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“If a man has an apartment stacked to the ceiling with newspapers we call him crazy. If a woman has a trailer house full of cats we call her nuts. But when people pathologically hoard so much cash that they impoverish the entire nation, we put them on the cover of Fortune magazine and pretend that they are role models.”
-– B. Lester

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 Opinion: Political correctness demands diversity in everything but thought

History / Culture
By William Blum – Published August 2016

For 50 years I’ve been painstakingly cataloguing the brutal militarism and human-rights violations of US foreign policy, building up in the process a very loyal audience.

To my great surprise, when I recently wrote about the brutal militarism and human-rights violations of the Islamic State, I received more criticism from my readers than I’ve gotten for anything I’ve ever written. Dozens of them asked to be removed from my mailing list, as many as I’d normally get in a full year. Others were convinced that it couldn’t actually be me who was the author of such words, that I must have been hacked. Some wondered whether my recent illness had affected my mind. Literally! And almost all of the Internet magazines which regularly print me did not do so with this article.

Now why should this be?

My crime was being politically incorrect. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Tuesday, August 16 @ 09:43:02 EDT (1522 reads)
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 Opinion: Trump’s America: A Shining Outhouse on a Hill

Politics
I give up.

By Donald Kaul

When Donald Trump announced he was running for president, I mocked him. “Of the United States?” I asked. (I got a C- in Mockery when I was in college, unfortunately.)

When he jumped into the lead almost immediately, I laughed. “The higher the climb, the harder the fall,” I said. (I did better in Pithy Quotations.)

When the early campaigning found him doing well in such disparate states as Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, I fell into denial. “He’ll never, ever be the Republican nominee,” I said. “Republicans are too sensible.”

Then Super Tuesday happened and Trump basically wiped the floor with his opponents, who finally paused their fights with each other to join in a pathetic mass spitball attack on Trump. They were joined by the ghostly reappearance of Mitt Romney, who as usual was a day late and a dollar short.

So I give up. I’m now convinced that Donald Trump is going to be the Republican nominee for the presidency. Yes, of the United States. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Sunday, March 13 @ 17:42:35 EDT (1545 reads)
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 Opinion: Hillary-Bernie Skirmishes Begin, Can All-Out War Be Far Behind?

PoliticsBy William Boardman

Hillaryite Senator McCaskill shoots from her hip, hits her foot

A month after attacking Game of Thrones, Democratic senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri shifted her attack from fiction to her very real fellow senator, Bernie Sanders. She took the Independent senator from Vermont to task for having the temerity to challenge Hillary Clinton’s divine right to ascend to the American political throne of the presidency. Or as McCaskill put it on MSNBC June 25:

Any other candidate that had the numbers that Hillary Clinton had right now would be talked about as absolutely untouchable….

That’s the first line of Hillary Clinton’s defense, her inevitability, based on polls taken when she was the only Democratic candidate in the race. The argument is more monarchist than democratic and should be offensive to anyone who thinks elections should be about substantive issues.

Team Clinton’s basic tactic of ignoring the Sanders campaign ended with the sacrifice of surrogate pawn McCaskill’s attack on Sanders on MSNBC when she said, quite falsely:

The media is giving Bernie a pass right now, I very rarely read in any coverage of Bernie that he is a socialist.

This is evidence that McCaskill doesn’t read much coverage of Bernie, since he regularly self-identifies as a “democratic socialist” and most media coverage follows suit. By implication, McCaskill is calling Sanders out for his policy positions, such as universal health care, universal college education, a living wage, good, affordable childcare, and other policy choices that have been sacrificed to “outrageous tax loopholes for billionaires and large corporations.” (The Hill notes that “Sanders’s ‘socialist’ policies sound a lot like Teddy Roosevelt’s and Reagan’s,” and later adds President Taft.)

These days, the “socialist” label is more meaningless than ever, though for some it serves as a pallid form of Red-baiting (call it Pink-baiting). Calling Sanders a “socialist” is not only redundant and irrelevant, it’s an intellectually dishonest tactic for avoiding the substance of the issues Sanders is running on. ...


Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, July 06 @ 21:59:48 EDT (2142 reads)
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 Opinion: Send in the Clowns

Politics
As the 2016 presidential candidates belatedly get worked up about inequality, they're losing touch with reality.

By Donald Kaul

Hardly a day goes by that another candidate doesn’t announce his or her intention to run for the presidency. One day it’s Carly Fiorina, the next it’s Mike Huckabee, Bernie Sanders, or Hillary Clinton, even.

It’s like the circus — when the little car rolls into the center ring and a clown gets out, then another, then two more, and on and on until the ring is overflowing with 1,000 clowns, or so it seems.

We won’t get up to 1,000 politicians yearning to lead the “free world,” or what’s left of it. But we should reach two dozen presidential aspirants who are asking us voters to take them seriously before we’re done.

It’s still early, but it looks as though the major message of this election is going to be about closing the cavernous gaps between the rich and the poor. Democrats have always suspected that the poor are being victimized by our economic system, but now it seems that the Republicans are singing that song too.

Former First Brother Jeb Bush, whose family has been rich ever since his grandfathers got into oil and weapons 100 years ago, is now excoriating the “elites” who’ve stifled growth and left the middle class to twist slowly in the wind. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Saturday, May 16 @ 00:12:12 EDT (2433 reads)
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 Opinion: Why 47 Republican Senators Should NOT Be Viewed as Traitors

PoliticsBy William Boardman

You don’t get to be a traitor just by acting treasonously

Just because 47 Republican Senators want to redefine the Constitution and establish their own redoubt of lawlessness doesn’t make them traitors, even if tweets at #47Traitors suggest otherwise. Maybe it makes them individually impeachable, or recallable, or otherwise removable from office, but who has the time and energy to make the effort to do that? After all, the offense committed by the 47 Republican Senators was only a one-page open letter to the “Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran” as a generic category, not by individual name (the only one named in the body of the letter is reportedly near death).

The 47 Republican Senators make sure their own names appear on the three pages following the one-page letter drafted by freshman senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, whose 2014 election cost him $13.9 million, much of it coming from Israeli-hardline sources. Given that Cotton is on record claiming falsely that Mexican drug gangs are allied with ISIS (the Islamic State), lying about food stamps, and calling for keeping Guantanamo open and adding prisoners, it’s not surprising there’s a far right boomlet to run Cotton for president. In 2013, Cotton proposed anti-Iranian legislation that would punish sons and daughters for the merely alleged sins of fathers, no proof needed. That’s a “Corruption of Blood” measure that the Constitution explicitly forbids in cases of treason by Americans. In this context, Cotton’s threatening letter to unnamed Iranian leaders hardly seems extreme.

If demagoguery and fear-mongering were treason, there would be almost no one left in Congress. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Saturday, March 21 @ 11:12:27 EDT (2432 reads)
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 Opinion: A Sweet Spot

Holidays
Chocolate is a food group in my home.

By Emily Schwartz Greco

I don’t have any cute photos of my daughter’s chubby face smeared with frosting from her first birthday party. Already pregnant with my son, I’d become a child nutrition zealot in response to my double dose of motherhood.

Instead of wrecking a big sugary cake, my bald beauty reduced a naked square of homemade carrot cake to a hill of crumbs. In accordance with her obnoxiously wholesome diet, the kid probably nibbled on some organic barley and kale first. The guests looked perplexed.

Eventually, I compromised.

My daughter still downs garbanzos by the bowl. But she also helps me bake the snickerdoodles she shares with her classmates as a birthday treat. I’ve mastered topping my crowd-pleasing cupcakes with chocolate ganache. And after I sneak flaxseed, ground nuts, and spelt flour into our pancake batter, my son adds his favorite ingredient: chocolate chips. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, February 09 @ 19:16:52 EST (2751 reads)
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 Opinion: Paris Charlie: The “Shock Doctrine” par Excellence

War NewsBy Peter Koenig

On 12 January the French Parliament approved with almost unanimity – with one abstention only – the budget for France’s continuous and enlarged involvement in the new war on Iraq, a new war engagement led by Washington and supported by its vassals, UK, Canada, Australia and France. Aircraft carriers and troops were immediately mobilized, not even losing a day. Doesn’t that conspicuously smell of an earlier preparation, just waiting for that crucial and appropriate event, prompting parliamentary approval?

