Saturday, July 6, 2019

America's Record-Long "Expansion" Was Just The Rich Getting Richer As The Middle Class Died | Zero Hedge

US Imperialism from Manifest Destiny to the New American Century


Roberto Sirvent and Danny Haiphong have explored the albatross of myths, legends, lies and damn lies around America’s neck in their book  American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News—From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror.  They look into America’s closet of historical secrets and expose them.  They knock down the stuff that is just made up.  The authors explain why the US habitually denies its own bad behavior, and projects it onto others.

Over the centuries the US has developed an illusion of grandeur.  It imagines itself as indispensable and exceptional, unlike any nation that has ever existed.

Exceptionalism means not having to say you are sorry or pay for your mistakes.  Being exceptional means you are the law.  You are the policeman, the judge, the jury and the executioner.

To enforce its exceptionalism the US has built a mighty military.  The price for its grandiose military has been the neglect of the American people.  The US is addicted to militarism and violence.  From its founding, the US was a violent country.  It used violence to acquire and occupy the land, and to gain independence from Great Britain.  The US maintained that God was on its side, and it was innocent of any wrongdoing.  The US just made it up that it was Manifest Destiny, that it should become an empire.  Americans saw themselves as being on a civilizing mission for God.

The Myth of Manifest Destiny

Movies glorifying and romanticizing the westward expansion of the US were an early theme of motion pictures.  One of the first silent movies was a Western produced in 1903:  The Great Train Robbery.  Right from the beginning motion pictures created false narratives and myths.

A 1915 silent move spectacle was The Birth of a Nation, which falsely recasts the Civil War and the Reconstruction Era.  It portrays the South as a victim, depicts blacks as depraved, and the Ku Klux Klan as a heroic protector of America’s virginity.  After featuring the movie in the White House, President Woodrow Wilson said:

It is like writing history with lightning. And my only regret is that it is all so terribly true.

Hollywood perpetuates America’s spirit of exceptionalism, often in cahoots with the power elites of the ruling class.  Up until the late 1960’s Western movies were a regular theme, which was later adapted to television too.  Movies, radio and television were revolutionary forms of entertainment, information, advertising, and propaganda in the 20th century.

When I was growing up in the 1950’s playing “cowboys and Indians” was a favorite pastime for children.  We reenacted what we saw in the movies.  For example, watch the below movie trailer for How the West Was Won, produced in 1963:

The phrase Manifest Destiny was not coined until the mid-19th century.  But the ideology had started with the colonial settlement and ethnic cleansing of the indigenous people.  As Sirvent and Haiphong explain:

“George Washington and his secretary of war Henry Knox wasted no time in laying the basis for Manifest Destiny.  Manifest Destiny was an alteration to the colonial ideology that led to the formation of the American nation-state…..Manifest Destiny presupposed that American expansion from coast to coast was a matter of ordained fate justified by the Republic’s superior civilization”.

During the westward expansion, the phrase Manifest Destiny came into vogue with the debate about whether or not to steal one-third of Mexico, while “taming” the West.  Manifest Destiny won the debate.

The westward expansion of the US empire did not stop at the shore of the Pacific Ocean.  It kept on going to Asia.  The US became a colonial empire, and went knocking down the trade barriers of Japan, Korea and China.  The US believed in “free trade”, even if it had to be at the point of a gunboat.

The Legacy of Slavery

The legacy of slavery continues to pervert equality and justice today.  As Sirvent and Haiphong explain the US pleads that slavery was just a “peculiar institution” and not a contradiction of American exceptionalism:

While It has been difficult to mask the horrors of slavery on subjugated Africans, it has been equally difficult to pierce through the narrative that the institution of slavery was a mere mistake or an aberration in an otherwise flawless American design.

Saying that the US was built on the backs of slaves is not a metaphor.  The early foundation of the US economy relied on slavery.  The White House and Capitol were built by slaves; now that is a literal metaphor.  Watch the following short debate on the subject:

Chomsky is correct; cotton was king.  It was as important in the18th and 19th century, as oil is in the 21st century. Everybody wanted cotton, and the textile industry sparked the industrial revolution.  Yet the emancipated slaves and their descendants have never received reparations for their contribution.

The US pleads innocence from genocide and slavery.  The colonial settlers even blamed the victims.  The African slave was characterized as being lazy.  The Declaration of Independence accuses the indigenous people as being the following:

“…merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”

Privatization of the Native’s commons and slavery were enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.  The “pursuit of happiness” was code for stealing Indian land and enslaving blacks.  That was the reason for the 2nd Amendment.

The Monroe Doctrine

Another well-known legacy of early American history is the Monroe Doctrine, as Roberto Sirvent and Danny Haiphong explain in their book.  The Monroe Doctrine sprang forth from President James Monroe’s lips as an extension of Manifest Destiny.  Since God was believed to have granted the US possession of the continent, it followed that it should include the Caribbean and Latin America too.

In the 19th century Spain lost its grip on its colonial possession in the Americas.  France had suffered major losses in the French and Indian War (1754 to 1763).  The Napoleonic Wars (1801 to 1815) weakened France.  Haiti, which was the “pearl” of France’s colonies, achieved independence in 1804.  In 1823 President Monroe declared that the US would be the arbiter of disputes and protector of the Caribbean and Latin America from then on.  With the victory of the Spanish American War (1898) the US became an empire with foreign colonies in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.

History is Not “History”, It Has a Life of its Own

American Exceptionalism and American Innocence is not just a history book, although it is that too.  Sirvent and Haiphong examine historical events and the myths that justified them.  For instance, after World War Two the US developed a messiah complex that it was the savior of the world.  The facts don’t support the myth.  However, the US did come out of World War Two as the strongest economic and military power in the world.

During the post-war period the US used it economic and military power to expand its neocolonialism.  The US opposed anti-colonial wars of liberation in Africa and Asia, as well as in its “backyard”.  The power elites of the US ruling class framed the US’s neocolonialism as protecting budding democracies from the evils of communism.  The US power elites hid their true economic motives in myths about freedom, democracy and human rights.

Critical thinking would expose the contradiction of the US supporting colonialism.  In fact, the US secretly overthrew democratically elected governments that wanted to use their natural resources for the benefit of their own people.  Early covert “regime change” operations were the democratically elected governments of Iran, Guatemala, and the DR Congo.  The US has been overthrowing governments ever since.  When communism was no longer available as a bogeyman, the US created a new villain with the War on Terror.

Since World War Two the US has been in 37 violent conflicts, which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 20 million people.  The ruling class frame these conflicts as examples of American exceptionalism.  The meme that the US is a force for good in repeated ad nauseum.  Critical thinking shows that US wars are for the benefit of corporations and cronies of the power elites.  US foreign policy is not for the benefit of the American people.

The ruling class developed sophisticated propaganda to manufacture the consent of the public to US policies.   American ideology and mythology are part of the soul of the nation.  The public internalizes the ideology and mythology as part of their being.  Many people become emotionally distraught when the US is criticized.

Symbols of American exceptionalism take on a life of their own.  For example, when NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick “took a knee” during the playing of the National Anthem it created an emotional firestorm.  Kaepernick was using his right of free speech to make a statement about the continued injustices to African American.  That is not allowed at patriotic orgies, which sporting events have become.

After twenty years of the War on Terror, the US has nothing to show for it.  A half-dozen nations have been destroyed and millions of people killed.  The cost to the US is guesstimated at $7 trillion, and still climbing.  The costs to the countries that the US destroyed are priceless.

The opportunity loss of the War on Terror has been the neglect of domestic problems, such as inequality, poverty, hunger, and disease.  Over 30 million people do not have healthcare.  Public education is being dismantled, and higher education leaves many students in deep debt.  US prisons are inhumane and rehabilitation isn’t even talked about.  Little is being done about global heating.  US infrastructure is decrepit and crumbling.  The Bill of Rights has been eviscerated.  Minorities are disproportionately affected by neglect and injustice.

Yet the myth is alive and well that the US is an exceptional nation for good.  People still believe that the US is the greatest nation in the world.  It is a great country for the few that are born rich or strike it rich.  It is a terrible country for those that are born in poverty, get sick without insurance, and get old with nothing more than a Social Security check.

The list of US failures to its people is long, but it can be summarized by the United Nations Index of Human Development.  Shockingly while the US spends trillions of dollars on war, the US comes in at 25th in human development, adjusted for inequality.  Don’t expect it to improve; the trend is down.

It is not enough to learn the real history of the US, and unlearn the fake history.  The US must get over the illusion of its exceptionalism, innocence, and victimhood.  The US really does not have any enemies that it cannot defend itself against.  Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and North Korea are not threatening the US.  It is ridiculous to think that they are.  Instead other geopolitical and economic motives are in play.

The US cannot escape its history, but it can change the future.  According to  Sirvent and Haiphong, to change America’s future the American people need to learn the real history of the US, and unlearn the myths.  A big step in that direction is found in the book American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News—From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror.

•  First published in American Herald Tribune


The Uncertain Boundaries of Corporate Morality


A deeply unusual public spectacle has been playing out in Australia for a number of weeks involving a prominent rugby player, a mangled bible verse, the rugby player’s wife, a crowdfunding platform, a major bank and a health insurance fund. All the elements of a terrible joke are present, yet the core of the matter—the messy intersection of legal freedom and corporate morality—is proving to be serious.

Rugby player Israel Folau, domestic and international superstar, allegedly breached his contract with Rugby Australia by posting an adaptation of a bible verse to Instagram which suggested unrepentant homosexuals would ultimately find themselves in hell, alongside liars, adulterers, persons with tattoos, and a variety of other sinners. As a consequence of his refusal to remove the post, Folau’s lucrative contract with Rugby Australia was terminated. The legality of this decision has yet to be decided in court. The case has attracted immense interest and is already being touted as a potential landmark for freedom of religion and religious expression in the domain of Australian employment law and—to a certain extent—Australian society at large. The chairman of Rugby Australia, Cameron Clyne, went so far as to suggest that failure to take legal action against Folau would result in litigation attempts by gay employees for “not providing a workplace that is safe or respectful.” Corporations can and do take protective measures in all manner of legal domains—the question that must be asked of Rugby Australia is whether commonly held religious beliefs have become an unacceptable threat to employee safety, and if so, what legal recourse should be provided by the Australian legal system to preserve this safety.

To assist him with his legal fees, Folau established a campaign on the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe. The campaign proved to be short-lived, with GoFundMe swiftly closing it due to an apparent breach of its terms of service, specifically those related to discrimination and inclusion. Perhaps Folau should have known better than to trust an unaccountable private platform such as GoFundMe—fortunately the Australian Christian Lobby volunteered to host a fundraising page for him instead, a successful move that ultimately netted over $2 million for his upcoming legal battle.

However, Folau’s dispute with Rugby Australia and ban from GoFundMe were only the most salient and public aspects of what is proving to be an incredibly complex situation. Far less attention has been given to three seemingly unrelated parties to the whole matter, these being Folau’s wife, Maria, The Australian and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), and The Hospital Contributions Fund of Australia (HCF), a large health insurer. Maria Folau is a superstar athlete in her own right, playing international netball for New Zealand’s Silver Ferns and the Adelaide Thunderbirds in Australia’s domestic Super Netball league. Maria—in an act of support for her husband—posted a link to his GoFundMe page before it was taken down. ANZ, in their capacity as sponsors of the Silver Ferns, moved quickly to condemn Maria Folau’s support for her husband, stating, “We do not support the views of Silver Fern Maria Folau and have made our views known to her employer Netball NZ.” Likewise, HCF, who sponsor the Thunderbirds, offered their own condemnation, affirming that they “do not support Maria Folau’s stance” and that “there is no place in our society for discrimination of any kind, including on the basis of gender, religious belief, age, race, or sexual orientation.”

As you may have surmised from the above, Maria Folau does not currently have a contract with Rugby Australia, nor did she post anything of a biblical (or homophobic) nature to her own social media channels. Her only connection to the matter of Israel Folau’s legal fight and original social media post is the fact that she offered her husband her public support. Does that justify the wrath of two major sponsors directly involved in partnering with two separate administrative bodies controlling the sport in which she participates?

Corporations are increasingly prone to formulating explicit moral positions on issues of social importance and punishing those who fail to condone such positions to the extent that they are able to do so. The treatment of Israel Folau was predictable. However, the mechanisms by which his wife Maria has been roped into the controversy have provoked concern in their own right due to their seemingly arbitrary nature. ANZ and HCF took deliberate measures to contact the employers of Maria Folau in their corporate roles as netball sponsors, and by doing so are implying that a second-degree relation to an opinion that violates their corporate moral code exceeds the threshold they are willing to tolerate.

Corporate morality is complicated due to the various ways in which the actions and outcomes attributable to corporations are legally distinct from those of its employees. In a practical sense, a corporation is composed of employees, who may or may not hold moral views on any range of issues. When a corporation takes an explicit moral stance, their expressed view is extended (albeit weakly in many cases) to its employees—they become tacit participants in a moral position and its implications. The reverse is not true—corporations can and do restrict the acceptability of opinions employees may express in public. When certain moral opinions can be both legally permissible yet unacceptable by prevailing corporate standards, society reaches an uncomfortable impasse—how is it that Israel Folau can legally express his belief that homosexuals will go to hell and yet still lose his employment contract as a result?

Rugby Australia asserts that the grounds for Folau’s dismissal are a breach of his own contract, in which he agreed to limit his use of social media to certain content and subject matter. This claim may yet prove to be true—however, the diffusion of Folau’s transgression to encompass his wife remains a separate and troubling consideration that is yet to be resolved. The boundaries of corporate power in asserting and policing a code of moral acceptability in Australia, as elsewhere, remain to be fully understood.


Cameron Hendy is a political commentator living in Melbourne, Australia.

Featured Image from Wikicommons.

The post The Uncertain Boundaries of Corporate Morality appeared first on Quillette.


Friday, July 5, 2019

Bizarro World: The Herd Has Truly Gone Mad


Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.

~ Charles Mackay (1841)

Like me, you may often feel gobsmacked when looking at the world around you.

How did things get so screwed up?

The simple summary is: the world has gone mad.

It’s not the first time.

History is peppered with periods when the minds of men (and women) deviated far from the common good. The Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, the rise of the Third Reich, Stalin’s Great Purge, McCarthy’s Red Scares — to name just a few.

Like it or not, we are now living during a similar era of self-destructive mass delusion. When the majority is pursuing — even cheering on — behaviors that undermine its well-being. Except this time, the stakes are higher than ever; our species’ very existence is at risk.

Bizarro Economics

Evidence that the economy is sliding into recession continues to mount.

GDP is slowing. Earnings warnings issued by publicly-traded companies are at a 13-year high. The most reliable recession predictor of the past 50 years, an inverted US Treasury curve, has been in place for the past quarter.

Yet the major stock indices hit all-time highs earlier this week. And every one of the 38 assets in the broad-based asset basket tracked by Deutsche Bank was up for the month of June — something that has never happened in the 150 years prior to 2019.

It has become all-too clear that markets today are no longer driven by business fundamentals. Only central bank-provided liquidity matters. As long as the flood of cheap credit continues to flow (via rock-bottom/negative interest rates and purchase programs), keeping cash-destroying companies alive and enabling record share buybacks, all boats will rise.

So this week, the world found itself waiting for the release of the latest jobs report. And here’s how perverted things have become: investors were praying for disappointing data. They WANTED to see more warning signs of the recession threat.


Because a worsening macro outlook will make it easier for Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell to deliver on the future interest rate cuts investors are counting on. And rate cuts should boost stock prices higher (as we as the prices of nearly all other assets, too).

In a sane world, when signs of an approaching recession are visible, stocks and other risk assets should be nowhere near all-time highs. And should recessionary warnings mount, stocks should start diving, as recession = lower earnings + higher interest rates = lower valuations.

But in today’s bizarro world, investors pray for bad data.

One day — likely soon — investors will get exactly what they’re asking for. And when the next recession arrives in force, and zero/negative interest rates fail to stem the tide of layoffs, bankruptcies and defaults, they’ll realize too late that the trade-off of artificially high asset prices today for an eviscerated economy tomorrow was a fool’s bargain.

Bizarro Energy Policy

Like it or not, our economy and our way of life remains incredibly dependent on fossil fuels.

Given that, reason would dictate we would treat our remaining — and finite — fossil energy deposits as national treasures, to be put to the best and highest possible use, and conserved as much as possible.

But in today’s bizarro world, we instead rush as fast as we can to extract and burn as much as we can. At an economic loss.

It’s true that the decade-long shale oil revolution has yielded a staggering amount of production from America’s soils .The US accounted for 98% of global oil production growth in 2018 and is on track to hit a record 13.4 million barrels per day of production by the end of 2019.

But those volumes won’t last. As we’ve carefully explained in our Crash Course video chapter on Shale Oil, these shale basins are a short-lived bonanza given their extreme exponential decay (85% of a shale well’s lifetime output is extracted by year 3) and the fact that the most-promising plays have already been drilled. What’s left is increasingly just dregs.

But making today’s frenzied efforts to drain our shale basins even more regrettable is that we’re doing it unprofitably. We’re rushing to export arguably our most valuable national treasure and losing money in the process.

How does this serve us?

A ‘’Gusher Of Red Ink’’ For U.S. Shale

Yet another downturn could not come at a worse time for U.S. shale drillers, who have struggled to turn a profit. Time and again, shale executives have promised that profitability is right around the corner. Years of budget-busting drilling has succeeded in bringing a tidal wave of oil online, but a corresponding wave of profits has never materialized.

Heading into 2019, the industry promised to stake out a renewed focus on capital discipline and shareholder returns. But that vow is now in danger of becoming yet another in a long line of unmet goals.

“Another quarter, another gusher of red ink,” the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, along with the Sightline Institute, wrote in a joint report on the first quarter earnings of the shale industry.

The report studied 29 North American shale companies and found a combined $2.5 billion in negative free cash flow in the first quarter. That was a deterioration from the $2.1 billion in negative cash flow from the fourth quarter of 2018. “This dismal cash flow performance came despite a 16 percent quarter-over-quarter decline in capital expenditures,” the report’s authors concluded.

They argue that the consistent failure for the sector as a whole to generate positive free cash flow amounts to an indictment of the entire business model. Sure, a few companies here and there are profitable, but more broadly the industry is falling short. The “sector as a whole consistently fails to produce enough cash to satisfy its voracious appetite for capital,” the report said. The 29 companies surveyed by IEEFA and Sightline Institute burned through a combined $184 billion more than they generated between 2010 and 2019, “hemorrhaging cash every single year.”

Rystad Energy put it somewhat differently, although came to the same general conclusion. “Nine in ten US shale oil companies are burning cash,” the Norwegian consultancy said late last month. Rystad studied 40 U.S. shale companies and found that only four had positive cash flow in the first quarter. In fact, the numbers were particularly bad in the first three months of this year, with the companies posting a combined $4.7 billion in negative cash flow. “That is the lowest [cash flow from operating activities] we have seen since the fourth quarter of 2017,” Rystad’s Alisa Lukash said in a statement.

More than 170 U.S. shale companies have declared bankruptcy since 2015, affecting nearly $100 billion in debt, according to Haynes and Boone. There have been an estimated 8 bankruptcies already this year, with some $3 billion in debt restructured.

“Frackers’ persistent inability to produce positive cash flows should be of grave concern to investors,” authors from IEEFA and the Sightline Institute wrote. “Until fracking companies can demonstrate that they can produce cash as well as hydrocarbons, cautious investors would be wise to view the fracking sector as a speculative enterprise with a weak outlook and an unproven business model.”

Bizarro Environmental Destruction

And if the above weren’t bad enough, when we look at what we’re doing to the natural systems we depend on, the data is downright horrifying.

A full listing of recent depressing scientific findings would read encyclopedic. So I’ll just stick to the big picture: species extinction is happening at the highest rate ever short of a massive meteor slamming into the planet.

The world’s plants are disappearing 500x faster than they should. The global animal population has decreased by 60% since 1970. The UN now predicts a million more species will go extinct within the next few decades.

But in today’s bizarro world, there’s a perverted incentive to sacrifice biological capital for financial capital.

The scarcer the tuna become, the higher the price the fisherman will get for his catch at market. As long as commercial demand is kept artificially boosted by central banks, the economic incentive to bulldoze the next hectare of rainforest will continue to outweigh the argument to conserve it.

Whoever hooks the last tuna in the oceans will get one hell of a price for it. But what the hell will the 8+ billion humans left on earth eat then?

Your Positive Action For The Day

If you’re a regular reader of, little of the above comes as a surprise to you.

You’re likely very well aware of our stance that developing a more resilient way of life, of living within our financial/energetic/ecologic budgets, both as individuals and as a society, is our path out of the tremendous hole we are currently creating for ourselves.

Our book Prosper!: How to Prepare for the Future and Create a World Worth Inheriting gives specific guidance on how to actively cultivate resilience across your lifestyle. Most of you have read it.

But many haven’t. And most folks out there remain unaware of the bizarro behavior driving society’s future prospects — and the planet’s — into the abyss.

So, we here at Peak Prosperity have taken our best effort at creating a ‘comprehensive yet concise’ article designed for sharing with the friends, colleagues and family in your life whose eyes aren’t yet open to the brewing predicaments mentioned above.

Here’s the article, titled Why The Next Downturn Will Be The Most Destructive In Modern History — And Why You Must Act Now In Order To Preserve Your Wealth (and the Planet!)

Our intent is to awaken new minds to the challenges we face and instill a sense of urgency to act, but provide a ‘call to greatness’ inspiration vs a huddle-in-fear response. And, most important, our goal is to encourage folks to take at least one immediate act that will increase their personal level of resilience.

We’re circulating this article widely through all of our website/syndication/social media channels. Our ask of you today is to share it amongst any audiences you think it could benefit.

Will we awaken the majority of the masses overnight? No. But every transformative movement began with a motivated group who possessed a revolutionary way of thinking, and successfully carried that light into the world.

Help us carry the light today. Today’s bizarro world sorely needs it.

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Doctor Fined $100,000 for ‘Anti-Vax’ Social Media Posts



(Infowars) A Canadian medical committee has ordered a chiropractor to pay $100,000 for sharing “anti-vaccine” views on social media. The ruling, publicized Thursday, orders Dr. Dena Churchill of Halifax to pay the Nova Scotia College of Chiropractors for “professional misconduct” after she shared “her personal views that vaccinations could be harmful.” “Dr. Churchill’s conduct brought […]

The post Doctor Fined $100,000 for ‘Anti-Vax’ Social Media Posts appeared first on The Most Important News.


The "Critics" of 9/11 Truth. Do They Have a Case? - Global Research

Thursday, July 4, 2019

How Antifa’s Apologists Fell in Love With Street Violence


A day before the 2017 Women’s March, spectators and activists of all stripes descended on Washington, D.C. for the inauguration of President Trump. Supporters of the new president wore “Make America Great Again” baseball caps and toted “Trump-Pence 2016” signs. Detractors were more colorful.

“Trump is the symptom, capitalism is the disease, socialism is the cure,” read one sign, wielded by a woman with a T-shirt depicting a clenched fist.

Others were at least funny: I spotted a man holding a sign featuring a cartoon Batman slapping Trump in the face with the caption “Stop tweeting!”—a parody of a drawing from the Batman comics, in which the caped crusader slaps Robin.

The demonstrations were mostly peaceful. Mostly.

Masked protesters known simultaneously as the “black bloc” (because they wear black clothes and hoods to mask their identities) and “antifa” (as in anti-fascist) smashed the windows of a local Starbucks and a Bank of America. They also set a limousine on fire. How these acts of property damage were intended to undermine Trump remains a mystery, given that the CEO of Starbucks and many Bank of America employees were financial supporters of the Hillary Clinton campaign. The limo driver, we learned, was a Muslim immigrant.

A rioter knocked a friend of mine, the journalist Philip Wegmann, to the ground, causing him to briefly lose consciousness—even though, Wegmann told me, he was wearing credentials that clearly identified him as a member of the press. Wegmann is a writer for conservative news outlets such as Washington Examiner and The Daily Signal, however. And one of the main principles of the new activist left is that unfriendly media organizations should not have the right to cover their activities, even on public property.

But it isn’t just conservative media outlets that bear the “unfriendly” designation; many activists are equally dismissive of mainstream news sources. One activist told me that she hates CNN just as much as Trump supporters do. Only explicitly leftist media organizations are permitted to cover the antics of the #Resistance.

Of course, the most famous victim of Inauguration Day violence was alt-right leader Richard Spencer, a white nationalist with some positive feelings about Trump. An Australian news channel was interviewing Spencer when a masked protester walked up to him and punched him in the face while the cameras were rolling.

One can—and should—strenuously object to Spencer’s racist opinions while still acknowledging his right to hold them. As a strictly legal matter, his speech is quite obviously protected by the First Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court has carved out a few exceptions, but none of them would apply here. In the 2011 decision Snyder v. Phelps, for instance, the Court held that the virulently anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church could picket military servicemembers’ funerals, waving signs that read “God hates you” and “Fag troops.” The fact that the church’s message was objectively offensive and emotionally damaging to the families of deceased soldiers was not enough to strip it of constitutional protections. If such speech is protected by the First Amendment, you can bet Spencer’s is, too.

But this did not stop members of the left from defending—even praising—the antifa activists who struck Spencer. Natasha Lennard, an activist and journalist who participated in black bloc activities in D.C. that day, described the attack as “pure kinetic beauty” in The Nation. The window-smashing, trash-can fires, limousine-burning, and Spencer-punching “should be celebrated as an opening salvo of resistance in the era of Trump,” she wrote. Mob violence is only a problem “if you think there are no righteous mobs, or that windows feel pain, or that counter-violence (like punching Richard Spencer) is never valid.”

The most extreme members of the anti-Trump resistance have taken up the banner of antifa, a continuation—in their minds—of a movement that arose in Germany in the 1930s to counter the rise of Nazism. Antifa movements have sprung up in a variety of countries, often opposing Nazis and Nazi sympathizers while also promoting general far-left politics of the Marxist and communist variety.

First skirmish I’ve seen. Didn’t see how this started, but @MrAndyNgo got roughed up.

— Jim Ryan (@Jimryan015) June 29, 2019

Modern antifa is decentralized and relatively leaderless; many of its members are anonymous and unknown. Though they are known for wearing black masks, bandanas, and black clothing and for committing acts of destruction, antifa itself is an ideological position and does not prescribe any specific tactics. One can be opposed to fascism without endorsing black bloc tactics, property destruction, censorship or violence.

In practice, however, antifa groups tend toward illiberal means to achieve their ends—both historically and at present. In Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, Mark Bray writes that antifa explicitly rejects “the classical liberal phrase incorrectly ascribed to Voltaire that ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’” According to Bray, “Anti-fascism is an illiberal politics of social revolutionism applied to fighting the Far Right, not only literal fascists.”

In the antifa view, their enemies started it—by making statements that serve to further marginalize people who languish under some form of oppression. Caring about intersectionality means that an attack on one disadvantaged group is an attack on all. And if it is wise to stop people on the right from speaking against any member of the coalition, then it must occasionally be necessary to silence them when they try to speak. If they will not be silenced willingly, then violence is the only alternative.

Writer for @thecolumbian joking about, mocking, and defaming @MrAndyNgo following his admission to the ER after being attacked by Antifa for reporting on the riot.

— No, It’s Not Anna (@YesThatAnna) June 30, 2019

“The inherent contradiction of antifa,” wrote Carlos Lozada in his fair-minded but ultimately critical review of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, “is that, if America is indeed so irredeemable and hypocritical that violence is the answer, then what exactly are you fighting to preserve?”

Those who defend the validity of mob violence claim that it is justifiable to the extent that it unnerves the powers that be. But do the powerful really feel threatened by a smashed Starbucks window or Richard Spencer taking a punch? The evidence strongly suggests the opposite: When leftists resort to explicit violence, they make regular people more sympathetic to governmental authority and a conservative worldview.

Princeton University’s Omar Wasow studied protest movements in the 1960s and found that violent upheaval tended to make white voters more conservative, whereas nonviolent protests were associated with increased liberalism among white voters. “These patterns suggest violent protest activity is correlated with a taste for ‘social control’ among the predominantly white mass public,” wrote Wasow in his study.

This is something that President Richard Nixon understood quite well. In 1969, he received a memo from an aide warning him to expect increased violence on college campuses in the spring. The president grabbed a pen and scrawled a single word across the document: “Good!” He knew something many activists failed to grasp: Law-and-order policies become more palatable to the silent majority when leftists are punching people in the streets.

In contrast, “nonviolent movements succeed because they invite mass participation,” says Maria Stephan, a director at the United States Institute of Peace. Violent resistance, on the other hand, is incredibly divisive. Stephan and Erica Chenoweth produced a book, Why Civil Resistance Works, which found nonviolent resistance movements were twice as likely as violent movements to achieve their aims in the 20th and early 21st centuries. “A campaign’s commitment to nonviolent methods enhances its domestic and international legitimacy and encourages more broad-based participation in the resistance, which translates into increased pressure being brought to bear on the target,” they wrote. According to Stephan and Chenoweth, governments have little trouble justifying brutal crackdowns on violent protesters, but nonviolent protesters engender greater sympathy from the public, reducing the likelihood of repression.

Based on these findings, it’s hardly surprising that Spencer himself isn’t wholly opposed to violence. “The fact that they are excusing violence against [me] inherently means that they believe that there’s a state of exception, where we can use violence,” Spencer told the Atlantic. “I think they’re actually kind of right.” When asked by a fellow traveler, Gregory Conte, whether members of the alt-right should support free speech as a general principle for the long term, Spencer responded, “No, of course not.”

To drive the point home, I asked Spencer about his attitude toward free speech (and much else; read Chapter Eight of my new book, Panic Attack: Young Radicals in the Age of Trump, for the rest of the interview). He told me he was certainly not for absolute free speech, and he thought the state should have “at least some involvement” in promoting a better society by suppressing dangerous ideas.

In any case, the idea that certain people do not deserve free speech protections is now as popular among the far left as it always was among the far right. But it didn’t use to be this way: Leftists were once firm defenders of free speech for all, even for Nazis. Amazingly, in fact, when the Nazis came to campus in the 1960s, they did so at the left’s invitation.


Adapted, with permission, from Panic Attack: Young Radicals in the Age of Trump, by Robert Soave. Copyright © by Robert Soave, Jr. All rights reserved. Published by St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, 10010.

Featured image: 2017 photos released by Portland police, depicting antifa members arrested in 2017 and arraigned at Multnomah County Court.



The post How Antifa’s Apologists Fell in Love With Street Violence appeared first on Quillette.


Wednesday, July 3, 2019

INTERVIEW: ‘Fukushima an Ongoing Global Radiological Catastrophe – A Huge Coverup’


The following is a transcript of the 8th anniversary Fukushima, with an interview between Global Research host Michael Welsh and Dr. Helen Caldicott, first published on March 21, 2019

The eight year anniversary of the triple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility passed mostly without comment in mainstream media circles. In spite of ongoing radiological contamination that will continue to spread and threaten human health for lifetimes to come, other stories dominate the international news cycle. The climate change conundrum, serious though it may be, seemingly crowds out all other clear and present environmental hazards.

As part of efforts to normalize this historic event and cover it up in its magnitude, the Japanese government has invested considerable financial, public relations and other resources into what they are billing the ‘Recovery Olympics‘ set to take place in a year’s time in Tokyo.

But Helen Caldicott warns that the dangers associated with Fukushima have not gone away and remain a cause for concern. Dr. Helen Caldicott has been an author, physician and one of the world’s leading anti-nuclear campaigners. She helped to reinvigorate the group of Physicians for Social Responsibility, acting as president from 1978 to 1983. Since its founding in 2001 she served as president of the US based Nuclear Policy Research Institute later called Beyond Nuclear which initiates symposia and educational projects aimed at informing the public about the dangers of nuclear power, nuclear weapons, and nuclear war. And she is the editor of the 2014 book, Crisis Without End: The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe.

On the week marking the eighth anniversary of the Fukushima meltdowns, the Global Research News Hour radio program, hosted by Michael Welch, reached out to Dr. Caldicott to get her expert opinion on the health dangers posed by the most serious nuclear disaster since, at least, the 1986 Chernobyl event.

Global Research: Now the Japanese government is preparing to welcome visitors to Japan for the 2020 Olympic Games, and coverage of the 8th anniversary of the Fukushima disaster is hardly, it seems to me, registered given the significant radiological and other dangers that you cited and your authors cited in your 2014 book, Crisis Without End. Now it’s been more than four years since that book came out. I was hoping you could update our listenership on what is currently being recognized as the main health threats in 2019, perhaps not registered in the book, that you’re currently looking at in relation to the Fukushima meltdown.

Helen Caldicott: Well it’s difficult because the Japanese government has authorized really only examination of thyroid cancer. Now thyroid cancer is caused by radioactive iodine and there were many, many cases of that after Chernobyl. And already, they’ve looked at children under the age of 18 in the Fukushima prefecture at the time of the accident, and … how many children… 100…no 201 by June 18 last year… 201 had developed thyroid cancer. Some cancers had metastasized. The incidence of thyroid cancer in that population normally is 1 per million. So obviously it’s an epidemic of thyroid cancer and it’s just starting now.

What people need to understand is the latent period of carcinogenesis, ie the time after exposure to radiation when cancers develop is any time from 3 years to 80 years. And so it’s a very, very long period. Thyroid cancers appear early. Leukemia appears about 5 to 10 years later. They’re not looking for leukemia. Solid cancers of every organ, or any organ as such appear about 15 years later and continue and in fact the Hibakusha from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki who are still alive are still developing cancers in higher than normal numbers.

The Japanese government has told doctors that they are not to talk to their patients about radiation and illnesses derived thereof, and in fact if the doctors do do that, they might lose their funding from the government. The IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency interestingly set up a hospital – a cancer hospital – in Fukushima along with the Fukushima University for people with cancer, which tells you everything.

So there’s a huge, huge cover up. I have been to Japan twice and particularly to Fukushima and spoken to people there and the parents are desperate to hear the truth even if it’s not good truth. And they thanked me for telling them the truth. So it’s an absolute medical catastrophe I would say, and a total cover up to protect the nuclear industry and all its ramifications.

GR: Now, are we talking about some of the, the contamination that happened 8 years ago or are we talking about ongoing emissions from, for example–

HC: Well there are ongoing emissions into the air consistently, number one. Number two, a huge amount of water is being stored –over a million gallons in tanks at the site. That water is being siphoned off from the reactor cores, the damaged melted cores. Water is pumped consistently every day, every hour, to keep the cores cool in case they have another melt. And that water, of course, is extremely contaminated.

Now they say they’ve filtered out the contaminants except for the tritium which is part of the water molecule, but they haven’t. There’s strontium, cesium, and many other elements in that water – it’s highly radioactive – and because there isn’t enough room to build more tanks, they’re talking about emptying all that water into the Pacific Ocean and the fishermen are very, very upset. The fish already being caught off Fukushima, some are obviously contaminated. But this will be a disaster.

Water comes down from the mountains behind the reactors, flows underneath the reactors into the sea and always has. And when the reactors were in good shape, the water was fine, didn’t get contaminated. But now the three molten cores in contact with that water flowing under the reactors and so the water flowing into the Pacific is very radioactive and that’s a separate thing from the million gallons or more in those tanks.

They put up a refrigerated wall of frozen dirt around the reactors to prevent that water from the mountains flowing underneath the reactors, which has cut down the amount of water flowing per day from 500 tons to about a hundred and fifty. But of course, if they lose electricity, that refrigeration system is going to fail, and it’s a transient thing anyway so it’s ridiculous. In terms… So over time the Pacific is going to become more and more radioactive.

They talk about decommissioning and removing those molten cores. When robots go in and try and have a look at them, their wiring just melts and disappears. They’re extraordinarily radioactive. No human can go near them because they would die within 48 hours from the radiation exposure. They will never, and I quote never, decommission those reactors. They will never be able to stop the water coming down from the mountains. And so, the truth be known, it’s an ongoing global radiological catastrophe which no one really is addressing in full.

GR: Do we have a better reading on, for example the thyroids, but also leukemia incubation—

HC: No they’re not looking–well, leukemia they’re not looking for leukemia…

GR: Just thyroid

HC: They’re not charting it. So the only cancer they’re looking at is thyroid cancer and that’s really high, and you know it’s at 201 have already been diagnosed and some have metastasized. And a very tight lid is being kept on any other sort of radiation related illnesses and leukemia and the like. All the other cancers and the like, and leukemia is so… It’s not just a catastrophe it’s a…

GR: …a cover up

HC: Yeah. I can’t really explain how I feel medically about it. It’s just hideous.

GR: Well I have a brother who’s a physician, who was pointing to well we should maybe, the World Health Organization is a fairly authoritative body of research for all of the indicators and epidemiological aspects of this, but you seem to suggest the World Health Organization may not be that reliable in light of the fact that they are partnered with the IAEA. Is that my understanding…?

HC: Correct. They signed a document, I think in ‘59, with the IAEA that they would not report any medical effects of radiological disasters and they’ve stuck to that. So they are in effect in this area part of the International Atomic Energy Agency whose mission is to promote nuclear power. So don’t even think about the WHO. it’s really obscene.

GR: So what would… the incentive would be simply that they got funding?

HC: I don’t know. I really don’t know but they sold themselves to the devil.

GR: That’s pretty incredible. So there’s also the issue of biomagnification in the oceans, where you have radioactive debris, hundreds of tons of this radioactive water getting into the oceans and biomagnifying up through the food chain, so these radioactive particles can get inside our bodies. Could you speak to what you anticipate to see, what you would anticipate, whether it’s recorded by World Health authorities or not, what we could expect to see in the years ahead in terms of the illnesses that manifest themselves?

HC: Well number one, Fukushima is a very agricultural prefecture. Beautiful, beautiful peaches, beautiful food, and lots of rice. And the radiation spread far and wide through the Fukushima prefecture, and indeed they have been plowing up millions and millions of tons of radioactive dirt and storing it in plastic bags all over the prefecture. The mountains are highly radioactive and every time it rains, down comes radiation with the water. So the radiation – the elements. And there are over 200 radioactive elements made in a nuclear reactor. Some have lives of seconds and some have lives of millions of years or lasts for millions of years will I say. So there are many many isotopes, long-lasting isotopes – cesium, strontium, tritium is another one – but many, many on the soil in Fukushima.

And what happens is – you talked about biomagnification – when the plants take up the water from the soil, they take up the cesium which is a potassium analog – it resembles potassium. Strontium 90 resembles calcium and the like. And these elements get magnified by orders of magnitude in the rice and in the plants. And so when you eat food that is grown in Fukushima, the chances are it’s going to be relatively radioactive.

They’ve been diluting radioactive rice with non-radioactive rice to make it seem a bit better. Now, into the ocean go these isotopes as well, and the algae bio-magnify them by – you know -ten to a hundred times or more. And then the crustaceans eat the algae, bio-magnify it more. The little fish eat the crustaceans, the big fish eat the little fish and the like. And tuna found in – off the coast of California some years ago contained isotopes from Fukushima. Also fish, being caught on the west coast of California contained some of these isotopes. So, it’s an ongoing bio-magnification catastrophe.

And the thing is that you can’t even taste, smell or see radioactive elements in your food. They’re invisible. And it takes a long time for cancers to occur. And you can’t identify a particular cancer caused by a particular substance or isotope. You can only identify that problem by doing epidemiological studies comparing irradiated people with non-irradiated people to see what the cancer levels are and that data comes from Hiroshima and Nagasaki and many, many, many other studies.

GR: Chernobyl as well, no?

HC: Oh, Chernobyl! Well, a wonderful book was produced by the, uh, Russians, and published by the New York Academy of Sciences, called Chernobyl with over 5000 on the ground studies of children and diseases in Belarus and the Ukraine, and all over Europe. And by now over a million people have already died from the Chernobyl disaster. And many diseases have been caused by that, including premature aging in children, microcephaly in babies, very small heads, diabetes, leukemia, I mean, I could go on and on.

Um, and those diseases which have been very well described in that wonderful book, um, which everyone should read, are not being addressed or identified or looked for in the Fukushima or Japanese population.

May I say that parts of Tokyo are extremely radioactive. People have been measuring the dirt from rooves of apartments, from the roadway, from vacuum cleaner dust. And some of these samples, they’re so radioactive that they would classify to be buried in radioactive waste facilities in America. So, that’s number one.

Number two, to have the Olympics in Fukushima just defies imagination. And uh, some of the areas where the athletes are going to be running, the dust and dirt there has been measured, and it’s highly radioactive. So, this is Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, who set this up to – as a sort of way to obscure what Fukushima really means. And those young athletes, you know, who are – and young people are much more sensitive to radiation, developing cancers later than older people – it’s just a catastrophe waiting to happen.

GR: Dr. Caldicott…

HC:They’re calling it the radioactive Olympics!

GR: (Chuckle). Is there anything that people can do, you know, whether they live in Japan or, say, the west coast of North America to mitigate the effects that this disaster has had, and may still be having eight years later?

HC: Yes. Do not eat any Japanese food because you don’t know where it’s sourced. Do not eat fish from Japan, miso, rice, you name it. Do not eat Japanese food. Period. Um, fish caught off the west coast of Canada and America, well, they’re not testing the fish so I don’t know what you’d do. Um, I mean, most of it’s probably not radioactive but you don’t know because you can’t taste it.

Um they’ve closed down the air-borne radioactive measuring instruments off the west coast of America, uh, but that’s pretty bad, because there still could be another huge accident at those reactors.

For instance, if there’s another large earthquake, number one, all those tanks would be destroyed and the water would pour into the Pacific. Number two, there could be another meltdown, a release – huge release of radiation, um, from the damaged reactors. So, things are very tenuous, but they’re not just tenuous now. They’re going to be tenuous forever.

The original source of this article is Global Research
READ MORE FUKUSHIMA NEWS AT:21st Century Wire Fukushima Files



Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Two-Thirds Of College Grads Regret Their Diploma, Costs And Major


Submitted by Andrew Malcolm at Hot Air

For decades now it’s been a sellers’ market for American universities. Conventional wisdom held that the most important way to succeed in life was to get a college diploma, no matter the cost. Perhaps you’ve noticed university tuitions going up and up. And up. Inexorably.

And so has the debt incurred by their students and those students’ parents. It now totals about $1.6 trillion.

This being another tedious presidential election season, such a massive debt burden has attracted the attention of feeding politicians seeking to reap votes from younger Americans tasked with repaying the loans they signed up for.

As we wrote here earlier this week, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Julian Castro and a growing list of the growing field of candidates have announced various plans to make public school tuitions free and to forgive these massive debts using — you guessed it — new taxes on someone else, namely the well-to-do.

Now comes a new wrinkle in these schemes and the universities’ hopes of continuing to reap huge tuition increases.

A new poll of nearly a quarter-million Americans has found fully two-thirds of them have buyer’s remorse about their diploma, their major and the higher education experience in general. How much longer do you think folks are going to keep paying such fees that produce such dissatisfaction and unhappiness?

Not surprisingly perhaps, the new survey found the top regret was incurring immense debts for that higher education, a debt whose payments run on for many years, causing postponed marriages and families. An estimated 70 percent of college graduates this year finished school with loans to repay averaging $33,000.

Even older baby boomers are incurring college debts as they return to school for training in new areas not affected by automation and other labor-saving methods. The survey by PayScale found that even Americans over age 62 had some $86 billion in unpaid debts, theirs or their childrens’.

The second largest graduate regret was their choice of college majors. Sen. Marco Rubio has noted in speeches that the occupational demand for Greek philosophers has not been good for about 2,000 years.

Three-quarters of humanities graduates expressed regrets over their choice of study areas, tied to their difficulty finding employment in those areas at higher paying jobs enabling them to pay down the debt.

Most satisfied were majors in math, science, tech and especially engineering. More than a third of computer science grads and four-in-ten engineering grads had no regrets about their area choice of studies.

Interestingly though, teachers expressed the least regrets over their career choices, second least to engineers, despite the chronically low pay of such educators.


Guess what, colleges? Two-thirds of your grads regret their diploma, costs, major

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