Monday, January 23, 2017

Today's Links

Today's quote: "Trump won the old fashioned way. He went right to the heart of white American angst about immigration and white survival and the economic insecurity that they feel they should not suffer. But he is in over his head. Trump is not only a political novice but he is thin skinned and oafish." Margaret Kimberley

If Hillary had won, the drone strikes would have continued. The wars would have continued. The spying would continue. Prohibition would continue. Whistleblowers would continue being prosecuted and hunted down. And minorities would continue bearing the brunt of these policies, both in the US and across the world. The difference is that in such a scenario, Democrats, if the last eight years are any indication, would remain silent -- as they did under Obama -- offering bare minimum concern and vilifying anyone attacking their beloved president as some sort of hater. Cities across the US would remain free of protests, and for another 4-8 years, Democrats would continue doing absolutely nothing to end the same horrifying policies now promoted by a Republican." Jon Reynolds

The definition of a "legitimate" President is dependent on the lens of the inquirer. If one looks through the lens of the ruling class, a legitimate President manages the crisis of the imperialist system of exploitation under relative terms of social peace. The expectation is that working class and oppressed people will continue to validate this definition in the name of American Exceptionalism."  Danny Haiphong

"Supporters of Barack Obama, and liberals in general, are disingenuous frauds. They had no issues protesting the likes of the amoral warmongering George W. Bush or the racist xenophobe, Donald J. Trump, however when it comes to Barack Obama they can find no reason to protest his mass murdering escapades. Obama supporters were recently nostalgic and teary eyed after he gave his last major speech as president of the United States, yet can find little reason to shed tears over the masses of civilians who were destroyed directly as a result of Obama’s policies. Where were the emotions and tears when men, women and children were getting blown to bits by USA drone attacks, indiscriminate air strikes and bombs?

Those who protested the racist and xenophobic Trump, but not Obama or Clinton, are nothing more that disingenuous frauds and amoral cowards."   Solomon Comissiong

"Donald Trump won enough votes to secure an Electoral College victory in large part because white America latched on to his promise to make their lives great again. He also garnered support because he tapped into the angst of the age. Decades of deindustrialization, trade deals and a poverty producing “gig economy” have created unemployment and financial insecurity for a majority of Americans. Unlike Hillary Clinton, Trump spoke to these concerns." ...

“Decades of deindustrialization, trade deals and a poverty producing “gig economy” have created unemployment and financial insecurity for a majority of Americans.”Margaret Kimberley

“The Obama-Clinton camp of the ruling class views the current Russian state as a threat to US global hegemony.”...“The ruling class loyal to the Democrats has used Trump as an excuse to blame Russia for Hillary Clinton's defeat and distract the public from the real enemy of humanity: US imperialism.”...

Russia did not systematically rob the working class in the US, nor did it erect the largest police and prison state in the world. Russia is not waging endless warfare around the world at the expense of billions. All of this belongs on the shoulders of US imperialism and it is time we make this clear as the era of Trump nears." Some Guidance on the Russia Question

Obama’s fascism -- of the same brand as the Clintons’ -- is global-obsessed, because it needs to feed on the whole planet to survive. It’s a cosmopolitan, world-stealing Dracula, that cannot imagine life on Earth without itself in charge. It no longer indulges heavily in ideological justifications for its predations; whatever detracts from its hegemony is the enemy. Increasingly, it is engaged in a War Against All.  Most recently, it simultaneously attacked both Russia and Donald Trump’s apartheid branch of fascists.
One fascist is fond of race war. The other isn’t so picky." Locating Fascism on the Home Map

Political hysteria has its ironies. President Obama has just signed into law a new office of government propaganda that is intended to prevent any warming of relations with Russia under a Trump administration. But, President Trump will appoint the head of the office. The Democrats apparently expect Trump to cooperate with their plan to undermine his foreign policy, “silence dissent and create a network of propaganda partners” to badmouth Russia. 

All of the casualties, the sieges, the hunger and the frantic search for refuge can be placed at America’s feet.”
Obama thought that Hillary Clinton would win and complete his regime change plans. Not only did she lose and deprive him of his third term but the hollowness of his legacy is clear. Obviously “hope and change” was a marketing tag line meant to hide his commitment to the world wide neoliberal project.. Margaret Kimberley                       

1--The Trump effect has rallied US markets – but it's based on illusion Robert Shiller

2--‘Astana peace talks: Syrian govt & armed opposition at same table breakthrough’

“This will divide them; this will be a fractional point of division and a point of future bickering between them,” she added. “We might see them on the ground battling after such a meeting.”

For the first time, the opposition delegation in Astana also includes field commanders from the militant groups, as opposed to political representatives. That – according to Osman – offers a much better prospect for the negotiations compared to previous Syria peace talks, including those in Geneva.
She explains: “We saw political representatives who always ask the same question: “Do they have an actual say in what is going on the ground? Do they have an influence toward the people, the groups, the armed opposition that is functioning on the ground in the battlefield inside of Syria?” That was the main question, and the answer was always: “No.” It was only people wearing suits, having talks, saying whatever they want in front of the media, in front of their backers – whether they are Gulf backers or Western backers in the face of the Syrian government. And always nothing happens...”

“Previously the political figures of the opposition had no influence on the ground in any way whatsoever. The commanders of the armed groups didn’t receive orders or refused to receive orders from those politicians living in exile, who say that they represent the opposition when indeed they don’t represent these armed groups – I don’t know who actually represents them. Some of them have close ties with Turkey,” Rizk said.

Vladimir Putin realized that if you really want to reach a solution, you have to have Turkey involved. It was kind of a bargain: involve Turkey and make some concessions. For example, we saw one of the Turkish officials – Deputy Prime Minister [Mehmet Simsek] in Davos saying that we can no longer insist that President Bashar Assad steps down. At the same time Turkey got one benefit, which was that the YPG, the Kurdish units are not represented,” the expert said.

3--The search for common ground?

The negotiations came to fruition after the three nations - Russia, Turkey and Iran - brokered a partial ceasefire between the Syrian government and some opposition groups last month. The deal managed to significantly restrain the intensity of hostilities in Syria, but both the government and the rebels regularly complain of violations.
The truce however, does not include such terrorist groups as Al Nusra Front or Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), with IS currently engaged in a massive offensive against government forces in the Deir ez-Zor province.

4--Tulsi Gabbard goes to Syria

A veteran of the Iraq War and major in the Hawaii National Guard, Gabbard “has long been committed to peace and ending counterproductive, interventionist wars,” her spokesperson Emily Latimer said in a statement Wednesday.
Gabbard has been a vocal critic of outgoing President Barack Obama’s policy of demanding the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Assad and blaming his government for the bloody war with Islamist rebels.
"As a member of the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees, and as an individual committed to doing all she can to promote and work for peace, she felt it was important to meet with a number of individuals and groups including religious leaders, humanitarian workers, refugees and government and community leaders," Latimer said in a statement.

