See below the sticky for NEW CONTENT.

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Lawlessness / Ruined – part 4

From Mondoweiss:
(Photo: Raed Abu Rumaila/Facebook)

“Israeli soldiers claim 3-year old in Hebron was ‘camouflage’ for ‘agents of terrorist activities’” by Allison Deger (Mondoweiss)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

==== === == =
Palestinian journalist Raed Abu Rumaila recorded an apparent instance of Israeli soldiers harassing a 3-year old in Hebron’s Old City on Tuesday, posting the clip and photos of the incident to social media. The boy is seen being held by soldiers for under a minute, yet the incident continue to gain steam as Israeli police today accused the small child of acting as “the camouflage” to “agents for terrorist activities.”

Above the video, Abu Rumaila wrote, “A soldier carrying a vegetable corer and claiming that the child was trying to stab him.” The footage is shaky and looks like it was recorded on a cell phone. In frame are two soldiers, one holding the metal corer and another holding the unidentified boy by the arm.
A voice shouts in Hebrew “He doesn’t understand,” referring to the child. A soldier says “one second, one second,” another yells, “I don’t care, step back.”When the boy’s father approaches with another child, the soldier pulls back, but his clutch is quickly released. The father is heard shouting back in Hebrew, “Give me the boy, leave the boy alone!”
= == === ====

“Fingerprints, Eye Scans Now Required To Buy Food In India, As Banks Cut Off Cryptocurrencies” by John Vibes (Activist Post)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

There was a string of interesting financial reports from India this week that appear to be unrelated at first glance, but upon further inspection they all seem to be working towards a common goal—an intrusive big brother surveillance state that tracks every single financial transaction for every single resident.

According to The New York Times, the Indian government has implemented an identification system that will require scans of fingerprints, eyes, and faces for all financial transactions, including food, banking, cell phone plans and state assistance. The program is called Aadhaar, and it will be mandatory for the 1.3 billion people who live in India.

Most of India is already enrolled in the program, with a total of 1.1 billion already using the system. However, most people are obviously signing up under duress, as they have no other ways of accessing basic commerce or financial services…

This is the type of dystopian nightmare that the crypto-anarchists and cypherpunks who initially developed the concept of cryptocurrencies were seeking to prevent. They saw this future coming; they saw governments setting up surveillance grids and making plans to track financial records with biometric data.

Knowing that cash and gold might be illegal or confiscated in a society like this, they worked to develop an idea for digital cash, that is secure and untraceable.

“Hey Google! Who Should the US Government Kill Today?” by Jake Anderson (ANTIMEDIA)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Only months after it was disclosed that the Pentagon was using artificial intelligence (AI) to hunt for terrorists, officials have now acknowledged that Google has been collaborating with the Department of Defense to use AI in analyzing drone footage. The disclosure comes amid an uproar among Google employees who aren’t happy to be assisting in the development of military applications.

From The Toronto Star:
The Pentagon is backing President Donald Trump’s assertion on Twitter that the missile strikes on Syria were “Mission Accomplished!” (The Associated Press)

“Trump declares ‘Mission Accomplished’ in Syria but chemical weapons remain” by Robert Burns (Associated Press via Toronto Star)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

President Donald Trump on Saturday declared “Mission Accomplished” for a U.S.-led allied missile attack on Syria’s chemical weapons program, but the Pentagon said the pummeling of three chemical-related facilities left enough others intact to enable the Assad government to use banned weapons against civilians if it chooses.

The above Toronto Star article/lie is an example of the ruinous state of that corporate-owned, pro US foreign policy daily. I had the highest regard for the Star’s Thomas Walkom, expecting him to one day be purged from that awful, rightwing bird cage liner, but it seems that he’s come around and now supports the establishment where it counts. A recent article by him on Syria reveals that he’s no longer to be trusted as a source of anti-establishment information. Walkom writes that “The Syrian conflict began seven years ago as a popular rebellion against a dictatorial regime. It soon became a civil war with religious overtones before morphing into a series of proxy wars.” That is wrong, as Stephen Gowans carefully lays out in his book, “Washington’s Long War On Syria.”

From Stephen Gowans’s “Washington’s Long War On Syria”:

== == =
“After the outbreak of the Islamist insurrection in 2011, Western leaders spoke often of their vision of a political transition in Syria toward a pluralistic, democratic state, obfuscating the reality that pluralism and an elected legislature had been parts of Syrian life for decades. Syria’s political democracy would, however, depart from Western systems in two significant ways, both departures the products of the Ba’athist’s mission to foster unity and lead the Arab nation toward freedom from foreign domination and economic development through state direction, planning and control of the economy.

“The first was an explicit prohibition against establishing political parties on the basis of sub-national identities, as a means of overcoming the divisions which kept Arabs apart and which militated against Arab unity. Hence, carrying “out any political activity or forming any political parties or groupings on the basis of religious, tribal, regional, class-based, [or] professional [identity], or on discrimination based on gender, origin, race or color” was formally banned. Syrians were expected to identify as Arabs, not as women, workers, Sunnis, or member of an occupation, at least in so far as politics was concerned.” -pg 45

“If the structural logic of the Ba’thasts’ situation in 1973 favored a vanguard party and restrictions on civil liberties, the structural logic of Syria by 2011 favored the easing of restrictions to accommodate demands made throughout the Arab world for greater political openness. It was still necessary to guard against the risk that the country would fall under the sway of neo-colonial domination; to deter further encroachments on Syrian soil by the Zionist settler state; to recover the Syrian territory of the Golan Heights; to contribute to the Palestinian national liberation movement; to further the goals of Arab nationalism; and to discourage U.S. armed aggression. All of these goals could be served by maintaining the state as one led by a vanguard party, and by restricting the freedoms available to enemies to frustrate the party’s achievement of these goals. The forces the Ba’thasts were confronting – the U.S. compulsion to obtrude its political and economic agenda on other countries; the collusion of the former European colonial powers in the U.S. project of global domination; Israel’s proclivity to expansionism; and the political reaction of the pro-imperialist Arab oil monarchies – were formidable, and much stronger than the Syrian state. Opening up Syrian society to unrestricted political opposition would imperil the Arab nationalist project. When the infant Bolshevik state was surrounded by enemies who were stronger than the Bolsheviks by many orders of magnitude, Lenin argued that allowing the revolution’s enemies freedom of political organization would be self-defeating. “We do not wish to do away with ourselves by suicide and therefore we will not do this,” the Bolshevik leader averred. However, by 2011, Lenin’s logic as applied to Syria had to be moderated to fit new circumstances: protesters were demanding the lifting of restrictions on political opposition. The survival of Ba’athism as a movement of Arab national liberation now demanded flexibility. Accordingly, the Ba’athists made a number of concessions that were neither superficial nor partial.

“First, they cancelled the long-standing abridgment of civil liberties that had been authorized by the emergency law. The law, invoked because Syria remained technically in a state of war with Israel, gave Damascus powers it needed to safeguard the security of the state in wartime, a measure states at war routinely make. Many Syrians, however, bristled under the law, and regarded it as unduly restrictive. Bowing to popular pressure, the government lifted the security measures.

“Second, the government proposed a new constitution which would strip the Ba’ath Party of its special status. Additionally, the presidency would be open to anyone meeting basic residency, age and citizenship requirements, and would no longer be restricted to Ba’athists. Presidential elections would be held by secret vote every seven years under a system of universal suffrage.

“By making these concessions, the Ba’athist government was delivering the multi-party democracy that Western state officials and media said (erroneously it turned out) protesters had clamored for. The constitution was put to a referendum and approved. New parliamentary multi-party elections were held. And a multi-candidate presidential election was set for 2014 (subsequently held and won handily by Assad.)

“Despite all of the preceding, the insurgency intensified, as outside powers – Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey – poured money into it. The insurgents rejected the reforms, explaining that they had arrived too late. Yet the date the reforms were implemented hardly made them less desirable or significant. If single-payer health insurance comes to the United States, will U.S. citizens dismiss it on grounds that it should have come decades ago? Washington, London and Paris also dismissed the Syrian government’s concessions. The concessions were “meaningless,” they said, but did not explain why. And yet the reforms were all that Western states said the opposition had asked for, inviting the question: Had they really asked for this? After all, if someone asks for A, and when A is granted, he dismisses it, did he really want A – or, had he even asked for it? If a methodical study had been carried out to document the aspirations of the people who participated in the uprising, I’m not aware of it. The only people who knew what had sparked the demonstrations were the demonstrators themselves. It was the Western media which gave the amorphous phenomenon of violent street demonstrations its form, declaring that protesters were demanding democracy and civil liberties. But if so, how could concessions of democracy and openness be meaningless? If the concessions were truly meaningless, as the West, by now the self-proclaimed champion of the “opposition,” said they were, could the Ba’athist government be blamed for concluding that “democracy was not the driving force of the revolt”? -pages 63 & 64
= == ==

From Rabble:
International Mine Action Center in Syria (Aleppo).jpg

“Canadians should oppose Trudeau government’s support for air strikes in Syria” by Yves Engler (

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The U.S. has once again flagrantly violated international law. Without UN approval, they launched dozens of airstrikes on Syria.

Ottawa immediately supported the U.S. bombing. In a statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “Canada supports the decision by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France to take action to degrade the Assad regime’s ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against its own people.”…

…Without presenting any evidence of the alleged chemical weapons use in Douma, [Christia] Freeland said on Friday “when it comes to this use of chemical weapons, it is clear to Canada that chemical weapons were used and that they were used by the Assad regime.”

In her initial statement Freeland expressed Canada’s “admiration for … the White Helmets.” Also known as the Syrian Civil Defence, the White Helmets produced the video purporting to show chemical weapons use in Douma.

On Friday, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov claimed the White Helmets staged the video with help from the U.K. Former British ambassador to Syria Peter Ford largely endorsed Moscow’s position.

Credited with rescuing people from bombed out buildings, the White Helmets have long fostered opposition to Assad and promoted western intervention. The White Helmets operated almost entirely in areas of Syria occupied by the Saudi Arabia–Washington backed Al Nusra/Al Qaeda rebels and other jihadist groups.

“Law As Farce”

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The Avalanche – Snapshot 11 – April 17, ’18

Washington Post / Venezuela line

“Exonerating the Empire in Venezuela” by Gregory Shupak (FAIR)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

=== =
The United States has for years undermined the Venezuelan economy with economic sanctions, but US media coverage of Venezuela’s financial crisis has gone out of its way to obscure this.

The intent of the sanctions is clear: to inflict maximum pain on Venezuela so as to encourage the people of the country to overthrow the democratically elected government.
= ===

Screenshot from the NYT website as found on Mondoweiss

“‘NY Times’ covers up Israel’s killing of nonviolent protesters along the Gaza border” by James North (Mondoweiss)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The NYTimes today continues its biased coverage of Israel/Palestine, with a shocking, one-sided report that tries to cover up how Israel has opened fire on the mass nonviolent Palestinian protest inside the Gaza border.

The dishonesty starts in the first sentence of the Times report, which contends that the protests “descended almost immediately into chaos and bloodshed,” with “at least five Palestinians killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers.”

Note the cunning effort to use vagueness to hide the fact that Israel fired live ammunition (“descended. . . into bloodshed”), and “clashes” — insinuations that both sides are somehow responsible for the five deaths.

Soldiers in the ‘most moral army in the world’ busy proving that they are anything but.
From Mondoweiss:
Video said to be from Gaza border March 30, 2018, shows shooting in the back of a man identified as Abed el-Fatah Abed e-Nabi, 18, on left, as he ran. He was reportedly killed.

“Videos of Palestinians shot walking, running and praying appear on social media, but US cables keep mum” by Philip Weiss (Mondoweiss)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

There was growing proof on social media over night that the Israeli shootings of Palestinians at the Gaza border yesterday were arbitrary and criminal. Here is a video of a Palestinian shot while walking, evidently toward the fence. Here is another video that appears to show two Palestinian youths being shot, while running holding a tire– and video of the same incident from a different angle.

Haaretz reports that one of the two was shot in the back and killed: Abed el-Fatah Abed e-Nabi, 18.

While the BBC supplies a terrifying statistic: “Palestinian health officials said at least 400 people had been wounded by live ammunition.”

Jim Zogby of the Arab American Institute links video of a Palestinian boy shot while he is praying, evidently at the border. Jacob Magid of the Times of Israel posts the same video and says mordantly, “The IDF’s gonna have a hard time saying this guy fell off his bike…”

Yousef Munayyer of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights observes:

More videos of Palestinians in Gaza being shot by Israeli snipers while posing no threat. Here they were running away. The Israelis were so far away you can’t even see them hiding behind their sniper scopes.

Munayyer asks if there has been any cable coverage of this at all? Scott Roth says, “Won’t find anything on cable, and it’s a scandal.”

The most progressive MSNBC host, Chris Hayes, gave this lineup from last night: Texas woman gets 5 years for voting illegally; John Podesta on Scott Pruitt and the Trump swamp; Trump’s cabinet keeps on filling the swamp; Trump has managed to reinvent the concept of a wall. Well, it must have been a big news day…

Last night PBS News Hour said the “protesters confronted Israeli troops,” and featured a report from Nidal al Mughrabi, a Reuters correspondent in Gaza City, who appeared to blame protesters. “According to the organizers, people should have stayed 700 meters away from the border, but many, many, many of the protesters have ignored the calls of organizers to stay that far. People throw stones. The Israeli responded by tear gas, live fire and rubber bullets, as well as casualties started to fall.” (Though he did relate Palestinian frustrations: “Frustrated at the lack of any horizon. It has made no difference to them whether they live or die.”)

Christians United for Israel linked Israeli army video seeking to justify the shootings: “Our soldiers precisely targeted the specific terrorists that attempted to carry out these acts of terror, some of them known terrorists to our security forces.” (See if you can use the word terror three times in one sentence.)

Silencing Julian Assange


An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

In this letter, twenty-seven writers, journalists, film-makers, artists, academics, former intelligence officers and democrats call on the government of Ecuador to allow Julian Assange his right of freedom of speech.

If it was ever clear that the case of Julian Assange was never just a legal case, but a struggle for the protection of basic human rights, it is now.

Citing his critical tweets about the recent detention of Catalan president Carles Puidgemont in Germany, and following pressure from the US, Spanish and UK governments, the Ecuadorian government has installed an electronic jammer to stop Assange communicating with the outside world via the internet and phone.


“The Persecution Of Assange Proves Him Right” by Caitlin Johnstone (Caitlin Johnstone – Rogue Journalist)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

=== == =
Julian Assange cannot “leave whenever he wants”. A judge with severely corrupt ties ruled in February that his arrest warrant still stands for an absurd bail-jumping charge from 2012 that Assange has already served his sentence for many times over according to the law as it is written. As soon as he sets foot outside the embassy he will most certainly be arrested, and then most certainly extradited to the US where the Trump administration is aggressively pursuing his arrest.

Chelsea Manning was tortured. CIA black sites exist. The hoards of online trolls promulgating the narrative that Assange can “leave whenever he wants” would crack like eggs under the treatment that is inflicted upon individuals who have dared to stand up to the US-centralized empire.

Assange isn’t hiding from justice, he is hiding from injustice. There is no reason to believe that this draconian empire would give him a fair trial and humane treatment. He can no more “leave whenever he wants” than he could if there was a firing squad stationed outside the embassy door.
= == ===

“Ecuador, Assange and the Empire: Anatomy of a Neoliberal Sellout” by Elliot Gabriel (Mint Press News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

LONDON — You can call the Ecuadorian government’s disconnection of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s internet connection and ban on contact with the outside world a lot of things: unfair, treacherous, a signal of surrender to the West.

Such was the reaction of internet users and journalists throughout the world following an announcement by Ecuador that it had suspended Assange’s ability to accept visitors or communicate with the outside world…

The move to place Assange under virtual solitary confinement is hardly a surprise for those who have observed Ecuador’s policy reversals since Lenin Moreno assumed the Andean republic’s presidency last May.

The regional significance of the gesture can’t be understated, given the importance South America’s once-dominant Left attached to the libertarian WikiLeaks founder for having brought the U.S. empire “to its knees,” as late Cuban leader Fidel Castro wrote.

Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa — whose government granted Assange asylum in 2012 as an act of sovereign “duty,” in defiance of Anglo-American threats — angrily tweeted Thursday:

Moreno delivers Ecuador to the United States, another betrayal of our people and the Patria Grande [the Latin American nation]. Assange’s days in the Embassy of Ecuador in London are numbered.”


Free Speech

“Astonishing California Bill Would Shut Down Free Speech, Require Fact-Checkers” by John Rappoport (Activist Post)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

California used to be trumpeted as the cutting edge of American culture.

It still is, except the culture is now all about censoring free speech.

California Senator Richard Pan, who was behind the infamous 2015 law mandating vaccinations for schoolchildren (SB277), has stepped up to the plate and introduced another bill.

This one would clamp down on criticism of ANY Official Story.

The bill is titled “SB1424 Internet: social media: false information: strategic plan.”

It targets social media based in California. But as you read the bill, you see it appears to define social media as any Internet blog, website, or communication.

The General failed to get with the regime change program program, so his mic was cut.

“Mainstream Media Cuts General’s Mic As He Tells the Truth On Syrian Gas Attack” by Rachel Blevins (Acivist Post)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

An interview between Sky News and one of Britain’s former senior military officials on reports of a chemical attack in Syria was cut short when Major-General Jonathan Shaw started to question the logic behind the narrative that the Syrian government would intentionally launch an attack on its own people.

From Mint Press News:
A rebel mortar launcher in Eastern Ghouta. The liberated district was used as a launching pad for the indiscriminate shelling of Damascus by rebel groups. (Photo: © Bas Spliet)

“The Voices of Syrians Are Being Suppressed Once Again” by Blas Spliet (Mint Press News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

GHOUTA, SYRIA (War report) — With the danger of a new artificial war in the Middle East looming, the whole world is talking about Syria. People in Damascus rejoice in the long-desired cessation of the heavy indiscriminate shelling of the capital, with the liberation of Douma, the last Eastern Ghouta town under control of the armed opposition, completed. Peace was made possible by a deal between the Syrian government and Jaysh al-Islam, the last remaining militant group in Eastern Ghouta, which stipulated the evacuation of the rebels and their few supporters to other parts of rebel-held Syria in exchange for the liberation of dozens of hostages held by Jaysh al-Islam. This, rather than the alleged use of chemical weapons, is what occupies the mind of most Syrians at the moment.

Yet aggression replaced arrogance when Israel took it one step further than the threatening rhetoric of Western and allied heads of state by bombing a Syrian airbase on Monday, killing at least 12 people. Although all these countries – the U.S., France, Britain and Israel chief among them – claim to do this in the name of the Syrian people, they somehow manage to completely ignore the opinions of those who have an actual say in all of this — i.e., the civilians in and around Damascus.

Richard Eskow
YouTube screen capture

“7 Questions About the Syria Airstrikes That Aren’t Being Asked” by Richard Eskow (

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

“Mission accomplished,” says the President. What, exactly, was the mission? And what exactly was accomplished?

Donald Trump is being mocked for using this phrase in a tweet to praise what he claims was a “perfectly executed” airstrike against chemical weapons facilities in Syria…

The media’s job, we are told, is to ask skeptical questions about the people in power. That didn’t happen much in the runup to the invasion of Iraq, and it’s not happening now. Here are the questions that should be asked – not just on the eve of a bombing attack, but every day we continue our disastrous and drifting military intervention in the Middle East…

Thanks to widespread under-reporting of U.S. involvement in Syria, commentators can complain about “years of unmasterly inactivity by the democracies” with a straight face, wrongly blaming that nation’s disasters on a failure to intervene.

In a paragraph that was subsequently deleted from its website, the Washington Post wrote that the latest airstrikes “capped nearly a week of debate in which Pentagon leaders voiced concerns that an attack could pull the United States into Syria’s civil war.” As of this writing, that language can still be found in syndicated versions of the article.

We were pulled into that civil war a long time ago. The United States has more than 2,000 troops in Syria, a fact that was not immediately revealed to the American people. That figure is understated, although the Pentagon will not say by how much, since it excludes troops on classified missions and some Special Forces personnel.

“A Loud Whoompfing Sound”

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Thinking About Thinking

Reading, ploddingly, Richard J. Walton’s book, “Cold War And Counterrevolution,” led me to write this post. The US establishment (preferring the war-making State over the hapless Country) has created (deliberately or by chance) the myth of Camelot in which former President, John F. Kennedy, was a white knight fighting the forces of darkness. It’s the opposite of the truth, but a myth is by definition not the truth. For that reason, I am interested in accounts, like Walton’s, that might help me to counter that lie. The challenge that I have is that 1. There is less material by authors who endeavor to be entirely factual than there is material that is dishonest and 2. People – even progressives who know better – are not terribly bothered by the myth of Camelot, for which reason there is less interest by them in doing what I’m doing. Therefore, they are of less help to me than they would be otherwise, which feeds into challenge 1.

I don’t know how to do proper research. I have to just do a lot of reading and paying attention. Anyway, The aspect of Walton’s book that caused me to put it down temporarily and go to work on this post was the way it seemed to me that JFK’s actions, including his hypocritical speechifying, revealed an inability on his part to think. (Walton says that in so many words.) The longer JFK carried on, screwing up constantly, the more his worshippers would call his screw-ups ‘learning events’. No wonder the establishment’s guiding minds later decided to fashion an enduring ad selling the American Empire (mainly to Americans) out of the handsome, sexy young President. Now, That’s my theory. I don’t have evidence to support the idea that Camelot is nothing more than hero worship taken to the extreme and that, especially as it is still widespread, it just happens to serve as an ad selling the American Empire. And I’m not sure that it matters. As well, By now, it isn’t possible that cultural managers – especially in media – don’t see Camelot as the ad that it is. Let’s look at what we know.

It looks like movers and shakers who wanted sell ‘Kennedy the white knight fighting the forces of darkness’ found that they could kill two birds with one stone without too much difficulty, since Kennedy worshippers wanted (as they do now) to believe only good things about John Kennedy. (Even some of those who manage to report honestly, mostly, about JFK, like Richard J. Walton, are infected with Camelot propaganda on some level.) In other words, Facts about the warmongering, reckless and unprincipled Kennedy, not widely known, could be, to the extent that they surfaced, counted on to more or less bounce off of Kennedy worshippers, who think that the pious Christian JFK is up right there with Jesus Christ. Even so, In time, a close look – presumably with the help of a few serious historians, including infected ones, and a handful of honest writers, like Paul Street – at Kennedy would reveal that the American system is no good and not fixable. Richard J. Walton notes that (in Kennedy’s day) polls were showing that the pride of the American people, namely the Presidency, had taken a big hit. Since corporations need politicians for cover, it’s obvious that the American establishment would see that eventuality – enlightenment of the public about the true nature of the American system – as a problem, just as it in fact came to see democracy as a problem (where seeing problems is married to the freedom to do something about them). If the establishment saw that the American Presidency, because of mismanagement by a President, could prove to be an existential problem, it follows that the establishment, including its most powerful and influential corporations, would see a need for a solution. Sexy Kennedy was both a problem and a solution – with the right massaging.

“Government, in the hands of speculators, is a protection racket for corporations and a small group of oligarchs. And the longer we play by their rules the more impoverished and oppressed we become.” – pg 32 of “Wages Of Rebellion” by Chris Hedges

I just read, on the Black Agenda Website, Paul Street’s article “Against False Conflation: JFK, MLK, and the Triple Evils,” in which Street, in reviewing Martin Luther King’s genuinely democratic positions (unlike Kennedy’s) and statements, such as one about “a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom” remarks that King “might better have said “military empire.”” Indeed. Ira Stoll wrote “JFK, Conservative,” and would agree with what Bruce Miroff said years ago about Kennedy, namely that Kennedy was just as dedicated to the well-being of corporate America first and foremost as any president had been. And the most powerful and influential segment of corporate America is the Pentagon and the military generally. (“JFK, Rightwinger” would have been a more appropriate title for Stoll’s book in my view.)

“The historical record provides some foundation for that [good] reputation. Kennedy did break fresh ground in American political economy – he did so, in fact, in the face of business antipathy, congressional reluctance, and public indifference. And the substantial success of his innovative measures, which guided the most extended economic expansion in recent American history, produced a new consensus in American economic life.

“Yet if Kennedy can, in this sense, be termed an economic progressive, in another less obvious sense he must be considered an economic conservative. For his innovations were by no means intended to alter the existing structure of the American corporate economy. His policies posed no obstacle to the continued domination of the economy by giant oligopolies whose wealth and power permitted them, contrary to the myth of competitive capitalism, to control output, prices, employment, and investment. Instead, Kennedy’s “New Economics” helped to stabilize and rationalize the corporate economy, to underwrite its risk taking and guarantee its market…

“Kennedy felt that he needed business. Upon business success rested an increase in government revenues; upon business success rested, in large part, the attainment of the Administration’s economic growth objectives. The preservation of corporate confidence – and the avoidance of measures that limited corporate profits or undermined corporate strength – would be seen as an imperative by Kennedy. As we shall observe later on, the one time he did deny big business its desires (in the steel affair), he had to make up for it with compensatory gratifications…

“Business opposition was further aroused by Kennedy’s accompanying [progressive] proposals… but the business community mobilized its strength against the reform package, and the President retreated…

“…The most significant Administration contribution in these months to economic recovery was seldom discussed, however, in economic terms. This was Kennedy’s rapid acceleration of American defense spending. Three separate presidential requests to Congress (in March, May, and July) hiked military appropriations in 1961 by approximately $6 billion… the primary impetus for this highly consequential military buildup was Kennedy’s conception of an intensified Cold War, whose decisive stage coincided with his term in office. But Administration officials were not unmindful of the economic benefits to be derived from the buildup.” – pages 167, 168, 172, 174, 175 of “Pragmatic Illusions – The Presidential Politics of John F. Kennedy” by Bruce Miroff (pub 1976)

“…[Jeremy] Scahill, provided a litany of statistics that illustrated how corporations have taken over our internal security and intelligence apparatus. They not only run our economy and own the two major political parties. They have built a private military. And they have become unassailable…

“…He lamented the lack of support in Congress for a bill put forward by Representative Jan Schakowsky of Illinois. House Resolution 4102, known as the Stop Outsourcing Security (SOS) Act, would “responsibly phase out use of private security contractors for functions that should be reserved for U.S. military forces and government personnel.”

“”It is one of the sober realities of the time we are living in that you can put forward a bill that says something as simple as ‘we should not outsource national security functions to private contractors’ and you only get twenty members of Congress to support the bill,” Scahill said…” – pages 41 & 42 of “Death Of The Liberal Class” by Chris Hedges

I have a problem with Jeremy Scahill and I really don’t like quoting him. He works for Pierre Omidyar, who helped fund the murderous Nazi regime in Ukraine. But I doubt that the above info is bad.

An observation: Miroff’s statement about an intensified state in the Cold War corresponding to Kennedy’s arrival in the White House is interesting. Isn’t Kennedy supposed to be a peacemaker? (It’s amusing, and disturbing, how they’ve taken a fierce Cold War warrior, a warmonger [Vietnam], a terrorist [Vietnam black ops], a gangster and rightwinger who said that he isn’t comfortable around liberals [page 4 of “JFK, Conservative” by Iral Stoll] and turned him into a peacemaker. They did the same thing with terrorist Obama, and in much the same way.) The State will have its war-making way no matter who is in the White House. On the other hand, Anything is possible. (Anything’s possible, although consequences are inevitable. Kennedy could have actually been a dove and opposed the military and the exploiters in corporate America, but there would have been consequences, perhaps similar to the fate Kennedy did meet – at whose hands we don’t know. However, Seymour Hersh reasonably states that the idea that the mob did it is stupid. The mob was hoping for a return of gangster Cuba once Kennedy successfully killed Castro and his revolution.) As Richard J. Walton notes, in relation to the Vietnam situation that JFK inherited, “…what is the point of having elections if one President must necessarily follow the course of the previous one?” (To the reader who is less up to speed on all of these things than I am – and I have much to learn – war in Vietnam was, as Joe Allen explains in “Vietnam – the (last) war the U.S. lost,” a long time in the making. That’s just American involvement. The Vietnamese had been dealing with invaders forever. “The original U.S. commitment in Vietnam was made by Harry Truman, who supported and financed French recolonization after WWII. John Kennedy escalated the U.S. military presence in South Vietnam and turned it into [a] laboratory for counterinsurgency theories and programs. And Lyndon Johnson, of course invaded South Vietnam with an army that would grow to half a million soldiers on the ground…” -pages 124, 125.) As Noam Chomsky points out, Kennedy escalated the American presence in Vietnam “from state terror to aggression.” Aggression is war (to go by the way Chomsky uses the word; I find that usage unhelpful). “The Vietnam war, and all its terrible consequences, are Kennedy’s responsibility, for he launched America on the course of war. Johnson is responsible for escalating the war Nixon for widening it, but it was John Kennedy who started it.” (pg 182 of “Cold War And Counterrevolution” by Richard J. Walton) In fact, as others note, the war-making in Vietnam was in a state of continuous escalation from the time of Kennedy. But, during the Kennedy phase the escalation was also qualitative. Or as Hersh put it, Kennedy “expanded the rules,” introducing awful firsts, including black ops/ terrorism.

A point: The military already possesses too much power. Today, we are all watching in horror as the Donald Trump Presidency threatens all of humankind with nuclear annihilation, in part because he has brought into his government quite a few generals and retired generals and their thinking isn’t thinking. Every problem is seen by them through military eyes, to be solved by military means. And American politicians are already hawkish enough on their own. Referring to a situation in Laos in which the Pathet Lao attacked Nam Tha, Roger Hilsman reported on how the Kennedy admin analyzed the situation. That analysis included apocalyptic language and statements like “The attack had been a large-scale probe… designed both to discredit [Souvanna] Phoumi… and to test American determination. Unless the United States responded promptly and effectively, the communist side would be encouraged to step up their military effort…” About that Walton says “These words are characteristic of the Kennedy administration, indeed of every American administration since World War II. They demonstrate a tendency to see events in apocalyptic terms, as fateful testings of American resolve that might have terrible consequences unless the United States responds with unmistakable but measured firmness. These words also demonstrate the American conviction that Washington can, without any genuine attempt at understanding an adversary, unerringly read his mind.” -pages 29, 30 of “Cold War And Counterrevolution”

“The establishment of “the most powerful military force in human history” is often cited as one of John Kennedy’s great achievements. But perhaps another view is possible. Perhaps it can be argued that this extraordinary buildup contributed massively to the growth of the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned against just three days before Kennedy’s inauguration. That it represented a diversion of resources, material, intellectual, and even spiritual, that contributed to the domestic upheavals soon to come. That it increased world tensions. That it demonstrated Kennedy’s tendency to see the world’s problems in military, not political terms. That it provided the wherewithal which led inevitably to Vietnam.” – pg 60 of “Cold War And Counterrevolution – The Foreign Policy of John F. Kennedy” by Richard J. Walton

The establishment’s task: 1. They need to take steps to counter the bad image that JFK’s presidency would cause once enough people (who are still capable of thinking critically) begin to get a close look at it, in an effort to have Americans once again feel pride in the American Presidency and, thereby, have the American people, and people whose countries are aligned with the US, embrace the American Empire. The basic idea is that yes, the American (imperial) system is imperfect, but it ‘can’ work. Kennedy proves it. 2. They need to turn JFK’s known flaws into virtues, hide what evil they can and highlight his sexiness – which diverts from other issues while also making it harder for folks to think of JFK as evil – and claimed achievements, which they’ve done.

There’s two ways to look at Camelot propaganda. 1. You can believe that the State, which is solidly behind any marketing campaign that leads to a situation where its position is strengthened, feels vulnerable and is always seeking ways to reduce its vulnerability. Kennedy was the ultimate Cold War warrior. As an ad selling the American Empire, he is the American State’s wet dream. As Randolph Bourne explains in his unpublished (due to death) book “The State,” “War is the health of the State.” (Bourne wrote when the concept of ‘deep state’, as far as I know, had not been formulated. Bourne’s description of the State is essentially the same as that which people today apply to the ‘deep State’. The central feature of the deep State, as we who consider the deep State and Bourne who considered the State, explain, is relative permanence. Bourne, then, simply dealt with a stripped down, or bare bones, deep State. The difference is quantitative, not qualitative. But I am not familiar enough with Bourne to say with confidence that I have him figured out completely, although his main ideas, mostly, are too obviously true for anyone to have difficulty with. And you have to figure that anyone who is willing to speak Truth to the powerful State is, in the absence of information to the contrary, right. Even the idea of the deep State is new [especially to the general public] and perhaps fluid, but I don’t see any problem with it. Do you want to include government in your definition? If not, then you are looking at a State, minus government, that is, in its entirety, ‘deep’. Right? What about the rest of the State? We can probably devise some simple criteria. If a part of the State can disappear tomorrow and not alter the overall system, then it’s not ‘deep’.) Therefore warrior Presidents are good for the health of the State. 2. Or you can believe that the State, collectively, is vigilant. It never rests, taking the view that while its position is secure and therefore opportunities to strengthen it aren’t urgently needed, it chooses to not rest on its laurels. Rather, It takes a wise position that if there are ways to make its position more secure, even though its position is supremely secure already, then it will consider exploring them. The best offence is a super good defence. As deep State defender Kennedy said “…having the second best defensive hand in the 1960s will be like having the second best poker hand.”

“The admirers recorded the Berlin crisis as another Kennedy triumph and another step in the ongoing education that prepared him for his supreme triumph: the Cuban missile crisis. There is a mad logic here. The Bay of Pigs, although it could be called a disaster, prepared him for triumph. The Berlin “crisis,” in which Kennedy approached the brink, could, by skillful presentation, be made into a triumph. And the Cuban missile crisis, in which Kennedy stood on the very edge of the brink, could be constructed as the greatest triumph of all. There is, to be sure, a consistency here, but it is possible that future historians will see that consistency in a different way than Kennedy’s admirers.” – pg 93 of “Cold War And Counterrevolution” by Richard J. Walton

Since starting this blog post, I have read a few things that I found helped me to think about ‘thinking’. I only read Bourne shortly after I had begun this post. The point that I’m trying to make in this post is that counterrevolution is tantamount to a rejection of thinking, which tracks. Darkness is the opposite of enlightenment. But it’s not just a matter of knowledge and cleverness. It’s also a matter of morality and the spiritual heath of individuals. Counterrevolution is essentially terrorism, a bad thing, something evil people do. Evil people are self-modified people who have embraced darkness. Self-modified people have set aside, as completely as it is possible, their God-given conscience. They are neoliberals and neoconservatives and you don’t get one without the other. Neoconservatism is the philosophy that violence, deceit and inequality are positives (which requires you to completely reject God, in fact, because you can’t adopt standards that are opposite of his and not reject him) and neoliberalism is a social economic system designed to prosper a few at the expense of the many. Honest, principled people do not endorse neoliberalism. I connect all of this in more detail below.

There’s an interesting section in the part of Seymour Hersh’s book dealing with the Bay of Pigs fiasco that illustrates my, and Richard Walton’s, point about not thinking. Consider:

“That winter Ernest Betancourt, a onetime Castro supporter who defected after Castro seized power, ran into arrogance and hostility when he attempted to warn the White House about the folly of the exile invasion. In an interview for this book, Betancourt said that he approached the journalist Charles Bartlett, a Kennedy confidant, and cautioned that the administration was viewing Cuba only in terms of the Cold War and ignoring the bases of Castro’s legitimate popularity there. “My judgment was that the operation was antihistorical,” Betancourt told me. “There was a total lack of understanding [in Washington] of what Fidel had done.” Betancourt, one of the few Cubans in the anti-Castro movement to oppose an exile invasion, had gone to Bartlett with his concerns, he said, because he knew that “talking to him was like talking to Kennedy.” A few days later Bartlett called “and warned me about the [anti-invasion] group I was associating with.” The implication was clear: Betancourt’s complaint about the impending invasion had endangered his political standing in the United States.” -pages 207 & 209 of “The Dark Side Of Camelot” (published 1997)

In other words, Kennedy et al, were following passion, not reason. And we are not talking about any sort of positive passion. A lot of people – like Jacob Esterline – were careful about their steps around the fanatical Kennedys. Some, like Richard Bissel, who crossed them, by just doing their jobs, learned the hard way that the Kennedys were loveless and cruel. Interestingly, Hersh tosses out that Richard Nixon was inspired by JFK’s ruthlessness! (pages 183 & 184 of “The Dark Side Of Camelot”)

In his discussion of the Bay of Pigs, Richard Walton notes that JFK’s response to the Cuban revolution was “not very imaginative.” (pg 40) It’s a central theme of Walton’s book that the Kennedy administration couldn’t separate revolution from Communism. (He could have if he wanted to. But that only means that, once he made other choices – military spending to boost the economy for example – then deciding to separate the idea of a nefarious global communist conspiracy from a people’s need for revolution with or without communist characteristics wasn’t going to happen.) Walton makes the point about Castro’s revolution, which the US, under Kennedy et al, was ready to hurl its military might at and which really had nothing to do with Moscow (despite Kennedy’s claims), that “About all that Castro had was the idea of revolution.” That says it all. (Before the US proved to be Cuba’s enemy, willing to invade and slaughter away the revolution, Castro was absolutely no threat to anyone. He wasn’t a threat after the Bay of Pigs either, when you consider that even with the missiles in Cuba, as experts acknowledged, the balance of power was unaltered.) Walton points out that that idea of revolution already existed all throughout South America, as did the idea of the American Revolution for crying out loud. The rabid NSC 68 rhetoric from hawks like Kennedy, about dominoes falling and the need to roll back the ‘conspiracy’ of Communism was nuts. And what did it stem from? It stemmed from a desire on the part of the entire American establishment – including, crucially, the weapons makers component of the capitalist class which wants war so that it can make money – to dominate the global capitalist system that it designed post World War II. Surprisingly, Randolph Bourne missed that, or seemed to.

Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman

“The mass media everywhere tend to serve the important interests that dominate the state and select and suppress facts so as to convey the impression that national policy is well-intentioned and justified. Much the same is true, quite commonly, of those areas of academic scholarship that deal with contemporary affairs or social issues. The difference between a society with official censorship (e.g. the Soviet Union) and one without (the United States) is real and significant, but the extent and especially the policy consequences of such differences are often overrated. There is a corresponding tendency to underestimate the significance of self-censorship and the strength of the underlying factors that make for unified mass media support for foreign policy – notably, the force of nationalism, government pressure and resources, and the overlap and community of interest among government, media, and business leaders, who jointly dominate state policy-making. Thus, if the dominant interests of a free society call for a policy of foreign aggression, the mass media will voluntarily mobilize the population as effectively as under a fully censored system.” – Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman, page 26 of “The Washington Connection And Third World Fascism”

Counterrevolution is merely a tool of the powerful who, as self-modified believers in ‘riches for the strongest’, have no concern for, but only a fear of, ideas that others have about pretty much anything, but especially about how society might be organized. Elites fear change, in which they imagine losing the power and privilege that they have – especially when change presents the privileged with unknowns – and which they gained, usually, via strategic rule-breaking. So, There’s also a fear, to some extent, of being caught and punished for crimes committed. And there’s a big element of projection in their thinking, for they now view others through the unfocussed eyes of those who have self-modified and they fear that others might do to them as they’ve done to others. (You really see this in the case of Israel, where the biggest fear among the deciders there is about the demographic bomb. They fear that if Arabs – not their Arab ruling class allies – in their midst become powerful and numerous enough, then they will destroy, literally, all the Jews within their reach.) As Jesus Christ said, “If your eye is focussed, then your whole body will be bright. But if your eye is envious, then your whole body will be dark.” (Matthew 6:22,23)

But, as Bourne explains, such darkness doesn’t confine itself to the breasts of those who embrace it. It spreads out. It infects the wider society and even undermines the very health of the nation, if not the State. War is the health of the State and when citizens are caught up – for any number of reasons – in the State’s war-making passion, there are inevitably some who don’t join the herd (a concept which Bourne bases on the fantasy, from my standpoint, of biological evolution). And while Bourne’s ideas are not shaped by a belief in God and his plan of salvation for imperfect humankind, he’s right about the way citizens, caught up in patriotic fervor (sometimes out of fear), turn on their fellow citizens who aren’t patriotic enough. Marry that to the State’s deliberate targetting of the ‘internal enemy’ and you get an ugly scene. Just read Chris Hedges’s account, in “Death Of The Liberal Class,” of the patriotic murder of Robert Prager.

Under John F. Kennedy, the theme of the ‘internal enemy’ came into its own. Then, (as now) if you didn’t support the status quo, then you were the enemy. Usually, such enemies were simply called Communists or under their influence. That craziness died down for a while but never really went away. It rears its ugly head now and then, as it did when Trump laughingly brought it up at the UN, in connection with Venezuela. He blamed Venezuela’s US- and opposition-caused problems on socialism. The audience was silent until Trump glared at it, causing some to applaud. The internal enemy was an explicit concept that proponents like Adlai Stevenson talked about. Jeff Halper wrote “War Against The People,” explaining and describing the global pacification program of the Corporatocracy (Corporatocracy being a term that he didn’t, but I do, use) called securocratic warfare. That’s also the subject of the book edited by Nick Buxton and Ben Hayes called “The Secure And The Dispossessed.” And recall Obama’s “Insider Threat” initiative. Employees of the government are required to monitor each other! Oh joy! Isn’t fascism fun?

From Chris Hedges’s “Death Of The Liberal Class”:

“The virus of nationalism infected every aspect of society. Dschunds were renamed liberty dogs. The City University of New York reduced by one credit every course in German. Fourteen states banned the speaking of German in public schools. German-Americans, like Japanese-Americans in World War II, provided convenient scapegoats. An angry mob in Van Houten, New Mexico, accused an immigrant miner of supporting Germany. The mob forced him to kneel before them, kiss the flag and shout, “To hell with the Kaiser.” Robert Prager, a German-born coal miner, was accused in April 1918 by a crowd that swelled to 500 people of hoarding explosives outside of St. Louis. Prager, who had tried to enlist in the navy but had been rejected on medical grounds, was stripped, bound with an American flag, dragged barefoot and stumbling through the streets, and lynched as the mob cheered. At the trial of the leaders of the lynch mob, who appeared in court wearing red, white and blue ribbons, their defense councel argued that the killing was justifiable “patriotic murder.” It took the jury twenty-five minutes to return a not guilty verdict. One jury member shouted out, “Well, I guess nobody can say we aren’t loyal now.” The Washington Post wrote of the trial that “in spite of the excesses such as lynching, it is a healthful and wholesome awakening of the interior of the country.” The explosives that Prager was alleged to be harboring were never found.” – pg 79

“The greatest sin of the liberal class, throughout the twentieth century and into the early part of this century, has been its enthusiastic collusion with the power elite to silence, ban, and blackmail rebels, iconoclasts, communists, socialists, anarchists, radical union leaders, and pacifists who once could have given Ernest Logan Bell, as well as others in the working class, the words and ideas with which to battle back against the abuses of the corporate state. The repeated “anti-Red” purges of the twentieth-century United States, during and after both World Wars, and continuously from the 1950s until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, were carried out in the name of anticommunism, but in reality proved to be devastating blows to popular social movements. The old communists in the American labor movement spoke in the language of class struggle. They understood that Wall Street, along with corporations such as BP, is the enemy. They offered a broad social vision that allowed even the non-communist left to employ a vocabulary that made sense of the destructive impulses of capitalism. But once the Communist Party, along with other radical movements, was eradicated as a social and political force in the 1940s and 1950s, once the liberal class took government-imposed loyalty oaths and collaborated in the hunts for phantom communist agents, the country was robbed of the ability to make sense of the struggle with the corporate state.” – pg 15

Since the Cold War has been revived, with, incredibly, many of exact the same features as during the 50s, 60s & 70s, Noam Chomsky’s crystal clear explanation for the Cold War is in order. From pages 20 & 21 of “Deterring Democracy”:

Needless to say, if we define the Cold War as involving nothing beyond a confrontation of two superpowers, with their allies and clients tailing along, it follows trivially that that is precisely what it was, and that with the the withdrawal of the USSR from the conflict, it ended with a victory for the US. The question, however, is how to intgerpret the Cold War era, and plainly that question is not answered by begging it. Rather, we want to look into the contours, character, driving forces and motives, and major effects of the bipolar world system that emerged from World War II…

For the United States, the Cold War has been a history of worldwide subversion, aggression and state terrorism, with examples too numerous to mention. The domestic counterpart has been the entrenchment of Eisenhower’s “military-industrial complex” – in essence, a welfare state for the rich with a national security ideology for population control (to borrow some counterinsurgency jargon), following the prescriptions of NSC 68. The major institutional mechanism is a system of state-corporate industrial management to sustain high-technology industry, relying on the taxpayer to fund research and development and provide a guaranteed market for waste production, with the private sector taking over when there are profits to be made. This crucial gift to the corporate manager has been the domestic function of the Pentagon system (including NASA and the Department of Energy, which controls nuclear weapons production); benefits extend to the computer industry, electronics generally, and other sectors of the advanced industrial economy. In such ways, the Cold War has provided a large part of the underpinnings for the system of public subsidy, private profit, that is proudly called Free Enterprise.

The call for vigorous action in NSC 68 resounded again as the Kennedy and Reagan administrations came into office, with the same dual thrust: militancy abroad to assert US power, and military spending to revive a flagging economy at home. The rhetoric was also duly revived: “the monolithic and ruthless conspiracy” on the march to destroy us (Kennedy); the “Evil Empire” that is “the focus of evil in our time,” seeking to rule the world (Reagan)…

Attention to the historical record reveals the realistic core enshrouded in the outlandish rhetoric of NSC 68. The Great Depression had put an end to any lingering beliefs that capitalism was a viable system. It was generally taken for granted that state intervention was necessary in order to maintain private power – as, indeed, had been the case throughout the development process…

Randolph Bourne:

“Every individual citizen who in peacetimes had no living fragment of the State becomes an active amateur agent of the Government in reporting spies and disloyalists, in raising Government funds, or in propagating such measures as are considered necessary by officialdom. Minority opinion, which in times of peace was only irritating and could not be dealt with by law unless it was conjoined with actual crime, becomes with the outbreak of war, a case for outlawry. Criticism of the State, objections to war, lukewarm opinions concerning the necessity or the beauty of conscription, are made subject to ferocious penalties, far exceeding [in] severity those affixed to actual pragmatic crimes. Public opinion, as expressed in the newspapers, and the pulpits and the schools, becomes one solid block. “Loyalty,” or rather war orthodoxy, becomes the sole test for all professions, techniques, occupations. Particularly is this true in the sphere of the intellectual life. There the smallest taint is held to spread over the whole soul, so that a professor of physics is ipso facto disqualified to teach physics or hold honorable place in a university — the republic of learning — if he is at all unsound on the war. Even mere association with persons thus tainted is considered to disqualify a teacher. Anything pertaining to the enemy becomes taboo. His books are suppressed wherever possible, his language is forbidden. His artistic products are considered to convey in the subtlest spiritual way taints of vast poison to the soul that permits itself to enjoy them. So enemy music is suppressed, and energetic measures of opprobrium taken against those whose artistic consciences are not ready to perform such an act of self-sacrifice. The rage for loyal conformity works impartially, and often in diametric opposition to other orthodoxies and traditional conformities or ideals. The triumphant orthodoxy of the State is shown at its apex perhaps when Christian preachers lose their pulpits for taking in more or less literal terms the Sermon on the Mount, and Christian zealots are sent to prison for twenty years for distributing tracts which argue that war is unscriptural.” – from “The State”

From the above: “…energetic measures of opprobrium taken against those whose artistic consciences are not ready to perform such an act of self-sacrifice…” Compare that with this: “Lorde didn’t bow to pressure, she rose to the occasion” I’m also reminded of the situation with Chris Hedges, a minister (which actually works against him, in my view) who pulls no punches in speaking truth to power. In return, the State has not been kind to Chris Hedges. The (awful) paper he worked for, namely the New York Times, took him to task for an anti-empire, anti-war speech he gave in 2003 and shortly after Hedges left the paper. As for his involvement in Christendom, that’s between him and Jehovah. And Hedges, incidentally, has a lot to say about revolution and his statements about revolution exemplify the core political meaning of the term, which is innovation and society-building minus class warfare. Politically, in this dark world, such innovation is a labored, anxious reaction to oppression from systems put in place by uncaring, rightwing monsters. When people react, thoughtfully, to oppression or even just out of their imaginations to the problems needing solving, the Right (fearing loss of control and the unknown) reacts thoughtlessly, with repression. During the Vietnam ‘war’, as authors Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman note in “The Washington Connection And Third World Fascism,” students (whose business should be thinking about thinking) protesting US aggression in Vietnam were labelled terrorists!

“In each country a web of myths evolves that allows the loyal citizenry to feel good about their nation, that depicts it and its people as generous, progressive, decent to a fault in its international behavior. People who question these myths, whether myths about a beneficent past, or the myths currently employed to put today’s actions and policies in a favorable light, are thus highly offensive to good taste and basic feelings of right and wrong. These doubters of myths may even pose a threat to communal integration and policy, which rest on this foundation of myths, and societies therefore usually have methods for containing or squelching critics who raise such questions.” – Edward Herman, page 1 of “The Real Terror Network – Terrorism In Fact And Propaganda”

“Recall that “subversion,” like “concealed aggression,” is a technical concept covering any form of unwelcome internal development. Thus the Joint Chiefs, in 1955, outline “three basic forms of aggression”: armed attack across a border (aggression in the literal sense); “Overt armed attack from within the area of each of the sovereign states”; “Aggression other than armed, i.e., political warfare, or subversion.” An internal uprising against a US-imposed police state, or elections that come out the wrong way, are forms of “aggression,” which the US has the right to combat by arbitrary violence. The assumptions are so ingrained as to pass without notice, as when liberal hero Adlai Stevenson, UN Ambassador under Kennedy and Johnson, declared that in Vietnam the US is defending a free people from “internal aggression.” – pg 41 of “Rethinking Camelot – JFK, the Vietnam War, and US Political Culture” by Noam Chomsky

In view of the above State concept of ‘internal aggression’, it’s sobering to realize that US officials (choose to) view the Communist conspiracy as global. You may not hear much about the global Communist conspiracy, but I’m sure that if it weren’t for the fact that people’s governments everywhere are being destroyed, you would. This is the point brought home forcefully in Stephen Gowens’s book, “Washington’s Long War On Syria.” Washington’s problem with Syria, Iraq, Iran and Libya was that those were secular, Arab and socialist States. In other words, People everywhere who are subject to the global pacification program, described by some as securocratic warfare (with governments claiming that it’s for national security), are also attacked for resisting or fighting back. Slime-ball Spruille Braden, the one-time leader of a Council on Foreign Relations study group (looking at Latin America) stated: “Because Communism is so blatantly an international and not an internal affair, its suppression, even by force, in an American country, by one or more of the other republics, would not constitute an intervention in the internal affairs of the former.” (That example is from Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky’s “The Washington Connection And Third World Fascism.”)

“In March 2007, Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman interviewed retired four star U.S. General Weslely Clark, who had commanded NATO forces during the alliance’s 1999 unprovoked air war on Yugoslavia. Clark revealed that in the days following the 9/11 al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington of September 2001, the Bush administration developed plans to wage war on seven countries, one of which was Syria. Recalling a visit to the Pentagon he made in late September 2001, Clark said:

“About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, “Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.” I said, ‘Well, you’re busy.’ He said, ‘No, no.’ He says, ‘We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.’ This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, ‘We’re going to war with Iraq? Why?’ He said, ‘I don’t know.’ He said ‘I guess they don’t know what else to do.’ So I said, ‘Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qeda?’ He said, ‘No, no.’ He says, ‘There’s nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq.’ He said, ‘I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments.’ And he said, ‘I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.'”

“A few weeks later, Clark returned to the Pentagon, and talked to the same general. By this point, the United States had launched a war on Afghanistan.

“I said, ‘Are we still going to war with Iraq?’ And he said, ‘Oh, it’s worse than that.’ He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, ‘I just got this down from upstairs’ – meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office – ‘today.’ And he said, ‘This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.'”

“Clark’s revelations indicate that Washington had contemplated regime change in Syria since at least 2001, a full decade before the Islamist insurgency re-erupted in Syria in March 2011. The addition of Syria to the “Axis of Evil” on May 6, 2002 by then U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton underscores the point that Washington wanted to take down the Assad government a full decade before the Arab Spring upheavals…

“…Every one of the Axis countries rejected the United State’s self-declared global leadership role, refused to be integrated into the U.S.-led global economic order, and had what U.S. strategists called “economies [featuring] the heavy hand of government.” That Washington labeled these countries as “evil” followed from the view, unapologetically expressed by George W. Bush administration, that “economic freedom,” defined as “free and fair trade, open markets…[and]…the integration of the global economy” is “a moral imperative.” By rejecting “economic freedom” in favor of state ownership, planning and direction of their economies, these countries had marked themselves as immoral, and therefore evil…

“Washington’s assigning Syria to the company of countries in which it sought regime change, a full decade before the Arab Spring uprising, is evidence that the March 2011 disturbances, or more presisely, Damascus’s response to them, did not precipitate Washington’s decision to topple the Syrian government. This conclusion is strengthened by the facts that Washington contemplated military intervention in Syria in 2003 (if not as early as 2001, according to Wesley Clark) and began funding Syrian opposition groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, in 2005. That the Syrian government’s values of Arab unity, freedom from foreign domination, and Arab socialism, were inimical to Wall Street’s interests – and given the enormous influence Wall Street exercised in Washington – suggests very strongly that the U.S. government had a compelling reason to topple the Ba’athist governments in Damascus. Washington’s long record of overthrowing foreign governments which had undertaken hostile acts to Western business interests – for example, the ousting of Mossadegh for nationalizing Iran’s petroleum industry – only strengthens the conclusion.” – pages 113-115 of “Washington’s Long War On Syria” by Stephen Gowans

“UN Expert Decries Global Assault on Freedom of Expression” by Andrea Germanos

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

“Governments are treating words as weapons,” a United Nations expert has warned, previewing a report on the global attack on the freedom of expression.

The report, based on communications with governments stemming from allegations of human rights law violations — reveal “sobering” trends of threats worldwide and “how policies and laws against terrorism and other criminal activity risk unnecessarily undermining the media, critical voices, and activists.”

The expert, Special Rapporteur on the freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye, is presenting his report on the sometimes “abusive” practices by governments to the UN General Assembly on Friday.

The “tools of repression” used by governments worldwide in their assault include internet shut-downs and over-classification of documents in the name of national security. The tactics may also include criminalization of criticism of the state, which may lead to detention and other punitive measures against political and human rights activists — and even journalists.

Carl von Clausewitz:

“War is the continuation of politics by other means.” (This is how Carl spelled his own name. He used a ‘C’ instead of a ‘K’.)

Words, clearly, aren’t banned. The State’s words will be free. The people’s words will be banned, unless they are non-threatening to the war-making State. See my blog post titled “A Loud Whoompfing Sound.”

Randolph Bourne wrote “The State.” (The Randolph Bourne website linked to on the troubled Wikipedia website presents the Randolph Bourne Institute. Would Bourne approve? I hope not. It seems that the establishment, via, has hijacked Bourne’s legacy. Check out Sibel Edmond’s thoughts about the establishment [And take note that Sibel has either had a breakdown of some sort – which her ‘friend’ Spiro should not have given fuel to – or she’s been got to. See “The Destruction, Or Self-Destruction, Of Newsbud.” Her examination of, however, is straightforward, with her and Spiro simply pointing out how all of’s links go to corporate-owned media sources.] And, While I find Bourne to be a fine thinker, I of course can’t follow him when he starts talking about the ‘fact’ of biological evolution.) Another interesting Bourne comment, which the above comment flows from, is: “Country is a concept of peace, of tolerance, of living and letting live. But State is essentially a concept of power, of competition: it signifies a group in its aggressive aspects. And we have the misfortune of being born not only into a country but into a State, and as we grow up we learn to mingle the two feelings into a hopeless confusion. The State is the country acting as a political unit, it is the group acting as a repository of force, determiner of law, arbiter of justice. International politics is a “power politics” because it is a relation of States and that is what States infallibly and calamitously are, huge aggregations of human and industrial force that may be hurled against each other in war..”

What would Bourne have made of John Perkins’s concept of Corporatocracy, I wonder? For sure, Bourne is much more correct than he could have imagined. Governments have been captured by powerful special interests and are now essentially fronts for Corporations and other powerful special interests. The Pentagon supposedly is governmental. However, Today it looks like its main function is to enable, protect, aid and abet the weapons makers in the private sector. And with so many generals (acting and ex) within the Trump admin, What sort of independence does Donald Trump have to care about the American people more than, let alone at the expense of, ‘defence’ contractors and other private sector businesses? Have a look at William Hartung’s recent article titled “Weapons For Anyone.” Hartung concludes his article with these words: “If Trump’s vision of an all-arms-sales-all-the-time foreign policy is realized, he may scale the weapons-dealing heights reached by the Obama administration. As Washington’s arms-dealer-in-chief, he might indeed succeed in selling American weaponry as if there were no tomorrow. Given the known human costs of unbridled arms trafficking, however, such a presidency would also ensure that whatever tomorrow finally arrived would prove far worse than today, unless of course you happen to be a major U.S. arms maker.” Indeed. The health of the State is the illness of the people. Major arms makers, and other corporations and special interests, are not outside of government. They are informally, but powerfully, a part of government. At this point, People wanting to become politicians know that and have no problem with it. But they will not say it the way people like Edward Herman (referring to the “joint venture” of powerful special interests with politicians and governments) and John Perkins (Corporatocracy) do.

“The really massive and significant growth of terrorism since World War II has been that carried out by states… Contrary to [Claire] Sterling’s foolish remark about the “colossal” armaments of retail terrorists, state military resources are vastly larger, and the power of even small states to intimidate is much greater than that of non-state terrorists. Only states use torture extensively as a means of intimidation, and if we use as our measure of the scale of terrorist violence either political murders or incarceration accompanied by torture, retail terrorism pales into relative insignificance.” – Edward Herman, page 83 of “The Real Terror Network”

“It need hardly be noted explicitly that for [Arnold] Beichman, like [Walter] Lacquer, the term “terrorism” never includes a bombarier on a B-52 mission over Indochina wiping out entire villages of “literal innocents,” nor the higher authorities ultimately responsible for such attacks – at a certain level of apologetics, state terror, no matter how gross, occupies a sacred place exempt from invidious language. But Reichman’s [sic] hysteria over dissidence is so great that for him, civil rights workers become indistinguishable from bomb throwers in the frightening array of opponents of the holy state.” – Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman, page 105 of “The Washington Connection And Third World Fascism”

“But in general, the nation in wartime attains a uniformity of feeling, a hierarchy of values culminating at the undisputed apex of the State ideal,” notes Bourne. “Other values, such as artistic creation, knowledge, reason, beauty, the enhancement of life, are instantly and almost unanimously sacrificed, and the significant classes who have constituted themselves the amateur agents of the State are engaged not only in sacrificing these values for themselves but in coercing all other persons into sacrificing them.” (the bolding is mine) Chris Hedges has a chapter in his book called “Vigilante Violence.” He’s talking about gatekeepers. In my essay titled “Gatekeepers,” I look at how there are two types of gatekeeper, namely those who are appointed and those who are self-appointed, but I didn’t concern myself with separating out the perpetrators of violence, or vigilante violence. A gatekeeper will already be an unprincipled person who has decided that how he (or…) survives is less important, or totally unimportant, while simply surviving is all that matters. Such people may view themselves as pious, as Christians or other religionists, but, as Jesus Christ said, “By their fruits you will recognize them.” And so, the easiest way, in this dark world, to survive, from the standpoint of such ruined ones, is to ally themselves with power, whatever its flavor. Now, All those who have the ‘wrong’ political views – a questioning of the status quo – are the enemy and are to be hindered and that hindrance ranges from the mildest form to the most violent form.

“Violence in America is not restricted to state violence. There is a tradition of vigilante violence that is used, usually with the state’s tacit if unofficial blessing, to crush dissent, to keep repressed minorities in a state of fear, or to exact revenge on those who the state has branded as traitors. It is a product of hatred, not hope. It is directed against the weak, not the strong. And it is deeply ingrained in the American psyche.

“America has been formed and shaped by slave patrols, gunslingers, Pinkerton and Baldwin-Felts detectives, gangs of strikebreakers, hired gun thugs, company militias, and the American Legion – originally right-wing World War I veterans who attacked union agitators, especially those belonging to the Industrial Workers of the World (the “Wobblies”). The influence on the country of the White Citizens’ Council, the White League – which carried out public military drills in the South – the Knights of the White Camelia, and the Ku Klux Klan – which boasted more than 3 million members between 1915 and 1944 and took over the governance of some states – has been equally profound. More recently, heavily armed mercenary paramilitaries, violent Cuban exile groups, and armed militias such as the Oath Keepers and the anti-immigration extremist group Ranch Rescue have perpetuated America’s seamless tradition of vigilantism.” – pg 145 of “The Wages of Rebellion” by Chris Hedges

I am always furious when I think about the tolerance for bike gangs. Why isn’t that terrorism? Why is none of what Chris looks at above terrorism? The war on terror is not what the authorities would have people believe it is. It is, in fact, a war of terrorism against the people.

The privately owned gatekeeping (major and alt in some cases) media and (ruined) reporters who they employ, sucked into supporting foreign policy goals that their governments pursue, become guard dogs (The Intercept, which Jeremy Scahill helps run) rather than watchdogs and the nation becomes aggressive (Nazi) and quite self-abused. Note that reason – thinking – has taken a holiday in Bourne’s ruined nation. Passion has been allowed to drive it away.

Bourne, again:

“The leaders of the significant classes, who feel most intensely this State compulsion, demand a 100 percent Americanism, among 100 percent of the population. The State is a jealous God and will brook no rivals. Its sovereignty must pervade every one, and all feeling must be run into the stereotyped forms of romantic patriotic militarism which is the traditional expression of the State herd-feeling.”

Bourne’s boast that enlightened Europe would never see war within was proved empty when NATO destroyed, with support from European nations, neutral, socialist Yugoslavia. See Michael Parenti’s article, “The Nobel Peace Prize For War.” Bourne could have learned a thing or two, from Bourne, about States’ war-making.

Bourne again: “For the very existence of a State in a system of States means that the nation lies always under a risk of war and invasion, and the calling away of energy into military pursuits means a crippling of the productive and life-enhancing processes of the national life.” Bourne elevates ‘nation’ to unrealistically great heights in my view. His point is sound about the negative effect of the State on the nation, because of its war-making priorities, but are people ruined by this or not? He seems to forget his own analysis. Once people are ruined (in a fascist, a la Herman and Chomsky, sense), are they not one with the State?

Bourne again: “All this organization of death-dealing energy and technique is not a natural but a very sophisticated process. Particularly in modern nations, but also all through the course of modern European history, it could never exist without the State. For it meets the demands of no other institution, it follows the desires of no religious, industrial, political group.” This is simply incorrect. The fossil-fueled military and the oil companies (two entities in the unholy trinity that is uncle Sam) benefit from war, at least by some standards. And Bourne, in the same paragraph as he makes the above statement goes on to say something like that, contradicting himself. It’s not just impulses or feeling among members of certain sectors of society that impel the State on a straight and narrow path of war, but it’s also the profit-motive. Walton makes several good points in this regard. He refers to another who makes the point that the political influence of the military becomes problematic when military people are over-represented in government, something that Kennedy was not bothered by.

Bourne again: “Because the entire nation is regimented and the whole resources of the country are levied on for war, this does not mean that it is the country qua country which is fighting. It is the country organized as a State that is fighting, and only as a State would it possibly fight. So literally it is States which make war on each other and not peoples.” Point taken, but this approaches what is known as a distinction without a difference. When the people of a nation are ruined, they will also be one with the epitome of ruin, namely the State. “Thus arises conflict within the State. War becomes almost a sport between the hunters and the hunted. The pursuit of enemies within outweighs in psychic attractiveness the assault on the enemy without. The whole terrific force of the State is brought to bear against the heretics. The nation boils with a slow insistent fever. A white terrorism is carried on by the Government against pacifists, socialists, enemy aliens, and a milder unofficial persecution against all persons or movements that can be imagined as connected with the enemy.”

Some anti-State propaganda. The bolding is mine:

“Immediately by night the brothers sent both Paul and Silas to Beroea. On arriving, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they accepted the word with great eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” – Acts 17:10,11

“Therefore, I appeal to you by the compassions of God, brothers, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, a sacred service with your power of reason. And stop being molded by this system of things, but be transformed my making your mind over, so that you may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” – Romans 12:1,2

“Indeed, Just as the body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” – James 2:26

Warren Buffett

Jesus Christ said that “…wisdom is proved righteous by its works,” which God will either approve or disapprove. (He said that in reference to John the baptist’s decision – which led to a huge influx of seekers for Truth to the ranks of Jesus’s followers – to loyally carry out his God-given ministry. John’s “works” [Matthew] or “children” [Luke], in other words, what John was producing, were evidence of God’s blessing and therefore approval.) Let’s think about that. There’s an interesting debate on the Left about a guaranteed annual income. This was mentioned recently in comments attached to a Real News Network show featuring Chelsea Manning. (Repeated efforts by myself to link, in the attached readers’ comments, to Toby Sanger’s, and John Clark’s, articles about the dangers of the guaranteed annual income were fruitless. What’s up Real News?). I cautioned people to think carefully about the annual guaranteed income and someone wondered what I was suggesting we could lose. I replied and that reply was disappeared. But it led me to re-read, and read, a bit about it. I attached a comment to an article by Toby Sanger, below. But first, I will provide an excerpt from Ben Stein’s interview with Warren Buffett, since Toby quotes Buffett, linking to that Stein article.

“In Class Warfare, Guess Which Class Is Winning” by Ben Stein

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

== =
Mr. Buffett compiled a data sheet of the men and women who work in his office. He had each of them make a fraction; the numerator was how much they paid in federal income tax and in payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, and the denominator was their taxable income. The people in his office were mostly secretaries and clerks, though not all.

It turned out that Mr. Buffett, with immense income from dividends and capital gains, paid far, far less as a fraction of his income than the secretaries or the clerks or anyone else in his office. Further, in conversation it came up that Mr. Buffett doesn’t use any tax planning at all. He just pays as the Internal Revenue Code requires. “How can this be fair?” he asked of how little he pays relative to his employees. “How can this be right?”

Even though I agreed with him, I warned that whenever someone tried to raise the issue, he or she was accused of fomenting class warfare.
Continue reading the main story

“There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
= ==

“How progressive is a basic income? left and labour perspectives” by Toby Sanger

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

There’s been an enormous amount of recent interest in an old policy idea: a basic income guarantee (BIG), also known as a guaranteed annual income (GAI), guaranteed minimum income (GMI), citizens income, negative income tax (NIT), etc.

The discussion below focuses on these proposals from a progressive labour perspective. It reviews positions Canadian unions have taken in the past, highlights concerns that have been raised and considers the conditions under which these proposals should be supported in relation to progressive labour priorities…

The Ontario government announced in its 2016 Budget they will “work with communities, researchers and other stakeholders in 2016 to determine how best to design and implement a Basic Income pilot.” The federal and other provincial governments are likely to follow suit and the federal Finance committee is also planning to study it…

Some conservatives, such as economist Milton Freidman and Charles Murray, like the idea of a guaranteed income or “negative income tax” because they see it as a way to dismantle the social welfare state and replace it with simple cash transfers. Others, including some businesses, are attracted to the fact that it could subsidize low wages. A number of Silicon Valley CEOs and “techno-utopians” also advocate for basic incomes as a way to address poverty in a new economy becoming increasingly productive but with jobs that are increasing flexible and precarious—and in a way that aligns with a libertarian and anti-government regulation philosophy…

At its 1988 convention, the CLC [Canadian Labour Congress] discussed and approved a policy paper on a Guaranteed Annual Income, Adequate Incomes for All Canadians: A Working Future. The CLC paper strongly opposed the MacDonald Commission’s corporate proposal for a poverty level GAI and put it in the context of the failure of their economic system to provide decent well-paid jobs for all and the conservative government’s erosion of social programs and benefits. It stated “a GAI must be part of an integrated and comprehensive approach to the question of poverty and low incomes that attacks the root causes of these problems.”

It affirmed support for a GAI but only one that provided adequate incomes and that was part of a comprehensive and integrated program, including restoring and maintaining full employment, increased minimum wages and non-wage benefits, strengthened collective bargaining relationships, ending discrimination, pay equity, improvements to social assistance programs including UI, CPP, workers compensation, benefits to disabled workers and child benefits, and expansion of public services, including universal Medicare, affordable housing and a universal child care system, and fundamental progressive tax reform…

We should be just as concerned now about basic income schemes that serve to dismantle the social welfare state and public services, or to drive down wages. The 2016 Ontario budget announcement reveals their interest behind this proposal:

“The pilot project will test a growing view at home and abroad that a basic income could build on the success of minimum wage policies and increases in child benefits by providing more consistent and predictable support in the context of today’s dynamic labour market. The pilot would also test whether a basic income would provide a more efficient way of delivering income support, strengthen the attachment to the labour force, and achieve savings in other areas, such as health care and housing supports.” (2016 Ontario Budget, page 132)

This suggests they are considering providing cash or vouchers as a substitute for public services provided to social assistance recipients (such as affordable housing, health and drug benefits, etc.) as a way to confront the “welfare wall”. This could lead to an erosion of public services, greater privatization, and the replacement of existing decent public sector jobs providing with lower paid and more precarious private sector jobs—thereby further fuelling more need for basic income supports. These are some of reasons the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty is highly skeptical of Liberal plans for a basic income.

My posted comment, with small corrections and modifications, in response to the above article follows:

“Can we expect a revolution of the precariat?” asks Toby. Presumably he means, by revolution, a situation whereby the precariat wakes up to its untenable situation, which would require it to care enough to know. Being victims of an attack such as neoliberalsim doesn’t automatically make you caring. And caring is knowing (the revolution).

I’d be interested in knowing the context for Buffett’s comment about class warfare that his class launched and is winning. In any case, it’s an interesting idea. It almost makes it sound like Buffett’s class is on the ball and everyone else is, like docile sheep, not on the ball. But, as the Christian Bible notes, wisdom is proved righteous by its works. Jesus when explaining to his disciples the way the faith of those pursuing righteousness worked gave illustrations showing that his disciples should expect a negative reaction (rightwing reaction) from much of the dark world that they would be working in. One example he gave concerned how faithless ones in that day reacted to both John the baptizer and himself. John was a divinely appointed Nazirite (some of God’s people being voluntary Nazirites), namely one who was dedicated to God in a special way, not drinking or eating any product of the grapevine, nor strong liquor, nor cutting their hair nor touching a dead body, even one of a close relative, although in special circumstances a rule might be overlooked. The Nazirite Samson was allowed to touch dead bodies, because God used him like a one-man army. “…John the Baptist has come neither eating bread nor drinking wine, but you say “He has a demon.” The Son of man has come eating and drinking, but you say “Look! A man who is a glutton and is given to drinking wine, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” All the same, wisdom is proved righteous by all its children.” John introduced Jesus to the people, himself hearing a voice from out of the invisible announce that Jesus was God’s son. His purpose was to direct people to seek forgiveness (symbolized by his water baptism) and to look for the messiah to come. He continued to baptize people for some time after Jesus’s arrival, but was eventually thrown into prison by Herod Antipas because he expressed disapproval of Herod’s adultery. While in prison, John, whose faith never waivered or Jesus would not have continued to praise him, asked those reporting to him Jesus miraculous works to ask Jesus whether he was the coming One or would there be another? As with the other disciples, there were things they didn’t know right away. John probably wondered whether that Jewish system would be shut down or whether it would happen later, perhaps by the power of another prophet from God. Unlike Warren Buffett, John wasn’t living it up, but it didn’t cause him to reject God. In fact, it appears that John’s family was not impoverished, which would make John’s sacrifice more notable.

Those, like Buffett, get ahead of and on top of others, usually, by breaking rules, written and unwritten. Once they come to dominate in society, those self-modified people – having ignored their God-given consciences and the golden rule of ‘do to others as you would have done to you’ – now express twisted values. They become (de facto and self-identified) neoconservatives and neoliberals. Neoconservatives believe in violence, deceit and inequality and they are down with neoliberalism, a socio-economic system that has, at its core, inequality. They become glory seekers who get a kick out of taking the means of survival from others who see who it is that robs them. Glory that is unseen isn’t glory. Right Warren? Neoliberalism – privatization and deregulation – means prosperity for the 1% and austerity for the 99%.

Unfortunately, Those who are victims of beastly people in authority who impose neoliberalism and austerity on them are not, automatically, caring. They are not automatically righteous. And that’s how we have acquired the discouraging situation whereby 98% of the 99% are dull and unable to counter the counterrevolution. Counterrevolution isn’t activity in a positive sense. Scheming and breaking rules isn’t creativity and thinking about problems with a view to solving them. But the dull 98% receive the propaganda of the State and its agents as though the State is caring and its actions and policies are an effort on their behalf, often called “national security” or “the national interest” or “a war on terrorism.” The 1% has a huge challenge and, in fact, does not possess the power to slay the wild beast of Corporatocracy. And their ideas, their thinking, their solutions (including a ‘progressive’ version of annual guaranteed income) that involve having socialism for all rather than only the iconic 1%, are not only not welcomed by the 1% (and we shouldn’t expect it as John Clarke notes), but they are actively snuffed out (the way the current Ontario Liberal government is seeking to get in a guaranteed basic income which capitalists can get behind, that way shutting down further, meaningful exploration of the solution). The general population may join the 1% of the 99% in being devastated by the assault by the counterrevolutionaries, but our being within the same fence doesn’t mean that we are all children of righteousness who reject this world’s paradigm of ‘riches for the strongest’.

Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop, the saying goes. Those idle hands are idle toward righteousness and solutions (from the standpoint of those who have not self-modified). The world is full of Devil’s workshops and very, very busy workers, like Warren Buffett, and this ruined world is only proof that what they are building is faulty and in need of destruction, which is why Jehovah God said that he would bring to ruin those ruining the world. John the Baptist died in Herod’s prison but not because he was an unthinking sheep deserving of slaughter. On the contrary. (Revelation chapter 11)

How do we determine whether wisdom is righteous? God decides. When someone called Jesus “good teacher,” Jesus took the opportunity to make a point (Matthew 19:17). He replied with “One there is who is good.” (The apostle John reports, in Revelation chapter 11, an incident in which, in vision, he fell to his knees before an angel who was giving him information and the angel cautioned him to “not do that! I am only a fellow slave of you and your brothers.” Same thing.) Jesus didn’t mean to say that he was bad. He meant to point people to his Father, the Creator, whose standards we must embrace in order to embrace and reflect him. (Ultimately, good people – like Noam Chomsky or Randolph Bourne – who have not embraced God will have to do so in order to be found to be good, with life and death consequences. There’s no getting around it.) It’s a matter of life and death, for only God can save us – if we want it. His Son is an instrument in that salvation which we experience, but we do not receive salvation automatically. Even those who possess faith are required to demonstrate their faith, by showing fear of God rather than fear of man, and telling people about Jehovah’s Kingdom and his plan of salvation for imperfect humankind, in which plan Jesus Christ plays a central role. The Bible notes that faith without works is dead. And wisdom would have those who possess faith, who aren’t totally in chains, produce works – and let us not judge others as to how worthy they are – that make that faith meaningful and of use to the person possessing it and to others. God’s people are a part of the miracle of life and, when the world is in darkness, a part of the solution. Whereas, Those who have self-modified themselves, jettisoning Jesus’s golden rule of ‘Do to others the way you would have them do to you’ for this world’s rule of ‘riches for the strongest’ are those who are busy scheming as workers in the Devil’s workshops. They are idle toward good works. They are, collectively, the problem.

We know God’s standards. He’s honest. He shows (agape) love. He embraces righteousness and hates injustice. He shows compassion and is forgiving, but not at the expense of justice and righteousness. We can therefore compare someone’s actions, including their words, with those standards. In that regard, It’s fascinating, in an awful way, to consider the political myth/ad of Camelot, in which John Kennedy is portrayed as a white knight fighting the forces of darkness. The idea to create Camelot must have come about, largely, as a result of a problem whose solution presented an opportunity, as I noted earlier. John F. Kennedy was a singularly awful man and President. He used the mob to get elected in 1960 and then tried to use it to assassinate Fidel Castro, whom he was obsessed with. Kennedy had venereal disease and no doubt gave it to many women. He was an adulterer – and it wasn’t by mutual consent with his wife – and even slept with the East German communist leader’s (Walter Ulbricht) former employee, Ellen Rometsch! Talk about reckless! (Politically, it was reckless, being something that might make JFK’s re-election, which he cared about, impossible. JFK may not have known right away all the details about Rometsch, but the point is that he didn’t care. By JFK’s own standards, he was reckless. Otherwise, There was no threat to actual national security here.) Seymour Hersh, who wrote “Dark Side Of Camelot,” stated that Kennedy liked living on the edge. But his recklessness, as Hersh and others have noted, often cost others their health and/or lives.

Richard J. Walton looks at JFK’s time in office as President. For someone who was infected with Camelotism, as was Hersh I think, Walton’s reportage is not too kind, which doesn’t mean unfactual. Hersh made the point, interestingly, that the dark side of Camelot is probably more important than the good that may have been there. (And I can guess what Hersh might call good about the Kennedy White House: The Alliance For Progress [that saw aid go to prop up sub-fascist, anti-communist National Security States], the sexy bureaucracy [because betrayer Kennedy is so sexy and everyone, male and female, was turned on by him], the lunar expedition [NASA is merely an extension of the Pentagon and has as its true goal the testing of missiles that will kill people, as Paul Kellog explains].) When Kennedy said “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,” Was he scoping out skirts in the audience? Kennedy (and his awful brother) was a pious and godless Catholic. He, therefore, was a part of Christendom, which is destined to be destroyed when Jehovah maneuvers to have Babylon The Great, which includes Christendom and all false religion of all denominations, destroyed in Armageddon. Both Walton and Hersh and others provide numerous examples of Kennedy lying and behaving recklessly. Interestingly, both authors, writing many years apart, depict a Kennedy who eschewed thoughtfulness. Hersh recounts an incident in which a professor of history, David Herbert Donald, who encountered the youthful President was struck by his ignorance. Kennedy came from a political family, his father Joseph having served as Ambassador to Britain and having harbored an interest in running for President, which idea had to be scotched when he failed to support America’s decision to go to war against the Nazis because he calculated that it was better to have the Nazis there to check Communism. (Which, from the American establishment’s standpoint, would not have been a terrible idea. For political reasons, however, it was. Americans being sent to fight Nazis would not vote for someone who appeared to not want to give the Nazis the war with the US that the Nazis wanted.) But JFK was, like his father (and grandfather), a gangster. Joseph Kennedy sold booze (jointly with gangster Frank Costello) during prohibition, in the 30s and 40s, and was completely supportive of the gangster Batista regime in Cuba. Kennedy was destined, it seemed, to become a schemer, not a scholar, just like his father. And he never learned properly from his mistakes. He always drew wrong conclusions from them.

“In a diary entry dated May 22, 1939, Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau described how Thomas G. Corcoran, one of Roosevelt’s senior political advisers, “got really violent” while discussing Kennedy and Krock. “He said that Krock was running a campaign to put Joe Kennedy over for President.” Krocker was further described as “the number one Poison at the White House.” Harold Ickes had earlier expressed concern about Kennedy’s qualifications, and his ambitions, in his diary: “At a time when we should be sending the best that we have to Great Britain, we have not done so. We have sent a rich man, untrained in diplomacy, unlearned in history and politics, who is a great publicity hound and who is apparently ambitious to be the first Catholic President of the United States.” – page 71 of “The Dark Side Of Camelot” by Seymour Hersh

Walton writes about Kennedy’s failure to pursue dialog with a puzzled Soviet leader. It wasn’t only the Soviets who were puzzled by this President who came to talks, but didn’t talk. As Hersh noted, Kennedy talked tough and that in turn caused others, who worshipped him, to imitate him. Kennedy was a Cold War hawk who hewed to the Cold War NSC 68 document, which was full of awful language about the evil of Communism and the righteousness of the United States which had the task of opposing Communism everywhere. How convenient for US-based investors and capitalists who wanted as free a hand as they could have in the new, post WWII, global capitalist system that was designed and dominated by the US.

Kennedy became a victim, sort of, of his own vile bullcrap. He, and other leaders in both parties, as well as the entire American establishment, going back to the beginning of that awful nation, were responsible for the ruination of the entire American population, with some principled people resisting, as you always see when darkness sweeps the land. And so, When Kennedy speechified, or engaged in ‘talks’, it was too often the case that they were bellicose and threatening, because that’s what the ruined people, and Kennedy’s ruined cabinet, and a Congress full of ruined Congress people, wanted from their ruined leader and he knew it. Hersh and Walton write about how Kennedy bamboozled the public about his proposed partial test ban on nuclear weapons, presenting the proposal as being a step toward peace, in accordance with his stated (bullcrap) desire to exist alongside the Soviet Union as an equal. By confining the tests to underground, Kennedy knew that he guaranteed American superiority, for the Soviets were behind the Americans in technological expertise in that area. Indeed, Showing that the Soviets were sincere about peace, as I.F. Stone reported, they reduced their tests altogether while the Americans stepped up their’s.

“Although Kennedy in his speech to the nation presented the test-ban treaty as the first step on the path toward peace, he presented it to the Pentagon and to the Congress not as a step toward ending the arms race but as a lasting triumph in it, as an acknowledgement of American nuclear superiority and as a way to maintain it. Not only did the exclusion of underground testing avoid the problem of onsite inspection but it permitted a form of testing in which the United States was more skilled and could better afford. Since Kennedy genuinely seemed to fear that it would be difficult to get the two-thirds majority necessary for Senate ratification, he stressed just those aspects of the test ban that weakened its effect. And since he feared public opposition by the top military might torpedo the treaty, he made a series of concessions to the Joint Chiefs of Staff perhaps more significant than the treaty itself. Even so, a number of admirals and generals opposed it either in Senate hearings or in public.

“As Secretary McNamara told the Senate, “By limiting Soviet testing to the underground, where testing is more difficult and more expensive and where the United States has substantially more experience, we can at least retard Soviet progress and thereby prolong the duration of our technological superiority.” When it came his turn to testify, General Maxwell Taylor, since August 1962 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, told the Senate that “the most serious reservations” of the Chiefs were based on “the fear of a euphoria in the West which will eventually reduce our vigilance.” They feared, in short, that peace would cause us to lose our enthusiasm for preparing for war. Thus, they attached “safeguards” to their support, and Kennedy gave “unqualified and unequivocal assurances” that their conditions would be met. This is the Kennedy – and the McNamara – who established firm civilian control over the military.” – pages 155 & 156 of “Cold War And Counterrevolution” by Richard J. Walton

I’m very sure that that last sentence is sarcasm.

“Despite Kennedy’s stirring words at American University, during Senate hearings on the test ban treaty in the summer of 1963 there was no talk of the recklessness and wastefulness of an uncontrolled arms race. The test ban treaty was described to senators hostile to arms control not as a victory against the arms race but as a victory in it. In his memoir Kennedy, Ted Sorensen, who wrote the first draft of the American University speech, recalled that Kennedy’s essential skepticism was not about Senate ratification, but about obtaining Moscow’s acceptance of the treaty. “Inasmuch as even a limited test-ban treaty required a Soviet acceptance of a permanent American superiority in nuclear weapons [emphasis added],” Sorensen wrote, “[Kennedy] refused to count too heavily on the success” of negotiations with with Moscow.

“Khrushchev would immediately have broken off the test ban talks had he been able to anticipate Robert McNamara’s testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in support of the treaty. On August 13, 1963 – eight days after the Soviets signed the treaty – McNamara, wary of criticism from the right, outlined an exponential increase in the arms race. America would triple its fleet of ICBMs, from 500 to 1,700, by 1966. This new push would also triple the total of available submarine-launched missiles by the same year. As for America’s missile defense system, McNamara told the Senate that the ABM warhead designs “we now have or can develop through underground testing will provide a high probability of killing Soviet warheads even if [the Soviet warheads incorporate advanced technology far beyond what now exists.” The journalist I.F. Stone, in a 1970 essay on the test ban treaty for the New York Review of Books caustically wrote that when McNamara’s testimony was read in Moscow, Khrushchev’s opposition within the Kremlin – which had steadily grown since the missile crisis – “must have felt Khrushchev had lost his mind in believing that the treaty was a step toward lightening the burden and danger of the arms race.”

“Khrushchev, perhaps as much dazzled by Jack Kennedy as the reporters who covered him and the aides who worked in the White House, was ousted as premier and stripped of all his government and party posts in October 1964.” – pages 385 & 386 of “The Dark Side Of Camelot” by Seymour Hersh

I’m mystified at the above part of Hersh’s quote of Sorensen in which Kennedy expressed worry about the Kremlin accepting American superiority in nuclear testing technology. If they didn’t know that it was superior, which I thought was the case, then what was Kennedy worried about here? Or is Sorensen lying?

Kennedy’s attitude toward humankind: ‘You will have peace over my dead body.’ If only that were so. But you were never an exceptional President, John. Here we see a variation of the ‘idle hands are the Devil’s workshop’. Here we have Kennedy the schemer, not Kennedy the dreamer or thinker. His hypocritical speechifying amounted to the sound of silence, in which the world heard words that it didn’t need to hear, since they were in fact insincere. (Keep in mind that Kennedy’s partial test ban treaty actually accelerated the arms race.) JFK was alternatively talking about peace and his willingness to pursue it, always contradicting himself even in the same speech (for those listening) or thundering and promising fire and fury, like his modern day, unpolished counterpart, Donald Trump, “who fumbled his way through a foreign-policy pop quiz before announcing, “I will be so good at the military, your head will spin.”” (Listen to Hugh Hewitt’s interview of Donald Trump here.) Kennedy wasn’t as dumb as Trump is, But when you embrace darkness, it’s only a matter of time. If imperfect humans could live for hundreds or thousands of years, those who embraced darkness would all begin sounding like a cross between the Rain Man and Homer Simpson. And they would still be going downhill until they were like drooling dogs chasing their tails.

Sam Giancana and John Kennedy

Kennedy went into talks with Nikita Khrushchev, in April of 1961, in a dour mood, having no intention of giving anything to his opponent, which really required no thought and reflected stupidity, inflexibility and a lack of imagination. Walton suggests that the reporter, James Reston, when reporting, a year after Kennedy’s death, on Kennedy’s frame of mind after meeting with Khrushchev, misinterpreted Kennedy’s dourness for a state of agitation caused by a bullying Khrushchev. Ted Sorensen, Walton notes, talked about a “legend” arising out Kennedy’s grimness and over-management of news “that Vienna had been a traumatic, shattering experience, that Khurshchev had bullied and browbeaten the President and that Kennedy was depressed and disheartened.” What Reston and others were really observing, in relation to his demeanor after Vienna, was Kennedy in a state of dourness that he put himself in on his way into the talks, which was not dropped right away afterward. (Hersh has a different take, for whatever reason. He runs with Reston’s reportage and accepts the idea that Kennedy had been bullied by Khruschev.) Kennedy liked to party (and orgy) and that made him fun. But he was also a psychopath, like Sam Giancana, who helped get Kennedy elected. Hersh even compares Kennedy to Giancana at one point explaining that just as the psycho Giancana’s response to bad news was often ‘Kill him, kill him, kill him’!, that was Kennedy in relation to Castro.

From pg 8 of “Pragmatic Illusions – The Presidential Politics of JOHN F. KENNEDY” by Bruce Miroff:

== =
Contemporary critics noted the absence on the New Frontier of any vision or design for the future of American society. James Reston recounts, in this regard, a revealing story about Kennedy:

I once asked him in a long private talk at Hyannis Port what he wanted to have achieved by the time he rode down Pennsylvania Avenue with his successor. He looked at me as if I were a dreaming child. I tried again: did he not feel the need of some goal to help guide his day-to-day decisions and priorities? Again a ghastly pause. It was only when I turned the question to immediate, tangible problems that he seized the point and rolled off a torrent of statistics about the difficulty of organizing nations at different levels of economic development.

Kennedy’s response to Reston can be seen, as it has been by Schlesinger, as a reflection of the pragmatist’s disdain for impractical questions. But it can also be seen as hinting at something far more significant – that Kennedy possessed so thoroughgoing an acceptance of the American social and economic order that he could not begin to think of why or how it might need changing.
= ==

Kennedy’s counterrevolution crowded out any positive vision for America and the wider world. Instead of reason, therefore, all you had was passion. Consider the way the young President responded to the warm overtures from the Soviet leadership upon becoming President. The utterly unclassy Kennedy was utterly disrespectful – just as he intended to be. Kennedy gave no more thought to the positive overtures of Khrushchev and Brezhnev than he gave to other matters, except sex.

From pages 5 & 6 of “Cold War And Counterrevolution” by Richard J. Walton:

“…The suspicious will argue that it was merely a tactical gambit, but at 4 p.m. on Inauguration Day a friendly message from Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev was delivered to the White House. After congratulating Kennedy, the two Soviet leaders expressed

…the hope that by our own joint efforts we shall succeed in achieving a fundamental improvement in relations between our contries and a normalization of the whole of the international situation. We are convinced that, step by step, it will be possible to remove existing suspicion and distrust and cultivate seeds of friendship and practical cooperation between our peoples. On its side, the Soviet Government is always ready to support any good undertakings in this direction and to do everything in its power in order that durable peace may be established in the world, so that all nations may live in friendship and without enmity.

Kennedy replied in routine formal language. A few days later the Russians gave substance to their words by informing Kennedy that they would release the two survivors of a six-man RB-47 reconnaissance plane shot down by the Russians over the sea near Murmansk on July 1 the year before. As Pierre Salinger, Kennedy’s press secretary, wrote, the release of Captains Freeman B. Olmstead and John R. McCone was “an obvious gesture of friendship toward the new President, and was to signal, if only briefly, a hopeful new atmosphere in our relations with the Kremlin.” Kennedy in his first press conference, on January 25, declared that “this action of the Soviet government removes a serious obstacle to improvement of Soviet-American relations.”

For the moment it appeared that Kennedy had responded to the Soviet gestures of word and deed. The moment was brief. It was ended by John Kennedy less than a week after the release of the RB-47 fliers. On January 30 the President stepped before a joint session of Congress to deliver his first State of the Union message. This was not John Kennedy the conciliator but John Kennedy the Cold Warrior. He chilled the Congress and the nation with a bleak assessment of the world situation that went beyond even the alarms of John Foster Dulles. He told the Congress that he spoke “in an hour of national peril” and he declared that it was “by no means certain” that the nation could endure. And in the kind of language normally reserved for moments or mortal danger, Kennedy declared:

No man entering upon this office, regardless of his party, regardless of his previous service in Washington, could fail to be staggered upon learning – even in this brief ten-day period – the harsh enormity of the trials through which we must pass in the next four years. Each day the crises multiply. Each day their solution grows more difficult. Each day we draw nearer the hour of maximum danger, as weapons spread and hostile forces grow stronger. I feel I must inform the Congress that our analyses over the last ten days make it clear that – in each of the principal areas of crisis – the tide of events has been running out and time has not been our friend.

The President left no doubt who, in his view, was to blame.

Our greatest challenge is still the world that lies beyond the Cold War – but the first great obstacle is still our relations with the Soviet Union and Communist China. We must never be lulled into believing that either power has yielded its ambitions for world domination – ambitions which they forcefully restated only a short time ago. On the contrary, our task is to convince them that aggression and subversion will not be profitable routes to pursue these ends.

This was the young President who was supposed to be free of the tired and sterile ideologies of the Cold War.”

“War — or at least modern war waged by a democratic republic against a powerful enemy — seems to achieve for a nation almost all that the most inflamed political idealist could desire. Citizens are no longer indifferent to their Government, but each cell of the body politic is brimming with life and activity…

“For the last stronghold of State power is foreign policy. It is in foreign policy that the State acts most concentratedly as the organized herd, acts with fullest sense of aggressive-power, acts with freest arbitrariness. In foreign policy, the State is most itself. States, with reference to each other, may be said to be in a continual state of latent war. The “armed truce,” a phrase so familiar before 1914, was an accurate description of the normal relation of States when they are not at war. Indeed, it is not too much to say that the normal relation of States is war. Diplomacy is a disguised war, in which States seek to gain by barter and intrigue, by the cleverness of wits, the objectives which they would have to gain more clumsily by means of war. Diplomacy is used while the States are recuperating from conflicts in which they have exhausted themselves.” – Randolph Bourne, “The State” (written in 1918)

Enlightenment vs Darkness

I agree with Bourne because that’s simply the kind of world I live in. But I would point out that that doesn’t mean that we should be anti-diplomacy. I applaud those who fight global warming which they say could lead to the extinction of the human species, not because I believe that evil people can bring that about, for God will prevent that, but because it’s the right thing to do. If others who don’t possess faith, or faith such as mine, want to do all that they can to prevent humankind from committing suicide, then, relatively speaking, they are taking a principled stand that I, and God, can agree with. And they should be supported. In any case, God does not intend to micromanage us. We have to be responsible.

There’s a lesson there. When we do something that we think is wrong, say act like a tough guy for no good reason, and do not show humility and admit that the behavior was wrong, and mean it, then we will go in the opposite direction. We will rationalize that bad behavior. Rationalized behavior becomes ‘normal’. Anti-communism and hostility, in the extreme, toward those who choose (which democratic principles allow) Communism (which means people looking after each other, rather than the dog eat dog of capitalism) was adopted by Kennedy and most of his ruined nation and Kennedy had to keep up the act. It was an act, but it was not a one-time thing and it was an act that Kennedy was used to performing pretty much 24/7. Everyone, just about, bought into the anti-communist bullcrap and it just wasn’t possible for the nation’s leader to be less anti-communist than a citizen below him. Recall Noam Chomsky’s above explaination for how Cold War revolved around what the US business community wanted. The American nation did recover it’s sanity somewhat a few years after Kennedy was assassinated, with much of the nation believing, to the dismay of the establishment, that Vietnam was not just a mistake by their political leadership, with good intentions, but a major crime. But, come forward to now, and the establishment and its military component is thrilled that it has overcome, with the war in Iraq, the “Vietnam Syndrome.”

In digging through the declassified documents of his government, Chomsky has found a great deal of interesting material, including statements indicating just what the deciders in government really thought about the Soviet Union. It wasn’t, as the lies told by politicians like Kennedy would have people think, the Soviet Union’s military power that worried the American 1%. Rather, it was the Soviet Union’s political power that worried American and other Western elites. In other words, If you actually allow people to freely choose between Communism (people looking after one another) and capitalism (dog eat dog and great uncertainty), they could be expected to choose, as they did in Vietnam, Communism.

Walton reports that upon taking up residence in the Oval Office, Kennedy actually thought that the Soviets had superiority in missiles. But he found out very soon from his intelligence agencies that the Soviets were considerably behind the United States, although the US’s conventional forces were somewhat meager. But that didn’t stop Kennedy from lying to the American people, and Congress, about it. Kennedy asked Congress, three times, for incredibly large sums for both missiles and conventional forces, none of which was needed except in the sick anti-communist rhetoric of ruined politicians and military and media partners. Which led to a dangerous situation in which the evil American hammer felt compelled to go after nails, somewhere, anywhere. Enter Indochina.

Kennedy, the venereal disease-ridden playboy was full of passion (minus reason) and lust ‘and’ was pious. But the love that God shows is agape love, which is love based on principle. God’s love is not against romantic love and the human passion that goes with it, but it does inform it. Without a world of people who believe in law and order, on principle and not as a means of control and manipulation, everyone eventually fails. Those who self-modify into neoconservatives have rejected God’s standards and unwisely cast aside his love without which beating others can be accomplished, but true success cannot be achieved with spiritual failure. True success would mean having avoided making unwise choices that prevent one’s survival into the new world to come. Those who self-modify into supporters of the ‘riches for the strongest’ paradigm come to possess twisted values and desires. They enjoy taking the means of survival from others. They enjoy surviving that way because it makes them feel strong, which has become important to them. And they like the glory that comes from seeing those who they have robbed, exploited and manipulated, look back at them. Glory that is unseen isn’t glory. And so those self-modified ones have put themselves into God’s position, exercising the power of life and death over those sucker sheep who don’t follow them in their lawless course. They have no problem with breaking rules and agreements and have discovered that by doing so, strategically, they can get ahead of and on top of others. And so they come to dominate in society and from positions of authority they can now dictate all kinds of outcomes, including economic outcomes that benefit them and their families and their class. Douglas Valentine talks to Sibel Edmonds about the lawless CIA and explains how they are even more powerful than people, who already know that they are powerful (and successful and prosperous), know. For example.

A sane person might ask “Why, If people like those in the CIA and other powerful people who hobnob with them know everything about everyone – which today they can do, easily – do they choose to treat innocent people like criminals?” Remember, These are, for the most part, self-modified people. Everyone is free to self-modify, but not without consequences. Their sentiments are now abnormal. They are a disturbed, dark crowd. They are not God’s crowd, but Gog’s Crowd (Ezekiel chapters 38 & 39). Recall how Cain, a son of Adam, self-modified after letting his mind go in dark directions (Genesis chapter 4). Abel, his brother, did not self-modify and pleased his parents and God. And for that reason only, Cain killed him. CIA agents are part of the Cain class. What about agents in the CIA, and other such orgs, who whistleblow and turn against the evil that their government is doing? That’s for God to judge. Which means that, as long as they are acting in such a way that their claim to be against their government’s evil behavior is believable, then trust them – as much as you can.

For example, Douglas Valentine, again, has some interesting things to say about Seymour Hersh (who he calls CIAmour Hersh), who I have learned much from but don’t really trust. He points out that in all of Hersh’s articles, there’s a sub-context (by which he means subtext), whereby the intelligence agencies whose awful behavior he reports are still the good guys. He points out that Hersh has never whistleblown and, despite all of his juicy reporting on evil done by the CIA, etc, Hersh seems to never lose his contacts with that org and the deep state that it is a part of. You have to ask why. People are good at fooling themselves, as well. Hersh gets nothing but admiration from his followers on the Left who stick with him ‘because’ he doesn’t whistleblow. Should Hersh give up his sources? No. But if he’s privy to so much info because of them, and if some of that is vitally important to ‘the people’, then Why can’t he whistleblow? Hersh answers that question by simply stating that he has a family. Fair enough. I can’t judge. But we all descended from the same first human couple. And, for those who have faith, and hope for themselves and their families therefore, only God can take life. And he will only do so when someone knowingly and willingly chooses to give it up.

Darkness is its own reward. Embrace darkness and that’s what you’ll get even if its fullness might not be in evidence right away.

Watching people do unrighteousness is the same as watching their minds disintegrate. And watching an otherwise healthy mind disintegrate is the same as watching unrighteousness overtake someone. No one who acts in accordance with his (or…) God-given conscience (inner guide), embraces darkness. Choosing darkness is a spiritual thing. And it leads to spiritual and mental darkness. And it makes no difference how clever you are to start with. No one is more abased and alienated from Jehovah God than the spirit creature known as Satan and yet it is certain that he’s still far smarter than any imperfect human being is. But if he had millions of years ahead of him, he’d end up dumb as the dumbest human being, because that’s the path he chose. Intelligence is relative.

Lying is disconnecting from reality. The cleverness of the liar can’t change that fact. Does the practiced liar know that he has started down the path of darkness? Yes and no. When you choose – and it is a matter of choice – to enter onto the path of darkness, you are going to end up rationalizing and justifying your behavior. Practicing lying indicates that you have already jettisoned certain principles, since lying is what one does in order to get from A to B quicker and/or easier. It’s also, inherently, rule-breaking. To get from A to B involves certain steps that are common to all who desire to get from A to B. But some want to get there easier and faster and so those natural steps that one would normally take, holding out no promise of getting ahead of, and/or on top of, others, are ditched for shortcuts, or lying. Why does one person have to be better than others? Why does one person have to beat others in order to be satisfied and content?

Humility is the condition of being able to see yourself as equal to others and it includes the ability to acknowledge when others are right about something that you initially thought was wrong. Humility is a choice. It comes with choosing to be principled. It involves the ability to see oneself as less, in some ways, than others. And it’s something that Jesus taught. The practiced liar, however, is also the practiced rationalizer. Rationalization is the act of ‘making appear good’ a bad deed that one performs, whether that deed is an action or words. Justification, a companion to rationalization, is where an individual judges his own overall course to be right. (And self/world justification obtains when the self-justifier is morally supported by others who have taken a similar dark course. As they morally support the errant one, the errant one in turn morally supports them.) We use the term self-justification differently, depending on the situation. For example, there’s justification that means giving reasons – asked for by others and not stemming from the subject’s own psychological needs – for a position, or course of action, taken. Both liars and honest people justify their actions. But it’s only the liar who has a special need to do so. Honest people with good intentions, who are asked to justify their behavior, are not going to experience the same (self-caused) angst about it, because they have not introduced conflict into their minds.

We all possess, and desire to possess, a positive self-image. When we do things that we know detracts from that image, and we do not possess humility, then we ‘will’ rationalize, or ‘make appear good’, our transgressions that otherwise would contradict that positive self-image. When two cognitions conflict, that leads to what social psychologists call cognitive dissonance. And there’s two ways to deal with the mental itch of cognitive dissonance. The conflicted person can either show humility and say “I made a mistake,” and change course (getting back on track) or he can rationalize or make appear good his wrong, which involves lying to oneself (making excuses and imagining plausible explanations) until the cognition that contradicts the positive self-image is less glaring. Elliot Aronson calls that ‘dissonance-reduction behavior’. But, underneath the lies that the liar tells to himself and others, the truth still lurks. It’s like a microscopic pitchfork deep within the rationalizer’s body that periodically stabs a nerve. And it’s my belief that, while you will grow dimmer as you travel further down the path of darkness, that inner conflict, stemming from a truth that can’t be completely snuffed out, translates into outer trouble-making. And when you’ve gone so far as to sin against the holy spirit, which means knowingly and willingly working against God, you have crossed a line which you can’t come back from, whether you want to or not (Luke 16:19-31). You are now on the wrong side of a chasm – judgment – which can’t be crossed over, neither by the living to assist the dead nor by the dead to a condition of forgiveness and life. Jesus portrayed those on the wrong side of that chasm as existing in torment, meaning either that they can be aware of their damnation or they are extremely disturbed or both things. Being on the hot side of that chasm (remembering that this is a parable) means you’ve lost all hope. God can’t help you nor protect you from the Devil’s influence, at least not without violating his own standards. And you will belong to that one (the Devil), which is really what you chose at the beginning of your career as a liar, for when you make yourself your own God, you also make Satan – who rebelled the same way but who has more power than you do – your God. But until you cross the line – and there’s no Force (as in Star Wars) happening here, whereby you can ‘always’ change the road you’re on – you can get back on track and not lose your life, if you exercise humility, admit your wrongs and change your ways.

In this neoliberal era, the neoconservative philosophy dominates. Neoconservatism means the embrace of deceit, violence and inequality. Neoliberalism is a socio-economic system and neoconservatism is the twisted value system that allows people to embrace neoliberalism, which has inequality at its core. Neoliberalsim means prosperity for the 1% who are strong – which they tell themselves after they’ve broken rules, or lied, to get where they are – and austerity for the majority, who are actually, but not always, principled and interested in law & order, in a principled way. We are all free to self-modify ourselves into being ‘believers’ in ‘riches for the strongest’. (There’s belief that’s partial, which means active and convenient only [enabling you to function socially in this dark world] and belief that is full, or external and internal.) Since Adam and Eve, this world’s operating principle has been ‘riches for the strongest’. Since Gog’s attack, beginning around 1919 C.E., that operating principle, or paradigm, has been embraced by more people and with more gusto. And that’s not only because there are more people.

The name ‘Gog’ means darkness. It’s another name given to the spirit creature known as Satan, aka Devil. The Bible, in the book of Ezekiel (chapters 38 & 39), gives Satan that additional name to mark a period of time when he is abased, or brought low, again. (Using a serpent, the way a ventriloquist would use a dummy, Satan deceived Eve, after which God passed judgment on him, telling him that his days going forward would see him eating only dust. So, Satan was judged and restricted to a diet of dust, which can’t sustain life. In other words, his situation, once he acted on his wrong desire to have worship in God’s place – like all powerful, evil people do – became hopeless back in the Garden of Eden, a first abasement.) As a perfect spirit creature, When that true son of God became Satan, he did so very willingly and knowingly, which made his sin one which can’t be forgiven. Satan’s anger, since 1914, has only increased in accordance with his awareness that his time, although long by imperfect human standards, is running out. He knows that the “seed” of deliverance, namely Jehovah’s appointed Savior of imperfect humankind and the King of humankind, within Jehovah’s greater Kingdom, will soon fulfill prophecy and crush his “head.” (See Genesis chapter 3) That seed’s ‘heel’ was “bruised” long ago by Satan when Satan managed to have his human agents impale (not crucify) Jesus. But one can recover from a bruise and God resurrected his loyal (to the death) Son, who returned to his true home, as he told his apostles he would, where he would reside forever, with further events pertaining to him prophesied to take place. The first major event, that we are told about, was his official crowning as King of (human) kings. Which doesn’t mean that those ‘human’ kings are automatically part of Jesus’s kingdom. But it certainly means that their rulership is over. And this event is directly tied to another major event, which the prophet Ezekiel told us about long before Jesus was born to Mary, namely Gog’s attack (Ezekiel chapters 38 & 39).

As Revelation chapter 12 explains, upon Michael’s (Jesus) ascension to the throne (which chronology indicates was in 1914 C.E.), war broke out in heaven and Satan was cast to the (realm of) the earth, angry, knowing that he has a short time left. Until that time, Satan was free to come and go between heaven, and the presence of God, and earth. But Jesus’s first act as the King of kings was to rid heaven of the vile Satan, banning him from entering that realm again, thereby showing his deep love and respect for his Father and the sanctity of his heavenly realm. He could do no less. And thereafter, as Revelation explains, “woe,” more than formerly, befell the earth. First we got World War I. And at the same time, we got a hotter spiritual attack from an angrier Satan who was now abased further, but not as far as he would be. And that’s how we got Gog and his spiritual/ psychological attack. (That’s always how I saw it. Jehovah’s Witnesses say that Gog’s attack is solely physical and corresponds to the secular realm’s assault on worldwide religion. Most of that religion is false, depicted as a harlot in Revelation chapter 17 and elsewhere, and God allows it to be destroyed. But not absolutely every religionist attacked by the secular realm – acting with authority from a temporarily empowered UN – is disloyal to Jehovah, which is the mistake that the world makes, for an attack that targets his people draws in Jehovah God and his Son, beginning Armageddon. I agree with that, but I don’t believe that Gog doesn’t appear until then.)

Indeed, The trouble-makers have multiplied and become more angry, violent and lawless in recent times. And they are on the Left and the Right. While I view rightwing as being evil, that doesn’t mean leftwing can’t be. I guess leftwingers can be viewed as slower suicides, hopefully with some deciding at the end to show humility and change course – if they haven’t crossed the line. (Many leftists, I would argue, have crossed the line and they are heavily represented in political parties, as members and supporters, that call themselves Labour, or Democratic among other things. And that darkness has spread to the left of that Left, making great inroads among the alt media/ progressive crowd. There’s a strong anti-God, anti-Christian Bible streak in the non establishment Left, where I am met with hostility on a regular basis.) I would self-identify as a leftwinger and a democrat, but with qualification, obviously. Ultimately, You can’t have democracy and theocracy, where democracy means rule by man. But there’s much about democracy, or what people on the Left say it is, that I, as a Christian, support. In other words, there’s much about democracy that is godly. I support human rights and fairness and equality. But I just happen to know that imperfect humankind needs a perfect, holy savior and he isn’t imperfect humankind collectively. I just happen to believe, actively and internally, or fully in other words, in a Creator God whose self-given name is Jehovah (however you want to pronounce that name). I feel no conflict within and I have no interest, and, hopefully, no capacity, to cause trouble.

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Lawlessness / Ruined – part 3

Mike Mullen reviews Pakistani troops

“After 3 Years of Neutrality, Pakistan Will Send Troops to Yemen”>”After 3 Years of Neutrality, Pakistan Will Send Troops to Yemen” by Randi Nord (Geopolitics Alert)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

=== == =
Riyadh has also failed politically in territory under their coalition’s control. The Saudi puppet government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi has no public support while the Emirati-backed Southern Movement and politicians now control most of Yemen’s south.

Sudan has sent thousands of troops to die in Yemen on behalf of Saudi Arabia. Khartoum received a $2 billion deposit in their central bank for their efforts at the beginning of the war.

Pakistan’s decision to send troops only further highlights Saudi Arabia’s failure in this war — which they never expected to last this long. Riyadh and the international community continuously underestimate the perseverance, strength, and military tactics of Yemen’s Army and Popular Committees. Instead, they are portrayed as rag-tag terrorists throughout western media while Riyadh’s and Dubai’s war crimes go unchecked.
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“Drones and Jets: The “Brazenness” Belongs to Israel” by Brenda Herd (Dissident Voice)

“Iran brazenly violated Israel’s sovereignty,” stated Netanyahu on 10 February. “They dispatched an Iranian drone from Syrian territory into Israel.”

In response to this alleged reconnaissance drone, which the Israeli military characterized as a “serious Iranian attack on Israeli territory,” Israel promptly bombed twelve Syrian and Iranian targets in Syria.

A vagueness persists about the alleged drone… While the drone caused no damage, Israeli airstrikes killed six people…

Let us recall that in August 2014 it was Israel’s drone that was shot down in Iranian territory. While Israeli media reported that the “device looks like a kind of UAV used by the Israeli military,” all sources agree with Reuters’ observation: “Israel has always declined comment on such accusations.” ­Did the Netanyahu-labelled “tyrants of Tehran” respond as Israel has just done? Did Iran retaliate by sending fighter jets into Israel? Absolutely not. Instead, Iran did what it was meant to do as a cooperative member of the international community. It verbally condemned the affront; it reported it to the IAEA (INFCIRC/867) and to the UN Security Council (S/2014/641). The IAEA merely circulated the complaint to member states, and the world ignored the brazenness of Israel.

From CBC:
The ACLU lawsuit on behalf of a Congolese asylum seeker separated from her daughter names several members and departments within the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, left, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, right. (The Associated Press)

“Trump administration sued for taking ‘petrified’ 7-year-old girl from asylum seeking mom” by ? (CBC)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

A Congolese asylum seeker detained in the U.S. has struggled to eat and sleep ever since immigration officials forcibly took her seven-year-old daughter and sent her to a facility 3,200 kilometres away, says her lawyer.

“She heard her daughter in the next room screaming, ‘Mommy, Mommy, don’t let them take me away,”” Lee Gelernt, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, told As It Happens host Carol Off…

“I think the administration’s hope is that the word will get around the world that if you come to the U.S., you may lose your child or be separated for a long time,” [Lee] Gelernt said.

Trump has not announced a formal policy to hold adult asylum seekers separately from their children, but the administration has previously floated the idea of dividing families at the border in an attempt to deter their migration.

“The administration should not be deterring asylum seekers under any circumstances, and certainly should not be doing it to use these children as pawns in some sort of public policy experiment,” he said.

From the Los Angele Times website:
A Lyft logo is installed on a driver’s car in Pittsburgh. (Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press)

“Sexual predators pose as Uber and Lyft drivers and attack women leaving bars and clubs, police say” by Richard Winton (Los Angeles Times)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:


In January of last year, a woman climbed into what she thought was an Uber outside a Hollywood nightclub on a bustling stretch of Cahuenga Boulevard.

But instead of driving her home, authorities allege the man behind the wheel took her to a secluded area and repeatedly sexually assaulted her.

Los Angeles County prosecutors on Tuesday charged Nicolas Morales, 44, with raping seven women while posing as a ride-hailing service driver. Authorities allege he struck across the region, including Alhambra, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, between October 2016 and January 2018…

Morales was taken into custody after a multi-agency investigation that included police in Alhambra, Los Angeles and Burbank as well as the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Authorities allege he lured women into his vehicle and then attacked them, armed with a knife. Neither Morales nor his attorney could be reached for comment. Authorities said they linked the cases in part through DNA evidence.

Morales is charged with 27 felony counts related to the attacks, which stretch back to at least October 2016.

He faces nine counts of forcible oral copulation, six counts of rape, five counts of sodomy by use of force and four counts of sexual penetration by foreign object. He also faces one count each of assault with intent to commit a felony, attempted sodomy by use of force and attempted kidnapping to commit another crime.

If convicted on all charges, Morales could face as many as 300 years in prison.

Inaam al-Attar (left) with governor of Ramallah Laila Ghannam (right)

“Gazan girl in need of transplant travels without parents after Israel denies permits” by ? (MA’AN News Agency)

A Palestinian girl was forced to travel without either of her parents from Gaza to the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday, where she is scheduled to receive a kidney transplant.

Thirteen-year-old Inaam al-Attar arrived to the Palestine Medical Center in Ramallah City with her uncle, who she is receiving the transplant from, after her parents were denied permission to travel with her from the besieged coastal enclave.

The governor of Ramallah, Laila Ghannam, welcomed al-Attar, who was filmed by several Palestinian news channels crying in the hospital saying she wanted to see her mother.

“The Russia Indictment: A Danger To Peace and Democracy” by Christopher Black (New Easter Outlook)

The Indictment issued by the US Department of Justice on February 16, against Russians alleged to have “defrauded the United States government” and a wave of “sanctions” imposed or threatened against the Russian government and individuals the past few weeks echo the Nazi propaganda and ideological preparation of the German people in the period leading up to Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the USSR in June 1941. The same techniques are being applied to the American population to build a psychological architecture of war and destruction. It is the arming of the civilian population with xenophobic and nationalistic abstractions to create support for violent action, for war, and the suppression of democracy. It is a danger to world peace and to democracy in the west only collective action can remove.

The entire anti-Russian propaganda campaign for the past several years rests on the long-standing stereotypes planted in American minds during the Soviet period, but now reinforced and expanded upon to amplify fear and hatred of Russia and its people. Hitler was very successful in mobilizing the German nation for war and creating enemies with slander and disinformation against Russians and Jews. A mythical world was created that had no relation to objective reality. The Nazis used these methods to create an illusion of ever-present terror to solidify their control over a people in despair of their condition, the poverty of their lives, to create the conformity they needed to impose a dictatorship.

Not only in the ruined US is that happening. I live in Toronto Canada. I don’t own a television set. But for the short time that I sat in crepe store downtown I noticed news flashes on the monitor on the wall tuned to the useless CP24 station. Television screens displaying this station can be found in most restos throughout the Greater Toronto Area. Repeatedly, anti-Russian and Rohingya news bites were shown. The Rohingya cause, for those who don’t know, is not worthy. It’s propaganda and the Rohingya are not an ethnic group. The US will do all that it can to destabilize regions where it sees that its interests (pretty much everywhere) are at stake. In the case of Myanmar, it would no doubt greatly like to eventually set up a base somewhere on it’s west coast, as part of its ongoing effort to string a pearl of such bases around that corner of China. But that’s not aggression. Aggression happens when others resist US aggression. See Gearóid Ó Colmáin’s article titled “The Rohingya Psyops: Waging Covert War On Myanmar.”

“Gun-Toting America” by Deena Stryker (New Eastern Outlook)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

“Shoot first, ask questions later” is a derogatory expression that reflects the fact that Americans are guaranteed the right to ‘bear arms’. Drafted as the Second Amendment of a constitution drafted in 1789, it was intended to ensure that slave-owners could legally shoot runaway slaves. The American Rifle Association, founded in 1871, a few years after the end of the Civil War, has made certain that Americans continue to believe that right applies to modern society. To achieve this, they donate huge amounts of money to each individual member of Congress, both representatives and senators.

There have been 30 mass shootings (defined as more than four people being killed) in the first month and a half of this year. In 2017, there were a total of 346, many of which occured in schools. The most horrific school shooting happened in 2012, in an elementary school in the small town of Sandy Hook, Connecticut…

…A few newscasters are daring to repeat Senator Murphy’s forceful declaration that the US is the only country in the world where people are allowed to walk around with guns. However pro-gun personalities on news shows still go unchallenged, as the leader of the House of Representatives declares that depriving Americans of their ‘constitutionally protected’ right to carry a gun is not the solution!

While the President went on TV to say that America’s children should not be afraid because they will never be alone, governors and mayors can only repeat like a mantra that ‘we are going to figure this thing out’, which means they are going to try to square the circle: protect citizens from gun violence while protecting the gun industry, in return for the phenomenal sums contributed to their election campaigns by the NRA.

“Sum of all American Fears in Korea: Peace” by Tony Cartalucci (New Eastern Outlook)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

North Korea has been depicted by the Western media as a dangerous rogue state, plotting the nuclear holocaust of America and holding global peace and stability hostage with its irrational aggression. It is the supposed threat North Korea poses to the world that the United States uses to justify its enduring decades-long military presence on the Korean Peninsula…

Yet North Korea’s immediate neighbor – South Korea – felt comfortable enough with this “rogue regime” that it not only invited high level diplomats to the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, it had its own athletes compete side-by-side with their North Korean counterparts as a unified team…

However, CNN’s article, “Kim Jong Un invites South Korean President Moon to Pyongyang,” would reveal:

Moon responded to the invitation by suggesting the two countries “should accomplish this by creating the right conditions,” adding that talks between North Korea and the United States were also needed, and requested that North Korea be more active in talking with the US, according to Kim Eui-kyeom.

In essence, the president of South Korea requires US permission to conduct what should be South Korea’s own bilateral talks with its immediate neighbor to the north. And here is revealed both the root of tensions on the Korean Peninsula – America’s involvement – and the sum of all American fears – peace between North and South – especially on their own terms.

For the United States, North Korea has been a convenient pretext to remain deeply embedded on the Korean Peninsula, admittedly part of Washington’s strategy – not to deal with a rogue state – but to further encircle and contain China’s rise in Asia.


“US drones rain fear from Somali skies” by Jamal Osman (New Internationalist)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

==== === == =
In recent months, thousands of people reportedly escaping drone attacks have arrived in the Somali capital. Halimo, a mother of six, from Qumbarer Village, some 80 kilometres from Mogadishu, had few goats to milk and a donkey track used as transport.

A simple farmer, she is not into the politics of the ‘war on terror’ but all she knew was that staying at her village was not safe. ‘The [drone] noise was nonstop. You often hear so-and-so village has been bombed. The other night, in a nearby village, the bombs killed three men who were watering their farm. There are many more cases.’…

Last year, there were 34 US drone and airstrikes killing more than 200 people, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism…

Obtaining the exact number of civilian deaths is almost impossible because the affected areas are under Al-Shabaab-control. The group won’t let independent journalists and human rights groups to investigate the impact of the drone campaign.

Nevertheless, since Donald Trump was elected, the campaign has intensified. Weeks after taking office, he signed a directive declaring parts of Somalia ‘an area of active hostility’. Technically, the presidential decree was permission for US personnel to press the kill-button without much consideration for civilian lives…

Beyond the figures and numbers exist communities terrorized by the Pentagon’s killing machine. Any sound they hear, they think it will be the last; the buzz of the bee, the humming of a car engine in the distance, and even the mosquito whine which they grew up with.

They are emotionally traumatized, forced out of their homes and, in the process, they have lost their dignity. Today, they are begging Mogadishu residents for food; the same people they used to supply their farm produce in exchange for cash.

Less productivity among the farming community means the local economy will be affected badly. Especially, the drone hit area is the breadbasket of Somalia – a nation recovering from a 30-year-long conflict.
= == === ====

Tina Fontaine

“Why Canada should stand trial for Tina Fontaine’s murder” by Pam Palmater (NOW)

Tina Michelle Fontaine was a 15-year-old Anicinabe girl from Sagkeeng First Nation northeast of Winnipeg. Thelma Favel, the aunt who raised her, described her as polite and funny, someone who made people laugh all the time.

Tina, however, also carried a great deal of pain inside from the loss of her father, Eugene Fontaine, in 2011. Two men pled guilty in 2014 to manslaughter and were sentenced to nine years each in his beating death. Family members say Tina was finding it difficult to cope with her father’s death. Her aunt Thelma tried to get counselling, but says she was turned away by several Child and Family Services agencies.

Tina had been struggling to write a victim impact statement which was to be used in the sentencing of the men convicted in her father’s death when she left her community to visit her mother in Winnipeg. Her aunt, not hearing from her, contacted Child and Family Services. In the days before her murder, Fontaine had come in contact with Winnipeg police, and Child and Family Services as well as paramedic services. She had been placed in a hotel by social workers before she was reported missing on August 9, 2014. Her body was pulled from the Red River eight days later. Police were reportedly looking for another Indigenous man when they found her.

It would not be until more than a year later, in December 2015, that police would arrest Raymond Cormier, a drifter with a history of criminal convictions, in Vancouver and charge him with second-degree murder in Fontaine’s death. On February 22, a mostly white jury found him not guilty…

…Tina died because federal, provincial and state agencies charged with keeping her safe, all failed to protect her. And for that, Canada should stand trial.

Looked at from a human rights framework, Canada is culpable for Fontaine’s death.

This may upset the criminal law experts, mainstream political commentators and online haters, but it is a fact.

Protesters making a point
(Jörg Carstensen – Global Look Press)

“US training Europe to use tactical nukes against Russia is threat to non-proliferation – Lavrov” by ? (RT News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

[Sergey] Lavrov criticized the US deployment of tactical nuclear weapons on European soil as well as the involvement of non-nuclear states in training programs, at a session of the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on Wednesday.

“Everybody should understand that the US military are preparing the militaries of European states to use tactical nuclear weapons against Russia,” he stressed.

The US stores an estimated 200 of its B61 nuclear bombs in countries including Germany, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey as part of NATO’s nuclear-sharing program. Russia considers the presence of American nuclear weapons in other nations as a hostile gesture.

bio-weapons production (Reuters)

“US undermining UN anti-biowarfare effort while building its own security mechanism – Lavrov” by ? (RT News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The US is continuing to block all efforts to create a verification mechanism for the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, which came into force in 1975, while creating its own mechanism for biowarfare security, the Russian FM said.

The convention, which was ratified decades ago, still lacks a formal verification regime to monitor the compliance of signatories. According to Sergey Lavrov, the US contributed to this flaw in the key non-proliferation document out of self-interest.

Syrian mother and child (Reuters)

“Syrian Women Forced to Trade Aid Workers Sexual Favors for Food” by ? (teleSUR)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

After surviving war, death, and destruction Syrian women are being forced to trade their bodies for food as a recent report from the United Nations stated.

UN aid workers are guilty of sexually harassing and abusing Syrian women and forcing them to deliver sexual favors in return for aid supplies, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said.

“Examples were given of women or girls marrying officials for a short period of time for ‘sexual services’ in order to receive meals; distributors asking for telephone numbers of women and girls; giving them lifts to their houses ‘to take something in return’ or obtaining distributions ‘in exchange for a visit to her home’ or ‘in exchange for services, such as spending a night with them,’” the report said.

According to the recent report which analyzed gender-based violence in the region, more vulnerable targets such as girls and widows or female IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons), those left without male “protectors”…

“The U.N. and the system as it currently stands have chosen for women’s bodies to be sacrificed,” [Danielle] Spencer said. “Somewhere there has been a decision made that it is okay for women’s bodies to continue to be used, abused, violated in order for aid to be delivered for a larger group of people.”

Venezuela vs the US directed OAS

“Venezuela Criticizes Spain for ‘Fanning Flames’ of Conflict” by ? (teleSUR)

When a journalist asked Arreaza about the alleged “humanitarian crisis” in Venezuela he explained that in spite of scarcity in certain foods and medicine, the Venezuelan government has implemented policies to insure Venezuelans get the staples through direct distribution from the state and was adamant that the obstacle to overcome these shortcomings are the sanctions imposed by the United States government of Donald Trump.

Finally, Arreaza warned that framing the economic crisis in Venezuela as a humanitarian crisis only serves to provide an excuse for a military intervention.

He recalled a speech by U.S. President Donald Trump where he, according to Arreaza, justified a possible military operation citing the humanitarian crisis.


“No humanitarian crisis in Venezuela – United Nations experts” by Alfredo De Zayas

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Editors’ Note: In recent months many claims have surfaced, mainly from the right but in some cases echoed by the left and liberal centre, that Venezuela is passing through a ‘humanitarian crisis’.

This is accompanied by a systematic campaign for external intervention and the ouster of elected Venezuelan President Maduro, and form much of the basis for economic sanctions unilaterally imposed by the US and Canadian governments last September.

The following interview with the German review Zeitgeschehen im Fokus describes the conclusions reached by independent UN expert Alfredo de Zayas on his recent visit…

From 26 November to 4 December 2017, Professor Dr Alfred M. de Zayas carried out an official mission in Venezuela. He had requested an invitation in August, which the Venezuelan Government granted in September, making him the first UN rapporteur since 1996 to be invited and to conduct an official UN visit to Venezuela. The purpose of the mission was to explore how the Bolivarian Revolution had implemented human rights – especially in the economic, social and cultural domain. It was his special concern to compare the coverage in the mainstream media of the United States and Europe with the Venezuelan reality on the ground. In order to get a sufficiently objective picture, the UN expert met with representatives and activists of 35 non-governmental organizations specializing on human rights issues, with representatives of industry and commerce, members of the opposition National Assembly, with Church officials, with victims of violent demonstrations and with relatives of detainees…

Today, if you read the New York Times or ‘inform’ yourself about Venezuela on CNN or UN Watch etc., you repeatedly come across the concept of a ‘humanitarian crisis’ …

… I warn against this technical term, because a ‘humanitarian crisis’ can be easily exploited to justify a so-called ‘humanitarian intervention’ or to aim at a ‘regime change’, under the pretext that the government lets the population starve. Some states pretend that the Venezuelan government can no longer guarantee the rights of the people. Hence, a humanitarian crisis emerged and now they want to intervene militarily to ‘save’ the Venezuelan people from a failed socialist experiment.

What is the situation on the ground?

I stayed in Venezuela for 8 days of intensive meetings back-to-back; I could move around freely wherever I wanted. I did not see any street children and I also did not see any person begging. I have not seen a single beggar in Caracas although I walked and drove across the entire city. I also walked by the poorer quarters, where I did see queues of people waiting for some subsidized or rationed products. The situation has many facets, and I do not claim that there is no hunger and no scarcity of medicine. I simply say that the existing cases of children dying of malnutrition or lack or medicine do not add up to a ‘humanitarian crisis’. I did not see any violence, although the press keeps telling us about it. As a UN official I have been in many places where you ‘smell’ violence, where you sense tension in the air and feel that you yourself may be in danger. That is not the case in Venezuela.

Sherine Abdel-Wahab

“Egyptian singer sentenced to six months in prison for insulting the River Nile” by Alina Polianskaya (The Independent)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

=== =
A Egyptian singer has been sentenced to six months in prison for suggesting the River Nile was polluted and that drinking from it was a bad idea.

Sherine Abdel-Wahab was also fined 10,000 Egyptian pounds (around £400) by judges at the Abdin Misdemeanour Court, where she was found guilty of insulting the state.

The ruling came after a video clip emerged which showed a fan at a concert asking her to sing the song “Mashrebtesh min Nelha”, which roughly translated means: “Haven’t you drunk from [the River Nile’s] water?”
= ===


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Professional Scam Artists – part 15

Amnesty International

“Amnesty International: Trumpeting for War… Again” by Paul De Rooij (CounterPunch)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

One must marvel at the first few paragraphs of Amnesty International’s recent press release:

“The international community’s catastrophic failure to take concrete action to protect the people of Syria has allowed parties to the conflict, most notably the Syrian government, to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity with complete impunity, often with assistance of outside powers, particularly Russia. Every year we think it is just not possible for parties to the conflict to inflict more suffering on civilians, and yet, every year, they prove us wrong…

Right now, in Eastern Ghouta 400,000 men, women and children, who have been living under an unlawful government siege for six years, are being starved and indiscriminately bombed by the Syrian government with the backing of Russia. […] The international community had said ‘never again’ after the government devastated Eastern Aleppo with similar unlawful tactics. But here we are again. Armed opposition groups have retaliated by indiscriminately shelling two villages in Idleb, which they have also besieged since 2014.”

…Before cheering yet another US/NATO war, it is useful to analyse Amnesty International’s record in assisting propaganda campaigns on the eve of wars…

Before the US invasion to ouster the Iraqis from Kuwait, president George Bush Sr. appeared on TV holding an Amnesty International report claiming that Iraqi soldiers had dumped babies out of incubators. That was Amnesty International’s willing participation in spreading a hoax — a hoax fabricated by a major American PR company.

In the months prior to the US-NATO attack on Serbia, Amnesty-USA put two Croatian women on a ten city-speaking-tour to project their account of their “rape-camp” ordeal — in reality one of them was a top Croatian propaganda official, a close advisor to president Tudjman, who was also known for her acting abilities. Again, this hoax was pushed by a major American PR company.

AI’s coverage/non-coverage of Israeli mass crimes also deserves to be analysed. In this case, Amnesty plays a role in adulterating and reducing criticism after wars or the misery caused by its continuous occupation and abuse of the Palestinians (discussed below).

The article lists further atrocities by AI and notes that “Amnesty’s sorry record is much longer than these few examples indicate.” Human Rights Watch is another NGO similar to AI that is completely in the toilet.

Amnesty International

“Amnesty International Winks at Trump’s Economic Attack on Venezuelans” by Joe Emersberger (CounterPunch)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The expression that “silence gives consent” applies perfectly to Amnesty’s stance which tacitly endorses Trump’s aggression against the Venezuelan people. To make this even more obvious, Amnesty also refused to condemn remarks by Rex Tillerson and Marco Rubio that encourage a military coup in Venezuela. Asked to comment on those remarks Amnesty replied that it ”believes that a responsible discussion on the current state of human rights in Venezuela should not be focused on statements made by parties outside the country and context”.

In the middle of an already grave economic crisis, the sanctions will cost Venezuela’s government billions of dollars this year. Its $64 billion USD in outstanding foreign currency bonds are all governed by New York Law, but the sanctions have outlawed Venezuela from borrowing or selling assets in the U.S. financial system. Debt restructuring is therefore made impossible and it blocks the government from rolling over its bonds (offsetting principal costs by issuing new debt). The sanctions also block CITGO, a U.S. based company owned the by the Venezuelan government, from sending its profits or dividends (which have totaled about $2.5 billion USD since 2015) back to Venezuela.

U.S. sanctions, which are illegal under of chapter 4 article 19 of the OAS Charter, are a direct assault on the Venezuelan peoples’ “right to health and food”.

“Is the EPA Hazardous to Your Health?” by Robert Hunziker (CounterPunch)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

As such, and if true that the EPA is hazardous to health, it is incumbent upon the public to root out and toss out perpetrators because a democracy, or an autocracy for that matter, should never allow public servants to knowingly harm/kill/maim its own people.

Still, according to Karen Perry, senior analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists: “This EPA is not interested in protecting people from harmful pesticides. It’s more interested in bowing to the wishes of Dow [Agrochemical].” (Source: Leah Douglan, Environment, Civil Eats, Feb. 5, 2018).

Scott Pruitt is the first, and only, anti-proponent EPA leader. He opposes EPA regulators and EPA regulations, as he methodically decimates the agency. Scientists are fleeing like locusts in spring.

The professional scam artist here is government employee Scott Pruitt and by extension his fascist government. When he’s done ruining the EPA, it too will be a professional scam artist.

CIBC (photo by DRheaume)

“Canada’s Five Giant Banks Ought to Be Nationalized, Not Bailed Out” by Mitchell Thompson (Canadian Dimension)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

==== === == =
Last week, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) revealed that Canada, Hong Kong and China’s banking systems are the world’s most at-risk of a severe crisis. BIS joins the International Monetary Fund, Moody’s and S&P Global Ratings in warning record-high consumer debt could tank Canada’s “five giants” in the case of a downturn. The Bank of Canada’s Senior Policy Director, Gino Cateau, calls such debt the Canadian economy’s “key vulnerability.” The post-2008 lending surge, which boosted consumer spending to keep the economy afloat, has driven many to the edge of insolvency. Ipsos, for example, found 52 per cent of Canadians are $200 from bankruptcy by the end of an average month.

We’ve seen this before. Leading up to 2008, Canadians had about the same debt-to-income ratio as Americans. And, when the recession struck, Canada’s five giants faced insolvent borrowers and the federal government bailed them out. Most of the money came from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, which bought loans that soured, but total support peaked at $114 billion. At around seven per cent of Canada’s 2009 GDP, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives economist David Macdonald notes, it would’ve been cheaper to buy most of the banks…

Bank executives responded to the last bailout by increasing executive bonuses (to the tune of millions of dollars between 2008 and 2009), closing branches (especially in poor and rural areas), laying off employees and engaging in the same over-lending that necessitated 2009’s bailout. With another crisis brewing, there’s no indication the same won’t transpire again.
= == === ====


“Ottawa promises crackdown on loopholes that let big banks avoid billions in taxes” by Marco Chown Oved

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

An investigation published by the Star and Corporate Knights magazine in December crunched six years of corporate financial data to show that Canada’s Big Five banks avoided an average of $3.8 billion in tax every year.

Despite being the most profitable companies in the country, Canadian banks pay 1/3 the tax rate of other large corporations. They also pay a lower rate of tax than big banks in any other G7 country.

William Hartung

“Weapons for Anyone” by William Hartung (TomDispatch)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

It’s one of those stories of the century that somehow never gets treated that way. For an astounding 25 of the past 26 years, the United States has been the leading arms dealer on the planet, at some moments in near monopolistic fashion. Its major weapons-producers, including Boeing, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin, regularly pour the latest in high-tech arms and munitions into the most explosive areas of the planet…

To be fair, Donald Trump is hardly the first American president to make it his business to aggressively promote weapons exports. Though seldom a highlighted part of his presidency, Barack Obama proved to be a weapons salesman par excellence. He made more arms offers in his two terms in office than any U.S. president since World War II, including an astounding $115 billion in weapons deals with Saudi Arabia…

It’s worth noting that three of those four Saudi deals involved weapons made by Lockheed Martin…

…General Joseph Rixey, until recently the director of the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency… has since gone directly through Washington’s revolving door and been hired by – you guessed it – Lockheed Martin.

In addition, former Lockheed Martin executive John Rood is now the Trump administration’s undersecretary of defense for policy, where one of his responsibilities will be to weigh in on… don’t be shocked!… major arms deals. In his confirmation hearings, Rood refused to say that he would recuse himself from transactions involving his former employer, for which he was denounced by Senators John McCain and Elizabeth Warren…

If Trump’s vision of an all-arms-sales-all-the-time foreign policy is realized, he may scale the weapons-dealing heights reached by the Obama administration. As Washington’s arms-dealer-in-chief, he might indeed succeed in selling American weaponry as if there were no tomorrow. Given the known human costs of unbridled arms trafficking, however, such a presidency would also ensure that whatever tomorrow finally arrived would prove far worse than today, unless of course you happen to be a major U.S. arms maker.

Marathon Petroleum Corporation spills oil into the Wabash River

“Delinquent $13.8 Billion Pipeline Company Receives Minor Fine For Major Oil Spill” by Dimitri Lascaris (Dimitri Lascaris)

Big Oil and the Trudeau government insist that the transportation of oil by pipelines is safe, but experience continues to contradict them.

In the last 12 years, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, which manages one of the largest petroleum pipeline networks in the U.S., has had 61 incidents, 12 of which have been in Indiana. These incidents include a recent spill of 42,000 gallons of diesel fuel into an Indiana creek. In the same week in which that spill occurred, Marathon paid a fine of about $300,000 for another spill last year into the Wabash River.

Mariner East 2 Pipeline

“Five Spills, Six Months in Operation: Dakota Access Track Record Highlights Unavoidable Reality — Pipelines Leak” by Alleen Brown (The Intercept)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The Dakota Access pipeline leaked at least five times in 2017. The biggest was a 168-gallon leak near DAPL’s endpoint in Patoka, Illinois, on April 23. According to federal regulators, no wildlife was impacted, although soil was contaminated, requiring remediation. DAPL went into operation on June 1, along with its under-the-radar sister project, the Energy Transfer Crude Oil pipeline, a natural gas pipeline converted to carry crude. Together, the two make up the Bakken pipeline system. ETCO leaked at least three times in 2017.

Most of the Bakken system leaks were considered minor by state and federal monitors. According to regulators, water was not impacted in any of the cases. The only spill considered “significant” by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or PHMSA, was a 4,998-gallon leak on the ETCO pipeline in Dyersburg, Tennessee, on June 19…

Anne Rolfes, head of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, which is fighting ETP’s proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline, said the company’s argument about safety is unproven. “The company has an accident problem,” she said, adding that state agencies’ view of the spills as minor “just shows how problematic our so-called regulatory system is.”

Corporate Europe Observatory
click on image for source

“Packaging lobby’s support for anti-litter groups deflects tougher solutions” by ? (Corporate Europe Observatory)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article:

Almost all the plastic ever created still exists in some form, from waste choking marine life, to micro-plastics eaten by fish that end up on the dining table, to the plastics leaching chemicals with unknown consequences. As the problem reaches crisis levels, public pressure to tackle plastic waste has pushed it up the political agenda. In Brussels, Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam, and London decision-makers are keen to respond. But when it comes to tackling the problem at source, the plastics and packaging industries, as well as their allies in the food and drink sector, are on the defensive.

It is much cheaper and more convenient for industry to focus on consumer and individual responsibility for litter and its clean-up, rather than to change production and packaging methods. Not surprisingly then, the packaging industry and its customers in the food and drink sector support various anti-litter campaigns across Europe. Industry does this for several reasons, including to green-wash their single-use packaging products with the veneer of environmental respectability. But this tactic also has other more insidious purposes; significantly, to try to change the popular and political narrative on waste, especially plastics and single-use packaging.

Joel Lexchin

“The Pharmaceutical Industry in Contemporary Capitalism” by Joel Lexchin (Monthly Review)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The pharmaceutical industry has remained near or at the top of the list for profitability for many decades. The myth is that its profits come from producing and selling the many therapeutic advances that industry research has generated, but the reality is far different. In the first place, after tax deductions only about 1.3 percent of the money that the industry spends actually goes into basic research, the type of research that leads to new medications. Second, most of the new medicines that come from the pharmaceutical corporations offer little to nothing in the way of new therapeutic options…

The industry also justifies its high level of profits with the claim that drug development is inherently risky. To this end, the pharmaceutical corporations maintain that only one in every 10,000 molecules actually results in a new drug. Though this may be true, most of the molecules that fall by the wayside do so in the very early stages of development when costs are minimal. The $2.6 billion figure that is now cited as the cost to bring a new drug to market4 comes from data that are confidential, and the calculations are based on a set of assumptions that have been widely challenged.5 Were drug development such a risky proposition, then one would expect that from time to time the fortunes of corporations would vary. On the contrary, since 1980, all the large corporations have done well financially…

To maintain its attractiveness to the financial community, the pharmaceutical industry has developed several strategies. With the blockbuster model of development drying up, corporations have shifted to a “nichebuster” model. With fewer potential products in the research and development (R&D) pipeline, it is even more critical to ensure that drugs being developed make it through the regulatory process intact, and to do that, industry has deepened its relationship with regulatory agencies to circumvent or corrupt the intent of regulation, often with the collusion of government. Key to the industry’s survival is its ability to extend the period during which it has a monopoly on the sale of products, and that translates into stronger intellectual property rights, both in the developed world and in the developing countries that represent the emerging sites of growth. With the threat of price controls looming, the other way of expanding revenue is to increase the volume of prescriptions for existing and new drugs. The approach to that goal is to control the knowledge about how and when drugs should be prescribed…

However, despite successes in controlling overall spending, no developed countries have been willing to mount a challenge to the current intellectual property regime that grants monopolies for up to twenty years and keeps lower-priced generics off the market. All drug regulatory systems are funded to varying degrees by user fees, thereby embedding a system that makes regulators sensitive to the needs of the pharmaceutical industry when it comes to approving new products. Finally, clinical trials are still under control of pharmaceutical corporations worldwide. Promotion to both health care practitioners and consumers, even in countries like New Zealand, is poorly regulated, meaning that both prescribers’ and patients’ knowledge about medications remains limited.

“German Beer Industry in Shock Over Monsanto Glyphosate Contamination” by ? (Sustainable Pulse)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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The Munich Environmental Institute (Umweltinstitut München) has released shocking results Thursday of laboratory testing it has completed on 14 of the most sold beers in Germany. The probable carcinogen and World’s most used herbicide – glyphosate – was found in all of the 14 beers tested…

Sustainable Pulse Director Henry Rowlands stated Thursday; “Stone-Age industry funded science suggested that the higher the dose of a chemical the more dangerous it was, however modern independent science has discovered that many toxic chemicals have as much or more of an influence on our health at low doses– these chemicals are known as hormone hackers (endocrine disruptors)…”
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Green City Growers Horticulture Group

“USDA Accused of Disseminating “Corporate Propaganda” Backing Agribusiness Switch of Organics to (Soil-less) Hydroponic Production” by ? (The Cornucopia Institute)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

In an affront to the farming pioneers who launched the organic movement, today a $50 billion industry, the USDA announced late last month that the “Certification of hydroponic, aquaponic, and aeroponic operations is allowed under the USDA organic regulations, and has been since the National Organic Program (NOP) began.”…

Much of the hydroponic production entering the organic market takes place in large, industrial-scale greenhouses using liquid fertilizers, mostly produced from conventional, hydrolyzed soybeans. Hydroponic produce under the organic label is rapidly displacing fruit and vegetables grown in soil, which is carefully nurtured to improve fertility, by diversified farms…

The USDA’s statement was made regardless of the fact that the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), the governing body that the USDA Secretary is required by Congress to consult on all organic rulemaking, has never voted to legalize soil-less production.

The present federal organic regulations and their enabling legislation, the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), both require careful stewardship of soil fertility as a prerequisite for organic certification…

“The NOP has unilaterally, and in secret, allowed for the certification of soil-less systems without standards, public notice, or opportunity for public comment,” said The Cornucopia Institute’s senior scientist, Linley Dixon, PhD.

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