MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Watch “Talking About Stoicism Part 57 Your Bad Luck is Your Good Luck” on YouTube

Posted by M. C. on February 15, 2020

Why me and not you? Character building.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Google redraws the borders on maps depending on who’s looking

Posted by M. C. on February 15, 2020

But Google routinely takes sides in border disputes. Take, for instance, the representation of the border between Ukraine and Russia. In Russia, the Crimean Peninsula is represented with a hard-line border as Russian-controlled, whereas Ukrainians and others see a dotted-line border. The strategically important peninsula is claimed by both nations and was violently seized by Russia in 2014, one of many skirmishes over control.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/google-redraws-the-borders-on-maps-depending-on-whos-looking/ar-BBZZOHy

Greg Bensinger

 

SAN FRANCISCO — For more than 70 years, India and Pakistan have waged sporadic and deadly skirmishes over control of the mountainous region of Kashmir. Tens of thousands have died in the conflict, including three just this month.

Both sides claim the Himalayan outpost as their own, but Web surfers in India could be forgiven for thinking the dispute is all but settled: The borders on Google’s online maps there display Kashmir as fully under Indian control. Elsewhere, users see the region’s snaking outlines as a dotted line, acknowledging the dispute.

Google’s corporate mission is “to organize the world’s information,” but it also bends it to its will. From Argentina to the United Kingdom to Iran, the world’s borders look different depending on where you’re viewing them from. That’s because Google — and other online mapmakers — simply change them.

 

With some 80 percent market share in mobile maps and over a billion users, Google Maps has an outsize impact on people’s perception of the world — from driving directions to restaurant reviews to naming attractions to adjudicating historical border wars.

And while maps are meant to bring order to the world, the Silicon Valley firm’s decision-making on maps is often shrouded in secrecy, even to some of those who work to shape its digital atlases every day. It is influenced not just by history and local laws, but also the shifting whims of diplomats, policymakers and its own executives, say people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to discuss internal processes.

“Our goal is always to provide the most comprehensive and accurate map possible based on ground truth,” Ethan Russell, director of product management for Google Maps, said in a statement sent through spokeswoman Winnie King. “We remain neutral on issues of disputed regions and borders, and make every effort to objectively display the dispute in our maps using a dashed gray border line. In countries where we have local versions of Google Maps, we follow local legislation when displaying names and borders.”

King declined to make any Google Maps officials available for an interview.

Now 15 years old, Google Maps has become one of the most-used and recognizable products for the search engine giant. Maps are a big business for Google, in line to generate as much as $3.6 billion in annual sales by next year, primarily through advertising, according to RBC analysts. Google also licenses its maps to any number of location-based companies like Uber and Yelp, widening its particular vision of the world to even more people. As Google packs its maps with ever more information, subtle changes can alter people’s daily lives. Software algorithms that reroute drivers away from freeways can cause traffic jams in residential neighborhoods or drive desired foot traffic away from retailers.

Apple Maps is the second most popular among mobile users, according to estimates, with about 10 to 12 percent of the market. Bing Maps, a division of Microsoft, controls a diminutive slice of the online map market.

Apple is responsive to local laws with respect to border and place name labeling, said Jacqueline Roy, a spokeswoman. “We are taking a deeper look at how we handle disputed borders in our services and may make changes in the future as a result.” Microsoft defers to the International Court of Justice, the United Nations or academics, among others, regarding borders, or it otherwise indicates a border is disputed, according to its cartographic policy.

In the more staid world of printed maps, which typically are changed quarterly at most, a board of cartographers, editors and staffers meet regularly to discuss world events and consider proposed alterations, said Alex Tait, geographer for the National Geographic Society. They may consult diplomats, bodies like the United Nations, historical charts, competing cartographers and news stories before reaching a consensus on any meaningful change, he said.

An important difference is that printed maps may contain text and other images for context that would otherwise muddle the clean look online maps strive for. “We have a method of applying a de facto way of approaching the issues,” said Tait. “We try to show as much information as we can, when we can, to help people understand what’s going on in a part of the world.”

“It’s part of our journalistic background. We want to show what the situation is, on the ground, to the best of our ability after we’ve done a lot of research,” he said.

Google’s maps are created through a combination of satellite imagery, computer modeling, and hand-drawn borders and landmarks, the company has said. It relies primarily on contract workers who specialize in, say, tracking the construction of new types of buildings or roadways, according to the company and those workers. Knowing precisely where the emergency room driveway is could make the difference in a life-or-death situation.

Unlike mapping geographical features, sketching the contours of towns or countries is ultimately a human construct. So Google consults with local governments and other official bodies to help make a decision about where to draw its lines, according to people familiar with the matter. And it refers to historical maps, news events and atlases, these people said. But changes are also made with little fanfare and can be done immediately, while physical maps are beholden to printing schedules.

When it comes to contested borders, people in different countries often see different things. Take the body of water between Japan and the Korean Peninsula. To almost all, it is known as the Sea of Japan, but for Google Maps users in South Korea, it’s listed as the East Sea. More than 4,000 miles away, the waterway separating Iran from Saudi Arabia may be either the Persian Gulf or the Arabian Gulf, depending on who’s looking online. And the line in Western Sahara marking the northern border with Morocco disappears for Moroccans seeking it out on the Web — along with the region’s name altogether. The sparsely populated northwest Africa region is disputed between Morocco, which seized it in 1975, and the indigenous Sahrawi.

a close up of a map: The line in Western Sahara marking the northern border with Morocco disappears for Moroccans seeking it out on the web — along with the region’s name altogether. The sparsely populated northwest Africa region is disputed between Morocco, which seized it in 1975, and the indigenous Sahrawi. (The Washington Post) The line in Western Sahara marking the northern border with Morocco disappears for Moroccans seeking it out on the web — along with the region’s name altogether. The sparsely populated northwest Africa region is disputed between Morocco, which seized it in 1975, and the indigenous Sahrawi. (The Washington Post) Sometimes that flies in the face of international consensus. Google Maps users inside Turkey can find the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, or TRNC, represented in the northern third of the Mediterranean island nation. The territory is not recognized by the United Nations, nor Google’s mapping competitors.

These aren’t mere trifles. Last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan called on the United Nations to mediate the escalating dispute with India, and President Trump offered to step in. And a Cypriot official’s comments this month that appeared to favor the island’s reunification drew the swift condemnation of Turkish officials.

“Country borders are inherently political, but it would probably surprise some Americans to learn that Google is effectively doing the bidding of autocratic governments on its maps,” said Elisabeth Sedano, a professor of spatial sciences at the University of Southern California. “Subtle changes may not seem so subtle to the people living there.”

One of Google’s contract employees who worked to fix or amend problems with its maps said he had worked weeks, collectively, drawing and redrawing borders, particularly along the Amazon River, in response to officials’ concerns over maritime concerns and the ever-shifting contours of the waterway. “Rivers and uninhabited forests are particularly tricky because there are no landmarks to rely on,” he said. He, like others who work on Google’s outsourced maps team in Bothell, Wash., spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from the search engine company.

These people said that they are often told to alter maps with no reason given and that their changes take effect almost immediately. That typically includes relatively minor adjustments like widening a path in a park or removing mentions of landmarks like a statue or traffic circle. But, these people said, Google has a special team employees refer to as “the disputed region team” that addresses more prickly matters, such as how to portray the Falkland Islands, whose ownership has been disputed between the United Kingdom and Argentina since the latter invaded in 1982 and claimed them (Google makes no mention of the Argentine name Islas Malvinas to English map surfers).

Google’s Russell said in a statement that the company’s “goal is always to provide the most comprehensive and accurate map possible based on ground truth.” The company consults the United Nations, international treaties and other government agencies, and its executives participate in conferences as part of its efforts.

