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Election Impressions

by Taxi

Image result for american flag artwork
By now, after a long presidential campaign season marked by shocking levels of corruption scandals and salacious smut – and the election right now being a mere handful of days away – there’s really no need to repeat or parse information that everyone already knows.  But if you’ll kindly indulge me here, I will share below some random, haphazard, stream of consciousness impressions of this election, which I’ve been quasi following from the faraway hills of the Levant:

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… And Goodbye To All That

by Taxi


I was halfway writing about how fury is now the opium of the masses, but then I changed my mind and discarded the piece because I felt that I’m just repeating what myself and others have been saying for a good six months – albeit, I may use more acrobatic prose than what the norm is in news media.   Fact is, I am not a journalist and I do not wish to be one or to write like one. This, my natural lack of interest in the practice of journalism is actually the topic and purpose behind this personal article.

When I started Plato’s, it was really for four reasons.  First, to be able to share through Plato’s daily Newsstand some selected articles of worth that would educate and further enlighten the reader.  Second, to allow commenters their freedom of expression when blogging, so long as they were not rude, crude or derailing.  Thirdly, to share with readers my insights and analysis of American Empire and its geopolitical shenanigans in the Middle East.  Fourthly, and dearest to my heart, is to give uber support to the liberation of our congress and of Palestine, whom as we all know are symbiotically connected by both being under the criminal occupation of the Zionist invaders.

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Plato’s Infinite Scroll

by Taxi


So here it is:  your very own eternal ring of fire.  Feel free to hang here anytime and share your thoughts and links to your heart’s content.

The mic is yours, the stage is yours – everything and nothing here is yours heh.  Think of it as visiting a garden of knowledge and delight.  Or think of it as an asylum where the doctors have left the building.  Think of it even as a quaint refuge or as a goddamn inconsequential hellhole.  So long as you’re ‘thinking’, then that’s all that matters.

Enjoy your life and your freedom of speech!

US Aid to Israel Is ‘Too Much’ Say 61.9% of Americans – Grant E. Smith/Antiwar.com

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A majority Americans say US foreign aid to Israel is excessive – either “much too much” (32.5 percent) or “too much’ (29.4 percent). The single-question March 10, 2016 opinion survey, fielded through Google Consumer Surveys, reveals only slight changes since it was first asked on September 27, 2014. (For details on sample size, bias and other findings, see the survey data links above).

While Adult Internet users believing US aid to Israel is either “too little” or “much too little” increased a net 1.5 percentage points overall, those believing it to be “too much” or “much too much” rose 1.2 percentage points. Americans believing aid was “about right” declined 2.6 percentage points.

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Free Expression on Campus: A Survey of U.S. College Students and U.S. Adults – GALLUP

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students

A Gallup survey of American universities was recently conducted – questions concerning free speech, race relations and the First Amendment Rights, views of the press and social media were put forth.  The full Gallup survey is here (pdf 36 pages).  And below is the conclusion of the survey:

CONCLUSION:

This study leaves little doubt that college students believe First Amendment rights remain strong in this country — but raises questions about how they interpret those rights. College students are more likely than the U.S. adult population overall to believe First Amendment rights are secure, and they tend to view their student cohort as more respectful of free speech than the broader population. They also believe First Amendment  rights are stronger now than in the past, and believe a free press is more important to democracy today than it was 20 years ago, even as newer information sources challenge the press’ once-dominant position as Americans’ primary news source.

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Hillary’s emails confirm France and US killed Qaddafi for his gold and oil – Bob Fitrakis/SignOfTheTimes

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With the recent release of Hillary Clinton’s emails by Wikileaks, the public now knows exactly how the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) went from a collective defense organization to the new Barbary Coast Pirates of imperialism.

During the 2011 Libyan uprising, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1973 which called for a ceasefire and authorized military action to protect civilian lives. A coalition formed, centered around NATO with the March 17, 2011 passing of the Resolution. Its purpose — a so-called “no-fly zone” over Libya.

The irony that the U.S.-dominated NATO military organization would be concerned with “protecting” Arab civilians is all too obvious since the United States is the nation most responsible for killing Arab civilians.

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Why erasing California’s anti-Semitic, racist history from public display is the wrong move – Cora Granata/LA Times

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I am a German-American and Southern California native. While other kids watched Saturday morning cartoons, my German-born mother sent me to German school, where I learned how to build extremely long sentences with verbs placed at the end. I grew up with Grimm’s fairy tales — not the watered-down Disney versions — but the crazy originals in which Cinderella’s stepsisters cut off their heels to fit into the glass slipper. I liked being a German-American kid in Southern California, and I am now a professor of German history at Cal State Fullerton. But when I learned that a German American organization had recently erected a sign in a part of Crescenta Valley Park welcoming visitors to “Hindenburg Park” in gothic German script, I couldn’t help but cringe.

This new marker isn’t something that should be celebrated.

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Florida Governor Rick Scott shamed at Starbucks by angry citizen

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APARTHEID OLYMPICS

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The Greatest CON In U.S. Electoral History – Editorial/State Of The Nation

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Why were they each deliberately set up to be the lesser of the two evils for this 2016 election?

Why are Americans so addicted to deception?

And in this corner we have a criminally insane, psychopathic career politician who fraudulently advocates all the politically correct causes … HILLARY R. CLINTON

And in that corner we have a sociopathic and compulsive salesman who is much more showman than anything else, much more barker than leader … DONALD J. TRUMP 

______________________________________________________________

What you are about to read constitutes the single greatest CON in U.S. election history. This CON is so calculated and premeditated, so purposeful and deliberate, and so complicated and convoluted that very few will choose to believe it.  Trust us!  You will believe it when you see the results after January 20th of 2017.  However, what most may completely fail to believe — at the end of the day — is who the real con man really is.  We’re talking about the greatest CON MAN alive today.

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Disrespecting Obama: Race, Class, Empire, and Identity Politics – Paul Street/CounterPunch

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A Rap Sheet Fades Behind the Extravaganza

I wonder if anyone is enjoying the current endless quadrennial presidential electoral extravaganza more than Barack Obama. With the United States’ corporate-managed media and politics culture fixated on Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, the Republican National Committee, Ted Cruz, and even sometimes the nominal socialist Bernie Sanders, Obama’s ongoing criminal record on behalf of corporate rule and American Empire has gone under the radar like no time in recent memory.

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How Iran’s Strategic Drift Emboldens Its Enemies – Yoel Guzansky, Ron Tira/The National Interest

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Historically, Iran’s military strategy has been defensive, based on deterring potential rivals, developing restraining leverage over enemies, keeping adversaries pinned down in secondary theaters and undermining the will of potential enemies, while attempting to create influence as well as a defense zone that will provide it with strategic depth beyond its borders. The goal of this essay is to consider whether, as a result of the upheaval in the Middle East, Iran has been drawn into a regional policy with new characteristics, and whether its “strategic toolbox” is appropriate for this new policy.

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Susan Sarandon Crucified For Making Sense On Hillary Clinton

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Rating the Candidates: Who Wants War – Philip Giraldi/The Unz Review

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Cruz

Everyone sees what they want to see in the candidates for president. A recent survey on their foreign policies rated them with letter grades, but “foreign policy” is itself a bit of an elusive concept and the results tended to favor what the authors considered to be important. In my opinion the issue is actually much simpler: who among the candidates would be the most likely to lead the United States into another war or wars? Who would be least likely to do so?

The sovereign ability to go to war is the dark side of a nation’s foreign policy. It means in practice that the government has been unable or unwilling to use non-violent means of suasion to deflect perceived threats coming from a foreign nation or group of nations. The Nuremberg Tribunal established the principle that initiating a war is the ultimate crime against humanity as it brings with it every other imaginable evil. Those like America’s own neocons who consider war as politics by other means fail to understand that war is a breakdown of civilized norms and is in a sense a type of anarchy in which the weak and helpless are inevitably the principal victims.

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American Gladiator (violent content)

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*Video made by Trump fan. 

Israel prepares for #OpIsrael cyberattack – Dennis Mitzner/TechCrunch

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April has arrived, which means that Israel’s cybersecurity community has its eyes set on the now-annual April 7 cyberattack by Anonymous and a group of anti-Israel hacktivists known as #OpIsrael.

While the country is prepared for a variety of scenarios, most Israeli cybersecurity experts are unperturbed by the threat, since previous years have resulted in minimal damage.

The attack has taken place every year on April 7 since 2013 and was first launched on the eve of the Holocaust Remembrance Day with a stated goal of erasing Israel from the Internet.

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A Realistic Solution To The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – Avi Melamed/Forbes

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A generation has passed since the signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinians. The Oslo Accords were guided by the concept that the two-state solution would finally resolve the conflict—but two decades later, Israelis and Palestinians remain caught in a sad, frustrating and vicious cycle that must be broken. Dramatic events in the Middle East offer unprecedented conditions for such a breakthrough, because today, for the first time, Israel and major Arab states share long-term strategic interests: blocking Iran’s expansion; fostering stability; and diminishing militant Islamic momentum.

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Killing the US Republic — and Empire – Chas W. Freeman/ConsortiumNews

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Through its dysfunctional politics and over-reliance on military force, the United States is destroying both its Republic and its imperial reach, a problem made in the USA, said former Ambassador Chas W. Freeman Jr. in a recent speech.

I’m here to talk about the end of the American empire. But before I do I want to note that one of our most charming characteristics as Americans is our amnesia. I mean, we are so good at forgetting what we’ve done and where we did it that we can hide our own Easter eggs.

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Global military spending nearly $1.7T amid Mideast conflicts – Jon Gambrell/Seattle Times, AP

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Global military spending rose in 2015 to nearly $1.7 trillion, the first increase in several years, driven by conflicts including the battle against the Islamic State group, the Saudi-led war in Yemen and fears about Iran, a report released Tuesday shows.

The study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute also noted that the Chinese expansion in the South China Sea and Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support of Ukrainian separatists also accounted for nudging spending up 1 percent in real terms, compared to 2014.

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Israeli army encourages ‘sticky fingered’ soldiers to return souvenir grenades – Ruth Eglash/The Washington Post

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JERUSALEM — For most citizens, Israeli military service is an important, albeit a compulsory, rite of passage. And often, those drafted feel like they want to hold onto a little army booty as a “keepsake” from their years of service.

In fact, it’s not totally unusual to find Israelis using military garb in everyday life situations — think army-issued sleeping bags on camping trips, night goggles on midnight hikes or even a grenade or two decorating a bookshelf.

But holding onto military equipment — whether by accident or on purpose — is illegal and, if caught, could have serious consequences. It could also be dangerous, and the items could fall into unsavory hands, the Israeli army says.

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Why Are Oberlin’s Students So Silent About Anti-Semitism? – Emily Shire/The Daily Beast

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Students on campus are quick to protest incidences of supposed cultural insensitivity—even over sushi—but not when it comes to a professor’s anti-Semitism.

Oberlin College in Ohio currently employs Joy Karega, an assistant professor of rhetoric and composition, who publicly professed on Facebook that ISIS was run by the CIA and Mossad, the Israeli counterpart to the U.S. agency.

Karega also posted on Facebook a (doctored) photo of a terrorist with a Jewish star tattooed on his arm, pulling off a mask to reveal his face as Israeli Prime Minister’s Benjamin Netanyahu.

Inside Higher Education reported that Karega has also previously shared a “picture of the Jewish banking heir Jacob Rothschild with the words, ‘We own your news, the media, your oil and your government.’”

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Who will be the next President of the United States? – Thierry Meyssan/Voltairenet.org

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Thierry Meyssan analyses the political and electoral system of the United States. He believes that the only true issue of the Presidential election is the maintenance of power in the hands of the WASPs, which has never been contested since the Declaration of Independence. While Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton are the guarantors of this status, the candidacy of Donald Trump announces a profound upheaval of the system which will only occur once the Anglo-Saxons become the minority.

A large number of candidates play off against one another in the primaries. The media pay attention only to the Democrats and the Republicans, ignoring all the others, given that the system is devised so that they can never win.

The US primaries offer a depressing spectacle during which the main candidates do not seem to be aware that their reckless judgements and demagogic declarations will have consequences, both interior and exterior, if they should manage to become President.

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Protesters shut down CIA chief’s university talk – Julian Hattem/TheHill

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CIA Director John Brennan was forced offstage during a Friday evening discussion at the University of Pennsylvania after a series of sustained interruptions from protesters.

At least three groups of protesters successively stood up to chant condemnations at the CIA for long stretches during Brennan’s appearance at the Penn Museum, according to reports and videos of the incident.

After the third interruption, moderator and Penn Professor Marjorie Margolies decided to end the event.A video of the incident shows that the crowd twice gave Brennan a standing ovation, at Margolies’s request.

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Sic Semper Tyrannis : Russia Prepares for a Big War: The Significance of a Tank Army – Patrick Armstrong/Sic Semper Tyrannis

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Part 1. How armies are put together

One of the things that I find irritating about battles in movie is that the director seems to think that battles are about getting an inchoate mass of soldiers together, giving a rousing speech and yelling “Charge!” That is absolutely not how it works nor ever has worked. Real armies are assembled out of groupings made from smaller groupings, themselves made from still-smaller groupings and so on down to the smallest group.

The smallest group is about ten soldiers. This is the fundamental bonding size – these are your buddies, the people you will really remember, the ones you depend on and who depend on you and for whom you will fight and sacrifice. Yes, you’re fighting for Freedom or some other Large Cause, but it’s really your buddy you’re doing it for. So we start with about ten soldiers.

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Charity backing anti-Israel rallies has state cash pulled – Andrew Gilligan/The Telegraph, UK

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The government has ceased funding a British charity which sponsored events accused of promoting hatred and violence against Jews.

The Department for International Development (Dfid) said that it no longer supported War on Want, which helped pay for “Israeli Apartheid Week” in February this year.

The statement comes as the Telegraph obtained undercover recordings of events where anti-Semitism, demands for the destruction of Israel or naked support for terror were expressed by academics and others at meetings in some of Britain’s most prestigious universities.

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Rabbi Boteac wants Clinton to denounce Max Blumenthal – Patrick Goodenough/CNSNews (double article)

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One of America’s best-known rabbis, Shmuley Boteach, has called on Hillary Clinton to “repudiate” comments reportedly by anti-Israel writer Max Blumenthal – the son of her close confidante Sidney Blumenthal – referring to the armed wing of the Hamas terrorist group in complementary terms.

Boteach, executive director of the World Values Network, was reacting on Twitter to reports quoting Blumenthal as making the comments during an pro-Palestine event at the London School of Economics early last month.

In a covertly recorded audio clip obtained by London’s Sunday Telegraph, a man said to be Blumenthal describes a July 2014 attack by Hamas’ Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades on Israeli soldiers guarding a kibbutz near the Gaza Strip, and comments on the propaganda value of a video clip, of the attack released by the terrorist group.

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Who Occupies Whom in Israel-Palestine? Don’t Ask an American – Eric Schuler/Antiwar.com

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Figure 1: IRmep Google Consumer Research polls

A new poll published by the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, shows that a plurality of Americans misunderstand a fundamental fact about the Middle East. Specifically, a statistically representative sample of Americans and three other nationalities were asked a simple question about Israel and Palestine. The wording of the question and the results are shown {above}.  (Note that respondents were allowed to give their own custom response as well; those that did are included within the Other category.)

As you can see, the American responses differ significantly from the other countries’. America is unfortunately unique in having a plurality of Americans, 49.2%, who answered the question wrong, believing that Palestinians occupy Israeli land.

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How Congress members earn their money – John Oliver

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9/11: The FBI Report and the Dancing Israelis Standing Truth on its Ear – H. Gaffney/InformationClearingHouse

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On the morning of September 11, 2001 a Jersey City, N.J. housewife named Maria was making coffee in her kitchen when she received a phone call from a neighbor who excitedly told her to look out the window. When Maria looked she was shocked to see a plume of smoke rising from the World Trade Center about a mile away across the Hudson River. Quickly Maria grabbed some binoculars and stepped out onto the balcony of her high-rise apartment, known as the Doric Towers, which afforded an excellent view of lower Manhattan. Maria did not yet know that a commercial airliner had plowed into the north tower of the World Trade Center, but it was obvious that an ugly tragedy was in progress.

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How Israeli Propaganda Succeeds – Abba A. Solomon/Consortiumnews

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Pervasive Israeli propaganda has blinded many Americans to the injustice meted out to Palestinians, a “group think” that a new documentary calls “The Occupation of the American Mind,” reviewed by Abba A. Solomon.

Harriet Beecher Stowe is reputed — in Stowe family legend at least — to have been greeted by President Abraham Lincoln with, “Is this the little woman who made this great war?” Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Stowe’s novel that dramatized government-sanctioned human bondage, is credited, somewhat fancifully, with moving American public opinion about slavery and helping start the U.S. Civil War.

The documentary film — The Occupation of the American Mind: Israel’s Public Relations War in the United States — aims to explain why U.S. media, in contrast to most of the world’s, omits the Palestinian story, and thus why U.S. public opinion favors Israel so markedly. The film organizes the evidence in plain sight of the unnatural situation that has been maintained in U.S. news reporting — the tropes that reinforce Zionist ideology, and recognize only Jewish Israeli life as imperiled.

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