Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Today's links

Today's quote: "The Democratic Party campaign, well aware of its candidate’s unpopularity, is relying on the oldest form of political blackmail to bring out the vote for Hillary Clinton. She is, the party and its apologists insist, the “lesser evil.” As bad as Clinton is, the argument goes, she must be supported to avert the disaster that would inevitably follow the election of Trump." WSWS

“Do you realize what you have done?” Vladimir Putin, speaking at the UN in 2015, addressing US foreign policy in Iraq

1--This is How Consumers Turn into Debt Slaves

Consumer debt rose by $19.3 billion in September to $3.71 trillion, another record in a five-year series of records, the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors reported on Monday. Consumer debt is up 6% from a year ago, at a time when wages are barely creeping up and when consumer spending rose only 2.4% over the same period

auto debt up 38% from Q3 2012...The balances have also been rising because loan terms are getting stretched, and because the balances on individual loans have been getting bigger as cars got more expensive and loan-to-value ratios..

student loans--Total student loans, owned by the US government and by private-sector lenders, were $1.396 trillion at the end of September.

... credit-card and other revolving debt is once again shooting into the stratosphere, on its way to $1 trillion, though it still has a little ways to go before it hits the prior levels that blew up with such fanfare:

2--US-backed Forces Launch Raqqa Offensive as Terror Fears Grow in Europe, P Cockburn

3--Trump--No going back, P Buchanan

...seven of eight Republicans are voting for Trump, and he drew the largest and most enthusiastic crowds of any GOP nominee.
Not only did he rout the Republican elites, he ash-canned their agenda and repudiated the wars into which they plunged the country.

Trump did not create the forces that propelled his candidacy. But he recognized them, tapped into them, and unleashed a gusher of nationalism and populism that will not soon dissipate.
Whatever happens Tuesday, there is no going back now

4--Russian "Volunteers" and Egyptian Army in Syria?

5--Election day offensive-- Syrian Army launches major assault on west Aleppo

6--The real election surprise? The uprising of the American people

While both elections in 1980 and 2016 feature an American public that attitudinally wants real change there are differences that have already been noted: Many polls show that by just about 2 to 1 voters do not want to continue the policies of President Obama.....

The larger atmosphere is dominated by three overriding beliefs:
First, the American people believe that the country is not only on the wrong track but almost 70 percent say that America is in actual decline. The concept of decline is antithetical to the American experience.

Second, for more than three centuries, the animating moral obligation of America has been the self-imposed obligation that each generation passes on to its children a better America than they themselves inherited. This is what makes us Americans. In Armada’s polling we found that a majority of Americans believe that they are better off than their parents were. But a great majority says that THEIR children will be worse off than they themselves are today. This is the crisis of the American Dream. And it is no surprise that a majority of Americans agree that if we leave the next generation “worse off” that there will still be a place called “the United States” but there will no longer be an “America.”

Third, when asked whether or not everyone in America plays by the same rules to get ahead or are there different rules for well-connected and people with money, a staggering 84 percent of voters picked the latter. Only 10 percent believed that everyone has an equal opportunity.
These over-arching attitudes provide the framework for today’s political revolt.....

  The power of ordinary people to control our country is getting weaker every day, as political leaders on both sides, fight to protect their own power and privilege, at the expense of the nation’s well-being. We need to restore what we really believe in – real democracy by the people and real free-enterprise. AGREE = 87%; DISAGREE = 10%

2.  The country is run by an alliance of incumbent politicians, media pundits, lobbyists and other powerful money interests for their own gain at the expense of the American people. AGREE = 87%; DISAGREE = 10%

3.  Most politicians really care about people like me. AGREE = 25%; DISAGREE = 69%
4.  Powerful interests from Wall Street banks to corporations, unions and political interest groups have used campaign and lobbying money to rig the system for them. They are looting the national treasury of billions of dollars at the expense of every man, woman and child. AGREE = 81%; DISAGREE = 13%

  The real struggle for America is not between Democrats and Republicans but between mainstream American and the ruling political elites. AGREE = 67%; DISAGREE = 24%...

For years, the political elites have governed America for their own benefit and to the detriment of the American people – this election is the best chance in our lives to take back our government. AGREE = 63% (with 46% strongly agreeing); DISAGREE = 31%
Voters were then asked the same two questions of each candidate: Which is closer to your opinion if (Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump) wins: the political elites and special interests win; the political elite and special interests lose.
By 65 percent to 35 percent voters said that if Hillary Clinton wins the political elites WIN.  And by an opposite margin, the majority of voters said that by 57 percent to 43 percent the elites LOSE if Trump wins.
Significant numbers of Clinton’s own voters believe that her win is a victory for the unpopular elites and special political interests.

7--US not liberating Raqqa… it’s protecting jihadi proxies in Syria

8--Germany must detach foreign policy from US, whether Trump or Clinton wins – think tank

9--US-backed fighters advance on ISIS ‘capital’ Raqqa

10--Putin's warning, you tube

11--The nightmare election campaign staggers to its end

When and why did Americans lose faith in their system?”...

