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Peace Patriot

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Member since: Sat Nov 13, 2004, 12:56 AM
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My thought exactly. Why aren't these Viking teams (and the Mars teams) running the government...

...rather than the government running them--with Pukes in particular (our Diebold-s/elected power-mongers) ever seeking to downsize, defund and dispirit them, in favor of war, war profiteers, transglobal corporations and the uber-rich?

These teams have done the impossible--have done miracles of organization, budgeting, allocation of resources, team work and spectacular, unprecedented, mind-boggling achievements--and seem to be time-travelers from the 23rd century, in their ability to envision and plan for the future.

Put them in charge of foreign policy. Put them in charge of the Pentagon. Put them in charge of health care. Put them in charge of education. Put them in charge of the banksters. Put them in charge of eliminating poverty. Put them in charge of re-greening and saving the planet. And watch miracles happen--the miracles of scientific reasoning, and the miracles of the highest human ideals, dreams and goals made real.

WHY are we wallowing in poverty, dysfunction and decline; WHY have we been dragged into a Forever War; WHY are we bankrupt for anything but missiles and bombs and guns; WHY has the common good become a forgotten phrase and a reviled notion, when we have thinkers and planners and promoters of the highest human abilities available to us?

The people who put men on the Moon.
The people who put roving scientific laboratories on Mars.
The people who took close-up photographs of Jupiter and Saturn.
The people who put Hubble into the sky.
The people who have discovered thousands of planets in other solar systems.
The people who have revealed the Universe to us, in all of its mind-boggling glory.
The people who put a human spacecraft into interstellar space on August 25, 2012!

I am not a starry-eyed worshiper of NASA. It has its flaws. It has its downsides. It is, of course, intimately linked with the "military-industrial complex." It needs to be watched closely like any government (and these days, government-corporate) entity, and subjected to the will of the people, in so far as our very damaged democracy can even perform that function any more.

But I'm not talking about NASA. I'm talking about the PEOPLE of NASA, who have given us so much--untold gifts!--for more than half a century now, often despite being shunted aside, scorned, interfered with and hampered by the brainless wonders and malefactors who have seized political power, from Nixon to Reagan to Bush, to the current Congress, and the Me-Too Democratic Party leaders who enable such shoddy and despicable and criminal operatives to run our government. The PEOPLE of NASA have performed miracles of scientific achievement in this disheartening context.

Put them in charge of creating a transparent electronic vote counting system IN THE PUBLIC VENUE, and see what miracles of democracy will occur. Put them in office and we will be "greening" the Moon and Mars before you know it, having re-greened the Earth along the way. Global warming, solved. Over-population, solved. Poverty, solved. The despair of the human race, reversed.

Visionaries! DO-ERS! The people who make dreams come true, who make hope real. The people who scoff at "the impossible" and make doing the impossible look easy.

There are other people like this--nurses, kindergarten teachers, organic farmers, emergency responders, Latin American leftists--name your heroes, the people who give you hope--but at NASA we have a concentration of people who, despite every obstacle, have taken the entire human race out into the great Universe for the greatest, most amazing human venture of all time.

I am also not such a fool as to trust science or scientists implicitly. We only have to consider the GMO-izing of our food supply to know how far science and scientists can go astray from the common good. But we really haven't tried disinterested rationalism in a very long time. NASA seems to attract just that kind of scientist, whose first loyalty is to the facts--to ALL the facts, including ALL of the inconvenient facts--and who can look at all sides of a problem, combine all relevant viewpoints, insights, data and "Eureka!" inspirations--no matter where they come from, no matter who gets the credit--and GET THE JOB DONE, collectively--the "impossible" job, the next human step off the planet, and the next, and the next.

WHAT AN ACHIEVEMENT!

I want them running Congress, and the State Department, and the SEC. Dump out the morons and the greedbags and put NASA scientists in charge of solving all the seemingly unsolvable problems that greed and idiocy have created. They are the greatest problem-solvers and planners that we have, and they have a 23rd century vision of where we need to go.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Thu Sep 12, 2013, 04:26 PM (1 replies)

National Lawyers Guild thumbs up on Venezuela April 14 election

Report of the National Lawyers Guild Delegation on the April 14, 2013 Presidential Election and Expanded May-June Audit in Venezuela

By NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD (US), August 28th 2013

National Lawyers Guild (NLG) election monitors from the United States issued their report today, concluding that the 2013 Venezuelan presidential election process was fair, transparent, participatory, and well-organized.

A five-member NLG delegation formed part of a larger delegation of over 130 parliamentarians, two former presidents, electoral commission members, journalists, and representatives of human rights NGOs from across the world. Election monitors traveled to polling places throughout the country on Election Day.

The NLG report describes a system that strives to encourage voter registration and participation as well as the use of advanced technology – including fingerprint identification and issuance of paper receipts by voting machines – to ensure accuracy and preclude fraud. Active participation by party witnesses and national and international observers provide further assurances. In addition, the observers found a reliable system in which 54 percent of all receipts were randomly audited after the polls close on Election Day to ensure that paper receipts matched the electronic vote recorded by the machines.

A second NLG delegation traveled to Venezuela after the election to observe the expanded audit that had been requested by the opposition candidate, Henrique Capriles, and approved by the National Electoral Council (CNE). The expanded audit was designed and conducted under the purview of a technical team of 30 professors and other professionals from the Central University of Venezuela. The expanded audit found that of “the voting slips audited, 4,596,432 showed no discrepancies whatsoever in relation to the polling booth record of total votes cast, which represents 99.98% of the total.”

The report also contains a review of the legal process pursued by the opposition, noting a lack of evidentiary support. Citing a failure to provide “sufficient proof,” Magistrate Gladys Gutierrez announced that the court had reached a unanimous decision, rejecting the petition and fining the opposition for what was effectively abuse of process.

Describing the independent nature of the CNE, the report concludes: “We have found the CNE’s President, Tibisay Lucena, and the other members of the CNE and its staff to be consistently concerned with perfecting the electoral process to ensure that every Venezuelan adult has access to the polls and every single vote is counted, regardless of party affiliation or candidate.”

The U.S. would do well to incorporate some of the security checks and practices that are routine in Venezuela to improve both the level of participation and the credibility of our elections,” said NLG President Azadeh Shahshahani. “Holding elections on Sundays would facilitate access for working people and utilizing machines that issue receipts would increase credibility and permit the verification of results.”

The margin of victory for Nicolas Murduro, while small, was comparable to close elections in the U.S., such as the margins of victory for Kennedy in 1960 and for Bush in 2000 and 2004. The National Lawyers Guild calls upon the U.S. to honor the Venezuelan election as nations of the world have unquestionably honored ours. As Jimmy Carter recognized, Venezuela’s electronic voting system backed by paper ballots is “the best in the world,” and therefore deserves at least as much respect as our own.

Daniel Kovalik, a member of both delegations who teaches International Human Rights law said: “As this report shows, the Venezuelan elections on April 14 were free and fair, and the CNE continues to take great pains to ensure the integrity and reliability of the Venezuelan electoral system.”

To access the full report, visit http://www.nlg.org/resource/reports/delegation-to-venezuela.

Source: National Lawyers Guild
http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/9976
This work is licensed under a Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives Creative Commons license

(My emphasis.)


----------------------------------------

In HALF the states in the U.S., NO VERIFICATION OF THE VOTE COUNT IS POSSIBLE, because they have NO receipt or ballot! They do ZERO audit. And the other half do only a miserably inadequate 1% audit. Venezuela does a routine 54% audit!

And the U.S. dares to criticize Venezuela and question its election?

FURTHERMORE, all U.S. elections are tallied by privately owned 'TRADE SECRET' code, with one, private, far rightwing-connected corporation (ES&S, which bought out Diebold) now having a 75% monopoly over U.S. voting systems! Venezuela's electronic voting programming code is OWNED BY THE PUBLIC, is available for public review and is divided up and held by all parties.

And this doesn't begin to exhaust the number of things wrong with U.S. elections, that Venezuela is doing right. The National Lawyers Guild points out some of them. There are many more. Two of the most important ones, in my view, are the government encouragement of public participation and the high voter turnouts. Here, we have ES&S/Diebold s/elected legislators and governors trying to PREVENT public participation and high voter turnouts, trying to RESTRICT the votes of the poor, the elderly and minorities! Is there any better indicator of the sickness in our democracy, and of the rigged nature of our elections, than this?

Venezuela's presidency, national assembly, governorships and provincial legislatures are representative of the Venezuelan people. Ours are not. (And I'm sorry but, though I do think that Barack Obama was the choice of most voters here--given the choices--neither I nor you, nor anybody, including Obama himself, can prove it. The proof is not there. Our system has been privatized. And you really gotta wonder, given some of the things that President Obama has done (and not done), who is really calling the shots at ES&S besides its far rightwing-connected owners.**)

Jimmy Carter recently said that "America does not have a functioning democracy at this point in time."**** I agree. That is our lamentable situation. That is why we are being dragged from war to war to war, though we are bankrupt--robbed a thousandfold by the war profiteers and the banksters--and our people are suffering in every way. Venezuela, though far from perfect, has a functioning democracy--a good democracy, with numerous positive indicators, and some rather dramatic achievements by its government and its people, including poverty reduction, access to education and health care, labor rights, high employment, good jobs with decent wages, fair taxation, strong regulation of the banks and other aspects of "organized money" (as FDR put it) and vigorous public debate.

Our U.S. "military-industrial-fake democracy complex" hates Venezuela for these reasons--for Venezuelans having created a real democracy, for Venezuelans having started the trend toward real democracy in Latin America, and, of course, for using its oil profits for education, health care and other social needs, rather than giving it to Exxon Mobil fatcats. I can hardly express my dismay at President Obama refusing to recognize Venezuela's April election--an election that has been recognized worldwide--for his bowing to this corporate/war machine hatred of Venezuela's democracy and Venezuela's social progress. Martin Luther King would be appalled!

---

** Our current Sec of Defense, Chuck Hagel, was one of the founders of ES&S, which 'counted' his first s/election for U.S. Senate, with, of course, its private code and no audit.

**** http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/16043-jimmy-carter-defends-snowden-says-u-s-has-no-functioning-democracy
Posted by Peace Patriot | Sat Aug 31, 2013, 07:25 AM (23 replies)

Deja vu all over again.

Source: Foreign Policy

CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran

The U.S. government may be considering military action in response to chemical strikes near Damascus. But a generation ago, America's military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks far more devastating than anything Syria has seen, Foreign Policy has learned.

In 1988, during the waning days of Iraq's war with Iran, the United States learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein's military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent.


http://www.democraticunderground.com/1014575860#post4


And, by deja vu all over again, I don't just mean yet another drumbeat for war. I mean all the lies and dirty tricks that the U.S. war machine commits to serve itself--the war machine--and corporate/1%-er interests. These go all the way back to the Vietnam War--a war created by the CIA to profit the war machine, and foisted on the American people and the Vietnamese by a goddamned lie called "the Gulf of Tonkin"--and forward to every U.S. war since then, including, of course, the most blatant example, the war on Iraq, created to serve the oil interests that grease the war machine. And it includes, a) helping a regime (Saddam Hussein/Iraq) to use chemical weapons, and b) then invading Iraq, and slaughtering a hundred thousand innocent people over WMDS that their government DIDN'T POSSESS.

Lies and dirty tricks.

My opinion: The CIA and/or Mossad did the chem weapons attack in Syria.

-------------------------

Hope? It's hard to come by, these days. But, in my opinion, it starts with REALIZING what occurred between 2002 and 2004, with the plague of private, corporate-run, 'TRADE SECRET' voting machines, all over the USA. US vote counting is now monopolized by ONE, PRIVATE, FAR RIGHTWING-CONNECTED corporation--ES&S (which bought out Diebold). ES&S was started by our current Sec of Defense, Chuck Hagel, and 'counted' his first 'election' to the US Senate. When we understand what that means, we might begin to understand everything else. The very votes that we think we cast are now controlled by the war machine itself.

We cannot NOT have war. We don't have that choice any more. And, though there are many aspects to this war machine control of our government, there are none more important than this, and none more amenable to citizen action, than the 'TRADE SECRET' voting machines. We need to start there. We need to restore vote counting to the PUBLIC VENUE, conducted by us citizens in the light of day, with our eyes on every ballot.

And, once we do that, and start putting REAL representatives of the people into office, then, and only then, will we be able to do everything else that needs to be done, to restore our democracy. We have a lot to do, God knows. We can't do any of it while ES&S is 'counting' the votes with 'TRADE SECRET' code, and, in half the states, NO AUDIT AT ALL (and a miserable 1% audit in the other half).

It's so basic! You want a peaceful country? You want a fair country? You want good government? It starts with the vote counting.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Mon Aug 26, 2013, 12:41 AM (0 replies)

The OP is not properly attributed. It is an Associated Pukes (AP) job...

...with a by-line by Jorge Rueda, and further attribution at the bottom, "Associated Press writer Frank Bajak in Lima, Peru, contributed to this report."

I don't call AP the "Associated Pukes" for nothing. They have repeatedly misreported events in Venezuela with extreme bias against Chavez, the Chavez-Maduro government and the Bolivarian Revolution--i.e., the leftist democracy movement started by the people of Venezuela that has sparked a political revolution all over the region. AP has committed every journalistic trick in the books to slander this New Deal-like movement and to contribute to the rightwing/corporate campaign to destroy it, including reporting ONLY negative 'news' stories--especially as to Venezuela--NEVER reporting ANY of the significant achievements of the Chavez-Maduro government, and extreme bias across the board, in EVERY 'news' story, and including outright lying. Frank Bajak is one the worst AP scribblers, in this respect.

This vile anti-Chavez media campaign has included falsely portraying Chavez as anti-Semitic, falsely portraying Chavez as a "dictator," falsely portraying Venezuela's election system as rigged (an election system that Jimmy Carter has called "the best in the world" and that is provably one of the best in the world on objective criteria), falsely portraying the Chavez-Maduro government as anti-free speech (and ignoring the fascist activity of corporate media moguls in Venezuela, including their active participation in the 2002 rightwing coup attempt, and including banning all Chavez government members from the public airwaves during that coup attempt), and innumerable other falsehoods, misrepresentations and black-holes where information should be.

I urge all thoughtful people to take Associated Pukes (AP) so-called 'news' stories about Venezuela with a grain of salt, and to question every statement they make, including every alleged quotation by a leftist. AP's monopoly over the 'news' makes it extremely difficult to verify or debunk their notoriously unreliable, so-called reporting. One of their chief propaganda methods is to create IMPRESSIONS on hot-button issues (such as anti-Semitism and "free speech") and, by the time the facts catch up with these impressions, the damage is done, the lie has gone worldwide and there is no way for reasonable people with the facts to correct it. This is REAL tyranny--the tyranny of corporate 'news' monopoly.

We've seen this phenomenon time and again, about Venezuela--those of us who are paying attention. AP is one of the worst offenders. And the importance to AP, and to those whom they serve, of smearing the Bolivarian Revolution as anti-gay can be gaged, here at DU, by all of DU LatAm forum's rightwing posters chiming in, in this thread, to say how much they hate and revile the Maduro government.

Believe me, the real issue is MONEY--and who gets it and who doesn't. That is ALL that matters to rightwing/1%er/corporate propagandists, and they will use ANYTHING to ensure that the rich get richer and the poor get kicked off the island--including scurrilous use of social justice/democracy issues to destroy social justice and democracy.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Fri Aug 16, 2013, 06:38 AM (3 replies)

We need a bigger word (or acronym) than "CIA" to describe the controlled country...

...that the U.S.A. has become. Eisenhower (of all people) gave us the phrase "military-industrial complex" (MIC) and warned, in his last speech in office, that the MIC would destroy our democracy. It's become a handy phrase for the vipers' nest of war profiteers who run things now, but the phrase itself (great as it is) doesn't adequately describe the consequences to civil society and to allegedly civilian-run government of a country run by, skillfully propagandized by and massively looted by immensely powerful, transnational, anti-democratic corporations, war profiteers and banksters.

When we learn of something like this--that the "CIA" was tracking Noam Chomsky--we, in a sense, dismiss it. We are used to stories about "CIA" violations of their alleged legal constraints on domestic activity (let alone the horrors they commit elsewhere). They may even release such stories as a sort of inoculation process, to induce a "ho-hum" attitude in the controlled populace. Nothing ever comes of these news items. Whatever the "CIA" offense, it just gets swallowed up in the great corporate news monopoly river of forgetfulness. We need to ask WHY THIS HAPPENS. Why and how does this 'out-of-control' agency just keep on keeping on, from one generation to the next, from one outrage to the next, even in the face of 'investigations' (rare to non-existent these days) and big 'scandals' and 'controversies'?

The "CIA" would not and could not keep violating the law, time and again, decade after decade, unless they were deeply rooted in the "MIC"--in the system of war profiteering and massive looting that has transformed our country from a democracy into a militocracy (there's a word!). But, more than this, there is a massive root system sucking nutrients out of the populace, feeding a big branching tree above ground--the visible part of the system--that we can't see. We can't see the whole structure. We see its visible parts, its effects. We can't follow the underground veins in this system that suck our lifeblood into the "tree"--that, say, connect the Senator to the Pentagon 'contractor' to the controls on the Senator in a file somewhere in Langley, or to, say, ES&S (monopoly over U.S. voting machines, all run on 'TRADE SECRET' code*) or the Miami mafia's or the Bush Cartel's use of the "war on drugs" to eliminate their rivals.

There are all these subterranean connections that GIVE the "CIA"--and now, every U.S. agency (the NSA, the FBI, the DEA, et al, entertwined with private, transglobal corporations)--the PROTECTION to do WHATEVER is deemed necessary to perpetuate the power, the looting and the farce that 'our government' has become. Vast domestic spying, natch. That goes without saying. And that very reaction--that it "goes without saying"--is a DESIRED reaction. (Talk about "Catch 22.") Nothing will be done about this, nor about the PURPOSES of the vast domestic spying. We are helpless before it. There is NO HOPE that anything will be done.

I hate to insult Nature by comparing what I'm trying to describe to a big, spreading oak tree, with a big spreading underground root system. Others have called it an "octopus." But neither image is fair to innocent trees or wild life. This gigantic war machine is our own human creation. We are all part of it, in one way another. But we, as a people, do NOT have ANY control over it. Each of us is just one cell in the roots or the trunk, carrying nutrients (our money, our work, our families, our communities) from the part of the system we can't see into the part of the system we can see, to our dismay--the wars that nobody wants, the vast imprisonment of the poor, the vast disenfranchisement of the poor, insurance corp-run health care, the wreckage of our educational system, a billion dollars to run for 'president,' etc., etc.

We can't seem to do anything about any of these things. Why? WHY?

There is no adequate name for this that I know of. The "police state." The "surveillance state." The "military-industrial complex." The United States of American Fascism? "Fascism" seems an antique word that calls up visions of strutting, military-clad dictators. This is much, much harder to see--much bigger, much more devious and much harder to fight. How do you fight a 'tree'--an entity with a vast, unseeable, only guessable, entrenched root system?

To continue the insult to Nature: You can cut down the tree, but the root system remains, making the land untillable. Worse, though, cutting down the tree is catastrophic--because we are all living cells in this system. Even the crazy jihadists, who would whack it down if they could, are part of the 'tree' they would fell. They may not want to be, but they are. This is a world problem, not just a domestic problem. (Just one for instance: The "CIA" CREATED Al Qaeda, in the '80s, to evict the Soviet Union from Afghanistan! 'WE' CREATED Al Qaeda!). The underground root system of this 'fascist' 'tree' feeds on conflict and CREATES the conflict that it feeds on.

How could the disaster of the U.S. war on Iraq have occurred? And another important question: What was the nature of the internal war between Pentagon and the CIA that Rumsfeld/Cheney started (and that I think was ended by Leon Panetta, under commission from Bush Sr.)? (Panetta was a member of Bush Sr.'s "Iraq Study Group," i.e., "old CIA.") Both things are hidden, deep down in the root system of this evil tree. (Sorry, Mother Nature!) We will NEVER see anything about either question in the corporate press. But these are among the most important questions, because they lead to the root system from which visible things--like Snowden's NSA spying revelations--emerge.**

As for naming what our country has become, there is no historical precedent that is adequate. We see aspects of the Roman Empire here, chilling hints of Nazi Germany there, resemblance to prior Oligarchies, to the "Robber Baron" era, to the British Empire and the East India Company, to Early and Medieval Europe (the Church's international power and propaganda machine), to Bourbon rule in France, and more. If you read and understand history, you have to be very, very worried that the U.S. is simply repeating the ills of the past inflicted by the rich and powerful on everybody else.

But I think that what we are seeing is something new, by way of governmental ills. It is bigger and scarier than anything that has happened before, because it is so hard to see, and because it has been so clever at maintaining an illusion of consent (as Chomsky has, of course, pointed out); also, because of its sheer power--military/nuclear and economic/political--on a global scale.

For me, the ES&S monopoly over vote counting is the most egregious (and obvious--to me, anyway) example of "how to manufacture consent." You make it SEEM LIKE people voted that way. Wow! What evil brilliance! You CAN'T SEE IT. The vote counting is invisible ('TRADE SECRET' code). And the entire subject has been 'black-holed' in the corporate press (who, if they were a real press corps, would have have exposed this long ago--would have screamed it from the rooftops!)

I'm going to propose a name for what I'm trying to describe: The Unspeakable.

I recommend James Douglass' book, "JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters." I think we need to begin, back then, in the modern era, understand what happened THEN (and Douglass really does understand it--I'd put him right up there with Daniel Ellsberg, among the most reliable truthtellers we have), to understand what's happening now and what our country has become NOW. Why. It. Matters.

The Unspeakable Empire.



------------------------

*(Another interesting root trail: Chuck Hagel, current Sec of Defense, was one of the founders of the original ES&S--e-voting with no paper trail--which did the so-called 'counting' of votes in his first Senate election. ES&S (which bought out Diebold) now has a 75% monopoly over U.S. voting systems, all run on 'TRADE SECRET' code. Half the states do NO AUDIT AT ALL (comparison of actual ballots to machine totals) and the other half do only an extremely inadequate 1% audit. So, the guy who helped invent/install all this--privatized vote 'counting'--and who first benefited from it, has now been elevated to front man for the "military-industrial complex," i.e., the Pentagon. Where did he come from? Who groomed him for this role? I'm thinking, vaguely, "CIA," but I don't really know. WHO can do this? CREATE candidates, put them in office, elevate them, write the 'narrative' of their successes, and send all the connections into the river of forgetfulness? The "CIA" is a convenient umbrella word. But I don't think that it, or the "MIC," is adequate.

(I had to laugh the other day when Hillary Clinton called for election reform. NOT included: getting rid of Hagel's 'TRADE SECRET' voting systems!) (See for yourself: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1014563686. The vote suppression tactics she's talking about would not be possible if ES&S was not installing fascist Pukes into high state offices. She DOESN'T attack the root--she attacks the branch. There is a part we can see and a part we can't see--the unspeakable part. Our Democratic leaders don't dare attack the root problem, because THAT root problem is connected to all the other root problems, in the unseeable system of control. If she DID strike at the root, she would be quickly smeared and removed from the corporate news gabble they call "politics" or--subtler yet--allow her to exhaust herself running for president and easily--EASILY!--fix the 'vote' to defeat her.)

--

**(I am currently thinking through the possibility that the Snowden revelations are actually an "inoculation" project of the "CIA." Reveal the worst (or some of the worst), get people used to it, induce despair over ever changing it, and keep on keeping on, with this outrage and the next, and all the ones we don't know about. I think it is a POSSIBILITY. That's all I'm saying. I want to stress this, because, a) Daniel Ellsberg has endorsed Snowden, and Daniel Ellsberg is one of THE most reliable truthtellers on this planet, and b) the FAR GREATER POSSIBILITY is that Snowden is simply one of our most courageous people and acted on his conscience--that is, he is exactly who he seems to be. There is a third possibility, that Snowden is exactly who he seems to be, but this entity I've been trying to describe--the root of all our problems, the unspeakable system of which the "CIA" is only one manifestation--PERMITTED him to do what he's done, for its own reasons ("inoculation" being one possible reason; controlling Obama and installing Jeb/Bush Junta II, next up, is another). We need to be very wary of public controversies conducted in the corporate media. We need to constantly question them--deeply question them--as Noam Chomsky and other great educators have taught us to do. There is the highly manipulated "play" that is presented to us, and there is the truth. We may grasp or infer bits and pieces of the truth from the "play" but the "play's" main narrative is grossly false--antithetical to our interests, anti-democratic, disempowering and wholly in service to the richest few, the Unspeakable cabal that is running things.)

Posted by Peace Patriot | Wed Aug 14, 2013, 01:06 PM (1 replies)

Snotty Rotters!

Their snotty presumptions and wrongness are over the top once again, when they're scribbling about (er, propagandizing about) the Latin American left.

As if better education means higher income, ergo, why are these educated people exercised over bus fares?

As if the better educated cannot fathom social justice, nor protest on behalf of themselves or the poor!

As if this movement is stymied by government and corporate 'news' deafness and callousness, like the Occupy movement, when in fact, they have already gotten lowered bus fares in several states and the sympathy of the leftist national government, with President Dilma Rousseff praising their efforts!

Plain and simple, this is Rotters' owners' WISHFUL THINKING! They want to demean and disempower these protestors, like they did Occupy, and they use nasty snotty little tricks to do so, as if this was reporting.

And the lede line "but" is really off the charts:

"Brazil's blossoming protest movement is a coming-of-age for what had been one of Latin America's most politically disengaged youth populations, but does not appear to constitute a major threat to governability or established political parties."

The truth: These protestors were polite and peaceful BECAUSE THEY KNOW THEY HAVE A GOVERNMENT THAT LISTENS! They DON'T WANT TO BE "a major threat" to government--they want ACTION, and they got it! They DON'T WANT TO BE "a major threat" to the Workers' Party--they ARE the Workers' Party or part of it.

Rotters' thinking is upside down, inside out and backwards, just like Alice's Wonderland. They aren't "a major threat" so they won't accomplish anything. If they don't want to overthrow the government, forget them--they're just "university educated" spoiled brats, in any case.

Gawd.

I don't call them Rotters for nothing.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Wed Jun 19, 2013, 10:59 PM (0 replies)

"Not exactly a household" issue? But that is exactly what it is!

That's a writing error by Weisbrot, who is usually so incisive.

"This may not appear to be exactly a household issue, but the fight is a very significant one for a number of reasons." --from the OP


The "household" is where families, workers, the poor--society's majority--encounter the 1%'s 'home invasion' by the bankster thugs who steal food right out of the mouths of poor children, when they aren't enforcing corporate poisoning of everybody with pesticides and GMOs; who steal the schoolbooks right out of children's hands, by requiring the defunding of education and other social programs; who steal the pittance wages of their parents with required skyrocketing costs of public services (water, electricity, transportation, communication); who drive small local farmers out of business by dumping Big Ag produce on local markets, destroying entire traditions of local food production and the entirety of a country's food self-sufficiency--numerous family farm households obliterated, small farmers driven into urban squalor; who create massive, hopeless, extreme poverty with no chance at upward mobility (often resulting in poor teenagers turning to crime out of desperation, among other things), and who impact households with "privatization" and de-regulation of every kind (miner and other workplace safety, for instance--loss of breadwinners; lack of medical care for workers and the poor; corporate theft of a country's natural resources, the profit from which should be helping the country's people; vast damage to the environment, which harms the poor first and foremost), and on and on.

This very much IS a "household issue" though a lot of people may not know how personally and directly it affects them.

The very point of World Bank/IMF policy has been to loot and plunder the poor majority's households where they live, in every bill they pay, in every service they depend upon, in every tiny little bit of property they may have, and in their individual or collective power to influence government.

The fact that workers and the poor in victim countries AND HERE may not be familiar with WHO is wreaking all this havoc around the world, AND HERE, is the other part of the problem that Weisbrot goes on to describe in his normally brilliant and incisive way. I'm speaking of corporate control of the media. Corporate "Big Lies." Corporate disinformation. Corporate blackguarding of any leaders who dare to fight back on behalf of their people--and I have to say that the Guardian has been almost as guilty as the rest of the corporate media on blackguarding democratically elected Latin American leaders, like Hugo Chavez, who have helped drive the ruinous World Bank/IMF out of the region.

Saying that the World Bank/IMF may not be a "household issue" throws off to the side this other vital issue, by which, as a matter of fact, the corporate rulers ALSO invade homes, via corporate control of the broadcast airwaves (airwaves belonging to the public!) with non-stop propaganda and brainwashing on behalf of the local and global 1%, and the black-holing of information vital to the 99%. With a properly functioning "Fourth Estate," the World Bank/IMF thuggery would be common knowledge, "Bretton Woods" would be a household name, many other deliberately hidden 1%-er forces would be exposed and all of our democracies would be greatly improved.

Weisbrot writes about the new movement within the World Bank/IMF, by victim countries, and he does address a bit of corporate disinformation on this matter (and has generally been an awesome journalistic force against corporate lies):

"The financial press has inaccurately portrayed the fight as 'China seeks to water down key World Bank report' – the headline of the Financial Times's report on the controversy. But China is just one of many countries, and a latecomer at that, which have opposed the index within the Bank. Opposition has come from Brazil, Argentina, India and other developing countries." --from the OP (my emphasis)


But there is much more to corporate lies and disinformation, and the use of corporate news propaganda as cover for looting and plundering the poor, than this nasty little twisted bit about China and the World Bank. These ~!@#$-ing banksters are now after the Food Stamp Program here--the poor's last refuge against DEATH at the hands of the banksters. Follow THAT horror in Washington and understand how important World Bank/IMF "austerity" policies are to every poor, or increasingly poor, household in the U.S.!

Weisbrot's main point:

"...perhaps the greatest significance of this fight: developing countries are beginning to organise within the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in order to change policies. These two institutions have been controlled by Washington, with varying amounts of input from other rich countries, since their founding nearly seven decades ago. Many of their policies have been harmful to developing countries. But in contrast to the World Trade Organisation – where developing countries form blocs and fight for their interests – the world's majority has mostly let the rich countries run the show in the IMF and World Bank.

"Over the past decade the IMF has lost most of its power in developing countries and, as a result, Washington has also lost its most important avenue of influence over their policies. The middle-income countries of Asia, most of Latin America, Russia and others all made sure that they would never have to borrow again from the fund.

"The World Bank has exercised much of its influence in conjunction with the IMF...."


--from the OP


Again, we are not talking about general things here, or faraway global issues. We are talking food on the table--edible food, local food, nutrition--the devastation of the school system and slashed funding in all social programs--and all the devastation that the rich have perpetrated on the poor majority, in other countries, in our name, AND HERE. The World Bank/IMF "austerity for the poor while the rich get richer" program has HIT HERE. And this makes this movement within the World Bank, by victim countries, extremely relevant HERE, at OUR dinner tables, in OUR households, in all the bills WE pay, and all the services that WE are being robbed of, in catastrophic unemployment, in the shit-wages jobs, in the usurious thieving criminal banks and all the rest.

We also have U.S. wars that we are forced to pay for, with our hard, hard-earned money and our youngsters' lives. Other countries that are not direct victims of U.S. invasion do suffer from U.S. wars in various ways--including, for instance, the U.S. "war on drugs" (--high death tolls, diversion of resources, militarization of society, U.S. infiltration of victim country militaries and police forces, and outright use of the "war on drugs" for political/corporate purposes--such as the FIVE MILLION peasant farmers brutally displaced in Colombia), and, often, the U.S. "war on drugs" invasion is handmaiden to World Bank/IMF-enforced "austerity." But, more than any other country, we bear the direct cost of corporate-imperial wars--and "austerity" has been ADDED on top of this already unbearable burden, here.

We need more news about the rebellion against U.S./corporate financial aggression not only because we have a right to be informed, but also because we need a rebellion against it HERE. The loan policies that are being targeted by these rebellious countries--policies that are used to destroy their economies and societies--we see adopted HERE every day by our ES&S/Diebold (s)elected Congress and our Herbert Hoover-like president (lame, half-assed measures against the monstrous power of "organized money"--as FDR put it). THAT is most certainly becoming a "household issue" here, but we need to understand its origins in the out-of-control greed machine, spawned from our shores, that has been looting and plundering everybody else. And we need to learn from their rebellions, especially the one right here in the western hemisphere.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Sun Jun 2, 2013, 02:01 PM (1 replies)

Interesting analysis, except that Venezuela's economy has been growing at 5+%...

...post-Bush Junta worldwide depression, and grew at a sizzling 10% for 5 straight years, pre-Bush Junta depression. Most of this growth is in the private sector and not including oil. (And Venezuela has had no trouble attracting oil investors, after Exxon Mobil quit the field in a snit over having to pay for social programs.)

My conclusion: These shortages in Venezuela are mainly caused by business HOARDERS. They've used that tactic before and I think they are using it now. I'm with the Venezuelan government on this. This is part of a concerted rightwing effort to destabilize the country.

A secondary reason is that the Venezuelan majority now has money to spend (high employment rate, good jobs, good wages/benefits, pensions for all, including street vendors and full-time mothers). As with the so-called energy "crisis" in Venezuela the problem is prosperity--higher demand for energy as the upwardly mobile poor class buys appliances they never could afford before, and are placing high demands on many product lines, including food and household items.

Oh my, the LIES that the Associated Pukes, the Economyst, Rotters and the Wall Street Urinal, and their ilk, tell about Venezuela!

In the recent Gallup Well-being poll, Venezuelans rated their own country FIFTH IN THE WORLD on their own sense of well-being and future prospects. 5th in the world! Our benighted corporate rulers are bent on killing that optimism, that upward mobility, that wealth-sharing, that prosperity for the many.

That is why we have Associated Pukes headlines about Venezuelan toilet paper.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Thu May 16, 2013, 02:55 PM (4 replies)

Amazing, positive, historic political events occurring in Latin America...

...and nary a whisper about them in the U.S. media!

Thank you for posting this news! It's notable that you had to go all the way to Malaysia to find a report on this important event--an historic first for women in Ecuador!

--

"...three women legislators from the ruling party were appointed to lead the parliament..."

--

The seating of the legislature, with a huge leftist majority--in a country that the U.S. tried to destabilize, and whose president, Rafael Correa, is second only to Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro in the U.S. media slander-fest against leftist presidents in Latin America--is also remarkable, historic, a big plus for the people of Ecuador and completely ignored by our benighted press.

In order to find real democracy these days, we have to look for it in the countries that the U.S. government and the corpo-fascist media slander as "dictatorships."

And we have to re-write the dictionary to understand how these entities use such words with regard to Latin America.

"Dictatorship" = a government of, by and for the people.

"Dictator" = honestly elected, FDR-type leader committed to "New Deal"-like policies of inclusion and wealth-sharing.

Also,

"human rights" = corporate rights;

"free speech" = speech for corporate media moguls and no one else;

"elections of leftists" = flawed, fraudulent;

rightwing coup d'etats = "legitimate" governments;

"democracy" = places where rightwing death squads can kill labor leaders and other leftists with impunity;

"free trade" = free trade for the rich while the poor get kicked "off the island"; and so forth.

Such words in the mouths of U.S. government officials and corpo-fascist media pontificators have come to mean the opposite of what they used to mean. We are heading full bore into a Stalinist "Big Lie" information environment--lies repeated so often they begin to seem like reality--certainly where Latin America is concerned, and it seems to be across the board on many issues.

The non-existent WMDs in Iraq was not a fluke. It was just the most egregious of MANY similar lies that are being told in the interest of transglobal corporations, banksters and war profiteers.

"Big Lie" methods include endless repetition of falsehoods and reversals and distortions of language (of the very meanings of words), AND "black holes" where information should be--burying real news in a place from which no light can emerge.

We have seen both of these methods--"Big Lie" falsehoods and "black-holing" of real information--escalate over the last decade, with regard to Latin America's huge democratic rebellion against U.S. rule. This is the most important political movement in half a century, and one of the most important ever. It is the true hope of the world as to democracy. It has transformed the political landscape in half of the western hemisphere for the better.

Nothing--NOTHING!--about it in the corporate media! --except for "Big Lie" reversals, distortions, jabberwocky and "black holes" where information should be.

It is APPALLING. The Fourth Estate is DEAD, except on the Internet (where the truth can be found, here and there).

Dead and rotting in its grave. I've been following this death agony over the last decade on Latin American issues and it is comprehensive. It includes virtually ALL news and opinion sources described by the phrase "mainstream media" (in truth, 1%-er media--not "mainstream" at all). And it is so bad that I have renamed them: The New York Slimes, the Associated Pukes, the Washington Psst, the Wall Street Urinal, the Miami Hairball, Rotters, the BBcons, the Economyst, Blobbovision and other Spanish language versions of same, and the alphabet soup of deception on TV/radio.

And lately--to my profound shock--it has even included the Guardian and the New Yorker! Egregious, unrepentant LYING in both of these once great publications.

Evidently, the desperate need of our corporate rulers to regain control of Latin America crosses "the Pond" and all intellectual barriers to outright frigging lies. Virtually every source of information we once relied upon is now tainted with greed, and perhaps also classicism and racism, with regard to Latin America.

It does all come down to money--theft of resources, banksterism, looting, war profiteering, privatization of "the commons," kicking the poor "off the island." Real democracy is THE most powerful force against greed and for decency and equality. Thus, if real democracy arises somewhere--as it has in Latin America--it must be demolished for the rich to get richer.

And, above all, it must be kept from spreading north!

That is a major goal of this comprehensive "Big Lie" campaign--to keep the people of the U.S., the people of England, and as many people as possible around the world, in complete ignorance of the rebirth of democracy in Latin America.

Because, if WE reclaim our democracy and sovereignty, like the Latin Americans are doing, it will mean sharing the wealth.



Posted by Peace Patriot | Thu May 16, 2013, 12:00 PM (2 replies)

Venezuela's new Labor Law: better hours, maternity leave, pensions for all

"Part of the Transition to Socialism": Venezuela's Labour Law Comes into Effect

By RYAN MALLETT-OUTTRIM

Merida, May 10th 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela's new Labour Law for Workers (Lottt) came into effect this week, guaranteeing shorter working hours, longer maternity leave and pensions for all Venezuelans.


(SNIP)

Along with establishing new working hours, the Lottt prohibits unfair dismissal, outsourcing, guarantees the right to work for both women and people with disabilities and increases maternity leave.

...Venezuela now has the world's third longest maternity leave. Mothers are entitled to six weeks pre-natal leave, and twenty post-natal. Fathers are also entitled to two weeks paternal leave. Under the law, the same conditions apply to parents who adopt a child under three years of age.

All workers are also now entitled to retirement pensions, including full time mothers and the self employed.


http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/9202

-------------------------------

An article about the recent spike in inflation notes that the minimum wage was raised 20% this May 1 and will be raised another 10% in September.
http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/9196
This does not quite keep up with inflation but it is hella better than what's happening HERE, where wages that are very low to begin with (for those who can find jobs at all!) are eaten up by the rich with skyrocketing medical costs (medical profiteering), ever increasing and disgraceful education costs (educational profiteering and fascism--college for the rich only), bankster usury against students and everyone else, huge gasoline cost increases (talk about inflation!), increases in every kind of transaction including virtually all interactions with government, and on and on and on--the absolute destruction of the middle class and devastation of the poor.

Beware, beware, beware the rightwing "talking point" about inflation! While inflation in Venezuela is too high this quarter and should be brought down, it is occurring amidst massive improvement in the lives of ordinary Venezuelans, who rated their country FIFTH IN THE WORLD on their own sense of well-being and future prospects (in the recent Gallup Well-being poll). 5th in the world!
Posted by Peace Patriot | Sat May 11, 2013, 12:47 PM (5 replies)
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