Many people believe UFOs visit Earth from other planets far, far away. A Montana Tech professor believes UFOs are much closer to home.
Many people believe UFOs visit Earth from other planets far, far away. A Montana Tech professor believes UFOs are much closer to home.
Morris Dees, founder and director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an element of the Israel Lobby that smears and demeans truth-tellers, was fired. The article reporting Dees’ removal speculates that he was fired for sexual harassment. More likely he was fired for having to pay out $60 million of the SPLC’s $500,000,000 endowment to settle defamation lawsuits.
Ask yourself how is it that an organization committed to smearing people has an endowment of a half billion dollars and not the Institute for Political Economy that focuses on providing truthful information that is contrary to official explanations. Clearly, there is far more money available for “hitman” organizations dedicated to destroying truth tellers than there is for the targets of such organizations.
If truth tellers criticize Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, the truth tellers are branded “anti-Semites.”
If truth tellers question official government explanations such as 9/11, they are branded “conspiracy theorists.”
If truth tellers correct the official lies that portray Russia as a dire threat to the United States and Russia’s President Putin as the “New Hitler,” they are branded “Russian agents,” and “Putin dupes.”
$500,000,000 is a huge endowment for a reputation-smearing organization operating in Montgomery, Alabama. Where did that money come from?
Why, in contrast, are organizations struggling to present facts and rational analysis operating on shoe strings?
The philanthropic foundations, which once supported information independent of government and private agendas, have been taken into the propaganda Matrix that has blinded Americans to the demise of their liberties. Every day another piece of America withers away. Soon there will be nothing left.
Readers need to understand that there is an infinite number of people worldwide who are devoid of all morality and all integrity. Their only concern is money, and they will do anything to get it. Many are paid to smear truth tellers on Internet sites that have comment sections and on Facebook and other social media. Entire websites, such as ProporNot, have been created in order to discredit truth-tellers. Government agencies and special interests employ agents to spread propaganda via social media in order to create public support for overthrowing targeted governments such as Venezuela, Cuba, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Iran.
It is very expensive for a person to exercise the right of free speech for the purpose of telling the truth. But if you attack truth, you get a half billion dollar endowment.
In the United States, the only hope for truth lies in the pocketbook of ordinary people. If they do not support the alternative media websites that are dedicated to truth, the truth will wither away with the country.
Support IPE: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/pages/donate/
As Karl Marx said, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”
Western Culture Has Died A Politically Correct Death
It is amazing the power that politically correct kooks have acquired over language, art, and literature. It is a sign that the West is culturally dead.
When high museums rename paintings because some emotional weakling declares the name to be offensive, it becomes obvious that the custodians of Western culture have lost their belief in Western culture.
When universities cover up murals because of a claim they are offensive to people whose presence on the campus is minuscule if present at all, you know that learning is no longer the purpose of the university.
When people are afraid to use the words and terms of their forefathers, you know they have been intimidated to abandon even their own language and ways of speaking.
Western culture today consists of pornography, sexual deviants, whining wimps devastated by mere words, self-hatred, and craven cowards afraid to stand up for themselves against the onslaught of hate directed toward them by political correctness freaks.
The political correctness people are the most alienated and emotionally weak element in society. Yet they dominate in the media, entertainment, universities, and art world. How is it possible that the Washingtonians are prepared to take us to war with real people—Russians, Chinese and North Koreans—two countries that have already whipped us once—and Persians, an ancient race that even the Romans had a hard time with? Do the fools in Washington really think that our homosexualized, feminized, transgenderized military can take on Russians, Chinese, and Persians? Hollywood can make all the movies it wants with female superheroes, but superheroes are the last thing whining American feminists are.
The real questions for the politically correct crowd are: (1) why isn’t war politically incorrect, and (2) why isn’t it politically incorrect for the politically correct arbiters of language to call the rest of us names? The real racists in America are those who call white people racist.
Universities in the 20th century were dedicated to the advancement of knowledge. Scholarship and research were pursued, and diverse opinions were exchanged and argued in the “marketplace of ideas.”
This is no longer the case. Particularly in the social sciences, humanities, education, social work, and law, a single political ideology has replaced scholarship and research, because the ideology presents fixed answers to all questions. And, although the most important thing in universities today is the diversity of race, gender, sexual practice, ethnicity, economic class, and physical and mental capability, there is no longer diversity of opinion. Only those committed to the ideology are admitted to academic staff or administration.
Universities have been transformed by the near-universal adoption of three interrelated theories: postmodernism, postcolonialism, and social justice. These theories and their implications will be explored here.
Postmodernism: In the past, academics were trained to seek truth. Today, academics deny that there is such a thing as objective Truth. Instead, they argue that no one can be objective, that everyone is inevitably subjective, and consequently everyone has their own truth. The correct point of view, they urge, is relativism. This means not only that truth is relative to the subjectivity of each individual, but also that ethics and morality are relative to the individual and the culture, so there is no such thing as Good and Evil, or even Right and Wrong. So too with the ways of knowing; your children will learn that there is no objective basis for preferring chemistry over alchemy, astronomy over astrology, or medical doctors over witch doctors. They will learn that facts do not exist; only interpretations do.
Our social understanding has also been transformed by postmodern relativism. Because moral and ethical principles are deemed to be no more than the collective subjectivity of our culture, it is now regarded as inappropriate to judge the principles and actions of other cultures. This doctrine is called “cultural relativism.” For example, while racism is held to be the highest sin in the West, and slavery the greatest of our historical sins, your children will learn that we are not allowed to criticize contemporary racism and slavery in Africa, the Middle East, and the equivalents in South Asia.
The political manifestation of cultural relativism is multiculturalism, an incoherent concept that projects the integration of multiple incompatible cultures. Diversity is lauded as a virtue in itself. Imagine a country with fifty different languages, each derived from a different culture. That would not be a society, but a tower of babble. How would it work if there were multiple codes of law requiring and forbidding contrary behaviors: driving on the left and driving on the right; monogamy and polygamy; male dominance and gender equality; arranged marriage and individual choice? Your children will learn that our culture is nothing special and that other cultures are awesome.
Postcolonialism, the dominant theory in the social sciences today, is inspired by the Marxist-Leninist theory of imperialism, in which the conflict between the capitalist and proletariat classes is allegedly exported to the exploitation of colonized countries. By this means, the theory goes, oppression and poverty take place in colonies instead of in relation to the metropolitan working class. Postcolonialism posits that all of the problems in societies around the world today are the result of the relatively short Western imperial dominance and colonization. For example, British imperialism is blamed for what are in fact indigenous cultures, such as the South Asian caste system and the African tribal system. So too, problems of backwardness and corruption in countries once, decades ago, colonies continue to be blamed on past Western imperialism. The West is thus the continuing focus on anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist sentiment. Your children will learn that our society is evil, and the cause of all the evil in the wider world.
This ahistorical approach of postcolonialism ignores the hundreds of empires and their colonies throughout history, as well as ignoring contemporary empires, such as the Arab Muslim Empire that conquered all of the central Middle East, North Africa, southern Europe, Persia, Central Asia, and northern India, and occupied them minimally for hundreds of years, but 1400 years in the central Middle East and North Africa, and occupy them today. China, once the Communists took power, invaded Inner Mongolia to the north, Chinese Turkestan to the west, and Tibet to the south. Once in control, the government flooded these colonies with Han Chinese, in effect ethnically cleansing them. Postcolonialists have nothing to say about any of this; they wish to condemn exclusively the West. Your children will learn to reject history and comparisons with other societies, lest the claimed unique sins of the West be challenged.
Postcolonialists like to stress the racial dimension of Western imperialism: as an illustration of racism. But postmodernists are not interested in Arab slave raiding in “black” Africa, or Ottoman slaving among the whites in the Balkans, or the North Africans slave raiding of whites in Europe, from Ireland through Italy and beyond. Your children will learn that only whites are racist.
Social justice theory teaches that the world is divided between oppressors and victims. Some categories of people are oppressors and other are victims: males are oppressors, and females are victims; whites are oppressors, and people of color are victims; heterosexuals are oppressors, and gays, lesbians, bisexual, etc. are victims; Christians are oppressors, and Muslims are victims. Your sons will learn that they are stigmatized by their toxic masculinity.
Social justice theory has taken university life by storm. It is the result of the relentless working of Marxist theory, adopted by youngsters during the American cultural revolution of the 1960s, then brought to universities as many of those youngsters became college professors. Marxism as an academic theory was explicitly followed by some in the 1970s and 1980s, but it did not sweep everything else away, because the idea economic class conflict was not popular in the prosperous general North American population. The cultural Marxist innovation that brought social justice theory to dominance was the extension of class conflict from economics to gender, race, sexual practice, ethnicity, religion, and other mass categories. We see this in sociology, which is no longer defined as the study of society but has for decades been defined as the study of inequality. For social justice theory, equality is not the equality of opportunity that is the partner of merit, but rather equality of result, which ensures the members of each category at equality of representation irrespective of merit. Your sons will learn that they should “step aside” to give more space and power to females. Your daughters, if white, will learn that they must defer to members of racial minorities.
As there is allegedly structural discrimination against all members of victim categories, in order for equality of result to prevail, representation according to percentages of populations must be mandated in all organizations, in all books assigned or references cited, in all awards and benefits. Ideas such as merit and excellence are dismissed as white-male supremacist dog whistles; they are to be replaced by “diversity” of gender, race, sexual preference, ethnicity, economic class, religion, and so on. (Note that “diversity” does not include “diversity of opinion”; for only social justice ideology is acceptable. Any criticism or opposition is regarded as “hate speech.”) Academic committees now twist themselves into pretzels trying to explain that “diversity is excellence.”
