Norman Pollack – Obama, Interventionist: Study of a War Criminal

November 23, 2015

War criminals are not born, they are made, or rather make themselves through the experience of having an inner motif of self-promotion directed to cultivating, and thus bringing themselves to the attention of, those possessing wealth and power. No subtlety here, no shame of wanting recognition; instead, merely an active fantasy life of grand leadership as a presumed visionary entitled to inordinate deference and respect. Merited achievement is irrelevant and beside the point, for what matters is to ride the wave of organized power, command at one’s fingertips, an institutionalized militarism inseparable from the person himself/herself. Such presence, if it is to convince others, requires serial acts of violence sanctioned by law and government: Le State, c’est moi, i.e., once one has arrived, one then becomes the titular head (titular because serving to front a hierarchical system) of an elitist framework composed of the financial, industrial, and military communities, an integrated system disconnected from, while manipulating, the people to ensure social discipline at home and market expansion, via the threat and/or use of force, abroad. This describes the criminalization of historical development and public policy, or to be exact, the context and mental-set of the war criminal, for war is

ALEC MacGILLIS – Who Turned My Blue State Red?

November 23, 2015

IT is one of the central political puzzles of our time: Parts of the country that depend on the safety-net programs supported by Democrats are increasingly voting for Republicans who favor shredding that net. In his successful bid for the Senate in 2010, the libertarian Rand Paul railed against “intergenerational welfare” and said that “the culture of dependency on government destroys people’s spirits,” yet racked up winning margins in eastern Kentucky, a former Democratic stronghold that is heavily dependent on public benefits. Last year, Paul R. LePage, the fiercely anti-welfare Republican governor of Maine, was re-elected despite a highly erratic first term — with strong support in struggling towns where many rely on public assistance. And earlier this month, Kentucky elected as governor a conservative Republican who had vowed to largely undo the Medicaid expansion that had given the state the country’s largest decrease in the uninsured under Obamacare, with roughly one in 10 residents gaining coverage. Read

Paul Street – Verging on Plutocracy? Getting Real About the Unelected Dictatorship

November 23, 2015

In politics as in medicine, excessively mild remedies are typically based on overly placid diagnoses. Look, for example, at the highly esteemed Columbia University historian Eric Foner’s recent letter of congratulations and advice to Democratic Party presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in The Nation. As I have argued in a previous CounterPunch essay, Foner’s missive failed to correct Sanders on the candidate’s incredibly tepid and watered-down definition of democratic socialism as little more than a Scandinavian welfare state. It sent Eugene Debs spinning in his grave when it argued that “socialism today” is about “the need to rein in the excesses of capitalism.” Those were the exact same words used by Hillary Clinton in the first Democratic Party presidential debate, reflecting on what she feels is occasionally necessary to preserve the profits system and what she felt should never be confused with socialism. There’s one part of Foner’s letter that I forgot to mention in my previous essay even though it is intimately related to his alignment with milquetoast radicalism and Hillary’s fake-progressive corporatism. It comes at the beginning of the letter’s sixth paragraph, when he says that contemporary socialism seeks “to empower ordinary people in a political system verging on

Matt Taibbi – The GOP Clown Car Rolls On

November 19, 2015

ot one of them can win, but one must. That’s the paradox of the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, fast becoming the signature event in the history of black comedy. Conventional wisdom says that with the primaries and caucuses rapidly approaching, front-running nuts Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson must soon give way to the “real” candidates. But behind Trump and Carson is just more abyss. As I found out on a recent trip to New Hampshire, the rest of the field is either just as crazy or as dangerous as the current poll leaders, or too bumbling to win. Disaster could be averted if Americans on both the left and the right suddenly decide to be more mature about this, neither backing obvious mental incompetents, nor snickering about those who do. But that doesn’t seem probable. Read More

J. TAYLOR RUSHING – Clinton foundation takes in $178 million a year as donors pile on to show support for Hillary – and Chelsea ally got $532,000 to run it

November 18, 2015

The 17-year-old Clinton Foundation took in a whopping $178 million in donations in 2014, tax filings this week have shown, leaving the massive, New York-based charity group with the largest cash reserves in its history. The global group had $354 million in reserves at the end of the year, with only $22 million in liabilities, with much of it organized into an endowment to cope with the absence of Hillary Clinton during her presidential campaign as well as possibly Bill Clinton, the foundation’s founder. The Clintons’ daughter Chelsea leads the group as its vice-chair along with CEO Donna Shalala, and the two have worked to steer the foundation away from a slew of negative press coverage of controversial donations and senior staffers, according to a Tuesday report in Politico. Read

Ethan A. Huff – Former congressman blows whistle on how Republican party strong-armed members into approving massive prescription drug profit program for Big Pharma

November 17, 2015

Today’s Republican Party, to put it bluntly, is a joke. The so-called party of conservatism has lost its way, and former Republican congressman Tom Tancredo has decided to part ways and become an Independent, a decision that largely hinges on what he says is rampant and unapologetic corruption by Republicans in constantly pushing the special interest agenda of the pharmaceutical industry. In a recent op-ed piece for Breitbart, Tancredo bares all on how he and other members of Congress were threatened into supporting massive prescription drug programs under the Bush Administration that represent the very antithesis of what the Republican Party is supposed to represent. These programs, defying the Republican Party platform, greatly expanded the size and reach of government while increasing both spending and debt to massive proportions. Read

PAUL STREET – Out of the Blue: Hillary’s Sociopathy Revealed in Des Moines

November 17, 2015

Hillary Clinton said something remarkable and out of the blue during the second Democratic Party presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa, last Saturday – something that ought to lead to the suspension of her quest for the White House. The comment came in response to a CBS debate moderator and Bernie Sanders pointing out that her campaign had received millions of dollars in election contributions and speaking fees from leading Wall Street financial institutions while Sanders relies on small contributions from ordinary middle- and working-class Americans. Here’s what Hillary said: Read

Steven Rosenfeld – Hillary Clinton’s Big Debate Gaffe: Defending Her Wall Street Donors to 9/11 Terror Attacks

November 16, 2015

While much of the world’s attention was still focused on the terrorist attacks in Paris, Hillary Clinton made her worst stumble in Saturday night’s Democratic debate in Iowa by defending her cozy relationship with Wall Street contributors as a consequence of being New York’s senator after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. The exchange that led to that eyebrow-raising explanation started with CBS moderator John Dickerson saying [3], “So you’ve received millions of dollars in contributions and speaking fees from from Wall Street companies. How do you convince voters that you are going to level the playing field when you’re indebted to some of its biggest players?” Read

NY Governor Expedites Legal Pot for Critically Ill Patients

November 16, 2015

Life is about to get a little bit easier for critically ill patients in New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed 2 bills into law recently that will establish an “emergency medical marijuana” program individuals can use to resolve their ailments. The passage of a 2014 law added New York to a list of nearly 2 dozen states where medical marijuana is available to patients. Today’s signing of the 2 bills accelerates how quickly critically ill patients are able to legally utilize cannabis, particularly those whose lack of access to the drug “would pose a serious risk” to their lives, such as people suffering from cancer or seizures.  Cuomo inked the bills just shy of a midnight deadline and came after patients, families, supporters and some celebrities had spent months pressuring the state’s government to take action to allow emergency access to medical marijuana. [1] Read

Matthias Schepp – The Russian President’s Strategy for Syria

November 16, 2015

A secret strategy paper suggests the Kremlin wants to find a political solution with the West on the issue of Syria. Pressure is mounting on Vladimir Putin as a result of the crash of a Russian jet in Egypt that may have been a terrorist attack. Vladimir Putin has been oddly quiet in recent days. Despite almost two weeks having passed since the crash of a Russian passenger jet over the Sinai Peninsula, the Russian president has said little about what may have caused the crash, despite mounting evidence pointing to a terrorist attack carried out by the branch of the Islamic State operating in the region. Yet Putin hasn’t uttered a word about a possible reaction or retaliatory strikes. When Russia suspended all flights to Egypt, he had his intelligence chief make the recommendation instead of doing it himself. It is as though Putin wants to create the greatest possible distance between himself and the crash in order to prevent any connection being made between Russia’s military intervention in Syria and the 224 deaths on Flight 9268. He doesn’t want to be seen as a president who took a high-risk gamble abroad that ultimately backfired and transformed his own
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