'RATS' spelled backwards is 'STAR'
GIVE PEACE A CHANCE
The Dove of Peace flies from site to site through as many countries as possible. Please help it make a line around the globe by taking it with you to your site, by giving it to someone for their site, by passing it on to another continent, or to the conflict areas of the world...
My thanks to Cosmic Rose
Email A page for humor, truth, social and political commentary, and philosophical thought. Know more, think more, and laugh more.
A NOSE BY ANY OTHER NAME WOULD SMELL AS WELL
A New Anthem for Our Time
A suggestion for new lyrics appropriate for 21st-Century America.
Obama's Blueprint for Change
A full and complete description of all his policy positions
Friend, Do You Like Kids?
A pictorial essay created by a friend of mine from China. No matter what your politics, religion, or country may be, look at it. Think about it. Whatever we might think of other people's governments around the world, the people themselves are basically the same as us. They have the same basic needs, and, like us, want most of all to live and love and raise their children in peace.
We need a way to say 'NO' to war!
Huge Erections are Dangerous
Very tall buildings are unneeded risks
Tweaking the Traffic Environment
Hail, Columbia, and Farewell
GROUCHO SINGS THE BLUES
-Tragedy on the home front
Ties that Bind
TO CHANGE THE WORLD
Ruminations of the Cosmic Rat
A DIGITAL INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE
An easy-to-learn system to transcend languages...can you DIGIT?
READING LISTcourses in alternative thinking
HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY...RESTAURANT AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE...
RAT NOW archives-- older articles.
THE 2018 ELECTION IN ARIZONA
The White Nationalist Threat: Who Are the Alt-Right?
October 1 2017
Trump's Handling of the Virus-- Timeline.
Weapons of Mass Distraction
April 12, 2016
STRANGER THAN FICTION
The Man in the High Castle is a story involving alternate reality. The star of this reality show has his own high castle, a skyscraper known as Trump Tower.
--December 23 2016
The Myths That Gave Us Trump
This is not about the myths that Trump supporters believed. That is another story entirely, which will probably tell itself.
It was the falsehoods that too many non-Trumpists believed that resulted in giving the election away to a candidate who got fewer votes than Romney did in 2012. People who should have been intelligent and educated enough to demand facts, not myths, rumors, and snide cynicism, instead bought the bullshit and sold it to their friends.
Please read the following article:
THE MYTHS DEMOCRATS SWALLOWED THAT COST THEM THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
BY KURT EICHENWALD
Normally, liberals, progressives, humanitarians, human rights advocates, etc., even radical ones, are not followers of most conspiracy theories. It's usually the far right, or alt-right, the paranoid survivalists, the ignorant gold-standard fans, who make up stories about Jewish bankers, new world orders, and lizard people.
That's not to say that there have not been a few inadequately-solved mysteries, some involving fallen buildings.
But during this election many who should know better seemed to lose their capacity for critical thinking. Normally we are quick to point out the irrationality and fact-averse nature of conservative rhetoric. It seems we need to guard against that among our own side of the spectrum, at times when some of us become so focused on the ideal as to react emotionally against the reality of compromise which democracy imposes.
Many of those who participated in the Clinton-bashing believed that she would surely win anyway, as media were predicting, and saw no harm in their rhetoric, advocating a protest non-vote or useless choice. As we now know, there was a great deal of harm in it.
Failure to vote for the LESSER of two evils is a vote for the GREATER evil.
There are still a few who continue to defend their divisiveness, which now requires saying that maybe Trump won't be as bad as he promised to be. Really?
--cosmic rat November 20, 2016.
The tragedy of NOVEMBER 8 2016
November 10, 2016
EXAMINING THE CRITICISMS OF HILLARY CLINTON
JULY 23, 2016
ELECTION 2016: INFORMATIVE LINKS
Hillary Clinton's political positions
On the Issues
Hillary's Vision for America
Repairing American Capitalism
Our economy produces vast wealth, and fewer and fewer Americans are getting their fair share.
--March 13, 2016
Andrew Gavin Marshall-
insightful chronicles of history and current events.
