Friday, August 18, 2017

Today's post

The Monuments Must Go 

Letter from the great, great grandsons of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson to Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and Members of the Monument Avenue Commission.

Dear Mayor Stoney and Members of the Monument Avenue Commission,

We are native Richmonders and also the great, great grandsons of Stonewall Jackson. As two of the closest living relatives to Stonewall, we are writing today to ask for the removal of his statue, as well as the removal of all Confederate statues from Monument Avenue. They are overt symbols of racism and white supremacy, and the time is long overdue for them to depart from public display. Overnight, Baltimore has seen fit to take this action. Richmond should, too.

In making this request, we wish to express our respect and admiration for Mayor Stoney’s leadership while also strongly disagreeing with his claim that “removal of symbols does [nothing] for telling the actual truth [nor] changes the state and culture of racism in this country today.” In our view, the removal of the Jackson statue and others will necessarily further difficult conversations about racial justice. It will begin to tell the truth of us all coming to our senses.

Last weekend, Charlottesville showed us unequivocally that Confederate statues offer pre-existing iconography for racists. The people who descended on Charlottesville last weekend were there to make a naked show of force for white supremacy. To them, the Robert E. Lee statue is a clear symbol of their hateful ideology. The Confederate statues on Monument Avenue are, too — especially Jackson, who faces North, supposedly as if to continue the fight.

We are writing to say that we understand justice very differently from our grandfather’s grandfather, and we wish to make it clear his statue does not represent us.

Through our upbringing and education, we have learned much about Stonewall Jackson. We have learned about his reluctance to fight and his teaching of Sunday School to enslaved peoples in Lexington, Virginia, a potentially criminal activity at the time. We have learned how thoughtful and loving he was toward his family. But we cannot ignore his decision to own slaves, his decision to go to war for the Confederacy, and, ultimately, the fact that he was a white man fighting on the side of white supremacy.

While we are not ashamed of our great great grandfather, we are ashamed to benefit from white supremacy while our black family and friends suffer. We are ashamed of the monument.
In fact, instead of lauding Jackson’s violence, we choose to celebrate Stonewall’s sister — our great, great, grand-aunt — Laura Jackson Arnold. As an adult Laura became a staunch Unionist and abolitionist. Though she and Stonewall were incredibly close through childhood, she never spoke to Stonewall after his decision to support the Confederacy. We choose to stand on the right side of history with Laura Jackson Arnold.

Confederate monuments like the Jackson statue were never intended as benign symbols. Rather, they were the clearly articulated artwork of white supremacy. Among many examples, we can see this plainly if we look at the dedication of a Confederate statue at the University of North Carolina in which a speaker proclaimed that the confederate soldier “saved the very life of the Anglo-Saxon race in the South.” Disturbingly, he went on to recount a tale of performing the “pleasing duty” of “horse whipping” a black woman in front of Federal Soldiers. All over the South, this grotesque message was attached to similar monuments. As importantly, this message is clear to today’s avowed white supremacists.

There is also historical evidence that the statues on Monument Avenue were rejected by black Richmonders at the time of their construction. In the 1870s, John Mitchell, a black city councilman, called the monuments a tribute to “blood and treason” and voiced strong opposition to the use of public funds for building them. Speaking about the Lee Memorial, he vowed that there would come a time when African Americans would “be there to take it down.”

Ongoing racial disparities in incarceration, educational attainment, police brutality, hiring practices, access to health care and, perhaps most starkly, wealth, make it clear that these monuments do not stand somehow outside of history. Racism and white supremacy, which undoubtedly continue today, are neither natural nor inevitable. Rather, they were created in order to justify the unjustifiable, in particular slavery.

One thing that bonds our extended family, besides our common ancestor, is that many have worked, often as clergy and as educators, for justice in their communities. While we do not portend to speak for all of Stonewall’s kin, our sense of justice leads us to believe that removing the Stonewall statue and other monuments should be part of a larger project of actively mending the racial disparities that hundreds of years of white supremacy has wrought. We hope other descendants of Confederate generals will stand with us.

As cities all over the South are realizing now, we are not in need of added context. We are in need of a new context — one in which the statues have been taken down.


William Jackson Christian
Warren Edmund Christian
Great great grandsons of Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson

Thursday, August 17, 2017

1-- The Monopoly providers (paypal, google etc) go after free speech

Break up Google? Is Google in the thought control biz? Ideological straitjackets? The left leads the charge to fascism? 

2-- Tucker Carlson--Tech companies make us less free The attack on free speech

Who gets to say what? Ideological conformity? Support for free expression is losing ground on the left. 

3-- Why Was This 'Crowd Hire' Company Recruiting $25 An Hour 'Political Activists' In Charlotte Last Week?

4--Charlottesville, Brennan Gilmore, and the STOP KONY 2012 Psyop

How was a guy who was connected to state department psy-ops operations in Africa in the right place at the right time to film car accident and then provide a statement on CNN as though he was merely a "guy on the street"??

5-- Bannon: No military solution to North Korea

Identity policy is a Democratic project to keep the plebs away from thinking about alternatives to the neoliberal polices imposed on them.
Steven Bannon, Trumps "ideologue", in a recent interview said this:
“The Democrats,” he said, “the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”

6--US-Venezuela standoff

7--US provocations to continue on schedule; Just to show who's Boss!

Annual joint US-South Korea exercises are non-negotiable and will continue as planned amid threats from the North, a top US military official said. It comes after Beijing called for "dialogue and consultations," adding that military means "cannot become an option."
The Ulchi-Freedom Guardian exercises, scheduled to begin Monday, are "not currently on the table as part of the negotiation at any level," said Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, as quoted by Reuters.
"My advice to our leadership is that we not dial back our exercises. The exercises are very important to maintaining the ability of the alliance to defend itself," Dunford told reporters in Beijing following a meeting with his Chinese counterparts on Thursday. ...

China has called for both the US and North Korea to "hit the brakes" in their war of words, and Beijing and Russia developed a "double freezing" initiative last month which would cease any missile launches and nuclear tests in Pyongyang, as well as large-scale military exercises by Washington and Seoul. That plan was supported by Germany. 

8--Bill Binney "Russia did not hack into DNC servers"  you tube 

NSA has fiberoptic taps that would indicate if there was a hack ..The hack is traceable...
"The NSA doesn't have the evidence it would have if it happened, and that it couldn't have been hacked over the internet (because the material was downloaded at a faster speed that is possible in a hack) then why is everyone in gov still pretending it happened." 

9--DNC files leaked from inside, not hacked

Complete short rundown. Worth a look. 
Published on Aug 11, 2017
A report by former NSA and CIA employees suggests the 2016 DNC hack was an inside job. The files weren’t hacked by Russians – or anyone else, RT America’s Trinity Chavez explains. Former FBI agent and whistleblower Coleen Rowley joins Manila Chan to discuss.

10-- US to launch maneuvers on Monday

Tensions over the situation on the Korean Peninsula continue to mount as the US and South Korea prepare to hold joint military drills next Monday regardless of North Korea's objections.
"My advice to our leadership is that we not dial back our exercises. The exercises are very important to maintaining the ability of the alliance to defend itself," Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters Thursday during his visit to Beijing.

Dunford stressed that the US-South Korean military exercises were "not currently on the table as part of the negotiation at any level".
Earlier Russia and China came up with the "double-freezing" plan which envisaged the suspension of both American-South Korean drills and Pyongyang's missile tests in the troubled region.
However, Washington rejected the initiative.

"I am aware of the US response to this 'double freeze' principle," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters Wednesday. "They believe that legal cannot be exchanged for illegal. However, this is not about getting stuck in being right or thinking about certain falsely understood issues of prestige, but about the future of this region and hundreds of thousands of people who, according to experts, may be affected in the event of hostilities."...

Earlier this week, the German Chancellor reiterated her position that the Korean crisis could be solved only through diplomatic measures and referred to a 2003 six-party negotiation precedent.

