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  1. #1
    Atypical is offline

    Important Stuff - ICYMI

    9/11 at 15: The Falling Dominoes of September

    September 11, 2016
    By William Rivers Pitt, Truthout

    And soon now we shall go out of the house and go into the convulsion of the world, out of history into history and the awful responsibility of Time.

    -- Robert Penn Warren, "All the King's Men"

    Every one of us can close our eyes and go back to that day. The images will be there, projected on the backs of our eyelids in vivid color. The uncertainty after the initial explosion, the jarring realization after the second, the paper raining on the city from the gashes in the buildings followed by the bodies raining from the windows when they chose falling over fire. Finally, the collapse, the fury of dust and ash boiling through the city, people painted white with the bonemeal of co-workers and undone concrete as they ran, and ran, and ran.

    In the days to follow we were confronted with the faces of those who charged in when everyone else was running out, trying to save as many as they could. In the close-knit firefighter neighborhoods of Rockaway, there was keening from behind closed doors in anticipation of the funeral bell services to come. Blue skies became a menacing thing, airplanes in flight an active threat. Most of us were not in those doomstruck buildings, not on the streets of New York when it happened, not in the Pentagon or in a Pennsylvania field, but in a great many ways we were all running for our lives that day. We are still running all these years later, and the ashes are still in our hair.

    We are still running because September 11 never ended. To the contrary, it grew, expanded, metastasized and ultimately subsumed this nation. We are a wildly different place, and a wildly different people than we were fifteen years ago. We are barefoot at the airport talking on tapped phones with the latest war dispatches garbling from the television. Down in the basement, a pile of plastic sheeting and duct tape lays in the corner under a shroud of cobwebs.

    We accept these things after a decade and a half of taming and training. The cops look like soldiers now, the neighborhoods they patrol no longer areas to protect and serve but hostile territories to be conquered, and this is supposed to be normal. Police in military gear wreak havoc in Ferguson and elsewhere. Citizens become enemy combatants to be shot down or choked out because when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. September 11 gave us that, thanks to the wars.

    The dominoes began falling early. "We have to counteract the shockwave of the evildoer," said George W. Bush less than a month after the attack, "by having individual rate cuts accelerated and by thinking about tax rebates." There was the invasion of Afghanistan, which pivoted almost immediately into an invasion of Iraq that has proven to be the single greatest foreign policy blunder in American history, "Mission Accomplished" notwithstanding. Well, "blunder" may be too strong a word; after all, George and his friends made a mint off the years of war that followed. Thus, Mr. Bush fulfilled his destiny.

    When Paul Bremer disbanded the Iraqi Army because they were Sunni Hussein loyalists, ISIS was born. These were not teenagers throwing rocks in the streets. The Iraqi Army was battle-tested from the long conflict with the US, and some within the ranks had even seen action in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. They know tactics and they know strategy, and when Bush's war in Iraq created a massive refugee crisis that upended Syria, they found fertile ground in which to grow. In truth, however, ISIS was born on that perfect Tuesday morning to the scream of airplane engines and the smell of scorched blood.

    September 11 gave us the horror and shame of Abu Ghraib as well as the disgrace of Guantánamo Bay. It gave us the concept of the Unitary Executive through which the president wields unlimited power in defiance of constitutional law. The PATRIOT Act exploded the surveillance dam and flooded the nation with watching eyes and ears. The trillions spent on the wars combined with Bush's early tax cuts for rich people turned the economic downturn into almost an extinction-level event. Convenient terror alerts became a nimble way to control the national conversation. We had to watch what we say, after all. Meanwhile, the corporate "news" media lapped it up like dogs. War footage makes for great ratings.

    After September 11 we somehow became a nation that needed a week to get water to the Superdome in New Orleans to help the survivors after Hurricane Katrina. This was institutional racism, but it was also more: we became a nation of blunderers after that Tuesday. We managed to murder a fair swath of the Gulf of Mexico when the Deepwater Horizon blew out. The best we could do on health care reform was to deliver the whole thing to the insurance industry. Congress contemplated new and novel ways to deny people the vote while forcing transvaginal ultrasounds on women seeking legal abortions. People saw Jesus in the red pulp of sliced tomatoes. It is all of a piece.

    Oh, and we got the absurd presidential election of 2016 featuring a woman who voted for both the PATRIOT Act and the Iraq War Resolution, and a man whose racism, sexism, rank ignorance and flat-out fearmongering would be as clownish as his bright orange mien were it not so unutterably dangerous. When a nation bends its knee to fear, allows itself to be robbed, lied to and spied upon with no consequences in the offing for the perpetrators, Hillary v. Donald is pretty much the unavoidable byproduct of that rank stew.

    The falling dominoes of September 11, more than anything, have left us a nation entombed in shadow and gloom. The horizon holds no hope, but is to be feared, for The Enemy may be huddled there just out of sight. Fifteen years and a day ago, we were a profoundly different people, until the following dawn when that horizon birthed us for the worse. It has not ended. It may never end. It is the clenched fist in our chest.

    We greeted the 21st century with great anticipation. One year, nine months and eleven days into that new century, that anticipation exploded in sorrow and dread. Fifteen years later, the pall of poison smoke from that day still hangs low over us all. The great mission for the remainder of this century is plain: We must get out from under the control mechanism September 11 has become. We must stop the dominoes from falling. Doing so will require a foray into our deepest selves, a confrontation with what we have allowed to happen. It will not be easy, for there are some who enjoy being afraid and have a need to be told what to do, and they will fight to keep matters as they stand. There is also the monstrous profit motive to overcome. There will be pain, but pain always walks hand in hand with healing.

    This is our mission in the years to come. It must be done. The alternative is dissolution and despair.

    So let us begin.
    Last edited by Atypical; 09-11-2016 at 04:02 PM.

  2. #2
    Atypical is offline
    Do Not Resist': A chilling look at the normalization of warrior cops

    By Radley Balko September 30

    https://youtu.be/4Zt7bl5Z_oA

    The haunting thing about the new policing documentary “Do Not Resist” is what it doesn’t show. There are no images of cops beating people. No viral videos of horrifying shootings. Sure, there are scenes from the Ferguson protests in which riot cops deploy tear gas. But there’s no blood, no Tasings, no death. Yet when it was over, I had to force myself to exhale.

    What makes this movie so powerful is its terrifying portrayal of the mundanities of modern policing. I watched the movie weeks ago, but there are scenes that still flicker in my head. We all remember the clashes between police and protesters in Ferguson. We’ve seen the photos. We saw the anger and the animus exchanged across the protest lines. What we didn’t see were the hours and hours before and after those moments. We didn’t see the MRAPs and other armored vehicles roll in, one at a time, slowly transforming an American town into a war zone. We didn’t hear the clomp of combat boots on asphalt in the quiet hours of the early morning, interrupted only by fuzzy dispatches over police radio.

    It’s one thing to show an MRAP — a vehicle built for war, and for a very specific purpose in a very specific type of war — being misused after a small-town police agency obtained it from the Defense Department. “Do Not Resist” takes you to the base where those vehicles are stored. A camera trained on the window captures hundreds of MRAPs — rows and rows and rows of them — scrolling by, all destined for a police agency somewhere in America. Meanwhile, an Army specialist explains how the troops who use the vehicles get hours and hours of training before they’re entrusted to drive the trucks on a battlefield. The Pentagon then gives the trucks to police agencies to use on U.S. streets with no accompanying training at all. Sometimes, the specialist says, a police agency will find a body part in one of the trucks. They try to avoid that. But after all, these are machines of war.

    The film crew then takes a ride with a small-town sheriff as he drives his hulking new MRAP through business districts and quiet neighborhoods — that is, once he figures out how to operate it. The most disturbing thing about this scene isn’t the truck itself, or the striking images of the truck in the town, or even the sheriff’s statement that it will probably mostly be used for drug raids. The most disturbing thing is that it simply doesn’t occur to the sheriff that the footage might be disturbing. He has no problem letting a film crew show this massive contraption built to withstand roadside bombs in a military convoy lumbering through his small town, because the notion that military vehicles aren’t appropriate for domestic policing is foreign to him.

    Then there’s the drug raid. It’s one thing to read about a “dynamic entry” drug raid in which the police mistakenly or intentionally kill someone, or in which someone mistakenly or intentionally kills a police officer. It’s awful and tragic and unnecessary. “Do Not Resist” doesn’t show one of those. It instead shows the sort of drug raid that’s far more common. The movie depicts the raid from the beginning, as the officers from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department tactical team are meeting to discuss strategy. Some are wearing T-shirts with the tactical team’s logo. It’s a human skull imposed over two crossed AR-15s.

    There are no children at the residence, the lead officer assures his colleagues. (There were.) There would be a significant quantity of illegal drugs at the house, another says. (There weren’t.) The tactical team then proceeds to raid the home of a black family in Richland County. Most officers storm the front door with their guns while one shatters some side windows as a distraction. Minutes go by. The officers’ body language eventually shows signs of frustration as their search for contraband continues to come up empty. Finally, someone finds a book bag with traces of marijuana at the bottom — not enough to smoke, much less sell. They arrest a young black man with long braids for possession.

    “I never one time said you’re a bad person,” the lead officer tells his arrestee, with an odd cordiality. “I just have a job to do, and you happen to be in the middle of it.”

    The officer also seems to know that the man is a student at a local technical college. He’s working toward a degree in construction. The man also runs a landscaping company to help pay for his education. The man later tells the officer that he was on his way to pick up some lawnmowers that morning. Knowing that he’s about to be arrested, he asks the officer if he could tell his employee that he was arrested and won’t be able to pick up the lawnmowers. He then gives the officer $876 in cash and asks it to give it to his employee to go pick up the mowers, along with a weed-eater.

    Instead, the officer confiscates the money under civil asset forfeiture laws. There is no obvious connection between the money and the pot residue. The man volunteered the cash, mostly because he didn’t want his arrest to hurt his business. In doing so, he provided ample evidence that the cash had nothing to do with illegal activity. Still, if unchallenged, the $876 will go back to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, even if the man is never charged with a crime. The cost of hiring an attorney for such a challenge would likely exceed $876.

    Meanwhile, the man’s father asks the officers whether the police would pay for the windows they just shattered. The lead officer tells him that breaking the windows was a tactic, then adds, “The moral of the story is, don’t sell drugs from your residence.” Perhaps realizing that he had no evidence for what he had just accused the man of doing, he tried to correct himself. “I didn’t say you were actually doing it, I just said — said you were associated with … ” and then there’s some mumbling.

    The striking thing about the footage is, again, the utter mundanity of the raid. A family was just violently raided over an immeasurable amount of pot. A man was arrested over that pot. The money he needed for his business was taken from him. Yet there’s no shame or embarrassment from the officers. There’s no panic that the whole thing was captured on video. That’s when it hits you. They don’t think they’ve made a mistake. This is what they do. The lead officers later tells the camera, matter-of-factly, that the raid turned up “a personal use amount of marijuana.” Perhaps realizing that he was also on camera back at the police station promising a much larger stash of drugs, he adds, “It happens. Drug warrants are, you know, 50-50.”

    The documentary also eschews voice-overs and talking heads and simply lets law enforcement officers speak for themselves. You don’t need a civil rights activist or ACLU attorney to tell you about the threats posed by militaristic, aggressive policing when law enforcement officers can make the point unintentionally — and thus more powerfully and persuasive — when they’re speaking freely.

    Cont'd Below

  3. #3
    Atypical is offline
    Cont'd

    For example, the directors attended one of the many SWAT competitions across the country. One SWAT cop officer reflected on his first raid. “I was just trying not to smile. I thought it was so fun. I thought it was so cool,” he says. Since then, he says, he always loves to watch the “SWAT pups” (his term for first-year SWAT officers) on their first raid. “They’re always just smiling from ear to ear. They’re just on top of the world.” At risk of stating the obvious, the officers he’s describing are about to stage an armed, potentially lethal invasion of a private residence.

    Fittingly, the most chilling scene in the movie doesn’t take place on a city street, or at a protest, or during a drug raid. It takes place in a conference room. It’s from a police training conference with Dave Grossman, one of the most prolific police trainers in the country. Grossman’s classes teach officers to be less hesitant to use lethal force, urge them to be willing to do it more quickly and teach them how to adopt the mentality of a warrior. Jeronimo Yanez, the Minnesota police officer who shot and killed Philando Castille in July, had attended one of Grossman’s classes called “The Bulletproof Warrior” (though that particular class was taught by Grossman’s business partner, Jim Glennon).

    In the class recorded for “Do Not Resist,” Grossman at one point tells his students that the sex they have after they kill another human being will be the best sex of their lives. The room chuckles. But he’s clearly serious. “Both partners are very invested in some very intense sex,” he says. “There’s not a whole lot of perks that come with this job. You find one, relax and enjoy it.”

    Grossman closes the class with a (literal) chest-pounding motivational speech that climaxes with Grossman telling the officers to find an overpass overlooking the city they serve. He urges them to look down on their city and know that they’ve made the world a better place. He then urges them to grip the overpass railing, lean forward and “let your cape blow in the wind.” The room gives him a standing ovation.

    Later, the documentary crew returns to the home of the South Carolina family that had been raided. The man the police arrested has been released from custody. “I thought they were looking for a terrorist,” says the man’s mother. “They tore down my house, my son went to jail, for a gram-and-a-half of marijuana that they shook out the bottom of a book bag.” In the background, a TV is tuned to live coverage of the funeral of South Carolina state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, one of nine members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church whom Dylann Roof was charged with murdering in 2015.

    Horrific as that South Carolina crime was, such incidents are thankfully rare. Crimes like that, the vicious beatings caught on viral videos and shootings by police officers get most of the attention — and they ought to get more. But it’s the mundanities of the drug war, the criminal-justice system and everyday policing that are far more destructive, pervasive and pernicious. And that’s what makes this movie so important.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...-warrior-cops/

    _______________________________________

    There are many ugly, frightening things happening in the country. This is one of the worst.



    10/5/16

    Here is an example of what's in store for us.


    Official 'Outraged' About Charges After KC Library Arrests

    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Oct 3, 2016, 3:20 PM E


    The executive director the Kansas City library system says he is "outraged" that prosecutors continue to pursue charges against a man who was arrested after asking pointed questions during a library discussion about the Middle East peace process and an employee who tried to intervene.

    Although the arrests occurred in May following a speech by author and diplomat Dennis Ross, the library system only recently went public about its opposition to charges, the Kansas City Star reported (http://j.mp/2dF1IqE).

    R. Crosby Kemper III, executive director of the city's library system, said "we're going to be living in a different kind of country" if people can be arrested for asking questions at a library. "If this kind of behavior is unacceptable to the police, then I guess we're going to have to shut the library down."

    Issues arose after Ross finished speaking and took a question from Jeremy Rothe-Kushel concerning whether Jewish Americans like Rothe-Kushel should be concerned about actions by the U.S. and Israel that amount to "state-sponsored terrorism."

    "When are we going to stand up and be ethical Jews and Americans?" Rothe-Kushel asked.

    When Rothe-Kushel tried to ask another question, a private security guard grasped his arm, followed by an off-duty police officer, both employed by the Jewish Community Foundation. Rothe-Kushel then shouted, "Get your hands off of me right now!"

    Steve Woolfolk, director of public programming for the library, tried to intervene. Both men were arrested by off-duty officers.

    "Every police officer who was on duty that evening was very communicative and respectful," Rothe-Kushel said. But he said he would have left if he had been asked to and given the chance to do so.

    Kansas City police spokeswoman Capt. Stacey Graves said off-duty officers hired by the event sponsor acted properly in helping private security stop an audience member from asking follow-up questions.

    Rothe-Kushel is charged in city court with trespassing and resisting arrest. Woolfolk is charged with interfering with an arrest. Woolfolk said he suffered a torn medial collateral ligament in his knee when a police officer kneed him in the leg.

    Kemper said the private security guards had no right to remove a patron for asking a question.

    Ross' speech was the inaugural Truman and Israel Lecture, established by the Truman Library Institute and the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

    ———

    Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com
    Last edited by Atypical; 10-05-2016 at 02:03 PM.

  4. #4
    Atypical is offline
    Oilfield Wastewater Used to Grow Food in California May Contain Toxins

    Friday, 28 October 2016 00:00
    By Maureen Nandini Mitra, Earth Island Journal

    Did you know that some of the fruits and veggies out on supermarket shelves are grown using wastewater from oil and gas operations? For the past several years, many drought-stricken farms in California's Central Valley, which produces 40 percent of the nation's fruits and vegetables, have been increasingly irrigating their crops with wastewater -- a practice the US Department of Agriculture does not restrict.

    Now a new report by the Environmental Working Group says that this wastewater is possibly tainted with toxic chemicals, including chemicals that can cause cancer and reproductive harm. Farmers in Kern County have irrigated some 95,000 acres of food crops with billions of gallons of oil field wastewater, according to the report, which is based on an analysis of state data.

    Actually, oil companies have been quietly selling wastewater for irrigation in California for decades, but it's only in recent years that the matter has become public knowledge. In the past, the state required regular testing for only a handful of pollutants to satisfy permit requirements for use of wastewater on agriculture. This is the first time we are getting a detailed look at the makeup of the toxic cocktail that could be lurking in the water.

    According to state data, oil companies operating in California have reported that recycled wastewater sold to Kern County irrigation districts since 2014 contained more than 20 million pounds and 2 million gallons of dozens of toxic chemicals. These chemicals included 16 that the state classifies as carcinogens or reproductive toxicants. Levels of the chemicals were not measured and a full assessment of what exactly is in this water is pretty much impossible because the companies have withheld the identity of almost 40 percent of the chemicals as so-called trade secrets.

    Currently, the lightly treated wastewater is blended with fresh water and then applied to almonds, pistachios, and citrus trees, as well as to grapes, carrots, beans, tomatoes, and potatoes grown in the Cawelo, North Kern, Jasmin, and Kern-Tulare Water Districts in Kern and Tulare Counties. According to an earlier EWG report, in some of these places the water can even be used as drinking water for livestock and for farmed fish.

    Although crops grown with this recycled water represent a small percentage of the food grown in the Central Valley, once the produce is at the grocery store, there's no way of telling it apart from other fruits and vegetables.

    The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has appointed an expert food safety panel to study the possible impact of using wastewater to grow food. Its findings are expected next year.

    Despite the new information about the mix of toxic chemicals present in oilfield wastewater, the California water board has refused to halt the practice, and, according to EWG, it is even allowing the expansion of the irrigation method.

    But EGW researchers say that while there's cause for concern, it doesn't mean that we should stop eating produce from California.

    "Although it is well-established that pollutants in water and soil can build up in crops -- especially root crops such as carrots and potatoes, which are grown in Kern County with oil field wastewater -- scientists don't know if that poses a health risk for people who eat the food," says the report, written by EWG senior scientist Tasha Stoiber. "A healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables outweighs uncertainties about chemicals in produce."

    _______________________________

    This is an example of a practice that can go on for a very long time before any likely health effect is detected. Since corporations never care about anything but profit we are never made aware of any risks. If potential harm is publicized business always fights any suggested remedy; that can take years to resolve especially due to government's disinterest in consumer protection over corporate "relationships."

    We are all lab-rats depending on our interests and what we consume. And, few really care.
    Last edited by Atypical; 10-28-2016 at 07:19 PM.

  5. #5
    Atypical is offline
    Too Smug to Jail

    'The Economist' issues a myopic defense of the white-collar criminal

    By Matt Taibbi

    As we reach the close of an election season marked by anger toward the unaccountable rich, The Economist has chimed in with a defense of the beleaguered white-collar criminal.

    An editorial called "Jail bait" is the latest in a line of salvoes against what the magazine imagines is a wave of politically driven regulatory actions against corporate executives.

    The piece makes many of the usual Wall Street arguments: locking up executives wouldn't do any good, populist passions are ignorant, etc. But this is the crucial passage:

    "Most corporate crime is the result of collective action rather than individual wrongdoing—long chains of command that send (often half-understood) instructions, or corporate cultures that encourage individuals to take risky actions. The authorities have rightly adjusted to this reality by increasingly prosecuting companies rather than going after individual miscreants."

    Yikes! This extraordinary argument is cousin to the Lieutenant Calley defense, i.e., that soldiers bear no responsibility for crimes they were ordered to execute. The Economist here would have you believe that there's no such thing as an individual crime in a corporate context.

    This is a line you hear a lot not only in the finance community, but among the lawyers who defend the likes of banks and pharmaceutical companies.

    Former Attorney General Eric Holder, now back in his comfy old role as a partner in a prominent corporate defense firm, said almost exactly the same thing in a speech in New York two years ago (emphasis mine):

    "It remains true that, at some institutions that engaged in inappropriate conduct before, and may yet again, the buck still stops nowhere. Responsibility remains so diffuse, and top executives so insulated, that any misconduct could again be considered more a symptom of the institution's culture than a result of the willful actions of any single individual."

    That was a sitting attorney general saying people don't commit crimes – corporate culture commits crimes. No wonder there were no meaningful prosecutions after the financial crisis of 2008.

    Ambrose Bierce once said that a corporation was "an ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility." Bierce was being funny, but this "individuals can't commit corporate crime" argument, sadly, is serious.

    It's an idea grounded in a belief system backed by syllogistic reasoning. We live in a capitalist economy; private companies need to innovate and take risks in order to succeed; therefore, we should not do anything to discourage innovation or risk-taking, or what The Economist calls "testing the rules":

    "Society should by all means punish white-collar criminals if they have obviously committed crimes and imposed harm. But it should resist the temptation to criminalize new businesses testing the rules. And it should certainly resist the temptation to single people out for harsh punishment simply because they are rich and successful."

    The magazine decries the backlash against banks after 2008 as irrational populism. It also praises prosecutors for not bringing cases against firms for things like selling faulty mortgage-backed securities, which are described as "perfectly legal (if unwise)."

    But this just isn't true. Most of the Wall Street scams that triggered what The Economist would decry as "populist" outrage in recent years weren't just morally despicable, but bluntly illegal. Many were just skyscraper-level versions of street crimes.

    A Mexican-American racetrack owner launders perhaps tens of millions for Mexican drug gangs and gets 20 years. HSBC does the same thing on a much grander scale and everyone walks.

    In the mortgage fraud cases, companies knowingly sold defective products to institutional investors, pension funds being a classic customer. Whistleblowers told of executives who knew they were selling investors packets of home loans prone to default, and did it anyway.

    These executives weren't "testing the rules" in an effort to innovate their way to the next superconductor or smartphone. This was just plain old criminal fraud, ripping people off, with minorities and the elderly suffering disproportionate losses. The state of Illinois got $84 million from just one bank, Citigroup, for its fraudulent marketing of dangerous securities to state retirement funds.

    In a non-corporate context, we'd consider this among the most serious kinds of crimes that we punish. What sentence would you want for someone who stole from your parents' retirement money? From your local teachers' union?

    It's bad enough that the self-pitying jerks on Wall Street who read magazines like The Economist think that paying taxes or giving employees benefits or adhering to any labor or environmental standards are unconscionable burdens. Now we're supposed to be so grateful for their sociopathic pursuit of profits that we should excuse them from the criminal code, too?

    What a bunch of clueless weasels these people are. Always lecturing the poor for wanting a free lunch, when they're the ones begging for a free ride.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics...o-jail-w447825

    ________________________________

    The rich, the powerful, the connected never commit crimes they just make "simple mistakes." It's only those below them that must be punished for ANY mistake they make. Selling loose cigarettes got someone killed.

    Rules and laws are made for those who are not in the "club." Anyone that tries to change things gets stomped. Bernie Sanders got the trademarked "treatment" from the DEMS.

    https://youtu.be/i5dBZDSSky0
    Last edited by Atypical; 11-02-2016 at 12:39 PM.

  6. #6
    Atypical is offline
    Democrats, Trump, And The Ongoing Dangerous Refusal To Learn The Lesson Of Brexit

    Glenn Greenwald

    THE PARALLELS BETWEEN the U.K.’s shocking approval of the Brexit referendum in June and the U.S.’ even more shocking election of Donald Trump as president last night are overwhelming. Elites (outside of populist right-wing circles) aggressively unified across ideological lines in opposition to both. Supporters of Brexit and Trump were continually maligned by the dominant media narrative (validly or otherwise) as primitive, stupid, racist, xenophobic, and irrational. In each case, journalists who spend all day chatting with one another on Twitter and congregating in exclusive social circles in national capitals — constantly re-affirming their own wisdom in an endless feedback loop — were certain of victory. Afterward, the elites whose entitlement to prevail was crushed devoted their energies to blaming everyone they could find except for themselves, while doubling down on their unbridled contempt for those who defied them, steadfastly refusing to examine what drove their insubordination.

    The indisputable fact is that prevailing institutions of authority in the West, for decades, have relentlessly and with complete indifference stomped on the economic welfare and social security of hundreds of millions of people. While elite circles gorged themselves on globalism, free trade, Wall Street casino gambling, and endless wars (wars that enriched the perpetrators and sent the poorest and most marginalized to bear all their burdens), they completely ignored the victims of their gluttony, except when those victims piped up a bit too much — when they caused a ruckus — and were then scornfully condemned as troglodytes who were the deserved losers in the glorious, global game of meritocracy.

    That message was heard loud and clear. The institutions and elite factions that have spent years mocking, maligning, and pillaging large portions of the population — all while compiling their own long record of failure and corruption and destruction — are now shocked that their dictates and decrees go unheeded. But human beings are not going to follow and obey the exact people they most blame for their suffering. They’re going to do exactly the opposite: purposely defy them and try to impose punishment in retaliation. Their instruments for retaliation are Brexit and Trump. Those are their agents, dispatched on a mission of destruction: aimed at a system and culture they regard — not without reason — as rife with corruption and, above all else, contempt for them and their welfare.

    After the Brexit vote, I wrote an article comprehensively detailing these dynamics, which I won’t repeat here but hope those interested will read. The title conveys the crux: “Brexit Is Only the Latest Proof of the Insularity and Failure of Western Establishment Institutions.” That analysis was inspired by a short, incredibly insightful, and now more relevant than ever post-Brexit Facebook note by the Los Angeles Times’s Vincent Bevins, who wrote that “both Brexit and Trumpism are the very, very wrong answers to legitimate questions that urban elites have refused to ask for 30 years.” Bevins went on: “Since the 1980s the elites in rich countries have overplayed their hand, taking all the gains for themselves and just covering their ears when anyone else talks, and now they are watching in horror as voters revolt.”

    For those who tried to remove themselves from the self-affirming, vehemently pro-Clinton elite echo chamber of 2016, the warning signs that Brexit screechingly announced were not hard to see. Two short passages from a Slate interview I gave in July summarized those grave dangers: that opinion-making elites were so clustered, so incestuous, so far removed from the people who would decide this election — so contemptuous of them — that they were not only incapable of seeing the trends toward Trump but were unwittingly accelerating those trends with their own condescending, self-glorifying behavior.

    Like most everyone else who saw the polling data and predictive models of the media’s self-proclaimed data experts, I long believed Clinton would win, but the reasons why she very well could lose were not hard to see. The warning lights were flashing in neon for a long time, but they were in seedy places that elites studiously avoid. The few people who purposely went to those places and listened, such as Chris Arnade, saw and heard them loud and clear. The ongoing failure to take heed of this intense but invisible resentment and suffering guarantees that it will fester and strengthen. This was the last paragraph of my July article on the Brexit fallout:

    Instead of acknowledging and addressing the fundamental flaws within themselves, [elites] are devoting their energies to demonizing the victims of their corruption, all in order to delegitimize those grievances and thus relieve themselves of responsibility to meaningfully address them. That reaction only serves to bolster, if not vindicate, the animating perceptions that these elite institutions are hopelessly self-interested, toxic, and destructive and thus cannot be reformed but rather must be destroyed. That, in turn, only ensures there will be many more Brexits, and Trumps, in our collective future.

    Cont'd Below
    Last edited by Atypical; 11-10-2016 at 01:25 PM.

  7. #7
    Rewind is offline
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    Joined: Oct 2017 Location: Los Angeles Posts: 7,107
    Prime Minister, don't you know we're way past the "accusation" stage?

    British Prime Minister Theresa May accuses Russia of fake news and interfering in elections

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/...-and-fake-news

  8. #8
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    Joined: Oct 2017 Location: Los Angeles Posts: 7,107
    US Postal Service reports financial loss for 11th straight year

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/nati...icle-1.3632292

  9. #9
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    Joined: Oct 2017 Location: Los Angeles Posts: 7,107
    Mike Pence's NFL stunt cost police department $14,000
    HuffPost US, Nov 14 2017 2:42 PM

    A planned political stunt by Vice President Mike Pence, in which he walked out of an NFL game in protest of players kneeling during the national anthem, cost the Indiana Metropolitan Police Department more than $14,000. During an October game between the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers, Pence made a show to leave the stadium after he saw players kneel for The Star-Spangled Banner, later tweeting that he "will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag or our National Anthem.”

    Many believed Pence leaving the stadium was a premeditated stunt orchestrated by the White House, costing taxpayers thousands of dollars. That belief was confirmed when President Donald Trump tweeted that he had told Pence to leave once players knelt. Documents obtained by Citizens For Responsibility & Ethics In Washington show the IMPD spent an additional $14,163 in security costs for the vice president. The police department spending included multiple teams on the force working traffic and security, as well as overtime costs.

    "The tone is set at the top when it comes to this administration’s disregard for ethics,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. "Vice President Pence should know better than to use taxpayer money to make a rhetorical point, but carelessness with taxpayer money seems to be a common theme with senior administration officials."

    https://www.aol.com/article/finance/...4000/23277230/

  10. #10
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    Well, nobody saw this coming:

    Cards Against Humanity buys piece of the US border so Trump can't build his wall
    Mashable, Nov 14 2017 3:17 PM

    The dirty and sometimes downright offensive game Cards Against Humanity is back with another stunt and this time they're taking aim at one of President Donald Trump's campaign promises. The company has announced its holiday promotion, Cards Against Humanity Saves America. Essentially, the company purchased a plot of vacant land on the border of the United States and Mexico, making it extremely difficult for Trump to build his expensive border wall which the U.S. taxpayers will inevitably pay for.

    "Donald Trump is a preposterous golem who is afraid of Mexicans. He is so afraid that he wants to build a $20 billion wall that everyone knows will accomplish nothing," the website reads. "So we’ve purchased a plot of vacant land on the border and retained a law firm specializing in eminent domain to make it as time-consuming and expensive as possible for the wall to get built." For $15, Cards will send you "six surprises" in the month of December, including an illustrated map of the land, a certificate of promise to fight the wall, and some new cards.

    https://www.aol.com/article/finance/...wall/23277277/

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