Category Archives: Horseshit

Falsehoods and Lies: Inciting War Is a War Crime, by Strategic Culture

Once upon a time when you made an accusation you had to have something to back it up. That is no longer true as far as the US and it’s allies’ many accusations against Russia and its allies go. From the Strategic Culture editorial board at strategic-culture.org:

The torrent of reckless false accusations against Russia made by the US and its NATO allies is hitting warp speed.

This week saw more baseless allegations of Russian cyber attacks on American elections and British industries.

There were also crass claims by US officials that Russia was behind so-called sonic attacks on American diplomats in Cuba.

Then a Dutch foreign minister was forced to resign after he finally admitted telling lies for the past two years over alleged Russian plans for regional aggression.

Elsewhere, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson claimed this week during a tour of the Middle East that “the primary goal” of his nation’s involvement in Syria is “to defeat” Islamic State (Daesh) terrorism.

This is patently false given that the US forces illegally occupying parts of Syria are launching lethal attacks on Syrian armed forces who are actually fighting Islamic State and their myriad terrorist affiliates.

Meanwhile, US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley accused Russia of blocking peace efforts in Syria – another audacious falsehood to add to her thick compendium of calumny.

Perhaps the most barefaced falsehood transpired this week when French President Emmanuel Macron candidly admitted that his government did not have any proof of chemical weapons being used in Syria.

“Today, our agencies, our armed forces have not established that chemical weapons, as set out in treaties, have been used against the civilian population,” said Macron to media in Paris.

His admission follows that of US Defense Secretary James Mattis who also fessed up earlier this month to having no evidence of chemical weapons being deployed in Syria.

“We have other reports from the battlefield from people who claim it’s been used,” said Mattis to reporters at the Pentagon. “We do not have evidence of it.”

Yet, only a few weeks ago, the French and US government were condemning Syrian President Assad for alleged use of chemical weapons by his forces. France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also accused Russia of bearing responsibility because of its alliance with Damascus.

To continue reading: Falsehoods and Lies: Inciting War Is a War Crime

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Trump’s Toy-Soldier Fantasy, by Major Danny Sjursen

A soldier calls bullshit on Trump’s parade. From Major Danny Sjursen at truthdig.com:

Tanks on the Champs Élysées during the 2017 Bastille Day parade in Paris. President Trump was the guest of honor to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I. (Markus Schreiber / AP)

When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.
—Provenance unknown; sometimes erroneously attributed to author Sinclair Lewis

You’ve got to give it to the guy. He sure has a set on him. President Trump is impenetrable and far from subtle.

On Tuesday, Americans were treated to the news that Trump has ordered the Pentagon to plan a “big” military parade. We should hardly be surprised. Our president—he of bone spurs and other Vietnam draft deferments—loves martial displays. We’ve already watched him gleefully sword dance with Saudi Arabian princes and marvel at a triumphant Bastille Day parade in Paris. He really liked the French procession. In fact, according to a Pentagon spokesman, “The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France.”

The man possesses the military maturity of a sophomore from his alma mater, a New York military boarding school in the Hudson Valley, but he sure knows what he wants.

In the coming days, you’ll no doubt be treated to dozens of columns about Trump’s latest request, or, more accurately, his latest order. Expect much discussion of the logistical difficulties inherent in such a cavalcade and speculation about the parade’s monetary cost. But the crisis is deeper still.

The parade is just a symptom. It centers on persistent American militarism and our pariah status in the eyes of the world. The Trump administration, like the two that proceeded it, possesses not even the semblance of a coherent foreign policy. Who needs strategy when you’ve got pomp, and who better to usher in the show than America’s first reality-TV president?

Make no mistake: This is spectacle, not strategy, pageantry, not prudence. In that sense, nothing better defines our unique militarist moment.

To continue reading: Trump’s Toy-Soldier Fantasy

Why Are European Governments So Terrified of ‘Fake News’? by Judith Bergman

Governments are terrified of “fake news” because it competes with their own propaganda. From Judith Bergman at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • When Swedish authorities representing a Swedish left-wing government and media announce a project to prevent “fake news” from “decisively influencing” the 2018 elections, this ought to set off loud alarm bells among Swedes. Who determines what constitutes “fake news” anyway? Is it not the very essence of “fake news” when a media outlet refuses to report mass sexual assaults, because the perpetrators happen to be foreigners from third world countries?
  • A British Cabinet Office spokesperson told Sky News: “The Government is committed to tackling false information and the Government Communications Service plays a crucial role in this”. Perhaps their “rapid response fake news unit” should begin with Theresa May herself, who falsely and against all factual evidence continues to claim that Islam is a religion of peace and that ISIS is not Islamic.
  • Meanwhile, European citizens continue to face costly legal prosecution for refusing to accept the fake news about Islam propagated by people such as Theresa May.
  • “I also thought that Islam was just a normal religion, but then I read the Koran and became shocked by the hatred that exists there, the misogyny… The more Islam takes over, the more we compromise. Islam is a totalitarian ideology, which means dictatorship. So, I believe that our democratic system is in danger… I hate no people. What I hate is ideology, Islam. One can criticize fascism or Nazism, but why not Islam? Why should Islam have any protection status?” — Denny, on trial in Sweden for “incitement to hatred” for calling Islam “a fascist ideology” on Facebook. If found guilty, he faces up to two years in prison.

The Swedish government’s innovation agency, Vinnova, is financing a project led by the combined forces of Swedish mainstream media to, in the words of Vinnova, “prevent fake news and unfounded statements from spreading and playing a decisive role in the Swedish elections in 2018”. The next elections, which take place every four years, are scheduled to take place on September 9, 2018. The Swedish media giants involved in the project consist of Swedish State Television, Swedish State Radio, Bonnier, Schibsted Sverige, and NTM. Together, these media companies effectively own Swedish mainstream media in the form of newspapers, online news outlets, and state and private television and radio. The Swedish state is financing the technical aspects of the project with 1.9 million Swedish kroner ($240,000), while the Swedish mainstream media is financing the remaining project costs themselves. The “fake news” project was originally launched in October 2017.

To continue reading: Why Are European Governments So Terrified of ‘Fake News’?

Inside a Public School Social Justice Factory, by Katherine Kersten

How to turn kids into idiots. From Katherine Kersten at weeklystandard.com:

For decades, the public schools of Edina, Minnesota, were the gold standard among the state’s school districts. Edina is an upscale suburb of Minneapolis, but virtually overnight, its reputation has changed. Academic rigor is unraveling, high school reading and math test scores are sliding, and students increasingly fear bullying and persecution.

The shift began in 2013, when Edina school leaders adopted the “All for All” strategic plan—a sweeping initiative that reordered the district’s mission from academic excellence for all students to “racial equity.”

“Equity” in this context does not mean “equality” or “fairness.” It means racial identity politics—an ideology that blames minority students’ academic challenges on institutional racial bias, repudiates Martin Luther King, Jr.’s color-blind ideal, and focuses on uprooting “white privilege.”

As a result, the school system’s obsession with “white privilege” now begins in kindergarten. At Edina’s Highlands Elementary School, for example, K-2 students participate in the Melanin Project. The children trace their hands, color them to reflect their skin tone, and place the cut-outs on a poster reading, “Stop thinking your skin color is better than anyone elses!-[sic] Everyone is special!”

Highlands Elementary’s new “racially conscious” elementary school principal runs a blog for the school’s community. On it, she approvingly posted pictures of Black Lives Matter propaganda and rainbow gay-pride flags—along with a picture of protesters holding a banner proclaiming “Gay Marriage Is Our Right.” On a more age-appropriate post, she recommended an A-B-C book for small children entitled A is for Activist. (Peruse the book and you find all sorts of solid-gold: “F is for Feminist,” “C is for…Creative Counter to Corporate Vultures,” and “T is for Trans.”)