Of course, the requirement of representation according to population applies only one way: to members of victim classes. If whites, men, heterosexuals, Christians, etc. are underrepresented, that is fine; the fewer the better. For example, females now make up 60% of university graduates, although in the general age cohort males are 51%. There is no social justice clamoring for males to be fully represented. Members of disfavored oppressor categories are disparaged. The classics of Western civilization should be ignored because they are the work, almost exclusively, of “dead white men.” Only works of females, people of color and non-Western authors should be considered virtuous. So too in political history. The American Constitution should be discarded because its writers were slaveholders.
“intersectionality” is an idea invented by a feminist law professor. It argues that some individuals fall into several victim categories, for example, black, female lesbians have three points in the victim stakes, as opposed to male members of the First Nations who receive only one point. Further, on the action front, members of each victim category are urged to unite and ally with members of other victim categories, because sharing the victim designation is the most important status in the world. This leads to some anomalies. Black victims of racism are urged to unite with Arab victims of colonialism, even though Arabs have been and still are holders of black slaves.
As Karl Marx said, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.” The objective of a university education today is to ensure that students chose “the right side” in changing the world. The idea that it probably makes sense to try to understand the world before attempting to change it, is rejected as outmoded, modernist empiricism and realism, now superseded by postmodernism and social justice. If there is no Truth, and whatever one feels or believes is one’s truth, then trying to gain an objective understanding of the world is futile.
Things you are not allowed to say anymore.
Every other week, it seems like there’s a new case of something “racist” or “culturally insensitive” being banished from view in this fight against anything that could conceivably be “offensive” to the eyes or ears of one group or another.
With more and more old literary classics, theatre plays and works of art being ‘reexamined’ over their ‘problematic’ themes and words, it’s almost like the West’s is in a fight against its own cultural history.
Read by millions of American schoolchildren for more than one hundred years, Mark Twain’s ‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ has suddenly become too controversial for curricula.
Sensitive lawmakers in New Jersey recently introduced a resolution that would remove the book from school programs. Why? Because the novel, written in the 1880s, uses racial slurs and depicts racial attitudes and stereotypes which could “cause students to feel upset.”
Instead of using the American classic to perhaps teach kids about racism and history, the lawmakers have decided to just get rid of it instead. It doesn’t even seem to matter that the racial slurs are used by characters who are portrayed negatively in the book, their mere existence in the text is apparently enough to warrant the banishing.
Two more cherished classics to add to the literary and cinematic naughty corner are P. L. Travers’ ‘Mary Poppins’ and Disney’s ‘The Lion King’, which are both now too racist for consumption, apparently.
Europe’s oldest university at the Sorbonne has seen many a banning controversy in its day — the works of Erasmus were banned by the university in the 16th century, for example — but it looks like the hallowed place of learning is not yet done with censorship.
Activists at the Sorbonne university have just blocked a theater performance of ‘The Suppliants’ by Greek playwright Aeschylus, because some characters wear black masks, which they said could promote racial stereotypes.
Not all hope is lost, however. In this case, the university itself lashed out at the activists saying the blockage of the performance was “a very serious, totally unjustified attack on freedom of creation.”
France’s education minister even weighed in on the ‘scandal’ and said that while growing racism was an issue in France, some activist groups were perpetrating a “certain violence in the name of anti-racism.”
In another attempt at cultural ‘sensitivity’, a French museum has launched a special exhibition in which a number of masterpieces have been renamed after their black subjects. Manet’s Olympia, for example, has been renamed ‘Laure’ after the woman who posed as her black maid in the background — although the renaming seems to be temporary for this particular exhibition.
But renaming art as a form of ‘reconciliation’ is not a new idea. Last year, the Art Gallery of Ontario renamed a painting by Canadian artist Emily Carr in an effort to “eliminate culturally insensitive languages” from the titles in its collection. The painting of a white church in an indigenous village was originally called ‘Indian Church’ but its new name is ‘Church at Yuquot Village’.
Shield your eyes from the Columbus muralsNot everyone was delighted by the move, with some in the art community saying that the renaming displaces the work from its historical context, which does even more damage. Back in 2015, a Dutch museum also began renaming works of art to ensure that modern museum goers were not offended.
To shelter sensitive students from the sins of the past, the University of Notre Dame announced earlier this year that it would cover up murals of Christopher Columbus, the explorer who committed atrocities against native people after he ‘discovered’ the Americas while seeking to find a new trade route to India — a moment in history which sparked centuries of transatlantic colonization.
Notre Dame president John Jenkins wrote in an email that the murals on campus were “demeaning” to the “indigenous peoples.” The decision outraged the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) chapter at the university whose spokesperson said Notre Dame had decided to “coddle its students by shielding them from a painting of an important figure in world history.”
The attitude now seems to be, if history is upsetting or too hard to handle, we should just try to forget it ever happened and destroy anything that might remind us.
With delicate modern sensibilities dictating everything these days, it looks like it’s time to enjoy these creations of the past before it’s too late.
It’s just after dusk on a cool August night in Wood Buffalo Park in Alberta, roughly 50 kilometres southwest of Fort Smith, N.W.T. For two days and nights, clouds and cool weather have hampered the group of astronomy enthusiasts hoping to enjoy the dark skies and perhaps even catch a display of the northern lights.
It’s the final day of the Thebacha and Wood Buffalo Astronomical Society’s Dark-Sky Festival. and, as if the sky takes pity on the group — made up of amateur astronomers and families with young children — the clouds begin to break up as the sun sets. But there’s one streak that remains in the dark blue sky.
“Keep an eye out,” says Roland Dechesne, a guest speaker and member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. “Could be aurora.”
Salt River First Nation elder Paul Boucher, who is standing nearby, looks skyward. “What? That?” he says. “Yeah. That’s the northern lights.”
The northern lights, or aurora borealis, are a familiar sight in northern skies. But those dancing lights mean much more in many Indigenous cultures.
The recognition of First Nations contributions to science has been on the rise in recent years. In astronomy, instead of teaching constellations and stories from the Greeks and Romans, many Indigenous people are turning to teaching the star stories of the people who have lived on this land for thousands of years.
For the Cree (Salt River First Nation is made up of Cree and Chipewyan) the sight of the dancing lights means spirits are dancing across the sky.
“In the wintertime, when these lights were in the sky most prominently, there was a connection, a connection to alternate realities, to the spirit world,” Wilfred Buck, a science facilitator at the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre (MFNERC) says of the northern lights. “And that connection was strong.”
Buck, from Opaskwayak Cree Nation, has a goal: to teach science from an Indigenous perspective, something that he’s been doing for 14 years. He’s a hard man to pin down; for many days of the year, he is traveling, often with his portable planetarium.
When he took the position at MFNERC, he wanted to teach First Nations in science. In an effort to determine the best way to do this, he reached out to the elders who told him he had two ways he could approach it: he could teach it from a Western system and infuse First Nations’ culture into the subject areas or he could do it the opposite way. He opted for the latter.
“The students have to understand … they’ve been educated and told and colonized to think that our people were savages in a bush and surviving and we didn’t know anything,” Buck said. “That’s not true.”
Buck’s interest in the stars began when he was about five years old.
“I remember sitting on the banks of the river and looking up at that night sky, and wondering … what’s out there and where our place is in it,” he says.
And then it dawned on him: the skies were heavily embedded in his culture.
“Sitting in the sweat lodge, singing these ceremonial songs, partaking in [the] sun dance, partaking in fasting, partaking in ceremonies — a lot of these ceremonial songs are in reference to the stars,” he says. “And all the ceremonies that are done are done in regards to the sun.”
Like Buck, Hilding Neilson wanted to bring Indigenous astronomy to the public. Neilson, who is Mi’kmaw from the Qalipu First Nation in Newfoundland and Labrador, is an assistant professor in the University of Toronto’s department of astronomy and astrophysics. He teaches Indigenous astronomy in his courses.
“I wanted to see more of Indigenous knowledge in classrooms, because we are on Indigenous land,” he says. “Simply put, if we’re going to be here, we should be learning about the peoples whose land we colonized. We should be learning about their knowledge and learning to appreciate that knowledge.”
Buck says most people don’t realize First Nations people had a deep understanding of the sky and even pondered such topics such as cosmology and quantum physics.
One example is the star cluster called the Pleiades or, in Western culture the Seven Sisters. The Cree referred to it as the “hole in the sky.”
“When they’re referring to a hole in the sky, they’re referring to a spatial anomaly. They’re referring to a wormhole, an alternate reality,” Buck says. “They meditated on these things, they dreamed about these things, they debated on these things and they philosophized on these things.”
See an elder explain the Cree traditions around the winter solstice:
What does the winter solstice mean in the Cree tradition?
And it’s time that astronomers and scientists considered Indigenous contributions and their worth, Buck says.
“All these ceremonies and all these so-called mythologies … there’s a depth of knowledge involved. They’re not just quaint little stories. … Every Indigenous culture in the world has that depth of knowledge, that intellectual capacity,” he says. “It’s just that through the colonial process it’s been minimized and it’s been marginalized.”
Neilson says many of the stories have been lost, but he’s happy to see renewed interest in not only telling the stories, but respecting what they have to offer. The worry is that much of it may have already been lost.
