Sep 24 2016

How the era of endless wars began |

THE OPENING weekend of NFL games began last Sunday with an announcement from President Barack Obama beamed in to stadium jumbotrons across the country:

[O]n this day, 15 years ago, the world was shaken. Towers crumbled, thousands of our fellow Americans lost their lives, our nation and the whole world mourned as one. Yet as we saw in the days and weeks that followed, and what has become even clearer in the years since, the legacy of September 11 is not one of terror or fear, but of resilience and hope, because 9/11 didn’t change us as a nation.

As Obama was claiming that the years since the September 11 attacks weren’t marked by fear, many spectators were still trying to get to their seats–because they had been delayed by the long security lines getting into the stadium. Obama talked about a legacy of hope–in a country where many working-class people think the country is heading in the wrong direction.

And just after the president invoked the image of national unity in the days after 9/11, millions of people saw a powerful display showing that U.S. society is not so united: Amid the jingoistic unveiling of ludicrously large American flags, a handful of Black players quietly knelt or raised a fist during the national anthem to register a protest against racist police violence.

Sorry, Mr. President, but September 11 absolutely did change us as a nation.

Or even more so, the days and months afterward did–when the U.S. ruling class made a historic gamble that it could exploit the tragedy of 9/11 and the goodwill it generated around the world to launch a “war on terror,” whose real purpose was to lock in place a global order dominated by the U.S. for decades to come.

via How the era of endless wars began |

Sep 24 2016

ZCommunications » Is Human Rights Watch Too Closely Aligned With U.S. Foreign Policy?

HRW has repeatedly and summarily dismissed or ignored sincere and thoroughly documented criticisms of its conflicts of interest. These include letters from Nobel laureates, former high-raking UN officials, and scholars asking HRW to “bar those who have crafted or executed U.S. foreign policy from serving as HRW staff, advisors or board members,” or even to bar “those who bear direct responsibility for human rights violations” from participating on the boards of directors of independent human rights organizations like HRW.

Governments that commit human-rights abuses — and this includes just about every government in the world — often attack Western human-rights organizations or their (sometimes US-funded) domestic allies as tools of Western governments. This helps them degrade the legitimate struggle for human rights and even rally nationalist support for authoritarian governments, or for abuses committed by democratic governments. It is therefore vitally important that human-rights organizations stick to their avowed principles and defend human rights without regard to the objectives of US foreign policy.

via ZCommunications » Is Human Rights Watch Too Closely Aligned With U.S. Foreign Policy?.

Sep 24 2016

Native American High School Student’s Grade Lowered for Not Standing for Pledge

One high school teacher in Lower Lake, California lowered the grades of two students who refused to stand for the pledge of allegiance, CBS SF Bay Area reports.

One of the students, Leilani Thomas, is Native American.

She says she won’t say the pledge “because of the history that happened here. On my land. My people’s land.” She added she is “not going to stand for the people who did this to my people.”

Thomas and another female student have refused to cite the daily pledge in their first-period class since the first day of school, a decision that upset the teacher.

CBS reports:

“When the girls got their grades Friday, their participation scores were docked from a five to a three because they refused to stand. Thomas recorded her teacher’s explanation in class.

‘Here’s the deal. If you really, really have an argument and feel so strongly about, then I need to see it written out — your argument — in an essay form,’ the teacher is heard saying. ‘Like, why? Why, because here’s the thing; those people, they’re not alive anymore. Your ancestors.’”

Thomas further elaborated on why the teacher insists the pledge is mandatory. “She says that it represents the military and that they risked their lives for us,” she summarized. “And I always tell her, ‘Well, my people risked our lives for our land, for our freedom. For our rights.”


Sep 24 2016

Libyans Who Once Opposed Gaddafi Now Regret US-Led Regime Change

Libyans Who Once Opposed Gaddafi Now Regret US-Led Regime Change

Sep 22 2016

Any Third Party Vote is a Vote for Hillary Clinton

Well, so far Mr. Trump has only been stupid talk.

Exactamundo! Only ridiculous chatter. You know whatever he says is meaningless. You also know that he knows he’s bullshitting. It’s a game to him. On the other hand Clinton2 pretends it isn’t a game. He lies and winks. She lies and pretends it’s the Lord’s own truth.

I don’t know about that.

Of course you do, kiddo. You’re for Medicare for All, right? Well, the Trumpster has been for that. At one time or another. The Hillary wants to keep that Obamacare farce going.

It’s not like he wants socialized medicine, though.

You opposed the Iraq War, right? You know the Big Guy was at one time against it too. Clinton2 said she made a mistake. Maybe a couple of million died with the help of her vote and she says she made a mistake. Big whoop. Trumpy, he’s more flexible.

Well, that’s sort of true.

Kid, you know this isn’t an election where you can vote for a minority party. This might be the most critical election ever. You know you don’t want that Hillary in office.

She does support the death penalty when she feels like it. And she likes fracking too.

My brother, look at what they did to your Bernie.

You’re right about that. But the Republicans aren’t any better.

Now that even the Bush family is voting for Hillary Clinton, I mean, what more can I say? Do you support the whole Bush agenda? Don’t you think the first thing Clinton2 will do is give Jeb! a cabinet position? You don’t think Papa Bush said he was voting Democrat for the first time in his life without getting something in return? This is still politics, buddy boy. Imagine Jeb! as Secretary of State.

True. There must have been some sort of deal there.

Citizen, at least the Trumpster is straight about being corrupt.

That’s sort of the reason I’m thinking of voting for a third party candidate.

Patriotic American, wait until after the election and mobilize then. Trump can be reined in by a unified Democratic Congress. Remember the most important thing is to keep a war monger like Hillary Clinton out of the White House. It’s the known evil versus the unknown evil.

You’ve given me a lot to think about. Fortunately, there’s a little time left.

Pal of mine, just remember, any third party vote is a vote for Hillary Clinton to be the next President of these United States. And you know nobody wants that to happen.


Sep 21 2016

Cut-throat academia leads to ‘natural selection of bad science’, claims study | Science | The Guardian

Getting stuff right is normally regarded as science’s central aim. But a new analysis has raised the existential spectre that universities, laboratory chiefs and academic journals are contributing to the “natural selection of bad science”.

To thrive in the cut-throat world of academia, scientists are incentivised to publish surprising findings frequently, the study suggests – despite the risk that such findings are “most likely to be wrong”.


Sep 21 2016

The Ugly Truth Behind Apple’s iPhones – Truthdig

Sep 19 2016

5 Deeply Evil Corporations That Transcend Everyday Badness

Organizations like Cancer Fund of America, Children’s Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, and the Breast Cancer Society run their supposed goodwill organizations like personal bank accounts, using the majority of their proceeds to pay professional fundraisers, who rake in the money and, in turn, get more of that money. They spend almost all of the remainder paying the lavish salaries and bonuses of their employees (who are hired mostly via the careful applicant screening process of “rampant nepotism“). Together, these four charities have raised around $187 million … and donated less than 3 percent to the cause they name-check, often by distributing ridiculous stuff like “cancer boxes,” which contain random trinkets but nothing helpful.


Sep 19 2016

Cutting the Cords of Empire: the Spectacle of US Elections

It’s almost time for our quadrennial political distraction, masquerading as the US presidential election. As opposed to previous elections, this one feels quite different. Even with Obama/Romney in 2012, important, basic economic issues were discussed, health care reform was questioned, and foreign policy was given its due.

However, this time, the spectacle of the personalities seems to dominate the conversation: Mrs. Clinton is somehow on a feminist crusade, an inspiration for women everywhere. Going unmentioned are her irredeemable backers, such as the genocidal Henry Kissinger and Madeline Albright. As for Trump, his version of America is as naïve, narrow-minded, and delusional as a Leave It to Beaver episode, or a Captain America comic book. In the background, the monstrosity of global capitalism goes unquestioned, and the cries from victims of US institutional racism and structural violence go unheard.

Global warming, broad economic policy, and nuanced foreign policy are simply too much to ask of these candidates. Their stupidity knows no end; their corruption and depravity know no bounds, and many of both of their supporters, as well as media, political, and corporate backers and sycophants can be considered “deplorable”. Many supporters of the two-party system do not bother to think about the damage either potential president would do to people outside the US. Many backers of Trump and Clinton have little to no basic knowledge of world cultures and history.


Sep 17 2016

Why The iPhone 7 Sucks (For Everyone Except Apple)

Microsoft users have long complained that the company hasn’t innovated software — they just innovate ways to squeeze money out of it. It now appears that Apple has stopped innovating devices and is instead innovating ways to extract money from its loyal users. They both get away with this because switching to another OS (including rebuying all the apps, setting up new accounts, etc.) is an iPad Pro-sized hassle. That’s something unique to the tech world — if I buy a new refrigerator it doesn’t create a domino effect of having to buy new ice cube trays/oven/toaster/etc. But if your digital life (pronounced “life”) is built around one OS, switching comes with expenses far beyond just buying the new devices. Tech companies are very happy to exploit this.


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