Your life may soon be sacrificed by the collective

by Bob Livingston


Most groups organize themselves around some kind of common ideals, some code or tradition.

In America, we have ideals like “representative republic,” “freedom” and “individuality,” upon which our nation was built.

For 100 years or more, Americans have been victimized by a state-sponsored socialist, altruistic, collectivist social and educational system. It has produced a popular mentality of diminishing the individual and independent thinker to a collectivist mind (mentality) which can be esoterically swayed, directed and channeled against his own best interest. The virtue and sanctity of the individual person and ego is no more, and anathema to the state.

What does it all mean? It means that a state of mind is developed and nurtured that freely gives oneself and one’s production to the state. Each individual, in order to be a good citizen of the state, must contribute most of his means and be grateful for the services the state returns — whether they are necessary or useful or not.

The elites who rule this collective use very elaborate propaganda and controlled chaos to advance their agenda. These psychopaths continue to steal our liberty (and wealth!) to this day.

The mindset that drives the ruling elites has been around for thousands of years. The actions of the ruling elites are evident throughout history, and their methods and results can be studied.

Unfortunately, there are few people today who study and understand history (that is to say, history that has not been whitewashed by the elites). That’s why the elites are able to continue their ways.

Their first order of business is to use their own words to help individuals identify with their version of these ideals; ideals designed to garner for themselves more wealth and power.

The wide use of the word “democracy” is proof that people can no longer tell freedom from a gallon of milk. The word “democracy” neutralizes and disarms the mind to the reality of authoritarianism and the danger to personal freedom.

Hitler called his Nazi (national socialism) Germany “a great democracy,” and he successfully melded the German citizens into a single-minded collective. Today we have “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”

With these phrases like democracy, and other words I call “code words,” (see here and here) the elites who become the masters over the collective can get individuals to commit acts they wouldn’t normally commit. The individuals get the benefit of attributing those acts to the collective, thereby avoiding individual blame and responsibility.

Individuals are happy to relinquish this responsibility for themselves in order to seem altruistic. They might even feel patriotic.  What they don’t realize is that they are making a terrifying trade-off. Once an individual sacrifices himself to the collective, the collective can then sacrifice the individual to further its own ends.

The elites want to disarm Americans. Is it a coincidence we see mass shootings? No! These people are being sacrificed to further the aims of the collective, which is to demand disarmament.

If you look at national statistics on murder, we’re the safest we’ve ever been. But it doesn’t feel like it because the media show you “the video,” which is powerful propaganda. “Seeing is believing” is another code phrase. But in truth, you should believe half of what you see and less of what you hear. A full 90 percent of all you see, read and hear is controlled by six giant transnational corporations.

The collective also demands that the only way you can maintain your individuality is to always align with the goals of the collective. Seems like a paradox, doesn’t it? This is where the code words come in. The collective gets you to believe you are exercising your individuality by choosing what you believe. In fact, what you think and believe are carefully and subtly chosen for you by the propaganda you see everywhere around you.

Now you see that advertising is not all around you in order to get you to “buy things.” The people are pacified with propaganda, bread and circuses. The collective wants the desire for freedom and liberty to be replaced by the desire for material goods and leisure. The people don’t know, and they don’t know that they don’t know. They are fed pabulum in their churches and schools, and they never ask questions.

My purpose in publishing Personal Liberty Digest® and The Bob Livingston Letter is to raise awareness so you can use the rules of individual behavior within groups to your own advantage. When you can see things for what they are, you will be only one in millions who can do so. You will have successfully broken through the barriers of conventional wisdom.

You will soon see that the system and its controlled masses are hostile toward reality. They want no discomfort of thought. They are at peace with regimentation although they are not aware of it. The system is pabulum for lazy people. The first wake-up call is to come to know that there is a system.

Once you have risen above the system, you will realize that your rights do not come from any piece of paper, even one so great as the Constitution. These rights are natural to us. We are born with them. Even if you don’t believe these rights come from God, as I believe they do, you must begin to realize that the Constitution merely acknowledges these rights and binds the criminals in government with chains to prevent them from infringing upon those rights.

The Constitution exists to restrain the elites from trying to take your rights away and submitting them to the collective. Most Americans have forgotten — or ignored — that. Instead, they have pledged fealty to the false god of democracy, whether they realize it or not. Democracy equals socialism equals communism equals fascism. They are all totalitarian and anathema to life and liberty and property.

The sooner you remember, the sooner you can save your liberty. And that could save your life.



Source: personalliberty

Everybody Turn Out for a Day of Peace and Solidarity in New York

by DavidSwanson

What happens when there are endless wars accompanied by militarized policing, spreading racism, erosion of civil rights, and concentration of wealth, but the only news is election news, and none of the candidates wants to talk about shrinking the world’s largest military?

We happen. That’s what. We turn out for a Day of Solidarity and Peace in New York City on Sunday, March 13th. We start by signing up at http://peaceandsolidarity.org and inviting all of our friends to do so. If we can’t come, we invite all of our friends anywhere near New York to sign up and be there. We sit down and think of every person we remember hearing ask “But what can we do?” and we tell them: You can do this.We stopped the war mongers who wanted to rip up the agreement with Iran last year, and the political progress in Iran reflects the wisdom of diplomacy as an alternative to yet more war. We stopped a massive bombing campaign of Syria in 2013. Our brothers and sisters just this month stopped the construction of a U.S. military base in Okinawa.

