Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Today's links

1--Netanyahu Opposes US-Russia South Syria Ceasefire Deal

Officials also say that during the US-Russia negotiations which led to the deal, Netanyahu presented the two sides with a “list of demands,” mostly insisting that Shi’ite forces couldn’t be allowed in southern Syria at all, and that Iran could not be allowed to “consolidate” its position in Syria. They also said Russian troops couldn’t be allowed to police the safe zones closest to the Israeli border.

2--The opioid epidemic in the US: A national health emergency

3--Democrats press anti-Russia campaign, now targeting Trump son-in-law

What is most remarkable about this campaign is that the Democrats are not attacking Trump or his advisers for the reactionary policies they have pursued in office—the onslaught against Medicaid, the persecution of immigrants, the defense of police violence, or the strutting militarism overseas.

Instead, the Democratic Party and media campaign is entirely devoted to alleging that Trump is the instrument of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and that his election was made possible, not by the right-wing policies of the Democratic Party and the Obama administration, but by an Internet campaign directed from Moscow.

The particular focus on Trump’s family members is not an accident. As the WSWS has previously written, “The United States is ruled by a financial-corporate oligarchy. But the Trump administration is an oligarchic government with a kleptocratic and nepotistic twist.” There is concern in powerful sections of the ruling class that the collection of reactionary oligarchs that is the Trump family is subordinating basic imperialist strategic interests—including the conflict with Russia—to their personal business ventures.

4--Netanyahu: Israel Opposes Cease-fire Deal Reached by U.S. and Russia in Southern Syria

5--The Real Crimes of Russiagate

Where is the special prosecutor to investigate the collusion between bureaucrats and members of the press who traffic in the stolen secrets of the republic?
Bottom line: Trump is facing a stacked deck.

Who controls the media spotlight controls what people talk about and think about. And mainstream media are determined to keep that spotlight on Trump-Russia, and as far away as possible from their agenda — breaking the Trump presidency and bringing him down...

Almost daily, there are leaks from the investigative and security arms of the U.S. government designed to damage this president.
Just days into Trump’s presidency, a rifle-shot intel community leak of a December meeting between Trump national security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn and Russia’s ambassador forced the firing of Flynn

PNAC revisited--the Alliance for Securing Democracy, the group describes itself as “a bipartisan, transatlantic initiative” that “will develop comprehensive strategies to defend against, deter, and raise the costs on Russian and other state actors’ efforts to undermine democracy and democratic institutions,” and also “will work to publicly document and expose Vladimir Putin’s ongoing efforts to subvert democracy in the United States and Europe.”...

the alliance of Democrats with the most extreme neocon elements is visible beyond the group’s staff leadership. Its board of advisers is composed of both leading Democratic foreign policy experts, along with the nation’s most extremist neocons....

there is now little to no daylight between leading Democratic Party foreign policy gurus and the Bush-era neocons who had wallowed in disgrace following the debacle of Iraq and the broader abuses of the war on terror....

Noting the Democratic Party’s decades-long embrace of the Cold War belligerence that neocons love most — from Truman and JFK to LBJ and Scoop Jackson — Heilbrunn documented the prominent neocons who, throughout Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, were heaping praise on her and moving to align with her. Heilbrunn explained the natural ideological affinity between neocons and establishment Democrats: “And the thing is, these neocons have a point,” he wrote. “Mrs. Clinton voted for the Iraq war; supported sending arms to Syrian rebels; likened Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, to Adolf Hitler; wholeheartedly backs Israel; and stresses the importance of promoting democracy.”...

long before the 2016 election — one of the leading neocon planks was that Russia and Putin pose a major threat to the west, and Obama was far too weak and deferential to stand up to this threat. From the start of the Obama presidency, the Weekly Standard warned that Obama failed to understand, and refused to confront, the dangers posed by Moscow. From Ukraine to Syria, neocons constantly attacked Obama for letting Putin walk all over him....

The song Democrats are now singing about Russia and Putin is one the neocons wrote many years ago, and all of the accompanying rhetorical tactics — accusing those who seek better relations with Moscow of being Putin’s stooges, unpatriotic, of suspect loyalties, etc. — are the ones that have defined the neocons smear campaigns for decades.

The union of Democrats and neocons is far more than a temporary marriage of convenience designed to bring down a common enemy. As this new policy group illustrates, the union is grounded in widespread ideological agreement on a broad array of foreign policy debates: from Israel to Syria to the Gulf States to Ukraine to Russia. And the narrow differences that exist between the two groups — on the wisdom of the Iran deal, the nobility of the Iraq War, the justifiability of torture — are more relics of past debates than current, live controversies. These two groups have found common cause because, with rare and limited exception, they share common policy beliefs and foreign policy mentalities.

7-- Tucker Carlson and Blumenthal (video)

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