LIFE OF THE POTTY–A BOOK FOR KIDS

In case you might be interested, I’ve written a silly, quirky book for middle age readers (age 8-12). For more information, click here:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/827426

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The End

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Welcome, Mr. VP

PenceVP Pence came for a quickie Labor Day weekend visit to a remote area of Vermont, which happened to be down the road from my wife’s family’s summer home in Hubbardton. I felt I wanted to greet him as he drove by. I even made the local newscast (they screwed up my name):

https://www.wcax.com/content/news/Pence-to-make-return-Labor-Day-visit-558717391.html

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Russia Mischief Planned in 1997

 

I recently had an in-car conversation with my nephew about WW II. He wanted to know what possessed Hitler to attack the Soviet Union. We ended up talking a little bit about geopolitics, and the role that oil & gas reserves played in Germany’s decision to turn against its ally. The conversation was very general, because I had few concrete facts or sources to give him. I promised that I would do some research and send him some links.

Upon my return home, I fired up google and started browsing around about geopolitics. I happened upon a Wikipedia article that discussed a book written by Aleksandr Dugin called “The Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia”. What I discovered was both amazing and frightening. I strongly urge you to go and read the (relatively short) article in full.

“The Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia” was written in 1997. Since then, it has risen to the rank of textbook for the Russian military’s “Academy of the General Staff”. It lays out a Nationalist, Eurasianist political ideology and strategy for Russia to rebuild its influence and rise to world dominance. The strategic objectives laid out in the book are clear and systematic. The main tactics to accomplish them are not military; rather,

The textbook believes in a sophisticated program of subversion, destabilization, and disinformation spearheaded by the Russian special services. The operations should be assisted by a tough, hard-headed utilization of Russia’s gas, oil, and natural resources to bully and pressure other countries.

First off, the textbook says that the United States need to be weakened internally.

Russia should use its special services within the borders of the United States to fuel instability and separatism, for instance, provoke “Afro-American racists”. Russia should “introduce geopolitical disorder into internal American activity, encouraging all kinds of separatism and ethnic, social and racial conflicts, actively supporting all dissident movements – extremist, racist, and sectarian groups, thus destabilizing internal political processes in the U.S. It would also make sense simultaneously to support isolationist tendencies in American politics”.[9]

Russia

The book also recommends:

• Isolating the United Kingdom from the rest of Europe

• Annexing Ukraine

• Dismembering Georgia

• Creating a vital alliance with Iran

• Destabilizing Turkey

 

• Minimizing the influence of China

At the end of the article is a 2017 quote from news.com.au which says the book

Reads like a to-do list for Putin’s behaviour on the world stage.

I couldn’t agree more. And now, with both the U.S. fracturing internally and the U.K. About to cut ITSELF off from the rest of Europe, I can’t help but wonder: are most of today’s major political current events simply part of a plan laid out more than 20 years ago?

As an aside, what would happen if the the book and the plan it contained was compared to current events very publicly in the media? Do you think it would hinder Russia’s ability to achieve the goals laid out in the book?

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OUR POST-TRUTH INFORMATION SYSTEM

By Charlie Warzel/ New York Times/ August 13, 2019

Even on an internet bursting at the seams with conspiracy theories and hyperpartisanship, Saturday marked a new chapter in our post-truth, choose-your-own-reality crisis story.

It began Saturday morning, when news broke that the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein had apparently hanged himself in a Manhattan jail. Mr. Epstein’s death, coming just one day after court documents from one of his accusers were unsealed, prompted immediate suspicion from journalists, politicians and the usual online fringes.

Within minutes, Trump appointees, Fox Business hosts and Twitter pundits revived a decades-old conspiracy theory, linking the Clinton family to supposedly suspicious deaths. #ClintonBodyCount and #ClintonCrimeFamily trended on Twitter. Around the same time, an opposite hashtag — #TrumpBodyCount — emerged, focused on President Trump’s decades-old ties to Mr. Epstein. Each hashtag was accompanied by GIFs and memes picturing Mr. Epstein with the Clintons or with Mr. Trump to serve as a viral accusation of foul play.

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Common Sense (You’d Think)

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History Repeats Itself

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Impeachment Time

Letter to Monterey Herald July 17, 2019:

As the White House swats away and continues to resist Democratic subpoenas and requests for information, it is increasingly clear that impeachment of President Trump is the only good way to get evidence to hold this president accountable for his crimes. A growing number of Democratic representatives, over 80 now, are calling for impeachment. One of the holdouts is our local congressman, Jimmy Panetta. It’s time to step up and do what’s right, Jimmy.

Arlen Grossman

anvil

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What’s to Celebrate?

US is a Classic Empire and Is Becoming a Repressive Police State at Home

By Dave Lindorff/ Thiscantbehappening.net/ July 4, 2019

 

US Flag Around the Earth

As I set out to fly home from the UK on Monday following a short film project in Cambridge, I found my boarding pass, which I had been blocked from obtaining online the night before, carrying a bold-faced SSSS stamp in the lower right corner. Asking about it I was told by the British employee at the United check-in counter, “That is because you are on a US Department of Homeland Security list, sir.”

Later, after my son and I got the boarding gate, my name was called and I was ushered through a door in the wall behind the gate desk where two British security agents pawed through my bag and ran a cloth over computer, phone and all the zippers on my suitcase and computer bag looking for traces of explosives. After that I was politely told that I and my son (whose luggage was left uninspected) could board the plane. When I asked why I, a journalist with no criminal record, was being treated like a suspected terrorist, they laughed and said I would have to inquire of the DHS.

