Bulletin N° 819

Subject : Following like lambs to slaughter, while neo-fascist tropes point toward an epiphany of capitalist exploitation sans class struggle.




18 October 2018

Grenoble, France



Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,


The political theory of corporate capitalism (a.k.a. Fascism) was first applied in Italy following the First World War, when Benito Mussolini (1883-1845) came to power in 1922. A decade later the German rendition of more or less the same political economy replaced the failing liberal Weimar Republic. The rest is history. The history of social, economic and political evolution from liberal capitalism to Fascism should be compulsory study for all citizens needing to know where we now stand and how we got here. Just as seeds of the future are found sprouting in the present, so past habits of thought influence the present climate. (At the time of the anti-Vietnam War movement, one slogan that circulated widely in the streets was: "Scratch a Liberal and discover a Fascist!"


Historian Peter Linebaugh’s book The Incomplete, True, Authentic, and Wonderful History of May Day (2016) is a welcome antidote today for the dark and diseased times lying ahead for us all. Professor Linebaugh, a former student of E.P. Thompson’s, has continued in the tradition of writing social history that informs contemporary political action. This book is a poetic account of class struggle as it has occurred (and is occurring) in the United States of America: The bad news is that capitalism has left many victims in its wake – the dead, the walking wounded . . . ;  the good news is that, by all accounts, its days are numbered. The survivors must prepare for the new day, and there is no better preparation than to look at the past struggle and learn from the efforts of others. There is no need to reinvent the wheel!


An essential question to keep in mind as we study the past is : How have class-conscious workers and their allies been derailed by deceptive ‘friends’ again and again? Like “the old syphilitic rag that just keeps begging to be useful,” not all offers of assistance are beneficial. The story of William Morris’s life warns us that we must exercise discretion and not make compromises which we can ill afford.


Linebaugh’s history of May Day is a cautionary tale that can only make us more aware of the potential power contained in democratic social movements when class-conscious activities are awakened and solidarity is born.


     In 1886, the ironworkers of the Molder’s Union struck at the McCormick Works in Chicago, setting in motion the events that led to the infamous Haymarket bombing, the hanging of four workers, and our modern May Day. Let’s pick it apart. First, these workers stuck for an eight-hour day. This had been at the center of the post-Civil War movement of industrial workers:  

We want to feel the sunshine,
We want to smell the flowers;
We’re sure Gad has willed it,
And we mean to have eight hours.

We’re summoning our forces from
Shipyard, shop and mill;
Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest,
Eight hours for what we will.

     Second, many of them were Irish immigrants and as such brought knowledge of the Famine and knowledge of the struggle of the Molly Maguires in the anthracite fields of Pennsylvania the decade earlier. They remembered the Day of the Rope (June 1877), the first of a series of more than twenty hangings against the Irish coal miners of Pennsylvania.


     Third, in Chicago the workers were making a machine to reap the grasses, the grains of the North American prairies. The machine presupposed the robbery of lands from the indigenous people – the Lakota, the Comanche, the Apache, the Metis in Canada – this is the fourth point of analysis. Its so-called productivity would result in a) the globalization of food as both grain and meat passed through Chicago and the Great Lakes into the hungry bellies of Europe, and b) the shortsighted agriculture which would result in the disastrous Dust Bowl two generations hence. Chicago was a hub of world food organization as well as a forward base in the conquest of the common lands on the prairies.


    The strike was suppressed by soldiers and a worker was killed. The class-conscious workers of Chicago protested. Irish and Poles, socialists and anarchists, Catholics and communards, former Blues (Yankees) and former Grays (Confederates) joined in a howl of outrage. Albert Parsons, the former Confederate soldier whose consciousness was awakened by the Civil War to join forces with the former slaves and present wage slaves (marrying Lucy Parsons, part African American, part Native American), summarized the Haymarket gathering: “We assembled as representatives of the disinherited.”


     Truly, in one way or another the immigrants had been dispossessed, not only from their present means of production (capital), but from their past subsistence (commons) in the lands of their origins. Furthermore, the soldiers attacking the Chicago workers had learned how to kill in the Indian wars and to expropriate the indigenous peoples from their communal systems. This was the era when the critique of capitalism was elaborated by many hands. Few at the time swung the pick with grater point than Karl Marx who, unlike pure theorists, asked the workers what they thought in an inquiry of more than a hundred questions. This was to become the essence of subsequent student movements.


     At Haymarket in Chicago, a stick of dynamite was thrown into the crowd (did the police do it? was it the deed of an anarchist or socialist activist?) and all hell broke loose. A spectacular and terrible trail was held, unfair in every respect, and Sam Fielden, August Spies, Albert Parsons, Oscar Neebe, Michael Schwab, Adolph Fischer, George Engel, and Louis Lingg were found guilty. On November 11, 1887, despite an international campaign, four of them were hanged, preparing the way for the Gilded Age of American capitalism.


     Chicago has never been the same, nor has the world labor movement: on the one hand, Chicago became the center of brutish capitalism, led by gangsters such as Al Capone, on the other hand a multiethnic working class arose from Mississippi, Mexico, Poland, or Ireland and writers such as Carl Sandburg, Nelson Algren, or Richard Wright told us about it. The ‘Chicago Idea,’ the notion that revolutionary unionism can combine militant union with mass action, is not quite dead. In remembrance of los mártires May Day became the worldwide day of the workers and the eight-hour day.


     The pick (the workers) and the bowl (the commons) must take us to the jubilee of SDS and SNCC. But the path is not direct. . . .(pp.86-88)


If Linebaugh’s message is that the cloud has a silver lining, the subtext of this book is surely one of caution: The System is malignant, proceed at your own risk . . . .




The 30 + items below reflect the present period of undisguised barbarism into which we are rapidly descending, as Neo-Fascist tropes serve to fix capitalist delusions into familiar authoritarian structures of command-and-obey, we become accustomed to uncertainty and to our own alienation. Can it be that the cure is in the disease? I don't think so!





Francis Feeley

Professor emeritus of American Studies

University Grenoble-Alpes

Director of Research

University of Paris-Nanterre

Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements

The University of California-San Diego







From: mkroopkin
Sent: Friday, 12 October, 2018 5:10:02 AM
An open letter by Odile Hugonot Haber and  Alan Haber to Friends in the Peace movements...


 Dear Friends,


...adapted from “Greetings” circulated at the 2018 Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom International Congress, Accra, Ghana.


“2020 vision, change the world leaflet, full spectrum cooperation”



Please share this with peace organizations you know.


For the New Indicator Collective,

Monty Kroopkin





Why the left must go beyond electoral politics:


in conversation Chris Hedges and David Talbot





The Post-US Midterm Elections Bombshell


by Jack Rasmus


Liberals and the left were shocked by the Kavanaugh confirmation this past weekend. They may experience an even greater shock to their political consciousness should the Democrats fail to take the House in the upcoming midterm elections.

The traditional media has been promoting the message that a ‘blue wave’ will occur on November 9. Polls as evidence are being published. The Democratic Party is pushing the same theme, to turn out the vote. But these are the same sources that in 2016, on the eve of that election, predicted Trump would get only 15% of the popular vote and experience the worse defeat ever in a presidential election! Should we believe their forecasting ability has somehow radically improved this time around?

Anecdotal examples, in New York City and elsewhere in deep Democrat constituencies, are not sufficient evidence of such a ‘wave’. Especially given the apparent successes underway of Republic-Right Wing efforts to suppress voter turnout elsewhere, where House seats must be ‘turned’ for Democrats to achieve a majority in the House once again. (See, for example, Greg Palast’s most recent revelation of voting roll purging going on in Georgia, which is no doubt replicated in many other locales).

Should the Democrats clearly win enough seats to take over control of the US House of Representatives on November 9, liberals and progressives may be further disappointed. Democrat party leaders will most likely talk about impeachment, make some safe committee moves toward it, but do little to actually bring it about in the coming year. What they want is to keep that pot boiling and leverage it for 2020 elections. Such prevarication and timidity, so typical of Democrat leadership in recent decades, will almost certainly have the opposite intended effect on liberal-left voter consciousness. Voters will likely retreat from voting Democrat even more in 2020 should Democrat Party leaders merely ‘talk the talk’ but not walk.

Conversely, should the Dems fail to take the House a month from now, an even deeper awareness will settle in that the Democratic Party is incapable of winning again in 2020. Even fewer still may therefore turn out to vote next time, assisted by an even more aggressive Republican-Trump effort to deny the right to vote than already underway.

In short, a Democrat party failure to recover the US House of Representatives next month will have a debilitating effect on consciousness for the Democrat base that will no doubt reverberate down the road again. So too will a timid, token effort to proceed toward impeachment should the Democrats win next month.

But a takeover of the House by Democrats will result in an even greater, parallel consciousness bombshell—only this time on the right. Bannon, Breitbart, and their billionaire money bags (Mercers et. al.) are already preparing to organize massive grass roots demonstrations and protests to scare the Democrats into inaction so far as impeachment proceedings are concerned. And it won’t take much to achieve that retreat by Democrat party leaders.

The recent Kavanaugh affair is right now being leveraged by Trump and the far right to launch a further attack on civil liberties and 1st amendment rights of assembly and protest. Trump tweets are providing the verbal ‘green light’ to go ahead. Kavanaugh has become an organizational ‘cause celebre’ to mobilize the right to turn out their vote. The plans are then to take that mobilization one step further, however, after the midterm elections.





Historian Howard Zinn Warned Us About the Supreme Court







Trump, Kavanaugh and the Path to Neoliberal Fascism

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump and retired Justice Anthony Kennedy walk into the East Room of the White House for Kavanaugh's ceremonial swearing on October 8, 2018, in Washington, DC.


by Henry A. Giroux

Even in the darkest of times we have the right to some illumination. —Hannah Arendt


The threads of a general political and ideological crisis run deep in American history, and with each tweet and policy decision Donald Trump pushes the United States closer to a full-fledged fascist state. His words sting, but his policies can kill people. Trump’s endless racist taunts, dehumanizing expressions of misogyny, relentless attacks on all provisions of the social state and ongoing contempt for the rule of law serve to normalize a creeping fascist politics. Moreover, his criminogenic disdain for any viable sense of civic and moral responsibility gives new meaning to an ethos of selfishness and a culture of cruelty, if not terror, that has run amok. Yet it is becoming more difficult for the mainstream media and pundits to talk about fascism as a looming threat in the United States in spite of the fact that, as Michelle Goldberg observes, for some groups, such as “undocumented immigrants, it’s already here.”

