Tuesday 9th of August 2022

why the US isn't winning wars...

war is a bitch...war is a bitch...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raytheon Technologies Corporation, the nation’s second-largest defense contractor, has launched an “anti-racism” program that promotes critical race theory, rejects the principle of “equality,” and instructs employees to “identify [their] privilege”—or else.

Beginning last summer, the program, called Stronger Together, encourages employees to “becom[e] an anti-racist today.” Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes supported the campaign by signing an Action for Diversity & Inclusion statement, promising to “promote diversity” and “cultivate meaningful change for our society,” then asking all Raytheon employees to sign the pledge and “check [their] own biases.”

Beneath the platitudinous public statements, however, the Stronger Together program relies heavily on critical race theory and manipulative pedagogical techniques.

According to documents and videos I have obtained from a corporate whistleblower, the program begins with lessons on “intersectionality,” a core component of critical race theory. Intersectionality maintains that the world can be divided into competing identity groups, with race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and other categories defining an individual’s place within the hierarchy of oppression.

In a workshop entitled “Developing Intersectional Allyship in the Workplace,” diversity trainer Rebecca York explained to Raytheon employees that critical race theorist Kimberlé Crenshaw developed the concept of intersectionality to expose “interlocking systems of oppression” and “break down power into privilege and marginalization.”

In a related lesson, Raytheon asks white employees to deconstruct their identities and “identify [their] privilege.” The company argues that white, straight, Christian, able-bodied, English-speaking men are at the top of the intersectional hierarchy—and must work on “recognizing [their] privilege” and “step aside” in favor of other identity groups. According to outside diversity consultant Michelle Saahene, whites “have the privilege of individuality,” while minorities “don’t have that privilege.”

The program then tells white employees to adopt a new set of rules for interacting with their minority colleagues. Employees should “identify everyone’srace” during conversations, “including those who are White.” According to the document, white employees must “listen to the experiences” of “marginalized identities” and should “give [those with such identities] the floor in meetings or on calls, even if it means silencing yourself to do so.” This process of voluntary racial silence is a “win-win,” because “you learn more when you listen than when you speak.”

Next, in a chart titled “What Not to Say to Your Black Colleagues Right Now,” Raytheon instructs white employees never to say that they “pray things change soon” or hope that social tensions “calm down,” which “says [their] comfort is more important than the message of anti-racism.” Whites should acknowledge that their own discomfort is only “a fraction” of the emotional distress of black employees, who are “exhausted, mentally drained, frustrated, stressed, barely sleeping, scared and overwhelmed.”

Raytheon executives have also segregated employees by race and identity into Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) for black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, LGBTQ, and other categories. The goal of these groups is ostensibly to “advance an inclusive culture,” but in practice, such “affinity groups” often serve to create division and suspicion in the workplace.

Finally, Raytheon encourages white employees to “financially and verbally support pro-POC movements and POC-owned businesses.” In a collection of recommended resources, the company includes an article, “75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice,” encouraging white employees to “defund the police,” “participate in reparations,” “decolonize your bookshelf,” and “join a local ‘white space.’” In another recommended resource, the “21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge,” employees are asked to learn about the “weaponization of whiteness,” quantify the “racial composition” of their friend groups, and “interrupt the pattern of white silence.”

What is the end goal of this program? The rejection of the principle of equality under the law. A Raytheon toolkit explicitly instructs employees to oppose “equality,” defined as “treating each person the same . . . regardless of their differences,” and strive instead for “equity,” which “focuses on the equality of the outcome.” The company claims that the colorblind standard of “equal treatment and access to opportunities” is not enough; “anti-racist” policies must sometimes utilize unequal treatment to achieve equal outcomes.

For now, most Raytheon employees have remained silent, but discontent is growing in the corporate headquarters. Unless Raytheon executives have a change of heart, the company has set itself on a course of racial division.

 

 

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WikiLeaks Editor Kristinn Hrafnsson; ex-Icelandic interior minister Ögmundur Jónasson; Stundin journalist Bjartmar Alexandersson; and Australian MP Julian Hill discuss major developments in the U.S. case against Julian Assange. Watch the replay.

There have been two dramatic developments in the U.S. case against imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange within the past two weeks. The Icelandic newsmagazine Stundin on June 26 revealed that a key U.S. witness in the indictment of Assange for conspiracy to commit computer intrusion had changed his story. And on Wednesday the High Court in London allowed the U.S. to appeal a Jan. 4 magistrate’s decision against extraditing Assange to the U.S. because of his mental health and the harsh conditions of U.S. prisons, making him a threat for suicide. 

The High Court said, however, that the U.S. could not appeal the judgement of Assange’s health but only that of U.S. prisons. The U.S. promised it would not put Assange under special measures of isolation if he were extradited, and if convicted, would allow him to serve his sentence in Australia. Based on that submission the High Court allowed the appeal. 

Joining us to discuss these two major developments were WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson; ex-Icelandic Interior Minister Ögmundur Jónasson (on how he resisted an FBI sting against Assange); Stundin journalist Bjartmar Oddur Þeyr Alexandersson (on his piece about Siggi Thordarson); Australian MP Julian Hill; Consortium News legal analyst Alexander Mercouris and radio host and CN columnist John Kiriakou, who was imprisoned for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture program.

Produced by Cathy Vogan, watch the replay here with your hosts Elizabeth Vos and Joe Lauria:

 

(see video)...

 

Read more:

https://consortiumnews.com/2021/07/08/watch-new-cn-live-episode-assange-on-the-brink/

 

 

a desert maker...

 

By Edward Curtin

 

It’s been raining incessantly for three days. It is a cool early morning in the beginning of July and I have just made a cup of coffee. Now an electrical power outage has occurred and so I am sitting in a rocking chair in the semi-darkness savoring my coffee and feeling thankful that I made it in time.

I have a close relationship with coffee and the end of night and the break of day. As for time, that is as mysterious to me as the fact that I am sitting here in its embrace. The electric clocks have stopped. I think: To exist – how amazing!

More than the coffee, however, I am luxuriating in the sound of the tumbling rain. Its beautiful music creates a cocoon of peace within which I find temporary joy.  The joy of doing nothing, of pursuing no purpose. Of knowing that whatever I do it will never be enough, for me or anyone, and the world will continue turning until time stands still, or whatever time does or is according to those who invented it.

I will be gone and others will have arrived and the water will flow from the skies and the clocks will still tell people what they don’t know – time – although they will continue to tell it.

Humans are the telling animals.

A few weeks ago, when this area was in a mini-drought, the local newspaper, in the typical wisdom of such cant, had a headline that said “there is a threat of rain later this week.”  They are experts at threats. This is the corporate media’s purpose.

Rain is a threat, joy is a threat, doing nothing is a threat, the sun is a threat – but the real threats they conceal.  To create fear seems to be their purpose, as they do not tell us about the real threats.  Their purpose is not to tell the truth, but if you listen closely you can hear it.

In the middle of the night I woke up to go to the bathroom, and outside the small bathroom window I watched the rain engulfing the lower roof and sluicing down the shingles in two heavy streams.  I thought how the desiccated mind of the headline writer must be feeling now, but then I realized that he or she was asleep, as usual.  There is a moist world and a dry one, and the corporate media is run by arid souls who would like to make the world a desert like their masters of war in Washington.

Then as I sit here my brief peace is roiled by the memory of reading Tacitus, the Roman historian, and his famous quote of Calgacus, an enemy of Rome:

These plunderers of the world [the Romans], after exhausting the land by their devastations, are rifling the ocean: stimulated by avarice, if their enemy be rich; by ambition, if poor; unsatiated by the East and by the West: the only people who behold wealth and indigence with equal avidity. To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.

I think of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on his recent deathbed. Here was a man whose entire life was dedicated to the American Empire.  He spent all his allotted time making war or making money from the spoils of war. He was a desert maker, a slaughterer for the Empire.  No doubt he died very rich in gold.

I can no longer hear the rain because my mind is filled with the loud thought of what Rumsfeld thought as he lay dying.

Was he sorry?  Did he believe in God or was his god Mars, the Roman god of war?   Did he smile a bloody smile or say he was sorry and beg for forgiveness from all his innocent victims?  Did he see the faces of the children of Iraq that he slaughtered?  Or did he pull an Eichmann and say, “I will leap into my grave laughing”?

Your guess is as good as mine, but mine leans toward the bloody smile of a life well spent in desert making.  But that is a “known unknown.”

Rolling thunder and a lightning strike in the east jolt me back from my deaf dark thoughts.  The sound of the rain returns.  The coffee tastes great.  Peace returns with the unalloyed gift of the ravishing rain.

Yet the more I sit and listen and watch it soundly stipple the garden and grass, the more thoughts come to me, as my father once told me: Thoughts think us as much as we think thoughts.  It’s what we do with our thoughts that count, he said, and like lightning, if we don’t flash when we are given the gift of life, when we’re gone, it will be as if we never were, like the lightning before it flashed.

Thomas Merton’s prophetic words from his hermitage in the Kentucky woods in 1966 think me:

Let me say this before rain becomes a utility that they can plan and distribute for money. By ‘they’ I mean the people who cannot understand that rain is a festival, who do not appreciate its gratuity, who think that what has no price has no value, that what cannot be sold is not real, so that the only way to make something actual is to place it on the market. The time will come when they will sell you even your rain. At the moment it is still free, and I am in it. I celebrate its gratuity and its meaninglessness.

There are moments in many lives when, if one is lucky, they are initiated into a ritual that sustains them throughout life. To others, these experiences can easily seem paltry and meaningless, but to the receiver they offer a crack into deeper dimensions of being and becoming.  

For me it was my introduction to coffee during a hurricane.

My father had driven my mother, three of my sisters, and me to Jones Beach on Long Island. This was before people checked the weather every minute. The sky in the southwest grew darker as we drove, but on we went.  The beach was deserted except for some gulls and the parking lot empty.

My father parked the car close to the beach and while my sisters and mother sat in the car, and my mother, listening to the weather reports, issued warnings to us, my father and I ran like wild dogs into the heavy surf despite her admonitions that the hurricane from the south was arriving sooner than expected.

It started to rain hard. The surf picked up.  We swam and got battered and shouted exultantly and came out shaking with the chills. A pure white seagull landed on my wet head and my father laughed.

Awe-struck, I stood stock-still and my shaking stopped. In its mouth the seagull held a purple ribbon, which it dropped at my feet as it flew off.  I grabbed the ribbon and we jogged up to the concession building where there was one man working.  My father ordered coffee and a hot chocolate for me.  But they had run out of hot chocolate.  So my father ordered two coffees and filled mine with three or four sugars.

I had never sampled coffee and didn’t like the smell, but my father said to drink it, with the sugar it will taste good and it will warm you up.  It strangely tasted like hot chocolate. We toasted our adventure as I drank my Proustian madeleine at eleven years old.

I had put the ribbon on the counter as we drank. When we were going back to the car, I noticed there were words on the ribbon. They said: Rest in peace.  I have long lost the ribbon but retain its message.

So now every morning, between the end of night and the break of day, I sit with my coffee and listen. And even when it isn’t raining, I watch the birds emerge from their nightly rests to greet the day with their songs. They tell me many things, and they are all free.

This morning I am wondering if Donald Rumsfeld ever heard them.

I suspect their message was an “unknown unknown” for him, just like the gift of rain. He preferred the rain of death from the skies in the form of bombs and missiles. He was only doing his job.

He made a desert and called it peace.

 

Read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2021/07/11/drinking-coffee-in-the-early-morning-rain-and-thinking-of-donald-rumsfeld/

 

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guanoguano

made in china, USA...

 

NUMEROUS FEDERAL AGENCIES, including several branches of the military, buy video surveillance equipment that can’t legally be used in U.S. government systems and that is made by Chinese companies sanctioned on national security grounds, records and products reviewed by The Intercept indicate.

The agencies purchased blacklisted hardware through a network of American resellers that claimed the camera systems were in compliance with the sanctions. Those claims in numerous cases had little apparent basis, according a joint investigation with IPVM, a video surveillance industry research publication.

