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‘Morally Bankrupt’: After Tax Cuts for Richest, House GOP Unveils $5.4 Trillion Attack on Nation’s Safety Net

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Image Credit: Gage Skidmore on Flickr

By Jake Johnson, staff writer | Common Dreams

With the nation’s attention rightly fixated on President Donald Trump’s horrific treatment of immigrant children, House Republicans on Tuesday quietly unveiled their 2019 budget proposal that calls for $537 billion in cuts to Medicare, $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid, and four billion in cuts to Social Security over the next decade in an effort to pay for their deficit-exploding tax cuts for the wealthy.

“It’s morally bankrupt, patently absurd, and grossly un-American,” the advocacy group Patriotic Millionaires said of the GOP’s budget proposal, which calls for $5.4 trillion in spending cuts from major domestic programs.

Robert Greenstein, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), argued in a statement that the Republican proposal demonstrates clearly shows the “House majority’s fiscal priorities haven’t changed.”

“It’s easy to become numb to the harshness of these budgets and to brush aside their policy implications based on the assumption (likely correct) that few, if any, of these policies will be enacted this year,” Greenstein said. “But this budget reflects where many congressional leaders—and the president—would like to take the country if they get the opportunity to enact these measures in the years ahead. Rather than help more families have a shot at the American dream, it asks the most from those who have the least, and it would leave our nation less prepared for the economic and other challenges that lie ahead.”

Progressives have been warning for months about the GOP’s plan to axe crucial safety net programs following the passage of its deeply unpopular $1.5 trillion tax bill, which has sparked a boom of corporate stock buybacks while doing little to nothing for most American workers.

“Each GOP budget is more fraudulent than the last,” Seth Hanlon, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, wrote on Tuesday. “We know what they stand for: tax cuts paid for with healthcare cuts.”

In addition to proposing devastating safety net cuts, the House GOP budget also calls for partial privatization of Medicare and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, a move that would throw tens of millions off their health insurance.

“The 2019 Republican budget scraps any sense of responsibility to the American people and any obligation to being honest,” Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), the ranking member on the House Budget committee, said in a statement on Tuesday. “Its repeal of the Affordable Care Act and extreme cuts to healthcare, retirement security, anti-poverty programs, education, infrastructure, and other critical investments are real and will inflict serious harm on American families.”


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California Senate Passes Revolutionary Bill to Bypass Federal Reserve, Create Cannabis Banking Industry

By Matt Agorist | The Free Thought Project

Sacramento, CA — In states with legal marijuana, dispensaries and retailers are forced to operate in legal gray areas because the federal government still wants to lock people in cages for possessing this plant. One particularly troublesome aspect of this prohibition is that legal marijuana business cannot accept credit cards and are blocked from using traditional banks. Thanks to a new bill in California, however, all that could be about to change.

In January, Sen. Bob Hertzberg, (D-Van Nuys), along with a bipartisan coalition of nine cosponsors, introduced Senate Bill 930 (SB930) which would create a self-contained banking industry solely for the cannabis industry inside the state of California.

Last week, the California Senate passed the bill. If the bill makes it through final approval, the implications are revolutionary and would aid in further nullifying the federal prohibition of cannabis.

Passage of SB930 would bypass the federal banking system entirely and pave the way for competition in the industry outside of federal control. The current system makes it against the law for banks to accept money from what the federal government considers “illegal activity” even though the state has legalized it. The federal government can and likely would prosecute banks who service the cannabis industry under the Bank Secrecy Act, the USA Patriot Act, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

As the Tenth Amendment Center reports, under the proposed law, the state would license “cannabis limited charter banks and credit unions.” Cannabis businesses would be able to deposit funds in these institutions and write checks on their accounts for limited purposes, including paying state or local fees and taxes, rent on property associated with a cannabis business, paying vendors, or buying state or local bonds or warrants. These checks could only be deposited or cashed at the issuing cannabis limited charter bank or credit union, or another cannabis limited charter bank or credit union that agrees to accept the check, keeping them outside of the federal checking system known as the automatic clearing house (ACH).

These cannabis banks would not be allowed to interact with regular banks or credit unions. Instead, they would form their own banking networks and would also be allowed to provide accounts to people and other entities outside of the cannabis industry.

“The status quo for our growing legal cannabis industry is unsustainable,” Hertzberg said in a press release. “It’s not only impractical from an accounting perspective, but it also presents a tremendous public safety problem. This bill takes a limited approach to provide all parties with a safe and reliable way to move forward on this urgent issue.”

Showing the overwhelming support for such measures, the bill passed the senate and received only 6 nays. SB930 will now move to the Assembly for further consideration.

As the Free Thought Project previously reported, cryptocurrencies are also stepping up to free the cannabis industry from federal banking control.

As TFTP reported last month, since blockchain technology is still developing, the point of sale options for retail locations have been slim, but a new platform called Alt Thirty-Six is hoping to change that.

Alt Thirty-Six has since announced a partnership with the cannabis software company WebJoint, which they say will allow for more widespread cryptocurrency adoption in cannabis retail locations thourghout the United States, not just California.

“Our goal at Alt Thirty-Six—to bring secure digital payment solutions to the cannabis industry—perfectly aligns with WebJoint’s innovative, cannabis-specific software technology. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with [WebJoint], providing more cannabis businesses with access to our platform and changing the way the industry as a whole handles payments,” Alt Thirty-Six CEO Ken Ramirez said in a statement.

The service will not be using Bitcoin since the legacy blockchain of the pioneer crypto has been riddled with scaling problems that have resulted in high fees and slow transactions. Instead, these services will utilize Dash, a top cryptocurrency that works much better for point of sale payment systems due to its high speed and low cost.

