12 YEARS AGO THIS MONTH, WikiLeaks began publishing government secrets that the world public might otherwise never have known.
What it has revealed about state duplicity, human rights abuses and corruption goes beyond anything published in the world’s mainstream media.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that the Israeli private intelligence company Psy Group had met with Rick Gates, who was a senior member of Trump’s presidential campaign staff in 2016, and offered to use social media, fake accounts, and surveillance in order to swing the election for a Trump victory. The New York Times reported that apparently Psy Group’s offer was rejected by Trump. Jeremy Scahill of The Intercept was among the few journalists who cover the reality that Trump’s alleged collusion with foreign agents during his presidential campaign was not just about Russia, but involved other countries, as well. Jeremy Scahill explains here the role of the Israeli group Psy Group.
How many white kids in Lousianna were sentanced for one punch in the same period of time? (ODT)
At the time, Louisiana was one of 28 states that doled out mandatory life sentences to juveniles. In 1993, Baton Rouge police arrested Buchanan for landing a single fatal punch during a fight with neighborhood boys. Prosecutors charged Buchanan with second-degree murder. Under Louisiana law, he was automatically tried as an adult. The judge issued a mandatory sentence: life without parole.
Over time, a series of cases forced the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the way young people are held responsible for their crimes. In 2005, the court banned the use of the death penalty for crimes committed by juveniles. Several years later, the court banned mandatory life-without-parole sentences for young people not convicted of homicide. In a 2012 ruling, the court extended that ban to include homicides. And in 2016, the court made the ban on life sentences retroactive.
Following the attack, individual members of the Congress in the United States also called on their country’s army to clarify its role in the war and investigate whether support for the air raids could render US military personnel “liable under the war crimes act”.
The US has been the biggest supplier of military equipment to Riyadh, with more than $90bn of sales recorded between 2010 and 2015.
Out of the 16,000-plus raids they have launched since the start of the conflict, only a handful have been investigated, despite nearly a third of all bombs hitting civilian targets.
Last year, the UN blacklisted the Saudi-UAE alliance for causing the majority of reported child deaths and injuries in Yemen.
The global body has described the situation in Yemen as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
It has also said that least 10,000 people have been killed since the start of the conflict. However, analysts say the death toll is likely to be higher.
PORT ARTHUR, Texas — As the nation plans new defenses against the more powerful storms and higher tides expected from climate change, one project stands out: an ambitious proposal to build a nearly 60-mile “spine” of concrete seawalls, earthen barriers, floating gates and steel levees on the Texas Gulf Coast.
Like other oceanfront projects, this one would protect homes, delicate ecosystems and vital infrastructure, but it also has another priority: to shield some of the crown jewels of the petroleum industry, which is blamed for contributing to global warming and now wants the federal government to build safeguards against the consequences of it.
In the book he describes a movement “fed by the rivulets of hate mongering and disinformation-fuelled propaganda flowing out of rightwing media for at least a decade and the hospitable dark environment provided by a virtual blackout in mainstream media concerning the growth of rightwing extremism”t
The savagery of US conservative media, he says, is one of the key differences between the United States and New Zealand.
“I don’t think we can escape the fact that in the US we have a cable TV station that at least 22 hours a day and seven days a week is devoted to coaching half of America to hate the other half,” Neiwert says. “That’s been going on for 20 years or more, and it’s had a profoundly toxic effect on our discourse, our social contract, our view of each other.
Australia cannot stay silent about Trump
Donald Trump is the present spokesman for this derangement, the fear’s instrument and its preposterous embodiment. Trump is a racist, an ignoramus, a huckster and a creep. The human face of our US ally is contemptuous of human rights, the free press and any democratic norm or diplomatic protocol that doesn’t suit him, or which he thinks can be trashed to his political advantage. In addition to the trade war he recently started, the US under Trump’s “America First” banner has handed China undreamed of high ground and momentous strategic gifts by retreating from its role as Asia’s security provider. The Trans Pacific Partnership on which Australian governments set so much store, Trump knocked on the head. He flirts with authoritarian thugs while attacking, mocking and undermining democratic allies and institutions of the so-called rules-based international order. He has demolished truth, or what was left of it. He may even be Vladimir Putin’s stooge.
