By “people,” what he really means is landlords

Ben Carson: Tripling Rent For Subsidized Housing Will Help People Escape Poverty

Gage Skidmore/CC BY-SA 2.0/Flickr

According to HUD Secretary Ben Carson, America’s poor will escape poverty by paying higher rents.

In defense of his decision to triple of the rent of some Americans receiving federal housing assistance, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said the move will help low-income individuals escape poverty.

“It is our attempt to give poor people a way out of poverty,” Carson told Fox News in an interview, saying the program’s work requirements and rent spikes will “incentivize people” to get on their feet.

Carson’s proposal would see recipients of assistance putting 35 percent of their income toward housing costs, up from the current 30 percent, with the requirement that the money come from at least 15 hours of work at a minimum wage job.

Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) has condemned the proposal as the “latest example of the Trump administration’s war on poor people,” calling it “immoral” and “ill advised.”

But Carson disagrees:

“I would say it’s just the opposite,” Carson said, saying that his plan will be well received in general, if not by the “hysterical people who are saying, ‘These people hate you and they’re trying to balance the budget on your back and they don’t care.’ “

Carson said the system is broken, and he is simply “removing all those kinds of perverse disincentives” that hinder people from raising themselves out of poverty.

The New York Times is so corrupt that they don’t even know it

The US political police and the 2016 elections

by Patrick Martin
18 May 2018

Thursday’s edition of the New York Times carries an extraordinary, 4,000-word report on the role of the FBI in the 2016 US presidential election. Whatever the intentions of those who produced, edited and approved this lengthy account, it gives a glimpse of an American political system in which the security services, and particularly the FBI and CIA, play a critical and even decisive role.

Headlined “Code Name Crossfire Hurricane: The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation,” the article purports to provide a behind-the-scenes account of how the FBI probe into alleged Russian intervention in the US presidential election began. It is based on accounts provided from within the bureau itself, including top officials who have since been fired or pushed out by the Trump White House.

The Times claims that the FBI investigation was triggered by the Australian ambassador to Great Britain, Alexander Downer, who, after consulting with his government in Canberra, contacted US authorities to discuss his conversation with George Papadopoulos, a Trump foreign policy adviser, about efforts to obtain “dirt” on Hillary Clinton from Russian sources.

It is worth noting that the newspaper has a very different attitude to such Australian “meddling” than to the alleged efforts by Russia. There was no hyperventilating over an attack on American democracy, or suggestions that Australia was instigating an FBI investigation into Trump to “rig” the election on behalf of its preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton.

In any case, this single tip about Papadopoulos, described by the Times as “the young and inexperienced campaign aide whose wine-fueled conversation with the Australian ambassador set off the investigation,” became the basis for the mobilization of massive resources, sending a team of FBI agents to London, reassigning “the same core of agents and analysts who had investigated Mrs. Clinton” to probe the supposed connection between Russia and the Trump campaign. The team issued “national security” letters to obtain documents and get a wiretap on a former Trump adviser.

Giving a boost to this initial FBI probe was the intervention by the CIA. As the Times reports it, “The F.B.I.’s thinking crystallized by mid-August, after the C.I.A. director at the time, John O. Brennan, shared intelligence with Mr. Comey showing that the Russian government was behind an attack on the 2016 presidential election. Intelligence agencies began collaborating to investigate that operation.”

What was later to become the Mueller investigation was already in place and operating at full blast before the election. The probe was extended to include Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, and Michael Flynn, the retired general who had headed the Defense Intelligence Agency and was then a senior Trump adviser.

But as far as the Times is concerned, the main objection to the FBI’s role is not that the political police intervened so massively in the 2016 election, but that the FBI’s intervention tended to favor Trump and not Clinton, because the investigation into Trump and Russia was not made public before Election Day.

The Times account states regretfully, “The facts, had they surfaced, might have devastated the Trump campaign: Mr. Trump’s future national security adviser was under investigation, as was his campaign chairman. One adviser appeared to have Russian intelligence contacts. Another was suspected of being a Russian agent himself.”

The FBI was engulfed in something of a political faction fight, in which agency officials and agents were lined up in opposing camps. In response to internal pressure, FBI Director James Comey made two highly publicized interventions: in July 2016, when he berated Clinton’s conduct at a press briefing where he announced that no criminal charges would be brought against her; and in late October 2016, only ten days before the vote, when he revealed that the FBI had reopened the investigation.

