Thursday, December 7, 2017

Some of my tweets from Dec 1 - 6

Daniel Ellsberg reveals how the USA planned on killing 600 MILLION earthlings

Really worth watching.
Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg reveals he was a Nuclear War Planner, Warns of Nuclear Winter & Global Starvation

On the neverending conflict in Afghanistan

Once you get addicted to multiple invasions and wars the only way out is the total and complete demise of the aggressor.
Think how many uncontrolled drug addicts meet their end ... deliberate suicide, accidental suicide or death.  

Now for good old America, all roads lead to the burial site of empires.  Glory be!!!
From ConsortiumNews
Refusing to Learn Bloody Lessons
President Trump’s continued Afghan War pursues the same failed path as the prior 16 years, with the U.S. political/media elites learning no lessons, says former Marine officer Matthew Hoh in an interview with the American Herald Tribune.
Interviewer Mohsen Abdelmoumen: As an expert, how do you see the evolution of the political process in Afghanistan?

Matthew Hoh: Unfortunately, I have not seen any positive evolution or change in the political system or process in Afghanistan since 2009. What we have seen are three national elections that have been ruled to be grossly illegitimate and fraudulent by outside observers, but have been validated and supported by the American government through the presence of tens of thousands of soldiers and the spending of tens of billions of dollars.

We have seen the creation of extra-constitutional positions in the government, such as the Chief Executive Officer position occupied by Abdullah Abdullah, which was done at the behest of the American government. Additionally, bargains and compromises that were brokered by the American government in an attempt to create more a more inclusive government, reduce corruption and heal fractures among the political bloc that once supported Hamid Karzai and the American presence has failed to achieve those things. Corruption is still the dominant feature of the Afghan government, and the political support for the rule of Kabul has deteriorated and splintered by the corruption and the machinations of the Karzai and now Ghani governments.

Most importantly, the political process, by being so corrupt, by seating successive governments that won by fraud and by disenfranchising various political communities, has alienated many, many Afghans, and not just those Pashtuns who ally themselves with the Taliban, from the government in Kabul. This has allowed for greater support for militia commanders and warlords outside of Kabul, as well as the Taliban, and has allowed the war to progress with no real hopes for reconciliation, negotiations or a cease-fire anywhere in the near future. (By supporting and growing a kleptocracy, a system of have and have nots, that system has by its nature and necessity produced more people out of the system than people in the system every year. This causes resentment, grievances and a desire to share in the spoils and gifts of American occupation that leads to greater violence, more political chaos and a dearth of hope for the future).

Can you explain to us what was the disagreement that led you to resign?

I had been twice to Iraq prior to my time in Afghanistan, and I had been working on issues of the wars since 2002 when I was in the Pentagon as a Marine Corps officer. I could no longer go along with the killing of the war, and the lies that propped up that killing. I saw in the Afghan government the worst excesses that I had seen in the Iraqi government and I knew the Afghan government in Kabul had no real or true interest in coming to a peace with the Taliban and those in the Afghan insurgency.......

The Sacrifice Zones of Hurricane Harvey

Worth watching.

Part I

Part II

The Israel Lobby and the US Foreign Policy

Posted without comment.

From August 13, 2012
John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt - The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy

Philip Weiss
After article was rejected and publishers yawned, 
Walt and Mearsheimer dropped ‘The Israel Lobby’ in 2005
The authors of The Israel Lobby went on Chicago radio station WBEZ last week to reflect on their achievement after ten years. No, not 60 Minutes. Not The New York Times. Not MSNBC. But WBEZ radio.

It is a great interview by Jerome McDonnell about a stupendous achievement. As I wrote ten years ago, this book is up there with Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and Ralph Nader’s Unsafe at Any Speed, as a bombshell that will help transform society.

Below are some choice bits from the interview.

Publication ruined both men’s chances to serve in government or in university administration. Mearsheimer:

    I had no interest whatsoever in a government position. But I did think that when we wrote the piece, that it would mean that we would never get a high level government position. Even medium level government position. It would also make it almost impossible for us to get any meaningful administrative job in the academic world.

Mearsheimer was then 59 years old and in Chicago. But Steve Walt was a sprightly 50 and on I-95, on the Harvard springboard to presidential elbows. The book forever changed his horizon:

    I was academic dean in the Kennedy School. I think it’s fair to say that both universities did stand by us in the sense that they didn’t put any formal censure on us. There were various ways of what you might call informal marginalization at least for a while, because the leaderships in both universities were very nervous about the fallout. Universities don’t really like controversy very much.

    I did understand that this was probably going to eliminate any possibility of government service in my case, which is  something I do regret, because it’s something I would have appreciated, had that opportunity presented itself at some point down the road.

Walt went on to say that they had to do it. “If we weren’t willing to do that, then hardly anybody else would be. We couldn’t lose our jobs. We didn’t necessarily need government employment to pay the mortgage.”.......

On the Bitcoin madness

At the time of posting this article, December 7, the price of  Bitcoin has shot upwards towards $17,000.  If this is not a bubble, show me what is. I won't pretend to understand Bitcoin .... I clearly don't and kudos to those who can understand what it's all about and what crypto mining and bitcoin mining machines,etc.etc. happens to be and makes a profit off them.  

Andre Damon  at WorldSocialistWebsite
Warnings of new financial bubble as bitcoin price hits $10,000

The price of the digital currency bitcoin reached $10,000 late Tuesday, an eleven-fold increase since the start of the year, when it was valued at $900.

The explosive surge of bitcoin, the first so-called “cryptocurrency,” or digital money, has eclipsed the run-up of any comparable asset in modern history. As the New York Times noted Tuesday, “The Dow Jones industrial average, in its biggest year, 1915, went up 82 percent, or one-tenth as much as Bitcoin has gone up this year. Amazon’s red-hot stock is up only one-fifteenth as much as Bitcoin this year.”

To find financial bubbles comparable in scale, commentators have reached back hundreds of years to compare the bitcoin mania with the Dutch Tulip bubble of the 17th century and the South Sea bubble of 1721.

But with the rally in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies showing no signs of stopping, Wall Street and major financial institutions around the world are pouring billions of dollars into a financial asset that is totally unregulated, has no clear rules for lending and exchange, and no consumer safeguards.

With major investors flush with cash from open central bank spigots and soaring stock prices, there is every indication that this dangerous asset class is assuming an ever-larger presence on the balance sheets of banks, hedge funds and other outposts of the financial system.

The odds are increasing of another global financial meltdown on the scale of 2008, this time centered on cryptocurrencies instead of subprime mortgages.

The origins of bitcoin are shrouded in mystery. First introduced in January of 2009 by an unknown individual or group claiming to be a Japanese man named Satoshi Nakamoto, its nameless creator is now sitting on a nominal fortune of some $7 billion.

The currency was initially proposed as an anonymous and secure method of payment that bypassed central banks and government regulations, leading to its early adoption by anarchist and libertarian-minded individuals. In the ensuing years, however, it became clear that, due to its wild price fluctuations and institutional restrictions, bitcoin was inconvenient as a method of payment.

While an array of other cryptocurrencies have been created in an attempt to fill bitcoin’s purported role as a cash substitute, bitcoin’s proponents now advocate it as a long-term store of value, similar to gold, and supposedly immune to geopolitical instability. They promote it as a safe haven for investors living in countries with unstable currencies.........

On the Palestinians and Israelis ... isn't the world fed-up with these two peoples ?

I surely am.   However, on the issue of  the US Embassy being moved to Jerusalem thus giving USA's confirmation that Jerusalem belongs to the Jews, I concur.  Jews were there in Jerusalem long before anybody else.
Christians were the followers of Christ who rebelled against his Jewish brethren and set up his own ... call it a religious group or a political party or what you will... it's your choice.  Much later came the Mohammedans (was it 4 centuries later, more?) as the followers of Mohammad were known then.   So, yes .... by all rights and reason ... Jerusalem belongs to the Jews.  Hopefully, they will find it fit to keep it available to all three religions unless they want a shitload of trouble. 

In Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton creation of the Utopia of Libya ... Slave Trade flourishes

Unbelievable the harm being done by the United States of America on the human beings of this our planet. 
When will a divine intervention visit Earth and stop this rogue nation from destroying humankind????

Bethan McKernan at IndependentUK
The rest of the world has woken up, but migrants are still sleepwalking into Libya slave markets
The rest of the world has woken up, but migrants are still sleepwalking into Libya slave markets
While the West has reacted with outrage to video evidence of Libyan slave markets, potential victims themselves remain unaware of the dangers they face
“Does anybody need a digger? This is a digger, a big strong man, he’ll dig,” the auctioneer says in grainy mobile phone footage, gesturing to one of the two tall, silent young men next to him.

“What am I bid, what am I bid?”

The two men were sold together for a total of $400 (£296). ...

America trying to kill North Koreans by any and all means possible ...

and all because the leadership of North Korea is averse to the idea of being a  slave nation  of the USA and have a leash around its neck collared there by the IMF.
Dr Ron Paul at his website
Is North Korea Really a 'State Sponsor of Terrorism'?

President Trump announced last week that he was returning North Korea to the US list of “state sponsors of terrorism” after having been off the list for the past nine years. Americans may wonder what dramatic event led the US president to re-designate North Korea as a terrorism-sponsoring nation. Has Pyongyang been found guilty of some spectacular terrorist attack overseas or perhaps of plotting to overthrow another country by force? No, that is not the case. North Korea is back on the US list of state sponsors of terrorism because President Trump thinks the move will convince the government to give up its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program. He believes that continuing down the path toward confrontation with North Korea will lead the country to capitulate to Washington’s demands. That will not happen.

President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson argued that North Korea deserved to be back on the list because the North Korean government is reported to have assassinated a North Korean citizen – Kim Jong-Un’s own half-brother -- in February at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. But what does that say about Washington’s own program to assassinate US citizens like Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16 year old son under Obama, and later Awlaki’s six year old daughter under Trump? Like Kim’s half brother, Awlaki and his two children were never tried or convicted of a crime before being killed by their own government.

The neocons, who are pushing for a war with North Korea, are extremely pleased by Trump’s move. John Bolton called it “exactly the right thing to do.”

Designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism will allow President Trump to impose the “highest level of sanctions” on North Korea. Does anyone believe more sanctions – which hurt the suffering citizens of North Korea the most – will actually lead North Korea’s leadership to surrender to Washington’s demands? Sanctions never work. They hurt the weakest and most vulnerable members of society the hardest and affect the elites the least.

So North Korea is officially a terrorism-sponsoring nation according to the Trump Administration because Kim Jong-Un killed a family member. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is in the process of killing the entire country of Yemen and no one says a word. In fact, the US government has just announced it will sell Saudi Arabia $7 billion more weapons to help it finish the job........

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Cartoon ... Chief sleigh leader Rudolph fired for inappropriate reindeer games

The New York Times and its Lost Journalistic Standards ...

on the Russia-gate nonsense.

Robert Parry at ConsortiumNews
The Lost Journalistic Standards of Russia-gate

A danger in both journalism and intelligence is to allow an unproven or seriously disputed fact to become part of the accepted narrative where it gets widely repeated and thus misleads policymakers and citizens alike, such as happened during the run-up to war with Iraq and is now recurring amid the frenzy over Russia-gate.
For instance, in a Russia-gate story on Saturday, The New York Times reported as flat fact that a Kremlin intermediary “told a Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, that the Russians had ‘dirt’ on Mr. Trump’s rival, Hillary Clinton, in the form of ‘thousands of emails.’” The Times apparently feels that this claim no longer needs attribution even though it apparently comes solely from the 32-year-old Papadopoulos as part of his plea bargain over lying to the FBI.

Beyond the question of trusting an admitted liar like Papadopoulos, his supposed Kremlin contact, professor Joseph Mifsud, a little-known academic associated with the University of Stirling in Scotland, denied knowing anything about Democratic emails.

In an interview with the U.K. Daily Telegraph, Mifsud acknowledged meeting with Papadopoulos but disputed having close ties to the Kremlin and rejected how Papadopoulos recounted their conversations. Specifically, he denied the claim that he mentioned emails containing “dirt” on Clinton.

Even New York Times correspondent Scott Shane noted late last month – after the criminal complaint against Papadopoulos was unsealed – that “A crucial detail is still missing: Whether and when Mr. Papadopoulos told senior Trump campaign officials about Russia’s possession of hacked emails. And it appears that the young aide’s quest for a deeper connection with Russian officials, while he aggressively pursued it, led nowhere.”

Shane added, “the court documents describe in detail how Mr. Papadopoulos continued to report to senior campaign officials on his efforts to arrange meetings with Russian officials, … the documents do not say explicitly whether, and to whom, he passed on his most explosive discovery – that the Russians had what they considered compromising emails on Mr. Trump’s opponent.

“J.D. Gordon, a former Pentagon official who worked for the Trump campaign as a national security adviser [and who dealt directly with Papadopoulos] said he had known nothing about Mr. Papadopoulos’ discovery that Russia had obtained Democratic emails or of his prolonged pursuit of meetings with Russians.”........

The Saudi Arabia hostage taking of the Lebanese Prime Minister

This is from over a week ago and a lot has happened since then, but it's still worth it to listen to and get somewhat of a grip on the madness prevailing in that part of the world.

 From RonPaulInstitute
Saudi Purges Explained, With Marwa Osman Live From Lebanon
To understand what's really going on in the Middle East, the worst place to turn is the US mainstream media. Geopolitical analyst and Ph.D. candidate Marwa Osman joins today's Liberty Report live from Beirut, Lebanon to tell us why the MSM refuses to explain what's really behind the tragedy in Yemen. What's behind the recent purges in Saudi Arabia? Is a new war between Israel and Lebanon about to break out? You might be surprised at some of her answers. Tune in...

The strange tale of two Semitic "princes"

Both are products of the British-made House of Saud and the British-made Israel for Jews and Jews only.
Patrick Cockburn  at InformationClearingHouse
The Greatest Dangers in the Middle East Today are Jared Kushner and Mohamed bin Salman

The sort of Neo-con and right-wing think tankers, who in 2003 were saying that a war with Iraq would be a doddle, are back in business in Washington, pushing for war with Iran – and are stronger than ever

I was in my room in the Baghdad Hotel on al-Sadoun street last Sunday evening, writing about the chances for stability in Iraq taking hold, when the walls and floor began to shake. They jerked sideways and up and down several times as if my room was the cabin of boat in a rough sea.

My first confused thought was – this being Baghdad – that there must have been some huge bomb explosion, which would explain the rocking motion of everything around me. But almost simultaneously, I realised that I had not heard the sound of an explosion, so a better explanation was that there was an earthquake, though I had never thought of Baghdad as being in an earthquake zone.....

Cartoon ... Sing like Flynn

Keeping an eye on Turkey for the month of November 2017

Never forget Erdogan conspired with Syria's enemies to destroy Syria and its people. Until Erdogan gets his comeuppance,  I won't feel  satisfaction.

Turkey's first humanoid robotics factory opens in Konya province
Turkey's first factory which will produce human-like robots opened in central Konya province Saturday.

AkinRobotics, a humanoid robotics factory, was established by AkinSoft software company.

The factory has started mass production, said AkinSoft Board Chairman Özgür Akin, speaking at the inauguration ceremony, which was attended by employees and technology enthusiasts.

He added that none of the robot factories around the world have yet started mass production.

The new generation human-robots -- named "Ada GH5" -- will be programmed for use at malls, fairs, airports, hospitals, and even at homes, Akin said.........

Turkish PM warns US Muslims against FETÖ terrorism
Binali Yildirim warns US Muslims to steer clear of schools, cultural centers affiliated with FETÖ terrorist network
There is no difference between Daesh and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), said Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Thursday, adding that both terror groups flout the sacred values of Islam.

Both terrorist groups have threatened the peace in Muslim countries, Yildirim told a crowd in a speech at the Diyanet Center of America (DCA), also known as the Turkish-American Community Center and Mosque Complex in Lanham, Maryland....

Erdogan says those who see no military solution in Syria should pull troops out
Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that those who do not believe in a military solution in Syria should pull their troops out, after Russia and the United States said no military solution was possible in Syria.

"I am having trouble understanding these comments. If a military solution is out of the question, then those who say this should pull their troops out," Erdogan told reporters before flying to Russia..........

Erdogan accuses US of financing ISIS, breaking promises in Syria
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Washington of betraying Ankara and providing "a lot of dollars" to the Islamic State terrorists. The allegation comes just days after the US acknowledged that it allowed hundreds of armed ISIS militants to escape the besieged Syrian city of Raqqa....

Turks following Erdogan's call as they get rid of dollars and buy gold
One year ago, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the Turkish public to keep their savings in gold and avoid the US dollar. The latest World Gold Council report shows the Turkish public following Erdogan’s call. The report shows Turkey has ramped up gold buying with both the central bank and ordinary people doing so....

Rising oil prices add to Turkey’s economic woes
Atop an inflation rate stuck at 11%, an urban unemployment rate above 13%, a current account deficit close to 5% of gross domestic product (GDP), a growing budget deficit and a rapidly depreciating currency, Turkey is now being hit by an increase in global energy prices coupled with a rise in prices for metals and minerals.

Erdogan’s chief adviser calls for Turkey’s NATO membership to be reconsidered – local media

Simple apology’ is not enough: Insulted Erdogan on NATO ‘impudence’ over enemy-chart scandal
Tensions between the military bloc and Turkey escalated last week when Turkey’s founding leader, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and current president Recep Tayyip Erdogan were depicted as “enemies” during NATO drills in Norway. Erdogan said the incident was an attack targeting “Turkey and the Turkish nation.”
“What [NATO] did is a scandal,” the Turkish leader told a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) provincial congress in the eastern province of Bayburt on Sunday, Hurriyet reported. “They know that they cannot stop our country, which is why they are putting us on a target board. I hope that those who welcomed attacks against us before now understand the real face of the matter, as Ataturk was also included.”

“The issue is not a personal or party issue. The target is Turkey and the Turkish nation,” he noted....

Erdogan denounces opposition party ‘lies’ about family’s offshore transfers 
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced as “lies” claims that his family sent millions of dollars to a company in a tax haven, adding he would file a complaint. Opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) chief Kemal Kilicdaroglu alleged on Tuesday that members of the president’s family transferred around $15 million to Bellway Limited, based in the low-tax British Crown Dependency of the Isle of Man, AFP reported. “The five names absolutely did not send money to the company or place mentioned,” Erdogan said on Wednesday, adding: “Not one penny has been sent abroad.” The president called on the CHP leader to share the documents with the people and prosecutors. Erdogan also accused the CHP of no longer being the main opposition, but “the party of treason.”

Zarrab fingers Erdogan in NY trial bombshell
Turkey’s government kicked into full defensive gear today as Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish gold trader, prepared to stand witness before a New York jury for a second day, continuing his account of a billion-dollar scam to smuggle gold for oil in violation of US sanctions on Iran and in collusion with top Turkish officials. The trial continued at the Federal District Court in Manhattan with allegations of further government malfeasance. The proceedings took a further sensational turn when Zarrab said Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and former Economy Minister Ali Babacan had signed off on the scheme. “The prime minister at that time, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, … had given instructions, had given an order, for [Ziraat and Vakif banks] to start doing the trade,” Zarrab testified. He dropped this bombshell as allegations of further government corruption swirled at home.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Some tweets of mine from Nov 19 - 30

A different kind of Stockholm Syndrome ...

in this case it's how docile and grateful the conquered become towards the conquerors. Can we say Conqueree Syndrome?

Yves Engler at DissidentVoice
Primary Victims of the Canadian State echo Foreign Policy Mythology

The power of foreign policy nationalism is immense. Even the primary victims of the Canadian state have been drawn into this country’s mythology.

Dispossessed of 99% of their land, Indigenous people have been made wards of the state, had their movement restricted and religious/cultural ceremonies banned. Notwithstanding their antagonistic relationship to the Canadian state, indigenous leaders have often backed Ottawa’s international policies.

At a National Aboriginal Veterans Day ceremony last week Grand Chief of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs Stewart Phillip said Indigenous soldiers were “fighting for the common good” and were “on the right side of history.” But, Canadian soldiers have only fought in one morally justifiable war: World War II. Ignored in the Remembrance Day style commemoration are the Afghans or Libyans killed by Canadians in recent years or the Serbians and Iraqis killed two decades ago or the Koreans killed in the 1950s or the Russians, South Africans, Sudanese and others killed before that.

While Phillip’s comments reinforces the sense that Canada’s cause is righteous, he’s not a sycophant of power on most issues. Phillip refused to attend a “reconciliation” event with Prince William, called for “acts of civil disobedience” against pipelines and said “the State of Canada and the Church committed acts of genocide as defined by the United Nations’ Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.”

Philip was but one of many indigenous voices applauding Canadian militarism during National Aboriginal Veterans Day/Remembrance Day activities. CBC Indigenous reported on a reading in Mi’kmaq of the pro-World War I poem “In Flanders Fields” and quoted the editor of Courageous Warriors of Kahkewistahaw First Nation, Ted Whitecalf, saying: “It’s all for freedom that the people served willingly and voluntarily.”

Outside of war commemorations, Indigenous representatives occasionally echo broader foreign policy myths. Alongside Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde was a keynote speaker at the Canadian Council for International Co-operation’s “Come Celebrate Canada’s International Contributions!!” event in May. Part of Canada’s 150th anniversary the Global Impact Soirée included a Global Affairs Canada exhibit titled “25 Years of Excellence in International Development Photography” and “Recognize Canada’s 15 international contributions”........

In the era of Trump, BBC suddenly discovers plenty of faults in good old USA

Now that the USA has elected a president the BBC is not in love with, out comes its claws all of a sudden to show the world something of what's happening in the dying empire. All this was prevalent the last so many decades, but BBC, like most of the MSM, had a lid on anything that showed America in a bad light..until now.
BBC betrayal?

France in perfectly okay with Saudi Arabia in its kidnapping capers, etc. etc.

What else did you expect from a colonial power that still holds sway over Mali and many other areas of Africa by aiding and abetting in the electing of France's chosen ones in the "ex" colonies?

Finian Cunningham at InformationClearingHouse
France’s Macron Covers for Saudi Aggression

France’s invitation to beleaguered Lebanese premier Saad Hariri for him and his family to spend “a few days in Paris” has been viewed as French President Emmanuel Macron stepping in with deft soft power to resolve tensions between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

Less charitably, what Macron is really doing is giving cynical cover to the Saudi rulers for their extraordinary acts of aggression towards Lebanon and their violation of that country’s sovereignty.

Two of Hariri’s children were left in Saudi capital Riyadh while he visited France over the weekend. Were they being used as hostages by the Saudis to ensure that Hariri maintains the Saudi spin on events? Certainly, the arrangement raises suspicions, but the French president sought instead to affect a “normal” nothing-is-unusual appearance.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun last week publicly accused Saudi Arabia of holding Hariri in Riyadh against his will. Aoun said the Saudi rulers were violating international law by detaining Hariri and forcing his resignation as prime minister of Lebanon. Such acts were tantamount to aggression, said President Aoun.

Yet Macron has said nothing about Saudi interference. He has instead turned reality on its head by censuring Iran for regional “aggression” and thereby backing Saudi claims that Iran is supplying ballistic missiles to Yemen. Iran swiftly condemned Macron for “stoking regional tensions”.

Credit goes to President Aoun for speaking out plainly, telling it like it is and expressing what many Lebanese citizens and many other observers around the world have concluded. The whole debacle is an outrageous affront to Lebanon and international law by the Saudi rulers, when it is taken into consideration Hariri’s hasty summoning to Saudi capital Riyadh earlier this month, his subsequent televised resignation speech on Saudi TV, and his long-delayed sojourn in that country. What is even more despicable is that the Saudi interference in the sovereign affairs of Lebanon is threatening to re-ignite a civil war within the small Mediterranean country, and, possibly worse, a war across the region with Iran....

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Some of my tweets Nov 11 - 18

Get ready for additional invasion of privacy and privates at the hands of the TSA

I hate travelling by air into the United States of America.  It's a torture like you won't find at any airport in any other country on this planet.

James Bovard at RonPaulInstitute
Thanksgiving Travel: Trump's Holiday Gift is More Invasive Airport Security

On the campaign trail last year, Donald Trump derided the Transportation Security Administration as a “total disaster.” But his administration is making TSA more intrusive and abusive while its 42,000 screeners remain as incompetent as ever. New TSA screening guidelines will likely make Thanksgiving travel a disaster for legions of Americans — and the worst is yet to come. Shortly after Trump’s inauguration, TSA announced more "comprehensive" pat-down procedures which the Denver airport suggested might involve “more intimate contact than before.” TSA preemptively notified local police to expect potential complaints, and plenty of travelers are howling:

*Jenna McFarlane, a 56-year old teacher and graphic designer, was traveling out of Charlotte, N.C., in April when a TSA agent repeatedly told her “to spread my legs wider” and proceeded to “touch my vagina four times with the side of her hand,” as she complained to TSA afterwards. She was selected for a vigorous patdown after an unreliable TSA test gave a false explosive alert for her carry-on baggage.

*Hollywood reporter and author Sharon Waxman complained this summer about an aggressive female TSA agent who “placed both hands around my legs and slowly — very slowly — rubbed up and down. The touching went all the way up to my groin. My private parts were touched by the edge of her hand, twice.” The TSA agent rested her hands on Waxman’s chest much longer than necessary to check for weapons. Waxman groused: “The TSA screening felt like nothing less than physical assault. If anyone other than a government officer had done anything of the kind, I would have reported it as a crime.”

*David Stavropolous complained that a TSA agent doing a search at Chicago O’Hare airport jammed his hand into Stavropolous' groin so hard that it caused bleeding and will require surgery to correct, according to Chicago's NBC station and his lawsuit against TSA.

But there is a ray of hope: TSA’s screeners may soon lose the legal immunity that has shielded all their abuses. Federal judge James Cacheris okayed a lawsuit by Captain James Linlor, an airline pilot, who complained that a TSA agent at Washington Dulles International Airport “rammed his hands into (his) genitals ... and subsequently laughed.”

TSA asked the court to dismiss Linlor’s case because, instead of suing, he could have phoned in his complaint to the TSA Contact Center. TSA also insisted that its screener deserved legal immunity even if he did pummel Linlor’s private parts. The judge scoffed at the government’s inference that “a reasonable federal officer would be surprised to learn that gratuitously striking an individual in the groin while searching them violates the Fourth Amendment.” The case is proceeding.

Federal groping-on-steroids is not making flying safer. In June, KMSP-TV in Minneapolis reported that a TSA Headquarters Evaluation Team succeeded 95% of the time in smuggling weapons and mock bombs past airport screeners. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector general notified Congress that TSA screeners and equipment had recently failed to detect mock threats "in the ballpark" of 80% of the time, ABC News reported this month. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., declared that TSA is “broken badly.”

TSA has never bothered examining whether its tactics actually protect the public. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported in September that “TSA does not measure deterrence (impact) for any of its aviation security countermeasures.”  Instead, the agency imposes burden after burden upon American travelers based on hunches.

Other Trump policies could soon blight millions of Americans’ travel plans. Starting Jan. 22, TSA may reject drivers’ licenses from many states that fail to comply with the REAL ID Act of 2005 (formerly one of the Tea Party’s most hated edicts). Travelers without passports from New York, Michigan, Illinois and other states could be barred from flying domestically, according to information on a DHS website......

Cartoon: Newspeak

Are you man enough to stand up to the Alpha Dogs or are you a cowardly little puppy?

Really worth a full read.

Robert Lipsyte at TomDispatch
Beating Back the Bad Boys 

.....The real job, the hard job, for all of us male bystanders, isn’t to rescue women, but to rescue other men from their own worst behavior and so prevent abuse in the first place, be it by a heroic and possibly dangerous personal intervention or the more difficult political mission of, say, passing an Equal Rights Amendment. One of the crises of contemporary manhood and contemporary bystanderdom, perhaps the very reason for our passivity, our cowardice, is the realization that most of the time we can’t even protect ourselves from the men who intimidate us, who take pleasure in treating us like "girls."

No wonder we, too, derive some pleasure from the precipitous falls of Harvey Weinstein, Leon Wieseltier, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, Mark Halperin, and the other celebs, politicians, and male eminences going down at the present moment. We sense with satisfaction that they’re finally paying for whatever they did or tried to do to women (or young men) sexually, for reducing them to powerless objects, just as they’ve always done, even if far less directly, to men like us, like me.

Women are finally rising up, spreading the net, pulling it tight. Maybe, at last, it’s our turn as well. So applaud #metoo, then raise #ustoo, where men can begin to be as courageous as the women who brought down the pigs. We have a lot of catching up to do.

We need to keep expanding the “Harvey effect” into all the corrupt and abusive pockets of politics, entertainment, and business, as perilous as that can sometimes be.  It’s time, too, to begin bucking the trend of rewarding aggressive men.

And count on it, there will be a bro-lash. There are too many underdogs in the pack who think their fates are entwined with those of the alpha dogs, including those generals like White House Chief of Staff John Kelly in Washington, too many producers and actors in Hollywood, too many hedge-fund vice presidents in New York, too many engineers in Silicon Valley. But there are also millions of us dudes ready to become ex-bystanders, including old guys like me, who need to redeem ourselves from our histories with the Crazy Ronnies, Docs, and Shads, and young guys who need to be woken to the thrilling power of standing up to such bullies.......

The Murder of a President OR in other words "the 1963 coup in America"

From The Fifth Estate ... an updated documentary on the JFK Files: The Murder of a President

Some of the dirty tactics used by the USA on nations it wants brought down

Will Venezuela prevail and come out stronger or will it go under?  Only time will tell.

From Misión Verdad translated and published at TeleSur
US Pressures, Threatens Against Venezuela Debt Restructuring

The U.S. Treasury has organized an assault via U.S. banks withholding notes of credit U.S. oil refineries need to be able to pay for Venezuela’s crude oil.

The U.S. Treasury Department has threatened holders of Venezuelan bonds that it would be problematic for them to deal with Venezuela’s executive Vice President Tareck El Aissami and the country’s Economy Minister Simon Zerpa, also head of finance for Venezuela’s State oil company PDVSA. El Aissami and Zerpa are Venezuela’s main financial negotiators and the U.S. government applied sanctions against the two fo them this year.

The development followed President Nicolas Maduro invitation to Venezuela’s creditors last week to meet in Caracas on Nov. 13 for talks on restructuring payment of US$60 billion of Venezuela’s bonds.

A financial terror campaign on steroids
Venezuela’s debt payments this year anticipate projections for payment of around US$8 billion in 2018 which will now be restructured.
Even though creditors are not forbidden under General License 3 of President Donald Trump’s Aug. 3 decree from participating in talks on Venezuela’s bonds, the U.S. Treasury has now said that any deal with El Aissami and Zerpa, both on the U.S. Treasury’s list of Specially Designated Persons, could be problematic, without referring directly to negotiations as such or to whether a possible agreement might break U.S. law. The U.S. Treasury went on to note that possible penalties for U.S. citizens could mean up to 30 years in prison or fines of up to US$5 million. In the case of financial institutions, the fines could go up to US$10 million.

In coordination with the U.S. Treasury pronouncements, Venezuela’s opposition media have supplemented the U.S. threats with “anonymous statements” supposedly implying that creditors are not planning to participate in the Nov. 13 meeting in Caracas allegedly on account of lack of comfortable facilities for the investors and fears about violence in Venezuela’s capital.

Along with news of this latest U.S. threat against Venezuela, international financial media also reported that on Nov. 8 a creditor of PDVSA’s 2017 bonds asked the International Swaps and Derivatives Association to determine whether the oil company had fallen into non-payment which would activate insurance payouts for credit non-compliance.

The Venezuelan authorities announced on Nov. 3 the start of the procedure to pay US$1.1 billion in capital and interest on the 2017 bond that expired on Nov. 2......

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