"We cannot support the ideas that some of our partners continue to nurture, which literally seek to strangle North Korea economically with all the negative, tragic humanitarian ramifications for the people of the DPRK," Lavrov told journalists following his talks with Foreign Minister of Bolivia Fernando Huanacuni Mamani on August 16.

11--  Assange Hammers America on Selective Outrage Over US Backing for Ukraine's Neo-Nazis

Make no mistake that the US is playing a dangerous game with its use of identity politics to wedge different groups, essentially engaging in divide and conquer politics. While the violence is now occasional, things could get much worse as this continues

The use of this tactic at home is creating a schism that will likely become irreparable once these forming identities are solidified. Thus there is a distinct potential to devolve into something akin to a new American Civil War. As we have already seen, the use of these tactics globally, in combination with funding and arming of these groups, has already toppled governments and left death and destruction in their wake. These same tactics could very well be at play domestically.

11--Cleaning up after NATO's disaster -- Lavrov Tells Haftar Russia Supports Full-Scale Restoration of Libyan Statehood

12-- “The many manifestations of an entrenched right-wing ideology that cannot be conveniently and opportunistically reduced to Trump and the Republicans.”

What I find interesting about the current discussion around what many are referring to as the emboldening of the radical white supremacist right is how easy it is to mobilize opposition against the crude and overt white supremacists we saw in Charlottesville. So easy, in fact, that it’s really a distraction from the more difficult and dangerous work that needs to be done to confront the real right-wing power brokers.

The white supremacy that some of us see as more insidious is not reflected in the simple, stereotypical images of the angry, Nazi-saluting alt-righter or even Donald Trump. Instead, it is the normalized and thus invisible white supremacist ideology inculcated into cultural and educational institutions and the policies that stem from those ideas.

That process doesn’t just produce the storm troopers of the armed and crazed radical right but also such covert true believers as Robert Ruben from Goldman Sachs, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Tony Blair and Nancy Pelosi -- “decent” individuals who have never questioned for a moment the superiority of Western civilization, who believe completely in the White West’s right and responsibility to determine which nations should have sovereignty and who should be the leaders of “lesser” nations. And who believe that there is no alternative to the wonders of global capitalism even if it means that billions of human beings are consigned permanently to what Fanon called the “zone of non-being.”...

The structures of white power, that is the structures and institutions that provide the material base for Euro-American white supremacy and its ideological reproduction, should be the focus of radical opposition. But the capitalist order and its institutions -- the World Trade Organization, IMF, World Bank, and global Westernized higher education that serves as the material basis for hegemonic white supremacist power – escape critical scrutiny because popular attention is directed against a David Duke and a Donald Trump.

13--Chem weapons--Made in the USA

According to the Syrian deputy foreign minister, the chemical agents were found at terrorists’ depots both in Aleppo and in liberated districts in the eastern suburb of Damascus.
As Mekdad said, in compliance with article 5 of the convention on the prohibition of chemical weapons, the use of irritant agents is allowed only for fighting riots. They are prohibited for use as warfare means.

"Therefore, it can be said with confidence that the United States and the United Kingdom, and also their allies in the region, are rendering all possible support to terrorist organizations active in Syria, thus violating the convention on the prohibition of chemical weapons. They are supplying terrorists not only with conventional arms but also with banned chemical agents," Mekdad said

14-- Assange Vows To Prove That Russia Was Not His Source In 3-Hour Meeting With Congressman

15--The crime of the century?

From the late Bush years through most of Obama’s presidency, at least 9.3 million American families lost their properties, whether to foreclosure or forced sale. The original sin of faulty loan originations, inflated appraisals, doctored underwriting, and improper placement into subprime loans led to fraudulent misconduct in securitization, loan servicing, loan modifications, and foreclosures, with millions of faked and forged documents used as evidence for the final indignity of eviction. There’s not a single step of the mortgage process that wasn’t suffused with illegal fraud during the housing bubble and its collapse.

The crisis resulted in a punishing recession and countless destroyed lives, not to mention what has been credibly described as an “extinction event” for the black and Latino middle class. Yet from New York to California, Arizona to Florida, Washington state to Washington, D.C., the political class and law enforcement elite responded largely with indifference. Powerful bankers with armies of lawyers were allowed to get away with the crime of the century (thus far).

16-- Nordstream (maps) 

17--Looming War Games Alarm North Korea, but May Be a Bargaining Chip

“If we concede our military drills as an incentive to North Korea, North Korea will see that as a weakness of South Korea and the United States,” said Shin Beom-chul, a professor of national security at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy in Seoul and a former defense ministry adviser who has participated in the exercises. “To bring North Korea back to the table, we need pressure and to bring problems to Kim Jong-un.”

But with tensions so high on the peninsula, some analysts say that rigid thinking could lead to miscommunication or military escalation.

18--Russia offered to host negotiations btween NK and US. Washington refused

19-- NOTES

National Interest/Project 63: Job placement assistance for Nazi engineers at Lockheed, Martin Marietta, North American Aviation, and other aeroplane companies, whilst American aerospace engineers were being laid off work.[19]

Hunt, Linda (1991). Secret Agenda: The United States Government, Nazi Scientists, and Project Paperclip

BEIJING (Sputnik) — During Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Moscow earlier this summer, the Russian and Chinese foreign ministries issued a joint statement proposing ways to de-escalate the situation. Moscow and Beijing called on Pyongyang to stop nuclear tests and urged Washington and Seoul to refrain from conducting joint drills.
"At the moment, China hopes that all the sides will seriously consider and accept China and Russia's proposals on the settlement. They are based on 'double freeze' initiative and pursue the appropriate solution of Korean Peninsula's issue," Hua said.

“Unfortunately, the ‘Sunshine Policy’ project was discontinued in 2008 and the two countries have since seen a deep freeze in bilateral relations,” Petrov continued.
The zones of cooperation were shut down and families, divided since the Korean War, were no longer able to reunite
Philip zelikow   catastrophic terrorism tackling the new danger with ash carter and john deutsch public myths searing events pearl harbor event
minute 13

RT:  Do you think that retaking Deir-ez-Zor could help prevent terrorists from escaping Syria and regrouping?
ABA: No, I think recapturing Deir-ez-Zor is extremely important for two things. The first one is it means the Syrian army will recapture the oil fields, the gas fields, which the Syrian economy is desperate to gain, to be honest. The second, it will be a spring board to attack Raqqa. Now the Syrian army is very close to south of Raqqa, near Deir-ez-Zor. If they manage to capture Deir-ez-Zor, I think the second step will be Raqqa, the capital of ISIS, which could mean the end of Islamic State in Syria.
Baker on financial crisis
Corbett report Korea

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” ― George Orwell

As Swain indicated, what has happened during the past few decades is a palpable marginalization of millions of hard working Americans, mostly white and mostly Christian, who have been sidelined and left behind by the advancing progressivist revolution (these last words are mine). They are not naturally “racists” or even “white supremacists,” but rather they seek to guarantee their own survival, and the survival of their families, their communities, and their culture. They have seen the standards, beliefs, traditions, morality and customs that they inherited and have cherished—they have seen them attacked, ridiculed, and, in many cases, banned, even criminalized.

The next day Newsweek revealed that the vaunted ICBMs supposedly developed by North Korea are a “hoax” – their word. Reporter Nine Burleigh writes:
“As President Donald Trump escalates his war of words against North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong Un, a team of independent rocket experts has asserted that the two rockets the rogue regime launched in July and described as intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) are incapable of delivering a nuclear payload to the continental United States, and probably not even to Anchorage, Alaska.
“Massachusetts Institute of Technology rocket expert Ted Postol and two German experts, Markus Schiller and Robert Schmucker of Schmucker Technologie, published their findings Friday in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, in a paper they titled “North Korea’s ‘Not Quite’ ICBM Can’t Hit the Lower 48 States.”

The researchers, most of them former intelligence officials, have concluded that
There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee’s system on July 5 last year – not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak – a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system. This casts serious doubt on the initial “hack,” as alleged, that led to the very consequential publication of a large store of documents on WikiLeaks last summer.

