Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Ellen Brown: THE WAR ON THE POST OFFICE @ Truthdig

Alexander Marks/Wikimeida

[Excerpt] The U.S. banking establishment has been at war with the post office since at least 1910, when the Postal Savings Bank Act established a public savings alternative to a private banking system that had crashed the economy in the Bank Panic of 1907. The American Bankers Association was quick to respond, forming a Special Committee on Postal Savings Legislation to block any extension of the new service. According to a September 2017 article in The Journal of Social History titled “ ‘Banks of the People’: The Life and Death of the U.S. Postal Savings System,” the banking fraternity would maintain its enmity toward the government savings bank for the next 50 years.

As far back as the late 19th century, support for postal savings had united a nationwide coalition of workers and farmers who believed that government policy should prioritize their welfare over private business interests. Advocates noted that most of the civilized nations of the world maintained postal savings banks, providing depositors with a safe haven against repeated financial panics and bank failures. ... [End] 

Read more at Truthdig.

Monday, March 19, 2018



March 18, 2018 The Guardian interviews Chris Wylie, data scientist, and former employee Cambridge Analytica describes how the billionaire Mercer family and Steve Bannon influenced the 2016 US elections.

Another interview from the same date about the same subject revealing Wylie's reluctance after having helped the "alt-right" and other regrets from his work with Cambridge Analytica.

March 19, 2018, UK's Channel 4 releases an undercover video with Cambridge Analytica executives discussing their involvement in elections in Africa, Latin America, and the United States.


Cambridge Analytica Ain’t Nuthin:
Look out for i360 and DataTrust
By Greg Palast

There are two dangers in the media howl over Trump’s computer gurus Cambridge Analytica, the data-driven psy-ops company founded by billionaire brown-shirts, the Mercer Family.

Clip from Palast's film The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

The story is that Cambridge Analytica, once directed by Steve Bannon, by shoplifting Facebook profiles to bend your brain, is some unique “bad apple” of the cyber world.

That’s a dangerously narrow view. In fact, the dark art of dynamic psychometric manipulation in politics was not pioneered by Cambridge Analytica for Trump, but by i360 Themis, the operation founded by… no points for guessing… the Brothers Koch.

Mark Swedlund, himself an expert in these tools, explained in film The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, that i360 dynamically tracks you on 1800 behaviors, or as Swedlund graphically puts it [see clip above],

“They know the last time you downloaded porn and
whether you ordered Chinese food before you voted.”

Swedlund adds his expert conclusion: "I think that’s creepy."

The Koch operation and its competitor, DataTrust, use your credit card purchases, cable TV choices and other personal info — which is far more revealing about your inner life than the BS you put on your Facebook profile. Don’t trust DataTrust: This cyber-monster is operated by Karl Rove, “Bush’s Brain,” who is principally funded by Paul Singer, the far Right financier better known as The Vulture.

Way too much is made of the importance of Cambridge Analytica stealing data through a phony app. If you’ve ever filled out an online survey, Swedlund told me, they’ve got you — legally.

The second danger is to forget that the GOP has been using computer power to erase the voting rights of Black and Hispanic voters for years — by "caging," "Crosscheck," citizenship challenges based on last name (Garcia? Not American!!), the list goes on — a far more effective use of cyberpower than manipulating your behavior through Facebook ads.

Just last week, Kris Kobach, Secretary of State of Kansas and Trump’s chief voting law advisor, defended his method of hunting alleged “aliens” on voter rolls against a legal challenge by the ALCU. Kobach's expert, Jessie Richman, uses a computer algorithm that can locate “foreign” names on voter rolls. He identified, for example, one “Carlos Murguia” as a potential alien voter. Murguia is a Kansas-born judge who presides in a nearby courtroom.