The security sanctions originated in the 2019 iteration of Congress’s annual defense policy and funding bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act. They barred Dahua and Hikvision, two of China’s leading manufacturers of security cameras, from selling their products to the federal government, citing concerns that such sales could let the Chinese government remotely spy on federal facilities.

But public purchase records show that since the sanctions were put in place, the Air Force, Army, Navy, Veterans Affairs, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense all purchased camera systems containing or consisting of hardware that IPVM determined was in fact originally manufactured by Dahua or Hikvision and sold under another brand. IPVM visually compared both hardware and software of the camera systems and, in some cases, physical disassembled cameras. Listings posted to GSA Advantage, a marketplace for federal vendors to sell their wares to the government online, show that rebranded Dahua and Hikvision cameras are still freely available for purchase under different brand names.

 

Read more:

https://theintercept.com/2021/07/20/video-surveillance-cameras-us-military-china-sanctions/

 

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the rule of law?...

 

By Thomas L. Friedman

 

One day, 1,000 years from now, when they dig up this era, archaeologists will surely ask how was it that a great power called America set out to make the Middle East more like itself — embracing pluralism and the rule of law — and ended up instead becoming more like the Middle East — mimicking its worst tribal mores and introducing a whole new level of lawlessness into its national politics?

Middle Easterners may call their big tribes “Shiites” and “Sunnis” and Americans may call theirs “Democrats” and “Republicans,” but they each seem to operate increasingly with a conformist, us-vs.-them mind-set, albeit at different intensity levels. Extreme Republican tribalism vastly accelerated as the G.O.P. tribe became dominated by a base of largely white Christians, who feared that their long-held primacy in America’s power structure was being eroded by rapidly changing social norms, expanded immigration and globalization, leaving them feeling no longer “at home” in their own country.

To signal that, they latched on to Donald Trump, who enthusiastically gave voice to their darkest fears and raw tribal muscle that escalated the right’s pursuit of minority rule. That is, not just pushing the usual gerrymandering but also propagating conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, passing ever-harsher voter suppression laws and replacing neutral state voting regulators with tribal hacks ready to break the rules. And because this Trump faction came to dominate the base, even once-principled Republicans mostly went along for the ride, embracing the core philosophy that dominates tribal politics in Afghanistan and the Arab world: The “other” is the enemy, not a fellow citizen, and the only two choices are “rule or die.” Either we rule or we delegitimize the results.

Mind you, the archaeologists will also note that Democrats exhibited their own kind of tribal mania, such as the strident groupthink of progressives at 21st-century American universities. In particular, there was evidence of professors, administrators and students being “canceled” — either silenced or thrown off campus for expressing even mildly nonconformist or conservative views on politics, race, gender or sexual identity. An epidemic of tribal political correctness from the left served only to energize the tribal solidarity on the right.

But what triggered the turn from traditional pluralism to ferocious tribalism in the U.S. and many other democracies? My short answer: It’s become a lot harder to maintain democracy today, with social networks constantly polarizing people, and with globalization, climate change, a war on terrorism, widening income gaps and rapid job-shifting technology innovations constantly stressing them. And then a pandemic.

More than a few democratically elected leaders around the world now find it much easier to build support with tribal appeals focused on identity than do the hard work of coalition-building and compromise in pluralistic societies at a complex time.

When that happens, everything gets turned into a tribal identity marker — mask-wearing in the pandemic, Covid-19 vaccinations, gender pronouns, climate change. Your position on each point doubles as a challenge to others: Are you in my tribe or not? So there is less focus on the common good, and ultimately no common ground to pivot off to do big hard things. We once put a man on the moon together. Today, we can barely agree on fixing broken bridges.

Ironically, there is no institution in American life that has worked harder to inoculate America from this virus of tribalism, while enriching and exemplifying an ethic of pluralism, than the military — the very people who were most intimately exposed to the Middle East variant for over 20 years. It’s not that some service members didn’t commit their own excesses in that war or were not traumatized by the excesses of their enemies. Both happened. But they did not let it change their core identity and the kind of military they wanted to be.