“We remain neutral on geopolitical disputes and make every effort to objectively display disputed areas,” Russell said in the statement. “In countries where we have local versions of Google Maps, we follow local legislation when displaying names and borders.”

The company also responds to feedback, such as once changing the name of Native American tribal land to “nation” from “reservation,” according to a person involved in those discussions. Google’s maps can also be revised by a band of enthusiasts known as local guides who can submit suggestions for alterations, which often are implemented automatically. Pranksters during the 2016 election tricked Google’s software into renaming then-President-elect Trump’s Manhattan home “Dump Tower” before contractors were asked to fix it, for example.

In some cases, local laws dictate how Google and others must represent maps to avoid censure, as is the case in China or Russia, according to people familiar with the matter.

China, South Korea and other countries issue official guidance on how maps should be presented, and cartographers face penalties for not following the guidance, said a former Bing Maps executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the process. “For China, there’s a rigorous certification process, with details of sensitive areas being closely scrutinized,” he said.

Google is effectively banned from mainland China but offers its services in Hong Kong and Macao.

A cottage industry has emerged in forums on Reddit and in blogs of map enthusiasts documenting changes large and small on Google, Apple and Microsoft Bing maps. Their findings include a roughly 40-mile stretch between Chile and Argentina missing a border and, perhaps fanciful, the slightly offset intersection known as Four Corners where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona meet.

Demonstrating how the mapping companies’ policies are applied differently, Google said the missing border section is because Chile and Argentina haven’t agreed on where to draw the line, so it is left blank. Both Apple and Microsoft display a dotted border there.

But Google routinely takes sides in border disputes. Take, for instance, the representation of the border between Ukraine and Russia. In Russia, the Crimean Peninsula is represented with a hard-line border as Russian-controlled, whereas Ukrainians and others see a dotted-line border. The strategically important peninsula is claimed by both nations and was violently seized by Russia in 2014, one of many skirmishes over control.

a close up of a map: In Russia, the Crimean peninsula is represented on Google Maps with a hard-line border as Russian controlled, whereas Ukrainians and others see a dotted-line border. (The Washington Post) In Russia, the Crimean peninsula is represented on Google Maps with a hard-line border as Russian controlled, whereas Ukrainians and others see a dotted-line border. (The Washington Post) Under apparent pressure from Moscow, Apple revised its maps late last year to show Crimea as a territory of Russia when viewed within Russia. The alteration prompted an outcry from European officials who have condemned Russia’s annexation of the peninsula.

“Unfortunately, this legitimizes the illegal occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation,” said Oleksii Makeiev, the political director of Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in an interview. “Apple and others should tell the world they were urged to make the changes and condemn it.”

“Otherwise, they are representing that this is part of their values and they are damaging heavily their image in Ukraine,” said Makeiev. He said he had met with Apple and Google officials to press the issue.

Nearly four years ago, a group of Palestinian journalists condemned what they mistakenly believed to be Google’s wiping of Palestinian territories from its map. Rather, Google had for years marked the disputed territory but not named it on its maps.

And by misplacing a portion of the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, Google effectively moved control of an island from one country to the other and was cited as the justification for troop movements in the region in 2010. Google quickly fixed the mistake before any blood was shed.

Be seeing you

Wrongway Corrigan Map - fantastic drivelfantastic drivel

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Brain Injuries from Interventionism – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on February 15, 2020

One thing is for certain: If those U.S. troops were not in Iraq and were
instead here at home, where they belong, they would not be suffering
from those brain injuries. They suffered those brain injuries because
they were over there occupying a foreign country, where they don’t
belong.

Notice how over 100 soldiers with brain trauma went unnoticed until someone decided an attack by Iran that produced no injuries was traumatic?

Imagine how bad the injuries would have been if there had not been several hours notice and no bunkers to hunker in?

https://www.fff.org/2020/02/11/brain-injuries-from-interventionism/

by

The number of U.S. soldiers who have suffered traumatic brain injuries from the Iranian missile attack last month in Iraq has now risen to more than 100. The injuries demonstrate the sheer inanity of foreign interventionism.

The Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises pointed out that when a government intervenes in economic affairs, the intervention inevitably produces a bad result, which then requires another intervention to fix the problem. But then that intervention causes even more problems, which then necessitates more interventions. By the time the process is over, the interventions have led to a government takeover of that part of the economy, along with the destruction of liberty in the process.

While Mises was referring to economic policies, the principle he enunciated applies equally well in foreign policy. The federal government’s history with Iran is a classic example of this phenomenon. And those U.S. soldiers who suffered those brain injuries are only the latest group of soldiers who are paying the price for U.S. interventionism against Iran.

The interventionist process with Iran began in 1953, when the CIA initiated a coup in Iran that succeeded in ousting the democratically elected prime minister of the country, a man named Mohammad Mossadegh, from his position and restoring the omnipotent, unelected dictatorship of the Shah of Iran.

The purpose of the CIA’s intervention? Mossadegh had nationalized British oil interests in the country and had thrown British officials out of the country. The British Empire did not take kindly to that type of treatment. It sought the help of the CIA, which tied Mossadegh to the supposed worldwide communist conspiracy to take over the world during the Cold War.

That intervention led to another intervention. To ensure that the Iranian people could not succeed in restoring their experiment with democracy, the CIA helped the Shah to establish a domestic police force called the SAVAK, which was a combination Pentagon, CIA, NSA, and FBI. The CIA then proceeded to train SAVAK agents in the arts of torture, indefinite detention, secret surveillance, and other dark-side practices to ensure that no one could resist the oppressive tyranny of the Shah.

In 1979, the Iranian people revolted against the CIA’s dictatorship by forcibly ousting the Shah from power. Fearful that the CIA would restore the Shah to power, the revolutionaries took U.S. diplomats hostage to make sure that that wouldn’t happen.

Unfortunately, the Iranian revolution was unsuccessful in restoring its experiment with democracy that the CIA had destroyed some 26 years before. They ended up with a theocracy that turned out to be every bit as tyrannical as the regime of the Shah.

The Iranian revolution led to more U.S. interventions. One big one was when Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein initiated a war against Iran. The U.S. national-security establishment came to his assistance and helped him kill, injure, and maim tens of thousands of Iranian soldiers.

After Iran defeated Iraq in their 8-year war, the U.S. government turned on its old partner and ally Saddam Hussein by intervening in the Persian Gulf War in 1991. That intervention, however, failed to oust Saddam from power. That led to more interventions, such as 11 years of economic sanctions that contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children. Other interventions included so-called no-fly zones, stationing of U.S. troops on Islamic holy lands, and unconditional support of the Israeli government.

Those interventions produced  deep anger and hatred for the United States in the Middle East, which led to anti-American terrorism, including the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, the attack on the USS Cole, the attacks on the U.S. embassies in East Africa, the 9/11 attacks, the Fort Hood attacks, and more.

The 9/11 attacks, which U.S. officials blamed on hatred for America’s “freedom and values,”
led, not surprisingly, to even more U.S. interventionism, including the U.S. invasion and long-term occupation of Iraq, which ended up, ironically enough, with a regime that is more closely aligned with Iran than with the United States.

That intervention led to the rise of ISIS, which U.S. officials maintained was a grave threat to U.S. “national security,” even though ISIS was not threatening to invade and occupy the United States.

In the meantime, U.S. relations with Iran led to more U.S. interventions, including economic sanctions that target the Iranian populace with death and impoverishment as well as the recent assassination of an Iranian major general who was visiting Iraq with the consent of the Iraqi regime. Ironically, and less noticed but no less important, U.S. officials assassinated an Iraqi official at the same time.

The assassination of that Iranian official is what motivated Iran to fire missiles at the military base in Iraq where those U.S. soldiers were stationed.

One thing is for certain: If those U.S. troops were not in Iraq and were instead here at home, where they belong, they would not be suffering from those brain injuries. They suffered those brain injuries because they were over there occupying a foreign country, where they don’t belong. They are only the latest example of the destructive consequences of foreign interventionism.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Brain Injuries from Interventionism – The Future of Freedom Foundation

America and Israel Against the World

Posted by M. C. on February 15, 2020

The U.S. has never been an “honest broker” in the Holy Land, having provided more financial support to Israel since World War II than to any other nation. So it’s no surprise that it’s the Palestinians who stand to lose the most in this proposal: all semblance of a contiguous sovereign state, control of their own borders, an equal-status capital in East Jerusalem, any “right of return” for expelled refugees or restitution of lands stolen by Israeli settlers.

The only other nations supporting this plan are dictatorial and/or monarchical Arab client states like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. These regimes, some of which have gunned down peaceful protesters by the droves and still behead women for “sorcery,” also just happen to be huge recipients of U.S. military aid, arms sales, training, and “protection” from Iran. Pretty nice company to keep for a republic that bills itself as the world’s “beacon of democracy,” huh?

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/america-and-israel-against-the-world/

Maj. Danny Sjursen

My Spotify workout playlist is a time warp. Growing up in a blue-collar neighborhood of New York City in the 1990s and early 2000s, listening to popular East Coast hip-hop was practically required. So on a recent morning in which I had planned to write a column about Israel/Palestine, I jammed out to Jay-Z & Beyonce’s famous power-couple-jam, “’03 Bonnie and Clyde.” The song revolves around a former street dude and his loyal girlfriend, ready to face off against the world like the title’s outlaw couple.

Ironically, this got me thinking about the U.S. and Israel, President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu. Because, if we’re honest with ourselves, the ditty could just as easily describe the still-fresh political romance of “B and D,” as well as the 70-year relationship between the U.S. and Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has recently, and probably accurately from his perspective, called Donald Trump “the best friend that Israel has ever had in the White House.” Netanyahu has proven himself all too willing to exchange political loyalty for gifts, and perhaps no one has offered him more than the 45th president of the United States. These include, but are not limited to: moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the contested Golan Heights region (after which Bibi cutely named a Golan ghost town settlement for The Donald), and reversing 50-plus years of U.S. policy by declaring that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are not in violation of international law. In light of these giveaways, the terms of the administration’s newest “peace” deal for the Holy Land should come as no surprise.

In characteristically bashful style, Trump has dubbed his Israel-Palestine plan the “Deal of the Century.” But even a cursory reading of the lengthy proposal, and an elementary understanding of the contested region’s history, reveal that it’s nothing more than a “raw deal” that effectively erases the Palestinian people. “Scam,” “Betrayal,” “Deceit,” or “Shame of the Century” would all be more accurate descriptions.

The U.S. has never been an “honest broker” in the Holy Land, having provided more financial support to Israel since World War II than to any other nation. So it’s no surprise that it’s the Palestinians who stand to lose the most in this proposal: all semblance of a contiguous sovereign state, control of their own borders, an equal-status capital in East Jerusalem, any “right of return” for expelled refugees or restitution of lands stolen by Israeli settlers.

Trump, ever the corrupt real estate tycoon, seems to believe he can buy off Palestine’s unconditional surrender with a few modest subsidies for a rump statelet. It’s Extortion 101, and yet another example of Trump’s toxic negotiating style. Alliances are meaningless, and everything is transactional.

That the deal’s terms were negotiated by Jared Kushner, the president’s 39-year-old son-in-law and a billionaire with no expertise in diplomacy or the Arab world, makes it all the more cynical and insulting.

Trump’s plan has absolutely zero chance of bringing peace to a blood-soaked land, and given that this is the latest in a long line of increasingly bad deals from the “international community” (read: Israeli leaders and their American allies), it’d be hard to blame Palestinians for taking up arms. Why not rise in a third intifada? Tell me, what do they really have to lose if the only alternative is Trump’s take-it-or-leave-it threat? Even if armed Palestinian resistance has been historically counterproductive, violent reaction would be hard to dismiss. If I were a young, hopeless, underemployed Palestinian, I know I might respond to Trump’s plan by grabbing the nearest AK-47.

The most disturbing evidence that Trump and Netanyahu — and by extension the U.S. and Israeli governments — stand proudly against the world is this: The only other nations supporting this plan are dictatorial and/or monarchical Arab client states like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. These regimes, some of which have gunned down peaceful protesters by the droves and still behead women for “sorcery,” also just happen to be huge recipients of U.S. military aid, arms sales, training, and “protection” from Iran. Pretty nice company to keep for a republic that bills itself as the world’s “beacon of democracy,” huh?

What should really be dubbed the “Long Con of the Century” is finally nothing more than an ex cathedra endorsement of apartheid from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Indeed, it appears that the most radical, chauvinistic Zionists have achieved their long-standing dream, perhaps indefinitely.

History shows that apartheid states, brutal in practice and often lasting decades, are doomed to fail. South Africa’s, which endured from 1948-1994, eventually collapsed under the weight of international sanctions, disapprobation and internal indigenous resistance. It may take another generation, but Israeli apartheid won’t last forever either; it too will crumble under the weight of its own contradictions. How can a country be both “Jewish” and “democratic” while some 50% or more of its population live as second-class citizens or under military occupation?

We must also ask the question, “Why now?”. Why introduce a plan at this particular moment?  Plenty of media outlets have asserted that the proposal’s unveiling is little more than an attempt by Trump and Netanyahu to distract the public from their impeachment and criminal trial, respectively. I only caution that we don’t put too much stock in this theory as it pertains to Trump: This president was anything but scared rolling out this “peace plan,” and the president himself is made of John Gotti-grade teflon. Witness his disturbingly effective performance at the State of the Union address in which he made House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Democrats more broadly look like petulant children.

That his speech was riddled with lies, half-truths and obfuscations doesn’t seem to matter. Trump’s “ride or die” base (there’s Jay and Bey again), and about half of Americans, could care less. Add to that the perhaps 50% (or more) of Democrats, anti-Trumpers and nonvoters who are either reflexively loyal to Israel or simply don’t care about foreign policy, and this farcical peace plan is unlikely to face much in the way of a public challenge. Like the explosive Afghanistan Papers, the “Deal of the Century” will fade fast from the headlines.

For even a modestly informed follower of Palestinian affairs, the announcement of this prejudicial, inhumane ultimatum rates as more than a little disturbing. Add to this the violence that U.S. has waged against Arabs across the region, to which I contributed as a former water carrier for the empire, and I’m embarrassed to be an American.

Fittingly, it was President Trump who captured America’s view of the region in his State of the Union address. “Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life,” he said, in a nod to his Evangelical base. “And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: All children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.”

All children, that is, so long as they are not Palestinian.

 

Be seeing you

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

After Attending a Trump Rally, I Realized Democrats Are Not Ready For 2020

Posted by M. C. on February 15, 2020

https://gen.medium.com/ive-been-a-democrat-for-20-years-here-s-what-i-experienced-at-trump-s-rally-in-new-hampshire-c69ddaaf6d07

Karlyn Borysenko

I’ve been a Democrat for 20 years. But this experience made me realize how out-of-touch my party is with the country at large.

I think those of us on the left need to take a long look in the mirror and have an honest conversation about what’s going on.

If you had told me three years ago that I would ever attend a Donald Trump rally, I would have laughed and assured you that was never going to happen. Heck, if you had told me I would do it three months ago, I probably would have done the same thing. So, how did I find myself among 11,000-plus Trump supporters in Manchester, New Hampshire? Believe it or not, it all started with knitting.

You might not think of the knitting world as a particularly political community, but you’d be wrong. Many knitters are active in social justice communities and love to discuss the revolutionary role knitters have played in our culture. I started noticing this about a year ago, particularly on Instagram. I knit as a way to relax and escape the drama of real life, not to further engage with it. But it was impossible to ignore after roving gangs of online social justice warriors started going after anyone in the knitting community who was not lockstep in their ideology. Knitting stars on Instagram were bullied and mobbed by hundreds of people for seemingly innocuous offenses. One man got mobbed so badly that he had a nervous breakdown and was admitted to the hospital on suicide watch. Many things were not right about the hatred, and witnessing the vitriol coming from those I had aligned myself with politically was a massive wake-up call.

Democrats have an ass-kicking coming to them in November, and I think most of them will be utterly shocked when it happens.

You see, I was one of those Democrats who considered anyone who voted for Trump a racist. I thought they were horrible (yes, even deplorable) and worked very hard to eliminate their voices from my spaces by unfriending or blocking people who spoke about their support of him, however minor their comments. I watched a lot of MSNBC, was convinced that everything he had done was horrible, that he hated anyone who wasn’t a straight white man, and that he had no redeeming qualities.

But when I witnessed the amount of hate coming from the left in this small, niche knitting community, I started to question everything. I started making a proactive effort to break my echo chamber by listening to voices I thought I would disagree with. I wanted to understand their perspective, believing it would confirm that they were filled with hate for anyone who wasn’t like them.

That turned out not to be the case. The more voices outside the left that I listened to, the more I realized that these were not bad people. They were not racists, nazis, or white supremacists. We had differences of opinions on social and economic issues, but a difference of opinion does not make your opponent inherently evil. And they could justify their opinions using arguments, rather than the shouting and ranting I saw coming from my side of the aisle.

I started to discover (or perhaps rediscover) the #WalkAway movement. I had heard about #WalkAway when MSNBC told me it was fake and a bunch of Russian bots. But then I started to meet real people who had been Democrats and made the decision to leave because they could not stand the way the left was behaving. I watched town halls they held with different minority communities (all available in their entirety on YouTube), and I saw sane, rational discussion from people of all different races, backgrounds, orientations, and experiences. I joined the Facebook group for the community and saw stories popping up daily of people sharing why they are leaving the Democratic Party. This wasn’t fake. These people are not Russian bots. Moreover, it felt like a breath of fresh air. There was not universal agreement in this group — some were Trump supporters, some weren’t — but they talked and shared their perspective without shouting or rage or trying to cancel each other.

I started to question everything. How many stories had I been sold that weren’t true? What if my perception of the other side is wrong? How is it possible that half the country is overtly racist? Is it possible that Trump derangement syndrome is a real thing, and had I been suffering from it for the past three years?

And the biggest question of all was this: Did I hate Trump so much that I wanted to see my country fail just to spite him and everyone who voted for him?

Fast-forward to the New Hampshire primary, and we have all the politicians running around the state making their case. I’ve seen almost every Democratic candidate in person and noticed that their messages were almost universally one of doom and gloom, not only focusing on the obvious disagreements with Donald Trump, but also making sure to emphasize that the country is a horribly racist place.

Now, I do believe there are very real issues when it comes to race that we as a society have yet to reckon with. I believe that everyone from every background of every gender should have equal access to opportunities, and that no one is inherently more or less valuable or worthy than anyone else. And while the 2017 protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, led to a tragedy precipitated by real racists and real nazis and real white supremacists, I started to see that those labels simply don’t apply to most people who support Trump.

But with all of this, I was still reticent to even consider attending a Trump event. I do not believe that Trump’s attitude is worthy of the highest office in the land. I abhor his Twitter. I am vehemently opposed to so many of his policies. But still, I wanted to see for myself.

I’m not going to lie, I was nervous, so I thought I would start my day in familiar territory: at an MSNBC live show that was taking place a few blocks away from the rally. I decided to wear my red hat that looks like a Trump hat but with one small difference — it says “Make Speech Free Again”—as my small protest against cancel culture. I even got a photo with MSNBC host Ari Melber while I was wearing it, just for kicks.

The funny thing about that hat is that it’s completely open to interpretation. When I wear it around left-leaning people, they think I’m talking about the right. When I wear it around right-leaning folks, they think I’m talking about the left. It’s a stark reminder of how much our own perspectives and biases play into how we view the world.

In chatting with the folks at the taping, I casually said that I was thinking about going over to the Trump rally. The first reaction they had was a genuine fear for my safety. I had never seen people I didn’t know so passionately urge me to avoid all those people. One woman told me that those people were the lowest of the low. Another man told me that he had gone to one of Trump’s rallies in the past and had been the target of harassment by large muscle-bound men. Another woman offered me her pepper spray. I assured them all that I thought I would be fine and that I would get the heck out of dodge if I got nervous.

What they didn’t know is that they weren’t the only ones I had heard from who were afraid. Some of my more right-leaning friends online expressed genuine fear at my going, but not because they were afraid of the attendees. They were afraid of people on the left violently attacking attendees. This was one day after a man had run his car through a Republican voter registration tent in Florida, and there was a genuine fear that there would be a repeat, or that antifa would bus people up from Boston for it. Just as I had assured those on the left, I told them I thought I would be fine, because we don’t really have antifa in New Hampshire.

But I’m not going to say it didn’t get to me a bit. When everyone around you is nervous for your safety, it’s hard not to question if they have a point. But it also made me more determined to see it through, because it was a stark reminder that both sides view each other exactly the same way. They are both afraid of the other side and what they are capable of. I couldn’t help but think that if they could just see the world through the lens of the other for a moment or two, it would be a stark revelation that they don’t know as much as they think they do.

It was so different than any other political event I had ever attended. Even the energy around Barack Obama in 2008 didn’t feel like this.

So, I headed over an hour and a half before the doors were scheduled to open—which was four hours before Trump was set to take the stage—and the line already stretched a mile away from the entrance to the arena. As I waited, I chatted with the folks around me. And contrary to all the fears expressed, they were so nice. I was not harassed or intimidated, and I was never in fear of my safety even for a moment. These were average, everyday people. They were veterans, schoolteachers, and small business owners who had come from all over the place for the thrill of attending this rally. They were upbeat and excited. In chatting, I even let it slip that I was a Democrat. The reaction: “Good for you! Welcome!”

Once we got inside, the atmosphere was jubilant. It was more like attending a rock concert than a political rally. People were genuinely enjoying themselves. Some were even dancing to music being played over the loudspeakers. It was so different than any other political event I had ever attended. Even the energy around Barack Obama in 2008 didn’t feel like this.

I had attended an event with all the Democratic contenders just two days prior in exactly the same arena, and the contrast was stark. First, Trump completely filled the arena all the way up to the top. Even with every major Democratic candidate in attendance the other night, and the campaigns giving away free tickets, the Democrats did not do that. With Trump, every single person was unified around a singular goal. With the Democrats, the audience booed over candidates they didn’t like and got into literal shouting matches with each other. With Trump, there was a genuinely optimistic view of the future. With the Democrats, it was doom and gloom. With Trump, there was a genuine feeling of pride of being an American. With the Democrats, they emphasized that the country was a racist place from top to bottom.

Now, Trump is always going to present the best case he can. And yes, he lies. This is provable. But the strength of this rally wasn’t about the facts and figures. It was a group of people who felt like they had someone in their corner, who would fight for them. Some people say, “Well, obviously they’re having a great time. They’re in a cult.” I don’t think that’s true. The reality is that many people I spoke to do disagree with Trump on things. They don’t always like his attitude. They wish he wouldn’t tweet so much. People who are in cults don’t question their leaders. The people I spoke with did, but the pros in their eyes far outweighed the cons. They don’t love him because they think he’s perfect. They love him despite his flaws, because they believe he has their back.

As I left the rally—walking past thousands of people who were watching it on a giant monitor outside the arena because they couldn’t get in—I knew there was no way Trump would lose in November. Absolutely no way. I truly believe that it doesn’t matter who the Democrats nominate: Trump is going to trounce them. If you don’t believe me, attend one of his rallies and see for yourself. Don’t worry, they really won’t hurt you.

Today, I voted in the New Hampshire Democratic Primary for Pete Buttigieg. I genuinely feel that Pete would be great for this country, and maybe he’ll have his opportunity in the future. But tomorrow, I’ll be changing my voter registration from Democrat to Independent and walking away from the party I’ve spent the past 20 years in to sit in the middle for a while. There are extremes in both parties that I am uncomfortable with, but I also fundamentally believe that most people on both sides are good, decent human beings who want the best for the country and have dramatic disagreements on how to get there. But until we start seeing each other as human beings, there will be no bridging the divide. I refuse to be a part of the divisiveness any longer. I refuse to hate people I don’t know simply because they choose to vote for someone else. If we’re going to heal the country, we have to start taking steps toward one another rather than away.

I think the Democrats have an ass-kicking coming to them in November, and I think most of them will be utterly shocked when it happens, because they’re existing in an echo chamber that is not reflective of the broader reality. I hope it’s a wake-up call that causes them to take a long look in the mirror and really ask themselves how they got here. Maybe then they’ll start listening. I tend to doubt it, but I can hope.

Be seeing you

facebook_1568111427238.jpg

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on After Attending a Trump Rally, I Realized Democrats Are Not Ready For 2020

Bloomberg and the ‘Hate’ Trap | The American Spectator

Posted by M. C. on February 15, 2020

Which worse-being “hated” or being used? Is there a difference?

Who is doing the hating and using?

https://spectator.org/bloomberg-and-the-hate-trap/

Establishment Democrats who had hoped that Michael Bloomberg could ride to their rescue might need to start looking for another plan. The former New York mayor got kneecapped this week when recordings surfaced of his previous remarks about race, crime, and economics that make Bloomberg look guilty of the kind of “hate” that Democrats routinely accuse Republicans of perpetrating. Desperate to stop socialist Bernie Sanders from winning the party’s presidential nomination, Democrats are now reckoning with the consequences of their habitual rhetoric of racial blame.

Having endorsed the anti-police agenda of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, Democrats won’t find it easy to defend Bloomberg’s record as mayor. Even if the billionaire’s lavish spending could buy him the party’s nomination — an untested proposition — Bloomberg’s record on racial issues would make it difficult for him to play the race card against President Trump in the general election campaign. Does anyone really think Democrats can win without the race card?

The release of Bloomberg’s recorded defense of “stop and frisk” policies triggered still more panic among Democrats already in a frenzied state of fear (see “The Great Liberal Freakout Has Begun”) over the success of Sanders. The Vermont senator emerged victorious in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, where the establishment candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, finished a weak fifth place. Not since Ed Muskie got blitzed by George McGovern in the 1972 New Hampshire primary has a Democrat front-runner fallen so far so soon as Biden. The ripple effects of Biden’s failure were succinctly described by liberal journalist Jonathan Chait:

Biden has run for president three times. He has not yet managed to finish higher than fourth in any primary or caucus.…

If not for Biden, a mainstream liberal Democrat might well have begun to consolidate support of a party establishment that is not looking for a candidate who will embrace wildly unpopular policies and a wildly unpopular socialist label while emphasizing transformative economic change in the midst of the best economy in a generation.…

Biden’s campaigns in 1988 and 2008 ended in disaster for Biden. His 2020 campaign is going to end in a disaster for the whole party.

Like Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign is now obviously doomed after New Hampshire, where she finished a dismal fourth place. With Sanders very likely to win the next contest, the February 22 Nevada caucus, the “Anybody But Bernie” faction within the Democratic Party is running out of time to find a consensus alternative before the March 3 “Super Tuesday” contests. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar both did well in New Hampshire, beating Biden for the “mainstream” Democrat vote. But each of those candidates has weaknesses, and they are splitting the opposition to Sanders. Thus, the idea of Bloomberg as the white knight to rescue the party has a certain appeal to many Democrats who think Sanders can’t possibly beat Trump.

Unfortunately, Democrats have spent decades portraying themselves as the arch-foes of racism, and, during his 12-year tenure as the Republican mayor of New York, Bloomberg favored tough-on-crime policies that black activists deplored. This was especially true of the NYPD’s “stop and frisk” tactic, of which Bloomberg was a staunch proponent. A recording of his February 2015 remarks at the Aspen Institute had Bloomberg defending the policy:

Ninety-five percent of murders, murderers and murder victims fit one M.O. You can just take the description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops. They are male, minorities, 16-25. That’s true in New York, that’s true in virtually every city.… And that’s where the real crime is. You’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of people that are getting killed. So you want to spend the money on a lot of cops in the streets. Put those cops where the crime is, which means in minority neighborhoods. So one of the unintended consequences is people say, “Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities.” Yes, that’s true. Why? Because we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods. Yes, that’s true. Why do we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is. And the way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the wall and frisk them.… And then they start … “Oh I don’t want to get caught.” So they don’t bring the gun. They still have a gun, but they leave it at home.

This might not be the most eloquent or accurate defense of “stop and frisk,” but Bloomberg was basically correct in describing the tactic that proved so effective in reducing New York’s crime rate: Find out where the violence is happening and swarm those neighborhoods with cops on the lookout for people matching the description of the suspects. If your goal is to save innocent lives by getting criminals off the streets, “stop and frisk” works. Democrats, however, care less about public safety than they do about “social justice,” a worldview in which drug-dealing gang-bangers are somehow imagined to be victims of racial oppression. To Democrats, it doesn’t matter that most of the people killed in urban violence are the same race as the perpetrators; what matters is pandering to the vocal handful of grievance-mongers who demonize police as symbols of white supremacy.

That was the essential message of the “Black Lives Matter” movement: Cops are bad because our laws are an expression of racism, and therefore it’s wrong for any black person to get arrested, ever. The sponsors and organizers of “Black Lives Matter” claimed their movement was about highlighting police brutality. But from its formation in 2014, during the controversy in Ferguson, Missouri, the movement amplified crude and hateful anti-law-enforcement sentiments. Democrats applauded this cop-hating rhetoric, even when it led to riots, because they hoped “Black Lives Matter” would help boost turnout for the 2016 election.

Going all in on this anti-police message may have backfired for Democrats, boosting white working-class support for Trump in 2016, but that’s hindsight now. What matters to Democrats desperate to keep Bernie Sanders from claiming the 2020 nomination is finding a “mainstream” alternative. That they would be willing to accept an ex-Republican like Bloomberg is testimony to just how desperate they are. Yet their hoped-for billionaire savior is on the wrong side of the “hate” equation, as delineated by Democrats in recent years. When audio of Bloomberg’s 2015 Aspen remarks surfaced on Twitter, CNN’s Cristina Alesci quickly identified the source, black podcaster Benjamin Dixon, as a Sanders supporter. It was “important context,” according to Alesci, to note that “the podcaster and the writer that released this sound is clearly a Bernie supporter” who is “very anti-Bloomberg.” Alesci continued, “We don’t know how he got the sound to begin with.… A lot of questions are being asked especially on the timing of this.”

Turning Bloomberg’s embarrassment into an anti-Sanders conspiracy theory probably won’t work. What remains to be seen is just how many delegates Bloomberg will get on March 3 after spending untold millions to saturate TV markets in Super Tuesday states. For Democrats who had hoped he could be the solution to their problems, Bloomberg might actually make their problems worse. Selling out to a billionaire racist? That’s probably not a good look for Democrats.

Be seeing you

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Bloomberg and the ‘Hate’ Trap | The American Spectator

State Thieves and Forfeiture for Profit – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on February 15, 2020

Here’s how it works: state and local law enforcement turn assets over to federal authorities for federal crimes. The feds then return up to 80 percent of the assets back from whence it came. This effectively allows state and local authorities to circumvent relevant local laws by bringing in the feds. For example, in Missouri, seized money is supposed to go to the schools. When equitable sharing is used, nothing goes to schools.”

TSA and government in general are low life thieves at best. Still, you have to be really stupid to travel with that much cash and not expect to be hassled by the government or any other thief.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/02/gary-d-barnett/state-thieves-and-forfeiture-for-profit/

By

News today revealed that this tyrannical government had seized in September $181,500 from a Florida trucking company employee on his way to buy trucks in Cleveland for cash. Cash is that commodity that is supposed to be legal tender, and therefore legitimate money. The employee, Boris Nulman, was given $191,000 by his employers, Scott Smith and Michael Rosenberg, owners of FGL Transport, Inc., and told to get on a plane to Cleveland in order to buy some trucks for their business. While going through “security” and dealing with the perverted TSA, his bag was inspected, and the agents stole all but $10,000. Keep in mind that this was a domestic, not an international flight.

As always, the government thieves claimed without any evidence that this money was proceeds from “specified unlawful activity” and likely for the manufacture, sale, or distribution of a “controlled substance.” No charges were filed, and the owners of the company claim to have evidence that this money was taken directly out of their business account. They are now forced to sue two federal agencies, a daunting and expensive venture to be sure. These agencies can use other stolen money from taxpayers to hire attorneys, and drag this out in court for a very long time. This usually ends up bankrupting the lowly citizen, while the government keeps its ill-gotten gains, and spends taxpayer money to defend their theft in the corrupt courts.

The lawsuit is against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency. How is stealing the rightfully owned money of American citizens “border protection? Who is really being protected here? Obviously it is not American citizens. The Newspaper report from Tampa stated that the government has not provided any reason whatsoever that it believes this money came from any illegal activities, but regardless, they will not return the money. This is nothing new, but it is a stark reminder that the government can forcibly steal from Americans without any evidence or cause, and keep the proceeds, and possibly in the process, bankrupt the victims. It is painfully obvious that this government believes it owns all the property of the people, and can take it at any time it chooses to do so, and without cause.

Apparently, buying goods voluntarily with one’s own money can be considered suspicious by government thugs, and then they claim the right to steal the property of anyone they desire. What this boils down to is honest citizens being treated as criminals, and therefore all their property can be confiscated without any charges or trial. This is the America of today, and these are the evil agents of force called police and security, that can take at will the property of others to use as they see fit. It is after all just a way to build extra revenue for these departments at the expense of those it claims to protect. What a farce.

Government thugs call this asset forfeiture, but it is nothing short of outright theft of private property under the guise of protection from money laundering and other so-called crime and non-crime. But stopping crime is never the goal, for if it were, those in government would be the first arrested. They are the cheats and liars, they are the murderers, they are the thieves, and this is all done in the name of the state. They do this for one reason only, and that is to fill their coffers with the property of others, and in the process gain even more control and power over the public.

While much is hidden, or too complicated to decipher, the federal government, specifically the Department of Justice, (DOJ) collected $29 billion from 2001 to 2014. (This beginning date is no coincidence) Money stolen during this time went up over 1000%. Much of this stolen money was from those that committed no crime, and were never charged with any crime. No surprise, but most all this money goes to Law Enforcement, the same thieves that stole it in the first place.

The police today steal more money through their immoral and criminal asset forfeiture programs that all real criminals steal put together. Yes, the biggest thieves in the country are the police. They love to steal other people’s money because the corrupt courts allow it. They even keep wish lists, so they can target certain individuals in order to steal the things they desire. This program is simply a multi-billion dollar slush fund for police and government.

“As if civil asset forfeiture wasn’t bad enough on its own, there is also a process allowing police organizations to circumvent the existing laws. It’s called equitable sharing and it’s a gold mine for both the federal government and police departments. This process further incentivizes civil asset forfeiture as a means of funding police departments at the federal, state and local levels.

Here’s how it works: state and local law enforcement turn assets over to federal authorities for federal crimes. The feds then return up to 80 percent of the assets back from whence it came. This effectively allows state and local authorities to circumvent relevant local laws by bringing in the feds. For example, in Missouri, seized money is supposed to go to the schools. When equitable sharing is used, nothing goes to schools.”

These programs are “policing for money,” and are as corrupt as mob shakedowns, except that mobsters are much more honest than the state and its police. Everything is stolen, from cash, to automobiles and boats, to land and buildings, to art and jewels, and of course drugs are stolen and sold as well, but that is more covert.

This is much more complicated than it seems at first glance, because it involves the lawmakers in Congress, the government agencies of force, the federal police system, the local and state police, and all the courts at every level, including the Supreme Court of the United States. All these entities work in concert to steal the property of the citizenry, and to do so under the veil of law. It is atrocious, and it is criminal from the bottom to the top.

Be seeing you

?u=https1.bp.blogspot.com-21je6qbGpuYWbP_oknTIQIAAAAAAAApsg37eDfz-Vh8oZXOSlTzcqR2lMNJLWUs_RwCLcBGAss1600Uncle-Sam-in-Control-Sans.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Clipping the President’s War Wings – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on February 15, 2020

Ironically, the US killed the most moderate senior Iranian leader who
was in line to become the Islamic Republic’s leader. Israel has long
had the policy of assassinating Palestinian moderates, leaving only the
radicals alive. This allowed Israel to assert ‘we have no one to
negotiate with.’

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/02/eric-margolis/clipping-the-presidents-war-wings/

By

Special for LewRockwell.com

The US Senate, long the lap dog of the man who would be king, President Donald Trump, appears to have finally remembered its proper constitutional role.

Last week, the Senate voted 55/45 for a new bipartisan War Powers Act to constrain military action against Iran.  The Congress voted a similar act.  Both are designed to start returning the right to make war to Congress, as the Constitution clearly intended.  The president is not the Warlord-in-chief in spite of what he thinks.

The Senate has been supine until now, intimidated by an unholy alliance of pro-war Christian evangelists and the Israel lobby, and over $100 million given to the Republican Party by casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.  Senators who dare oppose this powerful special interest risk their political futures.  The lifting of limits on political contributions has given Adelson enormous power over Trump and his friend, Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Trump has been very successful in intimidating and punishing those who deviate from his party line. All he lacks so far is a KGB-style secret police to enforce his demands. The current fracas over Trump’s efforts to undermine the prosecution of his ally, political low-life Roger Stone, is yet the latest example of the steady erosion of our democratic system.

Yet even Trump went too far with the murder of senior Iranian officer, Maj. Gen Qasem Soleimani, who had been invited to visit Iraq for peace talks by its US-installed regime. Americans, besotted by too many violent TV programs, saw this as a plus, but the rest of the world was horrified by the gangster act. It appears Trump & Co. were convinced to commit this murder by Israel, which had been stalking Soleimani for years.

Ironically, the US killed the most moderate senior Iranian leader who was in line to become the Islamic Republic’s leader. Israel has long had the policy of assassinating Palestinian moderates, leaving only the radicals alive. This allowed Israel to assert ‘we have no one to negotiate with.’

Soleimani’s murder was too much for eight Republican senators. This act of war was never approved by Congress, as the Constitution mandates. Better educated senators realized that Trump was pushing the US into a bloody war with Iran which, like the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, would have only one real winner, Israel.

These senators did the right thing.  They arrested, at least temporarily, the decades-long shift to growing presidential dictatorship under the guise of war powers.

Think back to the 2003 Iraq War which was concocted by the Bush administration to justify a massive military intervention when, in fact, no real threat to the US existed.  I know this because I was there and immune to all the official lies from Washington and London.  A pack of lies, but the US still occupies Iraq.

The ‘imminent threat’ scenario used by Republicans to promote warlike acts, such as the murder of Maj. Gen. Soleimani, is bogus.  Anyone can justify war by claiming ‘intelligence sources’ and internet chatter.  Much of the intelligence the US gets from the Mideast is fake or twisted to promote other nation’s benefit.  Washington was fed a farrago of intelligence lies and half-truths by its allies Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Israel to help promote the 2003 war against Iraq.  Trump has used similar phony ‘intelligence’ to justify his Mideast militarism.

The founders of our United States intended Congress to be the premier arm of government.  But our once powerful Congress has been bleeding power and authority – not to mention respect – since the Vietnam era.  Serving in Congress was supposed to be a part-time job for educated landowners, not small-town lawyers from the rural Bible Belt.

But will this attempt by the Senate to restore some of its power and prestige work?  Trump will almost certainly veto this war powers act and further intimidate Congress.  Yet unless Congress makes a stand, our balanced system of government is truly at risk.  Americans should at minimum draw the lesson never to vote power to a president and Congress of the same party.

Be seeing you

The Inevitable Collapse of Israeli-Saudi-American Alliance ...

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : The Koch-Soros Quincy Project: A Train Wreck of Neocon and ‘Humanitarian’ Interventionists

Posted by M. C. on February 15, 2020

As libertarian intellectual Tom Woods once famously quipped, “No matter whom you vote for, you always wind up getting John McCain.” That is exactly the world Koch and Soros want. It’s a world of Davos with fangs, not Mainstreet, USA.

This Quincy Institute champion of “restraint” concludes his latest piece arguing that:

Now is not the time for a revolution in U.S. strategy. The United States should continue to play a leading role as a security provider in global affairs. 

How revolutionary!

But Koch/Soros don’t really want to end endless US interventions overseas. They want to fund the same old think tanks who are responsible for the disaster that is US foreign policy, re-brand interventionism as non-interventionism, and hope none of us rubes in flyover country notices.

To paraphrase what Pat Buchanan said about Democrats in his historic 1992 convention speech, the whitewashing of Washington’s most egregiously interventionist institutions and experts as “restrained” non-interventionists is “the greatest single exhibition of cross-dressing in American political history.”

http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/february/15/the-koch-soros-quincy-project-a-train-wreck-of-neocon-and-humanitarian-interventionists/

Written by Daniel McAdams

Those hoping the non-interventionist cause would be given some real muscle if a couple of oligarchs who’ve made fortunes from global interventionism team up and pump millions into Washington think tanks will be sorely disappointed by the train wreck that is the Koch/Soros alliance.

The result thus far has not been a tectonic shift in favor of a new direction, with new faces and new ideas, but rather an opportunity for these same old Washington think tanks, now flush with even more money, to re-brand their pet interventionisms as “restraint.”

The flagship of this new alliance, the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, was sold as an earth-shattering breakthrough – an “odd couple” of “left-wing” Soros and “right-wing” Koch boldly tossing differences aside to join together and “end the endless wars.”

That organization is now up and running and it isn’t pretty.

To begin with, the whole premise is deeply flawed. George Soros is no “left-winger” and Koch is no “right-winger.” It’s false marketing, like the claim that drinking Diet Coke will make you skinny. Both are globalist oligarchs who continue to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to create the kind of world where the elites govern with no accountability except to themselves, and “the interagency,” rather than an elected President of the US, makes US foreign policy.

As libertarian intellectual Tom Woods once famously quipped, “No matter whom you vote for, you always wind up getting John McCain.” That is exactly the world Koch and Soros want. It’s a world of Davos with fangs, not Mainstreet, USA.

A ‘New Vision’?

Anyone doubting that Quincy is just a mass re-branding effort for the same failed foreign policies of the past two decades need look no further than that organization’s first big public event, a February 26th conference with Foreign Policy Magazine, to explore “A New Vision for America in the World.”

Like pouring old wine into new bottles, this “new vision” is being presented by the very same people and institutions who gave us the “old vision” – you know, the one they pretend to oppose.

How should anyone interested in restraining foreign policy – let alone actual non-interventionism – react to the kick-off presentation of the Quincy Institute’s conference, “Perspective on U.S. Global Leadership in the 21st Century,” going to disgraced US General David Petraeus?

Petraeus is, among many other things, an architect of the disastrous and failed “surge” policy in Iraq. He is still convinced (at least as of a few years ago) that “we won” in Iraq…but that we dare not end the occupation lest we lose what we “won.” How’s that for “restraint”?

While head of the CIA, he teamed up with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to develop and push the brilliant idea of directly and overtly training and equipping al-Qaeda and other jihadists to overthrow the secular government of Bashar Assad. How’s that for “restraint”?

When a tape leaked of Fox News contributor Kathleen T. McFarland meeting with Petraeus at the behest of then-Fox Chairman Roger Ailes to convince him to run for US president, Petraeus told her that the CIA in his view is “a national asset…a treasure.” He then went on to speak favorably of the CIA’s role in Libya.

But the absurdity of leading the conference with such an unreconstructed warmongering interventionist is only the beginning of the trip down the Quincy conference rabbit hole.

Rogues’ Gallery of Washington’s Worst

Shortly following the disgraced general is a senior official from the German Marshal Fund, Julianne Smith, to give us “A New Vision for America’s Role in the World.” Her organization, readers will recall, is responsible for some of the most egregious warmongering propaganda.

The German Marshal Fund launched and funds the Alliance for Securing Democracy, an organization led by such notable proponents of “restraint” as neoconservative icon William Kristol, John McCain Institute head David Kramer, Michael “Trump is an agent of Putin” Morell, and, among others, the guy who made millions out of scaring the hell out of Americans, former Homeland-Security-chief-turned-airport-scanner-salesman Michael Chertoff.

The Alliance for Securing Democracy was responsible for the discredited “Hamilton 68 Dashboard,” a magic tool they claimed would seek and destroy “Russian bots” in the social media. After the propaganda value of such a farce had been reaped, Alliance fellow Clint Watts admitted the whole thing was bogus.

Moving along, so as not to cherry pick the atrocities in this conference, moderating the section on the Middle East is one “scholar,” Mehdi Hasan, who actually sent a letter to Facebook demanding that the social media company censor more political speech! He has attacked what he calls “free speech fundamentalists.”

Joining the “Regional Spotlight: Asia-Pacific” is Patrick Cronin of the thoroughly – and proudly – neoconservative Hudson Institute. Cronin’s entire professional career consists of position after position at the center of Washington’s various “regime change” factories. From a directorial position at the mis-named US Institute for Peace to “third-ranking position” at the US Agency for International Development to “senior director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the [neoconservative] Center for a New American Security.” This is a voice of “restraint”?

Later, the segment on “Ending Endless War” features at least two speakers who absolutely oppose the idea. Rosa Brooks, Senior Fellow at the “liberal interventionist” New America Foundation, wrote not long ago that, “There’s No Such Thing as Peacetime.” In the article she argued the benefits of “abandon[ing] the effort to draw increasingly arbitrary lines between peacetime and wartime and instead focus[ing] on developing institutions and norms capable of protecting rights and rule-of-law values at all times.” In other words, war is endless so man up and get used to it.

This may be the key for how you end endless war. Just stop calling it “war.”

Brooks’ fellow panelist, Tom Wright, hails from the epicenter of liberal interventionism, the Brookings Institution, where he is director of the “Center on the United States and Europe.” Brookings loves “humanitarian interventions” and has published pieces attempting to convince us that the attack on Libya was not a mistake.

Wright himself is featured in the current edition of the Council on Foreign Relations’ publication Foreign Affairs arguing that old interventionist shibboleth that the disaster in Iraq was not caused by the US invasion, but rather by Obama’s withdrawal.

This Quincy Institute champion of “restraint” concludes his latest piece arguing that:

Now is not the time for a revolution in U.S. strategy. The United States should continue to play a leading role as a security provider in global affairs.

How revolutionary!

The moderator of that final panel in the upcoming Quincy Institute first conference is Loren DeJonge Schulman, a deputy director at the above-named Center for a New American Security. Before joining that neoconservative think tank, Schulman served as Senior Advisor to National Security Advisor Susan Rice! Among her other international crimes, readers will recall that Rice was a chief architect of the US attack on Libya.

Schulman’s entire career is, again, in the service of, alternatively, the war machine and the regime change machine.

The Quincy Institute’s first big event, which it bills as a showcase for a new foreign policy of “restraint,” is in fact just another gathering of Washington’s usual warmongers, neocons, and “humanitarian” interventionists.

Quincy has been received with gushing praise from people who should know better. Any of those gushers who look at this first Quincy conference and continue to maintain that a revolution in foreign policy is afoot are either lying to us or lying to themselves.

But Wait…There’s More!

Sadly, the fallout extends beyond just this particular new institute and this particular event.

Those who continue to push the claim that Koch and Soros are changing their spots and now supporting restraint and non-interventionism should be made to explain why the most egregiously warmongering and interventionist organizations are finding themselves on the receiving end of oligarch largese.

Just days ago a glowing article in Politico detailed the recipients of millions of Koch dollars to promote “restraint.” Who is leading the Koch brigades in the battle for a non-interventionist, “restrained” foreign policy?

Politico reveals:

Libertarian business tycoon Charles Koch is handing out $10 million in new grants to promote voices of military restraint at American think tanks, part of a growing effort by Koch to change the U.S. foreign policy conversation.

The grants, details of which were shared exclusively with POLITICO, are being split among four institutions: the Atlantic Council; the Center for the National Interest; the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; and the RAND Corporation.

The Atlantic Council has been pushing US foreign policy toward war with Russia for years, pumping endless false propaganda and neocon lies to fuel the idea that Russia is engaged in an “asymmetric battle” against the US, that the mess in Ukraine was the result of a Russian out-of-the-blue invasion rather than an Obama Administration coup d’etat, that Russia threw the elections to Putin’s agent Trump, and that Moscow is seeking to to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

The Atlantic Council’s “Disinfo Portal,” a self-described “one-stop interactive online portal and guide to the Kremlin’s information war,” is raw, overt war propaganda. It is precisely the kind of war propaganda that has fueled three years of mass hysteria called “Russiagate,” which though proven definitively to be an utter fraud, continues to animate most of Washington’s thinking on the Left and Right to this day.

The Atlantic Council, through something it calls a “Digital Forensic Research Lab,” works with giant social media outlets to identify and ban any independent or alternative news outlets who deviate from the view that the US is besieged by enemies, from Syria to Iran to Russia to China and beyond, and that therefore it must continue spending a trillion dollars per year to maintain its role as the unipolar hyperpower. Thus, the Atlantic Council – a US government funded entity – colludes with social media to silence any deviation from US government approved foreign policy positions.

And these are the kinds of organizations that Koch and Soros claim are going to save us from Washington’s interventionist foreign policy?

Equally upsetting is the “collateral damage” that the Koch/Soros alliance and its love child Quincy hath wrought. To see once-vibrant and reliably non-interventionist upstarts like The American Conservative Magazine (TAC) lured away from the vision of its founders, Pat Buchanan and Taki Theodoracopulos, to slip into the warm Hegelian embrace of well-funded compromise is truly heartbreaking. It is to witness the soiling of that once-brave publication’s vindication for being right about Iraq War 2.0 while virtually all of Washington was wrong.

Incidentally, and to add insult to injury, it is precisely these kinds of Washington institutions who most viciously attacked TAC in those days who now find themselves trusted partners and even “expert” sources!

TAC! Beware! It’s not too late to wake up and smell the deception!

How to End Endless Wars (The Easy Way)

If a Soros-Koch alliance was actually interested in ending endless US wars and re-orienting our currently hyper-interventionist foreign policy toward “restraint,” it would simply announce that not another penny in campaign contributions would go to any candidate for House, Senate, or President who did not vow publicly in writing to vote against or veto any legislation that did not reduce military spending, that imposed sanctions overseas, that threatened governments overseas, that appropriated funds in secret or overtly to destabilize or overthrow governments overseas, or that sent foreign “aid” to any government overseas.

It would cost pennies to make such an announcement and stick to it, and the result would be a massive shift in the American body politic toward what the current alliance advertises itself as promoting.

But Koch/Soros don’t really want to end endless US interventions overseas. They want to fund the same old think tanks who are responsible for the disaster that is US foreign policy, re-brand interventionism as non-interventionism, and hope none of us rubes in flyover country notices.

To paraphrase what Pat Buchanan said about Democrats in his historic 1992 convention speech, the whitewashing of Washington’s most egregiously interventionist institutions and experts as “restrained” non-interventionists is “the greatest single exhibition of cross-dressing in American political history.”


Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

 

Be seeing you

Wizard of soroS - CorvetteForum - Chevrolet Corvette Forum ...

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

U.N. Seeks Climate Policy Advice from Mobile Video Game Players

Posted by M. C. on February 14, 2020

Is Greta’s 15 minutes of guruism up already?

Video gaming climate experts. Only the UN and Alexandria Ocassional-Cortex could come up with something like this.

This is the organization that wants to take your guns, use an international court to circumvent your Constitutional rights and generally control every facet of your life.

And you thought those people with “get the US out of the UN” signs in their fronts yards were nuts.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/02/14/u-n-seeks-climate-policy-advice-from-mobile-video-game-players/

by Simon Kent

The United Nations (U.N.) launched a push Thursday to engage mobile video game players around the world and ask their input and advice to guide its ongoing “climate change” policies.

Mission 1.5 is the title of the campaign that aims to, “bridge the gap between people and governments on ambitious climate action.” It is being developed by the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP).

Players will take on the role of climate policymakers who make decisions to meet the 1.5 degree goal.

Afterwards, they will vote on key climate actions that they would like to see adopted. The data will be analyzed and delivered to governments by the U.N. with a request for action.

Put simply, the U.N. wants up to 20 million young game players to engage it with their opinions. The launch document outlined the plan:

The campaign is built around an internet and mobile-based video game, developed by UNDP alongside experts in game development, climate science and public polling, in which players take on the role of climate policymakers and make decisions to try to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

After the game, players are asked to vote on key climate actions they want to see adopted. This data will be analyzed and delivered to governments, who often lack access to reliable information on public opinion on climate action.

The previous biggest international survey of public opinion on climate matters canvassed some 10,000 people across 76 countries, and was conducted ahead of the 2015 Paris climate talks.

The Mission 1.5 game is available at mission1point5.org and can be played by people in every country in the world.

It will launch initially in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish, with further roll-out internationally throughout the year up to the U.N. climate talks to be held in the United Kingdom in November.

Mission 1.5 takes its name from the collective effort to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as outlined at the climate meeting in Paris in 2015.

The UNDP draws almost $5 billion in annualized funding through the U.N.’s member states.

Be seeing you

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »