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ISIS. The West takes the bait.

 

Lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic have responded to Friday’s terror attacks in Paris by calling to close their countries’ doors to Syrian refugees and framing the fight against the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility for the attacks, as a “clash of civilizations.”

But shutting out refugees and creating a hostile environment for Western Muslims won’t help Europe and the U.S. defeat the extremists who wrought terror in Paris. In fact, such a strategy is likely to make the U.S. and its allies more vulnerable, not safer. Here are three approaches policymakers have embraced since Friday’s attacks that would actually play into the hands of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

 

1. Contribute to radicalization by keeping refugees out

The 26 U.S. governors who are calling on the federal government to reject Syrian refugees have cited concerns about a refugee committing a terror attack.

Authorities found the passport of a man who crossed into Europe as a refugee from Syria near the body of one of the Paris suicide bombers, though it is not at all clear that the bomber was, in fact, a refugee. But even if one Syrian refugee did participate in the attacks, shutting out additional Syrians makes it more likely that extremism will take hold among them.

Josh Hampson argues in The Hill that keeping Syrian refugees in the Middle Eastern countries where they are currently concentrated increases the probability that they will grow susceptible to radicalization. He cites a 2013 study on the links between refugee resettlement and extremism, which found that the two greatest indicators of whether resettled refugees will commit acts of terror are poor living conditions and a lack of hospitable treatment in their host countries.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees found that “loss of hope and appalling living conditions” are motivating Syrian refugees to leave Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Egypt for Europe. It’s easy to see, then, why shutting refugees out of the West could breed more extremism. Hampson says it is urgent that the West enable Syrian refugees to re-settle in places where they will be less vulnerable to radicalization.

 

2. Play into the Islamic State’s narrative by alienating Western Muslims

Characterizing the fight with the Islamic State as a “clash of civilizations” strengthens the group in another key way: That’s exactly the framing the group depends on. One of the goals of attacks like the one in Paris is to provoke an overreaction that will make some Muslims in the West feel that Islam is inherently irreconcilable with the culture of the countries they live in.

“This kind of nativism is used to show that the West does not uphold its own standards — that it favors its own type,” said Christopher Swift, a national security expert at Georgetown and author of the forthcoming book, The Fighting Vanguard: Local Insurgencies in the Global Jihad. “It reinforces the ‘clash of civilizations’ narrative that groups like ISIS use to make a political rapprochement between different religious groups impossible.”

At least six of the Paris attackers identified by the French government were European nationals.

“France has long had a problem with integrating its Muslim population, and France does have a disproportionately high contribution of foreign fighters to ISIS,” Brookings Institution scholar Shadi Hamid previously told HuffPost. “So there’s a deeper issue here and it hasn’t gotten better, it’s only gotten worse.”

Swift added that ISIS would portray a drastic Western reaction as “Exhibit A that the crusaders are turning against” Muslims living in the West.

 

3. Give up a crucial natural advantage over the militants

The Islamic State has been very disappointed by the flow of refugees to Europe, because it undermines the narrative that the group provides a safe haven for global Muslims.

In this way, the efforts by some European nations to accommodate Syrian refugees have helped to bridge some of the perceived divide between the West and the Muslim world that Swift describes.

“The reality is, The Islamic State (IS) loathes that individuals are fleeing Syria for Europe,”wrote Aaron Zelin, an expert on jihadist groups. “It undermines IS’ message that its self-styled Caliphate is a refuge, because if it was, individuals would actually go there in droves since it’s so close instead of … risking their lives through arduous journeys that could lead to death en route to Europe.”

Zelin goes on to cite a dozen statements from Islamic State leaders warning refugees against heading to Europe or other “infidel” lands.

Conversely, if Europe and the United States were to shut out Syrian refugees, they would be foregoing an advantage they have over the Islamic State group.

 

(Source: The Huffington Post)

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The Biggest Scandal in US History That We’re Still Not Talking About

Pentagon_Money_lost
The above is roughly what 8.5 Trillion dollars would look like… and those are $100 bills.    Take another look and let that sink in for a bit…   I find it absolutely astonishing that the pentagon could lose track of this much money and for there to be no MSM coverage of this scandalous amount of mismanagement and fraud.  Where is the demand for accountability?  Why is the first question to ANY candidate for president not “What would you do about the massive fraud and waste at the Pentagon?”  Where are the hearings, nay indictments, that are warranted when a sum equal to  1/2 of our national debt can be sent to the pentagon to never be accounted for.  More below.

We progressives need to work this scandal into every political conversation we engage in, especially when we talk to conservatives. Cutting government spending and accountability aresupposed to be core GOP values.

Combine “Known” Pentagon waste (like the 1.5 Trillion dollar F35) with missing pentagon money and you have a good chunk of our entire national debt represented.

“What’s that?  Body cameras for all cops will be too expensive?  How bout we find 1/10,000th of the money we sent to the pentagon.”

“Oh really?  There’s 500 million in provable food stamp fraud going to poor people how bout the 8.5 TRILLION the pentagon can’t account for?”

“Oh really?  You think Obama care is going to cost us almost a trillion dollars over 15  years?  How about the 8.5 Trillion that just disappeared into the ether at the pentagon? What’s you’re take on that?”

“Oh really, you’re concerned about deficit spending and the debt?  Fully 1/3 of the national debt it is money we sent the Pentagon and they can’t tell us where it went.  It’s just gone.”

“College for everyone will cost too much? You must be really pissed at the  8.5 Trillion, with a ‘t’, dollars the pentagon’s spent and can’t tell us where it went.”

Bringing up this “open secret” exposes their hypocrisy, and draws attention to the lack of corporate media attention to this HUGE SCANDALOUS level of waste by the Military/Industrial/Media (<-should be new addition to the lexicon) complex ownership of government.  It seems for few hundred million in “be all you can be” ad buys the MSM will keep it’s mouth shut.  We need to press so called journalists to bring this issue front and center.   No candidate should be allowed to talk about government waste or big government with out being asked the follow up “What would you do about the massive 8.5 Trillion dollars the pentagon can’t account for?”

In short; nothing reinforces our position that the money for valuable social and infrastructure programs (that have provable returns on investment) is actually there than this scandal.   We need to harp on this until we get some answers and we need to leverage it more to shut down debate about desperately needed social program spending.       Money visualization grabbed from this site you should check it out HEREhttp://demonocracy.info/…

Here’s an additional point :   8.5 Trillion dollars represents about $70,000 from each of the 123 Million US households. Also of note is this is scandalous because the Pentagon has been required by law to be “audit ready” since 1996, but still has no real accounting systems.

(Source: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/08/19/1413372/-The-Biggest-Scandal-in-US-History-That-We-re-Still-Not-Talking-About)

15 Things everyone Should Know If There Was A Liberal Media

1. Where the jobs went.

2. Upward wealth redistribution and/or inequality.

3. ALEC.

4. The number of people in prison.

5. The number of black people in prison.

6. U.S. health care costs are the highest in the world.

7. Glass-Steagall.

8. Gerrymandering.

9. The number of bills blocked by Republicans in Congress.

10. The Citizens’ United Supreme Court decision.

11. Nixon’s Southern Strategy.

12. Tax cuts primarily benefit the wealthy.

13. What’s happening to the bees?

14. The impact of temporary workers on our economy.

15. Media consolidation

(source article HERE, with elaboration on each of the topics)

“What to make of this

If the media were “liberal,” it would serve the public interest and shine a light on issues like the ones above.

More people would also have a better understanding of global warming, peak oil, population growth, political lobbying, government’s role in a functioning economy, how much we spend on the military, and countless other issues.

What you’re more likely to see in the media, however, are stories designed to get you to buy their paper, or watch their show, or listen to their radio station. If it bleeds, it ledes. This is why the media is concerned with scandal, celebrities, gossip, and fear.

If anything, our news consists of paid advertisements and outlets too scared of offending anyone to publish much of substance. Investigative journalism is also expensive; entertainment is cheap.

The way this corporate media behaves may not be surprising. I apologize if you feel any of this is beating you over the head.

This Buzzfeed-style list wasn’t intended to introduce this idea as new (others have done a much better job), but rather to highlight the sheer absurdity of a “liberal media” for an audience who may not see it.

One way to approach the topic is to simply ask: If we have a “liberal media,” where are the liberal stories?”

-David Akadjian

(source article HERE)

9/11 Firefighter Blows WTC 7 Cover-Up Wide Open

“Who are you gonna believe? Are you gonna believe a bunch of government bureaucrats? Or my fellow brothers, which I lost 343 guys that day. […] And I can never forget that. I think about of that before I go to bed, I think about it the first thing in the morning.”
– Rudy Dent, 32 year veteran of NYC fire department.

North Dakota and Vermont – Precedents in Public Banking

Vermont is currently considering massive changes in the way it conducts banking by instituting a public bank of its own.

The proposal would give Vermont Economic Development Authority a banking license and allocate it 10% of taxes collected by the state, rather than the current scenario where large banks outside of the state hold (and use) Vermont’s money. With Vermont in control of its own finances, the state could use the money to fund projects that benefit the state and local economies, including granting loans to Vermonters.

More than 20 Vermont towns met this month to weigh the merits of public banking and the response was extremely favorable. By a margin of about 2:1, Vermonters advocated for public banking.

Preliminary calculations conducted by Vermonters for a New Economy indicate that public banking would be a boon for the state. The group estimates that the program would create more than 2,500 jobs and generate about $350 million annually. Considering that Vermont is a state with only 600,000 citizens, that’s a 1.26% boost in overall growth.

Vermont citizens also liked the idea of severing ties with Wall Street banks. For example, many Vermonters are disappointed to learn that their money is held by banks that are currently lobbying for the Keystone Pipeline, a project understandably opposed by residents in one of the nation’s greenest states. Additionally, though the bank would turn big profits, that wouldn’t be the sole motivation. For that reason, the state bank would not make risky, economy-crashing investments like the big-name corporate banks.

“A public bank for Vermont would create jobs and allow Vermonters to take control over our financial destiny at a time when everyone agrees that Wall Street’s corporate commercial banking model is deeply flawed at best,” said Rob Williams, a Vermont resident who supports the proposal.

Those afraid of whether public banking will actually work need look no further than North Dakota. The Peace Garden State is a pioneer in public banking, first establishing the institution 99 years ago. The Bank of North Dakota exists to help the state fund large projects, as well as offer inexpensive loans to students, businesses and farmers. Between 2000-2009, the bank pushed $300 million in earnings back to the state’s treasury. The financial stability and cushion that public banking affords the state has been credited with making North Dakota one of the states to best weather the recession in the past five years.

(Source: This is a short version of Care2.com original article here)

1% Jokes and Plutocrats In Drag

The colorful narrative of journalist Kevin Roose, as he crashes a Wall Street Secret Society Black-Tie Event:

“Getting in was shockingly easy — a brisk walk past the sign-in desk, and I was inside cocktail hour. Immediately, I saw faces I recognized from the papers. I picked up an event program and saw that there were other boldface names on the Kappa Beta Phi membership roll — among them, then-Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, Home Depot billionaire Ken Langone, Morgan Stanley bigwig Greg Fleming, and JPMorgan Chase vice chairman Jimmy Lee. Any way you count, this was one of the most powerful groups of business executives in the world. (Since I was a good 20 years younger than any other attendee, I suspect that anyone taking note of my presence assumed I was a waiter.)

I hadn’t counted on getting in to the Kappa Beta Phi dinner, and now that I had gotten past security, I wasn’t sure quite what to do. I wanted to avoid rousing suspicion, and I knew that talking to people would get me outed in short order. So I did the next best thing — slouched against a far wall of the room, and pretended to tap out emails on my phone.

After cocktail hour, the new inductees – all of whom were required to dress in leotards and gold-sequined skirts, with costume wigs – began their variety-show acts.

[…]

 

*Kevin’s true identity is found*

I wasn’t going to be bribed off my story, but I understood their panic.  Here, after all, was a group that included many of the executives whose firms had collectively wrecked the global economy in 2008 and 2009. And they were laughing off the entire disaster in private, as if it were a long-forgotten lark. (Or worse, sing about it — one of the last skits of the night was a self-congratulatory parody of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” called “Bailout King.”) These were activities that amounted to a gigantic middle finger to Main Street and that, if made public, could end careers and damage very public reputations.

[…]

 

*Kevin’s Final Conclusions*

The first and most obvious conclusion was that the upper ranks of finance are composed of people who have completely divorced themselves from reality. No self-aware and socially conscious Wall Street executive would have agreed to be part of a group whose tacit mission is to make light of the financial sector’s foibles. Not when those foibles had resulted in real harm to millions of people in the form of foreclosures, wrecked 401(k)s, and a devastating unemployment crisis.

The second thing I realized was that Kappa Beta Phi was, in large part, a fear-based organization. Here were executives who had strong ideas about politics, society, and the work of their colleagues, but who would never have the courage to voice those opinions in a public setting. Their cowardice had reduced them to sniping at their perceived enemies in the form of satirical songs and sketches, among only those people who had been handpicked to share their view of the world. And the idea of a reporter making those views public had caused them to throw a mass temper tantrum.

The last thought I had, and the saddest, was that many of these self-righteous Kappa Beta Phi members had surely been first-year bankers once. And in the 20, 30, or 40 years since, something fundamental about them had changed. Their pursuit of money and power had removed them from the larger world to the sad extent that, now, in the primes of their careers, the only people with whom they could be truly themselves were a handful of other prominent financiers.

Perhaps, I realized, this social isolation is why despite extraordinary evidence to the contrary, one-percenters like Ross keep saying how badly persecuted they are. When you’re a member of the fraternity of money, it can be hard to see past the foie gras to the real world.

 

(Read the full article at NYMag.com here)