A World War Has Begun: Break the Silence

Donald Trump is a maverick, unlike Hillary Clinton, argues John Pilger.

have been filming in the Marshall Islands, which lie north of Australia, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Whenever I tell people where I have been, they ask,”Where is that?” If I offer a clue by referring to “Bikini,” they say, “You mean the swimsuit. Few seem aware that the bikini swimsuit was named to celebrate the nuclear explosions that destroyed Bikini Island. Sixty-six nuclear devices were exploded by the United States in the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958 – the equivalent of 1.6 Hiroshima bombs every day for 12 years.

Bikini is silent today, mutated and contaminated. Palm trees grow in a strange grid formation. Nothing moves. There are no birds. The headstones in the old cemetery are alive with radiation. My shoes registered “unsafe” on a Geiger counter.

Standing on the beach, I watched the emerald green of the Pacific fall away into a vast black hole. This was the crater left by the hydrogen bomb they called “Bravo.” The explosion poisoned people and their environment for hundreds of miles, perhaps forever.

On my return journey, I stopped at Honolulu airport and noticed an American magazine called Women’s Health. On the cover was a smiling woman in a bikini swimsuit, and the headline: “You, too, can have a bikini body.” A few days earlier, in the Marshall Islands, I had interviewed women who had very different “bikini bodies” – each had suffered thyroid cancer and other life-threatening cancers.

Unlike the smiling woman in the magazine, all of them were impoverished: the victims and guinea pigs of a rapacious superpower that is today more dangerous than ever.

I relate this experience as a warning and to interrupt a distraction that has consumed so many of us. The founder of modern propaganda, Edward Bernays, described this phenomenon as “the conscious and intelligent manipulation of the habits and opinions” of democratic societies. He called it an “invisible government.”

How many people are aware that a world war has begun? At present, it is a war of propaganda, of lies and distraction, but this can change instantaneously with the first mistaken order, the first missile.

In 2009, President Obama stood before an adoring crowd in the center of Prague, in the heart of Europe. He pledged himself to make “the world free from nuclear weapons.” People cheered and some cried. A torrent of platitudes flowed from the media. Obama was subsequently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

It was all fake. He was lying.

The Obama administration has built more nuclear weapons, more nuclear warheads, more nuclear delivery systems, more nuclear factories. Nuclear warhead spending alone rose higher under Obama than under any American president. The cost over 30 years is more than $1 trillion.

A mini nuclear bomb is planned. It is known as the B61 Model 12. There has never been anything like it. General James Cartwright, a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said, “Going smaller (makes using this nuclear) weapon more thinkable.”

In the last 18 months, the greatest build-up of military forces since World War II – led by the United States – is taking place along Russia’s western frontier. Not since Hitler invaded the Soviet Union have foreign troops presented such a demonstrable threat to Russia.

Ukraine – once part of the Soviet Union – has become a CIA theme park. Having orchestrated a coup in Kiev, Washington effectively controls a regime that is next door and hostile to Russia: a regime rotten with Nazis, literally. Prominent parliamentary figures in Ukraine are the political descendants of the notorious OUN and UPA fascists. They openly praise Hitler and call for the persecution and expulsion of the Russian-speaking minority.

This is seldom news in the West, or it is inverted to suppress the truth.

In Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – next door to Russia – the U.S. military is deploying combat troops, tanks, heavy weapons. This extreme provocation of the world’s second nuclear power is met with silence in the West.

What makes the prospect of nuclear war even more dangerous is a parallel campaign against China.

Seldom a day passes when China is not elevated to the status of a “threat.” According to Admiral Harry Harris, the U.S. Pacific commander, China is “building a great wall of sand in the South China Sea.”

What he is referring to is China building airstrips in the Spratly Islands, which are the subject of a dispute with the Philippines – a dispute without priority until Washington pressured and bribed the government in Manila and the Pentagon launched a propaganda campaign called “freedom of navigation.”

