US Media is Losing Its Mind Over Trump-Putin Press Conference

(Madaline Albright, John Brennan and Adam Schiff went on Morning Joe just now to talk about Trump press conference with Putin. They also had those two reporters who basically did everything they could with their questions to derail any sort of agreement the two leaders might come to. The terror they all suffer from is the potential for the beloved “intelligence agencies” losing their grip on the control of our perception of the world around us. Whether it’s lying about WMDs or targeted world leaders “killing their own citizens” or just the next fabricated crisis here in the States… in the wake of the 2016 election, where it was the same agencies who tried to frame Russia who actually tried to rig the election… they are desperately trying everything they can do to save face and credibility. And since the media is their voice, their life-line to the people of this country, the media are beside themselves screeching about this development as if it’s the end of the world.)

from Consortium News

The reaction of the U.S. establishment media and several political leaders to President Donald Trump’s press conference after his summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday has been stunning.

Writing in The Atlantic, James Fallows said:

“There are exactly two possible explanations for the shameful performance the world witnessed on Monday, from a serving American president.

Either Donald Trump is flat-out an agent of Russian interests—maybe witting, maybe unwitting, from fear of blackmail, in hope of future deals, out of manly respect for Vladimir Putin, out of gratitude for Russia’s help during the election, out of pathetic inability to see beyond his 306 electoral votes. Whatever the exact mixture of motives might be, it doesn’t really matter.

Or he is so profoundly ignorant, insecure, and narcissistic that he did not  realize that, at every step, he was advancing the line that Putin hoped he would advance, and the line that the American intelligence, defense, and law-enforcement agencies most dreaded.

Conscious tool. Useful idiot. Those are the choices, though both are possibly true, so that the main question is the proportions … never before have I seen an American president consistently, repeatedly, publicly, and shockingly advance the interests of another country over those of his own government and people.”

As soon as the press conference ended CNN cut to its panel with these words from TV personality Anderson Cooper: “You have been watching perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader, surely, that I’ve ever seen.”

David Gergen, who for years has gotten away with portraying himself on TV as an impartial political sage, then told CNN viewers:

“I’ve never heard an American President talk that way buy I think it is especially true that when he’s with someone like Putin, who is a thug, a world-class thug, that he sides with him again and again against his own country’s interests of his own institutions that he runs, that he’s in charge of the federal government , he’s in charge of these intelligence agencies, and he basically dismisses them and retreats into this, we’ve heard it before, but on the international stage to talk about Hillary Clinton’s computer server …”

“It’s embarrassing,” interjected Cooper.

“It’s embarrassing,” agreed Gergen.

White House correspondent Jim Acosta, ostensibly an objective reporter, then gave his opinion: “I think that sums it up nicely. This is the president of the United States essentially taking the word of the Russian president…over his own intelligence community. It was astonishing, just astonishing to be in the room with the U.S. president and the Russian president on this critical question of election interference, and to retreat back to these talking points about DNC servers and Hillary Clinton’s emails when he had a chance right there in front of the world to tell Vladimir Putin to stay the HELL out of American democracy, and he didn’t do it.”

In other words Trump should just shut up and not question a questionable indictment, which Acosta, like nearly all the media, treat as a conviction…

[read more here]

Venezuela’s Defunct National Assembly Attempts to Privatise Oil Industry

from Venezuelan Analysis

Venezuela’s National Assembly (AN) has approved a controversial legal reform which may open up the country’s sizeable state oil firm to privatisation. The opposition‐controlled institution’s move to legalize privatisation in the oil industry comes amid ongoing criticism from chavista grassroots groupings of de facto privatisation in the industry over the past few years.

The modification of the “Law of State Control Over the Assets and Services Related to Primary Hydrocarbon Activities” (2009) removes an obligatory state monopoly on primary oil assets and services by allowing primary oil activities to be carried out “by private firms” or even individuals.

Regarding mixed PDVSA-private oil projects, it also overturns the legal “control” PDVSA had over such projects, which effectively equated to a minimum 51% stake for the state oil firm and up to 49% for private firms in them. According to the modified law, PDVSA-private relations may now be “of any proportion.”

The reform also adds a clause to the law which obliges the oil giant to prioritise Venezuelan firms when offering contracts, as well as instructing the oil ministry to pay “fair” compensation within 180 days to the ex-owners of an array of recently expropriated oil-related infrastructure around Venezuela’s oil-rich Maracaibo Lake.

However, the reform is not set to make any immediate changes to the industry, since it potentially breaches Article 303 of Venezuela’s constitution, which guarantees full state control over the countries primary oil activity.

Likewise, the AN and its decisions have been considered illegal since it refused to disincorporate three deputies accused of vote-rigging, shortly after the 2015 parliamentary election. In January 2016 Venezuela’s Supreme Court declared it in contempt, and as such all votes declared null. Previous to this court ruling, decisions by the AN had been rapidly nullified by the Supreme Court and left without effect.

The approved reform does, however, demonstrate the oil-policy of its majority right wing groups…

[read more here]

Venezuela to Launch Local Defense Committees as Maduro Makes Changes to Top Military Brass

from Venezuelan Analysis

Following news of a thwarted coup d’etat attempt and the arrest of some 40 military personnel on May 24, Venezuela’s government has decided to activate local defense committees, officially called “Committees for Security and Integral Defense.” This decision roughly coincides with the reorganization of the country’s top military leadership that customarily takes place in early July, according to a longstanding Venezuelan tradition.

