Saturday, August 18, 2018

Afghanistan. Graveyard of Empires - By Eric Margolis


After 17 bloody years, the longest war in US history continues without relent or purpose in Afghanistan.
There, a valiant, fiercely-independent people, the Pashtun (Pathan) mountain tribes, have battled the full might of the US Empire to a stalemate that has so far cost American taxpayers $4 trillion, and 2,371 dead and 20,320 wounded soldiers.  No one knows how many Afghans have died. The number is kept secret.
Pashtun tribesmen in the Taliban alliance and their allies are fighting to oust all foreign troops from Afghanistan and evict the western-imposed and backed puppet regime in Kabul that pretends to be the nation’s legitimate government.  Withdraw foreign troops and the Kabul regime would last for only days.
The whole thing smells of the Vietnam War.  Lessons so painfully learned by America in that conflict have been completely forgotten and the same mistakes repeated.  The lies and happy talk from politicians, generals and media continue apace.
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This week, Taliban forces occupied the important strategic city of Ghazni on the road from Peshawar to Kabul.  It took three days and massive air attacks by US B-1 heavy bombers, Apache helicopter gun ships, A-10 ground attack aircraft, and massed warplanes from US bases in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Qatar and the 5th US Fleet to finally drive back the Taliban assault.  Taliban also overran key military targets in Kabul and the countryside, killing hundreds of government troops in a sort of Afghan Tet offensive.
Afghan regime police and army units put up feeble resistance or ran away.   Parts of Ghazni were left in ruins.  It was a huge embarrassment to the US imperial generals and their Afghan satraps who had claimed ‘the corner in Afghanistan has finally been turned.’
Efforts by the Trump administration to bomb Taliban into submission have clearly failed.   US commanders fear using American ground troops in battle lest they suffer serious casualties.  Meanwhile, the US is running low on bombs.
Roads are now so dangerous for the occupiers that most movement must be by air.  Taliban is estimated to permanently control almost 50% of Afghanistan.  That number would rise to 100% were it not for omnipresent US air power.  Taliban rules the night.
Taliban are not and never were ‘terrorists’ as Washington’s war propaganda falsely claimed.  I was there at the creation of the movement – a group of Afghan religious students armed by Pakistan whose goal was to stop post-civil war banditry, the mass rape of women, and to fight the Afghan Communists.
When Taliban gained power, it eliminated 95% of the rampant Afghanistan opium-heroin trade. After the US invaded, allied to the old Afghan Communists and northern Tajik tribes, opium-heroin production soared to record levels.  Today, US-occupied Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opium, morphine and heroin.
US occupation authorities claim drug production is run by Taliban.  This is another big lie.  The Afghan warlords who support the regime of President Ashraf Ghani entirely control the production and export of drugs.  The army and secret police get a big cut.  How else would trucks packed with drugs get across the border into Pakistan and Central Asia?
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The United States has inadvertently become one of the world’s leading drug dealers.  This is one of the most shameful legacies of the Afghan War.  But just one.  Watching the world’s greatest power bomb and ravage little Afghanistan, a nation so poor that some of its people can’t afford sandals, is a huge dishonor for Americans.
Even so, the Pashtun defeated the invading armies of Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, the Mogul Emperors and the mighty British Raj.  The US looks to be next in the Graveyard of Empires.
Nobody in Washington can enunciate a good reason for continuing the colonial war in Afghanistan.  One hears talk of minerals, women’s rights and democracy as a pretext for keeping US forces in Afghanistan. All nonsense.  A possible real reason is to deny influence over Afghanistan, though the Chinese are too smart to grab this poisoned cup.  They have more than enough with their rebellious Uighur Muslims.
Interestingly, the so-called ‘terrorist training camps’ supposedly found in Afghanistan in 2001 were actually guerilla training camps run by Pakistani intelligence to train Kashmiri rebels and CIA-run camps for exiled Uighur fighters from China.
The canard that the US had to invade Afghanistan to get at Osama bin Laden, alleged author of the 9/11 attacks, is untrue.  The attacks were made by Saudis and mounted from Hamburg and Madrid, not Afghanistan.  I’m not even sure bin Laden was behind the attacks.
My late friend and journalist Arnaud de Borchgrave shared my doubts and insisted that the Taliban leader Mullah Omar offered to turn bin Laden over to a court in a Muslim nation to prove his guilt or innocence.
President George Bush, caught sleeping on guard duty and humiliated, had to find an easy target for revenge – and that was Afghanistan.
Copyright © 2018 Eric Margolis