“Like every aspect of Indigenous knowledge, we know we have to be very worried about what has been lost and what is unavailable,” Neilson says. “And who knows if we’ll ever get it all back? But preserving it is a big, important part of all this.”
It’s important that no one underestimates the importance stars play in the daily lives of Indigenous people from around the world, Buck says.
“Stars are part of our lives,” Buck says. “Every night they’re out there and my people believe we come from the stars.”
President Donald Trump exceeded his authority when he reversed bans on offshore drilling in vast parts of the Arctic Ocean and dozens of canyons in the Atlantic Ocean, a U.S. judge said in a ruling that restored the Obama-era restrictions.
Judge Sharon Gleason in a decision late Friday threw out Trump’s executive order that overturned the bans that comprised a key part of Obama’s environmental legacy.
Presidents have the power under a federal law to remove certain lands from development but cannot revoke those removals, Gleason said.
“The wording of President Obama’s 2015 and 2016 withdrawals indicates that he intended them to extend indefinitely, and therefore be revocable only by an act of Congress,” said Gleason, who was nominated to the bench by Obama.
A message left Saturday for the Department of Justice was not immediately returned.
The American Petroleum Institute, a defendant in the case, disagreed with the ruling.
28 Mar, 2019
Imagine how less complicated life would be if American statesmen only took the time to consult a world map before speaking publicly on global events. Had John Bolton, for example, performed this simple exercise he would have avoided appearing like the representative of a nation that is hell bent on conquering every square inch of real estate on planet Earth, or at least the real estate with proven oil reserves.
“The United States will not tolerate hostile foreign military powers meddling with the Western Hemisphere’s shared goals of democracy, security, and the rule of law,” the national security advisor tweeted this week in an apparent early morning bout of Napoleon complex. “The Venezuelan military must stand with the people of Venezuela.”
This brings us back to the importance of consulting maps. Had Bolton done some basic cartographic research on US and NATO operations worldwide, he would have been possibly, though doubtfully, struck with a sense of awe and even embarrassment by the sheer number of US-NATO flags piercing the paper landscape. Many of those flags, incidentally, are flapping wildly in faraway places like Poland, Latvia, and Romania, where a US missile defense shield “went live” in 2016 despite repeated warnings by Moscow that the system would have “an adverse effect on global stability.” Those warnings fell on deaf ears, as Vladimir Putin reminded the world last year with much aplomb.
In cooperation with the 21-member NATO bloc, and under direct supervision of the US, those above mentioned countries regularly conduct massive military exercises – with cuddly, reassuring codenames, like Anaconda and Saber Strike – smack on Russia’s border, and despite the fact that Moscow has never ventured to lift so much as a finger against a single Western nation (A similar sort of threatening posture, by the way, is being taken against China).
Indeed, despite the Western media’s non-stop allusions to an “aggressive Russia” that just can’t quit its latent “imperial ambitions,” it is in fact NATO that looks determined to create a global empire.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and despite verbal assurances given to Mikhail Gorbachev, the Western military bloc has been encroaching on Russia’s sphere of influence with utter disregard for the consequences. When Moscow is forced to take the next logical step, which is to defend itself with new weapon systems, the United States throws a tantrum and withdraws from major arms reduction agreements, like the ABM and INF treaties. Meanwhile, the European vassal states, despite being in the firing line of any hypothetical future conflict, rarely rebuke Washington for its reckless actions.
This dogged obedience by the European capitals allows Washington to carry on around the world as it sees fit, and without a hint of legality. By way of proof, one need only look at the Arc of Insanity that stretches across the Middle East and Central Asia. Once wholly functioning modern states, like Iraq and Libya, and to a lesser degree, Afghanistan, were methodically beaten into submission by the US-led Western powers. Syria was also perched on the precipice of annihilation until Russia entered the fray to lend its assistance in the battle against Islamic State. Strangely, however, NATO was not receptive to Moscow’s help in routing the terrorist menace, and in fact on several occasions the Western alliance acted like Islamic State’s private air force as Syrian government forces came under repeated attack by US-led airstrikes. So much for the “Western Hemisphere’s shared goals of democracy, security, and the rule of law,” as Bolton alluded to in his delusional tweet.
Although Donald Trump promised on the campaign trail that he would stop Washington’s rabid regime-change ways, it seems the temptation that has presented itself – just miles from US territory, in Venezuela, where sits the largest oil reserves in the world – is simply too great to resist, and more so for a businessman who has spoken casually in the past about seizing the oil of other countries.
So, now we are confronted with a surrealistic scenario where the US, with its 800 odd military franchises straddling the planet, is warning Russia not to meddle in the Western Hemisphere. It sounds like the punchline of a bad joke when nobody laughs. Trump contributed his share to global warming when he remarked that “all options are open” as far as dealing with Russia and its handful of specialists in Venezuela goes.
Here we have a situation where Russia is giving Washington a tiny dose of its own bitter medicine and the reaction was, as to be expected, extreme to say the least. That is because, more than any other place on the planet, South America has been the private hunting grounds for US policymakers, and to suddenly have Russia show up in the Western hemisphere and take a direct interest in Venezuela is just too much. It is no secret that the United States is pursuing regime change in Caracas against the democratically elected President Nicolas Maduro. Despite Venezuela having some of the most transparent elections in the world, with voting machines that provide physical receipts, the Trump administration has taken it upon itself to elect the Venezuelan president instead.
Turns out that 81% of Venezuelans don’t know who @jguaido is! And he wants to be crowned President!
You are gonna have to work a bit more on that name-recognition outside of the White House circles Juan!
Con el Mazo Dando
¡Oposición sin liderazgo! 81 % de los venezolanos no sabe quién es Juan Guaidó (+ Encuesta) https://www.conelmazodando.com.ve/193001
An estimated 80 percent of Venezuelans had never heard of Juan Guaido in January of this year, but that all changed when he got a phone call from US Vice President Mike Pence.
Suddenly, Guaido had gone from relative obscurity to the puppet leader of the Latin American country. The US media then swung into action, providing some bogus democratic credentials to bolster the image of Washington’s man in Caracas, who, by the way, has promised to open up Venezuela’s oil industry to foreign companies.
Now, in a page that appears torn straight out of Ukraine’s 2014 Maidan uprising tragedy, where the late US Senator John McCain told a crowd in Kiev “We are here to support your cause,” the puppet named Guaido has announced “tactical actions” that will start next week after a nationwide protest designed to topple Maduro. With any luck, the Venezuelan people will avoid, like the Syrian people managed to do with Russian intervention, the tragic fate that has struck down numerous sovereign states over the years that lacked the power to defend themselves. And with an additional stroke of luck, the United States and Russia will be able to avoid any accidental clashes that may result from yet another regime change attempt by the United States.
It’s a painful expression to hear, but it is during dangerous times like these when we Americans would do well to heed the crude advice that has been uttered by millions of tormented people over the last two decades of US military misadventures: ‘Yankee go home!’
America has for years been waging an economic war against Venezuela, including debilitating sanctionswhich have dramatically affected the state’s ability to purchase medicines, and even mundane replacement parts needed in buses, ambulances, etc. Alongside the economic war there has been a steady propaganda war, but in recent months, the propaganda has escalated dramatically, from corporate media to US political figures.
Venezuela is described as “the country pilots are refusing to fly to,” as per a March 18, 2019, AP articleon American Airlines cancelling all flights to Venezuela, containing scary phrases like “safety concerns” and “civil unrest.”
On March 9, American cancelled my Miami-Caracas flight on the basis that there wasn’t enough electricity to land at Caracas airport. Strangely enough, the Copa flight I took the following day after an overnight in Panama had no problem landing, nor did Copa flights on the day of my own cancelled flight, according to Copa staff.
The cancellation of flights to Venezuela then lends legitimacy to the shrill tweets of Marco Rubio, Mike Pence, John Bolton, and the previously unknown non-president, Juan Guaido.
I’ve been in various areas of Caracas since March 10, and I’ve seen none of this “civil unrest” that corporate media are talking about. I’ve walked around Caracas, usually on my own, and haven’t experienced the worry for my safety corporate media is telling Westerners they should suddenly feel more than normal in Venezuela.
In fact, I see little difference from the Venezuela I knew in 2010 when I spent half a year here, except the hyperinflation is absurdly worse and in my absence I missed the years of extreme right-wing opposition supporters street violence – a benign term for the guarimbas which saw opposition supporters burning people alive, among other violence against people and security.
So it strikes me that the decision of American Airlines to stop flying to Venezuela is not about safety and security issues, but is political, in line with increasingly hollow rhetoric about a humanitarian crisis that does not exist, even according to former UN Special Rapporteur, Alfred de Zayas.
I asked Paul Dobson, a journalist who has lived in Venezuela the last 14 years, if anything like this had happened before. Turns out it has, also at a very timely moment.
“At the time of the National Constituent Assembly elections, July 30, 2017, the major airlines – including Air France, United, American, pretty much all of the European airlines – suspended their flights one day before the elections, citing “security reasons.” Most of the services were reopened about four days after the elections, some of them two weeks after the elections.”
So were there ‘security concerns? I asked Paul.
“This was towards the end of street violence (guarimbas) that had been going on for six months in the country. Why didn’t they suspend their activity six months before, two months before? They did it the day before the elections, clearly trying to influence votes and the way that people see their country internationally. There were no extra security concerns that day than any day over the last 6 months. So, there was really no justification for it. And it caused massive problems on the ground, around elections.”
I spent most of afternoon in Petare, one of poorest areas of Caracas & the most sprawling series of barrios in Latin America. Ppl I met there spoke about Imperialist & economic war against them, & how they will continue defending their country. Night & day fr these howling idiots
On February 23, a month after a previously largely-unknown, US-backed man named Juan Guaido claimed he was the president of Venezuela, there was a short-lived period of instability at the Venezuelan border with Colombia, when America insisted on forcing aid trucks into Venezuela.
Aid trucks that burned that day were the result of attacks of masked young men on the Colombian side, and not from the Venezuelan military as western corporate media and Marco Rubio would have you believe. Less-known is that the ‘aid trucks’ contained very odd humanitarian aid, including nails and wire.
Were their fake concerns genuine, the US could have done what Cuba, China, and Russia, among others, have done and send the aid through appropriate channels, like the UN and the Red Cross. America’s attempt to ram trucks through Venezuela’s border has been revealed as the cheap propaganda stunt that it was.
A couple of weeks later, suddenly there was a very timely country-wide power outage for six days, affecting most things in Venezuelan infrastructure and life, a reality that Palestinians in Gaza have been living since at least 2006 when Israel bombed their sole power plant, never since allowing them to import the parts needed to adequately repair it.
When I lived in Gaza, I grew accustomed to outages of 16-22 hours a day, for months on end. Near-daily sustained 18 plus hour power outages continue in Gaza, but that’s not something the regime-change squad were or are outraged about.
Talking with journalists of Mision Verdad, an independent Venezuelan investigative news site, I learned that one of the targets of looting was a mall in Maracaibo, where electronics were the items of choice, not food. Another incident reportedly involved looting beer and soft drinks. Odd behaviour for a starving people in a humanitarian crisis.
When I arrived three days into the outage, aside from darkened buildings, empty streets, and in following days long lines at water dispensaries and ATMs, I saw no instability. Instead, I saw and learned of Venezuelans working together to get through the drastic effects of the power outage.
I learned at the Ministry of Urban Agriculture of how they took vegetables and crops to hospitals and schools during the electricity outage, but also of how urban agriculture has become an act of resistance in a climate of war and fake news. At a circular plot next to a social housing block I saw young men and women working the land, bursts of lettuces, herbs, beetroots, spinach, and peppers, as well as plots still being planted.
One of the commune leaders spoke of raising rabbits as an affordable, and easy to maintain, source of protein.
“We’re trying to achieve self sustainability of this produce, for the community. This is what we’re doing against the economic war,” he said.
Two days ago, visiting the Caracas barrios of Las Brisas, I asked Jaskeherry, head of a colectivo (organized group of people) how the community had managed during the power outage.
During a pro-Venezuela, anti-Imperialist march, I asked Paul Dobson of @venanalysis to speak briefly on corporate media/opposition’s attack on colectivos.
“Colectivo means collective, an expression of the organized community, incl workers, women’s, ecological, pensioners…”
I’ve heard from several different people here that one reason for the lack of chaos is that Venezuelans have already dealt with US-instigated crises, and have learned to remain calm at such times, surely to the dismay of US pot-stirrers who hoped for scenes of chaos, the pretext to US intervention.
I’ve gone into a number of smaller and large supermarkets in the lower middle-class areas of Caracas, and in it’s upper middle-class regions of Chacao and Altimira. There is food, including luxury items, which Venezuela’s poor can’t afford.
And in some stores there are empty shelves. The policies of private companies—including the largest, Polar, whose CEO happens to be an anti-Maduro opposition leader—hoarding goods and creating false shortages is well known. That said, this theme that there is no food is one continually pumped by Western corporate media, along with the “humanitarian crisis” claim.
To help the poorest, the government initiated a food box delivery program known by its acronym, CLAP, wherein organized communities distribute government subsidized food to 6 million of Venezuela’s poorest families.
The system is not perfect, and I’ve heard complaints of boxes being late in reaching some communities. However, I’ve been told—including by a woman I interviewed yesterday who herself works in CLAP distribution—that problems lie in corruption on a local level, individuals in communities not distributing fairly or evenly.
Hotheads like Marco Rubio, and script reading corporate media, try to maintain that President Maduro has little support. But massive rallies of support, and a notable absence of opposition rallies of recent, counter that propaganda.
On March 16, for two hours I walked with Venezuelans at their anti-Imperialist, pro-government march, filming them, speaking with them, hearing person after person insist on their support for their elected president, Maduro.
Many or most of those marching were from Caracas’ poorest communities, the darker skinned, Afro-descendant Venezuelans that are scarcely given a voice by corporate media, almost certainly because they are ardent supporters of the government and Bolivarian revolution.
When I asked about their feelings of corporate media coverage of Venezuela, people told me it wasn’t depicting the reality, “they make it up, it’s all lies, all lies. The only president we recognize is Nicolas Maduro. And we want this man, Juan Guaido, to be arrested immediately”.
A young tax lawyer told me:
“We’re here to support our (Bolivarian) project. We don’t want any war. We want medicine for our people—we don’t want sanctions from any government that prevent us from purchasing medicine. It’s very difficult for us to bring what’s needed for our people.”
Leaving the still crowded demonstration, I went towards Caracas’ eastern districts, hoping to attend one of the three or four opposition actions that a local journalist told me they had been tweeting about. None panned out.
A few days later, I went to Bellas Artes metro, the same scenario transpired, I couldn’t find the opposition protest that I’d heard was planned. Eventually, in front of the National Assembly, I did film between 15-20 well-dressed men and women not doing much other than standing around. Eventually, most passed by security and onto the premises. I didn’t hear them issue, or attempt to issue, any opposition statement, nor was there any violence from or against them.
A mass of government supporters arrived on motorbikes. A nearby man told me that these women and men on bikes had come to preserve the peace. He said that opposition had said they would stage a provocation (his words match what the local journalist told me, based on tweets to that effect from opposition/supporters), and that the pro-government bikers were not going to allow that to happen.
On Avila, the mountain overlooking Caracas, I saw long line of tankers being filled by mountain spring water to be distributed around the city and outside, with a long list of hospitals to be supplied.
The US has been forcibly exerting its foreign influence over Venezuela for years, to the detriment of the Venezuelan people it crocodile-tear purports to care about. Most Western corporate media do not mention the manifold adverse effects of the immoral sanctions imposed on Venezuela.
At the end of January, UN human rights expert Idriss Jazairy denounced the sanctions, clearly noting they are, “aimed at changing the government of Venezuela,” and that, “Coercion, whether military or economic, must never be used to seek a change in government in a sovereign state.”
On top of this, America recently withheld US$5 billion intended for the purchase of medicines and raw materials used in medical production, Venezuelanalysis reported, after already freezing numerous Venezuelan assets, apparently holding them for their groomed puppet would-be president, Juan Guaido.
Unsurprisingly, John Bolton recently again menaced Venezuela, reiterating Trump’s, “all options are on the table,” military intervention threat and as though hallucinating blathered on about foreign influence and Venezuela and keeping the Imperialist Monroe Doctrine alive.
In a meeting with the US Peace Council delegation in mid-March, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, spoke of the openly-hostile US leadership.
“When you have such an administration saying almost every single day, ‘all the options are on the table.’ And they say the military option is not discarded, then we have to be prepared for all of the options.
We told Mr.Elliott Abrams, ‘the coup has failed, so now what are you going to do?’ He kind of nodded and said, ‘Well, this is going to be a long term action, then, and we are looking forward to the collapse of your economy.’”
President Maduro, in a meeting with the delegation, told us:
“We do not want foreign military intervention. Venezuelan people are very proud of the national independence. These people surrounding president Trump—John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, Marco Rubio, Elliott Abrams —every single day on Twitter, these guys are tweeting about Venezuela. Not about the US, the American people…they have an obsession with Venezuela, like a fatal obsession with Venezuela. This is extremely dangerous, and we need to denounce it and make it stop.”
Having written extensively about the war propaganda and Imperialist rhetoric around Syria over the past eight years, this obsession is very familiar. As Alfred de Zayas, said in a recent interview:
“If you call Maduro corrupt, people will gradually believe, he must be somewhat corrupt. But nobody reminds you that corruption in Venezuela in the 1980s and 90s – before Chavez, before Maduro – was rampant. The press is focusing only on Maduro, because the name of the game is to topple him.”
We’re seeing Syria (and Libya, Iraq…) all over again. The demonization of the leadership of a country America wants to dominate. The absurd rhetoric steaming daily from corporate owned media, pretty much in chorus. The troll army ready to attack with an energetic vitriol on social media anyone who dares to present a non-Imperialist perspective. And most worrisome, the acts of terrorism intended to hurt the people and incriminate the government.
Sadly, it seems the United States is ready to stoop to the same dirty tactics it and allies used against Syria over the past eight years: backing and collaborating with terrorists to attack the state. Indeed, last night while trying to finish this article, the power cut and remains off in many areas of the country.
Earlier this week, Information and Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez tweeted that the cause of this recent outage was an attack at the Guri Hydro complex, Venezuela’s central hydroelectric power plant and transmission area.
By today, electricity has been restored to Caracas.
Yesterday in Petare, largest barrio in Latin America (& one of poorest in Caracas), I saw not-starving ppl purchasing similar vegs, plus meats, walking like normal ppl, not like a “crisis”.
Media is lying about a humanitarian crisis.
Same media that doesn’t care about Yemen. pic.twitter.com/Rz3e6bp46q
On the hillside of Avila, the mountain overlooking Caracas, I saw at intervals while riding lines of people collecting spring water in jugs since the power outage has affected water distribution. I also saw lines of tankers, being organized by the municipality and with the military, to distribute water around the city and country. A chart listed over twenty hospitals designated to receive water.
The Venezuelan government has accused America of being behind both the March 7 outage and this week’s, stating the former was a combination of cyber, electromagnetic and physical attacks on the power grids (like the alleged secret US plan to do the same to Iran’s grid), and the latter a direct physical attack on the Guri complex, causing a fire at three transformers.
Clearly, the goal of such attacks is to create so much suffering and frustration among the public that there is chaos, and a “needed” US intervention.
The chaos has not happened, the people have refused it.
There are few people in this world more odious than French President Emmanuel Macron after his behavior this week. I’m sure there are child molesters who are worse. But as a man who is pivotal in the future of hundreds of millions of people, his decision to order the French military to quell the Yellow Vests protests with live ammunition is simply vile.
Macron outed himself as the very symbol of what animates the globalist elite he represents.
The disdain he holds for the people he leads is palpable. It’s as palpable for his disdain for the British who voted for Brexit. To him the EU is all, the EU is inevitable and when faced with the choice of serving France or serving the EU, he chooses the EU every time.
That is what led him to this disastrous decision to deploy the French military to the streets for the first time since 1948 with orders to shoot protestors.
And that disdain is so complete that he doesn’t realize what happens if even one of those men goes too far and takes the President at his word. Thankfully, that did not happen.
But if it did, he would have lost complete control of his country, if he hasn’t already.
The estimates for Act XIX of the Gilets Jaunes this weekend were over 125,000 across France. That many people taking to the streets risking getting shot is not something you dismiss with a wave of your hand.
It is something as a leader you need to take very seriously.
Because the real fear for Macron is not a violent demonstration that ends with protestors shot and killed. No, the real fear is the protests that are peaceful.
Because what happens, Mr. Macron, if the soldiers you deployed to suppress attendance to these demonstrations see first-hand just how much the violence reported has been overblown?
Or worse, the lack of it confirms their suspicions that the violence was committed by agent provocateurs who now didn’t show up because it’s no longer worth the €25/hour they are being paid to sow discontent?
They’ll see exactly what Macron doesn’t want them to see: angry, dispirited, desperate people with legitimate grievances expressing those feelings the only way they know how.
If Macron wasn’t courting civil war before this weekend, he is now.
Because an uprising against a corrupt and unresponsive government by some people is one thing. It starts with the most angry but it can spread over time only if the government doesn’t hear them.
Macron’s reactions have only made things worse at every turn.
So, while the people started this fight for the future of France it will be the military that ends it. And woe to Macron and the French political elite if the military on the ground sides with the people they were sent to shoot.
There is nothing more cowardly than a supposedly liberal, tolerant democracy sending in the military to shut down and order violence against is own people for taking to the streets. It is simply the order of tin-pot dictator with delusions of adequacy.
Prudent leadership stems from having weapons and knowing when and how to use them. The images coming from France have been horrific and no better than those captured during Mariano Rajoy’s crackdown on Catalonia during its independence referendum in 2017.
That response cost him his job. So too will it be for Macron now that he has crossed that line.
Macron is under the orders of his paymasters in The Davos Crowd to get control over France. He will not be removed from office as long as he acts in accordance with their wishes. By now they would have replaced him with someone more acceptable to defuse the situation.
There is only one problem with that. There is no one else.
Macron’s approval rating is abysmal. He’s polling behind Marine Le Pen’s National Rally who will send more members to the European Parliament than his En Marche will in May.
He was already the bait and switch candidate in 2017’s election. The globalist-in-reformer’s clothing. And now that he’s the focal point of the Gilets Jaunes’ anger nothing short of a violent put-down of their rebellion will save Macron at this point.
Because they know this and they know that he hates them.
But a violent put-down is only winning the battle to lose the war.
With the EU locked in mortal combat with Brexiteers and Italy pushing the envelope in the European Council, there’s no room to maneuver here.
So, this continues until it can’t. At which point Macron’s legitimacy will evaporate and political change will occur. But the globalists behind Macron and in French political circles will put that off for as long as possible.
That’s why the lack of violence at ACT XIX’s marches this weekend was so important. Macron’s bluff was called. And that means we’re nearing the end of his story. And it couldn’t happen to a more deserving weasel.
Merkel, you’re on deck.
A new survey reveals that nearly 80% of people who drink alcohol have shopped on the web while intoxicated.
And while the results can be hilarious, drunk shopping is a multi-billion dollar national habit.
@HeleneStJames Helen This was my best drunk eBay purchase
Most common? Clothing and shoes, while Amazon remains the shopping platform of choice.
The findings are based on a survey of 2,174 alcohol-consuming readers between March 11-18 of this year. The average respondent was 36-years-old, and has an income of $92,000 per year, more than double the national average. Thus, The Hustle‘s wealthier readers may skew the results when extrapolated – but we’re having fun with this one.
Overall, 79% of all alcohol-consuming respondents have made at least one drunken purchase in their lifetime — though this varies a bit based on demographics. –The Hustle
Women (80%) are slightly more likely than men (78%) to drunk shop. This makes sense since women generally shop more than men — especially online.
Drunk shoppers also tend to be younger. Millennials outrank baby boomers by 13%, which might be attributed to the rise of e-commerce (we’ll get to this later).
Certain professionals also seem to be more inclined to shop drunk than others. We limited our data to jobs with the highest response rates then parsed out the 5 industries that are most and least likely to shop under the influence. –The Hustle
Another interesting metric is that people who shop while drunk have around 10 drinks per week, while those who typically shop sober consume half as much.
As far as average spent per year:
Our average respondent reports dropping $444 per year on drunk purchases — from life-size cut-outs of Kim Jong-un to 30-pound bags of Idaho potatoes.
A little back-of-the-napkin math gives us a rough estimate of the drunk shopping market at large: There are ~130m alcohol-consuming adults in the US. In our survey findings, 79% of alcohol-consuming adults shop drunk at an average annual spend of $444. Assuming these rates hold true at a national level (purely speculative), drunk shopping is a ~$45B per year market.
Extrapolating this further, we determined the average lifetime spend on drunk purchases is $4,187 — good for a total drunken expenditure of nearly half a trillion dollars.
When it comes to drunk shopping by profession, those in the fashion industry are the biggest, richest drunks – at an average of $949 spent per year, followed by writers, medical professionals and those in the fitness industry.
Who spends the least while shopping drunk? Government workers, engineers and – in last place, those working in retail.
Geographically speaking Kentucky is oddly at the top along with Connecticut. Though, the survey may have had one really rich respondent in each state that skewed the results. Who knows.
Kentuckians top the charts with a $742 annual spend. In fact, the entire South — a region known for its fine bourbon — is a blanket of red. California, the country’s wine capital, is the lone over-achiever on the otherwise mediocre West Coast.
This bears little semblance to the CDC’s analysis of the heaviest binge-drinking states (in fact, it’s almost opposite). But it shows that the economics of drunk shopping is a more complex matter than simply parsing out where people drink the most.
As far as platform of choice, Amazon leads the pack, followed by Ebay, Etsy, Target and Walmart. At least two of those are worth an intervention if you ever catch your friends drunk shopping at Walmart, for example.
Clothing and shoes are the goods of choice while drunk.
Studies have shown that people who base their self-worth on appearance are more likely to imbibe alcohol, so there is some tenuous linkage here. But this also ties in with the rapid rise of the direct-to-consumer fashion industry.
Entertainment (movies, games) and tech gadgets are also popular choices — though the party train seems to abruptly halt at software (if you’ve purchased a copy of Microsoft Excel drunk, we need to talk.)
Weirdest purchases, according to The Hustle‘s readers?
Who could regret $2,200 night vision goggles?
Speaking to Going Underground host Afshin Rattansi, Kristinn Hrafnsson noted that within twenty-four hours of Hillary Clinton’s “humiliating” defeat in the 2016 election, “Russia became the entity that everything should be blamed on.” But with Robert Mueller’s special investigation ending with a collusion-less murmur, it’s difficult to imagine how journalism will ever recover from two years of Russiagate howling, Hrafnsson said.
We’ve had this frenzy in the media, an absolutely neo-McCarthyist era which is a total humiliation for journalism. Who has gained? I can tell you who has lost. Journalism in general has lost. This is an extremely dark period for mainstream media, especially in the United States and for those who cater to that market.
Insisting that the endless reams of anonymously-sourced collusion “scoops” amount to journalistic malpractice that far surpasses the Iraq WMD fiasco, the Wikileaks editor-in-chief expressed amazement that there has been little to no professional ramifications for reporters who bought into the baseless conspiracy.
I have no idea how the mainstream media, who were most active in this Russiagate frenzy, will recover. I simply don’t see that happening. In a normal world, a lot of journalists would be emptying their desks today.
He singled out Guardian reporter Luke Harding, who once called Wikileaks a “useful idiot” for Russia, and was behind a highly-controversial story published in November which alleged that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had made several visits to Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Wikileaks is currently suing The Guardian over the uncorroborated story.
“Who’s the idiot?” Hrafnsson asked. “Luke Harding published a book called ‘Collusion’ where he maintains that there had been collusion and that Wikileaks was in the midst of it. But his own paper is now printing front page stories telling him that he was wrong. I mean, does he still have a job at the Guardian?”
