NSA

Life Saving Privacy

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on December 21, 2015

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LIFE SAVING PRIVACY

PREAMBLE

When the English Magna Carter was written in the year 1215 by a group of the first robber-barons it was because of perceived abuses by King John. Nearly eight hundred years later, in September 2014, Tim Berners-Lee makes a repeated request for an Internet version of the Magna Carter. His concerns relate to the abuses of governments and corporations regarding the privacy of Internet users.

Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks”.

The United States Bill of Rights, written in 1791 has freedom of speech in the first amendment and that people have the right “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures”in the fourth amendment.

The first amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”. Within the context of 1791, speech, newspapers, assembly and petitioning the government, are all, at their heart, about communication.

Clearly, freedom of speech, privacy and personal security are closely related, some might argue that privacy is the foundation upon which free-thought, free-speech, democracy and freedom from tyranny rests.

PrivacyInternational.Org writes “Privacy is a fundamental right, essential to autonomy and the protection of human dignity, serving as the foundation upon which many other human rights are built.”

It should be simple to understand, it ought to be obvious – if we want any kind of freedom then we have to ensure our privacy.

In this modern era, more than at any other time, we need to make the effort to understand and achieve privacy. To not do so, is an abdication. There can be little doubt that many people have died, either because they lacked the means to achieve privacy or their protests were too bold – for example, dissidents in China, Saudi Arabia, Quatar, North Korea, various countries in South America, etc.

Perhaps you think “I am not a dissident” therefore I do not need to overly concern myself with privacy. Do you think you are free to advocate or make a payment to any organization, without someone else deciding that you are a dissident? The news you read or listen to, did not magically pop into a journalist's head, communication was involved, often from normal everyday folks. When visiting an attorney, why rely only on client-attorney privilege? If you forgot to mention something in a meeting with your attorney, would you phone it in or send an email? Do attorneys know the attendant risks associated with cell phones, both theirs and yours? How many attorneys actually insist on secure communications, secure meetings, have secure drop-boxes, etc?

If we wait until we actually really need secure communication – the stress of the moment will likely preclude clear thinking, and it might not be on the mind of an attorney, journalist, other dissident, etc. There is a really good reason why airline pilots use flight simulators to go through emergency scenarios over and over until desired correct actions become routine. We have the additional challenge of not currently being able to anticipate exactly why or when, privacy will be paramount.

INTRODUCTION

The article that follows is actually a byproduct of work that has been ongoing for more than two years. As much as possible, the technical jargon and acronyms have been avoided.

We live in a Catch-22 world. The need to perform due-diligence increases at the same time that the facility to do so decreases. As Preppers we know that the future is going to be harder than the present, that infrastructure will deteriorate and the ability to get spare parts and perform repairs will become increasingly difficult. As an example, if we were to buy a freezer, we want one that is going to last as long as possible, be easy to repair and run for a month on a car battery, reality provides us with the opposite – low quality Chinese plastic crap with bushes instead of roller bearings and built-in obsolescence.

In order to perform due-diligence we need to become experts in every field that our lives expose us to. We dread needing the services of an attorney, doctor, car mechanic, plumber, electrician and perhaps worst of all a banker – for example, how many of us (with mortgages) know when a recast is better than refinance? If you refinance and cash-out, what are the implications in your jurisdiction for maintaining a loan as non-recourse? Or, if you are getting married, what are the implications if you are in a common-law state, or a community-law state (hint: are you also marrying your new partner's debts?).

So in the area of digital-privacy, how are we to determine what we should be doing and why? We collectively rely (primarily) on our parents, friends, education system and on-the-job training to address our ignorance and the risks such ignorance introduces. Alas, our parents were educated in a system not much better than our own and for them (at the time) it was a much simpler world. Our friends are likely to be as ignorant as ourselves, if only for the sake of simple conformity. That leaves the work place, minimal training, annual performance reviews seeking eternal improvements without equivalent increased rewards and colleagues that every day look more like deer in headlights.

Digital privacy and data security are synonyms. There is no difference between locking our doors, drawing our curtains at night, keeping valuables out of sight in our cars, being careful taking cash out at the automatic-teller-machine (ATM), developing situational awareness, defensive driving and maintaining digital privacy.

It should be an absolute given, that you already:

  • Regularly use an (up to date) anti-virus scan on your computer.
  • Use your Web Browser's Privacy features.
  • When Browsing, block advertising (AdBlock Plus) and trackers (Ghostery), both links are HTTPS.
  • Use a privacy oriented Internet search engine e.g. DuckDuckGo.Com , make it the default in your Browser, so that when you select-text it appears in your mouse right-click menu.
  • Use secure email on a non-five-eyes platform i.e. non : US, UK, Canadian, Australian or New Zealand e.g. RiseUp.Net (a U.S. exception), ProtonMail.Ch, sigaintevyh2rzvw.onion (if you are using the FireFox Tor Bundle).
  • Keep all your critical applications up to date with security patches and updates.

The icing on the cake is if you already understand encryption and have your own public key that you make readily accessible to anyone that wants to communicate with you securely. To not do so is lamentable. The Doomstead Diner has already promulgated both encryption and secure email. The current preferred tool for encryption/decryption is GPG4USB here is the download page. Palloy, here on the Diner has created some excellent support documentation and how-to instructions (part one and part two and part three).

If you also use a Password Manager (e.g. KeePass), encrypt your computer's hard drive (and external drives and USB sticks, etc.) and use Linux, then you are a demigod!

The likely problem for almost all of us, is that even if we do all of the above – we become islands. Our friends and family are Luddites, mindlessly repeating the mantra of “I have nothing to hide and therefore nothing to fear”. That hackneyed cliché might be true if government offices were populated with law-unmakers. They are called law-makers, because every year they introduce more and more laws. More than can currently be counted. Exercise your rights or see them gradually eroded. Insist on using private and secure systems today, rather than trying to overturn a burdensome law tomorrow.

Australia already has onerous laws. According to Australian Broadcasting Corporation News (March 2015) “Contentious data retention laws have passed Federal Parliament, with both major parties voting for the legislation in the Senate”.

Every day there is more new content added to the Internet than any of us could consume in a lifetime. So we cherry-pick the forums we frequent, the news sites we visit, the stories we read, the videos we watch, the podcasts and music we listen to, the channels we subscribe to, the tweets we re-tweet and so on.

Unfortunately being obliged to be selective, introduces significant risk that we will miss something important and we hope that other people sharing our virtual presence can diminish those risks by bringing things to our attention.

Activities associated with everyday living, getting and keeping a job, managing household budgets, social, family, church, parenting and other obligations, dealing with the happenstance of the crap that life throws at us, keep us all very busy and oftentimes very stressed. Too much advertising, too much noise, too many distractions. Never enough hours in the day, never enough money.

There are many websites related to Prepping, Surviving, Collapse, Resilience and Doom in general. RE here at the Doomstead Diner manages quite few of his own.

One of the generally accepted themes on all of the sites, by both writers, readers and those making comments – is the need for various kinds of security; Operational, Communication, Food, Water, First Aid, etc.

Digressing: You need to already be practising “security” – this is a 'process' not a 'product'. Waiting until a shit-hit-the-fan event will be too late. The challenge is to do so today in a manner that is not obsequious. i.e. Please avoid public displays of affection over your security “equipment”.

 

 

 

With regard to Security of Communication, many seem to focus on having alternative communication that will work after the grid goes down, which usually means having good battery operated two-way-radios and knowing how to use them. Or perhaps it means a scouting group can communicate in code, in the dark, to reduce the chances of friendly-fire incidents. Or people approaching a check point need to know a secret pass phrase. Or when calling home people are expected to use a special word that indicates they have been compromised and so on.

What rarely gets much discussion, is the need for secure communication here today before the shit-hits-the-fan. Some of the benefits are obvious – increased privacy and negating the need for self censorship – alas, those benefits on their own do not seem to be adequate motivators. Perhaps the lack of real anonymity, or the hassle of creating new accounts on difficult to access services, or the hassle of exchanging a public-key and copying and pasting obscure text is too much for most of us.

There are those that will argue that the Internet might not be around for long after a big event – bear in mind that the majority of the Internet's backbone uses fiber-optic cables that are unaffected by electro-magnetic pulses, waves or surges. The Internet was also designed to be resilient and route data packets around failed connections. So it could well be that the Internet will be around much longer than we would guess.

An Internet based communication facility with real security that can actually be trusted, can offer much more than privacy and the absence of self-censorship.

From a service-provider's perspective, offering complete anonymity is a significant challenge. If users can be completely anonymous, then how do you prevent people creating multiple sock-puppet accounts?

Across the websites that we regularly visit are many writers and prognosticators, for example; James Kunstler, John Greer, Nicole Foss, Gail Tverberg, Ugo Bardi (Club of Rome, author of Extracted), Guy McPherson, James Hansen, Albert Bartlett, Jay Hanson, Derrick Jensen (author of Endgame), Joseph Tainter, John Ward (a.k.a The Slog), many of the former writers at www.TheOilDrum.Com, Ferfal (Argentine monetary collapse 1998-2002), Selco (Bosnian Conflict from 1992-95), the late Michael Ruppert and so on.

Unfortunately few of us also have the inclination to wade through the heavier reading provided by the likes of:

  • Kill the password: A string of characters won't protect you (see here).
  • Dice Ware – a much more secure password phrase – for really good mathematical reasons (see here).
  • Traffic Analyses of HTTPS from University of California Berkeley (see here).
  • Nvidea graphics cards, what is GPU computing (see here).
  • Storing Passwords Securely (for multiple users) in a Server Database. (see here).

With regard to password storage (for all Users on a web server) its worth reading a short post by Krebs On Security, he points out a web site that names-and-shames web sites that store passwords as plain text (or using reversible encryption, which is just as bad). The site is PlainTextOffenders.com, the Archive is worth a look, it contains nearly 2,500 entries, only 5 of which are off-topic and an additional 5 are duplicates – it is riddled with household names.

Digressing: If you ever decide to share a NetFlix, Amazon or other password with a family member or friend, there is an article just for you on LifeHacker.com How to Securely Share a Password

 

 

 

WHO WE ARE

We read Doomer fiction, Lights Out, One Second After, et. al. and fret over how we might get home if the shit-hits-the-fan when we are away on a business trip or vacation.

We read about how best to survive off-grid or how to be a gray-man and pass unnoticed through a crowd. We ruminate about “Conflicted-Tuesday”, the optimum bug-out vehicle, what to put in a bug-out bag, or whether it is better to bug-in.

We visit as many news sites as possible, hoping to keep a handle on the big picture. The refugees flooding into Europe. Iran getting nuclear weapons. Saudi Arabia running out of oil. The conflicts in the Middle-East escalating into a broader war. Nuclear reactors melting down (Fukushima). Nuclear bombs, electromagnetic-pulse, Solar flares, Ebola, earthquakes, tsunami, meteors, volcanoes, super volcanoes (Yellowstone), mega-droughts, climate change and the Methane-Clathrate gun hypothesis.

Even something as simple as weather could be the start of the next slippery slope, a bigger hurricane Katrina followed by a bigger hurricane Sandy, a winter storm in the north-east U.S.A that goes on for day after day, dumping foot after foot of snow and ice. Our deferred-maintenance fragile infrastructure and just-in-time supply lines can barely tolerate a week of disruption.

The important thing to remember about one of the “big” events, is that it is usually not the event that gets you, it is the consequences when the Golden Hoard arrives in your neighborhood, or the supermarkets are no longer being supplied.

The majority of us probably accept that the next step down in our “Long Emergency” will likely be much like 2008 and primarily be economic in nature. Resulting in more unemployment that goes unrecorded in official statistics. Then we wonder which bubbles burst next, health, education, sub-prime automobile loans, etc. Loss of jobs results in demand-destruction that ironically lowers the price of oil and other commodities, putting more energy companies and their suppliers out of business and more people out of jobs, leading to yet more demand-destruction.

The correct answer to the question “how much can you afford to pay for gasoline”, is not “depends on the cost of gasoline and my personal budget”, no, the correct answer is “do I have a job”.

Digressing: You should think of oil prices as having both a ceiling and a floor. This actually applies to all natural resources, for example Coal and Natural Gas.

In a rudimentary sense, the oil price floor is a function of the cost of finding, extracting and refining crude oil. Below a certain price it is uneconomic to produce the oil and it will simply stay in the ground. Gone are the days of easy to find, cheap to extract, light sweet crude oil. These days it requires either billion dollar, deep water, offshore rigs, toxic hydraulic fracturing or cooking tar sand in Canada to extract heavy sour bitumen with enormously expensive pipe lines that (would) span a large portion of North America.

The oil price ceiling is dictated by people's ability to pay for the finished product. That ability falls a little, each time the economy contracts and more people are forced from high paying jobs to lower paying jobs, or in the case of outsourcing, gone altogether. The reduction in disposable income is paralleled by a reduction in vehicle-miles-traveled ( VMT).

The floor rises, the ceiling lowers and the economy lies between being squeezed to death.

 

 

 

Then there is the true Black-Swan. Something completely unanticipated, with various national governments keen not to waste a good crisis and quickly stripping us of even more liberties, supposedly for our own safety. Increased militarization and thuggery from the police. Central and local governments looking for ever more ways to tax us and corporations inventing new ways to bend us over a table or lie to us (most recently Volkswagon).

Lets add some of the companies and organizations that have demonstrated a complete inability to keep data about us secure – in the U.S.A this includes Sony Entertainment, Chase Manhattan bank, Regency Bluecross Blueshield Health Provider, retailers TJ-Max and The Home Depot, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft, the Apple iCloud, The Whitehouse, the Federal Government's human resources department the Office of Personnel Management, the U.S. Postal Service, Ashley Madison (the adultery web site) and the list seems to grow every week.

The U.S.A does not have a monopoly on the fiasco that is data-security, in the U.K. we have; Nationwide Building Society (2006), Her Majesties Revenue and Customs (2007), T-Mobile (2009), The National Health Service's Brighton and Sussex University Hospital Trust (2010), Sony Playstation Network (2011), Morrison's Supermarket (2014), Staffordshire University (2014), Mumsnet (2014), Think W3 Ltd. (2014), Moonpig (2015), Talk Talk Mobile Communications (2014, 2015), the U.K. division of Experian credit reporting agency (2015).

There is no shortage of catastrophic examples of data-security failures. More will continue to occur as we desensitize.

JOURNALISTS & SOURCES

You would think that Journalists would know better and would be able to properly protect their sources.

Summer 2013, Audrey Hudson a veteran Washington Times investigative reporter and currently freelance, reported to the Daily Caller that her home was subjected to a predawn raid by the Department of Homeland Security and Maryland State Police. The search warrant indicated that the raid allowed law enforcement to search for firearms inside her home. But without Hudson’s knowledge, the agents also confiscated a batch of documents that contained information about her sources. (see here).

2014 in New Zealand, prominent journalist and author Nicky Hager had his home ransacked by agents from the national police force. Hagar wrote “It is disruptive to anyone’s work to suddenly not have their computers and especially an investigative journalist’s work. There is now also the legal battle to get my equipment and files back untouched. There is no choice about fighting it. I have to protect this and other sources for life or why should anyone ever trust me again?”.(see here).

In Australia, journalist Philip Dorling had his home and car searched by the Federal Police accompanied by computer experts. Dorling's employer Fairfax Media issued a statement that said in part “A Federal police raid on the home of a journalist cuts to the heart of the operation of a free press, and is unacceptable ”. This was not the first such raid in Australia and will not be the last. It is unlikely that Dorling used encryption to protect his work or his sources. (see here).

Edward Snowden and Julian Assange are names that have entered the contemporary lexicon of the cognoscenti. These men are bellwethers, showing the metaphorical lengths that we too may be forced to go. Snowden having to defect to Russia, Assange taking refuge in Ecuador's London embassy and under the equivalent of permanent house arrest by U.K. authorities at massive tax payer expense, because the U.S.A has it's panties in a bunch.

In an article about the NSA's mass surveillance, the journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote ; “In the immediate aftermath of the first Snowden reports, I was contacted by countless leading national security reporters in the U.S., who work with the largest media outlets, seeking an interview with Snowden. But there was a critical problem: despite working every day on highly sensitive matters, none of them knew anything about basic encryption methods, nor did their IT departments ”. (see here).

What Greenwald does not readily admit to, was the fact that he himself knew nothing about secure communication prior to Snowden's leak. Greenwald was brought on-board by Laura Poitras.

Digressing for a moment. Glenn Greenwald is obviously (now) passionate about privacy and has an excellent 15 minute monologue on TED followed by 5 minutes to answer a couple of questions. If you have not seen it, you should. Another excellent talk on TED is by Mikko Hypponen: How the NSA betrayed the world's trust – time to act

Also there are two must-see documentaries and a biography. The following are all online streams that do not require creating accounts (links verified December 16 2015):

  • Citizen Four 1 hour 53 minutes – Eye opening documentary about the Edward Snowden whistleblowing (or espionage if you are challenged).

  • Deep Web 1 hour 30 minutes – 2015 documentary about the prosecution of Ross Ulbricht (Silk Road).

  • The Fifth Estate 2 hours 8 minutes – Assange & WikiLeaks Biography, stars Benedict Cumberbatch.

All three are easily found as torrents, are worth downloading and copying to a USB stick. A TV with a USB port should be able to play them directly from the USB stick.

 

 

 

Snowden's initial communication with Laura Poitras was itself a challenge because Poitras herself had been remiss in ensuring her 'public' encryption key was easy to obtain. Snowden had to first use a common third party (Mr Micah Lee) to obtain Poitras' public key and initiate secure communication. (see here).

Having secure communication and encrypting computer files, is by itself not enough. This is especially the case in the U.K. and some other countries, where people can be jailed if they fail to hand over the 'private' keys used to decrypt their communications and files. See the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act of 2000, or RIPA 2000. (See Key Disclosure Laws and RIPA). These U.K. laws are currently being updated, it is unlikely that the result will be greater privacy or liberty for U.K. Subjects.

Even BBC reporters are not immune. Jane Wakefield (January 2015) wrote an article asking “Can the Government ban encryption”? (see here). A sideline near the end of the article attempted to answer the question “What is encryption”?

Wakefield wrote: “Symmetric encryption systems involve two keys that are shared between two people communicating” This is plainly wrong! In Symmetric encryption there is only a single key that is common to both the parties communicating, the key is used for both encryption and decryption (this is the symmetry) and this type of encryption and decryption is computationally very fast.

Wakefield went on to add: “Asymmetric encryption – also known as public key encryption – is made up of both a public and private key”. This is incomplete; there are two pairs of public/private keys, so four keys in total. The public keys, which are sent to the other party are used for encryption, the private keys, which are kept secret, are used for decryption. This different path for encryption vs. decryption is the asymmetric characteristic and requires far more computation than symmetrical encryption.

When you visit an https web site, a symmetric key is created that is good for the life of the session, it is exchanged at the start of the session using a public key asymmetric hand shake.

Revelations from Snowden, Assange, Manning, etc. should have been enough to wake up even those in a coma and yet we all have family members that “just don't get it”.

Even John Brennan, the head of the CIA in the United States had his personal email account hacked. The security on the Apple iPhone 6 has already been broken. Time Magazine reported (June 2015) a “Massive Security Flaw in the iPhone and Mac” (Apple Security Blown) this was followed more recently (November 2015) with news from Digital Trends that the company Zerodium has accepted a claim for it's million dollar prize to anyone that can prove a hack of Apple's IOS 9 (see here). Perversely, Zerodium is most likely to forward-sell the hack to the United State's NSA.

Finally, there is one more journalist that really needs to be mentioned; Barrett Brown. “In January 2015, Brown was sentenced to 5.25 years in federal prison and fined nearly a million dollars, for the crimes of accessory after the fact, obstruction of justice, and threatening a federal officer stemming from the FBI's investigation into the 2012 Stratfor email leak”. This case looks a lot like a political prosecution. Journalists need to protect themselves just as much as their sources.

It is also worth mentioning that few newspapers take security seriously, only The Guardian in the U.K. offers easy access to journalist's public keys and also a secure drop-box, that last link goes to page with a (visible) link to https://tails.boum.org that actually goes to https://torproject.org/. In the USA newspapers appear to not give a damn.

SPECIAL MENTIONS

The BBC recently reported (December 2015) about the alleged creator of BitCoin (a crypto-currency). If Dr. Wright really is the creator of BitCoin and an academic expert in cryptography, then one has to wonder why everything was not encrypted and/or subject to client-attorney-privilege. Apparently “[Sydney, Australia, police] investigations were based on leaked emails, documents and web archives, including what was said to be a transcript of a meeting between Wright (a 44-year-old academic) and Australian tax officials”.

HTTPS

The majority of us have probably become accustomed to seeing HTTP or HTTPS in the address bar of our Web Browsers and at a rudimentary level know that one is not secure (HTTP) and the other is secure (HTTPS).

In the context of contemporary web browsers, that term 'secure' for HTTPS, means two things:

  • The data moving in both directions between your web browser and the remote web server is 99% encrypted. The 1% that is not encrypted is the name of the web site you are connecting to e.g. DoomSteadDiner.Net
  • You can be sure that the encryption key being used is actually from the site that you wish to connect to. This second part is usually referred to as being secure about “who you are connecting to”, even though it is actually an inference.

 

These two aspects of 'secure' are equally important. There is no point having the data encrypted between you and a remote web server, if the remote web server is actually that of an interloper.

There are two ways of achieving number-two; “being sure who you are connecting to”. It can be done manually, typically once per web site for the life of the encryption key (a.k.a. Certificate), which can be multiple years. Or it can be done automatically by relying on a third party to verify the bona fides of the web server's owner and digitally signing the web site's encryption key. These third parties are usually referred to as Certificate Authorities (CA's).

We almost all rely totally on the automated version of number-two; The web browser receives a web site's encryption key (Certificate) and verifies the digital signature using the Certificate Authority's so called Root-Certificate that comes with your web browser.

Digressing: There can be as many as a hundred root certificates managed by your web browser. In the case of FireFox, these are stored in a hidden folder, in a file called cert8.db

 

 

 

The manual way of verifying a web site's encryption key (Certificate) would be by visual inspection of it's fingerprint, a long number, written in base 16 (as opposed to base 10 or decimal). Ideally you would obtain the fingerprint by some method independent of the Internet, for example through regular mail or in-person.

Digressing: The DoomSteadDiner's resident security guru is Palloy. His (or her) web site has an example of fingerprint verification here. Unfortunately you are unlikely to get the fingerprint in-person, so you have a Catch-22 situation.

 

 

 

What follows are three instances that demonstrate relying on Certificate Authorities is not necessarily a best practice. Alas, many web sites are forcing the use of CA's by using HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS).

Back in April 1992 IBM introduced the first ThinkPad laptop computer. Over the following years it won 300 awards for design and quality, becoming immensely popular with businesses. In 2005 IBM sold it's Personal Computer business including the ThinkPad brand to the Chinese company Lenovo. Nearly a decade later in 2014 things at Lenovo had obviously gone awry. The company had decided to include a so called man-in-the-middle attack in it's vendor specific version of Microsoft Windows. Called SuperFish, the software (AdWare) intercepted web-browser data from the Internet and injected advertising into the web pages.

From PCWorld.Com : “The biggest problem with Superfish isn’t the adware itself so much as the way it hijacks legitimate SSL traffic [that’s HTTPS to you and me]. It does so by installing a self-generated root certificate in the Windows certificate store—a hallowed area usually reserved for trusted certificates from major companies like Microsoft and VeriSign—and then resigns all SSL certificates presented by HTTPS sites with its own certificate”.

November 2015, Dell Computers has been found doing almost the exact same thing. From ComputerWorld.com “After Dell confirmed that one of its support tools installed a dangerous self-signed root certificate and private key on computers, users discovered a similar certificate deployed by a different Dell tool.

 

“The second certificate is called DSDTestProvider and is installed by an application called Dell System Detect (DSD). Users are prompted to download and install this tool when they visit the Dell support website and click the “Detect Product” button”.

The Lenovo actions are shameful. Dell's actions appear to be inadvertent. But it's not just computer manufacturers that represent risk, so do governments. Back in March 2010, the Electronic Frontier Foundation published an article describing how Security Researchers had presented “evidence that certificate authorities (CAs) may be cooperating with government agencies to help them spy undetected on “secure” encrypted communications”.

HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS), prevents removing Root Certificates and manually allowing Site Certificates on an exception basis. In fact the way web browsers “allow” manual verification of a site's certificate, is up there with the idea of performing surgery on oneself. Self-Certifying sites are treated as “Errors” and “Invalid” and supposed extreme risks, none of which is necessarily true.

So far only one Prepper related web site uses HTTPS (UsCrow.Org).This site bills itself as a premium high quality site with plans to encrypt its database. Updates are infrequent, with no changes in over a month.

It is (currently) not free to secure a web site by using HTTPS. Though some entities are trying to address this, for example LetsEncrypt.Org.

HTTPS does make sense on banking, financial and health web sites of large coporate bodies where privacy is critical and the resources are available to ensure that certificates are kept up to date and all content is encrypted. It also makes sense on forums where private messages can be exchanged between registered users, but only if messages remain encrypted when stored on the server and the private keys are not stored on the server's permanent storage.

Finally, there is a false sense of security. Take the Prepper web site usCrow.org mentioned earlier. When you are surfing the web, there are typically a small number of so called data-packets being sent by you – via your Internet Service Provider (ISP) – to the remote web server you are interacting with (typically by clicking on a link).On the other hand, the response from the remote web server, is typically an enormous number of data-packets – containing text, photographs, music, video, the mark-up language that formats the page, etc. The encrypted content of the data-packets coming back to your browser are almost completely private. The only information available to your ISP is:

  • Where the data appears to come from.
  • The amount of (encrypted) data.
  • The time of day and time taken to transfer the data.

You might think that is not much, but it is enough to work out which page you visited on a site, with a high degree of accuracy. The potential achilles heel appears, when a link on a web page, typically an advertisement, is to a non-https site. The standard that web browsers are meant to adhere to, states that a Referrer-URL should not be sent when the link is from an HTTPS page to an HTTP page. The implication being, that a Referrer-URL is ok to send when the transfer is from a secure page to another (different) site's secure page. The issue here is not eavesdropping by your ISP, it is that you might click on a link for hiking-boots from a bomb-making page and your boot supplier would know.

 

Digressing: The Referrer-URL is everything that appears in your browser's address bar, which might include session specific items.

 

 

 

There are a large number of web browsers (Microsoft IE, Apple Safari, Mozilla FireFox, Opera, etc.) running on an even larger number of Platforms : dozens of versions of Microsoft Windows (both 32 and 64 bit), multiple Apple Operating Systems, numerous Linux versions, masses of Google Android versions (KitKat, MarshMallow, JellyBean, Lollipop, etc.). Trusting a standard has been properly implemented and also works on your particular combination of Browser and Platform might be risky.

Would you want to take a chance on the following page:

https://uscrow.org/2015/10/20/how-to-make-nitroglycerin/

DARK WEB .ONIONS & TOR

The-Onion-Router (TOR) is a network of computers on the Internet used to anonymize and encrypt connections. The so called Dark-Web is a collection of TOR Hidden Services (dot-onion web sites) that are only accessible using a special TOR configured Browser. In theory almost any browser can be configured (by the user) to access the Internet through TOR.

Digressing: Using a TOR configured web browser to access your conventional email, or any site (that does not also use HTTPS) where you are identified is a self-defeating proposition.

 

 

 

Silk Road and it's heir apparent Silk Road 2.0 were probably the most notorious dark web sites.

Silk Road founder Ross William Ulbricht has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole and ordered to forfeit $184 million. The following bullet points are all quotes from a variety of on-line sources.

  • Richard Bates, a computer programmer, frowning and reluctant, testified against Ulbricht at trial as part of an agreement to avoid prosecution.

  • Judge Forrest also read excerpts from Ulbricht's e-mails, citing them as examples of his disregard for others.

  • The story of five murder-for-hire attempts came out through a remarkable 33-page transcript of private messages that prosecutors harvested from the Silk Road server after it was captured by the government.

  • The payments for the hits came from Ulbricht's own bitcoin wallet, one more piece of damning evidence that his defense lawyers couldn't explain away to the jury.

  • “For those considering stepping into your shoes…they need to understand without equivocation that there will be severe consequences,” Judge Forrest said.

  • RT.com reports; FBI seized ‘Silk Road' black market domain, arrests owner.

  • On the Bitcoin Talk Forums under the user name 'Altoid' Ulbricht posted a request for an Information Technology professional in the Bitcoin community, using a reply-to email address containing his own name “rossulbricht at gmail dot com”. This same user name was used days earlier to promote the Silk Road dark website on a mushroom web site – one of the first known on-line references to the Silk Road dot-onion web address.

Brian Krebs, a security researcher, unearthed the sealed complaint requesting a warrant for Ulbrict's arrest. It can be read in its entirety at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/172778920/Ulbricht-Criminal-Complaint

What becomes readily apparent when researching the Ulbricht case, is that he:

  • Used his real name and email address in several places.

  • Attempted to have forged identity documents with his actual photograph shipped to his home address, from Canada into the USA.

  • Did not encrypt copies of communications and other user data on his servers.

  • Did not keep his passwords, private keys and bitcoin wallets adequately secure.

  • Spoke way too much when interacting with investigators (watch the 48 minute YouTube video; Don't talk to police).

  • Did not have any of his millions set-aside, so that he could mount a proper defense.

In short, Ulbricht brought himself down. The situation for Silk Road 2.0 is not that different, with a moderator turning informant and inadequate security procedures resulting in another, albeit, shorter prison sentence.

The following paragraph is one of the most important in this whole piece, so it's all in bold.

The Dark Web sites were able to be seized because, in both cases, the site's private key was stored on the server, with no protective measures. A well built system does not need to have any passwords, keys, or TOR critical files, stored on the server or hard coded into the software.

In Ulbricht's case, Richard Bates faced the prospect of prosecution and was pressured into testifying against Ulbricht. In the Boston marathon bomber case, two college roommates were prosecuted for allegedly hampering the investigation and were sentenced to 3.5 years. In Martha Stewart's case, they got her for perjury.

TOR ALTERNATIVES

  • I2P. Very similar to Tor, I2P is also an anonymizing and encrypting proxy. The developers of I2P have used different nomenclature (terminology), but as the table at https://geti2p.net shows there is considerable similarity. The author of this document is currently using Tor and providing a hidden service and intends to investigate providing, in parallel, the same hidden service on I2P. This document will be updated in the future to include details stemming from the investigation.

  • Proxies. There are many free proxies on the Internet. When using a Proxy you would ordinarily do so inside your web browser on a per-site basis. For example open proxy-free-web and type (or paste) DoomsteadDiner.Net into the only textbox and then click "Go". If you have an account on the Diner, do not sign-in. Judging by the quality of the English on the proxy site, it would probably be unwise to trust them. Indirecting like this is slower than a direct connection (via your ISP).

    When you access the Internet through your Internet Service Provider (ISP), the ISP is effectively acting as a proxy. If the site you are visiting is HTTP, then your ISP can see (and understand) all of the traffic that passes through it (in both directions). By visiting a Proxy web site (specifically an HTTPS site), your ISP can see that you visited a Proxy web site but nothing else. The site that you indirect to will think that you have come from the country that is providing the proxy service. When you use a proxy service like this, you have effectivly moved your trust from your ISP to the provider of the Proxy service.

  • VPN. (Virtual private network) These are similar to Proxies but do not work inside your browser and are usually intended for all Internet traffic (HTTP, SMTP (mail), FTP (File Transfers), VOIP, etc.). Generaly speaking, VPN's are more sophisticated, more capable and more trustworthy than Proxies. For example, if you wanted to use your smart-phone or laptop to remotely access a computer at your home or office (for file access or remote control), then a VPN is the obvious solution.

    A VPN allows you to simulate the security and functionality afforded by a Local Area Network (LAN), over an Internet connection.

    Digressing: TheRegister.co.uk has reported (December 2015) that Juniper Systems, a rival to Cisco, has since 2008 been providing VPN management software that has been compromised.

     

     

     

GENERIC TOOLS

The purpose of this article is not to provide step-by-step instructions on how to achieve privacy, or to critique the many tools that are available. But for the sake of completeness the following is worth adding. There are plenty of options for improving your privacy. Starting with the absolute basics, you should always use your web browser's Private mode. In Mozilla FireFox this is set under Options, Privacy. For other browsers, privacy can be made the default by adding a command line argument in your desktop (or menu) shortcut. For (Windows) step-by-step instructions see: How to start any browser in private mode.

  • Google Chrome uses …\Chrome\Application\Chrome.exe -incognito
  • Microsoft IE uses “C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe” -private
  • Opera uses “C\Program Files (x86)\Opera\Opera.exe” -newprivatetab

The web site PrivacyTools.io does an excellent job of covering most common computer privacy issues (on desktops, smart phones and routers) including VPN's and a brief explanation of what a Warrant-Canary is.

WRAPPING UP

It is a significant challenge be to be part of modern society and not to have already had our privacy compromised by someone else's data breach.

If you are on Facebook or Twitter and it is not for business reasons, then shut that nonsense down as soon as possible. Sotto voce conversations are not private.

 

 

 

 

 

TOP SECRET

top_secretOff the keyboard of RE

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on August 7, 2015

Visit the New Diner News Page for Daily Updates from around the Collapse Blogosphere

I over-dubbed the Audio 🙂

Discuss this article at the Guerrilla Internet Free Speech Table inside the Diner

Internet and Computer Security is a concern of all people who use these systems, or at least it should be.  It is pretty remarkable that probably 99% of people who use their laptops and cell phones for communication are absolutely clueless about security.

For the most part, all email servers are easy to crack, hell even Hillary Clinton got her personal email cracked and revealed, in her case probably by her own Political Enemies inside Da Goobermint.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton deleted nearly 32,000 emails from her private server that she said were ‘private’ and related to her personal life. Photograph: Mathew Sumner/AP

http://pesquisaciudadana.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/julian-Assange-300x225.jpgIn addition you have a whole lot of others trying to crack into email servers for their own reasons, which sometimes actually are pretty good reasons.  Julian Assange and Wikileaks and Edward Snowden all got most of their good information by hacking email servers.  I consider those guys to be fucking HEROS.  I doubt these guys will be hacking my email or my server, so I am not too worried about them.

https://firstlook.org/wp-uploads/sites/1/2014/09/440px-Edward_Snowden-2-320x385.jpgOn the other side from our own NSA spies are the spies from Mother Russia and from China, not always actually looking for sensitive political information, but just sometimes seeking a backdoor into someone else's server they can use as a proxy for further attacks, and thus maintain their anonymity as well as gain addition computing power for an Attack.  A DDoS Attack (Distributed Denial of Service) is accomplished by taking control over numerous accounts and then using them to "swamp" somebody else's server, thus disabling that server from disseminating information to all but a few who may squeak through during the attack.

Denial of Service Attacks

Distributed Denial of Service Attack (DDoS) Definition

A denial of service (DoS) attack is a malicious attempt to make a server or a network resource unavailable to users, usually by temporarily interrupting or suspending the services of a host connected to the Internet.

Types of DoS Attacks

The most common type of Denial of Service attack involves flooding the target resource with external communication requests. This overload prevents the resource from responding to legitimate traffic, or slows its response so significantly that it is rendered effectively unavailable.

Resources targeted in a DoS attack can be a specific computer, a port or service on the targeted system, an entire network, a component of a given network any system component. DoS attacks may also target human-system communications (e.g. disabling an alarm or printer), or human-response systems (e.g. disabling an important technician's phone or laptop).

Now, many people think that as long as you are a good, honest, law abiding citizen, you should have nothing to fear from the non-stop invasion of your privacy that can and does happen regularly over the internet.  However, do you really want some Network Engineer reading your personal emails to your girlfriend?  Do you want the IRS reading about that off the books job you did for a friend fixing his roof?

The more dependent we become on using the internet for communication, the more vulnerable we all become to invasion of privacy by our own Goobermint, by other Goobermints, and by a variety of hackers and spammers with their own agenda.

Is there a way to negotiate around this minefield?  Yes, to an extent there is.

Cryptography is an ancient art/science, and has been important in delivering private messages going back to at least to Ancient Egypt:

Cryptography, the use of codes and ciphers to protect secrets, began thousands of years ago. Until recent decades, it has been the story of what might be called classic cryptography — that is, of methods of encryption that use pen and paper, or perhaps simple mechanical aids. In the early 20th century, the invention of complex mechanical and electromechanical machines, such as the Enigma rotor machine, provided more sophisticated and efficient means of encryption; and the subsequent introduction of electronics and computing has allowed elaborate schemes of still greater complexity, most of which are entirely unsuited to pen and paper.

The development of cryptography has been paralleled by the development of cryptanalysis — the "breaking" of codes and ciphers. The discovery and application, early on, of frequency analysis to the reading of encrypted communications has, on occasion, altered the course of history. Thus the Zimmermann Telegram triggered the United States' entry into World War I; and Allied reading of Nazi Germany's ciphers shortened World War II, in some evaluations by as much as two years.

Until the 1970s, secure cryptography was largely the preserve of governments. Two events have since brought it squarely into the public domain: the creation of a public encryption standard (DES), and the invention of public-key cryptography.

As mentioned in the above article, one of the most important weapons the Anglo-Amerikan Empire had that allowed them to defeat the Axis Powers in WWII was the fact they Broke the Code of the Enigma cypher machine, which the Krauts thought was unbreakable.  You can thank Alan Turing and early computers for that one.

Alan Turing Aged 16.jpgAlan Mathison Turing, OBE, FRS (/ˈtjʊərɪŋ/; 23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954) was a British pioneering computer scientist, mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher, mathematical biologist, and marathon and ultra distance runner. He was highly influential in the development of computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general purpose computer.[2][3][4] Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence.[5]

During the Second World War, Turing worked for the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park, Britain's codebreaking centre. For a time he led Hut 8, the section responsible for German naval cryptanalysis. He devised a number of techniques for breaking German ciphers, including improvements to the pre-war Polish bombe method, an electromechanical machine that could find settings for the Enigma machine. Turing played a pivotal role in cracking intercepted coded messages that enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial engagements, including the Battle of the Atlantic; it has been estimated that this work shortened the war in Europe by as many as two to four years.[6]

Derek Jacobi, a fabulous Brit  Shakespearean Actor portrayed Alan Turing on Broadway in "Breaking the Code", and I was fortunate enough to see Derek live in this play with my Illuminati Girlfriend back in the dark ages of my life.  LOL. Derek is not as well known as some other Shakespearean actors like Laurence Olivier and Richard Burton, but IMHO he was one of the best, if not the best in the modern era.  Here is Derek on film doing his rendition of Alan Turing:

Amongst other things, Derek was simply fabulous with faking a Stutter.  He did not really stutter himself, but he could do it whenever he wanted to. Notably, he also portrayed the Roman Emperor Claudius in the multi-part PBS series "I.Claudius"  that was very well done.

I digress…  Let's get back to the topic here.  LOL.

In the years since WWII, obviously computers have developed substantially, and they can be powerful tools to break codes, passwords and so forth.  Many people think that these powerful tools are all the province of Big Goobermints and security services, but that is not so.

The reason it is not so is because personal computers themselves are very powerful as encryption devices, and because it is a relatively straightforward mathematical idea on how to do an encryption nowadays, it is possible for any good Code Jockey to set up an encryption that cannot even be broken by a Cray Supercomputer operating full time on the problem for 1000 years or more.  The method is Public/Private key encryption, which uses very large Prime Numbers (numbers only divisible by themselves or 1) to function.  The only people who can decrypt a message so encrypted are those people who have BOTH the Public and Private Keys necessary to decrypt such a method.

http://www.mark-shea.com/images/hc.jpgHere on the Diner, since we went through our last episode of having our Server and Sofware hacked bck in June, and a solid month of one catastrophe after another occurring on almost a nightly basis, security has become a major concern.  We happen to have a few very expert Code Jockeys among us ( I am not one of them, I am an old school mathematician and cryptography freak, but I do heard the cats here on the Diner ), and a debate ensued on how we could communicate sensitive information like server passwords to one another without getting them hacked.

I first suggested BCTextEncoder, but this got nixed by one of the ultra-paranoid Code Jockeys on the team because we couldn't be sure this encryptor itself was not compromised in its underlying code.  Utilizing HTTPS and a security certificate was also suggested, but first off this costs more MONEY, and I already am forking out plenty to run the Diner Server, maintain space on Diner Soundcloud, etc.  Besides that, there is no way to know if the NSA, Google or whoever issues out the security certificate doesn't have a back door into this system too.  So I was not fond of this idea.

What we finally settled on was GPG4USB , an open source encryptor basically developed by Hackers, for Hackers.  If you are a Code Jockey, you can check the code to look for back doors, but really since so many Code Jockeys use it, one can be pretty sure the underlying code is BULLETPROOF.  No decent Anonymous Hacker would make the same mistake as Hillary Clinton did, and use a system easily hacked into by the NSA.  We do have the advantage that there are plenty of "us" out there in the us vs. them battle, old school cryptography freaks and the latest generation of hackers as well.  We do actually have the POWER OF NUMBERS on our side in this battle.  There are more of us than there are of them, and generally speaking we are better at it too.  That is why no matter how "secure" a Goobermint system is, there is always some Hacker that can crack it.  This because no Goobermint system can really be made secure, because too many people with low levels of security knowledge need access to the server and the information.  You are only as secure as the lowest level in your security chain, always.  Every good hacker knows that principle.  If you give many people high level security clearance, if any one of them "goes rogue" like an Edward Snowden, POOF, you are fucked with your security.  If you limit your access to only a very few, then you cannot have a system which works for many people, as a large Goobermint system must.  This is known as a Wicked Problem.

Fortunately for those of us running security on the Diner, we do not have a large number of people who need access to control systems, and even with the number of people who do need this access, they aren't dummies.  We all understand how these systems work, some better than others in terms of the code, but we all know how it works in principle.  So it is mainly an issue of sticking to protocol once it is established. TRUST however is essential within such a system, because anyone with the "keys to the bank" can raid it at anytime.  Once you let someone in on the system and hand that person the keys, you MUST TRUST that person.  Figuring out how and who to trust is not always an easy task.

Why do you need such a system?  Well, mostly you don't if you are a fine upstanding tax paying citizen like RE. 🙂

However, if occassionally you do have information like Passwords to your accounts that you need to send over the internet to friends, or even just your Home Address and Telephone Number you don't want anyone but a select few people to know, having the ability to encrypt in such a way that even the NSA cannot break the code becomes a valuable tool.  It's a nice little Security Blanket, and a small measure of Freedom in a world that is losing Freedom everywhere at a very rapid pace these days.

Moving into the future, there may be reasons you need to encrypt data that are even more important than keeping your Home Address and Telephone number secret.  Now is a good time to begin practicing with data encryption, and exchanging Public Keys with Trusted Friends while the internet still functions.

As an example here, below is Encrypted Information which tells you the exact Date & Time of the oncoming Crash of the S&P 500, the Bottom Price for Gold and the Date and Time that bottom will be hit, as well as what color Panties Kim Kardashian will be wearing when Martial Law is declared in California when the taps run dry in Fresno.  Additional important information contained in this message is how much real GOLD is stored in Fort Knox and how much is Tungsten, how many Upperclassmen Ambrose Evans-Pritchard gave blow jobs to at Trinity College, and how many professors Blythe Masters spread her legs for, also at Trinity College of Cambridge University.   Further in this message I reveal The Donald's Cell Phone number so you can ridicule him with .txt messages describing the miniscule length and diameter of his Penis.  After that, I present evidence of where Obama-sama was REALLY born and documentation of Dick Cheney's meetings with Satan, and what was discussed in those meetings.

I cannot reveal this information to the Public at large, since it will put my life in danger and get me a one way trip to GITMO, and besides that will cause the instantaneous Fast Collapse of Industrial Civilization, and I don't want to shoulder the blame for that for the rest of Eternity.

However, for the Low, Low Price Every Day of $6.66, if you send me your Public Key (you can drop it in the Comments below or on the Diner Forum or in the Contact Form on the Diner Blog), you will be able to decrypt this important information.

—–BEGIN PGP MESSAGE—–

Version: GnuPG v1

 

hQEMA57fkJ9H9Jp4AQf/fZwkaY6STr/MlR7uoqtuFpgEeKG1jOYDli+KEc6efLXk

pAIpi2jZyrMrmGEVAxq5qJrTFH6y3sJJ5FT1Bw1l10KnO26tds1Vdru8N+vyX75k

6mkSOb9VujjS8eHwOJIP0AvVTaLE22F/DPxlfiieiAOeos3O01wRJCAmRNVqb4Pd

Hl2x0xf+ivHjoTQ9bLQtJ4ArUHUkRHNgGGl9eDHeG5Rf2qKHwjzrfQimNp/Yfroe

/bpjIvz0m6K/zB4uDWzD6TXDX4RvFflJgGxn/ai4+9xjGihe+sp+XTs8CbdTfxY4

7IsV10Df5POoqwcFemBC+Ih+AygwexyiUJjjQ5PWpdJ5AZ3Oh9euNq1JGoW6SsQV

ixCCKFtVh9HsdVz7Mj9ALXxKWCI+DuQ+wu13VHG1sfW/0JqVCKpoJm/uP2p3OAa4

DbsRB3Bku4nOH0dtdFwX0MQvnZLt+SGknXrEiOLagdH9m5MFCcfpARf/TnePYfqf

nY7ZjLTboDCZXQ==

=0xwm

—–END PGP MESSAGE—–

 

I challenge all Hackers, the NSA, Chinese Spammers and World Class Geochemists to decrypt this message. 😀

 

OK, in all seriousness here again, PRIVACY is an important RIGHT of a Homo Sap.  In the creation of that marvelously flawed document of The Constitution, the equally flawed Founding Fathers neglected to incorporate anything about the Internet or Encryption.  One can forgive them for not knowing about or forseeing the Internet, but Encryption existed back then, in fact it goes way back further than that, so no excuse for not putting the right to encrypt into the Constitution.

The Impending “Russian Maidan”

Off the keyboard of Anthony Cartalucci

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Published on Land Destroyer on December 21, 2014

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-7v5acBsSJ50/VIgg99hKo5I/AAAAAAAAKY8/egwCGDY1ybg/s1600/march2.jpg

Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner

December 21, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – The coordinated manipulation of global energy prices, a NATO build-up in Eastern Europe, and the rekindling of terrorism in Russia’s southern Caucasus region all appear to be ever-increasing crescendos toward a much larger event – a “Russian Maidan.”

The necessary components of a successful Western bid to overthrow the Russian political order include a political front protesting in Russia’s major cities, as well as a full-spectrum economic war to put pressure on Russia’s population, increasing dissent as well as swelling the ranks of staged protests Wall Street and Washington put in Russian streets. Another necessary component includes armed components to act under cover of “peaceful protesters” to escalate street demonstrations, prevent security forces from restoring order, and to carry out the actual physical overthrow of these security forces.

These elements could all be seen in neighboring Ukraine – a nation in which America and NATO’s incessant meddling is a matter of long-standing public record. The Guardian would admit in its 2004 article, “US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev,” that (emphasis added):

…while the gains of the orange-bedecked “chestnut revolution” are Ukraine’s, the campaign is an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in western branding and mass marketing that, in four countries in four years, has been used to try to salvage rigged elections and topple unsavoury regimes. 

Funded and organised by the US government, deploying US consultancies, pollsters, diplomats, the two big American parties and US non-government organisations, the campaign was first used in Europe in Belgrade in 2000 to beat Slobodan Milosevic at the ballot box. 

Richard Miles, the US ambassador in Belgrade, played a key role. And by last year, as US ambassador in Tbilisi, he repeated the trick in Georgia, coaching Mikhail Saakashvili in how to bring down Eduard Shevardnadze. 

Ten months after the success in Belgrade, the US ambassador in Minsk, Michael Kozak, a veteran of similar operations in central America, notably in Nicaragua, organised a near identical campaign to try to defeat the Belarus hardman, Alexander Lukashenko. 

That one failed. “There will be no Kostunica in Belarus,” the Belarus president declared, referring to the victory in Belgrade. 

But experience gained in Serbia, Georgia and Belarus has been invaluable in plotting to beat the regime of Leonid Kuchma in Kiev. 

The operation – engineering democracy through the ballot box and civil disobedience – is now so slick that the methods have matured into a template for winning other people’s elections.

Not only has Ukraine suffered because of  this admitted US-backed political destabilization over the years, but as revealed by the Guardian and other sources, all of Eastern Europe has fallen prey to this brand of foreign-backed subversion, manipulation, and regime change. Considering this documented fact, the prospect of Wall Street and Washington trying likewise in Russia itself is not only possible, it has already been tried before, with likely attempts in the future only inevitable.

The Blockade…

Already at work is a coordinated manipulation of world oil prices. Revealed among plunging oil prices is that the entire industry is centrally manipulated not by market forces but by political agendas involving the US and its partners in the Middle East, most notably the enduring dictatorship in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. While any nation possesses the ability to weather such economic measures in the long-term as Iran and Cuba have proven, in the short-term, economic instability is one of the harbingers of political subversion where ranks of street demonstrations can be swelled by those who perceive such economic instability as the fault of the current government, rather than an economic attack from abroad.

The Political Front and Muscle

The political front that will take to Russia’s streets has already long been identified. It includes the same brand of extreme “nationalists” and ultra-right groups seen overrunning Ukraine’s political order. This includes literal Neo-Nazis. One of the prevailing figures among Russia’s ultra-right is US-backed Alexey Navalny – billed by the West as an “anti-corruption activist,” who is in all reality a neo-fascist operating openly in the service of Wall Street.

Alexey Navalny was a Yale World Fellow, and in his profile it states:

Navalny spearheads legal challenges on behalf of minority shareholders in large Russian companies, including Gazprom, Bank VTB, Sberbank, Rosneft, Transneft, and Surgutneftegaz, through the Union of Minority Shareholders. He has successfully forced companies to disclose more information to their shareholders and has sued individual managers at several major corporations for allegedly corrupt practices. Navalny is also co-founder of the Democratic Alternative movement and was vice-chairman of the Moscow branch of the political party YABLOKO. In 2010, he launched RosPil, a public project funded by unprecedented fundraising in Russia. In 2011, Navalny started RosYama, which combats fraud in the road construction sector.

The Democratic Alternative, also written DA!, is a US State Department National Endowment for Democracy (NED) fund recipient, implicating Alexey Navalny as an agent of US-funded sedition. The US State Department itself reveals this as they list DA! among many of the “youth movements” they support operating in Russia:

DA!: Mariya Gaydar, daughter of former Prime Minister Yegor Gaydar, leads DA! (Democratic Alternative). She is ardent in her promotion of democracy, but realistic about the obstacles she faces. Gaydar said that DA! is focused on non-partisan activities designed to raise political awareness. She has received funding from the National Endowment for Democracy, a fact she does not publicize for fear of appearing compromised by an American connection.

That this funding is nowhere on NED’s official website indicates that full disclosures are not being made and that NED is engaged in clandestine funding.

Navalny was involved directly in founding a movement funded by the US government and to this day has the very people who funded DA! defending him throughout Western media. The mention of co-founder Mariya Gaydar is also revealing, as she has long collaborated, and occasionally has been arrested with, Ilya Yashin, yet another leader of a NED-funded Russian “activist” opposition group.

Ilya Yashin leads the Moscow branch of the People’s Freedom Party and is a leading member of the “Strategy 31” campaign whose ranks are filled with activists trained and coordinated by US NED-funded NGOs. Deleted from the official NED.org website was Strategy 31’s US funding:

Moscow Group of Assistance in the Implementation of the Helsinki Accords $50,000

To draw greater attention to the issue of freedom of assembly in Russia and to the “Strategy 31” movement, which seeks to protect this fundamental right. The organization will train a network of regional activists and coordinate their activities through mini-seminars and field visits, and conduct an information cam­paign through press conferences, posters, and educational handouts pertaining to freedom of assembly, to be distributed to the general public by regional partners.

Also deleted was a NED “Democracy Digest” article titled “Strategy 31: A sign of civil society’s resilience.” In it, the “Moscow Helsinki Group” is explicitly stated as leading Strategy 31 marches and that the group is a “long-time grantee of the National Endowment of Democracy.”

The multiple deletions across NED’s networks of Russian “activists” it is heavily funding and directing is yet another sign of imminent subversion, in hopes that links cannot be provided fast enough as the unrest unfolds to undermine the legitimacy of the otherwise US-engineered subversion.

Yashin’s People’s Freedom Party is lined not only with NED-funded “youth,” but also lined with career politicians and businessmen collaborating with foreign-interests. Among them is Vladimir Ryzhkov  a member of the NED-funded, Washington-based World Movement for Democracy (whose profile has also been recently deleted). There is also Boris Nemtsov whose adviser, Vladimir Kara-Murza (of Solidarnost) took part in a September 14, 2011 NED-sponsored event titled, “Elections in Russia: Polling and Perspectives.”

Revealed is a political front entirely created by the US State Department to pose as the aspirations of the Russian people while in reality a creation and perpetuation of the aspirations of Wall Street and Washington.  Under the unrest this front creates may be a heavily armed front consisting of ultra-right Neo-Nazis as observed in Ukraine, heavily armed sectarian terrorists backed by Saudi Arabia, or both.

A Look At America’s “Sedition” Handbook 

The use of armed elements to assist in US-engineered political subversion is not speculation. Rather, it is a documented policy included in plans laid for the undermining and overthrowing of other governments around the world. In one particular 2009 US policy paper titled, “Which Path to Persia?” by the Brookings Institution regarding the overthrow of Iran, it is stated specifically that:

One method that would have some possibility of success would be to ratchet up covert regime change efforts in the hope that Tehran would retaliate overtly, or even semi-overtly, which could then be portrayed as an unprovoked act of Iranian aggression.

Here, US policymakers are openly conspiring to covertly provoke a nation through political subversion. The resulting “act of aggression” would be portrayed as “unprovoked,” just as has been done regarding Russia’s involvement in neighboring Ukraine and all moves since Moscow has undertaken as the US and NATO continue to move toward war.

The policy paper also openly talks about the particulars of fomenting political unrest. Under a section called literally, “Finding the Right Proxies” it states:

One of the hardest tasks in fomenting a revolution, or even just unrest, is finding the right local partners.

After openly admitting the goal of “fomenting a revolution” or “unrest,” it then details what support to provide these proxies:

 …students and other groups need covert backing for their demonstrations.  They need fax machines. They need internet access, funds to duplicate materials, and funds to keep vigilantes from beating them up.  Beyond this, U.S.-backed media  outlets  could  highlight  regime  shortcomings and make otherwise obscure critics more prominent. The United States already supports Persian-language satellite television (Voice of america Persian) and radio (radio Farda) that bring unfiltered news to Iranians (in recent years, these have taken the lion’s share of overt U.S. funding for promoting democracy in Iran). U.S. economic pressure (and perhaps military pressure as well) can discredit the regime, making the population hungry for a rival leadership.  

The report finally mentions armed groups supporting US-engineered sedition:

 Some who favor fomenting regime change in Iran argue that it is utopian to hold out hope for a velvet revolution; instead, they contend that the United States should  turn  to  Iranian  opposition  groups  that already exist, that already have demonstrated a desire to fight the regime, and who appear willing  to  accept  U.S.  assistance.  The  hope  behind this course of action is that these various opposition  groups  could  transform  themselves  into more  potent  movements  that  might  be  able  to overturn the regime.  

What is troubling about this 2009 report is that each and every conspiracy contained within is not only confirmed by the authors to already be well underway against Iran, it is now clear that similar tactics have been used against Syria, China, and Russia itself.  The “Arab Spring” was little more than these tactics used on a regional scale, and what was done in Syria and even Ukraine are almost verbatim pages torn from this playbook.

For a campaign aimed at Moscow itself, it is likely the same playbook will once again be employed. Exposing the insidious, malicious criminality of US policymakers who openly conspire to provoke other nations into conflict and manipulate public perception to maintain moral primacy is the first step to undoing attempts to destabilize and undermine Russia, and all other nations caught in the crosshairs of Wall Street and Washington.

While the West continues to portray Russia as the “aggressor,” throughout America’s own policy papers it can be seen that such accusations are just one part of an immensely insidious and deceitful plan. Portraying Russia as the “aggressors” helps justify further measures to set the board for widespread political subversion within Russia itself. It seeks to justify not only direct ties to opposition groups when they are finally revealed, but also increasingly aggressive interventions both by armed proxies and NATO forces themselves to continue propping up these opposition groups.

The spectacular nature of “invasions” as we imagine them, such as the Nazi blitzkrieg into Western Europe are behind us. Invasions within fourth generation warfare utilize faux opposition groups, covert military support, and full-spectrum economic, political, and information warfare. Russia has built defenses against this form of warfare, confounding the West , but ultimately the moral high ground and all of its advantages is a position only one can hold. Either by truth through exposing the West’s means and agenda will Russia climb to the top, or through the West’s continued successful deception, will Russia be pelted below.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.

CNN: Libyan “Rebels” Are Now ISIS

Off the keyboard of Anthony Cartalucci

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Published on Land Destroyer on November 19, 2014

isis

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November 19, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – The United States has attempted to claim that the only way to stop the so-called “Islamic State” in Syria and Iraq is to first remove the government in Syria. Complicating this plan are developments in Libya, benefactor of NATO’s last successful regime change campaign. In 2011, NATO armed, funded, and backed with a sweeping air campaign militants in Libya centered around the eastern Libyan cities of Tobruk, Derna, and Benghazi. By October 2011, NATO successfully destroyed the Libyan government, effectively handing the nation over to these militants.
Images: Same convoy, different flag. Even in 2011, it was painfully obvious the so-called “rebels” fighting with NATO assistance in Libya were in fact members of long-standing Al Qaeda franchises including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Their strongholds in eastern Libya served as the “revolution’s” cradle, meaning the “revolution” was merely cover for a NATO-assisted Al Qaeda uprising. In other words, NATO handed Libya over to Al Qaeda, and is attempting to do likewise with Syria.  
What ensued was a campaign of barbarism, genocide, and sectarian extremism as brutal in reality as what NATO claimed in fiction was perpetrated by the Libyan government ahead of its intervention. The so-called “rebels” NATO had backed were revealed to be terrorists led by Al Qaeda factions including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).The so-called “pro-democracy protesters” Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi was poised to attack in what NATO claimed was pending “genocide” were in fact heavily armed terrorists that have festered for decades in eastern Libya.Almost immediately after NATO successfully destroyed Libya’s government, its terrorist proxies were mobilized to take part in NATO’s next campaign against Syria. Libyan terrorists were sent first to NATO-member Turkey were they were staged, armed, trained, and equipped, before crossing the Turkish-Syrian border to take part in the fighting.

CNN Admits ISIS is in Libya  

CNN in an article titled, “ISIS comes to Libya,” claims:

The black flag of ISIS flies over government buildings. Police cars carry the group’s insignia. The local football stadium is used for public executions. A town in Syria or Iraq? No. A city on the coast of the Mediterranean, in Libya. 

Fighters loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are now in complete control of the city of Derna, population of about 100,000, not far from the Egyptian border and just about 200 miles from the southern shores of the European Union. 

The fighters are taking advantage of political chaos to rapidly expand their presence westwards along the coast, Libyan sources tell CNN.

Only the black flag of Al Qaeda/ISIS has already long been flying over Libya – even at the height of NATO’s intervention there in 2011.  ISIS didn’t “come to” Libya, it was always there in the form of Al Qaeda’s local franchises LIFG and AQIM – long-term, bitter enemies of the now deposed and assassinated Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

Images: While CNN claims the “black flag of ISIS” is just now flying over Libya, in reality, the black flag of Al Qaeda and US-Saudi funded global terrorism has flown over Libya for years. Just weeks after US Senator John McCain was in the terrorist capital of Benghazi pledging funds and weapons to the militants, overt public demonstrations in support for Al Qaeda took place right on the doorsteps of the courthouse McCain appeared at. 

CNN’s latest article is merely the veneer finally peeling away from the alleged “revolution” it had attempted to convince readers had taken place in 2011.

ISIS Didn’t “Come to” Libya, It Came From Libya

Image: Libyan Mahdi al-Harati of the Al Qaeda affiliate LIFG, leading
Libyan terrorists in Syria. LIFG terrorists would pass through NATO territory
in Turkey on their way to Syria’s border. ISIS “coming to” Libya is simply
LIFG terrorists returning from their NATO-backed expeditionary mission. 

Even amid CNN’s own spin, it admits ISIS’ presence in Libya is not a new phenomenon but rather the above mentioned sectarian extremists who left Libya to fight in Syria simply returning and reasserting themselves in the eastern Cyrenaica region. CNN also admits that these terrorists have existed in Libya for decades and were kept in check primarily by Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. With Qaddafi eliminated and all semblance of national unity destroyed by NATO’s intervention in 2011, Al Qaeda has been able to not only prosper in Libya but use the decimated nation as a spingboard for invading and destroying other nations.

Worst of all, Al Qaeda’s rise in Libya was not merely the unintended consequence of a poorly conceived plan by NATO for military intervention, but a premeditated regional campaign to first build up then use Al Qaeda as a mercenary force to overthrow and destroy a series of nations, beginning with Libya, moving across North Africa and into nations like Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and eventually Iran. From there, NATO’s mercenary force would be on the borders of Russia and China ready to augment already Western-backed extremists in the Caucasus and Xinjiang regions.

In 2011, geopolitical analyst Dr. Webster Tarpley in his article, “The CIA’s Libya Rebels: The Same Terrorists who Killed US, NATO Troops in Iraq,” noted that the US strategy was to:

…use Al Qaeda to overthrow independent governments, and then either Balkanize and partition the countries in question, or else use them as kamikaze puppets against larger enemies like Russia, China, or Iran.

Dr. Tarpley would also note in 2011 that:

One of the fatal contradictions in the current State Department and CIA policy is that it aims at a cordial alliance with Al Qaeda killers in northeast Libya, at the very moment when the United States and NATO are mercilessly bombing the civilian northwest Pakistan in the name of a total war against Al Qaeda, and US and NATO forces are being killed by Al Qaeda guerrillas in that same Afghanistan-Pakistan theater of war. The force of this glaring contradiction causes the entire edifice of US war propaganda to collapse. The US has long since lost any basis in morality for military force.

In fact, terrorist fighters from northeast Libya may be killing US and NATO troops in Afghanistan right now, even as the US and NATO protect their home base from the Qaddafi government.

Indeed, the very terrorists NATO handed the entire nation of Libya over to, are now allegedly prime targets in Syria and Iraq. The “pro-democracy rebels” of 2011 are now revealed to be “ISIS terrorists” with long-standing ties to Al Qaeda.

US Long-Planned to use Al Qaeda as Mercenaries 

Not even mentioning the fact that Al Qaeda’s very inception was to serve as a joint US-Saudi mercenary force to fight a proxy war in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union, the terrorist organization has since played a central role in the Balkans to justify NATO intervention there, and as a divisive force in Iraq during the US occupation to blunt what began as a formidable joint Sunni-Shia’a resistance movement.

In 2007, it was revealed by Pulitzer Prize-winning veteran journalist Seymour Hersh that the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia were conspiring to use Al Qaeda once again, this time to undermine, destabilize, and destroy the governments of Syria and Iran in what would be a regional sectarian bloodbath.

Hersh would report (emphasis added):

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda

Hersh would note that Iran was perceived to be the greater threat and therefore, despite a constant barrage of propaganda claiming otherwise, Al Qaeda and its various affiliates were “lesser enemies.” Even in 2007, Hersh’s report would predict almost verbatim the cataclysmic regional sectarian bloodbath that would take place, with the West’s extremists waging war not only on Shia’a populations but also on other religious minorities including Christians.

His report would note:

Robert Baer, a former longtime C.I.A. agent in Lebanon, has been a severe critic of Hezbollah and has warned of its links to Iranian-sponsored terrorism. But now, he told me, “we’ve got Sunni Arabs preparing for cataclysmic conflict, and we will need somebody to protect the Christians in Lebanon. It used to be the French and the United States who would do it, and now it’s going to be Nasrallah and the Shiites. 

And this is precisely what is happening, word for word, page by page – everything warned about in Hersh’s report has come to pass. In 2011, geopolitical analyst Dr. Webster Tarpley and others would also reiterate the insidious regional campaign Western policymakers were carrying out with Al Qaeda terrorists disguised as “rebels,” “activists,” and “moderate fighters” for the purpose of arming, funding, and even militarily intervening on their behalf in attempts to effect regime change and tilt the balance in the Middle East and North Africa region against Iran, Russia, and China.

CNN’s attempt to explain why ISIS is “suddenly” in Libya is one of many attempts to explain the regional rise of this organization in every way possible besides in terms of the truth – that ISIS is the result of multinational state sponsored terrorism including the US, UK, EU, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel as its chief backers.

NATO Handed ISIS Libya, Wants to Hand ISIS Syria

Inexplicably, amid allegedly fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the United States now claims it must first overthrow the Syrian government, despite it being the only viable, secular force in the region capable of keeping ISIS and its affiliates in check. CNN, in an article titled, “Sources: Obama seeks new Syria strategy review to deal with ISIS, al-Assad,” would report:

President Barack Obama has asked his national security team for another review of the U.S. policy toward Syria after realizing that ISIS may not be defeated without a political transition in Syria and the removal of President Bashar al-Assad, senior U.S. officials and diplomats tell CNN.

Neither CNN, nor the politicians it cited in its article were able to articulate just why removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power would somehow diminish the fighting capacity of ISIS. With CNN’s recent article on ISIS’ gains in Libya despite US-led NATO regime change there, after decades of Libyan leader Qaddafi keeping extremists in check, it would appear that NATO is once again attempting not to stop Al Qaeda/ISIS, but rather hand them yet another country to use as a base of operations.

The goal is not to stop ISIS or even effect regime change in Syria alone – but rather hand Syria over as a failed, divided state to terrorists to use as a springboard against Iran, then Russia and China.

Clearly, ISIS’ appearance in Libya negates entirely the already incomprehensible strategy the US has proposed of needing to first depose the Syrian government, then fight ISIS. The Syrian government, like that of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, is the only effective force currently fighting ISIS and Al Qaeda’s many other franchises operating in the region. Deposing the government in Damascus would compound the fight against sectarian terrorists – and the West is fully aware of that. Therefore, attempts to topple the secular government in Damascus is in every way the intentional aiding and abetting of ISIS and the sharing in complicity of all the horrific daily atrocities ISIS and its affiliates are carrying out.

The morally bankrupt, insidious, dangerous, and very genocidal plans hatched in 2007 and executed in earnest in 2011 illustrate that ISIS alone is not the greatest threat to global peace and stability, but also those that constitute its multinational state sponsors. The very West purportedly defending civilization is the chief protagonist destroying it worldwide.

ISIS: America’s Terrorist Mercenaries

Off the keyboard of Anthony Cartalucci

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Published on Land Destroyer on October 28, 2014

isis

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October 28, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – Generally historical revision takes place long after events unfold and the victors attempt to bury humiliating or inconvenient truths. Today, in the age of information, these would-be victors are finding it increasingly necessary to revise history in real-time through a strategy of increasingly repetitive, but decreasingly effective propaganda.Phase I: Justifying Chaos 

It was only in 2007 that US foreign policy openly sought to pursue war against Iran, Syria, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, while undercutting pro-Iranian factions in Iraq which at the time the US was still occupying. Failing to accomplish this directly, the US planned a not-so-covert proxy war that would include funding, politically backing, and even arming groups ranging from the Muslim Brotherhood to militants aligned with Al Qaeda itself.

This is perhaps best summarized by the prophetic 2007 report “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh and published in the New Yorker.

It stated (emphasis added):

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda

Hersh would also go on to chronicle American political and financial support that was being provided to the Muslim Brotherhood, even then under then US President George Bush. In all, the supposedly “spontaneous” uprisings referred to by the Western media as the “Arab Spring” in 2011 were being engineered years ahead of time – not in an attempt to promote peaceful pro-democratic aspirations, but to serve as cover for ultra-violent foreign-backed inssurections that would leave a trail of destruction stretching along Africa’s northern coast, all the way to the borders of Iran, Russia, and even China.

Phase II: The War 

After denying any role in the “Arab Spring” unrest, the US would soon not only openly support the protesters in the streets, but also support armed militants that followed in the wake of protests. This support included that of a military dimension – with militants in Libya being provided aircover and special forces initially, to eventually the air-dropping of weapons, equipment, and other supplies.

US Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) would even travel to the terrorist capital of Libya – Benghazi – and offer US support in person. He would stand literally upon the footsteps of Benghazi’s courthouse where Al Qaeda rallies would be held shortly after, promising weapons to men who would later slaughter a US ambassador in that very city.

After the destruction of Libya’s government amid NATO’s intervention, Benghazi would serve as a terrorist epicenter where weapons, cash, and fighters were being staged before being sent to NATO-member Turkey and then to fight in northern Syria. Among these terrorists were seasoned militants of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an official Al Qaeda franchise in North Africa. One of their leaders, Abdelhakim Belhadj would eventually find himself in power in Tripoli after the collapse of the Libyan government, and even have his photograph taken with Senator McCain.

Predictably, as NATO shifted resources and attention from the overthrow of Libya to the overthrow of Syria, the conflict aimed at Damascus escalated. It did not however succeed. Instead, the West found itself in a protracted proxy war in which its role in arming, aiding, and abetting hardcore sectarian extremists became increasingly obvious.

Phase III: The “Rise” of ISIS 

Clearly, the rise of the so-called “Islamic State” or ISIS, did not happen overnight, nor by accident. It was not only the logical result of the United States continuing its strategy of proxy warfare it had carried out against Libya, now unfolding in Syria, it was also the premeditated, documented result of what veteran journalist Seymour Hersh had warned about in 2007.

It is a threat that not only Syria understands all too well, but a threat its allies including Iraq, Iran, and Russia fully understand and are mobilizing against.
The US has found itself revising history, attempting to explain the existence of ISIS lurking in the footprints of its massive support of so-called “moderates” in Syria’s ongoing conflict. The US has attempted to claim ISIS has built itself on “donations,” selling oil to the black market, and by taking hostages for ransom. If only building a multinational terrorist mercenary force was that easy, we could imagine Syria, Iraq, and Iran would likewise have vast mercenary armies to outmatch ISIS in an afternoon.

The reality is, to explain how the US and its regional partners have provided “moderates” with billions in aid only to have ISIS rise up and displace these “moderates,” we must realize that there were never any “moderates” to begin with, and that the US intentionally armed and funded terrorists, just as Hersh warned in 2007, to create a terrorist mercenary army that “espouses a militant vision of Islam” and is “sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”

ISIS didn’t displace the “moderates,” the truth of what America has done in the Middle East has displaced the lies the West has been telling the public starting in 2011 at the height of the so-called “Arab Spring.”

It is essential that people around the world continue to spread this this truth faster than the West can spread its chaos.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.

Either you’re the Butcher or the Cattle

Off the keyboard of Jim Quinn

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Published on The Burning Platform on October 16, 2014

children-of-men

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I know many people have no interest in watching the boob tube because 99% of the programming is either mindless drivel or government sanctioned propaganda. It’s the 1% that reflects the deeper themes and moods engulfing our society. Television shows like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, and The Walking Dead reflect the darkening mood of this intensifying Fourth Turning. I wrote one of my more pessimistic articles called Welcome to Terminus in April regarding the season four finale of the Walking Dead series. I essentially argued we are approaching the end of the line and the world is going to get real nasty.

twd-s04e16-06

In the six short months since I wrote that depressing article, we’ve seen men beheaded on Youtube videos by terrorists no one had ever heard of at the beginning of this year. Somehow a ragtag band of 30,000 Muslim terrorists, using American military equipment supplied to fight Assad in Syria and taken from the Iraqi Army when they turned tail and ran away, have been able to defeat 600,000 Iraqi and Kurd fighters with air support from the vaunted U.S. Air Force. Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan descend into never ending religious based warfare. We’ve even had passenger planes mysteriously disappear in Asia with no trace.

Crimea seceded from Ukraine and rejoined Russia, initiating a plan to punish Russia by the western powers. America supported and planned the overthrow of a democratically elected government in the Ukraine, with a predictable push back response by Russia, leading to a bloody civil war in the Eastern Ukraine. We’ve had a false flag shooting down of an airliner over the Ukraine by the Ukrainian government, blamed on Russia and Putin by Obama and his EU co-conspirators. The American corporate media mouthpieces have ignored the cover-up of missing controller transmissions, black box recordings, and physical evidence regarding the murder of hundreds of innocent people by western politicians. Israel and Hamas resumed their endless religious war in Gaza, with thousands of casualties and destruction.

UK fear mongering and financial threats barely averted the secession of Scotland from the UK. Cantalonia continues to push for a secession vote to leave Spain. Violent protests have broken out in Spain, Italy, France and even Sweden. Turmoil, protests and riots in Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and Mexico have been driven by anger at political corruption, high inflation, and general economic dysfunction. Saber rattling between China and Japan has increased and young people in Hong Kong have been protesting the lack of democratic elections being permitted by China. The world economy, undergoing central bank monetary stimulus withdraw, is headed back into recession as Germany, China and the U.S. join the rest of the world in economic decline. And now the Western Africa outbreak of ebola has gone worldwide, with predictions of an epidemic potentially causing worldwide economic chaos.

What’s happening in the real world makes the dystopian zombie world of Walking Dead seem almost quaint. The writers of this show brilliant use of symbolism and imagery captures the violent, chaotic, inhumane, darkening, brutal world we inhabit as the Fourth Turning crisis period we entered in 2008 deepens on a daily basis. There is a good reason why the first episode of their fifth season drew the biggest cable TV audience in history. The show is clearly tapping into the mood of the masses. Early in the latest episode you realize Terminus has become a processing center run by cannibals. The line between victim and criminal, killer and prey, good and evil, madness and sanity, and moral and immoral is blurred. Everything is relative in the post-pandemic world of the Walking Dead.

ee1feb20-143c-11e4-9c67-b1d71d17fcff_comic-con-2014-the-walking-dead-season-5-trailer-_0021_Layer-17

Seeing Wall Street cannibals walk away unscathed after devouring the worldwide economic system in 2008 with their fraudulent financial schemes, corrupt politicians enriched by throwing taxpayers under the bus, militarized police forces trampling the Fourth Amendment, the NSA spying on every American, a private central bank enriching their owners by funneling trillions into their bank vaults, a president trampling on the Constitution by issuing executive orders to bypass the other branches of government, and billions of welfare and tax fraud from the urban ghettos to the penthouse suites in NYC, has convinced a large swath of Americans that everything is relative and nothing matters in our warped dystopian world. Right and wrong no longer matter. Morality is an antiquated concept. Adhering to the Constitution is an outmoded notion. Our society celebrates and condones our dog eat dog economic paradigm. Or zombie eats anything world in the case of Walking Dead.

The Terminus complex is reminiscent of the concentration camp in Schindler’s List. It is complete with railroad cars to hold the prisoners, gates with barbed wire, armed guards, and extermination facilities to “process” the prisoners. Thick black smoke belches into the air. There is a room stacked full of booty, teddy bears, watches, clothes – everything except the gold fillings.The Nazi like precision and attention to detail is reflected in the almost business-like method in which the Terminus administrators go about gutting their prey. The bone chilling efficiency and antiseptic processing facility evoke memories of the holocaust gas chambers. The opening sequence when Rick, Daryl, Glenn and Bob are among a group of men lined up to be gutted like pigs over a trough in place to collect their spilled blood, might have been the most brutal scene ever put on non-premium cable TV.

