AUSTIN, Texas – PayPal is one of the world’s most popular ways to send or receive money online, but Palestinians are cut out of the action.
Time magazine reported in January that PayPal has 179 million active accounts in dozens of countries, and PayPal payments are widely accepted in online marketplaces from eBay to Etsy.
To sign up, every user needs to have an account at a bank recognized by the service. Since PayPal doesn’t recognize any Palestinian banks, Palestinians are effectively prevented from using the service. Critics say this has impacted not just individuals, but burgeoning industries and even the broader Palestinian economy.
“PayPal’s absence is a major obstacle to the growth of Palestine’s tech sector and the overall economy,” Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy, an NGO that promotes businesses in Palestine, wrote in an Aug. 23 open letter.
The letter, which was co-signed by more than 40 NGOs and Palestinian businesses, continues:
“Without access to PayPal, Palestinian entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and others face routine difficulties in receiving payments for business and charitable purposes. Moreover, PayPal’s absence is problematic for the overall Palestinian economy as tech is one of the only sectors with the potential to grow under status quo conditions of the Israeli occupation which severely restricts the internal and cross-border movement of goods and people.”
For the past decade, Israel has maintained a blockade on Palestinian imports of everything from everyday goods like crayons to crucial building supplies like concrete. Palestinian exports are heavily restricted, too.
Palestine is home to a thriving tech economy, Mike Butcher wrote in a Sept. 9 report. The TechCrunch editor-at-large continued:
“Palestine produces roughly 2,000 IT graduates per year. Both the West Bank and Gaza now have a number of technology companies which, ironically, see tech as a way of developing their economy, just as the Israelis do.”
While PayPal doesn’t recognize Palestinian banks, the authors of the open letter noted that many Palestinians live side by side with illegal Israeli settlers, who, purely by virtue of possessing Israeli bank accounts, are free to make use of the service. Israel demolished over 200 Palestinian homes this year, bringing its expansion of illegal settlements to record levels in 2016.
“We believe a company like PayPal, whose actions in North Carolina reaffirmed its commitment to equal rights, would agree that people living in the same neighborhood ought to have equal rights and access to its services regardless of religion or ethnicity,” the letter noted.
In April, Paypal pulled hundreds of jobs out of North Carolina after the state passed the so-called “bathroom bill,” which rescinded local protections for LGBT people, put restrictions on bathroom access for transgender individuals, and banned cities from passing increases to the minimum wage.
PayPal maintains multiple offices in Israel and has invested millions into its businesses there. The company does not seem poised to take a similar stand in Israel in response to the ongoing repression of the indigenous Palestinian population, who face severe restrictions on their movement and frequent attacks by the Israeli military, among other human rights abuses.
After the open letter was published, other organizations that support Palestine soon joined in by urging PayPal to expand into Gaza, launching a petition and social media campaign, #PayPal4Palestine. […]
In a message of support sent on Oct. 29 by Ramah Kudaimi, director of grassroots organizing at the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, wrote:
“Palestinians being denied access to PayPal means they cannot use their services to run a business, or raise money for a charity, or send cash to a relative, or make everyday purchases online. Getting access to PayPal can make a real difference in the lives of so many Palestinians as the struggle for freedom, justice, and equality continues.”
The tech giant seems unmoved by activists and Palestinian entrepreneurs’ requests to do business. The firm sent Butcher a dismissive response to his request for comment.
“We appreciate the interest that the Palestinian community has shown in PayPal,” the company’s representative wrote, but, the statement continued, “we do not have anything to announce for the immediate future.”
Lori Kearns is the health policy advisor to Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).
She’s been making the rounds in recent weeks telling single payer supporters that Senator Sanders will not introduce his single payer bill into the Senate next year.
Because party unity is more important than single payer.
Sanders apparently believes that single payer will get in the way of electing a Democratic Senate in 2018.
Wouldn’t want to confront Democratic Senate candidates with the deaths of their constituents due to Obamacare, would you?
