Political Articles from 2017

War and Empire: the American Way of Life

[Political]
War and Empire: the American Way of Life
by Paul Atwood
Posted May 23, 2017

the American empireIn the aftermath of Saddam Hussein’s 1991 attempt to annex Kuwait the U.S. deliberately destroyed much of Iraq’s water and sewer infrastructure. The Pentagon even admitted on its website that these acts would lead to mass outbreaks of disease. These were certifiable war crimes under international law. After Saddam’s defeat the U.S. also imposed widespread sanctions on his regime that included preventing necessary medicines from reaching Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens perished as a result.

In an infamous interview in 1996 Madeleine Albright, then the Secretary of State, was asked to justify the deaths of 500,000 children. She defended these atrocities by saying “I think this is a very hard choice but we think the price is worth it.” Twenty-one years have elapsed since Albright uttered her rationalization of this vicious barbarity and it has been virtually “disappeared” from the collective memory of Americans. But it is far from being the only one.

Today much the same is being visited upon the children of Mosul, Syria and Yemen. Fifty thousand more marines are slated for deployment to Afghanistan and the new Defense Secretary’s bellicose rhetoric threatens Iran. More…

Congressional Briefing Panel: Paper ballots crucial to the future of election integrity

[Politics]
Congressional Briefing Panel: Paper ballots crucial to the future of election integrity
By Marta Steele
Posted May 20, 2017

only paper ballots can be trustedPaper ballots are crucial to the future of election integrity, a panel of seven distinguished experts all agreed at a congressional briefing on Strengthening Election Cybersecurity yesterday, May 15. And bipartisan cooperation is vitally necessary toward this goal.

Paper is essential to elections, in the form of paper ballots used for voting on optical scanners, with voter-verified auditable paper trails (VVPAT) as generated by some touch screens an alternative, but ditching the DREs (direct-recording electronic voting machines ) altogether is vitally necessary. The problem is that most states can’t afford to purchase new machinery. More…

American Democracy: A Dead Man Walking

[Political]
American Democracy: A Dead Man Walking
by Paul Craig Roberts
Posted May 17, 2017

US democracy, dead man walkingTrump’s “sell-out,” as it is called, coming on top of Obama’s eight-year “sell-out,” is instructive. We have now had a Democratic president who sold out the people who elected him and a Republican president who has done the same thing. This is a very interesting point, the meaning of which most people miss. But not Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. At the Valdai discussion club, Putin summed up Western democracy, which I paraphrase as follows:

In the West, voters cannot change policies through elections, because the ruling elites control whoever is elected. Elections give the appearance of democracy, but voting does not change the policies that favor war and the elites. Therefore, the will of the people is impotent. More…

NSA Director Uses “Russian Hacker Threat” to Gain Access to Voting Systems

[Political]
NSA Director Uses “Russian Hacker Threat” to Gain Access to Voting Systems
by Wayne Madsen
Posted May 15,2017

NSA uses In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) director Admiral Mike Rogers joined the chorus of other U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials who are using Russia to leverage their own agencies into having a wider role in U.S. elections. In a statement to the committee on May 9, Rogers positioned NSA to oversee a wider role in conducting surveillance over elections, not only in the United States, but in other countries, including France and Britain.

After accusing Russia of conducting «election hacking» of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, while offering no proof to back up his allegations, Rogers proceeded to tell the committee and its reflexively anti-Russian chairman, John McCain, that NSA also warned France, Britain, and Germany of Russian election penetration and offered up the assistance of the American spy agency to the targeted countries. Of course, there was no mention that NSA, thanks to the revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, has thoroughly penetrated the communications systems of France, Britain, and Germany and their political leadership. More…

The President’s Secret Air Force

[Political]
The President’s Secret Air Force
By Garrett M. Graff
Posted May 15, 2017

Air Force One is just the tip of the icebergAir Force One is just the public face of a fleet that keeps the president safe and secure. The photo this winter of a smiling Mar-a-Lago guest with the uniformed military aide who carries the “nuclear football” was a rare—and unease-inducing—public reminder that just steps from the president at all times are the keys to end the world as we know it.

Americans normally see very little of the massive apparatus that surrounds the modern presidency—and it’s easy to forget that much of it exists primarily to help ensure that the commander in chief, wherever he is in the world, is able to access the nation’s nuclear weapons and launch a retaliatory strike. More…

Obama Shows Why Wall Street Has Two Parties And We Have None

[Politics]
Obama Shows Why Wall Street Has Two Parties And We Have None
by Les Leopold
Posted May 12, 2017

Wall St has 2 parties, the people have noneJust as Donald Trump mortgages the White House to Goldman Sachs, Barack Obama does a Hillary: He agrees to take $400,000 from Wall Street to give one speech. Obama will make as much money in one hour as the average American makes in about five years.

The excuse can’t be lack of money. He and Michelle are about to receive $60 million in book advances on top of the several million already in the bank plus the $200,000 pension as an ex-president.

So why take the Wall Street cash? More…

What The Corporate Media Never Tells You About North Korea

[Political]
What The Corporate Media Never Tells You About North Korea
By Joe Clifford
Posted May 11, 2017

US military machineThere is a great deal of propaganda and deliberate misinformation about North Korea, which the public should know. While neocons, a cheering corporate media, and Deep State, rush to war with North Korea, information is the ultimate weapon.

For example, did you know that North Korea, China, and India, are the only three nations who have committed to a “no nuclear first” policy? They have pledged never to use nuclear weapons “first”, but of course reserve the right to use them if attacked.

How many times has the US threatened to use nuclear weapons against North Korea? Do you know that North Korea has repeatedly asked the US to engage in bilateral talks, to cool off the ever-escalating tension? The offer was flatly rejected by both Obama and Trump. But the demonizing of Kim Jong-un continues as we move towards another war, and once again the public buys into the myth. More…

Meet the “Emerging Market” Superstars of Global Economic Governance, Part II

[Political]
Meet the “Emerging Market” Superstars of Global Economic Governance, Part II
by Andrew Gavin Marshall
Posted May 10, 2017

meet those who are really in chargeCentral bankers are notoriously conservative and orthodox in their ideological positions. In the world of economics, this puts them in the position of being the political guardians of the global neoliberal order.

In terms of policies, this translates into being strong promoters of low inflation, often requiring them to raise interest rates; supporters of liberalization (or deregulation) of markets, particularly financial and debt markets; implementing austerity measures (cutting social spending), and undertaking various structural reforms (such as the deregulation of labour markets and privatization of state assets) designed to further transform their respective societies into modern market economies.

While central bankers themselves are confined to the strict mandates of their institutions, often focused around what’s called maintaining “price stability” (keeping inflation at a low and stable level, generally between 2-5% depending on the country), they are still able to greatly influence the broader set of economic policies and priorities, and through their control over monetary policy they have the capacity to inflate or shrink an economy, giving them immense leverage over other policy-makers. More…

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