Max Blumenthal Reports to the UN on Conditions in Venezuela, Corporate Media Continues to Support Intervention Without Question

Max Blumenthal video from YouTube linked here.

This clip linked above is footage of journalist Max Blumenthal, who independently went to Venezuela, funding his own report to the UN. Of course, once there he was confronted with very different conditions than reports by US cable news outlets would have us believe.

As an attempt to keep this post brief (ish) I will allow readers to check the video out for themselves. Please leave feedback and thoughts in the comments section. The Venezuela coup is a story I’ll be writing more about.

Meanwhile, CNN and the other corporate stations are promoting fear, war and basically not doing their jobs as investigators. The only time the questions get “tough” is when someone like Tulsi Gabbard – a veteran in Congress who is calling out the war machine – gets interviewed. It is then that their support for US government talking points and forced regime change in Syria and Venezuela become painfully obvious.

I vaguely remember being taught in Civics class that the media was the fourth branch of the govt, conceivably to act as a check on corruption and speak truth to power. When CNN, FOX, MSNBC and talk show hosts like Colbert and Meagan McCain ALL agree on something, your BS radar should go off.

I don’t watch broadcast news every day and I’m actually a lot less stressed. I’m not less-informed than others I know. They repeat the same stories all day anyway.

I do regularly read through longer form printed books and original source documents, which helps educate me but I get that this may not fit into your lifestyle.

The best way to stay informed, I find, is to find your emotional blind spot and keep checking it. We all have biases. Emotional, political. Listen to people you disagree with. No one says you have to adopt those ideas but unpacking the points that trigger you can be an extremely valuable exercise. As either Aristotle or Tupac said, “Know thyself lest ye wreck thyself…”

Once a month I cram all my media snippets and desired C-Span coverage with a full-day binge on YouTube, carefully selecting smaller doses of corporate news. It’s more for a point of reference, a place to begin.

During their respective interviews this month with the aforementioned Tulsi Gabbard, McCain, along with her View co-hosts, and Colbert took interestingly similar approaches. Though the View was certainly more aggressive, they asked Ms. Gabbard pretty much the same line of questioning.

I compared this to other coverage of Gabbard in the MSM and found more of the same. There was a CNN town hall with Dana Bash and a MSNBC interview with Gabbard that went predictably off the rails. What I saw was TV hosts badgering an absolutely poised Gabbard on Syria and Venezuela in particular.

I found Colbert somewhat aloof in his segment, but Ms. McCain was literally glaring in anger, embarrassingly unable to conceal her distaste for Gabbard, whom she called an “Assad apologist”.

Glaringly obvious is the omission by both McCain and Colbert regarding other key world dictators, or the ongoing genocide in Yemen. Nor do they broach the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, which, to be fair,  is loaded with intricacies that may not be suitable for a short interview but by definition IS an actual humanitarian crisis.

Selective outrage over people in Syria dying while ignoring the fact that the US covertly funded both sides in the Syrian opposition since 2011 is 100% by design. The US has been covertly toppling world leaders and fomenting discord abroad since the 60’s. Once destabilized, our key corporate players move in and quickly privatize assets. Rinse and repeat.

Why does the Pentagon support and partner continuously with Saudi Arabia, a brutal regime committing mass genocide in Yemen right now? My guess is money and oil, but more specifically I have read that vast oil reserves in Syria near Israel’s Golan Heights area are at stake. Also there’s desire to build a pipeline through Syria and compete with Russia for Europe’s oil business.

When we take ownership of the fact that these are large-scale business maneuvers taking place we will be less susceptible to media manipulations that are specifically designed to build public support in the name of “freedom”.

It’s vital to recognize the rhetoric of war that has seeped into our daily vernacular, coupled with actual perpetual war since 9/11 is normalizing civilian murder and numbing us out. We talk about spreading democracy but it is and always has been about oil. Otherwise we would not ignore the other very real humanitarian crises I mentioned.

Dropping bombs on the already terrorized citizens of Syria is not a path to success or humanitarian at all. If the US feels strongly enough that Assad is a threat to national security or that he broke international law (something the US does all the time, incidentally) then get a tactical team in there and haul his ass out. Take him to court, or just shoot him if you must but the idea that bombimg  a country to get one guy is inefficient and cruel.

Fun fact: Venezuela has an ocean of oil reserves, reportedly more than the Saudis. The notion that the US “attempted” to send humanitarian aid to an ungrateful Maduro is ludicrous and flat-out arrogant if you think about it, especially since it’s the sanctions imposed by the US that have crippled Venezuela’s economy in the first place. In previous years the US tried to overthrow former President Hugo Chavez without success, and Chavez would not bend to international pressure to privatize the rich assets of Venezuela.

This leads me to a side note about a weird hobby I have: I enjoy tracking Department of Defense third-party contract spending in a little Excel spreadsheet. I don’t get the numbers every day because – surprise surprise – the website doesn’t have downloadable XML data, forcing me to laboriously pick through wordy HTML text posted under separate hyperlinks for each day. Now let me assure you: the spending is not for food or to improve the VA. Spending usually caps under a billion per day but I’ve tracked it as high as 1.6 billion for just a single day’s contract awards.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon gets audited just once in the past 20 years, and even with $21 trillion unaccounted for, there’s absolutely no sign of a slow down in spending. Like an robotic pantomime of Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, the machine is fully in charge. It requires no effort or oversight to keep building its weapons. It operates like a cancer and holds no political allegiances. It’s only allegiance is to profit.

Notice when somebody talks about education or healthcare the conversation becomes “how can we afford that?” So pie in the sky, you dreamers! The media and our corporate owners are bargain shoppers when it comes to spending our tax money on us.

Nobody EVER asks where the money for the next warhead is coming from. That’s the sign of a dysfunctional society! Corporate media is sponsored by Lockheed Martin and Boeing – they even make commercials. Why? Am I buying a jet?

You can not expect this wholly corporatized media to provide ethical checks on itself at this point, period. They are institutions with a fiduciary bottom line. With the plethora of information available, bombarding us with constant dinging and alerts, it’s annoying that figuring out what’s truly going on is like having another job. Freedom is not free: touché.


***Journalist Abby Martin of the Empire Files has also done some fearless reporting on what’s happening in Venezuela. Do look her up on YouTube or FB if you are interested in this topic.

****I’ll be following up this post to with two more, continuing this topic with some other ideas I haven’t fully flushed out yet. I’ve been keeping a list of journalists and whistleblowers who’ve caught my attention. Some of whom have left the corporate MSM and I believe have great integrity. Their stories inform us about the ways in which our country censors information.

I also have outlined another post regarding the scientific community at large, which I believe deserves a bit more scrutiny rather than blind faith.

WikiLeaks, Roger Stone, and More: Abby Martin Interviews Randy Credico

Great interview by one of my favorite journalists, the fearless Abby Martin of The Empire Files.


Also timely and enlightening is Chris Hedges’ conversation with Rachel Giese on CBC Radio last week. Hedges is a former NY Times War reporter and the author of several books including his latest, America, The Farewell Tour, which he discuss at length with Giese.

Listen to the entire interview here.

Click here to go to the CBC Radio page for this conversation, which includes a quick excerpt of Hedges and other “extras”, such as Hedges response to why he worked for the RT network.  

Support The Empire Files and independent journalism: 




Lawyers and 9/11 Victims’ Families File Petition for Federal Grand Jury Investigation



Photo Credit: Malachy Beare

Seventeen years after 9/11, the topic of truth and justice still remains a contentious one among many Americans. I have been researching and studying evidence for over a year now and I am always learning new things. The evidence is overwhelming, compelling and maddening. In the beginning, I’d sometimes share my discoveries with others, but the condescending looks and disbelief I encountered were discouraging, so I stopped.

It bothered me, though. Why weren’t my family and friends as fascinated by this evidence as I was? Why was I meeting so much resistance? I was shocked at the number of people who brought up the ridiculous Popular Mechanics article debunking the 9/11 truth movement. Really folks? That’s the sum total of your investigative interest in the crime of the century? There are over 3,000 architects and engineers who have compiled scientific evidence into academic presentations for 9/11 justice and one Popular Mechanics article is the apparent Bible of the resistance. Most people I have spoken to have not looked at any evidence at all, yet insist that I must prove to them unequivocally, in 5 minutes or less, the whos, whats, and whys of this very complex chain of events.

