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Showing posts from March 13, 2017

Today's Trumpery

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35 countries where the U.S. has supported fascists, drug lords and terrorists

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[Only 35? Maybe lately. "As the situation in Ukraine continues to fester, a handy history guide -- from A (Argentina) to Z (Zaire)" *RON*]
Nicolas J.S. Davies, AlterNet / Salon, 8 March 2017

The U.S. is backing Ukraine’s extreme right-wing Svoboda party and violent neo-Nazis whose armed uprising paved the way for a Western-backed coup. Events in the Ukraine are giving us another glimpse through the looking-glass of U.S. propaganda wars against fascism, drugs and terrorism. The ugly reality behind the mirror is that the U.S. government has a long and unbroken record of working with fascists, dictators, druglords and state sponsors of terrorism in every region of the world in its elusive but relentless quest for unchallenged global power.

The CIA are the real ‘threat to national security’; leaks show they treated software exploits like toys

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[The complete openness of Windows to attack and infiltration is a very creepy story here. *RON*]
Rory Wood, Leak of Nations, 10 March 2017
CIA accuse whistleblowers of irresponsibility, but their software exploits were already being circulated, customised and manipulated by any Tom, Dick or Vladimir in the Black Market well before the leaks were publicised.

In the wake of Wikileaks’ latest release – 8,000 webpages detailing CIA malware development named ‘Vault 7’ – most media attention has related to the ‘Weeping Angel’ software used to turn Samsung TVs into listening devices that appear off.

Famine 'largest humanitarian crisis in history of UN'

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[UN humanitarian chief says 20 million people in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria face starvation and famine. *RON*]

AP news agency, Al Jazeera, 11 March 2017/

UN DEFINITION OF FAMINE

When more than 30 percent of children under age five suffer from acute malnutrition

Mortality rates are two or more deaths per 10,000 people every day

The world faces the largest humanitarian crisis since the United Nations was founded in 1945 with more than 20 million people in four countries at risk of starvation and famine, the UN humanitarian chief has said.

Stephen O'Brien told the UN Security Council on Friday that "without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death" and "many more will suffer and die from disease".

How The Psychology Of Income Inequality Benefits Luxury Brands

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[Basically, people living amidst greater income inequality are more interested in luxury goods. Many low-income Americans can’t afford to appear like low-income Americans. *RON*]

Peter Ubel, Forbes, 28 February 2017

I like to think that despite being wealthier than most Americans, I remain immune to materialistic desires. I drive a 17-year-old Honda Accord and wouldn’t know designer clothes if you wrapped me in them, head to toe. But it turns out that I’m wrong. I’m not above materialism despite my wealth and social status. I’m immune because of it. Since I don’t need to signal my social value, I can save my money for other purposes.

America’s household debt binge *was* about income inequality

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[Somewhat technical/nerdy, but with a few bits of very good analysis. *RON*]

Matthew C Klein, Financial Times Alphaville, 1 March 2017

Since 2006, a yawning gap has opened up between the average level of real household spending and the remarkably stable long-term trend:


The standard explanation is that the trend’s stability was misleading.