One reason why Sanders soared during the primary was his constant refrain that we need to cover every American with a single payer health care system.
This resonated with the American people, with polls showing that three-fifths of Americans — including a majority of those who want the Obamacare repealed, and even 41 percent of Republicans — favoring a “federally funded healthcare program providing insurance for all Americans.”
Translate — single payer.
Everybody in. Nobody out.
If Sanders believes it, where is the bill?
Why won’t Sanders re-introduce it in the upcoming session?
Because he is now in the Democratic leadership in the Senate — handpicked by Wall Street favorite incoming Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York.)
And if the Democrats say no, Sanders says no.
Call it death by Democrat.
And death by Obamacare.
High deductibles and co-pays.
Twenty nine million Americans still uninsured.
And more than 28,000 preventable deaths a year due to lack of health insurance.
All under Obamacare.
And Sanders won’t introduce his single payer bill because the Democrats tell him not to?
During the battle over Obamacare on the Hill in 2009, I asked Sanders why he was supporting Obamacare when he stood for single payer.
Sanders was a student of the difference — Obamacare controlled by the health insurance companies and written by their lobbyists — single payer a public system that cuts the health insurance companies out of the game.
Sanders looked at me, snarled, told me not to lecture him and walked away.
Goodbye single payer. Hello Chuck Schumer.
Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter.
The United States has been at war with Iran for over thirty five years. Sometimes the war has been hot, sometimes cold, sometimes overt, and sometimes covert. Throughout this time period relations between the two countries have been hostile with very little diplomatic contact between officials of the two governments. In 2008, Barack Obama ran against Hillary Clinton on a platform of diplomatic engagement with Iran in opposition to her statements of being able to “totally obliterate Iran”.
Upon entering office, Obama, continuing America’s penchant for coercive diplomacy, doubled down on sanctions against Iran hoping that by causing economic hardship for ordinary Iranians he could pressure Iran to change its policies, particularly with respect to the development of nuclear capabilities. The strategy failed as Iran not only continued its peaceful nuclear development, but in many ways accelerated it. By his second term Obama, prioritizing addressing the nuclear proliferation issue, began negotiations with Iran on the nuclear issue in conjunction with Germany, France, United Kingdom, Russia and China. (EU3 + 3) The negotiations resulted in the signing in July 2015 of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which limited Iran’s nuclear program in return for removal of economic sanctions. The agreement was endorsed by the UN Security Council in an action that requires member states to carry out the agreement.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has affirmed on numerous occasions that Iran has largely lived up to its obligations under the JCPOA. Obama has taken some executive action to live up the JCPOA by loosening the impact of the sanctions. The administration has approved the sale of aircraft and aircraft parts to Iran by Boeing and this week the US approved a license for Airbus to sell over 100 aircraft to Iran. However, the basic legal structure of sanctions remains in place. Obama has not moved as aggressively as he did in Cuba to increase U.S. business involvement in Iran, a step which would make the nuclear deal more difficult to reverse by engaging the business lobby in the issue.
With the current sanctions authorization legislation set to expire on December 31, 2016, House of Representatives and the Senate passed the Iran Sanctions Extension Act by an overwhelming majorities (419 -1 and 99-0). Opponents of the JCPOA in the U.S. have argued in justifying this action, which is a clear violation of the JCPOA, that Iran has engaged in other “nefarious” activities, such as supporting the Assad in Syria, supplying arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthi tribe in Yemen, developing ballistic missiles and in general resisting U.S. influence in the Middle East. The Senate has said that it will take up this bill in the rump session of Congress in December. Although Obama has indicated that he will veto the bill, the bipartisan support in Congress for sanctions extension means that a veto override is likely. Obama’s best option for preserving the nuclear deal is to fight a delaying action to “kick the can” down the road to the next administration where a Republican controlled Congress may be reluctant to create a big foreign policy problem for President Trump so early in his administration.
