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May 2014

11 Things The Koch Brothers Don’t Want You To Know, From Robert Greenwald’s Newly Updated Documentary

The poster boys for the top 1 percent are even worse than you thought.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

The mega-billionaire brothers, David and Charles Koch, stand apart in the world of Republicans.

In 2012, their network of hardcore libertarian political donors spent $400 million on negative campaign ads intended to destroy government safety nets and defeat Democrats. They want to repeal Obamacare, dismantle labor unions, repeal any environmental law protecting clean water and air, roll back voting rights, privatize Social Security, stop a minimum wage increase and more. They don’t care about destroying the checks and balances in American democracy to get their way.

In an updated documentary by Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Films, Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition, we learn many things the Kochs don’t want you to know, from the origin of their radical agenda to other issues they’ve championed that haven’t made the national news, such as resegregating public schools.

Here are 11 things the Kochs don’t want you to know about them.

1. The family’s $100 billion fortune comes mostly from a massive network of oil and gas pipelines, and investments in other polluting industries like paper and plastics. The brothers inherited the seed money for their holdings from their father Fred Koch, who made his first fortune building oil pipelines for the Russian dictator Joseph Stalin in the 1930s. Back in the states, Fred Koch supported racial segregation and white supremacist groups like the John Birch Society.

2. Koch Industries is the second largest privately held company in America, worth upwards of $80 billion. It is one of the country’s top 15 polluters, responsible for more than 300 oil spills. It has paid over $100 million in fines and been found guilty by a federal jury of stealing oil from Native American lands.

3. The Kochs have invested multi-millions in more than 85 right-wing organizations over the years to push an anti-government, libertarian agenda. Many local Tea Party chapters were fronts for Americans for Prosperity, one of their groups. Another big recipient, ALEC, or the American Legislative Exchange Council, drafts bills and talking points that Republican officials cite again and again. In the 2012 presidential election cycle, the Koch’s right-wing donor network spent $400 million on electioneering.

4. The brothers work to create legal decisions to empower their efforts. They brought two U.S. Supreme Court Justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, to give speeches at their invitation-only gatherings for libertarian industrialists. That was before the Court issued itsCitizens Unitedruling, gutting federal laws that restricted the kinds of outside campaigns they bankroll. They funded groups that filed thousands of pages of legal briefs to attack those election laws. After the Court threw out federal campaign restrictions in 2010—a ruling they help to write—the Kochs began to spend unprecedented sums to sway elections.

5. Americans for Prosperity led a successful takeover of the school board in Wake County, North Carolina in 2009, which then ended student busing to resegregate high schools. They resurrected the coded rhetoric of the old South, using terms like “forced busing” and “neighborhood schools.” After hundreds of students were sent to other schools, the uproar was so great the AFP slate was voted out two years later, but not before the kids experienced racism and prejudice.

6. As donors to higher education, the Kochs have designed grant agreements with more than 150 colleges and universities where they restrict academic freedom by exerting control over who gets hired. The programs they fund present only their views in class, curricula and in their research. They promote pro-business, libertarian inquiry, which does not allow the facts and results to lead to their own conclusions. Faculties at many universities have protested these donations and threats to academic freedom.

7. AFP was one of the lead groups in Wisconsin, encouraging Republican Gov. Scott Walker to revoke collective bargaining agreements with public employees—except for police and firefighters, who tend to support the GOP and law-and-order politicians. Through national legal advocacy groups like ALEC, they have introduced scores of reactionary anti-union bills in dozens of states.

8. Other Koch-funded efforts include the Republican national effort to unduly police the voting process to discourage young people, minorities and senior from casting ballots. The reactionary voting rights bills they have introduced in dozens of states impose stricter voter ID requirements, which do not prevent people from registering to vote but will keep them from getting a ballot if they cannot present specific paperwork. AFP and other Koch-funded groups, such as True The Vote, have recruited and trained mostly white poll watchers to challenge the credentials of mostly non-white voters, creating a climate of fear and intimidation around voting.

9. The Koch brothers make $13 million a day from their investments, but they want to eliminate minimum wage laws and oppose any increases. People earning the federal minimum wage earn about $60 a day. A minimum wage worker would have to work almost 700 years to earn what the Kochs make in a day. (Koch-funded politicians have proposed 67 bills in 25 states to reduce the minimum wage.)

10. The Koch brothers want to destroy the most popular government program of all, Social Security, by funding right-wing think tanks that spread misinformation about Social Security’s long-term financial health, claiming it will not survive. They want people to invest their retirement savings on Wall Street, which is riskier and would earn billions in fees for investment firms. They want to raise the retirement age for Social Security to 70, which would especially penalize blue-collar workers who do manual labor, as their bodies wear out more quickly than white-collar workers.

11. The Koch brothers’ massive investments and holdings are literally killing the planet, because their primary business is transporting gas and oil. That includes the Canadian oil tar sands, which is the dirtiest source of fossil fuel on earth. If these sands are developed for the U.S. or Chinese markets, it would be the biggest carbon bomb in decades, hastening the progress of global climate change.

Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America’s retirement crisis, the low-wage economy, democracy and voting rights, and campaigns and elections. He is the author of “Count My Vote: A Citizen’s Guide to Voting” (AlterNet Books, 2008)

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Assad’s Syria

Deir Ezzor
Deir Ezzor
HOMS
HOMS
Aleppo
Aleppo

syr

source : Facebook SOS Syria

Geoffrey Wawro- Key findings from the book “Quicksand” and Philip Weiss

and

“The Most Important Journalist You’ve Never Heard Of”: Remembering William Worthy (1921-2014)

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wworthy

DM :
We spend the hour remembering the pioneering journalist William Worthy, who died earlier this month at the age of 92. During the height of the Cold War, Worthy defied the U.S. government by reporting from the Soviet Union, Cuba, China, Iran, North Vietnam and Algeria. He also worked closely with many African-American leaders, including A. Philip Randolph and Malcolm X. In the late 1950s, the State Department refused to renew his passport after he returned from a reporting trip into China. Despite not having a passport, Worthy traveled to Cuba in 1961 — two years after the Cuban revolution — and interviewed Fidel Castro. He was arrested upon returning to the United States — not for traveling to Cuba but for entering the United States illegally — an American citizen without a passport. The ordeal became the subject of Phil Ochs’ song, “The Ballad of William Worthy.” In 1981, Worthy traveled to Iran, two years after the revolution ousted the U.S.-backed Shah, resulting in a series of blockbuster exposés about U.S. actions in Iran.

“For this generation of younger journalists who are coming of age in the era of the Edward Snowden documents, WikiLeaks, of the government surveillance on the metadata of journalists and many millions of people in this country and around the world, I would say that William Worthy is the single most important journalist that they’ve never heard of,” said investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill, who considered Worthy a mentor. “If Bill Worthy was a white journalist, and not been an African-American journalist, he would be much better known than he is right now.” We air excerpts of our 1998 interview with Worthy and speak to Scahill, former Washington Post reporter Scott Armstrong, and Randy Goodman, a photojournalist who worked and traveled with Worthy throughout the 1980s.

Photo Credit: Walter Lippmann

Could Your Computer Be Infected by Blackshades?

Here’s a list of possible indicators that your computer may be infected with Blackshades or similar remote access tool malware:

  • Mouse cursor moves erratically with no input from user;
  • Web camera light (if equipped) unexpectedly turns on when web camera is not in use;
  • Monitor turns off while in use;
  • Usernames and passwords for online accounts have been compromised;
  • Unauthorized logins to bank accounts or unauthorized money transfers;
  • Text-based chat window appears on your computer’s desktop unexpectedly;
  • Computer files become encrypted and ransom demand is made to unlock files.

Blackshades malware affects Microsoft Windows-based operating systems. If you believe you or someone you know may have a computer that is infected with this malware, search the computer’s hard drive for the following files that are known to be present on Blackshade-infected computers:

  • dos_sock.bss
  • nir_cmd.bss
  • pws_cdk.bss
  • pws_chro.bss
  • pws_ff.bss
  • pws_mail.bss
  • pws_mess.bss

To perform the above check, click the Start menu and type each file name in the search field. If the search yields positive matches for one or more of these files, the computer may be infected with Blackshades.

In addition to the above files being added to the computer’s hard drive, Blackshades also makes modifications to the Windows registry. The exact location may vary depending on the verson of the Microsoft Windows you’re using, but the following registry subkey is added:

  • Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\VBandVBA Program Settings\SrvID\ID\[string of letters and numbers]

To perform a check for this registry modification, take the following steps:

  1. Click the Start menu.
  2. Type “regedit” in the search field.
  3. Execute the Registry Editor (regedit.exe). If prompted, select “Yes” to allow the program to make changes to the computer.
  4. Select “Edit” from the window toolbar.
  5. Select “Find” from the Edit menu.
  6. Type “SrvID” in the Find field.

Anyone who performs the above checks and gets positive results is encouraged to submit a complaint to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. Please include the term “Blackshades” in the incident description section of the complaint.

And for assistance on removing Blackshades, please contact your Internet service provider, your antivirus software company, or another computer security professional.

(Back to story)

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Stephen Walt: The “special relationship” and what has changed since The Israel Lobby book

Presentation at the National Summit to Reassess the U.S.-Israel “Special Relationship” on March 7, 2014 at the National Press Club.

Stephen M. Walt is professor of International Affairs at Harvard University; previously taught at Princeton University, University of Chicago.

What’s wrong with the ADL survey and how it could be improved

Jackie Mason

There has been a lot of criticism of the ADL’s worldwide survey of anti-Semitism, and many of the obvious flaws in the study already have been discussed (or linked to) here. At the outset, the organization that commissioned the study is hardly a disinterested, unbiased observer. An ADL study on anti-Semitism should be greeted with the same skepticism as a tobacco industry study on the effects of second-hand smoke.

The ADL has multiple interests in exaggerating and even promoting the threat of anti-Semitism. First, ADL perpetually has its hand out for donations, and what better way to motivate donors than a screaming headline that there are one billion anti-Semitic adults on the planet? In fact it wasted no time in doing that here, as ADL’s home page trumpets the frightening results and offers visitors an easy way to “Help ADL Change the World” with a single click. Just have your VISA card ready. It is difficult to imagine that the survey was not planned, at least in part, as a fundraiser, with foreknowledge of a direct relationship between the quantification of the danger and the anticipated revenues.

Second, the ADL enhances its own prestige and even justifies its existence with the looming threat of anti-Semitism. This point was scathingly made a few years ago by an unlikely source, the comedian Jackie Mason, a steadfast pro-Israel voice who has been known to dabble unapologetically in anti-Palestinian racism.  Mason, for reasons of his own,  passionately defended Mel Gibson following his drunken anti-Semitic tirade. Gibson’s detractors were motivated, said Mason, by

jealousy and hate and contempt for a guy who’s doing too good. Also with this guy Abe Foxman, this head of the ADL. Another fake from top to bottom. I don’t talk about people, it’s not my nature, but he’s a total fake. Let’s be honest about it. Anybody who makes a life out of fighting racism in effect has to blow-up racism in order to justify himself and the job he has, otherwise he’d have to go to work. Otherwise he’d have to get up in the morning and get a real job.

Finally, the ADL makes no secret of its own pro-Israel agenda. Israel, like the ADL itself, feeds off the perception of worldwide anti-Semitism, which serves to portray the country as a necessary refuge for Jews from the threat of persecution.

READ ON HERE

Tell me More. Please…

Posted: 13 May 2014 10:49 AM PDT

Please, tell me more about your “Resistance” project, and how you are fighting the good fight against imperialism and occupation and cultural hegemony. About how you think the necktie is a remnant of the uniform worn by the old Knights Templar (it’s not but I like to see you keep bringing that up). Tell me more about how the freedom of the individual, this so-called negative and positive freedom you keep liking to invoke, is so, so, very important to the historic struggles of the brown man as he shakes off the yoke of his oppressor. Tell me about your amazing plan to liberate Jerusalem, for the dignity of all Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims (no dignity to any of them until then, of course). Tell me about your glorious leaders and martyrs, about “keeping your word” with a brutal dictator who has butchered the Syrian people just so that he can be a president like his Daddy.

You’ll only be happy to, I am sure. But right now there is something you’re not telling me. Right now the so-called “Zionist Enemy” has, through their courts and laws, imprisoned a former president on charges of rape, and that there is a former prime minister who will now serve six years in prison on charges of bribery. Maybe they’re not as good at picking their leaders as you are. And you definitely don’t want to tell me about how your torture chambers make anything the villainous “Empire” can think of, including Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib – yes, especially them – look like Disney land in comparison. You don’t want to tell me that your pet dictator and the militias you send to support him have killed more Syrians than everybody killed by US drone strikes since 2001. That they have displaced in three years more Syrians than the “Zionist enemy” ever did when it took part of Palestine in 1948, and then the rest of it in 1967. I guess these are things you don’t want to tell me about…

“Right Out of a Spy Movie”: Glenn Greenwald on First Secret Meeting with NSA Leaker Edward Snowden

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snowden

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