Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Favorite Caitlin Johnstone Quotes

I've been collecting Caitlin Johnstone quotes I like for a little while now (it's as easy as finding sand at the beach) and thought I'd share them. Links to the original articles are provided.

The spark has gone out from the eyes of the starry-eyed artists. The sincere impulse to apprehend the soul of the universe which drove them to create beauty has been snuffed out and replaced with stock portfolios and vapid award ceremonies. In the places where we used to look for truth and light we now find a bunch of stuffy millionaires cheerleading for the CIA and the new cold war. They are McCarthyists and conformists. https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/anti-trumpism-has-turned-liberals-into-cia-cheerleading-finger-wagging-nerds-999da68fcf17

The left (the real left, not the “I support drone bombing children but it’s okay because I call Caitlyn Jenner by the correct pronouns” faux-left that Americans are permitted to support) is under constant assault by America’s unelected power establishment due to its opposition to war and oligarchy, both of which the US power establishment is entirely dependent upon.  https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/msm-uses-russiagate-to-punch-left-8ebda8fabb75

The fact that hatred of the sitting president has Democrats so desperate they’re not only forgiving the crimes of vestigial Bush neocons but also helping them in their agenda to sabotage any movements toward detente with Russia shows just how brutally efficient the psychological manipulations of the establishment propaganda machine have become. https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2017/12/28/iraq-raping-neocons-are-suddenly-posing-as-woke-progressives-to-gain-support/

It’s not okay to be a neoconservative. In a healthy world, being a neocon would carry as much social weight as being a child molester or a serial killer.  IBID

If you publicly support an ideological direction that suggests maybe allowing plutocrats to live as totalitarian emperors and kill anyone who stands in their way isn’t the best possible direction to lead the country, you get a bunch of Democrats and Republicans coming at you babbling about ponies and unicorns. https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2018/01/14/get-a-room/

This is going to be another one of those times where I focus on attacking Democrats for something the Republicans do at least as much, and I make no apologies for that. When you come home to find the babysitter and the baby passed out drunk, you don’t get equally mad at both of them. Democrats present themselves as the party on the American left, which means they’re supposed to be the grownups in the room when it comes to things like peace and social justice, but they’ve been anything but. https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/democrats-are-feigning-outrage-at-islamophobia-they-helped-create-5a39af4a6ff6

The US always uses sanctions as a prelude to overt war, in the same way a siege was used before storming the castle of an enemy in medieval times. https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/beware-the-smiling-face-of-establishment-politics-bd31a40a8fa8

Questioned in 1996 about reports that half a million Iraqi children were killed by UN sanctions, another US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, said that “the price was worth it”. Like she was paying. (Ibid)

You can even get away with nonsensical accusations against a noncompliant leader of “starving his own people” by refusing to bow to the demands of US-led power, which makes as much sense as if US and coalition forces were launching Tomahawk missiles into that nation’s villages and then saying their leader was “exploding his own people.” (IBID)

A lot of Berners still maintain the belief that the Democratic establishment sabotaged Sanders’ campaign because they were afraid of him, but that’s simply not true. Bernie is just one man; the establishment was never afraid of Bernie. They were afraid of you. They were afraid of the populist insurgency throwing an unapproved candidate in the path of the Anointed Queen Hillary despite being instructed by the mass media propaganda machine over and over again that they were not permitted to choose him. They were afraid of the people. And they should be. https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/stop-looking-for-saviors-6009aa7528df

At its core, establishment media is revolution poison. That is its primary function. https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2018/01/25/some-thoughts-on-spirituality-and-revolution/

Even a small child can see that ecocidal capitalism and endless war are stupid, and that letting people starve and suffer just because they don’t have enough money is nonsense, but it continues anyway because believed narratives make our society function in an unwholesome way in the same way that believed mental narratives make an individual function in an unwholesome way. (IBID)

There is a common delusion among elitists and intellectuals that the ability to emotionally detach and analyze things without letting the suffering of the world bring you to your knees is some sort of virtue. They'll ridicule you for caring and mock your outrage. I say the hell with that; that apathy is precisely what is killing us, and your similarity to a sociopath is never something to brag about. https://steemit.com/journalism/@caitlinjohnstone/this-deeply-held-commitment-a-meditation-on-the-death-of-robert-parry

Look at the worldview of the average person who identifies as a liberal and you’ll find adoration of psychopathic authoritarian intelligence agencies like the CIA and the FBI, a significantly warmed opinion of George W Bush and the neocons he ushered into power, a total apathy toward the US war machine and Orwellian surveillance network, a seething hatred of all things Russia and a hysterical McCarthyite beef with anyone who fails to fall in line with approved establishment narratives. They have become the very flag-waving, authority-cheerleading, art-killing oppressive zealots that the counterculture of the 1960s burst free from like a drowning man finally getting his head above water and clawing his way onto the shore. https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2018/02/07/modern-liberals-are-1950s-authoritarians/

They will scream at conservatives over this til they’re blue in the face… but you’ll never see them screaming at the US war machine that is ultimately responsible for Islamophobia in the first place. (IBID)

People are driven to embrace progressive value systems out of that sacred spark which lives in all of us which knows that it is natural for us all to get along and help each other out, but people in power figured out how to manipulate that impulse in a way that has turned its once bright-eyed idealists into a bunch of stuffy, artless church ladies who’d be right at home in J Edgar Hoover’s America. (IBID)