It’s not the first time this has happened to me. The same thing happened when my wife and I flew to Vienna in March where she was playing a concert on Vienna State Radio. That time at a checkpoint between Heathrow’s Terminal 5 and Terminal 2, my boarding pass was rejected, and when I got it reprinted a red stamp saying “ICE Security” was added. As on Monday, I was subjected to a special search in a separate location near the gate by an apologetic British security officer.

Today is July 4, and many American citizens will be bringing blankets and lawn chairs to local fireworks displays to celebrate American independence. Of course, those fireworks really hark back to the “rockets’ red glare” referred to in Francis Scott Key’s racist national anthem, which was largely a condemnation of the freed black slaves that the British employed in their effort to conquer Baltimore harbor during the War of 1812.

What, really, have we got to celebrate?

The US today is a global empire. Our country’s military, ballooning to some 2.1 million in uniform at a time that there is really no significant war underway. US military spending, greater in constant dollars than at any time since WWII, represents 34% of all global military spending, and the US military budget, depending on how one counts it, is larger than the next largest eight-to-ten countries’ military budgets combined. To show how ridiculously huge the US military is, consider that at $220 billion for fiscal year 2020, the US budget for Veterans Affairs alone (that’s the agency that provides assistance of all kinds, including medical, to those who served in the military, not counting career soldiers who receive a pension that is counted separately) this one military budget line item is larger than the entire military budget of China, and is more than three times as large as the entire military budget of Russia, considered by many to be our primary “adversary”!

And remember — US empire and militarism is and has always been supported by both political parties.

Here at home, our police are increasingly militarized to the point that most people now view the police as a potential threat, cowering politely in any interaction with cops, and fearing to assert their rights when they disagree with a stop for fear they will be cuffed, brutalized and arrested for speaking up. Our militarized, power-tripping law-enforcement officers insist on “respect,” are quick to make up reasons to take us down and take us in (like “resisting arrest” or “causing a disturbance”) if we don’t show it, and are quick to fire a taser or a gun if they “feel threatened,” knowing that prosecutors and the courts will almost always give them the benefit of the doubt even if video evidence shows them to have been in the wrong.

I’m 70, and the decline in freedom in this country has been a long but quite visible process back at least to when I was a young adult resisting the draft and the Vietnam War. Being on a “watch list” is nothing new for me. I learned from the FBI file I obtained back in the late ‘70s when the Freedom of Information Act was still actually working as originally intended, that I was on a list back during the war years and in fact was scheduled to be arrested by the US Attorney in Hartford, CT for draft resistance until the order, all unknown to me, was rescinded at the last minute. The FBI visited a colleague of my father’s at the UConn Engineering School in 1971 looking into an effort I and my wife made at the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa, Canada to obtain permission to visit China.

Is the US a police state? Yes, certainly it is for some people. It is certainly a police state for immigrants, legal and undocumented alike, for black people wherever they reside, for hispanics and Native Americans, and for those like myself who oppose the political policies and foreign policy of this country. And I guess that answers the question. One doesn’t define a police state as a place that represses everyone, since by definition those who keep their heads down, support the political status quo and those in power, are doing what the state wants them to do. There is no need to show the iron fist or the jackboot to them. A police state is a place that applies force and the tools of repression to those who challenge it. So even before we consider the concentration camps for immigrants along the border, the outrageous separation and imprisonment of babies, toddlers and children by Border Patrol thugs, and our latest president’s desire for military parades to honor himself on this day, the real answer is: Yes! the US must be considered, today, to be a police state.

So what’s to celebrate?

tanks

I read that a recent Gallup Organization poll shows a significant drop in the percentage of US Americans who are “extremely proud” of their country. True, 45% still say they are “proud” of America, but normally that is how many say they are “extremely proud” to be Americans. That’s a significant fall-off. Even among normally super-patriotic Republicans the percentage of those saying they are “extremely proud” this July 4 of this country was down to 76%, a 10% drop from 2003, and close to the 68% low point reached at one point during the Obama administration.

The main cause of the loss of patriotic ardor appears to be dismay or disgust with the US political system. According to the poll, only 32% of Americans say they are “proud” (forget “extremely proud”!) of America’s vaunted political system. In a close second for popular disgust, only 37% said they are “proud” of the US health care system.

So I guess I’m in pretty good company. I won’t be oohing and aaahing at the local fireworks display this year. It’s basically a glorification of US war-making anyhow, and there’s nothing at all to be proud of in that regard, particularly with the US in the midst of a $1.5-trillion upgrade of its nuclear arsenal, threatening war with Iran, pulling out of a Reagan-era treaty banning intermediate-range nuclear missiles, and embarking in a new arms race both in space and in virtually unstoppable hypersonic cruise missiles.

In my view, my country has become the world’s leading “rogue” nation, dismissive of all international laws and codes of conduct, actively attacking many countries on its own authority, without the support of UN Security Council resolutions, exonerating war crimes committed by its soldiers, and committed to the first use of nuclear weapons, both as a first strike against major power rivals like Russia and China, and against non-nuclear nations like Iran, and equally dismissive of all efforts, large and small, to respond to the crisis of catastrophic global heating. At home, the US legal system has become a supine supporter of virtually unlimited executive power, of unchecked police power, and of repressive actions against the supposedly constitutionally protected free press.

It’s tempting to hope that the decline noted by Gallup in the percent of Americans expressing “extreme pride” and even of “pride” in the US might mean people are getting fed up with the militarism and endless wars and the thoroughly corrupt political system, but support for the US among the country’s citizens still remains shamefully high in the face of all these negatives.

Anyhow, count me among those who won’t be celebrating today’s July 4 national holiday.

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Media Bias, A Chart

Have fun with this….and see if you agree or disagree…..chart

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