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"On the Side of the Road"
Subject : The Dialectics of Liberation & the Forces of Corporate Control: What Method? What Theory?
21 February 2019
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Several years ago I taught a graduate course on methods and theories in the social sciences. I borrowed from books such as the anthology edited by University of Paris professors Jean Heffer and François Weil, Chantier d’historire Américaine, and books by Simon Frasier University communications professor Anthony Wilden, including “System and Structure, Essays in Communication and Exchange” and The Rules Are No Game, The Strategies of Communication, as well as the works of Austrian physicist Fritjor Capra, The Web of Life, A New Synthesis of Mind and Matter, and NYU professor Bertell Ollman's life-time study of Marxist methodology, as well as Jean-Paul Sartre’s “ Critique de la Raison Dialectique.”
Using these readings, we discussed in class the method of building and testing theories, with the indispensable use of careful observation and critical thinking. The use of formal logic was essential, we agreed, albeit always keeping in mind that logic itself is a mental construct invented to enhance the art of communication by assuring consistent thought (i.e. non-contradiction). We all agreed logic is by no means an external property of material reality. We examined common logical fallacies in class. I gave examples of concocting spurious theories, like being born with the unique ability to fly in defiance of terrestrial gravity and to test this theory by jumping out the 10-story window of my office in order to discover which theory is correct, that of gravitation or the theory of my own ability to fly, whereby gravitational pull becomes an established fact at the cost of my life. This spurious theory would have no effect on the immutable material reality of gravitational pull, but the collateral consequences would be of significance (for me, at least).
Theories cannot change established laws of material reality, although the “facts of life” can be challenged at any time (sometimes with the most dire consequences). Social biases such as beliefs in national superiority, or ethnic or racial supremacy, represent logical fallacies which have contributed to disasters of historic prroportion. Such errors are mental constructs which are made first in virtual reality; then sometimes developed to produce material results.
The social sciences share with the so-called “hard sciences” notions such as “objective laws,” “factual observations,” and “logical conclusions.” Today’s newspaper headlines, for example, might promote false theories such as: Catholic priests are sexual predators, or that Jews are predatory bankers, or that Blacks are violent, or that Women are either whores or saints. A careful examination of these false premises would bring forth the recognition that most priests are not sexual predators and that most sexual predators are not priests, and likewise we would discover similar logical fallacies concerning our assumptions about Jews, Blacks and Women.
Formal logic, however, takes us just so far; then dialectical reason becomes useful to rescue us from our blind ignorance and prejudices. Here we can use the phenomenological approach to investigate what historic “stages” of development preceded the one we are presently concerned with and the nature of this evolution into what we are now investigating. We can employ diachronic and synchronic concepts, which were theorized by the famous Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, in order to seek to identify connections across time and across space.
But for clarity we must never forget that beneath the ground we are standing on, at any given moment in our material reality, are the tectonic movements of class struggle and that this fundamental force (albeit very often hidden from our awareness) plays a role in our lives which must be reckoned with. This cannot be ignored any more than the forces of gravitation can be ignored without peril. Any metaphysical theory that seeks to disprove the existence of class struggle must ultimately be verified before it can be adopted as “fact” and this test must include a reading of the historical context of factual events, keeping in mind George Orwell’s famous dictum:
Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.
Indeed,Marx's theory appears to be vindicated in this situation: "Material conditions influence ideas more than ideas influence material conditions."
The 17 + items below offer readers another look at current events which are crystallizing opposition to what seems to be the forces of a false order. The extreme centralization of financial control and of corporate media to the detriment of our freedom and future well-being is recognized by an increasing number of people around the world as a threat to our collective existence. The collective solutions to these extreme threats have not yet been determined . . . .
Professor emeritus of American Studies
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
Hate Fest In Warsaw
by Eric Margolis
Warsaw, Poland is not a fun place to visit in darkest February, but that is where the US just staged an anti-Iranian jamboree of 60 client states that brought derision and scorn from Europeans and much of the Mideast.
The point of this cynical exercise was to lay the diplomatic groundwork for an anti-Iranian coalition to act as a fig-leaf for an upcoming attack on Iran planned by President Donald Trump and his close ally, Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu.
The real question is who is calling the shots in bleak Warsaw, Trump or Bibi Netanyahu? It seems to many that the Israeli tail is again wagging the American dog.
This is thanks to the power of America’s born-again evangelicals, hoodwinked into believing that a Greater Israel is somehow a key part of the Second Coming of Christ.
A Fox News poll this week finds that a quarter of these credulous folks believe that God actually summoned Donald Trump to become president. This may even be more than the number of Americans who believe that Elvis is still alive. More proof that the Republicans have pretty much become a theological party.
The three horseman of the hard right Republican Apocalypse, Vice president Mike Pence, Insecurity advisor John Bolton, and State Secretary Mike Pompeo (who reportedly keeps an open bible on his desk) joined their voices to the Warsaw jamboree to excoriate Iran for being a ‘sponsor of terrorism,’ and a danger to world peace and stability.
vigilantes are feeding the far-right
by Jonathan Cook
Has anyone else noticed how almost anything you say nowadays – if it’s leftwing – can suddenly be cited as proof of your anti-semitism?
That is, if you haven’t already been denounced as a Kremlin stooge.
