Tuesday, October 30, 2018

ON CONTACT WITH CHRIS HEDGES

Another great, too brief interview by Chris Hedges.

(Glen Ford talks with Chris Hedges)

"Glen Ford, executive editor, Black Agenda Report, talks to Chris Hedges about the history of affirmative action, reparations, and the con of diversity in America."
GLENN GREENWALD

(The Intercept.com)

"LAST NIGHT WAS emotional and moving in so many ways and it occurred, of all places, at an outdoor Roger Waters stadium concert in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: four days before this large, beautiful and struggling country, out of desperation, fear and anger, is likely to elect a genuinely menacing monster, and empower his movement in ways that were unthinkable until very recently."
DA MOCHERY

(Greg Palst at Truthout.org)

"Last year, Brian Kemp, Georgia’s secretary of state canceled the registrations of over half a million Georgians because they left the state or moved to another county. Except they didn’t. The nation’s top experts in address location reviewed Kemp’s list of purged voters — and returned the names and addresses of 340,134 who never moved at all.

John Lenser, CEO of CohereOne of San Rafael, California, led the team analyzing the purge list. He concluded, “340,000 of those voters remained at their original address. They should have never been removed from the voter registration rolls.”

This is the story of the mass exodus from Georgia that never happened, and the mass purge of voters by Kemp, GOP candidate for governor, through methods guaranteed to disproportionately take away the vote from the young, the poor and voters of color."

Thursday, October 25, 2018

THE LAND OF MAKE BELIEVE

The powers that be are worried their propaganda is not adequately misinforming the masses, so they're stepping up media censorship.

(Max Blumenthal & Jeb Sprague at Consortiumnews.com)

"At a Berlin security conference, hardline neocon Jamie Fly appeared to claim some credit for the recent coordinated purge of alternative media, report Max Blumenthal and Jeb Sprague."

CASHING IN ON CORPSES 101

(Tom Dispatch.com)

"In a conflict with no end in sight that is now not only the longest in American history but more than four times as long as World War II, the “finest fighting force that the world has ever known” hasn’t been able to discover a hint of victory anywhere. And that’s something that could be said as well of the rest of its war on terror across the Greater Middle East and ever-expanding regions of Africa. Today, TomDispatch regular retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel William Astore suggests that no great military stays at war for 17 years unless it is, in some sense, victorious. As a result, in his latest post, he explores just where, in our increasingly upside-down American world, evidence of such triumph might be found."

Why American Leaders Persist in Waging Losing Wars
Hint: They’re Winning in Other Ways
By William J. Astore
(see above link)

"As America enters the 18th year of its war in Afghanistan and its 16th in Iraq, the war on terror continues in Yemen, Syria, and parts of Africa, including Libya, Niger, and Somalia. Meanwhile, the Trump administration threatens yet more war, this time with Iran. (And given these last years, just how do you imagine that’s likely to turn out?) Honestly, isn’t it time Americans gave a little more thought to why their leaders persist in waging losing wars across significant parts of the planet?  So consider the rest of this piece my attempt to do just that."

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

BURN 'EM IF YOU GOT 'EM

(Democracy Now.org)

"During Tuesday’s debate, Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams defended her actions in 1992 when she helped burn the Georgia state flag, which at the time contained a prominent Confederate battle flag. In a victory for civil rights advocates, the flag was later changed. We speak to Leah Wright Rigueur, professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University."

GREG PALAST EXPOSES VOTER FRAUD

(Democracy Now.org)

"A new investigation has found Georgia secretary of state and Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp has overseen the removal of more than 340,000 current Georgia residents from voting rolls. We speak with Greg Palast, a journalist who has been investigating Brian Kemp and voter suppression in Georgia. He has joined a lawsuit against Kemp over the purge."


(Caitlin Johnstone.com)

"As I predicted long ago, “Mueller isn’t going to find anything in 2017 that these vast, sprawling networks wouldn’t have found in 2016. He’s not going to find anything by ‘following the money’ that couldn’t be found infinitely more efficaciously via Orwellian espionage. The factions within the intelligence community that were working to sabotage the incoming administration last year would have leaked proof of collusion if they’d had it. They did not have it then, and they do not have it now. Mueller will continue finding evidence of corruption throughout his investigation, since corruption is to DC insiders as water is to fish, but he will not find evidence of collusion to win the 2016 election that will lead to Trump’s impeachment. It will not happen.” This has remained as true in 2018 as it did in 2017, and it will remain true forever."

JIMMY DORE: RUSSIAGATE REPORT

(YouTube.com)

Published on Oct 23, 2018
"As Mueller winds down his investigation, the media is warning that there won't be any evidence of Russian Collusion, and worse, we'll probably never even see the report."

Monday, October 22, 2018

SINGLE PAYER SAVES LIVES AND MONEY

(Ralph Nader Radio Hour)

"Michael Lighty, Policy Director for National Nurses United, makes the case for Medicare For All and points out the gap between the Democratic “base” and its “donors.” Plus Ralph tells us about his new book, “To The Ramparts: How Bush and Obama Paved the Way For the Trump Presidency and How It’s Not Too Late to Change Course.” Plus, listener questions!"

* * * * *

(YouTube.com)

Published on Oct 1, 2018
"Ralph Nader discusses his book, "To The Ramparts", at Politics and Prose on 9/23/18."


GROSSLY OFFENSIVE PLUTOCRATS (GOP)

(William Rivers Pitt at Truthout.org)

EXCERPT:

"One could spend a bag of lifetimes parsing the collected failures of the individuals featured in the painting – yes, even Honest Abraham Lincoln, who had unfriendly newspaper editors arrested by the score – but I choose to stick to three of the presidents I have personally endured.

The administrations and legacies of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush combine to tell a long, sorry tale of corruption, greed, brazen lies, abused power and religious fundamentalism gone wild that, in whole and in part, put us where we are today."

THOM HARTMANN

(Truthdig.com)

EXCERPT:

"Ever since the election of Ronald Reagan, Republicans have been working overtime to kneecap institutions that support the American middle class. And, as any working-class family can tell you, the GOP has had some substantial successes, particularly in shifting both income and political power away from voters and toward billionaires and transnational corporations.

In July of 2015, discussing SCOTUS’s 5 to 4 conservative vote on Citizens United, President Jimmy Carter told me: “It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery…” He added: “[W]e’ve just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors…”

Thursday, October 18, 2018

JIMMY DORE

This three-part Chris Hedges interview on YouTube was amusing, interesting, enlightening and frightening. Well worth your time.

(Chris Hedges on The Jimmy Dore Show)

(Chris Hedges on The Jimmy Dore Show)

(Chris Hedges on The Jimmy Dore Show)


TWO FACED OR...
ONE FACE THAT'S TWICE AS BAD?

"Mitch McConnell wants to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to pay for Republicans' massive giveaway to the rich and large corporations," said Sen. Bernie Sanders. "Enough!"
(Jake Johnson at Common Dreams.org)

"Openly confirming that it has been the GOP's plan all along to ram through deficit-exploding tax cuts for the rich and then gut crucial safety net programs to pay for the difference, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday falsely blamed America's soaring deficit on "entitlements"—the scare word Republicans use in place of Medicare and Social Security—and said these programs must be cut to bring federal spending under control."

DISTRACTING BULL USING A RED CAPER

(Gareth Porter at Consortiumnews.com)

"The idea promoted by the NYT’s Shane & Mazzetti that the Russian government seriously threatened to determine the 2016 election does not hold up when the larger social media context is examined more closely, reports Gareth Porter."

* * * * *

"In their long recapitulation of the case that Russia subverted the 2016 election, Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times painted a picture of highly effective Russian government exploitation of social media for that purpose. Shane and Mazzetti asserted that “anti-Clinton, pro-Trump messages shared with millions of voters by Russia could have made the difference” in the election.

“What we now know with certainty: The Russians carried out a landmark intervention that will be examined for decades to come,” they write elsewhere in the 10,000-word article.

But an investigation of the data they cite to show that the Russian campaigns on Facebook and Twitter were highly effective reveals a gross betrayal of journalistic responsibility. Shane and Mazzetti have constructed a case that is fundamentally false and misleading with statistics that exaggerate the real effectiveness of social media efforts by orders of magnitude."

_____________________________

(Peter Collins at Consortiumnews.com)

(YouTube.com)

"Gareth Porter discusses with radio host Peter B. Collins his Consortium News article exposing exaggerated claims of Russian skulduggery on Facebook in 2016."

GOD BUBBLE

(Greta Christina at Alternet.org)

"Here are nine questions you shouldn’t ask atheists. I’m going to answer them, just this once, and then I’ll explain why you shouldn’t be asking them, and why so many atheists will get ticked off if you do."

MAX BUTT

Corporate media has for decades given megaphones to spokesmodels serving the U.S. oligarchs. Examples abound, in fact finding an alternative is all but impossible. I try to highlight the efforts of those dedicated to speaking truth to both power and the powerless here at Talkingbag.

Despite being horrifically wrong about virtually everything, these scions and sycophants are provided megaphones to amplify their flawed and disastrous rhetoric. The list of misinformers is endless, Boot is just another turd currently floating in the Main Stream punch bowl.

(Peter Maass at The Intercept.com)

"It’s easy to understand why a penitent like Boot appeals to liberals and other members of the Trump resistance. He ratifies their sense of having been correct from the start, and his confession is enunciated in perfect sound bites, with just the right dose of abasement. Boot is an irresistible spectacle — the sinner with tears running down his cheeks dropping to his knees at the altar of all that is good, proclaiming that he has seen the light and wants to join the army of righteousness. But here’s the thing: Boot is only half-apologizing. And because he’s been wrong so many times and with so many ill consequences, he should be provided with nothing more than a polite handshake as he’s led out of the sanctuary of politics, forever.

CorrosionOfConservatism_9781631495670-1539285151 Photo: Courtesy of Liveright Publishing
WHEN I SAY wrong, I mean Guinness World Records wrong. In his first book, “Out of Order,” Boot argued that the Supreme Court erred when it ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that school segregation violated the Constitution (“I am not proud of ‘Out of Order,’” he now says); he was a key proponent of the invasion of Iraq (“Once we have deposed Saddam, we can impose an American-led, international regency in Baghdad, to go along with the one in Kabul,” he proclaimed in 2001); he thought John Bolton was treated unfairly when Democrats opposed his 2005 nomination for ambassador to the United Nations (“He seems like a good choice to help drain the U.N. cesspool of corrupt bureaucrats and self-serving tyrants”); he thought Ahmed Chalabi was “the most unfairly maligned man on the planet” long after the Iraqi exile’s dissembling was apparent to everyone except the staff of Commentary magazine; and as Boot notes in his mea culpa, he totally failed to notice the dark side of the GOP. “It’s amazing how little you can see when your eyes are closed,” he squeaks."

Monday, October 15, 2018

RALPH IS THE SOLUTION, NOT THE PROBLEM

Unrepentant about the 2000 race, Nader argues that Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton “enabled” Donald Trump
(Andrew O'Hehir at Alternet.org)

"Gore lost to Bush in that fateful election, Nader says, for what he calls “the following sine qua non reasons.” (He hasn’t practiced law for quite a while, but must have been the kind of lawyer you hate seeing on the other side.)

He lost because they stole it from him in Florida and blocked him 5-4, in Scalia's Supreme Court, from an ongoing Florida Supreme Court recount. It would have come out in his favor. He also knows he lost his home state of Tennessee, which is really not often done. He was a senator and a representative [from that state]. He lost for a lot of other reasons: He didn't come out authentic during the debates. Everybody thought he was going to totally plow George W. Bush under, but each time he came out, you didn't know which Al Gore you would get. ... In one debate, he and George Bush agreed over 23 times during the debate: "I agree with him!" He didn't run a very good campaign.

Now, I believe everyone has a right to run for election in this country. I don't think any of my critics would keep me from doing that. The real problem is that they're looking for scapegoats. The Green Party is an easy scapegoat because I got 97,000 votes [in Florida], and there were 537 votes, before the recount, that separated Bush and Gore. But what they don't point out is that 300,000 Democrats in Florida voted for George W. Bush. Or that the Secretary of State and Bush's brother, Jeb Bush, who was the governor, engaged in a lot of shenanigans, including disqualifying people whose name sounded like ex-felons -- thousands of them, not just a few crazy ballots.

So there were a lot of sine qua nons, and what I tell people is, “You're giving the Green Party delusions of grandeur.” They are responsible for the Electoral College, which put [the decisive result] in Florida, because Gore won the popular vote nationwide. They're responsible for the 5-4 Scalia Supreme Court. They are responsible for 300,000 Democrats in Florida voting for George W. Bush. They're responsible for Tennessee. And how about sunspots? Why don't you add sunspots, right?"

NAOMI KLEIN

(The Intercept.com)

"How exactly do you rationalize being lifted up by an intricate latticework of familial and social supports (tutors, prep schools, connections at the best universities, entry-level executive jobs, capital to play with), and then setting about shredding the meager safety net available to those without your good luck? How do you convince yourself that, despite having been handed so much, you are not just right but righteous in attacking the “handouts” received by single mothers working two jobs? How, when you know your own family fortune has benefited from enormous government subsidies (cheap housing loans for the Trumps, oil subsidies for the Kochs and Scaifes, direct weapons contracts for the Olins) do you begrudge paying the same tax rate as your employees?"

Sunday, October 14, 2018

CHRIS HEDGES ON PIRATE TV

(YouTube.com)

"Published on Oct 9, 2018
Pirate TV welcomes back Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges for the 6th time. In his current book, America: The Farewell Tour, Hedges, takes a close look at the array of pathologies that have arisen out of a profound malaise of hopelessness as the society disintegrates due to the "slow moving [corporate] Coup d'état" instituted by the ruling classes in the '70s in reaction to the activist movements and reforms of the '60s. This disintegration has resulted in an epidemic of diseases of despair and a civil society that has ceased to function. Hedges asserts that the opioid crisis, the rise of magical thinking, the celebration of sadism, and a host of other ills are the physical manifestations of a society ravaged by corporate pillage and a failed democracy. Join Hedges for a sobering discussion of the changing landscape of our country—and a poignant cry from communities across America that seeks to jolt us out of complacency while there is still time.

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He writes a weekly column for the online magazine Truthdig out of Los Angeles and is host of the Emmy Award­–winning RT America show “On Contact.” He is the author of the bestsellers American Fascists, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, and was a National Book Critics Circle finalist for War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.

Thanks to Town Hall Seattle, Seattle University & Third Place Books
Recorded 10/8/18"

Thursday, October 11, 2018

TWO FACE

Hypocrisy reigns supreme in our nation's Capital. Too bad it isn't a capital offense.

Mitch McConnell famously said his single biggest goal was for Barack Obama "to be a one-term president."
(Mark Sumner at Alternet.org)

"The Associated Press is reporting that Mitch McConnell has a warning for Democrats—if you win, leave the president alone.

McConnell: The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

Wednesday, October 10, 2018


(October 7, 2018)

"Author Virginia Eubanks explains to Chris Hedges how the goals of Victorian-era poorhouses have evolved with 21st century high-tech to exert control and surveillance of needy, poor, and homeless people. Eubanks is an associate professor of political science at the University at Albany, SUNY. She is the author of Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police and Punish the Poor."

(September 30, 2018)

"Chris Hedges interviews former combat veteran and US Army officer Spenser Rapone about bravery and morality. The second lieutenant was given an “other than honorable” discharge June 18 after an army investigation determined that he “went online to promote a socialist revolution and disparage high-ranking officers,” and thereby engaged in “conduct unbecoming an officer.”

(Ralph Nader Radio Hour)
October 6, 2018

"Ralph and Lisa Graves, former general counsel for judicial nominations under Democrat Patrick Leahy, tick off a long list of reasons why Brett Kavanaugh should not be elevated to the Supreme Court. And Dr. John Geyman returns to discuss his new book “Trumpcare: Lies, Broken Promises, How It Is Failing, and What Should Be Done.”

(Ralph Nader Radio Hour)
September 15, 2018

"Ralph welcomes Jeffrey Clements, founder of “American Promise,” an organization that seeks to write a 28th Amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. He is also author of the book, “Corporations Are Not People: Reclaiming Democracy From Big Money & Global Corporations.” Plus: Listener Questions!"

The media wants you to think Russia is a threat to our "democracy." The real problem is our home grown corruption, our long history of voter suppression, manipulation, and theft. The U.S.A. doesn't pass its own world-wide standards for a functioning democracy.

Stealing thousands of votes is ignored while we chase the phantom of someone voting twice. 


* * * * * *

(Greg Palast.com)

"A team of database experts, statisticians, lawyers and investigators working with the Palast Investigative Fund discovered — and Indiana now admits — that these thousands of voters were cancelled in violation of a June 2018 federal court order that barred the state from using the notorious Interstate Crosscheck purge list sent to state officials by Kris Kobach, Secretary of State of Kansas."

(Greg Palast.com)

"It’s no coincidence that Georgia’s Purge’n General is also running for Governor: The Republican candidate is fighting a dead-even race against Stacey Abrams, Democratic House Minority Leader. Abrams, if she wins, would become the first Black woman governor in US history.

Suspiciously, Kemp sent no notice to these citizens after he took away their voting rights. If they show up to vote on November 6, they’re out of luck — and so is Georgia’s democracy."
COURTING DISASTER

(Bill Blum at TruthDig.com)

"One of the dominant myths of our political culture holds that the courts are nonpartisan. As Chief Justice John Roberts declared by way of an analogy to the role of baseball umpires in his 2005 confirmation hearing, the “job” of judges “is to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat.”

Cute, but not so."

(Jacob Sugarman at TruthDig.com)

"These are the facts. The Senate majority, which the Republican Party currently holds with 51 seats, presently represents 44 percent of the country’s population. Following Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, four of the Supreme Court’s nine justices have been appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote. Two of those justices attended the same D.C.-area prep school.

If the United States government faces a legitimacy crisis, it’s one that has been building for 18 years, if not longer than that. In 2000’s Bush v. Gore decision, five conservative justices determined that Florida could not conduct a recount of its heavily disputed election results—a decision that effectively handed the presidency to the Republican candidate. “Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear,” John Paul Stevens, who was appointed by Gerald Ford, wrote in his dissent. “It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.”

The naked politicization of the judiciary did not escape historian Howard Zinn. In 2005, after another former member of the Federalist Society, John Roberts, became the 17th chief justice of the United States, the activist and professor issued a warning to progressives about the power of the high court—one they might be wise to revisit on the heels of Kavanaugh’s ascension.

BRETT KAVANAUGH ALSO LIED ABOUT HIS RULINGS ON THE ENVIRONMENT
(Sharon Lerner at The Intercept.com)

"President Donald Trump has also acknowledged Kavanaugh’s pro-industry bias, touting it as qualifying him for the nation’s highest court. In a July email to industry stakeholders, the president wrote that “Kavanaugh helped kill President Obama’s most destructive new environmental rules” and that he had “overruled federal regulators 75 times on cases involving clean air, consumer protections, net neutrality and other issues.”

Among Kavanaugh’s many opinions that haven’t pleased environmentalists is one that struck down an EPA rule limiting air pollution that crosses state lines. The Supreme Court ultimately upheld the rule, which the EPA estimated would prevent up to 34,000 premature deaths each year. In a case over whether coal companies can dump waste into streams, Kavanaugh dissented from the other justices and sided with the companies. And in a decision from last year, Kavanaugh ruled that the EPA exceeded its authority when it tried to regulate HFCs, climate pollutants that are used in refrigeration and air conditioning.


With several big cases heading to the Supreme Court and the Senate barreling toward a vote on Kavanaugh, environmentalists are alarmed by his record. For only the second time in the past 25 years, NRDC came out against the nomination of a Supreme Court nominee, telling Sen. Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein that Kavanaugh’s nomination “poses a unique threat to the principles and public resources we defend.”

Howard Zinn: Don’t Despair about the Supreme Court
(Howard Zinn at The Progressive.org)

“It would be naive to depend on the Supreme Court to defend the rights of poor people, women, people of color, dissenters of all kinds,” he wrote. “Those rights only come alive when citizens organize, protest, demonstrate, strike, boycott, rebel, and violate the law in order to uphold justice.”

Thursday, October 4, 2018

US + THEM

(Aidan O'Brien at Counter Punch.org)

"This attempt to understand the weak or vulnerable “other” motivates Waters’ support of the Palestinians today. In fact, “empathy” forces him to open up to Russia. In his RT interview, he tells us that during his concerts–in response to the anti-Russian psy-ops which distorts the West today–he asks his audience: “do you know that Russia sacrificed twenty million of its people, so that you can be free of Nazism?”

* * * * *
Roger Waters at RT






* * * * *

(full list below)

SEP 14, 2017
Pink Floyd Founder Roger Waters: BDS is One of “Most Admirable” Displays of Resistance in the World

SEP 14, 2017
“The Occupation of the American Mind”: Documentary Looks at Israel’s PR War in the United States

SEP 14, 2017
Roger Waters Criticizes Senate Bill Criminalizing BDS & Radiohead’s Recent Concert in Tel Aviv

JAN 22, 2016
Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters Launches “Campaign to Close Guantánamo” for Obama’s Last Year in Office

DEC 30, 2009
Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters Speaks Out in Support of Gaza Freedom March, Blasts Israeli-Egyptian “Siege” of Gaza
WE PAY - THEY TAKE

(Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing.net)

"Tax Reform 2.0 was rammed through the House at the literal exact same moment that everyone in America was watching Brett Kavanaugh caper and gibber for the US Senate.

It's a tax gift of $3.1 trillion over ten years, with the major beneficiaries being those with more than $3.9 million in annual income."

(CNBC.com)

"This is all borrowed money that will go to corporations and high-income earners," said Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, the senior Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee. The new legislation "is another reckless tax cut for the wealthy that leaves behind average, hardworking families."

While the new law slashed the corporate tax rate permanently from 35 percent to 21 percent, its tax cuts for individuals and the millions of U.S. "pass-through" businesses expire in eight years. The "pass-through" businesses funnel their income to owners and other individuals, who then pay personal income tax on those earnings, not the corporate rate. They are allowed under the new law to deduct 20 percent of the first $315,000 of their earnings."

In Destroying Social Security, GOP Has No Plans for Elderly Americans
(Barbara G. Ellis at Truthout.org)

"For decades, congressional Republicans have been rigorously supported by Republican presidents like George W. Bush and Donald Trump in vain attempts to steal the trillions from the “lock-box” of the self-sustaining Social Security Trust Fund. In 2017, it stood at $2.9 trillion, an astronomical sum that could easily cover those tax-cut bills today."

Wednesday, October 3, 2018



(DemocracyNow.org)
BEACH BLANKET BANKSTERS

(The Real News.com)

"One year after Hurricane Maria, counting the dead is one of many challenges that Puerto Rico faces under massive debt, crippling austerity, and disaster profiteers. Aaron Maté speaks to writer and educator Rima Brusi and Carla Minet of the Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico."

E X C E R P T:

"AARON MATE: Carla, let me ask you about the issue of disaster profiteering, because there was a recent study put out by the Center for a New Economy, which your group has covered, that found that ninety percent of federal contracts for post-Maria recovery have been issued to companies that are outside of Puerto Rico.

CARLA MINET: Yeah, definitely. Everybody has been wondering where this recovery money is going. And we now have just learned that almost 90 percent of this money is going to companies in the U.S. And I think it begs the question; with so much unemployment in Puerto Rico and so much need, so many people eager to work, people that even went to the U.S. and would be willing to come back to the island if they had a decent job, why is this recovery process not being distributed among Puerto Rican companies and Puerto Rican people?"
YOGA IS GOOD FOR THE MIND AND BODY

I'm an atheist. I'm also a big fan of yoga. Yoga, when done properly, especially under the guidance of knowledgable instructors, does wonders to alleviate mental stress, and it provides a safe step-by-step process that improves physical health inside and out. 

Yoga takes many forms with a spectrum of difficulty that suits beginners and adepts. With practice it can provide challenges that last a lifetime, likely an extended one. I've met very old folks with physical limitations who loved it, as well as a martial arts master who appreciates the challenge of yoga, and who has added it to his daily workout. 

I'm not a martial arts aficionado, but my friend is an expert, and I believe that like yoga his discipline has a powerful spiritual element that I wouldn't define as a religion, perhaps because it lacks a prescriptive dogma. That some Christians wish to ban yoga from schools is not surprising, but it's a shame. Exposure to yoga at a young age could be tremendously beneficial, the beginning of a healthier lifestyle, perhaps. Physical and mental training without the negative elements of conflict and competition. Promoting meditative thinking without dogma might reduce school violence, and lead to calmer and less tragic lifestyles for graduates.

I understand the Christian arguments raised about teaching yoga in schools, "if teachers can't preach, why should my kid talk like a Buddhist in gym class?" I don't agree with it, but I get it. What I don't get is the recurring fear they have of exposure to alternative thought. If Christianity's so great what do they have to worry about?

Mindfulness programs have become popular on K–12 campuses, but in some parts of the country concerns about religious intrusion keep the trend at bay.
(Alia Wong at The Atlantic.com)

"The trend, however, seems to have been accompanied by an uptick in vocal pushback against the idea. In 2016, an elementary school in Cobb County, Georgia, became the subject of heated controversy after introducing a yoga program. Parents’ objections to the yoga classes—on the grounds that they promoted a non-Christian belief system—were vociferous enough to compel the district to significantly curtail the program, removing the “namaste” greeting and the coloring-book exercises involving mandalas. A few years before that, a group of parents sued a San Diego County school district on the grounds that its yoga program promoted Eastern religions and disadvantaged children who opted out. While a judge ruled in favor of the district, the controversy resurfaced two years ago amid concerns that the program was a poor use of public funds in already strapped schools. Meanwhile, just last month the Alabama Board of Education’s long-standing ban on yoga caused some ballyhoo after a document listing it as one of the activities prohibited in “gym class” was recirculated, grabbing the attention of a Hindu activist."