Venezuela’s newly-activated local defense committees, which will incorporate ordinary civilians into the country’s defense plans, fulfill one of the main guidelines laid out in the Homeland Plan 2019-2025, which is “to promote the participation of patriots in the defense of institutions, territorial integrity and the right to peace.” The committees, however, have even deeper roots in the idea of a civilian-military union – an alliance between patriotic soldiers and revolutionary civilians – that has been an important part of the Bolivarian Revolution since its earliest beginnings.

In a practical sense, the forming of the defense committees will mean that one spokesperson from each of Venezuela’s 50,000 communal councils will undergo training with the country’s Bolivarian Militia units. Those selected representatives will then form a link between the Venezuelan state’s militias and the communal councils, which since 2006 have organized groups of 20 to 400 families across the national territory…

[read more here]

Sanders Proves ONCE AGAIN What an Establishment Tool He Has ALWAYS BEEN

by Scott Creighton

Bernie Sanders took to Twitter to voice his displeasure over Donald Trump not accusing Vladimir Putin of trying to rig our election. Of course… he said Hillary never rigged one so what the hell does he know?

When you find yourself on the same side of any subject as John Brennan (former CIA Director) or James Hohmann (current CIA Mockingbird at the CIA’s Washington Post) chances are you are on the wrong side of that subject. Seems like Bernie Sanders can’t seem to understand that. Either he’s a fucking idiot or… he’s a bought-off old man playing a role on TV AS IF he give a shit about the people of this country. You take your pick. It doesn’t matter to me either way.

White House Reviewing Plan by ‘Deregulatory Zealots’ to Relax Child Labor Laws

(We are well on our way to going back to the good old days of Charles Dickens. Back when there were no regulations keeping our glorious captains of industry from making a buck any damn way they could. Now they are going after child labor laws. Remarkable. What’s next? Openly supporting the institution of slavery?)

from Common Dreams

As part of its broad and relentless effort to roll back longstanding workplace safety regulations that have drastically reduced on-the-job injuries and deaths over the past several decades, President Donald Trump’s Department of Labor (DOL) has officially sent the White House a proposal to allow teenagers to “spend full days operating chainsaws and meat slicers and working in other dangerous occupations.”

With the department’s plan now before the White House’s regulatory review office, the proposal to loosen child labor restrictions—which has been denounced by workers’ rights advocates, lawmakers, and former DOL officials—is “one procedural hurdle from public release,” reports Ben Penn of Bloomberg Law.

“The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs will now review the proposal and send it back to the DOL for final edits before it can be published for public comment,” Penn adds. “This regulation would call for relaxing current rules—known as Hazardous Occupations Orders or HOs—that prohibit 16- and 17-year-old apprentices and student learners from receiving extended, supervised training in certain dangerous jobs. That includes roofing work, as well as operating chainsaws, and various other power-driven machines that federal law recognizes as too dangerous for those younger than 18.”…

[read more here]

Confirming Progressive Fears, Facebook’s “Trustworthy” News Project Is Chock-Full of Fox News

from Common Dreams

Confirming grave fears among progressives that Facebook’s efforts to become an arbiter of “trustworthy” news would prioritize corporate and right-wing outlets over independent sources, the social media giant on Wednesday unveiled the first slate of news segments it will air in the coming days as part of its effort to combat “misinformation“—and the schedule is chock-full of Fox News.

“The network leads off coverage first thing in the morning, snagged the prime mid-day spot with a version of ‘Fox News Update’… and will get two weekend time slots,” notes Gizmodo‘s AJ Dellinger. “It’s the only news network that is a part of the Facebook-funded project to have a show on Facebook Watch every day of the week.”

Dellinger goes on to argue that Facebook’s decision to include a heavy dose of Fox News in its Facebook Watch project is part of the platform’s effort to “placate its critics on the right,” who insist that the tech behemoth is somehow biased against conservative news sources.

As Common Dreams reported, Facebook executives met with Republican lawmakers last month to discuss the claim that it is censoring conservative viewpoints and favoring left-wing perspectives—an assertion media analysts have dismissed as “ridiculous” and “provably false.”…

[read more here]

5 Times the US Actively Supported ISIS or Similar Groups

from Mint Press News

Everyone knows U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East has more to do with destabilization than diplomacy. Whether arming terror states like Israel and Saudi Arabia or flattening entire countries like Libya and Iraq, American intervention is pretty much always a humanitarian disaster. At times, this policy has even included arming ISIS — the very terror group Washington claims to oppose.

The reason for this help is that ISIS assists U.S. foreign policy goals. It is no secret that the U.S. has tried to overthrow the democratically elected Syrian government for years. To further their goals, the U.S. regime has more or less aligned with just about every terrorist group short of ISIS publicly, including Jahbat al-Nusra.

Yet at times this alliance has extended past terror groups fighting under the Free Syrian Army banner. In many situations, the U.S. has seemingly supported ISIS. Whether these instances are mere coincidence or represent a pattern of support is up to you to decide. Below are five strongest instances of the U.S. helping ISIS and other terrorist groups…

[read more here]