As for Wikileaks’ role in the now-defunct Russiagate narrative, Hrafnsson said that he doesn’t understand why his organization was singled out for publishing Hillary Clinton’s emails.
“There were dozens of media organizations that were disseminating the exact same information. But why single out and mention Wikileaks?”
He also commented on the recent arrest of Chelsea Manning, who was imprisoned after refusing to testify in front of a grand jury in a closed hearing in relation to her disclosure of US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Reportedly being held in solitary confinement, Manning’s treatment is “something you would see from an authoritarian regime,” said Hrafnsson.
Finally, the Wikileaks editor spoke about Julian Assange’s ongoing ordeal with his Ecuadorian hosts, whose treatment of Assange has changed “180 degrees.”
“The hostility towards Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy has increased. He has been stripped of communication for weeks on end, there are limits on the visitors who can see him at the embassy, and he is basically now treated like a prisoner, instead of the individual that was granted diplomatic asylum, which carries responsibility according to international law.”
With permission from
Once upon a time in ancient China, there was a ferryman who worked along a stretch of the Yangtze river. There were several villages and towns on both sides of the river, so he had steady business taking passengers from one side to the other. Over the years, this brought him into contact with people from all walks of life.
One day, a villager approached the ferryman as he was waiting for potential passengers by his boat. The villager said: “Sir, perhaps you can help me with a question. I’m thinking about moving to the other side of the river. You are probably quite familiar with the people over there. Can you tell me about them?”
The ferryman was curious: “Why are you thinking about moving? Is there something wrong with your village?”
“My village is horrible,” the villager said. “I am surrounded by the worst people you can imagine, so I do not want to live there any longer than necessary. My neighbors make noise when I need quiet. They do not care about the streets being dirty. They have no respect for me. Therefore, I also have no respect for them.”
“That does sound horrible,” the ferryman sympathized. “Have you ever let them know how you feel?”
“Oh, absolutely!” The villager said, with much anger: “I give them unmistakable signs! They disturb me during the day, so I make noise to disturb them at night. They never clean the streets, so I push my trash out the door to teach them a lesson. Whenever they are rude to me, I am rude to them twice as much. Of course they know how I feel!”
“I see,” the ferryman nodded. “Well, I have bad news for you. The people on the other side of the river are not so different from the ones in your village. You will find all the things you dislike about your neighbors quite prevalent there too. If you decide to move, you’ll expend a lot of time and effort, only to end up in the same situation.”
“I knew it!” the villager exclaimed in frustration, and started walking away. “There must be a better place somewhere. I’ll find it!”
Moments later, another man, much younger than the first, approached the ferryman. “Excuse me,” he said, “I am thinking about moving to the other side of the river. You are probably quite familiar with the people over there. Can you tell me about them?”
Again the ferryman expressed curiosity: “Why are you thinking about moving?”
The young man said: “I would like to study spiritual teachings with a Tao sage who lives on the other side. If I move closer to him, I can save a lot of time crossing back and forth. However, I am a little reluctant to leave my home over here.”
“Why the reluctance?”
“My village is a wonderful place to live,” the young man beamed. “I have the best neighbors you can imagine. Everyone is kind and considerate, and we are always looking out for one another. Everyone works to keep the neighborhood clean and make it a pleasant environment. There is much mutual assistance and respect, and that is why I am reluctant to leave. I am just not sure I can find such great neighbors when I’m on the other side of the river.”
“I see,” the ferryman nodded. “Well, I have good news for you. The people on the other side are not much different from the ones in your village. You will find all the qualities you like about your neighbors just as prevalent over there. If you do decide to move, it won’t take you long to become part of a community in the new place that you will enjoy.”
The young man was happy to hear this. He thanked the ferryman profusely before heading back home, to start planning his move.
A nearby street vendor, who had been watching quietly all this time, came over as the young man left. He said to the ferryman: “I could not help but overhear the conversations you just had. It’s especially interesting to me, since I know those two fellows. They come from the same village, and both of them asked the same question. Why did you give them such different answers?”
“The difference came from them, not from me or the place,” the ferryman said. “The first villager is unaware that all the things he hates originate from within himself: the noisy disturbance, the dirty environment, the lack of respect, and so on. His environment reflects what is already in his heart. Unless he changes himself internally, he will continue to recreate the same negative setting no matter where he goes.
“It was similar with the young man,” the ferryman continued. “He may not realize it, but all the things he enjoys about his neighborhood also originate from his heart: the kindness, the consideration, the mutual assistance and respect, and everyone pitching in for the greater good. As long as his positive nature does not change, he will always create the same positive setting no matter where he goes.”
“Ah, I see,” the street vendor smiled in comprehension. “So… things are not necessarily better on the other side?”
“No,” said the ferryman, “but things definitely get better on every side… when they get better on the inside.”
Better yet: Why not relocate Israel to Florida?
Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar Jaafari offered a stark rebuke to the US-backed Israeli claim to the occupied Golan Heights at the UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday. Jaafari said the Trump administration does the bidding of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the UN to curry favor with the powerful Israeli lobby in the US.
In a remark that elicited a chuckle and a head-shake from his Israeli counterpart, Jaafari suggested that Washington bargain away land that is actually its to give.
You can give them North and South Carolina, for example, why not? South Carolina is a great piece of land… So, give Israel a couple of states if this administration really wants to have Israeli support
Trump’s decision to back the Israeli claim to the Golan Heights comes just ahead of the Israeli general elections on April 6 and has been widely considered as an electoral boost for Netanyahu, who is facing charges of fraud, bribery and breach of trust at home.
“Don’t be misguided by thinking that one day this land will be yours due to hypocrisy or due to being a pawn in the electoral game where you bring each other support, so the Israelis can succeed in their elections and the Americans can also get support from Israeli lobbying groups in the US,” Jaafari said. The Golan Heights, seized by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day war and formally annexed in 1981, will ultimately “come back” to Syria, the diplomat said.
The Security Council meeting was called at Syria’s request. Damascus insists that the recognition of the Golan Heights belonging to Israel runs counter to UN resolutions that expressly declare the annexation “null and void.”
Washington’s adversaries and allies alike have lined up to condemn the breach of international law. The Arab League, Turkey, Iran and Russia spoke up against the recognition. Russia’s Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said it was a “highway to war.” At a UNSC meeting on Wednesday, Russian Deputy Envoy to the UN Vladimir Safronkov said that by siding with Israel, Washington hampers the efforts to improve the security situation in the Golan Heights and ease tensions between the Arab world and the Jewish State itself.
“This not only exacerbates the situation in Syria and complicates the establishment of political process but it also creates serious obstacles to normalizing the relations between Israel and the Arab States,” he said, adding that the US followed through with its decision while turning a blind eye to “the opinion and warnings at both international and regional levels.”
The British Parliament is voting on 29 March on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit withdrawal agreement, which outlines the main points for London’s exit from the European Union.
Famous artist Banksy has published a work of art on his Instagram page that portrays politicians in the House of Commons as chimpanzees, reportedly “to mark Brexit day”.
“Devolved Parliament. I made this ten years ago. Bristol museum has just put it back on display to mark Brexit day. Laugh now, but one day no-one will be in charge”, the caption read.
The picture was put on exhibit at the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery in time for the original deadline of the UK’s withdrawal, which was set to take place on 29 March.
Whilst the rate of absolute child poverty has decreased gradually since 2012, figures have begun to rise again, new UK government data revealed on Thursday.
Roughly 3.7m children are living in absolute poverty across the UK, an increase of 200,000 in a year, new data from the UK government has revealed.
The new figures have challenged claims from British cabinet ministers who said last year that absolute poverty rates had been falling.
The news comes after a Resolution Foundation study showed last month that the number of children living in poverty would instigate a crisis by 2023 — 2024 if the government failed to implement effective changes to universal credit and other UK benefits systems.
The Resolution Foundation said that the main factors driving UK income inequality were benefits and tax credit cuts, which hit lower and working class families with over two children the most.
Research from the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in line with the new data also showed that the Cabinet’s four-year freeze on child benefits would result in losses of roughly £240 per year for families.
CPAG chief executive Alison Garnham said: “Despite high employment, today’s figures reveal that 70 per cent of children living under the poverty line have at least one parent in work. That is not an economy that is working for everyone.”
She added that the increase in child poverty for working families had been “widely anticipated and could have been avoided” but that the government chose to ignore the dangers and missed “another opportunity to do the right thing for children and families despite the fact that the freeze had already achieved its planned savings”.
“At this critical point in the UK’s history, we need to step back and ask what kind of country we want for our children.”
Such cuts to social welfare systems, in addition to Brexit, were fuelling the increasing poverty numbers, according to a report in November from the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.
UK ministers were “looking at what more can be done to help the most vulnerable and improve their life chances,” a government spokesperson said. “Tackling poverty will always be a priority for this government, and we take these numbers extremely seriously.”
“Employment is at a record high, wages are outstripping inflation and income inequality and absolute poverty are lower than in 2010,” the spokesperson added. “But we know some families need more support, which is why we continue to spend £95bn a year on working-age benefits.”
It began three and a half billion years ago in a pool of muck, when a molecule made a copy of itself and so became the ultimate ancestor of all earthly life. It began four million years ago, when brain volumes began climbing rapidly in the hominid line.
Fifty thousand years ago with the rise of Homo sapiens sapiens.
Ten thousand years ago with the invention of civilization.
Five hundred years ago with the invention of the printing press.