“Forensic investigations of documents made public two weeks prior to the July 5 leak by the person or entity known as Guccifer 2.0 show that they were fraudulent: Before Guccifer posted them they were adulterated by cutting and pasting them into a blank template that had Russian as its default language. Guccifer took responsibility on June 15 for an intrusion the DNC reported on June 14 and professed to be a WikiLeaks source – claims essential to the official narrative implicating Russia in what was soon cast as an extensive hacking operation. To put the point simply, forensic science now devastates this narrative.”

Yet more forensic evidence, the time stamps on the data, prove that the material was obtained from the DNC server at 6:45 pm, Eastern Daylight Time: the deed was done on the east coast of the United States, not in Romania, not in Russia, with the material being transferred to a thumb drive, not remotely over the Internet. Here is yet more evidence that it was done by someone with direct physical access to the DNC’s facilities: in short, by an insider.

To top it off, Guccifer ran the material through “a Russianified [W]ord document with Russian language settings and style headings,” as one researcher put it. Just to give it that “Putin-did-it” look.
So once again our skepticism of the groupthink emanating from Washington and the “mainstream” media has been confirmed. And this time, it looks like the massive Russia-gate propaganda campaign is faltering in the face of strong conflicting evidence: it’s too credible to be ignored. The truth is getting out there, however slowly and haltingly

Kim Jong-un advised Washington “to take into full account gains and losses with clear head” as further confrontation is “unfavorable for any party.”
“In order to defuse the tensions and prevent the dangerous military conflict on the Korean Peninsula, it is necessary for the US to make a proper option first and show it through action, as it committed provocations after introducing huge nuclear strategic equipment into the vicinity of the peninsula,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported, as cited by KCNA Watch on Tuesday. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Today's links

"A politics fixated on indelible differences will inevitably lead to resentments that extremists can exploit in ugly ways on the right and left." WSJ editorial

1-- Great Corporate Bond Rush of 2017 Persists as Fed Mulls Hike

Corporate debt explodes

2-- Corporate debt is at new highs

Uh, oh.

3-- Corporate Censorship Tightens The Noose, Caitlin Johnstone 

4-- This is big-- Turkey Ending Support for Syrian Rebels

5-- Who’s Behind Antifa? The Gov??

6--Mattis and Tillerson: “We’re Holding Pyongyang to Account”

The object of our peaceful pressure campaign is the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The U.S. has no interest in regime change or accelerated reunification of Korea. We do not seek an excuse to garrison U.S. troops north of the Demilitarized Zone. We have no desire to inflict harm on the long-suffering North Korean people, who are distinct from the hostile regime in Pyongyang....

Chinese entities are, in one way or another, involved with roughly 90% of North Korean trade. This affords China an unparalleled opportunity to assert its influence with the regime. ...

While diplomacy is our preferred means of changing North Korea’s course of action, it is backed by military options. The U.S. alliances with South Korea and Japan are strong. But Pyongyang has persistently rebuffed Seoul’s attempts to create conditions whereby peaceful dialogue can occur, and has instead proceeded on its reckless course of threats and provocation...

The U.S. will continue to work with our allies and partners to deepen diplomatic and military cooperation, and to hold nations accountable to their commitments to isolate the regime. That will include rigorous enforcement of sanctions, leaving no North Korean source of revenue untouched. In particular, the U.S. will continue to request Chinese and Russian commitments not to provide the regime with economic lifelines and to persuade it to abandon its dangerous path.

7-- Trump's handout to Wall Street  Trump Chips Away at Postcrisis Wall Street Rules --Cutting thru the red tape to reward the Banksters

Plan to restrict bonuses has been dropped, and some limits on banks’ trading are under review

8--Margin Debt Sets Four New Peaks This Year — a Red Flag with a New Twist

9--Despite Record Stock Markets, Almost Half of Americans Own No Stocks

10--The Price Still Isn’t Right for Consumers-- Low inflation helps people buy more, but without stronger income gains spending growth will remain weak

11-- U.S. Stocks: We’re No. 39!-- America's stock market is one of the world's worst performers this year

12--  Margin Pressure Ahead for U.S. Companies-- Productivity growth is a great boon to companies but it has been poor in the U.S. and there are few signs of improvement

13-- Why Jobs, Wages and Savings Mean Weaker Profits

Weak wage growth has Americans saving less. That can’t go on forever

14-- Charlottesville: What You Wish Upon Others, You Wish Upon Yourself

U.S. "liberals" cuddle fascists and right-wing religious extremists in Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela and elsewhere.

15-- Russia brings peace to Syria-- Large numbers of Syrians are returning home.

" According to a study by the International Organization for Migration (a United Nations body), some 602,759 displaced Syrians have been returned to their homes of which about two-thirds of that number specifically resettled in Aleppo Governorate.

16-- Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford talks peace while gearing up for war games, threats and provocations

“We’re all looking to get out of this situation without a war,” Dunford said, even as he stressed Pyongyang possessing nuclear weapons that threaten the United States and its regional allies is “unacceptable.”

“As a military leader, I’ve got to make sure that the president does have viable military options in the event that the diplomatic and economic pressurization campaign fails,” he added.

But some experts do not agree that Pyongyang’s acquisition of nuclear weapons is an unacceptable option. Richard Bush, a senior fellow in the Brookings Institution’s John L. Thornton China Center, said the Trump administration has “made a big mistake” by determining that North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons capable of hitting the United States is something to fight over

New military exercises to start
Annual exercises between the U.S. and South Korean militaries, dubbed Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, begin later this month. North Korea has always condemned these exercises, and some experts fear these war games could increase hostilities from Pyongyang while irking Beijing, a key influencer of North Korea.

“If you have the current tensions and pile on top of that these exercises, it’s going to make for a much worse situation,” Joel Wit, who helped negotiate the 1994 U.S.-North Korea nuclear deal that delayed North Korea’s nuclear program for almost a decade, told VOA.

A senior official with U.S. Pacific Command, which overseas military activity in the region, said China will almost certainly propose to Dunford that the U.S. and South Korea stop these exercises. However, the Trump administration would not agree to that proposal because it considers the exercises necessary for readiness in the event of an attack, the official added...

The United States has carried our several B-1B Lancer strategic bomber jet flights from Guam to the peninsula, with the last one carried out about a week ago. Japanese and South Korean jets have escorted the bombers at times.

The United States also has deployed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system to South Korea that can shoot down short, medium and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. Two of the system’s six launchers are fully operational, and President Moon has ordered consultations on the possibility of deploying the final four interceptors, which are already in-country. THAAD’s ability to take out missile threats has proven 15 for 15 in tests conducted since 2005, when the system began operational testing.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Today's links

The dog barks, the caravan moves on. Russian proverb 

1--Xi Jinping in phone call to Trump: calm down on North Korea

Xi stressed that China and the United States have common interests in achieving denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and maintaining peace and stability there.
The concerned parities should strive to resolve the issue through dialogue and negotiation to reach a political solution, Xi said.

2--Why Does North Korea Want Nukes? Paul Atwood

.... It should be noted that American forces played no role in the liberation of Korea from Japanese rule. However, because the Soviets, as allies of the U.S., wished to remain on friendly terms they agreed to the division of Korea between Soviet and American forces. The young Dean Rusk, later to become Secretary of State under Kennedy and Johnson, arbitrarily drew a line of division across the 38th Parallel because, as he said, that would leave the capital city, Seoul, in the American zone.

Written reports at the time criticized Washington for “allowing” the Red Army into Korea but the fact was it was the other way around. The Soviets could easily have occupied the entirety of Korea but chose not to do so, instead opting for a negotiated settlement with the U.S. over the future of Korea. Theoretically the peninsula would be reunited after some agreement between the two victors at some future date.

However, the U.S. immediately began to favor those Koreans who had collaborated with the Japanese in the exploitation of their own country and its people, largely the landed elites, and Washington began to arm the provisional government it set up to root out the peoples’ committees. For their part the Soviets supported the communist nationalist leader, Kim Il-Sung who had led the guerrilla army against Japan at great cost in lives.