What does this really mean? It means freedom for American warships to patrol and dominate the coastal waters of China. Try to imagine the American reaction if Chinese warships did the same off the coast of California.

I made a film called, “The War You Don’t See,” in which I interviewed distinguished journalists in America and Britain: reporters such as Dan Rather of CBS, Rageh Omar of the BBC, David Rose of the Observer.

All of them said that had journalists and broadcasters done their job and questioned the propaganda that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction; had the lies of George W. Bush and Tony Blair not been amplified and echoed by journalists, the 2003 invasion of Iraq might not have happened, and hundreds of thousands of men, women and children would be alive today.

The propaganda laying the ground for a war against Russia and/or China is no different in principle. To my knowledge, no journalist in the Western “mainstream” – a Dan Rather equivalent, say – asks why China is building airstrips in the South China Sea.

The answer ought to be glaringly obvious. The United States is encircling China with a network of bases, with ballistic missiles, battle groups, nuclear-armed bombers.

This lethal arc extends from Australia to the islands of the Pacific, the Marianas and the Marshalls and Guam, to the Philippines, Thailand, Okinawa, Korea and across Eurasia to Afghanistan and India. America has hung a noose around the neck of China. This is not news. Silence by media; war by media.

In 2015, in high secrecy, the U.S. and Australia staged the biggest single air-sea military exercise in recent history, known as Talisman Sabre. Its aim was to rehearse an Air-Sea Battle Plan, blocking sea lanes, such as the Straits of Malacca and the Lombok Straits, that cut off China’s access to oil, gas and other vital raw materials from the Middle East and Africa.

In the circus known as the American presidential campaign, Donald Trump is being presented as a lunatic, a fascist. He is certainly odious; but he is also a media hate figure. That alone should arouse our skepticism.

Trump’s views on migration are grotesque, but no more grotesque than those of David Cameron. It is not Trump who is the Great Deporter from the United States, but the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Barack Obama.

According to one prodigious liberal commentator, Trump is “unleashing the dark forces of violence” in the United States. Unleashing them?

This is the country where toddlers shoot their mothers and the police wage a murderous war against black Americans. This is the country that has attacked and sought to overthrow more than 50 governments, many of them democracies, and bombed from Asia to the Middle East, causing the deaths and dispossession of millions of people.

No country can equal this systemic record of violence. Most of America’s wars (almost all of them against defenseless countries) have been launched not by Republican presidents but by liberal Democrats: Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Obama.

In 1947, a series of National Security Council directives described the paramount aim of American foreign policy as a world substantially made over in America’s own image. The ideology was messianic Americanism. We were all Americans. Or else. Heretics would be converted, subverted, bribed, smeared or crushed.

Donald Trump is a symptom of this, but he is also a maverick. He says the invasion of Iraq was a crime; he doesn’t want to go to war with Russia and China. The danger to the rest of us is not Trump, but Hillary Clinton. She is no maverick. She embodies the resilience and violence of a system whose vaunted exceptionalism is totalitarian with an occasional liberal face.

As presidential election day draws near, Clinton will be hailed as the first female president, regardless of her crimes and lies – just as Barack Obama was lauded as the first black president and liberals swallowed his nonsense about “hope.” And the drool goes on.

Described by The Guardian columnist Owen Jones as “funny, charming, with a coolness that eludes practically every other politician,” Obama the other day sent drones to slaughter 150 people in Somalia. He kills people usually on Tuesdays, according to the New York Times, when he is handed a list of candidates for death by drone. So cool.

In the 2008 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton threatened to “totally obliterate” Iran with nuclear weapons. As secretary of state under Obama, she participated in the overthrow of the democratic government of Honduras. Her contribution to the destruction of Libya in 2011 was almost gleeful. When the Libyan leader, Colonel Gaddafi, was publicly sodomized with a knife – a murder made possible by American logistics – Clinton gloated over his death: “We came, we saw, he died.”

