The Weekly Watch
Media Hypocrisy in Taxing Times
I don't know why I'm amazed that the tax bill passed...but I am. What a blatant grab for ever more money by the capitalist ruling class. Are we so blind? Or is it apathy and acceptance of our corporate overlords? I don't know. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it is all about misinformation and distraction. Just as the media hyped ole “tiny hands” allowing him to call in interviews with soft ball questions (especially before his nomination), they are silent about the tax cuts which benefit the owners of big media. Meanwhile corporate media continues their silence as RT has to register as a foreign agent and has lost their congressional passes so they can't cover Capital Hill. Then more silence about Yemen, Israel's regular bombing in Syria, and the election fraud in Honduras. Perhaps Rex T.'s departure from the State department spells an impending war with Iran. Oh my, these are taxing times.
We are so screwed. The corporate take over is complete as evidenced by this tax disaster...
The secretive Senate Republican tax bill is one of the largest wealth transfers to elites in US history, and economist James Henry says its damage to lower-income earners will likely be even worse than thought once its full contents are known (11 min video or text)
The Tax Policy Center estimated that about 80 percent of the benefit of the tax plan will go to the top 1 percent https://theintercept.com/2017/12/01/the-gop-plan-is-the-biggest-tax-incr...
Stiglitz was on Democracy Now this week. Here's his take (video and text)
First drive up the deficit with tax cuts and then screw the poor slashing social services
The Tax Two Step https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGQv7xfIi1E (2 min)
And look at the folks that support the tax bill
and of course look at who benefits
I've got to give Bernie credit for trying to stop this disaster as he explains what is next...cutting social security, more cuts to medicare, and so on to pay for these immoral tax cuts for the 1%
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XryPTtGpg1Q (11 min from the Senate floor)
[T]he best evidence indicates that the wishes of ordinary Americans actually have had little or no impact on the making of federal government policy. Wealthy individuals and organized interest groups—especially business corporations—have had much more political clout. When they are taken into account, it becomes apparent that the general public has been virtually powerless. … The will of majorities is often thwarted by the affluent and the well-organized, who block popular policy proposals and enact special favors for themselves. …
Keeping people uninformed....
They want the citizens to be ignorant and easy to manipulate, so can you believe corporate media isn't covering the impending disappearance of net neutrality?
The Tax Scam also decimates education funding. States and local districts are following suit.
School funding still hasn't caught up from the 2008 collapse
And the decimation of our public schools has been bipartisan effort
All based on the false myth that private sector schools will out perform public schools....WRONG!
See how successful the New Orleans privatization has worked....
Not only is academic progress throttled but so is the financial side
Can we bring democracy to the work place with worker coops?
Richard Wolff thinks so in part 3 of his interview with Jimmy Dore (30 min)
part 1 on inequality (15 min)
part 2 on world wide movement (11 min)
part 4 on Trump (11 min)
for more on coops see: https://usworker.coop/home/
Larry Wilkerson describes his view of a rational policy with Paul Jay in part 11 of a great interview series (all of which appear in the side panel on this site) 9 min video or text
Does the exit of Rex T. mean a war with Iran is next? (13 min or text)
Robert Scheer gives his view of Tillerson leaving (3 min)
Chris Hedges looks at genocide and lessons learn (or not)
The shuffle doesn't look good with Cotton going to the CIA
Michael Flynn's guilty plea to lying to the FBI falls short on Russia "collusion" but points to the Trump administration acting on Israel's behalf, says author and journalist Max Blumenthal (18 min)
Is T-rump totally unhindged? Ralph spends a whole hour with Dr. Bandy X. Lee, psychiatrist from the Yale School of Medicine and editor of “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President” on his podcast.
Around the World
The Intercepted podcast this week features
Jeremy tearing apart Thomas Friedman’s gross love letter to the Saudi crown prince and talks about the bi-partisan war against journalism from Bill Clinton to Donald Trump. As more women come forward to name their sexual assaulters and harassers, Intercept Editor-in-Chief Betsy Reed and BuzzFeed’s Katie Baker analyze this unprecedented moment. Robert Mugabe was removed in a military coup, but his successor is a brutal thug from the same party... analysis from Harare, Zimbabwe. (1.5 hr or text)
Jeremy also discusses the sanctions against RT early in the podcast
Max and Ben spend their hour podcast talking with Joseph Massad about Israel and zionism.
