[…] What should the world expect from President Le Pen? A partial answer can be found in her 144-point campaign platform. It promises radical, jarring change that starts with rewriting the constitution; enforcing the principle of “national preference” for French citizens in hiring as well as the dispensing of housing and benefits; reinstating the franc as the national currency; shutting down the country’s borders and suspending its participation in the EU free-travel zone; pulling out of NATO’s integrated command structure; and slashing immigration to one-tenth of its current annual level.
Yet the chances of seeing such plans implemented, even fractionally, are slim. As some of her aides admit, Le Pen’s program represents her vision of France, not a roadmap to get there. In order to see it through, the newly-elected president would first need to consolidate her power by winning control over the lower house of parliament in a June election — or by rejigging the system to allow her to rule with a much narrower level of support.
Taking such challenges into account, POLITICO put together one scenario of Le Pen’s first 100 days based on hours of talks with senior party officials, European diplomats, MEPs, financial analysts, country experts and regular people. What emerges is a narrative of constant crisis mixed with long stretches of institutional paralysis, starting on Day One.
[…] In societies around the world, anthropologists have observed a phenomenon called “ritualized warfare,” a sort of pantomime of battle most famously observed among the Dani people of Papua New Guinea, who would regularly line up in formation to shout insults and shoot arrows at warriors from rival villages with no decisive outcome. The practice results in a lot of noise and relatively little bloodshed, allowing both sides to advertise their courage and vent emotion while avoiding catastrophic loss of human life.
The practice might look familiar to the new president. On the campaign trail, Trump called the press “dishonest” and “scum.” He defended Russian strongman Vladimir Putin against charges of murdering journalists and vowed to somehow “open up our libel laws” to weaken the First Amendment. Since taking office, he has dismissed unfavorable coverage as “fake news” and described the mainstream media as “the enemy of the American people.” And there’s been a string of symbolic, almost gratuitous little slaps: He not only rejected the traditional invitation to the White House Correspondents Association dinner, but announced the Saturday beforehand that he’d be holding a rally the same night, meaning some reporters will have to skip their own professional event to cover his. Not since Richard Nixon has an American president been so hostile to the press—and Nixon largely limited his rants against the media to private venting with his aides.
But behind that theatrical assault, the Trump White House has turned into a kind of playground for the press. We interviewed more than three dozen members of the White House press corps, along with White House staff and outside allies, about the first whirlwind weeks of Trump’s presidency. Rather than a historically toxic relationship, they described a historic gap between the public perception and the private reality.
The battle over whether Britain should be in or out of the European Union was funded mostly by multimillionaires, according to an analysis by the team behind The Sunday Times Rich List.
Those on the forthcoming list, which features only people worth £110m or more, accounted for 71% of loans and donations to the “leave” and “remain” campaigns in the five months leading up to the vote last June.
Almost two-thirds of the cash that bankrolled the successful Brexit campaign came from just five of the country’s richest businessmen.
The quintet together channelled nearly £14.9m to Brexit-backing campaign groups. Eurosceptic organisations received a total of £24.1m in donations and loans between February 1 and polling day from all sources.
After The New York Times wrote about the sexual harassment claims leveled at Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly and the settlements made by the company and O’Reilly himself, James Murdoch, according to 21st Century Fox sources, kept repeating with horror to his friends and executives: “This is on the front page of The New York Times!”
These sources say James Murdoch’s longtime annoyance if not disgust with Fox News became cold fury after the Times‘ April 1 story — even though several of the O’Reilly settlements had happened when James was CEO of the parent company. This was a similar reaction to what had followed the harassment suit by former anchor Gretchen Carlson against Fox News chief Roger Ailes in July. Every time Fox controversies spilled over into the wider world, James took it personally. “It was somehow against him,” says one person close to the Murdochs.
Fox News is a business he should not be in, he had told people before, despite its major contribution to 21st Century Fox’s bottom line — 20 percent of its profits came from Fox News last year, the biggest-earning division in the company. Presumably, he meant the in-your-face world of conservative cable news with its mega personalities. Indeed, James regarded many of the people at Fox News as thuggish Neanderthals and said he was embarrassed to be in the same company with them.
Pundits across the U.S. are amplifying the calls for further military intervention in Syria, as the Trump administration indicates regime change may be back on the agenda. The U.S. attacked the Syrian government on April 6, launching 59 Tomahawk missiles at a major air base, destroying 20 percent of its planes, according to the Pentagon.
Major media outlets, most politicians from both sides of the aisle and irascible war-hawk writers applauded the Trump administration’s strike with gusto. The uniformity with which the commentariat has embraced the attack hearkens back to six years ago, when many of these same people and publications cheered as NATO overthrew Libya’s government, plunging the oil-rich North African nation into chaos from which it is still reeling.
The 2011 war in Libya was justified in the name of supposed humanitarian intervention, but it was a war for regime change, plain and simple. A report released by the British House of Commons’ bipartisan Foreign Affairs Committee in 2016 acknowledged that the intervention was sold on lies — but by the time it was published, the damage was already done.
Today, Libya is in complete ruins. There is no functioning central authority for swaths of the country; multiple governments compete for control. The genocidal extremist group ISIS has, in Libya, carved out its largest so-called caliphate outside of Iraq and Syria.
Sharmini Peries speaks with Jean Bricmont, author of Humanitarian Imperialism: Using Human Rights to Sell War, who says that if leftist candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon wins, he does not have enough of a social movement behind him to fulfil his campaign promises. (The Real News)
- Does the French presidential election hold one last surprise?
- French election 2017: Voters go to the polls in wide-open contest
- French elections 2017: Disintegrating left-right divide sets stage for political upheaval
- The twists and turns of France’s strangest ever presidential election
- A Complete Breakdown: Extremists on Left and Right Push France to the Brink
- Trump Hopes Paris Attack Boosts Le Pen, One Day After Obama Calls Macron
- France’s Election Is Trump vs. Merkel vs. Modi vs. Corbyn
- How France’s hotly contested election could shake markets
- France’s Bernie Sanders Started His Own Party and Is Surging in the Polls
As U.S. Prepares Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange, Glenn Greenwald Says Prosecuting WikiLeaks Threatens Press Freedom
Amy Goodman speaks with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald who responds to reports that the Trump administration has prepared an arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. (Democracy Now!)
- Trump’s CIA Director Pompeo, Targeting WikiLeaks, Explicitly Threatens Speech and Press Freedoms
- The Unprecedented Danger of Prosecuting Julian Assange
- The US Charging Julian Assange Could Put Press Freedom on Trial
- A WikiLeaks prosecution would endanger the future of US journalism
- If the US Could Prosecute Assange, It Would Have Already Done So
- Julian Assange on Trump, DNC Emails, Russia, the CIA, Vault 7 and More
- US Preparing Charges Against Julian Assange
[…] Shattered is sourced almost entirely to figures inside the Clinton campaign who were and are deeply loyal to Clinton. Yet those sources tell of a campaign that spent nearly two years paralyzed by simple existential questions: Why are we running? What do we stand for?
If you’re wondering what might be the point of rehashing this now, the responsibility for opposing Donald Trump going forward still rests with the (mostly anonymous) voices described in this book.
What Allen and Parnes captured in Shattered was a far more revealing portrait of the Democratic Party intelligentsia than, say, the WikiLeaks dumps. And while the book is profoundly unflattering to Hillary Clinton, the problem it describes really has nothing to do with Secretary Clinton.
The real protagonist of this book is a Washington political establishment that has lost the ability to explain itself or its motives to people outside the Beltway.
In fact, it shines through in the book that the voters’ need to understand why this or that person is running for office is viewed in Washington as little more than an annoying problem.
In the Clinton run, that problem became such a millstone around the neck of the campaign that staffers began to flirt with the idea of sharing the uninspiring truth with voters. Stumped for months by how to explain why their candidate wanted to be president, Clinton staffers began toying with the idea of seeing how “Because it’s her turn” might fly as a public rallying cry.
- Why Hillary Clinton Really Lost
- Clinton camp revelations prompt mole-hunt
- 7 Takeaways From a New Book on the Clinton Campaign
- ‘Shattered’ Charts Hillary Clinton’s Course Into the Iceberg
- Hillary Clinton only has herself to blame for her 2016 loss
- Clinton staffers toyed with using ‘because it’s her turn’ as a campaign rallying cry
- Clinton’s campaign failed because she took the “Team of Rivals” concept too far
- New book reveals what Bernie Sanders really thought of Clinton’s campaign message
- Hillary Clinton ‘Refused to Prepare’ For Populism, Insiders Reveal
- Clinton aides deny infighting captured in ‘Shattered’ book
The apparent and surprisingly abrupt demise in Steve Bannon’s influence offers a major potential opening for neoconservatives, many of whom opposed Trump’s election precisely because of his association with Bannon and the “America Firsters,” to return to power after so many years of being relegated to the sidelines. Bannon’s decline suggest that he no longer wields the kind of veto power that prevented the nomination of Elliott Abrams as deputy secretary of state. Moreover, the administration’s ongoing failure to fill key posts at the undersecretary, assistant secretary, and deputy assistant secretary levels across the government’s foreign-policy apparatus provides a veritable cornucopia of opportunities for aspiring neocons who didn’t express their opposition to the Trump campaign too loudly.
Ninety days into the administration, the military brass—whose interests and general worldview are well represented by National Security Advisor Gen. H.R. McMaster and Pentagon chief Gen. James Mattis (ret.), not to mention the various military veterans led by National Security Council (NSC) chief of staff Gen. Kenneth Kellogg (ret.) who are taking positions on the NSC—appears to be very much in the driver’s seat on key foreign policy issues, especially regarding the Greater Middle East. Their influence is evident not only in the attention they’ve paid to mending ties with NATO and northeast Asian allies, but also in the more forceful actions in the Greater Middle East of the past two weeks. These latter demonstrations of force seem designed above all to reassure Washington’s traditional allies in the region, who had worried most loudly about both Obama’s non-interventionism and Trump’s “America First” rhetoric, that the U.S. is not shy about exerting its military muscle.
Nor could it be lost on many observers that Bannon’s expulsion from the NSC took place immediately after Jared Kushner returned from his surprise visit to Iraq hosted by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford—reportedly the culmination of a calculated strategy of seduction by the Pentagon. Kushner has emerged as the chief conduit to Trump (aside, perhaps, from Ivanka). The timing of Bannon’s fall from grace—and Kushner’s reported role in it—was particularly remarkable given that Kushner and Bannon were allied in opposing McMaster’s effort to fire Ezra Cohen-Watnick from the NSC just a week before Kushner flew to Baghdad.)
When the Russian Supreme Court banned Jehovah’s Witnesses and ordered the confiscation of the denomination’s property on Thursday, it wasn’t the first time. The faithful were outlaws in the Soviet Union, too, until that country’s final year. The stubborn group will fight on — but the court has delivered another chilling reminder that President Vladimir Putin’s Russia is even less free than the USSR was.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are a U.S.-based global religious organization, and they often are targeted by authoritarian and belligerent governments because members don’t believe in government authority. They don’t vote, serve in the military, salute flags or hail leaders. When the Nazis came to power in Germany, the Witnesses wouldn’t use the Nazi salute because, according to their beliefs, it amounted to idolatry. Hitler responded by sending more than 10,000 “Bible Students,” as they called themselves then, to prisons and concentration camps, where their pacifism particularly inspired torturers.
In the Soviet Union directly after World War II, Witnesses were mostly concentrated in western Ukraine and Transcarpathia, and they had the bad luck to trade Nazi persecution for the equally harsh Stalinist kind. In two secret operations in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the Witnesses were removed to Siberian labor camps. There were only about 10,000 of them then. But adherents of the denomination didn’t stop practicing and preaching in exile and in the camps, and when, after Stalin’s death, the state stopped systematically imprisoning them and switched to a harassment tactic, the flock started growing.
The political economist Benjamin Friedman once compared modern Western society to a stable bicycle whose wheels are kept spinning by economic growth. Should that forward-propelling motion slow or cease, the pillars that define our society – democracy, individual liberties, social tolerance and more – would begin to teeter. Our world would become an increasingly ugly place, one defined by a scramble over limited resources and a rejection of anyone outside of our immediate group. Should we find no way to get the wheels back in motion, we’d eventually face total societal collapse.
Such collapses have occurred many times in human history, and no civilisation, no matter how seemingly great, is immune to the vulnerabilities that may lead a society to its end. Regardless of how well things are going in the present moment, the situation can always change. Putting aside species-ending events like an asteroid strike, nuclear winter or deadly pandemic, history tells us that it’s usually a plethora of factors that contribute to collapse. What are they, and which, if any, have already begun to surface? It should come as no surprise that humanity is currently on an unsustainable and uncertain path – but just how close are we to reaching the point of no return?
While it’s impossible to predict the future with certainty, mathematics, science and history can provide hints about the prospects of Western societies for long-term continuation.
Ancient stone carvings confirm that a comet struck the Earth around 11,000BC, a devastating event which wiped out woolly mammoths and sparked the rise of civilisations.
Experts at the University of Edinburgh analysed mysterious symbols carved onto stone pillars at Gobekli Tepe in southern Turkey, to find out if they could be linked to constellations.
The markings suggest that a swarm of comet fragments hit Earth at the exact same time that a mini-ice age struck, changing the entire course of human history.
Scientists have speculated for decades that a comet could be behind the sudden fall in temperature during a period known as the Younger Dryas. But recently the theory appeared to have been debunked by new dating of meteor craters in North America where the comet is thought to have struck.
However, when engineers studied animal carvings made on a pillar – known as the vulture stone – at Gobekli Tepe they discovered that the creatures were actually astronomical symbols which represented constellations and the comet.
The idea had been originally put forward by author Graham Hancock in his book Magicians of the Gods.
- Ancient stone confirms date of comet strike
- Ancient carvings show comet hit Earth and triggered mini ice age
- Study examines 13,000-year-old nanodiamonds from multiple locations across three continents
- Evidence for an extraterrestrial impact 12,900 years ago that contributed to the megafaunal extinctions and the Younger Dryas cooling
- Graham Hancock on Gobekli Tepe and Ancient Egypt
- Gobekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple?
Political propaganda works by programming intellectually lazy people with very simple tropes that they can rote learn and regurgitate instead of doing the hard work of actually researching and thinking about the issues for themselves.
Two of the most ubiquitous of these glib political propaganda tropes are the “Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable” one and the “Theresa May is a strong leader one”.
I’ve already written an article ripping the ludicrously counterfactual right-wing “Theresa May is a strong leader” trope to shreds (see here) and this article exists to confront the “Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable” one.
If every Labour Party supporter uses this as a reply every single time they see the “unelectable” trope being wheeled out, maybe it might eradicate this vacuous right-wing propaganda nonsense by getting people actually talking about Labour’s actual policies, rather than just blibber-blabbering their rote-learned political propaganda tropes all over the place.
- How many of Jeremy Corbyn’s policies do you actually disagree with?
- Election 2017: Can Labour win under Jeremy Corbyn?
- The Labour voters who could back Theresa May
- Contrasting the Tory propaganda with the actual reality
- Sturgeon predicts Tory victory over “unelectable” Labour in June
- Team Corbyn are daring to dream big…
- UK Elections Called Before Full Impact of Austerity Kicks In
- The mainstream media propaganda war against Jeremy Corbyn
- People’s first impressions of Jeremy Corbyn
The following documentary examines far-right radio host Alex Jones, and the affect his fear-mongering and conspiracy theories have had on the American public. Also explored is the relationship between him and Donald Trump, and the numerous contradictions of Alex Jones. (Reich Wing Watch)
- Meet Alex Jones
- The Invisible Empire of Alex Jones
- Disinfo Wars: Alex Jones’ War on Your Mind
- Alex Jones: Father Knows Best, Updated for the Apocalypse
- A Visit to the Infowars Studios to Meet Donald Trump’s Propagandist
- In Travis County custody case, jury will search for real Alex Jones
- Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones Backs Off ‘Pizzagate’ Claims
- Joe Rogan Experience with Alex Jones and Eddie Bravo
- Alex Jones says he’s “ready to die for Trump”
- Jesse Ventura Challenges Alex Jones on His Support for Trump
- Inside the Dangerous Convergence of Men’s-Rights Activists and the Extreme Alt-Right
- How Alex Jones, conspiracy theorist extraordinaire, got Donald Trump’s ear
[…] WikiLeaks has published documents without redacting personal information of ordinary people. As an organization, it has frequently behaved irresponsibly and, some have argued, despicably. It has also exposed corruption and criminality by state powers. The quality, morality, necessity, and overall prudence of its editorial choices are beside the point. What matters is that it appears that the Trump administration has decided that it is going to prosecute journalists for publishing classified information.
There were warning signs that this was coming. CIA Director Mike Pompeo called WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia,” during a speech last week, and bizarrely insisted that Assange does not have First Amendment protection as a non-U.S. citizen. (That is not how the First Amendment works; if Assange were to be prosecuted on U.S. soil, he would enjoy the same Constitutional protections as a citizen. To insist otherwise is a radical reinterpretation deeply at odds with how the Bill of Rights has been applied.) Attorney General Jeff Sessionscalled Assange’s arrest a “priority” at a press conference Thursday. However, seeking his arrest would demonstrate a remarkable about-face from President Trump, as he repeatedly and effusively praised WikiLeaks during his campaign. “WikiLeaks! I love WikiLeaks!” he told a crowd at an October rally.
- The US Charging Julian Assange Could Put Press Freedom on Trial
- A WikiLeaks prosecution would endanger the future of US journalism
- US Preparing Charges Against Julian Assange
- Justice Dept. debating charges against WikiLeaks members in revelations of diplomatic, CIA materials
- Trump administration seeks Julian Assange’s arrest, despite WikiLeaks’ anti-Clinton efforts
- As US prioritises Julian Assange arrest, UK hints Sweden comes first
- If the US Could Prosecute Assange, It Would Have Already Done So
- Michael Weiss: The Trumpkins Turn on Assange
Since last November’s election, the former British politician Louise Mensch has transformed herself into the leader of a wide-ranging internet investigation into Russian espionage and influence in American politics, media, and business. Every day, Mensch and her network of online detectives unravel what they claim is a massive conspiracy linking the Kremlin, the Republican Party, armies of internet trolls, and moneyed puppet masters around the world.
Mensch, who sometimes tweets hundreds of times a day, has claimed or implied that targets ranging from top government officials to journalists to teenagers to anonymous Twitter users are in thrall to Vladimir Putin.
Just since Inauguration Day, according to an extensive review of her tweets, the New York–based Mensch has accused at least 210 people and organizations of being under Russian government influence.
Gregory Wilpert speaks with analyst Alex Hochuli about how the corruption investigation of Brazilian politicians has expanded dramatically and is less biased against the center-left. However, the danger is that it will lead to de-politicization and opportunistic anti-politics. Hochuli recently published a piece for Jacobin is titled: The Ends of Lava Jato. (The Real News)
Shocking Exposé Reveals Trump Associates and ISIS-Linked Vigilantes Are Attempting Coup in Indonesia
Amy Goodman speaks with investigative journalist Allan Nairn about his shocking new exposé that reveals backers of Donald Trump in Indonesia have joined army officers and a vigilante street movement linked to ISIS in an attempt to oust Indonesia’s president. Writing in The Intercept, Nairn reveals that Indonesians involved in the coup attempt include a corporate lawyer working for the mining company Freeport-McMoRan, which is controlled by Trump adviser Carl Icahn. Video has even emerged showing the lawyer at a ceremony where men are swearing allegiance to ISIS. According to Nairn, two of the other most prominent supporters of the coup are close associates of Donald Trump—Fadli Zon, vice speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives, and Hary Tanoe, Trump’s primary Indonesian business partner, who is building two Trump resorts, one in Bali and one outside Jakarta. Nairn’s article is making waves in Indonesia. (Democracy Now!)
Gregory Wilpert speaks with Antony Loewenstein, author of Disaster Capitalism: Making a Killing Out of Catastrophe, who says companies that make profits from disasters around the world also have a vested interest in maintaining these disasters. (The Real News)
On the morning of March 14th, 2011, military forces from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) crossed the 16-mile causeway from Saudi Arabia to Bahrain to crush a popular uprising that had arisen there against the Bahraini monarchy. The military intervention was the first salvo in a series of counterrevolutions launched against the Arab Spring uprisings, pitting largely unarmed democracy activists against the repressive force of local security forces and militaries. Six years later, many of the Bahraini civil society leaders whose protests briefly captured the world’s imagination languish in prison, their brief democratic moment snuffed out with the help of regional powers.
Under Barack Obama, the United States stood by quietly while its GCC allies suppressed the Bahraini revolution. Since taking office, the Trump administration has signaled it will strengthen U.S.-Bahrain ties, recently lifting human rights restrictions on arms sales to its government to clear the path for a multi-billion dollar sale of F-16s. Such measures are likely to be taken by the regime as a green-light to escalate repression, while dimming hopes for the release of the estimated 4,000 political prisoners still held in Bahraini prisons, some analysts say.
But while the regime portrays itself to the United States as a bulwark of regional stability, the grim ferocity of its crackdown might make escalated conflict within Bahrain inevitable — and potentially even draw in outside powers like Iran. As the window for political reform closes under the Trump administration, an increasingly violent, unstable future may await Bahrain and the Gulf region as a whole.
Fulfilling Donald Trump’s campaign promise to “bomb the shit” out of ISIS, the Pentagon dropped the “mother of all bombs” — one of its largest non-nuclear munitions — for the first time on Thursday, in Afghanistan. The 21,600 pound weapon was developed over a decade ago, but was never used due to concerns of possible massive civilian casualties.
The Pentagon said it used the weapon on an ISIS-affiliated group hiding in a tunnel complex in the Nangarhar province. The group, according to the Pentagon, is made up of former members of the Taliban.
The Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), nicknamed the “mother of all bombs,” has a mile-long blast radius.
When it first introduced the bomb, the Pentagon said it was designed to terrify America’s enemy into submission. “The goal is to have the capabilities of the coalition so clear and so obvious,” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in 2003, “that there is an enormous disincentive for the Iraqi military to fight against the [invading] coalition.”
Thursday’s attack drew condemnation from Hamid Karzai, the U.S.-backed former president of Afghanistan. “This is not the war on terror,” he said, “but the inhuman and most brutal misuse of our country as testing ground for new and dangerous weapons.”
The syringe slides in between the thumb and index finger. Then, with a click, a microchip is injected in the employee’s hand. Another “cyborg” is created.
What could pass for a dystopian vision of the workplace is almost routine at the Swedish start-up hub Epicenter. The company offers to implant its workers and start-up members with microchips the size of grains of rice that function as swipe cards: to open doors, operate printers or buy smoothies with a wave of the hand.
“The biggest benefit, I think, is convenience,” said Patrick Mesterton, co-founder and chief executive of Epicenter. As a demonstration, he unlocks a door merely by waving near it. “It basically replaces a lot of things you have, other communication devices, whether it be credit cards or keys.”
The technology itself is not new: Such chips are used as virtual collar plates for pets, and companies use them to track deliveries. But never before has the technology been used to tag employees on a broad scale. Epicenter and a handful of other companies are the first to make chip implants broadly available.
And as with most new technologies, it raises security and privacy issues. Although the chips are biologically safe, the data they generate can show how often employees come to work or what they buy. Unlike company swipe cards or smartphones, which can generate the same data, people cannot easily separate themselves from the chips.
[…] When we think about the decreasing importance of cash, if we do, it’s mostly in terms of convenience. It’s just easier to not carry cash; cash can get lost or stolen, and because it’s not tied to our identities, it’s hard to get back. It’s informal and off the information grid, representing only itself and saying nothing about its bearer (putting aside those stories about the vast amount of cash allegedly containing cocaine residue). It’s anonymous in ways that often make it inconvenient for we the consumers.
Conceived of that way—primarily as an inconvenient medium of information exchange—cash’s obsolescence seems an inevitability. But what will replace it? If history is any guide, the next stage in the evolution of money will be completely intangible, existing as ledger marks in digital databases around the world. Bitcoin notwithstanding, it will likely not be decentralized and transparent; it seems much more likely that governments and bankers will maintain their control of currency, creating an opaque system in which we will all be enmeshed, and from which the financiers will take their cut. Money will be tied to identity, its routes traced and monitored. It’ll be a surveillance dystopia, but not of the clumsy, grubby Phildickian variety. It’ll be an ultra-functional, shiny and minimalist nightmare, the kind where you’re not supposed to care how it works, as long as it works for you. Kind of like an iPhone.
That may sound cranky, but it’s worth stepping back for a second to consider how we’re persuaded about the color and contour the future will take. Cash has already begun to be replaced. That’s progress: all that is solid melts into air, software eats the world, cash becomes digits. The sense of inevitability is baked into much of our thinking about (and proselytizing for) new technology. The disrupters and the techno-utopians have a vested interest in presenting their just-over-the-horizon view not as a future, but as the future. The subtle but forceful underlying message goes something like, “A future of infinite convenience is bearing down on you; it is not to be interrogated, and you have no recourse but acquiescence.” Thus the arrival of particular systems—methods for allocating and distributing power—is presented as a law of nature, even a fait accompli.
Amy Goodman and Nermeen Sheikh speak with civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom who represents three women who have accused Bill O’Reilly of unwanted sexual advances. (Democracy Now!)
- Fox to pay Bill O’Reilly up to $25m in exit deal
- After Bill O’Reilly’s Ouster, Fox Executives Fear “There’s More to Come”
- Bill O’Reilly’s publisher stands by him after Fox sacking
- What’s Next For Bill O’Reilly?
- Don’t Be Fooled Into Expecting a New Fox News
- Bill O’Reilly and the Right’s Morality Problem
- How Fox News Women Took Down Roger Ailes
Paul Jay speaks with Nina Turner, a former Democratic Senator for Ohio’s 25th district, to discuss the renewed war on drugs, including marijuana, planned by Trump’s Attorney General and Head of Homeland Security. (The Real News)
- Jeff Sessions’ Marijuana Policy Is Straight Out Of ‘Reefer Madness
- Marijuana businesses worry about Trump, but expect to prevail
- Jeff Sessions Wants to Kick the War on Drugs into High Gear
- Jeff Sessions Goes Full ‘Reefer Madness’ on Pot
- Portugal’s Example: What Happened After It Decriminalized All Drugs
Amy Goodman and Nermeen Sheikh speak with Anand Gopal, a journalist and a fellow at The Nation Institute, who recently returned from the Middle East and has reported extensively from the region. (Democracy Now!)
[…] In Turkey investors may have feared turmoil if Mr Erdogan’s proposal had been defeated. It is an old, but fairly reliable, rule that investors dislike uncertainty. And the early years of Mr Erdogan’s tenure, when he was seen as a liberalising democrat, saw rapid economic growth; his transformation into an emerging autocrat has not put investors off. Since he took office, the Istanbul market has gained 760% (see chart).
An authoritarian government can provide certainty, at least in the short term. In 1922, when Mussolini took power in Italy, its equity market returned 29% and its government bonds 18%, according to Mike Staunton of the London Business School. Hitler’s accession in 1933 saw German shares return 14% and bonds 15%. True, Wall Street did even better that year under Franklin Roosevelt but still—even then, Hitler was clearly a dangerous extremist.
The world’s most developed economies tend to be democracies, and to be more open to trade and foreign investment. But as China has demonstrated, it is certainly possible to generate rapid economic growth without a democratic system. China’s stockmarket (along with Hong Kong’s) has been among the best-performing bourses this millennium.
[…] Usually a French general election doesn’t present a make-it or break-it moment for the entire eurozone, but this time its different. After a race full of surprises, a surge in the polls by far-left, euroskeptic Jean-Luc Melenchon has again reminded investors of the sweeping antiestablishment sentiment grabbing Europe and the U.S. at the moment.
Far-right, anti-EU candidate Marine Le Pen is also doing well in the polls and currently looks like she’ll get one of the two spots in the runoff. The big question is who she’ll face in the second round.
Will it be centrist Emmanuel Macron, who pollsters and analysts see as the favorite to emerge as president in May? Will it be scandal-ridden, dark horse candidate François Fillon who’s enjoyed an 11th hour rebound in support? Or will it be Melenchon, who has promised to rework the treaties that set the framework for the EU and then hold a referendum on whether to remain in the bloc.
Sharmini Peries speaks with Professor Leo Panitch, author of The Making of Global Capitalism, who says Theresa May’s decision to call a snap election is an opportunistic move, she also has an eye on the electoral arenas in France and Germany. (The Real News)
How the Mirror Uncovered Election Fraud Claims Which Could Come Back to Haunt Theresa May’s Tories Before Polling Day
This is billed as the Brexit election – the opportunity to refight the battles of a year ago over the biggest political question in a generation.
But it could yet turn into an election fraud election – with a cunning plan hatched by David Cameron’s Remainer CCHQ more than two years ago coming back to haunt Theresa May and her merry band of Brexiteers.
The date everyone is watching is 8 June – polling day. But 20 May could be when this election is turned on its head, the deadline for the first of at least 14 current Tory MPs to find out if they are to be prosecuted for election fraud. The others, it might be up to 20, or even more, must learn their fate by early June.
They won’t be MPs by then of course. Parliament will have been dissolved by 12 May at the latest. But they could be forced to file their nomination papers by 3 May with an unresolved year-long police investigation hanging over their heads.
So we could see a string of what were once considered marginal Tory seats being defended by candidates who face being put on trial during the next parliament accused of being fraudulently elected to the current one.