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Corn of the Day

Yellow Dent Corn:

James L. Reid developed Yellow Dent Corn, the most popular variety of field corn grown world-wide during much of the 20th Century. Most of today's hybrid corns were derived from Yellow Dent. Dent Corn originally was created by crossing flint and floury corns.

Corn is one of the most important production grains in the United States today. So the development of Yellow Dent Corn -- also known as "field corn" - had remarkable implications for U.S. farmers. Most of the corn grown in the United States today is Yellow Dent. It has a very high Vitamin A content and is perfect for a variety of uses. Yellow dent corn gets it's name because of a small 'dent' on both sides of each kernel. It is the corn of choice for many food manufacturers and is used in corn chips and taco shells. Cornmeal is also derived from Yellow Dent Corn, which is used in the baking of cornbread, and other products. Corn starch is turned into fructose which is used as a sweetener in many processed foods and soft drinks.

Yellow Dent Corn differs from the "sweet" corn served as a vegetable in several ways. Sweet corn is full of sugar and softens readily when heated. Sweet corn can even been eaten off the husk in a corn field. But Yellow Dent Corn has a very thick outer skin that does not soften when cooked but must be soaked or ground for processing.

Corn has been a native crop in the Americas for over 7,000 years, and is said to have been brought to Spain by Christopher Columbus.

(Source: heartland science.org)

 

Despacito | From The Charts to The Football Terraces

 

Historical fiction: Pain in Spain and violence in Venice

Antonia Senior

July 8 2017, © The Times

 

Loyalty to the Nation all the time, loyalty to the Government when it deserves it.

Mark Twain

 

The G20 From Hell

by PEPE ESCOBAR

JULY 11, 2017, © Counterpunch

A future history of the G20 in Hamburg might start with a question posed by President Donald Trump – actually his speechwriter – a few days earlier in Warsaw:

"The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive."

i

What initially amounted to a juvenile/reductionist clash of civilizations tirade written by Stephen Miller – the same one who penned the "American carnage" epic on Trump's inauguration as well as the original Muslim travel ban – might actually have found some answers in Hamburg.  full article>

 

Through loyalty to the past, our mind refuses to realize that tomorrow's joy is possible only if today's makes way for it; that each wave owes the beauty of its line only to the withdrawal of the preceding one.

Andre Gide

 

Government Should Not Be Able to Block Facebook From Telling People About Searches

By Vera Eidelman, William J. Brennan Fellow

JULY 7, 2017, © ACLU

If the government wants to search your Facebook account—snooping through everything from your posts, photographs, and videos to your private messages, check-ins, likes, and search history—shouldn't you know about it in time to protect your constitutional rights? We certainly think so. And that's what we told the D.C. Court of Appeals last week when we filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a largely secret case concerning the government's search of Facebook accounts.  full article>

 

My loyalties will not be bound by national borders, or confined in time by one nation's history, or limited in the spiritual dimension by one language and culture. I pledge my allegiance to the damned human race, and my everlasting love to the green hills of Earth, and my intimations of glory to the singing stars, to the very end of space and time.

Edward Abbey

 

 

Upper hand: Putin and Trump's body language shows who's the boss

John Crace

Saturday 8 July 2017, © The Guardian

Their first encounter had been a brush-by in the VIP lounge of the G20 conference centre in Hamburg during the morning. President Putin had intended it to be the briefest of handshakes, forgetting there is no such thing as a quick handshake with Donald Trump. The US president had thrust out a clammy right paw, grabbed hold of his arm with his left hand and then pumped it enthusiastically for rather longer than was comfortable. The man clearly has no sense of personal space.  full article>

 

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,

Nothing is going to get better. It's not.

Dr. Seuss (The Lorax)

 

Los herederos de Berta Cáceres

Por JOSEPH ZÁRATE

2 de julio de 2017, © The New York Times

RÍO BLANCO, Honduras — Bertha Zúñiga supo desde niña que defender un río o un pedazo de tierra podía ser una ocupación mortal. Lo supo a través de su madre, que marcó los recuerdos de su infancia: mamá en televisión denunciando la corrupción del gobierno durante una protesta; mamá llegando de noche con el brazo morado por el garrotazo de un policía; mamá vigilada por un extraño en un coche sin matrícula.

"Ser hija de Berta Cáceres a veces era muy agobiante. Era tan frecuente el peligro, que se volvió normal vivir así', dice ahora Zúñiga, junto a un altar de flores rojas. "En un momento pensé: 'Ojalá mamá se dedicara a otra cosa'. Luego comprendí que el mundo necesita gente como ella'.  full article>

 

"Forgiving is not forgetting. Forgiving is remembering without pain.'

Celia Cruz

 

La pianiste de jazz Geri Allen est morte

Par Francis Marmande

29.06.2017, © LE MONDE

Geri Allen, " pianiste renommée et directrice des études de jazz à l'université de Pittsburgh ", dixit Scott Mervis dans son journal, le Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, est morte à Philadelphie (Pennsylvanie), mardi 27 juin, des suites d'un cancer. Née à Pontiac (Michigan) le 12 juin 1957, elle avait 60 ans.

Pianiste dans le Tennessee, son père, Mount Vernell Allen Jr, " aimait Charlie Parker ". Sa mère, Barbara Jean Allen, maîtrisait piano, chant et harmonium – il serait temps que critiques et historiens du jazz révisassent leurs classiques et leurs modernes en anthropologie, pour cesser de colporter des âneries sur le rôle ou le non-rôle des femmes dans le jazz...  full article>

 

The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts.

Charles Darwin

 

Bernie Sanders on Resisting Trump, Why the Democratic Party is an "Absolute Failure" & More

JULY 03, 2017, © Democracy Now

 

At bottom every man knows well enough that he is a unique being, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is, ever be put together a second time."

Friedrich Nietzsche

 

EPA chief pushing governmentwide effort to question climate change science

By Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin

July 1, 2017, © The Washington Post

The Trump administration is debating whether to launch a governmentwide effort to question the science of climate change, an effort that critics say is an attempt to undermine the long-established consensus human activity is fueling the Earth's rising temperatures.

The move, driven by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, has sparked a debate among top Trump administration officials over whether to pursue such a strategy.  full article>

 

To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.

Charles Darwin

 

Across the Nation, Conservatives Seek to Curb the Right to Protest

by Evan Popp

July 3, 2017, © The Progressive

Inauguration Day protests. The Women's March. The March for Science. Protests against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. In the age of the Donald Trump presidency, demonstration has become an essential tool of The Resistance.

But now, that fundamental right is under attack.  full article>

 

Religion is an attempt to get control over the sensory world, in which we are placed, by means of the wish-world, which we have developed inside us as a result of biological and psychological necessities. But it cannot achieve its end. Its doctrines carry with them the stamp of the times in which they originated, the ignorant childhood days of the human race. Its consolations deserve no trust. Experience teaches us that the world is not a nursery. The ethical commands, to which religion seeks to lend its weight, require some other foundations instead, for human society cannot do without them, and it is dangerous to link up obedience to them with religious belief. If one attempts to assign to religion its place in man's evolution, it seems not so much to be a lasting acquisition, as a parallel to the neurosis which the civilized individual must pass through on his way from childhood to maturity.

Sigmund Freud

 

We Are So Forked: Wait, we toss out how many plastic utensils every year?

JENNY LUNA

JULY/AUGUST 2017 ISSUE, © Mother Jones

Whether for stabbing salads at our desks or slurping up late-night Thai, plastic cutlery has become a signature side to our growing takeout habit. It's hard to say exactly how many forks, spoons, and knives Americans throw away, but in 2015 we placed nearly 2 billion delivery orders. If at least half those meals involved single-use utensils, that would mean we're tossing out billions of utensils each year. They don't just disappear: A recent study in the San Francisco Bay Area found that food and beverage packaging made up 67 percent of all litter on the streets.  full article>

 

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.

Charles Darwin

 

Jellyfish of the Day

Catostylus Tagi:

 

Stinger:

It is not a bad stinger, but it is better not to touch it.

Habitat:

It is common along Portuguese coast and, in general, throughout the Atlantic Ocean, but it was never recorded from the Mediterranean Sea, until Maria Ghelia photographed it in 2010, in the waters of the Pantelleria Island.

How to identify it:

It is similar to Rhyzostoma pulmo but it does not have the typical bluish-purple umbrellar margin typical of this species. It is a beautiful animal and, in some countries, it is used as food.

(Source: perseus-net.eu)

 

So, in the interests of survival, they trained themselves to be agreeing machines instead of thinking machines. All their minds had to do was to discover what other people were thinking, and then they thought that, too.

Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Breakfast of Champions

 

A Timeline: Russia and President Trump

BY STEVEN HARPER

JUNE 26, 2017, © Bill Moyers

Investigative reporters have begun to flesh out the Trump/Russia timeline. To keep everything in one location, here's an updated summary (so far).  full article>

 

Poverty wants some, luxury many, and avarice all things.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

 

Amazon Now Has Monopoly Power in Online Commerce

BY JANINE JACKSON

JUNE 27, 2017, © FAIR

Looking for news on Amazon's proposed acquisition of Whole Foods, you'll find yourself awash in articles like "Is Whole Foods a Healthy Option for Amazon?," "Big Prize in Amazon/Whole Foods Deal: Data" and "Speculation Grows That Amazon Will Face a Rival Bidder." Other topics: What's Instacart to do? What will happen to Grubhub?

The implication that news readers should be engaged primarily as stockholders or market watchers has little to do with people, of course, and much to do with a corporate media system of owners and advertisers happy to finance that angle on things.  full article>

 

We are a puny and fickle folk. Avarice, hesitation, and following are our diseases.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

What the Venice High School Student Walkout Teaches Us

by Karen Wolfe

June 22, 2017, © The Progressive

Four days before the end of the school year, Venice High School students, organized by the Black Student Union and the Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan, walked out of class to protest their principal allegedly firing an African American college counselor.  full article>

 

A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

 

This is what foreign spies see when they read President Trump's tweets

By Nada Bakos

June 23, © The Washington Post

Every time President Trump tweets, journalists and Twitter followers attempt to analyze what he means. Intelligence agencies around the world do, too: They're trying to determine what vulnerabilities the president of the United States may have. And he's giving them a lot to work with.  full article>

 

To abandon oneself to principles is really to die - and to die for an impossible love which is the contrary of love.

Albert Camus

 

Myths of Globalization: Noam Chomsky and Ha-Joon Chang in Conversation

By C.J. Polychroniou

Thursday, June 22, 2017, © Truthout

Since the late 1970s, the world's economy and dominant nations have been marching to the tune of (neoliberal) globalization, whose impact and effects on average people's livelihood and communities everywhere are generating great popular discontent, accompanied by a rising wave of nationalist and anti-elitist sentiments. But what exactly is driving globalization? And who really benefits from globalization? Are globalization and capitalism interwoven? How do we deal with the growing levels of inequality and massive economic insecurity? Should progressives and radicals rally behind the call for the introduction of a universal basic income? In the unique and exclusive interview below, two leading minds of our time, linguist and public intellectual Noam Chomsky and Cambridge University economist Ha-Joon Chang, share their views on these essential questions.  full article>

 

The moment you give up your principles, and your values, you are dead, your culture is dead, your civilization is dead. Period.

Oriana Fallaci

 

Democrats in the Dead Zone

by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR

JUNE 23, 2017, © Counterpunch

This year the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to grow larger than ever. Oceanologists predict the lifeless expanse of water below the Mississippi River Delta will swell to an area bigger than the state of Vermont, an aquatic ecosystem despoiled by industrial fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, oil leaks and the lethal effects of a warming climate. But the desolate waters of the Gulf pale next to the electoral dead zone now confronting the Democratic Party, which seems to occupy about two-thirds of the geographical area of the Republic—a political landscape deadened by the Party's remorseless commitment to neoliberal economics, imperial wars and open hostility toward the working class base which once served as its backbone.  full article>

 

By denying scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox.

Galileo Galilei

 

Dozens of EPA Staffers Weigh In on the Damage Trump Has Inflicted

REBECCA LEBER

JUN. 22, 2017, © Mother Jones

During the campaign, Donald Trump promised to "get rid of" the Environmental Protection Agency "in almost every form" and leave it in "little tidbits." He's begun to make good on that pledge during his first few months in office by putting climate change deniers in charge, bringing Obama-era regulations to a standstill and asking Congress to slash the agency's budget by a third. But Trump's attack on environmental policy hasn't been limited to changing rules—he's also undermined the workplace culture at the EPA. That lowered morale is evident in a report released this week filled with warnings from the people who know the EPA best—its longtime staffers.  full article>

 

To have doubted one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

 

A black off-duty cop tried to help stop a crime. Another officer shot him.

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr.

June 25, © The Washington Post

A "friendly fire" incident in which an off-duty St. Louis policeman was shot while coming to the aid of fellow officers has taken on racial overtones after an incendiary claim by the injured officer's attorney: The officer was viewed as a threat because he was black.  full article>

 

Viggo Mortensen i Rafel Plana

Divendres 30 juny 20 h

Auditori de l'Ateneu de Banyoles

 

Salamander of the Day

Karpathos Lycian:

(Photo by Benny Trapp)

 

Karpathos Lycian salamander (Lyciasalamandra helverseni), one of several Lyciasalamandra species named in recent decades (specifically, 1963). Most remarkable is the soft, dorsally projecting spike that some male salamandrids possess at the base of the tail. Once a female has expressed interest as a mating partner, the male manoeuvres himself to get beneath the female, and inserts the spike into her cloaca (Sever et al. 1997), presumably to get her into position for spermatophore collection.

Salamandroidea – also named Salamandriformes or Diadectosalamandroidei – is also known as the 'internally fertilizing salamander' (or IFS) clade (Larson & Dimmick 1993). This is the clade that contains the vast majority of salamander species and lineages, including the (mostly) American lungless salamanders or plethodontids, the chunky mole salamanders (or ambystomatids) of the Americas, and the (mostly) Eurasian salamandrids. While its roots are in the Mesozoic, Salamandroidea is mostly a Cenozoic clade that exploded in diversity during the late Paleogene and Neogene.

How are these salamanders capable of 'internally fertilizing' when males don't have an intromittent organ? As all amphibian fans will know, they produce an elaborately shaped sperm package (the spermatophore) that they deposit on the substrate. It's then picked up by the female's cloaca (some salamanders do all of this on land, others on the floor of a pond or stream. Some species are, err, well stocked and can produce multiple spermatophores in fairly rapid succession).

(Source: Scientific American)

 

Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.

Carl Sagan

 

Los albaceas May y Trump

ANDREA RIZZI

20 JUN 2017, © El País

El gran pulso del Brexit empieza por fin, y lo hace precisamente después de que las legislativas británicas asestaran un nuevo contragolpe a las fuerzas nacionalistas de Occidente. Tras haber contenido a Norbert Hofer en Austria, Geert Wilders en Holanda y Marine Le Pen en Francia, los defensores de las sociedades abiertas recibieron nuevo oxigeno con el voto británico. Los tories y su proyecto de Brexit duro quedan debilitados; el UKIP desapareció del mapa. Como en las elecciones francesas y estadounidenses, en las británicas también se divisa un vigoroso choque de ideas entre ciudades y periferias, y otro parecido entre jóvenes y mayores. Los primeros favorecen sociedades abiertas, los segundos, el repliegue.  full article>

 

There are two problems for our species' survival - nuclear war and environmental catastrophe - and we're hurtling towards them. Knowingly.

Noam Chomsky

 

The Republican Thieves Who Stole Health Care

Monday, June 19, 2017

By Dean Baker, © Truthout

In their desperation to provide $600 billion in tax cuts to their rich campaign contributors, the Republicans have decided to abandon all the standard rules by which Congress has governed itself. The actions might seem extraordinary, but we know how desperately the richest people in the country need tax cuts, so who can complain if the normal procedures are not being followed?

