CNN Serves US Gov Policy, Casts Deceased Saudi Tyrant in Positive Light

Reporting” on the death of Saudi dictator Abdullah in an article titled “Saudi Arabia’s ‘reformer’ king Abdullah dies”, CNN notes that his dictatorship is a “key US ally”, and thus proceeds to paint an almost entirely sympathetic picture of his brutal regime, perhaps the world’s most repressive.  CNN expresses admiration for the dictatorship and hatred for the Saudi people, attempting to defend US policy of repressing those people by propping up the dictatorship since the 1930s, when Saudi oil was discovered.

To help create the desired image, CNN here omits Obama’s 2010 deal to send over 60 billion dollars worth of lethal weaponry to the dictatorship, the biggest weapons shipment in US history, which included internationally banned cluster bombs (which the US regularly uses).

CNN omits that leaked 2009 US cables signed by Hillary Clinton state that Saudi Arabia is the world’s biggest sponsor of Sunni terrorist groups including Al Qaeda, and that the government was allowing private donations to those groups.

CNN omits that, as Newsweek reports, Saudi Arabia has zero democratic process, whereas Iran (a US target rather than an ally), Newsweek continues, does.  CNN likewise omits why, exactly, Saudi Arabia is a US ally whereas Iran is not.

CNN omits that Saudi Arabia executes, by beheading followed by crucifixion, homosexuals, heretics, witches and wizards, stones adulterers, and cuts the hands off “thieves”, among other “policies”.

CNN omits Saudi Arabia’s recent invasion of Bahrain, using US equipment, to crush a democratic uprising and uphold that brutal US-backed dictatorship, which, as Amnesty Int’l documents, tortures children as a tool of repression.   (Amnesty report: “Bahrain: Halt detention, abuse and torture of children”)

Most crucially, CNN omits that a senator who has read the still classified 28 pages of the congressional report on 9/11/01 said that they point a heavy finger of blame at Saudi Arabia as the “principal financier” of the 9/11/01 attacks.

CNN paints the head of the regime that a congressional investigation found to be the “principal financier” of the single most deadly foreign attack on the US as a benevolent “reformer”, and expresses hatred or complete disregard for the people of Saudi Arabia, serving Machiavellian US policy as the US, another of the few remaining countries that carries out clinical state executions (and imprisons far more women than Saudi Arabia), is allied with the dictatorship in repressing its population, and will remain so indefinitely.

This may be contrasted with the way CNN depicts Russia, an incomparably more moderate country, which a gay man recently interviewed by Jon Stewart says he prefers to the United States, which, when he visited it, he found he “didn’t like”.

Recent CNN articles on Russia have titles such as:

“Obama: Putin is no chess master”

This one is stenography for US propaganda against Russia, though CNN offers no explanation for why similar criticism or targeting is never directed towards Saudi Arabia, and offers no context of the US being the top violator of international law and considered the greatest threat to world peace, dwarfing Russia by receiving twelve times more votes for greatest threat.

“From Russia with no love: Party-pooping Putin cancels holiday vacation”

This one depicts Vladimir Putin as a “Grinch” and “conspiracy theorist”, though a search for CNN’s depictions of Bush or Obama as conspiracy theorists for their unfounded and later debunked claims about Iraqi WMDs, Syrian gas attacks in Ghouta (actually carried out by US allies), the downing of airliners over Ukraine, and countless others, shockingly turned up no results.

But most important in the context of how CNN treats the Saudi dictatorship is this article:

Why Vladimir Putin thinks it’s still 1985

This is the one that fully reveals CNN’s propaganda strategy (which is naturally and artificially occurring), as CNN precisely inverts what it does in the article about Saudi Arabia.  Since the US is allied with the Saudi dictatorship (to keep it in power by repressing the people), and CNN serves US government policy, CNN expresses love for the dictatorship and hatred for the Saudi people.

But in the above article about Russia/Putin, this is reversed.  Here to serve US government policy, CNN must, and does, express love for the Russian people and hatred for the Russian government, which the US is targeting.  (In addition, CNN spouts its various conspiracy theories regarding Ukraine, mysteriously not labeling itself a conspiracy theorist organization.)

Next, contrast how CNN reports on the death of a US-backed tyrant with the way CNN reports the death of a head of state the US targeted for one of its many regime change operations:

Saudi tyrant Abdullah death CNN articles:

“Saudi Arabia’s ‘reformer’ king Abdullah dies”

“Details released for Saudi King Abdullah’s funeral”

“Saudi State TV: King Abdullah dead at 90”

That covers CNN’s reports on Abdullah’s death.  Notice the either praising or benign wordings.

Now, Chavez death CNN articles:

“Hugo Chavez’s death draws sympathy, anger”

(Quote from above article: “News of Chavez’s death drew impassioned reactions from around the world, as leaders and other public figures weighed in on his legacy.”)

“Hugo Chavez, influential leader with mixed record, dies at 58”

(Quote from above article: “Hugo Chavez, the polarizing president of Venezuela who cast himself as a “21st century socialist” and foe of the United States, died Tuesday, said Vice President Nicolas Maduro.”)

Immediately, we see that were one to make judgments about the Saudi dictator and Chavez based on CNN coverage of same events – each of their deaths – one would be led to conclude that Chavez is the far more brutal and controversial figure, hated by at least half of his country, while the Saudi tyrant was actually a benevolent and widely loved “reformer” doing his best to make Saudi Arabia into a democratic paradise by battling a horrid population trying to drag Saudi Arabia down (despite polls showing that public approval in Saudi Arabia for ISIS, for example, is near zero, according to the Washington Institute).

In reality, a 2005 poll put Chavez’s approval rating at 70.5%, a 2011 poll put it at 71.5%, and a poll at the time of his death put it at 57%, always above US congress, almost always above Obama, though often lower than Putin.

 

PutinApproval2000-sept14

Mysteriously, no approval rating polls for King Abdullah are available (“The government tightly controls domestic media content and dominates regional print and satellite-television coverage, with members of the royal family owning major stakes in news outlets in multiple countries. Government officials have banned journalists and editors who publish articles deemed offensive to the religious establishment or the ruling authorities.  In 2011, Abdullah issued a royal decree … criminalizing any criticism of …  government officials”), perhaps giving insight into how much the King and his US benefactors care whether he is approved of.  However, as the LA Times reports, Abdullah certainly earned the approval of US leaders: “Saudi King Abdullah’s legacy praised by U.S. leaders”.

Amen.

Robert Barsocchini focuses on global force dynamics and writes professionally for the film industry.  He is a regular contributor to  Washington’s Blog, and is published in Counter Currents, Global Research, State of Globe, Blacklisted News, LewRockwell.com, DanSanchez.me, Information Clearing House, Press TV, and other outlets.  Also see: Hillary Clinton’s Record of Support for War and other Depravities.  Follow Robert and his UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson, on Twitter.

Posted in General, Politics / World News | 2 Comments

Do We Want Solutions, Or Just What’s Easy?

We are so brainwashed by centralized models of state authority that few can even imagine a system where the solution is not one centralized monstrosity ruled by a political/financial Aristocracy but a competing profusion of opt-in, transparent solutions.

Many readers ask me for solutions to the current arrangement’s many ills. Seeking solutions is a healthy and positive direction, for highlighting what’s broken is not only much easier than proposing solutions, it’s a dead-end. Pointing out what’s broken is only the first step in crafting solutions.

But I’ve noticed that what most people want is not a real solution–they simply want what’s easy, which means leaving the Status Quo in place but magically making it cheaper and more convenient for them. If the solution requires inconvenience, getting less, accepting more responsibility and making major trade-offs–then it can’t be a solution because politicos have overpromised for so many decades that people expect everything to get cheaper (for them, not the system) and easier (for them, not the system).

For example, I proposed a simple solution to the unsustainably costly U.S. healthcare system: The “Impossible” Healthcare Solution: Go Back to Cash(July 29, 2009).

This solution would definitely lower costs and impose discipline on patients and providers alike–and for that reason, it is seen as “impossible,” because the last thing patients and cartels/state agencies want is discipline that forces hard choices and rigorous changes in behavior, diet, fitness habits, etc.

