Thursday, February 23, 2017
theatlantic | Ben Rhodes, one of Barack Obama’s top advisers, once dismissed the American foreign-policy establishment—those ex-government officials and think-tank scholars and journalists in Washington, D.C. who advocate for a particular vision of assertive U.S. leadership in the world—as the “Blob.” Donald Trump had harsher words. As a presidential candidate, he vowed never to take advice on international affairs from “those who have perfect resumes but very little to brag about except responsibility for a long history of failed policies and continued losses at war.” Both men pointed to one of the Beltway establishment’s more glaring errors: support for the war in Iraq.
Now the Blob is fighting back. The “establishment” has been unfairly “kicked around,” said Robert Kagan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former official in the Reagan administration. As World War II gave way to the Cold War, President Harry Truman and his secretary of state, Dean Acheson, “invented a foreign policy and sold it successfully to the American people. That’s what containment was and that’s what the Truman Doctrine was. … That was the foreign-policy establishment.” During that period, the U.S. government also helped create a system for restoring order to a world riven by war and economic crisis. That system, which evolved over the course of the Cold War and post-Cold War period, includes an open international economy; U.S. military and diplomatic alliances in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East; and liberal rules and institutions (human rights, the United Nations, and so on).
WaPo | Security Minister Ben Wallace said in support of the bill: “We need to make the UK a hostile environment for those seeking to move, hide and use the proceeds of crime and corruption. In an increasingly competitive international marketplace, the UK simply cannot afford to be seen as a haven for dirty money.” He added, “They all have expensive properties in London and think they are untouchable.”
Not only cutting off but also exposing the flow of money outside Russia, the result of widespread graft, should be part and parcel of our countermeasures to check Russian assault (physical and otherwise) on democracies.
Beyond that, Congress should consider a financial-crimes bill that would provide tools to seize assets of Russian and other foreign plutocrats who abscond with millions upon millions of dollars, thereby contributing to the misery of the Russian people. Vladimir Putin’s friendly oligarchs do not support Putin for ideological reasons. It’s about the money — and the more effective the West can be in depriving them of the fruits of their ill-gotten gains, the better.
strategic-culture | The «deep state» is the aristocracy and its agents. Wikispooks defines it as follows:
The deep state (loosely synonymous with the shadow government or permanent government) is in contrast to the public structures which appear to be directing individual nation states. The deep state is an intensely secretive, informal, fluid network of deep politicians who conspire to amplify their influence over national governments through a variety of deep state milieux. The term «deep state» derives from the Turkish »derin devlet», which emerged after the 1996 Susurluk incident so dramatically unmasked the Turkish deep state.
Nothing that’s alleged here is denying that there are divisions within the aristocracy (or «deep state»). Nothing is alleging that the aristocracy are «monolithic.» It’s instead asserting that, to the extent the aristocracy are united around a particular objective, that given objective will likely become instituted, both legally and otherwise, by the government — and that, otherwise, it simply won’t be instituted at all. This is what the only scientific analysis that has ever been done of whether or not the U.S. is controlled by an aristocracy found definitely to be the case in the U.S.
(And, of course, that’s also the reason why this momentous study was ignored by America’s ‘news’ media, except for the first news-report on it, mine at the obscure site Common Dreams, which had 414 reader-comments within just its first four months, and then the UPI’s report on it, which, like mine, was widely distributed to the major ‘news’ media and rejected by them all — UPI’s report was published only by UPI itself, and elicited only two reader-comments there. Then came the New Yorker’s pooh-poohing the study, by alleging «the politicians all know this, and we know it, too. The only debate is about how far this process has gone, and whether we should refer to it as oligarchy or as something else.» Their propagandist ignored the researchers’ having noted, in their paper, that though their findings were extremely inconsistent with America’s being a democracy, the problem was almost certainly being understated in their findings: «The failure of theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy is all the more striking because it goes against the likely effects of the limitations of our data,» and, especially, «our ‘affluent’ proxy is admittedly imperfect,» and so, «interest groups and economic elites actually wield more policy influence than our estimates indicate.»
In fact, their «elite» had consisted not of the top 0.1% as compared to the bottom 50%, but instead of the top 10% as compared to the bottom 50%, and all empirical evidence shows that the more narrowly one defines «the aristocracy,» the more lopsidedly dominant is the ‘elite’s relative impact upon public policies. Then, a month after the press-release on their study was issued, the co-authors were so disappointed with the paltry coverage of it that had occurred in America’s ‘news’ media, so that they submitted, to the Washington Post, a reply to their study’s academic critics, «Critics argued with our analysis of U.S. political inequality. Here are 5 ways they’re wrong.» It was promptly published online-only, as obscurely as possible, so that there are also — as of the present date — only two reader-comments to that public exposure. This is typical news-suppression in America: essentially total suppression of samizdat information — not merely suppression of the officially top-secret information, such as propagandists like Ambinder focus upon. It’s deeper than the state: it is the deep state, including far more than just the official government.)
theatlantic | The recent unrest in Baltimore, Ferguson, and other cities is puzzling in one important respect. Unlike in earlier eras, when African Americans’ political exclusion drove them to protest, blacks today are as likely to vote as whites and are well represented at all levels of government. The mayor of Baltimore and a majority of its city council are black. So are forty-five members of Congress—an all-time high. And, at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, so is the current occupant of the White House. Why all the turmoil, then, at a time when blacks—finally—seem to be enjoying the fruits of American democracy?
One answer is that the appearance of black political clout is deceiving. Despite their gains in participation and representation, blacks continue to fare worse than whites in converting their policy preferences into law. This poor performance is more revealing than statistics on turnout or black electoral success. And even though its causes remain mysterious, it is very much a rationale for frustration with the status quo.
In a recent study, I analyzed group political power at the federal and state levels. At the federal level, I relied on a remarkable database compiled by Princeton political scientist Martin Gilens. It includes responses to thousands of survey questions from the last few decades. Crucially, it also tracks whether each policy referred to by a question was adopted by the federal government over the next four years. At the state level, I measured people’s ideologies using exit polls that asked whether they are liberal, moderate, or conservative. And I assessed state laws using an index of overall policy liberalism created by another pair of scholars.
At both levels, I found that blacks hold much less sway than whites. For example, a federal policy with no white support has only a 10 percent chance of being enacted, while one with universal white support has a 60 percent shot of adoption. But while a proposal with no black support has a 40 percent chance of becoming law, one enjoying unanimous approval has only a 30 percent probability of enactment. In other words, as support for a policy rises within the black community, the odds of it being achieved actually decline.
Likewise, whether most black voters are conservative or liberal, state legislative outcomes barely budge. But vary the views of white voters to an equivalent degree, and a state’s policies go from looking like Alabama’s to resembling Michigan’s, even controlling for black and white population size.
The story is similar for several other groups. The more that women, the poor, or Hispanics support a federal policy, the less likely the policy is to be enacted. Strikingly, as women move from universal opposition to a proposal to universal support, its odds of adoption plummet from 75 percent to 10 percent. Changes in the ideology of female or poor voters also have no effect on state legislative outcomes (although shifts in the views of Hispanic voters do). In contrast, both federal and state laws are acutely sensitive to the preferences of whites, men, and the rich.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
norberthaering | Microsoft’s Bill Gates is one of the richest and most influential people on earth. He announced in 2015 that his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was aiming at achieving full digitalization of the payment systems of India and other populous developing countries by 2018. This “financial inclusion” program for India dates back to well before Narendra Modi came to power. It was elevated to official US policy by Executive Order in 2012, because the President saw vital US security interests are at stake.
Speaking for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation at the “Financial Inclusion Forum” in Washington, organized by the Treasury Department and USAID on December 1, 2015, Bill Gates said (min 17):
“Full digitalization of the economy may happen in developing countries faster than anywhere else. It is certainly our goal to make it happen in the next three years in the large developing countries. We have very significant efforts in Nigeria, Pakistan and India, (and) a dozen other countries, where we work with the central banks to make sure that the right kind of transaction switch is available…(min 20)…We worked directly with the central bank there (India) over the last three years and they created a new type of authorization called the payments bank, and those customers will be able to use their mobile phones to perform basic financial transactions. And 11 entities applied, including all the mobile phone providers, and were granted that payment bank status.”
"Financial Inclusion" was defined by PayPal-CEO Dan Schulman in an interview during the forum as:
“Financial Inclusion is a buzz word for bringing people into the system.”
The cooperation of the Gates foundation and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is and has been a very tight one. Nachiket Mor, a “Yale World Fellow”, is head of the Gates Foundation India. He is also a board member of the RBI, with responsibility for financial supervision. He chaired the RBI Committee on the Licensing of Payment Banks and a financial inclusion committee that the RBI convened in 2013.
+++Note: Since this text puts forward a conspiracy theory, I want to let the actors and their documents speak for themselves as much as possible. Where my own judgement and additional information figure in significantly, as in the following lines, it will be in italics and clearly marked. If you are skeptical, you may want to jump over those sections in italics in a first round, to not be unduly influenced in your interpretation of the quotes from the main actors and their documents.
If the cooperation of Gates Foundation and RBI had been ongoing already for three years in early December 2015, this implies a start in late 2012 or early 2013. This would be more than a year before Narendra Modi became Prime Minister of India. It would also have been almost two years, before Modi visited Barack Obama, told him about his plans to do something for financial inclusion and receive the happy message that the US was willing to help. It would have started three years before the partnership of USAID and the Indian Finance Ministry on financial inclusion was officially announced at that same forum and five years before the RBI and Narendra Modi performed the great and brutal experiment of starving the whole of India of cash for months. All this time, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was quietly working closely and directly with the RBI towards Gates’ declared goal of making the Indian payment system totally cashless by the end of 2018. He did so with backing and involvement of the US-government and with help of allies such as the World Economic Forum.+++
Gates' quotes stood in a context where he stressed that a government’s assistance to the poor and needy should not be delivered by the “incredibly inefficient” method of providing cash or grain to the recipient. “Digitalization helps targeting”, he said, if payments are done via mobile banking. He praised Mexico (min 18), whose Finance Minister, Luis Videgaray Caso, was present, announcing:
“We are going to use government income support programs as financial inclusion tools”,
as tools to bring everybody into the system. The idea endorsed by Gates and the financial inclusion “community” at the forum was to steer poor people into participating in the digital payment system by making it a condition for receiving any or certain forms of support.
rutherford | Here’s a truth few Americans want to acknowledge: nothing has changed (at least, not for the better) since Barack Obama passed the reins of the police state to Donald Trump.
The police state is still winning. We the people are still losing.
In fact, the American police state has continued to advance at the same costly, intrusive, privacy-sapping, Constitution-defying, relentless pace under President Trump as it did under President Obama.
Police haven’t stopped disregarding the rights of citizens. Having been given the green light to probe, poke, pinch, taser, search, seize, strip, shoot and generally manhandle anyone they see fit in almost any circumstance, all with the general blessing of the courts, America’s law enforcement officials are no longer mere servants of the people entrusted with keeping the peace. Indeed, they continue to keep the masses corralled, under control, and treated like suspects and enemies rather than citizens.
SWAT teams haven’t stopped crashing through doors and terrorizing families. Nationwide, SWAT teams continue to be employed to address an astonishingly trivial array of criminal activities or mere community nuisances including angry dogs, domestic disputes, improper paperwork filed by an orchid farmer, and misdemeanor marijuana possession. With more than 80,000 SWAT team raids carried out every year on unsuspecting Americans for relatively routine police matters and federal agencies laying claim to their own law enforcement divisions, the incidence of botched raids and related casualties continue to rise.
The Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security haven’t stopped militarizing and federalizing local police. Police forces continue to be transformed into heavily armed extensions of the military, complete with jackboots, helmets, shields, batons, pepper-spray, stun guns, assault rifles, body armor, miniature tanks and weaponized drones. In training police to look and act like the military and use the weapons and tactics of war against American citizens, the government continues to turn the United States into a battlefield.
Schools haven’t stopped treating young people like hard-core prisoners. School districts continue to team up with law enforcement to create a “schoolhouse to jailhouse track” by imposing a “double dose” of punishment for childish infractions: suspension or expulsion from school, accompanied by an arrest by the police and a trip to juvenile court. In this way, the paradigm of abject compliance to the state continues to be taught by example in the schools, through school lockdowns where police and drug-sniffing dogs enter the classroom, and zero tolerance policies that punish all offenses equally and result in young people being expelled for childish behavior.
For-profit private prisons haven’t stopped locking up Americans and immigrants alike at taxpayer expense. States continue to outsource prison management to private corporations out to make a profit at taxpayer expense. And how do you make a profit in the prison industry? Have the legislatures pass laws that impose harsh penalties for the slightest noncompliance in order keep the prison cells full and corporate investors happy.
Censorship hasn’t stopped. First Amendment activities continue to be pummeled, punched, kicked, choked, chained and generally gagged all across the country. The reasons for such censorship vary widely from political correctness, safety concerns and bullying to national security and hate crimes but the end result remained the same: the complete eradication of what Benjamin Franklin referred to as the “principal pillar of a free government.”
The courts haven’t stopped marching in lockstep with the police state. The courts continue to be dominated by technicians and statists who are deferential to authority, whether government or business. Indeed, the Supreme Court’s decisions in recent years have most often been characterized by an abject deference to government authority, military and corporate interests. They have run the gamut from suppressing free speech activities and justifying suspicionless strip searches to warrantless home invasions and conferring constitutional rights on corporations, while denying them to citizens.
Government bureaucrats haven’t stopped turning American citizens into criminals. The average American now unknowingly commits three felonies a day, thanks to an overabundance of vague laws that render otherwise innocent activity illegal, while reinforcing the power of the police state and its corporate allies.
The surveillance state hasn’t stopped spying on Americans’ communications, transactions or movements. On any given day, whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether it’s your local police, a fusion center, the National Security Agency or one of the government’s many corporate partners, is still monitoring and tracking you.
The TSA hasn’t stopped groping or ogling travelers. Under the pretext of protecting the nation’s infrastructure (roads, mass transit systems, water and power supplies, telecommunications systems and so on) against criminal or terrorist attacks, TSA task forces (comprised of federal air marshals, surface transportation security inspectors, transportation security officers, behavior detection officers and explosive detection canine teams) continue to do random security sweeps of nexuses of transportation, including ports, railway and bus stations, airports, ferries and subways, as well as political conventions, baseball games and music concerts. Sweep tactics include the use of x-ray technology, pat-downs and drug-sniffing dogs, among other things.
Congress hasn’t stopped enacting draconian laws such as the USA Patriot Act and the NDAA. These laws—which completely circumvent the rule of law and the constitutional rights of American citizens, continue to re-orient our legal landscape in such a way as to ensure that martial law, rather than the rule of law, our U.S. Constitution, becomes the map by which we navigate life in the United States.
The Department of Homeland Security hasn’t stopped being a “wasteful, growing, fear-mongering beast.” Is the DHS capable of plotting and planning to turn the national guard into a federalized, immigration police force? No doubt about it. Remember, this is the agency that is notorious for militarizing the police and SWAT teams; spying on activists, dissidents and veterans; stockpiling ammunition; distributing license plate readers; contracting to build detention camps; tracking cell-phones with Stingray devices; carrying out military drills and lockdowns in American cities; using the TSA as an advance guard; conducting virtual strip searches with full-body scanners; carrying out soft target checkpoints; directing government workers to spy on Americans; conducting widespread spying networks using fusion centers; carrying out Constitution-free border control searches; funding city-wide surveillance cameras; and utilizing drones and other spybots.
The military industrial complex hasn’t stopped profiting from endless wars abroad. America’s expanding military empire continues to bleed the country dry at a rate of more than $15 billion a month (or $20 million an hour). The Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety. Yet what most Americans fail to recognize is that these ongoing wars have little to do with keeping the country safe and everything to do with enriching the military industrial complex at taxpayer expense.
The Deep State’s shadow government hasn’t stopped calling the shots behind the scenes. Comprised of unelected government bureaucrats, corporations, contractors, paper-pushers, and button-pushers who are actually calling the shots behind the scenes, this government within a government continues to be the real reason “we the people” have no real control over our so-called representatives. It’s every facet of a government that is no longer friendly to freedom and is working overtime to trample the Constitution underfoot and render the citizenry powerless in the face of the government’s power grabs, corruption and abusive tactics.
And the American people haven’t stopped acting like gullible sheep. In fact, many Americans have been so carried away by their blind rank-and-file partisan devotion to their respective political gods that they have lost sight of the one thing that has remained constant in recent years: our freedoms are steadily declining.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
strategic-culture | Ironically, the connection to Watergate is more than it might appear to be. That scandal is commonly thought of as a «high point» of American journalism, in which intrepid reporters from the Washington Post dared to help bring down a Republican president for involvement in «dirty tricks» against Democrats hatched in 1972. A more nuanced account is given by author Russ Baker, in his book Family of Secrets about the Bush dynasty and the CIA. Baker provides evidence that the Washington Post was actually led by intelligence agencies to stitch up Richard Nixon whom they had come to oppose over his shady self-serving politics. Watergate and the demise of Nixon was thus less a triumph of democracy and media righteousness and more a coup by the Deep State against Nixon in which the Washington Post served as the conduit.
The nature of today’s shenanigans with Trump may be different in the precise details. But the modus operandi appears to be the same. A sitting president is out of favor with the Deep State and the latter is orchestrating a media campaign of leaks to dislodge him. Appropriately, the Washington Post is again at the forefront of the Deep State operation to thwart the president, this time Trump, as with Nixon before.
The story of Trump being a potentially treasonous pawn being manipulated by Russia is impossibly far-fetched to be credible. Trump denies it, and Moscow denies it. Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn appears indeed to have had contact with the Russian ambassador during Trump’s transition to the White House. But the content of the conversation has been blown out of all proportion by US intelligence and media to contrive the narrative that Trump is in cahoots with Moscow.
The upshot is that Trump’s avowed policy of restoring friendlier relations with Russia is being hampered at every turn. The president is being goaded into having to deny he is a Russian stooge and to prove that he is not soft on Moscow – by, for example, stating this week through his White House spokesman Sean Spicer that «Russian must hand back Crimea to Ukraine».
Evidently, the big purpose here is to direct Trump to adopt a harder line on Russia and to abandon any notion of developing cordial relations. Either he must tow the line, or he will be hounded by leaks, media speculation and Congressional probes until he is impeached. This is because the Deep State – primarily the military-industrial complex that is the permanent government of the US – is predicated on a strategic policy of adversity towards Russia and any other designated geopolitical rival.
Meanwhile, amid the raging war between the Trump White House and the US intelligence network, which includes sections of the media, Russia said this week that relations between the two countries were suffering.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, lamented that the turmoil in Washington was turning into a lost opportunity for the US and Russia to normalize relations and get on with bigger, far more urgent tasks of cooperation in world affairs.
And that impasse between the US and Russia, it would seem, is the whole object lesson from Trump’s war with powerful elements within his own state. Trump may have been elected president. But other darker forces in America’s power structure are intent on over-ruling him when it comes to policy on Russia. Trump’s Watergate is all about drowning out a genuine reset with Russia.
mondoweiss | Israel tried to interfere in that 2012 election, as Chris Matthews sensibly reminded his audience recently: Benjamin Netanyahu tried to help Mitt Romney beat Obama. Sheldon Adelson held a fundraiser in Jerusalem for Romney.
Netanyahu didn’t stop there. After Romney lost, Netanyahu came to Congress to tell the Congress to reject President Obama’s nuclear deal. That was an unprecedented interference of a foreign leader in our policy-making, enabled by the Israel lobby; but there were never any investigations about that. Subsequently Chuck Schumer said he was torn between a Jewish interest and the American interest, before voting against the president, and he paid no political/reputational price for it; while President Obama said that it would be an “abrogation” of his constitutional duty if he considered Israel’s interest ahead of the U.S.; for which Obama was called an anti-semite.
Throughout those negotiations, Obama could never address the fact that Israel has nukes. This lie is honored by the press, in a way that it would never honor Trump’s lies. And the manner in which Israel got nukes, including thefts from an American company with the complicity of the White House, is only investigated by peripheral figures.
The Israeli interference in our politics is the conspiracy in plain sight that no one in the media talks about because they’re too implicated themselves. The two top executives at the largest media company, Comcast, are pro-Israel; one of them, David Cohen, raised money for the Israeli army. Netanyahu’s speeches to Congress were written by Gary Ginsberg, an executive at another media company, Time Warner, but hey, that’s not an issue. Four New York Times reporters have had children serve in the Israeli army. One of them is columnist David Brooks, who says that he gets gooey-eyed when he visits Israel. He is one of several Zionists with columns at the Times. Tom Friedman justified the Iraq War because suicide bombers were going into Tel Aviv pizza parlors. (Huh?) Yesterday Martin Indyk said on National Public Radio that Jared Kushner’s strong Jewish background was an asset for his being a Middle East mediator, a job that Aaron David Miller, who also has a strong Jewish background, defined as being Israel’s lawyer. Indyk, himself a mediator, started a pro-Israel thinktank with Haim Saban, an Israeli-American who was Clinton’s biggest funder and who lately smeared Keith Ellison at a giant gathering at Brookings, which he also helps fund, as “clearly an anti-semite” and “anti-Israel;” and Jake Tapper of CNN moved on to the next question, presumably because smearing a public official in that manner is not news.
jonrappoport | —In 1947, the president of the United States, Harry Truman, decided: I’m going to create a snake and call it the CIA. Its watchword will be secrecy. It will collect secrets of our enemies and hold them secret and report the secrets to the president, who will decide what to do. Of course, the snake will remain under the president’s control. Its entire personality will be based on deception, but it will remain loyal to the president. No problem. Sure.
I’m thankful for Charles Hollander’s challenging piece on Thomas Pynchon’s novel, The Crying of Lot 49: “Pynchon, JFK and the CIA: Magic Eye Views of The Crying of Lot 49.”
Hollander offers vital reminders of the war between two parts of the Executive Branch: the presidency and the CIA.
“Implicit in Pynchon’s fiction is the view that events in recent American history have led to a virtual constitutional crisis, a challenge to the supremacy of the presidency by the intelligence community.”
“In a very short time, two presidents, a Republican and a Democrat, ran afoul of the CIA. The result amounted to a constitutional crisis, a change in our actual form of government without benefit of a duly ratified constitutional amendment. The crisis is reminiscent of that period in Roman history when the Praetorian Guard could sell the office of Emperor to the highest bidder and then, after a time, assassinate him and have a new auction. To this day, the president has never again challenged the CIA, though the agency has made its share of egregious errors. With the selection of former CIA director George H.W. Bush, the presidency and the CIA effectively merged…”
WaPo | The public outcry led the administration to reverse course and name the CIA director an NSC principal, but the White House’s inclination was clear. It has little need for intelligence professionals who, in speaking truth to power, might challenge the so-called “America First” orthodoxy that sees Russia as an ally and Australia as a punching bag. That’s why the president’s trusted White House advisers, not career professionals, reportedly have final say over what intelligence reaches his desk.
To be clear, my decision had nothing to do with politics, and I would have been proud to again work under a Republican administration open to intelligence analysis. I served with conviction under President George W. Bush, some of whose policies I also found troubling, and I took part in programs that the Obama administration criticized and ended. As intelligence professionals, we’re taught to tune out politics. The river separating CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., from Washington might as well be a political moat. But this administration has flipped that dynamic on its head: The politicians are the ones tuning out the intelligence professionals.
The CIA will continue to serve important functions — including undertaking covert action and sharing information with close allies and partners around the globe. If this administration is serious about building trust with the intelligence community, however, it will require more than rallies at CIA headquarters or press statements. What intelligence professionals want most is to know that the fruits of their labor — sometimes at the risk of life or limb — are accorded due deference in the policymaking process.
Monday, February 20, 2017
unz | Michael Moore’s flabby mug always looks indecently exposed, like middle-aged female genitalia. The fat slob could lead the old hags’ march without the pink pussyhat. Just his own visage would suffice. He is actually similar to George Soros: the same obscene pussyface. For me, his appearance would doom him: like Oscar Wilde, I believe that ugly creatures are immoral as well. It’s enough to look at Madeleine Albright, another pussyface, for a proof. But if you need more, his Stupid White Men has been the most execrable book produced in the US in this century: there he claimed that were 9/11 passengers black, the hijack would never have succeeded. Now the Pussyface bared the hidden plans of Putin and called for enthroninge Clinton because Trump is a Russian spy. Years ago he spoke against the Iraq War; now he calls for the nuclear Armageddon. With such enemies, we should not give up on Trump.
Trump is down, cry the fans and haters alike. He’s been defeated, broken, never to rise again. He is a lame duck soon to be impeached. He will crawl back to his golden lair leaving the White House to his betters, or even better, he will run to his pal Vlad Putin.
No, my friends and readers, Trump is fighting, not running, but things take time. It is not easy to change the paradigm, and the odds were heavily slanted against Trump from step one. Still, he got this far, and he will go on. Stubborn guy, and he perseveres. The corrupt judges chain his hands; the CIA and NSA reveal his moves to the NYT, CNN, NBC; but he stands up, ready to carry the fight to his – and American people’s – enemy, the hydra of so many triple-letter heads.
Now you understand why the pessimistic assessments of our colleagues Paul Craig Roberts and The Saker are at least premature. In the face of the ancient regime’s hostility, Trump will need at least six months merely to settle properly in the White House. Just for comparison: Putin had spent five years consolidating his power, and another five years solidifying it, though he had full support of Russian security services and a most authoritarian constitution written by the Americans for their stooge Mr Yeltsin.
President Putin remembers that it takes time. For this reason, he is not unduly upset by President Trump’s delay with normalising US-Russia relations. The fake news of Russian disenchantment with Trump are exactly that, fake news. Russians believe in positive developments for US-Russia relations, and they do not hold their breath.
But why I do believe that Trump will win, at the end? The US is not an island; it is a part of the West, and the West is going through a paradigm change. Cuntfaces lost, Deplorables won, and not as a fluke. Remember, Trump was not the first victory; the Brexit preceded him. Between the Brexit vote and the Trump election, the British government hesitated and postponed acting upon. The Brits weren’t sure whether that vote was a sign of change, or a fluke. After Trump’s victory, the Brits marched on.
thesaker | I just don’t put anything past the evil capabilities of the Donald!
Reading the article I was surprised to find that the Deep State isn’t what I thought it was – apparently it’s only when the government leaks information to the media?
That’s funny, because one time on the SF-NYC “Job Creator Red-eye” I sat next to an Egyptian guy. Of course I was worried, at first, but I found out it he was a Coptic Christian, so that put me at ease. Who even knew they had those?!
This Egyptian told me about his country’s Deep State, and it sounded really bad:
He said that they colluded with “some Western countries” – he didn’t say which and looked kind of uncomfortable as he said it, for some reason – to stop that great Tahrir Square Revolution which was to guarantee that Israel would be safe.
“Mr. Gypsy” said that the Egyptian version of the Deep State was that their military controlled the economy, and that they bribed, imprisoned and killed people to keep their grip on the economy and control over foreign policy.
It sounded pretty bad.
I told him I was happy that Washington was supporting Al-Sisi’s military takeover with billions in aid, and that he didn’t have to thank me personally for that.
A “military” intertwined with the “economy”…I must admit, it did make me think.
Of Russia! I’m nearly certain that Putin created something similar over thereafter he banned elections, so why even verify it with some research?!
But this Egyptian must not have known what he was talking about, because the New York Times article didn’t say anything about the economy?
What they said was:
“Mr. Trump, apparently seeking to cut the intelligence community, State Department, and other agencies out of the policy-making process almost entirely, may have triggered a conflict whose escalation we are seeing in the rising number of leaks.”
Officials, deprived of the usual levers for shaping policies that are supposed to be their purview, are left with little other than leaking.”
Trump was clearly trying to cut public officials out of the democratic process, and they had no choice but to resort to these “illegal” leaks!
I mean, I’m pretty sure you don’t get elected to be a CIA spy or NSA agent, but somebody up top is and…well, I don’t know if they did the leaks…and I don’t know if the leaks are really true or not…but I’m telling you – we have to get Donald out NOW!
Anything that’s bad for Trump must be good. It’s really that simple, so case closed.
“We’re in a world now where the president is playing to the edge of his powers, and I think there are real concerns about the constitutional implications of some of the actions he’s taken,” said somebody who must be totally objective and perfect because why else would the New York Times choose them?
If there’s one thing Obama never, ever, ever did it was to expand his executive authority in ways unbeseeming to the presidential authority.
If Obama had done that, I would have been in the streets, you can bet! Trust me: I have my anti-Trump “pussy hat” in my closet and ready for the next protest!
Sunday, February 19, 2017
globalresearch | Weather warfare technology was the teeth “sustainable development” Agenda 2030 had been waiting for (and surely why developing nations had valiantly attempted to include an International Tribunal of Climate Justice). Immediately after the two conferences, the Dutch Defence Joint Meteorological Group (JMG) took the lead “in providing weather forecasts for every exercise or deployment of [NATO’s] Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF).”  And if you think the VJTF is only “forecasting” weather …
To be fair, some academics do ponder the naked emperor. How exactly is CO2 to be removed from the atmosphere “using an infrastructure we don’t have and with technology that won’t work on the scale we need, and finally to store it in places we can’t find” ? Others recognize that the carbon solution is a ploy for raking in disaster capitalist cash: $90 trillion in energy infrastructure investments, $1 trillion green bond market, multi-trillion dollar carbon trading market, $391 billion climate finance industry.  The UN Green Climate Fund alone will clear $100 billion per year, purportedly to support concrete carbons mitigation in developing countries. Should we take bets on if the money will ever make it to the developing countries after being filtered through multilateral and private banks like World Bank and Deutsche Bank? After all, the naked emperor is not known for keeping his promises.
Traditional bureaucratic foundations like Ford, Rockefeller and Carnegie were said to be giving way to “philanthrocapitalism,” a muscular new approach to charity in which the presumed entrepreneurial skills of billionaires would be applied to the world’s most pressing challenges … 
Too late, the public is awakening to the dismal fact that its institutions, agencies, universities, laboratories, and courts obey the very powers that have milked public assets dry. Worker and food safety, gone. Bill of Rights, gone. Environmental protections, gone. Soon, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) or facsimiles thereof will lock in corporate feudalism under an oligarchic world rule. Billionaire members of the Good Club  are establishing “brain institutes” to support the Brain Initiative and its neuroscientists in service to a Transhumanist future. 
“Science is broken”
For two decades, independent scientists and the science-minded have been attempting to sound the alarm regarding what is going on in our skies and in low-earth orbit while university labs and burgeoning university scientists buckle to military grants dedicated to weaponizing everything under the Sun, if not the Sun itself. Rutgers University climatologist Alan Robock relates how CIA-funded consultants contacted him to ask two questions: If we control someone else’s climate, would they know about it? and Would climate experts be able to determine if another nation was attempting to control the climate? The CIA—not exactly known for being forthcoming—has funded multiple grants targeting weather domination (including HAARP via minions like Raytheon), including two February 2015 National Academy of Sciences reports: “Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration” (154 pages) and “Climate Intervention: Reflecting Sunlight to Cool Earth” (234 pages). 
The peer review system has been co-opted, favoring some theories and scientists and banishing others to the outer darkness of non-publication and stonewalled careers. Nobel Laureate biologist Sydney Brenner:
I think peer review is hindering science. In fact, I think it has become a completely corrupt system. It’s corrupt in many ways, in that scientists and academics have handed over to the editors of these journals the ability to make judgment on science and scientists. There are universities in America, and I’ve heard from many committees, that won’t consider people’s publications in low impact factor journals … it puts the judgment in the hands of people who really have no reason to exercise judgment at all. And that’s all been done in the aid of commerce, because they are now giant organizations making money out of it. 
“Powerful orthodoxy against a marginalized heterodoxy” is how Charles Eisenstein describes the opposition to cutting-edge Electric Universe scientists:
If you have faith in the soundness of our scientific institutions, you will assume that the dissidents are marginalized for very good reason: their work is substandard. If you believe that the peer review process is fair and open, then the dearth of peer-reviewed citations for [Electric Universe] research is a damning indictment of their theory. And if you believe that the corpus of mainstream physics is fundamentally correct, and that science is progressing closer and closer to truth, you will be highly skeptical of any major departure from standard theories … Can we trust scientific consensus? Can we trust the integrity of our scientific institutions? Perhaps not. Over the last few years, a growing chorus of insider critics have been exposing serious flaws in the ways that scientific research is funded and published, leading some to go so far as to say, ‘Science is broken.’ 
Between 1973 and 2013, the decision-making as to which scientific papers merited publication and which didn’t was controlled by six major publishers (ACS; Reed Elsevier; Sage; Taylor & Francis; Springer; and Wiley-Blackwell), all in the back pocket of Big Pharma and the medical industry:
’As long as publishing in high impact factor journals is a requirement for researchers to obtain positions, research funding, and recognition from peers, the major commercial publishers will maintain their hold on the academic publishing system,’ added [Professor Vincent Lariviere, lead author of the study from the University of Montreal’s School of Library and Information Science]. Then there’s the danger quotient far beyond loss of career for scientists working on classified projects. In the early days of the “Star Wars” Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) now culminating in the Space Fence, two dozen scientists and experts working for Marconi and Plessey Defence Systems either disappeared or died under “mysterious circumstances.” Most were microbiologists.
Saturday, February 18, 2017
theatlantic | China’s rapid rise up the ranks of AI research has people taking notice. In October, the Obama White House released a “strategic plan” for AI research, which noted that the U.S. no longer leads the world in journal articles on “deep learning,” a particularly hot subset of AI research right now. The country that had overtaken the U.S.? China, of course.
It’s not just academic research. Chinese tech companies are betting on AI, too. Baidu (a Chinese search-engine company often likened to Google), Didi (often likened to Uber), and Tencent (maker of the mega-popular messaging app WeChat) have all set up their own AI research labs. With millions of customers, these companies have access to the huge amount of data that training AI to detect patterns requires.
Like the Microsofts and Googles of the world, Chinese tech companies see enormous potential in AI. It could undergird a whole set of transformative technologies in the coming decades, from facial recognition to autonomous cars.“I have a hard time thinking of an industry we cannot transform with AI,” says Andrew Ng, chief scientist at Baidu. Ng previously cofounded Coursera and Google Brain, the company’s deep learning project. Now he directs Baidu’s AI research out of Sunnyvale, California, right in Silicon Valley.
newatlas | The looming specter of eugenics hovers over a great deal of transhumanist thought. In the first half of the 20th century the term became disturbingly, but not unreasonably, associated with Nazi Germany. Sterilizing or euthanizing those who displayed characteristics that were deemed to be imperfect was ultimately outlawed as a form of genocide. But as the genome revolution struck later in the century a resurgence in the philosophical ideals of eugenics began to arise.
Transhumanist thought often parallels the ideals of eugenics, although most self-identifying transhumanists separate themselves from that stigmatized field, preferring terms like reprogenetics and germinal choice. The difference between the negative outcomes of eugenics and the more positive, transhumanist notion of reprogenetics seems to be one of consent. In a 21st century world of selective genetic modification, all is good as long as all parents equally have the choice to genetically modify their child, and are not forced by governments who are trying to forcefully manage the genetic pool.
Some of the more valid concerns about the dawning transhumanist future are the socioeconomic repercussions of such a speedy technological evolution. As the chasm between rich and poor grows in our current culture, one can't help but be concerned that future advancements could become disproportionately limited to those with the financial resources to afford them. If life extension technologies start to become feasible, and they are only available to the billionaire class, then we enter a scenario where the rich get richer and live longer, while the poor get poorer and die sooner.
Without exceptionally strong political reform maintaining democratic access to human enhancement technologies, it's easy to foresee the rise of a disturbing genetic class divide. As environmentalist and activist Bill McKibben writes: "If we can't afford the fifty cents a person it would take to buy bed nets to protect most of Africa from malaria, it is unlikely we will extend to anyone but the top tax bracket these latest forms of genetic technology."
libertyblitzkrieg | To start, let’s examine some recent comments made by Elon Musk at the World Government Summit in the UAE.
Humans must become cyborgs and develop a direct high-bandwidth connection with machines or risk irrelevance and obsolescence, says Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk.
Musk’s latest cheery thoughts were imparted at the World Government Summit in the UAE. “Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence,” Musk said, according to CNBC.
The main thrust of Musk’s argument seems to hinge on the limited bandwidth and processing power of a single human being. Computers can ingest, transfer, and process gigabytes of data per second, every second, forever. Meatbags, however, are severely limited by an input/output rate—talking, typing, listening—that’s best measured in bits per second. Thus, avoid replacement by robot or artificial intelligence, we need to become machines.
By way of example, Musk spoke about self-driving cars, which will very soon start displacing jobs—lots and lots of jobs. “The most near term impact from a technology standpoint is autonomous cars … There are many people whose jobs are to drive. In fact I think it might be the single largest employer of people … We need to figure out new roles for what do those people do, but it will be very disruptive and very quick.”
Autonomous vehicles are perhaps the most visible prominence when it comes to recent developments in AI, but rest assured (or not) that we aren’t even close to AI’s capability ceiling. Current deployments of AI are quite limited in that they can only perform one or two tasks adequately—drive a car, lift a piece of steel, flip a burger—but AI research is slowly bubbling towards artificial general intelligence (AGI), which can ostensibly perform every task that a human is capable of.
Once that happens, it’s fairly safe to assume that AGI will continue to improve until, in the words of Elon Musk, it is “smarter than the smartest human on earth.”
As for how humans might achieve silicon symbiosis, the jury’s still out. Musk, according to CNBC, proposed a brain-attached high-bandwidth computer link, perhaps via neural lace. Low-speed and low-resolution EEG-based brain-computer interfaces already exist, of course, but I doubt that’s what Musk has in mind. In all likelihood, we will need to massively improve our understanding of the human brain before any such interface can be created.Musk has been one of the individuals at the forefront of warning about the threats of artificial intelligence (AI) for a very long time, but it appears the thrust of his most recent comments center around concerns that a rapid increase in technology applied to the economy will result in a massive wave of job losses. This seems plausible to me, and I’ve called attention to it in the past. For example, in the 2015 post, Chinese Company Moves to Replace 90% of its Workforce with Robots,
theantimedia | Will artificial intelligence get more aggressive and selfish the more intelligent it becomes? A new report out of Google’s DeepMind AI division suggests this is possible based on the outcome of millions of video game sessions it monitored. The results of the two games indicate that as artificial intelligence becomes more complex, it is more likely to take extreme measures to ensure victory, including sabotage and greed.
The first game, Gathering, is a simple one that involves gathering digital fruit. Two DeepMind AI agents were pitted against each other after being trained in the ways of deep reinforcement learning. After 40 million turns, the researchers began to notice something curious. Everything was ok as long as there were enough apples, but when scarcity set in, the agents used their laser beams to knock each other out and seize all the apples.
The aggression, they determined, was the result of higher levels of complexity in the AI agents themselves. When they tested the game on less intelligent AI agents, they found that the laser beams were left unused and equal amounts of apples were gathered. The simpler AIs seemed to naturally gravitate toward peaceful coexistence.
Researchers believe the more advanced AI agents learn from their environment and figure out how to use available resources to manipulate their situation — and they do it aggressively if they need to.
“This model … shows that some aspects of human-like behaviour emerge as a product of the environment and learning,” a DeepMind team member, Joel Z Leibo, told Wired.
WND | Tom Horn, a Christian author, filmmaker and researcher, expressed his concerns about “transhumanism” and the latest advances in gene editing to WND late last year.
“It holds great promise in new disease therapies but immeasurable peril due to its capacity to make germline genetic modifications, which would be passed on to all future generations, not to mention planned extinctions through gene-drive technology which is already past ‘proof of concept,'” said the co-author of “Pandemonium’s Engine.”
WND reported in November on plans by the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, dubbed DARPA, to develop a cleanup crew for engineered genes deemed harmful to the eco-system.
The initiative is called “Safe Genes” – a program designed to counteract gene-drive systems currently being developed to override the standard rules of gene inheritance and natural selection. The danger, scientists recognize, is that without a backup plan, a gene drive released into nature could spread or change in unexpected ways with potentially disastrous effects.
Kevin Esvelt, head of the Sculpting Evolution lab at MIT Media Lab, which is applying for Safe Genes funding in collaboration with eight other research groups, predicts that eventually an accident will allow a drive with potential to spread globally to escape laboratory controls.
“It’s not going to be bioterror,” he told Scientific American, “it’s going to be ‘bioerror.'” Fist tap Big Don.
Friday, February 17, 2017
fredoneverything | The desire to shock of the eternally pubescent. Smirk, smirk, look at me, smirk, smirk.
We saw Ashley Judd, apparently an actress, addressing the “Women’s March.”
“I am not as nasty as racism, fraud, conflict of interest, homophobia, sexual assault, transphobia, white supremacy, misogyny, ignorance, white privilege. I’m not as nasty as using little girls like Pokemon before their bodies have even developed. I am not as nasty as your own daughter being your favorite sex symbol, like your wet dreams infused with your own genes.”
The astonishing thing is not that some foul-mouthed twit came up with such cloacal gush, but that the “Women’s March” sponsored her, did not eject or even censure her.
Can you imagine any of Trump’s middle-American supporters accusing Obama of lusting for incest with his daughters? The two camps are different peoples. Half of the country seems culturally dominated from the ghetto. The other half embodies standards of behavior that have usually been thought congruent with civil society. While Trump himself is crass, making menstrual jibes on the air at Megyn Kelly for example, his supporters are not.
Any number of arguments can be adduced against Trump but so much of the outpouring of hostility, even from the intelligent, lacks thought. Thisaphobe, thataphobe, Nazi, misogynist. Putin’s Bitch.
Most seem not to know what the words mean, or care.
Wild thought: We may be seeing Darwinian regression. The intellectual nanoparticles waving placards, the sobbing talking headesses may represent the return of the procaryote IQ. They give us a living paleontological record of what life looked like before it evolved. Think “Cambrian Implosion.” I imagine Rachel Maddow with twelve body segments and compound eyes.
Different peoples. I would like to see a comparative poll: How many women who voted for Trump would allow themselves to be associated with Ms. Judd’s remarks? None, I suspect. How many women voting for Trump would parade around in “pussy hats”? How many fathers voting for Trump would allow their daughters, have raised their daughters, to behave as the “Women’s Marchers”? Their children to copy Black Lives Matter?
Different civilizations. Virtually no overlap.
The media are decidedly of the Clinton America. In Washington at least some journalists donned pussy hats and jointed the demonstrators. Trashy behavior has seeped into many in the professional classes. Trump recently sued a journalist and the London Daily Mail for describing Melania as “a high-end escort”–i.e., a take-out call girl, a prostitute. Can you imagine a conservative paper–say, the Washington Times, The American Conservative, National Review–describing Michelle Obama as a whore? Or Trump’s fans wearing scrotal hats?
There is a brattyness in the apparent belief of the Clinton Americans that they are entitled to the electoral result of their choice. When they don’t get it,they act like spoiled two-year-olds. Poor widdle fings! It is embarrassing. If Hillary had won, would disappointed Trumpists be squalling and posing in genital headgear or looting and burning? Whatever the merits of the politics of either side, the two have little in common culturally.
theroot | Have you seen it?
According to the laws of physics and the principles of nature, nothing disappears into thin air, so it must be around here somewhere. It was too big and loud to fall between the couch cushions or hide in the closet, so someone must have stolen it. Someone must have found a way to silence it. I know there were a lot of people who wished it would evaporate into the ether or slowly fizzle out, but I’m sure it can’t be all gone.
What happened to Black Lives Matter?
Barely a year ago, #BlackLivesMatter was on the tip of almost every tongue in the country. It caused such a commotion that America had no choice but to take notice. Whether they supported it or hated it, everyone had an opinion of it. It led the evening news. It popped up in every social media feed.
They argued about it on SportsCenter. Have you seen it lately? I know it hasn’t gone anywhere.
Don’t reduce its existence to a simple hashtag, because it was more than that. It was a living, breathing thing. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I saw it at football games kneeling during the national anthem. I saw it change the entire municipal structure of the city of Ferguson, Mo. I watched it strut onstage at halftime of the Super Bowl. It strong-armed police departments into buying body cameras. It showed up at presidential debates and awards shows. It fueled conversations in every corner of the country about how America treated black bodies.
But lately, my friends don’t talk about it as much. Is it dead? Is it asleep? Have we lost interest? Why is it so quiet? Where did it go?
Maybe it was the propaganda.
theduran | Russian pranksters called US Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) posing as Ukraine's Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman. The conversation which transpired between them is both hilarious and telling.
While seeking reassurances from the US in the wake of Moscow’s most recent “invasions” across the globe and impudent “hacking” of presidential elections in a fictitious country, the two tricksters pretending to be Ukraine’s Prime Minister revealed just how clueless Congresswoman Waters really is about the world she lives in.
To refresh your memory, this is the same Congresswoman who told us last week that Donald Trump should be impeached because he wants to be friends with Russia, and that Putin is invading Korea. Clearly, that was a clue that something was not right in the head of Rep. Waters.
What the phone conversation with the fake PM of Ukraine revelaed, however, is that she is much more airheaded and gullible than anyone had previously thought.