Unfortunately the debate over the "repeal and replacement" of Obamacare is being confused with a debate over health care. Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Republican caucuses in the House and Senate don't give a damn about health care. This is about getting $600 billion in tax cuts for the people who pay for their campaigns and will offer them jobs as high paid lobbyists when they leave office. The fact that the tax cuts are associated with health care for tens of millions of people is just a coincidence.  full article>

 

Of the primary emotions, fear is the one that bears most directly on survival. Children show fear. Adults try not to, maybe because it's shameful, or, in some circumstances, dangerous. The fear response is automatic, though, and your body runs through its reflexes whether you want it to or not.

Sebastian Junger

 

Media Use Attack on Mosque to Smear Mosque

BY ADAM JOHNSON

JUNE 19, 2017, © FAIR

CNN, the New York Times, Daily Mail and News.com.au all decided to use last night's horrific attack on London's Finsbury Park Mosque welfare center as a chance to litigate the mosque's past behavior.

A 48-year-old white man rammed his van into a crowd of people outside an Islamic welfare center associated with the Finsbury Park Mosque, killing one and injuring up to ten. Immediately, the "context" trolls at major corporate media decided to jump in and began digging up dirt on the victims' place of worship.  full article>

 

In a world where change is inevitable and continuous, the need to achieve that change without violence is essential for survival.

Andrew Young

 

Trump and Congress diligently work to strip working people of hard-fought rights

by Celine McNicholas

June 16, 2017, © Economic Policy Institute

It is becoming routine in the Trump administration to assign each week a policy theme. Last week was "infrastructure week," which sounded promising but for the fact that the Trump administration had already proposed a budget that would slash infrastructure investment. This week is "workforce development" week. Again, in spite of the designation, workforce development does not fare well under the Trump budget proposal, which included significant cuts to job training grant programs. More troubling than the gimmicky, hollow marketing the administration routinely employs to mask these budget maneuvers is the true tradition of the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress: diligently working each week to strip working people of hard-fought rights. This week, the Trump administration and congressional Republicans focused their efforts on taking away workers' right to join together and bargain for better wages and working conditions.  full article>

 

I've taken regular gigs, I've worked in grocery stores, worked as a dishwasher, a porter in different places, all for survival. I don't feel bad about doing it. I wished I could have done better. And still do.

Jimmy Scott

 

Turtle of the Day

Painted Turtle:

The painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) is the most widespread native turtle of North America. It lives in slow-moving fresh waters, from southern Canada to Louisiana and northern Mexico, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The turtle is the only species of the genus Chrysemys, which is part of the pond turtle family Emydidae. Fossils show that the painted turtle existed 15 million years ago. Four regionally based subspecies (the eastern, midland, southern, and western) evolved during the last ice age.

The adult painted turtle female is 10–25 cm (4–10 in) long; the male is smaller. The turtle's top shell is dark and smooth, without a ridge. Its skin is olive to black with red, orange, or yellow stripes on its extremities. The subspecies can be distinguished by their shells: the eastern has straight-aligned top shell segments; the midland has a large gray mark on the bottom shell; the southern has a red line on the top shell; the western has a red pattern on the bottom shell.

The turtle eats aquatic vegetation, algae, and small water creatures including insects, crustaceans, and fish. Although they are frequently consumed as eggs or hatchlings by rodents, canines, and snakes, the adult turtles' hard shells protect them from most predators. Reliant on warmth from its surroundings, the painted turtle is active only during the day when it basks for hours on logs or rocks. During winter, the turtle hibernates, usually in the mud at the bottom of water bodies. The turtles mate in spring and autumn. Females dig nests on land and lay eggs between late spring and mid-summer. Hatched turtles grow until sexual maturity: 2–9 years for males, 6–16 for females.

In the traditional tales of Algonquian tribes, the colorful turtle played the part of a trickster. In modern times, four U.S. states have named the painted turtle their official reptile. While habitat loss and road killings have reduced the turtle's population, its ability to live in human-disturbed settings has helped it remain the most abundant turtle in North America. Adults in the wild can live for more than 55 years.

(Source: Wikipedia)

 

Trump Complies with War-Hawk Wishes

June 19, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com

By Ann Wright

The militarization of U.S. foreign policy certainly didn't start with President Donald J. Trump; in fact, it goes back several decades. However, if Trump's first 100 days in office are any indication, he has no intention of slowing down the trend.

During a single week in April, the Trump administration fired 59 Tomahawk missiles into a Syrian airfield, and dropped the largest bomb in the U.S. arsenal on suspected ISIS tunnels in Afghanistan. This 21,600-pound incendiary percussion device that had never been used in combat — the Massive Ordinance Air Blast or MOAB, colloquially known as the "Mother of All Bombs"—was used in the Achin district of Afghanistan, where Special Forces Staff Sergeant Mark De Alencar had been killed a week earlier. (The bomb was tested only twice, at Elgin Air Base, Florida, in 2003.)  full article>

 

Those who can't change their minds can't change anything.

George Bernard Shaw

 

Will you enlist in "Trump's War?"

June 15, 2017, © Jim Hightower

President Trump might have dodged military service in his youth, but he certainly is militaristic – he is bellicose, likes to issue commands, and is constantly firing off militant tweets at anyone he perceives to be an enemy (which seems to include everyone who dares to disagree with him).  full article>

 

All our days are marked with
unexpected
affronts—some
disastrous, others
less so
but the process is
wearing and
continuous.
Attrition rules.
Most give
way
leaving
empty spaces
where people should
be.

Charles Bukowski

 

Crimes Against the Press in Mexico

by Shannon Young

June 15, 2017, © The Progressive

On May 15, Mexican journalist Javier Valdez was pulled from his car and shot twelve times in broad daylight. It happened in the middle of a street in the city of Culiacán, Sinaloa. In the month since, no arrests or major breakthroughs have been made.  full article>

 

I pledge allegiance to the living, and I will defend art from history. I will rescue art from the future, from its attrition into taste, and from the speculative notion that it will become more valuable with time.

Rene Ricard

 

Rick Perry Is in Charge of Nuclear Safety—Too Bad He Doesn't Understand Science

JAMES WEST

JUN. 19, 2017, © Mother Jones

Energy Secretary Rick Perry told CNBC Monday morning that he doesn't believe carbon dioxide is primarily responsible for global warming, contradicting the overwhelming scientific consensus on the causes of climate change.

When asked by interviewer Joe Kernan whether CO2 is the "primary" driver of changing temperatures, Perry responded, "No, most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in."  full article>

 

We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.

George Bernard Shaw

 

One Art

 

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

 

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

 

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

 

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster, some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent. I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

 

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (
Write it!) like disaster.

 

Elizabeth Bishop

 

Simplicity is not an objective in art, but one achieves simplicity despite one's self by entering into the real sense of things.

Constantin Brancus

 

 

Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.

Isaac Newton

 

UN Last Hurdle Before Israel Can Rid Itself of the Palestinians

by JONATHAN COOK

JUNE 15, 2017, © Counterpunch.org

Israeli and US officials are in the process of jointly pre-empting Donald Trump's supposed "ultimate deal" to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They hope to demote the Palestinian issue to a footnote in international diplomacy.

The conspiracy – a real one – was much in evidence last week during a visit to the region by Nikki Haley, Washington's envoy to the United Nations. Her escort was Danny Danon, her Israeli counterpart and a fervent opponent of Palestinian statehood.  full article>

 

The actual tragedies of life bear no relation to one's preconceived ideas. In the event, one is always bewildered by their simplicity, their grandeur of design, and by that element of the bizarre which seems inherent in them.

Jean Cocteau

 

This is the real story behind the economic crisis unfolding in Qatar

Robert Fisk

Thursday 8 June 2017, © The Independent

The Qatar crisis proves two things: the continued infantilisation of the Arab states, and the total collapse of the Sunni Muslim unity supposedly created by Donald Trump's preposterous attendance at the Saudi summit two weeks ago.  full article>

 

I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.

Lao Tzu

 

All the Terrifying Things That Donald Trump Did Lately

By Eric Levitz

June 9, 2017, © New York Magazine

It's been less than five months since Donald Trump became commander-in-chief. But for the president's detractors, it's felt like centuries — long medieval centuries chock-full of plague, illiteracy, and barbarians running roughshod through the ruins of the old republic. But we aren't actually living in the dark ages (yet). So we might as well shed some light on what the barbarians have been up to.  full article>

 

Vulture of the Day

The Egyptian Vulture:

The Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) is one of the more elegant vulture species.

Size: 58-70 cm

Weight: 1,6-2,2 kg

Wingspan: 155-170 cm

Life expectancy: up to 37 years in captivity

Features: This vulture species is considerably smaller than the other vultures in Europe. Adult animals have a bald yellow head and throat, and a white collar. The plumage is a creamy white, in sharp contrast with the black wing coverts. Young birds are brown with paler wings coverts, and slowly whiten with each mould. Like Bearded vultures, Egyptian vultures sometimes rub themselves with soil rich in ferric oxides, hence the German name 'Schmutzgeier'.

Distribution: During the last decades, the number of Egyptian vultures declined dramatically in Europe. The largest European population is located in Spain (1300 to 1500 pairs). Except in France, where there are currently around 70 breeding pairs, the number of birds across Europe is still decreasing sharply, with over 50% in the last three generations.

Behaviour: Egyptian vultures are opportunists and eat very varied. Their diet consists mainly of carrion, but also small mammals, young birds, fish, eggs and even rotting fruit. The species can fly up to 80 kilometers per day in search of food. Due to their smaller size, Egyptian vultures must often wait for other species to have finished eating. The thin beak is perfectly adapted to catch the small pieces of leftover meat on carcasses. Also, they can break an egg by repeatedly dropping stones on it.

The Egyptian vulture is the only European vulture that migrates to Africa in winter. This is why they breed later in the year than other vulture species, and lay on average two eggs in April or May. Couples build nests together, in rocky areas, often on cliffs.

 

There are two general classifications of vultures - Old World vultures and New World vultures. While both types share striking characteristics and occupy the same environmental niche as "nature's clean up crew" there are actually great geographic and evolutionary distinctions between them.

Vultures are often underappreciated, misunderstood birds. While there may be only 23 vulture species in the world - depending on how individual species are split or lumped by different organizations - each one of them fills a vital ecological niche. All of these birds help clean up the environment by eating carrion, which prevents the spread of diseases from old, rotting carcasses. Those diseases could affect other birds and wildlife, including humans, and could impact soil and waterways as well, contaminating crops and water sources with dangerous bacteria and infections.

Unfortunately, 14 of the vulture and condor species in the world - more than half of the total vulture species - are considered threatened or endangered, some of them with significant population losses in recent years. Because of a range of different threats, including poisoning, vehicle collisions and electrocution, these vulture populations will continue to decline without urgent help. Learning more about these unique birds is the first step toward effective conservation, and the first thing to learn are the different types of vultures and their common and scientific names.

 

 

No one and nothing can harm us, child, except what we fear and love.

Sigrid Undset

 

 

The arts (painting, poetry, etc.) are not just these. Eating, drinking, walking are also arts; every act is an art.

César Vallejo

 

Bernie Sanders lambasts 'absolute failure' of Democratic party's strategy

Adam Gabbatt

Saturday 10 June 2017, © The Guardian

Bernie Sanders has criticised the Democratic party's current direction as "an absolute failure" in a speech at the People's Summit in Chicago.

Speaking to a crowd of 4,000 activists, Sanders hailed the "enormous progress in advancing the progressive agenda", saying the increasing House and Senate support for a $15 minimum wage and the opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership showed the success of the movement.  full article>

 

You write poems because you need a place where what isn't may be.

Alejandra Pizarnik

 

U.K.'s Corbyn Told Truth about Terrorism

June 10, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com

By Lawrence Davidson

On May 26, Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of British Labour Party, made a speech which dealt in large part with security and foreign policy. Much of his presentation was surprisingly accurate. Here is what he said:

—There is a cause-and-effect relationship "between wars our governments supported and fought in other countries and terrorism here at home." For instance, the May 22 Manchester bombing, which killed 22 people, may well be connected to the United Kingdom's involvement in the overthrow of the Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi and the subsequent civil wars.  full article>

 

... the hills of one's youth are all mountains ...

Mari Sandoz

 

Senate Republicans Hope You Won't Notice They're About to Repeal Obamacare

By Zoë Carpenter

June 9, 2017, © The Nation

Quickly and in secret—that's how lawmakers operate when they're about to pass legislation that is both harmful and deeply unpopular.

This week, while everyone was distracted by former FBI director James Comey's testimony, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell put the Republican health-care overhaul on fast track. His caucus is writing its bill in secret, and McConnell's move means he could bring the legislation up for a vote anytime, without holding a single public hearing. All signs indicate that Senate Republicans are preparing to copy their colleagues in the House and jam through a massively destructive piece of legislation before the public knows what's going on.  full article>

 

The closer we come to the negative, to death, the more we blossom.

Montgomery Clift

 

The truth about US involvement in Syria is far more complicated than Donald Trump wants you to think

Robert Fisk

Thursday 1 June 2017, © The Independent

Somewhere over the Atlantic, I've always suspected, there's a giant glass curtain through which Americans view the Middle East – through a glass darkly, perhaps – and which utterly distorts their vision.

Even when they arrive in the region to chat to their "moderate" friends, the Sunni Muslim head-choppers, dictators and torturers who are now enlisting a mad American President in their alliance against Shia Muslims, the Western visitors do no more than mouth their propaganda and agree with Sunni Gulf plans to annihilate Iran.  full article>

 

I would always rather be happy than dignified.

Charlotte Brontë

 

Brazil's archaeologists join fight to preserve country's ancient lands | The Guardian

Jonathan Watts

Sunday, May 14, 2017, © InternationalRivers.org

Brazil's archaeologists have lined up alongside conservationists and indigenous rights campaigners to protest against government proposals that they see as a threat to pre-colonial cultural heritage as well as forests, native communities and biodiversity.

The plan, to be debated by Congress on Wednesday, would roll back licensing rules for infrastructure projects, making it easier for construction companies to bulldoze sites of ancient Amazonian civilisations before they have been excavated.  full article>

 

Failure and its accompanying misery is for the artist his most vital source of creative energy.

Montgomery Clift

 

Open Letter From Pittsburgh to the President on Paris Climate Pullout

Daniel Doubet

June 2, 2017, © OurFuture.org

Mr. President, when you took our country out of the global agreement to stop climate change, you said you "represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris." As a proud native of western Pennsylvania, I strongly disagree.

You do not represent Pittsburgh. Our people overwhelmingly rejected you at the ballot box, and we have seen your brand of charlatanism before.  full article>

 

Celui qui désespère des événements est un lâche, mais celui qui espère en la condition humaine est un fou.

Albert Camus

 

La interminable ocupación israelí de Palestina : 50 años sin paz, ni territorio

Juan Carlos Sanz

5 JUN 2017, © El País

Entre el despacho de la joven viceministra de Asuntos Exteriores de Israel, Tzipi Hotovely, en Jerusalén, y el de la histórica dirigente palestina Hanan Ashrawi, en Ramala, hay menos de 20 kilómetros, pero la distancia que separa sus discursos políticos es inabarcable. Hotovely refleja la mentalidad de un amplio sector de la sociedad israelí que aspira a controlar todo el territorio en disputa desde el río Jordán hasta el Mediterráneo. Ashrawi, que ha pasado toda su vida adulta bajo la ocupación israelí, esgrime como la mayoría de los palestinos las resoluciones internacionales que amparan el derecho de su pueblo, aunque no se han cumplido.  full article>

 

Lo grave que está ocurriendo ahora en España y en los países que están pasando una crisis grave es que están recortando en educación, cultura e investigación, y eso es hipotecar el porvenir, cuando se podía hipotecar en otras cosas, como por ejemplo en los soldados españoles que están en Afganistán, ¿qué hacen allí?

Juan Goytisolo

 

Me siento más cómodo cuando me declaran persona 'non grata' que cuando me premian. En el primer caso sé que tengo razón. En el segundo, muy raro por fortuna, dudo de mí mismo.

