The Evening Blues - 12-2-15



eb1pt12


Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music features blues and r&b singer, songwriter, saxophonist and bandleader, Louis Jordan. Enjoy!

Louis Jordan feature on Nightmusic

"Daniel Ellsberg’s tears made me think about love, about loss, about dreams – and, most of all, about failure. What sort of love is this love that we have for countries? What sort of country is it that will ever live up to our dreams? What sort of dreams were these that have been broken? Isn’t the greatness of great nations directly proportionate to their ability to be ruthless, genocidal? Doesn’t the height of a country’s “success” usually also mark the depths of its moral failure? And what about our failure? Writers, artists, radicals, anti-nationals, mavericks, malcontents – what of the failure of our imaginations? What of our failure to replace the idea of flags and countries with a less lethal Object of Love? Human beings seem unable to live without war, but they are also unable to live without love. So the question is, what shall we love?"

-- Arundhati Roy


News and Opinion

“No More Excuses” for Not Prosecuting Government Officials for Torture

Nearly a year after the release of the summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture, a major human rights group is calling for the immediate prosecution of U.S. government officials responsible for authorizing and carrying out the abuses.

In a detailed report titled “No More Excuses: A Roadmap to Justice for CIA Torture,” Human Rights Watch identifies a legal basis for prosecution of government officials and calls on the U.S. Attorney General’s office to appoint a special prosecutor to conduct criminal investigations into those responsible for post-9/11 torture. The report also calls for the release of the full text of the Senate report, which remains classified.

Among those the report calls on to be criminally investigated for their roles in authorizing torture are some of the leading figures of the George W. Bush administration, including former CIA Director George Tenet, Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice — and Bush himself.

“Nobody should be above the law, and there needs to be credible criminal investigations against both those who authorized and carried out abuses against detainees that amounted to a conspiracy to commit torture,” Laura Pitter, senior national security counsel at Human Rights watch and co-author of the report, told The Intercept on Tuesday. Although the names of many of those who actually tortured detainees remain unknown to the public, they are not unknown to the CIA and Department of Justice, Pitter added. “There’s no reason for the public to be kept in the dark about the worst of these abuses and who committed them. We need to see prosecutions at all levels of the torture program, including those who actually carried out torture.”

US: CIA Torture is Unfinished Business

Obama administration claims that legal obstacles prevent criminal investigations into torture by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are unpersuasive, and risk leaving a legacy of torture as a policy option, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Sufficient evidence exists for the attorney general to order criminal investigations of senior United States officials and others involved in the post-September 11 CIA program for torture, conspiracy to torture, and other crimes under US law. ...

The Justice Department says that it had already investigated CIA abuses in 2009 and concluded there was insufficient admissible evidence to bring charges. But that investigation, headed by John Durham, examined only CIA abuses that went beyond “authorized” actions, instead of all CIA torture and ill-treatment. Even then, investigators do not appear to have interviewed any former detainees, undercutting claims that their inquiry was thorough or credible.

One defense frequently heard is that the CIA and senior White House officials relied on legal opinions by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel purporting to find that “enhanced interrogation techniques” were lawful – the so-called Torture Memos. However, the Senate summary provides evidence that CIA officials knew from the outset that those practices would violate anti-torture laws. Other evidence shows that CIA and White House officials went shopping for guarantees against criminal prosecution and when that was refused, helped to craft those same legal opinions authorizing the torture that they would rely upon. ...

Although much of the torture and other abuse took place a decade or more ago, statutes of limitation do not bar several criminal charges. The usual five-year federal statute of limitations is not a bar to the crimes of torture or conspiracy to torture when there was a “foreseeable risk that death or serious bodily injury” may result, as well as for certain sexual abuse charges. In addition, the statute of limitations for the crime of conspiracy may be extended if those responsible conceal a central component of the plot, which was the case with the CIA program, Human Rights Watch said.

Under the United Nations Convention against Torture, which the United States ratified in 1988, governments are required to credibly investigate allegations of torture and to prosecute where warranted. The failure to investigate and prosecute CIA torture increases the danger that some future president will authorize similar illegal interrogation methods in response to an inevitable serious security threat. Several presidential candidates for the 2016 elections have defended the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” and some have said they would use them again if elected.

Has Obama banned torture? Yes and no

As a presidential candidate in 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama vowed to roll back President George W. Bush’s controversial interrogation and detention practices. ... Now, several years on, the picture is less rosy. Guantánamo remains open, and provisions in a new military spending bill just signed into law by Obama, the National Defense Authorization Act for 2016 (NDAA), make it harder to close the facility.

More positively for his legacy, the NDAA imposes further restrictions on abusive interrogations and helps fulfil his original campaign promise to stop torture. ...

Obama had already banned the CIA’s torture techniques via executive order in 2009, but — as Sen. Feinstein has pointed out — a future president could easily rescind that order. ... Taking action on the committee’s recommendations, Feinstein and Republican Sen. John McCain sponsored an amendment — supported by Obama — to the NDAA that does a thorough job of plugging the gaps. ...

One issue remains unaddressed, however: the U.S. still follows its own, overly broad interpretation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture, loosening the treaty’s restrictions. Obama’s order allows the CIA to detain prisoners on a “transitory basis”; the new law does not prohibit CIA detention. However, it grants the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) access to all U.S. government detention facilities, preventing the use of top secret black sites like those run by the CIA after 9/11. Faced with greater scrutiny, the agency might be more hesitant to torment prisoners, but the Red Cross cannot disclose its findings to the public, and torture has occurred at Bagram air base and Guantánamo despite ICRC visits. The Pentagon is said to have run a network of clandestine prisons in Afghanistan, where abuse has been alleged despite Red Cross access.

The amendment does not ban extraordinary rendition, in which prisoners are sent abroad to be held and possibly tortured by foreign governments. The Obama administration has never repudiated this practice; it has only vowed to seek assurances from foreign governments that they will not torture prisoners transferred to their custody. Although we have no evidence that suspected enemies have been flown off to countries such as Egypt and tortured under Obama, as they were under Bush and President Bill Clinton, captives have been transferred from U.S. custody in Afghanistan to facilities run by the Afghan security forces where many allege torture took place. More recently, prisoners caught in Iraq with U.S. assistance have reportedly been mistreated. The new law does not regulate such transfers or renditions at all — a glaring omission, given the recent past. ...

One final problem: Laws are futile if they are not enforced. During his time in office, Obama has failed to punish former members of the Bush administration for prisoner abuse, even though Obama admitted that “we tortured some folks.” Not only has the Justice Department declined to prosecute any Bush officials, but it has also repeatedly invoked state-secrets privilege to stop civil litigation brought by torture victims. Without the deterrent provided by possible criminal prosecution, future presidents might feel they can torture with impunity.

Man held at Guantánamo for 13 years a case of mistaken identity, say officials

A man who has spent 13 years in the US prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was arrested partly in a case of mistaken identity, US officials conceded on Tuesday.

Officials admitted that Mustafa al-Aziz al-Shamiri, 37, was a low-level Islamist foot soldier and not an al-Qaida courier and trainer as previously thought, during a Guantánamo hearing. ...

A profile published by the Department of Defense maintains he fought in Afghanistan and mixed with members of al-Qaida. But officials concede that they wrongly believed he had a more significant role because he was confused with others who had a similar name. ...

The profile added that fragmentary reporting links al-Shamiri to fighting in Bosnia in 1995, and he told interrogators that he fought in Yemen’s civil war in 1996 and in Afghanistan for the Taliban from 2000 to 2001 – including against the Northern Alliance and US forces – before his capture near Mazar-e-Sharif. He has since been an indefinite detainee, considered too dangerous to release but without adequate evidence to bring to trial. ...

Al-Shamiri has been held as an enemy combatant without charge at Guantánamo since 2002. He is one of 107 prisoners at the controversial base, 48 of whom have been cleared for release. It is not certain when he will learn if he is to become number 49.

Russia warns of retaliatory action as NATO defies Moscow and expands east

Russia warned of retaliatory measures Wednesday after NATO invited the tiny Balkan state of Montenegro to join the military alliance in its bloc’s first expansion since 2009. The move defies previous warnings from Moscow that enlargement of the U.S.-led alliance further into the region would be seen as a provocation. ...

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said inviting Montenegro had nothing to do with Russia. But NATO diplomats have said the decision sends a message to Moscow that it does not have a veto on NATO's eastwards expansion, even if Georgia's membership bid has been complicated by its 2008 war with Russia.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last September that any expansion of NATO was “a mistake, even a provocation.” ... Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday that NATO’s encroachment eastwards would lead to retaliatory measures.

NATO Adds Air Defenses to South Turkey, Fueling Russia Rivalry

A week after Turkish warplanes shot down a Russian bomber over Syrian airspace, NATO has announced a plan to deploy yet more warplanes and anti-aircraft missiles in southern Turkey, adding to tensions with Russia along the Syria-Turkey border. ...

Yet Turkey doesn’t appear to be at threat from any aircraft at this point, and the move seems designed purely to needle Russia, which has itself been adding to air defenses in northwestern Syria, and has announced its intention to escort bomber along the border to ensure Turkey doesn’t take any more shots at them.

Pointing Enormous Finger, Russia Says It Has "Proof" Turkey Profiting from ISIS Oil

With satellite images as backdrop, Russian official says, 'The senior political leadership of the country—President Erdoğan and his family—are involved in this criminal business.'

Upping the tensions between Ankara and Moscow following the downing of a Russian military jet by Turkey last week that left two Russian pilots dead, the Kremlin on Wednesday claimed it has "proof" that the president of Turkey and his family are directly benefiting from the sale of oil smuggled out of neighboring Syria by the Islamic State.