Astronomical gap between the pay of workers and bosses exposed in report on earnings of America’s top 350 CEOs
The Maoist Revolution in China was inspired by tesesorts of numbers. (ODT)
This is the uneducated POTUS who leads a Radicalized and Terrorist Nation. Osama bin Laden was an educated man who resisted.Who will be remembered histotically as a “good man”? (ODT)
Mr Trump managed to dent his everyman status when he suggested that American grocery shoppers have to show ID to buy stuff.
In this he quickly joined several presidents of various stripes before him who have demonstrated that they have no idea how much a gallon of milk costs and have, indeed, rarely queued to buy tinned tomatoes and a loaf of bread.
“We believe that only American citizens should vote in American elections, which is why the time has come for voter ID like everything else,” he said.
“Voter ID. If you go out and you want to buy groceries you need a picture on a card, you need ID.
“You go out and you want to buy anything, you need ID, and you need your picture.
“In this country, the only time you don’t need it in many cases is when you want to vote for a president, when you want to vote for a senator, when you want to vote for a governor or a congressman. It’s crazy.”
“Socialism is no longer a dirty word in the U.S.”
No society should function with this level of inequality (with the possible exception of one of those prison planets in a “Star Wars” movie). Sixty-three percent of Americans can’t afford a $500 emergency. Yet Amazon head Jeff Bezos is now worth a record $141 billion. He could literally end world hunger for multiple years and still have more money left over than he could ever spend on himself.
Worldwide, one in 10 people only make $2 a day. Do you know how long it would take one of those people to make the same amount as Jeff Bezos has? 193 million years. (If they only buy single-ply toilet paper.) Put simply, you cannot comprehend the level of inequality in our current world or even just our nation.
So…shouldn’t there be riots in the streets every day? Shouldn’t it all be collapsing? Look outside. The streets aren’t on fire. No one is running naked and screaming (usually). Does it look like everyone’s going to work at gunpoint? No. We’re all choosing to continue on like this.
Well, it comes down to the myths we’ve been sold. Myths that are ingrained in our social programming from birth, deeply entrenched, like an impacted wisdom tooth. These myths are accepted and basically never questioned.
Democrats need to learn what the Republicans have understood for decades: that to win, the party needs a message that embraces the passions, values, and agenda of grassroots leaders.
China and the United States face a wider trade war after Beijing vowed on Wednesday to retaliate over Washington’s threat to impose $200bn in additional tariffs on Chinese goods.
“Wheeler is much smarter and will try to keep his efforts under the radar in implementing Trump’s destructive agenda,” Jeremy Symons, vice president for political affairs at the Environmental Defense Fund told Politico in May of this year. “That should scare anyone who breathes.”Wheeler has spent more than two decades in Washington. His first job was working as a top aide for Oklahoma senator James Inhofe—the man who so vehemently denies that climate change is real, he once threw a snowball (video) in the middle of Congress.Before taking the job at the EPA, Wheeler worked as an energy lobbyist on Capitol Hill. One of his biggest clients was Murray Energy, which is one of the largest coal companies in the country. Murray’s CEO Robert Murray has supported Trump for years, and long worked to do away with health and safety regulations like the Clean Power Plan. Wheeler was responsible for setting up meetings between Murray and Energy Secretary Rick Perry according to the Washington Post.
Correction Robb secured the ALP’s FTA’s he merely was a minister who signed on the dotted line. The ALP did the hard yards. (ODT)
Former trade minister Andrew Robb has attacked United States policy towards China, saying both sides of politics in Washington were obsessed with a “futile and counterproductive” effort to contain the rising Asian power.
Mr Robb, who has received a large salary as a consultant to Chinese firm Landbridge, launched the broadside against Australia’s major ally during a speech to the mining industry on Monday night.
The former minister, who secured several free trade agreements during his time in government, including that with Beijing, said both China and India were re-emerging as major players in Asia and would “share” power with the US over the course of this century.
