Anti-War

War Party Hates Putin – Loves al-Qaeda

Anti-War dotcom - 4 hours 32 min ago

In both Yemen and Syria, the War Party has found an ally that they can get behind, you know, one that really supports our values: al-Qaeda. From time to time they have even managed to get President Trump to go along with this nonsense – presumably due to the baleful influence of John Bolton. (See … Continue reading "War Party Hates Putin – Loves al-Qaeda"

The post War Party Hates Putin – Loves al-Qaeda appeared first on Antiwar.com Original.

Categories: Anti-War

What Fareed Zakaria Gets Wrong About Afghanistan: Everything.

Anti-War dotcom - 4 hours 32 min ago

Since when does a (mostly) respected press pundit sound just like an army general? Well, for a while now, in fact. Politicians and reporters will argue viciously about all kinds of issues: immigration, healthcare, race, et al. There’s only one sacred cow that mainstream insiders – both "left" and right – dare not challenge: the … Continue reading "What Fareed Zakaria Gets Wrong About Afghanistan: Everything."

The post What Fareed Zakaria Gets Wrong About Afghanistan: Everything. appeared first on Antiwar.com Original.

Categories: Anti-War

Mr. President: Send Sam Nunn to Moscow

Anti-War dotcom - 4 hours 32 min ago

Nowadays it is hard for anyone much under the age of 50 to imagine, but once upon a time the threat of nuclear war and the prospect of planetary extinction were things people actually worried about. Backyard bomb shelters, duck and cover in the classroom, LBJ’s 1964 “Daisy” ad, apocalyptic books and films like On … Continue reading "Mr. President: Send Sam Nunn to Moscow"

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Categories: Anti-War

CIA Coup-College

Greanville Post - 8 hours 41 min ago
TONY CARTALUCCI—A final note to consider is that CANVAS is on record in Foreign Policy magazine's article "Revolution U," assisting the "Rose Revolution" of Georgia, the "Orange Revolution" of the Ukraine, and is currently working with networks from Belarus, Myanmar (Burma) and 50 other countries. Taking a look at their activities and the overall globalist agenda, it is clear they are involved in regime change that will directly assist the globalists in their encirclement of Russia and China.

Change Agent: Gene Sharp’s Neoliberal Nonviolence (Part One)

Greanville Post - 9 hours 34 min ago
MARCIE SMITH—With the rise of the Reagan-era foreign policy of communist “rollback,” Sharp began promoting “strategic nonviolence” internationally through his Albert Einstein Institution (AEI). Sharp co-founded AEI with his former student Peter Ackerman, who was simultaneously right hand man to the notorious corporate raiding “junk bond king” Michael Milken. Later, Ackerman was a Cato Institute board member and advocate of disemboweling social security.

Cory Booker Hates Public Schools

Greanville Post - 10 hours 52 min ago
ERIC BLANC—One of Booker’s main financial backers, Whitney Tilson, was honest about the profit motivations for large hedge-fund investors like himself. Charter schools, he explained to the New York Times, are the ideal philanthropic opportunity for such business leaders because “[h]edge funds are always looking for ways to turn a small amount of capital into a large amount of capital.”

UAE’s Yemen Troop Withdrawal Follows New Houthi Weapons and Threats of Attack on Dubai

Greanville Post - 11 hours 24 min ago
AHMED ABDULKAREEM—The announcement from the UAE came after Houthi leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi threatened to target vital objectives in Dubai if the UAE continued its involvement in the war against Yemen, according to a statement by a high-ranking source allied with the Saudi-led Coalition, who asked to remain anonymous. On Monday, an unnamed UAE official told the Emirates News Agency that the Gulf state had already pulled out some of its forces from areas including the southern port of Aden and the western coast.

Tomgram: Engelhardt, Is Donald Trump Big Brother?

TomDispatch - 12 hours 54 min ago

I, Winston Smith... I mean, Tom Engelhardt... have not just been reading a dystopian novel, but, it seems, living one -- and I suspect I’ve been living one all my life...

Long Range Attack On Saudi Oil Field Ends War On Yemen

Greanville Post - 13 hours 47 min ago
MoA—The attack conclusively demonstrates that the most important assets of the Saudis are now under threat. This economic threat comes on top of a seven percent budget deficit the IMF predicts for Saudi Arabia. Further Saudi bombing against the Houthi will now have very significant additional cost that might even endanger the viability of the Saudi state. The Houthi have clown prince Mohammad bin Salman by the balls and can squeeze those at will.