The callous and dispassionate way in which the prisoners (cattle) are lined up in front of a stainless steel trough is disconcerting and bone chilling. The victims are hit with a baseball bat and then their throats are slit over the trough by men in protective suits. They have become nothing but cattle to be butchered and consumed by the Terminus cannibals. You see another part of the processing plant where human remains are hanging from hooks like sides of beef. Gareth, the leader of Terminus, supervises the operation like a CEO, berating the butchers for not meeting quotas and following standard operating procedures. Not much different than how our mega-corporations are run today.

thewalkingdead_season5_trailer

The other fascinating similarity between the dystopian “nightmare of want” setting of Terminus and our modern day dystopian “empire of excess” is the use of false advertising and propaganda to lure “customers” into their web. Their version of billboard advertising was plywood with the hand written messages of “Sanctuary for All”, “Community for All”, and “Those Who Arrive Survive”. The Terminus cannibals would have fit in well on Madison Avenue with the highly paid spin artists, propagandists, and whores for the corporate oligarchs.

The signs along train tracks and radio transmissions from a call center like facility showed the calculated business-like efficiency of the cannibals in systematically and methodically luring victims to their slaughterhouse. It is the same techniques used by the apostles of Edward Bernays to consciously and intelligently manipulate the habits, opinions, tastes, ideas and actions of the masses, in order to control and influence their buying habits, voting decisions, and support of their rulers. The unseen men who constitute the “invisible government” use these techniques to keep the cattle docile, fed, and ignorant, as they are led to slaughter.

The government and lack thereof is always lurking in the murky background of how and why the United States has devolved into an infected world of the walking dead. This episode provided some clues about government labs producing viruses as weapons to be used against some unexplained enemy. The insinuation is that the government somehow lost control of the virus and the ensuing pandemic destroyed our modern world and left the survivors to battle the biters and each other for the remaining scraps. The Federal government caused the societal collapse and is nowhere to be found in rebuilding the nation.

It is unclear how the apocalypse went down, but you can assume it began with fear, which led to panic, chaos, economic collapse, violent upheaval, war, and total breakdown of governmental authority and control. It is ironic that today fear of a worldwide ebola pandemic is coinciding with an inevitable economic implosion, wars raging in the Middle East, violent protests raging around the globe, and trust in governmental authority plunging to all-time lows. The Walking Dead has wittingly or unwittingly captured the ambiance of our turbulent times.

When you are faced with desperate circumstances you can either do whatever you need to survive or you can submissively accept your fate and die. Gareth and his cannibalistic cohorts had been in the same situation as Rick and his posse, but they had somehow turned the tables on their captors. Gareth’s survival of the fittest creed was “either you’re the butcher or you’re the cattle”. Human beings react to intense pressure and life threatening situations in different ways. Some people snap and turn into monsters, like Gareth. Some people snap and lose their minds. Others, like Rick and Carol, summon an inner strength to do whatever it takes to survive while barely maintaining their humanity. Others turn into blind followers of a strong forceful leader, not questioning the morality, legality or humanity of what they are ordered to do. The line between right and wrong, necessary versus unnecessary, vengeance versus justice, and butcher versus cattle is blurred in a world without rules, government or accepted norms.

I believe the “butcher or cattle” analogy is sadly a valid meme for the world we currently inhabit. In the Walking Dead world, individuals must choose to be butcher or cattle. It’s a Darwinian world of kill or be killed. Like minded individuals with common values and goals form communities to protect themselves, provide for themselves, and attempt to bring a semblance of order in a chaotic world. The community of Westbury, led by the governor and the community of Terminus, led by Gareth, are founded upon a foundation of evil and ultimately destroyed. Rick’s community of liberty minded freedom fighters do whatever is necessary to survive, but retain their humanity, decency and desire to create a better world.

Our present day world may not be as brutish as the Walking Dead world, though the line between reality and fiction is often indistinguishable when you turn on the news, but the distinction between butchers and cattle is clear. The elected and non-elected rulers of the deep state are the butchers, sending young men off to die for oil companies and arms dealers, impoverishing the masses through inflation and their control of the currency, and enriching themselves through their complete control of the political, financial, judicial, and economic systems. This establishment, or invisible government as Bernays described, is committed to its own enrichment and perpetuation. Its scope, financial resources, and global reach put it in a predator class all by itself.

The common people are the cattle being led to slaughter. We are kept docile with incessant propaganda from the mainstream media; marketing messages to consume from Madison Avenue; filtered, adjusted, manipulated economic data fed to us by government agencies; an endless supply of iGadgets and other electronic distractions; government education designed to keep us ignorant; 24/7 reality TV on six hundred stations to keep us entertained; corporate toxic processed food to keep us obese and tame; and an endless supply of Wall Street supplied debt to keep us caged in our pens with no hope of escape. The butchers of the deep state have maintained control for decades, but we’re entering a new era.

Fourth Turnings result in the tables being turned on the butchers. Some cattle are awakening from their stupor. They can see the bloody writing on the slaughterhouse wall. Anyone who isn’t sensing a dramatic mood change in this country is either a mindless zombie or a functionary of the deep state. The financial shenanigans of the ruling class are again being revealed as nothing but a Ponzi scheme built on a foundation of debt and propped up by delusions and ignorance. When the house of cards collapses in the near future, the tables will turn. When people have nothing left to lose, they will lose it. The butchers will become the cattle. There will be no sanctuary for these evil men. Their reign of terror will be swept away in a whirlwind of retribution, death and destruction. It might even make the Walking Dead look like a walk in the park.

 

Washington Menaces America With Its ISIS Creation

Off the keyboard of Anthony Cartalucci

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Published on Land Destroyer on September 11, 2014

NSA-HQImage: Despite the NSA’s immense resources and all encompassing
spying activities both abroad and domestically, it appears to miss many
even obvious world events unfolding. It is likely this “ignorance” is
feigned to afford plausible deniability between global chaos and US
culpability.  

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September 11, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – The Washington Times in an article titled, “Intel believes 300 Americans fighting with Islamic State, posing threat to U.S.,” makes the incredible claim that:

The U.S. government is tracking and gathering intelligence on as many as 300 Americans who are fighting side by side with the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria and are poised to become a major threat to the homeland, according to senior U.S. officials.

Officials say concern is widespread in Washington that radicalized foreign fighters could return to the homeland and commit terrorist attacks with skills acquired overseas, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the information. Those concerns were heightened by the disclosure Tuesday that a California man was killed fighting alongside militants with the group, also known as ISIS.

It is incredible because the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) has not only been tapping and recording phone conversations of Americans for years, but also tracking phone locations as well. How is it that this massive, invasive, illegal, abhorrent surveillance control grid can be put in place, sold to the public as a necessity to “protect Americans” and “national security,” yet miss entire battalions of Americans signing up for and joining overseas, a terrorist organization like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)?

If the very scenarios the NSA uses to justify its abhorrent means have unfolded unimpeded, revealed only by “chance” with the passport of an American turning up in the pockets of dead terrorists upon an alleged battlefield in Syria, either the NSA’s existence serves another purpose, or the narrative we are being fed regarding the true nature of ISIS is a lie, or the most likely scenario – both.

Not the First Fit of Feigned Ignorance 

Image: A tank flying Al Qaeda’s flag – it is difficult to believe the US when
it claims it did not foresee ISIS’ emergence when the CIA itself had been
operating in ISIS territory for the past 3-4 years. 

The very appearance of ISIS on the battlefields of Iraq and Syria allegedly took the US intelligence community by surprise. The unlikely narrative was designed entirely to maintain plausible deniability between ISIS mercenaries and their paymasters in Washington, London, Brussels, Riyadh, Doha, and Ankara respectively. In reality, headlines over the past 3-4 years such as, “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition,” “First Syria rebels armed and trained by CIA ‘on way to battlefield’,” “Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A.,” and “Official says CIA-funded weapons have begun to reach Syrian rebels; rebels deny receipt,” indicate precisely how and from where the immense, multinational ISIS mercenary force originated.


The US has yet to account how its CIA could be operating within territory held by ISIS – including all along the Turkish-Syrian border and within Turkish territory itself – and neither know the existence, movements, or intentions of ISIS forces.

Between NSA surveillance at home, and the CIA operating side-by-side with ISIS and other Al Qaeda-linked terrorist organizations, the sudden revelations that Americans are fighting within ISIS’ ranks seem to be more a matter of politically-motivated propaganda, timed perfectly to justify US military intervention in Syria, than a case of yet another convenient lapse in American intelligence.

Washington Menacing America With Its Own Mercenaries 

Indeed, in order for the US to begin military operations in Syria under the guise of fighting ISIS forces, it must first demonstrate the threat ISIS poses to America. Already, likely false flags serving ISIS no benefit, but giving the US the green light to begin military operations in Syria have begun making their rounds across Western media. A CBS/Associated Press story titled, “Former Deputy CIA Director: ‘I Would Not Be Surprised’ If ISIS Member Shows Up To US Mall Tomorrow With AK-47,” claims:

“The short-term concern is the Americans that have gone to fight with ISIS and the west Europeans that have gone to fight with ISIS could be trained and directed by ISIS to come to the United States to conduct small-scale attacks,” Morell stated. “If an ISIS member showed up at a mall in the United States tomorrow with an AK-47 and killed a number of Americans, I would not be surprised.”

Morell warned that over the long-term the extremist group could be planning for a 9/11-style attack that killed thousands of Americans.

The same report would also claim:

The United States launched a new barrage of airstrikes Wednesday against the Islamic State extremist group that beheaded American journalist James Foley and that has seized a swath of territory across Iraq and Syria. President Barack Obama vowed relentless pursuit of the terrorists and the White House revealed that the U.S. had launched a secret rescue mission inside Syria earlier this summer that failed to rescue Foley and other Americans still being held hostage.

The current justification for ongoing preparations against Syria has been the Foley execution video, which experts have agreed upon was staged. The London Telegraph in its article, “Foley murder video ‘may have been staged’,” would state:

Analysts believe the British jihadi in the video may not have been James Foley’s killer, although it is accepted that the journalist was murdered.

Of course, if the video was staged, and every claim about it made by ISIS thus far proven a fabrication, no evidence at all suggests when and where, or even if Foley was murdered. If he was, no evidence suggests by whom. And despite this revelation, the US continues building momentum to intervene in Syria.

Imperialism Hiding Behind Righteousness 

Image: Image accompanying Seymour Hersh’s
prophetic 2007 report, “The Redirection,” exposing
a US-Saudi-Israeli conspiracy to arm terrorists
aligned to Al Qaeda to fight Iran and its allies in a
cataclysmic regional sectarian bloodbath – a
scenario now fully realized. 

Several years and hundreds of millions of dollars later, ISIS is clearly the product of long-laid Western designs to overthrow the Syrian government and reorder the Middle East as warned by the prophetic 2007 9-page report titled, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?,” written by Seymour Hersh and published in the New Yorker. In it Hersh warned about a cataclysmic sectarian war that would ravage the entire region, targeting not only Syria and neighboring Lebanon, but also Iran. He also warned that it was an intentionally engineered conspiracy between the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, with many smaller regional players serving in supporting roles.

With the emergence of ISIS creating the very cataclysmic sectarian conflagration warned about in Hersh’s 2007 report, with no other credible explanation to account for ISIS’ incredible size, strength, and success beyond multinational state-sponsorship, Hersh’s reportage has once again been vindicated.

It is clear that the US has created ISIS, and is to this day using it as both a means to target and attack its enemies across the Middle East, as well as serve as a pretext for direct US military intervention when proxy wars flounder. It is also being used in a third context – on the domestic front – as a manufactured and perpetual threat with which to further justify the militarization and centralization of America’s police forces and the continued expansion of the NSA’s invasive domestic spying.

It is also clear that all of this adds up not to promoting freedom and democracy abroad while ensuring national security at home, but rather achieving full-spectrum domination in regions abroad and over the population at home. It is naked hegemony and imperialism playing dress-up in the wardrobe of righteousness.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

Growing Mayhem & Staged Provocations

Off the keyboard of Anthony Cartalucci

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Published on Land Destroyer on August 20 & 21, 2014

isis

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Growing Mayhem – US Operating on Both Sides of Syrian-Iraqi Border

US may attempt to arm and provide air cover for terrorists in Syria after claiming success in fighting ISIS in Iraq using Kurds. 
 
August 21, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – As predicted, the “sudden” appearance of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) in northern Iraq weeks ago, has created the rhetorical framework within which the United States and its regional partners will attempt to militarily intervene in both Iraq and Syria. Token US airstrikes have already been underway in Iraq, and it is now revealed that US special operation forces have been operating in Syria, under the guise of attempting to rescue abducted and now slain American journalist, James Wright Foley.
The New York Times in an article titled, “U.S. Tried to Take Foley and Other Hostages From ISIS,” claimed:

A secret nighttime military mission authorized by President Obama to rescue Americans held captive in Syria failed early this summer when a team of two dozen Delta Force commandos raided an oil refinery in the northern part of the country but found after a firefight with Islamic militants that there were no hostages to be saved, administration officials said Wednesday.

With one American journalist, TIME reporter Steven Sotloff, still missing and allegedly being held by ISIS terrorists, further US military incursions into Syrian territory may be attempted under a similar alleged pretense. To further justify expanding across the border and into Syria already ongoing US military operations in Iraq, the Western media has begun claiming that ISIS leadership, “fearing” US airstrikes, are fleeing to safety in neighboring Syria.
The Wall Street Journal in its article, “Iraqis Say Some Commanders of Insurgency in Iraq Retreat to Syria,” claimed:

According to the Iraqis, the commanders went to eastern Syria, where Islamic State has built an operational base amid the chaos of civil war over the past few years. The insurgents are able to dash across the border into Syria, where that base continues to offer the space to recruit and reorganize largely unchallenged.

“They’ve got much better cover in Syria than they do in Iraq,” said Will McCants, an expert on militant Islam at the Brookings Institution and a former State Department adviser. “When they have that kind of strategic depth, they’re just allowed to live another day.”

Image: Clearly, ISIS’ path into Iraq began not in Syria, but in NATO-
member Turkey’s territory. ISIS is nothing more than an extension of the
US-backed terrorist forces assembled for the explicit purpose of
overthrowing the Syrian government. 
Clearly, the answer, left for readers to arrive at on their own, is that these “successful” US airstrikes in Iraq must be carried over into Syria – where mission creep can do the rest, finally dislodging the Syrian government from power after an ongoing proxy war has failed to do so since 2011. After arming and aiding the Kurds in fighting ISIS in Iraq, the US will attempt to make a similar argument regarding the arming of terrorists in Syria and providing them direct US air support to defeat ISIS – and of course – Damascus.
It should be remembered that ISIS itself is a creation of the United States, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Qatar, and has been harbored and provided material assistance by NATO-member Turkey for years. Portrayed by various names by the Western media – ISIS, al-Nusra, the “Free Syrian Army” – in reality it is a conglomerate of Western-backed mercenary forces raised as early as 2007 to overthrow the government in Damascus  and confront Iranian influence across the entire region, including in Lebanon and in Iraq.

Staged Provocations Ahead Possible US-Syrian War

August 20, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – With the alleged brutal murder of American journalist James Wright Foley, a wave of anger and aggression across Western audiences has been generated. Upon that wave rides two objectives. One is to create plausible deniability for the West which created the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS), the other is to create a further pretext to justify a resurgence of direct US military intervention across the region.

While the focus has been on ISIS in Iraq, there is still another war -linked directly to Iraq’s current conflict – being waged across the border in Syria. Syrian forces have continued making gains across the country, routing NATO-backed terrorist forces and restoring order in cities and towns that have been ravaged by war for years. ISIS strongholds in the eastern Syrian city of  Raqqa, have until now long escaped the focus of Syrian forces occupied by more urgent campaigns around Hama, Homs, Damascus, Daraa, Idlib, and Aleppo. Now, the Syrian Army is shifting forces east.

While the West feigns an adversarial position regarding ISIS, it was the West itself that created it, specifically to confront the Iranian arc of influence stretching from Tehran, through Baghdad, Damascus and along the Mediterranean in Lebanon. The elimination of ISIS and other terrorist organizations fighting under or alongside its banner without first achieving regime change in Damascus would effectively mean defeat for the United States and its collaborators in the Middle East.

To intervene before the deathblow is delivered to NATO-backed terrorists in Syria and before the tide is turned against them in Iraq, the West may attempt to provoke, stage, or otherwise create a pretext to militarily intervene in Syria, and expand its operations in Iraq.

More Dead Journalists, Another Downed Airliner… 

The alleged death of James Wright Foley has created significant outrage amongst public opinion. It has created the illusion of confrontation between ISIS and the United States, and has served to further vilify ISIS itself. The Western media is still struggling to maintain the illusion that ISIS stands apart from other terrorists operating in Syria, and with that narrative, the West is simultaneously bolstering ISIS in Syria under the guise of arming and aiding “moderates,” while it conducts token airstrikes on ISIS in Iraq.

At the end of the video production featuring Foley’s death, it was revealed that ISIS was also holding missing TIME reporter Steven Sotloff. He was last seen in Aleppo and is believed to have been held in the now besieged Syrian city of Raqqa. The Epoch Times reported in an article titled, “Steven Sotloff: Missing TIME Journalist Steven Joel Sotloff Has been Threatened by ISIS, Report Says,”stated:

According to The Wire, he went missing near Aleppo, Syria, on Aug. 4, and his family said they were aware of the situation but did not want to publicize the information. He was being held in Raqqa.

Fourth Turning: The People versus Big Brother

Off the keyboard of Jim Quinn

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Published on The Burning Platform on March 13, 2014

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“The risk of catastrophe will be very high. The nation could erupt into insurrection or civil violence, crack up geographically, or succumb to authoritarian rule. If there is a war, it is likely to be one of maximum risk and effort – in other words, a total war. Every Fourth Turning has registered an upward ratchet in the technology of destruction, and in mankind’s willingness to use it.” 

– Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

“In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”Frank Church on Meet the Press regarding the NSA – 1975

Ever since Edward Snowden burst onto the worldwide stage in June 2013, I’ve been wondering how he fits into the fabric of this ongoing Fourth Turning. This period of Crisis that arrives like clockwork, 60 to 70 years after the end of the previous Fourth Turning (Civil War – 66 years after American Revolution, Great Depression/World War II – 64 years after Civil War, Global Financial Crisis – 62 years after World War II), arrived in September 2008 with the Federal Reserve created collapse of the global financial system. We are now five and a half years into this Fourth Turning, with its climax not likely until the late-2020’s. At this point in previous Fourth Turnings a regeneracy had unified sides in their cause and a grey champion or champions (Ben Franklin/Samuel Adams, Lincoln/Davis, FDR) had stepped forward to lead. Thus far, no one from the Prophet generation has been able to unify the nation and create a sense of common civic purpose. Societal trust continues to implode, as faith in political, financial, corporate, and religious institutions spirals downward. There is no sign of a unifying regeneracy on the horizon.

The core elements of this Fourth Turning continue to propel this Crisis: debt, civic decay, global disorder. Central bankers, politicians, and government bureaucrats have been able to fashion the illusion of recovery and return to normalcy, but their “solutions” are nothing more than smoke and mirrors exacerbating the next bloodier violent stage of this Fourth Turning. The emergencies will become increasingly dire, triggering unforeseen reactions and unintended consequences. The civic fabric of our society will be torn asunder.

In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party. The catalyst will unfold according to a basic Crisis dynamic that underlies all of these scenarios: An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios (debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details, which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. If foreign societies are also entering a Fourth Turning, this could accelerate the chain reaction. At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe

Debt

The core crisis element of debt is far worse than it was at the outset of this Crisis in September 2008. The National Debt has risen from $9.7 trillion to $17.5 trillion, an 80% increase in five and half years. It took 215 years for the country to accumulate as much debt as it has accumulated since the start of this Crisis. We continue to add $2.8 billion a day to the National debt, and the president declares it is time for this austerity to end. The total unfunded liabilities of the Federal government for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, government pensions and now Obamacare exceeds $200 trillion and is mathematically impossible to honor. Corporate debt stands at an all-time high. Margin debt is at record levels, as faith in the Federal Reserve’s ability to levitate the stock market borders on delusional. Consumer debt has reached new heights, as the government doles out subprime auto loans to deadbeats and subprime student loans to future University of Phoenix Einsteins. Global debt has surged by 40% since 2008 to over $100 trillion, as central bankers have attempted to cure a disease caused by debt with more debt.

All of this debt accumulation is compliments of Bernanke/Yellen and the Federal Reserve, who have produced this new debt bubble with their zero interest rate policy and quantitative easing that has driven their balance sheet from $935 billion of mostly Treasury bonds in September 2008 to $4.2 trillion of toxic mortgage garbage acquired from their owners – the insolvent Too Big To Trust Wall Street banks. This entire house of cards is reliant upon permanently low interest rates, the faith of foreigners in our lies, and trust in Ivy League educated economists captured by Wall Street. This debt laden house of cards sits atop hundreds of trillions of derivatives of mass destruction used by the Wall Street casinos to generate “riskless” profits. When, not if, a trigger ignites this explosive concoction of debt, the collapse will be epic and the violent phase of this Fourth Turning will commence.

Civic Decay

The core crisis element of civic decay is evident everywhere you turn. Our failed public educational system is responsible for much of the civic decay, as a highly educated critical thinking populace is our only defense against a small cabal of bankers and billionaires acquiring unwarranted influence and control over our country. Our children have been taught how to feel and to believe government propaganda. The atrocious educational system is not a mistake. It has been designed and manipulated by your owners to produce the results they desire, as explained bluntly by George Carlin.

“There’s a reason that education sucks, and it’s the same reason it will never ever ever be fixed. It’s never going to get any better, don’t look for it. Be happy with what you’ve got. Because the owners of this country don’t want that. I’m talking about the real owners now, the big, wealthy, business interests that control all things and make the big decisions. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else. But I’ll tell you what they don’t want—they don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interest.”

The urban ghettos become more dangerous and uninhabitable by the day. The inner cities are crumbling under the weight of welfare spending and declining tax revenues. The very welfare policies begun fifty years ago to alleviate poverty have hopelessly enslaved the poor and ignorant in permanent squalor and destitution. The four decade old drug war has done nothing to reduce the use of drugs. It has benefited the corporate prison industry, as millions have been thrown into prison for minor drug offenses. Meanwhile, millions more have been legally addicted to drugs peddled by the corporate healthcare complex. The culture warriors and advocates of new rights for every special interest group continue their never ending battles which receive an inordinate amount of publicity from the corporate media. Class warfare is simmering and being inflamed by politicians pushing their particular agendas. Violence provoked by race and religion is growing by the day. The fault lines are visible and the imminent financial earthquake will push distress levels beyond the breaking point. Once the EBT cards stop working, all hell will break loose. Three days of panic will empty grocery store shelves and the National Guard will be called out to try and restore control.

Global Disorder

The core crisis element of global disorder is evident everywhere you turn. The false flag revolution in the Ukraine, initiated by the U.S. and EU in order to blunt Russia’s control of natural gas to Europe, has the potential to erupt into a full blown shooting war at any moment. The attempt by Saudi Arabia, Israel and the U.S. to overthrow the Syrian dictator in order to run a natural gas pipeline across their land into Europe was blunted by Russia. Iraq is roiled in a civil war, after the U.S. invaded, occupied and destabilized the country. After 12 years of occupation, Afghanistan is more dysfunctional and dangerous than it was before the U.S. saved them from the evil Taliban. Unrest, violent protests, and brutal measures by rulers continue in Egypt, Turkey, Thailand, Venezuela, Bahrain, Brazil, and throughout Africa. American predator drones roam the skies of the world murdering suspected terrorists. The European Union is insolvent, with Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal propped up with newly created debt. Austerity for the people and prosperity for the bankers is creating tremendous distress and tension across the continent. A global volcanic eruption is in the offing.

It is clear to me the American Empire is in terminal decline. Hubris, delusion, corruption, foolish disregard for future generations and endless foreign follies have set in motion a chain of events that will lead to a cascading sequence of debt defaults, mass poverty, collapsing financial markets, and hyperinflation or deflation, depending on the actions of feckless bankers and politicians. There is no avoiding the tragic outcome brought on by decades of bad choices and a century of allowing private banking interests to control our currency. The “emergency” QE and ZIRP responses by the Federal Reserve to the Federal Reserve created 2008 financial collapse continue, even though the propaganda peddled by the Deep State tries to convince the public we have fully recovered. This grand fraud cannot go on forever. Ponzi schemes no longer work once you run out of dupes. With societal trust levels approaching all-time lows and foreign countries beginning to understand they are the dupes, another global financial crisis is a lock.

The Snowden Factor

With ten to fifteen years likely remaining in this Fourth Turning Crisis, people familiar with generational turnings can’t help but ponder what will happen next. Linear thinkers, who constitute the majority, mistakenly believe things will magically return to normal and we’ll continue our never ending forward human progress. Their ignorance of history and generational turnings that recur like the four seasons will bite them in the ass. We are being flung forward across the vast chaos of time and our existing social order will be transformed beyond recognition into something far better or far worse. The actual events over the coming decade are unknowable in advance, but the mood and reactions of the generational archetypes to these events are predictable. The actions of individuals will matter during this Fourth Turning. The majority are trapped in their propaganda induced, techno distracted stupor of willful ignorance. It will take a minority of liberty minded individuals, who honor the principles of the U.S. Constitution and are willing to sacrifice their lives, to prevail in the coming struggle.

Despite fog engulfing the path of future events, we know they will be propelled by debt, civic decay, and global disorder. Finding a unifying grey champion figure seems unlikely at this point. I believe the revelations by Edward Snowden have set the course for future events during this Fourth Turning. The choices of private citizens, like Snowden, Assange, and Manning, have made a difference. The choices we all make over the next ten years will make a difference. A battle for the soul of this country is underway. The Deep State is firmly ingrained, controlling the financial, political and educational systems, while using their vast wealth to perpetuate endless war, and domination of the media to manipulate the masses with propaganda and triviality. They are powerful and malevolent. They will not relinquish their supremacy and wealth willingly.

Snowden has revealed the evil intent of the ruling class and their willingness to trash the Constitution in their psychopathic pursuit of mammon. The mass surveillance of the entire population, locking down of an entire city in pursuit of two teenagers, military training exercises in major metropolitan areas, militarization of local police forces by DHS, crushing peaceful demonstrations with brute force, attempting to restrict and confiscate guns, molesting innocent airline passengers, executive orders utilized on a regular basis by the president, and treating all citizens like suspects has set the stage for the coming conflict. Strauss & Howe warned that history has shown armed conflict is always a major ingredient during a Fourth Turning.

“History offers even more sobering warnings: Armed confrontation usually occurs around the climax of Crisis. If there is confrontation, it is likely to lead to war. This could be any kind of war – class war, sectional war, war against global anarchists or terrorists, or superpower war. If there is war, it is likely to culminate in total war, fought until the losing side has been rendered nil – its will broken, territory taken, and leaders captured.” The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe -1997

It appears to me the Deep State is preparing for armed conflict with the people. Why else would they be utilizing Big Brother methods of surveillance, militarization of police forces  and Gestapo like tactics of intimidation to control the masses? This doesn’t happen in a democratic republic where private individuals are supposed to know everything done by public government servants, not vice versa. They know the cheap, easy to access energy resources are essentially depleted. They know the system they have built upon a foundation of cheap energy and cheap debt is unsustainable and will crash in the near future. They know their fiat currency scheme is failing.They know it is going to come crashing down.  

They know America and the world will plunge into an era of depression, violence, and war. They also know they want to retain their wealth, power and control. There is no possibility the existing establishment can be purged through the ballot box. It’s a one party Big Brother system that provides the illusion of choice to the Proles. Like it or not, the only way this country can cast off the shackles of the banking, corporate, fascist elites, and the government surveillance state is through an armed revolution. The alternative is to allow an authoritarian regime, on par with Hitler, Stalin and Mao, to rise from the ashes of our financial collapse. This is a distinct possibility, given the ignorance and helplessness of most Americans after decades of government education and propaganda.       

The average mentally asleep American cannot conceive of armed conflict within the borders of the U.S. War, violence and dead bodies are something they see on their 52 inch HDTVs while gobbling chicken wings and cheetos in their Barcalounger. We’ve allowed a banking cartel and their central bank puppets to warp and deform our financial system into a hideous façade, sold to the masses as free market capitalism. We’ve allowed corporate interests to capture our political system through bribery and corruption.

We’ve allowed the rise of a surveillance state that has stripped us of our privacy, freedom, liberty and individuality in a futile pursuit of safety and security. We’ve allowed a military industrial complex to exercise undue influence in Washington DC, leading to endless undeclared wars designed to enrich the arms makers. We’ve allowed the corporate media and the government education complex to use propaganda, misinformation and social engineering techniques to dumb down the masses and make them compliant consumers. These delusions will be shattered when our financial and economic system no longer functions. The end is approaching rapidly and very few see it coming.

Glory or Ruin?

The scenario I envision is a collapse of our debt saturated financial system, with a domino effect of corporate, personal, and governmental defaults, exacerbated by the trillions of currency, interest rate, and stock derivatives. Global stock markets will crash. Trillions in paper wealth will evaporate into thin air. The Greater Depression will gain a choke-hold around the world. Mass bankruptcies, unemployment and poverty will sweep across the land. The social safety net will tear under the weight of un-payable entitlements. Riots and unrest will breakout in urban areas. Armed citizens in rural areas will begin to assemble in small units. The police and National Guard will be unable to regain control. The military will be called on to suppress any and all resistance to the Federal government. This act of war will spur further resistance from liberty minded armed patriots. The new American Revolution will have begun. Leaders will arise in the name of freedom. Regional and local bands of fighters will use guerilla tactics to defeat a slow top heavy military dependent upon technology and vast quantities of oil. A dictatorial regime may assume power on a Federal level. A breakup of the nation into regional states is a distinct possibility.

With the American Empire crumbling from within, our international influence will wane. With China also in the midst of a Fourth Turning, their debt bubble will burst and social unrest will explode into civil war. Global disorder, wars, terrorism, and financial collapse will lead to a dramatic decrease in oil production, further sinking the world into depression. The tensions caused by worldwide recession will lead to the rise of authoritarian regimes and global warfare. With “advances” in technological warfare and the proliferation of nuclear warheads, this scenario has the potential to end life on earth as we know it. The modern world could be set back into the stone-age with the push of a button. There are no guarantees of a happy ending for humanity.

The outcome of this Fourth Turning is dependent upon the actions of a minority of critical thinking Americans who decide to act. No one can avoid the trials and tribulations that lie ahead. We will be faced with immense challenges. Courage and sacrifice will be required in large doses. Elders will need to lead and millennials will need to carry a heavy load, doing most of the dying. The very survival of our society hangs in the balance. Edward Snowden has provided an example of the sacrifice required during this Fourth Turning. How we respond and the choices we make over the next decade will determine whether this Fourth Turning will result in glory or ruin for our nation.

 

“Eventually, all of America’s lesser problems will combine into one giant problem. The very survival of the society will feel at stake, as leaders lead and people follow. The emergent society may be something better, a nation that sustains its Framers’ visions with a robust new pride. Or it may be something unspeakably worse. The Fourth Turning will be a time of glory or ruin.” – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

Click these links to read the first two parts of this three part series:

Do No Evil Google – Censor & Snitch for the State

Google, China, the NSA and the Fourth Turning

Do No Evil Google…

Off the keyboard of Jim Quinn

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Published on The Burning Platform on February 24, 2013

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…Censor and Snitch for the State

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.

This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.” – Edward Bernays – Propaganda

 

I find the quote above by Edward Bernays to be a perfect synopsis for everything that has come to pass over the last century. The world has become increasingly controlled by an invisible government of greedy Wall Street bankers, shadowy billionaires, immoral big business, crooked politicians, and the military industrial complex, with mammoth media conglomerates, purposefully using propaganda to manipulate and mold the minds of the masses in order to exert power and control over our lives. He wrote those words in 1928, when the only available forms of manipulation were newspapers and radio. Bernays would be ecstatic and delighted with the implements available today used by our corporate fascist state controllers as they deliver the electronic messaging guiding the public mind.

He never dreamed of television, the internet, social media, and the ability of corporations like Google, in full cooperation with the government, to censor the truth, while feeding misinformation and state sanctioned propaganda to the masses in such an efficient and effective mode. Compelling the masses to worship at the altar of technology, while idolizing the evil men running our largest banks and corporations, has been a prodigious success for the shadowy ruling power and their mass media propaganda agents. Mike Lofgren, former congressional insider and author of The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless and the Middle Class Got Shafted, describes these mysterious perfidious men as the Deep State:

Yes, there is another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose.

My analysis of this phenomenon is not an exposé of a secret, conspiratorial cabal; the state within a state is hiding mostly in plain sight, and its operators mainly act in the light of day. Nor can this other government be accurately termed an “establishment.”

 All complex societies have an establishment, a social network committed to its own enrichment and perpetuation. In terms of its scope, financial resources and sheer global reach, the American hybrid state, the Deep State, is in a class by itself. That said, it is neither omniscient nor invincible. The institution is not so much sinister (although it has highly sinister aspects) as it is relentlessly well entrenched.

Far from being invincible, its failures, such as those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, are routine enough that it is only the Deep State’s protectiveness towards its higher-ranking personnel that allows them to escape the consequences of their frequent ineptitude. – Mike Lofgren, Anatomy of the Deep State

The techno-narcissistic American public has been manipulated into falsely believing their iGadgets, Facebook, Twitter, and thousands of Apps have made them smarter, freer and safer. As Goethe proclaimed, the majority of willfully ignorant Americans are hopelessly enslaved, while falsely believing they are free. Our controllers, through relentless propaganda and misinformation pounded into our brains by the government controlled education system and unrelenting messaging by their mass media co-conspirators, have molded the minds and opinions of the vast majority into believing government and mega-corporations are beneficial and indispensable to their well-being.

The overwhelming majority have been conditioned like rats to believe anything their keepers feed them. In order to keep society running smoothly, with little dissent, thought, opposition or questioning, the Deep State utilizes all the tools at its disposal to manipulate, influence, coerce, bully and bribe the populace into passive submission. They’ve trained us to love our servitude. The Inner Party sees this as essential to their continued control, power and enrichment, while keeping the Proles impoverished, ignorant, fearful and distracted with bread and circuses.

 http://www.netcharles.com/orwell/pics/1984/1984-social-classes.gif

The key weapon in their arsenal of obedience is technology and the mega-corporations that control the flow of information disseminated to the hypnotized mindless masses. The United States has devolved into a society where a few powerful unelected unaccountable men, controlling the levers of government, education, finance, and media are able to formulate the opinions, tastes, beliefs, and fears of the masses through the effective and subtle use of technology. They have tenaciously and unflinchingly fashioned a technology addiction among the masses in order to keep them distracted, entertained and uninterested in thinking, gaining knowledge, or comprehending their roles and responsibilities as citizens in a purportedly democratic republic.

The mass media, along with their corporate compatriots – Microsoft, Apple, Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Yahoo, Facebook and Google, gather vast amounts of data, emails, phone calls, texts, internet searches, spending habits, credit information, passwords, videos and private personal information from an agreeable, gullible and trusting populace. Americans have a seemingly infinite capacity for blindly counting on the government and the corporatocracy to use this data in an honorable and ethical manner. But, as Edward Snowden has revealed, the corporate fascist state is collecting every shred of data on every American in a systematic and thorough way. We have voluntarily surrendered our privacy, liberties, and freedoms to mega-corporations like Google and their techno-brethren, who then willingly collaborate with Big Brother NSA and allow unfettered access to this private information.

The U.S. Constitution along with the First and Fourth Amendments are meaningless to these deceitful entities. Our freedoms have dissipated at the same rate we have adopted the technological “innovations” of Facebook, Twitter, and Google. We are being monitored, scrutinized, tracked and controlled by the technology we have exuberantly purchased from the mega-corporations stripping us of our freedom. Technological “progress” has actually resulted in a colossal regression in freedom, liberty, independence, choice, and intelligent questioning of authority. We having willingly submitted to the google shackles of tyranny in exchange for being entertained and amused by Angry Birds, Words with Friends, facebooking, texting, tweeting, posting selfies and statuses, and linking in.

“Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.” Aldous Huxley – Ends and Means

 google big brother-2

David versus the Nameless, Faceless Goliath Robot

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair – I, Candidate for Governor: And How I Got Licked

 

 

My enlightening encounter with the nameless, faceless $52 billion “non-evil doing” behemoth entity known as Google, over the last month, has clarified my understanding of how the invisible governing body of the Deep State uses the power of the all-mighty dollar to suppress dissent and obscure the truth. My inconsequential libertarian minded blog that attracts 15,000 visitors per day has been up and running for the last five years. I started my own blog because I didn’t want to deal with ongoing censorship of my articles by Wall Street sellout blogs such as Seeking Alpha, Minyanville, and Financial Sense.

Their salary/living depended upon them not publishing articles critical of Wall Street and the government. My intention has never been to make a living from my blog. Any donations or incidental advertising revenue allowed me to upgrade my server capacity to handle more visitors. I’m certainly not averse to making money, but the sole purpose of my blog has been to try and open people’s eyes to Wall Street criminality, political corruption, media propaganda, and the perilous financial state of our country. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised when Google approved my website for ads in December.

I will admit my site has been essentially an un-moderated free for all going back to the very beginning in 2009. I do not believe in censorship or false civility. I attempt to induce anger and outrage with every article and post. These are desperate times and anger is the appropriate reaction. The country is on a burning platform of unsustainable policies and practices which threaten the future of our society. I’m pissed off and I want others to be just as pissed off. The regular commenters are intelligent, critical, opinionated, and not afraid to unload with both barrels on fellow regulars or newbies. The language is often strong and the posting of pictures and images adds to the frat house like atmosphere. Regular contributors include doctors, farmers, engineers, business owners, accountants, teachers, waitresses, students, homemakers, soldiers, spies, and retirees. The wild-west nature of the site is not a secret to anyone who has ventured a peek. I assume Google did a review of the site before approving it for their Adsense program.

I started running Google ads on my site in early December. My site operated as it always had. The $30 per day in ad revenue was welcome, as it helped defray my server and security expenses. I experience a surge in visitors whenever I publish an article that gets picked up by fellow truth telling alternative media websites like Zero Hedge, 321 Gold, Washington’s Blog, Jesse’s Cafe Americain, Steve Quayle, Monty Pelerin, Doug Ross, Market Oracle, Dollar Collapse, TF Metals and several others. I published an article called The Retail Death Rattle on January 20 which obliterated the false government and mainstream media recovery storyline and skewered the delusional incompetent CEOs of mega-retailers. It struck a nerve as it generated the highest visitor count in history for my site. It was even picked up by Wall Street Journal owned Marketwatch. My articles are highly critical of Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, corrupt Washington politicians and the feckless captured legacy media, but they usually fly under the radar of the ruling class. On January 22 Google disabled my ads for “policy violations”. This is the vague non-specific description provided by the non-human policing bot:

Scraped content

It’s important for a site displaying AdSense to offer significant value to the user by providing unique and relevant content, and not to place ads on auto-generated pages or pages with little to no original content. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • copying portions of text content from other sources
  • websites dedicated to embedded videos from other hosts
  • websites with gibberish content that makes no sense or seems auto-generated
  • templated or pre-generated websites that provide duplicate content to users.

Sexual content

Google ads may not be placed on pages with adult or mature content. This includes, but is not limited to, pages with images or videos containing:

  • Strategically covered nudity
  • Sheer or see-through clothing
  • Lewd or provocative poses
  • Close-ups of breasts, buttocks, or crotches

Over the last five years I have received exactly ZERO complaints from other websites or authors about re-posting their articles, with full attribution and links, on my website. No one can accuse my site of not having unique and relevant content. I have permission to post articles from Zero Hedge, Charles Hugh Smith, Michael Snyder, Jim Kunstler, David Stockman, John Mauldin, Doug Casey, Paul Rosenberg, Fred Reed and dozens of other brilliant truthful journalists detailing our societal decay. Was there some Kate Upton bikini Gifs and provocative Salma Hayak pictures scattered within the 200,000 comments made on the site in the last five years? Guilty as charged. It seems Google reviewers can’t see the hypocrisy of running ads to meet young bikini clad Asian girls, while disabling ads because there are a few bikini pictures on the website. I suspected my article had drawn the Eye of Sauron in my direction and this was the response.

 http://tolkiengateway.net/w/images/f/fc/The_Lord_of_the_Rings_Online_Shadows_of_Angmar_-_Eye_of_Sauron.png

Speaking truth to power during these perilous times has repercussions. But I decided to make a good faith effort to follow their rules.

I had made almost 15,000 posts over the last five years. Over the next week I scanned the site and archived posts that included articles from mainstream media websites, along with a hundred or so bikini pictures. You never deal with a human being when attempting to satisfy the Google Gestapo. Identical canned appeal denial responses are issued from Google Central with no clarification or effort to help you understand their reasoning.

Hello,

Thank you for providing us with additional information about your site. However, after thoroughly reviewing theburningplatform.com and taking your feedback into consideration, we’re unable to re-enable ad serving to your site at this time, as your site appears to still be in violation.

When making changes, please note that the URL mentioned in your policy notification may be just one example and that the same violations may exist on other pages of your website. Appropriate changes must be made across your entire website before ad serving can be enabled on your site again.

If you’d like to have your site reconsidered for participation in the AdSense program, please review our program policies and make any necessary changes to your webpages.

We appreciate your cooperation.

Sincerely,

The Google AdSense Team

There must have been some miscommunication within the Google Gestapo, as the ads were re-enabled after one week and my third appeal. A newbie, who didn’t get the memo, must have mistakenly activated my ads. Regular commenters and contributors were confused by what they could and couldn’t post on the site, as was I. The iron fist of the Google Stasi came down once again within a week, with the identical policy violation notice. I made the assumption that since the site was declared in compliance as of January 29, I only had to address anything posted since that date.

I had purged the site of any and all risqué pictures, so I knew that wasn’t a real issue. I thoroughly reviewed every post made since January 29 and archived or edited them to leave no doubt I was meeting Google’s vague guidelines. I continued to have my appeals rejected. I then went back a year and archived hundreds of other posts. By the fourth appeal rejection, I realized I would never meet their standard because it wasn’t really about violating Google content policies. It was my libertarian, anti-government, anti-Wall Street, anti-Mega-Corporation, anti-Surveillance State views that were the real issue. They were attempting to make me “not understand” or write about the creeping corporate fascist paradigm overtaking the country by making my Google salary dependent on “not understanding”.

Once I understood this truth, I was set free to provoke and prod the nameless, faceless Google entity and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt their true purpose. Their appeal form allows 1,000 characters for your response. Along with the actions I had taken, I began to question the integrity of the Google apparatchik “reviewer”, as it was clear the site was not in violation. I had archived over a thousand posts and tens of thousands of comments. I challenged the man behind the Google curtain to provide me with proof the site was still in violation. I must have struck a nerve, as out of the blue I received a new violation notice.

Violent or disturbing content

AdSense publishers are not permitted to place Google ads on pages with violent or disturbing content, including sites with gory text or images.

Now this was funny. My site focuses on the financial, political, and social decay of our country. It in no way advocates or promotes violence. It has no graphic images or gory videos. If Google is attempting to suppress videos of revolutions occurring in Venezuela, Ukraine, and Syria from being seen by citizens of the world, their credibility is zero. If Google is attempting to suppress videos of police brutality against citizens or the police state locking down an entire city while violating the Fourth Amendment, they prove themselves to be nothing more than a fascist propaganda tool of the State. This violation notice was laughable, but I decided to call their bluff one last time. I spent three days and archived 14,000 out of the 15,000 posts ever made on my site. All that remained were my main articles, published on dozens of other sites with Google ads active, and original content produced by myself or other approved contributors. There was no violent content, scraped content, or sexual content on my website.

My ninth and final appeal was denied. I then proceeded to write an FU Google post on my website and inform my readers and contributors they were unshackled from the Google Evil Empire of Censorship. I’m in the process of restoring all of the posts I had archived. Some might argue that Google is just exercising their rights under our free market capitalism system. I would argue free market capitalism does not exist today. The unholy alliance of big banks, big corporations, big military and big media has created a state run by the few for the benefit of the few. They use their control of the purse strings to manipulate minds, crush dissent, and censor through bullying and bribery.

Once I mentally liberated myself from their financial control, I was able to see their game. They essentially wanted me to purge the site of every anti-establishment example of free speech and First Amendment rights I had ever written, in order to kneel before the altar of $$$ in the Church of Google. Google would be perfectly fine if I converted my website into a chat-fest where I discussed the details of the upcoming Kim and Kanye wedding, pondered deep issues regarding the benefits of gay marriage, conducted polls on who The Bachelor will choose to be his betrothed this season,  mused about what Hollywood stars will wear at the Academy Awards, and debated who will win the fourteenth season of American Idol. The Google money would flow freely as I contributed to the dumbing down and sedation of the masses. I have chosen not be a Judas that sells out my readers and the American public for 30 pieces of fiat to the Google Pharisees and the American corporate fascist surveillance empire.

This was not the first time the Deep State attempted to silence my anarchistic viewpoint. On June 5 Edward Snowden, American hero and patriot, released the first of thousands of documents detailing the traitorous actions of the NSA, Obama, Congress, the Judicial branch, and the corporate media. Snowden revealed the government, in cooperation with Google, Verizon, Facebook and a myriad of other technology/media companies, was collecting metadata and conducting mass surveillance of every American in violation of the Fourth Amendment, a clearly illegal form of search and seizure.

On June 19 I penned an article titled Who Are the Real Traitors? In the article I declared Obama, James Clapper, Dick Cheney, Diane Feinstein, Peter King and a plethora of other politicians, faux journalists, and talking media heads as the real traitors of the American people. The article achieved wide distribution through my usual channels and must have again drawn attention in Mordor on the Potomac. Two days later anyone with McAfee or Norton security were receiving false warnings about a malicious virus on my site. Long time readers in the military informed me the site was now blocked by the Department of Defense as a dangerous website. Other long-time readers informed me their corporations were now blocking access to the site. The site was inundated by denial of service attacks. It slowed to a crawl and was virtually inaccessible. I’m sure it was just a coincidence.

I was forced to switch server companies and hire an anti-hacking company to protect the site, thereby increasing my cost to run the site by a factor of 10. Even though the companies I hired confirmed there were no malicious viruses on the site, Norton continued to scare Internet Explorer users from reading my site for the next eight months. How the $8 billion Symantec (owns Norton) entity could rationalize this false warning on only $80 billion Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, seems suspicious to me. The warning would not appear if you accessed the site with Mozilla Firefox, even if you employed Norton security. Norton makes it virtually impossible to appeal their false danger rating. I’m sure thousands of people were scared away from my website by these unaccountable corporate entities, working on behalf of the all-powerful state. Lofgren’s Deep State or Bernays’ Invisible Government hate the truth. They despise anyone who attempts to open the eyes of the public to their deception, criminality, and propaganda.

Google has become a tool and partner of the Deep State. Enrichment of the state within the state is their sole purpose. Google’s Don’t Be Evil motto, originated when they were a fledgling company in 2000, has become a farce as they have descended into the netherworld as the information police for the ruling despots. They are now a humungous corporation with near monopoly control over the flow of information, searches, emails, and internet advertising. They know more about you and your habits than you do. They attempt to control freedom of speech at the point of a wire transfer. Fall into line or no advertising blood money for you. Not only do they suppress viewpoints through advertising revenue bullying, they manipulate their search engine results to hide the truth from the masses.  Google search engines filter, block and bury blog posts that contain content or information it deems incompatible with the message of its corporate fascist co-conspirators. Its oppressive corporate practices on behalf of its evil partners are an abridgment of the freedom of speech, perversion of the truth, and active attempt to mold the minds of the masses.

 

One of the most intelligent and cleverest contributors to my website, Nick (aka Stucky), summed up the evil entity known as Google in this pointed comment on my website:

There is an Entity out there who knows every search you ever made.

The Entity knows all about your emails, the content and address.

The Entity knows what you buy online and how often.

The Entity is developing software to predict what you will buy next.

The Entity can now even watch you, and know where you are, and what you are doing.

The Entity even knows your habits.

The Entity has enormous resources and stacks of cash.

The Entity shares your information with Lesser Entities … and also The Big Evil Entity that rules us all.

The Entity makes the NSA, CIA, FBI, DHS, and their ilk look like Lightweight Chumps.

The Entity hates you. You are just a means to an end.

The Entity is building a Profile all about you.

The Entity will soon know you better than you know yourself.

Welcome to Google, the most evil Entity on the planet.

As a society we have fallen asleep at the wheel. We’ve allowed ourselves to be lulled into complacency, distracted by minutia, mesmerized by technology, turned into consumers by corporations, pacified by financial gurus and Ivy League economists, and fearful of our own shadows. Surveillance, censorship and propaganda are the tools of the oppressive state. Free speech and truthful revelations about the Deep State are a danger in the eyes of our oppressors. Words retain power and can change the hearts and minds of a tyrannized citizenry willing to listen. V’s speech to London in the movie V for Vendetta, with slight modification, captures the essence of how Google fits into the evil matrix we inhabit today.

Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there?

Cruelty and injustice…intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance, coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those who are more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable. But again, truth be told…if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.

I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War. Terror. Disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you and in your panic you turned to the government and their banking/corporate patrons. They promised you order. They promised you peace. And all they demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.

I choose not to silently and obediently consent to the will of the Deep State. Google will not silence me. We are in the midst of a Fourth Turning and I will try to do my small part in sweeping away the existing social order and trying to replace it with a system that honors and follows the U.S. Constitution. In Part 2 of this expose of evil, I’ll provide further proof of Google’s hypocrisy, censorship, and willing participation in spying on the American people. I’m beginning to understand the major conflict which will drive this Fourth Turning – The People vs The Corporate Fascist State.

 

WARNING: The National Security Agency is recording and storing this communication as part of its unlawful spying program on all Americans … and people worldwide. The people who created the NSA spying program say this communication – and any responses – can and will be used against the American people at any time in the future should unelected bureaucrats within the government decide to persecute us for political reasons. Private information in digital communications is being shared between Google, Facebook, Verizon and the government. It will be used against you when it suits their purposes.

Paranoia Squared

Off the keyboard of RE

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on February 26, 2014

http://www.demotivationalposters.org/image/demotivational-poster/0910/paranoia-october-challange-bruce-campbell-evil-dead-army-of-demotivational-poster-1256131803.jpg

Discuss this article at the Guerilla Free Speech Table inside the Diner

Communicating on the Internet is full of all sorts of hazards.  Two of the biggest are the loss of Privacy resultant from dropping your thoughts on far distant Disk Drives run by other people and the fact that both Da Goobermint and Private Individuals can ascertain who you are and in some cases also where you live.

Over my years participating on the Internet in chat rooms and on forums and blogs, I have pursued a semi-Anonymous paradigm.  I write under a Nom-de-Plume, and my email addresses don’t feature my real name, like say Joe.Sixpack@beer.com. 🙂

So for the typical user who reads something I write, I am anonymous to them. Reason for this is that dropping your real name out there to the world at large can cause you all sorts of problems if somebody is annoyed at what you wrote.  They can find out where you work, and you can get harrassed on the job because of it.  In fact, going back to my earliest years in internet participation, I actually got fired from a job because some critiques I wrote of my industry got back to my employer of the time.

After that less than pleasant experience, I elected to do all my writing as an Anon, under the nom-de-plume most of the time in recent years in the Collapse Blogosphere as Reverse Engineer, aka RE.  This allows me to write my thoughts more freely, without so much fear of Blowback from it.  However, as I got deeper into internet participation and eventually started up my own websites with my own URLs and server space, I began to realize how really limited this level of Anonymity is.  When you register a URL (the Uniform Resource Locator which is your Web Address), you have to pay for that, and to do that you have to use a Credit/Debit card with your real name on it.  This goes into the database of all the owners of URLs, which can be looked up by anyone.  You can pay EXTRA to have your personal info masked to the public at large, but it of course always visible to the NSA as well as all the Admins of various routers that transit the information.

The next area of vulnerability is in participation on privately run websites, where whether you sign up or not, each time you post up your IP address is recorded along with whatever content you dropped on.  This IP address is Unique to the computer you were keyboarding on at the time, and records also the Host through which you are connected to the net.  In some cases it is possible to nail down a location just from this information.  For instance, if you are connected up to a Hotel WiFi and there is no masking or proxy servers being used, any Admin can see what hotel you are staying at when you make a post.

Internet surfers who are both truly paranoid as well as quite savvy will mask their locations by using proxy servers, if they do this then the typical Admin of a website can’t discern their location just from the listed IP address, though Tracing is possible and done by for-pay Security firms specializing in this sort of stuff.  Again for the NSA, this level of adding personal security is pretty much a waste of time too unless you are very, VERY good at it.  I am certainly not that good, so I simply no longer worry about being listed and followed by the NSA, if they deem my stuff worthy of following.

At the level of the individual website though, the folks who sign themselves up and post Anonymously hope to REMAIN Anon to the population at large.  So if/when they find out or realize that the Admin on their favored site has checked into who they are and where they are posting from, they get the feeling their Privacy has been Violated.  Has it been?

Not really, because the moment you sign up or even just post up, you GIVE AWAY certain privacy rights.  You cannot participate without your IP showing up with the post.  From the POV of the website Owner/Admin, you have to know the IP addys, because if you have Troublesome people on your website, this is the only way you can Ban them.  Troublesome people include Spammers who throw on Pharmaceutical and Video links in with their post as well as Trolls who drop on the site specifically to disrupt the conversations taking place and deliver their own agenda to the readers.

Here on the Diner, I have a basically No Ban policy except for Spammers, but even so with the Trolls I keep track of the IP addys so I know if somebody is posting under more than one Screen ID.  Besides the general practical problem of keeping the conversation civil and on track, there are also legal issues you face if you have a particularly extreme commenter show up on your site.  Such a commenter might be someone who is a Neo-Nazi advocating a Violent Revolution who also posts up Diagrams for making IEDs and maybe even Nuclear Bombs.  Or  somebody who persistently makes links to and embeds explicit Pornography.  I have never had either of those types show up on the Diner fortunately, but if they did I would Ban them despite my No Ban general policy.  Reason is at this point I can be held legally liable for allowing the stuff to go across my website.

InternetCensorship061208Most of the time though, you don’t face such extreme problems, but you still do keep track of everyone posting, and sometimes issues come up regarding the general Honesty of the poster, which happened here recently in the case of our Favorite Energy Industry Shill, MKing.  His real qualifications have been a persistent question on the Diner by many because he is very nebulous about them, and so one of our Admins decided to at least determine if he was where he said he was at an Energy Conference, and it turned out he was.  He was in fact validated as at least being there by the research this Admin did, and he wasn’t particularly upset about this.

However, though he was not upset much by this, some other Diners were TERRIFICALLY upset, and in fact one of the Diners deleted his membership as a result of this. The Paranoia became rampant here that people were being SPYED on and that Real Identities would be Outted on the Diner for the Anons.  Nothing of the sort has ever happened here, and will not happen if I can prevent it, because this is against my own personal ethics and the way I post on the net!  I don’t want my IRL Identity bandied about, so I am not going to advocate any other Anon Poster gets outted either.

Same time though, the more you post, the longer you post and the more deeply involved you get in internet communications, the more likely it becomes that your IRL Identity becomes known.  In fact, probably half of the Diners don’t bother with Anons at all, or have very thinly disguised ones.  WHD for instance publishes himself as William Hunter Duncan on his own Blog Off the Grid in Minneapolis, and JDW uses his real name of John D. Wheeler all the time.  In both cases also their locations are known, so you KNOW these guys are honest on this level.

I have seen how the paranoia regarding Identity and Location will hamstring participation on the net before.  One of our most valued contributors, BC2K dropped off the net after I informed him that his location was transparent by IP Addy.  Besides that, he used his real name as part of his email addy, so that is a dead giveaway right there.  As someone who REALLY wants to remain unknown and private, this was too much to bear for BC2K, so he disappeared from the net far as I can tell.  This was a great loss to the Diner Community, but a loss to BC2K as well, because there are always new things to learn here on the net no matter how good a solo prepper you are.

It is OK and in fact worthwhile to have a certain amount of Paranoia with respect to Web participation.  At the same time though SQUARING the Paranoia, and allowing yourself to be completely cut off from the communication with others helps no one, including yourself.

There are many basic means of securing yourself from problems that you worry about, like being infected with Viruses and Malware.  If this is a real big concern of yours, use a separate dedicated Netbook for participation on Websites that you think might infect your computer.  If it does occur, you can wipe the Hard Drive clean and start over, without damaging any files on your main laptop.  Don’t use your real name as part of your email address, make a separate email addy on Google or Yahoo just for the purpose of communicating on websites you believe are dicey or compromised.  Use Free Wi-Fi at Coffee Shops and Libraries if you want to hide your main Internet Provider and location.

Awareness of the problem and taking your own preventative measures can allow the best of both worlds.  You have good security for yourself while at the same time you can participate and glean more knowledge and information from others who are concerned with the same problems you are.

In the end here, we all are known quantities to the folks in control so long as we use the Internet they also control.  You cannot use the Internet AT ALL, including email, if you allow your Paranoia to Square itself.  Use CFS in protecting your identity and your computer if this stuff concerns you.  You can remain pretty safe and still participate, long as you have awareness and knowledge of how the system works and what is visible and what is not.  YOU have control over that, not the Admins of websites like the Diner.

From the NSA and Google though, you got no means to remain Anon  unless you are simply first class Hacker.  You gotta live with that one if you want to participate on the net at all.

RE

The Anti-Empire Report #125

Published February 4, 2014 | By William Blum

Off the Keyboard of William Blum

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usaworld

“Bias in favor of the orthodox is frequently mistaken for ‘objectivity’. Departures from this ideological orthodoxy are themselves dismissed as ideological.”

– Michael Parenti

An exchange in January with Paul Farhi, Washington Post columnist, about coverage of US foreign policy:

Dear Mr. Farhi,

Now that you’ve done a study of al-Jazeera’s political bias in supporting Mohamed Morsi in Egypt, is it perhaps now time for a study of the US mass media’s bias on US foreign policy? And if you doubt the extent and depth of this bias, consider this:

There are more than 1,400 daily newspapers in the United States. Can you name a single paper, or a single TV network, that was unequivocally opposed to the American wars carried out against Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Panama, Grenada, and Vietnam? Or even opposed to any two of these wars? How about one? In 1968, six years into the Vietnam war, the Boston Globe  surveyed the editorial positions of 39 leading US papers concerning the war and found that “none advocated a pull-out”.

Now, can you name an American daily newspaper or TV network that more or less gives any support to any US government ODE (Officially Designated Enemy)? Like Hugo Chávez of Venezuela or his successor, Nicolás Maduro; Fidel or Raúl Castro of Cuba; Bashar al-Assad of Syria; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran; Rafael Correa of Ecuador; or Evo Morales of Bolivia? I mean that presents the ODE’s point of view in a reasonably fair manner most of the time? Or any ODE of the recent past like Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia, Moammar Gaddafi of Libya, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, or Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti?

Who in the mainstream media supports Hamas of Gaza? Or Hezbollah of Lebanon? Who in the mainstream media is outspokenly critical of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians? And keeps his or her job?

Who in the mainstream media treats Julian Assange or Chelsea Manning as the heroes they are?

And this same mainstream media tell us that Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, et al. do not have a real opposition media.

The ideology of the American mainstream media is the belief that they don’t have any ideology; that they are instead what they call “objective”. I submit that there is something more important in journalism than objectivity. It is capturing the essence, or the truth, if you will, with the proper context and history. This can, as well, serve as “enlightenment”.

It’s been said that the political spectrum concerning US foreign policy in the America mainstream media “runs the gamut from A to B”.

Sincerely, William Blum, Washington, DC

(followed by some of my writing credentials)

Reply from Paul Farhi:

I think you’re conflating news coverage with editorial policy. They are not the same. What a newspaper advocates on its editorial page (the Vietnam example you cite) isn’t the same as what or how the story is covered in the news columns. News MAY have some advocacy in it, but it’s not supposed to, and not nearly as overt or blatant as an editorial or opinion column. Go back over all of your ODE examples and ask yourself if the news coverage was the same as the opinions about those ODEs. In most cases. I doubt it was.

Dear Mr. Farhi,

Thank you for your remarkably prompt answer.

Your point about the difference between news coverage and editorial policy is important, but the fact is, as a daily, and careful, reader of the Post for the past 20 years I can attest to the extensive bias in its foreign policy coverage in the areas I listed. Juan Ferrero in Latin America and Kathy Lally in the Mideast are but two prime examples. The bias, most commonly, is one of omission more than commission; which is to say it’s what they leave out that distorts the news more than any factual errors or out-and-out lies. My Anti-Empire Report contains many examples of these omissions, as well as some errors of commission.

Incidentally, since 1995 I have written dozens of letters to the Post pointing out errors in foreign-policy coverage. Not one has been printed.

Happy New Year

foreign_policy

I present here an extreme example of bias by omission, in the entire American mainstream media: In my last report I wrote of the committee appointed by the president to study NSA abuses – Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies – which actually came up with a few unexpected recommendations in its report presented December 13, the most interesting of which perhaps are these two:

“Governments should not use surveillance to steal industry secrets to advantage their domestic industry.”

“Governments should not use their offensive cyber capabilities to change the amounts held in financial accounts or otherwise manipulate the financial systems.”

So what do we have here? The NSA being used to steal industrial secrets; nothing to do with fighting terrorism. And the NSA stealing money and otherwise sabotaging unnamed financial systems, which may also represent gaining industrial advantage for the United States.

Long-time readers of this report may have come to the realization that I’m not an ecstatic admirer of US foreign policy. But this stuff shocks even me. It’s the gross pettiness of “The World’s Only Superpower”.

A careful search of the extensive Lexis-Nexis database failed to turn up a single American mainstream media source, print or broadcast, that mentioned this revelation. I found it only on those websites which carried my report, plus three other sites: Techdirt, Lawfare, and Crikey (First Digital Media).

For another very interesting and extreme example of bias by omission, as well as commission, very typical of US foreign policy coverage in the mainstream media: First read the January 31, page one, Washington Post article making fun of socialism in Venezuela and Cuba.

Then read the response from two Americans who have spent a lot of time in Venezuela, are fluent in Spanish, and whose opinions about the article I solicited.

I lived in Chile during the 1972-73 period under Salvadore Allende and his Socialist Party. The conservative Chilean media’s sarcastic claims at the time about shortages and socialist incompetence were identical to what we’ve been seeing for years in the United States concerning Venezuela and Cuba. The Washington Post article on Venezuela referred to above could have been lifted out of Chile’s El Mercurio, 1973.

[Note to readers: Please do not send me the usual complaints about my using the name “America(n)” to refer to “The United States”. I find it to be a meaningless issue, if not plain silly.]

quote-domestic-policy-can-only-defeat-us-foreign-policy-can-kill-us-john-f-kennedy-100687

JFK, RFK, and some myths about US foreign policy

On April 30, 1964, five months after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, his brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, was interviewed by John B. Martin in one of a series of oral history sessions with RFK. Part of the interview appears in the book “JFK Conservative” by Ira Stoll, published three months ago. (pages 192-3)

RFK: The president … had a strong, overwhelming reason for being in Vietnam and that we should win the war in Vietnam.

MARTIN: What was the overwhelming reason?

RFK: Just the loss of all of Southeast Asia if you lost Vietnam. I think everybody was quite clear that the rest of Southeast Asia would fall.

MARTIN: What if it did?

RFK: Just have profound effects as far as our position throughout the world, and our position in a rather vital part of the world. Also it would affect what happened in India, of course, which in turn has an effect on the Middle East. Just as it would have, everybody felt, a very adverse effect. It would have an effect on Indonesia, hundred million population. All of those countries would be affected by the fall of Vietnam to the Communists.

MARTIN: There was never any consideration given to pulling out?

RFK: No.

MARTIN: … The president was convinced that we had to keep, had to stay in there …

RFK: Yes.

MARTIN: … And couldn’t lose it.

RFK: Yes.

These remarks are rather instructive from several points of view:

  1. Robert Kennedy contradicts the many people who are convinced that, had he lived, JFK would have brought the US involvement in Vietnam to a fairly prompt end, instead of it continuing for ten more terrible years. The author, Stoll, quotes a few of these people. And these other statements are just as convincing as RFK’s statements presented here. And if that is not confusing enough, Stoll then quotes RFK himself in 1967 speaking unmistakably in support of the war.It appears that we’ll never know with any kind of certainty what would have happened if JFK had not been assassinated, but I still go by his Cold War record in concluding that US foreign policy would have continued along its imperial, anti-communist path. In Kennedy’s short time in office the United States unleashed many different types of hostility, from attempts to overthrow governments and suppress political movements to assassination attempts against leaders and actual military combat; with one or more of these occurring in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, British Guiana, Iraq, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Brazil.
  2. “Just have profound effects as far as our position throughout the world, and our position in a rather vital part of the world.”Ah yes, a vital part of the world. Has there ever been any part of the world, or any country, that the US has intervened in that was not vital? Vital to American interests? Vital to our national security? Of great strategic importance? Here’s President Carter in his 1980 State of the Union Address: “An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America”.“What a country calls its vital economic interests are not the things which enable its citizens to live, but the things which enable it to make war.” – Simone Weil (1909-1943), French philosopher
  3. If the US lost Vietnam “everybody was quite clear that the rest of Southeast Asia would fall.”As I once wrote:

    Thus it was that the worst of Washington’s fears had come to pass: All of Indochina – Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos – had fallen to the Communists. During the initial period of US involvement in Indochina in the 1950s, John Foster Dulles, Dwight Eisenhower and other American officials regularly issued doomsday pronouncements of the type known as the “Domino Theory”, warning that if Indochina should fall, other nations in Asia would topple over as well. In one instance, President Eisenhower listed no less than Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Indonesia amongst the anticipated “falling dominos”.

    Such warnings were repeated periodically over the next decade by succeeding administrations and other supporters of US policy in Indochina as a key argument in defense of such policy. The fact that these ominous predictions turned out to have no basis in reality did not deter Washington officialdom from promulgating the same dogma up until the 1990s about almost each new world “trouble-spot”, testimony to their unshakable faith in the existence and inter-workings of the International Communist Conspiracy.

Killing suicide

Suicide bombers have become an international tragedy. One can not sit in a restaurant or wait for a bus or go for a walk downtown, in Afghanistan or Pakistan or Iraq or Russia or Syria and elsewhere without fearing for one’s life from a person walking innocently by or a car that just quietly parked nearby. The Pentagon has been working for years to devise a means of countering this powerful weapon.

As far as we know, they haven’t come up with anything. So I’d like to suggest a possible solution. Go to the very source. Flood selected Islamic societies with this message: “There is no heavenly reward for dying a martyr. There are no 72 beautiful virgins waiting to reward you for giving your life for jihad. No virgins at all. No sex at all.”

Using every means of communication, from Facebook to skywriting, from billboards to television, plant the seed of doubt, perhaps the very first such seed the young men have ever experienced. As some wise anonymous soul once wrote:

A person is unambivalent only with regard to those few beliefs, attitudes and characteristics which are truly universal in his experience. Thus a man might believe that the world is flat without really being aware that he did so – if everyone in his society shared the assumption. The flatness of the world would be simply a “self-evident” fact. But if he once became conscious of thinking that the world is flat, he would be capable of conceiving that it might be otherwise. He might then be spurred to invent elaborate proofs of its flatness, but he would have lost the innocence of absolute and unambivalent belief.

We have to capture the minds of these suicide bombers. At the same time we can work on our own soldiers. Making them fully conscious of their belief, their precious belief, that their government means well, that they’re fighting for freedom and democracy, and for that thing called “American exceptionalism”. It could save them from committing their own form of suicide.

Notes

  1. Boston Globe, February 18, 1968, p.2-A
  2. New York Times, April 8, 1954

 

 

William Blum is an author, historian, and renowned critic of U.S. foreign policy. He is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II and Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, among others.

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.

 

The Anti-Empire Report #124

Off the Keyboard of William Blum

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 Paris peace conference 1919

 

Published January 9, 2014 | By William Blum

“At last the world knows America as the savior of the world!”– President Woodrow Wilson, Paris Peace Conference, 1919

The horrors reported each day from Syria and Iraq are enough to make one cry; in particular, the atrocities carried out by the al-Qaeda types: floggings; beheadings; playing soccer with the heads; cutting open dead bodies to remove organs just for mockery; suicide bombers, car bombs, the ground littered with human body parts; countless young children traumatized for life; the imposition of sharia law, including bans on music … What century are we living in? What millennium? What world?

People occasionally write to me that my unwavering antagonism toward American foreign policy is misplaced; that as awful as Washington’s Museum of Horrors is, al-Qaeda is worse and the world needs the United States to combat the awful jihadists.

“Let me tell you about the very rich,” F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote. “They are different from you and me.”

And let me tell you about American leaders. In power, they don’t think the way you and I do. They don’t feel the way you and I do. They have supported “awful jihadists” and their moral equivalents for decades. Let’s begin in 1979 in Afghanistan, where the Moujahedeen (“holy warriors”) were in battle against a secular, progressive government supported by the Soviet Union; a “favorite tactic” of the Moujahedeen was “to torture victims [often Russians] by first cutting off their nose, ears, and genitals, then removing one slice of skin after another”, producing “a slow, very painful death”.

With America’s massive and indispensable military backing in the 1980s, Afghanistan’s last secular government (bringing women into the 20th century) was overthrown, and out of the victorious Moujahedeen arose al Qaeda.

During this same period the United States was supporting the infamous Khmer Rouge of Cambodia; yes, the same charming lads of Pol Pot and The Killing Fields.

President Carter’s National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was a leading force behind the US support of both the Moujahedeen and the Khmer Rouge. What does that tell you about that American leader? Or Jimmy Carter – an inspiration out of office, but a rather different person in the White House? Or Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama, who chose Brzezinski as one of his advisers?

Another proud example of the United States fighting the awful jihadists is Kosovo, an overwhelmingly Muslim province of Serbia. The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) began an armed conflict with Belgrade in the early 1990s to split Kosovo from Serbia. The KLA was considered a terrorist organization by the US, the UK and France for years, with numerous reports of the KLA having contact with al-Qaeda, getting arms from them, having its militants trained in al-Qaeda camps in Pakistan, and even having members of al-Qaeda in KLA ranks fighting against Serbia. But Washington’s imperialists, more concerned about dealing a blow to Serbia, “the last communist government in Europe”, supported the KLA.

The KLA have been known for their torture and trafficking in women, heroin, and human body parts (sic). The United States has naturally been pushing for Kosovo’s membership in NATO and the European Union.

More recently the US has supported awful jihadists in Libya and Syria, with awful consequences.

It would, moreover, be difficult to name a single brutal dictatorship of the second half of the 20th Century that was not supported by the United States; not only supported, but often put into power and kept in power against the wishes of the population. And in recent years as well, Washington has supported very repressive governments, such as Saudi Arabia, Honduras, Indonesia, Egypt, Colombia, Qatar, and Israel.

Not exactly the grand savior our sad old world is yearning for. (Oh, did I mention that Washington’s policies create a never-ending supply of terrorists?)

And what do American leaders think of their own record? Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was probably speaking for the whole private club when she wrote that in the pursuit of its national security the United States no longer needed to be guided by “notions of international law and norms” or “institutions like the United Nations” because America was “on the right side of history.”

If you’ve never done anything you wouldn’t want the government to know about, you should re-examine your life choices.

“The idea is to build an antiterrorist global environment,” a senior American defense official said in 2003, “so that in 20 to 30 years, terrorism will be like slave-trading, completely discredited.”

One must wonder: When will the dropping of bombs on innocent civilians by the United States, and invading and occupying their country become completely discredited? When will the use of depleted uranium, cluster bombs, CIA torture renditions, and round-the-world, round-the-clock surveillance become things that even men like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, and John Brennan will be too embarrassed to defend?

Last month, a former National Security Agency official told the Washington Post that the Agency’s workers are polishing up their résumés and asking that they be cleared – removing any material linked to classified programs – so they can be sent out to potential employers. He noted that one employee who processes the résumés said, “I’ve never seen so many résumés that people want to have cleared in my life.”

Morale is “bad overall”, said another former official. “The news – the Snowden disclosures – it questions the integrity of the NSA workforce,” he said. “It’s become very public and very personal. Literally, neighbors are asking people, ‘Why are you spying on Grandma?’ And we aren’t. People are feeling bad, beaten down.”

President Obama was recently moved to declare that he would be proposing “some self-restraint on the NSA” and “some reforms that can give people more confidence.” He also said “In some ways, the technology and the budgets and the capacity [at NSA] have outstripped the constraints. And we’ve got to rebuild those in the same way that we’re having to do on a whole series of capacities … [such as] drone operations.”

Well, dear readers and comrades, we shall see. But if you’re looking for a glimmer of hope to begin a new year, you may as well try grabbing onto these little offerings. When the American Empire crumbles, abroad and at home, as one day it must, Edward Snowden’s courageous actions may well be seen as one of the key steps along that road. I’ve long maintained that only the American people have the power to stop The Imperial Machine – the monster that eats the world’s environment, screws up its economies, and spews violence on every continent. And for that to happen the American people have to lose their deep-seated, quasi-religious belief in “American Exceptionalism”. For many, what they’ve been forced to learn the past six months has undoubtedly worn deep holes into the protective armor that has surrounded their hearts and minds since childhood.

A surprising and exhilarating example of one of these holes in the armor is the New Year’s day editorial in the New York Times that is now well known. Entitled “Edward Snowden, Whistle-blower” – itself a legitimation of his actions – its key part says: “Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service.”

The president has been moved to appoint a committee to study NSA abuses. This of course is a standard bureaucratic maneuver to keep critics at bay. But the committee – Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies – did come up with a few unexpected recommendations in its report presented December 13, the most interesting of which perhaps are these two:

“Governments should not use surveillance to steal industry secrets to advantage their domestic industry.”

“Governments should not use their offensive cyber capabilities to change the amounts held in financial accounts or otherwise manipulate the financial systems.”

The first recommendation refers to a practice, though certainly despicable, that is something the United States has been doing, and lying about, for decades. Just this past September, James Clapper, Director of US National Intelligence, declared: “What we do not do, as we have said many times, is use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies.”

Clapper is the same gentleman who told Congress in March that the NSA does not intentionally collect any kind of data on millions of Americans; and, when subsequently challenged on this remark, declared: “I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful, manner by saying ‘no’.”

The second recommendation had not been revealed before, in a Snowden document or from any other source.

“That was a strangely specific recommendation for something nobody was talking about,” observed the director of a government transparency group.

ABC News reported that “A spokesperson for the NSA declined to comment on the issue of bank account hacking, and a representative for U.S. Cyber Command did not immediately return an emailed request for comment.”

Manipulating bank records is about as petty and dishonorable as a superpower can behave, and could conceivably, eventually, lead to the end of the NSA as we’ve all come to know and love it. On the other hand, the Agency no doubt holds some very embarrassing information about anyone in a position to do them harm.

The bombing of Flight 103 – Case closed?

When the 25th anniversary of the 1988 bombing of PanAm Flight 103 occurred on December 21 I was fully expecting the usual repetitions of the false accusation against Libya and Moammar Gaddafi as being responsible for the act which took the lives of 270 people over and in Lockerbie, Scotland. But much to my surprise, mingled with such, there were a rash of comments skeptical of the official British-US version, made by various people in Scotland and elsewhere, including by the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom and Libya.

In a joint statement the three governments said they were determined to unearth the truth behind the attack. “We want all those responsible for this brutal act of terrorism brought to justice, and to understand why it was committed”, they declared.

Remarkable. In 1991, the United States indicted a Libyan named Adelbaset al-Megrahi. He was eventually found guilty of being the sole perpetrator of the crime, kept in prison for many years, and finally released in 2009 when he had terminal cancer, allegedly for humanitarian reasons, although an acute smell of oil could be detected. And now they speak of bringing to justice “those responsible for this brutal act of terrorism”.

The 1988 crime was actually organized by Iran in retaliation for the American shooting down of an Iranian passenger plane in July of the same year, which took the lives of 290 people. It was carried out by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC), a 1968 breakaway from a component of the Palestine Liberation Organization, with some help from Syria. And this version was very widely accepted in the Western world, in government and media circles. Until the US buildup to the Gulf War came along in 1990 and the support of Iran and Syria was needed. Then, suddenly, we were told that it was Libya behind the crime.

