Sunday, May 28, 2017

Jacob Heilbrunn — Is Trump Pushing Merkel to Create A German Superpower?

Trump's approach to Europe and elsewhere has been predicated on the notion that he can singlehandedly defy the rules of the game and extract what he wants. The problem is that he is emboldening Germany to become the superpower of Europe and inevitably it will pursue what it considers its own interests. This is after all the nation that invented the term realpolitik....
The National Interest
Is Trump Pushing Merkel to Create A German Superpower?
Jacob Heilbrunn | editor of the National Interest

SouthFront — ISIS Imposes Own Currency In Controlled Areas

In early May, ISIS forced traders to use its currency in the areas controlled by the terrorist group, especially in Raqqa and Deir Ezzor.…

Each silver dirham equals 100 fils of copper, and each gold dinar equals 85 silver dirhams. According to ISIS, the value of currencies determined by its “Monetary Authority”.
ISIS is trying to promote its currency by claiming that it has “real value unlike paper currencies.” ISIS also claimed that its currency maintains its value during wars and crises becauseit is made of valuable metals.…
ISIS currency carries the value of the metals it’s made of. However, its exchange rate is manipulated and does not reflect the true value of these metals. In addition, ISIS is the one who determines the exchange rates, thus making this currency one of the biggest financial scams in the current decade....

David Lazare — Trump Submits to Neocon Orthodoxy


Donald Trump throws in the towel.
Reeling from the onslaught, Trump began to realize that he was in a no-win situation, just as Obama had eight years earlier when he gave Hillary Clinton and her neocon allies control of the State Department.
Bucking Washington’s foreign-policy establishment, a.k.a. “The Blob,” was a losing proposition. The neocons were too powerful. Resistance was pointless. So Trump surrendered to the “truisms” of Official Washington’s foreign-policy elite regarding the Middle East conflicts: Saudi Arabia and its allies: good; Russia, Syria, and Iran: baaaad....
Consortium News
Trump Submits to Neocon Orthodoxy
David Lazare

Also
As part of the drive to drive President Trump from the White House, some “never-Trumpers” are rehabilitating George W. Bush as a relative “moderate” and thus whitewashing his war crimes, notes Lawrence Davidson.
George W. Bush’s Horrific Legacy

also

Sputnik International
Daesh and the West's Solid Stench of Death
Pepe Escobar

Dave Lindorff: American conservatives love to bash Canadian health care — but U.S. corporations love it

Canada's affordable, efficient and widely popular single-payer system saves millions for U.S. corporations


President Donald Trump has been pushing hard, along with Republicans in Congress, to eliminate former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. But as he and leaders of the Senate and House struggle to come up with some alternative health care law, they might ask themselves why large companies like General Motors, Ford and Chrysler (now Fiat Chrysler) over recent decades have shifted roughly half their car and truck production — and the jobs that go with them — across the Detroit River into Canada. 
Here’s one big reason they did it: Canada’s government-run single-payer health system, known as Medicare — to be clear, not the same Medicare as the American health care system for senior citizens — lowers those auto companies’ health care costs from more than $15,000 per worker in the United States to just a few thousand dollars in Canada, with all Canadian taxpayers, not just employees and their employers, picking up the tab. 
Although few if any executives of large firms in the U.S. have advocated a similar single-payer system here, executives of Canadian subsidiaries of those same companies not only say they like the system, but enthusiastically make use of it not just for their workers, but for themselves and their families. In fact, a decade ago, those executives of U.S. Canadian subsidiaries joined with executives and union presidents of Canadian-based firms to lobby the Canadian government to expand and increase funding for Medicare, seeking to have it cover long-term care, dental care and drugs. 
Nobody would call Francis Buckley, a professor of contract law at George Mason University in Virginia, a liberal. A Canadian by birth who became a naturalized U.S. citizen a few years ago, Buckley is a senior editor of the conservative American Spectator magazine, and was an occasional speechwriter for Donald Trump last year during the presidential campaign. But he also sits on the board of Physicians for a National Health Program, an advocacy group for single-payer health care in the U.S. Buckley said, “My experience with Canada’s health system is that it works very well, and at about half the cost per person of the U.S.” 
Buckley added, “Trump in the past has said good things about Canada’s Medicare system. Ideologically I don’t think he’s opposed to it. But given the fecklessness of the Republicans in Congress, he may feel that it would be too hard to push through.”
American conservatives love to bash Canadian health care

