Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Today's Links

1--- Polls show plunging popular support for Trump 

Approval of Trump’s performance as president fell to new lows in virtually every poll: 32 percent according to Investor’s Business Daily, 33 percent according to Quinnipiac University, 36 percent in the CBS survey, 37 percent recorded by both the Gallup daily tracking poll and Reuters/IPSOS, and 38 percent according to CNN.
All of these figures are record lows for an American president during his first year in office. Normally it requires a major war, financial collapse, social disaster or scandal to generate such a level of popular disapproval and distrust...

Quinnipiac found that among white voters without a college degree, the demographic in which Trump posted his largest electoral margin, approval of Trump’s job performance fell from 53 percent in June to only 40 percent.
Investor’s Business Daily noted that Trump “lost significant support across the board, but saw big declines among areas of core support, including Republicans, Midwesterners, middle-income families, white men and the high-school educated.” This included a 12-point drop among Republicans.
Among income groups, Trump suffered the biggest losses among those with household incomes between $30,000 and $50,000, dropping from 40 percent in early July to 27 percent in early August....

The polls found that health care and immigration were among the most important issues fueling hostility towards the Trump administration. CNN found 62 percent disapproval of Trump on health care, 55 percent disapproval on immigration, 61 percent on foreign policy and 54 percent on “helping the middle class.” CBS found 59 percent disapproval on health care, 57 percent disapproval on immigration, and 61 percent disapproval of Trump’s policy towards North Korea.....

The crumbling popular support for Trump has thrown both capitalist parties into crisis, the Democrats no less than the Republicans, and perhaps even more so. Nothing terrifies the Democrats more than the prospect of a mass movement from below directed against the right-wing policies of the Trump administration, because it would threaten the capitalist system as a whole.

This fear of the working class, as much as a desire to curry favor with the military-intelligence apparatus, accounts for the maniacal insistence of the Democrats that the sole issue of any importance in American politics is the alleged Russian intervention in the 2016 presidential election.

This issue was pioneered during the election campaign itself by Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, who sought to overcome her own deep unpopularity, because of her close identification with Wall Street and war, by painting Trump as the favored candidate of Moscow. That appeal failed in the election and the current even more intense anti-Russian campaign is still failing to resonate among working people.

2-- Trump threatens “fire and fury” against North Korea 

No one should dismiss Trump’s statements as empty rhetoric. By threatening North Korea with annihilation if it carries out further tests, Trump has created a situation where it is impossible for him to back down. Moreover, such is the intense crisis and infighting in American ruling circles that Trump may be driven to launch a reckless attack on North Korea as a means of diverting attention from the political turmoil at home.
The Trump administration, assisted by a servile media, is already ramping up a propaganda campaign aimed at stampeding American public opinion into believing that US cities are in imminent danger of a nuclear attack from North Korea.
The Washington Post yesterday featured an article entitled, “North Korea is fast approaching Trump’s red line.” The article uncritically reported claims made in “a previously secret Defence Intelligence Agency analysis” that Pyongyang had produced “a miniaturised warhead that can fit inside one of the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) that it has been testing.”
These claims come from the same American intelligence establishment that forged the lies about weapons of mass destruction used to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq. They cannot be taken at face value. Everything about North Korea’s so-called ICBMs remains in question, including their range, accuracy, warhead load and ability to survive re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere.

3-- Syria charges Washington with war crimes in siege of Raqqa 

In an appeal to the United Nations, the Syrian government denounced this US war crime.

“The systematic bombing of residential areas, houses of civilians, the destruction of the Raqqa state hospital and the use of banned white phosphorus by the aircraft of the international coalition are a blatant violation of international law and is among a number of coalition’s crimes against the innocent [civilians] in the provinces and cities of Syria,” the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Sunday.

Noting that the US military is operating in Syria “outside the framework of the UN and without the permission from the Syrian government,” the ministry called upon the United Nations to uphold international law by ordering Washington and its “coalition” out of the country. Given the US veto on the UN Security Council and the habitual subservience of the UN to US imperialist interests, there is no prospect for such an intervention

US imperialism has no intention of leaving Syria. Under the cover of the so-called campaign against ISIS—a Sunni Islamist militia which is itself the byproduct of the US wars and regime change operations in Iraq, Libya and Syria—the Pentagon is setting up a string of bases and attempting to carve out a zone of control from which it can pursue its broader aims in the region. These include, in the first instance, the preparation of war against Iran, which is seen by Washington as an obstacle to the drive for US hegemony over the Middle East.

(Defending ISIS to defeat Iran?)

The threat that the US intervention will provoke a wider war was posed starkly with the reported American airstrike Monday morning on a Shia militia unit deployed on the Iraq-Syria border. The militia, known as the Seyid Suheda, belongs to Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units, a predominantly Shia and Iranian-backed force that Baghdad has incorporated into its security forces. The militia reported that the bombing killed 35 of its fighters and wounded another 25. “We guarantee the attack will not go unpunished, and we call upon all Islamic resistance units in Iraq to consider an appropriate response to such a criminal act,” the group said in a statement.

The militia had been preparing to participate in an operation to take Tal Afar, one of the last ISIS strongholds in northwestern Iraq. The area is across the border from the Syrian city of Al-Hasaka, where the Pentagon has set up a base for US special forces troops.

4--US sanctions aimed at starving the NK people 

Bill RICHARDSON: Thank you, Rachel - nice to be with you.
MARTIN: How are these new sanctions that much tougher than what the international community has tried over and over again?

RICHARDSON: Well, they affect 90 percent of North Korea's economy. It's a small economy. They embark on cutting off of coal, foodstuffs, a lot of North Korean foreign workers that make money through energy. These sanctions have bite. I have to give the administration credit. And most credit I think has to be the ability to get the sanctions passed in the U.N. Security Council without a veto from China and Russia, especially China.
MARTIN: And I want to talk about China in a minute. But you just noted something. These sanctions are going to target coal and foodstuffs. Doesn't that mean that the people who are going to feel the effects of these sanctions most are just going to be a regular North Koreans, not necessarily the ruling class?

RICHARDSON: Yes, it's going to affect the North Korean people. I've been there eight times. They're in very bad shape economically. Many are starving. But I think what was not passed in terms of the sanctions was oil. I think that may be the next step. These are very, very tough sanctions. The issue is going to be, will China enforce them? Will China stop the cross-border smuggling? Will China seriously make an effort? And I think this is why North Korea is so upset. I think they've reached a point where China is saying to them, hey, guys, you've got to stop; you've got to cool it down. And North Korea understandably is very angry because their one ally may be turning on them a little bit....

MARTIN: But I hear you - just in the seconds remaining - I hear you being supportive of the administration's tactics so far with North Korea.
RICHARDSON: Well, no, not entirely because they all speak with different messages. The national security adviser, the U.N. ambassador, Tillerson - they should let Tillerson handle this. The others get a little warlike. They get a little preemptive - military strikes. We shouldn't be talking about that. We should talk about diplomacy

5--Trump intensifies rhetoric against North Korea xxx

President Trump on Wednesday ratcheted up his rhetoric against North Korea, pointing to the strength of the U.S. nuclear arsenal one day after warning Pyongyang of "fire and fury" if it continued its threats.
Trump said in a series of tweets that he hoped that the "power" of the U.S. nuclear arsenal would never have to be used.
He added that "there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world.

He has been very threatening beyond a normal state, and as I said they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before,” Trump said at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J....

What the president is doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong Un can understand, because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language,” Tillerson said in Guam. “I think the president just wanted to be clear to the North Korean regime on the U.S.'s unquestionable ability to defend itself, will defend itself and its allies

6--Saudi regime continues brutal siege against Shia minority 

7-- Is the Korean war scare real"? sic semper tyrannis

8--Consider what the U.S. media don’t tell you about Korea:

BEIJING, March 8 (Xinhua) — China proposed “double suspension” to defuse the looming crisis on the Korean Peninsula, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Wednesday.
“As a first step, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) may suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) military exercises,” Wang told a press conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People’s Congress.

Wang said the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula is mainly between the DPRK and the United States, but China, as a next-door neighbor with a lips-and-teeth relationship with the Peninsula, is indispensable to the resolution of the issue.
FM Wang, ‘the lips’, undoubtedly transmitted an authorized message from North Korea: “The offer is (still) on the table and China supports it.”
North Korea has made the very same offer in January 2015. The Obama administration rejected it. North Korea repeated the offer in April 2016 and the Obama administration rejected it again. This March the Chinese government conveyed and supported the long-standing North Korean offer. The U.S. government, now under the Trump administration, immediately rejected it again. The offer, made and rejected three years in a row, is sensible. Its rejection only led to a bigger nuclear arsenal and to more missiles with longer reach that will eventually be able to reach the United States.

I am not interested in defending Kim Jong Un here, just in pointing out that the US war machine lies constantly in order to justify regime change in sovereign nations. That’s all. It’s hard to be sure through the immense veil of western media spin how much of what is said about the disobedient communist government is a distortion of the facts, but we can be absolutely 100 percent certain that it is a sovereign nation, and that the US power establishment has an extensive, consistent history of lying to manufacture support for war. Be intensely skeptical. That’s all I’m saying here

9--TIM SHORROCK: Well, is he discounting the fact that the United States has 30,000 American soldiers in South Korea and 70 to 80,000 in Japan nearby within range of the North Korean missiles? I mean, any way would draw in US forces there and would lead to the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans, as well as, tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of Koreans and possibly Japanese. It was just an outrageous statement by Graham and really smacks of racism. Just to say, "Oh well, we don't really care because the war will be over there, not over here with us Americans." Asia's already seen enough war and particularly in Korea has too.

10--No threat to Guam

200,000 in guam an attack on guam is an attack on US

11--Steve Keen: "Another crash is ‘almost inevitable"

12--Productivity slowdown 

13--The only thing that can save Trump is a war 

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