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Audit Reveals The High Cost Of Toll Roads

TheNewspaper.com | February 7, 2020

Financial analysis of major toll road systems finds substantial diversion of revenue to third parties.

Of the billions of dollars collected at toll booths around the country, nearly half of the money goes to overhead costs, profit for the private companies involved and other uses that have nothing to do with the road itself. That is the finding of a financial audit released last week by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), which conducted the analysis on behalf of the trucking industry. The report examined financial records for major toll road networks that together collected $14.7 billion in revenue in 2018.

“The findings indicate that the 21 major tolling systems analyzed collect revenue in excess of the actual direct costs of operations and interest expense, with nearly 50 percent of toll revenue diverted to other uses,” the report concluded. “This excess revenue is diverted in a number of ways based upon the individual agency or state that supervises the toll entity. The magnitude of diversion and the lack of standard practice with regard to revenue diversion speaks to the disjointed control under which toll entities operate.”

The roads covered in the report represent 82 percent of all tolls collected in the country. The full nationwide toll network generates an estimated $18 billion in revenue each year. Of that revenue, 15.8 cents on every dollar goes to the cost of collecting the toll itself. Another 26.8 percent goes to the cost of interest and 20.5 percent is diverted to non-road use such as transit, undermining the “user pays” argument used by tolling advocates.

The report found tolls tend to increase far in excess of the rate of inflation — up 72 percent over the last ten years, compared to the consumer price index the went up 16.9 percent in the same period. The data show the number of individual transactions at each toll road only went up 28 percent, while traffic volume increased 2.4 percent. Toll roads received $1.1 billion in taxpayer subsidies.

The report noted that by comparison the cost of collecting the federal fuels tax was just 0.2 percent of the revenue collected. While some have argued that gas tax revenue is no longer viable because this income source is on the decline, the latest federal statistics show Americans used 147 billion gallons of gas in 2018 — an all-time high. Preliminary data for 2019 show gas tax revenue rising for an eighth straight year.

Source: PDF File Financial Analysis of Toll System Revenue (American Transportation Research Institute, 1/31/2020)

February 11, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | | Leave a comment

US counter-intel agency puts ‘public disclosure groups’ on same threat list as Al-Qaeda & ISIS

RT | February 11, 2020

The US National Counterintelligence and Security Center has warned in its latest report “public disclosure organizations” and hackers are dire spy threats on the level of Islamic State terrorists, Al-Qaeda, and Iran.

“Ideologically motivated entities such as hacktivists, leaktivists, and public disclosure organizations” pose “significant threats” to the US at the same level as non-state terrorist organizations like Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Al-Qaeda, according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s biannual National Counterintelligence Strategy report, released on Monday.

The report carefully avoids mentioning WikiLeaks by name, but pointed references to the “unauthorized disclosures of US cyber tools” — i.e. the Vault 7 leaks that revealed the CIA is able to disguise its own cyber-intrusions as “foreign hacks” — suggest the platform launched by hacker-turned-publisher Julian Assange (now incarcerated in the UK) has gotten deep under the intelligence community’s skin.

The NCSC doesn’t neglect the favored bogeymen of the moment, Russia and China, declaring in the report that both countries are using “all instruments of national power to target the United States.” Cuba, Iran, and North Korea apparently spare some of those instruments in their targeting, as they are merely deemed “significant threats” on the same level as terrorists, hacktivists, and “transnational criminal organizations.” The agency also warns that “foreign nationals with no formal ties to foreign intelligence services” may “steal sensitive data and intellectual property,” though why this is a priority for a national intelligence agency and not the affected organization is not explained.

Blaming the “ever-changing technology landscape” for creating enemies capable of “eroding the United States’ economic, military and technological advantage around the globe,” the report suggests “emerging technologies” like AI, encryption, and the Internet of Things will benefit US adversaries more than the US. That is, of course, unless the private sector and “an informed public” join hands with regional, local, and federal government to act as a monolithic intel-gathering machine.

While the report is a few years late — a 2002 law mandates the NCSC produce a report at least once every three years, and the last one was published in 2015 — the agency’s priorities haven’t changed in any revolutionary sense, nor is any mention made of the reasons for the delay. “Critical infrastructure” and “key supply chains” are to be protected at all costs, while “democratic institutions and processes” are to be defended against “foreign influence” in order to “preserve our culture of openness.”

