Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Today's Links

1--Trump "Resistance" groups conceal corporate money and manipulation

The article highlights the efforts of one particular group, Democracy Alliance, which the Times describes as “a club of wealthy liberals” who have donated more than $600 million since 2005 and have “helped shape the institutional left.” Since the election of Donald Trump, the group has shifted its funding priorities away from well-established organizations that supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primaries into a host of new “anti-Trump” groups. Their aim is to bolster the left-wing credentials of the Democratic Party, stem the growth of social opposition, and block the development of interest in socialism among tens of millions of workers and youth.

“The Democracy Alliance distributed a ‘resistance map’ to its donors in July including new groups focused on converting the anti-Trump energy into electoral wins, such as Flippable, Swing Left and Sister District, as well as legal watchdog groups and others focused on mobilizing protesters, such as Women’s March and Indivisible,” the article states.

Indivisible, the Times notes, was able to expand from little more than an online text document detailing how to “resist” the Trump administration into a national organization of 40 staff members, with more than 6,000 volunteer chapters across the country,” as well as two associated nonprofits which have raised $6 million dollars in donations.

The Times article continues: “Yet Indivisible has also received funding from the tech entrepreneur Reid Hoffman, as well as foundations or coalitions tied to Democracy Alliance donors, including the San Francisco mortgage billionaire Herbert Sandler, the New York real estate heiress Patricia Bauman and the oil heiress Leah Hunt-Hendrix.” A representative from the group said that they would “gladly” accept funding from billionaire investor George Soros, a major financial backer of the Democratic Party.

Cloaked under rhetorical attacks on the supposed “neoliberal” and “establishment” wing of the Democratic Party, a ferocious struggle is unfolding over the division of the spoils. The Center for American Progress, the Times observes, “has engendered resentment from others on the left for casting itself as a leader of the anti-Trump movement and raising money off the resistance nomenclature,” including selling t-shirts branded with the word “resist” on its website.

Only the politically naive will believe that these Wall Street millionaires and billionaires will not see a “return on investment” from their donations. All of the “left-wing” groups that are receiving millions in donations seek, in one way or another, to camouflage the character of the Democratic Party as a party of the financial oligarchy and the military and promote illusions that the Democrats can be shifted through popular pressure to the left....

The political goal behind these fundraising efforts is to boost the tattered credibility of the Democratic Party, widely seen as a party of Wall Street and the military, and to channel mass opposition to the Trump administration behind the Democrats in order to prevent it from escaping the control of the ruling class.

Workers and young people who have been taken in by the illusion that the Democrats can be transformed from a party of Wall Street into a “people’s party” should consider the fact that the very groups promoting the perspective of pressuring the Democrats are themselves being directly backed and financed by Wall Street.

The bulk of the “left-wing” upper-middle class supported the primary campaign of Bernie Sanders, who combined progressive and even “socialist” phraseology with a total silence on the reactionary role of the Democratic Party. After unceremoniously capitulating to Clinton, Sanders went on a national postelection tour with Democratic National Committee Chairman Thomas Perez to save the Democrats’ image as a party of “working people.” Sanders constantly papered over the experience of the Obama administration in order to bolster illusions in the Democrats.

The result of Sanders’ efforts has been disastrous for the working class. Far from turning the Democratic Party to the left, the Democratic Party has ignored the votes of Sanders’ 13 million voters, promised to make deals with Trump on everything from tax cuts for the rich to mass deportation, and launched a nationalist campaign aimed at whipping up hostility to Russia, blaming “Russian interference” for Trump’s victory. The leadership of the Democratic Party now hopes that by mobilizing wealthy donors they can inject a popular veneer into their pro-war, pro-corporate program and block the development of a mass movement for socialist revolution

2--The New York Times and the criminalization of dissent

The New York Times, in close coordination with the Democratic Party and the US intelligence agencies, is engaged in a campaign that is nothing less than criminal. It is engaged in a political conspiracy to outlaw dissent in the United States and justify state efforts to prohibit, blacklist and suppress speech, particularly on the Internet...The basic target of the lying campaign over Russian manipulation of US public opinion is not Russia, but the American population...

