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Talk Nation Radio: Martin Hellman on Rethinking National Security

Wed, 2019-06-19 20:10

Martin E. Hellman is Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. His work spans cyber security, reducing the risk of a nuclear disaster, and peace. His invention of public key cryptography is at the heart of the secure portion of the Internet and has won him many honors, including the million dollar ACM Turing Award, the top prize in computer science. In 2016, he and his wife of fifty years published A New Map for Relationships: Creating True Love at Home & Peace on the Planet. He has applied risk analysis to nuclear deterrence and, in his most recent project, he has raised troubling questions about the assumptions that form the foundation for common current thinking about national security. Hellman also wrote “The Man in the TNT Vest.”

Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

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What Survives Genocide?

Wed, 2019-06-19 01:40

Jeffrey Ostler’s Surviving Genocide: Native Nations and the United States from the American Revolution to Bleeding Kansas, tells a complex, honest, and nuanced story of what overall and in many particular parts fits the UN definition of and the popular conception of genocide. So, of course, it is primarily a story of not surviving genocide, though I guess that would have been too much of a “Dog Bites Man” headline for any publisher.

But parts of the story are of surviving. Some of the surviving is temporary. People slowed and mitigated the catastrophe. There are lessons there for all of humanity as it proceeds to destroy its own climate. There are lessons in particular for Palestinians and others facing similar assaults today. And some of the surviving has lasted until the present. Reduced in numbers, many nations have survived.

In fact, through the process of driving the native nations west and assaulting them, there was a lot more survival going on than was generally acknowledged. In Ostler’s account, the U.S. government had a clear policy from the start, not just in 1830, of moving Native Americans west of the Mississippi, and enacted that policy. Yet, between the 1780s and 1830, the population of Native Americans east of the Mississippi increased. The formalized and accelerated policy of removal put in place in 1830 was driven by greed for land and racist hatred, not by any humanitarian impulse to help native peoples survive by moving them to better locations where they wouldn’t supposedly face inevitable demise. They would have survived better if left alone, rather than being forced on difficult journeys into already occupied lands and lands without the means to sustain them.

Greed for land really seems to have been the dominant motivation. Smaller groups of Native Americans in the East not occupying highly desirable territory were allowed to remain, and in some cases have remained to this day. Others that put up too great a fight were allowed to remain for a time. Others that adopted European ways of agriculture and all the trappings of what was called “civilization” (including slavery) were allowed to remain until their land became too desirable. The supposed failure of native nations to become “civilized” seems to have no more basis in reality as a motivation for expelling them than does their supposed dying out. Neither does the supposed need to make peace among them. Nations fought each other as they were driven into each other’s territory by the U.S. settler colonists.

The United States did sometimes make peace between warring nations, but only when it served some purpose, such as facilitating the displacement of more people into their land. The work of empire was not the work of brute force alone. Much “diplomacy” was needed. Treaties had to be secretly made with minority groups within native nations. Treaties had to be secretly worded to mean the opposite of what it appeared. Leaders had to be bribed or coaxed into meeting, and then captured or killed. Carrots and sticks had to be applied until people “voluntarily” chose to abandon their homes. Propaganda had to be developed to whitewash atrocities. The imperial wars now named for Native Americans and fought with weapons named for Native Americans are part of an imperial history that began before 1776. The U.S. government has been announcing that Iran attacked a ship, or the equivalent, for a very long time.

When I read in Surviving Genocide that the primary tool the federal government deployed to make the Creeks so miserable that they would move west was the state of Alabama, that seems sensible to me. I think of the state of Alabama as highly skilled at making people miserable. But, of course, it could have developed those skills as it used them against the Creeks, and anyone made miserable by Alabama since may be the beneficiaries of that history.

There was plenty of brute force. Ostler shows that U.S. officials developed the policy that “wars of extermination” were “not only necessary, but ethical and legal.” Causes of decline among Native peoples included direct killing, other traumatizing violence prominently including rape, the burning of towns and crops, forcible deportation, and the intentional and non-intentional spreading of diseases and of alcoholism to weakened populations. Ostler writes that the most recent scholarship finds the devastation caused by European diseases resulted less from Native Americans’ lack of immunity, and more from the weakness and starvation created by the violent destruction of their homes.

The American War for Independence (for one elite from another at the expense of native and enslaved people) involved more destructive assaults on Native Americans than had the preceding wars in which George Washington had acquired the name Town Destroyer. The outcome of the war was even worse news.

Assaults on native peoples would come from the U.S. government, state governments, and ordinary people. Settlers would push the conflicts forward, and in settled parts of the East where Native Americans remained, individuals would steal their land, kill, and harass them. There were groups like the Quakers who dealt much less cruelly with indigenous people. There were ebbs and flows, and every nation has a different story. But fundamentally, the United States intended to get rid of Native Americans and got rid of many of them and took most of the land they lived on.

Of course, something that survives genocide is the knowledge of it, the facts that allow accurate and appropriate memory and sincere efforts to do better in the present.

I’ve been inspired to create a petition to the President of the University of Virginia James Ryan called “Remove Monument to Genocide that Welcomes People to UVA.”

Petition Text

Remove the statue of George Rogers Clark engaged in genocide to a museum where it can be presented as a shameful memory.

Why is this important?

“George Rogers Clark, Conqueror of the Northwest” is a massive sculpture that was put up in the 1920s, just like the Charlottesville statues of Lee and Jackson (and the one of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark). It was paid for by the same racist gazillionaire who paid for the statues of Lee and Jackson (and the one of Lewis and Clark). It involved the same level of democratic decision making by the people of Charlottesville, namely none. It, too, depicts a white man on a horse, dressed for war. It, too, might remain a war monument, and therefore protected by state law, completely independent of whether we should decide we dislike it. However, Clark’s wars are not in the list of wars that the state of Virginia says must have their monuments protected. Often wars on Native Americans are not counted as real wars, and that may have a benefit here. UVA, it seems, has the power to remove this monstrosity and just hasn’t done it.

There are differences from the statues of Lee and Jackson. In this case, Clark has a couple of other men with guns behind him, and he’s reaching back for a gun. There are three Native Americans in front of him. The UVA student newspaper celebrated the statue when it was first created as “explaining the futility of resistance.” The base of the sculpture calls Clark the “Conqueror of the Northwest.” The Northwest means the general area of today’s Illinois. Conquering means basically genocide. One of the three Native Americans appears to be carrying an infant.

I don’t want to diminish the horror tied to the monuments to the Civil War or the War on Vietnam or World War I or any of Charlottesville’s and UVA’s monumental paeans to mass murder, but only this particular artistic perversion openly depicts deadly violence against civilians with unalloyed pride and sadism. Robert E. Lee could be riding in a parade for all anyone can tell from his monument. Not Clark. He is depicted engaged in what he explicitly advocated for and acted upon: the indiscriminate murder of Native Americans in pursuit of their elimination.

George Rogers Clark himself said that he would have liked to “see the whole race of Indians extirpated” and that he would “never spare Man woman or child of them on whom he could lay his hands.” Clark wrote a statement to the various Indian nations in which he threatened “Your Women & Children given to the Dogs to eat.” While some might object even to a less graphic monument to this murderer, one in which he stood or rode alone, Charlottesville doesn’t have one of those. It has a monument to genocide, shamelessly depicting genocide.

Charlottesville/UVA also has monuments to Thomas Jefferson, who, as Governor of Virginia, sent Clark west to attack Native Americans, writing that the goal “should be their extermination, or their removal beyond the lakes or Illinois river.” Clark killed the captured and destroyed the crops of those he was sent by Jefferson to exterminate or remove. Clark later unsuccessfully proposed further military expeditions to Virginia Governor Benjamin Harrison in order to demonstrate “that we are always able to crush them at pleasure.”

Clark was considered a hero because his beliefs and actions were widely accepted or supported. His bit part was played in a broad and long-lasting genocidal assault on the native peoples of this continent. Every assertion about and quote of Clark above is documented in a new book from Yale University Press called “Surviving Genocide” by Jeffrey Ostler. Ostler shows that U.S. officials developed the policy that “wars of extermination” were “not only necessary, but ethical and legal.” Causes of decline among Native peoples included direct killing, other traumatizing violence prominently including rape, the burning of towns and crops, forcible deportation, and the intentional and non-intentional spreading of diseases and of alcoholism to weakened populations. Ostler writes that the most recent scholarship finds the devastation caused by European diseases resulted less from Native Americans’ lack of immunity, and more from the weakness and starvation created by the violent destruction of their homes.

In George Rogers Clark’s day, John Heckewelder (a missionary and author of books on the customs of Native Americans) noted that frontiersmen had adopted “the doctrine . . . that the Indians were the Canaanites, who by God’s commandment were to be destroyed.” In our day, we make Clark’s monument central to our public life in Charlottesville, where it greets those arriving from downtown to the campus of the University of Virginia.

The Case that Obama Was a Traitor Just Got Powerful New Evidence — From the DNC!

Wed, 2019-06-19 01:29

Eric Zuesse

The case that Obama’s team concocted Russiagate in order to weaken Trump if Trump were to win the Presidency has just received an important admission by the Government’s acknowledgement that the Government under Obama had lied to the FISA Court in order to get the FISA Court’s permission to investigate Trump for possible collusion with Russia’s Government. This information came from the DNC’s own lawyer, to the current U.S. Justice Department, in the case of United States of America v. Roger J. Stone Jr.

In response to Trump operative Roger Stone’s defense effort against Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s charges against Stone, the “Government’s Response to Defendant’s Motion to Compel Unredacted Crowdstrike Reports”

(https://www.scribd.com/document/413428947/Stone-De-123-DOJ-Response-to-MTC-Crowdstrike-Reports — choose “txt” if you want to download it)

acknowledges that “On June 14, 2016, the DNC, via CrowdStrike, publicly announced that it had been hacked by Russian government actors. … [But,] According to counsel [from DNC — this comes from what the DNC has communicated to the U.S. Department of Justice and is now being made public in the “Government’s Response” to Stone’s filing], no redacted information concerned the attribution of the attack to Russian actors.” And, since all the rest, the unredacted information, likewise didn’t (as everyone now knows after reading the Mueller Report, because it admits this), the Obama Government actually had nothing that could be presented to the FISA Court without lying, in order for the Obama regime to be able to win that Court’s permission to investigate Trump as being a possible Russian agent.

In other words: Obama’s preparation, just in case Trump might defeat Hillary Clinton, included DNC-Clinton campaign fabrication of ‘evidence’ (via the DNC-hired CrowdStrike) to implicate Trump in treason with Russia, so as to get the FISA Court’s okay and then proceed to cripple Trump’s Presidency. This was an internal U.S. Government war against then-candidate Trump, in order to cripple his Presidency, in the event that Trump might win — as he did.

However, can the previous President be brought up on any criminal charges at all for initiating an action to cripple his successor’s Presidency? This is a legal question with no precedent other than, perhaps, the Watergate burglary case that — irony of ironies — drove Roger Stone’s own friend and hero Richard Nixon out of office. Perhaps Obama was even worse than that President. (Also ironically, Obama tried even more mightily than Nixon did to empower international corporations as the coming dictatorial government of the entire world.)

Here is the full key paragraph in the Government’s just-released reply to Stone:

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

By May 2016, the Democratic National Committee (“DNC”) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (“DCCC”) became aware that their computer systems had been compromised by intrusions, and they hired the cybersecurity company CrowdStrike to identify the extent of the intrusions and mitigate the threat. On June 14, 2016, the DNC, via CrowdStrike, publicly announced that it had been hacked by Russian government actors. See, Washington Post, “D.N.C. Says Russian Hackers Penetrated Its Files, Including Dossier on Donald Trump”, June 14, 2016, available at https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/15/us/politics/russian-hackers-dnc-trump.html. At the direction of the DNC and DCCC’s legal counsel, CrowdStrike prepared three draft reports. 1 Copies of these reports were subsequently produced voluntarily to the government by counsel for the DNC and DCCC. 2 At the time of the voluntary production, counsel for the DNC told the government that the redacted material concerned steps taken to remediate the attack and to harden the DNC and DCCC systems against future attack. According to counsel, no redacted information concerned the attribution of the attack to Russian actors.

It therefore seems that if House Democrats initiate impeachment against Trump, he will initiate very serious criminal charges — perhaps even an extraordinary case of treason — against Obama, for concocting Russiagate against him. Consequently, one may reasonably infer that Pelosi and Trump have agreed that there will not be impeachment proceedings, and that there will also not be prosecution against Obama. However, if Trump does get impeached, then there will be virtually a civil war between Republicans and Democrats, as both cases proceed. There is no impeachment by the House that would result in a Republican Senate’s replacement of Trump by Pence: defenestration of Trump. Trump would remain as President. Meanwhile, the case against Obama would be proceeding full force (because the House had impeached him), and the thorough corruption that rules the Democratic Party would then become exposed to the public. The formation of a new major U.S. political party could then become likelier than at any time since the Republicans replaced the Whigs in 1860. However, this time around, the cause wouldn’t be slavery, but instead the fact that, in today’s America, it’s only the billionaires who are in control over both Parties. In other words: the impetus for a third political Party to become financed by one or more billionaires would be the intolerable stranglehold that corruption — control of the Government by the billionaires — has over our country. We then would have two major political parties plus a third that would then serve as the kingmaker taking bids from each of the other two in order to determine which one to throw its support to. It would be the tie-breaker. So, the kingmaker-party would be little more than another party controlled by billionaires. They would make deals to determine which one of the other two will rule the country. American ‘democracy’ wouldn’t be fundamentally affected, because it doesn’t exist anyway, except in our schoolbooks, ‘history’ books, ‘news’ reports, and the public speeches by politicians. It’s all a fraud. And this is why the U.S. regime wants to get rid of people such as Julian Assange.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Misplaced Pride: Most of the “Middle Class” Is Actually Working Class

Tue, 2019-06-18 02:32

The conventional definition of working class is based on income and education:the working class household earns between $30,000 and $69,000 annually, and the highest education credential in the household is a two-year community college degree or trade certification.

The definition of the middle class is also based on on income and education, but adds financial security as a metric: the middle class household earns $80,000 or more, holds 4-year college diplomas or graduate degrees, owns a home, has a 401K retirement account and so on.

(My own definition is much more rigorous, as I reckon “middle class” today should have the same basic assets as the “middle class” held 40 years ago: What Does It Take To Be Middle Class? (December 5, 2013.)

But in some key ways, income and education are misleading metrics: the key attributes that actually define the working class are:

1. Stagnant incomes: incomes that over time barely keep up with real-world inflation or even lose purchasing power.

2. Income insecurity: wages, benefits and pensions are not as guaranteed as advertised.

3. Not enough ownership of financial capital to be meaningful. Financial capital excludes household items, vehicles, etc. Financial capital includes stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, ownership of a profitable business, equity in real estate, precious metals, bitcoin, etc.

By meaningful I mean enough to:

— augment Social Security benefits in a way that greatly improves the household’s lifestyle and retirement options

— equity that is significant enough to fund college educations so one’s children do not have to become debt-serfs to attend college

— enough capital to fund (or help with) a down payment for a house, i.e. inheritable wealth that transforms the children’s lives while the parents are still alive

— income from capital, i.e. income isn’t dependent on a government agency or government transfer.

How many U.S. households qualify to be middle class if that means:

— the household income has outpaced real-world inflation over the past 20 years

— the household’s financial capital/assets have grown to become meaningful (as defined above) in the past 20 years

— the household doesn’t depend on government transfers for much of its income / spending

— the household income and wealth are not dependent on financial bubbles, corporate guarantees, local government pensions on the verge of insolvency, etc.

While tens of millions of households qualify as “middle class” based on college diplomas and income, far fewer qualify when wealth and financial security are the key metrics. Plenty of households earn well in excess of $100,000 annually, but their financial status is as precarious and threadbare as any working class household.

They don’t own enough assets or capital to move the needle, and what they do own is generally dependent on financial bubbles or speculative gambles.

Feeling like we belong to the “middle class” because we have a college diploma and make a good income offers up a false sense of pride and progress.If we’re realistic about the financial wealth and security of “middle class” households, most qualify as working class: stagnant incomes, precarious financial circumstances, very little meaningful wealth and even less meaningful wealth that isn’t dependent on the bubble du jour or promises that might not be kept.

If we look at these charts, it looks like only the top 10%, or perhaps the top 20% at best, might qualify as “middle class” by the metrics described above.

What sort of society do we have if the bottom 20% of households are poor, the next 60% are working class/precariat and only the top 20% (at best) have any of the core attributes of “middle class” financial security and wealth?

If we take off our rose-colored glasses, we have a much more stratified economy and society than we might like to believe: there’s the top 1%, the next 4% “upper middle class,” the next 10% “middle class,” the next 65% working class, and the bottom 20% poor, those largely dependent on government transfers.

The “middle” has eroded away, leaving the top 15% who are doing very well in the status quo and the bottom 85% who are struggling to maintain a meaningful sense of prosperity and progress.

Personally, I’m proud to be working class in terms of my skillsets and values. Labels mean nothing. What counts is having skills, drive, agency, curiosity, frugality, integrity, self-discipline and kindness. Those forms of wealth cannot be taken from you when the bubble du jour pops and all the phantom “wealth” vanishes like mist in Death Valley. 

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($6.95 ebook, $12 print, $13.08 audiobook): Read the first section for free in PDF format.

My new mystery The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake is a ridiculously affordable $1.29 (Kindle) or $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

My book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format. 

If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com. New benefit for subscribers/patrons: a monthly Q&A where I respond to your questions/topics.

Officials Worldwide Are Skeptical of Claim that Iran Attacked Tankers In Gulf of Oman

Tue, 2019-06-18 01:30

The Trump administration says that Iran attacked two ships in the Gulf of Oman.

But Japanese government officials have expressed skepticism. Japan Today reports:

“The U.S. explanation has not helped us go beyond speculation,” said one senior government official.

***

A source close to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, “These [alleged pieces of evidence provided by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo] are not definite proof that it’s Iran.”

“Even if it’s the United States that makes the assertion, we cannot simply say we believe it,” he said.

If having expertise sophisticated enough to conduct the attack could be a reason to conclude that the attacker was Iran, “That would apply to the United States and Israel as well,” said a source at the Foreign Ministry.

Newsweek notes that American intelligence officials are also skeptical:

Independent intelligence experts say the video provides no proof whatsoever of Iran’s alleged responsibility for the attacks ….

“One has to keep asking the question, well, if it isn’t Iran, who the hell is it?” Anthony Cordesman, a strategic analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies [Cordesman is former national security assistant to Senator John McCain of the Senate Armed Services Committee, civilian assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense, former director of intelligence assessment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and winner of the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award], told Newsweek. “You come up with the possibility that ISIS carried out the attack as trigger to turn two enemies — the United States and Iran — against each other. Or you’re watching Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates create an incident that they can then use to increase the pressure on Iran.”

Ayham Kamel, the head of Middle East analysis for the Eurasia Group, an international risk analysis consultancy, said recent attacks by Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels on Saudi oil installations are now threatening the kingdom’s core security concerns.

“The Saudis are alarmed,” Kamel told a conference call Friday. “Their response is going to be to try to pressure the U.S. into action.”

Others have pointed to the possibility that Thursday’s attacks, as well as the attacks on four tankers in the same waters a month ago, were so-called “false-flag” operations [background] carried out by Israel, another arch foe of Iran, to make Iran appear responsible. And some observers have even suggested the attacks may have been directed by hawkish members of the Trump administration as a pretext to launch military operations against Iran.

