Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Rise of Populism – Here to Stay

By Martin Armstrong and originally published at armstrongeconomics.comChange-Resisting
It may have been a huge sigh of relief for the global socialists/progressives with the loss of Geert Wilders on March 15th, but there is a clear undertone of rising discontent within Europe. Likewise, the AfD in Germany will most likely also not win. Nevertheless, Wilders was the extreme among politicians in Europe who was openly Islamophobic and EU-hating to the very far-right. Still, Geert Wilders and his Party for Freedom (PVV) have indeed still ushered in the dawn of a new populism in Europe, which is always against the establishment. That was in fact what swept FDR into office in 1933, Hitler in Germany also in 1933, and Mao also in 1933. Wilders may have been called “the Dutch Donald Trump” with a strong early lead in the polls, but at the last minute the current prime minister Mark Rutte came out ahead by a decent margin.
Roosevelt Baking CartoonPopulism is always seen as the great evil. That was how it was being portrayed by the mainstream media for the 1932 election won by FDR. Today, it is a return toward isolationism. The Americans were very against getting involved in both World War I and II. FDR went to Boston to promise their sons would NEVER go to Europe to defend the British. The Irish dominated Boston and they would not vote to send their boys to defend the British after the way they were treated.
American fled Europe because of all the political inflighting. They were isolationists and felt Europe should fend for itself. It was the politicians who lied and did whatever it took to maneuver the opinion to support their desire for war. We are merely returning to a period of isolationism after countless wars and attempts to create nation building so politicians can pound their chests.
By no means should we view the Dutch elections as this is the end of populism. It is just getting started because politicians have abused the people countless times. The loss of Wilders emboldens the EU politicians not to reform, but to make this far worse. Sure, the euro bounced. But this is nothing to write home about.
The important change in trend will come in May. The major turning-point appears to be 2008. Keep in mind that without change in leadership, Europe is doomed. They will only pursue the very same policies that have given rise to populism in the first place.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Stealing from the Citizenry: How Government Goons Use Civil Asset Forfeiture to Rob Us Blind



“Civil forfeiture laws represent one of the most serious assaults on private property rights in the nation today. Under civil forfeiture, police and prosecutors can seize your car or other property, sell it and use the proceeds to fund agency budgets—all without so much as charging you with a crime. Unlike criminal forfeiture, where property is taken after its owner has been found guilty in a court of law, with civil forfeiture, owners need not be charged with or convicted of a crime to lose homes, cars, cash or other property. Americans are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but civil forfeiture turns that principle on its head.  With civil forfeiture, your property is guilty until you prove it innocent.”—“ Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture,” Institute for Justice
By John W. Whitehead and originally published at rutherford.org
In jolly old England, Robin Hood stole from the rich to give to the poor.
In modern-day America, greedy government goons steal from the innocent to give to the corrupt under court- and legislature-sanctioned schemes called civil asset forfeiture. In fact, according to The Washington Post, “law enforcement took more stuff from people than burglars did.”
This is how the American police state continues to get rich: by stealing from the citizenry.
Here’s how the whole ugly business works in a nutshell.
First, government agents (usually the police) use a broad array of tactics to profile, identify, target and arrange to encounter (in a traffic stop, on a train, in an airport, in public, or on private property) those  individuals who might be traveling with a significant amount of cash or possess property of value. Second, these government agents—empowered by the courts and the legislatures—seize private property (cash, jewelry, cars, homes and other valuables) they “suspect” may be connected to criminal activity.
Then—and here’s the kicker—whether or not any crime is actually proven to have taken place, without any charges being levied against the property owner, or any real due process afforded the unlucky victim, the property is forfeited to the government, which often divvies it up with the local police who helped with the initial seizure.
It’s a new, twisted form of guilt by association.
Only it’s not the citizenry being accused of wrongdoing, just their money.
What this adds up to is a paradigm in which Americans no longer have to be guilty to be stripped of their property, rights and liberties. All you have to be is in possession of something the government wants.
Motorists have been particularly vulnerable to this modern-day form of highway robbery.
For instance, police stole $201,000 in cash from Lisa Leonard because the money—which Leonard planned to use to buy a house for her son—was being transported on a public highway also used by drug traffickers. Despite the fact that Leonard was innocent of wrongdoing, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the theft on a technicality.