Trump starves Venezuela, Democrats are silent

Greanville Post - 15 hours 13 sec ago
AARON MATE—A handful of Democrats – Ilhan Omar, Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, Ro Khanna, and others have opposed regime change in Venezelua – but even then their opposition is tepid, qualified, and rare. Just imagine if that were different: imagine how much harder it would be for Trump, Bolton, and Mike Pompeo to deny food and medicine to millions of Venezuelans if any of their critics in the Democratic Party or on cable news shows would make it an issue. But since this embargo was announced, they’re not even mentioning it.

Trump Wants National Forests to Become Clear-Cut for Lumber

Greanville Post - Sun, 2019-08-18 23:36
If a proposed change in federal land use rules goes through, … [national forests] could see a lot more commercial logging, road building and utility corridors — all without environmental review or public input. “Basically, the rules would take the ‘public’ out of public land management,” said Jamey Fidel, Forest and Wildlife Program Director for the Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC).

War and Environment: New World BEYOND War Podcast Featuring Alex Beauchamp and Ashik Siddique

World Beyond War - Sun, 2019-08-18 21:56

The new episode of the World BEYOND War podcast takes on a vexing question: how can antiwar activists and environmental activists do a better job of supporting each other’s efforts? These two causes are united by urgent concern for our planet and all the life that depends on it. But are we maximizing our opportunities to work together?

To answer this question, your World Beyond War podcast hosts spent an intensive hour talking to two hardworking environmental activists about the work they do every day, as well as the big-picture concerns that motivate them.

Alex Beauchamp is the Northeast Region Director at Food & Water Watch. Based in the Brooklyn, NY office, Alex oversees all organizing efforts in New York and the Northeast. Alex has worked on issues related to fracking, factory farms, genetic engineering, and water privatization at Food & Water Watch since 2009. His background is in legislative campaigning, and community and electoral organizing. Before joining Food & Water Watch, Alex worked for Grassroots Campaigns, Inc., where he worked on several campaigns including organizing support for renewable energy in Colorado, fundraising, and running get-out-the-vote operations.

Ashik Siddique is a research analyst for the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, working on analysis of the federal budget and military spending. He is particularly interested in examining how militarized U.S. domestic and foreign policy interacts with efforts to address long-term societal threats like accelerating inequality and climate change. Prior to joining NPP, Ashik was a founding member and organizer with The Climate Mobilization.

Here are some quotes from this in-depth discussion of two issues that are, or should be, on everybody’s minds:

“People [in the climate movement] are reflexively antiwar … but it feels so enormous and difficult that you get mired in it. It’s the same thing people say about climate change.” – Alex Beauchamp

“It’s very well known that in 2003, the protests against the Iraq War, that was one of the biggest mass protests against war, like, ever. Millions of people were marching against it. But then, nothing happened. It’s an organizing challenge.” – Ashik Siddique

“The daily onslaught of the news cycle is the same in both issues. Every day there’s some truly terrifying climate story, and every day there’s some awful war story somewhere.” – Alex Beauchamp

“When you’re in movement spaces, it’s very easy to focus on what you did wrong, or what other people in the movement did wrong. But we can never understate just how powerful the opposition is – that it’s because of that that we haven’t been as successful as we want to be.” – Ashik Siddique

This podcast is available on your favorite streaming service, including:

World BEYOND War Podcast on iTunes

World BEYOND War Podcast on Spotify

World BEYOND War Podcast on Stitcher

World BEYOND War RSS Feed

The best way to listen to a podcast is on a mobile device via a podcast service, but you can also listen to this episode directly here:

The post War and Environment: New World BEYOND War Podcast Featuring Alex Beauchamp and Ashik Siddique appeared first on World Beyond War . . ..

Categories: Anti-War

Want to Tackle Unemployment? Reduce Military Spending

World Beyond War - Sun, 2019-08-18 20:49

By Nia Harris, Cassandra Stimpson and Ben Freeman, August 8, 2019

From The Nation

A Marilyn has once again seduced a president. This time, though, it’s not a movie star; it’s Marillyn Hewson, the head of Lockheed Martin, the nation’s top defense contractor and the largest weapons producer in the world. In the last month, Donald Trump and Hewson have seemed inseparable. They “saved” jobs at a helicopter plant. They took the stage together at a Lockheed subsidiary in Milwaukee. The president vetoed three bills that would have blocked the arms sales of Lockheed (and other companies) to Saudi Arabia. Recently, the president’s daughter Ivanka even toured a Lockheed space facility with Hewson.

