Monday, October 30, 2017

"Venezuela’s socialist experiment, which seeks to reduce the country’s extreme income equality and alleviate widespread poverty, has upset U.S. policymakers who now have new hopes for regime change, as Dennis J Bernstein explains."

"The international media was quick to report on potential fraud in Venezuela's regional elections, in which the ruling socialist party won a majority of governorships. But there isn't any evidence of massive fraud, says Alex Main from the Center for Economic and Policy Research."
(The Real video)

"The Governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela won 17 out of 23 governor races in Sunday's regional vote, prompting the opposition to claim fraud once again, without evidence. Lucas Koerner of analyzes the situation."
(The Real video)

(The Real

"The Senate voted 51-50 to repeal a rule that would have made it easier for consumers to sue the financial institutions that defraud them. The move is "outrageous," says white-collar criminologist Bill Black. "It should be a national scandal, and require resignations in disgrace."

A wonky fight brewing over specific rules of the 401(k) system is a shiny distraction from the real action on retirement security.

"But zeroing in on Trump’s sparring with his colleagues misses the larger point of the nation’s retirement crisis. The blooming fight over the specific rules governing 401(k) savings mechanisms is an act of political sleight-of-hand. The mechanism itself is toxic to working-class economic security. If policymakers are truly interested in “fixing” the 401(k) system – unlikely, as Republican lawmakers are mostly worried about balancing out the cost of their preferred policy of giving rich people more money so that their tax bill won’t look like the debt-hemmorhage it is – their path is far simpler: Kill the 401(k) and bring back the traditional pension.

While retirement savings crises and their policy remedies are treated as a wonky, jumbled thing in most media coverage, the core story of what’s happened to working people’s ability to retire is simple. This is what kleptocracy looks like:..."

(NBC broadcast clip)


"Darren Frederick Speece's Defending Giants: The Redwood Wars and the Transformation of American Environmental Politics (University of Washington Press, 2017) is a dense, substantial book (not for the faint of heart), yet every bit worth the effort needed to get through it to the end. A "good read," it is itself something of an endangered species, to wit eloquent, inspiring, eminently readable nonfiction with precious lessons for those fighting the ever-greater environmental destruction wrought by corporate greed."


"Wading through the Clinton book, What Happened, is an unpleasant experience, like a stomach upset. Smears and tears. Threats and enemies. “They” (voters) were brainwashed and herded against her by the odious Donald Trump in cahoots with sinister Slavs sent from the great darkness known as Russia, assisted by an Australian “nihilist,” Julian Assange."

(The Washington Post)

As the polluter in chief spends tax payer money to help hide his criminal activity as head of the EPA, there's this...


"Environmental pollution — from filthy air to contaminated water — is killing more people every year than all war and violence in the world. More than smoking, hunger or natural disasters. More than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined."

Capitalism seems to be working out for a very few, perhaps it's time that our government worked for the vast majority. Socialism can be governance by and for the people, unlike the corrupt crony administration currently in office in the U.S. So called representatives consistantly make decisions that serve corporations and the very rich, at the expense of the struggling and the very poor. Our broken democracy is an oligarchy, an extremely unjust sham.

Socialism, like Medicare for all, free public education, and the right to seek redress against corporate fraud, sounds a lot better than handing out trillions to defense contractors and banksters.

Socialism can be governance by and for the people, designed and controlled by the ballot box. It is feared because we have learned the lessons taught to us by our overlords. Lying is the lesson they were taught. Break out of the chains forged by fascist capitalists and corporate oligarchs.


"Socialism a century ago seemed to be the wave of the future. There were various schools of socialism, but the common ideal was to guarantee support for basic needs, and for state ownership to free society from landlords, predatory banking and monopolies. In the West these hopes are now much further away than they seemed in 1917. Land and natural resources, basic infrastructure monopolies, health care and pensions have been increasingly privatized and financialized.

Instead of Germany and other advanced industrial nations leading the way as expected, Russia’s October 1917 Revolution made the greatest leap. But the failures of Stalinism became an argument against Marxism – guilt-by-association with Soviet bureaucracy. European parties calling themselves socialist or “labour” since the 1980s have supported neoliberal policies that are the opposite of socialist policy. Russia itself has chosen neoliberalism.

Few socialist parties or theorists have dealt with the rise of the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector that now accounts for most increase in wealth. Instead of evolving into socialism, Western capitalism is being overcome by predatory finance and rent extraction imposing debt deflation and austerity on industry as well as on labor."



"Republicans in North Carolina hold a strong grip on the state legislature and have sought to limit the powers of the Democratic governor, as well as institute strict voting laws, presumably to prevent further Democratic wins at the ballot box. But after several recent rejections in the courts, the GOP in the Tar Heel state has shifted its agenda to seize control of the judiciary."
* * * * * 
With Gerrymandering, Republicans Have a Starting-Line Advantage of 10 Percent
( interview)

"Janine Jackson: We are definitely in challenging times, but it's useful to remember that it isn't that Americans per se are opposed to gun control, human rights for LGBTQ people, or affordable healthcare. At the same time, it's painful to remember why it appears that we are. It's because, as a recent piece by Neal Gabler for reminds us, we don't have a working democracy where every voice is heard: A minority of people have outsized power.

One of the reasons for that is being considered right now in the Supreme Court. Recalled by many of us as an old-timey graphic in middle school textbooks, the term "gerrymander" refers to the drawing of political districts in such a way as to benefit a particular party. The case Gill v. Whitford is focused on Wisconsin, where in 2012 Republicans won just 48.6 percent of the statewide vote, but captured 60 out of 99 seats in the state assembly.

Here to help us see what's going on and what's at stake is Steven Rosenfeld. He covers national political issues for AlterNet, and he's author of a number of books, including the forthcoming Inside Job: How American Elections Are Still Rigged Against Voters. He joins us now by phone from San Francisco. Welcome to CounterSpin, Steven Rosenfeld."


“Car companies are finally realising that what they sell is just a big computer you sit in,” says Kevin Tighe, a senior systems engineer at the security testing firm Bugcrowd."

Monday, October 16, 2017



"The mainstream media’s hysteria over “fake news” is aimed less at the few instances of intentionally fabricated stories than at well-reported articles that challenge the U.S. government’s dubious official narratives,
says David P. Hamilton."


"Neoliberalism makes the lower and middle classes poorer, empowers people like Trump and makes the world less safe. But what is it, and who is responsible? This article is excerpted from President Trump, Inc.
(2017, Clairview Books)."


"They wrote that we still have the “features” of democracy like elections, but ended their paper with this cautionary note: “[W]e believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.”

Sunday, October 15, 2017



The Scandal of Pentagon Spending:

Your Tax Dollars Support Troops of Defense Contractor CEOs

by William D. Hurtung
"Here’s a question for you: How do you spell boondoggle?

The answer (in case you didn’t already know): P-e-n-t-a-g-o-n.

Hawks on Capitol Hill and in the U.S. military routinely justify increases in the Defense Department's already munificent budget by arguing that yet more money is needed to “support the troops.”  If you’re already nodding in agreement, let me explain just where a huge chunk of the Pentagon budget -- hundreds of billions of dollars -- really goes.  Keep in mind that it’s your money we’re talking about.
The answer couldn’t be more straightforward: it goes directly to private corporations and much of it is then wasted on useless overhead, fat executive salaries, and startling (yet commonplace) cost overruns on weapons systems and other military hardware that, in the end, won’t even perform as promised.  Too often the result isweapons that aren’t needed at prices we can’t afford.  If anyone truly wanted to help the troops, loosening the corporate grip on the Pentagon budget would be an excellent place to start."

Thursday, October 12, 2017


"If “What Happened” and their timid inaction are any indicator, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Al Gore still don’t get it. That they opened the door for Donald Trump will be their most profound collective legacy."

Tuesday, October 10, 2017



"Some fundamental questions are: Will we as citizens use our Constitutional authority to reclaim and redirect the power we’ve too broadly delegated to elected officials? Will we hold these officials accountable through a reformed campaign finance system that serves the people over the plutocrats? Will we realize that a better society starts with just a few people in each electoral district and never requires more than one percent of the voters, organized and reflecting public opinion, to make the corporations our servants, not our masters?"
(NY Times)

I usually just delete my daily spam from the New York Times, but this headline seemed like such BS I glanced at the article. So, the Ruskies ingeniously reshape our politics by exploiting our palpable political divide, without having to generate their own material. Simply repeating divisive American talking points put them in the driver's seat. Holy shit! I hope the American Networks don't figure this out.


(Christopher Koch - Counter Punch)

"There is so much to love about this series. The uncompromising scenes of combat, the voices of both Americans and Vietnamese, the historical context, the exposure of the utter incompetence of our military leaders, the terrific music that is frequently exactly where it should be, the slowly revealed powerful still images and Peter Coyotes’ wonderful narrative voice. Its tragic failure is its inability to hold anyone responsible for their actions."

Monday, October 9, 2017

Roger Waters - US + THEM Tour
Live from Zócalo Square - Mexico City
October 1, 2016

(DemocracyNow! interview)

Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters: US escalation around the world 'desperately dangerous'
(RT on Youtube interview)

"Rock legend Roger Waters speaks to RT America in a wide-ranging interview. In addition to discussing President Donald Trump, ongoing tensions between the US and Russia, and the Israel lobby, Waters called out Radiohead’s Thom Yorke for refusing to participate in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights"


Why math will doom silly humans to oblivion.

Arithmetic, Population and Energy (Lecture)
(Top Documentary Films video)

"Professor Bartlett has given his celebrated one-hour lecture, Arithmetic, Population and Energy: Sustainability 101 over 1,600 times to audiences with an average attendance of 80 in the United States and world-wide. His audiences have ranged from junior high school and college students to corporate executives and scientists, and to congressional staffs.

He first gave the talk in September, 1969, and subsequently has presented it an average of once every 8.5 days for 36 years. His talk is based on his paper, Forgotten Fundamentals of the Energy Crisis, originally published in the American Journal of Physics, and revised in the Journal of Geological Education.
Professor Al Bartlett begins his one-hour talk with the statement, The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.
He then gives a basic introduction to the arithmetic of steady growth, including an explanation of the concept of doubling time. He explains the impact of unending steady growth on the population of Boulder, of Colorado, and of the world.
He then examines the consequences steady growth in a finite environment and observes this growth as applied to fossil fuel consumption, the lifetimes of which are much shorter than the optimistic figures most often quoted.
He proceeds to examine oddly reassuring statements from experts, the media and political leaders - statements that are dramatically inconsistent with the facts. He discusses the widespread worship of economic growth and population growth in western society."

Thursday, October 5, 2017


We are so easily distracted by anything that blink's red. Russia is being used as a goat to deflect attention away from our own asses. We don't need help rigging elections, we've been doing just fine on our own for a long time.

(Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept)
"They were one small step away from demanding that the election results be nullified, indulging the sentiment expressed by #Resistance icon Carl Reiner the other day: “Is there anything more exciting that [sic] the possibility of Trump’s election being invalidated & Hillary rightfully installed as our President?”
So what was wrong with this story? Just one small thing: it was false. The story began to fall apart yesterday when Associated Press reported that Wisconsin – one of the states included in the original report that, for obvious reasons, caused the most excitement – did not, in fact, have its election systems targeted by Russian hackers:..."

(The Real
"AARON MATÉ: Just to explain that, Max is quoting there from a video from the newly-formed Committee to Investigate Russia that brings together Hollywood liberals like Rob Reiner and Morgan Freeman with neocons, and Morgan Freeman starred in the advertisement, and Max, to quote Max, Max called it, "Morgan Freeman's worst role since Driving Miss Daisy."
MAX BLUMENTHAL: Yeah, and you know, the chaos narrative operates on the premise that American news audiences don't, or social media consumers don't have agency, so they're easily duped. That anything racially related spreads racial division, especially if it promotes black civil rights. It operates on the premise that whatever is left of American democracy is too weak to resist something like 3000 supposedly Russian Facebook ads. It operates on the premise that these ads were actually taken out by Russian operatives from the Kremlin, from the Federal Security Bureau or GRU, the military intelligence network. There's no proof of that. 
Before I get to the question of evidence, it's important to go back to the statistics I was citing that Facebook released. According to Facebook, again, 56% of the ads appeared after the election, and 25% of these 3000 ads they provided to the Intelligence Committee were never seen by anyone. At best, we have about 1000 ads that appeared before the election that were supposedly seen by someone. Now, let's stack that up. Oh, and then most of the ads appeared or were directed at social media consumers in non-swing states, so you could take the swing state ads and stack that up against billions of dollars in advertising from both presidential candidates, and the fact that Hillary Clinton didn't even campaign in Wisconsin in the critical days.
CNN just dropped another piece. Dylan Byers was on the byline. It was obviously filtered out by the House or Senate Intelligence Committee, and it said that Russia ran Facebook ads specifically targeting Wisconsin and Michigan. Didn't say when, didn't say what the ads were, and I don't think they could even establish that they were before the election, but by doing that, and it was clearly done by the Democratic side on the Intelligence Committee, they were trying to explain away Hillary Clinton's defeat, and this is the shabbiest, most pathetic attempt. Russian Facebook ads was trending on Twitter last night because the Hillary bots were all latching onto this idea that Facebook ads had swung the election for Trump, and not the fact that Hillary Clinton didn't campaign in these two critical states and ran the worst campaign in history. You actually saw her spokesman Brian Fallon, who is the flak for this historic failure, blaming the Las Vegas massacre, on Twitter, on Russia, because there was a meeting between an NRA official and a Russian official in 2015.
AARON MATÉ: Max, I'll read that tweet. This is Brian Fallon. He was the national spokesperson for the 2016 Clinton campaign, and he tweets out a link to an article about that meeting that Max just mentioned, and he says, "The NRA spent $30 million to elect Trump, standing by him after other GOP groups left him. Why? The answer may be in Moscow." He's suggesting that, as other Republicans were abandoning Trump during the campaign, the NRA stood by him, and that is due possibly to the Kremlin's influence. Again, this is the national spokesperson for Hillary Clinton. Max, we'll come back you, but I want to go back to Baynard, who's at that Senate briefing. Baynard, you were there with a lot of journalists. What's your impression of their level of credulity when it comes to this, as Max has just been pointing out, a story with a lot of holes in it. What was your impression of how seriously they're taking this issue?"

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


(The Real

"Economist Bill Black says he's skeptical that either Equifax or its former CEO Richard Smith will be held accountable for the breach that affected an estimated 145.5 million people."