Control of the Internet and the suppression of free speech online is a basic strategic issue for the American ruling class. The emergence of online communication and Internet platforms broke the control of the major media conglomerates over the distribution of information. Under conditions of growing popular opposition to social inequality and war, and deepening political crisis, establishing state control over the Internet is seen as a matter of the greatest urgency.....

The campaign within the American media and political establishment over allegations of Russian “hacking” and manipulation of the US elections is being transformed into an increasingly frenzied demand for the criminalization of dissent.

During the first months of the Trump administration, the charges of Russian interference in US politics were primarily used to prosecute a struggle within the American ruling class centered on issues of foreign policy. The anti-Russian campaign has now developed into an effort to associate all opposition within the United States to the actions of a “foreign enemy.”

A series of increasingly ludicrous articles have appeared in the US press, channeling information supposedly gathered by the Senate Intelligence Committee from social media companies. The latest appeared on Tuesday in the New York Times, which has played the central role in the media campaign. The front-page article (“Russians Spun American Rage Into a Weapon: Facebook Posts in US Fueled Propaganda”) is a piece of pure political propaganda, filled with unsubstantiated statements, wild speculation and unsupported conclusions...

The claims of Russian manipulation read like the ravings of individuals suffering from paranoid delusions. According to an earlier statement from Republican Senator James Lankford, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Russian “trolls” are responsible for pushing the controversy over NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police violence. Russian “troll farms,” he claimed, were working to “raise the noise level in America.”

3--US to automatically assume full operational control of South Korean military forces in war with North

OPLAN 5015, adopted by South Korea and the US in November 2015 under the Obama administration, shifts the emphasis from a nominally defensive military posture to one that is overtly based on pre-emptive attacks. While details have not been released, the South Korean press last year made clear that OPLAN 5015 includes pre-emptive strikes on North Korea’s nuclear and missile sites and “decapitation raids” by special forces units to assassinate top figures in the Pyongyang regime, including leader Kim Jong-un.

Washington is not only fully implicated in these plans, but would direct them. In the event of war with North Korea, the US, which maintains 28,500 troops in South Korea, would automatically assume full operational control of South Korean military forces, including nearly half a million army troops backed by a heavily armed navy and air force.

Thus, the huge annual joint South Korean and US war games over the past two years under OPLAN 5015 are nothing less than rehearsals for a full-scale US-led attack on North Korea—a plan that the Trump administration is on the brink of setting in motion....

Total War

In December 2015, just after OPLAN 5015 had been finalised, then US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford declared that a new Korean war would not be like the last. In comments cited by the Brookings Institution, the Pentagon’s top general warned that any conflict with North Korea would not be confined to the Korean Peninsula and would inevitably be “trans-regional, multi-domain and multi-functional.”
Translated from military jargon, Dunford’s remarks signified that the Pentagon had to prepare to fight a “trans-regional” conflict—that is, a world war—in every domain (land, sea, air, space and cyberspace) with every available weapon, including nuclear ones. Less than two years on, the Trump administration is recklessly plunging the world towards such a catastrophe

4--Lavrov Speaks, at the UN

5--How private corporations will benefit from Kurdish independence

While private money finds its way into Kurdish coffers, the Kurdistan region of Iraq has been long seeing the construction of permanent U.S. military bases, as well as an influx of private military contractors, who will no doubt defend the oil entitlements of these large corporations. Baghdad has openly called these contracts and entitlements illegal. By allowing and passively encouraging this behavior, the U.S. is abandoning Iraq as a sovereign entity. Their interest, analogous to corporate interest, is to control Iraq’s natural resources and privatize capital.

The fact is that the Iraqi Kurds have been reduced to foot soldiers for oil companies, and this could not be worse for the state of Iraq. It remains to be seen how things pan out after the official fall of ISIS, which will be soon, but it appears that the West, headed by the U.S., has no intention of an economically free and independent Iraq. While the U.S. publicly denounces the referendum, no serious attempt has been made to stop it. As they say in American politics – follow the money...

When ISIS came on the scene, this provided an opportunity for corporations to put pressure onto Iraq to bend to their will. In order to force Baghdad to do “better” business, oil companies, especially ExxonMobil had begun investing heavily in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. This was so blatant that Reuters ran a report in 2014 exposing the link between ExxonMobil and the Kurds, describing how Exxon had made the Kurdistan region of Iraq what it is now today.

6-- How Exxon made Iraqi Kurdistan

The gloomy scenario grabbed the attention of Exxon executives. Just two years earlier, they had signed a $25 billion deal with Iraq to develop West Qurna, one of the largest oil fields in the country.
“No one wanted to hear that they had negotiated a multi-billion dollar deal in a country which will soon implode,” said Khedery, who has detailed to Reuters the meeting and subsequent events for the first time.
He suggested an alternative: Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous region in northern Iraq that was politically stable, far from the chaos in the south, and had, by some estimates, oil reserves of 45 billion barrels

7--US  flies bombers over Korea as Trump discusses options

The two U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers were joined by two F-15K fighters from the South Korean military after leaving their base in Guam, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement on Wednesday.
After entering South Korean airspace, the two bombers carried out air-to-ground missile drills in waters off the east coast of South Korea, then flew over the South to waters between it and China to repeat the drill, the release said.

8--Will Trump nuke North Korea? video 

Quote:  The B-2 Spirit could be the weapon of choice as it has the capability to inflict a lethal precision strike with the option of using nuclear weapons. A strike like this could be aimed at  North Korean Military infrastructure taking out vital assets in one fell swoop. With possibly millions of lives at stake, it is now to be seen how the Trump administration deals with the situation." 7 min 4 seconds 

9--  "Russia Interfered!" - By Purchasing Anti-Trump Ads?

After the ludicrous "Russian hacking" claims have died down for lack of evidence, the attention was moved to even more ludicrous claims of "Russian ads influenced the elections". Some readers are upset that continue to debunk the nonsense the media spreads around this. But lies should not stand without response. If only to blame the reporters and media who push this dreck.
As evidence is also lacking for any "Russian interference" claims the media outlets have started to push deceiving headlines. These make claims that are not covered at all by the content of the related pieces. The headlines are effective because less than 20% of the viewers ever read beyond them.
On the NYT Homepage today we find another one of these: Google Finds Russia Bought Ads to Interfere in Election.
Google has found no ads that "Russia", the state or nation, has bought. There is also no evidence that the ads in question interfered in any way with the election. There is evidence that any of the ads in questions aimed to achieve that. The opener of the piece repeats the false headline claims. But now we have "Russian agents", not "Russia", which allegedly did something.
Google has found evidence that Russian agents bought ads on its wide-ranging networks in an effort to interfere with the 2016 presidential campaign.
The term "Russian agents" is not defined at all. Where these "secret agents" or Public Relation professionals in Washington DC hired by some Russian entity?
Using accounts believed to be connected to the Russian government, the agents purchased $4,700 worth of search ads and more traditional display ads, according to a person familiar with the company’s inquiry ...
"Accounts believed to be connected to the Russian government." Believed by whom? And how is "connected" defined? Isn't any citizen "connected" to his or her government?
Those believed, connected accounts bought a whopping $4,700 of ads? Googles 2016 revenue was $89,000,000,000. The total campaign expenditures in 2016 were some $6,000,000,000. The Clinton campaign spent some $480,000 on social network ads alone. But something "Russian" spending $4,700 was "interference"?

10-- Op Ed: Wikileaks Allies Have Been Systematically Targeted, Defamed

11--Intelgate? believe in “Intelgate” is to believe that the entire American intelligence system, along with the Justice Department and the FBI, the House and Senate intelligence committees, and countless private security experts and analysts, have fallen victim to a hoax perpetrated by the Deep State. It is to believe that dozens, scores, hundreds of former US officials who served under Obama, and who had Top Secret security clearances, have engaged in a conspiracy of silence since leaving office or, worse, have slyly taken part in a campaign to smear Trump. It is to believe that the dozens of members of Congress—both Republicans and Democrats, on the intelligence committees and in leadership positions—who have had access to the underlying intelligence that supports the January ICA think the evidence is weak but for some reason are afraid to challenge it. And it is to believe that America’s best investigative reporters, some of whom have received detailed leaks about what Mueller and the intelligence community know, are patsies....

Senator Burr said his committee will keep trying to uncover the secrets behind the so-called Trump Dossier, compiled by two private security firms and by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence operative, which outlined a years-long pattern of business and political ties between Donald Trump and Russia

12-- Russia-gate Jumps the Shark

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