Egypt Under Empire, Part 3: From Nasser to Mubarak
Global Power Project, Part 8: Banking on Influence with Wells Fargo
Egypt Under Empire, Part 4: Dancing Between Dictatorship and Democracy
Global Power Project, Part 9: Banking on Influence With Morgan Stanley
Aboriginals threatened by present, not past
Probably Possible: A Simple Poem for a Big Problem
TransCanada Corporation - Kings of the Keystone Pipeline: Global Power Project, Part 10
Empire Under Obama, Part 1: Political Language and the 'Mafia Principles' of International Relations
Global Power Project: Exposing the Institute of International Finance, Part 1
Empire Under Obama, Part 2: Barack Obama's Global Terror Campaign
America's Secret Wars in Over 100 Countries Around the World: Empire Under Obama, Part 3
For a different, and I think even more insightful view of the role of Presidents in all this, I suggest this article:
JFK, Obama, and The Unspeakable
The military-industrial complex, more powerful today than ever, imprisons the president. A U.S. president is always accompanied by a military attaché bearing a nuclear code that can incinerate the earth. That gun to the world is a gun to the president. When he accepts the power to kill everyone, the president becomes a prisoner morally and politically to the demands of our national security state. Whether his name is Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, or Barack Obama, once he accepts nuclear power over the world, his permissible movement as president is confined to a very tight space -- tighter than we as citizens might imagine.
Stopping the Next One
Ending a war that has already started is difficult. It usually takes months or years. The leaders who started it seldom are willing to admit they are wrong, even if they know it. It is too horrible a mistake to acknowledge. So, protests must be organized, voters educated and mobilized to replace the leaders with new ones who will correct the mistake. That takes time, and meanwhile deaths mount and destruction spreads.
The time to stop the next war is before it starts. The twisted thinking and the misinformation must be challenged and corrected before they can trigger the plunge into violence. There may still be time to stop a US attack on Syria if rational and knowledgeable voices can be heard.
Leaders in a democracy, before committing an act of war, have at least 3 obligations:
 Listen to the people. Never assume that the people do not understand when given all the facts, nor that they have already decided by having chosen you as a leader. Respect their will on this issue right now.
 Act according to the law. Follow international law, which allows genuine self-defense and provides a means for consensus for actions needed to stop or punish wrongdoing. Legal non-defense action is difficult for a good reason. It can be vetoed by one nation, just as a jury conviction requires all members to agree. That is a needed protection, not an inconvenience to be resented or evaded.
Following American Constitutional law, Congress must authorize the action. Acts of war SHOULD be hard to get approved.
 Consult independent experts. Those with interests in the outcome, and those who believe their job is to justify whatever they think you will decide, will be shouting advice already. Seek out those with the knowledge, but without a stake in the issue. Avoid those with visions of empire, those with prejudices, and those with a love for force.
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity are the kind of experts whose views are worth seeking out and listening to.
Obama's trouble: 12 U.S. Intelligence Officials Tell him It Wasn't Assad
MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: Is Syria a Trap?
We regret to inform you that some of our former co-workers are telling us, categorically, that contrary to the claims of your administration, the most reliable intelligence shows that Bashar al-Assad was NOT responsible for the chemical incident that killed and injured Syrian civilians on August 21, and that British intelligence officials also know this. In writing this brief report, we choose to assume that you have not been fully informed because your advisers decided to afford you the opportunity for what is commonly known as 'plausible denial.'
The memorandum goes on to provide detailed information and analysis that SHOULD be carefully studied before doing anything else.
--cosmic rat September 8, 2013
Too Many Wars I spoke below of the harmful metaphorical wars that we fight among ourselves. Not satisfied by wreaking death and destruction on others outside our borders, we attack our own rights and freedoms. We fail to fully respect freedom of speech, press, belief, and privacy; the human rights of our own people.
Yet the ease with which we allow our politicians to compromise our rights and the equality of our justice is directly related to the calmness with which we assent to our nation's real and deadly aggression against other nations.
Casualties of War - Putting American Casualties in Perspective
This article was written in 2003, so it does not even include the needless mayhem committed in Iraq. The numbers it does include are horrible enough. We know that we send far too many of our own countrymen to their deaths, but we often fail to think of what we have done to others.
In all our major wars we have lost 2,757,196 (up to 2003; add about 5000 since then). Vietnam, a country that never attacked or even threatened ours, lost that many in ONE war, the one we waged against them.
Yet there are still a few, out of misguided, twisted patriotism, who criticize those of us who protested, demonstrated, and spoke out to end that bloody crime against humanity. Millions of us who raised our voices are unknown, ordinary people, but among us were celebrities like Jane Fonda, who courageously risked her acting career to draw national attention to this noble cause. I am proud of her, as I am of Martin Luther King, who also condemned the war, and Abbie Hoffman, and all the other leaders and followers in the cause of peace.
Those who expose wrongdoing; who point out mistakes, are NOT traitors; they are the true patriots, who really love our country and the principles it stands for.
--cosmicrat August 18, 2013
Now there's a war on privacyIt is bad enough that the US has almost constantly been either waging or causing foreign wars thoughout our history, fighting them with boots on the ground, fingers on the buttons, or proxies (other people's boots on the ground), but there are also metaphoric wars on a whole list of things.
The fact that they are not literally wars does not mean they are not serious, and not destructive and dangerous.
We have Republicans waging a war on women, targeting their rights to control their own bodies.
There's the war on drugs, which the drugs are winning, the narcs profiting, and the people are losing.
Then we have the war on terror, which is both absurd and counterproductive. It serves to increase terror by keeping the fear levels high by exaggerating the danger of harm from actual terrorists. It also tends to recruit more terrorists every time one of them, or an innocent bystander, is killed or captured. Of course, this is how it perpetuates itself, to continue supporting the anti-terror industry. Keep Americans afraid, and keep pissing off the extremists.
Growing out of that war, but becoming one of its own, is the war on privacy. It amounts to massive violations of the 4th Amendment, exploiting all forms of electronic communications.
Knowing that this is ocurring, some people wonder why privacy is important; why the authors of the Bill of Rights thought it was important enough to devote a whole Amendment to it. After all, they reason, if I'm not doing anything wrong, why should I care? That line of thinking could be applied to other freedoms as well. If you don't use your freedoms of speech, press, religion, and you're never accused of anything for which you would need a fair trial, why care about any of your rights?
Yet even people who may be apathetic about any or all of these liberties, when they are asked what is good about America, will say: It's a free country. Somehow the idea of being free, and feeling free, is important to almost everyone, even if they don't understand what freedom consists of and how we keep it.
For all of us who DO understand why freedom is important, we need to know exactly how it is being threatened and infringed. That is why we should be grateful to those heroes like Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning who took risks and made great sacrifices to reveal the truth, and to journalists using the free press to inform us all.
Two articles in the Washington Post explain a lot about what is being done.
NSA slides explain the PRISM data-collection program
'The top-secret PRISM program allows the U.S. intelligence community to gain access from nine Internet companies to a wide range of digital information, including e-mails and stored data, on foreign targets operating outside the United States. The program is court-approved but does not require individual warrants...Acquiring data from a new target: The supervisor must endorse the analyst's 'reasonable belief,' defined as 51 percent confidence, that the specified target is a foreign national who is overseas at the time of collection.'
So the safeguard for Americans is merely to require a slightly more than half-sure opinion of two NSA spies that ONE side of a conversation is from a foreigner. And we're expected to believe that even this loose criterion is always followed, trusting those whose job includes deceiving the American people.
Read the whole Post article: the graphic slides are helpful in understanding it. If you would like to download it and read it later: PDF VERSION
The other article reveals the weird thinking of professional spies: DHS warns employees not to read leaked NSA information
'By Josh Hicks, Published: July 15
The Department of Homeland Security has warned its employees that the government may penalize them for opening a Washington Post article containing a classified slide that shows how the National Security Agency eavesdrops on international communications.'
Penalized for reading a NEWSPAPER? If you haven't figured out that ALL our freedoms are interconnected, threatened, and must be protected, think about that.
--cosmicrat July 20, 2013
Are We Apathetic Enough Yet?>
We all know how blatantly and disgustingly anti-women, anti-worker, anti-minority, and generally anti-humanitarian that todays extremist Republicans are. They are virtual parodies of themselves. Stupidly anti-intellectual, they are easy to blame for everything that is wrong with American politics, constantly obstructing anything progressive and constructive.
They would not exist, however, without readily available funding from those whose interests they serve. To be sure, some of the wealthy that support these extremists are just as stupid, except for their ability to make money, but beyond them, behind the scenes, lies another level of influence. They have been the subject of endless conspiracy theories, full of exaggeration and speculation.
The silliness of some theories does not mean they do not exist and wield power, however. The careful, factual research of Andrew Gavin Marshall reveals a great deal about them.
The most famous report issued by the Trilateral Commission in the mid-1970s suggested that due to the popular activism of the 1960s, there was a 'crisis of democracy' that it defined as an 'excess of democracy,' which needed to be reduced in order for 'democracy to function effectively.' According to the Trilateral Commission, what was needed was increased 'apathy and noninvolvement on the part of some individuals and groups' to counter the 'crisis' being caused by 'a highly educated, mobilized, and participant society.
GLOBAL POWER PROJECT, PART 2: IDENTIFYING THE INSTITUTIONS OF CONTROL
The idiotic extremist Republicans serve the corporate elite by keeping progressives busy countering their stupidity, diverting us from paying attention to their worldwide exploitation of both humanity and the environment.
It is no accident that the cost of a college education has, in 30 years, gone from affordable to as costly as a house, requiring huge student loan debts for all but the wealthy, and making education for its own sake impractical. Educated people motivated toward participating in politics are a danger to the elite.
Exploited populations in other parts of the world may rise up and eject the corporate predators. The corporations will only turn to easier targets. It is the American people who hold the key to bringing our multi-national companies under control. We can only do that when we are aware and united voters, enthusiastic participants in the democratic government we are supposed to have.
--cosmicrat July 10, 2013
An open letter to President Obama
June 25, 2013
INTERVENING IN SYRIA WOULD BE SERIOUSLY INSANE
Have we forgotten that it was the Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda, most of them from Saudi Arabia, that did 9/11? Do we really want them winning in Syria?
Most Americans are against involvement, and we need to get loud about it.
There are many issues that need our attention, but this one is the most urgent. We need to tell the President and Congress to BACK OFF of Syria.
Interfering in Syria, including covertly fomenting dissent in the first place, followed by the rhetoric that worsened it, and now supplying the weapons that will only multiply the deaths, is a mistake.
The fault has been thinking of nations as chess pieces in a global power game without understanding the nature of each of them, including the internal balances that are needed for stability, governmentally and socially.
The kind of sectarian warfare that we unleashed in Iraq is already ongoing in Syria. It is not about freedom and democracy. It's about which sect gets the power. A secular government can keep relative peace between them. Take that away, and you get religious extremists on both sides, each trying to eliminate the other.
This article asks the question Is the U.S. Actively Trying to Prolong the Syrian Civil War?
After all, that is exactly what it WILL do by arming the rebels. That is the kind of cynical manipulation that has been used for decades, having no regard for the human lives it ends or ruins, as long as they are elsewhere.
Since its creation in 1947, the CIA has mounted approximately 3,000 major operations and 10,000 minor operations of this nature, every one of them illegal and many of them bloody and gory beyond comprehension. According to former CIA agent John Stockwell (who was involved in several such operations), by 1988, over six million people had been killed as a result.
In an interview with Amy Goodman on March 2, 2007, U.S. General Wesley Clark (Ret.), explained that the Bush Administration planned to take out seven countries in five years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran. While the sequence of invasions seems to have been revised to some extent, the plan appears to be progressing nicely for the psychopathic lords of empire. But wait! The Bush government isn't in power anymore! Obama's in charge now, right? How can the Obama administration be following a foreign policy of subversion and mass murder that was devised under another president's leadership? Unless the president really isn't the 'commander in chief'. Unless the position of the president of the USA is little more than a ceremonial one, and some other group, that transcends changes in administrations, actually dictates government policy. But that wouldn't be democratic, so obviously it's not true.
Or is it?
Syria's Bloody CIA Revolution - A Distraction?
We've done it before to Syria. In 1949 the CIA engineered a coup in Syria, overthrowing its democratic government.
According to Joseph Massad, a professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University, the coup was sponsored by the United States CIA, a conclusion in agreement with other historians such as Professor Douglas Little, and declassified records. The coup is also described by author Irene Gendzier, who states that CIA agents Miles Copeland and Stephen Meade..were directly involved in the coup.
Again, in 1957, we tried it again and got caught red-handed. August 12, 1957
Covert United States foreign regime change actions
This lists only some of the better known ones. There are many more.
Stay out of Other Nations' Civil Wars
The Cato Institute says: This is precisely the sort of conflict America should stay out of. The case against joining the Syrian fratricide is simple yet overwhelming: Americans have nothing at stake that warrants going to war. War should be a last resort, employed for interests that are truly vital. War should not be just another policy choice for impatient internationalists and frustrated social engineers
US should stay out of Syria, American expert warns.
Now you have jihadi fighters on the one hand and Hezbollah on the other, and it really doesn't look like there's much to choose between, Walzer said. It's almost impossible to describe a desirable outcome in this civil war, and if you don't have a desirable outcome, you can't intervene.
United Nations officials say at least 93,000 people had been killed through the end of April in the ongoing Syrian Civil War, and that the number was almost certainly over 100,000 by now.
Considering this, the alleged 150 killed by a chemical weapon are supposed to be a red line? Are they nuts?
Never mind that the chemicals were probably used by the rebels, who have actually been caught with canisters of the stuff.
--cosmicrat June 17, 2013
Stop Monsanto!A long-term toxicology study on pigs fed a mixed GM diet. Adverse effects of GM crops found.
Millions March Against Monsanto: A Global Awakening Covered Up by the Media
Over 2 million people peacefully took to streets around the world to protest the poisoning of the global food supply by the biotech giant, Monsanto.
The public is finally being informed, even if it takes marches and demonstrations to bring attention to the problem.
Monsanto and Co. are quietly trying to take control over the everyday fruit and vegetables we eat.
At least the EU is fighting them, and has recognized the threat Monsanto poses to the world's health and food supply.
Most corporations are greedy, but usually they at least produce something of value, even if they charge too much and pay workers too little.
But Monsanto is the closest thing to a criminal enterprise you can find that is still legal. It shouldn't be legal. This is a company that tries, and often succeeds, to PATENT LIFE. It would be hard to get more insidiously evil than that.
This summarizes the Monsanto threat well:
Monsanto, the chemical giant that gave us poisons like Agent Orange and DDT, has a super-profitable racket. Step 1: Develop pesticides and genetically modified (GM) seeds designed to resist them, patent the seeds, prohibit farmers from replanting their seeds year to year, then send undercover agents out to investigate and sue farmers who don't comply. Step 2: Spend millions lobbying government officials and contributing to political campaigns, get former Monsanto bigwigs into top government jobs, and then work with them to weaken regulations and push Monsanto goods into markets across the world.
Monsanto is driving an industrial farming takeover -- trampling small farmers and small businesses as vast monoculture. farms of single crops leech the land of nutrients, diminish genetic diversity, and create dependency on fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals. The irony is, it's not clear that the decimation of natural, sustainable farming has brought any boom in crop yields. Just more profit for the corporations. Our governments should step in, but Monsanto's lobbying obstructs them.
Monsanto's near monopoly is breath-taking, with patent rights over 96% of the GM seeds planted in the US. And despite concerns about health and safety, the same patents allow Monsanto to prevent any farmer or scientist from testing their seeds! Still, a few countries have banned or restricted Monsanto products.
They claim their products cost less, but often farmers are lured into multi-year contracts, then seed prices rise, and they have buy new seed each season and use more herbicides to keep out 'superweeds'. In India, the situation is so dire that one cotton area has been called 'the suicide belt', as tens of thousands of the poorest farmers have taken their lives to escape crippling debt.
(from an Avaaz.org email)
Seeds of discontent (Texas Observer)
Monsanto sued small farmers to protect seed patents, report says (The Guardian)
Political contribution discloslures (Monsanto)
The Real Monsanto Protection Act: How The GMO Giant Corrupts Regulators And Consolidates Its Power (ThinkProgress)
Monsanto Protection Act put GM companies above the federal courts (The Guardian)
Biodiversity for food and agriculture (UN Food and Agriculture Organization)
Monsanto's harvest of fear (Vanity Fair)
Wikileaks shows US pushes GM on EU (The Guardian)
USDA Greenlights Monsanto's Utterly Useless New GMO Corn (Mother Jones)
Crop Scientists Say Biotechnology Seed Companies Are Thwarting Research (New York Times)
Additional sources (Avaaz)
Millions Against Monsanto
Occupy Monsanto-- As Monsanto has occupied our farms and foods, it's time we take them back.
The World According to Monsanto-- a documentary
-cosmicrat April 9, 2013 (updated April 26)