I saw this time and again on trips to Iraq and Afghanistan. The level of diversity in any American military unit you came across just jumped out at you.

On a 2005 trip to Iraq, I wrote a column about spending a night on the U.S.S. Chosin, which commanded the U.S. Navy task force off the coast of Iraq. There I interviewed Mustapha Ahansal, a Moroccan American sailor who acted as the Chosin’s Arabic translator when it stopped ships suspected of carrying pirates or other hostile actors.

“The first time I boarded a boat,” he told me, “we had six or seven people — one Hispanic, one Black person, a white person, maybe a woman in our unit. Their sailors said to me, ‘I thought all Americans were white.’ Then one of them asked me, ‘Are you in the military?’ It shocks them actually.” Ahansal told me that an Iraqi Coast Guard officer once expressed astonishment to him that people from so many different religions and races could produce such a strong navy, while “here we are fighting north and south, and we are all cousins and brothers.”

Leadership matters: The American population has diversity similar to the U.S. military’s, but the ethic of pluralism and teamwork shown by many of our men and women in uniform reduces the tribal divisions within the armed forces. It’s not perfect but it is real. Ethical leadership based on principled pluralism matters. That is why our military is our last great carrier of pluralism at a time when more and more civilian politicians are opting for cheap tribalism.

What is most frightening to me is how much this virus of tribalism is now infecting some of the most vibrant multisectarian democracies in the world — like India and Israel, as well as Brazil, Hungary and Poland.

India is a particularly sad story for me because, after 9/11, I offered up Indian pluralism as the most important example of why Islam per se was not responsible for motivating terrorists from Al Qaeda. Everything depended, I argued, on the political, social and cultural context within which Islam, or any other faith, was embedded, and where Islam is embedded in a pluralistic, democratic society, it thrives like any other religion. Although India had a large Hindu majority, it had had Muslim presidents and a Muslim woman on its Supreme Court. Muslims, including women, had been governors of many Indian states, and Muslims were among the country’s most successful entrepreneurs.

Unfortunately, today, Indian nationalism based on pluralism is being weakened by Hindu supremacists in the ruling B.J.P. party, who seem hellbent on converting a secular India into a “Hindu Pakistan,” as the eminent Indian historian Ramachandra Guha once put it. 

That democracies all over the world are being infected by this tribalism virus could not be happening at a worse time — a time when every community, company and country is going to have to adapt to the accelerations in technological change, globalization and climate change. And that can only be done effectively within and between countries by higher degrees of collaboration among business, labor, educators, social entrepreneurs and governments — not rule or die, not my way or the highway.

We need to find the antidote to this tribalism fast — otherwise the future is grim for democracies everywhere.

 

Read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/14/opinion/america-democracy-middle-east-tribalism.html

 

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Gus:

I'd like to argue against Friedman's arguments... The US internal divisions ARE NOT NEW. Remember the 1960s, the 1850s and the American Revolution. The only common denominator that made the US gel as a nation has been THE PROMOTION OF  MONEY. Everything else has been a passing parade of weird ideas and powerful illusions. The main purpose of the US government is to maintain the ideal of money. This is achieved by illusions in the Great American Dream, the pseudo-conquests of the Empire on economic values, HAVING THE BIGGEST MILITARY MACHINE, making every nation on the planet be dependent of the US DOLLAR. This was the purpose of the US military until it became loony. Nothing to do with pirates, terrorists or whatever, but in preventing challengers to the DOLLAR...

 

The Capitalist system is in need of a reset. The values of money (illusionary as they are) have been sucked out by idealism, religious beliefs and the hypocrisy of guilt. Now with trying to patch up the capitalist system with sticky-tape (and big rolls of it), Joe's administration is adding to the problem, diluting the value of cash. All is lost, if you cannot trust cash.

 

As well the hypocrisy of the system could at least come to term with itself and release Julian Assange, who so far is one of the few with the original documentation showing the US deceit... Release him and the administration would find a weight lifting off its shoulders... It would be like a reckoning. A necessary redemption... Come on. DO IT!!!

 

assangezassangez