Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Today's Links

1--Bending the rules? US takes Al Qaida off its terrorist watchlist

Washington finds a way to support terror in Syria

2--US Arms Makers’ Stocks at Record Highs on Saudi Deal

          Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Seen as the Biggest 'Winners'

3--Independents rise while GOP and Dems fall

4--Shaping The Future: Moscow And Beijing's Multipolar World Order

5--America's Reign of terror (Today's must read) 

As Reuters reported back in 2013:

Even as the US government confronts rival powers over widespread Internet espionage, it has become the biggest buyer in a burgeoning gray market where hackers and security firms sell tools for breaking into computers. The strategy is spurring concern in the technology industry and intelligence community that Washington is in effect encouraging hacking and failing to disclose to software companies and customers the vulnerabilities exploited by the purchased hacks. That’s because US intelligence and military agencies aren’t buying the tools primarily to fend off attacks. Rather, they are using the tools to infiltrate computer networks overseas, leaving behind spy programs and cyber-weapons that can disrupt data or damage systems

6--The Donald’s Risible Rendezvous in Riyadh

7--Trump’s Embarrassing Saudi Visit

8--Trump Cozies up to its Terrorist Enemy Saudi Arabia

Trump targeted Iran, saying,
But no discussion of stamping out this threat would be complete without mentioning the government that gives terrorists all three – safe harbor, financial backing, and the social standing needed for recruitment. It is a regime that is responsible for so much instability in the region. I am speaking of course of Iran.

From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region. For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror. It is a government that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing the destruction of Israel, death to America, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.

Among Iran’s most tragic and destabilizing interventions have been in Syria. Bolstered by Iran, Assad has committed unspeakable crimes, and the United States has taken firm action in response to the use of banned chemical weapons by the Assad Regime – launching 59 tomahawk missiles at the Syrian air base from where that murderous attack originated.

Responsible nations must work together to end the humanitarian crisis in Syria, eradicate ISIS, and restore stability to the region. The Iranian regime’s longest-suffering victims are its own people. Iran has a rich history and culture, but the people of Iran have endured hardship and despair under their leaders’ reckless pursuit of conflict and terror.

Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism, and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve....

Perhaps, even more disgusting that his attack on Iran was Trump’s forgetting his own words about Saudi Arabia. This is the same man who during his campaign last year told us that the Saudis were "mouth pieces, bullies, cowards," who were "paying ISIS." In addition to milking the Saudis to the tune of over $400 billion in arms sales that will be used to kill the people of Yemen and other Muslims in the region, Trump received the "Order of King Abdulaziz." Past recipients of the Order include Saddam Hussein, Egypt’s military dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Bashar al-Assad whom the Saudis have been trying to topple, and George W. Bush whose illegal and criminal invasion of Iraq set the Middle East on its current path of destruction of bloodshed, with no end in sight.

9--GOP Satisfaction With US Direction Soars, Democrats' Drops

Bottom Line
While Trump's inauguration only modestly affected satisfaction levels in the country as a whole, Republicans' and Democrats' satisfaction have changed dramatically. A shift in the relative satisfaction of party groups is consistent with historical patterns, but the degree to which Republicans' satisfaction surged after Trump took office is not.

Still, satisfaction remains below average from a historical perspective, as it has for the last decade. Given Democrats' overwhelming disapproval of Trump, it is likely that satisfaction will remain at the lower levels in the near future

10-- Trump embraces Saudi-generated terrorism

Of all Trump’s many betrayals – and they’re piling up at such a rate that he’s creating a veritable Mountain of Mendacity – this Saudi trip has got to be the one that will demoralize and alienate even his hardcore supporters. After rising to power on the strength of portraying Islam as inherently violent and dangerous, he’s now joining hands with the leaders of what he once described as “the hateful ideology of radical Islam.” It’s as if Mother Theresa had embraced the Church of Satan. ...

what Trump said about them during the election:
“Saudi Arabia and many of the countries that gave vast amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation want women as slaves and to kill gays. Hillary must return all money from such countries!”

And then there was this tweet:
“Tell Saudi Arabia and others that we want (demand!) free oil for the next ten years or we will not protect their private Boeing 747s. Pay up!”...

Most tellingly, it was Trump who made a campaign issue out of the missing 28 pages redacted from the Joint congressional report on the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In calling for their release, he painted a scenario in which the Saudi royals assisted the hijackers and said:
“You know, it’s sort of nice to know who your friends are, and perhaps who your enemies are.”

11--French Fu**head Macron orders terrorist war of annihilation on French workers

Macron, a former investment banker at the Rothschild bank, aims to impose the arrogant diktat of the banks. Under Hollande’s presidency, as workers’ living standards fell, the wealth of top French multi-billionaires like Liliane Bettencourt and Philippe Arnault nearly doubled. With the world economy still mired in crisis, however, and France’s economic position and its weight in world trade continuing to fall, the ruling class is determined to squeeze even more money out of workers and place it in the hands of the super-rich.
The working class is faced with a political struggle against an absolutely ruthless government that is willing to resort to forms of repression unseen in France since the 1940s in order to ram through the diktat of the banks. The new administration is aware that it faces massive popular opposition and is making detailed plans to crush strikes and protests...

Last week, the media revealed that the PS had made plans for a coup d’état after the presidential elections to be implemented had Marine Le Pen won. Its purpose would not have been to topple Le Pen, but to crush anti-fascist protests and suspend normal parliamentary procedure by imposing a PS government on Le Pen.
Incoming Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said on Friday that he will review the state of emergency and that he would support extending it yet again past its current expiration date, July 15. “I think at some point we will have to end the state of emergency. But is now the right time? Maybe not right after the formation of the government,” Collomb told RTL.
Under the state of emergency, workers exercising constitutionally-protected rights to strike and protest can be targeted with bans on demonstrations, arbitrary detentions and house arrest by police. That is to say, the French capitalist class is repudiating the promises it made in the aftermath of World War II never to return to the arbitrary and unrestrained oppression of working people that characterized the Nazi occupation.

The decrees being discussed indicate that Macron aims to tear up the entire framework of labor relations in France as they emerged from the liberation from Nazi occupation and the social concessions of the immediate post-World War II period.

Many of these decrees aim to re-introduce provisions into the 2016 labor law that the previous Socialist Party (PS) government removed in order to halt strikes and protests against the law. The PS rammed the law through without a parliamentary vote in the face of opposition from 70 percent of the French population, as riot police were sent under the state of emergency to assault protesters and striking workers. Nevertheless, in order to prevent a social explosion, many provisions favored by Macron were removed. He now wants to reinstate them. They include

12--Trump calls for $1.7 trillion in social cuts

A bipartisan assault

In the wake of Trump’s budget proposal, the Democrats have responded with their standard empty rhetoric. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer—one of Congress’ biggest recipients of Wall Street campaign money—decried Trump’s “hard-right policies that benefit the ultra-wealthy at the expense of the middle-class.” Just three weeks ago, Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi were hailing the passage of a bipartisan fiscal 2017 budget that cut food stamps by $2.4 billion, slashed funding for education and the environment, and added billions more for the military and border control.
Obamacare paved the way for the present assault on Medicaid and the coming attacks on Medicare and Social Security by further subordinating health care to the profit demands of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries and imposing higher costs for reduced benefits on millions of workers.

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