KNOW’S NOTES – OCTOBER 2017 Research for News from Neptune provided by Doctor Know (J. B. Nicholson)

The free speech stuff is coming up a lot these days because most people depend on businesses to get online and use our most free medium, the Internet.

A fellow who does analysis on RT, Lionel (a lawyer by trade), has his own YouTube.com channel https://www.youtube.com/user/LionelY2K/videos where he hosts commentary videos.

One of Lionel’s recent videos — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Hp2ueSC7KY — is particularly interesting because:

– his topic is why we should be very displeased and politically engaged over twitter.com’s recent banning of Roger Stone, Republican political consultant. It’s not about what one thinks of Stone or his views, it’s that Stone deserves the right to speak and be heard as do the rest of us. But so long as we depend on private organizations (typically businesses) to convey those messages to us, we subject ourselves to private tyranny.

– (6m26s into https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Hp2ueSC7KY) as soon as Lionel listed the topic a commentary piece on Muller and Comey and (as Lionel says) “Boom! Monetization denied. Subject to hand review.” meaning YouTube flagged his NOT YET POSTED commentary so Lionel would not be allowed to use YouTube.com to make a share of the advertising revenue on this not-yet-posted video. YouTube.com had no idea what he would say but Lionel’s upcoming comments would not be treated the same as most of his other commentary.

This is why I think we need government-provided, high-speed, always-on, net-neutrality-guaranteed, Internet access as a right (meaning it can’t be turned off) using publicly-owned cables including fibre to the door for every American. You own your own routers and computers, everything outside your house/apartment is publicly-owned and set up so nobody can deny you bandwidth. It’s a huge project, lots of construction, system administration, and maintenance jobs but we have trillions for war, right? So paying for this shouldn’t be a problem. Besides, businesses can get on these lines too. I think this will incentivize development of a home-hosted server that can do the job so many users currently rely on centralized (read: censorious) hosters to do for them: video hosting, chat hosting, email hosting, etc.

Subject The reddit.com purge of “offensive” discussion groups has begun

far_right_banned_-_2017-10-26_22.42.38.png (~24 KB)

reddit.com is one of the most popular websites on the Internet. reddit consists of many discussion groups known as “subreddits” each covering a major topic, such as sewing. Each subreddit hosts a series of posts grouped into conversations. One can select a conversation like reading a thread in a mailing list and post or read whatever is there.

According to https://www.reddit.com/r/modnews/comments/78p7bz/update_on_sitewide_rules_regarding_violent_content/dovjcsf/ reddit.com has begun to delete “offensive” subreddits. This URL has a growing list of subreddits which have been banned resulting in showing a graphic instead of a collection of conversations. You can reload this page to keep up with subreddits being removed, although since reddit posters are hosting this list on reddit.com, this discussion thread or this subreddit could become banned at any moment (to me this suggests how naive so many of the reddit users are). The attached picture shows the graphic now seen at https://www.reddit.com/r/far_right instead of the conversation threads.

There is a big difference between a mailing list and hosting anything on reddit.com: an unmoderated mailing list typically immediately sends a copy of each post to all of the subscribers. Subscribers can easily keep their own copy of each post and refer back to those posts any time they like. On reddit.com, posts can be “banned” making them unavailable to anyone except the reddit.com admins.

It’s not clear if the banning actually deletes the subreddit information or merely hides it. But the censorship is real and happening right now.

Free speech: you’re free to say what reddit.com wants to read.

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far_right_banned_-_2017-10-26_22.42.38.png~24 KBShow Download

This edition is media & Russiagate-heavy because of recent news documenting that HRC & DNC paid for it and were lying all along about their ‘outrage’ of not being covered. This carries consequences into war, explaining the Democrats’ failures to get elected, believing that HRC’s campaign was worthy of support or living up to the values her supporters alleged, and generally being more critical of news coverage.

Speaking of being more critical of news coverage, consider the lack of coverage at democracynow.org on the Russiagate developments: Amy Goodman has used Russiagate as a largely unexamined backing for her reportage repeatedly claiming (without evidence) that Russia somehow interfered with US elections, as I’ve pointed out in the past. Now that DNC & HRC payment is known, all we get from democracynow.org is a short headline story (https://www.democracynow.org/2017/10/25/headlines/clinton_campaign_dnc_funded_research_for_trump_dossier) that doesn’t get into any of the implications I listed above.

Also, it’s important to cover what’s wise in interpreting what reason to reject claims about Russian so-called “interference” in US elections:

– it’s true that some Russians bought ads in media outlets and spent up to $100k to do this, and it’s true that this amount of money is orders of magnitude less than needed to have a discernable effect on US elections. But the amount of money spent is not a principled or wise reason to reject alleged interference in US elections. In fact this reason suggests that there is some undisclosed threshold where the amount of money becomes significant and interference becomes a viable claim. Freedom of speech as ethical principle is the wiser choice of reason to let others speak and be heard (including Russians purchasing ads on media outlets). So as much attention as money gets (in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klVerMut-0M and other places) I don’t concur that the amount of money spent is critical, I concur that it’s interesting.

– Americans also have to explain away how their government is able to use the “Voice of America” broadcasts wherever they want but not allow other outlets to speak and be heard by Americans.

– Russiagate also puts a fine point on how freedom of speech is precarious online so long as one continues to depend exclusively on corporate servers (most social media sites: Google’s YouTube, Twitter, Microsoft’s services, and so on). They have no legal obligation to carry your message and they can (and do) set up horrible terms of service that favor letting them do as Cloudflare’s CEO Matthew Prince once said: “I woke up this morning in a bad mood and decided to kick them [the Daily Stormer] off the Internet.”. Twitter appears to have done the same with RT’s ads (see below) and every other service can do the same. This is why we need government-run high-speed Internet access guaranteed to every citizen regardless of what they say online. Buying one’s own website (domain name, hosting, network connection, servers, etc.) still places one in a situation where they depend on some corporation to convey data to someone else. This is not good for free speech or (what I hope is seen as) a critical service most Americans need: high-speed, always-on Internet access.

War, genocide

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAJjWBdd1Y8 — Documents show US supported Indonesian genocide. This was known before, but it’s good to have more documents to point to substantiating what others were telling us.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWx23DJadGc — “Saudi Arabia’s role in Syria cannot be overstated” anti-war activist and Sputnik host rightly claims about Syrian attack in 2013.

Self-determination: New Zealand

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/new-zealand-foreigners-buy-property-ban-coalition-talks-prime-minister-jacinda-arden-a8017261.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/australasia/new-zealand-new-prime-minister-jacinda-ardern-capitalism-blatant-failure-a8012656.html — I hope this doesn’t turn out to be a ridiculous reaction to New Zealand’s Kim Dotcom (wealthy Internet-business magnate who was likely unfairly accused of copyright infringement and seems to be suffering unjustly as the US drags out extradition requests and trial against Dotcom).

Media

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2HokwC7xKM — CIA makes fake science conferences
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8Bk-8ZBKq4 — What you aren’t being told about NPR

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaHSzH6AJQk — Millenials subscribers pay for older media which means older media likes Trump even while they make fun of him; he’s saving their jobs, after all. Trump’s distractions away from substantive items (like war, media examination, corporate control) allow the MSM to propagandize against Trump and reel in naive young people who make up a substantive part of the paying audience for MSM distribution now.

Russiagate: Sinking like the Titanic, but some cling tenaciously to its debris in hope it will vindicate their baseless assertions. Others begin to see that tying themselves to the Democrats/DNC was not a wise choice (but this is a rare view).

The clingers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6wH7zx42NM — Twitter Deal: RT reveals ads offer made by Twitter before 2016 election.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Gkqy-llIVo — Twitter bans all RT & Sputnik advertising citing “election interference”. In other words, this is a good time to flatly reject Twitter citing ridiculous reasoning (perhaps in reaction to being embarrassed at having offered RT ads deals per above) and censorship.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_luOO0zb5ZY — British lawmakers call for probe into suspicions that Moscow had a hand in supporting Brexit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKGxdgDXVDg — Left looking silly: Comedians who want a pass from the rigors of free speech, and left accused of sexual harassment: Louis CK who also has older man-younger woman (perhaps a minor) “relationship” movie coming out which can now be interpreted in a new light of his alleged abuse.

What really happened: DNC & HRC campaign paid firm for fake news to make Trump look bad and thus discourage people to vote for him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9g1f1UF9NgY — Russia is convenient scapegoat, despite complete lack of evidence.




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XV5AgaYLAE — Dossier Hillary Clinton & crew got riled about was actually fake anger they knew they paid for all along. This means we can go back to anything HRC said and examine it anew in the context of watching how effectively she lied about what she was claiming (Russian “hacking”, Putin-approved “interference” in US 2016 election, Trump being peed on by Russian prostitutes in Russian hotel room, etc.). That last urologic joke now carries a whole new spin: those who tell the joke in the context of making Trump look bad end up looking like asses themselves for buying into unproven lies and conveying those lies to others. This means all of the late-night TV hosts who riffed on this joke end up looking like they don’t know what the news really is or are so hell-bent on anti-Trumpism for the wrong reasons that they are indistinguishable from partisan hacks.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eR8IAvtAeHQ — DNC & Hillary Clinton campaign paid former British spy (Steele) to gin up stories putting Trump campaign in a bad light. DNC funding of Steele exonerates Trump.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ui_Q7XG8h7U — CNN bought into Russiagate later pushes “#FactsFirst” ad campaign despite a string of recent lies (examples cited) and being caught for supporting “actual malice”.

Trade deals

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxijCV6amho — NAFTA renegotiations continue, now Big Beef gets some new attention. Trump’s pledge to deal with NAFTA is still on the table despite analysts’ claims that NAFTA could never be renegotiated.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Imcd367aTVs — Big business doesn’t like NAFTA renegotiations because their power (some of which comes from NAFTA) could be threatened.

War and rumors of war

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODfXJwquQk8 — US officials from both corporate-owned parties and appointees don’t seem to know how many wars the US is in, including troops in Niger. This is a direct consequence of approving the AUMF — Authorization for Use of Military Force — which grants the POTUS “[authorization] to use…force against thost nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks…on September 11, 2001”. So just as the people of Iraq had seemingly nothing to do with those attacks, neither did the people of Niger. But both are under attack from the US today. Saudi Arabia, where most of the 9/11 hijackers came from, is the US’ friend. Congresswoman Barbara Lee was the only vote against the AUMF, presciently pointing out that we should “step back” and prevent war from “spiraling out of control”. Who would have thought that signing a blank check for war would result in war?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOYFf8UZmCI — White Helmets’ reputation makes their latest claim of saving lives tough to take at first blush.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mlmsoJyqT4 — Rory Stewart, UK Intl. Development Minister says that all British citizens who went to fight with ISIS in Syria & Iraq should be killed. Why? Because of “their extremely hateful doctrine”, of course. The public pointed out the rule of law, and how this further radicalizes people against the UK, and Stewart ‘clarified’ his position.

Media and censorship

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKI1AfcYx6Y — Facebook’s means of censoring voices it and its friends don’t like is becoming more clear.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-OioN0gmKk — Tony Podesta (former Hillary Clinton campaign chief John Podesta’s brother) is coming under scrutiny in the ongoing Russia probe. Does this mean Democrats are being found to have ties to Russia that would fall under the same lame criticism as is ostensibly justifying this entire time/money-spending probe? Collusion isn’t illegal, but there’s still no evidence showing collusion between Pres. Trump and the Republicans with Russia. This is falling apart in an even more dramatic fashion, highlighting just how much Democrats are shooting themselves in the foot.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOXB3lDTHjw — MSM is “envious & confused” about RT’s popularity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zS22PXLfxvk — as RT comes under pressure to “register” with US govt. and demonization from Democratic Party-friendly front groups publishing an inaccurate an RT guest list, an interview from 2013 with a YouTube manager regarding RT’s remarkable popularity on YouTube.com.

Kaspersky releasing their source code? No. Nothing really changes and this is part of the ongoing Russiagate controversy further revealing how bereft of proof against Pres. Trump Russiagate is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OyoxHEGJfs — RT’s report on this, which is typical of the media’s take on this issue.

Background:
– US, in their Russophobic fearmongering and diversion away from Hillary Clinton’s losing her 2nd POTUS race known as “Russiagate”, has targeted a bunch of things associated with Russia. One of them is Kaspersky software. US govt. claims that Kaspersky software is untrustworthy because it is Russian owned.
– Kaspersky software writes and publishes a nonfree (not referring to price, but referring to the lack of software freedom for users to run, inspect, share, and modify the program) anti-malware program. Another name for this kind of software is proprietary software.
– US govt. said they wanted Kaspersky off their federally-owned computers, and some American electronic stores also followed suit pulling Kaspersky from their shelves (such as Best Buy and Office Depot).
– Kaspersky recently revealed a plan to allow some unnamed set of security researchers and government representatives inspect the source code to Kaspersky’s anti-malware software.
– There is no evidence that Kaspersky software did anything wrong, no evidence justifying the US govt./American reseller reaction along the lines of reasoning they offer to back their decision (which is all too typical of the entire Russiagate affair).

Current situation/problem with most reporting on this:
– the proper reason to reject Kaspersky’s nonfree software is that it is nonfree — users’ software freedom is not respected when they get a copy of the software.
– this means that one should also reject all of the other nonfree software including nonfree anti-malware programs from Microsoft, McAfee, Norton, and others. This is a critical point that most reporting never brings to your attention.
– the reason to not trust Kaspersky’s nonfree software is the same reason you shouldn’t trust any other publisher’s nonfree software: no matter how technical and willing to inspect source code you are, you are prohibited from reviewing, running, altering, and sharing copies of nonfree program source code. That means even if you’re willing to hire someone to do this on your behalf, the only people you can hire are the very people you can’t trust.
– so what’s really on offer from Kaspersky here? *Some* people are being given read-only access to Kaspersky’s anti-malware source code. This small set of people have no license to modify the code they’re allowed to see, no license to distribute copies (either verbatim or modified) of what they’re being allowed to see, and therefore Kaspersky isn’t respecting their software freedom either. The rest of the Kaspersky anti-malware program users get nothing they don’t already have — nothing changes for them. So in the end, nobody gets software freedom with Kaspersky’s software and you’ll never know if any information coming from this small set of users is trustworthy. All of this in pursuit of clearing Kaspersky’s name with the American media which is still chasing a Russophobia they won’t admit to.

Regarding research into quantum cryptography

Here’s a note about my understanding of quantum entanglement aka what Einstein once called “spooky action at a distance”. Buckle up, this gets very weird very quickly.

It’s possible to “entangle” two objects (say, photons spinning one way or another) such that their spins are linked. This means we can know something about the system (the collection of entangled particles) but not the individual components. So one can predict the spin of one photon by looking at another entangled photon. You can’t tell which way they’re spinning until you measure the photon, so you could say that until you take the measurement the photon is spinning in all directions (much like Schrödinger’s famous cat in a box which, from an outside-the-box perspective, can be said to be both alive and dead at the same time until someone opens the box and “fixes” the state of the cat). The act of measurement is said to set the state of the object.

It turns out that the entanglement persists even if the photons are separated. Scientists have separated a pair of entangled photons many kilometers away and determined that they remained entangled.

This is exciting because this property of entanglement can be put to use for an encryption system (among other things). Long strings of entangled photons could be used as an encryption key that tells the parties on the communications channel if anyone is spying on the connection. If anyone eavesdrops on this connection the act of examination (listening in) would disturb the encryption key and alert the parties that their communication is compromised. Our current encryption system doesn’t detect spying in this way. Hence the NSA can make a copy of encrypted communication (say, in their new data facility in Utah) and break the encryption when they figure out how to do that and find out what we were doing without us knowing.

We could also use entanglement for high speed information conveyance. This would be very interesting and possibly increase the number of what we currently call ISPs for everyone; no more local monopolies.

We can’t put entangled photons in optical fibre connections because they degrade too rapidly to remain useful. But theoretically a satellite in space could send quantum information through space. Jian-Wei Pan, a physicist at the University of Science and Technology of China in Shanghai, is working on this. Plans include:

intercontinental quantum key distribution between stations in China and
Austria, which will require holding one half of an entangled photon pair
on board until the Austrian ground station appears within view of the
satellite. He also plans to teleport a quantum state—a technique for
transferring quantum-encoded information without moving an actual
object—from a third Tibetan observatory to the satellite

according to https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/06/china-s-quantum-satellite-achieves-spooky-action-record-distance

NOVA’s “The Fabric of the Cosmos” chapter 3 by Brian Greene has a very good explanation of quantum mechanics and teleportation problems (hint: you must die in the process of scanning your quantum state to move your information and be assembled from particles on the other end!). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEorCX1I8CM has a recording of this chapter. It’s difficult to assimilate because the behavior quantum theory describes is so unfamiliar but it is fascinating. Quantum mechanics is very weird (much to Einstein’s chagrin, ultimately we live in a universe run by statistics) but one of the most repeatedly proven theorems in science.

Subject A note on avoiding online censorship with many copies
Date 2017-10-21 18:32

According to http://freebeacon.com/national-security/youtube-suspends-account-chinese-dissident/ Chinese dissident Guo Wengui’s YouTube.com account has a “strike” against it which means there is a 90-day block on new live-stream postings of videos. His other videos on the account are accessible.

I don’t read Chinese and freebeacon.com’s article doesn’t point to his YouTube.com page, so I had to guess at where his page is. It might be https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO3pO3ykAUybrjv3RBbXEHw

From the freebeacon.com article:

Guo has become widely popular throughout the world among Chinese and
others who see him as a leading figure advocating for democratic
political reform in China. His YouTube videos were widely circulated in
China and around the world despite censorship restrictions.

and

Guo is a billionaire real estate developer who has become a
pro-democracy activist and has been seeking to prompt reforms within
what he regards as a Communist Party-dominated “kleptocracy.”

I think this should be looked at as a problem that modern Internet use was designed to create for non-technical users: instead of making videos available in many places (so when some are in some way disabled, even temporarily, other copies remain), people are encouraged to think that it’s right and proper to host everything in one spot. This makes censorship easy and effective for the admins of that one service.

Metaphorically speaking, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. License your work to share, and host copies on multiple servers including your own, and host copies via decentralized file sharing systems such as BitTorrent. One effective way to do this is uploading to https://archive.org/ — each archive.org upload is also available via BitTorrent. As long as the material is mirrored by other users individuals can keep copies available even if archive.org disables or deletes their copy.

Date 2017-10-21 12:08

Media

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/rt-kremlin-tv-adverts-on-tube-trigger-call-for-ofcom-inquiry-llk0v0p7m — Times of London article which apparently lies to its readers about RT and now calls RT “Kremlin TV”.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KiugspfwIY — RT’s response including a transcript of feedback to Times of London which, in print, they deny receiving, but in fact acknowledged. It seems that the MSM is having a hard time coming up with valid reasons for objecting to RT but that doesn’t stop them from making RT a scapegoat.

http://www.europeanvalues.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Overview-of-RTs-Editorial-Strategy-and-Evidence-of-Impact.pdf — a paper from the “European Values” group listing guests on RT shows and framing anti-2003 Iraq War RT ads as “RT’s Conspiratorial Advertisements about the Iraq War” (page 15 of the PDF)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQCQ-rCDnNU — Nikki Haley, Hillary Clinton are embarrassing themselves again: both claims RT is meddling in US elections and engaging in “warfare” against multiple countries, HRC claims RT is part of the reason she didn’t win the 2016 US presidential election and claims RT is starting a Scottish branch. RT says they have no such plans. But even if RT did, so what? How is that evidence of anything wrong or bad? Plus an entertaining point-by-point takedown of HRC. There’s no evidence to back up HRC’s claims and she offers none.

HRC: In Germany, members of Parliament have been hacked by Russia. Washington Post: “As Germans prepare to vote, a mystery grows: Where are the Russians?” New York Times: “German election mystery: Why no Russian meddling?”

HRC: “In France, Macron’s campaign was hit by a massive cyberattack just
before their presidential election” RT asking Macron: Do you have any
evidence that Russian hackers are hacking your emails? > Macron: No.
Guillaume Poupard, Director General of France’s National Cybersecurity
Agency: It’s not possible to say it’s obviously a state, it’s obviously
a criminal group, it really can be anyone. In the attack itself, the
simplicity of the technical part can make us think it’s just a simple
person who created it, and so this person can be in any country with any
kind of motivation.

HRC: Maybe you’ve even seen the ads in the London Underground from one
Russian-funded state propaganda source bragging “Watch RT and find out
who we are planning to hack next”. The fact is they’re also opening a
new Scottish bureau.
RT: Sorry to disappoint… We are not.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQQwBfux9i0 — another debunked “RT is propaganda” piece from a year ago.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ia40_u9-R1w — John Kerry dismissing RT as “propaganda bullhorn” 3 years ago.

Another Democracy Now embarrassment — We all know about how DN simply failed to cover the DNC lawsuit and its national ramifications. It looks like DN is passing up another story with national ramifications, thus potentially creating another embarrassment for itself: Mike Tolkin, NYC mayoral candidate, was banned from debating. Voting is on November 7, 2017.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbatGzQq8bQ — Redacted Tonight interview with Lee Camp.

https://www.democracynow.org/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&query=tolkin — as of the time/datestamp on this email, returns 0 hits.

This is noteworthy because:

1. Tolkin is in DN’s home town. It couldn’t be more convenient for DN to interview Tolkin about his candidacy, his week spent sleeping on the street to better understand the plight of the NYC homeless, or his other campaign planks.

2. DN has previously brought up NYC-centric stories — https://www.democracynow.org/search?query=new+york+city+mayor&relevance=1#search_results shows these stories: https://www.democracynow.org/2005/11/3/juan_gonzalez_analyzes_the_new_york where “Juan Gonzalez Analyzes the New York City Mayoral Race” which aired before that election, https://www.democracynow.org/2005/12/21/mayor_bloomberg_condemns_new_york_city “Mayor Bloomberg Condemns New York City Transit Strike, MTA Workers Hold Firm”, and https://www.democracynow.org/2005/12/21/a_debate_on_the_new_york “A Debate on the New York City Transit Strike”. So we know that these stories are acceptable to DN to run.

It’s important that DN is fine with running their analysis before the election because that means DN wants their reportage to be treated as a matter for helping voters determine their vote. Running an interview with Tolkin very close to election day or after the election means a reduced or no chance (respectively) for DN’s would-be interview to have an effect on viewers who can vote in that election.

These stories have national ramifications or pose opportunities to bring up national problems as well, and so does the Tolkin candidacy.

3. DN made a big deal out of their 2016 POTUS debate where DN inserted 3rd party candidates into the CPD-run debate footage, and gave the 3rd-party candidates the same questions and time limits.

Where is DN’s coverage of this? As Redacted Tonight’s host Lee Camp pointed out in his interview with Tolkin, Tolkin is running “to the left of the incumbent Democratic Party candidate Bill DeBlasio”.

As Gonzalez said in 2005 in the aforementioned story, “normally, an incumbent is already way up, you know, has a leg way up on the challenger”. What does that say about 0 hits on DN’s website in a search for “tolkin”?

Who benefits in this 2017 NYC mayoral race, and who benefits from this lack of coverage so far? The Democratic Party.

DN still has time to explore the issues Tolkin’s campaign brings up before the NYC mayoral election. DN still has time to interview Tolkin. Let’s see if they remain silent like they did about the revealing DNC lawsuit.

Free Speech

https://torrentfreak.com/cloudflare-counters-mpaa-and-riaas-rehashed-piracy-complaints-171020/ — one of the interesting effects of Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince’s comment about “kicking [Daily Stormer] off the Internet” is that it reveals Cloudflare can use whatever excuse it wants to cancel a Cloudflare contract.

Cloudflare claimed in their blog that “The tipping point for us making this decision was that the team behind Daily Stormer made the claim that we were secretly supporters of their ideology.” but they don’t quote any Daily Stormer language to back this up, this doesn’t seem to rise to the level of canceling a contract (as opposed to sending a clearly worded rebuke) and Cloudflare’s policy used to be that it would not terminate a customer’s contract or take down site content “due to political pressure”. What’s more likely is that political pressure pushed for Prince to respond, Prince didn’t agree with (or didn’t want to be seen agreeing with) Daily Stormer’s white-supremacist views. So the contract was broken by Cloudflare. Prince’s naiveté on this knows no end, as he told CNBC “I would regret that as a policy, but it was just one instance. I don’t regret the decision.” (https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/24/cloudflare-ceo-matthew-prince-explains-why-he-booted-the-daily-stormer.html).

Cloudflare’s inconsistent choices have opened a new chapter in this story: other parties want Cloudflare to use their power to kick others off the service. MPAA & RIAA, corporate movie and music publisher lobbyists, want alleged file sharers to be kicked off Cloudflare’s service just as Cloudflare kicked off Daily Stormer.

Cloudflare published a paper in which they said they did not want to become “internet police”:

From https://www.cloudflare.com/media/pdf/cloudflare-whitepaper-intermediary-liability.pdf

Slowly however, a wider net of intermediaries — from hosting providers
to search engines, eCommerce platforms and other internet players — have
been encouraged to help address new societal challenges, to help ‘clean
up the web’, and effectively become internet police. Innovation
continues but at the same time is threatened.

In their Daily Stormer cancellation they’ve completely gone against that so MPAA & RIAA accuse Cloudflare of “masking the location of sites” that allegedly infringe their clients’ copyrights thus making it harder to locate the original site and identify the owner.

The conflict between Cloudflare’s pro-free speech remarks and recent Daily Stormer cancellation is indistinguishable from Cloudflare doing whatever it wants (including breaking contracts ad hoc) and asking for an exception to adhering to free speech principle which amounts to freedom of speech for speech they like, contract cancellation for speech they don’t like.

I also offer a reminder that https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbatGzQq8bQ is an example of the take on the news you won’t find in any mainstream corporate media. RT’s Redacted Tonight makes Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Larry Wilmore, Jim Jeffords, Trevor Noah, Sarah Silverman, et al look like the corporate shills they are. Redacted Tonight is proof by existence that a comedy news program can be simultaneously funny, insightful, and challenge the status quo by bringing new views to an audience.

This is the second time in the past year Redacted Tonight has covered a story of substance (the national implications of Tolkin’s ignored NYC mayoral candidacy, and the lawsuit against the DNC) you simply won’t find coverage of in the mainstream media (or, sadly, Democracy Now, which is increasingly indistinguishable from the mainstream media particularly on stories that make the Democrats look bad).

Date 2017-10-20 19:21

https://blog.twitter.com/official/en_us/topics/company/2017/safetycalendar.html — a list of reasons twitter.com will suspend an account or “place the account behind an interstitial” (whatever that means) for expressing speech the service doesn’t like. For example, on 2017-11-03 twitter.com will:

— “start suspending accounts for organizations that use violence to advance their cause”
— update their policy “in the coming weeks to include hateful imagery and symbols” disallowing such symbols in avatars or profile headers. Don’t worry: “We will share examples of hateful imagery and symbols when the policy is finalized”.
— encourage other users to report “rule violations” in what twitter.com calls “witness reporting” (in 2017-12 and 2018-01).

None of this comes with clear definition of terms one needs defined to understand how this is supposed to be implemented. The vagueness twitter.com use these rules to explain stopping users from talking about sexual, religious, complaints about corporate power, and examination of freedom of speech itself. Parodies of twitter.com’s logo could be a “hateful image”, encouraging users to stop using twitter.com could be using “violence to advance their cause”, and so on.

So under corporate power this is how freedom of speech dies with modern-day online services:

— users agree to go along with centralization of services (agree to horrible terms of service),
— the service is thus empowered to treat the users any way the service owners want and use that power to impose increasingly restrictive limits over time (the owners undoubtedly point to a term in the terms of service which says the terms will change and users will agree to the changes by default),
— most users go along with the limits and see that their speech contradicting corporate power are eliminated from the service.

You’re much better off with a highly decentralized set of services run from your home (ala the https://Freedombox.org/ project where users will eventually be asked to buy a small, inexpensive server they plug in and run themselves and run FreedomBox on it so all of the services has sane, self-maintaining defaults) and multiple redundant ISPs to offer you service (including a desperately-needed government-run always-on ISP which is not allowed to cut you off).

Regime change war and being “cavalier”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyxdmuUUgDw — US wants regime change in Venezuela

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0VCbAY_06k — HRC objects to Trump’s ways of dealing with North Korea, calls it “cavalier”. But she had no objection to Obama administration’s rejection of the “double freeze” policy — a practical method to de-nuke N. Korea which is shared across Obama & Trump’s administrations. So how did rejecting “Double Freeze” go from being okay under Obama to “cavalier” under Trump? More HRC bullshit, I guess.

Media

Compare two recent takes on the Weinstein/Hollywood morality scandal:

https://www.democracynow.org/2017/10/12/nbc_reportedly_axed_the_harvey_weinstein — from Democracy Now
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWPDBXZslSE — from RT’s “America’s Lawyer”

The latter is significantly more informative and useful to properly diagnose what’s going on, who knew, and what could be done about it.

The DN interview gets speculative and shameful around the part about Seth MacFarlane’s joke on the Oscars broadcast:

AMY GOODMAN: And this is a clip of Seth MacFarlane announcing the 2013
Oscar nominations, when MacFarlane joked about what Harvey
Weinstein—about Harvey Weinstein’s behavior.

SETH MacFARLANE: The 2012 nominees for best performance by an actress in
a supporting role are Sally Field in Lincoln, Anne Hathaway in Les
Misérables, Jacki Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook, Helen Hunt in The
Sessions and Amy Adams in The Master. Congratulations, you five ladies
no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.

AMY GOODMAN: That was in 2013. Seth MacFarlane has since responded to
the resurfacing of his comment. On Wednesday, he tweeted, quote, “In
2011, my friend and colleague Jessica Barth, with whom I worked on the
Ted films, confided in me regarding her encounter with Harvey Weinstein
and his attempted advances. She has since courageously come forward to
speak out. It was with this account in mind that, when I hosted the
Oscars in 2013, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a hard swing
in his direction. Make no mistake, this came from a place of loathing
and anger. There is nothing more abhorrent and indefensible than abuse
of power such as this. I respect and applaud my friend Jessica and those
sharing their stories for their decision to come forward, and for being
champions of the truth.”

Just as the interviewees (IRIN CARMON, TOMI-ANN ROBERTS) apparently are free to speculate that MacFarlane was “punching down” (making fun of victims) instead of cleverly pointing out to the public that which Hollywood knew but the national or global public likely did not know, I am apparently empowered to conclude that they are reaching for reasons to be angry. The situation on its own wasn’t enough to talk about, so it was time to bring in MacFarlane’s joke here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLNwSsbyleM — Faith in US media continues to plummet. It’s no accident that Russiagate continues apace.

Freedom of speech

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIWNy_yTZpY — Only one democratic way to fight against what you disagree with — Putin.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcQ3GlEgYL4 — Univ. of Florida prematurely calls “state of emergency” for pending lecture.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DNchiL-_yI — “The Resident” exhibits precisely the wrong take on Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s comment about freedom of speech. “The Resident” even contradicts herself in the span of this piece.

Subject note on Patton Oswalt’s latest comedy special (but it’s politically relevant too)
Date 2017-10-18 23:07
A friend of mine showed me Patton Oswalt’s latest comedy special “Annihilation”. Oswalt begins with predictably corporate mainstream media-friendly and usefully distracting anti-Trumpisms (Hillary Clinton is described as a “very qualified” candidate while anyone who voted for Trump’s elector is indistinguishable from supporting racism). What’s really important for Oswalt? To get “a woman president” (no need to examine her political record or campaign funding sources) which in turn repeats the excuse that Hillary Clinton lost because she’s a woman. I suppose it’s inconceivable that she failed to carry even Obama’s votes because of her pro-war, pro-TPP, anti-environmental, Israel-can-do-no-wrong record.

At one point Oswalt delivered a joke about why Trump became US President — he did it for spite:

I empathize with Trump. I don’t sympathize with him but I get it —
I understand his origin story, I know why he’s got this job. You
know it too: he went to the Correspondents’ Dinner, Obama made fun
of him, “No you don’t, no! Fuck that. I’m takin’ your job. You don’t
make fun of me.”. And then he spent $40 million and broke his ass
for a year. Now he’s got the job, and the job sucks.

So the ostensibly “very qualified” Hillary Clinton wasn’t able to win against someone who ran for US President out of spite?

The special didn’t strike me as just unfunny but also thoroughly uninformed and notably unclever; a series of missed opportunities where I didn’t hear good jokes based on insights about what’s actually happening. I don’t think it’s too much to ask that political comedy should humorously take on why Trump became a duly-elected POTUS and simultaneously challenge an audience a little. Bring in some facts to help motivate the audience to more critically see Hillary Clinton and get away from needlessly alienating Trump voters. Look at where Clinton got her campaign money (Saudi Arabian business leaders, for example) and make reasonable inferences about what that means for her alleged feminism.

Election research tells us that one of the relevant factors to explain Clinton’s loss was anti-war support (3 swing states in particular — Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan — according to https://theintercept.com/2017/07/10/study-finds-relationship-between-high-military-casualties-and-votes-for-trump-over-clinton/), would-be Democratic Party voters who chose not to vote instead of voting for Clinton’s elector, Clinton’s inability to retain Obama voters (thus making it hard to have the racist-voter label stick), and a Republican Party vote which seems to have mostly held for Trump’s elector. A lack of Democratic Party support amongst voters apparently led to that party losing a majority of state governorships, control of the House, and the Senate. I thought everyone knew this was Clinton’s election to lose, what with her massive lead as reported by virtually all of the mainstream corporate media (well over 90% chance of winning), millions spent on media buys from a widely-supportive mainstream corporate media, and so much mainstream media time spent not analyzing her (apparently off-putting) record. How clever it would have been for Oswalt to convey understanding any of that and make jokes around these things which actually happened.

Speaking of Obama’s Correspondents’ Dinners, one recent event stood out during Obama’s administration: at the 2010 Dinner, President Obama made a joke about a drone attack on The Jonas Brothers, a musical group his daughters like (“Sasha and Malia are huge fans. But boys don’t get any ideas. I have two words for you: Predator Drones. You will never see it coming.”). At that time Obama was one of the few people who had the power to extrajudicially assassinate anyone (including Americans and children). And he did just that. Obama killed thousands (mostly completely innocent people as far as we can tell). He killed anyone he wanted without due process thus making this drone quip not a joke at all but a serious reminder of the Peace Laureate’s power, and a reminder of his indifference to ethics and international law. There ought to be time to bring this up in a humorous way now that Obama is out of office. But that’s unlikely because the life-and-death power underlying Obama’s quip is very important to the Deep State/Permanent Government.

To explain this another way: I imagine that if Pres. Trump says something like this “joke” at any time in his presidency, people like Oswalt will be in an ironic bind: they can’t complain about Trump saying that joke without reminding people that the drone war exists. Oh what a tough row to hoe!

What we do know is that when Obama actually did say that, most mainstream media celebrated Obama (see https://theintercept.com/2016/05/01/d-c-elite-hated-larry-wilmores-drone-joke-last-night-but-loved-obamas-in-2010/). Even those who pointed out reasonable objections to Obama’s drone line stopped before spelling out the lethal consequences for drone attack victims or getting into the criminality of Obama’s murders. For example, John Oliver did a segment on “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” about the drone war during Obama’s administration but Oliver scarcely connected the killings to Obama’s administration; more time was spent informing the public of the Trump family’s previous last name “Drumpf” and other non-lethal minor oddities presented so as to be embarassing to the Trump family.

An even better joke would have been to point out the continuity of policy under the G.W. Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations: our many endless wars which chiefly benefit the war profiteers, our bank-run economy, our HMO-led healthcare delivery schemes, and more are different only in minor ways. All the same beneficiaries that would have been in-place had Clinton become POTUS, by the way. Trump made the Permanent Government/Deep State nervous for a little while during the 2016 campaign when he talked as if he would break with the bipartisan pro-war consensus (he questioned US hegemony and brought up that the Iraq war was based on lies, lies the “very qualified” Sen. Clinton fully supported). This is why you saw the big pro-war demonstration at Clinton’s 2016 DNC rally podium. It wouldn’t be long before we saw clear confirmation that both corporate parties really work for the big businesses.

And that’s whose interests jokes like Oswalt’s serve. This means Oswalt and Pres. Trump have something in common — they’re both weak against corporate power: Trump is weak against what’s known as the Deep State or Permanent Government, and comics (even Oswalt who said he was exceptionally well-paid appearing before drunken gamblers without telling a single joke) are weak against the mainstream corporate media by echoing their line instead of challenging it.

Date 2017-10-18 00:43
Just a few for now…

Russiagate lives on like a bad penny. When does this become war?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aluqEcCfM0 — RT being pressured to register as “foreign agent” in US which will have huge freedom of speech consequences. Not only is this bad news in itself, but where is Democracy Now! on this? I see no coverage of this in their website. Remember when DN cared about press freedom? The last RT headline on DN was from a year ago today 2016-10-18 — https://www.democracynow.org/2016/10/18/headlines/british_bank_cuts_services_to_russian_backed_rt_network — which itself offers no supportive free-speech commentary on it but is keen to point out that RT is “[A] station, which relies on state funds from Moscow”. When was the last time you heard DN talk about the BBC in a similar vein since it too (“a station which relies on state funds from London” since license fees are collected as a tax and evasion carries criminal punishment)?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuzExvS_tTo — Weinstein scandal doesn’t seem to include links to the Kremlin. How can this be? Doesn’t Russiagate bullshit require connecting anything unsavory to Russia in some way?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2kM3Ile9OQ — ‘Hustler’ publisher Larry Flynt offering $10M for “smoking gun” evidence to impeach Pres. Trump. I guess he’s done championing freedom of speech and ready to ever more publicly throw in his lot with Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtLEHARp69I — Russiagate panel discussion and how this could lead to war with Russia.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjkuhTHhcKE — CNN claims Russian meddling is using the videogame “Pokemon Go” to somehow carry out meddling. No evidence, no coherent argument, just more sourceless accusation from fake news generator CNN. Plenty of good catchup on Russiagate here.

Email scandal revival

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DchDuBJ2Pkw — HRC’s email scandal is back in the news; Comey’s conclusion about the investigation appears to have been written before the investigation concluded. This is the James Comey who called Russia “certainly, in my view, the greatest threat of any nation on Earth”. As Comey told us in said conclusion, “To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions.” (https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/statement-by-fbi-director-james-b-comey-on-the-investigation-of-secretary-hillary-clinton2019s-use-of-a-personal-e-mail-system). In other words, HRC is special, you are not special.

Date 2017-10-14 19:08

A few notes on NfN #354:

Sheryl Sandberg is the “Lean In” author — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lean_In — but it’s worth being careful and narrow when supporting her words in the context of her position at Facebook because of how Facebook’s “core values and business plan” are implemented. It’s important not to endorse the spying that goes hand-in-hand with freedom of speech, particularly when one relies on private organizations to carry one’s messages around the Internet.

Facebook is a proprietary system fully capable of rigging search results or failing to deliver messages thus favoring certain messages over others.

Sandberg’s words certainly were supportive of free speech and in the abstract are worth applauding as you say, but Facebook users are giving Facebook the power to shape and/or censor what messages they receive (powered by Facebook’s spying throughout Facebook and across other websites).

Facebook’s spying is inextricably tied together with Facebook’s power over speech. Every modern social media system currently in widespread use (Twitter, Google+, Microsoft’s new systems, Facebook, etc.) has the same power over its users but not every COO/CEO says what Sandberg said. So support for encouraging people to speak freely on Facebook (because they’re applauding what Sandberg said) means supporting Facebook spying as well. I think most people want to be able to speak freely and privately, only letting their discussions be monitored when they’re consenting to the monitoring. But I don’t think most computer users know that most tech-based conveniences they have are spying on them.

It might also be worth reminding people that corporate sentiments change. Cloudflare is a website caching organization; if one hosts a website that gets a lot of visitors, one can hire a website cache to make a copy of the site and handle visitor’s requests. This way of responding to website requests is cheaper than buying beefier server hardware or faster network connections.

Matthew Prince, Cloudflare CEO, went from saying something like what Sandberg said:

Even if it were able to, Cloudfare does not monitor, evaluate, judge or store content appearing on a third party website…We’re the plumbers of
the internet. We make the pipes work but it’s not right for us to
inspect what is or isn’t going through the pipes. If companies like ours
or ISPs start censoring there would be an uproar. It would lead us down
a path of internet censors and controls akin to a country like China.

in http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/anonymous-opisis-cloudflare-refuses-block-service-pro-isis-websites-1495758 and https://www.cloudflare.com/media/pdf/cloudflare-whitepaper-intermediary-liability.pdf before Heather Heyer died in Charlottesville, Virginia, to saying:

I woke up this morning in a bad mood and decided to kick them [Daily Stormer] off the Internet.

Cloudflare says their terms of service support Prince’s decision to cancel the Daily Stormer’s Cloudflare contract — https://blog.cloudflare.com/why-we-terminated-daily-stormer/ says Cloudflare “reserve[s] the right for us to terminate users of our network at our sole discretion”.

So I don’t put much stock in Sandberg’s words for my own messages (I’m not on Facebook), nor would I recommend anyone else rely on Sandberg’s statement because that means encouraging people to submit to Facebook spying. I say that even while I too applaud the recognition of freedom of speech for its own sake. Instead, I recommend diversifying one’s message distribution — publish in multiple places and deny any one organization from having the power to prevent your messages from getting published. Also be careful that freedom of speech isn’t just a big come-on for spying.

The public could use end-to-end encrypted realtime message delivery where it’s not clear (except to the individual participants) who is sending messages to whom. The goal should be to cut out the intermediaries (due to spying) entirely while granting participants freedom of speech such that a user could choose to not receive messages matching certain criteria but nobody can stop one from speaking. Such a system is difficult to design and difficult to deliver.

Date 2017-10-12 22:15
Lots of media news notes today:

https://theintercept.com/2017/10/12/california-gender-pay-gap-lobbying/

Hollywood organizations were apparently willing to keep the alleged Harvey Weinstein abuse a secret for years. It’s not surprising that some of these organizations would not want to be forced to reveal that they’re systematically paying women less too. This is very much like the food/drug companies not telling us what’s in the foods and drugs they sell us, but they’re a bit more clever about it — foods come with vague ingredients and percentage allowances for substances they don’t have to report.

NYT editor Nicholas Dudich (who claims to have worked on both Obama and Clinton’s campaigns, and claimed but later went back on a claim of Comey being his “Godfather”) reveals to Project Veritas that he knows and does manipulate the news by placing stories critical of supportive groups in less-likely-to-be-seen areas, being biased (instead of being “objective”) about stories, and in so doing violated the NYT’s ethics code. They have an ethics code?

YouTube appears to be “curating” what is promoted in its searches as well, hardly a content agnostic algorithm at work.

Russiagate is falling down, falling down, falling down…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ap9IU4IocXA — No proof found of NYT’s claims of Kaspersky spying.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_Pls2XZDg8 — Hollywood hypocrisy over identity politics as it becomes clear Weinstein’s alleged abuse of women goes back years and was silently tolerated because he made so much money for Hollywood companies and Democratic Party campaigns and causes to which Weinstein and his associates donated.

Russiagate falling apart more and more: the very people whose identity politics opinions were supposed to be the major reason for rejecting Trump and favoring HRC are found to have been harboring an abuser of women all along. My stars!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nadApeG9ZkE — Twitter and Facebook “content policing” violating freedom of speech?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcotMECVRw8 — Google and Facebook facing calls for tougher “content regulation” while Facebook CEO uses flooding as literal backdrop for his self-promotion. This is the fellow who may be running for POTUS in 2020.

People are coming to terms with the conflicts in their own desires — they want no more “fake news” but they also don’t champion free speech as a good unto itself which naturally includes recognizing that freedom of speech means speech gets messy. People say different often conflicting things and it’s up to us all to ferret through the messages and figure out what really happened. It’s possible to do this, but it takes more reading and critical thinking work than blind trust and a 30-minute news program can deliver.

And I think it’s a good time to reiterate my earlier warning: don’t rely on one host for your published data. UPTV errs in uploading its programs only to YouTube. I think it would be wise for AWARE on the Air and News from Neptune to upload all of the episodes to multiple places. Take what RT is facing as a warning to you all: today YouTube is the chief news medium with more views than a lot of other places and a sustainable media model because people keep feeding it more video in a day than one can watch in decades of constant viewing. Diversify your audience’s sources and you increase the odds that your audience can see your work. Rely on one source and that source gains the power to censor your work.

Subject DN faces a possible challenge: How to report on Weinstein story without adversely implicating the Democratic Party?
Date 2017-10-12 12:50

Amy Goodman’s internal contradictions are coming to haunt her: she’s a Democratic Party supporter (as is evidenced by the stories she never brings up such as the now-dead DNC lawsuit and the confirming language she asks in questions I’ve cited to you talking about the Russophobic allegations without pointing out that they’re debunked and have ulterior motives) and I still believe (although I have no evidence to back up my belief) that she’s taking money from organized Democratic Party donors who are telling her “Don’t make the Democratic Party look bad”. We already know from her Iraq War invasion coverage that she finds it perfectly acceptable to interject opposing views when those views suit her: contradicting news stories with unembedded reportage, repeating summaries of such reports in her talks given on tours, and citing Hans Blix’s contradictory reports when the US Government would claim that Iraq had WMDs.

This gets to why the Harvey Weinstein story is so interesting and not just another abuse-of-power story:

– Weinstein donated significant sums of money to Democratic Party candidates, some small fraction of which was allegedly re-donated from the DNC to other Democratic Party-sympathetic causes in an attempt to make it look like the dirty DNC won’t further sully its image with Weinstein money. I say “further sully” because of the apparent legal but unethical and undemocratic collusion which resulted in stifling the Bernie Sanders campaign and letting Hillary Clinton become the Democratic Party nominee in 2016 (ultimately running a losing candidate instead of running Bernie Sanders, who even Donald Trump publicly admitted he would likely have lost to).

– Weinstein is on record abusing his power by taking advantage of women who want to be higher profile actors in Weinstein’s movies. This apparently went on for years and many people knew about it but nobody spoke up, including powerful people in the Democratic Party (this might be the reason why Hillary Clinton, alleged to have defended her cheating husband by threatening his mistresses to prevent them from speaking out, says so little about Weinstein today). This sullies the Democratic Party in multiple ways: they just lost a major presidential campaign run not on the issues but on morals — why vote for a man (Donald Trump) who said “Grab ’em by the pussy” when you can vote for a woman? Even after the election, Hillary Clinton’s feeling oppressed by Trump’s far-too-close distance from her during the televised “debates” was both a pack of lies and anything but professional. By the same token, we (ostensibly the DN audience) have to ask: why should we take DN seriously when its reportage is scarcely distinguishable from mainstream media news we’ve already largely dismissed, and tries hard to get away with making the Democrats not look as bad as they are and keep DN out of the fray?

– A significant part of the Weinstein story revolves around influence peddling via donations to political campaigns: Weinstein donates money to Democratic Party campaigns and causes, Goodman said in https://www.democracynow.org/2017/10/12/tomi_ann_roberts_on_her_encounter “The New York Times reports Harvey Weinstein was represented in talks with the District Attorney’s Office by two defense lawyers with ties to Cy Vance. One of Weinstein’s lawyers at the time donated $10,000 to Vance’s election campaign only days after Vance decided not to prosecute the case.”. This makes me wonder if this is hitting too close to home with DN’s finances which I understand to mostly come from grants and donations. Perhaps DN is more like the corporate media she eschews in that they all do the bidding of their most organized and largest sum donors: corporate media won’t cover war in a way that runs against Northrup-Grumman’s interests (for instance) and DN won’t cover any story that involves the Democratic Party in a way that runs against her Democratic Party-favoring donors.

So while today’s show is filled with reports of women being abused and stories of how hard it is to come forward publicly about that abuse, I’m curious how much of this story (including its future development) will be said to be tied to the Democratic Party in DN’s reportage. After all, something has to explain how Weinstein was able to get away with this for so long and with so many people in-the-know and it can’t all come down to abused women too scared to speak out publicly. There are too many structural elements (like making movies that sell well) in place and at stake to be explained away by talking about scared abused women.

Subject Re: She’s playing both sides…Amy Goodman and Russophobic attacks
Date 2017-10-11 00:12
I wrote:
https://www.democracynow.org/2017/10/10/julian_assange_accusations_of_wikileaks_trump

is good but a clip from https://www.democracynow.org/2017/10/10/julian_assange_accusations_of_wikileaks_trump below is also good:

—begin quote—
AMY GOODMAN: So then, more recently, let’s turn to Roger Stone speaking to reporters following his appearance in this closed hearing of the House Intelligence Committee. His interview with lawmakers was part of the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.

ROGER STONE: I made the case that the accusation that I knew about John Podesta’s email hack in advance was false, that I knew about the content and source of the WikiLeaks disclosures regarding Hillary Clinton was false, and that my exchange with someone claiming to be Guccifer 2.0, when viewed through the context, content and timing, was benign and innocuous.

AMY GOODMAN: Stone also told reporters he declined to name his WikiLeaks intermediary during the interview.

ROGER STONE: The reason I am not submitting that name is because the intermediary is a journalist, and our conversation was off the record. I’m an opinion journalist. He’s a journalist. I’m not going to burn somebody who I spoke to off the record. If he releases me, if he allows me to release it, I would be happy to give it to the committee. I’m actually going to try to do that.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, of course, Roger Stone isn’t a journalist, but what is your response to what he’s saying right here, that there was an intermediary between you and him, who was a journalist?

JULIAN ASSANGE: That the United States’ political culture has gone mad. Roger Stone is trolling epically the Democratic political class in order to elevate his profile. And it’s sad to see that Democracy Now! is buying into it.

AMY GOODMAN: Presenting the news is not buying into it. Presenting the news is having you respond to what he’s saying because you are the center of this, in this particular case, and it’s important to hear your voice.

JULIAN ASSANGE: Well, look, Amy—look, Amy, I’m getting annoyed. There is a historic event occurring this afternoon involving Catalonia, that could well change the nature of Europe, what forms of repression are acceptable within the Western world, and what moves populations can take in order to resist repression and come together to secure their self-determination. This has been the greatest Gandhian project that has occurred. Millions of Catalonians turning out to vote in the street are being beaten aggressively by Spanish security forces, being hacked by Spanish security forces, having their telephone exchange occupied, having their political leadership arrested, being threatened, as we saw today, with rebellion and put in prison for a minimum of 25 years.

That is going to spread throughout the Western world. The lessons of this are going to spread throughout the Western world to—yes, to secessionist movements, but also to the states trying to repress them and to repress people’s struggles for self-determination, in general. The discipline with which the Catalan population have carried out their referendum is astounding. Astounding, that millions of people are going to the polls, being beaten by the police, and not one image of them fighting back. Not one image. That’s incredible discipline. And similarly in their marches and so on. And if the U.S. left is not absolutely obsessed with what is happening there and the redefinition that is occurring of the nature of the relationship between population and state, well, I mean, I have no time for you.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we certainly had time for you today, Julian, and I think you made some really critical points, and they’re important. And I wanted to end on an issue that I also think that you care about, and that’s the issue of—well, Chelsea Manning is out of jail.
—end quote—

because it helps show that even guests are seeing there’s plenty of time for Russiagate on DN. I’m not sure the entire conversation made the transcript — the video has a recording of Assange answering her last question (that last question and Assange’s answer aren’t in that URL for some odd reason).

Meanwhile, RT reports that “another Trump-Russia collusion narrative bites the dust” in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuHPAOkRZWE

Subject She’s playing both sides…Amy Goodman and Russophobic attacks
From J.B. NicholsonAdd contact
To C. G. EstabrookAdd contact
Date 2017-10-10 23:59

https://www.democracynow.org/2017/10/10/julian_assange_accusations_of_wikileaks_trump 1st question is how Goodman handles this, just as I said before:

– she asks about this, no note of disbelief or editorial insert in her question allowing her to look like she takes the attacks at face value and thinks there’s something serious in them.

– leaves it up to the guest to point out these attacks are debunked, lies, and have ulterior motives. This further lets Goodman tell her (Democratic Party donors?) something akin to “that’s what a guest says and she can’t control what guests say. But at least she didn’t say that!” while simultaneously getting out the debunking via the guest.

This is radically different from how she handled other stories where the mainstream media carries one message (say, Iraq has WMDs!) and we know that’s not true (Goodman interjects with a report from Hans Blix). You get to know what Goodman wants you to take away from /her/ statements there, hence her show’s rise in audience circa run-up to G.W. Bush’s Iraq War.

There’s something going on here and I think Goodman is on the wrong side of it.

Subject Re: Russiagate: Where are we now, why does this matter?
Date 2017-10-05 22:01
C. G. Estabrook wrote:

‘…”Russiagate” hasn’t risen to the level of anyone being killed…’

What do you make of Seth Rich’s death?

We don’t yet have complete evidence that Seth Rich’s death is tied to this. It would be quite ironic to make his murder a part of this without proof while (quite rightly) demanding proof of the other assertions which constitute “Russiagate”.

Some of what we don’t know includes the complete details on how the DNC emails got to WikiLeaks. We know that they were copied (the evidence points to someone copying the data from the hosting server to a USB key, which is quite feasible) but we don’t know exactly who did the copying. We know that these emails were somehow conveyed to WikiLeaks but the full chain of hand-off is not known. It would be good to have the details so we can connect the dots and tell the full story.

Maybe Seth Rich did this himself (we’re told his job included IT work in the DNC), maybe he passed the data to someone else who got a copy to WikiLeaks, maybe the chain is more involved somehow.

That said, I think it’s highly unlikely that:

– Seth Rich would be murdered for no reason.

– it’s a coincidence that Seth Rich’s so-called “robbery” left no clear indication of being robbed such as a missing wallet. It’s far more likely Rich was murdered on purpose and nothing was stolen from his body because the murderer worked quickly to escape being identified as the murderer.

– Julian Assange would bring up Seth Rich’s murder apropos of nothing as Assange did in that Dutch(?) interview. That mention is really the most clumsy behavior I’ve seen from Assange; I’m used to him being far more careful about his speech when he’s explaining anything about WikiLeaks’ publications. And this interview could have bad consequences for future whistleblowers who question going to WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks also offered a $20k reward for information leading to the conviction of Rich’s killer.

– Seth Rich’s job in IT and the DNC played no role in getting the DNC emails to WikiLeaks. Server admins are usually in a position to do stuff like this, part of the reason I don’t recommend anyone use their work resources for personal purposes (particularly bad for state workers as their activity on work-owned equipment is subject to FOIA requests) or vice versa.

And the rush to label it a ‘conspiracy theory” fit only for the Alex Joneses of this world?

“Russiagate” is labeled a conspiracy theory to use that language as a slur intended to dismiss those who challenge any of the claims made and thus try to do away with people who bring up uncomfortable questions.

Those who like war and/or the Democrats (a largely overlapping set of people in Congress and corporate media) stand to benefit from this distraction from the truth. But their inability to bring the facts to their defense means they need to get rid of the pesky questions somehow.

Russiagate: The Democrats in high dudgeon and Democracy Now is helping them.

I’m calling it: Democracy Now (DN) is in the tank for the Democrats and can’t be relied on to analyze the now year-plus situation regarding the Russophobic lies.

We’ve had over a year of allegations that Russia somehow interfered with or “hacked” the US election, colluded with the Trump campaign to manufacture his electoral victory, wreaked havoc with various other US systems (electrical grid via Vermont, for instance), and created election problems in other countries (France, Germany, for example). DN talks about this stuff in headline stories and interviews like today’s interview with Masha Gessen.

The problem: Not one of the allegations has been backed with evidence. Every single claim is debunked by people on the scene or someone in a position to know what really happened. DN doesn’t report the follow-up details.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbtIFmkAfYY does a good job of explaining the latest and overall situation. Russia Today (RT), named in many of these Russophobic attacks by name, does a far better job of covering this than DN.

So how well would that have played, say, during the run-up to the latest US Iraq invasion? We’d get government figures claiming weapons of mass destruction are in Iraq and never hear from Hans Blix and others saying otherwise.

Considering that in the current situation with Russia, we’re talking about another major world economy, a large population, and a country with nuclear weapons we should ask: Why should we settle for less than the complete story? Who benefits from this? The Democrats in their apparently unending pursuit

Consider Nermeen Shaikh’s question to Gessen from https://www.democracynow.org/2017/10/5/russian_journalist_masha_gessen_on_trump

NERMEEN SHAIKH: The head of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee
announced Wednesday it’s reached the conclusion that Russia interfered
in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. This comes as CNN reports a
number of Russian-linked Facebook ads specifically targeted Michigan and
Wisconsin, two states crucial to Trump’s victory in November. Republican
Senator Richard Burr said his committee was still examining evidence to
determine if there was any collusion between Moscow and the Trump
campaign.

This question gives considerable setup information but no information on many salient counterpoints needed to properly understand what’s going on and who benefits from the lies.

Dan Kovalik (author of “The Plot to Scapegoat Russia: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Villify Russia”) was interviewed by RT’s Ashley Banks in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbtIFmkAfYY and Banks’ question explained things differently as well as conveying the nonsensical nature of this so-called investigation including pointing out many interesting counterpoints:

– collusion is not illegal.

– $100k of Facebook ads won’t buy enough of anything to overcome a multi-billion dollar PR effort (which is what the Democrats spent). As Richard Blair, Virginia state senator, puts it, “They’re talking about $100,000 worth of ads? That is a drop in the bucket. I mean that’s like throwing a small pebble into the Atlantic Ocean. You’re not going to affect anything with $100,000 worth of ads.”.

– the ads weren’t aimed at benefiting Trump or Clinton. Sen. Chair claims this constitutes “raising havoc” but is really just free speech. Democracy is messy.

– Hollywood movies and CNN lies are a part of the means by which the US tries to influence other countries political affairs including elections.

– no evidence linking Russia to these ads.

– not clear who exactly is being pointed to by talk of “Russians” buying ads: Russian citizens, citizens of other countries (including Americans) who happen to live in Russia, the Russian government, other people of some other organization?

– 25% of the ads were seen by nobody.

– why is ad buying considered “meddling”?

– Kovalik says “56% of the ones [ads] they claim are from Russia didn’t appear until after the 2016 election”.

– Dept. of Homeland Security retracted their claims of “hacks”

– What about the Morgan Freeman campaign spot that said Russia interfered with our election and that we were at war with Russia? Remember when DN was “the war and peace report”? Hollywood actors used to be victims of McCarthyism and now they’re pushing the new McCarthyism.

DN’s questions don’t get into any of these important counterpoints, Shaikh gives the side that makes it look like this investigation is being conducted by people whom we have no reason to raise questions about, and that the investigation itself should be taken seriously instead of looked at as a money and time-waster while far more important issues are in dire need of national attention (war reduction, war budget reduction, establishing a national jobs program, and more).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtSrtYo1lEI has more from RT on the Senate reporting that alleged meddling had no effect on vote totals:

Chairman US Senate Intelligence Committee Richard Burr: “We can certifiably say that no vote totals were affected, that the tallies are accurate, the outcome of the election based upon the count of votes — they did not in any way, shape, or form that we’ve been able to find, alter that.”

And then Burr launched a new Russophobic evidenceless offensive: Russia is trying to create havoc in upcoming elections!

I guess we get to watch out for that scare tactic play out more. I know a German official said something similar before the recent German elections in an attempt to be able to pre-deflect undesirable German election outcomes.

And another new threat that could become a reduction of reporter’s freedom of speech (something DN used to talk about): labeling RT a “foreign entity” and what precisely that constitutes for RT. RT’s Editor in Chief Margarita Simonyan (summary version and followup reportage on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1D3YfX_Ok1s and full version of conference is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxiQCilMrnw) talks about the unprecedented pressure RT faces now: social media sites being pressured not to work with RT (Google is dropping RT from one of its advertising package on YouTube despite Google telling RT that RT is “most watched TV news network on YouTube”), US considering making RT America “register as a foreign agent” in the US would mean RT American employees must supply personal details (not quite sure which details), RT America must supply transcripts of their shows, and RT America wouldn’t be able to get interviews with US officials. This could, as Simonyan said, push RT out of the US and the whole effort is against freedom of speech.

Where is DN on this threat to being boxed out (very much like a third-party or independent candidate is boxed out of debates with the two corporate parties)? Nowhere, as far as I can tell (judging by looking up stories on the DN website); DN simply doesn’t report this. The Russophobia has been going on for over a year and DN’s reporting is weak. The marginalization from modern media is rather new, so I’ll see if something develops on DN in the days to come.

I wrote:

Currently NfN and AOTA are hosted exclusively on YouTube.com. I understand why: the UPTV production facilities are used to using YouTube and YouTube has a large audience.

But https://www.dailydot.com/via/youtube-mashup-remix-copyright-universal/ describes why it’s important to diversify your hosting choices.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLyz42xXZvw is the story of another banned-from-YouTube story.

If “The Resident” is right, and what she says is quite reasonable, this is a golden opportunity for AWARE and NfN to seek getting copies of its own videos for self-hosting on their respective websites while all the videos can be fetched with some time, some storage, and a single youtube-dl command (youtube-dl is free software available at https://rg3.github.io/youtube-dl/). Even a directory of uploaded videos for each show would do the job, in a pinch.

But making YouTube your sole means of distributing the shows online seems like a bad choice to me.

I continue to recommend uploading to multiple places including archive.org. I don’t know of any stories of censorship involving archive.org.

I wrote:

Russiagate: leaked information sows doubt on Russian meddling claims.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsXIKaegYrQ has still more reminders of recent stories of evidenceless Russian interference or allegations of “hacking”. We can add the following issues to the long and growing list:

– Catalonia’s fight for independence involves RT’s coverage of Catalonia’s fight for independence, therefore RT shares in the blame. El País complains that RT has run 42 articles about the fight since August 2017. A news agency reporting news? Oh no!

– El País claims there’s a “global network that acted in favor of Donald Trump and Brexit turns attention to Spain” in https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/09/26/inenglish/1506413477_994601.html

– El País also says “Incorrect headlines such as EU will RESPECT Catalan independence but accession procedure must be followed.” but RT’s headline read “EU will ‘RESPECT’ Catalan independence but ‘accession procedure’ must be followed”. The words ‘respect’ and ‘accession procedure’ were quotes from someone else, the president of the EU Commission (video shows a quote).

– German elections gave Merkel a 4th term but allowed the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party through to the Bundestag too. Politico blames a “Russian ‘botnet’ with links to Russia” for the rise of the AfD. There’s no evidence to back up Politico’s claims.

And now there’s a new theme in Russiagate: The lack of evidence is now evidence of something amiss!

– Washington Post says Russia already has influence in Germany in https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/democracy-post/wp/2017/09/22/why-vladimir-putin-isnt-worried-about-the-outcome-of-the-german-election/ “Russia’s corruption of German elites is well advanced.” So don’t question that, just accept it blindly and proceed with your lives.

– euObserver says German parties are already pro-Russian in https://euobserver.com/elections/139110 quotes a nameless source “[Russia] does not need to engage in the same kind of operation in Germany because four out of the main five parties there already take a pro-Russia line” in reference to “the SPD, the AfD, Die Linke, and the liberal FDP party”.

– but the best one comes from the liars at the New York Times (home to the articles telling us why we needed to invade Iraq) in https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/21/world/europe/german-election-russia.html “Russian influence operations, or active measures as they are known, tend to work only if no one is expecting them”. So it’s promoting claims without evidence (translation: lies) that helps us! Thank goodness for the noble “journalists” (translation: war party stenographers) who keep us from experiencing the awful wrath of those dirty Russian meddlers!

A Stanford study concluded that “fake news didn’t tip election against Clinton” https://observer.com/2017/02/stanford-study-fake-news-hillary-clinton-election-loss/ says:

Allcott and Gentzkow concluded, “Our data suggest that social media were
not the most important source of election news, and even the most widely
circulated fake news stories were seen by only a small fraction of
Americans. For fake news to have changed the outcome of the election, a
single fake news story would need to have convinced about 0.7 percent of
Clinton voters and non-voters who saw it to shift their votes to Trump.”
They added, “For fake news to have changed the outcome of the election,
a single fake article would need to have had the same persuasive effect
as 36 television campaign ads.”

TV is still king for news delivery and we all know $100k (the amount said to be spent on Facebook ads) won’t get you very far in national advertising.

In fact, the article also says:

The two fake news stories most widely believed in the study, as Empty
Wheel noted, happened to be pro-Clinton articles.

So this whole angle of Clinton and the Democrats blaming online trolls is even more clearly bullshit than it appeared to be on first blush when reading the transcript of the claims from the following:

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia): “What really concerns me [are reports] there were upwards of 1,000 paid internet trolls working out of a facility in Russia, in effect taking over a series of computers which are then called botnets that can generate news down to specific areas” — from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/russian-trolls-fake-news_us_58dde6bae4b08194e3b8d5c4

James Clapper, Dir. National Intelligence: “This was a multifaceted campaign. So the hacking was only one part of it, and it also entailed classical propaganda, disinformation, fake news.” — in http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2017/01/05/russia_used_fake_news_to_influence_the_election_james_clapper_says.html You remember James Clapper, the guy who told us the NSA wasn’t spying on us.

Hillary Clinton at the “Code Conference” on May 31, 2015: “If you look at Facebook, the vast majority of the news items posted were fake. They were connected to — as we now know — the 1,000 Russian agents who were involved in delivering those messages. They were connected to the bots that are just out of control.” — in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgdJlzuaJ6k

Nobody asked how these alleged “1,000 Russian agents” connected to “bots” which are said to be “out of control” yet managed to conduct an effective campaign against her campaign?

So the old plot (Russian “hackers” or “bots” under tight coordination or “out of control”) is falling apart and the new plot (Pres. Trump’s businesses are a means for Russian mobsters to launder money) isn’t getting much press. Could it be that the old plot is getting crushed under the lack of evidence and weight of counter-evidence like the Stanford study, and the new plot isn’t bearing fruit as quickly as needed to hide the weaknesses of the old plot?

Uhoh!

A couple reactions to segments of the latest News from Neptune. Thanks for mentioning my notes and sharing them.

Michael Moore’s flop play “The Terms of My Surrender”:

The New York Times has a disapproving review of Moore’s play as well (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/10/theater/review-michael-moore-bragging-on-broadway-in-the-terms-of-my-surrender.html): “you don’t have to disagree with Mr. Moore’s politics to find that his shtick has become disagreeable with age”, Moore “wants to help liberals turn their Post Traumatic Trump Disorder into practical action that might protect the country from four years of kleptocratic depredation” but he “falls short of offering seriously useful ideas about how individuals can make a difference […] Details are scant. Run for school board, he recommends. Be Rosa Parks. Download [an app]”. How vague and corporate-friendly.

Even within the guidelines of what NYT is willing to publish, it stands out to me that Moore’s play isn’t getting a good review from a member of the anti-Trump/pro-war mainstream media.

According to the NYT Moore’s ‘Surrender’ is a work-in-progress people are being charged to see: parts are cut between performances, Moore’s delivery is stuttery and “semi-impromptu” where “Moore affects a cute, common-man delivery that fools no one” even though the Belasco theater crowd (“including a few shills”) “claps for almost all of the bait he tosses”.

The NYT review points out Moore’s latest doesn’t dare specifically identify what he wants people to do to challenge what he finds objectionable about the Trump administration. But the NYT reviewer seems to be doing the same thing in finding Moore’s vagueness objectionable. I think it’s hard to identify policy choices that are both unique to the Trump administration and easily identified as horrible (these choices leave people dead, for instance). The continuity of policy across US administrations is simultaneously the most damning part of the Trump administration so far but it can’t be raised in a way that would benefit the Democrats that the mainstream media wanted to win.

Morgan Freeman’s piece with the “Committee to Investigate Russia” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uz9PNoecNxU

Is it dangerous or silly? That’s a good and tough question. Put me down for ‘dangerous’: I see that it’s silly, and I’ve seen Morgan Freeman do silly stuff before — see any of his work on “The Electric Company” in the 1970s — and propaganda from other times and places often looks silly (how hamfisted was American propaganda of the past?) but pushing for war with Russia (which the piece starts with, “We have been attacked. We are at war.”) strikes me as remarkably dangerous no matter who is president in either country. Nuclear accidents are frequent, nearly launching an attack is far more common than commonly known, and if executed in full, disastrous. We’re fortunate that Putin seems to be dismissively looking on at our endless baseless accusations of Russian interference (interference in US election, taking over the US electrical grid via Vermont, interference in French election, interference in German elections, to name a few).

Where are we on Russiagate now: still no evidence to believe the many vague and weak claims made. The claims are shifting again: now $100k of Facebook ads are enough to cause the US government to claim Russia “hacked” the US election. There’s no evidence this happened, or that $100k will buy enough ads to overcome billions spent on campaign coverage, but the claims are so weak now that calls for evidence are almost superfluous. Instead the entire issue is done away with by asking “so what?” or “how is this different from people using their freedom of speech?”.

Why does this matter?


(Two copies of the same debate) encapsulate the current spate of allegations and reason why this matters. This is worth watching if only to see:

– how there’s still (despite months of assertions) no evidence to back up “Russiagate” accusations.

– that these accusations help foment war with Russia (more neoconservative war policy here),

– that these accusations distract attention/blame from the Democrats who can’t explain why they stuck to neoliberal economics and neoconservative war policy against a presidential candidate their candidate should have beaten handily,

– that we stand to lose more of our civil liberties (particularly freedom of speech) as we tolerate these baseless accusations — media organizations being treated as “state agents” put on lists for some kind of action (censorship, considering shutting them down because they advertise for themselves?, sanctions),

– And that repetitive emotionalism like what you’d expect to hear from an mildly injured child (“Johnny called me a name!”) is the only thing the Democrats have going for them in this fight. Budowsky’s contribution here is horrible because he is backing a horrible argument.

Indirectly this point about freedom of speech and restricting the media should be raising debate at Democracy Now. Years ago Amy Goodman would point out when other media organizations were silenced, threatened, or when journalists were harmed. “Russiagate” hasn’t risen to the level of anyone being killed* but if anyone can get away with making RT (named by name numerous times throughout Russiagate hearings and documents including in that shameful government report published during the last days of the Obama administration last year) less available, this is a real threat to media outfits that want to proper investigative journalism or make connections reported elsewhere.

I think that Lionel’s reaction does a good job of expressing my dissatisfaction with the mainstream coverage of Russiagate stories, my dissatisfaction with DN’s willingness to go along on Russiagate coverage (even though Lionel never mentions DN), and the harm Russiagate stories pose the longer Russiagate is taken seriously.

_____________
*SETH RICH?

###

 

KNOW’S NOTES – SEPTEMBER, 2017 Research for News from Neptune provided by Doctor Know (J. B. Nicholson)

 

I wrote:

Russiagate: leaked information sows doubt on Russian meddling claims.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueZOjH7BsQw — Facebook ads aren’t
backing early claims of “Russian meddling” in our election. But, as I’ve
pointed out before, the claims of meddling are vague and changing. We’re
not really sure what those claims are and precisely how these alleged
actions were illegal or unusual. So far it seems that either people are
engaging in free speech as they’ve done since time immemorial, or people
are writing particularly engaging, controversial, or somehow
click-worthy headlines/stories that garner attention. There’s no
evidence of: how the election was changed, how harm was done, or
anything that would relieve Hillary Clinton from bearing exclusive
responsibility for her 2nd failed presidential campaign.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_RcN1MRn28 has more about different allegations of “Russian trolls” purchasing ads for Facebook that are both supportive of and against Black Lives Matter, and are being blamed for the disagreement between Pres. Trump and the NFL players who kneel during the national anthem.

This one is so sprawling and comes from such an untrustworthy place it’s almost funny. CNN, one of the least reliable sources for news, cites anonymous sources for this reporting.

According to this weak tale: 3,000 Facebook ads are being purchased for over $100,000 to “stir the pot” with Americans. Facebook, meanwhile, says it’s not clear that the relevant Facebook accounts have any connection to Russia (uhoh, Red Alert: Not supporting the narrative!).

It only takes $100k to change the US election with Facebook ad buys? What a bargain! Why would anyone bother raising so many millions? Could this be another loose thread on this story that, if pulled, will unravel the rest of the story?

I was perusing DemocracyNow.org’s stories recently and the headline on Hugh Hefner’s death stood out to me but not for the reason you might think. Here’s the entire text of the headline as found on https://www.democracynow.org/2017/9/28/headlines/hugh_hefner_founder_of_playboy_magazine_dead_at_91

And Hugh Hefner, creator of Playboy magazine, died Wednesday in his
mansion at the age of 91. Hefner considered himself an advocate for free
speech and sexual freedoms. But critics say he degraded women as
objects. In a 1963 article, Gloria Steinem went undercover at a Playboy
nightclub where waitresses dressed in skimpy bunny outfits, and exposed
harsh hours, painful uniforms and crass customers. Another feminist
critic challenged Hefner to “come out here with a cottontail attached to
your rear end.”

What stood out to me:

– that Amy Goodman would choose to include this at all.

– compare the amount of text about Hefner’s work to the amount of text criticizing Hefner’s work (including passive-aggressive lines like “Hefner considered himself an advocate for free speech and sexual freedoms” which is undoubtedly to be read to that Goodman does not agree with Hefner’s assessment of himself). I’m not taking a stand about Hefner or what he did. I encourage anyone to read this as an indication of how much the headlines are really DN commentary.

– go to any of the other headlines on any other story and consider what is said, commented upon, and the views expressed therein.

Consider how DN is down with the program on Russophobic attacks, for instance. In previous headlines (such as https://www.democracynow.org/2017/9/19/headlines/cnn_former_trump_campaign_chair_paul_manafort_was_wiretapped and https://www.democracynow.org/2017/9/18/headlines/facebook_turns_over_info_on_russian_election_ads_to_special_counsel_mueller) there is no indication whatsoever that the entire “Russiagate” narrative is unbacked by evidence and many such “Russia hacked the US election” scare stories are later retracted. DN doesn’t cover the retractions either.

Who benefits from DN’s remarkably uncritical Russiagate coverage? Certainly not DN’s audience. The lack of questions, analysis, or even pointing out that the accusations are groundless are indistinguishable from support and not at all like what we heard from DN about G.W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq.

Both as a news agency that has previously shown they care about how other media outlets are treated, and as a show with a largely anti-war audience I would imagine it’s in her best interest to make it clear that she’s not down with the accuse-Russia program (if she’s not). Because Russiagate serves multiple purposes all of which benefit a Deep State/Permanent Government and Democratic Party agenda.

Related stories:

Glenn Greenwald (frequent DN guest) on the latest Russiagate failure: https://theintercept.com/2017/09/28/yet-another-major-russia-story-falls-apart-is-skepticism-permissible-yet/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X90HX4a79F0 — Interview about MSM’s obsession with evidenceless Russiagate.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpO2id-9uKA — CrossTalk show on Russiagate.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlPkZKKDZH0 — When Russiagate is settled, who goes to jail?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCuHtYDiySI — US accuses Russia of shielding Iran from atomic inspectors
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnBMmAZo7ws — Lionel’s latest on how the Russia accusations make no sense (he’s quite astute)

There’s plenty of interesting, pointed, and perhaps not-cynical-enough pieces on RT discussing the latest Russiagate fiasco. They seem to have taken their criticism and vindications with humor, which frankly reflects well on them.

https://theintercept.com/2017/09/26/brazils-latest-outbreak-of-drug-gang-violence-highlights-the-real-culprit-the-war-on-drugs/

This important article highlights how wrong the “war on drugs” is. It’s beyond a sham where people are mildly ripped off, it’s lethally wrong. Portugal’s switch away from a “war on drugs” to decriminalization + treatment program has proven to be highly successful, far less expensive than any implementation of a “war on drugs”, and a compassionate and moral rejection of the idea that drug addiction is a personal moral failing.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote “In contrast, Portugal may be winning the war on drugs — by ending it. Today, the Health Ministry estimates that only about 25,000 Portuguese use heroin, down from 100,000 when the policy began.

“The number of Portuguese dying from overdoses plunged more than 85 percent before rising a bit in the aftermath of the European economic crisis of recent years. Even so, Portugal’s drug mortality rate is the lowest in Western Europe — one-tenth the rate of Britain or Denmark — and about one-fiftieth the latest number for the U.S.”

Whose ox is gored by this approach? Any person or organization that profits from the “war on drugs”: drug-dealing gangs, corporate imprisonment, and neoliberal politicians who get campaign finance and personal wealth from the corporations that handle private imprisonment.

US Healthcare

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWkBULvkuww — A late-night talk show host (Jimmy Kimmel) is a Democratic party shill, getting evidence against the Republican healthcare plan from Sen. Chuck Schumer. Kimmel is also very wealthy and hardly someone who depends on the ACA (“ObamaCare”). So how reliable a source is Kimmel for the public?

NYPD lawsuit

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOPUnW0nsS0 — lawsuit alleges NYPD discriminated against Black detectives.

Russiagate: leaked information sows doubt on Russian meddling claims.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueZOjH7BsQw — Facebook ads aren’t backing early claims of “Russian meddling” in our election. But, as I’ve pointed out before, the claims of meddling are vague and changing. We’re not really sure what those claims are and precisely how these alleged actions were illegal or unusual. So far it seems that either people are engaging in free speech as they’ve done since time immemorial, or people are writing particularly engaging, controversial, or somehow click-worthy headlines/stories that garner attention. There’s no evidence of: how the election was changed, how harm was done, or anything that would relieve Hillary Clinton from bearing exclusive responsibility for her 2nd failed presidential campaign.

Add David Feherty to the growing list of go-along comics who won’t challenge the establishment, and Condoleezza Rice to your list of POTUS candidates.

I just saw the opener to a show called “Feherty” which is in its 7th season. I gather each episode is some comic (named David Feherty) who plays the goof against a ‘straight man’ guest. I believe this show also airs on an NBC Golf network.

Season 7 Episode 4’s guest: Condoleezza Rice.

The episode opener starts with “High school dropout Feherty and Dr. Condoleeza Rice” which I think is supposed to be funny but instead comes off to me as the show saying it has no intention of asking her any tough questions and will never suggest she’s an unindicted war criminal.

What happened on 9/11/2001? Here’s what Rice took away from that: “To be in a position of authority on September 11th and watch 3,000 people die? It stays with you.” We need not recall the details like how many Iraqis attacked the US then because we can wistfully recall a note for her resume.

Ellen DeGeneres did the same job for former Pres. G.W. Bush on his publicity tour for his new art book. Apparently there’s plenty of opportunity for rehabilitating war criminals.

Bush & Ellen:
– jovially recall Bush’s trouble with a rain poncho during Trump’s inauguration.
– dance together a bit.
– share a smiling “selfie” posted on social media.
– reflect unaccusingly on his administration.

Rice & Feherty:
– talk about what music she likes: “I’m a huge Led Zeppelin fan!”. See folks, you can identify with her!
– Feherty introduces the interview piece with “Unlike me, Condoleezza Rice uses language to endow every encounter with warmth and grace and dignity. I just make people uncomfortable. She’s a diplomat, I’m an idiot.”.
– talk about her identity politics; mention about her ancestors who survived slavery, and how she grew up in the segregated south (and “could be President of the United States if she wanted to be”).

Perhaps with another campaign run on identity politics, she’d make a candidate the Democrats would be willing to run: she ticks more boxes than Hillary Clinton (black, woman, if she were a lesbian), has a war criminal past like HRC, she’s willing to say ridiculous things (she told Feherty she’s “glad we took Saddam Hussein out” — it’s not “we came, we saw, he died” and a cackle, but it’s enough to secure her bona fides with the Deep State) and gives the identity politics folks another bite at the apple.

So: President Rice, right?

It looks like this is another instance of something:

– Pres. Trump makes a claim on something with far-reaching consequences,
– the mainstream media (in full anti-Trump mode) mocks him for saying this,
– the claim later turns out to be true.

Without doing much research into when this happened before, I can recall this happening when Trump said something ugly was going down in Sweden (if I recall correctly), then Stephen Colbert and others mocked him for claiming this, and then a day or two later citizens on the scene recorded footage of the ugliness (a protest resulting in an injured policeman, and some property destruction including cars set on fire) in Rinkeby (a suburb of Stockholm). See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNdEBvQSeTY and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rj0ZXwHpLNU for footage.

It looks like another instance of this pattern is developing.

A few months ago Trump claimed his campaign was wiretapped. Naysayers said he was crazy for saying this and demanded proof (the same people who seem to be in no hurry to provide proof to back their “Russia did it” claims of “hacking” the US election, by the way). CNN cited the Justice Dept. to back their claim that Trump had nothing to back up his claim — http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/02/politics/justice-department-trump-tower-wiretap/

Recently CNN reported that Donald Trump’s former campaign chair was wiretapped by the US Government both before and after the election, according to CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/18/politics/paul-manafort-government-wiretapped-fisa-russians/ has the article.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sHBZwaZzLI has a good summary of this.

CNN seems eager to do some reinterpretation and overly narrow reads of what went on (read: backpedaling) so as to justify their earlier mocking (see http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/19/politics/trump-wiretapping-manafort/) but Snowden long ago told us there were (and are) multiple efforts to spy on all of our electronic communications including working with partners who hand them data, weaken widely-used proprietary software protocols (such as Microsoft altering Skype protocol to make it easier to spy on according to http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/11/microsoft-nsa-collaboration-user-data), and gaining access to data at switch points (such as the famous AT&T switching room). So spying on people wasn’t new to us, the Obama administration’s support for mass surveillance wasn’t new to us, and capturing data from people in Trump Tower wasn’t new to us. But somehow we were supposed to conclude that Pres. Trump’s claims were not to be taken seriously.

This is important well beyond what Pres. Trump claimed. If this spying only involved him and his campaign staff this story wouldn’t be that important. But it concerns all of us because there exists a well-functioning spying apparatus that does what Snowden’s revelations tell us. If there’s additional spying going on beyond that (such as something specifically targeting the Trump campaign staff) that’s just more reason to use encryption everywhere all the time and fight politically for respect for privacy.

We should not be so quick to believe the MSM. Nobody is wrong all the time, no matter how much the MSM wants you to believe Pres. Trump is almost always wrong (except for when he bombs people).

Tonight’s notes: Russiagate is back (“…when the shark bites, with its teeth dear, and he keeps them pearly white…”), a hero who kept us from experiencing nuclear war, class politics get a bit of talk on TV (gasp!), whether we should believe the US’ claims about Assad and whether the “alternative” media DN offers a properly critical alternative, and some news on David Petraeus’ belief that we need to be protected from reading the wrong things.

Russiagate II: Electric Boogaloo

You thought it was dead, but like the enemy in every adventure/sci-fi movie, it has clawed its way back into the scene.

MARVEL at the hamfistedness of the delivery!
GASP at the evidenceless claims!
SULK at the persistence of the war party.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMAAwykuIOA — the latest ridiculous Russophobic propaganda, this time from director/actor Rob Reiner (“All in the Family”, “This is Spinal Tap”) and Morgan Freeman (voice of God in multiple roles, “The Electric Company” in the 1970s — really, ask your kids)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gLcLAWdn14 — reaction, worth seeing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRKGzEfBarM — BBC and other British media outlets taunt Russians in passive-aggressive graphic, and other more straightforwardly mean-spirited attacks.

One step from nuclear disaster: Soviet Officer, should-be international hero Stanislav Petrov
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAGh__ccjyM — “I was just doing my job”, Stanislav Petrov, former Soviet officer who, in 1983, averted nuclear war, has recently died. Why does this matter? The American public does not understand how many times the only thing separating us from experiencing the horror of nuclear war directly was one person’s decision to make the right call at the right time. One of the great risks of nukes is that someone makes a bad judgment call about a reading (such as a radar blip), gives orders to fire nuclear weapons, and ends up launching missiles by mistake.

First the Cubs win the World Series, now class politics gets discussed on TV!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BJtcxmLf6Q — CrossTalk (around 17m) actually discusses class politics — the ruling class versus the American people — and contrary to identity politics, this discussion features 4 white men saying some sensible things. Identity politics tells me this is flatly impossible and therefore did not occur!

How trustworthy are US’ claims about Assad’s regime and can we go to “alternative media” to get the relevant objections?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tL1bGZmOPU — You’ve already got points to talk about on Pres. Trump’s UN speech. This video hits some highlights including quoting Pres. G.W. Bush’s lies, Trump’s claim of Syrian chemical weapons use.

Trump included lies about how “we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone” fully knowing the US has conducted regime-change wars of aggression. Trump chastised Syrian attacks on women and children while we extrajudicially murder women and children in drone attacks across 3 administrations now (G.W. Bush, Obama, and Trump) notably including Anwar al-Assad’s 16-year-old son (whom Obama murdered) and his 8-year-old daughter (whom Trump murdered).

Syrian chemical weapons use/attack source is contested but the contested claims are not widely reported, even on so-called “alternative” media like DN:

MIT’s Ted Postol and others looked into this and says there’s no evidence to support the claims made by the White House of “verified evidence” of chemical attack in Idlib and questioning where a rocket was fired (3 years ago) in the Obama administration:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhJ1bW2DeUw — 1 week ago
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BAzQwOepcU — 5 months ago
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOKOwgeFcG4 — 5 months ago
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8z-Ge4B06M — 3 years ago (Obama administration)

=============================
KNOW’S NOTES – SEPTEMBER, WEEK 3
Research for News from Neptune provided
by Doctor Know (J. B. Nicholson)

Why is Democracy Now not reporting these challenged claims by naming the names (as Amy Goodman so often wants her guests to do)? Headline stories like:

https://www.democracynow.org/2017/4/5/headlines/syria_death_toll_from_suspected_assad_gas_attack_rises_to_72

https://www.democracynow.org/2017/4/14/headlines/syrian_president_claims_chemical_attack_footage_was_fabricated

https://www.democracynow.org/2017/4/4/headlines/report_dozens_of_civilians_killed_in_chemical_weapons_attack_in_syria

Don’t carry a contradictory view from someone who doesn’t have anything to gain by objecting. This makes the objections more dismissable. For example: There are 2 hits for “idlib postol” on http://democracynow.org/ — one from April 13, 2017 and one from April 25, 2017 — neither feature Amy Goodman or any other DN host bringing Postol’s objections to the audience. Both hits show up because someone else happened to mention Ted Postol’s objections (Jonathan Steele, former Moscow correspondent for The Guardian, mentions Postol in one interview, and Seymour Hersh in another). There is no discussion building on either mention giving the audience reason to take these objections seriously. Whose interests are being served by this?

Free speech still being treated as an unwanted guest

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vwg3vf2SKA0 — “Jihadist propaganda” gets more views in UK than elsewhere in Europe. And the shock: the British govt. doesn’t have a counteroffensive to respond! So, in other words, we can’t have people reading whatever they want. They’re so malleable by these messages they might object to what the UK govt. is doing (in concert with or under the approval of the US govt. of course).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyJsppB0rI0 — Related story but with claim from survey saying “almost three quarters of people surveyed supported the introduction of tougher laws to make it a criminal offense to regularly engage with material that glorifies terrorism”. David Petraeus said there was an “insufficient” response to this material but needed to “strike a balance” between “privacy and protection”. I’m not feeling ‘protected’ from bad ideas. Someone please help avert my virgin eyes from reading too much of the wrong thing. Wouldn’t this cut against accused state propaganda like RT too (remember the Obama administration issued a harsh report claiming RT was propagandistic in late 2016)?

C. G. Estabrook wrote:

AN ANTI-FA-LA-LA EDITION < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAmgWZHTOdE>

 

Thanks; I saw it and I liked the clear (and concise!) descriptions of neoliberal & neoconservative, and clarification of what’s wrong with both identity politics and intersectionality (27m26s).

In case it’s needed:

– if someone claims you can’t change your sex, Chelsea Elizabeth Manning (neé Bradley Edward Manning) changed during the time we learned about the thing for which Manning is most known: leaking classified information to WikiLeaks and confiding in Adrian Lamo (pronounced “A-dree-án Lah-mo” according to Wikipedia).

– if someone claims you can’t change your race, Nkechi Amare Diallo (commonly known as Rachel Anne Dolezal) is a white woman who posed as a black woman and won election to run the Spokane chapter of the NAACP in 2014. She held the office until she resigned in June 2015 when it was learned she was born to a white family and had chosen to pose as a black woman.

And thanks for pointing out why people voted for Trump; it’s rare to hear anyone talk about this without casting aspersions (ala the “deplorables”) or leaving out war, even after the election. Glenn Greenwald has been writing on this as well and he does his usual excellent job.

I’ll have to send you my views on the recent Thomas Frank interview with TheRealNews.com’s Paul Jay on his show “Reality Asserts Itself”. I am not that pleased with the interview but not all of the parts of the interview have been released.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hD4GWXHs0oY has a brief report on what was recently investigated — childhood experiences affect our DNA — the stress of poverty, exposure to certain bacteria, and malnutrition can alter our DNA and increase the odds someone will experience diabetes, asthma, and other chronic illnesses.

This is something Aaron Maté’s father Dr. Gabor Maté has been saying for years.

I imagine this is good news for Dr. Maté (quite vindicating) and for societies as a whole because it means we’ve now got more evidence that poverty and other bad childhood treatment ought to be considered more seriously: ethically they’re going to adversely affect the child for the rest of their lives on a purely biological level, mentally (not news here, but still quite true), and economically we have even more reason to argue we can’t afford poverty. We can’t afford to let people be poor, so we have to make sure social services, potable water and healthy food, decent living conditions, and so many other things are available to all.

This has not changed but one aspect of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MpG3XiYD1c (Aaron Maté’s interview with a couple of Medicare for All proponents on TheRealNews.com; transcript at http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=19985) makes me think of another problem both for Sen. Sanders and the anti-war movement: this interview never mentions cutting “defense” funding and reallocating it to pay for Medicare for All. Sen. Sanders didn’t criticize war during his 2016 run for the presidency.

The interview’s main discussion focuses on how to pay for Medicare for All. Any anti-war activist will immediately point out what Saikat Chakrabarti came close to talking about:

The other piece here is healthcare is in a crisis situation in our
country right now. We saw life expectancy start to tip downward last
year. In a lot of parts of the country, life expectancy has been going
downward over the past decade. If we had other crises … If North Korea
bombed us right now, and that was the crisis, we wouldn’t be debating
how are we going to pay for the fact that we’re at war. After the Wall
Street crash happened, we didn’t debate too long before giving giant
bailouts to Wall Street. So I think that’s how we need to be
prioritizing healthcare in this country. We need to create the system
that’s going to provide quality healthcare to everybody. Then yeah, we
figure out how to deal with if some costs are going to go up.

But we are at war in many other countries and we ought to question why and we ought to note that we seem to have trillions to spend for those wars. So not only is how to pay for Medicare for All a foregone conclusion — we stop warring and use budgeted money to pay for Medicare for All instead — the same answer also can be used for other national crises we already have:

– jobs — we need a national jobs program to improve, maintain, and build needed infrastructure (roads, bridges, water pipes, and establish a national fibre-to-the-door Internet system)

– high speed Internet access — we need a national program so everyone gets highspeed Internet access which is no longer optional or wise to entrust to the commercial sector.

– end homelessness — buy them homes, give them the bought homes. No Cabrini Greens, buy ordinary single person and small family homes and simply give them to the homeless.

– end “food deserts” — we should run farms that grow food we can all have at very low cost.

– and more, I’m sure there are plenty of things we could scale to a national size that address very real concerns for one or a few billion dollars. Who knows, we might end up with a world of people that like us more, trust us more, and want to work with us more.

I wrote:

US party politics

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiACyJDuRmo — “Draft Bernie” campaigner says “This is not an effort to create a third party necessarily. Our system only permits two parties. This is an effort, rather, to replace the Democratic Party with a party that represents the progressive populous left” as Nick Brana, organizer of “The People’s Convergence” says at 2m18s. This group invited Bernie Sanders, were let down because Sanders was a no-show, and somehow push for their issues. But this is confusing because the https://draftbernie.org/ website has a quote from Josh Fox, documentarian, saying “When people aren’t represented, new parties are born… We need to say to Bernie, ’It’s time to distance yourself from the Democrats and to start something new and we’re behind you to do that.” giving people the idea that draftbernie.org is about starting a new party.

The site also describes their mission:

Our Mission

The Draft Bernie for a People’s Party campaign aims to channel the
enthusiasm generated by the Sanders campaign into building a new
political party.

There’s a new chapter of this:

– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7_0ReKPyr0 — Bernie Sanders introduced a new single-payer healthcare bill.

– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjnI_09GK1k shows Nick Brana saying his group, draftbernie.org, wants to “Draft Bernie for a People’s Party” (50s). So contrary to what this same guy said not days ago (quoted above), he’s now back to agreeing with his website’s language.

I wrote:

I am not convinced that they know what they want or what they’re doing. This could be a Bernie Sanders-driven campaign to ultimately go with whatever the Democrats want come election time.

Given what’s in the latter video, I stand by this.

I am also highly suspicious that this is all a front to bring people into the Democratic Party while that party does nothing different because of one thing Brana pointed out in this interview: (2m30s)

We spoke earlier today on your radio show, and what I mentioned is when
Democrats get full control even, really their promises when they sign on
to ‘Medicare for All’ it’s empty, it’s hollow. Because you look at the
states, you look at the area of the country where they do have full
control of the legislature and they actually don’t support it [Medicare
for All], they don’t pass it. Kamala Harris, for example, she just
signed on in a very public way to Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All bill
but why doesn’t she support it in California? In the state, as RoseAnn
de Moro has pointed out, where it could actually pass?

Harris’ work is the next evolution of opposing ‘Medicare for All’ for Democrats. We’ve been through other stages and they’ve all run their course:

– people like Hillary Clinton flatly declaring (sans evidence) Medicare for All not viable politically (for reasons she won’t discuss)

– trying out an HMO plan with a “public option” that is no substitute for Medicare for All, and then making sure the public option vanishes (remember the healthcare delivery hearings Sen. Baucus hosted?). These plans (whether rooted in Republican or Democratic Party) are written by the HMOs so they’re always favorable to the HMOs.

– ignoring the issue. So what if the ACA/ObamaCare leaves people out and charges some of the poor more than they can afford? So what if the most vocal proponents for ObamaCare aren’t on it? We should settle for ObamaCare and leave it alone, even though like all HMO-based plans, we can’t pay enough to keep up with HMO greed. So eventually all HMO-based plans fail to work for the public that can afford to be on them.

– acknowledging that Medicare for All is best but we just can’t have it because (again, for no good reason) we must always take “an incremental approach” to healthcare delivery. Hillary Clinton likes this too as it is an effective means of pushing off what she and most of Congress really doesn’t want — Medicare for All — which threatens their campaign funding.

All the while, we’ve known for decades that Medicare for All is the right and proper approach to solve some (not all) practical medical delivery problems. We know that medical care as a right is the ethical and just way to handle this, not looking at medical care as a “market” issue or something only the wealthy should get.

Unions large and small all know that Medicare for All is the right approach; it’s always been viable politically with the people, affordable, and scales well.

The interview with Leo Gerard, International President of United Steelworkers, in this same video around 3m06s is well worth watching because Gerard explains why workers voted for Trump’s electors. This is a critical point the MSM and Democrats don’t want to admit or discuss: they can’t afford to insult Trump voters without looking like asses, and they can’t afford to lose these workers as viewers (MSM TV is dying and MSM respect is vanishing). So MSM can’t admit “Candidate Trump said the things that workers wanted to believe. He was the first person, as one person told me, I was hand-billing at a gate, [and the guy said ‘you know me well, Leo] I don’t want that [handbill], I said ‘Why?’ he said ‘I’m gonna vote for Trump.’ I said ‘You know Trump’s not telling you what he’s really gonna do.’ and he said ‘Yeah, but he’s the only one who’s been talking about it for years.'” (3m42s).

Gerard’s point here echoes what you’ve been saying about Candidate Trump’s anti-empire/war talk (and the noticeable shift to continuing Obama’s wars).

A recent Netflix promotion features Netflix stars in character threatening death for one and one’s family for illicitly sharing copies of “Narcos”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfhK1HnPIe8 has the video.

https://torrentfreak.com/narcos-cali-cartel-threatens-to-kill-illegal-downloaders-170912/ covers this unusual promotion — actors from the show in their Narcos characters addressing the camera directly to say horrible things to the viewer.

Narcos is a TV show about drug traffickers. The lead characters are thugs; drug dealers and murderers.

From https://torrentfreak.com/narcos-cali-cartel-threatens-to-kill-illegal-downloaders-170912/

“Do you think we’re like Hadopi? Do you think we’re going to send you a
nice and polite letter first? Please, sir / madam, could you please not
illegally download Narcos? We don’t do courtesy letters.”

“There is no please, no por favor, no s’il vous plait,” Pepe adds.

Finally, the big boss chimes in delivering the final threat. People who
continue to download or point others to “shitty” websites with pop-ups
that offer Narcos for free, can expect to meet the bullet.

“There’s bullets for you, your family, and all the people you send to
watch Narcos on all those shitty websites full of questionable pop-ups,”
Gilberto says.

Unlike the TorrentFreak.com article’s author, I didn’t find the Netflix piece amusing. I got the joke, but I found it somewhat more than a joke because the actors are addressing the audience directly, breaking the fourth wall makes it seem like Netflix is using the characters to talk to the public. I also recall that “The IT Crowd” did it better and without telling its audience that sharing copies of “The IT Crowd” would be met with murders.

I don’t think Netflix is actually pursuing murdering people who share copies of its copyrighted shows, but I also don’t think it is a very respectful way to motivate a would-be customer by telling them they and their family will die if they share copies of Narcos (and presumably other Netflix shows).

It reminds me of the over-the-top intro shown in cinemas where the narrator says things like “You wouldn’t steal a car. You wouldn’t steal a handbag. You wouldn’t steal a television. You wouldn’t steal a DVD. Downloading pirated films is stealing.” (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNaPAmceFOo). Not only is copyright infringement not theft, but they’re also showing this to the wrong audience: people who have paid to see the movie!

A British sitcom called “The I.T. Crowd” parodied this MPAA promo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALZZx1xmAzg) years ago and had an increasingly unlikely and mean series of actions showing things “You wouldn’t” do and ended with an FBI agent shooting a young person dead as they were downloading something on their computer (presumably illicitly downloading a copy of a movie). The victim’s blood filled their keyboard, and the live audience clearly understood this to be a joke because it was so beyond the pale. I don’t think anyone genuinely believed any copyright holder would use a threat of death to push an anti-sharing message.

The artists get there first, right?

I’ll have something for you on Thomas Frank’s multi-part interview with TheRealNews.com’s Paul Jay. But for now…

War: weapons deals

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWShuIxpU0I — Turkey buys Russian S-400 missile system

War: DPRK

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K52R0QjsAjU — Seoul celebrates new DPRK sanctions
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47bkRVvg-5Y — DPRK sanctions said to be “unprecedented” in scope. Each new revision of sanctions seem to be more severe than the last. China & Russia, meanwhile, offer the ‘double freeze’ initiative the US’ Nikki Haley rejected out of hand.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUbPp1CO-18 — DPRK responds to sanctions saying they “will cause pain and suffering”. I think they’re right, on both sides, but DPRK has shown they can get around the sanctions. See “The Propaganda Game” (2015) for evidence of HP computer workstations in a DPRK computer lab, for instance, and see how Alejandro Cao de Benos, the sole foreigner who works for the DPRK Government, laughs at the sanctions present then. Pres. Putin has also warned against people believing “military hysteria” about DPRK. Putin also called the US sanctions “useless and ineffective”.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbPZ3hZ5mLI — US wants regime change and using nukes as excuse — John Pilger
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahYcff_tvb8 — DPRK is not as nuclear capable as we’ve been led to believe by MSM.

Russophobia: NYT & Venezuela

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zsS5NKu784 — NYT runs anti-Trump ad for $200k, nobody complains about it. Meanwhile, there’s a kerfuffle about Facebook accepting money for running Russian ads.

Civil liberties

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U22xPujjMI0 — Watch your civil liberties disappear as Pres. Trump pushes for Congress to reauthorize surveillance law ostensibly to track foreign spies but useful for monitoring citizens domestically as well.

French labor strike

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XV9AusSlOZE — Unions planning to strike against Macron’s labor law reforms
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTDXRF7Vd80 — Rally against Macron’s planned labor reforms
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wM-7yL6gcK4 — Clashes break out at rally against Macron’s planned labor law reforms
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSjgI_qEH9w — Paris anti-labor reform protest

KNOW’S NOTES – SEPTEMBER, WEEK 2
=============================
Research for News from Neptune provided
by Doctor Know (J. B. Nicholson)

I know you’re away but I thought you’d want to skim some notes on how they’re covering some issues in the press. Keep in mind that these topic headings are somewhat arbitrary (DN’s coverage of DACA failing to include HRC’s history is public relations (PR) with the Democratic Party and its donors to DN; rewriting history benefits the rewriters).

War: More nukes in South Korea

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2mYploYFQU — not new for S. Korea,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6gQCMj5qkM — and this is a “big mistake” — author

War: Syria

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhJ1bW2DeUw — War: “No compelling evidence” that Assad used chemical weapons in Syria

DACA/immigration

https://www.democracynow.org/2017/9/6/meet_cesar_espinosa_after_surviving_harvey
https://www.democracynow.org/2017/9/7/trumps_hurricane_of_hate
https://www.democracynow.org/2017/9/6/headlines/trump_admin_rescinds_daca_program_sparking_widespread_protests

There’s plenty of pro-DACA coverage on DN these days, but no coverage that 2014 Hillary Clinton said the immigrants had to go (as is covered in the last of the above links). I’ll expand on the claims made in that RT “The Resident” piece below:

HRC 2014 (circa her previous book ‘Hard Choices’): “They should be sent back as soon as it can be determined who responsible adults and their families are because there are concerns about whether all of them can be sent back but I think all of them who can be should be reunited with their families…We have to send a clear message: just because your child gets across the border that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay. We don’t want to send a message that is contrary to our laws or will encourage more children to make that dangerous journey.” in a CNN interview with Christiane Amanpour — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KH8wp_Igx68 (1m11s)

HRC 2017 (selling her new book ‘What Happened’): “No time to waste – we’ve got to fight with everything we’ve got to #DefendDACA.” — https://twitter.com/HillaryClinton/status/904549571602341888

Who benefits from not telling the public about HRC’s flip-flop? And whose interests are DN working for by not covering this?

I find no article on democracynow.org that has the words “clinton” near “daca” from the year 2017. There are 3 hits on “clinton daca” in 2017 as I write this but none have to do with talking about Hillary Clinton’s reversal, calling her a racist (like today’s anti-Trumpers are calling Trump a racist), or anything critical about her with regard to disallowing the children who were brought here illegally by their parents (the so-called “dreamers”).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8ZZhkK7KfQ — Canada backtracks on promise to allow immigrants.

US party politics

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiACyJDuRmo — “Draft Bernie” campaigner says “This is not an effort to create a third party necessarily. Our system only permits two parties. This is an effort, rather, to replace the Democratic Party with a party that represents the progressive populous left” as Nick Brana, organizer of “The People’s Convergence” says at 2m18s. This group invited Bernie Sanders, were let down because Sanders was a no-show, and somehow push for their issues. But this is confusing because the https://draftbernie.org/ website has a quote from Josh Fox, documentarian, saying “When people aren’t represented, new parties are born… We need to say to Bernie, ’It’s time to distance yourself from the Democrats and to start something new and we’re behind you to do that.” giving people the idea that draftbernie.org is about starting a new party.

The site also describes their mission:

Our Mission

The Draft Bernie for a People’s Party campaign aims to channel the
enthusiasm generated by the Sanders campaign into building a new
political party.

I am not convinced that they know what they want or what they’re doing. This could be a Bernie Sanders-driven campaign to ultimately go with whatever the Democrats want come election time.

PR

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfBTHQ3VMzA — is the MSM prepping us for war? Yes. MSM has no time for Korean War explanation because that gets in the way of pitching Kim Jong-un as a ‘madman’. Double-freeze acceptable to other major parties (Russia, China, DPRK) but not US.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ki6r08tQu7g — Is Hollywood prepping us for war? Yes. Another factor not mentioned in this report is covered in the documentary “This Film Not Yet Rated” where we learn of the biases in the rating system which make violence more accessible to younger viewers than sex or nudity. Why? To help train the youth that fighting wars is normal and young people should want to go out and kill for America.

Jesse Ventura (former pro wrestler, former mayor, former governor) has a TV show again — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoIC4iOwnyk is the first episode of the new show called “The World According to Jesse”. It’s worth watching.

He’s working with Brigida Santos (who is quickly pulling herself out of doing tech promo spots by doing more serious talk on shows and pieces of her own, which is refreshing).

Ventura is explicitly pitching peace with Russia (gasp!), pointing out the hypocrisy in the US trying to shame Russia for interfering with elections, naming names (Ed Schultz, for example, is a guest on show #1 and has rightly named CNN as a problem when it comes to using unnamed sources), telling people that healthcare and jobs are big issues not Russia’s alleged (and unproven) “hacking” of the US election, and telling people that there are 6 sources of news because of media consolidation.

Russophobia & war

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xQSZtHMERQ — In what might be her best commentary to date, “The Resident” remarks on why she voted for Obama’s electors and how she was let down when she saw Obama escalate wars and placate the compliant pro-war MSM.

Now there’s a Kickstarter to fund “Burying Joe: The Animated Series” featuring cartoon versions of Obama & Biden. Who is the audience for this? Anyone who wants “an animated adult sci-fi sitcom” that riffs on ‘Quantum Leap’ and other 1980s shows “for people who intensely miss the duo [of Biden and Obama]”.

I’m not sure whether to file this under “war” or “Russophobia” because I think there’s good arguments to place it under either heading (and, really, the Russophobic attacks pose a long-term threat of fomenting war with Russia).

War: it’s important to remind people, as she did, of what hell awaits them should they be on the receiving end of US foreign policy.

Russophobia: You know just from reading the summary/pitch that this is another MSM anti-Trumpsterism, taunting him into being as at least as compliant with the Permanent Government’s war agenda as Obama was. That’s the only TV MSM makes these days. I guess nobody bothered to remind them how bad the reruns will look after the Trump administration is in the rearview mirror and people are warmly looking back on it as Ellen DeGeneres did when she invited unprosecuted war criminal G.W. Bush on her show (dancing with him, sharing a joke about mishandling a poncho during Trump’s inauguration, taking a selfie with a jovial caption, pimping his art book, and all with absolutely no word of criticism about the killings he oversaw and ordered). That Ellen, what a rib tickler, eh?

Syria

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhJ1bW2DeUw — Ted Postol minces no words: “There simply is no compelling evidence [Assad used chemical weapons]. There are some indications that some people may have been poisoned by sarin or sarin-like substances, which of course is a nerve agent, but that doesn’t mean this was part of a chemical attack by the Assad government. We know that the rebels have had these chemicals…”.

Healthcare

Regarding https://theintercept.com/2017/09/07/elizabeth-warren-jumps-on-board-bernie-sanders-medicare-for-all-bill/ :

Sanders said in March that he would follow through on his long-held
support for single-payer insurance by introducing a bill extending
Medicare-like coverage to achieve universal health care. The bill, which
is still being crafted, is due to be unveiled Wednesday

I’ve been one to point out how Sens. Sanders, Warren, Franken, and others who one might believe support Medicare for All (HR676, tell your friends) have yet to introduce a senate version (say, SR676). There’s plenty of talk but no action on rallying any Congressmember (even fellow Democrats) and certainly no vote.

I’ve used the lack of urgency on this issue as a measuring stick to see how much they actually walk the talk. And so far I’ve been neither surprised nor interested in supporting these allegedly ‘good’ senators or the Democratic Party as a whole. The Republican Party is no good on this either, locally or nationally.

I’m not changing my position on this until I read whatever bill comes out and have time to think it over. But I note that if Pres. Trump decides to run for re-election, he could probably greatly increase his odds of winning if he were to push Republicans and Democrats to bring him the current Medicare for All bill ready to sign into law, and then sign it into law.

This isn’t as far-fetched as the MSM anti-Trumpers might have you believe: his candidacy featured the only supportive mention of a single-payer healthcare delivery system (just as his candidacy was unusual in being the last one in decades to challenge US war policy). Hillary Clinton’s mention was dismissive basically congratulating Canada for their single-payer system and reaffirming (sans evidence, as is the way with her) that we in the US can’t have nice things like that. In her upcoming book “What Happened” she also declares other things Bernie Sanders mentions as being simply politically impossible.

Sens. Warren, Sanders, and Franken should not inspire hope on this: they are fine with more war (including helping Israel kill and divide Palestinians). Death and misery don’t push these Senators toward better policy choices.

I await the Senate bill.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHNogXdUcaw — Yemen: The Neglected War — Anya Parampil’s segment makes it clear that US is culpable: US equipment, US-supplied information, and “US taxpayer dollars are the greatest enabler of the crisis” (8m54s). If you’re looking for something to run after AOTA, consider this roughly 30m piece.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSiOdpi6gjY — Yemen’s humanitarian crisis is ‘worst in the world’: 17M people are food insecure. Water expected to run out by 2025. 3M internally displaced (including 1M returnees).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJEoC_Cpzs0 — Drone footage of Raqqa.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tk7hPWP5UTg — DPRK & US posturing and preparing for war.

Democrats can’t get enough censorship…so long as they’re the censor

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSxlVf4yHtU — New HRC-backed social media site — verrit.com — (seemingly only for those who support HRC) suffers DDOS attack on launch. Why does this site exist? Because the Dems apparently don’t currently have enough power over Twitter or Facebook to effectively censor them. This new service is rife with the usual hypocrisy you’ve come to expect from HRC. verrit.com will fail because it’s obviously a half-assed corporate attempt to control what others are seen to be talking about, and because the Dems will never put as much money into this effort as other sites with more features have (such as Facebook & Twitter). verrit.com is too little, too blatant, and too late.

Fittingly, verrit.com is cached by CloudFlare, the organization whose CEO initially championed freedom of speech and CloudFlare neutrality among its customers (“we’re just the plumbers…”) and then when faced with a real case where they were challenged to react recently said he had “woken up in a bad mood” and “kicked [the Daily Stormer] off the internet”. Perhaps CloudFlare traded in a small customer that was unlikely to generate a lot of profit (Daily Stormer) for a larger customer CloudFlare could bill more heavily (Verrit) while CloudFlare simultaneously demonstrated their bona fides to the Democrats?

I was watching https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03sVndrjyGo and around 12m43s Larry Summers says that his group (Bernie Sanders’ org) “Our Revolution” moved “several” of the Democrats likely to vote for TPP and that “Obama let it go and Trump put icing on the cake” to get US support for TPP killed. He pointed out that “it wasn’t Trump who killed the TPP it was a mass movement…” that killed TPP.

I get that new groups want to show they’re effective and a force to be reckoned with, hence you get Summers saying “Our Revolution” was a significant reason TPP died. But what is to be gained by denying credit to Trump for playing any role in killing TPP?

I recall great opposition to the TPP amongst those who knew anything about it, regardless of what they thought about the 2016 election. I don’t recall a lot of people supporting Clinton believing that she was likely to sign the TPP. Trump made campaign pledges saying he would not support TPP.

Could it be that one practical way for those opposed to TPP to express such opposition was to vote for the one candidate opposed to TPP who also had the best chance to win the election — Trump?

http://g-2.space/thenation/

The article doesn’t challenge the main thrust of the critique of what the Dems say was a “hack” (external break-in). What happened with the DNC emails continues to look a lot more like a leak (inside job) than a “hack”.

Despite months of waiting, the Dems never put together a plausible story with enough detail to be believed when they claimed up to 1,000 foreign adversaries working from Russia, under the direct coordination of Vladimir Putin, had done anything the Dems alleged. We’d need network logs showing when something was done, we’d need to know the names of individuals involved in the conspiracy besides Putin, and we have none of this information. The Dems put out enough fear, uncertainty, and doubt to let people suspect Russia was up to no good and these oh-so-crafty Russians did something technical to spirit away a copy of emails to WikiLeaks.

Instead, the McGovern group (Ray McGovern has been the chief spokesperson on RT for this) says that copy speeds alleged to be used are far greater than what would have been available to the DNC at the time — about 184Mb/s (megabits per second) — which exceeds what networking was available to the DNC at the time. The Freitas independent review commissioned by The Nation for no fee concurs with McGovern’s group and a pseudonymous researcher named “The Forensicator”.

Also, we don’t have any data backing up the DNC’s initial story: no data showing a network connection was involved (“there is no metadata showing they were downloaded from any specific server, on any specific network, or in any specific geographic location” as another party commissioned by The Nation for no fee said). This helps explain why nobody (particularly the Dems who have the responsibility to back their own case) can come up with logs showing evidence of a network connection between the DNC server and someplace in Russia.

Now that the Dems have moved on to another story (Trump’s business dealings with Russia are suspect) I suspect the Dems are silently coming to grips with being found out. They’re not changing their politics — they’re just as war-loving and corporate-power-favoring as ever — but they see that there’s not much life left in the old Russiagate so they had better try to steer Russiagate into a new story to distract the country further and buy them some more time.

More details on specific points:

I understand that Katrina vanden Heuvel (editor & publisher of The
Nation) and her husband have both come under pressure from elements
within the Democratic party and mainstream media with some political
attack dogs already snarling their names and trying to make things
personal – so I’m not surprised to see how things have turned out.

I’ve seen far more outlets never acknowledge anything that contradicts the official original narrative of “Up to 1,000 coordinated Russians ‘hacked’ the US election under the direct guidance of Vladimir Putin.” as was stated by HRC, Mark Warner, James Clapper, and others backing the Dems case in the media (MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow most notably because she got mainstream media notice for her ratings boost).

None of them seem to know what a botnet is, by the way. A botnet is a set of network-connected computers doing something under coordination via a surreptitiously-installed program. Typically this involves taking advantage of a security flaw to covertly install a program on a computer (rendering that computer compromised) and then using that computer to send messages somewhere to achieve some end. This has some relation what sysadmins call “endpoint management” except (like the difference between ‘compound’ and ‘estate’ in media descriptions of someone’s home) the difference aims to lend the impression of Bad Things are Happening (in the case of a “botnet”) versus Good Things are Happening (“endpoint management”).

The g-2.space article goes into a review of RSIDs without first explaining what they are[1] to the uninitiated (the author of the article says “I’ve emailed Katrina vanden Heuvel and have asked for this mistake to be corrected” but I doubt Katrina vanden Heuvel knows what RSIDs are because they never come up in common computer usage and I don’t know vanden Heuvel to be a technical user). But the problem with the feedback is that RSIDs aren’t a terribly important part of the underlying counter-argument from Binney, Folden, Loomis, McGovern, and Wiebe nor the Freitas independent review group The Nation asked to look into this and report (without fee). We all understand that the CIA can manipulate metadata to throw off investigators (one of WikiLeaks’ “Vault 7” releases — https://wikileaks.org/vault7/#Marble%20Framework — was about just this topic).

The relevant factors include copying speeds, network speed on the relevant network at the time, who had access to what data, commonly-available hardware (namely a USB thumb drive), and fleshing out a story that makes more sense than what was given are the important parts of their objection.

[1] The term “RSID” I’m familiar with are “Reed-Solomon identification codes”: codes used to help identify bad data in some set of data and (ideally) correct the errant data. Even if the data in the file is slightly corrupted, an RSID can help identify which data is bad and possibly help correct it. DVDs, Blu-ray discs, and some file formats use them for error checking and correcting purposes.

KNOW’S NOTES – SEPTEMBER, WEEK 1
=============================
Research for News from Neptune provided
by Doctor Know (J. B. Nicholson)

It’s the story that WILL NOT DIE. Roughly in order of occurrence:

Hillary Clinton spectacularly loses the 2016 US presidential election to someone her supporters had long branded a horrible buffoon, his supporters “deplorables”. Her campaign team apparently thought so little of Trump’s candidacy that the Clinton camp wanted to go up against (Trump was on a short list of preferred candidates).

On Dec. 30, 2016 the Obama administration expelled 35 Russian diplomats over alleged “election meddling”. In response, on the same day, Pres. Putin invited US diplomats’ children in Russia to a New Years party in the Kremlin.

Months of that “Russia ‘hacked’ the US election” narrative persisted despite any evidence showing the story to be true. US talking heads on TV made a lot of money pushing those lies, but no proof has materialized to back up any of the claims:

– Russians “hacked” the US election
– Russians worked under the direct orders of Vladimir Putin himself
– Alleged “hacking” constituted conversing with others on social media networks (whether truthfully or untruthfully)
– Alleged “hacking” constituted breaking into the DNC’s computers remotely over the Internet and copying emails, then getting copies of said emails to WikiLeaks.

– The 1,000 points of light? Or paid Internet trolls?

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia): “What really concerns me [are reports] there were upwards of 1,000 paid internet trolls working out of a facility in Russia, in effect taking over a series of computers which are then called botnets that can generate news down to specific areas” — from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/russian-trolls-fake-news_us_58dde6bae4b08194e3b8d5c4

James Clapper, Dir. National Intelligence: “This was a multifaceted campaign. So the hacking was only one part of it, and it also entailed classical propaganda, disinformation, fake news.” — in http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2017/01/05/russia_used_fake_news_to_influence_the_election_james_clapper_says.html You remember James Clapper, the guy who told us the NSA wasn’t spying on us.

Hillary Clinton at the “Code Conference” on May 31, 2015: “If you look at Facebook, the vast majority of the news items posted were fake. They were connected to — as we now know — the 1,000 Russian agents who were involved in delivering those messages. They were connected to the bots that are just out of control.” — in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgdJlzuaJ6k

Meanwhile one election appears to have been fraudulently handled: the 2016 US Democratic Party primary, leading to the victory of Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. Sanders himself knew this was going on and told people on TV (but he received very little media coverage no matter what he did). Sanders supporters revolted at Clinton’s DNC rally and apparently some of them didn’t vote for her the general election. Sanders supporters tried to sue and recently had their case thrown out. But one useful statement came out of this lawsuit: we all learned that the DNC has no obligation to hold a fair primary. As their lawyer Bruce Spiva clearly indicated to the court (in http://jampac.us/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/042517cw2.pdf pages 36-37), they could choose their standard bearer (a corporate officer, since the DNC is a corporation) amongst DNC elites by going “into back rooms like they used to and smoke cigars and pick the candidate that way. That’s not the way it was done. But they could have. And that would have also been their right”.

Circa August 2017: The Plot Changes!

Old plot: Using hazily described methods, Russia (under the direct command of Putin himself) ordered upwards of 1,000 “hackers” to steer the US election to Donald Trump.

Evidence of old plot: none yet, but there is counter-evidence that the DNC emails were leaked to WikiLeaks from actors INSIDE the DNC using some local means such as a USB port and a USB thumb drive to copy the data, not, as was alleged by those backing the old plot, copied by Russians over the Internet. This raises interest in the murder of Seth Rich, a technically astute DNC worker who had access to relevant servers and was mysteriously murdered in what was said to be a robbery. The problem with that story: nothing was stolen from his body.

New plot: Pres. Trump’s businesses are a means for Russian mobsters to launder money.

Evidence of new plot: none yet, stay tuned!

This weekend:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqMZB6nefqs — mysterious smoke rising from Russian consulate in San Francisco. RT says San Francisco fire dept. says this is a “false alarm”.

Russian consulate in DC forcibly emptied (apparently illegally in violation of intl. law) and being searched starting at 2PM DC time.

More reports/reaction on this:


State Dept. conducts search of DC Russian trade mission. SF Russian consulate (including diplomats’ flats) will also be searched.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KApwpwxnYGY — Annie Machon, former MI5 member, clarifies that Trump administration is under pressure to be mean to Russians, Trump admin. under greater pressure to get Julian Assange to the US. This could have ugly consequences for Edward Snowden too as Maria Zakharova (Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson) says “We reserve the right for retaliatory actions. However, this is not our choice. It has been forced upon us.”.

There is acknowledgement that Pres. Trump likely doing this under pressure from those who want aggression against Russia (so-called ‘Deep State’).

All of this happens while Pres. Trump says in speeches that he wants better relations with Russia, and Russians heads of state concur saying the same about the US. But there’s this illegal and highly provocative pair of expulsions to deal with, the apparently ongoing Russia-baiting of what has come to be called “Russiagate” and it’s utter lack of evidence plus changing storyline, and absolutely no apologies given for abandoning the previous storyline when counter-evidence is published.

So, why is the Permanent Government investing further in Russiagate?

– to sow fear of Russia for future exploitation ostensibly justifying war with Russia.

– if they give up on it, they’ll look really bad and that could come back to haunt the entirety of the Democratic Party at any election nationwide, particularly in light of the counter-evidence described above debunking their first story.

– to get Assange into the US so he can be tortured and imprisoned without charge for the rest of his life. This would hardly be the first pack of lies used to get at Assange: remember the allegations of sexual misconduct that never rose to being charges (even after the women alleged to be the victims didn’t back the story that they were abused or raped)?

– to push Snowden into running where he is more easily captured by US-friendly forces, and then tortured and imprisoned for the rest of his life.

– and because repeating the first lies (“Russia ‘hacked’ the US elections”) have paid some (albeit minor) dividends:

– So many (pardon the language) “leftist” news reporters are buying it. Even Democracy Now is on record having uncritically published stuff that comes from this — such as https://www.democracynow.org/2017/8/2/explosive_lawsuit_white_house_fox_peddled — a discussion of Seth Rich’s murder which is said to be a “peddled conspiracy” even though the story that Rich used his insider access to help get those emails to WikiLeaks is far more plausible than anything DN has ever said. DN never bothers explaining why think Rich’s murder has nothing to do with getting DNC emails to WikiLeaks. Remember when Allan Nairn said in a DN interview with Assange, “Trump and the intelligence and the deep state is a spat, not a struggle” when Nairn was trying to minimize the perceived fight between the President and the “Deep State”‘s push for regime change wars in https://www.democracynow.org/2017/4/10/julian_assange_vs_allan_nairn_did ? If that were a “spat” wouldn’t it likely be over by now because nobody involved wanted to push it further? I think it was a fight and remains a fight because the “deep state” keeps pushing for more in this struggle and Pres. Trump is too weak to usefully object.

– Rachel Maddow is getting the highest ratings of her career “seeing a ‘Russia Connection’ lurking around every corner” according to https://theintercept.com/2017/04/12/msnbcs-rachel-maddow-sees-a-russia-connection-lurking-around-every-corner/ and despite that her alleged “scoop” about a fake NSA document was nothing (see https://theintercept.com/2017/07/07/rachel-maddows-exclusive-scoop-about-a-fake-nsa-document-raises-several-key-questions/). A “nothing burger” as Van Jones of CNN said when he didn’t know he was being recorded.

I wrote:

Regarding https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgOPIUIhhCs (the first few Q&A segments of it, anyhow):

Looks like I’m not the only one to notice that corporate comedy doesn’t identify what’s wrong.

Enjoy some “Free Speech Friday” pointers before you head off to China:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYLaACqOakw — on how South Park’s animators won’t join the corporate “left” in making anti-Trump jokes. The host doesn’t identify much more than what she finds objectionable and supportable in South Park, but she does mention Colbert by name. I take this to be a follow-up to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQwe4xD5wxU which is the same host talking about how Jimmy Fallon was scolded by his media bosses for not joining what she calls ‘the hive mind’ on anti-Trumpism. I too loathe Fallon — I find him unwatchable — and I find the other late-night shows to be unwatchable as well. But I also find “The Resistance” to be bullshit aimed at getting us to put corporate values in charge.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ojf4sIG9dSI — Lionel on how the US never wanted a free press.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzFe9IxoHZw — Spanish journalists deported from Ukraine, accused of ‘fake news’.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zD5VW_z6pG0 — Journalist fired for exposing how the CIA ran weapons to ‘terrorists’.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4Q5XVk3te4 — Google scandal exposes DC pay-for-play. There’s plenty to dislike in this exchange: Google is a spying organization that rolls out services to better spy on its users; government connections in this work are critical. Years ago we were told that Google gives (gratis) collected data to the US Govt. to help grease the skids of good relations with the US. It’s no surprise that the head of the “New America Foundation” is tight with the Clintons.

Another related problem: Google’s ranking is politically built, not a fair representation of keyword presence or keyword order (a search order/ranking which would help users). Lynn asserts in https://gizmodo.com/yes-google-uses-its-power-to-quash-ideas-it-doesn-t-li-1798646437 that Google manipulates its search engine rankings by the presence of a Google “+1″ button (akin to a thumbs-up Facebook button) to promote some sites over others that would otherwise have higher ranking:

The Google salespeople were encouraging Forbes to add Plus’s “+1” social
buttons to articles on the site, alongside the Facebook Like button and
the Reddit share button. They said it was important to do because the
Plus recommendations would be a factor in search results—a crucial
source of traffic to publishers.

This sounded like a news story to me. Google’s dominance in search and
news give it tremendous power over publishers. By tying search results
to the use of Plus, Google was using that muscle to force people to
promote its social network.

I asked the Google people if I understood correctly: If a publisher
didn’t put a +1 button on the page, its search results would suffer? The
answer was yes.

After the meeting, I approached Google’s public relations team as a
reporter, told them I’d been in the meeting, and asked if I understood
correctly. The press office confirmed it, though they preferred to say
the Plus button “influences the ranking.” They didn’t deny what their
sales people told me: If you don’t feature the +1 button, your stories
will be harder to find with Google.

I believe they not only do this but also alter rankings based on which sites spread messages Google doesn’t like (BlackAgendaReport.com pages, for instance, get lowered ranking). One can either choose another search engine (I suggest StartPage.com) and/or narrow the search terms by telling the search engine which site’s results you want to see with the keyword “site:” as in “site:NewsFromNeptune.com Chomsky” will return pages on NewsFromNeptune.com that contain the word “Chomsky”.

Lynn wrote something reasonable for the Washington Post in https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/08/31/i-criticized-google-it-got-me-fired-thats-how-corporate-power-works/ which also restates something Chomsky has said before and makes a good wrap-up for this collection of notes.

Lynn wrote:

We should all be worried about big business interfering with our speech,
our thinking and our expression. By design, the private business
corporation is geared to pursue its own interests. It’s our job as
citizens to structure a political economy that keeps corporations small
enough to ensure that their actions never threaten the people’s
sovereignty over our nation. The first and most vital step to this end
is to protect the media we use to communicate with one another from
being captured by a few giants.

I agree with the idea that “it’s our job to make power frightened of us” as Chris Hedges pointed out to a New School crowd before last year’s election in a discussion with Cornel West. Businesses are tyrannies (including the little University down the street) inside and they don’t miss any opportunity to let the workers know that.

So according to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_fdBqISODQ (one of the few places one could get news about the DNC lawsuit), the case has been dismissed. “The Court must now decide whether Plaintiffs have suffered a concrete injury particularized to them, or one certainly impending, that is traceable to the DNC and its former chair’s conduct–the keys to entering federal court. The Court holds that they have not, which means the truth of their claims cannot be tested in this Court.”.

http://jampac.us/dnclawsuit/ has the relevant documents.

http://jampac.us/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/62-D.E.-62-Ord-of-Dismissal-8-25-17.pdf is the order of dismissal.

Look up “Jam PAC” on YouTube for videos.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxq7sQfX7dj4ipVUAR1m7Fg has attorney Beck’s videos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3FMgZruOXE about the lawsuit progress.

You’ll recall what DNC attorney Bruce Spiva told us in http://jampac.us/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/042517cw2.pdf pages 36-37 — the quote we can cite to point out what a fraud Democratic Party primaries are and how other primaries need not be any more democratic:

[I]f you had a charity where somebody said, Hey, I’m gonna take this
money and use it for a specific purpose, X, and they pocketed it and
stole the money, of course that’s different. But here, where you have a
party that’s saying, We’re gonna, you know, choose our standard bearer,
and we’re gonna follow these general rules of the road, which we are
voluntarily deciding, we could have — and we could have voluntarily
decided that, Look, we’re gonna go into back rooms like they used to and
smoke cigars and pick the candidate that way. That’s not the way it was
done. But they could have. And that would have also been their right,
and it would drag the Court well into party politics, internal party
politics to answer those questions.

This lawsuit dismissal sends the message that the DNC can indeed rig its primary so-called “elections” as it wishes, and indeed the DNC lawyer’s words were true. So long as political parties don’t represent themselves as being fair in the implementation of primaries, they may choose whomever they wish to be their representative in the manner they select.

In a completely separate case, DNC campaign staff allege that the DNC won’t pay them overtime they argue they’re due. http://swartz-legal.com/flsa-fairlaborstandarsact/democratic-national-committee-flsa-overtime-lawsuit/ has some info on this from those bringing that lawsuit.

Democracy Now! hasn’t reported on either case. Whose interests are served in that silence?

###

MEMO TO PRAIRIEGREENS: LOCAL DEMOCRAT LEGISLATORS

CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, ILLINOIS
JULY 13, 2015

PART 1 – RACISM

[1.1] Carol Ammons, state representative for this district, has asked to speak to a meeting of the Prairie Greens. Carol refused to vote against SB1761, a shameful measure supporting apartheid by US client Israel. She would not have voted in favor of South African apartheid.

[1.2] The Salaita affair at UIUC shows that Israeli apartheid has a more effective lobby in Illinois than South African apartheid did a generation ago, although both racist regimes were supported by the US government for its own foreign policy purposes.

[1.3] Both our local legislators, Democrat state senator Scott Bennett and Democratic state representative Carol Ammons, refused to vote against Senate Bill 1761. Both were recorded as “NV” – not voting on the measure. It should be clear that they refused to vote against racism.

[1.4] The bill, actively promoted by the government of Israel, directed that state monies (like university pension funds) be removed from companies that observed the boycott of business conducted in the territories illegally occupied by Israel.

[1.5] SB1761 is part of the attack by the government of Israel, repeated across the US, on the BDS (boycott/divestment/sanctions) movement. While the BDS movement is not above criticism, it should lead to a discussion of Israeli apartheid – and its support by our government – and that is what the government of Israel wants to avoid, by the circuitous route of passing laws like SB1761 through US state legislatures. (Compare the resolution – HR35 – passed by the California state legislature, which condemns racism and anti-Semitism at schools in the State of California: it conflates anti-Semitism and protected speech critical of Israel; the University of Illinois is hardly unfamiliar with that stratagem <http://mondoweiss.net/…/california-state-assembly-passes-re…>.)

[1.6] “Within Israel, discrimination against non-Jews is severe; the land laws are just the most extreme example. But it is not South African–style apartheid. In the occupied territories, the situation is far worse than it was in South Africa, where the white nationalists needed the black population: it was the country’s workforce, and as grotesque as the bantustans were, the nationalist government devoted resources to sustaining and seeking international recognition for them. In sharp contrast, Israel wants to rid itself of the Palestinian burden. The road ahead is not toward South Africa, as commonly alleged, but toward something much worse.” [Noam Chomsky]

[1.7] “The Israeli state has never been more violent, the blood toll of Palestinian civilians never so high. In 2014, the Israeli military and security forces killed more than 2,300 Palestinians and wounded another 17,000. That’s the worst carnage since 1967, when the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza intensified in the wake of the Six Day War. During the height of the last Israeli rampage in Gaza last summer, more than 500,000 Palestinians were displaced from their homes. And, according to a recent UN Report titled Fractured Lives, more than 100,000 of them remain homeless. Detentions of Palestinians inside Israeli prisons are also on the rise. As of the end of February of this year, more than 6,600 Palestinians were being held in Israeli prisons and IDF detention centers, the most in five years. So the gears of the killing machine grind on with impunity, each slaughter only serving to embolden more killing.” [J. St. Clair]

 

PART  2 – TAXES

[2.1] After 40 years of accelerating increase in inequality in the US – and the craven surrender of the Democratic party (see Walter Benn Michaels, “The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality,” 2007) – the solution is nevertheless clear enough: tax the possessors of wealth – “high net worth individuals” (HINWIS). In Illinois, the Democrats tried to do that in the last session, with their (limited) “millionaires tax,” but there’s some question how serious they were. But it is the right approach: we should simply distinguish for tax purposes the income people need to live and the income used to play the stock market – “investable assets.”

[2.2] We should resist any proposal to expand property taxes or the sales tax – or to start taxing retirement income. That confuses the two types of income. Illinois is fifth in the list of states with number of people with a net worth of $30 million or more – UHINWIs, “ultra-high net worth individuals” (after CA, NY, TX, and FL). These are the Illinoisans who should be taxed, not those with investable assets less than $1 million.

[2.3] Democratic state senator Scott Bennett and Democratic state representative Carol Ammons held a ‘Joint Town Hall’ rally last Thursday (7/9). They blamed the wretched Governor Rauner for the state’s budget impasse. In fact, it’s entirely in the Democrats’ hands. As Paul Mueth pointed out at the meeting, the Democrats have veto-proof majorities in both houses. They could pass a budget and the taxes – primarily a financial-transactions tax (HB 106) – necessary to fund it. Ammons replied that not all those Democrat votes can be counted on. Thus the Democrats can have it both ways – they can say that they’re in favor of the spending and the taxes, but then allow enough no votes so that they won’t pass. The same thing happened with Speaker Madigan’s ‘millionaires’ tax.’ In both cases the Democrats can tell the public they’re interested in solving the problem – and then quietly show their 1% donors that they won’t do it.

[2.4] “It is absolutely bizarre to live in Illinois and watch the hand wringing and the pitiful cries of the workers and the endless articles on the budget crisis and to NEVER hear a word about HB 106, the solution to the problem. A one dollar tax on each trade on the Chicago Board of Trade, which works out to about one thousandth of one percent tax. Meanwhile, average Illinoisans are paying 8.75% sales tax! But our legislators, our pundits, our union leaders, our media just can’t imagine bringing up HB 106, because rich people are immune to taxes. Screw you, teachers! Screw you, nurses! Screw you, social workers! The rich must be coddled. The Tax That Must Not Be Named – HB 106: Revenue – Financial Transactions” [Paula Densnow].

[2.5] “The Illinois Green Party has long proposed far better answers to our state’s fiscal problems … [They include a financial transactions tax], a sales tax on speculative trading at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Board Options Exchange and other trading houses – a measure that could dramatically raise billions of dollars in new revenue, simply by taxing the sale of options, futures and derivatives at an infinitesimally small rate. Proposals for creation of a public bank, and for implementation of a sales tax on speculation have been introduced by State Representative Mary Flowers, in H.B. 107 and H.B. 106, respectively. The Illinois Green Party urges support for these bills.”
PART 3 – ELECTIONS

[3.1] As the Obama administration drags on to its murderous conclusion, it’s clear that it’s even more neocon (secret war around the world) and more neolib (secret TPP, TTIP, etc.) than its predecessor was. (To be clear, neoliberalism means using the government to secure the profits of the 1%; neoconservatism means using the military to secure the profits of the 1%. Both major parties are of course neoliberal and neoconservative.)

[3.2] The state Democratic party is a continuation of the national party by local means: it is
~ pro-war (not opposing SB 1761 – support for Israeli apartheid = the way the Obama admin. supports its stationary aircraft carrier), and
~ pro-Wall St. (not approving HB 106 – the financial transaction tax = the way to end the state’s fiscal problems).
It’s time to reject pro-war/pro-Wall St. parties and their candidates. We’ve killed a lot of people at home and abroad by not doing so.

[3.3] SB1761 – like a similar measure in Congress – is a law with some teeth. The legislation requires pension funds to stop investing money in foreign companies that have boycotted Israel or businesses that operate in ‘territories under the control of Israel’ [i.e., the territories illegally occupied by Israel]. Illinois should not be shielding Israel from boycotts protesting human rights abuses and settlements that are illegal under international law. (See more at: “Congress and state legislatures are on the warpath against BDS” <http://mondoweiss.net/2015/05/congress-legislatures-against>.)

[3.4] A boycott is a tactic (not a principle) and so must be efficaciously in the interest of the victims, in this case the victims of Israeli apartheid. But the effectiveness of this particular tactic is indicated by the lengths to which the Israeli government (and its US sympathizers) are willing to go to stop it. Even the South African government a generation ago didn’t go so far as to pressure US state legislators to stop boycotts of South African apartheid. Scott Bennett, Carol Ammons, and other Illinois legislators have timidly given in to bullying, aided Israeli oppression, and should be ashamed.

[3.5] Some of our colleagues and comrades in the PrairieGreens think the party should not run candidates in the local legislative elections in 2016, because Bennett [52nd district] and Ammons [103rd district] are liberals. SB 1761 – and the behavior of the Democrats in the legislature in regard to the budget and taxes – argue that not to do so would be a mistake. The Illinois state democrats are Syriza – the latter as tragedy, the former as farce…

[3.6] “The Green Party of the United States (GPUS) is a green political party in the United States founded in 1984 as a federation of state green parties. With its founding, the Green Party of the United States became the primary national Green organization in that country, eclipsing the Greens/Green Party USA, which emphasized non-electoral movement building … The party promotes environmentalism and social justice with policy principles in nonviolence, grassroots democracy and participatory democracy, etc…”

–C. G. ESTABROOK

AWARE ON THE AIR week 22, 2015

 

COMMENCEMENT DAY AT THE ETHICALLY-CHALLENGED UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS, URBANA-CHAMPAIGN

May 16, 2015

A financial writer, Bill Bonner, addresses graduates:

“If you’ve studied the sciences or engineering – especially petroleum engineering, according to a study done by Georgetown University – maybe you’ll be able to earn enough money to pay your student debt. But most of you have wasted your money, with degrees in subjects that won’t help you understand the real world we live in or earn an extra dime in it. Many of you have actually spent the best years of your lives, and borrowed a fortune, to learn things that aren’t true. History, economics, government, politics – for every useful and truthful insight you may have learned, there are probably 100 more that were buried under claptrap.”

The university as we know it predates capitalism. It was invented a thousand years ago in Europe as a means of intellectual control – a system for licensing scholars by the church and the state. In that millennium, many of the greatest European spirits – from Erasmus to Marx – were driven out of the university. Erasmus, in one of his brief stops at a university – Cambridge, in England – writes, “There is a great absence here, everyone being away for fear of the plague. Of course, when everyone is here, there’s a great absence here as well.”

For largely accidental reasons, I’ve been privileged to attend and teach in some of the most prestigious eductional institutions in the US for more than half a century. What have I learnt? The truth of American philosopher John Dewey’s observation from a century ago, which my TV colleague Ron Szoke often quotes:

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”

If I could advise my youthful self at my college commencement, I would begin with, “Stop thinking about tomorrow. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof” – an editorial comment on the Sermon on the Mount from the gospel according to Matthew. (“The same words, in Hebrew, are used to express the same thought in the Rabbinic Jewish saying dyya l’tzara b’shaata (דיה לצרה בשעתה), ‘the suffering of the present hour is enough for it.’ It is also similar to the Epicurean advice of writers such as Anacreon and Horace — quid sit futurum cras, fuge quaerere [avoid asking what the future will bring].”)

I wish I could have taken seriously the revolutionary advice Matthew is commenting on:

‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’

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US policy in the Mideast

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n10/seymour-m-hersh/the-killing-of-osama-bin-laden

After several thousand words detailing Obama’s duplicity and war criminality (and incidentally exposing Obama’s lie that torture ceased in his administration), Hersh astonishingly writes, “His principled stand on behalf of the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran says much…”

It certainly does: it says it’s not “principled” at all but just an attempt to restore the pre-1979 US control of Gulf oil flows, which rested upon a tripod of Saudi Arabia-Israel-Iran – united as US clients.

Since WWII the US has demanded control of (not just access to) Mideast energy resources – which “gives it indirect but politically critical leverage on the European and Asian economies that are also dependent on energy exports from the region” (Brzezinski). That’s what the re-incorporation of Iran (with SA & Israel however grudgingly on board) promises.

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Obama’s lies about the assassination of Osama bin Laden

Seymour Hersh: Obama’s Entire Account Of bin Laden’s Death Is One Big Lie; This Is What Really Happened

The last time famed US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh made news in the global media was with his massive, 5000-word expose from December of 2013 “Whose sarin?” revealing the true motives behind the Syrian near-war of 2013 including what we had said from the very beginning: the very professionally created YouTube clips showing the consequences of what was said to have been an Assad poison gas attack, were nothing but a fake (subsequent reports identified the propaganda source as Rami Abdul Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, whose entire operation has been funded by an unidentified European country.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Catholic bishop: Pro-life groups ‘not really pro-life but merely anti-abortion’

By Eric W. Dolan

Many self-described “pro-life” groups are not really pro-life, one Catholic bishop wrote

The blog post by Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida mainly dealt with accusations raised by the Population Research Institute. The pro-life group has attacked Catholic charities operating in Africa for allegedly providing contraceptives and working alongside family planning groups.

But Lynch also complained about pro-life groups in general.

“I am convinced that many so called Pro-Life groups are not really pro-life but merely anti-abortion,” he wrote.

The bishop observed that pro-life groups were silent about the execution of a severely mentally ill man in Florida. John Ferguson, a 65-year-old paranoid schizophrenic, was executed by the state of Florida via lethal injection last Monday.

“Many priests grow weary of continual calls to action for legislative support for abortion and contraception related issues but nothing for immigration reform, food aid, and capital punishment,” Lynch added.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has stated that ending abortion and euthanasia are primary goals in building a “culture of life” in the country. However, the USCCB has also repeatedly included prohibitions on firearms, abolishment of the death penalty, and strengthening of welfare programs as part of the “culture of life.”

This article, Catholic bishop: Pro-life groups ‘not really pro-life but merely anti-abortion’, is syndicated from Raw Story and is posted here with permission.

“Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it’s from Neptune.” –Noam Chomsky