The Evening Blues - 3-20-18



eb1pt12



The day's news roundup + tonight's musical feature: Tina Turner



Hey! Good Evening!


This evening's music features soul and r&b singer Tina Turner. Enjoy!



Ike & Tina Turner - Mojo Queen

"Something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?”

-- Bob Dylan


News and Opinion


Before He Was FBI Director, Chris Wray Supervised an Investigation That Found Erik Prince Likely Broke U.S. Law

As a private ttorney in 2016, FBI Director Chris Wray supervised a team of lawyers that informed the Justice Department that Blackwater founder Erik Prince had likely violated U.S. law while trying to sell secretly modified paramilitary attack aircraft to Azerbaijan’s military.

Wray and Robert Hur, now a senior Justice Department official, were both partners at the powerhouse law firm King & Spalding in 2015 when officials at Prince’s Hong Kong-based logistics company, Frontier Services Group [FSG], discovered suspicious activity by Prince over the proposed sale of the planes. Hur is currently the top lieutenant to Rod Rosenstein, the U.S. deputy attorney general. At King & Spalding, he was one of the lead lawyers on the Prince investigation.

FSG retained King & Spalding to conduct a review of the company’s legal exposure to violations of U.S. law on weapons sales and the export of defense services to foreign governments and militaries. The attorneys concluded that Prince could potentially be charged with brokering defense articles without a license, according to a copy of the review obtained by The Intercept. The FSG-hired lawyers briefed the Obama Justice Department’s National Security Division in February 2016 on Prince’s activities and, a month later, FSG’s CEO notified the State Department that FSG intended to voluntarily report its possible violations of U.S. defense export laws.

“The potential violations stem principally from conduct of Mr. Prince, a U.S. person,” CEO Gregg Smith wrote to the director of the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, which regulates the export of defense articles and services, in a letter obtained by The Intercept. In the letter, Smith promised to provide the State Department with a copy of the findings of FSG’s internal investigation. In April 2016, The Intercept published two reports detailing Prince’s attempts to modify small aircraft for sale to militaries in Africa and the Middle East, and a federal investigation into his alleged business ties to Chinese intelligence. According to a second letter dated April 13, 2016 and seen by The Intercept, Smith asked the State Department for an extension so FSG could review the report for more potential violations of U.S. defense export laws. ...

What action, if any, the Justice Department took after Wray’s team shared their initial findings has not been made public. “We were perplexed by the lack of immediate action” by the State and Justice departments, the former senior FSG official told The Intercept, adding that he and others at the company got the impression that “nobody wanted to dig into this until after the [2016] election.”

Gaddafi comes back to haunt Sarkozy

Sarkozy arrested over claims Gaddafi bankrolled his 2007 presidential bid

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was arrested Tuesday over claims his 2007 presidential campaign received $61 million in funding from Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Sarkozy was detained after he presented himself at a police station in Nanterre, a western suburb of Paris, according to sources speaking to Le Monde and AP.

The arrest follows a five-year probe into claims Sarkozy illegally financed his run with funds from the late despot.

Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine told the investigative website Mediapart in 2016 that Sarkozy and Claude Gueant, his former chief of staff, took delivery of suitcases stuffed with more than $6 million in cash.

Durbin Calls On Congress To Halt Unauthorized U.S. Military Involvement In Yemen

Senators To Force Vote On Ending US Support For Saudi War In Yemen

The Senate is set to vote Tuesday on a bipartisan resolution that would withdraw U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign in Yemen, a move ardently opposed by the White House and top Pentagon officials. The vote coincides with a White House meeting between President Donald Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the architect of his country’s war against Houthi rebels in Yemen. ...

“The U.S. government claims that it’s not engaged in hostilities unless U.S. troops are on the ground being shot at by the enemy,” Republican Sen. Mike Lee said on the Senate floor earlier in March, according to The Washington Post. “It stretches the imagination, and it stretches the English language beyond its breaking point to suggest the U.S. military is not engaged in hostilities in Yemen.” ...

Senators are using a mechanism known as a privileged resolution to bring the war powers measure, known as Joint Resolution 54, to a floor vote. The procedure allows them to overcome the objections of other lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who controls what is brought to the Senate floor.

A vote on the war powers resolution during bin Salman’s visit would be awkward for both the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers. Trump is trying to finalize a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia that was put on hold over concerns about terrorist financing, while Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, is scheduled to meet with the crown prince on Capitol Hill this week.


Figures. Warmongers win again.

Senate sides with Trump on providing Saudi military support

The Senate on Tuesday rejected an effort to force President Trump to end the U.S. military's support for Saudi Arabia's bombing operations in Yemen.

Senators voted 55-44 to table the resolution, effectively killing it. ...

Democrats Chris Coons (Del.), Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Doug Jones (Ala.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Jack Reed (R.I.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.). voted with the majority to table the measure. ...

GOP leadership publicly lined up against the resolution ahead of Tuesday’s vote.

“It Was A Crime”: 15 Years After U.S. Invasion, Iraqis Still Face Trauma, Destruction & Violence

McCabe: A War on (or in) the FBI?

The explanation from Andrew McCabe that he was fired merely due to his staunch support of his former boss and mentor, FBI Director James Comey, and the “Russiagate” investigation, does not pass the smell test. Similar to the one that mainstream corporate media is spinning, McCabe’s explanation almost totally ignores the fact that it was the relatively independent Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) and the FBI’s own Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR internal affairs) who recommended firing McCabe for his “lack of candor” on (the totally unrelated issue of) granting improper press access to the Wall Street Journal during ongoing FBI investigations of the Clinton Foundation and Clinton’s emails.

While the exact specifics of McCabe’s “lack of candor” – which McCabe denies – haven’t been released by the IG, it’s my own personal opinion that such official briefing of the press should not necessarily be a fireable offense as long as it’s justified to correct faulty media reporting and was not covertly done for improper political reasons. But technically, firing for “lack of candor” has long been the FBI’s “bright line” policy, ever since former FBI Director Louis Freeh tried to “clean up” the FBI in the mid-1990s when so many agents, including Special Agents in Charge, were caught lying about sex affairs, improper government credit card charges and drunk driving incidents – some amounting to reckless homicides. ...

In any event, McCabe’s calling his firing a “war on the FBI” doesn’t make sense considering it was the FBI’s own internal affairs office that recommended he be fired. (Note that DOJ IG Michael Horowitz was appointed by President Obama in 2012 and the FBI’s OPR is run by a career official originally appointed to that position in 2004 by then FBI Director Robert Mueller.)

Perhaps it would be more apt if McCabe had called it a war inside the FBI (and in Washington as a whole). Could the obvious chaos – some would say “bloodbath” – at all levels of government also be part of the “blowback” from 16 years of waging “perpetual war” (and from attendant war crimes and the internal corruption by which all empires rot)? As author Viet Thanh Nguyen noted about the 2016 election: “That sickness is imperialism… America is an imperial country, and its decay might now be showing. Empires rot from the inside even as emperors blame the barbarians.” Remember how wars have a way of migrating home. ...

The real problem that most of the mainstream media don’t want to even mention is how unprecedented it was to have both Presidential campaigns under serious criminal investigation in the weeks before the 2016 election! In all fairness, even if these now-fired FBI Directors were trying to do the right thing – which would not be in line with their rather sordid track records – it wouldn’t really be possible to walk that political mine field without a faux pas one way or the other.  Seen in that light, it’s possible to even sympathize a little with any FBI Director when the public corruption at the highest levels in Washington DC has become so bad (and fully bipartisan), that it’s hard to know where to start.

Trump breaks ranks to congratulate Putin on landslide election victory, discuss arms race

Donald Trump has called to congratulate Vladimir Putin on his landslide victory in Sunday’s elections, breaking a taboo among western leaders in appearing to endorse the Russian leader’s re-election to a fourth term in power.

