AuthorTopic: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis  (Read 45202 times)

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💤 The Sleep of Civilization
« Reply #360 on: April 19, 2018, 01:32:46 AM »
http://www.greanvillepost.com/2018/04/18/the-sleep-of-civilization/

The Sleep of Civilization
April 18, 2018 Posted by Addison dePitt


HELP ENLIGHTEN YOUR FELLOWS. BE SURE TO PASS THIS ON. SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON IT.


Photo by James N. Mattis | CC BY 2.0

    “Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbour.”

    — Proverbs 19:4

    “The liberty of the individual is no gift of civilization. It was greatest before there was any civilization”.

    — Sigmund Freud

J[/su_dropcap]ames “Mad Dog” Mattis spoke this week, at a Pentagon press briefing, saying, among other things, that it was a time for all civilized nations to unite. The use of this trope ‘civilized’ echoes colonial sensibility. It is part of general shifting of meaning in the rhetoric of Empire over the last, say, 80 years.

Never mind that the occasion of this speech, as seems increasingly the norm, was based on mostly propaganda. No evidence for a chemical attack was actually provided. Just as the evidence in the Skripal (attempted) murder (sic) is conspicuously lacking.

This is a time when war criminals (unprosecuted of course) can simply count on the utter amnesia of both the public and the quisling western press.

So let’s go back and check a few boxes on Mattis. This is the man who oversaw the war crimes of Fallujah and then helped cover them up. One can read about it here.


Kiefer Sutherland’s career is mostly based on shameful sycophancy to the military and America’s imperial myths. But most actors rarely care about the impact of the political roles they play.

So how is it that Mattis can so confidently count on the silence and complicity of the corporate press? Mattis is no doubt sociopathic. He is a lizard-eyed, lisping sadist and yet he is fawned over and described as the ‘the most revered Marine in a generation’ by the same prostrate press. The adoration of the military in western media is at an all time high. And entertainment today is laden with the most jingoistic and nativist rhetoric imaginable. Hollywood today produces fiction that is uniform in its opinions and values. Watch this season of Designated Survivor. I know that is asking a lot, but do it anyway. Kiefer Sutherland is one of those actors who in middle age has begun to take on the tight lipped appearance of an aggrieved or constipated Quaker. The show is so stunningly reactionary that one finds some difficulty in arriving at the right words. But it is not an anomaly. Half of network prime time drama is military-based in theme. And today Hollywood staff writers can count on CIA or Pentagon “advisors” taking an active part in the creation of scripts. The blurring of fiction and Imperial fiction, as it were. There are ongoing themes in this Sutherland show about Russian interference in US democracy and most recently a story built around a tiny Asian nation with an insane dictatorial leader who wants nuclear weapons. The depictions of the Asian characters is only slightly less cartoon like than Charlie Chan. And always there are the requisite evil Muslim terrorist.

But back to the disturbing figure of Jim Mattis. His call sign is “chaos”. He is reported to be worth in the neighborhood of five million dollars. This is an absurd low ball figure, but whatever. He is a graduate of Central Washington U. and something called the National Defense University. A quick internet search reveals this is a special educational institution on the grounds of Fort Leslie in DC and chartered by the Joint Chiefs. One does wonder what a typical class at NDU looks like?

As for the “pacification” of Fallajuh. Brett Wilkins wrote….

    “According to witnesses and survivors of the assault, Marines indiscriminately killed men, women, children, the elderly and disabled alike. Civilians waving white flags of surrender were cut down by snipers, who also targeted ambulances carrying the wounded and dying to the few functioning clinics not destroyed by US bombs. “I see people carrying a white flag and yelling at us, saying, ‘We are here, just try to save us,’ but we could not save them because whenever we opened the ambulance door, the Americans would shoot at us,” Dr. Salam Ismael, head of Iraq’s young doctors association, told American investigative reporter Aaron Glantz, who covered the battle as an unembedded journalist. “We tried to carry food or water; the snipers shoot the containers of food.”

No civilizational norms violated there. Nope. Mattis also was the man who had all charges dropped against the soldiers that took part in the rampage at Haditha. Civilians shot point blank, often women and children, and the elderly — in their homes.

Callsign “Chaos”.

Gary Kohls, MD, writing at Veterans Today….

    “Several of the POTUS’ cabinet appointees are high-ranking “lifer” military officers who have an innate disdain for democratic values (as would be expected for anybody whose career has been lived in the bubble of a hierarchical culture whose main junk values are 1) shoot first/ask questions later and 2) the use of dominative power over “enemies” via military violence.”

Kohls was primarily writing about Jim Mattis. But honestly, even a cursory examination of ANY four star General will yield similar biographical facts and similar personality disorders. You don’t rise through military ranks without a core ruthlessness, and an innate sadism.

After the bombing of a wedding party in the Iraq desert, Mattis is quoted as saying…

    “Ten miles from the Syrian border and 80 miles from the nearest city and a wedding party? Don’t be naïve. Plus they had 30 males of military age with them. How many people go to the middle of the desert to have a wedding party?”

The rank Orientalism of this comment, the arrogant indifference to the history and culture of Islam, to the Arab world in general, is also the hallmark of the successful military commander. Kill’em all and let God sort it out. Of course at the time of his nomination the NY Times published an op ed whose headline identified Mattis as a “potential force for restraint”. That crazy old paper of record. And Mattis is routinely described as an intellectual, a ‘warrior monk’, and yet he doesn’t know anything of nomadic desert societies and culture. He didn’t even consider there might be a cultural gap here, or consider he might need to do alternative readings of the Muslim world, ones not provided for by that stellar education at National Defense U. Mattis is not an intellectual, not even by the standards of that warped sub phylum of humanity that is the military.

The media coverage of Syria, in the UK and US, is blatantly biased and pro intervention. The fact that FOX news reactionary Tucker Carlson is the sanest voice in mainstream media is very telling. Carlson hasn’t “woke”…. he just saw a niche demographic that might boost his ratings. Still…he was in fact correct.

Danny Haiphong wrote…

    “Tucker Carlson understands that he must appeal primarily to Republican voters weary of US interventions they see as products of Democratic Party-led wars even if establishment Republicans are no less hawkish than Democrats. Meanwhile, Goodman and her funders have subtly aligned with the Democrats as the new leaders of the War Party. War is the only tool at the disposal of imperialism, and there isn’t a single voice in Washington or the “liberal” media unwilling to use it.

    Under these conditions, infantile leftists and faux socialists in the Democratic Party camp have felt compelled to choose a side in the imperial madhouse. They claim that Democrats are “Presidential” while Putin and Assad are villains of humanity. No criticism is thrown at the Democratic Party, which sent a delegation led by Nancy Pelosi to Israel just days prior to the planned gun down of Palestinian resistance forces in Gaza. It doesn’t seem to matter how many Syrians or Palestinians are killed by the forces of imperialism when the so-called left is under the swoon of the CIA. So-called US leftists have caught anti-Putin fever at the expense of all other political questions.

    This includes the murder of Black people by the police in the US. Barely any attention was paid in the US to the murders of Stephon Clark and Saheed Vassell over the last few weeks. Only community members and the usual left organizations made any noise about these state-sanctioned murders. The same goes for Israel’s wanton massacre of participants in Gaza’s Great March for Return. In the absence of a mass movement, people in the US and West are becoming mere onlookers in a changing a world.”

This last few months has revealed as never before both the callous cruelty of the ruling class in the U.S. and UK, but also the degrading of education …for lack of a better description. At the UN, British envoy Karen Pierce, mistakenly thought Karl Marx was a Russian. In a prank phone call Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, thought there was a country called Binimo. And Trump himself noted something or other about an imaginary African country called Nambia. Boris Johnson began an extemporaneous recitation of a Kipling poem (Road to Mandalay) in a temple in Myanmar. And then was told it was inappropriate by an aide, trying to save him further embarrassment, and STILL Johnson didn’t understand. All of these examples are not mere gaffes, amusing mistakes, but rather a general indifference to the cultures of the world, in fact an indifference to the world beyond their own small corner in it. Indifferent and hostile. Remember when George Bush, now in full rehabilitation mode by his media handlers, mocked Karla Faye Tucker, on death row, who was begging for her life. That is exactly the cruelty one sees across the board in the leaders of the West today. One wonders does Mattis or Bush or Bolton think the use of Agent Orange transgressed civilizational norms? Did Hiroshima?

What strikes me most acutely, these last few months, is the extraordinary cultural chauvinism of the U.S., or rather mostly of white U.S., as well as an institutionalized orientalism. Most White Americans, as a general statement, think they are better than the rest of the world. And most Americans have scant knowledge about the rest of the world. So the belief in cultural (and moral ) superiority is based on what? The answer is not simple, but as a general sort of response, this trust in “our” superiority is built on violence. On an ability to be effectively violent. Most British, too, think they are superior to those ‘wogs’ south of their emerald isle. But since the setting of the sun on Empire, ‘officially’, the British hold to both a sense of superiority and a deep panic inducing sense of inferiority — at least to their American cousins. They are still better than those fucking cheese eating frogs or the krauts or whoever, but they accept that the U.S. is the sort of heavyweight champ of the moment. Meanwhile, the tragic and criminal fire at Grenfell Towers in London elicited a public discourse that perfectly reflected the class inequality of the UK, but also reflected, again, the colonialist mentality of the ruling party and their constituency.

Stephen Brenner wrote of the fire and the government response to it:

    “There is Sir Martin Moore-Bick,** the former High Court Judge, who has been appointed by May to head a board of inquiry. Fears of a protracted inquiry producing an anodyne report were aroused when Moore-Bick went out of his way to declare that the scope of the investigation would be severely limited to determining the immediate cause of the fire and why it spread so rapidly. Answers to both questions already are known. ( ) The Sir Inquisitor-to-be has given the game away in adding that “I do not expect everyone to be pleased by the conclusion of the inquiry” – yet to begin. Moore-Bick’s unprompted utterance shows just how pervasive is the Americanization of British political culture. Unnecessary, embarrassing ejaculations like this have become impulsive – defying the dictates of prudent restraint.No one is confused as to who the “everyone” he has in mind refers to. An impression reinforced by the denial of the residents’ right to ask questions in person as to the scope and form of the inquiry. The only open question is the exact tint that the whitewash will take (stitch-up in British dialect). The first testimony will not be heard until mid-September when panel members, as yet unnamed, get back from their holidays.”

