Saturday, October 28, 2017

Today's Links

"The moral high-ground in Washington has always been measured in millimeters."     Jonathan Turley

How much of the dossier has been substantiated?

There has been no public corroboration of the salacious allegations against Mr. Trump, nor of the specific claims about coordination between his associates and the Russians. NYT

Oliver Stone
Those who promoted the corrupt Dossier’s findings (McCain, Brennan, etc.) are the same people who support the unproven Russiagate narrative.

Oliver Stone

HRC/DNC helped pay for the Steele Dossier. That it took 10+ months to find out who funded it speaks to MSM’s protection of Establishment.

Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony,  for a year  Maggie Haberman NYT

When I tried to report this (dossier) story, Clinton campaign lawyer @marceelias pushed back vigorously saying, "You (or your sources) are wrong." Kenneth Vogel NYT

1--Kaepernick: Collusion?

“NFL teams exhibited unusual and bizarre behavior regarding Mr. Kaepernick’s prospective employment. Multiple NFL head coaches and general managers stated that they wanted to sign Mr. Kaepernick, only to mysteriously go silent with no explanation and no contract offer made to Mr. Kaepernick. Other NFL teams stated they had no interest in Mr. Kaepernick and refused to explain why. NFL teams who ran offensive systems favorable to Mr. Kaepernick’s style of play instead employed retired quarterbacks or quarterbacks who had not played in a regular season game in years, and signed them to significant contracts while prohibiting Mr. Kaepernick from even trying out or interviewing for those jobs.”

We know the NFL is full of quarterbacks who aren’t as good as Colin Kaepernick. We’ll soon find out if this fact means Kaepernick will emerge victorious in arbitration. Perhaps, it will ultimately be President Trump’s words and deeds that help the quarterback score a huge win off the field.

2--FBI Informant’s Lawyer — Obama Admin ‘Threatened’ My Client And His Career

A former FBI informant who blew the whistle on a high-profile bribery case involving a Russian energy company was intimidated by Obama administration lawyers into dropping a civil suit against the government last year, his attorney says.
Victoria Toensing, the lawyer for the informant, told The Daily Caller’s Vince Coglianese that Obama Justice Department lawyers told her client that “his reputation and liberty [was] in jeopardy” if he did not drop a lawsuit against the government.

On Wednesday, the Trump Justice Department released the informant from a confidentiality agreement, clearing the way for him to testify before several congressional committees about his undercover work at Uranium One, a Canada-based energy company that has ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton and their family foundation.

In 2010, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an inter-agency governmental committee that reviews applications for foreign purchases of companies, granted the Russia-owned energy company Rosatom the right to purchase Uranium One.

The deal, which gave Rosatom control over 20 percent of U.S. uranium reserves, was approved despite evidence from the informant which showed that Uranium One was involved in a massive bribery and extortion scheme.
The informant, who has not been publicly identified, helped the FBI while working for Uranium One from 2009 to 2014.
The Justice Department’s waiver will allow the informant to meet with the Senate Judiciary Committee, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the House Intelligence Committee

The Clinton’s connections to Uranium One are also under scrutiny.
Uranium One executives donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation during the period when the sale of the company was being considered by CFIUS. As secretary of state at the time the Uranium One sale was approved, Hillary Clinton served on the inter-agency government panel.

3--America’s oligarchy: No money for opioid crisis, endless funds for corporate tax cuts

On Thursday, US President Donald Trump proclaimed the opioid crisis, which killed some 64,000 people last year, a “public health emergency,” a move that, despite appeals from medical professionals and public health advocates, did not include one cent in additional funding.

More people died last year from drug overdoses than American soldiers were killed during the entire Vietnam War, with a staggering 175 people killed every day. Countless millions more have been affected, from friends and family members of addicts whose lives have been upended, to children born addicted to opioids.

Trump’s response to the opioid epidemic mirrors his administration’s response to every social crisis and disaster, such as the hurricanes that struck Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. The government has provided no meaningful federal aid to Puerto Rico, still suffering from widespread blackouts, while demanding it step up its payments to its Wall Street creditors.

But when it comes to funneling money to the US oligarchy, the White House and Congress are more than willing to oblige. Just hours before Trump’s announcement on the opioid crisis, the House of Representatives passed a budget bill that clears the way for Trump’s tax cut for corporations and the rich to be fast-tracked through Congress, for possible passage before Thanksgiving.

The plan, which would cost taxpayers some $5.8 trillion over the next ten years, would slash the corporate tax rate from the current 35 percent to 20 percent, eliminate the estate tax for multimillion-dollar inheritances, and slash rates for “repatriating” corporate profits held offshore...

In Capital, Marx’s study of the capitalist system, the founder of the modern socialist movement concluded that the “accumulation of wealth at one pole is…at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole.”
This statement is not only true, but empirically quantifiable. One study by epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett found a direct correlation between social inequality and a series of social ills, including homicides and violent crime, school achievement and dropout rates, teenage births, life expectancy and infant mortality, obesity, mental illness, and more.
Compared to other developed countries, the United States is off the charts on all measures. It is simultaneously the most unequal and the most socially distressed.

4--Bombshell: Hillary Clinton, DNC Colluded With Russia In An Attempt To Steal The Election From Donald Trump

Fresh off the heels of a shocking report, published by the Washington Post, that confirmed that the infamous “Russia dossier” was actually funded by both the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee, an even more startling revelation has emerged – The Clinton-DNC machine colluded with the Russians to fabricate and spread serious disinformation about Donald Trump in a failed attempt at swaying the election in the favor of Hillary Clinton.

That’s right, in a literal reverse of what the entire mainstream media has fed the American people for over a year, we now have evidence that, either wittingly or unwittingly, the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid for what amounted to disinformation that came directly from “Russian sources”.

5--Even with Syria’s Al-Omar oil fields, Kurdish forces lose 150 times more oil in Iraq

For Syrian War observers, the capture of the Al-Omar oil fields by Kurdish militias might appear to be a strategic victory. Perhaps in Syria it is, but in the greater scheme of things throughout the region and in accordance statistical realities, this recent gain by Kurdish forces means very little at all.

