Britain is in grave danger of a rapid transformation into what could be recognised as an apartheid state. The number of people in a precarious position is so great that one failure of the extremely fragile status quo would likely cascade into an avalanche of catastrophes. The current political and economic influences are inherently bereft of any mechanism to avert such a collapse. Society has been sucked dry of any reserves to mitigate such a disaster. It is not within the prevalent available political paradigms to understand how to redistribute the economics to avoid a complete meltdown.
Stock markets, mortgage markets, and banking crises are all examples of how, when the bottom layer collapses, every subsequent layer attempts to mitigate their potential losses by pulling their resources out of the market. As welfare payments fail to meet rent, gas, electric, water, food, and travel requirements millions of people will rapidly face evictions which the courts can’t manage and destitution will rise and the almost fictional ‘job market’ will evaporate causing millions more to be out of work and without an income. In no time at all the country will have millions of homegrown ‘refugees’ which would lead to refugee camps and ultimately concentration camps if there were not already a superior way to manage the crisis.
I doubt the conscious desire to create concentration camps is in the minds of the wealthy overlords. After all, someone will have to pay for them. It is more a case of the wealthy overlords simply focusing on grabbing as much wealth as they can whilst the ship sinks. I proposed many years ago that Israel was simply a research and development establishment for the US and the UK and that Palestine is Israel’s laboratory. As the fabric of UK society collapses the right-wing political powers that be have all the equipment and expertise developed by Israel to ‘manage’ Britain as a divided society. Concentration camps will not look like Auschwitz with neat railway delivery infrastructure but rather will appear in a virtual form like extending sinews and invasive tendrils of a black cyber fungus devouring the detritus of superfluous humans silently in their own homes isolated from social connections and hidden from view for the still functional corporate drones servicing the hyper-wealthy oligarchs.
The current political trend can only escalate this process. The Tories are out of control, they are destroying the entirety of British society, and it is urgent that they are disposed of and a social paradigm of circulating financial resources within society is immediately put into place. Failing that the situation may be unrecoverable.
(TMU) — A Greek Orthodox bishop in Cyprus has earned bemusement and mockery from social media users across the globe after making the ludicrous claim that men are gay because their mothers had anal sex while pregnant—and enjoyed it.
The strange assertion, which Church of Cyprus bishop Neophytos Masouras of Morphou made at a primary school in the Nicosia district town of Akaki, supposedly has a basis in theological opinions within the Eastern Orthodox denomination.
The bishop explained:
“It happens during the parent’s intercourse or pregnancy. It follows an abnormal sexual act between the parents. To be more clear, anal sex.
[Saint Porfyrios] says that when the woman likes that, a desire is born, and then the desire is passed on to the child.”
The recently made saint, who died in 1991, was known to have warned gay people to stay single and spend their lives alone, praying that their sexuality would simply go away.
Bishop Masouras’ comments were delivered amid a series of “spiritual meetings of dialogue” this month, Cypriot LGBTI rights group ACCEPT said.
The meetings are an open forum where audience members of all ages can question the bishop on any subject.
Needless to say, the idea that pregnant women finding anal sex pleasurable is a hereditary factor in the inception of gay offspring lacks any basis in science.
However, the bishop’s comments reflect the sadly bigoted attitude that the Cypriot LGBTI community are forced to confront on a daily basis.
Video footage of the bishop’s talk, which was captured in June, went viral after it was posted by Accept LGBTI Cyprus along with the caption: “How are lesbians created?”
One comment translated to English by Facebook said:
“So, my father, if the woman in time does oral, the child will become a dentist? Just a question my father!!!!! HAVE MERCY!!!!!!!!”
However, another commenter defended the bishop, stating:
“The priest says this because he investigated it and says [this] with divine enlightenment, unlike you who judge without having the slightest idea.”
Yet another netizen hit the nail on the head with the truthful comment:
“The problem is not this ignoramus, the tragic problem is that there are thousands who believe him.”
(TMU Op-Ed) — Many reports have indicated that the U.S. and Israel have been attempting to persuade Russia to alter its stance on Iran, particularly when it comes to Syria. Just last month, national security officials from Russia, Israel and the U.S. met for a rare summit which focused solely on Iran.
While this may have been a tense situation for Iran to watch from the background, it appeared that Russia was never really on board with the proposal directly from the outset.
For example, Russia decided to reframe the talks with a focus of “stabilizing Syria” as opposed to making the entire situation about Iran. Russia’s Security Council head, Nikolai Patrushev, openly said it would push for Iran’s interests to be respected, stating that “Iran is in Syria at the invitation of the legitimate government and is actively involved in fighting terrorism.”
For various reasons, Russia is unlikely to concede to the U.S. and most media outlets are likely not to venture into why, even when it comes to the question of Syria. As one analyst has summarized this issue, the US-Israel position on Iran is “wishful thinking.”
Amid recent tensions and a potential standoff between the U.S. and Iran, it should be clear that the U.S. and Israel have unsuccessfully swayed Russia from changing its tack with regard to Iran at all—at least as far as the international public should be concerned.
Approximately a month ago, a senior Russian diplomat said that Tehran “won’t be alone” if the U.S. decides to strike Iran. Stating that “it’s not just Russia, many other countries sympathize and empathize with Iran.” Zamir Kabulov concluded that, “Tehran won’t be alone if the U.S., God forbid takes wild and irresponsible actions against it.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also released a statement indicating that Moscow will attempt to initiate dialogue between Washington and Tehran, but this of course “assumes the end to the policy of ultimatums, sanctions and blackmail.”
While grossly underreported, and as it may help feed into the ludicrous narrative that “Trump takes his orders from Putin”, approximately one month ago Russian President Vladimir Putin himself allegedly phoned U.S. President Donald Trump, warning him not to use military force against Tehran. In a phone conversation that apparently lasted four hours, Putin warned that a U.S. attack on Iran would have enormous consequences which would spread across the region.
Putin also pointed out that Iran had been honoring its side of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and stated that he considers American-enforced sanctions targeting Iran unfounded.
And when it comes to the question specifically of ejecting Iran from Syria, Putin allegedly responded by saying “we aren’t trading in our allies, our interests and our principles.”
The evidence before us suggests that Russia will not be so quick to abandon its Iranian ally, the reasons for which could be attributed to a variety of factors. In the immediate future, Russia’s defense of Iran may help to hold off another disastrous war for as long a period as realistically possible.
And maybe if the U.S. truly wanted Russia to make concessions of its own regarding its close allies in the Middle East region, perhaps the U.S. should stop sanctioning and punishing Russia as well, as U.S. and E.U. sanctions on Russia have cost Moscow approximately $50 billion since 2014.
Lately, the news has been flooded with horrifying updates about the case of registered sex offender and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
You can read our Epstein coverage at the following links:
Singer R. Kelly, 52, is being held without bond in Chicago on charges that include producing child pornography and coercing minors to engage in sex. He faces similar federal charges in New York.
Unfortunately, Epstein and R. Kelly are not the only alleged sexual predators in the news.
Reader discretion is advised. This article contains information that may be upsetting for some people.
More than three dozen suspected online child sex offenders were arrested in Aurora, Colorado, during Operation Broken Heart. The nationwide operation was led by the US Department of Justice and resulted in nearly 1,700 arrests during April and May. On June 11, 2019, the DOJ announced that its “task forces identified 308 offenders who either produced child pornography or committed child sexual abuse, and 357 children who suffered recent, ongoing or historical sexual abuse or were exploited in the production of child pornography.”
The operation targeted suspects who: (1) produce, distribute, receive and possess child pornography; (2) engage in online enticement of children for sexual purposes; (3) engage in the sex trafficking of children; and (4) travel across state lines or to foreign countries and sexually abuse children. (source)
The Colorado Sentinel reports 32-year-old Raymond Fredericks was sentenced to 22 years in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to a felony sex trafficking charge in May.
Todd Bush, a 42-year-old former teacher, was arrested in an undercover sting on July 18 after agreeing to pay $100 to who he thought was the mother of an 11-year-old girl for sex with her daughter, authorities said. He was charged with human trafficking of a child, obscene communication, and traveling to meet a minor for sex. Bush was already a registered sex offender and was on probation for a 2011 incident when he was busted in the sting last week.
On July 18, a federal jury in Baltimore convicted Ryan Russell Parks, 26, on two counts of sex trafficking a minor and one count of using the internet to promote a prostitution business.
Parks faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison for each of the two counts of sex trafficking a minor, and a maximum of five years in prison for using the Internet to promote a business enterprise involving prostitution.
The case was investigated by the FBI-led Maryland Child Exploitation Task Force (MCETF), created in 2010 to combat child prostitution, with members from 10 state and federal law enforcement agencies. (source)
A two-day undercover operation in Minneapolis–Saint Paul earlier this month resulted in the arrests of 11 people on sex trafficking charges:
Three people were arrested for sex trafficking and promotion of prostitution while eight people were arrested for solicitation of a minor or solicitation of prostitution under 16 years of age.
In the operation, 18 trafficking victims were recovered from trafficking situations and offered help through victim services. (source)
A former first-grade teacher at an Omaha elementary school has been given 50 to 100 years in prison for sexually assaulting students. Douglas County District Court records show that 31-year-old Gregory Sedlacek was sentenced Tuesday. He’d pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault of a child.
Yesterday, New Hampshire’s attorney general launched an investigation into the state youth detention center after two former counselors were charged with raping a teenage boy 82 times, at least once at gunpoint, in the late 1990s.
Last month, the head of a sex cult was found guilty on multiple charges in New York, reports NPR:
The leader of NXIVM, a group that espoused a philosophy of self-improvement but was accused of recruiting, grooming and even branding an inner circle of female sex slaves, was found guilty Wednesday by a federal jury in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Keith Raniere, who was known as “Vanguard,” was convicted on all charges, including sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy, human trafficking and multiple counts of racketeering — including sexual exploitation of a child. (source)
The victims of sexual assaults by a former North Carolina teacher are filing a class-action lawsuit against the school district:
News outlets report the victims of Michael Kelly filed the complaint Tuesday against him, the New Hanover County Board of Education and others.
Earlier this month, two concurrent Human Trafficking Task Force operations were conducted in the Cleveland region. A total of 49 arrests were made, and some of the individuals are facing felony charges of Attempted Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor, Importuning, Possess Criminal Tools, and Attempting Corruption with Drugs, reports Richland Source.
You can read more about recent arrests on the DOJ’s dedicated page: Human Trafficking.
Thousands of allegations of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests, nuns, and members of religious orders have been made over the last few decades. Many investigations, trials, and convictions – and revelations about decades of attempts by Church officials to cover up reported incidents – have resulted. These offenses are not limited to clergy in the US – cases have occurred all over the world.
I think it is important to note here that my family is Catholic, so I know how painful this subject can be for some followers.
According to a 2009 report, the founder of a religious order that treats Roman Catholic priests who molest children concluded decades ago that offenders were unlikely to change and should not be returned to ministry:
As early as the mid-1950s, decades before the clergy sexual-abuse crisis broke publicly across the U.S. Catholic landscape, the founder of a religious order that dealt regularly with priest sex abusers was so convinced of their inability to change that he searched for an island to purchase with the intent of using it as a place to isolate such offenders, according to documents recently obtained by NCR.
Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald, founder of the Servants of the Paracletes, an order established in 1947 to deal with problem priests, wrote regularly to bishops in the United States and to Vatican officials, including the pope, of his opinion that many sexual abusers in the priesthood should be laicized immediately. (source)
Yesterday, a Florida minister and registered sex offender was arrested after authorities found child pornography on his home computer, reports the Associated Press:
Sarasota County Sheriff’s officials tell news outlets that 66-year-old Charles Andrews was arrested Tuesday. He’s charged with 500 felony counts of possession of child pornography and three counts of failing to meet sex offender requirements.
Andrews is a pastor at Osprey Church of Christ. Andrews also is a registered sex offender who was convicted in 2006 of second-degree sexual abuse in Alabama. Now he’s in jail, his bond set at more than $5 million. (source)
The Associated Press has a Sexual Abuse by Clergy page that is dedicated to coverage of cases.
Here is a sampling of recent cases they have documented:
A genetics expert retained by the family of a girl who went missing in 1983 said Saturday that a cavernous underground space near a Vatican cemetery holds thousands of bones that appear to be from dozens of individuals, both “adult and non-adult.”
The expert, Giorgio Portera, said the “enormous” size of the collection under the Teutonic College was revealed when Vatican-appointed experts began cataloguing the remains, which were discovered last week .
“We didn’t expect such an enormous number” of bones and other remains which “had been thrown into a cavity,” Portera said. “We want to know why and how” the bones ended up there. (source)
Victims of abuse by religious and institutional authorities (priests, ministers, bishops, deacons, nuns, coaches, teachers, and others) can find support here: SNAP. BishopAccountability.org has an Abuse Tracker page that provides links to media coverage of clergy abuse.
While Epstein’s arrest has increased awareness of predatory behavior by the elite, the wealthy and powerful are not the only ones committing such heinous acts.
According to The National Center for Victims of Crime, the prevalence of child sexual abuse (CSA) is difficult to determine because it is often not reported. Experts agree that the incidence is far greater than what is reported to authorities.
Statistics below represent some of the research done on child sexual abuse.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau report Child Maltreatment 2010 found that 9.2% of victimized children were sexually assaulted (page 24).
According to Darkness to Light, a non-profit committed to empowering adults to prevent child sexual abuse, only about one-third of child sexual abuse incidents are identified, and even fewer are reported.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children operates the CyberTipline, a national mechanism for the public and electronic service providers to report instances of suspected child sexual exploitation.
In 2018 the CyberTipline received more than 18.4 million reports, most of which related to:
Since its inception, the CyberTipline has received more than 48 million reports.
Those statistics are grim.
There are various types of sex offenders and sex crimes, and that topic is beyond the scope of this article. Because sex trafficking and the vulnerability of minors are crucial issues, we will focus on them here.
US federal law refers to sex trafficking as any commercial sex act that is “induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.”
A recent report from Insider sheds light on just how many people are victims of sex trafficking.
The statistics are alarming and heartbreaking:
It’s estimated that there are around 4.5 million victims of sex trafficking across the world. And though it’s difficult to know just how many people are involved in sex trafficking in the US, the Polaris Project, a non-profit dedicated to ending human trafficking, received more than 34,000 reports of sex trafficking on its Human Trafficking Hotline between 2007 and 2017.
End Slavery Now, an anti-human trafficking and slavery organization, estimates many of those trafficked into the US come from countries like Mexico, the Philippines, Thailand, Honduras, Guatemala, India and El Salvador. But experts say that plenty of sex trafficking victims are from the US, too. (source)
The conclusion of the Insider report is chilling:
But the millions sex trafficked around the world don’t look like they do in movies. These people, often minors, can lead normal lives and pass through normal places, jobs, and homes.
The sex trafficking that goes on in the US largely takes place in a criminal underbelly ubiquitous in US cities and communities, which millions of Americans, for whatever reason, turn a blind eye to daily. (source)
Power, anger, and revenge are common motivators for sex offenders, according to Criminal Justice School Info:
It is mistakenly believed that sexual offenders are solely motivated by sexual gratification when they commit their crimes. Dr. Nicholas Groth developed three typologies to describe the motivations of rapists, two of which suggest sexual gratification is secondary. Anger rapists are fueled by rage towards their victims and rape is their way of seeking violent revenge. According to the Center for Sex Offender Management (CSOM), these rapists may actually be extremely discontent with another area in their lives and thus take out their frustration on their victims. “Anger rapists tend to use a significant amount of physical force when they subdue their victims – in most cases, far more force than is necessary to perpetrate the abuse,” adds the CSOM. Verbal abuse is also a common component of these types of violations that are generally impulsive – not planned.
Power rapists on the other hand are less impulsive and rely on psychological manipulation more so than physical violence to subdue and sexually assault their victims. “The power rapist was motivated by his need to control and dominate his victim, and inversely, to avoid being controlled by [the victim],” describes Dr. Lisak. Those who rape their domestic partners are often characterized as power rapists. There are also sadistic rapists who receive sexual or erotic gratification from exerting power and control over the victims they rape. “Because they have an erotic response to power and control, extreme violence and torture often characterize their assaults,” says the CSOM. “In many cases, victims of sadistic rapists are murdered during the assaults”. The CSOM adds that these types of rapes are least common and account for between 2% and 5% of cases in the United States. (source)
Repeat sex offenders do not necessarily target only one category of victim or offend in the same manner, that report explains:
Dr. Lisak explains that a proportion of sexual offenders are ‘non-specialists’. “Multiple studies have now documented that between 33% and 66% of rapists have also sexually attacked children; that up to 82% of child molesters have also sexually attacked adults; and that between 50% and 66% of incest offenders have also sexually attacked children outside their families,” states Dr. Lisak.
Additionally, many of us tend to think a sex offender will keep on offending until he or she is caught. While in reality, recidivism does happen, it may not be as common as we think. According to Arkowitz and Lilienfeld, approximately 14% of sexual offenders reoffend within a five to six year period and 24% within a 15 year period. While this suggests recidivism is less often the case, it does suggest the longer it takes law enforcement to track down a sexual predator or criminal, the more likely he or she will reoffend. (source)
Not everyone who sexually abuses children is a pedophile, as Darkness to Light explains:
Child sexual abuse is perpetrated by a wide range of individuals with diverse motivations. It is impossible to identify specific characteristics that are common to all those who molest children. Situational offenders tend to offend at times of stress and begin offending later than pedophilic offenders. They also have fewer victims (often family), and have a general preference for adult partners.
Pedophilic offenders often start offending at an early age and often have a large number of victims (frequently not family members).
70% of child sex offenders have between one and 9 victims, while 20% have 10 to 40 victims. (source)
It is important to understand that there are people who have or will sexually abuse children in churches, schools, and youth sports leagues, as Darkness to Light explains:
Abusers can be neighbors, friends, and family members. People who sexually abuse children can be found in families, schools, churches, recreation centers, youth sports leagues, and any other place children gather.
Significantly, abusers can be and often are other children.
About 90% of children who are victims of abuse know their abuser. Only 10% of sexually abused children are abused by a stranger.
Approximately 30% of children who are sexually abused are abused by family members. The younger the victim, the more likely it is that the abuser is a family member. Of those molesting a child under six, 50% were family members. Family members also accounted for 23% of those abusing children ages 12 to 17.
About 60% of children who are sexually abused are abused by the people the family trusts. (source)
Sexual abuse is a challenging topic to discuss. It can be even more difficult when you’re talking about protecting your own children. Families can take steps to keep their children safe and give them the tools to speak up when something isn’t right.
Here is a list of resources that can help you keep your family safe.
Do you think that sex crimes are on the rise, or that we are just hearing about them more now? Are there things you do to keep you and your family safe from predators? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
Dagny Taggart is the pseudonym of an experienced journalist who needs to maintain anonymity to keep her job in the public eye. Dagny is non-partisan and aims to expose the half-truths, misrepresentations, and blatant lies of the MSM.
Roberto Savio confronts an era of greed, fear and “populocracy.”
When all is said and done, it appears that Thomas Hobbes, the 17th century English philosopher who had a dire vision of man, was not totally wrong.
From the frivolous to the serious, in just a week we have had four items of news which would not happen in a normal world. An English porn beauty with 86,000 followers on social media has put bottles of the water she bathes in on sale at 30 pounds a bottle and has sold several thousand bottles.
A survey in Brazil found out that 7 percent of citizens believe that the Earth is flat (40 percent of American schools teach that the world was created in a week, according to the Bible, so there cannot be ancient civilizations). Another survey, this time of members of the British Tory party, who just elected Boris Johnson as prime minister (not exactly a triumph of reason) are so in favor of a “hard” Brexit that they do not care if this means the exit of Scotland and the end of the United Kingdom. Finally, in order to win the election, U.S. President Donald Trump has made racism one of his banner issues and, in a country of immigrants, this has given him an increase of 5 points in opinion polls.
There are so many signs of barbarisation that they would fill a book… and, as Euripides famously wrote: “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.”
It is not a popular task, but we have to look at the reality and observe that, in the most scientifically and technologically developed period of history, we are living in times of precipitous barbarisation.
Social inequality has become the basis for the new economy. People have now lowered their expectations and are prepared to work part-time in a precarious job, where young people (according to the International Labour Organisation) can hope for a retirement pension of 600 euros a month. This has been accepted by the political system. We even have a study from Spain according to which, in the present housing market, nearly 87 percent of people need 90 percent of their salary just to rent a house.
A Salary Means Survival
Today, for many, a salary means survival, not a dignified life. The new economy has developed the so-called gig economy: you work to distribute food, but you are a co-entrepreneur without any of the rights of an employee, for an amount that will never allow you to marry. Children have grown accustomed to look at phenomena such as poverty or war as natural. And now politics are not based on ideas but on how you can successfully exploit the guts of the people, waving banners against immigrants (when we are witnessing a rapid fall in the birth rate) and splintering countries between ”We” who represent the people and “You” enemy of the country. The United States is the best example, where Republicans consider Democrats enemies of the United States. And this brings us to a central question: have Trump, Italy’s Matteo Salvini, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and company not been elected democratically? And they are the symptom or the cause of the “populocracy” which is replacing democracy?
It is not possible to offer a sociological or historical study here. Let us just use a bite: we have gone from the Gutenberg era into a new era – the Zuckerberg era.
Those who greeted the arrival of the Internet with enthusiasm also did so because it would democratize communication and therefore bring about greater participation. The hope was to see a world where horizontal communication would replace the vertical system of information which Gutenberg made possible. Information was, in fact, a support for states and business that used it to reach citizens, who had no recourse to feedback. With the Internet, people could now speak directly throughout the world and the propaganda that accompanied its arrival was not considered relevant: it is not important to know, it is important to know where to find It. Well, we have all the statistics on how the Internet has affected the general level of culture and dialogue.
Smaller Attention Span
The attention span of people has declined dramatically. The majority of Internet users do not stay on an item more than 15 seconds. In the last five years, book volumes have been shortened by 29 pages. Today, articles longer than 650 words are not accepted by columnists’ services. The last meeting of editors of international news agencies decided to aim lower, at a 17-year-old instead of a 22-year-old. In Europe, the percentage of people who buy at least one book a year now stands at 22 percent (in the United States it is now 10.5 percent). According to a recent study in Italy, only 40 percent of the population is able to read and understand a book. In the same country, 13 percent of libraries have closed in the last 10 years. A popular TV news program in Spain several years ago, “59 seconds” brought a number of people to debate around a table; at the 59th seconds their microphones would disappear. Today, the dream of a TV interviewer is that the person interviewed will give a shorter answer than the question. Newspapers are for people over 40. And there is a unanimous complaint about the level of students entering the university: not all are free from mistakes of orthography and syntax. And the list could continue practically ad infinitum.
The problem of barbarisation has major relevance for political participation. The Gutenberg generations were accustomed to dialogue and discussion. Today, 83 percent of Internet users (80 percent under the age of 21), do so only in the virtual world they carved out for themselves. People of Group A gather only with people of Group A. If they come across somebody from Group B, they insult each other. Politicians have been able to adjust rapidly to the system. The best example is Trump. All U.S. newspapers together have a circulation of 60 million copies (10 million those of quality, both conservative and progressive). Trump has 60 million followers who take his tweets as information. The do not buy newspapers, and if they watch TV it is Fox, which is Trump’s amplifier. No wonder that over 80 percent of Trump’s voters would vote for him again. And the media, which have lost the ability to offer analysis and cover processes, not just events, take the easy path. Let us follow famous people and make the famous more famous. Analytical journalism is disappearing. In the United States it exists thanks to grants … in every European country, there are few quality papers left, but the largest circulation goes to tabloids which spare their readers the effort of thinking. The Daily Mirror in Britain and Bild in Germany are the best examples.
The Internet has made everybody a communicator. This is a fantastic achievement. But in this increasing barbarisation, people also use the Internet for transmitting false information, stories based on fantasy, without any of the quality controls that the media world used to have. And artificial intelligence has been taking over, creating many false accounts, which now interfere in the electoral process, as was proven in the last U.S. elections. We have to add to this that the algorithms used by the owners of the Internet aim to trap the attention of users in order to keep them as much as possible. This month, El Pais published a long study entitled “The toxic effects of YouTube,” where it shows how its algorithms push the viewer to items that are of fantasy, pseudoscientific and of great attraction.
Citizens into Consumers
This is due to the fact that the owners have become fabulously rich by transforming citizens into consumers. They find out our identity, and they sell it to companies for their marketing, and also for elections. Those owners have unprecedented wealth, never achieved in the real world: not only in that of production but even in the world of finance, which has become a casino with no control. The entire world of production of services and goods, man-made, is now close to a trillion dollars a day; that same day, financial flows reach $40 trillion. Jeff Bezos gave his ex-wife $38 billion in the divorce. That is equal to the annual average income of $20,000 of 19 million people. No wonder that 80 individuals now possess the same wealth as 2.3 billion people (in 2008, they were 1,200 individuals).
According to historians, greed and fear are great engines of change in history. That was also true in the Gutenberg era. But now, they have triggered a combination of both in a short period of time. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the doctrine of liberal globalisation arrived with such strength that Margaret Thatcher (who with Ronald Reagan ushered in the new vision of individual profits and elimination of social goods) famously talked of TINA: There Is No Alternative.
The entire political system, including Social Democrats, went along with a system of values based on greed and unfettered competition at the individual, state and international level. It took 20 years to understand that the poor have become poorer, and the rich richer, and that states have lost much of their sovereignty to multinational corporations and the world of finance. It is worth noting that, in 2009, in order to save a corrupt and inefficient financial system, the world spent $12 trillion (the United States alone spent $4 trillion). Since that rescue, banks have paid the impressive amount of $800 billion in penalties for illicit activities.
The financial crisis of 2009 has triggered a wave of fear. Let us not forget that until 2009, there were no sovereignist, populist, xenophobic parties anywhere, except for Jean-Marie Le Pen in France. Soon old traps such as “in name of the nation” and “the defense of religion” were resurrected by politicians able to ride fear. A new scapegoat – immigrants – was found and populocrats are now undermining democracy everywhere.
Populocracy is the new wave. Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi ushered in a new language, and that language has now been updated by Salvini, Trump and so on. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are the new medium and now the medium is the message. The old elite had not found a new language.
The Zuckerberg era is an era of greed and fear. Zuckerberg is now attempting to create a global currency, the Libra, to be used by his 2.3 billion users. Until now, states were the only entities able to emit money, a symbol of the nation. Zuckerberg’s currency is based entirely on the Internet and will have no control or regulations. In case of a default, we will have a world crisis without precedent. In the Gutenberg era, this was not possible.
But who enabled Jeff Bezos to give $38 billion to a former wife? Who elected Trump and Salvini and company, who speak on behalf of the nation and the people, and turn those who do not agree into enemies of the nation and the people, creating an unprecedented polarization, accompanied by an orgy of revolt against science and knowledge, which have supported the elite, and must now be put aside for the good of people.
This process of barbarisation should not obscure an old proverb: every country has the government it deserves. It is called democracy. However, the traditional elite has no code of communication with the new era. The answer will come from citizen mobilization.
A young Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg, has done more with her stubbornness to raise awareness about impending climate change than the entire political system. Even Trump (albeit for electoral reasons) has now declared that climate change is important.
Today, there many “rays of light” appearing in the world. The elections in Istanbul are a good example, as are the mobilization in Hong Kong, Sudan and Nicaragua, among many others. Let us hope we will reach a point where people will take the reins of the process and awake the world from the precipitous course of barbarisation. Even Thomas Hobbes concluded that humankind will always, soon or later, find the right path, and give itself good governance. He thought that an elite would always be able to lead the masses.
Well, elites are now the Greta Thunbergs of the world.
Publisher of OtherNews, Italian-Argentine Roberto Savio is an economist, journalist, communication expert, political commentator, activist for social and climate justice and advocate of global governance. Adviser to INPS-IDN and to the Global Cooperation Council. He is co-founder of Inter Press Service news agency and its president emeritus.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says the occupation of Palestinian territories as part of attempts to form an illegal entity, called Israel, has been the main cause of terrorism in the world.
In remarks quoted by Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu news agency on Saturday, Mahathir stressing that if the causes of terrorism were not dealt with, then it would be difficult to put a stop to them.
“The main thing that we think we should always stress is the causes of terrorism. Today, there is already a consensus almost to blame terrorism on Muslims,” said the Malaysian premier who was in Turkey on an official visit.
“But the fact you said, after the seizure of Palestine, and the disregard of international law by Israel, this has led to so-called acts of terrorism. But in order to get rid of terrorism, we need to know the reason why they terrorize unless you treat the causes of terrorism, you are not going to be able to stop terrorism,” he said.
Mahathir called on the Tel Aviv regime to allow Palestinians to return back and reclaim their property, or at least agree on stopping the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements.
“And if we know, beside this, the causes for terrorism, and we treat them, we take action to stop this injustice perpetrated on the Palestinians, I think there will be less terrorism or no terrorism all over the world,” he said.
Mahathir has previously dubbed Israel as “a state of robbers”, saying his country enjoys friendly relations with every country in the world except Israel.
About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Some 7,000 Palestinians are currently behind bars in 17 Israeli prisons and detention centers, according to reports.
Jerusalem al-Quds remains at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Palestinians hoping that the eastern part of the city would eventually serve as the capital of a future independent Palestinian state.
JULY 24, 2019
It is my cheerful duty to announce the acquisition of around 85 gigabytes of leaked emails, phone calls, faxes, and other documents originating from the London-based tax shelter firm Formations House, best known to the public for the assortment of often colorful scandals involving such figures as former Ukranian president Viktor Yanukovych, and best known to the global kleptocracy as a cheap and discreet option by which to avoid taxes or steal them altogether. These materials, which cover fifteen years from the company’s founding in 2001, were recently obtained by Distributed Denial of Secrets, the transparency organization founded by longtime researcher, activist, and Freedom of Information Act request record-holder Emma Best to facilitate and host leaks from state and corporate actors. My own non-profit Pursuance, meanwhile, has partnered with DDOS to help oversee early access by reporters, and thereafter to implement experimental crowd-sourced research protocols by which networks of volunteers will sift through this immense field of data to better ensure that critical stories are discovered and made public over the coming months and years.
Formations is among the considerable number of firms that have proliferated in recent decades to provide a focused array of financial services to clients around the globe. We must hasten to add that the majority of these are not engaged in any significant wrongdoing, while the list of services includes all manner of perfectly mundane business functions such as accounting, VAT registration, and domain hosting. The most widely utilized of its more undignified practices – providing customers with a suitably handsome ersatz physical address in one of London’s most respectable and thus expensive neighborhoods – is neither criminal nor even terribly shameful, and no more fundamentally deceptive than anything else in 2019.
But thanks to a series of successful prosecutions as well as several years of keen journalism – most notably on the part of The Guardian’s Oliver Bullough – it’s gradually become clear that a key segment of its clientele has used Formations for a range of considerably more illicit purposes, often involving “shelf” companies – pre-made corporations built on a template, including a ready-made board of directors and other forms of what amounts to a sort of institutional camouflage by which to skirt revenue collectors and regulators. But in some cases, the scam has gone well beyond the millennia-old tendency of wealthy citizens to avoid paying their share for the very infrastructure, diplomatic apparatus, and international security arrangements that benefit them the most, or in some cases exclusively. At least one of the known convictions involving Formations involves high-stakes confidence tricks employing the classic “Spanish prisoner” advance payment hustle – by one of Formations’ own directors. At least one of his partners is still on the run.
But the most important stories that will gradually be yielded from these materials will concern the looting of public resources, which institutions across the West have continued to facilitate despite the incalculable damage that results to entire populations. In 2016 Bullough summarized the Yanukovych affair – and much else – as follows: “If it was difficult for a Brit to discover that a registered address at 29 Harley Street was meaningless, it was even harder for a Ukrainian… investigative journalists in Kiev could see that a piece of state-owned land in a forest outside the capital had been illegally privatised, but they did not know who by.”
What makes this story unique is that the millions of pounds in assets pilfered with the help of a London “financial services” firm were ultimately recovered. If even one of the “400,000 companies, partnerships, and trusts” Formations notes having set up for its clients since the turn of the century are discovered to serve a similar function, and the stolen funds returned to the developing the nation that can scarce afford to have lost them, this project will have served its purpose.
As it happens, we can expect more. In the 48 hours since we began recruiting press for early access, we’ve brought on journalists from outlets like ProPublica, CNN, The Daily Beast, and the Columbia Review of Journalism, with further partnerships arranged in principle with CounterPunch and Investigative Journal. Over time, we’ll be expanding access to the entire cache on the part of both traditional outlets and experiment research collectives of the sort Emma Best and I have been overseeing in similar contexts for nearly a decade, along with many of our volunteers. To ensure the greatest yield and accommodate the widest possible access, we’ll also be allowing journalists and anti-corruption officials who may be precluded from engaging with such leaks directly to instead submit names and other keywords to be searched by our team, with any responsive documents to be securely relayed back to the inquirer.
Other special requests, along with press inquiries/requests for access and questions about volunteering for this and similar projects, should reach out to Distributed Denial of Secrets via their contact page.
Our Partner Organizations
The #29Leaks Archive
To ensure the safety of those involved, the circumstances under which this cache was acquired and made available to DDOS will remain private for the time being.
The estimated 85 gigabytes are roughly divided along the following lines:
20GB – Mailboxes of specific employees of interest
50GB – SQL table containing every email received by the firm
7 GB – Misc. docs, faxes, phone calls
8 GB – Misc. databases
Moderately Amusing Excerpts from the “Terms and Conditions” page at Formation House’s website:
We reserve the right to refuse to offer any service or process any order or part of an order even if the order has been placed and accepted on our system, if in the light of further investigation if we feel that processing the order would damage our reputation.
Our email service is limited to 100mb of storage, any further use of storage and your emails will be deleted.
“Wanna know how broken and captured Washington is by the Pentagon and the corruption of our nation’s ‘defense’ budget? Well, look no further than the soon to be enacted budget ‘deal.'”
In a bipartisan deal that one anti-war critic said demonstrates how thoroughly “broken and captured Washington is by the Pentagon,” 219 House Democrats and 65 Republicans on Thursday voted to approve a budget agreement that includes $1.48 trillion in military spending over the next two years.
Just 16 Democrats—including Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.)—voted against the two-year, $2.7 trillion budget agreement. Largely due to expressed concerns about the deficit, 132 Republicans and Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) also voted no.
The final vote was 284-149. (See the full roll call.)
“For the love of God, can we all stop pretending like this is somehow anything other than a continued orgy of unprecedented, wasteful, and obscene spending at the Pentagon.”
—Stephen Miles, Win Without War
The House passage of the budget deal, which President Donald Trump quickly applauded on Twitter as a victory for the military, comes after the Congressional Progressive Caucus threatened in April to tank the measure in opposition to its out-of-control Pentagon outlays.
But most of the Progressive Caucus voted for the agreement on Thursday, pointing to increases in domestic spending.
“It’s not a perfect deal by any means,” Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), co-chairs of the Progressive Caucus, said in a statement ahead of the vote. “This deal does not address the bloated Pentagon budget, but it does begin to close the gap in funding for families, by allocating more new non-defense spending than defense spending for the first time in many years.”
Stephen Miles, executive director of Win Without War, took issue with the latter claim in a series of tweets Thursday.
“You’re no doubt hearing a lot of crowing from Democrats about how the deal they struck with Trump gives more money to ‘non-defense’ spending than to ‘defense,'” Miles wrote. “Let’s be clear that by every measure, save the one they’re using, that’s simply not true.”
“Under this deal, the Pentagon and its affiliated programs will get $1.48 trillion over the next two years. The entire rest of gov’t, including the VA btw, will get $1.30 trillion. That’s $178.6 billion more for the Pentagon than the whole rest of gov’t,” Miles wrote. “So, for the love of God, can we all stop pretending like this is somehow anything other than a continued orgy of unprecedented, wasteful, and obscene spending at the Pentagon.”
William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, wrote for Forbes this week that the budget deal “vastly overpays for the Pentagon.”
“At $738 billion for Fiscal Year 2020 and $740 billion for Fiscal Year 2021,” wrote Hartung, “the agreement sets the table for two of the highest budgets for the Pentagon and related work on nuclear warheads at the Department of Energy since World War II.”
“The agreement sets the table for two of the highest budgets for the Pentagon and related work on nuclear warheads at the Department of Energy since World War II.”
—William Hartung, Center for International Policy
“The proposed figures are higher than spending at the height of the Vietnam and Korean Wars, and substantially more than the high point of the Reagan buildup of the 1980s,” Hartung added. “And the Fiscal Year 2020 and Fiscal Year 2021 numbers are only slightly less than spending in 2010, when the United States had 180,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, roughly nine times the number currently deployed.”
The sweeping 2020 budget agreement is expected to pass the Senate next week, and Trump has signaled he will sign the measure.
The deal, McConnell said, “achieves the No. 1 goal of the Republican side of the aisle, providing for the common defense.”
As Common Dreams reported on Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) came under fire from progressives for striking the budget agreement with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Specifically, critics highlighted the deal to suspend the debt ceiling until 2021, a move that could give Republicans power to cripple the next president’s agenda.
“If you really listen,” wrote Splinter‘s Paul Blest, “you can almost hear [Texas Sen.] Ted Cruz yelling on the floor of the Senate that Congress shouldn’t raise the debt limit by one more dollar unless President Bernie Sanders promises to drop his demand for Medicare for All.”