Food Is Freedom: How Washington’s Food Subsidies Have Helped Make Americans Fat and Sick

food-is-freedom:-how-washington’s-food-subsidies-have-helped-make-americans-fat-and-sick

03-10-19 06:51:00,

By Brian Miller

Farm subsidies are perhaps the ultimate, but secret, third rail of American politics. While entitlements are discussed out in the open, farm subsidies are rarely talked about – even though they are the most expensive subsidy Washington doles out.

All told, the U.S. government spends $20 billion annually on farm subsidies, with approximately 39 percent of all farms receiving some sort of subsidy. For comparison, the oil industry gets about $4.6 billion annually and annual housing subsidies total another $15 billion. A significant portion of this $20 billion goes not to your local family farm, but to Big Aggie.

(Note that this $20 billion annual farm subsidy figure doesn’t take into account the 30+ years of ethanol subsidies to the corn industry nor export subsidies to U.S. farmers issued by the USDA.)

The government never properly explains why this is. Certainly small farmers are growing their crops at enormous risk. However, it’s not clear that agriculture is any different than other high-risk industries – especially because the United States is blessed with some of the most fertile farmland in the world, and a highly skilled labor force.

Subsidies don’t just cost taxpayers, an expense that might properly be justified by showing a return on investment. Subsidies also provide powerful disincentives against innovation, as well as cost effectiveness and diversification of land use.

There is also a strong case to be made that farm subsidies are a major driver of the obesity and cancer epidemic in the United States. Every time Washington interferes in the private sector, they are picking winners and losers. The winners chosen are companies producing food that’s high in calories and low in nutritional density – and that helps make Americans sick and fat, because it distorts what food is available at what price.

While President Trump has sometimes discussed reducing farm subsidies, the solution to the problem is much more radical – the total elimination of all farm subsidies from the federal budget.

Food Subsidies in the United States

There have long been federal programs in the United States propping up the agricultural sector.

 » Lees verder

US Defends Your Freedom By Using Troops As Saudi Oil Security Guards

us-defends-your-freedom-by-using-troops-as-saudi-oil-security-guards

22-09-19 09:27:00,

If you’ve been lying awake at night terrified that the Pentagon might not send additional troops and armaments to defend oil corporations in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, I’ve got some great news for you.

In response to an attack on Saudi Aramco oil infrastructure for which Houthi rebels in Yemen have taken credit, the US government has responded in the only possible rational way: by blaming Iran and deploying troops to act as security guards for Middle Eastern oil companies.

“In response to the kingdom’s request, the president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces, which will be defensive in nature and primarily focused on air and missile defense,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper informed the press yesterday. “We will also work to accelerate the delivery of military equipment to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to enhance their ability to defend themselves.”

So you can breathe easy, my friend. Freedom and democracy are safe once more.

JUST IN: Pentagon to will deploy additional troops and military equipment to Saudi Arabia: “In response to the Kingdom’s request, the president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces, which will be defensive in nature and primarily focused on air and missile defense.” pic.twitter.com/qORbgWHoeP

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 20, 2019

A lot of delusional, unpatriotic democracy haters like to argue that the US military doesn’t actually defend the freedom of the American people, and that it isn’t really used to defend freedom at all, and that it isn’t even really used to defend any rules-based international order as sometimes claimed, and that even to use the word “defend” to describe anything the US military does is inaccurate since it is consistently on the attacking and aggressing side of any given conflict, and that actually the US military functions as nothing other than a blunt object wielded by the rich and powerful for the advancement of plutocratic interests and the geostrategic dominance of opaque and unaccountable government agencies, and that it can in fact be accurately said that the only difference between the US military and any other band of armed thugs is funding…

I forget where I was going with this.

 » Lees verder

The Price of “Freedom”? US Drone Massacres Dozens of Afghan Farmers as They Slept

the-price-of-“freedom”?-us-drone-massacres-dozens-of-afghan-farmers-as-they-slept

19-09-19 07:23:00,

By Matt Agorist

Jalalabad, Afghanistan — Imagine for a moment that you had just finished a long day’s work with two hundred other farmers. You were settling down to relax for the night, when out of nowhere, Hellfire missiles rain down from drones in the sky and blow up dozens of your coworkers, maiming and tearing limbs from dozens more. Imagine if this happened inside the United States. Imagine the reaction from politicians and the US war machine looking to right this wrong.

Would you, as an American citizen sit idly back and accept the excuse given by the country who carried out that attack? Would you accept the wholesale slaughter of your fellow citizens by the dozen if the country who led the attack said it was a mistake and we did it to “help” you? What if it was one of your children killed in the attack? Or your brother, sister, father, mother, or grand parent? Would you simply accept that this slaughter was a mistake and the “help” you are receiving from this country is worth it?

Well, that is exactly what the United States is asking Afghanistan to do right now after a drone strike Wednesday night slaughtered 30 innocent civilian farmers as they rested from a long day’s work picking pine nuts. The attack also left 40 others maimed and mangled.

“The workers had lit a bonfire and were sitting together when a drone targeted them,” tribal elder Malik Rahat Gul told Reuters by telephone from Wazir Tangi.

According to Reuters, a survivor of the drone strike said about 200 laborers were sleeping in five tents pitched near the farm when the attack happened.

“Some of us managed to escape, some were injured but many were killed,” said Juma Gul, a resident of northeastern Kunar province who had traveled along with laborers to harvest and shell pine nuts this week.

Naturally, the US is responding to the situation with a canned response and refusing to accept responsibility.

“U.S. forces conducted a drone strike against Da’esh (IS) terrorists in Nangarhar,” said Colonel Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

 » Lees verder

Europe Has no Freedom But to Choose “Freedom Gas” | New Eastern Outlook

europe-has-no-freedom-but-to-choose-“freedom-gas”-|-new-eastern-outlook

06-06-19 06:27:00,

USGAZ2342

The US Department of Energy (DOE) recently renamed US liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports “freedom gas.” But freedom for who? For Europe who already has a cheap and reliable source of natural gas, but is being forced to switch over to more expensive US gas under the threat of sanctions? Certainly not.

Or freedom for Russia who supplies Europe with much of its natural gas to compete openly and fairly with the United States? Most definitely not.

Or is it freedom from competition for the US?  Yes, indeed.

It is often contradictory branding that heralds various chapters of US injustice at home (under the draconian “Patriot Act” for example) and abroad, such as during the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq carried out under the dubious name of “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

Not the Onion

So discredited have US campaigns christened in the name of “freedom” become, that few scarcely believed the US was actually, seriously calling its natural gas exports “freedom gas.” However, it is not a headline torn from the pages of the satirical newspaper “The Onion,” but rather from the US DOE itself.

In an article from the DOE’s official website titled, “Department of Energy Authorizes Additional LNG Exports from Freeport LNG,” the DOE states (emphasis added):

“Increasing export capacity from the Freeport LNG project is critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world by giving America’s allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy. Further, more exports of U.S. LNG to the world means more U.S. jobs and more domestic economic growth and cleaner air here at home and around the globe,” said U.S. Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes, who highlighted the approval at the Clean Energy Ministerial in Vancouver, Canada. “There’s no doubt today’s announcement furthers this Administration’s commitment to promoting energy security and diversity worldwide.”

Aside from the almost comical reference to “freedom gas,” there is something else revealing about the DOE’s claims of  “giving America’s allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy.”

This is in direct reference to Europe, and Europe’s current imports of Russian gas. Russian gas, delivered by pipelines to Europe will always be cheaper than US liquefied natural gas transported by sea to Europe.

 » Lees verder

“Freedom of Expression” and “The Battle of Ideas” – Global Research

“freedom-of-expression”-and-“the-battle-of-ideas”-–-global-research

05-06-19 06:38:00,

Dear Readers,

This is a personal message. Please read carefully.

When Global Research was born in September 2001, we were convinced that “Freedom of Expression” and “The Battle of Ideas” would contribute to reversing the tide of war, while also restoring the foundations of social democracy.

Our hope and belief was that “the Big Lie” would one day be crushed by the undeniable weight of the Truth.

We still hold on to this hope.