But U.S. weapons and bases are spreading across the globe, ships are sailing provocatively toward China, drones are murdering in numerous nations with a new base just opened in Cameroon. The U.S. military is assisting Saudi Arabia in bombing Yemeni families with U.S. weapons. The U.S. war in Afghanistan is being accepted as permanent. And the U.S. wars in Iraq and Libya left behind such hell that the U.S. government is hoping to use more war to “fix” it — and to add another overthrow in Syria.

Why will no candidate (in the two-party system) propose a serious reduction in military spending and war making, foreswear the use of killer drones, commit to making reparations to the nations recently attacked, or agree to join the International Criminal Court and to sign onto the many treaties limiting warfare on which the United States is a holdout? Because not enough of us have turned out and made noise, and brought new people into the movement.

Will you join us in New York City on March 13th to say “Money for Jobs and People’s Needs, not War! Rebuild Flint! Rebuild our Cities! End the wars! Defend the Black Lives Matter movement! Aid the world, stop bombing it!”

Peace Poets, Raymond Nat Turner, Lynne Stewart, Ramsey Clark, and other speakers will be there.

Will your organization help spread the word? Please let us know and get listed as part of this effort by emailing UNACpeace [at] gmail.com. Can you help in other ways? Have ideas for how to make this stronger? Please write to that same address.

In a presidential debate in December a moderator asked one of the candidates: “Could you order air strikes that would kill innocent children by not the scores, but the hundreds and the thousands? Could you wage war as a commander-in-chief? . . . You are OK with the deaths of thousands of innocent children and civilians?”

The candidate mumbled something in response instead of shouting Hell No, as any decent person was obliged to do and as we will do on the Day of Peace and Solidarity. How are your lungs? Ready to make some noise?



Source: Washingtonsblog

The candidates we deserve

by Ben Crystal

All right, kids. Before we go a step further down the rabbit hole, I just have to ask: Are we really doing this?

With 330 million Americans wandering about our vast fruited plain, at least 1 million or 2 million of whom might not be a complete presidential catastrophe, are we really going to choose between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for the position of Leader of the Free(ish) World?

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not necessarily averse to the idea. After all, eight years of President Barack Obama has me pretty well inured to the idea that the Oval Office could double for the main stage at the “Ha Ha Hut.” The Prince of Grant Park, propelled by unshakable belief in the teaching of such worthies as Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright and Karl Marx, has bumbled from scandal to scandal like an amateur Benny Hill. In fact, the only aspects of his tenure that have been less ridiculous than his ham-fisted attempts at dictatorin’ have been his marble-mouthed excuses therefore.

So maybe it’s appropriate that the two people vying for the title are likely to be:

  1. A loud-mouthed billionaire who has been bankrupt nearly as often as he’s been a Democrat; and campaigns – and lives – as if his entire existence is a reality TV show starring himself.
  2. A possibly-brain-damaged sociopath who has turned being married to an alleged rapist into an enormous amount of power and influence which she has neither earned nor shown any aptitude for handling in a positive manner.

At least Donald Trump’s ascendancy is entertaining. Say what you want about the man’s variable politics, apparent ignorance of serious governmental matters and dalliances with both the Clintons and the anti-life abortion movement, he is the living embodiment of Joseph de Maistre’s prescient axiom. An America that allows the constitutional excesses of the Obama administration, the fiscal excesses of the Bush administration and the everything excesses of the Clinton administration deserves the personal excesses of a guy who once hawked bottled water with his own picture on the label.

Under any other circumstances, Trump might be viewed as a brilliant buffoon; a fame-seeking savant who has erected a gaudy glass tower of a life (with his own name in lights, of course) through force of shameless will. As a presidential candidate, he’s a retort to the open warfare Obama and the political elite have waged on the rest us. They built a wall around Obama, deflecting every criticism of his disgraces with coded racial invective and outright dishonesty. In their zeal, they also built a candidate who is seemingly immune to their tactics.

Trump has lived at the center of a tabloid tornado for nearly 40 years. Stand or fall, succeed or fail, Trump has done it all by the credo that all publicity is good publicity. He hosted the Clintons at one of his weddings. He played a part in a long-running WWE storyline. He was even a Democrat. He’s about to be the Republican nominee for president of the United States. And he doesn’t care how you feel about that.

So what if a President Trump makes the rest of the world treat us like we’re their weird cousin? The rest of the world is already looking at us funny. Our Nobel Prize-winning president has spent seven years accusing law-abiding Americans being racist religious wacko terrorists, while sending their hard-earned money to actual racist religious wacko terrorists. That created a world in which we’re literally paying people to hate us. At least Trump won’t pretend to care what the rest of the world thinks when he tells them to get bent.

However, that could create a world in which America ends up more isolated than Kim Jong Un at NBA tryouts. And this is where I get hung up on Trump. While I like the idea of a president who is unapologetically brash, I’m not wild about the idea of a president who is unapologetically boorish. It’s a line Trump tends to see only in the rear view mirror. We need a thoroughbred. Trump often appears to be only the south end of the horse.

Of course, the only alternative the two major parties are offering is a woman who veers between being foggier than a retired bare-knuckles prizefighter and being meaner than the guy wearing the hockey mask in a teenage slasher flick.

On the plus side, she might not be criminally responsible for national security leaks which led directly to multiple murders. Unfortunately, that would require her being either one more bump on the head from drooling in her pudding, or as far behind the curve as a Victrola salesman in an Apple store.

She earned obscenely heavy stacks of cash from the fattest cats at Goldman Sachs and the bankster class, but somehow embarked on her latest presidential journey “dead broke.” That would require her being either greedier than George Soros, or as fiscally irresponsible as Kanye West.

After two and a half centuries of America, we’re down to a self-obsessed publicity hound who used to be a Democrat, or a self-important power hound who used to be a Republican. Neither one would be the first choice on any sane person’s presidential ballot. We’re probably not going to get the government we want. But don’t we deserve better?



Source: Personalliberty

China Communist Party Elder Speaks Out Against Censorship

Gordon G. Chang

ChinaCensorship (1)

Censorship has gone too far, contends Zhou Ruijin, 76, in an essay published in China in January and on Phoenix TV’s ifeng.com early this month. “To be frank, some leaders in the party’s propaganda department were managing the press like how they would manage a train schedule, directly intervening in the approach and procedure of news reporting,” he wrote.

Zhou, a leading liberal writer in the 1990s, attacked today’s propaganda chiefs for taking down offending websites and deleting postings, calling these actions contrary to the concept that the Communist Party govern the country according to law. Moreover, he condemned “waves of campaigns, strict clampdowns, and public shaming,” the last a reference to the parading of people making Cultural Revolution-style confessions on television.

“In a phase of social transition, it is normal that there are different views and discussions in the field of ideology, that the public air their own opinions on deepening reforms,” wrote Zhou. “They can only be guided, but not repressed.”

History, unfortunately, shows the Chinese people can, in fact, be repressed. The brutal Qin Shihuang, China’s first emperor known for burning books and burying scholars, said his dynasty would last forever. “From the second generation to the ten thousandth, my line will not end,” he boasted. It ended three years after his death.

The Chinese people can remain quiet for decades—and sometimes centuries—but then they erupt. Zhou’s prescription to avoid eruptions is to relax controls, but Xi Jinping, China’s ruler, has gone far in the other direction, first demanding obedience and now, uniformity. He has promoted “ideological purification” and brought Mao Zedong, the founder of the People’s Republic, back to the center of the country’s official discourse. In short, Xi promotes the policies that Zhou condemns.

Zhou’s critique is notable because he once served as deputy editor of People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s self-described mouthpiece, making him a leading figure in the state’s propaganda apparatus. Yet he recognizes that times have changed in China and that the 1950s-type information controls favored by Xi cannot succeed today.

As Xu Youyu, retired from the prestigious Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, notes, “No matter how hard the authorities want to suppress, they can’t just do what they want anymore because there is consensus in society on constitutional rule and the protection of free speech.”

The notion of a mass ruling organization, like the Communist Party, fulfilling its historical destiny has few adherents in China today. Although there are no reliable polls measuring political opinion in that country, it is nearly certain that by now most Chinese reject the one-party state as appropriate to their modernizing society. For now, party censorship, is tolerated, not supported and has few defenders outside the political elite.

The Chinese accept censorship only because they fear Xi Jinping’s coercion and repression. Zhou’s lone dissent is important because, at great personal risk, he is opening space that could broaden and embolden the national conversation.

Perhaps most important, Zhou shows us that the Chinese people can overcome fear. And in China, the loss of fear is the first step to progress.



Stalin’s Partisans in Ukraine

Alexander J. Motyl


Alexander Gogun’s excellent study, Stalin’s Commandos: Ukrainian Partisan Forces on the Eastern Front, sometimes reads like an analysis of Putin’s commandos in the eastern Donbas. In both cases, the official Moscow line was and is that they’re a popular movement generated by discontent from below. In fact, Stalin’s commandos, like Putin’s, were largely creatures of the Kremlin—a point Gogun, a Russian scholar currently based at the Free University in Berlin, makes forcefully, repeatedly, and convincingly.

Gogun details how the partisans were structured and led (from abroad), what they did (terrorism) and whom they fought (the Germans and Ukrainians), how they interacted with the local population (with abandon), what their behavior looked like (robbery, drunkenness, and rape), and how they compared with the Ukrainian nationalist insurgents, the UPA, and the Polish nationalist guerrillas, the Home Army (AK). One table (p. 160) has a wealth of information: the 11 largest units of the Soviet Ukrainian partisan movement consisted of 45,478 fighters. Just over 11 percent were killed; 2 percent were executed or deserted; 7 percent were women; 57 percent were Ukrainians, 25 percent were Russians, and only 13 percent were members of the Communist Party. Their job was not to defend the people, but to fight the Germans, regardless of the exceedingly high toll the local population paid for their actions. Both the UPA and AK, in contrast, were careful to defend the people they claimed to represent.

Unsurprisingly, Stalin’s commandos were most active in the forest and marsh regions of northern and northwestern Ukraine. That fact greatly contributed to one of the major secondary-theater wars during World War II: the bloody Ukrainian-Polish conflict in Volhynia. As Gogun’s evidence demonstrates, the presence of Soviet partisans in this volatile region populated by large numbers of indigenous Ukrainian peasants and many Poles, both indigenous and recent settlers, may have sparked the large-scale violence that engulfed both communities in mid-1943.

Ethnic relations were anything but simple in Volhynia. The Germans terrorized the Poles and Ukrainians and fought the UPA, AK, and the Soviets. Many Poles, and above all the AK, viewed Ukrainians in general and Ukrainian nationalists in particular as their sworn enemies and sympathized with the Soviets, especially after the Polish government-in-exile allied with Moscow by means of the Sikorski-Maisky Pact of July 30, 1941. Many Ukrainians, and above all Ukrainian nationalists, viewed Poles, the AK, and the Soviets as their sworn enemies and the Germans as their situational allies (in early 1941 and 1944) or their situational enemies (1941-1943). The Soviets regarded the Germans and Ukrainian nationalists as their enemies, mistrusted the Ukrainians, and viewed the Poles and the AK as situational allies.

Soviet propagandists and neo-Soviet scholars generally ascribe the UPA’s initiation of anti-Polish violence in mid-1943 to an innate proclivity to kill. The approach is racist and the evidence is unpersuasive, but more important, the story makes no sense as it excludes context. Thanks to Gogun, that context has been brought into focus. It’s highly likely that Ukrainian nationalist suspicions of Poles reached a boiling point and translated into ethnic cleansing just as Soviet partisans began expanding their influence and threatening Ukrainian positions in Volhynia in early 1943, while many Poles looked on, or appeared to look on, approvingly.

One of Gogun’s great virtues is to present this and other controversial issues objectively, without recourse to the sub rosa invective that frequently accompanies such narratives. His final chapter, a comparison of the UPA, AK, and the Soviet partisans, is especially useful, as it accomplishes what demonizers and hagiographers of these groups signally fail to do: provide a comparative analysis demonstrating that all three movements were guerrilla forces with pluses and minuses to their credit and detriment. All three could be brutal. All three resorted to extreme violence. And all three pursued wartime political agendas and none were simply crazed killers.

Gogun purposely shatters the Soviet mythology surrounding Stalin’s commandos, but he also reminds us that myth-making is inimical to good history and that good history always rests on detailed demonstrations of complexity appropriately contextualized. The high standard he sets is welcome.



Source: Worldaffairsjournal

Cities and towns across the US suffer lead poisoning rates worse than Flint

By Carlos Delgado

While the Flint water crisis has drawn international attention due to the magnitude of the disaster and the callous criminality of government officials involved, the high rates of lead poisoning in the Flint population are not unique. Countless cities and towns across the United States suffer from lead levels that are as high as what has been reported in Flint—and in many cases, far worse.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s 2014 figures, 18 Pennsylvania cities had a higher percentage of children with elevated blood lead levels than Flint. The highest rate was in the city of Allentown, where a staggering 23 percent of children tested had blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter, which is considered “elevated” by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). By contrast, the recent study done by Hurley Medical Center in Flint showed that the percentage of children with elevated blood lead levels had increased to 4 percent during the time that the city was using the Flint River as its water source, with high-risk zip codes showing rates of 6.3 percent.

The state of Pennsylvania as a whole showed an elevated blood lead level rate of 9.37 percent in children tested.

Although only 27 states reported their 2014 blood lead level figures to the CDC, 12 of those states had higher rates than Flint. Adrian, Michigan, reported a rate of 12 percent, and 10 Detroit ZIP codes had rates over 10 percent. The city of Rochester, New York, reported a rate of 7.4 percent. In New Jersey, 11 cities and two counties reported higher blood lead level rates than Flint.

The nationwide rate of lead poisoning is even more severe than these numbers suggest. The CDC considers the 5 micrograms per deciliter level to be “elevated,” but studies have shown that levels as low as 2 micrograms per deciliter can have a significant impact on a child’s cognitive development. It is widely accepted that there is no safe level of lead exposure.

While Flint residents were exposed to toxic amounts of lead due to contaminated tap water, many cities across the US attribute high rates of lead poisoning to lead-based paint exposure. Though the deleterious effects of leaded paint on children were scientifically described as early as 1904, the major lead companies and their trade organization, the Lead Industries Association (LIA), worked for decades to thwart legislation and suppress scientific evidence that lead exposure was causing severe and irreversible damage to scores of children worldwide. Due to the LIA’s efforts, millions of home interiors were coated with a deadly neurotoxin in order to boost lead companies’ profits.

Though lead-based paint was banned for interior use in the United States in 1978, an estimated 24 million homes still contain deteriorated lead-based paint. Children can become exposed to dangerous levels of lead by inhaling paint dust or consuming leaded paint chips, which have a distinctive sweet flavor. The exposure disproportionately affects those in poverty, since the most toxic homes will be older buildings in low-income neighborhoods. Residents in these areas often have little choice in where they live, and for many people toxic homes are the only ones that are affordable.

After noting that children who were treated for lead poisoning often saw their symptoms reappear once they returned home, Alfred Jefferis Turner, one of the first doctors to describe the effects of lead on children, called the disease “a toxicity of habitation.” Today it might be more accurately termed a toxicity of poverty.

Even homes that have supposedly been cleared of lead can hold risks. The Maryland Department of the Environment recently revealed that several homes that had been certified lead-free still contained dangerous amounts of lead-based paint. Some, it turns out, had not actually been inspected at all.

As federal funding for public health programs has been gutted in the wake of the 2008 financial crash, lead abatement programs have had their budgets slashed nationwide. Funding for the CDC’s lead poisoning prevention program was decimated in 2012, from $29 million to a paltry $1.9 million. The 2016 budget restored some of that funding, to $17 million, but that is still less than 60 percent of the 2012 level.

Meanwhile, dilapidated homes continue to poison their residents year after year as old buildings with toxic paint deteriorate. In recent years, states have filed lawsuits against companies that produced lead-based paint, arguing that, by knowingly distributing toxic materials into people’s homes, the companies’ actions constituted a “public nuisance.”

In 2006, a Rhode Island jury found against Sherwin-Williams, NL Industries and Millennium Holdings, ordering the companies to pay for cleanup in thousands of homes in the state. The Rhode Island Supreme Court overturned the verdict in 2008, however, stating, “However grave the problem of lead poisoning is in Rhode Island, public nuisance law simply does not provide a remedy for this harm.” Similar cases have failed in New Jersey and Missouri, and a California case is currently on appeal.

Worldwide, the World Health Organization estimates that lead exposure is responsible for 143,000 deaths every year, as well as 600,000 new cases of intellectual disabilities in children. The toxicity of the environment and the inability of bourgeois governmental bodies to protect people from the deadly effects of lead and other environmental hazards is one expression of the subordination of the health and wellbeing of working people to the interests of profit.



Source: Wsws

Lawless America

by Bob Livingston


America is a nation of thousands if not millions of laws, yet it is a lawless nation.

A lawless nation is no nation at all. It is merely a Third-world backwater where those in power who lord over the people and abuse them for their own gain, for the gain of the bureaucrat class, and for the benefit of the banksters and the crony corporations who fund the charade elections every two or four years.

So those thousands or millions of laws written “for our benefit” – at least that’s what we’re told each time another edict from the District of Criminals becomes “law” – are employed against us while those in power are given a pass on them. Beyond that, those in power make the laws arbitrary by enforcing them or not enforcing them on a whim.

Last week, Brandon Judd of the National Border Patrol Council told  a House Judiciary Committee that the Barack Obama Department of Homeland Security had instructed U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents to release illegal immigrants and no longer order them to appear at deportation hearings. The stand down order includes a requirement that the whereabouts of illegals not be tracked, the Washington Examiner reported.

Judd said the new policy was implemented because only about 40 percent of illegal aliens apprehended and given a Notice to Appear (NTA) before an immigration judge actually show up. The process became so farcical that Border Patrol agents began calling them Notices to Disappear.

So in order to avoid the embarrassment of admitting that 60 percent of all illegals apprehended fail to appear before an immigration judge as required, the DHS and the Attorneys from the Department of Just(us) decided that any illegals apprehended who had no felony convictions and who claim to have been in the U.S. since January 2014 are to be released without an NTA.

Judd further testified:

Not only do we release these individuals that by law are subject to removal proceedings, we do it without any means of tracking their whereabouts. Agents believe this exploitable policy was set in place because DHS was embarrassed at the sheer number of those who choose not to follow the law by showing up for their court appearances. In essence, we pull these persons out of the shadows and into the light just to release them right back to those same shadows from whence they came.

Let me give you an example from my sector in Montana. Several months ago we arrested an illegal alien with a felony domestic violence arrest from another state. He was released because his trial had not occurred and therefore had not been convicted. Mind you he had not been acquitted either but we had to let him go all the same.

Under the law he should have been set up for removal proceedings, but under the policy he was let go. And he was let go even though he first proved that he cared so little about our laws that he entered the United States illegally, and once here, he proved further disdain by getting arrested for a serious violent act against another. What did we teach him and everyone else he undoubtedly told about his experience? We taught him our laws mean very little, but policies mean everything.

It is now painfully clear that the most corrupt woman in the history of politics, Hillary Pantsuit, has violated numerous U.S. laws regarding handling classified information, and done so hundreds if not thousands of times.

General David Petraeus received two years probation and a $100,000 fine for mishandling classified materials. Kankles Clinton, meanwhile has exchanged and stored the most top secret – far beyond classified — of materials from and on an unsecured homebrew server.

The scandal is dogging her presidential campaign and has once again reminded that part of America that doesn’t walk around with Clinton-blinders on just how unscrupulous, conniving and criminal the Clintons and their cadre are. To hear the “conservative” media tell it, Clinton is on the verge of an indictment and if an indictment doesn’t come soon, muckity-mucks running the FBI are threatening resignation.

But hold on, now, in drip, drip fashion comes word that Secretary of State John (Kohn) Kerry and former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell also used private emails to send classified information, and even President Barack Obama replied to emails from the Pantsuit’s private server. In other words, everybody does it, so what would land Average Joe or Average Jane in the clink is just another day at the office for royalty. Obviously if Kerry, Kankles, Rice, Powell and Obama all “broke the law,” the law must be flawed and therefore ignored. And if Obama is somehow complicit in the email scandal there is certainly no chance the Department of Just(us) is going to purse the case.

The breakdown of law and order begins at the top and festers down from there. We see it manifest itself in out-of-control government alphabet soup agencies targeting citizens and destroying the evidence, in the wanton murder of citizen “criminal suspects” by the police, who are subsequently given a pass for their crimes, in the FBI program allowing its informants to operate outside the law  and in the president’s policies — supported by the Republican establishment — of willfully violating U.S. immigration laws in order to destroy the nation as I outlined here and here.

Totalitarianism evolves from the breakdown of law and order through a synthetic and secretly directed make-believe democratic process. The breakdown of law and order is a political cancer that must be concealed in order to extend the system until the rape is over. Concealing the breakdown of law and order in the United States is of the very highest priority. It is the hidden national agenda.

Man, his work ethic, his spirit, his emotions, his duty and his morality are all distorted in the latter days. There is no more terra firma; all is quicksand. The debasement of morality is no surprise to the discerning. I and others have been foretelling it.

So what is the difference between the breakdown of law and order in the U.S. and Nazi Germany?

Germany had the overt symbols of tyranny and the transfer of the democratic process to the police state. There was the jackboot authority shrouded with the occult swastika. It was despotism in full regalia. Institutional life took on militarism and the harsh discipline of a police state.

America still has all the symbols of liberty and all the trappings of human freedom. It is what I term benevolent totalitarianism. It is totalitarianism made palatable with a democratic aura. Benevolent totalitarianism does not kill with the firing squad. It does so much more slowly.



Source: Personalliberty

West Coast US cities sue Monsanto over toxic chemicals

By Genevieve Leigh

Last week, Seattle, Washington became the latest addition to the list of cities filing lawsuits against multinational corporation Monsanto, joining San Diego, San Jose, Oakland and Berkeley in California, along with Spokane, Washington. These efforts, led by San Diego-based law firm Gomez Trial Attorneys, aim to extract tens of millions of dollars from the agrochemical company for knowingly promoting the severely hazardous line of polychlorinated biphenyls, more commonly known as PCBs.

The Seattle lawsuit holds the corporation responsible for PCB contamination that finds its way into the city’s stormwater that flows into the Lower Duwamish River, designated a federal Superfund site because of its high levels of pollution and the high cost of cleanup.

These lawsuits are based on a precedent set last year in a California case against lead paint manufacturers in which the prosecution, after a 12-year legal battle, won a $1.15 billion judgment using a new application of California’s “public nuisance” law. Under the ruling, liability was imposed against the defendant companies because they had actively sold and promoted lead paint with actual or constructive knowledge about its health hazards. Through this same framework it has become possible to build a case against Monsanto for actions taken over 50 years ago.

In previous legal suits, (namely in Alabama, where the company had a chemical production plant), evidence was produced from internal Monsanto reports dating to the 1960s and 1970s. The reports confirmed the company’s knowledge that PCBs were causing health problems in its workforce and becoming an environmental contaminant. The company, however, continued to produce the profitable compounds.

Monsanto has faced numerous attacks over the past few decades for its alleged disregard for society and the environment. The company, along with Dow Chemical, was known for its production of Agent Orange during the Vietnam war as well as its role in the development of nuclear weapons under the Manhattan Project.

In an effort to create a better public image and avoid liabilities from its industrial chemical business, Monsanto spun off its industrial chemical and fiber divisions into a company called Solutia in 1997. For their part, officials from Monsanto claim that the company has been exclusively focused on agriculture over the past decade and has no responsibility in the current lawsuit for the chemicals produced and sold by the company that was initially formed in 1901.

Manufacturing of PCBs began in 1929. The chemicals were largely produced in the post-war period as wartime chemical companies refocused their attention on domestic uses. In the next four decades, close to 600,000 tons of the toxins were produced in the United States almost exclusively by Monsanto, until their ultimate prohibition by US Congress in 1979. Production of PCBs continued by other companies in various parts of the world until the 1990s. These chemicals were used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications, including transformers, paints, caulk, flame retardants and pesticides, just to name a few.

As a result of their tendency to spread quickly and easily through air, water, river sediments, and animal ingestion, the contaminants have been found in virtually every corner of the world, including the Arctic, where the polar bear population was affected.

In areas with high concentrations of PCBs, which include but are not limited to the major cities involved in the lawsuits, overwhelming populations of fish, birds and mammals were found to have levels of “chronic toxicity.” This condition has resulted in developmental complications, reproductive failure and mass death rates, causing major disruptions in many ecosystems, most notably in San Francisco Bay.

The unique set of properties of PCBs, namely their non-flammability, chemical and thermal stability and high boiling point, means they do not readily break down once released into the environment. These chemicals tend to build up in animal fat, with increasing density going up the food chain, often ending in human consumption. The Environmental Protection Agency has acknowledged that ingestion of products with high levels of PCBs, in addition to causing cancer, also have been proven to cause neurological disorders, and toxic effects on the human immune system, reproductive system, nervous system and endocrine system.

It should be noted however that the lawsuits will not demand any reparations for the people affected by these toxins, but instead will be limited to monetary compensation exclusively for local governments to use in a limited cleanup of environmental damage.

Outrage at the irresponsible, criminal behavior of companies such as Monsanto is a healthy and understandable reaction to such events. However, the ongoing legal efforts are not likely to spring from such motivations and will in any case prove completely unable to redress the problem.

Even a victory in these cases will primarily serve to line the pockets of Gomez Trial Attorneys and the corrupt local city governments that are in fact routinely complicit in similar crimes, so blatantly exposed currently in the ongoing Flint water crisis. Any money won through this lawsuit, assuming it is used appropriately, will not even come close to repairing the vast social and environmental damages caused by Monsanto and similar corporations over the past century.

Predictably, these legal proceedings are being hailed as a victory by various corporate media. In a San Diego Union Tribune article absurdly titled “Monsanto lawsuits unnerve corporate America,” the author, Joshua Smith, writes, “In a move that might give corporate America chills, a San Diego-led legal team is testing a strategy aimed at expanding companies’ liability for cleaning up pollutants.”

In reality, even if the San Diego law firm is successful in securing damages from this particular firm, corporate America, far from being unnerved or wracked with “chills,” will emerge virtually unscathed by these legal proceedings. The capitalist system’s drive for profit, which led Monsanto to essentially poison the environment and society in the first place, will continue unabated. The crises created by capitalism, environmental and otherwise, cannot be solved through the legal avenues provided by the same system which creates these problems.

This situation, like that of Flint Michigan, the 2014 nuclear reactor explosions in Japan, the historic oil spills of 2010, the ongoing global warming crisis, and the many other environmental catastrophes experienced over the last century, expose again and again the much larger systemic problem characterized by today’s irrational organization of society.

The critical environmental issues facing humanity today cannot be solved by corporate lawsuits, moral appeals to the uninterested political establishment, or through any charade of multi-national collaborative “efforts,” but instead can only be addressed on the basis of a rationally organized socialist society.



Source: Wsws

More than 1 million in US face food stamps cutoff

By Kate Randall

More than 1 million low-income people across the United States could soon lose their government food stamp benefits if they fail to meet work requirements. The threatened mass cutoff of the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits constitutes a vindictive bipartisan attack on some of the nation’s poorest and most vulnerable residents.

A Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) report last month predicted 500,000 to 1 million people would be cut off of SNAP benefits in 2016 due to the return in many areas of a three-month limit on benefits for unemployed adults aged 18-49 who are not disabled or raising minor children.

The SNAP cutoffs loom as hunger and food insecurity continue to rise sharply. According to the most recent statistics from Feeding America, a food bank network, a staggering 48.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households in 2014, including 32.8 million adults and 15.3 million children.

US food banks gave away about 4 billion pounds of food last year, double the amount a decade earlier. Social service providers and food pantries are bracing for an influx of hungry people in response to the SNAP rule change.

Following the financial crisis in 2008, virtually every US state qualified for waivers from the three-month limit due to high unemployment rates. On the basis of the supposedly improving economy, these waivers expired in 21 US states in January. The cutoffs are being implemented a month after the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that more than a quarter of the 7.9 million US unemployed have been jobless for more than six months.

Based on experience in other states where waivers expired last year, the Associated Press now predicts most people will not meet the work requirements and that the number kicked off benefits could top 1 million. Individuals facing cutoff include about 300,000 in Florida, 150,000 in Tennessee and 11,000 in North Carolina. Some of the 21 states, including these three, could have applied for partial waivers for counties with high unemployment rates but chose not to do so.

“The people affected by this are very poor,” Elizabeth Lower-Basch of the Washington DC-based Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) told the WSWS. “These are by definition people who aren’t working more than about 20 hours a week.”

According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which administers SNAP, about 4.7 million SNAP recipients are deemed able-bodied without dependents, and only 1 in 4 of these has any income from a job. Data from the USDA shows these individuals have gross income averages of 17 percent of the official poverty line, or about $2,000 per year for a household of one in 2015. Beneficiaries receive an average paltry benefit of $164 a month.

The harsh “work for food” requirements were first introduced for SNAP under the 1996 welfare reform bill signed into law by President Clinton and sponsored by then-US Rep. John Kasich, who is now Ohio’s governor and a Republican candidate for president. In 2014, President Obama signed a bill that included $8.6 billion in cuts to SNAP. The temporary 14 percent increase in SNAP benefits passed by Congress in 2009 ended completely in November 2013.

The provision applies to “able-bodied” adults, ages 18-49, who have no children or other dependents in their homes. Such individuals must work, volunteer or attend education or job-training courses at least 80 hours a month. If they don’t, their benefits are cut off after three months.

Looking for work does not qualify as an exemption from the three-month cutoff. “Another major concern is that states are not required to offer people an opportunity to participate, to keep their benefits,” Lower-Basch said. “It’s one thing to say you’re going to have a work requirement to keep your benefits, but we’re going to offer you an opportunity to participate, and if you don’t you’re going to lose your benefits. But people can be cut off without being offered the opportunity.”

In the states that have already imposed the work requirements, a majority of people have been cut off benefits. In Wisconsin, which began phasing in the work provision last spring, two-thirds of the 22,500 adults subject to the change were dropped from the rolls three months later for failing to meet the requirements.

North Carolina, led by Republican Governor Pat McCrory, enacted a law last fall accelerating the work requirements. The bill further barred the state from seeking any waivers in the future unless there is a natural disaster.

State Sen. Ralph Hise claims that providing SNAP benefits beyond three months diminishes people’s job prospects. “People are developing gaps on their resumes, and it’s actually making it harder for individuals to ultimately find employment,” he said. Such preposterous statements fly in the face of the reality faced by those standing to lose their SNAP benefits.

According to the CBPP report, SNAP beneficiaries subject to the three-month cutoff are more likely than other SNAP recipients to lack basic job skills like reading, writing and basic mathematics. And the jobless rate for people without a high school diploma, who make up about a quarter of non-disabled childless adults on SNAP, have double the unemployment rate of those with at least a high school diploma.

While the state and federal governments paint SNAP recipients as lazy and unnecessarily reliant on government handouts, many in the group facing benefit expiration have serious physical and mental health problems despite being identified as able to work.

The Ohio Association of Foodbanks found that 30 percent of those participating in the Work Experience Program in Franklin County to maintain their SNAP benefits reported a physical or mental health limitation, despite being classified as an able-bodied adult without dependents (ABAWD). The most common mental health limitations reported by clients included depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and addiction.

CLASP’s Lower-Basch said that due to state government underfunding and bureaucracy, many people who should qualify for an exemption from the cutoff don’t receive one. “One of the big concerns is that people who may have disabilities or work limitations, if they’re not receiving Social Security disability benefits, may not know that they have a disability,” she said.

She added that because many people now apply for benefits online it means that “many clients are never sitting across the table from a caseworker, who might look at them and say we should figure out what exemption you meet because you’re clearly not able to participate.”

The Ohio Association of Foodbanks asked those who lost benefits: “How are you providing food for yourself in the absence of food benefits?” In response, 80 percent said that they depended on food pantries and family support. Others said they relied on soup kitchens, homeless shelters and churches.

A sizeable proportion, 18 percent, responded that they got food by asking strangers, panhandling and dumpster diving. Only 21.3 percent of those studied reported being under a doctor’s care, and many clients explicitly reported not being able to afford the medication they have been prescribed.

While the US expends $609.9 billion a year on the military, prosecuting an endless series of wars around the globe, Obama’s fiscal year 2016 budget proposal included a mere $83.692 billion for SNAP, which presently serves an average caseload of 45.7 million Americans, almost 15 percent of the population.

The growing and unbridgeable gulf between the rich and poor in 21st century America finds one of its most noxious expressions in the drive by the ruling elite to slash minimal food assistance to some of the nation’s poorest and most vulnerable. While the presidential candidates in both big business parties trip over themselves to support the “war on terror” and the drive to war, the potential cutoff of 1.1 million people from food stamps receives no mention.



Source: Wsws

Hearing scheduled to consider injunction against protesting Detroit teachers

By Jerry White

Twenty-three teachers, defendants in a case filed by the emergency manager of the Detroit Public Schools (DPS), have been ordered to appear before a judge Monday morning to answer accusations that they engaged in and/or encouraged others to engage in an “illegal strike.”

Hundreds of teachers have participated in “sickouts” over the last several months to protest deplorable conditions in the schools and escalating attacks on their jobs and living standards by DPS Emergency Manager Darnell Earley. These culminated in the largest protests to date on Wednesday, when 865 teachers called in sick, closing 88 of the district’s 97 schools the same day President Obama visited Detroit.

On Thursday, Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Cynthia Diane Stephens, citing technical grounds, denied an initial request from Earley for a temporary restraining order to halt further protests. Judge Stephens scheduled a “show cause” hearing on Monday where school authorities will make the case for her to grant a preliminary injunction barring further protests.

A spokeswoman for the court told the World Socialist Web Site that a “notice to appear” had been mailed to all defendants for the hearing, which will be held at the Detroit Court of Appeals. The outcome of the hearing will determine if the case proceeds, she said, and if the injunction is granted, it is entirely up to Judge Stephens to determine what the appropriate penalties would be for its violation.

In addition to a temporary restraining order, a preliminary injunction and a permanent injunction “enjoining defendants from continuing strikes and inducing others to strike,” the DPS complaint requests that the court assess “damages in an amount over $25,000, and any other relief the Court deems appropriate.”

With the teachers enjoying popular support and the state already enmeshed in a political crisis over the Flint water crisis, which involves the same emergency manager who now runs the DPS schools, the judge decided to delay a direct confrontation with teachers. Instead she has given more time to the Detroit Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers to contain and strangle the protests.

Before Obama’s visit, the AFT was in close contact with the administration about the protests. In recent days, various Democratic Party politicians, from Detroit Mayor Duggan to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, have feigned support for the teachers. This has prompted union officials to tell teachers that “their voices have finally been heard” and it is time to stop the job actions.

The lawsuit contains an extra incentive to the unions by naming the Detroit Federation of Teachers and both its current and former local president, Ivy Bailey and Steve Conn—as defendants.

If the unions are unable to suppress the protests, the courts and the entire political establishment are prepared to use fines and even more punitive measures to make an example of the teachers and try to silence working-class opposition.

The nearly two-dozen defendants include veteran teachers who have been outspoken in exposing rodent- and roach-infested classrooms without heat, decaying school buildings, the severe teacher shortage and high class sizes. They have used social media to expose the precarious situation facing educators who have suffered a decade-long wage freeze while seeing a 124 percent increase in out-of-pocket health care expenses.

After years in which the DFT collaborated with successive emergency managers to impose these conditions, rank-and-file teachers decided to take matters in their own hands and launch the protests independently of the DFT. Some were organized in the group DPS Teachers Fight Back, which is listed as a defendant in the legal complaint.

Former DFT President Conn and his group, Detroit Strike to Win, are also targeted for legal action. While Conn has sought to take credit for the protests, in a bid to regain the presidency of the union, he has little credibility among teachers after years of promoting racial politics and carrying out unprincipled maneuvers with the Democratic Party. A call by Conn for further sickouts Thursday received no support.

Under Michigan’s reactionary laws, strikes by public employees are illegal. If the bipartisan Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) determines that individual teachers violated the state’s law, it can impose fines on a teacher equal to one day’s pay, plus $5,000 for each full or partial day of school missed.

On Thursday, Michigan Republicans in the state legislature proposed and promised to quickly pass legislation that would make it easier to define sickouts as illegal strikes. The legislation would reduce the 60-day deadline for the employment commission to conduct a hearing on complaints to two days.

“If our current state law isn’t sufficient to prevent activists from hurting kids, it’s time we strengthen it,” said Republican Sen. Phil Pavlov said.

While scrambling to hold on to his job and stay out of jail, Governor Rick Snyder took time to denounce teachers. Asked by CBS News what his message to teachers was, Snyder said, “I would hope you would stop harming the children. I appreciate the fact that people have strong feelings on different issues. But to do it at the expense of affecting the school day for the children, I don’t think that’s appropriate.”

Former Flint emergency manager and now the EM over the Detroit schools, Darnell Earley added to the hypocrisy, denouncing teachers for taking away “another day of instruction” for Detroit students.

In reality, teachers are championing the rights of students for a high quality public education. In this, teachers are fighting not only Snyder, Earley, Duggan & Co. but the Obama administration, which has overseen the destruction of 300,000 teacher jobs, the mass closing of public schools and the near doubling of charter school enrollment. They are also fighting the DFT and AFT, which function as full partners in imposing corporate “school reform.”

Responding to the threats of injunctions and fines, a Detroit teacher said, “Teachers have the right to speak out. That’s our First Amendment. We have the right to say what we want and to post on social media what we want. They were getting away with so much evil that they became overconfident.

“I am proud that no entity will control us. The AFT/DFT thought we were stupid. They have their marching orders and their political connections. What I like is that the teachers only trusted each other. We have a long history of fighting.”

Workers must defend the Detroit teachers and oppose any legal witch-hunt against them.



Source: Wsws