What the bill in California and the Dash projects illustrate is the ability of ingenuity and innovation to create new systems to foster change. Instead of merely trying to tear down the old systems, thinkers and innovators build new ones which show the obsolescence of the old.

Article Source: The Free Thought Project




UN Report on US: 40 Million Live In Poverty, 18.5 Million In Extreme Poverty & Government Is Deliberately Making Things Worse

A homeless person in front of the Statue of Liberty. (Credit: 123rf.com)

By John M. Repp | Common Dreams

Philip Alston is the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. He traveled to the United States last December to some of our most destitute communities such as Skid Row in LA, poor African American areas in the Alabama, impoverished coal communities in West Virginia and to Puerto Rico. He issued his report on June 1, 2018. It should be front page news.

The report is a terrible indictment of our country and of the Trump Administration. Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel prize winning economist told The Guardian“This administration inherited a bad situation with inequality in the U.S. and is now fanning the flames and worsening the situation. What is so disturbing is that Trump, rather than taking measures to ameliorate the problem, is taking measures to aggravate it.” The U.S. has one in four of the world’s billionaires. But we also have 40 million citizens who live in poverty. Five million live in the absolute deprivation we usually associate with the developing world. Four in ten Americans are so broke that they could not cover an emergency expense of $400 without selling something or borrowing.

The symptoms of the devastating inequality here include Americans now living shorter and sicker lives than citizens of other rich democracies. Life expectancy is down two years in a row. Tropical diseases are on the rise. Our incarceration rate remains the highest in the world (yes, we are exceptional!). Voter registration levels are among the lowest in industrialized countries: 64% of our citizens are registered (fewer vote) compared to 91% in Canada and the UK and 99% in Japan.

As another measure of how much of an outlier in the advanced world the U.S. has become, we can look at the fact that in 1980 the top 1% of the population in the U.S. and Europe held about 10% of the national income. But in 2017, the top 1% in Europe edged up to 12% of national income, but in the U.S. the top 1% grabs up to 20% and rising.

The Trump Administration is making inequality worse. First with the tax cut that rewarded the wealthiest individuals and companies. Then, Trump and the Republicans are stripping healthcare benefits, food stamps and cutting housing subsidies for the poorest Americans. The UN report says the assumption among the politicians who support these cruel policies is that the poor are lazy, don’t want to work, and are dedicated to defrauding the welfare system. Several officials in the government told Alston that scamming the system was rampant but presented no evidence for this assertion.

Instead of the corporate media basically ignoring the UN report, there should be screaming headlines. This report is a wakeup call. Now we need mass and vocal support for policies such as a Federal job guarantee (locally administered), free healthcare and education for all and help for former prisoners to reintegrate back into society.


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Other Countries Expect More of Their Leaders. So Should We.

“Our leaders have apparently judged that we either don’t need — or don’t deserve — things like an adequate standard of living and universal health care.” (Photo: Otherwords)

By Mona Younis | Common Dreams

Are we Americans unworthy? That’s certainly the message we’re getting from our government.

Over 40 percent of us are poor or low-income. How is that possible in the wealthiest country in history?

“The United States is alone among developed countries in insisting that while human rights are of fundamental importance,” explains UN rapporteur on poverty Philip Alston, “they do not include rights that guard against dying of hunger, dying from a lack of access to affordable health care, or growing up in a context of total deprivation.”

Alston says that “the persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power” — which means that “with political will, it could readily be eliminated.” Unfortunately, our government’s political will is increasingly exercised to make things more, not less, difficult for us.

Most Americans don’t know it, but in 1977 the U.S. actually signed an international treaty called the UN Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, which mandates government responsibility to ensure their citizens do more than merely survive. Unfortunately, one U.S. administration after the other has completely disregarded it, and Congress never ratified it.

Our leaders have apparently judged that we either don’t need — or don’t deserve — things like an adequate standard of living and universal health care. As one dizzy U.S. congressman claims, “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.”

164 countries have ratified the treaty, but ours won’t. Are their people more deserving than we are? Is it something we’ve done?

It can’t be because we’re doing fine without those rights.

I mean, look at our minimum wage. There isn’t a “single county or metropolitan area,” as a Guardian report put it, where a minimum wage can get you a “modest two-bedroom home, which the federal government defines as paying less than 30 percent of a household’s income for rent and utilities.”

The price we pay for this disregard for our fundamental human rights begins at the beginning of our lives. Indeed, many of us struggle to survive to our first birthday. Citing figures from the Centers for Disease Control, the Washington Post declared our infant mortality rate “a national embarrassment,” noting that it’s higher “than any of the other 27 wealthy countries.”

That’s painful enough. But they went on: “Despite health care spending levels that are significantly higher than any other country in the world, a baby born in the U.S. is less likely to see his first birthday than one born in Hungary, Poland, or Slovakia. Or in Belarus. Or in Cuba, for that matter.”

Sad!

And a recent UNICEF assessment of how children are faring found the U.S. near the bottom of 41 rich countries when it came to meeting goals on child poverty, hunger, health, and education.

Tragic!

Well, there’s an important difference between us and other prosperous countries: Their citizens expect and demand more of their governments than we do of ours. And governments do only as much as their citizens expect — not more! So why do we accept so little from ours? How have we come to deem ourselves less worthy than others?


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Twelve Tips For Making Sense Of Our World

By Caitlin Johnstone

In an environment that is saturated with mass media propaganda, it can be hard to figure out which way’s up, let alone get an accurate read on what’s going on in the world. Here are a few tips I’ve learned which have given me a lot of clarity in seeing through the haze of spin and confusion. Taken separately they don’t tell you a lot, but taken together they paint a very useful picture of the world and why it is the way it is.