Police stole $50,000 in cash from Amanee Busbee—which she planned to use to complete the purchase of a restaurant—and threatened to hand her child over to CPS if she resisted. She’s one of the few to win most of her money back in court.
Police stole $22,000 in cash from Jerome Chennault—which he planned to use as the down payment on a home—simply because a drug dog had alerted police to its presence in his car. After challenging the seizure in court, Chennault eventually succeeded in having most of his money returned, although the state refused to compensate him for his legal and travel expenses.
Police stole $8,500 in cash and jewelry from Roderick Daniels—which he planned to use to purchase a new car—and threatened him with jail and money-laundering charges if he didn’t sign a waiver forfeiting his property.
Police stole $6,000 in cash from Jennifer Boatright and Ron Henderson and threatened to turn their young children over to Child Protective Services if they resisted.
Tenaha, Texas, is a particular hotbed of highway forfeiture activity, so much so that police officers keep pre-signed, pre-notarized documents on hand so they can fill in what property they are seizing.
As the Huffington Post explains, these police forfeiture operations have become little more than criminal shakedowns:
Police in some jurisdictions have run forfeiture operations that would be difficult to distinguish from criminal shakedowns. Police can pull motorists over, find some amount of cash or other property of value, claim some vague connection to illegal drug activity and then present the motorists with a choice: If they hand over the property, they can be on their way. Otherwise, they face arrest, seizure of property, a drug charge, a probable night in jail, the hassle of multiple return trips to the state or city where they were pulled over, and the cost of hiring a lawyer to fight both the seizure and the criminal charge. It isn’t hard to see why even an innocent motorist would opt to simply hand over the cash and move on.
Unsurprisingly, these asset forfeiture scams have become so profitable for the government that they have expanded their reach beyond the nation’s highways.
According to USA Today, the U.S. Department of Justice received $2.01 billion in forfeited items in 2013, and since 2008 local and state law enforcement nationwide has raked in some $3 billion in forfeitures through the federal “equitable sharing” program.
So now it’s not just drivers who have to worry about getting the shakedown.
Any American unwise enough to travel with significant amounts of cash is fair game for the government pickpockets.
In fact, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has been colluding with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and local police departments to seize a small fortune in cash from American travelers using the very tools—scanners, spies and surveillance devices—they claimed were necessary to catch terrorists.
Mind you, TSA agents already have a reputation for stealing from travelers, but clearly the government is not concerned about protecting the citizenry from its own wolfish tendencies.
No, the government isn’t looking to catch criminals. It’s just out for your cold, hard cash.
As USA Today reports, although DEA agents have seized more than $203 million in cash in airports alone since 2006, they almost never make arrests or build criminal cases in connection to the seized cash.
For instance, DEA agents at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport stole $11,000 in cash from college student Charles Clarke—his entire life savings, in fact—simply because they claimed his checked suitcase smelled like marijuana. Apart from the sniff test, no drugs or evidence of criminal activity were found.
Christelle Tillerson was waiting to board a flight from Detroit to Chicago when DEA agents stole $25,000 in cash from her suitcase, money she planned to use to buy a truck. Tillerson was never arrested or charged
Joseph Rivers was traveling on an Amtrak train from Michigan to Los Angeles when police stole $16,000 in cash in a bank envelope—money the 22-year-old had saved up to produce a music when he arrived in Hollywood—based solely on their groundless suspicions that the money could have been associated with drugs.
How does the government know which travelers to target?
Through surveillance of Americans’ domestic travel records, by profiling train and airport passengers, and by relying on a “network of travel-industry informants that extends from ticket counters to back offices.” In one instance, the DEA actually promised to give a TSA security screener a reward for identifying luggage with large sums of cash: the more cash found, the bigger the reward.
Starting to notice a pattern?
First, the government claims it needs more powers and more weapons in order to fight crime and terrorism: the power to spy on Americans’ communications and travel; the ability to carry out virtual and actual strip searches of Americans’ luggage, persons and property; the authority to stop and interrogate travelers for any reason in the name of national security.
Then, when government agents have been given enough powers and weapons to transform them into mini-tyrants, they’re unleashed on an unsuspecting citizenry with few resources to be able to defend themselves or protect their property.
So much for those long-cherished ideals about the assumption of innocence and due process.
For example, the federal government attempted to confiscate Russell Caswell’s family-owned Tewksbury, Massachusetts, motel, insisting that because a small percentage of the motel’s guests had been arrested for drug crimes—15 out of 200,000 visitors in a 14-year span—the motel was a dangerous property. As Reason reports:
This cruel surprise was engineered by Vincent Kelley, a forfeiture specialist at the Drug Enforcement Administration who read about the Motel Caswell in a news report and found that the property, which the Caswells own free and clear, had an assessed value of $1.3 million. So Kelley approached the Tewksbury Police Department with an “equitable sharing” deal: The feds would seize the property and sell it, and the cops would get up to 80 percent of the proceeds.
Thankfully, with the help of a federal judge, Caswell managed to keep his motel out of the government’s clutches, but others are not so fortunate.
Gerald and Royetta Ostipow had their Michigan farm and property seized, including a classic muscle car, and then sold by the local sheriff’s office. As USA Today reports:
The Ostipows were required to provide a $150,000 cash bond before they could begin the legal proceedings to contest the forfeiture and get their property back. But they couldn’t afford to. An appeals court later overturned the Ostipow’s hefty bond requirement… But the ruling didn’t stop the nightmare for the couple who were never charged with a crime. They still had to win a court case seeking the return of hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of property taken from the Ostipow’s rural Michigan home, including a cherished classic car. Eventually, an appeals court found that the property was wrongly forfeited. But it was too late to recover the car. With the odometer mysteriously bearing an additional 56,000 miles, police had already sold the car and spent the proceeds.
Despite the fact that 80 percent of these asset forfeiture cases result in no charge against the property owner, challenging these “takings” in court can cost the owner more than the value of the confiscated property itself. As a result, most property owners either give up the fight or chalk the confiscation up to government corruption, leaving the police and other government officials to reap the benefits.
Under a federal equitable sharing program, police turn asset forfeiture cases over to federal agents who process seizures and then return 80% of the proceeds to the police. Michigan police actually get to keep up to 100% of forfeited property.
This is what has become known as “policing for profit.”
According to USA Today, “Anecdotal evidence suggests that allowing departments to keep forfeiture proceeds may tempt them to use the funds unwisely. For example, consider a 2015 scandal in Romulus, Michigan, where police officers used funds forfeited from illicit drug and prostitution stings to pay for ...  illicit drugs and prostitutes.”
Police agencies have also used their ill-gotten gains “to buy guns, armored cars and electronic surveillance gear,” reportsThe Washington Post. “They have also spent money on luxury vehicles, travel and a clown named Sparkles.”
So what’s to be done?
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we are now ruled by a government so consumed with squeezing every last penny out of the population as to be completely unconcerned if essential freedoms are trampled in the process.
Our freedoms aren’t just being trampled, however.
They’re being eviscerated.
At every turn, “we the people” are getting swindled, cheated, conned, robbed, raided, pickpocketed, mugged, deceived, defrauded, double-crossed and fleeced by governmental and corporate shareholders of the American police state out to make a profit at taxpayer expense.
President Trump has made it clear his loyalties lie with the police, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has previously declared his love for civil asset forfeiture, the Supreme Court keeps marching in lockstep with the police state, and the police unions don’t want their gravy train to go away, so there’s not much hope for federal reform anytime soon.
As always, change will have to begin locally and move upwards.
Some state legislatures (Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Ohio) are beginning to push back against these clearly unconstitutional asset forfeiture schemes. As the National Review reports, “New Mexico now requires a criminal conviction before law enforcement can seize property, while police in Florida must prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that property is linked to a crime before it’s seized.”
More than legislative change, however, what we need is a change of mindset on the part of the citizenry. We need to stop acting like victims and start acting like citizens with rights.
Remember, long before Americans charted their revolutionary course in pursuit of happiness, it was “life, liberty, and property” which constituted the golden triad of essential rights that the government was charged with respecting and protecting.
To the colonists, smarting from mistreatment at the hands of the British crown, protecting their property from governmental abuse was just as critical as preserving their lives and liberties. As the colonists understood, if the government can arbitrarily take away your property, you have no true rights: you’re nothing more than a serf or a slave.
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was born of this need to safeguard against any attempt by the government to unlawfully deprive a citizen of the right to life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.
Little could our ancestral forebears have imagined that it would take less than three centuries of so-called “independence” to once again render us brow-beaten subjects in bondage to an overlord bent on depriving us of our most inalienable and fundamental rights.
Yet if the government can arbitrarily freeze, seize or lay claim to your property (money, land or possessions) under government asset forfeiture schemes, you have no true rights.
Enough is enough.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Conspiracy Against President Trump




By Paul Craig Roberts and originally published at paulcraigroberts.org  
March 20, 2017: Listening today to the broadcast of testimony by FBI Director Comey and National Security Agency Director Admiral Michael Rogers before the House Intelligence Committee (an oxymoron) made it clear that the Democrats, Comey, and Rogers intend conflict with Russia.
The Republicans, for the most part, were interested to know how security leaks targeted at Trump Republicans came from meetings at which only the CIA Director, NSA Director, and FBI director were present. Of course, they did not get an answer, which shows how powerless congressional oversight committees are. Comey repeatedly said that he could not tell the committee anything, because it would confirm that a press leak was true. But, he said, speaking generally and of no specific leak, most leaks come from “someone who heard something” and passes it on to the media, which also explains the inaccuracy of some leaks. In other words, don’t blame us.
The Democrats were out in force to demonize Russia, Putin, and everyone, especially Trump Republicans, who speaks to a Russian even if the person is still a private citizen, as was Gen. Flynn when he recommended to the Russian ambassador that Russia not respond in kind to President Obama’s expulsion of Russian diplomats over Christmas. The Democrats bestowed yet another demonic title on Putin. In addition to being “the new Hitler,” a “thug,” and a “Mafia don,” today Putin became a “tarantula in the center of the spy web.”
The Democrats’ position was that Flynn, by discouraging a Russian tit for tat, had interfered with the Obama regime’s policy of worsening relations between the US and Russia. Some Democrats saw this as treason. Others saw it as proof that Flynn and Trump are in Putin’s pocket, and still others see it as even worse. 
The Democrats were also very concerned about lobbyists, if they be Republican, working for Russian interests, including Tillerson, the Secretary of State. The fact that every country employs lobbyists and that the lobbyists don’t always register as foreign agents, such as Israel’s lobbyists, or if news reports at the time were correct, neocon Richard Perle who represented Turkey in Washington. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/press_box/2003/04/richard_perle_libel_watch_week_4.html
Democrats were also after Gen. Flynn for saying that he had not received money from the Russian government. Flynn received a fee for attending the 10th Anniversary celebration of RT in Moscow. Is RT, a news organization, the Russian government? Its budget is supported by the Russian government, but how does this differ from the US government’s support of the budgets of National Public Radio, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Voice of America? Does this mean that everyone who gives an interview to NPR, Radio Liberty, and VOA is an American agent in the pocket of the US president? If you attend a function of one of these organizations, does it make you an “American agent/dupe”? Will there be a list of these people?
What the Democrats tried to do today was to criminalize everyone who works for better relations between the US and Russia. To be for peace between the nuclear powers is to be a Russian agent and to be put on a list. The Democrats insisted that Russia was an enemy out to get us, and the Democrats had no difficulty getting Comey and Rogers, both Obama appointees, to agree.
Comey and Rogers said that Russia was the main threat to the US, was working against our interests, and intends to harm us. Harming us includes opposing US hegemony and unilateralism. In other words, if the Russian government acts in the interests of Russia, the Russian government is harming the US. From the testimony it clearly emerged that any kind of opposition to anything Washington does is against American interests. 
Both Comey and Rogers declared, falsely, that Russia had invaded Ukraine and seized Crimea by force. If Comey and Rogers are so poorly informed that they believe this, they are unfit for office. Crimea has been a part of Russia for 300 years. The population is almost entirely Russian. When the Soviet Union collapsed and Washington broke it apart, the Ukraine became independent for the first time in history. Crimea, which had been transferred by Khrushchev in 1954 from the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, was included in the transfer on the condition that Russia had a long term lease on the naval base in Crimea. 
When Washington’s coup overthrew the democratically elected government in Ukraine, the Russian populations in Crimea, and in the new republics of Luhansk and Donetsk, were attacked and threatened by the neo-nazi elements in eastern Ukraine that had fought for Hitler against the Soviet Union. The populations of these areas voted overwhelmingly to reunite with Russia, from whence they had come. The votes were fair and open. As Crimea is the Russian Navy’s Black Sea base, Crimea was already occupied by Russian forces. For Comey and Rogers to call this an “invasion” displays either ignorance or a lack of integrity.
