Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Today's Links

Today's Quote:

Before the election: "Lock her up!" After the election: Nope, "the Clinton's are good people". Before the election: "I'm going to build a big, beautiful wall". After the election: Nope, if anything does get built, it will look more like a "fence". But with Wilbur Ross (" It was with the assistance and assurance of Ross, then senior managing director of ROTHSCHILD,INC., that Trump was allowed to keep the casinos and rebuild his businesses.") as Secretary of Commerce, and Steven Mnuchin (GOLDMAN SACHS partner and Soros bagman) as Secretary of Commerce, the notorious Wall Street Banksters have run the table, maintained their iron grip on the U.S. economy, and will continue to extract all of what's left of America's middle class and working class wealth. ...
Now the question remains, will his Secretrary of State choice be a neocon, an Israel loyalist, -a Bain Capital, establishment figure, job destroyer, or all three in one? 

1--Will Iran be the target of the Trump regime?

2--Taliban Offers to Defend Afghan Mine, Gas Pipeline-- Leadership Orders Forces to Defend National Projects

While the Taliban’s 15 year insurgency doesn’t appear any closer to ending, the group has made a surprising move in announcing that they not only endorse efforts to exploit Afghanistan’s natural resources, but are ordering their fighters to defend such projects as “in the national interest.”

This includes some large government projects, including a copper mine and an international gas pipeline. The pledge also raises hope that further projects involving Afghanistan’s substantial natural resources, in particular rare earth elements.

A US study suggested Afghanistan has as much as $1 trillion in natural resources to be exploited, but the nation’s constant states of warfare have made projects trying to extract them virtually impossible. The Taliban’s move suggests that such development could happen independent of the war.

3--Trump Picks Goldman-Sachs Alumnus for Treasury

Donald Trump will nominate Steven Mnuchin as the next boss of the Treasury.
I wrote in September:

Trump said he will reform Wall Street, then he went out and hired Steve Mnuchin as his finance chairman. Mnuchin is a hedge fund manager. He worked for Goldman Sachs, the great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.

Zero Hedge summed it up nicely:

Should Mnuchin get the nod, it will certainly elevate his former employer, Goldman Sachs, to its traditional level of being pari passu with the US executive and legislative branch when it comes to decisionmaking. It also would mean that the swamp may be about to get a whole lot deeper.

It will be interesting to see the response on the part of the “liberty movement” that fell for Trump’s schtick.
He’s going to pack his administration with CHR members, bankers, fat cat corporatists, and neocons.

4--Former Senior Rothschild Crony Selected as Commerce Secretary

5--All Aboard! Trump’s Express Train To The Future

In an open video-letter to Donald Trump, he proposes that the feds should identify 10,000 of America’s “most promising entrepreneurs.” They should all have good ideas for the future – biotech, nanotech, green tech, whatever – but it should have a “tech” at the end. Then the feds should invest in their businesses, forming public-private partnerships.  Allocation of scarce resources by government bureaucrats – what could possibly go wrong?...

But wait –  our imagination has finally rebooted. And what’s this?  No train to the future? What we see is a runaway locomotive. Incompetence at the throttle, flimflam stoking the engine, and impossible, pie-in-the-sky hocus-pocus putting on a show for the passengers.
A hellish train, in other words – loaded with trillions of dollars of looted resources – misallocated, stolen, and frittered away

6--Saudi terrorist rehab is ‘hidden radicalization program,’ Gitmo prisoner says --Saudis create permanent army for US to fight around the world

A senior Al-Qaeda operative told a parole board at Guantanamo Bay that Saudi Arabia’s lauded “rehabilitation” center, which uses art therapy other methods to de-radicalize convicted terrorists, in reality appears to be a “hidden radicalization program.” ...

Citing US intelligence sources, a WikiLeaks-released email from Hillary Clinton recently revealed that Saudi Arabia has provided “clandestine financial and logistic support to” Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and “other radical Sunni groups in the region.
Earlier this year, the Gitmo prisoner said he heard a phone conversation between a religious figure who talked about his qualifications for jihad, and a person the figure addressed as “your highness,” who the prisoner believes to be a Saudi royal.

In June, al-Sharbi reported the alleged conversation with a Saudi royal family member to the Periodic Review Board. The conversation Sharbi described happened in early 2001, shortly after he returned to Saudi Arabia from the US, where he had taken some flight school courses in Phoenix with two men who would become hijackers in the 9/11 attacks, AP reported. The religious figure was urging him to go to America again and take part in a plot against the US.

7--Off the record??  Russia to talk with Erdogan about his comments on removing Assad

8--Govt Forces Are Close to Full Liberation of Aleppo City

Over 800 members of militant groups have laid down arms and surrendered to the Syrian government over last 48 hours.