5--The Obama Legacy: A Temporary Deformity of Black Minds on War and Peace

In June of 2011, more than half the Congressional Black Caucus, 24 members, gave President Obama their full assent to the continued NATO bombing of Libya, which had already destroyed the infrastructure of what had been Africa’s most prosperous nation. Thirty-one Black congresspersons voted to continue spending money on the regime change operation, with only six CBC members -- John Conyers, Jr. (MI); Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL); Barbara Lee (CA); Laura Richardson (CA); Bobby Scott (VA); and Maxine Waters (CA) -- rejecting the aggression, outright. (See BAR, July 2, 2011, “Black Caucus on Libya War: The Good, the Confused, and the Hopeless.”) The “peace” faction in the CBC proved to be tiny, indeed -- only one-seventh of the caucus membership....

Prior to Barack Obama’s two warmongering terms in the White House, it would have been impossible to imagine that virtually the whole of the Black political (misleadership) class, and an unknown portion of the African American rank and file, would be mimicking the CIA, ranting and raving about some bogus Russian threat to American “democracy.” But, this, too, shall pass. There is a deep objective, as well as historical, basis for broad Black opposition to U.S. imperial wars. We can expect the Obama era’s gross deformity in Black attitudes towards war and peace to be corrected once the artificial aura of “Blackness” is removed from the White House -- that is, when Black people no longer have strong emotional reasons to identify with U.S. State Power

On the domestic front, Obama deported more immigrants than any previous president, supplied military hardware to the police, backed an unprecedented expansion of electronic surveillance, and oversaw the greatest transfer of wealth from the working class to the rich in American history.

6--What constitutes "legitimate" president?

Perhaps the best example of a "legitimate" US President under imperialism is leaving office on January 20th. Barack Obama has consistently met all the criteria for what makes a President legitimate in the hearts and minds of the ruling class. Obama managed the crisis under terms that handsomely rewarded his capitalist masters. The "first Black President" worked diligently for Wall Street, transferring the most wealth to the top 1 percent from the rest of the population in US history. Obama achieved a new record for the most transfers of military weaponry to racist police forces that occupy Black American cities. He deployed US Special Forces to 70 percent of the world's nations, with a staggering 1600 percent increase in Special Operations Forces in Africa from 2006 until the present. These forces helped Obama drop over 26,000 bombs in 2016.

“Under Obama, imperialism's most egregious crimes found room to flourish.”

Obama was a gift to the imperialist system, which before his first term began was stuck in both political and economic turmoil.  Under Obama, imperialism's most egregious crimes found room to flourish. Not one banker was punished for the economic collapse of 2007-08. In fact, trillions of dollars were sent to Wall Street's coffers while working class and oppressed people were left with an economy dominated by low-wage and contract jobs. The real unemployment rate sits at 23 percent as millions of people have gone uncounted by official unemployment statisticians. But imperialism had plenty of opportunity over this time to spend trillions militarizing the Russian borderfunding and arming jihadists, and renovating the US nuclear arsenal

Under Obama, the ruling class won and the people lost big. Yet despite this development, popular protest was relatively small in size and duration. The Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter movements brought police terror, white supremacy, and inequality back into the political discourse, but were unable to develop a solid organizational and ideological basis from which to win material victories. The anti-war movement was completely suppressed, and the LGBTQ and women's movements were consumed under the Democratic Party umbrella. All of this can be traced back to the "legitimate" Presidency of Barack Obama. His rule ensured that radical and revolutionary political alternatives would have no breathing room under the weight of political symbolism and neo-liberal dogma.

“It appears that no amount of information will stop the Democrats’ push for Trump to abandon his rhetorical gestures of peace with Russia and continue the dangerous war against Russia that began under Obama.”
Obama popularized oppression and exploitation among a large section of the electorate for the majority of his Administration. Workers and oppressed people struggled in disorganized silence.  And even when popular protest ensued, few activists held Obama accountable for things like mass incarceration or the continued protection of the banks. The Obama period has been the highest expression of the Democratic Party's transformation into the War Party and the most legitimate party of imperialism. Trump's ascendancy has brought this reality out of the darkness and into the light.

The definition of a "legitimate" President is dependent on the lens of the inquirer. If one looks through the lens of the ruling class, a legitimate President manages the crisis of the imperialist system of exploitation under relative terms of social peace. The expectation is that working class and oppressed people will continue to validate this definition in the name of American Exceptionalism. However, there has never been a US President that has genuinely governed in the interests of humanity. The imperialist state is an organ of class rule. It is organized to protect the interests of the capitalist class and suppress the interests of the working class and oppressed. The coming period holds much potential for the further development of radical insurgency. The effort by the Obama camp of the ruling class to legitimize the Presidential seat is nothing but an attempt to stifle the insurgency.

7--As Obama Exits the White House, Never Forget His Destructive Imperialist Legacy

During his eight-year tenure as Commander in Chief, Barack Obama has bombed seven different countries. He has also executed countless drone attacks that have taken countless civilian lives in places like Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Barack Obama has ordered extrajudicial executions of American citizens throughout the globe, including one of a 15-year-old boy.  However as nefarious and destructive as his presidential legacy is, he continues to command the unconditional support of masses of mindless supporters....

During the last couple of years alone his administration dropped at least 26,171 bombs. These bombs killed a great many innocent civilians.  Barack Obama even joked about the use of predator drones at a White House Correspondents Dinner.  This is beyond sadistic and twisted, yet in the backwards society of the US, people laugh along with the jokes, not once thinking about those whose lives were destroyed by way of those drone strikes. Many Americans are well trained, like programmable robots, not to feel any kind of emotion for those who have perished due to US military escapades.
Like many previous US presidents, Barack Obama has committed heinous human rights violations and war crimes. However, his actions are ignored or considered excusable. The media and his cultish supporters are responsible for this....

Those who protested the racist and xenophobic Trump, but not Obama or Clinton, are nothing more that disingenuous frauds and amoral cowards

8--Freedom Rider: Contradiction in the Time of Trump

That is why many progressives have shamed themselves into idolizing the CIA and NSA. Liberals now follow anyone who can help to fill the Democrats empty suits. The Democrats pile disgrace on top of disgrace and now attack Trump from the right with their Russian hacking hoax.
The truth is that Donald Trump won’t be able to keep the ship from sinking either. The system is in an active state of collapse. Perhaps Trump can rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic for a time but ultimately he will fail too. In that process the levels of confusion will increase and the contradictions will be more evident.

This is not the moment to prop up failure. It is the moment to name and abandon it once and for all. Progressives ought to kick the Democrats while they are down. There should be no more elections in which neo-liberalism and empire get support from the left. They must be rejected out of hand and progressives must demand what they claim to want. One side must step away from confusion and contradiction and work for true change

9--Obama’s Last Presidential Lies

“On his watch, no federal charges were brought against any killer cops.”
The First Black President acknowledged that many Americans are “convinced that their government only serves the interests of the powerful.” But, he didn’t take any of the blame, even though it was under his administration that Wall Street bankers were deemed “too big to jail,” or even to indict. In the same dishonest fashion, Obama declared on Tuesday that “We need to uphold laws against discrimination...and in our criminal justice system” -- when, on his watch, no federal charges were brought against any killer cops, except one who had already been indicted by local authorities.

