Friday 18th of October 2019

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by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2019-10-18 02:31

Since 2015 the Australian government has committed more than $1.5bn of taxpayer funds to climate change projects that plant or protect native habitat. Over a slightly longer period it has also spent nearly $62m on a policy to plant 20 million trees promised under Tony Abbott.

At the same time the country has significantly stepped up land-clearing programs in several states, bulldozing hundreds of thousands of hectares of forests, mostly for agriculture.

Official data allows an estimate of the scale of the contrast: little more than two years of land clearing will effectively cancel out what the public is spending to avoid 125 million tonnes of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere. The equivalent to what has been planted over several years in the 20 million trees program is wiped out in just six months of land clearing.

 

Read more:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/17/australia-spends-billions-planting-trees-then-wipes-out-carbon-gains-by-bulldozing-them

 

Meanwhile:

Relying on prayers for rain is politically and theologically irresponsible

Scott Morrison told a farming audience that he was praying for rain in drought-affected areas. As a supplement to a coherent climate change action, it can hardly do any harm — but as a substitute for policy, it's politically irresponsible, writes Philip C Almond.

 

Read more:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-17/thoughts-and-prayers-miracles-christianity-praying-for-rain/11610942

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2019-10-18 02:22

President Trump is well known for his bizarre history lessons, which often contradict what is being taught in schools and what official accounts say, and his recent statement on historical ties between the United States and ancient Rome has drawn lines on social media.

US President Donald Trump has raised eyebrows as he claimed that the things that bind the United States and Italy date back thousands of years to ancient Rome.

“The United States and Italy are bound together by a shared cultural and political heritage dating back thousands of years to ancient Rome,” Trump said during a press conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Wednesday.

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/viral/201910171077074331-donald-trump-gets-an-earful-after-saying-us-italy-ties-go-back-to-ancient-rome/

 

Cloaca maxima...

 

 

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by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2019-10-17 21:31

"Judging by the spittle-flecked hatred coming his way, Attorney General Bill Barr scored a bull’s-eye on the intolerant left with his speech at Notre Dame Saturday defending religious liberty.

For 50 years, he said, militant secularists have been waging deliberate war on the Judeo-Christian morality that underpins our system of government, with terrible consequences for the health of our society, including family breakdown, alienated males, drug addiction, depression and suicide."



----------------------

Err…  This is a stupid simplification of ideals that does not hold any water. The Judeo-Christian morality is full of impotent self-importance that has led to much trauma in the past. “Family breakdown, alienation of females, drug addiction such as booze, depression and suicide has also been part of the glorious Judeo-Christian set up — which for all to see was rarely “part" of the democratic ideals, but mostly designed to roll in bed with Kings, Queens and despotic rules. 

Democracy has changed the dynamic of this power grip and the human idea of god had to adapt to this new paradigm. Most of the religious institutions are now a far cry from what they were 200 years ago. The morality so cherished by today’s Christians was a lousy flux of grocery trade-off with invasions of other people’s lands then… 

Present secular democracy is still painfully in a flux — a process still looking for its own feet. I know it will find them. Secular democracy is evolving new goals and new values so to speak. But what is holding it back is the near constant referral by narrow-minded devouts, as well as loony hypocrites, to the old values of a god who died long ago. More than 250 years ago, Denis Diderot was quite forceful about this dangerous alliance of power: “man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."


The Chinese "democracy” has been at it for 70 years — and like all revolutions, the process has been bloody. And still is in Hong Kong where privileges flourished under a British delusion. We can also recollect the US civil war about stuff like slavery…


The socialist system that had no flexibility in communist USSR has been given some leeway in China, to accommodate people’s managed desires and a pathway to secular material inventions. It may not be the ideal solution to manage a human society, but the Judeo-Christian has had too many hypocritical moments to be so valid anymore. And do not be fooled. The Judeo-Christian value system, like Islam, is not about “the love of god” but about sin and punishment. If you do not “believe”, you will be condemned to an eternal fire, which is a ludicrous idea...


Humans are natural works in progress with stylistic mistakes to boot. Humanity has many facet and secular democracy can only get better. It would get there sooner if the deluded god-people stopped being so delusional about their own "humility" for being the swiss cheese of the almighty.


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by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2019-10-17 14:16

From the Real News Network...

 

We ask FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley to compare the Russiagate investigation with the treatment of Hillary Clinton's emails, and ask whether the current polarized political landscape makes it more likely for the agency to make partisan choices.


GREG WILPERT: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Greg Wilpert in Arlington, Virginia.

A just-released book by New York Times Reporter James B. Stewart titled Deep State: Trump, the FBI, and the Rule of Law, compares the FBI’s investigations into both Hillary Clinton and into Donald Trump in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential campaign. We rarely take a look at these two investigations side by side, because even though they took place more or less at the same time, the information about them was made public at different times. That is, the investigation into Clinton’s use of her email while she was Secretary of State become public knowledge when then-FBI Director James Comey made announcements about the investigation, first saying it was closed in mid-2016, and then a mere 11 days before the November election, announced that it was re-opened.

The other investigation into Russia’s suspected interference in the 2016 election was kept mostly secret during the campaign but became public knowledge afterwards when Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May 2017. The difference between the way the FBI handled these two investigations raises the question of just how impartial the FBI is and whether there is such a thing as a deep state, as the title of Stewart’s book suggests.

Joining me now to explore this question is Coleen Rowley. She’s a former FBI Special Agent and Division Counsel. In 2002, she was named one of Time Magazine’s Persons of the Year for having exposed some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures. Thanks for joining us again, Coleen.

COLEEN ROWLEY: Yes, thanks.

GREG WILPERT: So let’s start with a comparison of how the FBI handled the two investigations. As I mentioned, the main difference, at least on the surface, was that the investigation into the Clinton emails became public knowledge when there were leaks about it and Comey made announcements about the on-again, off-again nature of the investigation. And the one in the Trump campaign and its connection to Russia didn’t become public knowledge until much later. So how would you compare these two investigations? Did the FBI treat them impartially? What do you think?

COLEEN ROWLEY: I’m not a big fan of James Comey. And I’ve even written opinion pieces critical of both him and Mueller for a lot of reasons. The FBI has a long history of flawed investigations. You should read Mike German’s new book, Disrupt, Discredit, and Divide, it’s the whole history of Waco and Ruby Ridge and etc. There’s just a whole bunch of things, anthrax case. However, in this case, I actually can sympathize with James Comey to some extent, because investigating both presidential candidates essentially at the same time–although the Hillary Clinton investigation of her use of a private server started before any information came in about collusion with Russia, that all started a bit before. And I think though, because… We talk now about, is the president above the law? And you think about both presidential candidates now being investigated by an FBI director, the big cases always tend to be micromanaged. So they’re not normal. They’re going to be managed from the top, at the very least by assistant directors and that type of thing, and usually even the director himself.

So there are similarities and there are differences in these two investigations. The main similarity, I would say, is the political polarization. And you see that there was talk by some agents of trying to go after Hillary Clinton, their chance to finally find some information about her that she had done something wrong. So that was a little polarized. But then you see that the later investigation of Trump’s collusion, which Robert Mueller did not find sufficient evidence of, you find that the agents were even talking more so between each other about trying to go after Trump. So the similarity here is that there was political polarization. And if you think about how the FBI is supposed to be the least political agency, they were, under the Hatch Act, you weren’t even supposed to wear a political button or anything. So this is very unprecedented, at least from the time I was in the FBI.

The differences, I think a main difference between the Hillary Clinton and the investigation of Trump and Russia is the aggressiveness. In the Hillary Clinton investigation, it did start early, but it was long criticized that the FBI did not use the grand jury. They did not even use the grand jury process in order to subpoena records. And they seemed to go lightly on Hillary Clinton in interviewing her. James Comey now admits that they made the decision very early on that they would not be able to prove malicious intent that … He said, “Well, she was very careless and reckless in using the private server, but we couldn’t actually prove a bad, malicious intent on her part.” And he admits now that decision was made very early on. Well, what that did then was that the aggressiveness in the investigation did not seem to be normal.

Now, in the investigation of Russia, if you think about a foreign country allegedly taking emails from the DNC server, and the FBI does not even do the forensic work itself in examining that server, but allows the Democrats’ own private company to do all the forensic work, that of course is less than aggressive as well. And there were calls also that came from the DNC that seemed to have been treated lightly or ignored early on. Now, when the investigation of Russia gets started, they actually then go to using the FISA courts. And you know what, FISA is quite a… Anytime you’re going to use electronic surveillance, that would mean that that’s very aggressive. You have to have probable cause that it’s a foreign power. And in this case, they went after one of the Trump associates very early on, but then, thinking that it would lead to other people being trapped up, and they signed onto it for four times. So I think that that … And they even used interviews where, the interview of Flynn where they didn’t tell him that they were investigating him, they didn’t give him Miranda rights, etc.

So I think that you see a difference in the aggressiveness in both investigations, ultimately. This week or next week, very soon probably, there will be an IG, Inspector General, report. Inspector General Horowitz is going to release his report of how he thinks the FBI and the DOJ did in investigating the Russia collusion. And we already have his report of the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails. He found no real problem. I mean, he criticized a little bit. He had more or less exonerated the FBI in investigating Hillary Clinton. And it remains to be seen if he will exonerate everyone now in the investigation of Donald Trump and the allegations of Russia.

GREG WILPERT: Now, when we compare these two investigations, as you just did, would you say that they give us reason to believe that there is something such as a deep state that is trying to manipulate presidents and presidential elections, as Stewart’s book seems to suggest? And if there is some kind of manipulation going on, what interests do they seem to be pursuing?

COLEEN ROWLEY: There’s always been… “Deep state” has kind of a bad connotation, so we can choose the term “permanent state.” And certainly, presidents come and go, but people like CIA career officials, State Department career officials, FBI career officials stay. And so I think, obviously, you can’t argue there’s a permanent state. The question is this power dynamic. And in other times, I think that the president clearly would have been able to order intelligence agencies to pretty much do what they want, even illegal orders, as in Iran-Contra and all these different times when presidents actually gave illegal orders to their agencies. Look at Bush ordering torture, and Rumsfeld ordering torture. And most of the agencies went along with that. And so I think, in most cases, you don’t have agency officials second-guessing the president. And I would say they should at some times, especially when the orders are illegal.

However, I think what has changed, and again, this is some evidence for how powerful the permanent state has now become, is that the polarization is so different now than ever before, extremely unprecedented. And we have these different camps fighting for power, almost in a life and death, War of the Roses struggle right now. On the one side, you have the Dem leadership, you have the war hawk think tanks, you have corporate media, you also have, I’m trying to think on the one side, but that’s a very powerful … the intelligence, you have some of the permanent state, not all of them, but you definitely have some of those former intelligence directors on that side. And on the other side, you have Trump, some of his remaining loyalists, I would say probably his base, his Christian fundamentalists, and very little of the media.

So you’ve got them locked in this struggle. And if you were really trying to do your job as an FBI agent right now, it would be very, very difficult. And I would say again, this is really unprecedented because of the polarization and this power struggle. It actually, I think goes way beyond even Watergate. I think that we’re almost in a constitutional crisis right now. A lot of people are saying, “No one knows how it’s going to turn out,” but it’s very, very different. And the permanent … If you go back to Schumer, who told Rachel Maddow, he said, “Trump’s being very stupid because by criticizing his intelligence community, they have six ways to Sunday to get back at you,” and there’s precedent for that. There is precedent for intelligence agencies going after the executive branch. Some of those, to this day, remain unknown. And people call them conspiracies and everything, but there is precedent because they do have a certain amount of power. And especially when you have these two different camps right now.

GREG WILPERT: Now, of course this is going to be of major concern were somebody such as Bernie Sanders elected as president, if that were to happen. And so I guess then, my next question is, well, what is there that could be done to reform these institutions so that they don’t undermine an elected president? Now, I’m not saying that this actually happened necessarily, but we could imagine that that could happen if, let’s say somebody such as Sanders were elected.

COLEEN ROWLEY: Yeah, exactly. The precedent now has been set. And anytime you’re setting a precedent for… Just the leaking is a good example. Directors are not supposed to leak. They have in the past; they’ve tried to control narratives and they’ve leaked. But we’ve also now set a terrible precedent of leaking information which, in some cases, could actually be dangerous, and certainly is wrong, this notion of controlling the media.  So I think that the way it could be fixed, you know, the old notion of draining the swamp might be pie in the sky. It’s just really, at a certain point right now, it’s maybe gone past that idea that you can fix it. We have systemic issues right now. And one is that it’s not a question of merely undermining the president, I would say. Like I said, if the president is doing something illegal, those directors have to say, “No, we aren’t going to torture. That’s illegal. We can’t do that, Dick Cheney. We can’t do that.”

So there are points where directors have to be very powerful. But there’s also times when–in conducting foreign policy, et cetera–a president cannot be second-guessed on every single telephone conversation that they engage in either. I think perhaps the one answer is to start going after this endemic corruption. I’m going to suggest one good way that would probably go a long ways to fixing things and you wouldn’t have this polarization, which is public officials–Congress–should pass a law; this should not be legal for public officials to have these second careers as lobbyists for foreign countries, as lobbyists for special interests, generals going and generals and directors now becoming talking heads on media. We need to have some restraints on this, what they call “normalized corruption.” And it causes conflicts of interests.

There are easy ways to remedy that. We’re not supposed to have emoluments. You’re not supposed to make a lot of money off of public service. And I think if we could fix that problem, trying to reduce the amount of profiteering off of public service, and I think it could be fixed, we just have to get much stricter ethics laws and enforce the current Office of Government Ethics laws that we already have, that would probably go a long ways. It wouldn’t be the complete solution, but it would help.

GREG WILPERT: Well, we’re going to leave it there for now. I was speaking to Coleen Rowley, FBI whistleblower and former Special Agent. Thanks again, Coleen, for having joined us today.

COLEEN ROWLEY: Yes, thanks Greg.

GREG WILPERT: And thank you for joining The Real News Network.

 

Read more:

https://therealnews.com/stories/fbi-investigation-russiagate-clinton-partisan

 

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Read also:

http://yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/32744

 

selling shit sandwiches...

 

the CIA at work with dirty tricks...

 

fishing

 


 

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2019-10-17 09:19

human rights

 

human rights

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2019-10-17 09:03

happy

 

Meanwhile Gus is a discriminating bastard for exposing discrimination:

 

discrimination


by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2019-10-16 20:11

...

Grounds for extradition to the United States from the UK, argued Joyce, had not been made out. “If a person is residing in Australia and commits a crime in another country, I don’t believe that is a position for extradition.”

Independent Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie is also mucking in, hoping to cobble together a coalition of supporters in the Australian parliament to support Assange’s return to Australia.  


“The only party I’m having to work extra hard on getting members of the group is Labor.”

 

The more traditional front, however, is being maintained by the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg. He [Assange] ultimately will face the justice for what he’s been alleged to have done, but that is a legal process that will run its course.

Rather weakly, Frydenberg made a lukewarm concession: that we will continue, as a government, to provide him with the appropriate consular services.

If there was a time to fight legal eccentricity and viciousness, it is now.  Just as Hicks and Habib faced complicity and a range of stretched and flexible legal categories, Assange faces that most elastic of instruments designed to stifle publishing and whistleblowing: the US Espionage Act of 1917. 

Should he be extradited from the United Kingdom and face the imperial goon squad in Washington, we will be spectators to that most depraved of state acts: the criminalisation of publishing. Australia’s parliamentarians, never the sharpest tools in the political box, are starting to stir with that realisation.

 

Read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2019/10/14/a-coalition-of-support-parliamentarians-for-julian-assange/

 

Labor should help free Assange as a priority...

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Josh Frydenberg is an nasty idiot.

FREE ASSANGE TODAY.

by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2019-10-16 19:58

...

Of course, when the die was cast and Rumsfeld’s famous Shock and Awe campaign began, the three major news talk channels, CNN, MSNBC and FOX, were all over us with cheerleading. 

FOX was so off the radar that no critique is needed. 

However, CNN and MSNBC, trying to look like ‘Neutral Journalism 101’, could not contain their peanut gallery mindsets, the one that John Swinton referred to in his famous speech. 

You had Aaron Brown, Lester Holt and little Katie Couric (of flagship station NBC, owned by GE), along with Brian Williams (later to be outed, for but awhile, for his phony news stories in Iraq) all right there celebrating the ‘Liberators of Iraq’. 

They all wore their flag buttons on their lapels, and little Katie was filmed strolling through the halls of NBC shouting ‘Marines Rock!’ Of course, Lester Holt did the ‘right (wing) thing’ and now is a respected anchor… so much so that good ole Lester moderates presidential debates. 

Swinton’s use of the phrase ‘Intellectual prostitutes’ rang true then.

Now we come to a recent bit of disgrace. Ellen Degeneres, the highly celebrated and successful daytime talk show hostess and proud gay woman, was seen sitting with Junior Bush at a Dallas Cowboys game, in the exclusive owner’s box area. 

She has had Junior on her show to talk about his painting, has visited him at his ranch, and considers him a ‘Nice guy’. Junior has, on record as president, never did squat to help with the AIDs pandemic, and allowed his far right evangelical beliefs to keep him from ever speaking favorably about gay rights etc.

Yet, this openly gay woman, who must have felt alarmed by our illegal invasion (OR DID SHE?), must have had friends who were enraged by that invasion at the time.

All the many alternative news blips must have gotten to her eyes and ears, telling her that the Bush/Cheney gang were WAR CRIMINALS! Yet Ms. DeGeneres continues to satisfy the lie which tells us to take a pass on the dastardly things done by the war criminals in the White House. 

As the war criminal Mr. Obama stated, when in 2008 many of his own party wanted to have hearings on the pre-emptive attack and occupation of Iraq, that it was time to ‘Move forward’. Forward he did by increasing the number of drone murderous assaults by Tenfold!

Now that he is out of office, Barack, the ‘Hope and Change’ king, just purchased a home for $8.1 million. Tell that to the suckers who fell for his rhetoric in the Afro American communities.

Anyone but the foolish people who still support Mr. Trump realize that he is as much of a populist as the man he emulates with his body gestures: Il Duce!

Nothing ever changes when the majority of working stiffs suck in the foul air that comes from the mouths of the empire’s minions, whether they be presidents, congress people or (so called) journalists and talk show hosts. It is time for those of good conscience to boycott the lot of them!

Read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2019/10/16/at-the-feet-of-mammon/

 

 

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by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2019-10-16 19:48

Australian politics live with Amy Remeikis

 

Australian politics


Arthur Sinodinos says MPs must act on 'the best science' when it comes to climate – as it happened

Liberal senator gives final speech. Plus, Scott Morrison tells parliament IMF update ‘reflects the uncertainty of the times in which we live’

 

see more:

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2019/oct/16/economy-coalition-labor-morrison-albanese-politics-live

 

 

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