Indeed, the lack of integrity of the FBI, NSA, CIA, and Obama regime is evidenced by the sustained campaign of lies, distortions, and targeted “news leaks,” that is, stories planted on the presstitutes by the intelligence services about Russian interference in the presidential election. It is all about protecting the massive military/security budget and powers. Trump threatened both the budget and the power when he declared that his policy would be to normalize relations with Russia. If relations are normalized, the carefully orchestrated “Russian threat” disappears. The intelligence services are not willing for this to happen. The US intelligence services prefer the risk of nuclear Armageddon to a budget cut.
The Democrats are probably not sufficiently intelligent to understand that they are fanning the flames of war between nuclear powers. The Democrats are desperate to find someone on whom to pin their loss of the election. Moreover, by pinning it on a conspiracy between Trump and Putin, they hope to remove Trump from office. Although Pence, who is a Russophobe, is acceptable to the military/security complex, the Democrats have hopes of clearing out Pence as well, as his election resulted from the alleged conspiracy, and reinstalling themselves in the White House.
Americans need to understand that the political competition between the Democrats and Republicans is over which party gets to collect the money for being the whore for the One Percent. Traditionally, the party in the White House gets most of the money, so that is where both parties want to be.
Michael Morell, a supporter of Hillary Clinton and President Obama’s last CIA director in an acting capacity, who was slated to become CIA director under Hillary, said, “On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians, there is smoke, but there is no fire, at all. There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark. And there’s a lot of people looking for it.” http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/clinton-ally-says-smoke-no-fire-no-russia-trump-collusion-n734176 
Morell does believe that it was the Russians who hacked Hillary’s incriminating emails but not in collusion with Trump, although the evidence is that they were a leak from inside the Democratic National Committee by disaffected supporters of Bernie Sanders. 
Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on Meet the Press on March 5 that he had seen no evidence of a Putin-Trump conspiracy when he left office on January 20.
Listening to Comey and Rogers today, if they are not working against President Trump, what would classify as working against Trump? Trump supporters ask why Trump doesn’t fire these two men who are working to block a reduction in the dangerous tensions between Washington and Russia. Are the Democrats, Comey, Rogers, the CIA and their media whores so stupid that they don’t understand what it means when the President of Russia says, “the Americans have destroyed our trust in them?”
Trump doesnt fire Comey and Rogers, because he cannot fire them. If he fires them, the Democrats and presstitutes will explain the firings as proof that Trump is a Russian agent and is covering up his treason by removing those investigating it. 
Trump is trying to use Twitter to respond to the orchestrated media assault against him and to achieve some organization among his supporters, the working class that elected him. However, Trump cannot even count on the Republican Party. Most Republicans are also dependent on political contributions from the military/security complex, and Republicans know that the intelligence agencies have all the dirt on them. To fight for Trump is to expose themselves.
It is undeniable that the CIA controls the media, both in Europe and in the US. Udo Ulfkotte’s book, Gekauftge Journalisten, exposed the CIA’s hold on European journalists when it was published in Germany in 2014. An English language edition, Journalists for Hire: How the CIA Buys the News, is due out in May. In the meantime Joel Whitney’s book, Finks: How the C.I.A. Tricked the World’s Best Writers, suffices to establish that America’s most respected journalists drank the CIA’s Kool-Aid “and thought they were saving freedom” by serving as propagandists. http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/joel_whitney_cia_propaganda_cold_war_scheer_intelligence_20170317 
People in the West need to understand that if the news they receive bears on the interests of the US military/security complex, the news is scripted by the CIA. The CIA serves its interests, not the interests of the American people or the interests of peace.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Don't You Hate Spammy, Sensationalist Click-Bait Like this?

So what's the difference between "fake news," spammy sensationalist click-bait and so-called "mainstream news" that serves the interests of the corporate-state? It's getting hard to tell


By Charles Hugh Smith and originally published at charleshughsmith.blogspot.com

We're inundated with spammy sensationalist click-bait. You know what I mean--the little boxes containing eye-candy photos and headlines such as "you won't believe how badly these stars have aged," "7 tricks to losing weight during Thanksgiving," "These children of celebs are so good looking your jaw will drop," "9 surprising signs of dementia" and outre classics such as "Hitler's shocking final words."
The "news" is "shocking," "secrets are revealed," and "surprising facts" are promised. Authorities are always cited as unimpeachable sources, and the headlines are quasi-plausible. (Why wouldn't good-looking celebs have good-looking offspring?)
But the "authorities," "facts" and "secrets" are all dubious. The spammy click-bait is self-serving to those promoting the sensationalist content, and to the media sites that promote the spammy content.
