Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Putin’s Complaint

The idea that the United States must exercise "global leadership" is rationalized by our interventionists as a necessary perquisite for maintaining some type of "world order." Who will guard the sea lanes? Who will deter "aggression"? Who will defend the "rules" against those "rogue states" just waiting for an opportunity to wreak havoc, if not the United States of America?

No "mainstream" politician dares challenge this mythology, and those academics and popular writers who do so risk being marginalized. Challenging the motives of our wise rulers isn’t good for your career: that is, not if you want to have any influence in Washington. And while it’s okay to question whether this episode of meddling or that murderous invasion is really in our interest, the benevolence and historical legitimacy of the American empire is not to be questioned. Because, after all, the theoreticians of imperialism say, without the stability enforced by America’s military supremacy "liberalism" could not exist.

This is how the world is seen inside the Washington Beltway, where the monuments of Empire loom large and more than half the population owes its livelihood to the Imperium. Outside that bubble of hubris and skyrocketing real estate values, however, the world looks to be quite a different place – as does America’s role in it.

To an Iraqi citizen, who has watched his nation be torn to pieces by the American eagle, stability is the last thing he associates with the Americans. To a Libyan who had hopes his country might evolve into something more than Gaddafi’s playground, "order" fled the moment the Americans intervened. To a resident of eastern Ukraine who voted in an internationally-recognized election for Victor Yanukovych – and who awoke one morning to discover his government had been overthrown by force – America is anything but the champion of liberal democracy.

But of course none of these peoples – Iraqis, Libyans, Ukrainians – count for much in the Imperial City. Their wishes, hopes, dreams, and opinions are irrelevant to the making of American foreign policy: they are outside the pale, forever exiled to that netherworld separating the West from the rest. And there is no race or nation farther outside that pale than the Russians, who lost the cold war and therefore – in Washington’s view – have ceded any power or influence they once had over the calculations of US policymakers.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Canada and the War on Terror: The Ottawa Shootings, What Really Happened?

Prime Minister Steven Harper and the Canadian federal government are using the shooting rampage on Parliament Hill as a justification for imposing surveillance and detainment measures that they were already implementing and going forward with.

On October 22, 2014 a solitary gunman named Michael Zehaf-Bibeau (originally Michael Joseph Hall) from the city of Laval, Quebec went on a shooting spree in downtown Ottawa, the capital of Canada.

Firstly, it was reported that there were shootings in the Rideau Centre which from the northern side of the Mackenzie King Bridge faces National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ), the nerve of Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND). This proved to be false or wrong. The gunman had killed a reservist guard in front of the National War Memorial and then made his way northward to Parliament Hill.

Secondly, it was reported that there were multiple gunmen. As a result all government employees were not allowed to enter or leave their respective buildings throughout the interprovincial National Capital Region, which includes the city of Gatineau. Although the police did the right thing in taking precautions to make sure that there were no other gunmen and declined to give explanations, the public was led to believe that there were multiple shooters. This justified the lockdown and suspension of mobility that took place for hours.

A lot of important questions also remain unanswered. NBC News reported on October 8, 2014 that US intelligence officials told it «that Canadian authorities have heard would-be terrorists discussing potential ISIS-inspired ‘knife and gun’ attacks» inside Canada. Canadian officials, however, dismissed the report. Did US intelligence know something that its Canadian counterparts did not know? Why the contradictions?

Another important question is the following: how could an armed gunman that had already started a rampage make his way into the Centre Bloc of the Canadian Parliament unchallenged? Anyone that has been to Parliament Hill knows that there is a relatively large armed presence on the whole area and, specifically, at the entranceway and doors which is comprised of Canada’s national police force (the Royal Canadian Mounted Police), the local municipal police (the Ottawa Police Services), and two special federal forces (the House of Commons Security Services and Senate Security).

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