Political Articles from 2018
How the FBI Silences Whistleblowers
By John Kiriakou
Posted November 11, 2018
I’m fortunate to have access to the media to talk about torture after blowing the whistle on the CIA’s program. I think Ed Snowden, Tom Drake and others would say the same thing about the aftermath of their own whistleblowing.
The problem is that we are the exception to the rule. Most whistleblowers either suffer in anonymity or are personally, professionally, socially and financially ruined for speaking truth to power. Darin Jones is one of those people. He’s one of the people silenced in Barack Obama’s war on whistleblowers. And he continues to suffer under Donald Trump.
Jones was an FBI supervisory contract specialist who in 2012 reported evidence of serious procurement improprieties to his superior. Jones maintained that Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) had been awarded a $40 million contract improperly because a former FBI official with responsibility for granting the contract then was hired as a consultant at CSC. Jones said, rightly, that this was a violation of the Procurement Integrity Act. He made seven other disclosures alleging financial improprieties in the FBI, and he was promptly fired for his troubles. More…
The People Give the Orders and the Government Obeys
by Jeff Thomas
Posted November 7, 2018
The sign above is located in the state of Chiapas in Mexico. In English, it says, “You are in the territory of Zapatista in Rebellion. Here, the people give the orders and the government obeys.”
Well, of course, what that really means is that the Zapatistas give the orders, not the people as a whole. Still, the people generally regard the Zapatistas as being more representative of their wishes (and less parasitical) than the government.
Mexicans are further along than, say, Europeans or Americans in understanding the true role of government. The mask has been off for some time and the people understand that the government does not exist to serve them; it exists to enslave them – that is, to rob them of the fruits of their labour through taxation, whilst doing as little as possible to benefit them. More…
The United States of America – The Real Reason Why They Are Never Winning Their Wars
By Peter Koenig
Posted October 25, 2018
This essay is inspired by Professor James Petras’s article, describing that the US never wins wars despite trillions of investments in her war budget and obvious military superiority.
Professor Petras is of course right, the United States is currently engaged in seven bloody wars around the globe (Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya) and has not been winning one, including WWII. The question is: Why is that?
To these wars, you may want to add the totally destructive and human rights adverse war that literally slaughters unarmed civilians, including thousands of children, in an open-air prison, Gaza, the US proxy war on Palestine, carried out by Israel; plus, warmongering on Iran, Venezuela and North Korea. Let alone the new style wars – the trade wars with China, Europe, and to some extent, Mexico and Canada, as well as the war of sanctions, starting with Russia and reaching around the world – the fiefdom of economic wars also illegal by any book of international economics. More…
Before pointing the finger at Russia and Syria, the U.S. should answer for its own record
Written by Brian Kalman
Posted October 24, 2018
The world is once again witnessing the height of U.S. hypocrisy as members of the U.S. State Department ratchet up anti-Russian and anti-Syrian rhetoric surrounding the use of chemical weapons in Syria and the UK. Ambassador Nikki Haley has warned Syria, Iran and Russia that they will be held accountable for their pre-determined use of chemical weapons in Idlib on innocent civilians. No evidence was provided to support her threats.
The United States carried out cruise missile strikes on two previous occasions, and each time provided no evidence to prove their assertion that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in attacking civilians, nor was any rational reason given for such an obviously irrational decision on the part of the Syrian state. No evidence has ever been provided to justify the clear international crime of aggression committed by the United States on these two earlier occasions.
Now, the UK and the U.S. are both attempting to accuse the Russian government of using chemical weapons in an alleged attempted assassination of a Russian national on UK soil. Once again, no real evidence has been presented, only assertions and hearsay. More…
Trump’s “Opposition” Supports All His Evil Agendas While Attacking Fake Nonsense
by Caitlin Johnstone
Posted October 23, 2018
Pompeo lied to congress about the measures Saudi Arabia is taking to minimize the civilian casualties in its catastrophic war on Yemen, and that he did so in order to secure two billion dollars for war profiteers.
The US Senate has just passed Trump’s mammoth military spending increase by a landslide 92–8 vote. The eight senators who voted “nay”? Seven Republicans, and Independent Bernie Sanders. Every single Democrat supported the most bloated war budget since the height of the Iraq war. Rather than doing everything they can to weaken the potential damage that can be done by a president they’ve been assuring us is a dangerous hybrid of equal parts Benedict Arnold and Adolf Hitler, they’ve been actively increasing his power as Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful military force the world has ever seen. More…
The Game is Rigged: Congress Invites No Consumer Privacy Advocates to its Consumer Privacy Hearing
By Ernesto Falcon and India McKinney
Posted October 20, 2018
The Senate Commerce Committee is getting ready to host a much-anticipated hearing on consumer privacy—and consumer privacy groups don’t get a seat at the table. Instead, the Committee is seeking only the testimony of big tech and Internet access corporations: Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Charter Communications, Google, and Twitter. Some of these companies have spent heavily to oppose consumer privacy legislation and have never supported consumer privacy laws.
They know policymakers are considering new privacy protections, and are likely to view this hearing as a chance to encourage Congress to adopt the weakest privacy protections possible—and eviscerate stronger state protections at the same time.
It is no coincidence that, in the past week, two leading industry groups (the Chamber of Commerce and the Internet Association) have called for federal preemption of state data privacy laws in exchange for weaker federal protections. The upcoming hearing at the Senate Commerce Committee may be the launch pad for this strategy of undoing stronger state laws. More…
Of course the tax cuts are good for the banks
By Emily Stewart
Posted October 18, 2018
Even without the Republican tax cuts, United States banks would have made $49.4 billion in the first three months of 2018 alone. But thanks to their reduced tax bill, they got an extra $6.6 billion, bringing in $56 billion in total. And there are plenty of signs the banking industry’s tax-bill boom is on track to continue — take Bank of America, which saw its tax bill fall to $1.7 billion in the second quarter of this year from $3 billion last year, a 43 percent drop.
It’s not a bad time to be in the banking industry, and the GOP tax bill has made it even better. More…
The Bailouts for the Rich Are Why America Is So Screwed Right Now
by Matt Stoller
Posted October 16, 2018
Did they prevent a full-scale collapse? Yes. Was it necessary to do it the way we did? Not at all.
It’s worth reflecting on this quote on the ten-year anniversary of the financial crisis, because it speaks to how the architects of the bailouts shaped our culture. Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke, and Hank Paulson, the three key men in charge, basically argue that the bailouts they executed between 2007 and 2009 were unfair, but necessary to preserve stability. It’s time to ask, though: just what stability did they preserve?
These three men paint the financial crisis largely as a technical one. But let’s not get lost in the fancy terms they use, like “normalization of credit flows,” in discussing what happened and why. The excessively wonky tone is intentional—it’s intended to hide the politics of what happened. So let’s look at what the bailouts actually were, in normal human language. More..
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