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Exposing the Gun Industry Profiteers

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Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, which is a big investor in the gun retailer Bass Pro.

(Here's) a series that:

  • surveys the main gun profiteers,
  • takes a closer look at gun retailer Bass Pro-Cabela’s and its backing from Goldman Sachs,
  • and examines Wells Fargo’s major ties to the NRA and firearms industry.

Derek, LittleSis.org via ActionNetwork.org

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April 13, 2018 | The tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida placed a renewed focus on the gun industry. While many pointed their criticism - and rightly so - at the NRA and the gun lobby’s bought-off politicians, we also thought it was important to look at the key profiteers - the banks, hedge funds, asset managers, and top executives - who hold a lot of power within the gun industry.

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To this end, we put together a series that surveys the main gun profiteers, takes a closer look at gun retailer Bass Pro-Cabela’s and its backing from Goldman Sachs, and examines Wells Fargo’s major ties to the NRA and firearms industry.

Some of these articles also appeared in the Public and Truthout, while the focus on Wells Fargo even found its way onto MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews.

LittleSis.org: a free database detailing the connections between powerful people and organizations. We bring transparency to influential social networks by tracking the key relationships of politicians, business leaders, lobbyists, financiers, and their affiliated institutions.

Full story … As indicated, above.

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War Pay: The Pentagon Wants to Spend $716 Billion Next Year

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  • Part 1: The Pentagon Wants to Spend $716 Billion Next Year 
  • And they’re justifying it by playing on fear.
  • Part 2: War Pay
  • 
Another Good Year for Weapons Makers Is Guaranteed

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: The Pentagon Wants to Spend $716 Billion Next Year
 

https://www.thenation.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/afghanistan-mattis-nicholson-ap-img.jpg?scale=896&compress=80US Defense Secretary James Mattis and US Army General John Nicholson meet the Afghan delegation in Kabul, Afghanistan, on April 24, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst / Pool Photo via AP)

And they’re justifying it by playing on fear.
 
Danny Sjursen, Tom Dispatch

February 20, 2018 | Think of it as the chicken-or-the-egg question for the ages: Do very real threats to the United States inadvertently benefit the military-industrial complex or does the national security state, by its very nature, conjure up inflated threats to feed that defense machine?

Back in 2008, some of us placed our faith, naively enough, in the hands of mainstream Democrats—specifically, those of a young senator named Barack Obama. He would reverse the war policies of George W. Bush, deescalate the unbridled “Global War on Terror,” and right the ship of state. How’d that turn out?

Danny Sjursen is a US Army strategist and former history instructor at West Point. He served tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has written a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge.

Full story … 



 

Part 2: War Pay

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Another Good Year for Weapons Makers Is Guaranteed 


William D. Hartung, Tom Dispatch

January 11, 2018 | As Donald Trump might put it, major weapons contractors like Boeing, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin cashed in “bigly” in his first year in office. They raked in tens of billions of dollars in Pentagon contracts, while posting sharp stock price increases and healthy profits driven by the continuation and expansion of Washington’s post-9/11 wars. But last year’s bonanza is likely to be no more than a down payment on even better days to come for the military-industrial complex.

President Trump moved boldly in his first budget, seeking an additional $54 billion in Pentagon funding for fiscal year 2018. That figure, by the way, equals the entire military budgets of allies like Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Japan. Then, in a bipartisan stampede, Congress egged on Trump to go even higher, putting forward a defense authorization bill that would raise the Pentagon’s budget by an astonishing $85 billion. (And don’t forget that, last spring, the president and Congress had already tacked an extra $15 billion onto the 2017 Pentagon budget.)  The authorization bill for 2018 is essentially just a suggestion, however -- the final figure for this year will be determined later this month, if Congress can come to an agreement on how to boost the caps on domestic and defense spending imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The final number is likely to go far higher than the staggering figure Trump requested last spring.

William D. Hartung, a TomDispatch regular, is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy.  His most recent book is Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex.

Full story … 

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Donald Trump Is Proof That America’s Wars Come Home

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President Donald Trump in Virginia in 2017. (AP Photo / Steve Helber)

… And other lessons from 17 years of American defeat abroad.

Tom Engelhardt, the Nation 

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April 12, 2018 | The lessons of history? Who needs them? Certainly not Washington’s present cast of characters, a crew in flight from history, the past, or knowledge of more or less any sort. Still, just for the hell of it, let’s take a few moments to think about what some of the lessons of the last years of the previous century and the first years of this one might be for the world’s most exceptional and indispensable nation, the planet’s sole superpower, the globe’s only sheriff. Those were, of course, commonplace descriptions from the pre-Trump era and yet, in the age of MAGA, already as moldy and cold as the dust in some pharaonic tomb.

Let’s start this way: you could think of the post–Cold War era, the years after the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1991, as the moment of America’s first opioid crisis. The country’s politicians and would-be politicians were, then, taking street drugs (K-Street and military-industrial-complex ones, to be exact) and having remarkable visions of a planet available for the taking, as well as the keeping, forever and ever, amen.

http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR0FvP30d4rg9aflKARO8FK2gjRkNebNlY8B4lIK7euCelFiGbvaa1goC4 Tom Engelhardt created and runs Tomdispatch.com, a project of The Nation Institute where he is a Fellow. He is the author of a highly praised history of American triumphalism in the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture, and of a novel, The Last Days of Publishing, as well as a collection of his Tomdispatch interviews, Mission Unaccomplished.

Full story … 

 

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Special Report | Syria: Military Escalation? Towards a US-Russia Confrontation? Week Ending April 14, 2018

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  • Part 1: Triggering War. A Manufactured “Catalytic Event” Which Will Initiate An All Out War?
  • Are We Going to Let this Happen Again?
  • Part 2: The Geopolitics of Targeting Russia
  • The aim … is to compel Moscow to submit to the hegemonic power of the Washington elite.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: Triggering War. A Manufactured “Catalytic Event” Which Will Initiate An All Out War, Are We Going to Let this Happen Again?

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Stars%20%26%20Stripes%20Mushroom%20Cloud.jpgThe assassination of Archduke Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 led to the outbreak of World War I. The Gulf of Tonkin incidents on August 2 and August 4, 1964, enabled what we call the Vietnam War.

Graeme McQueen, Global Research

https://store.globalresearch.ca/store/images/962/160119-DirtyWarCover-Print.jpg?196,196,2984209251 As we watch Western governments testing their opponents – today Iran, the next day the DPRK, and then Russia and China – we hold our breaths. We are waiting with a sense of dread for the occurrence of a catalytic event that will initiate war. Now is the time to reflect on such catalytic events, to understand them, to prepare for them.

The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand on June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo led to the outbreak of World War I. The Gulf of Tonkin incidents on August 2 and August 4, 1964 enabled what we call the Vietnam War.

Graeme McQueen is a former Director of the Centre for Peace Studies at McMaster University, a member of the 9/11 Consensus Panel, and a past co-editor of the Journal of 9/11 Studies. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Full story … 
 
Part 2: The Geopolitics of Targeting Russia

The aim … is to compel Moscow to submit to the hegemonic power of the Washington elite. Anyone who has a rudimentary understanding of Russian history knows that this will not happen. Russia will continue to resist. And Russian resistance may well hold the key to a different future for humankind.

Chandra Muzaffar, Global Research

https://www.globalresearch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/nato-russia-400x205.jpg March 21, 2018 | The escalation of tensions between the United States, Britain and France, on the one hand, and Russia, on the other, should not surprise anyone. In the last few years, the US leadership and mainstream British media have presented Russia as a major threat to global peace and the international order. Russian president Vladimir Putin in particular has been demonised as a ‘war-monger,’ an ‘aggressor,’ an ‘unscrupulous politician’ hell-bent on restoring Russia’s past glory’ at whatever cost.

This projection of Russia as a threat to world peace has intensified in recent days partly because of Putin’s unveiling of Russia’s cutting edge military technologies on 1st March 2018. They include advanced generation missiles with unlimited range and capability that can evade US or NATO anti-missile defences. Apart from the new Sarmat missile, the Russian defence industry has also developed a low-flying stealth missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead with the ability to bypass interception boundaries that is “invincible against all existing and prospective missile defence and counter-air defence systems.”

Chandra Muzaffar is the President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST). He is a correspondent for Asia-Pacific Research and a frequent contributor to Global Research

Full story … 

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Massacre in Gaza: Israeli Citizens Watch As Their Military Attacks Unarmed Palestinians

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  • Part 1: Israeli Citizens Watch As Their Military Attacks Unarmed Palestinians
  • At least 18 Palestinians have died in Gaza after Israeli forces opened fire Friday on a protest near the Gaza Strip’s eastern border with Israel.
  • Part 2: Israeli Citizens Watch As Their Military Attacks Unarmed Palestinians
  • In an outrageous display of inhumanity, Israeli citizens reportedly gathered on Gaza border to watch their military kill Palestinian civilians.
  • Related: Israel Kills Palestinians and Western Liberals Shrug. Gaza -  An Inquest into Its Martyrdom.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: Massacre in Gaza: Israeli Forces Open Fire on Palestinians, Killing 18, Wounding As Many As 1,700

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At least 18 Palestinians have died in Gaza after Israeli forces opened fire Friday on a protest near the Gaza Strip’s eastern border with Israel.

Amy Goodman & Juan Gonzalez, Democracy Now!

April 02, 2018 | At least 18 Palestinians have died in Gaza after Israeli forces opened fire Friday on a protest near the Gaza Strip’s eastern border with Israel. As many as 1,700 Palestinians were wounded. The deaths and injuries came as 30,000 Gaza residents gathered near the wall, as part of a planned 6-week-long nonviolent protest against the blockade of Gaza and to demand the right of return for Palestinian refugees. The protests began on Friday, March 30, known as “Land Day,” marking the anniversary of the 1976 killing of six Palestinians protesting the Israeli confiscation of Arab land. Video posted online shows unarmed Palestinians being shot in the back while taking part in Friday’s protest. Another 49 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces on Saturday. Israel’s actions have been condemned around the world, but Israel is rejecting calls to investigate the killings. At the United Nations, the U.S. blocked a move by the U.N. Security Council to open an investigation.

Guests: Raji Sourani, award-winning human rights lawyer; Diana Buttu, attorney based in Palestine; Miko Peled, Israeli peace activist and writer

Full story (Rush Transcript) … 



Part 2: Israeli Citizens Watch As Their Military Attacks Unarmed Palestinians

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In an outrageous display of inhumanity, Israeli citizens reportedly gathered on Gaza border to watch their military kill Palestinian civilians.

Shafaq Naveed, Carbonated TV

April 6, 2018 | As violence continues to rage along the Israel-Gaza border, an Israeli reporter shared a photo that could only be described as inhumane.

“Best show in town. Residents of Nahal Oz in the stands,” read the caption for the image that showed a group of young Israeli spectators sitting on an observation tower near the Israel-Gaza border line, watching and waving as unarmed Palestinians got brutally murdered and wounded at the hands of Israeli troops.

The images were later shared by Reuters as well.

Full story … 

Related:

Israel Kills Palestinians and Western Liberals Shrug. Gaza -  An Inquest into Its MartyrdomCompiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

  • Part 1: Israel Kills Palestinians and Western Liberals Shrug. Their Humanitarianism Is a Sham.
  • (Silence of Western Liberals in the face of Israeli) state-sponsored violence (in Gaza) is a reminder of just how morally bankrupt and cynically hypocritical the whole “liberal intervention” shtick is.
  • Part 2: Gaza An Inquest into Its Martyrdom
  • What has befallen Gaza is a man-made humanitarian disaster.

 

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No Justice!  No Peace!  Please share this post.

Israel Kills Palestinians and Western Liberals Shrug. Gaza - An Inquest into Its Martyrdom.

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  • Part 1: Israel Kills Palestinians and Western Liberals Shrug. Their Humanitarianism Is a Sham.
    • (Silence of Western Liberals in the face of Israeli) state-sponsored violence (in Gaza) is a reminder of just how morally bankrupt and cynically hypocritical the whole “liberal intervention” shtick is.
  • Part 2: Gaza An Inquest into Its Martyrdom
    • What has befallen Gaza is a man-made humanitarian disaster.
  • Related: Massacre in Gaza: Israeli Citizens Watch As Their Military Attacks Unarmed Palestinians

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: Israel Kills Palestinians and Western Liberals Shrug. Their Humanitarianism Is a Sham.

https://theintercept.imgix.net/wp-uploads/sites/1/2018/04/AP_18092516265523-1522700618.jpg?auto=compress%2Cformat&q=90&w=1024&h=682Palestinians protesters run for cover from Israeli tear gas during clashes with Israeli troops along the border between Israel and Gaza Strip, in the eastern Gaza Strip, 01 April 2018. Photo: Momen Faiz/NurPhoto/Sipa USA/AP

There is no other conclusion: The ongoing and glaring refusal of liberal interventionists in the West to say even a word about the need to protect occupied Palestinians from state-sponsored violence is a reminder of just how morally bankrupt and cynically hypocritical the whole “liberal intervention” shtick is.

Mehdi Hasan, the Intercept

April 2 2018 | If the concept of intervention is driven by universal human rights, why is it — from the people who identify themselves as liberal interventionists — why do we never hear a peep, a word, about intervening to protect the Palestinians?”

That was the question I put to the French philosopher, author, and champion of liberal (or humanitarian) interventionism, Bernard-Henri Lévy, on my Al Jazeera English interview show “Head to Head” in 2013.

The usually silver-tongued Levy struggled to answer the question. The situation in Palestine is “not the same” as in Syria and “you have not all the good on one side and all the bad on the other side,” said Levy, who once remarked in reference to the Israeli Defense Forces, or IDF, that he had “never seen such a democratic army, which asks itself so many moral questions.”

https://cdn01.theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2017/02/mehdi-hasan-1488221651-440x440.jpgMehdi Hasan is an award-winning British columnist, broadcaster, and author based in Washington, D.C. He hosts UpFront on Al Jazeera English and has interviewed, among others, Edward Snowden, Hamid Karzai, Ehud Olmert, and Gen. Michael Flynn. He is also the author of two books — a biography of former U.K. Labor Party leader Ed Miliband and an e-book on the financial crisis and austerity economics.

Full story … 





Part 2: Gaza An Inquest into Its Martyrdom ~ Norman Finkelstein, Reviewed in Powell's City of Books from  Publishers Weekly (Jan.)

Based on scores of human rights reports, Norman G. Finkelstein's new book presents a meticulously researched inquest into Gaza's martyrdom. He shows that although Israel has justified its assaults in the name of self-defense, in fact these actions constituted flagrant violations of international law.

http://powells-covers-2.s3.amazonaws.com/9780520295711.jpg Political science professor Finkelstein (Method and Madness), a controversial voice in the contentious debate over Israel’s role in the Middle East,  establishes his sharp focus here not on Gaza generally but on “what has been done to Gaza” in a succession of Israeli actions particularly Operation Cast Lead (2008–2009) Operation Pillar of Defense (2012) and Operation Protective Edge (2014). He delineates that “what has befallen Gaza is a human made human disaster” likening it to American policies of Native American removal. Heavy with supportive documentation (footnotes outstrip the text on occasion) and often dense in officialese from the reports of various entities involved (including the UN Human Rights Council Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International) Finkelstein debunks much of what he sees about Gaza in the U.S. media and government as reflecting the work of the Israeli lobby. “Perusing this book will require infinite perseverance” Finkelstein warns and readers with limited familiarity with the major actors on the ground such as Hamas Hezbollah and the Palestinian Authority may feel more overwhelmed than informed. On the other hand readers with fixed positions either in agreement or disagreement with Finkelstein will find much to engage with here.

Full story … 

Related:

Massacre in Gaza: Israeli Citizens Watch As Their Military Attacks Unarmed Palestinians, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

  • Part 1: Israeli Citizens Watch As Their Military Attacks Unarmed Palestinians
  • At least 18 Palestinians have died in Gaza after Israeli forces opened fire Friday on a protest near the Gaza Strip’s eastern border with Israel.
  • Part 2: Israeli Citizens Watch As Their Military Attacks Unarmed Palestinians
  • In an outrageous display of inhumanity, Israeli citizens reportedly gathered on Gaza border to watch their military kill Palestinian civilians.
  • Related: Israel Kills Palestinians and Western Liberals Shrug. Gaza -  An Inquest into Its Martyrdom.

http://evergreenedigest.org/content/massacre-gaza-israeli-citizens-watch...

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Fired VA Secretary Shulkin Issues Dire Warning: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

  • Part 1: Fired VA Head David Shulkin Issues a Dire Warning on His Way Out the Door
    • The former Obama appointee fears privatization could harm veterans for years to come.
  • Part 2: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits
    • The Trump administration and Congress need to follow through on … reforms, give the VA the resources it needs, and hold the agency accountable.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest


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Part 1: Fired VA Head David Shulkin Issues a Dire Warning on His Way Out the Door

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  • Shulkin was one of the few remaining government officials who believe it is their respsonibility to help people, not businesses. His departure is worrisome to all of us who feel the same.
  • The former Obama appointee fears privatization could harm veterans for years to come.

Liz Posner,  AlterNet

https://www.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/32906328735_20b1b50687_k.jpg?itok=W5JO-pse Photo Credit: The Department of Veterans' Affairs

March 29, 2018 | Donald Trump did the inevitable Wednesday night and dismissed embattled Veteran Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. The former Obama official has been replaced by the president's personal physician, Admiral Ronny Jackson, who has no qualifiable leadership experience and raised millions of eyebrows last year after publicly proclaiming that Trump was “in excellent health.” But Shulkin refused to go quietly, warning the country that the chaos in the White House could harm veterans for years to come.

In an op-ed for the New York Times published hours after his firing, Shulkin cited his various accomplishments during his tenure as the head of VA, including reducing veteran unemployment from 10.2 percent to 3.5 percent and cutting wait times for health care services. He also issued a blistering rebuke to the wave of free-market cheerleaders who have swept into the federal government since Trump’s election.

Liz Posner is a managing editor at AlterNet. Her work has appeared on Forbes.com, Bust, Bustle, Refinery29, and elsewhere.

Full story … 





Part 2: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

http://www.commondreams.org/sites/default/files/styles/cd_large/public/headlines/capitol_protest.jpg?itok=zZIfkHtu Campaign finance reform advocates protest outside the Capitol building in Washington D.C., 2011. (Photo: takomabibelot/cc/flickr)

  • More than ever, American democracy is for sale, bartered to the most powerful, leased to the most connected, sold to the most moneyed.
  • The Trump administration and Congress need to follow through on these reforms, give the VA the resources it needs and hold the agency accountable. Men and women in uniform injured in service to their country should not have to wait years to get the benefits they have earned.

Tampa Bay (FL) Times

November 14, 2017 | American military members hurt in service to their country should not have to wait a lifetime for the benefits they deserve. But that’s a reality of the disability process at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which hasn’t made paying benefits a priority and needs a hard kick from Congress to clean up its act.

The veterans benefits system is a century-old behemoth that has not kept pace with the times or the demands on its resources. As the New York Times reported Tuesday, the system pays out more than $78 billion each year to 5 million beneficiaries. But there also are more than 470,000 veterans who have been denied benefits and appealed — and their cases are grinding through the claims process at a glacial pace, with some cases taking years if not decades to resolve.

Full story … 

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The Normalization of War

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  • A memo to the publisher of the New York (NY) Times
  • Crudely put, the central question that goes not only unanswered but unasked is this: What the hell is going on? Allow me to deconstruct that in ways that might resonate with Times correspondents.
  • Related: Media Owned By Warlords, Gov’t Owned By Big Money, Shock Doctrine
  • Related: How the Media Conditions, Controls, and Programs Society

 

Andrew J. Bacevich, TomDispatch / Truthdig

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Mar 21, 2018 | Dear Mr. A.G. Sulzberger:

Congratulations on assuming the reins of this nation’s — and arguably, the world’s — most influential publication. It’s the family business, of course, so your appointment to succeed your father doesn’t exactly qualify as a surprise.  Even so, the responsibility for guiding the fortunes of a great institution must weigh heavily on you, especially when the media landscape is changing so rapidly and radically.

Undoubtedly, you’re already getting plenty of advice on how to run the paper, probably more than you want or need.  Still, with your indulgence, I’d like to offer an outsider’s perspective on “the news that’s fit to print.”  The famous motto of the Times insists that the paper is committed to publishing “all” such news — an admirable aspiration even if an impossibility.  In practice, what readers like me get on a daily basis is “all the news that Times editors deem worthy of print.”

http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR0qbHW5-BiczqTRkv2V8stt2uURyk38cj5p87YmEDw4HPApO2Jt9r7OO7z Andrew J. Bacevich is an American historian specializing in international relations, security studies, American foreign policy, and American diplomatic and military history.

Full story … 

Related:

Media Owned By Warlords, Gov’t Owned By Big Money, Shock Doctrine, Redacted Tonight / Rise Up Times

War profiteers and the media who hire them. Puerto Rico. Worker wages.

Related:

How the Media Conditions, Controls, and Programs Society (Video), the Arcane Front

Through TV, the power elite have succeeded in creating a distracted, misinformed, divided, and class-driven society suffering historical amnesia and completely oblivious to true realities of their surroundings.


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Help enlighten others. Be sure to pass this on to friends and kin. We must break the system's  ability to lie with impunity.

 

 

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