If the US and UK now wish to return to Iran, and perhaps Syria, as the culprits, they will have a lot of explaining to do about their previous lie. But these two governments always have a lot of explaining to do. They’re good at it. And the great bulk of their indoctrinated citizens, with little resistance, will accept the new/old party line, and their mainstream media will effortlessly switch back to the old/new official version, since Iran and Syria are at the top of the current list of Bad Guys. (The PFLP-GC has been quiescent for some time and may scarcely exist.)

If you’re confused by all this, I suggest that you start by reading my detailed article on the history of this case, written in 2001 but still very informative and relevant. You may be rather surprised.

The UK, US and Libyan governments have now announced that they will co-operate to reveal “the full facts” of the Lockerbie bombing. And Robert Mueller, the former head of the FBI, said he believes more people will be charged. This could be very interesting.

Free books of historical value

  1. The complete set, less one volume, of the 15 Church Committee (1975-6) volumes. Lacking only Final Report, book 6: “Congressional Research Service. Supplementary Reports on Intelligence Activities.”
  2. The complete set, less one volume, of the 6 Pike Committee volumes. Lacking only volume 6: “Committee Proceedings, part II”
  3. The Rockefeller Commission Report, one volume.
  4. Hearings on FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) before Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (same as Church Committee), one volume.

Total of 21 volumes, all from 1975-1976, all in good condition. Either pick them up in Washington, DC or send me $10 for postage.

Notes

  1. Washington Post May 11, 1979; New York Times, April 13 1979
  2. William Blum, “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower” (2005), chapter 10
  3. RT TV (Russia Today, Moscow), May 4, 2012
  4. Associated Press, December 14, 2010
  5. Foreign Affairs (Council on Foreign Relations), January/February 2000 issue
  6. New York Times, January 17, 2003
  7. Washington Post, December 7, 2013
  8. Washington Post, December 18, 2013
  9. Washington Post, December 7, 2013
  10. “Liberty and Security in a Changing World”, p.221
  11. See Anti-Empire Report, #118, June 26, 2013, second part
  12. Statement by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper on Allegations of Economic Espionage, September 8, 2013
  13. NBC News, June 9, 2013
  14. Kel McClanahan, executive director of National Security Counselors, speaking to ABC News Radio, December 23, 2013
  15. ABC News Radio, December 23, 2013
  16. Reuters news agency, December 22, 2013

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.

 

 

William Blum is an author, historian, and renowned critic of U.S. foreign policy. He is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II and Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, among others.

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a li

This Week In Doom January 19, 2014– A Week For the Ages…

That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964 Off the keyboard of Surly1

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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on January 19, 2014

Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.

 

A Week for the Ages . . .

Freda freedumville

 

The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”  –– Charles Bukowski

“In my head, I hear “pomp and circumstance” being played on Vuvuzelas as the parade of derp that is America the Embarrassing makes its way along the large intestine that is our political system.                           I can almost smell it from here.” –Peter Kaufman, on William Rivers Pitt’s Facebook page

In the desert I saw a creature, naked, bestial,

Who, squatting upon the ground,

Held his heart in his hands,

And ate of it.

I said, “Is it good, friend?”

“It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;

“But I like it “Because it is bitter,

“And because it is my heart.”

 

– Stephen Crane, “In the Desert”

 

Having thought I would take the week off from another blog post due to travel in the heart of secession, Tea-Partydom, I find the events of this week scream for a resuscitation of that overwrought franchise, “This Week in Doom.”

If ever a week’s events heralded Full Doom sooner rather than later, this was it: a week seen best in the rearview mirror, heralding the arrival of more, worse, and sooner. It was a week in which a retired cop shot a theatre patron and the man’s wife over texting the man’s sitter, and a four year old shot another four year old; in which a neocon shill commemorated the 100th anniversary of  WW I by wiping his ass on Wilfred Owen’s elegiac poem; in which we learn more about the TPP; in which the Senate failed to extend unemployment bennies for the poors and out-of-works, The US Appeals Court shreds net neutrality, and the President gives a speech on civil liberties suggesting you kiss them goodbye. A week which invites strong men to drink. In fact, a writer I admire, William Rivers Pitt, has suggested laying in a case of Jameson and buying it a brother— which is not a bad start.  (I suggest you read his linked article, in which he does it better and more stylishly.) Charlie Pierce is no doubt ordering up double Prestones for the boys in the bar, asking what the pundits in the back will have. You are, as always, free to choose your own poison. It’s Manhattans here… although a fattie is not a bad idea…

 

A retired police officer with a taste for confrontation shot and killed a 43 year old father. Chad Oulson and wounded his wife at a Florida theatre.  The shooting happened early Monday afternoon. Police retiree Curtis Reeves sat behind Oulson, and his wife,  according to authorities.

Oulson was using his cell phone during the previews before the film and Reeves told him to put it away, according to police and witnesses. The two men began to argue and Reeves walked out of the auditorium.

Police said Reeves was going to complain to a theater employee. When Reeves returned, witnesses and authorities said that Oulson asked him if he had gone to tell on him for texting.

Police said Tuesday that Oulson was texting his young daughter’s babysitter. An argument then ensued, in which Oulson threw a bag of popcorn at Reeves, police said. And in response the former police officer took out a .380 semi-automatic handgun and shot Oulson, again according to police.

A report in the Tampa Bay Times portrays a shooter with two sides.

 

Reeves claimed self-defense, saying he was struck in the face with an unknown object. Deputies dispute that. They arrested him on second-degree murder. How did it get to this? Reeves’ past offers hints, but answers have eluded friends, who both hope and assume that exonerating evidence will soon be revealed. The Tampa Bay Times spoke to a dozen of Reeves’ former and current friends and co-workers, as well as Reeves’ attorney, neighbors and pastor. His family did not respond to several attempts for comment. Friends describe Reeves as a proud, church-going man who spent much of his career in positions of authority, a strong leader who never had a problem telling people what he thinks.

Media speculation has it that Reeves will invoke the “stand your ground” law, because, uh, Florida. And freeeeeeedum.

In other news in responsible gun ownership a four year old shot and killed his four year old cousin in this report from Detroit’s WXYZ.

Detroit police say two people are in custody after a 4-year-old was shot and killed by another 4-year-old on the city’s west side.

Authorities say a male and female are being held on felony possession charges.

Early Friday 7 Action News was told the boy, who we are identifying only as Jamel, was shot by his cousin after she pulled out a long gun from underneath a bed at the home on the 7100 block of Tuxedo. 

As officers recover the weapon that took the life of the boy, parents in this neighborhood on Detroit’s west side are thinking of those affected, and holding their own children a little tighter.

“I’m hurt.” said Queensbury, “I’m hurting real bad for the family.

And then there is this that barely needs any exposition–”Responsible Gun Owner ‘Second Amendments’ Himself in the Face While Changing His Pants…” You simply can’t make this stuff up.

A Tennessee man is alive after accidentally shooting himself in the chin as he was getting undressed Sunday night. Carter County Sheriff’s Deputy David Caldwell told the Johnson City Press that William Rood apparently left a loaded .25 caliber Beretta pistol in his right front pants pocket (we gather he packs to the right) and as he placed the pants on his dresser, the weapon fired one bullet striking Rood in the nose and chin, finally lodging in his neck.

Pants kill.

anthonyfredagungirl

Wilfred Owen

In other news, this week marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of “the war to end all wars,” World War I. That obscenity of letters William Kristol, writing in the Weekly Standard, observed that

1914 saw the beginning of World War I, a calamity perhaps unmatched until then in the history of the West. We will be reminded many times this year in centennial commemorations of the war’s terrible destruction, but also of its devastating political and cultural effects over subsequent decades, and of its continuing deep if often indirect contribution to today’s demoralization of the West. 

What is this demoralization of which he speaks? It seems to be the fact that we are no longer able to wave the flag and get the poors to leap to the opportunity to wage overseas war with the alacrity that earlier, less educated generations leapt so willingly. In the process Kristol cites and perverts the words of Wilfred Owen, one of the best and brightest of a new generation of English poets coming of age during the second decade of the 20th century, and who, along with so many English, French, Germans and Americans, soaked the fields of Flanders with their blood. The poem is, of course, the luminous and transfixing “Dulce et Decorum Est Pro patria Mori,” one of the most effective anti-war statements ever made. I take this somewhat personally, as I had to memorize this poem as a young man and found myself moved to imagine the sacrifices and sufferings of people I had never met and could scarcely conceive of… In perverting Owen’s poem to his own war-shillery, Kristol reveals the completeness with which he has sold his soul to Satan, in this article in which he ratfucks David Frum:

Writing several years ago in this magazine about its seismic cultural consequences, David Frum quoted the concluding lines of “the most famous poem in our language about World War I”:

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood

Come gargling from the froth corrupted lungs,

Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud

Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est

Pro patria mori.

The Latin, which translates as “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country,” comes from an ode of Horace’s. As Frum pointed out, Horace’s line is one “that any educated Englishman of the last century would have learned in school.” Those pre-War Englishmen would, on the whole, have understood the line earnestly and quoted it respectfully. Not after the War. Living in the shadow of Wilfred Owen rather than Horace, the earnestness yielded to bitterness, the respect to disgust. As Frum puts it, “Scoffing at those words represented more than a rejection of war. It meant a rejection of the schools, the whole society, that had sent Owen to war.”

Recognizing the power of scoffery and ridicule to endanger those institutions which protect and honor his underserved position as a public intellectual, Kristol thus wrinkles his patrician nose. Fortunately, the aforementioned Charlie Pierce recognizes depravity when he sees it and took note of Kristol’s insanity thus:

Given the author, and given the publication, I would like to propose that this is the most singularly obscene paragraph ever written.

Today, after all, we see the full consequences of that rejection in a way Owen and his contemporaries could not. Can’t we acknowledge the meaning, recognize the power, and learn the lessons of 1914 without succumbing to an apparently inexorable gravitational pull toward a posture of ironic passivity or fatalistic regret in the face of civilizational decline? No sensitive person can fail to be moved by Owen’s powerful lament, and no intelligent person can ignore his chastening rebuke. But perhaps a century of increasingly unthinking bitter disgust with our heritage is enough.

So saith the Moloch of the Green Room, from whose hands still drips the blood of Other People’s Children.

Decent folk should spit on him. Daily.

Res ipsa loquitor.

In other news, Wikileaks revealed the  environmental section of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, also known as “NAFTA on steroids and meth and in a very bad mood.” If you have not been following this monster, step up your game, because this surly bitch will be Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You. Brought to you by the same civic-spirited public servants who brought you NAFTA, CAFTA, and the other “free-trade™” agreements that resulted in the export of American manufacturing and millions of jobs, this “fast-track” (read minimal oversight or public discussion) treaty will trump national protections on a variety of fronts.

What observers conclude is that the deal says many nice things about protecting the environment, but contains almost no significant means to enforce the sentiments behind those happy burblings. “This draft chapter falls flat on every single one of our issues,” Sierra Club president Michael Brune says, “oceans, fish, wildlife, and forest protections – and in fact, rolls back on the progress made in past free trade pacts.” The fact remains that the negotiations continue to be shrouded in secrecy, while our elected solons have placed its execution of a “fast track.” The coming vitiation of such scant environmental protections as exist (see West, TX and Charleston, WV) will no doubt thrill the residents of the Kanawha Valley, who drink replacement water from tanks filled with the same toxic effluent. You cannot make this shit up. While officials offer an “all clear,” pregnant women are advised not to drink or use it, and meanwhile, the whole toxic blogs makes its way to the Ohio and then to the Mississippi. The gift that keeps on giving. Be sure to that your Repug lawmakers who are ever-so-helpful” to keep the regulations off the backs of the “job creators.” Meanwhile, the toxin that has poisoned WV is utterly unregulated. Coal, you know.

And speaking of the US Senate, this week that world class deliberative body illustrated how the existing system exists only to serve the unelected, monied interests who have purchased it, which serves to illustrate the stark difference between Rs and Ds: “Republicans™” kick the working class in the balls, while the “Democrats™” merely hold their coats so the Rs can kick more freely.

Unemployment benefits for 1.3 million of the long-term unemployed — and millions more in the future — were imperiled on Tuesday after Senate efforts to reach accord on legislation to revive them collapsed in partisan finger-pointing.

After days of negotiations, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, abruptly called a vote to end debate on two Democratic measures that would extend benefits for out-of-work Americans for at least three months, gambling that he could muster enough support from moderate Republicans to move on to final passage for at least one of the proposals.

But both votes failed, and the possibility of a bipartisan deal collapsed during procedural arguments, with Democrats and Republicans accusing one another of negotiating in bad faith.

I am “shocked . . . shocked” at allegations of gambling in Rick’s Cafe.

Meanwhile, in a year where Time’s Man of the Year staff  lost the slip of paper on which the name of Edward Snowden was written, our Glorious Leader gave a prononciamento on how you should just get the fuck over yourself and your memories of what used to be a Constitution. Here is BHO himself:

It is hard to overstate the transformation America’s intelligence community had to go through after 9/11. Our agencies suddenly needed to do far more than the traditional mission of monitoring hostile powers and gathering information for policymakers. Instead, they were now asked to identify and target plotters in some of the most remote parts of the world, and to anticipate the actions of networks that, by their very nature, cannot be easily penetrated with spies or informants.

And it is a testimony to the hard work and dedication of the men and women of our intelligence community that over the past decade we’ve made enormous strides in fulfilling this mission. Today, new capabilities allow intelligence agencies to track who a terrorist is in contact with, and follow the trail of his travel or his funding. New laws allow information to be collected and shared more quickly and effectively between federal agencies, and state and local law enforcement. Relationships with foreign intelligence services have expanded, and our capacity to repel cyber-attacks have been strengthened. And taken together, these efforts have prevented multiple attacks and saved innocent lives — not just here in the United States, but around the globe.

 

Thus we are asked to accept on faith the speculation that the NSA has actually prevented attacks on US soil, rather than decide for ourselves the facts on the ground, namely that the Surveillance State is designed to observe and suppress any attempt to consolidate the prerogatives and power of the burgeoning Corporate State. Hoovering up your every text message, purchase record and porn search gives the State unlimited power to go back and re-create an ex post facto criminal record for anyone who becomes sufficient source of irritation. Here’s Pierce:

The president’s big speech on the NSA today was an extended exercise in running in place. The one thing it was not was an attempt to strike a “balance” between the current surveillance state and civil liberties “concerns.” (You will note that the Bill of Rights is now apparently a Bill of Concerns.) There is very little question that the former is being asked to give up very little of its power — I decline to feel comforted by the fact that intelligence agencies have to submit requests to a secret court — while the latter are being asked to adjust their expectations to the reality of new and gathering threats.

Throughout this evolution, we benefited from both our Constitution and our traditions of limited government. U.S. intelligence agencies were anchored in a system of checks and balances, with oversight from elected leaders and protections for ordinary citizens.

Balls. COINTELPRO. CISPES. The McCarran Act. The Plumbers. Mossadegh. Arbenz.  The “U.S. intelligence agencies” were anchored in nothing but their own arrogance. The president should be ashamed to base his arguments in such plainly ahistorical balderdash.

Meanwhile, totalitarian states like East Germany offered a cautionary tale of what could happen when vast unchecked surveillance turned citizens into informers and persecuted people for what they said in the privacy of their own homes.

If the bar were any lower, you’d have to dig for it in China. . .

This is the government, in the person of this president, telling you what you have to give up in order to be safe. (As near as I can tell, the NSA is not being asked to stop doing much of anything, and the president’s Bush-standard apocalyptics doesn’t give me a lot of faith in whatever oversight he says he’s put in place.) Perhaps the country is willing to live with the arrangement, but it is a lie to call it a balance.

Thus we are asked to accept the status quo by this president. And if you don’t like it, citizen, go organize a protest using the internet. Heh, heh, heh….

Well, you may be saying, at least we have the internet. Uh… not so fast, did you read about the decision this week by the US Court of Appeals?

U.S. Circuit Judge David Tatel, writing for a three-judge panel, said that while the FCC has the power to regulate Verizon and other broadband companies, it chose the wrong legal framework for its open-Internet regulations.

“Given that the commission has chosen to classify broadband providers in a manner that exempts them from treatment as common carriers, the Communications Act expressly prohibits the commission from nonetheless regulating them as such,” Tatel wrote.

Long story short, what this ruling means, if it stands, is that bandwidth providers will be free to favor some traffic and throttle others, all in the interest of commerce. The FCC has the option of appeal to the US Supreme Court, that bastion of the Federalist Society, or of reclassifying bandwidth provides as common carriers, which it was loath to do last year amidst a firestorm of opprobrium from some of Verizon’s best friends (see R’s and Ds, above). So if Verizon strikes a deal with, say, Amazon’s streaming service to share profits, Amazon traffic can zip to the front of the bandwidth line while Netflix moves to the back of the line. And alternative news sites? Get them while the getting’s good, citizen. You’re on the clock.

Are you not entertained?

***

are-you-not-entertained

Surly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, articles and spittle-flecked invective on this site, and has been active in the Occupy movement. He lives in Southeastern Virginia with Contrary and a shifting menagerie of adult children in various stages of transition.

Dense Fog Turns into Toxic Smog

Off the keyboard of Jim Quinn

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Published on The Burning Platform on December 31, 2013

Discuss this article at the Kitchen Sink inside the Diner

 

In mid-January of this year I wrote my annual prediction article for 2013 – Apparitions in the Fog. It is again time to assess my inability to predict the future any better than a dart throwing monkey. As usual, sticking to facts was a mistake in a world fueled by misinformation, propaganda, delusion and wishful thinking. I was far too pessimistic about the near term implications of debt, civic decay and global disorder. Those in power have successfully held off the unavoidable collapse which will be brought about by their ravenous unbridled greed, and blatant disregard for the rule of law, the U.S. Constitution and rights and liberties of the American people. The day to day minutia, pointless drivel of our techno-narcissistic selfie showbiz society, and artificially created issues (gay marriage, Zimmerman-Martin, Baby North West, Duck Dynasty) designed to distract the public from thinking, are worthless trivialities in the broad landscape of human history.

The course of human history is determined by recurring cyclical themes based upon human frailties that have been perpetual through centuries of antiquity. The immense day to day noise of an inter-connected techno-world awash in inconsequentialities and manipulated by men of evil intent is designed to divert the attention of the masses from the criminal activities of those in power. It has always been so. There have always been arrogant, ambitious, greedy, power hungry, deceitful men, willing to take advantage of a fearful, lazy, ignorant, selfish, easily manipulated populace. The rhythms of history are unaffected by predictions of “experts” who are paid to spin yarns in order to sustain the status quo. There is no avoiding the consequences of actions taken and not taken over the last eighty years. We are in the midst of a twenty year period of Crisis that was launched in September 2008 with the worldwide financial collapse, created by the Federal Reserve, their Wall Street owners, their bought off Washington politicians, and their media and academic propaganda machines.

I still stand by the final paragraph of my 2013 missive, and despite the fact the establishment has been able to fend off the final collapse of their man made credit boom for longer than I anticipated, they have only insured a far worse outcome when the bubble bursts:

“So now I’m on the record for 2013 and I can be scorned and ridiculed for being such a pessimist when December rolls around and our Ponzi scheme economy hasn’t collapsed. There is no disputing the facts. The economic situation is deteriorating for the average American, the mood of the country is darkening, and the world is awash in debt and turmoil. Every country is attempting to print their way to renewed prosperity. No one wins a race to the bottom. The oligarchs have chosen a path of currency debasement, propping up insolvent banks, propaganda and impoverishing the masses as their preferred course. They attempt to keep the masses distracted with political theater, gun control vitriol, reality TV and iGadgets. What can be said about a society where 10% of the population follows Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga on Twitter and where 50% think the National Debt is a monument in Washington D.C. The country is controlled by evil sycophants, intellectually dishonest toadies and blood sucking leeches. Their lies and deception have held sway for the last four years, but they have only delayed the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. They will not reverse course and believe their intellectual superiority will allow them to retain their control after the collapse.”

The core elements of this Crisis have been visible since Strauss & Howe wrote The Fourth Turning in 1997. All the major events that transpire during this Crisis will be driven by one or more of these core elements – Debt, Civic Decay, and Global Disorder.

“In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party. The catalyst will unfold according to a basic Crisis dynamic that underlies all of these scenarios: An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios (debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details, which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. If foreign societies are also entering a Fourth Turning, this could accelerate the chain reaction. At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe

My 2013 predictions were framed by these core elements. After re-reading my article for the first time in eleven months I’ve concluded it is lucky I don’t charge for investment predictions. Many of my prognostications were in the ballpark, but I have continually underestimated the ability of central bankers and their Wall Street co-conspirators to use the $2.8 billion per day of QE to artificially elevate the stock market to bubble level proportions once again. If I wasn’t such a trusting soul, I might conclude the .1% financial elite, who run this country, created QEternity to benefit themselves, their .1% corporate CEO accomplices and the corrupt government apparatchiks who shield their flagrant criminality from the righteous hand of justice.

Even a highly educated Ivy League economist might grasp the fact that Ben Bernanke’s QEternity and ZIRP, sold to the unsuspecting masses as desperate measures during a crisis that could have brought the system down, have been kept in place for five years as a means to drive stock prices and home prices higher. The emergency was over by 2010, according to government reported data. The current monetary policy of the Federal Reserve would have been viewed as outrageous, reckless, and incomprehensible in 2007. It is truly a credit to the ruling elite and their media propaganda arm that they have been able to convince a majority of Americans their brazen felonious disregard for the wellbeing of the 99% is necessary to sustain the .1% way of life. Those palaces in the Hamptons aren’t going to pay for themselves without those $100 billion of annual bonuses.

Do you think the 170% increase in the S&P 500 has been accidently correlated with the quadrupling of the Federal Reserve balance sheet or has Bernanke just done the bidding of his puppet masters? Considering the .1% billionaire clique owns the vast majority of stock in this corporate fascist paradise, is it really a surprise the trickle down canard would be the solution of choice from these sociopathic scoundrels? Of course QE and ZIRP have impacted the 80% who own virtually no stocks in a slightly different manner. Do you think the 100% increase in gasoline prices since 2009 was caused by Bernanke’s QEternity?

Do you think the 8% decline in real median household income since 2008 was caused by Bernanke’s QE and ZIRP policies?

Click to View

Do you think the $10.8 trillion stolen from grandmothers and risk adverse savers was caused by Bernanke’s ZIRP?

Was the $860 billion increase in real GDP (5.8% over five years) worth the $8 trillion increase in the National Debt and $3 trillion increase in the Federal Reserve balance sheet? Was it moral, courageous and honorable of the Wall Street plantation owners to syphon the remaining wealth of the dying middle class peasants and leaving the millennial generation and future generations bound in chains of unfunded debt to the tune of $200 trillion?

My assessment regarding unpredictable events lurking in the fog was borne out by what happened that NO ONE predicted, including: the first resignation of a pope in six hundred years, the military coup of a democratically elected president of Egypt – supported by the democratically elected U.S. president, the rise of an alternative currency – bitcoin, the bankruptcy of one of the largest cities in the U.S. – Detroit, a minor terrorist attack in Boston that freaked out the entire country and revealed the Nazi-like un-Constitutional tactics that will be used by the police state as this Crisis deepens, and revelations by a brilliant young patriot named Edward Snowden proving that the U.S. has been turned into an Orwellian surveillance state as every electronic communication of every American is being monitored and recorded. The Democrats and Republicans played their parts in this theater of the absurd. They proved to be two faces of the same Party as neither faction questions the droning of innocent people around the globe, mass spying on citizens, Wall Street criminality, trillion dollar deficits, a rogue Federal Reserve, or out of control unsustainable government spending.

My predictions for 2013 were divided into the three categories driving this Fourth Turning CrisisDebt, Civic Decay, and Global Disorder. Let’s assess my inaccuracy.

Debt

  • The debt ceiling will be raised as the toothless Republican Party vows to cut spending next time. The political hacks will create a 3,000 page document of triggers and create a committee to study the issue, with actual measures that slow the growth of annual spending by .000005% starting in 2017.

The government shutdown reality TV show proved to be the usual Washington D.C. kabuki theater. They gave a shutdown and no one noticed. It had zero impact on the economy. More people came to the realization that government does nothing except spend our money and push us around. The debt ceiling was raised, the sequester faux “cuts” were reversed and $20 billion of spending will be cut sometime in the distant future. Washington snakes are entirely predictable. I nailed this prediction.

  • The National Debt will increase by $1.25 trillion and debt to GDP will reach 106% by the end of the fiscal year.

The National Debt increased by ONLY $964 billion in the last fiscal year, even though the government stopped counting in May. The temporary sequester cuts, the expiration of the 2% payroll tax cut, the fake Fannie & Freddie paybacks to the U.S. Treasury based upon mark to fantasy accounting, and the automatic expiration of stimulus spending combined to keep the real deficit from reaching $1 trillion for the fifth straight year. Debt to GDP was 104%, before our beloved government drones decided to “adjust” GDP upwards by $500 billion based upon a new and improved formula, like Tide detergent. I missed this prediction by a smidgeon.

  • The Federal Reserve balance sheet will reach $4 trillion by the end of the year.

The Federal Reserve balance sheet stands at $4.075 trillion today. Ben is very predictable, and of course “transparent”. This was an easy one.

  • Consumer debt will reach $2.9 trillion as the Feds accelerate student loans and Ally Financial, along with the other Too Big To Control Wall Street banks, keep pumping out subprime auto loans. By mid-year reported losses on student loans will soar and auto loan delinquencies will show an upturn. This will force a slowdown in consumer debt issuance, exacerbating the recession that started in 2012.

Consumer debt outstanding currently stands at $3.076 trillion despite the fact that credit card debt has been virtually flat. The Federal government has continued to dole out billions in loans to University of Phoenix wannabes and to the subprime urban entitlement armies who deserve to drive an Escalade despite having no job, no assets and a sub 650 credit score, through government owned Ally Financial. It helps drive business when you don’t care about being repaid. Student loan delinquency rates are at an all-time high, as there are no jobs for graduates with tens of thousands in debt. Auto loan delinquencies have begun to rise despite the fact we are supposedly in a strongly recovering economy. The slowdown in debt issuance has not happened, as the Federal government is in complete control of the non-revolving loan segment. My prediction has proven to be accurate.

  • The Bakken oil miracle will prove to be nothing more than Wall Street shysters selling a storyline. Daily output will stall at 750,000 barrels per day and the dreams of imminent energy independence will be annihilated by reality, again. The price of oil will average $105 per barrel, as global tensions restrict supply.

Bakken production has reached 867,000 barrels per day as more and more wells have been drilled to offset the steep depletion rates of the existing wells. The average price per barrel has been $104, despite the frantic propaganda campaign about imminent American energy independence. Tell that to the average Joe filling their tank and paying the highest December gas price in history. My prediction was too pessimistic, but the Bakken miracle will be revealed as an over-hyped Wall Street scam in 2014.

  • The home price increases generated through inventory manipulation in 2012 will peter out as 2013 progresses. The market has been flooded by investors. There is very little real demand for new homes. Young households with heavy student loan debt and low paying jobs will continue to rent, since the oligarchs refused to let prices fall to a level that would spur real demand. Mortgage delinquencies will rise as job growth remains stagnant, leading to an increase in foreclosures. Rent prices will flatten as apartment construction and investors flood the market with supply.

Existing home sales peaked in the middle of 2013 and have been in decline as mortgage rates have jumped from 3.25% to 4.5% since February. New home sales remain stagnant, near record low levels. The median sales price for existing home sales peaked at $214,000 in June and has fallen for five consecutive months by a total of 8%. First time home buyers account for a record low of 28% of purchases, while investors account for a record high level of purchasers. Mortgage delinquencies fell for most of the year, but the chickens are beginning to come home to roost as delinquent mortgage loans rose from 6.28% in October to 6.45% in November. Rent increases slowed to below 3% as Blackrock and the other Wall Street shysters flood the market with their foreclosure rental properties. My housing prediction was accurate.

 

  • The disconnect between the stock market and the housing and employment markets will be rectified when the MSM can no longer deny the recession that began in 2012 and will deepen in the first part of 2013. While housing prices languish 30% below their peak levels of 2006, the stock market has prematurely ejaculated back to pre-crisis levels. Declining corporate profits, stagnant consumer spending, and increasing debt defaults will finally result in a 20% decline in the stock market, with a chance for losses greater than 30% if Japan or the EU begin to crumble.

And now we get to the prediction that makes me happy I don’t charge people for investment advice. Facts don’t matter in world of QE for the psychopathic titans of Wall Street and misery for the indebted peasants of Main Street. The government data drones, Ivy League educated Wall Street economists, and the obedient corporate media propaganda apparatus declare that GDP has grown by 2% over the last four quarters and we are not in a recession. If you believe their bogus inflation calculation then just ignore the collapsing retail sales, stagnant real wages, and rising gap between the uber-rich and the rest of us. Using a true measure of inflation reveals an economy in recession since 2004. Whose version matches the reality on the ground?

 

Corporate profits have leveled off at record highs as mark to fantasy accounting fraud, condoned and encouraged by the Federal Reserve, along with loan loss reserve depletion and $5 billion of risk free profits from parking deposits at the Fed have created a one-time peak. The record level of negative earnings warnings is the proverbial bell ringing at the top.

negative earnings

I only missed my stock market prediction by 50%, as the 30% rise was somewhat better than my 20% decline prediction. Bernanke’s QEternity, Wall Street’s high frequency trading supercomputers, record levels of margin debt, a dash of delusion, and a helping of clueless dupes have taken the stock market to another bubble high. My prediction makes me look like an idiot today. I’m OK with that, since I know facts and reality always prevail in the long-run. As John Hussman sagely points out, today’s idiot will be tomorrow’s beacon of truth:

“The problem with bubbles is that they force one to decide whether to look like an idiot before the peak, or an idiot after the peak. There’s no calling the top, and most of the signals that have been most historically useful for that purpose have been blazing red since late-2011. My impression remains that the downside risks for the market have been deferred, not eliminated, and that they will be worse for the wait.”

  • Japan is still a bug in search of a windshield. With a debt to GDP ratio of 230%, a population dying off, energy dependence escalating, trade surplus decreasing, an already failed Prime Minister vowing to increase inflation, and rising tensions with China, Japan is a primary candidate to be the first domino to fall in the game of debt chicken. A 2% increase in interest rates would destroy the Japanese economic system.

Abenomics has done nothing for the average Japanese citizen, but it has done wonders for the ruling class who own all the stocks. Abe has implemented monetary policies that make Bernanke get a hard on. Japanese economic growth remains mired at 1.1%, wages remain stagnant, and their debt to GDP ratio remains above 230%, but at least he has driven their currency down 20% versus the USD and crushed the common person with 9% energy inflation. None of this matters, because the .1% have benefitted from a 56% increase in the Japanese stock market. My prediction was wrong. The windshield is further down the road, but it is approaching at 100 mph.

  • The EU has temporarily delayed the endgame for their failed experiment. Economic conditions in Greece, Spain and Italy worsen by the day with unemployment reaching dangerous revolutionary levels. Pretending countries will pay each other with newly created debt will not solve a debt crisis. They don’t have a liquidity problem. They have a solvency problem. The only people who have been saved by the actions taken so far are bankers and politicians. I believe the crisis will reignite, with interest rates spiking in Spain, Italy and France. The Germans will get fed up with the rest of Europe and the EU will begin to disintegrate.

This was another complete miss on my part. Economic conditions have not improved in Europe. Unemployment remains at record levels. EU GDP is barely above 0%. Debt levels continue to rise. Central bank bond buying has propped up this teetering edifice of ineptitude and interest rates in Spain, Italy and France have fallen to ridiculously low levels of 4%, considering they are completely insolvent with no possibility for escape. The disintegration of the EU will have to wait for another day.

Civic Decay

  • Progressive’s attempt to distract the masses from our worsening economic situation with their assault on the 2nd Amendment will fail. Congress will pass no new restrictions on gun ownership and 2013 will see the highest level of gun sales in history.

Obama and his gun grabbing sycophants attempted to use the Newtown massacre as the lever to overturn the 2nd Amendment. The liberal media went into full shriek mode, but the citizens again prevailed and no Federal legislation restricting the 2nd Amendment passed. Gun sales in 2013 will set an all-time record. With the Orwellian surveillance state growing by the day, arming yourself is the rational thing to do. I nailed this prediction.

  • The deepening recession, higher taxes on small businesses and middle class, along with Obamacare mandates will lead to rising unemployment and rising anger with the failed economic policies of the last four years. Protests and rallies will begin to burgeon.

The little people are experiencing a recession. The little people bore the brunt of the 2% payroll tax increase. The little people are bearing the burden of the Obamacare insurance premium increases. The number of employed Americans has increased by 1 million in the last year, a whole .4% of the working age population. The number of Americans who have willingly left the labor force in the last year because their lives are so fulfilled totaled 2.5 million, leaving the labor participation rate at a 35 year low. The anger among the former middle class is simmering below the surface, as Bernanke’s policies further impoverish the multitudes. Mass protests have not materialized but the Washington Navy yard shooting, dental hygenist murdered by DC police for ramming a White House barrier, and self- immolation of veteran John Constantino on the National Mall were all individual acts of desperation against the establishment.

  • The number of people on food stamps will reach 50 million and the number of people on SSDI will reach 11 million. Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, and Jeff Immelt will compensate themselves to the tune of $100 million. CNBC will proclaim an economic recovery based on these facts.

The number of people on food stamps appears to have peaked just below 48 million, as the expiration of stimulus spending will probably keep the program from reaching 50 million. As of November there were 10.98 million people in the SSDI program. The top eight Wall Street banks have set aside a modest $91 billion for 2013 bonuses. The cost of providing food stamps for 48 million Americans totaled $76 billion. CNBC is thrilled with the record level of bonuses for the noble Wall Street capitalists, while scorning the lazy laid-off middle class workers whose jobs were shipped to China by the corporations whose profits are at all-time highs and stock price soars. Isn’t crony capitalism grand?

  • The drought will continue in 2013 resulting in higher food prices, ethanol prices, and shipping costs, as transporting goods on the Mississippi River will become further restricted. The misery index for the average American family will reach new highs.

The drought conditions in the U.S. Midwest have been relieved. Ethanol prices have been flat. Beef prices have risen by 10% since May due to the drought impact from 2012, but overall food price increases have been moderate. The misery index (unemployment rate + inflation rate) has supposedly fallen, based on government manipulated data. I whiffed on this prediction.

  • There will be assassination attempts on political and business leaders as retribution for their actions during and after the financial crisis.

There have been no assassination attempts on those responsible for our downward financial spiral. The anger has been turned inward as suicides have increased by 30% due to the unbearable economic circumstances brought on by the illegal financial machinations of the Wall Street criminal banks. Obama and Dick Cheney must be thrilled that more military personnel died by suicide in 2013 than on the battlefield. Mission Accomplished. The retribution dealt to bankers and politicians will come after the next collapse. For now, my prediction was premature.

  • The revelation of more fraud in the financial sector will result in an outcry from the public for justice. Prosecutions will be pursued by State’s attorney generals, as Holder has been captured by Wall Street.

Holder and the U.S. government remain fully captured by Wall Street. The states have proven to be toothless in their efforts to enforce the law against Wall Street. The continuing revelations of Wall Street fraud and billions in fines paid by JP Morgan and the other Too Big To Trust banks have been glossed over by the captured mainstream media. As long as EBT cards, Visas and Mastercards continue to function, there will be no outrage from the techno-narcissistic, debt addicted, math challenged, wilfully ignorant masses. Another wishful thinking wrong prediction on my part.

  • The deepening pension crisis in the states will lead to more state worker layoffs and more confrontation between governors attempting to balance budgets and government worker unions. There will be more municipal bankruptcies.

Using a still optimistic discount rate of 5%, the unfunded pension liability of states and municipalities totals $3 trillion. The taxpayers don’t have enough cheese left for the government rats to steal. The crisis deepens by the second. State and municipal budgets require larger pension payments every year. The tax base is stagnant or declining. States must balance their budgets. They will continue to cut existing workers to pay the legacy costs until they all experience their Detroit moment. With the Detroit bankruptcy, I’ll take credit for getting this prediction right.

  • The gun issue will further enflame talk of state secession. The red state/blue state divide will grow ever wider. The MSM will aggravate the divisions with vitriolic propaganda.

With the revelations of Federal government spying, military training exercises in cities across the country, the blatant disregard for the 4th Amendment during the shutdown of Boston, and un-Constitutional mandates of Obamacare, there has been a tremendous increase in chatter about secession. A google search gets over 200,000 hits in the last year. The divide between red states and blue states has never been wider.

  • The government will accelerate their surveillance efforts and renew their attempt to monitor, control, and censor the internet. This will result in increased cyber-attacks on government and corporate computer networks in retaliation.

If anything I dramatically underestimated the lengths to which the United States government would go in their illegal surveillance of the American people and foreign leaders. Edward Snowden exposed the grandest government criminal conspiracy in history as the world found out the NSA, with the full knowledge of the president and Congress, has been conspiring with major communications and internet companies to monitor and record every electronic communication on earth, in clear violation of the 4th Amendment. Government apparatchiks like James Clapper have blatantly lied to Congress about their spying activities. The lawlessness with which the government is now operating has led to anarchist computer hackers conducting cyber-attacks on government and corporate networks. The recent hacking of the Target credit card system will have devastating implications to their already waning business. I’ll take credit for an accurate prediction on this one.

Global Disorder 

  • With new leadership in Japan and China, neither will want to lose face, so early in their new terms. Neither side will back down in their ongoing conflict over islands in the East China Sea. China will shoot down a Japanese aircraft and trade between the countries will halt, leading to further downturns in both of their economies.

The Japanese/Chinese dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands has blown hot and cold throughout the year. In the past month the vitriol has grown intense. China has scrambled fighter jets over the disputed islands. The recent visit of Abe to a World War II shrine honoring war criminals has enraged the Chinese. Trade between the countries has declined. An aircraft has not been shot down, but an American warship almost collided with a Chinese warship near the islands, since our empire must stick their nose into every worldwide dispute. We are one miscalculation away from a shooting war. It hasn’t happened yet, so my prediction was wrong.

