Friday, November 4, 2016

Today's links

1---Russophobia: War Party Propaganda

The United States and its allies are the cause of Syria’s destruction. Their effort to overthrow president Assad created a humanitarian disaster complete with ISIS and al Nusra fighters who love to chop off heads for entertainment. Far from being the cause of the catastrophe Russia left its ally to fight alone for four years. They even made overtures to negotiate Assad’s fate with the United States. All attempts to stop the fighting were rejected by the U.S. and NATO and sealed the fate of the Syrian people. The people of east Aleppo are being shelled by American allies but one wouldn’t know that by reading what passes for journalism in newspapers and on television. The American role in the slaughter is barely mentioned or is excused as an effort to protect the civilian population. The bloodshed was made in the U.S. and could end if this government wanted it to.

2--Robert Kennedy Jr.: Syria Is Another Pipeline War

3--Trump Wants Former Goldman Partner And Soros Employee To Serve As Treasury Secretary

Six months ago, Steven Mnuchin became finance chair for the Trump campaign. Having succesfully helped to raise 10s of millions of dollars for the campaign, the former Goldman Sachs partner and Soros Fund management employee is now positioned for something much larger as Donald Trump reportedly told his aides today that he wants Mnuchin to serve as his Treasury Secretary.

Ironically, Trump has often criticized Clinton (and his former competitor Ted Cruz) for their links to the big banks:
"I know the guys at Goldman Sachs. They have total, total control over him. Just like they have total control over Hillary Clinton,” Trump said in one debate.
But as we noted previously, he had no qualms, however, in hiring one of the most prominent Goldman alums to raise money for him.

To be sure, Hillary Clinton, who in turn has been attacked for her paid speeches to Goldman Sachs (and her public-private positioning for them), also has a high-ranking Goldman official in her ranks, former CFTC commissioner Gary Gensler, who is the former secretary of state’s chief financial officer and whom she is grooming for a potential Treasury Secretary.
But for Trump, a self-professed "anti-establishment" candidate, who has repeatedly stated he is not "for sale to special interest groups", his sudden call for the seemingly most "Wall Street" of Wall-Streeters to become Treasury Secretary may come as a big surprise to some and will leave many of his supporters demanding an explanation.

4--The Saudis are funding ISIS

“I think this is the most significant email in the whole collection,” Assange, whose whistleblowing site released three tranches of Clinton-related emails over the past year, told Pilger in an exclusive interview, courtesy of Dartmouth Films.

“All serious analysts know, and even the US government has agreed, that some Saudi figures have been supporting ISIS and funding ISIS, but the dodge has always been that it is some “rogue” princes using their oil money to do whatever they like, but actually the government disapproves. But that email says that it is the government of Saudi Arabia, and the government of Qatar that have been funding ISIS.”

5--Turkey prepares to intervene in Mosul

If Turkey enters the Battle of Mosul, all bets are off, as things can take an unexpected turn. Both Iraq and Iran (and the US and Russia) would know that Turkey has geopolitical objectives. Indeed, Turkish media is for the first time opening challenging the Lausanne Treaty of 1923 under which Britain had handed over Mosul to Iraq. President Recep Erdogan himself staked claim recently to the former Ottoman territories: “We are not happy with these borders. Our territory which was 2.5 million square kilometers in 1914 shrank to 780 thousand square kilometers nine years later, when Lausanne was signed… Those who are trying to imprison Turkey in a vicious circle since 1923 want to erase our thousand-year history in this region.”

Clearly, so much remains in the womb of time. The Arab world will feel uneasy if and when Turkey begins to reclaim former Ottoman territories. An incredibly complex situation is unfolding as the contestation over Mosul’s post-IS future begins. Read an excellent analysis by the European Council on Foreign Relations titled Mosul operation sees Turkey flex its muscles

6--Mosul operation sees Turkey flex its muscles

Turkish television is suddenly awash with talk of Turkey’s “historic rights” in Mosul, displaying maps of the late Ottoman era that place the city under Turkish rule. Newspaper columns draw attention to one of the founding documents of the modern republic – the 1920 National Pact signed by the outgoing Ottoman parliament – which places Mosul inside Turkey’s national borders....

7--‘We are witnessing the criminalization of our politics’ – Katrina Vanden Heuvel

RT: Full disclosure has been a theme of both campaigns. Do you think that this played into Comey’s decision? Because imagine he holds back the information, there are new emails, then there is election and then it comes out, and you can see where this could unravel. What are your thoughts on that?

KVH: But it is not his job to come forward. As a director of the FBI, his job is for his investigators to organize material and to bring it to the Department of Justice.

8--Putin: Valdai you tube

9--'Fool's' monetary policy helped create Donald Trump, says ex-Fed president Fisher

Fisher argued in the past that low rates and money-printing were distorting market values and severely hurting savers, but the Fed has kept the pedal floored on easy monetary policy since the financial crisis.
"I was therefore not the least bit surprised by the rise of Donald Trump or movements similar to his elsewhere, just, as anybody who I advised before June 23 knew I was not surprised by Brexit," he said.
Global monetary policy has "skewered the middle-income groups, the 'middle class,' adding to the angst that has sprung from their sense of an overbearing, intrusive central government."
"Small wonder that we have ended up at a political crossroad, with a choice for the presidency between a candidate who advocates having government distribute still more to ease the pain and another arguing to provide relief by changing gears entirely, though we know not how, when or where," Fisher added.

Fisher cited the zero and negative interest rate policies, along with trillions worth of money-printing known as quantitative easing adopted by the Fed and its global counterparts as measures that have spurred wealth inequality and increased economic and market risks.
"These schemes, coupled with the mere force of limitation of a feckless political class that can't contrive fiscal and regulatory policy that creates jobs and fosters economic prosperity, has put us in the present unhappy presidential predicament we are confronted with," he said...

Fisher believes that is no accident, considering the current climate.
"My more acerbic friends on both sides of the aisle consider it a Hobson's choice," he said, referring to a situation where it seems there's free choice but in reality there's no good alternative. "On the one hand, Republicans believe the other party's candidate is channeling Eva Peron, planning policies that will ultimately lead us down the Argentine path to economic ruin while basking in personal profit and glory. On the other, Democrats liken the Republican candidate to Caligula."

More particularly, he said the rise of populists like Trump and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders , who challenged Clinton during the primaries, is a revolt "against monetary policy that cripples their savings and spending power, taxes that strip them of what they earn by the sweat of their brow or the strength of their back, and regulations that dictate their behavior where they work and live and study, tend to their medical needs, and even worship."

While Fisher said he fears the direction the country is heading, he closed the speech on an optimistic note.

"We may well be poised for a financial markets reversal. We may well be on the eve of a political debacle," he said. "But we are Americans. We screw things up pretty badly, pretty often. But, as Churchill said, after trying everything else, we eventually do the right thing. We will have no choice but to do it again."

10--Voters: Media more likely than Russian hackers to tamper with election

The Gallup Poll has found trust in the media to have sunk to an historic low. A September Gallup survey found just 32 percent of American adults saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media," a number that has dropped eight percentage points from last year....

Voters fear the media far more than Russian hackers when it comes to tampering with election results.
According to a Suffolk University/USA Today poll, 46 percent of likely voters believe the news media is "the primary threat that might try to change the election results."
The national political establishment was the second most-suspected group at 21 percent, and another 13 percent were undecided

11--War of smears and scandals intensifies in US election campaign

Opposition to Clinton’s candidacy within the FBI—a supposedly non-political investigative agency headed by an appointee of President Obama—was underscored by reports in right-wing media outlets Wednesday that agents were pushing an investigation “into possible pay-for-play interaction between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the [Clinton] Foundation.”

Fox News anchor Bret Baier, citing unnamed sources close to the FBI investigation, claimed that the investigation into the Clinton Foundation was “a very high priority” and that “agents are actively and aggressively pursuing this case.” He claimed that “an indictment” was believed likely, although he did not indicate who was to be indicted or for what alleged crime.

The Wall Street Journal—like Fox News, owned by ultra-right billionaire Rupert Murdoch—also reported Wednesday that FBI agents were engaged in a major investigation of the Clinton Foundation, during which they had obtained “secret recordings of a suspect talking about the Clinton Foundation,” without giving any details.

The Journal report also revealed that the FBI investigation began in response to the 2015 publication of an anti-Clinton book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, written by right-wing activist Peter Schweizer. In other words, FBI agents set out to collect evidence that would vindicate a political screed written to torpedo Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.....

Comey’s letter to Congress last week, apparently reviving the email investigation, was prompted by the continuing unrest within his agency. According to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, as many as 100 FBI agents had threatened to resign unless Comey took the extraordinary step of dropping a political bombshell only 11 days before Election Day. Other press reports described the ranks of the FBI as “Trumpland,” indicating that there is widespread support in the agency for the Republican candidate and his embrace of authoritarian methods against political opponents....

The WikiLeaks emails have proven highly damaging, detailing efforts by Bill Clinton and his top aides to cash in on the operations of the Clinton Foundation by inducing corporate contributors to the charity to pay Clinton lucrative fees for giving speeches or becoming a “consultant” to their businesses.

On Thursday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange flatly denied the claims that the Russian government had supplied the emails to his organization. “The Clinton camp has been able to project a neo-McCarthyist hysteria that Russia is responsible for everything,” Assange said in an interview with Dartmouth Films in Britain, where he has been confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Assange pointed out that the Clinton campaign has repeatedly lied about the emails, claiming the US intelligence agencies had determined that Russian intelligence agencies were responsible for the hacking. In fact, he said, no such determination had been made. US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has claimed that the email server of the Democratic National Committee had been hacked by the Russian government—without providing any evidence—but the DNI has been silent on the hacking of Podesta’s emails

12--Class struggle in US intensifies on eve of election

Between 2002 and 2015 annual earnings for the bottom 90 percent of Americans rose by only 4.5 percent, while earnings for the top 1 percent grew by 22.7 percent, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Under the Obama administration, more than 90 percent of income gains since the so-called “recovery” began have gone to the top one percent....

The elections have been conducted at the most degrading level in order to exclude the real issues confronting the broad mass of working people: economic insecurity and poverty and the growth of militarism and war.
The real sentiments of working people can find no expression within the framework of the existing political system. The ruling elite was shocked and frightened when millions of workers and young people voted for Bernie Sanders to register their opposition to the capitalist system and the tyranny of Wall Street. The 13 million votes for what was presented—falsely and cynically—as a “democratic socialist” campaign reflected a profound shift in consciousness to the left, developing alongside a revival of working class struggle....

The artificial suppression of the class struggle by the unions, which during the Obama presidency held strikes to the lowest level since the end of the Second World War, has allowed the corporations to restructure their operations and slash their labor costs in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash. This has entailed the shifting of health and pension costs onto the backs of workers and the transformation of millions of workers into casual laborers.

A common thread in virtually all of these struggles is opposition to corporate demands for higher out-of-pocket health care costs. The offloading of the cost of health coverage from the companies to the workers has escalated alongside the implementation of Obamacare, the central domestic “achievement” of the outgoing administration.


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