Saturday, July 16, 2016

1--Incomes declining or stagnant for the vast majority in “rich” countries

A significant majority of the population in 25 of the world’s most advanced countries experienced declining or stagnating incomes between 2005 and 2014, according to a McKinsey Global Institute report released this month.
An estimated 540 million to 580 million people, 65 to 70 percent of the population of those countries, had real incomes that were flat or fell during this period. These countries, whose total population is 800 million, account for half of the world’s economic output.

Never before in the post-World War II period has such a large section of workers in the advanced capitalist countries faced such a decline or stagnation in income. In contrast, during the period between 1993 and 2005, the study estimates that only 2 percent of the population in the same countries experienced similar conditions.
The authors of the study are clearly concerned about the political impact of this unprecedented change, particularly on the new generation of the working class. Hence the study’s title: “Poorer than their Parents: Flat or Falling Incomes in Advanced Economies.”

(Things will get worse for working people in a "no growth economy")  Should the rate of economic growth fail to increase, McKinsey predicts that 70 to 80 percent of the population in the same countries, the bottom 7 to 8 deciles of income earners, will be worse off or the same as they are now in a decade. Even if economic growth returns to its rate prior to 2008, up to 40 percent of the population in advanced countries will be worse off or the same in 2025....

The report highlights that the workers’ share of GDP declined despite growing labor productivity, which has traditionally led to income gains.
The lowest decile of income earners in several countries experienced the sharpest decline in their living standards...

The McKinsey report is one of a series of recent studies depicting record inequality and stagnating or deteriorating living standards for the broad mass of society. It reflects the deep blows the ruling class has struck against workers, of all backgrounds and nationalities, in the past eight years....

Throughout this process the ruling class has pushed “structural reform” as their banner. Structural reform means, in plain English, taking away the retirement, benefits, wages, and health care that working people rely on to survive. Many companies, such as the American auto manufacturers, have been able to wrestle billions in new profits from this. However, the attacks have not gone far enough to restore these companies, and the banks they answer to, to pre-2008 growth. They also have the contradictory effect of destroying the consumer demand necessary for expansion, exacerbating the economy’s reliance on credit and further inhibiting production growth

2--US releases Saudi documents: 9/11 coverup exposed  Finally, the smoking gun

If the government is determined to continue to shield such Saudi connections, it is undoubtedly because they would expose the involvement of the US intelligence agencies themselves in the events of 9/11....If such whitewashes are required, it is because elements within the US government were aware that Al Qaeda was preparing an operation on US soil, turned a blind eye to it and even facilitated it because they knew it could be used as a pretext to carry out longstanding plans for aggressive war in the Middle East.

The release of even the limited material on the Saudi-US-9/11 connection is a devastating exposure of the criminals in the US government, from George W. Bush on down, and the lies they employed to engineer wars that have devastated the lives of millions.....
The public release Friday afternoon of a section of the Congressional report on the 9/11 attacks, which had been kept secret for 13 years, has provided fresh evidence of a deliberate coverup of the role played, not only by the Saudi government, but US intelligence agencies themselves, in facilitating the attacks and then covering up their real roots.

The 28-page segment from the report issued by the “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001” provides abundant and damning evidence of extensive Saudi support for the 9/11 hijackers—15 out of 19 of whom were Saudi nationals—in the period leading up to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that claimed nearly 3,000 lives....

Even more importantly, it was concerned that the 28 pages would further expose the abject criminality of the US government’s role in facilitating the attacks of 9/11 and then lying about their source and exploiting them to justify savage wars of aggression, first against Afghanistan and then against Iraq. These wars have claimed over a million lives. The false narrative created around the September 11 attacks remains the ideological pillar of the US campaign of global militarism conducted in the name of a “war on terror...

Among those who were involved in preparing the report, John Lehman, the former secretary of the navy, directly contradicted the official response to the release of the previously censored section. “There was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi government,” he said. “Our report should never have been read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia.”
Similarly, former Florida Senator Bob Graham, who chaired the committee that carried out the investigation, suggested that the information released Friday was only the beginning. “I think of this almost as the 28 pages are sort of the cork in the wine bottle. And once it’s out, hopefully the rest of the wine itself will start to pour out,” he said....

“While in the United States, some of the September 11 hijackers were in contact with, and received support or assistance from, individuals who may be connected to the Saudi government,” the document begins. It cites FBI sources as indicating that some of these individuals were “Saudi intelligence officers.”
It goes on to indicate that FBI and CIA investigations of these links were initiated solely in response to the Congressional inquiry itself. “[I]t was only after September 11 that the US government began to aggressively investigate this issue,” the report states. “Prior to September 11th, the FBI apparently did not focus investigative sources on [redacted] Saudi nationals in the United States due to Saudi Arabia’s status as an American ‘ally.’”...

Also named in the document as a likely Saudi intelligence agent is one Osama Bassnan, who lived across the street from the two hijackers in San Diego and was in telephone contact with al-Bayoumi several times a day during this period. He apparently placed the two in contact with a Saudi commercial airline pilot for discussions on “learning to fly Boeing jet aircraft,” according to an FBI report. Bassnan’s wife also received a monthly stipend from Princess Haifa, the Saudi ambassador’s wife, to the tune of $2,000 a month. As well, the FBI found one $15,000 check written by Bandar himself in 1998 to Bassnan. The report states that FBI information indicated that Bassnan was “an extremist and supporter of Usama Bin Ladin,” who spoke of the Al Qaeda leader “as if he were god.”...

Also in the report was the fact that a phone book belonging to Abu Zubaydah, the Al Qaeda operative who is still held at Guantanamo after extensive torture at the hands of the CIA, was found to contain the unlisted numbers of companies that managed and provide security for Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar’s residence in Colorado, as well as that of a bodyguard at the Saudi embassy who, the report states “some have alleged may be a [words redacted].”....

3--Military faction attempts coup in Turkey

Regardless of whether the coup is crushed quickly, or Turkey is plunged into a more protracted civil war, the unfolding events are testimony to the generalised breakdown taking place internationally in the political institutions and mechanisms of bourgeois rule. Country after country is descending into turmoil under the impact of the intractable global economic crisis, historic levels of social inequality and the devastating consequences of the military agenda of US imperialism and its allies to dominate the oil-rich Middle East and undermine Russian and Chinese influence in every part of the world.

The coup in Turkey is taking place in the context of the fall-out from the “Leave” vote in the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom and a political crisis in the United States over police killings and the possibility of Donald Trump winning the Republican Party's presidential nomination. It follows the extension of emergency rule in France, an accelerating drive by NATO toward military confrontation with Russia and immense tensions in Asia, after an international court ruling that China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea are invalid. There is no question that the uncertainty produced by global instability plays a major role in what appear to be the reckless, even desperate, actions being taken in ruling circles around the world—including the calculation by a faction of the Turkish military that the only way to stabilise bourgeois rule in the country was to overthrow Erdogan’s regime.

Erdogan’s Islamist-based Justice and Development Party (AKP) has held government since 2002. It has presided over a massive economic expansion based on the deregulation and opening up of the country and its labour force as a base for low-cost production for transnational corporations. The capitalist elite has enriched itself enormously, with the top 1 percent of the population increasing its share of national wealth from 39 percent in 2002 to 54 percent by 2015. The working-class and rural poor, however, have seen their living standards decimated. Even official statistics show that 22.4 percent of Turkish households earn less than the poverty line of $1,626 a month. Unemployment stands at 10.8 percent, or some three million people, while another three million workers have left the country to seek jobs in other areas of Europe.

4--US looks to Moscow to save al Nusra in Syria war  In bid to save proxy forces in Syria, US discusses pact with Russia

A US-Russian coordination pact would enable Washington to manage and constrain the Russian air campaign, in a last-ditch effort to preserve some portion of the opposition until after the upcoming 2016 US elections. Once the political hurdle of the election has passed, a newly installed presidential administration will have a free hand to escalate the war, renewing the push against Damascus through fresh deployments of US ground troops and an intensified air campaign.
Whatever the twists and turns in its short-term policy, the American ruling class will never willingly accept the re-stabilization of the Assad government or indeed the consolidation of any Russian-aligned regime in Damascus, which Washington views as an obstacle to US hegemony in the Middle East.
Factions of the US elite clearly remain committed to the violent overthrow of Assad, and deeply hostile to any compromise with the Putin government. As the Times noted Friday, the Obama plan “has generated deep unease at the Pentagon and in some quarters of the State Department.”

Whatever promises are made by the White House, it is impossible to believe that the US will engage in a serious joint bombardment with Russia against Al Nusra. Such a campaign would devastate the leading anti-Assad formation, closing the book on the insurgency fomented against Damascus by Washington.
According to Faisal Itani of the Atlantic Council, “combined attacks against Nusra would effectively end the Syrian opposition, cementing Mr. Assad’s grip on power.”
The Nusra group has functioned as an instrument of the US war plan since the beginning of the imperialist-orchestrated insurgency in 2011. Al Nusra has emerged as “one of the most effective anti-Assad forces,” and the proposed deal would “bring American firepower to bear against the strongest anti-Assad military force and a sometime partner of Washington’s allies,” the New York Times reported on Friday.