Obama got downright cocky in defense of Obamacare, the rightwing Republican health program that Obama adopted as his own. The president said: “If anybody can put together a plan that is demonstrably better, I will support it.” But don’t bet any money on the letter and spirit of Obama’s promises on health care. Back in 2003, when Bruce Dixon and I asked him if he favored a single payer health care system, Obama answered that he favored “universal health care for all Americans” and intended to introduce or sponsor legislation toward that end.” He kept saying that for the next five years, until he was elected president, and then proceeded to isolate and crush supporters of single payer, to the delight of the insurance and drug industries, which no longer had to fear single payer. Obama is sneaky, that way..

Finally, Obama bragged that the U.S. has “taken out thousands of terrorists, including bin Laden.” What he didn’t say was that his administration presided over the jihadist takeovers of Libya and much of Syria and Iraq. The truth is that tens of thousands of jihadists have been trained, armed, financed and protected by the United States and its allies – not under Bush, but under Obama, making him fully responsible for the deaths of half a million people in those three countries, alone. Not to mention Obama’s other wars. But, I’ve run out of time. The good thing is, so has Obama.

10--Some Guidance on the Russia Question

“The conflict between Obama and Trump is really a conflict between competing factions of the capitalist class.”
Every action on the part of Washington during Obama's second term has indicated that the Ukraine-model is the Administration’s desired outcome for Russia. The Obama-Clinton camp of the ruling class views the current Russian state as a threat to US global hegemony. This explains why, even in the last days of its tenure, the Obama Administration has amplified the war narrative against Russia. The conflict between Obama and Trump is really a conflict between competing factions of the capitalist class. Trump believes that a peaceful relationship with Russia will benefit the profits of his capitalist partners, while Obama and his camp see a destabilized Russia as a boon for the banks and military contractors which have supported him so handsomely.

Vladimir Putin and the United Russia Party's rise to power in the 21st century ultimately broke US domination over Russia.”

11--Locating Fascism on the Home Map                         

The merciless downsizing of the American worker is a central element of Obama’s legacy.”

Barack Obama was a savior – of a drowning ruling class. Under his administration, Wall Street rose from near-death to new heights of speculative frenzy, awash in capital brutally extracted from the vanishing assets and past and future earnings of the vast majority of the population, or gifted in the form of trillions in free money at corporate-only Federal Reserve windows. The Big Casino, reduced to a rubble of its own contradictions in 2008, ushered in the New Year just shy of the once-fantastical 20,000 mark. Analysts credited Donald Trump’s victory for the bankers’ bacchanal, but it was Obama who made the party possible by overseeing the restructuring of the U.S. economy to accommodate and encourage the hyper-consolidation of capital -- another way to describe the deliberate deepening of economic (and political) inequality.

The merciless downsizing of the American worker is a central element of Obama’s legacy. Real wages had been frozen or declining for decades. However, economic restructuring in the Age of Obama demanded that millions of workers be crushed all the way through the floor to a lower level of hell: temporary, contract, not-really-a-job, part-time “gig” employment. If the 1930s squatter shanty-towns called “Hoovervilles” were testaments to President Herbert Hoover’s economic policies, then the maddeningly precarious, no guaranteed hours, no benefits, zero job security, fraction of a shift, arbitrarily scheduled employment of today should be called ObamaJobs. A new study by economists at Princeton and Harvard universities shows that an astounding 94 percent of the 10 million jobs created during the First Black President’s two terms in office were ObamaJobs. This sub-sector of employment increased by almost half under Obama, from 10.7% of the working population to 15.8%.

The structural lowering of the employment floor to a precariat sub-basement makes all workers more insecure and less able to bargain with the bosses.”

According to the study, one million fewer people are working under any kind of formal employment than before the Great Recession. The researchers also calculate that Obama’s claim of creating 15 million new jobs is off by 5 million.

Low income workers, especially females, were hurt worst under the ObamaJobs regime. But, the structural lowering of the employment floor to a precariat sub-basement makes all workers more insecure and less able to bargain with the bosses -- which is precisely what the new employment order is designed to do, and what Barack Obama intended. The President’s apologists claim Republican obstructionists prevented Obama from acting on his alleged progressive instincts. However, as frequent BAR contributor Pascal Robert points out, Obama “expended no political capital to push a jobs agenda at any time in his presidency.”...

Obama declared war on social spending before even taking the oath of office. In early January, 2009, he informed the editorial boards of the New York Times and the Washington Post that all “entitlements” would be “on the table” for cutting under his presidency, including Medicare and Social Security. Obama’s assault on FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s War on Poverty seemed to come from out of the blue; the battered Republicans were in no position to pressure anybody, and remembered how badly George Bush had been burned when he attempted to privatize Social Security, in his first term....

Barack Obama dared to push through Congress a bill authorizing the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens by the military, without trial or charge.”

When Donald Trump moves into the White House on January 20, he will be empowered to imprison whomever he chooses, without recourse to law as we know it, thanks to Barack Obama. Who, then, is the “fascist”?
President Obama’s greatest foreign policy challenge was to put the United States back on the global military offensive, following George Bush’s humiliation in Iraq. This required a new doctrine, to replace Bush’s discredited crusade to “spread democracy.” On March 17, 2011, Obama loosed his “humanitarian” military intervention doctrine on Libya, effectively negating centuries of international law and custom. As interpreted by Obama, national sovereignty and the inviolability of borders means nothing if the superpower, standing in for the planet, deems a government to be a threat to its own people -- even if crimes against humanity have not yet occurred. Absent the principle of sovereignty, international law ceases to exist.

Obama’s methodical nullification of international law is, itself, the gravest aggression and crime against peace. The U.S. and its NATO and Gulf Arab allies deployed massive air power and foreign and Libyan jihadists to destroy the Libyan state and its leader, Muammar Gaddafi, butchered thousands of his supporters, and ethnically cleansed Black Africans from much of the country.
“Obama’s methodical nullification of international law is, itself, the gravest aggression and crime against peace.”...

On a roll, Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton moved thousands of jihadists to Syria, whose largest city, Aleppo, was captured by sectarian terrorists in 2012. From the moment Obama became the protector-in-chief of jihadists in Libya and Syria, virtually all the “news” about the wars in the region has been fake, false, lies. The now indisputable fact that the U.S. has, variously, armed, financed, shielded, transported, trained, directed and otherwise nurtured Islamic jihadists, including al-Qaida, is the truth that cannot be spoken on corporate media. If widely understood and internalized by the public, such a truth would shatter U.S. ruling structures. Therefore, it must be suppressed at all costs.

The sick superpower fends off the smell of death with a daily diet of lies: mainly about Russia and China and other states that refuse to buckle under to U.S. imperialism. The U.S. rulers’ biggest secret -- the one that requires many layers of lies to conceal -- is that the Lords of Capital see their demise as imminent and inevitable unless they somehow alter the general scope and direction of global economic development. The U.S. share of the world economy is inexorably shrinking -- which means, the only way the U.S. can sustain its superpower status is through lawless force of arms abroad, and a crackdown on dissent (truth-telling, or just being Black) at home.
If you are searching for the real meaning of fascism in the superpower under late stage capitalism, you will find it in the nexus between the presidencies of Obama and Trump

Obama’s fascism -- of the same brand as the Clintons’ -- is global-obsessed, because it needs to feed on the whole planet to survive. It’s a cosmopolitan, world-stealing Dracula, that cannot imagine life on Earth without itself in charge. It no longer indulges heavily in ideological justifications for its predations; whatever detracts from its hegemony is the enemy. Increasingly, it is engaged in a War Against All.  Most recently, it simultaneously attacked both Russia and Donald Trump’s apartheid branch of fascists.
One fascist is fond of race war. The other isn’t so picky.