The progressive drive toward real change has been warped and twisted into a drive toward good manners. The push toward solving problems by equitable distribution of money and power has been neutered by the fairy tale that you can solve problems with a “Resist” hashtag and a rainbow flag. Rob Reiner has become a weird mutant Archie Bunker, an Archie Bunker who still has all his old, obsolete, establishment-friendly ideologies in place but knows never to assume someone’s gender. (IBID)

We're already answerable to the same corporatist powers which control the US, so we trot right along into every US war, every US trade deal, and operate as a US intelligence asset just the same as we would if they'd planted the stars and stripes on our capitol buildings and called us Wisconsota. Through military alliance, intelligence alliance, corporatist agreements, and a good old-fashioned coup staged by the CIA and MI6, we transitioned smoothly from subservience under the old form of imperialism to subservience under the new. A whole continent full of McDonald's-eating sheep. https://steemit.com/syria/@caitlinjohnstone/on-the-syrian-occupation-and-the-new-face-of-imperialism

The notion of meaningfully separate, sovereign governments is at this time a fairy tale told to the masses to keep us from realizing that we're all being thrown into the gears of an exploitative threshing machine that only exists to feed the avaricious agendas of a few ruling elites. (IBID)

I write about US politics because that's where I reckon the head of the beast is. Australia is essentially an intelligence/military asset of the US-centralized international empire, so there's no point writing about Aussie politics if I'm interested in helping our species avoid extinction. And that's really the only reason I write. https://steemit.com/caitlinjohnstone/@caitlinjohnstone/a-little-about-me
I have faith that ordinary people as a collective are much better governors of the world than a few depraved elites, and I have faith that humanity can wake up enough to reclaim its power. (IBID)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Russia And The Threat To Democracy

I have seen the proofs. Many times, too many times to mention. I literally could not escape them even if I tried. I half-suspect that were I to take up residence in some remote part of Alaska a plane would fly overhead and drop leaflets upon me. And now with social media, others are too willing to share them with me, each a slam-dunk case for the fact that Russia hacked our election or interfered with our election, or sowed discontent after the election. The essential point is still not quite clear. If there is a precise accusation today, it is not the same one it was yesterday, and likely will change tomorrow.

Those smoking guns that I have managed to inspect carefully—and I have reviewed quite a few—have inevitably been filled with blanks. I don’t mean to suggest that some articles were incomplete while others leaned too heavily on the words of anonymous sources within intelligence agencies that have been known to tell a whopper or ten when they’ve felt it was fitting to do so. No, I mean any half-critical read of any one of them revealed serious flaws in the journalism that pointed to something far beyond mere incompetence.

Let me give you an example. An extreme example, certainly, but not too far from the average. Regard this article from The Hill, a publication that is generally thought of as a respected news source. Note the headline, “Trump building in Panama tied to Russian mafia, international crime: report”. Pretty provocative and damning, isn’t it? Smoking gun and all that. Now read the article. What you will notice if you actually read it, is that there is not a single reference to Russia in it. No reference to Vladimir Putin or any Russian business or businessperson. Nothing. An absolute nada burger with a headline that says it ties Trump to the Russian mafia. I’m not making this up, read it. (1)

I say this example is not too far from the norm because with the exception of an added paragraph at the beginning, it is identical to most every other article I’ve read on the subject. Usually an initial paragraph promises to provide some kind of evidence before veering off into a story that actually provides no evidence for the assertion made in the headline. This article is different only in that they apparently forgot to include the initial paragraph.

The most typical story I read—in other words the kind most often sent to me as proof of collusion or whatever it is they are trying to prove on a given day—comes from a (allegedly) respected newspaper. Regardless of the paper, the words “as reported by the Washington Post” soon appear. So I source the original article, which without fail says “according to unnamed sources within intelligence agencies”. It doesn’t take long to spot the pattern.

But that is not journalism, that is dictation, dictation from secretive organizations that lie for a living. These are the same organizations that tried to get Martin Luther King Jr. to commit suicide, and I haven’t ruled out the possibility that they ultimately did him in. (2) Secret government organizations don’t exist to help the common man. They never have in any country in any time. Go ahead, give me an example of a secretive unaccountable government organization that improved the rights, freedoms and powers of its citizenry. The KGB? The Gestapo? So journalism, at least the “respected”, not “fake” news sources, don’t bother to question the information they get from such agencies, they simply pass it on as “news”. If that is not propaganda, please give me an example of what is.

Why? Why this sudden intense flood of really faulty journalism? Are journalism schools handing out degrees nowadays without asking students to pass any exams? Has it always been this bad and I just haven’t noticed until now? Have I for too long clung to alternative media for my information that I have neglected to realize just how far down mainstream media has fallen? Or is it something more sinister. I cannot help thinking it is something more sinister.

Which is the central reason why, when the Russian Hacking Narrative stories arise, nothing Russia did or did not do is as big a concern to me as the complete falling apart of our sources of information. If Russia actually did something to change our election, there are pretty simple and obvious steps that can be taken to insure the integrity of our elections going forward. But nobody is doing anything about it. Instead the conversation is about how evil Russia and Vladimir Putin are and how we need to punish them, which makes me realize it isn’t the sanctity of our elections that is important but the need to demonize Russia. Which means they’re telling us one thing and doing another. Which means they’re lying. Whatever Russia might be guilty of, the media really doesn’t care about it. The media’s main concern is to direct all of your anger and attention at Russia. Forget about voting machines that could easily be rigged. Forget about purging of the voter rolls.

This is so, as far as I can guess, for one of two reasons. The first is that the powers that be have no desire to fix the real problems that face our society and so deflect your attention with the diversion of Russia the way they distract you with celebrities, sports, and wedge issues. This is bad. The second is that those in control of our highly concentrated media want you to hate Russia as a way to justify aggressive behavior towards them by our government. This is much worse. And it is the much more likely explanation.

I recently witnessed a discussion in congress between Marco Rubio and Daniel Coats, the Director of National Intelligence. You can watch it here. It was quite shocking to me that with Russia currently on their plate, they are already discussing how China is the biggest threat on the horizon. They are discussing how China is looking to overtake the U.S as the primary power on the planet.

The problem with this line of thinking is that we see the successes of any other nation as a threat to our own. Rather than taking the approach of co-existence, we feel the need to do something towards other nations before they become powerful enough to escape being subservient to us. In short, we feel the need to place every other nation at our mercy, need to maintain the position of power over all the planet. This is not who we claim to be, we promote ourselves as a beacon of freedom and democracy. But again, what we are being told does not match our behavior.

This is a very dangerous attitude to have. This is an attitude that inevitably leads to conflict, and the only tool the United States has for dealing with conflict is war. War is an incredibly wasteful, foolish, ultimately counter-productive way of dealing with other nations. It's evil, too. It has cost our nation thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq, and that war is not over and does not look to end anytime soon. We may think we have managed the Iraq War, but we still have no idea what the ultimate ramifications of our deeds there are. History stretches beyond news cycles, and nations have long memories and are capable of harboring grievances in perpetuity.

We use aggression against any nation whose interest do not align with ours. And while that is a dangerous approach when dealing with countries such as Iraq and Libya, it is exponentially more so when using such methods when dealing with Russia and China. If for some reason it works against Russia, and I don’t care to contemplate the quite literal fallout should it not, China is next in line. From the video clip I included, it cannot be denied.

The sad thing is, we will never really know what Russia did or did not do. Our sources of information are too unreliable to provide us any certainty. They daily prove their interests are anything but providing us with truth and context. To trust them, to put our safety in their hands or to act on their assertions, is absurd.

We need to find alternate paths to the truth, organizations and individuals that have earned our trust. But the result of the propaganda of the whole Russian narrative is completely the opposite of that. For years the mainstream media has pushed journalists who have proven themselves trustworthy to the margins. Now, lacking anywhere else where they can report their findings, they appear on RT and the mainstream propaganda claims they are Russian puppets. Using the excuse of Russian bots, the internet is slowly being constricted so that our access to alternate media is being strangled. YouTube Channels are being de-monetized, Google searches are showing less, and flat-out banning links to certain sites is now the norm on Facebook.

I am not up on the latest bombshell, so I cannot comment on it. In fact, there are a ton of articles I’ve missed. I simply cannot respond to every assertion that has been made, the propaganda blitz is a tidal wave that overwhelms. But I’ve caught enough of them, read them critically, followed the links and connected the dots, enough to know there is a bigger story going on here than anything Russia is a part of.

Nothing Russia has done or can do, and I am extremely dubious of the official narrative precisely because of the way it has been pushed, can harm our democracy as much as this current wave of propaganda and urge for censorship. We have a system that’s broken and the entire Russian narrative is doing nothing to fix it, it is in fact making it worse. Much worse. And there is no greater threat to democracy than censorship and our sources for information being in the hands of the unaccountable few.

(1) The scary part of this nothing burger is the fact it was shared over 13,000 times, presumably by those using it as evidence of Trump/Russia collusion. Did they not read it? Did they apply no critical thinking skills at all? Are we so flushed with articles about Russian interference in our election that we mistake sheer quantity as proof?
(2) That doesn’t make me a conspiracy theorist. A jury in 1999 found that MLK’s death was the result of a conspiracy. Coretta, Martin Luther’s wife, had this to say “There is abundant evidence of a major high level conspiracy in the assassination of my husband.”

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Guns, Spoons, and Exploding Brussels Sprouts

Please don't take the following as an attack on guns but instead on faulty logic and poorly conceived memes:

No, spoons don’t make people fat, pencils don’t cause people to misspell, and cars aren’t outlawed just because people drive drunk. But unlike a gun, a pencil has an eraser. If you misspell a word, you can change it. You can’t unshoot someone. Likewise, if you gain weight by eating too much, you can put down the spoon and lose weight by dieting. You can’t make things right by putting the gun down after using it and not using it for a while. Dead is a pretty chronic condition. Plus, I’ve never seen someone use a spoon to make someone else fat. As for cars, every possible improvement has been made to make driving safer. If they did the same with guns, the bullets would be made from NERF. And if you’re caught driving while drinking you lose your driving privileges. Shouldn’t anyone caught in possession of a gun while intoxicated lose their gun possession privileges by such logic? Lastly, cars, spoons, and pencils are pretty damn useful items. You can’t eat soup with a gun. You can’t write your grocery list with an AR-15 automatic rifle (I know it’s not an automatic rifle, but I said it because I know it gets people’s panties in a twist. It did, didn’t it?). In short, guns don’t have much use for the average person, cars do. If we woke up tomorrow in a world without cars, our system would come crashing down. I have to think if guns disappeared, we’d all be better off.

Again, I didn’t write this to pick on guns or gun owners, I just like to follow a metaphor to its logical conclusions. If you can’t handle a meme responsibly, I have little confidence in your ability to handle a bullet-dispensing death machine. Not everybody finds those nasty things as endearing as you do. Not everyone collects them the way granny does her Precious Moments figurines. But to each his own. Spend a little bit of time respecting the feelings and concerns of others, and perhaps others will be able to tolerate the filthy and dangerous compulsion you have and the price society pays for it. Oh, and respect my right to smoke whatever substance gives me pleasure, so long as I don’t blow it in your face or threaten your children with it. My right to the pursuit of happiness precedes the 2nd amendment. 

I know guns don’t seem threatening to other gun lovers, but they can be quite off-putting to those of us who dislike them. If you can’t appreciate how you appear threatening to others when carrying or talking fetishistically about guns, imagine how someone of a different ethnicity and religion speaking in a different language while holding a gun would make you feel. Because believe it or not, not everyone sees you as the protector of their way of life. Not everybody sees you as a good guy, no matter how pure of heart you might be. Because a lot of us judge you by your very need to carry a gun in the first place, fair or not. If you were carrying a cobra, it wouldn’t be any different. You might be a veterinarian who just saved the animal’s life, I still wouldn’t want to stand next to you and would feel better once you left. It’s just a natural reaction to danger, and guns are dangerous. Guns are dangerous, which is main reason a lot of people don’t own them. They don’t like to be near them, and in all honesty they don’t understand other people who have a passion for them. If you can’t understand that, just imagine Brussels Sprouts that explode.

Now I’m not certain what will help stop gun violence, but I propose a new law. Before you can purchase a gun, you must be able to prove you have a sense of humor. Because if you can’t appreciate the spirit in which this was written, you probably shouldn’t have a gun in the first place, right? Right?

Seriously, some of my best friends are gun owners. And how about that Charlton Heston, isn’t he a credit to his race?

Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Iraq War And Russian Election Interference

A few weeks ago a question came to me: did the same people who are now pushing the Russia hacking narrative also push the Weapons of Mass Destruction narrative, and do those who contradicted the WMD story now call shenanigans on the Russian hacking story? It didn’t come to me as a question, really, as I felt convinced I knew the answer.

Nevertheless, I began to track as best I could the major voices from each story to see how they responded to the other. While many who are reporting on the Russian Hacking story were out of the loop in the leadup to the Iraq War, and others from the time of the Iraq War are now either dead, disgraced or have moved on to other things, there are enough journalists, politicians, and think tank operatives involved in both. My research as of date is limited, but I find it to be revealing. And, of course, it almost unequivocally corresponded to my initial suspicions: that everyone who had it absolutely wrong about Iraq’s possession of WMDs are now arguing that Russia has hacked our presidential election, while those who opposed the WMDs narrative are similarly opposed to the story being shouted out throughout mainstream media. Keep in mind, this is preliminary work, with many more names to be added to the list. Make of it what you will.

This shouldn't be a matter of whether you like the individuals involved, it is simply a case of recording their positions regarding the Iraq War and the current Russia Hacking Narrative as the events were/are relevant. Curiously, although there is no question regarding Russia, I have been unable to find a document or video clip of Rachel Maddow’s position on the Iraq War prior to its onset. I know that is a huge omission, but I'm hoping others can provide evidence.

You would expect it to fall along partisan lines, but there seems to be little if any correlation.

Hillary Clinton is the obvious person to start with. I shouldn’t have to prove to you her support of the RH story, but here is a little reminder of her selling the WMD falsity.

The Washington Post is the next logical step. They have been the source of nearly all the Russian Hacking stories. And of course, their source has not been the work of journalists but the words of unnamed sources within the intelligence agencies, those very agencies that were used to sell the WMD story. Here is mention of The Washington Post story apologizing for its shoddy journalism. Oops. Oh, well. No harm, no foul.

Similar with the New York Times. Here they are quoted admitting they made a mistake and also saying they’ve learned from it and won’t do it again. Here Robert Parry says—in 2007, mind you—that they haven’t learned a lesson at all. Here they are going all in on the RHN, not merely echoing what has been said but driving it further.

Let’s switch for a moment to Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst. He told us before the Iraq War began that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction but was ignored. Today he is saying the DNC was not hacked but leaked.

Warren Strobel on RT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-SpncweAqY&t=78s Warren Strobel on WMDs (Courtesy of FAIR): “Lack of Hard Evidence of Iraqi Weapons Worries Top U.S. Officials,” the newspaper chain’s Jonathan Landay reported, “Senior U.S. officials with access to top-secret intelligence on Iraq say they have detected no alarming increase in the threat that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein poses to American security and Middle East stability.” Throughout the run-up to the war, Landay and his Knight Ridder colleague Warren Strobel filed story after story raising questions about Bush administration claims, with headlines like “Some in Bush Administration Have Misgivings About Iraq Policy” (10/8/02) and “Infighting Among U.S. Intelligence Agencies Fuels Dispute Over Iraq” (10/27/02).

Ari Fleischer, President Goerge W. Bush’s spokesman: WMDs. As for the RHN, “I accept as fact that Russia interfered in our election.”

Robert Kagan was one of the principal members of The Project For A New American Century, a driving force behind the Iraq war and the WMD narrative. Here’s a quote from Mr. Kagan: ““Obviously the administration intends to publicize all the weapons of mass destruction U.S. forces find — and there will be plenty.” As far as Russian hacking, Robert Parry describes Mr. Kagan’s opinion thus: “In a Washington Post op-ed on March 7, Robert Kagan, a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century and a key architect of the Iraq War, jabbed at Republicans for serving as “Russia’s accomplices after the fact” by not investigating more aggressively.”

Now seeing as how I’ve mentioned Robert Parry twice, let me explain who he was. In 2003, he was busy reporting about the false narrative Bush et al used as pretense for the invasion of Iraq. We will put him down as one who refused to accept the pushed narrative of WMDs, as evidenced in this article.

“Well,” you might ask, “what does this man who so obviously got the story right despite the overwhelming push to the contrary have to say about a similar hard sell, say the Russian hacking narrative? Here’s what a Yahoo search comes up with when the words Robert Parry Russian Hacking are typed in. I think the titles tell the story fairly well:

But back to the PNAC (Project For A New American Century). As we all recall, this was a think tank whose mission was to project American power throughout the world in the 21st Century, their hallmark achievement being the Iraq War, which they back in no small part by pushing the WMD story. Let’s do a little “Where are they now?” segment, shall we?

William Kristol is the other prime mover in PNAC, along with Robert Kagan. Here is what he said regarding WMDs: (?3:52 in http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/314364-bill-kristol-trump-treats-putin-with-more-respect-than-a-civil) This gives some perspective on his opinion of the Trump/Putin connection: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/314364-bill-kristol-trump-treats-putin-with-more-respect-than-a-civil

Phil Donahue was anti-Iraq war and was yanked from his show on MSNBC in 2003 because of it. Watch what he says here. Since then you have not heard him on American mainstream media. Here is the pro-Russia bashing he is subject to when his unheard voice comes out against the anti Russian narrative in 2013. Watch one of the greatest proponents for women’s rights and the plight of the poor be called a “rich white American”. Imagine how much richer he would be if he said the things the establishment wanted him to say. He would be earning money with a TV show, that’s for sure. MSNBC, what do they have to say about Russian hacking?

Bruce P. Jackson, the other project director of PNAC, was also a member of Project of Transitional Democracies, which concentrated on influencing politics in the area that was the former Soviet Union (i.e. areas formally under the Russia’s sphere of influence). Here is an interesting article on how he not only supported the Iraq War, he grew rich through this and similar work. And while he was smart enough not to get his fingers on the Russian Election Hacking narrative, here is his opinion on Putin. The desire to demonize Putin and Putin’s Russia was not an overnight thing.

Dianne Feinstein: Feinstein supported the Iraq war resolution in the vote of October 11, 2002; she has claimed that she was misled by President Bush on the reasons for going to war. However, former UN Weapons Inspector in Iraq Scott Ritter has stated that Feinstein in summer 2002 acknowledged to him that she knew the Bush administration had not provided any convincing intelligence to back up its claims about the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

Let’s turn to a minute to The Alliance For Securing Democracy, a group that was assembled to protect us from Russian influence on Twitter on elsewhere. What were their opinions regarding the Iraq War? I’m sticking with those members old enough to have been influential back in 2003.

                Jamie Fly said the Iraq War was worth it and done for the right reasons
                Michael McFaul wrote of the impending Iraq War without opposing it or denying the existence of WMDs, saying Iraq alone was too narrow a focus: “The Iraqi dictatorship (and not simply President Hussein) is certainly part of the problem, but Iraq cannot be the only front of the war on terrorism.”
                Bill Kristol is mentioned elsewhere.
                David J. Kramer is a late-comer to the game, so I could find no opinion of his regarding the lead-up to the war against Iraq, but here is an article co-written by him pushing an obviously anti-Russian bent before it was thought to blame Russian interference for Trump’s election. Note that while the intense hatred for Russia is already present, no suggestion of Russian interference is mentioned. The hatred came decades before the assertions of interference. Oh wait, he was a member of the Project For A New American Century, that pushed the Iraq war so strongly.
                James Stavridis did not propagandize for the Iraq WMDs narrative, he merely helped prosecute the war as an Admiral.
                Mike Rogers, as a congressman, fully supported the war

Joe Scarborough: Here he reminds of us his total support for the war: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iy1Oj6lCIIc

Robert Mueller has this to say regarding WMDS

Adam Schiff is the Democrat’s pit bull for the Russian Hacking narrative, pushing not just the story but also the story that nobody but Trump disbelieves it: “Mr. President, the Russians hacked our election and interfered. No one disputes this now, but you. This is what is called ‘fact’.” As witnessed in this article, Adam Schiff’s statement is not true, and his total certainty on the issue is similar to his total certainty on the issue of WMDs. Care to guess what side he was on? He later stated that he regretted the vote, saying, “Unfortunately, our intelligence was dead wrong on that, on Saddam at that time.” I’m glad to see the incident didn’t shake his faith in our intelligence. So certain was he of the Russian influence, he even accused Tucker Carlson of “carrying water for the Kremlin”.

Dick Durbin: https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-itm-001&hsimp=yhs-001&hspart=itm&p=richard+wolff+russia+election#id=1&vid=6958756dd0ba6712a105614a107e208c&action=click. Now to his credit, he did oppose the Iraq War. As a member of the Intelligence Committee, he claims he received information that was different from what the American Public was getting and that the Bush Administration was actively misleading people. But as he explains, he couldn’t tell anyone about it because he was sworn to secrecy. WTF?

 Jeremy Corbyn Iraq War and Russia Hacking  Here, the Guardian runs a headline that “Jeremy Corbyn is gutless and feeble on defence, says Michael Fallon Defence” with a sub-headline “secretary attacks Corbyn, saying Russian president Vladimir Putin would welcome Labour victory”

This was the CIA’s position on WMDs in Iraq. Go ahead try and spin this. And of course, their position on Russian interference

Nancy Pelosi said: “Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.”

John Pilger on Iraq on Russia (at 19:30, he says, “We all know it’s nonsense”).

William Cohen had this to say about WMDs: “Saddam has delayed; he has duped; he has deceived the inspectors from the very first day on the job. I have another chart which shows exactly what I’m talking about. From the very beginning, he declared he had no offensive biological weapons programs. Then, when confronted with evidence following the defection of his son-in-law, he admitted they had produced more than 2100 gallons of anthrax. … But the UN inspectors believe that Saddam Hussein still has his weapons of mass destruction capability—enough ingredients to make 200 tons of VX nerve gas; 31,000 artillery shells and rockets filled with nerve and mustard gas; 17 tons of media to grow biological agents; large quantities of anthrax and other biological agents.” Here he shows his confidence that Russia influenced our election

And where are all these politicians, journalists, and TV personalities who spoke out against the Iraq War that was based on the WMD narrative? I remember Scott Ritter being accused of some unspecified allegations of sexual impropriety. But here he is on RT. As I noted before, Phil Donahue had his show taken off the air when he opposed the WMD narrative, but you can see him here, on RT. Chris Hedges lost his job at the New York Times, but he now has a weekly show on RT. Jessie Ventura was paid to not do his show for MSNBC after coming out against the Iraq War, but he now has a show on RT. Katrina vanden Heuvel frequently appears on RT. Here’s Ray McGovern on RT. John Pilger? Check him out on RT.

What penalty did those who got it wrong pay? None. What penalty did those who got it right pay? They were exiled. They lost their jobs in mainstream media and in congress. They were pushed further from the “center” into the edges, places like RT, one of the few news outlets that still permits the voices of the dissenting to find an audience.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Why Did Facebook Ban Theology Of Resistance?

I chanced upon this post on my Facebook feed today:

I’ve been following this blog for a while now as the author writes well-reasoned articles influenced by her Christian faith. I clicked on the image, as I do on any image when I want to link to the relevant content, only to find it did not take me to where I wanted to go. Still in the Facebook/computer haze I tend to get in when scrolling through the useless in search of meaning and context, I was forced to pause and consider what was happening. I read the post and realized the author was unable to share a link to her website on Facebook.

I had heard a lot of similar claims lately, and have been more than reluctant to assume something sinister was going on. When you search beyond the mainstream narrative you come across a lot of people and sites that initially seem thoughtful and reasonable but soon veer into conspiracy theory and unsubstantiated assertions. Someone who shared or even wrote a thoughtful and well-researched article once might quite suddenly end up sharing something about alien lizards taking over the planet the next. Just like mainstream narratives, you have to be skeptical about what you read and question what the agenda is of the person sharing or creating it. There are a lot of kooks out there.

But Tricia Gates Brown, the person behind Theology Of Resistance, is legit. She has been vetted, at least by me, and I never fully invest myself entirely in anyone’s narrative and always look for a bias in any news or information source. Let’s face it, we are all individuals. Nobody is ever going to agree with me a hundred percent, but there are so very many I can learn from. And Tricia Gates Brown is one of those people. She is more scripturally oriented than I am, but I appreciate that. She does more work than I am willing to do on that front, and for that I consider her not only an honest and insightful source of information, I consider her a very solid, salt of the earth person.

Which is why it took so long for the truth to sink in. In reading what she had shared, I eventually came to understand that she was no longer able to share links to her blog through Facebook. Wanting to do a solid for someone I knew to be working hard and doing the right thing, I figured I’d do the work (not easy, especially compared to what we of the digital age not only expect but demand) of typing in the url (How many times have you actually done that in the last year where money wasn’t involved?)

So I posted it on Facebook only to get the message: “Removed your post because it looked like spam.” And that’s when it hit me. Facebook is actively engaged in censoring. Facebook is choosing which information I am allowed to see and what I cannot. Facebook, at the prodding—nay, insistence of our government—has become the arbiter of what I can and cannot share with my friends and community.

This might not seem like a big deal to the average person, but anyone who has been lured in by the “social media marketing” sales pitch that’s been synonymous with 21st Century marketing will realize how devastating it can be to someone who is trying to make a living by following not only their passion but their moral precepts. Making a living, an honest living, has never been easy for writers. But today’s environment is particularly challenging for those who don’t care to sell their soul in order to advance agendas and ideas they do not agree with. In a society mired in corporate ideology and the need for maximizing profit, there is little room for voices that disagree with the mainstream. There is no public square anymore, where a person can step up on a soapbox and talk to their fellow citizens.

Fortunately, the internet brought us new and exciting opportunities to be able to share what we create with others, and for the luckiest and most diligent of us, it has provided us a way to make a living. Through social media, writers, artists, comedians, and other creative types have been able to build audiences and profit from their work. And there is a market for those who do not adhere to the official narrative, there are people hungry for more than just the next Adam Sandler film, Ed Sheeran song, or angry talking-head political opinions. People really want thoughtful and challenging ideas, many want to question the official line, feel deep in their souls that all that we are shown by corporate media is not all there is.