According to The New York Times, unidentified sources in the spammy sensationalist click-bait industry report that “We have been told from major, major publishers that we have become their No. 1 revenue provider."
So the spammy sensationalist click-bait content serves the interests of those originating the bogus spam and the media that publishes it. Talk about a two-fer; no wonder this junk is everywhere in the Corporate Media.
Though the Corporate Media denies it, of course, the lines between propaganda, paid content and actual reporting have blurred. The C.I.A. has played a major role in the Corporate Media for decades. If you doubt this, please study the following:
The CIA and the Media by Carl Bernstein
The CIA and the Media: 50 Facts the World Needs to Know This article by Professor James Tracy first published in August 2015 is of particular relevance in relation to the “fake news” campaign directed against the alternative media.
So what's the difference between "fake news," spammy sensationalist click-bait and so-called "mainstream news" that serves the interests of the corporate-state? It's getting hard to tell, as these examples illustrate.
I just pulled these examples of spammy sensationalist click-bait garbage off the mainstream Corporate Media more or less at random.
     
Oh wait a minute--isn't this "Trump is a stooge of Russia" and "Russia is threatening our precious bodily fluids" what The New York TimesThe Washington Post, CNN et al. are presenting as "factual" "news"?
Given the media's insatiable appetite for spammy sensationalist click-bait "news," it wouldn't surprise me in the least to see these next in the Corporate Media.
     
The Old Media followed this nostrum: If it bleeds, it leads, meaning the gory airline crash or auto pile-up was the leading "news story." In an era in which fact-free, evidence-free accusations that just happen to align with CIA agendas are passed off as "news," and anyone who questions the "authorities" is slandered as "promoting fake news" (talk about doublespeak), that promotion of mere gore now seems quaint.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Triangle or a Cross

By Jill Carattini and originally published at rzim.org
Passing from the fourth grade to the fifth grade was not going to be as easy as I calculated. On the first day of fourth grade, our teacher stood at the board writing words most of us could not pronounce: castling, prophylaxis, solus rex, triangulation, and zugzwang, among others. When the board was full, he took a step toward us and pointed at his list. “By the end of the year,” he said resolutely, “you will know every one of these words because you will know the rules, the strategies, and the love of chess.” As if electricity and long division were not enough, learning the game of chess was a requirement for passing the fourth grade.
I don’t know that I learned to love the game, but I did learn how to play and the terminology that goes along with it. Triangulation, for instance, is a tactic used in chess endgames to put one’s opponent in zugzwang, a German word for “compulsion to move.” Triangulation occurs when one king can move between three adjoining squares (in the shape of a triangle) and maintain the position, while the opponent only has two squares on which to move. It is a strategic maneuver that forces one’s opponent to move.
Thomas Eakins, The Chess Player, oil on canvas, 1865.
Outside of the game of chess, triangulation still manages to be a maneuver meant to force a desired result. In social or family systems, the tactic is associated with people rather than pawns. In situations where two people are in conflict with one another, one or both often triangulate with a third person (or thing) in an attempt to curtail anxiety and garner support. So in the case of a feuding brother and sister, the sister might run to a sympathetic third sibling, while the brother might preoccupy his frustration with work. In each case, both triangles create a situation where two are on the inside and one is on the outside. But also in each case, while the anxiety may be reduced momentarily, the source of that anxiety is left unresolved.
Life is certainly more complicated than a game of chess, and yet tactical maneuvers are often learned and employed as if rules to the game of life and relationships. Savvy ways of handling conflict seem to come both instinctively (as in the case of avoidance or resentment) and with disturbing calculation (as in the case of talking behind someone’s back to gain support for your side). When someone has offended me, often the first thing I think to do is to go to a third party. In fact, I am probably more apt to talk to anyone except the person who has hurt me. The move is a strategic one. Feeling like an insider is far more comforting than facing the one who has made you the outsider. A triangle always seems more comforting than a straight line.
But triangulation is no more a comfort in life than it is in chess. It is not a move meant to console oneself, but to defeat an opponent. Speaking with his disciples, Jesus offered a rule more fitting with life and neighbors than opponents and a game. “If your brother sins against you,” he said, “go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.”(1) Jesus gave a rule suited for relationship. In line with his command for loving neighbors and praying for enemies, his anti-triangulation tactic for conflict is one that considers the weight of life and relationships. (Not to mention, it is a tactic therapists duplicate today.)
Making the straight line to the one who harmed you is not a move without difficulty, but it is a move with possibility. Jesus instructed his followers to forgive enemies, to love neighbors, and to confront each other privately and directly. He placed before them far more than stoic commands intended for the sake of the other party, but grace and life itself for the one holding on to the consequences as well. While avoiding the source of an offense may seem a consolation, we merely learn to live inside a system filled with grudge or hate or disappointment. Going to friends to rally support for our sides or sympathy for our frustrations, we really only rally more frustration. In fact, we form triangles around it and keep it safe. On the contrary, the direct path to the one who harmed you offers the chance for resolution and the possibility of release. It is a move that chooses to see neighbors rather than opponents and relationships rather than winning, a move that remembers even enemies are made in God’s image, a move that holds forgiveness as a possibility even when it isn’t fully sought. It is precisely the same move Christ went all the way to the Cross to make for you.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.
(1) Matthew 18:15.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Somebody is Lying About Spying, Fed Hikes Rates & Gold Spikes, War Update


By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com 
Somebody is lying about spying on Donald Trump. The Senate says they see “no evidence,” and yet the New York Times runs a story about revealing information that came from “wiretapping Trump aides.”  Respected Judge Andrew Napolitano says British Intelligence did the spying because it has 24/7 access to NSA records.  The British Spy agency denies this charged.  Bottom line, The Trump Administration is overtly and covertly under attack, and that is clear.  Expect a counterattack and soon from the Trump camp.
The Federal Reserve hiked a key interest rate this week. Fed Head Janet Yellen said, “The simple message is . . . the economy is doing well.”  Maybe somebody should have talked to the Atlanta Fed because it just revised the GDP in the first quarter down to .9% from a paltry 1.2%.  That was just a few hours before Yellen made the rate hike announcement.  Gold investors loves the hike as gold spiked in price. 
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Asia. The top subject is North Korea and its recent aggression aimed at Japan.  Japan is now hinting at some sort of “first strike” against nuclear armed North Korea.  Meanwhile, South Korea is installing the U.S. made missile defense system call THAAD.  China is not happy about the missiles, and Tillerson will be stopping in China on his trip to Asia.
Join Greg Hunter as he talks about these stories and more in the Weekly News Wrap-Up.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Why Do Leftists And Globalists Hate Tribalism So Much?


By Brandon Smith and originally published at alt-market.com
Over the years I have heard the word “tribalism” used consistently as a way to deride and attack conservative groups with political stances outside the boundaries of globalization. Many readers have been exposed to this propaganda recently as “tribalism” becomes the go-to denouncement of the Trump Administration. From The Atlantic to CNBC to The Washington Post and beyond, tribalism is used almost as often as the fascist label, and there are very specific reasons for this.
Tribalism (like nationalism and populism) has slowly but surely been falsely associated with totalitarianism, as if the two are synonymous. The use of “tribalism” as a dismissal of sovereignty concepts is a distinctly globalist and leftist habit; clearly, they hate the very notion of it, so much so that they have sought to turn it into a four letter word. But why?
The fact of the matter is, tribalism revolves around sets of principles; meaning, some people hold principles that are completely incompatible with other people's principles. Some principles simply cannot be reconciled with other principles, and they cannot coexist. Groups tend to form around principles, and thus, certain groups cannot live in close proximity with other groups. When they do live in close proximity, one will invariably absorb the other or destroy the other.
This is more likely to occur when two groups have diametrically opposing views rather than minor deviations and disagreements.
For example, the mass injection of millions of Muslim immigrants into European nations has in a very short period of time resulted in the steady decline of Western ideals and even the decline of legal frameworks in the areas where the immigrants concentrate. Sharia law is a direct antithesis to traditional Western values such as religious freedom, free speech, freedom of association, individual rights, economic independence, free markets, etc. (It is interesting to note that western socialists and communist ideals run parallel to Muslim culture when it comes to the desire to dismantle sovereignty.) The effects of this clash of principles are quite obvious at this point.





Sharia-based groups have been transplanted into the Western sphere in what I consider a deliberate Cloward-Piven strategy of cultural destabilization of Europe. These groups do not assimilate, they devour the surrounding culture and turn it into something that sublimates in accordance with their principles. This is why the leftist and globalist call for “multiculturalism” is nonsensical. You cannot have two or more diametrically opposed cultures within the same society — one of them has to take precedence over all the others. Globalists in particular KNOW this is the reality, and they use multiculturalism as a means to undermine nations specifically built upon traditional sovereign values.