The Democratic Party campaign, well aware of its candidate’s unpopularity, is relying on the oldest form of political blackmail to bring out the vote for Hillary Clinton. She is, the party and its apologists insist, the “lesser evil.” As bad as Clinton is, the argument goes, she must be supported to avert the disaster that would inevitably follow the election of Trump.
The problem with the “lesser evil” argument is that it leads to results that are worse than what those who voted one way or the other were hoping to prevent.

The “terrible Trump” theory of American politics explains nothing. The nomination of this absurd and obscene blowhard is itself an outcome of the deep crisis of American society. He is the political equivalent of the metastatic spread of a primary and deadly tumor. Trump is the product of a corporate-dominated political culture, which, for at least the last 40 years, has promoted social backwardness and reaction....

In terms of social policy, Clinton is pledged to continue the policies of the Obama administration, which has overseen a massive transfer of wealth to the rich and the return of social inequality to the historic levels that prevailed in the first decades of the twentieth century...

The crisis confronting the United States today is no less profound than the situation that faced the Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union a quarter-century ago. Four decades of declining living standards and growing social inequality, a quarter-century of unending war, fifteen years of the “war on terror” accompanied by a vast expansion of the power of the military-intelligence apparatus: These are the pressures that are tearing the democratic fabric apart.

Nor is the crisis expressed in this election a uniquely American phenomenon. It is paralleled by global shocks such as the Brexit referendum in Britain, the rise of far-right and fascistic movements throughout Europe, and the general discrediting of political institutions throughout the world.
Underlying everything is a crisis of world capitalism, manifested in an expanding imperialist war drive that threatens the entire planet, and the growth of the class struggle, which is the objective foundation for socialist revolution.

12--FBI concludes extended probe into Clinton emails

In one quarter, however, the second Comey letter was greeted with exuberance—the New York Stock Exchange. Stock prices fell for nine straight trading days after the first Comey letter, in large part due to uncertainty over the outcome of the election and concern that Trump might prevail over Clinton, the favored candidate of the banks, hedge funds and Wall Street as a whole.

13--Washington willing to fight Russia to the last European --NATO announces largest troop deployments against Russia since Cold War

NATO will place hundreds of thousands of troops on alert for military action against Russia in the coming months, top NATO officials told the Times of London on Monday.
The US-led military alliance is planning to speed up the mobilization of forces numbering in the tens of thousands and, ultimately, hundreds of thousands and millions that are to be mobilized against Russia. Beyond its existing 5,000-strong emergency response force, NATO is tripling its “incumbent response force” to 40,000 and putting hundreds of thousands of troops on higher alert levels.
The Times wrote, “Sir Adam West, Britain’s outgoing permanent representative to NATO, said he thought that the goal was to speed up the response time of up to 300,000 military personnel to about two months. At present a force of this size could take up to 180 days to deploy.”

The primary threat of military aggression and war in Europe comes not from Russia, but from the NATO countries. Over the past 25 years, the imperialist powers of NATO have bombed and invaded countries in Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Within Europe, they bombed Serbia and Kosovo in the Balkan Wars of the 1990s, pushed NATO’s borders hundreds of miles to the East, and backed a violent, fascist-led putsch to topple a pro-Russian government in Ukraine in 2014....

The geo-strategically disastrous consequences of the Stalinist bureaucracy's dissolution of the Soviet Union and restoration of capitalism in Eastern Europe are ever more apparent. With NATO troops or proxy forces stationed in a geographic belt extending from the Baltic republics to Poland, Ukraine and Romania—either a short distance from or on Russia's borders—NATO is now poised for a major war against Russia that could escalate into a nuclear conflagration.
An examination of Stoltenberg’s remarks shows that NATO’s plans are not defensive preparations to counter a sudden conventional invasion of Europe by the Russian army. In such a scenario, Russian tank columns would overrun the few thousand or tens of thousands of troops in NATO’s various emergency response forces, depriving the broader ranks of NATO “follow-up” forces the 60 to 180 days they need to mobilize....

The aggressive character of NATO’s agenda is illustrated by a report issued last month by the CIA-linked Rand Corporation think tank on the military situation in the Baltic republics of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The small military forces NATO has posted in the Baltic republics, Rand wrote, are “inviting a devastating war, rather than deterring it.” They calculated that Russian forces, if they actually invaded, could overrun these countries in approximately 60 hours.....

We have seen a more assertive Russia implementing a substantial military build-up of many years, tripling defence spending since 2000 in real terms; developing new military capabilities; exercising their forces and using military force against neighbours,” Stoltenberg said. “We have also seen Russia using propaganda in Europe among NATO allies and that is exactly the reason why NATO is responding. We are responding with the biggest reinforcement of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War.”

These statements show how NATO planning for a horrific war against Russia has continued behind the backs of the people throughout the US presidential election campaign. Military deployments and war preparations by the Pentagon and the general staffs of the various European countries are set to go ahead, moreover, whatever the outcome of the election in the United States and those slated for 2017 in the European NATO countries.

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