We perfected Mass Murder by Chris Hedges

The killings in Brussels or Paris and the killings in U.S. military strikes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria or Libya perpetuate the same dark lusts. The savage tit-for-tat game will not end until we rouse ourselves from our hypnotized state.

Revenge is the psychological engine of war. Victims are the blood currency. Their corpses are used to sanctify acts of indiscriminate murder. Those defined as the enemy and targeted for slaughter are rendered inhuman. They are not worthy of empathy or justice. Pity and grief are felt exclusively for our own. We vow to eradicate a dehumanized mass that embodies absolute evil. The maimed and dead in Brussels or Paris and the maimed and dead in Raqqa or Sirte perpetuate the same dark lusts. We are Islamic State.

“From violence only violence is born,” Primo Levi wrote, “following a pendular action that, as time goes by, rather than dying down, becomes more frenzied.”

The tit-for-tat game of killing will not end until exhaustion, until the culture of death breaks us emotionally and physically. We use our drones, warplanes, missiles and artillery to rip apart walls and ceilings, blow out windows and kill or wound those inside. Our enemies pack peroxide-based explosives in suitcases or suicide vests and walk into airport terminals, concert halls, cafes or subways and blow us up, often along with themselves. If they had our technology of death they would do it more efficiently.

The Christian religion embraces the concept of “holy war” as fanatically as Islam does. Our Crusades are matched by the concept of jihad. Once religion is used to sanctify murder there are no rules. It is a battle between light and dark, good and evil, Satan and God. Rational discourse is banished. And “the sleep of reason,” as Goya said, “brings forth monsters.”

Flags, patriotic songs, a deification of the warrior and sentimental drivel drown out reality. We communicate in empty clichés and mindless, patriotic absurdities. Mass culture is used to reinforce the lie that we are the true victims. It re-creates the past to conform to the national heroic myth. We alone are said to possess virtue and courage. We alone have the right to revenge. We are hypnotized into a communal somnolence, a state-induced blindness.

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We abolish civil liberties. We drive millions of families from their homes. Those who oppose us do the same. They torture and behead, replicating the execution style of the Christian Crusaders, with their own brand of savagery. They rule as despots. Pain for pain. Blood for blood. Horror for horror. There is a fearsome symmetry to the madness. It is justified by the same religious perversion. It is the same abandonment of what it means to be humane and just.

“In 2010 Gaddafi offered to invest $97 billion in Africa to free it from Western influence, on condition that African states rid themselves of corruption and nepotism. Gaddafi always dreamed of a Developed, United Africa and was about to make that dream come true – and nothing is more terrifying to the West than a Developed, United Africa.” Read More

Who are we to condemn the indiscriminate murder of civilians? Have we forgotten our bombing of German and Japanese cities in World War II that left 800,000 civilian women, children and men dead? What about those families we obliterated in Dresden (135,000 dead), Tokyo (97,000 dead), Hiroshima (80,000 dead) and Nagasaki (66,000 dead)? What about the 3 million civilian dead we left behind in Vietnam?

Have we forgotten the millions who died in our wars and proxy wars in the Philippines, Congo, Laos, Cambodia, Guatemala, Indonesia, El Salvador and Nicaragua? Have we forgotten the 1 million dead in Iraq and the 92,000 dead in Afghanistan? Have we forgotten the nearly 8 million people we have driven from their homes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan and Syria?

How can we rise up in indignation over Islamic State’s destruction of cultural monuments such as Palmyra when we have left so many in ruins? As Frederick Taylor points out in his book “Dresden,” during the World War II bombing of Germany we destroyed countless “churches, palaces, historic buildings, libraries, museums,” including “Goethe’s house in Frankfurt” and “the bones of Charlemagne from Aechen cathedral” along with “the irreplaceable contents of the four-hundred-year-old State Library in Munich.”

Have we forgotten that our invasion of Iraq led to the burning of the National Library, the looting of the National Museum and the construction of a military base on the site of the ancient city of Babylon? Thousands of archaeological sites have been destroyed because of the wars we spawned in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Libya.

 

Read More from Source: Chris Hedges: We All Are Islamic State – Chris Hedges – Truthdig

A World War has Begun by John Pilger

In the last eighteen months, the greatest build-up of military forces since World War Two – led by the United States – is taking place along Russia’s western frontier. Not since Hitler invaded the Soviet Union have foreign troops presented such a demonstrable threat to Russia.

Ukraine – once part of the Soviet Union – has become a CIA theme park. Having orchestrated a coup in Kiev, Washington effectively controls a regime that is next door and hostile to Russia: a regime rotten with Nazis, literally. Prominent parliamentary figures in Ukraine are the political descendants of the notorious OUN and UPA fascists. They openly praise Hitler and call for the persecution and expulsion of the Russian speaking minority.

