May 26 2015

America’s Descent Into A World Of Madness: The Nihilistic Philosophy Guiding Us Into The Future – Salon.com

“I no longer love blue skies. In fact, I now prefer grey skies. The drones do not fly when the skies are grey,” said 13-year-old Zubair, a Pakistani child, during a 2013 congressional hearing on drone strikes in his country. “When sky brightens, drones return and we live in fear.”

It’s a particular sort of tragedy for children to fear the blue sky, but that’s what President Obama’s drone strikes have created in Pakistan as the president by 2012 had already authorized six times as many drone bombings as President Bush had signed off on during his two terms.

Another 13-year-old child, a Yemeni boy now dead after a U.S. drone strike, told The Guardian before his death about the collective trauma of his friends. “We even dream of [drones] in our sleep,” he said. “A lot of the kids in this area wake up from sleeping because of nightmares from them and some now have mental problems.”

Middle Easterners may not see tanks and Army airborne units, just like military-grade .50 cal rounds are no longer permitted by domestic police forces, but death is still the purview of the State, and the ubiquity of the State’s gaze inserts that power, and fear of that power, into places hitherto free of it. Those living in fear of police power have no quarter, nearly no place live without that fear. Freddie Gray felt that gaze and acted “suspiciously,” and now he is dead. What happens when the gaze is everywhere?

via America’s descent into a world of madness: The nihilistic philosophy guiding us into the future – Salon.com.

May 26 2015

ClubOrlov: The Extinction Survey

Still, my personal feeling is that most of us will go extinct by this century’s end. Some will have no choice: when the Himalaya stops producing the requisite amount of snow melt to irrigate much of southeast Asia, and when the monsoon fails, that will be the end for a few billions of us. In other cases, it will be a matter of not being given a choice: many people would be able to leave death-trap cities behind and filter out into the countryside, where they could fend for themselves, but the countryside is marked “Private Property” and “No Trespassing,” and so they will stay in the cities and die. (However, there are effective, proven methods of disabusing people of the notion that “this land is their land,” and city people can be quite resourceful.) But there are many of those for whom extinction will be a matter of cultural preference. Like the Greenland Vikings, who could very well survive by emulating the Inuit rather than trying to exterminate them, many people will refuse to survive because the sort of survival that is possible will be below their high cultural standards. In the best traditions of the British navy, they will prefer to “drown like gentlemen” rather than grab a piece of flotsam, wash up on some wild shore, and quietly go native.

via ClubOrlov: The Extinction Survey.

May 26 2015

The Impossible “Honorable Compromise” | Jacobin

The shock therapy applied to Greece over the past five years is nothing more than a radical (by the standards of a Western European country) version of this same neoliberal counterrevolution. Those who embody it, inside and outside the country, are executors of an operation of plundering and naked subjection. They are at once violent and vulgar, the antithesis of the type that would seek compromise. In those conditions only the action of the oppressed can open up a perspective of political, social, and ethical regeneration.

via The Impossible “Honorable Compromise” | Jacobin.

May 26 2015

EU dropped plans for safer pesticides because of TTIP and pressure from US | Ars Technica UK

http://arstechnica.co.uk/tech-policy/2015/05/eu-dropped-plans-for-safer-pesticides-because-of-ttip-and-pressure-from-us/

May 25 2015

‘Kingdom of Dystopia’: Saudi Arabia seeks leadership of UN Rights Council — RT Op-Edge

The very country which brought the world one of the most brutal and intolerant religious ideologies – Wahhabism, while operating the most oppressive modern-day theocracy, is vying for the presidency of the UN Human Rights Council.

Saudi Arabia has come to represent many things over the decades – theocracy, oppression, brutality and even at times downright barbarism. And seeing how the Kingdom has become infamous for carrying out death sentences by beheading, it’s safe to say that upholding the principles of human rights is not exactly the regime’s forte.

Yet, King Salman, the new self-proclaimed custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, did not flinch when he declared on May, 20 that, “The Saudi Arabian government guarantees freedom of expression and opposes discrimination.”

The comment was aimed at Bandar Al-Aiban, president of the Human Rights Commission (HRC), Mufleh Al-Qahtani, president of the National Society for Human Rights, and other senior officials during their visit to Riyadh.

The King went on confidently, “The pillars of this state are built on Islamic law that calls for the protection of human rights; and governance in the country is based on justice, consultation and equality.”

But since those pillars the King is so keenly referring to are themselves based on the Wahhabi interpretation of Islam – a sect by its very nature reactionary and fiercely oppressive towards all it does not approve of or understand – Saudi Arabia’s justice system is merely a reflection of such dystopian ideology.

Wahhabism is actually so intrinsically violent and foreign to the concept of interfaith cohesion and peaceful social coexistence that it gave birth to the so-called jihadist movement that is currently holding the Middle East and North Africa hostage – Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

Wahhabism is a sect that came to be in the 18th century at the command of Mohammed Abdel-Wahhab. To put things further into historical context, the Wahhabis, or the Ikhwan as they called themselves then, under the banner of Wahhabism raided and ransacked both the holy city of Karbala (Iraq) and Medina before marching into Mecca as conquerors. Those “faithful” hordes turned Arabia crimson red to the swing of their blades as they pillaged and massacred along the way.

Fast forward a few centuries and Wahhabism is as bloodthirsty and intolerant as ever.

When all which is not Wahhabi Islam is considered apostasy, talks of equality and justice are as intangible as mirages – and yet the Kingdom would like the world to believe in its gospel of justice.

via ‘Kingdom of Dystopia’: Saudi Arabia seeks leadership of UN Rights Council — RT Op-Edge.

May 25 2015

ZCommunications » Another Invented Disease Brought to You by Pharma

The FDA really bolloxed its 2015 approval of Vyvanse for binge-eating disorder. It didn’t ask for outside review and even gave Vyvanse fast-track regulatory review, which should be reserved for important drugs for real diseases. Medicalizing normal human behavior or common symptoms, and renaming subsets or combinations of symptoms, are common strategies to sell drugs. The FDA needs to step up its game and protect the public from disease-mongering scams.

via https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/another-invented-disease-brought-to-you-by-pharma/

May 25 2015

Greece can’t accept a cure that’s worse than the disease – The Globe and Mail

A common fallacy pervades coverage in the world’s news media of the negotiations between the Greek government and its creditors. The fallacy, exemplified in a recent commentary by Philip Stephens of the Financial Times, is that, “Athens is unable or unwilling – or both – to implement an economic reform program.” Once this fallacy is presented as fact, it is only natural that coverage highlights how our government is, in Mr. Stephens’s words, “squandering the trust and goodwill of its euro-zone partners.”

But the reality of the talks is very different. Our government is keen to implement an agenda that includes all of the economic reforms emphasized by European economic think tanks. Moreover, we are uniquely able to maintain the Greek public’s support for a sound economic program.

Consider what that means: an independent tax agency; reasonable primary fiscal surpluses forever; a sensible and ambitious privatization program, combined with a development agency that harnesses public assets to create investment flows; genuine pension reform that ensures the social security system’s long-term sustainability; liberalization of markets for goods and services, and so on.

So, if our government is willing to embrace the reforms that our partners expect, why have the negotiations not produced an agreement? Where is the sticking point?

The problem is simple: Greece’s creditors insist on even greater austerity for this year and beyond – an approach that would impede recovery, obstruct growth, worsen the debt-deflationary cycle, and, in the end, erode Greeks’ willingness and ability to see through the reform agenda that the country so desperately needs. Our government cannot – and will not – accept a cure that has proven itself over five long years to be worse than the disease.

via Yanis Varoufakis, Greece can’t accept a cure that’s worse than the disease – The Globe and Mail

 

May 25 2015

The Global Elite’s Crimes Against Humanity » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

The great ‘American Dream’ was built on craving and propaganda. It was built on stripping the environment bare, on the unsustainable raping of nature to fuel profits, perpetual war and misery and suffering. The sociologist C.Wright Mills noted the existence of a post-war power elite in the US back in 1956. An integrated power elite of big corporations, the military and the political establishment. Fast forward 57 years and it is responsible for a body count of ten million dead and counting, a statistic, a dirty secret that Hollywood will never tell. Ten million slaughtered in US-backed wars and by death squads, covert ops and destabilisations (see this). Drug-running and the exporting of terror and murder, glorified by countless Hollywood icons, commentators and politicians under the banner of championing freedom and democracy.

The system in place exists to benefit not the majority, but small a minority of just 6,000 to 7,000 people, according to David Rothkopf. These are the extremely wealthy of the world who have cemented their position on the back of their ancestors and hundreds of years of capitalism. These are the people setting the globalisation and war agendas at the G8, G20, NATO, the World Bank, and the WTO. They are from the highest levels of finance capital and transnational corporations. These billionaires, this transnational capitalist class, dictate global economic policies and decide on who lives and who dies and which wars are fought and inflicted on which people. Although they are having a bit of difficulty in kick-starting it right now, with their see-through lies and hypocrisy, Syria is a case in point.

Their crimes against humanity are never mentioned as such. Instead, these people are called ‘wealth creators’. They are the self-anointed role models and captains of industry. The high flyers who have stolen ordinary people’s wealth, who have stashed it away in tax havens, who have bankrupted economies because of their reckless gambling and greed and who have imposed a form of globalisation that results in devastating destruction and war for those who attempt to remain independent from them, or structurally adjusted violence via privatisation and economic neo-liberalism for millions in countries that have acquiesced.

Little wonder then that attempts to redress the balance, to snatch control away from this criminal class, have been brutally suppressed over the decades. From democratic leftist organisations to any government pursuing a socialist alternative, this class has used intelligence agencies or military might to attempt to subvert or annihilate any opposition.

From El Salvador and Chile to Egypt and India’s tribal belt, ordinary folk across the world have been subjected to policies that have resulted in oppression, poverty and conflict. But this is all passed off by politicians and the corrupt mainstream media as the way things must be. And anyone who stands up to this lie is ridiculed at best or spied upon, tortured and killed at worst in order to prevent the truth from emerging. And that truth is that many of us know what ‘happiness’ really is, the type of society necessary to establish it – based on communality and economic equality – and that the immensely wealthy people who stand in its way do all things necessary to prevent us from having it. Socialism is not a dirty word.

Various well-being surveys indicate that happier societies invest heavily in health, welfare and education, are more equal and live within the limits imposed by the environment. Many less wealthy countries (and wealthy) do well in such surveys because cultural priority is placed on family and friends, on social capital rather than financial capital, on social equity rather than corporate power. It’s no coincidence that people in places like Britain and the US appear to be less happy than they were 40 years ago.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/05/25/the-global-elites-crimes-against-humanity/

May 25 2015

Make No Mistake, Wall Street Loves Hillary – Truthdig

“As one Wall Street lawyer put it,” Schulte continues, “ ‘If it turns out to be Jeb vs. Hillary, we would love that and either outcome would be fine’ ”:

Indeed, if Clinton talks today about economic inequality while she throws her crown into the ring, she has a long and loyal relationship with money and power. Among the top ten contributors to her 2008 campaign were employees from JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, CitiGroup, Morgan Stanley, and Lehman Brothers — institutions that can all benefit from a few friends in high places.

As secretary of state, she pressured governments to change policies and sign deals that would benefit US corporations like General Electric, Exxon Mobil, Microsoft, and Boeing. She also promoted hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and contracts with US oil companies like Chevron in Poland, Bulgaria, and elsewhere.

But perhaps her most telling corporate relationship is with the union-busting retail giant Walmart. Clinton served on the company’s board of directors from 1986 to 1992, and the law firm she worked for, Rose Law Firm, represented the corporation.

During those years, Clinton sat quietly as Walmart waged a war on workers trying to unionize and fight for basic rights on the job. This fealty to Walmart never wavered. During her three trips to India as secretary of state, she tried to convince the government to reverse its law aimed at keeping out big-box retailers.

via http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/make_no_mistake_wall_street_loves_hillary_20150525

The Wall Street leeches know that democracy is a sham, do you?

May 25 2015

Three years of confronting Western propaganda — RT Op-Edge

Lies of the Empire are piling on top of each other. “India, the largest democracy”! Anyone who knows this country, even my luminous Indian friends like writer Arundhati Roy (author of The God of Small Things) and documentary film-maker Sanjay Kak, feel unwell hearing this cliché. India is free only for the elites. It is built on the “ideals” of British colonialism. I call it “securistan”.

In my book, I am showing examples how the Empire tries to destroy Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, Eritrea, China, South Africa, and Iran – through outrageous propaganda and through manufacturing of the “opposition movements”. Last year I spent two weeks in Hong Kong trying to understand how the brains of local students work, how they were indoctrinated, and made to fall for the Western dogmas, how they are made to antagonize China. The parallel with the strategy that the Empire is using in order to destabilize and smear Cuba, Venezuela and Russia was striking.

I drove all around Ukraine, realizing how close most of the people there felt towards Russia. I talked to workers at the city of Krivoi Rog, to grandmas in the countryside, to students in Kharkov and Odessa: the West created the conflict in Ukraine and pushed it to complete absurdity, dividing two great nations with virtually the same culture.

I also studied environmental destruction in Oceania and Indonesia. In Micronesia, entire nations may have to be soon evacuated because of the global warming. I wrote entire book on the topic, several years ago, but “Exposing Lies of the Empire” is also touching this shocking subject. All over the Oceania, the Empire created “culture of dependence”, and destroyed enormous old and fascinating civilization.

via http://rt.com/op-edge/260821-propaganda-book-west-lies/

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