In announcing his retirement from the absurdly powerful U.S. Supreme Court during a press event at the White House, the gabby octogenarian Stephen Breyer recently held up his pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution and waxed sentimental on the greatness of the nation he loves. Breyer said that the USA was a great democratic “experiment” – “an experiment” that is “still going on…My grandchildren and their children, they’ll determine whether the experiment still works. And of course, I am an optimist, and I’m pretty sure it will,” Breyer said.
“Revolting Barbarity and Shameless Hypocrisy”
The United States was an “experiment” alright – an experiment in racist savagery and class rule. I wonder if Breyer has ever read The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, a harrowing account of life under Black chattel slavery written more than half a century after the ratification of Breyer’s holy constitution. I wonder if he’s ever read Douglass’s brilliant 1850 speech “What to the Slave is the Meaning of the Fourth of July?” – the address in which Douglass observed that: READ MORE
It should matter little to the Chinese that American diplomats and a handful of their western allies will not be attending the Beijing Winter Olympics in February. What truly matters is that the Russians are coming.
The above is not an arbitrary statement. It is supported with facts. According to a survey conducted by China’s Global Times newspaper, the majority of the Chinese people value their country’s relations with Russia more than that of the EU and certainly more than that of the United States. The newspaper reported that such a finding makes it “the first time in 15 years that China-US ties did not top the list of the important bilateral relations in the Global Times annual survey.”
In fact, some kind of an alliance is already forming between China and Russia. The fact that the Chinese people are taking note of this and are supporting their government’s drive towards greater integration – political, economic and geostrategic – between Beijing and Moscow, indicates that the informal and potentially formal alliance is a long-term strategy for both nations. READ MORE
Everybody knows West Virginia senator Joe Manchin is a congressional appendage of the fossil fuel corporations. They donate to him, and he votes to make them happy. It helps that he’s also a coal baron. Nothing like making laws that enrich the lawmaker. But in a congress of multimillionaires, Manchin is not alone.
Just over a month ago, House speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul Pelosi bought options worth millions in technology stocks. This was after her December 16 remarks that the U.S. is a “free market economy,” and law-makers should be allowed to participate in the stock market (translation: “I’m busy making a killing, so shut up about ethics”). The next day and on till December 21, she bought options worth millions for stocks in CRM, Walt Disney, Google and Roblox. To say that there was something unseemly about this would win you a prize for understatement. READ MORE
That the United States is a divided country is an understatement. We have been siloed into opposing political camps which, in the fulness of time, could have fatal consequences for the future of the republic. This has been especially evident since 2016. That I am writing this essay in my office across the street from the Chapman University law school where the infamous Trump lawyer, John Eastman, taught until his ‘retirement’ in 2020 only increases for me the surreal and intimate nature of this divide.
One of the debates that is percolating (or should I say boiling over) throughout the country revolves around the teaching of slavery in public school history classes, with Critical Race Theory being identified as the leading culprit. Critics of Critical Race Theory (which is a theory developed by legal scholars that valorizes the plight of the victims of slavery and Jim Crow that animates various disciplinary perspectives in universities) argue that it is a threat to the American way of life. Clearly, what we need to ask these critics includes the question: Is there something about the American way of life that you wish to hide? What is it exactly that you wish to put under wraps? READ MORE
Washington cares less about Ukrainian independence and sovereignty than Russia. Its primary interest in the territory is its location right next to Russia; its other interests lie in the resources and markets a Ukraine under US influence offers. Of course, the latter also helps explain Russia’s determination not to let NATO assimilate Kyiv and the country it is the capitol of. If Washington was truly interested in the independence of the Ukrainian people, it would call for a resolution granting autonomy to the eastern Donbass region of Ukraine, where a war for that region’s secession from Ukraine has been waging since at least 2014 when the US/NATO sponsored color rebellion overthrew the elected government in Kyiv. It is that US-leaning government that Washington wants to preserve; a government first installed by US and NATO intelligence that may represent Ukrainian hopes, but certainly does not represent Ukrainian independence. Only the Ukrainian people can determine that and their voice is both muffled and mixed. Democratic socialists, unabashed capitalists looking towards the EU, families with old money stolen from the people after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, fascists whose legacy includes killing thousands of Jews and collaborating militarily with the Nazis, and millions of workers and farmers—these are the people of Ukraine. In my mind it is the last demographic which should have the greatest say in their nation’s future. However, if the rest of the world is any indication, their voice is the last to be heard. READ MORE
United States plans to weaken Russia by imposing punishing sanctions and bringing world condemnation on Moscow depend on Washington’s hysteria about a Russian invasion of Ukraine actually coming true.
At his press conference on Tuesday, Vladimir Putin said,
“I still believe the United States is not that concerned about Ukraine’s security, though they may think about it on the sidelines. Its main goal is to contain Russia’s development. This is the whole point. In this sense, Ukraine is simply a tool to reach this goal. This can be done in different ways: by drawing us into some armed conflict, or compelling its allies in Europe to impose tough sanctions on us like the US is talking about today.”
At the U.N. Security Council on Monday, Russia’s U.N. envoy Vassily Nebenzia said: “Our Western colleagues say that de-escalation is needed, but they are the first to build up tension, enhance rhetoric and escalate the situation. Talks about an imminent war are provocative per se. It might seem you call for it, want it and wait for it to come, as if you wanted your allegations to come true.” READ MORE
Back in November The Military Times published a Ukrainian intelligence claim, which was picked up and repeated by numerous other mainstream publications, alleging that Russia was going to invade Ukraine by the end of January.
Then in late January when the calendar debunked the Military Times incendiary headline “Russia preparing to attack Ukraine by late January”, that same outlet ran a much less viral story with the headline “Russia not yet ready for full-scale attack says Ukraine“.
Now here in early February, the Murdoch press has put out a spin piece of a sort we’re likely to see more of in coming days claiming that Russia has not invaded because the US and its allies have “ruined” Moscow’s plans by telling everyone the invasion is coming. In an article titled “Ukraine-Russia tensions: Moscow’s plans ‘ruined’ after US and Britain call out possible invasion“, Ukraine’s defense minister Hanna Maliar tells Sky News that Putin has not yet invaded because his murderous plot was thwarted by a plucky band of imperial states who would not be prevented from speaking their truth. READ MORE or LISTEN
The western media are blaring headlines today about a “revelation” by the US government which does not actually reveal anything because it contains nothing but empty narrative fluff.
“U.S. reveals Russian plot to use fake video as pretense for Ukraine invasion,” reads a headline from CBS News.
“US reveals Russia may plan to create fake pretext for Ukraine invasion,” claims another from The Hill.
The claim is that the Russian government is plotting to fabricate a false flag operation using a graphic video with crisis actors in order to manufacture a pretense for a full-scale military invasion. State Department Spokesman Ned Price and AP reporter Matt Lee had an exchange about this claim at a Thursday press conference that you simply must watch if you haven’t already. READ MORE or LISTEN
The fate of the Build Back Better Act is currently unknown. The bill would be the largest social spending achievement in decades and provide needed services and support to millions of families—with more than half of the proposed $1.75 trillion in spending going to child care, preschool, affordable housing, higher education and healthcare.
But this proposed spending, over 10 years, is barely noticeable compared with the wages workers have lost over the past 40 years. In terms of productivity, wages should be significantly higher than they are, and the average worker continues to be shortchanged thousands of dollars annually. And much of the money workers should be getting is instead being pumped up to the top 0.3% of income earners. READ MORE
With board members from four Big Oil companies refusing to testify before Congress about their so-called net-zero plansper, House Democrats will speak with climate experts next week about the failures of ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, and BP to truly work toward reducing planet-heating emissions.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), chair of the House Oversight Committee, said Thursday that she was "disappointed" that board members from the four companies will not attend a hearing scheduled for February 8, where they were expected to answer questions about their net-zero fossil fuel emissions targets and other promises, but added that the panel will hear from "climate science experts who will tell us exactly what these companies need to do to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement." READ MORE
Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday joined physicians and dozens of her House Democratic colleagues in urging the Biden administration to immediately halt Medicare Direct Contracting, a Trump-era pilot that could result in complete privatization of the cherished public healthcare program by decade's end.
"It is completely baffling to me that the Biden administration wants to give the same bad actors in Medicare Advantage free rein in traditional Medicare," Warren (D-Mass.) said during a hearing held by the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth.
"My view is that President Biden should not permit Medicare to be handed over to corporate profiteers," Warren added. "Doing so is going to increase costs and put more strain on the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund. The Biden administration should shut down the Direct Contracting model." READ MORE
Although right-wing Sen. Joe Manchin's financial conflicts of interest have been well-documented, a new video released Monday details how the West Virginia Democrat's "brazen" corruption has derailed his party's immensely popular economic policies.
Not only did Manchin take more than $1 million from corporate-tied PACs last year as he watered down and obstructed the Build Back Better Act (BBB), but he "repeatedly timed his key attacks on [President Joe] Biden's agenda to occur at events with his largest corporate donors," according to pro-worker media group More Perfect Union, which summarizes its research in the following five-minute video. READ MORE - WATCH
In a new exclusive interview for Truthout on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis, world-renowned public intellectual Noam Chomsky outlines the deadly dangers of U.S. intransigence over Ukrainian membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) even when key Western allies have already vetoed earlier U.S. efforts in that direction. He also seeks to shed some light on the reasons why Republicans today seem to be divided on Russia.
Chomsky — whose intellectual contributions have been compared to those of Galileo, Newton and Descartes — has had tremendous influence on a variety of areas of scholarly and scientific inquiry, including linguistics, logic and mathematics, computer science, psychology, media studies, philosophy, politics and international affairs. He is the author of some 150 books and recipient of scores of highly prestigious awards including the Sydney Peace Prize and the Kyoto Prize (Japan’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize), as well as dozens of honorary doctorate degrees from the world’s most renowned universities. READ MORE
Anew report shows that 31 states and the District of Columbia have laws allowing permanent forced sterilizations. Little discussed and largely unmonitored, the issue grabbed national attention last summer when the pop star Britney Spears testified that she was forced to use birth control by her father. While Spears was not subject to surgical sterilization, her testimony started a conversation about reproductive rights and conservatorship.
According to the report from the National Women’s Law Center, 17 states allow the permanent, surgical sterilization of children with disabilities. The report is written in plain language, designed to be understood by at least some of the people impacted most by these laws. READ MORE
Remembering the reality of death, fearing it, welcoming it and trying to understand its uncanny nature is what I do as a human being. Being a philosopher adds to the existential gravity of the reality of death. The truth is that someday all of us will become food for worms.
In the last days of 2021, we have had to face the reality and tragedy of death in the news. The trial involving three white men who chased 25-year-old unarmed Black male Ahmaud Arbery, a chase which led to him being shot and killed by one of the white men, brought back memories of his tragic death.
The trial of 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse who killed two men and wounded one brought back memories of the suffering of the families of those two men, their hearts broken beyond repair. There is no victory gained because of their deaths. READ MORE
On Friday, congressional staffers declared that they are unionizing, an announcement that was met with an outpouring of support from progressive and Democratic lawmakers.
The Congressional Workers Union has been in the midst of organizing efforts for over a year, they said in a statement.
“[W]e are proud to publicly announce our efforts to unionize the personal offices and committees of Congress, in solidarity with our fellow workers across the United States and the world,” the staffers wrote.
“While not all offices and committees face the same working conditions, we strongly believe that to better serve our constituents will require meaningful changes to improve retention, equity, diversity, and inclusion on Capitol Hill,” they continued. “That starts with having a voice in the workplace. We call on all congressional staff to join in the effort to unionize, and look forward to meeting management at the table.” READ MORE
Talk of a primary challenge to unseat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is ramping up in the wake of the Arizona Democrat’s decision to protect the filibuster at the cost of passing voting rights legislation.
Over the weekend, James Carville, one of the dozens of Democratic Party strategy-making, averred that Sinema would lose if she were challenged by Rep. Ruben Gallego, a charismatic ex-Marine who represents Arizona’s 7th Congressional District. CNBC reported that Democratic Party donors were so fed up with the first-term senator that they were now planning to finance a primary run to unseat her.
In 2018, Sinema won a squeaker of an election against Martha McSally. McSally was a particularly weak candidate who struggled to connect with Arizona voters, and who would go on to lose a second Senate race two years later, this time against Mark Kelly. The two victories were crucial to the Democrats in ultimately building a Senate majority. READ MORE
On Friday, the Republican National Committee (RNC) voted on a motion to censure two GOP lawmakers in Congress over their anti-Trump stances and their attempts to hold the former president and his allies accountable for the January 6 Capitol attack.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) will not be removed from the party, but their censure will serve as a stark rebuke from the Republican Party for their views regarding former President Donald Trump.
In late January, the Saudi-United Arab Emirates (UAE) coalition carried out an airstrike on a prison in Yemen, killing more than 90 detainees and injuring many more. Among the rubble was a fragment of the weapon used to do it. On it was a Raytheon Technologies manufacturer code. A few days later, the CEO of Raytheon, Greg Hayes, was discussing the escalation of the war in Yemen and Ukraine when he said, “I fully expect we’re going to see some benefit from it.”
The Biden administration, ignoring its promises about Yemen from a year ago, is embracing the escalation of the war as they refuse to suspend any support to Saudi Arabia. Raytheon, a company that sees profits from the war in Yemen, gave President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign over half a million dollars in 2020. READ MORE
Progressives expressed outrage Friday after the Republican National Committee formally declared the deadly January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election "legitimate political discourse."
"January 6th was not "legitimate political discourse"—it was a violent insurrection on our Capitol," Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) tweeted in response to the RNC declaration.
"I didn't know if I'd make it out alive," she added. "Some didn't. We cannot let the GOP whitewash what happened." READ MORE
Supporters of the Iran nuclear deal welcomed news Friday that the Biden administration restored sanctions waivers seen as key to a mutual return to the agreement.
"This is excellent news for diplomacy!" tweeted the Friends Committee on National Legislation. The waivers, the group added, "will help facilitate negotiations to bring us back into the Iran nuclear deal, which will reduce the threat of war with Iran, and reduce civilian harm from sanctions."
With Iran hawk Mike Pompeo then leading the State Department, the Trump administration rescinded the waivers allowing for international cooperation on Iran's nuclear sites in 2020. That followed its 2018 move to pull the U.S. out of the Obama-era deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. READ MORE
The January jobs report from the Labor Department is heightening fears that a so-called "tight" labor market is fueling inflation, and therefore the Fed must put on the brakes by raising interest rates.
This line of reasoning is totally wrong.
Among the biggest job gains in January were workers who are normally temporary and paid low wages (leisure and hospitality, retail, transport and warehousing). This January employers cut fewer of these low-wage temp workers than in most years, because of rising customer demand and the difficulties of hiring during Omicron. Due to the Bureau of Labor Statistics's "seasonal adjustment," cutting fewer workers than usual for this time of year appears as "adding lots of jobs."
Fed policymakers are poised to raise interest rates at their March meeting and then continue raising them, in order to slow the economy. They fear that a labor shortage is pushing up wages, which in turn are pushing up prices—and that this wage-price spiral could get out of control. READ MORE
South African scientists have created a close replica of Moderna's mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine without any assistance from the U.S. pharmaceutical giant, a development that could have massive implications for the fight against global vaccine apartheid.
In partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), researchers at the South African company Afrigen Biologics used the sequence of Moderna's vaccine—which was reverse-engineered by Stanford University scientists and published online last year—to produce an mRNA shot of its own, an achievement that vaccine equity campaigners hailed as a "major breakthrough."
"We didn't have help from the major Covid vaccine producers, so we did it ourselves to show the world that it can be done, and be done here, on the African continent," Gerhardt Boukes, chief scientist at Afrigen, told Nature on Thursday. READ MORE
People don't want outsiders reading their private messages—not their physical mail, not their texts, not their DMs, nothing. It's a clear and obvious point, but one place it doesn't seem to have reached is the U.S. Senate.
A group of lawmakers led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have re-introduced the EARN IT Act, an incredibly unpopular bill from 2020 that was dropped in the face of overwhelming opposition. Let's be clear: the new EARN IT Act would pave the way for a massive new surveillance system, run by private companies, that would roll back some of the most important privacy and security features in technology used by people around the globe. It's a framework for private actors to scan every message sent online and report violations to law enforcement. And it might not stop there. The EARN IT Act could ensure that anything hosted online—backups, websites, cloud photos, and more—is scanned. READ MORE
Veteran Associated Press reporter Matt Lee grilled a State Department spokesperson Thursday over the U.S. government's refusal to provide direct evidence for its claim that Russia is planning to fabricate a mass casualty event as a pretext to invade Ukraine, an allegation that the Pentagon said is backed up by intelligence.
During a press briefing, Lee asked the State Department's Ned Price—a former CIA official—to furnish concrete proof of the government's accusation, which suggests Russia is plotting an elaborate false flag attack involving a graphic "propaganda video... depicting corpses, crisis actors pretending to be mourners, and images of destroyed locations or military equipment."
Lee said he has every reason to be skeptical of U.S. government assertions, given the lies that the Bush administration used to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq. READ MORE
The land and water resources farmers rely on are today stressed to "a breaking point" even as almost 10 percent of the eight billion people on earth are already undernourished with three billion lacking healthy diets. And by 2050 there will be two billion more mouths to feed, warns a new report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
For now, farmers have been able to boost agricultural productivity by irrigating more land and applying heavier doses of fertilizer and pesticides. But the report says these practices are not sustainable: They have eroded and degraded soil while polluting and depleting water supplies and shrinking the world's forests.
The FAO report discusses some important climate change impacts, such as changing distribution of rainfall, the suitability of land for certain crops, the spread of insects and other pests, and shorter growing seasons in regions affected by more intense droughts. READ MORE
Climate campaigners celebrated Thursday after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit delivered yet another blow to a controversial gas project spanning over 300 miles in Virginia and West Virginia.
"At a time when we need to urgently move away from fracked-gas pipelines and all the harms they bring—from impacts to endangered species to damage to water quality to climate change—the law and science prevailed in this case," declared Anne Havemann, general counsel of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.
A three-judge panel from the Richmond-based federal appeals court threw out the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services' assessment of how the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) would impact two endangered fish species: the Roanoke logperch and the candy darter.
"If a species is already speeding toward the extinction cliff, an agency may not press on the gas. We urge the Fish and Wildlife Service to consider this directive carefully while reassessing impacts to the two endangered fish at issue, especially the apparently not-long-for-this-world candy darter," Judge James Wynn wrote in the court's opinion. READ MORE
A new analysis released Tuesday ahead of a congressional hearing on pandemic-era price gouging shows that U.S. corporations in the food and energy sectors—from Tyson to Exxon Mobil—are pushing higher costs onto consumers while raking in ever-increasing revenues and handing executives massive pay packages.
Conducted by the advocacy group Food & Water Watch (FWW), the analysis spotlights the fact that skyrocketing food and energy—specifically gasoline—prices have been major contributors to the overall rise of inflation in the U.S. Between December 2019 and December 2021, the nation's Consumer Price Index (CPI) jumped by 8.5%.
According to FWW, overall energy costs rose 20% over that period while the price per gallon of unleaded gasoline increased by 31.7%.
Meanwhile, FWW found, "the cost to feed a family of four on a 'thrifty' food plan has increased by 33.5%," driven by the rising prices of ground beef (+19.2%), bacon (+31.7%), chicken breasts (+19.7%), milk (+17.4%), and eggs (+16.5%). READ MORE
In a boon for both student borrowers and investigative reporting, the U.S. Department of Education on Friday announced a reversal related to student loan court challenge just two days after The Daily Poster revealed the Biden administration was trying to "bolster a legal precedent against millions of debtors being crushed by bankruptcy laws."
A Department of Education (DOE) spokesperson confirmed in a statement that the administration will now withdraw a notice of appeal filed last month after a federal judge in Delaware ruled in favor of providing 35-year-old Ryan Wolfson, an epileptic man who struggled to find full-time employment, with nearly $100,000 in student loan relief. READ MORE
As TFTP reported last week, Canadian truckers, although they were threatened, ridiculed and slandered by their prime minister, launched a massive convoy across the country in protest to the tyranny facing their fellow citizens. Tens of thousands of truckers traveled across the country and ended up in Ottawa where an incredibly inspiring days-long protest began and is still happening today.
Despite the best efforts of the mainstream media and the establishment to turn this into a divisive partisan issue by painting the trucker convoy as a group of far-right white nationalists, the truth prevailed, showing the world that these brave folks are from all walks of life. There is no left and there is no right — there is only freedom. READ MORE
That sure didn’t last long. Over the past two years, the U.S. government borrowed and spent trillions of dollars that we did not have, and the Federal Reserve unwisely pumped trillions of fresh dollars into our financial system. Of course all of that money was going to be a short-term help for the economy, but it was also going to make our long-term problems even worse. So what did we get in turn for mortgaging our future? Well, it turns out that we got a few months of economic stability, tremendous inflation, and the worst supply chain crisis in the history of the United States.
And now the economy is slowing down again.
Of course inflation isn’t going anywhere, and so some pundits are suggesting that we are heading for a period of “stagflation” like we experienced under Jimmy Carter in the 1970s.
If only that were true. READ MORE
Jacob Hornberger of The Future of Freedom Foundation joins us to discuss his recent article on “Crisis-Filled Lives.” In this conversation, Hornberger notes the various crises that have come to define our precarious existence in the maws of the welfare-warfare state and what we can do to reverse the Crisis and Leviathan effect. WATCH
With every new crisis – real or pretended – the monster state and its supporters warn of impending doom if the government doesn’t take more power to deal with it. For tyrants, this is one of the oldest tricks in the books. And rather than rising to the occasion in defense of their Constitution and liberty, the people have failed miserably. WATCH
IN A TIME of unprecedented species extinction, when seemingly every day brings news of yet another animal or plant on the precipice of population collapse, one of the creatures society depends on the most is fading with little fanfare: the humble, neighborly bumblebee. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, 12 of the 50 bumblebee species in North America are listed as at-risk, some declining by almost 90 percent in the last two decades.
As an avid honeybee keeper and environmental journalist, I don’t take any bee’s place within the world of pollinators lightly. But whereas there has been much ado about honeybees in recent years, there has been less angst over bumblebees. While their popular counterpart is making a comeback, several bumblebee species are now at risk of extinction. This contrast in fates says a lot about the different environmental pressures facing the two types of bees, but it also reveals a lot about our own, flawed ideas about conservation. READ MORE
Congratulations, America: it took just over 245 years but as of the last day of January, the country’s debt just crossed above $30 trillion for the first time ever, hitting $30,012,386,059,238.29.
While it was always guaranteed that this historic milestone of civilizational greatness would fall at some point, we can safely say that thanks to the global financial crisis, thanks to covid (and the response – AP Ed.) and thanks to MMT, the golden age of US debt came about twice as fast as it would have otherwise.
The highest glacier on the tallest mountain on Earth is rapidly retreating as temperatures rise, according to new research that underscores the scale and reach of human-caused climate change.
The South Col Glacier atop Mount Everest was once covered in snow, which reflected the sun’s light and insulated the mass of ice underneath. But the loss of snow in recent decades has left the ice exposed, leading to rapid thinning.
Scientists analyzed a 10-meter-long ice core gathered from the glacier, as well as data from weather stations, satellite images, and other records. They determined that, since the 1990s, the South Col glacier has shrunk by half, and its ice mass has thinned by an estimated 55 meters (180 feet). Warmer temperatures, lower humidity, and more severe winds have fueled the decline, researchers said. The findings were published in the journal Climate and Atmospheric Science. READ MORE