Independent media is under attack, the search engines want to squeeze us out. A witch-hunt is being waged against independent journalists, renowned academics and scientists. Despite the wide variety of topics covered on our site by all manner of experts and academics from the world over, there is a relentless campaign against us.

Our financial situation is currently precarious. Without some major support from our readers, our future remains uncertain and the mainstream media lies rise to the top, eventually relegating any voice of dissent to the shadows.

The alternative is a world without independent voices, brought to you by corporate sponsors and hidden agendas. We are not coopted. We are not a government mouthpiece. Global Research is committed to “Freedom of Expression”, a fundamental right which is being snuffed out all over the globe.

With your help, we can continue to fight for truth to prevail, as we have always done.

When The Lie Becomes the Truth, there is no moving backwards.

Thank you for your support,

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, June 5, 2019

 » Lees verder

Freedom of the Press in Japan: PM Staff ‘Restrict’ Reporter, Accuse Her of ‘Spreading Misinformation’ About Environmental Impact of New US Military Base – Global Research

freedom-of-the-press-in-japan-pm-staff-restrict-reporter-accuse-her-of-spreading-misinformation-about-environmental-impact-of-new-us-military-base-8211-global-research

13-02-19 08:33:00,

A decision by Japanese government officials to “restrict” questions from an unnamed reporter during press conferences has provoked protests by other journalists.

The controversy has re-raised longstanding questions about the environmental impact of a controversial new base for US Marines being constructed in the southwestern prefecture of Okinawa.

At the start of 2019, officials from the Cabinet Office (the government ministry that coordinates the operations of Prime Minister Abe Shinzo) directed the press club covering the Cabinet Office to “restrict” a certain reporter from asking questions during daily press conferences covering the Japanese prime minister. The Cabinet Office also accused the reporter of “spreading misinformation” about the environmental impact of infill.

望月衣塑子

The unnamed reporter in question is most likely Mochizuki Isoko, a journalist with the Tokyo Shimbun daily newspaper, who is known for asking difficult questions.

In Japan, news outlets typically get access to politicians and government officials through press clubs, which regulate the activities of members, and can even exclude reporters or news outlets. In turn, sources, such as government departments, can deny or limit press clubs with access. But it’s unusual to ban or restrict the activities of journalists from media outlets like Tokyo Shimbun, a prominent daily known for its watchdog approach to government activities.

Reporter questioned environmental effects of construction for US Marine base

Mochizuki apparently angered the Cabinet Office during a news conference on December 26, when she asked about the risks of environmental contamination at a controversial construction site in Okinawa.

In order to build a long-planned base for US Marines permanently stationed in Okinawa, sand and rock infill is being used to build an artificial island in a bay off of Henoko, a township about 65 km north of Naha, Okinawa.

The construction project is destroying and literally paving over existing tropical coral habitat in the bay. It has been reported that the construction project is using inexpensive red soil infill, instead of the gravel that was budgeted in the project and paid for by the government, in an effort to cut corners. There are also suspicions that construction contractors including Ryuku Cement are pocketing the difference.

 » Lees verder

Goodbye “Freedom And Democracy” – Hello “Rules-Based International Order”

goodbye-8220freedom-and-democracy8221-hello-8220rules-based-international-order8221

05-02-19 08:49:00,

Authored by Paul Carline via Off-Guardian.org,

The banner and the clarion call of western countries, and their own asserted legitimation – especially when they are engaging in illegal wars and coups – used to be “freedom and democracy”: the precious gift they were generously and selflessly offering to a backward world – or one allegedly in the ‘chains’ of Socialism/Communism. There was “Radio Free Europe”, for example, pushing out western liberal propaganda, primarily against the countries of the former Soviet Union.

The Washington-based “Freedom House” organisation, which claims to be independent, has around 150 staff members in Washington and in ‘field offices’ around the world. Its President is Michael J. Abramowitz, who before joining Freedom House in 2017, was director of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Levine Institute for Holocaust Education. Before that, he was National Editor and then White House correspondent for the Washington Post. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former fellow at the German Marshall Fund and the Hoover Institution. He is also a board member of the National Security Archive. The Board of Trustees is chaired by Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security under George W. Bush and co-author of the USA Patriot Act.

