Category Archives: environment

A podcast in review: Moderate Rebels

By Joseph Ballin 9/29/2017 9:44 AM ES

A new podcast I recently discovered, Moderate Rebels. The name comes from the mythical “moderate rebels” the Obama and Trump admiration have supported in Syria, which are nothing more than ISIS and other terrorist organizations. It is a podcasted created by Ben Norton and Max Blumenthal, both reporters for AlterNet’s Grayzone Project. it is a new podcast created in 2017, so you better check it out if you haven’t. The podcast is almost exclusively about foreign policy. The music in the podcast is alike NPR, but more jazzy. I agree pretty much with 99.99% of the foreign policy positions of Ben Norton and Max Blumenthal. Like example, you go on other progressive podcasts you will find almost everyone advocating for YPG/Kurds. If you listen to the Moderate Rebels, you will realize that no side in the Syrian conflict is good per say, including the Kurds, who have committed horrific genocides and ethnic cleansing of Yazidis and Arabs in order to create a Greater Kurdistan. If you are anti-imperialist you cannot in good faith be against the stability of the state of Syria.

Another thing you will notice in this podcast is no carrying water for Democrats. This is not a Democratic or Republican podcast. Moderate Rebels will attack the Democrats for their hypocritical attacks on Russia for the fake Russiagate bullshit, when in 2012 Obama told Mitt Romney that it was ridiculous to say Russia is our number one enemy. You will learn a lot from this podcast, like for example I didn’t learn that in South Korea it is pretty much a military police state over there. You can be arrested at any time for anti-war or environmental protests by claiming you are “pro-North Korean”. It is a highly patriarchal society, and yet we demonize North Korea all the time, but hold up South Korea as a “bastion of democracy” when it’s anything but.

I would give this podcast a 10/10 because I am very knowledgeable about other countries and it is very rare for a podcast to teach me new things about other countries. Check out Moderate Rebels on iTunes or their patreon. Give it 5 stars and a review.

Links:

https://www.patreon.com/ModerateRebels/posts

Donald Trump, George W. Bush’s third term

By Joseph Ballin 8/9/2017 12:46 AM EST

One thing that really drives me up a wall is when people say “Trump makes me wish we had Bush as president again.” When Gore Vidal said we are the United States of Amnesia, he wasn’t fucking joke. Bush was the second worst president (second only to the current asshole) in US history and nearly destroyed the country and the world. Growing up under Bush for me was like someone growing up under Hitler or Franco, it’s a dark time in your history to remember. I simply refer to it as “The Dark Times”. In fact Trump has brought back a lot of memories that I tried to suppress from the Bush administration.

Not to mention the fact it was Bush’s stupidity that helped create Trump in the first place. If Bush was never president, we never get McCain picking Sarah Palin, and if we never got her, we never got Trump. For all the MAGA chuds out there who said Trump would be different from from Bush, where are they now? In fact Trump has become Bush’s third term. Here’s some stuff Bush and Trump both did as president:

1. Bush killed the nuclear deal Bill Clinton established with North Korea, Trump just killed the nuclear deal with Iran that was established by Obama.
2. Both bombed an Arab Baathist country in the middle east for no reason at all.
3. Both came in trying to be friendly with Putin, only to have relations deteriorate dramatically over their presidency.
4. Both expanded NATO.
5. Both ran on an anti-interventionist foreign policy during their respective elections, only to turn into full blown neocon war mongers the second they get into the white house.

Other than that, every thing else is standard stuff presidents do in terms of foreign policy, which is basically war mongering and war crimes, along with breaking international and US law. One key difference between Bush and Trump foreign policy, Bush talked alot about freedom and democracy, Trump has the foreign policy of the Golden Horde, rape and pillage.

1. Both reenacted the Mexico City policy that was previously resided by president Clinton and Obama.
2. The civil rights department of the US government has been largely rendered defunct under both GWB and Trump.
3. The Bush administration abandons ratification Kyoto Protocol, while the Trump administration leaves Paris Deal.

On LGBT issues, I would say Trump is actually WORSE for LGBT Americans than Bush. Trump may not have ran an openly anti-LGBT campaign, but if you had looked at the 2016 GOP platform, it looked like something out of Nazi Germany on LGBT rights. The following things Trump has done on LGBT rights over the last 200 days: removed any referenced to LGBT people or civil rights on white house website, rescind Obama’s guidelines on transgender students bathroom access, rescinded Obama’s federal contractors executive order covering sexual orientation and gender identity, appointed a bunch of batshit insane Christian fucktards to various government departments and courts, gender identity not covered in US census, argued sexual orientation isn’t covered under civil rights laws, banned transgender service members from the US military, and a bunch of other awful shit.

Trump hasn’t been able (thank the gods) to get a lot of bills signed into place, outside of the recent sanctions bill he signed on Iran, North Korea, and Russia. No deathcare bill passed, not tax cuts passed, no federal right to work bullshit, etc. Outside of alot of deregulation and taking healthcare away from women, he’s been a failure for the most part in terms of the oligarchic Christian fascist movement in the US. Let’s hope the next 100 days have Trump signing stupid shit like the Fred Thompson courthouse and not stuff like privatizing social security.

The Sam Seder Tim Black debate, or the Sam talks over Tim while Michael Brooks makes snarky commentary.

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/iyXhdzgGOSc/maxresdefault.jpg

By Joseph Ballin 6/29/2017 5:37 PM EST

Reader’s note: I am a fan of both Sam Seder’s The Majority Report and The Tim Black Show. I do not hold any hostilities towards either person debating in this piece and am writing this to illustrate how we on the left can find better solutions to our problems. That being said I’m biased toward Tim in this debate.

What’s the difference between a liberal and a progressive? Personally I don’t care or like these labels. Hillary described herself as a “progressive who can get stuff done.” So I couldn’t care less about those labels, but Tim goes into what I think he meant is between neoliberal corporate shills and people who want change in this country. Yes Sam is correct that the Majority Report does talk about all of the issues that Tim Black listed. So Sam goes to Tim’s youtube page and criticizes him for not covering healthcare enough. However, Sam has not watched Tim’s show and doesn’t know that he’s covered healthcare numerous times on his show. And now Sam goes into the Seth Rich / Kimdotcom territory.

The one thing me and Jimmy Dore have both been very clear on, we want evidence. We want evidence of Russiagate, evidence Assad gassed his own people, evidence for or against the Seth Rich cover up, etc. That’s reality based thinking. That’s why I’m an agnostic atheist, because I can’t prove there isn’t a god/gods, but there is no evidence that they do exist so there is no reason for me to believe in them. In fact, nothing in the universe can be proven. A fact is a statement that is taken to be true based off of evidence. It is something we collectively as a society agree what is real and fake. A theory is a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena.

Ok now that we got that out of the way let’s deconstruct all this shit. There is no verifiable evidence Russia hacked, interfered, or colluded with Donald Trump or his campaign. In fact, as president, US relations with Russia under Trump are at a record low. Trump has repeatedly attacked the government of Bashar Al-Assad and Iranian militias several times, Russia’s allies. Trump signed a treaty expanding NATO to Montenegro, something Russia opposes. He signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017, which authorized $100 million dollars for the “Countering Russian Influence Fund”, to counter “Russian influence and aggression” and to “support civil society organizations in Europe and Eurasia.” It also included a measure imposing new restrictions and oversight on Russian diplomats in the United State. The Act also includes provisions that no appropriated funds may be used to support the Russian annexation of Crimea and assist Crimea, if such assistance includes the participation of Russian Government officials, or other Russian owned or controlled financial entities. It also states that no funds may be used to support “the Russian occupation of the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia” or to assist the central governments of other countries that have recognized the two territories’ independence. On top of all that, US has imposes more sanctions on Russia during Trump’ presidency. If Trump’s a Russian puppet, he’s doing a really shitty at it.

Again this is not to say there isn’t business ties Trump has to Russia, like with Deutsche bank and Trump hotels because he’s a billionaire, but he also has business ties to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Philippines, Azerbaijan, mafia, etc., but the mainstream media never mentions this. Why does mainstream media never bring up the fact General Flynn was a paid agent of the Turkish government? Why does the mainstream media not bring up the fact Trump appointed all these Goldman Sachs people because of his ties to Israel? Or China provisionally granting Trump 38 trademarks after getting elected? Or the Clinton’s business dealings in Russia? So there is enormous hypocrisy on this issue. Focus on Russia and nothing else. Why you may ask? Because starting a new cold war with Russia ensures defense contractors can make giant profit because now we have a great power enemy again. Also we can’t start a cold war with China because our economies are to tied together. It has less to do with Trump himself and more to do with more spending on the military and strengthening the police state. That’s why you don’t hear anything about getting rid of voting machines or having open, fair, and free elections.

As for the Syria gassing of 2017, the entire thing was brought up so briefly and forgotten about so quick by mainstream media and the Trump administration it really makes you wonder what really did happen in Syria. Why has there been no independent UN investigation into the gassing? There is no evidence Assad ordered the gassing of any civilians. As for the Seth Rich story, I stated on day one when I first heard about the Seth Rich murder that I found it very fishy. I have no idea is Seth Rich was the Wikileaks leaker or who killed him, but I do know a couple things. I do know Assange has hinted, but not confirmed, to Seth Rich being the leaker. Wikileaks, outside of the Garani Massacre Video which they said they would publish, but never did, has been 100% on point. So now that we got all that out of the way, back to the debate.

So Sam now brings up whether or not it’s a good thing to promote the Russia fear mongering story to split off three Republican votes in the Senate for healthcare. First of all I won’t advocate a new cold war with Russia over healthcare. Second of all why does Sam think Russia influences how Republican senators vote on healthcare. We’ve already seen the Senate healthcare bill be delayed because of how awful it is. People aren’t thinking about Russia when they think of healthcare, they are thinking of NOT DYING! Plus I would wager all that corporate cash the Republicans senators take is more of an influence than the so called Russia scandal over Trump’s head. The only thing that will force Republicans to change their votes on healthcare is though mass movements.

Now Black brings up the rigged 2016 Democratic primary and the DNC fraud lawsuit. Tim brings up exit polling being used by the US to determine whether an election is legit or bs in foreign countries. I would like to point out that irregularities in exit polling in Ukraine were cited by the US and EU for the fascist coup in Ukraine. And I would also like to point out Sam Seder has had on Greg Palast on Ring of Fire, someone who says the 2016 Democratic primary was rigged. But ok Sam I guess the primary wasn’t “rigged.”

Continuing on Tim brings why Democrats blaming progressives for the lose of Hillary Clinton. So Tim brings up Susan Sarandon and her revolution comment about Trump, stating we are seeing a revolution already taking place under Trump. Ok so I agree and disagree with Tim here. A revolution against Donald Trump hasn’t sustained itself, yet. It needs to be sustained though mass rallies every week and civil disobedience in the streets. And I believe a revolution under Trump can happen if he topples Assad and invades Iran

Michael continues to break into this heated debate to make a funny comment. Now we get back to Seth Rich. So Sam again thinks that it’s crazy to think that politicians won’t murder people to cover up corruption. I agree Tim Black that we need to ask questions. Again I’m an agnostic on Seth Rich, I don’t know who killed Seth Rich.

One of the most damming quotes from the Sam Seder vs Tim Black debate comes right around here. “She (Nancy Pelosi) is a great leader. I would not support a challenge to her” – Sam Seder. Ok so let’s give Sam the benefit of the doubt and say Pelosi wasn’t guilty for the thousands of losses of Democrats in elections over the past decade or so. So why is it Sam doesn’t bring up the fact Pelosi didn’t do shit to bring about real progressive change during her time as speaker from 2007 to 2011? She opposes single payer, she didn’t prosecute GWB, and she didn’t bring up the Employee Free Choice Act.

And finally Sam says Steny Hoyer would be worse than Pelosi. So Sam why not get rid of Hoyer? And if he’s replaced with another corporate Dem get rid of them until we get someone who will at least listen to progressives. That’s what the Republicans did with Eric Cantor and their party is stronger than ever. Tim brings up the fact Sam voted for Hillary Clinton in New York, a blue non-swing state, but he doesn’t blame Hillary for not appointing Bernie Sanders as her VP pick, which everyone agrees would have won her the election. You know why she didn’t do it? Because of spite and corporate greed. She would rather lose to a Republican than give an inch to progressives, and that’s why we have Trump.

Are we on the verge of World War III?

https://image.ibb.co/ksQRav/1496817233931.jpg

By Joseph Ballin 6/7/2017 5:51 PM EST

The tension in the Middle East is becoming unbearable. As the battle of Raqqa begins in Syria for the de facto capital of the so called Islamic State, US forces bomb pro-Assad forces in Syria. Qatar is being economically and diplomatically boycotted by the Saudis and other gulf nations, while Turkey approves sending troops to Qatar. Iran’s parliament and Khomeini mausoleum was blown up by Saudi Arabia posing as IS. Russia is being accused of hacking Qatar state media. Now the lieutenant general of the US is saying we don’t recognize any specific zone in Syria as being off limits to the United States.

At this point, the only news I watch anymore is RT America, the only legit news source left on TV. I got it blazing 24/7 in my room as I watch this in the background. I don’t even know what normies are watching on fake news MSNBC, CNN, or Fox, probably something about Russia or something, but anyway back to the topic at hand. The Trump administrations number one target is Iran. If you took a look at Trump’s cabinet, you will notice two things. One, they are anti-Islam, and two, they hate Iran.

And the two countries that hate Iran is Saudi Arabia and Israel. It comes to no surprise that these two countries have total control over the Trump administration. As Lawrence Wilkerson, retired United States Army Colonel and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, pointed out on the Real News, that the reason Trump has so much Goldman Sachs in his cabinet isn’t just a business reasons, but it’s because of Israel. Another great source on neocons and foreign policy in general is Abby and Robbie Martin. Robbie has create a film series on the necons called A Very Heavy Agenda that you can buy online.

Now to move on to Syria, what most Americans don’t know is the Syrian Civil War didn’t start in 2011, it started in 2005, when Syria stop cooperating with US forces and the CIA began funding terrorists to disrupt the region. So just so you know, this war started under Bush, continued under Obama and Trump. Now we began having US ground forces in Syria since 2015, however we’ve had CIA in the ground there since who knows what. Since 2017, just prior to April bombing of Assad, Trump doubled the US troops in Syria to 2,000 and US troop deployments have ceased for Iraq and Syria.

What I believe is happening is a ramping up of US forces in Syria. The neocons for a while have always had conflicting views within the neocons. Some extreme neocons like Frank Gaffeny think we should just ignore Syria because it distracts from invading Iran. Others want to see the Syria conflict go on forever to bob them down in fighting, a favorable view that Israeli government has. I do not know what the deep state is planning, but I do know that once ISIS falls it will make America’s troop presence in Syria null and void. So regime change in Syria would be the next goal.

The Qatar situation could blow out into full scale war in Turkish troops do arrive in Qatar, it will be interesting to see how America will respond, with the largest military base in the middle east being in Qatar. Trump at first cheered on Saudi Arabia and after his staff informed him the facts he said he wanted to negotiate with all sides. With the recent Iran bombings by the Saudis I don’t see any negotiations.

How about instead of having marches for Trump’s taxes we have marches for peace? But that’s not what the neocons want, they want use talking about Russia or taxes or whatever because it distracts us from the real issues. Trump is the ultimate distraction. All he does is tweet something and his tweets become headline news for the day. I say it’s time to start a campaign to boycott all Saudi goods by getting this country off fossil fuels.

Links:

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=18990

https://sputniknews.com/politics/201706011054192507-qatar-iran-olive-branch/

Julian Assange: US & Israel Planned To Overthrow Assad In 2006

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/03/15/u-s-military-probably-sending-as-many-as-1000-more-ground-troops-into-syria-ahead-of-raqqa-offensive-officials-say/