Broadly speaking, the first step in any healthcare solution is to radically reduce preventable diseases that result from lifestyle choices by making patients responsible for the consequences and costs of their lifestyle choices.

The next step is to make the real costs of treatment and coverage transparent, so people–patients and citizens– can see the real costs and make decisions based on the limits of cost, effectiveness, etc.

Both of these steps are absolute anathema in the current system.

I have addressed the systemic ills of U.S. healthcare (a.k.a. sickcare because it profits from sickness rather than from health), for many years, most recently inObamaCare: The Neutron Bomb That Will Decimate Employment (February 22, 2013). Over the years, I have presented a number of options to the present unsustainable, fraud-ridden, costs-twice-as-much-per-person-as-other-nations system that ObamaCare leaves intact:

Healthcare: A Large-Scale Solution (January 4, 2011)

A Sustainable National Healthcare System: Prevention Only (August 20, 2012)

How to Cut America’s Healthcare Spending by 50% (August 21, 2012)

Nobody likes any of the practical solutions because everyone wants unlimited care and unlimited choice. Expectations in a system where the government can just borrow another $1+ trillion to pay the bills are unrealistically high, and the feedback from reality, i.e. price, has been eliminated in the current cartel/state-fiefdom system.

Everyone talks about “reform,” but real reform is impossible in a bought-and-paid-for “democracy” like ours: Why Reform Won’t Work (February 7, 2013).

Even more profoundly, the Central State and ObamaCare are the wrong unit size to provide healthcare that is transparently priced, accountable to the consumer, adaptable and decentralized.

What If ObamaCare, Too Big To Fail Banks and the State Are All the Wrong Sized Unit?(February 25, 2013)


We are so brainwashed by centralized models of state authority that few can even imagine a system where the solution is not one centralized monstrosity ruled by a political/financial Aristocracy but a competing profusion of opt-in, transparent solutions.

Rather than a single top-down system, we need dozens of transparent opt-in choices.

Centralized, top-down systems are quickly stripped of innovation and cost control as the political and financial Aristocracy soon capture the regulatory and governance machinery for their own benefit.

As I noted in The Pareto Economy (February 18, 2013), 80% of the benefits could be reaped for 20% of the money squandered on our corrupt, fraudulent, ossified centralized systems.

We suffer not just from a systemic failure of imagination, but from a child-like desire for what’s easy and convenient. This is a theme I have explored many times:

Questioning “Progress” and the Poverty of our Imagination (June 11, 2010)

Oversupply of Old Failed Ideas, Undersupply of New Pragmatic Ideas (July 16, 2010)

Our Dust Bowl Economy (November 20, 2012)
When the present path cannot possibly lead to success, regardless of the labor and treasure poured into the effort, then risking the unknown by trying something different is the only way forward.

America Is Just Going Through the Motions

What If We’re Beyond Mere Policy Tweaks? (February 6, 2012)

Spoiled Teenager Syndrome (January 3, 2013)

A good first step would be to admit to ourselves that we don’t really want solutions; what we want is magic: financial magic that makes healthcare free and affordable, medical magic that fixes all our lifestyle ills without forcing any rigorous adult routines and limits on us, political magic that transforms our system from its current corrupt crony-capitalist paradise into a functioning, transparent democracy and economic magic that makes all the unpayable debt vanish so we can borrow another $50 trillion, or $100 trillion, with no restraints on our spending or cronyist corruption.

I have no idea what it will take to jolt us from our preference for magic over realistic, difficult (i.e. adult) solutions, but I suspect a crisis that threatens to completely unravel the Status Quo will be part of the process.

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Top Counter-Terrorism Agency: Citizens Should Be Armed To Stop Terror Attacks

Head of International Police Agency:  Arming Citizens May Be the Best Way to Stop Terrorists

The head of the world’s international police agency (Interpol) – which is very active in counter-terror efforts – said last October that arming citizens might be the best way to stop terrorism.

ABC News reported:

Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said today the U.S. and the rest of the democratic world is at a security crossroads in the wake of last month’s deadly al-Shabab attack at a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya – and suggested an answer could be in arming civilians.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Noble said there are really only two choices for protecting open societies from attacks like the one on Westgate mall where so-called “soft targets” are hit: either create secure perimeters around the locations or allow civilians to carry their own guns to protect themselves.

“Societies have to think about how they’re going to approach the problem,” Noble said. “One is to say we want an armed citizenry; you can see the reason for that. Another is to say the enclaves are so secure that in order to get into the soft target you’re going to have to pass through extraordinary security.”

***

The secretary general, an American who previously headed up all law enforcement for the U.S. Treasury Department, told reporters during a brief news conference that the Westgate mall attack marks what has long been seen as “an evolution in terrorism.” Instead of targets like the Pentagon and World Trade Center that now have far more security since 9/11, attackers are focusing on sites with little security that attract large numbers of people.

***

“Ask yourself: If that was Denver, Col., if that was Texas, would those guys have been able to spend hours, days, shooting people randomly?” Noble said, referring to states with pro-gun traditions. “What I’m saying is it makes police around the world question their views on gun control. It makes citizens question their views on gun control. You have to ask yourself, ‘Is an armed citizenry more necessary now than it was in the past with an evolving threat of terrorism?‘ This is something that has to be discussed.”

***

“For me it’s a profound question,” he continued. “People are quick to say ‘gun control, people shouldn’t be armed,’ etc., etc. I think they have to ask themselves: ‘Where would you have wanted to be? In a city where there was gun control and no citizens armed if you’re in a Westgate mall, or in a place like Denver or Texas?'”

If you are for gun control – as I used to be – you may want to note that a top liberal Constitutional law scholar, Ghandi and the Dalai Lama are all  for the right of citizens to bear arms.

Perhaps more importantly, look at the alternatives

Would you rather let the government keep on waging its virtually endless, counter-productive, freedom-destroying, ruinously expensive War On Terror?

Or would you rather arm yourselves and take your chances?

I know a native American man who has a bumper sticker on his truck which reads:

Open Hunting Season on Terrorists

I think he’s got the right attitude.

Postscript:  For those who think that guns are “unhealthy” or “disgusting”, please note that Freud disagreed.  Specifically, he argued that when men give up the primal drive to protect ourselves, our families and our communities – and that power is transferred to standing armies – it disempowers us and makes us weak psychologically.

And see this.

Posted in Politics / World News | 7 Comments

Ukraine Attacks Bus and Trolley in Center of Donetsk

By George Eliason, an American journalist living in Ukraine.

donetsk bus russia 24

This morning January 22nd at 8:30 local time in Donetsk the Ukrainian army fired what appear to be 82mm shells at buses and trolleys near the center of the city. The targets were located within roughly a 25 meter radius of each other. The OSCE is investigating.

The terrorist strike on the bus shown above claimed the lives of 13-15 people including children. There are reported to be over 20 other critically injured, many with blast amputations. The driver of a car next to the blast burnt to death. The blast was large enough to blowout 2nd story windows in an apartment across from it and stopped the clock at 8:30.

Donetsk Defense Minister Vladimir Kononov gave a statement that a group of terrorists launching attacks on civilians have been caught and are Ukrainian military operatives. Small teams of Ukrainian army/terrorists have been perpetrating random drive by shootings with automatics in Donetsk since the Ukrainian army reignited the hot war eleven days ago.

trip mine slavasky st donetsk

In another development on Slavakaya St. which is located on the outskirts of Donetsk, a local resident noticed an improvised trip mine pictured above. The DNR (Donetsk Peoples Republic) army responded by sending an explosives team to defuse it. The mine was set up on a pathway to a children’s playground.

In the town of Stahanovo today a Grad and Hurricane rocket and missile attack left three children’s kindergartens entirely destroyed this morning. Three more pre-school facilities were targeted and partially destroyed. So far casualty reports are 8 civilians dead including at least 2 children and over 20 wounded. The attacks on civilians are escalating.