9--US meets defeat in Aleppo

IMO the Battle of East Aleppo will be over soon.  R+6 is carving up what is left of the pocket like a Christmas "Turkey" (Heh! Heh!).  The Sheikh Sa'eed neighborhood at the south end of the kessel fell today, and a massive drive westward is underway from the area of Aleppo International Airport toward the citadel of Aleppo.  At the same time the Tiger Forces and Palestinian militia are pressing south from the lines they held yesterday along the east-west highway at the "waist" of the former East Aleppo pocket.  IMO the pocket will be gone in a few days

10-- New York Times vents Washington’s rage over debacle in Syria

For the Times, this is indeed a blow. Ever since President Barack Obama declared in 2011 that “Assad must go,” and the CIA and Pentagon, working in league with the most reactionary monarchical dictatorships in the Middle East—Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE—began pouring in billions of dollars in arms and money to back jihadist mercenaries, America’s “newspaper of record” has functioned as the leading propagandist for Syrian regime-change.

Its editorial pages are overseen by James Bennet, a figure with the closest ties to the state apparatus and the top echelons of the Democratic Party. (His father is a former head of USAID, a front for the CIA, and his brother is the senior senator from Colorado). The Times has churned out countless lying and hypocritical editorials and columns by such writers as Nicholas Kristof and Roger Cohen justifying the bloodbath instigated by US imperialism in Syria as a “human rights” crusade and promoting a more aggressive intervention, including a confrontation with Syria’s principal ally, Russia.

The latest front-page piece only underscores the fact that the line between editorial propaganda and news coverage in the newspaper has long since ceased to exist. The Times has shamelessly used its reporting to justify terrorist attacks and sectarian atrocities carried out by CIA-backed Islamists as legitimate actions by democratic revolutionaries, while demonizing Assad in the same manner employed in relation to Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi to prepare public opinion for the US wars of aggression in Iraq and Libya, both of which involved the murder of the targeted leaders....

The consolidation of government control over all of Aleppo, which is now almost universally recognized as inevitable, would deprive the US-backed forces of their last urban redoubt and place all of Syria’s main population centers under government control.

Among the most bitter responses to this development is a front-page article published Tuesday by the New York Times titled “Assad’s Prize If He Prevails: Syria in Tatters,” which grudgingly acknowledges that “President Bashar al-Assad is starting to look as if he may survive the uprising, even in the estimation of some of his staunchest opponents.”

11--Trump forms a Wall Street government to attack health care and workers’ rights

In selecting a Goldman Sachs alumnus to head the Treasury, Trump is following the example of George W. Bush, who appointed Henry Paulson, and Bill Clinton, who appointed Robert Rubin. Mnuchin’s father and brother had long careers at the firm, but Mnuchin left soon after becoming a partner, first working for billionaire George Soros (a prominent Clinton backer in 2016), then going west to make millions as a Hollywood financier, backing some highly profitable action films, including the X-Men franchise, as well as Avatar, Gravity and the execrable American Sniper .

One of his more controversial financial operations on the West Coast involved the takeover of the failed California mortgage lender IndyMac in 2009. He headed a group that bought IndyMac from government receivers, renamed it OneWest, pushed ruthlessly to foreclose on borrowers, and so improved the balance sheet that he sold the company to CIT in 2014 for more than twice the purchase price. Fair housing groups filed discrimination charges against OneWest for refusing to lend or refinance in certain minority areas...

Schumer added, “Senate Democrats have said that if President-elect Trump is serious about a major infrastructure bill, backed by real dollars and not just tax credits and without cutting other programs like health care and education, that we are ready to work with his administration.” Actually, the Democrats are ready to work with Trump under all circumstances, and if they cannot find anything “positive” to support, they will invent something

12--US president-elect says flag burners should be stripped of their citizenship

“If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable,” according to the ruling. The next year, in United States v. Eichman, the Supreme Court held the “Flag Protection Act,” passed in response to Texas v. Johnson, unconstitutional as well

13--Corporate profits rise

14--Decade of negative rates; Who benefited?

Who Benefited?
  • Bailed out banks
  • Government bodies via property tax hikes, income tax hikes, sales tax hikes and collection
  • Asset holders – The wealthy
The median guy lost. Those at the bottom end got clobbered much harder. Only the top 10% or so fared well.

15--Trump's war on Medicare

Gutting Obamacare might be the least controversial part of Tom Price’s health care agenda.
By tapping the tea party Republican as his top health care official, President-elect Donald Trump sends a strong signal he may look beyond repealing and replacing Obamacare to try to scale back Medicare and Medicaid, popular entitlements that cover roughly 130 million people, many of whom are sick, poor and vulnerable. And that’s a turnabout from Trump’s campaign pledge — still on his campaign website — that he would leave Medicare untouched.

16--Frightened by Donald Trump? You don’t know the half of it

17--Trump Will End Bank Rules. No He Won’t. A Guide for the Puzzled

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