Since 1972, Freedom House, whose website sports a warm endorsement by none other than Francis Fukuyama, has produced an annual “Freedom in the World” global map (above), which divides the world into countries which are either “free”, “partly free”, or “not free”. The allegedly “free” countries are coloured green, the “partly free” ones a kind of muddy yellow, and the “not free” ones blue.

Its analysis of “freedom” covers “the electoral process, political pluralism and participation, the functioning of government, freedom of expression and belief, rights of association and organization, the rule of law, and personal autonomy and individual rights”. The word ‘democracy’ is not used in the ratings system, nor is it defined anywhere, but the 2018 analysis is headlined “Democracy in Crisis”.

According to Freedom House, in 2018 45% of the world (by country) or 39% (by population) was “free”, 30% (country) or 24% (population) was “partly free”,

 » Lees verder

ACTA 2.0 – The End Of Freedom On The Internet

acta-2.0-8211-the-end-of-freedom-on-the-internet

14-11-18 10:10:00,

Via GEFIRA,

Freedom of expression is a thorn in the side of EU technocrats. The new intellectual property law adopted by the European Parliament in September threatens our fundamental rights.

Internet means freedom. Still. We can (still) freely retrieve content with our search engines. We can (still) freely and without further ado access the sources in a text. This will soon change.

Article 13 of the controversial law says that website operators and Internet providers will be held accountable for the content of their customers and readers. The new law thus obliges them to use the so-called upload filters. The filter obligation leaves it to the software to decide what users are allowed to upload and what not. In plain language it says the provider will control and censor our activities on the net: every uploaded photo, video, every text will be checked.

The question arises: what criteria will apply to this censorship and how and by whom will this filter software be programmed? The EU Commission will certainly soon be proposing detailed guidelines to combat fake news, the spread of terrorism on the Internet, and to combat those who infringe copyrights. All right, but it will also be a tool to suppress the critics of the EU, independent bloggers who want to throw light on the incompetence and insolence of the Brussels technocrats, dissidents (not left-wing liberals). And I bet: the directives will be introduced very quickly and eagerly in all EU countries.

Source: shutterstock.com

Article 11 deals with the introduction of a kind of tax on links. From now on, when we publish a link on our website, we have to pay the owner (the author or publisher) for it. Technocrats believe that if we refer to a specific source and link it in our text, the source is entitled to a remuneration.

Of course, there is not a word of exact amounts in the law, this should only be determined after negotiations with EU member states. Now, if an editorial staff decides to earn with the new law, then search engines will not show up results containing links to their content.

 » Lees verder

Freedom of the Net Report 2018: China als negatives Vorbild für die Welt

freedom-of-the-net-report-2018-china-als-negatives-vorbild-fur-die-welt

02-11-18 11:21:00,

China lässt seiner Bevölkerung immer weniger Raum zum Atmen. Mit seiner Überwachungsmaschinerie markiert das Regime in Peking bewusst ein Vorbild für andere Staaten auf der Welt, die ihre Bürgerinnen und Bürger kontrollieren und bespitzeln wollen. Den Ausbau von Zensur und Überwachungsexport in China dokumentierte der Bericht „Freedom of the Net“ der NGO Freedom House, der nun für 2018 erschienen ist. Rund um die Welt schwindet die Netzfreiheit: In 26 der 65 bewerteten Staaten sank sie nach Einschätzung von Freedom House seit vergangenem Jahr, darunter in den USA. Doch es gibt auch einzelne Lichtblicke.


netzpolitik.org – ermöglicht durch Dich.

China setzt einen globalen Negativ-Standard bei der Überwachung, urteilen die Autoren des Berichts. Das Land sei weltweit der schlimmste Feind der Netzfreiheit: „Die ungebremste Sammlung persönlicher Daten hat traditionelle Vorstellungen von Privatsphäre zerschmettert. Eine Gruppe von Ländern übernimmt das chinesische Vorbild großangelegter Zensur und automatisierter Überwachungssysteme und marschiert in Richtung eines digitalen Autoritarismus.“

China als Zensurweltmeister

Die Regierung in Peking verstärkte in den vergangenen Monaten weiter seine Kontrolle über das Netz. Chinas Internet wird damit immer mehr von der Außenwelt abgeschottet. Mitte 2017 trat ein umfassendes neues Cybersicherheitsgesetz in Kraft. Das Gesetz schreibt die Speicherung aller Daten auf chinesischen Servern vor. Provider und Content-Anbieter müssen die Klarnamenpflicht für alle User und andere rechtliche Vorgaben streng umsetzen. Die Nutzung von VPN-Diensten, mit denen viele Chinesinnen und Chinesen bisher die Zensur umgingen, wurde weiter eingeschränkt.

Hart treffen die Maßnahmen die muslimische Minderheit der Uiguren im Westen Chinas. Die Behörden nutzen dort Gesichtserkennung und andere Technologie zur Überwachung, die zur Inhaftierung zehntausender Menschen führte, da sie sich vermeintlich auffällig verhielten. Der Bericht warnt außerdem vor dem Ausbau des Social-Scoring-Systems in China.

Pekings eifrige Nachahmer

Chinas Schritte finden eifrige Nachahmer. Ägypten und der Iran erließen strenge Gesetze über die Nutzung sozialer Medien. Sicherheitsbehörden nutzten den angeblichen Kampf gegen „Fake News“ zur Inhaftierung von Regimegegner*innen.

Das Modell macht Schule. China bildete Behördenvertreter aus einem Dutzend Ländern in mehrwöchigen Trainings an seinem Zensur- und Überwachungssystem aus, schreibt Freedom House. Chinesische Firmen lieferten Technik für Telekommunikation,

 » Lees verder

Freedom Flotilla to Gaza: Most Participants Still in Prison: Grave Concern for Safety and Cargo | Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

Freedom Flotilla to Gaza: Most Participants Still in Prison: Grave Concern for Safety and Cargo | Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

31-07-18 06:49:00,

Two people from Al Awda (The Return) have been released, but most of the crew and participants are still in unlawful detention at Givon prison in Israel. We are still gravely concerned for their safety and well-being as we had no contact with most of them as of 14:00 CEST today. We continue to demand that our boat and the medical supplies on board reach their rightful recipients, Palestinian civil society in Gaza.

Although the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) claim that the capture of our vessel happened ‘without exceptional incident’, eye-witness Zohar Chamberlain Regev reports that at the time of boarding: “People on board were tasered and hit by masked IOF soldiers. We did not get our passports or belongings before we got off the boat. Do not believe reports of peaceful interception.” We urgently need to know the details of who was injured and how seriously, and what treatment they are receiving, if any. A military attack on a civilian vessel is a violent act and a violation of international law. Taking 22 people from international waters to a country which is not their destination constitutes an act of kidnapping, which is also unlawful under the international Convention of the Law of Sea.

From the time we lost contact around 13:15 local time on Sunday, we know that the IOF blocked all communication signals, including satellite phones. We are very concerned about this violation of journalists’ right to report freely and we remain gravely concerned about their ability to keep their professional equipment and their storage media. As Australian journalist Chris Graham recently observed “Bad things happen when good people stay silent, as history well records. But horrendous things happen when media are prevented from scrutinizing the actions of a state.”

Two of our participants who are Israeli citizens have been charged with attempting to enter Gaza and conspiracy to commit a crime, and were released on bail this morning. One of them, boat leader Zohar Chamberlain Regev, reports seeing blood on the deck of the Al Awda as the last participants were being dragged off the ship.

In comparison with the violence routinely directed at Palestinian civilians, including at fishers from Gaza, and the violent capture of Palestinian fishing boats, yesterday’s seizure and kidnapping may not be the most serious of Israeli crimes.

 » Lees verder

Freedom Flotilla doet Nederland aan op weg naar Gaza – The Rights Forum

Freedom Flotilla doet Nederland aan op weg naar Gaza – The Rights Forum

27-05-18 09:58:00,

Campagnes

In actie voor Gaza

Blokkade Mars van Terugkeer Gaza gedode Palestijnen

ABP: stop met investeren in Israëls kolonisering

Teken de petitie

Teken nu!

In actie voor Gaza / Freedom Flotilla doet Nederland aan op weg naar Gaza

Komende week doet een viertal schepen van de Gaza Freedom Flotilla 2018 een aantal Nederlandse steden aan. Vrijdag 1 juni kan iedereen aansluiten bij een botenparade in Amsterdam. ‘s Avonds volgt een publiek debat.

De Gaza Freedom Flotilla 2018 is een uiting van solidariteit met de bevolking van Gaza. Opvarenden en organisatoren roepen op tot internationale actie om een eind te maken aan de Israëlische blokkade van de landstrook.Latuff 

Afgelopen week verliet een flotielje (kleine vloot, ‘flotilla’) van vier schepen hun Scandinavische thuishavens op weg naar de door Israël belegerde Gazastrook. Deze week leggen de schepen aan in Groningen, Leeuwarden, Amsterdam en Rotterdam. In Amsterdam wordt op vrijdag 1 juni een botenparade en een publiek debat georganiseerd.

De kleine vloot, varend onder de noemer Gaza Freedom Flotilla 2018, hoopt op 25 of 26 juli de kust van de Gazastrook te bereiken. Onderweg wordt, behalve in Nederland, aangelegd in Denemarken, Duitsland, Engeland, Frankrijk, Spanje en Italië.

De Gaza Freedom Flotilla 2018 is bedoeld als uiting van solidariteit met de bevolking van Gaza, en beoogt het grote publiek te doordringen van de noodzaak tot ingrijpen door hun regeringen. De tocht wordt georganiseerd door de Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC), waarin twaalf internationale organisaties samenwerken. Het Amerikaanse weblog Mondoweiss publiceerde een interview met een van de opvarenden, de Israëli Zohar Chamberlain Regev.

De schande van Gaza

In de kleine Gazastrook, met een oppervakte van twee maal die van Texel, worden twee miljoen Palestijnen door Israël opgesloten gehouden. Sinds 2007 is er een onbarmhartige blokkade van kracht, die Gaza volledig van de buitenwereld heeft geïsoleerd, leidend tot een ernstige humanitaire en economische crisis.

 » Lees verder

Expect Even Less Freedom of Internet in 2018

Expect Even Less Freedom of Internet in 2018

13-01-18 10:45:00,

Expect Even Less Freedom of Internet in 2018

Users of social media have been increasingly reporting that their accounts have been either censored, blocked or suspended during the past year. Initially, some believed that the incidents might be technical in nature, with overloaded servers struggling to keep up with the large and growing number of accounts, but it eventually emerged that the interference was deliberate and was focused on individuals and groups that were involved in political or social activities considered to be controversial.

At the end of last year a number of Russian accounts on Facebook and elsewhere were suspended over the allegations that social media had been used to spread so-called false news that had possibly materially affected the 2016 presidential election in the United States. Even though it proved impossible to demonstrate that the relatively innocuous Russian efforts had any impact in comparison to the huge investment in advertising and propaganda engaged in by the two major parties, social media quickly responded to the negative publicity.

Now it has been learned that major social media and internet service providers have, throughout the past year, been meeting secretly with the United States and Israeli governments to remove content as well as ban account holders from their sites. The United States and Israel have no legal right to tell private companies what to do but it is clearly understood that the two governments can make things very difficult for those service providers that do not fall in line. Israel has threatened to limit access to sites like Facebook or to ban it altogether while the U.S. Justice Department can use terrorist legislation, even if implausible, to force compliance. Washington recently forced Facebook to cancel the account of the Chechen Republic’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a Putin loyalist that the White House has recently “sanctioned.”

Israel is not surprisingly most active in patrolling the Internet as it is keen to keep out any material sympathetic to the Palestinian cause or critical of Israeli treatment of Arabs. Its security services scan the stories being surfaced and go to the service providers to ask that material be deleted or blocked based on the questionable proposition that it constitutes “incitement” to violence. Facebook reportedly cooperates 95% of the time to delete material or shut down accounts. Palestinian groups,

 » Lees verder