News Articles | March 20, 2022

Afghanistan, Assange, China, economy, Environment, EPA, foreign policy, fossil fuel, imperialism, JFK, julian assange, Oil, Politics, pollution, propaganda, Putin, Russia, sanctions, The Environment, The World, tyranny, Ukraine, United States, War, war crimes

When the United States stole $7 billion from Afghanistan on February 11, that was no mere crime of robbery. It was a war crime and a crime against humanity that condemns possibly millions of Afghans to starvation. In short, prelude to genocide. Biden prevaricates about his excuse for this outright theft of Afghan funds, namely compensating the 9/11 victims. The Afghan government didn’t kill their loved ones, indeed back in 2001 the Taliban offered to turn the al Qaeda culprits over to Washington. The U.S. refused the offer and invaded instead.

Biden’s shocking action makes all Americans complicit in sickening atrocities. According to UNICEF, “more than 23 million Afghans face acute hunger, including 9 million who are nearly famished.” By the middle of this year, 97 percent of Afghans will be in poverty, the UN estimates. To say these people need every penny of their $7 billion is an understatement. READ MORE

As Russian President Vladimir Putin escalates his horrific invasion of Ukraine, in which civilians are being mowed down as they attempt to flee to safety, the Biden administration is now arguing that the United States can counter Putin’s aggression by pursuing more oil production, both domestically and among U.S. allies. Citing increased production as a path to more ​energy security,” President Biden has also retreated from any robust discussion of tackling climate change — an orientation that shows how war can harden reactionary, short-sighted politics across the globe. Just as the world’s top scientists warn in a dire new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that we must dramatically curb fossil fuel extraction, political leaders are allowing for even less breathing room to discuss an existential threat that could kill hundreds of millions of people, and make large swaths of the globe uninhabitable. READ MORE

As Russian forces inch toward the capital of Ukraine in a continued act of outright aggression, a fourth round of talks came to a “technical pause.” As the west tries to get firmly ahead of escalation, global planners and analysts look to anticipate this unfolding story, which looks increasingly difficult to follow socially, politically, and economically. In this interview, Middle East historian Lawrence Davidson, international law professor Richard Falk, and international relations scholar Stephen Zunes, break down the historical, cultural, geopolitical, and media implications of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. READ MORE

There is a discursive nervous tic all over social media at the moment, including from prominent journalists such as Guardian columnist George Monbiot. The demand is that everyone not only “condemn” Russian President Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine, but do so without qualification.

Any reluctance to submit is considered certain proof that the person is a Putin apologist or a Kremlin bot, and that their views on everything under the sun – especially their criticisms of equivalent Western war crimes – can be safely ignored.

How convenient for all those Western leaders who have committed war crimes at least as bad as Russia’s current ones.

I have repeatedly described Russia’s invasion as illegal; I have regularly called Putin a war criminal (you may not have noticed but I just did it again in the two preceding paragraphs); and I have consistently compared Putin’s deeds to the very worst actions taken by the West over the past two decades. But none of that is enough. More is always needed. READ MORE

As Russia steps up its assault on Ukraine and its forces advance on Kyiv, peace talks between the two sides were scheduled to resume today for the fourth time, but have now been postponed until tomorrow. Unfortunately, some opportunities for a peace agreement have already been squandered, so it’s hard to be optimistic about when the war will end. Regardless of when or how the war ends, though, its impact is already being felt across the international security system, as the rearmament of Europe shows. The Russian invasion of Ukraine also complicates the urgent fight against the climate crisis. The war takes a heavy toll on Ukraine and on the environment, but it also gives the fossil fuel industry extra leverage among governments. READ MORE

In the year 2021 methane (CH4) concentration in the atmosphere exceeded 1,900 ppb for the first time in human history recorded by Global Monitoring Laboratory, Earth System Research Laboratories, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

That level of 1,900 ppb is triple the pre-industrial level of 700 ppb. Furthermore, it is suddenly mysteriously accelerating over just the past 13 years. In turn, this exceptional acceleration could hasten global warming considerably. Of even more concern, the acceleration appears to be regenerating on its own accord sans human influence. READ MORE

The Cold War, from 1945 to 1989, was a wild Bacchanalia for arms manufacturers, the Pentagon, the CIA, the diplomats who played one country off another on the world’s chess board, and the global corporations able to loot and pillage by equating predatory capitalism with freedom. In the name of national security, the Cold Warriors, many of them self-identified liberals, demonized labor, independent media, human rights organizations, and those who opposed the permanent war economy and the militarization of American society as soft on communism.

That is why they have resurrected it.

The decision to spurn the possibility of peaceful coexistence with Russia at the end of the Cold War is one of the most egregious crimes of the late 20th century. The danger of provoking Russia was universally understood with the collapse of the Soviet Union, including by political elites as diverse as Henry Kissinger and George F. Kennan, who called the expansion of NATO into Central Europe “the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-Cold War era.” READ MORE

Seedy, compromised and creepy, the surveillance machine of Facebook, now operating under the broader fold of its parent company Meta Platforms, is currently giving out the very signals that it was condemned for doing before: encourage discussions on hating a group and certain figures, while spreading the bad word to everyone else to do so.

The Russian Federation, President Vladimir Putin, and Russians in general emerge as the latest contenders, the comic strip villains who those in the broadly designated “West” can now take issue with.  According to a Meta spokesperson, the Russian attack on Ukraine had made the company make temporary “allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules like violent speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders.’”  Cryptically, the same spokesman goes on to say that, “We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians.”  Meta gives us no guidelines on what would constitute a “credible call”. READ MORE

Julian Assange, even as he is being judicially and procedurally tormented, has braved every legal hoop in his effort to avoid extradition to the United States.  Kept and caged in Belmarsh throughout this farce of judicial history, he risks being extradited to face 18 charges, 17 based on the US Espionage Act of 1917.

District Court Judge Vanessa Baraitser initially ruled on January 4, 2021 against the US, finding that Assange would be at serious risk of suicide given the risk posed by Special Administrative Measures and the possibility that he would end his days in the ADX Florence supermax facility.  It took little to read between the lines: the US prison system would do away with Assange; to extradite him would be oppressive within the meaning of the US-UK Extradition Treaty. READ MORE

The perverse appeal of Donald Trump is that he is an honest figure. He is lying but he tells you he is lying and he tells you why he’s lying. We all know he must lie because he wants to do awful things to us. If he told the truth it would be even worse.

The redemptive quality of Donald Trump is that he is a real sado-masochist. He, like us, will overplay his hand until his death, or his defeat, which he will not accept. The thing that separates us from Donald Trump is that he has no consequences for his actions and those of us who do can live vicariously through his success. There are a number of obvious reasons we shouldn’t do this but what is the alternative?

Trumpism is here to stay and we are seeing that a man who ran on being “not Trump” is like him in many ways he doesn’t even realize. Trumpism then is a structural phenomenon on both sides of the aisle. What is Trumpism? An expression of a failed state. READ MORE

“Help our bees!” “Save our pollinators!”

As long as we consider them ours, can we save them? Here are four thoughts about protecting bees for bees’ sake.

Thought 1. Honey is bee food.

We help ourselves to their pollen, honey, and other secretions. But all bee products are made by bees to feed bees.

Before we mechanized our relationship with bees, we co-evolved with them. And bees co-evolved with the plants—plants that produce berries, tomatoes, squashes and melons and peppers—that they pollinate.

Vegan-organic growing (called “veganic” growing in North America) supports hands-off, natural pollination. The diversity of organic gardens, in turn, creates rich habitat for bees and other pollinators. READ MORE

Had she not been murdered in Gaza by Israeli Defense Forces on March 13, 2003, today Rachel Corrie would have been 43 years old.

In December 2020 we received Rachel Corrie’s book under the title Let Me Stand Alone ((Norton, 2008). Craig and Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s parents, wrote the following: “To Rachel and Raouf, with deep gratitude and for peace with justice.”

Born on April 10, 1979, in Olympia, Washington, Rachel Corrie, a liberal arts major, a peace activist, and a human rights volunteer/observer was brutally murdered by Israel Defense forces in Gaza on March 16, 2003. READ MORE

Abu Zubaydah, whom the CIA once mistakenly alleged was a top Al-Qaeda leader, was waterboarded 80-plus times, subjected to assault in the form of forced rectal exams, and exposed to live burials in coffins for hundreds of hours. Zubaydah sobbed, twitched and hyperventilated. During one waterboarding session, he became completely unresponsive, with bubbles coming out of his mouth. “He became so compliant that he would prepare for waterboarding at the snap of a finger,” Neil Gorsuch wrote in his 30-page dissent in United States v. Zubaydah.

On March 3, in a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court dismissed Zubaydah’s petition requesting the testimony of psychologists James Mitchell and John Jessen, whom the CIA hired to orchestrate his torture at a secret CIA prison (“CIA black site”) in Poland from December 2002 until September 2003. Zubaydah was transferred to other CIA black sites before being sent to Guantánamo in 2006, where he remains today with no charges against him. READ MORE

The Biden administration's rhetoric about confronting the climate crisis obscures a frightening reality: Joe Biden's policies are keeping us on a path to climate catastrophe. The latest report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that the climate crisis is happening faster and more intensely than predicted. We need urgent action, instead, we have the Biden administration.

The week after the UN climate conference (COP26), Biden launched the largest oil and gas lease sale in US history, of 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico. A federal court blocked the sale, citing the administration's failure to consider climate impacts. Climate investments in the Build Back Better Act are in a state of limbo while Senator Manchin, a coal tycoon Democrat from West Virginia, holds the package hostage. As Greenpeace reports, this administration's policies entrench the interests of the fossil fuel industry and prioritize profits over the survival of our planet and communities at the frontline of climate catastrophe, with Black, brown, and Indigenous communities, and women and girls paying the highest price. READ MORE

In a sad commentary on the state of America’s priorities, the $1.5+ trillion spending legislation passed by Congress last week barely made headlines. Little attention was paid to the 2,700-page spending bill or the fact that it was released at 2:30 a.m. on the day of the vote, meaning most members of Congress voted on it blindly without even having skimmed the legislation.

In a less dysfunctional country, this would be an outrage. Yet there’s even more scandal lurking beneath the surface-level incompetence of our elected officials.

The latest budget bill features an astounding 4,000 “earmarks,” pet spending items slipped into the fine print that fund projects and handouts to special interests in members’ home districts. The money funneled to earmarks totals a whopping $10 billion. (To put that number in context, it’s roughly one-fifth what the federal government spent on COVID-19 vaccine and treatment development.) READ MORE

“The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes.”—Thomas Paine

The government wants your money.

It will beg, steal or borrow if necessary, but it wants your money any way it can get it.

The government’s schemes to swindle, cheat, scam, and generally defraud taxpayers of their hard-earned dollars have run the gamut from wasteful pork barrel legislation, cronyism and graft, to asset forfeiture, costly stimulus packages, and a national-security complex that continues to undermine our freedoms while failing to making us any safer.

Americans have also been made to pay through the nose for the government’s endless wars, subsidization of foreign nations, military empire, welfare state, roads to nowhere, bloated workforce, secret agencies, fusion centers, private prisons, biometric databases, invasive technologies, arsenal of weapons, and every other budgetary line item that is contributing to the fast-growing wealth of the corporate elite at the expense of those who are barely making ends meet—that is, of us the taxpayers. READ MORE

Sometimes I can only stop and stare in awe at the power of the US propaganda machine. Almost the entire global north has been paced into perfect alignment with cold war agendas geared toward securing US unipolar dominance by an unprecedented propaganda and censorship campaign.

There’s nothing intrinsic in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine which says the nation must be strangled to death by unheard-of levels of economic warfare from Washington-loyal governments. A huge international consensus needed to be manufactured for that specific response, and the public needed to go along with it. Just absolutely incredible. READ MORE or LISTEN

Oliver Stone & Abby Martin: Down the JFK Rabbit Hole

Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone joins Abby to discuss his new film JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, his journey into the case, the evidence of a CIA-orchestrated assassination and American foreign policy.

The United States is setting up China as a second target of its intense economic war against Russia in what could have cataclysmic effects on the world economy, including the West.

The U.S. could not impose the most stringent sanctions on Moscow without the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and now the U.S. is trying to link China to the war.

Washington’s move to frame Beijing emerged Monday when unnamed U.S. officials told its allies that Russia had asked China for military aid in Ukraine. Reuters reported: “The message, sent in a diplomatic cable and delivered in person by intelligence officials, also said China was expected to deny those plans, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.”  China indeed denied it.

Importantly, Reuters added: “The U.S. government offered no public evidence to back its assertions of China’s willingness to provide such aid to Russia.” READ MORE

As far as I can tell this point is logically unassailable. International law is a meaningless concept when it only applies to people the US power alliance doesn’t like. This point is driven home by the life of McBride himself, whose own government responded to his publicizing suppressed information about war crimes committed by Australian forces in Afghanistan by charging him as a criminal.

Neither George W Bush nor Tony Blair are in prison cells at The Hague where international law says they ought to be. Bush is still painting away from the comfort of his home, issuing proclamations comparing Putin to Hitler and platforming arguments for more interventionism in Ukraine. Blair is still merily warmongering his charred little heart out, saying NATO should not rule out directly attacking Russian forces in what amounts to a call for a thermonuclear world war.

They are free as birds, singing their same old demonic songs from the rooftops. READ MORE or LISTEN

“Shock and awe” was George Bush senior’s name for his “Desert Storm” attack on Iraq in 1990 – 91. A United Nations report described the effect on Iraq as “near apocalyptic,” sending Iraq back to the “pre-industrial age.” But it wasn’t enough. After a decade of sanctions against Iraq, which further decimated the country and its people, George Bush junior launched a new invasion in 2003. Together with a parallel war in Afghanistan, the world has seen two decades of wholesale death and destruction at the hands of the U.S. military, at a cost of trillions and countless deaths estimated between one and two million.

When the savagery of the U.S. war was exposed by Wikileaks and Chelsea Manning, the official U.S. reaction was to demonize the whistle blowers, as if they were terrorists. Commenting on official U.S. hysterical condemnations of Russia and U.S. coverups of its own aggression elsewhere, Margaret Kimberley of Black Agenda Report writes that “it is the white supremacist underpinnings of U.S./NATO foreign policy which has created all of Ukraine’s suffering. The narrative that only white people deserve peace and security is all the more shameful because the global south suffers from war and privation as a direct result of U.S./NATO actions. It is NATO that destroyed the nation of Libya, NATO which attempted to do the same in Syria, NATO that occupied Afghanistan, NATO which wages war across African countries with U.S., French and British troops deployed across the continent.” READ MORE

Everybody's ignoring the deeper structural reason for price increases: the concentration of the American economy into the hands of a few corporate giants with the power to raise prices.

Inflation! Inflation! Everyone’s talking about it, but ignoring one of its biggest causes: corporate concentration.

Now, prices are undeniably rising. In response, the Fed is about to slow the economy — even though we’re still 2 million jobs short of where we were before the pandemic, and millions of American workers won’t get the raises they deserve.

Meanwhile, Republicans haven’t wasted any time hammering Biden and Democratic lawmakers about inflation.

Don’t fall for their fear mongering.

Everybody’s ignoring the deeper structural reason for price increases: the concentration of the American economy into the hands of a few corporate giants with the power to raise prices. READ MORE

EPA’s archive could become a model of web governance that fosters democratic oversight. Shuttering the archive is moving backward and is a disservice to the public.

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it will be discontinuing its online archive in July 2022. This means the public will lose access to tens of thousands of web resources. These resources convey information about critical environmental issues, and past and present agency activities, policies, and priorities. All of these resources are publicly funded and intended for public consumption, but the public will no longer be able to access them.

EPA’s web archive served as a tool to counter some of the effects of the Trump administration’s censorship–especially of climate-related information. When the Trump administration deleted the majority of EPA’s climate change web resources, many of them became available (if challenging to access) through the archive. The archive hosts digital resources dating back to the 1990s, and these records allow for everything from historical research to democratic oversight. The EPA will still host snapshots of the majority of the EPA’s website as it was on the final day of the Obama administration and the Trump administration. These snapshots are, unfortunately, not as comprehensive as they were intended to be, with many Spanish language resources missing from the January 19, 2017, snapshot, for example. Retiring the EPA’s web archive means that there will be no official record of EPA web resources (aside from news releases, thankfully) outside the incomplete records from these two days in the recent past.  READ MORE

Sadly, most corporate textbook-producers are no more interested in feeding student curiosity about the poverty and inequality that drove the famine than were British landlords interested in feeding Irish peasants.


Author's note on the following essay which has been re-posted for many years at Common Dreams as a St. Patrick's Day tradition:

In the latest issue of Orion magazine, Lacy M. Johnson writes:

When the next freeze or fire or pandemic or hurricane hits us, vulnerability will determine who gets to live, and who will die, and how. The disaster won’t be the weather, but the shape of the wound structural violence has already made.

This is a profound insight that history can help our students grasp.

For better or worse, St. Patrick’s Day is a brief period when people pay attention to all things Irish. It is a good time to revisit Ireland’s Great Famine and the refugee exodus it unleashed.

Studying the so-called Potato Famine can help students recognize that this was no natural disaster, it was the product of structural violence. As Bill Bigelow writes in his “If We Knew Our History” column, “The Real Irish American Story Not Taught in Schools,”

During the first winter of famine, 1846–47, as perhaps 400,000 Irish peasants starved, landlords exported 17 million pounds sterling worth of grain, cattle, pigs, flour, eggs, and poultry — food that could have prevented those deaths.

The shape of the wound of famine was British colonialism and the capitalist system, which prized profit over the Irish poor. See our role play, “Hunger on Trial,” which can bring this insight to life in the classroom — and help students consider the roots of today’s unnatural disasters. READ MORE

"This is a sure sign that climate change caused by burning coal, oil, and gas is threatening the very existence of our reef," said one campaigner.

An assessment of the Great Barrier Reef's health released Friday reveals widespread bleaching of the world's largest coral organism, sparking fresh demands for the Australian government to ditch fossil fuels and finally commit to protecting both the UNESCO site and planetary health.

"While not yet officially declared a mass bleaching event, this is still disastrous news for our reef, the marine life, and communities that rely on its health," said Dr. Lissa Schindler, Great Barrier Reef campaign manager with the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).

The March 18 update from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority suggests a fourth major bleaching event since 2016 is underway and points to warmer than average sea surface temperatures—0.5−2°C above average throughout the park, with some areas ranging 2−4°C above average.

"Bleaching has been detected across the marine park—it is widespread but variable, across multiple regions, ranging in impact from minor to severe," the assessment states. READ MORE

"World leaders should take heed," said economist Jeffrey Sachs. "Politics should be directed as the great sages long ago insisted: to the well-being of the people, not the power of the rulers."

Finland is the happiest country in the world, followed by Denmark and Iceland, with other Scandinavian social democracies Sweden and Norway not far behind.

That's according to the latest World Happiness Report 2022, released Friday for the 10th year in a row by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).

Rankings are based on opinion surveys that people from nearly 150 nations around the globe completed from 2019 to 2021. Analysts say that data from the Gallup World Poll and other sources reveals "key determinants of well-being," which countries can use "to craft policies aimed at achieving happier societies." READ MORE

"Mining the deep sea is as destructive as strip mining the mountains of Appalachia, extinguishing whole ecosystems with a single blow."

A leading conservation group on Friday sounded the alarm after military-industrial complex giant Lockheed Martin filed an application with the U.S. government to renew licenses allowing deep seabed mining exploration in the Pacific Ocean.

"Mining the deep sea is as destructive as strip mining the mountains of Appalachia, extinguishing whole ecosystems with a single blow," Miyoko Sakashita, oceans program director at the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), said in a statement. "The federal government shouldn't renew these licenses."

Although there are no current commercial deep seabed mining operations, the International Seabed Authority has issued exploration licenses to state-owned companies and agencies in China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, and South Korea, and to private corporations including U.K. Seabed Resources, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin. READ MORE

Three years ago this week — on March 15, 2019 — an estimated 1.4 million young people and supporters in 128 countries skipped school or work for what was then the largest youth-led day of climate protests in history. That record was soon eclipsed by even larger demonstrations later that year, with 1.8 million joining a May 24 day of action, and 7.6 million protesting for the climate over the course of Sept. 20 and the week that followed. The school strikes for climate movement, launched by 15-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden in late 2018, had reinvigorated the global climate movement and brought public participation to levels never seen before.

By early 2019, thousands of young people were already skipping school to protest for the climate each week in Europe, but the school strikes had only just begun to catch on in the United States. March 15 of that year was arguably when Thunberg’s campaign truly became a global phenomenon, with large demonstrations in cities all over the world. The youth-led strikes went on to revolutionize and grow the climate movement, helping to popularize concepts like the Green New Deal and grab the attention of policymakers and the media. Three years on, it’s a good time to assess what this flood of activism accomplished and how the youth climate movement has adapted to the challenges of the early 2020s. READ MORE

Opposition to expensive, privacy invasive, unreliable and unsafe utility “Smart” Meters (electric, gas, and water) is worldwide.  Despite all the problems associated with these meters – including fires, explosions (see 123and health risks to humans and pets (see 123) – proponents still insist that they’re better than one-way transmitting analog meters.  NOPE!  A free online documentary as well as countless articles and websites provide information proving the exact opposite.

Thanks to Environmental Health Trust for creating a new webpage including information about “Smart” Meter (aka smartmeter) health risks and “opt-out” programs.

What are Smartmeters?

Smartmeters are the new utility consumption measurement devices for electricity, water, and gas that are being installed across the nation, at residences and other buildings. There would be a separate meter for each type of utility and they are installed by the companies and governments that provide the utilities. READ MORE

Millions of pounds of toxic pesticides sprayed on feed crops for factory farm animals in the U.S. are threatening human health and wildlife and plants by destroying their native habitats, according to a new report by World Animal Protection and the Center for Biological Diversity.

The report, “Collateral Damage: How Factory Farming Drives Up the Use of Toxic Agricultural Pesticides,” exposes factory farm meat as a “major driver of pesticide use.”

An estimated 99% of animals raised for food in the U.S. come from factory farms, including about 70% of cows, 98% of pigs, 99% of turkeys, 98% of chickens raised for eggs and more than 99.9% of chicken raised for meat.

This expansion of industrial factory farms is not only “perpetuating enormous cruelty and suffering” for the billions of animals confined in them, the report stated, but it’s also pushing key ecosystems to the brink of collapse. READ MORE

Press freedom advocates are heralding what one called a “heartbreaking” statement by the fiancée of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after the U.K. Supreme Court on Monday rejected the imprisoned journalist’s attempt to appeal his pending extradition to the United States, where he faces up to 175 years in prison for espionage charges.

“Just this morning on our way to school, our four-year-old son asked me when daddy will come home,” wrote Stella Moris in her Substack newsletter. “Julian’s life is being treated as if it were expendable.”

“He has been robbed of over a decade of liberty, and three years from his home and his young children who are being forced to grow up without their father,” she added. “A system that allows this is a system that has lost its way.” READ MORE

One of the core staples of the past 40 years, and an anchor propping up the dollar’s reserve status, was a global financial system based on the petrodollar - this was a world in which oil producers would sell their product to the US (and the rest of the world) for dollars, which they would then recycle the proceeds in dollar-denominated assets and while investing in dollar-denominated markets, explicitly prop up the USD as the world reserve currency, and in the process backstop the standing of the US as the world’s undisputed financial superpower.

Those days are coming to an end.

One day after we reported that the "UK is asking Saudis for more oil even as MBS invites Xi Jinping to Riyadh to strengthen ties", the WSJ is out with a blockbuster report, noting that "Saudi Arabia is in active talks with Beijing to price its some of its oil sales to China in yuan," a move that could cripple not only the petrodollar’s dominance of the global petroleum market - something which Zoltan Pozsar predicted in his last note - and mark another shift by the world’s top crude exporter toward Asia, but also a move aimed squarely at the heart of the US financial system which has taken advantage of the dollar’s reserve status by printing as much dollars as needed to fund government spending for the past decade. READ MORE

There is nothing like a sudden decline in available oil supplies to bring out forgiveness in what is dubbed in and around Washington, D.C. as "The Blob." This term refers to an amorphous, but powerful group of think-alike U.S. foreign policy actors both inside and outside of government who have influenced every U.S. administration since the end of World War II. The main tenet of The Blob is that America knows best how to lead the world and it must do so.
The Blob seriously penalizes those whom it regards as a threat to American power and security. The Blob likes to use words such as "rogue" and "pariah" to describe those countries which get on its wrong side. (Many are admittedly run by truly odious regimes.) To get a sense of who has violated The Blob's sensibilities, one needs only to glance at the U.S. Department of Treasury website page entitled "Sanctions Programs and Country Information." On it, you will find The Blob's who's who of rogue and pariah states.

With the abrupt drop in oil supplies from Russia in the wake of the Ukraine/Russia conflict, the list of rogue and pariah states is about to get shorter as the necessity of obtaining ready oil supplies trumps any concern about previous challenges to The Blob's narrative. READ MORE

Inside the Tax Records of the .001% | A Series of Related Articles by ProPublica

A massive trove of tax information obtained by ProPublica, covering thousands of America’s wealthiest individuals, reveals what’s inside the billionaires’ bag of tricks for minimizing their personal tax bills — sometimes to nothing.

Once again, the name Joe Manchin is on the lips of every person who gives a fig for salvaging the ongoing, deepening climate crisis. Once again, a senator with monstrous conflicts of interest regarding his own coal fortune has thrown soot and ash into the gears of progress. It seems entirely apparent that the man has no intention of letting any meaningful climate legislation see the light of day. It’s time to make it clear that his blockading actions are, in many ways, equivalent to murder. We must say as much, and call out the perpetrator: Manchin, Manchin, Manchin.

This week, Manchin delivered a crushing one-two punch that should at least serve to end any doubts regarding his intentions. Sarah Bloom Raskin, Biden’s eminently qualified nominee to the Federal Reserve Board, has removed herself from consideration after Manchin announced he would not vote to confirm her. READ MORE

Former senior advisor to the Secretary of Defense Col. Doug Macgregor joins Max Blumenthal and Aaron Mate for a candid, live discussion of the Russia-Ukraine war and his time in the Trump administration when an Afghan withdrawal was sabotaged and conflict with Iran and Syria continued.

“Well at this point we have to conclude that there is a universal opposition to any peace arrangement that involves a recognition of any Russian success,” Macgregor said. “In fact if anything, it looks more and more, as though Ukrainians are almost incidental to the operation in the sense that they are there to impale themselves on the Russian army. And die in great numbers, because the real goal of this entire thing is the destruction of the Russian state and Vladimir Putin.”

“No one is prepared to stop anything as long as there is the slightest hope that something terrible will happen to Russia and Putin,” Macgregor said. “Of course, I don’t see much evidence that that is going to be the case. But it doesn’t really matter here, everyone has universally signed on to the hatred for Russia campaign. That seems to go on regardless what is reported, and frankly the absence of much truth in reporting and a lot wishful thinking in its place is hard to overestimate or exaggerate, it’s terrible.” WATCH

*This essay is an updated version and partial reconfiguration of a presentation I gave online to the Chicago chapter of the national organization Refuse Fascism last Monday night.

Thanks to the war in Ukraine, we are now closer to nuclear holocaust than any time since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. To quote Bob Dylan, “let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.”

In what follows below, I will dig into four core United States and related “pro-Ukraine” media and political class narratives that increase the odds for annihilation. First, however, let’s establish six basic principles on how to approach the Ukraine Crisis from the radical anti-imperialist, anti-fascist, and peace and justice-loving livable ecology left.

Beware the Fog War

The first precept is to beware of the fog of war. By “fog of war,” I mean the confusion and cognitive overwhelm resulting from both the rapid and unpredictable pace and number of often emotionally powerful and mind-numbing events and from the self-interested disinformation and propaganda that is constantly put out on all sides of military conflicts. READ MORE

Scientists expressed shock and alarm this weekend amid extreme high temperatures near both of the Earth's poles—the latest signs of the accelerating planetary climate emergency.

"This event is completely unprecedented and upended our expectations about the Antarctic climate system."

Temperatures in parts of Antarctica were 50°F-90°F above normal in recent days, while earlier this week the mercury soared to over 50°F higher than average—close to the freezing mark—in areas of the Arctic.

Stefano Di Battista, an Antarctic climatologist, tweeted that such record-shattering heat near the South Pole was "unthinkable" and "impossible."

"Antarctic climatology has been rewritten," di Battista wrote.

The joint French-Italian Concordia research station in eastern Antarctica recorded an all-time high of 10°F on Friday. In contrast, high temperatures at the station this time in March average below -50°F. READ MORE

Mega corporations like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Danone are making around 494 times what they spend by bottling water in Mexico and selling it back to locals who have no choice but to buy it.

In Mexico and other poor countries and regions, companies are taking water from aquifers, springs, rivers, and lakes, and putting it in plastic bottles or turning it into flavored and sugary drinks, then dumping their used and dirty water back into water sources. That, along with other industrial pollution which is disproportionately disposed of into rural, Indigenous, and poorer communities, means locals are not able to drink tap water and end up paying extortionate prices to the European and US corporations.

In exchange for taking Mexico’s water, Mexicans give water bottling corporations US$66 billion a year. Coca Cola, Pepsi, Danone, Nestle, Bimbo, and other bottling and junk food companies extract over 133 billion liters of water, and then dump at least 119 billion liters of contaminated water back into water basins and aquifers. READ MORE

Quick Dick McDick
The Emergencies Act | Canada

66,475 views Mar 14, 2022 | 17 Minutes

As requested by many - QDM’s toonie on the “Trucker Convoy” and Trudeau’s response to it.

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