At the same time France lawmakers agreed to display 10,000 troops throughout the country to protect ‘vulnerable places’; spying on citizens, for their protection takes on new forms and formats. A direct reaction to the attack on Charlie Hebdo on January 7 and the assault on a kosher supermarket on January 9? – Killing 17 people in all? Is that it?

French Ministers of the Interior and of Defense have advanced their wish of substantially increased respective police and defense budgets, when the 2016-2017 allocations are being discussed later this year. No doubt they will get their way.

And – no doubt, this is the shock doctrine at its best. People are in awe and shock after the assault on the satirical and Moslem insulting Charlie Hebdo. A million and a half took to the streets in Paris this past weekend, the largest manifestation since the liberation of Paris after WWII in 1945. Some media report more than 6 million people marching throughout Europe. Almost all waving signs “I am Charlie” – Solidarity or stupidity? Hard to say. Most likely just sheer ignorance.

It’s ignorance that kills our democracies, our human values; public ignorance allows leaders (sic) to wage wars, to aggress nations that refuse to submit, to fall to their knees. It’s ignorance perpetuated daily by our mainstream media and swallowed without question, day-in-day-out like breakfast coffee. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, January 19 @ 18:19:05 EST (3108 reads)
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 Opinion: Four Ways 2014 Was a Pivotal Year for the Internet

The NewsAt stake is whether the Internet remains a democratic, user-powered network.

By Timothy Karr

The death of the Internet is at hand.

Sound familiar? That’s what Internet pioneer Robert Metcalfe predicted in 1995 when he wrote that spiraling demands on the fledgling network would cause the Internet to “catastrophically collapse” by 1996.

Metcalfe, of course, was dead wrong: The Internet is still chugging along, with a predicted 3 billion users by year’s end.

Still, the Internet’s fate feels distinctly uncertain as 2014 draws to a close. At stake is whether the Internet remains a democratic, user-powered network — or falls under the control of a few powerful entities.

Here are the four Internet issues that played leading roles this year:

1. Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality is hard-wired into the Internet as we know it. In a neutral network, users control their experience without their Internet service providers interfering, filtering, or censoring. This revolutionary principle is under attack from the phone and cable companies that control access in the United States. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, December 29 @ 19:03:47 EST (2767 reads)
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 Opinion: Architects of Atrocity Remain at Large, and Unrepentant

War NewsBy William Boardman

By analogy, blaming it all on Eichmann while giving Hitler a pass

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has been taking bows for being the guardian of American law, decency, and character. It’s not. It’s not even close. American law, decency, and character have yet to be redeemed. Worse, only a small percentage of Americans in or out of power seem to care enough to act against the pall of moral failure still spreading through the culture.

The intelligence committee has done a good, small thing in its effort to make some partial truth somewhat better known, but its report is fundamentally short on meaningful intelligence. This is a committee divided against itself that nevertheless managed to exceed expectation by a bit. But this committee is no truth commission. The committee’s report is a negotiated settlement in which the perpetrators exercised too much control over the content.

Without doubt, committee chair Diane Feinstein and the committee majority needed courage to see even the limited, redacted summary of national criminality through to this much daylight. But there’s the deeper problem, ignored in plain sight by most observers: it’s a measure of our corrupted government that it takes such courage to tell the truth about torture that every honest, conscious person already knows was done in our name.

With its 524-page CIA Torture Summary, the Senate Intelligence Committee becomes both a witness against government crimes and, at the same time, an accomplice to these crimes against humanity by way of mitigation after the fact, and long after the fact at that. Some of these senators and staffers have known about official depravity since it started. Only now, more than a decade of guilty knowledge later, are they telling us only some of what they know. The shame of Washington “leadership” today is that the bipartisan consensus takes pride in throwing the CIA under the bus and all but exonerates the frat boy cheerleaders and draft dodgers who demanded torture and other crimes in the first place.

CIA personnel, or some of them, certainly belong under the bus, but that’s only the Eichmann part. The torture problem is a mirror image of the Blackwater contractors killing civilians problem – government contractors out of control and making millions. That’s a policy from the top, as expensive as it is corrupt. Without Hitler there is no Third Reich. Without Bush-Cheney and five Justices, there is no degraded America, not like this, not still crowing over and proudly defending its atrocities. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Tuesday, December 16 @ 15:38:12 EST (2717 reads)
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 Opinion: US Prepares to Sell Warships to Saudi Arabia to Help “Take Down Iran”

War NewsBy Bruce Gagnon

The American revolution was supposed to have happened because of the revulsion our ‘founding fathers’ had with the institution of ‘divine right of kings’ or monarchy. Supposedly the new American nation went to war with England because a revolutionary ‘democracy’ was the preferred way of organizing our new nation. (Of course the truth was that the American ‘founding fathers’ had their own dreams of empire which is just what has sadly turned out for this country. But the mythology of America is all about our rejection of monarchy.)

Fast forward to today and we see the headlines on November 20 in the Portland Press Herald newspaper: Bath Iron Works may get Saudi ship contract worth billions.

The article reads in part:

Saudi Arabian officials say they are preparing to move forward with an upgrade to the country’s navy that could include a multibillion-dollar contract for Bath Iron Works, the Reuters news service reported Wednesday.

BIW’s DDG-51 destroyer is one of at least two ship designs being considered for the long-discussed Saudi Naval Expansion Program II, or SNEP, which has an estimated value of roughly $20 billion, Reuters said.

Patrick Dewar, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin, told the news service that Saudi officials were planning to release new information over the next several months about how the country plans to proceed with SNEP. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, November 24 @ 19:18:16 EST (1701 reads)
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 Opinion: Dickensian US Working Conditions Almost Guarantee Ebola Catastrophe

Healthby: Dave Lindorff

Ebola is coming! Ebola is coming! America is doomed!

That, in essence, is the message of the US corporate news media, always on the lookout for the next sensational story with which to stir up hysteria among the public in the interest of higher ratings.

But the thing is, this time, unlike Saddam Hussein’s supposed nuclear weapons and poison-gas-spewing drone aircraft, Al Qaeda’s non-existent “sleeper cells,” and now ISIS and its supposed army of infiltrators coming to separate our heads from our shoulders, the threat is real.

True to form though, the threat is not what the media are claiming it is.

Ebola is a certainly terrible scourge in poor countries in Africa, where a handful of doctors are expected to provide care to thousands of people and to keep persons who contract the disease isolated so that the infection doesn’t spread. Ebola has spread so rapidly in the war-ravaged little nation of Sierra Leone that doctors there have decided they have to surrender the high ground of bringing all infected people into medical facilities for treatment, and to fall back to advising families who have a member who contracts Ebola to treat them at home as best as they can.

In the US, we have plenty of doctors, and plenty of hospitals with the ability to initiate steps to avoid the spread of disease.

But we do not have universal access to health care -- especially to the kind of front-line health care that an epidemic calls for: access to a physician at the first sign of illness, access to affordable medication to treat disease, and even in many cases access to an emergency room. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, October 13 @ 20:17:50 EDT (1471 reads)
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 Opinion: The Anti-Empire Report #132 - September 2014

PoliticsBy William Blum

Ukraine and neo-Nazis

Ever since serious protest broke out in Ukraine in February the Western mainstream media, particularly in the United States, has seriously downplayed the fact that the usual suspects – the US/European Union/NATO triumvirate – have been on the same side as the neo-Nazis. In the US it’s been virtually unmentionable. I’m sure that a poll taken in the United States on this issue would reveal near universal ignorance of the numerous neo-Nazi actions, including publicly calling for death to “Russians, Communists and Jews”. But in the past week the dirty little secret has somehow poked its head out from behind the curtain a bit.

On September 9 NBCnews.com reported that “German TV shows Nazi symbols on helmets of Ukraine soldiers”. The German station showed pictures of a soldier wearing a combat helmet with the “SS runes” of Hitler’s infamous black-uniformed elite corps. (Runes are the letters of an alphabet used by ancient Germanic peoples.) A second soldier was shown with a swastika on his helmet. [1]

On the 13th, the Washington Post showed a photo of the sleeping quarter of a member of the Azov Battalion, one of the Ukrainian paramilitary units fighting the pro-Russian separatists. On the wall above the bed is a large swastika. Not to worry, the Post quoted the platoon leader stating that the soldiers embrace symbols and espouse extremist notions as part of some kind of “romantic” idea.

Yet, it is Russian president Vladimir Putin who is compared to Adolf Hitler by everyone from Prince Charles to Princess Hillary because of the incorporation of Crimea as part of Russia. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Friday, September 19 @ 20:01:54 EDT (1544 reads)
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 Opinion: Washington Is Escalating the Orchestrated Ukrainian “Crisis” to War

War NewsBy Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Despite the conclusion by US intelligence that there is no evidence of Russian involvement in the destruction of the Malaysian airliner and all lives onboard, Washington is escalating the crisis and shepherding the World toward war.

Twenty-two US senators have introduced into the 113th Congress, Second Session, a bill, S.2277, “To prevent further Russian aggression toward Ukraine and other sovereign states in Europe and Eurasia, and for other purposes.” The bill is before the Committee on Foreign Relations.

Note that prior to any evidence of any Russian aggression, there are already 22 senators lined up in behalf of preventing further Russian aggression.

Accompanying this preparatory propaganda move to create a framework for war, hot or cold with Russia, NATO commander General Philip Breedlove announced his plan for a deployment of massive military means in Eastern Europe that would permit lightening responses against Russia in order to protect Europe from Russian aggression.

There we have it again: Russian Aggression. Repeat it enough and it becomes real. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Sunday, July 27 @ 11:27:38 EDT (1596 reads)
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 Opinion: The Anti-Empire Report #130 - July 2014

PoliticsBy William Blum

What would a psychiatrist call this? Delusions of grandeur?

US Secretary of State John Kerry, July 8, 2014:
“In my travels as secretary of state, I have seen as never before the thirst for American leadership in the world.”

President Barack Obama, May 28, 2014:
“Here’s my bottom line, America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will.”

Nicholas Burns, former US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, May 8, 2014:
“Where is American power and leadership when the world needs it most?”

Mitt Romney, Republican Party candidate for President, September 13, 2012:
“The world needs American leadership. The Middle East needs American leadership and I intend to be a president that provides the leadership that America respects and keep us admired throughout the world.”

Paul Ryan, Congressman, Republican Party candidate for Vice President, September 12, 2012:
“We need to be reminded that the world needs American leadership.”

John McCain, Senator, September 9, 2012:
“The situation in Syria and elsewhere ‘cries out for American leadership’.” ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, July 14 @ 21:16:42 EDT (1772 reads)
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 Opinion: Memo to Potential Whistleblowers: If You See Something, Say Something

The NewsBy Norman Solomon, Global Research

Blowing the whistle on wrongdoing creates a moral frequency that vast numbers of people are eager to hear. We don’t want our lives, communities, country and world continually damaged by the deadening silences of fear and conformity.

I’ve met many whistleblowers over the years, and they’ve been extraordinarily ordinary. None were applying for halos or sainthood. All experienced anguish before deciding that continuous inaction had a price that was too high. All suffered negative consequences as well as relief after they spoke up and took action. All made the world better with their courage.

Whistleblowers don’t sign up to be whistleblowers. Almost always, they begin their work as true believers in the system that conscience later compels them to challenge.

“It took years of involvement with a mendacious war policy, evidence of which was apparent to me as early as 2003, before I found the courage to follow my conscience,” Matthew Hoh recalled this week.“It is not an easy or light decision for anyone to make, but we need members of our military, development, diplomatic and intelligence community to speak out if we are ever to have a just and sound foreign policy.” ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Saturday, June 07 @ 17:36:45 EDT (1656 reads)
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