At Edina High School, the equity agenda is the leading edge of a full-scale ideological reeducation campaign. A course description of an 11th-grade U.S. Literature and Composition course puts it this way: “By the end of the year, you will have . . . learned how to apply marxist [sic], feminist, post-colonial [and] psychoanalytical . . .lenses to literature.”

To continue reading: Inside a Public School Social Justice Factory

Mapping The Swamp – A Study of the Administrative State, by Michael Krieger

This is a real eye-opener. Most people probably have no idea how lucrative government employment (we won’t call it service) has become. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

Back in December, fiscal transparency organization Open the Books published a massive study of federal government spending which contains a wealth of information and some very disturbing statistics.

Adam Andrzejewski, CEO and Founder of the organization, highlighted some of their key findings in an important Forbes article.

Key excerpts are republished below:

Today’s federal bureaucrats are paid $1.1 million a minute, $66 million an hour, and over $524 million a day – and that’s just the cash compensation cost. Taxpayers also pay for lucrative perks like weeks of paid time-off, performance bonuses and padded retirement pensions.

Using our interactive mapping tool, quickly review the 2 million federal employee salaries and bonuses by ZIP code across America. Just click a pin and scroll down to see the results rendered in the chart beneath the map. See your local piece of the swamp: how much are the federal employees in your backyard earning? Which agency employs them, and what is their job title?

Here are a few of our key findings:

  1. $136 Billion in Cash Compensation – The federal government disclosed 1.97 million employees across 122 independent agencies and departments. In FY2016, these 2 million workers received $136 billion in compensation. If we could factor in another 2 million undisclosed employees – at the Department of Defense and on active military and other agencies – the cost would be much higher.
  2. $22.6 Billion in Time Off and Benefits – After just three years of public service, federal employees receive ten federal holidays, 13 sick days, and 20 vacation days per year. That is eight and a half weeks of paid time off (43 days per year). That benefit costs taxpayers an estimated $22.6 billion annually.
  3. $1.5 Billion to Bonuses – The federal government awarded 330,713 bonuses for $351 million (FY2016). However, the federal union agreement bars the disclosure of the $1.1 billion in performance bonuses. So, who received how much? It’s time to open the books on the billion-dollar performance bonuses. The largest federal bonus last year ($141,525) didn’t go to a rocket scientist or a doctor researching a cancer cure; it went to Bart Ferrell, a Human Resources Manager in charge of processing payroll at the Presidio Trust. Ferrell’s total pay last year exceeded $300,000.
  4. A Six-Figure Minimum Wage? In 78 large agencies, the average employee made more than $100,00. We found 30,000 bureaucrats out-earning every governor of the 50 states with salaries exceeding $190,000. The number of federal employees making $200,000 or more has skyrocketed by 165 percent during the past six years. ‘Diet and Nutrition’ employees can make up to $207,060; ‘Food Services’ workers in the prisons system can bring in $136,622; and ‘Laundry Operations’ employees at the VA can make $101,694. Even ‘photography’ is lucrative, averaging more than $80,000 with top pay reaching $157,971.

To continue reading: Mapping The Swamp – A Study of the Administrative State

Love Him or Loathe Him, Trump is Liberating us All From The Empire’s Lies, by Vladimir Golstein

Trump has shown a spotlight on much that needed a spotlight. From Vladimir Golstein at sott,net.

Trump and the Fine Art of Dialectics

Alexander Blok, one of the smartest and most noble of Russians, wrote this amazing essay on Catiline, a Roman rebel whose plot was crushed and who was utterly maligned by the father of all bullshit, Cicero.

So Catiline was this patrician, a decadent SOB who, when mistreated and challenged by the Roman establishment, organized the Roman deplorables and started a rebellion.

It was squashed of course, but for Blok, he remained a hero. Blok calls Catiline the Roman Bolshevik, and insists on approaching him not from Cicero’s moralizing NYT-like perspective, but from the perspective of World Revolution.

For Blok, as he puts it, the heart of the Roman Empire stopped when Christ was born. It continued for another few hundred years, but in a zombie-like state until its petty, militaristic, provincial, materialistic character was finally exposed as the bluff it always was, and it collapsed under the weight of its own corruption. And here is Blok’s paradoxical view: Catiline’s rebellion makes sense only from this perspective.

Catiline might have been corrupt, decadent, debauched and what have you. Yet, he did expose how rotten Rome was. For that, both Blok and Ibsen (another rebel against stifling bourgeois order) place Catiline in heaven.

Which takes me to Trump. Whatever his critics say, he has it, and then some, but like Catiline, he fully exposes how corrupt, venal, and petty the established order is.

The genie cannot be put back into the bottle. Mass media is exposed for what it is: a spinning machine for the militaristic oppressive order, a purveyor of fake news. And this is not the view of some obscure academic like Chomsky. It is the view of the President of the United States.

Isn’t it liberating?! No more butchery, bombing, and destruction, while the press conducts its cheer-leading campaign in support of another “humanitarian intervention”, be it Serbia, Iraq, or Libya. The genie is out of the bottle. People are not buying it anymore.

Politicians are corrupt! Trump exposes it. Mass media lies and spins! He exposes it. Mass media is in obvious disarray. The only thing the Establishment learned to do during the ‘End of History’ period was to spin and promote government policies. Now, with their insane hatred of Trump, they can’t do it any longer. And because they also became so lazy and corrupt as they suckled at the teat of the Establishment, they can’t bring themselves to expose political or military corruption either.

To continue reading: Love Him or Loathe Him, Trump is Liberating us All From The Empire’s Lies

Lies We Tell Ourselves, by Major Danny Sjursen

American war making since 9/11 has been based on lies. From Major Danny Sjursen at truthdig.com:

Pixabay

Life, to be sure, is nothing much to lose,
But young men think it is, and we were young.

— A. E. Housman, 1859-1936

Seven of my soldiers are dead. Two committed suicide. Bombs got the others in Iraq and Afghanistan. One young man lost three limbs. Another is paralyzed. I entered West Point a couple of months before 9/11. Eight of my classmates died “over there.”

Military service, war, sacrifice—when I was 17, I felt sure this would bring me meaning, adulation, even glory. It went another way. Sixteen years later, my generation of soldiers is still ensnared in an indecisive, unfulfilling series of losing wars: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Niger—who even keeps count anymore? Sometimes, I allow myself to wonder what it’s all been for.

I find it hard to believe I’m the only one who sees it. Nonetheless, you hear few dissenting voices among the veterans of the “global war on terror.” See, soldiers are all “professionals” now, at least since Richard Nixon ditched the draft in 1973. Mostly the troops—especially the officers—uphold an unwritten code, speak in esoteric vernacular and hide behind a veil of reticence. It’s a camouflage wall as thick as the “blue line” of police silence. Maybe it’s necessary to keep the machine running. I used to believe that. Sometimes, though, we tell you lies. Don’t take it personally: We tell them to each other and ourselves as well.

Consider just three:

1. Soldiers don’t fight (or die) for king, country or apple pie. They do it for each other, for teammates and friends. Think Henry V’s “band of brothers.” In that sense, the troops can never be said to die for nothing.

No disrespect to the fallen, but this framework is problematic and a slippery-slope formula for forever war. Imagine the dangerous inverse of this logic: If no soldiers’ lives can be wasted, no matter how unmerited or ill-advised the war, then the mere presence of U.S. “warriors” and deaths of American troopers justifies any war, all war. That’s intellectually lazy. Two things can, in fact, be true at once: American servicemen can die for no good reason andmay well have fought hard and honorably with/for their mates. The one does not preclude the other.

To continue reading: Lies We Tell Ourselves