Thursday, May 05, 2016
Donald Trump Is What Happens When You Screw the Middle Class
Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s non-endorsement of Donald Trump last week was about a lot more than resolving the 2016 GOP nomination.
“I particularly want to commend Donald Trump,” said Pence, “who I think has given voice to the frustration of millions of working Americans with the lack of progress in Washington D.C. and I am also particularly grateful that Donald Trump has taken a strong stand for Hoosier jobs when we saw jobs in the Carrier Company abruptly announce leaving Indiana, not for another state, but for Mexico.”
Taken along with Senator Bernie Sanders win over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Indiana Tuesday night, and Main Street is roaring back against Congress’s bi-partisan embrace of global free trade that for decades has put multinational corporate profits over the well being of their own constituents.
For decades now, irrespective of which political party was in power, this bi-partisan agreement molded our nation to fit the demands of globalization, which we were told was powered by bareknuckled competition between the world’s leading nations. It was just a matter of basic survival, went the argument. Let free and unfettered capital sail around the earth, looking for the most profitable place to land and watch the wave of wealth and wellbeing swell to embrace all of humanity, the boosters promised. To stand in its way would be to impede its genius.
This was a mega-trend that was as undeniably real as gravity itself, said the promoters like Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. If we chose to ignore it, we would be banished from prosperity, left cold and naked, in a sort of continent-wide fetal position. “Get with it, or be condemned to a world of want and deprivation,” went the free-trade mantra.
So it was that a nation that birthed itself into being in the 18th century by revolting against the tyranny of the British Empire would, three centuries later, willingly surrender its sovereignty to World Trade Organization tribunals, so as to insure our big corporations got their global market share, for surely their fate was ours.
For all these years, we have dutifully passed one free-trade bill after another, as our leaders cracked the whip and got paid-off to keep us in line. We chased an era of prosperity and abundance that was always just around the corner. We bet the farm on a multilateral arrangement that improved the profitability of our multinationals at the expense of the survival of our Main Streets, reckoning that we would prosper longer term as these corporations played for global domination.
Would we not all be winners?
To buy into this we would have to ignore the increasing wealth concentration at the top, the erosion of benefits, and our own growing household debt that papered over the deflation of our wages. We were told that the closing of tens of thousands of our factories was just a necessary sacrifice at the altar of a brighter tomorrow. Yes, went this logic, there would be local pain and suffering, but we would prosper in the aggregate and democracy would flourish.
And so now, all these years after NAFTA, and an alphabet soup of subsequent trade deals, our biggest corporations are global players. They have no national loyalty, having bought off the elites of both political parties, and have mastered ways to reduce their U.S. tax liability, shifting it back to America’s Main Streets, which are increasingly falling into disrepair.
In the immediate aftermath of the Wall Street meltdown, Washington spent billions of taxpayers dollars to bail out the multi-national car industry, branded as “Detroit,” while it allowed the actual City of Detroit, which had launched the industry, to fall into bankruptcy. Tomorrow has come in a 21st century America, where once-mighty industrial cities like Flint are now sad shadows of their former selves, where the public water is not fit to drink.
But this mad rush for globalization, and reckless lust for profits above all else, did not just hollow out much of our urban base, it led to the massive environmental contamination of places like China, which global capital decided should become the world’s factory.
The most recent comprehensive air-quality mapping done by Berkeley Earth, a scientific research nonprofit, documents that China’s air pollution is so toxic that it is responsible for 4,000 deaths a day —roughly 17 percent of the nation’s mortality rate.
In 2014, Chinese officials disclosed that close to two‐thirds of their sub‐surface waters were contaminated. In 2011, testing data documented that more than half of the nation’s lakes and reservoirs were so contaminated that their water was unsuitable for human consumption. Roughly half of all Chinese living in rural communities have no access to potable water.
Over the last 50 years, China lost almost a quarter of its freshwater swamplands and more than half of its coastal wetlands. This loss of water storage and recharge capacity and the wholesale short‐circuiting of the natural water cycle has increased the incidence of catastrophic flooding and chemical contamination.
Much of this industrial expansion in China, and in so-called emerging-market nations, was funded with hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate and public debt. Last year, the IMF warned that as a consequence, a $18 trillion debt bubble was now looming on the horizon, no doubt also a consequence of the Federal Reserve’s years of zero percent interest rates, meant to re-float Wall Street.
What did the world get for all that borrowing? 553 million tons in excess global steel making capacity, equal to the weight of 11,000 Montana class battleships. So much for the ability of that all-knowing and unfettered capital to set our collective agenda.
Decades into this free-market global free-for-all, what we have is a planet worse for the wear, with grotesque wealth inequality and increasing geopolitical insecurity that has produced millions of displaced persons and refugees.
According to a 2015 report from Oxfam.
On this side of the 21st century, it looks like global free trade was nothing more than a pyramid scheme retread.
Robert Hennelly is an award-winning investigative journalist, broadcast and print reporter with more than 30 years of experience covering federal, state and local politics, public policy, the environment, public utilities, land use, law enforcement and national security.
Wednesday, May 04, 2016
ROMANIAN HACKER GUCCIFER - "I BREACHED CLINTON SERVER, IT WAS EASY"
Romanian hacker 'Guccifer' says it was 'easy' to infiltrate Hillary Clinton's personal emails from his small village
PUBLISHED: 20:00 EST, 4 May 2016 | UPDATED: 21:13 EST, 4 May 2016
A Romanian hacker known as 'Guccifer,' who posted unofficial emails sent to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the Internet, has revealed that he 'easily' penetrated the Democratic frontrunner's emails and explained how.
In jailhouse interviews with Fox News from where he’s being held on cyber-crime charges in Alexandria, Virginia, Marcel Lehel Lazar, 44, told the media outlet that it was simple for him to figure out how to break into Clinton's personal email server, and he did it twice in 2013.
'For me, it was easy ... easy for me, for everybody,' he bragged to the news outlet.
Romanian hacker Marcel Lehel Lazar (above), 44, was extradited to the U.S. from Romania last month - he accused of cyber crimes - he himself claims he has hacked into Hillary Clinton’s email
He said he first went into journalist and Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal’s email account by doing extensive research on him and then correctly guessing his security question.
He said Blumenthal's emails were 'interesting' and he was talking about 'the Middle East and what they were doing there.' It's unclear who he was talking to.
Lazar said he then would see emails from political operatives, such as Clinton, and was able to trace their IP addresses and use ‘IP scanner' software to see if ports were open and email addresses 'alive.'
He claims he compromised Clinton’s emails 'like twice' and said the contents 'were not interesting.'
'I was not paying attention. For me, it was not like the Hillary Clinton server, it was like an email server she and others were using with political voting stuff,' he said.
Lazar, who goes by the cyber handle ‘Guccifer' says it was 'easy' for him to break into Clinton's personal email but that her emails weren't 'interesting'
Fox News said it could not independently confirm Lazar’s claim, but spoke to security experts who said it seems plausible.
'This sounds like the classic attack of the late 1990s. A smart individual who knows the tools and the technology and is looking for glaring weaknesses in Internet-connected devices,’ Bob Gourley, a former chief technology officer (CTO) for the Defense Intelligence Agency, said.
Lazar says he is self trained and did most of his hacking from his small village in Romania.
'Cybersecurity expert Morgan Wright told the outlet, 'The Blumenthal account gave [Lazar] a road map to get to the Clinton server. You get a foothold in one system. You get intelligence from that system, and then you start to move.'
Clinton and her camp deny that her personal email server was compromised by any foreign hackers
Lazar's victims aren't named in his nine-count indictment, but they reportedly include Colin Powell, Sydney Blumenthal and a Bush family member
Hillary Clinton answers questions on her email server in April But Gourley also warned that ‘Unfortunately, in this community, a lot people make up stories and it’s hard to tell what's really true until you get into the forensics information and get hard facts.'
For her part, Clinton denies her personal email server had been compromised by foreign hackers, saying ‘No, not at all' when asked by MSNBC.
'There is absolutely no basis to believe the claims made by this criminal from his prison cell,' Clinton's national press secretary, Brian Fallon, told NBC News. 'In addition to the fact that he offers no proof to support his claims, his descriptions of Secretary Clinton's server are inaccurate. It is unfathomable that he would have gained access to her emails and not leaked them the way he did to his other victims.’
He added that her server shows no trace of foreign hacking.
Clinton’s private server contained nearly 2,200 emails containing information now deemed classified, and another 22 at the 'Top Secret' level.
The government has publicly posted about 45,000 pages, with roughly 7600 still left to be released at the end of February, according to NBC News.
Lazar is also accused of hacking into the personal accounts of Colin Powell and a Bush family member, two former U.S. presidents, a former U.S. Cabinet member, a former member of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and a former presidential advisor.
He had pleaded not guilty to nine counts of hacking and his trial is set in the Eastern District of Virginia for September 12.