“The U.S. track record on ginning up evidence for war is not good,” William Church, a former military investigator for the United Nations Security Council. “It lied in the run-up to the Vietnam war [by inventing a North Vietnamese attack on a U.S. Navy ship in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964], and it lied about WMD [weapons of mass destruction] before the Iraq war. So when these tanker attacks happen, we have to ask why and what’s the motivation in addition to examining the evidence.”

***

With regard to the video, Church said much more needs to be known before any conclusions about Iranian responsibility can be drawn. “The video means nothing,” he told Newsweek. “We need to know how it was taken, when was it taken, what was the total sequence. Then you’d have to talk to the people in the video to get their view of what happened. I would check to see if the video was doctored. You would need to do everything that a trained investigator would do.”

Church, who also served for many years as a U.S. intelligence officer in the Middle East and East Africa, acknowledges that the Iranians have the Gashti-class patrol boats. But he notes that Iranian Navy, not the Revolutionary Guards, have the closest naval base to the site of the attacks, suggesting a possible discrepancy in the U.S. Central Command’s description of the Iranian craft’s affiliation. He also points out that the video does not make it clear which of the two stricken tankers is depicted.

In addition, Church said it’s not clear whether limpet mines caused the explosions in either tanker. Limpet mines are usually attached by divers to the hulls of ships at the water line. There have been some reports that crew members aboard one of the tankers saw a flying object, possibly a drone, heading toward the ship before the explosion occurred, raising the possibility that a drone delivered the explosives.

“Drones and limpet mines are a dime-a-dozen out there in the Middle East,” he said. “Everybody has them. So we need to know a lot more that what the video shows us.”

Church also says it’s not clear why, in the latest attacks, Iran would target tanks belonging to Norway and Japan, two of Iran’s best oil customers. “They’ve been shipping to these countries for decades,” he said. “Why would they do that?” Church says an independent investigation of the attacks is needed to determine responsibility.

Germany’s foreign minister said:

The video is not enough. We can understand what is being shown, sure, but to make a final assessment, this is not enough for me.

Britain’s opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said more “credible evidence” was needed to support Trump’s allegation:

Without credible evidence about the tanker attacks, the government’s rhetoric will only increase the threat of war.

The UK’s shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, said that “independent evidence” should be established over who was responsible for the attacks.

Chris Williamson, a member of the British parliament with the UK’s Labour Party, said:

Whether it’s an attempt to remove Venezuela’s democratic government or regime change in Iran, the USA is causing global instability in furtherance of its imperial interests. We must reject the lies being used by the Trump admin to gain public support for their disastrous plans.

An EU spokeswoman also refused to blame Iran at this time, stating merely:

We are gathering more information and we are assessing the situation.

Even Elliot Higgins of Bellingcat – who is famously pro-war against regimes which the U.S. has targeted, like Syria – writes in the New York Times:

Nothing presented as evidence proves that the object was placed there by the Iranians. The video shows only that the Iranians chose to remove it for an as yet unknown reason.

This is especially important in light of a statement by Yukata Katada, the president of the operator of the Kokuka Courageous, that the crew had reported that the ship was attacked by a “flying object.” Mr. Katada added, “I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship.”

While we cannot be sure whether this is a Gulf of Tonkin-style incident, we can say for certain this is not the slam-dunk evidence that some would like to claim it is. In the escalating conflict between the United States and Iran we have to work on all the information available, not just what one side presents.

War on Iran Stupidest Idea Yet Recorded in a Human Brain

Mon, 2019-06-17 11:52

Scientists not employed by ExxonMobil or named Neil DeGrasse Tyson have reached a universal consensus. Wanting the United States to attack Iran is the single stupidest idea yet recorded in a human brain. In the words of one, “It isn’t even close.”

In a peer-reviewed report on a controlled laboratory experiment, sample humans were presented with the following 12 items of information.

  1. Iran is nowhere near the United States, has no ability to attack the United States, has not threatened to attack the United States, has not started a war in literally centuries, and spends less than 2 percent what the United States does on war preparations. Defending the United States and its “interests” from Iran just means defending the other disastrous wars that are already underway and near Iran.
  2. Iran has no nuclear weapons program, yet agreed to extreme inspections never agreed to by any other country, and complied with the agreement, but Donald Trump tore the agreement up in between his morning pop tarts and viewing Fox News encouragement of separating children from their parents and locking them in cages.
  3. The United States has taken countless steps to threaten and provoke Iran, including the extreme crime of threatening war.
  4. A war on Iran could involve attacks on nuclear energy facilities, the use of nuclear weapons, the creation of a nuclear winter, and global human starvation, and is certain to involve large numbers of people killed, injured, traumatized, and made homeless — for which they would be blamed by those eager to spin the vicious cycle of hatred, war, and hatred forward.
  5. Other benefits of a war on Iran would likely include: massive environmental and climate destruction, erosion of rights in the United States, major defunding of human needs, increased racism and xenophobia, and deadly blowback against people you’re supposed to care about in the United States, Israel, and Europe — well, that and making all the other recent wars look less catastrophic by comparison.
  6. Every moment the United States spends pursuing this barbaric madness is a moment spent allowing the earth’s climate to lock in greater catastrophe in the years to come.
  7. War, like threatening war, is a crime. It is the greatest crime.
  8. The fact that Iran has a deeply flawed government is a truly insane thing to imagine is relevant here. Almost every nation on earth has a deeply flawed government, and the United States arms and trains most of them. The United States *is* a deeply flawed government, and few people there believe they would benefit from being bombed. None of the nations the United States has previously bombed, supposedly for having bad governments, has benefitted.
  9. Speaking of Germany and Japan — which your mind has just leaped to in order to avoid thinking about Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, the Philippines, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Panama, Granada, and so forth — the millions killed cannot speak, but the current governments of Germany and Japan — voluntarily occupied nations devoid of self-respect, backing wars in violation of their Constitutions, and licking the shoes of Emperor Trump — Germany and Japan say attacking Iran would be too crazy for them.
  10. We can’t believe we’re having to inform you of this, but . . . excuses for wars are not actually justifications. If Iraq had really had weapons, or Vietnam had really returned fire off its coast, or Gadaffi had really threatened a massacre and handed out Viagra, or babies had really been taken out of incubators, and so forth, exactly zero instances of mass bombings of human beings would have been actually justified. The degree of incompetence in the forming of an excuse is not the interesting question that corporate communications companies pretend. Dubya was a hack, Obama was quite skilled, Trump doesn’t even bother trying, and you and I should not care. You can’t blow up a shopping mall because someone shoplifted. And if you do, nobody is going to think all the media attention should focus on evidence of the shoplifting.
  11. The following is irrelevant (see #10 above), but we accept that you have been brainwashed way past the point of being able to grasp that. The Iran-attacked-a-boat excuse is
    A) Not a justification for a war, but for a criminal investigation.
    B) Laughably incompetent, almost as bad as if they weren’t really concerned with fooling anyone. First they claimed to know Iran was guilty because of the type of mine used, and then it became clear that no mines were used — rather as in the U.S.S. Maine incident in 1898, which somebody may possibly have taken a bet he couldn’t reproduce.
  12. John Bolton’s primary qualification for his job is the lies he told about Iraq. Mike Pompeo openly brags about lying as central to his career experience. Donald Trump may never have knowingly and intentionally told the truth in his life. Every past war has been based on lies, and creative lies to start a war on Iran have been generated for decades.

In certain humans, presented with these items of information, scientists were able to record, not only their verbal support for a war on Iran, but — via highly sensitive attachments to their MAGA caps — incomprehensibly neuroscientific readings of stupidity levels completely off the charts. So, don’t take my word for it. Ask the scientists. You love them, remember?

The Self-Destructive Trajectory of Overly Successful Empires

Fri, 2019-06-14 23:14

A recent comment by my friend and colleague Davefairtex on the Roman Empire’s self-destructive civil wars that precipitated the Western Empire’s decline and fall made me rethink what I’ve learned about the Roman Empire in the past few years of reading.

Dave’s comment (my paraphrase) described the amazement of neighboring nations that Rome would squander its strength on needless, inconclusive, self-inflicted civil conflicts over which political faction would gain control of the Imperial central state.

It was a sea change in Roman history. Before the age of endless political in-fighting, it was incomprehensible that Roman armies would be mustered to fight other Roman armies over Imperial politics. The waste of Roman strength, purpose, unity and resources was monumental. Not even Rome could sustain the enormous drain of civil wars and maintain widespread prosperity and enough military power to suppress military incursions by neighbors.

I now see a very obvious trajectory that I think applies to all empires that have been too successful, that is, empires which have defeated all rivals or have reached such dominance they have no real competitors.

Once there are no truly dangerous rivals to threaten the Imperial hegemony and prosperity, the ambitions of insiders turn from glory gained on the battlefield by defeating fearsome rivals to gaining an equivalently undisputed power over the imperial political system.

The empire’s very success in eliminating threats and rivals dissolves the primary source of political unity: with no credible external threat, insiders are free to devote their energies and resources to destroying political rivals.

It’s difficult not to see signs of this same trajectory in the U.S. since the fall of the Soviet Empire in 1990.

With the primary source of national unity gone, politics became more divisive. After 9/11, new wars of choice were pursued, but the claims of a mortal threat to the nation never really caught on. As a result, the unity that followed 9/11 quickly dissipated.

I have long held that America’s Deep State–the permanent, un-elected government and its many proxies and public-private partnerships–is riven by warring elites. There is no purpose in making the conflict public, so the battles are waged in private, behind closed doors.

Competing nations must be just as amazed as Rome’s neighbors at America’s seemingly unquenchable drive to self-destruct via the in-fighting of entrenched elites and the battle for supremacy between various parasitic elites who hold the power and privilege to squander the nation’s resources on needless self-destructive wars of choice and on domestic in-fighting.

I suspect this trajectory of great success leading to self-destructive waste of resources is scale-invariant, meaning it works the same on individuals, families, communities, enterprises, cities, states, nations and empires.

It reminds me of former Intel CEO Andy Grove’s famous summary of this dynamic:“Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.”

An empire weakened by self-inflicted internal conflicts may appear mighty, but it becomes increasingly vulnerable to an external shock. The Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire) may well have collapsed from the devastating effects of the extreme weather circa 535 AD and the great plague of Justinian in 541 AD had it been weakened by internal in-fighting. But despite the staggering losses caused by these external catastrophes, the Byzantine Empire survived.

Rome, on the other hand, burned while self-absorbed factions jockeyed for power.

 

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($6.95 ebook, $12 print, $13.08 audiobook): Read the first section for free in PDF format.

My new mystery The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake is a ridiculously affordable $1.29 (Kindle) or $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

My book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format. 

If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com. New benefit for subscribers/patrons: a monthly Q&A where I respond to your questions/topics.

A Stock Market Crash Scenario

Fri, 2019-06-14 23:13

We have all been trained by a decade of central bank saves to expect any stock market swoon will soon be reversed by central bank sweet talk and/or rate cuts. As a result of such ever-present central bank willingness to intervene in the stock market, participants have been trained to believe a stock market crash is no longer possible: should the market drop 10%, or heaven forbid, 20% (i.e. into Bear Territory), the Federal Reserve and the other global central banks will save the day with direct purchases (The Plunge Protection Team), happy talk of future easing or, some unconventional quantitative easing measure or a rate cut–whatever it takes, in Mario Draghi’s famous words.

But irony of ironies, such complacent confidence in the efficacy of central bank interventions is actually setting up a crash scenario. Crashes and melt-ups are both manifestations of herd sentiment. Though this is often simplified into greed or fear, this might better be described as confidence in near-term prospects or the lack thereof.

Confidence in the absolute efficacy of Fed intervention breeds complacency, which is the essential backdrop of stock market crashes.

Markets are said to “climb a wall of worry,” that is, move higher as the market discounts potential threats to the ongoing rally. This skittishness, when coupled with ample volume (i.e. plenty of buyers), is the backdrop for sustained rallies.

Crashes don’t arise from a skittish herd, they arise from a complacent herd.Crashes aren’t characterized by skittish participants with low confidence in forecasts and short sellers piling into big bets on declines. Crashes are characterized by the exhaustion of short sellers who have tired of losing money betting against the melt-up, low volume and a herd milling about in complacent confidence the Fed can reverse any market decline.

This chart depicts such a scenario.

1. Bears / short sellers bet that weakening fundamentals will trigger a decline.

2. Markets climb this wall of worry, moving higher, crushing Bears.

3. Every air pocket / dip caused by skittish punters selling is bought as traders are confident in the Fed’s complete control of the market.

4. Bears / short sellers bet big that various technical patterns will play out, most importantly that previous highs will hold, yielding a bearish double or triple top pattern.

5. The market surges to new highs, forcing short sellers to cover, pushing the market higher. Bears / short sellers give up and short volume plummets.

6. As volume fades and confidence is the permanence of the melt-up rises, the next sharp drop “surprises” participants, but they dutifully buy the dip.

7. This rebound reaches a lower high, and the sell-off resumes. Unbeknownst to most participants, the herd’s confidence in the Fed’s omnipotence has eroded. Rather than manifest a wall of worry that the market can climb to new highs, the herd is undergoing a loss of confidence.

8. On the next decline, momentum accelerates the drop, and Fed pronouncements and emergency rate cuts do little more than reverse the downtrend for a few hours. The very fact that the Fed has to resort to emergency measures fatally weakens confidence, and selling begets selling.

Herds get spooked and run. That’s the crash scenario in a nutshell. 

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($6.95 ebook, $12 print, $13.08 audiobook): Read the first section for free in PDF format.

My new mystery The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake is a ridiculously affordable $1.29 (Kindle) or $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

My book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format. 

If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com. New benefit for subscribers/patrons: a monthly Q&A where I respond to your questions/topics.

The terrorists among us 2 Private Intel turned on people they pretend to protect

Fri, 2019-06-14 22:13

Sometimes you have to just sit back and ask WTF just happened? When I started researching the ins and outs of what passes for the Intel community everybody is so quick to quote these days, I did just that. Two or three times. Maybe four. WTF!

One day, the US government hired a few very dubiously untalented and dangerous characters and they were mixed in with the Intel community. They were the new experts and provided Intel reports to the ODNI. The reports were verified and integrated into a holistic or overarching report called the President’s Daily Briefing (PDB).

This single report contains the information the President of the United States determines the possibility of war or peace from.

The next day, the Intel community was mixed in with an overwhelming number of dubious and dangerously uneducated and untrainable characters with scary politics providing cheap political talking points developed by Information Operations professionals.

These characters started out as bit players delivering information that was no better than hearing a rumor and passing it on. Nothing was ever substantial or substantiated. Then as time passed, they became the people that taught today’s ABC agency managers and private contractor firms their brand of information gathering, information war, and information operations.

The rumors they were paid so well to develop started making it into the PDB unchecked and unfiltered.

According to the Newsweek article “How Richard Clarke Outsourced Terrorist Intel,” both  Steve Emerson and Rita Katz became the go-to companies for OSINT. US intelligence had no experience with it until this period. And US intel and law enforcement didn’t want any.

Steve Emerson is famous for claiming Birmingham England is a jihadi Muslim only city. Then Prime Minister Cameron declared Emerson is “obviously a complete idiot!”

His protégé and erstwhile partner Rita Katz was educated in Intel operations while working at a gift shop. No further qualifications were required for this unlikely duo to start providing Intel directly to president Bill Clinton through the PDB. Then they were tasked with training US agency Intel gatherers. I kid you not.

The newest Intel medium pushed onto the Intelligence agencies by the Clintons is called Open Source Intelligence(OSINT). Because of its limitations, OSINT was only supposed to be considered tertiary or at best secondary Intel that had the potential to confirm or deny Human Intel HUMINT (agent’s interactions or observations) or SIGINT (electronic signals other than direct communications).

Under the Clintons, OSINT superstars were given preeminence and the future of Intelligence gathering changed forever for the worse. Can it be any clearer why today’s Intel managers tried to back Clinton and fabricate crimes against then-candidate and now President Trump?

They owe their industry and careers to the Clintons.

US intelligence agencies training relied on the methods and help of an out of work web-designera pornographer suffering from toxic black-mold induced delusionsa gift shop employeea stay at home dad whose last job was selling underwear, and a man that heard coded intel messages in fax transmission beeps. Unfortunately, this isn’t a joke.

One thing all these people have in common is that none of them have a background in intelligence or antiterrorism. In the years before and after 9/11, these concerned citizens took to the web and started pioneering a new form of intelligence called OSINT (Open Source Intelligence). This would later provide the basis for the establishment of the NSA and become the backbone of US intelligence gathering. The Private Contractors Using Vault 7 Tools for US Gov: US Intel Needs a Ground-Up Rebuild Part 1

These heroes deliver unverifiable information to the US government, EU, UK, NATO, and others. The focus and direction of the Intel are provided by their private sector customers. Against all the laws and common sense governing the Intel sector, they and foreign countries lobbying the US Government can now determine what goes into the PDB, raw.

There is no longer a need or desire to filter new Information against known facts. The private sector way is to just add unreliable and fabricated data that supports your billing cycle as you go along. No verification is possible. No verification is necessary. You can already hear the dollar signs – CHA-CHING!

Because the bar dropped below the floor for entry into the field, there is no longer any requirement to have a formal education or military/ civil career training in Intel or any of the sciences related to Intel or analysis to be a super-star.

In fact, given the history of the new method (OSINT), having an education or devotion to public service works against you.  Now, it’s all about a willingness to use the software against your neighbors and understand the politic you take to work with you is for hire.

Project Censored ranked this as the 2nd biggest story with national impact that wasn’t receiving enough attention in 2017-2018. The reason for this is the intermarriage of private companies and government agency leadership clearly crossing all bounds. There is too much money to be made and not enough industry to do it in.

The biggest problem for the Intel community today is there just aren’t enough foreign enemies to go around. At every twist and turn, with every advance in software (freeware), the Intel community wants to hire new blood at levels you’d think were enough to populate the entire industry 10X over.

Today, the NSA has between 30-40,000 employees and roughly 80% of that is contract workers from private companies. That portion of the budget is farmed out to undereducated people that are taught software.

Today this looks like Trump requesting $59.9 billion for non-military intelligence agencies and $21.2 billion for military intelligence in fiscal 2019.

This means Russia’s entire military budget is less than ¾ of what US Intel operations cost and has dropped steadily since 2016. Not quite what you’d expect from a country the press is selling as a war mongering nation.

The private sector Open Source Intelligence Market

According to Globe-News Wire, “the global open source intelligence market size can mushroom to USD 7,000 million by 2023, as per a new report by Market Research Future (MRFR). It can achieve this by expanding at a 16.18% CAGR from 2018-2023 (forecast period). The risk of cyber malignancy and availability of open source platforms to authenticate and verify news and articles is expected to induce the demand for OSINT over the forecast period.”

This means even the all the combined US Intel agencies literally cover the globe and can find any communication on any network connected to the internet or telephony, private sector efforts will grow to 1/3 of US military Intel expenditures.

The Globe-News Wire report goes on to describe the civilian effort as “Open source intelligence (OSINT) are insights or information gained from publicly available media domains. These sources include video, audio, image, and text formats. The geopolitical tensions, internal squabbles, financial distress of several nations, and terrorist attacks are incidents which require actual evidence to corroborate in the era of the fifth estate. The easy access to social media can give way to rumors which can cause panic. OSINT relies on distinct data sources to assist government agencies in allaying unfounded fears of the public.”

These overly optimistic selling points used to promote an industry built on rumor and speculation. To make the point, go on your own social media and take any post you come upon and decide its context at face value. Now do it again in the context of a news story.

How many “valid” opinions, statements, beliefs, and so on are there? Which one or which set reflect the facts of the developing story? Close to none. But, if it keeps cousin Jimmy gainfully employed so it can’t be all bad can it?

The second biggest problem for the Intel community is there will never be enough employees to counter the nonexistent threat they make their money manufacturing. What do I mean?

Cybersecurity labor crunch to hit 3.5 million unfilled jobs by 2021“The cyber crime epidemic is expected to triple the number of open positions over the next five years. A new report out from Cybersecurity Ventures estimates there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021, up from 1 million openings last year.”

Are Tech Firms Funding Terrorism by Paying Hackers’Ransom? The article shows a distinct relation to the growth of the cyber threat/ Intel industry and cybercrime. The relationship is symbiotic. This is part of the reason why the industry tries to control all the regulations put on it.

The labor crunch is so bad that companies providing the US government Intel are hiring perpetually unqualified people with angry political aspirations for short term contracts. These people take what they learn, new tools, and active Intel to their new positions when their contract ends. A number of private contractors work with foreign governments as well as having US government contracts.

They work for foreign governments, the US Congress, and people that have no right to information that shapes foreign policy.

Who Runs the CIA? Outsiders for Hire.

The second you understand that CIA operations, especially intrusive ones in media are no longer overseen or even planned or executed by the alphabet agency, the scarier this becomes.

Your peers and neighbors are deciding what falls under 1st amendment protections for journalist and publications.

They decide what your social status is online and whether or not you should be deplatformed. They are destroying businesses, reputations, livelihoods, and families. These are people that don’t have the legal sanction to do these things.

If and when they can get away with it, some of these actors have been able to get fellow Americans droned. You read it right? Is it legal?

Or

Can you do a citizens CIA operation against people in your town?

Part 3 will explore the basis of legality which they try to operate on and why it is nonexistent in reality. Following that, I’ll provide the legal remedy according to what they have prepared for the US, EU, and NATO.

After that, we’ll get into real-life scenarios showing the damage they are inflicting on our societies and why a remedy must be found in the US Congress. Barring that, the president should take out his magic pen because I guarantee this one issue has so many possibilities to it for destroying civilization, the beast needs to be tamed.

In part 1 I wrote they threatened my family as well as my own life because I write articles about Ukraine, the war in Ukraine, and specifically what is going on in Donbass (LNR).

Congress won’t want to move because they are fascinated by dabbling in Intel and what these games can do for them come election time.

Screw the politics. Both sides of the aisle are playing this game. All the pigs are sucking at the same lobbyist tit and selling Americans and the world out in the process.- Why Vault 7 Tools Used by Private Contractors Shows US Intel Needs a Ground-Up Rebuild- It’s the News- Part 2

 

 

It’s the Emoluments, Stupid. Impeach for Iran.

Fri, 2019-06-14 22:01

The constitutional ban on receiving gifts or benefits while in office from the U.S. government or state governments (domestic “emoluments” – Article II, Section 1) is absolute, not waivable by Congress, and not subject to proving any particular corrupting influence.

President Trump’s lease of the Old Post Office Building in Washington D.C. for his Trump International Hotel violates the General Services Administration lease contract which states: “No … elected official of the Government of the United States … shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom.” The GSA’s failure to enforce that contract constitutes an emolument. A January 16, 2019, report by the GSA Inspector General confirmed this.

The paragraphs above are derived from the first of 21 articles of impeachment that RootsAction has drafted for Donald Trump. RootsAction launched this campaign on the day Trump was inaugurated, over two years ago. It may be finally gaining traction.

Not only is Trump unconstitutionally owning and profiting from his hotel in the Old Post Office Building, as well as numerous less prominent emoluments from state governments and the federal government, but he is also using his hotel for further corruption.

When representatives of foreign governments book rooms at Trump’s hotel, he violates the foreign emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the domestic one. Lobbyists for the Saudi government paid for at least 500 nights at Trump’s hotel in just a three-month period and Trump is now violating the will of Congress to ship deadly weapons to the Saudi government for use in the catastrophic war on Yemen.

When a wealthy Iraqi – with a record of receiving undisclosed sums from the CIA in exchange for “faulty” so-called “intelligence” that helped launch the war on Iraq – recently paid for 26 nights at Trump’s hotel, as Nahro al-Kasnazan did, we may get another war out of it. Kasnazan is lobbying Trump for a war on Iran. This is out in the open, published prominently by the Washington Post.

Recently CBS News President Susan Zirinsky was asked why journalists are failing to hold Trump accountable as Nixon was held accountable during the Watergate era. As awful as U.S. corporate media often are, it’s hard to argue with her response, which was basically this: Without a judiciary or a Congress that’s taking action, journalism of the sort that removed Nixon has no impact anymore.

Of course, if we go back to the Lyndon Johnson era to the time when the Gulf of Tonkin incident never happened, while serious journalists like I.F. Stone were on the job, the corporate media was as useless as it is right now on lies about Iran.

What is it with warmongers and lies about ships? Everyone forgets FDR’s lies about the Greer and the Kearney, and Dick Cheney’s proposal to dress up Navy Seals as Iranians and shoot at them, but many remember the Lusitania, and many Remember the Maine! Of course, back in those days the video quality was superior to the Pentagon’s latest film from the Persian Gulf. Still, the good old reliable “fog” of war has always allowed for plenty of “mishaps.”

But the question is always the wrong one. What if Iran had attacked ships? Then prosecuting Iran in court for that crime would be appropriate. Committing a much, much larger crime after screaming about Iran’s crime for a little while would simply be the commission of an enormous crime.

But crime is a daily occurrence with U.S. presidents who’ve been promised immunity from impeachment.

My personal view of impeachment is this: for every Latin American child who dies in a cage, for every Middle Eastern home that’s bombed, for every year that’s taken off the habitability of the earth’s climate, you can take your bullshit theories of electoral justifications for not impeaching Trump and shove them up your assignment book. And if Iran is destroyed, you will have destroyed it. You will have blood up to your elbows. And I am not going to stand by and let you try to wash it off.

Here are 21 Articles of Impeachment ready to go.

Here’s an outline of an impeachment strategy.

And here is a FAQ that addresses all of the most predictable and most of the stupidest concerns about impeachment.

 

Instantly Find Any Email In Outlook … No Matter How Cluttered Your Inbox

Fri, 2019-06-14 04:53

Around 600 million people use Outlook email each day.

If you’re like me, you have years of emails in your Outlook account, and it is so cluttered that it takes forever to find emails the old-fashioned way.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to quickly find emails. You just need to know the right search parameters …

When Was the Email Sent?

The magic formula for specifying a specific date range when the email was sent is:

received:>=10/1/12 AND received:<=10/5/13

This finds all emails received between October 1, 2012 and October 5, 2013

Or can pull up an exact date like this:

received:=04/25/19

Whose Email?

To search for emails only from or to a specific person, use the following:

from:John White

Or, if you don’t have that contact already saved in Outlook, then you would type in the full email, like this:

from:JohnWhite@FastMotorcycle.com

If you’re searching in your inbox.

If you’re instead searching your sent folder, you need to use “to” instead of “from”:

to:John White

Who Is CC’s Or BCC’d?

You can also specify who was copied (cc) or blind copied (bcc) in the email.

CC’d is like this:

cc:”bobby moore”

Or

cc:bobbymoore@contoso.com

Bcc’s is like this:

bcc:”bobby moore”

Or

bcc:bobbymoore@contoso.com

Words In Subject Line Or In the Body of the Email

To search for words in the subject line of the email, use this format:

subject:meeting

To search for words in the body of the email, just type the words without any special search parameter, like this:

meeting

How Large is the Email?

You can specify email size, which is really helpful when you know the email is small (only a couple of paragraphs) or contains large attachments.

You can use the following pre-baked search parameters:

messagesize:tiny [Emails less than 10 kilobytes] messagesize:small [Emails between 10 and 25 kilobytes] messagesize:medium [Emails between 25 and 100 kilobytes] messagesize:large [Emails between 100 and 500 kilobytes] messagesize:verylarge [Emails between 500 kilobytes and 1 megabyte] messagesize:enormous [Emails larger than 5 megabytes]

Alternatively, you can specify an email less than a specific custom size:

messagesize:<222 KB

Or greater than a specific custom size:

messagesize:>8 MB

Does It Have Attachments?

You can also directly specify whether or not the email has attachments.

hasattachment:yes

Only brings up emails with attachments, while:

hasattachment:no

Brings up only emails with no attachments.

You can also narrow the search to emails with attachments containing a specific name.  For example:

attachments:presentation.pptx

Would show only emails that have attachments named presentation.pptx (or an attachment that contains presentation.pptx within its contents.)  This is a great trick for honing in on an email when you know the name of the attachment.

AND, OR, NOT and Quotation Marks

You can use the boolean search terms AND OR and NOT in your search query.

And you can search for exact matches using quotation marks.

For background on these search terms, see Google Tricks: How to Supercharge Your Searches and Become an Instant Power User.

Putting It All Together

I find that the easiest way to use these supercharged search tricks is to have a string of all possible search parameters in one search, modify as needed, and delete the specific search parameters you don’t need for a particular search.

For example – now that you understand the basic search concepts – you could keep the following search string handy, to remind you of all optional search parameters, and copy and paste as needed:

Hello AND Friend OR Mary NOT “Ringo Starr” from:John White cc:”bobby moore” subject:meeting received:>=10/1/12 AND received:<=10/5/13 messagesize:>8 MB hasattachment:yes attachments:presentation.pptx

Note: I found these search tricks on this Microsoft web page, which has additional search tricks for Outlook calendar and contacts.

Is the Tech Bubble Bursting?

Fri, 2019-06-07 22:36

Is the decade-long tech bubble finally popping? Tech bulls are overlooking the fundamental reality that the drivers of Big tech’s phenomenal growth–financialization and expansion into mobile telephony– are both losing momentum.

A third dynamic–Big Tech monetizing privately owned assets such as vehicles and homes– has also reached saturation and is now facing regulatory barriers.

Let’s start with market saturation: of the 5.3 billion adults on earth over 15 years of age, 5 billion now have a mobile phone and 4 billion have a smartphone: The end of mobile (Benedict Evans). As for teens between 10 and 15, only the truly impoverished don’t have a mobile phone of some kind.

As I discuss below, the primary dynamic of the past decade has been the integration of web-based services into mobile telephony. By any measure, that cycle is now complete.

I recently explored technology’s ties to financialization and deflationary trends in prices and profits: Two Intertwined Dynamics Are Transforming the Economy: Technology and Financialization

Technology Is Not Just Disruptive, It’s Disastrously Deflationary

The basic idea here is that the tech bubble has been inflated by a unique set of circumstances:

— financialization, one manifestation of which is unprofitable Unicorn companies going public at lofty valuations (see chart)

— the establishment of quasi-monopolies that have become immensely profitable.

These conditions are changing.

1. Many tech giants (Microsoft and Apple) are moving to monthly services, in effect becoming profitable utilities. These may be profitable but they are no longer fast-growing in terms of revenues or profit margins.

2. Calls for regulation of lightly regulated data-based corporations (Facebook and Google) are rising.

3. The weakness of Lyft and Uber stocks after their IPOs suggest a weakening appetite for betting on growth at any cost as a business model.

4. The profitable build-out of the past decade has been integrating web services with mobile telephony and data-mining social media and search. These have now been built out, so the tech cycle has reached stagnation in the S-Curve–a reality visible in Google’s recent earnings disappointment.

There are two other trends that don’t attract quite the media attention that soaring profits do:

1. Previous tech cycles / bubbles were founded on technologies that had the potential to greatly boost productivity. This cycle ( integrating web services with mobile telephony) is more about consumer convenience and distribution of services such as AirBNB and Uber than productivity.

To the degree that entertainment and the addictive distractions of social media are now at everyone’s fingertips, and people are checking their phones hundreds of times a day, productivity has suffered rather than increased.

2. The services that are now distributed to mobile telephony are tremendously deflationary to revenues and profits. To note just one example of many, with a smart phone in hand, there’s no longer any need to buy a camera or portable music player.

More pernicious is the deflationary impact on revenues and wages. The number of Uber drivers who earn the equivalent of what taxi drivers once earned (no great sum in most cases) is small.

In effect, Uber monetized an under-utilized asset–individuals’ privately owned autos– and stripped out the labor overhead that accompanies employment(and makes it expensive to employers).

These moves transfer income to the owner of the distribution network (Uber, AirBNB, etc.) while offering a slice of income to the owner of the asset being monetized (the privately owned auto or flat).

Whatever income security exists in this distribution of income goes to the owner of the distribution network (Uber, AirBNB etc.) rather than the owner of the asset that’s being monetized.

The labor component of the service is poorly paid and stripped of income security and other standard benefits: Uber drivers don’t qualify for unemployment, disability, healthcare etc. unless they pay those very costly labor overhead expenses out of their own pocket.

This model is under pressure on multiple fronts. Municipalities are starting to push back against the monetization of housing that’s zoned for residential use only, and against the low wages and zero benefits paid to “gig economy” workers.

In other words, it isn’t just absurd IPO valuations that are suggesting this tech bubble is about to burst–the fundamentals of the business models and the deflationary impact of technology are about to reduce the cash flows and profits of tech companies.

As for the fantasy that AI and machine learning will generate trillions in profits: as I explained in Is the World Becoming Wealthier or Poorer? (March 27, 2019) there is nothing intrinsically profitable about machine learning, robotics or AI. Rather, each is extraordinarily deflationary to profits as each is readily commoditized.

 

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($6.95 ebook, $12 print, $13.08 audiobook): Read the first section for free in PDF format.

My new mystery The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake is a ridiculously affordable $1.29 (Kindle) or $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

My book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format. 

If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com. New benefit for subscribers/patrons: a monthly Q&A where I respond to your questions/topics.

A Quiet Revolution Is Brewing

Fri, 2019-06-07 22:32

I recently read a fascinating history of the social, political and economic context of the American Revolution: The Radicalism of the American Revolution by Gordon Wood.

What is particularly striking is the critical role played by rapid social changes in the mid-1700s. Conventional histories focus on the political context, but more important were the changes in family and social relations, and the social impact of the economy moving from quasi-feudal forms of patronage that were ultimately personal relationships to impersonal market forces.

It was these social changes that nurtured the revolutionary zeal of the average (non-elite) male citizen.

Boiled down to its essence, Americans came to appreciate the precariousness of their prosperity, and this led to a deep split in the populace. Between 30% and 40% of the populace remained loyal to the British Crown/King, and these Loyalists reckoned it a political and economic disaster to separate from the “Mother Country.”

The majority felt the exact opposite: their prosperity and liberties were all too easily snatched away by a Parliament and/or a Monarch who had little to no regard for their prosperity or liberties.

The precariousness of the relatively widely distributed prosperity and political liberties drove average people into an all-or-nothing choice: there was no middle ground, and the bitterness of the divide was life-changing. Benjamin Franklin, for example, completely cut off his eldest son when the son remained a Loyalist, despite the decades of affectionate intimacy they’d shared.

Such prosperity and liberties that existed were reserved for Caucasian males, of course; women had the right to divorce and own property but no political suffrage, and slaves had no rights unless they were freed by their owners.

The social changes in the family and economy Wood describes are of especially keen interest, as they mirror the present era in so many ways. Parents in the 1760s were admonished to treat their children as individuals and to use reason rather than punishment. Parental authority was thus reduced from rigid authoritarianism to a much more nuanced and difficult process of nurturing and guidance–a process familiar to every parent today.

The economy was changing rapidly as well, as the lines of authority that were once personal became market-contractual. Where small farmers in the early 1700s sold their harvests to upper-class planters or merchants (i.e. the gentry), by mid-century Scottish trading houses were buying small farmers’ harvests directly, requiring written contracts rather than personal trust.

Small farmers made more money, and the landed gentry lost power over the flow of goods.

This disruption of traditional authority stretched from the home to the marketplace and ultimately to the British Crown and Parliament, which saw the rebellious colonists as wayward children who deserved a good lashing to set them straight.

All of which brings us to the present, when once again profound social, political and economic forces are changing the nation in ways that are difficult to understand in real time. Traditional authority is weakening, and traditional markets are being disrupted, leaving most participants far more financially precarious than they were a few decades ago.

To take one important example: where owning a home once meant counting in slow and steady appreciation of home equity, in today’s bubble-and-bust economy, timing is everything: poor timing can trigger the loss of one’s down payment and equity, and to capture that equity requires selling at the top.

As I noted in recent blog posts, politics as practiced in a bygone era of stability no longer offers any solutions to these profound disruptions. Middle ground has vanished because there is no middle ground, and ideologies have become quasi-religious because they no longer offer any practical guidance to the economy that is still being transformed by the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Once again Americans are awakening to the precariousness of their prosperity and liberties, and traditional forms of belonging, loyalty and authority are unraveling. As the pie shrinks, the struggle to maintain one’s own share at the expense of others becomes Darwinian, and so it’s no surprise that finance and politics are increasingly becoming winner-take-all or winner-take-most zero-sum endeavors.

A quiet revolution is brewing as the old social, political and economic structures fail. The politics of compromise is giving way to the politics of borrowing whatever sums are needed to placate every elite and every constituency. This is the pathway to financial debauchery as the currency will be destroyed by the politics of expediency.

New social, political and economic structures will arise that are stable because they reflect new realities. “Politics as usual” failed in 1765 and it’s failing now.

 

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($6.95 ebook, $12 print, $13.08 audiobook): Read the first section for free in PDF format.

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Why Freedom Is Ending

Fri, 2019-06-07 06:32

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org

First, the force that is ending freedom will be identified and described; and, then, the force that they fear and hate the most (and are trying to destroy) will be identified and described.

THE FORCE THAT IS ENDING FREEDOM

Every empire is a dictatorship. No nation can be a democracy that’s either heading an empire, or a vassal-state of one. Obviously, in order to be a vassal-state within an empire, that nation is dictated-to by the nation of which it is a colony. However, even the domestic inhabitants of the colonizing nation cannot be free and living in a democracy, because their services are needed abroad in order to impose the occupying force upon the colony or vassal-nation. This is an important burden upon the ‘citizens’ or actually the subjects of the imperial nation. Furthermore, they need to finance, via their taxes, this occupying force abroad, to a sufficient extent so as to subdue any resistance by the residents in any colony. Every empire is imposed, none is really voluntary. Conquest creates an empire, and the constant application of force maintains it. Every empire is a dictatorship, not only upon its foreign populations (which goes without saying, because otherwise there can’t be any empire), but upon its domestic ones too, upon its own subjects.

Any empire needs weapons-makers, who sell to the government and whose only markets are the imperial government and its vassal-nations or ‘allies’. By contrast, ’enemy’ nations are ones that the imperial power has placed onto its priority-list of nations that are yet to become conquered. There are two main reasons to conquer a nation. One is in order to be enabled to extract, from the colony, oil, or gold, or some other valuable commodity. The other is in order to control it so as to be enabled to use that land as a passageway for exporting, from a vassal-nation, to other nations, that vassal-nation’s products.

International trade is the basis for any empire, and the billionaires who own controlling blocs of stock in a nation’s international corporations are the actual rulers of it, the beneficiaries of empire, the recipients of the wealth that is being extracted from the colonies and from the domestic subjects. 

The idea of an empire is that the imperial nation’s rulers, its aristocracy, extract from the colonies their products, and they impose upon their domestic subjects the financial and military burdens of imposing their international dictatorship upon the foreign subjects.

Some authors say that there is a “Deep State” and that it consists of (some undefined elements within) the intelligence services, and of the military, and of the diplomatic corps, of any given dictatorship; but, actually, those employees of the State are merely employees, not the actual governing authority, over that dictatorship. The actual Deep State are always the aristocrats, themselves, the people who run the revolving door between ‘the private sector’ (the aristocracy’s corporations) and the government. In former times, many of the aristocrats were themselves governing officials (the titled ‘nobility’), but this is no longer common. Nowadays, the aristocracy are the individuals who own controlling blocs of stock in international corporations (especially weapons-making firms such as Lockheed Martin and BAE, because the only markets for those corporations are the corporation’s own government and its vassal states or ‘allies’); and such individuals are usually the nation’s billionaires, and, perhaps, a few of the mere centi-millionaires. A small number, typically less than 100, of these extremely wealthy individuals, are the biggest donors to politicians, and to think tanks, and to other non-profits (these latter being also tax-write-offs to their donors, and so are tax-drains to the general public) that are involved in the formation of the national government’s policies, and, of course, they also are owners of and/or advertisers in the propaganda-media, which sell the aristocracy’s core or most-essential viewpoints to the nation’s subjects in order to persuade those voters to vote only for the aristocracy’s selected candidates and not for any who oppose the aristocracy. These few, mainly billionaires, are the actual Deep State — the bosses over the dictatorship, the ultimate beneficiaries in any empire.

In order to maintain this system, of international dictatorship or empire, the most essential tool is deceit, of the electorate, by the aristocracy.   

The method of control is: the bought agents of the Deep State lie to the public about what their polices will be if they win, in order to be able to win power; and, then, once they have won power, they do the opposite, which is what they have always been paid by the Deep State (the aristocracy) to help them to do. Thereby, elections aren’t “democratic” but ‘democratic’: they are mere formalities of democracy, without the substance of democracy. All of the well-financed candidates for the top offices are actually the Deep State’s representatives, and virtually none are the representatives of the public, because the voters have been deceived, and were given choices between two or more candidates, none of whom will represent the public if and when elected.

Here are some recent examples of this system — the imperial system, international dictatorship, in action:

During Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign, he said, “The approach of fighting Assad and ISIS simultaneously was madness, and idiocy. They’re fighting each other and yet we’re fighting both of them. You know, we were fighting both of them. I think that our far bigger problem than Assad is ISIS, I’ve always felt that. Assad is, you know I’m not saying Assad is a good man, ’cause he’s not, but our far greater problem is not Assad, it’s ISIS. … I think, you can’t be fighting two people that are fighting each other, and fighting them together. You have to pick one or the other.” Assad is allied with Russia against the Sauds (who are the chief ally of the U.S. aristocracy), so the U.S. (in accord with a policy that George Herbert Walker Bush had initiated on 24 February 1990 and which has been carried out by all subsequent U.S. Presidents) was determined to overthrow Assad, but Trump said that he was strongly opposed to that policy.

Months before that, Trump had said: “I think Assad is a bad guy, a very bad guy, all right? Lots of people killed. I think we are backing people we have no idea who they are. The rebels, we call them the rebels, the patriotic rebels. We have no idea. A lot of people think, Hugh, that they are ISIS. We have to do one thing at a time. We can’t be fighting ISIS and fighting Assad. Assad is fighting ISIS. He is fighting ISIS. Russia is fighting now ISIS. And Iran is fighting ISIS. We have to do one thing at a time. We can’t go — and I watched Lindsey Graham, he said, I have been here for 10 years fighting. Well, he will be there with that thinking for another 50 years. He won’t be able to solve the problem. We have to get rid of ISIS first. After we get rid of ISIS, we’ll start thinking about it. But we can’t be fighting Assad. And when you’re fighting Assad, you are fighting Russia, you’re fighting — you’re fighting a lot of different groups. But we can’t be fighting everybody at one time.”

In that same debate (15 December 2015) he also said: “In my opinion, we’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that frankly, if they were there and if we could’ve spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems; our airports and all of the other problems we’ve had, we would’ve been a lot better off. I can tell you that right now. We have done a tremendous disservice, not only to Middle East, we’ve done a tremendous disservice to humanity. The people that have been killed, the people that have wiped away, and for what? It’s not like we had victory. It’s a mess. The Middle East is totally destabilized. A total and complete mess. I wish we had the $4 trillion or $5 trillion. I wish it were spent right here in the United States, on our schools, hospitals, roads, airports, and everything else that are all falling apart.”

Did he do that? No. Did he instead intensify what Obama had been trying to do in Syria — overthrow Assad — yes. As the U.S. President, after having won the 2016 Presidential campaign, has Trump followed through on his criticism there, against the super-hawk, neoconservative, Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham? No. Did he instead encircle himself with precisely such super-hawks, such neoconservatives? Yes. Did he intensify the overthrow-Assad effort as Graham and those others had advocated? Yes. Did America’s war against Syria succeed? No. Did he constantly lie to the voters? Yes, without a doubt. Should that be grounds for impeaching him? A prior question to that one is actually: Would a President Mike Pence be any different or maybe even worse than Trump? Yes. So: what, then, would be achieved by removing Trump from office? Maybe it would actually make things a lot worse. But how likely would the U.S. Senate be to remove Trump from office if the House did impeach Trump? Two-thirds of the U.S. Senate would need to vote to remove the President in order for a President to be removed after being impeached by the House. A majority of U.S. Senators, 53, are Republicans. If just 33 of them vote not to convict the President, then Trump won’t be removed. In order to remove him, not only would all 47 of the Democrats and Independents have to vote to convict, but 20 of the 53 Republicans would need to join them. That’s nearly 40% of the Republican Senators. How likely is that? Almost impossible. What would their voters who had elected them back home think of their doing such a thing? How likely would such Senators face successful re-election challenges that would remove those Senators from office? Would 20 of the 53 be likely to take that personal risk? Why, then, are so many Democrats in the House pressing for Trump’s impeachment, since Trump’s being forced out of the White House this way is practically impossible and would only install a President Pence, even if it could succeed? Is that Democratic Party initiative anything else than insincere political theater, lying to their own gullible voters, just being phonies who manipulate voters to vote for them instead of who are actually serving them? Is that what democracy is, now: insincere political theater? Is that “democracy”? America’s voters are trapped, by liars, so it’s instead mere ‘democracy’. It’s just the new form of dictatorship. But it’s actually as ancient as is any empire. There’s nothing new about this — except one thing: the U.S. regime is aiming to be the ultimate, the last, the final, empire, the ruler over the entire world; so, it is trying especially hard, ‘to defend freedom, democracy and human rights throughout the world’, as Big Brother might say.

Trump’s Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, was just as evil, and just as insincere, as Trump, but only a far more skillful liar, who deceived his voters to think that he would fight corruption, work to improve relations with Russia, provide a public option in his health-insurance plan, and otherwise work to reduce economic inequality, to improve the economic situation for disadvantaged Americans, and to prosecute banksters. He abandoned each one of those stated objectives as soon as he won against John McCain, on 4 November 2008, and then yet more when he defeated Mitt Romney in 2012. And aren’t some of those promises the same ones that candidate Trump had also advocated and then abandoned as soon as he too was s‘elected’?

THE THREAT TO THE EMPIRE

The heroic fighters for the freedom of everyone in the world are the whistleblowers, who report to the public the corruption and evil that they see perpetrated by their superiors, their bosses, and perpetrated by people who are on the public payroll or otherwise obtaining increased income by virtue of being selected by the government to become government contractors to serve an allegedly public function. All liars with power hate whistleblowers and want to make special examples of any part of the press that publishes their truths, their facts, their stolen documents. These documents are stolen because that’s the only way for them to become public and thereby known to the voters so that the voters can vote on the basis of truths as in a democracy, instead of be deceived as in a dictatorship. Even if the truth is stolen from the liars, instead of being kept private (“Confidential”) for them, are the whistleblowers doing wrong to steal the truth from the liars? Or, instead, are the whistleblowers heroes: are they the authentic guardians of democracy and the precariously thin wall that separates democracy from dictatorship? They are the latter: they are the heroes. Unfortunately, the vast majority of such heroes are also martyrs — martyrs for truth, against lies. Every dictatorship seeks to destroy its whistleblowers. That’s because any whistleblower constitutes a threat to The System — the system of control.

In all of U.S. history, the two Presidents who pursued whistleblowers and their publishers the most relentlessly have been Trump and Obama. The public are fooled to think that this is being done for ’national security’ reasons instead of to hide the government’s crimes and criminality. However, not a single one of the Democratic Party’s many U.S. Presidential candidates is bringing this issue, of the U.S. government’s many crimes and constant lying, forward as being the central thing that must be criminalized above all else, as constituting “treason.” None of them is proposing legislation saying that it is treason, against the public — against the nation.

Every aristocracy tries to deceive its public in order to control its public; and every aristocracy uses divide-and-rule in order to do this; but it’s not only to divide the public against each other (such as between Republicans versus Democrats, both of which are actually controlled by the aristocracy), but also to divide between nations, such as between ‘allies’ versus ‘enemies’ — even when a given ‘enemy’ (such as Iraq in 2003) has never threatened, nor invaded, the United States (or whatever the given imperial ‘us’ may happen to be), and thus clearly this was aggressive war and an international war-crime, though unpunished as such. The public need to fear and hate some ‘enemy’ which is the ‘other’ or ‘alien’, in order not  to fear and loathe the aristocracy itself — the actual source of (and winner from) the systemic exploitation, of the public, by the aristocracy. 

The pinnacle of the U.S. regime’s totalitarianism is its ceaseless assault against Julian Assange, who is the uber-whistleblower, the strongest protector for whistleblowers, the safest publisher for the evidence that they steal from their employers and from their employers’ government. He hides the identity of the whistleblowers even at the risk of his own continued existence. Right now, the U.S. regime is raising to a fever-pitch and twisting beyond recognition not only U.S. laws but the U.S. Constitution, so as to impose its will against him. President Trump is supported in this effort by the corrupt U.S. Congress, to either end Assange’s life, or else lock him up for the rest of his heroic life in a dungeon having no communication with the world outside, until he does finally die, in isolation, punishment for his heroic last-ditch fight for the public’s freedom and for democracy — his fight, actually, against our 1984 regime. What Jesus of Nazareth was locally for the Roman regime in his region, Assange is for the U.S. regime throughout the world: an example to terrify anyone else who might come forth effectively to challenge the Emperor’s authority.

A key country in this operation is Ecuador, which is ruled by the dictator Lenin Moreno, who stole office by lying to the public and pretending to be a progressive who backed his democratically elected predecessor, Rafael Correa, but then as soon as he won power, he reversed Correa’s progressive initiatives, including, above all, his protection of Assange, who had sought refuge in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London.

On 11 April 2019, RT headlined “Who is Lenin Moreno and why did he hand Assange over to British police?” and reported that:

Following his 2017 election, Moreno quickly moved away from his election platform after taking office. He reversed several key pieces of legislation passed under his predecessor which targeted the wealthy and the banks. He also reversed a referendum decision on indefinite re-election while simultaneously blocking any potential for Correa to return.

He effectively purged many of Correa’s appointments to key positions in Ecuador’s judiciary and National Electoral Council via the CPCCS-T council which boasts supra-constitutional powers.

Moreno has also cozied up to the US, with whom Ecuador had a strained relationship under Correa. Following a visit from Vice President Mike Pence in June 2018, Ecuador bolstered its security cooperation with the US, including major arms deals, training exercises and intelligence sharing.

Following Assange’s arrest Correa, who granted Assange asylum in the first place, described Moreno as the “greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history” saying he was guilty of a “crime that humanity will never forget.”

Despite his overwhelming power and influence, however, Moreno and his family are the subject of a sweeping corruption probe in the country, as he faces down accusations of money laundering in offshore accounts and shell companies in Panama, including the INA Investment Corp, which is owned by Moreno’s brother. 

Damning images, purportedly hacked from Moreno’s phone, have irreparably damaged both his attempts at establishing himself as an anti-corruption champion as well as his relationship with Assange, whom he accused of coordinating the hacking efforts.

On 14 April 2019, Denis Rogatyuk at The Gray Zone headlined “Sell Out: How Corruption, Voter Fraud and a Neoliberal Turn Led Ecuador’s Lenin to Give Up Assange

Desperate to ingratiate his government with Washington and distract the public from his mounting scandals, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno has sacrificed Julian Assange – and his country’s independence”, and he described some of the documentation for the accusations that Moreno is corrupt. 

On 12 April 2019, Zero Hedge headlined “Facebook Removes Page Of Ecuador’s Former President On Same Day As Assange’s Arrest”, and opened: “Facebook has unpublished the page of Ecuador’s former president, Rafael Correa, the social media giant confirmed on Thursday, claiming that the popular leftist leader violated the company’s security policies.”

On 16 April 2019, Jonathan Turley bannered “‘He Is Our Property’: The D.C. Establishment Awaits Assange With A Glee And Grudge”, and opened:

They will punish Assange for their sins

The key to prosecuting Assange has always been to punish him without again embarrassing the powerful figures made mockeries by his disclosures. That means to keep him from discussing how the U.S. government concealed alleged war crimes and huge civilian losses, the type of disclosures that were made in the famous Pentagon Papers case. He cannot discuss how Democratic and Republican members either were complicit or incompetent in their oversight. He cannot discuss how the public was lied to about the program.

A glimpse of that artificial scope was seen within minutes of the arrest. CNN brought on its national security analyst, James Clapper, former director of national intelligence. CNN never mentioned that Clapper was accused of perjury in denying the existence of the National Security Agency surveillance program and was personally implicated in the scandal that WikiLeaks triggered.

Clapper was asked directly before Congress, “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”

Clapper responded, “No, sir. … Not wittingly.” Later, Clapper said his testimony was “the least untruthful” statement he could make.

That would still make it a lie, of course, but this is Washington and people like Clapper are untouchable. In the view of the establishment, Assange is the problem.

On 11 April 2019, the YouGov polling organization headlined “53% of Americans say Julian Assange should be extradited to America”.

On 13 April 2019, I headlined “What Public Opinion on Assange Tells Us About the US Government Direction”, and reported the only international poll that had ever been done of opinions about Assange, and its findings demonstrated that, out of the 23 nations which were surveyed, U.S. was the only one where the public are anti-Assange, and that the difference between the U.S. and all of the others was enormous and stark. The report opened:

The only extensive poll of public opinion regarding Julian Assange or Wikileaks was Reuters/Ipsos on 26 April 2011, “WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange is not a criminal: global poll”, and it sampled around a thousand individuals in each of 23 countries — a total of 18,829 respondents. The Reuters news-report was vague, and not linked to any detailed presentation of the poll-findings, but it did say that “U.S. respondents had a far more critical view” against Wikileaks than in any other country, and that the view by Americans was 69% “believing Assange should be charged and 61 percent opposing WikiLeaks’ mission.” Buried elsewhere on the Web was this detailed presentation of Ipsos’s findings in that poll:

https://www.slideshare.net/mediapiac/julian-assange-and-wiki-leaks

Oppose Wikileaks:

61% U.S.

38% UK

33% Canada

32% Poland

32% Belgium

31% Saudi Arabia

30% Japan

30% France

27% Indonesia

26% Italy

25% Germany

24% Sweden

24% Australia

22% Hungary

22% Brazil

21% Turkey

21% S. Korea

16% Mexico

16% Argentina

15% Spain

15% Russia

15% India

12% S. Africa

Is the U.S. a democracy if the regime is so effective in gripping the minds of its public as to make them hostile to the strongest fighter for their freedom and democracy?

On 13 April 2019, washingtonsblog headlined “4 Myths About Julian Assange DEBUNKED”, and here was one of them:

Myth #2: Assange Will Get a Fair Trial In the U.S.

14-year CIA officer John Kiriakou notes:

Assange has been charged in the Eastern District of Virginia — the so-called “Espionage Court.” That is just what many of us have feared. Remember, no national security defendant has ever been found not guilty in the Eastern District of Virginia. The Eastern District is also known as the “rocket docket” for the swiftness with which cases are heard and decided. Not ready to mount a defense? Need more time? Haven’t received all of your discovery? Tough luck. See you in court.

… I have long predicted that Assange would face Judge Leonie Brinkema were he to be charged in the Eastern District. Brinkema handled my case, as well as CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling’s. She also has reserved the Ed Snowden case for herself. Brinkema is a hanging judge.

On 20 May 2019, former British Ambassador Craig Murray (who had quit so that he could blow the whistle) headlined “The Missing Step” and argued that the only chance that Assange now has is if Sweden refuses to extradite Assange to the U.S. in the event that Britain honors the Swedish request to extradite him to Sweden instead of to the U.S. (The decision on that will now probably be made by the U.S. agent Boris Johnson instead of by the regular Tory Theresa May.)

How can it reasonably be denied that the U.S. is, in fact (though not nominally) a dictatorship? All of its allies are thus vassal-nations in its empire. This means acquiescence (if not joining) in some of the U.S. regime’s frequent foreign coups and invasions; and this means their assisting in the spread of the U.S. regime’s control beyond themselves, to include additional other countries. It reduces the freedom, and the democracy, throughout the world; it spreads the U.S. dictatorship internationally. That is what is evil about what in America is called “neoconservatism” and in other countries is called simply “imperialism.” Under American reign, it is now a spreading curse, a political plague, to peoples throughout the world. Even an American whistleblower about Ukraine who lives in the former Ukraine is being targeted by the U.S. regime.

This is how the freedom of everyone is severely threatened, by the U.S. empire — the most deceitful empire that the world has ever experienced. The martyrs to its lies are the canaries in its coal mine. They are the first to be eliminated.

Looking again at that rank-ordered list of 23 countries, one sees the U.S. and eight of its main allies (or vassal-nations), in order: U.S., UK, Canada, Poland, Belgium, Saudi Arabia, Japan, France, Indonesia. These are countries where the subjects are already well-controlled by the empire. They already are vassals, and so are ordained as being ‘allies’.

At the opposite end, starting with the most anti-U.S-regime, are: S. Africa, India, Russia, Spain, Argentina, Mexico, S. Korea, Turkey. These are countries where the subjects are not yet well-controlled by the empire, even though the current government in some of them is trying to change its subjects’ minds so that the country will accept U.S. rule. Wherever the subjects reject U.S. rule, there exists a strong possibility that the nation will become placed on the U.S. regime’s list of ‘enemies’. Consequently, wherever the residents are the most opposed to U.S. rule, the likelihood of an American coup or invasion is real. The first step toward a coup or invasion is the imposition of sanctions against the nation. Any such nation that is already subject to them is therefore already in danger. Any such nation that refuses to cooperate with the U.S. regime’s existing sanctions — such as against trading with Russia, China, Iran, or Venezuela — is in danger of becoming itself a U.S.-sanctioned nation, and therefore officially an ‘enemy’.

And this is why freedom and democracy are ending.

Unless and until the U.S. regime itself becomes conquered — either domestically by a second successful American Revolution (this one to eliminate the domestic aristocracy instead of to eliminate a foreign one), or else by a World War III in which the U.S. regime becomes destroyed even worse than the opposing alliance will — the existing insatiable empire will continue to be on the war-path to impose its dictatorship to everyone on this planet.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.