It would be a joke, except that Kobach’s “alien” hunt has blocked one in seven new (i.e. young) voters from registering in the state. If Kobach wins, it will, like his Crosscheck purge program and voter ID laws, almost certainly spread to other GOP controlled states. This could ultimately block one million new voters, exactly what Trump had in mind by pushing the alien-voter hysteria.
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The Cambridge Analytica story was first reported by The Guardian and Observer in 2015. Did we listen? Did any US paper carry the story the British paper worked on for years? So, my first reaction reading this story was nostalgia — for the time when I was a reporter with The Guardian and Observer investigations team. We could spend a year digging deep into complex stories, working with crazy insiders. There, in 2000, I uncovered another cyber-crime: Using database matching to purge felons from Florida voter rolls. (None, in fact, were felons; most were Democrats.)

I moved back to America, but found I had to give up any hope of doing true, deep investigative reports for newspapers in my own country. US papers will sometimes re-report Guardian news, but American media almost never initiates deep investigation. And THAT, fear of the cost, difficulty and risk in digging out the truth, is a greater threat to America than Steve Bannon.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Dave Lindorff: The Kids Are Rising: Learning the Power of Protest, Confrontation and Collective Action @ This Can't Be Happening!

A salute to the kids of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida!

After experiencing a terrifying attack on their school by a tragically unhinged former student armed with an assault-style rifle who killed 14 of their classmates and three teachers and seriously injured another 14, they didn’t retreat into fear and victimhood. Instead they are taking to the streets, taking to buses to the state capital in Tallahassee, and are using social media to organize a national youth campaign to get assault weapons and large-capacity magazines banned.

In refusing to be silenced by the National Rifle Assn. and political charlatans like Florida Sen. Marc Rubio or President Trump, or co-opted by Democratic politicians eager to use the issue of gun control to win points in next November’s congressional elections, these students and the tens of thousands of high school kids who have joined them across the country in states blue, red and purple, they have in one stroke revived the idea of mass political action.

These kids are not being polite. When someone like Sen. Rubio or Florida Gov. Rick Scott or the Florida state legislature comes up with an excuse like blaming the shooting on mental illness rather than the easy availability of mass-killing military-style weapons, they shout “BS!” When they’re told the answer is to arm teachers, they shout “BS!” When they’re accused of being “paid crisis actors” or manipulated, they shout “BS!” And when the Florida legislature insults them by ignoring their mass trip to the state capital to demand a hearing on gun legislation, they mass in front of the statehouse, shout “BS!” and demand to be heard.

The whole political battleground over gun ownership in the US has just undergone a tectonic shift as great as if a 9-point tremor had struck. For the first time in memory, huge corporations like Delta Airlines are abandoning their backing for the NRA, dropping lucrative and once popular marketing discount programs for NRA members on pain of being boycotted — a threat that has even gigantic companies like Apple and Amazon worried. No wonder the NRA had their latest version of Charlton Heston, Dana Loesh, put out a short ad in which, like the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz, she poses in black with a giant hourglass, darkly warning the “lying media,” Hollywood “phonies,” unpatriotic athletes, politicians who “watch America burn” and late night hosts,” that “Your time is running out — the clock starts now.”

The gun lobby making this threat is suddenly running scared. Like that other top lobbying organization, the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, which was stood up and ignored by Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in 2016, their bluff has been called. Once cowed politicians are realizing they can stand up to such lobbies and still retain or maybe even gain support among voters, it’s their days that are numbered.

Will the student movement, on this once sacred issue of gun rights, succeed?…

For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, six-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to:www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/3805

With independent news organizations under attack, it’s time to support TCBH!

These are clearly dangerous times we are heading into Now more than ever, independent sources of honest news are going to be critically important. Please contribute whatever you can to support our work to keep giving you that news.

To make a (non tax-deductible) donation of support please go to our home page and use the convenient Paypal button at the top right corner of the home page. Or if you prefer, send cash or a check made out to: David Lindorff/TCBH at PO Box 846, Ambler, PA 19002
Thank you from all of us at the ThisCantBeHappening! Collective

Sunday, March 04, 2018

A RFK featured guest just made it to the Big League! He's come a long way since Koch.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


Mr. Hern├índez and his allies control the much-protested ballot-counting process, the election oversight commission, the army — which under Honduran law moves the ballots — and all appeals processes.
-- U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, (D) Illinois

Poor Honduras.

The word honduras means depth or profundity in Spanish. It’s also the name of one of the most abused nations in the Western Hemisphere. Its citizens are largely poor and overwhelmed by a state of corruption historically linked with the much more sophisticated and wealthy network of corruption that overwhelms the citizenry of the United States. The November 26 election for president of Honduras was the latest chapter in this sad historic reality.

Honduras is now embroiled in street protests following an election count that stinks like week old fish in the sun. President Juan Orlando Hernandez was running for a second term, despite an apparently un-amendable Constitutional provision that precludes a second term. Former sportscaster and TV game-show host Salvador Nasralla ran against Hernandez. Hernandez was favored to win. The Organization of American States says the election count was seriously flawed and it’s pushing for a new vote. Here’s how the count went: The day after the election, it was announced Nasralla led the vote count by five percentage points, which suggested a real upset. A third candidate for president conceded Nasralla was the winner. At that point, the election tribunal suddenly stopped communicating with the public. After a hiatus, the next communication was to declare Hernandez the winner by one-and-a-half percentage points. Immediately, the nation erupted in protests that included fatalities. Knowing how important the United States is to Honduras, Nasralla flew to the US to consult with friends and the OAS. The OAS publicly called for a new election.

The Rex Tillerson State Department said this: “The United States notes that Honduras’ Supreme Election Tribunal has declared incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez the winner.” The United States notes . . . Such tentative language suggests the Trump administration can’t deny the smell of rotten fish in Honduras, so it’s being coy in its support for Hernandez’s spurious re-election count. Based on past actions, Hernandez is said to harbor a strong authoritarian ambition. Many members of the police and army, however, are reportedly reluctant to be harsh with protesters; they seem to know what’s going down. How far they're willing to go is a looming question. If Hernandez can’t put down the rioting and make the citizens of Honduras accept his corrupt election, then the US will have no choice but to assume another posture. The State Department said if Mr. Nasralla is unhappy with the count, well, he should submit an appeal. Of course, they know, as Rep. Schakowsky points out above, Hernandez controls the appeal process…

For the rest of this article by JOHN GRANT in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively-run, six-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/3744

With independent news organizations under attack, it’s time to support TCBH!

These are clearly dangerous times we are heading into Now more than ever, independent sources of honest news are going to be critically important. Please contribute whatever you can to support our work to keep giving you that news.

To make a (non tax-deductible) donation of support please go to our home page and use the convenient Paypal button at the top right corner of the home page. Or if you prefer, send cash or a check made out to: David Lindorff/TCBH at PO Box 846, Ambler, PA 19002

Thank you from all of us at the ThisCantBeHappening! Collective

The Intercept,Dec. 22, 2017

Editor’s Picks
Hypocrisy of the GOP

For a half-century, civil rights groups have rightfully complained about the FBI operating as a rogue force that harasses, surveils, and arrests innocent citizens. In recent months, the right wing has joined this chorus, after the FBI began investigating the Trump campaign. The Intercept’s Trevor Aaronson reports on the exquisite irony of the right’s sudden concern with FBI excesses. While the FBI has indeed committed rampant abuses since its founding, its investigation of possible Russian interference in the 2016 election has been by the book.

Reporter Jon Schwarz investigated another facet of GOP hypocrisy around the Russia investigation – the Republican Party’s willingness to meekly follow President Donald Trump if he tries to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Schwarz notes that the GOP has long been a lawless party connected to deceptions about the Vietnam War, Iran-Contra, Watergate, and more. We should not be surprised by its latest betrayals of law and democratic order.
Peter Maass
Senior Editor
The FBI Routinely Abuses Its Powers but the Trump Investigation Has Been By the Book
Trevor Aaronson
Republicans are suddenly upset about the FBI invading homes and surveilling citizens. Civil rights groups have complained about this for 50 years.
Republican Attacks on Robert Mueller Are Absurd. But the GOP Has Been Lawless for Decades.
Jon Schwarz
From Vietnam to Watergate, Iran-Contra and the Clinton impeachment, the Republican Party has proved itself an awesome force of lawlessness.


The Nation, Nov. 28, 2017.