The smell of death is everywhere under this administration. The erosion of public values and the rule of law is now accompanied by a developing state of emergency with regards to a looming global environmental catastrophe. An ecological disaster due to human-caused climate change has accelerated under the Trump administration and appears imminent. Trump’s ongoing attempt to pollute the planet through his rollback of environmental protections will result in the deaths of thousands of children who suffer from asthma and other lung problems. Moreover, his privatized and punitive approach to health care will shorten the lives of millions of poor people, uninsured youth, undocumented immigrants, the unemployed and the elderly. His get-tough “law and order” policies will result in more police violence against blacks while his support for the arms industry, military budget and gun laws will accelerate the death of the marginalized both at home and abroad. Under the Trump regime all bets are off regarding the sustainability of democracy.





We Can't Let Kavanaugh's Confirmation Go


by Ralph Nader


Brett Kavanaugh, the new Injustice of the Supreme Court of the United States, must be pleased by the leading news stories on Monday and Tuesday regarding his swift swearing-in Saturday. The multiple perjurer, corporate supremacist, presidential power-monger, and a past fugitive from justice (regarding credible claims of sexual assault), Kavanaugh saw critical media coverage become yesterday’s story. The mass media has moved on to other calamities, tragedies, superstorms, and celebrity outrages. Opponents of his nomination must persevere anew.

The future of the Supreme Court looks grim considering Kavanaugh’s judicial decisions and involvement in war crimes and torture as Staff Secretary to President George W. Bush. It is likely that Kavanaugh will be the cruelest and most insensitive justice on the high Court. His support of corporate power will have few limits. That’s saying something, given the rulings of Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch.

Kavanaugh’s decisions and political statements are so off the wall, I’ve called him a corporation masquerading as a human being.

Kavanaugh’s decisions and political statements are so off the wall, I’ve called him a corporation masquerading as a human being. Corporations’ uber alles is his pre-eminent core philosophy. Public Citizen’s analysis of his judicial record (apart from his extremist political ideology) showed that in split-decision cases (which are the most ideologically revealing cases), Kavanaugh ruled 15 times against worker rights and two times for worker rights. On environmental protection, he ruled 11 times for business interests and two times for the public’s interest. On consumer protection, he ruled 18 times for businesses and only four times for consumers. As for monopoly cases, he ruled two times for the corporation and zero times for market competition.





Time To Rise Up Against Washington's Insanity


by Philip Giraldi


On October 21st there will be a Women’s March on the Pentagon hosted by the Global Women’s Peace Action. My wife and many of our friends will be going and even I will tag along in support in spite of my gender. We participate with some reservations as we have only demonstrated publicly twice since 9/11, once opposing the then about to start Iraq War and once against the annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). All too often demonstrations morph into progressive exercises in flagellation of what are now referred to as “deplorable” values with little being accomplished either before, during or afterwards, apart from the piles of debris left behind to be cleaned up by the Park Service. And such events are rarely even covered by the media in Washington, where the Post generally adheres closely to a neocon foreign policy tactic, which means that if you ignore something distasteful it will eventually go away.





Rothschild worried about new world economic order

Rothschild worried about new world economic order






Uneven Burden-Sharing Isn’t NATO’s Biggest Problem


by Jyri Raitasalo


The real problem is lack of collective military purpose within an Alliance that has become transactional during the post–Cold War era.


Lately, a lot of ink has been spilled on the issues of uneven burden-sharing within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the fact that European member-states of the Alliance are underperforming in military capability development. Although these topics have been at the top of the Donald Trump’s NATO policy ever since he assumed the presidency, they have a much longer pedigree—dating back to the Barack Obama and George W. Bush administrations, and even to the early days of the Cold War.

That fact of the matter is that the United States has guaranteed European security through its massive military power ever since the inception of the Cold War. For decades, many European states have had the luxury of free-riding at the expense of Uncle Sam. During much of the post–Cold War era—between 1989 and 2013— this dire situation had few security-related consequences. Prior to the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014, NATO-Europe witnessed twenty-five years of an extremely benign security environment with zero existential threats to be countered or even imagined.

During this period, the loss of European military capability had little effect—it was sufficient for Europeans to send token troop contributions to different military operations the United States was leading whether in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq or Libya. In the last case, the United States tried to lead from behind, but was forced to prop up the attacking coalition against Muammar el-Qaddafi as European ability to conduct a prolonged operation was in doubt and European armories were depleted of precision-guided munitions soon after the beginning of the air campaign.





Michael Mann: We Are Even Closer To Climate Disaster Than IPCC Predicts

Michael Mann: We Are Even Closer To Climate Disaster Than IPCC Predicts




Noam Chomsky - Climate Change Debates







We want to hear what you think about this article.

Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.


How to Understand the UN’s Dire New Climate Report

(It tries to find hope against a backdrop of failure.)

by Robinson Meyer

Men perform a ceremony on the drought-stricken bed of Poopo, a lake in Bolivia



Men perform a ceremony on the drought-stricken bed of Poopo, a lake in Bolivia.



Noam Chomsky talks about the major threats to the human race

and other important issues of today.






USDA Uses Algorithm to Target Small-Business Owners

in Its Crusade Against SNAP (federally subsidized food stamps)


by Ilana Novick


Since the 2008 recession, the cost of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits has nearly doubled, to $70 billion. The rise has made the federal nutrition program a frequent target of conservative politicians, including President Trump, who are convinced there is an epidemic of SNAP fraud. Never mind that the rise was “largely because the economic upheaval caused more Americans to need the help of food stamps to feed their families,” as Emelyn Rude wrote in Time in 2017.