The influential Pakistani military is heavily dependent on the US for its equipment and arms, while Pakistan’s wobbly economy may soon need a loan from the US-led International Monetary Fund (IMF).
However Pakistan also owes China a lot of money, and in truth America and it have been drifting apart at least since the Obama administration. Therefore the growing quarrel between its two patrons puts Islamabad in a tricky geopolitical position. For all the advantages of being able to play each off against the other in the short term, Islamabad will be hoping it can avoid having to choose between them.
Remaining 46 countries on UN Human Rights Council:
Africa: Angola, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia
Asia/Pacific: Australia, China, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea
Europe: Belgium, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom
Latin America/Caribbean: Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Venezuela
Middle East: Afghanistan, Iraq, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates
“Americans might want to learn how to take Chomsky’s challenge—imagine ourselves in others’ situation—before it’s too late to imagine anything at all.”
An early challenge to Uncle Sam’s purported right to manage postwar world affairs from the banks of the Potomac came in 1950. Korean forces, joined by Chinese troops, pushed back against the United States’ invasion of North Korea. Washington responded with a merciless bombing campaign that flattened all of North Korea’s cities and towns. U.S. Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay boasted that “we burned down every town in North Korea” and proudly guessed that Uncle Sam’s gruesome air campaign, replete with napalm and chemical weapons, murdered 20 percent of North Korea’s population. This and more was recounted without a hint of shame—with pride, in fact—in the leading public U.S. military journals of the time. As Noam Chomsky, the world’s leading intellectual, explained five years ago, the U.S. was not content just to demolish the country’s urban zones:
Mr. Fish / Truthdig
NEW YORK—Seventeen years of war in the Middle East and what do we have to show for it? Iraq after our 2003 invasion and occupation is no longer a unified country. Its once modern infrastructure is largely destroyed, and the nation has fractured into warring enclaves. We have lost the war in Afghanistan. The Taliban is resurgent and has a presence in over 70 percent of the country. Libya is a failed state. Yemen after three years of relentless airstrikes and a blockade is enduring one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. The 500 “moderate” rebels we funded and armed in Syria at a cost of $500 million are in retreat after instigating a lawless reign of terror. The military adventurism has cost a staggering $5.6 trillion as our infrastructure crumbles, austerity guts basic services and half the population of the United States lives at or near poverty levels. The endless wars in the Middle East are the biggest strategic blunder in American history and herald the death of the empire.
What does all this mean? Over two years have passed without any further comment about the WGAD’s findings by the Turnbull Government. Now the Government is paying lip service to the existence and role of the WGAD – as it must as a conscientious member of the United Nations – but refusing publicly to accept or even acknowledge its findings in relation to Mr Assange’s detention, let alone in any way trying to address them.
Given our Government’s demonstrated capacity, when it puts its mind to it, to effect the early release of Australian citizens from curial processes and prisons in other countries – and given that the foundational proceedings against Assange by Sweden have now evaporated – it surely has an obligation to act on the findings of the WGAD and negotiate the safe repatriation of Mr Assange from England back to Australia.
One only needs to remember how the USA invaded Iraq, Vietnam, and assisted ib secret actions in the Central and Latin America and has a military presance in some 153 countries to realize to realize their business is war and maintaining a presence and the control of oil in Saudi Arabia, (ODT)
Islamic State still keeps its presence in Syria, but only in US-controlled areas while those liberated by Syrian government forces areas are slowly recovering after terrorists’ defeat, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
“All the remaining pockets of resistance of ISIS terrorists in Syria are only in areas controlled by the United States,” Major-General Igor Konashenkov, a defense ministry spokesman, said on Saturday.
Earlier, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a bold statement that pulling out of the Arab Republic “must avoid leaving a vacuum in Syria that can be exploited by the Assad regime or its supporters,” in apparent reference to Iran and Russia.
Russia has been fighting terrorists in the country on the invitation of the Syrian government, while the US presence there has been deemed aggressive by Damascus.
Konashenkov pulled no punches on the US military official, reminding him that the Washington-led invasion in Iraq under a false pretext in fact led to the rise of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and eventually its expansion into war-ravaged Syria.
“Further expansion of ISIS in Syria became possible due to criminal inaction of the US and the so-called ‘international coalition,’ which resulted in quickly gaining control by ISIS militants over the main oil-bearing areas of Eastern Syria and constant flow of funds from the illegal sale of oil products,” Konashenkov said.
Washington supplied arms worth hundreds of millions to the “fictitious” Syrian opposition, while the vast majority of it ended up in hands of Al-Qaeda offshoot Al-Nusra Front, and Islamic State, he claimed. That, in Konashenkov’s view, shows that the terrorists groups’ goals in Syria coincide with Washington’s policies.
. Along the Southwestern Pacific Coast, flood frequencies are predicted to be about 70% higher in 2018 than in 2000 due to the predicted mild El Niño . . .
For centuries the U.S. has preached that it believes in democracy, freedom and self-determination, but its actions towards other countries speak louder than words. Internationally the U.S. is a predator and a bully. It subjugates small countries, corrupts them by backing right-wing dictators, and enables death squads to commit mass murder of all suspected dissidents. During the First Cold War leftists, anti-colonialists, nationalists and intellectuals were called “communists” and imprisoned, tortured and executed. Now they are called “terrorists”.
China’s middle-income earners had reached 400 million and is still growing.
Charlene Barshefsky, former US chief trade negotiator and China “Because it’s always important to be reminded that the ultimate aspirations most people in the world have are pretty much the same,” she said.:
“Then he took my arm and he waited till someone passed who spoke English, and as translated by this lovely fellow who stopped, he said, ‘I wanted to thank you. My son will have a better life’,” Barshefsky said, appreciating his politeness and how an average Chinese would anticipate the opportunities arising from the country’s entry into the WTO.
“I’ll never forget this,” Barshefsky said. It was the moment she realized the Chinese, too, have common aspirations, including a better life for their children. “He knew what WTO meant…This was completely astonishing to me, he equated economic improvements with personal improvements,” she said.
That equation is what’s missing in the United States, where economic improvement of the country is no longer viewed as personal improvement, she said. It is partly because of the absence of domestic policy measures to distribute US national wealth in a more equitable way, whether through better education, retraining or other measures, which would equate the rest of the country with national growth, she said.
“But this gentleman simply equated economic improvement with personal improvement…,” she said. And in China, “this is the case－there’s been extraordinary degrees of improvement in the lives of the people”.
As a foreign correspondent I covered collapsed societies, including the former Yugoslavia. It is impossible for any doomed population to grasp how fragile the decayed financial, social and political system is on the eve of implosion. All the harbingers of collapse are visible: crumbling infrastructure; chronic underemployment and unemployment; the indiscriminate use of lethal force by police; political paralysis and stagnation; an economy built on the scaffolding of debt; nihilistic mass shootings in schools, universities, workplaces, malls, concert venues and movie theaters; opioid overdoses that kill some 64,000 people a year; an epidemic of suicides; unsustainable military expansion; gambling as a desperate tool of economic development and government revenue; the capture of power by a tiny, corrupt clique; censorship; the physical diminishing of public institutions ranging from schools and libraries to courts and medical facilities; the incessant bombardment by electronic hallucinations to divert us from the depressing sight that has become America and keep us trapped in illusions. We suffer the usual pathologies of impending death. I would be happy to be wrong. But I have seen this before. I know the warning signs. All I can say is get ready.
If you are living in Israel, these days, you get the impression that the huge State of Israel is dictating to its American vassal what to do about Iran.
President Donald Trump listens and complies. Bibi the Great tells him to tear up the Iranian deal for no obvious reason, and he obeys. He has no choice, poor man
Budapest: European leaders have hinted at financial incentives or compensation for Iran to persuade it to stay it in the nuclear deal that the US has rejected.
And they are likely to act to protect European companies trading with Iran despite the US re-imposing sanctions.
The story didn’t say whether any of the reporters listening to General Dunford asked why it had taken more than 16 years for the world’s leading military power to come up with the “fundamentally different approach” that the general believes has put U.S. and Afghan forces on the path to success. (None of the changes he mentioned really sounded fundamental, either.) Still, it’s a question worth asking: If Americans are right in ceaselessly telling themselves that theirs is the most powerful country the world has ever seen and that their military is the “greatest fighting force ever,” as President Trump calls it, should it have been this hard and taken this long to find a way — if they really have — to defeat enemies whose war-making resources are a tiny fraction of ours?
ratings that castigate Afghanistan and some other poor countries as hopelessly “corrupt” always imply that the United States is not corrupt. This year’s report from Transparency International puts the US on a par with Austria, which is ridiculous. All kinds of people from politicians to businessmen would go to jail in Austria today if they engaged in practices that are quite common in the US.
Gunman kills 4 at Waffle House near Nashville
(CNN)A massive manhunt is underway for the gunman accused of killing four people early Sunday at a Waffle House near Nashville, Tennessee.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has added 29-year-old Travis Reinking to its “Top 10 Most Wanted” list after he allegedly opened fire at the restaurant in Antioch, southeast of Nashville at 3:19 a.m.
Reinking’s alleged motive is unknown and authorities warn that he may still be armed with a rifle and a hand gun.
What seems to be the priority that preoccupies this President and world leader today
US President Donald Trump has attacked former FBI Director James Comey as a “weak and untruthful slime ball”, reacting to news accounts that cite Mr Comey as hugely critical of the President in a memoir due to be published next week.
It was a promise of trickle down Bullshit and Trump delivered
“President Trump and Republicans gave huge tax cuts to big drug companies, big oil, and other corporations, but corporations are giving back little—if anything—to working families.”
ask yourself a simple question: What sort of war requires no sacrifice? What sort of war requires that almost no one in the country waging it take the slightest notice of it?
Austin, Texas: Deadly poisonings and attacks on Kremlin-linked figures are likely to meet little resistance from the White House, an American defence expert says.
As Cold War-era understandings on permissible spy behaviour unravel, there has been little US pressure to counter Russia’s suspected activities, Georgetown University national security professor Mark Jacobson told Fairfax Media.
“During the Cold War the Soviets were constrained by the threat of a US reaction,” Jacobson said. “Today there is no threat of action by this White House.”
Why is the US (and Australia) ideologically clinging to last century’s energy sources and technology? How dumb are we?
USA & Australia = Dumb and Dumber a History of Energy transformation live (OD)
Most of the steel the US imports comes from Canada, South Korea, Mexico, Brazil, Germany and Japan. China accounts for less than four per cent of total imports, Australia even less. And as an attempt to make the US great, it’ll backfire.
The Koch Brothers alone will spend $20 million on ads selling the tax bill. This is a drop in the bucket compared to the $1.4 billion they stand to gain every year in tax breaks. It’s also a tiny fraction of their overall campaign spending on the 2018 midterms elections, which is projected to reach $400 million.
The Kochs have their work cut out for them. A new poll from Politico shows most workers report seeing no increase in their take home pay after the new tax laws took effect.
This is important.
The whole premise behind adding $1.5 trillion to the debt, giving massive handouts to the ultra-wealthy, and giving a tax break to the nation’s most profitable corporations was that working folks would also get a bit of cash.
Turns out, they’re not seeing that money. But the PR push is having an impact.
Gun ownership in the United States, largely criminalized for poor people of color, is a potent tool of oppression. It does not protect us from tyranny. It is an instrument of tyranny.
via Guns and Liberty
Some of the biggest names in corporate America are coming under mounting pressure to cut ties with the National Rifle Association as gun safety activists on Friday intensified calls for a boycott in the wake of last week’s Florida high school massacre.
You’ll note you don’t hear about mass shootings in Australia, Japan or for the most part the United Kingdom, or other civilized countries whose politicians have not been bought by 10 major gun manufacturers.
Despite living her whole adult life in Texas, she was deported to Mexico after a traffic stop. She warned a U.S. Border Patrol agent, “When I am found dead, it will be on your conscience.” Within a week of her deportation, she was murdered by her ex-husband.
Now, with Bannon out, we enter the uncharted waters of having a president whose chief strategist is the television. No staff member has replaced Bannon; the new power behind the throne is Fox & Friends.