As far as the Trump investigation goes, for all the subsequent noise and screaming headlines about Russian connections, not a shred of evidence has been provided that Russian activities in the 2016 campaign played any role in determining the outcome. Russian efforts on social media, such as the purchasing of $100,000 worth of Facebook ads, were a drop in the bucket for a $4 billion presidential campaign.

The exposure with the greatest impact on the Clinton campaign—the leaking of emails and memos showing the effort by Democratic Party officials to block the campaign of Bernie Sanders in the primaries, and the texts of Clinton’s fawning speeches to Wall Street audiences—was devastating because it was true. It was not “fake news” or Russian propaganda, and it was provided via WikiLeaks, which has earned Julian Assange the lasting enmity of all sections of the American ruling elite.

Extracting the essential content from the lengthy Times narrative, one gets a glimpse of a political system in which both major parties, the Democrats and Republicans, are completely in thrall to the permanent state apparatus, agencies like the FBI, the CIA and the NSA, as well as the Pentagon, which wield vast and virtually unaccountable power, and effectively give the orders to their nominal civilian masters. In fact, as the 2016 campaign demonstrates, the military-intelligence apparatus actually chooses the politicians who will exercise “oversight.”

Hillary Clinton focused her campaign on winning the support of what is called the “deep state.” She enlisted hundreds of generals and admirals, former CIA and NSA directors, all to testify that she was the better choice for “commander-in-chief” and that Trump was incorrigibly reckless and incompetent. The Trump campaign sought to do the same, but they were outgunned in such a competition.

If the FBI had done what the Times now advocates, the result would have been a massive political destabilization campaign, on the scale of the Mueller investigation, but launched before rather than after the election. Both parties were hoping that such investigations would help them and cripple their opponent.

The Times account gives the lie to all the media pretensions about “democracy” and “freedom” in America. The United States is a deeply class-divided society, in which two political parties of the financial aristocracy do the bidding of a state apparatus of coercion and violence of almost unimaginable dimensions.

Patrick Martin

Who re-started the Cold War between the USA and Russia? (Hint: It wasn’t Russia)

I remember, back when the Soviet Union finally fell apart, how obviously bummed out George Bush Sr. looked and sounded when he spoke about it on TV. 

But he soon pulled himself together, and, with his myrmidons in Langley, did his crooked best to get the Cold War going again; whereupon the torch was passed to Clinton, then Bush/Cheney, then Obama, and now Trump. 

(This essential piece makes clear exactly why, despite his peerless expertise, Our Free Press will not solicit quotes from Stephen Cohen.)


A discussion of the Stephen F. Cohen-Michael McFaul debate

The John Batchelor Show, May 15

Stephen F. Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies and Politics at NYU and Princeton, and John Batchelor continue their (usually) weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (You can find previous installments of these discussions, now in their fifth year, at

On May 9, at a public event jointly sponsored by Columbia University’s Harriman Institute and NYU’s Jordan Center for Advanced Russian Studies, Cohen and McFaul—a Stanford University professor and previously President Obama’s top Russia adviser in the White House and then his ambassador to Moscow—debated a crucial historical but also urgent contemporary subject: “The New US-Russian Cold War—Who Is to Blame?” Cohen argues that unwise American policies since the 1990s have been largely responsible. McFaul, drawing on themes in his new book, From Cold War to Hot Peace, argues that Russia’s leader since 2000, Vladimir Putin, is to blame. (A video of the full debate can be seen here.)

Batchelor plays several statements by Cohen and McFaul at the event, which he and Cohen discuss. Among the main points made by Cohen are the following:

— The new Cold War has unfolded for more than twenty years without any substantive mainstream debate—not in elections, Congress, the media, think tanks, or universities. In a democracy, such debates are the only way to challenge and change official policy. As a result, Washington’s unwise policies toward Moscow have been guided by the same underlying assumptions and principles since the 1990s. This situation is dramatically unlike the preceding 40-year Cold War, when US policy was regularly debated both at high and grassroots levels from the 1960s through the 1980s. And this lack of public debate is one reason why the new Cold War is more dangerous than was its predecessor. Therefore, Cohen emphasizes, if this event sets a precedent, inspires more such debates between representatives of fundamentally opposing American views, as he and McFaul are, there will be no loser only winners in the making of subsequent US policy toward Russia.

— Cohen locates the origins of the new Cold War at the time when the preceding one was said to have ended. The three leaders who declared that the Cold War had ended in 1989­­­–1990—Presidents Gorbachev, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush—publicly agreed it had been terminated through negotiations and “without any losers.” But in 1992, Bush changed both the timing and terms of that epic event, dating it from the end of the Soviet Union in December 1991, two years later, and declaring: “America won the Cold War.” Thus arose the US triumphalism and sense of entitlement that has informed Washington’s policies toward post-Soviet Russia ever since.

— At the same time, in 1990, another major agreement was successfully negotiated and then violated by Washington. In return for Gorbachev’s agreement that a reunited Germany (the political epicenter of that Cold War) would be a NATO member, the Western powers, led by President Bush, pledged that NATO would not expand “two inches to the East.” Violating that pledge a few years later led to two primary causes of the new Cold War: today, NATO, the world’s most powerful military alliance, is encamped on Russia’s borders; and the Russian policy elite’s abiding belief, expressed not only by Putin, that Washington has repeatedly broken its promises to, even “deceived,” Moscow.

— In the 1990s, the Clinton Administration’s professed “strategic partnership and friendship” with Russia was in fact driven by rampant triumphalism. With Russia gravely weakened and in profound crisis following the end of the Soviet Union, Clinton pursued what Cohen terms “a winner-take-all” approach to Moscow and, behind the scenes, toward Russian President Boris Yeltsin himself. While the physically ailing and psychologically needy Yeltsin was being cajoled by Clinton on matters of Russia’s domestic and foreign policies, legions of American “advisers” encamped across the country to similarly “meddle” in that nation’s politics—drafting laws and textbooks, abetting politicians and parties favored by Washington, and directly participating in the rigging of Yeltsin’s 1996 reelection. Many Americans applauded as progress the oligarchic plundering of Russia’s richest assets, and some even enabled the transfer and laundering of that ill-gained wealth in the West. Then followed the onset of NATO expansion eastward and, in 1999, the US-led bombing of Russia’s traditional ally, Serbia, and NATO’s annexation of its Kosovo province, which the Putin leadership would later cite as precedent for its action in Crimea. All along, as Russia was afflicted by the worst ever peacetime economic depression, with some 75 percent of its people sinking into poverty and attendant social misery, Washington cheered the process as a “transition to democracy and capitalism.” It ended in 1999, with Russia in financial collapse and with Yeltsin’s resignation. The resulting backlash could have been, Cohen points out, very much worse for the United States than Vladimir Putin has been.

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— Despite the disastrous US policies of the 1990s, the winner-take-all approach continued under President George W. Bush. Thus, following the 9/11 attack on America in 2001, the new and not yet unchallengeable Russian President Putin gave more support to the US war against the Taliban in Afghanistan than did any other country, including NATO members. Putin sought the real strategic partnership with Washington that Yeltsin had failed to achieve. Instead, he got in return from Bush further NATO expansion, now headed to Russia’s Baltic borders; expanded “democracy promotion”—“meddling,” to use “Russiagate” jargon—in Russia’s internal affairs; and, most detrimental to Russian (and international) security, unilateral US withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which now has resulted in missile defense installments on land and sea very close to Russia and, predictably, a new nuclear arms race.

— In 2008, following an official NATO statement that one day the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Ukraine would certainly become members of the alliance, a brief war between Russia and Georgia erupted. An official European investigation concluded that Georgia’s president had initiated the war. What is not known is whether he was advised to do so by his American patrons in the Bush Administration. Whatever the case, Georgia was the first US-Russian proxy war of the new Cold War. Others, in effect, soon followed—in Ukraine, then in Syria. More, or even worse, may be in the making.

— McFaul argues that Cohen’s thesis of an unending triumphalist, “winner-take-all” approach to post-Soviet Russia is wrong, as evidenced by President Obama’s “re-set” with Moscow under then President Dmitry Medvedev. It was, according to McFaul (himself a major participant), a “win-win” policy. Cohen disagrees, pointing out in detail that Moscow was offered, and received, very little, while the Obama Administration got what it most wanted: Russian sanctions on Iran and an expanded Russian supply route to US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Moreover, it ended with another American broken promise. In return for its “partner” Medvedev not vetoing at the UN Security Council the US-led attack on Libya in 2011, Obama and his representatives, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, promised not to seek the removal of Libya’s leader, Muammar Gaddafi. In the event, he was tracked down and killed. Putin, then prime minister, remarked on “yet another American deception.” And any chance Medvedev had for a second term as president, as the Obama administration hoped and even lobbied for, was crushed by his own “re-set” partner in Washington.