Leftists are in most cases merely useful idiots that promote multiculturalism as a means of “penance.” That is to say, they believe that traditional western culture should be punished for past transgressions and in due course, phased out completely in exchange for a new utopian system.
Both leftists and globalists will often try to argue that if tribalism was not prevalent there would be no ill will between Muslims and Westerners or any other groups for that matter. But, as stated earlier, what they are glossing over is the inevitability of groups separating based on principals.  The only way for all groups to coexist in close proximity in the multicultural paradise we are being sold is for ALL value systems to be eliminated except for one. And perhaps that is the point.
Globalists prefer an outcome in which traditional values are erased and replaced with a “new world order” mindset; a system that is rooted in collectivist suppression of individual liberty, where freedom is exchanged for “harmony;” one global tribe worshiping one global god — the state.
The existence of tribalism might lead to conflicts if opposing cultures are deliberately mashed together, but it also makes the formation of a single overarching tyranny very difficult. Globalists seek to irritate existing divisions and trigger chaos between groups because ultimately, they want to demonize the very concept of tribalism and make way for a one world ideal that fits THEIR agenda.
Leftists are decidedly less self aware on why they fight so hard against tribalism. They see cultural division of any kind on the part of the west as inherently evil. Ironically, when it comes to so called “victim groups” like Muslims, social-justice warriors will argue that their aggressively divisive behavior is off limits to criticism because you have to be “from that culture to understand it”.  So, tribalism on the part of designated victim groups is beyond reproach, and tribalism on the part of westerners is a cancer that must be eradicated.
To reiterate, leftists love tribalism initiated by those they consider victim groups.  They only hate tribalism when it is initiated by conservatives and the traditional western middle class.  The double standard is evident.
Exactly what is happening here? Well, we are being given a false choice. We are offered tribalism at the cost of endless social crisis (which is being deliberately instigated), or, the erasure of tribalism and traditional principles for the sake of “peace.”  No other solutions are being presented.
Liberty proponents like myself would point out that there is an underlying principle within natural law that could solve many of the problems that arise between groups with differing world views without sacrificing everything to join a one-world collectivist hive mind. That rule would be the “Non-Aggression Principle.”  To summarize, the non-aggression principle holds that no person or group has the right to impose their beliefs or will on another person or group. The only time force of action is warranted is in self defense and the defense of innocents.
If a society was to operate by the rule of non-aggression, and people were to abide by that rule, then most groups and cultures could live peacefully. For the people who do not abide, removal from that society or nation would be necessary. This is the intrinsic advantage of tribalism in its purest form; tribalism allows us to discriminate against groups with destructive principles and behaviors, or against those that have different objectives. Some divisions are useful divisions. This allows for a group with shared goals to accomplish those goals without constant internal obstruction or sabotage. As long as the non-aggression principle is adhered to, tribalism is the ideal system.
Of course, there are certain groups that are incapable of accepting this dynamic.
Leftist ideology depends upon thought control and manipulation in order to remain relevant. Because their values are not based in logic or self examination, they don’t have the ability to win people over through compelling arguments; all they have are lies and force. When in power, they use the force of government. When out of power, they use the threat of the mob. If tribalism and the non-aggression principle were to thrive, the leftists in their current form would represent a failed group, and they would fade away.
Globalists see themselves as social architects, and an architect cannot function if his building materials will not cooperate. Globalism is impotent without the ability to impose will and the ability to undermine practical divisions between ideological opposites. Tribalism in the name of sovereignty and free society is an impassable wall to globalization. Their only option is to utilize and exploit groups that are anti-liberty as a weapon against existing societies that still have some basis in sovereignty. This is much easier to do when anti-liberty groups are organized within those free systems, or, when they are imported into them. A strong, free people cannot be destroyed from without, they can only be destroyed from within.
Social divisions are absolutely rational and healthy, and there is nothing “evil” or totalitarian about organizing only with people that share your values. The real evil comes from those that would suppress our values in the name of “harmonization” — there is no such thing.  Globalists and leftists argue for the adoption and toleration of all ideologies and principles as a means to peace, but what they really want in the end is the erasure of all the ideologies and principles they see as disagreeable in order to make way for their own.