The White House proposals represent a tactical maneuver, aimed at salvaging the remnants of the anti-Assad forces, the backbone of which is composed of ISIS and the Al Qaeda-linked Nusra fighters.
Nonetheless, the fact that the Obama administration has offered such a deal is significant in itself, powerfully underscoring the disastrous position of the American-backed forces on the ground. The Russian-backed Syrian military is tightening the noose around the American-backed opposition forces, and Syrian Army units are encircling opposition militias inside the key city of Aleppo, trapping hundreds of thousands of civilians in the process

5--Turkey urges US that harboring Gülen is a hostile act after coup attempt

Any country that would harbor Fethullah Gülen, the leader of the parallel state that is regarded as the mastermind of July 15’s coup attempt would not be Turkey’s friend, the Turkish prime minister has said, obviously urging the United States where the self-exile religious leader lives since late 1990s.

“I do not see any country that would stand behind this man, this leader of the terrorist gang especially after last night. The country that would stand behind this man is no friend to Turkey. It would even be a hostile act against Turkey,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım told reporters at a press conference on July 16 as the coup attempt has been foiled earlier in the day.

Yıldırım indirectly criticized the U.S. for not understanding the concerns Turkey had expressed about Gülen, saying “This caused us to pay a big price.”

Prime Minister said Turkey has already delivered its request of extradition for Gülen

6--Turkey authorities impose lockdown at İncirlik air base: US consulate

7--The cleric being blamed for Turkey coup attempt

8--Trump Foreign Policy Advisor: 'Americans Are Fed Up With the Bullshit'

9--Freedom of Assembly? Right

FBI Greenlights Crackdown on Black Lives Matter Protesters

The Partnership for Civil Justive Fund's (PCJF) Freedom of Information Act investigations carried out over the last five years in particular have shown that the FBI, DHS, Fusion Centers and other federal law enforcement agencies regularly label peaceful protest as terrorist activity, and also concoct violent potential scenarios to justify the widespread surveillance of and crackdown on the social justice movement and dissenters....

PCJF exposed the role of the FBI in a national operation that involved field offices across the country targeting the peaceful Occupy movement, which was ultimately extinguished in cities and towns across the United States with more than 7,000 arrests.
Now that playbook is being followed with the Black Lives Matter movement...

Last weekend, Baton Rouge's African-American community was repeatedly assaulted by the police as people attempted to peacefully protest the killing of Sterling. The Baton Rouge police were given the green light by President Obama's FBI to approach this peaceful protest as they would an enemy force. This has been the dangerous pattern of the FBI and other federal law enforcement efforts in the past few years: to suppress social movements in coordination with local police departments.

While the arrests were carried out by local police, federal law enforcement agencies facilitated and laid the groundwork for the anti-free speech crackdown.

The suppression and dispersal of a peaceful protest is emblematic of the methods used to extinguish free speech rights of those communities seeking to redress issues of racial and economic inequality.

Here's what happened and why:

More than 100 peaceful protesters were arrested by police on Saturday. Police repeatedly swept into the crowd like a paramilitary force dressed as robots, giving no audible instructions and snatching people for arrest. More were arrested on Sunday by police who moved in wearing riot gear and plastic face masks, and banged their batons against riot shields in threatening unison.

By 12am on Sunday, July 10, the city was under a virtual lockdown. Businesses closed down early in response to the police actions in the streets. Local law enforcement had clearly received the go-ahead to suppress those in the community who were demanding justice.

11--Chaos in Turkey as military launches coup

The attempted coup has failed

  • 2,800 soldiers arrested, 104 ‘coup plotters’ killed
  • 2,745 judges across the country dismissed
  • Eight Turkish soldiers involved in coup seeking asylum in Greece

  • 12--Turkish Instability Threatens to Hamper Battle on Terror

    Attempted coup augurs period of uncertainty in vital U.S. ally against Islamic State

    That a coup attempt occurred without apparent forewarning was seen as troubling. “The U.S. has very close ties to the Turkish military and intelligence,” said Bruce Riedel, a former Central Intelligence Agency official now with the Brookings Institution think tank. “It would be very disturbing if Washington did not have any warning of the threat of a coup attempt.”
    During the crisis on Friday, U.S. officials were uncertain about the whereabouts of Mr. Erdogan....

    the White House grew frustrated with him in recent years because of what it sees as a pronounced authoritarian streak and an erratic position on the fight against Islamic State. Pentagon officials grumbled that Turkey failed to seal its borders to guard against extremist fighters moving into and out of Syria and Iraq. And Washington and Ankara split over support to Kurdish militias fighting Islamic State in the two countries.
    Mr. Erdogan feared any support for the Kurds could embolden their efforts to gain greater autonomy, if not independence inside Turkey.....

    regional analysts said chaos in Turkey would undermine any efforts by Moscow and Washington to intensify the war against Islamic State.
    “The coup means whatever bets Washington may have made in Moscow are now even harder to implement,” said Andrew Tabler, a Middle East expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “We’re not sure who’s in charge there.”
    “No matter what happens in Turkey, the situation is likely to be worse for the region and U.S. national security interests,” said Henri Barkey, director of the Mideast program at the Wilson Center in Washington.

    13---U.S. and Russia Agree on Steps to Combat ISIS in Syria

    14--Kerry announces secret deal with Russia

    Mr. Kerry refused to list the terms of the agreement.
    “The concrete steps that we have agreed on are not going to be laid out in public in some long list,” he said, “because we want them to work and because they need more work in order to work. I want to emphasize, though, that they are not based on trust,” but on specific steps that needed to be taken by both sides....

    Before Mr. Kerry’s talks in Moscow, a proposed agreement had called for the creation of a joint military command center staffed by military and intelligence officers who would share information so as to permit “integrated operations.” The proposal generated deep unease at the Pentagon and in some quarters of the State Department, where the plan was seen as too conciliatory to both the Russians and the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad....

    The agreement has also raised alarms because it might lead the United States to support or even participate in strikes against groups fighting Mr. Assad. One of the great complications of the Syrian civil war is figuring out which groups should be considered rebels focused on ousting the Assad government — a goal the United States supports — and which groups are aligned with Al Qaeda or the Islamic State, both of which Washington has designated as terrorist organizations and has vowed to defeat...

    The Nusra Front has been one of the most effective anti-Assad forces, and American-backed rebel groups often coordinate their activities with its units. In Russia’s view, that means that Washington is effectively supporting the Nusra Front and that the American-backed groups are legitimate targets. So a joint campaign against the group not only would appear to concede Russia’s point, but could also bring American firepower to bear against the strongest anti-Assad military force and a sometime partner of Washington’s allies.

    Mr. Kerry made clear that defeating the Nusra Front was a major American priority.
    “So if some critic is criticizing the United States or Russia for going after Al Nusra, which is a terrorist organization, because they’re good fighters against Assad, they have their priorities completely screwed up,” Mr. Kerry said. “The fact is that Nusra is plotting against countries in the world. What happened in Nice last night could just as well come from Nusra or wherever it came from as any other entity. Because that’s what they do.”...

    The proposed agreement with the Russians, first reported by The Washington Post, would create a joint command center in Jordan to coordinate an intensified bombing campaign against the two militant groups.

    15--The USA Springs a Trap Russia Will Have Walk Into

    With the exception of imminent threats to the participants where prior agreement on a target is infeasible, the participants will only take action against Nusra targets that are agreed to in advance, pursuant to procedures developed by the JIG and deconflicted through existing channels.
    Target Development. Only those targets that both participants agree are actionable will be further developed for strikes...

    And then there is this, truly priceless, paragraph:
    Emergent Circumstances.
    ii. Other Circumstances. The Syrian military can employ military action, including air activities, against the Nusra Front outside of designated areas if Nusra acquires territory there. Russia can use airpower in defense of Syrian government forces in the event of attack by Nusra from within a designated area, if agreed in advance with the United States. All actions should be consistent with the terms of the cessation of hostilities." (Huh???)

    Prohibited Activities and Exemptions. The regime is prohibited from flying in designated areas; designated areas include areas of most concentrated Nusra presence, areas of significant Nusra presence, and areas where the opposition is dominant, with some possible Nusra presence

    16--Ankara prosecutor’s office completes broad indictment against Gülenists

    The indictment also claimed that the Gülen movement, officially referred to by the state as the “Fethullahist Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Structure (FETÖ/PDY),” is linked to a “superior mind” (üst akıl).

    “It is a product of foreign countries and a superior mind and structure. It would not be possible for the group to successfully carry out all this structuring without the support of foreign countries and several other organizations functioning inside Turkey,” it stated.

    Regarding the group’s alleged relationship with the United States, where Gülen currently lives in exile, the document claims that Gülen “panicked” during the “post-modern coup” process that overthrew the Turkish government on Feb. 28, 1997. It claims that he stayed in the U.S. at the time and was in contact with the U.S. government and CIA officials, threatening groups standing against him in Turkey.

    Meanwhile, Turkish prosecutors have reportedly prepared a file seeking to extradite Gülen from the U.S. to Turkey. The Justice Ministry received the document on July 15.

    The extradition demand file includes Gülen’s identity information, charges against him, the dates and locations of his alleged crimes, the punishments foreseen for his alleged crimes, as well as his address in Pennsylvania

    17--Regime Change in Ankara? More Likely Than You Think archive

    18-- 67 percent of Americans say Hillary  "not honest and trustworthy"

    "The best way to help Israel deal with Iran's growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad," the email stated.

    "Bringing down Assad would not only be a massive boon to Israel's security, it would also ease Israel's understandable fear of losing its nuclear monopoly. Then, Israel and the United States might be able to develop a common view of when the Iranian program is so dangerous that military action could be warranted," the email, allegedly written in April 2012, underscored.

    In other words, Parry remarks, all the "humanitarian" talk about "safe zones" and other excuses for Syrian "regime change" was only the cover for a desire to ensure Israel's "nuclear monopoly."...

    67 percent of respondents said Clinton was not honest and trustworthy. Interestingly enough, 62 percent of those surveyed expressed their distrust for Republican candidate Trump as well.

    "Mrs. Clinton's shifting and inaccurate explanations of her email practices at the State Department appear to have resonated more deeply with the electorate," The New York Times wrote Thursday.

    Paul Craig Roberts--
    "Hillary is a warmonger. She pushed the Obama regime into the destruction of a stable and largely cooperative government in Libya… She has pushed for 'regime change' in Syria… She brought neoconservative Victoria Nuland, who arranged the coup that overthrew the democratically elected president of Ukraine, into the State Department. Hillary has called President Vladimir Putin of Russia the 'new Hitler.' Hillary as president guarantees war and more war," Roberts warned.

    19-- Dirty Obama Secrets: From Warsaw to Dallas and Baton Rouge

    Where did the “Consoler in Chief” (as Obama is now described by clever news anchors) rush to speak words of comfort and healing when he returned from his imperial mission to Europe? To Baton Rouge to comfort Alton Sterling’s family and friends? Did he stop in Falcon Heights to mourn Philando Castille? Did he stop off in Chicago to meet with the family of Laquan McDonald, the 17 year who was senselessly butchered by a white police officer who shot him sixteen times? In Staten Island to commiserate with the family of Eric Garner, the Black man who was choked to death by white NYPD officers for selling tax-free cigarettes? To Ferguson, to visit the shrine honoring Mike Brown, the Black teenager who was needlessly shot to death by a white police officer two summers ago, his body left to rot in the hot sun for more than two hours? To Baltimore, to honor the memory of Freddie Gray, his spinal cord fatally damaged by sadistic cops who took him for a “rough ride” handcuffed and unsecured by a seat belt in the back of a police van (a sadistic torture technique practiced by the fictional white NYPD detective Danny Reagan in the popular pro-police state CBS television series “Blue Bloods”)? Cleveland to comfort the parents of the late 12 year-old Tamir Rice? How about Saginaw, Michigan, where six police officers fired a psychotic, up-close fusillade of 46 shots at a mentally disturbed 49-year old Black man named Milton Hall in a shopping center parking lot after Hall half lunged with a small pocketknife at a police dog who was viciously snarling at him in the summer of 2012 (the cops handcuffed him as he bled out on the pavement) ? How about Houston, Texas, to comfort the family of Alva Braziel, a Black man shot down last Saturday with his hands in the air next to a gas station in the southern part of that city? I could continue…list of these killing goes on and on, replenished every other day or so it seems.

    No, Obama headed to Dallas, home to the officially worthy victims – the murdered police officers. He offered the usual homilies about how the police are selfless “heroes” of pure “public service” who defend ordinary citizens at great risk to their own personal safety and how protesters need to respect law and authority. Yes, the president mentioned Castille and Sterling by name and even argued (tepidly) for the legitimacy of Black Americans’ sense that racial bias lives on in the American criminal justice system and society more broadly long after the passage of the Civil and Voting Rights Acts half a century ago. Obama talked about how police are expected to “do too much” in Black communities scarred by mass poverty, inadequate schools, and the under-investment of positive resources – all reflections of a long history of racial bias and discrimination going back to Slavery and Jim Crow. He even seemed to accept the term “Black Lives Matter.” White police officers sitting behind the president applauded when he praised police as noble protectors of society but sat stone-faced when he mildly suggested that racial discrimination had yet to completely disappear in the U.S.

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