Sources are reporting that the attack this morning is only the
beginning of a much larger one. Ukraine’s Donbas Battalion is moving
military equipment into Artemovsk flying DNR flags and wearing DNR
uniforms. Artemovsk is in the control of the Ukrainian army.

The latest attacks on civilian targets in Donetsk show a blatant
pattern of criminal murder that has come to define the Ukrainian
Government in Kiev throughout the war. Like the other bus attack near Volonovaha where the Ukrainian army fired Grad rockets at one of their own checkpoints this attack shows the open criminality of the Poroshenko regime.

In developed countries governments that give their army units orders
to murder other army units and their own civilians are criminals.
Every official that could have influence and stop the crimes are held
accountable. Most developed countries also adhere to laws of war that
makes the purposeful targeting of civilians an international crime.
Leaders of countries that order crimes of this magnitude are
prosecuted either internally or in an international forum like the War Crimes Tribunal in Nuremburg. After WW2, a guilty verdict meant the responsible leaders were hung.

Why is this openly Nazi government instead rewarded?

Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, U.S. Army, is head of Allied Land Command
(LANDCOM) for NATO was in Kiev yesterday and awarded US Army Europe medallions for excellence to the Ukrainian army’s wounded.

General Hodges shook one Ukrainian soldiers hand and stated he was
“proud of his service to his country.”

At Debalsevo and the Donetsk airport where these wounded soldiers are coming from the Ukrainian army has been targeting civilians for
several months. The US Army head of LANDCOM takes pride in this? As an American I have never felt this much shame for my country. Just the sight of this man who is in the position of knowing exactly who he is dealing with shames the memory of my own grandfather and uncle who fought in WW2 against ultra-nationalism. My grandfather and uncle would not thank openly nazi governments for receiving him on “such short notice.” They were proud to be American.

Posted in Politics / World News | 9 Comments

Militarism in the Air We Breathe

If there is a group of Americans to whom Iraqis struggling with the health effects of depleted uranium, cluster bombs, white phosphorous, and all the various poisons of war can relate, it might be the mostly black and largely poor residents of Gibsland, in northern Louisiana.

Here’s how an op-ed in the New York Times from one resident describes their situation:

“For years, one of the largest employers in that area was the Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant, about four miles from Minden. The Environmental Protection Agency eventually listed the plant as a Superfund site because for more than 40 years ‘untreated explosives-laden wastewater from industrial operations was collected in concrete sumps at each of the various load line areas,’ and emptied into ’16 one-acre pink water lagoons.'”

And now (from Truthout.org):

“After months of bureaucratic disputes between the Army and state and federal agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) recently announced an emergency plan to burn 15 million pounds of M6 — up to 80,000 pounds a day over the course of a year — on open ‘burn trays’ at Camp Minden, a disposal process that environmental advocates say is outdated and has been outlawed in other countries. The operation would be one of the largest open munitions burn in U.S. history.”

Every once in a while — around Vieques or Jeju Island or Pagan Island — environmental organizations find themselves confronting one little corner of the environment’s greatest destroyer. While the big environmental groups seem unlikely to confront the institution of war itself until it’s too late, we should take these opportunities to encourage them. Because they are taking on the military over this burn. There are plenty of former members of the U.S. military who can tell them about the health impacts of burns abroad, which veterans refer to as “the new Agent Orange.” The EPA can fill activists in on who creates the most environmental disasters within the United States. Hint: It starts with mil and rhymes with solitary.

oiljets

A major motivation behind some wars is the desire to control resources that poison the earth, especially oil and gas. That fact, often disguised, should be faced by those of us concerned over the earth’s future. The wars are not to protect us but to endanger us, by the generation of animosity and by the destruction of our planet. The production of the world’s largest, most wasteful military ever is not a safety measure in case a good war comes along, but exactly what Eisenhower warned it would be, a generator of wars. The $1 trillion the United States dumps into the war machine each year is needed for urgent environmental protection. And the war preparations spending does not enrich us; it impoverishes us while concentrating wealth away from places like Gibsland. That’s a lot of downsides for an institution whose main function is to kill lots of innocent people while stripping away our civil liberties.

But, back to the environmental downside. And oil. Oil can be leaked or burned off, as in the Gulf War, but primarily it is put to use in all kinds of machines polluting the earth’s atmosphere, placing us all at risk. Some associate the consumption of oil with the supposed glory and heroism of war, so that renewable energies that do not risk global catastrophe are viewed as cowardly and unpatriotic ways to fuel our machines. The interplay of war with oil goes beyond that, however. The wars themselves, whether or not fought for oil, consume huge quantities of it. One of the world’s top consumer of oil, in fact, is the U.S. military.

The U.S. military burns through about 340,000 barrels of oil each day. If the Pentagon were a country, it would rank 38th out of 196 in oil consumption. There’s just no other institution that comes remotely close to the military in this or other types of environmental destruction. (But try to discover that fact at an anti-pipeline march.)

The environment as we know it will not survive nuclear war. It also may not survive “conventional” war, understood to mean the sorts of wars now waged. Intense damage has already been done by wars and by the research, testing, and production done in preparation for wars. Wars in recent years have rendered large areas uninhabitable and generated tens of millions of refugees. War “rivals infectious disease as a global cause of morbidity and mortality,” according to Jennifer Leaning of Harvard Medical School.

Perhaps the most deadly weapons left behind by wars are land mines and cluster bombs. Tens of millions of them are estimated to be lying around on the earth, oblivious to any announcements that peace has been declared. Most of their victims are civilians, a large percentage of them children.

It is wonderful to have organizations now and again challenging particular aspects of the destruction war causes. Below is a letter that every peace and environmental and peace-environmental organization in the world should sign onto:

Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator
Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
William Jefferson Clinton Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N. W.
Mail Code: 2201A
Washington, DC 20460 Giles-Aa.cynthia@Epa.gov

SENT BY ELECTRONIC MAIL

RE: Proposed Open Burning of M6 Propellants at Camp Minden, Louisiana

Dear Assistant Administrator Giles,

We, the undersigned organizations, join Louisiana residents, workers and families in their call for a safer alternative to open burning of hazardous wastes at Camp Minden.

We oppose the plan by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to OPEN BURN 15 million pounds of abandoned M6 propellants at Camp Minden, Louisiana. By definition, open burning has no emissions controls and will result in the uncontrolled release of toxic emissions and respirable particulates to the environment. M6 contains approximately 10 percent dinitrotoluene (DNT) which is classified as a probable human carcinogen.1

Concerns for the potential human health risk created by open burning/open detonation as well as for environmental impacts on the air, soil, and water have required the military to identify and develop alternatives to open burning/open detonation treatment.2 Moreover, as the EPA’s plan provides for the safe handling and transport to an open burning area, these wastes could be similarly moved to an alternative treatment facility or system.

While we support the EPA’s initiative to require the U.S. Army to clean up and dispose of these improperly stored explosive wastes, we do not support open burning as a remedy given the inherent and avoidable risks to human health and the environment.

1U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Technical Fact Sheet, Dinitrotoluene (DNT), January 2014.
2 US Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineering Research Laboratories USACERL Technical Report 98/104, Alternatives to Open Burning/Open Detonation of Energetic Materials, A Summary of Current Technologies, August 1998.