1. It’s always ultimately about acquiring power.

In the quest to understand why governments move in such irrational ways, why expensive, senseless wars are fought while homeless people die of exposure on the streets, why millionaires and billionaires get richer and richer while everyone else struggles to pay rent, why we destroy the ecosystem we depend on for our survival, why one elected official tends to advance more or less the same harmful policies and agendas as his or her predecessor, people often come up with explanations which don’t really hold water.

The most common of these is probably the notion that all of these problems are due to the malignant influence of one of two mainstream political parties, and if the other party could just get in control of the situation all the problems would go away. Other explanations include the belief that humans are just intrinsically awful, blaming minorities like Jews or immigrants, blaming racism and white supremacy, or going all the way down wild and twisted rabbit holes into theories about reptilian secret societies and baby-eating pedophile cabals. But really all of mankind’s irrational behavior can be explained by the basic human impulse to amass power and influence over one’s fellow humans, combined with the fact that sociopaths tend to rise to positions of power.

Our evolutionary ancestors were pack animals, and the ability to rise in social standing in one’s pack determined crucial matters like whether one got first or last dibs on food or got to reproduce. This impulse to rise in our pack is hardwired deeply into our evolutionary heritage, but when left unchecked due to a lack of empathy, and when expanded into the globe-spanning 7.6 billion human pack we now find ourselves in due to ease of transportation and communication, it can lead to individuals who will keep amassing more and more power until they wield immense influence over entire clusters of nations.

2. Money rewards sociopathy.

The willingness to do anything to get ahead, to claw your way to the top, to betray whomever you need to, to throw anyone under the bus, to step on anyone to pass them in the rat race, will be rewarded in our current system. Being willing to underpay employees, cheat the legal system, and influence legislators will be rewarded exponentially more. People with a sense of empathy are often unwilling to do such things, whereas sociopaths and psychopaths are. About four percent of the population are sociopaths, and about one percent are psychopaths, with some five to fifteen percent falling somewhere along the borderline. The less empathy you have, the further you are willing to go, and the further up the ladder you can climb.

3. Wealth kills empathy.

If that weren’t bad enough, studies have shown that controlling large amounts of wealth actually destroys one’s sense of compassion for one’s fellow man. When you are able to use wealth to obtain everything from security to loyalty to personal relationships, you no longer have to be tuned in to the brain’s empathy center the rest of humanity depends on to get an accurate reading on what’s going on with the people we’re surrounded by. Most people need to be constantly feeling around their families, coworkers, employers, friends and acquaintances in order to ensure their own safety, social standing and security, whereas a wealthy person can simply purchase those things. Being born into wealth or having it for a long time can prevent that sense of empathy from being as strong as it is in the rest of the population.

4. Money is power.

2014 Princeton study showed that ordinary Americans have essentially zero influence over their nation’s policy and behavior regardless of how they vote, while wealthy Americans have a great deal of influence. This is because the ability to use corporate lobbying and campaign donations effectively amounts to the legalized bribery of elected officials, which means that money translates directly into political power. This creates a ruling class which is naturally incentivized to use their influence to increase their own wealth while decreasing everyone else’s, because since power is relative, the less money everyone else has the more power the ruling class has.

This is why billionaires keep hoarding more and more wealth while using legalized bribery to stifle economic justice legislation. It isn’t because they want to be able to buy thousands of luxury cars or dozens of private jets; they can only use one at a time the same as everyone else. They hoard wealth to keep the rest of the population from having it. Because money equals power, spreading wealth around would be tantamount to making everyone king, and because power is relative, making everyone king would mean that no one is king.

Rulers, historically, do not give up power easily, and this elite wealthy class is no exception. Hence all their aggressive attempts to suppress any movement against the status quo from the unwashed masses.

5. This same ruling class controls the media.

It’s common knowledge that most media is controlled by plutocrats, whether it’s the old money plutocrats who control the legacy media or the new money Silicon Valley plutocrats who control much of the new media. Media control is an essential component of rule; this has always been the case, since the days when kings would order dissident books burned and bishops would torture dissident orators to death. This is why the first thing a new plutocrat does as soon as rising to a certain level of wealth is start buying up media influence, like Jeff Bezos did when he bought the Washington Post in 2013. Bezos bought WaPo not because he is a stupid businessman who thought newspapers were about to make a lucrative resurgence, but because he is a brilliant businessman who knows that the status quo he is building his empire upon requires a propaganda firm that the public will trust and believe.

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‘Dark Moment of Shame’: With Explicit US Backing, Saudi Attack on Yemen’s Humanitarian Lifeline Begins


By Jake Johnson, staff writer | Common Dreams

With a “green light” from the Trump administration and essential military support from the U.S. government, Saudi-led forces plowed ahead with an assault on the Yemeni port city of Hodeida on Wednesday, brushing aside dire warnings from international humanitarian organizations and a small group of American lawmakersthat an attack on the key aid harbor could spark a full-blown famine and endanger millions of lives.

Responding to the early stages of the attack—which began with an estimated 30 Saudi airstrikes within half an hour, guided by U.S. military intelligence—Win Without War wrote on Twitter that the attack is “a dark moment of shame for the United States. We could have stopped this.”

Hodeidah is currently home to around 600,000 civilians, and around 80 percent of all humanitarian aid that flows into Yemen arrives at the city’s port, which is currently controlled by Houthi rebels. International observers have warned that a military fight over the port city could halt life-saving food and medicine and cause the starvation of millions.

“Some civilians are entrapped, others forced from their homes,” Jolien Veldwijk—acting country director for the humanitarian group CARE, which is still operating in Yemen—told Reuters on Wednesday as the U.S.-backed Saudi assault on Hodeida began. “We thought it could not get any worse, but unfortunately we were wrong.”

As Common Dreams reported earlier this month, the Trump administration has been considering deepening U.S. military involvement in the Saudi bombardment of Yemen, which has pushed eight million Yemenis to the brink of famine. In a report on Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal confirmed that the U.S. is providing the Saudis with “intelligence to fine-tune their list of airstrike targets” in Hodeida.

Martin Griffiths, United Nations special envoy to Yemen, wrote on Wednesday that he is “extremely concerned” with the Saudi-led military escalation and said he is working with both parties to avert further disaster.

In a statement responding to the potentially catastrophic attack on Hodeidah, Lindsey German, convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, took aim at both the U.S. and the United Kingdom for providing crucial political and military support for the Saudi-led assault, arguing that such complicity reveals “the true face of their foreign policy.”

“Trump and his close ally, [U.K. Prime Minister] Theresa May, have been escalating military involvement in Yemen without pushing for a political settlement to the Saudi-led war,” German said. “Their total support for Saudi Arabia and its allies is making the world’s worst humanitarian crisis even more severe. It gives an even greater urgency to those in favor of peace to build the biggest possible protest to Trump when he visits the U.K. in July.”


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California Turning Off the Water: Residents Must Wash Clothes & Shower on Alternating Days

JW Williams | G. Edward Griffin’s Need to Know

California is now the first state in the nation to enact tough new mandatory water rationing, under the excuse of fighting global warming. The rules will begin restricting water to 55 gallons per person, per day by 2022, and 50 gallons  by 2030.  An 8-minute shower uses about 17 gallons of water, a load of laundry up to 40 gallons.  California homeowners will be forced to retrofit their homes for low-flow faucets and toilets that will be monitored and controlled through smart meters. [If you still think that man-made global warming is real, you owe it to yourself to check out the DVD album, Global Warming, An Inconvenient Lie. Gary Gileno, the producer and narrator of this video report, will be one of the presenters at the upcoming Red Pill Expo, in Spokane, Washington, June 201-23. Learn about it here.]

In this video report, Gary Gileno argues that, if California really did have a water shortage, why does it invite unlimited migrants?  The California water shortage is greatly exaggerated for political purposes, which is the justification for more government control.  It is a jarring fact that only 11% of available water is allocated for urban use, 41% goes to agriculture, and 48% is allocated to protect the environment. The federal government has control over that portion and requires most of it to flow into the Pacific Ocean!

As we have seen in California’s Central Valley, which used to be the breadbasket of America, supplying over 50% of the nation’s vegetables, fruits and nuts, government control over water has become control over the food supply. No water, no food.

The goal of Agenda 21 is to keep adding so-called environment regulations to single-family residences until compliance becomes so expensive that more and more people will be forced to move into ‘stack ’em and pack ’em’ high- rise apartment buildings that will monitor all elements of human behavior. Orwell’s fictional book, 1984, is becoming reality.

Three months ago, the California Water Resources Control Board announced that it will allow treated recycled sewer water to be added to reservoirs, the source of California municipal drinking water. The Water Board says the water will be “highly treated.” San Diego is leading the state to begin carrying out a sewer-to-reservoir operation. and the rest of the state likely will follow.

It is true that chemical treatment can kill most bacteria in sewage, but there are other things even more dangerous than bacteria. Who dares to look at all the chemicals, including prescription drugs that have been excreted into sewer lines? It is not hard to imagine that these, in combination with chemicals used for purification, could be even more toxic than plain sewage. It is ironic that government planners are not interested in building reservoirs to store clean rain water as it heads out to sea from the Sierra mountains. Let’s drink treated sewage instead!

[Read more here]

Originally entitled: “California Turns Off the Water. You Will Not Be Able to Wash Clothes and Shower in the Same Day”

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield, Massachusetts and New England (USA) & “virtually” the world. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.




As Media Hypes Trump-Kim Summit, The Real Rulers of the World are Secretly Meeting at Bilderberg

By Matt Agorist

The world’s ruling elite is meeting in secret this week. No press will be allowed in, no one will be interviewed about it, and Bilderberg will barely register as a blip within the mainstream media’s radar. As the media hypes the mostly symbolic meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, bankers, politicians, military leaders, and information controllers will be discussing their plans for the world behind closed doors and with zero transparency.

The 66th annual Bilderberg Meeting, which has been held in locations around the world throughout the years, kicked off on Thursday in Turin, Italy and is set to end on Sunday. Despite a prestigious guest list of around 130 attendees — who will arguably have more of a global influence than any elected officials — the meeting will escape any scrutiny in the mainstream media.

The reason this meeting of the global elite manages to remain free from any mainstream media coverage is no accident. This group of elite power brokers owns the media, they own the politicians, and, arguably, they own the world.

In attendance to this year’s meeting are war criminals like Henry Kissinger, who will discuss matters ranging from Russia to Free Trade to the “post truth” world. Below is the list of twelve topics up for discussion at the meeting.

  1. Populism in Europe
  2. The inequality challenge
  3. The future of work
  4. Artificial intelligence
  5. The US before midterms
  6. Free trade
  7. US world leadership
  8. Russia
  9. Quantum computing
  10. Saudi Arabia and Iran
  11. The “post-truth” world
  12. Current events

Nothing highlights the insidious nature of such an event quite like having Kissinger—who can’t even travel to certain countries without being arrested for war crimes—on the same list of attendees with US politicians and members of the mainstream media. And all of it is happening in secret.

In a book titled Henry Kissinger, Hillary Clinton’s Tutor in War and Peace, Greg Grandin lays out just how corrupt this friend of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton actually is:

Let’s consider some of Kissinger’s achievements during his tenure as Richard Nixon’s top foreign policy–maker. He (1) prolonged the Vietnam War for five pointless years; (2) illegally bombed Cambodia and Laos; (3) goaded Nixon to wiretap staffers and journalists; (4) bore responsibility for three genocides in Cambodia, East Timor, and Bangladesh; (5) urged Nixon to go after Daniel Ellsberg for having released the Pentagon Papers, which set off a chain of events that brought down the Nixon White House; (6) pumped up Pakistan’s ISI, and encouraged it to use political Islam to destabilize Afghanistan; (7) began the U.S.’s arms-for-petrodollars dependency with Saudi Arabia and pre-revolutionary Iran; (8) accelerated needless civil wars in southern Africa that, in the name of supporting white supremacy, left millions dead; (9) supported coups and death squads throughout Latin America; and (10) ingratiated himself with the first-generation neocons, such as Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, who would take American militarism to its next calamitous level.

As the Telegraph points out, Bilderberg invites figures from politics, industry, finance, academia and the media. Two thirds of the invitees are from Europe, with the rest from North America; a third of the people on the guest list work in politics and government. This year, 131 participants from 23 countries have confirmed their attendance so far.

In what some call a violation of the United States Logan Act, the governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper will be in attendance. His invite is likely strategic as he is already rumored to run for president in 2020.

Indeed, former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton both attended Bilderberg conferences in the years before being elected to the Oval Office. Tony Blair was on hand at the 1993 Bilderberg meeting before becoming prime minister of England in 1997, and Emmanuel Macron, the President of France attended in 2014 just prior to being elected.

What’s more, the 2008 conference is believed to be the catalyst for that year’s US presidential election: rumors suggest that attendees settling on backing Barack Obama for the Democratic Party nomination at that year’s event, only for contender Hillary Clinton to bow out two days later.

Bilderberg attendees must abide by Chatham House Rules, meaning that while participants can use the information received, they are barred from talking about any individual who may have steered their decisions.

Numerous bloggers and activists have suggested that, based just on what is known already from public statements, simply attending a Bilderberg meeting should constitute sufficient grounds for immediate arrest and investigation of Americans.

In 2011, then-Congressman Ron Paul called for an investigation and noted that U.S. officials participating in the yearly gathering — specifically Texas Gov. Rick Perry at the time — were quite possibly breaking the law. “This information about him going over there and violating the Logan Act and getting involved, I’m just impressed that that’s in the ordinary media — I think that’s encouraging, too,” Paul said during an interview at the time, noting that Gov. Perry’s attendance was “a sign that he’s involved in the international conspiracy.”

Paul is not simply making this up either, the Logan Act clearly states, in part:

Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

To illustrate the scope of the group’s reach, Business Insider published a chart, showing all their ominous connections:

But fret not free world, Donald Trump is meeting with Kim Jong-un.

In what can be referred to as his most telling three minutes ever, George Carlin laid out this entire scenario quite clearly in his 2005 skit titled, Life is Worth Losing, in which he points out that “it’s a big club, and you ain’t in it.”

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project, where this article first appearedFollow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Facebook.

Article source: Activist Post




The Former Busboy Who Held a Dying Robert F. Kennedy Reflects on the Senator’s Final Moments

By Alexia Fernandez | Yahoo

The busboy who held Robert F. Kennedy after the senator was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in California is opening up about the senator’s final moments in 1968.

Juan Romero continues to struggle with what happened that day 50 years ago, which saw him go from desperately hoping RFK would shake his hand to cradling the mortally-injured politician’s head on the floor of the hotel’s kitchen.

“I remember extending my hand as far as I could, and then I remember him shaking my hand,” the California man, who worked at the hotel at the time, told StoryCorps which aired on NPR’s Morning Edition. “And as he let go, somebody shot him.”

In an instant, he had Kennedy in his arms as both of them hit the floor.

Photojournalists captured the tragedic moment in black and white photos, Kennedy lying on the floor as a then-17-year-old Romero searched for help and did his best to make the senator more comfortable.

“I kneeled down to him and I could see his lips moving, so I put my ear next to his lips and I heard him say, ‘Is everybody OK?’ I said, ‘Yes, everybody’s OK,’” Romero said. “I put my hand between the cold concrete and his head just to make him comfortable.”

[Read more here]

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield, Massachusetts and New England (USA) & “virtually” the world. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.




As Deadline Fast Approaches, House Members Warned to Defend Net Neutrality or “Face Internet’s Wrath”

With the Senate passing a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution in May, the broad coalition trying to thwart the GOP-controlled FCC is pulling out all the stops in order to win a similar victory in the House. With more than 175 House members already indicating their support for the CRA, a total of 218 signatures are needed to force the resolution to the floor. (Photo: Free Press)

With less than a week before the FCC’s “resoundingly unpopular” repeal of net neutrality rules go into effect on June 11th, defenders of the open internet and online consumers are warning members of the U.S. House of Representatives to either immediately back a resolution petition that would nullify the rules or “face the internet’s wrath.”

With the Senate passing a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution in May, the broad coalition trying to thwart the GOP-controlled FCC is pulling out all the stops in order to win a similar victory in the House. With more than 175 House members already indicating their support for the CRA, a total of 218 signatures are needed to force the resolution to the floor, a goal the BattleforNet coalition—which includes Fight for the Future, Free Press, Demand Progress, and others—says is increasingly within reach in the wake of the Senate’s bipartisan vote.

For those who don’t seize this historic opportunity to preserve the bedrock online principle of net neutrality, however, advocates say there there will be unyielding contempt.

“People are going to be pissed off. Really pissed off. And rightly so. It’s hard to imagine a more clear example of how our democracy is broken,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future. “We’re going to harness the power of the internet to ensure that people have a way to channel that anger productively. Any lawmaker of any party who fails to sign the discharge petition in support of the CRA will regret it come election time.”

According to Candace Clement, campaign director for the Free Press Action, “This will be one of the biggest showdowns of the summer in the House. For constituents everywhere Net Neutrality is non-negotiable. Our elected representatives can either side with the people and support the CRA or with the cable and phone lobby.”

As part of their campaign, the coalition has organized a day of actions for Thursday, so that citizens nationwide can visit or contact their House member in order to demand support for the CRA.

“Activists and advocates in every district are already turning up the heat on anyone who sells out their constituents to line the pockets of AT&T, Comcast and Verizon,” said Clement. “Keeping the internet open is critical.”

Article Source: Common Dreams



The Notorious Council On Foreign Relations Says Domestic Propaganda is Necessary

By Tyler Durden | * Nexus News

 

Though it currently receives little commentary or attention, it must be recalled that Obama administration lifted the prohibition on domestic propaganda in 2013. Tyler Durden

One year ago, a State Department press event included quite possibly the most epic “deer in the headlights” moment in all of government press briefing history.

During the final press briefing in May of 2017, the State Department put high level official Stuart Jones at the podium to give the daily briefing, and he was asked how the US could call for democracy in Iran while ignoring the fact that one of Washington’s closest Middle East allies is an oppressive autocratic state with an opaque legal system run by strict Islamic sharia courts.

Here’s how Newsweek‘s Tom O’Connor set the scene at the time:

Stuart Jones, who was appointed as U.S. Ambassador to Iraq by former President Barack Obama in 2014 before assuming the title of assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs in January, took a long, silent pause after an Agence France-Presse reporter asked the official how President Donald Trump could criticize Iran’s democracy, while standing next to Saudi Arabian officials.

Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, where every position of power is appointed by either the king or other members of the Al Saud royal family from which the nation derives its name. Trump recently visited Saudi Arabia, a close ally of the U.S., and took the opportunity to deeply criticize the two nations’ mutual foe, Iran, and its commitment to democracy weeks after it held its presidential election.

Though clearly hilarious and at the same time appropriately awkward, the incident highlighted the fact that mainstream journalists rarely ask the obvious questions that might so easily expose the glaring hypocrisy of US foreign policy and its leaders.

As Wide Asleep in America blog so aptly described: “In lieu of delivering an actual answer, Jones became visibly uncomfortable, signed audibly, stared blindly into nothingness and said nothing for roughly 18 seconds. You could see the squeaky gears laboring to rotate in his head. You hear the faint trickle of urine run down his thigh. You could feel Jones praying to be suddenly whisked away by a dragon-drawn chariot sent to him by the sun god Helios.”

It’s so beautiful and epic we thought it deserved its own anniversary of remembrance.

But on a more serious note, about six months after Stuart Jones’ internal meltdown moment, a leaked State Department memo obtained by Politico spelled out how Washington merely values the concept of human rights insofar as it can be molded toward propaganda ends.The leaked government memo, made public for the first time in December 2017, instructed top State Department leadership that “Allies should be treated differently — and better — than adversaries.”

“For this reason,” the leaked internal State Department memo argued“we should consider human rights as an important issue in regard to US relations with China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran. And this is not only because of moral concern for practices inside those countries. It is also because pressing those regimes on human rights is one way to impose costs, apply counter-pressure, and regain the initiative from them strategically.”

As the May 2017 Stuart Jones presser demonstrated, this means countries like Saudi Arabia or Qatar will always be let off the hook in spite of — for example — US ally Saudi Arabia executing over 50 people so far this year, half of them related to nonviolent drug chargesaccording to HRW. Or this might further translate into government officials choosing to look the other way when allies illegally possess or pursue nuclear or other banned weapons.

Politico explained that the memo encourages government leadership, on up to the level of the Secretary of State, “that we should do exactly what Russian and Chinese propaganda says we do — use human rights as a weapon to beat up our adversaries while letting ourselves and our allies off the hook.”

More recently, one year after the incredible and embarrassing State Department scene, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has delivered an even more astounding propaganda fail which went largely unnoticed in the media. The CFR is among America’s oldest and most establishment think tanks, with a who’s who of government insiders filling up its ranks, and has often played an advisory role on important policy questions to elected officials.

The CFR’s Richard Stengel, a former editor of TIME magazine, told an audience at a CFR event in late April called Political Disruptions: Combating Disinformation and Fake News that governments “have to” direct “propaganda” toward their own populations.

Stengel, himself a former high level official who headed the US office for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the State Department from 2013 to 2016, is also a regular pundit on MSNBC.

He explained:

Basically, every country creates their own narrative story and, you know, my old job at the State Department was what people used to joke as the ‘chief propagandist’ job. We haven’t talked about propaganda… I’m not against propaganda. Every country does it, and they have to do it to their own population, and I don’t necessarily think it’s that awful.

Stengel’s personal bio site notes that he “helped create and oversee” the Global Engagement Center at the State Department whose official mission is to “counter propaganda and disinformation from international terrorist organizations and foreign countries” (with a “special focus on Russia“).

The full CFR event. Stengel openly argues in favor of propaganda against US citizens starting at 1:15:26 of the video.

But more worrisome for a guy who openly expresses views clearly implying that he’s “not against propaganda” on the US government’s “own population” is that he was recently named a “distinguished fellow” as part of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab).

[Read more here]

*Originally entitled: “The Council On Foreign Relations says domestic propaganda is necessary”

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield, Massachusetts and New England (USA) & “virtually” the world. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.

 




UN Report Condemns US for ‘Deliberately’ Creating Devastating Wealth Inequality

Rev. William Barber unveils Poor People’s Campaign’s list of demands at a rally in April. (Photo: Poor People’s Campaign/Twitter)

By Jake Johnson | Common Dreams

It is no secret that the United States has among the worst levels of inequality, poverty, and infant mortality of all wealthy nations, but a scathing new United Nations report (pdf) concludes that President Donald Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress are “deliberately” working to make these already devastating crises worse by waging war on the poor while lavishing the rich with massive tax cuts.

“About 40 million live in poverty, 18.5 million in  extreme poverty, and 5.3 million live in Third World conditions of absolute poverty.”
—Philip Alston, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights

Highlighting the Trump administration’s push to dismantle the last vestiges of the American social safety net, Philip Alston—U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights and author of the new report—told the Guardian on Friday: “This is a systematic attack on America’s welfare program that is undermining the social safety net for those who can’t cope on their own. Once you start removing any sense of government commitment, you quickly move into cruelty.”

“If food stamps and access to Medicaid are removed, and housing subsidies cut, then the effect on people living on the margins will be drastic,” Alston added, pointing to just three of the many programs Trump is aiming to slash or restrict with cruel work requirements.

With millions of Americans already on the brink of deep poverty, Alston warned that Trump’s tax law, deregulatory agenda, and welfare cuts are driving the poor closer to complete “ruination,” which the U.N. official defines as “severe deprivation of food and almost no access to healthcare.”

Alston’s report is the end product of a two-week visit to some of the most poverty-stricken parts of the U.S. late last year, and it thoroughly documents both the longstanding inequities that have dominated American society for decades and the uniquely brutal policies Trump and the Republican Party are pursuing in an effort to reward corporate America.

While the U.S. is home to “over 25 percent of the world’s 2,208 billionaires,” such wealth stands in “shocking contrast with the conditions in which vast numbers of its citizens live,” the report observes. “About 40 million live in poverty, 18.5 million in  extreme poverty, and 5.3 million live in Third World conditions of absolute poverty. Its citizens live shorter and sicker lives compared to those living in all other rich democracies, eradicable tropical diseases are increasingly prevalent, and it has the world’s highest incarceration rate.”

Acknowledging that inequality in the U.S. has been rising rapidly for around five decades, the report argues that the Trump administration’s policies—particularly its $1.5 trillion in tax cuts to the rich and large corporations—”seem deliberately designed to remove basic protections from the poorest, punish those who are not in employment, and make even basic healthcare into a privilege to be earned rather than a right of citizenship.”

As for solutions to the soaring income and wealth inequality in the U.S. that have produced what Alston calls a “land of stark contrasts,” the U.N. report spotlights several broad suggestions—from a job guarantee to criminal justice reform to universal healthcare—but concludes that inequality will continue to soar without sufficient “political will” to reverse it.

“At the end of the day… particularly in a rich country like the United States, the persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power,” the report observes. “With political will, it could readily be eliminated.”

Read more great articles at Common Dreams.




Iraq 2.0: New US Secretary of State Setting the Stage for Regime Change in Iran – Threatens to ‘Crush’ Iran

By Jake Johnson | Common Dreams

In a speech at the right-wing Heritage Foundation on Monday that critics said should put to rest all lingering illusions that the Trump White House wants anything other than regime change in Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlined a “wildly unrealistic” list of demands that Iran must meet if it wants nuclear talks with America and warned that the U.S. will “crush” Tehran with sanctions if it doesn’t comply.

“If you maximize pressure and set unachievable demands, you solely pave the way for war.”
—Trita Parsi, National Iranian American Council

“Pompeo has not outlined a strategy, but rather a grab bag of wishful thinking that can only be interpreted as a call for regime change in Iran,” Suzanne Maloney, a senior fellow at the Brookings Center for Middle East Policy, wrote on Twitter in response to the secretary of state’s remarks. “This speech could have been given word-for-word by [national security adviser John] Bolton.”

Echoing Maloney’s assessment of Pompeo’s newly unveiled “Plan B” for nuclear negotiations—which comes around two weeks after President Donald Trump violated the Iran nuclear accord and placed the U.S. on the path to yet another war in the Middle East—National Iranian American Council (NIAC) president Trita Parsi arguedthat the Trump administration’s demands are intentionally unrealistic and “clearly designed to ensure there cannot be any new negotiation.”

“If you maximize pressure and set unachievable demands, you solely pave the way for war,” Parsi wrote. “That is the objective of Trump, and that’s been the objective of his cheerleaders in Saudi and Israel.”

https://twitter.com/thekarami/status/998556250936823808?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.commondreams.org%2Fnews%2F2018%2F05%2F21%2Firaq-war-playbook-returns-pompeo-replaces-diplomacy-threat-crush-iran&tfw_creator=commondreams&tfw_site=commondreams

If Iran refuses to comply with this laundry list of demands—which includes a complete halt to uranium enrichment—Pompeo threatened that the U.S. will quickly move to impose “the strongest sanctions in history.” Iran has said repeatedly that its enrichment of uranium is solely for domestic energy purposes and that it has no interest in pursuing nukes, whether or not the international nuclear accord remains in place.

“Taking a page straight from the Iraq war playbook,” as NIAC’s Ryan Costello put it, Pompeo also asserted without evidence that Iran is serving as a “sanctuary for al-Qaeda” and other terrorist organizations, further bolstering criticism of his speech as “more tantrum than policy.”

In light of the speech’s factual inaccuracies and outlandish demands, foreign policy analyst David Rothkopf characterized Pompeo’s remarks as “more tantrum than policy.”

Reacting to Pompeo’s remarks on Monday, Suzanne DiMaggio, a senior fellow at New America, argued that in addition to dramatically increasing the possibility of military conflict with Iran, the speech “will not be well-received by the North Koreans.”

“Reneging on a deal that Iran is complying with is bad enough,” DiMaggio noted. “Coupling this with what comes across as an insistence on Iran’s full capitulation will set off ‘regime change’ alarm bells in Pyongyang.”

Read more great articles at Common Dreams.




As World Condemns ‘Appalling’ Crimes, US Praises Israel’s “Restraint” and Blocks Call for UN Probe Into the Killing of 61 Civilians in Gaza

By Jake Johnson | Common Dreams

After making the widely condemned and erroneous assertion that responsibility for Israel’s massacre of more than 50 Palestinians “rests squarely with Hamas,” the Trump administration on Monday unilaterally blocked a United Nations statement that expressed “outrage” at Israel’s killings and demanded “an independent and transparent” investigation.

“The rules on the use of force under international law have been repeated many times but appear to have been ignored again and again.”
—Rupert Colville, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights

While the U.S. refused to even permit an investigation into Israel’s murderous behavior—let alone denounce it—during an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley took the further step of applauding Israel forces during her speech for showing admirable “restraint” as it mowed down dozens of peaceful demonstrators, and attempted to blame Iran for stoking “violence throughout the Middle East.”

In sharp contrast to Haley’s “disgusting” and fact-free speech, Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, directly condemned Israel’s actions in a statement on Tuesday, repeating the call for an independent probe and saying “enough is enough.”

“We condemn the appalling, deadly violence in Gaza yesterday during which 58 Palestinians were killed and almost 1,360 demonstrators were injured with live ammunition by Israeli security forces,” Colville said. “The rules on the use of force under international law have been repeated many times but appear to have been ignored again and again. It seems anyone is liable to be shot dead or injured: women, children, press personnel, first responders, bystanders, and at almost any point up to 700 meters from the fence.”

Watch:

Read more great articles at Common Dreams.




If Any Other Country Was Shooting Civilians Like Israel, The US Would Be Calling For Invasion By Now

By Rachel Blevins | Activist Post

The death toll in Gaza increased dramatically on Monday as Israeli Defense Forces opened fire on thousands of Palestinian civilians, killing 41 and injuring at least 1,700, and the United States’ response served as a reminder that if the governments in Iran, Syria, North Korea or Russia had done the same thing, the U.S. would be calling for a full-scale invasion right now.

It is hypocrisy at its finest, especially considering the fact that the U.S. has a history of cheering on and aiding protests against foreign governments. In fact, when the mainstream media began sharing reports of protests in Iran in December 2017, President Trump took to Twitter to cheer on the dissidents.

“The people are finally getting wise as to how their money and wealth is being stolen and squandered on terrorism,” Trump wrote, claiming that the United States was “watching very closely for human rights violations!

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/947453152806297600?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.activistpost.com%2F2018%2F05%2Fif-any-other-country-was-shooting-civilians-like-israel-the-us-invasion.html

Does that same logic not apply when thousands of Palestinians are standing up for their rights on the Gaza Strip, and the Israeli government is committing human rights violations? Trump’s silence is deafening, and it also serves as a reminder he has fallen into line with the same U.S. foreign policy standards that have been adopted and expressed by his predecessors.

When the U.S. launched its campaign to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, it went beyond just cheering on protesters, and it began launching multi-million-dollar programs to arm and trainthe protesters, even with the knowledge that many of them were extremists who would go on to strengthen radical groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

The U.S. has also looked the other way in Saudi Arabia where the government is accused of a host human rights violations—including fueling genocide in the poorest country in the Middle East—and it regularly executes civilians who have been accused of protesting, after denying them a fair trial.

The United States only seems to care about oppressive governments who commit human rights violations when those governments are not considered “close allies.” The double-standard is painfully evident in Gaza as the bloodiest day in months comes to a close.

Reports from the Health Ministry in Gaza claimed that several of the 41 Palestinians killed on Monday were teenagers, and as many as 1,700 civilians are now left suffering from injuries after Israeli Defense Forces opened fire on protests near Israel’s border fence.

This comes in addition to the dozens of Palestinians who have been killed and the thousands who have been wounded by Israeli sniper fire in recent weeks. While Israel has falsely claimed that every man or teenage boy who participated in the protests was a “militant” for Hamas, and deserved to die, there was one civilian death that was particularly notable.

Yaser Murtaja, a Palestinian photojournalist, was wearing a jacket that clearly said “PRESS” when he was shot in the chest and killed by an Israeli sniper on Friday. As The Intercept noted,

Either the Israeli sniper could not clearly see who was in the rifle scope—in which case the claim that the use of live fire is precise is shown to be untrue—or the soldier intentionally fired at a journalist, which is a war crime.

While Israel has justified the killings by claiming that their soldiers opened fire because the suspects “attempted to infiltrate” the Israel-Gaza border, a disturbing video was leaked last month that showed multiple Israeli men celebrating after a sniper targeted and shot a non-threatening man who was standing in a field on the other side of their border fence.

A man is seen standing motionless on the other side of the barrier as another man and a small child walk past him. Another man remarked, “I can’t see because of the wire” and then said, “there’s a little boy there,” noting the presence of the child.

The sniper then pulled the trigger and fired one shot, striking the Palestinian man who was standing still and was making no attempt to do anything that could have threatened the soldiers who had been observing him from a distance.

Cheers erupted from the Israelis after the Palestinian man was shot and then collapsed on the ground. The man filming the shooting can be heard saying, “Wow, what a video! Yes! Son of a bitch. What a video, here, run and get him out of there. Of course, I filmed it.”

Rachel Blevins is an independent journalist from Texas, who aspires to break the false left/right paradigm in media and politics by pursuing truth and questioning existing narratives. Follow Rachel on Facebook,TwitterYouTubeSteemit and Patreon. This article first appeared at The Free Thought Project.

Read more great articles at Activist Post.