How the Left Is Outsourcing Censorship of the Internet | Power Line - by John Hinderaker

Liberals control every newspaper in America, as far as I know, except the Manchester Union Leader. They control CBS, ABC, NBC and every cable network except Fox News. They control what is left of the news magazines, and pretty much every other magazine, too. Only talk radio and the pesky internet lie outside their grasp, so that is where they seek to impose censorship.
But they have a problem: the First Amendment. The government can’t suppress conservative speech on the ground that it is “hate speech,” i.e., something that liberals don’t like. That was recently reaffirmed by a 9-0 decision of the Supreme Court.
So liberals have outsourced censorship of the internet to the tech titans of Silicon Valley.
Unfortunately, most political conversation these days occurs not on the “free” internet, where independent sites like Power Line reside, but rather on social media–Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and so on. Other players include Google (in its search capacity), Apple, Pinterest, Spotify, etc. Happily–if you are a leftist–all of these tech companies are run by liberals. And because they are private companies, they are not constrained by the First Amendment. They can restrict or ban conservative communications on the ground that they are “hate speech,” or on no grounds whatsoever, with impunity.
And that is exactly what they are doing. This is a big topic. I brought it up this morning while hosting the Laura Ingraham radio show, and it blew up, ultimately consuming half of the three-hour show. Many aspects of the left’s outsourcing of censorship to liberal-run corporations need to be explored, but for now, this is an astonishing example: “Silicon Valley Strikes Back: Facebook Censors PragerU After Google Lawsuit.”
Dennis Prager is probably the foremost public intellectual of our time. His Prager University has been wildly successful. It brings a much-needed conservative antidote to the liberal nonsense to which so many Americans, especially young people, are subjected. That has made Prager a key target of the Left.
It started when YouTube downgraded PragerU’s videos. Weird: PragerU’s videos are enormously popular, and YouTube makes money when people watch videos. Moreover, PragerU’s videos are among the most high-quality, intellectually sound productions on YouTube. Nevertheless, YouTube (which is owned by Google) has tried to suppress traffic to PragerU’s products. PragerU has sued Google as a result. So this is the latest:
Facebook has shadow banned PragerU into complete silence to its more than 3 million followers, internal analytics revealed.
“Our last 9 posts have been completely censored reaching 0 of our 3 million followers,” PragerU media personality Will Witt posted on Facebook Friday. “At least two of our videos were deleted last night for ‘hate speech’ including a post of our most recent video with The Conservative Millennial, Make Men Masculine Again.”
“Internal Facebook analytics reveal that as of Thursday, Aug. 16, at 10:00 PM PDT, posts by PragerU on the social media platform have been completely invisible to its more than 3 million followers,” PragerU reported in a news release Friday. “Currently, visitors to PragerU’s Facebook page are unable to see any of its most recent posts.”
“This is a first for us,” PragerU Chief Marketing Officer Craig Strazzeri said in a statement. “While we’ve experienced blatant discrimination from Google/YouTube, which is why we’ve filed legal action against them, this represents a whole new level of censorship by Facebook. at this point, Facebook has provided little clarity saying it will get back to us in another two to three business days, which in the world of social media might as well be an eternity.”
Tech titans stick together. Two weeks ago, Apple, Facebook, YouTube and Spotify simultaneously “de-platformed” Alex Jones and Infowars. Twitter held out briefly, and then, in response to demands from liberals, also banned Jones and Infowars. I have never paid attention to Infowars and have no idea whether its content has merit. But simultaneous bans and suspensions across platforms can hardly be coincidental. The phrase “combination or conspiracy in restraint of trade” comes to mind.
In any event, any claim by the Left that companies aligned with it are merely cleansing themselves of disreputable content would be absurd. First, PragerU is among the most reputable content on the internet. Second, they have taken no action against left-wing extremists like the fascist Antifa, which disseminates its hate speech freely on every social media platform I am aware of.
The Left’s attempt to outsource censorship to its Silicon Valley allies is one of the most important issues of our time. The proper solution may lie in creating competitive platforms, or in legislative, regulatory or judicial action. Perhaps platforms fitting a particular legal definition should be regulated as public utilities. After all, Federal Express doesn’t refuse to deliver packages to the National Review office on the ground that they may contain conservative communications, and telephone companies haven’t tried to cut off connections when two conservatives are talking. Why should Facebook, Twitter and YouTube be permitted to engage in political discrimination?
That is a big topic for another day.

https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2018/08/how-the-left-is-outsourcing-censorship-of-the-internet.php

Mozilla / Firefox Goes All in for Evil - By Mike Adams


Remember the day you found out Google was steeped in pure evil? So you sought out a different browser to escape the evil overlords that run Chrome.
Many of us sought out Firefox from Mozilla, an organization with a strong history supporting free speech and open access to information.
But now Mozilla has joined the dark side. They’re jumping in bed with pure evil, pushing an “Information Trust Initiative” that would block independent media sources at the browser level while favoring corporate media giants like CNN, a cesspool of deliberately fake news.
Surprised? You shouldn’t be. The Mozilla Foundation also pushed for so-called “net neutrality,” a total sham agenda that the tech giants was crucial to make sure you would never be blocked from the information sources you wanted to visit. But today, it’s abundantly clear that tech giants simply de-platform anyone they want, instantly blocking that channel from all users, all while making a mockery of their “net neutrality” plea.
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So which browsers are better alternatives? There are at least two good ones to check out right now:
BRAVE – Run by a pro-freedom group that supports small, independent publishers (and even has a mechanism for micropayments).
Vivaldi – Run by a small, independent group with no ties to deep state funding or the NSA.
It’s time to dump Firefox. Like all the other tech giants, Mozilla is going to abuse and exploit its position of market dominance to control what you read, watch and hear. That’s pure evil, and it’s the kind of evil we’ve all now come to expect from Google, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Now you can add Mozilla to that list.
Watch and learn more, courtesy of REAL.video, the video platform built by patriots to protect free speech.
Reprinted with permission from Natural News.
Mike Adams (aka the “Health Ranger“) is a best selling author (#1 best selling science book on Amazon.com called “Food Forensics“), an environmental scientist, a patent holder for a cesium radioactive isotope elimination invention, a multiple award winner for outstanding journalism, a science news publisher and influential commentator on topics ranging from science and medicine to culture and politics.

Copyright © 2018 Natural News


Of Two Minds - If You Want to Survive this Election with Your Mental Health Intact, Turn Off the "News" and Social Media Now

If you want to preserve your sanity and avoid unhappy derangement, turn off all corporate and social media from now to Thanksgiving.
Since elections are extremely profitable for traditional media / social media corporations, your sanity will gleefully be sacrificed in the upcoming election--if you are gullible enough to watch the "news" and tune into social media.Elections are extremely profitable because candidates spend scads of cash on media adverts.
The greater the discord and derangement, the higher the media profits. The more outraged you let yourself become, the more time you spend online, generating insane profits for the corporations that own whatever platforms you're addicted to.
Seeking an echo chamber of people who agree with you? We got you covered. Attracted like a junkie to emotionally corrosive "news"? That's our specialty! Want an outlet for your spleen? That's what we offer, because "we connect people" (haha).
In other words, if you have a self-destructive attraction to anger, helplessness, frustration, bitter unhappiness and derangement--then by all means, watch the "news" and soak up social media. But while you're destroying your mental health for zero positive gains, please recall that six corporations plus Amazon zillionaire Jeff Bezos own the vast majority of the mainstream media--a truly frightening concentration of power in the hands of a few whose sole purpose is to maximize profit.
This concentration of media control creates the illusion of choice-- the same elite-propaganda spin is everywhere you look; our "choice" of "approved" (i.e. corporate) media is roughly the same as that offered the Soviet citizenry in the old USSR.
Given the Corporate Media spews the same tired, Soviet-style narrative with increasing desperation, it's no wonder than public trust in the mainstream media is plummeting to all-time lows. The "news" isn't just "fake": it's designed to push narratives that benefit self-serving elites at the expense of non-elites.
Given the extreme profitability of divisiveness, it's also no wonder that political polarization is reaching extremes:
Here's a reality that you'll never see in the corporate media, because it's off message:
As entrenched interests compete to protect their profitable skims, scams, monopolies and fiefdoms, the bottom 95% are slipping into darkness. "The lifestyle you ordered" is not just currently out of stock--it's no longer being produced.
Propaganda doesn't have to change your mind to be effective-- all it has to do is disable your critical thinking by blinding you with rage, misdirecting your attention, generating an "Other" that acts as a target for projected frustration, creating either-or thinking, splinter the working / middle classes into divisive "tribes" supported by echo-chamber social media and addict you to constant drips of carefully tailored emotional derangement.
Welcome to the corporate / social media's gulag of the mind: We'll tell you what's "true" and what is correct to think and believe. Any deviation from the party line is a threat and must be discredited, marginalized or suppressed.
The greater your mental anguish and derangement, the more profit you generate for the corporate / social media, because the more time you spend "engaging" media and social media, the more money they make.
Nobody in the corporate / social media cares about your mental health--that's not what they're paid to care about. They're paid to sacrifice your mental health to increase their corporate profits. That's the election in a (heretical) nutshell.
If you want to preserve your sanity and avoid unhappy derangement, turn off all corporate and social media from now to Thanksgiving, and other than watching sports or nature programs, it's best to leave the corporate / social media off until Christmas--Christmas 2020. 

https://www.oftwominds.com/blogaug18/turn-off-media8-18.html

Friday, August 17, 2018

FW: Vox Popoli: The confidence game (Q related)


Some will consider this missive to be overly optimistic. And perhaps it is. On the other hand, it fits the observable evidence considerably better than virtually every other interpretation of current events over the last few months that I've seen. It answers the two primary doubts that Q skeptics have.
  1. Why isn't anything substantive seen to be happening?
  2. Why isn't the President acting more openly?
The answer is straightforward. The control of the media over people's perceptions of what the truth is absolutely has to be broken before news of this magnitude can go public. And now we're seeing the God-Emperor do what he has been doing since his campaign for the Republican nomination began. He is forcing the media to expose themselves and declare themselves openly.

Trust the plan. Recognize the pattern. Shut up and email.

Do you really think we are not in control? We have everything.
  • Proof of assassination attempts.
  • Proof of murder and child sacrifice.
  • Proof of treason and sedition.
Any time we want, we can pounce. Trump can declare martial law. Legally and instantly if needed. Maybe he already has? Maybe arrests already happened.
  • Hillary 10/30/17.
  • Podesta. Huma. LDR. 11/17.
Catch and release. Of media owners. Of Cabal directors. Less than 100 people. And the 4AM talking point authors.

The media is doing what they are told. And they are told to attack Trump. And the lemmings follow blindly. Along with Congress and the world. Why? It's actually quite simple. Genius. Elegant. Foolproof.

The current battle is against the media.
  • Step 1: Force media to destroy themselves.
  • Step 2: Expose media as the people's enemy.
  • Step 3: People blame media for the coverup.
  • Step 4: Media is destroyed and replaced. Arrests are easy. Institutions are not.
Faith in the media must be destroyed.

Trump lets them live in jail, if plan works. Otherwise their sentence is death. Military tribunals already held. They are working hard for Trump. To save their own lives, and their kids. Jail better than hanging to most. Others have already chosen hanging. Explains suicide weekend option.

In exchange, they destroy the media for us. On purpose and on schedule. On time and under budget. Trump style. They are forced to corner themselves. They are forced to turn on themselves. More efficient. Saul Alinsky style. I think we are ahead of schedule.

Mid terms are not at risk. They never were at risk. 70% conservative / 30% liberal = True. We would never leave it to chance. The only risk left is economic. From normies freaking out too much. Or rogue operators. The 4-6%.

We fought the real war in 2017. Trump at CIA on day fucking 1. Battle started that morning. Last major battle was Vegas 10/17. SA government overthrown weeks later. Then Q starts posting 10/28/17.

This battle is now about minds. Slowly awakening the masses. To break the media hypnosis. Relax. Be a warrior not a worrier. Justice has already been served.

You just don't know it yet.


Why is Trump fighting the trade war? – Part II - By Greg P. Richards

On August 3, American Thinker published "Why is Trump fighting the trade war?," which contained a chart showing the devastating flattening of capital spending in the U.S. following the 2001 accession of China to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
We thought readers would be interested in seeing the two additional charts shown here.  The first chart below the capital spending chart is for Industrial Production.  This is an important series in the economy.  You can see that as with capital spending, Industrial Production flattened dramatically after 2001.  Although technically it has increased very, very modestly over the last 18 years, we can say that substantively, it has been flat during this period in a pattern similar to capital spending.  This is a dangerous condition for the U.S. economy.
In some ways, perhaps the most interesting chart of the three is the last one, showing the Labor Participation Rate.  Drop-in labor participation, particularly during the Obama administration, was to some extent a mystery.  There were various vague suggestions about unnamed policies that were causing this effect, but essentially, there was no real explanation for it.  For consistency, the Labor Participation Rate is shown since 1968, but it has been increasing since 1949 due to various factors, not the least of which being the demographics of women entering the workforce over the last 50 years.
Although cause and effect can never be definitively stated in nonscientific phenomena, we can conclude that the drop in the Labor Participation Rate is due to the flatness in capital spending.  That is, capital was not being invested in the economy sufficient to create jobs at the wage level that American workers are used to.  This is also reflected in the flatness of Industrial Production.
The drop in the Labor Participation Rate has improved the reported unemployment rate over these years because it takes people so discouraged that they are no longer looking for work out of that calculation.  If a worker has stopped looking for work, he is counted as no longer in the workforce.  That does not alter the devastation to communities caused by widespread non-working.
The number of jobs lost shown on the chart is roughly 11 million, or approximately 7% of the workforce.  If those jobs were added back as in the workforce, the unemployment rate would be increased by an addition to the reported number of 7%.
This is not ruinous...yet.  Tremendous damage has been done to those people and communities affected.  This was part of the constituency that Trump was addressing during the campaign.  However, during this period, the GDP has chugged along to record levels, as we are used to it doing, albeit at slow growth during the Obama administration.
What Trump is doing is attacking (a) the trend and (b) the causes of the trend before it's any more damaging – i.e., while America can still charge forward at full power.
Without President Trump's dramatic and forceful intervention, these three charts together are a death warrant for a high-wage vigorous America.  President Trump is the only person in public life who understands this problem.  He is so far ahead of his colleagues that they consider him a figure of fun, someone who does not understand the benefits of "free trade," which is an ignorant formulation in light of Chinese mercantilism and of other trade restrictions that we have accepted since World War II but are no longer appropriate.
https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/08/why_is_trump_fighting_the_trade_war_part_ii.html