One of Clinton’s closest allies is Madeleine Albright, the former secretary of state, who has attacked young women for not supporting Hillary. This is the same Madeleine Albright who infamously celebrated on TV the death of half a million Iraqi children as “worth it.”

Among Clinton’s biggest backers are the Israel lobby and the arms companies that fuel the violence in the Middle East. She and her husband have received a fortune from Wall Street. And yet, she is about to be ordained the women’s candidate, to see off the evil Trump, the official demon. Her supporters include distinguished feminists: the likes of Gloria Steinem in the U.S. and Anne Summers in Australia.

A generation ago, a post-modern cult now known as “identity politics” stopped many intelligent, liberal-minded people examining the causes and individuals they supported – such as the fakery of Obama and Clinton; such as bogus progressive movements like Syriza in Greece, which betrayed the people of that country and allied with their enemies.

Self-absorption, a kind of “me-ism,” became the new zeitgeist in privileged western societies and signaled the demise of great collective movements against war, social injustice, inequality, racism and sexism.

Today, the long sleep may be over. The young are stirring again. Gradually. The thousands in Britain who supported Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader are part of this awakening – as are those who rallied to support Senator Bernie Sanders.

In Britain last week, Jeremy Corbyn’s closest ally, his shadow treasurer John McDonnell, committed a Labour government to pay off the debts of piratical banks and, in effect, to continue so-called austerity.

In the U.S., Bernie Sanders has promised to support Clinton if or when she’s nominated. He, too, has voted for America’s use of violence against countries when he thinks it’s “right.” He says Obama has done “a great job.”

In Australia, there is a kind of mortuary politics, in which tedious parliamentary games are played out in the media while refugees and Indigenous people are persecuted and inequality grows, along with the danger of war. The government of Malcolm Turnbull has just announced a so-called defense budget of $195 billion that is a drive to war. There was no debate. Silence.

What has happened to the great tradition of popular direct action, unfettered to parties? Where is the courage, imagination and commitment required to begin the long journey to a better, just and peaceful world? Where are the dissidents in art, film, the theatre, literature?

Where are those who will shatter the silence? Or do we wait until the first nuclear missile is fired?

This is an edited version of an address by John Pilger at the University of Sydney, entitled “A World War Has Begun.”

 

John Pilger, teleSUR

Governor Cuomo Can Improve Your Crappy Subway Commute

If you control the MTA, make an “O” with your hand.

Governor Cuomo does not want you to know that he is in charge of the MTA. If the 6,000,000 people who ride the subway every day realized that the man who frequently commutes by helicopter has made their rides to work slow, expensive, and crowded, he might have to actually have to do something about it!

The Riders Alliance has made a short video to illustrate this point—the MTA isn’t some entropic agency controlled by shadowy “metropolitan downstate region” cartoons in TWU trucker hats.

It’s controlled by a politician who has systematically kept your transit system on life support so he can under promise and over-deliver and then accuse the people who ride the subway of “cry[ing] poverty” when they have the temerity to ask for a 21st century commute. (Isn’t a new Tappan Zee Bridge good enough for these ingrates?)

The Alliance’s video focuses on Cuomo’s promise to provide the MTA with $7.3 billion in funding so it can finish the Second Avenue Subway and physically move people from one place in New York City to another.

In reality, Cuomo has not said how this is going to happen (sound familiar?)

There is no audio in the Alliance’s video, but we recommend playing both these videos at the same time, which your Facebook friends are gonna love when you share the shit out of this content.

The deadline for Albany to come up with a budget is April 1. Let Governor Cuomo know how you feel by writing him an email or calling his office: 1-518-474-8390.

You can also sign the Riders Alliance petition here.

DART ‘pursuing two paths’ to get rail on Cotton Belt

Dallas, Denton and Collin County residents may not have to wait two decades for an east-west rail corridor to connect to the region’s north-south transit spokes. Well, maybe.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit board member Gary Slagel said today that the transit agency is looking at different ways to speed up getting rail service on the eastern portion of the Cotton Belt line, which runs from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to Plano.

The agency plans to have service running by 2035. But it faces pressure from member city Addison and regional leaders to expedite that time frame. Slagel said the agency is also exploring whether it start rail service in two phases. The first would run trains from the airport to Addison before 2035. The second would then finish the route from Addison to Plano.

“We are pursuing two paths,” Slagel told the Regional Transportation Council today.

The RTC today discussed a regional policy that could require DART to get rail service going before 2035 or to come up with a stop-gap measure like bus rapid transit until it gets enough money for rail.

Slagel also sits on the RTC, which sets transportation policy and steers mobility money to area projects. So does Addison City Council member Bruce Arfsten, who told his fellow RTC members that his city opposes anything but rail service. Addison has paid more than $244.8 million into DART since 1984, but has yet to see a single transit train run through its city.

Arfsten said a stop-gap like bus rapid transit could actually delay rail service past 2035.

“We don’t really see that as an option,” he said.

Fort Worth’s transportation agency The T plans to run rail from that city’s downtown to the airport on the western side of the Cotton Belt line. That project could get $125 million in federal funds if Congress doesn’t disagree with that portion of President Obama’s proposed budget for next year.

The RTC will likely vote on a policy about DART’s portion of the Cotton Belt line when it votes on the region’s long-range transportation plan, director Michael Morris said Thursday.

“This policy puts DART in a position to advance this corridor if they can,” Morris said.

Black Progressives, It’s Time to Unite Against Establishment Politics

By Anthony Conwright, Black and Wordy

 

The Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee (CBC PAC) has endorsed Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and by the way in which it did so has demonstrated its propensity to play establishment politics.

An endorsement in itself isn’t a bad thing, but for the CBC PAC to endorse the Clinton campaign by misleading black voters about Bernie Sanders’ record on issues important to black Americans, and neglecting to offer any critique on the impacts the Clinton policies have had on black Americans is not only insulting, it’s dishonest.

According to South Carolina House Democratic Leader J. Todd Rutherford, Bernie Sanders has “only really started talking about issues concerning African Americans in the last 40 days.” Rutherford has also criticized Bernie Sanders for his vote in favor of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, and suggested that Bernie Sanders apologize for his vote on the bill.

Perhaps Bernie Sanders should apologize for voting in favor of the crime bill, and if he does he should do so with the 24 members of the Congressional Black Caucus who also voted for the bill in 1994.

A critique can be made about Sanders’ vote in favor of the crime bill; however, that critique must be put into the context of his support for women who are victims of domestic violence, which is part of the reason he voted in favor of the crime bill: The Violence Against Women Act was attached to it.

Here is a video of Bernie Sanders addressing the crime bill, domestic violence, and The Violence Against Women Act.

Bernie Sanders strongly opposed the crime bill, and addressed congress in a two-minute speech in which he called the bill a “punishment bill,” and went on to say he had a “problem with a president, and a congress” that wants to get “tough on crime” while millions of people go hungry and children sleep outside on the streets. He ended his opposition to the crime bill with the saying, “let’s not keep putting poor people into jail and disproportionately punishing blacks” — that was 8,880 days ago.

Here is a clip from C-Span of Bernie Sanders’ remarks at the 1994 Congressional Black Caucus hearing on crime and guns in African-American communities. At the beginning of the clip, Bernie Sanders is introduced by the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus as “a colleague and associate member of the Congressional Black Caucus.” In his remarks, Sanders would go on to say that addressing crime without addressing poverty and jobs is “absurd”–that was 8,066 days ago.

Here is a compilation of Bernie Sanders’ consistency on his views on war, poverty, jobs, campaign financing, income inequality and crime. The video covers Bernie Sanders from 1985-2015, which covers a span of about 10,957 days.

When you compare Hillary Clinton’s advocacy for the crime bill and Bernie Sander’s reasons to vote in favor of the bill, the difference in their narratives is clear:

Bernie Sanders is addressing crime in relation to poverty and jobs, while Hillary Clinton’s “tough on crime” narrative is dealing with the people who commit crimes and not the socioeconomic conditions that lead to crime, which is a narrative that must be scrutinized.