Graham Peebles adds…

    “Grenfell Tower forms part of the Lancaster Road West Estate in Notting Hill Gate. An area that, like many other parts of the capital, has been subjected to a gentrification assault accompanied by systematic social cleansing that goes back decades and has intensified over the last 10 –15 years. ( ) In addition, the Grenfell affair demonstrates that the United States is not alone in its tolerance for actions that should be a national disgrace but are slighted by a political class incapable of feeling shame. The callous, off-hand treatment given the Grenfell victims is reminiscent of how colonial administrators dealt with expendable natives. If a proper criminal process were undertaken, a reasonable verdict would be Involuntary Manslaughter.”

But that is exactly it. The colonial template is one etched in acid in the collective imagination of the West. At least the English speaking West. Expendable natives…which is what Jim Mattis sees everywhere that he dumps depleted Unranium and Willy Pete. It is what Madelaine Albright saw in Iraq or Hillary Clinton in Libya or Barack Obama in Sudan, Yemen, and…well… four or five other countries. It is what most U.S. police departments see in neighborhoods ravaged by poverty. As in those old Tarzan films, when the sound of drums is heard, the pith helmeted white man notes…”the natives are restless tonight”. When one discusses Syria, the most acute topic this week, remember that for Mad Dog and Boss Trump, or for the loopy John Bolton, these are just natives in need of pacification. Giving money to ISIS or Daesh, or whoever, as a cynical expression of colonial real politik, is nothing out of the ordinary. It is what the UK and US have done for a long while. It’s Ramar of Jungle handing out beads to the *natives*.

Domestically, take the example of Flint, Michigan. At the drinking water. When the unelected state appointed emergency manager switched from the Detroit River to the Flint River to supply water to the residents of Flint, the result was a spike in all diseases of insanitation. Everyone knew this was going to happen. The General Motors plant had stopped using Flint River water because it was corrosive to the auto parts they were manufacturing. But poor black kids, who cares. The U.S. has a long history of such stuff, from Love Canal, New York, to the chemical dump in the Elk River in West Virginia. You will notice a theme here. It is class. You don’t find ash spills like what happened near the Emery River in Tennessee occurring in Mill Valley or Scarsdale or Bel Air. Inflicting suffering on the poor is perfectly acceptable to the ruling class. To them, privilege is a sign of superiority. And the less deserving are only there to serve.

The problem with the current wave of propaganda from western sources is that very little, if any, evidence is given. The term ‘very likely’ is much in vogue, probably because it leaves such a huge ‘walk it back’ escape route. Except there is less and less effort to even bother. In one sense the solidification of class power came out of neoliberal policies in the 1970s. The top 1% (really, the top half of one percent) increased their wealth dramatically, with the same occurring in the UK. Clinton pushed these principles even further and then Bush and Blair further still. We are now living the dream of the Washington Consensus economists. And it worth noting the founding statement of Hayak’s Mt. Pelerin Society, in 1947. For Hayak was the godfather of neoliberalism and Milton Freidman his heir.

    “The central values of civilization are in danger. Over large stretches of the earth’s surface the essential conditions of human dignity and freedom have already disappeared.”

There is that word again. Of course this was really only justification for the 1% to expand the reach of Western capital. To exploit labor and extract resources. And when recalcitrant countries did not submit quickly enough, the CIA was always available (ask Iran, or Chile, or Angola. The latter more of a symbolic lesson for those uppity nations even thinking about not following orders. It also marked open U.S. cooperation with apartheid South Africa. And in opposition to the troops Castro sent to assist the MPLA opposition to the ruthless US supported Jonas Savimbi). This restoration of ruling class power, though, was and is always looking over its shoulder. For the reality is that such profound inequality means life becomes unsustainable, even for the top 0.1% is repressed. And such repression takes effort. And that effort is giving birth to the madness one sees today. From Grenfell Tower to Flint Michigan, to Gaza or Libya or Syria — the principles driving the violence are the same. And it matters not if the urbane and articulate Obama is President, or if the troglodyte Trump, if it is Blair or May, for they are only reciting from a small financial Catechism of financial laws, and these laws are breaking down in the face of environmental degradation and an inequality so extreme that its almost impervious to calculation. They are only the voice of their class. This idea of civilized man has come to be an almost code-word for class hierarchy. The violence against Palestinians is simply inseparable from the violence that killed Stephon Clark. The violence that makes children sick in Michigan is the same one that causes oil spills or disasters such as the Lac-Mégantic train crash near Quebec, Canada. And, it is the same bigoted smug confidence of bourgeoise identity political thinking. The one that demands Islam rid itself of veils, or that ridicules ANY thinking or practice divergent from Western norms. You cannot expect the system to produce change if the system is based on punishing change. The status quo must be protected. For the ownership class world poverty is mostly the fault of the poor.

    “The admission that neoliberalism has failed in terms of its announced goals has forced its proponents to a tactical retreat—defending the broad thrust of the neoliberal policy agenda under cover of “reform.” The result is an augmented Washington Consensus that blames client states and not international institutions or transnational capital for the failures of neoliberalism. It is the poor who are expected to make still further adjustments along neoliberal lines. From this point of view, what comes after neoliberalism must be more neoliberalism.”

    William K. Tabb

This idea of civilizational norms is connected to a deeply rooted assumption about the virtue of Democracy. Israel is described as Democratic but Cuba is not, for example. The reality, of course, is that the CIA and US ruling class spend most of their energy in deterring democracy (to quote Chomsky).

    “Any real discussion of democracy needs to be extended beyond the undemocratic nature of the global economic institutions to a larger discussion of democracy, one that goes beyond whether votes are counted fairly, opposition candidates allowed to participate on an equal basis, and the voices of ordinary people heard by their elected leaders. Democracy needs finally to be discussed in relation to class rule in capitalist societies.”

    William T. Kabb

As Samir Amin pointed out, the “international community” (the G7 plus that bastion of democracy, Saudi Arabia) is utterly unconcerned with the opinions of 85% of the world’s population. So, both on a political/economic level, and on a cultural level, the Imperialist U.S. sees it as an innate right to decide the policies of the global south. It is anti democratic. The ruling class sees the right to enforce inequality as something of a Natural law. The anti-Russian propaganda was born when Putin refused to sign off on the Nazi putsch in Ukraine. The US/Japan/NATO alliance is one that demands both economic submission and increasingly a cultural submission as well. And any rejection of this means a military forced submission. Democracy has come to be a shorthand for submission to neo-liberal economic policy dictated by Washington. Freedom is what happens after *we* destroy your country.
That Mattis or May or various other servants of Empire can talk of civilizational norms with a straight face is actually pretty remarkable. The list of crimes is so extensive that one barely knows where to begin. We could ask about Gary Webb and cocaine and the CIA. Or about the School of the Americas, or My Lai or the siege at Waco. Or….but I feel this stuff really should be well known by now. I am more concerned in a sense with the small cultural appropriations and the gestures of an Orientalist sensibility that I see almost daily in western media. And the growing anti-semitism which one find even on the left. And the seemingly intractable racism of white America. I just stop having the ability to keep track of it all. How can the white bourgeoisie demand adherence to their values with such tenacity? Do they really see themselves as somehow representative of some ideal? Tolerance means only adherence to their worldview. To their values. It is this nattering about ecological issues while never questioning the US military machine. But these refrains seem to stick in the collective consciousness of the west…”gas your own people” is one. As if gassing someone else were less objectionable. It is a media universe of entrenched meaningless slogans. It always reminds me of the outcry about steroid abuse. Maybe ask why big Pharma manufacture so many steroids. The medical uses for which are very limited. But no, it is easier to punish this or that athlete who in their desperation is looking for an edge, a way to reach that economic pinnacle so few reach. But question Eli Lilly? Never.

The ruling class have always made money, always been ruthless, but again, the 1970s marked the solidification of systematic plunder, a cohesive and seamless river of money upwards. And enforced by the CIA. One should not forget that the CIA was founded by rich white ruling class scions of banking and finance. Allan Dulles, straight out of Wall Street, William Simon, Richard Mellon Scaife, Frank Shakespeare, and Bill Donovan. I mean the CIA calls itself “the Company”…bit a tip off, that. If one struggles to grasp foreign policy decisions, always look at US business interests in the region. Remember these are ruthless people (MK ULTRA, Operation Mockingbird, etc). And the media was always part of this. The Graham family of Washington Post fame were directly linked to the CIA. William Paley, Henry Luce, Arthur Hays Sulzberger, and hundreds other are all intimate with the CIA. And it is no different now. It was the Clinton cartel that spent inordinate energy and time infiltrating Hollywood. The result is House of Cards, Homeland, Designated Survivor, and all the countless rest. Uniformity of message. Uniformity of values.

I do wonder at times the role of Evangelical Christianity as it runs smack into the Catholic stake outs in the corridors of power. Perhaps they cooperate, I don’t know. Religion is second to money, anyway. And then there is the role of Israel, that anti democratic neocolonial apartheid state in the Middle East. The ascension of the settler fanatic mirrors the ascension of Dominionists in the current US government. Fanatical zealots. Intolerant and profoundly ignorant of most things outside of their narrow set of concerns. And again, antidemocratic. Israel serves the U.S. ruling class, not the other way round. There is no global Jewish plot as I keep reading in social media. The feeding of this bit of classic antisemitism is probably sourced by Israel itself. Nothing serves their PR better than spikes in antisemitism. But Israel is, for sure, more powerful than ever before. More influential.

There is, best case scenario, a new Cold War in place. Worst case scenario, well, doesn’t matter. The real danger is the generalized ignorance now on display. Ruthless and sadistic one can predict, but irrational zealotry and stupidity…that is harder to deal with. And this is for certain the Age of Stupid. As for civilization, I’m coming to think we might well do fine without it.

About the Author

 John Steppling is an original founding member of the Padua Hills Playwrights Festival, a two-time NEA recipient, Rockefeller Fellow in theatre, and PEN-West winner for playwriting. Plays produced in LA, NYC, SF, Louisville, and at universities across the US, as well in Warsaw, Lodz, Paris, London and Krakow. Taught screenwriting and curated the cinematheque for five years at the Polish National Film School in Lodz, Poland. A collection of plays, Sea of Cortez & Other Plays was published in 1999, and his book on aesthetics, Aesthetic Resistance and Dis-Interest was published this year by Mimesis International.
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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #361 on: April 19, 2018, 06:01:20 AM »

    “The liberty of the individual is no gift of civilization. It was greatest before there was any civilization”.