— That is, McFaul and many others continue to insist that the new Cold War and its causes began with Putin’s return to the Russian presidency in 2012. But as Cohen’s historical presentation shows, this is not a viable empirical or analytical understanding of past or current developments.

— Has the outcome really been a new Cold War? When Cohen first warned of this danger in the early 2000s, adumbrating his concern even during the Clinton-Yelstein 1990s, it was widely said that a recapitulation of Cold War was impossible for several reasons, primarily because there was no longer any fundamental ideological conflict between the United States and Russia, as there had been between democratic capitalism and Soviet Communism. If nothing else, Cohen and McFaul agree there is now indeed an ideological clash between, it is said, the US-led West’s liberal democratic values and Putin’s conservative, even reactionary, ones. Cohen questions this simplistic characterization of Putin’s values, or ideology, but the issue was not directly joined and remains to be debated.

— A range of other disputed issues are discussed before the debate, and the Cohen-Batchelor discussion, ends with the issue of “Russiagate” allegations regarding “collusion” between President Trump and Putin. McFaul apparently regards the allegations as proven or nearly so. Cohen does not, and he worries that if Trump is faced with an existential nuclear confrontation with Russia, as President John F. Kennedy was during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, these allegations will prevent Trump from avoiding nuclear war through negotiations with the Kremlin, as Kennedy did. McFaul did not comment on this, perhaps because the debate format did not provide him an opportunity to do so. What he thinks about it is unclear. But all of us, Cohen ends, should certainly, and urgently, think very carefully about this not improbable possibility.

Stephen F. Cohen Stephen F. Cohen is a professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University and a contributing editor of The Nation.

Latest in the oligarchy’s war on academia

Wisconsin in Wyoming?

Proposed changes to shared governance at the University of Wyoming recall those passed in Wisconsin. Professors in Wyoming say tenure would exist in name only if their governing board gets what it wants.

May 15, 2018

Under pressure from the faculty, the University of Wyoming’s Board of Trustees this month postponed a possible vote on changes to institutional regulations giving the body sweeping new authority. Such changes would make it much easier to end academic programs and terminate tenured faculty members.

While the Wyoming board insists that the revisions are an attempt to sync institutional policies with what’s already in the state’s constitution, some professors see it as a power grab that could damage Wyoming’s only four-year public university. Critics have compared the proposed changes to those seen within the University of Wisconsin System, starting in 2015.

“A university is its people,” Christine Porter, Wyoming Excellence Chair in Community and Public Health, said Monday. “And they’re going to lose the best people because this university would be the last choice for anybody who’s looking for a job — and anybody who’s not rooted in Laramie would leave for elsewhere.”

A subcommittee of trustees and faculty will meet today to try to reach common ground on the proposals. That’s ahead of the new planned board vote in July — when far fewer faculty members will be on campus or even in the state.

Some faculty members see the proposed revisions to the general UW Regulation 1-101 as most troubling. Currently, the document contains boilerplate language about university governance. But the revised document notes that the trustees are part of the Wyoming Constitution and state statute, and that university regulations may be “adopted, changed or amended at any regular or special meeting of the trustees without prior formal notice.”

Donal O’Toole, professor of veterinary science and incoming Faculty Senate chair, called UW Regulation 1-101 the “daddy” of all others. He said he was grateful that the trustees had already removed one bit of proposed language saying that the regulations were not meant to confer property or any other kind of right — which he took to include tenure. Yet as it remains, he said, the revised regulation ignores the need for “transparency” about changes to university regulations and “at least an acknowledgment of academic freedom.”

Porter said such a change effectively means “the end of shared governance. Without even consulting the faculty, they could do whatever they wanted — with no prior notice, even on a phone call, at any time.”

Michael Barker, a professor of civil and architectural engineering, immediate past chair of the Faculty Senate and a member of the special subcommittee that will meet today, said his top priority in terms of negotiations is UW Regulation 6-43 on academic program discontinuance. The regulation currently notesthat “final authority” for eliminating programs — and associated tenured faculty jobs — due to such education-related factors as low enrollment or loss of accreditation lies with the board. But the revised version says the trustees “may decide to reorganize, consolidate, reduce and/or discontinue an academic program for educational, strategic, realignment, resource allocation, budget constraints or combinations of educational, strategic and/or financial reasons.” The campus president shall make final recommendations to the board. All efforts would be made to preserve full-time faculty positions, but they wouldn’t be guaranteed.