In less than thirty years, it will end.
Jaan Tallinn stumbled across these words in 2007, in an online essay called Staring into the Singularity. The “it” was human civilisation. Humanity would cease to exist, predicted the essay’s author, with the emergence of superintelligence, or AI, that surpasses human-level intelligence in a broad array of areas.
Tallinn, an Estonia-born computer programmer, has a background in physics and a propensity to approach life like one big programming problem. In 2003, he co-founded Skype, developing the backend for the app. He cashed in his shares after eBay bought it two years later, and now he was casting about for something to do. Staring into the Singularity mashed up computer code, quantum physics and Calvin and Hobbes quotes. He was hooked.
Tallinn soon discovered that the author, Eliezer Yudkowsky, a self-taught theorist, had written more than 1,000 essays and blogposts, many of them devoted to superintelligence. He wrote a program to scrape Yudkowsky’s writings from the internet, order them chronologically and format them for his iPhone. Then he spent the better part of a year reading them.
Reading Yudkowsky’s articles, Tallinn became convinced that superintelligence could lead to an explosion or breakout of AI that could threaten human existence – that ultrasmart AIs will take our place on the evolutionary ladder and dominate us the way we now dominate apes. Or, worse yet, exterminate us.
After finishing the last of the essays, Tallinn shot off an email to Yudkowsky – all lowercase, as is his style. “i’m jaan, one of the founding engineers of skype,” he wrote. Eventually he got to the point: “i do agree that … preparing for the event of general AI surpassing human intelligence is one of the top tasks for humanity.” He wanted to help.
When Tallinn flew to the Bay Area for other meetings a week later, he met Yudkowsky, who lived nearby, at a cafe in Millbrae, California. Their get-together stretched to four hours. “He actually, genuinely understood the underlying concepts and the details,” Yudkowsky told me recently. “This is very rare.” Afterward, Tallinn wrote a check for $5,000 (£3,700) to the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, the nonprofit where Yudkowsky was a research fellow. (The organisation changed its name to Machine Intelligence Research Institute, or Miri, in 2013.) Tallinn has since given the institute more than $600,000.
The encounter with Yudkowsky brought Tallinn purpose, sending him on a mission to save us from our own creations. He embarked on a life of travel, giving talks around the world on the threat posed by superintelligence. Mostly, though, he began funding research into methods that might give humanity a way out: so-called friendly AI. That doesn’t mean a machine or agent is particularly skilled at chatting about the weather, or that it remembers the names of your kids – although superintelligent AI might be able to do both of those things. It doesn’t mean it is motivated by altruism or love. A common fallacy is assuming that AI has human urges and values. “Friendly” means something much more fundamental: that the machines of tomorrow will not wipe us out in their quest to attain their goals.
Seagram heiress Clare Bronfman had a dramatic day in court Wednesday where the accused NXIVM sex-cult financier fainted in response to being asked if she’d secretly retained lawyer Michael Avenatti.
BREAKING: Seagrams heiress Clare Bronfman faints in court after judge seems to suggest that Michael Avenatti was secretly representing her, trying to negotiate deal with US attorney’s office in NXIVM case. An ambulance has been called.
The 39-year-old daughter of late Seagram CEO Edgar Bronfman (whose funeral Hillary Clinton spoke at) pleaded not guilty last July to charges of racketeering, money laundering and identity theft for NXIVM – a secretive multi-level marketing company founded by Keith Raniere, who was arrested last March along with Smallville actress Allison Mack on federal charges which include sex trafficking, forced labor, wire fraud conspiracy, human trafficking and other counts.
Mack allegedly procured women for Raniere – who required that prospective “slaves” upload compromising collateral into a Dropbox account. One such recruit-turned-coach was India Oxenberg – daughter of Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg, who met with prosecutors in New York in late 2017 to present evidence against Raniere.
According to a 2010 Vanity Fair report, Clare and her sister Sara Bronfman, who joined NXIVM in 2002, contributed approximately $150 million of their trust fund to NXIVM, while Claire bought 80% of Wakaya island off the coast of Fiji for $47 millionin 2016.
[I]n the last six years as much as $150 million was taken out of the Bronfmans’ trusts and bank accounts, including $66 million allegedly used to cover Raniere’s failed bets in the commodities market, $30 million to buy real estate in Los Angeles and around Albany, $11 million for a 22-seat, two-engine Canadair CL-600 jet, and millions more to support a barrage of lawsuits across the country against nxivm’s enemies. Much of it was spent, according to court filings, as Sara and Clare Bronfman allegedly worked to conceal the extent of their spending from their 81-year-old father and the Bronfman-family trustees. –Vanity Fair
Last July Clare was charged with a broad range of crimes connected to the cult’s operation, and is currently being represented by attorney Mark Geragos – identified by the Wall Street Journal this week as a co-conspirator in an alleged scheme by Michael Avenatti to extort $20 million from Nike. Avenatti was arrested on Monday and released on a $300,000 personal recognizance bond.
NXIVM’s Clinton connection
Raniere was run out of Arkansas in the ’90s by then-Governor Bill Clinton’s attorney general on charges of fraud and business deception. After paying fines, Raniere and NXIVM executives would go on to donate $29,900 to Hillary Clinton’s 2006 presidential campaign a decade later. Meanwhile, at least three NXIVM officials are “invitation-only” members of the Clinton Global Initiative, according to the New York Post.
Most recently, Raniere was accused of having sex with children and producing kiddie porn, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
Raniere, 58, is accused of having a child “engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing one or more visual depictions of such conduct, which visual depictions were produced and transmitted,” reads a new indictment released Wednesday.
Raniere’s co-defendants, “Smallville” actress Allison Mack, Seagram heiress Clare Bronfman, Lauren Salzman and Kathy Russell were allegedly aware of his predilection for predation, and even facilitated it, according to prosecutors, who have now charged them for that conduct under a racketeering count.
His co-defendants “were aware of and facilitated Raniere’s sexual relationships with two underage victims: (1) a fifteen-year-old girl who was employed by Nancy Salzman and who – ten years later – became Raniere’s first-line ‘slave’ in DOS,” the filing reads. –New York Post
Both Mack and Bromfman are seeking a separate trial in the wake of the pedophilia charges. Mack’s attorneys argued in a recent filing that “The Court should not allow evidence of Child Exploitation Acts before any jury that will judge Ms. Mack. As an initial matter, any evidence of the alleged Child Exploitation Acts would highly and unfairly prejudice Ms. Mack, who has no connection whatsoever to these new predicate acts or the substantive counts against Raniere,” adding “Given the well-recognized inflammatory effect of such allegations, the Court should sever Ms. Mack from Raniere and order a separate trial.”
Experts in branding
While NXIVM describes itself as a self-help business that has helped thousands of people “reach their potential” through various courses, the women’s-only “inner sanctum” led by Raniere is known as ‘DOS’, which whistleblower Frank Parlato said stands for “dominus obsequious sororium” – Latin for “master over the slave women”. Once they are a member – or “slave” – they are allegedly encouraged to recruit new women into their “slave pods”, stop dating, and be on call 24 hours a day after being branded with Raniere’s initials below the hip using a cauterizing iron.
We wonder if Michael Avenatti knows anyone with an NXVIM scar?
So much for US capitalism. If you don’t buy US weapons, sanctions will be imposed. So much for US capitalism.
India’s decision to purchase the S-400 air defense system from Russia, as well as the fact that it leaves New Delhi exposed to American sanctions, was discussed during a House Armed Service committee hearing on Wednesday.
Assistant Defence Secretary Randall Schriver told the lawmakers he thought “it would be an unfortunate decision” if the Indians completed the S-400 deal. “We are very keen to see them make an alternative choice,” he said, adding that “we’re working with them to provide potential alternatives”.
A similar line came from Admiral Philip Davidson, Commander of the Indo-Pacific Command. “I continue to make the point with them that our interoperability and compatibility going forward will be advantaged with the purchase of US systems,” he said.
The purchase of advanced Russian arms makes any country a potential target for US secondary sanctions under the 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). The US slapped some on China for buying Russian Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 missiles in September last year.
This didn’t stop India from signing a contract a month later, purchasing five S-400 batteries with estimated worth of $5.43 billion. The two nations have a decades-long record of defense cooperation. Russian producers supplied some of the most advanced weapon systems to the Indian Armed Forces as well as contributed to joint projects like the BrahMos supersonic missile.
The threat of possible US sanctions was of course retained during the negotiations, with Indian officials insisting that New Delhi was pursuing an independent defense policy and was not dissuaded by it.
“When Russians asked about the American sanctions, my reply was, ‘Yes, we do appreciate that there could be sanctions on us, but we follow an independent policy,’” General Bipin Rawat, India’s chief of staff, said in the run-up to signing the deal.
Arguably adding insult to Injury, India even agreed that the contract would be paid in rubles rather than dollars, as was customary in international arms sales. Russia’s policy is to move away from the greenback where it makes sense, which Washington understandably does not appreciate.
Schriver warned the committee about being too zealous in implementing the provisions of the law against India.
“We want to work through it because India is an emerging partnership for us,” he said. The official added the law “is not designed to be an impediment in the growing strategic partnership we have with India. It’s designed for consequence to Russia.”
Potential US-made alternatives for the Russian offer would include Raytheon’s Patriot system or possibly Lockheed Martin’s THAAD system. The former is pitched as the better option to another buyer of the S-400, Turkey. Washington is pressuring Ankara into changing its mind on the deal with Russia by threatening that it could block delivery of F-35 fighter jets.