At a press conference featuring Russia's Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov on Wednesday, Russia pointed the figure directly at Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan and displayed satellite images purporting to show a large caravan of oil tankers making their way from ISIS-controlled territory in Syria lining up at the Turkish border.

"Turkey is the main consumer of the oil stolen from its rightful owners, Syria and Iraq," said Antonov. "According to information we've received, the senior political leadership of the country—President Erdoğan and his family—are involved in this criminal business."

"Maybe I'm being too blunt," he continued, "but one can only entrust control over this thieving business to one's closest associates."

Erdogan & his family involved in ISIS oil trade - Russian MoD

Turks in Russia hit by Putin's 'serious consequences' after downing of warplane

In response to the shooting down of a Russian Su-24 warplane by a Turkish air force jet last Tuesday, Vladimir Putin promised “serious consequences”. Economic sanctions have been imposed and all charter flights between the two countries banned. But the vengeance has been felt most keenly by Russia’s large Turkish community and Turkish visitors to the country. ...

Orhan Gazigil, a spokesman for the Turkish embassy in Moscow, said it had received many calls from Turkish citizens complaining about document checks and other bureaucratic hassles. The embassy itself was pelted with eggs, paint and stones last week, prompting Ankara to make an official complaint. There are about 80,000 Turkish citizens currently living in Russia, Gazigil said. Several Turkish businessmen based in Russia said they did not want to talk about the situation, even anonymously, due to its sensitivity. ...

While both sides have said they do not want to escalate the situation further, the abrasive personal styles of Putin and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are not proving conducive to rapprochement.

Erdoğan tried to speak to Putin by telephone in the hours after the plane was shot down but the Russian president did not take his call. The Turkish leader also asked Putin for a meeting at the climate change summit in Paris on Monday, but was snubbed again. Putin will only speak to Erdoğan when he is ready to apologise, aides have said. This is something Erdoğan has pointedly refused to do.

Putin again accused Turkey of profiting from Islamic State oil sales on Monday and this time went further, saying Russia has evidence that Turkey shot the plane down in order to protect the transit corridors for the oil. For his part, Erdoğan has said he will resign if Russia can provide concrete proof of such links; he also asked on Monday whether Putin would also agree to resign if he could not substantiate the links.

While the diplomatic war continues, the thousands of Turks in Russia fear their lives have irrevocably changed.

Massive truck flow through Syrian-Turkish border at Reyhanli checkpoint

David Cameron plans to really ham it up in his coming appearance before parliament.

Cameron Slams Opposition as ‘Terrorist Sympathizers’ Ahead of Syria War Vote

Facing growing opposition, Cameron is ratcheting up the rhetoric, labeling opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn and other opponents of the war as “a bunch of terrorist sympathizers,” and declaring them “bullies” who are hurting the call to war.

Cameron is planning to stand in the House of Common Wednesday morning and warn them that if they don’t vote for the Syria war, ISIS will launch attacks on the streets of Britain.

Jeremy Corbyn: David Cameron has failed to show that bombing Syria would work

Since David Cameron made his case for extending UK bombing to Syria in the House of Commons last week, that case has been coming apart at the seams. No wonder he is trying to hurry the debate through parliament this week.

He knows that opposition to his ill-thought-out rush to war is growing. On planning, strategy, ground troops, diplomacy, the terrorist threat, refugees and civilian casualties, it’s become increasingly clear the prime minister’s proposal simply doesn’t stack up.

That’s why the respected House of Commons foreign affairs select committee – whose critical report on his bombing plans was the focus of the prime minister’s statement – tonight made clear he had not adequately addressed their concerns.

After the despicable and horrific attacks in Paris last month, the issue of whether what Cameron proposes strengthens – or undermines – our own security is crucial. There is no doubt that the so-called Islamic State (Isil) group has imposed a reign of terror on millions in Iraq, Syria and Libya. And there is no doubt that it poses a threat to our own people. The question is now whether extending the UK bombing from Iraq to Syria is likely to reduce, or increase, that threat – and whether it will counter, or spread, the terror campaign Isil is waging in the Middle East.

The prime minister has been unable to explain why extending airstrikes to Syria – which is already being bombed by the US, France, Russia and other powers – will make a significant military impact on a campaign that has so far seen Isil gain territory, such as the cities of Ramadi in Iraq and Palmyra in Syria, as well as lose it. ...

The prime minister said he wanted a consensus behind the military action he wants to take. He has achieved nothing of the kind. After Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, MPs thinking of voting for bombing should bear in mind how terrible those consequences can be. Only a negotiated peace settlement can overcome the Isil threat.

US announces 'expeditionary force' to target Isis in Iraq and Syria

A permanent new US “expeditionary force” will target Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, operating independently of local troops in Iraq and Syria for the first time, defense secretary Ash Carter has revealed, in a significant escalation of the frontline use of American ground troops in the region.

Addressing Congressional leaders who are demanding swifter progress against Isis, Carter said on Tuesday that the troops would be based in Iraq but will have the capability to carry out raids across the border.

“It puts everybody on notice in Syria,” he said. “You don’t know at night who is going to be coming in the window.”

Until now, US ground forces in the region have officially been restricted to a “training and support” mission for the Iraqi army and a handful of one-off special forces raids to free hostages.

Kurdish fighters have told the Guardian that US forces in Iraq have secretly been blurring this line for months by taking an increasingly active role on the frontline, but the creeping ground mission once expressly ruled out by Barack Obama now seems to be spreading to Syria. ...

Carter refused to disclose the size of the new independent expeditionary targeting unit but said it would be larger than Obama’s embedded special forces deployment and would also provide targeting intelligence for air strikes.

Iraqi PM, Militias Reject Latest US Troop Deployments

Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s announcement of new deployments of US Special Forces into Iraq, despite coming with some talk of limiting operations inside Iraq to those done “at the invitation of” the Iraqi government, appears to have come without even mentioning it to the Iraqi government beforehand.

Prime Minister Hayder Abadi warned that Iraq, as it has insisted repeatedly before, welcomes air support against ISIS but does not need any foreign ground troops, and warned the US to respect Iraqi sovereignty in the matter.

That’s a relatively modest reaction compared to those of some of the more powerful Shi’ite militias involved in the war against ISIS, who say they intend to shift their fight to directly focus on US ground troops if these new deployments are carried out.

Thank you Hillary Clinton and your idiot crew of "humanitarian" pandoras:

SIS’ Grip on Libyan City Gives It a Fallback Option

MISURATA, Libya — Iraqi commanders have been arriving from Syria, and the first public beheadings have started. The local radio stations no longer play music but instead extol the greatness of the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

When the Libyan arm of the Islamic State first raised the group’s black flag over the coastal city of Surt almost one year ago, it was just a bunch of local militants trying to look tough.

Today Surt is an actively managed colony of the central Islamic State, crowded with foreign fighters from around the region, according to residents, local militia leaders and hostages recently released from the city’s main prison. ...


As the Islamic State has come under growing military and economic pressure in Syria and Iraq, its leaders have looked outward. ...

Libya could present the West with obstacles at least as intractable as those in the Islamic State’s current home base in Syria, Raqqa, amid the bedlam of the civil war. There, the Islamic State is hemmed in by a host of armed groups with international backing and is being hammered by American, Russian, French and Syrian airstrikes.

In Libya, where a NATO bombing campaign helped overthrow Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi four years ago, there is no functional government. Warring factions are far more focused on fighting one another than on taking on the Islamic State, and Libya’s neighbors are all too weak or unstable to lead or even host a military intervention.

More troops in Iraq will sow the exact same chaos as America's Libya folly

It’s the ultimate rule in US national politics: there shall be no legitimate questioning of starting yet another war, even if all of the recent ones are the exact reason we are in our current situation with Isis. All signs increasingly point to the fact that the US is will be dragged into another ground war in the Middle East despite the administration’s insistence that it does not want to get caught up in one.

The Pentagon announced Tuesday a new “expeditionary force” (a propaganda term to avoid saying “ground troops”) that will apparently operate apart from any Iraqi or Syrian rebel allied fighters and be able to conduct cross-border raids in either country.

It’s worth harkening back to the last military intervention – one that has now completely backfired – to question if more US soldiers on the ground in multiple countries will only exacerbate the problem, rather than be part of the solution. No, not the Iraq invasion, even though that it obviously caused destruction on a massive scale and precipitated the rise of Isis. I’m talking about Libya in 2011. ...

The Libyan intervention was the signature foreign policy move of Hillary Clinton’s time as the Obama administration’s secretary of state, where she pushed hard for military action when others were advising against it (and there was a very good argument that the whole war was illegal, given Congress not only did not approve it, but the House actively voted against it). ...

Republicans, despite having their daggers sharpened for Clinton, have studiously ignored the actual elephant in the room: that not only did their own Iraq war pave the way for Isis, but our subsequent conflict in Libya that Clinton championed has created yet another safe haven for the terrorists we are now fighting. As Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote in the Week, besides Rand Paul, “[t]he other Republican candidates cannot bring themselves to question the results of force” – because they can’t help but advocate for for more bombs at every turn.

Specter of Drones Firing Tear Gas on Crowds Worries Human Rights Group

The tools that governments could use to contain public demonstrations by remote control – firing tear gas from drones, for example – are advancing at a troubling and unregulated rate, says a new report from researchers in the U.K. ...

The report, titled “Tear Gassing By Remote Control”, was commissioned by the Remote Control Project, a branch of the Oxford Research Group, a think tank partly focused on modern warfare and its long-term consequences. ...

“Our research has uncovered a range of companies around the world actively promoting delivery mechanisms to tear gas people by remote control,” the report’s author, Michael Crowley, said in a statement. “This includes devices that can flood prisons with tear gas at the flick of a switch; drones that can drop pepper spray onto the heads of those below; or ground robots that can fire large quantities of [remote control] projectiles at protesting crowds.” ...

Crowley warned that the unchecked progression of unmanned riot suppression technology could lead to abuse by non-state actors including terrorist groups, inappropriate use in warfare or abuse by law enforcement agents, the potential for large-scale human rights abuses, and the proliferation of autonomous weapons systems.

Court Ruling Against Chicago Sheriff Proves Thuggish Anti-WikiLeaks Blockade Was Unconstitutional

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago issued an excellent written ruling on Monday that has broad implications for rights of free speech and political activism in the U.S. The court ruled that Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart violated the First Amendment rights of Backpage.com, an online classified ad site, by pressuring Visa and MasterCard to prohibit payments to the site on the ground that the sheriff dislikes some of the site’s “adult” (i.e. sex) ads, which he believes promote prostitution. Writing for the court, Judge Richard Posner explained that Sheriff Dart previously attempted to prosecute Craigslist for such sex ads and failed, and thus decided to destroy Backpage using a different strategy. ...

Noting the serious harm to an entity from having a public official suffocate its sources of revenue not through prosecution but extra-judicial coercion, the court ordered the sheriff immediately to cease the threatening behavior and to notify Visa and MasterCard of the ruling, explaining that “the loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.”

Beyond the positive outcome in this specific case — What kind of person would become sheriff of Chicago and then choose to spend his time worrying about adult sex ads? — the 7th Circuit’s ruling is crucial for protecting free speech rights generally. That’s because corrupt public officials have realized that they can abuse their power to pressure corporations to “suffocate” private actors whom they dislike but who are breaking no laws.

The most notorious, most dangerous case was in late 2010, when Joe Lieberman blatantly abused his power as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee to implicitly threaten and coerce companies like Amazon to terminate website hosting and payment processing services to WikiLeaks, which had just published the Afghanistan and Iraq war logs and diplomatic cables. That quickly led other companies, including Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America and PayPal, to terminate credit card processing for the group, driving them close to bankruptcy. In other words, Joe Lieberman almost completely destroyed a media and political organization group he disliked not through prosecution but with nothing more than thuggish threats to the companies that serviced it.

The Chicago police chief might be gone – but the fight against brutality continues

There was dancing in front of Chicago police headquarters at 35th street and Michigan Avenue on Tuesday evening.

People were celebrating, in part, because Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy was fired earlier that day. Mayor Rahm Emanuel – who had spent days expressing confidence in his police chief – stood in a hot briefing room in front of the press corps and announced that McCarthy had become “a distraction”. Emanuel looked like a man undergoing a root canal without anesthesia.

After days of mass protests – including a shutdown of Michigan Avenue on Black Friday that cost retailers up to 50% of their sales – the mayor had apparently decided to cut his losses and throw McCarthy overboard to save himself. ...

Over the past several months, Chicago organizers have won reparations for police torture survivors, protested the existence of a so-called black site at Homan Square, successfully mobilized to have officer Servin fired, pressed for data transparency around stop-and-frisk practices, marched by the thousands for community control of the police, shut down the opening day of the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference and more. All of this took place before the brutal and stomach-turning videotape of Laquan McDonald’s execution was released to the public.

The organizing will continue despite McCarthy’s firing: the Black Youth Project 100 – which has, along with groups such as We Charge Genocide and Black Lives Matter Chicago, been organizing for months – issued a set of demands on Tuesday that will form the basis of their ongoing work.

There’s talk that firing one police superintendent is mostly symbolic and won’t change the culture of policing in Chicago. It is true. The calls for Cook County state’s attorney Anita Alvarez to resign are growing louder, and social media is filled with the hashtag #ResignRahm. Accountability means that if you fail at your job, you should lose it. Resignations are the very least that Chicagoans should expect.

Will Hillary Clinton Do More For Black America Than Did Obama?

Officer who killed Tamir Rice says he believed 12-year-old was in fact 18

The officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Ohio has delivered his first public account of the killing, over a year after the incident occurred, arguing his actions were justified as he was engaged in an “active shooter situation” and believed Tamir was 18 years old. ...

Loehmann fatally shot Tamir, who was black, within two seconds of arriving at a local park on 22 November last year, after a 911 caller reported that there was a juvenile in the area with a weapon that was “probably fake”. The full details of the call were not passed on to the officers, according to other accounts released by the Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty. ...

The officers, who had previously declined to be interviewed by county investigators, provided written testimony that was released by prosecutors after being read to grand jurors on Tuesday. ...

On Tuesday, Rice family lawyers described the prosecutor’s decision to allow the officer’s unsworn statements before the grand jury as “a stunning irregularity”.

“No regular target of a criminal investigation would be afforded this opportunity,” the group said in a statement.

This couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch. One has to wonder if this was an oversight, or if the banking industry is losing some of its juice on the Hill.

Big Banks Suffer Rare Fail as Congressional Deal Cuts Nearly $1 Billion a Year in Handouts

Big banks will lose a portion of a multi-billion-dollar government handout they’ve enjoyed for over 100 years, thanks to a compromise highway bill released Tuesday. One estimate pegged the loss to the banks at $8 billion to $9 billion over a 10-year time frame.

The bill, as it emerged from a House-Senate conference committee, pays for roads, bridges and mass transit projects in part by reducing what is currently a 6 percent annual dividend on stock that the big banks buy to become members of the Federal Reserve system.

Fed membership offers many perks, from access to processing payments to cheap borrowing. But the dividend could be the sweetest gift, because banks cannot ever lose money on the stock; they’re even paid out if their regional Fed bank disbands. ...

The banks freaked out, aided by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, who warned of unnamed “unintended consequences”. Through a well-worn lobbying strategy, they managed to get the House of Representatives to remove the dividend cut and replace it with a raid on the Fed’s capital surplus account, which is used to cover losses on the balance sheet. ...

But when the final bill was released Tuesday, the dividend reduction remained in there, albeit with some modifications.

The reduction now applies only to banks with over $10 billion in assets, compared to the $1 billion threshold in the original bill. Instead of cutting the dividend to 1.5 percent, the rate will now match the interest rate of the highest-yield 10-year Treasury note at the point that the dividend is due. For context, the high yield at the last Treasury auction was 2.304 percent.

America’s 20 richest people have more money than these 152 million people

America’s 20 wealthiest people — a group that could fit in one Gulfstream G650 jet — are now worth $732 billion, which means they have more wealth than the 152 million people who make up the least wealthy 50% of U.S. households, according to a report released Wednesday by the Institute for Policy Studies. What’s more, the “Forbes 400” wealthiest individuals in the U.S. now have a net worth of $2.34 trillion.

A 1% tax on the wealthiest 1% of Americans would raise $2.6 trillion over 10 years, more than the federal government now spends on education and environmental protection combined, the report says, and a 1% tax exclusively on the Forbes 400 would raise $234 billion, which is more than the government spends on both its Head Start program, which provides early childhood education to over 800,000 low-income children, and the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) program that provides nutrition assistance to over half of all infants born in the U.S.

Congress Moves Again to Block Investigation of Congressional Insider Trading

Lawyers for the House of Representatives have escalated their legal fight to block the first-ever congressional insider trading investigation.

The case revolves around allegations that Brian Sutter, a former senior staff member of the Ways and Means Committee, passed along nonpublic information concerning a Medicare reimbursement rate change to a lobbyist with Greenberg Traurig in April 2013. ...

The information was then disclosed to a consulting firm that shared the tip with it’s financial clients. A number of the hedge funds appeared to use the insider tip to trade on stocks that would be impacted.

The Securities and Exchange Commission opened an investigation and served subpoenas on Sutter and the Ways and Means Committee.

Despite passing a bipartisan law to address the very issue of congressional insider trading — the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or STOCK Act of 2012 — congressional attorneys have fought the SEC investigation at every turn. First they refused to comply with the subpoenas. Then, when the SEC sued, the House attorneys claimed that the case should not proceed because lawmakers and their staff are constitutionally protected from such inquiries. ...

On November 13, U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe agreed with most of the SEC’s claims and ordered Congress to comply with the subpoena within 10 days. ... Kerry W. Kircher, the House general counsel, requested more time. Then, shortly before Thanksgiving, on November 25, he filed a motion to appeal the subpoena to the 2nd Circuit. Kircher argued that the STOCK Act did not explicitly authorize the SEC to issue subpoenas to Congress, even to investigate inside trading.

The appeal, which could obstruct the investigation or at least delay it for months, is the latest move by Congress to undermine its own ethics law.

Pro-Democracy Group Warns of Secret Right-Wing Push to Rewrite Consitution

Under the radar of corporate media and general public, a "dangerous proposal" is bubbling up in state legislatures throughout the country—one that could trigger "political chaos that would make past upheavals like the Watergate scandal and the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton seem tame by comparison."

So warned the grassroots, pro-democracy group Common Cause on Wednesday, in a new report entitled, The Dangerous Path: Big Money’s Plan to Shred the Constitution (pdf). 

The threat comes in the form of a constitutional convention, assembled under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, one of several mechanisms that enables future amendments. Article V requires Congress to call such a gathering once 34 state legislatures submit petitions to do so; new constitutional amendments agreed to at the confab would then be sent back to the states for ratification.

Twenty-seven state legislatures have already passed resolutions calling for a convention under the guise of balancing the federal budget, according to Common Cause. Action in just seven more would force Congress to comply. ...