Oppose the regular neoconservative regime-change operations, such as the latest one targeting Venezuela, and point to the long record of war crimes committed by one of its current architects, Elliott Abrams, and that apparently is probable evidence that you’re an anti-semite
Note, as Ilhan Omar recently did, that AIPAC, the well-financed and single-minded Israel lobby group, has so much influence in the US Congress that few representatives dare to publicly oppose it and you’ll come under relentless pressure to apologise for expressing an anti-semitic view.
Never mind that the Senate just passed an AIPAC-driven law that blatantly violates Americans’ First Amendment rights by limiting their free speech – specifically to protect Israel from those who propose a boycott in support of Palestinian rights.
Want to criticise the bankers, who created a giant Ponzi scheme to enrich themselves and nearly destroyed the global economy – and are now being allowed to do it all over again? Or advocate for socialism and argue that there is a class war being waged against us by a “global elite”, or the 1 per cent? Yes, you’re definitely anti-semitic.
If you believe Jeremy Corbyn should be allowed to lead Labour into the next general election, as he was elected to do by party members, and that it should be possible to deselect Blairite MPs who wish to foil such an outcome and want to allow Theresa May to continue driving Britain over the cliff-edge, you are patently an anti-semite.
And of course, it hardly needs stating that if you criticise Israel, point out that it’s been running the longest occupation in modern history or cite any of the documented evidence that it practises apartheid against Palestinians, you must be irredeemably anti-semitic.
After all, as Guardian commentator Jonathan Freedland keeps reminding us, his and many other Jews’ identities are so deeply invested in Israel that, when we criticise Israel, we attack them. Ergo, we hate Jews.
Political language degraded
What’s most obvious about this new supposed outbreak of bigotry among wide sections of western public opinion is that for the first time in history anti-semitism apparently has little or nothing to do with Jews – except in the minds of those making the accusation.
It is barely fanciful nowadays to imagine a time soon – after Israel and Saudi Arabia go public with their new love affair and their continual plotting against Iran – when it will be judged anti-semitic to criticise Riyadh for chopping off heads or the oil industry for setting the planet on fire.
This degrading of political language to the point of absurdity isn’t accidental. While those claiming to worry about anti-semitism are busy defaming every leftwing argument made against the current neoliberal order, real anti-semitism – the rightwing kind that actually targets and sometimes kills Jews – mostly gets a free pass.
Real Jew-haters and Nazi sympathisers get the space to tell us how much they love Israel. Some of them, such as Hungary’s leader, Viktor Orban, can even rely on a warm handshake from Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
If the left try to point out what is going on, or suggest that the charge of anti-semitism is being “weaponised” to silence us, we are accused of promoting a conspiracy theory and one that – yes – has echoes of “anti-semitic tropes”.
The message of the anti-semitism witch-hunters to the left is simple: Shut up or be smeared over and over again.
Obsessed with Jews
It is worth pausing to note that there are plenty of neocons who are not Jewish promoting these endless “humanitarian interventions” that destroy other countries. There are also lots of lobbyists in Washington fighting for ugly causes who have nothing to do with Jewish communities or with Israel.
There are lots of bankers helping to gamble away the economy who are not Jewish. In fact, a large majority of them aren’t. Most capitalists – the people socialists tend to dislike – aren’t Jews either.
Most of the Blairite MPs trying to stop a Corbyn-led Labour party coming to power aren’t Jews, even if Luciana Berger thinks that anti-semitism is the only possible explanation for her constituency party wanting to be rid of her, rather than her threats to help set up a rival party.
True, Israel has mostly Jews living in it (though many Jews do not). But it is not Jews who are being berated by critics of Israel, it is a fully fledged, and highly militarised, state with its own political interests to advance that may not, let’s be frank, entirely mesh with those of other states or with the wider cause of human rights.
Almost all criticism of Israel targets its army command, which is oppressing another people; its government, which refuses to engage in peace talks and to stop building illegal settlements; or its secret services, which carry out rogue operations on foreign shores and try to promote destabilising wars.
In fact, it is those who fearmonger about a “leftwing” or “new anti-semitism” – presumably to distinguish it from the actual harmful variety – who are the ones obsessed with Jews.
It is they, not us, who premise their arguments on the assumption that the wars they condone are promoted only by Jews, that the Israel lobby represents all Jews, and that the capitalist class are Jewish.
Conversely it is they, not us, who imply that only the “wrong kind of Jews” are anti-Zionists, or that the only disloyal Labour MPs are Jewish ones, or that Jews are incapable of opposing regime change operations that advance US control over global oil resources.
In fact, these anti-semitism “watchdogs” no longer even bother to conceal the fact that their accusations of anti-semitism are intended as smears rather than as serious assessments of a rising tide of bigotry.
Noam Chomsky - Why Does the U.S. Support Israel?
Published on Jul 2, 2016
From: Moshé Machover
Sent: Tue, 19 Feb 2019
Subject: New post published at Jewish Voice for Labour on 18th February 2019 at 18:38| The Maleficent Seven Don't Speak For Me
In the past, Jew hatred was often used in Europe in order to distract attention from class domination and social inequality.
Nowadays false opposition to anti-Semitism is used to the same ends.
A very relevant article on the subject was written, in 1997, by the French Philosopher Jacques Rancière.
It is also very relevant to the French government policy today. Unfortunately, I was unable to find an English translation. The article gives seven rules how to use "antiracism" in order to reinforce racist ideology:
Le vendredi 21 mars 1997 (Horizons-Débats)
« Sept règles pour aider à la diffusion des idées racistes en France »
par Jacques Rancière
The ‘Progressive Except Palestine’ Problem
by Marjorie Cohn
As a progressive Jew, I find that many of my family members and friends are still what we call “PEP,” progressive except Palestine. Amid ever-worsening injustices created by the Israeli system of apartheid and Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands, it is past time for this to change. I am hopeful that the firestorm sparked by Michelle Alexander’s recent New York Times column, “Time to Break the Silence on Palestine,” will finally generate the heat necessary to force more people and groups on the left to overcome the fundamental hypocrisy of the “progressive except Palestine” approach.
I was deeply inspired by Alexander’s column and her decision to speak so honestly about the difficulty of overcoming the fear of backlash over taking a public stand against the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Striking a comparison between the risk taken by prominent critics of Israel and the risk Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. took by publicly criticizing the Vietnam War, Alexander observes, “Those who speak publicly in support of the liberation of the Palestinian people still risk condemnation and backlash.”
Yellow Vests: Microcosm of racist France
with George Galloway
Yellow Vest protesters, coming off a 13th weekend of demonstrations in France, must rise above the anti-Semitism and racism endemic in French society, former UK MP George Galloway tells RT
Israel lobby fakes campus anti-Semitism say US journalists
Details of how pro-Israeli lobby groups have fabricated accusations of anti-Semitism on US college campuses in order to incite official crackdowns against Palestine solidarity activism were revealed earlier in the week during a political talk show hosted by prominent American journalist Chris Hedges. The author and a visiting Princeton university lecturer discussed the Israeli lobby with co-founder of the Electronic Intifada, Ali Abunimah and journalist Max Blumenthal, on his talk show “On Contact”.
Discussing the Al Jazeera documentary on the workings of the Israeli lobby, the journalists described what they said was a “false crises” created by a network of pro-Israeli lobby groups working with Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Israeli embassies “to lay a factual basis to make federal civil rights complaints or lawsuits that can then be used to force university administrations to muzzle students and teachers.”
A number of cases were cited to highlight the Israeli embassies’ efforts to aggressively target American pro-Palestinian student activists including the infamous case of Julia Reifkind. The Israeli embassy officer spied on student supporters of Palestinian rights while engaging in deception by suggesting that pro-Palestinian student activists were behind an anti-Semitic incident on campus.
Labour MP split is a cheap and final ploy to derail Brexit
with Alexander Mercour
The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercour is discuss a small group of UK Labour MPs decision to quit the party and sit as Independent MPs in the house of commons. Their excuse for leaving Labour was directed at leader Jeremy Corbyn for presiding over an "institutionally anti-Semitic" party. The real reason they are leaving Labour is because they are staunch remain MPs and are hoping to derail Brexit. The seven Labour MPs quitting the party to become 'The Independent Group', are Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey. RT reports that Luciana Berger, the MP for Liverpool Wavertree took to the stage first, to claim that she could not stay in the party any more because it had become "institutionally anti-Semitic." Chuka Umunna, MP for Streatham, a prominent 'People's Vote' advocate appealed to all MPs, not just Labour, to join their group, as the current parties are part of the problem, not the solution. He argued that “It is time we dumped this country’s old fashioned politics.” Umunna claimed the UK needed a political party “fit for the hear and now” and the “first step in leaving the tribal politics behind."
Atlanta School Cheating Scandal: The Untold Story of Corporate Greed & Criminalization of Teachers
As teacher strikes in Denver and Los Angeles join a wave of recent labor actions bringing attention to the plight of the American public school system, we take a fresh look at one of the largest public school scandals in U.S. history. Public schools in Atlanta, Georgia, were thrown into chaos in 2015 when 11 former educators were convicted in 2015 of racketeering and other charges for allegedly facilitating a massive cheating operation on standardized tests. Prosecutors said the teachers were forced to modify incorrect answers and students were even allowed to fix their responses during exams. The case has fueled criticism of the education system’s reliance on standardized testing, and elicited calls of racism. Thirty-four of the 35 educators indicted in the scandal were African-American. We speak with Shani Robinson, one of the 11 convicted teachers, who has written a new book on the cheating scandal with journalist Anna Simonton. It’s titled “None of the Above: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal, Corporate Greed, and the Criminalization of Educators.”
Break Free From
The Corporate Prison
by Caitlin Johnstone
This is not a sane way for people to live. They herd us into classrooms where our minds are pressed into uniform shapes learning lessons which organize clean-cut, authorized thoughts into neat little boxes, then they herd us into cubicles where we turn gears to turn millionaires into billionaires.
We go home and our minds are herded into advertising that makes us want to consume, news media that makes us believe our government is virtuous, and TV shows where paid actors play out scenes which convince us that capitalism is working out perfectly fine. Try to get away from the phoniness by talking to a real person, and it turns out they’ve been processed through the same system.
But the rewards of moving inside their painted lanes are so great, and the penalties for stepping outside them are so severe. The closest most ever come to authenticity is learning how to fake their way through society while secretly knowing it’s all bullshit.
But we also can’t keep living like this. This machine we keep fueling is filling the oceans with poison and filling the air with greenhouse gasses while killing the trees and driving humanity toward nuclear war. The lanes they have painted for us have formed a funnel into our own extinction.
So those lanes are necessarily going to have to become moot. All the societal structures which have been put in place to incentivize us toward producing and consuming are going to have to fall away. Either because society collapses or because we changed our ways quickly and drastically enough to avert disaster. Either way, this march away from our own authenticity is about to end.
So why not start now? Why not take off that tight suit and stop acting out this masochistic charade?
Stop marching inside their lines to the beat of their drum. Stop relating to life using dead ideas you were handed by other people for the convenience of the powerful. Start dancing your own dance in your own way.
I don’t know how to dance your authentic dance, so I can’t tell you how to do that. But you do. You know. Underneath all the societal impositions and expectations and pressures and demands and fear and aversion and uncertainties, you know. The instructions are written upon the core of your being, and if you get sincerely curious about them, they will show themselves to you bit by bit, as needed.
Once you move past all the voices telling you you mustn’t and you shouldn’t, you will find that your own inner truth is so much wiser and healthier than society’s dead ideas about how we all ought to live.
Trust yourself to be bravely and defiantly true to the truth, clear-eyed rebel. I trust you. Life trusts you. You can trust yourself.
Climb up over that slaughterhouse rail and go live a life uninhibited by the painted lanes of a servile society, for the good of our species and for the honor of your own majesty. Leave the cage they built for you in a ditch by the freeway and stride out boldly into uncharted lands beneath the open sky.
February 14, 2019
From Sydney: Whistle-Blowing, WikiLeaks and the Future of Democracy
Consortium News webcast from Sydney, Australia a production of politicsinthepub.org of an event Thursday on Whistle-blowing, WikiLeaks and the Future of Democracy.
The speakers were Caitlin Johnstone, James Cogan, Cathy Vogan, Ambassador Tony Kevin and CN Editor Joe Lauria from Sydney.
Sydney meeting opposes persecution of Julian Assange
15 February 2019
At a meeting in Sydney last night, prominent independent journalists and defenders of democratic rights, including Socialist Equality Party (Australia) national secretary James Cogan, spoke against the ongoing persecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and discussed the way forward in the fight for his freedom.
The event, hosted by “Politics in the Pub,” was addressed in person by Cogan and Joe Lauria, a well-known US journalist and editor-in-chief of the Consortium News website. Lauria travelled to Sydney for the meeting. It was chaired by Cathy Vogan, an independent filmmaker.
Award-winning journalist Chris Hedges endorses Free Assange demonstrations in Australia
16 February 2019
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, lecturer and political commentator Chris Hedges has issued the following statement supporting the demonstrations called by the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) in Sydney on March 3 and Melbourne on March 10 to demand the freedom of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.
Hedges has actively opposed the persecution of Assange and the sweeping censorship of independent and critical internet-based media such as the WSWS, Truthdig and other anti-war and anti-imperialist publications.
It is imperative that we pressure the Australian government to make sure its citizen, Julian Assange, is protected from the lawlessness of the American empire. He has not been charged with a crime. He cannot, under international and American law, be kidnapped and taken to the United States and put on trial for his work as a publisher. I implore everyone who can, to attend the two rallies being organized in Australia demanding that the Australian government secure the freedom and safe passage home of Julian.
Congress, Israel and the Politics of
by Robert Fantina
It is a rare day that some member of Congress doesn’t expose him or herself as a hypocrite of the first order. This week, we have seen this done in spades.
On February 10, Representative Ilhan Omar (D- MN) said that U.S. Congressional support for Israel is “…all about the Benjamins…”, a reference to the U.S. denomination, $100.00 bills, that sport a picture of Benjamin Franklin. One would think that stating the obvious would not be met with such umbrage.
But no! Democratic leadership (how’s that for an oxymoron?) issued a statement condemning Omar’s “…use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters…’, and declaring her words ‘deeply offensive’.
Really? Was this, indeed, an ‘anti-Semitic trope’? Was it a ‘prejudicial accusation’? This writer, as is his custom, will attempt to make some sense of all this, a challenging undertaking, undeniably. We will do so first by looking at some of the members of Congress who voiced their objection.
+ Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who issued the statement condemning Omar’s remarks, has benefited from pro-Israel campaign contributions to the tune of $514,449.00.
+ Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) issued a concise statement to Omar: ‘STOP IT!”. Ms. Schakowsky has received $552,624.00 in campaign contributions from pro-Israel lobbies during her career.
+ Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) praised Pelosi’s condemnation of Omar’s statement. His career take from pro-Israel lobbies: $804,215.00.
+ House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who just last year suggested that wealthy Jews were trying to buy the mid-term elections, vowed that Republicans would “… take action this week to ensure the House speaks out against this hatred.” The hypocrisy of that statement, based on his own words of just a few months ago, is obvious. During his Congressional career, he has received $174,625.00 in contributions from pro-Israel groups.
These are just four examples; four members of Congress, whose total cash haul from pro-Israel lobbies equals $2,045,913.00, condemning Omar’s words. That is a significant number of ‘Benjamins’.
We will now move onto the pro-Israel attempt to conflate criticism of the apartheid state of Israel with anti-Semitism.
Ilhan Omar Was Dead Right About Lobbyists for Israel
by Jacob Sugarman
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., walks through the Capitol building in January. (Andrew Harnik / AP)
On Monday, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., issued an apology for a series of tweets suggesting that pro-Israel lobbying groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) had effectively purchased the support of U.S. lawmakers. In one such such tweet, she had quipped that Congress’ staunch defense of Israel was “all about the Benjamins”—a reference to the Puff Daddy song of the same name.
“Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes,” she wrote in a statement. “My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole.”
Yet since issuing her mea culpa, the substance of Omar’s initial claims has largely been reaffirmed. Citing “The Lobby,” a four-part documentary in which an Al-Jazeera journalist successfully poses as a volunteer for The Israel Project, The Intercept’s Ryan Grim reminds his readers that prominent lobbyists for Israel have been caught on tape bragging about their pull in Washington.
Pro-Israel Lobby Caught on Tape Boasting That Its Money Influences Washington
by Ryan Grim
“Ten ways the Israel lobby ‘moves’ America”
by Grant Smith
“Israeli influence on U.S. foreign policy”
by Col. Lawrence Wilkerson"
Israel's Influence: Good or Bad for America?
Published on Jul 25, 2016
An analysis of the history, size, scope and activities of Israel affinity organizations and their increasingly negative—but little known—impact on all Americans. Panel: Israel’s influence on Congress and government agencies—Grant Smith, moderator Conference: Israel's Influence: Good or Bad for America? Washington, DC - March 18, 2016 at the National Press Club This conference was organized by the American Educational Trust, publisher of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs magazine, and the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, Inc.
President Morales Calls Out U.S. Foreign Policy as Trump Listens
in UN Security Council Meeting
The U.S. “would not have threatened with military intervention democratically elected governments as it has done with #Venezuela,” the Bolivian president continued in his denunciation of American violations of #InternationalLaw. “The United States could not care less about human rights nor justice. If this were the case, it would have signed the international conventions and treaties for the have protection of human rights.” President #Trump wore a small earpiece to hear the English translation while others wear larger ones at the UN Security Council meeting. “In no way is the United States interested in upholding democracy. If such were the case it would not have financed coups d'etat and supported dictators,” said Evo Morales, President of Bolivia. “Morales was in a position to make the statements because Bolivia is one of the nonpermanent slots on the council. ” - The Hill, Justin Wise - 09/26/18
Elliott Abrams: The War Criminal Running US Policy in Venezuela
Venezuela Envoy Elliott Abrams Lose His Cool During Tense Exchange With Rep. Ilhan Omar
Abrams, in 1991 you pleaded guilty to two counts of withholding information
from Congress regarding your involvement in the Iran-Contra affair, for which
you were later pardoned by president George H.W. Bush," began Omar.
"I fail to understand why members of this committee or the American people
should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful."
"If I could respond to that..." interjected Abrams.
"It was not a question," shot back Omar.
After a brief exchange in which Abrams protested "It was not right!" Omar cut Abrams off, saying "Thank you for your participation."
Ilhan Omar Makes Convicted War Criminal Elliott Abrams Squirm
"The Coup Against Hugo Chavez” - BBC
by Greg Palast
"Hugo Chavez US Cancer induced Technology"
with Hugo Chavez
Was HUGO CHAVEZ Murdered by the U.S./CIA?
The Assasination of Hugo Chavez
How Haiti's Spontaneous Uprising is Connected to Venezuelan Solidarity
Kim Ives of Haiti Liberté unravels how the new Haitian revolt entangles Duvalier style corruption of money stolen from Venezuela’s PetroCaribe program and subtle US intervention
‘Long live Putin!’ Haiti opposition protesters burn US flag, demand Russian intervention
Venezuela Coverage and Analysis
From Sydney: Whistle-Blowing, WikiLeaks
and the Future of Democracy
Consortium News webcast from Sydney, Australia a production of politicsinthepub.org of an event Thursday on Whistle-blowing, WikiLeaks and the Future of Democracy.
The speakers were Caitlin Johnstone, James Cogan, Cathy Vogan, Ambassador Tony Kevin and CN Editor Joe Lauria from Sydney.
From: Mark Crispin Miller
Sent: Saturday, 16 February, 2019
Subject: [MCM] Suzie Dawson has been wildly smeared online—and too many on "the left" are buying it.
Suzie Dawson, a relentless champion of Julian Assange, was targeted by New Zealand intelligence agencies for her Occupy activism and opposition to the TPP, and now lives in Moscow, where she moved in 2016 to seek political asylum.
Now Suzie has been wildly smeared online, maybe to subvert her petition for asylum by the Russia government. Whatever the motive, the smears are whopping lies, as she meticulously demonstrates below; so any real progressive ought to see them for exactly what they are.
(To grasp the likelihood that this smear campaign was largely driven by the CIA, check out Five Eyes.)
Smearing Is Easy – Solidarity is Hard
by Suzie Dawson
It is a bizarre experience becoming the focus of a complete stranger’s conspiracy theorising, and watching how easily otherwise-intelligent people can be influenced by it, though I’ve increasingly had to build up an immunity to this over the years and I’ve too often seen the same done to other activists, journalists and whistleblowers, like clockwork.
The practice of digital-smearing takes aim at anyone that has ever done anything that was both a) even marginally controversial, and b) of any value to this planet.
This week, I initially took heed of a heads-up from people much smarter and more experienced than myself who warned that yet another smear of me was being circulated and not to waste time on it. But after hearing that it contained falsehoods which I have noticed being seeded across multiple quarters and injected into various communities and forums over the last six months or so, I’ve decided to correct the lies once and for all.
The many factual inaccuracies contained within the latest smear of myself, Unity4J, Kim Dotcom and Internet Party are listed and debunked below . . . .
Peter Jackson’s Cartoon War
by Chris Hedges
Confronting the U.S./EU/NATO Axis of Domination
by Ajamu Baraka
Democrats may hate Trump, but they join in white supremacist solidarity with his aggression against the mostly non-white people of Venezeula.
“It is accepted as normal that the U.S. and Europe have the right and, indeed, the responsibility to police the world.”
The hypocrisy and confusion on the issue of race and white supremacy revealed itself once again in the United States with a governor dressed in blackface and a decision by the Trump administration and supported by the European Union to execute a coup against the democratically elected government of Venezuela.
And while Virginia Governor Ralph Northam was outed as a racist when photos surfaced from his yearbook as a medical student in the 1980s that depicted him in either blackface or in a KKK outfit, the assumption that the U.S. and European Union had the right to determine the leadership of a nation in the global South escaped the same condemnation as a racist act of white supremacist power.
The liberal chattering class was quick to condemn this obvious expression of racism and call for Northam’s resignation. But as journalist Greg Palast points out, the attempts by the oligarchy in Venezuela to undermine the government is “at its heart, a furious backlash of the whiter (and wealthier)Venezuelans against their replacement by the larger Mestizo (mixed-race) poor.” Which means that the intervention by the U.S. is an intervention in support of white power.
Will the U.S. Senate Let the People of Yemen Live?
by David Swanson
In 1973 the War Powers Resolution weakened the U.S. Constitution’s placement of the power to start and end wars with the first branch of the U.S. government, the Congress. The new law carved out exceptions to allow presidents to start wars. However, it also created procedures by which a single member or group of members of Congress could force a vote in Congress on whether to end a war. Despite weakening the written law, the War Powers Resolution may finally be about to prove itself to have strengthened the ability of proponents of peace to put an end to mass slaughter.
Since 1973 we’ve seen numerous wars waged in blatant violation of both the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution, not to mention the UN Charter and the Kellogg Briand Pact. But we’ve also seen Congress members like my friend Dennis Kucinich force votes on whether to end wars. These votes have usually failed. And the Congress that ended this past December illegally refused (in the House) to even hold such votes. But debates have been created, people have been informed, and the notion that a law still exists that merits respect has been kept alive.
What Happened to the Remains of Khashoggi’s Predecessor?
by Robert Fisk
Ghadanfar Rokon Abadi was Iran’s senior intelligence officer in Beirut in the late 1990s. I met him many times and he was always frank about Iran’s support for Hezbollah in Lebanon; he even spoke to students at a Christian university in east Beirut to explain why his country supported Syria. He was not very convincing: claiming that the Syrian revolution had nothing to do with poverty or oppression was a hard sell. He arrived back in Beirut as ambassador – and be sure, even more senior intelligence officer — in 2010, and subsequently herded then-president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad – a crackpot if ever there was one – on a tour of southern Lebanon.
But in November 2013, two suicide bombers attacked the Iranian embassy in Beirut, killing 23 employees, Hezbollah guards and civilians who fell from their high-storey balconies when the explosion blasted through the streets. The attack was claimed by the ‘Abdullah Azzam Brigades’, named after a former lecturer in Saudi Arabia who would later help to found al-Qaeda, and was intended to destroy the entire embassy compound.
The Iranians believed the Saudis were behind the attack. The Saudis, as always, denied it. The bombers never got through the gates, and so their intended target, Ambassador Ghadanfar Rokon Abadi, survived. For less than another two years.
History of World War II: Nazi Germany was Financed by the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England
Michel Chossudovsky : Guerres et crise économique
Conférence du Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation, 4 juillet 2012. Les enjeux de la crise mondiale : austérité, guerres, brutalité policière et mensonge médiatique Conférenciers : - Michel Collon, journaliste belge, auteur de « La Stratégie du Chaos », fondateur d'Investig'Action - Michel Chossudovsky, professeur d'économie (émérite), auteur de « Mondialisation de la pauvreté et nouvel ordre mondial », directeur du Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation - Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, porte-parole de la CLASSE (Coalition large de l'Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (ASSÉ))
The Great Con of American Patriotism
American soldiers born decades apart in the state of New York, Ron Kovic and Maj. Danny Sjursen, are two crucial dissenting voices that have experienced firsthand the futility and brutality of America’s interventionist wars. Kovic, a Marine veteran who was paralyzed in the Vietnam War, has spent the rest of his life fighting against the U.S. war machine. The film “Born on the Fourth of July,” starring Tom Cruise, was based on his book, a work he hoped would combine with his activism to dissuade young people from buying into the toxic patriotism that leads Americans to fight destructive, ultimately pointless wars.
In the latest installment of “Scheer Intelligence,” Kovic tells Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer, “I couldn’t stop speaking against that war. I was arrested a dozen times. I—every single day was life and death. Every single day, I know that there could be another young man like Ron Kovic being paralyzed, another young man from a town or a farm somewhere in this country, being killed in that war that had to stop.”
Sadly, Sjursen, who says he watched the film based on Kovic’s life before he was even of age to join the military, explains that he wasn’t able to hear past what he calls the “faux patriotism” that pushed him to attend the U.S. Military Academy, as well as do tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I think the fact that I didn’t learn the lessons from Ron Kovic’s story,” Sjursen laments, “[is] proof of the power of the masculinity that is associated with military service, and this notion of nationalism and patriotism. It’s so prevalent that it’s, in some ways, if it’s not fought every day … it will continue despite the lessons before us.”
Sjursen also reflects on the shame he feels for having led soldiers to their deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan long after he “no longer had any faith in the wars.”
You should be outraged at what has been done to our country
by John W. Whitehead
“There’s absolutely no evidence to support the statement that [America is] the greatest country in the world. We’re 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, 3rd in median household income, number 4 in labor force and number 4 in exports. We lead the world in only three categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real and defense spending, where we spend more than the next 26 countries combined, 25 of whom are allies…
“[America] sure used to be [the greatest country in the world ]… We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reason. We passed laws, struck down laws, for moral reason. We waged wars on poverty, not on poor people. We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors, we put our money where our mouths were and we never beat our chest. We built great, big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases and we cultivated the world’s greatest artists AND the world’s greatest economy. We reached for the stars, acted like men. We aspired to intelligence, we didn’t belittle it. It didn’t make us feel inferior. We didn’t identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election and we didn’t scare so easy. We were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed… by great men, men who were revered. First step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore.” ― Aaron Sorkin, The Newsroom (Episode 1)
Life in America has become a gut-wrenching, soul-sucking, misery-drenched, demoralizing existence.
We have managed to survive crackdowns, clampdowns, shutdowns, showdowns, shootdowns, standdowns, knockdowns, putdowns, breakdowns, lockdowns, takedowns, slowdowns, meltdowns, and never-ending letdowns.
We’ve been held up, stripped down, faked out, photographed, frisked, fracked, hacked, tracked, cracked, intercepted, accessed, spied on, zapped, mapped, searched, shot at, tasered, tortured, tackled, trussed up, tricked, lied to, labeled, libeled, leered at, shoved aside, saddled with debt not of our own making, sold a bill of goods about national security, tuned out by those representing us, tossed aside, and taken to the cleaners.
We’ve had our freedoms turned inside out, our democratic structure flipped upside down, and our house of cards left in a shambles.
We’ve had our children burned by flashbang grenades, our dogs shot, and our old folks hospitalized after “accidental” encounters with marauding SWAT teams. We’ve been told that as citizens we have no rights within 100 miles of our own border, now considered “Constitution-free zones.” We’ve had our faces filed in government databases, our biometrics crosschecked against criminal databanks, and our consumerist tendencies catalogued for future marketing overtures.
Someone Needs to Teach These As$#oles a Lesson
by Paul Street
“Someone,” my Finnish-American socialist great-aunt Mary used to say in the late 1960s, “ought to teach these assholes a lesson.” By “these assholes,” she meant the people who own and run the United States.
Mary died many years ago. I thought about her the other night while watching Donald Trump lie about crime and border walls to an audience of frothing white-nationalist Amerikaners in El Paso. I wondered what she’d think about the American political circus these days.
I imagined her yesterday laughing with disdain as the orange monstrosity idiotically declared a national emergency. There is no national emergency at the southern border just a humanitarian crisis created by its own fascist nativism.
For the Ruling Class Because in the Ruling Class
Who would Mary want taught a lesson in 2019? Trump, of course, for starters. Aunt Mary would have loathed the tangerine truth-crusher with a passion. She would have been appalled by the callousness with which the billionaire creeping fascist president cut pay and benefits for 800,000 federal workers for five weeks in pursuit of a nativist wall meant to counter a fake brown menace on the southern border.
Mary would despise the modern-day Republicans for playing along with Trump’s racist, sexist, and authoritarian games and for giving the super-rich and their corporations a big tax cut in a country where the top tenth of the upper One Percent already had as much wealth as the nation’s bottom 90 percent.
But Mary wouldn’t stop with Trump and the Republicans. Her notion of the “assholes” who need instruction would include the well-heeled agents of oligarchy who sit atop the nation’s other reigning capitalist party. As Mary would understand quite well, the Democrats’ abject service to the big financial institutions and transnational corporations is why the racist and sexist Republican Party holds the presidency, the Senate, the Supreme Court, and most of the nation’s state governments today. “Red Mary” (as my more middle-class and devoutly Lutheran Finnish relatives called her) would have enjoyed the late political scientist Sheldon Wolin’s term for the dismal, dollar-drenched and demobilizing Dems: “the Inauthentic Opposition.”
Mary would have nothing but contempt for multi-millionaire neoliberal Democrats like the Clintons (net worth: $125 million), the Obamas ($40 million), U.S. Senator Mark Warner ($243 million), U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein ($94 million), U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthals ($85 million), MSDNC morning host and former top international derivatives trader Stephanie Ruhle ($5 million), and MSDNC evening star Rachel Maddow ($20 million).
These people are for the global bourgeoisie and its empire because they are part ofthe global bourgeoisie and its empire.
Mary would be nauseated by the identity games bourgeois Democrats play, whereby one is called a “racist” for having the decency to point out that Barack Obama and Corey Booker are corporate assets – and a “sexist” for noting the same about Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar (a notorious abuser of Congressional staffers) and even Elizabeth the “Senator from Raytheon” Warren
(net worth $11 million). (With the former mass incarceration-agent Kamala Harris at the top of the ticket, corporate Dems will enjoy calling her left and progressive critics both racist and sexist at the same time.)
From: Mark Crispin
Sent: Saturday, 16 February, 2019
Subject: [MCM] The latest (bits of) news on labor's rise in Mexico
Joe Surkiewicz reports (as no one else will).
The strikes were reported in the WSJ earlier this week:
Strikes at Low-Wage Plants Signal Revival of Labor Demands in Mexico
Workers want higher pay as country prepares to overhaul labor laws
And the WSWS today:
Union thugs assault striking Matamoros workers
The Mexican and US ruling class and the trade unions are ramping up their physical intimidation and reprisals against the workers in Matamoros, Mexico, whose rebellion against the trade unions and sweatshop conditions has sparked an ongoing strike wave across the country.
On Thursday morning, the same workers at the Fisher Dynamics auto-parts plant in Matamoros who sent a video supporting the February 9 demonstration in Detroit against plant closings announced by GM in the United States and Canada, told the WSWS Autoworker Newsletter that union thugs had attacked their picket line.
Tulsi Gabbard Is Driving The MSM Crazy
by Caitlin Johnstone
The newly minted presidential candidate is serving as a lightning rod for the debate about U.S. warmongering, writes Caitlin Johnstone.
When Hawaii’s Rep. Tulsi Gabbard announced her plans to run in the 2020 presidential election, I predicted that it would disrupt war propaganda narratives and force a much-needed conversation about U.S. interventionism, but I didn’t realize that it would happen so quickly, so ubiquitously and so explosively. Gabbard officially began her campaign for president a little over a week ago, and already she’s become the front line upon which the debate about U.S. warmongering is happening.
This dynamic became more apparent than ever in Gabbard’s recent appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, hosted by spouses Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.
It should here be noted since we’re talking about war propaganda that in 2009 Scarborough turned down an easy run for the U.S. Senate because he decided that he could have more influence on public policy as the host of Morning Joe than he could as one of 100 U.S. senators, which tells you everything you need to know about why I focus more on U.S. mass media propaganda than I do on U.S. politics. It should also be noted that Brzezinski is the daughter of the late Carter administration Cold Warrior Zbigniew Brzezinski, whose influential ideas about U.S. world domination, arming extremist factions to advance U.S. interests, and hawkish agendas against Russia continue to infect U.S. foreign policy to this day. Mika is part of a political dynasty, with both brothers being U.S. political insiders as well.
Aligning the Message
So if you’ve ever wondered how outlets like MSNBC keep everyone on message and fully in alignment with the U.S. war machine’s agendas, there’s a good insight into how. Combine that with the way they stock their punditry lineup with U.S. intelligence community insiders and fire any pundit who refuses to toe the military-industrial complex line, and it’s not hard to see how they’ve developed such a tight echo chamber of hostility toward any resistance to U.S. interventionism. Which explains what we’re about to discuss next.
Sent: Saturday, 16 February, 2019
Subject: [MCM] Big Sharma unhinged! Another MUST-WATCH video by Del Bigtree.
With "our free press" now blaming Russia for the measles, and telling us that measles is as deadly as ebola, and otherwise insanely demonizing all who dare to question the Big Lie that all US vaccines are "safe and effective," it's time for everyone to listen to Del Bigtree—and take heart from his observation that this lunacy ia actually good news, because it means that those of us who really take a scientific view of those vaccines, and who do really care about the public health are winning, and will necessarily prevail.
So watch this, and please share it far and wide.
BIG PHARMA UNHINGED!
Artificial Intelligence can make the world better or be a tool for war
Profit and deception drove cold-war militarization, says Lester Earnest, founder of the Artificial Intelligence Lab at Stanford.
Food, Justice, Violence and Capitalism
by Colin Todhunter
In 2015, India’s internal intelligence agency wrote a report that depicted various campaigners and groups as working against the national interest. The report singled out environmental activists and NGOs that had been protesting against state-corporate policies. Those largely undemocratic and unconstitutional policies were endangering rivers, forests and local ecologies, destroying and oppressing marginalised communities, entrenching the corporatisation of agriculture and usurping land rights.
These issues are not unique to India. Resistance against similar practices and injustices is happening across the world. And for their efforts, campaigners are being abused, incarcerated and murdered. Whether people are campaigning for the land rights of tribal communities in India or for the rights of peasant farmers in Latin America or are campaigning against the fracking industry in the UK or against pipelines in the US, there is a common thread: non-violent protest to help bring about a more just and environmentally sustainable world.
What is ultimately fuelling the push towards the relentless plunder of land, peoples and the environment is a strident globalised capitalism, euphemistically termed ‘globalisation’, which is underpinned by increasing state surveillance, paramilitary-type law enforcement and a US-backed push towards militarism.
The deregulation of international capital movement (financial liberalisation) effectively turned the world into a free-for-all for global capital. The ramping up of this militarism comes at the back end of a deregulating/pro-privatising neoliberal agenda that has sacked public budgets, depressed wages, expanded credit to consumers and to governments (to sustain spending and consumption) and unbridled financial speculation. In effect, spending on war is in part a desperate attempt to boost a stagnant US economy.
Trudeau “Disappointed” his Ex-Justice Minister Resigned After He Demoted Her
Macron pisses off Merkel as he tries to sabotage Nord Stream 2 channel
Cross Talk on Tulsi Gabbard: Peace Candidate
Is America ready for a real antiwar candidate? Clearly the political establishment and the media aren’t. Criticism of presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard and anyone else who questions foreign policy orthodoxies is swift and unrelenting. Fighting for peace has never been so difficult.
1 500 gilets jaunes étaient devant l'ONU pour dénoncer les violences policières en France