Speaking at the White House on Tuesday, Trump confirmed he had called Putin to “congratulate him on his electoral victory”, and said the two would “probably get together in the not too distant future so that we can discuss the arms race”.

But the two leaders did not discuss Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election or the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, the former double agent targeted with a nerve agent in the UK.

The former US presidential candidate John McCain was quick to criticize Trump for his failure to raise allegations of widespread voter irregularities.

An interesting peek into Russian media:

Zakharova Tells Who Is Really Behind The Salisbury Anti-Russian Campaign

The NSA Worked to “Track Down” Bitcoin Users, Snowden Documents Reveal

Governments, with a vested interest in controlling how money moves, would, some of Bitcoin’s fierce advocates believed, naturally try and thwart the coming techno-libertarian financial order. It turns out the conspiracy theorists were onto something. Classified documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden show that the National Security Agency indeed worked urgently to target Bitcoin users around the world — and wielded at least one mysterious source of information to “help track down senders and receivers of Bitcoins,” according to a top-secret passage in an internal NSA report dating to March 2013. The data source appears to have leveraged the NSA’s ability to harvest and analyze raw, global internet traffic while also exploiting an unnamed software program that purported to offer anonymity to users, according to other documents. ...

The documents indicate that “tracking down” Bitcoin users went well beyond closely examining Bitcoin’s public transaction ledger, known as the Blockchain, where users are typically referred to through anonymous identifiers; the tracking may also have involved gathering intimate details of these users’ computers. The NSA collected some Bitcoin users’ password information, internet activity, and a type of unique device identification number known as a MAC address, a March 29, 2013 NSA memo suggested. In the same document, analysts also discussed tracking internet users’ internet addresses, network ports, and timestamps to identify “BITCOIN Targets.”

Chris Hedges: Building the Iron Wall

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, along with 18 members of the House of Representatives—15 Republicans and three Democrats—has sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions demanding that the Qatari-run Al-Jazeera television network register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). The letter was issued after Al-Jazeera said it planned to air a documentary by a reporter who went undercover to look into the Israel lobby in the United States. The action by the senator and the House members follows the decision by the Justice Department to force RT America to register as a foreign agent and the imposition of algorithms by Facebook, Google and Twitter that steer traffic away from left-wing, anti-war and progressive websites, including Truthdig. It also follows December’s abolition of net neutrality. ...

“American citizens deserve to know whether the information and news media they consume is impartial, or if it is deceptive propaganda pushed by foreign nations,” the letter reads.

[That's a pretty amusing statement, imo, they might want to rethink that letter. - js]

The ominous assault on the final redoubts of a free press, through an attempt to brand dissidents, independent journalists and critics of corporate power and imperialism as agents of a foreign power, has begun. ... Those who challenge the dominant corporate narrative already struggle on the margins of the media landscape. The handful of independent websites and news outlets, including this one, and a few foreign-run networks such as Al-Jazeera and RT America, on which I host a show, “On Contact,” are the few platforms left that examine corporate power and empire, the curtailment of our civil liberties, lethal police violence and the ecocide carried out by the fossil fuel and animal agriculture industries, as well as cover the war crimes committed by Israel and the U.S. military in the Middle East. Shutting down these venues would ensure that the critics who speak through them, and oppressed peoples such as the Palestinians, have no voice left.

President Xi just fired a big warning to Taiwan

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned Taiwan Tuesday of a renewed push for unification, vowing that efforts to resist this would face “the punishment of history.” Beijing regards the island, which has been self-ruled since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, as a breakaway province.

Xi, recently emboldened by the removal of the two-term limit on the presidency, delivered the speech at the closing session of the National People’s Congress in Beijing, demanding a “peaceful reunification of the motherland.”

“It is a shared aspiration of all Chinese people and in their basic interests to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and realize China’s complete reunification,” Xi said to loud applause.

“Any actions and tricks to split China are doomed to failure and will meet with the people’s condemnation and the punishment of history.”

Chinese Corporation Alibaba Joins ALEC

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has joined the American Legislative Exchange Council, a private group set up for corporations and other interest groups to ghostwrite legislation that is sponsored by legislators in state capitols around the country.

Bill Anaya, head of government affairs for Alibaba operations in the Americas, spoke at ALEC’s States & Nation Policy Summit in Nashville, Tennessee, in December 2017, according to notes taken at the meeting that were obtained by The Intercept and Documented. The gathering brought together over 1,000 state and local lawmakers and lobbyists. ...

ALEC has gained increasing attention for its outsized role in shaping state-level policy by providing a forum for lobbyists to meet with legislators and formulate “model” legislation that lawmakers take back to their home states. The group allowed lobbyists for fossil fuel giants, such as Koch Industries and Peabody Energy, to draft legislation that was designed to undermine regulations on air pollution and climate change. In recent years, a wave of preemption laws crafted by ALEC with the support of retailers, fast food companies, and other major employers, have been implemented in states across the country to block minimum wage increases and efforts to enact paid sick days.

ALEC is attractive to major corporations, even ones without a particularly conservative bent, because lobbying 50 states and additional territories can be time- and resource-intensive when done solo. Alibaba’s decision to join the powerful legislation-writing organization comes as many Chinese companies have entered the U.S. market and stepped up their influence in domestic politics.

Lawmakers Accuse DeVos of Lack of Regard for Students

As Education Secretary Betsy DeVos prepared to testify before a House committee on her proposed budget for fiscal year 2019, members of Congress received word from her staff members that DeVos had been withholding from lawmakers information about her spending plans as they've been developed in recent months. Information about what drove DeVos's budgeting decisions was omitted from documents submitted to Congress ahead of the hearing, a staffer wrote in an email to the House and Senate Appropriations Committee.

"Our concern is about a breakdown in communication, a culture of secrecy and a fear of retaliatory action that has prevented Budget Service from providing House and Senate appropriators and staff, and for that matter, the public, with key information about the department’s plans for fiscal year 2019," wrote a career department official in the email, which the New York Times obtained. "Given the potential for some of these proposals to radically impact the way the department carries out its mission, Congress should probably see this."

Included in the proposals, DeVos's budget calls for a five percent spending reduction across the agency, targeting several regional offices that operate under the Office of Civil Rights and after-school programs that serve children in low-income communities. The budget also proposes a $1 billion plan to steer students towards private and charter schools and away from public education.

During Tuesday's hearing, several of the committee members denounced the Secretary's proposals, with Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) concluding, "One thing is for sure: you do not have our students' best interests in mind." Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) became incensed over DeVos's lack of knowledge about the positive effects of after-school programs in lower-income school districts. After-school supervision and enrichment programs have been shown to reduce juvenile crime rates in several studies. The Secretary, Clark noted, eliminated funding for 21st Century Community Centers, programs which serve "80,000 kids in Florida alone," where 17 people were killed in a school shooting last month. ...

After questioning DeVos about cuts to the Office of Civil Rights, which ensures that students are not discriminated against in American schools, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) came to the conclusion that the Secretary does not "care much about the civil rights of black and brown children. This is horrible."

Teachers unions intensify efforts to suppress growing class struggle in the US

On Sunday night, the National Education Association (NEA) shut down the strike by 4,000 teachers and support staff in Jersey City, the second-largest school district in the state of New Jersey. The NEA ordered educators to return to their classrooms without providing any details on the tentative deal, let alone allowing workers to vote on it. Presuming that an agreement actually exists, it will do nothing to address teachers’ demands to end soaring health care costs. ...

The struggle of Jersey City teachers exposes the role of the Democratic Party, which supports the assault on teachers and public education no less than the Republicans. At issue is a bill, known as Chapter 78, which forces public employees to pay up to 35 percent of their medical insurance premiums and eliminates fully funded pensions for future teachers. It was passed with the backing of the Democratic-controlled state legislature in 2011.

Within hours of the beginning of the strike, a Hudson County judge granted the city’s Democratic Party-controlled school board an injunction to order teachers back to work on the grotesque grounds that teachers—not the corporate-controlled politicians—were doing “irreparable harm” to Jersey City school children.

The Jersey City Education Association (JCEA) is acting in the same manner as the unions in West Virginia, which opposed any struggle of teachers and worked to end it and impose a sell-out deal as soon as they could. Under conditions of a growing desire for a unified fight across the country, the NEA, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the other state-affiliated organizations see as their central task the suppression of class struggle. They will do exactly the same thing wherever a struggle emerges, and not only among teachers.

Any worker who wants to understand the nature of these organizations should make a careful study of the article, “If the Supreme Court rules against unions, conservatives won’t like what happens next,” published in the Washington Post on March 1. Written by Shaun Richman, a former organizing director of the AFT, it spells out in extraordinarily blunt terms the value of the unions for the American ruling class.

The NRA finally found a school shooting it wants to talk about

Usually the National Rifle Association is silent after school shootings. But not this time.

Just hours after a school resource officer shot and killed gunman Austin Wyatt Rollins in a Maryland high school, the NRA is treating it as a slam dunk for its agenda, and using it to show why it’s better to have more “good guys with guns” in schools.

While details of the shooting are still unclear, it appears a school resource officer at Great Mills High School in St. Mary's County, Maryland, shot and killed a teenage male gunman Tuesday morning after he shot and critically injured a female student and wounded another male student. The St. Mary's County sheriff would not say if the officer's bullet hit Rollins; they fired "simultaneously," a spokesman said.

But it's clear the school resource officer stopped a shooting in progress, and it did not take long for the NRA to hold it up as a victory over the “anti-gun, anti-freedom narrative.”

Justine Damond shooting: police officer Mohamed Noor charged with murder

A Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed an Australian woman in July has been booked on charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Officer Mohamed Noor turned himself in on Tuesday after a warrant was issued for his arrest in the death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond. Damond was shot on 15 July, minutes after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home. ...

Damond’s family said in a written statement the charges were “one step toward justice”, and said they were pleased the Hennepin county attorney Mike Freeman had decided to bring charges. They said they hoped a strong case would be presented and Noor would be convicted. “No charges can bring our Justine back,” they said. “However, justice demands accountability for those responsible for recklessly killing the fellow citizens they are sworn to protect, and today’s actions reflect that.”



the horse race



Facebook may have broken state and federal law in Cambridge Analytica data share

The Federal Trade Commission and several state attorneys general have begun probing whether Facebook violated any federal regulations or state privacy laws in their dealings with the campaign consultant group Cambridge Analytica, which Donald Trump’s presidential campaign paid $5.9 million during the 2016 race.

Facebook faces potential legal consequences and fines on multiple fronts for allowing Cambridge Analytica to get access to 50 millions users’ data that had originally been gathered by an academic for research and then failing to notify users after Facebook discovered the data had been sold off to the political group.

All of these issues will determine the extent of the fines and of Facebook’s liability, which is not clear cut. We don’t yet know all the facts about what users knew about their data being shared, and the federal government’s lag in regulating these new technologies has produced a confusing web of state laws and federal agency rules.

The Federal Trade Commission, charged with protecting consumers, has sent the social media giant a list of questions that will likely try to discover whether Facebook’s data sharing with Cambridge Analytica violated a 2011 consent decree between the FTC and Facebook. The order prevents the company from sharing their user data outside of a user’s specific privacy settings without consent, prohibits Facebook from making deceptive statements — including statements related to third party data sharing — and requires Facebook to report all the facts about compliance with the order to the FTC.

Facebook Suspends Data Research Firm With Trump Ties

The U.K. government is going after Cambridge Analytica’s data

The U.K.’s data chief is seeking an urgent warrant to access the computers and servers of Cambridge Analytica, according to reports Tuesday. The news came hours after Elizabeth Denham, the U.K.’s Information Commissioner, ordered Facebook to stand down its own probe into the company over fears data may be deleted.

Denham is seeking a court order “to obtain information and access to systems and evidence related” to her investigation of Cambridge Analytica after it failed to adequately respond to an earlier demand for access to records and data.

The investigation was given added impetus Monday when forensic auditors from Stroz Friedberg, hired by Facebook, entered the offices of Cambridge Analytica to “secure evidence.” The move sparked concern among some U.K. lawmakers that vital evidence may be tampered with before the proper authorities could review it.

'Utterly horrifying': ex-Facebook insider says covert data harvesting was routine

Hundreds of millions of Facebook users are likely to have had their private information harvested by companies that exploited the same terms as the firm that collected data and passed it on to Cambridge Analytica, according to a new whistleblower.

Sandy Parakilas, the platform operations manager at Facebook responsible for policing data breaches by third-party software developers between 2011 and 2012, told the Guardian he warned senior executives at the company that its lax approach to data protection risked a major breach.

“My concerns were that all of the data that left Facebook servers to developers could not be monitored by Facebook, so we had no idea what developers were doing with the data,” he said. Parakilas said Facebook had terms of service and settings that “people didn’t read or understand” and the company did not use its enforcement mechanisms, including audits of external developers, to ensure data was not being misused.

Parakilas, whose job was to investigate data breaches by developers similar to the one later suspected of Global Science Research, which harvested tens of millions of Facebook profiles and provided the data to Cambridge Analytica, said the slew of recent disclosures had left him disappointed with his superiors for not heeding his warnings. “It has been painful watching,” he said, “because I know that they could have prevented it.”

Asked what kind of control Facebook had over the data given to outside developers, he replied: “Zero. Absolutely none. Once the data left Facebook servers there was not any control, and there was no insight into what was going on.”





the evening greens


Last male northern white rhino's death highlights 'huge extinction crisis'

Conservationists have warned that the death of the last male northern white rhinoceros in Kenya is a sign that unsustainable human activity is driving a new era of mass extinctions around the globe. Sudan, the “gentle giant” who lived in the Ol Pejeta conservancy in Kenya, was put down on Monday after the pain from a degenerative illness became too great.

It leaves only two females - his daughter and granddaughter - through which conservationists hope they might save the species from dying out altogether using IVF.

Colin Butfield, campaigns director at WWF, said the death of a such an emblematic creature was a profound tragedy - and highlighted a wider crisis. “There is undoubtedly a huge extinction crisis going on of which this death is just a small part,” he said.

Since 1970 average populations of vertebrate animals have more than halved, according to Butfield, and an estimated 10,000 “less celebrated” species are becoming extinct every year. “It is absolutely huge,” he added.



Also of Interest

Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.

Gina Haspel: As If Nuremberg Never Happened

Former CIA Chief Brennan Running Scared

"No Patients Have Experienced Symptoms Of Nerve Agent Poisoning In Salisbury"

In the Rubble of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans and Ultrarich “Puertopians” Are Locked in a Pitched Struggle Over How to Remake the Island

Capitalism’s Process of Universal Commodification

Self-Funded Millionaires Are Forcing Promising Democrats Out of California Primaries

Neil Gorsuch just gave the first glimpse of how he might rule on abortion issues

Bernie Sanders: Russia and Stormy Daniels distract us from real problem of inequality

Plight of Phoenix: how long can the world’s 'least sustainable' city survive?


A Little Night Music


Ike and Tina Turner - The Hunter

Ike And Tina Turner - Chicken Shack

Ike & Tina Turner - We Need Understanding

Ike & Tina Turner - Wake Up

Ike & Tina Turner - Strange

Ike & Tina Turner - Dust My Broom

Ike & Tina Turner - I'm Hooked

Ike & Tina Turner - Too Many Tears

Ike & Tina Turner - Too Hot To Hold

Ike & Tina Turner - Good Bye, So Long



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16 users have voted.

Comments

Meteor Man's picture

This part of the whole Russiagate soap opera has puzzled me from the beginning:

The real problem that most of the mainstream media don’t want to even mention is how unprecedented it was to have both Presidential campaigns under serious criminal investigation in the weeks before the 2016 election!