When politicians say they want to deal with the “real problems” of crime without addressing structural oppressions that lead to crimes, they are really saying they want to “deal with” (see incarcerate) “the people” (see black and brown youth) who commit crimes.

Hillary Clinton’s acceptance of this narrative was exemplified when she called gang-related youth “superpredators,” and compared “those people” to the mob, and suggested that America have a concentrated effort on gangs in the same way there was a concentrated effort on the mob. When she had an opportunity to address the reasons why youth turn to gangs or crime she said, “we can talk about how they got that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”

Her remark could have been improved if it were given in reverse order: Let’s address the conditions that create gangs, before youth of color are indiscriminately thrown into jail.

The lack of such a distinction is alarming, and we should find it troubling that the CBC PAC has recently received money from a lobbyist to Corrections Corporation of America, a corporation that manages private prisons.

In 2010, The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Idaho filed a class action federal lawsuit charging that officials at a Idaho Correctional Center promote and facilitate a culture of rampant violence that has led to carnage and suffering amongst prisoners at the state-owned facility operated by Corrections Corporation of America.

Since the CBC PAC and Hillary Clinton have claimed money doesn’t influence their politics, I am sure they will support a bill Bernie Sanders introduced into congress called Justice is Not For Sale Act of 2015, which aims to eliminate federal, state and local contracts for privately run prisons.

The introduction of the Justice is Not For Sale Act of 2015 contradicts Hakeem Jefferies’, a Democrat from New York, claims that Bernie Sanders has been “missing in action” on issues that are important to the African American community, and that “there’s no credibility to the things that are being said at the twilight of Sanders’ political career.”

There have been numerous reports that show private prisons exploit the poor, and according to a 2014 study the racial disparities in private prisons housing state inmates are even greater than in publicly run prisons.

Sanders’ actions regarding civil rights and issues important to the African American community has been documented thoroughly. Mother Jones has extensively covered Bernie Sanders’ activism during the civil rights movement. In 1962, he protested police brutality, and he was arrested for protesting segregation in public schools in Chicago.

BernieSandersCORE1962

As a member of congress, Bernie Sanders’ record on civil rights is clear. Sanders introduced The National Priorities Act of 2007 to congress, which addresses poverty and income inequality, and he has found success by amending legislation, which included an increase in accountability for corporate crime, expanding free health care, and gaining a $22 million increase in funds for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance program and the Weatherization Assistance program.

Bernie Sanders has also introduced the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015, which could help legalize marijuana, and lower the rate in which black Americans are disproportionately arrested for marijuana possession.

Bernie Sanders also received a 97 percent rating by the NAACP in 2006 (an indication of his pro-affirmative-action stance).

Not too bad of a record for a man who has been accused of being “thin” when it comes to civil rights issues.

The problem with the CBC PAC endorsement is that it further continues the notion that because the Clinton name has black politicians, she will have us. This message in its nature is condescending because it assumes that any black politician who fought for civil rights has a monopoly on what’s best or who’s best for young, black voters.

The last time I checked “being a friend of the African American community” wasn’t a viable campaign slogan, and for a member of a black caucus to use this language as way to get black Americans to cosign Hillary Clinton’s campaign is insulting.

If Hillary Clinton is a “friend” of the African American community then she and the black politicians who endorse her must live up to criticism that a “friend” of the African American community and the endorsement of said friend ascribe for itself.

Unfortunately, this is criticism that has yet to be seen.

This does not mean that criticism of black members of state is a sign of ungratefulness for the work black politicians have done during the civil rights movement.

This is a call for us to unite against the establishment–both black and white–and demand that our representatives march to our anthems of progress, despite how radical they may seem and acknowledge that our vote for the Clinton Campaign is far from granted.

BBC Great American Railroad Journeys

The BBC is currently broadcasting a fifteen-part series on American rail travels.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_American_Railroad_Journeys

The first seven episodes deal with NYC and Upstate New York.  You can find the episodes that have been broadcast on YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=great+american+railway+journeys

This show is a follow-up to the Great British Railway Journeys and Great Continental Railway Journeys shows that has been airing on the BBC since 2010.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_British_Railway_Journeys

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Continental_Railway_Journeys

These shows can be viewed on YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=great+british+railways+journeys

https://www.youtube.com/results?q=great+European+railway+journeys

Should Bernie Sanders Drop Out? Elizabeth Warren Doesn’t Think So

It’s looking increasingly likely that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic presidential nomination. But Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Thursday that she doesn’t think Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s lone competitor, should exit the primary race.

The Democratic senator was asked about the issue by reporters after touring a Massachusetts community healthcare center and responded by praising Sanders, according to the Associated Press. ‘‘He’s out there. He fights from the heart. This is who Bernie is,’’ Warren said. ‘‘He has put the right issues on the table both for the Democratic Party and for the country in general, so I’m still cheering Bernie on.’’

Warren has not yet endorsed a candidate and reportedly would not comment Thursday on who she voted for in Massachusetts’s Democratic presidential primary earlier this month. Warren did say she plans to eventually make an endorsement. Warren and Sanders seem to have similar views on Wall Street and student debt. The Vermont senator is heavily critical of both.

In an interview with International Business Times in February, Warren defended Sanders from criticism from Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein. “He thinks it’s fine to prosecute small business owners; it’s fine to go hard after individuals who have no real resources, but don’t criticize companies like Goldman Sachs and their very, very important CEO — that’s what he’s really saying,” Warren told IBT.

But according to the AP Thursday, Warren had compared both Democratic candidates favorably to the Republican options on the issue of healthcare.

“While the Democrats are saying, ‘Gee, is the right answer to the Affordable Care Act in the following six ways or go all the way to single payer [healthcare]?’ — which is a good debate to have — the Republicans are saying they are going to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with something they can’t describe,” she said.

In comments that echoed some of the chief critiques levied by 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney against Republican candidate Donald Trump, Warren expressed skepticism about the GOP billionaire’s business record. While the often braggadocios Republican front-runner says he’s a smart businessman, Warren said that was a big stretch, according to the AP.

“Donald Trump claims that the reason he’s qualified to be president of the United States is that he is a very, very, very successful businessman. Donald Trump is not a great business success, and it’s time he’s called out on it,” she said.

Tim Marcin, International Business Times

Comets Sunk In OT

After suffering a 2-1 overtime loss to the Hershey Bears on Friday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium, the Utica Comets grabbed just three points during their season-high five-game home stand.

Jordan Subban (1-0-1), Carter Bancks (0-1-1), and T.J. Hensick (0-1-1) each recorded a point for the Comets in the loss. Richard Bachman kept the Comets in the game with some spectacular saves, stopping 29 shots for Utica.

Both teams had their chances during the first period, but thanks to the incredible play of both Bachman and Justin Peters the game remained scoreless.

The Bears eventually got on the board first with a tally 3:03 into the second period. Dustin Gazley dumped a pass off to Aaron Ness at the point. Ness quickly fired a one-timer to the glove side of Bachman for his fifth goal of the season.

Jordan Subban and the Comets came back to tie it in the third, on a five-on-three power play. Bancks sent a pass to Subban who was stationed atop the right point. Subban swiftly ripped a one-timer past Peters for his 11th goal of the season.

The Comets started off overtime with some scoring opportunities, but Jakub Vrana scored on a breakaway after he managed to beat a pinching Comets defender to get the puck out of the Hershey zone.

Utica finished with 27 shots on goal, while the Bears had 31 shots.

The loss drops the Comets to 31-26-7-4, while the Bears improve to 37-18-4-7.

The Comets will travel to Binghamton, Saturday, to take on the Senators, as they try to snap their five game skid. Game time is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.