4-- Defense Secretary “Mad Dog” Mattis visits Google and Amazon

On Thursday, Mattis met with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at the tech giant’s headquarters in Seattle.
On Friday, he spoke at the headquarters of Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUX), a Defense Department unit located two miles from the Google campus in Mountain View, California. Among the unit’s advisors is Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

Mattis said the Pentagon’s partnership with Silicon Valley via DIUX would make the US military “more lethal and more effective” than ever before. DIUX awards military technology contracts to US hi-tech firms.
The operation has already awarded more than $100 million in contracts for 45 pilot projects in areas such as artificial intelligence, autonomous machines and outer space. Its web page encourages technology firms to “tap into a $100+ billion market.”

During his visit, Mattis proclaimed, “We’ll get better at integrating AI advances out here into the US military” as a result of the unit, which he said would “grow in influence and impact” on the military. Among the projects rolled out by DIUX, according to Bloomberg News, is a system to coordinate air strikes against targets “such as fleeing vehicles.”

Following his prepared remarks, Mattis added that the US military was “ready” with “military options” against North Korea.

Even more important to the Pentagon than the utility of the tech giants in waging war abroad is the use of their communication infrastructure to shape public opinion and block the expression of antiwar and oppositional sentiment. A major player in this sphere is a thinktank called Jigsaw, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet. Jigsaw is headed by Jared Cohen, a former State Department advisor to both Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton.

Jigsaw’s most prominent project is a web commenting censorship system called “Perspective API,” which it calls “a new tool for web publishers to identify toxic comments that can undermine a civil exchange of ideas.”...

Developed in cooperation with major US newspapers, Jigsaw has already been implemented to flag comments for deletion in the New York Times comments section. This week, WikiLeaks noted that a comment containing the language “The CIA armed Islamists in Syria, killing thousands” would be flagged as 66 percent “toxic” by Perspective API. A comment declaring that “the US government is wonderful” is labeled zero percent “toxic,” while “the US government is corrupt” is flagged as 71 percent “toxic.”

In a study titled “Social media, the vital ground: Can we hold it?” published in April, the Army War College noted, “The impact of social media on the media environment has been widely recognized, as has the ability of extremist and adversarial organizations to exploit the media to publicize their cause, spread their propaganda, and recruit vulnerable individuals.”

It went on to conclude that “Social media will increasingly have a direct impact on virtually all aspects of military operations in the 21st century,” and that the military had to expand its control over social media, “in particular, its use in deception and Psychological Operations (PSYOPS).”
Control over online communication will become increasingly significant amid what one Defense Department report published last month warned was an “increasing chasm between governments and their governed over the basic right to rule.”

That report concluded, “Today, all states are experiencing a precipitous decline in their authority, influence, reach and common attraction,” as populations are presented with “myriad alternative sources of political alignment or allegiance.”

Yet another report, published last year, warned that growing international antagonisms were leading to an intensifying crisis of “social order.”

It concluded that states “now all wrestle with one another over competing interests while standing on quicksand—threatened” not only by national rivals, but by “the fragile and restive social order they themselves rest on.”

5-- Hillary explains our N Korea policy

6--Hair-Trigger Korean-U.S. Situation

7--DNC Makes Unbelievably Feeble Response To Latest Russiagate Debunking Evidence

8--A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack

9-- Will Tough New U.N. Sanctions Work Against North Korean Regime?

(Sanctions aimed at innocent civilians) 
BILL RICHARDSON: Thank you, Rachel - nice to be with you.
MARTIN: How are these new sanctions that much tougher than what the international community has tried over and over again?

RICHARDSON: Well, they affect 90 percent of North Korea's economy. It's a small economy. They embark on cutting off of coal, foodstuffs, a lot of North Korean foreign workers that make money through energy. These sanctions have bite. I have to give the administration credit. And most credit I think has to be the ability to get the sanctions passed in the U.N. Security Council without a veto from China and Russia, especially China.

MARTIN: And I want to talk about China in a minute. But you just noted something. These sanctions are going to target coal and foodstuffs. Doesn't that mean that the people who are going to feel the effects of these sanctions most are just going to be a regular North Koreans, not necessarily the ruling class?

RICHARDSON: Yes, it's going to affect the North Korean people. I've been there eight times. They're in very bad shape economically. Many are starving. But I think what was not passed in terms of the sanctions was oil. I think that may be the next step. These are very, very tough sanctions.

10-- BREAKING: China says it will defend North Korea in event of US invasion

China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US soil first and the US retaliates, China will stay neutral. If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so....

Now what the latest US threats have managed to do is make China give its first public hint of a Chinese security guarantee to North Korea, with a public statement that in the event of a US attempt to overthrow Kim Jong-un by force China will come to his defence.
This comes with a statement that China sees the survival of North Korea as a Chinese national interest.

11-- US imperialism and the threat of nuclear war against North Korea

The current crisis is the outcome of a policy of naked aggression pursued by US imperialism for the past quarter-century in the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and the Balkans. In the wake of the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, which had acted as an impediment to Washington’s global ambitions, the Pentagon drafted defence guidelines stating that the fundamental US strategy must “focus on precluding the emergence of any potential future global competitor.”

The doctrine of “pre-emptive war” now being invoked by Trump and his advisers to justify an attack, even a nuclear strike, on North Korea was first enunciated by President George W. Bush as the pretext for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. President Barack Obama expanded the Bush doctrine to declare any threat to American “values and interests” sufficient cause for the US to militarily attack another country. This new doctrine is a gross violation of international law. Waging a war of aggression was the chief crime for which the Nazi leaders were charged and convicted at the Nuremberg trials after World War II....

Behind this barrage of propaganda, what is the fundamental character of this looming war? It is a conflict between the world’s most heavily armed imperialist power and an oppressed and impoverished country, whose social and political character is the product of relentless colonialist and imperialist oppression throughout the twentieth century.

After more than forty years of brutal colonial rule by Japan, the US installed a military dictatorship in Seoul and waged a near-genocidal war in the early 1950s to preserve the artificial division of the Korean Peninsula into North and South. Since the end of the war, North Korea has been subjected to a US-led economic blockade, accompanied by repeated provocations and military threats.

The chief target of the Trump administration’s threats of war is not North Korea, but China, which the US regards as the principal obstacle to its regional and global dominance. The US military build-up throughout the Asia Pacific did not begin with the fascistic billionaire Trump, but is a continuation of the “pivot to Asia” developed by the Obama administration. In handing this geo-strategic initiative over to Trump, Obama identified North Korea as the chief military challenge facing the new administration and advised that the North Korean “threat” be used as the pretext for ratcheting up the US confrontation with China.

12--The CIA's grip on journalism

13-- BREAKING: Trump tells French President he’s ready for war and other measures against N. Korea

14--The world on the brink

The threat of nuclear war is not simply the product of a fascistic madman in the White House, but arises out of immense geo-political tensions fueled by the deep economic crisis of American and global capitalism. Trump has the backing of powerful sections of the military and political elites in Washington who have been pressing for the US to challenge and if necessary go to war with China, regarded as the chief obstacle to American global dominance.

The present crisis is the outcome of the political climate prepared by a quarter-century of continuous wars by US imperialism in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, as Washington sought to use its military might to overcome its historic economic decline. It has become a virtual article of faith in American ruling circles that all of their problems on the international arena can be resolved through military action.

The ground was prepared for war against North Korea by the Obama administration, which, as part of its “pivot to Asia” against China, authorised a huge military build-up throughout the Indo-Pacific. The US military has now stationed its most advanced weaponry in Asia, along with 60 percent of its air and naval forces, and secured new basing agreements throughout the region.

The Pentagon could immediately call on more than 28,000 Air Force, naval, Marine and Special Operations personnel based in South Korea as well as many more forces from its bases in Japan and Guam. Moreover, in the event of a war with North Korea, the US would assume operational control of the South Korean military, with its 625,000 personnel and 3,100,000 reservists

15--  “‘I know who leaked them,” Murray said recently. “I’ve met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it’s an insider. It’s a leak, not a hack; the two are different things.”

