Thursday, October 23, 2014

What is wrong with Gareth Porter—an interview

A few days ago, I came across a disturbing article on Buzzfeed. The headline read; “U.S. Journalist Regrets Attending Conspiracy Conference In Tehran.” According to Buzzfeed, Gareth Porter, a respected journalist and critic of the Jewish lobby and Israel, reported that he would have never have attended the “conference in Tehran if he had known the real views of his fellow attendees.”

But the report didn’t stop there. In an attempt to justify his position, Porter proceeded to breach the ethics of journalism—he published an email correspondence with a top Iranian official without requesting permission to do so. Porter didn’t even bother to correct the spelling and typos of the Iranian official.

Porter purported to speak on behalf of other activists and writers, again, without obtaining their consent. And as if all this was not sufficient, Porter went on to smear other activists and condemned their elementary exercise of freedom of speech.

But the entire story is not all bad. While most non-ethical conspirators operate in a clandestine manner, Porter exposed his methods. For some reason he provided a precious glimpse into the entire spectrum of ugly tactics that are employed to keep the gates sealed. It is not a secret that instead of choosing to be a guardian of the truth, the contemporary progressive operates as a guardian of the discourse, or, more accurately, ‘the progressive discourse.’

The Buzzfeed article is a very sad piece. It conveys an image of a weak human being desperate to save his reputation. In order to do so he tries every trick he knows. Sadly, he achieves the opposite. In his attempt to smear Mark Glenn, the man behind The Ugly Truth Radio Network, Porter quotes Glenn out of context. He fails to comply with even the minimum journalistic standard of fairness and provide a URL reference for his quotation. One would expect this from Dershowitz, but not from a ‘progressive dissident.’

Read the entire article

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Scathing List of Obama’s Accomplishments as First Black President

Everyone should stop trashing President Barack Obama. He has quite the list of accomplishments. Obama has exceeded any other President that has come before him. Here’s the impressive list of his hard earned accomplishments:

  1. First President to have a social security number from a state he has never lived in.
  2. First President to preside over a cut to the credit-rating of the United States.
  3. First President to be held in contempt of court for illegally obstructing oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
  4. First President to require all Americans to purchase a product from a third party.
  5. First President to spend $50 billion on “shovel-ready” jobs when there was no such thing as “shovel-ready” jobs.
  6. First President to order an amnesty program that stopped the deportation of illegal immigrants across the U.S., including those with criminal convictions.
  7. First President to demand a company hand-over $20 billion to one of his political appointees.
  8. First President to tell a CEO of a major corporation to resign.
  9. First President to terminate America’s Space Shuttle program.
  10. First President to cancel the National Day of Prayer and to say that America is no longer a Christian nation.
  11. First President to have a law signed by an auto-pen without being present.
  12. First President to arbitrarily declare an existing law unconstitutional and refuse to enforce it.
  13. First President to threaten insurance companies if they publicly spoke out on the reasons for their rate increases.
  14. First President to tell a major manufacturing company in which state it is allowed to locate a factory.
  15. First President to file lawsuits against the states he swore an oath to protect (AZ, WI, OH, IN).

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Saudi oil war against Russia, Iran and the US

Saudi Arabia has unleashed an economic war against selected oil producers. The strategy masks the House of Saud’s real agenda. But will it work?

Rosneft Vice President Mikhail Leontyev; “Prices can be manipulative…Saudi Arabia has begun making big discounts on oil. This is political manipulation, and Saudi Arabia is being manipulated, which could end badly.”

A correction is in order; the Saudis are not being manipulated. What the House of Saud is launching is “Tomahawks of spin,” insisting they’re OK with oil at $90 a barrel; also at $80 for the next two years; and even at $50 to $60 for Asian and North American clients.

The fact is Brent crude had already fallen to below $90 a barrel because China – and Asia as a whole – was already slowing down economically, although to a lesser degree compared to the West. 
Production, though, remained high – especially by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait - even with very little Libyan and Syrian oil on the market and with Iran forced to cut exports by a million barrels a day because of the US economic war, a.k.a. sanctions.

The House of Saud is applying a highly predatory pricing strategy, which boils down to reducing market share of its competitors, in the middle- to long-term. At least in theory, this could make life miserable for a lot of players – from the US (energy development, fracking and deepwater drilling become unprofitable) to producers of heavy, sour crude such as Iran and Venezuela. Yet the key target, make no mistake, is Russia. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Should we just follow orders?

The perils of resisting the police state grow more costly with each passing day, especially if you hope to escape with your life and property intact. The thing you must remember is that we’ve entered an age of militarized police in which we’re no longer viewed as civilians but as enemy combatants. 

Take, for example, Mary Elizabeth VandenBerg who was charged with disturbing the peace, a crime punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine, for daring to vocalize her frustrations over a traffic ticket by reading a prepared statement to the court clerk and paying her $145 traffic ticket with 145 one-dollar bills. VandenBerg was also handcuffed, Tasered and pepper sprayed for “passively” resisting police by repeatedly stopping and talking to them and stiffening her arms. The incident, filmed by VandenBerg’s brother, is now the subject of a lawsuit. 

Zachary Noel was Tasered by police and charged with resisting arrest after he questioned why he was being ordered out of his truck during a traffic stop. “Because I’m telling you to,” the officer replied before repeating his order for Noel to get out of the vehicle and then, without warning, shooting him with a Taser through the open window. The encounter, recorded with a cell phone by Noel’s friend in the passenger seat, offers a particularly chilling affirmation of how little recourse Americans really have when it comes to obeying an order from a government official or police officer, even if it’s just to ask a question or assert one’s rights. 

Eighteen-year-old Keivon Young was shot seven times by police from behind while urinating outdoors. Young was just zipping up his pants when he heard a commotion behind him and then found himself struck by a hail of bullets from two undercover cops. Despite the fact that the officers mistook Young—5’4,” 135 lbs., and guilty of nothing more than taking a leak outdoors—for a 6’ tall, 200 lb. murder suspect whom they later apprehended, the young man was charged with felony resisting arrest and two counts of assaulting a peace officer. 

What these incidents make clear is that anything short of compliance will now get you charged with any of the growing number of contempt charges (ranging from resisting arrest and interference to disorderly conduct, obstruction, and failure to obey a police order) that get trotted out anytime a citizen voices discontent with the government or challenges or even questions the authority of the powers that be—and that’s the best case scenario. The worst case scenario involves getting probed, poked, pinched, Tasered, tackled, searched, seized, stripped, manhandled, arrested, shot, or killed. 

Read the entire article

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ebola, ‘Scaremongering,’ and the Epidemiology of Interventionism

The U.S. government is good at doing what it’s not supposed to be doing – invading other countries without provocation, utilizing "soft power" in order to pull off regime change, enriching politically favored economic interests under the guise of promoting "democracy" – and very bad at doing what it really ought to be doing, i.e. protecting Americans from actual physical harm emanating from overseas.

Overthrowing "rogue" regimes? Check!

Protecting the American people from highly contagious diseases? Forget about it.

Over 300 U.S. troops have been sent to Liberia, the epicenter of the current Ebola outbreak, with 700 expected in the country by the end of October. As many as 4000 are projected to be part of the effort eventually, although officials maintain that this number is likely to be variable. Their purpose? According to this Associated Press report:

"The Marines and their aircraft will help with air transportation and ferrying of supplies, overcoming road congestion in Monrovia and bad roads outside the capital, said Capt. R. Carter Langston, spokesman for the U.S. mission. A priority will be transporting building materials to treatment unit sites. The U.S. has said it will oversee construction of 17 treatment units with 100 beds each."

So we’re sending hundreds, possibly thousands of U.S. soldiers in order to … direct traffic?
Senator Rand Paul has challenged this policy, raising the possibility of a planeload of U.S. soldiers exposed to the virulent Ebola virus returning to American shores – and spreading the virus in this country, with catastrophic results. He’s been attacked for this by the Obama-loving media for "scaremongering," as the Daily Beast’s Sally Kohn puts it:

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Hong Kong's Identity Crisis

Chan would claim, "we are facing an identity crisis in Hong Kong, particularity in the younger generation, people born after 1987 whose never known life other than under Chinese sovereignty. Hong Kong people pride themselves on the fact that we have an identity that is separate from the rest of China, we have core values rooted firmly in the rule of law, an open transparent accountable government, in protecting the rights and freedoms that we enjoyed under British colonial rule and which are protected under our constitution, the Basic Law. But today we see all these values being eroded."

Indeed, Hong Kong does face an identity crisis. It has irreversibly become once again a part of China after 142 years of foreign occupation by Britain. China now is a nation rising upon the world's stage, exercising increasingly what could be called "soft power" and developing its own institutions, organizations and laws to manage society and to conduct business both within China's territory and beyond it. What is eroding is not "the rule of law" or any of the other values Chan cited, but rather the West's versions of them as they existed under British colonial rule. These versions are being supplanted and incrementally replaced by China's own institutions, legal and socioeconomic structures as they should be.

What is left of British colonial rule over Hong Kong was originally designed to serve the British Empire, or in other words, emptying out the resources and prosperity of foreign lands, and consolidating it on behalf of London.

Later during the event in Washington, Anson Chan along with Martin Lee, a political activist, lawyer, former legislator and now co-organizers of the ongoing Occupy Central protests, would be confronted with the fact that mainland Chinese cities like Shanghai appear positioned to overtake Hong Kong as a regional financial center.

Both Chan and Lee would insist that Hong Kong's devotion to the vestigial institutions left over from nearly a century and a half of British occupation were not only the keys to Hong Kong's past success, but the keys also to its future success as well as in maintaining its primacy as a financial and trade center for both China and greater Asia.


Read the entire article

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

America’s “Terrorist Academy” in Iraq Produced ISIS Leaders

The Obama administration’s determination to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is pushing the Middle East towards a regional war that could lead to a confrontation between the two nuclear-armed rivals, Russia and the United States.

Last week, Turkey joined the US-led coalition following a vote in parliament approving a measure to give the government the authority to launch military action against Isis in Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made it clear that Turkish involvement would come at a price, and that price would be the removal of al Assad. According to Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News:
“Turkey will not allow coalition members to use its military bases or its territory in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) if the objective does not also include ousting the Bashar al-Assad regime, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hinted on Oct. 1… 
“We are open and ready for any cooperation in the fight against terrorism. However, it should be understood by everybody that Turkey is not a country in pursuit of temporary solutions, nor will Turkey allow others to take advantage of it,” Erdoğan said in his lengthy address to Parliament.”.. 
“Turkey cannot be content with the current situation and cannot be a by-stander and spectator in the face of such developments.” (“Turkey will fight terror but not for temporary solutions: Erdoğan“, Hurriyet)
Officials in the Obama administration applauded Turkey’s decision to join the makeshift coalition. U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel hailed the vote as a “very positive development” while State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “We welcome the Turkish Parliament’s vote to authorize Turkish military action…We’ve had numerous high-level discussions with Turkish officials to discuss how to advance our cooperation in countering the threat posed by ISIL in Iraq and Syria.”

Friday, October 03, 2014

10 Myths About Obama’s Latest War in Iraq and Syria

1. Islamic State presents an immediate threat to the people of the U.S.

2. The U.S. is not waging war, but a “counterterrorism operation.”

3. The U.S. has no boots on the ground.

4. The U.S. has formed a viable coalition to defeat Islamic State.

5. The U.S. can fight IS and other extremists without simultaneously helping Bashar Assad, Iran and Hezbollah.

6. The U.S. supports only moderate rebels.

7. The U.S. fights to defend human rights and the rule of law, not oil.

8. President Obama has the legal authority to bomb both Iraq and Syria.

9. The Kurdish leaders are staunch allies against IS.

10. The U.S. never negotiates ransoms with terrorists, unlike those slippery French.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The crimes of Eric Holder

Good riddance!

Eric Holder has announced that he is leaving his post of Attorney General, which he has sullied and degraded for six years.

A corporate lawyer with the Wall Street law firm Covington & Burling, Holder will be remembered for his timid defense of civil rights; his overseeing and even encouragement of the massive militarization of the nation’s police forces; his anti-First Amendment efforts to pursue not just whistleblowers but the journalists who use them; threatening both with jail and in fact jailing a number of them (particularly in the case of whistleblower extraordinaire Edward Snowden, and WikiLeaks journalist Julian Assange, both of whom reportedly face US treason charges); and his weak enforcement of environmental protection laws.

But Holder, who came into his position as the nation’s top law enforcement officer in early 2009 at the start of the Obama administration and at the height of the financial crisis, will be best remembered for his overt announcement that there would be no attempt to prosecute the criminals at the top of the nation’s top banks, whose brazen crimes of theft, deceit, fraud and perjury during the Bush/Cheney years and beyond sank not just the US but the global economy into a crisis which is still with us.

Holder not only did not make any effort to put Wall Street’s banking titans behind bars for their epic crimes, he did not even make them step down from their exalted and absurdly highly compensated executive positions when his office reached negotiated settlements with the banks in civil cases involving those crimes—civil cases that almost always allowed the banks to settle without even having to admit their guilt. (His ludicrous excuse: punishing these criminal executive might jeopardize the banks’ stocks and hurt “innocent” shareholders!)