    — Sigmund Freud


Don't think I ever read that quote. Score a point for Sigmund. I never knew he was an anarchist.

This, for me,  points up the most obvious trade-off we make in exchange for overpopulation and cheap food and TV, and all the other bullshit the modern world tries to substitute for freedom.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

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😶 Unpersons
« Reply #362 on: April 21, 2018, 12:39:50 AM »
https://williamblum.org/aer/read/157

The Anti-Empire Report #157

By William Blum – Published April 18th, 2018

Unpersons

One reason it’s so easy to get an American administration, the mainstream media, and the American people to jump on an anti-Russian bandwagon is of course the legacy of the Soviet Union. To all the real crimes and shortcomings of that period the US regularly added many fictitious claims to agitate the American public against Moscow. That has not come to a halt. During a debate in the 2016 Republican presidential primary, candidate Ben Carson (now the head of the US Housing and Urban Development agency) allowed the following to pass his lips: “Joseph Stalin said if you want to bring America down, you have to undermine three things: Our spiritual life, our patriotism, and our morality.” This is a variation on many Stalinist “quotes” over the years designed to deprecate both the Soviet leader and any American who can be made to sound like him. The quote was quite false, but the debate moderators and the other candidates didn’t raise any question about its accuracy. Of course not.

Another feature of Stalinism that was routinely hammered into our heads was that of the “non-person” or “unperson” – the former well-known official or writer, for example, who fell out of favor with the Stalinist regime for something he said or did, and was thereafter doomed to a life of obscurity, if not worse. In his classic 1984 George Orwell speaks of a character who “was already an unperson. He did not exist: he had never existed.” I was reminded of this by the recent sudden firing of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Matthew Lee, the courageous Associated Press reporter who has been challenging State Department propaganda for years, had this to say in an April 1 article:

    Rex Tillerson has all but vanished from the State Department’s website as his unceremonious firing by tweet took effect over the weekend.

    The “Secretary of State Tillerson” link at the top of the department’s homepage disappeared overnight Saturday and was replaced with a generic “Secretary of State” tab. When clicked, it leads to a page that informs visitors in a brief statement that Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan “became acting Secretary of State on April 1, 2018.” It shows a photo of Sullivan signing his appointment papers as deputy in June 2017 but offers no explanation for the change in leadership.

    In addition to that change, links that had connected to Tillerson’s speeches, travels and other events now display those of Sullivan. The link to Tillerson’s biography as the 69th secretary of state briefly returned a “We’re sorry, that page can’t be found” message. After being notified of the message, the State Department restored the link and an archive page for Tillerson’s tenure was enabled.

The most repeated Cold War anti-Communist myth was of course Nikita Khrushchev’s much quoted – No, eternally quoted! – line: “We will bury you.” On November 20 1956 the New York Times had reported: “In commenting on coexistence last night Mr. Khrushchev said communism did not have to resort to war to defeat capitalism. “Whether you like it or not, history is on our side,” he said. “We will bury you.”

Obviously, it was not a military threat of any kind. But tell that to the countless individuals who have cited it as such forever. So, as matters turned out, did communism, or call it socialism, bury capitalism? No. But not for the reason the capitalists would like to think – their superior socio-economic system. Capitalism remains the world’s pre-eminent system primarily because of military power combined with CIA covert actions. It’s that combination that irredeemably crippled socialist forces in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines, Guatemala, Haiti, Ecuador, the Congo, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Chile, Angola, Grenada, Nicaragua, Bulgaria, Albania, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, El Salvador, etc., etc., etc.

We’ll never know what kind of societies would have resulted if these movements had been allowed to develop without US interference; which of course was the idea behind the interference.
Political assassination. Political propaganda.

In the Cold War struggles against the Soviets/Russians the United States has long had the upper hand when it comes to political propaganda. What do the Russkis know about sales campaigns, advertising, psychological manipulation of the public, bait-and-switch, and a host of other Madison Avenue innovations. Just look at what the American media and their Western partners have done with the poisoning of the two Russians, Sergei Skripal and his daughter, in the UK. How many in the West doubt Russia’s guilt?

Then consider the case of Hugo Chávez. When he died in 2013 I wrote the following: “[W]hen someone like Chávez dies at the young age of 58 I have to wonder about the circumstances. Unremitting cancer, intractable respiratory infections, massive heart attack, one after the other … It is well known that during the Cold War, the CIA worked diligently to develop substances that could kill without leaving a trace. I would like to see the Venezuelan government pursue every avenue of investigation in having an autopsy performed.” (None was performed apparently.)

Back in December 2011, Chávez, already under treatment for cancer, wondered out loud: “Would it be so strange that they’ve invented the technology to spread cancer and we won’t know about it for 50 years?” The Venezuelan president was speaking a day after Argentina’s leftist president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, announced she had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. This was after three other prominent leftist Latin America leaders had been diagnosed with cancer: Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff; Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo; and the former Brazilian leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

“Evo take care of yourself. Correa, be careful. We just don’t know,” Chávez said, referring to Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, and Rafael Correa, the president of Ecuador, both leading leftists.

Chávez said he had received words of warning from Fidel Castro, himself the target of hundreds of failed and often bizarre CIA assassination plots. “Fidel always told me: ‘Chávez take care. These people have developed technology. You are very careless. Take care what you eat, what they give you to eat … a little needle and they inject you with I don’t know what.”

When the new Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro, suggested possible American involvement in Chávez’s death, the US State Department called the allegation “absurd” even though the United States had already played a key role in the short-lived overthrow of Chávez in 2002. I don’t know of any American mainstream media that has raised the possibility that Chávez was murdered.

I personally believe, without any proof to offer, (although no less than is offered re Russia’s guilt in the UK poisoning) that Hugo Chávez was indeed murdered by the United States. But unlike the UK case, I do have a motivation to offer: Given Chávez’s unremitting hostility towards American imperialism and the CIA’s record of more than 50 assassination attempts against such world political leaders, if his illness and death were NOT induced, the CIA was not doing its job. The world’s media, however, did its job by overwhelmingly ignoring such “conspiracy” talk, saving it for a more “appropriate” occasion, one involving their favorite bad guy, Russia.

If I could speak to British prime-minister Theresa May and her boorish foreign minister Boris Johnson I’d like to ask them: “What are you going to say when it turns out that it wasn’t Russia behind the Skripal poisonings?” Stay tuned.
Another of the many charming examples of Cold War anti-communism

Nostalgia is on the march in Brazil, a longing for a return to the military dictatorship of 1964-1985, during which nearly 500 people were killed by the authorities or simply disappeared. It was a time when the ruling generals used systemic brutality, including electric shocks, as well as psychological torture in their effort to cement power and ward off what they called “communism”. They also stole many of the very young children of their victims and gave them to their followers, whom the children then believed to be their parents.

Crime is the main problem in Brazil today, the leading reason for the desire to return to the good old days of dictatorial rule. An estimated 43 percent of the Brazilian population supports at least a temporary revival of military control, according to a 2017 poll, up from 35 percent in 2016. Fear of violence, whether it be terrorism or street crime, has fueled support for authoritarian parties and bolstered populist leaders with tough-on-crime, anti-immigrant platforms around the world, from President Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines to Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in Austria to a fellow named Trump in the good ol’ US of A.

“Thanks to you, Brazil did not become Cuba!” the crowd chanted at a recent demonstration in Brazil, some snapping salutes.

This is indeed the height of irony. In all likelihood many of those people were not strangers to hunger, struggling to pay their rent, could not afford needed medical care, or education; yet, they shouted against a country where such deprivations are virtually non-existent.

The United States of course played a significant role in the 1964 overthrow of the Brazilian democracy. How could it be otherwise in this world? Here is a phone conversation between US President Lyndon B. Johnson and Thomas Mann, Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, April 3, 1964, two days after the coup:

MANN: I hope you’re as happy about Brazil as I am.

LBJ: I am.

MANN: I think that’s the most important thing that’s happened in the hemisphere in three years.

LBJ: I hope they give us some credit instead of hell.
Does the man ever feel embarrassed?

In his desperation for approval, our dear president has jumped on the back of increased military spending. Speaking to the presidents of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania he said that he should be given “credit” for pressuring countries like theirs to give more money to NATO. None of presidents had the nerve to ask Mr. Trump why that is a good thing; perhaps pointing out that some of the millions of dollars could have been used to improve the quality of their people’s lives.

A few days later, at the White House Easter Egg Roll the president “bragged to a crowd of children about increasing military spending to $700 billion.” One can imagine what their young minds made of this. Will they one day realize that this man called “The President” was telling them that large amounts of money which could have been spent on their health and education, on their transportation and environment, was instead spent on various weapons used to kill people?

The size of the man’s ego needs can not be exaggerated. The Washington Post observed that Trump instructed the Lithuanian president

    to praise him on camera, just as he said she had done privately in the Oval Office. She obliged, saying changes to NATO would not be possible without the United States and that its ‘vital voice and vital leadership’ are important. Trump pressed her: ‘And has Donald Trump made a difference on NATO?’ Those in the room laughed, as she confirmed he has made a difference.

Thank God some of those in the room laughed. I was beginning to think that all hope was lost.
The stars we honor

Is it a sign of America’s moral maturation that numerous celebrities have been forced to resign or retire because of being exposed as sexual predators?

Maybe. To some extent. I hope so.

But I’d be much more impressed if talk shows and other media stopped inviting and honoring much worse people as guests – war criminals, torturers, serial liars, and mass murderers; people like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Madeline Albright, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Henry Kissinger, Donald Rumsfeld, John Bolton, and many military officials.

Notes

    For a book-length discussion of cold-war anti-communist propaganda see Morris Kominsky, The Hoaxers (1970)
    The Guardian (London), December 29, 2011
    Washington Post, March 16, 2018
    Michael Beschloss, Taking Charge: The White House Tapes 1963-1964 (1997), p.306
    Washington Post, April 5, 2018

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to williamblum.org is provided.
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💢 The Hungarian Revolution Rolls On
« Reply #363 on: April 21, 2018, 12:59:15 AM »
https://orientalreview.org/2018/04/18/the-hungarian-revolution-rolls-on/

The Hungarian Revolution Rolls On
Written by Andrew KORYBKO on 18/04/2018

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party won a 2/3 supermajority in parliament.

This stunning victory proves that the Soros-led anti-government campaign was woefully ineffective and may have actually been counterproductive by strengthening Orban’s appeal by reinforcing the country’s developing “siege mentality”. Hungarians already feel under threat from the world at large ever since the Migrant Crisis, while they’ve come to view Brussel’s hostility to the national sovereignty policies that they’ve implemented in response as a sign of regional aggression. The “internal siege” by pro-Western NGOs such as the Soros Foundation and others might have pushed some on-the-fence voters to side with Orban out of fear that anything less than his party’s decisive victory could endanger their national and cultural security.

The end result is that Hungary has defended its reputation as a bastion of EuroRealism and made it impossible for the EU to sanction its idelogical ally Poland because of the bloc’s inability to reach the necessary unanimous decision in this regard given that Orban has remained in office and is firmly opposed to this.

Therefore, the Polish-Hungarian “Three Seas” axis will only tighten in the future and continue to expand its appeal in Central and Eastern Europe after proving that it’s possible to stand up to the EU’s liberal-globalist elite and succeed so long as leaders have the public’s sincere support like Orban does. He’s been able to accomplish this through the ironically masterful employment of interwar Italian Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci’s theory of “cultural hegemony” which essentially asserts that cultural change must always precede profound political change in any society. The New York Times recently talked about how Orban pulled this off in an article titled “How Viktor Orban Bends Hungarian Society to His Will”, which despite its negative angle makes for an instructive read if objectively assessed.

The outlet describes how Orban has inserted his EuroRealist ideology into civil society, the arts, grade school textbooks, universities, and the media in order to make Hungarian culture an instrument for advancing and sustaining his revolutionary ideals. It should be remembered that left-wing and violent organizations don’t have a “monopoly” on “revolutions”, which can be generalized as just being the change from one organizational system to another, so it’s entirely accurate to describe the Hungarian leader as a political and cultural revolutionary (or counter-revolutionary, depending on ones’ perspective) in liberating his society from Brussels’ liberal-globalist yoke and returning it to its conservative-nationalist roots.

The previous weekend’s election can therefore be interpreted as a popular referendum on the revolution, which Orban won with flying colors in proving that the vast majority of people are firmly behind him every step of the way.

The post presented is the partial transcript of the CONTEXT COUNTDOWN radio program on Sputnik News, aired on Friday Apr 13, 2018:
Audio Player
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DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.
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😠 Challenges for Resolving Complex Conflicts
« Reply #364 on: April 23, 2018, 12:00:33 AM »
https://dissidentvoice.org/2018/04/challenges-for-resolving-complex-conflicts/

Challenges for Resolving Complex Conflicts


by Robert J. Burrowes / April 22nd, 2018

While conflict theories and resolution processes advanced dramatically during the second half of the 20th century, particularly thanks to the important work of several key scholars such as Professor Johan Galtung significant gaps remain in the conflict literature on how to deal with particular conflict configurations. Notably, these include the following four.

First, existing conflict theory does not adequately explain, emphasize and teach how to respond in those circumstances in which parties cannot be brought to the table to deeply consider a conflict and the measures necessary to resolve it. This particularly applies in cases where one or more parties is violently defending (often using a combination of direct and structural violence) substantial interrelated (material and non-material) interests. The conflict between China and Tibet over the Chinese-occupied Tibetan plateau, the many conflicts between western corporations and indigenous peoples over exploitation of the natural environment, and the conflict between the global elite and ‘ordinary’ people over resource allocation in the global economy are obvious examples of a vast number of conflicts in this category. As one of the rare conflict theorists who addresses this question, Galtung notes that structural violence ‘is not only evil, it is obstinate and must be fought’, and his preferred strategy is nonviolent revolution. But how?

Second, existing conflict theory does not explain how to respond in those circumstances in which one or more parties to the conflict are insane. The conflict between Israel and Palestine over Israeli-occupied Palestine classically illustrates this problem, particularly notable in the insanity of Israeli Prime Minister Binjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. But it is also readily illustrated by the insanity of the current political/military leadership in the USA and the insanity of the political, military and Buddhist leaders in Myanmar engaged in a genocidal assault on the Rohingya. For a brief discussion of the meaning and cause of this insanity see “The Global Elite is Insane Revisited“.

As an aside, there is little point deluding ourselves that insanity is not a problem or even ‘diplomatically’ not mentioning the insanity (if this is indeed the case) of certain parties in particular conflicts. The truth enables us to fully understand a conflict so that we can develop and implement a strategy to deal with all aspects of that truth. Any conflict strategy that fails to accurately identify and address all key aspects of the conflict, including the insanity of any of the parties, will virtually certainly fail.

Third, and more fundamentally, existing conflict theory does not take adequate account of the critical role that several unconscious emotions play in driving conflict in virtually all contexts, often preventing its resolution. This particularly applies in the case of (but is not limited to) suppressed terror, self-hatred and anger which are often unconsciously projected as fear of, hatred for and anger at an opponent or even an innocent third-party (essentially because this individual/group feels ‘safe’ to the person who is projecting).

While any significant ongoing conflict would illustrate this point adequately, the incredibly complex and interrelated conflicts being conducted in the Middle East, the prevalent Islamophobia in some western countries, and the conflicts over governance and exploitation of resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo are superlative examples. Ignoring suppressed (and projected) emotions can stymie conflict resolution in any context, interpersonally and geopolitically, and it does so frequently.

Fourth, existing conflict theory pays little attention to the extinction-causing conflict being ongoingly generated by human over-consumption in the finite planetary biosphere (and currently resulting in 200 species extinctions daily) which is sometimes inadequately identified as a conflict caused by capitalism’s drive for unending economic growth in a finite environment.

So what can we do?

Well, to begin, in all four categories of cases mentioned above, I would use Gandhian nonviolent strategy to compel violent opponents to participate in a conflict transformation process such as Galtung’s. Why nonviolent and why Gandhian? Nonviolent because our intention is to process the conflict to achieve a higher level of need satisfaction for all parties and violence against any or all participants is inconsistent with that intention. But Gandhian nonviolence because only Gandhi’s version of nonviolence has this conflict intention built into it.

‘But isn’t this nonviolent strategy simply coercion by another name?’ you might ask. Well, according to the Norwegian philosopher, Professor Arne Naess, it is not. In his view, if a change of will follows the scrutiny of norms in the context of new information while one is ‘in a state of full mental and bodily powers’, this is an act of personal freedom under optimal conditions. Naess highlights this point with the following example: Suppose that one person carries another against their will into the streets where there is a riot and, as a result of what they see, the carried person changes some of their attitudes and opinions. Was the change coerced? According to Naess, while the person was coerced into seeing something that caused the change, the change itself was not coerced. The distinction is important, Naess argues, because satyagraha (Gandhian nonviolent struggle)  is incompatible with changes of attitudes or opinions that are coerced.

To elaborate this point: Unlike other conceptions of nonviolence, Gandhi’s nonviolence is based on certain premises, including the importance of the truth, the sanctity and unity of all life, and the unity of means and end, so his strategy is always conducted within the framework of his desired political, social, economic and ecological vision for society as a whole and not limited to the purpose of any immediate campaign. It is for this reason that Gandhi’s approach to strategy is so important. He is always taking into account the ultimate end of all nonviolent struggle – a just, peaceful and ecologically sustainable society of self-realized human beings – not just the outcome of this campaign. He wants each campaign to contribute to the ultimate aim, not undermine vital elements of the long-term and overarching struggle to create a world without violence.

Consequently, given his conception of nonviolence, Gandhi’s intention is to reach a conflict outcome that recognizes the sanctity and unity of all life which, obviously, includes the lives (but also the physical and emotional well-being) of his opponents. His nonviolent strategy is designed to compel participation in a conflict process but not to impose his preferred outcome unilaterally. See Nonviolent Campaign Strategy and Nonviolent Defense/Liberation Strategy.

This can apply in the geopolitical context or in relation to ordinary individuals ‘merely’ participating in the violence of over-consumption. Using nonviolent strategy to campaign on the climate catastrophe or other environmental issues can include mobilizing individuals and communities to emulate Gandhi’s asceticism in a modest way by participating in the fifteen-year strategy outlined in “The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth” which he inspired.

But even if we can use nonviolent strategy effectively to get the conflicting parties together, the reality is that suppressed and projected emotions – particularly fear, self-hatred and anger as mentioned above – or even outright insanity on the part of one or more parties may still make efforts to effectively transform the conflict impossible. So for conflict resolution to occur, we need individuals who are willing and able to participate with at least minimal goodwill in designing a superior conflict outcome beneficial to everyone concerned.

Hence, I would do one more thing in connection with this process. Prior to, and then also in parallel with, the ‘formal’ conflict process, I would provide opportunities for all individuals engaged in the process (or otherwise critical to it because of their ‘background’ role, perhaps as a leader not personally present at the formal conflict process) to explore in a private setting with a skilled ‘nisteler’ (who is outside the conflict process), the unconscious emotions that are driving their particular approach to the conflict. The purpose of this nisteling is to allow each participant in the conflict process to bring a higher level of self-awareness to it.

I am not going to pretend that this would necessarily be possible, quick, easy or even work in every context. Insane individuals are obviously the last to know they have a psychological problem and the least likely to participate in a process designed to uncover and remove the roots of their insanity. However, those who are trapped in a dysfunctional psychological state short of insanity may be willing to avail themselves of the opportunity. In time, the value of this aspect of the conflict resolution process should become apparent, particularly because delusions and projections are exposed by the person themself (as an outcome of the expertise of the person nisteling).

Obviously, I am emphasizing the psychological aspects of the conflict process because my own considerable experience as a nonviolent activist together with my research convinces me that understanding violence requires an understanding of the psychology that drives it. If you are interested, you can read about the psychology of violence, including the 23 psychological characteristics in the emotional profile of archetype perpetrators of violence, in the documents “Why Violence?” and “Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice.”

Ideally, I would like to see the concept of nistelers operating prior to, and then parallel with, focused attention on the conflict itself normalized as an inherent part of the conflict resolution process. Clearly, we need teams of people equipped to perform this service, a challenge in itself in the short-term.

If, however, conflicting parties cannot be convinced to participate in this process with reasonable goodwill, we can always revert to using nonviolent strategy to compel them to do so. And, if all attempts to conduct a reasonable conflict process fail (particularly in a circumstance in which insanity is the cause of this failure), to impose a nonviolent solution which nevertheless takes account of the insane’s party’s legitimate needs. (Yes, on just that one detail, I diverge from Gandhi.)

Having stated that, however, I acknowledge that only a rare individual has the capacity to think, plan and act strategically in tackling a violent conflict nonviolently, so considerable education in nonviolent strategy will be necessary and is a priority.

Given what is at stake, however – a superior strategy for tackling and resolving violent geopolitical conflicts including those (such as the threat of nuclear war, the climate catastrophe and decimation of the biosphere) that threaten human extinction – any resources devoted to improving our capacity to deliver this outcome would be well spent.

Provided, of course, that reducing (and ultimately eliminating) violence and resolving conflict is your aim.

In addition to the above, I would do something else more generally (that is, outside the conflict process).

Given that dysfunctional parenting is ultimately responsible for the behaviour of those individuals who generate and perpetuate violent conflicts, I would encourage all parents to consider making “My Promise to Children” so that we start to produce a higher proportion of functional individuals who know how to powerfully resolve conflicts in their lives without resort to violence. If any parent feels unable to make this promise, then they have the option of tackling this problem at its source by “Putting Feelings First.”

If we do not dramatically and quickly improve our individual and collective capacity to resolve conflicts nonviolently, including when we are dealing with individuals who are insane, then one day relatively soon we will share the fate of those 200 species of life we drove to extinction today.
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🚀 War Profiteers vs. The People of the United States
« Reply #365 on: April 26, 2018, 12:42:42 AM »
I'm only going to paste the opening paragraphs.  You have to go to the website for this one.  It's really cool.

RE

https://changemaker.media/feature/war-profiteers-vs-the-people-of-the-united-states/?mc_cid=c2b27fe41d&mc_eid=69cae54ea5

War Profiteers vs. The People of the United States

Opening Statement
By David DeGraw

We bring to the attention of our readers an important report on the billions of dollars of unaccounted U.S. taxpayers money which have served to line the pockets of war profiteers.

“The fact that this mind-blowing amount of missing tax money has not been a lightning rod for mainstream media coverage, congressional investigations, and a lead issue for all political representatives, particularly those who claim to care about our skyrocketing national debt, calls into serious question the integrity and legitimacy of all leadership and responsible parties. … We are trapped in a vicious cycle; increased military spending, with inadequate oversight, leads to billions of our annual taxpayer dollars being given directly to the people who profit of war, terrorism and societal destabilization in general – as evidence clearly demonstrates.”

“Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance.” – Albert Einstein

OPENING STATEMENT

According to United States government documents, since 1998, the Office of the Inspector General has reported on $21 Trillion in unaccounted for taxpayer money.

As unbelievable and absurd as that sounds, the actual total of unaccounted for taxpayer money at the Pentagon is most likely significantly more than $21 trillion.

Researchers are unable to get data for every year of military spending, many Pentagon agencies do not have any publically available records, hundreds of thousands of transactions have been erased, and an estimated millions of transactions do not have any traceable record.

In fact, the Pentagon, which handles more than half of all of our tax dollars allocated by Congress, has never been properly audited – despite the fact that an annual audit has been required by law for all federal government agencies since 1996.

As you will see in detail throughout this series of reports, not only have trillions of taxpayer dollars been knowingly dumped into a shockingly unaccountable black hole, Congress is not even sure how much money has been appropriated and given out in the first place.

United States government officials who work for the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have been reporting on this stunning issue for years.

The fact that this mind-blowing amount of missing tax money has not been a lightning rod for mainstream media coverage, congressional investigations, and a lead issue for all political representatives, particularly those who claim to care about our skyrocketing national debt, calls into serious question the integrity and legitimacy of all leadership and responsible parties.

Beyond the outright disregard for the rule of law and lack of consequences for ignoring the annual audit legal requirement, the Pentagon is also flagrantly in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

The U.S. Constitution in Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 specifically states:

    “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.”

    “The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.”
    ~ The Politics of Experience

read the rest at the link
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🌎 The Empire Turns Its Sights on Nicaragua – Again!
« Reply #366 on: April 26, 2018, 12:59:31 AM »
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/04/25/the-empire-turns-its-sights-on-nicaragua-again/
]
April 25, 2018
The Empire Turns Its Sights on Nicaragua – Again!
by Dan Kovalik


Photo by Jakob Christensen | CC BY 2.0

It was only a matter of time before the US government and its compliant media would once again put Nicaragua in their sights. And, that time has indeed come.

Last year, the US House of Representatives voted unanimously in favor of the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act of 2017 (NICA Act) which would  cut that already-poor country off from loans offered by international financial institutions.

Citing the Alliance for Global Justice, Telesur reported at the time that “‘[t]he Nicaraguan government uses foreign assistance from the international financial institutions to support social spending on health and education which have become an ever larger proportion of the national budget.’” Telesur explained that the NICA Act therefore “poses a serious danger to the Central American nation’s economy and could result in a humanitarian crisis and waves of economic refugees that would flee toward the U.S. border, joining waves of migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.”

Currently, Nicaragua is the only country victimized by the US-backed Central American Wars which is not also a source of immigrants to the US. This is in no small part due to the Sandinistas’ effective social programs.  As for the Sandinistas’ social programs, eventhe New York Times acknowledged that “[m]any poor people who receive housing and other government benefits support” Sandinista President, Daniel Ortega.

Incredibly, as the US is preparing to build a wall ostensibly to keep out Central American and Mexican migrants, it is poised to exacerbate the very migration problem it claims to want to stop.  This simply defies all logic and notions of morality and decency.

As Noam Chomsky has opined numerous times, the US shall never forgive the Nicaraguan people for overthrowing the US-backed Somoza dictatorship in 1979, for militarily defeating the Contras and for then voting back in the Sandinistas in 2007.  The NICA Act is pay-back for such crimes.

But meanwhile, the NICA Act was getting no apparent movement in the US Senate and appeared to be a dead letter.  And so, right on cue, we witness violent protests in Nicaragua which closely resemble the violent guarimbas which have plagued Venezuela on and off since Nicolas Maduro was elected in 2013.  These demonstrations will surely be used as a pretext to revive the NICA Act in the US Senate.

There are a number of curious things about the protests in Nicaragua. First, while the mainstream press has explained these protests as a response to a “social security overhaul” announced by the government, it was largely students and other youth who have been demonstrating, and not those directly affected by the announced cuts. And, though the government reversed itself on the previously-announced social security cuts in response to the protests, the New York Times stated with glee that this probably would not stop the protests from continuing.

Moreover, it must be pointed out that the proposed social security cuts which provided the impetus for the protests were themselves necessitated in no small part by the House passage of the NICA Act which, as Telesur noted, “has already put a chill on foreign direct investment into the Nicaraguan economy, having a knock-on effect on local lending activity and private investments.”  Of course, this is all according to plan.

Several alternative Spanish-speaking news outlets, including the on-line publication Mision Verdad, have detailed a number of ways in which the violent demonstrations in Nicaragua look like those organized by the right-wing in Venezuela.  These include (1) the demonstrators’ use of “artisanal weapons,” such as mortars and rockets, designed to obscure “the line between peaceful protest and the tactics of subversion and urban warfare,” and thus to provoke a government response which could be labeled “a violation of human rights”; (2) attempts to falsely blame the government for chemical weapons use (a tried and true way to provoke foreign intervention); (3) the inflation of the number of those killed in clashes, combined with the downplaying of the deaths of state security forces; (4) looting of private and public property, including memorials to left-wing revolutionary leaders such as Hugo Chavez; (5) the use of snipers; and (6) the support of the Catholic Church and various NGOs for the anti-government activities.

Not surprisingly, the Cold War-era National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has recently been giving substantial funding to groups in Nicaragua seemingly to stoke the very types of anti-government actions taking place right now.   For example, the NED, in 2017, gave $72,440 to the Comision Permanente de Derechos Humanos de Nicaragua (CPDHN) for “human rights” monitoring. Curiously, the CPDHN is a key source the Western press has been relying upon for the lop-sided information about the current protests and the government’s response to them.

The NED has also been giving substantial monies to youth and student groups in Nicaragua – such groups now serving as the main source of the current unrest.  In addition, the NED has given support to “independent” (i.e., anti-government) media outlets and to other civil society groups for the purpose of “raising awareness” about how the Nicaraguan government is allegedly repressing them.   All told, the NED last year alone gave well over a $1 million in aid to civil society groups for the purpose of ginning up social strife in Nicaragua.

During the 1980s, Nicaragua – a tiny country which remains the second poorest in the Hemisphere — inspired many of us, myself included, with its heroic resistance to violent US aggression.   Nicaragua has remained a symbol of opposition to US imperialism, and that has galled the powers-that-be in this country – particularly Neo-Cons such as current National Security Adviser John Bolton.

We must stand with Nicaragua now, as many of us did before, in opposing continued US hostilities in the form of the NICA Act and interference in Nicaragua’s internal affairs. Nicaragua deserves such solidarity.
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Daniel Kovalik lives in Pittsburgh and teaches International Human Rights Law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
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Re: 🌎 The Empire Turns Its Sights on Nicaragua – Again!
« Reply #367 on: April 26, 2018, 05:21:26 AM »
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/04/25/the-empire-turns-its-sights-on-nicaragua-again/
]
April 25, 2018
The Empire Turns Its Sights on Nicaragua – Again!
by Dan Kovalik


Photo by Jakob Christensen | CC BY 2.0

It was only a matter of time before the US government and its compliant media would once again put Nicaragua in their sights. And, that time has indeed come.

Last year, the US House of Representatives voted unanimously in favor of the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act of 2017 (NICA Act) which would  cut that already-poor country off from loans offered by international financial institutions.

Citing the Alliance for Global Justice, Telesur reported at the time that “‘[t]he Nicaraguan government uses foreign assistance from the international financial institutions to support social spending on health and education which have become an ever larger proportion of the national budget.’” Telesur explained that the NICA Act therefore “poses a serious danger to the Central American nation’s economy and could result in a humanitarian crisis and waves of economic refugees that would flee toward the U.S. border, joining waves of migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.”

Currently, Nicaragua is the only country victimized by the US-backed Central American Wars which is not also a source of immigrants to the US. This is in no small part due to the Sandinistas’ effective social programs.  As for the Sandinistas’ social programs, eventhe New York Times acknowledged that “[m]any poor people who receive housing and other government benefits support” Sandinista President, Daniel Ortega.

Incredibly, as the US is preparing to build a wall ostensibly to keep out Central American and Mexican migrants, it is poised to exacerbate the very migration problem it claims to want to stop.  This simply defies all logic and notions of morality and decency.

As Noam Chomsky has opined numerous times, the US shall never forgive the Nicaraguan people for overthrowing the US-backed Somoza dictatorship in 1979, for militarily defeating the Contras and for then voting back in the Sandinistas in 2007.  The NICA Act is pay-back for such crimes.

But meanwhile, the NICA Act was getting no apparent movement in the US Senate and appeared to be a dead letter.  And so, right on cue, we witness violent protests in Nicaragua which closely resemble the violent guarimbas which have plagued Venezuela on and off since Nicolas Maduro was elected in 2013.  These demonstrations will surely be used as a pretext to revive the NICA Act in the US Senate.

There are a number of curious things about the protests in Nicaragua. First, while the mainstream press has explained these protests as a response to a “social security overhaul” announced by the government, it was largely students and other youth who have been demonstrating, and not those directly affected by the announced cuts. And, though the government reversed itself on the previously-announced social security cuts in response to the protests, the New York Times stated with glee that this probably would not stop the protests from continuing.

Moreover, it must be pointed out that the proposed social security cuts which provided the impetus for the protests were themselves necessitated in no small part by the House passage of the NICA Act which, as Telesur noted, “has already put a chill on foreign direct investment into the Nicaraguan economy, having a knock-on effect on local lending activity and private investments.”  Of course, this is all according to plan.

Several alternative Spanish-speaking news outlets, including the on-line publication Mision Verdad, have detailed a number of ways in which the violent demonstrations in Nicaragua look like those organized by the right-wing in Venezuela.  These include (1) the demonstrators’ use of “artisanal weapons,” such as mortars and rockets, designed to obscure “the line between peaceful protest and the tactics of subversion and urban warfare,” and thus to provoke a government response which could be labeled “a violation of human rights”; (2) attempts to falsely blame the government for chemical weapons use (a tried and true way to provoke foreign intervention); (3) the inflation of the number of those killed in clashes, combined with the downplaying of the deaths of state security forces; (4) looting of private and public property, including memorials to left-wing revolutionary leaders such as Hugo Chavez; (5) the use of snipers; and (6) the support of the Catholic Church and various NGOs for the anti-government activities.

Not surprisingly, the Cold War-era National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has recently been giving substantial funding to groups in Nicaragua seemingly to stoke the very types of anti-government actions taking place right now.   For example, the NED, in 2017, gave $72,440 to the Comision Permanente de Derechos Humanos de Nicaragua (CPDHN) for “human rights” monitoring. Curiously, the CPDHN is a key source the Western press has been relying upon for the lop-sided information about the current protests and the government’s response to them.

The NED has also been giving substantial monies to youth and student groups in Nicaragua – such groups now serving as the main source of the current unrest.  In addition, the NED has given support to “independent” (i.e., anti-government) media outlets and to other civil society groups for the purpose of “raising awareness” about how the Nicaraguan government is allegedly repressing them.   All told, the NED last year alone gave well over a $1 million in aid to civil society groups for the purpose of ginning up social strife in Nicaragua.

During the 1980s, Nicaragua – a tiny country which remains the second poorest in the Hemisphere — inspired many of us, myself included, with its heroic resistance to violent US aggression.   Nicaragua has remained a symbol of opposition to US imperialism, and that has galled the powers-that-be in this country – particularly Neo-Cons such as current National Security Adviser John Bolton.

We must stand with Nicaragua now, as many of us did before, in opposing continued US hostilities in the form of the NICA Act and interference in Nicaragua’s internal affairs. Nicaragua deserves such solidarity.
Join the debate on Facebook
More articles by:Dan Kovalik

Daniel Kovalik lives in Pittsburgh and teaches International Human Rights Law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

I've been following this. Ortega isn't able to keep the social support network going, looks like to me. I'm sure the USMIC is happy to exploit the situation, but I'm not sure this is anything like an engineered coup. There's not much left in Nicaragua to rip off, is there?
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Re: 🌎 The Empire Turns Its Sights on Nicaragua – Again!
« Reply #368 on: April 26, 2018, 05:52:02 AM »
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/04/25/the-empire-turns-its-sights-on-nicaragua-again/

The Empire Turns Its Sights on Nicaragua – Again!
by Dan Kovalik

//
Incredibly, as the US is preparing to build a wall ostensibly to keep out Central American and Mexican migrants, it is poised to exacerbate the very migration problem it claims to want to stop.  This simply defies all logic and notions of morality and decency.

As Noam Chomsky has opined numerous times, the US shall never forgive the Nicaraguan people for overthrowing the US-backed Somoza dictatorship in 1979, for militarily defeating the Contras and for then voting back in the Sandinistas in 2007.  The NICA Act is pay-back for such crimes.

Or, as they say in DC regardless of who is in power, it's Thursday.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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🚀 Perpetual Business Of War
« Reply #369 on: April 27, 2018, 02:51:16 AM »
https://orientalreview.org/2018/04/26/perpetual-business-of-war/

Perpetual Business Of War
Written by Leonid SAVIN on 26/04/2018


Shortly before its attack on Syria, the US declassified its “Report on the Legal and Policy Frameworks Guiding the United States’ Use of Military Force and Related National Security Operations.” As its name implies, this paper concerns itself with US military operations abroad. The word “war” is never officially used, as you may notice, because the procedure for declaring war is a rather complicated process.

According to the report, “US. forces remain in Afghanistan for the purposes of stopping the reemergence of safe havens that enable terrorists to threaten the United States or its interests.” In regard to Iraq and Syria, the picture is much the same. US armed forces are deployed “to conduct operations against ISIS with indigenous ground forces.” Such evasive wording in regard to the second group suggests that this is a reference not only to terrorists, but also to Syrian government troops. This is confirmed a bit further into the document, where it states that “US Armed Forces participating in the Defeat-ISIS campaign in Syria have taken a limited number of strikes against Syrian government and pro-Syrian government forces.” As for the Kurdish divisions, only the Iraqi Peshmerga are mentioned, although in Syria the US has also provided military assistance to the Kurdish units of the SDF.

Only a relatively small contingent of American troops have been posted to Yemen, where they are conducting operations against the local branches of al-Qaeda. In addition to taking part in combat operations, the US provides logistical assistance from Saudi Arabia against Houthi rebels.

In Somalia, the US carries out both air strikes as well as ground operations, which includes cooperation with the African Union mission in Somalia. The US has designated al-Qaeda, ISIS, and al-Shabaab as its military targets.

Libya has mostly been on the receiving end of air strikes that are supposedly coordinated with the Libyan Government of National Accord.

The seventh country mentioned in the document does not often come up in any of the various news reports about the military hostilities. This is Niger, and the official reason for the presence of the US military there is to train, assist, and advise the local government in the fight against ISIS. Moreover it states that “United States and Nigerien partner forces responded with armed force in self-defense.”
General Wesley Clark
General Wesley Clark

In 2007 General Wesley Clark claimed in a television interview that after the attack on New York in 2001, the US planned to conduct seven wars in the Middle East region over the course of five years. The Pentagon would start with Iraq and then move on to target Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.

The fact is that all of these countries, with the exception of Iran, have been the subject of direct or indirect aggression and political pressure from the US and its satellites. There are US military forces that remain stationed in some of them still to this day.

With regard to the legal framework, which is based on both local as well as international law, this document states that there has been no change that would apply to the presence and actions of the US armed forces there. Only in Yemen are certain restrictions in place. The section about the capture and detention of the citizens of various countries who are seized in conflict zones, as well as the sadly infamous Guantanamo prison, includes a similar statement. Despite the fact that this prison is actually even physically located on an illegally occupied part of Cuba at Guantanamo Bay, Washington continues to maintain that “detention operations at Guantanamo Bay are legal, safe, humane, and conducted consistent with U.S. and international law.” It reports that the detention operations at the prison will continue and new prisoners will be sent to Guantanamo.
Long War or Perpetual War?

To understand the US practice of warfare, one must turn to systematic studies that have been done on this subject, as this report is a logical continuation of the strategic research and development conducted by American academic and military institutions. In 2008, the RAND Corporation released a study, called “Unfolding the Future of the Long War: Motivations, Prospects, and Implications for the U.S. Army.” The document was drafted on the basis of the grimmest forecasts, i.e., the assumption that the US will be involved in conflicts against a unified Muslim world that will seek to supplant Western dominance until at least 2020, thus making it necessary to identify the ambiguities and actors in that war, as well as how it might unfold, and to come up with potential strategies to contend with that scenario.

US armed forces

The authors of the report suggest that methods such as capitalizing on the Sunni-Shiite conflict be used to sway US enemies in a future long war. For example, shoring up the region’s traditional Sunni regimes is suggested as a way to contain Iran and limit its influence in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf.

Another proposal is that the US might adapt its strategy to focus more on the long-term, relying less on forceful aggression in the Middle East. Under this option, the State Department, USAID, Peace Corps, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Justice could become the primary actors in this new American strategy.

It is revealing that the term “long war” was not simply added to the lengthy backlist of numerous other theoretical analyses, but has instead been transformed into a concept that is part of the common parlance of the current Washington establishment. This was confirmed by the relatively recent testimony presented by Seth Jones on April 27, 2017 before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, titled “Managing the Long War: U.S. Policy toward Afghanistan and the Region. ”

Given that Afghanistan is located in an important geopolitical region — between Iran and Pakistan and relatively close to the Central Asia states of the former USSR — this country is doomed to be the object of a long and perhaps even perpetual US war.

But apparently the Pentagon is gearing up to wage an unending war on three fronts — not only in Afghanistan, but also against China and Russia. At least that’s the claim of Professor Michael Klare, who calls this evolution of events “an invitation to disaster” and cautions officials in Washington to think hard before committing to any strategies that involve the use of force.
War is Business

On April 16, 2018 the news broke that some US senators were drafting a new war authorization bill. Its authors are Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. and Tim Kaine, D-Va. and its co-sponsors include Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del.; Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Todd Young, R-Ind. The bill would regulate the president’s power to press the US armed forces into service. But if one bothers to scrutinize even a bit all the work done by defense contractors and the political decisions related to combat operations, one can quickly see that there is a definite connection between the two. Therefore, any such restrictions can be not only political in nature, but also aimed at business interests. Both of the US missile strikes in Syria (April 2017 and April 2018) used Tomahawk missiles, which are manufactured by the American company Raytheon. In April 2017, when the US attacked a Syrian airbase (firing 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles), Raytheon surged 3% before paring its gain by half, but closed above its 50-day moving average and a 152.68 flat-base buy point. That put the stock back in buy range. Other Pentagon contractors, such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing, also edged higher. Interestingly, after April 11, 2018, Raytheon shares began to creep upward, rising from $219 per share to a ceiling of $228 by April 17. And this was despite the fact that most of the Tomahawks landed wide of their target.
US Senate
The U.S. Senate

One would have thought that this would have put the Russian company Rosoboronexport in a better position, since it supplies weapons systems to Syria (and some of those systems prevented the Tomahawks from reaching their target), but not Raytheon, whose products were virtual duds. However, on April 16, Russian companies suffered a bad day on the stock market due to the latest US sanctions, with financial analysts claiming that Rosoboronexport, along with Rusal, took the biggest beating. And that was despite the fact that military products from Russia are in high demand on the global arms market.      In other words, some other kind of mechanism exists that makes it possible to manipulate the quotes for securities and the exchange rates. And sure enough, back in 2015 Business Insider reported that Donald Trump’s investment portfolio included stock holdings in Raytheon. At the time, a number of publications suggested that Trump’s financial interests benefited from the 2017 missile strike.  If someone has administrative leverage and the assistance of brokerage firms, a military campaign could be used for personal enrichment. And the whole shebang could be branded as a “defense of national interests” or “protection of democracy.”

The oil market also reacted to the attack on Syria. The price of crude oil jumped. Analysts explained this as a side effect of the potential danger that the conflict might escalate, thereby affecting the entire Middle East. And that could jeopardize the existing supplies. But those prices had changed before the US and Great Britain launched their missile attack. As early as April 11, Brent crude had risen to $71.96 a barrel, its highest point since December 2014. If one tracks the momentum of oil prices and the work of oil companies and traders on the global market, it’s easy to see who cashed in on this price hike.

Given that the US political system is based on “iron triangles” — the intersecting interests of corporations, government officials, and special-interest groups — it is unlikely that any truly sensible decision will be made in the US in regard to the use of armed force that would make it possible to resolve conflicts by means of diplomacy instead. The interests of the American military-industrial complex are clearly more compelling than those of the organizations that specialize in negotiations and consultations. War (or, to use the official rhetoric: “military operations abroad”) will be long, perpetual, and lucrative for the many actors involved.
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🐑 The Rise and Fall of the United Sheepdom
« Reply #370 on: April 29, 2018, 01:39:42 AM »
https://www.greanvillepost.com/2018/04/28/the-rise-and-fall-of-the-united-sheepdom-tales-from-my-uncles-animal-farm/

The Rise and Fall of the United Sheepdom (Tales From My Uncle’s Animal Farm).
April 28, 2018 Posted by Addison dePitt

HELP ENLIGHTEN YOUR FELLOWS. BE SURE TO PASS THIS ON. SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON IT.


Once upon a time there was a wonderful country. Its full name was the Union of White Sheep and White Wolves, but everyone called it United Sheepdom for short. The white sheep that constituted the majority of the country had it pretty nice. They were regularly fleeced, and a sizeable number of them were regularly sent to the slaughterhouse for the consumption of white wolves, but for the rest of time, their life was relatively well regulated and protected. At least, that’s what their newspapers, called SheepPost, SheepTimes, and SheepGuardian, were telling them. These newspapers did their best to describe the great progress achieved both by white wolves and white sheep, while simultaneously portraying the existence of other sheep in other countries as absolutely horrendous. Likewise, the newspapers loved to present the stories of the sheep from all over the world dreaming of only one thing—to get across the border and join the happy meadows of the United Sheepdom. “Still the land of dreams,” the articles would declare.

The United Sheepdom had a great political system, called Lupocracy, which meant that the sheep were governed by two parties, whose leaders were chosen depending on the size of the promises that they would give. One party consisted of white wolves and its emblem was a White Wolf embracing a White Lamb with the words “Bravery” written under the embracing couple; another of white wolves in white sheepskins, and its emblem was a White Lamb embracing a White Wolf in White Sheepskin, with the words “Freedom,” underscoring the embrace. Both parties did their best to convince everyone how nice was the life in this land of the brave and the free. Furthermore, once in a while the party of the white wolves in white sheepskin clothes would bring into a high party position a real sheep. In fact, the most exceptional, obedient, and the whitest of all sheep could be elected into parliament. Consequently, every sheep in the country had a chance to dream of entering the White Barn, the main seat of the government. Needless to say, the election of a white sheep into the parliament was greeted as the day of national celebration, as the triumph of bravery and freedom. On that day, every sheep would be issued a white wolf costume, and had a chance to party and dance and chase the wolves, all of which were required to be dressed in white sheepskins.

The White Wolves’ particular venom was directed at the country populated by gray sheep and gray wolves, called Great Allsheep Union—a once powerful country that had aspired to get rid of all wolves and unite in harmony all world sheep, but by now — fallen apart, shrunk to a much smaller Greylandia, and controlled by Committee of Sly Grey Wolves. Hardly a day would pass without another story broadcast all over United Sheepdom of grey sheep killed, burned, dropped from the sky, or brutally devoured by lawless and deceitful grey wolves. “Sheep are dying in droves;” “Greylandia is the Epicenter of the Perfect Storm of Demographic Collapse,” the articles kept on reminding its readers.
At one moment, encouraged by their Wolf-politicians, the white sheep even declared themselves as Sheep of Exception, totally different from the rest of sheepkind. Indeed, white sheep lived longer, and when butchered, died quietly in a nice beautiful building adorned with sculptures of frolicking lambs, so that even when some sheep would disappear, their relatives and friends would think that their vanished relatives went to FloweryLand…

The gray sheep that populated Greylandia were distant relatives of the white sheep, but the Whites never acknowledged it. They were so fluffy, and pure, and white, and manicured as opposed to all those shaggy sheep whose hair looked like mud on a rainy day that they actually liked to make fun of their pathetic gray counterparts. Furthermore, SheepPost would always tell the stories of stupid grey sheep tolerating the vicious abuse in the teeth of the big grey wolves. “Greylandia: Still Empire, Still Evil,” pronounced one of the most intellectual magazines of the land, called SheepThinker. Having read those, the Whites felt the justifiable right to feel different.

At one moment, encouraged by their Wolf-politicians, the white sheep even declared themselves as Sheep of Exception, totally different from the rest of sheepkind. Indeed, white sheep lived longer, and when butchered, died quietly in a nice beautiful building adorned with sculptures of frolicking lambs, so that even when some sheep would disappear, their relatives and friends would think that their vanished relatives went to FloweryLand (that was a nickname of a slaughterhouse, a building adorned by embracing baby lambs on its roof), where they are happily resting. Luckily, the sheep never had a long memory, and were always distracted by the big TV screens that presented either the various exceptionally beautiful specimens of sheep frolicking in the green meadow, or the horror stories about evil grey wolves and their equally evil sidekicks, grey sheep, that the memory of the relatives, who went to a greener place in any case, would soon vanish.

Grey sheep had actually communicated with their relatives across the ocean and asked them to be skeptical of the stories that their leaders told them. They observed that neither white wolves nor white wolves in white sheepskin could be trusted, that they devour the white sheep with the same efficiency as do the yellow, grey, or black wolves. They told their distant relatives that back in Greylandia, the sheep once lived under the black wolves who tortured and abused them, then the red wolves came along and promised the sheep a better life and eventual destruction of wolfdom, and the sheep believed them only to be abused more viciously and methodically than before. But these warnings of the Greys were dismissed: you are too cynical, they were told, you’ve been abused by your wolves for too long so you cannot trust them, but our white wolves are different. They are exceptional, as the rest of us over here.

Furthermore, how could white sheep believe these warning when their SheepTimes and SheepGuardian were always filled with the denunciations of Greylandia. Everything coming from the Greylandia was a lie, not worthy of discussion. “Greylandia spreads fake news via their grey tweets,” SheepGuardian would announce. Everyone reading courageous and relentless reporters from SheepGuardian could easily learn that Greylandia’s population was neither brave nor free; their press was fully controlled by the Grey Wolves. In fact, the grey sheep didn’t not even have the voice of their own. Behind every grey sheep, which ever bleated its criticism of the United Sheepdom, lurked a nasty mug of a grey wolf, whose only purpose was to stick its gray muzzle and gray teeth into the flesh of a white sheep. These grey sheep were denounced as “Greybots,” and “Greytrolls,”  the evil pretenders. Their attempts were diligently exposed by the SheepGuardian in such articles as “Fake News and Greybots: How GreyLandia Weaponized the Net.”

Furthermore, the newspapers informed its readers that the Greys were not interested in truth, but only in the desire to sow discord between the white sheep and the white wolves; they wanted the white sheep not to trust the words of wisdom, coming from the White Wolves and the White Wolves in White Sheepskin. But who can possibly mistrust a white Wolf in white Sheepskin, especially the one running for reelection. Only Greys would see the election period as the chance to sow fresh discord, the newspapers warned. At least, that’s what the SheepGuardian told its readers, and who would ever mistrust their glorious writers! The SheepGuardian was a publication that would never say anything hurting the sheep, since its very name suggested that it wanted to protect them. Consequently, very few white sheep would even listen, let alone trust their grey relatives.

To make sure that the white sheep remain with their naiveté and innocence, SheepPost and SheepTimes would have weekly columns written by grey sheep that managed to escape their greysheep hellhole, Greylandia. One sheep, named Boris, happened to be a very skillful chess player, who would beat everyone in chess, including the smartest of wolves. Because of his skills, Boris decided that he has to preside over Greylandia: if he could move the figures on the chessboard, he would surely be able to organize the lives of his country sheep. Yet, the country preferred the sly old wolf, called Vladimir the Lupus. Outraged by this lack of respect and admiration, Boris left for the United Sheepdom and began to complain about the dismal tyranny that took over his land. There were many other greys, who happened to dislike their old country, like a famous punk band, called, Riotous Natashas, which was imprisoned for interrupting a religious service in the most important church in Greylandia and bleating sacrilegious songs about the sacred lamb and his mother. “Greylandia does not tolerate the freedom of sheep” they pronounced, and became immediate darlings of all free sheep. Needless to say, that with these brilliant exposes penned out by the likes of Boris and Riotous Natashas, the white sheep decided never trust their backward relatives, who were not even relatives in any case.

Suddenly, however, there was a slip in the election system of the United Sheepdom!  Due to his skillful election campaign, and to the rare white-orange tint to his fur, a rather strange wolf happened to win the general election. Going against the tradition of his country, this wolf was neither an upstanding white wolf, nor was he a sweet wolf in white sheepskin: he was a real wolf with real wolf manners. This nasty wolf, nicknamed Wolfie The Orange, had a very big mouth, and he began to disclose the hidden rules of the game. He would state, for example, that the wolves were different from the sheep, and therefore not responsible for the sheeps’ wellbeing, and that only when we recognize their divine right to eat sheep at any time, the country, the United Sheepdom, would once again become the most powerful country on earth. Truth be told, recently the country had begun to slip. White wolves had become lazy and decadent; they forgot how to hunt, preferring to sip their sheep-blood cocktails while waiting for their servant-sheep to bring them lamb chops from the slaughterhouse. The sheep, in turn, became less and less productive. Kept in their air-conditioned stables and glued to their TVs, the sheep exercised neither their muscle nor their brain; their hair was getting shorter; meat, less tasty; intellect, more and more dim.

However, the rude words of the new Chairman of the White Barn roduced a storm. “What is this nonsense about wolves eating up the sheep? That was the thing of the past. It surely happens on regular basis in Greylandia, but not here.” The Wolves in White Sheepskins protested, “We never heard such a thing. Most of us are vegetarians in any case.” Many white wolves were truly scandalized: Everything was going so well; their four-legged food was obedient and behaving well, the white sheep had fights with each other over females or over the hormone- and antibiotic-free grass-stakes, but they never questioned the White Wolf power. They would march happily to the slaughterhouse, never imagining that they will be brutally slaughtered there. Who would want to disclose this important secret? Of course, it has to be these awful Greys and their despicable leader, Vladimir the Lupus. SheepGuardian boldly declared that: “An intelligence report declassified on Friday said Vladimir the Lupus had personally “ordered an influence campaign during the United Sheepdom election to tip the balance in favor of Wolfie the Orange.”

Consequently, a rebellion took place. SheepPost announced that this newly elected chairman was an imposter, that he must be the puppet of Greys, that it was grey wolves that have taught Wolfie the Orange to say these awful things and promote these nasty practices. Only vicious grey wolves still snack on sheep, and only stupid grey sheep imagine that it happens everywhere. Our sheep and our wolves embrace each other, as the brave and the free always do.

Through the skillful operation involving the Almost-white Wolves who lived across the ocean and who were the closest relatives of The White Wolves of the United Sheepdom, the nasty big-mouth Wolfie the Orange was overthrown and arrested. The country celebrated and many songs and plays were written on the occasion. The sheep was told to forget everything that the impostor had said. The happy life had resumed its course, as The United Sheepdom continue to brag to the rest of the world about its exceptional achievements.

With white sheep doing the entire job for them, the white wolves became too lazy and unimaginative, however. They’ve also committed an unpardonable mistake of all lazy leaders: they began to believe their own lies. For years, their press was trying to convince them that Greylandia “makes nothing,” that their economy is weak, that Greylandia is not as threatening but collapsing, both economically and politically. “Junk-rating Greylandia” became the slogan of the intrepid SheepGuardian. Obviously, the country constantly on the verge of collapse had to hate its leaders, who were getting weaker by the minute, pontificated a SheepTank, the center of intellectual life among the sheep.

Greylandia, however, was making friends and alliances all over the world, promoting tolerance, acceptance, and respect for difference, that the self-righteous and holier-than-thou animals of the United Sheepdom found unacceptable. They presumed that all the sheep and all the wolves of the world had to admire and obey the Whites.

Eventually, someone in the United Sheepdom remembered the idea of Wolfie the Orange – to build a wall around the country. United Sheepdom was too special, too exceptional, its political system unparalleled, the fur of both its sheep and its wolves was the whitest and the fluffiest. “What do we have to do with the rest of the world, which is a friend of our main enemy, Greylandia?” — declared the new leader presiding over the White Farm. So a giant White Wall was built all around the country, which decided to seal itself off from the rest of the world.

The fate of those behind this White Wall remains unknown. Not that the rest of the world cared that much about their haughty and self-righteous relatives. As of recently, the country did not produce anything, except the new political theory that stressed the undeniable right of anyone in the country to declare itself to be whatever it wants to be, then demand special privileges on the basis of its newly formulated identity. The rest of the world found this pursuit extremely tedious and boring and left the United Sheepdom to its own exceptional arguments about its own exceptionality.

From the sketchy reports that were carried over by some courageous sheep from across the White Wall, we hear that there was an endless multiplication of vegetarian wolves, of sheep thriving on wolf-meat, of sheep claiming to be half wolves, and wolves claiming to be quarter sheep and three quarters sheepdogs. Some even announced that they were grey, but those were quickly committed to a funny farm. The last rumor that came from behind the wall was that all the factions embarked on the bitter war with each other, and eventually within itself, with each animal claiming its own superiority. Who won in this battle, remained unknown.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 Vladimir is a professor of Slavic studies at Brown University, Rhode Island, USA. He was born in Moscow and emigrated to the United States in 1979. Professor Golstein’s scholarly interests embrace Russian culture, religion, philosophy, and poetry, of the past two centuries.
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📽️ Korea: The Imposed Divide (RT Documentary 57:00)
« Reply #371 on: April 29, 2018, 01:46:41 AM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/ucOf013G4QE" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/ucOf013G4QE</a>
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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #372 on: May 01, 2018, 04:28:00 PM »
May Day is a day for getting angry in France.  Remember that it won't get on the news unless there is good video.  Massed ranks of riot police, tear gas, sound grenades, water canons, versus a burning car (!) and a petrol bomb thru Big Mac's window (!) and "hooded individuals" means reporters in helmets and gas masks.  A good time was had by all.
Videos at site.

https://www.rt.com/news/425585-paris-cars-fire-protesters/
May Day riot in Paris: Masked protesters torch cars, police deploy tear gas (VIDEOS)
1 May, 2018

Police in Paris have used water cannons to break up a tumultuous rally. Amid May Day demonstrations, hooded individuals have been throwing smoke bombs and setting vehicles on fire in the French capital.

Live feeds from Paris showed chaotic scenes, as police attempt to disperse violent protesters while redirecting crowds of peaceful marchers to side streets. Loud bangs are heard in the background as smoke and tear gas billow down the streets.

Police pushed back against the rioters, peppering the crowd with tear gas grenades from behind riot shields and hitting the crowd with water cannon. Protesters lobbed firecrackers at the advancing force, as well as picking up and throwing back some of the gas canisters. Armored police vans and fire trucks are backed up advance.

Earlier, law enforcement tweeted there were around 1,200 “hooded and masked” individuals among the May Day demonstrators at the Pont d’Austerlitz bridge in central Paris. On Monday, police warned of possible clashes with far-left anarchists, after calls to make it a “revolutionary day” appeared on social media.

The rioters have torched several vehicles and vandalized shop fronts, including reportedly throwing a petrol bomb through a McDonald’s window.

France marks Labor Day as President Emmanuel Macron finds himself in a protracted battle with unions and students over his reform plans. Railroad workers have been striking since mid-April, angry at plans to freeze salaries, cut over 120,000 jobs, and employ more private contractors.

Students have previously occupied several universities across France, protesting Macron’s move to reform the education system, including introducing new admissions criteria and ranking young people who apply to public universities.

Emmanuel Macron, who has remained unmoved by the protests and vowed to proceed with the reforms, is not in Paris to witness the unrest, having flown to Australia for a state visit.
"The State is a body of armed men."

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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #373 on: May 01, 2018, 04:37:42 PM »
May Day is a day for getting angry in France.  Remember that it won't get on the news unless there is good video.  Massed ranks of riot police, tear gas, sound grenades, water canons, versus a burning car (!) and a petrol bomb thru Big Mac's window (!) and "hooded individuals" means reporters in helmets and gas masks.  A good time was had by all.
Videos at site.

Another lively day in Frog Collapse!

RE
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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #374 on: May 01, 2018, 08:35:51 PM »
May Day is a day for getting angry in France.  Remember that it won't get on the news unless there is good video.  Massed ranks of riot police, tear gas, sound grenades, water canons, versus a burning car (!) and a petrol bomb thru Big Mac's window (!) and "hooded individuals" means reporters in helmets and gas masks.  A good time was had by all.
Videos at site.

Another lively day in Frog Collapse!

RE

I went to Palloy's link and saw burning cars.  Pretty convincing if it is faked.  I noticed all the videos were labeled RT.  I went to RT and they are there.  Then I did a search of who else was reporting current frog riots.  May day riots are apparently a piss in the wind.  Get your head split open and it won't even make the news. 

https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/world/paris-may-day-riots-see-mask-wearing-anarchists-burn-down-businesses-bringing-chaos-to-the-french-capital-ng-0c7627e851d38b8735a723919d44fd69

https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/world-news/699802/May-day-protests-paris-riots-2018-France-fire-mcdonalds-petrol-bomb

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-43967689

I would not expect a lot of interest in the US but a total blackout suggests more ominous forces are at work.  Apparently a few British news agencies rebelled or did not get the memo.  We have reported about dead bankers.  Are we keeping track of dead journalists too?  Should we be?

I noticed Google is totally suppressing RT.  'french riots today' as a search term gives nothing current in Google.  The machinery of suppression is being tested.



I used more than one search engine.

Under ideal conditions of temperature and pressure the organism will grow without limit.

 

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