 

Laura Olah, Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger, Wisconsin Dolores Blalock, ArkLaTex Clean Air Network, LLC, Louisiana
Marylee M. Orr, Executive Director, Louisiana Environmental Action Network/Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper, Louisiana
Devawn Palmer-Oberlender, Environmental Patriots of the New River Valley, Virginia Pamela Miller, Executive Director, Alaska Community Action on Toxics, Alaska
Craig Williams, Chemical Weapons Working Group, Kentucky
Erin Brockovich & Bob Bowcock, California
United Tribe of Shawnee Indians, Principal Chief, Jim Oyler, Kansas
Tim Lopez, Director, Voluntary Cleanup Advisory Board, Colorado
Greg Wingard, Executive Director, Waste Action Project, Washington
Mable Mallard, Philadelphia Community Right To Know Committee, Pennsylvania Doris Bradshaw, Defense Depot Memphis Tennessee – Concerned Citizens Committee Isis Bradshaw, Youth Terminating Pollution, Tennessee
Kaye Kiker, Community Organizer, Citizens Task Force, Alabama
Wilbur Slockish, Columbia River Education and Economic Development, Oregon
Al Gedicks, Executive Secretary, Wisconsin Resources Protection Council, Wisconsin
Doris Bradshaw, Military Toxics Project, Tennessee
Peter Galvin, Center for Biological Diversity, California
LeVonne Stone, Fort Ord Environmental Justice Network, California
Marylia Kelley, Executive Director, Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment), California
Josh Fast, Educator, PermanentGardens.com, Louisiana
Ronnie Cummins, Organic Consumers Association, Minnesota
Paul Orr, Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper, Louisiana
Marcia Halligan, Kickapoo Peace Circle, Wisconsin
Kathy Sanchez, EJ RJ, Tewa women United org., New Mexico
J. Gilbert Sanchez, CEO, Tribal Environmental Watch Alliance, New Mexico
David Keith, Valley Citizens for a Safe Environment, Massachusetts
Forest Jahnke, Crawford Stewardship Project, Wisconsin
Maria Powell, President, Midwest Environmental Justice Organization, Wisconsin
Evelyn Yates, Pine Bluff for Safe Disposal, Arkansas
Cheryl Slavant, Ouachita Riverkeeper, Louisiana
Jean E. Mannhaupt, President, Park Ridge @ Country Manors Home Owners Assoc., New York
Stephen Brittle, President, Don’t Waste Arizona
Alison Jones Chaim, Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility Wisconsin
Jill Johnston, Southwest Workers Union, Texas
Robert Alvarado, Committee for Environmental Justice Action, Texas
Phyllis Hasbrouck, Chair, West Waubesa Preservation Coalition, Wisconsin
John LaForge, Nukewatch, Wisconsin
Guy Wolf, Co-Director, DownRiver Alliance, Wisconsin
Don Timmerman & Roberta Thurstin, Casa Maria Catholic Worker, Wisconsin
LT General Russel Honore (Ret), GreenARMY, Louisiana
John LaForge, The Progressive Foundation, Wisconsin
Paul F. Walker, Ph.D., Director, Environmental Security and Sustainability, Green Cross International, Washington, DC
Cynthia Sarthou, Executive Director, Gulf Restoration Network, Louisiana
Lenny Siegel, Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight, California
John E. Peck, Executive Director, Family Farm Defenders, Wisconsin
Lois Marie Gibbs, Executive Director, Center for Health, Environment and Justice, Virginia
Willie Fontenot, Conservation Chair, Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club, Louisiana
Kimberlee Wright, Executive Director, Midwest Environmental Advocates, Inc., Wisconsin
Elizabeth O’Nan, Director, Protect All Children’s Environment, North Carolina
Frances Kelley, Louisiana Progress Action, Louisiana
Patrick Seymour, ISIS institute MilWaste Project, Massachusetts
Christina Walsh, Executive Director, cleanuprocketdyne.org, California
Glen Hooks, Chapter Director, Arkansas Sierra Club, Arkansas
Laura Ward, President, Wanda Washington, Vice President, FOCUS, Inc (Family Oriented Community United Strong, Inc.), Florida
Ed Dlugosz, President, NJ Friends of Clearwater, New Jersey
Anne Rolfes, Founding Director, LA Bucket Brigade, Louisiana
Monica Wilson, GAIA: Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, California
Dean A. Wilson, Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, Louisiana
Robin Schneider, Texas Campaign for the Environment, Texas
Lara Norkus-Crampton, Coordinator, Minneapolis Neighbors for Clean Air, Minnesota Haywood Martin, Chair, Sierra Club Delta Chapter, Louisiana
Mitzi Shpak, Executive Director, Action Now, California
Jane Williams, Executive Director, California Communities Against Toxics, California Robina Suwol, Executive Director, California Safe Schools, California
Renee Nelson, President, Clean Water and Air Matter (CWAM), California
Lisa Riggiola, Citizens For A Clean Pompton Lakes, New Jersey
Stephanie Stuckey Benfield, Executive Director, GreenLaw
James Little, member, Western Broome Environmental Stakeholder Coalition, New York Sparky Rodrigues, Malama Makua, Hawaii
Barry Kissin, Fort Detrick Restoration Advisory Board, Maryland

Submitted by:

Laura Olah, Executive Director
Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB) E12629 Weigand’s Bay South
Merrimac, WI 53561
(608)643-3124
info@cswab.org
www.cswab.org
www.facebook.com/cswab.org

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‘Selma’ 4-minute music video: Glory, when the war is won

Selma (my review here) artistically documents activists’ strategic work to realize basic human rights already legally guaranteed under the US Constitution.

Selma’s music video of John Legend’s lyrics (below) with Common’s performance powerfully communicates the ideals, work, and promise from yesterday and today.

Today, among ~100 crucial areas of public importance, activists have irrefutably objective and independently verifiable facts that easily explain, document, and prove US history of:

An obvious question: What does the 99.99% of humanity do to end these vicious policies, and genuinely have opportunity to create a bright future for all Earth’s inhabitants?

An obvious answer: We tell the truth/facts, arrest obvious criminals, and have media broadcast our true condition so we may begin (I explain here).

Glory

“One day, when the glory comes, it will be ours, it will be ours. One day, when the war is won, we will be sure, we will be sure! Oh, glory, glory! Oh, glory, glory!

Hands to the Heavens, no man, no weapon, formed against, yes glory is destined. Every day, women and men become legends. Sins that go against our skin become blessings.

The movement is a rhythm to us. Freedom is like religion to us. Justice is juxtaposition in us. Justice for all just ain’t specific enough. One son died, his spirit is revisiting us; true and living in us.

Resistance is us.

That’s why Rosa sat on the bus. That’s why we walk through Ferguson with our hands up. When it go down, we woman and man up. They say, “Stay down” and we stand up. Shots, we on the ground, the camera panned up. King pointed to the mountaintop, and we ran up.

One day, when the glory comes, it will be ours, it will be ours. Oh, one day, when the war is won, we will be sure, we will be sure! Oh, glory, glory! Oh, glory, glory glory!

Now the war is not over, victory isn’t won. But we’ll fight on to the finish, then when it’s all done, we’ll cry Glory! Oh, Glory! Glory! Glory!

We’ll cry Glory! Oh, Glory! Oh, Glory! Oh, Glory!

Selma is now for every man, woman, and child. Even Jesus got his crown in front of a crowd. They marched with the torch, we gon’ run with it now. Never look back, we’ve gone hundreds of miles. From dark roads, he rose, to become a hero. Facing the league of justice, his power was the people.

The enemy is lethal; a King became regal; saw the face of Jim Crow under a bald eagle.

The biggest weapon is to stay peaceful. We sing; the music is the cuts that bleed through. Somewhere in the dream we had an epiphany. Now we right the wrongs in history. No one can win the war individually. It takes the wisdom of the elders, and young peoples’ energy.

Welcome to the story we call Victory.

The coming of the Lord, mine eyes have seen Glory!

One day, when the glory comes, it will be ours, it will be ours. Oh, one day, when the war is won, we will be sure, we will be sure. Oh, glory, glory! Yeah, glory, glory!

When the war is won, when it’s all said and done, we’ll cry Glory! Oh, Glory! Glory!”

**

Note: Examiner.com has blocked public access to my articles on their site (and from other whistleblowers). Some links in my articles are therefore now blocked. If you’d like to search for those articles other sites may have republished, use words from the article title within the blocked link. Or, go to http://archive.org/web/, paste the expired link into the box, click “Browse history,” click onto the screenshots of that page for each time it was screen-shot and uploaded to webarchive. Then switch the expired URLs with webarchived ones of that same information. I’ll update as “hobby time” allows; including my earliest work from 2009 to 2011 (blocked author pages: here, here).

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Asset Ownership and Our System of Deepening Debt-Serfdom

Debt-serfs who make the difficult and risky transition to small-scale business owners find they have simply moved to another class of serfdom.

The core dynamic of debt-serfdom is that debt-serfs must borrow money to buy essentials while the wealthy borrow to invest in productive assets.

This is not merely a random result of free-market capitalism; it is the structure of cartel-capitalism in which highly profitable goods and services must be paid for with highly profitable debt.

This need to borrow to pay for essentials is already evident in student loans, vehicles and housing.

The cost of these essentials is so high that few debt-serfs can borrow enough to pay for these essentials and then have enough borrowing power left to buy productive assets.

Those few who do attempt to buy productive assets face regulatory hurdles and costs that limit their ability to own or launch small-scale profitable enterprises.

The net result is a system in which the vast majority of productive assets are owned by the few who then have the means to exploit the many.

This core dynamic of cartel capitalism is not new, as longtime correspondent Bart D. recently observed. This was the core dynamic at the root of Ireland’s catastrophic potato famine of the 1840s: wealthy English owned the productive assets (land) and limited the opportunities for enterprises that boosted Irish self-sufficiency and competed with the assets owned by English financiers and landed gentry.

Here is Bart’s commentary:

I recently picked up a copy of a novel dealing with the topic of the Irish Potato famine of 1845-6 from a second hand book store run by charity. Author is Liam O’Flaherty and it was written in 1937. It was re-released in 2002. My edition was printed in the 1970’s, so it’s had a following over the years.

Famine

I recommend this book HIGHLY as an insight into how families, communities, governments and economics will/are functioning in impoverished situations now and in the future. I know this because I was astonished (not using that word lightly here) at the similarity in the description of life and government/business portrayed in O’Flaherty’s book in 1845 and that which I have observed closely over many years in remote Australian Aboriginal communities from 1994 to 2012.

Especially fascinating to learn that the English Government provided ‘relief’ loans to Ireland at market interest with a condition that they could not be used to do anything productive. Basically they set up a scheme to pay a small proportion of each community to build roads, but not a cent could be spent on developing alternate Irish-owned industries or businesses for fear it would upset the rich English industrialists.

The English imported cheap American corn meal which everyone was forced to buy with the English Gov. financed wages (closing the loop of giving with one hand, taking with the other and adding in a profit to boot) after the Irish had to export all their own grain and livestock to England to pay the land rents.

The model of resource ownership described in the novel–English landlords owned all the Irish peasant farmer land and set rent at a level that ensured the farmers remained a hairs breadth ahead of destitution even under the best of circumstances–will be, I think, what our own future will look like. Unfortunately.

It’s very well written and engaging for the reader, but hard to read because of its infuriating and tragic subject material. No happy endings here.

One branch of my family (Scots-Irish, County Down) immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1840s, undoubtedly as a result of the potato famine. This history of exploitation and financial tyranny is not entirely abstract to me, and neither is the current American variation of the debt-serf model.

Those of us with experience in starting and operating small enterprises know that dozens of restrictive regulations and administrative costs limit debt-serfs’ attempts to invest in small-scale productive ventures. We also know that the Federal Reserve’s free funds for financiers enables hedge funds to invest $500 million in the latest software fad, while small-scale entrepreneurs have no equivalent conduit to near-zero cost funding.

Globalized cartels eliminate local pricing power by importing cheap goods from somewhere else. In less globalized circumstances, local producers retain some pricing power (and thus some profitability) because they can produce goods without the cost of shipping from overseas.

But the power of cartels buying millions of units at a time and the low cost of container shipping means cartels can eliminate the pricing power of local small-scale producers virtually everywhere.

Even low-income regions in developing nations cannot compete with global cartels in manufactured goods and agricultural/meat produce.

This is not a random result of free enterprise; it is the direct result of central banks’ free funds for financiers that lowers the costs of borrowing and thus production for cartels.

Debt-serfs may legally start home businesses in some locales, but as soon as they become successful enough to compete with vested interests, their fixed costs are increased by regulatory and administrative rules. The resulting erosion of profitability and the lack of access to cheap credit limit their ability to expand without taking on burdensome levels of costly debt or selling their souls to vulture capitalists.

At that point, debt-serfs who make the difficult and risky transition to small-scale business owners find they have simply moved to another class of serfdom, one in which the serfs own an enterprise but cannot expand their capital. As a result, small enterprise ends up being just another version of serfdom, i.e. barely getting by or borrowing more just to survive.

Consider the evidence of the erosion of American small business: Economic Death Spiral: More American Businesses Dying Than Starting.

The net result is a system in which the vast majority of productive assets are owned by the few who then have the means to exploit the many.


How to forge a career in a debt-serf economy:
Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy
,
a mere $9.95 for the Kindle ebook edition and $15.47 for the print edition.

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Ukraine Stiffs China for Billions Owed

China paid Ukraine $3B two years ago for grain still not delivered, now demands refund. Another $3.6B that’s owed to China, will probably also default.

Eric Zuesse

Russia’s RIA Novosti News Agency reported, on January 17th, that China is demanding refund of $1.5 billion in cash and of an additional $1.5 billion in Chinese goods that were paid in advance by China (in 2013), for a 2012 Chinese order of grain from Ukraine, which goods still have not been supplied to China.

According to RIAN, “State Food and Grain Corporation of Ukraine (STATE FOOD) supplied grain in 2013, elsewhere, but not to China. The new Kiev authorities had an opportunity to fix the short-sighted actions ‘of the [previous] Yanukovych regime,’ and to present a positive economic image to the Chinese.” But it didn’t happen.

Furthermore: “Prior to the Presidency of Yanukovych [which started in 2010], China’s leadership had simply refused to do business with the pre-Yanukovych Administration’s Yulia Tymoshenko, and they planned to wait until Yanukovych became President. He then came, and since has been ousted, and yet still only $153 million of grain has been delivered.” (None of the $1.5B cash that China advanced to Ukraine to pay for growing and shipping grain has been returned to China, but only the $153M that had essentially been swapped: Chinese goods for Ukrainian grain.) This $153 million was approximately as much as the interest that would be due on China’s prepayment, and so Ukraine still owes China the full $3 billion ($1.5B in cash, + $1.5B that China supplied in goods).

The RIAN report goes on to quote Alex Luponosov, a Ukrainian authority on Ukraine’s banking system, who says, “Ukraine won’t be able to supply the grain to China, because we don’t have it.” The reason he gives is that “there is a big shortage of technicians: combiners, adjusters, mechanics, farm-machinery operators — all of them were taken by the army.” Those men are being required to fight in Ukraine’s ‘ATO’ or ‘Anti Terrorist Operation,’ that’s occurring in Ukraine’s former Donbass region (the far-eastern tip of Ukraine), the place where the residents don’t accept the new Ukrainian Government’s legitimacy, and they are therefore being called ‘Terrorists’ by this new Government, which is thus bombing them, supposedly in order to convince them that this new Government’s authority over them is legitimate (even though the residents there never participated in its selection, and have been cut off even from Ukraine’s social-security payments).

The Russian news report continues by quoting Luponosov again: “If the declaration of mobilization will take place in the planned figures, up to 100 thousand people in three stages, the sowing campaign cannot take place, either on the farms or at the grain traders.” As part of Ukraine’s military mobilization — the new phase of which which started on January 20 — military offices take first the rural male population of the country, and farm-production must therefore suffer.

Luponosov was quoted: “Now try to tell Parliament to amend the war-legislation so that these people won’t be taken from their villages. No one will deny the military. Parliament thus cannot do anything [to fulfill on Ukraine’s grain-contract with China].”

The RIAN report says that, “China is angry,” and it closes: “By the way, in addition to China’s $3B loan that’s to be repaid with grain [which cannot be supplied], Ukraine also received from China a $3.6 billion loan to pay for the gasification of coal, by Ukraine’s gas company, Naftogaz, which the Ukrainian Government has guaranteed up to 2.3 billion dollars. Information on the implementation of the coal-gasification project has not been made available, but there seems to be a high probability that this matter too will be decided in a court. If China decides to call in that loan, then the result will be the bankruptcy of either Naftogaz, or the Ukrainian Government.”

On January 9th, Ukraine’s Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, reassured the IMF, EU, and other investors of all funds that are being loaned to Ukraine, that Ukraine is doing everything possible to fulfill on its financial obligations to all investors:

“I would also like to note that the money that we get in the framework of international financial assistance, does not go to finance the state budget deficit, it does not go to the payment of pensions, it does not go to the payment of wages. All of this is happening in the first place, solely to perform our external obligations.” On 1 May 2014, the IMF (whose money comes from taxpayers in U.S. and the EU, not from the aristocrats whose investments the IMF protects and whom the IMF actually serves) had stated that Ukraine’s first obligation, without which the IMF would lend no more money, is to win the war against Donbass. Yatsenyuk, thus, is here reassuring the IMF, and other investors in Ukraine, that their money will not go to pay for anything but winning this war.

The IMF, and other lenders, require Ukraine to win this war, because, if the Ukrainian Government doesn’t win, then the natural gas and other assets that are in the ground in that region will not become available to be sold off by the Ukrainian Government in order to pay-off those investors; instead, the residents there (the people whom the Ukrainian Government is now trying to eliminate) will control those assets, as being assets of a separate state — one which has not borrowed from these investors. The IMF wants the assets that are in the ground, not the people who are living on it. That is why it demands victory (elimination of the people in Donbass) — or else Ukraine will promptly go bankrupt. (And, perhaps, so too will some of those investors.)

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Posted in Business / Economics, Energy / Environment, General, Politics / World News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This Is How The US Government Convinces A Newspaper To Kill A Story

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Under President George W. Bush, the White House urged reporters to withhold accounts about many of the most contentious aspects in the war on terrorism: the existence of a secret prison in Thailand, the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation and detention program, warrantless wiretapping and government monitoring of financial transactions.

The Obama administration has persuaded reporters to delay publishing the existence of a drone base in Saudi Arabia, the name of a country in which a drone strike against an American citizen was being considered, the fact that a diplomat arrested in Pakistan was a C.I.A. officer and that an American businessman was working for the agency when he disappeared in Iran.

– From the New York Times article: Condoleezza Rice Testifies on Urging The Times to Not Run Article

The timidness with which mainstream media in the U.S. approaches news has been well documented. In fact, the inability of traditional media to do a reasonable job of holding powerful interests accountable has been one of the primary drivers behind the ascendency of alternative news. Despite this reality, one thing we know less about is specifically how the power structure goes about suppressing news it doesn’t want reaching the plebs. Until now.

Ironically, the New York Times reported on its own prior inability to report the news:

WASHINGTON — White House officials favor two primary tactics when they want to kill a news articleCondoleezza Rice, the former national security adviser, testified Thursday: They can essentially confirm the report by arguing that it is too important to national security to be published, or they can say that the reporter has it wrong.

Sitting across from a reporter and editor from The New York Times in early 2003, Ms. Rice said, she tried both.

Yes indeed. When it comes to censoring the news, the U.S. government will do “whatever it takes.”

Testifying in the leak trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former C.I.A. officer, Ms. Rice described how the White House successfully persuaded Times editors not to publish an article about a secret operation to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program. James Risen, a Times reporter, ultimately revealed the program in his 2006 book, “State of War,” and said that the C.I.A. had botched the operation. Prosecutors used Ms. Rice’s testimony to bolster their case that the leak to Mr. Risen had harmed national security.

Ms. Rice’s account also threw a light on how the government pressures journalists to avoid publishing details about United States security affairs. It is a common practice that is seldom discussed.

Under President George W. Bush, the White House urged reporters to withhold accounts about many of the most contentious aspects in the war on terrorism: the existence of a secret prison in Thailand, the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation and detention program, warrantless wiretapping and government monitoring of financial transactions.

The Obama administration has persuaded reporters to delay publishing the existence of a drone base in Saudi Arabia, the name of a country in which a drone strike against an American citizen was being considered, the fact that a diplomat arrested in Pakistan was a C.I.A. officer and that an American businessman was working for the agency when he disappeared in Iran.

Makes you wonder, who isn’t working for the C.I.A. at this point?

According to notes of the White House meeting, George J. Tenet, the C.I.A. director at the time, told Mr. Risen and his editor, Jill Abramson, that the program was not mismanaged and that Iran had not discovered the design flaw. The C.I.A. prepared talking points for Ms. Rice that said that revealing the program would not only jeopardize the former Russian scientist — who had become an American citizen — but “conceivably contribute to the deaths of millions of innocent victims” in the event of an Iranian nuclear attack. Ms. Rice said she urged The Times to destroy any documents or notes about the program.

This is quite the shocker. Who would ever suspect a key proponent of the Iraq War to dabble in such outlandish hyperbole.

The Times ultimately did not run the article. Ms. Abramson, who was the Washington bureau chief at the time, said recently that she regretted not pushing to publish it. Told about Ms. Rice’s testimony, Ms. Abramson said in an email on Thursday that the trial “seems anticlimactic and pointless.”

The only question is, what are they “choosing not to publish” in 2015?

For related posts, see:

20-Year CBS News Veteran, Sharyl Attkisson, Details Massive Censorship and Propaganda in Mainstream Media

Editor in Asia Leaves Bloomberg News Citing Censorship

Google Transparency Report: Worldwide Government Censorship Requests Up 26%

Meet Amber Lyon: Former Reporter Exposes Massive Censorship at CNN

Posted in Politics / World News | Leave a comment

The MH17 Boeing Bus Disaster – The Propaganda War Goes Ballistic

By George Eliason, an American journalist living in Ukraine.

On January 13th in Volnovaha, Donetsk 11 people were killed in what looked like a spectacular rocket attack. Video footage from the scene showed how deadly a Grad rocket (Hail) attack can be. The spread of the rocket attack left small craters on both sides of a highway running through Vonovaha. The camera then turned and showed a medium sized yellow bus that looked like it was hit in the attack.

The governments of Ukraine and the United States immediately called for an investigation while at the same time concluding that the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics were behind the attacks.

 Attacks on the airport of Donetsk and the shelling of the bus, which killed 10 people and injured 13 more, constitute gross violations of the Minsk agreements”,  said Marie Harf, the U.S. State Department’s Spokesperson. (The individual who occupied that same post as Harf, when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, was Victoria Nuland, who on February 4th of 2014 selected “Yats” Yatsenyuk to lead the post-22 February 2014 coup Ukrainian Government. Harf’s post could be a similar stepping-stone for Harf.)

The OSCE investigated and concluded that the GRAD (HAIL) rocket attack came from north north-east of the city. According to the OSCE both sides are still accusing each other. In the meantime, Ukraine has cleaned up the attack scene, and most of the evidence is now moved. Social propagandists are weighing in wherever they will be heard, to sway opinion.

What’s at Stake

If the propaganda is starting to sound like the Boeing MH-17 attack all over again, it’s because the stakes are that high. If Poroshenko’s government did this, the entire government is discredited. The Ukrainian army attacked its own people on video. Marie Harf placed the moral, political, and diplomatic weight of Barrack Obama’s presidency behind Kiev’s version of events.

The MH-17 Bus: Kiev’s New Opportunity to Justify a Massive Attack

What would have happened if the pilot of Malaysian flight MH-17 had miraculously survived and said exactly what he saw that day? Would anything Russia, Ukraine, or the USA have to say counter that? If he said he saw fighter jets would it matter? If he said it was a BUK missile could anyone argue?

This time the pilot survived. Sergei Cherenko was the bus driver when that bus was attacked in Volnovaha. He not only survived, he tried to help his passengers. Yesterday, he gave an interview with Korrespondent.net and told exactly what happened, and the direction he saw the rockets come from. Mr. Cherenko who has worked for 21 years as a bus driver is still working the same route today with no time off in between.

He was driving to Donetsk when they stopped at the checkpoint. On his left was Volonavaha. He stated clearly that if a Grad had landed near the bus, no one would have survived. He saw the Grad rockets coming from his left which was north toward the city. According to his testimony, which is in line with other survivors, the Grad attack came from Ukrainian controlled territory.

This time the pilot survived. Will anyone believe him?

Blowback

Will the Ukrainian government admit its guilt in this apparent attack? Can the US government muster any moral outrage at the thought that Kiev is spending all the good will America may have left in the world for a long time?

Kiev is using the incident as a pretext to level the city of Gorlovka. The Ukrainian military have dropped 250 lb bombs on the city. Shelling, rocket, and missile strikes are leveling portions of it. Across Donbass this is going on. In the small town of Slavanosbersk over 140 homes have been destroyed and the town has no military targets.

Across Donetsk artillery and missile strikes have not ceased and are at levels higher than the last time the war was hot. The attacks on civilian populations is now non-stop in the front-line cities. 

Posted in General, Politics / World News | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

No, the American People DON’T Support Torture

Were Widely-Publicized Polls Misleading?

We reported last month that Americans support torture … because they don’t know the facts.

But it turns out that Americans’ view on torture may be more nuanced than that.

As several professors reported on December 11th, Americans are NOT okay with most of the torture techniques which their government actually used at Guantanamo, Abu Gharaib, and various “black sites”.

Steven Kull – director of the Program for Public Consultation, affiliated with the University of Maryland – found the same thing.

Bottom line:  Sloppy polling (using vague terms instead of asking about specific techniques) – coupled with Americans’ ignorance about what was done in their name – may have led to misleading results.

Posted in Politics / World News | 4 Comments

Poll: People All Over the World Blame Bad Government Policy for Runaway Inequality

Big Corporations Are Only Part of the Problem …

We’ve extensively documented that runaway inequality is one of the main threats to economic stabilityand peace.

And we’ve shown that we’ve now got king-and-serf levels of inequality … and arguably the worst inequality in world history.

While the mind-blowing corruption of the big corporations is obviously part of the problem, we argue that bad government policy is actually the deeper source of runaway inequality.

Even the Wall Street Journal notes:

Many aspects of the recovery, and the Federal Reserve’s stimulus policies, have benefited the rich over others.

Apparently, the people of the world agree …

A new Pew poll of people in 44 countries finds that they blame bad government policy more than any other factor for inequality:

Who or what is to blame for inequality? People in our survey identify many culprits, but the top offender is government. Across the 44 nations polled, a median of 29% say their government’s economic policies are the most important reason for the wealth gap; 23% blame the amount of workers’ wages, while somewhat fewer blame the educational system, the fact that some work harder than others, international trade or the tax system.

Posted in Business / Economics, Politics / World News | 1 Comment

Even Central Bankers Now Admit QE Doesn’t Work

Even As European Central Bank Is Set to Unleash a Massive Round of Quantitative Easing, Central Bank Heads Admit QE Doesn’t Work

The former head of the Bank of England – Mervyn King – said today that more QE will not help the economy:

We have had the biggest monetary stimulus that the world must have ever seen, and we still have not solved the problem of weak demand. The idea that monetary stimulus after six years … is the answer doesn’t seem (right) to me.

Also today, William White – the brilliant economist who called the 2008 crisis well ahead of time, who is head of the OECD’s Review Committee and former chief economist for BIS (the central banks’ central bank)  slammed QE:

QE is not going to help at all. Europe has far greater reliance than the US on small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) and they get their money from banks, not from the bond market.

***

Even after the stress tests the banks are still in ‘hunkering down mode’. They are not lending to small firms for a variety of reasons. The interest rate differential is still going up.

***

Mr White said QE is a disguised form of competitive devaluation. “The Japanese are now doing it as well but nobody can complain because the US started it,” he said.

“There is a significant risk that this is going to end badly because the Bank of Japan is funding 40pc of all government spending. This could end in high inflation, perhaps even hyperinflation.

“The emerging markets got on the bandwagon by resisting upward pressure on their currencies and building up enormous foreign exchange reserves. The wrinkle this time is that corporations in these countries – especially in Asia and Latin America – have borrowed $6 trillion in US dollars, often through offshore centres. That is going to create a huge currency mismatch problem as US rates rise and the dollar goes back up.”

***

He deplores the rush to QE as an “unthinking fashion”. Those who argue that the US and the UK are growing faster than Europe because they carried out QE early are confusing “correlation with causality”. The Anglo-Saxon pioneers have yet to pay the price. “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings. There are serious side-effects building up and we don’t know what will happen when they try to reverse what they have done.”

The painful irony is that central banks may have brought about exactly what they most feared by trying to keep growth buoyant at all costs, he argues, and not allowing productivity gains to drive down prices gently as occurred in episodes of the 19th century. “They have created so much debt that they may have turned a good deflation into a bad deflation after all.”

The former long-term head of the Federal Reserve (Alan Greenspan) says that QE has failed to help the economy.

The original inventor of QE agrees.

Numerous academic studies confirm this. And see this.

Indeed, many high-level economists – including Federal Reserve economists and the main architect of Japan’s QE program – now say that QE may cause deflation and harms the economy in the long run.

Economists also note that QE helps the rich … but hurts the little guy. QE is one of the main causes of inequality (and see this and this). And economists now admit that runaway inequality cripples the economy. So QE indirectly hurts the economy by fueling runaway inequality.

A high-level Federal Reserve official says QE is “the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time”. And the “Godfather” of Japan’s monetary policy admits that it “is a Ponzi game”.

Posted in Business / Economics, Politics / World News | 6 Comments

The Dire State of Our Nation (What You Won’t Hear from the Politicians)

By John Whitehead, constitutional and human rights attorney, and founder of the Rutherford Institute.

“As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.” ― Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

No matter what the politicians say about how great America is and how we, as a people, will always triumph, the fact is that the nation seems to be imploding.

Despite the dire state of our nation, however, you can rest assured that none of the problems that continue to plague our lives and undermine our freedoms will be addressed by our so-called elected representatives in any credible, helpful way, and certainly not during a State of the Union address.

Consider the following facts:

Our government is massively in debt. Currently, the national debt is somewhere in the vicinity of $18 trillion. More than a third of our debt is owned by foreign countries, namely China and Japan.

Our education system is abysmal. Despite the fact that we spend more than most of the world on education ($115,000 per student), we rank 36th in the world when it comes to math, reading and science, far below most of our Asian counterparts. Even so, we continue to insist on standardized programs such as Common Core, which teach students to be test-takers rather than thinkers.

Our homes provide little protection against government intrusions. Police agencies, already empowered to crash through your door if they suspect you’re up to no good, now have radars that allow them to “see” through the walls of your home.

Our prisons, housing the largest number of inmates in the world and still growing, have become money-making enterprises for private corporations that rely on the inmates for cheap labor.

We are no longer a representative republic. The U.S. has become a corporate oligarchy. As a recent survey indicates, our elected officials, especially those in the nation’s capital, represent the interests of the rich and powerful rather than the average citizen.

We’ve got the most expensive, least effective health care system in the world compared to other western, industrialized nations.

The air pollution levels are dangerously high for almost half of the U.S. population, putting Americans at greater risk of premature death, aggravated asthma, difficulty breathing and future cardiovascular problems.

Despite outlandish amounts of money being spent on the nation’s “infrastructure,” there are more than 63,000 bridges—one out of every 10 bridges in the country—in urgent need of repair. Some of these bridges are used 250 million times a day by trucks, school buses, passenger cars and other vehicles.

Americans know little to nothing about their rights or how the government is supposed to operate. This includes educators and politicians. For example, 27 percent of elected officials cannot name even one right or freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment, while 54 percent do not know the Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war.

Nearly one out of every three American children live in poverty, ranking us among the worst in the developed world.

Patrolled by police, our schools have become little more than quasi-prisons in which kids as young as age 4 are being handcuffed for “acting up,” subjected to body searches and lockdowns, and suspended for childish behavior.

We’re no longer innocent until proven guilty. In our present surveillance state, that burden of proof has now been shifted so that we are all suspects to be spied on, searched, scanned, frisked, monitored, tracked and treated as if we’re potentially guilty of some wrongdoing or other.

Parents, no longer viewed as having an inherent right to raise their children as they see fit, are increasingly being arrested for letting their kids walk to the playground alone, or play outside alone. Similarly, parents who challenge a doctor’s finding or request a second opinion regarding their children’s health care needs are being charged with medical child abuse and, in a growing number of cases, losing custody of their children to the government.

Private property means little at a time when SWAT teams and other government agents can invade your home, break down your doors, kill your dog, wound or kill you, damage your furnishings and terrorize your family. Likewise, if government officials can fine and arrest you for growing vegetables in your front yard, praying with friends in your living room, installing solar panels on your roof, and raising chickens in your backyard, you’re no longer the owner of your property.

Court rulings undermining the Fourth Amendment and justifying invasive strip searches have left us powerless against police empowered to forcefully draw our blood, forcibly take our DNA, strip search us, and probe us intimately. Accounts are on the rise of individuals—men and women alike—being subjected to what is essentially government-sanctioned rape by police in the course of “routine” traffic stops.

Americans can no longer rely on the courts to mete out justice. The courts were established to intervene and protect the people against the government and its agents when they overstep their bounds. Yet the courts increasingly march in lockstep with the police state, while concerned themselves primarily with advancing the government’s agenda, no matter how unjust or illegal.

Americans have no protection against police abuse. It is no longer unusual to hear about incidents in which police shoot unarmed individuals first and ask questions later. What is increasingly common, however, is the news that the officers involved in these incidents get off with little more than a slap on the hands.

If there is any absolute maxim by which the federal government seems to operate, it is that the American taxpayer always gets ripped off. This is true, whether you’re talking about taxpayers being forced to fund high-priced weaponry that will be used against us, endless wars that do little for our safety or our freedoms, or bloated government agencies such as the National Security Agency with its secret budgets, covert agendas and clandestine activities. Rubbing salt in the wound, even monetary awards in lawsuits against government officials who are found guilty of wrongdoing are paid by the taxpayer.

Americans are powerless in the face of militarized police. In early America, government agents were not permitted to enter one’s home without permission or in a deceitful manner. And citizens could resist arrest when a police officer tried to restrain them without proper justification or a warrant. Daring to dispute a warrant with a police official today who is armed with high-tech military weapons would be nothing short of suicidal. Moreover, as police forces across the country continue to be transformed into extensions of the military, Americans are finding their once-peaceful communities transformed into military outposts, complete with tanks, weaponry, and other equipment designed for the battlefield.

Now these are not problems that you can just throw money at, as most politicians are inclined to do. As I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, these are problems that will continue to plague our nation unless and until Americans wake up to the fact that we’re the only ones who can change things.

For starters, we’ll need to actually pay attention to what’s going on around us, and I don’t mean by turning on the TV news, which is little more than government propaganda. Pay attention to what your local city councils are enacting. Pay attention to what your school officials are teaching and not teaching. Pay attention to whom your elected officials are allowing to wine and dine them.

Most of all, stop acting like it really matters whether you vote for a Republican or Democrat, because it doesn’t, and start acting like citizens who expect the government to work for them, rather than the other way around.

While that bloated beast called the federal government may not listen to you, you can have a great impact on your local governing bodies. This will mean gathering together with your friends and neighbors and, for example, forcing your local city council to start opposing state and federal programs that are ripping you off. And if need be, your local city council can refuse to abide by the dictates that continue to flow from Washington, DC.

All of the signs point to something nasty up ahead. The time to act is now.

Posted in Politics / World News | 3 Comments

How Do You Unmanipulate a Manipulated Economy?

Breaking the stranglehold of vested interests is the essential step to rebuilding an economy that isn’t totally dependent on manipulated money and statistics.

The word manipulated has the sour taste of officially sanctioned distortion in service of an Elite’s interests. At a minimum, manipulation smacks of intent to defraud. If there is no intent to defraud or mislead, then what’s the purpose of manipulating statistics, media coverage and official narratives?

As a result, the unsavory reality of our massively manipulated economy is masked by insipid words such as stimulus, easing and investing in our future–as if borrowing and squandering trillions of dollars to further enrich the few at the expense of the many is anything but blatant grift, fraud and embezzlement of taxpayer funds.

Regardless of what slippery words are deployed to mask the manipulation, it doesn’t change the reality that the U.S. economy remains a manipulated mess that is dependent on monetary and statistical manipulation. If you doubt the economy is dependent on monetary and statistical manipulation, then ask yourself what will happen to the economy should the Federal Reserve’s zero-interest rate policy (ZIRP) be rescinded, and interest rates return to historic norms.

Ask yourself what happens if the Federal government actually declared the increase in public debt as the true measure of fiscal deficits rather than the ginned-up deficit number–a number that is much less than the actual deficit reflected in the annual increase in public debt.

Ask yourself what the gross domestic product (GDP) would be if hedonic adjustments and other flim-flam were eliminated from the calculation.

Ask yourself what the unemployment number would be if the federal government only counted living-wage jobs (i.e. full-time jobs, those with multiple part-time jobs that equal a full-time job, the self-employed who net a living wage, etc.) and counted every resident of working age who is not disabled as employable.

Left unmanipulated, the statistics would no longer be rosy, and both the economy and our perception of the economy would tank.

The irony of relying on manipulation to prop up an economy designed to serve vested interests is the manipulation becomes permanent, as every participant in the manipulated system optimizes their behavior to exploit the manipulation. Once the manipulation is withdrawn, the economy falls to pieces because participants have optimized their actions to extract the maximum benefit from the manipulation.

To attempt to invest productively makes no financial sense whatsoever. Those who win big in manipulated-money economies are those who leverage bets in what’s incentivized by manipulation: debt and speculation.

Instead of seeking constructive investments that generate increased productivity in the economy, players optimize their investments to influence the manipulators in charge (politicos, regulators, central bankers, etc.) or speculate with the excess funds flooding the system as a result of monetary manipulation.

An economy optimized for indebtedness and speculation is akin to a spoiled kid who is rewarded for sitting around playing video games and eating chocolate cake and potato chips. The sugar-high of the chocolate-cake diet feeds the psychological addiction of playing counter-productive, meaningless games all day, and the kid’s expanding waistline and deteriorating fitness go unnoticed.

Withdrawing the manipulation that rewards debt and speculation is akin to demanding the spoiled kid start running laps and doing push-ups on a diet of broccoli and carrot sticks. The spoiled kid’s tantrums will be epic and unending, as he pulls every trick in the book to escape the discipline of reality and seeks a return to the easy life of squandering his health playing games and eating junk food.

That the game-playing and junk food diet are ultimately destructive are lost on the spoiled kid. In the exact same fashion, the U.S. economy will throw a screaming tantrum the second the monetary and statistical manipulation is unwound, and those sectors that have benefited the most from the manipulation will scream the loudest and longest.

Like the spoiled kid who threatens to hold his breath until he expires (anything to escape the discipline of a functioning market), the sectors that have grown fat on the manipulated money will claim they’re having a fatal spell, and that their demise will take down the entire economy.

The only way to save the spoiled kid from the destructive lack of discipline is to call his bluff: go ahead and hold your breath until you expire. Everybody knows it was a bluff, and the kid will grumpily re-enter reality once his bluff has been called.

There is no way to painlessly unmanipulate an economy that has grown dependent on manipulation. Addiction can only be broken by going cold turkey: ending all the manipulation and forcing the economy to adjust to the discipline of reality and an unfettered market for money, credit and risk.

The U.S. can survive the demise of its bloated, unproductive banking sector, the Federal Reserve that enforces the sector’s power, and the eradication of its numerous classes of parasites and leeches. Every parasitic vested interest will claim it is essential to the well-being of the nation; the truth is entirely the opposite–each is terribly and intrinsically destructive to the fabric of the nation.

Each parasitic vested interest will sob and moan and threaten to hold its breath, whimpering that the discipline of reality and the unfettered market will kill it. If the discipline of reality and the unfettered market will kill the vested interest, then it is in the best interests of the nation to hurry its demise, as breaking the stranglehold of vested interests is the essential step to rebuilding an economy that isn’t dysfunctionally dependent on manipulated money and statistics.


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Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy
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Posted in General | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments