Friday, October 14, 2016

Today's links

Today's quote: "“We trust their [Russia’s] politics, politics based on morals before interests. We trust them because we know that they wanted to support us because they wanted to get rid of the terrorists, not because they want to ask us anything in return, and they never did. Until this moment, they never asked us for anything in return.”
“Russia wanted to fight terrorism ... not only for Syria, not only for Russia, for the rest of the region, for Europe, for the rest of the world." Bashar al Assad, Syrian president


Patrick Martin, WSWS:  "It would be wrong to conclude that masses of people are attending Trump’s rallies and supporting his campaign because they want a fascist solution to their problems. He is drawing support because, from the rotten miasma of official politics, including the self-absorbed identity politics of the Democratic Party, layers of the middle class and working class find nothing that appeals to them.
Trump’s appeal is that he is seen as shaking a collective fist at the political elites.
However, there is a real danger. If Clinton wins the election, the policies that she will pursue will only increase the anger and social discontent among broad masses of the population. Clinton would come to power as one of the most despised candidates in American history."







1--The Press Buries Hillary Clinton’s Sins-- As reporters focus on Trump, they miss new details on Clinton’s rotten record


A senior FBI official involved with the Clinton investigation told Fox News this week that the “vast majority” of career agents and prosecutors working the case “felt she should be prosecuted” and that giving her a pass was “a top-down decision.”


The Obama administration—the federal government, supported by tax dollars—was working as an extension of the Clinton campaign. The State Department coordinated with her staff in responding to the email scandal, and the Justice Department kept her team informed about developments in the court case.

Worse, Mrs. Clinton’s State Department, as documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show, took special care of donors to the Clinton Foundation. In a series of 2010 emails, a senior aide to Mrs. Clinton asked a foundation official to let her know which groups offering assistance with the Haitian earthquake relief were “FOB” (Friends of Bill) or “WJC VIPs” (William Jefferson Clinton VIPs). Those who made the cut appear to have been teed up for contracts. Those who weren’t? Routed to a standard government website....

Mrs. Clinton has been exposed to have no core, to be someone who constantly changes her position to maximize political gain. Leaked speeches prove that she has two positions (public and private) on banks; two positions on the wealthy; two positions on borders; two positions on energy. Her team had endless discussions about what positions she should adopt to appease “the Red Army”—i.e. “the base of the Democratic Party


2--Economists Believe a Recession Is Likely Within Next Four Years       --In WSJ survey, GDP forecasts are little changed at 2.2% in 2017, 2% in 2018


The current expansion began in June 2009, and has now continued for 88 months, making it the fourth-longest period of growth in records stretching to 1854.
Economists see a 20% chance of a recession within the next year, and see those odds rising as the window gets longer. Asked to name the specific risks, a plurality cited the possibility of a global economic slowdown, which could be largely beyond the next president’s control.
To be clear, the length of an expansion bears little relation to its strength. The U.S. economy has grown at a 2.1% annual pace since 2009. That is the slowest growth of any expansion after World War II. Many economists were once optimistic that growth would accelerate, but now most forecast the economy will continue to grow at this pace in coming years.

3--Well, that sounds fair--The Republican Party Has Spent $0 On TV Ads For Trump After Spending $42 Million For Romney In 2012

4--The election blues--Consumer Confidence Crashes To 2-Year Lows, Election Blamed
Whoever wins, we lose

5--The Most Important WikiLeak" - How Wall Street Built The Obama Cabinet

6--Over the top, but thought-provoking--Claremont’s Codevilla On the Coming Revolution

despite appearances to the contrary, there is a unified oligarchic Establishment that straddles both the Republican and Democrat parties. This has not been so obvious in previous elections, when Republicans and Democrats were apparently quite different on some issues. However, the rise of Donald Trump has shown that the Establishment is entirely united. For example, billionaires are supporting Hillary Clinton 20–1, whereas in previous elections, they were much more split between the two parties. Not one Fortune 100 CEO is supporting Trump.

The other pillar of the Ruling Class is the media which reflects academic culture and political culture generally. The media, along with academia, and the bureaucracy, have been prime drivers of this top-down revolution, in which the moral and intellectual high ground has been seized by people hostile to the traditional peoples and cultures of the West. This new Ruling Class is completely out of touch with the interests of a majority of its citizens—particularly White Americans

5--Obama is up-t-his-ears in the Yemen war-- Yemen Sees U.S. Strikes as Evidence of Hidden Hand Behind Saudi Air War.


The NYT piece reads:
WASHINGTON — For the United States, it was simple retaliation: Rebels in Yemen had fired missiles at an American warship twice in four days, and so the United States hit back, destroying rebel radar facilities with missiles. But for the rebels and many others in Yemen, the predawn strikes on Thursday were just the first public evidence of what they have long believed: that the United States has been waging an extended campaign in the country, the hidden hand behind Saudi Arabia’s punishing air war....

Up to now, the Obama administration put limits on its support for the Saudi-led coalition, providing intelligence and Air Force tankers to refuel the coalition’s jets and bombers. The American military has refueled more than 5,700 aircraft involved in the bombing campaign since it began, according to statistics provided by United States Central Command, which oversees American military operations in the Middle East.
So the "first evidence" of the "hidden hand" were, unlike the NYT today claims, not yesterdays strikes but official reports on the public CentCom website? Maybe frequent discussions of the war on Yemen the U.S. Congress held since a year ago also count as evidence? Various public reports over the last 18 month detailing the enormous amount of ammunition the U.S. openly sells to the Saudis were also just sightings of "hidden" hands?

Such reporting as in today's NYT is just laughable. It flies in face of all reports of the last 18 month as well as extensive evidence given by the U.S. and other governments. The strikes on the radar sites were just "retaliation". They have no larger context. This is a typical reflection of the U.S. myth of "immaculate conception" of U.S. foreign policy. According to that believe the U.S. always only reacts to being "attacked" or "threatened" for completely incomprehensible reasons when it bombs this or that country and kills thousands or even millions of foreign people.

6--Houthi leader claims US preparing to invade Yemen

7--Obama to discuss bombing Syrian military positions – officials

One scenario to be discussed involves direct US military action in Syria, including airstrikes on Syrian military, radar and anti-aircraft bases, as well as arms depots, Reuters  citing high-ranking US officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

8--Leaked Clinton email admits Saudi, Qatari government funding of ISIS in Syria

The email acknowledges that the sources for the assessment of the Saudi and Qatari support for ISIS “include Western intelligence, US intelligence and sources in the region.”
The document calls for increased reliance upon the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga as a key proxy force for combating ISIS in Iraq, pointing to the Kurdish militia’s “long standing relationships with CIA officers and Special Forces operators.”

It adds: “While this military/para-military operation is moving forward, we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL [ISIS] and other radical Sunni groups in the region.”
The email continues: “This effort will be enhanced by the stepped up commitment in the [Kurdish Regional Government]. The Qataris and Saudis will be put in a position of balancing policy between their ongoing competition to dominate the Sunni world and the consequences of serious US pressure...

The contents of the Clinton-Podesta email are supplemented by a separate email released by WikiLeaks that includes an excerpt from a secret speech delivered by Clinton in 2013 that was flagged as problematic by her staff. In it she claimed that US attempts to “vet, identify, train and arm cadres of rebels” in Syria had been “complicated by the fact that the Saudis and others are shipping large amounts of weapons--and pretty indiscriminately--not at all targeted toward the people that we think would be the more moderate, least likely, to cause problems in the future.”

And previously, WikiLeaks posted a secret State Department memo signed by Clinton in 2009 that affirmed: “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, LeT, and other terrorist groups...

The method of the “public and private” position is clearly in force in relation to Saudi Arabia, and for good reason.
Saudi Arabia remains a key pillar of political reaction and imperialist domination in the Middle East, with its ruling monarchy constituting the world’s chief customer of the American arms industry. Some $115 billion in US weapons and military support have poured into the kingdom since Obama took office in 2009.
More importantly, the Saudi government support for Al Qaeda, ISIS and similar Islamist militias has developed in close collaboration with the CIA, which coordinated the flow of arms, money and foreign fighters into Syria from a station in southern Turkey.
Moreover, such collaboration began long before the Syrian civil war, dating back to the US-orchestrated war against the Soviet-backed regime in Afghanistan in the 1980s, where Al Qaeda got its start under the leadership of Osama bin Laden, who collaborated closely with the CIA and Pakistani intelligence.

The determination of the US ruling establishment to maintain a veil of secrecy over this collaboration was underscored by Obama’s veto--subsequently overridden--of legislation allowing Americans to sue foreign governments alleged to be responsible for terrorist attacks in the US. The clear target of the bill was Saudi Arabia, based on ample evidence of Saudi government involvement in the September 11, 2001 attacks that claimed nearly 3,000 lives.

The overriding fear within the administration and US ruling circles is that any serious probing of the Saudi role in these attacks would uncover the complicity of elements within the US intelligence agencies themselves in the events of 9/11.

Another significant element of the Clinton-Podesta email is its welcoming of the ISIS 2014 offensive in Iraq. It states that “the advance of ISIL [ISIS] through Iraq gives the U.S. Government an opportunity to change the way it deals with the chaotic security situation in North Africa and the Middle East. The most important factor in this matter is to make use of intelligence resources and Special Operations troops in an aggressive manner.”

In other words, ISIS provided a pretext for launching a renewed US military intervention aimed at furthering the strategic goal of American hegemony in the Middle East under the guise of a struggle against terrorism.
The email exchange further exposes Hillary Clinton’s deep involvement in all of these crimes

9--US launches missile strikes against Yemen

The main evidence cited by Washington for Houthi involvement in the alleged missile attacks stands as an indictment of US imperialism itself. The alleged attacks have been reported in the wake of the savage October 8 bombing of a funeral by Saudi warplanes that claimed at least 155 lives and left another 500 wounded. Fragments of the 500-pound bombs used to massacre the mourners, who included senior officials in the Houthi governing authority as well as children, had markings identifying them as US-supplied. Washington’s claim is that the attacks on the US warship were carried out in retaliation.

The attribution of this motive to the Houthis only underscores US imperialism’s own guilt in relation to war crimes carried out in league with the despotic oil monarchies of the Gulf against one of the poorest nations on the face of the planet. The year-and-a-half-old bombing campaign has destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure and left 14 million people, more than half the country’s population, suffering from hunger.

This criminal war has exposed every pretext employed by Washington to justify its interventions in the Middle East, from the “war on terror” to “human rights.” As in Yemen, so in Iraq, Libya and Syria, US interventions are waged to secure geo-strategic domination and prepare for far more dangerous confrontations with Russia and China

10--The rise of the populist strongman in the US-- Donald Trump’s campaign takes a fascistic turn

In a speech delivered by Donald Trump to an audience of thousands in West Palm Beach, Florida, the Republican candidate turned his campaign in a more distinctly fascistic direction. Presenting himself as both the savior of America and the victim of a ruthless political and economic establishment, Trump sought to connect deep-seated social anger among masses of people with an “America First” program of anti-immigrant xenophobia, militarism, economic nationalism and authoritarianism.

Responding to the latest allegations of sexual abuse, Trump proclaimed that he is being targeted by international bankers, the corporate-controlled media and the political establishment who fear that his election will undermine their interests.

He offered as an alternative his own persona—the strong-man leader who is willing to bear the burden and make the sacrifices necessary for a pitiless struggle against such powerful adversaries. Trump warned that the November 8 election would be the last opportunity for the American people to defeat the powerful vested interests that are supporting Hillary Clinton...

Trump denounced the “global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities.”

He continued: “Just look at what this corrupt establishment has done to our cities like Detroit and Flint, Michigan—and rural towns in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina and across our country. They have stripped these towns bare, and raided the wealth for themselves and taken away their jobs.”
He went on to cite internal Clinton campaign emails published by WikiLeaks this week, documenting how, as Trump put it, “Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of US sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers.”...

Once Sanders quit the race and threw his support to Clinton, the epitome of the political establishment, the Democrats created the conditions in which Trump can present himself as the sole opponent of the status quo. He is seeking to draw on the social anger that previously animated support for Sanders. Indeed, he has repeatedly denounced Clinton for the corrupt, backroom maneuvers aimed at undermining Sanders, which Sanders himself has worked to cover up as he campaigns for Clinton

Once Sanders quit the race and threw his support to Clinton, the epitome of the political establishment, the Democrats created the conditions in which Trump can present himself as the sole opponent of the status quo. He is seeking to draw on the social anger that previously animated support for Sanders. Indeed, he has repeatedly denounced Clinton for the corrupt, backroom maneuvers aimed at undermining Sanders, which Sanders himself has worked to cover up as he campaigns for Clinton

The Democratic campaign and its media allies are using methods similar to those the ultra-right employed in its efforts to oust Bill Clinton from the White House in the 1990s. They are seeking to stampede public opinion with increasingly sensationalized material. These methods degrade political discussion and distract popular consciousness from the real issues in the election.

It would be wrong to conclude that masses of people are attending Trump’s rallies and supporting his campaign because they want a fascist solution to their problems. He is drawing support because, from the rotten miasma of official politics, including the self-absorbed identity politics of the Democratic Party, layers of the middle class and working class find nothing that appeals to them.
Trump’s appeal is that he is seen as shaking a collective fist at the political elites.
However, there is a real danger. If Clinton wins the election, the policies that she will pursue will only increase the anger and social discontent among broad masses of the population. Clinton would come to power as one of the most despised candidates in American history.

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