In February, Trump suggested that most recipients should receive half of those benefits not in money they can spend as they see fit but in the form of a box of shelf-stable packaged foods, which the administration said would reduce the overall cost of the program by $129 billion over the next 10 years.

While neither the budget for SNAP nor the future of Trump’s “box proposal” has yet to be determined, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has found other ways to punish both SNAP users and the stores at which they shop.



Theory 101: Patriarchy as a Structure of White supremacist Class Rule

under Imperialism


by Danny Haiphong






US trying to create ‘quasi-state’ in Eastern Euphrates: Russia



Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the US is seeking to use its allies in Syria, especially the Kurds, in order to establish a quasi-state east of the Euphrates River and create illegal structures there.

October 12, 2018 - “On Syrian territory there are vast lands east of the Euphrates where absolutely unacceptable things are taking place,” Lavrov said in a Friday interview with the French website of Russia's state-run RT channel, along with France's Paris Match and Le Figaro.

“The US is trying to use these lands through their Syrian allies – above all, through the Kurds – in order to establish a quasi-state there,” he went on to say.

“But the US is by all means illegally seeking to establish a quasi-state on this territory, trying to do everything there to create conditions for a normal way of living for their subordinates, creating a structure of authority which is an alternative to those legitimate [structures] of the Syrian Arabic Republic,” the top Russian diplomat noted.

Lavrov stressed that the US is encouraging the resettlement of refugees in the territories under their control, undermining the peace process in the country.

“The question is why they, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River which is controlled by the US and their local allies, do not have to wait until the beginning of a credible political process,” he asked.

He said the US "planned to establish a territory that would be a kind of a prototype of a new state or it will be another round of the most dangerous game with Iraqi Kurdistan, the idea of the so-called unified Kurdistan."

Lavrov regretted that the US is trying to “catch the fish they want” in such “muddy waters”, adding that such kind of strategies "never ended up well".

The Russian minister’s remarks echoed concerns earlier raised by Turkey over US massing of heavy weapons in support of Kurdish militants on the eastern side of the Euphrates.





Saudi Arabia is taunting Trump

H2a trump saudis



by Shadi Hamid


Editor's Note: Bad allies, particularly in the Middle East where they abound, have been a recurring problem for successive U.S. administrations.

In the wake of Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance, it is time to call Saudi Arabia’s bluff, argues Shadi Hamid. This piece originally appeared in The Atlantic.


Donald Trump’s Middle East policy is many things, but it is not incoherent. At the core of the president’s approach has been a stark redrawing of the friend-enemy distinction: doubling down on support, often unquestioning, for allies like Saudi Arabia and Israel, while refocusing the near-entirety of American ire on Iran.


That Trump has bet big on the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, Mohamed bin Salman, makes the Saudis’ disappearing and likely assassination of dissident Jamal Khashoggi in their Istanbul consulate—“monstrous” on its own terms—a different sort of escalation. For Trump, this has been personal. His son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner has worked to develop a close relationship with bin Salman, colloquially known as MbS, seeing the young crown prince as a strong partner in isolating Iran and softening Arab enmity toward Israel.

In Trump’s world, friends—particularly friends that are both Arab and authoritarian—are to be criticized as little as possible, especially on low priorities for the administration like human rights. This hands-off approach has emboldened and empowered MbS to increasingly destructive effect over the past year and a half, offering a reminder that the prospect of U.S. pressure—if not actual U.S. pressure—serves as a constraint on allies that tend towards overreach.


What is both striking and telling is how half-hearted and generally uninterested the Saudis have been in countering evidence they assassinated Khashoggi. (Take for example the Saudi ambassador’s suggestion to Senator Bob Corker that their consulate surveillance video only “live-streams.”) But this is precisely what makes Saudi Arabia’s behavior in this episode even more reckless than the ongoing crackdown on even its milder critics or its increasingly callous disregard for human life in the Yemen war. Trump has invested political capital and extended unprecedented goodwill to MbS, drawing considerable criticism in the process. In a sense, this has been Trump’s “big bet,” perhaps his biggest one in the Middle East. As Axios’s Jonathan Swan put it, “The Trump administration, led by Jared Kushner, made about as big a bet on MbS the visionary-reformer and the Saudis as it’s possible for a US admin to make.” The goodwill has not been reciprocated. Rather, MbS is in effect taunting Trump, gloating in his ability to get away with anything.


All US presidents kowtow to Saudi Arabia – Trump is just honest about it






Jamal Elshayyal: Response to Khashoggi’s Death Will Determine

Future of Saudi Arabia & Middle East

Seg elshayyal khashoggi split





Marketing War: the Incessant Drumbeat of Mortal Danger


by Paul Atwood


The claim that the national security of the United States requires that more than half the nation’s discretionary budget must be devoted to the maintenance of armies, global strategic bases and massive armaments is false. Until we can convince the majority of the public of this fiction, and surmount the wall of disinformation, nothing will change and we will continue down the road to a hellish future.

This statement of course contradicts the incessant indoctrination emanating from Washington and the corporate media that U.S. foreign policy is devoted to the maintenance of global peace and a “liberal” and just world order in the face of enemies who wish to destroy that order. The facts controvert such declarations yet to emphasize them is to be accused of disloyalty, a lack of patriotism, and conspiracy mongering.

The U.S. propaganda system relentlessly broadcasts the malevolent machinations of Russia, Iran or North Korea or Syria and China as well as of armed gangs like ISIS, al Qaeda and the Taliban. The drumbeat that mortal danger is on our doorstep is so ceaseless and all-encompassing that the public either accepts the claims as true or remains blind to very real dangers posed by our government’s own militarized policies that call forth various forms of opposition to those policies.



Syrian Army Digs Up US-Made Guns in Terrorist Arms Cache

Near Damascus




During operations to clear terrorist-controlled areas across the country in recent months, Syrian forces discovered countless caches of Western and Israeli-made weapons, munitions and supplies.

Authorities in the town of Yalda, about 10 kilometers south of the Syrian capital, have discovered a large stock of weapons and ammunition carefully hidden inside a plastic water tank at a local farm abandoned by militants, the Syrian Arab News Agency reports.

The discovery included NATO-standard sniper rifles, a LAW portable anti-tank weapon, thermal and night vision equipment, grenades and improvised explosive devices, as well as multiple RPG launchers, Kalashnikovs and Dragunov rifles.





The Long Night Has Fallen on the Supreme Court –

Thanks Largely to Democrats


by Glen Ford


If the Democrats were serious they would have treated each reactionary GOP nominee over the decades as a bullet to the heart of their constituents. They did not.


“The Democrats have always been unwilling to create a political crisis in order to prevent a human rights meltdown for Black and poor people.”

Brett Kavanaugh took his seat on the far right of the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, but before the Court’s newest racist, pro-torture, corporate, patriarchal pig could don his new robes the Democratic National Committee was filling email boxes with appeals for funds to turn Republican victory into defeat in November. “The only way we'll be able to protect our rights is by regaining a Democratic majority in Congress,” writes Seema Nanda, the DNC’s chief executive officer. “If we don't, women's reproductive justice, affordable health care, and the future of our democracy will all be at risk.”


The Democrats have been singing that same song for decades -- indeed, generations -- even as they passively allowed reactionary justices to become dominant on the High Court, their hard right rulings only slightly tempered by the “swing” votes of, first, Sandra Day O’Connor -- who is credited with rescuing “diversity,” the pale replacement  for affirmative action, as a public policy option – and, later, Justice Anthony Kennedy , whose seat Kavanaugh now fills. Whenever the Democrats’ GOP-lite policies became indefensible, the party’s apologists would caution exasperated Black voters: “But what about the Supreme Court? You can’t allow the Republicans to decide the law of the land for the next 20 years!”


“The Democrats have passively allowed reactionary justices to become dominant on the High Court.”

But their assurances that the Democratic Party would hold back the corporate legal juggernaut were always a sham. Yes, an ultra-right judiciary portends disaster for Black, working and poor people, but not for the oligarchs that fund and control both mass parties in this country.  No Supreme Court produced by the two corporate parties could possibly pose the slightest threat to the core interests of the ruling class or the capitalist system.Indeed, the judiciary becomes more reactionary in synch with the consolidation of wealth at the top of the economic pyramid, which is reflected in the rightward lunge of both corporate parties. If the Democrats were sincere in their vows to block the troglodytes’ steady march to judicial hegemony -- if they were serious about preventing a human rights apocalypse -- they would have treated each reactionary High Court nominee put forward by the GOP over the decades as a bullet to the heart of their constituents, and shut down the Congress to force the nomination to be withdrawn.  But the Democrats have always been unwilling to create a political crisis in order to prevent a human rights meltdown for Black and poor people.



Homeless America


by Chris Hedges


October 09, 2018 : PORTLAND, Ore.—It is 8 a.m. I am in the small offices of Street Roots, a weekly newspaper that prints 10,000 copies per edition. Those who sell the newspaper on the streets—all of them victims of extreme poverty and half of them homeless—have gathered before heading out with their bundles to spend hours in the cold and rain.

“There is foot care on Mondays starting at 8 a.m. with the nurses,” Cole Merkel, the director of the vendor program, shouts above the chatter. “If you need to get your feet taken care of, come in for the nurses’ foot care. Just a really quick shout-out and thank you to Leo and Nettie Johnson, who called up to City Hall this week to testify about the criminalization of homelessness to City Council and the mayor. Super awesome.”

The men and women, most middle-aged or elderly, sit on folding chairs that hug the walls. They are wrapped in layers of worn and tattered clothing. Some cradle small dogs. Others cup their hands around disposable coffee cups and take small sips. The weekly newspaper was founded in 1998. It focuses on issues surrounding social and environmental justice as well as homelessness. It also reprints poems and artwork by the 180 vendors, who buy the paper for 25 cents a copy and sell it for a dollar.

On the walls there are poignant reminders of the lives these people lead, including posters of missing men and women, notices about where to find free food or clothing, and scattered one-page obituaries of those who died recently, many discovered in parks or on sidewalks. The average age at death for a man is 51 and for a woman 43. Nearly half succumb to alcohol or drugs, 28 percent are hit by vehicles and 9 percent commit suicide. Life expectancy plummets once you become homeless. From 50 to 80 homeless people die on the streets of Portland every year, and many more in its hospitals.





Uneven Burden-Sharing Isn’t NATO’s Biggest Problem

Image result for NATO


by Jyri Raitasalo


The real problem is lack of collective military purpose within an Alliance that has become transactional during the post–Cold War era.


Lately, a lot of ink has been spilled on the issues of uneven burden-sharing within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the fact that European member-states of the Alliance are underperforming in military capability development. Although these topics have been at the top of the Donald Trump’s NATO policy ever since he assumed the presidency, they have a much longer pedigree—dating back to the Barack Obama and George W. Bush administrations, and even to the early days of the Cold War.


That fact of the matter is that the United States has guaranteed European security through its massive military power ever since the inception of the Cold War. For decades, many European states have had the luxury of free-riding at the expense of Uncle Sam. During much of the post–Cold War era—between 1989 and 2013— this dire situation had few security-related consequences. Prior to the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014, NATO-Europe witnessed twenty-five years of an extremely benign security environment with zero existential threats to be countered or even imagined.

During this period, the loss of European military capability had little effect—it was sufficient for Europeans to send token troop contributions to different military operations the United States was leading whether in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq or Libya. In the last case, the United States tried to lead from behind, but was forced to prop up the attacking coalition against Muammar el-Qaddafi as European ability to conduct a prolonged operation was in doubt and European armories were depleted of precision-guided munitions soon after the beginning of the air campaign.





WATCH: Russia tests its NUKES in large-scale drills



The Russian military has tested components of its nuclear deterrence, including land-launched nuclear missiles, nuclear-armed submarines and strategic aircraft with nuclear bombs, intended for retaliation against enemy attack : all three components of the Russian nuclear triad were involved in the exercise on Thursday.


Moscow ‘ready for larger-scale provocations’ by the West, says Lavrov






Trump: Chinese lived too well for too long

Trump: Chinese lived too well for too long



US President Donald Trump has said that his tariff policies have hurt the Chinese economy and that he has “a lot more to do” to the country.


In a phone-in interview with Fox News, Trump said US tariffs on Chinese goods are having a “big impact” and that the Chinese have lived too well for too long.

Trump began imposing tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports in January 2018, with Beijing retaliating by slapping tariffs on US goods in response.

Top US officials have been using aggressive rhetoric against China in recent weeks, painting it as a grave threat to US interests.

On Wednesday, FBI director Christopher Wray said that China represents the “broadest, most complicated, most long-term” threat to the US and that it is waging a massive influence campaign over American voters ahead of the November midterm elections.

Wray said that China was trying “to get secret information about our trade, our ideas, and innovations” using “an expanding set of unconventional methods each time to achieve their goals” and warned that economic espionage from China would affect companies in all sectors of the US economy.

The US has also slapped sanctions on the Chinese military industry over its cooperation with Russia. Beijing has shown less interest in pursuing a adversarial relations with the US, but has warned that there will be “consequences” if it did not remedy the “mistake”.





Israel Thanks the US for allowing them to attack pro-Iranian forces in Syria




Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Director General Yuval Rotem has thanked US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for his public recognition of the partner nation’s “right” to attack pro-Iranian forces in Syria. “Israel will never allow #Iran and its terrorist proxies in #Syria & Lebanon to endanger Israel’s sovereignty and people,” Rotem tweeted. Addressing the Washington, D.C.-based Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) on October 10, Pompeo reiterated the US administration’s “unwavering support” for Israel. In particular, Pompeo claimed that Israel had the sovereign right to “target Iranian-backed militias” in Syria, and pledged that the United States would continue to stand up for this right.


Over the last two years, Israel has struck Syria on multiple occasions, claiming that it targets Iran-backed forces, including Hezbollah. The nation has vowed to continue its air raids, despite the crash of the Russian Il-20 off the Syrian coast, which Moscow blamed on Tel Aviv and subsequent deliveries of Russia’s S-300 air defenses to the Arab Republic.



Benjamin Netanyahu Is No Friend to America


by Scott Ritter


Benjamin Netanyahu is no stranger to the American spotlight. A career Israeli politician who attended school in the United States, he specializes in the kind of rhetoric that his American counterparts revel in—a kind of narcissism that’s more used car salesman than educator.

Netanyahu specializes in selling danger to the American people. This is an art he has practiced on numerous occasions, whether it be at the gatherings of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), his many appearances before the U.S. Congress, at televised events or during the general debate in the United Nations General Assembly, an annual gathering of global leaders and diplomats where each nation’s representative is provided the opportunity to address counterparts and the world on issues he or she deems to be of particular import.

Bibi (as he is known, affectionately or otherwise) delivered his latest address to the General Assembly on Sept. 27. Like others he had delivered previously, this one was a tour de force of angst, fear and anger with a nearly singular focus on the issue that has seized Netanyahu for more than two decades—Iran and its alleged nuclear weapons program.

In his 1995 campaign autobiography, “Fighting Terrorism,” Netanyahu, preparing to run for the office of prime minister of Israel, asserted that Iran was “three to five years” away from having a nuclear bomb. Bibi repeated this claim several times over the next 20-plus years, apparently unconcerned by the fact that his self-appointed timetable kept coming and going without the Iranian nuclear threat manifesting itself.





Pentagon Report Points To US Preparations For Total War


by Andre Damon


Over the past two weeks, with next to no media coverage, the United States has moved substantially closer toward open military confrontation with both Russia and China, the second- and third-ranked nuclear powers in the world.

On October 3, the United States threatened, for the first time since the Cold War, to directly attack the Russian homeland. UN Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison accused the country of violating the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty by developing a nuclear cruise missile and said that Washington was preparing to “take out” the weapon with a US strike.

This statement came just three days after a Chinese warship set a collision course with a US destroyer carrying out a so-called “freedom of navigation” operation in the South China Sea, forcing the American ship to maneuver to avoid a collision and the potentially deadliest military clash in the Pacific in decades.

Behind such hair-raising incidents, the United States is undertaking serious, long-term preparations to restructure the American economy to fight a major war with a “peer” adversary, entailing radical changes to American economic, social and political life.

This is the essential content of a 146-page document released by the Pentagon last Friday, titled “Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States.” It makes it clear that Washington is preparing not just for isolated regional clashes, but rather for a massive, long-term war effort against Russia and China under conditions of potential national autarchy.





From: Mark Crispin Miller
To: "newsfromunderground" <newsfromunderground@googlegroups.com>
Sent: Saturday, 13 October, 2018
Subject: [MCM] NYTimes' big piece on Russia's pre-election Facebook op is "grossly misleading"




The Shaky Case That Russia Manipulated Social Media to Tip the 2016 Election

by Gareth Porter

October 10, 2018



The idea promoted by the NYT’s Shane & Mazzetti that the Russian government seriously threatened to determine the 2016 election does not hold up when the larger social media context is examined more closely, reports Gareth Porter.

By Gareth Porter
Special to Consortium News

https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/porter_gareth-600x675-150x150.jpgIn their long recapitulation of the case that Russia subverted the 2016 election, Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times painted a picture of highly effective Russian government exploitation of social media for that purpose. Shane and Mazzetti asserted that “anti-Clinton, pro-Trump messages shared with millions of voters by Russia could have made the difference” in the election. 

What we now know with certainty: The Russians carried out a landmark intervention that will be examined for decades to come,” they write elsewhere in the 10,000-word article.

But an investigation of the data they cite to show that the Russian campaigns on Facebook and Twitter were highly effective reveals a gross betrayal of journalistic responsibility. Shane and Mazzetti have constructed a case that is fundamentally false and misleading with statistics that exaggerate the real effectiveness of social media efforts by orders of magnitude.

‘Reaching’ 129 Million Americans 

The Internet Research Agency (IRA), is a privately-owned company run by entrepreneur Vevgeny V. Prigozhin, who has ties with President Vladimir Putin. Its employees poured out large numbers of social media postings apparently aimed at stoking racial and cultural tensions in the United States and trying to influence U.S. voters in regard to the presidential election, as Shane and Mazzetti suggest. They even adopted false U.S. personas online to get people to attend rallies and conduct other political activities. (An alternative explanation is that IRA is a purely commercial, and not political, operation.)

Whether those efforts even came close to swaying U.S. voters in the 2016 presidential election, as Shane and Mazzetti claimed, is another matter.

Shane and Mazzetti might argue that they are merely citing figures published by the social media giants Facebook and Twitter, but they systematically failed to report the detailed explanations behind the gross figures used in each case, which falsified their significance. 

Their most dramatic assertions came in reporting the alleged results of the IRA’s efforts on Facebook. “Even by the vertiginous standards of social media,” they wrote, “the reach of their effort was impressive: 2,700 fake Facebook accounts, 80,000 posts, many of them elaborate images with catchy slogans, and an eventual audience of 126 million Americans on Facebook alone.” 


Shane and Mazzetti: Playing loose with the facts.

Then, to dramatize that “eventual audience” figure, they observed, “That was not far short of the 137 million people who would vote in the 2016 presidential elections.” 

But as impressive as these figures may appear at first glance, they don’t really indicate an effective attack on the U.S. election process at all. In fact, without deeper inquiry into their meaning, those figures were grossly misleading. . . . 


‘Bodies lying everywhere’: Shooting at Crimea college

has echoes of Columbine massacre






Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil

by Pepe Escobar

“Stripped to its essence, the Brazilian presidential elections represent a direct clash between democracy and an early 21st Century neofascism, indeed between civilization and barbarism.”

Nothing less than the future of politics across the West – and across the Global South – is being played out in Brazil.

Stripped to its essence, the Brazilian presidential elections represent a direct clash between democracy and an early 21st Century, neofascism, indeed between civilization and barbarism.

Geopolitical and global economic reverberations will be immense. The Brazilian dilemma illuminates all the contradictions surrounding the Right populist offensive across the West, juxtaposed to the inexorable collapse of the Left. The stakes could not be higher.

Jair Bolsonaro, an outright supporter of Brazilian military dictatorships of last century, who has been normalized as the “extreme-right candidate,” won the first round of the presidential elections on Sunday with more than 49 million votes. That was 46 percent of the total, just shy of a majority needed for an outright win. This in itself is a jaw-dropping development.

His opponent, Fernando Haddad of the Workers’ Party (PT), got only 31 million votes, or 29 percent of the total. He will now face Bolsonaro in a runoff on October 28. A Sisyphean task awaits Haddad: just to reach parity with Bolsonaro, he needs every single vote from those who supported the third and fourth-placed candidates, plus a substantial share of the almost 20 percent of votes considered null and void.



Digital Monitoring Of The Poor


with Chris Hedges


Author, Virginia Eubanks, explains to Chris Hedges how the goals of Victorian-era poorhouses have evolved with 21st Century high-tech to exert control and surveillance of needy, poor and homeless people. Eubanks is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University Albany, SUNY. She is the author of Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police and Punish the Poor.





The CIA Finger in Brasil’s Elections
by Marcelo Zero


The growth of Bolsonarian fascism in the final stretch of the election campaign, turbo charged by an avalanche of fake news disseminated on the internet, is not surprising. It is an old tactic developed by American and British intelligence agencies, with the goal of manipulating public opinion and influencing political processes and elections. It was used in the Ukraine, in the Arab Spring and in Brazil during 2013.

There is science behind this manipulation.

Some people think that elections are won or lost only in rigorously rational debates about policies and proposals. But things don’t really work that way. In reality, as Emory University Psychology Professor Drew Weston says in his book “The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation”, feelings are commonly more decisive in defining the vote.

Weston says that, based on recent studies in neuroscience on the theme, contrary to what is commonly understood, the human brain makes decisions mainly based on emotions. The voters strongly base their choices on emotional perceptions about parties and candidates. Rational analysis and empirical data normally plays a secondary role in this process.


How the FBI Silences Whistleblowers


by John Kiriakou


The idea of “whistleblowing” has been in the news a great deal. Is the anonymous author of a recent New York Times op-ed eviscerating the president a whistleblower? Is the victim of an alleged sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh a whistleblower? I’m fortunate to have access to the media to talk about torture after blowing the whistle on the CIA’s program. I think Ed Snowden, Tom Drake and others would say the same thing about the aftermath of their own whistleblowing.


Cost of Doing the Right Thing

The problem is that we are the exception to the rule. Most whistleblowers either suffer in anonymity or are personally, professionally, socially and financially ruined for speaking truth to power. Darin Jones is one of those people. He’s one of the people silenced in Barack Obama’s war on whistleblowers. And he continues to suffer under Donald Trump. Jones was an FBI supervisory contract specialist who in 2012 reported evidence of serious procurement improprieties to his superior. Jones maintained that Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) had been awarded a $40 million contract improperly because a former FBI official with responsibility for granting the contract then was hired as a consultant at CSC. Jones said, rightly, that this was a violation of the Procurement Integrity Act. He made seven other disclosures alleging financial improprieties in the FBI, and he was promptly fired for his troubles.





Israeli settlers, soldiers injure dozens of Palestinian students

in northern West Bank



Dozens of Palestinian students have been injured after armed Israeli settlers and soldiers raided a high school in the occupied West Bank, a report says.


The Palestinian Ma'an news agency, citing Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activities in the region, reported that around 18 heavily armed Israeli settlers from the Yitzhar settlement broke into the high school in Urif village, located in southern Nablus, on Wednesday.

Upon storming the school, the invading settlers began hurling rocks at horrified students inside their classrooms, inflicting injuries to dozens of students, he further said, adding that the invasion also led to disruption of classes and material damages.

Minutes after the incident, Israeli forces also entered the high school and provided protection for the settlers while escorting them out of the area. The troopers also fired rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas canisters at students, causing a number of them to suffer from tear-gas inhalation.

Daghlas also confirmed that authorities dismissed the classes and hundreds of students evacuated the school’s premises.

In its annual report for 2017, the Palestinian Ministry of Education revealed that 80,279 Palestinian children and 4,929 teachers and staff were “attacked” by either Israeli settlers or soldiers.





“Too Big” Is Too Little


by Nicole M. Aschoff


Bernie Sanders is right: we need to rein in the big banks. But we shouldn't just break them up — we should socialize them.





Warning shot? China sells US Treasury bonds amid trade war

© Reuters / Gary Cameron


by Thomas White


China has sold $3 billion of sovereign dollar bonds. This is only the third such move by Beijing in the last 14 years, and the first involving bonds with a 30-year maturity.

China sold $1.5 billion of five-year bonds at 3.25 percent, $1 billion of 10-year bonds at 3.5 percent, and $500 million of 30-year bonds at four percent, the Finance Ministry said on Friday, as quoted by Reuters.

Read more . . .

Printing machine: US Treasury issuing more bonds to feed soaring debt but there are no takers

Beijing is the largest holder of US debt. As of July, China had $1.17 trillion invested in debt minted by the US Treasury.

China has made the sale at a time when yuan has depreciated 10 percent against the dollar amid an escalating trade war with the US. “For any other normal corporate borrower the decision might have been to stand on the sidelines and wait for the market to stabilize a bit, but China is a little bit of a different animal,” a banker who worked on the deal told Reuters.

“I don’t think people had concerns about China specifically, but it’s just a broader macro noise,” the person said.

In the recent tat-for-tat trade punches, China stopped buying oil from the US. China’s crude oil imports from America reached an average of 334,880 barrels per day through August, making Beijing the second-largest buyer of US oil after Canada.

So far, Washington has imposed tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods and Beijing retaliated with tariffs on $60 billion of US imports.





Khashoggi Picked the Wrong Prince




Jamal Elshayyal: Response to Khashoggi’s Death

Will Determine Future of Saudi Arabia & Middle East






Saudi Crown Prince to Pompeo: “We Are ‘Allies’.”



The Khashoggi Extortion Fiasco:

by Ghassan and Itbah Kadi



Jamal Elshayyal: Response to Khashoggi’s Death

Will Determine Future of Saudi Arabia & Middle East



In the Wake of Khashoggi’s Disappearance, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Is Pushed to the Brink

by Dexter Filkins



Pompeo Meets with Saudi Official Amid Missing Journalist Questions






Michael Moore: Trump Will Win In 2020