16-- Unmasking Samantha Power-- We still don’t know why Obama officials needed to know the names of so many Trump officials

Of all the Russia storms raging around Donald Trump —the Christopher Steele dossier, the email to Don Jr. promising dirt on Hillary Clinton —there is still only one clear felony we know about: the leaking of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s name after someone had identified him from a classified intelligence report. Funny how this is a scandal no one seems interested in

17-- How to Resolve the North Korea Crisis-- An understanding between the U.S. and Beijing is the essential prerequisite. Tokyo and Seoul also have key roles to play

18--The day the world changed’: Ten years on from global financial crisis experts warn it could happen again

By August 9, respected French bank BNP Paribas had frozen $2.55 billion worth of funds citing an “evaporation of liquidity”. Former Northern Rock boss Adam Applegarth called it “the day the world changed” after the European Central Bank and US Federal Reserve injected $113 billion into financial markets and it proved not enough to calm panicked investors.

One month later, Northern Rock suffered its first run on the bank in 150 years as customers queued to get their money out. By September the next year, Lehmann Brothers had declared bankruptcy marking the start of the full blown crisis that would spread throughout the economy.
At the time, Stenfors said he “couldn’t see the world was going under” and was simply worried about his current trading position. Two years later he was left exhausted after years of waking up to early morning phone calls and suffering from RSI after intense computer training.

19--A decade after the financial crisis, the world is still hooked on the debt that caused it

20--- The stock market is rigged

Steve Kroft: What’s the headline here?
Michael Lewis: Stock market’s rigged. The United States stock market, the most iconic market in global capitalism is rigged.
Steve Kroft: By whom?
Michael Lewis: By a combination of these stock exchanges, the big Wall Street banks and high-frequency traders.
Steve Kroft: Who are the victims?
Michael Lewis: Everybody who has an investment in the stock market.

21--  On the 10th anniversary of the global financial meltdown, here's what's changed

22-- How Capitalist Central Banks Have Been Creating the Next Financial Crisis, Jack Rasmus

Today's Headline Article

I've had enough, By Jack Perry

I’m 50, unemployed, and poor. Okay? I don’t give a damn about whether or not Bashar al-Assad runs Syria, about Russia, or any of these other so-called political concerns I’m told to have by the Democratic Party who has learned the sum total of absolutely nothing in the 2016 election. When it was revealed the election of 2016 was more about economic concerns than anything else, the Democrats vowed to work on that—the promptly forgot it and blamed the loss on Russia. Despite the fact that Russia has not laid off Americans or contributed to poverty in the United States.

I am tired of Democrats who assume I’ll vote for them because I’m poor. They’re toying with a new 2018 campaign slogan that says, “Have You Seen The Other Guys?” Yes, actually, I have seen the other guys. And you know what? You’re as bad as they are. When people can’t afford Obamacare, you tell them, “You should get a better job”. Just like Republicans would say. When people want the individual mandate repealed because they don’t want to be penalized for not being able to afford your so-called “affordable” health care, what do you say? “People need to take personal responsibility for their health care!” Amazing! Because that is exactly what the Republicans say whenever the concept of single payer health care comes up! You guys cheat by copying one another’s homework.

The Democrats have Kamala Harris attend some hush-hush meeting up in the Hamptons and assume I can’t see through this charade of another wealthy, privileged individual who’ll allegedly understand the things I struggle with. Really? So Kamala wonders how she’ll afford her medication? Kamala knows how to eat on $20 a week because she has to? Kamala shops for clothes at thrift stores? I see the Democrats are just doing business as usual. Providing another pre-picked candidate who would be a high-profile banking executive if she hadn’t chosen politics to express her privileged status.

The Democrats run a good game, I’ll give that to them. People think they’re somehow different from Republicans when, in fact, they’re not. Both of these parties connive and fool two segments of the working class into voting for them. Urban working class voters vote for the Democrats and rural working class voters vote for Republicans and all of them get soundly screwed collectively no matter who wins. It also makes sure the shell game of popular vote and electoral vote provide the perfect imbalance for the genuine needs of all. Russia does not need to rig a U.S. election when both political parties have proven themselves more than capable of doing so themselves without outside help.

I love how Democrat and Republican politicians both tell voters to man the phones and call in about this or that issue to make sure it gets passed or repealed. Excuse me, but were you not elected to represent the voters in your districts? You should already know what your district wants and vote accordingly. But you don’t know and, besides all of that, you have no idea how the people in your districts live. None of you does without health care. None of you go to the food bank. None of you drive on bald tires, or even drive yourselves for that matter. None of you know how I live and, therefore, I will not waste my time calling your offices where you sit on the phone chatting with bankers and defense contractors promising to deliver payola.

I even hear Democrats who want Hillary to run in 2020. Now here America has told you they don’t want her, but no. You insist on trying to cram Hillary down the throat of America and when you lose that election, you’ll blame Russia again. Brilliant. Meanwhile, the poor get poorer and you don’t actually give a damn or you’d have run a candidate that put people before party. Not one of you knows how to do that because the party is power and you’re all addicted to it like the power junkies you are. “Oh, he sounds angry…” You’re damn right I’m angry and none of your so-called “free press” actually report the news or the truth, either, because all of you have lost touch with the truth a long time ago.

All these games get played, all these wars get started, and hundreds of thousands die, and for what?! For what, I ask you?! What, you think Trump started this horrific slaughter in Syria and Yemen? What, Trump got inaugurated and suddenly wars broke out in Yemen and Syria? No! Your all-wise, all-knowing President Obama contributed to this slaughter and you all sat there nodding your heads with peace symbol stickers on your Priuses. You bunch of hypocrites! You’re as bad as the Republicans with their “regime change” crap and “We’re bring democracy to the Middle East!” As if the Middle East sat there for thousands of years longer than the United States even existed, saying, “Gosh, we wish someone would bring us democracy.” No! You’ve brought them wholesale death and destruction! The biggest export America has is death! The creation of widows and orphans!

Hundreds of thousands dead and none of you can even admit to the woefully tragic mistakes all of you have made. That hundreds of thousands died and Assad remained in power despite Obama’s vows that he must step down. Those people died for nothing. Because American promises of democracy amount to nothing. Just ask those of us here allegedly living under it with our own rigged elections we accuse Assad of running and the poverty inflicted on us so American defense contractors can get rich. The entire United States government and both political parties are mass murderers on a scale that dwarfs Caligula and Nero. Is it any wonder why federal buildings here look like the Roman Empire built them? And the United States doesn’t treat the Middle East any better than they did.

I’ve heard this crap since 1980. I could pave a path to the moon with the promises. And they promise the moon, too. Or was that a NASA mission to Mars. To see what? The galactic equivalent of Death Valley but not as interesting. “Oh, sorry you’re poor. Here, have a mission to Mars.” I wish all of you would board the ship and go to Mars and stay there. But there’s probably some environmental law against dumping toxic waste on Mars, so you’ll wiggle out of exile that way. Not that any of you have the courage to go any of the hellholes you send people to in order to glorify yourselves and gloat as if you’d done it and not them. Just look at the wars you idiots start or decide to join. We’ve been in Afghanistan now going into the last half of its second decade.

No, I’m done. Run this show without me. I’ve had enough.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Today's Links

1--- Polls show plunging popular support for Trump 

Approval of Trump’s performance as president fell to new lows in virtually every poll: 32 percent according to Investor’s Business Daily, 33 percent according to Quinnipiac University, 36 percent in the CBS survey, 37 percent recorded by both the Gallup daily tracking poll and Reuters/IPSOS, and 38 percent according to CNN.
All of these figures are record lows for an American president during his first year in office. Normally it requires a major war, financial collapse, social disaster or scandal to generate such a level of popular disapproval and distrust...

Quinnipiac found that among white voters without a college degree, the demographic in which Trump posted his largest electoral margin, approval of Trump’s job performance fell from 53 percent in June to only 40 percent.
Investor’s Business Daily noted that Trump “lost significant support across the board, but saw big declines among areas of core support, including Republicans, Midwesterners, middle-income families, white men and the high-school educated.” This included a 12-point drop among Republicans.
Among income groups, Trump suffered the biggest losses among those with household incomes between $30,000 and $50,000, dropping from 40 percent in early July to 27 percent in early August....

The polls found that health care and immigration were among the most important issues fueling hostility towards the Trump administration. CNN found 62 percent disapproval of Trump on health care, 55 percent disapproval on immigration, 61 percent on foreign policy and 54 percent on “helping the middle class.” CBS found 59 percent disapproval on health care, 57 percent disapproval on immigration, and 61 percent disapproval of Trump’s policy towards North Korea.....

The crumbling popular support for Trump has thrown both capitalist parties into crisis, the Democrats no less than the Republicans, and perhaps even more so. Nothing terrifies the Democrats more than the prospect of a mass movement from below directed against the right-wing policies of the Trump administration, because it would threaten the capitalist system as a whole.

This fear of the working class, as much as a desire to curry favor with the military-intelligence apparatus, accounts for the maniacal insistence of the Democrats that the sole issue of any importance in American politics is the alleged Russian intervention in the 2016 presidential election.

This issue was pioneered during the election campaign itself by Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, who sought to overcome her own deep unpopularity, because of her close identification with Wall Street and war, by painting Trump as the favored candidate of Moscow. That appeal failed in the election and the current even more intense anti-Russian campaign is still failing to resonate among working people.

2-- Trump threatens “fire and fury” against North Korea 

No one should dismiss Trump’s statements as empty rhetoric. By threatening North Korea with annihilation if it carries out further tests, Trump has created a situation where it is impossible for him to back down. Moreover, such is the intense crisis and infighting in American ruling circles that Trump may be driven to launch a reckless attack on North Korea as a means of diverting attention from the political turmoil at home.
The Trump administration, assisted by a servile media, is already ramping up a propaganda campaign aimed at stampeding American public opinion into believing that US cities are in imminent danger of a nuclear attack from North Korea.
The Washington Post yesterday featured an article entitled, “North Korea is fast approaching Trump’s red line.” The article uncritically reported claims made in “a previously secret Defence Intelligence Agency analysis” that Pyongyang had produced “a miniaturised warhead that can fit inside one of the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) that it has been testing.”
These claims come from the same American intelligence establishment that forged the lies about weapons of mass destruction used to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq. They cannot be taken at face value. Everything about North Korea’s so-called ICBMs remains in question, including their range, accuracy, warhead load and ability to survive re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere.

3-- Syria charges Washington with war crimes in siege of Raqqa 

In an appeal to the United Nations, the Syrian government denounced this US war crime.

“The systematic bombing of residential areas, houses of civilians, the destruction of the Raqqa state hospital and the use of banned white phosphorus by the aircraft of the international coalition are a blatant violation of international law and is among a number of coalition’s crimes against the innocent [civilians] in the provinces and cities of Syria,” the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Sunday.

Noting that the US military is operating in Syria “outside the framework of the UN and without the permission from the Syrian government,” the ministry called upon the United Nations to uphold international law by ordering Washington and its “coalition” out of the country. Given the US veto on the UN Security Council and the habitual subservience of the UN to US imperialist interests, there is no prospect for such an intervention

US imperialism has no intention of leaving Syria. Under the cover of the so-called campaign against ISIS—a Sunni Islamist militia which is itself the byproduct of the US wars and regime change operations in Iraq, Libya and Syria—the Pentagon is setting up a string of bases and attempting to carve out a zone of control from which it can pursue its broader aims in the region. These include, in the first instance, the preparation of war against Iran, which is seen by Washington as an obstacle to the drive for US hegemony over the Middle East.

(Defending ISIS to defeat Iran?)

The threat that the US intervention will provoke a wider war was posed starkly with the reported American airstrike Monday morning on a Shia militia unit deployed on the Iraq-Syria border. The militia, known as the Seyid Suheda, belongs to Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units, a predominantly Shia and Iranian-backed force that Baghdad has incorporated into its security forces. The militia reported that the bombing killed 35 of its fighters and wounded another 25. “We guarantee the attack will not go unpunished, and we call upon all Islamic resistance units in Iraq to consider an appropriate response to such a criminal act,” the group said in a statement.

The militia had been preparing to participate in an operation to take Tal Afar, one of the last ISIS strongholds in northwestern Iraq. The area is across the border from the Syrian city of Al-Hasaka, where the Pentagon has set up a base for US special forces troops.

4--US sanctions aimed at starving the NK people 

Bill RICHARDSON: Thank you, Rachel - nice to be with you.
MARTIN: How are these new sanctions that much tougher than what the international community has tried over and over again?

RICHARDSON: Well, they affect 90 percent of North Korea's economy. It's a small economy. They embark on cutting off of coal, foodstuffs, a lot of North Korean foreign workers that make money through energy. These sanctions have bite. I have to give the administration credit. And most credit I think has to be the ability to get the sanctions passed in the U.N. Security Council without a veto from China and Russia, especially China.
MARTIN: And I want to talk about China in a minute. But you just noted something. These sanctions are going to target coal and foodstuffs. Doesn't that mean that the people who are going to feel the effects of these sanctions most are just going to be a regular North Koreans, not necessarily the ruling class?

RICHARDSON: Yes, it's going to affect the North Korean people. I've been there eight times. They're in very bad shape economically. Many are starving. But I think what was not passed in terms of the sanctions was oil. I think that may be the next step. These are very, very tough sanctions. The issue is going to be, will China enforce them? Will China stop the cross-border smuggling? Will China seriously make an effort? And I think this is why North Korea is so upset. I think they've reached a point where China is saying to them, hey, guys, you've got to stop; you've got to cool it down. And North Korea understandably is very angry because their one ally may be turning on them a little bit....

MARTIN: But I hear you - just in the seconds remaining - I hear you being supportive of the administration's tactics so far with North Korea.
RICHARDSON: Well, no, not entirely because they all speak with different messages. The national security adviser, the U.N. ambassador, Tillerson - they should let Tillerson handle this. The others get a little warlike. They get a little preemptive - military strikes. We shouldn't be talking about that. We should talk about diplomacy

5--Trump intensifies rhetoric against North Korea xxx

President Trump on Wednesday ratcheted up his rhetoric against North Korea, pointing to the strength of the U.S. nuclear arsenal one day after warning Pyongyang of "fire and fury" if it continued its threats.
Trump said in a series of tweets that he hoped that the "power" of the U.S. nuclear arsenal would never have to be used.
He added that "there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world.

He has been very threatening beyond a normal state, and as I said they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before,” Trump said at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J....

What the president is doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong Un can understand, because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language,” Tillerson said in Guam. “I think the president just wanted to be clear to the North Korean regime on the U.S.'s unquestionable ability to defend itself, will defend itself and its allies

6--Saudi regime continues brutal siege against Shia minority 

7-- Is the Korean war scare real"? sic semper tyrannis

8--Consider what the U.S. media don’t tell you about Korea:

BEIJING, March 8 (Xinhua) — China proposed “double suspension” to defuse the looming crisis on the Korean Peninsula, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Wednesday.
“As a first step, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) may suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) military exercises,” Wang told a press conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People’s Congress.

Wang said the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula is mainly between the DPRK and the United States, but China, as a next-door neighbor with a lips-and-teeth relationship with the Peninsula, is indispensable to the resolution of the issue.
FM Wang, ‘the lips’, undoubtedly transmitted an authorized message from North Korea: “The offer is (still) on the table and China supports it.”
North Korea has made the very same offer in January 2015. The Obama administration rejected it. North Korea repeated the offer in April 2016 and the Obama administration rejected it again. This March the Chinese government conveyed and supported the long-standing North Korean offer. The U.S. government, now under the Trump administration, immediately rejected it again. The offer, made and rejected three years in a row, is sensible. Its rejection only led to a bigger nuclear arsenal and to more missiles with longer reach that will eventually be able to reach the United States.

I am not interested in defending Kim Jong Un here, just in pointing out that the US war machine lies constantly in order to justify regime change in sovereign nations. That’s all. It’s hard to be sure through the immense veil of western media spin how much of what is said about the disobedient communist government is a distortion of the facts, but we can be absolutely 100 percent certain that it is a sovereign nation, and that the US power establishment has an extensive, consistent history of lying to manufacture support for war. Be intensely skeptical. That’s all I’m saying here

9--TIM SHORROCK: Well, is he discounting the fact that the United States has 30,000 American soldiers in South Korea and 70 to 80,000 in Japan nearby within range of the North Korean missiles? I mean, any way would draw in US forces there and would lead to the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans, as well as, tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of Koreans and possibly Japanese. It was just an outrageous statement by Graham and really smacks of racism. Just to say, "Oh well, we don't really care because the war will be over there, not over here with us Americans." Asia's already seen enough war and particularly in Korea has too.

10--No threat to Guam

200,000 in guam an attack on guam is an attack on US

11--Steve Keen: "Another crash is ‘almost inevitable"

12--Productivity slowdown 

13--The only thing that can save Trump is a war 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Today's Links

1--  Evidence of Google blacklisting of left and progressive sites continues to mount

This is political censorship of the worst sort; it’s just an excuse to suppress political viewpoints,” said Robert Epstein, a former editor in chief of Psychology Today and noted expert on Google.

Eric Maas, a search engine optimization consultant working in the San Francisco Bay area, said his team has surveyed a wide range of alternative news sites affected by changes in Google’s algorithms since April. “These sites, which have had their search traffic fall by up to 67 percent, have a diverse range of content strategies and compliance with best practices advocated by Google and SEO experts.”

2-- The Democrats adopt Trump and Bannon’s economic nationalism

The embrace of economic nationalism by the Democratic Party, as well as sections of the Republican Party represented by Trump and Bannon, should be taken as a stark warning to workers in the US and internationally. Just as the world is more economically unified than ever before, and when workers in the US must unite with their class brothers and sisters in other countries to defend their interests, both big-business parties in the US, along with the unions, are dividing workers along national lines....

“A Better Deal,” as the World Socialist Web Site wrote after its unveiling, “is a transparent exercise in empty sloganeering and threadbare rhetorical populism.” It combines the weakest “reforms” imaginable, such as a $15 hourly minimum wage that is unlikely to be implemented and would still be wholly inadequate, with blatant pro-business measures, including tax credits for businesses to train and hire workers.

3-- Devastating toll of hunger on US school children  

Brian Minter, a spokesman for Share Our Strength’s “No Kid Hungry” campaign, said, “Hunger exists in nearly every community in America today. It’s an urban problem, it’s a rural problem, and it has come to our suburbs. It is also a solvable problem.”

He noted that programs like food stamps, school meals and WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) had a major impact in alleviating hunger. But these programs are targeted for severe cuts, if not outright destruction, in the budget proposals of the Trump administration and congressional Republicans.

According to a report published Thursday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), the House Republican budget plan, scheduled for a vote in early September, would slash $2.9 trillion from programs for low-income and moderate-income families over the next ten years.

This includes a cut of $150 billion from food stamps alone, a reduction of 40 percent. According to the CBPP, “A funding reduction of this magnitude would end food assistance for millions of low-income families, reduce benefits for tens of millions of such families, or some combination of the two.”...

While the Trump administration and the congressional Republicans propose to deal with the deepening poverty and social misery by deliberately making the conditions worse, the Democratic Party offers no alternative. The Democrats are not demanding hearings over hunger or the impact of the proposed budget cuts....

There are no events spotlighting the dire conditions of life for tens of millions of working people. As for the Democrats’ latest political offering, the so-called “Better Deal” program unveiled last week, it makes no mention of poverty, hunger, homelessness or even unemployment, proposing to use the power of the federal government to boost the interests of “small business and entrepreneurs” and defend “Main Street” against “Wall Street”—i.e., favor one section of business against another.

4-- The guns of August  

The danger of escalation and war is rooted in policies pursued by the NATO powers, above all the United States, over the more than quarter-century since the Stalinist bureaucracy’s dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. By means of US-led wars in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Syria and beyond, Washington sought to establish its hegemony over the Eurasian landmass. It aimed not only to prevent the emergence of a rival power dominating Eurasia, but also to control the energy supplies and trade routes of its “allies” in Europe and Asia.

The current escalation against Russia is the product of a series of devastating setbacks for the US in these wars. Washington’s Islamist proxy forces face imminent defeat in the civil war that it and NATO incited against the Russian-backed regime in Syria, and the NATO-backed regime in Kiev has failed to seize the entire country, losing effective control of Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine and the key Russian naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea. And amid growing economic rivalries between America and Europe, these setbacks have encouraged the European powers, led by Germany, to pursue an independent, that is, potentially hostile, foreign and military policy.

5-- Which country is the greatest threat to world peace

6--Corporate Leverage Has Never Been Higher

7-- After the Coup, What Then?

But there is a far larger story here, of which this Post piece is but an exhibit. It is the story of a concerted campaign, in which the anti-Trump media publish leaks, even criminal leaks, out of the FBI, CIA, NSA and NSC, to bring down a president whom the Beltway media and their deep-state collaborators both despise and wish to destroy. 

8--The Tale of the Brothers Awan

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz in the middle of a new scandal

And how does a recently bankrupt and unemployed Imran Awan wind up with a high-priced lawyer to defend him who is associated with the Clintons? Would that kind of lawyer even take a relatively minor bank fraud case if that were all that is involved? Finally, there are the lingering concerns about the unfortunately well-established Russiagate narrative. Did the Russians really hack into the DNC or were there other possibilities, to include some kind of inside job, a “leak,” carried out by someone working for the government or DNC for reasons that have yet to be determined, possibly even someone actually employed by DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz? There are certainly many issues that the public needs to know more about and so far, there are not enough answers.....

It is not known if the Awans, who were working for several Intelligence Committee members simultaneously, would have been involved or had access to the computers able to pull up classified material being used by those staffers, but Buzzfeed, in its initial reporting on the investigation of the Awans family, repeated the concerns of a Congressman that the suspects might have “had access to the House of Representatives’ entire computer network.” Indeed, it is difficult to imagine that that was not the case. In office environments, the IT administrators routinely ask for passwords if they are checking out the system. WikiLeaks emails confirm that Imran certainly had passwords relating to Congressman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz as well as to others on her staff.....

It was also believed that they had somehow obtained entry to much of the House of Representatives’ computer network as well as to other information in the individual offices’ separate computer systems that they were in theory not allowed to access. The Capitol Hill Police began an investigation and quietly alerted the congressmen involved that there might be a problem. Most stopped employing the Awan family members and associates, but Wasserman-Schultz kept Imran on the payroll until the day after he was actually arrested.....

I for one was appalled to learn that the official who quite likely will oversee the investigation of the Awans is one Steven Wasserman, Assistant Attorney for the District of Columbia, the brother of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. If that should actually occur, it would be a huge conflict of interest and it has to be wondered if Wasserman would have the integrity to recuse himself.

9-- A New Twist in Seth Rich Murder Case

If an FBI report exists indicating that Rich was the source of the DNC emails and the report is made public, it could reduce tensions with Russia that Congress ratcheted up further last week by escalating sanctions – a form of economic warfare – against Russia as punishment for its alleged role in exposing the DNC emails and others belonging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta.

The DNC emails revealed DNC officials improperly interfering in the Democratic primaries to undercut Clinton’s chief rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders. The Podesta emails included the contents of Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street and other special interests as well as pay-to-play features of the Clinton Foundation.

On Jan. 6 – before leaving office – President Obama’s intelligence chiefs oversaw “hand-picked” analysts from the CIA, FBI and NSA creating an “assessment” blaming Russia for the hacked emails albeit without presenting any hard evidence. Russian officials have denied supplying the emails to WikiLeaks and WikiLeaks has denied receiving them from Russia.

Nevertheless, the unproven allegations of Russian interference in the election have raised tensions between the two nuclear powers to levels not seen since the darkest days of the Cold War and possibly worse. Stephen Cohen, a leading U.S. expert on Russia, said the current showdown may be even more hazardous than the Cuban missile crisis.
“I think this is the most dangerous moment in American-Russian relations, at least since the Cuban missile crisis. And arguably, it’s more dangerous, because it’s more complex,” he told Democracy Now! in April. “Therefore, we … have in Washington these – and, in my judgment, fact-less – accusations that Trump has somehow been compromised by the Kremlin.”

10--More Whoppers (about Iran, of course)

The biggest outright whopper was Tillerson’s assertion that “they [Iran] got the immediate lifting of the sanctions before they ever had to deliver on anything.” Any look at the history of implementation of the JCPOA, according to the carefully negotiated schedule, shows how drastically false that statement is.

In fact, the asymmetry in the implementation of the agreement worked in the opposite direction. Iran had to do nearly all it was going to do to curtail its nuclear program and significantly extend the “breakout” time to a possible nuclear weapon before it got an ounce of new sanctions relief under the JCPOA.
This Iranian work included gutting its heavy water research reactor, disposing of excess heavy water, cutting back its uranium enrichment cascades, taking all excess centrifuges off line, ceasing uranium enrichment at the underground Fordow facility, providing international inspectors a comprehensive inventory of centrifuge equipment, and many other measures.
It was only after the International Atomic Energy Agency certified that Iran had completed all these required steps that the parties moved to “Implementation Day,” which was when the United States and the Europeans began sanctions relief

11--  Congress and trump demand EU buy expensive US gas

According to Schaefer, US shipments are 50 percent more expensive compared with European reference prices.
"Nobody wants to pay such a premium," he said.
Last week, US President Donald Trump signed sanctions targeting Russia's oil and gas sector. The new measure means Washington could now penalize European investors in Russian energy projects.

12-- The End of the CIA's Illegal Program in Syria Is a Major Victory

In a New York Times article on this story we are informed how "once CIA-trained fighters crossed into Syria, CIA officers had difficulty controlling them. The fact that some of their CIA weapons ended up with Nusra Front fighters — and that some of the rebels joined the group — confirmed the fears of many in the Obama administration when the program began. Although the Nusra Front was widely seen as an effective fighting force against Mr. Assad's troops, its Qaeda affiliation made it impossible for the Obama administration to provide direct support for the group."....

Similarly, in Syria, by the time the CIA program began in 2013, the country was being ravaged by an Islamic Khmer Rouge intent on implementing its very own Year Zero, involving the wholesale massacre and extirpation of minority communities that can trace their presence in the Levant back a millennia and more.....

There was no mention made, of course, that the program had been undertaken in violation of international law. No mention either of the fact it was in support of an insurgency largely been made up of non-Syrians, who over the past six years have descended on the country driven not by the desire to establish a democracy in the country, but rather to impose religious and cultural tyranny.

Imagine, just for a moment, if the shoe was on the other foot. Imagine if Russia had announced that the FSB was ending a US$1billion program in support of an armed insurgency dominated by religious extremists with a penchant for torture, enslaving women, chopping off people's heads —  whose objective was the destruction of the secular government of a multi-religious and multi-ethnic state — imagine what the reaction would be in Western capitals. The outrage would be stratospheric — and justifiably so.

As for those who argue that the West has only ever supported moderate head-chopping fanatics in Syria, never the extreme kind, this is a preposterous distinction that the Syrian people have never had the luxury of embracing.

13--Vladimir Putin is still on top in Russia, new poll shows

14--New starvation sanctions implemented by deranged, immoral congress and president

AARON MATE: Looking forward, I'm wondering what you think we should keep an eye on now. I just want to say again on the issue of these sanctions, I was reading a blog called "North Korean Economy Watch," and they pointed out that unlike the previous resolution last year that also imposed sanctions on North Korea, previous UN Security Council resolution, this new measure do not appear to contain any humanitarian exemptions which means the squeeze could be put tighter now on North Korean people.

LARRY WILKERSON: This is a very disturbing happening and it started in the George W. Bush administration and it didn't get too far because of Colin Powell, but it seems to have picked up steam with the Obama administration in places, even though you did have Susan Rice and Samantha Power and other people around who objected to it. It seems to have no end in the Trump administration and that is to say that we'll do anything. We will do anything. We will do things that we wouldn't do in the past for humanitarian reasons. That is to say we will even cut off food. We'll cut off water. We'll cut off life sustainables in order to bring a regime down.

This is a very disturbing development, very disturbing development. As disturbing for example as was torture during the George W. Bush administration. This is not the way America should operate in the world, but it's part and parcel of some of the changes that were happening in our security policy. It's not a good development.

LARRY WILKERSON: North Korea has shown a capacity to do that, and by that I mean they have rational leadership. A lot of people in this country say they don't but those people are idiots. They do have rational leadership, just like Iran has rational leadership. In fact, I would submit most countries in the world do.
The North Koreans however are in a position of extraordinary weakness, if you look at the military situation on the peninsula. There's now way they could win a war. They could fire all their nuclear weapons, and they'd still lose the war because they'd be incinerated after the first weapon detonated. The situation for them is dire. It is regime must be preserved. That's their first objective in North Korea and it is looking at a military instrument deployed against them, the United States and South Korea and for that matter Japan and others too, that is awesome. They have no other choice than to be brinkmanship players. They have to be people who are willing to do almost anything anytime, always drawing back at the last minute so they don't provoke that ultimate existential attack on them.

LARRY WILKERSON: Yes. You can even go back further than that. When Jim Kelly, Assistant Secretary for East Asia/Pacific for Colin Powell and for George W. Bush went to Pyongyang in October 2002 and talked to Kam Sak Ju and Yi Goon and essentially discovered as it were that the South Koreans, or I'm sorry, the North Koreans were actually cheating on a highly enriched uranium program, which I think they were doing to hedge their bets because we were cheating too on the heavy fuel shipments and the money for the nuclear reactors, the light water reactors, to replace the dangerous one.

When all of that happened, we had a deal in our back pocket. We were going to present the North Koreans with all manner of economic assistance. We were going to help with their electrical grid, their power grid and so forth in exchange for their stopping both their programs, their reprocessing program for plutonium in Yongbyon and also the secret uranium enrichment program.

As it turned out, we didn't go anywhere from there, but when we come to the point where you just suggested, we're back again on that same diplomatic track, and I would suggest to you that that is the only solution to this problem outside of war, and we don't want war I guarantee you...

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho. This is what he was quoted as saying, "We will under no circumstances put the nukes and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table. Neither shall we flinch an inch from the road to bolstering up the nuclear forces chosen by ourselves, unless the hostile policy and nuclear threat of the US against the DPRK are fundamentally eliminated."

15--Why Venezuela needs our solidarity

Portrayed by the media as a peaceful, democratic movement, it is clear that what Venezuela is experiencing is a right-wing destabilisation campaign that not only seeks to remove Maduro but to roll back the important gains of the country’s Bolivarian Revolution.

Through campaigns of terror, assassinations, the burning alive of government supporters and attacks on government services and food distribution networks, the opposition hopes to topple the government as a first step to destroying Chavismo.

Over the past two decades, Venezuela’s political landscape has been dramatically reshaped by the rise of Chavismo, a political movement of the country’s poor and working classes.

16  The Fed's rigged market stops moving entirely--The Market Has Never Done This Before

Nothing moves

17-- Nick Hanauer Believes Stock Buybacks Are The Root Of American Inequality

what has driven these rampant levels of inequality and income redistribution?Economists have pointed to several possible factors, from the rise of globalization to tax schemes that are favorable to the super-rich. But Nick Hanauer, an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, has a simpler answer for one of the major causes of economic inequality: Stock buybacks. “Buybacks are among the most corrosive and corrupt practices in an already pretty corrosive and corrupt economy,” Hanauer says.