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Wed, 23 May 2018
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Chris Hedges: The collapse is coming, get ready

us collapse
The Trump administration did not rise, prima facie, like Venus on a half shell from the sea. Donald Trump is the result of a long process of political, cultural and social decay. He is a product of our failed democracy. The longer we perpetuate the fiction that we live in a functioning democracy, that Trump and the political mutations around him are somehow an aberrant deviation that can be vanquished in the next election, the more we will hurtle toward tyranny. The problem is not Trump. It is a political system, dominated by corporate power and the mandarins of the two major political parties, in which we don't count. We will wrest back political control by dismantling the corporate state, and this means massive and sustained civil disobedience, like that demonstrated by teachers around the country this year. If we do not stand up we will enter a new dark age.

Book 2

4.8mn Swedish homes to get war prepper pamphlet

Swedish troops
© Bjorn Larsson Rosvall/TT News Agency / Reuters
The Swedish government is issuing pamphlets explaining how citizens should prepare for a multitude of potential crises from terrorist attacks to all-out war, saying: "Sweden is safer than many other countries but threats exist."

The booklet, produced by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB), advises Swedes to stock up on tinned food, bottled water and blankets in addition to planning how they would manage the supply of water, food, heat and communications when public services are not functioning as normal.

Comment: Ridiculous! Sweden distributes 4.7 million leaflets on 'how to prepare for war with Russia'


Arrow Down

Kendrick Lamar kicks white fan off stage for rapping the n-word in song he invited her to sing

Kendrick Lamar
© Getty Images
Kendrick Lamar at Coachella festival in April
A white woman has been booed at a Kendrick Lamar gig for singing the N-word on stage.

The rapper invited the woman, who identified herself only as "Delaney", to sing M.A.A.D City during his set at the Hangout Festival in Alabama.

But Kendrick stopped her after she repeatedly used the N-word - which is heard multiple times in his song.

As the crowd reacted angrily, Kendrick told her: "You gotta bleep one single word."

She appeared not to realise why she had been stopped, and asked: "Am I not cool enough for you, bro?"


Bullseye

Debunking the propaganda and getting our facts straight on Venezuela

supporters venezuela

Supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro celebrate after the National Electoral Council declared him winner of the presidential election

1. "There is no democracy"
: In Venezuela there have been 23 elections since 1998, the year in which Hugo Chavez was elected as President and began a process of democratization of the State's powers with high level of public participation in the decisions they make in their political, economical, cultural and organizational life. This is known as Participative Democracy with Protagonism from the people. Furthermore in Venezuela, voting is not obligatory, and still the participation levels in the last decades has been more than 70%, higher than what is there in United States, Spain, Colombia, Peru and Chile. For 11 years, Venezuela has used electronic or automatic voting system, which allows accelerating the voting process and protecting the results.

Comment: Maduro and his party may not be perfect but it bears repeating that Venezuela would not be in the shape it's in today if not for the on-going attempts on the part of the US to sabotage the sovereignty of the South American country and its work towards independence from the empire to the north.

And the attempts have been staggering in scope:


Fire

Teen fined over $36 mn for starting Oregon wildfire

A teenager has been ordered to pay $36,618,330 in restitution for the damage he caused by starting a wildfire in Oregon last year.
Columbia River in Oregon, US
© Inciweb / Reuters
Teen fined over $36 mn for sparking Oregon wildfire
The Eagle Creek fire seen burning along the Columbia River in Oregon, US on September 5, 2017.
County Circuit Judge John A. Olson ordered the unnamed 15-year-old to pay the fine on Monday for throwing fireworks into Eagle Creek Canyon, sparking an almighty inferno that spread across the forest.

The monumental payment means that the teen would have to pay over $100,000 a month for the next 30 years to pay back the balance. Judge Olson recognized that the teen will likely not be able to fulfill the payment, and so he ordered the local juvenile department to develop a financial plan for him, The Oregonian reports.

Target

Gun Owners of America and NRA strike back at big name banks trying to undercut second amendment

nra graphic
Second amendment supporters have now taken aim at the banks that they once had no problem doing business with. Citigroup and Bank of America have taken to discrimination practices as they no longer treat makers of fire arms the same way that they treat their other business customers. The shot that these banks have fired at gun makers could have placed any hopes that they had of gaining favor with Republican law makers and regulators at risk. A large number of Republicans defend the second amendment themselves. The actions of the banks place themselves in direct opposition of the support that most Republicans give to the second amendment.

Two months ago Citigroup took it upon themselves to require their business clients who sell guns to make their customers pass a background check first. Just a few weeks later Bank of America cut off all loans to business clients who make military style fire arms for civilians. Both banks made their decisions after the school shooting that occurred in Parkland, Florida on February 14. Those in favor of tighter gun control laws and Democrats praised the two banks for their decisions and have tried to encourage other banks to do the same.

Comment: See also:


Heart - Black

Sixty murders in Gaza and the end of Israeli 'conscience'

soldiers gaza march of return
© Oren Ziv / Activestills.org
Israeli soldiers face Palestinian protesters in Gaza during the Return March protests. April 13, 2018.
On the night of the Palestinians' slaughter, Zion exulted an embassy and a Eurovision. It's difficult to think of a more atrocious moral eclipse

When will the moment come in which the mass killing of Palestinians matters anything to the right? When will the moment come in which the massacre of civilians shocks at least the left-center? If 60 people slain don't do it, perhaps 600? Will 6,000 jolt them?

When will the moment come in which a pinch of human feeling arises, if only for a moment, toward the Palestinians? Sympathy? At what moment will someone call a halt, and suggest compassion, without being branded an eccentric or an Israel hater?

When will there be a moment in which someone admits that the slaughterer has, after all, some responsibility for the slaughter, not only the slaughtered, who are of course responsible for their own slaughter?

Sixty people killed didn't matter to anyone - perhaps 600 would? How about 6,000? Will Israel find all the excuses and justifications then also? Will the blame be laid on the slain people and their "dispatchers" even then, and not a word of criticism, mea culpa, sorrow, pity or guilt will be heard?

Quenelle

Yale University being investigated by Department of Education, accused of 'toxic environment against men'

Yale
© REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
The Department of Education is investigating Yale University for anti-male discrimination.
The Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is investigating Yale University after a male student from another school filed a Title IX complaint in February, accusing the Ivy League institution of a "toxic environment against men."

Kursat Chistoff Pekgoz, an English literature doctoral student at the University of Southern California who has no affiliation to Yale, filed the complaint after he singled out the Ivy League for its overall culture of anti-male discrimination by providing benefits exclusively for women, despite declining male enrollment. This is not the first time Yale has been accused of discriminating against men using Obama-era Title IX policies that have been pulled back under the Trump administration. But this complaint, unlike the others, is unrelated to sexual misconduct on campus.

2 + 2 = 4

How work, not welfare programs, is transformative

Anti-poverty programs should foster autonomy, not perpetual dependence.
technology worker
With the House of Representatives' rejection of a $867 billion farm bill last week, efforts to reform the federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as "food stamps," have run aground, at least for now. Conservative House Republicans backed the proposal, which tied aid to work or training requirements for able-bodied people-a principle that enjoys broad support from voters across the political spectrum. The liberal Left, however, opposes and often derides work requirements for welfare and other forms of assistance, seeing such conditions as arbitrary and cruel.

New York Times economic columnist Eduardo Porter expressed his opposition to the plan in a column that reads like a screed against the American Dream. Encouraging poor people to get jobs as a condition of receiving aid, contends Porter, perpetuates a myth that ending dependency is the key to getting out of poverty. He cites the example of a poor single mother on welfare who can't pay her bills and drinks lots of beer. When she is forced off welfare and gets a job, he says, she still can't pay her bills and still drinks lots of beer.

Newspaper

Indian govt employee says he's the reincarnation of Vishnu, skips work to go to '5th dimension'

Indian artist dressed as Hindu Lord Vishnu
© Anindito Mukherjee / Reuters
Indian artist dressed as Hindu Lord Vishnu for Janmashtami festival in New Delhi
A senior engineer at an Indian government agency has been a no-show at work for eight months as he was busy performing his duties as a deity, namely the 10th reincarnation of Vishnu, the man explained in a letter to his employer.

Some office workers are ready to go to great lengths to find a legitimate reason to be absent from work, however, one government employee in India took it out of this world.