Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Eurovision a U.S. propaganda tool against Russia

Eurovision, the annual European song competition that launched the careers of the Swedish group Abba and Canada’s Celine Dion, has become nothing more than a propaganda tool of the United States.

Acting through gay rights and anti-Russian groups financed by George Soros, the United States managed this year to deny the Eurovision award to Sergey Lazarev, the popular Russian singer and the odds-on favorite to win. Instead, Eurovision, which was held in Stockholm, gave the award to the Ukrainian contestant Susana Jamaladynova or “Jamala” for a song about Soviet crimes against the Crimean Tatars during World War II. The song is titled “1944.” The Eurovision decision was based purely on politics and as a way to not only deny the Russian contestant a win but to punish Russia and its government.

The decision to give this year’s Eurovision prize to Ukraine was a political response to Russia’s reincorporation of Crimea into the Russian Federation after a right-wing coup ousted Ukraine’s elected president in 2014 and a referendum in Crimea voted to return to Russian rule.

Eurovision, which is a program of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), a consortium of 53 broadcasters from Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, states that politics will play no role in the Eurovision competition. However,at the 2014 Eurovision competition in Copenhagen, the winner was “Conchita Wurst,” a bearded Austrian drag queen whose actual name is Thomas Neuwirth. The award to Neuwirth was considered a slap at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s policies on LGBTs in Russia. The 2014 award to Neuwirth followed the 2009 entry of a song by Georgia that was titled “We don’t Wanna Put In.” For an organization that officially eschews politics, there is plenty to be found in Eurovision.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Bayer and Monsanto: A Marriage Made in Hell

In a world infected with a plethora of immoral multinational corporations, it is hard to think of two corporations which have more nefarious histories than Bayer AG and Monsanto. Considering this, it is a harrowing prospect that the two corporations could potentially strike a deal in the near future.

As Bloomberg reported earlier this month, Bayer AG – the German pharmaceutical and chemical corporation – is reportedly considering a bid for the agrochemical and biotechnology corporation, Monsanto. This comes two months after Monsanto showed some interest in acquiring Bayer Crop Sciences, a branch of Bayer AG.

Founded in 1863, Bayer may be familiar to many readers as the first company to widely sell and trademark Aspirin in the late nineteenth century. But there is a far more sinister history to this company that is often omitted.

The Inception of Chemical Warfare

April 22nd, 1915 is widely considered to be the first successful large-scale use of poison gas in warfare, when the Germany army deployed chlorine gas against the French lines at the start of the Second Battle of Ypres. In January of that year, German forces had released gas against Russian forces, yet the cold conditions inhibited the main agents in the weapon from having the desired impact.

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Danger of Demonization

Does any intelligent person look at a New York Times article about Russia or Vladimir Putin these days and expect to read an objective, balanced account? Or will it be laced with a predictable blend of contempt and ridicule? And is it any different at The Washington Post, NPR, MSNBC, CNN or almost any mainstream U.S. news outlet?

And it’s not just Russia. The same trend holds true for Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Nicaragua and other countries and movements that have fallen onto the U.S. government’s “enemies list.” We saw the same pattern with Saddam Hussein and Iraq before the 2003 U.S. invasion; with Muammar Gaddafi and Libya before the U.S.-orchestrated bombing campaign in 2011; and with President Viktor Yanukovych and Ukraine before the U.S.-backed coup in 2014.

That is not to say that these countries and leaders don’t deserve criticism; they do. But the proper role of the press corps – at least as I was taught during my early years at The Associated Press – was to treat all evidence objectively and all sides fairly. Just because you might not like someone doesn’t mean your feelings should show through or the facts should be forced through a prism of bias.

In those “old days,” that sort of behavior was deemed unprofessional and you would expect a senior editor to come down hard on you. Now, however, it seems that you’d only get punished if you quoted some dissident or allowed such a person onto an op-ed page or a talk show, someone who didn’t share Official Washington’s “group think” about the “enemy.” Deviation from “group think” has become the real disqualifier.

Yet, this conformity should be shocking and unacceptable in a country that prides itself on freedom of thought and speech. Indeed, much of the criticism of “enemy” states is that they supposedly practice various forms of censorship and permit only regime-friendly propaganda to reach the public.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

SNOWDEN ARCHIVE ——THE SIDTODAY FILES

The SIDtoday Files is where The Intercept will be releasing articles from SIDtoday, an internal publication of the National Security Agency. The articles are written in accessible, non-technical language and offer a window into the NSA’s culture and operations. They originate from within the Signals Intelligence Directorate, or SID, the NSA’s core spying division, and were provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

We’ll be releasing these files in large batches, starting with articles from the period after SIDtoday’s inception in March 2003. The articles will be subjected to editorial evaluation, legal review, research, reporting, and redaction, described in this overview. They will be accompanied by related Intercept news articles when appropriate.

While we have focused on the parts of these documents we find most compelling, we anticipate readers will find other information of interest in the files we are sharing. If you see something interesting you’d like to share with us, please reach out as described below.

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Friday, May 13, 2016

Trump or Ryan: Who Speaks for GOP?

“No modern precedent exists for the revival of a party so badly defeated, so intensely discredited, and so essentially split as the Republican Party is today.”
Taken from “The Party That Lost Its Head” (1966) by Bruce Chapman and George Gilder, this excerpt, about Barry Goldwater’s defeat in 1964, led Thursday’s column by E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post.

Dionne is warning what could happen if the GOP perpetrates the political atrocity of nominating Donald Trump.

For weeks now, the Post‘s editorial page has sermonized about the “moral” obligation of all righteous Republicans to repudiate Trump.

The Post‘s solicitude for the well-being of the Republican Party is the stuff of legend. Yet it is a bit jarring to see these champions of abortion on demand, same-sex marriage, and visitation rights for cross-dressers in the girls’ room, standing in a pulpit lecturing on morality.

Yet, there was something off about that Chapman-Gilder quote.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Nationalism, Patriotism, and Libertarianism

I was struck by a tweet from libertarian Republican congressman Justin Amash, who has become the “new Ron Paul” now that the three-time presidential candidate and libertarian icon has taken a well-deserved rest from politics. The other day he tweeted:

“Patriotism & nationalism are profoundly different. Patriotism is love of country. FA Hayek called nationalism ‘a twin brother of socialism.’”

Amash, who has vowed to never support GOP frontrunner and likely presidential nominee Donald Trump, undoubtedly had the New York real estate mogul in mind, but no matter what one thinks of The Donald, Amash is quite wrong about the nature of American nationalism and the meaning of “patriotism.”

To begin with, Hayek was clearly talking about European nationalism, not the American variety. I’ll get to the difference between them, but I want first to point out the irony of Amash’s citation of this particular Hayek quote, because the great libertarian theorist was here talking about the problem of centralization: that is, the growing tendency of smaller political units to be subordinated to and swallowed up by bigger entities.

If we place Hayek’s discussion in the present context, then it becomes clear that nationalism is not the enemy but a (potential) friend of liberty. For the modern trend is toward supra-national entities, like the European Union, the UN, and the North American “Free Trade” Agreement, which are engaged in erecting precisely that “society which is consciously organized from the top” so abhorred by Hayek. When nationalism is arrayed against globalism, i.e. against the concept of a regional super-state, or even a World State, libertarians must clearly take sides with the former.

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Monday, May 09, 2016

Obama: TTIP Necessary To Protect Megabanks From Prosecution

On May 7th, Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten, or German Economic News, headlined, “USA planen mit TTIP Frontal-Angriff auf Gerichte in Europa” or “U.S. Plans Frontal Attack on Europe’s Courts via TTIP,” and reported that, “America’s urgency to sign TTIP with Europe has solid reason: Megabanks must protect themselves from claims by European investors who allege that they were cheated during the debt crisis. … The U.S. Ambassador to Italy has now let the cat out of the bag on this — probably unintentionally.”

In this particular case, the megabank that’s being sued isn’t American but German, Deutsche Bank, which the U.S. Ambassador to Italy has cited as his example to defend, perhaps so as to appeal to Germans to protect their megabanks against lawsuits from foreign investors (such as Italians) who complain. In that case it was investors in the Italian city of Trani, population 53,000. The smallness of the city was an issue the Ambassador raised against the suit’s having been brought there.

