"Democracy, especially in the United States, is a farce" (Chris Hedges).
"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
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.
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.
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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
NAFEEZ AHMED IS CREATING INSURGE INTELLIGENCE: WATCHDOG JOURNALISM FOR THE GLOBAL COMMONS As a patron, you'll become an official member of the Insurge network! You'll be able to join together with myself and your fellow Insurgers in what we envision will be a unique, global online community of activists, doers and thinkers trying to address the biggest challenges of our time. We can brainstorm, share ideas, suggest projects, put forward story tips, strategise as activists, and share best practice for community projects and initiatives: and most importantly, you'll be part of a unique community feeding directly into the development of Insurge as the content platform it needs to be.
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