Speaking to the same Armed Service Committee a day before Schriver and Davidson, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Washington wants Turkey to get F-35s and that the only way for Ankara to do it is to buy US missiles. “We need Turkey to buy the Patriot,” he stressed.
Turkey refuses to yield to US pressure, but hinted it may buy the Patriot system to complement the S-400, not as a replacement.
Prosperity for his home country and a future free of woes are what Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte wished for as he blew out a candle on his national flag-themed 74th birthday cake – a surprise treat from his staff on Wednesday night.
“In a no less covered case, Duterte referred to God as “stupid” and a “son of a b**ch”, suggesting that if there’s “one single witness” who can prove God’s existence by showing him a selfie together, he’d immediately step down from his top position.”
Prosperity for his home country and a future free of woes are what Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte wished for as he blew out a candle on his national flag-themed 74th birthday cake – a surprise treat from his staff on Wednesday night.
“My wish, well, that this government will prosper and that we don’t get involved in the – it’s a very topsy[-turvy] world so even the Chinese are kind of [inaudible]…. My wish is that we will just continue to progress, we won’t be part of that mess with other countries”, the Philippine president said, as quoted by Indonesia’s Rappler, as he approached the round cake while his Davao City staff sang “Happy birthday to you, may the Lord God bless you!” on 27 March.
To mark the occasion, Sputnik has compiled a list of the most notorious verbal escapades of the sharp-tongued head of state, who has earned a reputation for using vulgar language against critics ever since his election in mid-2016. Although his aides have tried on multiple occasions to play down the president’s eccentricity and explain it away, it seems to be of little help, as Duterte continues to rail at critics of his overwhelming campaign to rid the Philippines of narcotics, which police say has killed at least 4,410 alleged drug dealers and users.
So, who or what has Duterte, so far, targeted in his strong-worded expletives?
• Over two years ago, Duterte cursed then President Barack Obama ahead of a regional summit in Laos by calling him a “son of a whore”, thereby prompting the US to cancel a meeting between the two leaders there. He later branded in the same way Pope Francis and the-then US ambassador to Manila, as well as fired expletives at the United Nations. During one of his speeches back home, he was captured on camera raising his middle finger in defiance to the European Parliament, with the snap making rounds on the Internet and making headlines in international media.
• Duterte fuelled a new barrage of criticism among rights groups and the general public ahead of his visit to Israel in 2018, as he blamed the high number of rapes in his home town of Davao on the large number of attractive women there.
“They say there are many rape cases in Davao”, Duterte said in a speech. “For as long as there are many beautiful women, there will be many rape cases, too”.
• Jesus, Christian saints, and Christianity at large have also been a subject of Duterte’s many rants, with the president calling the central Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity “silly” and Christ’s crucifixion “unimpressive”:
“Your God was nailed on the cross. F***, how unimpressive. I’m God and you will crucify me? Motherf***er. I’d tell them, ‘Lightning, finish all of them. Burn all the non-believers’”, the politician thundered during the 2018 Christmas week.
• Referring to the church as a social institution, he lambasted his country’s Catholic bishops as “useless fools”, allegedly calling on his people to “kill them”. The eccentric leader of the Catholic-majority nation also called out the Catholic Church as “the most hypocritical institution”.
In a no less covered case, Duterte referred to God as “stupid” and a “son of a b**ch”, suggesting that if there’s “one single witness” who can prove God’s existence by showing him a selfie together, he’d immediately step down from his top position.
• Duterte, who is on record not only joking about rape and targeting the Vatican and Christian believers in his numerous escapades, also reportedly boasted about his adulteries and an abuse case dating back to his high school years. Several media outlets, including SCMP, reported in late 2018 about his confession to a priest that he had illegally fondled a family maid as she lay sleeping under a blanket, and by doing so woke her up. The reported admission instantly sent the nation into shock, with multiple voices calling for him to resign.
• The Manila strongman, widely-known for his unambiguously negative attitude towards drugs, once baffled the international audience with yet another shocking statement, as he claimed to have smoked marijuana during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Singapore in November 2018. Duterte said he resorted to it so as to not fall asleep during the tight-scheduled daylong event.
• Duterte has also more than once demonstrated a rather casual attitude to the words “kill” and “death”. For instance, when slamming the ongoing guerrilla war being waged by the Maoist New People’s Army (NPA), an armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), he suggested setting up his own “death squads” to eradicate the group’s hitmen.
In a no less notorious incident, Duterte addressed a Philippine senator’s accusations against Duterte’s son Paolo of being involved in drug smuggling, and suggested that they “shoot each other as they meet in Congress”.
“That judgement by the rest of the world who remain sane and retain basic moral goodness is that the United States is a diabolical rogue regime threatening the existence of the entire planet.”
“…Trump’s re-election hopes for 2020 depend on keeping his evangelical Christian voter base happy-clappy and singing Alleluias all the way to the polling booths.”
“In a recent media interview, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his evangelical Christian beliefs make him view President Trump as a chosen instrument of the almighty. Why?
Because, in Pompeo’s view, Trump is fulfilling an apocalyptic biblical prophesy held by many evangelical Christians. This prophesy contends that Israel will be the scene for Jesus returning to Earth, bringing about Judgement Day and the end of the world, when all “good Christians” like Pompeo will ascend to heaven in glory.”
March 27, 2019
Remember the madcap scene in ‘Apocalypse Now’, the 1979 film by Francis Ford Coppola about American genocidal rampaging in Vietnam? “I love the smell of napalm in the morning”, bellows the psychotic military commander as US choppers strafe and destroy a Vietnamese village.
The same kind of unhinged death-wishing is reminiscent in the Trump administration. President Trump is on an infernal roll and his twisted supporters are loving it.
His military forces are reportedly killing civilians in air strikes simultaneously in four countries — Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen; his officials are openly bragging about fomenting regime change in Venezuela; and now in the latest madcap dash for depredation, Trump is backing the illegal annexation of the Golan Heights captured by Israel 52 years ago in the Six Day War.
And to make all this mayhem even more horrific, Trump’s cabinet and many of his supporters are convinced that he is on a “mission from God”. In a recent media interview, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his evangelical Christian beliefs make him view President Trump as a chosen instrument of the almighty. Why?
Because, in Pompeo’s view, Trump is fulfilling an apocalyptic biblical prophesy held by many evangelical Christians. This prophesy contends that Israel will be the scene for Jesus returning to Earth, bringing about Judgement Day and the end of the world, when all “good Christians” like Pompeo will ascend to heaven in glory.
It’s not just Pompeo who indulges this “vision”. Vice President Mike Pence and several other members of Trump’s White House are reportedly of the same evangelical conviction. They are sometimes referred to Zionist Christians because their vision of divine glory is intertwined with the restoration of the “kingdom of Israel” as in reputed biblical times.
That’s why Trump’s fawning over Israel — from the declaration of Jerusalem as its capital, to the ditching of the Iran nuclear accord, to the latest announcement on the Golan Heights — has been cheered on at every step of the way.
The Israeli state is, of course, delighted with Trump’s acquiescence to its every demand — despite what the rest of the world sees as the gross violation of international norms and laws. But, in addition, for the Christian rightwing believers within Trump’s White House, the policy of appeasement towards Israel is literally “God sent” because it is hastening “the end of times”. And Tump himself is thus viewed by these people as an embodiment of “God’s will”. (His alleged paying off of porn stars is a slight problem for their puritanical narrative.)
That’s what makes the present White House a truly frightening entity. It doesn’t just believe in its own self-righteousness — as with many other past US administrations. Team Trump actually want more conflict and mayhem in the name of “Israelite Glory” in order to fulfill their religious fantasies of divine redemption on Earth.This week, Russia and a host of other countries, including all Arab nations, even notably American client regimes like Saudi Arabia, warned that Trump’s unprecedented recognition of Syria’s Golan Heights as Israeli territory will unleash new waves of conflict across the Middle East. But such warnings will mean nothing to the Trump administration because it believes it is on a “mission from God”.
There are plenty of other mundane explanations for Trump’s kowtowing to Israel without bringing God into the equation. Multi-million-dollar donations from superrich Zionist Jewish-Americans like Sheldon Adelson are part of it. So too are well-documented American oil interests in the Golan Heights. And Trump’s re-election hopes for 2020 depend on keeping his evangelical Christian voter base happy-clappy and singing Alleluias all the way to the polling booths.
The irony is that while US news media and politicians have desperately sought to prove that “Russian collusion” was not an illusion, the stark reality is that the Trump administration has been openly, shamelessly colluding with the foreign state of Israel, pandering to all its despotism against Palestinian rights and warmongering towards Iran.
The US news media and politicians don’t even see that outrageous in-your-face “malign influence” — and the few who do speak out like Congresswoman Ilhan Omar are vilified mercilessly as “anti-Semitic”.
American imperialism has always been a particularly vile global scourge due to its “exceptionalism” and self-righteous propaganda. But the Trump administration has taken the obscenity to new depraved lows. When murdering children around the world with air strikes, starving countries into submission, and blessing the outright theft of foreign land is hailed as “God’s work” then you know there is something apocalyptic in the air. But not the kind of apocalypse that Trump’s Christian zealots cheer as a glorious event.Judgement Day of a kind is already here. Indeed, has been for quite a while. That judgement by the rest of the world who remain sane and retain basic moral goodness is that the United States is a diabolical rogue regime threatening the existence of the entire planet.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik