Friday, January 31, 2014

How the GOP Lost Middle America

Out of the Republican retreat on Maryland’s Eastern shore comes word that the House leadership is raising the white flag of surrender on immigration.

The GOP will agree to halt the deportation of 12 million illegal aliens, and sign on to a blanket amnesty. It only asks that the 12 million not be put on a path to citizenship.

Sorry, but losers do not dictate terms. Rich Trumka of the AFL-CIO says amnesty is no longer enough. Illegal aliens must be put on a path to citizenship and given green cards to work — and join unions.

Rep. Paul Ryan and the Wall Street Journal are for throwing in the towel. Legalize them all and start them on the path to citizenship.

A full and final capitulation. Let’s get it over with.

To understand why and how the Republican Party lost Middle America, and faces demographic death, we need to go back to Bush I.

At the Cold War’s end, the GOP reached a fork in the road. The determination of Middle Americans to preserve the country they grew up in, suddenly collided with the profit motive of Corporate America.

The Fortune 500 wanted to close factories in the USA and ship production abroad — where unions did not exist, regulations were light, taxes were low, and wages were a fraction of what they were here in America.

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Is Netanyahu Certifiable?

The expanded and most explicit form of my headline question is this. Is Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu of sound mind and knowingly talking propaganda nonsense about threats to Israel’s security in order to fool the world including most of its Jews, or, is he unbalanced, mentally disturbed, even clinically insane? I ask because his rubbishing in Davos of the most important speech any Iranian leader has made since the revolution which brought the mullahs to power 35 years ago sent me to bed recalling something my father said to me when I was a very young boy. “There are none so blind as those who don’t want to see.”

What was there in President Rouhani’s address to the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting for Netanyahu to see if he was of sound mind?

Rouhani’s main message to the region, and probably Saudi Arabia in particular, was that his government is fully prepared “to engage with all neighbouring countries to achieve shared practical solutions on a range of issues.”

His main message to the world, and probably President Obama in particular, was this.

“In recent years a dominant voice has been repeatedly heard. ‘The military option is on the table.’ Against the backdrop of this illegal and ineffective contention, let me say loud and clear that peace is within reach. So, in the name of the Republic of Iran, I propose, as a starting step, consideration by the United Nations of the project The World Against Violence and Extremism, WAVE. Let us all join in this WAVE. I invite all states, international organizations and civil institutions to undertake a new effort to guide the world in this direction… We should start thinking about a Coalition for Enduring Peace across the globe instead of the ineffective Coalitions for War in various parts of the world.”

Of course he was on a charm offensive and taking full advantage of being at the Davos meeting to appeal to the major investors present, but in my view that did not dilute the integrity of his vision of the new politics needed to create a better world. He was surely speaking for most citizens everywhere when he said: “People all over the world are tired of war, violence and extremism. They hope for change in the status quo.”

Monday, January 27, 2014

Eugenics and Population Control: How the 85 richest see the 3.5 billion poorest

Bill Gates Applauds Thailand’s Demographic Suicide

With smashing timing, Bill and Melinda Gates released a missive in the Wall Street Journal about the three myths on the world’s poor coinciding with a report announcing that the top richest 85 people (a list they are solidly on) in the world have more money than the poorest 3.5 billion or 50% of the entire world’s population.

This is an insane wealth gap. These people and their bajillions are essentially running the world.

In the third myth of their response, the Gates’ commend Thailand as a great example of family planning because Thai women went from having an average of six children per woman just a few decades ago to having an average of 1.6 children today.

There’s just one problem. Replacement rate — that is the number of children needed to maintain a stable population — is 2.1 (but it’s even higher for countries with higher mortality rates). That means that Thailand is below replacement rate, a reality that is screwing up the country’s social and economic foundations.

It’s so bad in Thailand, actually, that articles have detailed the “aging crisis” the country now faces due to the low birth rate. In fact, all the Asian nations are now facing this issue, and most of the developed world is below replacement rate as well.

Read the entire article

Thursday, January 23, 2014

US Feigns "Horror" Over Cooked-Up Report on Syrian War They Engineered

Update: Further details have emerged regarding the authors of the report. It was produced by British law firm Carter-Ruck on behalf of Qatar who funded it (CNN). Carter-Ruck had in the past defended Saudis suspected of funding Al Qaeda.

ABC's "U.S.: Saudis Still Filling Al Qaeda’s Coffers," would report that Yasin al Qadi was being represented by Carter-Ruck against US charges filed just after 9/11 claiming he was financing Al Qaeda. It should also be noted that Yasin al Qadi is a close ally of US' partner in the Syrian conflict, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. The suspicious report, conveniently released just a day before the Geneva conference, emerging from a tangled web of state-sponsored terrorism and dubious Western law firms only further taints the West's image as they go into "peace talks" regarding Syria. 

January 22, 2014 (LD) - As with every Western-backed conference assembled regarding Syria, dramtic fabrications revealed just ahead of proceedings are intended to give them and their predetermined outcomes both gravity and "urgency." Upcoming "peace talks" to be held in Switzerland are no exception. A report cooked up by the unelected dictatorship in Qatar is based on an anonymous source, codename "Caesar," and remains admittedly unverified. 

The BBC's report, "US and UN express horror at Syria torture report," claims:

The report, by three former war crimes prosecutors, is based on the evidence of a defected military police photographer, referred to only as Caesar, who along with others reportedly smuggled about 55,000 digital images of some 11,000 dead detainees out of Syria.
The BBC then reveals the propaganda value the report is intended to serve in upcoming talks by stating:

US state department spokeswoman Marie Harf said it "underscores that it makes it even more important that we make progress [at Geneva II]. The situation on the ground is so horrific that we need to get a political transition in place, and we need to get the Assad regime out of power."
Read the entire article 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What Did Our Wars Win?

"He ended one war and kept us out of any other," is the tribute paid President Eisenhower.

Ike ended the Korean conflict in 1953, refused to intervene to save the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, and, rather than back the British-French-Israeli invasion, ordered them all out of Egypt in 1956.

Ending America longest wars may prove to be Barack Obama's legacy.

For, while ending wars without victory may not garner from the historians' the accolade of "great" or "near great," it is sometimes the duty of a president who has inherited a war the nation no longer wishes to fight.

That was Nixon's fate, as well as Ike's, and Obama's.

And as we look back at our interventions in the 21st century, where are the gains of all our fighting, bleeding and dying?

We know the costs—8,000 dead, 40,000 wounded, $2 trillion in wealth sunk. But where are the benefits?

After Moammar Gadhafi fell in Libya, the mercenaries he had hired returned to Mali. The French had to intervene. In Benghazi, the city we started the war to save, a U.S. ambassador and three Americans would be murdered by terrorists.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Government of the Rich, by the Rich and for the Rich: It’s Time for ‘Militant Nonviolent Resistance’

We now live in a two-tiered system of governance. There are two sets of laws: one set for the government and its corporate allies, and another set for you and me.

The laws which apply to the majority of the population allow the government to do things like sending SWAT teams crashing through your door in the middle of the night, rectally probing you during a roadside stop, or listening in on your phone calls and reading all of your email messages, confiscating your property, or indefinitely detaining you in a military holding cell. These are the laws which are executed every single day against a population which has up until now been blissfully ignorant of the radical shift taking place in American government.

Then there are the laws constructed for the elite, which allow bankers who crash the economy to walk free. They’re the laws which allow police officers to avoid prosecution when they shoot unarmed citizens, strip search non-violent criminals, or taser pregnant women on the side of the road, or pepper spray peaceful protestors. These are the laws of the new age we are entering, an age of neo-feudalism, in which corporate-state rulers dominate the rest of us, where the elite create the laws which can result in a person being jailed for possessing a small amount of marijuana while bankers that launder money for drug cartels walk free. In other words, we have moved into an age where we are the slaves and they are the rulers.

Unfortunately, this two-tiered system of government has been a long time coming. As I detail in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, the march toward an imperial presidency, to congressional intransigence and impotence, to a corporate takeover of the mechanisms of government, and the division of America into haves and have nots has been building for years.

Thus we now find ourselves at a point where, for the first time in history, Congress is dominated by a majority of millionaires who are, on average, 14 times wealthier than the average American. Making matters worse, as the Center for Responsive Politics reports, “at a time when lawmakers are debating issues like unemployment benefits, food stamps and the minimum wage, which affect people with far fewer resources, as well as considering an overhaul of the tax code,” our so-called representatives are completely out of touch with the daily struggles of most Americans--those who live from paycheck to paycheck and are caught in the exhausting struggle to survive on a day-to-day basis.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It’s All About Politics

"This paragraph from a New York Times story on proposed new sanctions for Iran sent a chill down my spine:

This naturally appeared in the National Journal, one of those wonky periodicals that none but the most wonkish amongst us pay attention to, let alone read: the reason I’m highlighting it is because Fournier’s complaint illustrates a widely-held misconception about the making of American foreign policy – or, indeed, any nation’s foreign policy. According to this Boy Scout version of how it works – or, rather, how it should work – US officials confer with a gaggle of "experts," determine what is in the "national interest" on the merits, and then proceed to implement the policy. In short, the policy is determined objectively, without reference to vulgar political considerations.

Of course, this is not the way policy is made, and – contra Fournier – there is no nation on earth, including the "democracies," that has ever conducted its foreign policy in this manner.

To begin with, let’s look at just who is making the policy: is it a team of "experts" who stand above the fray, academics and diplomats whose knowledge of the realities on the ground gives them the credentials to formulate a rational course of action (or inaction)? No way: policy is made by elected officials sensitive to the political winds, whichever way they’re blowing. Yes, it’s true the diplomatic and intelligence communities have input: but as we saw in the run up to the Iraq war, their conclusions can be massaged, manipulated, and outright ignored by politicians who have their own agenda. Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby peering over the shoulders of analysts at Langley is just one recent example.

Even in cases where politicians don’t have strong convictions one way or the other, the first item on their agenda is reelection. They want to stay in office, or, perhaps, they aspire to a higher office: in any case, regardless of their actual views, our policy-makers are always looking over their shoulders at lobbyists and constituents before they commit themselves to any particular course.

In short, given the nature of the State, the idea that we’re going to take politics – not to mention lobbyists! – out of foreign policy decision-making is a fantasy that cannot come true. 

Read the entire article

Monday, January 13, 2014

Who You Gonna Call? Ghost Writers Spin Government Propaganda

The magazine headline reads “Conspiracies”, below that it reads “Mysteries, Secrets & Lies” and farther down in the middle of the front page is a picture of papers being shredded. Even lower, smack in the middle of the front page reads “Confidential”. I couldn’t resist, so I purchased the magazine a few weeks ago which was sitting on a shelf in a large grocery store.

I could see that the magazine covered most of the recent major government false flags, historic high crimes, scandals, and high profile government secrets all piled into one magazine mostly for the sake of entertainment. Actually, I would venture to suggest that the purpose of the "Conspiracies" magazine is to fictionalize government crimes and agendas, so they appear as tales of wild (unrealistic) conspiracies in the minds of those that are not awakened. Those who are asleep in the matrix of government lies will predictably and comfortably fall for such pile of what they consider entertainment that endorses how you already think. I don’t imagine anyone who is truly and sincerely looking for the truth will rely on this ‘Conspiracies’ magazine for verifiable facts and accurate historical accounts of things that have happened. That would lead one to conclude with reasonable assurance that the magazine I had just acquired was written and designed with other more sinister purposes like maintaining public mass deception. I was thinking CIA all the way.

As I read one topic after another I noticed the writer, Mr. J Lee Marks trashes truth seekers, reiterates government lies, ignores known evidence and a lot more. Marks even adds new stories to the government “conspiracies” list like the death of Michael Hastings. Someone decided in June of 2013 that if you question the LAPD’s version of the odd car crash which they worked so hard to cover up, then you are a “conspiracy” theorist. This is Orwell's 1984 in full motion. Author Marks must know something about brand new Mercedes automobiles that even Mercedes doesn’t know. Cars don’t catch fire, explode, and suddenly speed out of control on their own, and brand new Mercedes engines don’t disconnect and fly through the hood of a car and land 150+ feet away due to an impact with a tree in situations where just over 24 hours prior the person in the car was emailing about threats from FBI.

Other new topics that fell under the J Lee Marks "Conspiracies" magazine list were the NSA exposed spying. But, I thought to myself, if something is known, then how can it be a conspiracy? Oh wait, "conspiracy" is defined by when a group or two or more working together to do something evil, unlawful or treacherous in secret. I then realized, this definition fit in this (NSA) case. I thought, maybe Marks is not all bad. Marks admits that NSA spying is real, stating at one point “In June 2013, Americans were shocked to learn what conspiracy theorists had long suspected. Our government is spying on us.” – Not bad, I thought. Then a few paragraphs later Marks delivers a sneaky blow to defenders of freedom by defending government mass surveillance and the NSA in particular: “As more and more would-be-terrorists turn to the Internet to spread their hateful message, it is important to keep a watchful eye on them.”

Thursday, January 9, 2014

500 Years of History Shows that Mass Spying Is Always Aimed at Crushing Dissent

No matter which government conducts mass surveillance, they also do it to crush dissent, and then give a false rationale for why they’re doing it.

For example, the U.S. Supreme Court noted in its 1965 Stanford v. Texas opinion (footnotes omitted):
While the Fourth Amendment [of the U.S. Constitution] was most immediately the product of contemporary revulsion against a regime of writs of assistance, its roots go far deeper. Its adoption in the Constitution of this new Nation reflected the culmination in England a few years earlier of a struggle against oppression which had endured for centuries. The story of that struggle has been fully chronicled in the pages of this Court’s reports, and it would be a needless exercise in pedantry to review again the detailed history of the use of general warrants as instruments of oppression from the time of the Tudors, through the Star Chamber, the Long Parliament, the Restoration, and beyond. 
What is significant to note is that this history is largely a history of conflict between the Crown and the press. It was in enforcing the laws licensing the publication of literature and, later, in prosecutions for seditious libel, that general warrants were systematically used in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. In Tudor England, officers of the Crown were given roving commissions to search where they pleased in order to suppress and destroy the literature of dissent, both Catholic and Puritan. In later years, warrants were sometimes more specific in content, but they typically authorized of all persons connected of the premises of all persons connected with the publication of a particular libel, or the arrest and seizure of all the papers of a named person thought to be connected with a libel.
By “libel”, the court is referring to a critique of the British government  which the King or his ministers didn’t like … they would label such criticism “libel” and then seize all of the author’s papers.

The Supreme Court provided interesting historical details in 1961 in the case of Marcus v. Search Warrant (footnotes omitted):

Read the entire article

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

How to Win a Culture War

For as long social conservatives have been a force within the Republican Party, moderates and liberals have insisted that their presence hurts the GOP. There is certainly evidence Americans are becoming more socially liberal on some issues.

In May, a Gallup headline read, “Same-Sex Marriage Support Solidifies Above 50% in U.S.: Support has been 50% or above in three separate readings in last year.” In October, the same firm announced, “For First Time, Americans Favor Legalizing Marijuana: Support surged 10 percentage points in past year, to 58%.” Medical-marijuana initiatives have been widely successful, and now recreational marijuana has become legal in places like Washington and Colorado. More states may soon follow.

A poll conducted in April by the Public Religion Research Institute showed that older Americans and white evangelical Protestants were the two groups most opposed to same-sex marriage and relaxing marijuana laws. But attitudes are changing even among Christians, as a Religion News Service interview with PRRI Research Director Daniel Cox revealed:

“We see these generational differences even among certain religious communities,” said Cox. According to the poll, younger Christians, too, are twice as likely to see marijuana use as morally acceptable compared to older Christians. “It’s forecasting a future where the majority of Christians will likely also favor legalization, although they’ll likely be a little bit behind Americans overall,” Cox said.

Yet if Americans—particularly younger ones, including Christians—are increasingly embracing same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization, public opinion is tacking rightward on the issue that has long inspired conservative culture warriors the most.

Read the entire article

Friday, January 3, 2014

Demand An Unconditional Pardon for Edward Snowden

Benumbed as we are about the extent of the National Security Agency’s systematic spying on the American people, I thought nothing could surprise me anymore. I was wrong. The news that the NSA is intercepting newly-ordered computers en route to their purchasers and installing them with back doors really takes the cake: it conjures the kind of nightmare world a writer of dystopian fiction might imagine. I don’t even want to think about the possible scope of such a program, or its implications for the future. But I must: we all must.

In a rational world, there would be no question about the moral and legal status of the man responsible for exposing this treason to the Constitution: he would be hailed as a hero by every sector of society, from the political class to the working class, and given the Congressional Medal of Honor. In our sorry, sinful world, however, Edward Snowden is on the lam, charged with two counts of violating the WWI-era Espionage Act and one count of stealing "government property." Facing at least thirty years in prison, probably much more, he has been forced to seek asylum in Russia, of all places: condemned, as the New York Times put it in an editorial calling for leniency in his case, to “a life of looking over his shoulder."

In the Bizarro World that enveloped us after 9/11, all values were inverted: good became evil, war was transmuted into peace, and the very concept of liberty was erased, replaced by the false idol of security. And the nightmare continues: long after the smoke that choked Manhattan cleared, our queer condition persists. In our new world-turned-upside-down, the guilty are glorified and the innocent pursued to the ends of the earth.

Glenn Greenwald, one of the journalists contacted by Snowden to act as a conduit for his revelations, wrote a book before all of this happened that perfectly explains why and how this came to be possible. In With Liberty and Justice for Some (2012), he prefigured Snowden’s predicament with eerie accuracy:

"Those with political and financial clout are routinely allowed to break the law with no legal repercussions whatsoever. Often they need not even exploit their access to superior lawyers because they don’t see the inside of a courtroom in the first place — not even when they get caught in the most egregious criminality. The criminal justice system is now reserved almost exclusively for ordinary Americans, who are routinely subjected to harsh punishments even for the pettiest of offenses."

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Big Issue of 2014: Iran

There’s no question what the big foreign policy issue for the Obama administration is going to be in 2014: Iran. How the US navigates the small space between war and peace in the volatile Middle East is going to determine the fate of our overextended and nearly bankrupt empire, and Tehran – the epicenter of yet another ginned up "crisis" – is ground zero.

This drama has been playing out over the course of the past decade, starting with the Bush administration’s weird relations with the mullahs – a relationship that was openly hostile and covertly something else altogether.

Team Bush regularly denounced Tehran as the main generator of terrorism in the region, and routinely threatened them, but these were mere words. In practice, US foreign policy actually favored the Iranians: the invasion of Iraq, engineered with the help of Iranian agent Ahmed Chalabi, eliminated their old enemy Saddam and opened up a whole new sphere of influence. The anti-Saddam groups that took power after the invasion and the much vaunted elections had long been headquartered and succored in Tehran, and when they reentered Iraq in the wake of the Americans’ short-lived "victory" the long arm of the mullahs reached all the way to the southern border with Saudi Arabia. Iraq today is an Iranian ally, albeit one that is still asking the US government for aid to fight the Sunnis and keep Kurdistan from hiving off.

This covert US-Iranian collaboration ended, however, with Israeli demands that their American patrons "do something" about the alleged Iranian nuclear threat. No sooner had we declared "mission accomplished" in Iraq then Tehran became the next target in America’s ongoing Middle Eastern regime change operation. Sanctions, a propaganda war, a covert military campaign utilizing Sunni terrorist outfits like Jundullah in Iranian Baluchistan, and a sustained cyber-attack on Iran’s energy infrastructure soon followed.

The end of the Bush era did not signal any real change in US policy: the Obama administration not only continued and increased the economic sanctions, but there’s some question about whether the US is still supporting groups like Jundullah and the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), which have conducted attacks on Iranian soil. However, the election of Barack Obama signaled a sea change in the American polity: a war weariness engendered by a decade of constant military action, which was in large part responsible for propelling Obama into the White House. 

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