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Dollars

The Supreme Court rules to legalize bribery

Supreme Court building
© Daderot/Wikimedia Creative Commons
Supreme Court
U.S. pundits decry countries like Iran as undemocratic for having a screening process for candidates to high office. But U.S. politicians must pass muster with wealthy donors to be considered serious candidates, a system that the Supreme Court just made worse.

On April 2, the U.S. Supreme took another step toward the destruction of campaign finance reform with a five-to-four decision known as McCutcheon v. Federal Elections Commission.

One gets the feeling that this is part of a general campaign, waged by class-biased, ideologically committed conservatives, against government regulation, which they see as somehow a violation of their constitutional rights. As if to suggest that this is so, the Court majority rationalized its decision in the name of "free speech."

What does this ruling do? First, the ruling removes limitations on overall campaign donations given in an election cycle. The wealthy can now sit down and write checks to unlimited numbers of candidates and political organizations and thereby make themselves indispensable in an electoral process dependent on the raising of large sums, particularly for television advertising.
Arrow Down

How the CEO of high frequency trading firm Virtu Financial is demanding a taxpayer bailout in Florida

Virtu Financial Logo
© Wikimedia Commons
What the financial crisis, subsequent taxpayer bailouts, zero prosecutions of financial industry participants and further consolidation of the economy by oligarchs has taught us more than anything else is that the super rich and politically connected are not allowed to fail.

Apparently, this may also apply to the head of one of the largest firms in what is quickly becoming the most despised "industry" in the nation.

By now, pretty much everyone in America knows about Michael Lewis' book Flash Boys, which exposes the high frequency trading (HFT) industry for the money-sucking parasite it is.

However, what will really get your blood boiling, particularly if you live in Florida, is how the CEO of one of the biggest players in the HFT space, Virtu Financial, is looking for taxpayers to bail-out his poorly performing investment in the Florida Panther NFL hockey franchise.

This takes having "some nerve" to a whole new level of absurdity.
Pirates

Washington, the great betrayer of large and small

ZunZuneo
The regime change industry is a scam

The US government's attempt to utilize social media in an effort to subvert the Cuban government dramatizes how and why such efforts are not only doomed to failure, but also why they have nothing whatsoever to do with the cause of liberty. Last month, the Associated Press exposed the provenance of ZunZuneo, a Cuban version of Twitter that was covertly originated, run, and financed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), a US government agency that supposedly engages in "humanitarian" work around the world - but which has a long history of functioning as a key cog in Washington's regime-change machine.

The plan was to create a platform using non-controversial non-political content - at first - to lure in a substantial audience, and gradually introduce political messages which would create "smart mobs" that would - unknowingly - do Washington's bidding. The key word here is unknowingly - deception was the methodology of these social media "entrepreneurs," who hid the origins of the service using a series of front companies registered in the Cayman Islands. A USAID document cited by AP defined the project as aiming to "renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society." In reality, however, the aim was to renegotiate the balance of power between the Cuban government and Washington, giving the latter an advantage in its efforts to manipulate the Cuban people and eventually install a regime more favorable to the US.

That, at least, was the ostensible goal. But if we look at what really happened with this "cockamamie" project - as Sen. Patrick Leahy dubbed it - even this is called into question.

The idea was to set up a text messaging system that would enable Cubans to communicate with one another cheaply. In order to disguise the source of the messages, Creative Associates, described in the AP piece as a "Washington, D.C., for-profit company that has earned hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. contracts," would set up "mirrors" around the world to mask the source. They went to great lengths to disguise the effort as a commercial enterprise, using phony ads to convey that impression and staying away - at least initially - from overtly political messages.

Another company, Mobile Accord, was brought on board to deal with the technical aspects of the project: they began assembling a vast database that, unknown to the thousands of Cuban subscribers, included the "political tendencies" of users as well as their basic information: age, gender, location, "receptiveness," etc.

Yet the founders of the project saw that it was just a matter of time before ZunZuneo was outed as a platform sponsored by the US government. Their solution was to set up a front company that would go "independent," with a CEO at its head who knew nothing of its origins. However, the project would still somehow retain its political character as an element in Washington's regime-change strategy.
Bomb

Boston bombing report hints at hidden global intrigue and more

www boston

Boston Bombing report a whitewash. Surprised?
The US government's latest report on the Boston Marathon bombing is so full of revealing information buried in plain sight, it seems as if an insider is imploring someone - anyone - to dig deeper. It reads like the work of an unhappy participant in a cover-up.

Properly contextualized, the particulars in the report point to:
  • A Boston FBI agent seemingly recruiting and acting as Tamerlan Tsarnaev's control officer, interacting personally with him, preventing on multiple occasions serious investigations of Tsarnaev's activities, and then pleading ignorance to investigators in the most ludicrously improbable manner.
  • The likelihood that the blame game between the US and Russia over who knew what, and when, regarding Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his activities, masks a deeper geopolitical game which may very well point to the sine qua non of most such struggles - the battle for the control of precious natural resources.
  • The sheer inability of well-meaning US government officials - who either may know or suspect that the "official" account of the Boston bombing, with the Tsarnaev brothers as lone wolf terrorists, is utterly false - to come out and state their true beliefs. The most recent report is an example of the necessity of reading between the lines.

Comment: For SOTT.net's coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings, check out the new book by Joe Quinn and Niall Bradley: Manufactured Terror: The Boston Marathon Bombings, Sandy Hook, Aurora Shooting and Other False Flag Terror Attacks.

USA

America: Approaching a point of no return or past it?

At some point reality sets in and it becomes evident that no matter how much Americans might want to see dramatic, positive changes come to this country the chances of that happening are quickly disappearing; the die is cast. That's the reality of living in the America of today, a nation that many astute, respected observers firmly believe is in a protracted state of decline.

A point of no return is that time or stage when a series of actions or a process reaches a point beyond which it becomes impossible to reverse. America has now become a nation that gives every indication that it is rapidly approaching that point of no return -- or has already passed it. Dramatic changes have come to this country in recent times but far too many of them have proven to be negative and damaging.

This is not some kind of baseless conjecture, the facts speak for themselves. The changes that have taken place in this country are not subtle but, rather, have been very dramatic and not in a positive way. America is just not the country it once was and, while we can dispute that notion, it's just happens to reflect reality.

Comment: To fully understand what has happened to the U.S. one has to understand the ponerization process. The country has been completely taken over and is now ruled by psychopaths.

According to Andrew Lobaczewski, "The actions of [pathocracy] affect an entire society, starting with the leaders and infiltrating every town, business, and institution. The pathological social structure gradually covers the entire country creating a "new class" within that nation. This privileged class [of pathocrats] feels permanently threatened by the "others", i.e. by the majority of normal people.
Neither do the pathocrats entertain any illusions about their personal fate should there be a return to the system of normal man.

When (normal) human beings fall into a certain state: the psychopaths, like a virulent pathogen in a body, strike at their weaknesses, and the entire society is plunged into conditions that lead to horror and tragedy on a very large scale."

Collective Delusional Processes in U.S. Society
Political Ponerology: A Science on The Nature of Evil adjusted for Political Purposes

Eye 2

Is the dynasty failing? Donald Trump mentions Jeb Bush at tea party event, gets boos from the audience

Donald Trump
© Jeffrey MacMillan
Donald Trump at an event in April 2013 in Washington.
The event, organized by Americans for Prosperity and Citizens United, attracted a crowd of conservatives and tea party members from New Hampshire. They came out to hear potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates like Sens. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Rand Paul (Ky.) and many other GOP politicians and pundits.

Trump called Obamacare "the single greatest lie I've ever seen in politics." He also spoke about Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' resignation speech on Friday. She had misplaced a page of her speech, which he called "emblematic of all of Obamacare."

If a Republican had done that, Trump said, they would be labeled the stupidest person alive. "With her they said, 'Oh isn't that cute, she lost a page.'"

When Trump mentioned former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who has been mentioned as a possible moderate Republican presidential candidate, the audience loudly booed and groaned. The boos crescendoed when he mentioned Bush's comment that people who illegally immigrated to the United States may have "broke the law, but it's not a felony. It's an act of love."

Trump went on to extensively criticize Bush for his immigration stance.

Trump also blasted Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). He said Ryan "is a very nice person" but that Ryan is trying to dismantle Medicare.
Sherlock

The Red Line and the Benghazi Rat Line: Seymour Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels


Barack Obama and John Brennan
In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the 'red line' he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons.Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad's offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.

Obama's change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn't match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army's chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn't hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria's infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.

For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria's neighbours, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. 'We knew there were some in the Turkish government,' a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, 'who believed they could get Assad's nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria - and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.'

Comment: This article, unsurprisingly, has been all but blacked out in the U.S. and Western media generally.

See also:

Whose sarin? Fitting the intelligence around the policy, this time with respect to Syria

Bad Guys

Highly suspicious! Evacuation at Boston Marathon after 2 backpacks left near finish line

Boston marathon bag
© WBZ-TV
Backpack left unattended on Boylston Street.
The area near the finish line of the Boston Marathon was evacuated Tuesday night after two unattended backpacks were left at the finish line.

One of the bags was left near the photo bridge on Boylston Street. The street was shut down between Fairfield and Dartmouth streets.

WBZ-TV photographers on scene say they saw a person with the backpack screaming "Boston Strong" before police cleared everyone from the area.

Comment: Such bags placed by those really behind the bombings last year would perfectly strike the note in people's minds on why they need to be afraid. One can almost hear Chancellor Sutler from 'V for Vendtta':
"What we need right now is a clear message to the people of this country. This message must be read in every newspaper, heard on every radio, seen on every television... I want everyone to remember, why they need us!"
See Joe Quinn and Niall Bradley's new book Manufactured Terror: The Boston Marathon Bombings, Sandy Hook, Aurora Shooting and Other False Flag Terror Attacks for the truth behind the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings.

USA

America, the War State, poses a grave threat to the freedom and well-being of the American people

© Unknown
Given that most Americans living today were born and raised under a massive military establishment, the CIA, and the NSA, a large number of Americans very likely believe that the United States has always had this type of government.

Not so, as Michael Swanson shows in a new book, The War State. Swanson points out that America's warfare state didn't come into existence until more than 150 years after the country's inception. More important, he shows how the warfare state has not only altered our constitutional order in fundamental ways but also how it continues to pose a grave threat to the freedom and well-being of the American people.

Swanson begins by reminding people of the warning issued by Dwight Eisenhower in his Farewell Address in 1960. Eisenhower, a retired general who had served as the Allied commander in World War II, warned Americans of the dangers of the new massive "military-industrial complex" that had come to characterize American life:
Vader

Glasgow Commonwealth Games organisers sign deal with major weapons company to provide security

drone

Selex ES, an Anglo-Italian defence firm which manufactures weapon-targeting systems and supplies drones, has won the contract to provide surveillance cameras, security fencing and communications equipment for more than 20 venues, including the athletes’ village, for the Games
The organisers of this summer's Glasgow Commonwealth Games have been accused of signing a "totally unacceptable" deal with a major arms company to provide security for the £524m event.

Selex ES, an Anglo-Italian defence firm which manufactures weapon-targeting systems and supplies drones, has won the contract to provide surveillance cameras, security fencing and communications equipment for more than 20 venues, including the athletes' village, for the Games.

The company, which is owned by the Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica, the world's ninth-largest arms firm, is a significant employer in Britain, with 2,000 staff in Scotland and manufacturing bases from Bristol to York. Its clients include governments with poor human rights records including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.

Anti-arms trade campaigners said the involvement of Selex ES in a major sporting event was immoral and part of a pattern of defence companies that sell to repressive regimes seeking "legitimacy" by involvement with high-profile events.
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