Friday, August 2, 2019

Today's links

1--INF nuclear treaty: US pulls out of Cold War-era pact with Russia


Trump foolishly puts a nuclear bullseye on Europe's back 


2--Syria accuses Turkey of having 10,000 soldiers and 166 tanks inside country


Turkey maintains that they’re conducting “anti-terror operations” in line with an agreement with Syria that was established in the late 1990s.


3--Syrian Army agrees to ceasefire in Idlib if militants retreat from demilitarized zone


4--Gabbard decks Harris in one round TKO


Gabbard shredded Harris to pieces for jailing more than 1,500 nonviolent marijuana offenders while admitting in a radio interview that she had smoked marijuana in college, and for her “tough-on-crime” stances. “She blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row… she kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor… and she fought to keep the cash bail system in place,” Gabbard continued, leaving Harris unable to counter.


5--Global central banks boost gold reserves by record $15.7 billion in shift away from US dollar 


6--Putin--Who created Isis?? youtube


7--US builds up forces in Persian Gulf


The idea for a maritime force publicly emerged on July 9, when US Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that Washington was planning to form an international maritime security force to allegedly ensure freedom of navigation in waters off Iran and Yemen.
That development came after several oil tankers came under allegedly sabotage attacks near the Persian Gulf in June, with the US and its ally Saudi Arabia blaming the Islamic Republic for the attacks.

Tehran rejected the accusations as baseless and said the incidents were “suspicious,” indicating a belief that false flag operations may have been carried out in an attempt to justify some form of foreign military intervention in the region.

Iran has also rejected any foreign military presence in the region, stressing that regional countries alone are to provide such security.
The US has already engaged in a military buildup in the Persian Gulf, including by ordering the accelerated dispatch of an aircraft carrier to the region.

8--Senate Democrats approve Trump war budget  No difference between the two war parties

By Patrick Martin
2 August 2019
The US Senate passed a budget for the fiscal year beginning October 1 that includes a record $738 billion for the military. The budget was the product of an agreement between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Trump White House, reflecting bipartisan support for the American war machine.
Senate Democrats gave far more support to the Trump-Pelosi budget than Republicans, voting for it by 38-5, with four absent. Republicans divided much more closely, 30 for, 23 against, and one absent. Republicans were not opposed to the record spending on the military but objected to the level of spending for domestic social programs and the overall deficit

If the Democrats had voted against the budget by any significant margin, it would have been defeated.

Of the seven Democratic senators running for president, four were absent from the vote, including Bernie Sanders, who declared during the Tuesday Democratic debate in Detroit that he would vote against the record military budget, but did not bother to return to Washington to cast his vote on Thursday. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker were also absent.

Among the three Democratic presidential candidates who did return to the capital to vote, Kirsten Gillibrand backed the war budget, while Michael Bennet and Amy Klobuchar voted against....

Among the House Democrats voting for the record war budget were Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, both members of the Democratic Socialists of America....

The budget deal sets a top-line spending number of $1.37 trillion for fiscal year 2020, which begins in two months, and $1.375 trillion for the following year.  

Despite Schumer’s claim that the budget provides $10 billion more in budget authority for domestic social spending than for the military, reestablishing parity between defense and nondefense items, the figures for fiscal year 2020 are $738 billion for the military and only $632 billion for everything else, a gap of more than $100 billion...

The budget deal exposes the utter fakery of the Democratic presidential debates, in which right-wing candidates posture as friends of working people and opponents of Trump, while in their day jobs as senators, members of the House, governors and mayors, they empower the Trump White House and collaborate with its vicious attacks on the working class.
This de facto coalition government, with a fascistic president enabled by his Democratic partners, offers working people no prospect but military aggression overseas, attacks on jobs, living standards and social benefits at home, and a frontal assault on democratic rights, with immigrants playing the role of guinea pigs for the treatment of the entire population

9--Media silent on dismissal of DNC suit against Julian Assange  a conspiracy of silence in mainstream media

2 August 2019
A federal court ruling last Tuesday dismissing a Democratic National Committee (DNC) civil suit against Julian Assange “with prejudice” was a devastating indictment of the US ruling elite’s campaign to destroy the WikiLeaks founder. It exposed as a fraud the entire “Russiagate” conspiracy theory peddled by the Democratic Party, the corporate media and the intelligence agencies for the past three years.

The decision, by Judge John Koeltl of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, rejected the smears that Assange “colluded” with Russia. It upheld his status as a journalist and publisher and dismissed claims that WikiLeaks’ 2016 publication of leaked emails from the DNC was “illegal.”

Despite the significance of the ruling, and its clear newsworthiness, it has been subjected to an almost complete blackout by the entire media in the US and internationally.

The universal silence on the court decision—extending from the New York Times (which buried a six-paragraph report on the ruling on page 25) and the Washington Post, to “alternative” outlets such as the Intercept, the television evening news programs and the publications of the pseudo-left—can be described only as a coordinated political conspiracy....

The editors and senior writers at these outlets, such as New York Times editorial page editor James Bennet, are in constant contact with the CIA and other intelligence agencies. Behind the scenes, they work out an editorial line that will advance the interests of the Wall Street banks and the military-intelligence apparatus. At the same time, they decide what news and information they will hide from the American and world population.

Judge Koeltl’s decision made plain the anti-democratic and dictatorial logic of the DNC case against Assange. He warned: “If WikiLeaks could be held liable for publishing documents concerning the DNC’s political, financial and voter-engagement strategies simply because the DNC labels them ‘secret’ and trade secrets, then so could any newspaper or other media outlet.” This, he stated, would “override the First Amendment” protection to freedom of the press mandated by the US Constitution.
Koeltl’s finding was an absolute vindication of Assange and WikiLeaks’ 2016 publications exposing the attempts by the DNC to rig the Democratic Party primaries against self-declared “democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders in favour of Hillary Clinton.

The judge found these releases, together with the publication of Clinton’s secret speeches to Wall Street banks, in which she pledged to be their representative, were “matters of the highest public concern.” They “allowed the American electorate to look behind the curtain of one of the two major political parties in the United States during a presidential election.”

Koeltl, moreover, found there was no evidence to justify the DNC’s assertion that WikiLeaks had colluded with the Russian state to obtain the material. Assange and WikiLeaks have always maintained that the documents were not provided to them by the Putin regime....

Koeltl’s ruling, however, reasserted the fundamental democratic principle that WikiLeaks had a right to publish the 2016 DNC documents, even if they had been obtained by the Russian government, or any other entity, illegally. 

10--Justice Dept. Watchdog Has Evidence Comey Probed Trump, on the Sly

Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, who has written extensively on the Trump-Russia probe as a columnist for National Review, said that just because the president’s name was not put on a file or a surveillance warrant does not mean the Comey FBI was not investigating him. “They were hoping to surveil him incidentally, and they were trying to make a case on him,” McCarthy said. “The real reason Comey did not want to repeat publicly the assurances he made to Trump privately is that these assurances were misleading. The FBI strung Trump along, telling him he was not a suspect while structuring the investigation in accordance with the reality that Trump was the main subject."

But, former FBI counterintelligence agent and lawyer Mark Wauck said, the FBI lacked legal grounds to treat Trump as a suspect. “They had no probable cause against Trump himself for ‘collusion’ or espionage,” he said. “They were scrambling to come up with anything to hang a hat on, but had found nothing.”
What remains unclear is why Comey would take such extraordinary steps against a sitting president. The Mueller report concluded there was no basis for the Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories. Comey himself was an early skeptic of the Steele dossier -- the opposition research memos paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign that were the road map of collusion theories – which he dismissed as “salacious and unverified.”...

The IG’s report, which is expected to be released in early September, will shine new light on the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, given that Horowitz and his team have examined more than 1 million records and conducted more than 100 interviews, including sit-downs with Comey and other current and former FBI and Justice Department personnel. The period covering Comey’s activities is believed to run from early January 2017 to early May 2017, when Comey was fired and his deputy Andrew McCabe, as the acting FBI director, formally opened full counterintelligence and obstruction investigations of the president...

Some of the notes, which Comey locked in a safe, cited classified sources and methods, including the identities of witnesses and informants along with the code names their FBI handlers assigned to them, according to federal court papers. They also document the assistance provided by foreign intelligence agencies. They are said to be a map not only of his agents’ investigative activity relating to Crossfire Hurricane, but also his own dealings with the president....

McCabe’s former aide Page admitted in her closed-door congressional interview that, at the time her boss ordered the investigations, they couldn't connect Trump to the Russia conspiracy, and that “it still existed in the scope of possibility that there would be literally nothing” there. In fact, her lead partner on the case, Peter Strzok, confessed in a text: “My gut sense and concern is there’s no big there, there.”

As the top law enforcement official in the room, Comey was chosen to confront Trump with "the material" that accused him of being compromised by Russia and engaging in a criminal conspiracy with Moscow to hack the election. The morning before flying to New York, Comey met at FBI headquarters with a group of counterespionage officials and agents who were read in on the plan — code-named the “sensitive matter team” — for an update on the allegations against Trump and the overall Russia investigation.
The initial part of the intelligence briefing at Trump Tower included Vice President-elect Mike Pence, Reince Priebus, Trump’s chief of staff, and Flynn, who didn’t know he was under FBI scrutiny. Following a report on alleged Russian election interference, Comey cleared the conference room to privately brief Trump on the Clinton campaign-funded Steele dossier itself — without disclosing its source. He referred to the political document simply as “the derogatory files.”
Comey limited his briefing to the lurid rumor about prostitutes in a Moscow hotel, while omitting the fact that he had signed a wiretap warrant to eavesdrop on one of Trump’s campaign advisers based on other parts of the dossier.
Comey also failed to tell the president-elect that Flynn was under investigation along with Carter Page. In other words, Comey left the president in the dark on the most substantive assertions of the dossier...

Comey also withheld the facts that the dossier was financed by the Hillary Clinton campaign (Comey had known this since October 2016, if not earlier), that it was compiled by a private foreign contractor, and that it was not a product of the U.S. government. The omissions led Trump to believe the contents of the dossier came from U.S. intelligence and were taken seriously by serious people in the government. If he had known otherwise, he could have easily dismissed the information as biased and unreliable — and questioned why Comey was even bothering to conduct such a briefing....

“We are not investigating you, sir,” Comey told Trump, an assurance that “seemed to quiet him,” the former director remarked in his book.
That statement seems undercut by the fact that Comey typed up his notes on his laptop in his government vehicle less than five minutes after he walked out of Trump Tower, according to a heavily redacted Jan. 7, 2017, email to his top aides. Comey self-classified the notes at the “SECRET” level.
“I executed the session exactly as planned,” Comey reported back to his “sensitive matter team.”

11--House Democrats, including key progressives, have passed a measure condemning the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS). Why are Reps. Ro Khanna, Tulsi Gabbard, and Ayanna Pressley denouncing a global movement for Palestinian rights?

12--Jeffrey Epstein became an FBI INFORMANT to secure sweetheart deal and shut down federal probe into the pedophile's abuse of underage girls, government records reveal


Jeffrey Epstein managed to shut down a federal probe into his illicit and illegal activities with underage girls and secure his sweetheart plea deal by providing information' to the government, FBI reports confirm.
A federal investigation into the pedophile led by the FBI was closed out on September 18, 2008 when Epstein 'provided information to the FBI as agreed upon' according to the case agent.


 13--The number of multiple-jobholders rises to a new all time high in june

the number of multiple-jobholders soared from 7.855 million in May, to 8.156 million in June, to a new all time of 8,389 million in July, a monthly increase of 233K and 591,000 higher in the past three months, which was a clear indication that the jobs number was far weaker than the headline represents if one excludes all those workers who represented two jobs to the BLS' various surveys. 

However, in keeping with the theme that a record number of workers need more than one job to make ends meet, the BLS reported that the labor force participation rate for workers 55 and old surged to the highest level in 7 years.  


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