Reuters headlined on May 6th, “Italian prosecutor investigates Deutsche Bank over 2011 bond sale”, and reported that, “An Italian prosecutor is investigating Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) over its sale of 7 billion euros ($8 billion) of Italian government bonds five years ago, an investigative source told Reuters. A prosecutor in Trani, a town in southern Italy, is investigating because Deutsche Bank allegedly told clients in a research note in early 2011 that Italy’s public debt was no cause for concern, and then sold almost 90 percent of its own holding of the country’s bonds.” The U.S. bond-rating agencies are also subjects in this suit, because Trani had relied upon their ratings of those bonds.

The Obama Administration (through its Italian Ambassador) seems thus to be saying, in effect, that unless TTIP is passed into law, Europe’s megabanks (and the U.S. bond-rating agencies, S&P, Moody’s and Fitch) will be able successfully to be sued by cheated investors, just as has been happening with such American banks as JPMorgan/Chase and Goldman Sachs in the United States, which — since TTIP hasn’t yet been in force anywhere, including in the U.S. — were forced to pay billions to cheated investors. Apparently, Obama would be happier if those suits had been impossible in the U.S. The argument here, though only implicitly, seems to be that TTIP is the way to protect megabanks and the bond-rating firms. It concerns specifically the selling of sophisticated derivative investments.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Government-Sponsored Corporatism Leading to Rise of Populism

As we’ve often pointed out, there are three areas where judicial force has been applied, swelling corporations to titanic sizes.

The first is intellectual property rights.

If corporations had to protect their own trade secrets rather than relying on government to do it for them, it is very probable that many corporations would be a good deal smaller.

The second is corporate personhood.

Corporate personhood makes it a good deal easier for individuals to avoid culpability for corporate acts.

Those lodged within a corporation can often avoid penalties that would otherwise expose them to significant personal jeopardy. Because they stay in charge, continuity isn’t disrupted and exceptionally aggressive corporate strategies can be maintained.

The third area is monopoly central banking.

Monopoly fiat money benefits the world’s largest corporations inordinately. The money coming out of central banks, especially Western central banks, often finds its way to the largest multinationals first, providing significant liquidity to these massive entities.

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Dishonoring General Jackson

In Samuel Eliot Morison’s “The Oxford History of the American People,” there is a single sentence about Harriet Tubman.

“An illiterate field hand, (Tubman) not only escaped herself but returned repeatedly and guided more than 300 slaves to freedom.”

Morison, however, devotes most of five chapters to the greatest soldier-statesman in American history, save Washington, that pivotal figure between the Founding Fathers and the Civil War — Andrew Jackson.

Slashed by a British officer in the Revolution, and a POW at 14, the orphaned Jackson went west, rose to head up the Tennessee militia, crushed an Indian uprising at Horseshoe Bend, Alabama, in the War of 1812, then was ordered to New Orleans to defend the threatened city.

In one of the greatest victories in American history, memorialized in song, Jackson routed a British army and aborted a British scheme to seize New Orleans, close the Mississippi, and split the Union.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

THERE'S ONLY FREE SPEECH ON CAMPUS FOR ONE POINT OF VIEW

Every time one thinks American campus culture can't get any more ridiculous, a new standard in absurdity is set. 

Just last week we had three separate examples from different universities in different parts of America. The common theme through all of them, though, is that campus leftists claim to be offended by some speech or activity they don't like and demand that others be banned from saying or doing whatever they don't want them to say or do. 

It almost always follows this basic formula:


  • Someone on campus does or says something that leftist students claim is "offensive" to them;
  • Some sort of protest breaks out by said leftists, which may or may not include violence or property damage;
  • The protesters take their hurt feelings to campus administrators and demand the speech or activity be silenced or banned;
  • Administrators either cave to the demands of the leftists in an attempt to appease them or join forces with them in feigned outrage and twist logic and torture words trying to justify their banning of the speech or activity the leftists are protesting. It's quite pitiful.


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