Tuesday, May 23, 2017

It Must Be Communist and Therefore Evil

asiatimes |   Western critics continue to pour cold water on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an ambitious and well-planned architecture connecting the massive Eurasian landmass through a system of roads, railways and ports. They complain that it lacks transparency, erodes trade standards set up by the West, is financially too huge for China to handle, is self-serving, and is a deceptive vehicle for China to dominate the world, just to name a few.

They insist that the fact India and most countries in the West are snubbing the BRI is proof that the Chinese initiative is going nowhere or will likely fail. However, judging from the response of a large number of prominent economists and world business and political leaders, the critics may be exaggerating their claims.

In 2016, two-way trade between China and the more than 60 countries along the BRI corridor approached US$1 trillion, and China invested more than $2 billion in these countries in addition to infrastructure investment funded by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and Silk Road Fund. At the recent Belt and Road Forum, China pledged to invest about $120 billion over the next few years in the countries participating in the initiative.

The consensus among analysts, participating nations and multinational institutions is that the BRI in fact fits into the United Nations Development Agenda of promoting economic growth, eradicating poverty and enhancing all facets of globalization.

Monday, May 22, 2017

India Waits for Trump

strategic-culture |  So, what is India’s real problem with the BRI? Quintessentially, India’s problem is geo-strategic – its inability to come to terms with China’s rise. The pundits in Delhi used to fancy that India would eventually catch up with China’s development and even overtake it. But that turned out to be a pipedream. The real challenge today is to come to terms with the yawning asymmetry in development.

Indeed, India’s China watchers are a rather pedestrian lot. Some assessed that China was about to implode out of internal contradictions, and even if it survived, its high growth would be simply unsustainable. Others insisted that the medium term advantage would accrue to India because of the so-called «demographic curve» – India’s young population. All this turns out to be wishful thinking.

Today, India sees in the BRI the objective co-relative of China’s growing capacity and economic influence in the emerging global economic and strategic architecture. The policymaker agonises that the BRI holds the potential to be a conduit of strategic access for China. No doubt, the BRI event in Beijing showcases China as a responsible great power.

The Indian elites counted on the US’ containment strategy to rein in China’s march to superpower stature. Weaned on the neoconservative foreign-policy ideology dominating successive US administrations through the past decade and a half, they blithely assumed that Washington would mentor India’s rise as a global power, as a counterweight to China.

Admittedly, the United Progressive Alliance government (2004-2014) led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also subscribed to the Washington Consensus but retained some degree of strategic autonomy by keeping an independent line open to China while not averse to selectively tapping into the US’ pivot to Asia to create synergy. That policy worked to India’s advantage and when UPA relinquished power in 2014, India-China relations had reached an appreciable level of stability and predictability. Even the negotiations on the border dispute began tiptoeing toward a breakthrough point.

However, the foreign policy directions under the present government have undone those gains. The policy shift to bandwagon with the Obama administration’s pivot strategy aimed at containing China altogether changed the matrix. Of course, there was a domestic dimension, too, since the Modi government’s strident nationalistic agenda dovetailed nicely with the optics of a «muscular diplomacy» towards China. In turn, if the India-China relations began losing direction, the «animated suspense» only provided justification for the drive to align India’s foreign policy with the US’ regional and global strategies.

Enter Donald Trump. The incipient signs of a reshaping of the US’ ties with China under Trump threaten to derail Modi government’s China policies. Going back to Beijing in sackcloth and ashes is neither an option nor is it acceptable to the Hindu nationalist groups mentoring the government and/or the Sinophobes entrenched amongst the security and foreign policy elites. Therefore, Delhi is watching anxiously the outcome of the power struggle in the Washington Beltway and is hoping against hope that the Obama-era US policies would eventually revive.

India: Why Its Attempt to Go Digital Will Fail

Acting-Man |  Over the three years in which Narendra Modi has been in power, his support base has continued to increase. Indian institutions — including the courts and the media — now toe his line.

The President, otherwise a ceremonial rubber-stamp post, but the last obstacle keeping Modi from implementing a police state, comes up for re-election by a vote of the legislative houses in July 2017.  No one should be surprised if a Hindu fanatic is made the next President. India is rapidly entering a new phase.

During his reign in Gujarat, a civil-war like situation erupted, which seriously segregated the province’s society. It brought Hindus into a state of trance and excitement and provided them with the fake-security of the collective. Alas, wealth and civilization are created by an intense focus on value-addition, not from the short-term escapist excitement of mobs expressed through riots and rape. Destructive endeavors are a major vulnerability of poor societies, given their irrationality and lack of foresight and planning, and their short-sighted focus on high time-preference, pleasure-centered activities.

Modi, a major world-traveler, who has run around quite a bit to please foreign governments and win the support of identity-lacking non-resident Indians, is no longer going abroad with the same abandon. Historically and even today, whatever gained approval in the West is what Indians have looked up to.

But Modi has matured. Modi has directed the attention of Indians to nationalism, Hindutava (fanatic Hinduism), the army, the flag, the anthem, and other superficial collective “causes” not underpinned any values or wealth-creating, civilization-producing objectives. Behind this is an empty arrogance pumped up by having grown relatively richer (still with GDP at a mere $1,718 per capita) over the last several decades due of the free gift of western technology.

If all this reminds you of the early days of the Arab Spring, you are right on track  with respect to understanding what is happening in India.  India is an extremely irrational, superstitious and tribal society, which I have discussed in great detail in earlier articles, the last one of which is linked here.

War of Attrition 
Modi has infused so-called educated Indians with a sense of confidence and identity. It does not matter that this is all fake. To a man with a tribal, irrational mind incapable of thinking about tomorrow, throwing furniture onto the bonfire is not a problem, for today’s excitement is all that matters. Lacking empathy and compassion — another tribal “quality” — he pays no heed to the suffering of his fellow man.

Quoth Big Don: India Has It Figured Out

trtworld |  As Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrates three years in power, one story has persisted in making headlines: the project to create “tall and fair customised children” with high IQs. 

It’s a decade-old project and is operated by the health wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the mother organization from which the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) draws its inspiration, and the project is spreading its wings around the country.

As the country exploded in rage over similarities with the Nazi “Ubermenschen” ideal, which attempted to create a super Aryan race through eugenics funded by Hitler’s regime, many suggested that the RSS’ covert admiration for strong leaders – like US president Donald Trump and Modi –  is directly related to this attempt to create perfect babies.

An abiding theme of Hindu extreme right-wing literature has been the self-loathing associated with the inability to fight off invading armies, mostly Muslim, over the last thousand years. In fact, RSS leaders routinely collaborated with British authorities before independence so that they didn’t have to join hands with who they perceived to be the greater enemy: India’s Muslims.

No wonder RSS leaders are obsessed with the “weak Hindu” and how to overcome his weaknesses. Enter the customised baby project.

The RSS’ ‘Garbh Vigyan Sanskar’ project, loosely translated as ‘Science & Culture of the Womb,’ properly prescribes the norms which go into the making of a custom-perfect baby. The Indian Express, which broke the story last week, outlined the process that involves three months of “purification” of the intended parents which prevents “genetic defects” from being passed on, intercourse at a time decided by planetary configurations, complete abstinence after the baby is conceived as well as procedural and dietary regulations.  Fist tap Big Don.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Why Were Democrats Completely Co-opted by the Deep State?

Counterpunch |  We don’t know who killed Seth Rich and we’re not going to speculate on the matter here.  But we find it very strange that neither the media nor the FBI have pursued leads in the case that challenge the prevailing narrative on the Russia hacking issue. Why is that? Why is the media so eager to blame Russia when Rich looks like the much more probable suspect?

And why have the mainstream news organizations put so much energy into discrediting the latest Fox News report, when– for the last 10 months– they’ve showed absolutely zero interest in Rich’s death at all?

According to Fox News:
“The Democratic National Committee staffer who was gunned down on July 10 on a Washington, D.C., street just steps from his home had leaked thousands of internal emails to WikiLeaks, law enforcement sources told Fox News.
A federal investigator who reviewed an FBI forensic report detailing the contents of DNC staffer Seth Rich’s computer generated within 96 hours after his murder, said Rich made contact with WikiLeaks through Gavin MacFadyen, a now-deceased American investigative reporter, documentary filmmaker, and director of WikiLeaks who was living in London at the time….
Rod Wheeler, a retired Washington homicide detective and Fox News contributor investigating the case on behalf of the Rich family, made the WikiLeaks claim, which was corroborated by a federal investigator who spoke to Fox News….
“I have seen and read the emails between Seth Rich and Wikileaks,” the federal investigator told Fox News, confirming the MacFadyen connection. He said the emails are in possession of the FBI, while the stalled case is in the hands of the Washington Police Department.” (“Family of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich blasts detective over report of WikiLeaks link”, Fox News)
Okay, so where’s the computer? Who’s got Rich’s computer? Let’s do the forensic work and get on with it.

But the Washington Post and the other bogus news organizations aren’t interested in such matters because it doesn’t fit with their political agenda. They’d rather take pot-shots at Fox for running an article that doesn’t square with their goofy Russia hacking story. This is a statement on the abysmal condition of journalism today. Headline news has become the province of perception mandarins who use the venue to shape information to their own malign specifications, and any facts that conflict with their dubious storyline, are savagely attacked and discredited. Journalists are no longer investigators that keep the public informed, but paid assassins who liquidate views that veer from the party-line.

WikiLeaks never divulges the names of the people who provide them with information. Even so, Assange has not only shown an active interest in the Seth Rich case, but also offered a $20,000 reward for anyone providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of Rich’s murder. Why? And why did he post a link to the Fox News article on his Twitter account on Tuesday?

I don’t know, but if I worked for the FBI or the Washington Post, I’d sure as hell be beating the bushes to find out. And not just because it might help in Rich’s murder investigation, but also, because it could shed light on the Russia fiasco which is being used to lay the groundwork for impeachment proceedings. So any information that challenges the government version of events, could actually change the course of history.

Have you ever heard of Craig Murray?

A Call to Clampdown on Ungovernable Internet Companies

nakedcapitalism |  Silicon Valley brings us the worst of two economic systems: the inefficiency of a command economy coupled with the remorselessness of laissez-faire liberalism.

One reason it’s been difficult to organize workers in the tech industry is that people have a hard time separating good intentions from results. But we have to be cold-blooded about this.

Tech companies are run by a feckless leadership accountable to no one, creating a toolkit for authoritarianism while hypnotized by science-fiction fantasy.

There are two things we have to do immediately. The first is to stop the accelerating process of tracking and surveillance before it can do any more harm to our institutions.

The danger facing us is not Orwell, but Huxley. The combo of data collection and machine learning is too good at catering to human nature, seducing us and appealing to our worst instincts. We have to put controls on it. The algorithms are amoral; to make them behave morally will require active intervention.

The second thing we need is accountability. I don’t mean that I want Mark Zuckerberg’s head on a pike, though I certainly wouldn’t throw it out of my hotel room if I found it there. I mean some mechanism for people whose lives are being brought online to have a say in that process, and an honest debate about its tradeoffs.

I’m here today because I believe the best chance to do this is in Europe. The American government is not functional right now, and the process of regulatory capture is too far gone to expect any regulations limiting the tech giants from either party. American tech workers have the power to change things, but not the desire.

Only Europe has the clout and the independence to regulate these companies. You can already point to regulatory successes, like forcing Facebook to implement hard delete on user accounts. That feature was added with a lot of grumbling, but because of the way Facebook organizes its data, they had to make it work the same for all users. So a European regulation led to a victory for privacy worldwide.

We can do this again.
Here are some specific regulations I would like to see the EU impose:
  • A strict 30 day time limit on storing behavioral data.
  • The right to opt out of data collection while continuing to use services.
  • A ban on the sale or transfer of behavioral data, including to third-party ad networks.
  • A requirement that advertising be targeted strictly to content, not users.
With these rules in place, we would still have Google and Facebook, and they would still make a little bit of money. But we would gain some breathing room. These reforms would knock the legs out from underground political ad campaigns like we saw in Brexit, and in voter suppression efforts in the US election. They would give publishers relief in an advertising market that is currently siphoning all their earnings to Facebook and Google. And they would remove some of the incentive for consumer surveillance.

The other thing I hope to see in Europe is a unionized workforce at every major tech company. Unionized workers could demand features like ephemeral group messaging at Facebook, a travel mode for social media, a truly secure Android phone, or the re-imposition of the wall between Gmail and DoubleClick data. They could demand human oversight over machine learning algorithms. They could demand non-cooperation with Trump.

And I will say selfishly, if you can unionize here, it will help us unionize over there.

If nothing else, we need your help and we need you to keep the pressure on the tech companies, the Trump Administration, and your own politicians and journalists, so that the disaster that happened in the United States doesn’t repeat itself in Germany.

You have elections coming soon. Please learn from what happened to us. Please stay safe.
And please regulate, regulate, regulate this industry, while you can.

Global Beta Test: UK Fitna Clampdown On Ungovernable Open Source Culture

Independent |  Theresa May is planning to introduce huge regulations on the way the internet works, allowing the government to decide what is said online.

Particular focus has been drawn to the end of the manifesto, which makes clear that the Tories want to introduce huge changes to the way the internet works.

"Some people say that it is not for government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet," it states. "We disagree."

Senior Tories confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the phrasing indicates that the government intends to introduce huge restrictions on what people can post, share and publish online.

The plans will allow Britain to become "the global leader in the regulation of the use of personal data and the internet", the manifesto claims.

The manifesto makes reference to those increased powers, saying that the government will work even harder to ensure there is no "safe space for terrorists to be able to communicate online". That is apparently a reference in part to its work to encourage technology companies to build backdoors into their encrypted messaging services – which gives the government the ability to read terrorists' messages, but also weakens the security of everyone else's messages, technology companies have warned.

 The government now appears to be launching a similarly radical change in the way that social networks and internet companies work. While much of the internet is currently controlled by private businesses like Google and Facebook, Theresa May intends to allow government to decide what is and isn't published, the manifesto suggests.

The new rules would include laws that make it harder than ever to access pornographic and other websites. The government will be able to place restrictions on seeing adult content and any exceptions would have to be justified to ministers, the manifesto suggests.

The manifesto even suggests that the government might stop search engines like Google from directing people to pornographic websites. "We will put a responsibility on industry not to direct users – even unintentionally – to hate speech, pornography, or other sources of harm," the Conservatives write.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Interwebs Grinding Out the Seth Rich Whodunnit!

iBankCoin |  Reddit and 4chan have been hard at work trying to connect the dots surrounding Rich’s murder.

To that end, a user in Reddit’s ‘the_donald’ forum has found Seth Rich’s Reddit account – ‘MeGrimlock4’ (a Transformers reference) revealing much about the slain DNC staffer. For the most part, Rich seemed like a regular kinda guy – into football, dogs, patriotism, riding his bike, fun clothes, and volunteering at the Washington Humane Society.

Seth Rich’s twitter is @panda4progress, which follows @Reddit, which led us to believe he was in fact a redditor. That seems consistent with this reddit account, in that they’re both in DC and have an interest in bicycles. Edit: not JUST bicycles. A company named “split” which this account is talking about here @Panda4Progress talks to them here. Also /u/MeGrimlock4 is posting about Nebraska football.

Rich was from Omaha. No cornfed midwestern kid from Nebraska isn’t a Huskers fan. THIS IS DEFINITELY SETH RICH’S ACCOUNT
Here’s where it gets interesting: /u/pandas4bernie and a tumblr by the same name ALSO stopped posting at the same time as this account. If that’s Rich, then that proves motive. Rich was a BernieBro.
Which may be why Rich gave WikiLeaks the DNC emails – after they false flagged Bernie…
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) uses an outside software partner “NGP VAN,” founded by Nathaniel Pearlman, chief technology officer for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. Their ‘VoteBuilder’ software was designed for Democratic candidates (Bernie, Hillary, etc.) to track and analyze highly detailed information on voters for the purposes of ‘microtargeting’ specific demographics.

On December 16th, 2015, NGP VAN updated the Votebuilder with a patch that contained a bug – allowing the Sanders and the Clinton campaigns to temporarily access each other’s proprietary voter information for around 40 minutes. Lo and behold, the Sanders campaign National Data Director, Josh Uretsky, was found to have accessed Clinton’s information and promptly fired.
Uretsky’s excuse was that he was simply grabbing Clinton’s data during the window of vulnerability to prove that the breach was real.

Bernie cried false flag!
Sanders claimed that Uretsky was a DNC plant – “recommended by the DNC’s National Data Director, as well as a former COO of NGP VAN.”

Of note, Seth Rich was not the National Data Director. According to the DNC’s 2016 roster, Seth Rich was the DNC’s “Voter Expansion Data Director” while Andrew Brown was the National Data Director – who Bernie said referred Uretsky.

So Seth Rich, a Bernie supporter, would have known people involved in the ‘hack’ Bernie says was meant to frame him…
It’s easy to speculate how Seth Rich could have become disgruntled after witnessing the DNC attempt to sabotage the Sanders campaign. As such, it’s not a stretch to imagine that Rich – a guy with access  to sensitive emails and technical skills, did in fact communicate with Wikileaks in order to expose and root out the DNC’s misdeeds.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Trump: Like a BOSS!!!

straightlinelogic |  If Seth Rich was the source of the WikiLeaks’ DNC email disclosures and the FBI knew it, then the Russian hacking story was a fabrication, and James Comey was probably involved in an attempt to drive President Trump from office.

The biggest story of the entire Russiagate controversy was published Tuesday. Not the story about President Trump’s alleged statement to former FBI Director James Comey: “I hope you can let this go.” A witness is only as good as his or her credibility. If the actual big story pans out, Comey has none, which is why the mainstream media is obsessing over Trump’s alleged statement and doing everything it can to ignore and stifle the other story.

Seth Rich was on the staff of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). He was gunned down on July 10, 2016. Robbery has been speculated as a motive for the murder, but his wallet and watch were not taken. There is also speculation that Rich was the source of the DNC emails that were released by WikiLeaks twelve days later, to the consternation and embarrassment of the DNC. Fueling that speculation was WikiLeaks’ offer of a $20,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of Rich’s murderer. WikiLeaks has neither confirmed nor denied that Rich was its source.

The emails appeared to show a concerted DNC effort to stop Senator Bernie Sanders’ primary campaign for the Democratic nomination and led to the resignation of party chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz. After WikiLeaks’ DNC disclosure, the DNC refused to let the FBI investigate its computer servers. Instead, it allowed a cybersecurity firm, CrowdStrike, to investigate. It’s conclusion, subsequently undercut, was that the Russians had hacked the DNC’s server.

Fox News reported that an unnamed source, almost certainly from the FBI, has seen and read emails between Seth Rich and the late Gavin MacFadyen, a director of WikiLeaks. A FBI forensic report on Seth Rich’s computer was allegedly compiled within 96 hours of his murder. The source said there were 44,053 emails and 17,761 attachments between DNC leaders transferred from Rich to MacFadyen from January 2015 through May 2016.

If this is correct, then within 96 hours of Rich’s murder, or by July 14, 2016, the FBI knew that Rich had communicated with WikiLeaks and it knew what he had communicated. That means that when WikiLeaks subsequently released the DNC emails on July 22, the FBI knew that Rich, not the Russian government, was the source. That would make the entire “Russia hacked the DNC” story nothing more than a concocted fabrication.

Let's Hope It Chokes Miss Lindsey and Auntie Maxine...,

Mishtalk |  Bending to the will of Democrats and mainstream media, Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, cited ‘public interest’ in investigating Trump’s ties to Russia. As a matter of public interest,, Rosenstein named former FBI director Robert Mueller as Special Counsel for Russia Probe.

What’s the Real Mission?
  1. Republicans and Trump want to pacify the media and get this nonsense behind them.
  2. Democrats want this to drag on forever.
Peter King is correct in his assessment “These guys go on forever.”

As a byproduct of point number two, numerous witch hunts will take place as Democrats will want to investigate every lead, no matter how ridiculous.

The budget is open-ended and there are no time limits. The witch hunt could conceivably last for the duration of Trump’s presidency.

Much of Trump’s agenda will be on indefinite hold as the progress, or lack thereof, as the story unfolds.

The appointment of a special counsel does not change impeachment odds. For discussion, please see Impeachment Odds Approximately Zero

Comey Memos the 4th Branch's "Wish I Had" Sandwich

unz |  I am somewhat embarrassed to cheer the US President for doing such minor routine things as firing an FBI director or meeting with the Foreign Minister of a major state. Next, I’d have to laud him for eating an apple or washing his hands (“Attaboy!”). But one feels that the guy needs our encouragement for doing something right. As the father of three boys, I know: boys need encouragement. And if there is no great achievement to cheer them for, even washing their hands before the meal will do.
Trump has a huge, Herculean task: to turn the battleship America away from its collision course when all the important people in all the important positions are deadly keen to run it full speed ahead. They think the other ship will turn away first; but the “other ship” is actually a lighthouse. It is the rock of the World-Island and its Heartland. Why would so many smart Americans, Brits and Europeans push their luck by courting war and disaster?

Exactly a hundred years ago, in 1917, Vladimir Lenin discovered that the present system necessarily produces world wars. It is not a question of bad guys or good guys, it’s the system, stupid! He wrote about it a concise book called Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, radically updating Marx. The idea is that capitalism evolves from dynamic competitive production to financial capital takeover, while the financial capital unavoidably leads to wars. If financiers rule, war is inevitable, he said, because they are insatiable.
Industrialists, builders, farmers can and will stop at the limits of their territory, but financiers always want more, and there is no natural limit to their expansion. They want to colonise more lands, subjugate more nations and suck up their substance. The only way to save the world from the horrors of war (remember, Lenin wrote after Verdun and Ypres), is to get rid of financial capital’s dominance (Jesus came to the same conclusion whens He expelled the moneychangers from the temple).

That same year, Lenin made his great experiment to rid his country Russia of bankers and other exploiters, while earning their eternal hatred (and volumes of fake news about his bloodthirsty cruelty, in addition). History has proven him partially right: the countries that followed Lenin’s path never began a war, and they never colonised other states, though they did help some to get rid of their leeches and Western interference. Soviet Russia is an example: it was a donor to all the other socialist states, from Georgia to Afghanistan. (Perhaps the communists had been too good for this world. After Russia was de-communised, Russian income went up, while the incomes of practically all the ex-Soviet states plummeted, unless subsidised by the EU.) And they knew no war.

On the other hand, the states that remained under bankers’ sway went to war more and more frequently. They colonised or were colonised. Probably none as often as the US, the home country for the Federal Reserve, for the dollar and for so many great financial companies.

For America, the next World War is inevitable, unless the Americans can get rid of their financiers – and of their servants in the mass media and other state institutions. My sympathy to President Trump has been based on his antipathy to the moneymen. When he attacked the Federal Reserve and Wall Street, he swayed me, and perhaps you, too.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Other Peoples Skin in Your Game

medium |  Imagine working for a corporation that produces a (so far) hidden harm to the community, in concealing a cancer-causing property which kills the thousands but with an effect that is not (yet) fully visible. You can alert the public, but would automatically lose your job. There is a gamble that the company’s evil scientists would disprove you, causing additional humiliation. Or the news will come and go and you may end-up being ignored. You are familiar with the history of whistleblowers which shows that, even if you end up vindicated, it may take time for the truth to emerge over the noise created by corporate shills. Meanwhile you will pay the price. A smear campaign against you will destroy any hope of getting another job.

You have nine children, a sick parent, and as a result of the stand, the children’s future would be compromised. College hopes will evaporate –you may even have trouble feeding them properly. You are severely conflicted between your obligation to the collective and to your progeny. You feel part of the crime and unless you do something you are an agent: thousands are dying from the hidden poisoning by the corporation. Being ethical comes at a huge cost to others.

In the James Bond movie Specter, agent Bond found himself fighting –on his own, whistleblower style –a conspiracy of dark forces that took over the British service, including his supervisors. “Q” who built the new fancy car and other gadgets for him, when asked to help against the conspiracy, said “I have a mortgage and two cats” –in jest of course because he ended up risking the lives of his two cats to fight the bad guys.

Society likes saints and moral heroes to be celibate so they do not have family pressures and be forced into dilemmas of needing to compromise their sense of ethics to feed their children. The entire human race, something rather abstract, becomes their family. Some martyrs, such as Socrates, had young children (although he was in his seventies), and overcame the dilemma at their expense.[1] Many can’t.

Ta-Nussy Black Panther and Crew FAIL

Heatstreet |  No one is buying Marvel’s lineup of social justice-themed comics. It’s no surprise, given that few readers want politics to be forced down their throats. Thus liberal darling Ta-Nehisi Coates and Yona Harvey’s Black Panther & The Crew is getting the axe after poor sales, just two issues after its launch. Its cancellation comes just weeks after a Marvel VP revealed that comics with forced messages of “diversity” were responsible for the publisher’s sales slump.

Joined by Luke Cage, Manifold, Misty Knight, and Storm, the titular superhero who entered the limelight with Captain America: Civil War gathers his all-black crew of superheroes to investigate the death of a civil rights activist who died in police custody. It has echoes of Sandra Bland’s death.

Set in a near-future Harlem-turned-police state patrolled by robotic police officers controlled by a private security contractor, the comic has every element you’d expect from a comic attempting to tell a story inspired by Black Lives Matter. The cops beat people up for no reason, too.

Naturally, the social justice superheroes take justice into their own hands and go to battle against the corrupt system, while learning about the historical figures of the Civil Rights Movement. Univision-owned entertainment vertical Gizmodo enthusiastically describes The Crew as one that “[tells a] timely [story] about real world issues, like how police brutality devastates black communities.”

Coates explained to The Verge that Marvel decided to kill the publication due to poor sales, and that there wouldn’t be any continuation after the current story arc ends in its sixth and final issue. The market spoke, and Marvel listened.  Fist tap Big Don.

Gay Inc. and Intersectional FAIL

Counterpunch |  You would think, for example, that in the heart of the most powerful military empire that the world has ever seen, that an activist who opposed the savaging of other countries by the U.S. military would receive intersectional support from a broad section of the U.S. left. And particularly since this activist identified as LGBTQ, the LGBTQ left would particularly be in her corner.

But no. Years earlier a top official in what is now known as the National LGBTQ Task Force told me that “we will never” again come out against a U.S. war, following the Task Force’s public opposition to President George H. W. Bush’s first war against Iraq. He said that the Task Force’s coming out against that war had “nearly destroyed” the organization, as wealthy donors pulled their donations and threatened to never support it again. And this was with the Task Force, the group that likes to posture itself as the “hippest” of the big LGBTQ non-profits.

But it was not the first, nor certainly the last time that LGBTQ non-profits – rightly derided as “Gay Inc.” – prioritized donors’ dollars to fund their salaries and offices, over alleged adherence to intersectional principles.

For all their talk of “grassroots organizing” – another phrase that’s become hackneyed thru repeated misuse – Gay Inc. organizations are staff-driven at best, and at worst, controlled by self-selected boards chosen for their ability to tap contributions from wealthy donors. In this way the wealthiest LGBTQs control the political agenda of what passes for our movement, a pink version of the class stratification talked about in straight society, but rarely mentioned in the movement.

Some say that the reason for this conservatism is Gay, Inc.’s affection for “heteronormativity” – the aping straight people. This is said to explain their recent emphasis on winning equal marriage rights, for example. But this interpretation doesn’t adequately explain where “heteronormativity” itself comes from, and it also radically mis-reads the chronology of how the marriage issue became center-space in our movement.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Putin Offers Transcript to Dispel 4th Branch Slander Du Jour....,

RT |  Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is ready to provide records of the recent meeting between US leader Donald Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, to dispel the "political schizophrenia" around the allegations that state secrets were leaked. 

"If the US administration deems it possible, we are ready to provide the Senate and Congress with the transcript of the conversation between Lavrov and Trump," Putin said at a press conference, following a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni on Wednesday.

It comes after the Washington Post claimed that Trump had “revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister [Sergey Lavrov] and ambassador in a White House meeting” on May 10.

Trump maintains that the data he shared with Lavrov concerned flight safety and terrorism, and that he had the "absolute right" to provide the information at an openly scheduled White House meeting.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova issued a mocking response to the claims, posting on Facebook: “Have you guys been reading American newspapers again? Don’t read them. They can be used in many different ways, but one shouldn’t read them – recently it has become not only harmful, but dangerous.”

"We are seeing in the US a developing political schizophrenia," Putin said.

"There is no other way I can explain the accusations against the acting US president that he gave away some secrets to Lavrov."

Those who "are destabilizing the internal US political situation using anti-Russian slogans either don't understand that they are bringing this nonsense in on their own side, and then they are just stupid, or else they understand everything, and then they are dangerous and corrupt people," Putin said.

"Anyway, this is a US matter, and we don't want and don't plan to interfere," the Russian president said.

Putin promptly followed his statements about the Trump-Lavrov meeting by saying he did share some secrets with the Italian prime minister.

"As for the message I delivered to Mr. Prime Minister, it is of a secret nature, I cannot tell you about it," Putin said with a smile.

While much discussed by the media, the alleged state secret leaks appear not to have damaged Washington's overseas alliances. UK Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to continue sharing intelligence data with the US.

Putin Must Be Punished for Blocking the Bankster Rape of Russia

therealnews |  But why is so much of the American foreign policy establishment, the political class, the military leadership, the vast majority of that whole stratum wants to maintain a very antagonistic position towards Russia, and why?

ROBERT ENGLISH: You know, four or five reasons that all come together, pushing in this Russophobic direction. We've always had sort of unreconstructed Cold Warriors, people who never were easy with the new Russia, right? Zbigniew Brzezinski and people of that ilk, who wanted to just push Russia in a corner, take advantage of its weakness, never give it a chance. Then you have people in the military-industrial complex, for lack of a better term, whose vested interests lie in a continued rivalry, and continued arms-racing, and continued threat inflation. You have other people who normally would be liberal progressive, but they're so angry at Hillary Clinton's loss, they're so uncomprehending of how someone they see as vulgar and unqualified as Trump could get elected, that they're naturally unwilling to let go of this "the Russians hacked our election, the Russians got Trump elected" theme, and therefore, Russia is even bigger enemy than they would be otherwise. These and other strains all come together in a strange way. Some of this is the hard right, all right? Some of it is from the left, some is from the center. And across the board, we have ignorance. Ignorance of Russia.

PAUL JAY: Now, in an article you wrote recently, you went through some of the history, and we're going to do another segment that digs into this history more in depth, but when you look at the history of the '90s, and Yeltsin, and the whole role of the United States in helping bring down the Soviet Union, the whole point of bringing down the Soviet Union, and standing Yeltsin up, and interfering in Russian elections to make sure Yeltsin wins, and so on, was to open Russia for privatization for American oligarchs. I don't think the idea was to do it for Russian oligarchs, but that's how it turned out. Is that part of what is making this section of the American oligarchs so angry about it all?

ROBERT ENGLISH: You know, when people look at Russia today, they try to explain it in terms of one evil man, Putin, and that sort of conceals an assumption that if we could just get rid of Putin, everything would be better, and that Putin is the way he is — anti-American — because he's from the KGB. You don't need to go back to his youth or his time in intelligence to understand why he's very skeptical, why we have bad relations with Putin and all those around him. You don't have to go back to the '50s or '40s. You can go back just to the '90s, when we interfered in Russia, when we foisted dysfunctional economic policies on them, when we meddled in their elections repeatedly, and basically for an entire decade, we were handmaidens to a catastrophe — economic, political, social — that sowed the seeds of this resentment that continues to this day. It's a-

PAUL JAY: Yeah, you mention in your article that the consequences of the '90s depression in Russia far surpassed anything in the '07-'08 recession in the United States.

ROBERT ENGLISH: They far surpassed that. They even far surpassed anything in our own Great Depression of the early 1930s, of '29, '30, '31 — you know, the Great Depression, under Hoover and then Roosevelt. At that time, our economy contracted by about a quarter, and the slump lasted about three years before growth resumed. Russia's economy contracted almost by half, and the slump lasted an entire decade, and it resulted not just in widespread poverty, but millions of excess deaths, of suicides, of people dying of despair, of heart disease, of treatable illnesses caused by the strains, the ... This deep, unbelievable misery of that decade. It's no wonder that there is deep resentment towards the US, and this underlies a lot of the Putin elites' attitudes towards us. It's not something pathological, Putin being a bad guy. If you got rid of Putin tomorrow, the next guy who came along, the person most Russians would probably elect in democratic elections, wouldn't be so different. It wouldn't be another Yeltsin or pro-Western liberal, believe me.

PAUL JAY: Well, even if everything they say about Putin is true, and I doubt and ... Quite sure not everything is true. If he is such a dictator, United States foreign policy has never had any trouble with dictators, as long as they're our dictators, so the thing drips with hypocrisy.

ROBERT ENGLISH: Hypocrisy and double standards all around are what Russians see, okay? I mean, where do you begin? Look at the recent ... The vote, the referendum in Crimea to secede from Ukraine, and of course, then Russia annexed it into Russian territory, and we find that outrageous, a violation of international law, and the Russians say, "Yeah, and what did you engineer in Kosovo? You yanked Kosovo out of Serbia, you caused Kosovo to secede from Serbia with no referendum, no international law. How is that different? Right? When it's your client state it's okay, but when it's ours, it's not?" And of course the list is a long one; we could spend all afternoon going through them. So the first thing we need to do is stop the sanctimony, and deal with Russia as an equal great power. But, you know, can I say one more thing about the '90s that connect it with what's going on today? In 1991, we had George Herbert Walker Bush in the White House. It was still the Soviet Union, Gorbachev was still in power for the rest of the year, and a warning came from our ambassador in Moscow, Jack Matlock, which was passed on to the White House. He had inside information from sources, from confidential sources, that a coup attempt was being planned. And, by the way, of course it happened in August of that year. That information came from our Ambassador Matlock, from his sources in Moscow, to the White House. George Bush had been instructed that this was highly sensitive, do not reveal the source of the information, keep it confidential. Bush fouled up, and within hours, he got on the phone to Moscow, a line that was open, monitored by the KGB, trying to reach Gorbachev, and he revealed the information, and he revealed the source, which went straight to the KGB. This was an unbelievable breach of confidentiality, dangerous, potentially deadly results, and the greatest irony is that George Herbert Walker Bush had been Director of the CIA before. Now, why am I telling this story? Obviously, my first point is, presidents have fouled up, and have declassified unwittingly, or sometimes for political purposes, highly sensitive information all the time. I'm not excusing what Trump did — it looks like he was very sloppy — but the first thing to note is it's not unusual, this happens a lot. The second thing, and let's talk about this, is sharing information intelligence with the Russians. Guys, we've been doing this for nearly 20 years. After 9/11, the Russians offered us valuable intelligence on the Taliban, on Afghanistan, to help us fight back against bin Laden, and we've been exchanging intelligence on terrorists ever since. A lot of people wish we'd exchange more information; we might have prevented the Boston bombing. So this hysteria about sharing intelligence with our adversary, no, we are cooperating with Russia because we have a common enemy.

PAUL JAY: Now, I said in the beginning that I thought we should separate Trump's intent from a policy, which seems more rational, not to treat Russia as such an adversary, and try to work both in Syria and other places, negotiate more things out. But when you do look at the side of intent, I don't think you can negate or forget about the kind of historic ties that Trump has with Russian oligarchs. Some people suggest Russian Mafia. Tillerson's energy play, they would love sanctions lifted on Russia, and I'm not suggesting they shouldn't be lifted, but the motive here is they want to do a massive play in the energy sector. So it's not ... I don't think we should forget about what drives Trump and his circle around him, which is they have a very big fossil fuel agenda and a money-making agenda. On the other hand, that doesn't mean the policy towards Russia isn't rational. I mean, what do you ... I don't know if you agree or not.

The 4th Branch of Government Determined to Effect a Constitutional Coup

unz |  There is a growing Washington consensus that consists of traditional liberals and progressives as well as Democratic globalist interventionists and neoconservatives who believe that Donald Trump must be removed from office no matter what it takes. The interventionists and neocons in particular already control most of the foreign policy mechanisms but they continue to see Trump as a possible impediment to their plans for aggressive action against a host of enemies, most particularly Russia. As they are desirous of bringing down Trump “legally” through either impeachment or Article 25 of the Constitution which permits removal for incapacity, it might be termed a constitutional coup, though the other labels cited above also fit.
The rationale Trump haters have fabricated is simple: the president and his team colluded with the Russians to rig the 2016 election in his favor, which, if true, would provide grounds for impeachment. The driving force, in terms of the argument being made, is that removing Trump must be done “for the good of the country” and to “correct a mistake made by the American voters.” The mainstream media is completely on board of the process, including the outlets that flatter themselves by describing their national stature, most notably the New York Times and Washington Post.

So what is to be done? For starters, until Donald Trump has unambiguously broken a law the critics should take a valium and relax. He is an elected president and his predecessors George W. Bush and Barack Obama certainly did plenty of things that in retrospect do not bear much scrutiny. Folks like Ray McGovern and Robert Parry should be listened to even when they are being provocative in their views. They are not, to be sure, friends of the White House in any conventional way and are not apologists for those in power, quite the contrary. Ray has been strongly critical of the current foreign policy, most particularly of the expansion of various wars, claims of Damascus’s use of chemical weapons, and the cruise missile attack on Syria. Robert in his latest article describes Trump as narcissistic and politically incompetent. But their legitimate concerns are that we are moving in a direction that is far more dangerous than Trump. A soft coup engineered by the national security and intelligence agencies would be far more dangerous to our democracy than anything Donald Trump can do.

Deep State's Assault on Trump the Greatest National Security Threat

ibankcoin |  Steven Cohen, Professor of Russian studies at Princeton and NYU (an obvious Russian spy) was besides himself tonight, in sheer disbelief over the with hunt of gigantic nothing-burgers that are being used to assault the Presidency of Donald Trump. 

He declared, “today, I would say (the greatest threat to national security) is this assault on President Trump. Let’s be clear what he’s being accused of is treason. This has never happened in America, that we had a Russian agent in the White House. Cohen believes Flynn did nothing wrong by talking to the Russian ambassador, describing it as ‘his job’ to do so.

He then illuminated the indelible fact that there is a 4th branch of government, the intelligence community, who have been meddling in American foreign affairs, obstructing the other 3 branches of government.
“In 2016, President Obama worked out a deal with Russian President Putin for military cooperation in Syria. He said he was gonna share intelligence with Russia, just like Trump and the Russians were supposed to do the other day. Our department of defense said it wouldn’t share intelligence. And a few days later, they killed Syrian soldiers, violating the agreement, and that was the end of that. So, we can ask, who is making our foreign policy in Washington today?”
Professor Cohen added, “you and I have to ask a subversive question, are there really three branches of government, or is there a 4th branch of government? These intel services. What we know, as a fact, is that Obama tried, not very hard but he tried for a military alliance with Putin, in Syria, against terrorism and it was sabotaged by the department of defense and its allies in the intelligence services.”

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The System

wikipedia |  Systema (Система, literally meaning The System) is a Russian martial art.[1] Training includes, but is not limited to: hand-to-hand combat, grappling, knife fighting, and firearms training. Training involves drills and sparring without set kata. In Systema, the body has to be free of tensions, filled with endurance, flexibility, effortless movement, and explosive potential; the "spirit" or psychological state has to be calm, free of anger, irritation, fear, self-pity, delusion, and pride.[2]

Systema focuses on breathing, relaxation, and fluidity of movement, as well as utilizing an attacker's momentum against him and controlling the six body levers (elbows, neck, knees, waist, ankles, and shoulders) through pressure point application, striking, and weapon applications. As a discipline, it is becoming more and more popular among police and security forces and it is taught by several practitioners inside and outside Russia.

Correct Kettlebell Movements Are Like Feldenkrais On Steroids

wikipedia |  The Russian girya (ги́ря, a loanword from Persian غران girān "heavy") was a type of metal weight, primarily used to weigh crops, in the 18th century. The use of such weights by circus strongmen is recorded for the 19th century. They began to be used for recreational and competition strength athletics in Russia and Europe in the late 19th century. The birth of competitive kettlebell lifting or girevoy sport (гиревой спорт) is dated to 1885, with the foundation of the founding year of the "Circle for Amateur Athlethics" (Кружок любителей атлетики).[2]

Russian kettlebells (Russian: ги́ри giri, singular ги́ря girya) are traditionally measured in weight by pood, corresponding to 16.38 kilograms (36.1 lb).[3] The English term kettle bell has been in use since the early 20th century.[4]

Similar weights used in Classical Greece were the haltere, comparable to the modern kettlebell in terms of movements. Another comparable instrument was used by Shaolin monks in China.