But the censorship has begun. You can argue how this is not censorship since Facebook is not a government institution but a corporation that can do whatever it likes. But this is always what censorship has looked like. And it is undeniable the government forced Facebook’s hand, demanding they do something about “fake news”. Unaccountable, anonymous forces within the government, acting through Democrats driven mad by the Russian Election Interference Narrative, told Facebook it needed to find evidence of Russian influence and then told them they had to do something about it.

And they did. In the most predictable and cheapest way possible, they created algorithms to determine what you are able to see on your feed and what is taboo. Mark Zuckerberg and a handful of tremendously rich techies are determining the information you receive. They are fashioning for you your view of the world. Unless you receive your news elsewhere, in which case other billionaires are shaping your world view. Jeff Bezos, who owns the Washington Post, is worth $105.1 billions as of January 8 2018 (that .1 seems not worth including until you realize it’s $100 million dollars, hardly chump change). Rupert Murdoch is worth $12 billion. The Koch Brothers and the heirs of the Walmart fortune contribute to NPR in order to shape their reporting.

In short, if you want information and perspective from anyone who is not working in the interests of the obscenely rich, your best chance of finding it is on social media. And this option is now being taken away from the independent voices who dare speak contrary to the official narrative or those who, like Tricia Gates Brown, are simply swept up in the net of censorship algorithms created (allegedly) to stop Russia from interfering in our elections. Is this America? Is this what it means to be free, to have the power to direct ourselves and our politics?

So I ask this of you Facebook: why is Theology Of Resistance banned from Facebook? What, other than political pressure is driving your clampdown on the sharing of information on your platform? In your attempt to eliminate false news from our feeds, are you spending the amount of money required to do a thorough and fair job, or are you only doing enough to get the government (unaccountable deep state) off your back while still maximizing profits for someone who is already a multi-billionaire?

Tricia Gates Brown is not the first nor will she be the last voice to be silenced through internet censorship. We need alternative voices to enter our consciousness, need to be kept aware that the paradigm that is constantly being shaped for us by powerful interests is not the indisputable truth. We need independent voices, need variety and competition in the arena of information and perspective.

The mainstream media has no interest in preserving freedom for the independent writers and thinkers—they have no desire for competition nor do they wish to be contradicted. It is up to us as ordinary people, individuals, to ensure that freedom of speech endures in a meaningful way. I ask you to share this message and to continue to ask the question: Why is Theology Of Resistance banned from Facebook?

You can find Theology Of Resistance here. Please share this message.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Random Political Thoughts Part 12

Unlike our president who posts his thoughts for all to see without really thinking about it, I often find myself about to hit enter when I think better of dropping a bit of nonsense on those who are still willing to call me friend (Facebook friend, at least). What happens to all those ill-advised and abandoned thoughts that would only have caused harsh responses and unfriendings? Why, they end up in a collection of random thoughts, such as you see here:

If making guns illegal won’t stop people from getting guns, why do gun owners worry so much about gun laws?

Prison labor means you as a tax payer are paying to house and feed the people who are taking your jobs.

Capitalists claim they love capitalism but what they truly love is capital. Capitalism is just one means of acquiring it.

We cannot fix the world by working within existing systems because existing systems are trying to kill us and subjugate us. We need to act despite existing systems. The existing systems will attempt to coopt everything we do, but we must continue to have the existing systems reacting to us rather than us reacting to the existing systems. Do not give them your violence, do not give them your money, do not give them your labor, and for God’s sake, don’t give them your mind and attention. I know this is not always possible, but in all ways try to think and act outside the box in which they wish to imprison you. The fight has been too long a defensive one, we need to be busy about shaping the world we desire instead of imploring our oppressors to be less mean.

In a healthy political climate, intelligent and principled conservatives and liberals can respectfully disagree. But in an unhealthy climate intelligent, principled conservatives and liberals actually DO agree. They agree on the incompetence and corruption that exists on both sides.

When your political heroes become Eminem and Larry Flynt, you may have lost the moral high ground.

Name a country the United States considers a threat that doesn’t have U.S. bases already on their border. Name a country the United States considers a threat that has bases on our border.

My odds of people with guns fighting for my rights after the government falls or turns against us is about equal to the amount of times armed citizens have saved me from a mass shooting. The reality is people with guns will shoot those without guns, about the same as it is now. The fact that you own a gun does not make you special, it makes you scary. It does not make you a freedom fighter, it makes you an oppressor.

There are higher laws than the laws of the market.

It is not the government’s job to provide tax incentives to businesses. It is not the government’s job to train workers for corporations. It is not the government’s duty to ameliorate the suffering of workers whose jobs have been sent overseas or automated. It is not the government’s job to subsidize workers who don’t earn enough in wages to pay for the necessities. And it is not the government’s role to go to war in order to advance the foreign interests of corporations.

God, government, and the free market are the excuses we use for not deciding our future for ourselves.

The three branches of government as they exist today are: the corporate, the military, and the intelligence agencies.

Globalization means corporations getting rich by shipping jobs overseas, resulting in displaced works that are to be retrained with assistance from a government that receives no tax money from corporations.

It is said that those who have never experienced war can truly understand what a soldier has experienced. This may be true, but we can at least get some approximation of it. But those who send soldiers into the hell of war have no interest in sharing with the folks at home just what it is they’ve been asked to do in our name. And yet those who keep us ignorant tell us that because of we do not know we should not criticize. It is not the troops they wish to protect, but the reasons why they are sent.