Lumping together educational and financial reasons for discontinuing programs is a significant departure from higher education norms and, some say, values. Outside of true financial exigency, many institutional regulations paint a red line between curricular and budgetary concerns, since some relatively unprofitable programs have significant educational value — as typically defined by the faculty — and vice versa. That became a significant point of contention in Wisconsin in 2016, when the Board of Regents there passed a systemwide policy saying that administrations can discontinue programs for educational and financial reasons. The ramifications of that decision are playing out right now, including on Wisconsin’s Stevens Point campus, which has announced plans to eliminate 13 majors, including history and all three foreign languages offered.

Barker, in Wyoming, said he’s hoping to convince the board that there’s a more nuanced way to achieve the institutional flexibility it desires “while protecting tenured and extended-term faculty lines.”

Asked if he was hopeful about his chances, Barker said, “I think we’re headed in the right direction here.”

In defending the board’s actions, trustees and their advocates have cited Wyoming’s boom-and-bust economy and consequent unpredictability in terms of state funding. The university was asked to cut $42 million from the budget over the last biennium, they say, so agility in decision making is key.

Porter said she believed the proposed changes were “100 percent about control,” however. She noted another, entirely new regulation proposal on “budget constraints” — UW Regulation 6-42 — that goes beyond an existing policy on financial exigency (which is also under revision).

In the event of “insufficient institutional revenue or state imposed budget cuts,” reads the new policy on budget constraints, the board “may impose budget restrictions; budget reductions; staff, faculty, and administrator hiring freezes; staff and administrator terminations; consolidations of departments or units; reorganizations; dropping of courses; eliminations of staff, faculty, and administrator vacancies; eliminations of other services; and/or other efficiencies.”

Such a proposal crosses another red line in terms of shared governance norms: widely followed procedures recommended by the American Association of University Professors say that tenured faculty members only should be let go for financial reasons in cases of true financial exigency — meaning the lights might go out. This, again, was at issue in Wisconsin, when the state Legislature struck tenure from state law in 2015.

Laurie Nichols, university president, disagreed with the board when it centralized even departmental-level reserve funds last year, following legislative concerns that the university might somehow have more money than it was letting on. But Chad R. Baldwin, a spokesperson for both the university and the board, said Monday that Nichols and the trustees are on the same page regarding the proposed regulations. He also described those changes as aligning university policy with the state constitution. (For the record, the state constitution says that the Legislature “shall provide by law for the management of the university, its land and other property by a board of trustees.” Wyoming Statute states, “The board of trustees shall prescribe rules for the government of the university and all its branches.”)

The “upshot,” Baldwin said, is that the “board and the administration understand the Faculty Senate has concerns. But there is no effort under way by the board or administration to eliminate tenure.”

Baldwin also stressed that during the $42 million budget crisis in 2016-17, no tenured faculty member was let go. The new regulations would make it much easier to eliminate tenured faculty members, of course.

John MacPherson, board chair, did not respond to requests for comment.

David Vanness, an associate professor of population health science at Wisconsin’s Madison campus who vocally opposed the policy changes there, said that Wyoming’s trustees “appear determined to outrace” the Wisconsin system “to the bottom.”

Public universities in his state have begun to see the consequences of “allowing administrative decisions to break contractual commitments to faculty and staff for vaguely defined shifts in priorities,” Vanness said, and the new policies at Wyoming “appear to go even further, stripping away even the thinnest veil of shared governance or due process.”

While the faculty, staff and students will “bear the initial brunt,” he added, “the citizens of Wyoming will ultimately bear the costs in the long run.”


“Our free press” stands mute, as Ecuador prepares to send Assange into the US gulag

So will Stephen Spielberg and Tom Hanks collaborate on a movie about this threat to the freedom of the press?

Not in this life.


Conspiracy emerges to push Julian Assange into British and US hands

By Mike Head
16 May 2018

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who provided the world’s people with the truth about US war crimes in the Middle East and many of Washington’s coups and regime-change intrigues around the globe, is in escalating danger.