This is seldom news in the West, or it is inverted to suppress the truth.

In Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – next door to Russia – the US military is deploying combat troops, tanks, heavy weapons. This extreme provocation of the world’s second nuclear power is met with silence in the West.

What makes the prospect of nuclear war even more dangerous is a parallel campaign against China.

Seldom a day passes when China is not elevated to the status of a “threat.” According to Admiral Harry Harris, the US Pacific commander, China is “building a great wall of sand in the South China Sea.”

What he is referring to is China building airstrips in the Spratly Islands, which are the subject of a dispute with the Philippines – a dispute without priority until Washington pressured and bribed the government in Manila and the Pentagon launched a propaganda campaign called “freedom of navigation.”

What does this really mean? It means freedom for American warships to patrol and dominate the coastal waters of China. Try to imagine the American reaction if Chinese warships did the same off the coast of California.

The propaganda laying the ground for a war against Russia and/or China is no different in principle. To my knowledge, no journalist in the Western “mainstream” – a Dan Rather equivalent, say – asks why China is building airstrips in the South China Sea.

The answer ought to be glaringly obvious. The United States is encircling China with a network of bases, with ballistic missiles, battle groups, nuclear-armed bombers.

This lethal arc extends from Australia to the islands of the Pacific, the Marianas and the Marshalls and Guam, to the Philippines, Thailand, Okinawa, Korea and across Eurasia to Afghanistan and India. America has hung a noose around the neck of China. This is not news. Silence by media; war by media.

In 2015, in high secrecy, the US and Australia staged the biggest single air-sea military exercise in recent history, known as Talisman Sabre. Its aim was to rehearse an Air-Sea Battle Plan, blocking sea lanes – such as the Straits of Malacca and the Lombok Straits – that cut off China’s access to oil, gas and other vital raw materials from the Middle East and Africa.

In the circus known as the American presidential campaign, Donald Trump is being presented as a lunatic, a fascist. He is certainly odious; but he is also a media hate figure. That alone should arouse our skepticism.

Read More Source: A world war has begun. Break the silence – John Pilger — RT Op-Edge

Income Tax Time in Canada Tips

Every Canadian knows the irony of the annual Federal Income Tax Return. Tax time in Canada is every minute of every day. Taxes are on every item purchased and the place you call home. Taxes flow down from the Federal government, the Provincial government and Municipal governments. Through a convoluted system all goods and services, have a gouge and screw tax or the beloved GST, due to corporate boss Brian Mulroney. Many Provinces have joined their Provincial sales tax with the GST to have a harmonized tax. Calling a tax harmonized proves bureaucrats have a pale sense of humor.

What is the Purpose of an Income Tax Return?

“When the white man discovered this country Native Peoples were running it without taxes or debt. The white man thought he could improve our system” Native American Proverb

A temporary tax on income was introduced in 1917 as a measure to pay the war debts from WW I. Canada began following the American capitalist methodology too difficult to understand. A clever system where all the wealth of a nation is handed over to the wealthiest, not necessarily citizens, of the country. Statistics Canada gives you a glimpse of taxation in Canada on an archived page. Of all the information on the Internet you will find Statistics Canada the most informative.

There are several reasons to prepare, as accurately as possible, an Income Tax Return (TR). A not so obvious purpose is a statistical one. Your reported income along with various contributions, charities, political parties and church groups are mainly for a statistical analysis pertaining to Canada.

The question you want to know is, how much did you pay, in taxes on your earnings? An incorrect expression used is “how much do I get back this year?” Look closely at your pay cheque to find the deductions made during the previous year. The most common ones are: Income Tax, Canada Pension (CPP), Employment Insurance (EI), Union Dues, Pension Plan, Medical Plan and RRSP Contributions. There are others depending on your place of employment along with those for self-employed persons. Every dollar you earned is yours in a purely capitalist system found in pseudo democracies.

It is to your advantage, to prepare a TR so the excess funds deducted, are returned to you. I have prepared many 1000s of Tax Returns, for those working for companies, without correct deductions. You will end up owing the Federal government money each spring. The Federal government collects the income taxes for the Provinces.

Another incorrect phrase used all often by the media: “you are giving all your money to the Federal government”. Although I must admit they do keep a rather large piece of it. The Federal government, in Ottawa, returns funds to the Provinces via your TR. In other words the Feds are tax collectors.

Preparing Your Income Tax Return

Here I am neither promoting the way I do tax returns, nor any company, or any of those who develop software. Simple facts to remember and perhaps reminders.

  1. If you are Internet savvy you should already have an online account with Canada Revenue Agency. It is available in our national languages, French and English.
  2. Set up an online account for yourself and help a friend do so when possible.
  3. The account gives you access to all reported T-slips required including previous years.
  4. CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) has streamlined the website to make it easy to find information. There is a mobile app available.
  5. You can call CRA while online to ask a question about your return.
  6. When you call, remember, the person answering the phone is human. Treat the person the way you want to be treated.
  7. Be accurate with your request for information and be patient.
  8. You can use the online account to make a correction to your TR.
  9. Flush your browser cache after your session.
  10. Stop wasting paper for your returns and assessment. Everything is online and downloadable.

Some Canadian use the paper return, others use software while many use the instant cash back method or an accountant. Instant cash back is offered by companies, for a fee or percentage of excess funds, deducted during the year.

Use good software developed in Canada when you select the one you want to use. Software programs are not equal. You can miss a big tax credit by using sloppy software. CRA includes a selection of approved software on the website. You may save some money by purchasing the software online directly from the company.

Canada Revenue Agency and Low Income Canadians

During the 2014 tax year over 600,000 Canadians used the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program known as CVITP. It is offered everywhere in Canada.

“The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) is a collaboration between community organizations and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Community organizations host tax preparation clinics and arrange for volunteers to prepare income tax and benefit returns for eligible individuals who have a modest income and a simple tax situation.”

Many community organizations have slightly higher income thresholds than recommended by CRA. Low income is described by CRA, as individuals having less than $30,000.00 and couples with less than $40,000.00 income per year. A complete list or community organization tax return clinics is found here. There are no fees or expenses for preparing and e-filing your tax return. All volunteers are trained and cleared by a criminal background check as required by CRA. You will be given a printed tax return after it is accepted by CRA online. The tax return is not kept by any of the groups approved by CRA.

Community groups are being flooded heavier with calls this year. Appointments are required by most but not participants in CVITP.

Final Word of Caution for Seniors

Your benefits will be cut off in July if you do not file a Tax Return on time. The benefits will not show up in your bank account at the end of July. CPP is all you will have to live on until the tax return is completed and received by CRA. Old Age Security, Guaranteed Income, GST rebate, Provincial Benefit and Supplements will disappear. It can take several months to begin receiving them if you are late filing. Most of the CVITP participants close down at the end of April while others have a few volunteers to assist you all year.

For those who read this it would be kind of you to share the information. Your parents or grand-parents could see their income reduced to under $500.00 per month.

Wealthy people write about poverty while never consulting those who live or see it every day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Russia Open to Cooperation with West

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discusses the role of Russia in international relations, stressing the need for cooperation between Moscow and the West.

History doesn’t confirm the widespread belief that Russia has always camped in Europe’s backyard and has been Europe’s political outsider. I’d like to remind you that the adoption of Christianity in Russia in 988 – we marked 1025 years of that event quite recently – boosted the development of state institutions, social relations and culture and eventually made Kievan Rus a full member of the European community. At that time, dynastic marriages were the best gauge of a country’s role in the system of international relations. In the 11th century, three daughters of Grand Prince Yaroslav the Wise became the queens of Norway and Denmark, Hungary and France. Yaroslav’s sister married the Polish king and granddaughter the German emperor.

Numerous scientific investigations bear witness to the high cultural and spiritual level of Rus of those days, a level that was frequently higher than in western European states. Many prominent Western thinkers recognized that Rus was part of the European context. At the same time, Russian people possessed a cultural matrix of their own and an original type of spirituality and never merged with the West. It is instructive to recall in this connection what was for my people a tragic and in many respects critical epoch of the Mongolian invasion. The Russian poet and writer Alexander Pushkin wrote: “The barbarians did not dare to leave an enslaved Rus in their rear and returned to their Eastern steppes. Christian enlightenment was saved by a ravaged and dying Russia.” We also know an alternative view offered by prominent historian and ethnologist Lev Gumilyov, who believed that the Mongolian invasion had prompted the emergence of a new Russian ethnos (ethnic group) and that the Great Steppe had given us an additional impetus for development.

However that may be, it is clear that the said period was extremely important for the assertion of the Russian State’s independent role in Eurasia. Let us recall in this connection the policy pursued by Grand Prince Alexander Nevsky, who opted to temporarily submit to Golden Horde rulers, who were tolerant of Christianity, in order to uphold the Russians’ right to have a faith of their own and to decide their fate, despite the European West’s attempts to put Russian lands under full control and to deprive Russians of their identity. I am confident that this wise and forward-looking policy is in our genes.

It wouldn’t be accurate to assume that everyone was happy about this state of affairs. Repeated attempts to return this country into the pre-Peter times were made over subsequent centuries but failed. In the middle 18th century Russia played a key role in a pan-European conflict – the Seven Years’ War. At that time, Russian troops made a triumphal entry into Berlin, the capital of Prussia under Frederick II who had a reputation for invincibility. Prussia was saved from an inevitable rout only because Empress Elizabeth died a sudden death and was succeeded by Peter III who sympathized with Frederick II. This turn in German history is still referred to as the Miracle of the House of Brandenburg. Russia’s size, power and influence grew substantially under Catherine the Great when, as then Chancellor Alexander Bezborodko put it, “Not a single cannon in Europe could be fired without our consent.”

During at least the past two centuries any attempts to unite Europe without Russia and against it have inevitably led to grim tragedies, the consequences of which were always overcome with the decisive participation of our country. I’m referring, in part, to the Napoleonic wars upon the completion of which Russia rescued the system of international relations that was based on the balance of forces and mutual consideration for national interests and ruled out the total dominance of one state in Europe. We remember that Emperor Alexander I took an active role in the drafting of decisions of the 1815 Vienna Congress that ensured the development of Europe without serious armed clashes during the subsequent 40 years.

The First World War claimed lives and caused the suffering of countless millions of people and led to the collapse of four empires. In this connection, it is appropriate to recall yet another anniversary, which will be marked next year – the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. Today we are faced with the need to develop a balanced and objective assessment of those events, especially in an environment where, particularly in the West, many are willing to use this date to mount even more information attacks on Russia, and to portray the 1917 Revolution as a barbaric coup that dragged down all of European history. Even worse, they want to equate the Soviet regime to Nazism, and partially blame it for starting WWII.

Without a doubt, the Revolution of 1917 and the ensuing Civil War were a terrible tragedy for our nation. However, all other revolutions were tragic as well. This does not prevent our French colleagues from extolling their upheaval, which, in addition to the slogans of liberty, equality and fraternity, also involved the use of the guillotine, and rivers of blood.

The underlying problem of Western policy is that it disregarded the global context. The current globalized world is based on an unprecedented interconnection between countries, and so it’s impossible to develop relations between Russia and the EU as if they remained at the core of global politics as during the Cold War. We must take note of the powerful processes that are underway in Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

Rapid changes in all areas of international life is the primary sign of the current stage. Indicatively, they often take an unexpected turn. Thus, the concept of “the end of history” developed by well-known US sociologist and political researcher Francis Fukuyama, that was popular in the 1990s, has become clearly inconsistent today. According to this concept, rapid globalization signals the ultimate victory of the liberal capitalist model, whereas all other models should adapt to it under the guidance of the wise Western teachers.

The west habitually accuses Russia of “revisionism,” and the alleged desire to destroy the established international system, as if it was us who bombed Yugoslavia in 1999 in violation of the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act, as if it was Russia that ignored international law by invading Iraq in 2003 and distorted UN Security Council resolutions by overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi’s regime by force in Libya in 2011. There are many examples.

This discourse about “revisionism” does not hold water. It is based on the simple and even primitive logic that only Washington can set the tune in world affairs. In line with this logic, the principle once formulated by George Orwell and moved to the international level, sounds like the following: all states are equal but some states are more equal than others. However, today international relations are too sophisticated a mechanism to be controlled from one center. This is obvious given the results of US interference: There is virtually no state in Libya; Iraq is balancing on the brink of disintegration, and so on and so forth.

A reliable solution to the problems of the modern world can only be achieved through serious and honest cooperation between the leading states and their associations in order to address common challenges. Such an interaction should include all the colors of the modern world, and be based on its cultural and civilisational diversity, as well as reflect the interests of the international community’s key components.

Our approaches are shared by most countries of the world, including our Chinese partners, other BRICS and SCO nations, and our friends in the EAEU, the CSTO, and the CIS. In other words, we can say that Russia is fighting not against someone, but for the resolution of all the issues on an equal and mutually respectful basis, which alone can serve as a reliable foundation for a long-term improvement of international relations.

Our most important task is to join our efforts against not some far-fetched, but very real challenges, among which the terrorist aggression is the most pressing one. The extremists from ISIS, Jabhat an-Nusra and the like managed for the first time to establish control over large territories in Syria and Iraq. They are trying to extend their influence to other countries and regions, and are committing acts of terrorism around the world. Underestimating this risk is nothing short of criminal shortsightedness.

Source and complete article: Lavrov: Russia open to widest possible cooperation with West — RT Official word