Monday, September 26, 2016

Presidential Debates Commission Secret History  (Dark Money Explosion Cries for Clean Money Campaign)  Deutsche Bank in Free Fall/CoCo Bonds Plunge  (Wells Fargo Employees File $2.6B Class Action)  Top Bank Fraud Expert: ALL of the Big Banks’ Profits Come from FRAUD - Bill Black's in the House!  (Adjunct Profs Treatment Heralds End of Higher Education in USA Usa usa)



The Secret History of the Commission on Presidential Debates


With the two major party nominees - and no one else - about to square off once again before a nationwide audience, it's time to revisit the thrilling misadventures that guaranteed voters would never learn about alternative candidates or ideas in presidential debates. Return with us now to...

Lee Camp is our current expert (no, not MSM expert) on what dark money has done to our political process and how to start the clean-money wagon (fire wagon?) for the campaigns to come.


Hope they don't have to put off the "debate" for this little event:

Deutsche Bank in Free Fall. Shares, CoCo Bonds Plunge. Merkel Gives Cold Shoulder on Bailout. Bank Denies Everything

These infamous “CoCos” are designed to be “bailed in” before taxpayers get to foot the bill. Thus, they’re a measure of investor fears about getting bailed in.

Speaking of chickens coming home to roost . . .

(Reuters) - Two former Wells Fargo & Co employees have filed a class action in California seeking $2.6 billion or more for workers who tried to meet aggressive sales quotas without engaging in fraud and were later demoted, forced to resign or fired.

The lawsuit on behalf of people who worked for Wells Fargo in California over the past 10 years, including current employees, focuses on those who followed the rules and were penalized for not meeting sales quotas.

"Wells Fargo fired or demoted employees who failed to meet unrealistic quotas while at the same time providing promotions to employees who met these quotas by opening fraudulent accounts," the lawsuit filed on Thursday in California Superior Court in Los Angeles County said.

Wells Fargo has fired some 5,300 employees for opening as many as 2 million accounts in customers' names without their authorization. On Sept. 8, a federal regulator and Los Angeles prosecutor announced a $190 million settlement with Wells.

The revelations are a severe hit to Wells Fargo's reputation. During the financial crisis, the bank trumpeted being a conservative bank in contrast with its rivals.

A Wells Fargo spokesman on Saturday declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit accuses Wells Fargo of wrongful termination, unlawful business practices and failure to pay wages, overtime, and penalties under California law.

Yeah. You know it.

I still just adore this guy.

What a mensche!

Why isn't he in charge of the Justice Department?

Kidding.

We know why he isn't.


Top Bank Fraud Expert:  ALL of the Big Banks’ Profits Come from FRAUD

September 23, 2016 | Washington's Blog www.washingtonsblog.com

The country’s top white collar crime expert, William Black – who put over 1,000 top S&L executives in jail for fraud, and is a professor of law and economics at the University of Missouri – confirmed recently what the alternative media has been saying for years:  the business plan of Wall Street is fraud. That’s their key profit center.
Black also says that a British parliamentary investigation Tories found that all of the retail profits of the largest banks in the UK came from fraud.

Indeed, the big banks manipulate every single market … and routinely engage in criminal acts.
Who cares?
Well, experts say that we have to prosecute fraud or else the economy won’t EVER really recover and stabilize.
But the government is doing the exact opposite. Indeed, the Justice Department has announced it will go easy on big banks, and always settles prosecutions for pennies on the dollar (a form of stealth bailout. It is also arguably one of the main causes of the double dip in housing.)
Indeed, the government doesn’t even force the banks to admit any criminal guilt as part of their settlements. In fact:

“The banks have been allowed to investigate themselves,” one source familiar with the investigation told Reuters. “The investigated decide what they want to investigate, what they admit to, and how much they will pay.

And as far as my life as an unpopular (after 9/11) but fairly knowledgeable adjunct professor goes:

“The point of tenure was to allow new ideas and new technologies to develop,” Aberle says, “but do that as a contingent staff member and you risk your job. Teaching staff are expected to do nothing but teach, and are expendable if they challenge the prevailing ideology. If a tenured member is let go, that becomes a news item, but if I have one bad semester, I’m done; one controversial thing and I’m done.”
Robert Ovetz may know this better than most. Over 20 years ago, Ovetz, now an adjunct in California, wrote his PhD dissertation about privatization at the University of Texas at Austin. This led him to conclude that the budgetary crisis at universities was caused by channeling student fees into biotech and military research in the hopes of producing, licensing and commercializing lucrative patents. “In 1980, Congress changed the law to allow federal funding to be used for private profit,” he explains, “but it cost the public more to fund these projects than it brought in.”
Ovetz says that he is not in a position to assess the impact his research may have had on his career, although he concedes that “what you write about can have an impact. If someone googles you, they’ll find out about any controversial writing or other activities.” While he worried about this at first, he no longer lets it get to him:  “I’m nearly 50. I can’t live my life in fear.”
Nonetheless, he acknowledges that the chilling effect the entire complex has on academia is deep. He recalls that when he defended his dissertation, a faculty member refused to sit on the committee, telling him that he should not write about such topics until he was tenured. In hindsight, Ovetz realized, “he was telling me you need to self-censor until you’re safe.”
Since building a case for tenure can now take a very long time, even decades, I wonder what is lost in the long quest not to rock the boat until one is “safe.”
Danny Ledonne a former film adjunct puts it bluntly, “By the time you get tenure,” he says, “you don’t want to leave the cage. You need to get into administration or become a department chair to make money, so there’s always a reason to suck up to people.”
Uniquely among those I speak to, Ledonne eventually took a more confrontational stand with his institution. A film major, he started working as an adjunct at Adams State University in Colorado in 2011. He says he was given to understand that he was working on an emerging program and that if he developed it and enrollment increased, there would be a full-time position available in the future.
Ledonne, who described himself as lucky to be starting out with no student loans, scratched together a living teaching two to three courses a semester, summer school and making promotional videos for the university. When a position opened up for full-time faculty in 2014, he thought his hard work was finally paying off. But when he applied for the post, Ledonne was not invited to interview for the position. The role remained empty and he applied again in 2015. This time he didn’t even make the cut for semi-finalist, despite an additional year of experience and a good track record. Ledonne raised a petition on campus to support his application, a move that he still sees as a pivotal in his relationship with the institution’s authorities. “It upset people that I wasn’t just going to pack up and leave. In their eyes, there is no greater sin than self-advocacy.”
A short time later he was told that he could no longer teach at the university or make the promotional videos that he had used to subsidize his career.

Deeply disappointed, Ledonne found himself watching the Batman Dark Knight Trilogy, a choice that was to prove fateful. “I slowly realized that Bruce Wayne comes back to Gotham, this city that he loves, and realizes how corrupt it is. And as Bruce Wayne he can do nothing about it, which is why he invents the persona of Batman. Bruce Wayne is powerless but Batman isn’t.”

Like Bruce Wayne, Ledonne struck out into an alternate persona as the founder of Watching Adams, a website primarily aimed at drawing attention to the poor working conditions many contingent faculty face. Within days of publishing articles on payment delays and lack of transparency on the website, Ledonne was banned from Adams’ campus. When he tried to follow up he was told that his actions were “threatening” and that “someone said they felt harassed.”

“You start to half-guess yourself,” Ledonne says, “Did I threaten someone? What could I have done?”
With the help of the ACLU, Ledonne eventually took a case against Adams, which was settled out of court when the university agreed to pay compensation.

Nonetheless, his experiences and those of others show how vulnerable contingent faculty are to being ‘disciplined’ for raising legitimate concerns about hiring processes or engaging with controversial subject matter. That is concerning when one considers that academia as a whole is supposed to work as a force of scientific inquiry, challenging conventional wisdom and independently assessing the truth of various claims and studies. If many qualified academics are no longer in a position to carry out this vital societal task, either through lack of finances and time or through more aggressive retaliation, the question is raised as to who will do so? What will be the consequences if the students of today are not exposed to conscientious role models who are not afraid to shine a light into every dark corner?

Students:  Suckers for education

Considering the difficulties contingent faculty face, the concern that they show for their students often seems almost pathetically touching. Every person I speak to agrees that low pay and job precarity impact on the level of service they are able to provide for their students; they repeatedly express concern that students are unaware that the education they are “purchasing” may not be the ticket out of poverty that they had hoped for.

Arvis Averette knows more than most on this topic. He graduated high school in 1957 and marched on Washington in 1963 as part of the civil rights movement. Thanks, in part, to a college education, Averette became a successful economist who never depended on his adjunct position for income.

“I lived in a steel town. About 90% of students were white and 10% were black, but 50% of college graduates were black,” he tells me, referring to the traditional method of overachieving one’s way out of adversity. While Averette remains upbeat, he admits that things are different today:  “One per cent of the population used to work for General Motors. Now one per cent of the population works for Walmart. I don’t need to say anything more. People who are from minorities or lower socio-economic backgrounds don’t even have a chance.”

Almost every lecturer I interview tells me about students who excelled in their classes and now work as waiters, movers, even strippers.

“There are a lot of good people who have something to give who are lost to the system. People who were good enough to write a dissertation, a book, articles,” Ruth Wangerin says. “It’s such a waste. Wasted education and wasted effort.”

Worse, many students go into debt to finance their education – a good often provided by people who are themselves in debt. “I expect that I will die before I pay off my grad school debt,” says Loraine Hutchins, who went back for a PhD in her 50s before beginning to teach. “We are misleading students to think that education is a way out of poverty, meanwhile the teacher isn’t making anything.”

But if anything, students have often become unwittingly complicit in their own undoing, unknowingly contributing to poor education standards and the insecurity of staff trying to aid them.

Because student evaluations can play a substantial role in whether contingent faculty are rehired, teachers are often reluctant to provoke their students by bringing up controversial subjects in the classroom, pushing students out of their comfort zone or grading them vigorously. This means that while students now rarely fail a class, they often fail to reach their full potential as intellectuals and to develop the ability to self-examine and revise their own conclusions.

“Student evaluations determine who is rehired and that changes how you teach to a certain extent,” Aberle claims, “That makes it risky to stake out any controversial positions. No administrator wants to deal with controversy. It’s easier to just get rid of an adjunct who generates controversy.”

“I am scared most of the time of making a slip that could end my career like that, and has for others I know,” a community college lecturer in California, who wished to remain anonymous agreed. “A student who gets pissed off for any reason, and wants to slam a teacher, for any reason, can make an accusation, which, even if it has no substance, is very dangerous for that teacher.”

It is something Beth Rosdatter knows all too well. Rosdatter began teaching as an adjunct alongside her own post-graduate studies in the 1990s. A committed anti-war activist, Rosdatter has previously served time for trespassing onto nuclear weapons sites. When we talk, she is expecting another court appearance. While committed to publicly opposing what she views as illegal wars, Rosdatter says she always refrained from proselytizing in class. “The important thing,” she said, echoing so many others I speak to, “is just to get people thinking.”

In 2005, however, a former student took a deep exception to Rosdatter’s personal activism, claiming on the website Free Republic that he had been “oppressed” in her class. “The funny thing,” Rosdatter says, “is that he got an A in that class. He was a really good student.”

Things didn’t stop there, Rosdatter tells me. The former student also posted her phone number and address online, along with photos of her children. Other commenters on the site threatened to shoot Rosdatter, and most horrifyingly of all, to rape her daughter (the website later removed the content).

“I thought he just didn’t understand what he was doing,” Rosdatter tells me. “It was his first year in college.”

Passing the student in the hallway one day, she asked him to remove the photos of her children. The student’s mother soon phoned the college’s administration to complain. Rosdatter was called in to meet with officials and told that in order to placate the student’s mother a reprimand would be placed in her file for having created “a hostile learning environment.”

Rosdatter never saw her file and doesn’t believe that the reprimand affected her employability, but she was thrown off balance by the administration’s reaction and eventually stopped teaching.

Rosdatter’s views on foreign policy may not be universally shared, but it is hard to see how being exposed to the fact that some people oppose certain aspects of American military action could engender serious harm in the learning mind or why lecturers should refrain from participating in social activities outside the classroom. Indeed, much of the mission of higher education has historically been concerned with exposing students to different narratives and encouraging them to devise their own methods of testing each contention for plausibility. It is the cultivation of this capability, and not any particular
content, which will one day make the student independent of the teacher—the ultimate goal of education.

Much like parents, teachers traditionally hope to be thanked later in life when children and students come to realize the benefits of being forced to clean their rooms or complete a daunting assignment. Students should undoubtedly be involved in their own education and protected from bullying, but when they are handed the whip-hand over the very people charged with pushing them to achieve their full potential, one has to wonder whether education is truly doing them any favours or if students have merely become walking dollar signs to administrators anxious to keep them placated and paying for the degrees that now so rarely result in upward mobility.

Beggaring our intellect

The growth of insecure faculty in American higher education has consequences that reach far outside of the classroom and far beyond the lives of poorly paid teachers. Universities and colleges have fulfilled an important mission in our societies, not only in imparting skills to students, but in testing research, pushing back the boundaries of knowledge, and providing a forum in which ideas can be independently scrutinized. When these bodies are starved of the time and resources needed to fulfill these tasks, how will the spirit of scientific inquiry that has contributed so much to our wealth and progress as a civilization proceed? Who will serve as role models for future generations to question “what everybody knows”? Most importantly who will freely share their knowledge with other researchers as universities and colleges have done for centuries, providing a powerful engine for the cross-fertilization of ideas?

Thus far the brunt of this change has been borne by adjuncts and contingent faculty like Robert Ovetz and Beth Rosdatter, and by people like Renee Fraser who was once given a heads-up that she was “teaching communism” after mentioning Karl Marx in a history of Europe. “If I had tenure,” she tells me “I would teach more challenging materials, and have more debate-style discussions. I would have an office and office hours and enough time to meet with students when they need help. I am the first person in my family to get a college degree,” she continues, “I have been teaching a full load of classes ‘part-time’ for 20 years. I have been rated ‘excellent’ by all three of my evaluators for the past nine years. Students love me. I volunteer for committee work and campus events. And my chest tightens for a month before each semester as I check the enrollment figures in my classes, and in all of the classes of the full-time faculty who can bump me, until the semester begins.”

Traditional higher education is being unraveled, and the public goods that the relatively secure tenure-system provided cannot be adequately replaced by a dependent, impoverished workforce. Sooner or later, the implications of holding education and educators in such low-esteem will come home to roost.


Friday, September 23, 2016

MS to Triumph Again? Neil Nails Indian Givers  (They LOL'ed! Bernie BERN MUST Restart Soon Or Else)  Cenk's Secret  (Jeffrey Sterling Suffers Heart Attack)  Losing Whole Middle Class? Almost As Rich As In 1998!  (Banking Has Become a Criminal Enterprise)  Scott Walker Leaks Dark Money  (GMO Crops Study Shows Massive Environmental Damage)  Arms-Dealing Democratic Frauds Strike Again  (Living In Vans - Middle Class Losing Ground)



Did you hear the latest?

Microsoft Corporation, which can't make a stable operating system after 40 years of effort, is going to cure cancer.

So, please stop yer whining about their low taxes and clever market-capturing legal manipulations.

Just hush up!

They are your friends.

And also stop your mindless yammering about the rich and powerful controlling the national dialogue.

NO ONE IS LISTENING!

So save your breath.

At least our old buddy Neil Young always comes through for us.

Doesn't he?


Waiting to Exhale:  Hillary, in Sickness and in Health


What’s wrong with Hillary? Since her collapse on 9/11, that question has become inescapable.
I am not going to try to prove that Hillary Clinton has Parkinson’s Disease, or some other serious, degenerative neurological or neuro-vascular condition. I suspect she does, especially since her collapse on 9/11, and the acknowledgement that she was passing off as an allergy what she now claims is pneumonia. Suddenly, the various videos of her strange tics, and the diagnoses thereof, have been less easy to dismiss. One can’t help but wonder what better explains her lackluster campaign?

But the speculation is futile at this point. Either she has some serious condition or she doesn’t, and if she does, it will likely manifest itself in undeniable ways. If her head-shaking, coughing, and collapsing episodes are effects of discrete, trivial things like allergies and overheating, these episodes will stop, and she’ll continue merrily along with her campaign (and likely presidency). She’ll have a lot of public appearances, perform well in the debates, hold regular press conferences, etc., without incident. Of course, the obvious and best thing for her to do, if she’s really healthy, would be to show full medical files with raw test results.

If she does have a serious and degenerating neurological condition, she will try to avoid press conferences, lengthy public appearances with lots of people, and any stressful event where she cannot be physically managed by handlers. But avoiding all that in a presidential campaign is virtually impossible, starting with the debates. So if she is seriously ill, it’s inevitable that obvious symptoms will re-appear, in public and with more frequency.

We shall see.

The main problem for her campaign right now is that nobody believes anything she says. Does anybody think she’s not hiding something? The perception that she’s already been dishonest about her health has already magnified the persistent impression that she’s untrustworthy in general, and is undermining her attempt to persuade reluctant Democratic constituencies that they must come out and vote for her. It’s harder to persuade Bernie-or-Busters or BLM activists that it’s important to vote for you when you can’t stand up. At this point, the debates are going to be watched like NASCAR races, and if she has a three-minute coughing fit, nobody is going to believe it’s an allergy. She will have hit the wall.

I’m sure there are some people who do, but I have no personal wish or political investment in the idea that Hillary has a serious health problem, and feel no need to prove that she does. Of course, the health of a president is a concern for every American (and see Eric Draitser’s analysis of what it might mean for us after the election), but, in the context of the election, her possible health problem makes no difference to me, or leftists like me, who already reject voting for Hillary for a myriad of reasons.

For us, it’s politically irrelevant.

On the other hand, neither do I have any personal or psychological investment in the idea that she does not have a serious health problem, as I know some people do. The state of Hillary’s health will have the greatest personal and political impact on the people who support her, and who have been insisting that all progressives must vote for her — because she’s the only hope for defeating Trump, and that’s the most important thing. Those are the people who actively resist the idea that Hillary’s seriously ill, and attack those who even raise the possibility, because it would require her supporters to recognize and acknowledge things about her that they would rather not.

Consider what it means if it emerges, and — as it would — destroys her campaign, that Hillary does have a serious, degenerative neurological condition which she knew about since at least 2012.

It would mean that she entered the Democratic primary withholding crucial facts about her health — facts that she knew would disqualify her from becoming president for many people, and would certainly have affected Democratic voters’ choice between her and Bernie Sanders. It would mean, in fact, that she had deprived the party of an honest chance to choose Bernie, who, given this, would unquestionably have been a better candidate against Trump. It would mean that she went into the general election knowingly risking the likely exposure of those facts, the destruction of the Democratic Party’s campaign, and the resultant election of President Donald Trump. That would all be on her, and on the fact that she considered her ambition — her right — to be President worth the risk to all that she destroyed.

As I say, none of this would surprise me, or change my mind about Hillary in the slightest. But I do wonder how the people who have been preaching the moral imperative to vote for Hillary, because they think defeating Donald Trump is the most important thing in the world, would react to this. Would they recognize that she bears the primary responsibility for enabling a Trump presidency – that, indeed, her primary concern was never preventing a Trump presidency, but achieving her ambitions?

Would they recognize — what at that point would be hard to deny — that her arrogance, narcissism, and mendacity are unsurpassed, even by the Donald? Would they understand the need to reject the rotten personality-, money-, and media-driven two-party system that breeds such psychopathic politics? Or would they continue to blame it all on the Bernie Bros and Conspiracy Theorists?

I’ll leave the answers to those questions to those who have the most riding on them.

Hillary is already becoming as big a problem for the Democrats as Trump is for the Republicans. She spent the month of August in private fund-raising parties, only to emerge on Labor Day with a coughing fit, lie about it, and collapse a few days later. She’s generating more mistrust and no enthusiasm. She is slipping in the polls. To Donald Trump! Even her media supporters decry the anxiety and growing “I can’t go there” desperation in her campaign. And it’s reported that Democratic “operatives” consider they are in “unchartered political territory,” and have held an “emergency meeting” to consider a possible replacement. The Democrats are not breathing easy right now.

The state of her health has something to do with that, and will certainly be a big factor in whether her desultory campaign can revive in time. If she does have a serious condition, and it emerges before the election, it would mean that every day she dragged out the charade did further damage to the party, and to the stop-Trump campaign she and her supporters claim is their ultimate concern. It would have been much easier for the Democrats to have elected another nominee in August, and would be somewhat easier to pick another nominee now, than it will be to find a new candidate in October, if Hillary seizes up in one of the debates.

Not that her supporters should be too worried. She still retains considerable advantages—demographic and financial—over Trump, including the support of the Republican, National Security, and media establishments. Nothing is going to get Hillary out of the race except some degenerative disease, if she has one. So if she doesn’t, she’ll take a deep breath, spring back, and win the election easily. I do think that’s still the most likely outcome.


Wha?

By now Hillary Clinton’s comment that half of Donald Trump’s supporters are “sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic” and hence “irredeemable” is known throughout the land. They, said she, belong in a “basket of deplorables.” She thus consigns to her “basket” many millions of Americans, in fact more each day as Trump does ever better in the polls.

Make no mistake about it, this bit of invective was no accident. Hillary is carefully scripted, and especially so in these months of her campaign. Cameras were rolling and she knew it. Moreover, she has said the same thing repeatedly on camera in front of high-end donors. Why then did she say such a thing?

The first and obvious point is that it was heartfelt. She, like the rest of the Elite, harbors deep feelings of contempt for the common Joe and Jane. And the contempt is bipartisan. As many have noted, her comment echoes that of Romney in 2012 who accused “47%” of American voters of being ne’er do well freeloaders, expecting a handout from the government. That is the Republican Elite’s brand of contempt. The Dem Elite on the other hand offer their contempt in terms of identity politics. To them the great unwashed are a mass of bigots and worse. (Other years it is the Balck “superpredators” who feel their sting.)
It cannot be otherwise. Every exploiting, parasitic Elite feels contempt for its subjects, so this is not news. Imagined superiority, after all, is what justifies, in the minds of the few, their rule over the many.

And certainly Hillary’s words will give the attendees at a $250,000 per plate event a feeling of moral superiority that they are not among the “irredeemables” but are in fact among the Redeemers. And if that sounds messianic, that is because it is. Such a feeling of moral superiority is also a handy way to take the edge off the guilt welling up from the way these folks rake in their lucre. Well worth the $250,000 price of admission! A case in point are those in the room who made off with a bundle after the 2008 crash, which was made possible by the repeal of Glass-Steagall in the Clinton “co-presidency.”
But now a question arises. Romney tried to keep his contempt for the people a secret, but Hillary boasts of hers. Why? After all, it is a cardinal rule of politics that one should never attack the voters, the supporters of one’s opponent, but only the opponent himself or herself. Why then did Hillary disparage the Trump supporters themselves in such a public way?
We may make sense of this by suggesting that Hillary’s remarks were aimed not at Trump supporters but at progressives. Her purpose is to shame liberal voters who might be willing to consider and discuss the issues that Donald Trump is raising in a rational way. After all, if you speak in favor of Trump because you support some of his ideas, you too may be quickly classified as a “deplorable.” In that case you will be lucky if you have any friends if you are a “progressive.” This applies most acutely to foreign policy where Clinton demonizes Putin as “Hitler” whereas Trump wants to “get along” with him, a policy of détente. If you agree with Trump’s détente, then be very quiet about it. The basket awaits you.

Why most true progressives will not vote for Hillary Clinton?

Read the essay below and tell me you don't agree.

Progressives Are Targets of Hillary’s “Basket of Deplorables” Speech

I adore Ted Rall and think what's happened to him emanating from those furthering fascist doctrines in the USA! USA! USA! is horrendous (and about right if you think of who's in charge), and that what he's done and continues to do for the furtherance of true democracy in the USA! USA! USA! is without parallel. He's one brave American.

Pay no attention to that very important woman who was allowed to collapse head first into the ground. (No one seems to have been paying much attention before it happened (and don't tell me that those were looks of concern on those attendants' faces) and only afterward if they could benefit from it.) The video of that moment could be considered an omen.

Democrats are wallowing in the Anger stage of the Kübler-Ross model of grief. How on earth, they howl on op-ed pages and cable-news talking-head shows, can this be? Why doesn’t the electorate — that useless “basket of deplorables” — not see what is plain for all to see, that Hillary possesses more qualifications for the nation’s highest political office in her tiniest pinkie toe than The Donald has in his whole 267-pound body?

For that matter, why isn’t the media holding him accountable for his lies?
“Donald Trump, who lies whenever he speaks and whose foundation is a Ponzi scheme compared to the Clintons’, is being graded on a ridiculously generous curve,” Michael Tomasky companied at The Daily Beast.
Hillary says she’s tired of watching the media treat Trump with kid gloves — but she’s happy that some people (her allies and surrogates) are finally paying attention:  “I’ve been somewhat heartened by articles recently pointing out the disparate treatment of Trump and his campaign compared to ours — I don’t understand the reasons.And here we have it:  the biggest reason Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be president. She is an atrocious politician.

Hillary’s political incompetence manifests itself in two ways.

First, she repeats her mistakes.

Everyone messes up. When smart people screws the pooch, however, they learn from their mistakes. When they make new mistakes, they make a whole new different kind of mistake. Not Hillary. Hillary keeps going back to the disaster well for another cup.

Take her vote to invade Iraq. It was unforgivable for a Democrat to support Bush. So Democrats didn’t forgive her. That vote, and her refusal to apologize, is the main reason she lost to Obama in 2008. An intelligent politician would have recognized that her party’s base is generally antiwar, and acted accordingly. Hillary pushed Obama to arm and fund radical Islamist insurgents in Libya and Syria, two of the Arab world’s most prosperous countries. Thanks in large part to her, both nations are embroiled in endless, brutal civil wars. As far as we can tell, she’s still a nasty George W. Bush-style interventionist — a stance that may well cost her 2016 too.

Then there’s the email thing.

Polls have consistently shown that voters don’t trust her. Why? Because she’s too secretive. Given that knowledge, you’d think Clinton and her advisers would act as transparently as possible. Straight and narrow! By the book!

But no. Not only does she illegally use a private email server for her State Department email, she deletes thousands of them. When she gets caught, she blames Colin Powell. Then she claims none of those emails were classified — but some were. The email thing never goes away — so what does she do next? She lies about catching pneumonia. (I’m fine. Just mild seasonal allergies. Wait, I was overheated/dehydrated. Actually, I have pneumonia. Had. Two days ago. Gonna be just fine now.)

Which is why the DNC may be asking themselves if it’s too late to bring back Bernie Sanders.

The second half of Hillarian political malpractice is her stubborn refusal to accept something that she can’t do anything about:  the media, and the voters, really do give Trump a pass on a lot of stuff for which they hold her feet to the editorial fire.
And there’s a reason for that. People hold Clinton to a higher standard than Trump because she has a long record in government:  eight years as First Lady, eight years as Senator, four years as Secretary of State. She has a record. So we know what she’ll do if she wins: suck up to corporations like Wal-Mart, push through the TPP and other unpopular “free trade” agreements and start another war or two in the Middle East.
Trump, on the other hand, is a novice. So they grade him on a curve. “People are willing to give him a pass because he doesn’t have a career in service,” said Lanhee Chen, an advisor to Romney in 2012. If he doesn’t know from Ouagadougou, people accept that. He’ll figure that stuff out, hire some people. No one knows what he’d do — which, in a change year, is at the core of his appeal.
(Ted Rall, syndicated writer and the cartoonist for ANewDomain.net, is the author of the book “Snowden,” the biography of the NSA whistleblower.)

Our finest-talking (and fastest-) progressive buddy has a secret to share with us.

A B I G secret.

Yes.

And he's a Hillary LOVER!

Try not to listen to this if you're already not feeling well (and/or if your heart is not already in trouble).

Cenk Uygur Begs Democrats:  "Get Your Heads Out Of The Sand! She's Losing! She's A Terrible Candidate!"


'The Young Turks' founder Cenk Uygur responds to this footage of an audience both booing and laughing when former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said he is voting for Hillary Clinton because she is "honest."

“They LOL'd," Uygur said. "That's literally a LOL."

The prominent Bernie Sanders supporter said it is time for the "Democratic establishment" to admit that they were wrong, that Sanders was the stronger candidate, and if he had been nominated he would be winning right now.

"We’ve got 48 days to Armageddon," Uygur said about Trump's impending victory over Clinton. "Get your head out of your--... let’s be polite here and say, 'get your head out of the sand.' She’s losing! She’s a terrible candidate!"

Transcript:

CENK UYGUR: Democratic party establishment, you knuckleheads. What have you done? What have you done? You thought that she was the better candidate. The state of Florida is pretty relevant, electorally, in a national election for president. And you've got a crowd there laughing out loud at the idea that your candidate it honest. Oops!

It turns out that we weren't just telling you Hillary Clinton is a bad candidate because we like the other guy. It’s because we were right, but they’ll never admit it. I don't know if the Democratic Party is just stupid... or if they think, 'maybe we get fired if Bernie Sanders comes in here and has a revolution, so I don't want Bernie Sanders under any circumstance. I'd rather have Trump as president.'

Or it is a combination of the two... The whole country, and maybe even the whole world, is in a world of trouble because the Democratic Party thought Hillary Clinton would be a better candidate...

I'm telling you this not just to rub it in to the Democratic Party, because they were wrong and we were right, and not just because if Hillary Clinton loses, they will go around blaming the people who were right, instead of taking responsibility for their idiotic actions. It is not about that.

It is about: We’ve got 48 days to Armageddon. Trump is leading in Ohio, he is leading in Florida, and the Democratic Party still thinks they can't lose...

Get your head out of your — let’s be polite and say, get your head out of the sand. Okay? She’s losing! She’s a terrible candidate! Figure out a strategy in the next 48 days to turn around, otherwise you’re going to make Donald Trump, the monster, idiot, whatever you want to call him, loser… Donald Trump will become the most powerful man on earth.

Jesus, what have you done to us? Turn around quickly, find a way to win this election, otherwise you might have ruined the whole world with your arrogance.

And we're not kidding, folks.

If there's not a Bernie BERN movement restarted seriously (with large bucks behind it) in the next few days, we can kiss it good bye.

Forever.

Want some more data?

Here's where the Donald's troops whoop it up against the Obama/Hillary "Recovery."


Recession Watch:  US Freight Drops to Worst Level since 2010, “Excess of Capacity” Crushes Rates

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81% of Americans Worse Off Now Than 10 years Ago, 34% have $0 in Savings

Americans are dipping into their savings, if they have any, even more than they did last year, a new survey finds. Nearly 70 percent of Americans report having less than $1,000 in savings, and the pattern touches all age groups. Even those making $100,000 to $149,999 a year had less than $1,000 or nothing at all in savings 44 percent of the time, according to GoBankingRates.com, which released its findings Monday.
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John Kiriakou | Whistleblower:  Jeffrey Sterling Appears to Have Suffered a Heart Attack in Prison

Speaking of heart attacks . . . did it ever occur to you that our institutions, which are now the main sources of lying, cheating and outright theft of client's (and taxpayers') money, have also had a heart attack? (Metaphorically that is. If they ever had hearts.)

Imagine how you might feel if you were part of a distinguished family that built a respected business over 120 years only to see it gobbled up against your wishes by a banking behemoth, Wachovia, which collapsed a year later and was then forced into a shotgun wedding with another mega bank, Wells Fargo. Today, the Senate Banking Committee will put the finishing touches on this tragic tale of how a fine St. Louis family, the Edwards, lost control of their legacy of putting the customer first, to end up as part of a company now being shamed for opening two million fake accounts that were never authorized by its customers.
The Edwards family story will not be part of today’s Senate hearing, but one can easily imagine that five generations of Edwards will be looking down from heaven today on the proceedings and cursing one name: Bob Bagby, the man who orchestrated the sale of the 120-year old brokerage firm, A.G. Edwards & Sons to Wachovia in 2007.
Albert Gallatin Edwards, the founder of A.G. Edwards & Sons in 1887, was the son of Illinois Governor Ninian W. Edwards. The Edwards family shared a close friendship with Abraham Lincoln and he and Mary Todd were married in the Edwards home on November 4, 1842. Before founding A.G. Edwards with his son, Benjamin F. Edwards, Albert Gallatin served as Assistant Treasury Secretary under Lincoln and four subsequent presidents. He knew a thing or two about banking.

Yay! We’re Almost as Rich as We Were in 1998!

Posted on September 14, 2016
by
There’s been a fair amount of triumphalism about the Census Bureau’s recent report on income and poverty, which showed a 5.2% increase in median real household income from 2014 to 2015.
. . . this is not particularly strong evidence that everything is rosy, or that “America is already great,” as some would have it. As many people have pointed out, median household income in 2015 was only back to its 1998 level. Actually, when you take into account a methodological change in 2013, it’s still 5% below its 1999 peak.
Also, if you’re going to celebrate the good years, you should acknowledge the bad years. Here is the annual change in median income for every year since 1985, ranked from best to worst:

“Or We’ll Lose the Whole Middle Class”:  Gallup CEO
Economic Recovery, But Not For the “Invisible Americans”

by  • September 20, 2016

Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO at Gallup, who presides over endless surveys of American consumers and businesses and knows a thing or two about them, has a message for the media and the political establishment that seem to be clueless:  this meme about the recovering economy – “It was even trumpeted on Page 1 of "The New York Times" and "Financial Times" last week,” he says – “I don’t think it’s true.”
In an article posted on Gallup’s website, he made his case:
The percentage of Americans who say they are in the middle or upper-middle class has fallen 10 percentage points, from a 61% average between 2000 and 2008 to 51% today.

Ten percent of 250 million adults in the U.S. is 25 million people whose economic lives have crashed.
What the media is missing is that these 25 million people are invisible in the widely reported 4.9% official U.S. unemployment rate.
Let’s say someone has a good middle-class job that pays $65,000 a year. That job goes away in a changing, disrupted world, and his new full-time job pays $14 per hour — or about $28,000 per year.
That devastated American remains counted as “full-time employed” because he still has full-time work — although with drastically reduced pay and benefits. He has fallen out of the middle class and is invisible in current reporting.
And these “Invisible Americans,” as he calls them, are facing the “disastrous” emotional toll often associated with a sharp loss of household income. It hits “self-esteem and dignity,” and produces an “environment of desperation.”
Even many American with good jobs and incomes are just “one degree” away from the misery of those with falling wages, or the underemployed or unemployed.
Clifton names three metrics that “need to be turned around or we’ll lose the whole middle class”:
  1. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of the total U.S. adult population that has a full-time job has been hovering around 48% since 2010 — this is the lowest full-time employment level since 1983.
  2. The number of publicly listed companies trading on U.S. exchanges has been cut almost in half in the past 20 years — from about 7,300 to 3,700. Because firms can’t grow organically — that is, build more business from new and existing customers — they give up and pay high prices to acquire their competitors, thus drastically shrinking the number of U.S. public companies. This seriously contributes to the massive loss of U.S. middle-class jobs.
  3. New business startups are at historical lows. Americans have stopped starting businesses. And the businesses that do start are growing at historically slow rates
“Free enterprise is in free fall — but it is fixable,” he says. It all depends on small businesses. They need to thrive again. They’re “our best hope” for the economy to pick up some speed. And once they’re thriving again, they can “restore the middle class”:
Gallup finds that small businesses — startups plus “shootups,” those that grow big — are the engine of new economic energy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 65% of all new jobs are created by small businesses, not large ones.

But small businesses as a group are not doing well. Over the past three decades, the US averaged nearly 120,000 more business births than deaths per year. But between 2008 and 2011, according to Census Bureau data, on average 420,000 businesses were born per year, while on average 450,000 died. That the core of the US job creation machine has been faltering is not a sign of a healthy or even a “recovering” economy.

Clifton’s sobering message – that a big part of American households and therefore consumers are still in serious disarray in part due to the problems small businesses are facing – appears to be getting totally lost among the media hype, including the deafening razzmatazz about the 5.2% jump in “household income,” reported last week by the Census Bureau, and widely misconstrued by the media.

This disarray is even worse, once it’s parsed, as the Census Bureau has done, by men and women. Because men’s median income, adjusted for inflation, is now lower than it had been in 1974!

Read…  That 5.2% Jump in Household Income? Nope, People Aren’t Suddenly Getting Big-Fat Paychecks
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The Debate Is Over:  Banking Has Become a Criminal Enterprise in the U.S.


By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
September 19, 2016


Tomorrow the U.S. Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing to take testimony from Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf and Federal regulators to understand how this mega bank was able to get away with opening more than two million fake customer accounts over a span of years. The accounts and/or credit cards were never authorized by the customer and were opened solely by employees to meet sales quotas, get bonuses or to avoid getting fired for failing to meet sales targets.

The only reason the Republican-controlled Senate is holding this hearing is because the Wells Fargo fake-account story got a lot of coverage in the media when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced a $185 million settlement over the charges on September 8. The reason the story got a lot of media coverage is because it’s a simple story to tell: widely respected bank opens two million accounts for its customers without their knowledge or permission, sometimes illegally funneling money to the new account from the old account to generate fees.

In July of last year, when Citibank, the deposit-taking retail bank settled charges with the CFPB for $700 million for deceptively selling add-on products to credit card customers, the Senate Banking Committee yawned and did nothing.  The story didn’t get major press attention because it was a complicated story to tell. Among a long list of fraudulent practices, the CFPB found that Citibank led 2.2 million customers to believe they were paying to have their credit card monitored for fraud and identity theft, “when, in fact, these services were either not being performed at all, or were only partially performed,” according to the CFPB.

The CFPB charges against Citibank came exactly two months after Citbank’s parent, Citicorp, pleaded guilty to a felony with the Justice Department in connection with the rigging of foreign currency. On the same day, another U.S. mega bank, JPMorgan Chase, also pleaded guilty to a felony related to the same crime. Both banks are more than a century old and both banks, on May 20 of last year, pleaded guilty to a felony for the first time in their history.

The public first got its peek into the corrupt culture at Citigroup, the bank holding company of Citibank, on December 4, 2011 when Richard Bowen, a former Citigroup Vice President and whistleblower, appeared on "60 Minutes." Bowen explained how he had found that Citigroup was buying fraudulent mortgages and selling them to investors as sound investments. When his superiors ignored his warnings, in November 2007 he wrote to top management, including the CFO, chief risk officer and Robert Rubin, the Chairman of Citigroup’s executive committee who, as a former Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton, had pushed to deregulate Wall Street banks – allowing them to hold FDIC insured products and cross-sell their carnival barker wares to the public.

Bowen explained on "60 Minutes" what happens when an honest employee speaks out in one of the Wall Street banking behemoths: “I was relieved of most of my responsibility and I no longer was physically with the organization.” He was told not to show up at the bank.

Bowen’s treatment at Citigroup was replicated against a different whistleblower at JPMorgan Chase, now the largest U.S. bank by assets, according to a report by Matt Taibbi in "Rolling Stone." Alayne Fleischmann, an attorney, described to Taibbi what she saw within JPMorgan Chase as “massive criminal securities fraud.” Taibbi describes what happened to Fleishmann as follows:

“Six years after the crisis that cratered the global economy, it’s not exactly news that the country’s biggest banks stole on a grand scale. That’s why the more important part of Fleischmann’s story is in the pains Chase and the Justice Department took to silence her.”

Fleishmann had found problems very similar to what Bowen had found at Citigroup. JPMorgan Chase was buying fraudulent mortgages and packaging them and selling them to investors. In one package of mortgage loans, Fleishmann found that approximately 40 percent were based on overstated incomes in violation of Chase’s tolerance for error of five percent in securitizations. Fleischmann told a managing director at JPMorgan Chase that “the bank could not sell the high-risk loans as low-risk securities without committing fraud,” according to Taibbi.

JPMorgan Chase went on to sell boatloads of these fraudulent mortgage products while Fleishmann was “quietly dismissed in a round of layoffs.” Obama’s Justice Department took all of this testimony from Fleishmann and had evidence of her written warnings that went unheeded. But even then, it let JPMorgan Chase and its executives off without prosecution.

When the big Wall Street banks collapsed under the weight of their own corruption in 2008, rather than being prosecuted by the Justice Department, the banks were bailed out through a secret, unprecedented $13 trillion revolving loan program operated by the Federal Reserve. Citigroup received the largest amount of these loans: over $2.5 trillion between 2007 and 2010. These loans were made frequently at less than one percent interest while the insolvent Citigroup charged some of its customers double-digit interest rates on credit cards.

Which brings us to today’s crisis of confidence in the U.S. banking system. The underfunded Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which Republicans in Congress are attempting to neuter further, has received thousands of new complaints against the banking giants of Wall Street, which are publicly available for viewing here. (Just put the name of the bank you want to inspect in the search box.) Searching under the name Citibank brings up 29,000 rows of complaints. A search under Chase, the retail banking unit of JPMorgan Chase, brings up 37,000 rows of complaints.

The seriousness of the complaints against these two banks strongly suggests that the failure to prosecute these banks for frauds against their customers has led to far more than moral hazard. The complaints paint a crystal clear image of a U.S. banking sector that is evolving at lightning speed into an entrenched criminal enterprise.

The Senate Banking Committee is adding to this crisis by holding isolated hearings of isolated banks that look only at the current scandal. The serial scandals are simply symptoms. The disease is a U.S. banking sector that relies on fraud and abuse of its customers to meet its profit targets just as the low level employees of these banks are pressured into fraudulent acts to meet their sales quotas.

Scott Walker Leaks Could Force Supreme Court to Confront Dark Money


Justin Miller

September 16, 2016

Leaked documents from the investigation into the Wisconsin governor’s alleged campaign-finance violations show how dark money really works in modern politics.

Rarely do members of the public get to see behind the closed doors of political nonprofits, which may receive unlimited amounts of money from mega-donors without disclosing anything about their operations. But a trove of leaked documents from an investigation into Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s 2012 recall election campaign has offered an unprecedented look at how politicians operate in a post-Citizens United world that features record levels of undisclosed political money.

The documents, leaked to "The Guardian" newspaper, detail the allegedly illegal coordination between Walker’s campaign and an outside group.

Walker, in a scramble to win a bitterly contested election, asked a slew of right-wing billionaires in 2011 and 2012 to pour money into the Wisconsin Club for Growth, a dark money group working closely with a top aide to the governor. After Walker won, a special prosecutor opened an investigation into the campaign’s alleged coordination with the group. The leaked documents come from that controversial investigation, which Walker and his allies had dismissed as a partisan witch-hunt.

In 2015, the Wisconsin Supreme Court even shut down the investigation, ruling that the Walker campaign did not violate the law because coordination between candidates and outside groups is only prohibited for so-called express advocacy—direct calls to vote for or against a specific candidate. The Walker campaign only coordinated with Wisconsin Club for Growth on issue advocacy ads, which don’t expressly tell voters how to vote, the court ruled, and the activity was therefore legal. The decision infuriated government watchdogs, especially since two conservative justices refused to recuse themselves despite having received outside support from the Wisconsin Club for Growth during their own previous judicial elections.

Not only has the Walker scandal roared back into the spotlight, it may be headed for the Supreme Court. In April, the special prosecutor in the case called on the high court to overturn the state Supreme Court’s decision to end the investigation, arguing that coordination on issue advocacy is, in fact, illegal, and that the plaintiffs didn’t receive a fair trial because the two justices failed to recuse themselves. The Supreme Court is expected to announce later this month whether it will hear the case.

The documents revealed by The Guardian provide a detailed look at how Walker and his aides used Wisconsin Club for Growth to circumvent traditional campaign contribution limits, and get around a state ban on political donations from corporations.

In one leaked email, Walker casually mentions that he got John Menard, CEO of the home improvement chain Menard’s, to contribute $1 million directly from his corporation to the Wisconsin dark money group. A $10,000 check to the group from a wealthy financier had the words “Because Scott Walker asked” written on the memo line.

The "Guardian" article also details how Walker went around the country to court right-wing mega-donors. Just two months before his recall election, Walker went on a fundraising tour down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, stopping over the course of a few hours at a hedge fund, a corporate law firm, and Morgan Stanley. He even had a 45-minute meeting with Donald Trump at the real estate mogul’s headquarters. Trump later cut a check to the outside group for $15,000.

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson gave $200,000, and hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer gave $250,000.

“Stress the donations to WiCFG [Wisconsin Club for Growth] are not disclosed and can accept Corporate donations without limits,” stated an emailed list of talking points to Walker from his top fundraiser.

The documents show that special prosecutor Francis Schmitz had found that “a review of email reflects that RJ Johnson … was involved in the media buys on behalf of Wisconsin Club for Growth and [Walker campaign committee] Friends of Scott Walker.”

Walker was even briefed about controversies surrounding some of the donors in the event that their names ever became public. One of the controversial donors mentioned Harold Simmons, owner of NL Industries, a company that produced lead paint. Walker was briefed about how Simmons’ company had avoided a $52 million lawsuit by the City of Milwaukee seeking damages for children who had suffered from lead poisoning.

In three payments throughout the recall election campaigns, Simmons contributed $750,000 to the group. The public had previously not known about his contributions. This revelation was particularly striking because after the elections, Republicans in the state legislature approved an amendment that gave former lead paint manufacturers retroactive immunity from lawsuits, a measure NL Industries officials had lobbied for aggressively. Watchdogs are now alleging that undisclosed political money allowed a potential pay-to-play scheme to fly under the public radar.

Overall, millions of dollars flooded into the Wisconsin Club for Growth from billionaires and corporations during 2011 and 2012 to support Walker and the six Republican state senators who were also facing recall elections.

The campaign’s coordinated effort with the outside group was a success. After Walker won his recall election, he sent an email to an aide asking: “Did I send out thank you notes to all our c(4) donors?”

“The campaign and the outside groups were almost indistinguishable. It appeared to be a coordinated campaign from start to finish,” says Brendan Fischer, associate counsel for the Campaign Legal Center and a watchdog who has closely tracked Walker over the years. “This is a snapshot into how dark money actually works. The public had no idea that any of this was going on. This demonstrates that dark money is really only dark for the public. The politicians know where it’s coming from.”

Now the Supreme Court may be forced to reckon with the outcome of its 2010 Citizens United v. FEC ruling to deregulate independent political spending.

Now the Supreme Court may be forced to reckon with the outcome of its 2010 "Citizens United v. FEC" ruling to deregulate independent political spending. That ruling paved the way for unlimited contributions to outside groups based on the rationale that, as Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority, unlimited spending would not lead to corruption or the appearance of corruption because the outside spenders were acting independently from candidates.

“I think [the leaks] show that the assumptions inherent in Kennedy’s opinion have been undermined by reality,” Fischer says.

While tax laws technically require (c)(4) groups like Wisconsin Club for Growth to focus primarily on social-welfare issues, there is minimal oversight by the Internal Revenue Service, which critics say allows political groups to conceal donors’ identities and spend millions of dollars on “issue advocacy” ads that are often just thinly veiled political ads.

“They are pretty clearly political entities meant to do things that are not social welfare. Saving Governor Walker’s governorship is not a social welfare function,” says Robert Maguire, a political nonprofit researcher for the Center for Responsive Politics. “This kind of thing that is happening in a lot of different quarters, but this is just a rare occasion where we get a peak behind the curtain. It’s exactly what a lot of us thought was going on.”

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that candidates are free to coordinate with these political nonprofits because they are purportedly engaging in issue advocacy. But in a friend-of-the-court brief filed by the Center for Media and Democracy, the Brennan Center, and Common Cause, the government watchdog groups urge the Supreme Court to address this issue, arguing that the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling is based on a faulty interpretation of legal precedent.

The recent Wisconsin disclosures paint a clear picture of how dark money really operates in modern politics. The question now is whether the Supreme Court will take up the case.

Largest-Ever GMO Crops Study Shows Massive Environmental Damage in US


Posted on Sep 18 2016 by Sustainable Pulse

According to new research from University of Virginia in the U.S., widespread adoption of genetically modified (GM) crops has decreased the use of insecticides, but increased the use of weed-killing herbicides as weeds become more resistant, leading to serious environmental damage.

Economist Federico Ciliberto led the largest study of genetically modified crops and pesticide use to date, alongside Edward D. Perry of Kansas State University, David A. Hennessy of Michigan State University and GianCarlo Moschini of Iowa State University. The four economists studied annual data from more than 5,000 soybean and 5,000 maize farmers in the U.S. from 1998 to 2011, far exceeding previous studies that have been limited to one or two years of data.

Herbicide Use / Environmental Impact (EIQ)

finalherbicide

“The fact that we have 14 years of farm-level data from farmers all over the U.S. makes this study very special,” Ciliberto said. “We have repeated observations of the same farmers and can see when they adopted genetically modified seeds and how that changed their use of chemicals.”

Since 2008, genetically engineered crops have accounted for more than 80 percent of maize and soybean crops planted in the U.S. Maize seeds are modified with two genes: one kills insects that eat the seed and one allows the seed to tolerate glyphosate, a herbicide commonly used in weed killers like Roundup. Soybeans are modified with just one glyphosate-resistant gene.

Unsurprisingly, maize farmers who used the insect-resistant seeds used significantly less insecticide – about 11.2 percent less – than farmers who did not use genetically modified maize. The maize farmers also used 1.3 percent less herbicide over the 13-year period.

Soybean crops, on the other hand, saw a significant increase in herbicide use, with adopters of genetically modified crops using 28 percent more herbicides than non-adopters.

Ciliberto attributes this increase to the proliferation of glyphosate-resistant weeds.

Commentators and other peer-reviewed studies have even stated that the rise in pesticide use on GM crops has gone up much further since the 1998-2011 data that was reviewed in this new University of Virginia study. The period from 2011-2016 is when glyphosate-resistant weeds have become a major economic problem for U.S. farmers based on the increase of use and thus money spent on pesticides cutting in to their bottom line.

“In the beginning, there was a reduction in herbicide use, but over time the use of chemicals increased because farmers were having to add new chemicals as weeds developed a resistance to glyphosate,” Ciliberto said.

Maize farmers, he said, have not yet had to address the same level of resistance, in part because they did not adopt genetically modified crops as quickly as their counterparts in the soy industry. However, the study did find evidence that both maize and soybean farmers increased herbicide use during the last five years of the study, indicating that weed resistance is a growing problem for both groups.

From 2006 to 2011, the percentage of hectares sprayed with only glyphosate shrunk from more than 70 percent to 41 percent for soybean farmers and from more than 40 percent to 19 percent for maize farmers. The decrease resulted from farmers having to resort to combining glyphosate herbicides with other chemicals as glyphosate-resistant weeds became more common.

“Evidence suggests that weeds are becoming more resistant and farmers are having to use additional chemicals, and more of them,” Ciliberto said.

Insects do not appear to have developed a similar resistance, in part because federal regulations require farmers to have a “safe haven” in their fields that is free of genetically modified crops. Insects and worms in those safe havens have no need to develop resistance, and because they interact and breed with insects in other parts of the field, they help prevent the development of resistant genes.

Despite the decrease in insecticide use, continued growth in herbicide use poses a significant environmental problem as large doses of the chemicals can harm biodiversity and increase water and air pollution.

Ciliberto and his colleagues measured the overall environmental impact of the changes in chemical use that have resulted from the adoption of genetically modified crops, using a measure called the environmental impact quotient, or EIQ, to account for chemicals’ impact on farmworkers, consumers and the environment. Comparing adopters to non-adopters, they found little change in the impact on farmworkers and consumers. However, the adoption of genetically modified soybeans correlated with a massive negative impact on the environment as increased herbicide use also increased contamination of local ecosystems.

Further investigation of the environmental impact quotient (EIQ) finding is now being called for by independent scientists in the U.S. and Europe using the even more accurate Pesticide Risk Tool (PRiME).

Overall, Ciliberto said he was surprised by the extent to which herbicide use had increased and concerned about the potential environmental impact.

“I did not expect to see such a strong pattern,” he concluded.

Weapons Makers Hold Lavish Lovefest for Pentagon Official Who Manages Arms Sales


Sep. 19 2016

Here’s what passes for funny in a room packed full of weapons-industry executives and lobbyists:  When Vice Adm. Joseph Rixey — the man in charge of the Pentagon agency that administers foreign arms sales — said “I know you don’t go after human rights violators for potential customers.”

The line produced chuckles in the room.

Rixey was the guest of honor at a reception Wednesday hosted by the Senate Aerospace Caucus, a group of more than a dozen senators who “work to ensure a strong, secure, and competitive American aerospace sector,” according to their mission statement online. The event in a sumptuous Senate reception room was cohosted by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), the lobbying group for weapons contractors like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon.

Rixey is the director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the Pentagon agency charged with overseeing the Pentagon’s relations with the militaries of U.S. allies. As such, DSCA plays a key role in many foreign military sales to other countries, often acting as an intermediary and looking for a producer in the United States.

In other words, when foreign countries want to buy U.S. weapons, the DSCA finds them — either in U.S. stockpiles, but more often by signing lucrative contracts with defense contractors. According to Rixey, over the past year, the DSCA has approved upwards of $47 billion in such contracts, for weapons transfers to countries like Egypt, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

The AIA chair, Lockheed Martin CEO Marilyn Hewson, showered Rixey with praise. “As director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Adm. Rixey performs a crucial role in this effort. Thank you admiral for all that you do, to help, and thank you for being here tonight, but for all that you do in helping us to sell our products and to partner with countries around the world,” she said.

AIA President David Melcher also had warm words. “Joe Rixey’s done tabletops with industry and with his own team, he’s done the right things to try and move this thing along, and I couldn’t be more pleased to introduce somebody who really is trying to make a difference and make government work,” he said.

In his own remarks, Rixey lauded the relationship between the DSCA and industry. “We at DSCA are thankful that we have the support of our counterparts within the United States government and with defense industries as we look to find areas we can continue to collaborate, improve efficiencies, and overall effectiveness,” he said.

Rixey was joined by caucus co-chairs Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., who praised the industry for its role in overseas weapons sales on both foreign policy and economic grounds. As they spoke alongside representatives from the weapons industry, guests were treated to an open bar, and an assortment of food that included artisan cheeses, chocolate covered strawberries, and macaroons.



“The aerospace industry helps keep the world safe and stable by strengthening our relationships with our allies and building our partners’ capabilities,” Murray told the arrayed lobbyists. “I want to thank all of you again for being here tonight and your interest in what I consider to be one of — if not the most — important industries in my home state of Washington, and America.” Boeing is the largest private employer in Washington state.

Moran asked AIA for its help in passing appropriations bills.

“If you can help us advocate both here in the Senate and with our colleagues in the House, beg us, insist, hold the proverbial gun to our head to make certain that we do appropriations bills when we return in December,” he said.

Officials from the group thanked the senators for their support. Murray has long been an advocate for robust spending on aerospace industry priorities, as has Moran.

“On behalf of the entire industry we thank you very much for your support,” Hewson told Moran and Murray.

The 2007 Honest Leadership and Open Government Act was meant to stop lobbyists from treating lawmakers and government officials to fancy dinners, or lavish parties. But the law had many loopholes — including a notorious “toothpick rule” allowing them to serve as much finger food as guests can eat.

Leaving us with extremely limited life style choices.

"Living In A Van Down By The River – Time To Face The True State Of The Middle Class In America"

The American Middle Class Is Losing Ground


No longer the majority and falling behind financially
After more than four decades of serving as the nation’s economic majority, the American middle class is now matched in number by those in the economic tiers above and below it. In early 2015, 120.8 million adults were in middle-income households, compared with 121.3 million in lower- and upper-income households combined, a demographic shift that could signal a tipping point, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data.1

Driftglass has the final word on this (certainly at this moment in history) most important subject:

Once again we find the only thing we can count on is each other. Getting the unregistered to get registered. Getting the souls to the polls.

Once again, it falls to the dirty hippies to help protect America from its worst impulses and ugliest demagogues.

And once again, as we bitch and gripe and roll our eyes, we will roll up our sleeves and do our bit to save the day.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

(Election a Tie?)  Russia Did It  (5-Alarm Monsanto-Bayer Merger Threat?  ITT Frauds)  9/11 Truth  (Syriza Fake Reforms)  Mass Murder Megaphone  (Contract Ensured Bush Beat Kerry?)  Rubin Criminal Probe  (Wall St. Fakes)  Co-ops Vs. Capitalism  (NYT Obituary)  FOIA Lawsuits Grow 42%  (Deutsche Bank Like Trump Says NO!)   Warren Opens Pandora's Box  (BDS NOT)  Son of a Bitch?  (Delusional Democracy)  Living 15 Years In a Lie



All politicians, like all human beings, shade the truth, use evidence selectively, recast the emphasis of events to cast themselves in a more favorable light.
But what we are seeing here is a campaign that, with not one iota of moral conscience, has reached into the playbooks of Big Brother, Joseph Goebbels, and Soviet Russia and simply fabricated an entire false narrative. This is not a case of spin, or deceptive evasion, or clever rhetorical jujitsu; it is not a case of the subtle or clever lie intermixed with the truth.

Get yer red-hot deplorables here?

Sorry to come right out and say it . . . but it certainly seems like they are all in it together (at least they must be as no trio of clowns could have a more perfectly-coordinated circus act that seems entirely accidental, or better yet, coincidental). And you may remember that neither Jethro nor I believe in coincidence. And certainly not at this level.

The impending sense of fear we all are encouraged to feel daily by the words and actions of the Trump and Clinton campaigns* must be an orchestrated Do-si-do.

Because no one sensible could believe the purported goal of Trump to abolish hard-fought-for consumer-protection institutions like the FDA, EPA, OSHA . . . (and even the Education Department), let alone the economic plans to join the deeply unpopular TPP/CETA/TTIP/ISDS international corporate "trade" agreements, as well as the outright neo-con war plans' "moral rottenness inherent in the 'humanitarian interventionist' soul" constantly re-announced by Hillary (and Obama - let alone Trump) could possibly be their real program(s) in these increasingly perilous times. Speaking of real - none of them have even taken any type of truly courageous position on the need for seriously addressing the slowing down of the energy mechanisms bringing on massive climate change.

Their real programs? Don't be surprised that they never will be publicly announced.

Again.

Democrats and Republicans actually compete to see which party can provide the Israeli military with larger aid packages. Presently, that ethnocratic settler state gets some $3.1 billion a year. Obama wanted to raise the amount over the next ten years, starting with $3.3 billion in 2018. Republican Lindsey Graham, Chairman of the Senate appropriations subcommittee that oversees the foreign affairs budget thought that wasn’t enough, and therefore held up the deal.

Now, the deal is done. Israel will get $38 billion over the next ten years, a military aid package unprecedented in American and world history. Amazing!

Netanyahu benefits from an American accent and an American high school and university education; and he appoints Americans to be his emissaries in the United States. No wonder he is beloved by the likes of Lindsey Graham. Other potential demons are not so fortunate. Arabs are especially unlucky – or, rather, they would be, but for oil money.

Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf monarchies are led by reactionary autocrats every bit as loathsome as Netanyahu, and even more inclined to violate basic principles of political morality. Their leaders are demons right out of central casting. But their fortunes are so tightly intertwined with the fortunes of leading American capitalists that even without the functional equivalent of an Israel lobby, the propaganda system cannot touch them.

And did you hear the latest reasoning about how Trump has done Obama a birth-certificate proof favor? To call this line of attack Orwellian is a misbegotten compliment amid this madness. Trump's charitable contributions, however, put him ahead in the coveted clown coven competition.

As the "Washington Post" reported this week, Donald Trump's record as a treasurer of God's bounty has been to take from everyone and keep everything for himself. Despite his boasted billions and voluble public assertions of munificence, his only discoverable charitable contributions of note have been made entirely with other peoples' money.

. . . And don't count on the weak comfort that those around him will somehow prevent him from carrying out his instant insights:  the utter cravenness of his acolytes was perfectly on display this week when his minion Rudy Giuliani scurried to second Trump's nostalgic assertion that (referring to his insistence that America should have seized Iraq's oilfield for itself) "it used to be to the victor belong the spoils." Giuliani chimed in by affirming that "anything is legal” in war.

Actually, that doctrine — encapsulated in the medieval Latin maxim Inter arma leges silent (in time of war the law is silent) — began to go by the boards about 600 years ago, when admiralty courts in the 14th century began asserting jurisdiction over the legality of captures of enemy ships at sea. It has been completely cast aside in the last two centuries by Winfield Scott's General Orders No. 20, the Treaty of Paris, the Geneva Conventions, and the U.S. Code of Military Justice. Those were things America at least used to be proud of.

It's no coincidence that Trump knows literally nothing and cares nothing about the worlds beyond fame and fortune, in which he has succeeded by bluster, braggadocio, hype, and shortchanging small tradesmen and investors alike. His sole measure of the worth of what a commentator has to offer is what his ratings are. His sole measure of the greatness of a foreign leader is what his poll numbers are. His sole measure of scientific truth is what assertions on Twitter get a lot of responses. His idea of a "university" is a place to soak people with a get-rich-quick scheme. His idea of charity is taking credit for others' generosity. His idea of culture is a resort decorated like one of Saddam Hussein's palaces. And his idea of the Constitution is something to say he's really, really for, without apparently having read or understood the principles it embodies.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

*  Back in 2008, when Wall Street demanded a bailout with no strings attached, mainstream Republican President Bush devotedly accommodated the banksters as did Democratic presidential candidate Obama. But Republican presidential candidate McCain thought that some conditions should be put on this gift of free money from the American tax payers.

That is when former CEO of Goldman Sachs and architect of the bailout, Hank Paulson – incidentally serving as Bush’s treasure secretary – blackmailed McCain to either genuflect to Wall Street, or Paulson would come out publicly for Obama. Wall Street got the bailout and later trillions of dollars more under Obama’s “quantitative easing.” The financial elite migrated en masse to the new Democrats.

That migration continues with Hillary Clinton, Wall Street’s anointed retainer. Unlike in the past when the big financial interests hedged their bets by contributing to both Democrats and Republicans, the smart money is going to the donkey party in 2016.
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Not that we believe it to be the "paper of record" anymore, but . . .

NYT:  "BREAKING NEWS - Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Are Virtually Tied in the Presidential Race, According to the Latest "New York Times"/CBS News Poll"
It's All About Russia
'Five-Alarm Threat to Our Food Supply:'  Monsanto-Bayer Merger Advances

The ITT Fraud
Truth About 9/11
Cheat Game:  SYRIZA’s Fake Tug-of-War With the IMF on Labor Reforms
The Financial Times:  Megaphone for Mass Murder
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URGENT! How George Bush “beat” John Kerry in 2004:  Ken Blackwell’s secret CONTRACT with Mike Connell, to rip off Ohio’s vote


The Connell/Blackwell contract is for setting up a “new interactive Election Night website” that would not just enable Blackwell to monitor the statewide vote-count in real-time, but also feed that data through a separate computer in Chattanooga, Tennessee, under the control of yet another private company called SMARTech, owned and run by a GOP operative (and evangelical) named Jeff Averbeck. Such is the computer-system architecture known as “man in the middle,” which is often used, by criminals and other shady players, for stealing and/or manipulating data.

The architecture map included here lays out the way the GovTech/SMARTech system worked on Election Night, 2004. (There also was a third private company involved in stealing the Ohio vote 6+ years ago:  Triad Governmental Systems, located in Xenia, Ohio, and owned by the Rapp family — also Christianists.)

Needless to add, it’s way past time for an honest, well-informed discussion of America’s preposterous voting system, and the ways in which that system has, throughout the last ten years, been used time after time AGAINST the citizens of the United States — a people who have never shared the “values” of those Christianists OR libertarians who’ve largely hijacked both our state and federal governments. If those who’ve kept their eyes shut tight to all of this will open them at last, and take a good look at this latest evidence, it will jump-start that crucial national debate, which might just save America.
- MCM
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Bill Clinton's Treasury Secretary (Robert Rubin) Had Been Recommended for 2008 Mortgage Meltdown Criminal Probe


Former Treasury Secretary and Citibank Chair Bob Rubin was cited by a special congressional panel as someone who should have been the subject of a criminal investigation for activities related to the 2008 subprime mortgage meltdown.

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) had told the Justice Department that it should open an investigation of Rubin, Treasury Secretary under President Bill Clinton, for alleged securities fraud perpetrated as a member of Citibank's board.

Rubin was among nine executives recommended for a criminal probe by the FCIC that were cited in a letter sent Thursday from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

Warren asked the department auditor this week to look into why zero criminal inquiries were launched as a result of the FCIC recommendations, which were publicly disclosed for the first time earlier this year.

"An FCIC referral alone does not indicate guilt. And not every DOJ investigation results in a criminal conviction," Warren wrote. "Nonetheless, the DOJ record of action on these individuals, nearly six years after DOJ received the referrals, is abysmal."

"The DOJ has not criminally charged or taken any of these nine individuals to trial. None have been convicted or sent to prison," she added.

Wall Street Today:  Fake Accounts, Fake Money, Fake Courts, Fake Regulators


Last Thursday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that Wells Fargo was paying $185 million in fines and penalties for allowing its employees to open “more than two million deposit and credit card accounts” that were not authorized by its customers. The employees were attempting to “hit sales targets and receive bonuses.” In one of the most audacious forms of bank fraud, according to the CFPB, employees actually “transferred funds from consumers’ authorized accounts to temporarily fund the new, unauthorized accounts.” This resulted in untold numbers of customers being charged for insufficient funds in their legitimate accounts or paying overdraft fees.
If anyone ever doubted Senator Bernie Sanders when he repeatedly said during campaign stops that fraud has become a business model on Wall Street, that debate is over. According to the CFPB, this conduct at Wells Fargo went on for five years. Yesterday, Fortune’s Stephen Gandel reported that the woman who headed up this division at Wells Fargo, Carrie Tolstedt, will be “walking away with $124.6 million in stock, options, and restricted Wells Fargo shares.” Fraud is not only a business model but a road to riches for the overlords on Wall Street. Just ask John Paulson, Sandy Weill, Robert Rubin, John Reed, and Jamie Dimon.
Fake accounts are just the latest alchemy on Wall Street. Let’s not forget that Bernard Madoff was generating fake statements to thousands of clients showing that $65 billion in fake money was in their accounts as the industry’s top watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), ignored the repeated warnings from whistleblower Harry Markopolos for years. But Ponzi schemers are not the only source of fake money on Wall Street. Just consider how the Federal Reserve secretly funneled $13 trillion in cumulative, below-market-rate loans to some of the most hubristic banks on Wall Street and on foreign shores during the 2007 to 2010 financial crisis. How did the Fed create that money without any appropriation from Congress? It simply pressed a button.
Wall Street is able to sustain its business model of fraud because it has fake courts to hear cases brought by its customers and employees. Wall Street is the only industry in America which universally requires by written contract that its customers and employees agree to use its private justice system prior to opening an account or getting a job. That system, called mandatory arbitration, is overseen by Wall Street’s crony self-regulator, Finra, and offers none of the protections of the nation’s taxpayer-funded courts where juries are randomly selected from a broad  base of the population, decisions are based on case law, and higher courts can hear appeals. Gloria Steinem once called the system “McJustice.”
Then there are the fake regulators of Wall Street who seamlessly move from their multi-million dollar pay packages at corporate law firms to head the SEC and Justice Department.

Economic Update:  Worker Co-ops vs. Capitalism (Prof. Richard Wolff)


This episode of Professor Wolff's radio show discusses declining US incomes, parental leave policies, rising medical deductibles and social security dependence. The show also includes an interview with Peter Ranis, author of Cooperatives Against Capitalism.


How about an eye-opener?

No. Not that kind.

An Obituary of "The New York Times"


Working with the government to suppress stories, covering up election fraud in the ruling party and ruthlessly campaigning against the main US opposition leader, "The New York Times" has sentenced itself to wither away into irrelevance. Remembered only in history books as a relic of the Cold War, much like its sister newspaper Pravda of the Soviet Union. "The New York Times" R.I.P.
A few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. and Bill Keller at the "New York Times" building on Manhattan. Keller was the long time editor in chief of the newspaper and Sulzberger its proprietor. We met at what must have been the 50th floor of the company headquarters, on 8th Avenue. I write company headquarters, instead of newspaper, because this part of the building was accessible only through a separate elevator-system and was strictly off-limits for the regular "New York Times" reporters.

We spoke for about an hour and a half for the film "Mediastan" that I was shooting at the time, and now in hindsight, I’m both grateful and surprised by how honestly the administrative and real heads of the enterprise described the nature of their work. Grateful, because the degree of openness they exhibited is a rarity in the backrooms of journalism. Surprised, because what they were doing wasn’t journalism, at least not in the sense that I had been taught in journalism school in Sweden. No, the work that Keller and Sulzberger were describing was something entirely different, and as such it was a shame that this part of the building was off-limits to the journalists of their own newspaper. Because, as I would soon realize, the upper levels of the "New York Times" building was a place where a variety of important political decisions were negotiated and taken. A space, ironically, very far from scrutiny of the public eye.

NYTimesWikileaks

The walls of the meeting-room were I sat down with Bill Keller and Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. were adorned by signed portraits of important people that had visited this off-limits place. The editor at the company proudly explained that this was the “Hall of Fame,” and that "The New York Times" was like an embassy for important people from across the world. There was also the obligatory centrepiece – I had filmed the same thing so many times in the Middle East and in the Central Asian republics, but I must admit that I was surprised to see it here – at the head of the table was a framed and signed photograph of the president. The handwritten message on it said:  “To Arthur - thank you for a memorable editorial board meeting. Barack Obama”.
This off-limits part of the building was not only where the president would sit in on editorial board meetings, it was also the place where Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was received when he successfully negotiated to be removed from “The Axis of Evil” list after 9/11. At that point in time "The New York Times" was still considered perhaps the most important publication in the world, and what it wrote was thought to have a direct impact on the life and death of nations. Because of this, many powerful people would put a lot of effort and money into gaining preferable coverage from "The New York Times."

These floors, Bill Keller told me, was where the proprietor and the editors of the newspaper would meet with and negotiate deals with powerful visitors. In retrospect, whatever “deal” that Gaddafi struck with "The New York Times," the exonerating article penned by Judith Miller didn’t save his life, nor did it save his nation from the might of the US Air Force.
Despite the brutal fate that Gaddafi came to face, the assumption that "The New York Times" was capable of making meaningful deals with governments was not entirely unfounded. Bill Keller spoke of how he successfully negotiated to freeze the NSA warrantless wiretapping-story uncovered by Eric Lichtblau for two years until after the re-election of George W. Bush. This top-floor was also where the Iraq WMD evidence was concocted with the help of the Pentagon and handed to reporter Judith Miller to pen, later letting her hang when the wind changed. This, Keller also told me, was where the CIA and State Department officials were invited to take part in daily editorial meetings when State Department cables were published by WikiLeaks. I would personally witness how this was the place where Sulzberger himself oversaw the re-election coverage of President Obama. And this was much later where the main tax-evaders of the US would make their cases so that the Panama Papers on their tax records would never reach the public eye (which at the time of writing, they have yet to be).
As a Swedish journalist, educated in large part on Anglo-Saxon literature, I had together with many of my peers seen "The New York Times" as a guiding star in standards of journalism. Its feat in publishing the Pentagon Papers - the proof that the United States had fabricated the reasons for going to war with Vietnam - was something that we read about in school, and it inspired me to want to work in the profession and uncover the dirty deals of my own government. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the very same paper had these special floors, off-limits to journalists, where the dodgiest deals with the dodgiest figures were being brokered, and that the heads of this newspaper were not even embarrassed about it. Rather, quite the contrary, they seemed to gloat.
After meeting with Keller and Sulzberger at "The New York Times," I felt a heavy sense of sadness about what I had witnessed. I felt sad for the staff of the newspaper, many of whom had gone through great risks for their profession and their audience. I felt sad for my generation of journalists who had been robbed of a role-model in journalism. And I felt sad for the American readers, many of whom still had no idea of what was happening on the top floors of "The New York Times" Building on 8th Avenue.
Since the last few months I am however no longer sad about any of this, for during the current election cycle in the United States, "The New York Times" has so clearly abandoned all rudimentary standards of journalism and alienated its readership so badly, that it has sentenced itself to wither away into irrelevance. Remembered only in history books as a relic of the Cold War, much like its sister newspaper Pravda of the Soviet Union.
As a Swedish reader of "The New York Times," I may be surprised that the paper has ignored election rigging in the governing party of the United States serious enough to cause its top five officials to resign. But it doesn’t really matter, since I can read the source material on it via WikiLeaks. As a foreign journalist I may be surprised that the paper has chosen to downplay the political bribes of the Clinton Foundation, but it makes little difference because the Associated Press has made the investigation available for me to report on.

As a citizen of a western democracy I may be surprised that "The New York Times" so clearly campaigns against Trump and for Clinton, rather than reports on the policy issues of the candidates, but I can ignore this since I can read and listen to what they say themselves, while I can get a variety of more enlightened and entertaining campaigns all over the blogosphere. If I were a US citizen however, I would be more than just surprised.
And this is where "The New York Times" has lost it. By dropping its veneer and abandoning its self-acclaimed standards of journalism, it has sentenced itself into irrelevance. Because even if the newspaper has steadily been outflanked by many blogs when it comes to audience size, it was until recently considered to be an important platform from which the US elites formed their world-view. But a newspaper with such a small reach, that is no longer taken seriously even by the main presidential candidates of its own country, a newspaper that doesn’t abide by the most fundamental journalistic standards, namely publishing rather than hiding newsworthy, correct information, has very little to offer either any powerful people or its own readers. Because even propaganda has to be good, for it to have any value.
The only question that now remains, is how history will remember the journalists of "The New York Times." Will they be judged leniently as people that just did their jobs, not knowing what they were doing? Or will they suffer the same fate as the thousands of Soviet journalists who lost their jobs when the charade at their Communist mouthpieces ended? I much suspect that it will be the latter. But I also suspect that much like the heads of the Soviet newspapers quickly adapted to the new rules and new rulers of the game while regular journalists were sentenced to life of unemployment, so will Sulzberger and Keller adapt to whatever will come while the staff of "The New York Times" will be sentenced to their very own “Hall of Shame”, much like already happened to their colleague Judith Miller when her services on propagating for war with Iraq was no longer required.
I enclose as a small eulogy the following email exchange with a couple of editors from "The New York Times." The emails are significant if only as examples of how the newspaper stopped living up to the most basic elements of journalism towards the end of its life. In them editors Bruce Headlam and Isvett Verde explain that "The New York Times" does not correct mistakes, does not grant the right of reply, and does not, as a matter of policy, publish material about its own censorship.
If you have any other documents pertaining to the demise of "The New York Times," please email them to me or send them to WikiLeaks. One of these days I will collect them for a proper obituary.
- Johannes Wahlström

Obama’s Transparency Promise:  FOIA Lawsuits Grow 42 Percent Since 2008

foia-lawsuits-since-2006

Deutsche Bank Says “No” to $14 Billion DOJ Fine:  It Must Have Learned Its Negotiating Skills at the Trump Institute

The old adage that when one is already in a hole, one should stop digging, has apparently not found its way to the corner offices of Deutsche Bank. After a non-stop two years of scandals, the Bank has decided to take its shareholders on another heart-thumping cop car chase by publicly feuding with the U.S. Justice Department. After the Wall Street Journal reported in the wee hours this morning that the Justice Department was proposing a fine of $14 billion for Deutsche Bank’s involvement in tricking investors with toxic mortgage backed securities, the Bank had the tenacity to tell Reuters that it was planning to “fight” the demand. This negotiating tactic sounds a little like something that might have been taught at the Trump Institute.
In just the past two years, Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest bank with a large trading footprint in the U.S., has been terrifying widows and orphans – not to mention its shareholders. Two of its executives, William Broeksmit and Charles Gambino, hanged themselves. In June of this year the International Monetary Fund issued a report calling Deutsche Bank “the most important net contributor to systemic risks” on a global basis. In the same month, the U.S. Federal Reserve indicated that the U.S. unit of Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Bank Trust Corp., had failed its stress test. The Fed cited “material unresolved supervisory issues” as one of the reasons for the failed grade. 
Last year Deutsche Bank settled charges with British and U.S. authorities for $2.5 billion for rigging the interest rate benchmark known as Libor. It pleaded guilty to the U.S. charges.
In 2014 Deutsche Bank, along with Barclays, was the target of an investigation by the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The duo had created an elaborate scheme to assist hedge funds in magically converting millions of short-term trades into long-term capital gains, a much lower tax rate, and thus ripping off the U.S. Treasury of tax revenue. Called “basket options” or MAPS at Deutsche Bank, the bank effectively loaned out its balance sheet to hedge funds to conduct billions of trades each year in trading accounts under the bank’s name, deploying massive leverage as high as 20:1 that is illegal in a regular Prime Brokerage account for a hedge fund client. The banks got paid through margin interest, fees for stock loans for short sales, and trade executions.
This was not the first time Deutsche Bank had engaged in tax dodge maneuvers. According to the final report of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, there had been a previous history of tax abuse. The report found the following:
“About ten years ago, Deutsche Bank became the subject of a series of investigations focused on its participation in abusive tax shelters from 1996 through 2002, which aided and abetted evasion of an estimated $5.9 billion in U.S. income taxes. On December 21, 2010, Deutsche Bank and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York executed a non-prosecution agreement (NPA) related to the bank’s involvement with the abusive tax shelters. Under the agreement, the bank paid more than $550 million to the United States, and the U.S. Attorney and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) agreed not to prosecute Deutsche Bank criminally for participating in abusive tax shelters benefiting its clients from 1997 to 2005, provided the bank met certain requirements.
“Those requirements included Deutsche Bank’s continued cooperation with the DOJ in its tax shelter prosecutions, and appointment of an independent expert to oversee bank reforms to ensure the bank stopped participating in transactions used to defraud the IRS. The NPA also banned Deutsche Bank’s involvement with any pre-packaged tax products, which were the type of tax shelters that led to the criminal proceedings.”
The Senate report raises a cloud as to why the Justice Department didn’t prosecute Deutsche Bank for what looks like a travesty of the terms of its Non Prosecution Agreement (NPA). . . .
Given its recent history and the pitchfork mentality of the U.S. public when it comes to out-of-control behemoth banks, railing against the U.S. Justice Department in print doesn’t seem like a particularly sound strategy for a serial recidivist.

Elizabeth Warren Opens Pandora’s Box With Midnight Letters to DOJ and FBI

In a 20-page letter to the Inspector General of the Department of Justice, Michael E. Horowitz, Senator Warren asked for an investigation into why the DOJ had failed to indict any of the Wall Street executives that had been referred to it for potential criminal prosecution by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC). In a separate letter, Warren asked FBI Director James Comey for his related files.

The FCIC released thousands of documents in March of this year, showing that it had made multiple criminal referrals to the DOJ. Warren wrote in her letter:

“A review of these documents conducted by my staff has identified 11 separate FCIC referrals of individuals or corporations to DOJ in cases where the FCIC found ‘serious indications of violations[s]’ of federal securities or other laws. Nine individuals were implicated in these referrals (two were implicated twice). The DOJ has not filed any criminal prosecutions against any of the nine individuals. Not one of the nine has gone to prison or been convicted of a criminal offense. Not a single one has even been indicted or brought to trial. Only one individual was fined, in the amount of $100,000, and that was to settle a civil case brought by the SEC.”

This particular paragraph is a Pandora’s Box by a factor of $2.5 trillion. The two individuals Warren refers to who were “implicated twice” in the FCIC’s criminal referrals are Robert Rubin, the former Treasury Secretary in the administration of Bill Clinton, who in the lead up to the crash of Citigroup in 2008 served as Executive Committee Chair of Citigroup’s Board of Directors. (After advocating for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which allowed Citigroup to own both an insured depository bank, an investment bank and brokerage firm, Rubin went straight from his post as Treasury Secretary to the Board of Citigroup, where he collected $126 million in compensation over the next decade.)

The other individual whose name appears twice is Chuck Prince, Citigroup CEO during its implosion. A third Citigroup executive’s name appears as well on the list:  Gary Crittenden, the Chief Financial Officer of Citigroup at the time of its crash.

One other individual’s name should have been on this list:  Ben Bernanke, the Chair of the Federal Reserve who allowed the funneling of over $2.5 trillion in cumulative, secret loans to Citigroup during the crisis – despite the fact that it was insolvent and thus not legally eligible for the loans. Citigroup was the largest bailout recipient in the crisis, notwithstanding that its share price at one point reached 99 cents.

Sheila Bair, who was head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) during the crisis, confirms this point in her book, Bull by the Horns. Bair writes:

“By November [2008], the supposedly solvent Citi was back on the ropes, in need of another government handout. The market didn’t buy the OCC’s [Office of the Comptroller of the Currency that supervises national banks] and NY Fed’s strategy of making it look as though Citi was as healthy as the other commercial banks…Instead, the OCC and the NY Fed stood by as that sick bank continued to pay major dividends and pretended that it was healthy.”

Congressional testimony should also be demanded from John Dugan, a former lobbyist for JPMorgan Chase and the American Bankers Association who became head of the OCC in 2005 and reigned there throughout the crisis. Dugan now heads the Financial Institutions Group at Covington & Burling, the same law firm from which Obama plucked his DOJ Attorney General Eric Holder and its head of the criminal division, Lanny Breuer.

Covington & Burling is the same law firm that fronted for Big Tobacco for four decades and was called out for its unsavory role in a famous Federal court decision.

If Senator Warren is genuinely serious about getting to the bottom of this failure to prosecute, she also needs to demand that the Federal Reserve turn over the details of those 84 secret meetings that Bernanke held during the financial crisis and New York Fed President Tim Geithner’s 29 meet-and-greets with Citigroup execs, including the one where Sandy Weill, creator of Citigroup, offered Geithner a job at Citigroup.

There is strong evidence that long before the public was fully aware of the teetering condition of Citigroup, the Fed was propping it up with outrageously inappropriate support. On August 20, 2007, more than a year before the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Federal Reserve granted Citigroup an exemption that would allow it to funnel up to $25 billion from its FDIC insured depository bank, Citibank, to mortgage-backed securities speculators at its broker-dealer unit. The Federal Reserve notes in its waiver letter that the bank “is well capitalized.” (Federal Reserve Exemption to Citigroup to Loan to Its Broker-Dealer, August 20, 2007)
It’s long past the time for the U.S. Senate to stop conducting isolated, piecemeal investigations and undertake the type of in-depth hearings that the Senate held from 1929 to 1932 that led to the public’s understanding of the serial criminal activities on Wall Street that had produced the Great Depression and which led to the passage of the Glass-Steagall Act — legislation which protected this nation for 66 years until its repeal in 1999 during the Bill Clinton administration.

BDS must not be uttered?

More post-Snowden BS?

Several days ago in what can only be described as a one sided political prisoner exchange, a quid pro quo of suffering, the craven New York City Council held a session to “debate” a proposed resolution on how best to convert constitutionally protected BDS speech and activity into per se anti-Semitism…a perverse leap of faith similar to the sinister shroud of supremacy worn by the Reichstag supporters of the 30’s at a time when today’s Palestinians, were yesteryear’s Jews.
In announcing that the peaceful and pure political speech of BDS was not constitutionally protected and now most unwelcome in New York City, the resolution’s sponsor inadvertently became the movements best salesman by correctly describing it as an international effort “to boycott, divest from and sanction the people of Israel (including) its academic, cultural, and civil society institutions.”
. . . witnesses describe an angry hate filled session; a public meeting filled with spit and Islamaphobic taunts coming from the largely vetted Zionist audience egged on, all the while, by their pet councilmen and women. To the pro Israeli, anti First Amendment bloc, the mere mention of any support of BDS triggered the all too familiar and convenient chorus of “anti-Semite”… even the half dozen or so rabbis who attended to voice their support for BDS and opposition to the Council’s attempt to stifle dissent were not spared J’accuse. It mattered not that the air was heavy with principle and calls for justice and a powerful example of protected participatory government at its best - it was anti-Semitic. It always is… whenever people dare to challenge Israel or its official narrative packaged and sold like none other.
Not long after it began, police moved in to clear the public session of its BDS supporters, those daring enough to display pro-Palestinian placards or flags; those foolish enough to believe that a City Council meeting was about dialogue and debate and not just a politically staged event to provide “participatory” cover for a decision long ago rubber-stamped through a well placed political contribution or bargained for exchange.

And as far as that son-of-a-bitch'ing President of the Philippines, Duterte's, Obama opinion goes:

When he ran for president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte was a mini-Donald Trump shooting from the hip to excite populist mob support for his presidential candidacy. Once in office, he followed up on his bloodthirsty rhetoric by encouraging a death-squad sweep through  the island nation that has so far accounted for over two thousands assassinations or executions, whichever term one likes. Reports describe bodies appearing in the streets every morning with signs attached to them suggesting they were drug addicts or dealers — gruesome echoes from the late 70s and early 80s in El SalvadorDubbed Dirty Harry in the tabloids, President Duterte applauds the piling up of corpses and deems his program a success because drug users are turning themselves in in droves, lest they be murdered. They end up jammed into overcrowded hell-holes. Some end up dead anyway.
As the “leader of the free world,” President Obama was touring Asia shilling for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. He was eager to “send a clear message that, as a Pacific nation we [the United States] are here to stay.” He planned on visiting Duterte in the Philippines to scold the new leader on his murderous campaign, but he canceled that visit when Duterte gave a saliva-spitting speech in which he called the president “a son of a whore.” Given his tiny island nation is a client state of the powerful United States, after his insult-riddled speech, the volatile Filipino president reportedly began to suffer painful migraine headaches.

President Duterte has apparently called many people “a son of a whore,” including the Pope; and while "hijo de puta" in Spanish as spoken in the Philippines means son of a whore, it’s such a common expression it probably should be translated into English as son of a bitch. A prudent, cool-headed Obama shook off the choice insult. That is, he didn’t respond by calling Mr. Duterte a fish-eating wog or a psychopathic lunatic. Instead, the two men “exchanged pleasantries” at a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Vientiane, Laos.
. . . The "hijo de puta" incident amounted to a skirmish in the Drug War. President Duterte’s draconian program of killing drug dealers and users without concern for justice or collateral damage amounts to our current Drug War policy taken to its “final solution” level. If the US has any moral weight in the world (which is a good question these days) the least President Obama should do is put the Duterte regime on a human rights violator watch list and somehow personally squeeze the president and his cronies without hurting the Filipino people. Sadly, if past is prologue, our lame duck imperial president will probably do as he has done with Egypt and Honduras, distract us from the murderous reality and run cover for the killers. The Ronald Reagan model from El Salvador remains the U.S. government standard:  Every six months have Congress wink-and-nod and affirm the bloody regime in question has made progress — as the bodies pile higher and higher.
. . . The 2012 Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, hosted by conservative Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was an example of how a critical dialogue is overwhelmed by distracting stories. Santos and the delegation from Guatemala publicly advocated to attending President Obama for the legalization of drugs, emphasizing that the real problem was demand in his country, the United States; it was not the supply coming from or through their nations in Latin America. Mexico joined Colombia and Guatemala in advocated more discussion on this theme. U.S. demand created the enterprising, ruthless providers supplying that demand from Latin America; U.S. demand was contributing to the corruption in Latin America. The Latin American leaders wanted North Americans to take responsibility for their own problem. Of course, as with gangsterism in the 1930s under Prohibition, the incredible corruption and violence the Drug War had spawned had now become the problem.
Obama ignored the request, and the American people heard none of the important exchange. Instead, thanks to our media’s love of puritanism and sensationalism, we heard about Obama’s Secret Service detail getting laid by high-end prostitutes. There were also rumors floated that some of the president’s security detail had ingested drugs while in Cartagena.
. . . The beloved WWII antiwar veteran Kurt Vonnegut would say:  “So it goes.”
Working to reveal, and undue, the atrocities of American history, great and small, is very frustrating work. It often feels like one is digging out the truth with a teaspoon. Once you un-earth a nugget of truth there’s always a shiny dump truck with ten tons of self-serving bullshit to unload on the effort. Little or nothing is done. So like Sisyphus and his rock, you hold your nose and keep working that little spoon.
A presidential election may not be the best time to accomplish anything like justice in America. It’s not called “the silly season” for nothing. Even more than normally, reality is shunted to the back of the bus. When such an extended struggle for power is played out on TV as a compelling reality show, who’s got the time to give a damn about those who have suffered injustices at the hands of the American war machine or the American criminal justice system?
You have to wonder whether it’s a genius of the system to encourage endless electoral campaigns that keep real governance off balance.
It becomes impossible to lobby governing leaders for change because they’re always busy campaigning for their lives. We’re dooming to listening ad nauseum to well-financed, slickly-produced food fights of petty nonsense. Meanwhile, militarism, corporatism and rising technology overwhelms the commonweal and violates it in the bushes.
Justice may be possible if people are willing to fight the way the Standing Rock Sioux are fighting in North Dakota today. The forces of repression, like all bullies, seek weakness and the easy push-over. So you want to make sustaining the status-quo as difficult and costly as possible for the bully. You want to avoid contributing to a vacuum of apathy and passivity.

Welcome to Your Delusional Democracy

By Joel S. Hirschhorn
September 13, 2016
Counterpunch
For some years I have used the term “delusional democracy” to describe the condition of the US.  It seemed obvious to me that the vast majority of Americans have deliberately chosen to fool themselves.  They have been brainwashed to believe what no longer is true.  Become convinced that you do not live in a true and terrific democracy, or that your democracy is the best in the world.

I stopped believing this myth many years ago.  All the objective evidence I saw over fifty years of paying intense attention both as a citizen and someone who worked within the political system showed me that American democracy had steadily declined in quality, integrity and effectiveness.  And now in this 2016 presidential race you have powerful and painful evidence that we are saddled with a delusional democracy.  Thank Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for opening your mind and eyes to reveal this revolting truth.

Delusional democracy refers to delusional Americans.  So this year the key question for you to consider is whether you still choose to keep falsely believing that American democracy is worth being proud of.  I just cannot see how Americans can accept these two major party presidential candidates as reflecting a first rate democracy.  They are, in fact, a major embarrassment that should make every American, regardless of their political party loyalty or previous political beliefs, cringe at the ugly reality that these two presidential candidates are worthy of any respect, loyalty or votes.

How could it come to this?  Two world class liars.  Two of the most widely known untrusted and untrustable unpopular politicians ever produced here or anywhere.  Two sick narcissists in it for themselves, not the country.

The US political system produced this reality.  A two-party duopoly serving the rich and powerful, corporate contributors and many special interests, but not the ordinary, general public is what we have had for a long time.  What gave this nation awful economic inequality, destruction of good paying middle class jobs in manufacturing, and horrendous national debt also gave us these two losers.  Can you settle into voting for the lesser of two evils, when each of the two evils makes you gag?  Evil does not accurately describe these two options.  Choose the lesser of two embarrassments, of two calamities, of two democracy destroyers.

Consider this way of thinking about this ugly reality.  Once a democracy has become delusional playing the game of being responsible citizen and voting no longer makes sense.  It is more like joining a criminal conspiracy to maintain the illusion that we have a legitimate democracy.  Voting no longer is the path to have a revolution to restore American democracy.  That is exactly where we have arrived.  When most Americans have little respect and trust for Congress or just about every other institution and most believe we are on the wrong track, then how can you still cling to the belief that voting is what you can and should do?  When it comes to Trump and Hillary how can you still keep deluding yourself that you live in a legitimate democracy worth voting in?

An important 2014 academic study of a huge number of policy actions found that “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.  In other words, voting by citizens does not shape our nation.

We do not have an authentic democracy. We have more of an oligarchy that is controlled by rich and powerful elites. Voting is a distraction, something to make you feel good and responsible. Of course, sometimes it looks like the general public gets what it wants. Yet “they fairly often get the policies they favor … only because those policies happen also to be preferred by the economically-elite citizens who wield the actual influence.” The big conclusion:  “if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.” This fits my model perfectly:  we have a delusional democracy.

Here is what I think is the correct action this year.  Boycott the presidential election.  Do not vote for anyone for president.  What does this accomplish?  It would create incredible historic data on very low voter turnout for the presidential election.  It would send a clear message to both major parties, the political establishment, the media, and the whole world that Americans have recognized the truth about our delusional democracy.  This could spark true political revolution for the next presidential election.  You ask, depending on what you now believe, but how can I live with that awful Trump or that awful Hillary getting elected president?  So be it.  It is more important to create conditions for major, true political reforms than to worry about an awful person in the White House.  We need a good long game.  Worry less about how a president may harm our nation and more about the critical need to recognize and fix our delusional democracy by taking back the power that the power elites have had for a long time.

There is a wonderful graph on Wikipedia showing US presidential election turnout over history.  From about 1840 to 1900 it was varying around 75 percent to 80 percent.  Then it declined steadily until about 1920, and from then to recent times it varied from around 50 percent to 60 percent.  My main point is that you need some imagination and think about the many impacts of reducing turnout to say 30 percent.  The whole world would interpret that as the rejection by Americans of their political system.  It would be an incredible historic shock having the potential to remove the legitimacy and credibility of the current two-party duopoly.  Our corrupt, delusional democracy would have received a bullet.  Demand for truly reforming and fixing our political system would take on energy.  Remember, the historic data showed this sharp decline in turnout happening once before.  It can happen again, with your help.  Boycott this presidential election.

Fixing our democracy is far more important than your vote this year.  Yes, you may feel bad that the candidate you most hated won your state and maybe the Electoral College, or that you did not show support for a third party candidate.  But you can and should feel good that you have non-voted against the status quo, broken political system.  Feel great that you want to fix our delusional democracy.

In so many other democracies the public create massive street protests and many times this kind of action produces political and government reforms.  It has become clear that the street protest strategy has not and will not happen on a large enough scale to produce deep reforms in the US.  Nor has forming new reform-oriented organizations done the job.  It is far easier and more convenient for the vast majority of Americans to see the light and boycott this presidential election.

Vote for whatever else on your ballot is important to you.  But boycott the presidential election.  That non-vote is truly a message-vote and driving force for major political reforms.  If you continue to believe that ordinary participation in elections will fix our nation, then you have not faced history and reality.  You remain delusional.

Better to choose to make American democracy great again by standing up to a corrupt system.

9/11:  15 Years Of A Transparent Lie

By Paul Craig Roberts
September 13, 2016

There are many conspiracy theories about 9/11. The US government’s own expanation of 9/11 is a conspiracy theory in which a few Saudi Arabians outwitted the American national security state. Little doubt that many of the more imaginative conspiracy theories were created for the purpose of stigmatizing any skepticism, no matter how well reasoned and supported, of the official story.

When thinking about 9/11, it is important to differentiate expert opinion from improbable explanations.

Among the expert opinion are 2,600 structural engineers and high-rise architects who comprise Architects & Engineers for 9/11 truth and have written to Congress asking for a real investigation, Firefighters for 9/11 truth, Pilots for 9/11 truth, physicists and chemists who analyzed the dust from the twin towers and report finding reacted and unreacted materials used in controlled demolitions, and former government officials who understand that a security failure as great as 9/11 would have produced an immediate and exacting investigation.

These groups of qualified and experienced people say that the official story of 9/11 is false. Architects, engineers, and scientists say that the official story is physically impossible. Firefighters and WTC maintenance personnel say that there were numerous explosions within the towers and that the first explosions were in the sub-basements prior to the buildings being hit by airplanes. Experienced military and civilian pilots say the maneuvers of the aircraft are beyond the capability of the alleged hijackers. Both co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission and the legal counsel have written books in which they have said that information was withheld from the Commission, that the US government lied to the Commission, and that the Commission was set up to fail.

In other words, the hard evidence simply does not support the official story.

We know that the official story is false. We don’t know who is responsible or the purpose the event was intended to serve. However, circumstantial evidence strongly supports suspicion of the neoconservatives whose high positions in the government would have enabled them to succeed with a false flag attack and to delay and divert any investigation until the official story was set in stone. We also know from the “dancing Israelis” that elements in the Israeli government had advance notice of the attack as Israeli agents were set up ready to film the destruction of the twin towers.

Neoconservative position papers written in the 1990s called for “a new Pearl Harbor” in order to launch Washington’s wars for hegemony, first in the Middle East.  These position papers signaled out Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Libya for attack prior to the event of 9/11. None of these countries had anything whatsoever to do with the official story of 9/11 that blames Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda, a jihadist group set up by Washington in the 1970s to resist the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

None of these countries had jihadist governments. Iran has a muted form of Islamic law, but Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Assad in Syria headed secular governments. Yet, neoconservatives falsely claimed that Saddam Hussein had “al-Qaeda connections.” This lie and the lie that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that threatened the US were used to invade Iraq under the 9/11 banner. Then the rationale for the invasions changed. 9/11 dropped away, and the “war on terror” and “bringing democracy” took its place.

From my quarter century in Washington, it is clear to me that if such an event as 9/11 had actually happened for the reason given, the White House, Congress, and media would have been screaming for explanation of how a few Arabs outwitted the entire US National Security State—all 16 US intelligence agencies, the security agencies of Washington’s NATO allies and Israel, the National Security Council, Air Traffic Control, and airport security four times in one hour on the same day.  Instead the government refused any inquiry for one year until most of the evidence was destroyed. http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2016/09/government-hid-destroyed-911-evidence.html

That a few Arabs defeated US national security would be the greatest humiliation ever inflicted on a superpower, but no one was held responsible. This tells me that 9/11 was a State Crime Against Democracy.

9/11 was used by the US government to launch wars that have destroyed in whole or part seven countries, killing millions of peoples and producing millions of refugees. 9/11 was also used to create an American police state, which is a far greater threat to freedom and democracy than Muslim terrorism.

(Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts' latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, How America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.)


Comments:

Myles · 1 day ago

First it was Bin Laden. Then it was Sadaam Hussein. Now it is the Saudis. Dr. Roberts linked article on deception makes sense. All of these foreign culprits blamed support the basic official story and deflect from any deeper investigation which would get closer to reality. The lies, deception, censorship, and propaganda have become so outrageous that people must suspect everything they are told and even shown, while paying close attention to the languages and images used and trying to note what is omitted. If they care. It is becoming quite tiring to try and discern what is true and real. Guides like Dr. Roberts, a gentleman with vast experience, are essential.

Mark A. Goldman 1 day ago

We know that there is no physical evidence that a passenger airplane hit the Pentagon ... no passengers, no seats, no luggage, no engines, no airplane. Same is true of the imaginary plane that supposedly hit the ground so hard that it buried itself and was never heard from again or dug up to retrieve the remains. There's not even evidence that passenger planes hit the twin towers ... when aluminum hits concrete and steel it's not aluminum that cuts through steel, it's aluminum that crumples up and falls to the ground. Then there's the chemical evidence of explosive and the witnesses who experienced explosions. We know enough to know we've been lied to and those lies were used to destroy the lives and happiness of millions, me included.

And, of course, there's never been a word of officially verified truth about all the stock market trades, put and call options, etc., yielding huge gains for shady participants from insider knowledge concerning airline and banking stocks, etc., in the days before the 9/11/01 attacks.