The Moral Equivalency Question: Justifying Violence Against People Who THINK THE WRONG WAY

The Nazis, the REAL Nazis, rounded up people who THOUGHT THE WRONG WAY and they justified that action to the public in a myriad of ways. One of which was they were destabilizing the country and presented a threat to the German people. Today the “moral equivalency” propaganda is doing the same exact thing. Ironic? No. Deliberate.

First they came for the alt-Right, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a protectionist.

Then they came for the Bernie-bros, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the bloggers and Youtubers and I did not speak out—
Because I didn’t have opinions of my own and didn’t dare think for myself.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

links available after the break

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U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Criminally Outlaw Support for Boycott Campaign Against Israel

(Talk about “collusion”)

from The Intercept

The criminalization of political speech and activism against Israel has become one of the gravest threats to free speech in the west. In France, activists have been arrested and prosecuted for wearing t-shirts advocating a boycott of Israel. The U.K. has enacted a series of measures designed to outlaw such activism. In the U.S., governors compete with one another over who can implement the most extreme regulations to bar businesses from participating in any boycotts aimed even at Israeli settlements, which the world regards as illegal. On U.S. campuses, punishment of pro-Palestinian students for expressing criticisms of Israel is so commonplace that the Center for Constitutional Rights refers to it as “the Palestine Exception” to free speech.

But now, a group of 43 Senators – 29 Republicans and 14 Democrats – want to implement a law that would make it a felony for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel, which was launched in protest of that country’s decades-old occupation of Palestine. The two primary sponsors of the bill are Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio. Perhaps the most shocking aspect is the punishment: anyone guilty of violating its prohibitions will face a minimum civil penalty of $250,000, and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.

The proposed measure, called the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720), was introduced by Cardin on March 23. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that the bill “was drafted with the assistance of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC].” Indeed, AIPAC, in its 2017 Lobbying Agenda, identified passage of this bill as one of its top lobbying priorities for the year:

The bill’s co-sponsors include the senior Democrat in Washington, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, his New York colleague Kirsten Gillibrand, and several of the Senate’s more liberal members, such as Ron Wyden of Oregon, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Maria Cantwell of Washington. Illustrating the bipartisanship that AIPAC typically summons, it also includes several of the most right-wing Senators such as Ted Cruz of Texas, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Marco Rubio of Florida.

A similar measure was introduced in the House on the same date by two Republicans and one Democrat. It already has amassed 234 co-sponsors: 63 Democrats and 174 Republicans. As in the Senate, AIPAC has assembled an impressive ideological diversity among supporters, predictably including many of the most right-wing House members –  Jason Chaffetz, Liz Cheney, Peter King – along with the second-ranking Democrat in the House, Steny Hoyer.

Among the co-sponsors of the bill are several of the politicians who have become political celebrities by positioning themselves as media leaders of the anti-Trump #Resistance, including three California House members who have become heroes to Democrats and staples of the cable news circuit: Ted Lieu, Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell. These politicians, who have built a wide public following by posturing as opponents of authoritarianism, are sponsoring one of the most oppressive and authoritarian bills that has pended before Congress in quite some time

This pernicious bill highlights many vital yet typically ignored dynamics in Washington. First, journalists love to lament the lack of bipartisanship in Washington, yet the very mention of the word “Israel” causes most members of both parties to quickly snap into line in a show of unanimity that would make the regime of North Korea blush with envy. Even when virtually the entire world condemns Israeli aggression, or declares settlements illegal, the U.S. Congress – across party and ideological lines – finds virtually complete harmony in uniting against the world consensus and in defense of the Israeli government

AIPAC continues to be one of the most powerful, and pernicious, lobbying forces in the country. In what conceivable sense is it of benefit of Americans to turn them into felons for the crime of engaging in political activism in protest of a foreign nation’s government?..

[read more here]

Congress Votes to Free Up Big Business To Spy on You and Sell Your Most Private Data To Anyone Without Your Consent

by Scott Creighton

The “internet of everything” is big business. It’s big business, big opportunity and big control. It’s Big Brother. Today’s news exposes something awful. Not only are our congress-critters allowing for Big Business to turn everything you consider private into a commodity, but the fact is… THEY ALREADY DO IT.

Organizations like EFF are busy sending out mailers asking for donations so they can fight “the dismantling of broadband privacy” rules created back during the last moments of the Obama administration. Seems like a noble fight, doesn’t it? Accept, you never had those protections in the first place. Not during the Obama administration anyway.

The FCC’s rule titled “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunication Services,” 81 Fed. Reg. 87274 (PDF), was put in place after a long fight on Dec. 2nd, 2016. It was set to go into effect on Dec. 4, 2017… long after the Trumpster was elected and his corrupt gaggle of neoliberal destroyers he calls his “administration” had plenty of time to undo the rule. A year in fact.

“The FCC rules were put in place in 2016 to prevent consumers’ private and sensitive information automatically getting into the hands of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon…. That rule is scheduled to go into effect on December 4, 2017.” RT

That RT evaluation of the rule is a bit misleading. It prevented these companies from monitizing your very personal information, not from collecting it. And it only prevented them from selling your most personal information IF YOU TOLD THEM THEY COULDN’T.

They have been collecting it since the USA Freedom Act and CISA went into effect. This rule was ONLY set to make sure customers had a choice to opt-out of the monitization part, essentially keeping Big Telecom from turning more of a profit on the data (more meaning, they are already paid by the government to collect and store said information for the purposes of “national security”)

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Republicans push plan to gut Medicaid and slash taxes for the wealthy

by Kate Randall, WSWS

Top Trump administration officials appeared on the political talk shows Sunday morning to promote the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the House Republican bill for the repeal and replacement of Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare.

The Republican proposal builds on the core features of Obamacare, designed to boost the profits of the private insurers and slash health care costs for the government and big business.

The ACHA seeks to strengthen the grip of the for-profit health care delivery system in America while making sweeping cuts to Medicaid, the insurance program for the poor jointly funded by the federal government and the states. It also slashes financial assistance to low-income people seeking to purchase health coverage and cuts taxes for the wealthy and big business by an estimated $600 billion.

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Trump Killed the TPP? Bullshit

by Scott Creighton

UPDATE: Cenk Uygur praised Trump for “killing” the TPP Monday. He kept citing a New York Times article during his video.

May 2012

Folks are all a tither about Donald Trump signing an executive order yesterday saying the US is no longer ready to sign the Trans Pacific Partnership (or TPP) with 11 other nations in the Asia Pacific and Mexico. This is supposedly some sign that Trump is going to keep at least some of his campaign promises and stand with the workers of this country.

Bullshit.

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The Declassified Russian Hacking “Intelligence” Report is Devoid of Any Evidence and Apparently Based on Previous Lies

by Scott Creighton

Yesterday (Friday Jan. 6th 2017) around 1pm, the Department of National Intelligence released their declassified report (PDF) on the Russian hacking story or the Russian “influence” story that has been taking shape here in the States surrounding Hillary Clinton’s crash and burn presidential campaign of 2016. At about the same time, a man got off a plane in Florida and took a gun from his checked bag and opened fire on people in the baggage claim area of an airport, emptying 3 clips before lying down on the ground and waiting to be arrested. That man claimed earlier that the CIA had been trying to force him to watch “ISIS” videos.

Each and every page of the declassified report contains in the top header an official disclaimer of sorts which reads:

“This report is a declassified version of a highly classified assessment; its conclusions are identical to those in the highly classified assessment but this version does not include the full supporting information on key elements of the influence campaign.”

Key here is the fact that the report contains no facts. None. Zip. Zilch. No evidence reported in the report whatsoever.

Also key is the word “assessment” and in the beginning of the declassified report, they take the time to explain that term:

“When Intelligence Community analysts use words such as “we assess” or “we judge,” they are conveying an analytic assessment or judgment. Some analytic judgments are based directly on collected information; others rest on previous judgments, which serve as building blocks in rigorous analysis

“(O)thers rest on previous judgements”. Got that? No evidence reported in this report and they tell you right off the bat that in all likelihood, this “assessment” is based on “previous” assessment, which as we all know, were bullshit. “Grizzly steppe” anyone?

Here is a little glimpse into some of those “previous judgements”:

this report is provided “as is” for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within.”

The current assessment based in part on previous assessments which the intelligence services provide no “warranties of any kind” regarding the information they provided.

Got that? New bullshit based on piles of older, baseless bullshit.

Buried deep in various articles about the new release we find a little rational thought on this evidence. That of course is buried under tons of regurgitated, unsubstantiated accusations leveled at Vladamir Putin, Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks.

The report contains scant information on attribution
That may not be enough for some critics, who have been publicly calling on the intelligence community to release more information explaining how it linked hacking operations to Russia” The Verge

And by “scant information” they mean “no information”

“Some critics” may not find their baseless accusations to be “enough” to jump on the New McCarthyism bandwagon. How unfortunate. But apparently the Verge doesn’t mind Megaphoning Mockingbird fake news:

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No. Putin Did Not Try to Thwart Hillary’s Candidacy Like She Did to Him in 2012. He Didn’t Have To

by Scott Creighton

Pussy Riot™  mission statement: When the world is being neoliberalized as fast as possible and the masters of the universe demand tribute from those seeking a place at the table, no effort to assist in that endeavor , no matter how sophomoric or insipid, no matter how ridiculous, no matter how contrived, shall go unrewarded. And Pussy Riot™ will be there to cash in

Not that long ago President Obama said that Russia and President Putin had tried to influence the outcome of our election process and that it was “unacceptable” behavior for a nation to attempt to influence the democratic process of other nations. Forget for a second that his evidence was so laughable that the Department of Homeland Security, the agency that cobbled it together, posted a disclaimer on the first page of the report that said it didn’t stand by a single shred of “proof” in it’s own report:

this report is provided “as is” for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within.”

Let’s also forget for a moment the troubling rise of the New McCarthyism in America and the lynch-mob mentality that goes along with it.

Russia did not attempt to influence our election. They did not “hack” the DNC, Hillary Clinton’s illegal private email server nor the email account of the perpetually corrupt John Podesta. Even if they did, which they didn’t, all they did was expose the truth about these three deeply tainted entities. No one has disputed the authenticity of the leaks. They stand as an accurate representation of the level of corruption that exists in the fake left that is the unDemocratic Party of America these days. This is a footnote that gets lost in the discussion far too often these days.

Which leads me to ask one simple question: since when is it considered “unacceptable” behavior to expose the truth about corruption at the highest ranks in the American political system?

Oh, that’s right. President Peace Prize made it a priority to wage war on whistle-blowers throughout the duration of his tenure.

For all the McCarthyite efforts being put forward by the breathless ladder-climbers of the corporate propaganda mills which pass for “news organizations” these days I am often awestruck by those who seem to wish to demand their guests present a kind of American exceptionalism when it comes to comparisons between this fake news story about Russia “hacking” our democracy and the altogether too real history of our State Department and the CIA doing the exact same thing to other countries across the globe. The hypocrisy is simply stunning.  And that is  when a guest has the audacity to bring up said history, which doesn’t happen very often.

And that is to say nothing of Hillary Clinton’s effort to use “smart power” to thwart Vladamir Putin’s reelection in 2012. In the corporate media the silence is deafening on that subject.

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