Moves are afoot to force Assange out of Ecuador’s London embassy, where he sought political asylum close to six years ago and has been forced to live as an effective prisoner. If he is taken into custody by British authorities, he faces being handed over to the US government, which has long sought to place him on trial on espionage charges that potentially carry the death sentence.

The Long Ordeal of Julian Assange

May 20, 2017

For the past decade, WikiLeaks has published groundbreaking evidence of government and corporate abuse while getting targeted for abuse itself, including a seven-year vendetta against founder Julian Assange, says John Pilger.
By John Pilger

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Julian Assange has been vindicated because the Swedish case against him was corrupt. The prosecutor, Marianne Ny, obstructed justice and should be prosecuted. Her obsession with Assange not only embarrassed her colleagues and the judiciary but exposed the Swedish state’s collusion with the United States in its crimes of war and “rendition.”

Had Assange not sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, he would have been on his way to the kind of American torture pit Chelsea Manning had to endure.

This prospect was obscured by the grim farce played out in Sweden. “It’s a laughing stock,” said James Catlin, one of Assange’s Australian lawyers. “It is as if they make it up as they go along.”

It may have seemed that way, but there was always serious purpose. In 2008, a secret Pentagon document prepared by the “Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch” foretold a detailed plan to discredit WikiLeaks and smear Assange personally.

The “mission” was to destroy the “trust” that was WikiLeaks’ “center of gravity.” This would be achieved with threats of “exposure [and] criminal prosecution.” Silencing and criminalizing such an unpredictable source of truth-telling was the aim.


On October 12, 1969, Daniel Ellsberg copied a secret dossier with the intention of disclosing the truth about the Vietnam War. The Pentagon Papers were a chronicle of events that recorded the scope of operations in Vietnam and beyond—details which were being withheld from the American public. The Vietnam War was built on the foundation of lies; we were rushed into the war using the Gulf of Tonkin as a false flag and defending freedom as a pretext to further the interests of the defense-financial complex. The truth eventually caught up to the lies of politicians and bureaucrats; Defense Secretary Robert McNamara later admitted the Gulf of Tonkin attack never took place.

Blocking funds to treat the wounded is a crime against humanity

Having accepted $510 in the last 35 hours, for medical funds in Gaza, FundRazr has turned the whole thing off, no explanation given: “Sorry, we’re not currently accepting contributions.”

So FundRazr, like PayPal and GoFundMe, is evidently subject to US and/or Israeli pressure, so that we’re not allowed to help the wounded Palestinians. 
So much for the brave new world of crowdfunding—and for common decency.

This would seem to be a war crime:


(b) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part

“By including this act, the Genocide Convention expanded the definition of murder and extermination as international crimes. In the Eichmann case it was held that “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part” included acts committed with the intention to kill, even if the victims stayed alive [102 ] . The ICTR concluded that the crime “should be construed as the methods of destruction by which the perpetrator does not immediately kill the members of the group, but which, ultimately, seek their physical destruction.” It gives the example of subjecting a group of people to a subsistence diet and the reduction of essential medical services below minimum requirements. [103 ]

“As long as the intent requirement is fulfilled, the impeding of relief could fall within the definition of this act. In an authoritative commentary on the Genocide Convention, the following examples are given for “conditions of life”: placing a group on a subsistence diet, reducing medical services below a certain minimum level, and withholding sufficient living accommodation. [104 ]”


Washington now going after Rafael Correa

Washington Moves Against Rafael Correa

by Paul Craig Roberts

As President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa was a Godsend for the Ecuadorian people, for Latin American independence and for WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange. By serving justice and truth instead of Washington, Correa earned Washington’s hatred and determination to destroy him.

Correa was succeeded as president by Lenin Moreno, who Correa mistakenly believed to be an ally, but who has every appearance of being a Washington asset. The first thing that Moreno did was to make a deal with Washington, block Correa from being able to again stand for the presidency and turn on Julian Assange. Moreno wants to revoke the asylum granted to Assange and has prevented Assange from continuing his journalistic activity from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. In other words, Moreno has conspired with Washington and the UK to effectively imprison Assange in the embassy.

Now Moreno has taken another step that highlights his character as a blackguard. Correa, realizing that he and his family were in danger, moved to Belgium. An Ecuadorian court has now ordered the Belgians to detain Correa and extradict him to Ecuador on a fabricated kidnapping charge.

Correa thinks that Belgium will not comply with an absurd charge for which no evidence is presented and that the charge is intended to smear his name. If I were Correa, I would not be so sure. Look at the ease with which Washington was able to use its vassals—Sweden and the UK—to effectively nullify the political asylum that Ecuador gave Assange. Belgium is also Washington’s vassal and will experience threats and bribes—whatever it takes—to deliver Correa into Moreno’s hands, which is to say into Washington’s hands. If I were Correa, I would get myself over to the Russian embassy and request asylum from Putin.

A very sane assessment of Ocasio-Cortez, and her exhilarating victory

Freedom Rider: Ocasio-Cortez and the Left

Margaret Kimberley, BAR editor and senior columnist
04 Jul 2018Freedom Rider: Ocasio-Cortez and the Left

Freedom Rider: Ocasio-Cortez and the Left

“Ocasio-Cortez deserves credit for beating a corrupt but powerful system.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a living Rorschach test for leftists. Her primary win over incumbent Joseph Crowley in a New York City congressional district is impressive on many levels. But the reaction to her victory demonstrates the sad state of affairs of left wing politics in this country.

The contradictory responses from people who are otherwise in agreement is the result of defeat after defeat and the lack of consensus on how to change the paradigm. The Democrats are the putative party of progressives but over the years they have morphed into a center right formation that differs all too little from the far right Republicans.

Regardless of motive Crowley was, as the saying goes, “phoning it in.” He had a lackluster debate performance and then didn’t show up for another. Instead he sent a former City Council Member to represent him. That level of disrespect was punished when voters went to the polls. It is true that turnout was low but such is the always the case in primary races. A win is a win and Ocasio-Cortez deserves credit for beating a corrupt but powerful system.

“The Democratic Party gas lighting which blames Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders or Vladimir Putin has been all too successful.”

Now the Democrats can’t even muster a “lesser evilism” argument after having lost state houses, Congress and, finally, the presidency. Left wing disdain for them is well deserved but there is still no agreed upon mechanism for ending their rule. In addition, the fear of being labeled a spoiler is still quite strong. The unbridled racism of the Donald Trump administration doesn’t make the debate any easier. The Democratic Party gas lighting which blames Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders or Vladimir Putin has been all too successful. The protection racket for failure has worked quite well.

When it comes to the US employment rate, NYTimes and Donald Trump are both completely out to lunch

“The economy is in a sweet spot, with steady growth and broad improvement in the labor market,” according to the New York Times:


We Ran Out of Words to Describe How Good the Jobs Numbers Are

Thus the Times essentially agrees with Donald Trump, although (as usual) they slammed this tweet of his:

…realize the economy is the best it’s ever been with employment being at an all time high, and many companies pouring back into our country.
5:40 AM – 13 Jun 2018

Meanwhile, here’s the view from Footwear News:


by Erin E. Clack
July 3, 2018


America’s malls are emptier than ever, as vacancies hit a six-year high.

In another troubling trend for the beleaguered brick-and-mortar segment, U.S. mall vacancies climbed to 8.6 percent in the second quarter, the highest level since 2012 when the country was just beginning to rebound from the Great Recession. And the bad news doesn’t stop there. In its latest report, real-estate research firm Reis Inc. studied 77 metropolitan areas and found that vacancies are plaguing not only malls, but all types of shopping outlets.

Strip malls and other neighborhood and community shopping centers, in particular, have taken a serious hit, suffering their worst quarter in nine years. Roughly 3.8 million square feet of space was emptied from April to June (compared with 909,000 square feet in the year-ago quarter), driving up the vacancy rate for this type of mall to 10.2 percent. Vacancies in open-air retail centers increased in 55 of the metropolitan areas tracked by Reis.

The firm’s report cited the closure of roughly 800 Toys ‘R” Us store locations nationwide (the chain marked its final day in business on June 29) as a driving force behind the decline in occupancy. “The Toys ‘R’ Us closings impacted the second-quarter statistics more than any other retailer has in any quarter over the last nine years,” Reis said.

The country’s largest department stores also have been busy shuttering physical stores as more consumers opt to shop online. Bon-Ton, Macy’s, Sears, Kmart and J.C. Penney are among the big-name retailers reducing their store counts. That list is likely to grow even longer, as Reis said it does not anticipate the vacancy rate to improve in the near future.

For some context on our disappearing retail jobs (a piece from April, 2017)

The Silent Crisis of Retail Employment

What to do when department-store jobs—or mining and manufacturing jobs—go away