With pro-corporate, right-wing lobby groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and Citizens for Self-Governance—not to mention a number of 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls—pushing for such a convention, those who care about everything from environmental regulation to same-sex marriage to fair taxation have reason to be wary.



the evening greens


As NY State Probes Exxon, Oil Giant Targets the Journalists Who Exposed Climate Change Cover-Up

Funding From Exxon and Koch Brothers Gave Deniers a Megaphone in Climate Change Debate

A Yale researcher set out to discover how much impact mega-wealthy corporations and individuals have had on the American public’s confusion about climate change.

The answer: Just as much as, if not more than, many have claimed—but, until now, could not measure objectively.

Justin Farrell combined several kinds of statistical, semantic, and network analysis—big data, in other words—to show that over the past two decades, climate contrarians funded by ExxonMobil and the Koch brothers’ family foundations have been the most successful at spreading talking points on uncertainty about climate-change science into the U.S. news media and political discussions. 

That messaging has helped fuel the American public’s disbelief about climate change, despite the worldwide scientific consensus that global warming is a pressing and major threat to both humanity and the environment. The study was published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

In a related study, published last week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Farrell found that Exxon and Koch funding of climate-contrarian entities played a major role in polarizing public discussion of climate change over the past 20 years.

This is worth clicking the link and reading in full:

Earth has lost a third of arable land in past 40 years, scientists say

The world has lost a third of its arable land due to erosion or pollution in the past 40 years, with potentially disastrous consequences as global demand for food soars, scientists have warned.

New research has calculated that nearly 33% of the world’s adequate or high-quality food-producing land has been lost at a rate that far outstrips the pace of natural processes to replace diminished soil.

The University of Sheffield’s Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, which undertook the study by analysing various pieces of research published over the past decade, said the loss was “catastrophic” and the trend close to being irretrievable without major changes to agricultural practices.

The continual ploughing of fields, combined with heavy use of fertilizers, has degraded soils across the world, the research found, with erosion occurring at a pace of up to 100 times greater than the rate of soil formation. It takes around 500 years for just 2.5cm of topsoil to be created amid unimpeded ecological changes.

“You think of the dust bowl of the 1930s in North America and then you realise we are moving towards that situation if we don’t do something,” said Duncan Cameron, professor of plant and soil biology at the University of Sheffield.

The Global Poor vs. the 10%: How Climate Inequality Hurts the Most Vulnerable and Least Responsible

World's richest 10% produce half of global carbon emissions, says Oxfam

The richest 10% of people produce half of Earth’s climate-harming fossil-fuel emissions, while the poorest half contribute a mere 10%, British charity Oxfam said in a report released Wednesday.

Oxfam published the numbers as negotiators from 195 countries met in Paris to wrangle over a climate rescue pact.

Disputes over how to share responsibility for curbing greenhouse-gas emissions and aiding climate-vulnerable countries are among the thorniest and longest-running issues in the 25-year-old UN climate process.

oxfam wealth + carbon emissions

The report said that an average person among the richest one percent emits 175 times more carbon than his or her counterpart among the bottom 10%.


Also of Interest

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

Highly recommended:

Edward Snowden meets Arundhati Roy and John Cusack

Remembering Murray Bookchin

The National Security Letter spy tool has been uncloaked, and it’s bad

The US-Russia Proxy War in Syria

U.S. Plans to Counter Arms Breach by Russia

Russia Wants UN to Tighten Crackdown on Financing Extremists

Turkish court asks 'Gollum experts' if Erdoğan comparison is insult

Europe is Kaput. Long live Europe! - Slavoj Žižek, Yanis Varoufakis and Julian Assange

Challenging the Oligarchy

Dead, White, and Blue: The Great Die-Off of America's Blue Collar Whites

Junk Bonds Having Worst Year Since 2008 Crisis: Three Red Flags


A Little Night Music

Louis Jordan - Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens

Louis Jordan - Keep a Knockin (But You Can't Come In)

Louis Jordan - Buzz me Baby

Louis Jordan - Caldonia

Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five - Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby

Louis Jordan - Let The Good Times Roll

Louis Jordan - Choo choo ch'boogie

Louis Jordan - Five Guys Named Moe

Louis Jordan & The Tympany Five - Beans and Cornbread

Louis Jordan - You Gotta Have A Beat

Louis Jordan - Don't Worry 'Bout the Mule

Louis Jordan - Blue Lite Boogie

Louis Jordan - You Dyed Your Hair Chartreuse

Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five - Jumpin' At The Jubilee

Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five - The two little squirrels (Nuts to you)

Louis Jordan - Messy Bessy

Louis Jordan - If You're So Smart, How Come You Ain't Rich?

Louis Jordan - What's The Use Of Getting Sober

Louis Jordan - Saturday Night Fish Fry



Share
up
0 users have voted.

Comments

mimi's picture

up
0 users have voted.

mimi

joe shikspack's picture

time to go get that saxophone out. Smile

up
0 users have voted.
mimi's picture

Reading Joe's EB first, then listening to Joe's Blues and then I allow myself as a reward to blow up the saxophone. Wink
Ok, time to start reading beyond the headlines.

up
0 users have voted.

mimi

Bad timing

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff will face impeachment proceedings in Congress, marking a deepening of the political crisis that is dragging Latin America’s largest economy further into recession.

Lower house President Eduardo Cunha told reporters in Brasilia on Wednesday he has accepted one of 34 requests to impeach the president on charges that range from illegally financing her re-election to doctoring fiscal accounts this year and last. Cunha said he "profoundly regrets" what’s happening. "May our country overcome this process."

The impeachment hearings could take months, involving several votes in Congress that ultimately may result in the president’s ouster. Rousseff would challenge any impeachment proceedings in the Supreme Court, according to a government official with direct knowledge of her defense strategy.

up
0 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

there's probably no good time for a corruption scandal. i hope that it doesn't push the electorate towards right-wing parties that are not implicated in the current scandal (though they are in all likelihood just as corrupt).

up
0 users have voted.
divineorder's picture

on getting a free stopover in Brazil on way to South Africa next trip. From what I read a number of people there are fed up. Depression, well, probably would not be good time to go traveling in the Pantanal. We'll see.

up
0 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.

It's bad

Latin America’s largest economy shrank more than analysts forecast, as rising unemployment and higher inflation sapped domestic demand, pulling the nation deeper into what Goldman Sachs now calls "an outright depression."

Gross domestic product in Brazil contracted 1.7 percent in the three months ended in September, after a revised 2.1 percent drop the previous quarter, the national statistics institute said in Rio de Janeiro. That’s worse than all but three estimates from 44 economists surveyed by Bloomberg, whose median forecast was for a 1.2 percent decline. It also marks the first three-quarter contraction since the institute’s series began in 1996, and a seasonally adjusted annual drop of almost 7 percent.

up
0 users have voted.

up
0 users have voted.
MarilynW's picture

right-wing demons and the people are caught in between.

up
0 users have voted.

To thine own self be true.

lotlizard's picture

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organisation_de_l%27arm%C3%A9e_secr%C3%A8te

(Update: the link was broken because the apostrophe needed to be "escaped" — replaced with its hex value %27. I fixed it)

up
0 users have voted.
triv33's picture

I agree, the Snowden piece at the top of your list is well worth a read. I enjoyed Challenging the Oligarchy as well, but I don't see anything coming from it. Not really.

up
0 users have voted.

I shave my legs with Occam's Razor~

joe shikspack's picture

i don't see anything coming from challenging oligarchy, either. we are beyond the point where reform is either possible (because the oligarchs are dug in and will not relent) or useful, because "tweaking" the system will at best create gradual change - change which will come far too late for those being oppressed by the system.

up
0 users have voted.
triv33's picture

I see it as a feel good piece, see? We're seriously contemplating the problem here! Oh, goodie. That'll help bunches.

up
0 users have voted.

I shave my legs with Occam's Razor~

Unabashed Liberal's picture

about this book, and other economic matters (NPR), last week. I'll eventually post a snippet or two of the dialogue transcript. And, perhaps, the actual audio interview (if it will post here).

Unfortunately, the solutions called for exclude 'redistribution' of wealth. Apparently, no economist from either side of the isle is willing to go there.

As far as I'm concerned, they can take their little 'predistribution' notions/proposals, and stick it. And you Guys are correct--most of the proposals are 'window dressing.'

*Sigh*

Mollie


"Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare."--Japanese Proverb
up
0 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

Pluto's Republic's picture

"Go home and leave us alone. Mind your own business," he told the American people.

But I don't think the Neocons ever delivered this letter from bin Laden to the American people in 2002. They were probably never told exactly why the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Washington DC was attacked by Sunni terrorists from Saudi Arabia. The American people were probably never told how much their government's continuing murder-sprees in the Middle East were going to cost them in human and civil rights. And how they would pay and pay while getting poorer and poorer themselves for decades to come. How they would be gutted as a society while government-insider investors and war profiteers grew a vast personal wealth.

So, here it is from the man himself:

Some American writers have published articles under the title 'On what basis are we fighting?' Here we wanted to outline the truth - as an explanation and warning:

Why are we fighting and opposing you?

The answer is very simple:

Because you attacked us and continue to attack us.

Under your supervision, consent and orders, the governments of our countries which act as your agents, attack us on a daily basis:

Your forces occupy our countries; you spread your military bases throughout them; you corrupt our lands, and you besiege our sanctities, to protect the security of the Jews and to ensure the continuity of your pillage of our treasures.

You have starved the Muslims of Iraq, where children die every day. It is a wonder that more than 1.5 million Iraqi children have died as a result of your sanctions, and you did not show concern. Yet when 3000 of your people died, the entire world rises and has not yet sat down.

It is commanded by our religion and intellect that the oppressed have a right to return the aggression. Do not await anything from us but Jihad, resistance and revenge. Is it in any way rational to expect that after America has attacked us for more than half a century, that we will then leave her to live in security and peace?

You may then dispute that all the above does not justify aggression against civilians, for crimes they did not commit and offenses in which they did not partake:

The American people are the ones who choose their government by way of their own free will; a choice which stems from their agreement to its policies. Thus the American people have chosen, consented to, and affirmed their support for the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians, the occupation and usurpation of their land, and its continuous killing, torture, punishment and expulsion of the Palestinians. The American people have the ability and choice to refuse the policies of their Government and even to change it if they want.

The American people are the ones who pay the taxes which fund the planes that bomb us in Afghanistan, the tanks that strike and destroy our homes in Palestine, the armies which occupy our lands in the Arabian Gulf, and the fleets which ensure the blockade of Iraq. These tax dollars are given to Israel for it to continue to attack us and penetrate our lands. So the American people are the ones who fund the attacks against us, and they are the ones who oversee the expenditure of these monies in the way they wish, through their elected candidates.

The American people are the ones who employ both their men and their women in the American Forces which attack us.

If we are attacked, then we have the right to attack back. Whoever has destroyed our villages and towns, then we have the right to destroy their villages and towns. Whoever has stolen our wealth, then we have the right to destroy their economy. And whoever has killed our civilians, then we have the right to kill theirs.

We call you to all of this that you may be freed from the deceptive lies that you are a great nation, that your leaders spread amongst you to conceal from you the despicable state to which you have reached.

You have destroyed nature with your industrial waste and gases more than any other nation in history. Despite this, you refuse to sign the Kyoto agreement so that you can secure the profit of your greedy companies and*industries.

Your law is the law of the rich and wealthy people, who hold sway in their political parties, and fund their election campaigns with their gifts. Behind them stand the Jews, who control your policies, media and economy.

That which you are singled out for in the history of mankind, is that you have used your force to destroy mankind more than any other nation in history; not to defend principles and values, but to hasten to secure your interests and profits. You who dropped a nuclear bomb on Japan, even though Japan was ready to negotiate an end to the war. How many acts of oppression, tyranny and injustice have you carried out, O callers to freedom?

Let us not forget one of your major characteristics — your duality in both manners and values; your hypocrisy in manners and principles. All American manners, principles and values have two scales — one for you and one for the others.

The freedom and democracy that you call to is for yourselves and for white race only; as for the rest of the world, you impose upon them your monstrous, destructive policies and Governments, which you call the 'American friends'. Yet you prevent them from establishing democracies. When the Islamic party in Algeria wanted to practice democracy and they won the election, you unleashed your agents in the Algerian army onto them, and to attack them with tanks and guns, to imprison them and torture them - a new lesson from the 'American book of democracy'.

You are the last ones to respect the resolutions and policies of International Law, yet you claim to want to selectively punish anyone else who does the same. Israel has for more than 50 years been pushing UN resolutions and rules against the wall with the full support of America.

As for the war criminals which you censure and form criminal courts for - you shamelessly ask that your own are granted immunity! However, history will not forget the war crimes that you committed against the Muslims and the rest of the world; those you have killed in Japan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Lebanon and Iraq will remain a shame that you will never be able to escape. It will suffice to remind you of your latest war crimes in Afghanistan, in which densely populated innocent civilian villages were destroyed.

You have claimed to be the vanguards of Human Rights, and your Ministry of Foreign affairs issues annual reports containing statistics of those countries that violate any Human Rights. However, all these things vanished when the Mujahideen hit you, and you then implemented the methods of the same documented governments that you used to curse. In America, you captured thousands the Muslims and Arabs, took them into custody with neither reason, court trial, nor even disclosing their names. You issued newer, harsher laws.

What happens in Guatanamo is a historical embarrassment to America and its values, and it screams into your faces - you hypocrites, "What is the value of your signature on any agreement or treaty?"

We call you to take an honest stance with yourselves - and I doubt you will do so - to discover that you are a nation without principles or manners, and that the values and principles to you are something which you merely demand from others, not that which you yourself must adhere to.

It is saddening to tell you that you are the worst civilization witnessed by the history of mankind.

We advise you to pack your luggage and get out of our lands. We desire for your goodness, guidance, and righteousness, so do not force us to send you back as cargo in coffins.

We call upon you to end your support of the corrupt leaders in our countries. Do not interfere in our politics and method of education. Leave us alone, or else expect us in New York and Washington.

If you fail to respond to all these conditions, then prepare for fight with the Islamic Nation.

The Islamic Nation that was able to dismiss and destroy the previous evil Empires like yourself; the Nation that rejects your attacks, wishes to remove your evils, and is prepared to fight you. You are well aware that the Islamic Nation, from the very core of its soul, despises your haughtiness and arrogance.

If the Americans refuse to listen to our advice and the goodness, guidance and righteousness that we call them to, then be aware that you will lose this Crusade Bush began, just like the other previous Crusades in which you were humiliated by the hands of the Mujahideen, fleeing to your home in great silence and disgrace. If the Americans do not respond, then their fate will be that of the Soviets who fled from Afghanistan to deal with their military defeat, political breakup, ideological downfall, and economic bankruptcy.

This is our message to the Americans, as an answer to theirs.

I do believe this is a law of physics:

The more the US Empire-wannabes occupy regions of the globe where they have no business being, the more the hearts and minds of the entire world turns against the American people.

US Bombs and attacks do not work against an an ancient and enduring ideology of the culture, hearts, and minds of a people, who are being attacked by greedy, immoral, foreign hypocrites. They grow stronger and more resolved, in ever-greater numbers.

And, everywhere the US kills people and destroys their cities — the growth of the resistance explodes far and wide. This is why people travel from all over the world to join ISIS. The number of determined enemies seeking revenge upon Americans doubles and doubles again after every US murder-spree.

The nightmare would stop if Americans got the hell off of other people's lawns and stopped seizing their natural resources.

up
0 users have voted.

____________________
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
— Voltaire

joe shikspack's picture

ever since the world began there have been avaricious morons-on-the-make who have pulled the strings and the regular folks have always perished in their behalf.

perhaps now that their numbers are so small (20 usians own as much wealth as 152 million usians combined, 85 people own as much wealth as about 3 billion people around the world combined) it might be possible to in the course of a single day cause a significant redistribution of power and wealth globally. that would be a day for the history books.

up
0 users have voted.
mimi's picture

up
0 users have voted.

mimi

Pluto's Republic's picture

…that was address to you in 2002?

I'm starting to think that no one in the US got their mail that day.

up
0 users have voted.

____________________
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
— Voltaire

lotlizard's picture

We got our mail all right, but back in Washington DC "the clue train stopped there four times a day for ten years and they never took delivery."

up
0 users have voted.
mimi's picture

and he went on strike when passing by my house. I was already worried because my son had to go to Iraq and knew about it in 2002 and was not allowed to talk about it. Ok, lemme forget about it. I think the letter was not necessary for us to get, because we somehow "got" it quite "nicely" without it, you know.

up
0 users have voted.

mimi

mimi's picture

... at that time I didn't work with a news related company and can't remember having heard or read about it. But my memory has always been a dumpster and rotten. Thanks, Joe.

up
0 users have voted.

mimi

Pluto's Republic's picture

…to anyone's ape-brained superstitious prattle about their Invisible Friends in the Sky and whose side their primitive gods are on.

For your protection.

Jews, Christians, and Muslims — and their destructive dogmas and bitch-slap-fests with each other were not allowed to harm the reality-based essence of the message in any way:

The American people are the ones who fund and enable global terrorism. Period. Own it.

Unless the American people announce to the world that they have a rogue government that has run amok and they cannot control it though their faux democracy — then they are going to be sucking up a lot of revenge.

On the other hand, if they do admit they've lost control of their government, the world will come and rescue all of them.

up
0 users have voted.

____________________
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
— Voltaire

joe shikspack's picture

and thinking that he had some good points, but he's a loony. so, seeing the text with the mind-sucking religious crap removed is interesting.

the american people have never had control of their government. the ambitions of the rich and powerful people who have controlled the government and used the people's resources over the years have always been the same - go forth, conquer and plunder. the only difference over the years has been that the capability of the people's resources (through the savage exploitation of the people here and abroad) has grown exponentially over time.

up
0 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

…on the radio — and on the stage aty the Republican Primary Debates.

If anyone gets sick during the debates, Osama bin Laden could stand in for him, and the American people would never even notice.

He just has to replace "Allah" with "Jesus."

up
0 users have voted.

____________________
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
— Voltaire

If OBL sent this message to the People
of America, when and where was it
published? Or just how was it "sent"?

up
0 users have voted.

Only connect. - E.M. Forster

Some other time he made a spot-on comment reg climate crisis - that US is the biggest problem, or something like that. He is not all that depraved of a guy - atleast not on the scale of the radicalised White Oil Jihadists ruling the West and their Saudi minions.

up
0 users have voted.

He is not all that depraved of a guy

"IS"? Has there been an Osama bin Elvis sighting?

up
0 users have voted.

Hey, we are into the final month of 2015 and ISIS hasn't come & got us, and we are all still here , did you notice?

up
0 users have voted.

that's already been done.

up
0 users have voted.

rational than the White Oil Jihadists - a superb article by Sam Husseini.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/12/02/from-planned-parenthood-to-madrid...

Osama bin Ladin addressed the U.S. public just before the 2004 election thus: “Contrary to Bush’s claim that we hate freedom — if so, then let him explain to us why we don’t strike for example — Sweden? … But I am amazed at you. Even though we are in the fourth year after the events of September 11th, Bush is still engaged in distortion, deception and hiding from you the real causes. And thus, the reasons are still there for a repeat of what occurred.”

Around the same time, said Bin Ladin: “When I saw those destroyed towers in Lebanon it sparked in my mind that the oppressors should be punished in the same way and that we should destroy towers in America so that they can taste what we tasted and so they will stop killing our women and children.” See my piece U.S. Policy: ‘Putting out the fire with gasoline;? based on interviews with Lee Hamilton and Thomas Kean,

This passage is almost never cited, and its context outright falsified by Donald Rumsfeld in his his book, where he claims Bin Ladin was “referring to the destruction of the Marine barracks and the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut.” Robin Wright correctly notes in her book the context was that bin Ladin was referring to “Israeli’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon with American arms.”

Other interesting tidbits too - how Spain learnt the right lesson after Madrid bombing & withdrew troops from Iraq,

up
0 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

.

"What did the US do to these people to provoke such an attack?"

There IS no other question.

I was apparently the only person in the United States of America who asked that question. And, that question was never answered. I would have remembered if it was.

I do remember is some developmentally disabled imbecile/President telling Americans: "They hate us for our freedoms."

It's clear that Americans were too narcissistic and brainwashed to ask that question. The nation, during that period, was like a giant drunken sports bar grunting "Kill, kill, kill!" over and over, again. It was the "Pearl Harbor moment" the Neocons were waiting for.

And that's what the American people did — they murdered the innocent people of Afghanistan to appease their Orc-like thirst for blood.

To this day, Americans have NO idea why 9/11 happened.

And to this day, the people of Afghanistan have NO idea what the World Trade Center is.

up
0 users have voted.

____________________
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
— Voltaire

the PNAC guys needed a "Pearl Harbor-
like event" to set in motion their plans.

At least that's MHO.

up
0 users have voted.

Only connect. - E.M. Forster

MarilynW's picture

allow this to happen? Then I shuddered when I thought: "There's going to be a terrible retaliation for this."
The world is still paying for the retaliation.
It didn't mitigate the suffering of the families and loved ones of the 9/11 victims.

up
0 users have voted.

To thine own self be true.

mimi's picture

thanks dancingrabbit. It's a long time ago.

up
0 users have voted.

mimi

MarilynW's picture

but I don't think that was all that was behind his agenda. If the US were the most compassionate peace loving country in the world, it would still be
a country of infidels. Wahhabism was imbedded in his bones and the USA is the new Rome.

Still it's very revealing that he had such correct insights.

up
0 users have voted.

To thine own self be true.

Pluto's Republic's picture

…constantly traveling half way around the world to murder brown people and steal their resources (including the Middle East) for the past century, there would be no Wahhabi agenda toward the US. The US would be invisible and not richly deserving of revenge coming its way.

Peru is not having problems with Wahhabi attacks. Neither is Mexico or Japan. Or China. Argentina is fine and so is Brazil. Iceland is A-Okay and so is Switzerland.

The US had covert military operations in 147 different nations of the world in just 2015.

No other nation does that.

It is grotesque and the world is working together to stop it, as they should.

up
0 users have voted.

____________________
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
— Voltaire

Bin Laden used the USA to destroy the USA

ISIS/ISIL published their strategy and pulled off an action in France with a few people and the Americans and Europeans jumped right into the trap

Bin Laden and some others are such better strategists than ours --

Back in the 1960's, I well remember reading I. F. Stone and his weekly saying over and over that America with their technology cannot win

And now 50 years later, we cannot even admit that we lost

The book last year "Kill Anything That Moves: the real American war in Vietnam" by Nick Turse showed that we committed genocide on indigenous people, brown people. And Nick is the one who has been tracking the special forces located in 135 countries

The empire is on the way down

The climate news that Joe posted - soil loss, % carbon by the most affluent 10%, etc mean that change will come and it looks like it has to come very hard to get out attention

We are diverted by a few crazy people while the world, literally, goes to hell

I had never seen the longer Bin Laden statement (as best as I can recall) but I do recall the three biggies 1. military bases in Mecca 2. loss of life in Iraq because of the sanctions and 3. support of Israel. It was always clear that he was much more strategic than our "leaders"

up
0 users have voted.
mimi's picture

...falling into the trap? ... they fall all over their own idiocy... Couldn't believe Hollande's rhetoric (though all the pain I can feel) ... can't believe that in two weeks Germany can't decide fast enough to get their (for 50 % non-functional) tornados and some troops into Syria ... ach and I don't listen to Cameron....that's just "outlandish".

I started to read through the Bin Laden statement Joe posted the link for. Too much religious stuff in it. I will continue after my bedtime prayer. May be I can handle it then. /s

What would Jesus say to all that? (sorry for that, I try to be funny).
May be he would say "Amen"?
Good Night.

up
0 users have voted.

mimi

lotlizard's picture

http://www.nzz.ch/international/terroranschlaege-in-paris/dissonante-auf...

Sarkozy was speaking in French, of course, but the German equivalent — which appears verbatim in the Swiss newspaper article from the Neue Züricher Zeitung — is “totalen Krieg.”

That phrasing is tainted and unfortunate, to say the least.

up
0 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

ISIS/ISIL published their strategy and pulled off an action in France with a few people and the Americans and Europeans jumped right into the trap

Consider: The Paris massacre was executed by French citizens. Sunnis, to be exact.

Consider the attack in San Bernardino: Also committed by a US citizen. Also, a Sunni. Who just traveled to Saudi Arabia and came back with a weaponized "wife."

ISIS is already where it needs to be; plus the guns they need are freely available because Second Amendment.

Talk about hoisted on your own petard. And it gets worse.

The US elite are ruled by their Sunni Overlords. An arrangement that was forged by Kissinger, Nixon, and the Saudis in 1973 to achieve Petrodollar supremacy and Dollar hegemony throughout the world.

If the US had not toppled the Ukraine government last year, the US might still have some control over its fate. But because of the geopolitical consequences of the Ukraine clusterfuck, the Petrodollar is dead and the US is now enslaved by the Saudis to do the bidding of the Sunni terrorists.

That's why the US is going back in to the ME. Not to fight ISIS but to protect ISIS and overthrow Assad for America's Saudi masters. "Do as we say or we'll unleash the Sunnis embedded in your nest."

The game is clear.

up
0 users have voted.

____________________
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
— Voltaire

MarilynW's picture

says and as past President have said, "to protect American interests." Just substitute OIL for the word "interests."

That deal with the devil was made during WWII, between the US and Saudi Arabia, it was an agreement that the US demand for OIL would be satisfied and in exchange the US would allow and even honor the Saudi's religion with all its horrible human rights violations. The US is still holding to that agreement. The Saudis are playing both hands.

Most of the 9/11 killers were from Saudi Arabia. And yet the US continues to supply them with arms, continues to treat them as friends.

up
0 users have voted.

To thine own self be true.

lotlizard's picture

is a prime example of U.S. elites "straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel."

up
0 users have voted.
MarilynW's picture

Anything you want to know about the COP21 Climate Conference should be prefaced with the news that Bill Gates is the star guest
at the conference. I couldn't protest it better than this conversation with a German philanthropist

Last week, Microsoft founder Bill Gates attempted to convince billionaires around the world to agree to give away
half their money to charity. But in Germany, the "Giving Pledge," backed by 40 of the world's wealthiest people, including Gates
and Warren Buffet, has met with skepticism, SPIEGEL has learned.

Peter Krämer, a Hamburg-based shipping magnate and multimillionaire, has emerged as one of the strongest critics of the "Giving Pledge." Krämer, who donated millions of euros in 2005 to "Schools for Africa," a program operated by UNICEF, explained his opposition to the Gates initiative in a SPIEGEL interview.

[see the difference, he gives the money to an established organization, he doesn't invent programs that bear his name and that conform to his politics like Gates does.]

Kramer: I find the US initiative highly problematic. You can write donations off in your taxes to a large degree in the USA. So the rich make a choice: Would I rather donate or pay taxes? The donors are taking the place of the state. That's unacceptable.

SPIEGEL: But doesn't the money that is donated serve the common good?

Krämer: It is all just a bad transfer of power from the state to billionaires. So it's not the state that determines what is good for the people, but rather the rich want to decide. That's a development that I find really bad. What legitimacy do these people have to decide where massive sums of money will flow?

SPIEGEL: It is their money at the end of the day.

Krämer: In this case, 40 superwealthy people want to decide what their money will be used for. That runs counter to the democratically legitimate state. In the end the billionaires are indulging in hobbies that might be in the common good, but are very personal.

SPIEGEL: Do the donations also have to do with the fact that the idea of state and society is such different one in the United States?

Krämer: Yes, one cannot forget that the US has a desolate social system and that alone is reason enough that donations are already a part of everyday life there. But it would have been a greater deed on the part of Mr. Gates or Mr. Buffet if they had given the money to small communities in the US so that they can fulfil public duties.
SPIEGEL: Should wealthy Germans also give up some of their money?

Krämer: No, not in this form. It would make more sense, for example, to work with and donate to established organizations.

That's what I think, why not give to MSF Doctors Without Borders for example and let them do what they think is best, not what some billionaire thinks. I could name a few proven organizations in need of funding. But the Gates and now Zuckerberg & wife make sure they put their stamp on who and what they put their money on. They can't let go of the power that their money gives them.

For example, Bill & Melinda have set themselves up as experts on K - 12 education in the US and their donations push the right wing agenda in education, one that is very hard on teachers and students and one that is being forced on US educators: Common Core

up
0 users have voted.

To thine own self be true.

joe shikspack's picture

kramer is absolutely barking up the right tree. a lot of the us billionaire philanthropists (especially those of silicon valley libertarian culture origin) are attempting to use their "philanthropy" for the purposes of social engineering and social control - along with the usual intentions of burnishing their egos and perpetuating their social status.

i don't know if you saw it, but this is an excellent article on the topic that i put in the "blog posts of interest" section a couple of nights ago: How the Gates Foundation Reflects the Good and the Bad of “Hacker Philanthropy”

up
0 users have voted.
mimi's picture

initiative is even worse than the Gates one, because he donates to groups, who will develop new technologies over several time periods (which then will make potentially a huge profit and those then tend to flow upwards to the rich again).

This kind of thinking about philanthropy of the super rich in the US has been in my mind since years, but you couldn't say that out loud, at least not online. I always wondered why ONE brain would know better what the millions of poorer people need than they themselves. I think a million "poor" brains know what they need better than ONE rich brain. Zuckerberg doesn't respect hard earned money, he made his billions without sweating it, almost by accident, I would say. So, he can afford to give it away the same way. The money he made is imo totally disconnected with what ordinary people would call "hard work". I wonder if some day all of that money will just as accidentally be worthless as it became accidentally supposedly something worthy. Oh well, I have difficulties to express myself. And I wonder how much respect I really should have for those technologies. They are very interested to enforce its usage and make us all dependent on it, which is to their advantage and profit and power. They even start with the children at school and before. Other than going brutally off-the-grid there is no escape from it.

up
0 users have voted.

mimi

instead of shoving it in offshore havens? Or pay their employees better? Buffet was lobbying against Employee Free Choice Act. And Gates wnated to break teachers' unions. But we know why they won't do it. They won't have as much power/publicity if they do it.

up
0 users have voted.

it talks about climate crisis etc. There are good examples of "teh stupid" documented in it. But the champion is this obscenely rich guy in India who feels the sad for the poor having grown up with servants and watched their lives etc. His grand solution : make air travel affordable for the 15 million or so who travel in crowded trains! one great reason why the rich should be banished from "doing something", or doing anything for the poor directly. To catch a glimpse of this piece of work, watch for 2-3 mins:

Jump to it here https://youtu.be/va_MVxpboqg?t=3364

OR

skip to ~56:09

up
0 users have voted.

up
0 users have voted.
MarilynW's picture

Gates or Zukerburg, he disdains them.

Did you know that Zukerburg ate only meat that he killed himself for one year. Isn't that a project to be proud of???

up
0 users have voted.

To thine own self be true.

be cautious about jumping on the Kramer bandwagon, since I don't know about his track record. I have made a fool of myself in the past in quite a few cases of "the benevolent rich" who did turn out to be a-holes after all. So keeping my fingers crossed reg Kramer and hope you are right. He hits the right notes above.

Ha Suckerberg ! I am not against meat eating but against industrial meat because of the ginormous resources they consume. Wonder what type of meat Suckerberg had.

up
0 users have voted.
MarilynW's picture

bored rich idiot.

up
0 users have voted.

To thine own self be true.

mimi's picture

but there is a German one for Peter Krämer and I just read it.
This is not what you fear he might be. He is a Hanseat (a man from a Hanseatic city - Hamburg) man as good as they sometimes come. Probably that kind of guy my father would have said you can seal a business contract with a handshake and not be betrayed. There used to be that culture back then in Hamburg's merchant class.

First, he is my age (two years younger), he went to highschool right around the corner (15 minutes away from my highschool) almost, where I grew up, I can pretty well judge his upbringing and educational pathway from the Wikipage, and can sense what kind of life he had.

He studied Sociology, Pedagogy and Law. His father owned a shipping company (Hamburg is an old huge port city in the Northern part of Germany), which was bankrupt in 1980. He took over, became CEO and later became the owner and basically saved it by selling four tankers, restructuring two companies into one and developed it into one of the largest tank ship company for transport of oil and chemicals.

But, socially and politically he was not the average Joe... he went publicly against the Iraq war in 2003 with an Open Letter that was published in several major German newspapers addressed to employers, unions and churches to support the anti-Iraq war movement and its Berlin demonstrations and the response to it was huge (in support). 26 major personalities from economy, media and political circles had signed the letter. Encouraged by the public support he founded a "Hamburg Association for the advancement of Democracy and International Law". He supports higher taxes for the rich, and not taxing the citizens through higher value-added taxes (which are already 19 percent since 2007) His tank ships have all names of resistance fighters. He engaged in a project "Schools for Africa" inspired through his contacts with Nelson Mandela. He was honored with the German Federal Cross of Merit and is the member of the board of management of the German UNICEF. During the economic crisis in 2008 to 2009 he lost three quarter of his wealth.

I don't say he is a saint, but he ain't no bad filthy rich as well. He has a couple of convictions, apparently. No, Zuckerberg, that's for sure, and no Gates as well.
So, you can sleep well now, I think, and not worry too much about the Krämer guy. Smile

up
0 users have voted.

mimi

Unabashed Liberal's picture

thanks for the excellent news and blues roundup, Joe!

Thank you for the MarketWatch piece, "America’s 20 richest people have more money than these 152 million people." I was waiting for you to post tonight, so that I could post a link to it, and an excerpt.

Incredible.

Where are folks with their pitchforks?

Biggrin

Have a nice evening, Everyone!

Postscript: I am worried about the right-wing bill to once again institutionalize folks (mental health institutions). Yes, we need changes. But, we first need to provide extensive 'voluntary' mental health counseling available. (Which it is not.) I'm not sure if (Republican) Rep Murphy's bill has already passed, or if it's coming to a vote, shortly. If I have time, I'm going to push back on that notion. There are other solutions. I'll try to get up a list of Democrats who are supporting this bill. It/They need to be stopped.

Mollie


"Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare."--Japanese Proverb
up
0 users have voted.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

joe shikspack's picture

yep, that marketwatch article points out an almost unbelievable fact. the inequality that it indicates really breaks the social contract when you consider the living standards of the people at the bottom of the food chain.

as i commented above, the one good thing about it is that reducing the "have mores" to a group of 20 makes a significant redistribution a very easy task which inconveniences only a few people.

up
0 users have voted.
cybrestrike's picture

I'm stuck on the road on business, in the wonderful town of Killeen, Texas...so I've been a bit scarce lately. Been super busy. But most of the time, I ask, "What the hell am I doing in Texas?"

Thanks for sharing that Real News video with Glen Ford about the ridiculous apple-polishing antics of Eric Michael Dyson. I've been saying the same thing about Dyson for years, and it's finally great to hear someone call him out on his bull.

The mass shooting today really pissed off my coworkers to the point of disgust while we commuted back to the confines of our hotel. But they feel as if the whole situation is hopeless. And I sometimes think it is too, when I read Facebook posts from my Republican friends proclaiming this would have been prevented by a "good guy with a concealed carry permit". It boggles the mind.

Erdogan has most likely ignited the first embers of what could be a rather nasty conflict between the US and Russia. Fortunately, Russia has out-gamed NATO and has proven to be the cooler head in this tete-a-tete of geopolitical craziness.

Okay, I've got to get some sleep. Stuck here for another week and a half--and I've got to find a way to see Star Wars before I head back home so my mates don't spoil the hell out of it to me.

up
0 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

i wrote off dyson some time ago as somebody who talked big but always wound up being an apologist for the powers-that-be.

heh, years ago i had an internet acquaintance who thought that the world would be a nicer place if everyone were forced to carry a gun at all times. i'm afraid that i just don't understand republican logic, but i have to give it to them - when they believe in something, they believe in it fervently. and they're always willing to double down.

re: erdogan, i'm really hoping that putin has incontrovertible evidence that erdogan's family has been in the oil smuggling business. erdogan's exit from the world stage can't come too soon.

good to see you, have a good one!

up
0 users have voted.

starts at ~16:13

up
0 users have voted.
joe shikspack's picture

it would be interesting if putin could come up with some banking records that track the oil money back to erdogan's family.

i've been reading for some time that his son, bilal, has a shipping company that has been doing a land office business in smuggled oil.

up
0 users have voted.

up
0 users have voted.

Junk-Collapse-BofAML-CCC.jpg

up
0 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

Among the greater fools?

up
0 users have voted.

____________________
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
— Voltaire

mimi's picture

Not prosecuting individuals responsible for torture is really dangerous,” she said. “The U.S. was instrumental in drafting the United Nations Convention Against Torture, and brazenly ignoring its own treaty obligations provides a ready excuse for other countries to begin ignoring them as well.”

Yep, I so agree with that.

"We tortured some folks ..."
“Without criminal investigations, which would remove torture as a policy option, Obama’s legacy will forever be poisoned.”

I think we need to fire some folks, who really could formulate that sentence of "We tortured some folks". I wondered back, when he said that, how in the world he could have expressed himself like that. Can't give him slack for that wording, even today I can't.

Under the United Nations Convention against Torture, which the United States ratified in 1988, governments are required to credibly investigate allegations of torture and to prosecute where warranted. The failure to investigate and prosecute CIA torture increases the danger that some future president will authorize similar illegal interrogation methods in response to an inevitable serious security threat. Several presidential candidates for the 2016 elections have defended the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” and some have said they would use them again if elected.

“If the United States with its established democracy and stable political system can flout its legal obligation to prosecute torture, it undermines respect for the rule of law the world over,” Roth said. “Government officials who went shopping for and helped to craft legal opinions justifying the unjustifiable shouldn’t be able to rely on those opinions to shield themselves from liability.”

“In the face of the Obama administration’s refusal to investigate and prosecute senior officials responsible for these serious crimes, other countries should proceed,” Roth said. “If President Obama won’t prevent a dangerous precedent of impunity for torture, other countries should step in.”

Since the US overthrew dictator Muammar Gaddafi – hailed at the time as a “model” for US intervention – the country has descended into chaos, where large portions are now completely under the control of Isis. The New York Times carried a detailed story on its front page Sunday describing a dire situation with no functional government and various groups vying for power that fight each other rather than teaming up to fight Isis.

The Libyan intervention was the signature foreign policy move of Hillary Clinton’s time as the Obama administration’s secretary of state, where she pushed hard for military action when others were advising against it (and there was a very good argument that the whole war was illegal, given Congress not only did not approve it, but the House actively voted against it).

oh well, hard to ignore it, but we are always good at "denials".

The Chemical Weapons Convention, an international arms treaty first drafted in 1992, forbids chemical riot-control weapons from being used in warfare, but sets only ambiguous requirements on law enforcement agents using them — in appropriate “types and quantities.”

“Our research has uncovered a range of companies around the world actively promoting delivery mechanisms to tear gas people by remote control,” the report’s author, Michael Crowley, said in a statement. “This includes devices that can flood prisons with tear gas at the flick of a switch; drones that can drop pepper spray onto the heads of those below; or ground robots that can fire large quantities of [remote control] projectiles at protesting crowds.”

The report includes detailed profiles of technology like a German company’s automatic tear gas machine triggered by a potential robbery, a U.S.-developed machine that releases gas into prisons to herd prisoners, a Chinese automatic grenade launcher, a U.S.-made “tactical robot” advertised as being ideal for “covert surveillance, security, SWAT, tactical response, and law enforcement,” and a Chinese tear gas projectile launcher.

Don't leave home without it, gasmasks on and bulletproof vests that is. It's the new chic and the latest cool thing to do. Oh, and it does smell like "gas chambers", doesn't it?
Can't excerpt Glen Ford, but I am always glad that TRN gives him airtime. Ford has such a calm matter-of-factly logic in his arguments, it makes me smile.

Ok, it's bedtime already and I didn't get further than up to the TRN interview.

Oh, I see there is terrific Saxophone Player Louis Jordan. That sounds real "buzzing" and he even sings in between. That is the deal. Wow, Thanks for that too, Joe.
Music 2 Good

up
0 users have voted.

mimi

The only hope in the near term in the US is the Bernie movement

And it will take millions and millions of people engaged

Not many will be at the level of Joe's articles and links

Even Walter Lippmann decades and decades ago could not keep up with the news

But Issues are the essence of politics

And issues, like the rule of law, and in particular torture, are BIG issues and denial says the system is corrupt

Bin Laden's language and arguments are much clearer than our rationalization of American exceptionalism

The environmental collapse will force humans to change

There are some new things I found in political philosophy which deal with humans and non humans

the non human forces have always been at least as important as human forces, but they have been ignored far too long

have a good evening

up
0 users have voted.
mimi's picture

the links and comments you posted on the BNR over at dailykos. Unfortunately I can't rec there anymore, but they really were very good.

up
0 users have voted.

mimi

I like this guy

Pope Francis, galvanized by a scandal over Vatican finances, has ordered the most powerful bodies in the city-state to launch an unprecedented audit of its wealth and crack down on runaway spending.

At the suggestion of his economic chief, Cardinal George Pell, Francis has set up a “Working-Party for the Economic Future” which brings together the Secretariat of State, or prime minister’s office, the Vatican Bank and other agencies.

Francis has told the panel “to address the financial challenges and identify how more resources can be devoted to the many good works of the Church, especially supporting the poor and vulnerable,” Danny Casey, director of Pell’s office at the Secretariat for the Economy, said in an interview.

The pope’s initiatives come as five people stand trial in the Vatican over the leak of confidential documents in two books published last month that described corruption, mismanagement and wasteful spending by church officials. Those on trial deny wrongdoing.

up
0 users have voted.

all a coverup (including climate crisis activism) to divert the public attention from the sex abuse scandals in the Catholic church.

up
0 users have voted.
MarilynW's picture

After the movie's debut, Cardinal Hall involved in the Boston cover-up was removed from Boston and sent to a very exotic place, The Vatican. The audience was told about this at the end of the premiere and the audience burst out laughing. The cardinal does not give interviews.

Your friend could be right. There is proof that there were at least 1,000 pedophile priests in the Boston diocese and all were protected by the Church.

up
0 users have voted.

To thine own self be true.

Betty Clermont posts on DK

She is a Catholic, published a book on the church, and is on the case

Here is her latest piece

Vatican Corruption, Media Dysfunction, Pope Still the 4th Most Powerful Person in the World

and here is some more

There is lots and lots in the article about Vatican Finance

Reforms Not Made

Pope Francis has never even suggested that his Vatican, bishops or superiors of religious orders divest any of their assets to give more to the poor. It should be self-evident by now that by breaking with tradition and choosing the name Francis, a saint who gave everything to the poor, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio intended his pontificate’s first priority to be good PR.

If the pope wanted transparency, he and all his departments would be making audited financial disclosures.

If the pope wanted accountability, he would hire forensic accountants from a governmental financial regulatory agency, the FBI or Interpol for example.

If he wanted his Vatican to be more charitable, he would hire people experienced in non-profits or international charities to help him give away his fortune rather than hire experts in vulture capitalism.

and here is some more

Scores of Catholic priests who have been accused of abusing children in the United States and Europe have avoided accountability simply by moving to a less-developed country. [T]he Catholic Church has allowed allegedly abusive priests to slip off to parts of the world where they would face less scrutiny from prosecutors and the media."

Pope Francis appointed a bishop who he knew was the subject of allegations that he covered-up for a notorious pedophile priest. Then the pope called the bishop’s detractors “leftists” and “stupid.”

The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear for the fourth time in five years a challenge to Obamacare. The petitions come from Catholic leaders and include the Little Sisters of the Poor who the pope visited during his US visit. In 2014, the pope held a private meeting with the billionaire owner of Hobby Lobby during which they discussed “the exercise of the rights to religious freedom.” Pope Francis even “asked how the [Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. Supreme Court] case was progressing.”

"I see my Church as a major conduit for homophobia which is toxic, a form of hatred,” former Irish president Mary McAleese said in a recent interview.

Sometimes Betty gets a lot of response and makes it to the REC list. this Diary got 7 REC and 4 comments - posted Nov 22, 2015

From Oct another diary by Betty

The Synod: More Egregiously False Reporting by the Media on Pope Francis

Every US reporter and journalist writing about the Catholic Church knows that Pope John Paul II aligned with the neocon plutocracy and appointed hierarchs accordingly. Yet we have been told unanimously by the mainstream media that this wasn’t true when Pope John Paul II appointed Jorge Mario Bergoglio as bishop and promoted him to cardinal. Furthermore, we were told that this resulted in a huge rift between the pope and the US episcopate.

Pope Francis proved Religious Right issues really matter to him during his trip to the US. He met with the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of nuns who filed suit against Obamacare and, in private, with Kim Davis, the county employee jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses as required by law to same-sex couples. Confirming the reason for his meeting with Davis, on the flight back to Rome Pope Francis specifically stated after their meeting that “conscientious objection” by “government employees” is a “human right.” (No, the pope doesn't meet with everyone. He has never met in private with an American Democrat other than Pres. Obama.)

up
0 users have voted.

He's probably right, so no one will want to hear it

The new argument, which Piketty spelled out recently in the French newspaper Le Monde, is this: Inequality is a major driver of Middle Eastern terrorism, including the Islamic State attacks on Paris earlier this month — and Western nations have themselves largely to blame for that inequality.

Piketty writes that the Middle East's political and social system has been made fragile by the high concentration of oil wealth into a few countries with relatively little population. If you look at the region between Egypt and Iran — which includes Syria — you find several oil monarchies controlling between 60 and 70 percent of wealth, while housing just a bit more than 10 percent of the 300 million people living in that area. (Piketty does not specify which countries he's talking about, but judging from a study he co-authored last year on Middle East inequality, it appears he means Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Saudia Arabia, Bahrain and Oman. By his numbers, they accounted for 16 percent of the region's population in 2012 and almost 60 percent of its gross domestic product.)

oilineq.jpeg

up
0 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Democratic Party to the right
It also talks about how they want to keep Bernie from becoming the candidate because his ideas are inconsistent with what the party stands for these days.

There's also mention about how Markos has changed from his views of electing better democrats to now being a party insider. Great read about that. It gives 2 links from 10 years apart how he once was against the DLC but now supports it.
Read the links. One goes to his hit piece on Bernie that he wrote for the Hill. The comments below the article are worth reading.
In the other diary he did from 2005 I looked at the names of the commenters and I don't recognize most of them. So many people have left the site and since the rollout of dk5, more people seem to be leaving.
IMO, the new site sucks. The format is horrible. Waiting for the whole damned diary to load to see your comment if you want to reply to someone? Who the hell thought that was a good idea?
There's not as many diaries either and some stay on there for days.
I have no idea what their intention was to make it feel less like the community it used to be.

The article on Hillary is a great read.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/33869-hillary-clinton-s-ghosts-a-lega...

up
0 users have voted.

It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

up
0 users have voted.

Only connect. - E.M. Forster

lotlizard's picture

Czech Television interviewed President Bashar al-Assad on November 28.

up
0 users have voted.