  • Worker protests over slave labor conditions in Chinese factories will increase as food price increases hit home on peasants that spend 70% of their pay for food. The new regime will crackdown with brutal measures, but the protests will grow increasingly violent. The economic data showing growth will be discredited by what is happening on the ground. China will come in for a real hard landing. Maybe they can hide the billions of bad debt in some of their vacant cities.

The number of worker protests over low pay and working conditions in China doubled over the previous year, but censorship of reporting has kept these facts under wraps. In a dictatorship, the crackdown on these protests goes unreported. The fraudulent economic data issued by the government has been proven false by independent analysts. The Chinese stock market has fallen 14%, reflecting the true economic situation. The Chinese property bubble is in the process of popping. China will never officially report a hard landing. China is the most corrupt nation on earth and is rotting from the inside, like their vacant malls and cities. China’s economy is like an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 coming in for a landing at SF International.

  • Violence and turmoil in Greece will spread to Spain during the early part of the year, with protests and anger spreading to Italy and France later in the year. The EU public relations campaign, built on sandcastles of debt in the sky and false promises of corrupt politicians, will falter by mid-year. Interest rates will begin to spike and the endgame will commence. Greece will depart the EU, with Spain not far behind. The unraveling of debt will plunge all of Europe into depression.

Violent protests flared in Greece and Spain throughout the year. They did not spread to Italy and France. The central bankers and the puppet politicians have been able to contain the EU’s debt insolvency through the issuance of more debt. What a great plan. The grand finale has been delayed into 2014. Greece remains on life support and still in the EU. The EU remains in recession, but the depression has been postponed for the time being. This prediction was a dud.

  • Iran will grow increasingly desperate as hyperinflation caused by U.S. economic sanctions provokes the leadership to lash out at its neighbors and unleash cyber-attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities and U.S. corporations. Israel will use the rising tensions as the impetus to finally attack Iranian nuclear facilities. The U.S. will support the attack and Iran will launch missiles at Saudi Arabia and Israel in retaliation. The price of oil will spike above $125 per barrel, further deepening the worldwide recession.

Iran was experiencing hyperinflationary conditions early in the year, but since the election of the new president the economy has stabilized. Iran has conducted cyber-attacks against Saudi Arabian gas companies and the U.S. Navy during 2013. Israel and Saudi Arabia have failed in their efforts to lure Iran into a shooting war. Obama has opened dialogue with the new president to the chagrin of Israel. War has been put off and the negative economic impacts of surging oil prices have been forestalled. I missed on this prediction.

  • Syrian President Assad will be ousted and executed by rebels. Syria will fall under the control of Islamic rebels, who will not be friendly to the United States or Israel. Russia will stir up discontent in retaliation for the ouster of their ally.

Assad has proven to be much tougher than anyone expected. The trumped up charges of gassing rebel forces, created by the Saudis who want a gas pipeline through Syria, was not enough to convince the American people to allow our president to invade another sovereign country. Putin and Russia won this battle. America’s stature in the eyes of the world was reduced further. America continues to support Al Qaeda rebels in Syria, while fighting them in Afghanistan. The hypocrisy is palpable. Another miss.

  • Egypt and Libya will increasingly become Islamic states and will further descend into civil war.

The first democratically elected president of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi, was overthrown in a military coup as the country has descended into a civil war between the military forces and Islamic forces. It should be noted that the U.S. supported the overthrow of a democratically elected leader. Libya is a failed state with Islamic factions vying for power and on the verge of a 2nd civil war. Oil production has collapsed. I’ll take credit for an accurate prediction on this one.

  • The further depletion of the Cantarell oil field will destroy the Mexican economy as it becomes a net energy importer. The drug violence will increase and more illegal immigrants will pour into the U.S. The U.S. will station military troops along the border.

Mexican oil production fell for the ninth consecutive year in 2013. It has fallen 25% since 2004 to the lowest level since 1995. Energy exports still slightly outweigh imports, but the trend is irreversible. Mexico is under siege by the drug cartels. The violence increases by the day. After declining from 2007 through 2009, illegal immigration from Mexico has been on the rise. Troops have not been stationed on the border as Obama and his liberal army encourages illegal immigration in their desire for an increase in Democratic voters. This prediction was mostly correct.

  • Cyber-attacks by China and Iran on government and corporate computer networks will grow increasingly frequent. One or more of these attacks will threaten nuclear power plants, our electrical grid, or the Pentagon.

China and Iran have been utilizing cyber-attacks on the U.S. military and government agencies as a response to NSA spying and U.S. sabotaging of Iranian nuclear facilities. Experts are issuing warnings regarding the susceptibility of U.S. nuclear facilities to cyber-attack. If a serious breach has occurred, the U.S. government wouldn’t be publicizing it. Again, this prediction was accurate.

I achieved about a 50% accuracy rate on my 2013 predictions. These minor distractions are meaningless in the broad spectrum of history and the inevitability of the current Fourth Turning sweeping away the existing social order in a whirlwind of chaos, violence, financial collapse and ultimately a decisive war. The exact timing and exact events which will precipitate the demise of the establishment are unknowable with any precision, but there is no escape from the inexorable march of history. While most people get lost in the minutia of day to day existence and supposed Ivy League thought leaders are consumed with their own reputations and wealth, apparent stability will morph into terrifying volatility in an instant. The normalcy bias being practiced by an entire country will be shattered in a reality storm of consequences. The Crisis will continue to be driven by the ever growing debt levels, civic decay caused by government overreach, and global disorder driven by resource shortages and religious zealotry. The ultimate outcome is unpredictable, but the choices we make will matter. History is about to fling us towards a vast chaos.

“The seasons of time offer no guarantees. For modern societies, no less than for all forms of life, transformative change is discontinuous. For what seems an eternity, history goes nowhere – and then it suddenly flings us forward across some vast chaos that defies any mortal effort to plan our way there. The Fourth Turning will try our souls – and the saecular rhythm tells us that much will depend on how we face up to that trial. The saeculum does not reveal whether the story will have a happy ending, but it does tell us how and when our choices will make a difference.”  – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

The Anti-Empire Report #122

Off the Keyboard of William Blum

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Published November 7th, 2013 by William Blum on The Anti-Empire Report

National Security Agency – The only part of the government that really listens to what you have to say

The New York Times (November 2) ran a long article based on NSA documents released by Edward Snowden. One of the lines that most caught my attention concerned “Sigint” – Signals intelligence, the term used for electronic intercepts. The document stated:

“Sigint professionals must hold the moral high ground, even as terrorists or dictators seek to exploit our freedoms. Some of our adversaries will say or do anything to advance their cause; we will not.”

What, I wondered, might that mean? What would the National Security Agency – on moral principle – refuse to say or do?

 

I have on occasion asked people who reject or rationalize any and all criticism of US foreign policy: “What would the United States have to do in its foreign policy to lose your support? What, for you, would be too much?” I’ve yet to get a suitable answer to that question. I suspect it’s because the person is afraid that whatever they say I’ll point out that the United States has already done it.

The United Nations vote on the Cuba embargo – 22 years in a row

For years American political leaders and media were fond of labeling Cuba an “international pariah”. We haven’t heard that for a very long time. Perhaps one reason is the annual vote in the United Nations General Assembly on the resolution which reads: “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”. This is how the vote has gone (not including abstentions):

Year Votes (Yes-No) No Votes
1992 59-2 US, Israel
1993 88-4 US, Israel, Albania, Paraguay
1994 101-2 US, Israel
1995 117-3 US, Israel, Uzbekistan
1996 138-3 US, Israel, Uzbekistan
1997 143-3 US, Israel, Uzbekistan
1998 157-2 US, Israel
1999 155-2 US, Israel
2000 167-3 US, Israel, Marshall Islands
2001 167-3 US, Israel, Marshall Islands
2002 173-3 US, Israel, Marshall Islands
2003 179-3 US, Israel, Marshall Islands
2004 179-4 US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau
2005 182-4 US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau
2006 183-4 US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau
2007 184-4 US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau
2008 185-3 US, Israel, Palau
2009 187-3 US, Israel, Palau
2010 187-2 US, Israel
2011 186-2 US, Israel
2012 188-3 US, Israel, Palau
2013 188-2 US, Israel

Each fall the UN vote is a welcome reminder that the world has not completely lost its senses and that the American empire does not completely control the opinion of other governments.

Speaking before the General Assembly, October 29, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez declared: “The economic damages accumulated after half a century as a result of the implementation of the blockade amount to $1.126 trillion.” He added that the blockade “has been further tightened under President Obama’s administration”, some 30 US and foreign entities being hit with $2.446 billion in fines due to their interaction with Cuba.

However, the American envoy, Ronald Godard, in an appeal to other countries to oppose the resolution, said:

“The international community … cannot in good conscience ignore the ease and frequency with which the Cuban regime silences critics, disrupts peaceful assembly, impedes independent journalism and, despite positive reforms, continues to prevent some Cubans from leaving or returning to the island. The Cuban government continues its tactics of politically motivated detentions, harassment and police violence against Cuban citizens.” 1

So there you have it. That is why Cuba must be punished. One can only guess what Mr. Godard would respond if told that more than 7,000 people were arrested in the United States during the Occupy Movement’s first 8 months of protest 2 ; that their encampments were violently smashed up; that many of them were physically abused by the police.

Does Mr. Godard ever read a newspaper or the Internet, or watch television? Hardly a day passes in America without a police officer shooting to death an unarmed person?

As to “independent journalism” – what would happen if Cuba announced that from now on anyone in the country could own any kind of media? How long would it be before CIA money – secret and unlimited CIA money financing all kinds of fronts in Cuba – would own or control most of the media worth owning or controlling?

The real reason for Washington’s eternal hostility toward Cuba? The fear of a good example of an alternative to the capitalist model; a fear that has been validated repeatedly over the years as Third World countries have expressed their adulation of Cuba.

How the embargo began: On April 6, 1960, Lester D. Mallory, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, wrote in an internal memorandum: “The majority of Cubans support Castro … The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship. … every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba.” Mallory proposed “a line of action which … makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.” 3 Later that year, the Eisenhower administration instituted the suffocating embargo against its everlasting enemy.

The Cold War Revisited

 

I’ve written the Introduction to a new book recently published in Russia that is sort of an updating of my book Killing Hope. 4 Here is a short excerpt:

 

The Cold War had not been a struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union. It had been a struggle between the United States and the Third World, which, in the decade following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, continued in Haiti, Somalia, Iraq, Yugoslavia and elsewhere.

The Cold War had not been a worldwide crusade by America to halt Soviet expansion, real or imaginary. It had been a worldwide crusade by America to block political and social changes in the Third World, changes opposed by the American power elite.

The Cold War had not been a glorious and noble movement of freedom and democracy against Communist totalitarianism. It had typically been a movement by the United States in support of dictatorships, authoritarian regimes and corrupt oligarchies which were willing to follow Washington’s party line on the Left, US corporations, Israel, oil, military bases, et al. and who protected American political and economic interests in their countries in exchange for the American military and CIA keeping them in power against the wishes of their own people.

In other words, whatever the diplomats at the time thought they were doing, the Cold War revisionists have been vindicated. American policy had been about imperialism and military expansion.

Apropos the countless other myths we were all taught about the Soviet Union is this letter I recently received from one of my readers, a Russian woman, age 49, who moved to the United States eight years ago and now lives in Northern Virginia:

I can’t imagine why anybody is surprised to hear when I say I miss life in the Soviet Union: what is bad about free healthcare and education, guaranteed employment, guaranteed free housing? No rent or mortgage of any kind, only utilities, but they were subsidized too, so it was really pennies. Now, to be honest, there was a waiting list to get those apartments, so some people got them quicker, some people had to wait for years, it all depended on where you worked. And there were no homeless people, and crime was way lower. As a first grader I was taking the public transportation to go to school, which was about 1 hour away by bus (it was a big city, about the size of Washington DC, we lived on the outskirts, and my school was downtown), and it was fine, all other kids were doing it. Can you even imagine this being done now? I am not saying everything was perfect, but overall, it is a more stable and socially just system, fair to everybody, nobody was left behind. This is what I miss: peace and stability, and not being afraid of the future.

Problem is, nobody believes it, they will say that I am a brainwashed “tovarish” [comrade]. I’ve tried to argue with Americans about this before, but just gave up now. They just refuse to believe anything that contradicts what CNN has been telling them for all their lives. One lady once told me: “You just don’t know what was going on there, because you did not have freedom of speech, but we, Americans, knew everything, because we could read about all of this in our media.” I told her “I was right there! I did not need to read about this in the media, I lived that life!”, but she still was unconvinced! You will not believe what she said: “Yes, maybe, but we have more stuff!”. Seriously, having 50 kinds of cereal available in the store, and walmarts full of plastic junk is more valuable to Americans than a stable and secure life, and social justice for everybody?

Of course there are people who lived in the Soviet Union who disagree with me, and I talked to them too, but I find their reasons just as silly. I heard one Russian lady whose argument was that Stalin killed “30, no 40 million people”. First of all it’s not true (I don’t in any way defend Stalin, but I do think that lying and exaggerating about him is as wrong)*, and second of all what does this have to do with the 70s, when I was a kid? By then life was completely different. I heard other arguments, like food shortages (again, not true, it’s not like there was no food at all, there were shortages of this or that specific product, like you wouldn’t find mayo or bologna in the store some days, but everything else was there!). So, you would come back next day, or in 2-3 days, and you would find them there. Really, this is such a big deal? Or you would have to stay in line to buy some other product, (ravioli for example). But how badly do you want that ravioli really that day, can’t you have anything else instead? Just buy something else, like potatoes, where there was no line.

Was this annoying, yes, and at the time I was annoyed too, but only now I realized that I would much prefer this nuisance to my present life now, when I am constantly under stress for the fear that I can possibly lose my job (as my husband already did), and as a result, lose everything else – my house? You couldn’t possibly lose your house in Soviet Union, it was yours for life, mortgage free. Only now, living here in the US, I realized that all those soviet nuisances combined were not as important as the benefits we had – housing, education, healthcare, employment, safe streets, all sort of free after school activities (music, sports, arts, anything you want) for kids, so parents never had to worry about what we do all day till they come home in the evening.

* We’ve all heard the figures many times … 10 million … 20 million … 40 million … 60 million … died under Stalin. But what does the number mean, whichever number you choose? Of course many people died under Stalin, many people died under Roosevelt, and many people are still dying under Bush. Dying appears to be a natural phenomenon in every country. The question is how did those people die under Stalin? Did they die from the famines that plagued the USSR in the 1920s and 30s? Did the Bolsheviks deliberately create those famines? How? Why? More people certainly died in India in the 20th century from famines than in the Soviet Union, but no one accuses India of the mass murder of its own citizens. Did the millions die from disease in an age before antibiotics? In prison? From what causes? People die in prison in the United States on a regular basis. Were millions actually murdered in cold blood? If so, how? How many were criminals executed for non-political crimes? The logistics of murdering tens of millions of people is daunting. 5

Hillary: Defending the Bush regime all the way

Let’s not repeat the Barack fuckup with Hillary

Not that it really matters who the Democrats nominate for the presidency in 2016. Whoever that politically regressive and morally bankrupt party chooses will be at best an uninspired and uninspiring centrist; in European terms a center-rightist; who believes that the American Empire – despite the admittedly occasional excessive behavior – is mankind’s last great hope. The only reason I bother to comment on this question so far in advance of the election is that the forces behind Clinton have clearly already begun their campaign and I’d like to use the opportunity to try to educate the many progressives who fell in love with Obama and may be poised now to embrace Clinton. Here’s what I wrote in July 2007 during the very early days of the 2008 campaign:

Who do you think said this on June 20? a) Rudy Giuliani; b) Hillary Clinton; c) George Bush; d) Mitt Romney; or e) Barack Obama?

“The American military has done its job. Look what they accomplished. They got rid of Saddam Hussein. They gave the Iraqis a chance for free and fair elections. They gave the Iraqi government the chance to begin to demonstrate that it understood its responsibilities to make the hard political decisions necessary to give the people of Iraq a better future. So the American military has succeeded. It is the Iraqi government which has failed to make the tough decisions which are important for their own people.” 6

Right, it was the woman who wants to be president because … because she wants to be president … because she thinks it would be nice to be president … no other reason, no burning cause, no heartfelt desire for basic change in American society or to make a better world … she just thinks it would be nice, even great, to be president. And keep the American Empire in business, its routine generating of horror and misery being no problem; she wouldn’t want to be known as the president that hastened the decline of the empire.

And she spoke the above words at the “Take Back America” conference; she was speaking to liberals, committed liberal Democrats and others further left. She didn’t have to cater to them with any flag-waving pro-war rhetoric; they wanted to hear anti-war rhetoric (and she of course gave them a bit of that as well out of the other side of her mouth), so we can assume that this is how she really feels, if indeed the woman feels anything. The audience, it should be noted, booed her, for the second year in a row.

Think of why you are opposed to the war. Is it not largely because of all the unspeakable suffering brought down upon the heads and souls of the poor people of Iraq by the American military? Hillary Clinton couldn’t care less about that, literally. She thinks the American military has “succeeded”. Has she ever unequivocally labeled the war “illegal” or “immoral”? I used to think that Tony Blair was a member of the right wing or conservative wing of the British Labour Party. I finally realized one day that that was an incorrect description of his ideology. Blair is a conservative, a bloody Tory. How he wound up in the Labour Party is a matter I haven’t studied. Hillary Clinton, however, I’ve long known is a conservative; going back to at least the 1980s, while the wife of the Arkansas governor, she strongly supported the death-squad torturers known as the Contras, who were the empire’s proxy army in Nicaragua. 7

Now we hear from America’s venerable conservative magazine, William Buckley’s National Review, an editorial by Bruce Bartlett, policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan; treasury official under President George H.W. Bush; a fellow at two of the leading conservative think-tanks, the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute – You get the picture? Bartlett tells his readers that it’s almost certain that the Democrats will win the White House in 2008. So what to do? Support the most conservative Democrat. He writes: “To right-wingers willing to look beneath what probably sounds to them like the same identical views of the Democratic candidates, it is pretty clear that Hillary Clinton is the most conservative.” 8

We also hear from America’s premier magazine for the corporate wealthy, Fortune, whose recent cover features a picture of Clinton and the headline: “Business Loves Hillary”. 9

Back to 2013: In October, the office of billionaire George Soros, who has long worked with US foreign policy to destabilize governments not in love with the empire, announced that “George Soros is delighted to join more than one million Americans in supporting Ready for Hillary.” 10

There’s much more evidence of Hillary Clinton’s conservative leanings, but if you need more, you’re probably still in love with Obama, who in a new book is quoted telling his aides during a comment on drone strikes that he’s “really good at killing people”. 11 Can we look forward to Hillary winning the much-discredited Nobel Peace Prize?

I’m sorry if I take away all your fun.

Notes

  1. Democracy Now!, “U.N. General Assembly Votes Overwhelmingly Against U.S. Embargo of Cuba”, October 30, 2013
  2. Huffingfton Post, May 3, 2012
  3. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958-1960, Volume VI, Cuba (1991), p.885
  4. Copies can be purchased by emailing kuchkovopole@mail.ru
  5. From William Blum, Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire (2005), p.194
  6. Speaking at the “Take Back America” conference, organized by the Campaign for America’s Future, June 20, 2007, Washington, DC; this excerpt can be heard on Democracy Now!’s website
  7. Roger Morris, former member of the National Security Council, Partners in Power (1996), p.415
  8. National Review Online, May 1, 2007
  9. Fortune magazine, July 9, 2007
  10. Washington Post, October 25, 2013
  11. Washington Post, November 1, 2013, review of “Double Down: Game Change 2012”

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.

 

 

William Blum is an author, historian, and renowned critic of U.S. foreign policy. He is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II and Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, among others.

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.

 

 

William Blum is an author, historian, and renowned critic of U.S. foreign policy. He is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II and Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, among others.

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.

Off the Keyboard of William Blum

The Anti-Empire Report #121 by William Blum

Off the Keyboard of William Blum

Published  in The Anti-Empire Report, October 7, 2013 

Waronterror2_Frank151

The War on Terrorism … or whatever.

“U.S. hopes of winning more influence over Syria’s divided rebel movement faded Wednesday after 11 of the biggest armed factions repudiated the Western-backed political opposition coalition and announced the formation of an alliance dedicated to creating an Islamist state. The al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, designated a terrorist organization by the United States, is the lead signatory of the new group.” 1

Pity the poor American who wants to be a good citizen, wants to understand the world and his country’s role in it, wants to believe in the War on Terrorism, wants to believe that his government seeks to do good … What is he to make of all this?

For about two years, his dear American government has been supporting the same anti-government side as the jihadists in the Syrian civil war; not total, all-out support, but enough military hardware, logistics support, intelligence information, international political, diplomatic and propaganda assistance (including the crucial alleged-chemical-weapons story), to keep the jihadists in the ball game. Washington and its main Mideast allies in the conflict – Turkey, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia – have not impeded the movement to Syria of jihadists coming to join the rebels, recruited from the ranks of Sunni extremist veterans of the wars in Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, while Qatar and the Saudis have supplied the rebels with weapons, most likely bought in large measure from the United States, as well as lots of of what they have lots of – money.

This widespread international support has been provided despite the many atrocities carried out by the jihadists – truck and car suicide bombings (with numerous civilian casualties), planting roadside bombs à la Iraq, gruesome massacres of Christians and Kurds, grotesque beheadings and other dissections of victims’ bodies (most charming of all: a Youtube video of a rebel leader cutting out an organ from the chest of a victim and biting into it as it drips with blood). All this barbarity piled on top of a greater absurdity – these Western-backed, anti-government forces are often engaged in battle with other Western-backed, anti-government forces, non-jihadist. It has become increasingly difficult to sell this war to the American public as one of pro-democracy “moderates” locked in a good-guy-versus-bad-guy struggle with an evil dictator, although in actuality the United States has fought on the same side as al Qaeda on repeated occasions before Syria. Here’s a brief survey:

Afghanistan, 1980-early 1990s: In support of the Islamic Moujahedeen (“holy warriors”), the CIA orchestrated a war against the Afghan government and their Soviet allies, pouring in several billions of dollars of arms and extensive military training; hitting up Middle-Eastern countries for donations, notably Saudi Arabia which gave hundreds of millions of dollars in aid each year; pressuring and bribing Pakistan to rent out its country as a military staging area and sanctuary.

It worked. And out of the victorious Moujahedeen came al Qaeda.

Bosnia, 1992-5: In 2001 the Wall Street Journal declared:

It is safe to say that the birth of al-Qaeda as a force on the world stage can be traced directly back to 1992, when the Bosnian Muslim government of Alija Izetbegovic issued a passport in their Vienna embassy to Osama bin Laden. … for the past 10 years, the most senior leaders of al Qaeda have visited the Balkans, including bin Laden himself on three occasions between 1994 and 1996. The Egyptian surgeon turned terrorist leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri has operated terrorist training camps, weapons of mass destruction factories and money-laundering and drug-trading networks throughout Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey and Bosnia. This has gone on for a decade. 2

A few months later, The Guardian reported on “the full story of the secret alliance between the Pentagon and radical Islamist groups from the Middle East designed to assist the Bosnian Muslims – some of the same groups that the Pentagon is now fighting in “the war against terrorism”. 3

In 1994 and 1995 US/NATO forces carried out bombing campaigns over Bosnia aimed at damaging the military capability of the Serbs and enhancing that of the Bosnian Muslims. In the decade-long civil wars in the Balkans, the Serbs, regarded by Washington as the “the last communist government in Europe”, were always the main enemy.

Kosovo, 1998-99: Kosovo, overwhelmingly Muslim, was a province of Serbia, the main republic of the former Yugoslavia. In 1998, Kosovo separatists – The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) – began an armed conflict with Belgrade to split Kosovo from Serbia. The KLA was considered a terrorist organization by the US, the UK and France for years, with numerous reports of the KLA having contact with al-Qaeda, getting arms from them, having its militants trained in al-Qaeda camps in Pakistan, and even having members of al-Qaeda in KLA ranks fighting against the Serbs. 4

However, when US-NATO forces began military action against the Serbs the KLA was taken off the US terrorist list, it “received official US-NATO arms and training support” 5 , and the 1999 US-NATO bombing campaign eventually focused on driving Serbian forces from Kosovo.

In 2008 Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia, an independence so illegitimate and artificial that the majority of the world’s nations still have not recognized it. But the United States was the first to do so, the very next day, thus affirming the unilateral declaration of independence of a part of another country’s territory.

The KLA have been known for their trafficking in women, heroin, and human body parts (sic). The United States has naturally been pushing for Kosovo’s membership in NATO and the European Union.

Nota bene: In 1992 the Bosnian Muslims, Croats, and Serbs reached agreement in Lisbon for a unified state. The continuation of a peaceful multi-ethnic Bosnia seemed assured. But the United States sabotaged the agreement. 6

Libya, 2011: The US and NATO to the rescue again. For more than six months, almost daily missile attacks against the government and forces of Muammar Gaddafi as assorted Middle East jihadists assembled in Libya and battled the government on the ground. The predictable outcome came to be – the jihadists now in control of parts of the country and fighting for the remaining parts. The wartime allies showed their gratitude to Washington by assassinating the US ambassador and three other Americans, presumably CIA, in the city of Benghazi.

Caucasus (Russia), mid-2000s to present: The National Endowment for Democracy and Freedom House have for many years been the leading American “non-government” institutions tasked with destabilizing, if not overthrowing, foreign governments which refuse to be subservient to the desires of US foreign policy. Both NGOs have backed militants in the Russian Caucasus area, one that has seen more than its share of terror stretching back to the Chechnyan actions of the 1990s. 7

“Omission is the most powerful form of lie.” – George Orwell

I am asked occasionally why I am so critical of the mainstream media when I quote from them repeatedly in my writings. The answer is simple. The American media’s gravest shortcoming is much more their errors of omission than their errors of commission. It’s what they leave out that distorts the news more than any factual errors or out-and-out lies. So I can make good use of the facts they report, which a large, rich organization can easier provide than the alternative media.

A case in point is a New York Times article of October 5 on the Greek financial crisis and the Greeks’ claim for World War Two reparations from Germany.

“Germany may be Greece’s stern banker now, say those who are seeking reparations,” writes the Times, but Germany “should pay off its own debts to Greece. … It is not just aging victims of the Nazi occupation who are demanding a full accounting. Prime Minister Antonis Samarass government has compiled an 80-page report on reparations and a huge, never-repaid loan the nation was forced to make under Nazi occupation from 1941 to 1945. … The call for reparations has elicited an emotional outpouring in Greece, where six years of brutal recession and harsh austerity measures have left many Greeks hostile toward Germany. Rarely does a week go by without another report in the news about, as one newspaper put it in a headline, ‘What Germany Owes Us’.”

“The figure most often discussed is $220 billion, an estimate for infrastructure damage alone put forward by Manolis Glezos, a member of Parliament and a former resistance fighter who is pressing for reparations. That amount equals about half the country’s debt. … Some members of the National Council on Reparations, an advocacy group, are calling for more than $677 billion to cover stolen artifacts, damage to the economy and to the infrastructure, as well as the bank loan and individual claims.”

So there we have the morality play: The evil Germans who occupied Greece and in addition to carrying out a lot of violence and repression shamelessly exploited the Greek people economically.

Would it be appropriate for such a story, or an accompanying or follow-up story, to mention the civil war that broke out in Greece shortly after the close of the world war? On one side were the neo-fascists, many of whom had cooperated with the occupying Germans during the war, some even fighting for the Nazis. Indeed, the British Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, acknowledged in August 1946 that there were 228 ex-members of the Nazi Security Battalions – whose main task had been to track down Greek resistance fighters and Jews – on active service in the new Greek army. 8

On the other side was the Greek left who had fought the Nazis courageously, even forcing the German army to flee the country in 1944.

So guess which side of the civil war our favorite military took? … That’s right, the United States supported the neo-fascists. After all, an important component of the Greek left was the Communist Party, although it wouldn’t have mattered at all if the Greek left had not included any Communists. Support of the left (not to be confused with liberals of course) anywhere in the world, during and since the Cold War, has been verboten in US foreign policy.

The neo-fascists won the civil war and instituted a highly brutal regime, for which the CIA created a suitably repressive internal security agency, named and modeled after itself, the KYP. For the next 15 years, Greece was looked upon much as a piece of real estate to be developed according to Washington’s political and economic needs. One document should suffice to capture the beauty of Washington’s relationship to Athens – a 1947 letter from US Secretary of State George Marshall to Dwight Griswold, the head of the American Mission to Aid Greece, said:

During the course of your work you and the members of your Mission will from time to time find that certain Greek officials are not, because of incompetence, disagreement with your policies, or for some other reason, extending the type of cooperation which is necessary if the objectives of your Mission are to be achieved. You will find it necessary to effect the removal of these officials. 9

Where is the present-day Greek headline: “What The United States Owes Us”? Where is the New York Times obligation to enlighten its readers?

The latest step in the evolution of America’s Police State

“If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.”

So say many Americans. And many Germans as well.

But one German, Ilija Trojanow, would disagree. He has lent his name to published documents denouncing the National Security Agency (NSA), and was one of several prominent German authors who signed a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel urging her to take a firm stance against the mass online surveillance conducted by the NSA. Trojanow and the other authors had nothing to hide, which is why the letter was published for the public to read. What happened after that, however, was that Trojanow was refused permission to board a flight from Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, to Miami on Monday, September 30. Without any explanation.

Trojanow, who was on his way to speak at a literary conference in Denver, told the Spiegel magazine online website that the denial of entry might be linked to his criticism of the NSA. Germany’s Foreign Ministry says it has contacted US authorities “to resolve this issue”. 10

In an article published in a German newspaper, Trojanow voiced his frustration with the incident: “It is more than ironic if an author who raises his voice against the dangers of surveillance and the secret state within a state for years, will be denied entry into the ‘land of the brave and the free’.” 11

Further irony can be found in the title of a book by Trojanow: “Attack on freedom. Obsession with security, the surveillance state and the dismantling of civil rights.”

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., who oversees the NSA and other intelligence agencies, said recently that the intelligence community “is only interested in communication related to valid foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes.” 12

It’s difficult in the extreme to see how this criterion would apply in any way to Ilija Trojanow.

The story is a poignant caveat on how fragile is Americans’ freedom to criticize their Security State. If a foreigner can be barred from boarding a flight merely for peaceful, intellectual criticism of America’s Big Brother (nay, Giant Brother), who amongst us does not need to pay careful attention to anything they say or write.

Very few Americans, however, will even be aware of this story. A thorough search of the Lexis-Nexis media database revealed a single mention in an American daily newspaper (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch), out of 1400 daily papers in the US. No mention on any broadcast media. A single one-time mention in a news agency (Associated Press), and one mention in a foreign English-language newspaper (New Zealand Herald).

Notes

  1. Washington Post, September 26, 2013
  2. Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2001
  3. The Guardian (London), April 22, 2002
  4. RT TV (Moscow), May 4, 2012
  5. Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2001
  6. New York Times, June 17, 1993, buried at the very end of the article on an inside page
  7. Sibel Edmonds’ Boiling Frogs Post, “Barbarians at the Gate: Terrorism, the US, and the Subversion of Russia”, August 30, 2012
  8. Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons, October 16, 1946, column 887 (reference is made here to Bevin’s statement of August 10, 1946)
  9. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1947, Vol. V (U.S. Government Printing Office, 1971), pp. 222-3. See William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, chapter 3 for further details of the US role in postwar Greece.
  10. Associated Press, October 2, 2013
  11. Huffington Post, “Ilija Trojanow, German Writer, Banned From US For Criticizing NSA”, October 1, 2013
  12. Washington Post, October 5, 2013

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.
 

 

William Blum is an author, historian, and renowned critic of U.S. foreign policy. He is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II and Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, among others.

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.

Trying to Stay Sane in an Insane World: Part 3

Off the keyboard of Jim Quinn

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Published on The Burning Platform on August 25, 2013

Cuckoos_Nest

Discuss this article at the Economics Table inside the Diner

In Part 1 of this article I documented the insane remedies prescribed by the mad banker scientists presiding over this preposterous fiat experiment since they blew up the lab in 2008. In Part 2 I tried to articulate why the country has allowed itself to be brought to the brink of catastrophe. There is no turning back time. The choices we’ve made and avoided making over the last one hundred years are going to come home to roost over the next fifteen years. We are in the midst of a great Crisis that will not be resolved until the mid-2020s. The propagandists supporting the vested interests continue to assure the voluntarily oblivious populace the economy is improving, jobs are plentiful, inflation is under control, and housing is recovering. Bernanke and his band of merry money manipulators, Obama and his gaggle of government apparatchiks, and their mendacious mainstream media mouthpieces have enacted radical measures in the last five years that reek of desperation in their effort to give the appearance of revival to a failing economic system. Stimulating the net worth of bankers and connected corporate cronies through engineered stock market gains has not trickled down to the peasants. Our owners try to convince us it’s raining, but we know they’re pissing down our backs. Our Crisis mood is congealing.

“But as the Crisis mood congeals, people will come to the jarring realization that they have grown helplessly dependent on a teetering edifice of anonymous transactions and paper guarantees. Many Americans won’t know where their savings are, who their employer is, what their pension is, or how their government works. The era will have left the financial world arbitraged and tentacled: Debtors won’t know who holds their notes, homeowners who owns their mortgages, and shareholders who runs their equities – and vice versa.” The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe – 1997

The core elements of this Crisis have been discernible for decades. The accumulation of private and public debt; the civic, moral, and intellectual decay of our society; the growing power of the corrupt corporate fascist surveillance state; growing wealth inequality created by crony capitalist skullduggery; the peak in cheap easily accessible oil; and global disorder caused by overpopulation, scarce resources, religious zealotry, and war; combine in a toxic brew of unimaginable pain, anguish and tragedy. The Crisis began in September 2008 and the sole purpose of the deceitful establishment has been to avert a catastrophe that is destined to extinguish the wealth, power and control they’ve treacherously procured over the last few decades.

The appearance of stability is illusory, as the civic fabric of the country continues to tear asunder. Record high stock markets do not trickle down. The debt engineered stock market gains enrich the .1% at the expense of the working class. Bernanke’s “wealth effect” theory is a charade. He has backed the country into a corner with no escape for the prisoners of his QE prison (he’ll escape to collect his Wall Street paycheck in January). He knows that without the combined $300 billion per month being pumped into the veins of zombie U.S., European and Japanese insolvent zombie banks by central bankers, the worldwide financial system will implode. He blathers on about tapering while awaiting the next government manufactured crisis to give him an excuse to continue or increase his money printing exercise. Control P is the only key on Bennie’s laptop. To think dropping trillions of dollars into the laps of Wall Street will somehow stimulate Main Street is beyond laughable. Some ideas are so ridiculous that only intellectuals and academics could possibly believe them.

The masters of propaganda seem baffled that their standard operating procedures are not generating the expected response from the serfs. They have failed to take into account the generational mood changes that occur during Fourth Turnings. Propaganda loses its effectiveness in proportion to the pain and distress being experienced by the citizenry. Goebbels’ propaganda enthused and motivated the German people during the 1930s as Hitler re-armed, scrapped the Versailles Treaty and took over countries, as well as when he was conquering Poland and France in the early phase of World War II. Propaganda didn’t work so well when the U.S. Air Force was obliterating Dresden, Hitler was hunkered down in his bunker about to put a bullet in his skull, and the Russians were on the outskirts of a burning Berlin. Propaganda works when the people want to believe the falsehoods. When the cold harsh reality slaps them in the face, propaganda no longer works.

    Propaganda Working Well                   Propaganda Not Working So Well

  

The American Empire propaganda machine continues to gyrate but the gears are getting clogged with the gunk of mistruths revealed. Even the willfully ignorant masses are beginning to realize they have been screwed by those running the show. After five years of debt bankrolled “no Wall Street banker left behind solutions” and Keynesian crony capitalist handouts, real median household income is 8% lower, there are 5 million less full-time jobs, there are 19 million more Americans on food stamps, gasoline prices hover near all-time high levels, health insurance premiums are skyrocketing, local, state and Federal taxes relentlessly rise, and the national debt has gone hyperbolic – up by $6.7 trillion in five years.

This 67% increase is more debt than the country accumulated in the 214 years from its founding in 1789 through 2003. The $6.7 trillion of new debt, along with Bernanke printing almost $3 trillion of new fiat dollars and handed to his puppet masters on Wall Street, have generated a pitiful $1.8 trillion of GDP growth. We know Main Street has not benefitted from this insane expansion of our empire of debt. But, someone benefitted.

Shockingly, those who profited from the actions of Bernanke, Obama, Congress, and the U.S. Treasury are the very same malevolent predators that created the financial disaster and prompted the emergency response in the first place. QE to infinity has not been a failure. It has done exactly what it was designed to do. In September 2008 every major Wall Street bank was insolvent. Orderly bankruptcy under existing law was the solution. The richest, most powerful men in the world would have seen vast amounts of their illicitly acquired wealth vaporized. Hundreds of billions in bad debt would have been written off, with no lasting impact on the average American. A brief violent depression would have ensued, but with the bad debt purged from the system and only prudent sensible bankers left, the economy would have rapidly recovered. Instead, a small cadre of financial elite hatched a plan to preserve their ill-gotten gains through accounting fraud, and manipulation of monetary and fiscal policy.

Bernanke and Paulson compelled the pocket protector wearing accounting weenies at the FASB to allow Wall Street banks to mark their assets to make believe rather than market. Bernanke then proceeded to buy up toxic assets from the Wall Street banks, providing a never ending flow of QE heroin injected directly into the veins of Wall Street bankers, and paying .25% on all deposits made by the Wall Street banks. Bernanke didn’t do this so the banks could make loans to John and Susie Q Public and small time entrepreneurs with great business ideas. He did it so Wall Street could repair their insolvent balance sheets on the backs of American taxpayers. The $2 trillion of excess reserves parked at the Federal Reserve by Wall Street banks is “earning” $5 billion of risk free profits for the Too Big to Trust autocrats. Wall Street has generated billions of additional accounting entry “profits” by pretending their future losses on worthless loans will be minimal. Lastly, the “Bernanke Put” allows the Wall Street traders to use their HFT supercomputers and advanced notice of economic data to front run the muppets and syphon billions of risk free trading profits from the real economy. The chart below reveals all you need to know about the true purpose of Bernanke’s QEfinity.

