Professional Scam Artists – part 63

“United Nations Sends 24,000 Tons of Expired, Rotten, and Infested “Aid” to Starving Yemenis” by Randi Nord (Geopolitics Alert)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Since 2015, Yemen’s Customs and Consumer Protection has had to either send back or seize over 24,000 tons of aid determined unfit for consumption sent from the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). Among the “aid” included 15,000 tons of supplementary food for pregnant women and medicine.

On November 6, Yemen’s Port Authority rejected and sent back a vessel from the World Food Program containing 10,000 tons of white wheat. After inspection, authorities noticed the wheat was infested with live insects. A similar incident occurred in February when authorities inspected a WFP shipment containing 96,000 bags wheat that lacked an expiration or production date stamp.

Another particularly notable incident took place in May of 2019. At this time, Yemeni authorities found dead insects inside 8 million kilograms of wheat. Throughout June, authorities were forced to reject nearly 130,000 bags of white beans that were either wet, rotten, or infested with dead insects.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has attempted to shift blame for their unfit shipments onto the Sana’a government, led by Ansarullah aka. the “Houthis.”

Photo by ACME/Flickr

“The Hydroponic Threat to Organic Food” by Dave Chapman (Earth Island Journal)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

In the last seven years there has been a quiet redefinition taking place in the USDA National Organic Program that oversees organic standards. Large scale industrial producers have insinuated themselves into organic certification to transform what the green and white label stands for.

Original organic was based on a simple equation:

Healthy soil = healthy plants = healthy animals = healthy planet.

This equation leaves out the discussion of WHY these things are true, but it is a good roadmap for what organic agriculture is all about. The first given is always “healthy soil.” As we look deeper, we cannot study these parts separately, because plants and animals are integral parts of healthy soil system. No plants means no healthy soil. The same is true with animals. Soil and plants coevolved for 350 million years, and neither can be healthy in isolation from the other. The dance between plants, microbial life, and animal life in the soil is necessary for all.

Note, Those who toss out lines about what was going on 350 million years ago will NEVER convince me that they know. It’s nonsense. As a true Christian, I do not buy the un-provable assertion that we have evolved. I wonder, Do those who still buy and sell the idea of biological evolution even keep up with the science?, because the functional evolution position of Darwinianism is dead. Michael Denton is a good source of information on that subject.

not Mike Pompeo’s dog

“CNN reports Secretary of State’s security officers became “UberEats with guns” before they became whistleblowers.” by Tinker Ready (Whistleblower Protection Blog)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

“An employee of the Department of Housing and Urban Development may not ask his secretary to type his personal correspondence during duty hours.”

That is one example in the federal code of regulations of a personal task executive branch employees are not allowed to assign to government staff.

CNN reports that an unnamed congressional committee has been told by whistleblowers that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used members of his security patrol to pick up his dogs, his son and his Chinese food…

“These are not the kind of people who go around complaining,” retired Rear Admiral John Kirby told CNN.

“Labour raises ‘serious concerns’ about a major BBC propaganda offensive about to be aired” by James Wright (The Canary)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

==== === == =
The Labour Party has raised “serious concerns” about a major propaganda offensive airing on 10 July on BBC One.

The opposition party is preparing to complain over the new Panorama episode entitled Is Labour antisemitic?. It told the Sunday Times:

We have serious concerns about how they have used taxpayers’ money to produce this programme. Rather than investigating antisemitism in the Labour Party in a balanced and impartial way, Panorama appears to have predetermined its outcome and created a programme to fit a one-sided narrative.

But the record of John Ware, the journalist behind the programme, is raising concerns. In a previous Panorama episode on Jeremy Corbyn in September 2015, Ware claimed that the Labour leader had attended an event in Cairo that called for violence against British and US troops. In other words, he suggested that Corbyn himself had advocated attacks against British forces. Yet Corbyn was actually in Islington, London; and there is no evidence behind this claim.

In response, the BBC claimed that Corbyn’s team “didn’t offer any response or proof that he did not attend the conference”.

At the time, a leading scholar on the BBC – Tom Mills – took down the programme’s “shoddy reporting and overt political bias” in openDemocracy. Mills said:

Interspersed with condescending ‘vox pops’ with Corbyn supporters were interviews with luminaries of the Labour right, who were free to offer their apparently authoritative analysis unchallenged by the programme’s presenter, the veteran broadcaster and former Sun journalist, John Ware.

The BBC, meanwhile, claimed that the episode “clearly reflected the growth of support for his campaign within the party, union members and activists”.

But, in the new Panorama episode, will Hare inform viewers that accusations of antisemitism in Labour reportedly relate to 0.1% of the party’s 540,000-strong membership? Will Hare let people know that academics at the Media Reform Coalition concluded that corporate media reporting on Labour and antisemitism has been a “disinformation paradigm”? Given that the BBC played a leading role in not only the so-called disinformation paradigm but also the 2016 coup against Corbyn and the general demonisation of progressive views, that seems unlikely.
= == === ====

From Truthdig:
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos introduces new electronic products in 2012. A new report finds that Amazon violates its own anti-hate speech policies by allowing the sale of racist, anti-Semitic and other offensive products and content. (Reed Saxon / AP)

“Amazon’s 25th anniversary: A conglomerate based on parasitism and exploitation” by Tom Carter (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Traditional book publishers were decimated by the arrival of Amazon, which aggressively pursued them, in the words of Bezos, “the way a cheetah would pursue a sickly gazelle.”

Amazon’s annual revenues reached $233 billion in 2018, on which the conglomerate is expected to pay zero federal income tax. To put this figure in perspective, these revenues are nearly at the level of the annual tax revenue of Russia, which amounted to $253.9 billion in US dollars in 2017. Amazon’s revenues are higher than the government revenues of Turkey ($173.9 billion), Austria ($197.8 billion), Poland ($90.8 billion) and Iran ($77.2 billion).

Nearly half of American households now have subscriptions to Amazon Prime. The click of a mouse on a personal computer, or the tap of a finger on a mobile device, now sets into motion the speedy delivery of commodities from around the world, or the instantaneous electronic transmission of a film, song or book. Behind these deceptively simple transactions lies Amazon’s vast and complex commercial, logistics, distribution and computing empire.

Promising advances have indeed been made in automation and artificial intelligence…

But under capitalism, new advances in technology have made possible new techniques of exploitation. Amazon has become a watchword for a new kind of despotism in the workplace.

In Amazon “fulfillment centers,” workers are forbidden to carry cellphones or to talk to each other. They are searched coming in and out, and minute details of their activity throughout the workday are tracked. Amazon specializes in putting constant pressure on workers to move as fast as possible, with electronic devices constantly prompting and prodding them to complete the next task.

Workers are instructed to compete with each other to surpass each other’s rates, which they are admonished constitutes “fun.” Arbitrarily high rates are demanded, and then raised, and then raised again. A worker who takes a moment to rest, to drink water, or to go to the bathroom can be criticized for a diminished rate. The workers who are deemed too slow, or who simply tire out, are replaced…

The key to the struggle of Amazon workers is an understanding that the fight against Amazon is a fight against the capitalist system itself…

Not just Bezos, but many others have enriched themselves or stand to enrich themselves from Amazon’s rise. Wall Street has its fingers in the pie. The Vanguard Group currently owns $55 billion of Amazon stock, BlackRock owns $45 billion and FMR owns $30 billion.

The parasitic activities of Amazon, through which it has sought to appropriate for itself the surplus value accumulated by other companies, have been integrated with the financial parasitism of the American economy. Amazon’s own stock has been buoyed ever higher as part of the speculative mania on Wall Street.

Amazon is entangled not only with Wall Street, but also with the US military and intelligence apparatus. Amazon was awarded a $600 million contract with the CIA in 2013, followed by a $10 billion contract with the Department of Defense last year to move government data onto the cloud. Meanwhile, Amazon’s facial-identification software “Rekognition” is being marketed to federal and local police.

In 2013, Bezos personally purchased, and now operates, the Washington Post, which has been a main media voice for the Democratic Party’s anti-Russia campaign and the overall interests of American imperialism.

The increasing integration of Amazon with the repressive apparatus of the state, while its tentacles stretch into every corner of society, confirms the Marxist understanding of the relationship between capitalism and democracy in the modern epoch. “Finance capital does not want liberty, it wants domination,” wrote Austrian Marxist Rudolf Hilferding, in a passage quoted by Lenin in Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism.

Picket line at Mercy Health St Vincent Medical Center during recent strike

“Hundreds quit union as UAW pushes through sellout deal at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio” by Shannon Jones (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Nurses at the Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center reportedly ratified a new three-year contract in voting held Monday and Tuesday of this week. The vote followed a contract rejection earlier this month by some 900 members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) at the hospital in Toledo, Ohio.

According to reports 83.9 percent of nurses voted in favor, although there was no figure on the percentage taking part. The local bargaining committee had endorsed the deal.

Nurses carried out a six-week strike and hundreds have either resigned from the UAW in disgust or quit their jobs following the blatant betrayal of their struggle by the union.

During the strike nurses told the Autoworker Newsletter they had been forced to work up to 26 hours consecutively and said they had to sleep in their cars before they could drive home safely. Nurse to patient ratios had increased, doubling over the course of a year.

However, the UAW did nothing to mobilize broader support behind the workers, including rallying workers at other Mercy Health hospitals in the area or at facilities of the Pro Medica hospital network. Nurses and support staff were forced to subsist on a miserly $250 weekly strike pay despite the UAW sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars in its bloated strike fund.