Juan Goytisolo

 

Muere el escritor Juan Goytisolo a los 86 años en Marrakech

Javier Rodríguez Marcos

Madrid 4 JUN 2017, © El País

El escritor Juan Goytisolo ha muerto este domingo, 4 de junio, a los 86 años en Marrakech (Marruecos) a consecuencia de los daños causados por un derrame cerebral que sufrió hace dos meses, según ha confirmado la agencia literaria Carmen Balcells, que gestiona sus derechos de autor. El novelista barcelonés, que obtuvo en 2014 el Premio Cervantes, recogió el más importante galardón de las letras en español luciendo en Alcalá de Henares la única corbata que tenía en el armario y dedicando su discurso a los habitantes de la medina de Marrakech, sus vecinos desde que se instalara allí en 1997 con la familia de su amigo, y expareja, Abdelhadi. Hasta ese año, y desde 1956, sus vecinos eran los inmigrantes del Sentier parisino, el barrio en el que vivió con su esposa, la escritora francesa Monique Lange. En París recaló después de abandonar para siempre Barcelona, donde había nacido el 5 de enero de 1931.  full article>

 

Og det øjeblik, man begynder en rejse, så er man samtidig på vej hjem. Jeg rejser ud for at komme hjem. Jeg er altid på vej hjem.

Klaus Rifbjerg

 

Let's stick to the practical and the concrete: Would you like it if people lived in a virtual world? If machines were smarter than people? If, in the future, people, animals and plants were products of technology? If you don't like these ideas, then for you the computer and biological sciences clearly are dangerous.

Theodore Kaczynski

 

 

 

 

La possibilité de jeter le masque en toutes choses est l'un des rares avantages que je trouve à vieillir.

Marguerite Yourcenar

 

The Weirdness of Now

by Gary Leupp

May 31, 2017, © Counterpunch.org

It is a frightening historical moment, fraught with dangers and possibilities.

The big picture, in my view: the U.S. ruling class (in general) screwed up badly last year, and in the last (rigged as always) presidential election, mishandled this particular rigged election. It bungled the normal rigging process. So the candidate backed by the corporate media, academia, and Wall Street, the candidate who got the majority of votes, lost. The buffoon that had been offered as foil to the "most experienced" candidate—a woman finally poised to break that glass ceiling, fated to do so—actually won.  full article>

 

This is a nation that has lost the ability to be self-critical, and that makes a lie out of the freedoms.

Joni Mitchell

 

Un paso en la búsqueda de desaparecidos en España

Por Flor Ragucci

31 de mayo de 2017, © Página|12

Los esfuerzos, hasta ahora sordos para las instituciones, del primer banco de ADN de familiares de desaparecidos durante la Guerra Civil española, por fin recibieron respuesta. El gobierno de Cataluña firmó este lunes la cesión por parte de la Universidad de Barcelona (UB) de las 180 muestras genéticas que el banco de ADN de víctimas de la Guerra Civil recolectó desde el año de su creación, el 2012, para incorporarlas a la base de datos del Programa de Identificación Genética que el septiembre pasado impulsó la Generalitat (el órgano máximo de gobierno en Cataluña).  full article>

 

You can't get spoiled if you do your own ironing.

Meryl Streep

 

Our President, the Little Big Man

By Tom Engelhardt

May 31, 2017, © The Nation

He's huge. Outsized. He fills the news hole at any moment of any day. His over-tanned face glows unceasingly in living rooms across America. Never has a president been quite so big. So absolutely monstrous. Or quite so small.

He's our Little Big Man.

I know, I know... he induces panic, fear, anxiety, insomnia. Shrinks in liberal America will tell you that, since November 2016, their patients are more heavily medicated and in worse shape. He's a nightmare, a unique monster. It's been almost two years since he first entered the presidential race and in all that time I doubt there's been a moment when the cameras haven't been trained on him, when he wasn't "breaking news." (By May 2016, he had already reportedly received the equivalent in "earned media" of nearly $3 billion in free advertising.) He and his endless controversial statements, flubs, tweets, lies, insults, boasts, tales from outer space, and over-the-moon adjectives are covered daily the way, once upon a time, only Pearl Harbor or the Kennedy assassination was.  full article>

 

Censorship is the tool of those who have the need to hide actualities from themselves and from others. Their fear is only their inability to face what is real, and I can't vent any anger against them; I only feel this appalling sadness. Somewhere in their upbringing, they were shielded against the total facts of our existence.

Charles Bukowski

 

A Botanist in Swedish Lapland

By JAMES PROSEK

MAY 16, 2017, © The New York Times

The plan was to retrace part of a journey that Carl Linnaeus made in 1732 when he was 25, from Uppsala, just north of Stockholm, to the northernmost region of Sweden, known as Swedish Lapland. Linnaeus kept a detailed journal of his travels, often called his "Lapland Journal," with maps of the mountains, rivers and lakes, drawings and his squiggly handwriting.

I came to Swedish Lapland in part to try to get to know Linnaeus better, but also to see if I was judging him unfairly. Linnaeus was the man who invented that clean two-name system, binomial nomenclature, which gave a generic and specific epithet (genus and species) to organisms — like Homo sapiens for humans or Salmo trutta for brown trout. Those names are steady and dependable, but as I grew older and spent more time in nature, I began to see and appreciate nature on its own terms, and learned that it is messy, chaotic and overwhelming and does not always fit into neat categories, as we'd like it to.  full article>

 

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.

Margaret Atwood

 

Israel Lobby Pays the Political Piper

By Jonathan Marshall

May 21, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com

In this age of rancorous hyper-partisanship, getting members of Congress to agree on anything beyond the naming of a post office is a challenge. Yet in late April, all 100 members of the U.S. Senate signed a tough letter to the U.N. Secretary General, demanding that the organization end its "unwarranted attacks" on Israel's human rights record.  full article>

 

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

Marie Curie

 

Donald Trump's speech to the Muslim world was filled with hypocrisy and condescension

Robert Fisk

May 21, 2017, © The Independent

Despite claiming he wouldn't give a lecture, the President did just that, displaying a blatant anti-Iran bias intended to appease the nation with whom he'd just signed a multi-billion dollar arms deal at the expense of the truth  full article>

 

Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.

Helen Keller

 

This FBI Whistleblower and Former Undercover Agent Talks the Comey Firing, the Russia Investigation, and What We Can Expect From a Trump FBI

By Matthew Harwood

May 22, 2017, © ACLU

The last week and a half may be unprecedented in U.S. history — raising the specter of a possible constitutional crisis.

It began with President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey last Tuesday night, May 9. A little more than a week later, the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein tapped Robert Mueller, the FBI director before Comey, to lead an investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russian interference in November's presidential election and any directly related issues.  full article>

 

Når man har læst sin avis og lukket for radioen, trænger man til at tale med sin hund.

Storm P.

 

Primate of the Day

Bald Uacarí:

The facial skin and ears of the Nald Uacarí ( Cacajao Calvus Calvus) are unpigmented and appear pink-to-scarlet because of their blood in subcutaneous capillaries.

(photo: Luis Claudio)

 

Homo sapiens is the species that invents symbols in which to invest passion and authority, then forgets that symbols are inventions.

Joyce Carol Oates

 

Donald Trump's ignorance is becoming more evident with each passing day

David Cay Johnston

Tuesday 9 May 2017, © The Guardian

Let's connect the dots between Donald Trump's "tax plan", his invitation to the murderous leader in Manila and saying he would be "honored" to meet with the dictator of North Korea. And let's throw in his claim that Trumpcare will be better than Obamacare and that his skeletal tax plan would make him pay more.  full article>

 

It vexes me when they would constrain science by the authority of the Scriptures, and yet do not consider themselves bound to answer reason and experiment.

Galileo Galilei

 

Israel's New Cultural War of Aggression

by Richard Falk

May 8, 2017, © Counterpunch

A few weeks ago my book Palestine's Horizon: Toward a Just Peace was published by Pluto in Britain. I was in London and Scotland at the time to do a series of university talks to help launch the book. Its appearance happened to coincide with the release of a jointly authored report commissioned by the UN Social and Economic Commission of West Asia, giving my appearances a prominence they would not otherwise have had. The report concluded that the evidence relating to Israeli practices toward the Palestinian people amounted to 'apartheid,' as defined in international law.  full article>

 

There is no religion that has a monopoly on bigotry.

Louis Theroux

 

Trump Uses Power of FCC to Pay Back Friends at Sinclair Broadcasting

By Michael Corcoran

May 8, 2017, © FAIR

This morning Sinclair Broadcast Group, the conservative media behemoth that owns more local news stations than any other company in the country, just got even bigger. It announced it was buying Tribune Media for $3.9 billion, creating what Bloomberg (5/8/17) calls a "TV goliath."

The purchase, which gives Sinclair a staggering reach of nearly 69 percent of the US population (Free Press, 5/8/17), would've been in violation of ownership restrictions just weeks ago. But last month, the Trump-appointed FCC chair, Ajit Pai, reinstated the "UHF discount," an outdated loophole that allowed media conglomerates to exceed the nation's 39 percent cap on ownership (New York Post, 4/20/17). Sinclair made a $420 million deal to buy Bonten Media Group (Baltimore Sun, 4/21/17) the very next day.  full article>

 

Even the alternative weekly newspapers, traditionally a bastion of progressive thought and analysis, have been bought by a monopoly franchise and made a predictable shift to the right in their coverage of local news.

Bernie Sanders

 

El llegat de les 'primaveres àrabs'

David Forniès

dimecres, 3 maig 2017, © Critiq

La ciutat de Tunis s'alça a pocs quilòmetres de l'antiga Cartago. Terra d'història en majúscules, la capital de Tunísia també ho és de les 'primaveres àrabs', onada de protestes i de revoltes que van canviar la cara del nord i de l'est de la Mediterrània. Sis anys després, tres països —Egipte, Tunísia i el Marroc— exemplifiquen els camins divergents i alguns rerefons comuns d'aquells esdeveniments.  full article>

 

No civilisation can claim to have a monopoly on universal values and no one can claim to be always faithful to his own values.

Tariq Ramadan

 

It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and the broken promises.

Chief Joseph

 

Settler State Repression: Standing Rock Battles Continue in the Courts

By Dahr Jamail

Wednesday, May 03, 2017, © Truthout

As a means of making bombing, sanctioning or invading other countries palatable to the general population, the US government has consistently used the actions of other governments against their own people as an excuse.

Those actions have included the use of chemical weapons, torture, setting dogs against people, beatings, surveillance, forcibly removing people from their land, jailing them unjustly, holding staged trials, and issuing verbal and physical threats, among many others.  full article>

 

Our relations with the Indians have been governed chiefly by treaties and trade, or war and subjugation.

Nelson A. Miles

 

Government Smearing of Israel's Critics

By Lawrence Davidson

May 3, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com

"Back in the day," which in this case was Feb. 8, 2007, the U.S. State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism adopted a "working definition" of anti-Semitism which included the following point: It is anti-Semitic to "deny the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor)."  full article>

 

All treaties between great states cease to be binding when they come in conflict with the struggle for existence.

Otto von Bismarck

 

Lola Schnabel: FLUTTUAZIONI

09.05.2017 – 21.05.2017

Palazzo Marin, Venice

Lola Schnabel: FLUTTUAZIONI, presented by Zuecca Projects

Venue: Palazzo Marin | San Marco 2541, Venice 30124 | Vaporetto stop: Giglio

Opening: May 09, 2017 | from 06.00 PM to 10.00 PM

 

 

In our time political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.

George Orwell

 

The Military Now Runs US Foreign Policy

By Patrick Lawrence

May 2, 2017, © The Nation

You would expect, amid all the tiresome comment written and broadcast on Donald Trump's "first 100 days," something worth thinking about might have appeared somewhere. I have had no luck looking. Instead of detached, thought-through analysis, it has been either pabulum, echo, or more of the usual and not-very-useful denigration—the unpolished style, the dismissal of Washington decorum, the doings at Mar-a-Lago, and other urgent matters of global import.  full article>

 

War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.

George Orwell

 

NYT Cheers the Rise of Censorship Algorithms

By Robert Parry

May 2, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com

Just days after sporting First Amendment pins at the White House Correspondents Dinner – to celebrate freedom of the press – the mainstream U.S. media is back to celebrating a very different idea: how to use algorithms to purge the Internet of what is deemed "fake news," i.e. what the mainstream judges to be "misinformation."  full article>

 

We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.

George Orwell

 

Three Reasons Bret Stephens Should Not Be a NYT Columnist–and the Real Reason He Is One

By Jim Naureckas

May 2, 2017, © FAIR

You know the reasons why Bret Stephens should not be a New York Times columnist:

1. He's a climate denier.

Here's a question for the New York Times editors: Do you think there's a meaningful chance that virtually all climate scientists are wrong and Bret Stephens is right when he says "temperatures will be about the same" in a hundred years as they are now (Wall Street Journal, 11/30/15)?  full article>

 

Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.

George Orwell

 

 

Canine of the Day

Red Fox:

Foxes match the coyote's ability to cope with civilization. Foxes are in the same family as wolves and coyotes (Canidae) but not the same genus. Gray (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) and red (Vulpes vulpes) foxes inhabit about three-quarters of the United States. Swift (Vulpes velox) and kit (Vulpes macrotis) foxes inhabit only small portions of the western United States. Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) live in the northern portions of Canada, Alaska and outlying areas of Greenland.

 

We're Investigating Hate Across the U.S. There's No Shortage of Work.

by Joe Sexton and Rachel Glickhouse

April 24, 2017, © ProPublica

An African-American homeless man slain with a sword on the streets of New York. A mosque attacked in Fort Collins, Colorado, its windows smashed by a man who finished off his assault by hurling a Bible inside the Muslim house of worship. A portion of Junction City, Wisconsin, evacuated after a man angry with his Hmong neighbor opened fire. A man arrested in Port St. Lucie, Florida, for trying to set fire to a convenience store he suspected was owned by a Muslim, after which he said he'd just been trying to "do his part for America."  full article>

 

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

Albert Einstein

 

While the United States Threatens War, in Afghanistan the Work of Peace Continues

by Kathy Kelly

April 20, 2017, © The Progressive

Three former United Nations officials with many decades of experience as diplomats recently wrote a blunt appraisal of the U.S. role in undermining peace efforts and promoting wars. The authors call out President Donald Trump for "embracing a toxic form of messianic nationalism," with exclusionary policies "illustrative of a regressive and Islamophobic outlook."  full article>

 

Confusion of goals and perfection of means seems, in my opinion, to characterize our age.

Albert Einstein

 

Why Not a Probe of 'Israel-gate'?

April 20, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com

The other day, I asked a longtime Democratic Party insider who is working on the Russia-gate investigation which country interfered more in U.S. politics, Russia or Israel. Without a moment's hesitation, he replied, "Israel, of course."

Which underscores my concern about the hysteria raging across Official Washington about "Russian meddling" in the 2016 presidential campaign: There is no proportionality applied to the question of foreign interference in U.S. politics. If there were, we would have a far more substantive investigation of Israel-gate.  full article>

 

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.

Søren Kierkegaard

 

The First 100 Days of Resistance Restored Our Faith in Democracy

By John Nichols

April 24th, 2017, © The Nation

The awful irony of Donald Trump's first 100 days as president is that a man who is still frequently described as "erratic" has governed as an entirely predictable corporate conservative—as everyone paying attention knew he would. Trump was always going to choose billionaire-ism over economic populism. The outsider who promised to "drain the swamp" was always going to pack his administration with Goldman Sachs cronies and corporate lobbyists pushing privatization, deregulation, and austerity. The fabulist who inflated claims about his opposition to the Iraq War was always going to drop bombs and escalate conflicts. A political newcomer, Trump was always going to revert to xenophobic bombast and a permanent campaign of fear and bigotry in order to hold on to a base of supporters who will never get the security and prosperity that he promised. full article>

 

There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming.

Søren Kierkegaard

 

The mysteries of faith are degraded if they are made into an object of affirmation and negation, when in reality they should be an object of contemplation.

Simone Weil

 

The Problem is Washington, Not North Korea

by Mike Whitney

April 17, 2017, © Counterpunch

Washington has never made any effort to conceal its contempt for North Korea. In the 64 years since the war ended, the US has done everything in its power to punish, humiliate and inflict pain on the Communist country. Washington has subjected the DPRK to starvation, prevented its government from accessing foreign capital and markets, strangled its economy with crippling economic sanctions, and installed lethal missile systems and military bases on their doorstep.  full article>

 

For greed all nature is too little.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

 

Stop swooning over Justin Trudeau. The man is a disaster for the planet

Bill McKibben

Monday 17 April 2017, © The Guardian

Donald Trump is so spectacularly horrible that it's hard to look away – especially now that he's discovered bombs. But precisely because everyone's staring gape-mouthed in his direction, other world leaders are able to get away with almost anything. Don't believe me? Look one country north, at Justin Trudeau.  full article>

 

We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity. We cannot remain looking inwards at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted and overcrowded planet.

Stephen Hawking

 

Full Interview: Julian Assange on Trump, DNC Emails, Russia, the CIA, Vault 7 & More

April 12, 2017, © Democracy Now

 

 

An empire founded by war has to maintain itself by war.

Charles de Montesquieu

 

 

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I'm Amy Goodman.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And I'm Juan González. Welcome to all of our listeners and viewers around the country and around the world.

Seventy-five days ago today, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. On the international front, Trump has expanded U.S. military operations in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Somalia, while resuming arms sales to Bahrain. On Monday, he welcomed Egyptian leader General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi at the White House as thousands of activists remain locked up in Egypt. At the United Nations, the Trump administration led a boycott of U.N. talks to ban nuclear weapons, while pushing for the United States to expand its own nuclear arsenal. Trump has also threatened to unilaterally act against North Korea.

On the environmental front, Trump picked climate deniers to head the Environmental Protection Agency and the Energy Department, while slashing the EPA's programs to combat climate change. Trump's budget calls for an unprecedented $54 billion increase in military spending, while ending dozens of environmental, housing, diplomatic and educational programs. Trump is also requesting a nearly $3 billion increase in funding for the Department of Homeland Security, largely to pay for expanding the border wall and hiring 1,500 new Border Patrol and ICE agents.

AMY GOODMAN: However, the Trump agenda has faced some judicial and legislative setbacks. Federal courts have blocked the implementation of two travel bans targeting residents from six majority-Muslim nations. And in Congress, Trump failed in his attempt to repeal Obamacare, which would have stripped up to 24 million people of health insurance while giving the rich a massive tax break. Meanwhile, his administration is facing an FBI probe over its dealings with Russia before the election. This all comes as a resistance movement is growing throughout the country.

To help make sense of where the country stands 75 days into the Trump administration, we're joined by one of the world's best-known dissidents, the linguist and activist Noam Chomsky, institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he taught for more than 50 years. He is the author of more than a hundred books. His latest book comes out today. It's titled Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power.

Noam Chomsky, welcome back to Democracy Now! It's great to have you with us.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Glad to be with you again.

AMY GOODMAN: So, why don't we start, on this 75th day, by your assessment of what has happened in these first few months?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, I think it was captured pretty well by a Los Angeles Timeseditorial, which simply called it a "train wreck." But it's very consistent, very systematic. Anything that can be of assistance to ordinary people, working people, middle-class people, people on the street—any such program has to be decimated. Anything that adds to wealth and power or that increases the use of force, that we carry forward.

And it's done with—there's kind of a two-tiered system working—I presume, consciously, so systematic it's hard to question. The Bannon-Trump team wants to make sure that they dominate the headlines. So, whatever they do, that's what people look at, and one crazy thing after another, the assumption apparently being you'll forget the old ones by the time the new ones come in. So, no one talks anymore about the 3 million illegal immigrants who voted for Clinton. That one, we've forgotten. We're on to the next one, and we'll go on to the next one. While this is going on in front, the Paul Ryan-style budgetary and planning operations are going on quietly in the back, ripping to shreds any element of government that can help people either today or tomorrow. That's the point of the destruction of the environmental system. It's not just the EPA which was slashed. Most of the environmental programs were actually in the Energy Department. Their research and activist programs were slashed very seriously.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And what do you make in terms of—when you're talking about decimation, clearly, one of the big failures was their inability to end Obamacare. Could you talk about the—what you're seeing now as the potential in terms of the healthcare system in the country, what they will try to do and what the potential is there?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Actually, there was a pretty interesting poll about it that came out a couple of days ago, simply asking people what they preferred. The Republican proposal was the lowest of the choices available. I think about 15 percent of the population were willing to accept it. Somewhat higher was the existing system, so-called Obamacare. And on that, it's worth bearing in mind that a lot of people don't know that Obamacare is the Affordable Care Act. So you have negative attitudes towards Obamacare, thanks to lots of propaganda, but more positive attitudes towards the Affordable Care Act, because of what people see.

Most popular of all—over half—was the so-called public option, a government-guaranteed healthcare program, which is pretty remarkable because no one publicly advocates that. But it's been a consistent polling result for decades, that when people are asked what they want, they say that's their choice. And, in fact, that's about the only proposal that makes any sense. The U.S. healthcare system is an international scandal. It's roughly twice the per capita costs of comparable countries, and some of the worst outcomes, mainly because it's privatized, extremely inefficient, bureaucratized, lots of bill paying, lots of officials, tons of money wasted, healthcare in the hands of profit-seeking institutions, which are not health institutions, of course. And for decades people have preferred what every other country has, in some fashion: either straight national healthcare or heavily government-regulated healthcare like, say, Switzerland. Sometimes the support is astonishingly high. So, in the late Reagan years, for example, about 70 percent of the population thought that guaranteed healthcare should be a constitutional guarantee, because it's such an obvious desideratum. And about 40 percent thought it already was in the Constitution. The Constitution is just this holy collection of anything reasonable, so it must be there.

But it just doesn't matter what people think. When Obama put through his own program, I think support for the public option was almost two-thirds, but it was simply dismantled. When this is—occasionally, this is discussed in the press, New York Times, others. And they mention it. They say it's a possibility, but it's called politically impossible, which is correct, which means you can't pass it through the pharmaceutical corporations and financial institutions. That's politically possible in what's called democracy. Sometimes they say "lacking political support," meaning from the institutions that really matter. There's kind of this population on the side, but we can dismiss them, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think there could be a kind of "Nixon in China" moment with Trump? He has, in the past, expressed support for single payer. He's extremely angry right now at the Freedom Caucus. He can't decide which more—which are the villains in this more, the Freedom Caucus or the Democrats. He goes back and forth. Do you think he could sort of throw it all out? Or is it going to just go as we're seeing in these past few days, where it looks like they're going to revive it to what the Freedom—so-called Freedom Caucus wants?

NOAM CHOMSKY: I think they'll probably revise it. Trump is all over the place. You don't know what he believes. He says almost anything that comes to his mind at 3:00 a.m. But the people who are really setting the policy in the background—essentially, the Ryan ultra-right Republicans—they understand what they're doing. And they want to destroy the—any—the aspects of the healthcare system that are beneficial to the general public, that's systematic policies. Probably what will happen is the kind of compromise that's already being discussed, with states having the right to opt out of whatever the federal program is, which might satisfy the ultra-right Freedom Caucus, make it even worse than the current Republican proposal.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted to turn to—

NOAM CHOMSKY: Just today, incidentally, one—I think Kansas—turned down expansion of Medicaid. I mean, anything that's going to help people in need has got to be wiped out.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Noam Chomsky, I'd like to ask you about something that's been in the news a lot lately. Obviously, all the cable channels, that's all they talk about these days, is the whole situation of Russia's supposed intervention in American elections. For a country that's intervened in so many governments and so many elections around the world, that's kind of a strange topic. But I know you've referred to this as a joke. Could you give us your view on what's happening and why there's so much emphasis on this particular issue?

NOAM CHOMSKY: It's a pretty remarkable fact that—first of all, it is a joke. Half the world is cracking up in laughter. The United States doesn't just interfere in elections. It overthrows governments it doesn't like, institutes military dictatorships. Simply in the case of Russia alone—it's the least of it—the U.S. government, under Clinton, intervened quite blatantly and openly, then tried to conceal it, to get their man Yeltsin in, in all sorts of ways. So, this, as I say, it's considered—it's turning the United States, again, into a laughingstock in the world.

So why are the Democrats focusing on this? In fact, why are they focusing so much attention on the one element of Trump's programs which is fairly reasonable, the one ray of light in this gloom: trying to reduce tensions with Russia? That's—the tensions on the Russian border are extremely serious. They could escalate to a major terminal war. Efforts to try to reduce them should be welcomed. Just a couple of days ago, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Jack Matlock, came out and said he just can't believe that so much attention is being paid to apparent efforts by the incoming administration to establish connections with Russia. He said, "Sure, that's just what they ought to be doing."

So, meanwhile, this one topic is the primary locus of concern and critique, while, meanwhile, the policies are proceeding step by step, which are extremely destructive and harmful. So, you know, yeah, maybe the Russians tried to interfere in the election. That's not a major issue. Maybe the people in the Trump campaign were talking to the Russians. Well, OK, not a major point, certainly less than is being done constantly. And it is a kind of a paradox, I think, that the one issue that seems to inflame the Democratic opposition is the one thing that has some justification and reasonable aspects to it.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, of course, because the Democrats feel that that's the reason, somehow, that they lost the election. Interesting that James Comey this week said he is investigating Trump campaign collusion with Russia, when it was Comey himself who could have—might well have been partly responsible for Hillary Clinton's defeat, when he said that he was investigating her, while, we now have learned, at the same time he was investigating Donald Trump, but never actually said that.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, you can understand why the Democratic Party managers want to try to find some blame for the fact—for the way they utterly mishandled the election and blew a perfect opportunity to win, handed it over to the opposition. But that's hardly a justification for allowing the Trump policies to slide by quietly, many of them not only harmful to the population, but extremely destructive, like the climate change policies, and meanwhile focus on one thing that could become a step forward, if it was adjusted to move towards serious efforts to reduce growing and dangerous tensions right on the Russian border, where they could blow up. NATO maneuvers are taking place hundreds of yards from the Russian border. The Russian jet planes are buzzing American planes. This—something could get out of hand very easily. Both sides, meanwhile, are building up their military forces, adding—the U.S. is—one thing that the Russians are very much concerned about is the so-called anti-ballistic missile installation that the U.S. is establishing near the Russian border, allegedly to protect Europe from nonexistent Iranian missiles. Nobody seriously believes that. This is understood to be a first strike threat. These are serious issues. People like William Perry, who has a distinguished career and is a nuclear strategist and is no alarmist at all, is saying that we're back to the—this is one of the worst moments of the Cold War, if not worse. That's really serious. And efforts to try to calm that down would be very welcome. And we should bear in mind it's the Russian border. It's not the Mexican border. There's no Warsaw Pact maneuvers going on in Mexico. And that's a border that the Russians are quite reasonably sensitive about. They've practically been destroyed several times the last century right through that region.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: In line with your concern about the growing threat in terms of nuclear weapons, there are also maneuvers going on off the coast of Korea, and the words that we've heard from President Trump in the last few days, that if China doesn't deal with North Korea, the U.S. will. Can you talk about his policies already, his developing policies toward Korea and toward China?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, it's kind of interesting to look at the record. The claim is "Well, we've tried everything. Nothing works. Therefore, we have to use force." Is it true that nothing's worked? I mean, there is a record, after all. And if you look at the record, it's interesting.

1994, Clinton made—established what was called the Framework Agreement with North Korea. North Korea would terminate its efforts to develop nuclear weapons. The U.S. would reduce hostile acts. It more or less worked, and neither side lived up to it totally, but, by 2000, North Korea had not proceeded with its nuclear weapons programs. George W. Bush came in and immediately launched an assault on North Korea—you know, "axis of evil," sanctions and so on. North Korea turned to producing nuclear weapons. In 2005, there was an agreement between North Korea and the United States, a pretty sensible agreement. North Korea agreed to terminate its development of nuclear weapons. In return, it called for a nonaggression pact. So, stop making hostile threats, relief from harsh sanctions, and provision of a system to provide North Korea with low-enriched uranium for medical and other purposes—that was the proposal. George Bush instantly tore it to shreds. Within days, the U.S. was imposing—trying to disrupt North Korean financial transactions with other countries through Macau and elsewhere. North Korea backed off, started building nuclear weapons again. I mean, maybe you can say it's the worst regime in history, whatever you like, but they have been following a pretty rational tit-for-tat policy.

And why are they developing nuclear weapons altogether? I mean, the economy is in bad shape. They could certainly use the resources. Everyone understands that it's a deterrent. And they have a proposal, actually. There's a proposal on the table. China and North Korea proposed that North Korea should terminate its further development of nuclear weapons. In return, the United States should stop carrying out threatening military maneuvers with South Korea right on its border. Not an unreasonable proposal. It's simply dismissed. Actually, Obama dismissed it, too. There are possible steps that could be taken to alleviate which could be an extremely serious crisis. I mean, if the U.S. did decide to use force against North Korea, one immediate reaction, according to the military sources available to us, is that Seoul, the city of Seoul, would simply be wiped out by mass North Korean artillery aimed at it. And who knows where we'd go from there? But the opportunity to produce—to move towards a negotiated diplomatic settlement does not seem outlandish. I mean, this Chinese-North Korean proposal is certainly worth serious consideration, I would think.

And it's worth bearing in mind that North Korea has some memories. They were practically destroyed by some of the most intensive bombing in history. The bombing—you should—it's worth reading. Maybe you should read, people, the official Air Force history of the bombing of North Korea. It's shattering. I mean, they had flattened the country. There were no targets left. So, therefore, they decided, well, we'll attack the dams—which is a war crime, of course. And the description of the attack on the dams is—without the exact wording, I hate to paraphrase it. You should really read the—they were simply exalting, in the official histories, Air Force Quarterly and others, about the—how magnificent it will be to see this massive flood of water coursing through North Korea, wiping out crops. For Asians, the rice crops is their life. This will destroy them. It will be magnificent. The North Koreans lived through that. And having nuclear-capable B-52s flying on their border is not a joke.

But, most significantly, there's a record of partial success in diplomatic initiatives, total failure with sanctions and harsh moves, and options that are on the table which could be pursued. Now, instead of concern about whether somebody talked to the Russians, this is the kind of thing that should be—that should be pursued very seriously. That's what the Democrats or anyone hoping for some form of peace and justice should be working for.

AMY GOODMAN: Which brings us to China. President Trump said, "If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will." Are you concerned that with Trump at an all-time low for presidents, when it comes to popularity, with suffering defeat after defeat, lashing out and trying to focus on a foreign enemy? But at the same time, you have China coming to the United States, this meeting that he's going to have with the Chinese leader, Xi, in Mar-a-Lago—also very interesting, considering it's a golf course, right? He hates golf and forbade Communist Party members to play golf. Is it more about Trump feeling he has more access to shut down press coverage or any information about who's meeting with him, when it's in his private resort? But more importantly, what the agenda is there and what our relationship is with China?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, as you recall, one of the interesting incidents was a public discussion of significant security issues in the resort with people sitting around drinking coffee and having drinks. Maybe they keep the press out, but they didn't seem to keep the guests out.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, not if you pay $200,000 a year and you're a member of Mar-a-Lago.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Right. Then you pass the filter.

AMY GOODMAN: And then you get to take photos, selfies, with the man carrying the nuclear codes.

NOAM CHOMSKY: The "football."

AMY GOODMAN: The "football."

NOAM CHOMSKY: He's extremely unpredictable. But this—the relations with China are an extremely serious issue. China is not going to back down on its fundamental demands, concerning Taiwan, for example. And if Trump—a lot of what China is demanding, I think, is—it shouldn't be—is not acceptable. It shouldn't—it's not internationally acceptable. But the reaction through use of force is just extraordinarily dangerous. I mean, you cannot play that game in international affairs. We are too close to destroying ourselves. You take a look at the record of—through the nuclear age, of near—of accidental—sometimes accidental, sometimes kind of irrational actions. It's almost miraculous that we've survived.

And anything that—to get a good estimate of this, of the danger, take a look at the best monitor of the global security situation that we have as a simple measure—namely, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists' Doomsday Clock. This is set every year, since the beginning of the nuclear age, 1947, by a group of serious specialists, scientists, political analysts and others, who try to give a measure of the danger that the human species faces. Midnight means we're finished. In 1947, the clock was set at seven minutes to midnight. In 1953, right after the U.S. and Russia tested hydrogen bombs, thermonuclear weapons, it went to two minutes to midnight. That's the closest it's been to total disaster. Right now, as soon as Trump came in, it was moved to two-and-a-half minutes to midnight, both because of the nuclear threat, recognized to be serious, and the threat of environmental catastrophe, which was not considered in the earlier years, now is.

Now, those are, overwhelmingly, the most crucial issues that face us. Everything else fades into insignificance in comparison to them. Those are literally questions of survival. And two-and-a-half minutes to midnight means extraordinary danger. These should be the major focus of attention. And it's kind of astonishing to see the way they're ignored. Throughout the whole electoral campaign, practically no mention of them. Every Republican candidate, every single one, either—with regard to the climate, either denied what is happening or else said—the moderates, like Jeb Bush, Kasich, said, "Well, maybe it's happening, but doesn't matter. We shouldn't do anything about it."

AMY GOODMAN: Well, the U.S. just led the boycott at the U.N. of the nuclear ban talks.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Of the nuclear ban. It joined with the other nuclear powers, unfortunately. There are—there's also the question of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. There are now three nuclear powers which have refused to ratify it: China, the United States and Israel. And if tests begin again, it's an extremely serious danger. As I mentioned, it was when the first tests were carried out that the Doomsday Clock went to two minutes to midnight.

There's the problem of the New START Treaty, a treaty—there has been inadequate, but significant, reduction in nuclear weapons since the end of the Cold War. The New START Treaty is supposed to carry it forward. Russia and the United States have the overwhelming mass of the nuclear weapons. And this would cut down the number, but also the more threatening ones, would reduce it. Trump has indicated—I don't know—nobody knows what he means, but he's indicated that is what he calls a bad deal for the United States, suggesting maybe we should pull out of it, which would be a disaster. I mean, these are major issues. And the fact that they're barely being discussed is a shattering commentary on the level of contemporary civilization.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Noam Chomsky, I wanted to ask you—those on the left are accustomed to looking at the American government basically as in the service of the capitalist class, the politicians. Occasionally, you had a Rockefeller or an actual member of the capitalist class who went into government. But now, with this Trump administration, it's an extraordinary number of extremely wealthy people have actually moved directly into government. And yet you're seeing this narrative that they are attracting support from the white working class of the country. Could you talk about this, the capitalists directly taking over the running of government?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, as you say, they've run it all the time. The simple measures, like campaign funding alone, simple measure like that, is a very close predictor, not only of electoral victory, but even of policies. That's been true for a century. And if you take a look at the analysis of public attitude—a major topic in academic political science is comparing popular attitudes with public policy. It's pretty straightforward. Public policy, you can see. Popular attitudes, we know a lot about from extensive polling. And the results are pretty startling. Turns out that about 70 percent of voters, which is maybe half the electorate—about 70 percent of voters are literally disenfranchised, the lower 70 percent on the income scale, meaning that their own representatives pay no attention to their—to their attitudes and preferences. If you move up the income scale, you get a little more correlation, more—a little more influence. The very top, which is probably a fraction of 1 percent, if you could get the data, it's where policy is set. Now, the Trump administration is kind of a caricature of this. It's always pretty much true. But here they're—it's as if they're kind of purposely trying to flaunt the fact that this country is run by Goldman Sachs and billionaires, and nobody else counts.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Wilbur Ross, Betsy DeVos.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Right, all of them. I mean, it's almost like a shocking parody, as if they're trying to show, "Yeah, what we all know is true is dramatically true, and we're going to show it to you."

The interesting—an interesting question, the one you raise, is: How are they maintaining support among the people they're kicking in the face? That's not uninteresting. And if you look into it, there's a number of factors. One—first of all, many of the Trump voters, white working-class voters, quite a few of them voted for Obama in 2008. You go back to the Obama campaign, the exciting words were "hope" and "change." I don't usually agree with Sarah Palin, but when she asked, "Where's this hopey-changey stuff?" she wasn't talking nonsense. It quickly became clear there's no hope and there's no change. And the working people were significantly disillusioned. You could see it right in Massachusetts, where—when Kennedy died, you know, the "liberal lion." There was going to be a vote for—to replace him, 2010. Amazingly, a Republican won, in Democratic Massachusetts, Kennedy's seat. And union voters didn't vote for the Democrats. They were very upset by the fact that they had been cheated, they felt, rightly, by the Obama campaign of promises. And they turned to their bitter class enemy, who at least talks the words. The Republicans have mastered the technique of talking words as if you're sort of an ordinary guy, you know, kind of guy you'd meet in a bar, that sort of thing. It goes back to Reagan and his jellybeans, and Bush, you know, mispronouncing words, and so on and so forth. It's a game that's played. And it's a con game. But in the absence of any opposition, it works.

And what happens when there is an opposition? That's very striking. The most astonishing fact about the last election, which is the Sanders achievements, that's a break from a century of American political history. As I said, you can pretty well predict electoral outcomes simply by campaign funding alone. There's other factors that intensify it. Here comes Sanders, somebody nobody ever heard of. No support from the wealthy, no support from corporations. The media ignored or disparaged him. He even used a scare word, "socialist." Came from nowhere. He would have won the Democratic Party nomination if it hadn't been for the shenanigans of the Obama-Clinton party managers who kept him out. Might have been president. From nothing. That's an incredible break. It shows what can happen when policies are proposed that do meet the general, just concerns of much of the population.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think he could still win if he ran again?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, there was a Fox News poll, couple of days ago—Fox News—asking who's the—trying to ask who's your favorite political figure. Sanders was way ahead, far ahead of anybody else, with no vocal, articulate support among the concentrations of power—media, corporations, elsewhere. In fact, if you look at policy preferences, you see something similar. We already mentioned the health issue. That's—and on issue after issue, much of the public that is actually voting for their bitter class enemy, if you look at the policies, actually favor social democratic policies, even environmental policies.

AMY GOODMAN: We've had hundreds of questions come in from every means to ask you. One of them is Ty Williams, who asks via Twitter about Trump exploiting fear. Ty asked, when you—"(Can) you please expand on your comments in AlterNet that Trump admin could stage attack? What historical parallel do you have in mind?"

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, actually, the statement I made was pretty muted. It wasn't quite as strong as the headlines indicated. What I pointed out—and what everyone, I think, is aware of—is that sooner or later this con game is not going to work. People will understand he's not bringing back jobs. He's not going to recreate the partly illusory, partly real picture of what life was like in the past, with manufacturing jobs and a functioning society, and you could get ahead, and so and so forth. He's not going to create that.

What happens at that point? Something has to be done to maintain control. The obvious technique is scapegoating. So blame it on immigrants, on Muslims, on somebody. But that can only go so far. The next step would be, as I said, an alleged terrorist attack, which is quite easy. It's, in fact, almost normal to—like Condoleezza Rice's mushroom clouds. That's easy to construct, alleged attacks. The other possibility is a staged attack of a minor kind. And how hard would that be? Take the FBI technique, which they're using constantly, of creating situations of entrapment. Well, suppose one of them goes a little too far, that you don't stop it right in time. That wouldn't be hard to work out. I don't particularly anticipate it, but it's a possibility. And this is a very frightened country. For years, this has been probably the most frightened country in the world. It's also the safest country in the world. It's very easy to terrify people.

AMY GOODMAN: Noam—

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted to ask you another question that came in, from Melbourne, Australia, Aaron Bryla. He said, "Defense Secretary James Mattis this week described Iran as the greatest threat to the United States. My question: Why does the U.S. insist on setting the potential grounds for war with Iran?"

NOAM CHOMSKY: That's been going on for years. Right through the Obama years, Iran was regarded as the greatest threat to world peace. And that's repeated over and over. "All options are open," Obama's phrase, meaning, if we want to use nuclear weapons, we can, because of this terrible danger to peace.

Actually, we have—there's a few interesting comments that should be made about this. One is, there also is something called world opinion. What does the world think is the greatest threat to world peace? Well, we know that, from U.S.-run polls, Gallup polls: United States. Nobody even close, far ahead of any other threat. Pakistan, second, much lower. Iran, hardly mentioned.

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Why is Iran regarded here as the greatest threat to world peace? Well, we have an authoritative answer to that from the intelligence community, which provides regular assessments to Congress on the global strategic situation. And a couple of years ago, their report—of course, they always discuss Iran. And the reports are pretty consistent. They say Iran has very low military spending, even by the standards of the region, much lower than Saudi Arabia, Israel, others. Its strategy is defensive. They want to deter attacks long enough for diplomacy to be entertained. The conclusion, intelligence conclusion—this is a couple years ago—is: If they are developing nuclear weapons, which we don't know, but if they are, it would be part of their deterrent strategy. Now, why is the United States and Israel even more so concerned about a deterrent? Who's concerned about a deterrent? Those who want to use force. Those who want to be free to use force are deeply concerned about a potential deterrent. So, yes, Iran is the greatest threat to world peace, might deter our use of force.

AMY GOODMAN: Today is the 50th anniversary of Dr. King giving his "Beyond Vietnam" speech at Riverside Church, where he said the United States is "the greatest purveyor of violence on Earth." Your thoughts today, as we wrap up, and if—in the last 30 seconds?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, that speech by King was very important, also other speeches he gave at the same time, which have, at the time, seriously harmed his reputation among liberal Northerners. He sharply condemned the war in Vietnam, which was the worst crime since the Second World War.

AMY GOODMAN: Five seconds.

NOAM CHOMSKY: The other thing he was doing was trying to create a poor people's movement, a non-racially separated poor people's movement.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: You were talking about Martin Luther King and the Poor People's Campaign. I wanted to take a—ask you to talk about a section of your book, Requiem for the American Dream, where you talk about this famous Powell Memorandum that Justice Powell sent to the Chamber of Commerce and to others, major business groups, in 1971, where he said that business is losing control over the society and that something has to be done to counter these forces. Now, this is a Supreme Court justice issuing something like this. Could you talk about this effort by the business community basically to beat back the movement of the '60s?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Actually, he was appointed Supreme Court justice a little bit after that. He was then a corporate lawyer, I think, working for tobacco firms or something. And he wrote an interesting memorandum. It went to the American Chamber of Commerce. It was supposed to be an internal memorandum, basically, to the business community. It leaked, and—as things usually do, and it's quite interesting.

He didn't actually say that business is losing control. What he said is, business is the—is being beaten down by the massive forces of the left, which have taken over everything, the—even mentioned the devils who are leading the campaign: Ralph Nader, with his consumer safety efforts, Herbert Marcuse, who's mobilizing the students to carry out a revolution. And he says they've taken over the media, they've taken over the universities, they're practically in control of the whole country. And meanwhile, the poor, embattled business community can barely survive under this incredible assault. It's a very interesting picture. The rhetoric should be paid—you should pay attention to the rhetoric. It's kind of like a spoiled 3-year-old who expects to have everything, and somebody takes a piece of candy away from him, and they have a tantrum. The world's ending. That's pretty much the picture. Of course, business was essentially running everything, but not totally. There was—there were democratizing tendencies in the '60s. The public became more engaged in public affairs and was considered a serious threat. So he calls on the business community to defend theirselves from this monstrous attack. And he says, "Look, after all, we're the ones who have the resources. We have the funds. You know, we're the trustees of the universities. We should be able to protect ourselves from this assault that's wiping out the American way, business and so on." That's the Powell Memorandum. And indeed, it—the lesson was understood, not just listening to him. There was a reaction to the activism of the '60s. The '60s are often called "the time of troubles." They were civilizing the country. That's extremely dangerous.

But no less interesting than the Powell Memorandum is another publication that came out from the opposite side of the mainstream political spectrum, the book called The Crisis of Democracy, published around the same time by the Trilateral Commission. That's liberal internationalists from the three major capitalist centers—Europe, the United States and Japan. The political complexion of this group is illustrated by the fact that they almost entirely staffed the Carter administration. That's where they're coming from. The American rapporteur Samuel Huntington, professor at Harvard, the well-known liberal intellectual. What's the crisis of democracy? Pretty much the same as the Powell Memorandum. They said there's too much democracy. People who are usually passive and apathetic, the way they're supposed to be, are pressing their demands in the public arena, and it's too much for the state to accommodate. They didn't mention one group: corporate interests. That's the national interest. These are the special interests, and they called for more moderation and democracy. Now, they were particularly concerned with what they called—this is their phrase—"the institutions responsible for the indoctrination of the young"—universities, schools, churches. They're supposed to be indoctrinating the young, and they're not doing their job, as you can see from all these kids running around calling for women's rights and ending the war and so on and so forth. So we have to have better indoctrination of the young. They were also concerned about the media. They said the media are becoming too adversarial. If you look at what was happening, that's about as much of a joke as Powell. They said, if the media don't control themselves and discipline themselves, maybe the state will have to move in and do something about it. This was the liberals. This is the liberal end of the spectrum.

You take these two publications side by side. They differ rhetorically. The Powell Memorandum is literally a tantrum. The Crisis of Democracy is big words, moderate, you know, intellectuals and so on. But the message is not that very different. It's saying we—that democracy is simply a threat. The population has to be restored to passivity, then everything will be fine. In fact, Huntington, the American rapporteur, says, kind of nostalgically, that Truman had been able to run the country with the cooperation of a few corporate executives and Wall Street lawyers. That was the good old days, when democracy was functioning. You didn't have all these demands and so on. And remember, this is the liberal end of the spectrum. Then you get the Powell Memorandum, which is the harsher end and rhetorically, literally, kind of like a tantrum.

It's within that framework of thinking—which they didn't initiate, they articulated—that you get the neoliberal reaction of the past generation, which, on every front, including education, economy, undermining of the functioning of political democracy—all the factors that have led to the disillusionment and anger of the people who end up being Trump voters, voting for their class enemy. It's worth remembering that these people have just concerns, very serious concerns. It's revealed by some pretty remarkable recent revelations. You've seen them, probably reported on the quite remarkable fact that mortality is increasing among middle-class, lower-middle-class, working-class white Americans, middle-aged white Americans. That's something unknown in developed societies. Mortality keeps declining. Here it's increasing. And the roots of it are what are called diseases of despair. People don't have hope for the future—and for pretty good reasons, if you look at the facts of the matter. Real male wages today are pretty much at the level of the '60s. In 2007, at the time when there was a good deal of euphoria about the economy, how wonderful it's doing, great moderation and so on, economists praising Alan Greenspan as the greatest figure since Moses or something—"Saint Alan," he was called—right at the peak of euphoria, right before the crash, real wages for American workers were lower than they were in 1979, when the neoliberal experiments were just beginning. These affect people's lives seriously. They're not starving. These are not the poorest people. You know, they're kind of surviving, but without the hope for—without a sense of dignity, of worth, of hope for the future, of some meaning in your life, and so on. So they're reacting in often very self-destructive ways.

AMY GOODMAN: Noam, I wanted to ask you about the Middle East, this latest news we have out of Idlib, a rebel-held area, that, according to reports, has been hit by some kind of gas attack, chemical attack, 11 children under the age of eight killed, scores of other people, hundreds wounded. This is in northwest Syria. Can you comment on what has taken place? The U.S., the—Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, the U.N.—the U.S. secretary—the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, saying on Friday the U.S. is changing its position: While it thinks the people don't want Assad, it's not going to try to get Assad out. And then you have this attack. What are your thoughts on Syria, Russia, the United States?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Syria is a horrible catastrophe. The Assad regime is a moral disgrace. They're carrying out horrendous acts, the Russians with them.

AMY GOODMAN: Why the Russians with them?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, pretty simple reason: Syria is their one ally in the whole region. Not a close ally, but they do have—their one Mediterranean base is in Syria. It's the one country that's more or less cooperated with them. And they don't want to lose their one ally. It's very ugly, but that's what's happening.

Meanwhile, there have been—it's kind of like the North Korean case we were discussing. There have been possible opportunities to terminate the horrors. In 2012, there was an initiative from the Russians, which was not pursued, so we don't know how serious it was, but it was a proposal to—for a negotiated settlement, in which Assad would be phased out, not immediately. You know, you can't tell them, "We're going to murder you. Please negotiate." That's not going to work. But some system in which, in the course of negotiations, he would be removed, and some kind of settlement would be made. The West would not accept it, not just the United States. France, England, the United States simply refused to even consider it. At the time, they believed they could overthrow Assad, so they didn't want to do this, so the war went on. Could it have worked? You never know for sure. But it could have been pursued. Meanwhile, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are supporting jihadi groups, which are not all that different from ISIS. So you have a horror story on all sides. The Syrian people are being decimated.

AMY GOODMAN: And the U.S. now sending 400 more troops to Syria. But if the U.S. has a better relationship with Russia, could that change everything?

NOAM CHOMSKY: It could lead to some kind of accommodation in which a negotiated diplomatic settlement would be implemented, which would by no means be lovely, but it would at least cut down the level of violence, which is critical, because the country is simply being destroyed. It's descending to suicide.

AMY GOODMAN: President Trump met with Sisi on Monday, meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan on Wednesday at the White House, saying they're not raising the issue of human rights anymore. Your thoughts on this, and then also, of course, Israel-Palestine?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, raising the issue of human rights is—it means something, but not very much, because—take, say, Saudi Arabia, one of the worst human rights violators in the world. It's our darling. You know, they pour weapons in. Obama sold them more weapons than, I think, any predecessor. Sisi is particularly disgraceful. His dictatorship has driven Egypt into some of its worst days. The United States kind of supported him, but not openly and vigorously the way Trump is doing. Trump is—it's a little bit like what you said about the Cabinet. It's kind of like a parody of what goes on all the time. Usual thing is to support brutal dictators, but not with enthusiasm, and with some tapping on the wrist, saying, "Look, what you're doing is not very nice," and so on. Here, it's saying, "You're great. We love you. You know, go ahead and torture and murder people." That's—it's a terrible blow to the people of Egypt. But Jordan is sort of a mixed story. But these steps are very regressive.

With regard to Israel-Palestine, actually, Trump has pulled back from his original position. But his original position that—he and his administration—was that there's nothing wrong with the settlements. They're not an obstacle to peace. If you look at the way the settlements have been treated over the years—of course, they're totally illegal. They're destroying any hope for Palestinian rights. There's a systematic Israeli program, very systematic. It's been going on since 1967. It's to try to quietly take over every part of the West Bank that is of any value to them, while excluding the areas of Palestinian population concentration. So they're not going to take over Nablus or Tulkarm, but take over everything that's of significance and value, leave dozens, maybe even hundreds, of isolated enclaves and Palestinian population concentrations, which can kind of rot on the vine. Maybe the people will leave. Whatever happens, we don't care. That's been going on consistently. Now, if you go back to about 1980, the U.S. joined the world not only in calling them illegal, but in demanding that they be dismantled. Go back to the U.N. Security Council resolutions, I think 465, approximately. So, you have to dismantle the illegal settlements. That has been weakened over the years. So, under Reagan, they stop—

AMY GOODMAN: Now you have David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, who's been approved—right?—who raised money for the settlements. And you have Jared Kushner in charge of the policy.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Yeah, it's been step by step. Reagan weakened it. Clinton weakened it. Obama cut it back to not help—obstacles to peace. Trump, it's not helpful to peace. Meanwhile, we fund—Jared—the Kushner Foundation and, of course, this new ambassador are strong supporters of the ultra-right far right, way to the right of Netanyahu. The Beit El, the community that they're pouring their money into, is run by an Orthodox rabbi whose position is that the army shouldn't follow orders, has to follow the rabbi's orders. This is way at the right end of the Israeli spectrum. Originally, they said they were going to move the embassy to Jerusalem. They're kind of backing off on that. At first, their position was there's nothing wrong with settlements. Now there's a mild "they're not helpful to peace." But, meanwhile, the U.S. continues to pour money and support into fulfilling this project of constructing a Greater Israel.

I should say that the general discussions about this, I think, are extremely misleading. What's said on all sides, actually—Israel, Palestinians, international commentary—is that there are two options: either a two-state settlement, in accord with the long-standing international consensus, or else one state, which would be an apartheid state, in which Palestinians wouldn't have rights, and you could have an anti-apartheid struggle, and Israel would face what's called the demographic problem—too many non-Jews in a Jewish state. But those are not the two options.

There's a third option, the one that is actually being implemented—namely, construction of a Greater Israel, which will not have a demographic problem, because they're excluding the areas of dense Palestinian population, and they're removing Palestinians slowly from the areas they expect to take over. So you'll get a—what's called Jerusalem as maybe five times as big as it ever has been, goes all the way into the West Bank. There are corridors going to the east, which break up the remaining territory, one to Ma'ale Adumim, a town which was built mostly during the Clinton years, which pretty much bifurcates the West Bank. There's others to the north. The so-called Area C, where Israel has total control, about 60 percent of the West Bank, is slowly being incorporated into Israel with big infrastructure programs and so on. And this program is just taking place right before our eyes. The United States is providing diplomatic, economic and military support for it. It will leave the Palestinians with essentially nothing. There will be a Greater Israel, which will have—which will not face the dread demographic problem.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I'd like to, if we can, shift focus to another part of the world. I wanted to ask you about Latin America. We had a period, for about 10 years, of enormous social progress in Latin America—all these socially minded governments, reduction of income inequality, the only part of the world where there are no nuclear weapons. And yet, now we've seen, in the last few years, real steps backwards. Quite a few of the popular governments, with the exception of Ecuador, recently have been thrown out of office, and a deepening crisis in Venezuela. Your sense of what has happened, in that, after so much promise, all of a sudden it seems that the region is going backward?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, there were—there were real achievements. But the left governments failed to use the opportunity available to them to try to create sustainable, viable economies. Almost every one—Venezuela, Brazil, others, Argentina—relied on the rise in commodity prices, which is a temporary phenomenon. Commodity prices did rise, mainly because of the growth of China. So there was a rise in the oil price, of soy, and so on and so forth. And instead of trying to develop a sustainable economy with manufacturing, agriculture and so on—like Venezuela is potentially a rich agricultural country, but they didn't develop it—they simply relied on the commodity—raw materials commodities they could export. That's a very harmful—it's not only not a successful, it's a harmful development model, because when you export grain to China, let's say, they export manufacturing goods to you, and that undermines your manufacturing industries. And that's pretty much what's been happening.

On top of that, there was just enormous corruption. It's just—it's painful to see the Workers' Party in Brazil, which did carry out significant measures, just—they just couldn't keep their hands out of the till. They joined the extremely corrupt elite, which is robbing all the time, and took part in it, as well, and discredited themselves. And there's a reaction. I don't think the game is over by any means. There were real successes achieved, and I think a lot of those will be sustained. But there is a regression. They'll have to pick up again with, one hopes, more honest forces that won't be—that will, first of all, recognize the need to develop the economy in a way which has a solid foundation, not just based on raw material exports, and, secondly, honest enough to carry out decent programs without robbing the public at the same time.

AMY GOODMAN: What about Venezuela?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Venezuela is really a disaster situation. The economy relies on oil as to a great—probably a greater extent than ever in the past, certainly very high. And the corruption, the robbery and so on, has been extreme, under the—especially after Chávez's death. So, it's a—I mean, if you look at it, it still has—if you look at, say, the U.N. Human Development Index, Venezuela still ranks, say, above Brazil. So it's the—there are hopes and possibilities for reconstruction and development. But the promise of the earlier years has been significantly lost.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask you, your first article, you wrote when? In February of 19—was it 39? How old were you?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Ten.

AMY GOODMAN: Ten years old. So I want to go back to this first article. It was on the fall of—

NOAM CHOMSKY: First one I remember. There maybe have been others.

AMY GOODMAN: The fall of Barcelona to Franco.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: So you were talking about fascism and fascist forces.

NOAM CHOMSKY: (inaudible) fascism. I remember—I'm sure it was not a very memorable article. I hope it's been destroyed. But—

AMY GOODMAN: Do you see—

NOAM CHOMSKY: But if I remember, the part of it—it began by concern about the apparently inexorable spread of fascism—Austria, Czechoslovakia, Toledo in Spain, Barcelona, which was quite significant. That's the end of the Spanish Revolution. That took place in February 1939. And it looked like it was just going to go on. It was very frightening at the time.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think it's accurate to use the word "fascism" or talk about the rise of fascism in the United States?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, you know, "fascism" has become a kind of a scare word. But many of the aspects of fascism are not far below the surface. You go back to, say, the 1940s. Robert Brady, great political economist, Veblenite political economist, wrote a book called Business as a System of Power, in which he argued that in all of the state capitalist economies—so-called capitalist economies, really state capitalist—there were developments towards some of the institutional structures of fascism. He was not thinking of concentration camps and crematoria, just the nature of the institutional structures. And that was not entirely false. Could you move towards what Bertram Gross, around 1980, called "friendly fascism"? So, fascist-type structures without the crematoria, which is not a core, necessary part of fascism. It could happen.

We should recall that through the 1930s the fascist regimes had pretty favorable attitudes towards them in the West. Mussolini was called, by Roosevelt, "that admirable Italian gentleman," and who was maybe misled by Hitler. In 1932, one of the main business magazines—I think Forbes—had an article with the headline—front-page story where the headline was "The wops are unwopping themselves." Finally the Italians are getting their act together under Mussolini. The trains were running on time, that sort of thing. The business community was quite supportive. As late as the late 1930s, the U.S. State Department was—can't actually say "supporting" Hitler, but saying we ought to tolerate Hitler, because he's a moderate standing between the extremes of right and left. We've heard that before. He's destroying the labor movement, which is a good thing; getting rid of the communists, the socialists, fine. There's right-wing elements, ultranationalist elements at the other extreme. He's kind of controlling them. So we should have a kind of a tolerant attitude toward him. Actually, the most interesting case is George Kennan, great, revered diplomat. He was the American consul in Berlin. And as late as 1941, he was still writing pretty favorable comments about Hitler, saying you shouldn't be too severe, there are some good things there. We associate fascism now with the real horror stories of the Holocaust and so on. But that's not the way fascism was regarded. It was even more strongly supported by the British business community. They could do business with them. There was a—largely business-run regimes, which were—there was a lot of support in Germany, because of the—it did create something like full employment through indebtedness and military spending, and it was winning victories.

Could we move in that direction? It's been recognized. You can read it right now in mainstream journals, asking, "Will the—will the elements of Gross's friendly fascism be instituted in a country like the United States?" And it's not new. Maybe 10 years ago, there was an interesting article in Foreign Affairs, main establishment journal, by Fritz Stern, one of the major German historians of Germany. It was called "Descent into Barbarism." And he was discussing the way Germany deteriorated from what was, in fact, maybe the peak of Western civilization in the 1920s into the utter depths of history 10 years later. And his article was written with an eye on the United States. This was the Bush administration, not today. He was saying—he didn't say we're—Bush is Hitler, wasn't saying that. But he was saying there were signs that we should pay attention to. He said, "I sometimes have concern for the country that rescued me from fascism, when I see what's happening."

AMY GOODMAN: And do you see the—Donald Trump's attack on the press as part of that trend toward fascism, his calling the press the enemy of the people?

NOAM CHOMSKY: It's dangerous, but Nixon did the same thing. You remember the—Agnew and so on. Yes, it's dangerous, but I think it's well short of what we regard as fascism. But it's not to be dismissed. And I think we can easily see how a—if there had been a charismatic figure in the United States who could mobilize fears, anger, racism, a sense of loss of the future that belongs to us, this country could be in real danger. We're lucky that there never has been an honest, charismatic figure. McCarthy was too much of a thug, you know? Nixon was too crooked. Trump, I think, is too much of a clown. So, we've been lucky. But we're not going to be lucky forever necessarily.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Noam Chomsky, we want to thank you so much for being with us. We're going to let you fly out now, as you head off to the airport. I'll see you on April 24th at the First Parish church in Cambridge. Noam Chomsky, world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author, institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught for more than 50 years. His latest book—he's written over a hundred—comes out today, Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power.

 

 

Corrupt U.S. Politician of the Day

Randy "Duke" Cunningham:

Cunningham, a decorated Navy fighter pilot during the Vietnam War, represented San Diego as a Republican in the U.S. House from 1991 to 2005, when he resigned from Congress in disgrace. His story is best told in the book, "The Wrong Stuff: The Extraordinary Tale of Randy 'Duke' Cunningham, the Most Corrupt Congressman Ever Caught," written by the Copley News Service reporters who helped expose him.

Cunningham sat on the powerful House subcommittee that designates spending to certain defense programs, and he resigned from Congress in November 2005 after pleading guilty to bribery. He admitted taking bribes of at least $2.4 million -- the highest known amount a congressman has ever taken -- from at least three defense contractors in exchange for government business.

Cunningham had used the bribes to make extravagant purchases such as a yacht, Roll Royce, suburban-D.C. condominium and a mansion. On March 3, 2006, Cunningham was sentenced to eight years in federal prison and ordered to pay $1.8 million in restitution.

(source realclearpolitics.com)

 

Iona Craig on What Really Happened When U.S. Navy SEALs Stormed a Yemeni Village, Killing Dozens

 

AMY GOODMAN: Iona Craig, I wanted to ask you about the Navy SEAL raid in Yemen in January that you've investigated, the White House warning journalists and lawmakers last month against criticizing the botched raid by U.S. commandos on a Yemeni village that left 25 civilians and one U.S. soldier dead, William Ryan Owens. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports the January 28th assault killed nine children under the age of 13, with five other children wounded. Among those critical of the raid was Arizona Republican Senator John McCain.

SEN. JOHN McCAIN: When you lose a $75 million airplane, and, more importantly, American lives are—a life is lost, and wounded, I don't believe that you can call it a success.

AMY GOODMAN: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer lashed out at Senator McCain and journalists for criticizing President Trump's decision to order the raid.

PRESS SECRETARY SEAN SPICER: It's absolutely a success. And I think anyone who would suggest it's not a success does disservice to the life of Chief Ryan Owens. He fought knowing what was at stake in that mission. And anybody who would suggest otherwise doesn't fully appreciate how successful that mission was, what the information that they were able to retrieve was and how that will help prevent future terrorist attacks.

KRISTEN WELKER: But even Senator John McCain—

PRESS SECRETARY SEAN SPICER: I understand that. I think my statement is very clear on that, Kristen. I think anybody who undermines the success of that rage (sic) owes an apology and a disservice to the life of Chief Owens.

AMY GOODMAN: So, that is Sean Spicer. President Trump, when he addressed a joint session of Congress, brought in the widow of Ryan Owens, but Ryan Owens' father, William Owens, refused to meet with President Trump when his son's body was brought to Dover Air Base, harshly critical of this raid, saying, "Why did he have to do this now, to move so quickly in his administration?" That was one Navy SEAL, and then you have the number of civilian casualties, women and children. What did you find, Iona?

IONA CRAIG: Well, really, the civilians that I spoke to when I went to the village had exactly that same question: Why? Why did the Trump administration choose to carry out this raid? For what reasons? And what are they going to do about it now? Because not only did they put the lives of Navy SEALs at a huge amount of risk, which was highly predictable if you had even a vague understanding of the local politics in that particular area of Yemen at the time, but obviously caused mass civilian casualties. There were 26 people in that village who were killed. As you've already mentioned, many of those were women and children. That village has essentially been abandoned now, because not only—after that raid happened, not only was the entire village strafed and more than 120 livestock were killed, but the U.S. went back a month later, at the beginning of March, and bombed it for four consecutive nights, both with drone strikes and helicopter gunfire, and killed two more children and several more adults. So the last person that I spoke to who was living there, Sheikh Aziz al Ameri, he then left the village and is now living under trees several miles away.

So, the impact on the local population, who were essentially on the same side as U.S. in the civil war in Yemen at the moment—they were fighting against the Houthis, which is exactly what the U.S. has been doing over the last two years—they've not only alienated the entire local population around there, but caused to huge amount of anti-American sentiment. And now tribesmen, who were not al-Qaeda, who are not even al-Qaeda now, but were not before, but are now quite willing and wanting to fight the Americans as a result of this and a result of them killing their children and their wives.

So, I think that what was quite clear before they even went in there was that, and what actually happened was the fact that, all of the local tribesmen in that area came to defend the village when the U.S. Navy SEALs went in there. And that was because they thought the village was being raided by the people they'd been fighting for the last two-and-a-half years, which is the Houthis. They had no notion that it was Americans that were coming in to attack the village when it happened. And that was quite clearly a huge risk when the Americans went in there to carry out this raid, that that would indeed happen. It's the middle of a civil war. That village is right behind the front lines. They had been receiving rocket fire and mortar fire from their opponents in the civil war in the days and weeks before the raid. So, of course it was their assumption that their village was being stormed by the Houthi rebels, whom they've been fighting for so long. So, every man within hearing distance of gunfire came running. I spoke to a man who drove 45 minutes from his neighboring village when he got the call to come and help defend his neighbors' area. And so, I think the risk to the Navy SEALs was massive before they even went in there. It appears that there had been at least some knowledge within the village that they were in fact coming, as well. And so, for all those reasons, the Navy SEALs were being put under a huge amount of risk, and it was highly likely that somebody was going to—one of their team was going to get killed, not to mention then the fact that they inevitably got pinned down by fire, then had to call in air support and basically decimate the entire village in order to be able to extract themselves safely from that situation. And from what I saw, and talking to people, most of that was predictable before they even went in there.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, Iona Craig, as you report in the piece, White House spokesperson Sean Spicer said the purpose of the raid was intelligence gathering and not specifically targeting anyone, and that initially the U.S. Central Command posted a video backing Spicer's claim, but that video was subsequently removed when it was proven that it was 10 years old.

IONA CRAIG: Yeah, I mean, two things on that front. Certainly, from what I was told and in addition to statements that appear to have come out from the military since then, they were in fact going after the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a man called Qasim al-Raymi. I think it's extremely unlikely that they would have been carrying out such a high-risk mission in order to gather laptops, cellphones or intelligence, as they suggest. He was not in the village and, in fact, released an audio statement mocking both Trump and the raid several days later. Although there were some low-level al-Qaeda militants there in one particular house, because of the situation of how the Navy SEALs came under fire, that house was in fact bombed by an airstrike before the SEALs could even get into it, so whatever intelligence they claim to have gathered from there would have come from other buildings where there were no al-Qaeda militants present.

That video that you mentioned, that was—when it was first posted, was labeled as an AQAP—so that's al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula—video of how to make bombs, as you say, was—had turned out was 10 years old, had already been available on the internet. Well, AQAP, as it is now, didn't even exist 10 years ago, so even to label it as an AQAP video was kind of laughable, really. And if that's the best of the intelligence that came out of there, then it seems that that was a very high-risk undertaking for very little gain, if that's the best that they can show for it.

But as I mentioned, certainly, the people I spoke to on the ground, when I asked them about what houses the Navy SEALs got into or perhaps access to the dead bodies, who may have been carrying, let's say, cellphones or electrical equipment, they couldn't even clarify to me that the Navy SEALs had got inside buildings or had actually access to the dead. They couldn't say either way, because of the chaos of the situation, it being extremely dark. They obviously didn't have night vision goggles like the Navy SEALs would have. So it wasn't even clear that they had in fact got into any buildings or not. So I think that's highly disputed, that intelligence. And certainly, some of the claims being made over the last few days, that the whole laptop ban was linked to intelligence gathered from the Yemen raid, do not add up at all, from what I've seen being written in the media on that, as well.

AMY GOODMAN: Iona, we have less than a minute to go, but earlier this month Amnesty International urged Trump to block future arms sales, writing, "Arming the Saudi Arabia and Bahrain governments risks complicity with war crimes, and doing so while simultaneously banning travel to the U.S. from Yemen would be even more unconscionable," Amnesty wrote. A front-page story in The New York Times today, "Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has decided to lift all human rights conditions on a major sale of F-16 fighter jets and other arms to Bahrain in an effort to end a rift between the United States and the critical Middle East ally." If you can, very quickly, talk about the role of U.S. weapons in these conflicts?

IONA CRAIG: In Yemen, it's huge. The U.S. is the biggest exporter to Saudi Arabia, and it's big business for the U.S. But, of course, we know that the majority of civilian casualties in the war in Yemen have been caused by Saudi-led airstrikes. And the U.S. has a huge influence over this. They were—those precision-guided weapons were suspended at the end of last year, and now we're looking at a resumption of that, where the U.S. does actually have influence over Saudi Arabia—not just over Saudi Arabia, but also the continuation of this war, for the weapons that it sells to them and to the logistical support it gives to the Saudi-led coalition in the terms of refueling and in the terms of targets, as well.

So, this is—it is, obviously, worrying for those people and campaigners who have been trying to prevent the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia, but also the terms of those sales. There are indications now that those weapons may be sold under commercial terms rather than under military, which also then doesn't attach the same end use issues with them, so there isn't so much scrutiny then with the end use of those weapons in a war like Yemen. And that's also deeply concerning. So, I think now, at a stage where really the attempt should be made to de-escalate the conflict, it's—all indications are now that, in fact, the war in Yemen will be escalated by the activities of the U.S. government right now.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, one last, very quickly, Iona, that we—as we said in our introduction, there have been more airstrikes carried out since the start of 2017 than there were in all of 2016. But you've pointed out in a recent interview that there were more drone strikes in Yemen over the space of 36 hours than there were in all of 2016.

IONA CRAIG: Yes, absolutely. And even in the last 24 hours, there have been U.S. airstrikes—and not just airstrikes, there's naval bombardments, as well, which, of course, were being done under the Obama administration, but those airstrikes have been carried out in Abyan province, in Shabwah, in Hadhramaut, in Ma'rib—in the last 24 hours in Ma'rib, in Shabwah and in Abyan, and also in Al Bayda, as well, earlier on in March. So, yes, there's definitely—there's not just this surge at the beginning of March, where we saw that 36 hours of airstrikes happening very rapidly, but that's been a continuation, as well, now. And as I say, it's not just drone strikes. It's airstrikes from fighter jets, and it's also coming from the sea.

AMY GOODMAN: Iona Craig, we want to thank you for being with us, freelance journalist who was based in Sana'a for years, has continued to go back and forth reporting on what's happening there. Thanks so much for joining us.

 

 

Covetousness is both the beginning and the end of the devil's alphabet - the first vice in corrupt nature that moves, and the last which dies.

Michel de Montaigne

 

Catalunya i Israel: convenis polítics i negocis empresarials polèmics

Marc Font

diumenge, 26 març 2017, © Critiq

Els intercanvis comercials entre Israel i Catalunya no han deixat de créixer els darrers anys. Des del 2011, ACC1Ó, l'agència governamental per a la internacionalització de l'empresa catalana, ha intensificat la seva presència a l'Estat hebreu, que els darrers executius han considerat un "referent" i un "exemple", tant des del punt de vista econòmic com pel que fa a la creació d'un Estat. Els acords entre els dos països, però, generen recels, tant a bona part de l'oposició al Parlament com a col·lectius propalestins o a organismes com l'Observatori de Drets Humans i Empreses, que qüestionen que tenir-hi determinats tractes contribueixi a resoldre l'etern conflicte araboisraelià.  full article>

 

Man was made at the end of the week's work, when God was tired.

Mark Twain

 

Media Spin Headlines to Downplay US Responsibility for Mosul Massacre

By Ben Norton

Mar 30 2017, © FAIR

If you read the headlines of major corporate media outlets, you'd think hundreds of Iraqi civilians coincidentally died in the same location that just so happened to be hit by a US airstrike.  full article>

 

Stubborn and ardent clinging to one's opinion is the best proof of stupidity.

Michel de Montaigne

 

Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang: Networks' Lack Of Climate Coverage Is "Bad News For Science" And A Disservice To Viewers

March 31, 2017, © MEDIA MATTERS

Angela Fritz of The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang questioned why the major TV networks are turning a blind eye to climate change given that a majority of Americans are concerned about the issue, calling the "shockingly small number of minutes" the major networks devoted to climate change in 2016 "bad for science."  full article>

 

To whom it may concern: It is springtime. It is late afternoon.

Kurt Vonnegut

 

"Irrational," "Reckless," "Irresponsible": The EPA Just Accidentally Told the Truth About Trump's Climate Plan

Oops.

Rebecca Leber

Mar. 30, 2017, © Media Matters

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump visited the Environmental Protection Agency, where he signed an executive order dismantling key Obama-era policies aimed at fighting climate change. On Thursday morning, the EPA sent out a press release highlighting some wonderful praise that Trump's order has received from groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, and—of course—Republican politicians. But the top quote in the EPA's email, attributed to Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), had an unexpected message:

With this Executive Order, President Trump has chosen to recklessly bury his head in the sand. Walking away from the Clean Power Plan and other climate initiatives, including critical resiliency projects is not just irresponsible— it's irrational. Today's executive order calls into question America's credibility and our commitment to tackling the greatest environmental challenge of our lifetime. With the world watching, President Trump and Administrator Pruitt have chosen to shirk our responsibility, disregard clear science and undo the significant progress our country has made to ensure we leave a better, more sustainable planet for generations to come.  full article>

 

Science is magic that works.

Kurt Vonnegut

 

Just as a man would not cherish living in a body other than his own, so do nations not like to live under other nations, however noble and great the latter my be.

Mohandas K. Gandhi

 

Israel Approves First New Settlement in Decades

By ISABEL KERSHNER

MARCH 30, 2017, © The New York Times

Israel's government on Thursday approved the establishment of a new settlement in the West Bank for the first time in more than two decades, and also laid the groundwork for further expansion despite a request from President Trump to hold off on settlement activity.  full article>

 

The pre-eminent obstacle to peace is Israel's colonization of Palestine.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, March 10, 2006

 

Israel Hits Back Against Boycott

By Marjorie Cohn

March 30, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com

On March 19, Israeli tax officials arrested Omar Barghouti, a prominent Palestinian human rights defender and co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Omar and his wife Safa, an Israeli citizen, were detained for 16 hours and have been subjected to daily interrogation sessions.  full article>

 

I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any. I refuse to live in other people's houses as an interloper, a beggar or a slave.

Mohandas K. Gandhi

 

Israel aprueba el primer nuevo asentamiento en dos décadas

Juan Carlos Sanz

Jerusalén 31 MAR 2017, © El País

Benjamín Netanyahu ha ordenado este jueves aprobar la construcción del primer asentamiento de nueva planta en Cisjordania en casi dos décadas. El primer ministro israelí convocó para ello al Gabinete de Seguridad —el sanedrín que agrupa a los ministros clave del Gobierno—, para informar sobre la compleja negociación en marcha con la Administración del presidente norteamericano, Donald Trump para limitar la expansión de las colonias. La polémica decisión, que amenaza con arruinar la mediación de paz en Oriente Próximo auspiciada por Estados Unidos, fue adoptada por unanimidad.  full article>

 

How many extraordinary phenomena like this, so foreign to human comprehension, might lie concealed in space? Do we need to travel everywhere bringing destructive power on our ships, so as to smash anything that runs counter to our understanding?

Stanisław Lem

 

The saddest fact of climate change - and the chief reason we should be concerned about finding a proper response - is that the countries it will hit hardest are already among the poorest and most long-suffering.

Bjørn Lomborg

 

'Climate change is real': companies challenge Trump's reversal of policy

Jamiles Lartey

29 March 2017, © The Guardian

In 2015, when Barack Obama signed the nation's clean power plan, more than 300 companies came out in support, calling the guidelines "critical for moving our country toward a clean energy economy". Now, as Donald Trump moves to strip those laws away, Mars Inc, Staples and The Gap are just a few of those US corporations who are challenging the new president's reversal on climate policy.  full article>

 

It is fairly well-known what has been behind that climate change denial in America: vast sums pumped into an ignorance industry by the oil and gas lobbies.

Naomi Wolf

 

Kushner and Trump: Taped At Secret Trump Tower Meetings With Russians?

March 28, 2017, © patribotics

On March 3rd, Donald Trump made a series of tweets. Three were about a wiretap at Trump Tower. Two, however, were about Jeff Sessions meeting the Russian ambassador. Those tweets got lost in the resulting storm.

Over the past week, Devin Nunes obstructed justice on TV, both announcing that one White House staffer was under investigation and that a transition team member was recorded in a FISA intercept.

As we exclusively reported, that staffer was almost certainly Boris Epshteyn, named by Comey in his first failed FISA application in June.

Also as we exclusively reported, Michael Ellis is suspected of having leaked this material to Nunes.

But what would be so bad that it would cause Nunes to rush to the White House to illegally receive top-secret FISA evidence?  full article>

 

XL Keystone Pipeline ~ New CIA (Cowboy Indian Alliance)

 

The Trump Administration photo-op "XL Keystone Pipeline" March 24, 2017, once again demonstrates the failing power of the Office of the Presidency to represent and lead the broad deep concerns and bottom-line will of the majority of the people. It appears from the media frenzy, fearfulness happening in the Trump Administration, that the administration is owned and operated by the fossil fuel industry, Wall Street Investment Bankers, and the health and well-being of citizenry is of no real concern. The administration cloaks privatization of public assets as a job creation solution when facts contradict rhetoric in every domain investigated. The G20 Finance chiefs met in preparation for July 2017 meeting and failed to pledge their support to finance steps to prevent climate change because of intimidation by Trump Administration skepticism labeling the science as a "hoax." The Administration is currently cutting EPA funding by 31% in their planned budget.

 

Effective leaders offer appreciative conversations with others that inspire moods of trust, confidence, ambition by offering solutions to human concerns within networks of historic conversations. The Trump Administration is like watching an American wrecking ball creating distrust, confusion, resentment and resignation in a moment of truth requiring unified actions of all nations and peoples in building the earth for future generations. We Americans operate in a mood of joyful concerns not fear, intimidation or demands for obedience. So, in the deepest sense of ourselves we are questioning the meaning of our own democracy.

 

We are witnessing outright indifference to creative climatic solutions applying Moore's Law to Carbon and empowerment of American ingenuity in leading the world. The millennial generation is not buying into old patriarchal myths in current institutional discourses. The startling fact today is that only 17% of Americans were in favor of Trump's Repeal and Replace Healthcare. While 70% of Americans are concerned about climate change and want effective actions from Congress. The claim made by President Trump during the photo-op is that the XL Pipeline is a job creation story for American workers. Nothing could be further from the truth in reality. Applying "Moore's Carbon Roadmap for Decarbonization" the world can technically in economics meet or exceed agreed upon goals of the human community of nations.

 

The American society started debating a new energy policy in 1980 with the notion of full employment of citizenry in building efficiency in usage of energy within a renewable energy policy framework. The fact that we as a people in 2017 are witnessing the EPA budget slashed by 31% in a moment when the fossil fuel industry needs restrained in growth for National Security, Commercial Large Loss Events, Climate Terrorism, and the health and well-being of our citizenry future productivity is insane. The real public debate long overdue is a civil triadic appreciative inquiry and dialog about people, water and our human responsibility to earth changes occurring based in the facts not belief systems.

 

Climate change is not a belief system. My plea today is that the Trump Administration at all levels of government respond in public to the recommendations for a Carbon Fee Dividend by the "Climate Leadership Council Treasury Report" benefiting 70% of Americans in a proactive economic solution and job creating initiative. CLC is led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, former Secretary of State George P. Schultz and Henry M. Paulson Jr. former Secretary of the Treasury. The fee structure on carbon pollution produced by burning fossil fuels is a conservative climate solution based on free-market principles that benefits all peoples, conserves the waters of life as essential to our future happiness on earth, and cares for the imminent changes on the horizon requiring responsibility for our human activities by initiating new possibilities and disclosing new worlds in building the earth for future generations.

 

Oglala Lakota Chief Mel Lone Hill's proclamation today invites global citizenry to unite in solidarity to serve the next seven generations of humanity as a joyful concern by enacting a "Carbon Fee Dividend" in creating a new circular economy. We are the new and improved CIA Cowboy Indian Alliance. Children and millennials in universities are becoming activists in "Put a Price On Carbon." The Citizens Climate Lobby is a International grass root organization supporting the CLC notion of a Carbon Fee Dividend. The Climate Reality Project is releasing a Carbon Fee Dividend Report in the near future that will substantiate the immediate benefits in mitigation of carbon on the health of Mother Earth, and the long-term deliberate intentional consequences of the Carbon Fee Dividend to unleash creative solutions by people, serving the earth and designing a future world together.

 

Let's make the change in 2017 in a mood of joyful concerns embracing this ancient manner of wolakota. Wolakota is a covenant person to person of peace and friendship enacting appreciative inquiry and dialog in our shared human concerns. Join MSTi Carbon Fee Dividend Passport "Back Into The Future." Our primitive ecological knowing is hard-wired into our passionate desires to become human beings in a biology of love created by our creator in the web of life.

 

THE OGLALA-LAKOTA PROCLAMATION

 

TO:

 

THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 

THE PEOPLE OF THE LAKOTA NATION

 

THE MAJORITY LEADER OF CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES, MR. PAUL RYAN

 

THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, MR. DONALD J. TRUMP

 

THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES, MR. JOHN ROBERTS

 

THE ELLEN MACARTHUR FOUNDATION FOR A CIRCULAR ECONOMY,

 

MSTi CARBON FEE DIVIDEND PASSPORT and EVERY WORLD CITIZEN

 

LET IT BE KNOWN:

 

The undersigned, acting in my capacity as CHIEF of the OGLALA LAKOTA SIOUX TRIBE, and member of the OCETI SAKOWIN, Seven Fires Council of the LAKOTA NATION, and fully aware of the responsibility bestowed upon me by MY PEOPLE, I hereby

 

DECLARE:

 

The LAKOTA NATION is still awaiting the day when the Government of the United States will show willingness to abide by the FORT LARAMIE TREATY which recognized our PEOPLE and ITS REPRESENTATIVES as their counterparts in the signing of this formal document; and consequently, recognized our NATION and its TERRITORY as the moral and legal limit to its power and to US sovereignty.

It is in such capacity that I dare speak out on behalf of our LAKOTA NATION to denounce the fact that in the approval of the building of the XL Keystone PIPELINE (DAPL Standing Rock et al) our PEOPLE have not been taken in consideration at all, in spite of the many overt manifestations of our opposition. Today, I am leaving no doubt that the pipeline traverses OUR territory; and expressly condemning the fact that it is being built WITHOUT OUR CONSENT.

Nevertheless, in full recognition of our limited strength to physically and legally impede the construction of the XL Keystone Pipeline, at the same time we seek to do the RIGHT THING. So, in the name of the OGALA TRIBE and the LAKOTA NATION, the very least I can do is to fully endorse the immediate creation of a CARBON FEE DIVIDEND, urging the US CONGRESS to ACT and by doing so, help raise awareness at a world level of the fact that preserving life comes at a cost to all of us; that the exploitation of Mother Earth's irreplaceable resources should demand our full attention; and that those who will benefit privately from carbon energy should do their part in creating a future where the four R's (recycle, recover, restore and reuse) of a new CIRCULAR ECONOMY will be commonplace. The Carbon Fee Dividend is a first step in uplifting our commitment to protect people and water as sovereignty in action that stands in solidarity with peoples throughout the world.

Last but not least, I give the outmost importance to the wisdom found in the words of the great Gregory Bateson, one of the distinguished founding fathers of Cybernetics and a friend of all living things when he said: "The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think."

 

I THEREFORE, EXHORT:

 

The peoples of all Nations, and all other Friends of Life, and in our manner of wolakota peace and friendship in all beings be related. The Lakota people lived for millennia in this ancient scientific life way of wolakota and this root experience owns us and also gives us the right to speak honestly regarding the impending cataclysmic crises on the horizon with our Mother Earth. I invite you to join me in circulating this message of sovereignty in action contained in our commitment to serve the welfare of the "next seven generations" of all peoples by enacting a CARBON FEE DIVIDEND in 2017.

MEL LONE HILL

CHIEF OF THE OGLALA SOUIX TRIBE

Message to the world from the Pine Ridge Reservation

March 24, 2017

 

_____________

 

t

 

"Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder. In the Middle Ages when the feudal lords who inhabited the castles whose towers may still be seen along the Rhine concluded to enlarge their domains, to increase their power, their prestige and their wealth they declared war upon one another. But they themselves did not go to war any more than the modern feudal lords, the barons of Wall Street go to war. The feudal barons of the Middle Ages, the economic predecessors of the capitalists of our day, declared all wars. And their miserable serfs fought all the battles. The poor, ignorant serfs had been taught to revere their masters; to believe that when their masters declared war upon one another, it was their patriotic duty to fall upon one another and to cut one another's throats for the profit and glory of the lords and barons who held them in contempt. And that is war in a nutshell. The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose--especially their lives."

Eugene Debs, the 1918 speech for which he was sentenced to ten years in prison

 

NYT Says Congress Has 'Duty' to Make War - Rather Than the Right to Reject It

By Adam Johnson

Mar 27 2017, © FAIR

As reports come in detailing the degree to which Donald Trump has escalated the "War on ISIS"—and killed hundreds more civilians in the process—this would seem like a good time for the country to sit back and examine the United States' approach to fighting "terrorism" and its recent iteration, the so-called Islamic State.  full article>

 

We're no longer in the Cold War. Eavesdropping on friends is unacceptable.

Vladimir Putin

 

How US Flooded the World with Psyops

By Robert Parry

March 25, 2017, © Consortiumnews.com

Newly declassified documents from the Reagan presidential library help explain how the U.S. government developed its sophisticated psychological operations capabilities that - over the past three decades - have created an alternative reality both for people in targeted countries and for American citizens, a structure that expanded U.S. influence abroad and quieted dissent at home.

The documents reveal the formation of a psyops bureaucracy under the direction of Walter Raymond Jr., a senior CIA covert operations specialist who was assigned to President Reagan's National Security Council staff to enhance the importance of propaganda and psyops in undermining U.S. adversaries around the world and ensuring sufficient public support for foreign policies inside the United States.  full article>

 

Literature is eavesdropping.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Trump's policies are not the answer to London terrorism

By Matthew Dunn

March 26, 2017, © CNN

I'm a former British Intelligence officer who combated terrorism for six years. Counter-terrorism is a nasty, complex and often frustrating job. It's not for the faint-hearted. Sometimes terrorists slip through the net, but often they are stopped in their tracks by the use of arrests or absolute force.

All of us who've worked on the front lines know that gunning down a terrorist is only one part of the solution. We don't want violence, because the bottom line is that we're fighting violence. We want other solutions.  full article>

 

e

There's nothing like eavesdropping to show you that the world outside your head is different from the world inside your head.

Thornton Wilder

 

Most Dangerous Animal of the Day:

Humans

Human beings may not stand to win in a fair fight against the world's other most dangerous animals but, thanks to their ingenuity, they have learned how to arm themselves with weapons and tools which have placed them at the top of the food chain (at least for the time being). They also get extra points on the deadly scale for their aggression, not only toward other animals but toward each other. The scale to which they take their destructiveness is unique. No other animal starts worldwide wars or blasts whole regions of the earth into total ruin with nuclear weapons. Without a doubt, the most dangerous animal in the world is the face you see in the mirror each day.

(source: Conservationinstitute.org)

 

Coywolves are Taking Over Eastern North America

By Marissa Fessenden

November 3, 2015, © smithsonian.com

People living in Eastern Canada and U.S. are probably familiar with the smart, adaptable wild canine that lives in their forests, neighborhood parks and even cities. What they may not know is that eastern coyotes aren't true coyotes at all. They might better be known as hybrids, or coywolves.  full article>

 

The 'pathology of normalcy' rarely deteriorates to graver forms of mental illness because society produces the antidote against such deterioration. When pathological processes become socially patterned, they lose their individual character. On the contrary, the sick individual finds himself at home with all other similarly sick individuals. The whole culture is geared to this kind of pathology and arranged the means to give satisfactions which fit the pathology. The result is that the average individual does not experience the separateness and isolation the fully schizophrenic person feels. He feels at ease among those who suffer from the same deformation, in fact, it is the fully sane person who feels isolated in the insane society - and he may suffer so much from the incapacity to communicate that it is he who may become psychotic.

Erich Fromm, The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness

 

Un anciano carpintero de Minnesota, identificado como un terrible comandante nazi

J. M. AHRENS

14 MAR 2017, © El País

Llevó la calavera y las runas con orgullo. Mató a hombres, mujeres y niños. Arrasó poblaciones enteras. Era la bestia de Chlaniów (Polonia). Durante décadas se ocultó en Estados Unidos, buscó un hogar y tuvo seis hijos. Ahora, tras una larga peripecia periodística y judicial, su identidad ha sido confirmada por las autoridades polacas. El anciano y tranquilo carpintero Michael Karkoc, de Minneapolis, fue comandante de la Legión de Autodefensa Ucrania, encuadrada en las letales SS de Adolf Hitler.  full article>

 

The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent.

George Orwell, 1984

 

Scott Pruitt vs. the Entire Scientific Community

by Mrill Ingram

March 10, 2017, © The Progressive

It's been a bad week for those of us still clinging to an ever-thinning veil of hope regarding the pathology of climate denial. You know, the kind of hope that includes Trump Administration officials suddenly applying their vaunted business acumen to a green economy based on renewable energy. Or maybe even just a few Republicans relocating their faith in the Enlightenment, and crossing party lines to defend the scientific process.  full article>

 

We are threatened with suffering from three directions: from our body, which is doomed to decay..., from the external world which may rage against us with overwhelming and merciless force of destruction, and finally from our relations with other men... This last source is perhaps more painful to use than any other.

Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents

 

México halla restos de 250 personas en el mayor cementerio clandestino ubicado hasta ahora

PABLO FERRI

14 MAR 2017, © El País

En apenas siete meses, las autoridades mexicanas han encontrado restos de al menos 250 personas en el mayor cementerio clandestino descubierto en México hasta la fecha. Así lo ha confirmado esta mañana el fiscal del estado, Jorge Winckler, en una entrevista con el canal principal de Televisa. "Veracruz", ha dicho, "es una gran fosa, quizá una de las más grandes del mundo". Winckler ha informado de que hasta el momento solo han explorado el "30%" de la zona, un área boscosa a las afueras del Puerto de Veracruz. El número de personas enterradas allí, ha dicho, podría ascender considerablemente.  full article>

 

Any foolish boy can stamp on a beetle, but all the professors in the world cannot make a beetle.

Arthur Schopenhauer

 

Act of Civil Disobedience of the Day:

The Salt March

(Gandhi led the Salt March protest against the government monopoly on salt production. Image: Central Press/Getty Images)

Gandhi's defiance of British colonial laws over the empire's salt monopoly, beginning in March 1930, sparked a wave of civil disobedience that contributed to expelling the British empire. Salt laws taxed the production of Indian salt so that the country had to import British salt. Gandhi and his supporters began a long, expanding march to produce salt and transport it without paying the tax. It did not stop the practice: the British suppressed the march fiercely, arresting tens of thousands, and refused to make any concessions. It was also limited by its failure to win Muslim support.

However, the campaign had long-term effects that weighed against its failure to win its immediate goals. In the first instance, it was inspiring for those taking part, since many had never been organised before. Second, it announced to the world that the Indian masses were a serious force, and that the British authorities had been forced to negotiate with their leader. Third, it stimulated further waves of civil disobedience. Finally, the Salt March had a tremendous influence on the thinking and strategy of other insurgents, such as Martin Luther King.

(source: The Guardian)

 

Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders and millions have been killed because of this obedience. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves and the grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem.

Howard Zinn

 

The Democrats' Undemocratic Strategy of Smearing the Green Party

by Nat Parry

March 8, 2017, © Essential Opinion

Four months since the upset election of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, one of the primary scapegoats of the Democrats for its stunning electoral failure remains the Green Party and its 2016 presidential nominee, Jill Stein. Pointing to final vote tallies in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan that showed Trump's margin of victory as being below the total vote count for Stein, Democrats have coalesced around the conventional wisdom that Stein voters flipped the election by failing to unite behind the Democratic nominee.  full article>

 

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.

Frank Zappa

 

'We Are Conditioned by Mass Media to Choose Up Sides'

By Janine Jackson

Mar 9, 2017, © FAIR

Janine Jackson: "Sessions Met With Russian Envoy Twice Last Year, Encounters He Later Did Not Disclose," was the Washington Post and other media's spin on what others didn't hesitate to call a lie: Attorney General Jeff Sessions' denial, under oath, of the kind of meetings he now acknowledges he had. That bit of damage control came off elite media's startlingly generous, you might say, reception to Donald Trump's speech to Congress, in which the New York Times actually credited him for "following the written text on the teleprompters more closely than any major speech of his presidency." "Trump Advocated White Nationalism With an 'Indoor Voice,' and Pundits Loved It," was how Media Matters put it.  full article>

 

A multitude of causes unknown to former times are now acting with a combined force to blunt the discriminating powers of the mind, and unfitting it for all voluntary exertion to reduce it to a state of almost savage torpor.

William Wordsworth

 

Israel se enroca en sus fronteras e intenta silenciar a las ONG pacifistas

Juan Carlos Sanz

12 MAR 2017, © El País

Dos años después de las elecciones que desembocaron en la formación del Gobierno más derechista en la historia de Israel, una batería de reformas legales amenaza con amordazar las expresiones de disidencia, en especial las de las ONG pacifistas y grupos que aspiran a ser la conciencia crítica del Estado Hebreo sobre la ocupación de territorios palestinos, próxima a cumplir medio siglo. La última muestra de esta legislación restrictiva se ha plasmado esta semana en la aprobación por la Knesset (Parlamento) de una enmienda que deniega el visado de entrada al país a los extranjeros que llamen al boicot de Israel o de los asentamientos judíos.  full article>

 

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.

Friedrich Nietzsche

 

 

Our latest release

Alix Lambert

The ebook examines six cases of murdered Russian journalists and pairs photos of the murder sites with first-person accounts of the journalist's work and life – from the people who knew and loved them. The result is an indelible image of hope amid catastrophe... of individuals' belief in the power of words and truths to make a difference... of lives brutally cut short... of the incomprehensibly rich complexity of others' lives – so separated from our own, and yet so jarringly close.

ALIX LAMBERT

$25

In our effort to publish and distribute texts that otherwise might not be presented we are offering a three book special purchase of:

 

In Other Words

 

Nothing in life is to be feared.

It is only to be understood.

—MARIE CURIE

 

Nothing is easier than to

denounce the evildoer;

nothing is more difficult

than to understand him.

—FYODOR DOSTOYEVSKY

 

I do not study in order to know more, rather to be less ignorant.

—SOR JUANA INÉS DE LA CRUZ

 

We must make haste then,

not only because we are daily

nearer to death, but also

because the conception of

things and the understanding

of them cease first.

—MARCUS AURELIUS

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable free-roaming herds for generations to come.

Words

 

Words are like days:

coloring books or pickpockets,

signposts or scratching posts,

fakirs over hot coals.

 

Certain words must be earned

just as emotions are suffered

before they can be uttered

- clean as a kept promise.

 

Words as witnesses

testifying their truths

squalid or rarefied

inevitable, irrefutable.

 

But, words must not carry

more than they can

it's not good for their backs

or their reputations.

 

For, whether they dance alone

or with an invisible partner,

every word is a cosmos

dissolving the inarticulate

 

Yahia Lababidi

Hijos de la Selva

Perceval Press is pleased to announce the release of HIJOS DE LA SELVA/SONS OF THE FOREST. The book outlines the story of German Ethnographer and explorer Max Schmidt, and includes many of the remarkable photographs that he made in the field while studying the cultures of the Mato Grosso region of Brazil and remote areas of Paraguay between 1900 and 1935.

Conquered people tend to

be witty.

Saul Bellow

© PERCEVAL PRESS