Italy’s NATO Racket... A Bridge Too Far - FINIAN CUNNINGHAM


The catastrophic bridge collapse in Italy this week has prompted a public outcry over the country’s crumbling infrastructure and how it is putting lives at risk. But the question the public in Italy and across Europe should be asking is: why are their governments spending extra tens of billions of dollars on NATO militarism, while neglecting vital civilian infrastructure?
When the iconic Morandi motorway viaduct came crashing down this week over the city of Genoa – with a death toll so far of 39 people – the consensus among Italian news media and members of the public is that the bridge was a disaster waiting to happen.
Nearly 200 meters of the motorway flyover section spanning a river, houses and an industrial area collapsed while dozens of cars and trucks were passing. Shocked witnesses described the scene as “apocalyptic” as vehicles plunged 40 meters along with concrete and iron girding to the ground below.
Lack of due maintenance has been blamed for why the bridge collapsed. Weather conditions at the time were reportedly torrential rain storms and lightning. But those conditions can hardly explain why a whole motorway viaduct wobbled and crashed.
The Morandi Bridge was built 51 years ago in 1967. Two years ago, an engineering professor from Genoa University warned that the viaduct needed to be totally replaced as its structure had seriously deteriorated. There seems little doubt that the disaster could have been avoided if proper action had been taken by the authorities rather than carrying out piecemeal repair jobs over the years.
Italian media reports say the latest is the fifth bridge collapse in the country over the past five years, as cited by the BBC.
Now the Italian government is calling for a nationwide survey of roads, tunnels, bridges and viaducts to assess public safety amid fears that other infrastructure facilities are prone to deadly failure.
What should be a matter of urgent public demand is why Italy is increasing its national spending on military upgrades and procurements instead of civilian amenities. As with all European members of the NATO alliance, Italy is being pressured by the United States to ramp up its military expenditure. US President Donald Trump has made the NATO budget a priority, haranguing European states to increase their military spending to a level of 2 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Trump has even since doubled that figure to 4 per cent.
Washington’s demand on European allies predates Trump. At a NATO summit in 2015, when Barack Obama was president, all members of the military alliance then acceded to US pressure for greater allocation of budgets to hit the 2 per cent target. The alleged threat of Russian aggression has been cited over and over as the main reason for boosting NATO.
Figures show that Italy, as with other European countries, has sharply increased its annual military spending every year since the 2015 summit. The upward trend reverses a decade-long decline. Currently, Italy spends about $28 billion annually on military. That equates to only about 1.15 per cent of GDP, way below the US-demanded target of 2 per cent of GDP.
But the disturbing thing is that Italy’s defense minister Elisabetta Trenta reportedly gave assurances to Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton that her government was committed to hitting its NATO target in the coming years. On current figures that translates roughly into a doubling of Italy’s annual military budget.
Meanwhile, the Italian public have had to endure years of economic austerity from cutbacks in social spending and civilian infrastructure.
Rome’s new coalition government comprising the League and Five Star Movement has called for a reversal in austerity policies and has vowed to increase public investment. Its leaders, like deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini, have also at times expressed a lukewarm view of NATO.
After this week’s bridge disaster, the populist coalition government has renewed its calls for more investment in public services.
Nevertheless, why then is Italy’s defense minister giving assurances that the country will adhere to Washington’s demands for increasing its NATO budget? Minister Trenta, who belongs to the Five Star Movement, says her government remains committed to buying up to 90 units of the US new-generation F35 fighter jet.
Aggregate figures show that Italy spent nearly $300 billion over the past decade on military. The previous decade’s outlay was even higher in constant dollar terms, before the financial crash in 2008. And yet the Italian government – despite its populist appeal – is planning to allocate even more resources to military over the coming years in order to meet Washington’s ultimatum for the NATO 2 per cent of GDP target. A target figure that seems wholly arbitrary and abhorrent in the light of so many urgent social needs and neglected public infrastructure.
If Italian motorway bridges are collapsing now, the future for public safety looks even bleaker when more of the country’s economy is diverted to satisfy US-led NATO demands.
Moreover, this dilemma is not confined to Italy. All European members of NATO are being railroaded by Washington to significantly expand their military budgets. President Trump has lambasted European states as “free loaders” cadging off “American protection”. Trump has singled out Germany for harassment to boost its military budget. After all the hectoring, the Europeans seem to be responding too. At the annual NATO summit held last month in Brussels, the Norwegian secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg boasted that non-US members had increased their national military budgets by an aggregate $40 billion in one year alone.
A cruel irony is that last year NATO planners complained that Europe’s infrastructure of roads, tunnels and bridges needed significant upgrades to facilitate mass-transport of military forces in case of a war with Russia. The implication was that European governments would have to increase their national spending on civilian transport networks specifically to facilitate NATO military requirements.
That is tantamount to a parasite craving for more blood from its host. Already European infrastructure is in disrepair largely because of economic austerity enforced by disproportionate spending on NATO militarism. At a time when public need for social investment is acute, European governments are obeying orders from Washington to plough more financial resources into subsidizing the American military-industrial complex. All this madcap, irrational expenditure is supposedly to keep European citizens safe from Russian threats.
All too evidently, however, the biggest threat to European citizens is the way Washington and its NATO racket is bleeding Europe of financial resources – resources which instead should be spent on building safe roads, bridges and other infrastructure.