
Monday’s missile test (which flew over Hokkaido Island) was conducted just hours after the war games ended. The message was clear: The North is not going to be publicly humiliated and slapped around without responding. Rather than show weakness, the North demonstrated that it was prepared to defend itself against foreign aggression. In other words, the test was NOT a “bold and provocative act” (as the media stated) but a modest and well thought-out response by a country that has experienced 64 years of relentless hectoring, sanctions, demonization and saber rattling by Washington.
Okay, so now we know the truth: The North gave it their best shot and came up snakeeyes, mainly because Washington doesn’t want to negotiate, they’d rather twist arms (Russia and China), tighten the embargo and threaten war.
Bottom line: The North is ready to deal. They want negotiations. They want to end the war. They want to put this whole nightmare behind them and get on with their lives. But Washington won’t let them because Washington likes the status quo. Washington wants to be a permanent feature in South Korea so it can encircle Russia and China with lethal missile systems and expand its geopolitical grip bringing the world closer to nuclear Armageddon.
The Deep State: How They Got Their Power By Mac Slavo  September 04, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
While many in the United States firmly believe that the government just isn’t working, it is. But it’s only working for the powerful and rich elites in the government and the media who have a desire to cling to their oppressive control of others and the money many are willing to allow them to steal.
The fight has never been between the republicans and the democrats. As Americans choose sides, their rights and freedoms are sold to the highest bidder.
More and more often we are seeing bureaucrats, lobbyists, and elected officials of both parties circle the wagons in an effort to prevent any true reforms of the government. They constantly write laws they exclude themselves from, come up with inventive ways to tax us to our breaking point and destroy the healthcare system. And this is all by design.
According to Joost Meerloo in his seminal book The Rape of the Mind, the author discusses the psychology of brainwashing that’s allowing every American to succumb to tyranny right before their eyes and not only not realize it, but beg for more oppression.
Meerlo describes the rise of the deep state as:
“… The development of a kind of bureaucratic absolutism is not limited, however, to totalitarian countries. A mild form of professional absolutism is evident in every country in the mediating class of civil servants who bridge the gap between man and his rulers. Such a bureaucracy may be used to help or to harm the citizens it should serve.
Meerlo goes on to say that the power of simply being in government will corrupt:
Being a high civil servant subjects man to a dangerous temptation, simply because he is a part of the ruling apparatus. He finds himself caught in the strategy complex. The magic of becoming an executive and a strategist provokes long-repressed feelings of omnipotence.
But what we are seeing now is not only the corruption of the government. We are witnessing the deep state pulling the strings of every politician and fight to keep their power and money. The members of the Deep State are fighting for not only their jobs and their power but their sense of being. It is an ego boost to control entire populations.
Over many decades, the very government so many still trust to keep them safe has put in place compulsive orders, red tape, and regulations while expanding exponentially to enforce what it creates and stealing more tax money to cover the rising costs. All the while, its roots drive deeper and deeper into the very government many still fight to protect. Even the politicians who we send to D.C. thinking that they represent us are ensnared in the game. They begin to play by the rules set forth by the Deep State; indeed, our elected officials even become dependent upon the Deep State.
This article was first published by SHTFplan. http://www.shtfplan.com/
Diseases of Despair By Chris Hedges September 04, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
The opioid crisis, the frequent mass shootings, the rising rates of suicide, especially among middle-aged white males, the morbid obesity, the obsession with gambling, the investment of our emotional and intellectual life in tawdry spectacles and the allure of magical thinking [https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/200911/magical-thinking "Magical thinking is defined as believing that one event happens as a result of another without a plausible link of causation. For example: "I got up on the left side of the bed today; therefore it will rain."], from the absurd promises of the Christian right to the belief that reality is never an impediment to our desires, are the pathologies of a diseased culture. They have risen from a decayed world where opportunity, which confers status, self-esteem and dignity, has dried up for most Americans. They are expressions of acute desperation and morbidity.
Plato wrote that the moral character of a society is determined by its members. When the society abandons the common good it unleashes amoral lusts—violence, greed and sexual exploitation—and fosters magical thinking. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus called those who severed themselves from the moral and reality-based universe idiotes. When these idiotes, whose worldview is often the product of relentless indoctrination, form a majority or a powerful minority, the demagogue rises from the morass.
The demagogue is the public face of collective stupidity. Voegelin defined stupidity as a “loss of reality.” This loss of reality meant people could not “rightly orient his [or her] action in the world, in which he [or she] lives.” The demagogue, who is always an idiote, is not a freak or a social mutation. The demagogue expresses the society’s demented zeitgeist. This was true in Nazi Germany. It is true in the United States.
“The fool in Hebrew, the nabal, who because of his folly, nebala, creates disorder in the society, is the man who is not a believer, in the Israelite terms of revelation,” Voegelin wrote. “The amathes, the irrationally ignorant man, is for Plato the man who just does not have the authority of reason or who cannot bow to it.
The stultus for Thomas [Aquinas] is the fool, in the same sense as the amathia of Plato and the nebala of the Israelite prophets. This stultus now has suffered loss of reality and acts on the basis of a defective image of reality and thereby creates disorder. … If I have lost certain sectors of reality from my range of experience, I will also be lacking the language for appropriately characterizing them. That means that parallel to the loss of reality and to stupidity there is always the phenomenon of illiteracy.”
A society convulsed by disorder and chaos, as Voegelin pointed out, elevates and even celebrates the morally degenerate, those who are cunning, manipulative, deceitful and violent. In an open society these attributes are despised and criminalized.
But the social, cultural and moral norms in a diseased society are inverted. The attributes that sustain an open society—a concern for the common good, honesty, trust and self-sacrifice—are detrimental to existence in a diseased society. Today, those who exhibit these attributes are targeted and silenced.
The deep alienation experienced by most Americans, the loss of self-esteem and hope, has engendered what Durkheim referred to as a collective state of anomie. Anomie is a psychological imbalance that leads to prolonged despair, lethargy and yearnings for self-annihilation. It is caused by a collapse of societal norms, ideals, values and standards.
Pope John Paul II in 1981 issued an encyclical titled “Laborem exercens,” or “Through Work.” He attacked the idea, fundamental to capitalism, that work was merely an exchange of money for labor. Work, he wrote, should not be reduced to the commodification of human beings through wages. Workers were not impersonal instruments to be manipulated like inanimate objects to increase profit. Work was essential to human dignity and self-fulfillment. It gave us a sense of empowerment and identity. It allowed us to build a relationship with society in which we could feel we contributed to social harmony and social cohesion, a relationship in which we had purpose.
The pope castigated unemployment, underemployment, inadequate wages, automation and a lack of job security as violations of human dignity. These conditions, he wrote, were forces that negated self-esteem, personal satisfaction, responsibility and creativity. The exaltation of the machine, he warned, reduced human beings to the status of slaves. He called for full employment, a minimum wage large enough to support a family, the right of a parent to stay home with children, and jobs and a living wage for the disabled. He advocated, in order to sustain strong families, universal health insurance, pensions, accident insurance and work schedules that permitted free time and vacations. He wrote that all workers should have the right to form unions with the ability to strike.
We will not bring those who have fled a reality-based world back into our fold through argument. We will not coerce them into submission. We will not find salvation for them or ourselves by supporting the Democratic Party. Whole segments of American society are bent on self-immolation. They despise this world and what it has done to them. Their personal and political behavior is willfully suicidal. They seek to destroy, even if destruction leads to death. We must organize our communities to create a new socialist order and overthrow the corporate state through sustained acts of mass civil disobedience.
Washington is preparing a surprise nuclear attack on Russia. By Paul Craig Roberts August 07, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
For two decades, the Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes have thrown sticks, stones, and nasty words at the Russian bear. The US has broken and withdrawn from security agreement after security agreement and has compounded the threat that Russia sees by conducting war games on Russia’s borders, staging a coup in Ukraine, a province of Russia for centuries, and by a continuous stream of false accusations against Russia. The result of this irresponsible, thoughtless, and reckless policy toward Russia was the announcement a few weeks ago (ignored by the US media) by the Russian high command that Russian military planners have concluded that Washington is preparing a surprise nuclear attack on Russia This is the most alarming event of my lifetime. Now that Washington’s criminally insane have convinced Russia that Russia is in Washington’s war plans, Russia has no alternative but to prepare to strike first. A coup against the man in the White House is under way. By John Pilger August 07, 2017
On the Beach 2017: The Beckoning Of Nuclear War... The only nation to have used nuclear weapons against human beings, they have since destroyed scores of governments, many of them democracies, and laid to waste whole societies – the million deaths in Iraq were a fraction of the carnage in Indo-China, which President Reagan called “a noble cause” and President Obama revised as the tragedy of an “exceptional people”He was not referring to the Vietnamese.
Filming last year at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, I overheard a National Parks Service guide lecturing a school party of young teenagers. “Listen up,” he said. “We lost 58,000 young soldiers in Vietnam, and they died defending your freedom.”
At a stroke, the truth was inverted. No freedom was defended. Freedom was destroyed. A peasant country was invaded and millions of its people were killed, maimed, dispossessed, poisoned; 60,000 of the invaders took their own lives. Listen up, indeed.
Trump is mad, a fascist, a dupe of Russia. He is also a gift for “liberal brains pickled in the formaldehyde of identity politics”, wrote Luciana Bohne memorably. The obsession with Trump the man — not Trump as a symptom and caricature of an enduring system – beckons great danger for all of us.
While they pursue their fossilised anti-Russia agendas, narcissistic media such as the Washington Post, the BBC and the Guardian suppress the essence of the most important political story of our time as they warmonger on a scale I cannot remember in my lifetime.
A coup against the man in the White House is under way. This is not because he is an odious human being, but because he has consistently made clear he does not want war with Russia.
This glimpse of sanity, or simple pragmatism, is anathema to the “national security” managers who guard a system based on war, surveillance, armaments, threats and extreme capitalism. Martin Luther King called them “the greatest purveyors of violence in the world today”.
They have encircled Russia and China with missiles and a nuclear arsenal. They have used neo-Nazis to instal an unstable, aggressive regime on Russia’s “borderland” – the way through which Hitler invaded, causing the deaths of 27 million people. Their goal is to dismember the modern Russian Federation.
The threat is simultaneous. Russia is first, China is next. The US has just completed a huge military exercise with Australia known as Talisman Sabre. They rehearsed a blockade of the Malacca Straits and the South China Sea, through which pass China’s economic lifelines.
The admiral commanding the US Pacific fleet said that, “if required”, he would nuke China. That he would say such a thing publicly in the current perfidious atmosphere begins to make fact of Nevil Shute’s fiction.
None of this is considered news. No connection is made...
When Obama left office, he presided over a record seven wars, including America’s longest war and an unprecedented campaign of extrajudicial killings – murder – by drones.
In his last year, according to a Council on Foreign Relations study, Obama, the “reluctant liberal warrior”, dropped 26,171 bombs – three bombs every hour, 24 hours a day. Having pledged to help “rid the world” of nuclear weapons, the Nobel Peace Laureate built more nuclear warheads than any president since the Cold War.
Trump is a wimp by comparison. It was Obama – with his secretary of state Hillary Clinton at his side – who destroyed Libya as a modern state and launched the human stampede to Europe. At home, immigration groups knew him as the “deporter-in-chief”.
One of Obama’s last acts as president was to sign a bill that handed a record $618 billion to the Pentagon, reflecting the soaring ascendancy of fascist militarism in the governance of the United States. Trump has endorsed this.
Buried in the detail was the establishment of a “Center for Information Analysis and Response”. This is a ministry of truth. It is tasked with providing an “official narrative of facts” that will prepare us for the real possibility of nuclear war – if we allow it.
How bad are things for House Speaker Paul Ryan? This Politico (Politico!!!!) headline says it all: "Paul Ryan's House of woes: Almost six months into the job, the new speaker is struggling to advance an agenda."
Democrats are openly mocking their GOP counterparts, and Republicans grumble—in private so far—that nothing is getting done under Ryan. Like Boehner, Ryan is finding out that becoming speaker is easier than being speaker, at least in the still badly divided House GOP Conference.
What those Republicans are grumbling about is Ryan's continued courting of the maniacs in the Freedom Caucus. Says one of them, "I think Boehner would have listened to it for a little bit, given everybody a chance to chew on it and swallow it and spit it out, and then he would have just taken it to the damn floor." Which Boehner did time and time again, sometimes with disastrous results (government shutdown, anyone?). But he took those bills to the damn floor and did what had to happen to keep the trains running—work with Democrats.
Petition: For trying to steal healthcare from millions, take away Mitch McConnell's citizenship and throw him out of the country--banish him. He doesn't deserve to live with decent people. [https://www.thepetitionsite.com/create-a-petition.html/ [Care2] 7/29/17]
Did Hillary Scapegoat Russia to Save Her Campaign? By Mike Whitney [born 24 February 1959, Surry Hills, New South Wales) is an Australian television personality and former cricketer. Mike is a well respected freelance writer living in Washington state, interested in politics and economics from a libertarian perspective. Today Mike Whitney has written an article here talking about baby killers. It is George Bush. He is responsible. We only need to do the calculations. Sixty percent of Iraqis are children. To date it is estimated that 300,000 Iraqi civilians have been slaughtered by Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. Sixty percent of 300,000 comes to 180,000 children murdered by Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. That’s a lot of baby killing. So the prime characteristic, the prime attribute of our current US president is that he is a baby killer. This attribute stands out above all others. This is what history will remember about Mr. Bush – that he was first and foremost a goddamn baby-killer! ] August 01, 2017 "Information Clearing House" from Counterpunch
The Russia hacking story is pure, unalloyed bunkum. There's not a word of truth to any of it.
The “Russia hacking” flap has nothing to do with Russia and nothing to do with hacking. The story is basically a DNC invention that was concocted to mitigate the political fallout from the nearly 50,000 emails that WikiLeaks planned to publish on July 22, 2016, just 3 days before the Democratic National Convention. That’s what this is really all about. Russia didn’t hack anything, it’s a big diversion that was conjured up on-the-fly to keep Hillary’s bandwagon from going down in flames...
And how would her supporters react when they discovered that their party leaders and presidential candidate were actively involved in sabotaging the democratic process and subverting the primaries? That wasn’t going to go over well with voters in Poughkeepsie, now was it? Maybe she’d see her public approval ratings slip even more. Maybe she’d nosedive in the polls or lose the election outright, she didn’t know. No one knew. All they knew was that she was in trouble. Big trouble. So she reacted exactly the way you’d expect Hillary to react, she hit the panic button. In fact, they all freaked out, everyone of them including Podesta and the rest of the DNC honchoes. Once they figured that their presidential bid could go up in smoke, they decided to act preemptively, pull out all the stops and “Go Big”.
That’s where Russia comes into the picture. The DNC brass (with help from allies at the CIA) decided to conjure up a story so fantastic that, well, it had to be true, after all, that’s what the 17 intel agencies said, right? And so did the elite media including the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN. They can’t all be wrong, can they? Sure, they goofed-up on Saddam’s WMDs, and Iran’s imaginary nukes program, and Assad’s fictional chemical weapons attack, but, hey, everyone makes mistakes, right? And, besides, have I told you how evil Putin is lately and how much he reminds me of Adolph Hitler? (sarcasm)
But there was one glitch to the ‘Blame Russia’ scheme. There was no hard evidence of Russian involvement. And, now, 10 months into multiple investigations of Russian hacking, there’s still no evidence. How can that be? Well, for one thing, the FBI was never given access to the DNC computers. Let me repeat that: In the biggest and most politically-explosive investigation in more than a decade, an investigation that has obvious national security implications– alleged cyber-espionage by a hostile foreign power, alleged collusion by high-ranking officials in the current administration, alleged treason or collusion on part of the Chief Executive, and the possible impeachment of a sitting president– the FBI has not yet secured or examined the servers that may or may not provide compelling forensic evidence of cyber-intrusion by Russia. Why? Why would the FBI accept the analysis of some flunky organization that no one has ever heard of before (Crowdstrike) rather than use all the tools at their disposal to thoroughly investigate whether or not the hacking actually took place or not? Isn’t that their job?
The reason the FBI never insisted on examining the DNC servers, is because they knew the story was baloney from the get go.
Investigative journalist Gareth Porter summed it up perfectly in a brilliant article titled Foisting Blame for Cyber-Hacking on Russia. He said:
“…the history of the US government’s claim that Russian intelligence hacked into election databases reveals it to be a clear case of politically motivated analysis by the DHS and the Intelligence Community. Not only was the claim based on nothing more than inherently inconclusive technical indicators but no credible motive for Russian intelligence wanting personal information on registered voters was ever suggested.” (“Foisting Blame for Cyber-Hacking on Russia“, antiwar.com)
Right on, Porter. Facts don’t matter in the Russia hacking case. They never have. The whole approach from Day 1 has been to drown the public with innuendo and baseless accusations, while the MSM Carnie barkers pretend that “Russia meddling” is already settled science and that only “Putin puppets” would ever doubt the veracity of the media’s loony claims. Got that? But facts do matter and so does evidence. And on that score we’re in luck because McGovern’s group, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), released a blockbuster report last week that produced the first hard evidence that Russia most certainly DID NOT hack the DNC servers. It was a DNC insider. Here’s an excerpt from the VIPS article titled “Was the “Russian Hack” an Inside Job?”
“Independent cyber-investigators have now …come up with verifiable evidence from metadata found in the record of the alleged Russian hack. They found that the purported “hack” of the DNC …was not a hack…(but) originated with a copy …by an insider. The data was leaked after being doctored with a cut-and-paste job to implicate Russia….
There was no hack. Someone working inside the DNC (a disgruntled employee?) –who had access to the computers, and who worked on the East Coast– copied the data onto a storage device and transferred it to WikiLeaks. That’s what you call a “leak” not a “hack”. There was no hack. Russia was not involved. The official narrative is bullshit. End of story.
Are We Becoming Western Money Slaves? By Peter Koenig [an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media (China), TeleSUR, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites.] July 21, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
This monetary system cannot be reformed. It is privately owned and rotten to the core.
Electronic money, a cashless society, is perhaps the ultimate and most direct means of the New World Order (NWO), also called One World Order (OWO), to control us all via its financial system. A system that the NWO would like to maintain as the world’s financial system, albeit, it has already been reduced to the western world’s financial system.
Why reduced to the Occident? – Because the Orient, China, Russia and the other countries belonging to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and to the Eurasia Economic Union (EEU) have already largely delinked themselves from the western dollar-based system of fraud.
This reminds of one of the oldest and world’s worst criminal agent against humanity – still alive and kicking – Henry Kissinger:
“Who controls food, controls the people; who controls energy controls entire continents; and who controls money controls the world.”
Compare the dollar-based monetary system to the European Union – which cannot be reformed either. Any ‘reform’ is just fiddling at the margins – as is inherent in the term ‘reform’. And that’s not good enough. As we know by now, the EU was not the construct of Europeans, per se, but an idea behind the ‘deep state’, already at the onset of Phase II of the Great Hundred Year War (WWII – September 1939 to September 1945). Phase I (WWI – 1914 – 1918), as well as Phase II were induced to weaken Europe, to make her ready for full domination.
Of course, by adhering to the Brussels dictate, they have become devoid of national sovereignty. That is a must. A sovereign country would not submit to the horrors of police state and militarization that are in the coming. The euro with the Wall Street (Goldman Sachs – GS) run European Central Bank (ECB) is just a logical add-on to the fake EU. By now, many serious scholars have concluded that neither the EU nor the euro are sustainable, but are doomed to collapse sooner or later.
The EU and the euro are a complex construct, largely manipulated and carried forward by the Dark State’s main secret services, CIA, NSA, Mossad, MI6 with close collaboration of Europe’s national secret services. Hence, the creation of a complete political and monetary vassal, the European Union and her currency, equally fraudulent as its master currency, the US-dollar.
It is not by chance that today’s western US-dollar based monetary system, with its center, the Federal Reserve (FED), has been created just at the onset of Phase I of the Hundred Year war, i.e. WWI. In 1910, Rhode Island Senator, Nelson Aldrich, with his heart close to the world of bankers, organized a ”hunting trip” for five top Wall Street (WS) bankers to travel in disguise by train to Jekyll Island, off the coast of Georgia, where they concocted in a few days the concept of the modern FED – which was to become the ‘mother’ of the new dollar-based world monetary system, now reduced to the western monetary system. The Federal Reserve Act was signed into law in December 1913 by President Woodrow Wilson.
The FED, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS – also called the central bank of all central banks, manipulating gold prices and currency exchanges), as well as the related dollar-machine are totally privately owned. On top of the owner pyramid are the Rothschild and Rockefeller clans, et al. Henceforth, all international monetary transactions had to transit through a WS bank, be it in New York or London. This is the only reason why the US government, i.e. Washington and its dark handlers, are able to hand out economic and financial ‘sanctions’ as they please, to control those, who do not want to bend to their dictate.
‘Sanctions’ in terms of blocking trade with a Washington-destined country and punishing everyone who does not observe the sanctions, plus, confiscating a country’s foreign assets – are totally illegal before any international court. But there is no international court that is not bought by this sham monetary system.
Nations and societies that want to get out of the killer-claws of those who control the NWO, have to start thinking out of the matrix – ‘deglobalizing and de-dollarizing’.
“Local production, for local markets, with local money, and local public banking for the promotion of the local economy” is the name of the ‘simple game’.
Trading would become again what the original meaning of the word says: An exchange of goods among equals, where, contrary to the current system, each trading partner is a winner. A good example, still in its infant steps, but progressing, is ALBA (Spanish acronym for Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our America; “alba” also means appropriately “dawn” in Spanish). This alliance was launched by Venezuela and Cuba and today comprises some 11 Latin American countries, including Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and a number of small Caribbean nations.
The concept of ALBA could be replicated in many parts of the world. ALBA in many ways is a modern barter system which uses a virtual currency, the Sucre. The currency’s value is the weighted average of each member country’s economic output – plus the US-dollar. – Why the US dollar? I was told by one of the member country’s Minister of Finance that keeping the dollar in, would help avoid a massive boycott of the nascent system by Washington. We can only hope he is right. ALBA needs to gain more strength and new members.
Local public banking is key. Just look at the Bank of North Dakota, a state owned public banking institutions which had kept North Dakota out of the 2007 / 2008 crisis. Except for Ellen Brown, President of the American Public Banking Institute, hardly anybody talks about this success story.
Why? – Because it runs counter to what the FED-WS dominated private banking system is doing. This private banking system is NOT working for the people, or for a country’s economy... Case in point is that Germany’s private banks have made a profit of 1.34 billion euros on the Greek misery, just recently admitted by the German Minister of Finance.
We have to promote the concept of Resistance Economy by all means we have available; talking and writing about it to as wide an audience as possible; by having alternative media, like RT, Sputnik, TeleSur and others, promoting the idea; and by strongly and firmly always-always thinking that a drastic change is possible, that darkness doesn’t rule the world
Armies of Cyber-Troops Manipulating Public Opinion By TruePublica July 21, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
The earliest reports of organised social media manipulation emerged in 2010, and by 2017 there are details on such organisations in 28 countries, including the US and UK.
Looking across the 28 countries, every authoritarian regime has social media campaigns targeting their own populations, while only a few of them target foreign publics. In contrast, almost every democracy in this sample has organised social media campaigns that target foreign publics, while political-party-supported campaigns target domestic voters.
Over time, the primary mode for organising cyber troops has gone from involving military units that experiment with manipulating public opinion over social media networks to strategic communication firms that take contracts from governments for social media campaigns.
Armies of Cyber-Troops Manipulating Public Opinion By TruePublica July 21, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
Pyongyang may also be inclined to talk — as it had already indicated. But there may be preconditions, as in the suspension of those provocative, annual US-South Korean military drills. The US will say no. Once again, it's all about Washington.
It's unclear whether US intelligence has 100% proof that Pyongyang, apart from the ICBM, is on the path to soon achieve other technological breaks, such as building a guidance system and a miniaturized, functional nuclear weapon capable of surviving both the missile launch and re-entry into the atmosphere.
Now for some crude, hard facts. Kim Jong-un very well knows that nuclear weapons are absolutely essential for the survival of the Kim dynasty. Beijing not only knows it — but also calculates that Pyongyang does not exactly see it as a trustful ally.
The open secret though is that a nuclear North Korea may represent a perennial dissuasion against the US, much more than a threat, but not against China. So that frames the case, once again, as a Washington-Pyongyang drama.
Feverish speculation in the US about a "strike" against Pyongyang is idle. Anyone with minimum knowledge of the Korean Peninsula knows that the response would be Pyongyang virtually wiping Seoul off the map. Not to mention that US intel is clueless on where all the dispersed North Korean nuclear and missile development sites are.
A minimally competent US "attack" would requires a lot of infiltrated US Special Forces, as in boots on the ground, with no guarantee of success. In a nutshell; Washington, realistically, is incapable of eliminating North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.
Enter the Trans-Korean Railway
Pyongyang's strategy, after all, is actually a small marvel; you imprint the feeling you're a totally unpredictable actor, and you scare the living daylights out of everyone while preventing any attempt at destabilization. As much as wishful thinking prevails, that a US surgical strike would be able to paralyze the North Korean political/military/command/communication structure, US intel is clueless when it comes to predicting Pyongyang's actions.
A Western intel source familiar with the high stakes in the Korean peninsula adds a few stark observations; "The point that is not even touched upon is that South Korea already is within the range of North Korean nuclear bombs even if the United States is not, and can be liquidated by North Korea.
The point is that if South Korea is virtually destroyed by Pyongyang's response to American strikes, "then our allies around the world will have the uneasy feeling that they too would be sacrificed as allies should they get in the way. I would say that would be the end of the entire US alliance structure, which actually is already imaginary."
Eugene Debs and the Kingdom of Evil By Chris Hedges [best journalist alive today] July 17, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
TERRE HAUTE, Ind.—Eugene Victor Debs, whose home is an infrequently visited museum on the campus of Indiana State University, was arguably the most important political figure of the 20th century. He built the socialist movement in America and was eventually crucified by the capitalist class when he and hundreds of thousands of followers became a potent political threat. [I am a Socialist - Colby]
Debs burst onto the national stage when he organized a railroad strike in 1894 after the Pullman Co. cut wages by up to one-third but did not lower rents in company housing or reduce dividend payments to its stockholders. Over a hundred thousand workers staged what became the biggest strike in U.S. history on trains carrying Pullman cars.
The response was swift and brutal.
“Mobilizing all the powers of capital, the owners, representing twenty-four railroads with combined capital of $818,000,00, fought back with the courts and the armed forces of the Federal government behind them,” Barbara W. Tuchman writes in “The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914.” “Three thousand police in the Chicago area were mobilized against the strikers, five thousand professional strikebreakers were sworn in as Federal deputy marshals and given firearms; ultimately six thousand Federal and State troops were brought in
Debs and the union leaders defied the injunction. They were arrested, denied bail and sent to jail for six months. The strike was broken. Thirty workers had been killed. Sixty had been injured. Over 700 had been arrested. The Pullman Co. hired new workers under “yellow dog contracts,” agreements that forbade them to unionize.
Debs feared the rise of the monolithic corporate state. He foresaw that corporations, unchecked, would expand to “continental proportions and swallow up the national resources and the means of production and distribution.” If that happened, he warned, the long “night of capitalism will be dark.”
This was a period in U.S. history when many American Christians were socialists. Walter Rauschenbusch, a Christian theologian, Baptist minister and leader of the Social Gospel movement, thundered against capitalism. He defined the six pillars of the “kingdom of evil” as “religious bigotry, the combination of graft and political power, the corruption of justice, the mob spirit (being ‘the social group gone mad’) and mob action, militarism[,] and class contempt.”
[Debs] equated the crucified Christ with the abolitionist John Brown. He insisted that Jesus came “to destroy class rule and set up the common people as the sole and rightful inheritors of the earth.” “What is Socialism?” he once asked. “Merely Christianity in action.”
It was also a period beset with violence, including anarchist bombings and assassinations. An anarchist killed President William McKinley in 1901, unleashing a wave of state repression against social and radical movements. Striking workers engaged in periodic gun battles, especially in the coalfields of southern West Virginia, with heavily armed company goons, National Guard units, paramilitary groups such as the Coal and Iron Police, and the U.S. Army.
Debs, although a sworn enemy of the capitalist elites, was adamantly opposed to violence and sabotage, arguing that these actions allowed the state to demonize the socialist movement and enabled the destructive efforts of agents provocateurs. The conflict with the capitalist class, Debs argued, was at its core about competing values. In an interview conducted while he was in jail after the Pullman strike, he stressed the importance of “education, industry, frugality, integrity, veracity, fidelity, sobriety and charity.”
A life of moral probity was vital as an example in the face of capitalist exploitation, but that was not enough to defeat the “kingdom of evil.” The owners and managers of corporations, driven by greed and a lust for power, would never play fair. They would always seek to use the law as an instrument of oppression and increase profits through machines, a reduction in wages, a denial of benefits and union busting. They would sacrifice anyone and anything—including democracy and the natural world—to achieve their goals.
Debs turned to politics when he was released from jail in 1895. He was one of the founders of the Socialist Party of America and, in 1905, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), or “Wobblies.” He was the Socialist Party candidate for the U.S. presidency five times in the period 1900 through 1920—once when he was in prison—and he ran for Congress in 1916.
Eugene Debs ~~~ Eugene Debs released from prison 1921
Debs was a powerful orator and drew huge crowds across the country. Fifteen thousand people once paid 15 cents to a dollar each to hear him in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. In his speeches and writings he demanded an end to child labor and denounced Jim Crow and lynching.
He called for the vote for women, a graduated income tax, unemployment compensation, the direct election of senators, employer liability laws, national departments of education and health, guaranteed pensions for the elderly, nationalization of the banking and transport systems, and replacing “wage slavery” with cooperative industries.
As a presidential campaigner he traveled from New York to California on a train, called the Red Special, speaking to tens of thousands. He helped elect socialist mayors in some 70 cities, including Milwaukee, as well as numerous legislators and city council members. He propelled two socialists into Congress. In the elections of 1912 he received nearly a million votes, 6 percent of the electorate. Eighteen thousand people went to see him in Philadelphia and 22,000 in New York City.
He terrified the ruling elites, who began to institute tepid reforms to attempt to stanch the growing support for the socialists. Debs after the 1912 election was a marked man.
On June 18, 1918, in Canton, Ohio, he denounced, as he had often done in the past, the unholy alliance between capitalism and war, the use of the working class by the capitalists as cannon fodder in World War I and the Wilson administration’s persecution of anti-war activists, unionists, anarchists, socialists and communists. President Woodrow Wilson, who had a deep animus toward Debs, had him arrested under the Sedition Act, which made it a crime to “willfully utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of the Government of the United States” or to “willfully urge, incite, or advocate any curtailment of the production” of anything “necessary or essential to the prosecution of [a U.S. war, in this case against Germany and its allies].”
Debs did not contest the charges. At his trial, he declared: “Washington, Paine, Adams—these were the rebels of their day. At first they were opposed by the people and denounced by the press. … And if the Revolution had failed, the revolutionary fathers would have been executed as felons. But it did not fail. Revolutions have a habit of succeeding when the time comes for them.”
On Sept. 18, 1918, minutes before he was sentenced to a 10-year prison term and stripped of his citizenship, the 62-year-old Debs rose and told the court:
Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.
Three years later, Debs’ sentence was commuted by President Warren Harding to time served, and, in broken health, he was released from prison in December of 1921. His citizenship was not restored until five decades after his 1926 death. The labor movement and socialist party he had struggled to build had been ruthlessly crushed, often through violent attacks orchestrated by the state and corporations and mass arrests and deportations carried out during the Palmer Raids in November 1919 and January 1920. The government had shut down socialist publications, such as Appeal to Reason and The Masses. The “Red Scare” was used as an ideological weapon by the state, and especially the FBI after it was established in 1908, to discredit, persecute and silence dissent.
The breakdown of capitalism saw a short-lived revival of organized labor during the 1930s, often led by the Communist Party, and during a short period after World War II, and this resurgence triggered yet another prolonged assault by the capitalist class.
We have returned to an oligarchic purgatory. Wall Street and the global corporations, including the fossil fuel industry and the war industry, have iron control over the government. The social, political and civil rights won by workers in long and bloody struggles have been stripped away. Government regulations have been rolled back to permit capitalists to engage in abuse and fraud. The political elites, along with their courtiers in the media and academia, are hapless corporate stooges. Social and economic inequality replicates the worst excesses of the robber barons. And the great civic, labor and political organizations that fought for working men and women are moribund or dead.
We have to begin all over again. And we must do so understanding, as Debs did, that any accommodation with members of the capitalist class is futile and self-defeating. They are the enemy. They will degrade and destroy everything, including the ecosystem, to get richer. They are not capable of reform.
I walked through the Debs home in Terre Haute with its curator, Allison Duerk. It has about 700 visitors a year. Rarely do these visits include school groups. The valiant struggle by radical socialists and workers, hundreds of whom were murdered in labor struggles, has been consciously erased from our history and replaced with the vacuity of celebrity culture and the cult of the self.
“Teaching this kind of people’s history puts a lot of power in working-class people’s hands,” Duerk said. “We all know what that threatens.”
The walls of the two-story frame house, built by Debs and his wife in 1890, are covered with photos and posters, including pictures of Debs’ funeral on the porch and 5,000 mourners in the front yard. There is the key to the cell in which he was held when he was jailed the first time. There is a photo of Convict No. 9653 holding a bouquet at the entrance to the federal penitentiary in Atlanta as he accepts the nomination from leaders of the Socialist Party to be their 1920 presidential candidate. There are gifts including an intricately inlaid wooden table and an ornately carved cane that prisoners sent to Debs, a tireless advocate for prisoner rights.
I opened the glass panel of a cherry wood bookshelf and pulled out one of Debs’ books, running my fingers lightly over his signature on the front inside flap. I read a passage from a speech he gave in 1905 in Chicago:
The capitalist who does no useful work has the economic power to take from a thousand or ten thousand workingmen all they produce, over and above what is required to keep them in working and producing order, and he becomes a millionaire, perhaps a multi-millionaire.
I leafed through copies of Appeal to Reason, the Socialist party newspaper Debs edited, which once had almost 800,000 readers and the fourth highest circulation in the country.
Debs, like many of his generation, was literate. He read and reread “Les Misérables” in French. It was his father’s bible. It became his own. His parents, émigrés from Alsace, named him after the French novelists Eugene Sue and Victor Hugo. His father read Sue, Hugo, Voltaire, Rousseau, Dumas and other authors to his six children.
Debs found in Hugo’s majestic novel the pathos of the struggle by the wretched of the earth for dignity and freedom. He was well aware, like Hugo, that the good were usually relentlessly persecuted, that they were not rewarded for virtue and that those who held fast to truth and justice often found their way to their own cross. But there was no other choice for him: The kingdom of evil had to be fought. It was a moral imperative. It was what made us human.
“Intellectual and moral growth is no less indispensable than material improvement,” Hugo writes in an appendix to “Les Misérables.” “Knowledge is a viaticum [food/supplies for a journey]; thought is a prime necessity; truth is nourishment, like wheat. A reasoning faculty, deprived of knowledge and wisdom, pines away. We should feel the same pity for minds that do not eat as for stomachs. If there be anything sadder than a body perishing for want of bread, it is a mind dying of hunger for lack of light.”
This article was first published by Truthdig
H. Smith: It was in this prison term, that he ran for the U.S. presidency of 1920, and received 919,799 votes. This big support caused President Warren G. Harding, to release him from prison in 1921, commuting his term to time served. http://democracyandsocialism.com/FameSocialism/Eu...
Mohammed Cohen: Christopher Hedges is always a beacon on he hill of this decaying and crumbling pile of filth that the destructive forces have so far succeeded in manipulating through their unending exploitation of the working class while their citadels are glaring at the hapless suffering of the toiling working class of America! The more we Americans are exposed to the injustices of our dying capitalist way of life, the ugliest it looks. Chris Hedges' insightful, penetrating and stimulating thought and logic is, to say the least, very enlightening that compels readers to a self examination of our innerself. Great piece Mr. Hedges. Thank you!
Guardian: Just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, study says A relatively small number of fossil fuel producers and their investors could hold the key to tackling climate change
ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron are identified as among the highest emitting investor-owned companies since 1988. If fossil fuels continue to be extracted at the same rate over the next 28 years as they were between 1988 and 2017, says the report, global average temperatures would be on course to rise by 4C by the end of the century. This is likely to have catastrophic consequences including substantial species extinction and global food scarcity risks.
Food – Wars and Pharma – Trailblazing the Way to Human Demise By Peter Koenig July 14, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
“’What the Health’ – is the groundbreaking follow-up film from the creators of the award-winning documentary Cowspiracy. The film follows intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the secret to preventing and even reversing chronic diseases – and investigates why the nation’s leading health organizations don’t want us to know about it. With heart disease and cancer, the leading causes of death in America, and diabetes at an all-time high, the film reveals possibly the largest health cover-up of our time.”
US Ranked Worst Healthcare System: UK’s National Health Service Leads By Andy Coghlan July 14, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
A comparison of health systems in 11 wealthy nations has found the US falling short by multiple measures, while the UK’s National Health Service leads in several categories.
Overall, the US ranked last, although it ranked fifth in the care process category. The UK came top overall, but ranked tenth for healthcare outcomes – how well patients fare after treatment.
CIA Agent Confesses On Deathbed: ‘We Blew Up WTC7 On 9/11’ By Baxter Dmitry [Note - Please read the comments below, which indicate that the author of this article has a dubious history of "False News"--Baxter Dmitry is a writer at Your News Wire. He covers politics, business and entertainment. Speaking truth to power since he learned to talk, Baxter has travelled in over 80 countries and won arguments in every single one.] July 14, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
79-year-old retired CIA agent, Malcom Howard, has made a series of astonishing claims since being released from hospital in New Jersey on Friday and told he has weeks to live. Mr. Howard claims he was involved in the “controlled demolition” of World Trade Center 7, the third building that was destroyed on 9/11. Mr. Howard, who worked for the CIA for 36 years as an operative, claims he was tapped by senior CIA agents to work on the project due to his engineering background, and early career in the demolition business. Trained as a civil engineer, Mr. Howard became an explosives expert after being headhunted by the CIA in early 1980s. Mr. Howard says has extensive experience in planting explosives in items as small as cigarette lighters and as large as “80 floor buildings.” The 79-year-old New Jersey native says he worked on the CIA operation they dubbed “New Century” between May 1997 and September 2001, during a time he says the CIA “was still taking orders from the top.” Mr. Howard says he was part of a cell of 4 operatives tasked with ensuring the demolition was successful.
Mr. Howard explains that WTC 7 was “loaded with explosives in strategic places” in the month leading up to the day that changed the course of American history. On September 11th, while the North and South towers burned, fuses were ignited in World Trade Center 7, and nanothermite explosions hollowed out the building, destroying the steel structure, removing the reinforcements, and allowing the office fires to tear through the rest of the building, hollowing it out like a shell.
Mr. Howard claims he has “no direct knowledge” about the destruction of North and South Towers of the World Trade Center, explaining that “CIA operations are very specific” and that it is common to be working on a larger project while only understanding a small piece of the puzzle.
But he has advice for investigators seeking to understand the entire puzzle and work out who was behind the most devastating attack on American soil in history.
“Follow the money.”
Many countries including Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Monaco launched insider trading investigations in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, believing that if they could prove Al-Qaeda operatives profited on the stock market then they could prove the terror organization was behind the attacks. And all the evidence pointed to heavy insider trading around 9/11.
Ever More Official Lies From The US Government By Paul Craig Roberts July 11, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
The false reality constructed for Americans parallels perfectly the false reality constructed by Big Brother in George Orwells’ dystopian novel 1984.
Domestically, Americans are assured that, thanks to the Federal Reserve’s policy of quantitative easing, that is, flooding the financial markets with newly printed money that has driven up the prices of stocks and bonds, America has enjoyed an economic recovery since June of 2009, which must be one of the longest recoveries in history despite the absence of growth in median real family incomes, despite the growth in real retail sales, despite the falling labor force participation rate, despite the lack of high value-added, high productivity, high wage jobs.
The “recovery” is more than a mystery. It is a miracle. It exists only on fake news paper.
the American economy has been living on the shrinkage of the savings and living standards of its population.
Last Friday’s employment report is just another lie from the government. The report says that the unemployment rate is 4.4% and that June employment increased by 222,000 jobs. A rosy picture. But as I have just demonstrated, there are no fundamentals to support it. It is just another US government lie like Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people, Russian invasion of Ukraine, and so forth and so on.
The rosy unemployment picture is totally contrived. The unemployment rate is 4.4% because discouraged workers who have not searched for a job in the past four weeks are not counted as unemployed.
The BLS has a second measure of unemployment, known as U6, which is seldom reported by the presstitute financial media. According to this official measure the US unemployment rate is about double the reported rate.
Why? the U6 rate counts discouraged workers who have been discouraged for less than one year.
While Trump Talks, The Pentagon Prepares for War By Finian Cunningham July 11, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
On the same day US President Donald Trump gave a historic handshake to Russian leader Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Germany, the Pentagon was hosting a meeting planning for war with Moscow.
Paul Ryan's House challenger launches longshot bid after viral video Randy Bryce -- a Democratic organizer and union iron worker who's never held elected office -- gained national attention with a viral video that debuted last month announcing his congressional bid. The video, which pitches Bryce as a "working man" and focuses on health care,
NYT Finally Retracts Russia-gate Canard A founding Russia-gate myth is that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies agreed that Russia hacked into and distributed Democratic emails, a falsehood that The New York Times has belatedly retracted, reports Robert Parry.
June 30, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - The New York Times has finally admitted that one of the favorite Russia-gate canards – that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies concurred on the assessment of Russian hacking of Democratic emails – is false.
Are We in The Final Phase? By Peter Koenig [Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media (China), TeleSUR, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.] June 27, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
There is hardly a day that goes by without a terror attack somewhere in the world, emphasis on western world... Terror is reigning in Africa every day, in Central Africa, the Congo, Burundi, Nigeria – you name it. The Islamic State is fighting in the Philippines [a proxy war for Washington].
Terror is fed, trained and armed by Washington and the Pentagon. The number of attacks are increasing by the day. We can only wonder, where will it strike tomorrow. The question, “when will it stop?” is not even an option. It will not stop. It’s part of the war game.
On the other side of the equation, globalized Wall Street, the FED and international financial institutions are strangling poor countries with debt into submission, especially those with natural resources, like hydrocarbons, tropical forests, gold and diamonds. All stained in blood.
But finance does not stop there. It comes down to the individual, digitizing cash. Making us a cashless society. It’s good for you. No need for carrying money around. It’s worthless anyway. Going digital, we can control you-and you are safe. The State will never steal your money. They could, but they won’t. Ethics. It’s called Ethics. And we trust them. In God We Trust – and god is money, to be precise – the US Dollar.
In the Middle East, a serious confrontation between the US and Russia is brewing, as Russia keeps believing in agreements signed with Washington, despite deceptions, time and again.
The US economy is based on war – and the European one is following closely in these bloody footsteps.
Those who control the economy are those who control the western monetary system, the fraudulent, privately made, owned usurping debt and interest machine; the dollar pyramid, upon which every other western currency depends. Those who control this unspeakable fraud, will eventually control a divided world. A world of man-made eternal chaos.
People, there is nothing left to hope for in the west. This could be it. The end-run. And you and me are in it, if we don’t leave it NOW. We have for too long believed in the treachery of Washington, the false promises, the eternal lies for centuries drop-by-dripping-drop into our brains have drained our self-worth, our autonomy
We are doomed. The west is doomed. The west is in its final stage of committing unrelenting suicide by sheer greed and monstrous aggressions and an eternal flood of lies. We are cooked. For good, beyond the threshold of no-return.
The only hope for those of us who may survive, is the East. China, Russia and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) offer an economy of peace. They offer the world, including the west, for those who are not afraid to break loose from the weakening fangs of Washington, an enormous economic and scientific development program – the New Silk Road, or OBOR – One Belt One Road, or OBI for short. The One Belt Initiative – an economy of peace and prosperity offered to the world by China’s President Xi. Wake up, People, wake up – and step out from the western warmongers orbit.
"Why are 13 men in charge of healthcare for all American women?" -The Guardian 6/28/17
US Gov’t Proves Loyalty To ISIS As Bill To ‘Stop Arming Terrorists’ Gets Only 13 Supporters By Matt Agorist [Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Matt is the founder of The Free Thought Project. http://thefreethoughtproject.com/] June 21, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
Tulsi Gabbard [D-HI], author of the bill
One of the most rational bills ever proposed, barring the Feds from giving money and weapons to child murdering terrorists, has almost ZERO support.
For the last several decades, the US government has openly funded, supported, and armed various terrorist networks throughout the world to forward an agenda of destabilization and proxy war. It is not a secret, nor a conspiracy theory, America arms bad guys.
Given the insidious history of the American empire and its creation and fostering of terrorist regimes across the globe, it should come as no surprise that the overwhelming majority of politicians would refuse to sign on to a law that requires them to ‘Stop Arming Terrorists.’ And, that is exactly what’s happened.
H.R.608 – Stop Arming Terrorists Act was introduced by Rep. Gabbard, Tulsi [D-HI] on January 23 of this year. The bill doesn’t have any crazy strings attached and its original cosponsors are a mix of Republicans and Democrats — highlighting that it transcends party lines.
After nearly 5 months since its introduction, only 13 of the 535 members of Congress have signed on as co-sponsors. What this lack of support for the bill shows is that the federal government is addicted to funding terror and has no intention of ever stopping it.
To add insult to treason and murder, Senator Rand Paul [R-KY] introduced this same legislation in the Senate. He currently has zero cosponsors.
Given the overwhelming lack of support for a bill that simply asks the government to stop giving money to people who behead children and video it, it should come as no surprise that Donald Trump signed hundreds of billions of dollars in weapons deals with other countries who also fund these people.
As Americans bicker over Trump’s bogus and non-existent Russian scandal, he’s signing a deal worth hundreds of billions of dollars with the largest state sponsor of terror in the world — ensuring decades of future wars and the continuation of the cycle of terrorism.
What’s more is the fact that less than one week after publicly reprimanding Qatar for terrorism, President Trump signed off on the sale of $12 billion in weapons to the country he referred to as a “funder of terrorism.” This move, in Trump’s own stance, makes him a de facto funder of terrorism now.
What this lack of support for the bills and the recent moves to arm the terrorist regimes illustrates is the fact that the US has no intention of ever stopping terrorism. Trump, just like Obama and Bush before him, will continue to foster the growth of terrorism to enrich those who profit from war.
Terrorism is necessary for the state. War, is the health of the state.
Without the constant fear mongering about an enemy who ‘hates our freedom,’ Americans begin questioning things. They challenge the status quo and inevitably desire more freedom. However, when they are told that boogeymen want to kill them, they become immediately complacent and blinded by their fear.
While these boogeymen were once mostly mythical, since 9/11, they have been funded and supported by the US to the point that they now pose a very real threat to innocent people everywhere.
Trump is proving that he can lie to get into power and his supporters ignore it. If you doubt this fact, look at what Trump did by calling out Saudi Arabia for their role in 9/11 and their support for terror worldwide prior to getting elected. He now supports these terrorists and his constituency couldn’t care less.
Email from DSCC 6/21/17:
This week, Senate Democrats held the floor to protest Trumpcare. As Senator Schumer said:
“If Republicans won’t relent and debate their health care bill in the open for the American people to see, then they shouldn’t expect business as usual in the Senate.”
Republicans have made clear why they are drafting this bill in secret — they're ashamed of it, and they should be. The reality is their plan would give the wealthiest a tax break while making middle class families pay more for less health care coverage.
Join the DSCC (Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee)
We Can’t Fight Climate Change if We Keep Lying to Ourselves By Chris Hedges June 19, 2017 "Information Clearing House" [This article was first published by Truth Dig]
We must embrace a despair that unflinchingly acknowledges the bleak future that will be created by climate change. We must see in any act of resistance, even if it appears futile, a moral victory. African-Americans understand, in a way perhaps only the oppressed can grasp, that our character and dignity will be measured by our ability to name and resist the malignant forces that seem to hold us in a death grip.