The world will not be changed by you waging war on those with whom you disagree, but by you making positive connections with others in any way in which you can agree. The world is a gigantic puzzle for us to figure out, and it is a child who pounds at the pieces in an attempt to make them fit. If we do not fit with others without force, we were not meant to. Move on. It is the big picture we must focus on, and in order to do that we must not get lost in the small battles we might want to win. It is not about the individual pieces but about the totality. Nobody cares for the individual pieces when there is no hope of completing the puzzle. In fact, even throwing away a single piece will leave us all feeling incomplete.
The process towards making all the pieces fit will always be the same. It will require patience, but force will only result in ruining the entire picture, the one we have already been shown on the cover of the box. We know it will work out, know there is a grand design to it all. Let us rid ourselves of our impatience, and finally begin the task of putting the puzzle together.
Let us not blame the pieces that do not fit, let us accept that for the moment we do not know WHERE they fit. It is a problem to be solved, not a battle to be fought.

If you lose to Trump, you are doing something wrong.

There are people who cannot exist without enemies. Avoid them. There are governments that cannot exist without enemies, do whatever you can to change them.

The goal of capitalism is to drive out all thoughts of things like cooperation, caring, kindness, charity, and equality. It is necessary because the whole point of capitalism is to selfishly acquire everything you can for yourself, and those who are best at this are the most successful. And those who are most successful are best equipped to further their message. Any other message is considered sacrilege.

What To Say On A Job Interview or Hiring The Least Bad Candidate

Give this one a try: the next time you go in for a job interview, proudly and loudly proclaim that you have never called Mexicans murderers and rapists. Explain to them that you have never bragged about grabbing women by the pussy, inform them you have never called a third-world nation a shithole, and then demand they hire you.

They will ask you questions, assuredly, so it is best to prepare yourself. If asked if you have the best interests of those who you will be working for at heart, tell them the other candidate is a buffoon and a Nazi. If they ask you if you are able to avoid going to war with other companies and killing millions of people, make some comment about the orangeness of the other job candidate. If they ask you if you ever sent all the work of a company you worked for to other companies, tell them that while there were some losers, on the whole everyone was better off for it. And if they ask you if you will help to prevent someone from turning up the thermostat in the office so high the heat kills everyone…well, don’t worry, they won’t ask that question.

The important thing is that you dress nice and use all the right words. The worst resume can be doctored by the right team to—if not make your work history seem impressive—at least obfuscate the many crimes you committed while in previous positions.

And when they don’t hire you, do not for any reason ask yourself why they did not, but instead shriek at the top of your lungs about how irrational they were for not hiring you. Tell them they were sexist for not doing so. And then, if you are lucky enough to have connections in the company that was advertising for the open position, have people well-positioned in the corporation start saying that the chosen candidate was picked because of a rival business.

This is the case now put forth by the Democratic party. The entire thrust of their argument is that they are not the golden-coiffed monkey. They have long been making similar arguments, beginning with loudly crying that they were not the party with a legacy president who felt himself entitled to the office based on having the same last name as a former president. The argument did have appeal, it must be admitted. The candidate they were running against in 2,000 was so bad it was hard to justify throwing one’s vote away when the realistic choice was between a bad leader and a really bad leader. Who would, if given the choice between a bad apple and a really bad apple, not choose the merely bad apple? Unless, of course, one was uppity enough to believe that a fresh and nourishing apple was actually an option. If you’re kept in a constant state of starvation, you take what is available and won’t contemplate a future of nothing but increasingly more rotten apples.

So instead of soul-searching or tweaking the resume, the Democrats opted for upping the volume. The shrieking did not begin immediately. The illusion of choice was given at first, but the end result was predetermined. It was only as the situation became tense, when the crazy old socialist became a concern, that the hysteria gradually increased, until the talking heads in the media shifted from presumed objectivity to the role of shepherds for which they are given their seven figures. At this point, those who are paid to report between commercials for insurance companies, pharmaceuticals and weapons manufacturers, now become our wise councilors, instructing us on the difference between good intentions and madness. Third parties, and by extension the freedom to vote for who you will, become lunacy and treason. The choices have been drawn—bad or worse—and stepping outside the box they would contain you in calls for a Joe McCarthy type response. Those unwilling to eat of the fruit inside the bushel of bad and worse are marginalized, subject to the same low-level threats and implications of treason they were once subjected to when daring to question the Weapons Of Mass Destruction narrative.

Is this our destiny, for the rest of our lives be made to choose between applicants with dismal resumes and an utter lack of respect for their employers? Are there no good and trustworthy candidates for the job? Must we resign ourselves not only to horrible candidates but increasingly horrible candidates? Perhaps it’s time we fold up our business and go into selling shoes.

The problem, perhaps, is we’ve relied on the same hiring agency for too long. They’ve been sending us nothing but gum-snapping, smartphone-pawing candidates who think they’re doing us a favor in consenting to work for us. In their minds they rightfully should be earning billions in the private market but, hey, you gotta start somewhere. The agency insists they have the cream of the crop and that you’ll be wasting your time trying to hire a qualified candidate off the street. They tell us it’s just the way things are and you can’t expect anything more. And all the while they grow richer and more complacent. They send you job candidates that don’t help you at all but somehow seem to make others rich off your dollar. Rather than them working for you, you can’t help get the feeling you’re working for them and paying for the privilege.

How much longer do we listen to their pitch?