As well as whose side Fusion GPS and Cambridge Analytical are on. No shortage of corruption on both sides.

Hey! McCain! How about widespread voter fraud in America?

The former US presidential candidate John McCain was quick to criticize Trump for his failure to raise allegations of widespread voter irregularities.

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16 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

snoopydawg's picture

@Meteor Man

The Russian trolls

The desired conclusion of one reads: “The majority of experts agree that the US is deliberately trying to weaken Russia, and Ukraine is being used only as a way to achieve this goal. If the Ukrainian people had not panicked and backed a coup, the west would have found another way to pressure Russia. But our country is not going to go ahead with the US plans, and we will fight for our sovereignty on the international stage.”

This is the truth and besides that, it has nothing to do with the election in this country. The other ads that were on FB were about civil issues and none of them even mentioned the candidate's names and they were placed after the election, so how could they possibly be called interference? How many of them have we even been shown? I still haven't seen the puppy ad, has anyone?

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10 users have voted.

America is a psyop wearing a cowboy hat

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

I still haven't seen the puppy ad, has anyone?

heh, the one thing you might want to see and they never post it. go figure. Smile

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8 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Meteor Man

the corruption inherent in the system has apparently grown unavoidably obvious, so the best thing to do if you are one of the two permitted corrupt campaigns is to point at everybody on god's grey earth and scream about how corrupt they are.

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7 users have voted.
Meteor Man's picture

@joe shikspack @joe shikspack
How many other countries are defacto members of ALEC? Talk about meddling in elections, how about foreign powers actually getting legislation written and passed?

[edit from the link:

The book details an investment fund managed by former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and former Secretary of State John Kerry’s son-in-law Chris Heinz that secured an unusually high-profile relationship with prominent Chinese companies at a time when the U.S. government was engaged in sensitive negotiations with Chinese officials. The book also notes that the Chinese government maintains deep ties to the family of Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and that after the 2016 election, the Bank of China appointed McConnell’s sister-in-law to a board seat.

But no mention of other countries who are members of ALEC. End edit]

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8 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

joe shikspack's picture

@Meteor Man

sourcewatch has a listing of corporations that participate in alec. i don't know how up-to-date the information is (alibaba is not listed).

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5 users have voted.
Meteor Man's picture

@joe shikspack
I skimmed through every category and nothing stood out as foreign based. There was one French business group and no way to tell who the law & lobbyist groups represent.

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4 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

mimi's picture

@Meteor Man
give me the link to the article or book, which contained the quote you posted, ie this one:

The book details an investment fund managed by former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and former Secretary of State John Kerry’s son-in-law Chris Heinz that secured an unusually high-profile relationship with prominent Chinese companies at a time when the U.S. government was engaged in sensitive negotiations with Chinese officials. The book also notes that the Chinese government maintains deep ties to the family of Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and that after the 2016 election, the Bank of China appointed McConnell’s sister-in-law to a board seat.

I get confused to which one it relates.
I really would like to read this in the context of the whole article (or is it within a book?).
Thank You in advance for responding.

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2 users have voted.

@Meteor Man

... How many other countries are defacto members of ALEC? Talk about meddling in elections, how about foreign powers actually getting legislation written and passed? ...

And the larger point is that the lawless are creating 'law' against the public interest and to suit themselves, freely and without hindrance or even strong and sustained public protest, throughout America, and in many allied countries as well.

One might also ask how it is that a group of entities, which are essentially legal constructs used to enable those profiting from them to evade personal responsibility, have the ability to affect legislation at all by forming lobbying groups/advisory committees to pay government officials to act against the public interest which their public office exists to serve;

how it is that people within this group profiting without personal responsibility get extra political rights (which they can afford to buy, generally by draining the public,) during American elections beyond those equal to all citizens of their country and grossly exceeding these simply by being counted again, separately, by additionally banding together under the designation of 'incorporation' and by having money designated as political speech essentially available only to those having most of the former - when they speak against the public interest for their personal benefits and are clearly self-interest groups rather than those arguing for a greater good, such as environmentalists;

how it is that any law can be legal stating that corporations are also 'above the law' and free to commit any amount of damage to human and environmental health and to human society in the pursuit of profit?

Either corporations are collections of people all having the same rights as anyone else and all bound by public-protective law or they are 'people' in themselves, as bizarrely claimed in Citizen's United, and therefore bound by the same public-protective laws as all people are intended to be. And if corporations are 'people' magically having both the rights of the people forming them and extra rights as a whole, as a purely self-interested group acting against the public interest for personal profit, they then must surely prove this 'person-hood' fraud by also personally - not by proxy - appearing in court to physically and personally swear in their own voice to tell the whole truth and nothing but, in every required appearance.

A person is an individual human being, not a legal document of financial liability evasion for those otherwise personally responsible for debts and damages, and not a business structure.

Can it be denied that virtually all of the disasters ongoing in America and much of the many disasters inflicted on the world boil down to a relatively small collection of self-interests typically using - at public expense - corporations/military force as a vehicle to suck up not only wealth but political power away from everyone else while literally obliterating life on the planet out pathological greed because they are never held accountable for their actions or held within sane public-protective law?

And that this has been established as a 'political norm' within America that politicians must be bribed to even survive, to the point where politicians must devote much of their 'working' time - not to the functions of their public office - but to begging the wealthy for money?

This is why publicly-supported Progs must take over at least one party, even if no results can be expected until they crowd out corrupt Party leadership and can pass Fair Vote legislation actually aimed at achieving a fair voting system - because what the hell else might unite enough of the American people toward democratic change that might possibly at least alleviate things and slow down the speeding process of outright full-blown fascism behind the shreds of a democratic facade being more forcefully revealed?

The US and other PTB are indisputably psychopathic, fascism being, in my view, the manifestation of their world-view where their ruthlessness has gained them political power.

And the slime level is so high, you'd think that the criminals would just slide out of their various political swamps and into the holes they keep digging ever deeper to try to trap the rest of the world.

Apparently the richest country in the world (the one where Obama got everyone else to give up/reduce their stockpile of deterrent nuclear weaponry while planning to radically worsen their own at public expense, while being unable to spare any public money for the welfare of the public and country for the maintenance of which public money exists, in the country intended to have no standing army because of the dangers posed) with the largest military budget in the world, 'lacks money' to keep their part in the Convention of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons by destroying their own biochemical weaponry stockpiles and continues work on new ones; Britain, also.

The excuse for Britain's PTB to join in on the US PTB plot to create an incident of this nature to falsely accuse another country appears to potentially have been rather long-running.

The complete chemical formula of what was termed Novichok (apparently meaning 'novice' in Russian; elsewhere I've seen it translated as 'newcomer') was carefully provided in a 2008 book written by Mr. Mirzanyanov - "State Secrets: an insider's chronicle of the Russian's chemical weapons programme"

I've seen multiple mentions of the fact that in Jan of this year, a deadly military grade nerve poison termed 'Novichok' apparently featured in a drama run on British TV (have seen what I initially assumed to likely be the same production described both as a serial and as a movie, so could be more than one, dunno, but it seems evident that the British public was being familiarized with the upcoming concept of this False Flag) where specifically Russians were poisoning people with it. (Does anyone here not know about the CIA advising/writing scripts for Hollywood to shape public perceptions, to make that connection with the British firm industry as well, under the circumstances?)

This and some other claims by accusers form what appears to be the basis for the existence of this as a deadly Russian military nerve agent which, according to one accuser relating a story of someone he knew purportedly exposed to precisely this thing, took years to kill the victim in the story, while apparently NIH attention for any nerve agent was not required for the British victims, since none was supplied to anyone. The accumulation of BS making it ever more evident that this was yet another set-up.

A Russian spokesman is quoted below as saying (to paraphrase) that Mr. Mirzanyanov, who published the formula for this in a book a decade ago, so that virtually anyone could make this stuff with easily obtained materials (and who's busily claiming that Novichok is a deadly specifically and only Russian military nerve agent) works for the US government and he should be questioned about it. (Gotta wonder about Porton Down, as proximity has already proven deadly to various expert staff who would have been able to instantly debunk this, as well as to those unwitting British citizens/military experimented upon, if generally more slowly in their cases...)

Now, British propagandists were insisting that Russia would be culpable whether they'd deliberately used it themselves or whether they'd negligently allowed this formula to fall into the wrong hands - so where are the charges against Mr. Mirzanyanov for publishing it a decade ago, for any wanna-be terrorist to read?

Please don't let anyone downplay this sort of thing as being 'hypocrisy'.

If psychopathic killers attempt to use accusations of what they do themselves to 'justify' attacking others, it's incredibly much sicker and uglier than that. This is what the citizens of the world - and all already rapidly-expiring life on the planet - must face, because we are facing the effects.

We need to see this as what it is and work out some way to pacifically overcome it by numbers and sane law - not the warped versions spewed out of corrupted courts by political appointments posing as 'Judges' in enabling and 'legitimizing' the abuses and suppression by basing interpretations on the power of wealth rather than that of justice, but upon the public-protective laws which make a functioning and sustainable society.

A legitimate government does not sacrifice its people and country for destructive self-interests; it acts as the arm and expression of the public good in, among other things, preventing such predation and abuse.

And it respects sane, civilized and sensible international law which, I kinda thought, NATO was supposed to help enforce?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOkTfOExEqk

Urgent: Britain stages Russia poisoning, drowns in lies
Inessa S

Published on 21 Mar 2018

If you were running for the presidency of a country, and about to host a major international event – would you poison a defector, who many years earlier was in your possession, with a toxic substance that leads right back to you? It seems the Russian cookie monster always leaves a convenient cookie crumb trail – or so the Western audience is led to believe. All symptoms of a provocation are clear.

Furthermore, “Novichok” is not a widely known substance in Russia itself – it was developed by a chemist who moved to the US and published a book on his development. Make sure you watch until the end to see the briefing on the Skripal case by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The British side refuses to provide a sample of the nerve agent used in Salisbury to the Russian side – because, in order to prove a substance, one must be able to match it to an existing “control standard”, ie the country must have the formula. Where it's truly unknown, the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons states that where a country suspects another of the use in chemical weapons – it must approach the side in question, provide a sample, and expect a response within 10 days. Britain, however, disregards international law and relies instead on public emotion and hysteria. The only sane Brit, it seems, is Jeremy Corbyn, who is heckled in parliament for his balanced approach.

In March 2018, Sergei Skripal and his daughter were found unconscious in Britain’s Salisbury. Skripal is a former Russian intelligence officer, who for the cost of a Spanish holiday home, and a couple hundred thousand one-off payments of the MI6, betrayed Russia. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison, but in 2010, together with 3 others, was pardoned by the Russian president and exchanged for 10 other intel workers.

Since then Skripal continued to live in Britain and work for the MI6. Much like the case of Litvinenko – international law has little to do with the investigation, all that matters are headlines. Be wary of what you read!

The lawless cannot be permitted any control over legislation. That ought to go without saying but with decades of propaganda designed to affect our perceptions, we need to start saying this loud and clear, while we can.

Don't let the terrorists win; vote them out of office and refuse to take suspicious results for an answer. Challenge the system during the election and make it internationally obvious that nobody's fooled and that no American will ever 'let cheating stand as a done deal' again.

The pretenses are now so transparent that the Naked Emperor stands mocked globally, and it's global cohesion among the citizens of the world that's needed to overcome this global threat. Let the rest of the world know that the American public isn't going along with the fascist takeover any more and see what happens.

It keeps coming back to the ongoing, and ever more blatant, Operation Gladio, now with a 'more vicious' CIA to be headed by a psychopathic torturer who enjoys personally conducting it herself, while Americans are no longer protected against being killed, kidnapped and held incognito for torture or having banks steal the money right from their accounts - subject to a lawless pathology by illegitimate 'law' which they've so far accepted as being exerted over them and other peoples in countries invaded/attacked/'regine changed' by TPTB:

Bolding mine)
http://www.ibtimes.com/why-turkey-nato-704333

Why Is Turkey In NATO?
By Palash Ghosh @Gooch700 On 06/26/12

...However, given the contentious ties between ancient rivals Greece and Turkey, the Greeks bolted from NATO in 1974 following the Turkish invasion of the island of Cyprus, where the Turks formed a separate state called the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (an entity recognized by no one but Ankara).

Greece rejoined NATO in 1980 (with Turkey’s cooperation).

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet empire, the “North Atlantic” nature of NATO was further diluted by the mass entry of many of the former Warsaw Pact nations into the alliance (excluding Russia, of course) in 1999 and 2004.

Jamie Chandler, a political scientist at Hunter College in New York City, also said that Turkey’s membership was pivotal in terms helping NATO deal with political instability in Eastern Europe, the 1990s Balkan wars, and post-9/11 activities focused on the Middle East.

“Turkey’s secular-Islamic government provides NATO [with] a cultural and political bridge into the Arab world, and NATO installations in the country give the organization an efficient means to deal with instability in the region,” he added.

https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Operation_Gladio

Operation Gladio is a NATO-backed paramilitary network established after WW2, originally inspired by fear of the USSR. It was also called the "Stay behind network", since if the Red Army invaded Europe, its members would 'stay behind' enemy lines and disrupt Soviet control. Officially non-existant, secrecy was such that these networks were hard for NATO/MI6/Deep state officials to control. Gladio was responsible for bombings, kidnappings and assassinations to such an extent that the network was publicly exposed in Italy in the 1980s and was the subject of a BBC documentary by Alan Francovich some years later.[1] The project was adapted in the mid 1990s as "Gladio B", using "Moslem terrorists" as a substitute enemy image for communists. ...

... During his trial, Vincenzo Vinciguerra revealed that, in addition to discrediting left wing political groups, there had been a second aim behind the bombings - to inculcate a climate of fear among the general populace. This was known as the 'strategy of tension' which was intended to generate a pervasive sense of fear which would encourage the population to appeal to the state for protection. As Vincenzo Vinciguerra summarized during his trial:

‘You had to attack civilians, the people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game. The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people, the Italian public to turn to the State to ask for greater security.’

In Francovich's documentary on Gladio, he described the aim as to ‘destabilise in order to stabilise’… ‘To create tension within the country to promote conservative, reactionary social and political tendencies.’ ...

...Despite that, a parliamentary commission in 2000 investigating Gladio explicitly rejected his denial and concluded to the contrary:

‘Those massacres, those bombs, those military actions had been organised or promoted or supported by men inside Italian state institutions and, as has been discovered more recently, by men linked to the structures of United States intelligence.’

(DG p.14)

The Scandal Spreads

Fortuitously for the powers-that-be Andreotti’s revelations coincided with Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait and as a result did not garner the publicity they almost certainly otherwise would have. Even so, the scandal began to spread. In October Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou confirmed there had been a Gladio network in Greece. In Germany a TV programme shocked the nation by revealing how former members of Hitler’s Special Forces SS had been part of a German stay-behind network. The Belgian Parliament appointed a special committee to investigate the existence – confirmed by the defence minister – of a Belgian Gladio network.

Most sensitively the Belgian parliamentarians discovered that the secret NATO army was still active. They found that a secret meeting of Generals directing the secret stay-behind armies in the numerous countries in Western Europe had been held in the secret NATO-linked Gladio headquarters ACC as recently as October 23 and 24, 1990. The meeting of the ACC had taken place in Brussels under the chairmanship of General Raymond Van Calster, chief of the Belgian military secret service SGR (Service General de Renseignement).[5]

In France President Mitterand claimed that the French Gladio network had been dissolved long ago but to his enormous embarrassment Andreotti then claimed the French had taken part in the recent meeting in Brussels. And so it went on. British defence officials refused to comment. In Portugal, contrary to official denials, a retired general confirmed there had been such a network in Portugal, while in Spain former defence minister Alberto Oliart claimed it was childish to "ask whether also under dictator Franco a secret right-wing army had existed in the country because 'here Gladio was the government'."[6]

In Turkey former prime minister Bulent Ecevit went even further and admitted that a secret army had been involved in torture, massacres, assassinations and coups d'etat, prompting the serving defence minister Giray to retort "Ecevit had better keep his fucking mouth shut!"[7]
The EU Debate

In all, 12 EU countries were affected and on November 22 1990 the European Parliament debated the issue.

The tone was set by Greek parliamentarian Ephremidis:

'Mr. President, the Gladio system has operated for four decades under various names. It has operated clandestinely, and we are entitled to attribute to it all the destabilization, all the provocation and all the terrorism that have occurred in our countries over these four decades, and to say that, actively or passively, it must have had an involvement.' Ephremidis sharply criticised the entire stay-behind network: 'The fact that it was set up by the CIA and NATO which, while purporting to defend democracy were actually undermining it and using it for their own nefarious purposes.'

(DG p.21)

... Silence from NATO, CIA & MI6

NATO reacted to these revelations in November 1990 with confusion. Against a background of newspaper headlines typified by the Guardian’s ‘Bombs Used at Bologna came from NATO unit’, spokesmen first denied the stories and then denied the denials by saying it was a subject which couldn’t be discussed on grounds of military secrecy.

The Portuguese press reported on November 7 a confirmation, NATO secretary General Manfred Woerner was quoted as telling in secret 16 ambassadors of NATO countries, Worner confirmed that the military command of the allied forces - Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) - coordinated the activities of the

"Gladio Network", which had been erected by the secret services in various countries of NATO, through a committee created in 1952.
(DG p.27)

German press confirmed that the so-called Secret Armies were co-ordinated in a special secure wing of NATO HQ in Casteau. Access was via a bank vault type door and papers were circulated with the stamp ‘American Eyes Only.’

The revelations began to mount and a picture emerged of a NATO Clandestine Planning Committee, responsible for the Gladio armies; of protocols which actively protected right-wing extremists from pursuit since they would be useful in anti-Communist activities. The CPC was run by the US with the UK and France as junior partners, with CIA members present at their meetings. Despite numerous revelations from those who took part, the official NATO position was (and is) one of denial. Official CIA response to information requests has been to neither confirm nor deny. In the UK, MI6 was even more cagey, prompting John Simpson on BBC 2’s Newsnight programme in April 1991 to say

'Britain's role in setting up stay-behinds throughout Europe was absolutely fundamental... it has emerged that other European countries had their own stay-behind armies - Belgium, France, Holland, Spain, Greece, Turkey. Even in neutral Sweden and Switzerland there has been public debate. And in some cases enquiries have been set up. Yet in Britain, there is nothing. Save the customary comment of the ministry of defence that they don't discuss matters of national security.'

(DG p.36)

Paradoxically, despite the secrecy, an exhibition at the Imperial War Museum tacitly admitted the existence of the stay behind networks, and subsequent to this, two former Royal Marine officers admitted to having spent time at Fort Monckton near Portsmouth where MI6 and members of the SAS trained foreign gladiators. ...

...Allan Francovich's 1992 Expose

Full article: Operation Gladio (film)

Operation Gladio (film).jpg

John Major's government continued to peddle the line of not commenting on matters of national security but headlines continued. Newsnight in April 1991 highlighted the evidence that the Gladio networks had operated politically with subversion of the Left. This was reinforced a year later in three ground-breaking documentaries for the BBC by Allan Francovich. Francovich made extensive use of primary sources, focusing almost exclusively on Gladio in Italy and in Belgium, where he looked at the Brabant Massacres and attempted to connect them to the Gladioesque anti-communist group, Westland New Post. His documentary interviews key figures in Gladio such as Licio Gelli, head of the P2, Italian right-wing activist Vincenzo Vinciguerra, Venetian judge and Gladio discoverer Felice Casson, Italian Gladio commander General Gerardo Serravalle, Senator Roger Lallemand, head of the Belgian Parliamentary inquiry into Gladio, Decimo Garau, former Italian instructor at the Sardinian Gladio base, William Colby, former Director of CIA and Martial Lekeu, former member of the Belgian Gendarmerie to name but a few. "The stay-behind effort, in my view, was simply to be sure that if the worst came to worst, if a Communist Party came into power, that there would be some agents there who would tip us off, and tell us what was happening and be around", Ray Cline, Deputy Director of the CIA from 1962 to 1966, explained for instance in front of Francovich's camera. "It's not unlikely that some right-wing groups were recruited and made to be stay-behinds because they would indeed have tipped us off if a war were going to begin, so using right-wingers, if you used them not politically, but for intelligence purposes, is o.k.", Cline went on the record. The papers on the next day in London reported that "It was one of those programmes which you imagine will bring down governments, but such is the instant amnesia generated by television you find that in the newspapers the next morning it rates barely a mention."
(DG p.50)...

I repeat: The lawless cannot be permitted any control over legislation.

This lot was quelled before in the previous attempt at global fascist take-over by the US industrialist-sponsored Hitler's Nazis, and we must believe that it can be done again, and each do what we can toward this end, in whatever time remains.

Even awareness raising might help, once more people realize that there's literally nothing left to lose by attempting, in a united and pacific effort, to save ourselves, the concept of democracy and the world of life, at least what remains of it at this late point.

But if we allow ourselves to be censored into apparent acceptance, we will indeed respond as the Bush Admin planned:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reality-based_community

...The phrase was attributed by journalist Ron Suskind to an unnamed official in the George W. Bush Administration who used it to denigrate a critic of the administration's policies as someone who based their judgements on facts.[2] In a 2004 article appearing in the New York Times Magazine, Suskind wrote:

The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' [...] 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors...and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do'.[3]

The source of the quotation was later identified as Bush's senior advisor Karl Rove,[4] although Rove has denied saying it.[5] ...

But - despite lunatic psychopathic claims to the contrary - the 99% do have agency, as well as the numbers, and must somehow become the agency of our own salvation.

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0 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

divineorder's picture

Sad to see that the Yemen try did not go well.

NEA screwing the teachers, hmmmm, not good.

Oh well, hey, here's a photo. We are spending our last afternoon hiding out from the heat and doing some writing, editing and uploading here in Manuel Antonio National Park area in Costa Rica.

002 (1280x817).jpgPro Tip for traveling in Costa Rica: get up with the birds! It's cooler, and from Puerto Jimenez we could see the beautiful Golfo Dulce and the the huge Vulcan Baru all the way over in Panama ! March, 2018

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10 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

joe shikspack's picture

@divineorder

yeah, i wasn't really expecting much from the yemen vote. the democrat idiots that i expected to vote against it pretty much all did. i guess it's good to keep demonstrating that voting for democrats is not a solution, though.

nice photo, great colors!

if it's too hot there, i'd be happy to send you some guys some ice. i seem to have gotten a bunch of it all over everything outside. Smile

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8 users have voted.
earthling1's picture

@divineorder 1
the beach there at Antonio NP? Great park.
Pura vida my friend.

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5 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

@earthling1 On the last 7 trips we have avoided going into the park due to the crowds on high season. We have found other streets and senderos to enjoy finding wildlife on !! Have good one!

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4 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

earthling1's picture

@divineorder
the iguanas were all over the beach. They would crawl right over your beach blanket. Fairly harmless though, but don't leave food out.
Had a great time. Highlight; spending a night in a tent in the deepest, darkest rainforest on the planet, the Corvacado National Rainforest.

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4 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

@earthling1 that beach we weren't with a guide and were quite surprised to see iguanas on the beach!

We used to do serious overnight backpacking hikes but no more. We do spend a month camping in our own tent in the wilds of Zambia with elephants, hippos and lions occasionally moving through the Wildlife Camp campsite. ( www.wildlifecamp-zambia.com/ ) but we don't hike in like you did.

Have you heard that one can no longer camp in your own tent in Corcovado? Seems that a National Park official visited several years ago and got lost.

BTW big changes, gov have now given Serena Station camping to a concession. Also you can only enter with a guide thsese days. These days some fly in, or come in by boat. You were there when it was still truly wild.

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3 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

janis b's picture

@divineorder

What is that beam of light directly above the stream of sunlight on the water? Nice spot to enjoy the evening from.

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4 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

@janis b @janis b That is a street light from the causeway to the 'muelle' (public dock). The colors are quitemagic early !

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4 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

divineorder's picture

Thanks.

Tories have no proof, just publicity that could lead to war.

Heh.

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9 users have voted.

A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

snoopydawg's picture

with our elections when lobbyists can tell congress what they want, including foreign lobbyists.

ALEC is attractive to major corporations, even ones without a particularly conservative bent, because lobbying 50 states and additional territories can be time- and resource-intensive when done solo. Alibaba’s decision to join the powerful legislation-writing organization comes as many Chinese companies have entered the U.S. market and stepped up their influence in domestic politics.

Jimmy seemed a tad pissed. He has a good point.

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13 users have voted.

America is a psyop wearing a cowboy hat

joe shikspack's picture

@snoopydawg

yeah, but the russians make such a good enemy!

Jimmy seemed a tad pissed.

if you're not pissed off, you're not paying attention.

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7 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@joe shikspack

And there are so many things to pay attention to these days, ehh?

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6 users have voted.

America is a psyop wearing a cowboy hat

mimi's picture

@snoopydawg
that so many folks are so worried about Russia meddling in the US elections, I start to be worried about it myself and believe you. (I don't know why I feel provoked to tease and joke about you, sorry for that, I can't just fathom how you can have at every day and night hours excellent posts and links ready to go in here, sigh, I wished I could do that too)

Really, don't worry that much about folks, who supposedly worry that Russia is meddling in the US elections. They don't. But you are repeating they do, and then you remind me of Marsha Blackburn. She also repeated the same things over and over and she got on my nerves in the past because of her "repetition-style talking pattern". I appreciate all the content you provide on C99p, I just beg you not to assume things about what other people worry about, just because some idiot politicians and talking heads are in the business of making sure people worry about "The Russians".

See, now it even gets more annoying: Revealed: GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn uses lawyer who introduced Russian to NRA before alleged money funneling

I feel like a clairvoyant. You should pay me with half a bottle of whisky and a chicken for my prognosis. That's the going rate in voodoo land and I guess that's where we both reside now.

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2 users have voted.

Saw the reaction to Trump and Putin meetin to talk about the arms race. Of course democrats and the media are against it.

But here is a funny one about Trump congradulating Putin.

Obama congratulates China's Xi on election as president
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-parliament-obama/obama-congratu...

Hey, Xi is our kind of dictator. And besides, who ever heard of Russian take-out.

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14 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@MrWebster

the other country's leaders who also called Putin after he won the election.

German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and President Emmanuel Macron of France called Putin but both avoided explicitly using the word “congratulated”. Instead both “wished success” to Putin.

McCain wasn't the only one squawking about this. But this is the first time I've seen someone pointing this out.

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9 users have voted.

America is a psyop wearing a cowboy hat

joe shikspack's picture

@MrWebster

heh, i pity trump if he tries to de-escalate the tensions between the u.s. elites and russia - or tries to slow down the arms race.

i think that he would get worse than impeached for that.

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7 users have voted.

@joe shikspack Talking can be fatal....

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5 users have voted.
earthling1's picture

@joe shikspack
a couple of weeks ago, I'd say the arms race is over. Russia has won.
Could that be why Trump is suddenly so concillatory?

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5 users have voted.

@joe shikspack

by winding up trapped in a luxury bunker until something important glitches or breaks down.

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0 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

mimi's picture

and videos of the EB has become so emotionally tough to do that it borders on masochism to go on with it.

Thanks, still very necessary to do though. I was quite surprised about the performance of Zakharova, who tells in the video posted of 'Who Is Really Behind The Salisbury Anti-Russian Campaign.'

It's too much for me. Have to sleep. Good Night.

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10 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

sorry the news sucks. sleep well. there will be more tomorrow. (assuming i have internet) Smile

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6 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@joe shikspack
thinks about Sidney Blumenthal, his father if I recall it correctly. Sidney Blumenthal ... rumor transmitter of highly secretive sourcerers ... I can't help but thinking that Hillary Clinton was quite a techno-ignoramus.

Sigh. I don't understand anything. I guess that's by design.

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3 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@mimi

i remember seeing something that don midwest posted about the relationship between max and sidney a long time ago. perhaps if you see him around, ask don, he follows max blumenthal pretty closely as i remember.

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2 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@joe shikspack
Max talks a quite a bit about his father (probably was an interview on TRN), but I can't find it or are just too tired to search for it. Sorry.

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2 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

my internet connection is flaking out tonight. we're getting a bunch of ice and snow today and more tonight and apparently there are some line problems.

if i disappear suddenly, well, don't be too surprised.

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7 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

That means they'll get to write and, if they want, veto "model legislation" that will be introduced state houses all across the country. At least they aren't meddling in elections.
Lovely young ladies, to be sure, and they're wearing Tina's famous dress, but they lack something ...

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9 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

@Azazello

yep, it's apparently much better to manipulate our legislators with money and muck about with our economy than to do whatever it is that putin, or perhaps some russian internet trolls are alleged to have done.

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6 users have voted.
Bollox Ref's picture

Couldn't happen to a nicer, right wing, corrupt little twerp.

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11 users have voted.

Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

joe shikspack's picture

@Bollox Ref

heh, i remember when some of hillary's emails about libya with sid blumenthal surfaced, there was an email that listed sarkozy's motivations for attacking libya:

... to obtain Libyan oil, ensure French influence in the region, increase Sarkozy’s reputation domestically, assert French military power, and to prevent Gaddafi’s influence in what is considered “Francophone Africa.”

sarkozy was particularly upset about gadaffi's possession of tons of gold, which gaddafi intended to use to back a pan-african currency that would compete with the franc - which is what he meant by "preventing gaddafi's influence" in francophone africa.

i hope that the whole truth comes spilling out and hillary's role in this is fully exposed.

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11 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@joe shikspack
I donate a hundred dollars to JtC, if your wish comes through: "i hope that the whole truth comes spilling out and hillary's role in this is fully exposed."

I am confident that you will lose that bet.

Do you remember a movie "Swing State Ohio"? I think it came out 2006? How did Bill Clinton win in Ohio 1996 ? I don't remember and don't understand anything, but somehow I think this is all related to why Trump won in 2016. Ha, believe it or not, you have to be stupido like me to see it. /s

Sorry, I am so pisssed and I try to pay attention, but those intelligencers hack my mind and nothing is left over to think with.

Have a good Wednesday. Mine has already started and I feel so tired already in the morning that I have to take a nap.

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enhydra lutris's picture

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6 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Azazello's picture

Last week this Saudi King goes to London. Theresa May has in over to #10 Downing and the next day he buys a bunch of British arms. He's on a arms buying tour. Now he's in D.C. visiting our President.

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snoopydawg's picture

@Azazello

Trump's 'Middle School Project-Level' Posters Reveal Much About America's Blood-Soaked Backing of Saudi Regime

"MbS is really a brutal bully responsible for bombing and starving Yemenis. He's also gunning for a war with Iran, blaming Iran for the Middle East turmoil."
—Medea Benjamin, CodePink"We make the best equipment in the world, there's nobody even close, and Saudi Arabia's buying a lot of this equipment," Trump said, using a poster headlined "KSA Sales Pending" to highlight tanks, missile defense systems, and planes the U.S. has agreed to sell to Saudi Arabia over the past year. "We really have a great friendship, a great relationship."

"Jobs! Who cares about the Yemeni civilians being killed by the Saudis with U.S. weapons," Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, wrote in response to Trump's enthusiastic run-down of American arms sales to the repressive kingdom. "Selling those weapons produces jobs! Trump's ethical foreign policy."

It's convenient that the Saudi prince was in DC on the day that congress is voting on Yemen, isn't it?

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5 users have voted.

America is a psyop wearing a cowboy hat

earthling1's picture

The noose is slowly being tightened. Soon we will not be able to utter a sound. And we will be forced to hear only what is approved.
I read today that dozens of civilians have been killed in E. Gouta by a rebel missile. But the MSM here blames it on a Russian warplane.
The MSM and the State are one and the same.
We need a "Radio Free America". Wolfman Jack style, out of Mexico.
Plead with other world powers to come and free us. Bring us Democracy.
We will greet them parades and flowers.
If only.

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joe shikspack's picture

@earthling1

heh, with the internet, you could base "radio free america" just about anywhere. i would suggest doing it somewhere that has no extradition agreement with the u.s. and has means of protecting its citizens from nasty deep state interventions.

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@joe shikspack

with Russian providers - assuming that they keep a free internet there with people allowed to access and say whatever they want, which might be a pretty darned big assumption.

This internet is going away...

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

janis b's picture

Thanks for the news, and blues. Sure made me blue to read about the possible extinction of such a rare and mighty being as the white rhino. Where will the magic come from, if not nature. And here we are as a culture growing increasingly more disengaged from nature; and in the process losing a valuable element in the success of our wellbeing.

I heard a good part of an interview today on NZ National Radio with Stanford University professor Jeremy Bailenson. “He says VR (Virtual Reality) is a revolutionary technology that can be harnessed to do anything from increasing empathy to environmental conservation.” It was interesting to hear about some of the more positive possibilities. It’s a shame it has come to needing virtual technology to instill empathy, but if it works in the context of this time, maybe it's okay. Even so, I would rather the effort to be more organic, but I suppose that is slow and too rarely possible.

Oh, and while listening I also heard that the radio station is looking for suggestions of musical duos to play, so naturally I recommended Ike and Tina. Thanks for the inspiration and enjoyment ; ).

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snoopydawg's picture

@janis b

It was interesting to hear about some of the more positive possibilities. It’s a shame it has come to needing virtual technology to instill empathy, but if it works in the context of this time, maybe it's okay

With everything that we have to make life easier, it's not going to the right places. That over 10,000 species have died and still no one is trying to change directions on climate change is inhumane and borders on criminal. Animals, insects and plant life is so important to our world and we are watching it being destroyed. For profits. Good to see you tonight.

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5 users have voted.

America is a psyop wearing a cowboy hat

janis b's picture

@snoopydawg

glad to have your company.

In between what I normally do, and the monumental task of preparing for visiting family (all with the exception of my sister) for the first time, I appreciate whatever support I can get. It will be a very special time, especially once the preparation is done and I can just enjoy!

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joe shikspack's picture

@janis b

i dunno about this virtual reality stuff (he said in his best luddite voice), it strikes me that as um, "reality" gets worse and worse, virtual reality is more likely to become an escapist technology than one that improves interactions in "reality."

have a great evening! (or morning, or whatever it is over there where things are kind of upside down.) Smile

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janis b's picture

@joe shikspack

"...is more likely to become an escapist technology than one that improves interactions in "reality."

I believe you are right, that in many respects this technology is and always will be used as escapist in dealing with reality. But I do wonder, whether for some (less experienced in self-reflection), it can be a subtle prompt to perceive some things differently?

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mimi's picture

@janis b
they are caught up in it. And that by simple time restraint and geographical limitations.

From navel gazing my own navel so to speak, reading blogs - essays and comments - one does it because one wants to 'get some truth' about something and then one does it, because it's fun to converse with people (or the opposite, it's infuriating - but no less attracting), joking, teasing etc. The last thing one wants to think about is that one doesn't know who one is dealing with. That would just spoil the fun or spoil your righteous anger.

Look how hard it is to get people to meet person to person, or how hard it is to participate in events physically on your own, or how hard it is (for the average mama or papa) to produce your own film material and post it somewhere.

Since I started reading on TOP I guess I have spent at least some hours a day scanning their stuff. These days I scan the stuff here. What I read is the starting point to think about something.

In that sense I think this technology is useful, even if it is clearly designed to get you caught up in it. Then you need to get into actual physical, eye to eye contact, be on events live, and after that you can make a judgement. It is very seldom that the average mama or papa can do that.

Eye to eye contact, being in the same room, sitting at the same restaurant table at meet-ups is imo very important to get your previously guts' feelings confirmed or negated by your other five senses.

For example, I was in the same room with Mr. Thomas Drake and Mr. John Kiriakou and after that tried to follow them online as best as my time allowed. My understanding and trust or distrust wouldn't have been the same without "having seen and heard them" in person, life. I saw Chris Hedges live speaking and Steven Colbert and Jon Stewart having done something at the Mall. This helped me to get "another kind of understanding" than I would have gotten just by watching videos online about the event.

I struggled in my mind a lot with feeling trapped, addicted, and betrayed by the technology I use every day. Til I decided I don't care anymore about it. I learn how to manage my reading, listening and talking, probably to the point, I won't do it more than two hours a day.

At the same time I KNOW how the technology has damaged my capacities to read books. I yearn for the day I will get it back.

In the end you do learn a lot you wouldn't have otherwise. For example there was the hint to this event in Mark for Queens essay. I wouldn't have known about it. But if it's actually taking place in Munich Germany I would make an effort to be there in person to experience it.


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janis b's picture

@mimi

I agree with this …

“What I read is the starting point to think about something … In that sense I think this technology is useful… “

I can also relate to this …

“At the same time I KNOW how the technology has damaged my capacities to read books. I yearn for the day I will get it back.”

What are we losing in not experiencing actual physical presence with one another and in the company of a good book?

Thanks for the link to betterplace.org

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mimi's picture

@janis b
I would answer to this:

What are we losing in not experiencing actual physical presence with one another and in the company of a good book?

saying that I lose my sixth sense relying on online video and essays alone. Physical presence with one another helps me to stay less manipulated, at least I believe so. Book reading gives you time and less distraction compared to online reading. You concentrate more. You have just more control over how you digest the written words. May be that's just me. Anything I experienced live in reality gave me a much better understanding. I long for silence and that's something you don't find in online conversations. Too many fancy joking word worms of sarcasm and moving images.

May be I just can't handle time zones ... Wink
Good Evening to you. I am still in the morning hours and the rest in the East Coast is sleeping through the last night. I wished the world would be flat and not turning.
Smile

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janis b's picture

@mimi

can be experienced as more personal. I think it is partly because we are alone, and silent with it's content, leaving more space for reflection and consideration than the more immediate nature of online reading and processing.

Book reading gives you time and less distraction compared to online reading. You concentrate more. You have just more control over how you digest the written words.

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@joe shikspack @joe shikspack @joe shikspack

as VR being better than reality and something that people could and would live in.

Personally, I feel that spending too much time in any altered mental/perceptual state 'normalizes' unreality and diminishes the capacity to mesh with what really is reality. Save the partying for week-ends, I say!

And, all things considered, I'd suggest taking any attempt to mess with your mind/perceptions as such. The intertwined military intelligence community, Google and the White House may not be as benevolent as you think. I wouldn't let them anywhere near my last, cherished brain cell. At least not once I remember where I last saw the blasted thing...

Edit: well, it's clearly not in the place where I keep the letter-typos.

Re-edited for some minor reconstruction of the previous edit; that brain cell wasn't there either.

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.