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Exploiting Down Syndrome: Mental Illness, Modelling and Madeline Stuart

In February this year, Cosmopolitan reported on the efforts of nine former models to sue their former agencies for damages in a range of instances, among them wage theft, breach of contract and minimum wage violations. The case interested New York judge Peter Sherwood, who directed Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to examine the claims.

The range of allegations cast a sharp light on certain practices within the modelling world.  None of these are surprising, though a few are worth scribbling down.  One was the classification of models as freelancers, alleviating the need on the part of agencies to provide various benefits …

Trump’s Appointments

What do they mean?

Before I give an explanation, let’s be sure we all know what an explanation is. An explanation is not a justification. The collapse of education in the US is so severe that many Americans, especially younger ones, cannot tell the difference between an explanation and a defense, justification, or apology for what they regard as a guilty person or party. If an explanation is not damning or sufficiently damning of what they want damned, the explanation is interpreted as an excuse for the object of their scorn. In America, reason and objective analysis have taken a backseat …

#NoDAPL Scores Major Victory: No Final Permit For Pipeline

Cannon Ball, North Dakota (Oceti Sakowin or Council of the Seven Fires Camp) – Today, the people won a major victory in the fight to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The US Army Corps of Engineers sided with the Water Protectors and refused the final permit that would have allowed Energy Transfer Partners to drill under Lake Oahe. There will be battles ahead but this was another amazing people-powered victory. When people unite, we have power. This time people power defeated big oil and big finance.
People celebrate …

Syria urges NE Aleppo Residents to Return Home

The Syrian army has called on the displaced residents of liberated districts of northeastern Aleppo to return home as the Syrian forces advance against terrorists on the battlefield in the flashpoint city.

The general command of the Syrian army and armed forces made the call in a statement released on Saturday, saying that the state institutions had already begun the rehabilitation of the liberated neighborhoods in the city.

Reports say over the past two days, hundreds of Syrian families have returned to the strategic eastern Aleppo district of Masaken Hanano, which was retaken from militants last month.

“Putin awaits my application for citizenship,” says “Russian agent” Paul Craig Roberts

The American economist Paul Craig Roberts, who served under US President Ronald Reagan, explained the absurdity of independent news sources being labeled as Russian propaganda, in an interview with RT.

In the aftermath of the US presidential election, the internet has been abuzz with talk about “fake news” outlets which allegedly helped manipulate public opinion towards Donald Trump’s victory. In an article in the Washington Post, reporter Craig Timberg said there was a “sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign” aimed at “undermining faith in American democracy.” 

As one of the sources for the story, Timberg cited a report by the group PropOrNot, which on …

Social Security Ain’t Broke

There is a high probability that Social Security benefits will be cut in 2017 or 2018, because there will not be enough Social Security money to pay full benefits.  The payroll tax hike of 1983 generated $2.7 trillion in surplus Social Security revenue, but none of it ended up in the trust fund.  In the words of Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), in a Senate Speech on March 16, 2011:

Congresses under both Republican and Democrat control, both Republican and Democrat presidents, have stolen money from social security and spent it. The money’s gone. It’s been used for another purpose.

The money is …

McCarthyism Is Breaking Out All Over

Seasoned journalist, White House official, and historian Pat Buchanan has responded to the Washington Post’s fake news about the independent journalists on the 200 List being Russian agents by reminding us that the US government has always been a major disseminator of fake news.

No one knows who is behind the newly created PropOrNot website that came up with the list of 200 “Russian agents,” but it is as likely as not the State Department funded National Endowment for Democracy, which has been peddling propaganda as fake news since its inception. Indeed, it was created for the purpose of destabilizing …

Will Vietnam Embrace China After Trump Elected?

Common wisdom says that after Donald Trump got elected in the United States, Vietnam should be in panic.

True, there could be some ‘objective’ reasons for alarm, if one is truly obsessed with the ‘free’ trade agreements.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership may soon go to the dogs and at least one sizeable part of the Vietnamese leadership was counting on it, hoping that it would boost the economy, particularly its garment and agricultural sectors.

However, Vietnam is and always was tough, and on top of it, there are many signs indicating that the public and many government and Party heads are actually demanding a …

Fidel and Religion

(In Memoriam: Fidel Castro, 13 August 1926 – 25 November 2016)

Thirty years ago while in Sao Paulo, I interviewed Frei Betto, a Dominican who in his journalistic capacity had just published a series of interviews with Fidel Castro. Frei Betto had been imprisoned under the Brazilian military dictatorship—the one instigated by the US under that paragon of liberalism, Lyndon Baines Johnson, and coordinated by the US ambassador and then under official cover as military attaché, the regime’s veteran coup manager, Vernon Walters. ((Between 31 March and 1 April 1964, the Brazilian military overthrew the elected president Joao Goulart, at the insistence and with the support of the US regime. Ambassador …

Brutal US Colonialism in Puerto Rico

“No ambition to oppress them”?

Recently, I’ve been reading Overthrow Americas Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq, a book by veteran New York Times correspondent Stephen Kinzer, which focuses on US-backed coups from 1893 (Hawaii) to Iraq (2003). In the book, Kinzer devotes only fourteen pages to Puerto Rico, a small island nation controlled by the murderous empire of the United States. On page 94, he declares that “most Puerto Ricans” understand that the US, despite colonial “misdeeds,” harbors “no ambition to oppress them.” He goes on to say that most want to …

A Major Setback for the Middle East Peace Process….

Jewish state plans to unplug the muezzins

Here’s another dastardly twist in the religious hate war against Muslims in the Holy Land.

According to a report by The Times, mosques in the city of Lod are threatened with having their loudspeakers, which call the faithful to prayer five times a day, shut down. The first call is at 4.45 am and this is a nuisance to non-Muslim residents, so much so that the mayor recently suggested broadcasting a Jewish prayer to drown out the Muslim adhan. Imagine the pre-dawn cacaphony! No, he’s not exactly the brightest fairy-light on the Christmas tree.

The argument is that hundreds of thousands …

Ida on the Anniversary of Rosa

Ida B. Wells, an African-American native of Holly Springs, Mississippi, refused to give up her seat on a train on May 4, 1884, only to be dragged off by white men. Seven full decades prior to that event in Alabama on the Montgomery bus which made Rosa Parks into an icon.

Why have most people heard about Rosa, while many less are blessed with any knowledge whatsoever about Ida?

The answer has to come from the back of the activist bus… or the designated part of the train we’re on; or should I say treadmill? Meaning, most activists are engaged along cookie cutter lines, …

Can the Black Panthers offer Jamaicans Lessons on Checking Police Violence?

Police violence against the working-class

Amnesty International’s recently released report documents the murderous and violent behaviour  of the police within the island’s African working-class communities. Since the arrival of Africans in Jamaica as enslaved workers straight up to the present period of flag (in)dependence, relations between the African labouring classes and the law enforcement entities have almost always been violent, conflictual and deadly.

The behaviour of the police has made it clear to the masses that the …

Trump Picks Ex-Goldman Banker Known as “King of Foreclosures” to Head Treasury

The joke’s on you if you thought Trump was going to do anything less than deregulate Wall Street, says former financial regulator Bill Black.

Kissinger and Brzezinski to be Honoured by Nobel Institute and Oslo University

These two top officials behind major US wars (Iran/Afghanistan and Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos) and regime change (against Allende, Chile) will speak at the first of a new event, The Nobel Peace Prize Forum Oslo, created by the Nobel Institute in Oslo. More here.

The leaders of the two institutions declare that they are proud to have succeeded in getting these two diplomats to Norway – and the media, of course, will be there. The event is sponsored by the California-based company InCircl – a marketing and mobile payment company.

The university rector is dr. med. and participant at Bilderberg world elite …

The Arctic Goes Bonkers

Recent news out of the Arctic is alarming scientists as, for example, the Union of Concerned Scientists discussed further on in this article.  This extreme bad news is far-reaching, out of the ordinary, and chilling to the bone.

Global warming is getting worse and worse by the month and by the year and now, all of a sudden, frighteningly worse yet. Worldwide temperature sets monthly records, but who really cares in the public domain, other than scientists, the Pope, and the parties to COP, the Conference of the Parties, which is the gabfest for climate change. It’s where thousands of climate …

Less Symbolism, More Action: Towards Meaningful Solidarity with Palestine

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign has designated the week, November 25 to December 3, as the ‘biggest-ever campaign’ aimed at boycotting Israeli products and those of companies that contribute to the Israeli military occupation of Palestine.

In a recently issued press release, the civil society-led group highlighted “99 actions that will take place across the world to highlight what they described as “HP companies’ complicity in Israel’s violations of international law and human rights abuses.”

BDS activities are expected to be staged across at least 18 countries, spanning 6 continents.

The sharp increase in the boycott campaign activism is a direct result of …

Trump’s Chao and Iris Chang

Dedicated to the late great Iris Chang

In 2001, Elaine Chao, a Harvard Business School graduate who had served as chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission and assistant secretary of transportation, made history as the first Chinese American to accept a Cabinet position when President George W. Bush named her secretary of labor.

Now she’s Donald Trump’s Transportation Secretary, offering up a profile with many surprises.

Not long before the incomparable Iris Chang committed suicide near my former home rental in Los Gatos, California — a dozen years to this month on November 9th — lonely, and convinced that she was being hounded …

Nothing Important Happened in Syria on Tuesday, Nov. 29

On Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, after more than five years of fighting in Aleppo, Syrian government forces recaptured a major portion of the “rebel” enclave often called “east Aleppo”.

It now should be called “southeast Aleppo”, and soon perhaps just “Aleppo”. Thousands of grateful Syrian civilians ran into the arms of the soldiers, and were provided with food, shelter, transportation, medical services, and other needs.

They recounted horror stories of how the “rebels”, under the leadership of the extremist al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra (AKA Jabhat Fateh al-Sham), …

The Propaganda System in Canada

A review of Yves Engler's latest book, A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War

Propaganda is only as good as the processes through which it is concealed. Traditional examples of propaganda — the cult of personality, the political commissar, and the threat of the work camp (or worse) — were blunt and easy. They reflected a political climate where the threat of violent repression allowed for a less sophisticated regime of mass persuasion.

In current Neoliberal Democracies, propaganda needs to be sophisticated and ingrained. Propaganda, in any nation state, is the “acceptable” narrative of the historical past and the political future. Narratives constructed long ago are reformed and rechurned in an effort to justify policy …