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Russia & China Invest in Infrastructure; U.S. Instead Spends on Military

The United States isn’t going into public debt in order to finance building or maintenance of infrastructure, but instead to finance expansions of its military.

Eric Zuesse

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Originally posted at strategic-culture.org:


China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” is famous as an extension of their domestic infrastructure investments, but Russia is also investing heavily in infrastructure. Both countries need to do it in order to improve the future for their respective populations, and both Governments have avoided the Western development model of going heavily into debt in order to pay for creating and maintaining infrastructure. Both are, in fact, exceptionally low-debt Governments.

According to the “Global Debt Clock” at Economist, China has a public debt/GDP of 17.7%, and Russia’s is 8.0%. For comparison, America’s is 93.6%. (Others are: Germany 85.8%, Spain 91.2%, Italy 122.6%, Greece 147.1%, India 54.2%, Pakistan 47.0%, and Brazil 55.0%.)

The United States isn’t going into public debt in order to finance building or maintenance of infrastructure, but instead to finance expansions of its military, which is already (and by far) the world’s largest (in terms of its costs, but not of its numbers of troops).

While the US Government now spends around half of the world’s military expenditures and plans to conquer Russia, China, and all countries (such as Iran and Syria) that cooperate with those ‘enemies’ (and please click onto a link wherever you question the truthfulness of an allegation made here), Russia and China plan to improve their infrastructures, in order to boost their national economies and to minimize the impacts that (the mainly US-caused) global warming will have. These infrastructure projects are optimistic and long-term expenditures, which are being planned and built only because the countries that the US aristocracy are targeting to conquer, expect the US aristocracy to fail to achieve its clear #1 goal, of controlling the entire world and conquering them — of America’s rulers finally achieving the global fascist empire that, in World War II, Hitler and the other Axis powers had been hoping to become.

By contrast, US infrastructure is rotting; and, while every recent US President has promised to reverse that decline, none has done anything significant to repair this nation’s rotting infrastructure — it has always been just talk and empty promises. A nation that spends over a trillion dollars a year on ‘national defense’ can’t have much left over to spend on things that ‘can wait’ — such as repairing its bridges, roads, etc. — and so those repairs do wait, while even more money, than before, becomes devoted to purchases of new weaponry, such as the F-35 program.

Meanwhile, Russia and China prepare for their future, and hope it won’t be war.

On November 1st, Russian Television bannered “Russia, India & Iran want to create alternative trade route to Suez Canal – report” and described “The 7,200-kilometers long corridor [that] will combine sea and rail routes”:

The route will make it possible to deliver cargoes from India to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. Then, the goods will be transported by land to Bandar Anzali, Iran’s port on the Caspian Sea. After that, goods will be shipped to the Russian southern port of Astrakhan, from where they will move to Europe by rail. The new transport artery will potentially reduce the time and costs of shipping by up to 40 percent.

A linked news-report there headlined “Top of the world: Russia to build world’s northernmost railway in Arctic”, and another headlined “Japan turns to Trans-Siberian Railway to test potential connection with Russia, China & S. Korea”.

If the US Government’s plans to destroy Russia succeed, then any of these new or extended infrastructures will either be destroyed or else be taken over by the US and its allies. (If taken over, then presumably Japan’s aristocracy will be part of the new regime there that does so.) Consequently, building and extending these new infrastructures is Russia’s bet — and a concrete testimonial to the bet — that outright war by the destroyers can be avoided. The nations that America and its allies want to conquer are looking to the future, not to conquest or any type of war (though they must also be prepared for war, if the US does invade). Right now, the US and its NATO allies are holding the largest war-games in history, and these preparations to invade Russia are occurring all along and near Russia’s borders, in the countries that formerly were the Soviet Union’s Warsaw Pact military alliance. Though the US and its allies say that Russia and China are threatening to them, these massings of soldiers and of tanks and planes on Russia’s borders are aggressions, not defensive at all as claimed. How would we Americans feel if Russia were doing this along America’s borders? Would we feel that Russia is defending itself, then? Russians have sound reason to be terrified by the US and its allies. Americans were terrified by the Soviets when the issue was Soviet missiles located in Cuba only a hundred miles from the US This country then threatened: if you do that, then we’ll launch war against you. Russia isn’t responding similarly, even though America’s threat to them is much bigger than that threat to the US was in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

All that today’s US Government wants is to conquer the world, which now especially means Russia, China, and countries that do business with those ‘enemies’. Iran is also a major target of the US, because the US aristocracy’s main allies are the Sauds and Israel, both of which hate and crave to destroy Iran. Though those three targeted countries want to avoid being conquered by the US Government, most of their expenditures are for their own domestic economies, instead of for defending against the US and its allies. (However, the US and its allies are clearly and consistently the aggressor since 1991, and expanded their NATO alliance up to Russia’s borders; Russia didn’t expand its Warsaw Pact alliance up to America’s borders, but ended the Warsaw Pact in 1991. None of Russia’s expenditures are for conquering foreign countries, such as the US alliance now is trying to do in countries such as Syria and Yemen, and perhaps soon in Iran, too; so, the US Government has no excuse whatsoever in this matter, but pure guilt in it, pure aggression.)

There really is a difference between “The West” and “The East” in our era, but it’s more like the difference between The Axis powers in WW II versus The Allies, than it is between democracy versus dictatorship; and, in fact, the US Government is the world’s only Government that has been scientifically analyzed to determine whether it is a democracy or instead a dictatorship, and it has consistently been found, in these rigorous studies, to be a dictatorship, against the public, by its billionaires, the aristocrats, and not a democracy, at all. Furthermore, the preponderance of the major outcome-indicators of the extent to which a given nation is a dictatorship or even a police-state, or is instead a democracy that’s ruled by its public, are showing that the US is a dictatorship or even a police-state, and that the nations it calls its ‘enemies’ are more toward the democratic side — serving their respective public, instead of any such narrow and exclusive elite as the owners of “the military-industrial complex.” (US-allied propaganda to the contrary alleging that the US and its allies are the ones which are ‘democracies’, like this piece from the US stooge-nations that constitute the EU, are always based on ranking — without clearly explaining how — the mere formalities of ‘democracy’, no authentic measures of democracy itself, but only the associated formalities, which often are mere fronts, behind which the given nation’s aristocracy control that given country.)

The US has emerged into the very model of the modern dictatorship, relying maximally upon a coordination between deceit and military power. This is the reason why it now spends half of the world’s military costs — to serve its aristocracy, who have perfected Joseph Goebbels’s system of calling good bad, and bad good, and of otherwise imposing what the novelist George Orwell subsequently called “Newspeak” in its ‘news’-reporting and commentaries, to serve the controlling aristocracy, “Big Brother.” It’s here, and now. On November 1st, Jonathan Cook at Global Research headlined “Bolsonaro: A Monster Engineered by Our Media” and he explained how even the “liberal” aristocrats in the US and its allied countries have brought back racist fascism, the ideology known as nazism, as a globally spreading plague now.

Here is how America’s master of Newspeak, Barack Obama, represented, to West Point Military Academy’s graduating cadets on 28 May 2014, the new, American, version, of Adolf Hitler’s beloved “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles, über alles in der Welt”:

The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. [Every other nation is therefore ‘dispensable’; we therefore now have “Amerika, Amerika über alles, über alles in der Welt”.] That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come. … America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. … Russia’s aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us. [He was here telling these future US military leaders that they are to fight for the US aristocracy, to help them defeat any nation that resists.] … In Ukraine, Russia’s recent actions recall the days when Soviet tanks rolled into Eastern Europe. But this isn’t the Cold War. Our ability to shape world opinion helped isolate Russia right away. Because of American leadership, the world immediately condemned Russian actions; Europe and the G7 joined us to impose sanctions; NATO reinforced our commitment to Eastern European allies; the IMF is helping to stabilize Ukraine’s economy; OSCE monitors brought the eyes of the world to unstable parts of Ukraine.

Actually, his — Obama’s — regime, had conquered Ukraine in February 2014 by a very bloody coup, and installed a racist-fascist anti-Russian Government there next door to Russia, a stooge-regime to this day, which instituted a racial-cleansing campaign to eliminate enough pro-Russia voters so as to be able to hold onto power there. It has destroyed Ukraine and so alienated the regions of Ukraine that had voted more than 75% for the democratically elected Ukrainian President whom Obama overthrew, so that those pro-Russia regions quit Ukraine. What remains of Ukraine after the US conquest is a nazi mess and a destroyed nation in hock to Western taxpayers and banks.

Furthermore, Obama insisted upon (to use Bush’s term about Saddam Hussein) “regime-change” in Syria. Twice in one day the Secretary General of the UN asserted that only the Syrian people have any right to do that, no outside nation has any right to impose it. Obama ignored him and kept on trying. Obama actually protected Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate against bombing by Syria’s Government and by Syria’s ally Russia, while the US bombed Syria’s army, which was trying to prevent those jihadists from overthrowing the Government. Obama bombed Libya in order to “regime-change” Muammar Gaddafi, and he bombed Syria in order to “regime-change” Bashar al-Assad; and, so, while the “US Drops Bombs; EU Gets Refugees & Blame. This Is Insane.” And Obama’s successor Trump continues Obama’s policies, regarding not only Ukraine, but regarding also Yemen and Syria, and much else, except that Trump goes even more nazi than Obama did. The change from Obama to Trump was from soft nazi to hard nazi. That’s all. Trump is the US regime’s going wild.

Every day, the US regime murders lots of people in foreign lands. Today, as this is being written, on November 3rd, Syria News, which I’ve found to be far more reliably truthful about the situation in Syria than is for example the New York Times, headlined “US-Led Coalition Murders 15 Civilians in a New Bombing in Hajin”, and reported that, “Under the guise of fighting ISIS, the US and its cronies, are trying to establish a de facto barrier on the Syrian-Iraqi border which is run by ISIS and SDF, who both receive support from the US and both have occasional clashes [against each other] in between.” Aggression (and lying about it) is normal for the US Government.

On January 19th, US ‘Defense’ Secretary James Mattis said that “great power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of US national security,” and this means war by the US against both Russia and China, and perhaps also Iran; but if the people of Europe don’t rise up against that plan, then not only will they have even more refugees from America’s “regime-change” bombs, but they will soon have Russia’s bombs retaliating against Europe itself for being a part of America’s aggression, via the NATO military alliance, an alliance that should have ended when the Warsaw Pact military alliance did, back in 1991. Either End NATO Now, or else join the carnage that America’s aristocracy are clearly determined to impose upon the world in order to conquer it. The choice is that simple.

The only ways that the global public can effectively fight back against the US-and-allied aristocracies’ plan to enslave the entire world to their coercive and sanctions-laden ‘free market’ are:

(1) to boycott America’s brands and, as much as possible, conduct all international transactions in any other type of currency than the US dollar; and,

(2) to vote against any politician who has endorsed America’s invasions, such as of Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, Syria 2012-, Yemen 2015-, and US coups, including its coup that conquered Ukraine in 2014 and installed a nazi Government there. And,

(3) to organize marches, if possible, against any US military base occupying their nation. The occupying power needs to be expelled in order for the given nation’s public to control their own country.

Otherwise, the US aristocracy can simply continue with its pillage of our planet. The global public needs to do its part, not to leave it to the targeted countries alone to try to put down this global resurgence of fascism, by America’s oligarchs. This also means abandoning the two aristocracies that work the most closely with America’s: Israel’s and Saudi Arabia’s (both of which target Iran and its allies, even more than they target Russia and its allies). The listed three steps are the only path toward a survivable planet: isolating and publicly shaming the nazis.

Also the Newspeak needs to end, right now, because without honesty, no type of progress is even possible.

All of these measures are not only morally right; they are necessary, because the present path leads to not only profound injustices, but a hellish global future.

Unfortunately, the UN cannot do any of these essential things. But only the global public can — and will, if there is to be continued life of this planet, and lives here that are worth living.

PS: For anyone who might consider odd that an American (the present writer) views Russia as a core ally of the American people, and views recent American Presidents (starting with George Herbert Walker Bush on 24 February 1990) as traitors to America — as being enemies of the American people and of the entire world — please consider the following historical facts:

According to Jan Ludvík’s  “The Poverty of Statistics: Military Power, Defence Expenditure and Strategic Balance”, in the January 2014 Central European Journal of International and Security Studies (p. 157), the relative expenditures in order to win World War I were Russia 24%, UK 22%, US 21%, France 20%, and Italy 13%. Russia spent the most of all the allies. In WW II, the relative expenditures in order to win were Russia 58%, UK 20%, US 12%, France 10%. Yet again — and this time overwhelmingly — Russia spent the most of all the allies, 58% of the total allied cost; and the only country that spent more on that war was Germany, which of course was on the losing (“Axis”) side, and which spent 37% more to lose that war than Russia spent to win it. During WW II, Germany spent 75% of its side’s entire costs; Japan spent 17%, and Italy spent 8%. So: WW I was mainly between Russia and Germany, and so was WW II. And that’s clear also from another calculation:

The same source (p. 159) indicates that Russia’s troops were 46% of those fighting on the winning side of WW I (and #2 on that was France with 20%), and were 55% of the troops fighting on the winning side of WW II. (France was #2 again in WW II, also 20%.)

Furthermore, in WW I, Russia’s troops were 38% more (in numbers) than both Germany’s and Austria’s put together; and, in WW II, Russia’s troops were 4% less than Germany’s, Japan’s and Italy’s combined, but were twice as many as Germany’s number.

So: by far the biggest contributions to the winning not only of WW II, but also of WW I, were made by one and the same country, both times: Russia. America’s contribution was much smaller, on both occasions. And, now, America’s leaders and their foreign allies have become nazis, heirs of Hitler’s tradition, who call Russia an “enemy,” for refusing to do what these nazis demand.

Of course, there were also other nations on each side of each of those wars (for example, Wikipedia lists over a dozen “Allies of World War I”), but Ludvik calculated the numbers only for these, the main ones, on both sides.

So: everyone who can should now become active on this!

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Alf AlphaKlinkGuyghartwellShaun Ramewe Recent comment authors
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Shaun Ramewe
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Shaun Ramewe

And we all know the real perverted and greed-fuelled reasons why now don’t we!!

ghartwell
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So carefully researched and referenced as is typical Eric Zuesse.

Guy
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Guy

A dumbed down public that is sleepwalking into conflict ,perhaps war, in the West for reason of arrogance and a sense of exceptionalism .How this ends is hard to say but I do hope it ends well with a huge wake up call before its too late.

Klink
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Klink

The Issue of war can be laid at the feet of the Palestinian Jews, they are ready to destroy the World to remain in control of Palestine…

Alf Alpha
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Alf Alpha

“Russia and China plan to improve their infrastructures, in order to boost their national economies and to minimize the impacts that (the mainly US-caused) global warming will have.” While I concur with the premise of this article, it galls me to see relatively aware journalists who cling to the global warming scam. Have they ever bothered to consider that the primary driver of climate on earth is our sun? Apparently not. Sol is entering another cyclic minimum, these always portend the onsets of ice ages. Writers who know nothing of climatology would best leave references to false narratives about it… Read more »

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Rise of the Western Dissidents

The only reason Assange is being targeted is that he tangled with the highest levels of the western establishment. He is far from alone.

The Duran

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Authored by Allum Bokhari via Breitbart:


We’re used to Russian dissidents, Chinese dissidents, Iranian dissidents, and Saudi Arabian dissidents. But those who rightly believe the west is superior to authoritarian regimes must now contend with a troubling trend — the rise of the western dissident.

Chief among them is Julian Assange, who for a half-decade has been forced to live in the tiny Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has claimed political asylum since 2011. Assange claimed that he would be extradited to the U.S. to face charges over his work at WikiLeaks if he left the embassy, and was routinely mocked as paranoid for doing so.

This week, we learned that Assange was right and his critics were wrong. Thanks to a clerical error by the U.S. attorney’s office in Alexandria, Virginia, reporters were able to confirm the existence of sealed criminal charges against the WikiLeaks founder.

Because the charges are sealed and the evidence is unknown, it’s impossible to say if the case has merit. But it likely relates to WikiLeaks’ release of unredacted diplomatic cables in 2011, which forced the U.S. to relocate several of its foreign sources.

Some allegations are more serious. While he was alive, neoconservative Senator John McCain maintained that leaks provided to WikiLeaks by Chelsea Manning, which included the diplomatic cables, caused U.S sources to be murdered.

Those who see Assange as a villain will end the story here. What is typically left out is that WikiLeaks originally released the diplomatic cables in piecemeal form, with names redacted to prevent loss of life and minimize harm.

It was only after a Guardian journalist’s error led to the full unredacted cables leaking to third parties on the web that WikiLeaks published them as well — and not before Assange attempted to warn the office of Hillary Clinton, then U.S. Secretary of State.

In other words, WikiLeaks behaved precisely as any responsible publisher handling sensitive material should, redacting information that could cause harm. The redactions only stopped when they became pointless. Assange is unlikely to have won more than a dozen journalism awards if he were completely reckless in his publications.

The Pentagon later admitted under oath that they could not find any instances of individuals being killed as a result of being named in Manning’s leaks to WikiLeaks, contradicting Sen. McCain’s allegations.

At worst, Assange and WikiLeaks can be accused of negligence, not deliberate recklessness, in the way it handled sensitive material. But as Breitbart Tech reporter Lucas Nolan points out, a far stronger case can be made against Hillary Clinton for the way she handled State Department emails — yet we see no criminal charges against her.

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that the only reason Assange is being targeted is that he tangled with the highest levels of the western establishment. In that, he is far from alone.

In the late 2000s to early 2010s, western governments targeted all manner of individuals associated with Assange and the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, including Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda, and The Guardian newspaper.

This was the early growth period of the internet, when the web had become a truly popular medium but had yet to be censored by pliant social media corporations. It was a time of profound unease at the power of the internet to undermine authority, both through the dissemination of information as in the case of WikiLeaks and Snowden, and in the new mobilization of political forces, as in the case of Occupy Wall Street and the SOPA/PIPA protests. Heavy-handed crackdowns against individuals and groups that were seen, rightly or wrongly, as symbols of the web’s early anarchic tendencies, like Kim DotcomAaron SwartzAnonymous, and LulzSec, were not uncommon.

These days, however, a new class of western dissident has emerged — the populist dissident.

Populist Dissidents

Who would have thought that the highest court in Europe, home of the enlightenment, would uphold a case in which a woman was prosecuted for blasphemy against Islam?

Who would have thought that Britain, the birthplace of liberalism and the free press, would ban an independent journalist from its shores for satirizing the same religion?

Who would have thought that Germany, whose living memory of the totalitarian Stasi is just three decades old, would put its largest opposition party under surveillance?

Just a few years ago, all three would sound far-fetched. But cases like these have become common as elites in virtually every western country mount a panicked attempt to contain the rise of populism (the goal, in the words of a Google executive, is to render it a “hiccup”in history’s march towards progress).

Look at the case of Tommy Robinson, the British critic of Islam who was dragged through Britain’s courts on fuzzy contempt-of-court charges. Sentenced to an astonishing thirteen-month imprisonment, Robinson was eventually freed after a successful appeal and now awaits a final trial before Britain’s Attorney General. Shaky charges that have been successfully appealed were exploited to persecute a British citizen who was inconvenient to the establishment. And there’s still a further trial to come.

Then again, Britain is a country that routinely bans foreign politicians and media figures from the country for being too right-wing. Michael SavageGeert WildersLauren SouthernPamela Geller, and Robert Spencer all enjoy this dubious distinction. Theresa May, who was responsible for internal affairs and immigration when Spencer and Geller were banned, is now the Prime Minister.

But it’s not just Britain. Not only has Trump’s White House, supposedly an ally of populists, failed to publicly intervene on behalf of the American citizens banned from the U.K. for expressing populist viewpoints, but it hasn’t even investigated allegations that far-left Antifa activists were able to stop conservative Rebel Media personality Jack Buckbyfrom entering the country by spreading false criminal allegations.

Julian Assange, a left-libertarian may share little ideological ground with right-wing critics of Islam. But they all share at least one thing: persecution by western states coupled with anti-establishment political speech or activities. They are also targets of the security establishment — Assange because of leaks that have exposed their secrets, and the populists because they refuse to censor themselves to avoid angering Muslims. (The UK justified its attempted ban of Geert Wilders by arguing that his presence in the country could lead to “inter-faith violence.”)

We also see attacks on free speech, with governments and politicians across the west pressuring Silicon Valley to suppress its critics. An unaccountable, unelected elite can sweep away a person’s livelihood in minutes, and cut their political message off from millions of American citizens. As I wrote in my column two weeks ago, the overarching trend is the gradual destruction or delegitimization of every tool, digital or otherwise, that non-elites use to express their preferences. Does that sound like a free society, or a controlled one?

You don’t have to agree with any of the individuals or groups listed above to see that surveilling political parties, blocking journalists from entering countries, jailing critics of religion, upholding blasphemy laws and censoring the net is the behavior of authoritarian nations, not liberal democracies. Yet this is the disturbing pattern we now see in the west.

Worse, foreign authoritarian regimes now provide safe harbor for western dissidents, in the same way that the west does for foreign dissidents. Edward Snowden, accused of violating the U.S. Espionage Act of 1917 for blowing the whistle on the NSA’s mass surveillance of Americans, has for years resided safely in Russia, a country that persecutes and even kills its own journalists. Before that, he sought refuge in Hong Kong, a “Special Administrative Region” of the People’s Republic of China, an even more terrifyingly totalitarian state.

Will there now be a quid pro quo, with Russia and other authoritarian regimes protecting our dissidents while the west protects theirs? Or will western countries remain true to their liberal traditions, and stop its alarming attempts to surveil, suppress, and persecute a growing number of its own citizens? On present trends, a dark and dystopian future seems to loom on the horizon.

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. You can follow him on TwitterGab.ai and add him on Facebook. Email tips and suggestions to [email protected].

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Zuckerberg’s “War Face” Has Driven Key Executives Away, Stoked Tension With Sandberg

About a dozen senior or highly visible executives disclosed their resignations or left Facebook in 2018.

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Via Zerohedge


Earlier this year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gathered around 50 of his key executives and told them that the company was at war – more specifically, under siege from lawmakers, investors and angry users over the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal and Russian influence on the platform.

Zuckerberg, according to the Wall Street Journal, told his top lieutenants during that June meeting that while executives can move more slowly and methodically on key decisions during “peacetime,” he would be acting more decisively going forward, said people familiar with the remarks.

The result? Tension which has boiled over to the point where several key executives have left the country – as well as friction between Zuckerberg and longtime COO, Sheryl Sandberg.

The 34-year-old CEO believes Facebook didn’t move quickly enough at key moments this year and increasingly is pressing senior executives to “make progress faster” on resolving problems such as slowing user growth and securing the platform, said people familiar with the matter. Mr. Zuckerberg also at times has expressed frustration at how the company managed the waves of criticism it faced this year.

On Friday, that tension was on display when, during a question-and-answer session with employees at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., he blasted a fresh round of critical news coverage as “bullshit,” according to the people familiar with the remarks. –WSJ

One Facebook employee at the Friday session asked if the company could mitigate leaks by publishing internal reports on how frequently offenders are found and fired. While Zuckerberg said that Facebook does fire leakers, the root cause is “bad morale” thanks to negative press coverage.

And while the WSJ notes Zuckerberg has taken on ambitious annual goals, such as learning Mandarin and reading 25 books, this year his biggest challenge is fixing Facebook through his tougher management style, according to a person familiar with his thinking (so says the WSJ). Perhaps the Facebook CEO hired a drill sergeant to coach him on bringing out his inner-Alpha?

According to the Journal, Zuckerberg and Sandberg have had confrontations over his new management style, after she had long been afforded considerable autonomy over the company’s teams which handle communications and policy.

This spring, Mr. Zuckerberg told Ms. Sandberg, 49, that he blamed her and her teams for the public fallout over Cambridge Analytica, the research firm that inappropriately accessed private data on Facebook users and used it for political research, according to people familiar with the exchange.

Ms. Sandberg later confided in friends that the exchange rattled her, and she wondered if she should be worried about her job.

Mr. Zuckerberg also has told Ms. Sandberg she should have been more aggressive in allocating resources to review troublesome content on the site, said one person familiar with the matter, a problem that the company still struggles to fix. –WSJ

Meanwhile, Zuckerberg seems to be pleased of late with internal improvements, telling reporters last week that Sandberg is a “very important partner to me, and continues to be, and will continue to be.”

Privately, Zuckerberg has told executives that some of the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal was just “hysteria,” to which Facebook simply didn’t mount an effective response.

Clash of the tech titans

Zuckerberg famously has butted heads with the co-founders of photo-sharing app Instagram, over his desire to share user location data on the main Facebook platform in order to help better target ads. The now-resigned Instagram founders strongly opposed the idea, and abruptly left the company in September.

The founders of WhatsApp similarly bailed on Facebook after disagreements over how to best extract revenue from the messaging service, according to people familiar with the matter.

And most recently, was the departure of Oculus VR co-founder Brendan Iribe, who was forced out by Zuckerberg in part due to a disagreement over the future of the virtual-reality handset, the people said. The decision to leave was reportedly “mutual.”

All told, about a dozen senior or highly visible executives disclosed their resignations or left Facebook in 2018. In May, Facebook announced a major reshuffling of top product executives in a way that helped free up Mr. Zuckerberg to oversee a broader portfolio within the company.

This turmoil at the top of Facebook has made it difficult for the company to execute on some product decisions and shore up employee morale, which has been sinking over the last year along with the stock price, which has fallen 36% since its peak. Many employees are frustrated by the bad press and constant reorganizations, including of the security team, which can disrupt their work, according to current and former employees. –WSJ

Doing whatever it takes

Facebook has come under fire recently – most notably after a New York Times report that the company used GOP operatives to smear the company’s detractors and promote negative news about competitors Google and Apple.

When the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal broke – the resultant rebukes from Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google executives sent Zuckerberg ballistic. The Facebook CEO “later ordered his management team to use only Android phones —arguing that the operating system had far more users than Apple’s,” according to the Times.

Facebook then went on the offensive against the fellow tech giants.

On the advice of Joel Kaplan – a well-connected Republican friend, Bush administration official, and former Harvard classmate of Sandberg, Facebook began to go after Google and Apple.

Mr. Kaplan prevailed on Ms. Sandberg to promote Kevin Martin, a former Federal Communications Commission chairman and fellow Bush administration veteran, to lead the company’s American lobbying efforts. Facebook also expanded its work with Definers.

On a conservative news site called the NTK Network, dozens of articles blasted Google and Apple for unsavory business practices. One story called Mr. Cook hypocritical for chiding Facebook over privacy, noting that Apple also collects reams of data from users. Another played down the impact of the Russians’ use of Facebook.

The rash of news coverage was no accident: NTK is an affiliate of Definers, sharing offices and staff with the public relations firm in Arlington, Va. Many NTK Network stories are written by staff members at Definers or America Rising, the company’s political opposition-research arm, to attack their clients’ enemies. –NYT

Facebook has responded, initially saying they didn’t put out “fake news” against their competitors, and they had no idea what their marketing department was doing. On Friday, however, Sandberg said she took full responsibility for the actions of the communications team.

Facebook has tried to move forward following its various scandals; spearheading efforts to reign in data harvesting, and looking for someone to oversee its corporate, external and legal affairs.

Hopefully whoever is ultimately in charge of oversight won’t be scared away by Zuckerberg’s war face.

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The “Resistance” Struggles To Justify Support For Trump’s Prosecution Of Assange

When you find yourself supporting conflicting principles, it’s a sure sign that you were never guided by principle to begin with.

The Duran

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Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com:


Ever since suspicions were confirmed that the Trump administration is indeed working to prosecute and imprison WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for publishing authentic documents, the so-called “Resistance” has been struggling to explain exactly why it is so enthusiastically supportive of that agenda. And when I say struggling, I am being very, very generous.

When news broke that a court document copy-paste error had inadvertently exposed the fact that the Trump administration is pursuing an agenda which experts of diverse political persuasions agree would have devastating effects on the freedom of the press, #Resistance pundit and DC think tank operative Neera Tanden responded by tweeting, “Never mess with karma”. As of this writing if you do a Twitter search for the words “Assange” and “karma” together, you will come up with countless Democratic Party loyalists using that concept to justify their support for a Trump administration assault on the press that is infinitely more dangerous than the president being mean to Jim Acosta.

The trouble with that of course is that “karma”, as far as observable reality is concerned, is not an actual thing. It’s a Hindu religious concept that is supported by no more factual evidence than the Roman Catholic claim that a priest literally turns bread and wine into the body and blood of a Nazarene carpenter who died thousands of years ago. A Democratic pundit using the concept of “karma” to justify enthusiastic support for Trump’s fascistic attack on press freedoms is exactly the same as a Republican pundit using “God wills it” to justify the existence of poverty, and it is just as intellectually honest.

But it’s also the best argument these people have got.

I mean, think about it. There’s really no other way you can justify supporting a Trump administration agenda — an administration you claim to oppose — in a prosecution with legal implications that are severely detrimental to the free press, which you claim to support.

The only way to justify it is with some vague, abstract notion that Assange is just “getting what he deserves” since the 2016 WikiLeaks publications of Democratic Party likely contributed to Trump’s electoral victory over Hillary Clinton, and the only way to reify that vague, abstract notion is with an appeal to some imaginary metaphysical principle, i.e. karma.

But, again, that is not a thing. There is no invisible eight-armed deity floating around behind the scenes arbitrating and distributing the consequences of WikiLeaks drops, and there is no rational argument that the Trump administration prosecuting Assange is desirable because Assange “deserves” it. The fact of the matter is that these people are supporting Trump’s fascism in the most toxic ways possible, they are utterly incapable of defending that support with any intellectual honesty, and the self-proclaimed “Resistance” would be more aptly named “the Assistance”.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald described this phenomenon as follows:

But the grand irony is that many Democrats will side with the Trump DOJ over the Obama DOJ. Their emotional, personal contempt for Assange  – due to their belief that he helped defeat Hillary Clinton: the gravest crime  –  easily outweighs any concerns about the threats posed to press freedoms by the Trump administration’s attempts to criminalize the publication of documents.

This reflects the broader irony of the Trump era for Democrats. While they claim out of one side of their mouth to find the Trump administration’s authoritarianism and press freedom attacks so repellent, they use the other side of their mouth to parrot the authoritarian mentality of Jeff Sessions and Mike Pompeo that anyone who published documents harmful to Hillary or which have been deemed “classified” by the U.S. Government ought to go to prison.

…It is this utterly craven and authoritarian mentality that is about to put Democrats of all sorts in bed with the most extremist and dangerous of the Trump faction as they unite to create precedents under which the publication of information — long held sacrosanct by anyone caring about press freedoms — can now be legally punished.

And indeed this is exactly what has been happening. Check out the joyous celebrations in online comments sections from when the news broke that the Trump administration has brought sealed charges upon Assange (herehere, or here for example) for a taste of where the “blue wave” zeitgeist is at right now. Their hatred for Assange has overpowered not only their hatred for Trump, but the most important ways in which they are meant to be resisting him.

When you find yourself supporting conflicting principles, it’s a sure sign that you were never guided by principle to begin with.

And this is really the lesson we can take from all this. The noxious strain of American liberalism which promotes Russia conspiracy theories, supports the prosecution of government transparency advocates, and only attacks Trump as an idea rather than actually resisting his actual policies was never about any principle of any kind. There were preexisting agendas against Russia, alternative media, WikiLeaks, and government transparency long before Trump took office, and all of those agendas have been systematically advanced by the powerful using the “us vs them” herd mentality of the McResistance. These people aren’t supporting the prosecution of a leak publisher because of their ideological values, they are supporting it because that’s what powerful manipulators want them to do.

Trump’s despicable prosecution of Assange, and corporate liberalism’s full-throated support for it, has fully discredited all of mainstream US politics on both sides of the aisle. Nobody in that hot mess stands for anything. If you’re still looking to Trump or the Democrats to protect you from the rising tide of fascism, the time to make your exit is now.

*  *  *

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My articles are entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out mypodcast, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal,buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

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