Political Articles from 2018

Do we really need $716 billion for the Pentagon?

[Political]
Do we really need $716 billion for the Pentagon?
By William D. Hartung
Posted July 16, 2018

Do we really need $700 BILLION for militaryAs Congress continues its consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2019, there is one question that is not being asked: Do we really need $716 billion to defend the United States?

That’s the figure that came out of the budget deal that was concluded earlier this year. This would cover the Pentagon’s regular budget; the war budget — known formally as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account — and nuclear weapons activities at the Department of Energy.

But just because they signed a deal that allows them to authorize and appropriate $716 billion for defense doesn’t mean Congress has to do it. They most likely will, for reasons good and ill. But there should at least be a debate about the appropriate level and distribution of defense expenditures, for the good of the country and our future security. Too often the availability of ample funds leads to sloppy decision-making and a failure to set priorities. We can’t let that happen. More…

May You Live in Stupid, Corrupt and yet Fascinating Times

[Media]
May You Live in Stupid, Corrupt and yet Fascinating Times
by Michael Krieger
Posted July 15, 2018

media disinformationAt a Council on Foreign Relations forum about “fake news,” former Editor at Time Magazine Richard Stengel directly states that he supports the use of propaganda on American citizens – then shuts the session down when challenged about how propaganda is used against the third world pic.twitter.com/ClAT5POv7G — William Craddick (@williamcraddick) May 11, 2018

It remains amusing how mainstream journalists continue to blame the public for not believing them, rather than admitting they themselves created this environment of deep distrust by acting as salespeople for the status quo versus challenging the powerful like they’re supposed to.

The fact someone who spent pretty much his entire career in journalism, including a lengthy period at the top of Time magazine, is a public advocate of government propaganda tells you all you need to know about the debased state of the so-called “trustworthy” media in modern America. More…

The Dire Consequences of Giving Private Companies Responsibility for Ailing Public Water Systems

[Community]
The Dire Consequences of Giving Private Companies Responsibility for Ailing Public Water Systems
by Sharon Lerner and Leana Hosea
Posted July 14, 2018

privatized waterThe lead crises in Flint and Pittsburgh have many unfortunate parallels. Residents of both cities unknowingly drank water with high levels of the potent neurotoxin, which has long-term health consequences. The rise in lead levels was preceded in both cases by a miscalculation related to chemicals used to control corrosion in water pipes. And in both places, officials have faced criticism for their inaction and failure to alert the public.

The two lead crises have another important thing in common: a private water company named Veolia. The world’s largest supplier of water services, Veolia had contracts with both Flint and Pittsburgh around the time that lead levels rose in their drinking water. And in both places, Veolia wound up in legal disputes over its role in the crises. More…

Why Public Banking is the End Goal of the Divestment Movement

[Community]
Why Public Banking is the End Goal of the Divestment Movement
by Phoenix Goodman
Posted July 10, 2018

Wall Street banks were funding pipeline projectSomething big is starting to happen in the world of activism. Grassroots campaigns are beginning to coalesce into coherent, focused missions with definable outcomes.

The Divest campaign is a classic example of how the People can have a tangible effect on society by speaking the language of the dominating classes: money.

Divestment is what it sounds like: removing public investments from corporate institutions, and repurposing them into organizations which will benefit the common good. This means leveraging the collective will through mass individual actions to force the perpetrators of corrupt and unscrupulous behavior to directly lose profits; in essence, to divest is to boycott. More…

How Democracy Ended

[Politics]
How Democracy Ended
by Eric Zuesse
Posted July 6, 2018

tow sides of the same coinThe situation in the US was Hillary Clinton’s favorable rating, by Election Day, was 40.3%, her unfavorable was 55.3%. Donald Trump’s favorable was 39.8%, unfavorable was 53.4%. Bernie Sanders, as of the end of the primaries on 29 June 2016, was 50.8% favorable, 39.6% unfavorable, and it has been getting steadily better afterward. But the suckered Democratic Party voters (the ones who were counted, at any rate) voted slightly more for Hillary than for Bernie. Even despite Sanders’s having had support from few if any billionaires, he almost won the Democratic nomination, and that’s remarkable. He might actually have received more votes during the primaries than Hillary did, but we’ll never know.

It was a close election between two candidates, each of whom had far more of the electorate despising him or her than admiring him or her. Neither of the two candidates in the second round was viewed net-favorably by the public. The key round of elimination of the more-attractive candidates, was in the primaries; and, after that, it became merely a choice between uglies in the general election. Any decent (or even nearly decent) person had already been eliminated, by that time. More…

An Empire of Nothing at All. The U.S. Military Takes Us Through the Gates of Hell

[Spiritual]
An Empire of Nothing at All. The U.S. Military Takes Us Through the Gates of Hell
By Tom Engelhardt
Posted July 3, 2018

empire of destructionAs I was putting the finishing touches on my new book, the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute published an estimate of the taxpayer dollars that will have gone into America’s war on terror from September 12, 2001, through fiscal year 2018. That figure: a cool $5.6 trillion (including the future costs of caring for our war vets). On average, that’s at least $23,386 per taxpayer.

Keep in mind that such figures, however eye-popping, are only the dollar costs of our wars. They don’t, for instance, include the psychic costs to the Americans mangled in one way or another in those never-ending conflicts. They don’t include the costs to this country’s infrastructure, which has been crumbling while taxpayer dollars flow copiously and in a remarkably — in these years, almost uniquely — bipartisan fashion into what’s still laughably called “national security.”

That’s not, of course, what would make most of us more secure, but what would make them — the denizens of the national security state — ever more secure in Washington and elsewhere. We’re talking about the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. nuclear complex, and the rest of that state-within-a-state, including its many intelligence agencies and the warrior corporations that have, by now, been fused into that vast and vastly profitable interlocking structure. More…

Corporations Masquerading as Government in Australia & World Wide

[Economic]
Corporations Masquerading as Government in Australia & World Wide
by Andy Whiteley
Posted July 1, 2018

countries are corporationsWould you be surprised to find a company with the same name as your country registered with the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Washington DC?

Well, guess what?! Among those listed as corporate entities by the United States SEC are Israel, Turkey, Italy, Hungary, Sweden, Finland, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, The Philippines, South Korea, Japan, Jamaica, South Africa, Canada, Australia… and my personal favourite (and I quote) “Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of Alberta as represented by Alberta Investment Management Corp.”

Interesting! So what could all this mean? For the purpose of this article we will follow the example of Australia. More…

How To Silence RT Forever

[Media]
How To Silence RT Forever
by Caitlin Johnstone
Posted June 28, 2018

empire loyalist enemy #1Loyalists of the western empire have been growing increasingly honest about their desire to use censorship and propaganda in order to win an “information war” against Russia.

t always comes back to RT. Because of the network’s relatively high profile in comparison to other Russian media, it has been made into an ideal Emmanuel Goldstein for the empire’s daily Two Minutes Hate. RT is now so completely reviled by establishment loyalists that citing it in an online debate will be taken as an instant debunk of not just the point you were trying to make but of your entire position (and often your humanity itself by getting you labeled a “Russian bot”), even if your citation is comprised entirely of independently verifiable facts.

Luckily for the screaming hysterical Big Brother devotees, there is a very easy and 100 percent guaranteed way to get RT removed from western airwaves forever. Are you ready? Here it is: More…

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