12--Freedom Rider: Obama’s Propaganda Gift to Trump

Barack Obama’s establishment of a de facto Propaganda Department is a terrible blow to democracy.
On December 23, 2016 Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a federal law that is passed every year. NDAA authorizes defense appropriations but it is also used as a Trojan horse to hide attacks on civil liberties. In 2011 the NDAA authorized indefinite detention of anyone deemed a terrorism suspect. Tucked inside this year’s NDAA was the passage of the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act which establishes the little known or discussed Global Engagement Center.
The title seems benign enough until one reads its mission. “The purpose of the Center shall be to lead, synchronize, and coordinate efforts of the Federal Government to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests.”
“Obama’s establishment of a de facto Propaganda Department is a terrible blow to democracy.”
In plain English, this act establishes an official propaganda arm of the United States government.

13--Delusions Shattered: How Democrats Lost Claims to a Moral High Ground by Ignoring Obama's Transformation Into Bush-- Where was the outrage during the Obama years?”

Eight years of warmongering by the Nobel Peace Prize winner has been met with eight years of silence by members of his party.”

When President Obama was sworn into office back in January 2009, and just a few months later agreed to " look forward" and disregard gross human rights violations committed by Bush officials (such as waterboarding, insect pits, solitary confinement, and more), they were quiet.
When President Obama oversaw the brutal force-feeding of untried prisoners at a detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, they said nothing.

When President Obama's mass-deportations of undocumented immigrants in the US outpaced deportations under his predecessor, they stayed silent. As the Nation reported, "To pay for the ballooning enforcement-first approach, the budget for immigration enforcement grew 300 percent from the resources given at the time of its founding under Bush to $18 billion annually, more than all other federal law-enforcement agencies' budget combined."...

When President Obama extended the US military occupation of Afghanistan until 2024, anti-war Democrats under George W. Bush were nowhere to be found.
When President Obama fabricated a reason to bomb oil-rich Libya in 2011, and then just a year later, reauthorized the US invasion of Iraq, they were voiceless, with the exception of a few scattered protests in the US, none of which came anywhere close to the size of those against the 2003 invasion of Iraq carried out by a Republican president.
"He's gone from first to worst."
When it was revealed that President Obama met weekly with his advisers for what was dubbed  “Terror Tuesday" to decide who was worthy of being picked off by US predator drones around the world -- and when it came to light that President Obama had a "kill list" and US citizens were on it, and were being killed, all without due process -- again, barely a peep....

the University of Michigan, who released the results of an analysis of antiwar activity and found that after Obama's election, "Democratic participation in antiwar activities plunged, falling from 37 percent in January 2009 to a low of 19 percent in November 2009." Unsurprisingly, they also discovered that "anti-Republican attitudes had a significant, positive effect on the likelihood that Democrats attended antiwar rallies." Moreover, polling data from early 2012 showed Democrats supporting the same policies they heavily opposed during the Bush years, like keeping Guantanamo Bay open and drone warfare.

Under a Democratic president, the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan was continued, US boots hit the ground in Syria and Iraq, US bombs fell in Libya, US drones terrorized the skies over Pakistan and Yemen, America's nuclear arsenal was upgraded, and highly provocative military drills were conducted along the borders ofRussia and China. Eight years of warmongering by the Nobel Peace Prize winner has been met with eight years of silence by the very same members of his party who protested such activities under a president whose main difference was the political party he was affiliated with.
“Polling data from early 2012 showed Democrats supporting the same policies they heavily opposed during the Bush years.”...

As Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian wrote back in 2013, "Does anyone doubt that if Obama's bombs were killing nice white British teenagers or smiling blond Swiss infants -- rather than unnamed Yemenis, Pakistanis, Afghans and Somalis -- that the reaction to this sustained killing would be drastically different? Does anyone doubt that if his overhead buzzing drones were terrorizing Western European nations rather than predominantly Muslim ones, the horror of them would be much easier to grasp? Does it really take any debate to know that if the 16-year-old American suspiciously killed by the US government two weeks after killing his father had been Jimmy Martin in Sweden rather than Abdulrahman al-Awlaki in Yemen, the media interest and public outcry would be far more substantial?"

And let's not forget that Obama, like Bush before him, and certainly like Hillary Clinton after him had she won, offered support to regimes like Saudi Arabia , which are notorious for oppressing homosexuals and women

The idea that the Democratic Party is in any way, shape, or form entitled to the moral high ground over the equally horrific opposing party is a beyond ridiculous assertion without any basis in reality. To see crowds of people motivated to action by the loss of their party, protesting an archaic electoral college system that they would have likely accepted the results from had their candidate won, tests the limits of ones ability to empathize with their plight. Kill lists, defense of torture, mass surveillance, US citizens being picked off by drone missiles, the continued buildup of a vast empire -- none of it prompted thousands upon thousands of American Democrats to fill cities across the US in a fit of anger because at the time, their chosen political racehorse was in Washington.

If Hillary had won, the drone strikes would have continued. The wars would have continued. The spying would continue. Prohibition would continue. Whistleblowers would continue being prosecuted and hunted down. And minorities would continue bearing the brunt of these policies, both in the US and across the world. The difference is that in such a scenario, Democrats, if the last eight years are any indication, would remain silent -- as they did under Obama -- offering bare minimum concern and vilifying anyone attacking their beloved president as some sort of hater. Cities across the US would remain free of protests, and for another 4-8 years, Democrats would continue doing absolutely nothing to end the same horrifying policies now promoted by a Republican.

Trump's victory, if there is anything good to say about it, will at least breathe much needed life into an antiwar sentiment that has been largely dormant since Bush left office. Issues like drone strikes, torture, military occupations, mass surveillance, and other hot button subjects once protested by Democratic partisans during the Bush era will again -- hopefully -- be criticized and fought against. Yet the shame about it all is that this time, those unaffiliated with either of the two major parties -- those who have been focused on these issues while Democrats have offered pathetic excuses and baseless justifications in defense of them -- won't make the mistake of thinking Democrats will stick around for the fight if they win office again in the next election

14--Dems shift to the "dark side"

The bill to fund intelligence agencies that passed the House on November 30 established “an executive branch interagency committee to counter active measures by the Russian Federation to exert covert influence over peoples and governments...through front groups, covert broadcasting, media manipulation, disinformation or forgeries, funding agents of influence, incitement, offensive counterintelligence, assassinations, or terrorist acts.” Every category listed, except assassinations and terror, is actually a code word for political speech that can, and will, be used to target those engaged in “undermining faith in American democracy” -- such as Black Agenda Report and other left publications defamed as “fake news” outlets by the Washington Post. The bill passed overwhelmingly, with only six Republicans and 24 Democrats voting “nay.” Of these dissenting lawmakers, only five are Black: Barbara Lee (CA), Karen Bass (CA), John Conyers (MI), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ), and Yvette Clarke (NY).
Yes, the Democratic Party has been a wondrous vehicle for integration of Black America into the mainstream – of fascism.
When Wall Street’s “core values” are threatened, civil liberties go out the window.”