However, the section on “defending American democracy against foreign influence” recommends the US “deepen existing and develop new foreign partnerships,” apparently confident that allies who’ve been caught meddling extensively in other countries’ elections won’t turn their skills against Uncle Sam. Perhaps more importantly, a spy agency calling to “preserve our culture of openness,” while denouncing “public disclosure organizations” as a threat to the American Way of Life on par with ISIS is further evidence Washington doesn’t need foreign help sowing distrust in its institutions.

February 11, 2020 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Russian oil & gas firms plan to invest $20 BILLION in Iraq’s energy industry

RT | February 11, 2020

Russian oil and gas companies could triple their investments in Iraq in the near future, Yury Fyodorov, first deputy chairman of the Economic Policy Committee at the Russian Federation Council, has announced.

The companies may spend up to $20 billion on oil projects in Iraq, Fyodorov said at a meeting with Iraqi Ambassador to Russia Abdul-Rahman Al-Husseini, according to Russian media.

“Today, our leading oil and gas companies such as Lukoil, Bashneft, Gazprom Neft are actively working in your country. The total investment has exceeded $10 billion,” the official said on Monday. He added that other companies, such as Zarubezhneft, Tatneft, and Rosneftegaz are also interested in working in Iraq.

“We are exploring the possibility of diversifying the activities of Russian operators, in particular by connecting them to the gas sector. According to preliminary forecasts, this could triple our companies’ investment.”

Last year, Russia and Iraq resumed cooperation in energy infrastructure, and in the electricity sector in particular. Some Russian firms could help Baghdad with the restoration and development of electric power facilities, while negotiations are under way over the construction of thermal power plants using the assistance of Russian companies.

Iraq’s proven oil reserves stand at over 145 billion barrels, while gas reserves exceed 3.7 trillion cubic meters.

February 11, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , | 2 Comments

Iran stresses right to enhance space technology, rejects France ‘meddlesome’ claims

Press TV – February 11, 2020

Iran has dismissed France’s “meddlesome” claim about its space program following a recent satellite launch, saying the Islamic Republic reserves the right to make scientific progress.

Tehran on Sunday launched its domestically-made Zafar (Triumph) satellite using a Simorgh (Phoenix) satellite carrier, but the missile fell short of reaching the designated orbit.

The satellite launch came on the same day that Iran unveiled a new missile, ‘Ra’d-500 (Lightning-500),’ which is equipped with a composite engine block as well as the new generation of propellant for missiles and satellite carriers.

The French Foreign Ministry on Monday condemned Iran for trying to put a satellite in space and unveiling the new ballistic missile, urging Tehran to abide by international obligations on its controversial missile program.

“In keeping with its obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 2231, Iran cannot engage in activities, including launches, connected to ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons,” said the French statement, claiming that Tehran’s ballistic missile program “hurts regional stability and affects European security.”

Rejecting the “meddlesome” statement on Tuesday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Tehran has “an inherent right to develop science and technology.”

“Iran’s defensive missile program has also nothing to do with Resolution 2231 because Iranian missiles have not been designed to carry nuclear weapons,” the official said.

Resolution 2231 endorsed a nuclear deal inked in 2015 between Tehran and six world states — the US, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China.

The US, however, abandoned the deal in May 2018 in defiance of the resolution, throwing the future of the agreement in doubt.

The European parties initially vowed to keep the deal alive but failed to fulfill their contractual obligations under intense US pressure, prompting Tehran to begin suspending the implementation of parts of its nuclear commitments on a stage-by-stage basis a year later.

Iran says its counter-measures are reversible if the European signatories take meaningful action to save the deal.

February 11, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Yet Another Israeli Provocation in the Middle Eastern Skies

By Vladimir Platov – New Eastern Outlook – 11.02.2020

While using a civilian airliner as cover, four Israeli F-16 fighters approached the outskirts of Damascus and launched an attack on local residential areas late night on February 6. There’s no disputing that by adopting such tactics the Israeli Air Force endangered the civilian aircraft – an Airbus A320 owned by the private Syrian Cham Wings Airlines, arriving at Damascus from Najaf International Airport (NJF) in Iraq with 172 passengers on board. This Syrian airliner was running late and it’s clear from data provided by FlightrRadar24, that Israeli military aircraft were clearly expecting the arrival of yet another A320, owned by SyrianAir due to arrive from Tehran, hoping to provoke local air defence units into destroying the liner by mistake.

