Saturday, September 30, 2017
"Everything is backwards; everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the major media destroy information, and religions destroy spirituality." - Michael Ellner
He could have gone on of course. Scientists destroy knowledge, environmentalists are destroying the planet (yes they are, in ways few people understand,) and - well the list is endless really ...
Thursday, September 21, 2017
In an interview with Russia Today, Daniel McAdams, executive director, Ron Paul Institute, set up by the maverick former congressman to further his libertarian ideas said there are members of Congress who don’t want anyone on TV saying America’s foreign policy is a disaster and it costs a fortune, RT. Investigative journalist Dave Lindorff reports.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the fiscal year 2018, which passed the US Senate earlier this week, carries some added provisions that have little in common with the military, as well as some provisions that appear to have little to do with defence spending.
McAdams says congress has published a bill that could potentially block Russian broadcasters from being shown in the US. It could allow US content providers to break their contracts, leaving Russian channels without any legal recourse. This is in spite of yet another investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the US 2016 election failing to find any evidence to support the claims.
The plan to introduce television censorship is buried inside a tiny amendment of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The part about Russia is summarized in just a few lines, between details on funding of the US military. Amendment No 1096, which aims to "prohibit multichannel video programming distributors from being required to carry certain video content that is owned or controlled by the Government of the Russian Federation".
Why this continued focus on Russia and completely fabricated claims od meddling in US politics in what's supposed to be an annual defense spending bill?
According to McAdams there is an obsession on Capitol Hill and within the mainstream media with Russia Today (RT) because RT is effective and RT is watched while American "News" Channels that stick closely to Washinton's propaganda narrative and show left wing bias in their reporting are losing viewers rapidly. But also, and this is very important, because RT carries perspectives that are not available in the mainstream media.
Commentators on RT would say the same thing that they say on RT if they were invited by any of the mainstream media, but because mainstram media's idea of "diversity" is only skin deep those independent voices will never be heard on minstream channels. The case is that John McCain and Lindsey Graham, the people who were behind this amendment, the Atlantic Council and the others are trying to silence RT in the USA. They, and supporters of Hillary Clinton still clinging to the delusional belief that President Trump can be deposed and the rival he defeated for the Presidency somehow, against all constitutional provisions, replace him are the totalitarians, they are the enemies of free speech; they're the enemies of the First Amendment; they don’t want anyone coming on television saying that America’s foreign policy is a disaster; it is broken; it is making the U.S.A. more vulnerable to attack, and it’s costing a fortune. It cannot stand competition in the area of ideas.
There should be no government censorship of ideas, it should be viewer beware. If you’re watching RT and you know that it is funded, directly or indirectly, by the Russian government, you take that into consideration just as any intelligent person would do. The same rules should apply as when Americans watch France 24 or BBC America which reflect the perspectives of, respectively, the French and British governments into consideration, because it is funded by those bodies.
Monday, September 18, 2017
Jeff Bezos - net worth $80 billion - health problems: notoriously thin skin
A new trend in mainstream media and the liberal side of the political establishment is that, aware of public feeling for once, they are turning on their recent darlings, the Silicon Valley elites. As public criticism of the ethical decrepitude common to tech and internet giants such as Google (don't be evil, that's our job,) Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and Amazon to name a few, the politicians and media luvvies are as usual piling on the bandwagon.
Last week, even say-anything-in-return-for-a-donation Hillary Clinton attacked Facebook for allowing someone who may have been Russian to buy $50,000 worth of political ads on their site. Blithely sidestepping around the irony the irony of that statement when it is a matter of public record that Facebook execs gave millions to Hillary's 2016 campaign, we would ask our readers to cut FB some slack. Recent revelations about how much of their estimated revenue is down to click fraud makes one realise how desperate for cashflow Zuckerberg and Co. must be.
Jumping on this hate-silicon-valley-control-freaks bandwagon may have unexpected consequences however, another trend that has gone largely unremarked is the acquisition by tech billionaires of traditional media organizations (i.e. the ones that make money in the real world, not in Ponzi schemes like crypto-currencies. So if you are a writer and have intentions of joining in with the tech-billionaire bashing jamboree, it might be wise to make sure you know who owns the news organ you write for. Telling the world via your Facebook timeline that your boss is a bastard is bad, doing the same thing in a big circulation news sheet he or she owns is not just career suicide, it's oblivion. Unfortunately, Fredrick Kunkle of the Washington Post didn't heed that advice when he published a scathing op-ed about Jeff Bezos in the Huffington Post. It is of course possible than Kunkle did not know the Amazon founder now owns WaPo, but journalistic training covers the importance of fact checking surely. Here's a taste of what he had to say:
Bezo's ideology appeares to be based on, "Fuck the workers, I want all the money." Oh well, he has no influence over this small publication.One of the wealthiest men in the world is thinking of ways to give back. But he’s still taking from the very people who helped him build his fortune.
But as Bezos, whose worth now exceeds $80 billion, loosens his pockets, it’s important to put his charitable giving — and the philanthropy of the super-rich — into perspective: Many people worked hard for Bezos to help make him so rich, and he has a record of treating them poorly.
Amazon’s history of dodging taxes, its mistreatment of workers, and its ruthlessness toward even the smallest competitors have been well documented. It put ambulances outside distribution centers rather than install adequate air conditioning. It broke up a union organizing effort by closing the call center and dismissing everyone who worked there. The New York Times documented its punishing work environment in a front-page exposé. The company’s actions, as Forbes put it, hark back to an earlier time when workers were treated as “replaceable cogs in the machine.”
Everyone at the Post wants it to succeed and prosper. But we want our employees to succeed and prosper, too.
Two years ago, however, Bezos slashed retirement benefits. For reasons that remain unclear, he froze a pension plan that was awash in so much money that neither he nor the company would possibly have faced additional liabilities. He also spurned the sort of compromise plan The New York Times Co. had pioneered - an adjustable pension plan that would have ensured the Post would never encounter a problem funding it. In essence, this innovative approach, developed by the financial services firm Cheiron, would have mitigated the company’s risks by sharing them with employees and continued to grow their annual retirement benefit.
Bezos’ decision on retirement benefits had nothing to do with the balance sheet and, arguably, everything to do with ideology. And it almost overshadowed Bezos’ demand for the right to cancel everyone’s health insurance and his push to take it away from part-time employees.
Unfortunately the same is not true of The Washington Post (sic) and not surprisingly, Kunkle's efforts earned him this sternly-worded warning from WaPo's Director of Labor Relations for his "willful and intentional violation of The Washington Post’s standards and ethics policy." In the circumstances use of the word 'ethics' in that sentence seems completely inappropriate. Of course, we wouldn't be surprised if this letter turns out to be just a prelude to Kunkle's eventual dismissal ... or his being sent a big dead fish wrapped in his favourite shirt.
Unless Kunkle deliberately provoked Bezon having first conspired to set him up. Punishing staff for "publicizing a dispute with management" apparently violates union rules and has earned WaPo an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board. It might be time to teach the shiny - headed shite you can't run an organization like Washinton Post with zero - hour contract labour.
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
"US threatens action against China if it doesn't follow new North Korea sanctions"
The UN Security Council, in response to the latest missile launches and nuclear weapons tests by North korea unanimously voted this week to impose further sanctions on North Korea The penalties fell short of the sweeping sanctions the Trump administration had demanded after Russia and China demanded concessions in returnm for their not using their power of veto to block the move.
The new penalties include a ban on the sale of natural gas to North Korea and limits the amount of refined petroleum sales to the country to two million barrels per year. If enforced fully this would effectively cripple North Korea's economy. China, supplies most of North Korea’s crude oil and its acquiescence to the embargo along with that of Russia suggests a back door exists to supply the remote state.
China has also been warned that it could face further trade sanctions imposed by the US if it does not abide by new United Nations constraints placed on the Kim Jong-un regime, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said. All this tells us is Washington has learned nothing from China's complete indifference to previous threats.
Both Russia and China, North Korea’s main economic ally, initially opposed the US’s call for an oil embargo and other far-reaching sanctions.
Most surprisingly in view of President Trump's business background, this development shows that the infantile foot - stamping that was the hallmark of U.S. foreign policy throughout the Obama era is still a fundamental part of The State Department's diplomatic policy.
RELATED POSTS:Here’s what the media isn’t telling you about North Korea’s recent missile tests.Duterte Announces “Separation” From United States, Aligns With China
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Critics of the GM seed lobby say this move has come as a result of unethical activity by lobbyists employed by a monopolistic cartel of biotech giants whose influence over agricultural policy in the US government is definitely not in the public interest
“This bill should be viewed for what it is — a gag order on public debate,” Kristina Hubbard, director of advocacy and communications at the Organic Seed Alliance, a national advocacy group, and a resident of Montana said. Montana, along with Texas, Oregon, California and Colorado and many other states passed a seed-preemption bill this year, thus removing from voters the right to decide what kind of food will be sold in shops they use, and handing it to politicians and indirectly to the corporate lobbyists who bribe them.
“This thinly disguised attack on local democracy can be easily traced to out-of-state, corporate interests that want to quash local autonomy,” Hubbard added
Seed-preemption laws are part of a legislative campaign by industrial agriculture (Big Food), including ag-gag laws passed in several states that legally prohibit outsiders from photographing farms, and “right-to-farm” laws that make it easier to snuff out complaints about animal welfare, and of course the usual demands from corporate business, unthinkingly backed by the university brainfucked humandroids who call themselves the left. The seed laws, critics say, are a related thrust meant to protect the interests of agro-chemical companies, by banning laws which require foods containing material from GM crops to be clearly labelled, so depriving consumers of a choice about whether they eat this shite or not.
Foods containing GM matter are currently banned in the European Union, and though the EU bureaucracy and some national governments have tried to overturn this, strength of public opinion has blocked any change. Politicians, academics and media luvvies have as usual described the mass opposition as being due to the "scientific ignorance of the masses," who do not understand science and believe eating GM foods will lead to babies being born with two heads. It is such hubris that has led the complete breakdown of trust between the general population and the establishment. Few people believe eating GM food will be harmful in the short term, but having already seen the effects in increased costs and reduced quality of modern intensive farming techniques, they are very suspicious of any move to hand control of the food supply to global corporations. The derailment of Barack Obama's two "free trade" policies, TPP and TTIP
Some politicians in the U.S.A. and European Union have even talked of banning the planting of natural seed and only allowing food crops to be grown from GM seed. This would of course hand control of the food supply for humans and animals to a small group of corporate giants whose track records on ethical issues are very dubious. but it gets worse.
Nearly every seed-preemption law so far enacted in the USA borrows language from a 2013 model bill drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The council is “a pay-to-play operation where corporations buy a seat and a vote on ‘task forces’ to advance their legislative wish lists,” essentially “voting as equals” with state legislators on bills, according to The Center for Media and Democracy. ALEC’s corporate members include the Koch brothers as well as some of the largest seed-chemical companies — Monsanto, Bayer, and DuPont — which want to make sure GMO bans, like those enacted in Jackson County, Oregon, and Boulder County, Colorado, don’t become a trend.
In Oregon, the bill blocking anti - GM laws was greenlighted in 2014 after Monsanto and Syngenta spent nearly $500,000 fighting a GMO ban in Jackson County. Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences, and Syngenta spent more than $6.9 million opposing anti-GMO rules in three Hawaiian counties, and thousands more in campaign donations. (These companies are also involved in mergers that, if approved, would create three seed-agrochemical giants.) Now ask yourselves this question: 'If GM biotech produce was so good, why would the corporations that profit from it have to work so hard to overcome opposition?'
Monday, September 11, 2017
In what amounts to the biggest blow yet to the U.S. economy, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said last week that his country will be looking to disengage itself from dependence on the U.S. dollar next week, Reuters reports.
In our omnibus webpage, Currency Wars, we have fully reported on the currency war being waged against the US economy by a group of nations led by Russia, China and Iran, with the aaim of replacing the $US as global reserve currency. According to the report Maduro will look to use the weakest of two official foreign exchange regimes (the mechanisms by which nations manage their sovereign currency in relation to other currencies and the foreign exchange market).
According to Reuters, Maduro was referring to Venezuela’s current official exchange rate, known as DICOM, in which the dollar can be exchanged for 3,345 bolivars. At the strongest official rate, one dollar buys only 10 bolivars, which may be one of the reasons why Maduro wants to opt for some of the weaker exchange rates.
“Venezuela is going to implement a new system of international payments and will create a basket of currencies to free us from the dollar,” Maduro said in a far reaching address to Venezuela's new legislative superbody. According to reports in national media he did not supply details of how his government proposed to achieve this, but with support from the BRICS bloc it should not prove difficult.
Maduro hinted that the South American country would look to using the yuan and a bundle of other currencies instead. Over the past three years Russia and China have signed bilateral agreements with many nations to settle cross border trades in the currency of the vendor, thus signalling their intent to end the era of the Petrodollar.
Sunday, September 10, 2017
Free Speech being murdered by media and universities
Death of Democracy
Simple Life - the nihilists song
Scholar Fired By Think Tank For Criticising Google
Friday, September 08, 2017
After years of working covertly to destabilise Syria, why has Israel waited until now to intervene in the conflict between the Assad regime and the ISIS / Al Nusra Front Islamic extremists. Israel usually only attacks when attaced, preferring to manipulate political developments in the middle east from the shadows. In spite of that the government of Benjamin Netenyahu has chosen to directly attack Syria.
Overnight (Wed. evening/Thursday early morning), Israel attacked a Syrian military base near the town of Masyaf at about 3:00 a.m. which Syria has now confirmed in a statement that warns of "serious repercussions". Syria reported two troop deaths in the attack. It appears to have been a massive strike - grainy photos, like the one below, show a large fireball lighting up the night sky outside of Masyaf.
The U.S. has recently seemed to be backing away from the route to militarily intervene in the embattled nation, instead choosing to focus its saber-rattling and destabilization efforts on other theaters, notably North Korea. The consequence of this has been an apparent winding down of the long-running conflict, now entering its seventh year, in which ISIS had the upper hand until Russia and Iran, pissed off by Obama and David Cameron having repeatedly stated that the west's priority was to depose Assad rather than to oppose terrorism. What we must ask ourselves is why this has made the Israelis panic, because this military intervention could end so disastrously for Israel and the whole of the middle east it can only have happened as a result of panic .
With support from Russia, Iran and Lebanon, the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad has managed to retake vast swaths of territory, all while surviving and growing stronger over the course of a largely foreign-funded onslaught. As a result, many of the governments that were instrumental in funding and arming the so-called “moderate” opposition have begun to extricate themselves, unwilling to further test the resilience of Assad, the Syrian people or Syria's powerful allies, Russia, China and Iran.
Israeli media and defense officials quickly claimed that the strike at Masyaf was on a chemical weapons facility: they know the "humanitarian" angle sells in the West, especially when coupled with allegations of civilians being gassed. Currently, this is putting the dubious and contested claim that the Syrian government attacked Khan Sheikhoun with sarin gas back in the spotlight at a time when Israel is eager to sell war for regime change while casting its actions in terms of protecting and defending civilians from a brutal dictator. While it seems doubtful that Assad, who whatever else he may be is not a stupid man, would launch an attack with an illegal weapon against civilians when his forces were on the brink of victory, what is certainly untrue in that story is the allegation that Sarin was the gas used. News photos and video showed aid workers helping affected civilians (who were sitting up and smiling, with their faces uncovered and wearing T shirts and shorts. Sarin is so toxic full hazmat suits and breating apparatus would have been required, and in a densely populated area many more people would have died.
With a resolution to the long running conflict within reach, recent threats from Israel’s government to assassinate Assad by bombing his residence have appeared out of the blue. The first sign that Israel was not ready to let go in Syria even if Washington was came when, According to the Jerusalem Post, a senior Israeli official on a recent visit to Russia warned the Kremlin that if Iran continues to "extend its reach" in Syria, Israel would bomb the presidential palace in Damascus.
Israel’s comments should come as no surprise, however, although the foreign-funded and manufactured conflict in Syria was always accredited to the USA and Saudi Arabia, Syria has long been a thorn in Israels side and stood in the way of US and Saudi geopolitical ambitions. The only real surprise is Tel Aviv’s growing isolation in pushing for the further escalation of the conflict.
WikiLeaks sheds light on the origins of the war
Though Israel has avoided being labeled a major player in bid to depose Assad, Israel has a long tradition of cooperating with Saudi Arabia economically, harbours ambitions of destroying Iran (that rivalry goes back to the time of Cyrus The Great (around 600 BC), and has long-standing issues with Syria (which were already old when Cyrs The Great was a lad. Only Wikileaks has illuminated the long standing ambition in Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh to remove the secular regime in Damascus. State Department diplomatic cables from the period when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, released by WikiLeaks last year have shown has that in 2006, five years before the conflict in Syria kicked off, the government of Israel proposed a plan to overthrow the Assad government by engineering sectarian strife in the country, and put a Sunni Muslim regime in place, thus isolating Syria from its strongest regional ally, Iran.
Israel then put this plan, which would also involve Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and Egypt in fomenting the "breakdown" of the Assad regime as a way of weakening both Iran and Hezbollah — with the effect of empowering both Israel and the Gulf monarchies, two seemingly disparate forces in the region that are becoming increasingly allied.
Thursday, September 07, 2017
After flattening much of the Leeward Islands, blowing our power supplies in Puerto Rico and leaving a trail of destruction through the Caribbean, Hurricane Irma is continuing its terrible progress through the region and is is expected to make landfall in Miami sometime this weekend.
Irma's 185+ mph winds left 90% of the dwellings on the island of Barbuda completely leveled and the island barely inhabitable, according to Prime Minister Gaston Browne.
Irma's power isn't expected to subside all that much as it moves through the Caribbean over the next couple of days, blasting several islands in its path before ending up in Southern Florida. Hurricane Harvey, which hammmered the coasts of Texas and Louisiana only a few days ago hit three times, unlike all previous hurricanes which have rapidly blown themselves out over land. If Irma does the same this will wreak havoc in Florida's heavily populated south.
Here is the latest from the National Hurricane Center:
Maximum sustained winds remain near 180 mph (285 km/h) with higher gusts. Irma is a category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days.
FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS
INIT 07/0900Z 20.0N 68.3W 155 KT 180 MPH
12H 07/1800Z 20.7N 70.5W 150 KT 175 MPH
24H 08/0600Z 21.7N 73.1W 145 KT 165 MPH
36H 08/1800Z 22.3N 75.5W 140 KT 160 MPH
48H 09/0600Z 22.8N 77.4W 135 KT 155 MPH
72H 10/0600Z 24.5N 80.0W 130 KT 150 MPH
96H 11/0600Z 28.5N 80.5W 105 KT 120 MPH
120H 12/0600Z 33.0N 81.0W 75 KT 85 MPH...INLAND
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 50 miles (85 km) from the eye of the hurricane and storm-force winds extend outward up to 185 miles (295 km).
The combination of a life-threatening storm surge and large breaking waves will raise water levels ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS by the following amounts within the hurricane warning area near and to the north of the center of Irma. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.
According to hurricane watchers, Miami looks increasingly likely to take a direct hit from a massive hurricane packing sustained winds of 150-155 mph.
More than 100,000 Miami residents have been instructed to leave their homes on barrier islands, including Miami Beach, and in low-lying mainland areas starting Thursday morning which has created a logistics nightmare at Florida's airports and on highway evacuation routes.
According to the Washington Post, airlines added flights earlier this week to accommodate a surge in demand but many have been canceled and airports have warned that operations will be halted once winds exceed 55 mph.
Late Wednesday, American Airlines announced it would begin winding down its operations in Florida and had canceled flights at its Miami hub as well as to airports in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Sarasota and West Palm Beach. In addition, it canceled a handful of international flights from Europe and South American that were scheduled to land in Miami on Friday.
Officials at Key West International Airport said they would suspend commercial operations at the end of the day Thursday, and Miami International Airport advised travelers it will halt operations at the airport when winds reach 55 mph. Generally, airlines do not operate in sustained crosswinds that exceed 35 mph, and the Federal Aviation Administration tower ceases operations after winds of 55 mph, the airport noted.
Of course, the added flights didn't stop Delta from taking advantage of the surge in demand from frightened travelers.
Meanwhile, as the Wall Street Journal points out, those looking to flee by car are facing similar hassles with long lines at gas stations...at least at the ones that have any gas left to sell.
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