(with partial transcript)
Max Blumenthal was also on the Real News discussing the relationship between Israel and Flynn.
Israel continues to bomb Syria with no US media coverage.
Is Saudi's Lebanon interference gamble paying off?
President Trump has caused outrage for retweeting three anti-Muslim videos from the fringe right-wing group Britain First. Aymann Ismail explores Muslim identity and Islamophobia (video and text)
Nearer to home....
Hondoras elections look rigged. It wasn't that long ago that Obama suported a coup there. (13 min or text) http://therealnews.com/t2/story:20618:Honduras-Election%3A-One-of-the-Wo...
It's nothing new, another round of US backed elections.
Protests are a natural result (14 min or text)
In an unprecedented move that violates World Trade Organization rules, Argentina revoked accreditations of representatives of 20 NGOs, preventing them from attending the 11th WTO Meeting in Buenos Aires next week. Deborah James of CEPR explains the significance of this decision
Kathleen White's nomination for the top White House environment post is headed for a Senate confirmation vote. She repeated her claim to senators that CO2 is not a pollutant. "As an atmospheric gas, it is a plant nutrient."
More subterfuge as the GOP quietly opens the arctic to drilling
Contributing author to the report for the US Congress, Columbia University climate scientist, Dr. Radley Horton says more extreme weather events will be more common if we don't curb use of fossil fuel (video and text)
So we've got mass disinformation misleading citizens. In a couple of weeks my state is likely to vote in a pedophile as senator. Around places like “Trade Day” I hear statements like, “The estate tax is a bad idea. Those people have a right to keep their money”. It will be a long slog to enlightenment here in the buckle of the Bible Belt where churches fight to keep poor people from having health care and inadvertently seek to enrich the wealthy.
What to do? I like Richard Wolff's ideas about creating worker coops. I like Jermemy Corbyn standing up to the big banks in his country: “When they say we’re a threat, they’re right. We’re a threat to a damaging and failing system that’s rigged for the few.” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-30/labour-s-corbyn-says-...
Maybe the UK will led the way to a socialist future...well we can hope.
Perhaps we should find the joy and power of poetry in the digital age...
Gerald Stern, Poet and Author, discusses with Chris Hedges how poets and their poetry have lost the voice to “speak truth to power” in this digital society. (26 min)
OPOL posted a poem from the Prophet this week. It reminded me of this passage as well....
Freedom XIV - Poem by Khalil Gibran
And an orator said, "Speak to us of Freedom."
And he answered:
At the city gate and by your fireside I have seen you prostrate yourself and worship your own freedom,
Even as slaves humble themselves before a tyrant and praise him though he slays them.
Ay, in the grove of the temple and in the shadow of the citadel I have seen the freest among you wear their freedom as a yoke and a handcuff.
And my heart bled within me; for you can only be free when even the desire of seeking freedom becomes a harness to you, and when you cease to speak of freedom as a goal and a fulfillment.
You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief,
But rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound.
And how shall you rise beyond your days and nights unless you break the chains which you at the dawn of your understanding have fastened around your noon hour?
In truth that which you call freedom is the strongest of these chains, though its links glitter in the sun and dazzle the eyes.
And what is it but fragments of your own self you would discard that you may become free?
If it is an unjust law you would abolish, that law was written with your own hand upon your own forehead.
You cannot erase it by burning your law books nor by washing the foreheads of your judges, though you pour the sea upon them.
And if it is a despot you would dethrone, see first that his throne erected within you is destroyed.
For how can a tyrant rule the free and the proud, but for a tyranny in their own freedom and a shame in their won pride?
And if it is a care you would cast off, that care has been chosen by you rather than imposed upon you.
And if it is a fear you would dispel, the seat of that fear is in your heart and not in the hand of the feared.
Verily all things move within your being in constant half embrace, the desired and the dreaded, the repugnant and the cherished, the pursued and that which you would escape.
These things move within you as lights and shadows in pairs that cling.
And when the shadow fades and is no more, the light that lingers becomes a shadow to another light.
And thus your freedom when it loses its fetters becomes itself the fetter of a greater freedom.
Here's hoping your day is a good one filled with peace and contentment and you feel free to pursue your dreams. I look forward to your thoughts and comments below.