As on many issues, it is unclear what President Trump’s position will be on the JCPOA. During the campaign he condemned the JCPOA as a “horrible contract”, but acknowledging that it was a contract, vowed to renegotiate it. Renegotiating the agreement is probably not possible. The JCPOA is the result of complicated, intertwined negotiations over a long period of time. Reopening talks in an atmosphere of mistrust and recriminations likely means that the whole agreement would collapse. A number of senior Congressmen and potential officials in a Trump led government, having received large speaking fees, are closely tied with the Mujahidin-e-Khalq (MEK), an exiled Iranian opposition group with an odd Islamist/Marxist ideology. The MEK, having allied with Saddam Hussein during Iran-Iraq war, has the distinction of being more unpopular in Iran than the U.S. They will push a hard line approach under a Trump administration..
The agreement, however, is not totally dependent on the U.S. Even if the U.S. withdraws from the agreement, Iran, under the administration of President Hassan Rouhani, and Russia, China and the EU have indicated that they will continue to abide by it. As it has in the past, the U.S. will likely use secondary sanctions on European companies to deter them from conducting business with Iran. This strategy will probably not be effective with Russia, India and China who have taken steps to disconnect their economy from the U.S. dominated and dollar denominated neo-liberal economic system. It remains to be seen how U.S. allies in Europe will react to being pressured to act against their own national interest.
The political situation in Iran will also have an influence on how U.S./Iran relations play out. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has said that if sanctions are extended Iran will “respond”. What the response will look like depends, in large measure, on the outcome of the May 2017 presidential elections. Incumbent President Rouhani has maintained a position that engagement with the West will benefit Iran diplomatically and economically. Because sanctions have, in large measure, remained in place and because Iran has been slow to reform its economic system, the benefits have not met public expectations. The opposition have attacked the policy of engagement with the West. Faced with these political threats, Rouhani may be forced to tack to the right and abandon the JCPOA, kick out the IAEA inspectors and expand the nuclear program. In that case the undeclared war with Iran will continue with all of the uncertainties and potential for disastrous consequences.
Don Liebich spent his work career with the US Navy Nuclear Submarine service and Sysco Corp. He and his wife, Marcia, have traveled to the Middle East numerous times in the past ten years. Mr. Liebich has conducted seminars and taught courses on Islam: God and his Prophet, Christian Fundamentalisms, US Middle East foreign policy and Iran. Don & Marcia live in Hailey, ID.
A side-effect of Donald Trump’s election as president could be the improvement in Saudi-Iranian ties. Of course, cynics may argue that it is about time the relationship got better, because it can’t get any worse – short of war. But the Trump factor becomes a stimulus in a positive direction.
Broadly, the US policy (which Hillary Clinton would have happily continued) of playing Saudi Arabia against Iran on the one hand and nudging the Arab allies and Israel to form a united regional front under American leadership on the other hand, is ending. It was a hopeless strategy to begin with, and Trump will not waste time in resuscitating it on its death bed.
Egypt’s recent ‘defection’ to the Russian-Iranian camp in the Syrian conflict (which also anticipates the Trump presidency, by the way), lethally wounds the myth of Arab unity against Iran, which Saudis had been fostering. Interestingly, Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry is in New York where he met Vice President–elect Mike Pence on Thursday to hand over a letter from President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi to Trump. At the same time, Sisi himself is on a visit to the UAE (which is mediating in the Saudi-Egyptian rift.) Egypt anticipates an easing of tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran and is positioning itself.
For the Saudi regime, a Trump presidency means that it is losing the war in Syria. The blow to Saudi prestige on the Arab Street, regionally and internationally is enormous. But Saudis are preparing for the eventuality of President Bashar al-Assad remaining in power and the Syrian rebels facing the existential choice of surrendering and accepting the fait accompli (or meeting physical extinction.) The secret talks in Ankara, which have now come to light, between the rebel leadership with Russian intelligence and diplomats underscore that Aleppo is about to fall to the government forces and the war is over.
