Just like when the medieval executioners tortured their prisoners to scream out for “mercy”, so today two former aides of US President Donald Trump are put being on the rack to extract a begging response. If they finger the president, then maybe mercy will be shown to the prisoners.
Trump’s former lawyer and his campaign manager are facing lengthy prison sentences for financial fraud and political campaign irregularities. Michael Cohen could get five years in jail, while Paul Manafort faces a soul-crushing 80 years behind bars. A de facto death sentence, given his age.
The set-up here is so obvious and pathetic. Both men are being dangled by the feet ahead of their sentencing, with the blatant purpose of forcing them to incriminate Trump, and in that way, Trump’s political enemies finally get their long-held objective of impeaching the president.
This is how the “American Dream” really operates. It’s dirty, grim, and brutal, and has very little to do with democracy or rule of law. Forget the emblems of supposed American civility, the white-picket fences, apple pie in bourgeois comfort, old glory fluttering down at the courthouse, and all those other imaginary democratic virtues.
American politics has more in common with Francis Ford Coppola’s classic movie, The Godfather, illustrating how organized crime is intertwined with politicians and lawmakers. Mob practices are more the currency of American politics than dainty civic duties. In reality, it’s not the American Dream, it’s the American Scream.
The impossibly perfect American Dream is nevertheless so powerfully ingrained and inculcated in the popular psyche by Hollywood and national myth-making propaganda, it is hard to see the brutal reality.
When the American military obliterated Japanese civilians with atomic weapons, or incinerated children in Southeast Asia with napalm, or when it organized death squads to mutilate peasants in Central America, such practices can be easily obscured because of the opium that is the American Dream and its seductive, illusory vanity.
Even when an American president is hideously assassinated in broad daylight by his own security services, the people are not awakened from the impossible “dream”.
American politics is as dirty and as criminal as it gets. Assassinating foreign leaders, overthrowing governments, subverting and rigging elections, brainwashing the public with lying news media and think tanks, militarizing “allied” societies in the name of “protection”. These are some of the realities that define the US capitalist power system, at home and abroad.
One of America’s most celebrated presidents John F Kennedy began his term in the White House under sordid conditions. Talk about interference? It is well-documented Kennedy’s election was secured by the Chicago-based Mafia, under crime boss Sam Giancana, rigging the ballots in key states to give Kennedy the decisive vote over rival Richard Nixon in 1960.
Admittedly, JFK seemed to undergo a genuinely personal and political evolution during his brief presidency, when he subsequently desired to normalize Cold War relations with the Soviet Union. His perceived betrayal of the Mafia and the US military-security apparatus probably cost him his life when he was assassinated in Dallas in November 1963, three years into his presidency. It is claimed that the CIA and Mafia worked together to organize the killing involving teams of snipers. The hapless Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged shooter, was only a patsy, which the “great and good” American media have used as an odious cover-up ever since.
READ MORE: JFK’s ‘Peace Speech’ and The Road Not Taken
Anyway, let’s get back to Trump. It seems obvious that the prosecution of his former aides is all about a vendetta against Trump, to get him out of the White House. The US political establishment, or deep state, has never accepted this “outsider” as the president. His stated preference to normalize relations with Russia is a particular red line. The whole “Russiagate” saga has been concocted in order to delegitimize Trump’s election and to have him “taken out” as the figurehead for the deep state.
Prosecuting two of Trump’s former associates was bound to dig up plenty of dirt. Because dirt is endemic to how American big business and politics operate. It should not be surprising that Trump and his former friends are inculpated for bank and tax fraud and paying off hookers. That’s how the system pretty much works, and those transgressions are only the surface.
Look at how Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton was involved in political bribery and vote rigging, as well as soliciting foreign interference from trying to get “Russian dirt” on Trump. Not just Clinton, but the senior law enforcement and intelligence services under the Obama presidency were also involved in this massive subversion of American democracy.
What’s going on with Trump’s two associates facing jail time is the Mob’s equivalent of threatening to cut ears off a hostage unless the hostage squeals to betray another, more important target.