In the end I had to stop pushing people to look at the evidence because I realized to accept that evidence was to accept something truly horrific about the constructs of our society, our safety, our world, our American truth. For a while, I accepted that people must come to the 9/11 evidence when they are ready and be responsible for their own education on these matters. Running around and beating people over the head with it only made me look crazy anyway. The truth movement certainly has its fair injection of nutcases, I’m well aware.

Yes, it takes time. More than most of you have, believe me – my examination has been exhaustive and I went down a lot of rabbit holes I shouldn’t have. By doing that, however, I also learned to spot the “fake” truthers. Those that put the craziest 9/11 theories out there, like stories about hologram planes, in order to inject hyperbole into the discourse and thereby discredit the credible evidence gatherers as part of the lunatic fray.

Having educated myself I continue to keep up with justice efforts and new evidence updates, which brings me to today’s unearthing of this grand jury petition by the Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry, filed back in July and completely blacked out by the media. One would think something as substantial as this would be widely covered.

I tried several search engines using “9/11 grand jury investigation” and came up with nothing from ABC, NBC, CNN, FOX, Washington Post or the New York Times. The most comprehensive official effort to redress the faulty claims of the 9/11 Commission and NIST has no national news coverage whatsoever. For those new to this, the 9/11 Commission report and the National Institute of Science & Technology reports were the Bush administration’s woefully handicapped investigations, initiated two years after 9/11 and riddled with errors and omissions. (By comparison, Pearl Harbor investigations began one day after the attack and the investigation into the assignation of JFK began one week later.)

From the petition executive summary:  “A primary focus of the Lawyers’ Committee is government accountability for the diligent investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the crimes related to 9/11 (whether those responsible are foreign or domestic individuals, corporations, or government entities).”

Also: “If any crime ever warranted a full special grand jury inquiry, the mass murder of thousands on our nation’s soil on 9/11 clearly does.” This petition is backed by “more than a dozen” family members (I could not find their names), 118 witnesses and over 100 NY Firefighters, listed in the Exhibits.

Some of the highlights from the exhibits are:

• Seismic evidence
• Witness and professional testimony from 100 NY firefighters
• Nano-thermite residue in samples from the debris
• Official explanation of the collapse violates scientific laws of motion
• Testimony from WTC worker William Rodriguez who experienced an explosion below him before the plane hit the building
• Near-symmetrical collapse of Tower 1, 2, and building 7

In reflecting upon the mere dozen or so family members who have signed on to this recent grand jury petition, one might consider that figure rather low. However, let us not forget the U.S. government has effectively gagged more than 5,500 people via the $7 billion Victim Compensation Fund, which prohibited beneficiaries from seeking legal redress. In other words, the U.S. government – before even forming the 9/11 Commission and investigating 9/11 – paid off families (those most likely to be interested in finding out exactly what happened) and legally prevented them from pressing for answers.

“It was…executing a government policy to shield from legal consequence two corporations that had failed to protect hundreds of their paying customers from being incinerated by suicidal maniacs. It was an unprecedented role for Kenneth Feinberg, the special master of the fund: He had to persuade thousands of angry, grief-stricken families to accept a sum that he himself would determine in exchange for waiving their right to sue United Airlines or American Airlines, the Port Authority, the architects of the World Trade Center, the United States government, the city of New York, or any other domestic entity.” – NY Magazine, “Holding Out” 9/27/2011

It’s unclear how quickly the NY district attorney will act upon this petition. The Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 inquiry is happy to give this some time, but with the former law firm partner of Rudy Guiliani as the current U.S. attorney, skepticism would be wise.

Perhaps this grand jury push will bolster families who previously pushed Congress to unanimously support bill S.2040 – Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act back in 2016, which addresses a 1976 law that gives other countries broad immunity from American lawsuits. It amends the law to allow for nations to be sued in federal courts if they are found to have played any role in terrorist attacks that killed Americans on home soil. It also allows Americans to direct financial claims against those who funded the attacks. (See Congress passes bill letting 9/11 victims sue Saudi Arabia, in face of veto threat and Congress Votes to Override Obama Veto on 9/11 Victims Bill.)

The bill was vetoed by Obama, who said it would present a threat to national security. Of course, we never question national security when we pen arms deals with Saudi Arabia. In fact, back in 2010 the U.S. and Saudis agreed to what was at that time, largest arms sale in American history estimated at $60.5 billion dollars. Another curious fact is that right after S.2040 passed in 2016, President Trump made his first foreign presidential visit not to Canada or Mexico, but to the Saudis, who welcomed him with much fanfare and inked yet another arms deal which seems to contrast starkly with the message that we need to hold terrorists accountable for their actions, especially those on U.S. soil. (See U.S. Approves $1.4 Billion Military Sale to Saudi Arabia to get acquainted with the details.)

Are arms deals benefiting Lockheed Martin more important than justice for the citizens of the United States of America? In 2010, several mainstream outlets’ reaction to Obama’s deal was seen as positive. In the wake of passing the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, The Hill, Bloomberg, and The Washington Post all had largely neutral or positive views of the arms deal, with The Hill basically saying that American defense manufacturers were hurting financially and could use this needed boost. No mainstream press outlet seemed to notice the hypocrisy of arming one of the most repressive regimes in the Middle East, especially on the heels of passing a bill that purportedly would be used to sue that regime.

It doesn’t make sense, the thought of holding Saudi Arabia accountable (widely touted by broadcast media at the time when discussing the bill) even though their involvement hasn’t legally been proven – and all the while arming these same folks. Perhaps it didn’t raise any eyebrows because the U.S. has been Saudi Arabia’s top arms supplier for decades, supplying more than half the nation’s combat aircrafts. Perhaps it was not part of the approved talking points of broadcast journalists. But in the scope of 9/11 truth it warrants scrutiny.

I hope I’ve given you enough morsels to chew on for a bit. If you take away nothing else, I hope you’ll consider this: we never question the money for war mongering and weaponry like we question 9/11 “conspiracy theorists”. There is too much to unpack in one blog post, but I’ll be updating this post later with some of my favorite 9/11 sources for truth-seekers. In the meantime, join me and 2677 others in support of the grand jury petition here: GRAND JURY PETITION SUPPORTERS.


There are loads of websites, authors and documentaries out discussing 9/11 but not all of them are credible. Here are my picks for what I believe to be excellent sources for further inquiry.


Academic Papers:

Beyond Misinformation: What Science Says about the Destruction of World Trade Center 1,2, and 7 (PDF File, Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth)

118 Witnesses: The Firefighters’ Testimonies to Explosions in the Twin Towers

The Propaganda Preparation of 9/11: The Mysterious Death of John O’Neill, FBI Counter-Terror Chief in Charge of Osama bin Laden Investigation (PDF File)

The Collapse of WTC 7: A Re-Examination of the “Simple Analysis” Approach

AE911Truth: Technical Articles – All (downloadable)

Government-sponsored reports: basis for the official explanation for 9/11.

The 9/11 Commission Report (PDF file)

Declassified – 28 pages redacted from original Commission report

NIST Final Report on the Collapse of WTC 7 (PDF)



National Security Archives

James Perloff, 9/11 Simplified

Pilots for 9/11 Truth

9/11 Review: A Resource for Understanding the 9/11/01 Attack

Patriots Question 9/11



Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth : Anatomy of a Great Deception

AE911truth YouTube Channel: Experts Speak Out: A series of interviews parsed out into one playlist.


The Corbett Report: a few one-hour documentary-style shows on various aspects of 9/11

NSA Whistleblower Supports 9/11 Truth – William Binney and Richard Gage on Global Research TV

Who Was Really Behind the 9/11 Attacks?

9/11 War Games



Philip Marshall – The Big Bamboozle: 9/11 and the War on Terror

**Philip Marshall was a veteran airline pilot and government “special activities” contract pilot before publishing 3 books and penning a 4th before his untimely end. Marshall was found dead along with his two children and dog back in 2013, just before the release of his 4th book. The deaths were execution-style, yet ruled a murder-suicide by the police. Marshall’s hard drive with his manuscript went missing. There’s a 30 minute show that tells this story well: The Curious Case of Philip Marshall. The Big Bamboozle is detailed and sobering.

Christopher Lee Bollyn – Solving 9-11: The Deception That Changed the World

David Ray Griffin – Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory

John Perkins – New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Michael Ruppert – Crossing the Rubicon




(Those interested in digging deeper with me into defense funding will be interested in this additional sidebar:

The top five contractors for U.S. government are (in order) Lockheed Martin, The Boeing Co., General Dynamics Corp., Raytheon Co., and Northrop Grumman Corp. and in 2017 the grand total of taxpayer-funded contracts that were awarded to them was a whopping $337, 703, 070, 771 – source data linked below.

In future posts, I’ll be detailing government expenditures and contract payouts and sharing my analysis of the data I’ve been collecting. Linked below are two spreadsheets I’ve been tracking data on. Again, still a work in progress so please feel free to message me with ideas or if you spot any errors.)

Source Data: Top 100 Contractors

Top Five Companies Receiving Taxpayer Funded Contracts

Federal Procurement Data


The Nostalgia Tour I Won’t Be Attending

The Clintons

Hold on to your tin hats America, the Clintons are back. The dynamic duo that just won’t go away is going on tour – together! A 6-month speaking tour will launch soon, with the Clintons performing their usual shtick in 13 cities.

A description of the event says: “Attendees will have the opportunity to hear one-of-a-kind conversations with the two leaders as they tell their stories from some of the most impactful moments in modern history…” I can’t imagine these two getting up and telling folks across this country the hard truth about history.

It must have been an oversight that they didn’t call me for creative input. No matter. I’ve drawn up a list of anecdotes in a little hypothetical dialogue here. Topics I think the American people in all 13 cities would just love to hear about again and again.

Like, how about that time you tightened up those pesky mandatory sentencing laws for non-violent criminals? That was a hoot! And hey, I STILL crack up when I think about all the manufacturing jobs we sent to Mexico.

Ooh ooh! Please tell me we’re going to retell the financial fairy tales about the great dismantling of the Glass-Steagall Act (see the Riegle-Neal Act of 1994 and GLBA of 1999 for more).  I just get downright wistful when I look back on how well deregulating the banks worked out for the American people. And let’s see…they repaid us by bundling predatory mortgages into A+ rated financial instruments for the markets (A+ my ass but the sheeple don’t need to know that..), THEN pulled the ol’ one-two-magoo and short sold their own stock. Betting against themselves! That is rich, oh how we laughed.. those bankers are a wily bunch.

It was sheer genius how they stole everyone’s pensions and foreclosed on homes. And I’ll tell you, it’s because we respect these bankers’ game so much that the American taxpayer bailed them out. No one is complaining about the austerity and the wage stagnation – and if they are, bankers can’t hear them from the 35th floor anyway.

Now that we’re really talking – remind me, how many countries had regime leaders who toppled under your watch? Let’s see, Honduras, Columbia, Bosnia, Libya…we’re still working on Venezuela…I’m running out of fingers. But God damn those Che-lovers were stubborn. Venezuela is prime now though – Obama has been funding the minority opposition creating virtual havoc over there! They’re fired up! Gee, US hegemony is the greatest.

Another way to have fun whilst spreading the fertile seeds of democracy is by funding terrorists, right? Like Al Qaeda? Have any photos? Don’t be shy about putting up a little collage in the entry points at theaters. It will be a kicky conversation-starter.

Let’s not leave the African continent out. I’m sure the Sudanese people would love to discuss the bombing of the al-Shifa Pharmaceutical Factory, which completely obliterated medical stocks in this impoverished country. So what if they had to pay quadruple for outsourced drugs after that? Mr. C had faulty intelligence, it wasn’t his fault. Jeez, people are such complainers.

Ooh! You’ve got to tell attendees about Haiti. Tell the ticket-holders to your little 13-city circus: how did the Clinton Foundation manage to give $30 million in funds to contractor friends, and yet 70% of Haitians today still don’t have direct access to potable water!? That must be a hell of a yarn; hang on while I grab my tea.

I do have one question Billary – can I call you that? And you may not like this idea, but hear me out. Can you bill this as an apology tour? I think that’s the Christian thing to do. There’s a sub-story to all this historical “remembering when” that I think the both of you are uniquely qualified to share. The seeds of corporate fascism and today’s Trump presidency were sown on your watch. Neither of you strike me as the self-reflective type so I’ll explain:

Let’s hearken back to a time when Democrats were just sick of losing elections. It was a dark hour in liberal history.  Picture it: 1988. The Miracle of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis gets chided for being a “card carrying member of the ACLU” and was perceived as “soft” on defense. George Bush’s team was trying their best to get Dukakis’ mental health records out to the public and did a good job painting him as unstable. (Let’s face it: Kitty didn’t help.)

The Bush campaign struck political gold though, when an ad was run about Willie Horton, the first degree murderer from MA who committed another murder while out on a weekend furlough. Aye, twas the nail in Zorba’s coffin. It’s rather telling that in the era of the shoulder-pad, any whiff of sympathy for the plight of the oppressed the ACLU represented would read as a negative. The 80’s was a time of a glorified Wall Street, a time when women still expected to be sexually harassed in the workplace; a time of men being “tough” on defense and crime. Anything else was political suicide. God Bless the patriarchy, but I don’t miss the 80’s.

Vowing never to lose the Presidency of the United States again, Democrats became centrists, and led by the soundtrack of Fleetwood Mac, you crazy kids entered the 1993 presidential race. That shift to the middle seemed wise indeed at the time, and you, Mr. Bill, were as charming as Rhett Butler, a quality ol’ Bushy lacked. Sure, you took a hard line on crime, but you played the saxophone!

It was a glorious time. We Americans were transfixed by you Bill, and fair is fair: liberals co-signed your devilish ways like an abused spouse, making excuses for you any time you let us down. We even tolerated your cheatin’ on Hill’, mostly because she annoyed us, and didn’t let it get to us that you just might be a sexual predator.

The Clinton years gave America a deregulated SEC, FCC and ended consumer protections like Glass-Steagall, but most of us didn’t even know what those things were! How could the average American know that your irresponsible ways would sow the seeds for the 2008 financial crash, for the monopolization of the media which would eventually asphyxiate journalism, or for the over-policing that would fill American prisons to the brim with exploitable free labor for corporations? America’s love of identity politics and worship of symbol rather than substance is what greases the wheel of politics today.

But Bill, you got a little out of your depth with NAFTA. Voters may not be fiscally astute, but the de-industrialization of this country, that is etched on middle America’s memory. I know it must have been water under the bridge for America’s favorite power couple long ago, but I think it could have had a teensy hand in Hillary’s 2016 loss. Have you ever visited Camden, New Jersey? Pine Ridge, North Dakota? Anderson, Indiana? Probably not. Anyhoo, those Republican gerrymandering sons-of-bitches didn’t help either.

It turns out that pivoting to the middle sold out the working class people Democrats purportedly represented, but winning elections again was exciting, I’m not going to lie to you Billary. I was too young to vote but I instinctively disliked both Reagan and Bush. Even as a youngster, I had the makings of a solid future in giving the middle finger to authority. And though I knew absolutely nothing about policy, I was a big supporter of both of you. I even read a few of your books, and was especially inspired by you Hillary, back in the day.

The American people love a good show, and I was no different: I bet on my horse to WIN. I believed Hillary every time she went on the news and inferred conspiracy rather than take ownership. I knew those bad Republicans were just out to get you! Turns out that’s partially true but I was a blind devotee and like every other blowhard in America who seeks confirmation bias to validate my political ethos, I never questioned my loyalty. Looking back, it was an easier time: Google didn’t exist yet.

Do me a solid Hil’ and Bill: at least take some time, as I have, to reflect about this pivot to the center and take some ownership in front of American audiences rather than using this speaking gig to bolster your own demagogic images. Centrism has effectively pushed the entire Republican party to the right. Today’s establishment Democrats are entrenched in the middle, supported by the same corporate interests that polluted the once reasonable Republicans and ruined this country.

What happened? Liberals used to provide a much-needed balance to Capitalism, which inevitably grows like a cancer and devours everything in sight without some voice of reason. I know, I know, checks on power are soooo September 10th. What happened to the party of the working class? Equivocating and shifting to the center, saying certain measures of reform were impossible and thereby settling for the incremental, if anything at all. And all the while the Republican party never yielded an inch, and in fact has veered so far to the right that today’s Republican party bears no comparison to the Reagan years or anything before it. The fringe is running the asylum now, and they were birthed out of frustration to terrible mismanagement that has more to do with Democrats than Democrats would like to admit.

It’s easy to call today’s Republicans out: they do not conform to the PC. They are evangelical fighters who stick to their guns, pun intended. Yet Obama followed up after the Bush Jr. howdy-doody rodeo and continued to codify Bush’s damaging policies and policies in which our golden Clinton administration had previously firmly rooted itself. It was depressing. But few liberals called him out, perhaps out of relief to be rid of Bush, perhaps because of Obama’s chocolate charm. Yes, Obama possessed a gift for public speaking and charm that out-paced yours Billy boy, a terrific thing to watch.

Bush’s dismantling of the 4th Amendment with the Patriot Act got re-affirmed under Obama, with an additional burst of gusto from the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, a section of which was so invasive it prompted a group of investigative journalists to sue the Obama administration to take the section out lest the executive branch should unleash it’s power upon the American citizenry.

In the wake of criminal banking practices that crashed our economy in 08′, Obama’s bank bailout came immediately after his inauguration of “hope and change”, quickly dashing any hopes of change I may have held for justice. These bastards took bonuses from the taxpayers and did NOT reinvest the bailouts into helping mortgage holders or building back the economy.

I could go on ad nauseum but the point is, since the 90’s, Democrats have continued to sell themselves as the moral voice of our great nation while enacting the very policies that have brought us to our knees. That is some Ivy League level BS right there and yet the sheeple acolytes remain as devoted to the Red/Blue-two-party charade as we ever were. Good Republicans and Democrats alike still fight like cats and dogs over their favorite politicians, defending the honor of this country’s diluted, remorseless and dare I say criminal executive branch.

The American people do love their Clintons, oh yes they do. I suspect you two already know that, which is why you’re running this timely tour. You can probably guess, I’m not exactly an enthusiast but I clearly remember being proud and excited to vote for Bill in my youth. He was my first, and you know how that goes… I guess I saw both of you through rose colored glasses. Not so much now, but let’s face it – having the wool pulled over my eyes all those years was making my face itch. As they say in manufacturing plants in Mexico, no bueno.

I beg of you Billary, try to think of us when you’re out there on the road. You’ve both had your dances on the dark side. Somehow I doubt you’ll heed my creative counsel and go your own way though; the show must go on.

So America, if you’re still reading… I know you’re all pumped up from the adderall and  another round of Yankee-Doodle-Yackee from the King and Queen of foreign donor relations with oppressive regimes sounds like just the panacea for your Trumpian malaise. But I warn you: this myopic view of our current situation has a steep price. I ask you, Liberal, to repent your ways now. The hour is at hand. And if changing your mind about Democrats and political parties is not your thing, I get it. I hope you enjoy it, I really do, but I’m going to sit out the celebrational side show with the surprise guest appearance by Oprah. I’m tired.

And hey – if you miss out on the Clinton’s speaking tour, fear not. A Broadway play is in the works about the happy couple. It’s true! It’s too early to tell if this is meant to be historical or hysterical but stay tuned, my friends. Stay tuned.

The Clinton years…aah. Those were the days.


Bill and Hillary Clinton set to begin 6-month speaking tour – USA TODAY


Federal Prisons Continue Contracting with Private Industry // Clinton-Era Setencing Rules That Just Won’t Die

The Trump administration has quickly abandoned the Obama administration’s resolve to no longer contract with for-profit private prisons. Companies like The GEO Group and CoreCivic Inc. lead the industry and have contracts with the federal government, including the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Obama announced the move away from the private prison system last September. It came shortly after a Mother Jones undercover investigative report (June 2016) took Americans inside one of the country’s most dangerous, run by Corrections Corporation of America in Alabama.

With Trump green-lighting private prisons in the federal system once again, there seems to be little hope that for-profit prison’s history of cutting corners (CO pay, overcrowding, safety violations, keeping inmates after their sentences are up) will see desperately-needed reform.

Already a source of major profits for shareholders who make more money from higher occupancy rates, many major companies (Whole Foods, AT&T, Walmart) now utilize prison labor, somewhat under the radar from the public. Under scrutiny for paying wages as low as 16 cents/hr in some cases, the rules surrounding fair pay for inmate labor favor businesses rather than protect laborers – and I’m guessing (no data on this) it impacts American jobs and salaries.

There are laws that govern prison wages, such as the Percy Amendment, but these are outdated. Private companies contracting prison labor must meet minimum wage requirements or something close to it,  but there are tax breaks that companies get for using this labor. Laborers which are not declared as official “employees” and thus do not have to pay unemployment taxes, for example.

Additionally, up to 80% of prison pay is deducted from their checks for various fees that go back to the prison, like room & board. This seems like double dipping to me, at least in the case of private prisons since they are already given a guaranteed stipend from the state they’re in based on minimum contracted occupancy levels. Also if there is a room and board charge only for those who work, it is unfair and inconsistently applied.

I have firsthand observed how stressful it is for inmates to successfully assimilate back into society and meet financial obligations upon release. Finding a place to live, meeting the terms of parole and fines imposed by the courts are heavy responsibilities for someone with no income. Recidivism could be greatly reduced if the corporations leveraging prison labor were forced to acknowledge them as actual employees, making prisoners eligible for unemployment benefits upon release.

And that brings us to this past Friday, when a two-page memo was released by Attorney General Jeff Sessions instructing US attorneys to, among other things, “immediately” adhere to mandatory sentencing guidelines which have been proven ineffective.

He asserted in a statement to the public that he was looking to punish drug traffickers, but the Clinton-era crackdown on crime has long been proven a total disaster. Minimum mandatory sentencing laws disproportionately jailed people of color and non-violent drug users who pose no threat to public safety.

Former AG Eric Holder said the easing of mandatory minimums for non violent offenders has enabled the Justice Department to jail more high-level drug dealers.

Muddying the prison pot are Session’s investments, which might prove a serious conflict of interest. I’m trying to track down if he followed up on orders to divest once he took the AG office, but the jury is still out…here’s what I did find:

Sessions has considerable holdings in Vanguard, the largest purveyor of funds with investment in the private prison industry.

  • iVanguard Total Stock Market Index Admiral Shares – consists of both GEO Group and CoreCivic, Inc. stocks worth over $164,000,000. Sessions investment value is from $15,001 – $50,000.
  • Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Admiral Shares – same fund as above, but Sessions lists investment value between $1,001 – $15,000.
  • Vanguard Small-Cap Index Fund Admiral Shares – consisits of stocks from The GEO Group and CoreCivic, Inc. valued at over $173,500,000. Sessions shows investments valued from $15,000 – $50,000.
  • Vanguard Total International Stock Index Admiral Shares – contains GEO Holdings Corporation stock valued at over $4,400,000. Sessions owns $1,001 – $15,000 of this fund.

Vice Motherboard reported in January (2017), Sessions failed to disclose the 600-acres of subsurface oil and mineral reserves located beneath a wildlife refuge in Alabama. I’m not super-wealthy, so I have no idea what it’s like to completely forget I have land worth more than I could dare to guess. But Sessions does not adhere to the same strict rule of law for himself as he is ready to impose on others.

I am not aware of any reports that he divested from his Vanguard funds listed above, and if he hasn’t it wouldn’t surprise me. It’s a story I’m watching with a weary eye.

The two-page Sessions memo is linked via NPR: