Attack the System: Political Predictions Reply

In the latest installment of Attack the System, Keith Preston uses observations and statistical data from the past and present of American politics to make convincing predictions about what to expect in the future.

Topics discussed:

  • The increasing polarization evident even within the Republican and Democratic parties
  • The traditional “binding force” uniting the Left in America
  • The traditional “binding force” uniting the Right in America
  • The Tea Party, the Militia Movement, and Secessionist movements
  • The Politically Correct Left and when it will show its fangs
  • What to expect as America declines, and how we can be ahead of the game
  • Tim Wise’s moment of honesty
  • The pervasiveness of instant gratification
  • What will happen when the Left can no longer rally its constituent groups around the “WASP boogeyman”
  • Much more
  • More…

Secessionism in crisis-hit Europe: Belgian separatists advancing to independence Reply

rt.com

Belgian Flemish right-wing party (N-VA) president Bart De Wever celebrates on stage during Belgium′s local elections at Zuiderkroon theatre in Antwerp on October 14, 2012. (Reuters /  Yves Herman)
Belgian Flemish right-wing party (N-VA) president Bart De Wever celebrates on stage during Belgium’s local elections at Zuiderkroon theatre in Antwerp on October 14, 2012. (Reuters / Yves Herman)

Separatists in Belgium are looking to gain control of the wealthy port of Antwerp as early results suggest a Flemish nationalist leader is the city’s new mayor. It comes amid an intensifying trend of secessionism in crisis-hit Europe.

­With almost all the votes counted, Flemish Nationalist Party leader Bart De Wever is way ahead of his rival, Socialist Mayor Patrick Janssens.

“We want to give Flemings the government they want at all levels,” De Wever said as his advantage became evident. More…

The Israel Lobby and the Road to War Reply

antiwar.com
by Justin Raimondo

Editorial note: This is the third in a three-part series. Part I appeared here, and the second part here.

Israel is like a spoiled child who has grown stronger, more willful, and outright dangerous under the nurturing care of its US parent – a parent who has lost all authority and can no longer restrain its juvenile delinquent progeny. The US-Israeli “special relationship” has destabilized the Middle East and made war much more likely than it would be otherwise. Israel can act in the knowledge that there will be no consequences for its actions, that it will not be held accountable or blamed – in public – in any way for what follows.

This, in turn, has energized extremist movements inside Israel, who demand more and yet more of the United States – and come to resent Uncle Sam for supposedly restraining the Israelis from achieving what they believe is their just due. The response is very far from gratitude, if we take Netanyahu’s recent behavior as indicative. We pour billions every year into Israel, with economic and military aid, and with Congress in their back pocket no American president dares threaten them with an aid cutoff. The result is that we have created – and empowered – a monster, one that may one day turn on us.

Indeed, Israel has already turned on us if we define that as brazen interference in American politics. The Israel lobby, which wields plenty of money and political clout, has so distorted the national discourse on foreign policy issues that it is no longer possible for any politician to challenge the course we have taken. More…

How Obama Expanded the National Security State 1

counterpunch.org
CHASE MADAR

During his election campaign in 2008, Barack Obama promised to close the prison at Guantánamo, repeal the Patriot Act of 2001 that authorised new domestic surveillance, and protect military and intelligence whistleblowers against government reprisals. It was a pledge to rein in much of the security state apparatus that had been expanded after 11 September 2001 into an enormous, often unaccountable, bureaucracy.

But four years later, Guantánamo is still open, its military tribunals have resumed and Obama has approved the renewal of the Patriot Act. His Department of Justice has launched six Espionage Act prosecutions of security whistleblowers — twice as many as all previous administrations combined. Also the no-fly list of individuals prohibited from air travel — a designation that is often arbitrary and always opaque — has more than doubled since last year, to 21,000. In 2011, the president signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which gives the federal government the power to imprison indefinitely US citizens accused of terrorism, a major erosion of habeas corpus rights. The administration has authorised the assassination of an unknown number of US citizens abroad who are not directly engaged in armed hostilities but who have been designated as “terrorists”, with minimal legal process. Last September, American drones in Yemen hunted and killed radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and Al-Qaida propagandist Samir Khan; two weeks later, a separate American drone strike killed Awlaki’s 16-year old son: all were US citizens. Obama has also radically expanded the ostensibly “secret” killing of non-US citizens by drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia; as many as a third of the victims are non-combatant civilians, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. More…

You, robot? Reply

economist.com

Technology and regulation: A research project considers how the law should deal with technologies that blur man and machine

SPEAKING at a conference organised by The Economist earlier this year, Hugh Herr, a roboticist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, described disabilities as conditions that persist “because of poor technology” and made the bold claim that during the 21st century disability would be largely eliminated. What gave his words added force was that half way through his speech, after ten minutes of strolling around the stage, he unexpectedly pulled up his trouser legs to reveal his bionic legs, and then danced a little jig. In future, he suggested, people might choose to replace an arthritic, painful limb with a fully functional robotic one. “Why wouldn’t you replace it?” he asked. “We’re going to see a lot of unusual situations like that.” More…

MS-13 gang labeled transnational criminal group, a first for US street gang Reply

csmonitor.com
Howard LaFranchi

A MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha graffiti is tagged on a Salvadorean bakery wall in Los Angeles on Thursday, Oct. 11.

Damian Dovarganes/AP

MS-13 gang is a violent group engaged in the drug, sex, and human trafficking trades in the US. Designating MS-13 gang a transnational criminal organization helps US officials target it more aggressively.

For the first time, a street gang operating in the United States has been officially designated a transnational criminal organization, empowering officials to more aggressively target the group, Mara Salvatrucha MS-13, which engages in the drug, sex, and human trafficking trades.

MS-13 is an El Salvador-based gang that over three decades has developed into a violent criminal force from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C.

Naming the gang a transnational criminal organization suggests how the group has evolved from being primarily a criminal element in Central American immigrant communities to a regional organized crime network delving into a range of illegal markets, experts in North and Central American crime patterns say. More…

The Waning of American Power in the Middle East Reply

counterpunch.org
by PATRICK COCKBURN

Are the days of American predominance in the Middle East coming to an end or is US influence simply taking a new shape? How far is Washington, after refusing to try to keep Hosni Mubarak in power in Egypt, facing the same situation as the Soviet Union in 1989, when the police states it had sustained in Eastern Europe were allowed to collapse?

The US is obviously weaker than it was between 1979, when the then Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, signed the Camp David agreement and allied Egypt with the US, and 2004/05, when it became obvious to the outside world that the Iraq war was a disaster for America. At the time, General William Odom, a former head of the National Security Agency, the biggest US intelligence agency, rightly called it “the greatest strategic disaster in American history”. More…

Which Africans Will Obama Whack Next? Reply

counterpunch.org
by PATRICK BOND

Durban, South Africa.

Would Barack Obama’s re-election advance African democracy and prosperity? Evidence suggests not, though the alternative in the November 6 election would probably be worse.

Obama’s most important important policy speech on Africa, in Ghana in 2009, contained the famous line, “Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.

According to a recent puff piece in South Africa’s leading ezine, Daily Maverick, Obama’s top Africa official, Johnnie Carson, last month claimed that “the US wants to work with African nations to strengthen democratic institutions, good governance and efforts to stamp out corruption [and] to spur economic growth through market-driven, free trade principles.” More…

US Government Has More Data On Average American Than Stasi Did On East Germans Reply

Mike Masnick
techdirt.com

We’ve written plenty about how the US government has been quite aggressive in spying on Americans. It has been helped along by a court system that doesn’t seem particularly concerned about the 4th Amendment and by the growing ability of private companies to have our data and to then share it with the government at will. Either way, in a radio interview, Wall Street Journal reporter Julia Angwin (who’s been one of the best at covering the surveillance state in the US) made a simple observation that puts much of this into context: the US surveillance regime has more data on the average American than the Stasi ever did on East Germans. And, of course, as we’ve already seen, much of that data seems to be collected illegally with little oversight… and with absolutely no security benefit. More…

US Foodstamp Usage Rises To New Record High Reply

zerohedge.com

While the 0.4% perfectly unmanipulated and totally coincidental swing in the unemployment rate in an Obama favorable direction one month before the election came at a prime time moment for the market, one hour ahead of the open, setting the market mood for the rest of the day (which despite all best efforts still closed red, valiant efforts by Simon Potter and the FRBNY’s direct pipe to Citadel notwithstanding), there was one other, far more important data point released by the government’s department of agriculture, sufficiently late after the market close to impact no risk assets. That data point of course was foodstamps (or the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka SNAP), and we are confident that no readers will be surprised to learn that foodstamp usage for both persons and households, has jumped to a new all time record. More…

Modern drug cartels resemble corporate entities Reply

tennessean.com
Christopher Sherman , AP

Accountants, managers, security and more all part of criminal organizations

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS — When a regional manager for the Mexican Gulf cartel moved his operation to a more lucrative territory on the border, he took along not only his armored trucks and personal army, but also his department heads and a team of accountants.

In the grotesque violence that has enveloped Mexico, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that, ultimately, these criminal organizations are complex businesses that rely on careful accounting as much as assault rifles.

Rafael Cardenas Vela, a Gulf cartel member who ran three important “plazas,” or territories, testified last week about the organization’s structure and operations in such detail that it could compose a short course. More…

Reverse aging? Scientists find way to make old muscles young again Reply

foxnews.com
Loren Grush

Calf muscle.jpg

It is a dream for everyone as they grow older to turn back the clock and live in a younger body once again.  While many have developed ways to make the body look younger cosmetically, there have been very few effective methods to combat the aging process within the body – until now.

For the first time ever, researchers have identified a crucial protein responsible for the decline of muscle repair and agility as the body ages.  Upon this discovery, the scientists were able to effectively halt muscle decline in mice, giving hope to similar treatments for humans in the future.

More…

Americans’ Preference Shifts Toward One-Party Government Reply

gallup.com
Andrew Dugan

Change in preferences driven mostly by Democrats

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A record-high 38% of Americans prefer that the same party control the presidency and Congress, while a record-low 23% say it would be better if the president and Congress were from different parties and 33% say it doesn’t make any difference. While Americans tend to lean toward one-party government over divided government in presidential election years, this year finds the biggest gap in preferences for the former over the latter and is a major shift in views from one year ago.

Trend: Americans’ Preference for One-Party vs. Divided Government

More…

Human Sex Trafficking Is Now Affecting America’s Elite Communities Reply

businessinsider.com
Abby Rogers

Prostitution

Wikipedia

Long thought to be a problem only in America’s poorest cities or the world’s most impoverished nations, human trafficking is now making a move toward the upper fringes of society.

During a speech Thursday at the University of Mississippi School of Law, federal prosecutors said sex trafficking, both in terms of victims and suspects, has spread to wealthy suburbs as well as small rural towns, The Commercial Appeal reported. More…

The Communist Party’s Enigmatic Hierarchy Explained In One Simple Chart Reply

businessinsider.com
Mamta Badkar

A leadership change in China is expected to be a month away. But the structure of the communist party is still baffling to many.

We found this chart from a report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) that shows the hierarchy in the communist part as seen on the left, and the seven departments under the Secretariat.

The Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) is the most important decision making body in the Chinese Communist Party. From the report:

More…

This Highly-Offensive, Anti-Japanese Sign Was Casually Posted At A Chinese Restaurant In Beijing Reply

businessinsider.com
Joe Weisenthal

Amid the ongoing protests against Japan currently taking place in China (due to a dispute about which control controls some uninhabited islands)…

Mark Mackinnon of the Globe & Mail tweets: “Sign on Beijing restaurant: “Pet dogs are allowed in, Japanese dogs are not.”

He adds: “The highly offensive anti-Japanese signs I tweeted about earlier. There’s a worse one.”

image

Suspected Mexican teen assassin, 16, linked to 50 killings Reply

reuters.com

(Reuters) – Mexican prosecutors said Thursday they were investigating a 16-year-old suspected hitman who was believed to have participated in at least 50 murders while working for a drug gang.

A spokesman for prosecutors in the northeastern state of Sinaloa said the teenager, identified as Francisco Miguel N., was part of a gang known as Los Mazatlecos, a criminal group attached to the Beltran Leyva drugs cartel.

Police arrested the teen for carrying a loaded gun and drugs. He later confessed to working as a hitman for the group, local prosecutors said in a statement.

The teenager said he had taken part in executions of police, farmers and even a musician since February.

More…

‘This American Life’ Completes Documentation Of Liberal, Upper-Middle-Class Existence Reply

This is funny.

theonion.com

CHICAGO—Producers of the long-running Chicago Public Radio program This American Life announced Monday that they have completed their comprehensive 12-year survey of life as a modern upper-middle-class American.

In what cultural anthropologists are calling a “colossal achievement” in the study of white-collar professionals, the popular radio show has successfully isolated all 7,442 known characteristics of college graduates who earn between $62,500 and $125,000 per year and feel strongly that something should be done about global warming.

“We’ve done it,” said senior producer Julie Snyder, who was personally interviewed for a 2003 This American Life episode, “Going Eclectic,” in which she described what it’s like to be a bilingual member of the ACLU trained in kite-making by a Japanese stepfather. “There is not a single existential crisis or self-congratulatory epiphany that has been or could be experienced by a left-leaning agnostic that we have not exhaustively documented and grouped by theme.”

More…

On Breaking Your Legs and Giving You Crutches: Responses to a Liberal 2

c4ss.org
Kevin Carson

The questions below, which I received from a liberal curious about left-libertarianism, are fairly typical. The common thread running through the left-libertarian response is that most of the evils currently remedied by the state result from state intervention in the first place.

“1. If government provided no safety net for the poor, what would happen to the 100+ million Americans with an IQ under 90, to the millions of Americans who can’t work because of cancer, heart disease, etc., to even the millions with graduate degrees who can’t find a job, and to America as a country?”

Government policies increase the basic threshold of subsistence for the worst off enormously, making comfortable poverty impossible (see, for example, Charles Johnson, “Scratching By,” The Freeman, December 2007). If government didn’t enforce absentee title to vacant and unimproved land against “squatters,” building codes whose main economic effect is to criminalize cheap vernacular building technologies or new low-cost/high-efficiency techniques the incumbent contractors don’t want to compete with, licensing regimes that impede independent production by unlicensed cabs, home daycare and the like, there would be a huge reduction in the marginal cost of both survival and comfortable subsistence. As I mention below, these same forms of exploitation drastically reduce the material resources and leisure available to working people for developing their own self-organized solidaristic safety net.

More…

Book on Hezbollah Released Reply

ibna.ir

Authored by Mesbah Mahjoub, a book has been released on the thought patterns of Hezbollah led by Seyed Hassan Nasrollah.

IBNA: The book entails issues which have led to the success of the Muslim political party in Lebanon and in the physical and psychological wars it has gone through in recent years.

Arranged in four parts and published by the Ghadr Velayat Cultural-Arts Institute, the book is in fact an adaptation of a book by Mohammad Reza Mirzajan.

More…

On Brazilian Runways, Transgender Models Are The Norm Reply

businessinsider.com
The Telegraph

transgender model

screenshot via Vice.com

With London’s summer of sport over, the focus moves to Brazil. The country is hosting the World Cup in 2014, and the Olympics come 2016, and fashion, never to be outdone, is ready to make its own handover.

On course to become the fifth largest economy by 2025, Brazil has the resources to become the next fashion capital, and the international industry is beginning to take notice. Lucas Nascimento, Pedro Lourenço and jeweller Fernando Jorge are Brazilian buzz names, and London’s The Shop at Bluebird hosts pop-up Brazil Rising from this Friday to showcase new talent.

More…