Category Archives: USA

How Reaganomics Changed Corporations

Thom Hartmann comments on a Roosevelt Institute report that corporations today don’t stimulate investment, growth, and wages because, additional funds are funneled to shareholders through buybacks and dividends.’ (The Thom Hartmann Program)

Why the rise of fascism is again the issue

John Pilger writes:

ukraine_obama_nobel.JPGThe recent 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was a reminder of the great crime of fascism, whose Nazi iconography is embedded in our consciousness. Fascism is preserved as history, as flickering footage of goose-stepping blackshirts, their criminality terrible and clear. Yet in the same liberal societies, whose war-making elites urge us never to forget, the accelerating danger of a modern kind of fascism is suppressed; for it is their fascism.

“To initiate a war of aggression…,” said the Nuremberg Tribunal judges in 1946, “is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

Had the Nazis not invaded Europe, Auschwitz and the Holocaust would not have happened. Had the United States and its satellites not initiated their war of aggression in Iraq in 2003, almost a million people would be alive today; and Islamic State, or ISIS, would not have us in thrall to its savagery. They are the progeny of modern fascism, weaned by the bombs, bloodbaths and lies that are the surreal theatre known as news.’

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Hollywood and the New Cold War: Interview with Ted Rall

‘We know a media information war is in full swing. But where does it stop? Hollywood? Where Pussy riot meets Vladimir Putin on Netflix’s “House of Cards”. Where Russian cyber terrorists are pushed into surrendering by threats of rating Pussy Riot and Putin on to their desktops in CBS’s “The Good Wife”. And then there’s just blatant remembering of colder times with FX’s “The Americans”. Political Cartoonist Ted Rall breaks it down.’ (In The Now)

Death, Drugs, and HSBC: How fraudulent blood money makes the world go round

Nafeez Ahmed writes for Medium:

‘Recent reporting on illegal tax evasion by the world’s second largest bank, HSBC, opens a window onto the pivotal role of Western banks in facilitating organised crime, drug-trafficking and Islamist terrorism. Governments know this, but they are powerless to act, not just because they’ve been bought by the banks: but because criminal and terror financing is integral to global capitalism. Now one whistleblower who uncovered an estimated billion pounds worth of HSBC fraud in Britain, suppressed by the British media, is preparing a prosecution that could blow wide open the true scale of criminal corruption in the world’s finance capital.’

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Why Iran Believes ISIS is a U.S. Creation

Kay Armin Serjoie reports for Time:

[…] Abdullah Ganji, the managing-director of Javan newspaper, which is believed to closely reflect the views of the government and the powerful Iranian Revolutionary Guards, says that U.S. support for ISIS is in fact a way of ensuring Israel’s security and disrupting the Muslim world in the cause of advancing Western interests.

“We believe that the West has been influential in the creation of ISIS for a number of reasons. First to engage Muslims against each other, to waste their energy and in this way Israel’s security would be guaranteed or at least enhanced,” says Ganji. “Secondly, an ugly, violent and homicidal face of Islam is presented to the world. And third, to create an inconvenience for Iran.”’

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Venezuela says it has detained a U.S. pilot for allegedly taking part in a coup

Why Does the FBI Have to Manufacture its Own Plots if Terrorism and ISIS Are Such Grave Threats?

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

‘[…] We’re constantly bombarded with dire warnings about the grave threat of home-grown terrorists, “lone wolf” extremists and ISIS. So intensified are these official warnings that The New York Times earlier this monthcited anonymous U.S. intelligence officials to warn of the growing ISIS threat and announce “the prospect of a new global war on terror.”

But how serious of a threat can all of this be, at least domestically, if the FBI continually has to resort to manufacturing its own plots by trolling the Internet in search of young drifters and/or the mentally ill whom they target, recruit and then manipulate into joining? Does that not, by itself, demonstrate how over-hyped and insubstantial this “threat” actually is? Shouldn’t there be actual plots, ones that are created and fueled without the help of the FBI, that the agency should devote its massive resources to stopping?’

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CIA Torture Whistleblower John Kiriakou: Wake Up, You’re Next

Why shutting down the Department of Homeland Security would be a good idea

Trevor Timm writes for The Guardian:

[…] While Republicans are again holding a federal agency hostage for a ridiculous reason, they’ve managed to stumble across a good idea in the process: Congress should not just threaten to pull DHS funding, they should abolish it entirely.

DHS is a behemoth and a bureaucratic nightmare that is projected to cost Americans $38.2bn this year. This conglomeration of over 20 government agencies, under one umbrella of dysfunction and secrecy, was mashed together by George W. Bush after 9/11 to form a largely incompetent and corrupt spy machine. Examples of its awfulness abound.’

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The Inside Story Of How Citizens United Has Changed Washington Lawmaking

Paul Blumenthal and Ryan Grim report for The Huffington Post:

When Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy cast the deciding vote to gut a century of campaign finance law, he assured the public that the unlimited corporate spending he was ushering in would “not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” Because those authorized to give and spend unlimited amounts were legally required to remain independent of the politicians themselves, Kennedy reasoned, there was no cause for concern.

Just five years later, in a development that may be surprising only to Justice Kennedy, the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision is reshaping how, how much and to whom money flows in Washington.

How the flood of money released by Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has changed elections has been the subject of much discussion, but the decision’s role in allowing that same money to soak the legislative process has largely gone unreported. According to an extensive review of public documents held by the FEC, the U.S. Senate and the Internal Revenue Service, as well as interviews with lobbyists and policymakers, Kennedy’s allegedly independent spending has become increasingly intertwined with lobbying and legislation — the precise appearance of corruption campaign finance laws were meant to curb.’

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American police brutality, exported from Chicago to Guantánamo

Spencer Ackerman reports for The Guardian:

Police brutality updatedWhen the Chicago detective Richard Zuley arrived at Guantánamo Bay late in 2002, US military commanders touted him as the hero they had been looking for.

Here was a Navy reserve lieutenant who had spent the last 25 years as a distinguished detective on the mean streets of Chicago, closing case after case – often due to his knack for getting confessions.

But while Zuley’s brutal interrogation techniques – prolonged shackling, family threats, demands on suspects to implicate themselves and others – would get supercharged at Guantánamo for the war on terrorism, a Guardian investigation has uncovered that Zuley used similar tactics for years, behind closed police-station doors, on Chicago’s poor and non-white citizens. Multiple people in prison in Illinois insist they have been wrongly convicted on the basis of coerced confessions extracted by Zuley and his colleagues.’

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The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden ‘black site’

Spencer Ackerman reports for The Guardian:

‘The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.’

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Code Blue For New York’s Homeless

How ‘Islamic’ Is the Islamic State?

Juan Cole writes for The Nation:

ISIS fighters in Raqqa‘Last week a debate erupted over how “Islamic” the so-called “Islamic State” group (ISIS or ISIL) in Syria and Iraq is, and whether it is legitimate to speak of “Islamic” terrorism. It was provoked in part by a Graeme Wood article in The Atlantic and President Obama’s speech to a conference on Combating Violent Extremism. Obama was slammed by former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani as allegedly not loving America, in part because he declined to speak of “Islamic” terrorism. On Sunday, former defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz, interviewed on CNN’s State of the Union show, called Obama’s refusal to use the phrase “Islamic terrorism” “silly,” saying, “I think people understand that Islam has something to do with what we’re fighting, and when you deny it, you lose a lot of support.” This debate is actually about what philosophers call “essentialism,” and, as Giuliani’s and Wolfowitz’s own interventions make clear, it is about absolving the United States for its own role in producing the violent so-called “Caliphate” of Ibrahim al-Baghdadi.’

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Thom Hartmann on Henry Wallace and American Fascists

Why Brian Williams is a Distraction From True War Propagandists

‘Abby Martin juxtaposes the outrage over Brian Williams’ lie about his experience in Iraq with the lack of concern with lies peddled by journalists like Judith Miller in the lead up to the Iraq War.’ (Breaking the Set)

Fighting Among Hillary Clinton Donors Shows Money Matters More Than Voters

SEE ALSO: Clinton Foundation accepts funds from foreign governments, Keystone XL group: Interview with Cenk Uygur

Clinton Foundation accepts funds from foreign governments, Keystone XL group: Interview with Cenk Uygur

The TV Movie About Nuclear War That Depressed Ronald Reagan

Matthew Gault writes for Medium:

‘[…] This is Kansas in the ’80s, and America is an irradiated, nuclear hellscape. Welcome to The Day After, a TV movie ABC aired during prime-time in 1983. The film was so effective that it depressed Pres. Ronald Reagan.

He wrote about it in his diary, and some biographers speculated it had a direct effect on Reagan’s desire to end nuclear proliferation during the back half of his presidency.

The Day After is about a world in which the unthinkable happens—the U.S. and Russia finally launch all their nukes and ruin the world.

The film is set in and around Kansas City, and follows several families and individuals as they struggle to survive in America’s heartland.’

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IDEX 2015: Arms exporters eye deals at Middle East’s largest defense show

Stanley Carvalho reports for Reuters:

‘International firms will scramble for new orders at the Middle East’s largest arms show which opens in Abu Dhabi next week as oil-rich Gulf states load up on weapons in a region rocked by instability and violence.

The Middle East is the largest market driver in the industry with billions of dollars spent annually on buying military equipment, from drones and jet fighters to guided missiles.

Around 1,200 companies from 55 countries are showcasing their latest military wares and technologies at the biennial International Defense Exhibition (IDEX), starting Sunday in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates.’

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War College Study: “US Army officers lie” routinely

Jeremy Diamond reports for CNN:

Lying to Ourselves: Dishonesty... Cover ImageU.S. Army officers often resort to “evasion and deception,” and everyone at the Pentagon knows it, according to a new study conducted by the U.S. Army War College.

“In other words, in the routine performance of their duties as leaders and commanders, U.S. Army officers lie,” reads the study, which was conducted by the War College’s Strategic Studies Institute.

The 33-page report, compiled following interviews with officers across the Army, concluded that the Army’s culture is rife with “dishonesty and deception” at all levels of the institution — from the most junior members to senior Army officials.’

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Libya: Hillary Clinton’s WMD Moment?

Obama, Republicans and the media concur: It’s time for war with ISIS

Trevor Timm writes for The Guardian:

After more than six months of virtually ignoring the fact that the war against Isis was illegal by almost anyone’s standards – given Congress’s cowardly refusal vote on it and the White House’s refusal to ask them first – the Obama administration has finally submitted a draft war authorization against Isis to Congress.

That means the media can go back to doing what it does best: creating a “debate” over how many countries we should invade, without any discussion of how our invasions created the very situation in which we feel we have to contemplate more invasions. It’s like the early Bush years all over again.’

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Ron Paul: U.S. Didn’t Really Want To Catch Bin Laden, Needed An Excuse To Invade The Middle East

Andrew Kaczynski and Megan Apper report for BuzzFeed:

‘Former Republican presidential candidate and congressman Ron Paul says he doesn’t believe the United States government wanted to catch Osama Bin Laden because they needed him as an excuse to build up the military and invade Middle Eastern countries.

“Matter of fact, can’t you just see the difference that might have occurred. Ya know, they knew where Bin Laden was. I don’t think they really wanted to catch him because he was used as the excuse for us, you know, invading various countries and building up the military,” Paul said on Scott Horton’s radio program.’

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Nestlé to Remove Artificial Colours and Flavors from its U.S. Confectionery Products

Watching the Same Movie About American War for 75 Years

Peter Van Buren writes for TomDispatch:

‘In the age of the all-volunteer military and an endless stream of war zone losses and ties, it can be hard to keep Homeland enthusiasm up for perpetual war. After all, you don’t get a 9/11 every year to refresh those images of the barbarians at the airport departure gates. In the meantime, Americans are clearly finding it difficult to remain emotionally roiled up about our confusing wars in Syria and Iraq, the sputtering one in Afghanistan, and various raids, drone attacks, and minor conflicts elsewhere.

Fortunately, we have just the ticket, one that has been punched again and again for close to a century: Hollywood war movies (to which the Pentagon is always eager to lend a helping hand). American Sniper, which started out with the celebratory tagline “the most lethal sniper in U.S. history” and now has the tagline “the most successful war movie of all time,” is just the latest in a long line of films that have kept Americans on their war game. Think of them as war porn, meant to leave us perpetually hyped up. Now, grab some popcorn and settle back to enjoy the show.’

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The Bleak Science Bankrolled by the Pentagon

Nafeez Ahmed writes for VICE Motherboard:

Minerva Research InitiativeThe ​US military is increasingly concerned about the risk of social, political, and economic collapse due to resource stress and climate change. The Pentagon’s ​latest call for research throws light on where and how the military suspects that resource stress could fuel political grievances on a mass scale.

The call, whose deadline to receive proposals is today [Feb 19th], comes on behalf of the US Department of Defense (DoD) ‘Minerva Research Initiative,’ a multimillion dollar social science program. Minerva is designed so the Pentagon can draw on leading-edge academic expertise outside the military, on issues where it lacks sufficient internal knowledge on specific subjects or regions. By examining its areas of focus, we’re offered a rare glimpse into where and how the Pentagon fears conflict will grip the world in the future.’

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U.S. Ships $25m of Weapons to Lebanon to Aid Fight Against ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra

Jason Ditz reported recently for Antiwar:

A ship loaded down with $25 million worth of US weaponry, mostly artillery, has arrived in Beirut today, the first shipment of US military aid to Lebanon to fight against ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra.

[…] The US has been unwilling to give any official show of support to Syria, which is bearing the brunt of the ISIS fight, but seems to feel more comfortable bankrolling Iraq and Lebanon as a way of getting more involved in the war while keeping its distance from Syria.

Lebanon’s involvement in the war is fairly minor, with only intermittent clashes along the Syrian border. Despite this, the war has also fueled sectarian tensions inside Lebanon, and US weaponry also risks getting involved in that.’

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Gen. Wesley Clark: “ISIS got started through funding from our friends and allies to destroy Hezbollah”

Major Video Game Companies Agree to Share Customer Data with the US Government

Jason Koebler reports for VICE Motherboard:

With or without controversial new legislation such as the ​Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Protection Act, President Obama is doing his best to make sure companies share the information they know about you with the federal government.

On Friday, the president issued a cybersecurity executive order that creates a new framework for “expanded information sharing designed to help companies work together, and work with the federal government, to quickly identify and protect against cyber threats,” according to an emailed fact sheet from the White House.

The ​Sony hack of late last year made the idea of “cyberwar” all too real for many politicians, including Obama, who has spent much of the last two months talking about the need for ​expanded cooperation between the government and private companies. Considering all that rhetoric, Friday’s move doesn’t come as any real surprise.’

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