On July 15, the official White House Twitter account tweeted a video of the Lockheed CEO extolling the virtues of the company’s THAAD missile defense system, claiming that it “supports 25,000 American workers.” Not only was Hewson promoting her company’s product, but she was making her pitch—with the weapon in the background—on the White House lawn. Twitter immediately burst with outrage over the White House posting an ad for a private company, with some calling it “unethical” and “likely unlawful.”

None of this, however, was really out of the ordinary as the Trump administration has stopped at nothing to push the argument that job creation is justification enough for supporting weapons manufacturers to the hilt. Even before Donald Trump was sworn in as president, he was already insisting that military spending was a great jobs creator. He’s only doubled down on this assertion during his presidency. Recently, overriding congressional objections, he even declared a national “emergency” to force through part of an arms sale to Saudi Arabia that he had once claimed would create more than a million jobs. While this claim has been thoroughly debunked, the most essential part of his argument—that more money flowing to defense contractors will create significant numbers of new jobs—is considered truth personified by many in the defense industry, especially Marillyn Hewson.

The facts tell a different story.

LOCKHEED LOCKS DOWN TAXPAYER DOLLARS, WHILE CUTTING AMERICAN JOBS

To test Trump’s and Hewson’s argument, we asked a simple question: When contractors receive more taxpayer money, do they generally create more jobs? To answer it, we analyzed the reports of major defense contractors filed annually with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Among other things, these reveal the total number of people employed by a firm and the salary of its chief executive officer. We then compared those figures to the federal tax dollars each company received, according to the Federal Procurement Data System, which measures the “dollars obligated,” or funds, the government awards company by company.

We focused on the top five Pentagon defense contractors, the very heartland of the military-industrial complex, for the years 2012 to 2018. As it happened, 2012 was a pivotal year because the Budget Control Act (BCA) first went into effect then, establishing caps on how much money could be spent by Congress and mandating cuts to defense spending through 2021. Those caps were never fully adhered to. Ultimately, in fact, the Pentagon will receive significantly more money in the BCA decade than in the prior one, a period when the American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were at their heights.

In 2012, concerned that those caps on defense spending would cut into their bottom lines, the five top contractors went on the political offensive, making future jobs their weapon of choice. After the Budget Control Act passed, the Aerospace Industries Association—the leading trade group of the weapons-makers—warned that more than one million jobs would be at risk if Pentagon spending were cut significantly. To emphasize the point, Lockheed sent layoff notices to 123,000 employees just before the BCA was implemented and only days before the 2012 election. Those layoffs never actually happened, but the fear of lost jobs would prove real indeed and would last.

Consider it mission accomplished, since Pentagon spending was actually higher in 2018 than in 2012 and Lockheed received a sizable chunk of that cash infusion. From 2012 to 2018, among government contractors, that company would, in fact, be the top recipient of taxpayer dollars every single year, those funds reaching their zenith in 2017, as it raked in more than $50.6 billion federal dollars. By contrast, in 2012, when Lockheed was threatening its employees with mass layoffs, the firm received nearly $37 billion.

So what did Lockheed do with those additional $13 billion taxpayer dollars? It would be reasonable to assume that it used some of that windfall (like those of previous years) to invest in growing its workforce. If you came to that conclusion, however, you would be sorely mistaken. From 2012 to 2018, overall employment at Lockheed actually fell from 120,000 to 105,000, according to the firm’s filings with the SEC and the company itself reported a slightly larger reduction of 16,350 jobs in the United States. In other words, in the last six years Lockheed dramatically reduced its US workforce, even as it hired more employees abroad and received more taxpayer dollars.

So where is all that additional taxpayer money actually going, if not job creation? At least part of the answer is contractor profits and soaring CEO salaries. In those six years, Lockheed’s stock price rose from $82 at the beginning of 2012 to $305 at the end of 2018, a nearly four-fold increase. In 2018, the company also reported a 9 percent ($590 million) rise in its profits, the best in the industry. And in those same years, the salary of its CEO increased by $1.4 million, again according to its SEC filings.

In short, since 2012 the number of taxpayer dollars going to Lockheed has expanded by billions, the value of its stock has nearly quadrupled, and its CEO’s salary went up 32 percent, even as it cut 14 percent of its American work force. Yet Lockheed continues to use job creation, as well as its employees’ present jobs, as political pawns to get yet more taxpayer money. The president himself has bought into the ruse in his race to funnel ever more money to the Pentagon and promote arms deals to countries like Saudi Arabia, even over the nearly unified objections of an otherwise incredibly divided Congress.

LOCKHEED IS THE NORM, NOT THE EXCEPTION

Despite being this country’s and the world’s top weapons maker, Lockheed isn’t the exception but the norm. From 2012 to 2018, the unemployment rate in the United States plummeted from roughly 8 percent to 4 percent, with more than 13 million new jobs added to the economy. Yet, in those same years, three of the five top defense contractors slashed jobs. In 2018, the Pentagon committed approximately $118 billion in federal money to those firms, including Lockheed—nearly half of all the money it spent on contractors. This was almost $12 billion more than they had received in 2012. Yet, cumulatively, those companies lost jobs and now employ a total of 6,900 fewer employees than they did in 2012, according to their SEC filings.

In addition to the reductions at Lockheed, Boeing slashed 21,400 jobs and Raytheon cut 800 employees from its payroll. Only General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman added jobs—13,400 and 16,900 employees, respectively—making that total figure look modestly better. However, even those “gains” can’t qualify as job creation in the normal sense, since they resulted almost entirely from the fact that each of those companies bought another Pentagon contractor and added its employees to its own payroll. CSRA, which General Dynamics acquired in 2018, had 18,500employees before the merger, while Orbital ATK, which General Dynamics acquired last year, had 13,900employees. Subtract these 32,400 jobs from the corporate totals and job losses at the firms become staggering.

In addition, those employment figures include all company employees, even those now working outside the United States. Lockheed is the only one of the top five Pentagon contractors who provides information on the percentage of its employees in the United States, so if the other firms are shipping jobs overseas, as Lockheed has done and as Raytheon is planning to do, far more than 6,900 full-time US jobs have been lost in the last six years.

Where, then, did all that job-creation money really go? Just as at Lockheed, at least part of the answer is that the money went to the bottom-line and to top executives. According to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, a consulting firm that provides annual analyses of the defense industry, “the aerospace and defense (A&D) sector scored record revenues and profits in 2018” with an “operating profit of $81 billion, surpassing the previous record set in 2017.” According to the report, Pentagon contractors were at the forefront of these profit gains. For example, Lockheed’s profit improvement was $590 million, followed closely by General Dynamics at $562 million. As employment shrank, CEO salaries at some of these firms only grew. In addition to compensation for Lockheed’s CEO jumping from $4.2 million in 2012 to $5.6 million in 2018, compensation for the CEO of General Dynamics increased from $6.9 million in 2012 to a whopping $20.7 million in 2018.

PERPETUATING THE SAME OLD STORY

This is hardly the first time that these companies have extolled their ability to create jobs while cutting them. As Ben Freeman previously documented for the Project On Government Oversight, these very same firms cut almost 10 percent of their workforce in the six years before the BCA came into effect, even as taxpayer dollars heading their way annually jumped by nearly 25 percent from $91 billion to $113 billion.

Just as then, the contractors and their advocates—and there are many of them, given that the weapons-making outfits spend more than $100 million on lobbying yearly, donate tens of millions of dollars to the campaigns of members of Congress every election season, and give millions to think tanks annually—will rush to defend such job losses. They will, for instance, note that defense spending leads to job growth among the subcontractors used by the major weapons firms. Yet research has repeatedly shown that, even with this supposed “multiplier effect,” defense spending produces fewer jobs than just about anything else the government puts our money into. In fact, it’s about 50 percent lesseffective at creating jobs than if taxpayers were simply allowed to keep their money and use it as they wished.

As Brown University’s Costs of War project has reported, “$1 billion in military spending creates approximately 11,200 jobs, compared with 26,700 in education, 16,800 in clean energy, and 17,200 in health care.” Military spending actually proved to be the worst job creator of any federal government spending option those researchers analyzed. Similarly, according to a report by Heidi Garrett-Peltier of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, for every $1 million of spending on defense, 6.9 jobs are created both directly in defense industries and in the supply chain. Spending the same amount in the fields of wind or solar energy, she notes, leads to 8.4 or 9.5 jobs, respectively. As for the education sector, the same amount of money produced 19.2 jobs in primary and secondary education and 11.2 jobs in higher education. In other words, not only are the green energy and education areas vital to the future of the country, they are also genuine job-creating machines. Yet, the government gives more taxpayer dollars to the defense industry than all these other government functions combined.

You don’t, however, have to turn to critics of defense spending to make the case. Reports from the industry’s own trade association show that it has been shedding jobs. According to an Aerospace Industries Association analysis, it supported approximately 300,000 fewer jobs in 2018 than it had reported supporting just three years earlier.

If the nation’s top defense contractor and the industry as a whole have been shedding jobs, how have they been able to consistently and effectively perpetuate the myth that they are engines of job creation? To explain this, add to their army of lobbyists, their treasure trove of campaign contributions, and those think tanks on the take, the famed revolving door that sends retired government officials into the world of the weapons makers and those working for them to Washington.

While there has always been a cozy relationship between the Pentagon and the defense industry, the lines between contractors and the government have blurred far more radically in the Trump years. Mark Esper, the newly minted secretary of defense, for example, previously worked as Raytheon’s top lobbyist in Washington. Spinning the other way, the present head of the Aerospace Industries Association, Eric Fanning, had been both secretary of the Army and acting secretary of the Air Force. In fact, since 2008, as the Project on Government Oversight’s Mandy Smithberger found, “at least 380 high-ranking Department of Defense officials and military officers shifted into the private sector to become lobbyists, board members, executives, or consultants for defense contractors.”

Whatever the spin, whether of that revolving door or of the defense industry’s publicists, the bottom line couldn’t be clearer: If job creation is your metric of choice, Pentagon contractors are a bad taxpayer investment. So whenever Marillyn Hewson or any other CEO in the military-industrial complex claims that spending yet more taxpayer dollars on defense contractors will give a jobs break to Americans, just remember their track record so far: Ever more dollars invested means ever fewer Americans employed.

 

Nia Harris is a Research Associate at the Center for International Policy.

Cassandra Stimpson is a Research Associate at the Center for International Policy.

Ben Freeman is the director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy (CIP)

The post Want to Tackle Unemployment? Reduce Military Spending appeared first on World Beyond War . . ..

Categories: Anti-War

God, Guns and Video Games

Dissident Voice - Sun, 2019-08-18 10:26

The din struck by videos of the gaming variety; its forced causal link (always alleged, never proved) to altering conduct, continues its relentless march across the discussion forums in the United States and beyond.  The almost casual butcheries – actual, not as opposed to digital – have gone on unabated, the next extremist taking a murderous shot at his role in history – and everybody else.  Now it is the white supremacists who are sharing top billing with previous jihadi enthusiasts, a concession on the part of law enforcement authorities that there might be something to say about using the word “terrorist” in an ecumenical sense.

The August 3 shootings at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, left over 30 dead and 53 injured.  The profiles of the shooters were subjected to a less than thorough dissection.  A twenty-one-year old Patrick Crusius had allegedly driven from Dallas-Fort Worth to El Paso in the hope of targeting Mexican immigrants.  For Connor Betts, motives seemed sketchy, though he was noted for having a Twitter account showing much support for Antifa and an interest in “exploring violent ideologies”.  Much is being made of his drug addled state at the time of the shootings.

The taking of sides over the whole calculus of violence took place in a matter of hours.  For those insisting on gun control, lax rules enabling the easy acquisition of weapons of mass lethality were fundamental, with Texas taking the lead.  Racism and xenophobia were also blamed.

For gun worshippers, the culprits were violent celluloid, naughty video games, hideous media.  Even as the casualty lists were being compiled, Fox News host Jon Scott  suggested that the El Paso shooter was merely another youth raised on a diet of violent video games that might propel him to take to guns.

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick speculated that the killings were the bloody realisations of a video game, a desire on the part of the shooter to “be a super soldier, for his Call of Duty game.”  But there was a bit more to that: God’s banishment from society, the one and only deity being cast out for most of the week, unable to exert His moral authority.  “As long as we continue to only praise God and look at God on a Sunday morning and kick him out of the town square in our schools the other six days of the week, what do we expect?”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy claimed on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures that video games dehumanized participants, turning them into insentient zombies.  “We’ve watched studies show what it does to individuals, and you look at these photos and how it took place, you can see the actions within video games and others.”

President Donald Trump, as he did in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school shooting in Parklands, Florida, lamented the “glorification of violence in our society”, which included “the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace.  It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this, and it has to begin immediately.”

The president also had room for that old straw man Fake News which “has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years.  News coverage has got to start being fair, balanced and unbiased, or these terrible problems will only get worse!”

Some common ground is found in commentary suggesting that Gamergate holds the toxic key – at least when it comes to understanding white nationalist trigger happy types. Founded in a campaign of coordinated harassment in 2014 against female video game designers and gaming critics, the Gamergaters migrated from the 4chan image-based website to 8chan.  (4chan had tired of the harassing troupe.)  Evan Urquhart duly stretches the bow in his Slate contribution.  “This subculture of Gamergaters, who erroneously believe themselves to be the only true gamers in the world in a world of phonies, is what made the culture of 8chan what it is.  It was violent then, it it’s more violent now.”

If only it were that simple: the moving image would be banned; the provocative print would be stored away in inaccessible troves; online forums would be banished.  But as tens of millions of humans happily engage with such matter without incident on a daily basis, the prosecution is left floundering on this point.

In the 1950s, psychiatrist Fredric Wertham pushily decided that comic books were needlessly imperilling readers (perhaps viewers is more appropriate?).  His methodologically unsound Seduction of the Innocent remains a suitable bit of canonical drivel, stirring the agitated, not least of all his claim that the gay subtext of the Batman stories was harmful to youths.  It led to a panic that saw the creation of the Comics Code Authority and the eventual demise of EC Comics.

Since then, there has been a smattering of work on the gaming-violence causation business.  The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology ran a study in 2013 featuring participants engaged in playing violent or non-violent video games over 20 minutes per day over 3 days.  “As expected, aggressive behaviour and hostile expectations increased over days for violent game players, but not for nonviolent video game players, and the increase in aggressive behaviour was partially due to hostile expectations.”  That same year, another study published in Aggressive Behaviour found an exception: participants surveyed sowed that violence with a “prosocial motive (i.e. protecting a friend and furthering his nonviolent goals) were found to show lower short-term aggression”.

Research published this year by Andrew K. Przybylski of Oxford University and Netta Weinstein of Cardiff University, arguably gives us one of the most thorough bodies of work to date.  It surveyed 1,004 British 14-15-year-olds on gaming habits and behaviour, along with an equal number of carers.  “There was no evidence for a critical tipping point relating violent game engagement to aggressive behaviour.”  According to co-author Weinstein, “Our finding suggest that researcher biases might have influenced previous studies on this topic, and have distorted our understanding of the effects of video games.”

Even judges have opined from upon high on the issue, with the late Antonin Scalia observing in the 2011 case of Brown v Entertainment Merchant Association that psychological research studies, at least those being relied upon in that case, “do not prove that violent video games cause minors to act aggressively (which would at least be a beginning).”  The studies only showed “at best some correlation between exposure to violent entertainment and miniscule real-world effects”.

This does not prevent the prosecution from having a good stab at the futile.  Dozens of countries have access to violent games and do not see gamers running amok massacring all and sundry.  The issue is deeper, and the deeper part is what is problematic.  In this, progressives and conservatives find testy, shallow consensus, if in slightly different ways.  The video gamers are being accused of producing a star fashioned in ghoulish, murderous reality.

Categories: Anti-War, Foreign Policy

If Epstein Hung Himself, Why Not Release the Videos and Prove it?

Roberts, Paul Craig - Sun, 2019-08-18 08:13

If Epstein Hung Himself, Why Not Release the Videos and Prove it?

Obviously, they can’t prove it. According to reports, two-thrds of Americans do not believe Epstein committed suicide. That leaves only one-third of the American population too stupid to justify their existence.

https://www.rt.com/usa/466739-epstein-death-mcc-independent-investigation/

The post If Epstein Hung Himself, Why Not Release the Videos and Prove it? appeared first on PaulCraigRoberts.org.

“In the US Prison Industrial Complex, slavery can be used as form of punishment”

Dissident Voice - Sun, 2019-08-18 06:35

On the 31st July 2019 a group of incarcerated people at Scotland Correctional, North Carolina, started a hunger strike in order to protest against the use of torture in the correctional facility. In the United States, there are more than 2 million people incarcerated. To know more about the hunger strikers’ conditions, Alex Anfruns has interviewed a member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee. 

 *****

Alex Anfruns:  How many incarcerated people are taking this action?

Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee:  To my knowledge, the hunger strike began with an estimated 6 people on July 31st. The razor wire plantation masters, aka authorities, have acted worse than even expected. They have flat out denied that the prisoners’ rights have been violated and have completely lied stating that there is no such hunger strike occurring.

This is a typical story, though.  The authorities lie all of the time, and everybody knows that. Just ask anyone who has a loved one behind bars. Scotland Correctional even goes so far as to state that the prisoners are “treated well”.

AA:  Could you please tell us about those torture complaints?

IWOC:  Let’s look at just a brief history really quick:

– “Only 1 hour of recreation. Without proper exercise, fresh air, and movement an individual develops a mentality like a caged animal. She and the admins here have created a very hostile environment and seem to enjoy it. ”

– “Does anyone have any loved ones at Scotland Correctional Institution in North Carolina? I do, and out of all of the ones my son has been too (sic) this one is the pit of hell.”

Scotland Correctional Medical Neglect

– The other picture is of a correctional officer from Scotland Correctional Institute, in Laurinburg, that reads “Feeling cute…might spray ya baby daddy.”

– A list of a number of cases filed against Scotland Correctional

AA: Have you got any support from other organizations? And how is the local media reacting to the hunger strike?

IWOC: There have been so many supporters it has been overwhelming! Just to name a few: Perilous Chronicle, San Francisco Bay View, Unheard Voices O.T.C.J., Solitary Watch, PANIC – Prison Abolitionists of Nassau Inciting Change, DSA.

Local media has been receptive to getting the perspective of those incarcerated and facing the direct repression. People faced with incarceration are more than capable of representing themselves and sharing with us the atrocities that occur daily inside these razor wire plantations. However, correspondence between those taking part in this hunger strike has been non-existent. They are all being held in the Security Housing Units (SHU aka solitary confinement) where they are already not allowed any phone calls and as a further hindrance their mail has been intercepted. Several letters have been sent in to some of these hunger strikers and there has yet to be a response since the hunger strike began on July 31st. At this point, family and friends are extremely concerned about the hunger strikers’ health and the retaliation that they are obviously faced with. They have been put on lockdown and have been severely beaten. All for protesting non-violently in attempts to expose the administration’s violations.

We should all remember a hunger strike is a form of protest in which one person sacrifices their own well-being for the well-being of the whole, truly such an earnest display of empathy and humanity by the prisoners unites them all. The monsters continue to be the prison administration and its employees who have refused to give us any updates on the conditions of the hunger strikers.

Hunger strike or not, Scotland leaves families in the dark as far as the health and whereabouts of their loved ones caged inside. This is a story most people with loved ones inside can relate to. When one hears about a stabbing inside or dead prisoner without further identifying information, naturally wouldn’t you call in concerned to know if it was your child, significant other, or parent? Most often, administration will straight away hang up in your face. This is no surprise to those directly impacted by this horrific prison industrial complex.

AA: We know there is a profit-making approach in US prisons. How would you define the workers’ conditions in the US state prisons?

IWOC: Here in the South, there are a number of states that do not pay a dime to the prisoners for their labor. This is straight up slavery. However, for those states that do pay the prisoners cents to a dollar an hour, this is also slavery as making a few cents is a joke in this day and age. Especially when these people are being forced to work days on end just to have basic needs like toothpaste and hygiene products. The prices of these items on commissary are exorbitant and made inaccessible to most already impoverished undeserved populations such as the many who have experienced the school to prison pipeline or are victims of a white supremacist society who already suffer constant profiling, policing, and harassment directed at those living in communities below the national poverty level.

Here in North Carolina, there is a further restrictive factor to saving up money to afford basic necessities in the prison commissary: In February, an abrupt law came into effect in which the only visitors you can have and the only people who can put money on your books are immediate family members. For those with no support from their immediate family, this leaves them no choice but to be without hygiene products, health care, food, or phone calls but also forces them into this slave labor. As we all know by now, the 13th amendment has long since legalized slavery in the U.S. stating that slavery can be used as form of punishment.

Exploitative prison labor is used by the following companies in North Carolina. Just to name a few: AT&T, Walmart, Whole Foods, Abbott Laboratories, Autozone, Bank of America, Bayer, Cargill, Caterpillar, Chevron, Costco, John Deere, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, International Paper, Johnson & Johnson, Sears, Koch Industries, Mary Kay, Merck, Motorola, Pfizer, ConAgra Foods, Starbucks, United Airlines, UPS, Verizon, Wendy’s.

AA: How do you think that mass incarceration is affecting the US society, especially to Afro-American and Hispanic people?

IWOC: In the United States, there are more than 2 million people incarcerated1 and roughly 70% of them are people of color.2  I’d like to acknowledge that there are lots of undeserved “white” people incarcerated as well. It is very much a class issue, that all races should unite against.

The Prison Industrial Complex is a profiteering social control apparatus that serves to keep the most revolutionary voices silenced and disappeared from the communities that they come from. Angela Davis says it best: “The penal system as a whole does not produce wealth. It devours the social wealth that could be used to subsidize housing for the homeless, to ameliorate public education for poor and racially marginalized communities, to open free drug rehabilitation programs for people who wish to kick their habits, to create a national health care system, to expand programs to combat HIV, to eradicate domestic abuse — and, in the process, to create well-paying jobs for the unemployed.” …”the prison has actually operated as an instrument of class domination, a means of prohibiting the have-nots from encroaching upon the haves.”3

Post-scriptum: The following is a thank you letter and update from a hunger striker within the prison walls of Scotland Corrections:

August 11, 2019
Revolutionary Love

Komrade is more than a friend, it’s a title given to one who struggles with you and makes sacrifices to assure their Komrade knows they have a Komrade. 

So thank you Komrades all of you who took the time to shine a strobe light on the inhumane living conditions myself and others were being subjected to. When unconscious prisoners see that there are people who care about us, their morale and desire to join the struggle reach unforeseen heights. 

Love and Solidarity was what motivated you all and know we are grateful for all the time and energy that was put in to let these miscreants know that we have people that love us despite our flaws. When outside support is shown, these miscreants think twice before they move on us. 

We knew there would be reprisals and I was the victim of them, but I gladly take them with pride knowing that my fellow prisoner can enjoy exercise outside his cell five days a week and be offered a phone call every 90 days. 

Since the calls were made, Captain Henderson has been in the process of addressing our complaints. She let it be known that it wouldn’t be done overnight, but the recreation was rectified immediately, we’re still waiting to hear from her on the phone calls which must be provided once every 90 days. They are obviously not complying with their own policies and procedures. This negligence on behalf of the prison staff is nothing new and there’s still a mile to walk but with the support of ya’ll on the outside we don’t have to walk the mile alone. 

Fellow Komrade
Hunger Striker
Held captive by the state at Scotland Correctional Institution

  1. As far as North Carolina goes, NC is more than at max capacity. Today, North Carolina’s incarceration rates stand out internationally.
  2. In NC people of color are over-represented in the carceral system (p.i.c.).
  3. History is a Weapon: Masked Racism:  Reflections on the Prison Industrial System and “Political Prisoners, Prisons, and Black Liberation
Categories: Anti-War, Foreign Policy

Progressive Issues Promoted by Republican Not Democratic Newsmedia

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ERIC ZUESSE—Was the press an enemy of the people when George W. Bush lied to Americans into invading and destroying Iraq on 20 March 2003 and this nation’s press served him as the stenographers of his lies instead of served the American public as the investigators and exposers of his lies? And the same happened when the Liar-In-Chief was Barack Obama — not just about Syria, but about Ukraine, and about Russia, and even about Wall Street (and much else).

Google “Machine Learning Fairness” Whistleblower Goes Public, says: “burden lifted off of my soul”

Greanville Post - Sun, 2019-08-18 04:04
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Unifor cozies up to Liberals, besmirching Nelson Mandela’s legacy

Engler, Yves - Sun, 2019-08-18 02:57
  Shame on Unifor. Applauding Roméo Dallaire is wrong and giving him an award named after Nelson Mandela is simply embarrassing. At its convention in Québec City next week Canada’s largest private sector union is set to give Dallaire its … Continue reading →

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