If it weren’t for the prompt actions of the flight dispatchers of Damascus International Airport and its efficient automated air traffic control system, this civilian airliner would have been in peril, but thankfully it managed to escape the kill zone, landing safely at the nearest available airfield, the Russia’s Hmeimim air base.

The situation is painfully similar to September of 2018, when 4 Israeli F-16s launched missile strikes against unknown targets in Syria’s Latakia province, using Russia’s Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft with 15 crew members aboard as cover. Predictably enough, the Israeli jets provoked a response from Syrian anti-aircraft units resulting in the destruction of the Russian aircraft. All people on board were killed.

On December 26, 2018, another Syrian airline Cham Wings Airlines plane was bound to land at Damascus International Airport, but in a bid to escape a similar provocation staged by the Israeli Ari Force, it detoured and landed at Russia’s Hmeimim airbase. On that day a total of two civilian airliners had to change their flight routes as a result of the Israeli Air Force, which threatened innocent civilians in what that can only be described as a provocation. In both cases near Damascus, the jets were operating from the airspace of a third country – Lebanon, justifying their actions by alleging to attack Iranian warehouses and convoys that were said to be used for military operations against Israel.

In both cases, passengers aboard civilian airliners were at risk as local air defense units were bound to open fire to repel the Israeli missile attacks, risking civilian aircraft approaching Damascus International. In other words, on more than on one occasion a situation similar to the tragic incident with the Iranian downing of the UIA Boeing 737, traveling from Tehran to Kiev was deliberately staged by the Israeli Air Force. As for the downed Boeing the Iranian authorities officially recognized that it was mistakenly shot down by air defence units of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which resulted in the untimely demise of 167 passengers and nine crew members – citizens of Iran, Ukraine, Canada, the UK, Sweden and Afghanistan. This tragedy inflicted significant political, economic and PR damage on Iran. In this regard, the clearly distinguishable similarities of the provocative attacks in Iran and Syria are obvious, which raises reasonable questions regarding the strategic command that must be planning such attacks.

It is also noteworthy that the Israeli Air Force chose the SyrianAir flight arriving from Tehran as its target, with Israel explaining all of its recent aggressive actions in Syria and the Middle East through the prism of countering the rising influence of Iran.

Thus, the Israeli General Staff conducting military operations in Syrian airspace using civilian aircraft carrying passengers as a cover is now something of a trademark of the Israeli Air Force, which isn’t afraid of putting the lives of hundreds of innocent people in harm’s way to achieve its ends.

Acting in this way, striking from cover, like highway robbers, the Israeli Air Force seeks to avoid getting caught violating Syrian airspace or even being hit by Syrian anti-aircraft missile systems. They strike Syrian territory, appearing in the sky, for example, over Lebanon, leaving Damascus’ hands tied. If Syrian air defenses shoot down an Israeli plane over Lebanon failing to officially invade Syrian airspace, then Damascus will be framed by Israel, the United States and its allies as an aggressor attempting to provoke war in the Middle East. In addition, geographical features surrounding Damascus play a huge role here. Israeli military jets would typically launch strikes against targets within Syrian territory from the Bekaa Valley, covered from all sides by mountains. They seem to appear from nowhere from behind the mountains and disappear just as rapidly, while still managing to hit various targets.

For these reasons, there can be no objective assessment regarding the efficiency of the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems delivered to Syria to allow Damascus to defend its air space.

