Monday, March 27, 2017

Today's Links

“Nation state as a fundamental unit of man’s organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force: International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state.” — Zbigniew Brzezinski, “Between Two Ages: The Technetronic Era”, 1971

1--China’s Great Leap Forward

Historical amnesia infects these most deep diving frogs. Forgotten is how the post WW2 US invaded and destroyed Korea and Indo-China (Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia) killing over nine million inhabitants, both civilian and defenders. The US invaded, colonized and neo-colonized the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century, killing up to one million inhabitants. It continues to build and expands its network of military bases encircling China, It recently moved powerful, nuclear armed THADD missiles to the North Korean border, capable of attacking Chinese and even Russian cities. The US is the worlds’ largest arms exporter, surpassing the collective production and sale of the next five leading merchants of death.

In contrast, China has not unilaterally attacked, invaded or occupied anyone in hundreds of years. It does not place nuclear missiles on the US coast or borders. In fact, it does not have a single overseas military base. Its own military bases, in the South China Sea, are established to protect its vital maritime routes from pirates and the increasingly provocative US naval armada. China’s military budget, scheduled to increase by 7% in 2017, is still less than one-fourth of the US budget....

Unlike China, the US is wallowing at less than 2% annual growth. Wages stagnate for decades; real wages and living standards decline. The costs of education and health care skyrocket, while the quality of these vital services decline dramatically. Costs are growing, un-employment is growing and worker suicide and mortality is growing. It is absolutely vital that the West acknowledge China’s impressive advances in order to learn, borrow and foster a similar pattern of positive growth and equity. Co-operation between China and the US is essential for promoting peace and justice in Asia

2--Brookings Plan Materializes in E Syria--Kurdish leader expects Raqqa to join federal system in Syria Breaking apart Syria as per US strategic plan

The northern Syrian city of Raqqa is expected to join a decentralized system of government being set up by Syrian Kurdish groups and their allies once it is captured from ISIS, a leading Kurdish politician told Reuters on Monday.

The U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), are closing in on the ISIS de facto capital of Raqqa.

Saleh Muslim, the co-chair of the Syrian Kurdish PYD party, claimed it would be up to the people of Raqqa to decide their future once the city is purged of ISIS, but he thinks the city will join the “democratic federal” system, Reuters reported.

“We expect (this) because our project is for all of Syria … and Raqqa can be part of it,” Muslim said in a telephone interview. “Our only concern is that the people of Raqqa are the ones who take the decision on everything.”

The “democratic federal” system aims to build on three autonomous areas set up by the main Kurdish groups in the north and decentralise Syria. This illegal move undermines the efforts of the Syrian government to preserve the state

Muslim added that Raqqa needed to be in “friendly hands” otherwise it would form a “danger to all Syria, particularly northern Syria, the federal system of northern Syria, the areas of self administration”.

3--Fading Trump rally threatened by rare contraction of US credit

4--Is Trump Giving the Pentagon Free Rein to Wage War as It Likes?

5--Paper Wealth In US Stocks Reaches $32 Trillion (Fed)

6--(archive Feb 27) Trump says U.S. ‘never wins wars’ anymore

President Trump said Monday the U.S. has squandered trillions of dollars on military operations in the Middle East over the past two decades without winning any of the wars.
“We never win, and we don’t fight to win,” the new commander-in-chief told the nation’s governors at a White House meeting. “We’ve either got to win, or don’t fight it at all.”

In previewing his first budget proposal, the president said he’ll call for a big increase in military spending to send “a message to the world” about America’s strength and resolve. Mr. Trump said he wants to provide soldiers with the tools to deter war and, when called upon, “to start winning wars again.”
“When I was young, in high school and in college, everybody used to say we never lost a war. America never lost,” Mr. Trump said. “Now, we never win a war.”

He cited the example of the Middle East, where the U.S. has waged wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan since 2001.
“Here we are, almost 17 years of fighting in the Middle East,” Mr. Trump said. “I saw a chart, as of a month ago, $6 trillion we’ve spent in the Middle East. That’s just unacceptable.”

7--The massacre in Mosul

27 March 2017
The US-led “coalition” has admitted that its forces carried out the March 17 air strike in Mosul—ostensibly against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters—that slaughtered as many as 200 civilians, including numerous children. The admission was only made in the face of evidence provided by survivors to Iraqi journalists, whose accounts were reported by sections of the Western press.
The massacre is being described as possibly the largest single death toll inflicted by a coalition air strike since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The grim reality, however, is that very little is known about the impact of the assault on Mosul, which the Iraqi government began last October under pressure from the Obama administration. Coverage of the offensive has been heavily censored and marked by a propaganda-like character. Almost universally, the fighting has been portrayed as a “heroic” battle by Iraqi forces against the “barbaric” ISIS. Little attention has been given to the fate of hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped inside the besieged city....

The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights reported last weekend it has eyewitness accounts of 3,846 civilian deaths since the assault into western Mosul began in February. It has reports of 10,000 residential homes being destroyed. Every day, thousands of terrified and starving civilians risk their lives to flee through the battle lines to escape the city. The number of refugees has soared to well over 200,000, with more than 10,000 new displaced persons arriving most days. Aid agencies are overwhelmed and warn they will not be able to care for the estimated 400,000 people still hiding out in the city’s ISIS-held areas.
Every effort is being made to conceal from the American and world population the savage consequences of US-led military operations in the Middle East...

Above all, the political and media establishment attempt to conceal the fact that the very emergence of ISIS is the direct outcome of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, followed by the destruction of Libya and the proxy war the US and its allies sponsored in Syria.

8--Growing divisions, war threats loom over EU summit in Rome

The preamble to the 1957 Treaty of Rome signed by Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg reflects this long-abandoned strategy. Calling for “ever closer union among the peoples of Europe,” it pledges to ensure the “economic and social progress ... by common action to eliminate the barriers which divide Europe” and “the constant improvement of the living and working conditions” of European people.

Since the dissolution of the USSR in 1991 and the EU’s establishment in 1992 in the Maastricht Treaty, the EU has repudiated these conceptions. The NATO wars in the Balkans in the 1990s and above all the latest war drive against Russia, after the announcement of German re-militarization in 2014, went hand with accelerating austerity measures targeting basic social rights won by the working class in previous decades of struggle.

These took the sharpest form in Western Europe with EU austerity measures imposed after the 2008 Wall Street crash that devastated Greece and led to threats to expel Greece from the euro zone.
Deep political shocks are exposing the underlying bankruptcy of the EU and the unviability of attempts to unify Europe on a capitalist basis. With Brexit and the coming to power in Washington of the Trump administration, which has denounced the EU as a tool of German domination, the crisis of the EU has reached a new level of intensity. Even those sections of the European still defending the EU now aim to divide Europe in order to sideline, or even expel from the EU, those European countries that they see as an obstacle to their plans for war and austerity.

9--Somalia Flashback: Killing Nomads, Nimmo

Somalia is falling back into an all-out civil war fueled by the decades old unwillingness of the U.S. to condone an independent local unity government. The Islamic Court Union, a unity government created by the Somalis in 2006, was the last working instance of a real Somali state. It had no Jihadist agenda and held down local warlords. It was destroyed by the Bush administration.
The US does not want a political settlement in Somalia. It wants chaos. It needs al-Qaeda and Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen in order to justify its intervention and occupation of East Africa.

10--Senate votes to repeal FCC internet privacy regulations

By Bryan Dyne
27 March 2017
With virtually no public discussion, the US Senate voted Thursday to repeal a set of internet privacy regulations passed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last October.
If passed by the House of Representatives and signed into law by President Donald Trump, the legislation will allow internet service providers such as AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon to sell private communications information to the advertising industry and any other buyers, unimpeded by any sort of regulatory oversight.
The repeal was passed by the Senate using powers outlined in the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which gives Congress the authority to eliminate rules and guidelines passed by federal agencies before they go into effect. The use of the CRA will also prevent the FCC from passing “substantially similar” regulations in the future, essentially giving these companies free reign in regards to the data they collect from their users

11--Trump’s Wars

12--US Airstrikes Killed Nearly 300 Civilians in Mosul         

Pentagon Confirms Hitting Site, Says Iraq Asked Them To

13--Where the Anti-Russian Moral Panic is Leading Us

Yet they come very close to saying it. Here’s an approving article on the Oxford University web site that hardly masks Howard’s agenda:
“A form of mass propaganda more insidious than anything used in the 20th century is being used to manipulate global politics, according to the latest research. The culprit is social media and the lax regulation that allows voters to be bombarded with politically slanted misinformation – fake news.”
Insidious! Manipulative! “The culprit”! And what’s the solution? Regulation. The piece goes on to cite Howard:

“Ruling elites have often used propaganda to sustain their power, but this latest wave is different,’ says Professor Philip Howard, Director of Research at the Oxford Internet Institute and a Fellow of Balliol College. ‘Targeted messaging over social media is deeply personalized compared to the messaging that ‘all communists are evil’ that used to be distributed by mass films. It’s much more difficult to source who’s generating the content. Users think the messaging may be coming from their family and friends; it’s about particular issues the programmer knows you care about. And it appears to be pretty effective.’”

So it’s okay for “ruling elites” to use propaganda, “but this latest wave is different.” Well, yes, its goal is apparently to oppose the current ruling elites, which is what Howard objects to....

McCarthyism started out as a partisan campaign to tar the Democrats as the Kremlin’s party. But at least there was some evidence that the reds had indeed infiltrated the highest reaches of FDR’s administration. In the case of the neo-McCarthyites, their “evidence” consists of sheer assertions by anonymous spooks, cries of “it’s classified, we can’t give you the evidence,” and a case made by profit-making cyber-“security” companies like CrowdStrike that is fast coming unglued.


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