That reality stands that whilst the Al-Omar field produced 7,500 barrels of oil per day before the Syrian War (about one-forth of the nationwide total), the Kirkuk and Bai Hasaan fields in Iraq, which have now been restored to the control of Baghdad produce – currently – a combined total of around 1.2 million barrels per day.

Prior to its recapture by Iraqi pro-government forces, the Kirkuk and Bai Hasaan fields provided Israel with 77 percent (Financial Times statistic for 2015) of its imported oil needs at very low prices. Needless to say, the Israeli government is very upset with Baghdad’s action over the last week.

Given the damage caused to the Al-Omar fields in the months preceding its surrender by ISIS, it would not be surprising if the energy site produces even one-tenth of its pre-war output which is, at full capacity, already dwarfed by a factor of almost 150 compared to the fully operational Kirkuk and Bai Hasaan fields in Iraq.
With these statistics being put into perspective, it can be seen that the Kurdistan cessation project – which all Western observers agree was only ever going to be possible if the Kurdish separatists possessed a major oil economy – has essentially died with Baghdad’s reclaiming of the oil fields north of Kirkuk

6--The Uranium-Gate Informant Cometh

"It’s hard to not see this thing going a long way — at the same time that financial markets and geopolitical matters are heading south. - Keep your hats on."

7--More Russia bombshell revelations to come? Tucker

8--Potential legal implications from Trump dossier scandal

both podesta and wasserman Schultz expressly said there was no connection between the DNC and the Steele dossier.
They lied. 

9-- Visiting the remote headquarters of Whitefish Energy, recipient of controversial contract

The Trump administration denied Friday that political connections had anything to do with restoring electrical connections in Puerto Rico.
A contract worth $300 million was awarded to a tiny company called Whitefish Energy in Whitefish, Montana, hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Zinke said Friday he had nothing to do with the contract.

10-- New York Times reporters cry foul over 'Trump dossier' pushback

Two New York Times reporters are calling out people tied to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee for denying the Clinton campaign and DNC's role in the making of the so-called "Trump dossier," following a report Tuesday that found they funded the research for the dossier.
"When I tried to report this story, Clinton campaign lawyer @marceelias pushed back vigorously, saying "You (or your sources) are wrong," New York Times reporter Kenneth Vogel tweeted of Hillary Clinton's campaign lawyer Marc Elias.

According to the Washington Post report published Tuesday evening, Elias' law firm hired Fusion GPS, a Washington opposition research firm, to conduct research that resulted in the Trump dossier, which contained scandalous material tying  president Trump to Russia

"Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year," Maggie Haberman, White House correspondent for the New York Times tweeted.
Fusion GPS was hired by the Clinton campaign and DNC lawyer Mark Elias in April 2016 to oversee the research, the Post reported, citing unnamed sources. Fusion GPS then hired former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who authored the dossier.
The research firm had already been conducting research on Trump during the Republican primaries, work that was funded by an unknown Republican client.
Most of the scandalous allegations included in the document have not been verified

11--What to Know About the Dossier of Trump Research and Who Paid for It

The so-called Steele dossier of research into President Trump’s connections to Russia is back in the news, with the revelation that it was at least partly funded by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

What is the dossier?

It is a 35-page collection of research memos written by Christopher Steele, a respected former British intelligence agent, primarily during the 2016 presidential campaign. The memos allege a multifaceted conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to help Mr. Trump defeat Mrs. Clinton. The memos also detail unsubstantiated accounts of encounters between Mr. Trump and Russian prostitutes, and real estate deals that were intended as bribes, among other claims about Mr. Trump’s businesses.

Campaigns and party committees frequently pay companies to assemble what’s known in politics as opposition research — essentially damaging information about their opponents — and nothing is illegal about the practice.
However, Republicans and campaign watchdogs have accused the Clinton campaign and the D.N.C. of violating campaign finance laws by disguising the payments to Fusion GPS on mandatory disclosures to the Federal Election Commission. Their disclosure reports do not list any payments from the Clinton campaign or the D.N.C. to Fusion GPS. They do list a total of $12.4 million in payments to Perkins Coie, but that’s almost entirely for legal consulting, with only one payment — of $66,500 — for “research consulting” from the D.N.

Officials from the Clinton campaign and the D.N.C. have said they were unaware that Perkins Coie facilitated the research on their behalf, even though the law firm was using their money to pay for it. Even Mrs. Clinton only found about Mr. Steele’s research after Buzzfeed published the dossier, according to two associates who discussed the matter with her. They said that she was disappointed that the research — as well as the fact that the F.B.I. was looking into connections between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia — was not made public before Election Day.
But word of the memos and their contents had circulated in Washington political and media circles before the election. In British court filings, Mr. Steele’s lawyers said that he and Fusion GPS briefed journalists from a range of media outlets, including The New York Times, on his research starting in September of 2016

James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director whose firing by Mr. Trump prompted the appointment of a special counsel to oversee the Justice Department’s Russia investigation, received a copy of the memos after Election Day from Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona. Mr. McCain had dispatched David J. Kramer, a former top State Department official, to obtain the dossier directly from Mr. Steele. And before Election Day, the F.B.I. reached an agreement to pay Mr. Steele to continue his research, though that plan was scrapped after the dossier was published. During the presidential transition, senior American intelligence officials briefed Mr. Trump and President Barack Obama on the dossier.
Investigators from the House and Senate intelligence committees and Mr. Mueller’s team have been exploring claims made in the dossier. Mr. Mueller’s team reportedly interviewed Mr. Steele over the summer

12-- What Did Hillary Clinton Know?

There is also no doubt about the significance of the Steele Dossier in spurring the Russia-gate scandal forward.
When Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, offered what amounted to a prosecutor’s opening statement in March, his seamless 15-minute narrative of the Trump campaign’s alleged collaboration with Russia followed the trail blazed by Steele, who had worked for Britain’s MI-6 in Russia and tapped into ex-colleagues and unnamed sources inside Russia, including supposedly leadership figures in the Kremlin.....

After that letter, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday night that the Clinton campaign and the DNC had helped fund the Steele effort with attorney Elias retaining Fusion GPS in April 2016 and with Fusion GPS then hiring Steele.

The Post reported that “people familiar with the matter” disclosed that outline of the arrangement but still would not divulge how much the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid to Fusion GPS. One source told me that the total amount came to about $1 million.