At the same time, looking at the provocative and frankly aggressive actions of Israel who has repeatedly launched missile attacks against civilian targets inside Syria, it can be confidently said that it has already crossed the “red line” and Damascus may at any time retaliate against these aggressors, which will add one more conflict to the long list of the existing armed conflicts within the region.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry has raised the issue of Israeli air strikes on Damascus via official UN statements, while pointing out that such attacks are only possible due to US support and the UN Security Council remaining silent about them. As indicated in one of the most recent messages of the Syrian Foreign Ministry, such treacherous actions fit within the framework of Israel’s attempts to prolong the crisis and derail Damascus’ anti-terror efforts and to raise the morale of the remnants of terrorist groups. Thus Israel is acting as their supporter. In addition, this is yet another attempt made by the Israeli government to avoid discussing the most pressing regional problems including the peaceful settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which only leads to an increase in anti-Israeli sentiments across the region and the world.

At the same time, the stubborn silence of the international community and the United Nations regarding such Israeli actions is truly surprising, when civilians, including foreign citizens, passengers of civilian aircraft arriving in Syria every day, may perish in similarly provocative attacks carried out by the Israeli Air Force in the future.

February 11, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

US Ambassador sends strong message to Netanyahu: patience, young grasshopper, you’ll annex the West Bank soon

By Sarah Abed | February 11, 2020

On January 28th, United States President Donald Trump accompanied by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top advisor/son-in-law Jared Kushner unveiled the much anticipated so-called “Deal of the Century” also referred to as the “Mideast Peace Plan”. The deal greenlighted the annexation of Palestinian land, subjugation of Palestinians, and apartheid in Israel. Israeli politicians couldn’t wait to pounce on the opportunity to steal vast areas of occupied land along the Jordan valley. They did little to hide their enthusiasm as they announced that a vote on annexation would take place a few days later.

What became clear even before the ink had dried is that behind the scam of the century was the normalization of Israel’s apartheid in Palestine. The deal was praised by Israel as the opportunity of a lifetime and outright rejected by Palestinian politicians including President Mahmoud Abbas.

Just days after the deal was announced, plans were made to vote on annexing parts of the West Bank, which are sites of Israeli settlements, and seen by a number of countries as illegal Israeli occupation that defies international law and United Nations Charters, but then that vote was postponed. Almost two weeks later as word spread that another vote might be on the horizon ahead of the March 2nd election, Washington decided to halt Netanyahu’s progress just temporarily causing him to backtrack on his plan for immediate annexation of the West bank. Netanyahu mentioned on Saturday that mapping of the region was underway.

David Friedman, the Trump administration’s Ambassador to Israel is not only one of the masterminds behind the annexation plan but has historically supported illegal colonial settlements. On Sunday, he tweeted warning Israeli politicians against taking any unilateral steps which could endanger the Plan and American recognition. Of course, Israeli Prime Minister took the cue very seriously and knowing that the US’s blessing is of utmost importance stressed to both his fans and critics that they have waited for this opportunity since 1967 and won’t jeopardize things by being impatient.

Friedman tweeted the following on Sunday February 9th, “President Trump’s Vision for Peace is the product of more than three years of close consultations among the President, PM Netanyahu and their respective senior staff. As we have stated, the application of Israeli law to the territory which the Plan provides to be part of Israel is subject to the completion of a mapping process by a joint Israeli-American committee.” He added “Any unilateral action in advance of the completion of the committee process endangers the Plan & American recognition.”

As if it wasn’t already crystal-clear that the steal of the century was never ever a legitimate deal between Israeli’s and Palestinians nor a deal that Palestinians would ever be able to consider let alone agree to, Friedman’s tweet drives home the message loud and clear. Palestinians were neither consulted, nor will they be part of the mapping process.

Amidst widespread condemnation and what many countries consider a violation of international law, steps are being taken to pave the way for the annexation of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land captured during the 1967 war. Netanyahu’s focus right now is on winning a fourth consecutive term in office and taking drastic measures could help win him the election. It’s probably also a good distraction from the series of corruption charges he is facing.

Palestinian authorities have adamantly rejected Washington’s supposed peace plan and are against any unilateral steps being taken whether it’s now or after the election that violate the 1967 Palestinian map borders. Israel tries to appeal to the masses by citing security, biblical, and historic ties to the land on which their settlements are built and Palestinians refuse to accept the theft of more of their ancestral lands.

