What a Racket! $10 Trillion Missing from Pentagon and No One, Not Even the DoD, Knows Where It Is

$10 Trillion Missing from Pentagon and No One — Not Even the DoD — Knows Where It Is

Source: Claire Bernish

Over a mere two decades, the Pentagon lost track of a mind-numbing $10 trillion — that’s trillion, with a fat, taxpayer-funded “T” — and no one, not even the Department of Defense, really knows where it went or on what it was spent.

Even though audits of all federal agencies became mandatory in 1996, the Pentagon has apparently made itself an exception, and — fully 20 years later — stands obstinately orotund in never having complied.

Because, as defense officials insist — summoning their best impudent adolescent — an audit would take too long and, unironically, cost too much.

“Over the last 20 years, the Pentagon has broken every promise to Congress about when an audit would be completed,” Rafael DeGennaro, director of Audit the Pentagon, told the Guardian recently. “Meanwhile, Congress has more than doubled the Pentagon’s budget.”

Worse, President Trump’s newly-proposed budget seeks to toss an additional $54 billion into the evidently bottomless pit that is the U.S. military  — more for interventionist policy, more for resource-plundering, more for proxy fighting, and, of course, more for jets and drones to drop more bombs suspiciously often on civilians.

Maybe.

Because, without the mandated audit, the DoD could be purchasing damned near anything, at any cost, and use, or give, it — to anyone, for any reason.

Officials with the Government Accountability Office and Office of the Inspector General have catalogued egregious financial disparities at the Pentagon for years — yet the Defense Department grouses the cost and energy necessary to perform an audit in compliance with the law makes it untenable.

Astonishingly, the Pentagon’s own watchdog tacitly approves this technically-illegal workaround — and the legally-gray and, yes, literally, on-the-books-corrupt practices in tandem — to what would incontrovertibly be a most unpleasant audit, indeed.

Take the following of myriad examples, called “plugging,” for which Pentagon bookkeepers are not only encouraged to conjure figures from thin air, but, in many cases, they would be physically and administratively incapable of performing the job without doing so — without ever having faced consequences for this brazen cooking of books.

To wit, Reuters reported the results of an investigation into Defense’s magical number-crunching — well over three years ago, on November 18, 2013 — detailing the illicit tasks of 15-year employee, “Linda Woodford [who] spent the last 15 years of her career inserting phony numbers in the U.S. Department of Defense’s accounts.”

Woodford, who has since retired, and others like her, act as individual pieces in the amassing chewed gum only appearing to plug a damning mishandling of funds pilfered from the American people to fund wars overseas for resources in the name of U.S. defense.

“Every month until she retired in 2011,” Scot J. Paltrow wrote for Reuters, “she says, the day came when the Navy would start dumping numbers on the Cleveland, Ohio, office of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the Pentagon’s main accounting agency. Using the data they received, Woodford and her fellow DFAS accountants there set about preparing monthly reports to square the Navy’s books with the U.S. Treasury’s – a balancing-the-checkbook maneuver required of all the military services and other Pentagon agencies.

“And every month, they encountered the same problem. Numbers were missing. Numbers were clearly wrong. Numbers came with no explanation of how the money had been spent or which congressional appropriation it came from. ‘A lot of times there were issues of numbers being inaccurate,’ Woodford says. ‘We didn’t have the detail … for a lot of it.’”

Where a number of disparities could be corrected through hurried communications, a great deal — thousands each month, for each person on the task — required fictitious figures. Murkily deemed, “unsubstantiated change actions” — tersely termed, “plugs” — this artificial fix forcing records into an unnatural alignment is common practice at the Pentagon.

Beyond bogus books, the Pentagon likely flushed that $10 trillion in taxes down the toilet of inanity that is unchecked purchasing by inept staff who must be devoid of prior experience in the field of defense.

This tax robbery would eclipse the palatability of blood money — if it weren’t also being wasted on items such as the 7,437 extraneous Humvee front suspensions — purchased in surplus over the inexplicable 14-year supply of 15,000 unnecessary Humvee front suspensions already gathering warehouse-shelf dust.

And there are three items of note on this particular example, of many:

One, the U.S. Department of Defense considers inventory surpassing a three-year supply, “excessive.”

Two, the stupefying additional seven-thousand-something front suspensions arrived, as ordered, during a period of demand reduced by half.

Three, scores of additional items — mostly unaccounted for in inventory — sit untouched and aging in storage, growing not only incapable of being used, but too dangerous to be properly disposed of safely.

Worse, contractors greedily sink hands into lucrative contracts — with all the same supply-based waste at every level, from the abject disaster that is the $1 trillion F-35 fighter program, to the $8,123.50 shelled out for Bell Helicopter Textron helicopter gears with a price tag of $445.06, to the DoD settlement with Boeing for overcharges of a whopping $13.7 million.

The latter included a charge to the Pentagon of $2,286 — spent for an aluminium pin ordinarily costing just $10 — the irony of whose 228.6 percent markup cannot be overstated.

Considering all the cooking of numbers apparently fueled with burning money stateside, you would think Defense channeled its efforts into becoming a paragon of economic efficiency when the military defends the United States. Overseas. From terrorism. And from terrorists. And terrorist-supporting nations.

But this is the Pentagon — and a trickle of telling headlines regularly grace the news, each evincing yet another missing shipment of weapons, unknown allocation of funds, or retrieval of various U.S.-made arms and munitions by some terrorist group deemed politically less acceptable than others by officials naming pawns.

In fact, so many American weapons and supplies lost by the DoD and CIA become the property of actual terrorists — who then use them sadistically against civilians and strategically against our proxies and theirs — it would be negligent not to describe the phenomenon as pattern, whether or not intent exists behind it.

Since practically the moment of nationalist President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the ceaselessly belligerent of the military-industrial machine have been granted a new head cheerleader with a bullhorn so powerful as to render calls to apply the brakes effectively, if not unpatriotically, moot.

Sans any optimistic indication thus far lacking from the Trump administration it would reverse course and move toward, rather than against, transparency, the painstaking audit imperative to DoD accountability remains only a theory — while the Pentagon’s $10 trillion sits as the world’s largest elephant in apathetic America’s living room.

For now, we know generally where our money is going: war. Which aspect of war — compared to the power of your outrage about its callous and reckless execution in your name — matters little

A breath of fresh air in Hollywood: Richard Gere: Illegal israeli Settlements are an ‘absurd provocation’

American actor and humanitarian activist Richard Gere has described illegal Israeli settlement “an absurd provocation”, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported on Sunday.

In an interview with the paper, Gere said: “Obviously, this occupation is destroying everyone. There is no defence of this occupation.”

Addressing the issue of illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, he said: “Settlements are such an absurd provocation and, certainly in the international sense, completely illegal.”

They [settlements] are certainly not part of the programme of someone who wants a genuine peace process.

Gere said that he does not like violence and noted that the Israelis should feel secure, but stressed that this must not be at the expense of the Palestinians.

“I denounce violence on all sides of this,” he said, “and, of course, Israelis should feel secure. But Palestinians should not feel desperate.”

While speaking to Haaretz, Gere defended the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence, which exposes crimes committed by the Israeli soldiers against Palestinians on the ground.

He said that he was appalled by the demonisation of the group by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others.

#IllegalSettlements

“To question authority makes you a traitor?” he asked. “If you question bad policies you are a self-hating Jew? That is insane. And, of course it is the last resort of tyrants.”

Gere also criticised American President Donald Trump because of his unbalanced policies regarding refugees.

“Trump has made ‘refugee’ and ‘terrorist’ the same meaning,” he said, “it was not so long ago that ‘refugee’ was someone who was running from a fire. Someone who needed help… And now that person is a terrorist, a dangerous person, someone to be shunned and kept out.”

“Everybody needs to speak out, no matter what their job description is,” he said.

More nonsense from McCain, Rand Paul ‘Is Working for Putin’

McCain: Rand Paul ‘Is Working for Putin’

‘The Senator From Kentucky Is Now Working for Vladimir Putin’

Sen. John McCain (R – AZ) has never been very good at handling not getting his way in votes on the floor of the Senate, but today lashed out in a rage after Sen. Rand Paul (R – KY) blocked his bid for unanimous consent on Montenegro joining NATO, declaring that Rand Paul “is now working for Vladimir Putin.

McCain sought to avoid any resistance to the effort by saying that only Vladimir Putin could reject Montenegro’s NATO membership, and suggesting anyone who didn’t give him the result he wanted was doing Putin’s bidding. Sen. Paul quickly stood up, voiced his objection, and left.

McCain was livid, making the declaration, and insisting that the fact that Paul voiced his objection and left without elaborating proved that he had no good reason for doing so, insisting no Senator could have a problem with tiny Montenegro joining NATO.

Sen. Paul did issue a statement explaining his opposition, however, saying the US is already engaged militarily in dozens of countries, and has pledged to defend 28 NATO members military as well, saying he believes it is unwise for the debt-ridden US to take on more military obligations.

It is possible that Sen. McCain could face censure from the Senate for “impugning the motive of a colleague,” which the statement undoubtedly amounts to. McCain’s office already issued a “clarification” that removed the allegation and instead asked for a reasoning why “brave” Montenegro was denied from “joining in the defense of the free world.” The Senate leadership has not yet said if McCain faces any further reprimand, though this is certainly not his first time going off the rails on the floor when he didn’t get his way.

Israeli Children Dress Up As Elor Azaria for Purim

Posted on March 9, 2017

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The Jewish holiday of Purim takes place this weekend. Officially it begins Saturday, March 11 and ends Sunday, March 12, although in Israel celebrations are getting under way today and are expected to run through Sunday–and it is reported that this year a number of Israeli children are dressing up as Elor Azaria.

If the name rings a bell, it should. Elor Azaria is the Israeli soldier who last year executed a wounded Palestinian with a bullet to the head.

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The man Azaria murdered was Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, who had been shot after an alleged stabbing attack against an Israeli soldier. Al-Sharif, severely wounded, was lying prostrate upon the street when Azaria stepped up and fired a gunshot to his head. The incident, which took place in the West Bank city of Hebron, was captured on video–a video that subsequently went viral around the world and led to Azaria’s arrest.

Azaria clearly carried out a deliberate act of cold-blooded murder, but in Israel he has been elevated to the status of national hero, and according to a report here, children in the Jewish state are adopting costumes designed to look like him as they observe this year’s Purim holiday. There is a special significance to this: Azaria’s execution of al-Sharif took place on Purim of 2016. This is something I noted in a post I put up on March 25 last year, one day after the holiday had ended. At that time, Azaria’s name had not yet been released to the media, but the video had already begun to go viral, and as I noted:

The video shows a group of soldiers and medics standing around Abdul Sharif, lying prone and incapacitated on the street, with one of the soldiers stepping up and pumping a bullet into his head.

That as I say took place on Purim of last year. In the intervening months in Israel we have seen a trial in which Azaria was convicted of manslaughter–not murder–and sentenced to 18 months, as well as large public protests in support of the killer. And now here we are a year later. Here is what is being reported about this year’s Purim celebration:

This year for Purim, many Israeli children are dressing up as Elor Azaria, the IDF soldier convicted of manslaughter for fatally shooting a neutralized terrorist [sic] in Hebron almost a year ago. “I’m not saying that he did the right thing but in my eyes he is a hero,” stated one grandmother of such a child. “He took the initiative. His commanders weren’t around, the scene wasn’t managed properly and he took command.”

During the weekend, a costume competition for Elor Azaria will take place. The creator Ran Karmi Buzaglo has promised the participants prizes such as guitars, tickets to an amusement park and to a safari. “I urge people to dress up like Elor as a statement,” Buzaglo stated. “He’s a fighter and was sent to protect us and I’m proud to see children dressing up like him.

Some of the prizes were donated by citizens who heard about the initiative. One man even volunteered to make 300 face masks of the convicted soldier. “I think that these masks teach our children about the military,” he said.

A very innocuous and politically correct description of what the holiday of Purim is all about is given by Wikipedia:

Purim is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from Haman, who was planning to kill all the Jews. This took place in the ancient Persian Empire. The story is recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther.

In reality, however, the holiday is a celebration of the slaughter of thousands of Gentiles. Here is what the Book of Esther has to say on the topic:

In the citadel of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men. They also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha, the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews.But they did not lay their hands on the plunder.

The number of those killed in the citadel of Susa was reported to the king that same day. The king said to Queen Esther, “The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men and the ten sons of Haman in the citadel of Susa. What have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? Now what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? It will also be granted.”

“If it pleases the king,” Esther answered, “give the Jews in Susa permission to carry out this day’s edict tomorrow also, and let Haman’s ten sons be impaled on poles.”

So the king commanded that this be done. An edict was issued in Susa, and they impaled the ten sons of Haman. The Jews in Susa came together on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar, and they put to death in Susa three hundred men, but they did not lay their hands on the plunder.

Meanwhile, the remainder of the Jews who were in the king’s provinces also assembled to protect themselves and get relief from their enemies. They killed seventy-five thousand of them but did not lay their hands on the plunder. This happened on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy.

So according to the text, more than 75,000 people were killed. And this is what led the Jews to mark it as “a day of feasting and joy.” And that is how it is celebrated today in Israel. Here is what an Israeli tourist site has to say about contemporary Purim celebrations in the Jewish state:

Purim is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in Israel. Purim in Israel is embraced by the whole country, from religious Jews in Jerusalem to secular Tel Avivians, it is a time of festivity and celebrated far beyond its original religious roots. Purim parties take place across Israel, with Purim street parties with carnival atmospheres taking place in almost every city, town and village in the country. Purim is also one of the biggest nights of the year at clubs up and down the country. With so much going on, and so much color in the amazing costumes that can be seen, Purim in Israel is a fascinating time to be in the country.

You can also go here and read a Chabad report about Purim celebrations in 91 other countries around the world, including here in the United States. Here is what it says about a Purim event scheduled for Saturday night in Los Angeles:

Roll out the red carpet and bring on the paparazzi: Rabbi Mendel Simons, director of the Young Jewish Professionals in Los Angeles, is getting ready to host an Oscars-worthy evening on Saturday night. He and his wife, YJP co-director Rachael Simons, plan to welcome a whopping 600 people to the upscale Continental Club for a night of Purim festivities themed around Hollywood of yore. The event is being co-hosted by Moshe and Rivky Greenwald, co-directors of Chabad of Downtown Los Angeles.

Reading the above kind of makes you wonder why we’ve never seen a Hollywood movie depicting the Esther story. Of course, the movie would have to end with the slaughter of thousands of Gentiles and the subsequent Jewish celebrations–a denouement that might result in moviegoers leaving theaters feeling a tad bit disquieted.

‘White Trash’ – both a book and Trump revolution?

March 07, 2017

by Ramin Mazaheri‘White Trash’ – both a book and Trump revolution?

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America (2016) by Nancy Isenberg is a book which is credited with the groundbreaking idea of studying the history of poor Whites in America.

It’s a necessary book because it gives us a lot of badly-needed historical information to analyze the major divide in the United States today: between pro- and anti-Trump factions.

Hillary Clinton denounced Trump supporters as “a basket of deplorables” – i.e., White Trash.

And her supporters applauded. If you are pro-Trump you “do not represent America”, and certainly not the best of America.

Anti-Trumpers enjoy this incorrect feeling of superiority, but this cannot be a long-term policy.

What’s needed is understanding, and a good place for Americans to start learning about the absolutely real historical oppression of the class known as White Trash is with this book.

After reading it, I found it quite logical that today’s White Trash support Trump’s conservative call for rolling back the administrative state – this book proves over and over that the US government has done very little to help poor Whites, while it’s done plenty to elevate and maintain the status rich Whites.

We communists generally call this “capitalism”.

While Europe had the revolutions of 1798 and 1848, finding an actual remedy to White Trash poverty was never a real issue in America: It was only temporarily a focus after the crisis of the Civil War, the Great Depression and Johnson’s “Great Society” programs of the 1960s.

This experience is the opposite of Trash in places like Cuba, Iran, the USSR, the mourning Trash of Yugoslavia, China and elsewhere – in these countries a 20th-century revolution put a permanent focus on the needs of the average Trash, and they delivered.

Receptivity to socialism in the US is higher now than at any time since the Great Depression, and this should be no surprise: The underground earthquake which produced the tsunami of Trumpism was the Great Recession, which vastly expanded the social strata unfairly derided as White Trash.

The subsequent failure of Obama to hold anyone accountable allowed everyone to see the false lies of the “American Dream” – White Trash has been (re-) reminded of the “1%” and how “only profits are capitalized, but losses are socialized”.

Oh yes, they fear the White Trash Revolution (WTR)

According to The New York Times review of this book: “’White Trash’ is indeed a bummer….”

LOL, yes, national truths can never be as satisfying as national myths.

The fact is that White Trash are starting to take over, and they must, democratically. The key is for the left to win them over.

This is an enormous challenge in a country as politically reactionary as the United States, where leftist thought has been systemically oppressed and exterminated by the FBI, media owners and a culture that has always adhered to racist, capitalist, empire-maintenance.

But so many leftists in the US, even the more sincere ones, will never win them over if they don’t both understand and sympathize with them.

One would think that the archetype of today’s “White Trash” politician would be Dubya Bush, but he is surprisingly not mentioned at all in the book. Bush was a fake redneck, after all, and a teetotaling, born-again one at that.

But an interesting quote can be drawn from the author’s discussion of Sarah Palin, the Vice-Presidential nominee of John McCain and the first redneck woman to appear on a presidential ticket.

“Writing in the New Yorker, Sam Tanenhaus was struck by Palin’s self-satisfied manner: ‘the certitude of being herself, in whatever unfinished condition, will always be good enough.’”

If Sarah Palin is White Trash – an American peasant – this is how the fake left views them: unevolved.

Palin is not a great political leader, sure, but my point is that anyone even resembling Sarah Palin has been contemptuously looked down on for more than 400 years.

Now imagine if Tolstoy had used the same description while writing about his archetypal “good peasant” Platon Karataev in “War and Peace”…would it have been out of place? I think not.

But Tolstoy’s great love allowed him to see the virtues in Russia’s peasants. For the New York Times, The New Yorker and a seemingly-gigantic majority of the mainstream media, America’s peasants and pro-Trumpers are not only without political intelligence but also moral virtue.

Tolstoy is usually defined as a Christian Anarchist – and this is extremely close to a Communist in 2017. After all, Cuba reconciled with Catholicism two decades ago; China is promoting Confucianism and it’s necessary yin component of Taoism; Iran has married many communist ideas with religion.

While Tolstoy uplifts, reading the New Yorker is like getting a root canal because their elitist sentiment is so smugly pro-establishment. Shouldn’t it be “good enough” to be yourself? Must we put on fancy airs and pretend to be something we are not?

But there is no archetypal “good” White Trash in America – they are despised, marginalized, oppressed and segregated in American life, as this book repeatedly proves.

The WTR is looking more and more like a real historical wave, especially if the National Front wins in France and topples the European Union. If Le Pen is voted in she’s promised a ‘Frexit’ referendum within 6 months if elected.

If the WTR is a historical trend, what does it supplant?

It supplants the Politically Correct Revolution (PCR), which was a great revolution, despite its many xenophobic detractors.

The PCR has enabled it to now be well-known that the US democracy was always a sham due to racism and sexism – prior to that you had to have read or listened to somebody like Malcom X. I.e., you were you on the fringe.

Yet I always found it funny that the most impassioned PCR adherents expressed such respect for the Trash of, say, India, and yet they would look down as though from Mount Olympus on poor White cultures in America?

Part of this fine: Giving the hicks – of the Andes Mountains or Central Africa or the Eskimos or whoever – their cultural due is absolutely necessary. Looking down on them only proves your inability to comprehend their culture.

Yet these PCR die-hards expressed SUCH contempt for the hillbillies in America – for White Trash – and they still do.

I am thankful to say that I had White Trash friends (I don’t to write ‘have’ and offend them, LOL) and they were great. They taught me a lot and certainly taught me that city folk and middle-and-upper class people were totally ignorant of many key aspects of life.

But in segregated, suburban, gated America, it seems very few getting out to the country and sincerely trying to make friends?

The WTR is feared by these supposedly “left” publications, because White Trash, and Trash in general, are on the verge of upsetting the established order. But it is not the order established by the PCR, but a rigid class order that was established from the moment of British colonization, as the author repeatedly demonstrates.

The WTR created by the end to the denial of their democratic power

The book elevates the importance that post-Civil War poll taxes were also unaffordable for White Trash. It is the banning of poll taxes with the 24th amendment in 1964, and not the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which finally gave poor, landless White Trash a true democratic voice.

This gives the WTR a truly historical basis which has been largely ignored by the PCR in favor of their false, class-ignorant, “poll taxes harmed only Blacks” theory.

The reality is that poll taxes – which would not even begin to be eliminated until the 1930s and would not be fully eliminated until 1964 – allowed all Trash regardless of color to finally participate in American democracy.

Because there has been no modern revolution in the US since 1776, American Trash have only had the slow slog of those forced to work within the constraints of the capitalist/social democratic system (due to the constant and violent suppression of communist thought).

Well, it has taken 50 years, but the White majority – who come from the 99% – has finally elected a president who did what White Trash have always asked for: End four centuries of oppressive rule by the moneyed elite, the landholders, the wage-stealers, the aristocratic class, the global capitalists (who also happen to be mainly White, for those who are permanently stuck in the PCR).

The WTR, after 50 years of mass media control, also finally surmounted the media domination of the capitalists. Trump was endorsed by just 2 of the top 100 newspapers; even right-wing Fox News fought him for months; Hollywood was a constant stream of anti-Trump messages.

Another thing the WTR did was overturn the idea that the president should be an aristocrat in nature, and the book proves this idea has been dominant for decades.

As the move to end poll taxes became inevitable, “…the longing for a more regal head of state was advanced. The Democrats swooned over Kennedy’s Camelot, and Republicans ennobled the Hollywood court of Reagan.”

Trump is no moral hero like Carter (LOL to that notion), no reformed alcoholic/Christian like Dubya, no (sellout) racial hero like Obama.

Trump is probably no “great man” but, as Tolstoy would agree, one drop of the historical WTR wave. This wave has eliminated Cameron, Renzi, Sarkozy, Hollande, Clinton and others.

It’s unfortunate that this wave includes xenophobia, but we must agree that the nationalism is no longer petty: average Americans and Europeans and are now victims of a global corporate imperialism and radically-new digital high-finance class.

Trump is not White Trash – he is a billionaire – but Trump is clearly the first White Trash President.

Trump was elected to smash the system

This is something which White Trash has wanted to do since always.

And what does that mean?

Smashing the system is what revolution is: you chase out the rich, you retake control of the armed forces and you finally reflect the democratic will.

This is an enormously rare event, and it has only been done recently in places like Cuba, China, Iran, the USSR and a few others. This has happened in places like Burkina Faso, only to be subverted by the West. This is also something which has not been done in Western nations since 1776 for the US, 1789 for France and never in the UK.

Trump is not a revolutionary, but he could accomplish some of these WTR dreams. He could reorient US foreign policy away from imperialism; he could reorient the US from free-trade global capitalism.

The WTR is an exciting idea, but it is just a phase and not an end.

The reason Trump is destined to fail – although he is about 50/50 after six weeks in office – is that he is trying to do it from within the system and through reforms.

That is not revolution, but a coup.

Still…history is also full of coups that turned out well for the average person, mainly in places where the bar was already set quite low.

Trump receives only one mention in the book, and his presidency will probably turn out like the author wrote:

“Donald Trump’s The Apprentice, billed as a ‘seductive weave of aspiration and Darwinism,’ celebrated ruthlessness. In these and related shows, talent was secondary; untrained stars were hired to serve voyeuristic interests, in expectation that, as mediocrities, they could be relied on to exhibit the worst of human qualities: vanity, lust and greed.”

We simply cannot fairly say if Trump will finish as an object of hero worship like a Castro or as a mediocrity who was hired to serve non-White Trash interests – his actions as president will determine that.

But we must realize that what Trump has achieved is based on the strategy of not bashing White Trash and their political interests.

And what are Trash interests?

Historically that has been land, just like in every country.

In every modern, anti-imperialist revolution “land reform” has been essentially the guiding policy: USSR, Cuba, Zimbabwe – the list goes on and on.

The book proves that White Trash was systematically excluded from good land as a matter of government policy. The idea that the Frontier provided a White Trash family the ability to claim, clear and hold good farmland for generations is totally disproven. “They are blamed for living on bad land, as though they had other choices.”

Out of sight, out of mind: the most restrictive and undemocratic laws in America are zoning laws, after all.

They are still used to keep White Trash segregated: gated communities, trailer parks, congressional redistricting…all are designed to keep rich Whites away from Trash of any color.

Highways block off Black-filled urban housing projects; trailer parks are on the outskirts of town and by the factory/railroad/cattle pens/dump.

I think some White Democrats express genuine concern about Black poverty, but you never hear them utter a sentence like in this book: “Trailer trash had become America’s untouchables.”

They certainly are.

As the author demonstrates, this is because extreme White poverty has been systematically obscured and ignored in America.

White Trash has always been a huge problem and it’s gotten much bigger due to the Great Recession.

Despite the decline of individual farming, land reform is still required in America because nothing has really changed: the biggest marker of class and status is the value of the land where you live.

Just like everyone in real estate knows: “Location is everything. Location determines access to a privileged school, a safe neighborhood, infrastructural improvements, the best hospitals, the best grocery stores.”

The obvious solution is for the government to force economic integration via rent controls, to subsidize poor people to live in rich areas and to use economic redistribution to uplift poor areas.

News flash: This is what communists have already done in places like Cuba. The most run-down areas of Havana are at least the most desirable real estate as they are just steps from the water. In any capitalist city Havana’s waterfront property would instead be the most valuable and reserved for the ultra-rich.

After the Iranian revolution the government first rebuilt south Tehran, the city’s poorest area. Ahmadinejad, so derided in the West, was a rock star in rural areas but an “illegitimate president” in the richer areas of the cities.

Doesn’t that sound familiar in 2017?!

Republican France has laws for housing integration on the books but they are never properly enforced, even under the fake-Socialist Francois Hollande.

The facts are all in:

Communism leads to more stable growth and actual equality while capitalism shuns equality and widens the gaps during any downturn.

Trump, and we see this from his pro-capitalist stance, is probably only going to exacerbate this lack of justice.

Again, the WTR is just a phase, and it’s a bumpy one, but it’s better than the previous era that followed the death of the USSR, the “TINA-UCV”:

There Is No Alternative-Unstoppable Capitalist Victory.

So what is White Trash, really?

In describing NASCAR fans the author writes: “They embraced a certain species of freedom – the freedom to be a boor, out in the open and without regrets.”

Does this not perfectly describe the electoral campaign of Donald Trump? Goodbye PCR!

Sloughing that off – as it became no longer just a necessary tool but an end in itself – is indeed progress.

But here in France we just call those types of boors “the French”.

And these people are far more interesting, fun and numerous than the other French archetype: aloof, stylish (rich) and sexually sadistic…but also “cosmopolitan”, pro-EU, fundamentally pro-capitalist, anti-Le Pen but still racist because the hijab is a “prison”, etc.

The gulf between the boor and the angelic yet earthy peasant Karataev is real.

But was Karataev angelic and earthy, despite being White Trash, due to the superiority of Russian genes? Certainly not.

Karataev was so wonderful and inspirational because he was not a real person but a fictional character; but we can assume Karataev, and his author, “learned” his socialism/Christian anarchism from his culture.

Karataev would probably be proud to be called a “redneck” today, but he would not have been proud to have been called a “boor”. He’d be a fun clown at a party, yes, but that is not a boor.

This book does a great service because it investigates, redeems and promotes the historical class oppression endured by America’s White Trash.

It seems clear that Trump and Bannon do not truly idolize the hidden virtues of White Trash – they idolize King Reagan and King Croesus– but it is still too early to say for certain.

They say getting money shows who a person really is – the same probably goes for power.

It is capitalism which accuses, however: “You White Trash must raise yourself up.” It is socialism, and only socialism, which lends both the helping hand and the shield from those who will certainly try to break brotherly bonds.

Middle- and upper-class America are desperately fighting the WTR, just as they have historically always fought off White Trash demands for justice and fairness. And it is true that there is no guarantee at this date that the WTR will not descend into fascism. Certainly, many of the same xenophobic and fascist elements are similar to the 1930s.

This is partially why the demonization of Trump supporters is something which should never be tolerated by any thinking or moral person – it only fuels the climate of ignorance and anger which fascism thrives upon.

Regardless, the separate point is that this book shows that the WTR – via the empowerment of White Trash – has been decades in the making in the United States.

Fortunately, socialism is centuries in the making across the world.

(This editorial is paired with a complete book review of “White Trash”.)

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

A Take from Last Night’s Oscar Awards You May have Missed…

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By Greg Felton

(THE SCENE: WTFN’s Los Angeles studios. The set is bedecked with the usual movie posters, still photographs and various objets de cinéma. Host Lance Boyle is in his usual club chair. The opening theme music dies down.)

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LANCE BOYLE: (to camera) “Welcome to the ninth Oscar edition of The Cutting Room, the first under the new Trumpian regime. To read from the screeching from both sides of the right-wing of the political spectrum, we might as well redefine the calendar as BT and AT—Before Trump and After Trump. Whether one thinks that the last election marked a break with the past or is the inevitable result of 30-plus years of corporatism, one thing will always be a constant in our lives—movies—and where there are movies, there are award shows. Tonight we look at the best Hollywood had to offer in 2016, (camera pulls back into a two-shot. Miriam Kale is now seated across from Lance Boyle.) Miriam, welcome back.”

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MIRIAM KALE: “Thanks, Lance. A lot of my friends would agree with your BT/AT calendar because they wailed that Trump’s victory marked the beginning of the end of U.S. democracy. However, I found this reaction bizarre because American democracy ended at least as far back as 2001. The USA PATRIOT Act eviscerated civil liberties, and under the supposedly liberal Barack Obama the surveillance state was ratcheted up, the drone program was widely expanded and police forces became ever more militarized. Hillary Clinton represented this anti-democratic ‘Deep State’ establishment and was a war criminal to boot, which meant she was unelectable. Trump was really the only viable choice because the Democratic Party threw the election by sabotaging Bernie Sanders’s nomination. If people want to blame someone for Trump’s election, they need to blame the Democrats! But enough about politics; let’s talk movies!”

BOYLE: “Where do you want to start?”

KALE: “Where else?—with my pick for the Leni Riefenstahl Award for Best Holocaust Propaganda.”

BOYLE: “Ah, yes—The Leni; your favourite category.”

KALE: “This year, the winner is exemplary. Never before has a Leni nominee showed the connection between the Holocaust® and Holocaust® propaganda so clearly. I think you know which film I’m talking about. Go on: open the envelope.” (She hands it to him.)

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BOYLE: “Ah yes. I thought so, but there have been many films that have defended the six-million figure and sanctified Auschwitz. What makes this film so remarkable?”

KALE: “It exploits a real event to perpetuate a false history. Let me give you the context. The film is concerned with the infamous 2000 libel trial between historian David Irving and Holocaust® professor Deborah Lipstadt. In 1993, Lipstadt wrote Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, a book in which she accused Irving of being a ‘Holocaust® denier’.

“In the opening scene, Irving interrupts one of Lipstadt’s 1994 lectures and waves $1,000, saying he’ll give it to anybody who can produce any written evidence that Hitler ordered the Holocaust®. Lipstadt bombastically claims she’ll debate the Holocaust® with anyone but not with someone who denies it. Now, if she had evidence it occurred, it should be a simple matter to dispatch someone like Irving, but the fact that she refused to debate him gave credibility to Irving’s assertion that Hitler never ordered the Holocaust®.

“By the way, the film got this scene wrong. Irving’s actual words were: “I have here a thousand dollars for you [Lipstadt] if you can produce to this audience, now or at any time in the future, this document about which you have just lied to them.”

BOYLE: “He was referring to what Lipstadt claimed happened at the Jan. 20, 1942, Wannsee Conference, right?”

KALE: “Yes, but Lipstadt never produced any documents. In fact, nobody has. Lipstadt’s refusal to account to Irving for her claims and her ad hominem attack upon him, led Irving to sue for libel.”

BOYLE: “As I recall, Irving lost.”

KALE: “Yes, and no. Lipstadt was found to have libeled Irving on four counts, but not on a fifth. Therefore, Mr . Justice Charles Gray concluded that Irving did not suffer damage to his reputation, despite the libels, so he lost his suit.”

BOYLE: “One could say Irving lost his suit before it started. Merely being accused of being a ‘Holocaust® denier’ is enough to destroy anyone’s reputation, so even if Irving had proven that Lipstadt lied about him, the judge would still have rejected his claim.”

KALE: “That’s why this film is so quintessentially Leni-esque! The prejudice against Irving was insurmountable. The fix was in. As The Guardian reported: ‘[The judge] said he found that Irving was “an active Holocaust denier; that he was anti-Semitic and racist and that he associated with right-wing extremists who promoted neo-Nazism.” ’ Here is Gray in his own words:

Having considered the various arguments advanced by Irving to assail the effect of the convergent evidence relied on by the defendants, it is my conclusion that no objective, fair-minded historian would have serious cause to doubt that there were gas chambers at Auschwitz and that they were operated on a substantial scale to kill hundreds of thousands of Jews.

BOYLE: “I understand that the trial moves to Auschwitz to address Irving’s claim there were no gas chambers. What was Irving’s evidence?”

KALE: “Essentially the lack of evidence. The Nazis allegedly dropped Zyklon B pellets through rooftop openings in the buildings, but no such openings existed. Irving’s catchphrase was ‘No holes; no holocaust.’ By casting doubt on the existence of the gas chambers, Irving cast doubt on the 6 million, so the existence of gas chambers had to be defended.

BOYLE: “How do we know they didn’t exist?”

Continued here

White Helmets, a fake humanitarian group, wins an Oscar

Film about Syrian White Helmets wins Oscar for best short documentary

A documentary film praising Syria’s White Helmets, a rescue group hailed as heroes and saviors by the MSM, amid allegations of having ties with terrorist organizations, has won the Oscar for best documentary short feature.

“The White Helmets,” a 40-minute documentary, marks first Oscar win for director Orlando von Einsiedel.

The film revolves around the “perilous work of volunteers who brave falling bombs to rescue civilians from the carnage of Syria’s civil war,” the description on its Netflix page says

A synopsis, published on the Oscars website, reveals that the film is set “in the chaos of war-torn Syria” where “unarmed and neutral civilian volunteers known as ‘the white helmets’ comb through the rubble after bombings to rescue survivors.” 

Patrick Henningsen, a geopolitical analyst at 21st Century Wire.com in an earlier interview to RT late last month explained how the footage was obtained.

The “film itself is not a real documentary,” he said. “All of the footage used in the film was provided to the producers by the White Helmets themselves. This film production crew – Netflix productions – did not film any of the so-called rescue scenes.”

“What this film is essentially a PR cushion for a $100-$150 million covert op, which is basically an NGO front funded by USAID, the British Foreign Office, various EU member states, Qatar, and other various and sundry nations, and members of the public, who quite frankly in my opinion and many others, have been duped into donating their money for this rescue group, that is anything but. It essentially functions as a support group alongside Al-Nusra and al-Din al-Zenki and other known terrorist groups operating in Syria. That is a fact that has been proven by a number of eyewitness testimonies.”

The White Helmets, also known as the Syrian Civil Defense, are “the largest civil society organization operating in areas outside of government control,” the group’s website proudly reads.

According to the group’s leader, Raed Saleh, those “unarmed and neutral rescue workers have saved more than 78,529 people from the attacks in Syria.” 

The unit has also received praise from Amnesty International, describing it as “a group of neutral, unarmed volunteers.” 

Although the rescue group largely appears to be in the MSM media’s good books, not everyone looks at the White Helmets’ activities through rose-tinted glasses.

White Helmets financially backed by West – journalist to RT

In December, Eva Bartlett, a Canadian journalist and rights activist who has traveled to Syria several times since the start of the conflict, said that members of the group “purport to be rescuing civilians in eastern Aleppo and Idlib [but] …no one in eastern Aleppo has heard of them.” 

Bartlett noted during her highly emotional speech at the UN that “their video footage actually contains children that have been ‘recycled’ in different reports; so you can find a girl named Aya who turns up in a report in say, August, and she turns up in the next month in two different locations.”

The White Helmets operate in Syria’s rebel and Islamist territories and appear to enjoy the support of various western governments.

“They are fantastically brave, these White Helmets. I’m proud to say we’re giving them I think £32 million [$39.78 million] funding as part of a wider £65 million package for non-humanitarian aid,” British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said last year.

The rescue group, which was nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, has repeatedly claimed to be independent of their anti-Assad sponsors, roots and overlords, saying they are unsullied by Western cash.

“They claim that they receive no funding from any government that has a vested interest in the Syria conflict,” Vanessa Beeley, independent researcher and journalist, told RT in October.

“And yet, they are in fact multi-million funded, conservatively speaking, a hundred million dollars, from the US – $23 million via USAID; UK around $65 million; France is supplying equipment…,” she added.

Beeley believes that “there is massive video and photographic testimonial evidence from inside Syria to give evidence that they are running a terrorist support group.”

“If we look at their claims to be neutral, they are embedded entirely in terrorist-held areas whether it is predominantly Al-Nusra Front or ISIS or any of the various associated brigades of terrorists that take their command very much from Al-Nusra Front, that is where White Helmets are exclusively.”

READ MORE: ‘Massive evidence foreign-funded White Helmets support terrorist entities in Syria’

Beeley said the group members “provide medical care for the terrorists, they funnel equipment in from Turkey into the terrorist areas (…) They’ve been filmed participating and facilitating an execution of a civilian in Aleppo. They post celebratory videos to their social media pages of the execution of civilian Arab soldiers.”

She added that “from the testimony from the real Syria Civil Defense across Syria they have also been involved in the taking over of the real Syria Civil Defense units, the stealing of their equipment and the eventual massacres and kidnapping of real Syria Civil Defense crews.”

‘They are thieves’ – locals on White Helmets

The group’s rescue efforts go only as far as to release dramatic videos, Aleppo residents say. RT’s war correspondent Lizzie Phelan, reporting from Aleppo, spoke to some survivors who accused the group of being “camera posers, thieves, and raiders.”

“When they came to help the injured they stole from them,” one elderly man told RT. “If people are wearing jewelry, they cut it off. All of them are thieves.”

One man accused the White Helmets of intentionally killing his little daughter. “I took her to the Civil Defense hospital and they gave her an injection filled with air to kill her,” the devastated young father said in December.

One of the scandals surrounding the White Helmets’ work in Syria was the group’s “Mannequin Challenge” video. The rescue workers performed a stunt with a fake rescue as they staged a scene of saving a person from the rubble, raising questions over the authenticity of the group’s other frequently-posted videos.

Late last month, two members of the controversial White Helmets were barred from attending the Academy Awards, the producer of a documentary featuring the NGO said. White Helmets leader Raed Saleh and cinematographer Khaled Khateeb, both Syrian, were invited to the 2017 Academy Awards by Joanna Natasegara, the film’s producer, who expressed her outrage over the travel ban in a statement: “They’ve been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize,” she said.

“These people are the bravest humanitarians on the planet, and the idea that they could not be able to come with us and enjoy that success is just abhorrent.” 

It’s not the first time Saleh has been banned from entering America. In April 2016, he had to return to Istanbul after discovering that his visa had been canceled by the US. This prevented him from receiving an award in Washington at a gala party supported by White Helmets sponsor USAID.

 
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