Despite the dubious quality of Steele’s second- and third-hand information, the June 2016 report appears to have impressed Team Clinton. And once the bait was taken, Steele continued to produce his conspiracy-laden reports, totaling at least 17 through Dec. 13, 2016.
Framing the Investigation
The reports not only captivated the Clinton political operatives but influenced the assessments of President Obama’s appointees in the U.S. intelligence community regarding alleged Russian “meddling” in the presidential election.

13--DNC Failed to Disclose Legally Required Information about Funding of Trump-Russia Dossier

14-- Democrats Block Witnesses from Testifying in House Intel Probe

House Democrats are continuing to block testimony from about a dozen witnesses who sought to appear before the intelligence oversight panel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election...

Many of the dossier's claims, including charges that Page met with Russians intelligence figures, have been debunked.

"In support of that forthcoming appearance, I have recently been in contact with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and other Justice Department officials regarding the multiple outstanding requests for immediate release of the illegitimate FISA warrants that were allegedly filed by the Obama Administration against me in 2016," Page said in the May 22 letter. He was referring to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrants reportedly issued.
Page denied any improper interaction between himself and Russian business or government officials.
Instead, he is charging that the Obama administration engaged in a political intelligence-gathering operation targeting Trump and his associates...

Noting he has had extensive business contacts with Russians since 1991, Page said he "personally saw no active measures by the Russian government or other foreign entities to interfere in any political campaigns whatsoever—neither last year nor at any point throughout my life."
A U.S. intelligence assessment made public in January charged that Russia had engaged in a cyber-enabled influence operation during the 2016 campaign targeting the U.S. democratic system and aimed at denigrating Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

15--Carter Page letter to Schiff

Friday, October 27, 2017

Today's links

1--What Did Hillary Clinton Know?

2--The Media and Democrats' Raw Hypocrisy on Russia Collusion

3--The crisis in the Republican Party and the fracturing of the American two-party system

4--New York Times and Wall Street Journal demand censorship of YouTube

5--Muellers gotta go?

6--Trump-Russia dossier funded by DNC & Clinton camp – report

7--Video evidence of Clinton corruption in the hands of FBI informant

8--Bombshell NSA Memo: Saudi Arabia Ordered Attack On Damascus International Airport With US Knowledge

9--Documents show US participation in 1965-66 massacres in Indonesia

10--Tucker: Fake Russia collusion has unintended consequences

11-- Syria War Report – October 23, 2017: ISIS May Surrender Eastern Bank Of Euphrates To US-backed Forces

12--FBI informant, ordered to keep silent by Obama White House, has hard proof of bribery and kickbacks

13--Trump, Pentagon shaken by mounting crisis over Niger deaths

Dunford was also responding to comments by an array of senators and congressmen who have claimed they knew little of the US deployment in Niger and were surprised to discover, in the wake of the October 4 debacle, that there were 800 US soldiers protecting a US drone base and engaged in training and reconnaissance missions with the Nigerien military. The deployment in Niger—clearly a war zone—is the third largest US active combat mission, after Afghanistan and Iraq, but larger than Syria, at least in the number of troops deployed on the ground.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs noted that US troops have been operating in Niger off and on for two decades, and permanently since 2013, when the Obama administration prevailed on the government in Niamey to permit the establishment of the drone base, from which US Special Forces and intelligence agencies conduct surveillance throughout the Sahara and Sahel regions from a central location.

14--Report listing RT guests ‘illustrates new McCarthyism in US’ – Colin Powell’s ex-chief of staff

15--Pentagon justifies military expansion in Africa as key to ‘global strategy’

16--NFL commissioner says football players should stand for national anthem

Goodell and the NFL are trying to navigate between players who come from overwhelming working-class backgrounds and who in many cases have seen families and friends victimized by the police, and billionaire owners and affluent season ticket holders and sponsors, who are generally the beneficiaries of social inequality and the criminalization of the poor.

17--Exclusive: Putin's 'chef,' the man behind the troll factory

Extra Links valdai  Evil Putin threatens EU with cheap gas to heat homes and run businesses  censorship   video jerry jones

a deal between US and Russia on resources in Syria?  Dems look to censor internet  southfront propaganda  US intends to stay in Syria  must read

The FBI has conjured up a new domestic terrorism movement that does not exist.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Today's Link

Ex-DEA agent: Opioid crisis fueled by drug industry and Congress, 60 Minutes ("must see")

Whistleblower Joe Rannazzisi says drug distributors pumped opioids into U.S. communities -- knowing that people were dying -- and says industry lobbyists and Congress derailed the DEA's efforts to stop it

In the midst of the worst drug epidemic in American history, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's ability to keep addictive opioids off U.S. streets was derailed -- that according to Joe Rannazzisi, one of the most important whistleblowers ever interviewed by 60 Minutes. Rannazzisi ran the DEA's Office of Diversion Control, the division that regulates and investigates the pharmaceutical industry. Now in a joint investigation by 60 Minutes and The Washington Post, Rannazzisi tells the inside story of how, he says, the opioid crisis was allowed to spread -- aided by Congress, lobbyists, and a drug distribution industry that shipped, almost unchecked, hundreds of millions of pills to rogue pharmacies and pain clinics providing the rocket fuel for a crisis that, over the last two decades, has claimed 200,000 lives.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Today's Links

1--The Elites “Have No Credibility Left" (must read)

An interview with journalist Chris Hedges

2--The Legacy of Reagan’s Civilian ‘Psyops’ Robert Parry

3--Decision time in Deir Ezzor - TTG

4--The Unraveling of American/Russian Relations, PCR

1992 NYTs: 

WASHINGTON, March 7 In a broad new policy statement that is in its final drafting phase, the Defense Department asserts that America’s political and military mission in the post-cold-war era will be to ensure that no rival superpower is allowed to emerge in Western Europe, Asia or the territories of the former Soviet Union.

A 46-page document that has been circulating at the highest levels of the Pentagon for weeks, and which Defense Secretary Dick Cheney expects to release later this month, states that part of the American mission will be convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests.

The classified document makes the case for a world dominated by one superpower whose position can be perpetuated by constructive behavior and sufficient military might to deter any nation or group of nations from challenging American primacy.

5--IMF Calls for Reforms as Global Central Bankers Battle Weak Wage Growth

6--Bibi cheers Trump Iran decision

7--How Gore, Kerry and Clinton Put Trump in the White House

8--Washington’s Frozen War Against Russia 2014

In a speech to leading CEOs on December 3, Obama said the sanctions were intended to change Putin’s “mindset”, but didn’t think this would succeed. He is waiting for “the politics inside Russia” to “catch up with what’s happening in the economy, which is why we are going to continue to maintain that pressure.” This was another way of saying that stealing Russia’s natural gas market, forcing Europe to enact sanctions, and getting Washington’s bigoted stooges in Saudi Arabia to bring down petroleum prices by flooding the market, are all intended to make the Russian people blame Putin enough to get rid of him. Regime change, in short.

On December 4, the U.S. House of Representatives officially exposed the U.S. motive behind this mess by adopting what must surely be the worst piece of legislation ever adopted: Resolution 758.   The Resolution is a compendium of all the lies floated against Vladimir Putin and Russia over the past year. Never perhaps have so many lies been crammed into a single official document of that length. And yet, this war propaganda was endorsed by a vote of 411 to 10. If, despite this call for war between two nuclear powers, there are still historians in the future, they must judge this resolution as proof of the total failure of the intelligence, honesty and sense of responsibility of the political system that Washington is trying to force on the entire world

The House calls on European countries to “reduce the ability of the Russian Federation to use its supply of energy as a means of applying political and economic pressure on other countries, including by promoting increased natural gas and other energy exports from the United States and other countries” and “urges the President to expedite the United States Department of Energy’s approval of liquefied natural gas exports to Ukraine and other European countries”.
The Congress is ready to risk and even promote nuclear war, but when it comes to the “bottom line”, it is a matter of stealing Russia’s natural gas market by what so far is a bluff: shale gas obtained by U.S. fracking.

9--Wisconsin’s Voter-ID Law Suppressed 200,000 Votes in 2016 (Trump Won by 22,748)

A new study shows how voter-ID laws decreased turnout among African-American and Democratic voters....

. According to federal court records, 300,000 registered voters, 9 percent of the electorate, lacked strict forms of voter ID in Wisconsin. A new study by Priorities USA, shared exclusively with The Nation, shows that strict voter-ID laws, in Wisconsin and other states, led to a significant reduction in voter turnout in 2016, with a disproportionate impact on African-American and Democratic-leaning voters. Wisconsin’s voter-ID law reduced turnout by 200,000 votes, according to the new analysis. Donald Trump won the state by only 22,748 votes.
The study compared turnout in states that adopted strict voter-ID laws between 2012 and 2016, like Wisconsin, to states that did not. ...

While states with no change to voter identification laws witnessed an average increased turnout of +1.3% from 2012 to 2016, Wisconsin’s turnout (where voter ID laws changed to strict) dropped by -3.3%. If turnout had instead increased by the national no-change average, we estimate that over 200,000 more voters would have voted in Wisconsin in 2016.
This reduction in turnout particularly hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

The lost voters skewed more African-American and more Democrat. For example, Wisconsin’s 2016 electorate was 6.1% more Republican, and 5.7% less Democrat, than the group of ‘lost voters’. Furthermore, the WI electorate was 3.7% more White and 3.8% less African American than the group of ‘lost voters.’ This analysis suggests that the 200,000 lost voters would have both been more racially diverse and have voted more Democratic.
(Priorities USA is a progressive advocacy group and Super PAC that supported Clinton in 2016 and Barack Obama in 2012. The study was conducted by Civis Analytics, a data science firm founded by the chief analytics officer for Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012.)
Though Wisconsin saw the most dramatic reduction in turnout among voter-ID states, it was reflective of a worrisome broader national trend.
In states where the voter identification laws did not change between ’12 and ’16, turnout was up +1.3%. In states where ID laws changed to non-strict (AL, NH, RI) turnout increased less, and was only up by +0.7%. In states where ID laws changed to strict (MS, VA, WI) turnout actually decreased by – 1.7%.

This study provides more evidence for the claim that voter-ID laws are designed not to stop voter impersonation fraud, which is virtually nonexistent, but to make it harder for certain communities to vote. This matters greatly today, because 87 bills to restrict access to the ballot have been introduced in 29 states this year, including voter-ID laws in 19 states. Arkansas and Iowa have already passed strict voter-ID laws in 2017.

“Americans’ fundamental right to vote is under attack by Republican governors and state legislatures around the country,” said Guy Cecil, Chairman of Priorities USA. “Under the false pretense of combating voter fraud, Republicans are passing laws that make it more difficult and time-consuming for average citizens to participate in the democratic process.”

10--New Voting Restrictions in America 2010

After the 2010 election, state lawmakers nationwide started introducing hundreds of harsh measures making it harder to vote. The new laws range from strict photo ID requirements to early voting cutbacks to registration restrictions.
Overall, 20 states have new restrictions in effect since then — 10 states have more restrictive voter ID laws in place (and six states have strict photo ID requirements), seven have laws making it harder for citizens to register, six cut back on early voting days and hours, and three made it harder to restore voting rights for people with past criminal convictions.
In 2016, 14 states had new voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election. Those 14 states were: Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin

11--Why did Trump win? More whites — and fewer blacks — actually voted.

if groups had gone to the polls at the same rates as in 2012, Clinton would likely have won Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in 2016 — though in the last two cases by razor-thin margins....what’s clear is that the jump in white turnout in key swing states and drop in black turnout may well have handed the presidency to Trump.

Using data from the voter file vendor Catalist and information from the U.S. Census Bureau, we examine the change in turnout rates for different racial/ethnic groups between 2012 and 2016. Black turnout declined dramatically; white turnout increased noticeably; and Latino and Asian American turnout went up even more. In the key swing states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, those shifts were especially strong. How strong? Without those shifts in turnout from various racial and ethnic groups, these pivotal states might have gone not to Trump but to Clinton — giving Clinton an electoral college victory...

Voter turnout among whites — the racial/ethnic group most strongly in Trump’s corner — increased by 2.4 percentage points in 2016 compared to 2012. In stark contrast, turnout among African Americans — the group most loyal to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party — fell by 4.7 percentage points nationally. Latinos and Asian Americans, both groups that are generally Clinton supporters, were more likely to vote — by 3.8 and 3.0 percentage points, respectively.
These national averages obscure important patterns. Here’s what stands out: while the decline in black turnout was stark across the board, it was sharpest, on average, in the states that determined the outcome of the election. Black turnout fell by 4.3 percentage points in non-battleground states in 2016 compared to 2012. But it fell by 5.3 percentage points in states where the election was decided by a margin of less than 10 points.

As you can see, the national average hides dramatic differences among states. For example, as we’ve said, the African American turnout rate fell by 4.7 points nationally. But in Michigan and Wisconsin — two key Midwestern states where, to analysts’ surprise, Trump won — black turnout fell by more than 12 points.
Similarly, overall white turnout increased by only 2.5 points nationally. But in several states it surged by more than 5 points. In the critical battleground state of Florida, white voter turnout jumped by 4 points — and black turnout fell by 4 points. Trump won Florida by a margin of just 1.2 points.

12--Here’s How the 2018 Midterm Elections Could Be Fatally Undermined

In 2013, the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder effectively gutted the Voter Rights Act, permitting Republicans to employ a variety of voter-suppression methods that have since proved invaluable to their campaigns. These tactics will not only remain a factor working in their favor in 2018; they are very likely to significantly expand under the leadership of a man obsessed with the specter of “massive voter fraud,” ...

One method we should expect to see employed, and expanded, is the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, more commonly known simply as Crosscheck. This system, designed with the ostensible purpose of combating voter fraud, operates by cross-referencing names on the rolls of a given state against those on the rolls of other states. If the same combination of name and birth-date occurs in two states, those votes are stricken from the rolls. This system has been known to disproportionately impact minority voters by targeting names common to specific demographics, notably Hispanic and black voters, who have traditionally voted Democratic.

13--Russia hacking, The Nation

In Russiagate, unverified claims are reported with little to no skepticism. Comporting developments are cherry-picked and overhyped, while countervailing ones are minimized or ignored. Front-page headlines advertise explosive and incriminating developments, only to often be undermined by the article’s content, or retracted entirely. Qualified language—likely, suspected, apparent—appears next to “Russians” to account for the absence of concrete links. As a result, Russiagate has enlarged into a storm of innuendo that engulfs issues far beyond its original scope...

Then there is Facebook’s disclosure that fake accounts “likely operated out of Russia” paid $100,000 for 3,000 ads starting in June 2015. The New York Times editorial board described it as “further evidence of what amounted to unprecedented foreign invasion of American democracy.” A $100,000 Facebook ad buy seems unlikely to have had much impact in a $6.8 billion election. According to Facebook, “the vast majority of ads…didn’t specifically reference the US presidential election, voting or a particular candidate” but rather focused “on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum—touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights.” Facebook also says the majority of ads, 56 percent, were seen “after the election.” The ads have not been released publicly. But by all indications, if they were used to try to elect Trump, their sponsors took a very curious route.
The ads are commonly described as “Russian disinformation,” but in the most extensive reporting on the story to date, The Washington Post adds multiple qualifiers in noting that the ads “appear to have come from accounts associated with the Internet Research Agency,” itself a Kremlin-linked firm (emphasis added).

The Post also reveals that an initial Facebook review of the suspected Russian accounts found that they “had clear financial motives, which suggested that they weren’t working for a foreign government.” Furthermore, “the security team did not find clear evidence of Russian disinformation or ad purchases by Russian-linked accounts.” ...
Other election threats loom. A recent front-page New York Times article linking Russian cyber operations to voting irregularities across the United States is headlined, “Russian Election Hacking Efforts, Wider Than Previously Known, Draw Little Scrutiny.” But read on and you’ll discover that there is no evidence of “Russian election hacking,” only evidence-free accusations of it....

The evidence-free concern over Russian hacking expanded in late September when the Department of Homeland Security informed 21 states that they had been targeted by Russian cyber-operations during the 2016 election. But three states have already dismissed the DHS claims, including California, which announced that after seeking “further information, it became clear that DHS’s conclusions were wrong.”
Recent elections in France and Germany saw similar fears of Russian hacking and disinformation—and similar results. In France, a hack targeting the campaign of election winner Emmanuel Macron ended up having “no trace,” of Russian involvement, and “was so generic and simple that it could have been practically anyone,” the head of French cyber-security quietly explained after the vote. Germany faced an even more puzzling outcome: Nothing happened. “The apparent absence of a robust Russian campaign to sabotage the German vote has become a mystery among officials and experts who had warned of a likely onslaught,” the Post reported in an article headlined “As Germans prepare to vote, a mystery grows: Where are the Russians?” ...

Linking Russia to right-wing American racists contrasts with just a few months prior, when it was fashionable to tie Russia to the polar opposites. In March, intelligence-community witnesses soberly testified to Congress that Russia’s “21st-century cyber invasion” has “tried to sow unrest in the U.S. by inflaming protests such as Occupy Wall Street and the Black Lives Matter movement.” The evidence presented for this claim was that both movements were covered by the Russian state-owned television network RT.
Russian-linked tweets about NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice show the Russians “trying to push divisiveness in this country,” says Republican Senator James Lankford. A Russian-linked ad about Black Lives Matter aimed at audiences in Ferguson and Baltimore “tells us…that the Russians who bought these ads were sophisticated enough to understand that targeting a Black Lives Matter ad to the communities…would help sow political discord.… the goal here was really about creating chaos,” says CNN reporter Dylan Byers

It also suggests Black Lives Matter protesters in places like Ferguson and Baltimore were unwitting foreign agents who needed Russian social-media prodding to march in the streets. To protest racism is not to sow “chaos” and “political discord,” but to protest racism. ...

But economic discontent, along with voter suppression, the Democratic Party’s failures to reach voters, and corporate media that gave endless attention to Trump’s empty promises and racial animus, are among the issues cast aside by the incessant focus on Russigate, as are the very real US-Russia tensions that do not fit the narrative. Amid widespread talk of Putin pulling the strings, Trump has quietly appointed anti-Russia hawks to key posts and admitted a new NATO member over Russian objections. Trump’s top military commander, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is backing an effort by the Pentagon and Congress to arm Ukraine with new weapons. President Obama had rejected a similar proposal out of fear it would inflame the country’s deadly conflict. Just before Russia’s recent war games with allied Belarus, the United States and NATO allies carried out their “biggest military exercise in eastern Europe since the Cold War” right next door.

14-- The US Is Trying to Take Over the Middle East's Oil and Gas - It Will Fail

"Kurds are being played by the west to totally control the energy resources of the Middle East and with it, of much of the world. Ultimately the game will fail, though not before senseless and inhuman slaughter continues to take its toll."

15--Notorious US Regime-Change Specialist Targets Hungarian PM Orban

Many readers likely never heard the name of the remarkable Serbia-born political operator named Srđa Popović.
Yet he and his organization, CANVAS, have played a lead role in most every CIA-backed Color Revolution since he led the toppling of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in 2000, at least fifty according to last count...

In short, Popović began his revolution-making career as a regime change specialist in an operation funded by the CIA, US State Department, US Government NGOs including the infamous NED and George Soros’ Open Society Institute. The question is what did Srđa Popović do after his first helpful service to Washington in 2000?

Revealed in the same Stratfor emails by Wikileaks was the intriguing information that one of the “golden geese” funders of the mysterious CANVAS was a Wall Street bank named Goldman Sachs.
Satter Muneer, a Goldman Sachs partner, is cited by Stratfor’s then-Eurasia Analyst Marko Papic. Papic, asked by a Stratfor colleague whether Muneer was the “golden goose” money behind CANVAS, writes back, “They have several golden gooses I believe. He is for sure one of them.”

16--Iran to stop Additional Protocol if JCPOA nixed: Salehi

17--Former CIA director worried Russia tried to recruit Americans

Former CIA Director John Brennan said on Monday there was enough contact between Americans and Russian officials during the 2016 U.S. election that there was definitely grounds for an investigation into possible collusion with Moscow, and also concern about Russian efforts to recruit Americans

“I had unresolved questions in my mind about whether or not the Russians had been successful in getting U.S. persons, involved in the campaign or not, to work on their behalf,” Brennan testified to the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.
Brennan declined to provide any indication about the identity of those people.

Brennan said on Tuesday it became clear last summer that Russia was attempting to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, and that he warned the head of Russia's FSB security service that such interference would hurt U.S. ties.
"It should be clear to everyone Russia brazenly interfered in our 2016 presidential election process and that they undertook these activities despite our strong protests and explicit warning that they do not do so," Brennan testified at a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee

Brennan said he believed that Russian officials were motivated in their efforts to impact the election both to hurt Hillary Clinton and support Donald Trump's chances, noting their prior "good relations with businessmen."
He also noted that Moscow likely expected Clinton would ultimately win.

I believe that they tried to damage and bloody her before the election," he said, adding that "I would have anticipated that had she been elected that the efforts to denigrate and hurt her would have been continued."
Brennan further said he believed he was the first U.S. official to raise the matter of election interference with the Russians, citing a meeting he had on Aug. 4 last year with FSB head Alexander Bortnikov.
He said he raised published media reports of Russian attempts to meddle in the election with the Russian official, who denied any involvement by Moscow.
Brennan said he briefed then President Barack Obama and other top officials, and that he discussed the matter with both Republican and Democratic U.S. congressional leaders in August and September

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in January that Moscow tried to tilt the November presidential election campaign in Republican Donald Trump's favor, including by hacking into and leaking the emails of senior Democrats. Moscow has always denied the allegation.

18--Obama loyalist Brennan drove FBI to begin investigating Trump associates last summer

Quote:  But Mr. Brennan’s May 23 testimony shows that it was his actions that drove the FBI probe.

What caused the Barack Obama administration to begin investigating the Donald Trump campaign last summer has come into clearer focus following a string of congressional hearings on Russian interference in the presidential election.
It was then-CIA Director John O. Brennan, a close confidant of Mr. Obama’s, who provided the information — what he termed the “basis” — for the FBI to start the counterintelligence investigation last summer. Mr. Brennan served on the former president’s 2008 presidential campaign and in his White House.
Mr. Brennan told the House Intelligence Committee on May 23 that the intelligence community was picking up tidbits on Trump associates making contacts with Russians. Mr. Brennan did not name either the Russians or the Trump people. He indicated he did not know what was said.
But he said he believed the contacts were numerous enough to alert the FBI, which began its probe into Trump associates that same July, according to previous congressional testimony from then-FBI director James B. Comey.

The FBI probe of contacts came the same month the intelligence community fingered Russian agents as orchestrating hacks into Democratic Party computers and providing stolen emails to WikiLeaks.
Mr. Brennan, who has not hidden his dislike for Mr. Trump, testified he briefed the investigation’s progress to Mr. Obama, who at the time was trying to aid Hillary Clinton in her campaign against the Republican nominee.

Mr. Brennan, who has not hidden his dislike for Mr. Trump, testified he briefed the investigation’s progress to Mr. Obama, who at the time was trying to aid Hillary Clinton in her campaign against the Republican nominee

As Mr. Brennan described his actions to the House committee: “I wanted to make sure that every information and bit of intelligence that we had was shared with the bureau [FBI] so that they could take it. It was well beyond my mandate as director of CIA to follow on any of those leads that involved U.S. persons. But I made sure that anything that was involving U.S. persons, including anything involving the individuals involved in the Trump campaign, was shared with the bureau.
“I was aware of intelligence and information about contacts between Russian officials and U.S. persons that raised concerns in my mind about whether or not those individuals were cooperating with the Russians, either in a witting or unwitting fashion, and it served as the basis for the FBI investigation to determine whether such collusion [or] cooperation occurred,” Mr. Brennan added.

Eleven months later, there is no official public confirmation that Trump people colluded with the Russians on hacking

the Trump campaign severed ties with him because of sensational charges in an unverified anti-Trump dossier that surfaced in a smattering of news stories before Nov. 8.
The dossier was one of the forces influencing the FBI that summer. Some press reports said it was the reason the bureau began investigating Trump associates and acquired a warrant to wiretap Mr. Page as a possible foreign agent.
But Mr. Brennan’s May 23 testimony shows that it was his actions that drove the FBI probe.
The dossier was financed by a Clinton backer and written by British ex-spy Christopher Steele. He was hired by Democratic-tied Fusion GPS in Washington.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Today's Links

1--Decertify Iranian deal? It makes no strategic sense Tucker Carlson (video)

2--Could it get any dumber?  Russia has now weaponized Pokémon.

CNN claims…

Russian efforts to meddle in American politics did not end at Facebook and Twitter. A CNN investigation of a Russian-linked account shows its tentacles extended to YouTube, Tumblr and even Pokémon Go.


One Russian-linked campaign posing as part of the Black Lives Matter movement used Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr and Pokémon Go and even contacted some reporters in an effort to exploit racial tensions and sow discord among Americans, CNN has learned.
The campaign, titled “Don’t Shoot Us,” offers new insights into how Russian agents created a broad online ecosystem where divisive political messages were reinforced across multiple platforms, amplifying a campaign that appears to have been run from one source — the shadowy, Kremlin-linked troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency.


A source familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN that the Don’t Shoot Us Facebook page was one of the 470 accounts taken down after the company determined they were linked to the IRA. CNN has separately established the links between the Facebook page and the other Don’t Shoot Us accounts.


The Don’t Shoot Us campaign — the title of which may have referenced the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” slogan that became popular in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown — used these platforms to highlight incidents of alleged police brutality, with what may have been the dual goal of galvanizing African Americans to protest and encouraging other Americans to view black activism as a rising threat...

Specifically, the Don’t Shoot Us contest directed readers to go to find and train Pokémon near locations where alleged incidents of police brutality had taken place. Users were instructed to give their Pokémon names corresponding with those of the victims. A post promoting the contest showed a Pokémon named “Eric Garner,” for the African-American man who died after being put in a chokehold by a New York Police Department officer

3--Iran Must Be Destroyed, Margolis

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have more influence on Capitol Hill than President Trump. He used to show it off by humiliating former president Barack Obama.

Israel has just scored a major triumph by using Trump to sabotage the Iran nuclear pact.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long been adamant in insisting that the pact be scrapped.  Having pushed the US to destroy its old foes, Iraq and Syria, Israel now has its big guns trained on Iran, the last regional power that can challenge Israel’s domination of the Mideast.  Iran, we should remember, is also the only important Mideast power backing the Palestinians and calling for a Palestinian state.

Trump is surrounded by a coterie of ardently pro-Israel advisors and cronies aligned to that nation’s far right wing.  So far to the right, in fact, that their Israeli opponents often call them ‘fascists.’  Trump, with this Mussolini complex, fits right into this mind-set ...

If the Iran nuclear deal is abrogated, America will have shot itself in the foot and shown the world it has fallen under the control of special interests for whom America’s national interests do not come first.  Europe, already disgusted by the Trump carnival in Washington and its religious supporters, will pull further away from the US and closer to Russia and China.  Who would trust America’s word after deal-break Trump?

Europe has lately signed billions in new trade accords with Iran, most notably and $18 billion deal with Airbus for the sale of commercial aircraft.  Boeing wants to sell 80 aircraft to Iran worth $16 billion. Thus Trump’s jihad against Iran will likely deny high-paid jobs to tens of thousands of American workers.   This from the president who was going to create jobs, jobs, jobs....

Israel is determined to destroy Iran so that it can never pose a military or political challenge to the Jewish state. Call it Iraq II.  This means turning Iran’s nuclear industry and its civilian economy to ruins.  And maybe even breaking up Iran – as was done with Iraq – into Iranian, Azeri and Kurdish mini-states.

Rome’s famous statesman Cato the Elder used to end every speech with ‘Carthago Delenda Est’ – (Carthage, bitter rival and enemy of Rome, must be destroyed.’) Now, it’s Iran’s turn.

4--Morton Klein’s Anti-Iran View Published by Breitbart

Breitbart today carries an article by Morton Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America.

Klein says “The main problem with the JCPOA…is that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which was previously charged with monitoring Iran’s behavior with regard to nuclear research and development, has been unable to perform this role since the introduction of the JCPOA, because it no longer has the ability to verify Iranian statements and activity.” This statement is 95 percent untrue, because the IAEA has been able to monitor 95% of the lettered articles in the agreement. Klein’s statement is not what the IAEA has said up and until a very recent exception. The IAEA directly contradicts Klein’s assertion:

Verification and monitoring in Iran
“The IAEA has been verifying and monitoring the implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) since January 2016.
“‘The nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the JCPOA are being implemented,’ Mr Amano told the 35-nation Board. ‘The Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement. Evaluations regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran remain ongoing.’

“‘We will continue to implement the Additional Protocol in Iran, including carrying out complementary accesses to sites and other locations, as we do in other countries with additional protocols.’ The additional protocol significantly increases the IAEA’s ability to verify the peaceful use of all nuclear materials in States with comprehensive safeguards agreements.”...

the U.S. and Iran didn’t negotiate ballistic missiles, so how can that be now a reason to break the agreement? The agreement pertains to what was negotiated, not what was not negotiated.

As for the 10-year period, the U.S. agreed to it, so how can that provision now become a reason to back out? Don’t negotiation and signing an agreement mean anything to Klein? Klein is saying that the U.S. should break its word because Iran didn’t agree to a permanent or much longer-term restriction on nuclear development. Again, the agreement pertains to what was negotiated, not some fanciful provision that is not in the agreement that Klein thinks would have been better.

Klein’s argument for decertification relies heavily upon his lengthy wish list of controls and limitations he’d love to place upon Iran, but which the agreement says nothing about

5--FBI 'Hand-In-Hand' With Vegas PD, Begin Damage Control: "There Is No Conspiracy... Nobody Is Attempt to Hide Anything"

6-- Is Washington Trying To Starve 60,000 Syrians Washington Has Trapped In A Refugee Camp?

“Syrians are restoring roads and socially important infrastructure facilities in the liberated areas of their country, thereby creating the conditions for peaceful life and the return of refugees and displaced persons,” said Zakharova – important achievements....

“The Rukban refugee camp located on the Syrian-Jordanian border in the so-called [phony] ‘deconfliction zone’ arbitrarily established by the United States around Tanf is facing humanitarian disaster,” Zakharova explained.
“The Americans are using aviation, rocket and artillery systems to prevent Syrian Government forces from entering this zone.”

“According to the UN, the number of refugees in this camp exceeds 60,000. They are threatened with starvation and have no access to fresh water. The risk of epidemics is growing.”
US forces prevent humanitarian convoys from reaching desperate people in dire need of help. Deplorable Western media report nothing about this, nothing about US aggression, nothing about US-dominated NATO support for terrorism – along with Israel and their rogue regional allies

7--A War on Iran?  Trump Goes Full Shabbos-Goy

At the risk of deepening what still might be my mistaken prognosis of 2007 I will say that yes, the USA will probably attack Iran. Since there is exactly ZERO chance of Iran caving in to the latest US-Israeli threats, not attacking Iran will now represent a major loss of face and humiliation for Trump and his Neocon masters. So the USA will go to war yet again, not for any rational reason, but solely because Bibi Netanyahu “owns” Trump and Israel “own” the USA. Yes my dear Americans, far from being “the land of the free and the home of the brave” the USA is a subservient colony of a tiny state in the Middle-East which also happens to be the last officially racist state on our planet. Which makes you neither brave, nor free. Sorry....

In conclusion we can see that Iran would not have to proactively do anything to make the Empire pay for an short and limited attack. Riding out the attack and letting the Neocons pay the political price for their folly would be the most likely Iranian response. In case of a long term major Imperial war against Iran, the Iranians would have a broad variety of “asymmetrical” options from which to choose, none of which would involve shutting down the Strait of Hormuz or chasing US aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf.

In any scenario, time would always be on the Iranian side while the Empire would very rapidly run out of options to try force an acceptable outcome.

This lack of a viable “exit strategy” would rapidly force the time-pressed Imperial High Command to consider the use of nuclear weapons to avoid getting bogged down in a rapidly worsening situation. Any actual use of nuclear weapons would result into a general collapse of the entire Neocon empire of a magnitude similar to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. In other words, there are no possible winning strategies for an Imperial aggression against Iran.

8--N. Korea readies missile launch ahead of US-S. Korea drill: report

(another provocation by Washington) North Korea is believed to be preparing to launch a ballistic missile ahead of an upcoming joint naval drill by the US and South Korea, a news report said Saturday, citing a government source.

9-- Denouncing Iran as a terrorist state, Trump refuses to recertify nuclear accord (Trump's hostility towards Iran poses a threat to US N security)

The European Union said Gabriel will “have to tell the Americans that their behavior on the Iran issue will drive us Europeans into a common position with Russia and China against the USA.”...

the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Frederica Mogherini, was quick to respond to Trump’s speech. She dismissed the US president’s claim that Iran has violated the JCOPA, declaring that there have been no Iranian “violations of any of the commitments in the agreement.” (In fact, even the Pentagon and US State Department acknowledge that Tehran has implemented the agreement to the letter.)Noting that the JCOPA was subsequently endorsed by the UN Security Council, Mogherini added, “To my knowledge, there is not one single country in the world that can terminate a UN Security Council resolution that has been adopted. The president of the United States has many powers, but not this one.”....

Clearly, they are hoping that Trump can still be roped in by senior members of the administration—Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster—who oppose abrogating the Iran agreement at this juncture, believing that a head-on confrontation with Iran will cut across US military-strategic offensives against China and Russia and dangerously fray US-European relations and the NATO alliance.....

Trump made no offer to negotiate with Iran, underscoring that he was issuing an ultimatum. He simply outlined a series of non-negotiable demands that would violate Iran’s sovereignty and effectively reduce the country to the status of a vassal state, while implicitly demanding that the other signatories to the JCPOA, especially Washington’s ostensible European allies, put pressure on Iran to capitulate

The vow came at the end of a bellicose rant in which Trump denounced Iran as “fanatical,” a “rogue state,” and the “world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.” He accused Tehran of fomenting “conflict, terror and turmoil throughout the Middle East and beyond.”

10-- Trump’s threats against Iran aggravate German-American tensions

The lead article in the latest edition of Die Zeit states that “America’s European partners, even the Brits, agree: the agreement must be obeyed. Should Trump break it, that would also mean a break with his partners. The Europeans must then try alone to maintain the diplomatic containment of the Iranian troublemakers. Inevitably without America—on the side of China and Russia.”

The German foreign office leaves no doubt that fundamental economic and geostrategic conflicts lie behind the breakup of the transatlantic alliance. Asked whether the answer to Trump’s Iran policy was significantly more European investment in Iran, Gabriel answered, “Yes. But if the United States threatens investment in Iran with punitive actions against the relevant businesses, then not much will be done with investment. That cannot be in our interest.”

Berlin, like Paris and London, has arranged contracts worth billions in Iran and sees Trump’s course as a threat to its efforts to develop new energy resources and markets for Germany’s export economy in Iran. As a result, the German economy had great hopes in the Iran agreement and the related suspension of sanctions in January 2016. The Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) reportedly expected a doubling of trade from €2.4 billion (2015) to €5 billion within two years and within five years an increase to €10 billion.

A return to the US-dictated sanctions regime would be “a blow to business for the significantly revived trade relations,” Volker Treier, the DIHK foreign business chief, commented to the German Press Agency. The German economy has “relied on the international agreement and with it the new conditions of lighter sanctions,” Treier added. After all, Iran has the second-largest natural gas and fourth-largest oil reserves in the world and the exploitation of this potential would be “very difficult” under new sanctions

11-- IMF report points to financial dangers lurking beneath global growth

before the financial crisis there were $16 trillion in relatively safe investment-grade bonds yielding more than 4 percent. “That has dwindled to just $2 trillion today. There is simply too much money chasing too few high yielding assets. The result is that investors are taking more risks and exposing themselves to bigger losses if markets tumble.”...

Indebtedness in major economies is increasing and now stands at 235 percent of gross domestic product for the G20 group of countries that make up about 85 percent of the world economy. Debt servicing pressures and debt levels in the nonfinancial sector were already high in several major economies, with Australia, Canada, China and South Korea singled out for specific mention