Many Israeli’s on Twitter didn’t appreciate Friedman’s tweets; some were saying that the United States shouldn’t interfere in Israel’s internal affairs. The irony of how Israel has hijacked US Middle Eastern policies seems to go over their heads. They certainly appreciate how Trump and Kushner’s biased pro-Israeli “Deal of the Century” greenlights the subjugation of Palestinians and the illegal annexation of Palestinian-claimed land but they don’t want Washington involved in implementation or to set any guidelines on how quickly they can expand their reign of terror over Palestinians and their land.

The only reason why Israel is able to continue to override international law and make unilateral declarations of statehood and persist with its terror campaigns at the hands of its Jewish militias, all while ethnically cleansing and massacring countless Palestinians is because of its relationship with Washington and many nations around the world turning a blind eye. Due to a lack of defined borders and the absence of accountability, Israel plans to annex East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights of Syria, and soon swathes of land in the West Bank.

The bottom line is peace cannot be achieved without justice and the recognition of Palestinian human and political rights, solely by Israeli authorities and political figures. Mutual recognition, Palestinian freedom of movement and Palestinian right of return, borders, security, water rights, control of Jerusalem are all part of the decades long conflict. A democratic state can only exist in historical Palestine if Muslims, Jews, Christians, etc. live in harmony with equal rights.

February 11, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Irish election result is a victory for Nationalism

By Johanna Ross | February 11, 2020

Once upon a time Gerry Adams, the leader of Ireland’s nationalist party, Sinn Fein, could not be heard speaking on the BBC. He was branded a terrorist and his voice was dubbed. How times have changed. Now his party, led by Mary Lou McDonald, has stormed to victory in the Irish elections. Having won the largest percentage of the vote at 24%, Sinn Fein has ended the decades long domination of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail in what was effectively a two-party political system.

McDonald now seeks to form a government with other left-wing Irish parties and although she doesn’t expect to form a coalition with Fine Gael or Fianna Fail, she would still participate in talks with representatives of the parties: “I also have consistently said that I will talk to and listen to everybody, I think that is what grown-ups do and that is what democracy demands.”

Fianna Fail’s leader, Michael Martin, said however that there were ‘significant incompatibilities’ to working with Sinn Fein. His party, along with Fine Gael have cited Sinn Fein’s previous links to the Irish Republican Army (IRA) – the paramilitary group – as a reason for not working with them. However Mary Lou McDonald has said it is “not sustainable” for either party leader to rule out talks with Sinn Fein. Given the sizeable chunk of the Irish population that voted for her party, you can see she has a fair point.

The Taioseach, Leo Varadkar, has now been forced to admit that Ireland has a three-party system. It may be a marginal win, and one which will force Sinn Fein into a coalition, but it is nevertheless a highly significant turn of events. Although the party won due to its left-wing domestic agenda and promises to combat poverty and rising homelessness, it cannot be ignored that this win is part of a broader, Europe-wide trend. Nationalism is on the rise across Europe, call it populism if you will, but people are increasingly voting for parties which put the nation state first over further European integration. Centrist parties are failing to compete with those offering a nationalist, eurosceptic agenda.

People don’t like to be dictated to. The arguably authoritarian decision by state broadcaster RTE not to include Mary Lou Mcdonald in their leaders’ debate quite possibly only generated more support for her party. It was reported that prior to the election Sinn Fein sent the broadcaster a legal letter asking it to reverse its decision. The Irish establishment will now have to catch up with the reality that Sinn Fein is now an equal player in the political landscape, and a force to be reckoned with.

The nationalist vibe in the air has now awoken the idea of Irish unity. A poll conducted earlier in 2019 demonstrated that two thirds of Irish people are now supportive of Irish reunification. Of 3000 people questioned, 65% said they were in favour of northern and southern Ireland becoming one nation again. Brexit, which has brought with it a surge in English nationalism, along with a Westminster government increasingly detached from the reality of the everyday struggles of working people, has encouraged more people north and south of the Irish border to rethink their stance on a topic few dared to broach in the past due to the violent conflict between nationalists and unionists. Under the Good Friday Agreement, it is indeed possible for Northern Ireland to secede the United Kingdom if a referendum result were to decide this.

Sinn Fein’s stance on the EU is not entirely clear-cut, but the win could be interpreted as a victory for Euroscepticism. The party is against further European integration, campaigned for a ‘No’ vote in the Irish referendum on joining the European Economic Community in 1972 and criticised the proposal of a European Constitution in 2002. Although it did support Britain remaining in the EU in the run-up to the 2016 EU referendum, it has criticised the European Union in the past for its policies of neoliberalism. When it comes to post-Brexit trade talks with the UK, the new Irish government with Sinn Fein at the helm is likely to take a tougher stance.

In addition, it’s likely that under Mary Lou McDonald’s leadership, we will see a referendum on Irish unity. If the outcome is for unification, it will put more pressure on a UK government currently facing a real threat from growing Scottish nationalism. As Irish and Scottish nationalist movements gain popularity, the United Kingdom cannot be taken for granted any longer. As elections continue to demonstrate, the status quo is under threat and it’s becoming increasingly possible that we will see the dissolution of the United Kingdom within our lifetimes.

Johanna Ross is a journalist based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

February 11, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 2 Comments

‘Ahuman Manifesto’: The Final Solution to Climate Change

By Robert Bradley Jr. | Master Resource | February 10, 2020

“This book is a delightful provocation and invitation: to imagine a world without humans and to think of what we can do to get there. It is an urgent call for action.”

Christine Daigle, Professor of Philosophy, Brock University, Canada

Here you go: the “final solution” to climate change. This book is a glimpse of where the climate road to serfdom ends. (And it is not, I repeat not, a Babylon Bee satire.)

The Ahuman Manifesto: Activism for the End of the Anthropocene” by Patricia MacCormack (Bloomsbury Academic: 2020) is self-described as follows:

We are in the midst of a growing ecological crisis. Developing technologies and cultural interventions are throwing the status of “human” into question.

It is against this context that Patricia MacCormack delivers her expert justification for the “ahuman.” An alternative to “posthuman” thought, the term paves the way for thinking that doesn’t dissolve into nihilism and despair, but actively embraces issues like human extinction, vegan abolition, atheist occultism, death studies, a refusal of identity politics, deep ecology, and the apocalypse as an optimistic beginning.

In order to suggest vitalistic, perhaps even optimistic, ways to negotiate some of the difficulties in thinking and acting in the world, this book explores five key contemporary themes:

· Identity
· Spirituality
· Art
· Death
· The apocalypse

Collapsing activism, artistic practice and affirmative ethics, while introducing some radical contemporary ideas and addressing specifically modern phenomena like death cults, intersectional identity politics and capitalist enslavement of human and nonhuman organisms to the point of ‘zombiedom’, The Ahuman Manifesto navigates the ways in which we must compose the human differently, specifically beyond nihilism and post- and trans-humanism and outside human privilege. This is so that we can actively think and live viscerally, with connectivity (actual not virtual), and with passion and grace, toward a new world.

Four positive pre-publication reviews are shared:

“Patricia MacCormack goes relentessly beyond ‘just’ deconstructing anthropocentrism and dismantling multispecies extinction caused by human dominance in the Anthropocene. The manifesto is not only theorizing, but compassionately calling for direct abolitionist action for the other at the expense of the (human) self. Trembling with joyful energy and critically affirmative insights, this manifesto encourages us to engage in ahuman arts & activist practices, inspired by queer feminist (secular) spirituality, and death activism.”Nina Lykke, Professor of Gender Studies, Linköping University, Sweden

“This beautiful book is both a passionate, insightful meditation on the world we actually live in, and a radical call to action. Is it even possible for us to stop being human, to let multiple beings flourish without reducing them to means for our own selfish ends? Reading this book, thinking with it and about it, and responding openly to it, is absolutely essential.”Steven Shaviro, DeRoy Professor of English, Wayne State University, USA

“Patricia MacCormack’s splendid refusal to nuance her intent in The Ahuman Manifesto will both intrigue and infuriate. As a vegan abolitionist/extinctionist, she provides an unrelenting and exacting take down of the violent self-interest of the human species, and offers a call to ethical action best described as eating the Anthropocene.”Margrit Shildrick, Guest Professor of Gender and Knowledge Production, Stockholm University, Sweden

“This book is a delightful provocation and invitation: to imagine a world without humans and to think of what we can do to get there. It is an urgent call for action. A joyful, lucid, fiercely intelligent call to readers to hope and work for a future not for themselves, but for the thriving of all nonhuman life. Engaging with this book will be a transformative experience. One cannot see the world or oneself in the same way after reading it.”Christine Daigle, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Posthumanism Research Institute, Brock University, Canada

A writeup by Alisair Ryder in Cambridge News, “‘The only solution for climate change is letting the human race become extinct,’” describes the book and author as follows:

Patricia MacCormack, a professor of continental philosophy at Anglia Ruskin University, has just released her new book The Ahuman Manifesto, which will officially be launched in Cambridge today (Wednesday, February 5).

The book argues that due to the damage done to other living creatures on Earth, we should start gradually phasing out reproduction. But rather than offering a bleak look at the future of humanity, it has generated discussion due to its joyful and optimistic tone, as it sets out a positive view for the future of Earth – without mankind.

It also touches on several hot-button topics, from religion and veganism to the concept of identity politics, tying these into how the creation of a hierarchal world among humans has left us blind to the destruction we are causing to our habitat and other forms of life.

Speaking to CambridgeshireLive, Professor MacCormack outlined how she came to this point of view, and how these ideas are not as provocative as they may initially sound.

She said: “I arrived at this idea from a couple of directions. I was introduced to philosophy due to my interest in feminism and queer theory, so reproductive rights have long been an interest to me – this led me to learn more about animal rights, which is when I became vegan.

“The basic premise of the book is that we’re in the age of the Anthropocene, humanity has caused mass problems and one of them is creating this hierarchal world where white, male, heterosexual and able-bodied people are succeeding, and people of different races, genders, sexualities and those with disabilities are struggling to get that.

“This is where the idea of dismantling identity politics comes in – they deserve rights not because of what they are, but because they are.

“The book also argues that we need to dismantle religion, and other overriding powers like the church of capitalism or the cult of self, as it makes people act upon enforced rules rather than respond thoughtfully to the situations in front of them.”

The central argument in The Ahuman Manifesto can be boiled down to this: mankind is already enslaved to the point of “zombiedom” by capitalism, and because of the damage this has caused, phasing out reproduction is the only way to repair the damage done to the world.

Additionally, humanity has to see it isn’t the single living dominant force – but first, it needs to dismantle an established hierarchy amongst itself. This argument has not received as much disagreement as you might expect.

Professor MacCormack continued: “Everyone’s okay with the ideas in the book until they’re told they’d have to act on it. There is a lot of agreement that these changes might work for the world, but when it imposes on people, it becomes proactive.

“Many people are surprised it’s so joyful and it has this radical compassion, which cares for the world. It’s not about our death, so much as it’s about celebrating the tools that exist to care for a decelerating Earth.

“People wonder why I don’t think humans are exceptional, dominant beings – but when I ask them why they think that, I never get a good answer back. The way we perceive the world isn’t the only one, we never think about animal life.

“Even Extinction Rebellion only focus on the effect this will have on human life when climate change is something that will affect every living being on the planet.

This worldview of hopelessness, victimization, and human-hate is truly the end of the road to serfdom. It is the final solution with all of humankind, not just one race or creed, in the balance.

February 11, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | 2 Comments

Canada celebrates agents of Palestinian misery

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Ambassador Deborah Lyons with Canadians fighting in IDF Yaakov Herman, Robbie Kohos and Ayala Rotenberg
By Yves Engler · February 10, 2020

Canada is celebrating the agents of Palestinian misery.

Last month the Canadian Embassy in Tel Aviv held an event to celebrate Canadians fighting in the Israeli military. They invited all 78 Canadians in the IDF to the ambassador’s residence to demonstrate their appreciation. Referring to non-Israelis who join the IDF, ambassador Deborah Lyons told the Jerusalem Post, “Canadian lone soldiers are a particularly special group … This is something we want to do on a yearly basis to show our support.” At the event Canada’s ambassador said, “we both share a love of Canada and a love of Israel. We at the embassy are very proud of what you’re doing.”

A top diplomat organizing an event to celebrate Canadians fighting for another country’s military ought to generate criticism. Doing so while that force humiliates Palestinians at checkpoints in the West Bank, fires on protesters in Gaza and bombs Syria in violation of international law is an outrage that must be condemned.

The government has legislation designed to deter Canadians from joining other countries’ militaries. The Foreign Enlistment Act is supposed to prohibit Canadians from recruiting for a foreign army. It notes, “any person who, within Canada, recruits or otherwise induces any person or body of persons to enlist or to accept any commission or engagement in the armed forces of any foreign state or other armed forces operating in that state is guilty of an offence.”

Similarly, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) restricts registered charities from supporting other countries militaries. CRA guidelines note, “increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of Canada’s armed forces is charitable, but supporting the armed forces of another country is not.”

Despite these rules, ambassador Lyons celebrated Canadians fighting for the IDF. The event promoting the IDF was a nod to a network of Canadian organizations backing the Israeli military. In November 1100 people attended an Association for the Soldiers of Israel–Canada and Canadian Zionist Cultural Association event in Toronto. The Canadian Jewish News reported, “the evening featured heartfelt and captivating speeches from IDF commanders, as well as a performance by the IDF Ensemble.”

Two months ago, Herut Canada brought Israeli military reservists to a number of Ontario universities. At York their event sparked a high-profile confrontation.

A number of Jewish day schools promote the Israeli military. At Toronto’s Leo Baeck an Israeli emissary spends a year at the school and when they return, notes the Canadian Jewish News, “engages with students by way of live video chat from their Israel Defence Forces barracks dressed in their military uniforms.” Students also pay “tribute to Israel’s fallen heroes” and fundraise for Beit Halochem Canada/Aid to Disabled Veterans of Israel, which supports injured IDF soldiers.

At the other end of the age spectrum a group of 80-something Torontonians gather regularly to make hand-knitted tuques for IDF soldiers. They are part of the Hats for Israeli Soldiers initiative. Another organization that supports the IDF is Israel Defence Forces Widows & Orphans-Canada. Sar-El offers more concrete support to the IDF. Some 150 Canadians volunteer on Israeli army supply bases each year with an organization founded by an IDF general.

For its part, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (Canada) has sponsored “fun activities” for “lone soldiers.” Established by billionaire power couple Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman, the Heseg Foundation for Lone Soldiers also supports non-Israelis in the IDF.

At its Toronto office, the Friends of Israeli Scouts’ Garin Tzabar program provides Hebrew lessons and support services, as well as help with transport and accommodation in Israel, for Canadian “lone soldiers”.  Nefesh B’Nefesh’s also helps non-Israelis join the IDF.

In November the Israeli consulate in Toronto announced a military recruiting effort. According to their announcement, “an IDF representative will conduct personal interviews at the Consulate on November 11-14. Young people who wish to enlist in the IDF or anyone who has not fulfilled their obligations according to the Israeli Defense Service Law are invited to meet with him.”

Sar-El, Nefesh B’Nefesh, Heseg Foundation for Lone Soldiers, Israel Defence Forces Widows & Orphans-Canada and Association for the Soldiers of Israel–Canada (through the Canadian Zionist Cultural Association) offer tax receipts for donations. In January of last year the Beth Oloth Charitable Organization, which had $60 million in revenue in 2017, had its charitable status revoked for supporting the Israeli military. Not particularly well known, the organization appears to have been a conduit for donations to different Israeli charities.

In response to a formal complaint submitted by four Palestine solidarity activists and Independent Jewish Voices Canada in fall 2017, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) began an audit of the Jewish National Fund for contravening Canadian charitable law. The JNF financed multiple projects for the Israeli military in direct contravention of CRA rules for registered charities. Despite the JNF openly supporting the Israeli military, the audit of its operations has gone on for two years. The CRA is undoubtedly facing significant behind-the-scenes pressure to let the JNF off with little more than a slap on the wrist. In 2013 Justin Trudeau attended a JNF gala and other Liberal cabinet ministers participated in more recent events put on by an explicitly racist organization that Liberal MP Michael Leavitt once oversaw. Ambassador Lyons attended a JNF event in Jerusalem in 2016 and another one in October.

Canadian charitable guidelines and the Foreign Enlistment Act are designed to deter Canadians from supporting other countries’ militaries. Yet Canada’s ambassador in Israel is celebrating Canadians fighting in that military.

How many Canadians consider that appropriate?

February 11, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | Leave a comment