A turning point came when the UAW accepted a contract for support staff that excluded nurses. The union rushed through ratification June 2 without providing adequate time for discussion. Then, in a brazen act of treachery, the UAW ordered support staff to return to work, crossing the picket lines of striking nurses.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at the U.S. Border Port of Entry in Nogales, Arizona. (Jeff Topping/Getty Images)

“US Border Patrol agents joke about immigrant deaths in secret Facebook group with 9,500 members” by George Marlowe (ProPublica via WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

A report published Monday by ProPublica revealed that US Border Patrol agents made sadistic, violent and racist jokes about immigrant deaths in a secret Facebook group with over 9,500 members.

The ProPublica exposé came as President Donald Trump threatened mass immigrant raids after the Fourth of July. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of immigrants suffer brutal conditions in concentration camps operated by the fascistic Trump administration across the US-Mexico border, which the Democrats in Congress overwhelmingly voted last week to support with more than $4 billion in funding.

Members of the secret Facebook group called “I’m 10-15”—a code used by Border Patrol agents to refer to the detention of migrants—made cruel jokes about immigrant deaths and posted sexually explicit images of Democratic members of Congress. ProPublica was able to link the identities of several of the participating members in the group with Facebook profiles belonging to Border Patrol agents, including a supervisor from El Paso, Texas.

Emma Arbuthnot

“Judge Emma Arbuthnot refuses to recuse herself in show trial of Julian Assange” by Thomas Scripps (WSWS)

Judge Emma Arbuthnot has refused to recuse herself from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s US extradition hearings. This is what “class justice” looks like.

Arbuthnot, Chief Magistrate and Senior District Judge for England and Wales, is flouting fundamental legal principles to ensure that she presides over a show trial against Assange, due to resume at Westminster Magistrates Court on February 25…

The “Guide to Judicial Conduct” in England and Wales, published in 2018, states that, “Judicial independence is a cornerstone of our system of government in a democratic society and a safeguard of the freedom and rights of the citizen under the rule of law. The judiciary must be seen to be independent of the legislative and executive arms of government both as individuals and as a whole.”

Arbuthnot should have automatically recused herself on this basis.

Her husband, James Norwich Arbuthnot, is a Conservative member of the House of Lords. He is intimately connected with the British armed forces and security services, whose criminal operations were exposed by WikiLeaks.

Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Getty Images

“The phony war between Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez” by Patrick Martin (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

A war of words has broken out between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the most prominent “left” among congressional Democrats, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The public conflict was touched off by an interview given by Pelosi to Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, reported in Dowd’s column last weekend. Pelosi dismissed opposition by four House Democrats—Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib—to legislation to provide $4.6 billion in funding for Trump’s anti-immigrant operations along the US-Mexico border.

Sneering at the social media following of the four—Ocasio-Cortez alone has 4.7 million followers on Twitter—Pelosi said, “All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world … But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”

Everything about this supposed conflict is a political fraud. Ocasio-Cortez is not leading a rank-and-file revolt, nor is Pelosi seeking to crush such a rebellion. No such rebellion exists, only a cynical division of labor. Pelosi pushes through the policies demanded by big business and the military-intelligence apparatus, and Ocasio-Cortez and a handful of others seek to give the Democratic Party a “left” face so that it can better disguise its right-wing policies in the 2020 election campaign.

Ocasio-Cortez effectively acknowledged this political reality in comments Tuesday. “I was elected here to do a job,” she told the Times. “But I also respect the fact that she [referring to Pelosi] has to do hers.”

Any serious examination of the circumstances surrounding the passage of the border funding bill starts with the fact that the four congresswomen actually voted in favor of a resolution to bring the House version of the funding bill to the floor, which passed on a straight party-line vote, before they voted against the bill itself.

A remarkably blunt article in Politico, published June 27, before the eruption of the alleged conflict between Ocasio-Cortez and Pelosi, gives an unvarnished account of the real role of Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow “radicals” among House Democrats. The headline reads: “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez learns to play the insider’s game,” and continues, “The freshman firebrand isn’t tormenting party leaders—she’s working with them.”

While Ocasio-Cortez voted against the bill, “she declined to mobilize her army of social media followers against it or rile up the progressive base in a bid to tank it… Ocasio-Cortez held no impromptu news conference on the Capitol lawn. She refrained from a tweetstorm. In fact, she didn’t write a single post about one of the biggest immigration debates so far under the Democratic majority.”

The establishment wants us to think that we have democracy. That’s what this is about. Alexandria is a fake people’s champion, there precisely to have us think that we can get our champions into the corrupt system and turn things around. The fascist establishment needs to produce the illusion of a system that is not completely beyond the people’s ability to influence. That’s what is behind the myth of a righteous JFK who the establishment murdered because he was pulling for the people.

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