America’s Pseudo-Democracy

Lawrence Davidson

U.S. pundits mock countries, like Iran or China, where candidates are screened before they go on the ballot, but America has a similar approach, with candidates needing approval from plutocrats and special interests. But that’s just one problem of U.S. Democracy.

Given the dangerous results of the recent election in the United States – one that saw the Republicans, a right-wing party increasingly populated with neocon warmongers, reactionaries and plutocrats take control of both houses of Congress – it might be time to take a look at a sober look at U.S. democracy.

We can begin be taking note of the generic observation made by Winston Churchill: “Democracy is the worse form of government, except for all the other forms that have been tried from time to time.” The implication here is that democracy is really not the God-blessed system so many of Americans take it to be.

For instance, the public in a democracy is just as vulnerable to manipulation by various elites and interest groups as are those in non-democratic environments. The difference is that a democracy has a built-in procedure that allows citizens to have second thoughts about past manipulation. Thus they can kick out the bastards they were originally persuaded to kick in – even if it is often only to replace them with a new set of bastards. This repeated procedure results in a time limit on the damage elected leaders can do. It is, of course, possible that democratically elected politicians can come close to ruining a nation (their own as well as others) even given their limited tenure.


A Global House Of Cards

Paul Craig Roberts

As most Americans, if not the financial media, are aware, Quantitative Easing (a euphemism for printing money) has failed to bring back the US economy.

So why has Japan adopted the policy? Since the heavy duty money printing began in 2013, the Japanese yen has fallen 35% against the US dollar, a big cost for a country dependent on energy imports. Moreover, the Japanese economy has shown no growth in response to the QE stimulus to justify the rising price of imports.

Despite the economy’s lack of response to the stimulus, last month the Bank of Japan announced a 60% increase in quantitative easing–from 50 to 80 trillion yen annually. Albert Edwards, a strategist at Societe Generale, predicts that the Japanese printing press will drive the yen down from 115 yen to the dollar to 145.

This is a prediction, but why risk the reality? What does Japan have to gain from currency depreciation? What is the thinking behind the policy? An easy explanation is that Japan is being ordered to destroy its currency in order to protect the over-printed US dollar. As a vassal state, Japan suffers under US political and financial hegemony and is powerless to resist Washington’s pressure.


'Russia uses language Washington understands'

Finian Cunningham

Has Russia reached the limit of its diplomatic tolerance of the US and its NATO allies? The announcement this week that Moscow is to begin deploying long-range bombers in the Gulf of Mexico - America's own backyard - suggests so.

The move may seem like a reckless ratcheting up of tensions between the old Cold War rivals. The Tupolev Russian strategic bombers in question are nuclear-capable, and as expected the decision to patrol the Caribbean seas sparked a stern response from Washington, warning Moscow of risks.

But the first point to note is that Russia is not doing anything illegal. It has a legal right to fly its warplanes in any international airspace it chooses, as do all nations, to perform training maneuvers.

Even Washington officials have begrudgingly acknowledged Russia's legal right to do so. The Christian Science Monitor quoted Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren as saying, "Russia has a right to fly in international airspace".

However, we can be sure that the hawks in Washington will be fuming at what they see as Vladimir Putin's "audacity" to order warplanes within striking distance of the US. For the de facto American War Party of Republicans and Democrats, the latest Russian move confirms their accusations that President Putin is trying to flex "Soviet-era muscles". Or, as American NATO commander General Philip Breedlove put it, Russia "is messaging us that they are a great power".

That's typical arrogant mis-reading by Washington of the situation. This is not Putin trying to be provocative or flaunting expansionist ambitions. It is simply Russia giving a taste of American medicine back and in language that the arrogant warmongers in Washington will understand.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the US-led NATO military alliance has embarked on a relentless campaign of encircling Russia. In complete defiance of binding agreements, such as the 1997 Founding Act between NATO and Russia, the American military alliance has encroached on Russian borders with warplanes, warships, missiles and troops. It is Washington that is on an expansionist threatening drive, not Russia.


Why the Financial and Political System Failed

Nomi Prins

Nomi Prins in the article below addresses the destruction of the market-based Western financial system and its replacement with a casino underwritten by taxpayers.

The recent spike in global political-financial volatility that was temporarily soothed by European Central Bank (ECB) covered bond buying reveals another crack in the six-year-old throw-money-at-the-banks strategies of politicians and central bankers. The premise of using banks as credit portals to transport public funds from the government to citizens is as inefficient as it is not happening. The power elite may exude belabored moans about slow growth and rising inequality in speeches and press releases, but they continue to find ways to provide liquidity, sustenance and comfort to financial institutions, not to populations.


Anti-Semite? Moi?

Mark Glenn

What was that thing you said, Abe Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League? You know, that really dramatic thing you said in the speech you made in Palm Beach, where you blamed the internet for the recent rise in ‘anti-Semitism’ around the world, and how you couldn’t remember ever being so ‘seriously concerned about the safety and security’ of your grandson because of it?

Well, what do you know, Abe…miracles do exist. There is actually something upon which you and I can agree. You see, I too have never been so afraid for the future of my progeny, and the source of my worry also stems from the recent rise in anti-Semitism. —No, Abe, I am not Jewish, thank God, for if I were then chances are better than not that I would find myself in the clutches of evil, conspiring men (such as you) who are always drumming up new ways of enriching and empowering themselves by getting their own people into trouble.

You see, the reason that I am alarmed at the recent rise in ‘anti-Semitism’ is because I am a real, living, flesh-and-blood-Semite Abe, unlike you and those for whom you presume to speak. As such, my children are also Semitic and–if I am so blessed–my grandchildren will be as well.

Do not let my non-Semitic-sounding name fool you. There is more ‘Semitism’ in one of my eyelashes than what you and your people could possibly dream of possessing in your wildest, most uninhibited fantasies. My relatives came from the Middle East, unlike yours which came from the ghettos of either Europe or Russia. My relatives are the ancient Filasteens and Phoenicians whereas yours (and those of 95% of the world’s Jewish people) came from the ancient kingdom of Khazaria in southern Russia. My skin is dark and my eyes are dark and almond-shaped, unlike your features which are fair and white in appearance. I grew up hearing dialects of the Aramaic language that was spoken by Jesus and his apostles and I ate the food that has been part of that region for thousands of years.


Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Bin Laden legends ‘made in USA’

Kevin Barrett

The continuing controversy over which Navy Seal supposedly killed Osama Bin Laden, and the allegedly ISIL-linked killings of two Canadian soldiers, are the latest media stunts designed to prop up the illusion of a “global war on terror” (GWOT) against radical Islam.

The GWOT master narrative features two master villains. Indeed, it is a legend with two legendary anti-heroes: The villain of Act One, Osama Bin Laden; and the villain of the present Act Two, “Caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

In folklore and mythology studies, the word “legend” means “fantastic story that may or may not be true.” In espionage, the same word means: “A spy’s claimed background or biography, usually supported by documents and memorized details.” (Source: SpyMuseum.org)

Among the most fantastic stories of our time are the legends of two larger-than-life terrorists: Osama Bin Laden of al-Qaeda, and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of ISIL. Both of these amazing individuals have accomplished near-miraculous feats: Bin Laden caused three skyscrapers to disappear at free-fall acceleration into the path of most resistance, while also making America’s air defenses disappear for two hours so he could bomb the Pentagon, the best-defended building on the planet; while Baghdadi and a ragtag bunch of amateur extremists have somehow seized control of a large swathe of oil-rich and geo-strategically important territory against the opposition of the entire world. Both accomplishments seem, to say the least, highly improbable.


Putin demonized for thwarting neocon plan for global domination

Neil Clark

The continuing attacks on Vladimir Putin and Russia by members of the western political, military and journalistic elite tell us one thing – the Russian President is doing a good job both for the people of his country and in the international arena.

For it is a rule which invariably holds true – if the Western elites praise the leader of a foreign country it means he is doing something which is good for those elites and bad for his country. If he’s demonized, as Putin is, it’s the other way round.

The latest attack has come from Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The US Army general said that Russia was “pushing on the limits of international order.” Dempsey talked of the need to “deter Russian aggression against our NATO allies” – and said that Russia had “kind of lit a fire of nationalism.” “Once you light that fire, it's not controllable,” the General said. “I am worried about Europe.”

It’s worth reflecting on Dempsey’s words as they provide a classic example of what psychologists call ‘projection’. The US General was accusing Russia of what his own country has been guilty of.


The Devil’s Bargain: The Illusion of a Trouble-Free Existence in the American Police State

John W. Whitehead

Whether the mask is labeled fascism, democracy, or dictatorship of the proletariat, our great adversary remains the apparatus—the bureaucracy, the police, the military. Not the one facing us across the frontier of the battle lines, which is not so much our enemy as our brothers’ enemy, but the one that calls itself our protector and makes us its slaves. No matter what the circumstances, the worst betrayal will always be to subordinate ourselves to this apparatus and to trample underfoot, in its service, all human values in ourselves and in others. — Simone Weil, French philosopher and political activist

It’s no coincidence that during the same week in which the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Yates v. United States, a case in which a Florida fisherman is being threatened with 20 years’ jail time for throwing fish that were too small back into the water, Florida police arrested a 90-year-old man twice for violating an ordinance that prohibits feeding the homeless in public.

Both cases fall under the umbrella of overcriminalization, that phenomenon in which everything is rendered illegal and everyone becomes a lawbreaker. As I make clear in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, this is what happens when bureaucrats run the show, and the rule of law becomes little more than a cattle prod for forcing the citizenry to march in lockstep with the government.


What Happened to the Humanitarians Who Wanted to Save Libyans With Bombs and Drones?

Glenn Greenwald & Murtaza Hussain

Just three years after NATO’s military intervention in Libya ended and was widely heralded by its proponents as a resounding success, that country is in complete collapse. So widespread is violence and anarchy there that “hardly any Libyan can live a normal life,” Brown University’s Stephen Kinzer wrote in The Boston Globe last week. Last month, the Libyan Parliament, with no functioning army to protect it from well-armed militias, was forced to flee Tripoli and take refuge in a Greek car ferry. The New York Times reported in September that “the government of Libya said . . . that it had lost control of its ministries to a coalition of militias that had taken over the capital, Tripoli, in another milestone in the disintegration of the state.”

Sectarian strife and economic woes destroyed efforts by the U.S. and U.K. to train Libyan soldiers, causing those two nations last week to all but abandon further programs: “not a single soldier had been trained by the U.S. because the Libyan government failed to provide promised cash.” AP reports this morning that an entire city, Darna, has now pledged its allegiance to ISIS, “becoming the first city outside of Iraq and Syria to join the ‘caliphate’ announced by the extremist group.” A report issued by Amnesty International two weeks ago documented that “lawless militias and armed groups on all sides of the conflict in western Libya are carrying out rampant human rights abuses, including war crimes.” In sum, it is almost impossible to overstate the horrors daily faced by Libyans and the misery that has engulfed the country.


Institutionalized Israeli State Terror

Stephen Lendman

Just when you think things can't get worse, they do. Israel finds new ways to surprise. Couched in Big Lies. A daily litany burying hard truths. Many too outrageous too ignore. Wrongdoing writ large. Terrorism is what they do, not us.

On November 11, the Silwan, East Jerusalem-based Wadi Hilweh Information Center (WHIC) reported an IDF arrest warrant for two-year-old Hamza. Saying he's wanted for questioning. Confirming it when showing up to detain him. Raiding the family home. An Israeli intelligence officer demanding to see the boy. Told he lived next door. Leaving without comment. According to WHIC, "Israeli forces seized three computers from the Zidani family's home after arresting their 16-year-old son Mohammed."

Earlier, soldiers kidnapped four Silwan Palestinians. After ransacking their home. On Monday, Israeli security forces attacked Deir Abu Mashaal female Palestinian students. Dozens suffered temporary asphyxiation. Needing medical treatment for injuries sustained. West Bank communities and East Jerusalem remain on the boil.

Israeli live fire wounded two Nablus teenagers. Military forces invaded. Clashes with local youths followed. Ali Najeh Hanani and Moayyad Khatatba required hospitalization. Many residents suffered from tear gas inhalation.

On Monday, Israeli police kidnapped five dozen Palestinians. Including 10 children. In Kafr an Tur'an. During overnight clashes. For protesting Israeli ruthlessness. Unjustly accused of "causing violence." Peaceful protests called rioting. Numerous other clashes occurred in other West Bank cities, towns and villages.


The Slow Creep To War in East Ukraine

The Saker

Russia appears to be openly shipping war materiel to Novorossiya forces in a bid to deter Ukrainian attack
Squabbles between Novorossiya commanders continue, some notable names are being sidelined
The Ukrainian side has strengthened its position for a possible attack but so have the opposing forces

There is an interesting word in Russian: вялотекущий. It can be translated as "creeping" or "sluggish". It is composed of the word вяло which means "lethargically", or "torpidly" or "apathetic" and текущий which means to flow, to progress.

This word comes to my mind when looking at the war in the Ukraine, it is progressing towards some kind of worsening, but it does so in a slouching, slowly creeping way.

Novorussian side - On the Novorussian side the recent elections did not solve the constant infighting between the various commanders. To my great regret, this nonsense is still going on.

Bezler was removed from his command, Mozgovoi was told that his brigade had to be incorporated into the Novorussian Armed Forces (NAF), which he gladly accepted, and that this would be done by breaking up his brigade into various units of the NAF, which he categorically rejected.

Then there was the news that Zakharchenko had decorated Strelkov and Borodai as with the Medal of "Hero of the Donetsk People's Republic". Strelkov denied that adding that he would not take that medal from Zakharchenko anyway. The news was then "corrected" to say that this decision had been made about Bezler and Borodai.


NATO spooks and phantom enemies

Harry J. Bentham

With phantom Russians haunting the shores of Sweden and Britain, NATO still can’t explain its cavalier 70% of global military spending.

We can expect more Russian specters to haunt British shores in the coming years, as the valiant so-called “west” wages a fevered and completely unjustified Cold War 2.0 against enemies who don’t exist.

Recently, on 29 October, the Royal Air Force swept to the rescue when a supposed Russian bomber came into British airspace. The bomber, which the RAF even threatened to destroy, turned out to be a Latvian Soviet-era cargo plane, on a routine flight.

Latvia, which used to be part of the Soviet Union, is officially a member of NATO. Officially, that means, an ally of the United States and the United Kingdom. This seems to have been of little interest to the RAF, who threatened to shoot down the poor plane and thereby do more damage to their own supposed ally than the Soviet (now Russian) menace ever threatened to do.

The incident in British airspace follows a similarly pointless chase in the Baltic Sea for a Russian submarine that never materialized. Foolishly, Sweden’s navy wasted huge amounts of military spending chasing a supposed underwater intruder due to rumor and hearsay.

Media were quick to identify the intruder as a Russian vessel, despite there being no evidence to support the existence of any vessel whatsoever, and no reason for a dispute between Russia and Sweden. The sole beneficiary of the entire situation is the United States, which seeks to enlarge and continue its military occupation of Europe and will invent any excuses and any enemies it needs to justify its presence.


The poppy conspiracy

Sam Kriss


An enigmatic figure, common to all great mythologies: the blue
demon, the sower and reaper of blood...

Conspiracy theory: British imperial history, in its entirety, is the result of a dark and ancient plot on the part of the poppies; a Papaveraceaen pact ranged against humanity. For centuries they schemed in their hedgerows and pastures, dreaming up strange and cruel ideas in those ugly flaring heads of theirs, communicating their vegetable conspiracies through codes carried on unwitting bees (while the rest of us just innocently assumed them to be having sex), until the time came to strike. Wherever empire goes, poppies seem to follow: maybe we’ve got it the wrong way round. Our ruling classes have had their alliance with these plants for a long time now; in a state of opiate suggestion, it’s very possible that the flowers could do whatever they wanted with them. The poppies wanted China: we took them there, and forced millions into somniferous slavery. The poppies wanted to grow undisturbed, and our artillery obediently churned up the fields of Europe for them. Even this century they’ve reclaimed Afghanistan with British helicopter support. Now the poppies, and their puppeted politicians, are so sure of their angiospermic power over us that they can demand we peons each wear their plastic sigil every November, to remind us who we belong to. Now angry mobs will descend on anyone who insults our overlords by burning them in effigy, or else these iconoclasts will be legally imprisoned for crimes against the dignity of plants that (let’s not forget) grow in shit. Poppies have been a symbol of death since the Greeks; the fury of the pro-poppy partisans is the fury of death against life; it’s almost certain that the poppies are trying to lure us into a nuclear war, so that when the dust clears from the sky and all the humans are dead, the scorched scrublands of the future will flower with nothing but giant irradiated poppies, twisting happily in the wind as it howls an unheard threnody through the shells of ruined cities.


Ed ‘Zigzag’ Miliband is losing His Jewish Donors

Gilad Atzmon (A Short Comment)


The leader's 'principled' stance on Palestine deters backers,
forcing party 'to go to unions with begging bowl'.
(Source)

The Times Of Israel reported today that British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband is losing the support of Jewish donors due to his party’s pro-Palestine stance.

The spineless Labour leader has been zigzagging for a while. He criticises Israel when he believes that such a ‘principled’ move would be popular amongst Labour supporters.

Yet, the same Ed too often describes himself as “the son of Jewish refugees from the Holocaust.”

He then changes his spots and becomes the mouthpiece of the Israeli Lobby. He would swear allegiance to Israel’s security but also to the Jews and the primacy of their suffering.

Last June, ‘principled’ Ed announced at a Jewish Lobby gathering:

I want you to know that if I become Prime Minister in less than a year’s time, I will be proud to do so as a friend of Israel, a Jew and, most of all, someone who feels so proud to be part of the community gathered here today. (Ed Miliband speech to Labour Friends of Israel, June 2014)


The Berlin Wall – Another Cold War Myth

William Blum

November 9 will mark the 25th anniversary of the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. The extravagant hoopla began months ago in Berlin. In the United States we can expect all the Cold War clichés about The Free World vs. Communist Tyranny to be trotted out and the simple tale of how the wall came to be will be repeated: In 1961, the East Berlin communists built a wall to keep their oppressed citizens from escaping to West Berlin and freedom. Why? Because commies don’t like people to be free, to learn the “truth”. What other reason could there have been?

First of all, before the wall went up in 1961 thousands of East Germans had been commuting to the West for jobs each day and then returning to the East in the evening; many others went back and forth for shopping or other reasons. So they were clearly not being held in the East against their will. Why then was the wall built? There were two major reasons:

1) The West was bedeviling the East with a vigorous campaign of recruiting East German professionals and skilled workers, who had been educated at the expense of the Communist government. This eventually led to a serious labor and production crisis in the East. As one indication of this, the New York Times reported in 1963: “West Berlin suffered economically from the wall by the loss of about 60,000 skilled workmen who had commuted daily from their homes in East Berlin to their places of work in West Berlin.”[1]


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