Catastrophic climate change is inevitable. Our technology and science will not save us. The future of humanity is now in peril. At best, we can mitigate the crisis. We cannot avert it. We are fighting for our lives.
If we do not rapidly build militant movements of sustained revolt, movements willing to break the law and attack the structures of the corporate state, we will join the 99.9 percent of species that have vanished since life first appeared on earth.
The earth’s temperature has already risen by more than 1 degree Celsius since the late 19th century. And it is almost certain to rise a few more degrees—even if we stop all carbon emissions today. The last time the earth’s temperature rose 4 degrees, the polar ice caps disappeared and the seas were hundreds of feet above their current levels.
We have the technology to build alternative energy and food systems, but the fossil fuel industry, the most powerful industry in the world, has blocked all meaningful attempts to curb fossil fuel extraction and reduce energy consumption. And meat, dairy and egg producers, responding to consumer demand, are responsible for the emission of more greenhouse gases than the entire global transportation sector.
The nonprofit Project Drawdown [http://www.drawdown.org/], which compiles research from an international coalition of scientists, says that “a plant-based diet may be the most effective way an individual can stop climate change.” Adopting such a diet should be our first act of revolt.
The second should be carrying out civil disobedience to disrupt the extraction of fossil fuels, along with massively reducing our consumption of those fuels.
The third, through mass mobilization, should be to overthrow the corporate state and nationalize the energy sector, the banking industry, utilities and public transportation in addition to dismantling a war machine that in waging futile and unwinnable wars consumes nearly half of all government expenditures.
It is a lot to demand. But if we do not succeed, the human race will disappear. Governments, if they were instruments of the common good, would end subsidies to the fossil fuel and animal agriculture industries, retrofit government vehicles and buildings to use clean energy, ban the fossil fuel and animal agriculture industries from public lands, end the externalization of the true costs of these industries, and impose taxes so heavy that extraction of fossil fuels would be unprofitable and the purchase of animal food products economically unsustainable—just as those foods are environmentally unsustainable.
But with state power being held captive by corporations, short-term profit takes precedence over human health and even human survival.
“The technology exists to strip CO2 out of the atmosphere,” Parenti said. “The problem is it’s extremely expensive. And how do you store it? As a gas, it can leak out. But it can also be turned into basically baking soda. But the costs are so expensive.
So this technology currently exists. It’s proprietary. Private companies are using it to facilitate further oil extraction. If civilization was serious about survival, governments will seize or buy that technology. Make it open source. And invest in whatever was necessary to strip CO2 out of the atmosphere artificially, along with [extraction by] plants and forests etcetera.”
On one July night in 1977 the power went out in New York City. There were citywide riots. Arsonists started 1,037 fires. Looters smashed their way into 1,616 stores. There was over $300 million in damage. This Hobbesian nightmare will become normal in more and more parts of the globe as we traverse the sixth great mass extinction, brought on by the activity of human beings.
Washington’s War Crimes in Syria By Bill Van Auken [Bill Van Auken (born 1950) is a politician and activist for the Socialist Equality Party and was a presidential candidate in the U.S. presidential election of 2004. Van Auken is a full-time reporter for the World Socialist Web Site (my party -Colby), and resides in New York City.] June 16, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
War crimes being carried out by Washington threaten to coalesce into a global conflict.
The United States government is guilty of war crimes. This is the stark conclusion reached by the independent international commission of inquiry established by the United Nations in 2011 to investigate human rights violations stemming from the protracted US-backed war for regime change in Syria.
US warplanes have dropped tens of thousands of munitions on Raqqa and the surrounding area, killing and maiming thousands of Syrian men, women and children. US Marines units, which have steadily swelled the ground forces illegally deployed on Syrian soil, have unleashed further lethal firepower, firing 155mm howitzers into crowded urban neighborhoods and flying Apache attack helicopters to provide close air support to the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces.
The bloody siege of Raqqa is unfolding even as the Pentagon is carrying out a similar slaughter, begun last October, in Mosul, an Iraqi city 232 miles to the east that once boasted a population of over 2 million. Most of Mosul has been pulverized by US bombs, rockets and shells. Thousands have been killed and wounded, while many remain still buried under the rubble.
The scope of the war crimes being carried out by the Pentagon comes more sharply into focus with the verified reports that US artillery units are firing white phosphorus shells into both Raqqa and Mosul. These incendiary chemical weapons, banned under international law for use in populated areas, ignite human flesh on contact, burning it to the bone, while those who breathe the gases released by the shells suffocate and burn from the inside out. The horrific wounds caused by these weapons reopen when exposed to air. White phosphorus is used to strike terror among those under attack.
Last month, US Defense Secretary James Mattis told the media that the Pentagon was adopting “annihilation tactics” in its anti-ISIS campaign, adding, “Civilian casualties are a fact of life in this sort of situation.”
Washington’s strategic objectives in Iraq and Syria are not those of “fighting terrorism,” but rather consolidating US hegemony over the oil-rich Middle East and preparing for war against the principal obstacles to this objective, Iran and Russia. For US imperialism, undisputed control over both the Persian Gulf and Central Asia would provide the means to cut off energy supplies to its global rival, China.
These predatory aims are the source of war crimes, and not only in Iraq and Syria. In Yemen, Washington is backing a near-genocidal war led by the Saudi monarchy with the objective of weakening Iran’s influence in the Persian Gulf.
Meanwhile, Washington is preparing to once again escalate the protracted slaughter in Afghanistan. .. Thousands more soldiers are expected to be deployed, with the aim of carrying out the “annihilation tactics” favored by the defense secretary.
As these atrocities play out across an ever-expanding global battlefield, what is striking is the absence of any organized opposition to US war crimes... The media, a faithful propaganda arm of the Pentagon and the CIA, has shown a complete disinterest in US war crimes...
Moreover, while masses of working people in the US and around the world are opposed to war, the pseudo-left groups that got their start in the middle class antiwar protests of the 1960s and 1970s have abandoned even verbal opposition to US military aggression. Reflecting the interests of privileged middle-class layers, groups like the International Socialist Organization in the US, the Left Party in Germany and the New Anti-capitalist Party in France have articulated the politics of this new constituency for imperialism, justifying neo-colonial interventions in the name of “human rights” and portraying CIA regime-change operations as in Libya and Syria as “revolutions.”
The Age of Anger By Chris Hedges June 12, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
The nihilism and rage sweeping across the globe are not generated by warped ideologies or medieval religious beliefs. These destructive forces have their roots in the obliterating of social, cultural and religious traditions by modernization and the consumer society, the disastrous attempts by the United States to carry out regime change, often through coups and wars, and the utopian neoliberal ideology that has concentrated wealth in the hands of a tiny cabal of corrupt global oligarchs.
This vast, global project of social engineering during the last century persuaded hundreds of millions of people, as Pankaj Mishra writes in “The Age of Anger: A History of the Present,” “to renounce—and often scorn—a world of the past that had endured for thousands of years, and to undertake a gamble of creating modern citizens who would be secular, enlightened, cultured and heroic.” The project has been a spectacular failure."
“To destroy a people,” Alexander Solzhenitsyn noted acidly, “you must sever their roots.” The wretched of the earth, as Frantz Fanon called them, have been shorn of any ideological or cultural cohesion. They are cut off from their past. They live in crushing poverty, numbing alienation, hopelessness and often terror. Mass culture feeds them the tawdry, the violent, the salacious and the ridiculous.
The proponents of globalization promised to lift workers across the planet into the middle class and instill democratic values and scientific rationalism. Religious and ethnic tensions would be alleviated or eradicated. This global marketplace would create a peaceful, prosperous community of nations. All we had to do was get government out of the way and kneel before market demands, held up as the ultimate form of progress and rationality.
Neoliberalism, in the name of this absurd utopia, stripped away government regulations and laws that once protected the citizen from the worst excesses of predatory capitalism. It created free trade agreements that allowed trillions of corporate dollars to be transferred to offshore accounts to avoid taxation and jobs to flee to sweatshops in China and the global south where workers live in conditions that replicate slavery.
What we were never told was that the game was fixed. We were always condemned to lose... Endless war became, cynically, a lucrative business. And the world’s wealth was seized by a tiny group of global oligarchs. Kleptocracies, such as the one now installed in Washington, brazenly stole from the people.
South Asia’s most important writer and scholar, Muhammad Iqbal, provided a “Nietzschean vision of Islam revivified by strong self-creating Muslims.” And the Chinese scholar Lu Xun called for Chinese to exhibit the “indomitable will exemplified by Zarathustra.” These bastard ideologies cloaked themselves in the veneer of indigenous religious traditions and beliefs. But they were new creations, born out of the schöpferische Zerstörung, or the “gale of creative destruction,” of global capitalism.
Donald Trump, given the political, economic and cultural destruction carried out by neoliberalism, is not an aberration. He is the result of a market society and capitalist democracy that has ceased to function. An angry and alienated underclass, now making up as much as half the population of the United States, is entranced by electronic hallucinations that take the place of literacy. These Americans take a perverse and almost diabolical delight in demagogues such as Trump that express contempt for and openly flout the traditional rules and rituals of a power structure that preys upon them.
Philosopher George Santayana foresaw that America’s obsessive individualistic culture of competition and mimicry would eventually incite “a lava-wave of primitive blindness and violence.” The inability to be self-critical and self-aware, coupled with the cult of the self, would lead to a collective suicide.
And, with the rise of Trump, it is clear the “cord of consciousness” has also been severed in the twilight days of the American empire. Once we no longer acknowledge or understand our own capacity for evil, once we no longer know ourselves, we become monsters who devour others and finally devour ourselves.
Mishra warns that “the two ways in which humankind can self-destruct—civil war on a global scale, or destruction of the natural environment—are rapidly converging.” Our elites, oblivious to the dangers ahead, blinded by their own hubris and greed, are ferrying us, like Charon, to the land of the dead.
Saudi Arabia is Destabilizing the World By Stephen Kinzer [a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University - This article was first published by The Boston Globe] June 11, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
Just a few months ago, the governor of Indonesia’s largest city, Jakarta, seemed headed for easy re-election despite the fact that he is a Christian in a mostly Muslim country. Suddenly everything went violently wrong. Using the pretext of an offhand remark the governor made about the Koran, masses of enraged Muslims took to the streets to denounce him. In short order he lost the election, was arrested, charged with blasphemy, and sentenced to two years in prison. This episode is especially alarming because Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, has long been one of its most tolerant. Indonesian Islam, like most belief systems on that vast archipelago, is syncretic, gentle, and open-minded. The stunning fall of Jakarta’s governor reflects the opposite: intolerance, sectarian hatred, and contempt for democracy. Fundamentalism is surging in Indonesia. This did not happen naturally. Saudi Arabia has been working for decades to pull Indonesia away from moderate Islam and toward the austere Wahhabi form that is state religion in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis’ campaign has been patient, multi-faceted, and lavishly financed. It mirrors others they have waged in Muslim countries across Asia and Africa. Successive American presidents have assured us that Saudi Arabia is our friend and wishes us well. Yet we know that Osama bin Laden and most of his 9/11 hijackers were Saudis, and that, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote in a diplomatic cable eight years ago, “Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.” Recent events in Indonesia shine a light on a Saudi project that is even more pernicious than financing terrorists. Saudi Arabia has used its wealth, much of which comes from the United States, to turn entire nations into hotbeds of radical Islam. By refusing to protest or even officially acknowledge this far-reaching project, we finance our own assassins — and global terror...
The surging fundamentalism that is transforming Indonesia teaches several lessons. First is one that we should already have learned, about the nature of the Saudi government. It is an absolute monarchy supported by one of the world’s most reactionary religious sects. It gives clerics large sums to promote their anti-Western, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic brand of religious militancy abroad.
In exchange, the clerics refrain from criticizing the Saudi monarchy or its thousands of high-living princes. Saudis with close ties to the ruling family give crucial support to groups like Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS. This fact should be at the front of our minds whenever we consider our policy toward the Middle East — including when we decide whether to side with the Saudis in their new dispute with neighboring Qatar. Saudi Arabia’s success in reshaping Indonesia shows the importance of the global battle over ideas. Many in Washington consider spending for cultural and other “soft power” projects to be wasteful. The Saudis feel differently. They pour money and resources into promoting their world view. We should do the same.
The Saudi campaign to radicalize global Islam also shows that earth-shaking events often happen slowly and quietly. The press, focused intently on reporting today’s news, often misses deeper and more important stories. Historians of journalism sometimes point to the northward “great migration” of African-Americans after World War II as an epochal story that few journalists noticed because it was a slow process rather than one-day news event.
The same is true of Saudi Arabia’s long campaign to pull the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims back to the 7th century. We barely notice it, but every day, from Mumbai to Manchester, we feel its effects.
This Is The Real Story Behind The Crisis Unfolding In Qatar By Robert Fisk [This article was first published by The Independent] June 11, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
Only Shakespeare’s plays could come close to describing such treachery
The Qatar crisis proves two things: the continued infantilisation of the Arab states, and the total collapse of the Sunni Muslim unity supposedly created by Donald Trump’s preposterous attendance at the Saudi summit two weeks ago.
After promising to fight to the death against Shia Iranian “terror,” Saudi Arabia and its closest chums have now ganged up on one of the wealthiest of their neighbours, Qatar, for being a fountainhead of “terror”. Only Shakespeare’s plays could come close to describing such treachery. Shakespeare’s comedies, of course.
For, truly, there is something vastly fantastical about this charade. Qatar’s citizens have certainly contributed to Isis. But so have Saudi Arabia’s citizens.
No Qataris flew the 9/11 planes into New York and Washington. All but four of the 19 killers were Saudi. Bin Laden was not a Qatari. He was a Saudi.
But Bin Laden favoured Qatar’s al-Jazeera channel with his personal broadcasts, and it was al-Jazeera who tried to give spurious morality to the al-Qaeda/Jabhat al-Nusrah desperadoes of Syria by allowing their leader hours of free airtime to explain what a moderate, peace-loving group they all were.
Saudi Arabia cuts ties with Qatar over terror links
First, let’s just get rid of the hysterically funny bits of this story. I see that Yemen is breaking air links with Qatar. Quite a shock for the poor Qatari Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, since Yemen – under constant bombardment by his former Saudi and Emirati chums – doesn’t have a single serviceable airliner left with which to create, let alone break, an air link.
The Maldives have also broken relations with Qatar. To be sure, this has nothing to do with the recent promise of a Saudi five-year loan facility of $300m to the Maldives, the proposal of a Saudi property company to invest $100m in a family resort in the Maldives and a promise by Saudi Islamic scholars to spend $100,000 on 10 “world class” mosques in the Maldives.
And let us not mention the rather large number of Isis and other Islamist cultists who arrived to fight for Isis in Iraq and Syria from – well, the Maldives.
Now the Qatari Emir hasn’t enough troops to defend his little country should the Saudis decide to request that he ask their army to enter Qatar to restore stability – as the Saudis persuaded the King of Bahrain to do back in 2011. But Sheikh Tamim no doubt hopes that the massive US military air base in Qatar will deter such Saudi generosity.
When I asked his father, Sheikh Hamad (later uncharitably deposed by Tamim) why he didn’t kick the Americans out of Qatar, he replied: “Because if I did, my Arab brothers would invade me.”
Like father, like son, I suppose. God Bless America.
Going for Regime-Change in Doha By Abdel Bari Atwan [the editor-in-chief of Rai al-Youm, an Arab world digital news and opinion website. He was the editor-in-chief of the London-based pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi from the founding of that paper in 1989 until July 2013. CG: Seems a reasonable and astute journalist - This article was first published by Raialyoum] June 11, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
The strongly-worded warning issued to Qatar on Friday by US President Donald Trump – accusing it of being a “funder of terrorism… at a very high level” and demanding that it “stop immediately supporting terrorism” — suggests that the US has not only signed up fully to the Saudi-UAE-Egyptian-Bahraini alliance against Qatar, but assumed its leadership. It also confirms that the steps taken by the four countries to blockade Qatar and suffocate it economically had prior American approval.
This amounts to a conditional American declaration of war. When Trump announces at a White House press conference, ‘I’ve decided, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, our great generals, and military people, the time has come to call on Qatar to end its funding,’ the meaning cannot be clearer in this regard.
Trump struck this hard-line stance just hours after Tillerson made statements about the crisis in the Gulf that were conciliatory and calming in tone. He urged Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain to ease their blockade of Qatar, arguing that it was damaging to US military operations against the Islamic State (IS) group in addition to causing humanitarian harm.
In our view, this sudden toughening of the American position was a response to the way the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin-Hamad Al Khalifa, turned down Trump’s invitation to him and the other principals in the crisis to travel to Washington to explore for solutions. He justified his refusal to attend on the grounds that he could not leave his country while it remained under blockade. This angered the US president, who has been behaving like an emperor and thinks his orders cannot be disobeyed...
The Coup, Then and Now: The Enemies of Humanity Try to Give Trump the JFK Treatment By Anton Chaitkin [Anton "Tony" Chaitkin (born 1943) is an author, historian, and political activist with the LaRouche movement... The LaRouche Movement a political and cultural network promoting Lyndon LaRouche and his ideas. It has included many organizations and companies around the world, which campaign, gather information, and publish books and periodicals. The movement promotes a revival of classical art and a greater commitment to science; advocates the development of major economic infrastructure projects on a global scale; and calls for a reform of the world financial system to encourage investment in the physical economy and suppress financial speculation. (Lyndon LaRouche has run for U.S. president eight times, in every presidential election from 1976 to 2004. )] June 04, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
The Anglo-American oligarchy began a coup against President Donald Trump after his surprise 2016 election. They were in a panic to block his announced aims of partnership with Russia, the end of permanent war, the overturn of predatory Free Trade, and the return of Glass Steagall to break Wall Street’s power.
The panic turned into a frenzy on the Russian angle, as it emerged that Trump had been working with strategic advisors who were prepared to return the United States to its traditional support for national sovereignty, and drop the regime-change insanity pursued by Presidents Bush and Obama.
We have seen this kind of coup d’etat before, against the outstanding nationalist U.S. President of the second half of the 20th century, John F. Kennedy.We have lived in the shadow of that coup ever since.
... Congressman John F. Kennedy toured the Middle East and Asia in 1951, accompanied by his younger brother Robert. Kennedy was angered to see that the United States was giving up its own Revolutionary heritage, in support of British and other imperial aims.
Among the places he visited was Iran, where Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh had just nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company to end Britain’s domination and impoverishment of the country. President Roosevelt had been in Teheran eight years earlier. FDR had commissioned the Hurley Report, supporting Iran’s use of its own resources free of imperialism, as a model for the national sovereignty to be gained by all former colonies. But now Dean Acheson was coordinating with Sir Oliver Franks and a joint CIA-MI6 team, planning a coup d’etat against Mossadegh,—whose courage was then inspiring nationalist revolts by Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser and others across the rest of North Africa.
Returning home, Kennedy aired a blistering radio report on the sickness of America’s alliance with its imperial opponents. Six years after the death of his Commander-in-Chief, Kennedy precisely echoed FDR’s warnings against imperialist aims.
Iran’s government was overthrown in 1953 by British Intelligence and the Dulles CIA. A ghoulish dictatorship put Prime Minister Mossadegh into solitary confinement, and he later died under house arrest. The rescued British oil giant changed its name to British Petroleum. Anti-Western fury ultimately would lead to Iran’s Islamic Revolution of 1979.
In 1954, the CIA overthrew Guatemala’s President Jacobo Arbenz to reverse his nationalization of the United Fruit Company, whose plantations had kept the population in feudal backwardness... The coup helped lock Central America into poverty that bred drug-smuggling, violent insurrections, and migrations of hopeless masses north to the United States.
Who now remembers how John Kennedy first shook up politics and became world famous?
He spoke to the U.S. Senate on July 2, 1957, on “Imperialism—the Enemy of Freedom.” As Americans prepared to celebrate the July 4th anniversary of their Revolutionary War for Independence, Kennedy blasted the U.S. alliance with European imperialism to violently suppress African and Asian freedom—for U.S. actions vis-a-vis the raging war in Algeria had differed sharply from the American position on Suez.
That speech, and the reaction to it, put Kennedy in the kind of public spotlight Abraham Lincoln had stepped into when he debated Stephen Douglas over slavery, a century before. As Lincoln’s emergence had alarmed the dominant pro-slavery leaders, so now the alarm rang at White’s Club in London, at NATO command centers, and among those who considered themselves the permanent U.S. government. From that moment until his 1963 assassination, JFK was head to head with his and mankind’s enemies.
He attacked the reigning axiom that every other interest must be sacrificed to the anti-Communist Cold War. Why hadn’t this conflict ended long ago?
The Kennedy speech electrified African nationalists. A stream of African, Arab, and Asian leaders came to confer with the young Senator, whom they wanted to see elected as the next U.S President. John Foster Dulles counterattacked Kennedy on Cold War grounds, as did the New York Times, and Dean Acheson and other anti-FDR Democrats.
Senator Kennedy announced his Presidential candidacy on January 2, 1960. As Kennedy campaigned, President Eisenhower prepared to meet Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchov at a crucial May 16 East-West-South summit conference in Paris. President de Gaulle and India’s President Jawaharlal Nehru had planned the meeting to promote nuclear disarmament, and East-West cooperation for aid to underdeveloped countries.But two weeks before the summit, Dulles’s CIA sent a U2 spy plane on a photo mission over the USSR. It was shot down; its pilot was captured and confessed his mission
Kennedy meanwhile won Democratic primary elections, famously taking West Virginia May 10, on his way towards a November final-election victory. The NATO partners hastened to pre-empt any serious alteration in global arrangements.
Central Africa was their first target.
In October 1960, Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer was appointed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Now the two men who had betrayed President Roosevelt in Operation Sunrise sat at the top of the U.S. strategic services apparatus, Dulles at CIA and Lemnitzer at the Pentagon.
John Kennedy was elected President on November 8, 1960. He sent representatives to Africa to announce America’s renewed commitment to national sovereignty. They reported that African crowds everywhere were chanting “Kennedy! Kennedy! Kennedy!”
Seeking to take office and get some kind of start without provoking open insurrection from the Anglo-American establishment, Kennedy announced that Allen Dulles would stay on at the helm of the CIA, and J. Edgar Hoover would remain at the FBI. To placate Wall Street, he made investment banker Douglas Dillon the Treasury secretary. Lyman Lemnitzer’s term as Joint Chiefs chairman was to run until 1962, and by tradition it would then be extended.
But JFK also brought in people intensely loyal to his promises of a new direction. His brother Robert, who had been by his side since the 1951 anti-imperial tour, would ride shotgun as attorney general.
On January 17, 1960, the day the Anglo-Americans murdered Lumumba, President Eisenhower delivered his Farewell Address. He warned:
"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence … by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."
President John F. Kennedy’s January 20 Inaugural Address called for a reversal of the slide toward nuclear war with Russia, and announced clearly the return of the American founding mission:
:[M]an holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe….:
Allen Dulles now pressed upon the President the plan he and General Lemnitzer had concocted to overthrow Fidel Castro. Kennedy was told that Cuban exiles would invade and do the fighting, not U.S. troops. Dulles warned that if the plan were not approved, armed and dangerous exiles could be smoldering in Florida, directing their anger at the President.
Seeing Castro as a brutal dictator close to American shores, and being as yet unsure of his own Presidential leadership, Kennedy approved the plan on April 4, 1961. He specified that U.S. warships and combat aircraft would not be allowed to support the enterprise. But Dulles and Lemnitzer planned to compel Kennedy to throw in U.S. forces when the 1,500-man invasion would inevitably falter.
The invasion at Cuba’s Bay of Pigs April 17-19, collapsed quickly, a terrible embarrassment to the new President. Confronting Kennedy, Dulles, and Lemnitzer demanded that he bring in naval and air cover to save the operation, but he kept his resolve not to allow it.
He took upon himself full responsibility for the plan’s failure. The word went out at the CIA and the Pentagon that Kennedy was weak-unfit-dangerous. Just in case curious Congressmen might meddle into the affair, Gen. Lemnitzer destroyed his aide’s notes of the Joint Chiefs’ discussions leading into the Bay of Pigs.
New York Times reporter James Reston wrote that the CIA had masterminded “the rebel attack on Cuba last week, the U-2 spy plane incident a year ago, and [now] was involved in an embarrassing liaison with the anti-Gaullist officers who staged last week’s insurrection in Algiers.”
Reston reported that Kennedy wanted to bring in his brother Robert to replace Dulles at the CIA and clean the Agency up. Claude Krief, reporting for the liberal weekly magazine L’Express, gave details on a clandestine meeting held April 12, 1961 in Madrid, of “various foreign agents, including members of the CIA and the Algiers conspirators, who disclose their plans to the CIA men.”
By the end of April, Kennedy made it known that he considered the CIA disloyal, that—as the Paris newspapers put it—it constituted “a reactionary state-within a state.” Kennedy forced the resignation of Allen Dulles, his deputy Richard Bissell (involved in both the Cuban and Paris disasters), and Charles Cabell, the CIA’s liaison with Gen. Lemnitzer. Dulles left the CIA in November 1961, but within a month or two he was back at the center of the ruling group at the Agency, giving and receiving briefings several times a week. Those who frequented Dulles’s house in Georgetown viewed the President as a usurper-weak-dangerous.
But with the news from Cuba, the Congo, and Paris, murder was in the air in Washington. Journalists Fletcher Knebel and Charles Bailey were working on an urgent follow-up to their 1960 book on nuclear war... Knebel and Bailey now crafted an account of a future military coup d’etat against the United States President, to be called Seven Days in May. The beliefs and actions of the chief perpetrator, a fictionalized Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff named “James Matoon Scott” mirrored the real-life role of Lyman Lemnitzer. To make certain that this identification was not missed, the authors gave the fictional President the last name “Lyman.”
The real chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Lyman Lemnitzer, met with President Kennedy and his National Security Council on July 20, 1961, just as the East-West crisis over Berlin threatened to explode into immediate hot war in Europe. Lemnitzer presented his plan for a surprise, preemptive nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, to take place in 1963.
On March 13, 1962, Joint Chiefs Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer gave Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara a plan for the United States to carry out terror attacks against its own armed forces and civilians, to be blamed on the Castro regime as “pretexts which would provide justification for US military intervention in Cuba.” Known as Operation Northwoods, the plan would remain secret until declassified in the 1990s. It is now available online.
Among Lemnitzer’s proposals were these:
Bomb the U.S. base at Guantanamo, Cuba, and destroy U.S. ships... Blow up ammunition inside the base; start fires... Sink a ship near the harbor entrance. Conduct funerals for mock-victims…. Lie to news media... Conduct terror atrocities inside the United States... An “incident which will demonstrate convincingly that a Cuban aircraft has attacked and shot down a chartered civil airliner en route from the United States…. Make it “appear that Communist Cuban MIGs have destroyed a USAF aircraft over international waters in an unprovoked attack.”
Kennedy dismissed the Northwoods proposal. About a month later, Lemnitzer simply demanded that the United States stage a full-scale military invasion of Cuba, without provocation, on the presumption that the Soviets would not react.
The President now ordered that Lemnitzer be ousted as chairman of the Joint Chiefs when his term expired in October 1962, six months hence. Kennedy designated General Maxwell Taylor to replace Lemnitzer as chairman at that time, and to supervise Lemnitzer as long as he remained the chief. Lemnitzer’s British sponsors intervened at this crucial stage to keep him in a position of power, as he later explained to his authorized biographer.
Kennedy saw the British proposal for Lemnitzer to command NATO military forces in Europe as a way to kick him out of the Pentagon without provoking an open revolt by his high-ranking military followers.
The novel about a coup d’etat against the U.S. President, Seven Days in May, came out in September 1962. Chilling real-life events made the book a best seller.
On August 22, a few days before the book’s release, a squad of assassins on motorcycles had attacked French President de Gaulle’s car with automatic weapons fire.
Thus it was amidst a struggle for the survival of lawful government that the Cuban Missile Crisis began on October 16, 1962. During those terrifying hours, Seven Days in May was the number one best seller in Washington DC, because no one viewed it as fiction.
A battle of wills went on day after day. The President and his loyal staff wanted to give the Russians a way to back down without being crushed or humiliated. The Dulles-Lemnitzer faction wanted to bomb the missile sites, and follow that action with an all-out U.S. invasion of Cuba.
Lemnitzer faction’s attempt to bully the President into a catastrophic war.
The Manchurian Candidate, a film about a plot to take over the White House by assassination, was released to American movie theaters at the height of the 13-day missile crisis. Its director, John Frankenheimer, became very close to Robert Kennedy. Frankenheimer bought the rights to Seven Days in May, the novel about a future coup d’etat in the USA, and proceeded to make it into a movie. President Kennedy and his staff gave Frankenheimer their active, eager cooperation in the film-making project. The movie is a startling reflection of the psychology of the two sides, the mortal enemies who had confronted each other within the Excomm during the missile crisis.
Lyman Lemnitzer, defeated in the Cuban Missile Crisis and sacked as Joint Chiefs’ chairman—but not incarcerated—went over to Paris as head of NATO military forces. Lemnitzer inherited a continent-wide covert apparatus of Mafia killers, Hitler Nazis and Mussolini fascists, French colonial diehards, and white mercenaries fuming about the loss of Africa.
This was the “stay-behind” network he had seen constructed after World War II by the British Secret Service, with help from Dulles and logistical support by himself. It was not until October 1990 that Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti rocked the political world by revealing the existence of this covert network, which came to be called after the name for its Italian section, “Gladio.”
Its most notorious crime was the so-called Strategy of Tension, exploding bombs and murdering civilians in the name of non-existent radical groups, to foster servile obedience in the population. The apparatus had carried out the 1978 “Red Brigades” kidnapping and murder of Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro.
This was the same “false flag” terror campaign that Lemnitzer had unsuccessfully proposed to President Kennedy for the USA. The tactic has persisted into the present age of terror and counter-terror.
In 1967, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison would prosecute CIA/MI6 asset Clay Shaw as a perpetrator of the JFK assassination, showing that Shaw was a central figure in the Italian Gladio murder apparatus.
What the World Lost in the American Coup
The peaceful outcome of the Cuban Missile Crisis, serving the mutual interests of the United States and the Russians, was a decisive victory of Kennedy over his Anglo-American opponents. With the grateful opinion of a reprieved world at his back, he immediately pressed the advantage, acting to secure a future in which American interests were once again identified with the world’s progress and safety.
His murder one year later (November 22, 1963) ought to be recognized as the decisive act in a coup d’etat against the United States. The resultant absence of America’s unique optimism and creativity from world affairs was everywhere deeply demoralizing.
We may now be witnessing a global popular revolt against the failed system which Kennedy’s enemies imposed after his death: uncontrolled financial speculation, deindustrialization, and the devastation of permanent wars. It may now be possible, culturally and politically, for citizens to once again understand Kennedy’s traditional American viewpoint, which has otherwise been incomprehensible to generations subjected to humiliation and social degradation.
The old, hideously cruel colonial system in Africa had little support at that time outside the City of London, Wall Street, and a hard-right circle supporting the financiers... The original Belgian crown colony in the Congo had long ago come under control of interlocked banking and mining interests linking British Rhodesia and Congo’s Katanga province, joined by Morgan, Rockefeller and other clients of the Dulles Brothers.
With the British reeling, Kennedy moved the United Nations to support the Congo’s national sovereignty with U.N. military forces and U.S. logistics. Within weeks, peace was restored, the Katanga secession was crushed, Katanga leader Moise Tshombe was arrested, and the Congo government asked British diplomats to leave.
A letter to the London Daily Telegraph, January 9, 1963, expressed imperial rage: “We … have witnessed three … attempts at world domination, first by Hitler, then by Stalin … and now by President Kennedy.” But this hatred was perhaps not widely shared among Britons, who were alive because the American President had followed his own judgment and had not been intimidated by anti-Russian madmen.
JFK’s famous “Peace Speech” came on June 10, 1963 as the commencement address at American University in Washington, DC. He announced that the United States would unilaterally stop testing nuclear weapons, to encourage a U.S.-Soviet accord. He said that Russia had suffered more than any other country to defeat Hitler.
He asked Americans to re-examine their own attitudes toward Russia...
This, then, is what Senator Chuck Schumer (Dem., NY) meant January 3, 2017 when he tried to intimidate Donald Trump by calling him “really dumb” for attacking the covert agencies: “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”
Schumer’s brutal threat was that Trump would get the Kennedy treatment.
Since the murder of the last President to stand up decisively to the oligarchs, the United States and Britain have been led to abandon industrial progress in their own countries, and to attack the right of poor countries to industrialize as “environmentally dangerous,” and as a potential military risk if such countries were to know too much science. Governments, bribed and coerced, have surrendered economic control to financiers who are universal plunderers.
They have launched dozens of new Bay of Pigs wars–in Iraq, Libya, Syria, all over Africa and all around Russia–killing millions, producing only refugees and terrorists, even as they “preach freedom around the world.” They paid billions of dollars to buy the forcible overthrow of the elected president in Ukraine when he opted for closer relations with neighboring Russia.
Citizens’ revulsion against the Establishment swept Europe and hit the United States in the 2016 elections, in the votes cast both for Bernie Sanders and for Donald Trump. When Wikileaks exposed Hillary Clinton’s betrayal of her country—she had assured her Wall Street sponsors that they would control national policy—the frantic lie came back that Russia was somehow responsible for leaking Clinton’s secret speech, and thus Russia had meddled in the U.S. elections.
NATO—the NATO of Lord Harold Alexander and his idolizer Lyman Lemnitzer—is now stationing American and British troops in the Baltic countries on Russia’s borders, preparing for a Third World War.
Cleptocrats Move Onward
NSA "Intelligence Report" Does NOT Show "Russia Executed A CyberAttack" By Moon Of Alabama June 06, 2017
Yesterday The Intercept published a leaked five page NSA analysis about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections. Its reporting outed the leaker of the NSA documents. That person, R.L. Winner, has now been arrested and is likely to be jailed for years if not for the rest of her life.
FBI search (pdf) and arrest warrant (pdf) applications unveil irresponsible behavior by the Intercept's reporters and editors which neglected all operational security trade-craft that might have prevented the revealing of the source. It leaves one scratching the head if this was intentional or just sheer incompetence. Either way - the incident confirms what skeptics had long determined: The Intercept is not a trustworthy outlet for leaking state secrets of public interests.
The Intercept was created to privatize the National Security Agency documents leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The documents proved that the NSA is hacking and copying nearly all electronic communication on this planet, that it was breaking laws that prohibited spying on U.S. citizen and that it sabotages on a large scale various kinds of commercial electronic equipment. Snowden gave copies of the NSA documents to a small number of journalists. One of them was Glenn Greenwald who now works at The Intercept. Only some 5% of the pages Snowden allegedly acquired and gave to reporters have been published. We have no idea what the unpublished pages would provide.
The Intercept, a subdivision of First Look Media, was founded by Pierre Omidyar, a major owner of the auctioning site eBay and its PayPal banking division. Omidyar is a billionaire and "philanthropist" who's (tax avoiding) Omidyar Network foundation is "investing" for "returns". Its microcredit project for farmers in India, in cooperation with people from the fascists RSS party, ended in an epidemic of suicides when the farmers were unable to pay back. The Omidyar Network also funded (fascist) regime change groups in Ukraine in cooperation with USAID. Omidyar had cozy relations with the Obama White House. Some of the held back NSA documents likely implicate Omidyar's PayPal.
The Intercept was funded with some $50 million from Omidyar. It first hires were Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras - all involved in publishing the Snowden papers and other leaks. Its first piece was based on documents from the leaked the NSA stack. It has since published on this or that but not in a regular media way. The Intercept pieces are usually heavily editorialized and tend to have a mainstream "liberal" to libertarian slant.
Where the US Ranks on the List of Most Peaceful Nations in the World By Darius Shahtahmasebi. June 06, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
The Global Peace Index, which bases its annual assessment on a complex analysis of social, economic, and political factors, has found that the United States of America is the 114th most peaceful nation on the planet.
This most recent ranking sees the U.S. down 11 places from the previous year. This drop places Armenia and Rwanda in front of America, and El Salvador and China right behind.
“Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008. It is joined at the top of the index by New Zealand, Portugal, Austria, and Denmark. There was also very little change at the bottom of the index. Syria remains the least peaceful country in the world, followed by Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan, and Yemen,” the report said.
The other countries at the bottom of the list (including Syria) are actively being bombed into oblivion by the United States.
“The U.S. deterioration is primarily driven by the growing intensity of internal conflict within the country, which was partly seen in the divisive 2016 Presidential election, as well as increases in the perceptions of criminality across American society,” the analysis said.
Leaked 5/30/17 by Park Rangers... on Facebook
Leaked documents now expose military tactics used to defeat pipeline protesters at Standing Rock.
In September of last year, when protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota were at its peak, disturbing footage showed security personnel releasing their dogs at the peaceful water protectors. This widely shared clip sparked nationwide criticism and anger towards the controversial project.
To counter the protests, DAPL parent company Energy Transfer Partners turned to a private security firm that treated the demonstrators. TigerSwan, which is run by a special forces Army veteran and has offices in Iraq and Afghanistan, is described as a shadowy international mercenary and security firm that originated as a U.S. military and State Department contractor helping to execute the global war on terror. TigerSwan applied military-style counterterrorism measures including the use of helicopters and drones for aerial surveillance, radio eavesdropping, infiltration of camps and activist circles, and even tracking persons "of interest" over state lines.
The firm also planned a counter-information campaign by creating and distributing content critical of the protests on social media. Another troubling revelation is TigerSwan's alleged collaboration with law enforcement across five states and the federal government to suppress the uprising. The leaked documents detail communications among agents from the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Justice Department, the Marshals Service, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as well as state and local police.
Trump: Dancing with Wolves on the Titanic By The Saker "May 29, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
There are many ways in which Saudi Arabia and Israel are truly unique: they are both prime sponsors of terrorism, they are both nations deeply steeped in ideologies which can only be described as uncivilized (Wahabism and Jewish supremacism) and they both are armed to the teeth.
But they also have one other thing in common: in spite, or maybe because of, their immense military budgets, these two nations are also militarily very weak. Oh sure, they have lots of fancy military hardware and they like to throw their weight around and beat up some defenseless “enemy”, but once you set aside all the propaganda you realize that the Saudis can’t even deal with the Houtis in Yemen while the Israelis got comprehensively defeated by 2nd rank Hezbollah forces in 2006 (the top of the line Hezbollah forces were concentrated along the Litani river and never saw direct combat): the entire Golani Brigade could not even take Bint Jbeil under control even though that small town was only 1.5 miles away from the Israeli border. This is also the reason why the Saudis and the Israelis try to limit themselves to airstrikes: because on the ground they simply suck.
the US occupation of Iraq was, in military terms, a total disaster, it did result in almost one and a half million dead people.
Syria’s Assad Just Explained How The U.S. Really Works By Brandon Turbeville [the author of seven books. Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com ] May 27, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
While Americans endlessly battle each other over seemingly important choices like Clinton and Trump or Democrats and Republicans, it is clear that the majority of the population has little understanding of how the U.S. government operates.
Yet, for those who pay the price for the apathy and confusion of the general population of the West, it often becomes stunningly obvious that neither presidents nor political parties in America represent any discernible difference in the ongoing agenda of the Deep State and the rest of the oligarchical apparatus. Indeed, that agenda always marches forward regardless of who is president or which political party is in control.
With that in mind, it is worth pointing out a recent statement made by Assad during the course of an interview regarding the opinion of the Syrian government on Donald Trump. Assad stated,
The American President has no policies. There are policies drawn by the American institutions which control the American regime which are the intelligence agencies, the Pentagon, the big arms and oil companies, and financial institutions, in addition to some other lobbies which influence American decision-making. The American President merely implements these policies, and the evidence is that when Trump tried to move on a different track, during and after his election campaign, he couldn’t. He came under a ferocious attack. As we have seen in the past few week, he changed his rhetoric completely and subjected himself to the terms of the deep American state, or the deep American regime. That’s why it is unrealistic and a complete waste of time to make an assessment of the American President’s foreign policy, for he might say something; but he ultimately does what these institutions dictate to him. This is not new. This has been ongoing American policy for decades.
This means that if you want to be a politician in the United States, you have to be a genuine liar. This is what characterizes American politicians: they lie on a daily basis, and say something and do something different. That’s why we shouldn’t believe what the Pentagon, or any other American institution says, because they say things which serve their policies, not things which reflect reality and the facts on the ground.
While Americans remain more divided than ever and as they ceaselessly argue over which party and political figurehead is better, the war machine marches onward not only in Syria but also in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere. If Americans are not capable of understanding that there is more to the system in which they live than two pathetic political parties and clownish presidential personalities, that war machine will march itself clear across the globe until it comes back home.
You Only Hate Assad Because Your TV Told You To By Caitlin Johnstone [rogue journalist; independent thinker] May 27, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
“What we’ve been undergoing to a large extent is a form of psychological abuse, actually, by very narcissistic, hegemonic governments and officials for a very long time. It’s a form of gas lighting where actually our own faith in our ability to judge a situation, and to some extent even our own identity, has been eroded and damaged to the point where we’re effectively accepting their version of reality.” ~ Vanessa Beeley [a British investigative journalist focused on the Middle East]
The only thing keeping westerners from seeing through the lies that they’ve been told about Syria is the unquestioned assumption that their own government could not possibly be that evil.
They have no trouble believing that a foreigner from a Muslim-majority country could be gratuitously using chemical weapons on children at the most strategically disastrous time possible and bombing his own civilians for no discernible reason other than perhaps sheer sexual sadism, but
the possibility that their government is making those things up in order to manufacture consent for regime change is ruled out before any critical analysis of the situation even begins.
Despite the evil and unforgivable invasion of Iraq having happened a mere fourteen years ago, sold to the public based on nothing but lies and mass media propaganda, mainstream America is unwilling to consider the possibility that this is happening again. Unwilling to turn and face the implications of what this would mean for their worldview, their self-image, and the entire system they’ve developed for examining and interpreting their experience of their lives up until this point.
the “White Helmets” are literally nothing other than Al-Qaeda members wearing special hats, to a breakdown of the way NGOs are used by government foundations and plutocrats to help construct propaganda narratives, all the way up to a big-picture analysis of the general unwholesome dynamic that gave rise to these despicable manipulations in the first place.
The Death of the Republic By Chris Hedges [best journalist extant in my opinion] May 22, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
The deep state’s decision in ancient Rome—dominated by a bloated military and a corrupt oligarchy, much like the United States of 2017—to strangle the vain and idiotic Emperor Commodus in his bath in the year 192 did not halt the growing chaos and precipitous decline of the Roman Empire.
Commodus, like a number of other late Roman emperors, and like President Trump, was incompetent and consumed by his own vanity. He commissioned innumerable statues of himself as Hercules and had little interest in governance. He used his position as head of state to make himself the star of his own ongoing public show. He fought victoriously as a gladiator in the arena in fixed bouts. Power for Commodus, as it is for Trump, was primarily about catering to his bottomless narcissism, hedonism and lust for wealth. He sold public offices so the ancient equivalents of Betsy DeVos and Steve Mnuchin could orchestrate a vast kleptocracy.
Commodus was replaced by the reformer Pertinax, the Bernie Sanders of his day, who attempted in vain to curb the power of the Praetorian Guards, the ancient version of the military-industrial complex. This effort saw the Praetorian Guards assassinate Pertinax after he was in power only three months. The Guards then auctioned off the office of emperor to the highest bidder.
The next emperor, Didius Julianus, lasted 66 days. There would be five emperors in A.D. 193, the year after the assassination of Commodus. Trump and our decaying empire have ominous historical precedents. If the deep state replaces Trump, whose ineptitude and imbecility are embarrassing to the empire, that action will not restore our democracy any more than replacing Commodus restored democracy in Rome. Our republic is dead.
When the Roman Emperor Augustus—he referred to himself as the “first citizen”—neutered the republic, he was careful to maintain the form of the old republic. Lenin and the Bolsheviks did the same when they seized and crushed the autonomous soviets. Even the Nazis and the Stalinists insisted they ruled democratic states. Thomas Paine wrote that despotic government is a fungus that grows out of a corrupt civil society. This is what happened to these older democracies. It is what happened to us.
Wages are stagnant or have declined. Unemployment and underemployment—masked by falsified statistics—have thrust half the country into chronic poverty. Social services are abolished in the name of austerity. Culture and the arts have been replaced by sexual commodification, banal entertainment and graphic depictions of violence. The infrastructure, neglected and underfunded, is collapsing. Bankruptcies, foreclosures, arrests, food shortages and untreated illnesses that lead to early death plague a harried underclass. The desperate flee into an underground economy dominated by drugs, crime and human trafficking. The state, rather than address the economic misery, militarizes police departments and empowers them to use lethal force against unarmed civilians. It fills the prisons with 2.3 million citizens, only a tiny percentage of whom had a trial. One million prisoners work for corporations inside prisons as modern-day slaves.
The executive branch of government has empowered itself to assassinate U.S. citizens. It can call the Army into the streets to quell civil unrest under Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, which ended a prohibition on the military acting as a domestic police force.
The executive branch can order the military to seize U.S. citizens deemed to be terrorists or associated with terrorists. This is called “extraordinary rendition.” Those taken into custody by the military can be denied due process and habeas corpus rights and held indefinitely in military facilities.
Activists and dissidents, whose rights were once protected under the First Amendment, can face indefinite incarceration.
Constitutionally protected statements, beliefs and associations are criminalized. The state assumed the power to detain and prosecute people not for what they have done, or even for what they are planning to do, but for holding religious or political beliefs that the state deems seditious. The first of those targeted have been observant Muslims, but they will not be the last.
The relationship between the state and the citizen who is watched constantly is one of master and slave. And the shackles will not be removed if Trump disappears.
Chomsky: Outrage Over Russian Hacking Claims is Laughable ideo and Transcript By Democracy Now! April 04, 2017
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Noam Chomsky, I’d like to ask you about something that’s been in the news a lot lately. Obviously, all the cable channels, that’s all they talk about these days, is the whole situation of Russia’s supposed intervention in American elections. For a country that’s intervened in so many governments and so many elections around the world, that’s kind of a strange topic. But I know you’ve referred to this as a joke. Could you give us your view on what’s happening and why there’s so much emphasis on this particular issue?
NOAM CHOMSKY: It’s a pretty remarkable fact that—first of all, it is a joke. Half the world is cracking up in laughter. The United States doesn’t just interfere in elections. It overthrows governments it doesn’t like, institutes military dictatorships. Simply in the case of Russia alone—it’s the least of it—the U.S. government, under Clinton, intervened quite blatantly and openly, then tried to conceal it, to get their man Yeltsin in, in all sorts of ways. So, this, as I say, it’s considered—it’s turning the United States, again, into a laughingstock in the world.
So why are the Democrats focusing on this? In fact, why are they focusing so much attention on the one element of Trump’s programs which is fairly reasonable, the one ray of light in this gloom: trying to reduce tensions with Russia? That’s—the tensions on the Russian border are extremely serious. They could escalate to a major terminal war. Efforts to try to reduce them should be welcomed. Just a couple of days ago, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Jack Matlock, came out and said he just can’t believe that so much attention is being paid to apparent efforts by the incoming administration to establish connections with Russia. He said, "Sure, that’s just what they ought to be doing."
So, meanwhile, this one topic is the primary locus of concern and critique, while, meanwhile, the policies are proceeding step by step, which are extremely destructive and harmful. So, you know, yeah, maybe the Russians tried to interfere in the election. That’s not a major issue. Maybe the people in the Trump campaign were talking to the Russians. Well, OK, not a major point, certainly less than is being done constantly. And it is a kind of a paradox, I think, that the one issue that seems to inflame the Democratic opposition is the one thing that has some justification and reasonable aspects to it.
Russia Justifiably Fears Possible Preemptive US Nuclear Attack By Stephen Lendman March 31, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
America’s rage for endless wars is the greatest threat to world peace, stability and security. Russia fears a possible preemptive US nuclear attack on its territory.
According to Russia’s General Staff deputy head of operations Gen. Viktor Poznikhir,
“(t)he presence of American ABM sites in Europe and ABM-capable ships in the seas and oceans close to Russia’s territory creates a powerful clandestine potential for delivering a surprise nuclear missile strike against Russia.”
Madness persists, undermining global security, threatening humanity more than ever with neocons in charge of US militarism and war-making.
The Russia Hacking Fiasco: No Evidence Required By Mike Whitney [Journalist. Writes for Counterpunch and Alternet. Progressive muckraker], March 31, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
“So far, no single piece of evidence has been made public proving that the Trump campaign joined with Russia to steal the US presidency – nothing…Stop to let that thought reverberate for a moment.”
So the Russians stole the election by bashing Hillary on Facebook? Is that what you’re telling me?
And they needed the Trump team’s help to carry out this nefarious operation?
Is that the nuttiest explanation you’ve ever heard? And yet some people believe this baloney.
Did you know that the FBI opened this investigation in July 2016? That’s eight months ago.
And what have they got to show for it?
Nothing. Not a damn thing.
That’s not to say that their weren’t any connections between the 2016 political campaigns and Russia. There sure were, but the connections were all on Hillary’s side. As Robert Parry reports in his latest piece at Consortium News:
“An irony of the escalating hysteria about the Trump camp’s contacts with Russians is that one presidential campaign in 2016 did exploit political dirt that supposedly came from the Kremlin and other Russian sources. Friends of that political campaign paid for this anonymous hearsay material, shared it with American journalists and urged them to publish it to gain an electoral advantage. But this campaign was not Donald Trump’s; it was Hillary Clinton’s….
WikiLeaks Shows How the CIA Hides the Origins of its Hacking Attacks and 'Disguise them as Russian or Chinese Activity' By Mail Online [UK daily, the United Kingdom's second biggest-selling daily newspaper after The Sun. The Daily Mail was Britain's first daily newspaper aimed at the newly literate "lower-middle class market resulting from mass education, combining a low retail price with plenty of competitions, prizes and promotional gimmicks"] March 31, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "The Mail"
WikiLeaks has published hundreds more files today which it claims show the CIA went to great lengths to disguise its own hacking attacks and point the finger at Russia, China, North Korea and Iran. The 676 files released today are part of WikiLeaks' Vault 7 tranche of files and they claim to give an insight into the CIA's Marble software, which can forensically disguise viruses, trojans and hacking attacks.
The Feuding Kleptocrats By Chris Hedges March 27, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "Truth Dig"
The Trump kleptocrats are political arsonists. They are carting cans of gasoline into government agencies and Congress to burn down any structure or program that promotes the common good and impedes corporate profit.
It is all entertainment all the time. It is the result of a media that long ago gave up journalism to keep us amused. Trump was its creation. And now we get a daily “Gong Show” out of the White House. It is good for Trump. It is good for the profits of the cable news networks. But it is bad for us.
The battle over health care was all about the most effective way to hand money to corporations. Do we stick with Obamacare, already a gift to the for-profit insurance and pharmaceutical industries, or do we turn to a sham bill of pretend care that gives even more tax cuts to the rich? This is what passes for nuanced political debate now.
they lock out critics of corporate power, especially those who promote the rational system of Medicare for all. Health care costs in the United States, where 40 cents of every health care dollar goes to corporations, are double what they are in industrial countries that have a national health service.
The kleptocrats have used the courts to strip us of due process and habeas corpus. They have constructed the largest prison system in the world. They have militarized police and authorized them to kill unarmed citizens, especially poor people of color, with impunity. They have overturned the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which once prohibited the military from acting as a domestic police force, by passing Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act. Section 1021 gives the kleptocrats the power to carry out extraordinary rendition on the streets of American cities and hold citizens indefinitely in military detention centers without due process—in essence disappearing them as in any totalitarian state.
Full surveillance, as political philosopher Hannah Arendt wrote, is not a means to discover or prevent crimes, but a device to have “on hand when the government decides to arrest a certain category of the population.” The most innocuous information will be twisted and used by the kleptocrats to condemn anyone considered a threat.
The kleptocrats, in the end, have only one real enemy: us. Their goal is to make sure we are mesmerized by their carnival act or, if we wake up, shackled while they do their dirty work. Our goal must be to get rid of them.
"The rich will strive to establish their dominion and enslave the rest. They always did...they always will. They will have the same effect here as elsewhere, if we do not, by the power of government, keep them in their proper spheres." -- Gouverneur Morris - (1752-1816) represented Pennsylvania in the Constitutional Convention of 1787, author of large sections of the Constitution for the United States, credited as the author of its Preamble (from ICH)
"Unless you become more watchful in your States and check this spirit of monopoly and thirst for exclusive privileges, you will in the end find that the most important powers of Government have been given or bartered away, and the control of your dearest interests have been passed into the hands of these corporations" - Andrew Jackson, farewell address, 04 March 1837
"What is the great Amercican sin? Extravagance? Vice? Graft? No; it is a kind of half-humorous, good-natured indifference, a lack of "concentrated indignation" as my English friend calls it, which allows extravagance and vice to flourish. Trace most of our ills to their source, and it is found that they exist by virtue of an easy-going, fatalistic indifference which dislikes to have its comfort disturbed....The most shameless greed, the most sickening industrial atrocities, the most appalling public scandals are exposed, but a half-cynical and wholly indifferent public passes them by with hardly a shrug of the shoulders; and they are lost in the medley of events. This is the great American sin.": Joseph Fort Newman, Atlantic Monthly, October 1922
"The Democratic Party is not an association of political virgins and pacifists, but the second-oldest capitalist party on the planet, steeped in blood from its origins as the party of the Southern slaveowners. It is the party of World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam, of Hiroshima and Nagasaki." Patrick Martin
"I inherited from my father and still nourish the notion that Republicans are those who have acquired enough money, often by inheritance and blind luck, to entertain the opinion that their fellow citizens should work harder and be more grateful to the moneyed class while they refrain from work themselves and sit in clean rooms with folded soft hands examining their bank statements and brokerage reports." - Bill Holm, The Heart Can Be Filled Anywhere on Earth
"The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it."- P.J. O'Rourke, Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government
"Governments have never learned anything from history, or acted on principles deducted from it" Hebbel : German poet and dramatist, 1813-1863
"The only security for the American people today, or for any people, is to be found through the control of force rather than the use of force" : Norman Cousins: American essayist and editor, long associated with the Saturday Review, 1912-1990
A Last Chance for Resistance By Chris Hedges March 20, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "Truth Dig"
The crawl toward despotism within a failed democracy is always incremental. No regime planning to utterly extinguish civil liberties advertises its intentions in advance. It pays lip service to liberty and justice while obliterating the institutions and laws that make them possible.
The current administration’s budget proposes to give the war industry, the domestic policing agencies, the fossil fuel industry, Wall Street, billionaires and the national security and surveillance agencies more than they could have imagined possible before the election. These forces, as in all fascist states, will be the pillars of the Trump regime. They will tolerate Donald Trump’s idiocy, ineptitude and unbridled narcissism in exchange for increased profits and power. Despots are often buffoons.
If Trump’s budget is approved by Congress, there will not even be a pretense of civil society. Trump and his family will profit from his presidency. Corporations will profit from his presidency. Wall Street will profit from his presidency. And the people will be made to pay.
Despots demand absolute loyalty. This is why they place family members in the inner circles. The Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, whose vanity rivaled that of Trump, and Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein filled their governments with their children, siblings, nephews, nieces and in-laws and rounded out their inner courts with racists, opportunists and thugs of the kind that now populate the White House.
Despots distrust diplomats. Diplomats, often multilingual and conversant with other cultures and societies, deal in nuances and ambiguities that are beyond the grasp of the despot... Despots replace diplomats with sycophants with no diplomatic experience, such as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who promise to impose the despot’s will on the rest of the world.
It will be increasingly difficult to carry out mass protests and civil disobedience. Repression will become steadily more overt and severe. Dissent will be equated with terrorism. We must use the space before it is shut. This is a race against time.
The Empire Should be Placed on Suicide Watch By The Saker [Expert in: Military analysis, intelligence issues, Russian geopolitics, traditional Orthodoxy (Christian) Bio: "The Saker" is a pseudonym for a top level American military analyst who lives in Florida, the author of the leading blog covering the Ukraine crisis, The Vineyard of the Saker, which gets an astounding 50,000 page views per day. (August - September 2014). His articles are some of the most popular on Russia Insider.] Of the many blogs covering the subject, his has shot far ahead of the others, due to his sharp analysis and insight.
the Neocons’ refusal to accept the election of Donald Trump has resulted in a massive campaign to de-legitimize him. What the Neocons clearly fail to see, or don’t care about, is that by de-legitimizing Trump they are also de-legitimizing the entire political process which brought Trump to power and upon which the United States are built as a society. As a direct result from this campaign, not only are millions of Americans becoming disgusted with the political system they were indoctrinated to believe in, but internationally the notion of “American democracy” is becoming a sad joke.
A key element of the quasi constant brainwashing of the average American has always been the regular holding of elections. Nevermind that, at least until now, the outcome of these elections made very little difference inside the USA and non at all outside, the goal was never to consult the people – the goal has always been to give the illusion of democracy and people power. Now that the Democrats say that the Russians rigged the elections and the Republicans say that it was the Democrats and their millions of dead voters who tried stealing it, it become rather obvious that these elections were always a joke, a pseudo-democratic “liturgy”, a brainwashing ritual – you name it – but never about anything real.
...the ultimate unmasking of the viciously evil true face of that 1% must be credited to Hillary with her truly historical confession in which she openly declared that those who oppose her are a “basket of deplorables”.
As for the US “diplomacy” it simply doesn’t exist. You don’t need diplomats to deliver demands, bribes, ultimatums and threats. You don’t need educated people. Nor do you need people with any understanding of the “other”. All you need is one arrogant self-enamored bully and one interpreter (since US diplomats don’t speak the local languages either. And why would they?).
Military suicide: the US military was never a very impressive one, certainly not when compared to the British, Russian or German ones. But it did have a couple of very strong points including the ability to produce a lot of technical innovations which made it possible to produce new, sometimes quite revolutionary, weapons. And if the US track record on ground operations was rather modest, the US did prove to be a most capable adversary in naval and aerial warfare. I don’t think that it can be denied that for most of the years following WWII the USA had the most powerful and sophisticated navy and airforce in the world. Then, gradually, things started getting worse and worse as the costs of the very expensive ships and aircraft shot through the roof while the quality of the produced systems appeared to be gradually degrading. Weapons systems which looked nothing short of awesome in the lab and test grounds proved to be almost useless once they to to their end user on the battlefield. What happened? How did a country which produced the UH-1 Huey or the F-16 suddenly start producing Apaches and F-35s?! The explanation is painfully simple: corruption.
Not only did the US military industrial complex bloat beyond any reasonable size, it also cloaked itself in so many layers of secrecy that massive corruption became inevitable. And when I speak of “massive corruption” I am not talking about millions but billions or even trillions. How? Simple – the Pentagon claimed did not have the accounting tools needed to properly account for the missing money and that the money was therefore not really “missing”. Another trick – no bid contracts. Or contracts which cover all the private contractor’s costs, no matter how high or ridiculous. Desert Storm was a bonanza for the MIC, as was 9/11 and the GWOT. Billions of dollars got printed out of thin air, distributed (mostly under the cover of national security), hidden (secrecy) and stolen (by everybody in this entire food chain). The feeding frenzy was so extreme that one of my teachers as SAIS admitted, off the record of course, that he had never seen a weapons system he did not like or which he did not want to purchase. This man, whom I shall not name, was a former director of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Yes, you read that right. He was in charge of DIS-armament. You can imagine what the folks in charge of armament (no “dis) were thinking…
With the stratospheric rise of corruption, the kind of US general which had to be promoted went from fighting men who remembered Vietnam (where they often lost family members, relatives and friends) to ass-kissing little chickenshits” like David Petraeus. In less than half a century US generals went from combat men, to managers, to politicians. And it is against this lackluster background that a rather unimpressive personality like General James Mattis can appear, at least to some, like a good candidate for Secretary of Defense.
Bottom line: the US armed forces are fantastically expensive and yet not particularly well-trained, well-equipped or well-commanded. And while they still are much more capable than the many European militaries (which are a joke), they are most definitely not the kind of armed forces needed to impose and maintain a world hegemony. The good news for the USA is that the US armed forces are more than adequate to defend the USA against any hypothetical attack. But as the backbone of the Empire – they are close to useless.
Who Rules the United States? By Matthew Continetti  February 18, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "WFB"
Donald Trump was elected president last November by winning 306 electoral votes. He pledged to "drain the swamp" in Washington, D.C., to overturn the system of politics that had left the nation's capital and major financial and tech centers flourishing but large swaths of the country mired in stagnation and decay. "What truly matters," he said in his Inaugural Address, "is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people."
Is it? By any historical and constitutional standard, "the people" elected Donald Trump and endorsed his program of nation-state populist reform. Yet over the last few weeks America has been in the throes of an unprecedented revolt. Not of the people against the government—that happened last year—but of the government against the people. What this says about the state of American democracy, and what it portends for the future, is incredibly disturbing.
Michael Flynn... Here was a case of current and former national security officials using their position, their sources, and their methods to crush a political enemy. And no one but supporters of the president seems to be disturbed. Why? Because we are meant to believe that the mysterious, elusive, nefarious, and to date unproven connection between Donald Trump and the Kremlin is more important than the norms of intelligence and the decisions of the voters.
The last few weeks have confirmed that there are two systems of government in the United States. The first is the system of government outlined in the U.S. Constitution—its checks, its balances, its dispersion of power, its protection of individual rights. Donald Trump was elected to serve four years as the chief executive of this system. Whether you like it or not.
The second system is comprised of those elements not expressly addressed by the Founders. This is the permanent government, the so-called administrative state of bureaucracies, agencies, quasi-public organizations, and regulatory bodies and commissions, of rule-writers and the byzantine network of administrative law courts. This is the government of unelected judges with lifetime appointments who, far from comprising the "least dangerous branch," now presume to think they know more about America's national security interests than the man elected as commander in chief.
For some time, especially during Democratic presidencies, the second system of government was able to live with the first one. But that time has ended. The two systems are now in competition.
The Stakes for Trump and All of Us By Paul Craig Roberts February 18, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
We need to understand, and so does President Trump, that the hoax “war on terror” was used to transform intelligence agencies, such as the NSA and CIA, and criminal investigative agencies, such as the FBI, into Gestapo secret police agencies. Trump is now threatened by these agencies, because he rejects the neoconservative’s agenda of US world hegemony that supports the gigantic military/security annual budget.
Our secret police agencies are busy at work planting “intelligence” among the presstitute media that Trump is compromised by “Russian connections” and is a security threat to the United States. The plan is to make a case in the media, as was done against President Nixon, and to force Trump from office. To openly take on a newly elected president is an act of extraordinary audacity that implies enormous confidence, or else desperation, on the part of the police state agencies.
Here you can see CNN openly cooperating with the CIA in treating wild and irresponsible speculation that Trump is under Russian influence as if it is an established fact. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/46476.htm The “evidence” provided by CNN and the CIA is a “report” by the New York Times that, with little doubt, was planted in the NYT by the CIA.
This is so obvious that it is clear that CNN and the CIA regard the American people as so gullible as to be completely stupid.
Glenn Greenwald explains to Amy Goodman that the CIA is after Trump, because Trump’s announced policy of reducing the dangerous tensions with Russia conflicts with the military/security complex’s need for a major enemy.
“The deep state, although there’s no precise or scientific definition, generally refers to the agencies in Washington that are permanent power factions. They stay and exercise power even as presidents who are elected come and go. They typically exercise their power in secret, in the dark, and so they’re barely subject to democratic accountability, if they’re subject to it at all.
It’s agencies like the CIA, the NSA and the other intelligence agencies, that are essentially designed to disseminate disinformation and deceit and propaganda, and have a long history of doing not only that, but also have a long history of the world’s worst war crimes, atrocities and death squads. This is who not just people like Bill Kristol, but lots of Democrats are placing their faith in, are trying to empower, are cheering for as they exert power separate and apart from—in fact, in opposition to—the political officials to whom they’re supposed to be subordinate.
“The CIA and the intelligence community were vehemently in support of Clinton and vehemently opposed to Trump, from the beginning. And the reason was, was because they liked Hillary Clinton’s policies better than they liked Donald Trump’s. One of the main priorities of the CIA for the last five years has been a proxy war in Syria, designed to achieve regime change with the Assad regime...
“That isn’t what this resistance is now doing. What they’re doing instead is trying to take maybe the only faction worse than Donald Trump, which is the deep state, the CIA, with its histories of atrocities, and say they ought to almost engage in like a soft coup, where they take the elected president and prevent him from enacting his policies. And I think it is extremely dangerous to do that. Even if you’re somebody who believes that both the CIA and the deep state, on the one hand, and the Trump presidency, on the other, are extremely dangerous, as I do, there’s a huge difference between the two, which is that Trump was democratically elected and is subject to democratic controls, as these courts just demonstrated and as the media is showing, as citizens are proving. But on the other hand, the CIA was elected by nobody."
What can Trump do? He can clean out the intelligence agencies and terminate their license granted by Bush and Obama to conduct unconstitutional activities. He can use anti-trust to breakup the media conglomerates that Clinton allowed to form. If Bush and Obama can on their own authority subject US citizens to indefinite detention without due process and if Obama can murder suspect US citizens without due process of law, Trump can use anti-trust law to break up the media conglomerates that speak with one voice against him.
At this point Trump has no alternative but to fight. He can take down the secret police agencies and the presstitute media conglomerates, or they will take him down.
- See more at: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/46481.htm#sthash.v6FhmFI6.dpuf German Intel Clears Russia on Interference By Ray McGovern February 16, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "Consortium News"
Mainstream U.S. media only wants stories of Russian perfidy, so when German intelligence cleared Moscow of suspected subversion of German democracy, the silence was deafening, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
Like the vast majority of Americans malnourished on “mainstream media,” most Germans have been led to believe that, by hacking and “propaganda,” the Kremlin interfered in the recent U.S. election and helped Donald Trump become president.
German intelligence agencies rarely bite the hand that feeds them and realize that the most bountiful part of the trough is at the CIA station in Berlin with ultimate guidance coming from CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. But this time, in an unusual departure from past practice, analysts at the BND and BfV decided to act like responsible adults.
Whereas former CIA Director John Brennan prevailed on his analysts to resort to anemic, evidence-light reasoning “assessing” that Russia tried to tip the U.S. election to Donald Trump, Berlin’s intelligence agencies found the evidence lacking and have now completed their investigation.
Better still, the conclusions have been reported in a mainstream German newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, apparently because a patriotic insider thought the German people should also know.
"Wake Up America" Video Dennis Kucinich Says Intel Community Making 'Unprecedented' Effort to Upend Trump Posted February 15, 2017
Military Industrial complex and Intel Community want to start the cold war again.
Chuck Schumer says CIA is plotting REVENGE AGAINST President TrumpNATO Accuses Russia of Fake News, While Hysterically Warning of WWIII By Finian Cunningham  February 15, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "RT"
News media organizations in NATO member countries have no qualms about repeating unfounded, reckless claims of an imminent invasion of Europe by the Russian military, even threatening to ignite World War Three.Yet when it comes to Russian media presenting valid alternative perspectives on a range of international issues, the Western alliance chokes up with accusations of Russian “fake news.” Time Is Already Running Out on Our Democracy, Says Expert By Kali Holloway / AlterNet February 13, 2017
We may have a year or less, and it has happened to countries like us before, says a Yale professor.
Timothy Snyder, a Yale scholar and an authority on European political history, has spent decades studying the rise of fascist movements. With the ascension of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Snyder sees echoes from history, and warns that the time to save America from autocracy is in short supply.
“I think things have tightened up very fast; we have at most a year to defend the republic, perhaps less,” Snyder stated in an interview with German outlet Süddeutsche Zeitung. “What happens in the next few weeks is very important.”
Post-Fascist Europe Tells Us Exactly How to Defend Our Democracy Have your passports ready, watch your language, and other advice from a Yale history professor.
by Timothy Snyder posted Jan 13, 2017
Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. Here are 20 lessons from the 20th century, adapted to the circumstances of today.
1. Do not obey in advance.
Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given... Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.
2. Defend an institution.
Institutions don’t protect themselves. They go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.
3. Recall professional ethics.
When the leaders of state set a negative example, professional commitments to just practice become much more important. It is hard to break a rule-of-law state without lawyers, and it is hard to have show trials without judges.
4. When listening to politicians, distinguish certain words.
Look out for the expansive use of “terrorism” and “extremism.” Be alive to the fatal notions of “exception” and “emergency.” Be angry about the treacherous use of patriotic vocabulary.
5. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives.
When the terrorist attack comes, remember that all authoritarians at all times either await or plan such events in order to consolidate power. .. The sudden disaster that requires the end of the balance of power, the end of opposition parties, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Don’t fall for it.
6. Be kind to our language.
Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does. Think up your own way of speaking, even if only to convey that thing you think everyone is saying. (Don’t use the internet before bed. Charge your gadgets away from your bedroom. Read.)
7. Stand out. Someone has to.
It is easy, in words and deeds, to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom. And the moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.
8. Believe in truth.
To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.
Figure things out for yourself. Spend more time with long articles. Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on your screen is there to harm you. Learn about sites that investigate foreign propaganda pushes.
10. Practice corporeal politics.
Power wants your body softening in your chair and your emotions dissipating on the screen. Get outside. Put your body in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Make new friends and march with them.
11. Make eye contact and small talk.
This is not just polite. It is a way to stay in touch with your surroundings, break down unnecessary social barriers, and come to understand whom you should and should not trust. If we enter a culture of denunciation, you will want to know the psychological landscape of your daily life.
12. Take responsibility for the face of the world.
Notice the swastikas and the other signs of hate. Do not look away and do not get used to them. Remove them yourself and set an example for others to do so.
13. Hinder the one-party state.
The parties that took over states were once something else. They exploited a historical moment to make political life impossible for their rivals. Vote in local and state elections while you can.
14. Give regularly to good causes, if you can.
Pick a charity and set up autopay.
15. Establish a private life.
Nastier rulers will use what they know about you to push you around. Scrub your computer of malware. Remember that email is skywriting. Consider using alternative forms of the internet, or simply using it less. Have personal exchanges in person. For the same reason, resolve any legal trouble. Authoritarianism works as a blackmail state, looking for the hook on which to hang you. Try not to have too many hooks.
16. Learn from others in other countries.
Keep up your friendships abroad or make new friends abroad. The present difficulties here are an element of a general trend. And no country is going to find a solution by itself. Make sure you and your family have passports.
17. Watch out for the paramilitaries.
When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching around with torches and pictures of a leader, the end is nigh.
18. Be reflective if you must be armed.
If you carry a weapon in public service, God bless you and keep you. But know that evils of the past involved policemen and soldiers finding themselves, one day, doing irregular things. Be ready to say no.
19. Be as courageous as you can.
If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die in unfreedom.
20. Be a patriot.
The incoming president is not. Set a good example of what America means for the generations to come. They will need it.
2/13/17 email from People's Agenda on TiSA
Dear Corporate Greed Resisters,
The Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) is currently being negotiated among 50 countries with the objective of expanding on the existing General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) in the World Trade Organization (WTO).
While President Trump has had a lot to say about the TPP and NAFTA, he has not offered public comment on TiSA, which thus far has major provisions to deregulate and privatize the international service economy, including the financial industry and big data.
Team TiSA - a consortium of multinational financial, logistics, and big data corporations – are looking to set severe limits on how governments can regulate economies domestically while providing strict investor rights provisions. Deborah James outlined ten aspects of TiSA that have been accepted by all parties or are under negotiations that could have significant consequences:
1. Companies are expanding the category of “services” in order to make it all-encompassing so that the agreement could apply as broadly within the economy as possible.
The jury is still out on what the actual contents of the agreement will be under the new administration. However, we do know that the TiSA has been and continues to be a notably secretive agreement with no transparency or public participation.
We also know that Congress gave the presidency Fast Track authority under Obama, and this authority has been inherited by President Trump. According to Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch Director Lori Wallach, this means that “Congress has empowered Trump to unilaterally launch NAFTA renegotiations or create bilateral deals with Mexico and Canada; determine the contents, sign and enter into deals before Congress gets a vote; and then write implementing legislation and force congressional consideration in 90 days with amendments forbidden and Senate supermajority rules suspended.” This applies to TiSA as well and is why we were so adamant about pressuring Congress to reject Fast Track in the first place.
Chris Hedges: The Elites Won’t Save Us February 13, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "Truth Dig"
The four-decade-long assault on our democratic institutions by corporations has left them weak and largely dysfunctional. These institutions, which surrendered their efficacy and credibility to serve corporate interests, should have been our firewall. Instead, they are tottering under the onslaught.
Labor unions are a spent force. The press is corporatized and distrusted. Universities have been purged of dissidents and independent scholars who criticize neoliberalism and decry the decay of democratic institutions and political parties. Public broadcasting and the arts have been defunded and left on life support. The courts have been stacked with judges whose legal careers were spent serving corporate power, a trend in appointments that continued under Barack Obama. Money has replaced the vote, which is how someone as unqualified as Betsy DeVos can buy herself a Cabinet seat. And the Democratic Party, rather than sever its ties to Wall Street and corporations, is naively waiting in the wings to profit from a Trump debacle.
“The biggest asset Trump has is the decadent, clueless, narcissistic, corporate-indentured, war-mongering Democratic Party,” Ralph Nader said when I reached him by phone in Washington. “If the Democratic strategy is waiting for Godot, waiting for Trump to implode, we are in trouble. And just about everything you say about the Democrats you can say about the AFL-CIO. They don’t control the train.”P> The loss of credibility by democratic institutions has thrust the country into an existential as well as economic crisis. The courts, universities and press are no longer trusted by tens of millions of Americans who correctly see them as organs of the corporate elites...
“He is destroying one code of behavior after another,” Nader said of Trump. “He is so far getting away with it and not paying a price. He is breaking standards of behavior—what he says about women, commercializing the White House, I am the law.”
Nader said he does not think the Republican Party will turn against Trump or consider impeachment unless his presidency appears to threaten its chances of retaining power in the 2018 elections. Nader sees the Democratic Party as too “decadent and incompetent” to mount a serious challenge to Trump. Hope, he said, comes from the numerous protests that have been mounted in the streets, at town halls held by members of Congress and at flash points such as Standing Rock. It may also come from the 2.5 million civil servants within the federal government if a significant number refuse to cooperate with Trump’s authoritarianism.
“The new president is clearly aware of the power wielded by civil servants, who swear an oath of allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, not to any president or administration,” Maria J. Stephan, the co-author of “Why Civil Resistance Works,” writes in The Washington Post.
"Even before Trump’s inauguration, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives reinstated an obscure 1876 rule that would allow Congress to slash the salaries of individual federal workers. This was a clear warning to those serving in government to keep their heads down. Trump’s high-profile firing of acting attorney general Sally Yates, who refused to follow the president’s immigration ban, sent shock waves through the bureaucracy.”
A sustained, nationwide popular uprising of nonviolent obstruction and noncooperation is the only weapon left to save the republic. The elites will respond once they become afraid. If we do not make them afraid we will fail.
U.S. Special Forces Deployed To 70% Of The World In 2016 By Niall McCarthy February 12, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "Statista"
Paul Craig RobertsWhy the focus on an immigration ban and not on wars that produce refugees?
"Some of the character traits exhibited by serial killers or criminals may be observed in many within the political arena... [They] share the traits of psychopaths who are not sensitive to altruistic appeals, such as sympathy for their victims or remorse or guilt over their crimes. They possess the personality traits of lying, narcissism, selfishness, and vanity. These are the people to whom we have entrusted our fate. Is it any wonder that America is failing at home and world-wide?" - Jim Kouri [ former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s]
Trump's Cruel Ban on Refugees Sets a Chilling Precedent By Robert Fisk  January 30, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "The Independent"
So Donald Trump is going to f**k them all. No excuses for such filthy words today. I’m only quoting the man whose Pentagon offices he just used to disgrace himself – and America. For it was Secretary of Defence James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis who told Iraqis in 2003 that he came “in peace’ – he even urged his Marines to be compassionate – but said of those who might dare to resist America’s illegal invasion of their country: “If you f**k with me, I’ll kill you all.”There’s no getting round it. Call it Nazi, Fascist, racist, vicious, illiberal, immoral, cruel. More dangerously, what Trump has done is a wicked precedent. If you can stop them coming, you can chuck them out.
There’s no point in wasting time over the obvious: that America has bombed, directly or indirectly, five of the seven nations on Trump’s banned list.
Pre-Emptive Attack Iran Bill Active in US House By Dan McAdams [a professor and chair of the Department of Psychology at Northwestern University] January 30, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
You will often see potentially important pieces of legislation languish in the US House. A bill will remain active, meaning that it can be brought to the Floor at any time. But it flies just under the radar. Other times the language floats around Washington for years until a “crisis” necessitates its activation and passage.
As we know well, what eventually became the PATRIOT Act — one of the single greatest attacks on civil liberties in US history — started out and spent much of its early life as a sugar-plumb fairy dancing in neocon fantasies. Then came 9/11 and it was dusted off and imposed on the American people. And the United States has never been — and may never be — the same. Either way, these measures are important if seldom seen.
So it may well be with H.J.Res. 10, introduced in the House just as the new Congress began at the beginning of this month. The title of the bill tells the tale: a bill “To authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces to achieve the goal of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.” This legislation, introduced by Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), is as it appears: an authorization for the President to use military force against Iran. But it is much worse than that.Why so? Because it specifically authorizes the president to launch a pre-emptive war on Iran at any time of his choosing and without any further Congressional oversight or input. The operative sentence in the resolution reads, “The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as the President determines necessary and appropriate in order to achieve the goal of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.”
And thanks to ongoing US and allied sabre-rattling in the Persian Gulf, tensions continue to escalate. At the end of this month, the UK, US and allied military forces will take part in operation “Unified Trident,” a joint exercise in the Persian Gulf that will simulate a military confrontation with Iran.How would Washington respond if a bill was active in the Iranian parliament authorizing war on the United States and the Iranian navy began conducting joint exercises with the Chinese in the Gulf of Mexico simulating an attack on the United States? Trump orders military to prepare for world war By Tom Eley [Freelance journalist. Lives in Nottingham, England] 28 January 2017, WSWS.org
During a visit to the Pentagon on Friday, President Donald Trump issued an executive action calling for stepped up violence in Syria and a vast expansion of the US military, including its nuclear arsenal, to prepare for war with “near-peer competitors”—a reference to nuclear-armed China and Russia—and “regional challengers,” such as Iran.
The US currently spends approximately $600 billion on its military annually—excluding expenditures on the intelligence agencies and Veterans Administration— more than the next nine largest military spenders combined. American “defense” spending accounts for, by itself, over one third of all global military spending, and it consumes the great majority of the federal discretionary budget.
Increases in military spending, coupled with Trump’s promises to drastically lower taxes on corporations and the rich, must inevitably be paid for by cuts to education, health care and infrastructure, and by plundering Social Security and Medicare.
US Is No Longer A Full Democracy, EIU Warns By Nyshka Chandran January 25, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "CNBC"
The U.S. has been demoted from a full democracy to a flawed democracy for the first time, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
Every year, the firm's Democracy Index provides a snapshot of global democracy by scoring countries on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. Nations are then classified under four types of governments: full democracy, flawed democracy, hybrid regime and authoritarian regime.
America's score fell to 7.98 last year from 8.05 in 2015, below the 8.00 threshold for a full democracy, the EIU announced in a report on Wednesday. That put the world's largest economy on the same footing as Italy, a country known for its fractious politics.
A flawed democracy is a country with free elections but weighed down by weak governance, an underdeveloped political culture and low levels of political participation, according to the EIU. Other flawed democracies in 2016 included Japan, France, Singapore, South Korea and India, the report said.
However, Washington can't point fingers at President Donald Trump for the nation's downgrade.
"The U.S. has been teetering on the brink of becoming a flawed democracy for several years, and even if there had been no presidential election in 2016, its score would have slipped below 8.00," the report explained. Instead, dwindling trust in government, elected representatives and political parties is to blame.
The increasing role played by non-elected technocrats, increased voter abstention and curbs on civil liberties are among the main symptoms of this global malaise, the EIU said, noting that almost half of the 167 countries covered by its index registered a decline in overall scores between 2006 and 2016.
Norway topped the EIU's list of full democracies last year, followed by Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand and Denmark; Canada and Ireland tied for sixth place.
As Trump Takes Power, Politicians Around the US Move to Make Protesting Illegal By Sarah Cronin January 22, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "Antimedia"Indiana passed a bill on Wednesday that authorizes police officers to shut down highway protesting “by any means necessary.” S.B. 285, as it is known, obliges a public official to dispatch all available officers within 15 minutes of discovering any assembly of 10 or more people who are obstructing vehicle traffic. S.B. 285 is among a collection of increasingly hostile ‘anti-obstruction’ laws that have been quietly submitted in states around the nation over the past few months. A report by The Intercept published Wednesday tracked five such anti-protest laws introduced by Republican lawmakers in different states, four of which are currently pending. One of the most disturbing among them is House Bill N. 1203, a bill introduced earlier this month by North Dakota lawmaker Keith Kempenich in response to the Dakota Access Pipeline Protests. The bill would exempt motorists who hit demonstrators with their cars from any liability in cases where the victims were “obstructing vehicular traffic on a public road, street, or highway.” This twisted take on protest criminalization comes short of condoning manslaughter as a viable means of crowd control. Revolt Is the Only Barrier to a Fascist America By Chris Hedges January 23, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "Truth Dig" The destruction of democratic institutions, places where the citizen has agency and a voice, is far graver than the ascendancy to the White House of the demagogue Donald Trump. The coup destroyed our two-party system. It destroyed labor unions. It destroyed public education. It destroyed the judiciary. It destroyed the press. It destroyed academia. It destroyed consumer and environmental protection. It destroyed our industrial base. It destroyed communities and cities. And it destroyed the lives of tens of millions of Americans no longer able to find work that provides a living wage, cursed to live in chronic poverty or locked in cages in our monstrous system of mass incarceration. This coup also destroyed the credibility of liberal democracy. Casino magnates such as Sheldon Adelson and hedge fund managers such as Robert Mercer add nothing of value to society. They do not generate money but instead redistribute it upwards to the 1 percent. They use lobbyists and campaign contributions to built monopolies... They have given themselves the legal power to carry out a tax boycott, loot the U.S. Treasury, close factories and send the jobs overseas, gut social service programs and impose austerity. They have, at the same time, militarized our police, built the most sophisticated security and surveillance apparatus in human history and used judicial fiat to strip us of our civil liberties. These mandarins are, if we speak in the language of God and country, traitors. They are parasites. Financial speculation in 17th-century England was a crime. Speculators were hanged. The heads of most of [today’s] banks and hedge funds and the executives of large corporations, such as Walmart and Gap, that run sweatshop death traps for impoverished workers overseas deserve prison far more than most of the poor students of color I teach within the prison system, people who never had a fair trial or a chance in life. When a tiny cabal seizes power—monarchist, communist, fascist or corporate—it creates a mafia economy and a mafia state. Trump and his coterie of billionaires, generals, half-wits, Christian fascists, criminals, racists and deviants play the role of the Snopes clan in some of William Faulkner’s novels. The Snopeses filled the power vacuum of the decayed South and ruthlessly seized control from the degenerated, former slave-holding aristocratic elites. Flem Snopes and his extended family—which includes a killer, a pedophile, a bigamist, an arsonist, a mentally disabled man who copulates with a cow, and a relative who sells tickets to witness the bestiality—are fictional representations of the scum now elevated to the highest level of the federal government. They embody the moral rot unleashed by unfettered capitalism. The days ahead will be dark and frightening. But as Immanuel Kant reminded us, “if justice perishes, human life on earth has lost its meaning.” We fight for the sacred. We fight for life. It is a fight we must not lose. To be a bystander is to be complicit in radical evil. How the GOP Is Playing Trump Until They Can Dump Him By Robert Reich January 22, 2017 "Information Clearing House" Republican: They’ll get as much as they want – tax cuts galore, deregulation, military buildup, slash all those poverty programs, and then get to work on Social Security and Medicare – and blame him. And he’s such a fool he’ll want to take credit for everything. Pence is their guy. They all think Trump is out of his mind. So the moment Trump does something really dumb – steps over the line – violates the law in a big stupid clumsy way … and you know he will ... Building the Institutions for Revolt By Chris Hedges January 16, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "Truth Dig"
Politics is a game of fear. Those who do not have the ability to make power elites afraid do not succeed. All of the movements that opened up the democratic space in America—the abolitionists, the suffragists, the labor movement, the communists, the socialists, the anarchists and the civil rights movement—developed a critical mass and militancy that forced the centers of power to respond.
The platitudes about justice, equality and democracy are just that. Only when power becomes worried about its survival does it react. Appealing to its better nature is useless. It doesn’t have one.
We once had within our capitalist democracy liberal institutions—the press, labor unions, third political parties, civic and church groups, public broadcasting, well-funded public universities and a liberal wing of the Democratic Party—that were capable of responding to outside pressure from movements.
They provided only enough reforms to save the capitalist system from widespread unrest or, with the breakdown of capitalism in the 1930s, from revolution. They never addressed white supremacy and institutional racism or the cruelty that is endemic to capitalism. But they had the ability to address and ameliorate the suffering of working men and women.
These liberal institutions—I spend 248 pages in my book “Death of the Liberal Class” explaining how this happened—collapsed under sustained assault during the past 40 years of corporate power. They exist now only in name. They are props in the democratic facade.
Liberal nonprofits, from MoveOn to the Sierra Club, are no better. They are pathetic appendages to the Democratic Party. And the Democratic Party, as the community organizer Michael Gecan said, is not a functioning political party but “a permanent mobilization.” It is propped up with corporate money and by a hyperventilating media machine.
There are, as the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin reminded us, no institutions left in America that can authentically be called democratic.
But, even more ominously, the militant movements that were the real engines of democratic change have been obliterated by the multi-pronged assault of communist witch hunts and McCarthyism, along with deindustrialization, a slew of anti-labor laws and deregulation, and corporate seizure of our public and private institutions.
The corporate state ignores the suffering of the majority of Americans. It rams through policies that make the suffering worse. This is about to get turbocharged under Donald Trump.
We will have to build movements and, most importantly, new, parallel institutions that challenge the hegemony of corporate power. It will not be easy. It will take time.
Trusting in the system, and especially the Democratic Party, to carry out reform and wrest back our democracy ensures our enslavement.
“We think the issues are, in a sense, the easy part,” said Gecan, who is the co-director of the Industrial Areas Foundation, the largest network of community-based organizations in the United States. He is also the author of “Going Public: An Organizer’s Guide to Citizen Action.”
We spend the first year, or two, or three, building that. Identifying leaders. Identifying institutions that are actually grounded in those communities. Doing training with leaders. Raising money so that the organization doesn’t run out of money right at the start.”
we begin identifying issues through a real, deliberate process of house meetings, individual meetings, soliciting to people. And not just doing a poll in the community. [We find out] what do you care about? What are you concerned about? By asking people what they are concerned about and are they willing to do something about it.”
Once the ruling ideology, in our case neoliberalism, is understood by the public as a tool for corporate and oligarchic pillage, coercion is all the state has left.
If we are to succeed we will have to make alliances with people and groups whose professed political stances are different from ours and at times unpalatable to us. We will have to shed our ideological purity... Condemning those who support Trump is political suicide. Alinsky detested such moral litmus tests. He insisted that there were “no permanent enemies, no permanent allies, only permanent interests.”
“We have to listen to people unlike ourselves,” Gecan said, observing that this will be achieved not through the internet but through face-to-face relationships. “And once we’ve built a relationship we can agitate them and be willing to be agitated by them.”
The homogenization of culture in the wake of the death of the local press and local civic, church and other groups has played a large part in our disempowerment, Gecan argues. We have lost connection with those around us. We do not fully understand the corporate structures of power that wreak havoc with our lives both nationally and in our communities. And this is by the design of the corporate state.
Gecan concedes that America’s future under a Trump presidency, and amid democratic institutions’ collapse and climate change, is bleak. But he warned against falling into despair or apathy.
The state, he said, has learned how to manipulate familiar protest rituals and render them impotent. He dismisses as meaningless political theater the kind of boutique activism in which demonstrators coordinate and even choreograph protests with the police. Activists spend a few hours, maybe a night, in jail and then assume they have credentials as dissidents. Gecan called these “fake arrests.” “Everyone looks like they’ve had an action,” he said. “They haven’t.” He called the choreographed protests sterile re-enactments of the protests of the 1960s. Genuine protest, he said, has to defy the rules. It cannot be predicable. It has to disrupt power. It has to surprise those in authority. And these kinds of protests are greeted with anger by the state. No movement will survive, he said, unless it is built on the foundation of deep community relationships. Organizers must learn to listen, even to those who do not agree with them. Only then are organization and active resistance possible.
“Three things have to be happening in great organizations: people have to be relating, people have to be learning, people have to be acting,” he said.
Can we take these people on? I know we can. But it will take different tactics. It will take some very unconventional allies that will surprise people.”
A Demand for Russian ‘Hacking’ Proof by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) [23 distinguished retired intelligence folks, listed at the end of the article, like William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.); Marshall Carter-Tripp, Foreign Service Officer (ret) and former Office Director in the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research; Thomas Drake, former Senior Executive, NSA] 1/18/17
More than 20 U.S. intelligence, military and diplomatic veterans are calling on President Obama to release the evidence backing up allegations that Russia aided the Trump campaign – or admit that the proof is lacking.
In the immediate wake of the holiday on which we mark the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it seems appropriate to make reference to his legacy, calling to mind the graphic words in his “Letter From the Birmingham City Jail,” with which he reminds us of our common duty to expose lies and injustice:
“Like a boil that can never be cured as long as it is covered up, but must be opened with all its pus-flowing ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must likewise be exposed, with all of the tension its exposing creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.”
The Establishment Is Trying To Steal The Presidency From Trump And the Liberal-Left Is Helping By Paul Craig Roberts [Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments.] January 14, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
Reuters reports that 2,700 US troops accompanied by tanks are moving across Poland toward the Russian border. Col. Christopher Norrie, commander of the 3rd Armoured Brigade Combat Team, declared: “The main goal of our mission is deterrence and prevention of threats.” Apparently, the colonel is not sufficiently bright to realize that far from preventing threats, the force he is leading presents as a threat. And to no less a military power than Russia.
NATO is not capable of assembling a large enough force to invade Russia. So what is the point of the 2,700 US troops moving across Poland toward Russia?
The answer is to keep alive the Western propaganda that Russia is a threat and to make it as difficult as possible for Trump to normalize relations with Russia. It is extraordinary that the US military is conducting this provocative exercise that contradicts the policy of the incoming president. The US military, the CIA, and their whores in the US media are undemocratically pursuing their own agenda independently of the policy of the president-elect.
According to the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, US intelligence officials have even warned the Israeli government not to share intelligence information with the Trump administration, because Putin has “leverages of pressure” over Trump and Trump will leak the information to Russia and Iran.
Nothing speaks more clearly of the unbridled evil of the US Establishment than its willingness to risk conflict with Russia for the sake of its hold on power and profit.
The Deep State Wants to Deep Six Us By David Swanson [As an activist, Swanson co-founded the website After Downing Street (now War Is A Crime .org), based around the U.S. congressional concern of the Downing Street memo. Additionally, Swanson embarked on a campaign to impeach President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney through the now defunct website ConvictBushCheney.Org as well as contributing to the introduction of Dennis Kucinich’s The 35 Articles of Impeachment and the Case for Prosecuting George W. Bush. Swanson has also aided in the organization of campaigns such as Velvet Revolution's opposition of the United States Chamber of Commerce and Tom J. Donohue, and October2011.Org's Occupy Washington movement.] January 14, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
What do these pieces of evidence tell you?
The United States and Russia each possess enough nuclear weapons to destroy all life on earth many times over.
Pentagon officials say the cold war with Russia is for profit and bureaucracy.
When there was danger of peace breaking out in Syria, the U.S. military acted to prevent it, apparently against the will of President Obama.
The U.S. facilitated a coup in Ukraine, characterized a secession vote in Crimea as an invasion and seizure by force, made unsubstantiated claims about the shooting down of an airplane, opened a missile base in Romania, started building a missile base in Poland, moved more troops and equipment into Eastern Europe than seen since World War II, dropped all pretense that the enemy provoking all this was Iran, and spread the word through endless repetition that Russia was threatening Europe (even though Russia, for all its real crimes and offenses, including bombing Syria, was not threatening Europe).
The U.S. so-called intelligence so-called community put out the word that Russia had hacked Vermont's electricity grid -- a story it had simply made up.
It may have been the same people who first claimed Trump had a computer server tied to a Russian bank. There was no evidence.
The media began running with stories that C-Span and other channels had been hacked by Russia. There was no evidence. C-Span said Russia didn't do it. Someone other than Russia had made Russian TV content air on C-Span.
The Washington Post whose owner makes far more from the CIA than from the Washington Post published an article promoting a ridiculous list of news sources, many of them among the best we've got, as being Russian propaganda.
The so-called "intelligence" so-called "services" put out a series of evidence-free reports and stories that convinced many Americans that Vladimir Putin had broken into U.S. election machines. The reports attempted to imply without actually claiming the possession of evidence that Russia hacked into Democrats' emails and gave them to WikiLeaks. Attempts at evidence of the first half of that fell wildly short, and the second half was not even attempted.
Things in those reports that could be checked independently tended to fall apart. ISPs identified as Russian were not Russian. When the reports were augmented with publicly available information about a Russian TV network, many of the details were stupidly screwed up, suggesting a serious lack of concern with accuracy.
When Donald Trump suggested evidence should be required before believing the CIA, out popped an unverified story of a Trump sex scandal and corruption.
To my mind, the above evidence suggests a death wish, an inclination toward speciecide. It should not be equated with simply opposing Donald Trump, though. I think the media's willingness to hand Trump billions of dollars worth of free airtime and, consequently, the White House, as well as the FBI director's possible support for Trump come from a similar inclination.
But the Deep State would attack its own mother if she opposed the selection of an enemy, and with it weapons sales and global domination. Do so at your own risk. Fail to do so at the risk of our future.
The Deep State Goes to War with Trump, Using Unverified Claims, as Democrats Cheer By Glenn Greenwald [an American lawyer, journalist, speaker and author. He is best known for his role in a series of reports published by The Guardian newspaper, beginning in June 2013, detailing United States and British global surveillance programs, based on classified documents disclosed by Edward Snowden.] January 12, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "The Intercept"
Dwight Eisenhower delivered his farewell address after serving two terms as U.S. president; the five-star general chose to warn Americans of this specific threat to democracy: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
That warning was issued prior to the decadelong escalation of the Vietnam War, three more decades of Cold War mania, and the post-9/11 era, all of which radically expanded that unelected faction’s power even further.
This is the faction that is now engaged in open warfare against the duly elected and already widely disliked president-elect, Donald Trump. They are using classic Cold War dirty tactics and the defining ingredients of what has until recently been denounced as “Fake News.”
Their most valuable instrument is the U.S. media, much of which reflexively reveres, serves, believes, and sides with hidden intelligence officials. And Democrats, still reeling from their unexpected and traumatic election loss as well as a systemic collapse of their party, seemingly divorced further and further from reason with each passing day, are willing — eager — to embrace any claim, cheer any tactic, align with any villain, regardless of how unsupported, tawdry and damaging those behaviors might be.
But cheering for the CIA and its shadowy allies to unilaterally subvert the U.S. election and impose its own policy dictates on the elected president is both warped and self-destructive. Empowering the very entities that have produced the most shameful atrocities and systemic deceit over the last six decades is desperation of the worst kind.
Demanding that evidence-free, anonymous assertions be instantly venerated as Truth — despite emanating from the very precincts designed to propagandize and lie — is an assault on journalism, democracy, and basic human rationality. And casually branding domestic adversaries who refuse to go along as traitors and disloyal foreign operatives is morally bankrupt and certain to backfire on those doing it.
Beyond all that, there is no bigger favor that Trump opponents can do for him than attacking him with such lowly, shabby, obvious shams, recruiting large media outlets to lead the way. When it comes time to expose actual Trump corruption and criminality, who is going to believe the people and institutions who have demonstrated they are willing to endorse any assertions no matter how factually baseless.
Cory Booker Joins Senate Republicans to Kill Measure to Import Cheaper Medicine From Canada BERNIE SANDERS INTRODUCED a very simple symbolic amendment Wednesday night, urging the federal government to allow Americans to purchase pharmaceutical drugs from Canada, where they are considerably cheaper. Such unrestricted drug importation is currently prohibited by law.
The policy has widespread support among Americans: one Kaiser poll taken in 2015 found that 72 percent of Americans are in favor of allowing for importation. President-elect Donald Trump also campaigned on a promise to allow for importation.
The Senate voted down the amendment 52-46, with two senators not voting. Unusually, the vote was not purely along party lines: 13 Republicans joined Sanders and a majority of Democrats in supporting the amendment, while 13 Democrats and a majority of Republicans opposed it.
One of those Democrats was New Jersey’s Cory Booker, who is considered a rising star in the party and a possible 2020 presidential contender.
When Fear Comes Posted on Jan 8, 2017 By Chris Hedges
The more despotic a regime becomes, the more it creates a climate of fear that transforms into terror. At the same time, it invests tremendous energy and resources in censorship and propaganda to maintain the fiction of the just and free state.
Poor people of color know intimately how these twin mechanisms of fear and false hope function as effective forms of social control in the internal colonies of the United States. They have also grasped, as the rest of us soon will, the fiction of American democracy.
Those who steadfastly defy the state will, if history is any guide, be decapitated one by one. A forlorn hope that the state will ignore us if we comply will cripple many who have already been condemned. “Universal innocence,” Solzhenitsyn writes, “also gave rise to the universal failure to act. Maybe they won’t take you? Maybe it will all blow over.”
Resisting despotism is often a lonely act. It is carried out by those endowed with what the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr calls “sublime madness.” Rebels will be persecuted, imprisoned or forced to become hunted outcasts, much as Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are now. A public example will be made of anyone who defies the state. The punishment of those singled out for attack will be used to send a warning to all who are inclined to dissent.
When I returned to the newsroom at The New York Times after being booed off a commencement stage in 2003 for denouncing the invasion of Iraq, reporters and editors lowered their heads or turned away when I was nearby. They did not want to be touched by the same career-killing contagion. They wanted to protect their status at the institution. Retreat into rabbit holes is the most common attempt at self-protection.
The right-wing cable shows were lynching me almost hourly. Soon I was given a written reprimand and public rebuke by the newspaper. I was a leper.
The machinery of the security and surveillance state, the use of special terrorism laws and the stripping of civil liberties become ubiquitous.
Demagogues, Solzhenitsyn reminds us, are stunted and shallow people. “Unlimited power in the hands of limited people always leads to cruelty,” he writes.
“The overall life of society comes down to the fact that traitors were advanced and mediocrities triumphed, while everything that was best and most honest was trampled underfoot,” he observes.
This kind of valor--civil valor, he knew as a combat veteran, requires a moral courage that is more difficult than the physical courage encountered on the battlefield.
The coming arrests mean that a wide range of Americans will experience the violations that poor people of color have long endured. Self-interest alone should have generated sweeping protest, should have made the nation as a whole more conscious. We should have understood: Once rights become privileges that the state can revoke, they will eventually be taken away from everyone. Now those who had been spared will get a taste of what complicity in oppression means.
How do we prepare? Solzhenitsyn, after eight years in the gulag, answers this too.
"Rub your eyes and purify your heart—and prize above all else in the world those who love you and who wish you well. Do not hurt them or scold them, and never part from any of them in anger; after all, you simply do not know: it might be your last act before your arrest, and that will be how you are imprinted in their memory!”
The Real Purpose of the U.S. Government’s Report on Alleged Hacking by Russia Posted on Jan 8, 2017 By Chris Hedges
The primary purpose of the declassified report, which offers no evidence to support its assertions that Russia hacked the U.S. presidential election campaign, is to discredit Donald Trump. I am not saying there was no Russian hack of John Podesta’s emails. I am saying we have yet to see any tangible proof to back up the accusation. This charge—Sen. John McCain has likened the alleged effort by Russia to an act of war—is the first salvo in what will be a relentless campaign by the Republican and Democratic establishment, along with its corporatist allies and the mass media, to destroy the credibility of the president-elect and prepare the way for impeachment.
The allegations in the report, amplified in breathtaking pronouncements by a compliant corporate media that operates in a non-fact-based universe every bit as pernicious as that inhabited by Trump, are designed to make Trump look like Vladimir Putin’s useful idiot. An orchestrated and sustained campaign of innuendo and character assassination will be directed against Trump. When impeachment is finally proposed, Trump will have little public support and few allies and will have become a figure of open ridicule in the corporate media.
The second task of the report is to bolster the McCarthyist smear campaign against independent media, including Truthdig, as witting or unwitting agents of the Russian government. The demise of the English programming of Al-Jazeera and TeleSur, along with the collapse of the nation’s public broadcasting, designed to give a voice to those not beholden to corporate or party interests, leaves RT America and Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! as the only two electronic outlets with a national reach that are willing to give a platform to critics of corporate power and imperialism such as Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Ralph Nader, Medea Benjamin, Cornel West, Kshama Sawant, myself and others.
Seven pages of the report were dedicated to RT America, on which I have a show called “On Contact.” The report vastly inflated the cable network’s reach and influence. It also included a few glaring errors.
The barely contained rage of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper at the recent Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on foreign cyber threats was visible when he spat out that RT was “promoting a particular point of view, disparaging our system, our alleged hypocrisy about human rights, et cetera.” His anger was a glimpse into how the establishment seethes with hatred for dissidents.
Clapper has lied in the past. He perjured himself in March 2013 when, three months before the revelations of wholesale state surveillance leaked by Snowden, he assured Congress that the National Security Agency was not collecting “any type of data” on the American public. After the corporate state shuts down RT, it will go after Democracy Now! and the handful of progressive sites, including this one, that give these dissidents space. The goal is censorship.
The third task of the report is to justify the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization beyond Germany, a violation of the promise Ronald Reagan made to the Soviet Union’s Mikhail Gorbachev after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Expanding NATO in Eastern Europe opened up an arms market for the war industry. It made those businesses billions of dollars. New NATO members must buy Western arms that can be integrated into the NATO arsenal. These sales, which are bleeding the strained budgets of countries such as Poland, are predicated on potential hostilities with Russia. If Russia is not a threat, the arms sales plummet. War is a racket.
The final task of the report is to give the Democratic Party plausible cover for the catastrophic election defeat it suffered... The Democratic Party leadership cannot face, and certainly cannot publicly admit, that its callous betrayal of the working and middle class triggered a nationwide revolt that resulted in the election of Trump.
It has been pounded since President Barack Obama took office, losing 68 seats in the House, 12 seats in the Senate and 10 governorships. It lost more than 1,000 elected positions between 2008 and 2012 nationwide. Since 2010, Republicans have replaced 900 Democratic state legislators. If this was a real party, the entire leadership would be sacked.
Welcome to our annus horribilis.
The Russians Did Not “Hack” the US Election – a Few Facts from a Former CIA Spy By Robert David Steele [Intelligence expert, a former American spy, one of the first to be assigned the terrorist target as a full-time assignment, and also the senior civilian responsible for creating the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA), both in the 1980’s. Today he is the CEO of Earth Intelligence Network, a non-profit educational corporation that teaches holistic analytics, true cost economics, and Open Source Everything Engineering (OSEE)] January 08, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "Defence and intelligence Norway"
I am deeply offended by the lies being told by the US Government – and more specifically, by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with the explicit approval of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the President – with respect to the Russians “hacking” the US election.
I am reminded of the 935 now-documented lies told by Dick Cheney to justify a $5 trillion war and multiple occupations from Afghanistan to Niger – or in more Nordic terms, the falsification by the Swedish military, in collaboration with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and CIA, of a Russian submarine that never existed, allegedly “invading” Swedish waters.
As a CIA spy, I have faked intelligence, lied to government leaders, and managed a modest false flag operation (no one died). This is what CIA does. I accuse John Brennan, Director of the CIA, of being a liar who is in betrayal of the public trust with his lies. The most recent DHS-FBI report – and related reports from small companies seeking to curry favor with the Deep State – are absolute crap.
Glenn Greenwald: U.S. Intel Chiefs Have History of Deceiving the Public Video and Transcript. January 08, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "Democracy Now!"
Journalist Glenn Greenwald examines the track record of intelligence chiefs, including CIA Director John Brennan, FBI Director James Comey and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
WashPost Is Richly Rewarded for False News About Russia Threat By Glenn Greenwald [famous left-wing journalist] January 05, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "The Intercept"
In the past six weeks, the Washington Post published two blockbuster stories about the Russian threat that went viral: one on how Russia is behind a massive explosion of “fake news,” the other on how it invaded the U.S. electric grid. Both articles were fundamentally false. Each now bears a humiliating editor’s note grudgingly acknowledging that the core claims of the story were fiction.
But while these debacles are embarrassing for the paper, they are also richly rewarding. That’s because journalists — including those at the Post — aggressively hype and promote the original, sensationalistic false stories, ensuring that they go viral, generating massive traffic for the Post (the paper’s executive editor, Marty Baron, recently boasted about how profitable the paper has become).
After spreading the falsehoods far and wide, raising fear levels and manipulating U.S. political discourse in the process (both Russia stories were widely hyped on cable news), journalists who spread the false claims subsequently note the retraction or corrections only in the most muted way possible, and often not at all. As a result, only a tiny fraction of people who were exposed to the original false story end up learning of the retractions.
But only a small percentage of those who heard of it ended up hearing of the major walk back and debunking from other outlets. The same is true of The Guardian story from last week on WikiLeaks and Putin that ended up going viral, only to have its retraction barely noticed because most of the journalists who spread the story did not bother to note it.
Indeed, in my 10-plus years of writing about politics on an endless number of polarizing issues — including the Snowden reporting — nothing remotely compares to the smear campaign that has been launched as a result of the work I’ve done questioning and challenging claims about Russian hacking and the threat posed by that country generally. This is being engineered not by random, fringe accounts, but by the most prominent Democratic pundits with the largest media followings.
But this is the climate Democrats have successfully cultivated — where anyone dissenting or even expressing skepticism about their deeply self-serving Russia narrative is the target of coordinated and potent smears; where, as The Nation’s James Carden documented yesterday, skepticism is literally equated with treason. And the converse is equally true: Those who disseminate claims and stories that bolster this narrative — no matter how divorced from reason and evidence they are — receive an array of benefits and rewards.
The Coup Against Truth By Paul Craig Roberts [Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following.] January 05, 2017 "Information Clearing House"
For several years Russia and her president have experienced endless demonization. The Russians know that Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia (done while Putin was at the Beijing Olympics) was a Washington provocation. The Russians know that Washington’s coup in Ukraine (done while Putin was at the Sochi Olympics) was a provocation aimed at seizing Russia’s Black Sea naval base in Crimea and cutting Russia off from the Mediterranean.
The Russians know that Washington knows that the charges that Russia hacked Hillary’s emails and the US presidential election are lies.
The Russians know that the “Russian threat” created by Washington is a lie along with all of its permutations, such as an impending Russian invasion of Poland and the Baltics. The Russians understand that US ABM bases on Russia’s borders are provocations, as are NATO military exercises on Russia’s borders and in the Black Sea. You can add to this list on your own.
The lies are ubiquitous, have grown more absurd, and are now institutionalized in the US government in the CIA, executive branch agencies, and among many US senators and representatives. That these lies are validated by endless media repetitions throughout the Western world are viewed by Russia as indications that Western populations are being prepared for a military attack on Russia. Putin has warned publicly on many occasions that the Western propaganda is dangerously destabilizing. Yet, as he also notes, no one hears his warnings.
Washington is so intent on its anti-Russian propaganda that Congress has passed, and Obama has signed, an intelligence bill that contains a section, Title V, that authorizes active measures to counter purveyors of false news. These purveyors are alternative media websites, such as this one, that challenge the official lies.
The truthful alternative media is accused of being under Russian influence. Last summer a website shrouded in secrecy was created that recently posted a list of 200 websites alleged to be under Russian influence, either directly or indirectly. The Washington Post irresponsibly published a long article endorsing the fake news of 200 websites working for the Russian government.
In other words, the suppression of the truth is the last defense of the corrupt American ruling establishment. During the last 24 years three Washington regimes have murdered millions of peoples in nine or more countries along with US civil liberty. To cover up these vast crimes, unparalleled in history, the presstitutes have lied, slandered, and libeled.
And the Washington criminal regime holds itself up to the world as the indispensable protector of democracy, human rights, truth, and justice. As the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said recently, what makes America exceptional is the use of might in the service of evil.
US Senators Vow To CRUSH Russia VLADIMIR Putin has been warned he is doomed to failure in Ukraine and that 2017 will be a year of anti-Russian aggression. By Patrick Christys [Freelance journalist. Reporter at Daily Express and Daily Star. Specialising in political coverage.] January 05, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - "The Express" [UK news]
[The Democratic led warmongers are determined to start a war with Russia over fake news. The probable result will be nuclear war.]
Anthony Bourdain speaks during South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, in March. (Photo: Rich Fury/Invision/AP)
Celebrity chef and self-described “privileged Eastern liberal” Anthony Bourdain slammed his fellow leftist elites this week, arguing that their disdain for working-class Americans helped create “the upswell of rage and contempt” that propelled Donald Trump to the presidency.
“The utter contempt with which privileged Eastern liberals such as myself discuss red-state, gun-country, working-class America as ridiculous and morons and rubes is largely responsible for the upswell of rage and contempt and desire to pull down the temple that we’re seeing now,” Bourdain said in an interview with Reason magazine.
“I’ve spent a lot of time in gun-country, God-fearing America,” Bourdain continued. “There are a hell of a lot of nice people out there, who are doing what everyone else in this world is trying to do: the best they can to get by and take care of themselves and the people they love. When we deny them their basic humanity and legitimacy of their views, however different they may be than ours, when we mock them at every turn and treat them with contempt, we do no one any good.”
He added, “We should be breaking bread with each other and finding common ground whenever possible.”
Among those who have reacted:
Sheen’s Two and a Half Men mother Holland Taylor:
The Striking Audacity of the Coup-in-Process By Paul Craig Roberts [was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments.] December 18, 2016 "Information Clearing House"
Unsubstantiated stories have been planted throughout the presstitute media by anonymous CIA officials that Donald Trump’s electoral victory was the result of Russian intervention. This absurd claim has now been elevated to the even more absurd claim that Putin himself oversaw and even conducted the manipulation of the US presidential election.
No evidence has been provided for these amazing claims. The presstitutes are reporting unsubstantiated wild accusations that portend both a constitutional crisis in the US and a crisis with Russia. We know that the presstitutes lie.
As a result of the prestitutes’ lies, millions of peoples have been killed and dislocated. This blood is all on the heads of the American media. So we know for a proven fact that the US media has no integrity and no conscience.
Now the presstitutes have surpassed their previous level of criminality. They are part and parcel of formenting a coup against the president-elect and throwing the country into a crisis of unknown proportion.
A Spy Coup in The USA By Robert Parry [Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.] December 18, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "Consortium News"
As the Electoral College assembles, U.S. intelligence agencies are stepping up a campaign to delegitimize Donald Trump as a Russian stooge, raising concerns about a spy coup in America.
I was told by a well-placed intelligence source some months ago that senior leaders of the Obama administration’s intelligence agencies – from the CIA to the FBI – were deeply concerned about either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump ascending to the presidency. And, it’s true that intelligence officials often come to see themselves as the stewards of America’s fundamental interests, sometimes needing to protect the country from dangerous passions of the public or from inept or corrupt political leaders.
It was, after all, a senior FBI official, Mark Felt, who – as “Deep Throat” – guided The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in their Watergate investigation into the criminality of President Richard Nixon.
It’s also true that intelligence community sources frequently plant stories in major mainstream publications that serve propaganda or political goals, including stories that can be misleading or entirely false.
A CIA-led Coup Against American Democracy Is Unfolding Before Our Eyes By Paul Craig Roberts [was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments.] December 17, 2016 "Information Clearing House"
The "Elite" Coup Of 2016 By Moon Of Alabama
The article is a documented and accurate description of a coup that is underway. The extraordinary lies that are being perpetrated by the media and by members of the US government have as their obvious purpose the prevention of a Donald Trump presidency. There is no other reason for the extraordinary blatant lies for which there is not a shred of evidence. Indeed, there is massive real evidence to the contrary. Yet the coup proceeds and gathers steam.
President Eisenhower warned us more than a half century ago of the danger that the military/security complex presents to US democracy. In the decades since Eisenhower’s warning, the military/security complex has become more powerful than the American people and is demonstrating its power by overturning a presidential election.
It is an easy matter for the ruling interests to bribe electors to vote differently than their states. The cost of the bribes is miniscule compared to the wealth and income streams that a trillion dollar annual budget provides to the military/security complex. The fake news of a Putin/Trump election-stealing plot generated by unsupported allegations of present and former members of US intelligence, the lame-duck President Obama, and the presstitute media provide the cover for electors to break with precedent “in order to save America from a Russian stooge.”
Making Russia ‘The Enemy’ By Robert Parry [Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.] December 17, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "Consortium News"
The rising hysteria about Russia is best understood as fulfilling two needs for Official Washington: the Military Industrial Complex’s transitioning from the “war on terror” to a more lucrative “new cold war” – and blunting the threat that a President Trump poses to the neoconservative/liberal-interventionist foreign-policy establishment.
By hyping the Russian “threat,” the neocons and their liberal-hawk sidekicks, who include much of the mainstream U.S. news media, can guarantee bigger military budgets from Congress. The hype also sets in motion a blocking maneuver to impinge on any significant change in direction for U.S. foreign policy under Trump.
That Democrats would want the CIA, which is forbidden to operate domestically in part because of its historic role in influencing elections in other countries, to play a similar role in the United States shows how desperate the Democratic Party has become.
And, even though The New York Times and other big news outlets are reporting as flat fact that Russia hacked the Democratic email accounts and gave the information to WikiLeaks, former British Ambassador Craig Murray, a close associate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, told the London Daily Mail that he personally received the email data from a “disgusted” Democrat.
Degeneration Nation: It Takes a Village of Idiots to Raise a Kakistocracy Like Donald Trump’s By Sophia A. McClennen / Salon December 17, 2016
Ever since Donald Trump launched his campaign last year we have searched for the right word to define the sort of government he would lead. Would it be populist or fascist? Would he be a demagogue or a dictator? Would he be the first reality TV president? Would his new administration be an oligarchy, a plutocracy, or a kleptocracy?
Now that he has been elected and he and his minions are busily filling slots in the cabinet and government, we now have an answer to what form of government he will lead. And the answer is all of the above.
Luckily we have one word that sums it all up: a kakistocracy, which literally means government by the worst element of a society. A kakistocracy is a government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens. Trump plans to bring us the worst of both. The word’s first known appearance was in 1829 in “The Misfortunes of Elphin,” written by the English satirical writer Thomas Love Peacock. In the United States the word is first recorded from American poet James Russell Lowell, who wrote in a letter in 1876: “Is ours a government of the people, by the people, for the people, or a kakistocracy rather, for the benefit of knaves at the cost of fools?”
Lowell nails our current situation just right.
Russia had every reason to hack the US election With President Obama saying the United States will retaliate against Russia for meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the White House must make public “conclusive evidence in a form that can be independently analyzed,” as a leading technology website argues.
Until then, claims that Russia hacked Democratic Party emails remain unverified allegations based on anonymous sources. And that is extremely shaky ground to ratchet up a conflict with the most heavily armed nuclear power in the world given how the Vietnam War and Iraq War began as lies fomented by previous presidents.
But lost in the shadows of cyberwarfare and espionage is another critical debate: What would Russia’s motive be in undermining the U.S. electoral system and by extension its legitimacy, power, and global standing?
Hillary Clinton says it’s because Russian President Vladimir Putin “has a personal beef against me.”
This tale of comic-book villainy papers over a complicated history, however. With protesters in the streets, Putin likely feared he would be the latest regional strongman toppled by a U.S.-backed uprising. There was the 2003 Rose Revolution in Georgia, the 2004 Orange Revolution in the Ukraine, and the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan in 2005—all promoted by the United States and West Europe. The color-coded revolutions fit into a pattern of U.S.-engineered regime change around the world. This goes back to the emergence of America as a global power by the early 1900s, with its most recent incarnation being the “war on terror” under the Bush and Obama administrations.
The Western outcry against Russia’s 2011 elections, which some observers say was not unusually fraudulent, sent U.S.-Russia relations into a nosedive. Two analysts write in the Washington Quarterly, “The U.S. administration cut off talks with the Russians on missile defense, did not invite Putin to the 2012 NATO summit, eventually stopped pursuing arms control, signed into law the Magnitsky Act (even though the Obama administration had initially objected to this law; it was designed to punish Russian officials for the death in prison of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky), cancelled a two-day summit planned in Moscow in September 2013, met with human rights activists on the sidelines of Putin’s G20 summit in St. Petersburg in 2013 (the only head of state to do so), and then sent a White House delegation to the Sochi Olympics in February 2014 with a strong message of support for LGBT rights in response to Russia’s ‘anti-gay propaganda’ law.”
Now, this is just a brief overview of why Russia might feel just a bit paranoid. A fuller picture would note NATO was founded as an anti-Soviet military alliance in 1949, a full six years before the Soviet-formed Warsaw Pact was established. Despite losing its reason for being with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO has expanded eastward for more than 20 years over vociferous Russian protests. High-level Western officials are well aware their policies are viewed as belligerent. Last year the UK foreign secretary admitted “we have to recognise that the Russians do have a sense of being surrounded and under attack.”
Then there is the U.S.-designed “shock therapy” in the 1990s, which battered Russia. In a three-year period, as the economy was privatized, unemployment soared, and the safety net shredded, the life expectancy of Russian men plunged a staggering five years, and resulted in millions of excess deaths according to a Lancet study from 2009.
This is the missing background to the hacked U.S. election. It shows Russia has every reason to take the United States down a few notches. It’s important to emphasize none of it proves the hacking was tied to Russia, much less Putin himself as Washington now alleges.
How Come No One Involved in the Russian Hacking Conspiracy Talked? The claims that the Russian government hacked US voting machines are absurd. Voting machines are not connected to the Internet.
The FBI and the Director of National Intelligence do not support the CIA’s claims. Or should we say claims attributed to the CIA
The FBI says that the claims attributed to the CIA would not stand up in court. So what are the claims all about? Who is behind them? Are there elements within the CIA committing treason by working against president-elect Trump? Are there elements in the US Congress committing treason by trying to sway electors with fake news resting on unattributed claims that the Russians, not the American people, elected Trump? Why these claims in the absence of proof?
What we are experiencing in the delegitimization of Donald Trump is an extraordinary rejection of democracy by elements in the government and by the presstitutes.
US Intel Vets Dispute Russia Hacking Claims As the hysteria about Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election grows, a key mystery is why U.S. intelligence would rely on “circumstantial evidence” when it has the capability for hard evidence, say U.S. intelligence veterans.
A New York Times report on Monday alluding to “overwhelming circumstantial evidence” leading the CIA to believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin “deployed computer hackers with the goal of tipping the election to Donald J. Trump” is, sadly, evidence-free. This is no surprise, because harder evidence of a technical nature points to an inside leak, not hacking – by Russians or anyone else.
Electoral College Revolt Growing Into 'Powerful Show of Force' With the Electoral College vote less than a week away, Harvard University constitutional law professor Lawrence Lessig says 20 Republican members are considering voting against Donald Trump—more than half the number needed to potentially block the real estate mogul's election.
The 538 delegates to the Electoral College will gather at state capitols on Monday, December 19 to cast their votes for president. Ahead of that day, Lessig's Electors Trust group "has been offering pro bono legal counsel to Republican presidential electors considering ditching Trump and has been acting as a clearinghouse for electors to privately communicate their intentions
Despite Being Taken as Fact, 'Case Against Russia' Rests on Insufficient Proof The case that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer network and interfered with the 2016 U.S. elections—such as that laid out Tuesday by the New York Times—is plausible, but the American people deserve hard proof that has yet to be provided, The Intercept's Sam Biddle wrote Wednesday.
While calls for declassification of the evidence have thus far gone unanswered, "the refrain of Russian attribution has been repeated so regularly and so emphatically that it's become easy to forget that no one has ever truly proven the claim
"[O]ne can't be reminded enough that all of this evidence comes from private companies with a direct financial interest in making the internet seem as scary as possible," writes The Intercept's Sam Biddle
Foreign Meddling in Our Vote? Remember How This Feels During the Cold War, the CIA did everything it’s accusing Russia of doing today — and more.
President-Reject: Don’t Say His Name Instead, we might consider refusing to acknowledge him altogether. If he craves the spotlight, pull the plug. If he desperately needs attention, starve him of it. If he wants to be the boss, go out on strike. If he demands obedience, conscientiously object. If he profits from publicity, simply stop watching him. If he wants power, render him superfluous. If he seeks to be in the center, then let’s place him in the margins. If he builds a Cabinet out of defective materials, let’s not place anything important in there. Indeed, this spirit is reflected in #notmypresident and other forms of rejection, offering a glimmer of noncompliance. We can take this a symbolic step further by refusing to even invoke his name, and thus curtail the brand. The hashtag #dontsayhisname offers an opportunity to turn the tables without inviting him in.
Freedom’s Just Another Word By Peter Van Buren [a 24-year veteran of the State Department] December 11, 2016 "Information Clearing House"
We had an election, and the candidate favored by Washington, media, and many business elites did not win. Here’s what happened next.
— CIA unambiguously but without documentation or evidence presented says, via anonymous leaks, that Russia interceded in the election to help elect Donald Trump.
— Democratic Congresspeople, alongside several media outlets, have called for investigations into whether or not Trump colluded with the Russians to influence the election. That would be an impeachable offense, a criminal offense, treason.
— The underlying message is that the Russians believe Trump as president will so favor them (for some reason) that they risk war, or a cyber version of war, to see him in power. Trump’s legitimacy is now undermined, and his every action toward the Soviet Union Russia will be tainted.
— Though this “information” was known in Washington since at least the election, it was only released 10 days ahead of the Electoral College vote.
— Clinton supporters continue to try and get the Electoral College to do something it has never done in some 220 years, select a candidate who did not win the most electoral votes.
— Hillary Clinton has re-emerged, making speeches and public appearances, concurrent with all of the above.
What we have are anonymous voices at an intelligence agency supposedly dedicated to foreign intel saying the Russians helped elect our next president. That says the process is flawed and cannot be trusted, and that Trump will owe a debt to the Russians and can’t be trusted. It will keep alive the idea that Clinton should have won if not for this meddling and undermine for his term the legitimacy of Trump. Via the classification process, the CIA will only need to make public the snippets of info that support its contention. THIS IS AN ATTEMPTED COUP as sure as it would be if there were tanks on the White House lawn. The CIA might as well have tried to shoot Trump during his next trip to Dallas.
To date, all of these accusations have been based on anonymous sources and leaks. The president of the United States remains silent.
And we are so easily manipulated — liberals/progressives who have rightly attacked the CIA for decades for domestic spying, WMD lies, overthrowing foreign governments, torture, drones, renditions, etc., overnight now believe and support every word the Agency says.
Health Care Hither and Yon: An Invitation to Scream about Socialism By Fred Reed December 12, 2016 "Information Clearing House"
Almost all advanced countries, if not all, have national medical care. It is telling that in the debate over Obamacare, few looked at systems in other countries to see how well what worked. The reason seems to have been a mixture of the classic American arrogance and lack of interest in anything beyond the borders. Characteristically, discussion usually turned on the evils of socialism–for some reason, Europe is thought to be socialist–and who was going to make money.
The results are what one would expect. Study after study has shown that American health care is of poor quality compared with that of other First World nations, and way more expensive.
Recently I encountered a casual friend–he was dancing in a local club–whom I had not seen for a while. Where ya been, I asked? In Guadalajara for cardiac surgery, he said, double bypass and valve replacement. The replacement valve was from a pig so we made the mandatory jokes about did he say oink-oink, and parted.
Later, for the hell of it, I asked by email what it had cost. His response, verbatim, except for my conversions to dollars at 17 pesos to the dollar:
“The costs of my surgery were as follows:
330,000 pesos to the surgeon and his surgical team. $19,411
467,000 total $27,470
The time frame was March 13 to March 21. The exchange rate around this time period was about 17.5 which would make the USD cost app. $27.000.”
Wondering what this would cost in the US, I googled around and found things like this:
“For patients not covered by health insurance, valve replacement surgery typically costs from about $80,000-$200,000 or more with an average, according to an American Heart Association report , of $164,238, not including the doctor fee. A surgeon fee can add $5,000 or more to the final bill.”
Why the prices? Several reasons offer themselves. Advanced countries–Mexico is not one–have less corruption than does the US, and a greater concern for the well-being of their people. In Europe, for example, this is obvious not just in medical care but in unemployment insurance, length of vacations, and public amenities. In Seville, among my favorite cities, sidewalks are very wide, bicycle lanes are actually usable, in intercity buses are clean and comfortable. In the US all of this would be regarded as hippy dippy or socialism or the malevolent workings of the nanny state.
Then they talk about the evils of socialism.
Suppose we did make comparisons?
Military medical care is the obvious, available, and easily studied alternative to Obamacare. So far as I know, nobody thought of this. In the military you go to the hospital or clinic, show your ID card, get done whatever you need, and leave. Thank you, good day. No paperwork. No paperwork. No insurance forms, deductibles. receipts. No insurance companies trying to pay as little as possible, since that’s how they make money. The doctor doesn’t order a PET scan, three MRIs, and a DNA analysis of your grandmother’s dog to run up the bill.
A Strategic Counsel survey found 91% of Canadians prefer their health care system instead of a U.S. style system.
“The French health care system is one of universal health care largely financed by government national health insurance. In its 2000 assessment of world health care systems, the World Health Organization found that France provided the “close to best overall health care” in the world.
Demagogue-in-Chief By Chris Hedges December 12, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "Truth Dig"
For Donald Trump, the presidency will be a vast stage for accommodating his megalomania and insatiable appetite for money. Those who mock, defy or anger him will feel the wrath of the state. Those who are not obsequious will be cast aside. He will invest most of his energy in his brand. Self-promotion is the only real talent he possesses.
Corruption, already rife within the political system, will explode into a full-blown kleptocracy. Manufactured stories about Trump’s prowess, brilliance, sexual allure and goodness, as well as how America is becoming “great again,” will be pumped out by the White House smoke machine. He will demand encomiums that will become ever more outrageous. All love, devotion and allegiance will be to Trump.
Trump is the sick expression of a dysfunctional political system and mass culture that celebrate the most depraved aspects of human nature—greed, a lust for power, a thirst for adulation and celebrity, a penchant for the manipulation of others, dishonesty, a lack of remorse and a frightening pathology in which reality is ignored. He is the product of our escapist world of constant entertainment. He embodies the mutation of values in American society that has culminated in an enormous cult of the self and the abandonment of the common good.
Demagogues—insecure and crippled by an unbridled narcissism and seldom of high intelligence—play to the inverted values of a decayed society. They attack all who do not kneel before the idol of “the great leader.”
Trump, as president, will use every tool in his arsenal, no matter how devious, to banish such public ridicule. He will seek to domesticate the press and critics first through the awarding of special privileges, flattery, gifts and access. Those who cannot be bought off will be destroyed. His petulant, childish taunts, given authority by the machinery of the security and surveillance state, will be dangerous.
Stop the CIA Coup The Deep State versus Donald Trump. By Justin Raimondo December 12, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "AntiWar"
The CIA is up to its old tricks: overthrowing a democratically elected government. Only this time it’s our government.
As they are now legally allowed to do ever since the law against covert CIA propaganda in the United States was repealed, the Agency has leaked to the Washington Post reports – via anonymous third parties – of its alleged assessment of a Russian campaign to hand Donald Trump the White House:
Michael Moore Perfectly Nails What Democrats Fail to Understand The filmmaker told Seth Meyers that predicting Trump's victory was like "negative lotto."
The Pentagon’s “2015 Strategy” For Ruling the World By Mike Whitney December 05, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "Counterpunch"
On Wednesday, the Pentagon released its 2015 National Military Strategy, a 24-page blueprint for ruling the world through military force. While the language in the report is subtler and less incendiary than similar documents in the past, the determination to unilaterally pursue US interests through extreme violence remains the cornerstone of the new strategy.
Readers will not find even a hint of remorse in the NMS for the vast destruction and loss of life the US caused in countries that posed not the slightest threat to US national security.
Instead, the report reflects the steely resolve of its authors and elite constituents to continue the carnage and bloodletting until all potential rivals have been killed or eliminated and until such time that Washington feels confident that its control over the levers of global power cannot be challenged.
As one would expect, the NMS conceals its hostile intentions behind the deceptive language of “national security”. The US does not initiate wars of aggression against blameless states that possess large quantities of natural resources. No. The US merely addresses “security challenges” to “protect the homeland” and to “advance our national interests.”
In the Chairman’s Forward, Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey attempts to prepare the American people for a future of endless war.
The Mafia State Chris Hedges
Systems of governance that are seized by a tiny cabal become mafia states.
The early years—Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton in the United States—are marked by promises that the pillage will benefit everyone.
The later years—George W. Bush and Barack Obama—are marked by declarations that things are getting better even though they are getting worse.
The final years—Donald Trump—see the lunatic trolls, hedge fund parasites, con artists, conspiracy theorists and criminals drop all pretense and carry out an orgy of looting and corruption.
The rich never have enough. The more they get, the more they want. It is a disease. CEOs demand and receive pay that is 200 times what their workers earn. And even when corporate executives commit massive fraud, such as the billing of hundreds of thousands of Wells Fargo customers for accounts they never opened, they elude punishment and personally profit. Disgraced CEO John Stumpf left Wells Fargo with a pay package that averages nearly $15 million a year. Richard Fuld received nearly half a billion dollars from 1993 to 2007, a time in which he was bankrupting Lehman Brothers.
Neoliberalism is state-sponsored extortion. It is a vast, nationally orchestrated Ponzi scheme.
This fevered speculation and mounting inequality, made possible by the two ruling political parties, corroded and destroyed the mechanisms and institutions that permitted democratic participation and provided some protection for workers.
The corporate coup created a mafia capitalism. This mafia capitalism, as economists such as Karl Polanyi and Joseph Stiglitz warned, gave birth to a mafia political system. Financial and political power in the hands of institutions such as Goldman Sachs and the Clinton Foundation becomes solely about personal gain.
Adam Smith wrote that profits are often highest in nations on the verge of economic collapse. These profits are obtained, he wrote, by massively indebting the economy.
A rentier class [originally a Marxist term indicating those who earn their living, not by working, but by investments and properties--they manipulate money instead of producting something useful to others], composed of managers at hedge funds, banks, financial firms and other companies, makes money not by manufacturing products but from the control of economic rents. To increase profits, lenders, credit card companies and others charge higher and higher interest rates. Or they use their monopolies to gouge the public.
These profits are counted as economic growth. But this is a fiction, a sleight of hand, like unemployment statistics or the consumer price index, used to mask the speculative shell game.
Economist Michael Hudson: "So the issue is whether Goldman Sachs, Wall Street and predatory pharmaceutical firms actually add product or whether they’re just exploiting other people. That’s why I used the word ‘parasites’ in my book’s title. People think of a parasite as simply taking money, taking blood out of a host or taking money out of the economy. But in nature it’s much more complicated.
"The parasite can’t simply come in and take something. First of all, it needs to numb the host. It has an enzyme so that the host doesn’t realize the parasite’s there. And then the parasites have another enzyme that takes over the host’s brain. It makes the host imagine that the parasite is part of its own body, actually part of itself and hence to be protected.
"That’s basically what Wall Street has done. It depicts itself as part of the economy. Not as a wrapping around it, not as external to it, but actually the part that’s helping the body grow, and that actually is responsible for most of the growth. But in fact it’s the parasite that is taking over the growth.”
Critic Irving Howe: “Let a world collapse, in the South or Russia, and there appear figures of coarse ambition driving their way up from beneath the social bottom, men to whom moral claims are not so much absurd as incomprehensible, sons of bushwhackers or muzhiks drifting in from nowhere and taking over through the sheer outrageousness of their monolithic force,” Howe wrote. “They become presidents of local banks and chairmen of party regional committees, and later, a trifle slicked up, they muscle their way into Congress or the Politburo. Scavengers without inhibition, they need not believe in the crumbling official code of their society; they need only learn to mimic its sounds.”
“The great Roman historians Livy and Plutarch blamed the decline of the Roman Empire on the creditor class [the optimates] being predatory, and the latifundia [a large landed estate],” Hudson said. “The creditors took all the money, and would just buy more and more land, displacing the other people. The result in Rome was a dark age, and that can last a very long time. The dark age is what happens when the rentiers take over.”
“If you look back in the 1930s, Leon Trotsky said that fascism was the inability of the socialist parties to come forth with an alternative,” Hudson said. “If the socialist parties and media don’t come forth with an alternative to this neofeudalism, you’re going to have a rollback to feudalism. But instead of the military taking over the land, as occurred with the Norman Conquest, you take over the land financially. Finance has become the new mode of warfare.”
What comes next, history has shown, will not be pleasant. A cruel and morally bankrupt elite, backed by the organs of state security and law enforcement, will, as the Eupatridae [literally "good fathered", i.e. "offspring of noble fathers" or "the well-born" refers to the ancient nobility of the Greeks] did in sixth-century-B.C. Athens, bankrupt the citizenry through state-sponsored theft, war, austerity and debt peonage.
They will reduce workers to the status of serfs or slaves. The most benign dissent will be criminalized and crushed. America’s Snopes-like elites have no external or internal constraints. They are barbarians. We will remove them from power or enter a new dark age.
Forget the FBI Cache; The Podesta Emails Show How America is Run By Thomas Frank November 01, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "The Guardian"
If your purpose is to understand the clique of people who dominate Washington today, the emails that really matter are the ones being slowly released by WikiLeaks from the hacked account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta. They are last week’s scandal in a year running over with scandals, but in truth their significance goes far beyond mere scandal: they are a window into the soul of the Democratic party and into the dreams and thoughts of the class to whom the party answers. They are the comfortable and well-educated mainstay of our modern Democratic party. They are also the grandees of our national media; the architects of our software; the designers of our streets; the high officials of our banking system; the authors of just about every plan to fix social security or fine-tune the Middle East with precision droning. They are, they think, not a class at all but rather the enlightened ones, the people who must be answered to but who need never explain themselves.
Certain industries loom large and virtuous here. Hillary’s ingratiating speeches to Wall Street are well known of course, but what is remarkable is that, in the party of Jackson and Bryan and Roosevelt, smiling financiers now seem to stand on every corner, constantly proffering advice about this and that. In one now-famous email chain, for example, the reader can watch current US trade representative Michael Froman, writing from a Citibank email address in 2008, appear to name President Obama’s cabinet even before the great hope-and-change election was decided (incidentally, an important clue to understanding why that greatest of zombie banks was never put out of its misery).
The far-sighted innovators of Silicon Valley are also here in force, interacting all the time with the leaders of the party of the people. We watch as Podesta appears to email Sheryl Sandberg. He makes plans to visit Mark Zuckerberg (who, according to one missive, wants to “learn more about next steps for his philanthropy and social action”). Podesta exchanges emails with an entrepreneur about an ugly race now unfolding for Silicon Valley’s seat in Congress
Attacking billionaires! In the year 2015! It was, one of the correspondents appears to write, “madness and political malpractice of the party to allow this to continue”.
There are wonderful things to be found in this treasure trove when you search the gilded words “Davos” or “Tahoe”. But it is when you search “Vineyard” on the WikiLeaks dump that you realize these people truly inhabit a different world from the rest of us. By “vineyard”, of course, they mean Martha’s Vineyard, the ritzy vacation resort island off the coast of Massachusetts where presidents Clinton and Obama spent most of their summer vacations. The Vineyard is a place for the very, very rich to unwind, yes, but as we learn from these emails, it is also a place of high idealism; a land of enlightened liberal commitment far beyond anything ordinary citizens can ever achieve.
This genre of Podesta email, in which people try to arrange jobs for themselves or their kids, points us toward the most fundamental thing we know about the people at the top of this class: their loyalty to one another and the way it overrides everything else.
Everything blurs into everything else in this world. The state department, the banks, Silicon Valley, the nonprofits, the “Global CEO Advisory Firm” that appears to have solicited donations for the Clinton Foundation. Executives here go from foundation to government to thinktank to startup. There are honors. Venture capital. Foundation grants. Endowed chairs. Advanced degrees. For them the door revolves. The friends all succeed. They break every boundary.
But the One Big Boundary remains. Yes, it’s all supposed to be a meritocracy. But if you aren’t part of this happy, prosperous in-group – if you don’t have John Podesta’s email address – you’re out.
A chilling encounter with a German student left me shaking... By scamperdo Sunday Nov 13, 2016
No encounter has ever left me as shaken as my Saturday ride with a German student coming home from a goodbye party. His parents came to the painful and hard decision some grandparents did not make 80 some years ago. He departs for home on Monday, without finishing his semester because fear is spreading across Germany.
I was honestly and sincerely just stunned speechless to hear that his parents screamed at them, "the unthinkable has happened and America has fallen, you need to get OUT NOW before it's too late."
They needed no more proof than France's far right, fascist party invited to Trump Tower and Le Pen announcing they are collaborating together.
I heard how many old and wise Germans are sounding the clarion call.
A fascist taking over America will topple France next Germans are warning. France falling will destroy the European Union which in turn, will topple Merkel and without her strong, reassuring voice the once unthinkable will happen again in Germany. Without American support against Putin, European democracies will tumble.
Two Separate Worlds By Thierry Meyssan, November 18, 2016 "Voltaire"
During a very important meeting of the Security Council – not even mentioned in the Western Press – on 28 October, the United States voted against UNO cooperation with regional organisations which include Russia, and therefore also China. By refusing to work with others, and thus to admit that other powers are their equals, Washington has taken the path towards a division of the world into two distinct spheres and the end of economic globalisation.
We find here the position held by various participants during Geneva Conference 2 – while everyone is in theory united against terrorism, Washington does not see this problem as being a priority, but puts the demands of its own imperialism first. Except that this time, it has not attacked Syria, but offended both Russia and China.
The world is therefore paying for the fog that has surrounded the fight against terrorism since 2001. Let us remember that terrorism is not an enemy in itself, but a method of combat used by enemies.
Washington has thus closed the only exit that was open to it. The Obama administration refuses to recognise the development of Russia, the world’s major conventional military power, and of China, the world’s major economic power. It refuses to let go of the unipolar organisation of the world which was set up after «Desert Storm», in 1991, and pursues its wars in the Levant and in Ukraine with the unique aim of cutting the two land supply routes from China to Western Europe.
Given that its position is untenable in the short term, and that it does not want a World War, Washington is preparing to separate the world in two. This does not mean a replay of the Cold War, where the world was one, even if it was administered by two powers, but a new structure – on one side a unipolar world governed by the United States alone, and on the other a number of independent and refractory states cooperating together around Russia and China, and with the fewest possible number of bridges between these two worlds. This implies the end of world free trade, the organisation of world commerce, and economic globalisation, and thus constitutes a gigantic step backwards.
15 things everyone would know if there were a liberal media If the media were "liberal," it would serve the public interest and shine a light on issues like the ones above.
More people would also have a better understanding of global warming, peak oil, population growth, political lobbying, government's role in a functioning economy, how much we spend on the military, and countless other issues.
10/15/16 news email from ICH:--> https://consortiumnews.com/2016/10/14/the-warnings-of-a-new-world-war/
The European Coordinator of The American Committee for East West Accord said: Russia is giving clear signs that WWW III is about to start if the US doesn't quite illegally interfering in Syria. The US is ignoring them.
A retired Professor of Finance said: The US, through John Kerry, is serving Israel and Saudi Arabia in the Syrian mess.
A Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion said: Is it not obvious? [US] Public opinion is being prepared for another regime-change war.
BBC exposé on Whtie Helmets said: Russia is acting to defend international law.
A former editor and writer for major news media organizations said: Nations in the West, led by the US, are moving towards [censorship] banning Russian news media channels from satellite platforms and the internet.
.. and speaking of war, Hillary Clinton is coaxing one with Russia.
Trump’s fingerprints are on crotches. Clinton’s are on Haiti, Honduras, Libya, Syria, Iraq, anywhere U.S. Empire lurks. What a choice. It’s worse than pussy grabbing. We’re fucked.
Video of Trump & Hillary entertaining us: This whole "election" is just a sick joke!
Counterpunch The fearless voice of the American left. "Tells the facts, names the names." a bi-monthly magazine published in the United States that covers politics in a manner its editors describe as "muckraking with a radical attitude". It has been described as left-wing by both supporters and detractors.
Lew Rockwell.com The daily news and opinion site LewRockwell.com was founded in 1999 by anarcho-capitalists Lew Rockwell and Burt Blumert to help carry on the anti-war, anti-state, pro-market work of Murray N. Rothbard [Murray Newton Rothbard was an American heterodox economist of the Austrian School, a revisionist historian, and a political theorist whose writings and personal influence played a seminal role in the development of modern libertarianism. Wikipedia].
An Urgently Necessary Briefing on Syria By Gary Leupp [Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion.] October 15, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "Counterpunch"
Is it not obvious? Public opinion is being prepared for another regime-change war.
Syria is country about the size of Washington state, with an extraordinarily long, well-documented and glorious history, and central role in the emergence of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Before the current war, it had a population of around 22 millions. It has never threatened and poses no threat to the United States.
It is a secular, constitutional republic recognized diplomatically by the United Nations and has diplomatic and usually cordial relations with Russia, Iran, China, India, Japan, Brazil, South Africa, the Philippines, Argentina, Tanzania, Cuba, Egypt, Iraq, Algeria, Oman, etc.
The U.S. has a long history of pressing for “regime change” in Syria. After Syria became independent, the U.S. routinely intervened in the country in pursuing its Cold War political agendas.
It is widely suspected that the military coup in Syria in 1949 was abetted by the U.S., which saw the previous regime as soft on communism. And the CIA openly acknowledges responsibility for the failed coup attempts designed to install a suitable anti-communist regime called “Operation Straggle” in 1956 and “Operation Wappen” directed by Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. in 1957.
The latter included failed bribery efforts which, when exposed, embarrassed the U.S. (After the Syrian government foiled the plot, Washington began accusing Syria of being a “Soviet client.”)
9/11 allowed the neoconservative regime-changers and their allies to move quickly. Exploiting fear and ignorance, they immediately set about preparing for war on Iraq, even though Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. We know from Gen. Wesley Clark’s often-quoted words, after talking with a Pentagon general shortly after 9/11, that there was a plan already in place to “take out seven countries in 5 years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.”
There were loud voices in the Bush administration (most notably undersecretary of state John Bolton, who Trump has said is one of the foreign policy experts he most respects) calling for strikes on Syria (as “low-hanging fruit”) and echoing baseless Israeli allegations that the WMDs not found in Iraq must have been sent across the border to Syria.
The “Arab Spring” of 2011 ended the discussion about regime change. The neocon faction at the State Department kicked into gear. Hillary Clinton and soon Barack Obama commanded Bashar al-Assad to step down, after some fatal encounters between demonstrators and police afforded them the opportunity to deploy a pre-determined accusation: “He has attacked his own people!”
The U.S. closed its Damascus embassy, planning to return after the moderate opposition was in power as planned. The then-Secretary of State is known to have advocated overt military aid to the rebels, although Obama was reluctant.
In fact, the U.S. covertly trained 53 Syrian militants in Turkey who as soon as they entered Syria in September 2015 were captured or defected, handing over their weapons. Efforts to turn Syria’s “Arab Spring” into a quick pro-U.S. regime change exercise have failed dismally while resulting in mass slaughter.
In September 2013, as the Syrian state forces made advances against the armed opposition and many analysts concluded that the tide had turned in the conflict, someone released sarin gas in a Damascus suburb. Some blamed it on the Assad regime. John Kerry, Hillary Clinton’s successor as secretary of state, was eager to attack Syria. A year earlier, Obama had indicated that the U.S. would attack if it saw “a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.”
Obama was on the verge of ordering an attack when careful Russian diplomacy stayed his hand. Moscow challenged the U.S. attribution of the attack to the regime, pointing instead to the opposition, and in any case facilitated the Assad regime’s resignation of its chemical weapons stockpiles to the UN. This was an important triumph for Russian diplomacy and setback for neocon regime change plans in Syria.
The lightning victories of ISIL in early 2014, as it returned to Iraq conquering Fallujah, Ramadi and Mosul, were a PR nightmare for the U.S. They were clear testimony that the U.S. destruction of the secular, modern Iraqi state had paved the way for child-beheading, woman-enslaving, monument-destroying crazies.
The U.S. had to bomb ISIL, both in Iraq (with permission from the government) and in Syria (where U.S. warplanes, unlike Russian warplanes, operate illegally)... while simultaneously maintaining that the main problem—somehow giving rise to this problem of these people who burn people in cages, and bury people alive, and force conversions—is the Baathist regime.
To suggest that Assad is responsible for the presence of ISIL in his country (due to his refusal to heed the U.S. diktat, and step down paving the way for the U.S.’s alternative) is just stupid. That it should be so widely repeated by pundits in the mainstream press should be the cause for mass alarm if not despair. Such State Department talking points are the drumbeats of war.
Russia’s intervention in the Syrian conflict, occurring at the request of the Syrian government (which, to repeat, is the government of a secular, constitutional republic recognized diplomatically by the United Nations and has cordial relations with Russia, Iran, China, India, Brazil, South Africa, the Philippines, Argentina, Tanzania, Cuba, Egypt, Iraq, Algeria, Oman and many other countries despite Washington’s efforts to isolate and overthrow it), this intervention is legal, while the U.S.’s is not.
Meanwhile Hillary Clinton as recently as Oct. 9 reiterated in the “debate” with Trump that she (still) supports a no-fly zone. Even though the brass has told her that that would mean the deployment of tens of thousands of U.S. troops in a war with Syria and Russia.
She is eager to appoint Michele Flournoy (formerly the third-ranking civilian in the Pentagon under Obama) as her Secretary of Defense. Flournoy has also called for a “no-fly zone” over Syria and “limited military coercion” to drive Assad from power. She has actually proposed the deployment of U.S. ground troops against the Syrian Arab Army. The point is for Hillary not only to ascend to power—whatever that might require—but to prepare the people for more Afghanistans, Iraqs and Libyas in the process. The point is to lull the people into historical amnesia, blind them to Hillary’s record of Goldwater-type reckless militarism, exploit the Cold War mentality lingering among the most backward and ignorant, and insure that the electorate that, while generally deploring the result of the rigged election in November, will soon afterwards rally behind corrupt Hillary as soon as she seizes on some pretext for war.
The Warnings of a New World War By Gilbert Doctorow [the European Coordinator, American Committee for East West Accord] October 15, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "Consortium News"
The U.S.-Russia confrontation over Ukraine and now Syria is far more dangerous than is understood by mainstream U.S. analysts as Russia lays down clear warnings that are mostly being ignored.
A picture is worth a thousand words / President Barack Obama meets with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice listens at left
In an interview with the Bild newspaper on Oct. 8, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is known for his cautious rhetoric, described the present international situation in the following woeful terms: “unfortunately it is an illusion to believe this is the old Cold War. The new times are different; they are more dangerous.
For these reasons, said Steinmeier, “The USA and Russia must continue talking with each other.” He concluded his appeal with fairly balanced recommendations to resolve the humanitarian crisis in east Aleppo, urging both Russia and the other powers to apply their influence with their clients on the ground.
Sad to say, this call to reason fell on deaf ears. On the same day, a U.S. State Department spokesman explained to journalists Washington’s decision over the weekend to end the joint peace process with Moscow, saying that there was “nothing left to talk about with the Russians.”
War damage in the once-thriving Syrian city of Aleppo / Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressing the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. on March 21, 2016
Meanwhile, the Russian side took as the last straw this unilateral and trumpeted decision of the Americans to bury the deal signed on Sept. 9 between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that had taken 14 hours to negotiate and was seen as a triumph of cooperation versus confrontation.
De facto, from the Russian view, that deal was sabotaged on Sept. 17 by the Pentagon when U.S. and coalition aircraft bombed a Syrian government military outpost at Deir Ezzor killing more than 60 Syrian soldiers.
From the foregoing, it would appear that the U.S. government was keen to play down to the general public the significance of the separately noted Russian moves last week. It is in this context that one must appreciate what an unofficial but authoritative Russian state television program last Sunday night did...
The Oct. 9 show, the real hoped-for audience of the first half-hour segment was in Washington, D.C., where its intent was to pour cold water over hotheads in the Pentagon and CIA – and bring the American leadership back to its senses. Quoting from the transcript:
“This past week relations between the USA and Russia went through a sharp but expected turn. To bend over backwards further in the face of [American] lies has lost all sense and is simply harmful. By bending over backwards we mean looking for diplomatic compromises.
“We held endless expectations that the USA will finally separate the non-terrorists from the terrorists [in Syria]. We waited more than a year for this. But it is clear they did not want to. They are taking us and the whole world for fools.
"America is working on the side of Al Nusra [Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate], providing them with diplomatic cover; providing them with additional arms; helping them by their supposedly mistaken bombing of a Syrian army position.
By presenting Russia with hostility and enormous challenges, the United States has been creating the very Russia it fears.
Moreover, the CIA has its own agent taking part in the prime-time talk shows several days a week. He is a welcome and paid guest of the Russian state television because of his outstanding Russian language skills and his defense of the policy line coming from Washington, which makes him the American that Russian viewers love to hate.
In this capacity, he rubs shoulders regularly with the leading Russian politicians on the shows and has a chance, in the breaks, to put to them the kind of question that one such politician said he raised a week ago: “Will there be a war?”
A puzzling and scandalous question arises: why has the President not said a word about the “radical change in relations” with Russia? And why is it that neither candidate when asked about how to respond to the killings in east Aleppo on Debate Two, that very same evening, on Oct. 9, were clueless.
Indeed, the remarks of Hillary Clinton to the effect that the United States must stand up to the Russians and impose a “no-fly zone” in Syria missed the point that to do so now will mean destruction of U.S. aircraft and naval vessels, or, in other words, the onset of World War III.
For his part, Donald Trump came out marginally better on the issue of what to do about east Aleppo. He said that, as he understands, it’s lost already. That appraisal is much closer to reality.
The end result of the official silence in the U.S. about Russia’s message of defiance and about its military wherewithal in place in Syria to defend what it construes as its national interest is that as a nation the U.S. is flying blind.
War vs. Democracy By Robert C. Koehler September 09, 2016 "Information Clearing House"
The paradox of democracy is that it depends on the integrity of those who have the most to lose if an election goes the wrong way — you know, the people in power.
That’s a particularly thorny dilemma when the “fourth estate” — the speakers of truth to power, the public’s counterforce against political hackdom — are basically corporate wimps who view their job as the voice of public relations for the status quo, the defenders of our conventional beliefs, e.g., that God’s in his heaven and America is the world’s oldest, greatest, most secure democracy.
But in 2016, even the mainstream media are trembling with uncertainty. As Harvey Wasserman and Bob Fitrakis recently wrote: “Now 16 years after the theft of the presidency in Florida 2000, and a dozen since it was done again in Ohio 2004, the corporate media is approaching consensus that it is indeed very easy to strip millions of legitimate citizens from the voting rolls, and then to hack electronic voting machines and computerized central tabulators to flip the official final outcome.”
Change is coming, apparently, whether we want it or not. Bernie Sanders and the progressive revolution were neatly, efficiently stiffed by the Democrats, but the “alt-right” nationalists and white supremacists surprised the hell out of the Republicans and now their man is leading a charge up Stone Mountain, promising to make America great again, or at least free of non-European immigrants and the cruel constraints of political correctness.
Two months before the election, I feel the need to pause and look in several directions at the shortcomings of the process we celebrate with such self-adulation.
In an interview with Rabbi Michael Lerner at Tikkun, Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate, points out: “The magnificent work that the Bernie Sanders campaign did and the momentum they built and the public support that they demonstrated and mobilized is a wonder to behold and it has forever transformed the political landscape. But it was essentially sabotaged by the Democratic Party as it has always done since George McGovern won the Democratic Party nomination, and the rules of the game were changed so that a grassroots campaign could not win the nomination again — in part by creating super delegates and Super Tuesdays, but that’s not the end of it.”
It is in this context that I bring up the concept of election reform. For democracy to be real, three rights must be protected: the right to vote, the right to have your vote counted, and the right to vote for a candidate who actually represents you. And as usual, all three of these rights are under assault.
Clinton calls for National Service By Nancy Hanover 7 October 2016 WSWS
Last Friday, September 30, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton announced a plan to institute a National Service Reserve for the purpose of recruiting five million young people between the ages of 18 and 30 for a minimum of a year of service. This initiative is not a milquetoast “reform” as it is being described in the media, but represents a dangerous shift towards wider wars abroad and a more militarized society at home.
While she packaged the idea as a local/national volunteer force, Clinton’s proposed corps are modeled after the Armed Forces Reserves. Volunteers would receive “basic training” and be on-call for natural disaster, public health campaigns or “other projects,” according to the Washington Post .
Clinton also called for tripling the size of AmeriCorps from 75,000 to 250,000, [AmeriCorps is a civil society program supported by the U.S. federal government, foundations, corporations, and other donors engaging adults in public service work with a goal of "helping others and meeting critical needs in the community." Wikipedia], increasing its loan forgiveness/stipend allocation to a miserable $23,000 for two years of full-time work plus another year in public service. Finally she advocated for the expansion of the Peace Corps and the enlistment of the over-55 age bracket for volunteer opportunities.
Auch proposals—always of a militarist character—have periodically arisen in the US, but are now receiving significant political traction. In fact, National Service fits in with the outlook and aims outlined in the recent Atlantic Council document The Future of the Army. Among other measures, the policy paper calls for an expansion of military personnel, both career and part-time. It suggests the creation of an Army Civilian Volunteer Auxiliary Corps, an idea not dissimilar to the National Service Reserves.
With an eye to the “age of perpetual war” and social breakdown at home, The Future of the Army states, “The lines between military and civilian, active and reserves, volunteers and retirees need to become far more blurred.”
In other words, policymakers are demanding the militarization of large swathes of American society, with millions of “reservists” on call for military duties.
Video: George Carlin - The Illusion Of Choice 3 great videos.
Ralph Nader: Clinton and Trump both 'flunk' and that third party candidates shouldn't be considered "spoilers."
Support White and Niemuth in 2016! In the 2016 US elections, the American people are being asked to choose between two right-wing representatives of the corporate and financial aristocracy, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. Regardless of who wins in November, the ruling class is preparing a massive campaign of military violence abroad and an intensification of the assault on the working class at home.
Millions of workers and young people are disgusted with this supposed “choice.” Polls show that Clinton and Trump are among the most despised presidential candidates in US history. Growing numbers of voters are looking for a political alternative to the two corporate-controlled parties.
The Socialist Equality Party and its candidates, Jerry White and Niles Niemuth, are running in these elections to give a voice to the real interests of workers and young people, and to prepare for the struggles to come. We address our campaign to workers suffering from decades of wage stagnation; to young people, burdened with debt, with no prospect of a decent-paying job; to older workers being stripped of their health care and pensions; to everyone opposed to police violence, the destruction of democratic rights and an ever-expanding war drive that threatens the very future of the human race. After experiencing the catastrophic consequences of the crisis of the capitalist system, millions throughout the United States and all over the world are beginning to ask the question: What is socialism? Our campaign is answering this question and building among workers and young people a genuine socialist leadership to wage war on war, inequality and the capitalist system.
The “Major and Deadly” Wars to Come By Andre Damon October 05, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "WSWS" [World Socialist Web Site]
The Atlantic Council, a leading US geopolitical strategy think tank, published a report on September 20 titled The Future of the Army. The document outlines the far-reaching preparations that are underway for the United States, in the report’s own words, to fight “major and deadly” wars between “great powers,” which will entail “heavy casualties” and “high levels of death and destruction.”
The report confirms the warnings made by the World Socialist Web Site and the candidates of the Socialist Equality Party in the 2016 US elections that the world stands closer to war than at any time since 1939.
It presents a picture of the near future (2020-2025) as a horrifying dystopia, characterized by spiraling inequality, economic insecurity and perpetual war. “Today’s world of haves and have-nots will be greatly magnified,” it states, “with those fortunate enough to have employment and access to stunning technology living in stark contrast to the hundreds of millions struggling to survive in disrupted environments.”
This world “will be marked by the breakdown of order, widespread violent extremism and aggressive large states.” The world situation will be driven by “unpredicted and unpredictable events,” including the possibility of “a nuclear exchange.” Noting that “urban operations will increasingly dominate land warfare,” the Atlantic Council predicts that armies will operate “in densely packed metropolitan areas where civilian populations are a part of the battlefield.”
Speaking of the present situation, the report declares that “the United States has entered an era of perpetual war.” It notes, “After fifteen years, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are still continuing.” There is, additionally, “an increasing number of conflicts in the gray zone, whose primary characteristic is ambiguity—about their objectives, participants, and even outcomes, since they clearly lack defined end points.”
But, as the document cautions, “The Army cannot focus solely on these types of conflicts.” It must prepare for what “we’ve called ‘the next big war’—involving very capable adversaries, high levels of death and destruction, and perhaps hundreds of thousands of US troops.”
“A future major war against a great power competitor might,” according to the report, “require the Army to grow by several orders of magnitude in order to prevail.” To make this possible, the Army must begin making plans for a “mass mobilization.” As the Atlantic Council explains, “The growing threats in today’s world” mean that the Army “must once again build a mobilization plan to rapidly grow the size of the Army to meet a national crisis of existential danger.” In other words, it must prepare to institute a draft.
Finally, there must be active preparations for an intervention—or even takeover—by the military in the event of what the report calls a “breakdown of civil order”—a euphemism for the emergence of a political challenge from below to the domination of the ruling class. The Atlantic Council notes that “the large-scale disruption of civil order…would almost certainly engage much of the Army in providing extensive support to civil authorities throughout the country.”
Totally left out of this analysis, except as the object of military repression, are the American people. It never occurs to those engaged in the preparation of these policies to consult the population. It is taken for granted that it must acquiesce to a course of action that will result in death and destruction on a horrific scale.
War vs. Democracy By Robert C. Koehler September 09, 2016 "Information Clearing House"
The paradox of democracy is that it depends on the integrity of those who have the most to lose if an election goes the wrong way — you know, the people in power.
That’s a particularly thorny dilemma when the “fourth estate” — the speakers of truth to power, the public’s counterforce against political hackdom — are basically corporate wimps who view their job as the voice of public relations for the status quo, the defenders of our conventional beliefs, e.g., that God’s in his heaven and America is the world’s oldest, greatest, most secure democracy.
But in 2016, even the mainstream media are trembling with uncertainty. As Harvey Wasserman and Bob Fitrakis recently wrote: “Now 16 years after the theft of the presidency in Florida 2000, and a dozen since it was done again in Ohio 2004, the corporate media is approaching consensus that it is indeed very easy to strip millions of legitimate citizens from the voting rolls, and then to hack electronic voting machines and computerized central tabulators to flip the official final outcome.”
Change is coming, apparently, whether we want it or not. Bernie Sanders and the progressive revolution were neatly, efficiently stiffed by the Democrats, but the “alt-right” nationalists and white supremacists surprised the hell out of the Republicans and now their man is leading a charge up Stone Mountain, promising to make America great again, or at least free of non-European immigrants and the cruel constraints of political correctness.
Two months before the election, I feel the need to pause and look in several directions at the shortcomings of the process we celebrate with such self-adulation.
In an interview with Rabbi Michael Lerner at Tikkun, Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate, points out: “The magnificent work that the Bernie Sanders campaign did and the momentum they built and the public support that they demonstrated and mobilized is a wonder to behold and it has forever transformed the political landscape. But it was essentially sabotaged by the Democratic Party as it has always done since George McGovern won the Democratic Party nomination, and the rules of the game were changed so that a grassroots campaign could not win the nomination again — in part by creating super delegates and Super Tuesdays, but that’s not the end of it.”
It is in this context that I bring up the concept of election reform. For democracy to be real, three rights must be protected: the right to vote, the right to have your vote counted, and the right to vote for a candidate who actually represents you. And as usual, all three of these rights are under assault.
The US Election: an Exercise in Mendacity Canadian view of our election.
What’s that smell in this room? Didn’t you notice it, Brick? Didn’t you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room?… There ain’t nothin’ more powerful than the odor of mendacity… You can smell it. It smells like death.
— Big Daddy to son Brick in Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Big Daddy might have been talking about the current U.S. presidential election, which currently wraps the nation in a putrid bubble that can be smelled around the planet. To call it a democratic process would surely be mendacious.
Leave aside the fact that bourgeois elections are generally structured in such a way as to screw over the 99%. Polls during the primaries consistently indicated that Bernie Sanders led either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in voter support. But devious rules and manipulations, and the now-revealed skewing of the primary process by the DNC, and the solid backing of the news networks deliberately downplaying Clinton’s negatives while belittling Sanders, delivered the convention vote to the former secretary of state.
Meanwhile Trump became Republican nominee because the mainstream media for months followed a strategy of simultaneously treating his candidacy as a joke but then cutting to coverage of his every utterance (as “breaking news”) even though he just repeated his same old tired, vapid, solipsistic rant that was anything but news. At the same time, they ignored Sanders’ speeches, or at least failed to convey their content, as reporters merely covered Sanders events as curious gatherings of enthusiastic youth. In that way Trump was able to reach his base; pick off, one by one, his GOP rivals; and gradually win polite treatment as a respectable candidate.
The Election Has Been Hacked By John W. Whitehead September 02, 2016 "Information Clearing House"
The outcome is a foregone conclusion: the police state will win and "we the people" will lose...
The Dismal Reality of Having No Real Electoral Choices.
The Empire Wants Ms. Clinton, The Conqueror! By Andre Vltchek September 02, 2016 "Information Clearing House"
Both Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump are competing in it as a who is the ‘tougher guy/gal’.. But just think for a moment what would really happen if one of them sticks to his or her ‘promises’ and ‘principles’, after getting elected! (The bullets would be flying, the nukes exploding, and millions of immigrants pushed off some cliff).
The Whole Game is About Containing Russia-China By Pepe Escobar September 02, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "Sputnik"
The next BRICS summit, in Goa, is less than two months away. Compared to only two years ago, the geopolitical tectonic plates have moved with astonishing speed.
Slowly but surely — see for instance the possibility of an ATM (Ankara-Tehran-Moscow) coalition in the making — global power continues to insist on shifting East. That goes beyond Russia's pivoting to Asia; Germany's industrialists are just waiting for the right political conjunction, before the end of the decade, to also pivot to Asia, conforming a BMB (Berlin-Moscow-Beijing) coalition.
The US: A Dead Nation Walking By Paul Craig Roberts August 27, 2016 "Information Clearing House" -Here is an informative article by Dmitry Orlov: http://www.cluborlov.com
In his article Orlov concludes that the United States is a dead nation, still walking, but no longer a uni-power. I agree with Orlov that US weapon systems are more focused on profits than on effectiveness and that Russia has superior weapons and a superior cause based on protection rather than dominance. However, in his assessment of the possibility of nuclear war, I think that Orlov under-appreciates the commitment of Washington’s Neoconservatives to US world hegemony and the recklessness of the Neoconservatives and Hillary Clinton. Washington is incensed that Russia (and China) dare to stand up to Washington, and this anger crowds out judgment.
5 Reasons to Vote Even When You Hate Everything on the Ballot Why vote if you hate everything on the ballot? Elections are about more than the candidates. They’re about voters, too, and what issues they think deserve attention.
2. If you’re not down with a President Trump or President Clinton, there is always a third party.
3. Voting—in high or low numbers—can have serious consequences.
4. Let them know you exist and that you’re not satisfied—write in a name.
We Need To Distance Ourselves From NATO If We Want To Avoid War By Leif Elinder, Anders Romelsjö and Martin Gelin.. First posted in Göteborgsposten in Swedish, translated by Siv O'Neall. - Title in Swedish: "Vi måste fjärma oss från Nato om vi vill slippa krig" August 20, 2013 "Information Clearing House"
The risk of nuclear war has never been greater and it is partly because of NATO rearmament of European countries bordering on Russia. However, these countries will also be targeted if Putin decides to strike back. Thus write three Swedish doctors in an article in Göteborgsposten on Friday August 12.
The Democratic Party, led by Debbie Wasserman Schultz openly rigged its primary system to nominate Hillary Clinton. People who managed to doubt that must now avoid reading the DNC's Nixonian emails with their plots to expose Bernie Sanders as an atheist, push false stories about Bernie delegates throwing chairs, etc.
So the Democrats have decided to not let Wasserman Schultz speak at their convention, and to slightly modify their antidemocratic super delegates system so that beginning four years from now two-thirds of them will be expected to vote in line with the actual voters of their states.
Here's what a real reform would look like: Require that beginning this week any delegate or superdelegate who objects to being used as a pawn in the pretense of democracy switch their vote from Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders.
Moving ahead with the Hillary Clinton nomination while altering the mechanisms by which future primaries will be rigged is not a solution. It's an insult and an open admission that lying, cheating, and stealing are acceptable.
Any delegate to the DNC this week who votes for Clinton is voting for corruption and, by the very logic of Clinton's own lesser-evilist, I-am-not-a-Trump campaign ads, is voting for Trump. Polls have repeatedly found Sanders to be a stronger candidate against Trump than Clinton is.
29 Pages Revealed: Corruption, Crime and Cover-up Of 9/11 By Kristen Breitweiser July 17, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "HP"
First and foremost, here is what you need to know when you listen to any member of our government state that the newly released 29 pages are no smoking gun — THEY ARE LYING.
Our government’s relationship to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is no different than an addict’s relationship to heroin. Much like a heroin addict who will lie, cheat, and steal to feed their vice, certain members of our government will lie, cheat, and steal to continue their dysfunctional and deadly relationship with the KSA — a relationship that is rotting this nation and its leaders from the inside out.
There was a concerted effort by the FBI and the Bush Administration to keep incriminating Saudi evidence out of the Inquiry’s investigation. And for the exception of the 29 full pages, they succeeded in their effort.
Notwithstanding the lack of cooperation from the FBI and the pressure from the Bush Administration to thwart any investigation of the Saudis, the Joint Inquiry was still able to write 29 full pages regarding Saudi complicity in the 9/11 attacks. No other nation is given such singular prominence in the Joint Inquiry’s Final Report. Not Iraq. Not Iran. Not Syria. Not Sudan. Not even Afghanistan or Pakistan.
The 29 pages have been kept secret and suppressed from the American public for fifteen years — not for matters of genuine national security — but for matters of convenience, embarrassment, and cover-up. Executive Order 13526 makes that a crime. Neither James Clapper nor Barack Obama want to release a statement about that.
The only thing James Clapper and Barack Obama are willing to say about the delayed release of the 29 pages is that they stand by the investigation of the 9/11 Commission. This punt by President Barack Obama is repulsive. President Obama’s deference to the 9/11 Commission — who themselves admit that they were unable to fully investigate the Saudi role in the 9/11 attacks — depicts Obama’s utter lack of interest, engagement, or support of the 9/11 families.
Frankly, it re-victimizes the 9/11 families by not acknowledging the truth, blocking our path to justice, and the very vital assignment of accountability to those who should be held responsible. Most alarmingly, Obama’s silence keeps us unsafe because instead of calling for an emergency session of Congress to immediately name the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, President Obama continues to downplay, belittle, and ignore the truth leaving us vulnerable to terrorist attacks that are still to this very day being funded by our “ally” the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
To be clear, the 9/11 Commission did NOT fully investigate the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Staff Director Philip Zelikow blocked any investigation into the Saudis. Zelikow even went so far as to fire an investigator who had been brought over from the Joint Inquiry to specifically follow-up on the Saudi leads and information uncovered in the Joint Inquiry. I will repeat — the investigator was fired. In addition, Zelikow re-wrote the 9/11 Commission’s entire section regarding the Saudi’s and their connection to the 9/11 attacks. Former 9/11 Commissioners John Lehman, Bob Kerrey, and Tim Roemer have all acknowledged that the Saudis were not adequately investigated by the 9/11 Commission.
While I used to think I was safe because my government was looking out for me and making decisions that were in my best interests and that of other citizens, I now know better. For fifteen long years, I have fought to get information regarding the killing of my husband from the U.S. government. I have fought, pleaded, and begged for the truth, transparency, justice, and accountability because my husband and 3,000 others were brutally slaughtered in broad daylight. And our government has done nothing but block, thwart, impede, and obstruct that path to truth, transparency, accountability, and justice.
More than anything, please know this: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia provided operational and financial support to the 9/11 hijackers. That is a fact. And, the U.S. government has been covering up that fact for fifteen years — even to this very day. And that is a crime.
Corruption, greed, and vice, specifically as it pertains to protecting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is not a one-party problem. It spans both democratic and republican administrations. Blame President Clinton, President Bush, and President Obama — as well as, all of their officials and appointees. They are ALL to blame for failing to prevent the 9/11 attacks, helping to facilitate the 9/11 attacks through their own abject negligence, using the 9/11 attacks to further ill-begotten gains and goals, and covering-up the 9/11 attacks by not coming clean with the American public for fifteen years.
There is No U.S. War Against ISIS; Instead, Obama is Protecting His “Assets” By Glen Ford [Glen Ford has been a journalist and political activist – a provider of “information for liberation,” as he puts it – for over 40 years. Host of The Black Agenda Radio. Co-published BlackCommentator.com (2002) and BlackAgendaReport.com (2006). Ford has served as a White House, Capitol Hill and State Department correspondent and Washington Bureau Chief] June 03, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "BAR"
Two years ago, President Obama said he had no strategy to combat the Islamic State. The U.S. is still not waging war against ISIS or “jihadists of any brand in Syria.” The international jihadist network is a U.S. imperial asset. “The general aim of the Obama administration’s jihadist policy, now deeply in crisis, is to preserve the Islamic State as a fighting force for deployment under another brand name, under new top leadership.”
The U.S. claim that it is waging a global “war on terror” is the biggest lie of the 21st century, a mega-fiction on the same historical scale of evil as Hitler’s claim that he was defending Germany from an assault by world Jewry, or that the trans-Atlantic slave trade was a Christianizing mission. In reality, the U.S. is the birth mother and chief nurturer of the global jihadist network – a truth recognized by most of the world’s people, including the 82 percent of Syrians that believe “the U.S. created the Islamic State.” (Even 62 percent of Syrians in Islamic State-controlled regions believe this to be true.)
Only “exceptionalism”-addled Americans and colonial-minded Europeans give Washington’s insane cover story the slightest credibility. However, it is dangerous in the extreme for any country to state the fact clearly: that it is the United States that has inflicted Islamic jihadist terror on the world. Once the charade has been abandoned; once there is no longer the international pretense that Washington is not the Mother Of All Terror, what kind of dialogue is possible with the crazed and desperate perpetrator? What do you do with a superpower criminal, once you have accused him of such unspeakable evil?
It’s actually a desperate effort to balance U.S. interests in preserving ISIS as a American military asset, while also maintaining the Mother Of All Lies, that the U.S. is engaged in a global war on terror, rather than acting as the headquarters of terror in world. To maintain that tattered fiction, at least in the bubble of the home country, requires the maintenance of a massive and constant psychological operations apparatus. It’s called the corporate news media.
GOP Insider Leaks Donald Trump's Secret Plan To Slash Social Security By News Corpse Monday May 30, 2016
On the subject of Social Security Trump has made his opposition to cuts in the program a stock part of his campaign repertoire. He boasts about his support for it despite being at variance with the official stance of the Republican Party. Paul Ryan, the GOP Speaker of the House of Representatives, has been proposing cuts and/or privatization for Social Security and Medicare for years.
Republicans have been taking heat for their eagerness to make seniors pay for the deficit that they ran up with tax cuts for the rich and two wars. Now they are understandably worried about being seen again as the enemies of Social Security, one of the most popular government programs in history.
It is a program that is often labeled an entitlement, although it is actually more of a savings plan that the beneficiaries paid into into during their working years.
But the more troubling part of this disclosure is that Trump is admitting that he is withholding his true position on the matter because of the political backlash that would ensue if voters knew what he really thinks.
It is a program that is often labeled an entitlement, although it is actually more of a savings plan that the beneficiaries paid into into during their working years. But the more troubling part of this disclosure is that Trump is admitting that he is withholding his true position on the matter because of the political backlash that would ensue if voters knew what he really thinks.
Clearly, for many years, Trump has held the belief that lying about his position on Social Security was a necessary deception to win elections. And he intends to continue the charade throughout his campaign. Even as he states publicly his support for Social Security, he has staffed his team of advisers with long-time opponents of the program. Sam Clovis and John Mashburn are two of Trump's advisers who have advocated for privatizing Social Security or converting it to a block grant program that would allow states to limit benefits.
Assad Must Go...... Americans Go On Swallowing The Wrong Pill By Paul Edwards May 30, 2016 "Information Clearing House" America leads the world in weapons production, public debt, and bullshit.
It’s no news the world has grown used to--and bored with---the pompously dingbat pronouncements with which those smarmy horses asses, our sorry “leaders”, have serially embarrassed us, if not themselves.
The turgid effluent of hogwash Obama and Kerry have emitted about our “mission” in Syria exactly matches the imbecility of U.S. actions there. One shining example: CIA jihadis actually fought Special Forces jihadis recently, Aunt Sam funding both. There never was, and can never be, justification for our villainy in that death-stinking charnel house our arrogance created.
Beware What You Wish For: Russia Is Ready For War By Pepe Escobar May 23, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "RT"
Global Robocop NATO predictably discussed Afghanistan (a war NATO ignominiously lost); Iraq (a war the Pentagon ignominiously lost); Libya (a nation NATO turned into a failed state devastated by militia hell); Syria (a nation NATO, via Turkey, would love to invade, and is already a militia hell).
A case can be made that the Beltway – neocons and neoliberalcons alike - do not want a hot war with Russia. What they want, apart from racking in more cash for the Pentagon, is to raise the ante to such a high level that Moscow will back down - based on a rational cost analysis. Yet oil prices will inevitably rise later in 2016 – and under this scenario Washington is a loser. So we may see a raise of interest rates by the Fed (with all the money continuing to go to Wall Street) trying to reverse the scenario.
Russia does not want – and does not need – war. Yet the “Russian aggression” narrative never stops. Thus it’s always enlightening to come back to this RAND corporation study, which examined what would happen if a war actually took place. RAND reached an “unambiguous” conclusion after a series of war games in 2015-2015; Russia could overrun NATO in a mere 60 hours – if not less – if it ever amounted to a hot war on European soil.
The Rand Corporation is essentially a CIA outpost – thus a propaganda machine. Yet it’s not propaganda to state the Baltic States and Ukraine would completely fall in less than three days before the Russian Army. However, the suggestion that additional NATO air power and heavily armored combat divisions would make a material difference is bogus.
The Aegis changes the game in the sense that it qualifies as a launch area for US missile defense. Think US missiles with minimum flying time – around 30 minutes – from Moscow; that’s a certified threat to the Russian nation. The Russian military has also been “unambiguous”; if it is ascertained that NATO – via the Pentagon – is about to try something funny, there are grounds for a preventive strike by Iskander-M systems out of Transnistria – as in the destruction of the US missiles by conveniently armed precision weapons.
Meanwhile, Moscow has pulled a stunning success – of course, it’s far from over – in Syria. So what’s left for the Pentagon – via NATO – is essentially to play the scare tactics card.
Time for Counter-Coups in Latin America? – and Europe? By Peter Koenig May 18, 2016 "Information Clearing House"
What Happens when the accuser of terrorism are themselves the terrorists? – Namely the supra-national corporations and financial oligarchs acting in their own profit-driven interest, but under the direction of Washington and the protection of the US – NATO killer armies? Fear and confusion happens. Fear is the weapon of choice of the real terrorists, those who make us believe they are spreading and defending democracy.
In Brazilian cities millions are in the streets protesting against the illegal takeover of the Presidency in defiance of 54 million voters, by a corrupted parliament, and even worse, by vice-President, Michel Temer, who himself is accused of corruption and who would be ineligible to stand for election for any public office in Brazil during at least the next 8 years; and still worse, Michel Temer, who, as just release by WikiLeaks, has been for years a CIA informant... Temer is ready to sell Brazil to the money vultures, Wall Street, FED, IMF, World Bank and he has ‘promised’ to privatize vital social and public services, so that the oligarchs get richer and the Brazilians have to fight again for their survival.
In Honduras, President Juan Orlando Hernández came to power through a Washington instigated and supported coup in 2009 (now even admitted by Killery) against left-leaning President Zelaya, who was the clear front-runner for the upcoming elections. Under Orlando Hernandez’s tyranny, always protected by Washington, the crime and murder rate, already the highest in Central America, is increasing drastically. Oppression of free speech and political expression is rampant. The environment, natural resources, like forests (illegal logging) and water (privatization), gold and other minerals, is rabidly raped. Environmental protesters are being chased and gunned down.
In Ecuador and Bolivia, destabilizing CIA directed Washington trained groups and ‘NGOs’ are at work, buying support among indigenous people. In Bolivia they are recruiting (‘buying’) ‘street kids’ to form anti-government protest groups to be infiltrated into the heartland of the pluri-national state of Bolivia, comprising some 36 cultures based on the number of indigenous languages.
In the case of Ecuador, the very people made unhappy by Rafael Correa’s concession to oil giants, concessions he had to make under US pressure, are now being ‘destabilized’, mobilized against the government by the CIA and its local handlers.
In Europe, the real terrorists, the Unites States of war Crimes and its vassal, the European Union with its non-transparent sub-layers of corrupt institutions, the so-called, but miss-named European Central Bank (ECB), the European Commission (EC – a non-elected dishonest and secretive sub-layer of the EU), the IMF – have wreaked economic and humanitarian havoc in the southern fringe states which they call humiliatingly “PIGS” – Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain.
In Greece people are succumbing to famine, lacking health care and are suffering extreme and seemingly unstoppable plunder of public assets and social services – plunder of Life Capital. People die by the thousands from mal-nutrition, lack of medical attention, and outright famine, all induced by endless and merciless austerity programs imposed by – and seemingly uncontested by the ruling so-called leftwing Syriza party – the inhuman, criminal troika (EC, ECB, IMF) – all driven by the Anglo-Zionist-owned and directed FED and Wall Street. It is amazing how the rest of Europe of this rotten European Union, corrupt to the bones, is just on-looking, hapless and spineless as they are, dreaming that it will never happen to them.
In Spain, the Movement 15 (M15 – a consolidated movement of the ‘indignados’, the ‘outraged’, that started in Madrid on 15 May 2011) celebrated its 5th Anniversary, prompting millions of outraged people to march on 500 cities throughout the world, in a coordinated and solidary effort to fight the neoliberal assault on humanity – an onslaught that uses three types of weapons: tanks and bombs; media lie-propaganda and slander; and financial strangulation and subordination through debt.
The UK – is in a class by itself – with a strong people’s movement towards BREXIT. It reflects the popular discontent with the EU and with PM David Cameron’s submission to the non-transparent rules of the EU and its unelected European Commission. This video http://subterrnews.blogspot.com/2016/05/brexit-movie-full-film.html illustrates fairly well what the EU has promised but is actually doing to the UK; not much different from what the EU technocracy is doing to the rest of Europe.
If the Brits succeed against the will of the Masters in Washington and Brussels to vote for exiting the EU – and if the vote is actually accepted – then dynamics of European discontent may well bring about a collapse of the European Union and its fake, unbacked and unsustainable currency, the euro. That in itself would be an enormous blow to the US empire – a blow it may not survive. The consequences might be tremendous, including a disintegration of NATO which could and might and hopefully would be a death knell for the US hegemon.
This criminal universal onslaught of the US-NATO forces is also engulfing the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe with foreign-bread wars and armed proxy conflicts, causing millions and millions of refugees in the region – refugees that are eventually seeking a new life, of all places, in the countries of their hangmen – Europe. And Europe – still the colonialists of hither-day – rejects them miserably, prevents their entry with walls, yes walls – remember the Berlin Wall? – and barbed wires, chasing them away with tear gas and rubber bullets, mothers with babies and small kids. Some are hurt, some are even killed. The media of course does not report on them. Once they become refugees they are forgotten souls.
NATO, armed to the teeth, despite all the promises to the contrary after the fall of the Berlin Wall, is rapidly expanding eastward, encircling Russia, including occupying Ukraine. Ukraine has been for hundreds of years an integral part of Russia, but it is a crucially strategic and economic piece of land for the West to dominate on its journey towards world hegemony. Therefore, US-NATO instigated a bloody coup in February 2014, installed a Nazi-Government in Kiev, committing heinous war crimes in the eastern Donbass Region of Ukraine – a civil war massacre for which the ruthless west is blaming Russia. Naturally, with accusations fabricated by the bought presstitute media.
This is How Corrupt Our Political System Is--Video Bribery Lets Lobbyists Write The Law
ALEC corrupts the system in every capitol across the country. It's legalized bribery that allows corporations and lobbyists to write our nation's laws.
America’s & NATO’s Outrageous Behavior, Greatest Threat that Exists By Eric Zuesse  May 19, 2016
On May 18th, two top people at NATO, one being its current Secretary General — the very top person — laid out in preliminary form the case for war against Russia, which presumably will be presented in more detail at the NATO Summit to be held in Poland on 8-9 July this year.
As if that weren’t bad enough, there’s the matter reported by Bryan Cloughly at Strategic Culture, headlining on May 19th, “Surging Towards yet Another War”, where he pointed out that “The United States has no territorial rights of any sort, in the South China Sea which is 7,000 miles (11,000 kilometres) from its west coast. There is nothing in international law that justifies its unilateral military ‘challenge’ to China’s presence” there, in that area which is contested between five countries: China, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei. The American government, which has no authority to speak for the entire world regarding international law — of which the U.S. itself has been perhaps the most frequent violator during the past 16 years — isn’t “policeman of the world,” certainly not judge and jury and executioner (well, maybe executioner) of the world, but instead it’s merely an aspiring global thug.
“The Pentagon declared on 10 May that China’s ‘excessive maritime claims are inconsistent with international law as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention in that they purport to restrict the navigation rights that the United States and all states are entitled to exercise’.” Cloughly points out that the U.S. “refuses to ratify the Law of the Sea Convention — while ordering every other country to abide by it.”
Peace, Not Russia, Is Real Threat to US Power By Finian Cunningham May 17, 2016. The US economy has ossified into a war economy and the only way for this to be maintained is for the US to be continually placed on a war footing.
In recent years, Washington’s military expenditure averages around $600 billion a year. That’s over half of the total discretionary spending by the US government, exceeding budgets for education, health and social security. It’s well over a third of the total world military annual spend of $1.7 trillion.
The incipient military-industrial complex that President Dwight Eisenhower warned of in his farewell speech in 1961 has indeed become a central, defining feature of American society and economy. To talk of «American free-market capitalism» is a staggering oxymoron when so much of the country’s economy is wholly dependent on government-funded militarism.
Or put it another way: if the US military budget were somehow drastically reduced in line with other nations, the all-powerful military-industrial complex and the American state as we know it would collapse. No doubt something better would evolve in time, but the impact on established power interests would be calamitous and therefore is trenchantly resisted.
Seeing Humanity in ‘Enemy’ States By Matthew Hoh May 17, 2016. The United States has over 800 military bases around the world, has client states across the globe, many of which are the worst human rights violators .
Bitter Lake Video Documentary Bitter Lake is a brilliant portrayal of the west's terrible arrogance.
Somnolent Europe, Russia, and China: Can the world wake up? Russia and China will soon be confronted with an unwelcome decision: accept American hegemony or go to war..
The Global Refugee Crisis Humanity's Last Call for a Culture of Sharing and Cooperation By Rajesh Makwana. March 15, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "Sharing.org"
The real crisis is not the influx of refugees to Europe per se but a toxic combination of destabilising foreign policy agendas, economic austerity and the rise of right-wing nationalism, which is likely to push the world further into social and political chaos in the months ahead
The Graveyard of the Elites By Chris Hedges — The establishment structure is sliding toward its death, and the foremost sign of this is the silly and sickening display of “junk politics” that we call an election campaign.
Power elites, blinded by hubris, intoxicated by absolute power, unable to set limits on their exploitation of the underclass, propelled to expand empire beyond its capacity to sustain itself, addicted to hedonism, spectacle and wealth, surrounded by half-witted courtiers—Alan Greenspan, Thomas Friedman, David Brooks and others—who tell them what they want to hear, and enveloped by a false sense of security because of their ability to employ massive state violence, are the last to know their privileged world is imploding.
“History,” the Italian sociologist Vilfredo Pareto wrote, “is the graveyard of aristocracies.”
The carnival of the presidential election is a public display of the deep morbidity and artifice that have gripped American society. Political discourse has been reduced by design to trite patriotic and religious clichés, sentimentality, sanctimonious paeans to the American character, a sacralization of militarism, and acerbic, adolescent taunts. Reality has been left behind.
The US defense establishment can be considered victorious in one sense only: it has conquered and subdued the people of the United States. [Dmitry Orlov]
The Revenge of the Lower Classes and the Rise of American Fascism By Chris Hedges March 04, 2016
There are tens of millions of Americans, especially lower-class whites, rightfully enraged at what has been done to them, their families and their communities. They have risen up to reject the neoliberal policies and political correctness imposed on them by college-educated elites from both political parties: Lower-class whites are embracing an American fascism.
These Americans want a kind of freedom—a freedom to hate. They want the freedom to use words like “nigger,” “kike,” “spic,” “chink,” “raghead” and “fag.” They want the freedom to idealize violence and the gun culture. They want the freedom to have enemies, to physically assault Muslims, undocumented workers, African-Americans, homosexuals and anyone who dares criticize their cryptofascism.
There is only one way left to blunt the yearning for fascism coalescing around Trump. It is to build, as fast as possible, movements or parties that declare war on corporate power, engage in sustained acts of civil disobedience and seek to reintegrate the disenfranchised—the “losers”—back into the economy and political life of the country. This movement will never come out of the Democratic Party. If Clinton prevails in the general election Trump may disappear, but the fascist sentiments will expand.
What Will Many Bernie Sanders Voters Do After July? By Ralph Nader March 04, 2016
The energetic Sanders supporters, including the Millennials who voted so heavily for Bernie, could form a New Progressive movement to exercise a policy pull on the establishment Democrats before November and to be a growing magnet after November with the objective of taking over the Democratic Party starting with winning local elections. This will have long-term benefits for our country.
Chris Hedges: Bernie's Phantom Movement No movement or political revolution will ever be built within the confines of the Democratic Party. And the repeated failure of the American left to grasp the duplicitous game being played by the political elites has effectively neutered it as a political force. History, after all, should count for something.
The Democrats, like the Republicans, have no interest in genuine reform. They are wedded to corporate power. They are about appearance, not substance. They speak in the language of democracy, even liberal reform and populism, but doggedly block campaign finance reform and promote an array of policies, including new trade agreements, that disempower workers. They rig the elections, not only with money but also with so-called superdelegates—more than 700 delegates who are unbound among a total of more than 4,700 at the Democratic convention. Sanders may have received 60 percent of the vote in New Hampshire, but he came away with fewer of the state’s delegates than Clinton. This is a harbinger of the campaign to come.
If Sanders is denied the nomination—the Clinton machine and the Democratic Party establishment, along with their corporate puppet masters, will use every dirty trick to ensure he loses—his so-called movement and political revolution will evaporate. His mobilized base, as was true with the Obama campaign, will be fossilized into donor and volunteer lists. The curtain will come down with a thunderclap until the next election carnival.
The political system, as many Sanders supporters are about to discover, is immune to reform. The only effective resistance will be achieved through acts of sustained, mass civil disobedience. The Democrats, like the Republicans, have no intention of halting the assault on our civil liberties, the expansion of imperial wars, the coddling of Wall Street, the destruction of the ecosystem by the fossil fuel industry and the impoverishment of workers. As long as the Democrats and the Republicans remain in power we are doomed.
I am for a revolution that brings under strict civilian control the military, the security and surveillance apparatus including the CIA, the FBI, Homeland Security and police and drastically reduces their budgets and power. I am for a revolution that abandons imperial expansion, especially in the Middle East, and makes it impossible to profit from war. I am for a revolution that nationalizes banks, the arms industry, energy companies and utilities, breaks up monopolies, destroys the fossil fuel industry, funds the arts and public broadcasting, provides full employment and free education including university education, forgives all student debt, blocks bank repossessions and foreclosures of homes, guarantees universal and free health care and provides a living wage to those unable to work, especially single parents, the disabled and the elderly.
This will be a long and desperate struggle. It will require open confrontation. The billionaire class and corporate oligarchs cannot be tamed. They must be overthrown. They will be overthrown in the streets, not in a convention hall.
Why I Support Stein The political crisis in America is severe. The old ideas that buttressed the ruling class and promised democracy, growth and prosperity—neoliberalism, austerity, globalization, endless war, a dependence on fossil fuel and unregulated capitalism—have been exposed as fictions used by the corporate elite to impoverish and enslave the country and enrich and empower themselves. Sixty-two billionaires have as much wealth as half the world’s population, 3.5 billion people. This fact alone is revolutionary tinder.
We are entering a dangerous moment when few people, no matter what their political orientation, trust the power elite or the ruling neoliberal ideology. The rise of right-wing populism, with dark undertones of fascism, looks set in the next presidential election—as it does in parts of Europe—to pit itself against the dying gasps of the corporate establishment.
Playing the old political game, attempting reform using the old rules, won’t work. We must focus exclusively on revolt, on overthrowing corporate power to reclaim our liberty and save the planet from a coup de grâce delivered by the fossil fuel industry.
The battle before us is global. It is a battle being fought on myriad fronts, including in Greece, Egypt, Spain and Venezuela. The ravages of climate change, the ruthless exploitation of international finance and the evil of American imperialism and militarism are as present outside our borders as they are at home. The greatest enemy before us is not radical jihadists, but the forces lurking within our society that threaten to extinguish human liberty and eventually the human species itself.
We do not have the luxury, or the right, to pick and choose whom among oppressed people it is politically convenient to support. We will rise or fall together.
This is why I support Dr. Jill Stein, who is running to be the Green Party candidate for president after having won her party’s nomination in 2012. I support Stein because she understands that this is primarily about building a global movement, not about participating in an election. She, unlike Bernie Sanders, knows that this movement will never be realized within the Democratic Party or by paying deference to the power elites, the Israel lobby or the arms industry and the military establishment. She grasps that until we name and destroy the evil of militarism and imperialism, genuine social and political reform, indeed democracy, is impossible. She does not want to work within the corporate establishment. She wants to dismantle it. And all the pundits who tell us not to waste our vote miss the point. It is time to stop playing the game.
These Democratic politicians have never worked to halt the expanding wars, end the assault on civil liberties, curb the looming ecocide, halt the offshoring of jobs or stop the bailouts to Wall Street—$800 billion under President George W. Bush and $16 trillion under Obama. The corporate state, with the complicity of the Republican and Democratic party leaderships, continues to ravage the planet and disembowel the country.
“We have to understand how absolutely deadly the threat is that we are facing now,” Stein said, “whether it’s the next economic collapse, which we are teetering on the brink of right now, or whether it is the meltdown of our climate. We are looking at the collapse of our major ice sheets within the next couple of decades. Within a handful of decades we could basically ruin all coastal cities. When Pearl Harbor was bombed we called out a national emergency, and within six months we had converted 25 percent of GDP to a wartime footing and stayed there. We are facing an all-out climate emergency. It got much worse under the Democrats. Obama [and the Democratic Party] had two houses of Congress. People should not make excuses for Obama—‘it was the bad Republicans.’ This is the second point about the politics of fear. The lesser evil paves the way to the greater evil. It’s not in opposition to it. It makes way for it.
“Democracy needs values,” she said. “Democracy does not exist in a vacuum. There’s nothing more powerful than a moral compass. We have to bring that moral compass to our democracy, because it is a ship lost in a storm right now.”
Four Horsemen of the Democracy By Robert C. Koehler
“It was also a shock to the system that a candidate universally known in Iowa, with deep pockets and long experience, could come close to losing to a relative unknown who was initially considered little more than a protest candidate.”
Just think of it! The tiny, tightly controlled consciousness that calls itself The World’s Greatest Democracy got all rattled and discombobulated by the behavior of Iowa caucus participants this week, because a large number of them — virtually half of the participating Democrats — cast their vote for an old socialist, well outside the zone of official approval.
The above quote, from the Washington Post, lays painfully bare the scope of awareness considered allowable in the American electoral process. Oh Bernie, with his unrealistic ideas, his idealism, his anger! He was supposed to be fringe — the candidate of the unserious (non-voting) American — but instead his campaign has cut into the mainstream vein, bleeding money from it and now, OMG, actual votes. What’s going on here?
The way I see it, he’s threatening the consensus of ignorance that has congealed over the last four decades around the American political process, especially at the highest levels. Indeed, the consensus is coming apart on its own this election season, even for those who have traditionally embraced it, e.g., the “white middle class,” as conservative writer R.R. Reno notes in a recent New York Times op-ed:
“Our political history since the end of World War II has turned on the willingness of white middle-class voters to rally behind great causes in league with the wealthy and political elite: Resist Communism! Send a man to the moon! Overcome racism! Protect the environment! Today, white middle-class voters want to be reassured that they can play an active role in politics. They want someone to appeal to their sense of political self-worth, not just their interests.
“This is precisely what Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders offer.”
I think it’s bigger than that. The American public is hearing the distant rumble of civilization’s collapse — hearing it beyond the chatter of the boob-tube pundits, beyond our trivialized identity as “consumers.” With the term “sense of political self-worth,” Reno is trying to say that democracy has a deep, spiritual dimension, that politics is about life and death, that our so-called leaders have to pledge a different sort of allegiance than the one they’ve gotten used to. . . that maybe, as a society, we need to start over at some basic level.
This is what a movement is: collective momentum for change, focused around a resonating principle. All people are equal. Violence solves nothing. We must cherish, not exploit, the planet that sustains us. These, at any rate, are some of the core principles that Bernie Sanders is tapping into and animating with his campaign.
A movement is bigger than any given leader, certainly bigger than any politician, but without leadership — and, especially, without some sort of access to the political process — movements can quickly lose momentum and deflate.
This is what happened to the global antiwar movement that preceded George W. Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. No matter that the invasion was an utter disaster from (almost) every point of view — indeed, that it set loose, you might say, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse — it has been coddled politically for over a decade now and perpetuated by both a Republican and Democratic presidency. Something is deeply problematic about the democracy both Sanders and Trump are now rocking. Issues of real significance are not up for discussion, and haven’t been for a long time.
Meanwhile, the contemporary Four Horsemen are running loose: War, Poverty, Racism and Climate Change. They may have other names, but these are how they appear to me in my political nightmares. And the riders are human. They’re the ones leading us right now, behind the façade of democracy.
Confronting them — stopping them — will take a movement independent of politics as usual, but not independent of the political process itself. This, I believe and hope, is what Bernie Sanders is bringing to the 2016 presidential race: a public opening into the process now owned by the acolytes and fiscal beneficiaries of the Four Horsemen.
Consider War, a.k.a. militarism: While Sanders is roundly condemned for the cost of his “socialist” ideas, such as universal healthcare and free college tuition, the cost of perpetual war and military readiness — the cost of nukes and surveillance and global domination — never comes up in presidential debates or official political discussions of any sort. This cost manages to be both enormous and almost invisible.
Nicolas J.S. Davies, writing last fall at Huffington Post, points out that the military budget during the Obama administration has averaged $663.4 billion annually. He adds: “These figures do not include additional military-related spending by the VA, CIA, Homeland Security, Energy, Justice or State Departments, nor interest payments on past military spending, which combine to raise the true cost of U.S. militarism to about $1.3 trillion per year, or one thirteenth of the U.S. economy.”
U.S. military spending, as has often been noted, equals or surpasses the annual budgets of the next ten largest military spenders combined. Davies also makes this fascinating point in his essay:
“If we compare U.S. military spending with global military spending, we can see that, as the U.S. cut its military budget by a third between 1985 and 1998, the rest of the world followed suit and global military budgets also fell by a third between 1988 and 1998. But as the U.S. spent trillions of dollars on weapons and war after 2000 . . . both allies and potential enemies again responded in kind. The 92 percent rise in the U.S. military budget by 2008 led to a 65 percent rise in global military spending by 2011.”
U.S. military spending leads the way! A U.S. decision to disarm would also lead the way, but none of this is up for public discussion. Our military spending is silently necessary for the continuation of business as usual. Not only that, it’s never in danger, as, let us say, Social Security is, or any effort to relieve the hell of poverty. The money is always available, no matter the condition of the economy.
This enormous wrong requires direct confrontation by an informed and politically empowered public. Let us make sure that the 2016 presidential race is no less than this.
A New Global Financial Cold War By Michael Hudson
A nightmare scenario of U.S. geopolitical strategists is coming true: foreign independence from U.S.-centered financial and diplomatic control. China and Russia are investing in neighboring economies on terms that cement Eurasian integration on the basis of financing in their own currencies and favoring their own exports. They also have created the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as an alternative military alliance to NATO. And the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) threatens to replace the IMF and World Bank tandem in which the United States holds unique veto power. Government-owned infrastructure provides basic services at low cost, on a subsidized basis, or freely. That is what has made the United States, Germany and other industrial lead nations so competitive over the past few centuries. But this positive role of government is no longer possible under World Bank/IMF policy. The U.S. promotion of neoliberalism and austerity is a major reason propelling China, Russia and other nations out of the U.S. diplomatic and banking orbit. The Illusion of Freedom By Chris Hedges [Chris Hedges previously spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.]; December 29, 2015
The seizure of political and economic power by corporations is unassailable. Who funds and manages our elections? Who writes our legislation and laws? Who determines our defense policies and vast military expenditures? Who is in charge of the Department of the Interior? The Department of Homeland Security? Our intelligence agencies? The Department of Agriculture? The Food and Drug Administration? The Department of Labor? The Federal Reserve? The mass media? Our systems of entertainment? Our prisons and schools? Who determines our trade and environmental policies? Who imposes austerity on the public while enabling the looting of the U.S. Treasury and the tax boycott by Wall Street? Who criminalizes dissent?
A disenfranchised white working class vents its lust for fascism at Trump campaign rallies. Naive liberals, who think they can mount effective resistance within the embrace of the Democratic Party, rally around the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders, who knows that the military-industrial complex is sacrosanct. Both the working class and the liberals will be sold out. Our rights and opinions do not matter. We have surrendered to our own form of wehrwirtschaft. We do not count within the political process.
The longer fantasy is substituted for reality, the faster we sleepwalk toward oblivion. There is no guarantee we will wake up. Magical thinking has gripped societies in the past. Those civilizations believed that fate, history, superior virtues or a divine force guaranteed their eternal triumph. As they collapsed, they constructed repressive dystopias. They imposed censorship and forced the unreal to be accepted as real. Those who did not conform were disappeared linguistically and then literally.
The vast disconnect between the official narrative of reality and reality itself creates an Alice-in-Wonderland experience. Propaganda is so pervasive, and truth is so rarely heard, that people do not trust their own senses. We are currently being assaulted by political campaigning that resembles the constant crusading by fascists and communists in past totalitarian societies. This campaigning, devoid of substance and subservient to the mirage of a free society, is anti-politics.
No vote we cast will alter the configurations of the corporate state. The wars will go on. Our national resources will continue to be diverted to militarism. The corporate fleecing of the country will get worse. Poor people of color will still be gunned down by militarized police in our streets. The eradication of our civil liberties will accelerate. The economic misery inflicted on over half the population will expand. Our environment will be ruthlessly exploited by fossil fuel and animal agriculture corporations and we will careen toward ecological collapse.
The powerful web of interlocking corporate entities is beyond our control. Our priorities are not corporate priorities. The corporate state, whose sole aim is exploitation and imperial expansion for increased profit, sinks money into research and development of weapons and state surveillance systems while it starves technologies that address global warming and renewable energy. Universities are awash in defense money but cannot find funds for environmental studies. Our bridges, roads and levees are crumbling from neglect. Our schools are overcrowded, decaying and being transformed into for-profit vocational centers. Our elderly and poor are abandoned and impoverished. Young men and women are crippled by unemployment or underemployment and debt peonage. Our for-profit health care drives the sick into bankruptcy.
Politics in totalitarian societies are entertainment. Reality, because it is complicated, messy and confusing, is banished from the world of mass entertainment. Clichés, stereotypes and uplifting messages that are comforting and self-congratulatory, along with elaborate spectacles, replace fact-based discourse.
“Entertainment was an expression of democracy, throwing off the chains of alleged cultural repression,” Neal Gabler wrote in “Life: The Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality.” “So too was consumption, throwing off the chains of the old production-oriented culture and allowing anyone to buy his way into his fantasy. And, in the end, both entertainment and consumption often provided the same intoxication: the sheer, endless pleasure of emancipation from reason, from responsibility, from tradition, from class and from all the other bonds that restrained the self.”
"Entertainment was Plato’s worst nightmare. It deposed the rational and enthroned the sensational and in so doing deposed the intellectual minority and enthroned the unrefined majority.”
Why WWIII Is On The Horizon By Paul Craig Roberts [Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments.]; December 29, 2015
The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 gave birth to a dangerous American ideology called neoconservativism. The Soviet Union had served as a constraint on US unilateral action. With the removal of this constraint on Washington, neoconservatives declared their agenda of US world hegemony. America was now the “sole superpower,” the “unipower,” that could act without restraint anywhere in the world.
The staggering unipolar power that history has given to Washington has to be protected at all costs. In 1992 top Pentagon official Undersecretary Paul Wolfowitz penned the Wolfowitz Doctrine, which became the basis for Washington’s foreign policy.
The Wolfowitz Doctrine states that the “first objective” of American foreign and military policy is “to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat [to US unilateral action] on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.” (A “hostile power” is a country sufficiently strong to have a foreign policy independent from Washington’s.)..
With this background, we can understand that the dangerous situation facing the world is the product of the neoconservative’s arrogant policy of US world hegemony. The failures of judgment and the dangers in the Syrian and Ukrainian conflicts are themselves the consequences of the neoconservative ideology...
Russia and Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, have been demonized by neoconservatives and their puppets in the US government and media. For example, Hillary Clinton, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, declared Putin to be “the new Hitler.” A former CIA official called for Putin’s assassination. Presidential candidates in both parties are competing in terms of who can be the most aggressive toward Russia and the most insulting toward Russia’s president.
The effect has been to destroy the trust between nuclear powers. The Russian government has learned that Washington does not respect Washington’s own laws, much less international law, and that Washington cannot be trusted to keep any agreement. This lack of trust, together with the aggression toward Russia spewing from Washington and the presstitute media and echoing in the idiotic European capitals, has established the ground for nuclear war. As NATO (essentially the US) has no prospect of defeating Russia in conventional war, much less defeating an alliance of Russia and China, war will be nuclear.
The European governments, especially Germany and the UK, are complicit in the move toward nuclear war. These two American vassal states enable Washington’s reckless aggression toward Russia by repeating Washington’s propaganda and supporting Washington’s sanctions and interventions against other countries. As long as Europe remains nothing but an extension of Washington, the prospect of Armegeddon will continue to rise.
At this point in time, nuclear war can only be avoided in two ways. One way is for Russia and China to surrender and accept Washington’s hegemony. The other way is for an independent leader in Germany, the UK, or France to rise to office and withdraw from NATO. That would begin a stampede to leave NATO, which is Washington’s prime tool for causing conflict with Russia and, thereby, is the most dangerous force on earth to every European country and to the entire world. If NATO continues to exist, NATO together with the neoconservative ideology of American hegemony will make nuclear war inevitable.
“They’ve scheduled it during shopping season, December 19th,” complained O’Malley, whose campaign needs all the debate exposure it can get. “I don’t know why that is. I think it’s out of a false sense that they have to circle the wagons around the inevitable front-runner.” Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her aides beg to differ, as they prattle on about “robust” viewership. That’s just silly. The latest debate attracted a mere 6.71 million viewers, the lowest number so far for any 2016 debate organized by the DNC or the RNC. Saturday night’s debate was such a flop that it barely attracted one quarter of the viewership of the most watched Republican debate. Sanders told The New York Times when the debate schedule was initially announced that he was ““disappointed, but not surprised.” He added that it was “imperative that we have as many debates as possible—certainly more than six.” Sanders has even suggested that the schedule could be opened up and expanded by encouraging Democratic contenders to debate with Republican contenders. But the DNC has, so far, only agreed to allow a few additional forums—no new debates. Noam Chomsky: Murder, Theft, Exploitation: How American Imperialism and Neoliberal Economics Conquered Latin America By Noam Chomsky / Haymarket Books December 12, 2015
The following is an excerpt from the book Year 501 by Noam Chomsky, part of a series of twelve new editions of Chomsky's classic works recently published by Haymarket Books:
A novel idea was implemented in Colombia, where security guards of a medical school murdered poor people and sold the bodies to the school for student research; reports indicate that before they were killed, organs that could be sold on the black market were removed.
These practices, however, scarcely make a dent in one of the worst human rights records in the continent, compiled by security forces that have long benefited from US training and supply and have now become one of the hemisphere's top recipients of US military funding. As elsewhere, the main targets for mutilation, torture, and murder are priests, union activists, political leaders and others who try to defend the poor, form cooperatives, or otherwise qualify as "subversives" by interfering with the neoliberal economic model implemented under instructions from the US and the World Bank...
Historic New Harpers Article Exposes Who Controls America By Eric Zuesse December 18, 2015
There can be little doubt now: America’s decades-long catastrophic failures to make significant progress in eliminating even a single one of the numerous jihadist groups around the world is due to the American government’s secret under-the-table crucial ongoing assistance to those groups, and this American-government support has intentionally encouraged recent terrorist events especially in Syria, Libya, and other countries that had been allied with Russia — but which might be flipped ‘our’ way, by those jihadists.
In such countries (America’s ‘enemies’), the U.S. government calls the jihadist groups ‘moderates’ and ‘pro-democracy.’ But in Christian, Jewish, and Shiite-Muslim dominant countries, they’re instead called “terrorists,” which is what they actually are.
George Orwell called such linguistic tricks for fooling any nation’s mass of suckers, “Newspeak,” but America’s version is more sophisticated than his fictional one was. And so is America’s version of Orwell’s “Big Brother” more sophisticated than his — and now we know what it actually is, because of this:
The great investigative journalist Andrew Cockburn, in the January 2016 issue of Harpers Magazine, has come forth with what may be the best public-affairs article I’ve ever seen (it’s at that link), because he has interviewed key individuals in the U.S. government's CIA and other intelligence agencies, some of whom he even identifies by name (i.e., they’re retired), and all of whom provide different details of the very same stunning huge story, a story that I have been reporting only in bits and pieces over the past year, but for which Cockburn offers an astounding amount of fuller and entirely new documentation — it blows everything else away.
To boil it all down (which he sadly doesn’t): The fundamentalist-Sunni royal family of the Sauds have bought the highest levels of the U.S. government in order to control U.S. foreign policies, especially the ongoing wars to take down the governments of Iraq, Libya, Syria, and ultimately (they hope) of Russia itself, which latter nation has allied itself instead with Shiia countries.
The controlling entities behind American foreign policies since at least the late 1970s have been the Saud family and the Sauds’ subordinate Arabic aristocracies, which are the ones in Qatar (the al-Thanis), Kuwait (the al-Sabahs), Turkey (the Tuktic Erdogans, a new royalty), and UAE (its six royal families: the main one, the al-Nahyans in Abu Dhabi; the other five: the al-Maktoums in Dubai, al-Qasimis in Sharjah, al-Nuaimis in Ajman, al-Mualla Ums in Quwain, and al-Sharqis in Fujairah). Other Saudi-dominated nations — though they’re not oil-rich (more like Turkey in this regard) — are Pakistan and Afghanistan.
On December 15th, the Sauds formed their own Sunni-Islamic version of the American aristocracy’s NATO; and, though it shares one existing member with the 28-member NATO military alliance, which is Turkey, the other 34+ nations in it are, like the Sauds’ Kingdom itself, ruled by Wahhabist-Salafist leaders, and are likewise vigorously against both Russia and Shiite-led countries — just as NATO itself also is.
Murder And Mayhem In The Middle East By Chris Martenson. December 06, 2015
To understand what’s happening in Syria right now, you have to understand the tactics and motivations of the US and NATO -- parties sharing interwoven aims and goals in the Middle East/North African (MENA) region.
While the populations of Europe and the US are fed raw propaganda about the regional aims involved, the reality is far different.
Where the propaganda claims that various bad dictators have to be taken out, or that democracy is the goal, neither have anything at all to do with what’s actually happening or has happened in the region.
For starters, we all know that if oil fields were not at stake then the West would care much much less about MENA affairs.
But a lot of outside interests do care. And their aims certainly and largely include controlling the region’s critical energy resources. There’s a lot of concern over whether Russia or China will instead come to dominate these last, best oil reserves on the planet.
Further, we can dispense with the idea that the US and NATO have any interest at all in human rights in this story. If they did, then they’d at least have to admit that their strategies and tactics have unleashed immeasurable suffering, as well as created the conditions for lots more. But it would be silly to try and argue about or understand regional motivations through the lenses of human rights or civilian freedoms -- as neither applies here.
Divide And Conquer
Instead, the policies in the MENA region are rooted in fracturing the region so that it will be easier to control.
But to get a handle on the level of depravity involved, I think it useful to examine what happened in Libya in 2011 when NATO took out Muamar Gaddafi and left the country a broken shell -- as was intended...
This is fascism, and we should say it clearly ... while we can By Mark Sumner. Sunday Nov 29, 2015
Sixty million people died in World War II, but fascism won. It didn’t win on the battlefield. It didn’t win right away. It won because the same fears, the same greed, the same hatred that fueled its growth in the first part of the twentieth century never went away. The symbols of fascism became anathema, but the causes … went deep. And gradually, slowly, one step at a time, all those vices became first tolerated, then treated as virtues, and then as the only acceptable view.
But to even acknowledge our long, stumbling lurch to the right; the building force of corporate power; the relentless need for war; a police whose power of enforcement is divorced from law; a preening nationalism that rewards the full rights of citizenship only to those who fit an ever-narrower mold… You can’t call it fascism. People will only laugh.
It was French poet Charles Baudelaire who said “the finest trick of the devil is to persuade you that he does not exist." The finest trick of the modern fascist? The same. Nothing is ever fascist. It’s just “very conservative.” And this week’s very conservative, is next weeks middle of the road.
States of Terror By Chris Hedges — We waded into conflicts in the Middle East we did not understand, propelled forward by fantasy. And our folly spawned a death spiral of political, social and economic collapse, widespread poverty, massive displacement, misery and radical jihadism.
Chris Hedges: The Age of the Demagogues what the Republican elites have done, as they now realize to their horror, is empower a huge swath of the public—largely white—that is gripped by magical thinking and fetishizes violence. It was only a matter of time before a demagogue whom these elites could not control would ride the wave of alienation and rage. If Trump fails in his bid to become the GOP presidential nominee, another demagogue will emerge to take his place. Trump is not making a political revolution. He is responding to one.
Feminism, for example, became about placing individual women in positions of power—this is Hillary Clinton’s mantra—not about empowering poor, marginalized and oppressed women. Post-racial America became about a black president who, as Cornel West says, serves as “a black mascot for Wall Street.”
The destruction of the liberal class, something I explore in my book “Death of the Liberal Class,” has created a closed political system crippled by polarization, political gridlock, crushing austerity, unchecked pillage by financial elites and a carnival of meaningless political theater. It has shut out genuine voices of dissent. The failure by liberals to confront or even name what Sheldon Wolin called our system of “inverted totalitarianism” made them complicit in the destruction of our capitalist democracy.
The two major parties colluded to pass trade agreements, ranging from NAFTA and the WTO to the now-pending TPP, that impoverish workers and weaken the power of government to intervene to protect the citizenry and the environment.
They worked together to strip citizens of constitutional rights and install the most pervasive security and surveillance state in human history. They collaborated with Wall Street to trash the global economy and seize trillions in taxpayer money in bailouts. The two parties funded disastrous and futile imperial wars that enrich the arms manufacturers and defense contractors while bankrupting the nation.
The country realizes it has been sold out. Most citizens are apathetic and do not vote consistently. Some, especially in the white underclass, are willing to follow anyone, no matter how buffoonish, who promises that the parasites and courtiers will be driven from power. This mixture of rage and apathy is a recipe for totalitarianism.
The hypermasculine values of the military are embraced across the political spectrum as an antidote to paralysis and decay. Toughness and violence are venerated. The obsequious hero worship, the celebration of American power, the sanctification of the military and military values, inflect all political discourse. Hero worship of the military has unwittingly laid the ideological groundwork for demagogues who promise glory, strength, order and discipline. It justifies the emergence of an authoritarian police state.
Why We’re Sliding Towards World War By WashingtonsBlog. November 25, 2015
Paul Craig Roberts – former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under President Reagan, former editor of the Wall Street Journal, listed by Who’s Who in America as one of the 1,000 most influential political thinkers in the world, PhD economist – wrote an article about the build up of hostilities between the U.S. and Russia titled, simply: “War Is Coming”.
Pray With Your Feet By Chris Hedges. November 16, 2015
Carrying out sustained acts of civil disobedience is the only option left to defy the corporate state.
It will be a long, difficult and costly struggle. But there are moral and religious laws—laws that call on us to protect our neighbor, fight for justice and maintain systems of life—that must supersede the laws of the state. Fealty to these higher laws means we will make powerful enemies. It means we will endure discomfort, character assassination, state surveillance and repression. It means we will go to jail. But it is in the midst of this defiance that we will find purpose and, Packard argues, faith.
[Says George Packard, retired Episcopal bishop, activist and highly decorated Vietnam War veteran] “When you find a cause that has spine, importance and potency you find the truth of the Scripture. You find it inside your gut. There is an ache in the culture.” Gesturing toward his fellow demonstrators, he added: “These are a few of the people who are speaking to it. This is what the church used to be. It used to be standing in conscience.”
The frustration, mounting across the country, is bringing with it a new radicalism.
“They tell you there are things you are supposed to do,” said activist and attorney Jessica Roff, who was at the protest. “You do them. But even when we present legal challenges the construction continues. If you win a legal challenge it [the project] is already built. It is too late. This forces people to take different courses of action. The system, actually, is not broken. It works exactly the way it is designed to work. It serves the corporations. It is up to us to break the system.”
Packard does not expect much help from religious institutions in this fight. He says most mainline religious communities wallow in stale liturgies and rituals, what he calls “theatrics,” and have become socially, politically and culturally irrelevant.
It is only the outlaws who will save us. And it is only among outlaws that Packard’s religious faith makes sense. The bishop, in his church in the streets, worships surrounded by many who do not consider themselves religious, but whom he sees as carrying the spirit and passion for justice and commitment to life that embody the essence of his faith and mine. Spirituality, he knows, is found on the barricades.
Email from Popular Resistance Newsletter:
Here are 10 examples of things they wanted you not to know [about TPP].
1. ObamaTrade More Unjust Than BushTrade: The Obama administration is claiming that this is the most progressive trade agreement in history – a model for the 21st Century. In fact, the TPP is actually weaker than every agreement since the Bush-era agreements pf 2007. The TPP has rolled back on some of the progress activists made during that era on issues like limiting monopolies to ensure access to medicines and protection of the environment. Trade pacts had included a security exception at ports that allowed governments to decide how to protect their countries security. The TPP removes that exception to trade tribunal investor-state dispute settlement.
2. Replaces Federal Courts With Kangaroo Trade Tribunals: The “judges” will be three corporate lawyers who can also serve as advocates for corporations suing in the tribunals. This conflict of interest would not be unethical in federal courts.
3. Expands Trade Tribunals to Undermine Virtually Any Policy in the Public Interest: Under this tribunal system only foreign corporations can sue, US corporations do not have the right to sue so US corporations have less rights than foreign corporations. Unlike real court systems where people impacted can sue if they are damaged or unions can sue if workers are damaged or environmentalists can sue to protect the environment – under the corporate tribunal system only corporations and governments can sue.
4. Major Expansion of Immigration Causing Lower Wages: The new Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, claims that the TPP will have no impact on immigration. Now that the TPP has been released we can see this is an outright lie. The TPP does in fact deal with immigration. Chapters 10 and 12 will increase immigration by expanding the number of L1 worker visas and the number of tourist visas for business purposes. Under Chapter 10 foreign corporations can come to the United States to compete with US companies. These foreign corporations can bring their employees with them – they do not have to hire US workers or pay US wages. They will compete with US workers who are providing the same service, thereby displacing US workers and causing a downward spiral in wages. If the US does not allow foreign corporations entry into the US they can sue in the corporate trade tribunals and be forced to do so.
5. Environmental Standards That Cannot Be Enforced:Environmental standards are written in very vague language making them impossible to enforce.
6. Prevent Legislation To Combat Climate Change: The greatest planetary crisis of our times is climate change. How many times in this nearly 6,000 page document is climate change mentioned? Zero. Not once. In fact the TPP will undermine climate change legislation and policy by encouraging more extreme extraction and export of oil and gas. It will give big oil the power to sue in corporate tribunals to prevent any laws written to prevent extraction in order to protect the Earth from climate change.
7. Unsafe, Inadequately Labeled Food: The TPP will undermine food safety as big agribusiness and food corporations had language included that will undermine U.S. food safety oversight and expose consumers to risky imported foods.
8. End of Buy America: No Preference for ‘Made In America’ products as the Federal Government cannot give preference to US products in their purchases, known as “Buy America.” Foreign bidders must be treated as equal to US bidders.
9. Open Internet Threatened: Internet service providers become copyright police enforcing expanded copyright laws with the power to take down websites or ISPs face high fines.
10. Threatens Public Health Systems Including Medicare and Medicaid: The TPP threatens health systems designed to serve the public interest like Medicare, Medicaid and single payer systems in other countries. It does so by giving greater power to pharmaceutical companies to influence the reimbursement costs for purchase of pharmaceutical drugs when even their advertising is included in the cost of the drug.
Who’s in Control? Obama or the Generals? By Finian Cunningham. November 16, 2015
US President Barack Obama’s business-like meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit at the weekend belies a spate of bellicose comments made by the Pentagon towards Moscow. So, who is in control: Obama or the generals?
The covert warmongers in the CIA are intent on fuelling more conflict in Syria, even if that means triggering an all-out confrontation with Russia.
What is Democratic Socialism, American-Style? by Peter Dreier. Published on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 by CNN
In the early 1900s, socialists led the movements for women's suffrage, child labor laws, consumer protection laws and the progressive income tax. In 1916, Victor Berger, a socialist congressman from Milwaukee, sponsored the first bill to create "old age pensions." The bill didn't get very far, but two decades later, in the midst of the Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt persuaded Congress to enact Social Security. Even then, some critics denounced it as un-American. But today, most Americans, even conservatives, believe that Social Security is a good idea. What had once seemed radical has become common sense.
Much of FDR's other New Deal legislation -- the minimum wage, workers' right to form unions and public works programs to create jobs for the unemployed -- was first espoused by American socialists.
Socialists were in the forefront of the civil rights movement from the founding of the NAACP in 1909 through the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Socialists have long pushed for a universal health insurance plan, which helped create the momentum for stepping-stone measures such as Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s and Obamacare today.
In the 1890s, a socialist Baptist minister, Francis Bellamy, wrote "The Pledge of Allegiance" and a socialist poet, Katherine Lee Bates, penned "America the Beautiful." Throughout our history, some of the nation's most influential activists and thinkers, such as Jane Addams, John Dewey, Helen Keller, W.E.B. DuBois, Albert Einstein, A. Philip Randolph, Walter Reuther, Martin Luther King, Paul Robeson, Eugene V. Debs, and Gloria Steinem, embraced democratic socialism.
King believed that America needed a "radical redistribution of economic and political power." In October 1964, he called for a "gigantic Marshall Plan" for the poor -- black and white. Two months later, accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, he observed that the U.S. could learn much from Scandinavian "democratic socialism." In fact, he told his staff, "There must be a better distribution of wealth, and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism."
During the Cold War, many Americans confused democratic socialism with communism. In fact, democratic socialists opposed the totalitarian governments of the Soviet Union, China and their satellites. That's because democratic socialism is about democracy -- giving ordinary people a greater voice in both politics and the workplace.
Although Sanders says that America needs a "grassroots political revolution," he is actually a reformer, not a revolutionary. His version of democratic socialism is akin to what most people around the world call "social democracy," which seems to make capitalism more humane.
This is why Sanders says that the U.S. should learn from Sweden, Norway and Denmark -- countries with greater equality, a higher standard of living for working families, better schools, free universities, less poverty, a cleaner environment, higher voter turnout, stronger unions, universal health insurance, and a much wider safety net
Sounds anti-business? Forbes magazine ranked Denmark as the #1 country for business. The United States ranked #18.
European social democracies put greater emphasis on government enterprise, but even most Americans favor government-run police departments, fire departments, national parks, municipally-owned utilities, local subway systems and public state universities.
Because the word "socialism" has been demonized, few Americans call themselves socialists or even social democrats. But public opinion polls -- including the Pew Research Center, Hart Research Associates and The New York Times/CBS -- show that a vast majority of Americans agree with what Sanders actually stands for.
Chris Hedges: What It Means to Be a Socialist Chris Hedges gave this speech Sunday at a Santa Ana, Calif., event sponsored by the Green Party of Orange County.
We live in a revolutionary moment. The disastrous economic and political experiment that attempted to organize human behavior around the dictates of the global marketplace has failed. The promised prosperity that was to have raised the living standards of workers through trickle-down economics has been exposed as a lie. A tiny global oligarchy has amassed obscene wealth, while the engine of unfettered corporate capitalism plunders resources, exploits cheap, unorganized labor and creates pliable, corrupt governments that abandon the common good to serve corporate profit.
The relentless drive by the fossil fuel industry for profits is destroying the ecosystem, threatening the viability of the human species. And no mechanisms to institute genuine reform or halt the corporate assault are left within the structures of power, which have surrendered to corporate control. The citizen has become irrelevant. He or she can participate in heavily choreographed elections, but the demands of corporations and banks are paramount.
We will, as Friedrich Engels wrote, make a transition to either socialism or barbarism. If we do not dismantle global capitalism we will descend into the Hobbesian chaos of failed states, mass migrations—which we are already witnessing—and endless war. Populations, especially in the global South, will endure misery and high mortality rates caused by collapsing ecosystems and infrastructures on a scale not seen since perhaps the black plague. There can be no accommodation with global capitalism. We will overthrow this system or be crushed by it. And at this moment of crisis we need to remind ourselves what being a socialist means and what it does not mean.
First and foremost, all socialists are unequivocal anti-militarists and anti-imperialists. They understand that there is no genuine social, political, economic or cultural reform as long as the militarists and their corporatist allies in the war industry continue to loot and pillage the state budget, leaving the poor to go hungry, workingmen and -women in distress, the infrastructure to collapse and social services to be slashed in the name of austerity.
The psychosis of permanent war, which infected the body politic after World War I with the internal and external war on communism, and which today has mutated into the war on terror, is used by the state to strip us of civil liberties, redirect our resources to the war machine and criminalize democratic dissent.
We have squandered trillions of dollars and resources in endless and futile wars, from Vietnam to the Middle East, at a time of ecological and fiscal crisis. The folly of endless war is one of the signs of a dying civilization. One F-22 Raptor fighter plane costs $350 million. We have 187 of them. One Tomahawk cruise missile costs $1.41 million. We fired 161 of them when we attacked Libya. This missile attack on Libya alone cost us a quarter of a billion dollars. We spend an estimated $1.7 trillion a year on war, far more than the official 54 percent of discretionary spending, or roughly $600 billion. If we don’t break the back of the war machine, profound change will be impossible.
The human cost has been horrendous. Over 1 million dead in Iraq. Millions more are displaced or are refugees. Iraq will never be reconstituted as a unified state. And it was our war industry that created the mess. We attacked a country that did not threaten us, and had no intention of threatening its neighbors, and destroyed one of the most modern infrastructures in the Middle East. We brought not only terror and death—including the Shiite death squads we armed and trained—but power outages, food shortages and the collapse of basic services, from garbage collection to sewer and water treatment. We dismantled Iraq’s institutions, disbanded its security forces, threw its health service into crisis and engineered massive poverty and unemployment. And out of the chaos rose insurgents, gangsters, kidnapping rings, jihadists and rogue paramilitary groups—including our hired mercenaries, like [the current army of] Iraq.
Foreign battlefields are laboratories for the architects of industrial slaughter. They perfect the tools of control and annihilation on the demonized and the destitute. But these tools eventually make their way back to the heart of empire. As the corporatists and the militarists disembowel the nation, rendering our manufacturing centers boarded-up wastelands and tossing our citizens into poverty and despair, the methods of subjugation familiar to those on the outer reaches migrate back to us—wholesale surveillance, indiscriminate use of lethal force in the streets of our cities against unarmed citizens, a stripping away of our civil liberties, a dysfunctional court system, drones, arbitrary arrest, detention and mass incarceration.
Democracy is snuffed out. As the German socialist Karl Liebknecht said during the First World War: “The main enemy is at home.” We will destroy the engines of endless war and shut down the war profiteers or we will become the next victims; indeed many in our marginal communities already are its victims.
You cannot be a socialist and an imperialist. You cannot, as Bernie Sanders has done, support the Obama administration’s wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen and be a socialist. You cannot, as Sanders has done, vote for every military appropriations bill, including every bill and resolution that empowers and sanctions Israel to carry out its slow-motion genocide of the Palestinian people, and be a socialist. And you cannot laud, as Sanders has done, military contractors because they bring jobs to your state. Sanders may have the rhetoric of inequality down, but he is a full-fledged member of the Democratic Caucus, which kneels before the war industry and their lobbyists. And no genuine grass-roots movement will ever be born within the bowels of the Democratic Party establishment, which is currently attempting to shut down Sanders to make sure its anointed candidate is the nominee. No elected official dares to challenge any weapons system, no matter how costly or redundant. And Sanders, who votes with the Democrats 98 percent of the time, steers clear of confronting the master of war.
There is a reason no establishment politician, including Sanders, dares say a word against the war industry. If you do, you end up like Ralph Nader, tossed into the political wilderness. Nader was not afraid to speak this truth. And it is in the wilderness, I am afraid, that real socialists must for the moment reside. Socialists understand that if we do not dismantle the war industry, nothing, absolutely nothing, will change; indeed, things will only get worse.
War is a business. Imperial wars seize natural resources on behalf of corporations and ensure the profits of the arms industry. This is as true in Iraq as it was in our campaigns of genocide against Native Americans. And, as A. Philip Randolph said, it is only when it is impossible to profit from war that wars will be dramatically curtailed, if not stopped.
War, wrapped in the cant of nationalism and the euphoria that comes with the giddy celebration of power and violence, is used by ruling elites to thwart and destroy the aspirations of workingmen and -women and distract us from our disempowerment.
Eugene V. Debs--“I have been accused of obstructing the war,” Debs said in court. “I admit it. I abhor war. I would oppose war if I stood alone.”
Debs, who would spend 32 months in prison, until 1921, also delivered to many a socialist credo at his sentencing after being found guilty of violating the Espionage Act:
“Your honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it. While there is a criminal element, I am of it. While there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”
The redirecting of national frustrations and emotions into the struggle against a common enemy, the cant of patriotism, the endemic racism that is the fuel of all ideologies that sustain war, the false bonding that comes with the sense of comradeship, seduces those on the margins of society. They feel in wartime that they belong. They feel they have a place. They are offered the chance to be heroes. And off they march like sheep to the slaughter. By the time they find out, it is too late.
“War,” as Randolph Bourne wrote, “is the health of the state.” It allows the state to accrue to itself power and resources that in peacetime a citizenry would never permit. And that is why the war state, like the one we live in, has to make certain that we are always afraid.
The manufacturing of weapons systems and the waging of war is today the chief activity of the state. It is no longer one among other means of advancing the national interest, as Simone Weil pointed out, but has become the sole national interest.
The radicals, such as the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), or Wobblies, founded by Mother Jones and Big Bill Haywood in 1905, were destroyed by the state. Department of Justice agents in 1912 made simultaneous raids on 48 IWW meeting halls across the country and arrested 165 IWW union leaders. One hundred one went to trial, including Big Bill Haywood, who testified for three days. One of the IWW leaders told the court:
"This war is a business man’s war and we don’t see why we should go out and get shot in order to save the lovely state of affairs that we now enjoy."
The Wobblies once led strikes involving hundreds of thousands of workers and preached an uncompromising doctrine of class warfare. It went the way of the passenger pigeon. The Socialist Party by 1912 had 126,000 members, 1,200 officeholders in 340 municipalities, and 29 English and 22 foreign-language weeklies, along with three English and six foreign-language dailies. It included in its ranks tenant farmers, garment workers, railroad workers, coal miners, hotel and restaurant workers, dock workers and lumberjacks. It too was liquidated by the state. Socialist leaders were jailed or deported. Socialist publications such as The Masses and Appeal to Reason were banned. The assault, aided later by McCarthyism, has left us without the vocabulary to make sense of our own reality, to describe the class war being waged against us by our corporate oligarchs.
We will regain this militancy, this uncompromising commitment to socialism, or the system the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls “inverted totalitarianism” will establish the most efficient security and surveillance state in human history and a species of neofeudalism. We must stop pouring our energy into mainstream political campaigns. The game is rigged.
We will rebuild our radical movements or become hostages to the capitalists and the war industry. Fear is the only language the power elite understands. This is a dark fact of human nature. It is why Richard Nixon was our last liberal president. Nixon was not a liberal [personally]. He was devoid of empathy and lacked a conscience. But he was frightened of movements. You do not make your enemy afraid by selling out. You make your enemy afraid by refusing to submit, by fighting for your vision and by organizing. It is not our job to take power. It is our job to build movements to keep power in check. Without these movements nothing is possible.
“You get freedom by letting your enemy know that you’ll do anything to get your freedom; then you’ll get it,” Malcolm X said. “When you get that kind of attitude, they’ll label you as a ‘crazy Negro,’ or they’ll call you a “crazy nigger”—they don’t say Negro. Or they’ll call you an extremist or a subversive, or seditious, or a red, or a radical. But when you stay radical long enough, and get enough people to be like you, you’ll get your freedom."
The New Deal—which as Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a charter member of the oligarchic class, said—saved capitalism, was put in place because socialists were strong and a serious threat. The oligarchs understood that with the breakdown of capitalism—something I expect we will again witness in our lifetimes—there was a real possibility of a socialist revolution. They were terrified they would lose their wealth and power.
In other words, Roosevelt went to his fellow oligarchs and said hand over some of your money or you will lose all your money in a revolution. And his fellow capitalists complied. And that is how the government created 15 million jobs, Social Security, unemployment benefits and public works projects. The capitalists did not do this because the suffering of the masses moved them. They did this because they were scared. And they were scared of radicals and socialists.
George Bernard Shaw got it right in his play “Major Barbara.” The greatest crime is poverty. It is the crime every socialist is dedicated to eradicating.
We must stop looking for our salvation in strong leaders. Strong people, as Ella Baker said, do not need strong leaders. Politicians, even good politicians, play the game of compromise and are too often seduced by the privileges of power. Sanders, from all I can tell, began his political life as a socialist in the 1960s when this was hardly a bold political statement, but quickly figured out he was not going to have a seat at the table if he remained one. He wants his seniority in the Senate. He wants his committee chairmanships. He wants his ability to retain his seat unchallenged. This was no doubt politically astute. But in this process he sold us out.
Integrity and courage are powerful weapons. We have to learn how to use them. We have to stand up for what we believe in. And we have to accept the risks and even the ridicule that comes with this stance. We will not prevail any other way.
As a socialist I am not concerned with what is expedient or what is popular. I am concerned with what is right. I am concerned with holding fast to the core ideals of socialism, if for no other reason than keeping this option alive for future generations. And these ideals are the only ones that make possible a better world.
If you will not call for an arms embargo along with the boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, you are not a socialist. If you will not demand we dismantle our military establishment, which is managing the government’s wholesale surveillance of every citizen and storing all our personal information in perpetuity in government computer banks, and if you will not abolish the for-profit arms industry, you are not a socialist.
If you will not call for the prosecution of those leaders, including George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who engage in aggressive acts of pre-emptive war, which under post-Nuremberg laws is a criminal act, you are not a socialist. If you will not stand with the oppressed across the globe you are not a socialist.
Socialists do not pick and choose whom among the oppressed it is convenient to support. Socialists understand that you stand with all the oppressed or none of the oppressed, that this is a global fight for life against global corporate tyranny. We will win only when we stand together, when we see the struggle of workingmen in Greece, Spain and Egypt as our own struggle.
If you will not call for full employment and unionized workplaces you are not a socialist. If you will not call for inexpensive mass transit, especially in impoverished communities, you are not a socialist. If you will not call for universal, single-payer health care and a banning of for-profit health care corporations you are not a socialist. If you will not raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour you are not a socialist.
If you are not willing to provide a weekly income of $600 to the unemployed, the disabled, stay-at-home parents, the elderly and those unable to work you are not a socialist. If you will not repeal anti-union laws, like the Taft-Hartley Act, and trade agreements from NAFTA to the TPP and CAFTA, you are not a socialist. If you will not guarantee all Americans a pension in old age you are not a socialist.
If you will not support two years of paid maternity leave, as well as shorter workweeks with no loss in pay and benefits, you are not a socialist. If you will not repeal the Patriot Act and Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act as well as halt government spying on citizens, along with mass incarceration, you are not a socialist.
If you will not put into place laws that prohibit all forms of male violence against women and criminalize the trafficking and pimping out of prostituted girls and women, while not criminalizing the exploited girls and women, you are not a socialist. If you do not support a woman’s right to control her own body you are not a socialist. If you do not support full equality for our GBLT community you are not a socialist.
If you will not declare global warming a national and global emergency and divert our energy and resources to saving the planet through public investment in renewable energy and an end to our reliance on fossil fuels you are not a socialist. If you will not nationalize public utilities, including the railroads, energy companies and banks, you are not a socialist. If you will not support government funding for the arts and public broadcasting to create places where creativity, self-expression and voices of dissent can be heard and seen you are not a socialist.
If you will not terminate our nuclear weapons programs and build a nuclear-free world you are not a socialist. If you will not demilitarize our police, meaning that police no longer carry weapons when they patrol our streets but rely on specialized armed units that have to be authorized case-by-case to use lethal force, you are not a socialist.
If you will not support government training and rehabilitation programs for the poor and those in our prisons, along with the abolition of the death penalty, you are not a socialist.
If you will not grant full citizenship to undocumented workers you are not a socialist. If you do not declare a moratorium on foreclosures and bank repossessions you are not a socialist.
If you will not provide free education from day care to university, and forgive all student debt, you are not a socialist. And if you will not provide free, state-run mental health care, especially for those now caged in our prisons, you are not a socialist. If you will not dismantle our empire and bring our soldiers and Marines home you are not a socialist.
Socialists do not sacrifice the weak and the vulnerable, especially children, on the altars of profit. And the measure of a successful society for a socialist is not the GDP or the highs of the stock market but the right of everyone, especially children, never go to bed hungry, to live in safety and security, to be nurtured and educated, and to grow up fulfill his or her potential. Work is not only about a wage, it is about dignity and a sense of self-worth.
I am not naive about the forces arrayed against us. I understand the difficulty of our struggle. But we will never succeed if we attempt to accommodate the current structures of power. Our strength lies in our steadfastness and our integrity. It lies in our ability to hold fast to our ideals, as well as our willingness to sacrifice for those ideals. We must refuse to cooperate.... We must rebel.
I cannot promise you we will win. I cannot promise you we will even survive as a species. But I can promise you that an open and sustained defiance of global capitalism and the merchants of death, along with the building of a socialist movement, is our only hope. I am a parent, as are many of you. We have betrayed our children. We have squandered their future. And if we rise up, even if we fail, future generations, and especially those who are most precious to us, will be able to say we tried, that we stood up and fought for life. The call to resistance, which will require civil disobedience and jail time, is finally a call to the moral life. Resistance is not about what we achieve, but about what it allows us to become. In the end, I do not fight fascists because I will win. I fight fascists because they are fascists.
Underlying Reasons for the Raging Syrian War: Competing Natural Gas Pipelines It’s no secret that the U.S. and some of its allies are doing everything in their power to remove Syria’s Assad regime. But why do they and their leaders feel so strongly that it is must be done, why is it so important to them? Why does President Obama continue to insist that Assad must go and why does he believe that he has the right to interfere in the internal affairs of that country?
The standard answer to these questions is that it’s a part of the process to hunt down and destroy ISIS terrorists who have infiltrated that country and are causing great havoc within it.
It appears that Mr. Obama’s agenda is very similar to that of Bush/Cheney when they decided that Saddam Hussein had to go. They invaded, occupied and literally destroyed that country, sending many Iraqis to their deaths and millions into exile. One thing is certain; where there is an issue involving gas or oil anywhere in the Middle East you can bet that the chances of some conflict erupting are very great and you will find the U.S. government right in the middle of the action.
When we speak of pipelines it should be understood that a tremendous competition currently exists for delivery of natural gas to many of the European nations.
The country of Qatar has substantial reserves of gas which it badly wants to sell to these European countries, to take the business away from Russia, the current major supplier, and prevent Iran from doing the same in the future. The favored, most expeditious route for the Qatar gas pipeline is via Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria, to Turkey and then to Europe. The problem is that Assad, who initially signed off on the routing this pipeline through Syria, did an about face and backed out of the deal.
Quite likely Assad did it because he decided to align himself with the planned development of the competing Iran,-Iraq-Syria pipeline. That move on his part is why many geopolitical experts say that this clash between Syria and Iran (with Russia in the background) on the one side and Qatar/Saudi Arabia and the U.S. on the other, was the main reason why this conflict erupted.
Is it logical to think that competition over a pipeline route could actually cause such a massive war and crisis? Well, many past wars were started over much less important issues; and in this situation the European gas market represents mega-billions of business for whoever is the major supplier and controls the method of delivery.
This proposed Qatar pipeline has been in the planning stages for some time. World energy observers are very familiar with it and how it would be a threat to other competing pipelines. But that knowledge is not present here in America where the vast majority of people don’t know a thing about it or why it may well be a major reason for this escalating conflict. And the reason they don’t is that the U.S. government and the corporate-controlled media don’t want them to know anything about it. They want to keep insisting that this is a part of the War on Terror.
Cuba's health system Cuba, a country of 11 million people, has achieved health outcomes that are the envy of the Third World. It has one of the lowest infant and young child (under age 5) mortality rates and longest life expectancies in the Americas, outperforming the U.S. on all three of these indicators (although the maternal mortality rate is still considerably higher than that in rich countries). This year, Cuba also became the first nation in the world that, according to the World Health Organization, had eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. How has a Third World country, subjected to decades of economic sanctions, accomplished this?
Part of the answer lies in the post-revolutionary government’s establishment of a comprehensive, universal health care system — structured around primary and preventive care — with a network of physicians, nurses and home health workers generally living in the same community as their patients.
To ensure adequate staffing for this initiative, the government invested heavily in medical education, which resulted in Cuba having nearly three times as many physicians per capita as the U.S. This also enabled the country to send a self-reported total of 130,000 of its own health professionals to provide low- or no-cost medical care to patients in other Third World countries, with nearly 37,000 working in 70 countries as of 2008. Cuba was among the first to respond to the past year’s Ebola epidemic, sending more doctors to Sierra Leone than any country besides Great Britain.
The country’s universal vaccination programs eradicated many previously commonplace childhood and tropical diseases, including polio, measles and diphtheria. Many of the vaccines, as well as other medications, are manufactured by a domestic pharmaceutical industry that was developed, in part, in response to the U.S. embargo. This biotechnology sector employs about 10,000 people and manufactures most of the medicines used in the country, including 33 vaccines, 33 cancer drugs, 18 drugs to treat cardiovascular disease and seven drugs for other diseases., At one point, Cuba was the leading provider of pharmaceuticals to Latin America and also supplied medicines to several Asian countries. Its medical infrastructure is also relatively advanced, with 22 medical campuses and academic journals in all of the major medical specialties.
Much of the progress made in improving the well-being of the Cuban population also traces back to policies independent of the health care sector, including universal education, guaranteed nutrition, clean drinking water and modern sanitation. Perhaps more important were the Cuban government’s egalitarian economic policies that dramatically reduced the wealth inequalities that had existed prior to the revolution. An extensive body of research shows that income inequality is closely associated with, and likely a critical determinant of, population health, and Cuba is no exception.
What makes Cuba’s health advancements all the more remarkable is that they were achieved under more than five decades of a stifling economic embargo. In 1962, three years after the Cuban revolution, the U.S. instituted the embargo to cripple Cuba’s economy, in the hope that the pain inflicted on the Cuban people would spur them to overthrow the government. (The embargo was just one of several methods employed by the U.S. to do away with the Cuban government; see text box below for more details.)
In a comprehensive 1997 report documenting the impact of the U.S. embargo of Cuba, the American Association for World Health (AAWH) observed that it was “one of the few embargoes of recent years … that explicitly include[d] foods and medicines in its virtual ban on bilateral commercial ties.” The report found that the tightening of the embargo during the 1990s had resulted in shortages of drugs, water treatment supplies and food, leading to malnutrition and waterborne diseases, among other problems. The AAWH concluded that “[a] humanitarian catastrophe [resulting from the embargo] has been averted only because the Cuban government has maintained a high level of budgetary support for a health care system designed to deliver primary and preventive health care to all of its citizens.”
Amnesty International followed the AAWH report with its own 2009 analysis of how the embargo had affected the “economic and social rights” of the Cuban people. The report documented numerous instances in which Cuba was unable to import a range of medical supplies, including HIV and psychiatric medicines, vaccines and syringes, medical devices, diagnostic equipment, condoms, and pediatric nutritional products.
The U.S. has long been isolated from the rest of the world on its policy towards Cuba. Every year since 1992, the United Nations General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly (188-2 was last year’s tally) in favor of a resolution calling on the U.S. to end the embargo. Nevertheless, The New York Times claimed in an editorial last year that it was not the U.S. but Cuba that suffered from a “beleaguered international standing.”
5 Conservative Hoaxes, Lies and Absurd Urban Legends That Have Made America Stupider 1. Birtherism. Barack Obama’s presidency is in its twilight, but the bizarre conspiracy theory that he faked his American citizenship is still going strong. 2. Planned Parenthood. 3. Ahmed Mohamed. To see the right-wing hoax machine working in real time, look at the response to the arrest of 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed, who brought a homemade clock to school that teachers thought looked like a bomb. 4. Jade Helm. The U.S. military conducted a bunch of training operations over the summer, and right wingers across the nation went nuts, claiming conspiracy. 5. Columbine myth.This one started off as a legitimate misunderstanding, but has morphed into a popular right-wing hoax. In 1999, the story got out that Cassie Bernall, one of the victims of the Columbine shooting, refused to deny her belief in God before she was shot to death by Eric Harris. The problem is that it isn't true. This sad story tells us exactly how much conservatives value propaganda over truth, the belief-affirming hoax over the realities that undermine their views.
Chris Hedges: War, Propaganda and the Enemy Within video--Chris Hedges explains the 'folly of Empire,' the dangers posed by right-wing extremism and the urgent need for a new system. AAAA outstanding video.
No Brains In Washington This country is falling apart. Even when you come back from Argentina to the United States it looks like a third world country, and when you come back from Europe even more so.
Washington’s failures are everywhere visible. We can see the failures in Washington’s wars and in Washington’s approach to China and Russia.
And not to miss an opportunity to threaten or insult the President of China, the US Secretary of Commerce fired off a warning that the Obama regime was too unhappy with China’s business practices for the Chinese president to expect a smooth meeting in Washington.
In contrast, when Obama visited China, the Chinese government treated him with politeness and respect.
China is America’s largest creditor after the Federal Reserve. If the Chinese government were so inclined, China could cause Washington many serious economic, financial, and military problems. Yet China pursues peace while Washington issues threats.
Washington considers countries with independent foreign policies to be threats. Libya, Iraq, and Syria had independent foreign policies. Washington has destroyed two of the three and is working on the third. Iran, Russia, and China have independent foreign policies. Consequently, Washington sees these countries as threats and portrays them to the American people as such.
One has to assume that Putin and Xi Jinping are aware of the Wolfowitz Doctrine, the basis of US foreign and military policies, but perhaps they cannot believe that anything so audaciously absurd can be real. In brief, the Wolfowitz Doctrine states that Washington’s principal objective is to prevent the rise of countries that could be sufficiently powerful to resist American hegemony. Thus, Washington’s attack on Russia via Ukraine and Washington’s re-militarization of Japan as an instrument against China, despite the strong opposition of 80 percent of the Japanese population.
Meanwhile, the real basis of US power—its economy—continues to crumble. Middle class jobs have disappeared by the millions. US infrastructure is crumbling. Young American women, overwhelmed with student debts, rent, and transportation costs, and nothing but lowly-paid part-time jobs, post on Internet sites their pleas to be made mistresses of men with sufficient means to help them with their bills. This is the image of a Third World country.
In 2004 I predicted in a nationally televised conference in Washington, DC, that the US would be a Third World country in 20 years. Noam Chomsky says we are already there now in 2015. Here is a recent quote from Chomsky:
“Look around the country. This country is falling apart. Even when you come back from Argentina to the United States it looks like a third world country, and when you come back from Europe even more so. The infrastructure is collapsing. Nothing works. The transportation system doesn’t work. The health system is a total scandal–twice the per capita cost of other countries and not very good outcomes. Point by point. The schools are declining . . .”
The concentration of US income and wealth in the hands of the very rich is a new development in my lifetime. I ascribe it to two things. One is the offshoring of American jobs. Offshoring moved high productivity, high-value-added American jobs to countries where the excess supply of labor results in wages well below labor’s contribution to the value of output. The lower labor costs abroad transform what had been higher American wages and salaries and, thereby, US household incomes, into corporate profits, bonuses for corporate executives, and capital gains for shareholders, and in the dismantling of the ladders of upward mobility that had made the US an “opportunity society.”
The other cause of the extreme inequality that now prevails in the US is what Michael Hudson calls the financialization of the economy that permits banks to redirect income away from driving the economy to the payment of interest in service of debt issued by the banks.
Chris Hedges: Where Is Our Jeremy Corbyn? The politics of Jeremy Corbyn, elected by a landslide Saturday to lead Britain’s Labour Party after its defeat at the polls last May, are part of the global revolt against corporate tyranny. He had spent his long career as a pariah within his country’s political establishment. But because he held fast to the socialist ideals that defined the old Labour Party, he has risen untarnished out of the ash heap of neoliberalism. His integrity, as well as his fearlessness, offers a lesson to America’s self-identified left, which is long on rhetoric, preoccupied with accommodating the power elites—especially those in the Democratic Party—and very short on courage.
I will not support a politician who sells out the Palestinians and panders to the Israel lobby any more than I will support a politician who refuses to confront the bloated military and arms industry or white supremacy and racial injustice. The Palestinian issue is not a tangential issue. It is an integral part of Americans’ efforts to dismantle our war machine, the neoliberal policies that see austerity and violence as the primary language for speaking to the rest of the world, and the corroding influence of money in the U.S. political system. Stand up to the masters of war and the Israel lobby and you will probably stand up to every other corporate and neoliberal force that is cannibalizing the United States. This is what leadership is about. It is about having a vision. And it is about fighting for that vision.
Corbyn, who supports negotiations with Hamas and Hezbollah and once invited members from those organizations to visit Parliament, has called for Israel’s leaders to be put on trial for war crimes against the Palestinians. He has expressed support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) against Israel and the call for an arms embargo against that nation. He would scrap Britain’s Prevention of Terrorism Act, which, like the Patriot Act in the United States, has been used to target and harass Muslims. He wants the United Kingdom to withdraw from NATO. He cannot conceive of any situation, he has said, that would necessitate sending British troops abroad.
He was a vocal opponent of the invasion and occupation of Iraq and a founder of the Stop the War Coalition. He denounced the United States for what he called its “assassination” of Osama bin Laden, saying the al-Qaida leader should have been captured and put on trial, and he assailed the British government for using militarized drones to kill two British jihadists in Syria in August. He advocates unilateral nuclear disarmament and has urged the elimination of Trident, his country’s nuclear weapons system. He opposes any British military intervention in Syria and wants to put pressure on “our supposed allies in the region”—read Saudi Arabia—that support Islamic State. He has called for talks with the leaders of warring factions in Iraq and Afghanistan to end the conflicts.
“There is no solution to the killing and abuse of human rights [in the Middle East] that involves yet more Western military action,” Corbyn has written. “Ultimately there has to be a political solution in the region which bombing by NATO forces cannot bring about.
"The drama of the killings and advances by ISIS in the past few weeks is yet another result of the Bush-Blair war on terror since 2001. The victims of these wars are the refugees and those driven from their homes and the thousands of unknown civilians who have died and will continue to die in the region. The ‘winners’ are inevitably the arms manufacturers and those who gain from the natural resources of the region.”
Corbyn says he will back significantly increasing taxes on the wealthy and ending the unfair tax breaks of corporations. He is for imposing safeguards to protect those on welfare and instituting a “maximum wage” for corporate executives in order to fight “grotesque levels of inequality.”
He would install widespread rent control to stop what he calls “social cleansing” caused by gentrification. He has called on the Bank of England to carry out what he terms a “People’s Quantitative Easing,” demanding it invest billions in housing, energy and other infrastructure projects. He supports the creation of a sanctuary in the Antarctic to prevent mining and oil drilling there. He opposes fracking.
He calls for government investment to build renewable energy based on solar and wind, and “global regulation” to prevent the export of carbon products. And he would end the steps to privatize parts of his country’s universal health care system, known as the National Health Service.
As Labour veered to the right and became dominated by corporate money and neoliberalism under Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown—a process also carried out by the Democratic Party under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama—Corbyn became a rebel in his own party. Between 1997 and 2010, as a member of Parliament, where he has held a seat since 1983, he voted against bills or challenged positions championed by the “new” Labour Party leadership more than 500 times.
Corbyn, in the course of his roughly 40 years on the fringes of the British political establishment, has called for the abolition of the British monarchy and has described Karl Marx as “a fascinating figure who observed a great deal and from whom we can learn a great deal.” He wants to nationalize energy companies and renationalize the post office and the rail service. “Without exception, the majority electricity, gas, water and railway infrastructures of Britain were built through public investment since the end of WWII and were all privatised at knock-down prices for the benefit of greedy asset-strippers by the Thatcher and [John] Major-led Tory governments,” he wrote in a column for the Morning Star newspaper.
He has raised the possibility of the U.K. leaving the European Union, citing the EU’s draconian assault on the Greek people in the name of austerity. “Look at it another way,” Corbyn said. “If we allow unaccountable forces to destroy an economy like Greece, when all that bailout money isn’t going to the Greek people, it’s going to various banks all across Europe, then I think we need to think very, very carefully about what role they [the EU] are playing and what role we are playing in that.”
Corbyn has proposed a National Education Service that would, with increased taxes on corporations, provide free universal education starting with day care and going up through vocational schools, adult education programs and universities. He would abolish the British equivalent of charter schools and end the tax-exempt status of the elite private schools. He would bring back state funding for the arts.
... It shuts us off from our intellectual and artistic patrimony, contributing to our historical and cultural amnesia. The parallel removal of the arts from school curriculums, now dominated by vocational skills and standardized testing, has cemented into place a system in which Americans have been taught what to think, not how to think. Self-expression and creativity, disciplines that make possible self-awareness, transcendence and the capacity for reverence, are anathemas to the corporate state. The imposed dogma of neoliberalism must be unquestioned.
“Beyond the obvious economic and social benefits of the arts is the significant contribution to our communities, education, and democratic process they make. Studies have demonstrated the beneficial impact of drama studied at schools on the capacity of teenagers to communicate, learn, and to tolerate each other as well as on the likelihood that they will vote. The greater involvement of young people in the political process is something to be encouraged and celebrated. Further, the contribution and critique of our society and democracy which theatre has the capacity to offer must be protected. To quote David Lan, ‘dissent is necessary to democracy, and democratic governments should have an interest in preserving sites in which that dissent can be expressed.’ ”
Corbyn says he would also reverse the government cuts that gutted the BBC. He understands that the destruction of public broadcasting, which is designed to give a platform to voices and artists not beholden to corporate money, means the rise of a corporate-dominated system of propaganda, one that now controls most of the U.S. airwaves.
“I firmly believe in the principle of public service broadcast and am fearful of following the path tread in the United States, where PBS has been hollowed out, unable to deliver the breadth of content to compete with the private broadcasters, and where Fox News has as a result been effectively allowed to dominate and set the news agenda,” he wrote. “I want to see the Labour Party at the heart of campaigns to protect the BBC and its license fee. When we [Labour] return to power we must fully fund public service broadcasting in all its forms, recognising the crucial role the BBC has played in establishing and supporting world class domestic arts, drama, and entertainment.”
Corbyn became a vegetarian at the age of 20 after working on a pig farm and witnessing the abuse, torture and slaughter of the animals. He champions animal rights. He does not own a car, bicycles almost everywhere and is notoriously frugal, usually filing the lowest expense of any member of Parliament. His favorite novelist is the late Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe, who wrote “Things Fall Apart,” an exploration of the destructive force of colonialism. Corbyn speaks fluent Spanish and comes from a left-wing family. (His parents met at a rally in support of the Republicans fighting Franco’s fascists during the Spanish Civil War.)
He is acutely aware of the problem of male violence against women. He would halt the government’s closure of domestic violence centers for women, fight discrimination against women in the workplace and bolster laws against sexual harassment and sexual assault. He says his Cabinet would be 50 percent women.
Corbyn’s ascent to the head of the Labour Party has already triggered a backlash against him by the forces of the neoliberal political order. These forces are determined to prevent him from becoming prime minister. The entrenched elites within his own party—a number of whom have already resigned from party leadership positions in protest of Corbyn’s election—will seek to do to him what the Democratic establishment did in 1972 to George McGovern after he won the party’s nomination. The rhetoric of fear has already begun. Prime Minister David Cameron on Sunday tweeted: “The Labour Party is now a threat to our national security, our economic security and your family’s security.” This battle will be ugly.
Corbyn, like Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain, is part of the new popular resistance that is rising up from the ruins of neoliberalism and globalization to fight the international banking system and American imperialism. We have yet to mount this battle effectively in the United States. But we, especially because we live in the heart of empire, have a special responsibility to defy the machine, held in place by the Democratic Party establishment, the war industry, Wall Street and groups such as the Israel lobby. We too must work to build a socialist nation. We may not win, but this fight is the only hope left to save ourselves from the predatory forces bent on the destruction of democracy and the ecosystem on which we depend for life. If the forces that oppose us triumph, we will have no future left.
VIDEO: Michael Moore Plays a Big Prank on Audiences in ‘Where to Invade Next’ Trailer is great. Watch it.
VIDEO: Chris Hedges on the Big Lie of Neoliberalism and the Very Real Threat of a President Trump Chris Hedges doesn’t spare Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton or even Bernie Sanders in this wide-ranging take on the big swindle of neoliberalism and his warning for the future in the hands of a “rapacious oligarchic elite.”
Some particularly good lines from Hedges’ speech include these well-taken points: “Every promise made by the proponents of neoliberalism is a lie,” “The left is still alive ... barely,” and “Democracy, especially in the U.S., is a farce, vomiting up right-wing demagogues such as Donald Trump, who has a serious chance to become the Republican presidential nominee—and perhaps even president.”
Long-running scandal may be final nail in Conservatives' coffin in Canada Canadians are heading to the polls in a little over a month for a complicated federal election, with three parties all within single-digits of each other nationally. The progressive New Democratic Party has been holding a small but consistent lead in the polls, with both the center-left Liberals and incumbent right-wing Conservatives only a few points behind. As the Conservatives in Canada are trying to hang on to power, this long-running scandal has repeatedly made headlines during the campaign, putting Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the defensive... [The scandal is about Mike Duffy. Read the details in the article.]
Comment from Newtonfinn: This must be a tough call for many prominent social critics like Hedges, Chomsky, Englehardt, etc. These men are too intelligent IMHO not to see what the rest of the radical left sees, that the official 9-11 story is rancid horseshit trying to cover up the rather obvious actions of some sort of dark state cabal.
But to so state publicly is to risk complete marginalization by the mainstream left, and thus to give up any hope of one's ideas reaching an audience beyond the pre-revolutionary choir. That said, I think that these intellectuals have made the wrong choice here, because the truth of 9-11 may be the only ammunition powerful enough to blow apart the complacency that is smothering us.
Chris Hedges: The Real Enemy Is Within If you are not dedicated to the destruction of empire and the dismantling of American militarism, then you cannot count yourself as a member of the left. It is not a side issue. It is the issue. It is why I refuse to give a pass in this presidential election campaign to Bernie Sanders, who refuses to confront the war industry or the crimes of empire, including U.S. support for the slow genocide carried out by Israel against the Palestinians. There will be no genuine democratic, social, economic or political reform until we destroy our permanent war machine.
Militarists and war profiteers are our greatest enemy. They use fear, bolstered by racism, as a tool in their efforts to abolish civil liberties, crush dissent and ultimately extinguish democracy. To produce weapons and finance military expansion, they ruin the domestic economy by diverting resources, scientific and technical expertise and a disproportionate share of government funds. They use the military to carry out futile, decades-long wars to enrich corporations such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman. War is a business.
“Bourgeois society faces a dilemma,” socialist Rosa Luxemburg writes, “either a transition to Socialism, or a return to barbarism ... we face the choice: either the victory of imperialism and the decline of all culture, as in ancient Rome—annihilation, devastation, degeneration, a yawning graveyard; or the victory of Socialism—the victory of the international working class consciously assaulting imperialism and its method: war.
Let Your Life Be a Friction to Stop the Machine “Power corrupts”, said Lord Mahan, “and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
When the only rival and counterweight to American power disintegrated there was a sense within the American power elite that the opportunity existed, for the first time in history, for one country to absolutely dominate and effectively control the entire world.
This consensus was expressed in a policy statement composed by a cadre of major right-wing political players representing massive corporate capitalist interests called the Project for a New American Century. This triumphalist manifesto laid out a plan for absolute American access and control of essential resources and raw materials worldwide, to be guaranteed by the military which would enforce Full Spectrum Dominance.
The American Myth, which had seemed to have lost momentum and its animating principle in the totally unexpected so-called Cold War “victory”, was now re-energized with a less defensive and reactive essence, and given the glowing radiance and patina of a true and, for the first time, self-professed and articulated, imperial mission.
The attack on the Towers, an unimaginable provocation, was the trigger mechanism for the explosive launch of the effort to impose that imperial model in practice on the world...
That end is not inevitable. We are not lost. We are not even defeated because to this moment we have not engaged. We have not honored our responsibility as human beings. We have not risen to defend our humanity. We have let ourselves be ruled.
All around the world the thunder of vast and immeasurable discontent can be heard and felt. In Egypt and Spain, Jordan and Greece, Iraq and Sudan, Afghanistan and Ireland, Latin America, the Far East and Africa, the legitimate anger of humanity is expressing itself against the dead and killing hand of Predatory Capitalism and its agencies of violence. And here, in America, so long trapped and encapsulated, frozen like a fly in amber in a false religion of state idolatry, the anger is deep, widespread, and growing.
It is up to those who know and care to lead. As Thomas Paine said, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Nothing is guaranteed us. That can’t matter. We cannot be concerned with odds or outcomes. We cannot let the Machine of Injustice grind on. We must oppose it with all the moral force we own. We must act with quiet courage to confront a vicious tyrannical system that is destroying the earth, its life, and its people. We must put our lives on the line to oppose it.
The Nightmare Machine of rapacious exploitation has overthrown humanity’s decency and reason and its bloody inhuman treason flourishes over us. This must be ended.
Let your life be a friction now to stop the Machine.
Chris Hedges: The Great Unraveling The ideological and physical hold of American imperial power, buttressed by the utopian ideology of neoliberalism and global capitalism, is unraveling. Most, including many of those at the heart of the American empire, recognize that every promise made by the proponents of neoliberalism is a lie.
Corporations have orchestrated the destruction of trade barriers, allowing them to stash $2.1 trillion in profits in overseas banks to avoid paying taxes. And the neoliberal order, despite its promise to build and spread democracy, has hollowed out democratic systems to turn them into corporate leviathans.
Democracy, especially in the United States, is a farce, vomiting up right-wing demagogues such as Donald Trump, who has a chance to become the Republican presidential nominee and perhaps even president, or slick, dishonest corporate stooges such as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama...
The attraction of a Trump, like the attraction of Radovan Karadzic or Slobodan Milosevic during the breakdown of Yugoslavia, is that his buffoonery, which is ultimately dangerous, mocks the bankruptcy of the political charade. It lays bare the dissembling, the hypocrisy, the legalized bribery. There is a perverted and, to many, refreshing honesty in this. The Nazis used this tactic to take power during the Weimar Republic. The Nazis, even in the eyes of their opponents, had the courage of their convictions, however unsavory those convictions were. Those who believe something, even something repugnant, are often given grudging respect.
These neoliberal forces are also rapidly destroying the ecosystem. The Earth has not had this level of climate disruption since 250 million years ago when it underwent the Permian-Triassic extinction, which wiped out perhaps 90 percent of all species. This is a percentage we seem determined to replicate.
Migrants fleeing violence and hunger in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Eritrea are pouring into Europe. Two hundred thousand of the roughly 300,000 migrants to Europe this year have landed on the shores of Greece. Two thousand five hundred have died so far this year in the sea, on overcrowded and dilapidated boats or in the backs of trucks such as the one discovered last week in Austria that held 71 corpses, including the bodies of children. This is the largest influx of refugees into Europe since World War II, a 40 percent jump since last year. And the flood will grow ever greater. By 2050, many climate scientists predict, between 50 million and 200 million climate refugees will have fled northward to escape areas of the globe made uninhabitable by soaring temperatures, droughts, famines, plagues, coastal flooding and the chaos of failed states.
If we do not overthrow this neoliberal system, and overthrow it soon, we will unleash a Hobbesian nightmare of escalating state violence and counterviolence. Masses of the poor will be condemned to misery and death. Some will try to violently resist. A tiny elite, living in a modern version of Versailles or the Forbidden City, will have access to amenities denied to everyone else. Hatred will become the primary ideology.
Until we dismantle the neoliberal order and recover the humanistic tradition that rejects the view that human beings and the Earth are commodities to exploit, our form of industrialized and economic barbarity will collide with the barbarity of those who oppose us. The only choice offered by “bourgeois society,” as Friedrich Engels knew, is “socialism or regression into barbarism.” It is time we make this choice.
The binary world the neoliberals created—a world of masters and serfs, a world where the wretched of the earth are demonized and subdued by a loss of freedom, by “austerity” and violence, a world where only the powerful and the wealthy have privileges and rights—will condemn us to a horrifying dystopia. The emerging revolt, inchoate, seemingly disconnected, is rising up from the bowels of the earth. We see its flashes and spurts. We see its ideology of rage and anguish. We see its utopianism and its corpses. The more despair and desperation are manufactured by the neoliberal order, whether in Athens, Baghdad or Ferguson, the more the forces of state repression are used to quell unrest and extract the last drops of blood from collapsing economies, the more violence will become the primary language of resistance.
Those of us who seek to create a world that has hope of viability have little time left. The neoliberal order, despoiling the Earth and enslaving the vulnerable, has to be eradicated. This will happen only when we place ourselves in direct opposition to it, when we are willing to engage in the acts of self-sacrifice and sustained revolt that allow us to obstruct and dismantle every aspect of neoliberal machinery. I believe we can do this through nonviolence. But I am not blind to the inevitable rise of counterviolence, caused by the myopia and greed of the neoliberal mandarins. Peace and harmony may not engulf the Earth if we succeed, but if we do not remove the ruling elites from power, if we do not overthrow the neoliberal order, and if we do not do it soon, we are doomed.
6 Creative New Techniques Republicans Have Developed for Torturing the Poor Republican-controlled states are sharpening their fight against the poor, and then paralyzing their attempts to fight back.
Campaign finance reform advocate and Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig announced Tuesday that he is forming a committee to explore entering the Democratic primary for president—a job from which he says he would resign as soon as Congress passed a package of pro-democracy reforms.
"I want to run," Lessig wrote at the Huffington Post on Tuesday. "But I want to run to be a different kind of president. 'Different' not in the traditional political puffery sense of that term. 'Different,' quite literally. I want to run to build a mandate for the fundamental change that our democracy desperately needs. Once that is passed, I would resign, and the elected Vice President would become President."
He calls it "Presidency as referendum," meant to address "the deep sense that most Americans have that their government is not theirs."
Lessig's campaign and potential White House residency would be solely focused on passing the Citizen Equality Act of 2017, which he says aims to restore "the right that all of us have in a representative democracy to be represented equally."
"That right has been violated in America today—and brazenly so," he said. "In the way campaigns are funded, in the way the poor and overworked are denied an equal freedom to vote, and in the way whole sections of American voters get written into oblivion by politically gerrymandered districts that assure their views are not represented, we have allowed the politicians to cheat us of the most fundamental commitment of a democracy: equal citizens. And until we find a way to create a mandate to demand equality for citizens, we will never find a way to make real change possible."
Among other things, the Citizen Equality Act calls for overturning Citizens United, instituting Ranked Choice Voting, and adopting a campaign finance proposal that would give every voter a voucher to contribute to fund congressional and presidential campaigns and provide matching funds for small-dollar contributions to congressional and presidential campaigns.
Lessig acknowledges that Sanders, more than any other presidential candidate, has talked extensively about the need for electoral reform.
"Sanders is a rare hero among politicians," Lessig wrote at the HuffPo. "Throughout his career, he has been unwavering in his advocacy for the issues he believes in, however unpopular. There isn't a triangulating bone in his body. And as people have come to know him and his history, they are inspired by a man who has stuck by his principles and whose principles are now more relevant and true than ever. The picture of 28,000 people showing up to a rally more than a year before an election is the picture of hope for a democracy."
But even an "extraordinary" candidate like Sanders, Lessig continued, "is always divided among the 8 or 10 issues at the core of their campaign."
"What should be obvious to everyone—or at least the 82% of Americans who believe 'the system is rigged'—is that none of these incredible reforms is possible until we un-rig the rigged system first," he argued. "We've lived through 'change you can believe in.' What we need now is a reason to believe in change."
Bernie Sanders Explains Why You Should Care About What’s Happening to Greece ?He really does sound like a socialist, doesn’t he?
Bernie dropped off the campaign schedule on Thursday to reach out to the people of Greece. Far as I know, Greeks don’t get to vote in US primaries, but never mind. Bernie wanted to address their sorrows.
“I am expressing solidarity with the people of Greece in a time of cruel and counter-productive policies,” he declared at conference he arranged on Capitol Hill. Sanders called it a full-blown “humanitarian crisis” that other nations, including America, must not ignore; 26 percent unemployment, 30 percent in poverty, 50-60 percent of young people without jobs. Yet the financial masters of Europe (the bankers who lent Greece all the money in the first place) are imposing a new round of crippling austerity—deeper suffering—in effort to get their money back.
“He can’t possibly win the nomination,” is the phrase heard most often when Washington insiders mention either Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders.
Yet as enthusiasm for the bombastic billionaire and the socialist senior continues to build within each party, the political establishment is mystified.
Political insiders don’t see that the biggest political phenomenon in America today is a revolt against the “ruling class” of insiders that have dominated Washington for more than three decades.
In two very different ways, Trump and Sanders are agents of this revolt.
What’s new is the degree of anger now focused on those who have had power over our economic and political system since the start of the 1980s.
Included are presidents and congressional leaders from both parties, along with their retinues of policy advisors, political strategists, and spin-doctors.
Most have remained in Washington even when not in power, as lobbyists, campaign consultants, go-to lawyers, financial bundlers, and power brokers.
The other half of the ruling class comprises the corporate executives, Wall Street chiefs, and multi-millionaires who have assisted and enabled these political leaders – and for whom the politicians have provided political favors in return.
America has long had a ruling class but the public was willing to tolerate it during the three decades after World War II, when prosperity was widely shared and when the Soviet Union posed a palpable threat. Then, the ruling class seemed benevolent and wise.
Yet in the last three decades – when almost all the nation’s economic gains have gone to the top while the wages of most people have gone nowhere – the ruling class has seemed to pad its own pockets at the expense of the rest of America.
We’ve witnessed self-dealing on a monumental scale – starting with the junk-bond takeovers of the 1980s, followed by the Savings and Loan crisis, the corporate scandals of the early 2000s (Enron, Adelphia, Global Crossing, Tyco, Worldcom), and culminating in the near meltdown of Wall Street in 2008 and the taxpayer-financed bailout.
Progressives Need to Be More Radical Than Bernie Sanders—Here’s Why None of the 2016 presidential candidates’ approaches to politics will fix this country; they won’t even come close, argues Robert Kuttner at The American Prospect. Kuttner then goes on to list all the issues that ail the economy and the “radical reform” that needs to take place.
To remedy the problem of income inequality would require radical reform both of the rules of finance and of our tax code, as well as drastic changes in labor market regulation so that employees of hybrids such as Uber and TaskRabbit would have both decent earnings and the protections of regular payroll employees.
Congress would have to blow up the sequester deal that makes it impossible to invest money on the scale necessary to repair broken infrastructure and deal with the challenge of climate change.
But the reforms needed to restore that degree of shared prosperity are somewhere to the left of Bernie Sanders.
"The United States spends over $87 billion conducting a war in Iraq while the United Nations estimates that for less than half that amount we could provide clean water, adequate diets, sanitations services and basic education to every person on the planet. And we wonder why terrorists attack us." - John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
It’s Not the Muslims Stupid! By GH Eliason. July 30, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "The Saker" - @Tomi Lahren’s rant heard round’ the world was the first I’ve ever heard of her. I listened to it a couple of times and a few of her other shows to understand her perspective and motivation. The way she repeatedly ties radical terrorism to Islam and then backs off half a step before letting loose another salvo against Muslims and president Obama is almost artistic.
From the late 1950’s onward scholars started documenting the movement that became known as radical Islam today. The only problem is, it’s not Islam. It never was. It is western fascist political philosophy that’s been tailored to suite the Middle East. Going into the new millennium new groups used “Muslim, Islam, and Islamic” as a means to self identify within the vastly larger Muslim communities in an effort to draw fire from the West and radicalize populations while trying to establish themselves by putting the communities under fire.
The Terrorists are in fact only as Muslim as Adolf Hitler could be considered a Christian in any context. “As a Christian I have no duty to allow my self to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice… And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows . For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.” –Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922 (Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20, Oxford University Press, 1942)
If terrorists such as Al Qaeda or ISIL are not Muslim then what are they?
After the Third Age Eschatological Elements of Postwar International Fascism , presented by Professor John Reilly at the Seventh Annual Conference of the Center for Millennial Studies, Boston University, November 2 to 4, 2002... Julius Evola was one of the founders of what became known as the “Tradition” and has adherents infecting all major religions with a fascist/ nationalist construct. According to the fascist Evola (esoteric fascism), immortality is attained by the conscious act that ignores the ramifications of death while plunging headlong into it without a thought. This has nothing to do with the type of religion an adherent is or its afterlife traditions.
This type of thought today isn’t isolated to political Islam, it infects Judaism and Christianity on a world wide scale. It’s not religion, its politics with a religious face. Fascist nationalism seems more pronounced in political Islam today because it is not governments attacking, its groups we identify as terrorist.
The work of these Phd’s was done to put context around what was happening before, during, and after September 11th and the twin towers attack. Our America has been at war ever since that day, but has it been at war with the those responsible? Iraq wasn’t involved and Afghanistan was going to give Osama bin Laden over to justice.
It wasn’t the Muslims that Attacked Us on 9/11
The Twin Towers weren’t destroyed by Muslims but by believers in this same fascist political philosophy that is now spread throughout the Mideast thanks to the so called Arab spring or spring of nations. Each country was initially taken over by this same Muslim Brotherhood... This isn’t isolated cases of small or even just one large terrorist group. Fascist/ nationalist ideology is the across the board reality that defines them. This case study which was done in 2009 just ahead of the Arab Spring explored the possibilities of working and cooperating with the Muslim Brotherhood in spite of their overt harsh fascist/ nationalist agenda. It is a great study because it details how many secular and humanitarian angles terrorists indoctrinate a region or society with.
Who’s fighting the ISIL terrorists? The same Muslim’s the Tomi Lahren wants to bomb. Does the equation get any simpler than this?
Across the world and the centuries Christian and Muslim communities that aren’t forced to be cloistered have protected each other and built strong communities together.
If America is going to finally get serious about stopping terrorists, shouldn’t we investigate people that have a history of giving terrorists group hugs? Should we investigate Congressional members that include funding for terrorists in their spending bills?
John McCain -Never Met a Terrorist He Didn’t Like... McCain called on all nations, especially the U.S. , to recognize the National Transitional Council in Benghazi. He said some of the Gadhafi regime’s frozen assets should be redirected to the rebels and the U.S. should facilitate the delivery of weapons to rebel fighters.”
This group became the core group for what would become ISIL. John McCain’s support for terrorists never wavered until it became a hot potato in an election cycle. In Syria, McCain once again openly demanded the US arm the terrorists. As late as January 2015, John McCain was illegally visiting his ISIL friends in Syria.
The Politics of Betrayal: Obama Backstabs Kurds to Appease Turkey The Kurdish militias (YPG, PKK) have been Washington’s most effective weapon in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. But the Obama administration has sold out the Kurds in order to strengthen ties with Turkey and gain access to Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base. The agreement to switch sides was made in phone call between President Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan less than 48 hours after a terrorist incident in the Turkish town of Suruc killed 32 people and wounded more than 100 others.
The bombing provided Obama with the cover he needed to throw the Kurds under the bus, cave in to Turkey’s demands, and look the other way while Turkish bombers and tanks pounded Kurdish positions in Syria and Iraq. The media has characterized this shocking reversal of US policy as a “game-changer” that will improve US prospects for victory over ISIS. But what the about-face really shows is Washington’s inability to conduct a principled foreign policy as well as Obama’s eagerness to betray a trusted friend and ally if he sees some advantage in doing so.
Out Of Sight: The Labor Abuses Behind What We Eat NAFTA’s agricultural provisions allowed American farmers to dump their products on the Mexican market while raising animals fed on cheap American corn. This transformed Mexico. Mexican pig farmers went out of business because pork prices dropped so low. In 1995 Mexico imported 30,000 tons of pork from the United States, and in 2010 it imported 811,000 tons. Mexican hog farmers had to leave their farms to make a living. Some migrated north, becoming undocumented immigrants in the United States. A group of those people found work in a Smithfield Foods processing plant in North Carolina. Smithfield used these immigrants to bust a union-organizing campaign in the plant. When some of those immigrants in turn joined the union, Smithfield called the Immigration and Naturalization Service to report itself for immigration violations.
Latest National Poll Shows Bernie Sanders Beating Scott Walker, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush Polling on both sides shows voters are not happy with the status quo. By Zaid Jilani / AlterNet July 27, 2015
Of all of the arguments the Democratic establishment has thrown out against the Bernie Sanders candidacy, perhaps the most reoccurring one revolves around electability. “Sure, you agree with him,” they argue, “but he can't win.”
A just released CNN poll finds Sanders out-polling all of the GOP's major candidates.
Chris Hedges: The Myth of Human Progress it means that those we love, including our children, are almost certainly doomed to insecurity, misery and suffering within a few decades, if not a few years, is much harder to acquire. To emotionally accept impending disaster, to attain the gut-level understanding that the power elite will not respond rationally to the devastation of the ecosystem, is as difficult to accept as our own mortality. The most daunting existential struggle of our time is to ingest this awful truth—intellectually and emotionally—and continue to resist the forces that are destroying us.
The human species, led by white Europeans and Euro-Americans, has been on a 500-year-long planetwide rampage of conquering, plundering, looting, exploiting and polluting the Earth—as well as killing the indigenous communities that stood in the way. But the game is up. The technical and scientific forces that created a life of unparalleled luxury—as well as unrivaled military and economic power—for the industrial elites are the forces that now doom us.
Meet Scientology’s Favorite GOP Governor: Why Greg Abbott Is More Dangerous Than George W. Bush & Rick Perry Abbott recently vetoed mental legislation, after reportedly being lobbied by Scientology.
Following the late great Democratic Gov. Ann Richards, Texas has developed a notorious reputation for electing governors who have no real business presiding over anything more important than a pie-eating contest. George W. Bush and Rick Perry were, at the end of the day, the same guy: nauseously conservative and each one battling it out to join Sarah Palin as several of the dumbest former governors ever to have occupied a state capital.
Then along came Greg Abbott.
Abbott, the current governor of Texas, is not necessarily a Perry- or Bush-style idiot in the traditional sense; and, frankly, his conservatism isn’t actually his most disturbing character trait, though his conservatism is awful, to be sure. (For example, last month, Abbott signed an anti-choice bill into law making it impossible to get an abortion without proof of age and identity.) The most disturbing thing about Abbott is that he’s missing a part inside his lizard brain that weeds out crazy conspiracy theories for the fiction they are. This glitch also has led him to pal around with some nefariously fringe characters along the way.
Calling TPP a 'Death Pact,' Health Advocates Rally Outside Secretive Trade Talks Leading the protest and carrying signs that read "Hands Off Our Medicine," protesters with health groups Doctors Without Borders and Health Global Access Project (GAP) warned that the TPP will undermine efforts to ensure access to affordable, life-saving medicines in both the United States and abroad.
NH Rebellion The New Hampshire Rebellion is a nonpartisan movement to make the root problem of systemic corruption driven by money in politics the central issue of the 2016 presidential primary... In 2016, we plan to ask every presidential primary candidate, "What specific reforms will you advance to end the corrupting influence of money in politics?"
10 Facts That Will Blow Right-Wingers' Minds The Pledge was written in 1892 for public school celebrations of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ arrival in the Americas. Its author was Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister, Christian socialist and cousin of socialist utopian novelist Edward Bellamy. Christian socialism maintains, among other ideas, that capitalism is idolatrous and rooted in greed, and the underlying cause of much of the world’s social inequity.
7/24/15 email from Ralph Nader:
With the long congressional recess in August through Labor Day approaching, “We the People” have the opportunity to do more than complain about the Congress and individual Senators and Representatives.
There are many issues affecting you and your communities that need to be addressed by members of Congress. Over the years, it has become increasingly difficult to reach the legislators in Washington, DC and when they return to their districts and states, they often only attend public events and ceremonies where they do little more than shake hands and smile.
The diminishing number of in-person town meetings by members of Congress are often stacked and controlled. The locations, attendees, and even sometimes pre-screened questions fail to provide citizens an opportunity to make their case to their legislators. Politicians crave predictability; they are control freaks.
Our five hundred and thirty-five Senators and Representatives need to be reminded that they were sent to Washington, DC by voters back home who entrusted them with the well-being of their communities and country. Many of these lawmakers then become indentured to corporate campaign cash that they must constantly beg for, often compromising with what is in the best interest of their constituents.
For all this corporate campaign cash, these corporations want something in return – government contracts, giveaways, tax loopholes, weak corporate law enforcement, and other privileges and immunities, especially for giant multinational corporations that have tightened their grips of crony capitalism on Washington.
So what happened to your votes and your trust in your elected representatives? They were nullified and replaced with ungrateful politicians who have forgotten that the authority lies with the people.
It is time, during this August recess, for “We the People” to shake up the Congress and shake up the politics across the land. If anyone is skeptical of this possibility, they should recall August 2009 when the Tea Party noisily filled the seats of some town meetings called by Senators and Representatives in a Congress run by the Democrats. That is how the Tea Party movement came to public visibility, with the daily help of Fox News.
After that experience, many members of Congress were forced to reevaluate the power and influence of Town Meetings.
My proposal of a Citizens Summons can begin the process of showing your elected legislators who is truly in charge, as befits the Preamble to the Constitution – “We the People.” I am including below a draft Citizens Summons to your Senators or Representative. It covers the main derelictions of the Congress, under which you can add more examples of necessary reforms.
Your task is to start collecting signatures of citizens, members of citizen groups, labor unions, and any other associations that want a more deliberative democracy. The ultimate objective is to reduce inequalities of power.
Shifting power from the few to the many prevents the gross distortions of our Constitution and laws, our public budgets, and our commonwealth, that currently favor the burgeoning corporate state.
May you give your lawmakers a memorable August recess; they deserve to be shown the workings of what our founding fathers called “the sovereignty of the people.”
The Citizens Summons to a Member of the Congress
Whereas, the Congress has tolerated the expansion of an electoral process, corrupted by money, that nullifies our votes and commercializes both congressional elections and subsequent legislation, creating a Congress that is chronically for sale;
Whereas, the Congress has repeatedly supported or opposed legislation and diverted the taxpayer dollars to favor the crassest of corporate interests to the serious detriment of the American people, their necessities, and their public facilities – such as access to safer consumer products, health care, and other basic social safety services.
It has opposed raising the inflation-ravaged minimum wage and fair taxation, allowed endemic waste, fraud, and abuse by contractors, and authorized massive corporate welfare subsidies and giveaways;
Whereas, the Congress has narrowed or blocked access to justice by millions of Americans, leaving them unprotected and defenseless in many serious ways, while giving business corporations preferential treatments and allowing them full access to influence the three branches of government;
Whereas, the Congress has imposed trade treaty despotisms over our democratic institutions – the courts, legislatures, and executive departments and agencies – subordinating our domestic branches of government’s abilities to preserve and enhance labor, consumer, and environmental standards to the domination of global commerce’s “bottom line” and endorsed the usurpation of our judicial process by secret tribunals under the WTO, and other similar invasions of U.S. sovereignty;
Whereas, the access to members of Congress has increased for corporate lobbyists and decreased for ordinary citizens,
Therefore, the citizens of the [INSERT state (for Senators) or the congressional district (for Representatives)] hereby Summon you to a town meeting(s) during the August recess (ending September 7, 2015) at a place of known public convenience.
Your constituents will establish an agenda of how Congress should shift long overdue power from the few to the many, both in substantive policy and through the strengthening of government and civic institutions;
We deem this Summons to be taken with the utmost seriousness as we gain grassroots support throughout your congressional district (or state for Senators). We expect to hear from you expeditiously so that the necessary planning for our town meeting can take place.
This Peoples’ Town Meeting reflects the Preamble to the Constitution that starts with “We the People” and the supremacy of the sovereignty of the people over elected representatives and corporate entities;
Be advised that this Summons calls for your attendance at a Town Meeting run by, of, and for the People. Please reserve a minimum of two hours for this serious exercise of deliberative democracy.
The Big Political Issue Shaking Under Our Feet in the Presidential Election by Thom Hartmann. Ross Perot, it turns out, was right. Every trade deal we’ve entered into in the past 30 years has lost us jobs, industries and good wages. When Reagan came into office the nation’s largest employer was General Motors, and they paid high-school graduates a solid $40-$50/hour (in today’s dollars) with benefits and job security. Today, our nation’s largest employer is Walmart, with an average pay of around $9/hour -- and even GM is hiring new workers at $14/hour. As Bernie Sanders points out, our trade policies have been largely responsible for the loss of over 60,000 factories just in the past 15 years alone.
Donald Trump understands this, as does any businessperson who regularly travels between the US and Mexico, China, or any of the other countries to which we’ve outsourced our jobs. And he’s speaking bluntly about it to anybody who will listen.
Americans know we’ve been screwed by the free-traders like Reagan, both Bushs and Clinton. Average working people get it instantly. Anybody old enough to remember America before Reagan needs no prompting to go off on a tirade about how dropping our tariffs while other countries like China, Germany and South Korea keep trade barriers in place has killed much of the American industrial base and, with it, the American middle class.
But our corporate media – owned, in large part, by multinational corporations that also benefit handsomely from international trade (particularly with copyright monopolies) – will not discuss it.
.. fully a seventh of all US assets are now foreign-owned. A Chinese state-owned company reportedly just made an offer to buy Micron, the last memory-chip maker of any size left in the United States. We’re selling off our businesses and properties to buy cheap clothes and electronics made in Mexico and Asia.
Our media and politicians need to stop the denial of the errors of both Republican and Democratic administrations over the past 40 years, and seriously discuss and re-evaluate everything from Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China, to our membership in the WTO, and our so-called “free trade” deals like NAFTA, CAFTA, and the upcoming SHAFTA (Southern Hemisphere Asian Free Trade Agreement, also known as the TPP).
And anybody who seriously wants to become president of the United States need only repudiate so-called free trade to get a serious hearing from the American working-class electorate.
The End of Capitalism Has Begun By Paul Mason / The Guardian July 17, 2015. technology has created a new route out.. Capitalism, it turns out, will not be abolished by forced-march techniques. It will be abolished by creating something more dynamic that exists, at first, almost unseen within the old system..
Postcapitalism is possible because of three major changes information technology has brought about in the past 25 years. First, it has reduced the need for work, blurred the edges between work and free time and loosened the relationship between work and wages. The coming wave of automation, currently stalled because our social infrastructure cannot bear the consequences, will hugely diminish the amount of work needed – not just to subsist but to provide a decent life for all.
Second, information is corroding the market’s ability to form prices correctly. That is because markets are based on scarcity while information is abundant. The system’s defence mechanism is to form monopolies – the giant tech companies – on a scale not seen in the past 200 years, yet they cannot last. By building business models and share valuations based on the capture and privatisation of all socially produced information, such firms are constructing a fragile corporate edifice at odds with the most basic need of humanity, which is to use ideas freely.
Third, we’re seeing the spontaneous rise of collaborative production: goods, services and organisations are appearing that no longer respond to the dictates of the market and the managerial hierarchy. The biggest information product in the world – Wikipedia – is made by volunteers for free, abolishing the encyclopedia business and depriving the advertising industry of an estimated $3bn a year in revenue.
Almost unnoticed, in the niches and hollows of the market system, whole swaths of economic life are beginning to move to a different rhythm. Parallel currencies, time banks, cooperatives and self-managed spaces have proliferated, barely noticed by the economics profession, and often as a direct result of the shattering of the old structures in the post-2008 crisis.
...They exist because they trade, however haltingly and inefficiently, in the currency of postcapitalism: free time, networked activity and free stuff. It seems a meagre and unofficial and even dangerous thing from which to craft an entire alternative to a global system, but so did money and credit in the age of Edward III.
New forms of ownership, new forms of lending, new legal contracts: a whole business subculture has emerged over the past 10 years, which the media has dubbed the “sharing economy”. Buzzwords such as the “commons” and “peer-production” are thrown around, but few have bothered to ask what this development means for capitalism itself.
I believe it offers an escape route – but only if these micro-level projects are nurtured, promoted and protected by a fundamental change in what governments do. And this must be driven by a change in our thinking – about technology, ownership and work.
The knowledge content of products is becoming more valuable than the physical things that are used to produce them. But it is a value measured as usefulness, not exchange or asset value. In the 1990s economists and technologists began to have the same thought at once: that this new role for information was creating a new, “third” kind of capitalism – as different from industrial capitalism as industrial capitalism was to the merchant and slave capitalism of the 17th and 18th centuries. But they have struggled to describe the dynamics of the new “cognitive” capitalism. And for a reason. Its dynamics are profoundly non-capitalist.
There is, alongside the world of monopolised information and surveillance created by corporations and governments, a different dynamic growing up around information: information as a social good, free at the point of use, incapable of being owned or exploited or priced. I’ve surveyed the attempts by economists and business gurus to build a framework to understand the dynamics of an economy based on abundant, socially-held information. But it was actually imagined by one 19th-century economist in the era of the telegraph and the steam engine. His name? Karl Marx.
Given what Marxism was to become – a theory of exploitation based on the theft of labour time – this is a revolutionary statement. It suggests that, once knowledge becomes a productive force in its own right, outweighing the actual labour spent creating a machine, the big question becomes not one of “wages versus profits” but who controls what Marx called the “power of knowledge”. In an economy where machines do most of the work, the nature of the knowledge locked inside the machines must, he writes, be “social”. In a final late-night thought experiment Marx imagined the end point of this trajectory: the creation of an “ideal machine”, which lasts forever and costs nothing. A machine that could be built for nothing would, he said, add no value at all to the production process and rapidly, over several accounting periods, reduce the price, profit and labour costs of everything else it touched.
Today, the thing that is corroding capitalism, barely rationalised by mainstream economics, is information. Most laws concerning information define the right of corporations to hoard it and the right of states to access it, irrespective of the human rights of citizens. The equivalent of the printing press and the scientific method is information technology and its spillover into all other technologies, from genetics to healthcare to agriculture to the movies, where it is quickly reducing costs.
The modern equivalent of the long stagnation of late feudalism is the stalled take-off of the third industrial revolution, where instead of rapidly automating work out of existence, we are reduced to creating what David Graeber calls “bullshit jobs” on low pay. And many economies are stagnating.
The Internet crapped out...
The Emerging Populist Agenda by Katrina vanden Heuvel. A range of groups and leaders are putting forward a reform agenda of increasing coherence. Today, the Roosevelt Institute will present a report by Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, while New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is to release a “Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality.” These follow the Populism 2015 Platform, released in April by an alliance of grass-roots groups and the Campaign for America’s Future. Also in April, the Center for Community Change (CCC) joined with several grass-roots allies to launch Putting Families First: Good Jobs for All.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), now contending for the Democratic presidential nomination, released his Economic Agenda for America last December. And while Hillary Clinton has chosen a slow rollout of her agenda, the Center for American Progress published the report of the Commission on Inclusive Prosperity headed by former treasury secretary Larry Summers, widely seen as a marker of where Hillary might move.
All agree that our extreme inequality is not the inevitable result of globalization or technology. It is the result of policy and power. The rules have been rigged. No one reform offers an answer; broad reforms are needed.
Similarly, only Sanders, Stiglitz and Populism 2015 include the need to curb big money in our politics and crack down on corruption. Clearly these rules have been rigged by the few to favor the few. This system stays in place because it works for them. No reforms are possible without curbing our corrupted politics.
NATIONAL COMMISSION ON INTELLIGENCE MISUSE TO JUSTIFY WAR Guidestar is info. on nonprofits
Chris Hedges: Our Mania for Hope is a Curse The 19th century theorist Louis-Auguste Blanqui, unlike nearly all of his contemporaries, dismissed the belief, central to Karl Marx, that human history is a linear progression toward equality and greater morality. He warned that this absurd positivism is the lie perpetrated by oppressors: “All atrocities of the victor, the long series of his attacks are coldly transformed into constant, inevitable evolution, like that of nature. ... But the sequence of human things is not inevitable like that of the universe. It can be changed at any moment.” He foresaw that scientific and technological advancement, rather than being a harbinger of progress, could be “a terrible weapon in the hands of Capital against Work and Thought.”
“Humanity,” Blanqui wrote, “is never stationary. It advances or goes backwards. Its progressive march leads it to equality. Its regressive march goes back through every stage of privilege to human slavery, the final word of the right to property.” Further, he wrote, “I am not amongst those who claim that progress can be taken for granted, that humanity cannot go backwards.”
The Dark Ages were marked by arbitrary rule, incessant wars, insecurity, anarchy and terror. And I see nothing to prevent the rise of a new Dark Age if we do not abolish the corporate state. Indeed, the longer the corporate state holds power the more likely a new Dark Age becomes. To trust in some mythical force called progress to save us is to become passive before corporate power. The people alone can defy these forces. And fate and history do not ensure our victory.
A Middle-Class Tax Revolt? You Bet!!! Welfare in the U.S. flows vertically in two directions from a single source—the middle-class. The redistribution of wealth that flows up to the rich is far greater and more concentrated than the wealth that flows down to the poor. This is a major problem.
Chris Hedges: America’s Electoral Farce I intend to devote no more time to the upcoming presidential elections than walking to my local polling station on Election Day, voting for a third-party candidate... Every action we take now must be directed at ripping down the structures of the corporate state. This means refusing to co-operate... It means, in large and small ways, acts of open rebellion. It means always having as the primary objective the disrupting and overthrowing of corporate power. It means not playing the game.
The corporate state seeks to get us to participate in the political charade of choreographed elections. It seeks to make us play by its rules. Our corporate media, flush with the dollars from political advertising, fills the airwaves with the ridiculous and the trivial.
The voices of those who matter will not be heard in these elections. The marginalized and poor in our internal colonies, the 2.3 million people in our prisons and their families, the Muslims we persecute here and in the Middle East, and the suffering of the working poor are airbrushed out of the discussion.
Political theater works because many in America have been systematically indoctrinated and severed from reality. Our corporate masters have built a mass culture centered on the cult of the self, unchecked hedonism and spectacle. Neoliberal ideology infects every institution and belief system. Those who suffer deserve to suffer. Victims are responsible for their victimhood. We can all achieve wealth and prosperity with hard work. This mantra permits us to be cruel and heartless to the weak and the vulnerable, especially the poor as well as women and children, whom we discard as human refuse. Our warped neoliberal vision is defined as progress.
The replacement of history with myth, the use of mass surveillance and the Espionage Act to shut down any investigation into the centers of power, the collapse of journalism, the deformation of education into a vocational program for the corporate state, along with mindless forms of entertainment and spectacle, create obedient subjects that demand their own enslavement.
Mahatma Gandhi castigated the West for its fictitious histories and false moral crusades to justify slavery, oppression, colonial occupation, massacres, despotism, and the destruction of indigenous traditions, religions and languages. The relentless assault by imperial powers against the wretched of the earth was not, he noted, part of the price of progress or the advance of civilization. It was part of the raw exploitation of the weak by unfettered capitalism and imperialism. The mythical narratives used to defend this exploitation, Gandhi pointed out, created a cult of history much like the cult of religion or the cult of science. It permitted immorality in the name of noble and virtuous ideals. These visions of an emergent world of light and universal civilization are always employed by those in power. And these visions can, as Albert Camus wrote, “be used for anything, even for transforming murderers into judges.”
There is, however, a new, emergent consciousness. It has not reached the majority. But it has reached enough of the minority to make resistance possible. It is a consciousness grounded in truth and the bitter reality of our age. It sees through the myths and self-delusion. It understands the configurations of corporate power. It knows that, as the ecosystem unravels and the most terrifying security and surveillance apparatus in human history holds us hostage, revolt has become a moral imperative.
What is QPPI? Quaker Public Policy Institute... (QPPI) brings together Quakers and advocates from around the country to lobby Congress
ALEC Exposed Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, global corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to try to rewrite state laws that govern your rights. These so-called "model bills" reach into almost every area of American life and often directly benefit huge corporations.
Chris Hedges: Thou Shalt Not Kill The military in the United States portrays itself as endowed with the highest virtues—honor, duty, self-sacrifice, courage and patriotism. Politicians, entertainers, sports stars, the media, clerics and academics slavishly bow before the military machine, ignoring its colossal pillaging of state resources, the egregious war crimes it has normalized across the globe, its abject service not to democracy or freedom but corporate profit, and the blind, mind-numbing obedience it inculcates among its members. A lone soldier or Marine who rises up inside the system to denounce the hypermasculinity that glorifies violence and war, who exposes the false morality of the military, who refuses to kill in the service of imperial power, unmasks the military for what it is. And he or she, as Chelsea Manning has learned, swiftly pays a very, very heavy price.
Meet One of the Last Best Hopes to Stop the Plutocrats' Takeover of American Democracy By Marty Kaplan / AlterNet June 4, 2015 FCC head Tom Wheeler has scored some significant victories.
Chris Hedges: “We Are In a Revolutionary Moment”: Chris Hedges Explains Why An Uprising Is Coming — And Soon The status quo is doomed but whether the future will be progressive or reactionary is uncertain, Hedges tells Salon
Make Polluters Pay! Reich video instead of investing in dirty fuels, let's start charging polluters for poisoning our skies and then invest the revenue so that it benefits everyone.
Every ton of carbon that's released into the atmosphere costs our nation between $40 and $100, and we release millions tons of it every year.1,2 Businesses don't pay that cost. They pass it along to the rest of us—in the form of more extreme weather and all the costs to our economy and health resulting from it. What's worse, we've actually invested more than $6 trillion in fossil fuels since 2007.3 Yikes!
P.S. This is the ninth idea in our "Big Picture" series. In case you missed the first eight, once you've watched Make Polluters Pay, be sure to check out the rest of the videos.
How Sports, Military, Police and the Security Industry, Mixed with Trauma, Creates Modern Dangerous Macho Men American society doubles down on early socialization to create hyper masculinity.
Americans Are Dangerously Politically Ignorant -- The Numbers Are Shocking: The nation’s collective ignorance paves the way for extremist politicians to validate their positions to the public.
“The top five banks—JPMorgan, Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.—account,” the report went on, “for $64 billion of the total subsidy, an amount roughly equal to their typical annual profits. In other words, the banks occupying the commanding heights of the U.S. financial industry—with almost $9 trillion in assets, more than half the size of the U.S. economy—would just about break even in the absence of corporate welfare. In large part, the profits they report are essentially transfers from taxpayers to their shareholders.”
Government expenditure accounts for 41 percent of GDP. Corporate capitalists intend to seize this money, hence the privatization of whole parts of the military, the push to privatize Social Security, the contracting of corporations to collect 70 percent of intelligence for our 16 intelligence agencies, as well as the privatization of prisons, schools and our disastrous for-profit health care service. None of these seizures of basic services make them more efficient or reduce costs. That is not the point. It is about feeding off the carcass of the state. And it ensures the disintegration of the structures that sustain capitalism itself.
The capitalists respond to the collapse of their domestic economies, which they engineered, by becoming global loan sharks and speculators. They lend money at exorbitant interest rates to the working class and the poor, even if they know the money could never be repaid, and then sell these bundled debts, credit default swaps, bonds and stocks to pension funds, cities, investment firms and institutions. This late form of capitalism is built on what Marx called “fictitious capital.” And it leads, as Marx knew, to the vaporization of money.
What we saw in 2008 was the enactment of a welfare state for the rich, a kind of state socialism for the financial elites that Marx predicted. But with this comes an increased and volatile cycle of boom and bust, bringing the system closer to disintegration and collapse. We have undergone two major stock market crashes and the implosion of real estate prices in just the first decade of the 21st century.
10 Crucial Issues Most Politicians—Except Bernie Sanders—Lie About From too-big-to-fail to TPP, Sanders' entry into the race is sure to elevate the conversation.From too-big-to-fail to TPP, Sanders' entry into the race is sure to elevate the conversation. 1. Too Big to Fail; 2. Healthcare Reform; 3. The Trans Pacific Partnership; 4. Growing Income Inequality; 5. Raising the Minimum Wage; 6. The Makeup of the Supreme Court; 7. Crippling Student Loan Debt and the High Cost of College Tuition; 8. Protecting Social Security and Medicare; 9. Reforming U.S. Drug Laws; 10. Rebuilding the U.S.’ Decaying Infrastructure.
Exxon Hates Your Children the satire video
"In other words, Republicans have been performing a kind of "electoral bait and switch"
"George W. Bush won re-election by posing as a champion of national security and traditional values — as I like to say, he ran as America’s defender against gay married terrorists — then turned immediately to his real priority: privatizing Social Security... Republicans would mobilize voters with social issues, but invariably turn postelection to serving the interests of corporations and the 1 percent.
:In return for this service, businesses and the wealthy provided both lavish financial support for right-minded (in both senses) politicians and a safety net — “wing-nut welfare” — for loyalists. In particular, there were always comfortable berths waiting for those who left office, voluntarily or otherwise. There were lobbying jobs; there were commentator spots at Fox News and elsewhere ( two former Bush speechwriters are now Washington Post columnists); there were “research” positions (after losing his Senate seat, Rick Santorum became director of the “ America’s Enemies” program at a think tank supported by the Koch brothers, among others).
I Watched Fox's Megyn Kelly So You Don't Have To: How I Learned to Uncode the Fox News Propaganda Machine The problem is that she is a conventional Fox News television anchor, and Fox News isn’t about nuance or complexity, the things I look for in news reporting and analysis. I was shocked at how few subjects, sources and points of view “The Kelly File” presents, and by her almost ritualistic recourse to the same old conservative clichés and talking points during discussion and analysis, even when more interesting and complicated angles virtually begged to be examined.
Fox News, particularly during prime time, really isn’t in the news business. It’s in the entertainment business. To a certain degree, this is true of most all television news. But in FNC’s case, there is a difference. Fox News’ core audience is more than just a particular slice of the larger consumer marketplace. It’s a group of people with firm convictions and a coherent ideological worldview — not unlike orthodox Marxists back in the early 1900s. And part of what Fox does is make this worldview seem even more coherent — and impervious to information that might undermine or contradict it.
America Is a Ponzi Scheme: A Commencement Speech for the Scammed If you're graduating from a liberal arts college, you've been taken for a ride. Start getting used to it.
America's Competition Fetish Produces Human Sheep Teaching competition from kindergarten up makes us stupid and uninventive... By Lynn Stuart Parramore / AlterNet June 1, 2015. Margaret Heffernan: Her most recent book, A Bigger Prize: Why Competition Isn't Everything And How We Do Better, investigates our obsessive and damaging focus on competition. In her view, teaching competition from the earliest years produces adults who fail at creative thinking and generates a society where cheating is incentivized and people never learn to collaborate... We know from mountains of research that work in companies, for example, is done mostly in groups and teams, and we know that teamwork is really difficult. We also know that teams that are really high achieving are highly collaborative.
Koch Brothers Revealed In Damning Film Exposé Perhaps the documentary's most powerful moments come in showing how the Kochs' activism, generally advanced under the cloak of libertarianism, harms real people even as it boosts the bottom line of Koch Industries.
Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition watch the film for free
Robert Scheer. _The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street-. Review: journalist Robert Scheer uncovers the hidden story behind one of the greatest financial crimes of our time: the Wall Street financial crash of 2008 and the consequent global recession. Instead of going where other journalists have gone in search of this story--the board rooms and trading floors of the big Wall Street firms--Scheer goes back to Washington, D.C., a veritable crime scene, beginning in the 1980s, where the captains of the finance industry, their lobbyists and allies among leading politicians destroyed an American regulatory system that had been functioning effectively since the era of the New Deal.
This is a story largely forgotten or overlooked by the mainstream media, who wasted more than two decades with their boosterish coverage of Wall Street. Scheer argues that the roots of the disaster go back to the free-market propaganda of the Reagan years and, most damagingly, to the bipartisan deregulation of the banking industry undertaken with the full support of "progressive" Bill Clinton.
In fact, if this debacle has a name, Scheer suggests, it is the "Clinton Bubble," that era when the administration let its friends on Wall Street write legislation that razed decades of robust financial regulation. It was Wall Street and Democratic Party darling Robert Rubin along with his clique of economist super-friends--Alan Greenspan et al.
Jury Nullification by Doug Linder (2001)
How WikiLeaks Opened Our Eyes to the Illusion of Freedom: Julian Assange, now in exile in Ecuador, has blown apart the illusion of Western liberty. by Slavoj Zizek. The Guardian. 6/19/14.
"Assange designated himself a "spy for the people". "Spying for the people" is not a simple betrayal (which would instead mean acting as a double agent, selling our secrets to the enemy); it is something much more radical. It undermines the very principle of spying, the principle of secrecy, since its goal is to make secrets public. People who help WikiLeaks are no longer whistleblowers who denounce the illegal practices of private companies (banks, and tobacco and oil companies) to the public authorities; they denounce to the wider public these public authorities themselves.
"I think of myself as being part of the humanitarian left. That's not a formal thing (afaik). I'm not an ideologue, a dedicated Marxist or committed socialist (though I do lean that way). I just come down on the left side of things because that's where one finds compassion, charity, kindness, altruism, etc.- all those things that I perceive to be the best of which we are capable. I define myself as a leftist in opposition to what one finds on the right: selfishness, greed, profits over people, authoritarian meanness, police-state regulation of the powerless and lawlessness for the rich and powerful. It's easy to be selfish and mean, perhaps that's why so many people are. It's much harder, and more laudatory in my view, to be a humanitarian. After all, what does the world need more of? Mean, selfish, greedy assholes? Or humanitarians? I think the answer is obvious." (The Humanitarian Left. June 23, 2014.
Reason #1 SCOTUS Will Regret Hobby Lobby "If Hobby Lobby's owners can give their Corporation religion, their religion gives Hobby Lobby's owners--and any other owner, shareholder, officer, whatever--liability for the actions of the corporation. Mr. Papantonio, who happens to be one of America's preeminent trial lawyers, sees it as an opportunity to sue owners for the company's negligence."
I Am Now a Corporation by James Protzman, "Daily Kos", 7/7/14. "One established part of Our corporate agenda is the promotion of world peace. We object to the burden of paying taxes to fund the US war machine, which violate Our religious beliefs. We will be filing suit shortly, based on the Hobby Lobby ruling."
Represent US We're building a movement to end corruption... We are building a non-partisan movement to end the culture of legalized corruption that has come to define modern politics. We use public education and grassroots organizing to push for an overhaul of campaign finance, strict lobbying and conflict of interest laws, and an end to secret political money.
American Anti-Corruption Act The American Anti-Corruption Act gets money out of politics, so the people can get back in.
'The A**hole Effect': What Wealth Does to the Brain Piff’s studies found that as people grow wealthier, they are more likely to feel entitled, to become meaner and be more likely to exploit others, even to cheat.
10 Things Europe Does Way Better Than America: Europe is ahead of America when it comes to healthcare, better sex ed and less violent crime. by Alex Henderson. Alternet, 7/9/14. "The term “American exceptionalism” is often tossed around by politicians. Neocons, far-right Christian fundamentalists and members of the Republican Party in particular seem to hate it when anyone dares to suggest that some aspects of European life are superior to how we do things. But facts are facts, and the reality is that in some respects, Europe is way ahead of the United States. From health care to civil liberties to sexual attitudes, one can make a strong case for “European exceptionalism.”"
Elizabeth Warren isn't running for president, and that's a good thing Daily Kos, 7/23/14
Gaza Is Transforming American Jews: Words from an Overflowing Inbox by David Harris-Gershon
OECD: Global firms need new tax rules Sep. 16, 2014... "Moves to tackle corporate tax avoidance on a global scale have been unveiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)... The action plan is aimed at multinational companies that shrink their tax bills by shifting their profits from one country to another."
Totalitarianism, American Style: Understanding the subtle ways democracy has been undermined in the US. by Chris Hedges.... a corporate coup d’état in slow motion. We are no longer a capitalist democracy endowed with a functioning liberal class that once made piecemeal and incremental reform possible.
WATCH: Rachel Maddow on Why You Shouldn't Dismiss Perry Indictment more stories below.
What the Pundits Don’t Get About the Rick Perry Indictment “The governor is doing a pretty good job to try to make this about [Lehmberg] and her DWI conviction. But this has never been about his veto of her budget and about her. This is about his abuse of power and his coercion trying to get another public citizen to give up their job.”...
Second Vermont Republic secessionist site... "escape the clutches of the largest, wealthiest, most powerful, most materialistic, most environmentally irresponsible, most racist, most militaristic, most violent empire in history which does little to support the vast majority of its citizens other than the superrich. "
Bail Out the People [Not the banks] Movement New political space has opened due to the momentous eruption of the Occupy Wall Street Movement and its slogan "the 99% vs. the 1%." This movement continues despite massive repression organized by Homeland Security. See also BOPM Boston
The Coming Climate Revolt by Chris Hedges. "We are governed, rather, by a species of corporate totalitarianism, or what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin describes as “inverted totalitarianism.” By this Wolin means a system where corporate power, while it purports to pay fealty to electoral politics, the Constitution, the three branches of government and a free press, along with the iconography and language of American patriotism, has in fact seized all the important levers of power to render the citizen impotent...
"Obama’s assault has been worse—the Bush bailouts of big banks, the endless imperial wars, the failure to regulate Wall Street, the hiring of corporate lobbyists to write legislation and serve in top government positions, the explosion of drilling and fracking, the security and surveillance state as well as the persecution of government whistle-blowers...
"The Obama administration, in return for financial support from these kingpins of carbon, has cynically undermined international climate treaties, a fact we discovered only because of the revelations provided by Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks. It uses its intelligence agencies, these revelations revealed, to spy on those carrying out climate negotiations to thwart caps on carbon emissions and push through useless, nonbinding agreements...
"If we appeal to self-identified liberals in the establishment who have no capacity or desire to carry out the radical reforms, we will pour energy into a black hole. And this is what the corporate state seeks. It seeks to perpetuate the facade of democracy...
"If the response of the corporate state is repression rather than reform then our strategy and our tactics must be different. We will have to cease our appealing to the system. We will have to view the state, including the Democratic Party, as antagonistic to genuine reform. We will have to speak in the language of ... revolution." Public Citizen: Protecting Health, Safety, and Democracy founded by Ralph Nader.
Most Likely To Secede by Christopher Ketcham, Sarah Schorr. "Increasingly, I have no fealty to the U.S. government. This has nothing to do with George Bush, bogeyman of the Left, the war in Iraq, or Halliburton, and everything to do with the reasonable assessment that the United States is too big for its own good. Too big in its 300 million people to be represented by 550 mostly millionaire men (not women) in a far-off swamp called Washington, D.C.
Why Israel Lies By Chris Hedges. "All governments lie, as I.F. Stone pointed out, including Israel and Hamas. But Israel engages in the kinds of jaw-dropping lies that characterize despotic and totalitarian regimes. It does not deform the truth; it inverts it. It routinely paints a picture for the outside world that is diametrically opposed to reality. And all of us reporters who have covered the occupied territories have run into Israel’s Alice-in-Wonderland narratives...
Privatization Watch a daily news blog covering privatization, and is a joint project of Essential Information and The Center for Study of Responsive Law.
CENTER FOR CORPORATE POLICY: Working to curb corporate abuses and make corporations publicly accountable. founded by Ralph Nader. "Public Citizen serves as the people’s voice in the nation’s capital. Since our founding in 1971, we have delved into an array of areas, but our work on each issue shares an overarching goal: To ensure that all citizens are represented in the halls of power... For four decades, we have proudly championed citizen interests before Congress, the executive branch agencies and the courts. We have successfully challenged the abusive practices of the pharmaceutical, nuclear and automobile industries, and many others. We are leading the charge against undemocratic trade agreements that advance the interests of mega-corporations at the expense of citizens worldwide. "
Texas Public Citizen Ralph Nader.
Stop the Coal Plant From Moving Into Your Neighborhood Texas focus. Ralph Nader.
Ralph Nader homepage
A New Nuclear Arms Race: Why Peace Activists Must Wage an Open Battle Against the Democratic Party By Scott Tucker. The New York Times published a front-page story on Sept. 22 titled “U.S. Ramping Up Major Renewal In Nuclear Arms”... KANSAS CITY, Mo.—A sprawling new plant here in a former soybean field makes the mechanical guts of America’s atomic warheads. Bigger than the Pentagon, full of futuristic gear and thousands of workers, the plant, dedicated last month, modernizes the weapons that the United States can fire from missiles, bombers and submarines... It is part of a nationwide wave of atomic revitalization that includes plans for a new generation of weapon carriers... This expansion comes under a president who campaigned for ‘a nuclear-free world’ and made disarmament a main goal of American defense policy.... Obama does not just adapt to circumstances, but he is a commander in chief who is an agent of war and empire... This huckster of hope and change keeps his cool and serves the corporate state with conviction. "
A Quaker Perspective"It's not just that a militarized approach to preventing extremism isn't working. It's that it can't work.
"But this militarized approach to problem-solving is evident even when US troops are not deployed. Since 9/11, the US has dramatically expanded its so-called security assistance programs, which provide training, support and weapons to armies and police forces around the world. Our country now provides military and police aid to more than 130 nations in an effort to combat violent extremism.
"This approach is not working. In 2013, "terrorist" attacks increased by 43 percent around the world over the previous year...
"...all too often the US is training the very forces that are fueling violent extremism.
"...it can't work. The fundamental problem of US security assistance -- as with other military tactics for carrying out foreign policy -- is that violence is not a solution to violence.
"This is as much of a practical position as it is a moral one. Violence does not address the reasons why people turn to violence in the first place, reasons such as economic injustice, scarcity of resources, political disenfranchisement, corruption and unemployment. Responding to violence with force may feel effective, but it does not create the conditions under which peace -- and true security -- can flourish" (FCNL [Friends' Council on National Legislation] Newsletter. June, 2015).
Center for American Progress: Report of the Commission on Inclusive Prosperity History tells us that societies succeed when the fruits of growth are broadly shared. Indeed, no society has ever succeeded without a large, prospering middle class* that embraced the idea of progress.
Cornel West on Twitter
Corporate Accountability International John Stewart. WE protect human rights, public health and the environment from corporate greed and abuse around the world.
What Does Chris Hedges Really Want From Us? "...Vaclav Havel’s great essay, 1978 essay ‘The Power of the Powerless,’ that when you speak a truth—and you know, the American public is not fooled. Congress has less than a 9 percent approval rate at this point. They get it. They don’t trust the corporate media, nor should they—And when you speak that truth and enough of you are willing to go out on the streets and speak it, and then the state begins to get frightened, then as they did in East Germany, the dictator Erick Honecker sent down an elite paratrooper division to fire on the protesters in Leipzig and they refused, Honecker was out of power within a week. Because what happens is that when you rise up, the elites can no longer count on the foot soldiers that maintain control both within the civil service, within the police and everywhere else, to protect them. And I think that our elites at this point are so discredited on both the left and the right that, I’m not naive enough to tell you it’s gonna work, but it is a mechanism that might work, and frankly it’s the only mechanism we have left.”
email from Robert Reich and Move On, "Why Republicans Win"
I think the Republicans are wrong about an awful lot. But you have to give them one thing: They know how to stay on message.
And the hard truth is, Democrats basically stink at it.
The Republican message is simple: Government is the problem. If we just cut taxes and regulations, then voila! Prosperity will follow. It's wrong—dangerously wrong. But the echo chamber of conservative thinktanks, right-wing media, and Republican politicians repeats it over and over and over.
Now here's the key: If we're going to build an economy that works for all Americans, we need to become as effective and disciplined in our messaging as the Republicans.
Republicans are furiously working to give companies the right to fire workers if they're on birth control by Thom Hartmann. House Republicans who see the religious folks as great suckers who'll vote Republican because of their religion, even though the Republicans are robbing them blind economically.
"Your best teacher is your last mistake" --Ralph Nader
Secular Coalition nonprofit advocacy organization whose purpose is to amplify the diverse and growing voice of the nontheistic community in the United States.
Take Part take action
Ten Other Independence Movements You Should Know About about a quarter to a third of Americans support some sort of secession for their state
Stand Up For Truth in many languages
FDL FDL (FireDogLake) is a leading progressive news site, online community, and action organization consistently ranked as one of the most influential political websites.
Voice of America News The Voice of America began broadcasting in 1942 to combat Nazi propaganda with acurate and unbiased news and information. Ever since then, VOA has served the world with a consistent message of truth, hope and inspiration.
Root Strikers petitions
Matt Damon on Civil Disobedience (Homage to Howard Zinn) Our problem is civil obedience. The rule of law has normalized obedience.
Chris Hedges: Corporate Capitalism Is the Foundation of Police Brutality and the Prison State No discussion of race is possible without a discussion about our economic system.
The Coffee Party Civility Pledge: As a member or supporter of the Coffee Party, I pledge to conduct myself in a way that is civil, honest, and respectful toward people with whom I disagree.
Chris Hedges: Make the Rich Panic It does not matter to the corporate rich who wins the presidential election. It does not matter who is elected to Congress. The rich have the power. They throw money at their favorites the way a gambler puts cash on his favorite horse.
Money has replaced the vote.
The wealthy can crush anyone who does not play by their rules. And the political elites—slobbering over the spoils provided by their corporate masters for selling us out—understand the game... We do not live in a democracy. We live in a political system that has legalized bribery, exclusively serves corporate power and is awash in propaganda and lies...
If you want change you can believe in, destroy the system... We must build mass movements that are allied with independent political parties—a tactic used in Greece by Syriza and in Spain by Podemos... Only by building militant mass movements that are unrelentingly hostile to the system of corporate capitalism, imperialism, militarism and globalization can we wrest back our democracy.
We have to organize around a series of non-negotiable demands. We have to dismantle the array of mechanisms the rich use to control power. We have to destroy the ideological and legal system cemented into place to justify corporate plunder...
This is called revolution.
It is about ripping power away from a cabal of corporate oligarchs and returning it to the citizenry. This will happen not by appealing to corporate power but by terrifying it... “The rich are only defeated when running for their lives,” the historian C.L.R. James noted. And until you see the rich fleeing in panic from the halls of Congress, the temples of finance, the universities, the media conglomerates, the war industry and their exclusive gated communities and private clubs, all politics in America will be farce...
To save ourselves from impending financial and environmental catastrophe we need to build movements that have as their uncompromising goal the abolition of corporate power. Corporation after corporation, including banks, energy companies, the health care sector and defense contractors, must be broken up and nationalized.
We must institute a nationwide public works program, especially for those under the age of 25, to create conditions for full employment. We must mandate a $15-an-hour minimum wage. We must slash our obscene spending on defense... We must rebuild our infrastructure, including mass transit, roads, bridges, schools, libraries and public housing.
We must make war on the fossil fuel industry and turn to alternative sources of energy. We must place heavy taxes on the rich, including a special tax on Wall Street speculators that would be used to wipe out the $1.3 trillion in student debt.
We must ensure that education at all levels, along with health care, is a free right of all Americans, not something accessible for the wealthy alone. We must abolish the Electoral College and mandate public financing of political campaigns. We must see that the elderly, the disabled, poor single parents and the mentally ill receive a weekly income of at least $600, or we must find them space in state-run institutions if they require daily care. We must institute a moratorium on foreclosures and bank repossessions.
We must end our wars and the proxy wars in the Middle East and bring home our soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors. We must pay reparations to Iraq and Afghanistan, and to African-Americans whose ancestors largely built this country as slaves who never were compensated for their labor.
We must repeal the Patriot Act and Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act. We must abolish the death penalty. We must dismantle our system of mass incarceration, release the vast majority of our 2.3 million prisoners, place them in job-skill programs and find them work and housing....
Police must be demilitarized. Mass surveillance must end. Undocumented workers must be given citizenship and full protection under the law. NAFTA, CAFTA and other free-trade agreements must be revoked. Anti-labor laws such as the Taft-Hartley Act, along with laws that criminalize poverty and dissent, must be repealed... All this is the minimum...
The Five-Step Process to Privatize Everything At the heart of privatization is a disdain for government and a distrust of society, and a mindless individualism that leaves little room for cooperation...
1. Convince Yourself that "I Did It On My Own"...
2. Insist that the Removal of Government Will Benefit All People...
3. Ensure that Government Isn't Removed Until You Get Rich (As the well-to-do have complained about government, they've also made sure that government has continued to help them, with a mind-boggling array of deductions, exemptions, exclusions, and loopholes. )...
4. Defund Government Until Privatization Seems Like the Only Option (It's happening to Social Security, perhaps the most efficiently run system, public or private, in our nation's history. As Richard Eskow notes, "Congress has cut 14 out of the last 16 SSA budget requests. There’s only one rational explanation for that: a hostility toward government itself, combined with the determination to place more public resources in corporate hands through 'privatization.'”)...
5. Remain Ignorant of Any Troublesome Facts (Banking: Thanks to private banks, interest claims one out of every three dollars that we spend, and by the time we retire with a 401(k), nearly half of our money is lost to the banks.
But the public bank of North Dakota (BND) had an equity return of 23.4% before the state's oil boom. The normally privatization-minded Wall Street Journal admits that the BND "is more profitable than Goldman Sachs Group Inc., has a better credit rating than J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and hasn’t seen profit growth drop since 2003.")
Great Individuals Emerge from Cooperative EffortsPrivatization is closely connected to the demand for individualism over cooperation. But the belief that self-centeredness will benefit everyone is backwards. As George Lakoff summarizes: "The Public provides freedom...Individualism begins after the roads are built, after individualists have had an education, after medical research has cured their diseases..."
You deserve the facts Financier and CEO Peter Schiff said, "People don’t go hungry in a capitalist economy." There are 16 million children on food stamps in America... Over half of public school students are poor enough to qualify for lunch subsidies, and nearly half of all food stamp recipients are children, who average about $5 a day for their meals. Yet the 2014 farm bill cut almost a billion dollars a year from the food stamp program...
Even more disturbing is the reality of homeless children. As America's wealth was growing by 60 percent in the past six years, by over $30 trillion, the number of children without homes was also growing by 60 percent. For every two homeless children in 2006, there are now three... From a global perspective, the U.S. has one of the highest relative child poverty rates in the developed world.
Our nation ranks near the bottom of the developed world in the percentage of 4-year-olds in early childhood education. Yet Head Start was recently hit with the worst cutbacks in its history... Most Americans express shock upon hearing these figures. They should be shocked. And the media should be reporting the facts, no matter how unpleasant they may be.
Dear Friends at the IRS The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the use of drones have NOT increased our security, but have created more enemies of the United States in both countries, in Pakistan and around the world. Lets end the war on terror and bring the tax dollars home to meet the needs of the American people.
Barney Frank's Biggest Bombshell: His Shocking Anecdote About the Financial Crisis Barack Obama refused to extract foreclosure relief from the nation’s largest banks, as a condition for their receipt of hundreds of billions of dollars in bailout money... The Bush administration, still in charge during TARP’s passage in October 2008, used none of the first tranche on mortgage relief, nor did Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson use any leverage over firms receiving the money to persuade them to lower mortgage balances and prevent foreclosures.
9 Things Many Americans Just Don't Grasp Compared to the Rest of the World No matter how severe the U.S.’ decline becomes, neocons and the Tea Party continue to espouse their belief in “American exceptionalism.” But in many respects, the U.S. of 2015 is far from exceptional. The U.S. is not exceptional when it comes to civil liberties (no country in the world incarcerates, per capita, more of its people than the U.S.) or healthcare (WHO ranks the U.S. #37 in terms of healthcare). Nor is the U.S. a leader in terms of life expectancy: according to the WHO, overall life expectancy in the U.S. in 2013 was 79 compared to 83 in Switzerland and Japan, 82 in Spain, France, Italy, Sweden and Canada and 81 in the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Austria and Finland.
Christianity in its various forms can be found all over the developed world. But the U.S., more than anywhere, is where one finds a far-right version of white Protestant fundamentalism that idolizes the ultra-rich, demonizes the poor and equates extreme wealth with morality and poverty with moral failings.
Iceland's Police Are Not Our Police How do we love Iceland? Let us count the ways: It's been cited as the most peaceful country in the world the last three years running. It has no army or air force. It has very little economic disparity, with most people belonging to a vast middle class.
It has free health care and education, strict gun control, uses mostly geothermal energy, was one of the first countries to legalize gay marriage, and has been a key supporter of Wikileaks. It averages fewer than two murders a year, and in 2013 saw - and grieved - its first police killing of a civilian, ever. People trust its Coast Guard and police more than any other public body...
They illustrate that our species - minus racism, poverty, rage-inducing disparities and a pathological, ill-educated, war-honed, guns-r-us-culture - can do so much better.
If Michael Moore Would Run for President If Michael Moore would run for President in 2012, it could be a game-changer in American political life... win or lose, the campaign could arrest and reverse the current rightward, pro-corporate trajectory of our national politics... To most rank-and-file Democrats, the name Michael Moore stands for a set of progressive populist ideas: health care for all, workers' rights, opposition to Wall Street's stranglehold on Washington, closing down the wars of empire and bringing our troops home... In 1984 and 1988, the Jesse Jackson campaigns showed what could be accomplished running a populist, issue-based, movement campaign in the Democratic primaries and caucuses... And for Michael Moore, I think it's a logical next step. He may be near the limit of what he can accomplish politically by only making movies. It's time to make a new documentary: the documentary of a campaign to rally rank-and-file Democrats to take back America from Wall Street, Wal-mart and the military industry.
10 Things Europe Does Way Better Than America Europe is way ahead of the United States. From health care to civil liberties to sexual attitudes, one can make a strong case for “European exceptionalism.”
1. Lower Incarceration Rates--Benjamin Franklin famously said that those who are willing to sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.
2. Less Violent Crime Than the U.S.--in 2012, the U.S. had a homicide rate of 4.8 per 100,000 people compared to only 0.3 per 100,000 in Iceland, 0.7 per 100,000 in Sweden, 0.8 per 100,000 in Denmark and Spain, 0.9 per 100,000 in Italy, Austria and the Netherlands, 1.0 per 100,000 in France, and 1.2 per 100,000 in Portugal and the Republic of Ireland.
3. Better Sex Education Programs, Healthier Sexual Attitudes--European countries with comprehensive sex-ed programs and liberal sexual attitudes actually have lower rates of teen pregnancy and STDs.
4. Anti-GMO Movement Much More Widespread--in Europe, GMO restrictions are much more widespread. France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Greece are among the countries that have either total or partial bans on GMOs. And in Italy, 16 of the country’s 20 regions have declared themselves to be GMO-free when it comes to agriculture.
5. Saner Approaches to Abortion-- in many European countries, most politicians are smart enough to share Bill Clinton’s view that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.” And the ironic thing is that European countries that tend to be sexually liberal also tend to have lower abortion rates.
6. More Vacation Time-- the U.S. has no federal law mandating any time off. And that’s quite a contrast to Europe: CEPR reported that government-mandated paid vacation time in Europe includes 35 days off in Austria, 31 days off in Italy and France, 34 days off in Germany and Spain, 30 days off in Belgium and 29 days off in the Republic of Ireland.
7. Universal Healthcare--every developed country in Western Europe has universal health care.
8. Greater Life Expectancy-- in McDowell County [Virginia], the average male dies 18 years younger than the average male in Switzerland.
9. Mass Transit Systems--Europe, however, has some of the best, most extensive public transportation systems in the world. And there are many advantages to that: less congestion, reduced air pollution, health benefits (walking is great exercise), a vibrant street scene/sidewalk culture and more productivity in the workplace, and reduces the no. of DUIs.
10. Europeans More Likely to Speak Foreign Languages--[Americans are provincial, narrow minded, and stupid.]
And, that is not including free higher education.
Robert Reich: Why Americans Are Screwed and Europeans Are Not treasonous Am. corporations, and European unions.
Paul Krugman is a Must-Read Today (Again) Why is this column the only place in this newspaper where this honest appraisal of Republican dishonesty appears?...
The modern Republican Party has combined the worst aspects of a cult with those of organized crime. Dealing with them may prove a greater challenge than the Civil War or World War II.
Between their economic chicanery, their divisiveness, and their refusal to face up to real threats to the world, their deliberate malice towards all and charity towards none may ultimately be the end of us all.
Why the Right-Wing Is as Obsessed with Brainwashing Your Kid as With Looting Social Security it's our history of progressive change that makes Conservatives hate accurate depictions of our past...
Many of the today's biggest political issues, like our privacy rights, would not even be up for debate today had it not been for the attack on education.
If more Americans had had a strong understanding of our history, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney would have never been able to pull off the Patriot Act. And, we wouldn't be discussing the Orwellian government spy agencies like the NSA in this day and age.
New (Deplorable) American Order The Privatization of the State (or the U.S. as a Prospective Third-World Nation)... The most striking aspect of this little brouhaha lies in what’s most obvious but least highlighted.
An American secretary of state chose to set up her own private, safeguarded email system for doing government work; that is, she chose to privatize her communications... should be taken as a tiny symptom of... the ongoing privatization of the American state, or at least the national security part of it...
Only 13 years later [after 9/11), there is no part of the war state that has not experienced major forms of privatization. The U.S. military could no longer go to war without its crony corporations doing KP and guard duty, delivering the mail, building the bases, and being involved in just about all of its activities, including training the militaries of foreign allies and even fighting. Such warrior corporations are now involved in every aspect of the national security state, including torture, drone strikes
In _The Age of Acquiescence_, a new book about America’s two Gilded Ages, Steve Fraser asks why it was that, in the nineteenth century, another period of plutocratic excesses, concentration of wealth and inequality, buying of politicians, and attempts to demobilize the public, Americans took to the streets with such determination and in remarkable numbers over long periods of time to protest their treatment, and stayed there even when the brute power of the state was called out against them. In our own moment, Fraser wonders, why has the silence of the public in the face of similar developments been so striking?
All of what he shows is in ultimate service of maintaining the corrupted and bankrupt Bretton Woods/IMF/WTO/World Bank/US$-reserve-currency system. This is in the face of a strengthening BRICS+ multi-currency project, which is beginning to challenge the US/NATO power to dictate terms to the world. The rest of the world is simply trying to minimize the US's ability to hurt them.
Tom is correct, but in light of the imminent collapse of the Bretton Woods system, the US gov'ts incapacity to do anything other than spy, bomb and kill is frightening beyond anything since WW2. Be aware WW3 will not be only fought "over there".
ANOTHER: Mr. Engelhardt has penned a pretty good analysis, although there are a number of vital items missing from it.
Firstly, in comparing the prior robber-baron era with this one, the tell tale difference is not just the presence of a mass media, but the fact that its corporate owners have invested heavily in behavior modification and mind control.
The importation of Nazi scientists who had learned a great deal about the relationship between trauma (on mass as well as individual levels) and mind control was not lost on those with an interest in controlling population pools.
Liberty Tree committed to building a democracy movement for the U.S.A..
This is your government on war.
An unnatural, synthesized invention, war courses through Congress, city halls and the Oval Office. Paranoia, fear, consumption, degradation, enslavement, betrayal and suffering – these are the family values of a nation on war.
Our government’s addiction consumes the domestic budget, leaving little for health, education or infrastructure. It invades privacy and creates enemies through paranoia and fear, painting its opposition as savage, barbaric, shady, and justifying oppression, enslavement, torture and murder. It desecrates the natural world, poisoning the veins of the Earth and its abundance, waging chemical warfare and extracting the resources to do so.
We need an intervention, an American Awakening, to end the inevitable suffering of the American people – indeed, the global village – at the whims of mega users. Want to protect the Fourth Amendment? Want to protect them all? Call for a 28th Amendment – an amendment to abolish the slavery of addiction, an amendment to abolish war.
Section 1. The American people, in accordance with the promotion of international justice, peace, human rights and dignity, hereby renounce the use of organized, armed force to resolve intra- and inter-state conflict; neither war nor war-making processes shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall neither make nor approve war, nor approve of the use of military force, as a means for resolving intra- and inter-state conflict.
Section 3. The United States shall neither make nor keep locations of detention for prisoners of war, and all prisoners, upon recognition, shall be released to their respective home nations or non-military, judicial courts.
A Quaker Perspective on the Possibility of U.S. Strikes in Syria the Quaker testimonies-- simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship... When one of the children asked me about Syria after meeting, I told her that there had been an extreme civil conflict going for more than two years and that many people were losing their homes and being killed. She asked me, “Why would America choose to destroy even more instead of trying to help?”
NPA--National People's Action National People's Action (NPA) is a network of grassroots organizations with a fierce reputation for direct action from across the country that work to advance a national economic and racial justice agenda.
How to Become a Conservative in Four Embarrassing Steps The language of true conservatives often turns to denial, dismissal, and/or belligerence, without verifiable facts of any substance. There is also evidence for delusional thinking and a lack of empathy
Robert Reich: 3 Biggest Myths Blinding Us to Economic Truth The “job creators” are CEOs, corporations and the rich, whose taxes must be low in order to induce them to create more jobs... The critical choice is between the “free market” or “government.”... We should worry most about the size of government
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Vice Motherboard Nafeez Ahmed writes here
Chomsky: How the Young Are Indoctrinated to Obey Forty years ago there was deep concern that the population was breaking free of apathy and obedience. Since then, many measures have been taken to restore discipline
"> US strengthening Ukraine’s ‘puppet government': Analyst The Obama administration wants to “strengthen the puppet government” in Ukraine against mass opposition, said James Petras. A plan by the US military to begin training regular Ukrainian military forces later this year points to Washington’s strategy to reinforce the “puppet government” in Kiev, an American writer and retired professor says.
How the Progressive Mindset Is Holding the Left Back and Placing the World in the Right’s Lap George Lakoff, a cognitive science professor at the University of California, Berkeley, argues convincingly that the left makes grave mistakes with regard to how it frames issues and by doing so has ceded important ground to the right.
...every year, it cedes more ground to the right, under the mistaken impression that this will bring everything closer to the centre. In fact, there is no centre: the more progressives capitulate, the more boldly the conservatives express their vision, and the further to the right the mainstream moves. The reason is that conservatives speak from an authentic moral position, and appeal to voters’ values. Liberals try to argue against them using evidence; they are embarrassed by emotionality. They think that if you can just demonstrate to voters how their self-interest is served by a socially egalitarian position, that will work, and everyone will vote for them and the debate will be over. In fact, Lakoff asserts, voters don’t vote for bald self-interest; self-interest fails to ignite, it inspires nothing – progressives, of all people, ought to understand this.
Michael Moore’s Gutsy New Film: Our Military Has Not Won a War Since World War II His new film, “Where to Invade Next,” promises to be his most controversial yet. The controversy, though, is not what many of Moore’s viewers would immediately suspect. Instead of focusing on what is wrong in our country, Moore uses the film to focus on what is right elsewhere.
Instead of pointing out our flaws, he imagines our possibilities. And instead of wallowing in fear and panic, he offers practical ideas for productive change. Given that we are in the midst of another election cycle, it’s worth asking what impact it might have on voters. While it is hard to say whether it will influence voting patterns or policy stance, there is one thing for certain: It’s really going to piss a lot of people off.
Moore travels to Finland, Slovenia, France, Tunisia, Italy, Portugal, and beyond. In each country he finds a policy that is not only more humane than current U.S. practice, but also more effective. Among the many innovative policies he covers, he documents better women’s rights, prison policy, worker rights, and educational policies than we have in the United States.
"There exists a shadowy government with its own Air Force, its own Navy, its own fundraising mechanism, and the ability to pursue its own ideas of national interest, free from all checks and balances, and free from the law itself." -- Daniel K. Inouye - (1924- ) US Senator, Hawaii-D (1963-present) Source: at the Iran Contra Hearings, 1986
"No one has ever succeeded in keeping nations at war except by lies." -- Salvador de Madariaga (1886-1978 ), Spanish writer, diplomat, and historian, noted for his service at the League of Nations
"The study of history is a powerful antidote to contemporary arrogance. It is humbling to discover how many of our glib assumptions, which seem to us novel and plausible, have been tested before, not once but many times and in innumerable guises; and discovered to be, at great human cost, wholly false." - Paul Johnson
Send comments to email@example.com, Colby Glass, MLIS, Ph.D.c., Professor Emeritus