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

NOTHING TO SEE HERE

I lie, or perhaps I'm just projecting. It may take a few years, but in the not too distant future there might be no one to see anything. I lie again, no person might be around to see anything, but a cockroach has sensory organs that will help it crawl all over the ruins of our so called civilization.

In the late 19th Century scientists understood that CO2 would effect atmospheric temperatures. As a science fiction fan I've been reading stories that warned about greenhouse gases since the 1960s. The FFAH (Fossil Fuel Ass Holes) had confirmed the science as far back as the 1970s. Blah Blah Blah. And still we do nothing.

I wish I could ask a Dodo if Man had the capacity to adversely affect an ecosystem.

WAIT! Senator Graham! Is it possible we are harming the environment that sustains us?

"No comment."

Well, enough of my yackin'...

(Dahr Jamail at Truthout.org)

"To conclude this month’s dispatch, a UN official recently announced that governments are “not on track” to cap global temperatures to below 2°C, the goal of the 2015 Paris climate talks. Many scientists have long warned that a 1°C warming was already enough to lock in catastrophic ACD impacts. We are already over 1°C. The ongoing failure of the world’s governments to face these facts guarantees a lasting and devastating impact for all species on Earth, including humans."

THIS LITTLE THING? IT'S MY SCUM BAG

The South Carolina senator’s 2016 remarks are at odds with what he’s saying now about Brett Kavanaugh.
(Ed Mazza at Huffingtonpost.com)

"Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was called out for hypocrisy on Monday after comments he made in 2016 resurfaced on social media. 

The conservative lawmaker is a staunch defender of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee who has been accused of sexual assault. On Monday, Graham slammed Democrats for calling for an FBI investigation into the Kavanaugh allegations, and claimed that they were playing politics by trying to keep the seat open until after the midterm election: 

______________
Lindsey Graham
@LindseyGrahamSC
Replying to @LindseyGrahamSC
All they want is a political outcome. Keep this seat open and hope they win the midterms. 

Pathetic.
______________

Yet Graham and his fellow Republicans in the Senate blocked Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s March 2016 Supreme Court pick, and Graham himself admitted it was for political reasons."

U P D A T E:

Kavanaugh is the Wrong Nominee
(Kevin Zeese & Margaret Flowers at Counter Punch.org)

"The Kavanaugh confirmation process has been a missed opportunity for the United States to face up to many urgent issues on which the bi-partisans in Washington, DC are united and wrong.


Kavanaugh’s career as a Republican legal operative and judge supporting the power of corporations, the security state and abusive foreign policy should have been put on trial. The hearings could have provided an opportunity to confront the security state, use of torture, mass spying and the domination of money in politics and oligarchy as he has had an important role in each of these."

I LEFT THE TAG ON MY ASSHAT
RECENT NOAM CHOMSKY INTERVIEW

(Intercepted with Jermy Scahill)

E X C E R P T:

"JS: Well just parenthetically and I don’t want to get into this but I do think it’s worth just mentioning it: that when victims of the U.S. torture program — the so-called extraordinary rendition program, or people that were taken to Guantanamo or to black sites — filed lawsuits in the United States against Donald Rumsfeld, President George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, or other officials for the torture that they endured, or the kidnapping that they endured, the justice department intervened in those cases using something called the Westfall Act, which actually has to do with U.S. labor law, and even Attorney General Eric Holder under Obama filed briefs in these lawsuits against Bush-era accused war criminals saying that even if they had committed genocide, that it was within the official scope of their duties. And therefore, they were removed as defendants in those cases and replaced by the U.S. government which has sovereign immunity and, therefore they were dismissed.

So, it’s not just on a level of international war or conflict. It’s also on an individual level with U.S. officials, the position of the justice department, including under Obama was that even if Donald Rumsfeld was involved with genocide, it would have been within the official scope of his duties and therefore he cannot be held individually responsible for it.

NC: Yeah, that’s a kind of a counterpart to the fact that the U.S. did add a reservation to the genocide convention when it signed it, finally, saying we’re immune. Incidentally, on the torture program, there’s more to be said. There’s good studies of this by Alfred McCoy — outstanding historian who did some of the major work, among other things, on the history of torture —

JS: He’s a great friend of this show, and has been on several times. He also was my professor when I was briefly an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin.

NC: OK, so I don’t have to laud him to you. Done excellent work.

But, on torture, he pointed out that when the United States signed the international torture convention, I think it was 1984 or so, the Senate rewrote the convention to exclude the modes of torture that were carried out by the CIA, and that was then instituted into law under Clinton. So you could argue that much of the torture carried out under the Bush Administration was actually not in violation of U.S. law as McCoy also points out, the significant difference between the Guantanamo/Bagram/Abu Ghraib torture and earlier periods, was that in earlier periods, the U.S. supervised the torture and trained the torturers in Latin America, Southeast Asia, but for this time, the U.S. personnel were actually involved, directly, in the torture instead of supervising it, and training the torturers. So that’s a slight change but from a moral point of view, not a very significant one."
RIGHTEOUSLY WRONG
(Caitlin Johnstone at Consortiumnews.com)

"If there’s one thing that brings a tear to my eye, it’s the inspiration I feel when watching Republican-aligned neoconservatives and Democrat-aligned neoconservatives find a way to bridge their almost nonexistent differences and come together to discuss the many, many, many, many, many, many many many things they have in common."

SILLY KRISTOL

(Salon.com)

Bill Kristol is the rare Republican still fighting to defend his party’s principles from a rogue nominee. But what if his political miscalculations actually helped create Donald Trump?
(Michael Crowley at Politico.com)

CORPORATE HACK TANDEN

Emails released by WikiLeaks reveal the maneuverings of a liberal think-tank president and member of Hillary Clinton's inner circle.
(Alex Shephard & Clio Chang at New Republic.com)

HEARING SCHMEARING UPDATE
(Briahna Gray at The Intercept.com)

NEXT, MITCHELL ARGUES that “Dr. Ford has not offered a consistent account of when the alleged assault happens.” She points to the fact that Ford first told the Washington Post that Kavanaugh assaulted her in the “mid 1980s” before narrowing it down to the “early 80s” in a July 30 letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. Ford has been consistent about the timing since then — eventually narrowing the time frame down to the summer of 1982.

Mitchell characterizes the shift from “mid” to “early” 80s as damning, noting that “while it’s common for victims to be uncertain about dates, Dr. Ford failed to explain how she was suddenly able to narrow the timeframe to a particular season and particular year.”

The thing is, Ford did explain how she was able to narrow the timeframe to the early 80s: She realized the assault occurred before she was old enough to have a driver’s license, and was able to infer her age from that fact. Mitchell should know this, because Ford explained it in response to Mitchell’s own questioning:

"Mitchell: How were you able to narrow down the time frame?

Ford: I can’t give the exact date. And I would like to be more helpful about the date, and if I knew when Mark Judge worked at the Potomac Safeway, then I would be able to be more helpful in that way. So I’m just using memories of when I got my driver’s license. I was 15 at the time. And I — I did not drive home from that party or to that party, and once I did have my drivers license, I liked to drive myself.

Mitchell: I’d assume the legal driving age was 16.

Ford: yes.

Mitchell: Ok.

(Notably, although Ford said she could pinpoint the date even better if she could confirm when Judge worked at the Safeway, the abbreviated FBI investigation into the incident has been limited to exclude an inquiry into that store’s employment records.)

In one of her more blatant mischaracterizations, Mitchell argues that Ford “struggled to identify Judge Kavanaugh as the assailant by name.” There is no basis for this statement. Here, Mitchell casts Ford’s choice not to identify Kavanaugh by name to her therapist or her husband as an inability to remember it. But at no point did Ford testify that she declined to name her assailant because she couldn’t recall who he was. In fact, she testified that she was “100 percent” certain that Kavanaugh was her attacker, that she was very familiar with who Kavanaugh was in high school, and in fact, “went out with” one of his friends who is featured prominently on his calendar.

By the end of the memo, Mitchell’s evidence against Ford’s credibility is very weak indeed. She claims that since Ford said she originally wanted her allegations to remain confidential, the timeline of her contacts with the Washington Post “raises questions.” The implication is that Ford’s decision to come forward was politically motivated, and therefore, less credible. Ford’s motive to come forward is probative of, though not dispositive of her credibility, but more importantly, giving an anonymous tip to the Washington Post is entirely consistent with wanting, well, anonymity. Ford only came forward, as she testified on Thursday, after word got out about her story, and reporters started waiting outside her home and calling her colleagues.


In her final, and perhaps her most frivolous argument, Mitchell suggests that Ford’s credibility is undermined by the fact that Ford “alleges that she struggled academically in college,” due to PTSD and anxiety from the assault, “but she has never made any similar claim about her last two years of high school.” This simply isn’t true. During Thursday’s hearing, Mitchell asked Ford whether the alleged attack “affected [her] life.” Ford responded: “The primary impact was in the initial four years after the event.” That would include the last two years of high school."