Already, it seems the coercion is working. Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen is reportedly “ready to cooperating” with the so-called Russia probe led by former FBI chief Robert Mueller. Mueller is a long-time operator for the deep state with his own baggage of criminal skeletons, such as lying over the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction ruse to wage a genocidal war on that country. His appointment as the chief inquisitor to entrap Trump is therefore apt.
Cohen is said to have “interesting things” to tell the Mueller inquisition concerning Trump and allegations of collusion with Russia to get him elected. Those allegations are, for any sane person, a risible farrago of lies and fantasies. No evidence has ever been produced despite two years of investigation and prosecutions. The only crimes uncovered so far are financial fraud, American-style.
But, we can be sure, that Cohen, a sniveling, greasy attorney, will deliver “information” to hang Trump in order to save his own skin from five years in the clanger. Expect more and bigger lies about Russia.
By the way, there are no good guys in this squalid drama of American politics. Trump and his gang are as rotten as the rest of the barrel.
The former New York real-estate hustler may deserve some credit in that he at least is not psychotically anti-Russia. Another indirect credit to Trump is that the whole debacle he has provoked with the deep state goes to expose the profound decay and corruption in American politics.
Just to show how Trump is no better than the rest. This week he told media that he would consider lifting economic sanctions off Russia if Moscow made “concessions” on Syria and Ukraine. On Syria, the Trump administration wants Russia to use its leverage to get Iran out of the country in order to pander to Israeli concerns.
So there you have it. Just like the gangsters at home are leveraging Trump’s associates with pain in order to get them to squeal and betray the president, we see the same sordid mentality and methods being played by Trump himself with regard to Russia. The sanctions he has slapped Russia with could be removed, he says, if Moscow does Trump’s bidding on Iran.
The American Dream? It’s a nightmare that screams with crimes and corruption. When will the people awake?
The views and opinions expressed by Finian Cunningham are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has blamed the United States for trying to hamper the modernization of his country’s army and for criticizing his crackdown on illegal drugs.
Rodrigo Duterte has dismissed as “utterly useless” an offer by the US defense chief and other top US officials to buy F16 fighter jets arguing that his country needs lighter aircraft to fight insurgents.
The Philippine president referred to a letter to this effect he had earlier received from US Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
“What I need are just propeller-driven planes for anti-insurgency. We don’t need F16 and yet they dangle before us after they insulted us,” Duterte said during a televised speech atin a military ceremony marking the Eastern Mindanao Command’s anniversary in Davao City.
Duterte also described the letter as an attempt by Washington to “make up” for its previous jabs at his government.
While acknowledging that the US and Philippines have special ties, Rodrigo Duterte said he found the term “friends” hard to stomach.“It’s hard for you to say we are friends. We are friends but remember we are friends because you made us a colony years ago. It was not a friendship agreed upon,” he said.
Duterte repeated his frustrations with the US, including a refusal to deliver about 23,000 rifles for the Philippine’s police after some US lawmakers raised concern over Manila’s police-led crackdown against illegal drugs.
Previously, Duterte railed against US Assistant Defense Secretary for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Randall Schriver who cautioned Manila not to buy military hardware from Russia.
He made the remarks amid media reports that Moscow had offered the Philippine government its help in purchasing Russian submarines and that Manila was considering the proposal.
During a visit to Russia in 2017, President Duterte expressed interest in advanced Russian weapons, including helicopters, planes, as well as precision-guided weapons to help combat the threat of terrorism.
The circus never stops, and no matter who cries fake news against whom, the fact remains that we have entered the post-truth, post-credibility, post-sanity, post-free speech world. While censorship is coming out into the open, the major corporate news organizations still have tremendous reach into the hollows of public consciousness, giving them power to direct and deflect public attention onto or away from whatever they choose.
The news industry parrots scripted narratives and talking points that are written for them by corporate, financial and political interests. This massive public relations and propaganda effort targets the intelligence, common sense and emotional stability of the body politic. It’s part of the endgame of order out of chaos.
Once you wake up to this game, though, it’s easy to see the framework in which they operate, and when you do, the talking heads and recycled government experts are a joke, albeit a dangerous one. Their tactics become more and more obvious, and their intent is easy recognized for its duplicity, subterfuge and hypocrisy.
They want to cram your mind into well-crafted box. It doesn’t matter if you end up in the right side or the left side of the box, as long as you don’t leave and so long as you stay focused on the flickering lights of the flat screen, ignoring anything that is not directly in front of you.
Corporate media has become a weapon of war, and they follow a certain missive. Consider the following directives that drive nearly everything you seen in mainstream news.
1. Be Afraid, Not Empowered
2. Omit and Forget
3. Self-Destruction is Cool, Self-Awareness is a Crime
4. You are a Victim, The State is Your Savior
5. Overreact, Don’t Over Think
6. Enrage Don’t Engage
7. Indulge, Don’t Conserve
8. Stoke Conflict, Ridicule Peace
9. Permanent War is Normal and Expected
10. Panic, Don’t Prepare
Now that we’ve entered the age of open government-backed corporate censorship of the internet, the mainstream media is actively seeking to shut down independent and dissident voices. In order to do so, they must engage in treachery of every form. If you believe that you have a right to the truth, a right to speak out, and a right to demand genuine peace and justice, then you’d better be paying attention.
If you have any more to add to this list, please do so in the comments below.
Sigmund Fraud is a survivor of modern psychiatry and a dedicated mental activist. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com where he indulges in the possibility of a massive shift towards a more psychologically aware future for humankind.
This article (The 10 Primary Directives of Mainstream Media) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Sigmund Fraud and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.
Researchers at the University of British Columbia have found a technique that could make all donated blood compatible with all patients, regardless of the blood type of the donor or the recipient.
UBC biochemist Stephen Withers announced that he and his team had found a way to convert different types of blood into the universally useful O-negative. The research was presented at this week’s meeting of the American Chemical Society.
The hope is that this could one day help alleviate chronic shortages of O-negative blood. Earlier this month, Canadian Blood Services made its regular late-summer call for blood donors across the country. With many donors away on vacation, this is one of the times of year when blood can be in short supply.
Human blood comes in four types: A, B, AB and O. What distinguishes them are tiny sugar molecules on the surface of the red blood cells. A, B and AB blood have distinctive sugar molecules that are recognized by the immune system, so if a patient receives blood of an incompatible type, a dangerous immune reaction against the blood cells can occur.
O-negative blood, however, does not have these sugar molecules, and so is essentially invisible to the immune system, which is why its universally compatible with all recipients.
The key to making A, B and AB blood universally compatible is to find molecular scissors that can efficiently snip off the sugar molecules. Researchers have been looking for such tools since the early 1980s, with limited success.
Withers’ group began searching for an enzyme — a kind of protein that targets specific molecules and cuts them. They suspected there was a natural source for the enzyme they needed in the form of bacterium that might produce it, but the trick was to identify the bacteria.
Initially, they looked to blood-sucking creatures for ideas.
“In the lab, we tossed around various ideas about where there might be bacteria that would degrade blood,” Withers told CBC Radio’s Quirks & Quarks. “One thinks of things like the leech gut or the mosquito gut, but those are probably a little hard to access.”
It turned out, there was a more readily available source: human gut bacteria. Our gut wall is coated with sugar structures called mucins, which on their surface have the same sugar molecules that are found on different types of red blood cells. According to Withers, “It was quite likely that the gut bacteria had evolved the capacity to cleave off some of those sugars to derive energy for themselves. So the human gut microbiome seemed like a good place to look.”
Withers extracted 20,000 different DNA samples from gut bacteria taken from human feces, and discovered a number of them that could produce the enzymes to do the job. From those, he noticed one new class of enzymes that was particularly good at cleaving the sugars.
“It can cleave approximately 30 times more quickly from the previous best candidate that was published a while back, when we did a side-by-side comparison of the two.”
This high level of efficiency means less of the enzyme is needed in the blood conversion process. That means lower production costs, but more importantly, it means less of the enzyme needs to be filtered out of the converted blood afterward — a necessary step before transfusion.
“This work is very promising,” Dana Devine, chief scientist at Canadian Blood Services, wrote in an email to Quirks & Quarks. “The type of blood donated will likely never be exactly matched to the demand for specific blood groups, but this new technology offers an opportunity to create a ‘workaround’ for the disproportionate demand for O blood by turning the excess inventory of other blood groups into group O.”
Withers attributes his success in this project to new techniques in metagenomics that weren’t available to his predecessors. These tools gave him a way to grow gut bacteria DNA en masse and examine the gut microbiome at a grand scale, looking at thousands of candidates at once, which let him cast the net wide to find the best bacteria for the job.
It may be some time, however, before this blood conversion technique makes it out of the lab. Extensive safety tests are still necessary before the converted blood can be approved for use in transfusions.
(GPA) — Saudi prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for a 29-year-old woman activist for crimes such as chanting slogans at a protest. Beheading a woman is unprecedented in the kingdom. Meanwhile, Facebook has sprung into action to protect Riyadh’s back by initiating a crackdown on hundreds of accounts posting anti-Saudi content.
One of these activists includes a woman named Israa al-Ghomgham who was arrested three years ago. Although Saudi Arabia has killed or injured several thousand women in neighboring Yemen, beheading a female is completely unprecedented inside the Kingdom thus far.
All of the activists reportedly took part in protests in Saudi Arabia’s town of Qatif — a heavily Shia Muslim region frequently under siege from Wahhabi Saudi forces.
Saudi rulers consider all citizens who do not adhere to their distorted and intolerant version of Islam, Wahhabism, as polytheists and non-believers. Saudi textbooks in schools contain content with the intention of inflaming hatred for Shia Muslims. This hatred overflows into their foreign policy and military strategies as well.
Ghomgham and the other four activists face charges such as chanting slogans, attempting to inflame public opinion, and providing moral support to protestors. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have reportedly both spoke out on Ghomgham’s behalf. Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland also took the opportunity to strike back at the Kingdom’s recent arrests.
These arrests are part of a broader trend under Mohammed bin Salman’s rule to arrest all activists, clerics, intellectuals, and journalists that speak out against the regime.
Although all of the recent arrests were Shia Muslim, Riyadh also cracked down on Sunni Muslim pro-democracy activists last month. In mid-July, Saudi authorities raided the home of Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali: a 68-year-old scholar who had just published a book critical of the Saudi regime’s policies. Hawali was arrested and his current fate is unclear.
Just as news broke about five activists, Facebook initiated a crackdown on anti-Saudi accounts — which also made headlines.
In fact, it appears that the Saudi regime and their Western counterparts in the United States have adopted the “Russian interference” hysteria as a strategy in their soft war against Iran. Facebook announced on Tuesday that it had removed 652 accounts which it claimed were promoting anti-Saudi, anti-Israel, and pro-Palestinian themes.
In addition to Facebook’s sweep, Twitter deleted nearly 300 accounts while Google and YouTube also deleted at least one. Facebook claims these accounts originated inside Iran from Tehran’s government itself — just like the hyper-inflated “Russian misinformation” campaign.
A private cybersecurity firm called FireEye tipped Facebook, Twitter, and Google off to the alleged accounts. The CEO of FireEye, Kevin Mandiant, is a former US Air Force officer with an extensive background in cyber espionage.
It’s very convenient for Riyadh that FireEye informed the tech companies about these alleged misinformation accounts on the very same day the news broke about Saudi plans to behead five new activists — and their first woman nonetheless.
And with FireEye’s ties to the US military, this is not surprising at all.
According to Human Rights Watch, the activists will face trial in a secret setting known as the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC): a tribunal designed seemingly specifically for activists speaking out against the regime. Of course, anyone who condemns the regime Riyadh considers a terrorist — both at home and abroad.
Meanwhile, Mohammed bin Salman is portrayed in the media as a poster child for liberal reforms. Although the neoliberals seem more focused on the privatization aspects and less on the oppressed populations in the Kingdom at abroad.
The continuation of arrests shows that Saudi Arabia will dole human rights out as gifts (like women driving) from the regime — rights will certainly not be earned through grassroots movements.
All the while, private security firms will partner with Facebook and other tech companies to crack down on these activists and others online.