Max Blumenthal: The Manchester Bombing is Blowback from the West’s Disastrous Interventions and Covert Proxy Wars


How the US and UK helped bring jihadists like Salem Abedi to Libya and Syria


A secret 2008 US embassy cable described Qaddafi’s government as a bulwark against the spread of Islamist militancy. “Libya has been a strong partner in the war against terrorism and cooperation in liaison channels is excellent,” the cable read. “Muammar al-Qadhafi’s criticism of Saudi Arabia for perceived support of Wahabi extremism, a source of continuing Libya-Saudi tension, reflects broader Libyan concern about the threat of extremism. Worried that fighters returning from Afghanistan and Iraq could destabilize the regime, the [government of Libya] has aggressive pursued operations to disrupt foreign fighter flows, including more stringent monitoring of air/land ports of entry, and blunt the ideological appeal of radical Islam.” 
The author of that cable was the late foreign service officer, J. Christopher Stevens. 
A rogue former officer of Britain’s MI5 intelligence services named David Shayler alleged that his government had covertly funded the LIFG [Libyan Islamic Fighting Group] to carry out the failed 1996 assassination attempt on Qaddafi. Two years later, Libyan state television produced footage of a failed grenade attack on Qaddafi that it alleged was carried out by a British agent. At the time, the LIFG was an affiliate of Al Qaeda whose members included Anas al-Libi, a top lieutenant of Osama bin Laden. 
When the Libyan uprising broke out in March 2011, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates immediately pumped arms and logistical support into the armed opposition. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saw the insurgency as an opportunity for America to assert its influence amidst the tumult of the Arab Spring. She advocated arming the rebels on the grounds that Washington could get “skin in the game,” according to her Middle East advisor, Dennis Ross. 
Ignoring warnings from NATO’s supreme allied commander Adm. James Stavridis about the presence of Al Qaeda in the opposition, President Barack Obama approved shipments of TOW missiles, armored Humvees, and advanced radar systems to the Libyan insurgents.
I read Qaddafi's Green Book many years ago and agreed with everything in it. The West said it was propaganda,  as if the West doesn't do propaganda. I'm not into backing dictators, most are brutal, but the Libyans  had the highest standard of living in Africa; they had free education; low cost public banking;  help buying their homes and starting their businesses; so did they really want him removed?

The West always wanted him gone and so they backed Jihad Islam to oust him. The Jihadists always hated his secular regime, just as they do in Syria. The West backs Jihadists dictatorships and the Russians back moderate and secular regimes. So who's the bad guy? The ME is now a complete mess, millions of lives ruined, and now they are going to do the same to Iran.

They say Qaddafi run a brutal regime, but the CIA and he Jihadists always wanted him out, so he had to have a strong Intelligence. Left alone, Libya may have progressed to a liberal democracy. But what does democracy mean in the West anyway: it usually  means being a vassal state of the US where democracy is a sham. When we voted for New Labour and when Americans voted for Trump, they got the same old hidden government back in.

Opening up a country to democracy and free markets just means privatising everything so the Western elite can buy it all up. They can use Western banks, which create money out of nothing, to buy up the world. This isn't capitalism, this a small group of people controlling the planet. If the Chinese get better at it, because they have a superior banking system and realise the importance of industry to create wealth, you can bet the Western elite won't like capitalism much anymore. They will demand that China becomes more 'democratic'' - as if the US is democratic - and open up its markets so the West can buy up everything.

In the UK the Royal Mail got privatised and now the elite can make a packet. But they want the NHS too. Haven't they got enough billions already, what do they want more for? But they want all of Russia's and China's wealth too, and everything in South America and the ME even if that means destroying those countries. Greg Palest has apparently caught one of the Koch brothers on tape saying - when he was cheating the native Indians out of their oil by stating that the tankers which sucked up the oil were smaller than they were - 'I want everything, I want it all'.


Felicity Lawrence: Who will pay for the UK’s multi-billion corporate tax grab? We all will


Imagine you are presented with a brilliant new wheeze to reclaim your taxes from more than 40 years ago: taxes that have long ago been spent on services from the NHS to schools to welfare. Clever lawyers and accountants sell the idea to you; they spotted the opportunity at the turn of the millennium. But just like elaborate transnational tax avoidance, it only works if you are a large multinational business operating in different jurisdictions. What would you do? Balk at something that sounds so unfair? Ask: how is this possible? Or take up their invitation and ask who to call? 
Lots of multinational companies made that call, and it is a huge but little-known problem facing any incoming UK government that HM Revenue & Customs acknowledges it may have to repay big business a staggering £55bn of old tax.The figure is enormous: that is nearly half the NHS’s annual budget. It’s more than the total amount of corporation tax and capital gains tax collected by HMRC in 2015. It makes arguments about whether Labour’s manifesto is properly costed look footling, and the Conservative promise to move in to surplus look wild
HMRC now has a last shot at appealing to the supreme court on an aspect of the BAT group claims: whether the corporates are entitled not just to simple interest on repayments in the way that you and I would be if we were being repaid tax collected, but to compound interest going back to 1973. It is this claim that turns the sums from disturbingly large to public finance-busting. The revenue declined to say to what extent its liabilities relate to challenges under EU law, but a source has told us the great majority of them do.

Who will pay for the UK’s multi-billion corporate tax grab?


If Labour wins the election it could wreck its spending plans, then Labour will
look like it failed again. But as usual it wouldn't be their fault, it would be down to the city gents. I hope the British Labour Party catches onto MMT.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Zero Hedge Dollar General Accounts For 80% Of All New Store Openings In The US


Bottom feeding increases as bottom (refuse of society) expands. Walmart becomes upscale.
It seems that in the otherwise gloomy US bricks and mortar industry, a source of tremendous growth continues to shine: catering to America's growing poor.
Zero Hedge
Dollar General Accounts For 80% Of All New Store Openings In The US
Tyler Durden

Alleen Brown — Leaked Documents Reveal Counterterrorism Tactics Used at Standing Rock to “Defeat Pipeline Insurgencies”

A shadowy international mercenary and security firm known as TigerSwan targeted the movement opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline with military-style counterterrorism measures, collaborating closely with police in at least five states, according to internal documents obtained by The Intercept.
The documents provide the first detailed picture of how TigerSwan, which originated as a U.S. military and State Department contractor helping to execute the global war on terror, worked at the behest of its client Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline, to respond to the indigenous-led movement that sought to stop the project.

Internal TigerSwan communications describe the movement as “an ideologically driven insurgency with a strong religious component” and compare the anti-pipeline water protectors to jihadist fighters.
"It can't happen here," morphs into "It can't be happening here, can it?"

Warning: SCARY.

Patrick Armstrong — When Intelligence Isn't


What passes for intelligence these days.

Sic Semper Tyrannis
When Intelligence Isn't
Patrick Armstrong

See also

"Anatoly, you will not believe what the idiots proposed to me!" (Dramatization)
Col. W. Patrick Lang, US Army (ret.), former military intelligence officer at the US Defense Intelligence Agency

The Duran
Another story from the Deep State soft coup plotters: Kushner, Flynn and the ‘back channel’ to Russia
Alexander Mercouris

Also
On Thursday, the leaders of NATO member countries met for the first time with President Trump at the NATO summit in Brussels. On the same day, ahead of her trip to Brussels, Angela Merkel met with former US president Barack Obama in Berlin. Polish political analyst Jan Hartman commented to Sputnik on the occasion.…
Sputnik International
No Coincidence: Why Obama Visited Merkel Hours Before Trump Joining NATO Summit

After failing to thwart two terror attacks that have occurred in the U.K. so far this year – both of which were carried out by suspected jihadis who were known to U.K. authorities – intelligence agencies have identified 23,000 potential jihadis living in Britain, according to a report published in the Times of London on Saturday.
The report emerged after U.K. Prime Minster Theresa May downgraded the terror threat to “severe,” after raising it “critical” on Tuesday in the aftermath of the attacks.
Of this 'pool' of potential terrorists, 3,000 are suspected of posing an “imminent threat” and are being investigated accordingly, the Times reports. Meanwhile, the other 20,000 have been involved with past investigation....
Zero Hedge
Intelligence Agencies Admit 23,000 Jihadis Live In Britain; 3,000 Pose "Imminent Threat"
Tyler Durden

Moon of Alabama — The Activities Around Trump's Foreign Policy Are Scandalous - But The Media Won't Tell You Why


Important. Spoiler: The title is snark.

Moon of Alabama
The Activities Around Trump's Foreign Policy Are Scandalous - But The Media Won't Tell You Why
b

RIP Zbignew Brzezinski


A Russian view of Zbig and his legacy.

Geopolitica.RU

Laying the trap for Russia in Afghanistan aka creating Russia's Vietnam.

Defend Democracy Press
Brzezinski: CIA entered Afghanistan before the Russians
Translated from the French by Bill Blum
Published by the French site les-crises.fr
As National Security Advisor of U.S. President Jimmy Carter Brzezinski devised the strategy of using religiously motivated radical militants against secular governments and their people.
Because freedom and democracy.

Moon of Alabama
Al-Qaeda's Godfather Is Dead - Good Riddance
b
Zbigniew Brzezinski to the Mujahideen: "Your cause is right and God is on your side!"
The Duran
Zbigniew Brzezinski: Death of an anti-Russian terrorist
Adam Garrie

As the New York Times explains, Brzezinski’s “rigid hatred of the Soviet Union” guided much of America’s foreign policy “for better or worse.” From the Times:
“He supported billions in military aid for Islamic militants fighting invading Soviet troops in Afghanistan. He tacitly encouraged China to continue backing the murderous regime of Pol Pot in Cambodia, lest the Soviet-backed Vietnamese take over that country.” [emphasis added]
While it is progressive of the New York Times to note Brzezinski’s support for Islamic militants, downplaying the effect of his vindictive foreign policy agenda with a mere sentence does an injustice to the true horror behind Brzezinski’s policies....
The Anti-Media

Bob Johnson: President John Kennedy's Idea to Protect Elections From the 1% Can Work


The night before, Kennedy had gone to dinner with a small group of wealthy and prominent Jews in New York. An episode of the evening trouble him deeply. Describing it to Bartlett as an 'amazing experience," he said one of those at the dinner party - he did not identify him by name - told him he knew his campaign was in financial difficulty and, speaking for the group, offered 'to help and help significantly' if Kennedy as president 'would allow them to set the course of Middle East policy over the next four years.' It was an astounding proposition." 
This experience inspired Kennedy to come up with an idea that would break the legs of the powerful 1% and their special interest groups while protecting true democracy. That idea is to have a law that would subsidize presidential campaigns out of the US Treasury. He felt that the cost incurred by this would be well worth it as it would "insulate presidential candidates in the future from this kind of pressure and save the country a lot of grief in the long run." 
If this idea of President Kennedy's had been made a reality, just imagine how much better things would be today. In just one aspect of world politics and life, Israel and the Middle East, the billions of American tax dollars US politicians from both parties take from Americans and give to Israel every year would more than likely stay in the US and put to use helping American citizens instead of a warmongering foreign state. The overly powerful Israel lobby (Kennedy tried to require the Israel lobby to register as a foreign agent) would not be able to virtually, and in some cases, literally, write US foreign policy for the Middle East which would mean the Iraq War, which was launched for Israel's benefit, never would have happened. If the Iraq War never happened, al Qaeda never would have gotten into Iraq and the Islamic State terror organization never would have come into existence. 
President Kennedy's plan to subsidize presidential campaigns should also be applied to all political campaigns. This would virtually guarantee protection on all levels from the damaging influence of the 1% and their special interest organizations.
President John Kennedy's Idea to Protect Elections From the 1% Can Work 

The Guardian: Labour poll rise suggests Manchester attack has not boosted Tories


The narrowing of the Conservative lead over Labour to five points in the first opinion poll since the Manchester suicide bombing on Monday punctures the widespread political assumption that the attack would improve the Tories’ standing. 
The Times/YouGov poll putting the Conservatives on 43% and Labour on 38% was based on interviews conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, and included the period in which Theresa May declared a critical threat level and announced the deployment of nearly 1,000 troops on to the streets of Britain.
If only our media was less biased and concentrated more on the Tory support for international terrorism through its cosy links to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Tory Lead Cut to 5 Points 

Mark Curtis: The British Establishment Is Putting Our Lives at Risk: Our State’s Key Ally Is a Major Public Threat


This wave of terrorism driven by Islamic State, which has claimed responsibility for the attack, derives from a complex infrastructure of forces, working over time. But it springs ultimately from the ideology promoted by the ruling family in Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism, who were at least until recently funding and backing IS: they have done so to support their goal of overthrowing Assad in Syria and championing Sunni Islam in the face of rivalry with Iran. These are Britain’s allies. Whitehall has a deep, long-standing special relationship with the extremist Saudis: it is arming them, backing them, apologising for them, and supporting their regional policies. At the same time, the Saudis have been helping to create the monster that now threatens the British public. So, too, have the policies of the British government.
The British elite is perfectly aware of the insidious role that Saudi Arabia plays in fomenting terrorism. In October 2014, General Jonathan Shaw, a former Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff, told the Telegraph that Saudi Arabia and Qatar were primarily responsible for the rise of the extremist Islam that inspires IS terrorists. 
Theresa May’s government, as previous governments, have endangered the British public by the relationship they choose to have with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. In recent months, May has signed up Britain to a new generation of special relationships with these states, based on selling more arms and providing more training of their militaries and security forces to keep the ruling families in power. All this has been done on the quiet, with scant government or media reporting. We are set for another generation of domestic tyranny in Gulf and foreign Islamist adventures, all now helped by raising the enemy of ‘Iran’ – a foreign policy agenda being set by Riyadh and recently helped by President Trump’s preposterous invocation of Iran as the major sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East.


The media is trying to say that Corbyn is soft on terrorism, but why don't they mention how the Conservative party backs terrorism? Total media bias.



Friday, May 26, 2017

Ron Jacobs — The Deep State is the State

The deep state is not some enigmatic entity that operates outside the US government. It is the US state itself. Like all elements of that state, the so-called deep state exists to enforce the economic supremacy of US capitalism. It does so primarily via the secret domestic and international police forces like the FBI, CIA and other intelligence agencies. The operations of these agencies run the gamut from surveillance to propaganda to covert and overt military actions. Naturally, this so-called deep state operates according to their own rules; rules which ultimately insure its continued existence and relevance. Although it can be argued that it was the 1950 National Security Directive known as NSC-68 along with the Congressional Bill creating the Central Intelligence Agency that launched the “deep state” as we understand it, a broader understanding of the “deep state” places its genesis perhaps a century prior to that date. In other words, a structure designed to maintain the economic and political domination of certain powerful US capitalists existed well back into the nineteenth century. However, the centralization of that power began in earnest in the years following World War Two.…
Backgrounder.

Counterpunch
The Deep State is the State
Ron Jacobs

Doug Bandow — How America Could End Up in an Unexpected War with China


The US is now involved militarily on five fronts — Central Asia (Afghanistan), the Middle East (Iraq, Syria and Iran), Europe (Ukraine, Russia), China (South China Sea), and North Korea. How can this be a good idea?

The National Interest
How America Could End Up in an Unexpected War with China
Doug Bandow | senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan

Moon of Alabama — Syria - Truth Slips Through In The New York Times - NATO Preps to Fight Iran And Russia

Make no mistake - "fighting ISIS" is not the real purpose of the move. The U.S. wants NATO support to invade Syria from the north in Idleb as well as from the south near Deraa and from the south-east starting at the al-Tanf border station to Iraq. Syria and its allies will now be fought under the disguise of "fighting ISIS" which factually can no longer be the purpose. Thus NATO, together with Wahhabi Gulf forces, will now be engaged in an expanded war not only against the Syria government but especially against its Russian and Iranian allies. Trump's endorsement of anti-Iranian rhetoric on his visit in Saudi Arabia served a similar purpose.
Syria and its allies will try to prevent a further invasion by cutting off al-Tanf and holding on to Deraa city - thereby blocking any wider military moves. But those measures will probably be in vain. Unless some sane voices intervene we are now at the beginning of a far wider and more dangerous war that can easily slip out of anyone's control.
Trump just got his marching orders from Riyadh and Tel Aviv. WWIII appears to be on.

Moon of Alabama
Syria - Truth Slips Through In The New York Times - NATO Preps to Fight Iran And Russia
b

See also

The Vineyard of the Saker
Trump: dancing with wolves on the Titanic
The Saker

James Kwak — How Markets Work


Argument for single payer based on health care being a public good rather than a private good.

Baseline Scenario
How Markets Work
James Kwak | Associate Professor of Law at the University of Connecticut School of Law

Southeast Asia “Forgets” About Western Terror by Andre Vltchek

Southeast Asian elites “forgot” about those tens of millions of Asian people murdered by the Western imperialism at the end of and after the WWII. They “forgot” about what took place in the North – about the Tokyo and Osaka firebombing, about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs, about the barbaric liquidation of Korean civilians by the US forces. But they also forgot about their own victims – about those hundreds of thousands, in fact about the millions, of those who were blown to pieces, burned by chemicals or directly liquidated – men, women and children of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, the Philippines and East Timor. 
All is forgiven and all is forgotten. 
And once again the Empire is proudly “pivoting” into Asia; it is even bragging about it. 
It goes without saying that the Empire has no shame and no decency left. It boasts about democracy and freedom, while it does not even bother to wash the blood of tens of millions off its hands. 
All over Asia, the “privileged populaces” has chosen to not know, to not remember, or even to erase all terrible chapters of the history. Those who insist on remembering are being silenced, ridiculed, or made out to be irrelevant. 
It is all forgotten and forgiven, and the reason “why” is clear, simple. It pays to forget! 
“Forgiveness” brings funding; it secures “scholarships” just one of the ways Western countries spread corruption in its client states and in the states they want to draw into their orbit. 
The elites with their lavish houses, trips abroad, kids in foreign schools, are a very forgiving bunch! 
But then you go to a countryside, where the majority of Southeast Asian people still live. And the story there is very different. The story there makes you shiver. 
Before departing from Laos, I sat at an outdoor table in a village of Nam Bak, about 100 kilometers from Luang Prabang. Ms. Nang Oen told me her stories about the US carpet-bombing, and Mr. Un Kham showed me his wounds: 
“Even here, in Nam Bak, we had many craters all over, but now they are covered by rice fields and houses. In 1968, my parents’ house was bombed… I think they dropped 500-pound bombs on it. Life was unbearable during the war. We had to sleep in the fields or in the caves. We had to move all the time. Many of us were starving, as we could not cultivate our fields.  
I ask Ms. Nang Oen about the Americans. Did she forget, forgive? 
“How do I feel about them? I actually can’t say anything. After all these years, I am still speechless. They killed everything here, including chicken. I know that they are doing the same even now, all over the world…” 
She paused, looked at the horizon. 
“Sometimes I remember what was done to us… Sometimes I forget”. She shrugs her shoulders. “But when I forget, it is only for a while. We did not receive any compensation, not even an apology. I cannot do anything about it. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, and I cry.” 
I listened to her and I knew, after working for decades in this part of the world: for the people of Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and East Timor, nothing is forgotten and nothing is forgiven. And it should never be!

 Millions of people were killed in Southeast Asia, but today they do not know what the West did. The installed puppet regimes teach in schools how the US saved them from murderous communism. They love Americans.

Tom talks about terrorism but nothing can compare to this. Here in the West we know nothing about it either, the bombing was often done in secret. It is banished from our history books. It's amazing, or terrifying rather, to think that millions could be killed over many years and then it gets whitewashed from history. Paul Craig Roberts calls it The Matrix.

The above excerpt does do the article justice, if you found it interesting it's worth reading the whole thing.


Ramanan — Jeremy Spoke In Class Today

In this brilliant speech, Corbyn talks about how the West’s foreign policy is responsible for terrorism....
Of course, none of this doesn’t mean that this is the only factor responsible for global terrorism. But via deceit, western governments and the media has prevented this main reason from being discussed.
The Case for Concerted Action
Jeremy Spoke In Class Today
V. Ramanan

See

Osama asks two questions.

The first is why do we attack you. The answer is you attacked us first and it is a Muslim's obligation to come to the aid of the community.

The second is what do we want. This is based on Wahhabism, the official religious doctrine of Saudi Arabia, which it seeks to promote among Muslims.

The obvious response is to ask, first, whether it is is worth it to continue to aggress in Muslim lands and, secondly, whether the Western support of and alliance with Saudi Arabia is good policy.

The Guardian (24 NOV 2002)
Full text: bin Laden's 'letter to America'
Osama bin Laden

David F. Ruccio — “We need people to go to work”

Emily Badger is right:
 "The new White House budget proposal is built on a deep-rooted conservative belief: The government should help those who are willing to work, and cull from benefit rolls those who aren’t."
But it’s also a deep-rooted liberal belief. Lest we forget, it was Bill Clinton who signed the original let-them-work-or-starve welfare reform in 1996 (two years after signing the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, the largest crime bill in history).*
There is not much difference between conservatism and bourgeois liberalism. Two sides of the same coin, as Clinton, Blair, and Obama proved.

The fallacy of substituting workfare for welfare is several fold. First, there have to be enough jobs which there likely won't be without a job guarantee. Secondly, as Ruccio points out, many of the job will pay below the subsistence level so that government has to subsidize employers that don't pay a living wage and whose business plan includes this as a policy. Sam Walton, I am thinking of you.*

* "I pay low wages. I can take advantage of that. We're going to be successful, but the basis is a very low-wage, low-benefit model of employment."
— Attributed in Adam L. Penenberg, "Why Google Is Like Wal-Mart", Wired, 21 April 2005 (Wikiquote)

Occasional Links & Commentary
“We need people to go to work”
David F. Ruccio | Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame

See also
Zuckerberg said that, because he knew he had a safety net if projects like Facebook had failed, he was confident enough to continue on without fear of failing. Others, he said, such as children who need to support households instead of poking away on computers learning how to code, don't have the foundation Zuckerberg had. Universal basic income would provide that sort of cushion, Zuckerberg argued.
Altman's view is similar. A year ago, Altman said he thinks "everyone should have enough money to meet their basic needs—no matter what, especially if there are enough resources to make it possible. We don't yet know how it should look or how to pay for it, but basic income seems a promising way to do this." Altman believes basic income will be possible as technological advancements "generate an abundance of resources" that help decrease the cost of living.

Barkley Rosser — Some Saudi-US History


Backgrounder.

Angry Bear
Some Saudi-US History
J. Barkley Rosser | Professor of Economics and Business Administration James Madison University

Cenk Uygur: The Democratic Party Takeover HAS BEGUN


The Democratic Party has failed. We’re going to rebuild it! Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, tells you about how the Justice Democrats will takeover the party. https://www.justicedemocrats.com/


Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks and Kyle Kulinski of the Secular Talk have started the Justice Democrats to reclaim the Democratic Party from the Corporate Democrats and bring in real politicians to replace them representing the people, or "us", more precisely, as Cenk says. It seems inspirational to me. I hope they manage it in time before the next election and before the neoconservatives blow the planet up. They are asking for people to come forward to run to become politicians for the Democratic Party. There must be loads of very highly qualified people out there that would be very suitable for the job.

Steven Rosenfield: Trump Would Sell Off America's Energy Resources for a Pittance, Like Russia Did to Create Its Oligarchs


President Trump's 2018 budget and executive orders could lead to some of the biggest land grabs since America’s Teapot Dome scandal in the 1920s and Russia’s natural resource giveaways that created many oligarchs in the 1990s. 
According to his budgets for the Energy and Interior departments—which oversee leases for oil, gas and mining and own interstate electric transmission lines—Trump would set the stage for a return of the robber barons. 
The Teapot Dome, which historians say was America’s biggest scandal until Watergate, involved an insider deal over leasing Navy petroleum reserves for a pittance. Russian oligarchs, including investors in Trump buildings, grew super-rich after acquiring the former Soviet Union’s assets, especially its energy and mineral resources, similarly on the cheap. They privatized what were once public assets to make their fortunes. 
Fast-forward to Trump, who, true to his background as a real estate developer, sees untapped equity in trillions of dollars in government-held energy and mineral resources as a way to pay down the federal debt and an opportunity to enrich private-sector friends—including America’s biggest corporations.

Trump Would Sell Off America's Energy Resources for a Pittance 

Daivid Doel: Journalist Embarrasses Herself While Attempting To Smear Jeremy Corbyn



For those of you that don't have time to watch it (although it has some American politics too). Here David Doel breaks down an interview of Jeremy Corbyn by Sophy Ridge of Sky News. She has a copy of the Labour Briefing magazine written way back in 1984 with an editorial on the IRA bombing of the Conservative Party conference which said that the only time to British wake up and take notice is when they are bombed. She has been told that Corbyn was chief editor at the time, but Jeremy Corbyn tells her he was not on the board at all, that her facts were wrong, he adds that he only wrote articles for the magazine. Determined to push this one she asks him if he was happy writing for a magazine that prints articles like this? Then Jeremy Corbyn answers saying that reading and writing for a magazine doesn't necessarily mean that he agreed with everything in it, surely anymore than Sophy Ridge agreed with everything presented on Sky News. Nailed her!

David Doel says that Sky News had nothing to attack him on, his policies are good, so they dug up a very old article written 34 years ago hoping to smear him with that. They had nothing else.

Trump’s Budget Expands War on the Backs of America’s Poor by Benjamin Dangl


I guess many of the poor never bothered voting at all, although I remember seeing footage of poor people queuing up for food saying they were going to vote for Trump.
It is fitting that while President Trump is traveling the world, sealing a weapons deal with Saudi Arabia, he would drop his own kind of bomb on the American people: his budget proposal for the coming fiscal year, titled, of course, “The New Foundation for American Greatness.” 
“This Budget’s defining ambition is to unleash the dreams of the American people,” Trump writes in his 62-page plan, released today. 
Trump’s dream for America is a nightmare for the working class. 
The budget proposes deep cuts to government support for the poor, including slashing over $800 billion from Medicaid, $192 billion from food assistance, $272 billion from welfare programs, $72 billion from disability benefits, and ending programs that provide financial support for poor college students. 
While cutting government assistance for working class Americans, the budget notably beefs up annual military spending by 10%, to the tune of $639 billion.
Trump’s Budget Expands War on the Backs of America’s Poor

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Ramanan — Some Interesting Links On Politics


Background to Manchester.

The Case for Concerted Action
Some Interesting Links On Politics
V. Ramanan

The Listening Post - British media's coverage of Corbyn: Balanced or biased? - The Listening Post



How the British media works against Corbyn's Labour Party.

On The Listening Post this week: The UK's left-wing Labour Party is facing down a right-leaning British media with just weeks until the election.

Quote from Matthew Jamison (Strategic Cultures)


It is hard to overstate the hatred and loathing there is for Jeremy Corbyn at the highest levels of the British Establishment and State because he represents a fundamental rejection of and break with many of their outdated, backwards and reactionary practices, mind-sets and policies of the English elites. From the military to the domestic security service MI5 to the hedge funds, «wealth management» funds, off shore tax havens (with 1/3 of the planet's controlled by the UK) and investment banks to the Monarchy, the public school educated upper-middle classes and aristocracy to virtually nearly all of the London media both print and television they loath and fear what a Jeremy Corbyn Government would for mean for them, their vested interests and how he would fundamentally remake Britain. The anti-Corbyn campaign to portray him as even worse than Joseph Stalin has been unprecedented and disgusting. Mr. Corbyn is actually a very decent, thoughtful, calm, intelligent and compassionate man. He may not be the greatest of Leaders or the most exciting and charismatic but he is a deep thinker and has been right on a lot of issues including one of the biggest foreign policy disasters the UK has been involved with in decades that of the Iraq War.


Bill Mitchell — 4 years later – the European Youth Guarantee is an under-funded failure

I read a social media quip today from someone who said they had “been banned from their library for moving the books on trickle down economics into the mythology section”. That is pure class. The mover not the banner. But the sentiment is relevant to today’s blog on the latest evidence available on the European Commission’s much-touted Youth Guarantee, that was launched in December 2012 and became operational in April 2013. I say ‘operational’ although given the performance of the initiative that might be somewhat of an overstatement. The latest evidence comes from the European Court of Auditors, which is charged with assessing European Commission policy initiatives. The Report – Youth unemployment – have EU policies made a difference? – which was released on April 4, 2017, is not very complementary at all about the Youth Employment Initiative. In fact, one is not being unfair to conclude after reading it that the whole initiative has been an over-hyped (by the Commission) and grossly underfunded failure – as it was destined to be from the start. It is hard to put any other spin on it. None of the Member States involved have achieved their stated objectives to integrate the NEET cohort “into the labour market in a sustainable way”. The ECA found that the policy intervention has made only a “very limited” contribution and was not sufficiently funded from the start. Bad news but then it is hardly surprising. When the scheme was announced it was clear that its emphasis, design and funding commitments would lead to this type of outcome. One didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to be able to see that....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
4 years later – the European Youth Guarantee is an under-funded failure
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Zombie Surveillance



Time for a monthly look at how all the USD zombies are doing in the Treasury's report of major foreign holders.

Mexico fell almost another $10B in a month now down to about $40B....  Canada holding their own...

Trump better hurry up and get his USDs to build the wall while he still can Mexico is bleeding USDs (if zombies can actually bleed? have to check that...)  and are headed to Venezuela-ville if they run out...