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How the New York Times Lies About Lies: Obama v. Trump as Example

How the New York Times Lies About Lies: Obama v. Trump as Example

How the New York Times Lies About Lies: Obama v. Trump as Example

Although the New York Times says that President Donald Trump lies vastly more than did President Barack Obama, the definite liar in that comparison — based on the factual record, to be presented here — is the New York Times itself. It lies in alleging this, which isn’t to say that either President lies more frequently than the other, but instead, that the Times’s calculation fails to count, at all, but instead altogether ignores, some of President Obama’s very worst lies — ones that were real whoppers. These were lies that were essential to his maintaining support among Democrats (such as the owners of this corporation, the NYT, are), and that would keep Democrats’ support only if they failed to judge him by his actual decisions and actions (such as the NYT’s owners do — or else they secretly know the truth on this, but prevent this truth from being published by their employees). Even to the present day, Obama is evaluated by Democrats on the basis of his lies instead of on the basis of his actions. He’s admired for his stated intentions and promises, which were often the opposite of what his consistent actual decisions and actions turned out to be on those very same matters, on which he had, in retrospect, quite clearly lied (though that was covered-up at the time — and still is).

For example, among the list of lies that the NYT counts from Obama, is excluded Obama’s having asserted on 20 May 2009, at the signing into law of both the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act and the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act: “This bill nearly doubles the FBI’s mortgage and financial fraud program, allowing it to better target fraud in hard-hit areas.

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Canada’s crazy Libertarians want to legalize lemonade stands, baby-walkers and Bitcoin

Canada’s crazy Libertarians want to legalize lemonade stands, baby-walkers and Bitcoin

Maxime Bernier’s near-win of the Conservative Party leadership suggests that Canadians increasingly are tempted by smaller government. But maybe Bernier is in the wrong party. So says Tim Moen, the dynamic leader of the Libertarian Party of Canada, whose upcoming convention, will take place between July 5thand 7th, 2018 at The Westin Ottawa. Following is an edited version of Moen’s comments.

What will be the key themes of the upcoming convention?

In a word: “energy.” Libertarians have long been a small niche in Canadian politics, which is dominated by special interests. But recent events have energized our base. Maxime Bernier’s near win of the Conservative Party leadership and his subsequent repudiation by the party’s establishment provided Canadians with a key message: those who want liberty, free markets and smaller government will be more at home in the Libertarian Party.

Your recently provided Bernier a chance to run for the Libertarian Party’s leadership by offering to step aside. What makes you think he would do a better job than you?

Maxime has a national profile, well-established credentials and excellent knowledge of the threats posed by the Bank of Canada’s disastrous monetary policies. Libertarians are a party of ideas not of personalities. We work with anyone who is willing to build a better country. If that means stepping aside to take on new talent, I’d do so in a second.

We are seeing increasing signs that Canadians agree. For example the Ontario Libertarians ran a near-full slate in the last election. There is also considerable interest in our Ottawa event. Journalist Brian Lilley is scheduled to appear as is Matt Bufton of the Institute for Liberal Studies. We also reached out to the Canadian Taxpayer Federation, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the Blockchain Association of Canada. Even to the local Bitcoin community!

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Pro-War Media Deserve Slamming, Not Sainthood

Pro-War Media Deserve Slamming, Not Sainthood

Still from “The Post.”

The media nowadays are busy congratulating themselves for their vigorous criticism of Donald Trump. To exploit that surge of sanctimony, Hollywood producer Steven Spielberg rushed out The Post, a movie depicting an epic press battle with the Nixon administration. Critics raved over the film, which the New York Post enthusiastically labeled “journalism porn of the highest order.” Boston Public Radio station WBUR called it the “most fun you’ll ever have at a civics lesson.”

Spielberg, touting his movie, claimed that “the free press is a crusader for truth,” But the media hoopla around The Post is akin to geezers boasting of having shown moments of courage when they were almost 50 years younger.

The Post is built around the Pentagon Papers, a secret study begun in 1967 analyzing where the Vietnam War had gone awry. The 7000-page tome showed that presidents and military leaders had been profoundly deceiving the American people ever since the Truman administration and that the same mistakes were being endlessly repeated. Like many policy autopsies, the report was classified as secret and completely ignored by the White House and federal agencies, which most needed to heed its lessons. New York Times editor Tom Wicker commented in 1971 that “the people who read these documents in the Times were the first to study them.”

Daniel Ellsberg, a former Pentagon official, heroically risked life in prison to smuggle the report to the media after members of Congress were too cowardly to touch it. The New York Times shattered the political sound barrier when it began courageously publishing the report despite a profusion of threats from the Nixon administration Justice Department. After a federal court slapped the Times with an injunction, the Washington Post and other newspapers published additional classified excerpts from the report.

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What Kind of Country Are We?

What Kind of Country Are We?

That’s what Time magazine tweeted this morning. It is trying to place the blame for Trump’s immigration policy—specifically, his separation policy—on all Americans. Time wants us to stand up for the children. 


TIME’s new cover: A reckoning after Trump’s border separation policy: What kind of country are we? https://ti.me/2JVINI1 


But Time says nothing about the slaughter and starvation of children in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and in particular Yemen. The US is assisting the Saudis in their genocidal war against the Houthi. It’s helping the fascists in Ukraine kill civilians in Donbas. It’s selling murder hardware to dictators and sadists. 

When was the last time they did a cover denouncing Trump for his bombing campaigns in Syria and Iraq that have killed thousands of civilians? Are dead babies buried in rubble less important than immigrants from Mexico and Honduras? 

Time’s publisher, Henry Luce, had a close relationship with the CIA.  CIA employees traveled with Time-Life credentials as cover in the 1950s. The Luce family financed efforts to kill Fidel Castro. 

“In the 1950s and early 1960s, Time magazine’s foreign correspondents attended CIA ‘briefing’ dinners similar to those the CIA held for CBS,” writes Carl Bernstein. “And Luce, according to CIA officials, made it a regular practice to brief Dulles or other high Agency officials when he returned from his frequent trips abroad. Luce and the men who ran his magazines in the 1950s and 1960s encouraged their foreign correspondents to provide help to the CIA, particularly information that might be useful to the Agency for intelligence purposes or recruiting foreigners.”

Luce is long gone and Time—a staunch Republican periodical during his time—has since embraced the establishment’s shift to “progressive” politics. It is now the preferred political control mechanism. 

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The Entire Western World Lives In Cognitive Dissonance

The Entire Western World Lives In Cognitive Dissonance

In this column I am going to use three of the current top news stories to illustrate the disconnect that is everywhere in the Western mind.

Let us begin with the family separation issue. The separation of children from immigrant/refugee/asylum parents has caused such public outcry that President Trump has backed off his policy and signed an executive order terminating family separation.

The horror of children locked up in warehouses operated by private businesses making a profit off of US taxpayers, while parents are prosecuted for illegal entry, woke even self-satisfied “exceptional and indispensable” Americans out of their stupor. It is a mystery that the Trump regime chose to discredit its border enforcement policy by separating families. Perhaps the policy was intended to deter illegal immigration by sending the message that if you come to America your children will be taken from you.

The question is: How is it that Americans can see and reject the inhumane border control policy and not see the inhumanity of family destruction that has been the over-riding result of Washington’s destruction in whole or part of seven or eight countries in the 21st century?

Millions of people have been separated from families by death inflicted by Washington, and for almost two decades protests have been almost nonexistent. No public outcry stopped George W. Bush, Obama, and Trump from clear and indisputable illegal acts defined in international law established by the US itself as war crimes against the inhabitants of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia. We can add to this an eighth example: The military attacks by the US armed and supported neo-Nazi puppet state of Ukraine against the breakaway Russian provinces.

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Trump Takes Italy by Storm: the Rise of Matteo Salvini and of the Italian Right

Trump Takes Italy by Storm: the Rise of Matteo Salvini and of the Italian Right

Matteo Salvini, the leader of the Italian League and Minister of the Interior since June 2018. During the past few weeks, he has gained political prominence in Italy by adopting Trump’s style and policies. Here, you see him together with the slogan “Italians First.”

During the past few weeks, we have seen a true political revolution in Italy. Matteo Salvini, leader of the Italian League, has successfully exploited his new position of Minister of the Interior to gain personal prominence. The M5s movement had won the elections, this year, but it has been emarginated to a secondary role, while Salvini acts and looks like if he were the real Prime Minister. If new elections were held now in Italy, Salvini and the League would win hands down

All politics is, after all, about blame shifting. So, political success means simply finding someone to blame. Matteo Salvini was successful by adopting the same style and content that made the political fortune of Donald Trump. Both Trump and Salvini found a good target to blame with immigrants and foreigners in general. Both used harsh language, insults, callousness, and plain racism. Both found that the more shrill and violent their utterances were, the more they were approved by the public. It took a remarkably small effort to convince a large majority of Italians that all their troubles are caused by immigrants and, in particular, by the Roma people (less than the 0.2% of the Italian population). Salvini also capitalized on demonizing the Euro and the European Union, although he can’t afford (so far) to exaggerate with insults and threats in that field. In any case, right now, it seems that 72% of Italians approve Salvini’s actions

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Is The United States On A Road To Becoming Ungovernable?

Is The United States On A Road To Becoming Ungovernable?

For a long time I have observed the rancor in modern American political discourse, and I have become concerned about where all of this anger and frustration is taking us.  In order for any society to function, there must be some form of government.  And in order for government to function, a certain percentage of the population has to be willing to submit to the authority of that government.  For example, there will always be a few tax protesters out there that refuse to pay their taxes, but if every single American suddenly decided to stop paying taxes our system of taxation would collapse overnight.  Sure, the government could prosecute thousands of us, but if that crackdown still didn’t motivate people to start paying their taxes there is not much that could be done.  The only reason any form of government works is because enough people buy into the narrative that the government is legitimate and should be respected.  Here in the United States, fewer and fewer people are buying into that narrative.

The Pew Research Center, Gallup, and NPR have all run polls that show that faith in government is near all-time lows in the United States.  A lot of us have been let down so many times, and most of us simply do not “believe in America” like we once did.  Yes, we may still believe in “the people” or “the values” that the nation was founded upon, but at our core we just do not have faith in our governmental institutions.

But simply being disillusioned is not going to be enough to make us ungovernable.  Generations of Americans have complained about government, but they have always gone along with the system.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Diseased, Lying, Condition of America’s ‘News’Media

The Diseased, Lying, Condition of America's ‘News’Media

The Diseased, Lying, Condition of America’s ‘News’Media

Both President Trump and former President Obama are commonly said in America’s ‘news’ media to be or to have been “ceding Syria to Russia” or “ceding Syria to Russia and Iran,” or similar allegations. They imply that ‘we’ own (or have some right to control) Syria. That’s not only a lie; it is a very evil and harmful one, dangerously goading the US President to go even more against Russia (and Iran) (and, of course, against Syria) than has yet been done — but the ‘news’media don’t care about that evil, and that falsehood, and that dangerousness — they do it anyway, and none of them attacks the others for perpetrating this vicious war-mongering lie, that lying provocation to yet more and worse war than already exists there. And the fact that none is exposing the fraudulence of the others on this important matter, is a yet-bigger additional scandal, beyond and amplifying the media’s common lying itself. Because they all function here like a mob, goading to more and worse invasions, and doing it on the the basis of dangerous lies — that America, and not the Syrians themselves, own Syria.

These lies simply assume that America (probably referring to the US Government, but whatever) somehow “has” or else “had” Syria (so that America can now ‘cede’ it, to anyone); and this assumption (that the US somehow owns Syria) is not only an imperialistic one (which is bad, and wrong, in itself), but it reduces to nothingness the rights (in the minds of the American public) of the Syrian people, to control their own land. That lie is what America’s ‘news’media won’t expose, but instead they all cooperate with it, when they’re not actually participating, themselves, in spreading these lies.

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Confronting the money-power elite

Confronting the money-power elite

Those who control the creation and allocation of money are able to control every other aspect of society. Shouldn’t that be us?

Credit: Flickr/Liz West. CC BY 2.0.

The world today is controlled by a small elite group that has been increasingly concentrating power and wealth in their own hands. There are many observable facets to this power structure, including the military security complex that President Eisenhower warned against, the fossil fuel interests, and the neoconservatives and others that are promoting US  hegemony around the world, but the most powerful and overarching force is the ‘money power’ that controls money, banking, and finance worldwide. It is clear that those who control the creation and allocation of money through the banking system are able to control virtually every other aspect of society.

What can be done to turn the tide? How can we empower ourselves to assert our desires for a more fair, humane and peaceful world order? I believe that the greatest possibility of bringing about the desired changes lies in economic and political innovation and restructuring.

The monopolization of credit.

I came to realize many years ago that the primary mechanism by which people are controlled is the system of money, banking, and finance. The power elite have long known this and have used it to enrich themselves and consolidate their grip. Though we take it for granted, money has become an utter necessity for surviving in the modern world. But unlike water, air, food, and energy, money is not a natural substance—it is a human contrivance, and it has been contrived in such a way as to centralize power and concentrate wealth.

Money today is essentially credit, and the control of our collective credit has been monopolized in the hands of a cartel comprised of huge private banks with the complicity of politicians who control central governments.

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Localization: a strategic alternative to globalized authoritarianism

Localization: a strategic alternative to globalized authoritarianism

For those who care about peace, equality and the future of the planet, the global political swing to the right over the past few years is deeply worrying. It has us asking ourselves, how did this happen? How did populism turn into such a divisive and destructive force? How did authoritarianism take over the political scene once again?

From my 40 years of experience working in both industrialized and land-based cultures, I believe the primary reason is globalization. When I say globalization, I mean the global economic system in which most of us now live – a system driven by continual corporate deregulation and shaped by neoliberal, capitalist ideologies. But globalization goes deeper than politics and the economy. It has profoundly personal impacts.

Under globalization, competition has increased dramatically, job security has become a thing of the past, and most people find it increasingly difficult to earn a livable wage. At the same time, identity is under threat as cultural diversity is replaced by a consumer monoculture worldwide. Under these conditions it’s not surprising that people become increasingly insecure. As advertisers know from nearly a century of experience, insecurity leaves people easier to exploit. But people today are targeted by more than just marketing campaigns for deodorants and tooth polish: insecurity leaves them highly vulnerable to propaganda that encourages them to blame the cultural “other” for their plight.

Let me illustrate how this happened in Ladakh, or Little Tibet, where I first visited as a young woman and where I have worked for over four decades. Situated in the Indian Himalayas, Ladakh was relatively isolated – culturally and economically – until the late 1960s. When I arrived in the early 70s, a campaign of Western-style development had just been launched by the Indian government – giving me the opportunity to experience what still remained of the ancient culture, and to observe the changes that came with modernization.

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Big Brother Facebook: Drawing Down the Iron Curtain on Yankeedom

Big Brother Facebook: Drawing Down the Iron Curtain on Yankeedom

Leading a double life

When my partner, Barbara, first opened an account on Facebook, she used it in a way that most people in Yankeedom use it. Her network was an eclectic assortment of family, current and former workmates, new and old friends, neighbors and relatives living in other parts of the country. Most of what was posted on this account were pictures of kids, dogs and kitty cats, vacations, dinner outings, jokes – nothing too controversial. Like most members of Yankeedom, religion and politics were off limits. However, there was a kind of politically unconscious assumption operating that liberal values prevailed and that somehow the Democratic Party embodied those values. I nicknamed her Facebook account the “Suzy Cream Cheese” account after the Mothers of Invention’s album because it only dealt with surface preoccupations.

As the most recent US presidential primaries heated up and people took sides about Hillary, Bernie and Jill Stein, the Suzy Cream Cheese page started to be “not nice”. The political unconscious became conscious. The assumption was that all women – in the name of feminism – should vote for Hillary. My partner thought this was a very shallow understanding of feminism and posted an article she wrote that was published in a number of online radical newsletters titled, “Feminism is Bigger Than Gender: Why I’ll Be Happy in Hell Without Hillary.” Oh dear.  After she posted that article on Facebook, she got the cold shoulder and lost a couple of friends. Around that time she opened up a second “political” Facebook account and started adding to it a whole new group of far-left friends and acquaintances. She continued posting “suitable for family viewing” comments with her Suzy Cream Cheese account while posting and responding to socialist and communist posts on her political account.

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Humanity vs. the Rule of Law

Humanity vs. the Rule of Law

Photo by Nathaniel St. Clair

It was back in my early undergrad years when I first came to understand the broad reach of US foreign policy. I completed a social work internship in Los Angeles at a safe house in east LA in a largely immigrant community whose goal was economic justice and solidarity with working families. One morning I came down to the kitchen to find two sisters from the Missionaries of Charitysitting at the table with our house administrators. They had a similar home just down the street from us and they were well known for opening it up as a sanctuary for refugees. That day they greeted us with a choice.

A family of refugees from Central America were en route to LA and needed housing since the sisters home was already filled to capacity. Our house admins had already agreed to do this but we would be permitted to go to another program, without judgement, if we were not comfortable with this decision. This was the late 80s and providing sanctuary for people from certain nations in Central America was both controversial and illegal. We were nervous, but young and very eager to do something that seemed radical. Over the following month we learned that the risk we had taken paled in comparison to theirs. Nothing could remotely compare with the horrors they had endured or narrowly escaped; threats of rape, violence and being abandoned to die in agony in the desert, or the uncertain future they faced in a country hostile to their very existence.

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Assange and Truth: the Deeper (Harder) Issue

Assange and Truth: the Deeper (Harder) Issue

Photo by thierry ehrmann | CC BY 2.0

When Harold Pinter got the Nobel Prize (2005), he described “a vast tapestry of lies upon which we feed”. He asked why “systematic brutality, widespread atrocities, ruthless suppression of independent thought” were well-known when they occurred in the Soviet Union. But the same events in the US, despite copious evidence, “never happened”.

It shouldn’t be a rhetorical question. The answer to Pinter’s question is known in countless cultures. It is not obscure. But it is not discussed much in the North.

John Pilger notes an “eerie silence” about Julian Assange. More than any investigative journalist of our time, Assange has exposed “the imperialism of liberal democracies: the commitment to endless warfare and the division and degradation of ‘unworthy’ lives: from Grenfell Tower to Gaza.”

And yet he’s been imprisoned for six years with no charges against him. There is no outcry.

The silence is eerie, but not surprising. Assange allows us to see with our own eyes the actions of US military in Iraq. We hear them laugh about the “dead bastards” on the ground, who were carrying cameras, not guns.

There are truths, which Wikileaks reveals, but there is also truth abouttruths. One truth is that empirical evidence, seen and believed, does not shake deep-seated expectations. When beliefs are well-established, presupposed in daily life, indeed, part of identity, evidence is explained away.

It’s how we reason.  If I release an object that doesn’t fall, you don’t give up belief in gravity. If I show you a thousand times, you don’t waiver. You expectgravity. It is a presupposition of life and thought. If you questioned that belief, you’d have to rethink your relationship to the world. It’s a reason not to question it.

You see with your own eyes. You dismiss what you see. Or, you explain it away, rationally.

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For Our Rulers, Smearing A Dissident Journalist Is As Good As Killing Him

For Our Rulers, Smearing A Dissident Journalist Is As Good As Killing Him

As I write this, demonstrations around the world are taking place in protest of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange’s arbitrary detention and silencing by the US-centralized power establishment that has been actively pursuing his destruction for over a decade. The demonstrations will be well-attended, but not a fraction as well-attended as they should be. They will receive international attention, but not a fraction as much attention as they should.

This is because the manipulators and smear merchants who have made their careers paving the way for oligarchic agendas have been successful in killing off sympathy for the plight of Assange. As we discussed yesterday, sympathy is key for getting narratives to take hold in public consciousness. This is why western corporate media will circulate pictures of dead children all day long when it’s in the interests of advancing longstanding imperialist agendas, but never when those children were killed by western weapons. If you can tug at someone’s heart strings while telling them a story, the story you tell them will slide right in with minimal scrutiny. And it works the other way, too: if you can prevent someone’s heart strings from being plucked while hearing about a legitimately heartbreaking story, you can prevent that story from taking hold. Kill all sympathy for a dissident journalist and you kill all belief in his side of the story.

And Assange’s side of the story is indeed devastating to the preferred narrative of the US-centralized empire. A journalist (yes, journalist, per definition) who publishes 100 percent authentic documents exposing the inner mechanics of power structures all over the world, who was forced to seek political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in order to avoid extradition by the same government which brutalized Chelsea Manning, is on its face a highly sympathetic story.

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Murder Incorporated

Murder Incorporated

Murder Incorporated is a three-book series by Mumia Abu Jamal and Stephen Vittoria, which I can highly recommend based on the first book. The other two are not out yet.

Book One, “Dreaming of Empire,” is a critique of U.S. imperialism, a debunking of U.S. nationalist myths, a corrective or alternative history of the U.S. nation. Politically, a book like this would never be permitted in U.S. schools, and it’s clearly not aimed at clearing that hurdle. It uses curse words, which would provide a handy excuse for keeping it out. It’s also not straight history. It’s part chronological, part theme-based. It mixes historical accounts with pop-culture, with quotations from scholars, historical sources, and analysts interviewed by the authors.

Dreaming of Empire also does not try to leave the past in the past. Instead it proposes to explain current wars, the weaponization of outer space, and the rhetoric of contemporary U.S. politics through a myth-busting hard look at the past. And there’s little the U.S. public needs more. Indeed the authors seem to have concentrated on topics around which damaging myths have been constructed, including the glories and goodness of the Founding Fathers.

Reading here in Charlottesville, I’m struck by the extent to which local boys, Jefferson and Monroe (and the latter’s “Doctrine”), dominate this story. I wonder how many people realize that when a participant in a fascist rally here last summer drove his car into a woman and killed her, he was in that moment driving past the location of James Monroe’s first house here. I’m sure it’s more people than realize that Charlottesville is not a hotbed for fascists (they mostly come from elsewhere) but is a town that was founded by and which still prominently honors fascists avant la lettre.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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