15--Freedom Rider: Syria, Russia and American Desperation

“Blaming Russia continues the propaganda war against a country that will not knuckle under and accept American hegemony.”
It is no coincidence that anti-Russian propaganda is being ramped up at the same moment the Syrian government is poised to retake its country from terrorists. Barack Obama and the rest of the war party are left to sputter nonsensical statements because their grand plan to realize the neocon Project for a New American Century is in very big trouble.

The Syrian government is determined to take back its country and the Americans and their allies are equally determined to thwart it. The recent successes of the Syrian army explain part of the desperation coming from Obama, the Democratic Party and corporate media. Blaming Russia kills several birds with one stone. It continues the propaganda war against a country that will not knuckle under and accept American hegemony. The hyper Russophobia was also an attempt to make the unpalatable and incompetent Hillary Clinton more appealing. And its continuation is being used by Democrats and Republicans to stop the incoming president from having any chance to improve relations with that country or curtail the regime change doctrine. The war party never sleeps.

16--“Russia possesses little interest in undermining a political process that is already thoroughly corrupt.”

Danny Haiphong is an Asian activist and political analyst in the Boston area. He can be reached at
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at

Clinton's loss revealed a deep crisis of legitimacy for the Democratic Party, as millions of voters decided not to huddle alongside the corporate sponsors of her big tent.
This fact has been covered under a blanket of lies about Russia's involvement in rigging the US elections and peddling "fake news" to undermine the so-called democratic process in the US. The reality is that Russia possesses little interest in undermining a political process that is already thoroughly corrupt. ...

For over three decades, global capitalism has sought expansion through its usual means of intensifying the rate of exploitation. This has led to a mad race to develop high-tech means of production, which have replaced a significant portion of necessary labor in the United States. The resultant rise in the cost of production (or the organic composition of capital) and the significant drop in wages over this period has precipitated a slowdown in economic growth.
Technological growth has both increased productivity and engulfed the system into a permanent crisis of joblessness and overproduction. The system is dragging along because workers are so poor and overworked that only financial instruments of debt can temporarily ease the burden of survival. However, these debt instruments have exacerbated the crisis of overproduction...

Traditional means of alleviating economic crisis have been exhausted...

“The system is dragging along because workers are so poor and overworked that only financial instruments of debt can temporarily ease the burden of survival.”
Imperialist war historically served two purposes: to expand capitalism's market share and to preserve the political dominance of the capitalist state around the world. However, the combination of internal economic crisis and external popular resistance has given way to further stagnation. Imperialist have offered nothing but destruction since the stagnation of capitalism began over three decades ago. Their primary purpose remains to clear the way for capitalist expansion. However, the conditions of war can no longer fulfill this purpose. Iraq, Libya, and Ukraine are but a few examples of how US-led warfare transforms prosperous nations into landfills of chaos...

There will be some who mourn the decline and death of US imperialism, but not revolutionaries. Revolutionaries will seize the time. The Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter movements have only been a taste of the resistance to come. Another economic collapse looms on the horizon. There is a stirring among the masses, a growing despair that must develop into a revolutionary rage. US imperialism's dead-end has already created the conditions for such a rage to materialize. It is the task of revolutionaries to build a movement capable of turning this rage into revolutionary organization

17-- Black Fear in the Age of Trump

Black Americans were lost and politically helpless before Election Day in 2016. Having a black Democrat in the presidency hid a multitude of sins. As a group we have lost jobs, the little wealth we had, and literally our lives and freedom from the police state. Donald Trump’s election just made what was already true crystal clear.
The victory of a Republican is always cause for some degree of panic among black people. They are, after all, the white people’s party and their ascension creates anxiety among us.

Donald Trump’s appeal to white nationalism has certainly upped the ante. The people who hold onto the feckless Democrats with a vice-like death grip now believe they have nowhere to turn. The Democrats’ allegiance to neo-liberal deal making instead of meeting the needs of the rank and file resulted in a presidential defeat and Republican control of both houses of Congress. They long ago conceded fighting for control of state legislatures. The result is that the Republicans hold all the electoral cards....

It is interesting that there has been no revolt against the Democratic Party and their coterie of black misleaders after this political debacle. Black people came to believe that not only were we supposed to give the Democrats carte blanche but, like domestic violence victims, we had to keep quiet about our humiliation too. Now we are alternately afraid, angry and confused because we still think we must censor ourselves about our bad political decision making.

18--“Corporate media gatekeepers determine which stories are labeled fake news dependent upon which stories serve US foreign and domestic interests and which stories expose US corruption.”

There is a growing public recognition that a conflict of interest exists between corporate media investigating government since these two groups are inextricably linked by class and economic interests.”

19--Shoot the messenger? The Russians are willing to broadcast the factual news the USA’s intelligence agency co-opted media mouth-pieces will not.

A bill before Congress could be used to target “any website, or blog, that does not share the mainstream media’s proclivity to serve as the Public Relations arm of a given administration.“ All they have to do is claim it is being “manipulated” by the Russians. But, Moscow doesn’t have to lie to counter a lawless U.S. foreign policy. “The Russians only need to stick to the facts (omitting the pipeline) to ultimately win the propaganda war.”

The Russian method? It could not be more simple; report the actual facts in the geopolitical contest and when this is inconvenient, practice lies by omission. Here is an example: Both NATO (an extension of the USA) and Russia are contesting Syria over competing energy pipelines, primarily. One from Iran transiting Syria, favored by Russia; the other from Qatar transiting Syria, favored by NATO......

there are so many NATO lies (and lies to cover lies) in the co-opted western media, the Russians only need to stick to the facts (omitting the pipeline) to ultimately win the propaganda war. What’s more is, Russia further only need stand back and allow western dissident journalists to dig up the real facts on the ground:
1. NATO’s “moderate” rebels are aligned with al-Qaida…………….. ✓
2. NATO policy created the conditions for the rise of IS…………… ✓
3. Western ally Saudi Arabia bankrolls the Salafist extremists……. ✓
4. NATO member Turkey has protected & supplied IS……………..

Western press propagandizing Americans
How much of the USA’s propaganda budget is actually aimed at Americans?
The newest version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes an amendment that would legalize the use of propaganda on the American public, reports Michael Hastings of BuzzFeed.
The amendment — proposed by Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) and Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and passed in the House last Friday afternoon — would effectively nullify the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, which explicitly forbids information and psychological operations aimed at influencing U.S. public opinion
Huh. And yeah, that was made into law


U.S. is Lying Aggressor in Syria...

The United States has no right to interfere in the affairs of other countries, period, said BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley, speaking to a gathering of the Hands Off Syria Coalition, last week. The U.S. carries out regime change under the guise of “humanitarian” intervention to “protect” people from their own government, but “the claim is always a lie, a ruse to make real the Project for a New American Century,” said Kimberley, who is also active with UNAC, the United National Anti-War Coalition. “The United States never has a humanitarian purpose in mind, in Syria or anyplace else -- any more so than it does here at home.”

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Today's links

“The primordial interest of the United States, over which for centuries we have fought wars–the First, the Second and Cold Wars–has been the relationship between Germany and Russia, because united there, they’re the only force that could threaten us. And to make sure that that doesn’t happen.” … George Friedman at The Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs, Time 1:40 to 1:57)

In order to survive and preserve its leading role on the international stage, the US desperately needs to plunge Eurasia into chaos, (and) to cut economic ties between Europe and Asia-Pacific Region … Russia is the only (country) within this potential zone of instability that is capable of resistance. It is the only state that is ready to confront the Americans. Undermining Russia’s political will for resistance… is a vitally important task for America.”
-Nikolai Starikov, Western Financial System Is Driving It to War, Russia Insider

1--A Trump Doctrine -- 'America First'

At the end of the Cold War, however, with the Soviet Empire history and the Soviet Union having disintegrated, George H.W. Bush launched his New World Order. His son, George W., invaded Iraq and preached a global crusade for democracy “to end tyranny in our world.”

A policy born of hubris.

Result: the Mideast disaster Trump described to Lesley Stahl, and constant confrontations with Russia caused by pushing our NATO alliance right up to and inside what had been Putin’s country

2--Trump has a plan for government workers. They’re not going to like it

3--Class warfare, droopy capex and gov job losses

4--How Clinton Defeat Derailed Syrian War

5--Selectivity in Trashing Trump

Progressives and Democrats have every right and reason to express revulsion at Trump’s crude remarks about women, Mexicans and others — and to resist Trump if he pursues the failed environmental, economic and domestic policies of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. But there seems to be an attitude of rejecting everything associated with Trump....

A Current Danger

But the current danger for Democrats and progressives is that – by bashing everything that Trump says and does – they will further alienate the white working-class voters who became his base and will push away anti-war activists.

There is a risk that the Left will trade places with the Right on the question of war and peace, with Democrats and progressives associating themselves with Hillary Clinton’s support for “endless war” in the Middle East, the political machinations of the CIA, and a New Cold War with Russia, essentially moving into an alliance with the Military (and Intelligence) Industrial Complex.

Many populists already view the national Democrats as elitists disdainful of the working class, promoters of harmful “free trade” deals, and internationalists represented by the billionaires at the glitzy annual confab in Davos, Switzerland.

If — in a rush to demonize and impeach President Trump — Democrats and progressives solidify support for wars of choice in the Middle East, a New Cold War with Russia and a Davos-style elitism, they could further alienate many people who might otherwise be their allies.

In other words, selectivity in opposing and criticizing Trump – where he rightly deserves it – rather than opportunism in rejecting everything that Trump says might make more sense. A movement built entirely on destroying Trump could drop Democrats and progressives into some politically destructive traps

6--Trump Drops By CIA to Say He's Got Their Back, Then Mostly Complains About Media

7--What Will Prick the “Leveraged Share Buyback” Craze?

Repurchases pose risks for bondholders: credit down grades, higher risks of defaults, lower recoveries in case of a default, and thus higher funding costs – in theory....

Among the reasons for the craze in share repurchases, according to Fitch:

  • Low interest rates
  • Lack of growth projects that meet return hurdles
  • Management compensation incentives
  • External pressure from shareholder activists.....

here’s what typically causes a decline or even a plunge in leveraged share buybacks: rising interest rates that make that strategy too costly; a sharp selloff in the stock market that knocks the wind out of executives; and tightening credit conditions where borrowing becomes difficult and where creditors gain the upper hand, inserting stiff demands into debt covenants, and refusing to lend if a company is going to blow this money on share buybacks.

8--Obama’s Stock Market Legacy Is Hard to Beat -- U.S. stocks delivered far better returns under Mr. Obama than almost any previous president, and the performance was well ahead of the rest of the world

After eight years in office, Barack Obama has a market record any red-blooded American capitalist could be proud of. U.S. shares have soared, oil prices have come down, borrowing is cheap and profits are up along with the dollar. Even those who bet against President Obama made good money, with returns from gold and bonds better than those delivered by shares under his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Historians, economists and politicians will clash for years over the Obama legacy. But for investors, it has been a great time to bet on America. U.S. stocks delivered far better returns under Mr. Obama than almost any previous president; performance was also well ahead of the rest of the world.
“Despite the fact that the economy’s been punk, corporate profits became the largest percentage of GDP ever in this cycle,” said Richard Bernstein, chief executive of fund manager Richard Bernstein Advisors. “You can talk about whether that’s social justice or not but that’s not my day job.”

With one day of his presidency to go, the S&P 500 was up 182% from Mr. Obama’s inauguration in January 2009, delivering an annualized return including dividends of 16.3%. In data since 1928, only Bill Clinton produced higher returns. And, if lower inflation under Mr. Obama is taken into account, the real gap is tiny.

John Bilton, global head of multiasset strategy at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, says the main cause of this equity boom was the geyser of money sprayed at the markets by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
“It’s more I
would say the Federal Reserve’s legacy that’s given us this period of performance,” he said. “It’s been a phenomenal time to be an investor.”
Others give Mr. Obama more credit, particularly for the tax cuts and spending of the Recovery Act in 2009, but also for resisting pressure to tighten fiscal policy more quickly and leaving the Fed alone.
“The important economic intervention he did was right at the beginning,” said Eric Lonergan, a fund manager at M&G Investments. “And after that he did nothing to disrupt loose monetary and fiscal policy. He could have done a lot of stupid things that he didn’t do.”...

Markets are forward-looking, so it makes sense to think the effect of the president would be priced in before he takes office. The big rally since Mr. Trump was elected in November has been predicated on investor hope that he will deliver big tax cuts and fiscal stimulus.

9--Trump Administration Suspends Insurance Cut for Risky Mortgages --Move effectively ends attempt by Obama administration to lower costs for certain mortgage borrowers

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Today's Links

“Today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts…The United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way….And of course this is extremely dangerous. It results in the fact that no one feels safe. I want to emphasize this — no one feels safe.”  Vladimir Putin, Munich 2007

End of an era??

“The fact is that there has never been a truly “dominant” global power until the emergence of America on the world scene….. The decisive new global reality was the appearance on the world scene of America as simultaneously the richest and militarily the most powerful player. During the latter part of the 20th century no other power even came close. That era is now ending.” Toward a Global Realignment, Zbigniew Brzezinski, The American Interest

“Man is, at bottom, a dreadful wild animal. We know this wild animal in a tamed state called civilization and therefore are shocked by the occasional outbreaks of his true nature; but if and when the bolts and bars of the legal order fall apart and anarchy intervenes, it reveals itself for what it is.”   Schopenhauer, Ethics

“Comrade Wolf knows who to eat, and he eats without listening to anyone.”
– Russian President Vladimir Putin referring to the United States

1--Trump’s Remaking of US Foreign Policy

2--"No greater love hath any man..." Julian Assange 'to hand himself in and accept extradition to the US' after Barack Obama commutes Chelsea Manning sentence

3--A Demand for Russian ‘Hacking’ Proof

4--The establishment hates Trump

In August 50 GOP former intelligence officers signed a statement opposing Trump, including CIA and National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, former Director of National Intelligence and Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, former Dick Cheney security adviser Eric Edelman, former Homeland Security secretaries Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, and former deputy secretary of state Robert Zoellick. In October 55 retired flag military officers signed a statement declaring Trump “utterly unworthy of being commander-in-chief and president.” House Speaker Paul Ryan, the most powerful figure at the time in the Republican Party, who only endorsed Trump in June, was by one count obliged to distance himself from the candidate eight times by August and declined to campaign for him....

One would not like to make common cause with those who hate Trump, not for his fascistic tendencies, but for his challenge to the warmongering neocon/liberal interventionist status quo that wants to maintain a posture of unremitting hostility towards Russia.

5-  Excerpt from Alfred McCoy’s seminal piece “The Geopolitics of American Global Decline”:

“China’s leadership began collaborating with surrounding states on a massive project to integrate the country’s national rail network into a transcontinental grid. Starting in 2008, the Germans and Russians joined with the Chinese in launching the “Eurasian Land Bridge.” Two east-west routes, the old Trans-Siberian in the north and a new southern route along the ancient Silk Road through Kazakhstan are meant to bind all of Eurasia together….

In April, President Xi Jinping announced construction of that massive road-rail-pipeline corridor direct from western China to its new port at Gwadar, Pakistan, creating the logistics for future naval deployments in the energy-rich Arabian Sea….. By building the infrastructure for military bases in the South China and Arabian seas, Beijing is forging the future capacity to surgically and strategically impair U.S. military containment. …

In a decade or two….China will be ready to surgically slice through Washington’s continental encirclement at a few strategic points without having to confront the full global might of the U.S. military, potentially rendering the vast American armada of carriers, cruisers, drones, fighters, and submarines redundant….. If China succeeds in linking its rising industries to the vast natural resources of the Eurasian heartland, then quite possibly…. “the empire of the world would be in sight.” (“The Geopolitics of American Global Decline”, Alfred McCoy, The Unz Review)
6--Trump's Advisor 'Cool-Headedly' Admits Anti-Russian Sanctions Achieved Nothing

7-- Here is what Putin had to say about the US missile defense system, which has just gone live in Romania: “They say [the missile systems] are part of their defense capability, and are not offensive, that these systems are aimed at protecting them from aggression. It’s not true,” the Russian leader said. The “great danger” is that the launchers can be used to fire US Tomahawk missiles “in a matter of hours,” Putin said.
Meanwhile, technological advances will only make the system increasingly more versatile and powerful. And exactly where the magic tipping point is, when the 'defense' system shifts the global strategic balance, nobody can say with certainty. Putin acknowledged this, saying “technologies are developing, and we know around what year the Americans will get a new missile, which will have a range not of 500 kilometers, but 1,000, and then even more – and from that moment they will start threatening our nuclear capability...

It is interesting to note that US President-elect Donald Trump has just suggested that he would consider the possibility of ending the sanctions regime against Russia in return for “dramatically reducing” nuclear weapons.
“They have sanctions on Russia — let’s see if we can make some good deals with Russia. For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially,” Trump told The Independent...

Fast forward to 2016, and it is no coincidence that we see more than just the US missile defense system on Russia’s border. The New Year is barely underway and already we have dozens of US tanks, equipment and thousands of US soldiers fanning out across Poland and the Baltic States for what promises to be a continuous rotation of American military force – exactly the sort of provocation US planners need to keep the entire region believing in the myth of “Russian aggression” and NATO members cracking open their wallets to buy up more US-made military hardware

8--The no evidence report--Where’s the Beef?

We find the New York Times- and Washington Post-led media Blitz against Trump and Putin truly extraordinary, despite our long experience with intelligence/media related issues. On Jan. 6, the day after your top intelligence officials published what we found to be an embarrassingly shoddy report purporting to prove Russian hacking in support of Trump’s candidacy, the Times banner headline across all six columns on page 1 read: “PUTIN LED SCHEME TO AID TRUMP, REPORT SAYS

The lead article began: “President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia directed a vast cyberattack aimed at denying Hillary Clinton the presidency and installing Donald J. Trump in the Oval Office, the nation’s top intelligence agencies said in an extraordinary report they delivered on Friday to Mr. Trump.” Eschewing all subtlety, the Times added that the revelations in “this damning report … undermined the legitimacy” of the President-elect, and “made the case that Mr. Trump was the favored candidate of Mr. Putin.”
On page A10, however, Times investigative reporter Scott Shane pointed out: “What is missing from the public report is what many Americans most eagerly anticipated: hard evidence to back up the agencies’ claims that the Russian government engineered the election attack. That is a significant omission

9--NWO under attack-- Biden calls "the kettle black"

Mr. Biden also leveled sharp criticism at Mr. Putin, whom Mr. Trump has praised and said he would seek to cooperate with. Mr. Putin’s goal, Mr. Biden said, was “to return to a world where the strong impose its will through military might, corruption, and criminality, while weaker nations have to fall into line.”

, I promise you, and again the purpose is clear: to collapse the liberal international order.”

10--Tulsi Gabbard to visit Syria

11--Replace NATO says German MP

United States President Donald Trump recently called NATO an "obsolete" organization since it is not much engaged in fighting terrorism and its members are not contributing enough. In an interview with Sputnik Germany, German politician and Bundestag MP Wolfgang Gehrke explained why he supports Trump's point of view.According to Gehrke, NATO failed to ensure security worldwide and, on the contrary, contributed to a greater instability.

"Of course, NATO is outdated. It has not achieved any constructive results. It has aggravated crises. Their war against terror has fostered terror. We are in favor of dissolving NATO and replacing it with a European security system," the politician told Sputnik Germany.

12--Parliamentary crisis in Poland deepens amid US troop deployment

Amid the deployment of 3,500 US troops to Eastern Poland, which marks an open escalation of the preparations for war against Russia, the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) is continuing its offensive to undermine the parliament as an institution and build up a dictatorial regime...

The reaction of PiS to the parliamentary crisis makes clear that the party is now determined to press ahead full speed with the buildup of an authoritarian state. After the virtual paralysis of the Constitutional Court as a functioning and independent body, the impending elimination of the Sejm as a more or less functioning body would mean the total abolition of the division of powers in Poland, effectively placing the judiciary and the legislative in the hands of the government.
This marks the temporary culmination of more than a year of the rapid dismantling of bourgeois democratic rights and institutions that began in the fall of 2015. It includes:

· The take-over of the secret services by the government right after the parliamentary elections in 2015;
· The paralysis of the Constitutional Court for about a year and then a rapid reversal of its administration in December 2016, effectively placing it under government control;
· The institution of government control over state television and radio stations in December 2015, which entailed, in only the first few weeks, the dismissal of over 60 reporters and journalists;

· A law changing the criteria for admission to the police, which ensures that both the head of the police and individual policemen can be dismissed and replaced if their political views and behaviour is deemed incorrect by the government, also in December 2015;
· The placement of the office of the state prosecutor under the supervision of Ministry of Justice in early 2016;

· A new “anti-terrorism” law from the spring of 2016 allowing for the banning of public meetings under conditions of heightened alleged terrorist alert, as well as a massive extension of domestic spying, the expulsion of foreign citizens and arrests without trial;
· The creation and arming of a parliamentary militia that heavily draws from far-right forces and will be integrated into the Polish state as part of the preparations for war with Russia and a potential domestic civil war.

13--US escalates Russia tensions on eve of Trump inauguration

The deployment in Norway, which Marine Maj. Gen. Niel Nelson described as a demonstration by Washington to its allies of “our willingness to support and defend them and NATO,” is part of a far larger buildup against Russia, which over the weekend saw the deployment of some 4,000 troops, backed by tanks, artillery and armored cars, in Poland. These forces are to be stationed across seven Eastern European countries, including the former Soviet Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, all of which share borders with Russia.

This larger deployment, which was set to take effect at the end of January, was speeded up with the apparent aim of having the troops in place before Friday’s inauguration as part of a bid to cut across Trump’s avowed intentions to make “some good deals with Russia.”...

In addition, the Norwegian government has reversed its earlier abstention from the bid by the US and NATO to establish a ballistic missile defense system surrounding Russia. Solberg’s government has indicated that it will now participate, including with the deployment of advanced radar systems near the Russian border and on Norwegian frigates close to the home base of Russia’s strategic submarines in the Murmansk region.

Moscow considers the anti-missile system part of a US attempt to create conditions in which it could limit any Russian response to a US nuclear strike.
With little more than two days until Trump takes office, the Obama administration continues to supplement the military provocations on Russia’s borders with a barrage of propaganda painting Moscow as a threat and an aggressor.

Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations and the standard-bearer for the Obama administration’s hypocritical policy of “human rights” imperialism, delivered what she described as her last speech in office to the Atlantic Council, a US-based think tank and unofficial arm of NATO, in which she described Russia as a “major threat” and “core threat” to the United States.
While heaping on the usual denunciations of Russia for “aggression” in Ukraine, “war crimes” in Syria, “hacking” and having “interfered in our presidential election,” Power insisted that Moscow’s alleged crimes went beyond “any particular actions” and were the product of a “broader strategy” of “weakening the rules-based order” imposed by Washington in the aftermath of World War ...

The bitter internecine struggles within the ruling establishment in the run-up to Trump’s inauguration express deep divisions over strategic aims. While the US intelligence agencies and the Obama administration are demanding a continuation and intensification of the military buildup against Russia, employing neo-McCarthyite rhetoric to counter any opposition, the incoming Trump administration has indicated its intention to shift toward a more direct confrontation with China. Both policies threaten humanity with the prospect of nuclear war

14--Wealth distribution in the United States and the politics of the pseudo-left

15--Davos Elite Seeks Fixes to Defend the System From Populists

Davos elite conspire to save themselves from the wrath of the proles

16--Putin boasts about Russian hookers

Trump is “a grown man, and secondly he’s someone who has been involved with beauty contests for many years and has met the most beautiful women in the world,” Putin said. “I find it hard to believe that he rushed to some hotel to meet girls of loose morals, although ours are undoubtedly the best in the world.”

17--Trump Slams NATO, Floats Russia Nuke Deal in European Interview

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Today's links

1--Obama Opens NSA’s Vast Trove of Warrantless Data to Entire Intelligence Community, Just in Time for Trump

With only days until Donald Trump takes office, the Obama administration on Thursday announced new rules that will let the NSA share vast amounts of private data gathered without warrant, court orders or congressional authorization with 16 other agencies, including the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Department of Homeland Security.

2--Investors are bracing for a massive stock-market selloff

3--Northman Trader: The bull market is in its final inning – here's why

4--Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him

5--Donald Trump has persuaded Republicans to doubt the intelligence on Russia’s hacking

6--As Crisis That Vexed Obama Fades, Trump Will Benefit-- President-elect could preside over longest recovery since World War II

In ways that few appreciate, the financial crisis that ushered Barack Obama into office in 2008 shaped all eight years of his presidency. It drove his regulatory and economic agenda, polarized politics and policy, hobbled output and wage growth, and ultimately helped make Donald Trump president.
Ironically, Mr. Obama steps down as the recovery from that crisis is largely complete, which could leave Mr. Trump to preside over the longest expansion since World War II.
Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard University have documented that recoveries that follow crises are weaker than those after a typical recession; on average, it takes eight years for a country to achieve its previous peak in per-capita gross domestic product.

The U.S. has done well, reaching its precrisis peak in just six years, in 2013. Nonetheless, at 2.1%, average annual growth over this expansion is the weakest of the postwar period....

That drained money from investment. Even today, housing, consumer spending on durables and business investment are just 24% of GDP, compared with 28% or more at previous economic peaks, according to Goldman. This lack of investment has both held back growth and worker productivity—or output per hour worked—which in turn has held back wages.

As in other countries, the financial crisis also polarized and fragmented politics. Outrage at bank bailouts and Mr. Obama’s broader economic interventions helped bring Tea Party Republicans to power in Congress in 2010. They forced Mr. Obama to pivot to fiscal austerity in 2011 when stimulus was still needed. Meanwhile, responding to the priorities of the left, his administration vastly expanded regulation and prosecution of financial companies, restricting the supply of mortgage and small business credit.
Paradoxically, the weakness of the expansion over the last eight years may sustain it. Business expansions don’t automatically die as they age but do become more vulnerable to life-threatening conditions. That is because investors, businesses and households tend to overinvest after a long stretch of good times, setting the stage for a correction...

The Goldman report notes that deleveraging has recently abated and may “soon reverse as households and the financial sector face a more favorable fiscal and regulatory environment under President-elect Trump. For all practical purposes, the ‘hangover’ may now be over.” It says that rising home and stock values should encourage consumers to save less and spend more, as typically happens during expansions but hasn’t so far in this one.
Job growth will slow simply because the economy is running out of spare workers, but that may be offset by a long overdue rebound in productivity growth. A survey by the National Federation of Independent Business found that small business optimism has soared since the election, perhaps in anticipation of a more business-friendly White House. Wages are now growing at the fastest pace since 2009, which will also encourage investment in labor-saving technology. The Fed has promised to drag its feet at raising rates..

7--The Deep State Goes to War With President-Elect, Using Unverified Claims, as Democrats Cheer

8--Trump Recruits Another Goldman Sachs Bankster

9--Kerry bombshell tape: We saw ISIS rise but thought we could manage it

10--Still popular--     TV Ratings: Obama's Farewell Address Pulls 34 Million Viewers

11--1930s-Like Demographic Headwinds Are Restraining the U.S. Economy

12--Americans Assess Progress Under Obama

13--Documents alleging Trump-Moscow ties leaked to media, intensifying conflict in US state

14--NYT Accuses CNN, BuzzFeed Of Peddling "Fake News" Over Russia Report

Of particular interest was the use of unsubstantiated information from anonymous sources, a practice that fueled some of the so-called fake news — false rumors passed off as legitimate journalism — that proliferated during the presidential election.

15--Trump : Head Of US Intel "Denounced Fictitious, Illegally Circulated Report"

16--Trump wants Putin summit in Reykjavik

Britain fears leak of its secrets to Moscow

17--Obama's Farewell Tears Are an Insult, His Record is Soaked in Blood