You’d have to be blind, deaf and dumb to not realize who Bernanke is really working for. But it seems the majority of people in this country don’t care, don’t understand or don’t want to know the truth, as long as the ATM keeps spitting out twenty dollar bills, there are still Cool Ranch Doritos on the shelf at the Piggly Wiggly, and the EBT card gets recharged on the first of the month.

“The mischief springs from the power which the monied interest derives from a paper currency which they are able to control, from the multitude of corporations with exclusive privileges which they have succeeded in obtaining…and unless you become more watchful in your states and check this spirit of monopoly and thirst for exclusive privileges you will in the end find that the most important powers of government have been given or bartered away….” ― Andrew Jackson

Parasite on a Parasite on a Parasite

  

“This is by no means a new idea, nor is it the least bit radical; it is deeply conservative and highly traditional. It was Aristotle who first defined the economy as an exchange of goods and services for money, commerce as a parasite on the economy (where those who create nothing extract a share by trading) and finance a parasite on commerce (which extracts a share by switching money from hand to hand – a parasite on a parasite). A typical US politician, such as the president, who counts financial companies such as Goldman Sachs among his top campaign donors, could be characterized as a parasite on a parasite on a parasite – a worm infesting the gut of a tick that is sucking blood from a vampire bat, if you like.” – Dimitri Orlov – The Five Stages of Collapse

The bastardized form of capitalism that passes for our economic system today is based upon a parasitic relationship between Too Big To Trust Wall Street banks, powerful mega-corporations, connected wealthy cronies, and bloodsucking politicians, with the American people as the debt bloated host. The parasites have put the host on life support in critical condition. It took forty years, since Nixon unleashed immoral bankers and devious politicians by decoupling our currency from gold, but the financialization and gutting of America through the false promises of globalization is almost complete. The quaint days of the 1950s and 1960s, when the country was supported by an economy that produced goods, invested in productive assets and citizens who saved money to buy things they desired, are long gone. The insane concepts espoused in the mid-1960s that created our current day welfare/warfare state required Americans to stop using their brains and start using their credit cards. The degenerate Wall Street banking cabal were thrilled to oblige by providing vast sums of debt to the government and the masses. Constant  war, uncontrolled materialism, and an ever expanding welfare state is the triple crown of profits for unscrupulous bankers and corporate CEOs. Once the inconveniant anchor of gold was cut loose by Nixon, the bankers and politicians were free to guide the U.S. Titanic towards its ultimate destination.

The decades long shift from a productive manufacturing society based on savings and investing in productive capital assets to a predatory consumption society based on borrowing and spending has enriched the Wall Street financial elite and destroyed the working middle class. An economy where 25% of its GDP was produced by manufacturing products allowed all boats to rise. A hard working middle class family had a chance to move up the social ladder. An economy where more than 20% of its GDP is dependent upon parasitical financial intermediaries that produce nothing and add no value creates the extreme wealth inequality we have in our society today. Only the yachts rise in such a society. The shift has been slow and methodical and we’ve crossed the point of no return. The propaganda being spewed by the mainstream corporate media and the connected crony capitalists like Jeffrey Immelt about a U.S. based manufacturing revival is designed to pacify the distracted masses. The pillaging by the FIRE sector will continue until the host is deceased.

The growth as a percentage of our GDP in business & professional services from 5% of GDP in 1970 to 12% today provides further evidence of a country in a downward spiral. The country wastes billions hiring “experts” (lawyers, accountants, consultants) to interpret the millions of pages of indecipherable laws, regulations and tax codes created by politicians used to control, monitor, tax and bilk the masses. The 3,300% increase in spending on healthcare and education since 1970 has created tens of millions of sickly functional illiterates. The corporate food conglomerates mass produce processed poison, Madison Avenue maggots peddle the poison to the masses through relentless Bernaysian propaganda marketing, creating nauseatingly obese human beings, and then the corporate healthcare conglomerates treat the dozens of diseases created by this insane process with their drugs, while corporate profits soar ever higher. We all know that superstar corporate CEOs like Jack Welch, Jamie Dimon, Angelo Mozillo, and Mark Zuckerberg deserve hundreds of millions in compensation for adding so much value to our everyday lives. How would we survive without a Best Buy credit card through GE Capital at 21% interest, or a JP Morgan created credit default swap sold to customers and then shorted, or a subprime negative amortization liar loan used to purchase a $750,000 McMansion, or having a place to post every inane thought we have so employers and the NSA can keep up to date on our status.

Corporate-Profits-GDP-081613

The corpulent populace have been so dumbed down by the public educational system run by social engineers and union teachers, along with the 24/7 corporate media propaganda inundating them since childhood, they are content to stare into their boob tubes, play with their iGadgets, or read what a friend of a distant relative ate for breakfast, on Facebook. The government provides enough welfare handouts to keep the increasingly larger lower classes from rioting by borrowing $1 trillion per year from future unborn generations. When the middle class shows signs of discontent regarding their declining wages and lack of jobs, the government and the military industrial complex use the bogeyman of impending terror threats and evil foreign dictators to wage undeclared wars and distract the willfully ignorant masses. Plus, there are always fantasy football leagues, paying $300 to take your family to watch drug enhanced millionaire baseball players not run out a ground ball at a $1 billion taxpayer financed stadium, shopping at a suburban ghost mall with one of your nine credit cards to dull the pain of a meaningless pathetic life, or watch eight year old Honey Boo Boo dress like whore and parade before adult judges on the Discovery Channel. Our choice to ignore the basic mathematics of our lives has resulted in creating a nation of sub-humans wandering through life like zombies in a bad horror movie.

“Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best, he is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear his shoes, bathe, and not make messes in the house.” ― Robert A. Heinlein

And we owe it all to the bankers and politicians that have procured undue influence over the political, economic, and financial mechanisms that control the country. The 2008 financial collapse, systematically created by the pathologically egomaniacal financial elite who are programmed to thrust their vampire squid blood funnels into every potential pot of untapped wealth in the world, should have led the American people to tear down their criminal enterprise and throw the treacherous predators into prison. Instead, the fearful masses begged the Wall Street bankers and the pandering politician flunkies in Washington D.C. to steal more of their money. The bankers won again.

“They have been able to pay off politicians with political campaign funds and have been granted informal and unspoken yet complete immunity from prosecution, setting the scene for even bigger confiscations of investor capital. With the risk of legal repercussions so small and the temptation to steal so large, why would any of them not take advantage? What do they have to do to stop people from entrusting them with their savings? Put up neon signs that say, “We steal your money”?” – Dimitri Orlov – The Five Stages of Collapse

This capturing of unwarranted power by an unelected group of rich powerful men through deceitful means has left the country at the mercy of these psychopaths as their increasingly desperate measures insure the ultimate destruction of wealth across the planet. There are four central bankers (U.S., EU, Japan, China) who are the front men for the oligarchs. They are empowered with control over 70% of all the money on the planet. Do you think they have your best interests at heart? The financial crisis was caused by excessive levels of debt, created to benefit the issuers of the debt and the politicians who used the debt to promise voters more goodies than they could ever possibly deliver. Those politicians would be long gone before the IOUs came due, but the promises got them re-elected and made them rich. The “solutions” put forth by our owners since 2008 to solve our debt crisis have been to create debt at an even more rapid pace. Total credit market debt in the U.S. has surged by $6 trillion since 2007 to $57 trillion, 345% of GDP (it was 150% in 1970). The entire world is awash in un-payable levels of debt as reckless central bankers and gutless politicians know only one response to every crisis they cause – PRINT!!!

The decline in U.S. household debt has been solely due to write-offs, as the bad debt was shifted from reckless households and gluttonous bankers to the government books, where those who prudently abstained from the debt orgy are now on the hook for trillions of newly created unfunded obligations. Despite a moribund economy, with the lowest percentage of the population employed since 1983, consumer spending tanking, interest rates rising, gas prices near record highs, and poverty levels at all-time highs, corporate profits are off the charts. It seems the “solutions” implemented by the Ivy League MBA financial elite bankers and bureaucrats have had the desired result – enrichment of the criminal class who financialized the nation. The establishment and their media propaganda machine have somehow convinced a vast swath of Americans to believe that record profits accruing to the largest corporations in the world and stock market gains accruing to the 1% are beneficial to their lives. It’s a testament to the power of propaganda that people can be convinced to cheer on their own downfall as they are dehumanized and enslaved by the plantation owners who run this country.

“Crime follows money like a shadow. The more money there is within a society, the greater are its social inequalities. Financialization dehumanizes human relationships by reducing them to a question of numbers printed on pieces of paper, and a blind calculus for manipulating these numbers mechanically; those who take part in this abstract dance of numbers dehumanizes others and, in turn, lose their own humanity and can go on to perform other dehumanizing acts. Money is, in short, a socially toxic substance.” – Dimitri Orlov – The Five Stages of Collapse

There is no more revealing statistic than real median household income to gauge the winners and losers from the financialization and dehumanization of America. The real median household income of $52,100 is still 8% below the early 2008 level of $56,600. It is still 5% lower than it was in 1999, before the Federal Reserve/Wall Street bubble blowing wealth destruction machine really got going. In fact, real median household income has only risen 9% in the last 35 years. Prior to that, most families could live comfortably with only one spouse working. I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that these calculations are based on the fraudulently manipulated CPI figures which are understated by at least 3% per year. Using a true measure of inflation would reveal median household income to be lower today than it was in the mid-1960s. The bottom 80% have seen a decline in their standard of living since the mid-1960s as inflation has robbed them of purchasing power and the financial elite have skimmed the cream off the top of our economic system. The economic gains have accrued to the top 5%, with astronomical gains being amassed by the .1% ruling elite, who have rigged the game in their favor through laws written by their lobbyists, regulatory shenanigans, tax code manipulation, and buying off politicians. Thank you Bob Rubin, Larry Summers, and Phil Gramm for repealing Glass Steagall and stopping any regulation of financial derivatives. Where would the country be without those two courageous acts on your part?

Those in control of the system have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams as 72% of all the wealth in the US is held in the hands of 5% of the population, with 42% of this in the hands of the top 1%. The top 1% now “earn” over 20% of all the income in the U.S., a level exceeded only once before in the 1920s prior to the Great Crash of 1929 and ensuing Depression. During the heyday of middle class upward mobility, from 1950 through 1970, the top 1% earned 10% of all income. Today, the top 1% is dominated by debt peddling bankers creating derivatives of mass destruction, hedge fund egomaniacs in collusion with bankers to syphon capital away from productive ventures, mega-corporation job destroying executives, entertainment personalities, and shyster lawyers preying on the weak and feeble minded. Our insane society heaps accolades on these rich and famous narcissists, who add no value, produce nothing, create economic havoc, and drain the lifeblood from the dying carcass of a once great nation. The nearly extinct middle class owes their fate to the malevolent men that turned the country into a gambling casino of debt, derivatives, delusion and dreams of jackpots that will never materialize. The bankers and their cronies run the casino and the house always wins, as the chart below confirms.

wealth-change-epi

It is mind boggling that we have allowed ourselves to be brainwashed by the ruling class about the tremendous benefits of globalization, efficiency, productivity, and profitability. When academia, the mass media, and government leaders use their power and influence to convince the masses that ever higher mega-corporation profits benefit the well-being of the country, you end up where we are today. Globalization was nothing more than a scheme by our biggest corporations to use labor arbitrage as a way to increase profits. As American jobs were disappeared overseas to countries that allow slave labor conditions and wages, median household income declined.

The banking cabal stepped to the plate and convinced the increasingly poorer middle class to replace that lost income with easily accessible debt. Just whip out that credit card and use your house as an ATM and you still give the appearance of increasing wealth. You might be in debt up to your eyeballs but, by God, at least the neighbors would think you were doing great. Until the foreclosure sign went up in front of your house in 2009. The marriage of corporations outsourcing American jobs to China with consumer debt peddled by the predator banks was a match made in heaven until the country ran out of decent paying jobs, one in six people was on food stamps, and the average middle class family was drowning in debt. People are beginning to wake up to the fact that corporate efficiency and productivity means firing American workers, cutting benefits, and bigger bonuses for corporate executives as their stock price is boosted by the announcement of more layoffs. The country has been gutted by the predator class in their unquenchable thirst for more. Human nature never changes. Greed, desire, avarice and stupidity will always rear their heads, leading to predictable outcomes.

“Indeed, it had not – not when the nation’s most sophisticated corporate financiers and their accountants were constantly at work finding new instruments of deception barely within the law; not when supposedly cool-headed fund managers had become fanatical votaries at the altar of instant performance; not when brokers’ devotion to their customers interest was constantly being compromised by private professional deals or the pressure to produce commissions; and not when the style-setting leaders of professional investing were plunging as greedily and recklessly as any amateur.” – John Brooks

The psychopaths controlling this country have fashioned untenable financial conditions by further weakening an already structurally deficient economic structure that will result in an epic flood of financial destruction destined to destroy the lives of millions in the U.S. and around the globe. Those who put their faith in financialization and interconnected globalization will reap what they have sowed. We will all feast at a banquet of consequences. Encouraging central bankers across the world to print trillions of fiat currency out of thin air as the solution to our debt problem is the ultimate in idiocracy. The unsustainability of this scheme should be evident to even an Ivy League economist. But the dimwitted government apparatchiks, overeducated economists, greedy corporate executives, vacuous media talking heads, and intellectually dishonest journalists cheer on Ben Bernanke and his central banker brethren.

When you see a Bloomberg bimbo interviewing an Ivy League Wall Street economist about the tremendous merits of QE to infinity, you have a millionaire interviewing a multi-millionaire, with both working for corporations owned by billionaires. Their jobs depend upon the sustenance and further enrichment of the establishment. Therefore, they will lie, obfuscate and mislead their audience about the criminality of their bosses and the true consequences of these crimes against humanity. The existing hierarchy will not willingly surrender their control, power and illegitimately acquired wealth. Only the process of economic collapse, war and revolution will end their reign of terror.

We’ve seen it all before. The cycles of human history have provided us with centuries of proof that a few evil men can gain control over a civilization and procure an inordinate amount of wealth and power before ultimately relinquishing it due to their myopic pathological desire to acquire more. Powerful wealthy narcissists are never satisfied with what they have. Their arrogance and hubris will always be their downfall. Their foolish belief in their own omniscience reveals their true ignorance. Their enormous egos and confidence in the linearity of history blind them to their impending demise. Time is no longer on their side. A reckoning will happen within the next decade. Their gated communities and penthouse doormen will not keep them safe.

The American people cannot shirk their responsibility for this ongoing tragedy. The evil men could only pull off this bank heist with the silent consent of the governed. And that is exactly what has happened. The American people have been gradually persuaded through propaganda and fear to willingly give up freedom, liberty and self-responsibility for safety, security and government provided succor. Over the last forty years the Americans people have allowed themselves to be enslaved in debt by bankers, corporations and politicians, who realized all the riches, while binding the citizens in chains made of credit cards and mortgages. Now that the system has reached its breaking point and the further issuance of debt no longer generates the appearance of growth, the ruling class have resorted to more authoritarian measures, all done in the name of protecting us from phantom terrorists and evil dictators. It’s for the children.

Decisions about our economy are made in secret meetings by unelected officials and with sparse details announced with great fanfare by the corporate media. The President, with the full support of the military industrial complex, chooses which dictators are evil and which are good, with each being interchangeable depending upon the circumstances. The iron fist of American democracy attacks countries at will, without a declaration of war as mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Twenty five hundred page laws, indecipherable reams of regulations, and 60,000 pages of tax code are rammed down the throats of Americans without the benefit of even a debate. Each crisis caused by the previous government solution is met with more laws and regulations, designed and written by the very entities they were supposed to control. The farce of party politics is used to give people the appearance of choice, when there is not an iota of policy difference when the opposing party assumes power.

The people are told every situation is too complicated for them to understand and they should let the “experts” solve the problems. Every authoritarian measure used to control dissent among those capable of thinking is done in the name of national security. Edward Snowden is declared a traitor for revealing the traitorous actions of our own government, and the people silently consent. The head of the NSA is caught lying to Congress, and no one cares. The Department of Homeland Security locks down one of the biggest cities in America looking for a teenager and the people cower and beg Big Brother for more protection. The NSA and other secretive government agencies treat the 4th Amendment like toilet paper, and the people feebly respond by breathlessly texting, twittering and facebooking about Anthony Weiner’s cock. The U.S. military desensitizes the masses by conducting live fire exercises in American cities, and the people just change the channel to Bridezillas or I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant.

Each new economic “surprise”; each new foreign “threat”; each new government “solution” is met with secrecy, spin, and no avenue for the people to impact the decisions made by our owners. The people no longer matter. They can’t change the course of the country through legal means or the ballot box because the system has been captured. It has happened before. The American people are under the mistaken impression we are free. That boat has sailed. Our economic, financial and political systems have been usurped by malicious men posing as gangsters in this saga. We have allowed this to happen. We mistakenly put our trust in bankers, academics and politicians and will suffer the consequences of our choices, just as the German people experienced during the last Fourth Turning.

“What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security.

Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’… must someday lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing…. Each act… is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow.” – Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free, The Germans 1933-45

In the fourth and final installment of this seemingly never ending treatise on a world gone insane, I’ll address how the disintigration of trust will ultimately lead to a collapse of the worldwide Ponzi scheme and how the collapse could lead to a rebirth of a society built upon family, community, cooperation, local commerce, compassion, freedom and liberty. I can dream, can’t I?

That Was The Week That Was In Doom July 7, 2013

From the Keyboard of Surly1

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on July 7, 2013

http://991.com/newGallery/That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964.jpg

Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.

“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

  ~H. L. Mencken

Another week goes by as the doomsday clock continues to tick… tick… tick. Mohammad Morsi leaves to spend more time with his family, while observers speculate about how many the role the IMF has actually played behind the scenes…  ice craters in the Antarctic, the do-nothing 113th left for vacation but not before setting the thumbscrews good and tight for the next generation of college students, Sy Hersh steps on SOMEONE’s last nerve, the immensity of the spy networks becomes even more apparent, more  musings on the death of Michael Hastings, and the Diner itself comes within a hair’s breadth of its own version of fast collapse, rescued by haniel and the “database cavalry.” Plus a brand new franchise lovingly entitled, “You’re shitting me, right?” All in a weeks work watching the intertubes. So ignore your doctor’s orders,  pour another cuppa java Diner style, sit back and shake your head in disbelief at what the gobshites are doing this week.

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Why The Muslim Brotherhood Failed In Egypt

There are as many reasons and interpretations of the fall of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood as there are observers. Causes and explanations sprout like dandelions. Morsi was too politically aggressive, too aggressively religious, he alienated too many Egyptians by signaling respect for secular laws then veering rightward,  his religiosity and sectarian Islamist rhetoric was getting on people’s nerves, he spat in the face of public opinion, and ultimately he lost the trust of the people.

Which is not to say that none of this is not true. But those of us who have grown up in a toxic political and media culture within the FSA are in the habit of looking for Root Causes. One such was conjured up Saturday in a fine little blog called The Excavator, in a link posted by Newshound Joe inside the Forum. An analysis by Webster Tarpley (yes, we know) reminds us that if you want the truth,as always, follow the money.

“As soon as they got into power last summer, they [Muslim Brotherhood] began negotiations with the International Monetary Fund. This is the main thing to understand. They threw away their chance to govern because they caved in to the IMF worse than any government in recent Egyptian history. The IMF has always targeted the system of subsidy going back to Nasser and Arab socialism. There is a bread subsidy, there is a cooking oil subsidy, there are other staples, there may be a rice subsidy, but it’s wheat in particular, and fuel, household fuel or gasoline.

And the demand of the IMF was we’ll give you a loan of four billion dollars if you sign a letter of intent that specifies conditionalities. What are the conditionalities? That you will immediately double the price of gasoline. That happened last November, and really it’s been a slide downhill for Morsi since that moment. In other words, he doubled the price of gasoline. Think of that. I think any country in the world you’ll get riots. And in Egypt there’s a tradition. In 1977 Sadat tried to tamper with the bread subsidy and the whole country exploded in his face and he backed off and he never tried that again.

One of the important factors in the entire color revolution-Arab Spring situation, be it Tunisia or Gaddafi or others, is these governments were weakened in advance. They were set up for destruction by years-long IMF offensive to try to attack the system of subsidies and other government interventions to maintain the standard of living. Always the character of these things is to put a floor under the very poor. So the IMF was attacking this.

And what Morsi accepted to do was to double the price of gasoline, to raise the sales tax, and to move towards the implementation of a value-added tax which would be 10, 15, or 20 percent. That was last November. That’s part of the conditionality. This is what destroyed him.” –  Webster G. Tarpley

Tarpley as a source may well be suspect, but even the stopped clock of axiom is right twice a day. Let’s just stop to consider the evidence.

 

187_max

“Should a regime fall without mass mobilization, it is defined as a victim of a coup d’état, usually by a military cabal.”

– Ronald A Francisco, “Collective Action Theory And Empirical Evidence.” Pg. 11.

On his blog,  continues to asser that painting Morsi as the victim of a coup is to miss the larger picture.

The military alone can’t get tens of millions Egyptians onto the streets to remove a president they don’t like. Military leaders were responding to events and the force of public opinion. Was the military happy to nudge the protests along and see the Muslim Brotherhood suffer a defeat? Yes, but the unpopularity of Morsi and the Muslim Broterhood was their own doing.

This is the bigger picture that many in the media are missing.Morsi was doing unpopular things and damaging the reputation of Egypt by calling for a holy war in Syria against Assad and threatening an unnecessary war against Ethiopia over a Dam Project. Many people believe the dispute over the Nile is resolvable through negotiations, including the late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.   

If Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood had remained in power, Egypt might have been dragged into two wars. So the question that should be asked in this instance is not whether an action is good for democracy but whether it is good for the country. Keeping Morsi in power any longer would’ve hurt Egypt, and for many Egyptians their country is more valuable and sacred than the concept of democracy. 

A country should be led by its best men in a crisis and Morsi proved through his actions that he did not belong in high office. It took less than a year for the Egyptian people to recognize Morsi’s failings as a leader and they acted quickly to preserve their country. Morsi was not “ousted” by the military; he was overthrown by his people with the helpful aid of the military. I know it’s hard to believe in these cynical times but popular mass protests can lead to unforeseen political change.

And in a single observation to make the final point, one which warms the heart of this former Occupier…

Brazil’s leadership responded quickly to the massive protests by promising to dedicate the country’s oil wealth to education, health, and other government services.

The only action that changes anything is mass, collective action. Which is why the oligarchs of the FSA, via their hired thugs and rented congressmen, their instrumentations and armies of bankers all conspire to keep Americans at one another’s throats, to prevent that very thing from ever happening here. “Divide et impera,” motherfkers . . .

 

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Antarctic flood produces ‘ice crater’

The BBC moved a story this week that reported that satellite imagery revealed evidence for a colossal flood under Antarctica that drained six billion tons of water, quite possibly straight to the ocean.

The cause is thought to be a deeply buried lake that suddenly over-topped.

Satellites were used to map the crater that developed as the 2.7km-thick overlying ice sheet slumped to fill the void left by the escaping water.

The peak discharge would have been more than double the normal flow rate of London’s River Thames, researchers say.

The location of the flood was Cook Sub-Glacial Lake (SGL) in the east of the continent, and the event itself occurred over a period of about 18 months in 2007-2008.

It was detected and described using a combination of data gathered by the now-retired US Icesat mission and Europe’s new Cryosat platform.

The American spacecraft’s laser altimeter first noted a drop in the ice-surface height associated with the slumping.

The European satellite’s radar altimeter was then employed to map the shape of the crater that resulted.

 

Apparently Antarctica has a little understood series of “ghost lakes” which fill, drain and are replenished via mechanisms little understood. These “ghost lakes” are kept in a liquid state by heat rising from the rockbed below and from the pressure of the weight of the massive amount of the ice pushing down from above.

At present, Antarctica is losing mass at a rate of 50-100 billion tonnes a year, helping to raise global sea level. This study suggests that a not insignificant fraction of this mass loss could be due to flood events like that seen at Cook SGL. “This one lake on its own represents 5-10% of [Antarctica’s] annual mass imbalance,” said Leeds co-author Prof Andy Shepherd. “If there are nearly 400 of these sub-glacial lakes then there’s a chance a handful of them are draining each year, and that needs to be considered,” he told BBC News.

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Fk the kids… and go fk yourself!

Through inaction, which has become a vital part of this Congress’ skill set, the student loan rate doubled on July 1st. After all, why shouldn’t banksters pay half a point for the billions they borrow, while the next generation, upon which we pin our hopes and promise, start their lives with a mountain of non-dischargeable debt for student loans, which will now cost even more? Clearly, the government has recognized that education is indeed the great social equalizer which enables mobility among the classes, and the lesser classes will be getting none of it, not if the agents of the Owners can help it. The subtext is, equally clearly, to make it as difficult as possible for the children of the working classes to date their daughters in some collegiate future.

With the future of the children of the elites secured with trust funds and offshore accounts, the Koch-suckers of the 113th Congress bid America’s next generation, “Go fk yourselves!”

Bob Borosage explains in “Student Loans: Gouge The Kids,”

Interest rates on student loans will double to 6.8 percent on July 1 unless Congress acts. But it seems increasingly likely that the Congress will take off for the Fourth of July recess without addressing the problem. The major sticking point: Republicans in the House and Senate insist on gouging the kids to help reduce the deficit.

Mission accomplished. Republicans want student loan rates to double to “market rates” plus a bit more, much in the same way your credit card rates seem to never get below onerous no matter how cheap the money gets. The theory is that “the government can make a profit from the loans,”  because should government help students even a little on interest rates – never mind paying for college – it is “government spending” and is Therefore An Apostasy. The notion of “providing for the common welfare is a Capital Crime in Glennbeckistan  and Aynrandia.

What does the public want? Well, go fk yourselves.

Public Policy Polling has recently found:

83 percent of Americans want student loan rates to stay the same or be lowered.

41 percent want them to be lowered to 0.75 percent, the same rate big banks pay for overnight loans.

86 percent of Republicans, 84 percent of Democrats, 77 percent of independents want action taken on this issue.

74 percent of voters would be less likely to vote for their representative if they let rates rise.

52 percent would be more likely to vote for them if they lowered rates.

60 percent of Democrats are more likely to vote for their representative if they lowered rates, 50 percent of Republicans.

2:1 in support of passing Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s bill to lower student interest rates to 0.75 percent; including 65 percent of Democrats and, 56 percent of Republicans.

Nothing will happen between this writing and when this article publishes, so with the best of holiday greetings in sight, remember students and parents, “Go Fk Youselves!”

This message made possible by the 113th Congress.

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Has Seymour Hersh grabbed the third rail?

 

In a speech in January, Seymour Hersh charged that U.S. foreign policy had been hijacked by a cabal of neoconservative “crusaders” in the former vice president’s office and now in the special operations community:

That’s the attitude,” he continued. “We’re gonna change mosques into cathedrals. That’s an attitude that pervades, I’m here to say, a large percentage of the Joint Special Operations Command.”

He then alleged that Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who headed JSOC before briefly becoming the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and his successor, Vice Adm. William McRaven, as well as many within JSOC, “are all members of, or at least supporters of, Knights of Malta.”

Hersh may have been referring to the Sovereign Order of Malta, a Roman Catholic organization commited [sic] to “defence [sic] of the Faith and assistance to the poor and the suffering,” according to its website.

“They do see what they’re doing — and this is not an atypical attitude among some military — it’s a crusade, literally. They see themselves as the protectors of the Christians. They’re protecting them from the Muslims [as in] the 13th century. And this is their function.”

“They have little insignias, these coins they pass among each other, which are crusader coins,” he continued. “They have insignia that reflect the whole notion that this is a culture war. … Right now, there’s a tremendous, tremendous amount of anti-Muslim feeling in the military community.”

 

 

For his trouble, Hersh was called, essentially, batshit-crazy by writers in Foreign Policy. Indeed the vituperation of his critics leads a careful reader to wonder just which Establishment nerve has been struck here. Hersh reported a strange correlation and a surprising importance to a catholic religious order. An order whose past members have included William Casey, James Jesus angleton, Stanley McChrystal, William F. Buckley, Willian “Wild Bill” Donovan, and many others whose names may not be recognizable, but who have hands on the levels of foreign policy, intelligence and NGOs.

Hersh’s opponents have leapt from skepticism to attack and derision. One wonders whether Hersh stumbled onto something deeper and more important than even he realizes? Given that the RCC has been involved in a variety of sordid intrigues for centuries, just how incredulous does it seem for a newly-assertive Church to wish to reassert its  stature and influence. It is reasonable to assume the Church would simply readjust tactics for a new day.

IN any event, who to believe?

Seymour Hersh is in the middle of researching and writing a lengthy book on America’s wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has something of a history of playing looser with his facts in speeches than in print—partially to preserve his scoops pre-publication—and his speech in Doha hewed close to that tradition. In addition to the Knights, for example, he also made claims regarding Opus Dei, another secretive far right Catholic group steeped in just as much rumor and conspiracy theory. However, Hersh is a five-time Polk winner and recipient of the 2004 George Orwell Award—a reporter with a record that is well-burnished and nearly sterling.

Given the late 20th Century history of the “Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta,” how strange would it really be to find members of the Order, in and out of the military, collaborating on a new silent crusade with their old Cold War allies?

It would certainly complement the Christian fundamentalist version of the war, as prosecuted by Erik Prince, the former CEO of the military’s most notorious civilian contractor Xe (formerly Blackwater). His views—as depicted in one affidavit from the court case against him—certainly echo much of what Hersh ascribes to the JSOC and the Knights of Malta:

To that end, Mr. Prince intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades.

Mr. Prince operated his companies in a manner that encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life. For example, Mr. Prince’s executives would openly speak about going over to Iraq to “lay Hajiis out on cardboard.” Going to Iraq to shoot and kill Iraqis was viewed as a sport or game. Mr. Prince’s employees openly and consistently used racist and derogatory terms for Iraqis and other Arabs, such as “ragheads” or “hajiis.”

As for me, I’ll be waiting for Hersh’s next book.

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Murky arrangements

A post by Hiroyuki Hamada. Here is an important article talking about a complexity of the massive NSA spying. It talks about how Western allies colluding with the US massive apparatus.

We won’t be hearing much about it in the mainstream media, but the topic of suppressing mass movements against corporate domination must be an important one among the corporate elites as the movements against austerity, GMO giants, wars, human rights violation and etc. are increasingly becoming global.
We should keep in mind as we hear about NSA revelations that it’s often “the people” who suffer from the collusion of the corporate power, government agencies and elected officials. Behind the scene, the global elites are working hard to keep “the people” under control.

Snowden is being roundly condemned by many who say he had no authority or right to provide the public with details of NSA snooping. But what right or authority did NSA director, General Keith Alexander, have to provide information on NSA surveillance at five meetings of the global Bilderberg Conference – two in Virginia and one meeting each in Greece, Spain and Switzerland?”

“Alexander claims he is protecting the American people from a constantly changing number of terrorist attacks. In fact, he is providing information to elites on the methods NSA uses to spy on labor, student, religious and progressive organizations.”

“When Alexander leaks to the elites, he’s thanked. When Snowden does it, he’s called a traitor and a coward.

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Add Michael Hastings

This man’s death continues to haunt. Circumstances indicate it was inexplicable, and quite possibly no accident.

“It doesn’t take much to extrapolate, as Richard  Clarke did, what might happen to a hacked car driven by a high-value target. Really, with the difficulty in tracing an attack after the car, computers and driver have been “compromised” by a raging inferno, even not-so-high value targets that previously might have escaped retribution are now, thanks to technology, easy prey that might be too tempting to pass up.

One simple OnStar feature, for example, is “Stolen Vehicle Slowdown” which allows a remote operator to decelerate a vehicle. (Imagine the opposite happening via a hack of some kind.)

Although Clarke eschewed the moniker of “conspiracy theorist” and also made clear he was not necessarily claiming that Hastings’ late model, Bluetooth-ready car had been victimized by such an attack, it is notable that he felt the need to make such a strong case for considering the possibility. This is, you will recall, a man who has had a front row seat on the 50 yard line in terms of understanding the means available to govermnent operatives and the motivations that drive them.

As someone well-versed both in cyberwarfare and the tendency of people in power to “shoot the messenger” when the message is dangerous to them, the timing and veracity of Clarke’s interview stand out as chilling reminders of the dangerous games currently being played with national security, whistleblowers and investigative journalism.”
Read more at: http://newsvandal.com/2013/06/richard-clarkes-dire-warning-to-journalists/
Clarke’s HuffPo interview: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/24/michael-hastings-car-hacked_n_3492339.html
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2013/05/james_rosen_named_a_co_conspirator_why_is_barack_obama_s_justice_department.html

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Diner Almost Buys the Farm

As most regulars and some guests know, this week was difficult for the Diner as the hosting service that houses this enterprise shut the forum down, supposedly in response to a reported 75,000 database queries per hour. RE, who lived through all of this, tells it best:

It appears more likely that the old Host simply wanted me to buy a Bigger Hosting Package, based on what appears to be a fraudulent number of Database queries, quoted at around 75,000/hour, which is just insane if it is Real People and not some kind of glitch in the system or some BOT attack.  Sure, the Diner has grown here and we have a pretty decent size readership now, but not anywhere NEAR enough to generate that kind of traffic number in legitimate queries.

Thanks to the intervention of haniel and the “database cavalry,” the entire database has been mirrored, copied and even features some new Features and Widgets already installed on the new Diner. The new URL is www.doomsteaddiner.net. RE again:

This is another very important aspect of running a Website, because the Hosting Server holds ALL your Data, and they can fuck with you at will. IF YOU OWN SUCH A WEBSITE, BACKUP YOUR DATABASES ON YOUR OWN HARD DRIVE!  I was not so backed up, but fortunately for me I had Haniel who could Spoof the Security on the old Host and pull it all down.  Flick of a Switch if you get in a dispute with the Host, your website is DOWN.  You cannot access your data.   So you have to host on a Server where you have decent faith in the people who run it to be Honest & Righteous.  You don’t get that on Corporate Hosts, once you pass a certain point of Popularity, they start to Blackmail you in insidious ways to cough up moreMONEY.  Buy Paid Technical Support, Buy Bigger Hosting Packages.

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The literal meanings of places in the world, mapped.

Sometimes, it’s just for fun. From Slate this week. A pair of cartographers has created a map in which the original place names have been translated to reflect their original meanings.

From the “Misty Mountains” to “Winterfell,” the names of places in fantasy do for us what most real-world names do not: They evoke something. With their primitive literalism, they conjure a sense of dread, as in “Mount Doom” or durability, as in “Storm’s End,” or peace, as in “Rivendell.” Of course, the names of most places in the real world have meanings too, but many have slipped from common knowledge long ago. The above map, designed bycartographers Stephan Hormes and Silke Peust, labels countries, cities, and landmarks with the literal meanings of their official names. Some places, such as “Darkpool” (Dublin) or “Land of the South Wind” (Australia) or “Sea of Middle Earth” (Mediterranean Sea) seem torn straight from a Tolkien epic. Others, such as “I Don’t Understand You!” (Yucatan, Mexico), “Tax Haven for Pilgrims” (Astrakhan, Russia), and “We’re Coming From Cutting Leaves!” (Abidjan, Ivory Coast), are more perplexing. To see further details about the etymology of the names and other maps like this, or to order printed copies, see the cartographers’ website. For more detail on places in the U.S., check out the U.S. map of literal place names.

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Dept. of “You’re Shitting Me, Right?”

http://www.newslo.com/noneedtosatirize-jennifer-lopez-sings-happy-birthday-mr-president-to-brutal-dictator/

Pop singer Jennifer Lopez appeared in a special concert Saturday night for the dictator of Turkmenistan, who runs one of the world’s most brutal and oppressive regimes.

“It was our pleasure!” she cheered from the stage. “And we wish you the very happiest birthday… Happy birthday to you — happy birthday, Mr. President.”

Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, who last made waves in the western media for falling off his horse in front of a large crowd, has accumulated a sordid history since coming to power in 2006.

Reporters Without Borders says that under his rule, Turkmenistan has become “one of the world’s most absolute and brutal dictatorships.” Human Rights Watch similarly classifies the country as “virtually closed to independent scrutiny,” where “human rights defenders and other activists face the constant threat of government reprisal.”

The trip to the oil-rich former Soviet nation was organized by the state-run China National Petroleum Corporation, which Lopez reportedly “obliged” at the last moment, according to The Guardian. Her publicist told the paper that she would not have performed the show had she known about the country’s regime.

You know they LOVE this kind of talk. One wonders where are the women ready to Lysistrata on their asses.

Some women like being forced to have an ultrasound before receiving an abortion, according to former Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC).

Republicans in state legislatures across the country have pushed legislation that requires women to undergo an ultrasound procedure 24 hours before terminating their pregnancy. The so-called “informed consent” laws usually require women to be given a picture of the fetus and be shown a fetal heartbeat, along with general information about abortion.

“The more the ultrasounds have become part of the law, where a woman gets the opportunity to see that there’s a real child, it’s beginning to change minds, and I think that’s a good thing,” DeMint said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “It’s time that the 3,000 babies we lose every day have some people speaking up for them.”

Res ipsa loquitor.

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Senior Vatican cleric’s arrest for smuggling stranger than fiction

In yet another blow to the Vatican’s image, a Senior Vatican Cleric has been arrested with two others in an international money smuggling case. Sixty-one-year-old Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, who worked as a senior accountant in the Vatican’s financial administration, was arrested along with an Italian secret service agent and a financial intermediary. Scarano was already under investigation in a convoluted case that reads like a spy novel.

Arrested in a Rome parish and taken to Rome’s Queen of Heaven jail, Scarano had hatched a plot to bring up to $52 million into Italy for a family of shipbuilders in his hometown of Salerno in southern Italy, magistrate Nello Rossi says. Rossi is already investigating the Vatican bank for money laundering.

Scarano is under separate investigation in southern Italy in relation to his accounts in the Vatican bank.

Scarano engaged Giovanni Zito, a paramilitary Carabiniere policeman on loan to the secret services, to help him get the money last July, which was in a Swiss bank, into Italy without tax and customs controls, Rossi says.

The third person arrested was Giovanni Carenzio, a financial broker with offices in Switzerland and the Canary Islands and who was acting as the fiduciary for the owners of the money.

It’s not yet known how the money got to Switzerland in the first place.

A cleric tries to help some friends, and suddenly, everyone’s a detective . . .

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Add Catholic Church: Still Terrible, Still Stacking Cash So Tall They Could Climb It

Wonkette moved a story detailing this particular flavor of horrible: moving assets around so that they could insulate themselves from legal claims from victims:

Files released by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee on Monday reveal that in 2007, Cardinal Timothy F. Dolan, then the archbishop there, requested permission from the Vatican to move nearly $57 million into a cemetery trust fund to protect the assets from victims of clergy sexual abuse who were demanding compensation….

[T]he files contain a 2007 letter to the Vatican in which he explains that by transferring the assets, “I foresee an improved protection of these funds from any legal claim and liability.” The Vatican approved the request in five weeks, the files show.

Hiding your money in trust funds does indeed improve your protection of those delicious monies. Doing so to dick over victims is just what Jesus said to do in First Corinthians, right?! NOPE NOT RIGHT.

This latest bit of financial shenanigans is just one episode in the long-running series called Milwaukee Archdiocese, Why Do You Suck So Hard? Hence, our desire for a macro because Jeee-zus it gets depressing to write about this again and again. Longtime fans will remember that the Milwaukee Archdiocese filed bankruptcy back in 2011 because it was the best way to compensate victims. No really, they said that. They’ve also been whining like a baby without a bottle over the fact that they’ve spent $9 million in legal fees so far during the bankruptcy process and are therefore hobos now. Yr Wonkette is not all that money-savvy, as we have none, but even our rudimentary understanding of how money works leads us to believe that spending $9 million dollars does not make you bankrupt when you’ve already stashed a cool $57 million elsewhere. Milwaukee Archdiocese, you are like the Mitt Romney of churches and your crocodile tears are wasted on our hardened heart. Pay the victims any amount of monies they want because fuck you.

#NoNeedToSatirize: Fox News host: Not using God to sell beer means ‘the terrorists have won’

A Fox News guest host asserted on Friday that “the terrorists have won” because brewer Samuel Adams was not in invoking God in its television commercials to sell beer.

In the “Independence” television spot that began airing last month, an actor in a Samuel Adams Boston Lager commercial quotes from the Declaration of Independence.

“Why name a beer after Samuel Adams? Because Samuel Adams signed the Declaration of Independence,” the actor says. “He believed there was a better way to live: all men are created equal. They are endowed with certain unalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Smooth, flavorful, we bow to no kings. Samuel Adams Boston lager: declare your independence.”

On Friday, the three Fox & Friends guest hosts expressed outrage that the brewer had not included the phrase “endowed by their Creator” in the commercial.

“When political correctness takes over the beer advertising industry, the terrorists have won,” said Watters, who is better known for his job as a producer on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News show. “I mean, this is absolutely outrageous!”

“You know, maybe it’s because Sam Adams was the tea party guy — he started the Boston Tea Party — maybe the tea party’s being targeted here,” he added.

For its part, Sam Adams has reportedly explained that the Beer Institute Advertising Code advises against using “religion or religious themes” for marketing purposes.

But co-host Clayton Morris wasn’t buying that.

“If the beer code ethics code guideline, whatever bogus organization that is has more authority than our Declaration of Independence,” he argued, “why don’t you just pull out the Declaration of Independence and say, ‘I’ve got this document here, does this trump yours?’”

“Yeah, you can have a bikini cat fight in the pool with hair pulling and all that nonsense, but don’t put God,” Watters quipped.

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Yes, friends, you can no longer make this shit up.

Until next week, then, see you around the newly renovated Diner!

That Was The Week That Was In Doom June 30, 2013

From the Keyboard of Surly1

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on June 30, 2013

http://991.com/newGallery/That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964.jpg

Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.

surveillance

Reality is for people who can’t face drugs.~ Laurence Peter

“Imagine a society that subjects people to conditions that make them terribly unhappy then gives them the drugs to take away their unhappiness. . .  In effect antidepressants are a means of modifying an individual’s internal state in such a way as to enable him to tolerate social conditions that he would otherwise find intolerable.”  ― Theodore Kaczynski

With every news cycle we  move into times more absurd and cruel then we could possibly imagine. The daily headlines have outstripped the creativity of satirists and humorists. The mainstream media lies, and reminiscent of the Soviet Union of bygone days, only comedians are able to tell the truth.  Brain-eating amoebas! Plot to execute Occupy leaders abetted by FBI!  This week we learned that an activist faces 13 years in prison for wielding sidewalk chalk, banksters caught dead to rights colluding in fraud face nothing,  we connect the dots on species extinction, and we are shocked… shocked to learn that the last people that the NSA wants to surveil are terrorists.  The president of Ecuador tweaks the New World Order,  Phyllis Schafly rises from her crypt, and Fukushima continues to tick away, glowing in the dark with malevolent certainty. There is a reason the proverb has it, “many a truth is told in jest.”  So, barkeep, for my friends here antidepressants all around with a Prestone chaser. Belly up to the Diner bar for yet another round.

 

 

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California Man Faces 13 Years In Prison For Offending Bank of America With Kiddie Chalk

Yes friends, in the wake of last week’s whistleblower story about Bank of America comes this story about the wheels of justice. And no, we are not making this up. Daily Kos reports:

Jeff Olson, the 40-year-old man who is being prosecuted for scrawling anti-megabank messages on sidewalks in water-soluble chalk last year now faces a 13-year jail sentence. A judge has barred his attorney from mentioning freedom of speech during trial.According to the San Diego Reader, which reported on Tuesday that a judge had opted to prevent Olson’s attorney from “mentioning the First Amendment, free speech, free expression, public forum, expressive conduct, or political speech during the trial,” Olson must now stand trial for on 13 counts of vandalism.

In addition to possibly spending years in jail, Olson will also be held liable for fines of up to $13,000 over the anti-big-bank slogans that were left using washable children’s chalk on a sidewalk outside of three San Diego, California branches of Bank of America, the massive conglomerate that received $45 billion in interest-free loans from the US government in 2008-2009 in a bid to keep it solvent after bad bets went south.

The Reader reports that Olson’s hearing had gone as poorly as his attorney might have expected, with Judge Howard Shore, who is presiding over the case, granting Deputy City Attorney Paige Hazard’s motion to prohibit attorney Tom Tosdal from mentioning the United States’ fundamental First Amendment rights.

You read that correctly. By order of the judge,  the defendant’s attorney may not mention that pesky free-speech-first-amendment thingy during the trial. Seriously. Can you say, “mistrial?”

The backstory was thus: apparently, Darell Freeman, Bank of America’s Vice President for Global Corporate Security, confronted Olsen and a friend as they were protesting in front of a B of A branch.

A former police officer, Freeman accused Olson and Daniels of “running a business outside of the bank,” evidently in reference to the National Bank Transfer Day activities, which was a consumer activism initiative that sought to promote Americans to switch from commercial banks, like Bank of America, to not-for-profit credit unions.

At the time, Bank of America’s debit card fees were among one of the triggers that led Occupy Wall Street members to promote the transfer day.

“It was just an empty threat,” says Olson of Freeman’s accusations. “He was trying to scare me away. To be honest, it did at first.”

Former cop Freeman repeatedly pressured the San Diego police to attack Olson’s chalk-based activism with the same legal force used to prosecute violent gang members. And, this being the America we no longer recognize from our youth, he got want he wanted.

More experiments in the laboratory of democracy.

 

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Bankers Caught On Tape, Joking About Bailout, And How They’d Never Pay It Back

Earlier this week, a story moved that went to prove everything you thought about the behavior of bankers but were unable to produce a smoking gun.

The Irish Independent, a Dublin-based newspaper, has uncovered tapes of an internal phone conversation from September 2008 between two executives at Anglo Irish Bank during its bailout deal and they sound pretty scandalous.  The Irish Independent points out that the recordings show they misled the Central Bank.

The executives from the recording have been identified as John Bowe (head of the bank’s capital markets) and Peter Fitzgerald (director of retail banking).

However, Bowe “categorically denied” that he misled the Central Bank and Fitzgerald, who wasn’t involved in discussions with regulators, said he was unaware of any intention to mislead, the report said.

In this regard, we are reminded of Bill Clinton’s repeated denials about his serial infidelities and one notorious intern. But there’s more.

Bowe tells Fitzgerald that they met with the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority (IFSRA) the previous day about getting €7 billion.  They laugh how they will never be able to pay it back. 

Bowe:  “So we went down … and we basically said. In Central, yeah. And I mean, to cut a long story short we sort of said. ‘Look, what we need is seven billion euros…and we’re going to give you and we’re going to give you, what we’re going to give you is our loan collateral so we’re not giving you ECB, we’re giving you the loan clause. 

“We gave him a term sheet and we put a pro not facility together and we said that’s what we need. And that kind of sobered up everybody pretty quickly, you know.” 

Fitzgerald: “Yeah.”

Fitzgerald: “And is that €7 billion a term?”

Bowe: “This is €7 billion bridging.” 

Fitzgerald: “Yeah.”

Bowe: “So … so it is bridged until we can pay you back … which is never.” (Both laugh)

And we know you’re laughing, too.  even though these fiduciaries are intent on committing a fraud, one would assume that they had at least done the math to compute the amount of their losses that the resulting fraud with sponge up, correct? Uhhh …

Fitzgerald asks Bowe how he came up with the 7 billion figure.  Bowe responds that like then-CEO David Drumm, he picked it out of his “arse.”

Fitzgerald: “Ah we are, yeah, yeah and, em, what, how did you arrive at the seven? 

Bowe: “Just, as Drummer would say, ‘picked it out of my arse’, you know. Em … I mean, look, what we did was we basically said: ‘What is the amount we can securitize over the next six months?’ And basically say to them: ‘Look our problem is time, it’s not our ability to create the liquidity, the enemy is time here.'” 

Fitzgerald: “Yeah.” 

Bowe: “So we can rebuild, in other words, we can rebuild the liquidity off our loan book, but what we can’t do, we can’t do it now and the balance sheet’s leaking now.” 

So we will essentially torture Bradley Manning and subject him to a political show trial, and hunt Edward Snowden to the ends of the earth. We will prosecute those who reports wrongdoing though official channels to demonstrate the futility of using those channels, and to send a message to other potential whistleblowers. We will foment wars all over the earth in order to enrich a handful of arms manufacturers. And if American boys need to die in pursuit of that particular pocket of profit, so be it. But this scum, and their ilk on this side of the water, walk free, and proud knowing they’re doing “God’s work.”

As noted above, the Independent also has a media-filled story about how these two deceived the Irish government and cost Ireland sovereignty.

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Humans ARE directly to blame for a rise in the number of endangered species

Researchers from Ohio State University discovered that as human numbers rise, the number of animals and species in the same region decrease with the study predicting that 11% of animals will be endangered by 2050. Increasing numbers of animals are moving from endangered to extinct lists, like the Western Black Rhino of Africa, pictured

It might seem to be CFS, or “common fucking sense,” as re: would’ve her, to find a direct link between increase in population size and the number of life forms on planet Earth threatened with extinction. Yet in every gathering of sub-literates, whether it be the corner bar or Congress, there are those will argue otherwise. No more.  Research findings just in from Ohio State University demonstrate that there is a direct link between human activity and the extinction and endangerment of certain animals.

Researchers from Ohio State University discovered that as human numbers rise, the number of animals and species in the same region decrease with the study predicting that 11% of animals will be endangered by 2050.

Previous studies have suspected that the number of threatened species could be linked to the size, density and growth of the human population yet research from Ohio State University is the first to have confirmed the theory.

. . .

They found that changes in human population density had ‘measurable consequences’ on changes in the number of threatened species by nation.

The average nation with a growing population can expect a 3.3 per cent increase in the number of threatened mammals and birds over the 10 years and a 10.8 per cent increase by 2050, based on human population growth alone.

Another animal edging up the endangered species list towards extinction is the Philippine Tarsier. The Tarsier feeds on tiny insects and is believed to be the world’s smallest primate

The implications of the study are quite clear:  human population density is at the very heart of extinction threats to both mammals and birds. The report does not directly suggest conservation efforts, but the future conservation efforts and certainly consider the impact of human population.

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Surveillance not for terrorists

surveillanceA Bloomberg article  thankfully reminded us of the real issue at the heart of the NSA surveillance/Edward Snowden drama.  As some of us have seen, to our horror, ordinary Americans seem to not mind the government’s digital monitoring of their communications as long as it seems to be genuinely targeted terrorists. That’s really not the case. The government’s monitoring of our communications and days of our digital privacy is really targeted at ordinary, law-abiding citizens.

The infrastructure set up by the National Security Agency, however, may only be good for gathering information on the stupidest, lowest-ranking of terrorists. The Prism surveillance program focuses on access to the servers of America’s largest Internet companies, which support such popular services as Skype, Gmail and iCloud. These are not the services that truly dangerous elements typically use.

In a January 2012 report titled “Jihadism on the Web: A Breeding Ground for Jihad in the Modern Age,” the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service drew a convincing picture of an Islamist Web underground centered around “core forums.” These websites are part of the Deep Web, or Undernet, the multitude of online resources not indexed by commonly used search engines.

The Netherlands’ security service, which couldn’t find recent data on the size of the Undernet, cited a 2003 study from the University of California at Berkeley as the “latest available scientific assessment.” The study found that just 0.2 percent of the Internet could be searched. The rest remained inscrutable and has probably grown since. In 2010, Google Inc. said it had indexed just 0.004 percent of the information on the Internet.

Websites aimed at attracting traffic do their best to get noticed, paying to tailor their content to the real or perceived requirements of search engines such as Google. Terrorists have no such ambitions. They prefer to lurk in the dark recesses of the Undernet.

 Undernet?  Really? I’m not sure most Americans, including this writer, could find the undernet if provided a map and a Chilton’s Guide.  Given the fact that no self-respecting terrorist would use the open Internet for communications of any sort, one is left to consider the implications of just why the government is hoovering up all manner of personal communications of law-abiding citizens. Perhaps it’s to create the “surveillance effect” of demoralizing an already cowed populace now used to serial fingering and probing by uniformed TSA goons?

…Monitoring phone calls is hardly the way to catch terrorists. They’re generally not dumb enough to use Verizon. Granted, Russia’s special services managed to kill Chechen separatist leader Dzhokhar Dudayev with a missile that homed in on his satellite-phone signal. That was in 1996. Modern-day terrorists are generally more aware of the available technology.

At best, the recent revelations concerning Prism and telephone surveillance might deter potential recruits to terrorist causes from using the most visible parts of the Internet. Beyond that, the government’s efforts are much more dangerous to civil liberties than they are to al-Qaeda and other organizations like it.

Surveillance societies exist to disrupt and prevent change to the status quo. Here’s a theory: having successfully prosecuted a 35 year class war to extract the  accumulated wealth of the American middle class, the elites now have a militarized police force and a state surveillance apparatus  in place to prevent social movements that will lead to change. Especially political movements, like Occupy. All the better for the 1% to keep their ill–accumulated gains off the table and  safely in their Cayman Islands accounts.

A related story:

None Dare Call it FASCISM: How the NSA has (already) privatized tyranny

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Add Michael Hastings

HuffPo moved an article last Monday about Michael Hastings’ last communications. Speculation continues about the circumstances of his death.

Hours before dying in a fiery car crash, award-winning journalist Michael Hastings sent an email to his colleagues, warning that federal authorities were interviewing his friends and that he needed to go “off the rada[r]” for a bit.

The email was sent around 1 p.m. on Monday, June 17. At 4:20 a.m. the following morning, Hastings died when his Mercedes, traveling at high speeds, smashed into a tree and caught on fire. He was 33.

Hastings sent the email to staff at BuzzFeed, where he was employed, but also blind-copied a friend, Staff Sgt. Joseph Biggs, on the message. Biggs, who Hastings met in 2008 when he was embedded in his unit in Afghanistan, forwarded the email to KTLA, who posted it online on Saturday.

Here’s the email, with the recipients’ names redacted.

Subject: FBI Investigation, re: NSA

Hey (redacted names) — the Feds are interviewing my “close friends and associates.” Perhaps if the authorities arrive “BuzzFeed GQ,” er HQ, may be wise to immediately request legal counsel before any conversations or interviews about our news-gathering practices or related journalism issues.

Also: I’m onto a big story, and need to go off the rada[r] for a bit.

All the best, and hope to see you all soon.

Michael

Rumors that the FBI was investigating Hastings began the day after his death, with a couple of mysterious WikiLeaks tweets.

In a rare move, the FBI issued a statement denying that Hastings was under investigation. The Los Angeles Police Department also said it had found no evidence of any foul play in his death.

Hastings, an accomplished war correspondent and sharp political reporter, was best known for writing a critical Rolling Stone profile of General Stanley McChrystal that led to his resignation.

It’s unclear what “big story” Hastings was working on prior to his death, but it might have to do with yet another military bigwig, this time retired general David Petraeus.

The LA Times reported that Hastings was researching a story about a privacy lawsuit brought by Jill Kelley, the Florida socialite who took center stage in the Petraeus cheating scandal, against the Department of Defense and the FBI. According to a person close to Kelley, the paper said, Hastings had plans to meet a representative of hers to discuss the case next week.

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Ecuador offers U.S. rights aid, waives trade benefits

 

For those of us following the Edward Snowden/NSA story with the avidity of a drama, the statements made this week by Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa certainly compelled our attention.  Correa rejected trade benefits and courted the risk of sanctions, plus tolerated threats from a number of American politicians  as a result of considering asylum for Edward Snowden.

(Reuters) – Ecuador’s leftist government thumbed its nose at Washington on Thursday by renouncing U.S. trade benefits and offering to pay for human rights training in America in response to pressure over asylum for former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

The angry response threatens a showdown between the two nations over Snowden, and may burnish President Rafael Correa’s credentials to be the continent’s principal challenger of U.S. power after the death of Venezuelan socialist leader Hugo Chavez.

“Ecuador will not accept pressures or threats from anyone, and it does not traffic in its values or allow them to be subjugated to mercantile interests,” government spokesman Fernando Alvarado said at a news conference.

In a cheeky jab at the U.S. spying program that Snowden unveiled through leaks to the media, the South American nation offered $23 million per year to finance human rights training.

The funding would be destined to help “avoid violations of privacy, torture and other actions that are denigrating to humanity,” Alvarado said. He said the amount was the equivalent of what Ecuador gained each year from the trade benefits.

Ironies abound.  Yet the fact that the president of a small, Latin American country can give voice to the many of us still inside the FSA who reject the Washington consensus  is a thing of beauty.  The wholly-owned corporate media simply gives no play to domestic critics of the new world order or any of its instrumentalities.

“They’ve managed to focus attention on Snowden and on the ‘wicked’ countries that ‘support’ him, making us forget the terrible things against the U.S. people and the whole world that he denounced. The world order isn’t only unjust, it’s immoral,” Correa continued, taking an aggressive new rhetorical tack on the case.

A sentiment now forgotten in most quarters within the FSA.

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Deregulation Makes Things Blow Up

Charlie Pierce of Esquire made note of the fact that, when there is no oversight and regulation, owners won’t spend any money on safety or their people in pursuit of maximum profit.

 

Meanwhile, Congress seems to be getting interested in what happened in Geismar. Today, the Senate Committee On The Environment And Public Works held a hearing into what happened in both Texas and Louisiana. The committee’s chair, Barbara Boxer of California, said that, “This should be a wakeup call for all of us, and we must take steps to ensure that such a disaster never happens again. Here’s the good news: under existing law, EPA can strengthen safety at facilities that handle dangerous chemicals.”

If only the EPA had, you know, a director right now.

Meanwhile, Kim Nibarger, an environmental specialist for the United Steelworkers minced no words about what’s really going on here. Decades of deregulation and removing the dead hand of government from American corporations have turned far too many American factories and storage facilities into mini-Bhopals in waiting.

This is Rick Perry, Governor Of Texas, including the city of West,on the EPA and environmental regulations:

“… tell the EPA that we don’t don’t need you monkeyin’ around and fiddlin’ around and gettin’ in our business on every kind of regulation that you can dream up. You’re doin’ nothin’ more than killin’ jobs. It is a cemetery for jobs at the EPA.”

This is “Bobby” Jindal, governor of Louisiana, including the city of Geismar, on government regulations:

“We believe in planting the seeds of growth in the fertile soil of your economy, where you live, where you work, invest, and dream, not in the barren concrete of Washington. If it’s worth doing, block grant it to the states.”

This is Mike Pence, governor of Indiana, including the city of Union Mills, on the same topic:

“Over several decades the proliferation of administrative rules and regulations at all levels of government has increased the complexity and expense of economic life. Reducing this regulatory burden will promote citizens’ freedom to engage in individual, family and business pursuits.”    

Yeah, that’ll work.

Self-reporting is a joke. Leaving it to the states is an open invitation to the wild kingdom, Right now, the occasional death of a worker or three is cheaper than installing sprinklers or something. When your state’s governor starts spouting off about creating a “business-friendly environment” in your state, this is what he’s talking about.

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 Schlafly: Latino voters “don’t understand” the Bill of Rights “at all”

The blogging gods are good this week…

Conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly is still telling anyone who will listen that the Republican party should only pay attention to white voters (something that it is already pretty good at doing, according to recent data).

This is a popular refrain for Schlafy, even though, as Jordan Fabian at ABC News notes, this is precisely the strategy that lost Republicans the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, to say nothing of how offensive it is to suggest the GOP disregard entire segments of the voting population based on race and ethnicity.

Schlafly was a guest on a conservative California radio show when she fired off her latest proclamation about the future of the GOP, announcing that courting Latino voters is a waste of the grand ol’ party’s time because they “don’t have any Republican inclinations at all,” and are “running an illegitimacy rate that’s just about the same as the blacks are.”

As Hunter S. Thompson would undoubtedly observed, Res ipsa loquitor.

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Radiation Levels Skyrocket at Fukushima

The Accident Is NOT Contained

What better way to execute a “Great Culling” than to poison groundwater?  Washington’s Blog moved this story. Record high levels of radioactive tritium have been observed in the harbor at Fukushima.

Japan Times notes:

The density of radioactive tritium in samples of seawater from near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant doubled over 10 days to hit a record 1,100 becquerels per liter, possibly indicating contaminated groundwater is seeping into the Pacific, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.

***

Tepco said late Monday it was still analyzing the water for strontium-90, which would pose a greater danger than tritium to human health if absorbed via the food chain. The level of cesium did not show any significant change between the two sample dates, according to the embattled utility.

On June 19, Tepco revealed that a groundwater sample taken from a nearby monitoring well was contaminated with both tritium and strontium-90.

***

During a news conference Monday in Tokyo, Masayuki Ono, a Tepco executive and spokesman, this time did not deny the possibility of leakage into the sea, while he said Tepco is still trying to determine the cause of the spike.

Kyoto reports:

A sample collected Friday contained around 1,100 becquerels of tritium per liter, the highest level detected in seawater since the nuclear crisis at the plant started in March 2011, the utility said Monday.

***

The latest announcement was made after Tepco detected high levels of radioactive tritium and strontium in groundwater from an observation well at the plant.

Indeed, the amount of radioactive strontium has skyrocketed over the last couple of months at Fukushima.

The New York Times writes:

Tokyo Electric Power, the operator of the stricken nuclear power plant at Fukushima, said Wednesday that it had detected high levels of radioactive strontium in groundwater at the plant, raising concerns that its storage tanks are leaking contaminated water, possibly into the ocean.

***

The company has struggled to store growing amounts of contaminated runoff at the plant, but had previously denied that the site’s groundwater was highly toxic….

Xinhua reports:

Very high radioactivity levels were detected in groundwater from an observation well at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, said the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) Wednesday.

***

The observation well was set up on the Pacific side of the plant’s No. 2 reactor turbine building last December to find out the reasons why radioactivity levels in seawater near the plant remained high. The company said the sampled water could be from the contaminated water that seeped into the ground.

Just a reminder that weather patterns move West to East.

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Brain-eating amoebas thrive in US lakes as global warming heats waterways

 

These deadly invaders from the deep are showing up in surprising locations

For some people, a fatal infection without any obvious treatment strikes the sufferer down. After a swim on a hot summers day, the swimmer inadvertently inhales and me big organism which travels through the nasal passage into the brain where it multiplies devours cerebral fluid and gray matter and causes death.

And if you live in the North, it’s coming to a theater near you.

These “brain-eating amoebas” — known to doctors and scientists as Naegleria fowleri, or N. fowleri — aren’t believed to kill often. In the US, researchers estimate that between three and eight people die from N. fowleri disease, commonly referred to as PAM (primary amebic meningoencephalitis) each year. But that might not be the case for long. In recent years, N. fowleri has popped up in unexpected locations, which some experts suggest is a sign that warmer waters — caused by brutal summer heat waves and rising temperatures across the country — are catalyzing their spread.

 “The climate is changing, and let me tell you, so is this,” says Travis Heggie, an associate professor at Bowling Green State University who’s tracked the amoebas for several years. “If warm weather keeps up, I think we’ll see N. fowleri popping up farther and farther north.”

That speculation seems to be reinforced by recent cases of PAM, once a health woe confined to fresh water in southern states like Texas and Arizona. In Minnesota, public health officials were stunned to see two fatalities caused by N. fowleri — both young children — in 2010 and 2012. 

 

 

And this from an earlier article:

Here’s a ghastly thing that has been making headlines lately: Naegleria fowleri, a.k.a. brain-eating amoebas. So far this summer, this microscopic mind-muncher has claimed the lives of three people in three different states: Virginia, Florida and Louisiana. According to MSNBC:

“Naegleria fowleri moves into the body through the nose and destroys brain tissue, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bug causes primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, a nearly always fatal disease of the central nervous system, the CDC reported. … Naegleria fowleri is usually found warm, stagnant water in freshwater lakes, ponds and rivers. It can also be found in wells.”

The good news is that brain-eating amoeba infections are very rare, and there’s no sign of any sort of outbreak at this time. Nevertheless, the Naegleria fowleri is one of nature’s many ghoulish, nightmarish creepy-crawlies, ranking alongside flesh-eating bacteria, which destroys skin and muscle tissue by releasing toxins, and the human bot fly, and insect that implants its larvae into human skin. Parasite rex, indeed.

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FBI Document—“[DELETED]” Plots to Kill Occupy Leaders “If Deemed Necessary”

In a story that would strain credulity even in these credulity-straining times when the daily headlines outstrip The Onion for absurdity, comes this piece of journalism from Dave Lindorff.

 

 

 

 

 

“Would you be shocked to learn that the FBI apparently knew that some organization, perhaps even a law enforcement agency or private security outfit, had contingency plans to assassinate peaceful protestors in a major American city — and did nothing to intervene?

“Would you be surprised to learn that this intelligence comes not from a shadowy whistle-blower but from the FBI itself – specifically, from a document obtained from Houston FBI office last December, as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Washington, DC-based Partnership for Civil Justice Fund?

“To repeat: this comes from the FBI itself. The question, then, is: What did the FBI do about it?”

Many will recall that the Occupy movement swept the US beginning in mid-September 2011, taking root in a number of urban areas. It was rare for a city of any note not to have a couple of bedraggled activists in residence, many of whom had visited the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park to see how Occupy was done. In October of that year the movement came to Houston. Given the prevailing, uh, local political temperature, the local powers-that-be, including law enforcement, banking and oil execs reacted even more strongly than in some other places.

The push-back took the form of violent assaults by police on Occupy activists, federal and local surveillance of people seen as organizers, infiltration by police provocateurs—and, as crazy as it sounds, some kind of plot to assassinate the “leaders” of this non-violent and leaderless movement.

Here’s what the document obtained from the Houston FBI, said:

An identified [DELETED] as of October planned to engage in sniper attacks against protestors (sic) in Houston, Texas if deemed necessary. An identified [DELETED] had received intelligence that indicated the protesters in New York and Seattle planned similar protests in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. [DELETED] planned to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest groups and obtain photographs, then formulate a plan to kill the leadership via suppressed sniper rifles. (Note: protests continued throughout the weekend with approximately 6000 persons in NYC. ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests have spread to about half of all states in the US, over a dozen European and Asian cities, including protests in Cleveland (10/6-8/11) at Willard Park which was initially attended by hundreds of protesters.)

Occupiers Astounded—But Not Entirely

Paul Kennedy, the National Lawyers Guild attorney in Houston who represented a number of Occupy Houston activists arrested during the protests, had not heard of the sniper plot, but said, “I find it hard to believe that such information would have been known to the FBI and that we would not have been told about it.”  He then added darkly, “If it had been some right-wing group plotting such an action, something would have been done. But if it is something law enforcement was planning, then nothing would have been done. It might seem hard to believe that a law enforcement agency would do such a thing, but I wouldn’t put it past them.”

Seeking confirmation, the reporters and asked the FBI about this document—which, despite its stunning revelation and despite  press releases, was, per usual, generally ignored by mainstream and “alternative” press alike.

The FBI confirmed the authenticity of the document and that it originated in the Houston FBI office. (The plot is also referenced in a second document obtained in PCJF’s FOIA response, in this case from the FBI’s Gainesville, Fla., office, which cites the Houston FBI as the source.)  That second document actually suggests that the assassination plot, which never was activated, might still be operative should Occupy decisively re-emerge in the area. It states:

On 13 October 20111, writer sent via email an excerpt from the daily [DELETED] regarding FBI Houston’s [DELETED] to all IAs, SSRAs and SSA [DELETED] This [DELETED] identified the exploitation of the Occupy Movement by [LENGTHY DELETION] interested in developing a long-term plan to kill local Occupy leaders via sniper fire.

Remington Alessi, an Occupy Houston activist, was one of the seven defendants whose felony charge was dropped because of police entrapment. He speculates that the plot could have been the work of a police or a private security group.

Alessi, who hails from a law-enforcement family and who ran last year for sheriff of Houston’s Harris County on the Texas Green Party ticket, garnering 22,000 votes, agrees with attorney Kennedy that the plotters were not from some right-wing organization. “If it had been that, the FBI would have acted on it,” he agrees. “I believe the sniper attack was one strategy being discussed for dealing with the occupation.” He adds:

I assume I would have been one of the targets, because I led a few of the protest actions, and I hosted an Occupy show on KPFT.  I wish I could say I’m surprised that this was seriously discussed, but remember, this is the same federal government that murdered (Black Panther Party leader) Fred Hampton. We have a government that traditionally murders people who are threats. I guess being a target is sort of an honor.

This simply cannot go on.

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Quick hits

This is a number of odd bits collected throughout the week. Some of these stories received national play, and need no attention here. As for the others, after you get past 5000 words, you simply need to quit.

New hero in Texas
http://site.pfaw.org/site/MessageViewer?dlv_id=52542&em_id=38761.0

Texas Abortion Bill Filibustered By State Senator Wendy Davis Is Dead
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/26/texas-abortion-bill_n_3501005.html

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Who they are.

Yeah____________________________________________________________________________

Renewables projected to overtake natural gas as world’s second-largest power source

http://www.theverge.com/2013/6/28/4473694/iea-says-renewable-energy-overtakes-natural-gas-nuclear-by-2016
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Mixed week for SCROTUS

http://mariopiperni.com/conservative-media/scotus-rules-jesus-weeps.php

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

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Quote from: azozeo on Today at 10:38:52 AMI don't play war games w/girls.....When I did, back in day. I kept getting shot in the jewels  That was the extent of my exposure w/paint ball in the desert at 6' 5" . ...

Quote from: RE on Today at 03:41:46 AMhttps://www.bbc.com/future/article/20191108-why-the-world-is-running-o...

Quote from: K-Dog on Today at 08:10:45 AM[embed=425,349]

Next year 20th Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) Conference will be held in Brisbane, Australia, jointly hosted by Basic Income Guarantee Australia (BIGA), The School of Social Science and Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (University of Queens...

Recent Facebook Posts

Evacuation orders lifted after Palisades Fire leaves 2 injured and burns at least 40 acres in Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Fire Department ordered mandatory evacuations Monday as a fire ripped across a hillside in the affluent Pacific Palisades area,..

4 weeks ago

US troops pelted with rotten fruit and stones as they leave Syria – video

People have thrown rotten fruit and stones at US troops as they left Syria in armed vehicles, with one man appearing to shout: ‘You liars!’..

4 weeks ago

Corporate America's Second War With the Rule of Law

Corporate America’s Second War With the Rule of Law- Uber, Facebook, and Google are increasingly behaving like the law-flouting financial empires..

4 weeks ago

Photos from Rafael Nadal's Spanish wedding show a reception fit for tennis royalty

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The best toothpaste for kids

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Another installment in the opera bluffs that is th [...]

Quote from: K-Dog on Today at 08:10:45 AM[embed=42 [...]

Quote from: Surly1 on Today at 05:59:20 AMArrest o [...]

http://www.youtube.com/v/6_RdnVtfZPYIt made me fin [...]

Arrest of Gov’t Critic and Journalist Max Blumenth [...]

Quote from: UnhingedBecauseLucid on March 18, 2019 [...]

CleanTechnicaSupport CleanTechnica’s work via dona [...]

QuoteThe FACT that the current incredibly STUPID e [...]

Scientists have unlocked the power of gold atoms b [...]

Quote from: azozeo on August 14, 2019, 10:41:33 AM [...]

Wisconsin Bill Would Remove Barrier to Using Gold, [...]

Under extreme conditions, gold rearranges its atom [...]

The cost of gold futures on the Comex exchange inc [...]

Time for another Bloody Mary!   RE [...]

Kicking off with the death of the Marlboro Man.RE[ [...]

Alternate Perspectives

  • Two Ice Floes
  • Jumping Jack Flash
  • From Filmers to Farmers

Politicians’ Privilege By Cognitive Dissonance     Imagine for a moment you work for a small or medi [...]

Shaking the August Stick By Cognitive Dissonance     Sometime towards the end of the third or fourth [...]

Empire in Decline - Propaganda and the American Myth By Cognitive Dissonance     “Oh, what a tangled [...]

Meanderings By Cognitive Dissonance     Tis the Season Silly season is upon us. And I, for one, welc [...]

The Brainwashing of a Nation by Daniel Greenfield via Sultan Knish blog Image by ElisaRiva from Pixa [...]

Event Update For 2019-11-18http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2019-11-17http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2019-11-16http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2019-11-15http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2019-11-14http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

With fusion energy perpetually 20 years away we now also perpetually have [fill in the blank] years [...]

My mea culpa for having inadvertently neglected FF2F for so long, and an update on the upcoming post [...]

NYC plans to undertake the swindle of the civilisation by suing the companies that have enabled it t [...]

MbS, the personification of the age-old pre-revolutionary scenario in which an expiring regime attem [...]

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Sustainability

  • Peak Surfer
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Waterboarding Flounder"Serious oxygen loss between 100 and 600-meter depths is expected to cover 59–80% of the ocean [...]

Of Warnings and their Ripple Effects"We need wooden ships, char-crete buildings, bamboo bicycles, moringa furniture, and hemp cloth [...]

"Restoring normal whale activity to the oceans would capture the CO2 equivalent of 2 billion tr [...]

Ukrainian Rhapsody"Our future will be more about artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and non-state actors tha [...]

LeBron’s Chinese Troll Mobs"In the 36 hours after James’ delete, a troll mob with bot support sent a flame tsunami at the [...]

The folks at Windward have been doing great work at living sustainably for many years now.  Part of [...]

 The Daily SUN☼ Building a Better Tomorrow by Sustaining Universal Needs April 3, 2017 Powering Down [...]

Off the keyboard of Bob Montgomery Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666 Friend us on Facebook Publishe [...]

Visit SUN on Facebook Here [...]

What extinction crisis? Believe it or not, there are still climate science deniers out there. And th [...]

My new book, Abolish Oil Now, will talk about why the climate movement has failed and what we can do [...]

A new climate protest movement out of the UK has taken Europe by storm and made governments sit down [...]

The success of Apollo 11 flipped the American public from skeptics to fans. The climate movement nee [...]

Today's movement to abolish fossil fuels can learn from two different paths that the British an [...]

Top Commentariats

  • Our Finite World
  • Economic Undertow

What seems to be connected is a problem with overheating wires because too much intermittent electri [...]

Using the California and Australian fires as teaching tools Taking a quick look at the denial among [...]

From WSJ: Blackouts Return to Northern California PG&E shuts off power to around 48,000 customer [...]

"And here’s the latest in global temperatures:" and the winner is... 2016! "Since 202 [...]

the hardest Sudoku are the best Sudoku... quite enjoyable with dark chocolate... now Ghirardelli 60% [...]

Living around 5300' elevation, the only flood we'll likely see is refugees. Although, that [...]

For those safe from the rising seas, the ocean acidification will fcuk you up instead [...]

Here's an article: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-imo-shipping-factbox/factbox-imo-2020-a-m [...]

What is the shift away from bunker fuels? [...]

Yeah, when the water heater goes out the day after you just put new tires on one of the cars, etc... [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Simplifying the Final Countdown

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Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

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Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

Discuss this article @ the ECONOMICS TABLE inside the...

Singularity of the Dollar

Off the Keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

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SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

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Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

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Merry Doomy Christmas

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Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

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Collapse Fiction

Useful Links

Technical Journals

The effect of urbanization on microclimatic conditions is known as “urban heat islands”. [...]

Forecasting extreme precipitations is one of the main priorities of hydrology in Latin America and t [...]

The objective of this work is the development of an automated and objective identification scheme of [...]