The ending of the war on such terms constitutes a big victory for Iran. This raises the question: Are the Saudis on a course correction themselves? There is growing evidence that this may be so.
First came the election of Michel Aoun as the new President of Lebanon on October 31, ending two years of deadlock. Aoun is very close to Hezbollah. (Iranian FM Mohammad Zarif was the first foreign dignitary to visit Beirut to congratulate Aoun.) Clearly, in the complicated political tug of war in Lebanon, Saudis appear to have simply retrenched, which facilitated Aoun’s election, piloted by Iran and the Hezbollah.
The consolidation in Lebanon and the sight of victory in the Syrian war (plus the incipient signs of a warming up with Egypt) would significantly strengthen Iran’s hand in regional politics. But, strangely, there is no triumphalism in Tehran. In the normal course, Tehran could have called the Saudis ‘losers’, but that is not happening.
Now comes the thunderbolt — OPEC oil production cut deal in Geneva on Wednesday. Admittedly, the oil market is unpredictable, the role of the US shale industry is uncertain and the OPEC deal needs to be firmed up at the December meeting in Moscow between the cartel and non-OPEC oil producers. But the bottom line nonetheless is that the deal is the final product of a big Saudi concession to Iran. Put differently, if the Saudis had dug in and refused to exempt Iran as a special case from the production cut, the deal wouldn’t have come through.
The OPEC deal signifies a tectonic shift in the Saudi-Iranian equations, which is below the radar as of now. It is not only about big money, but also the return of Iran to OPEC’s cockpit — indeed, about OPEC’s future itself. True, the Russians played a forceful role behind the scenes to bridge the gap between Riyadh and Tehran and push them to come closer. True, again, Saudis are in serious financial difficulty and the OPEC deal is expected to bring in more income out of a rise in oil price. However, in the final analysis, the Saudis did accommodate Iran’s demand that a restoration of the pre-sanctions OPEC production quota is its national prerogative and it must be exempted from any production cut. (NBC News gives a riveting account of how it all happened — How Putin, Khamenei, and a Saudi Prince Made the OPEC Deal.)
It is this shift in the Saudi mindset — away from the dogged attitude that Iran must be relentlessly punished even if that were to mean inflicting on itself a few bleeding self-wounds — that catches attention. Again, on Iran’s part too, it is this strangest of strange behaviour – total absence of triumphalism that the Saudis blinked in Geneva – is highly significant.
Simply put, taken together with the happenings in Lebanon, Iran is careering away from anti-Saudi grandstanding and rhetoric. Indeed, a similar roll back is discernible on the Saudi side also lately. (The Asharq al-Awsat newspaper recently replaced its editor-in-chief; Prince Turki bin Faisal has said Trump should not abandon the Iran nuclear deal.)
These are early days, but signs are that there is a thaw in the Saudi-Iranian ties. Given the Middle Eastern political culture, Saudi Arabia and Iran could be moving toward a modus vivendi sooner than one would have expected. Yemen will be the litmus test of a rapprochement.
The US Senate has passed a 10-year extension of existing sanctions against Iran, sending the measure to the White House for President Barack Obama to sign into law.
Senators on Thursday unanimously backed the renewal of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) by a vote of 99 to 0.
The House of Representatives voted 419 to 1 last month to reauthorize ISA, which was first introduced in 1996 to punish investments in Iran’s energy industry based on accusations that Tehran was pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
The Obama administration has expressed reservations about the utility of the legislation, but congressional aides said they expected Obama would sign it when it reached his desk. The act is set to expire at the end of 2016.
“If the sanctions architecture has expired, then we have no sanctions which we can snap back,” said hawkish Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, who opposed the nuclear accord between Iran and six major powers.
Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the United States, Britain, Russia, China, France as well as Germany – reached a landmark nuclear agreement last year, under which Tehran agreed to limit some aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for removal of all sanctions.
The two sides began implementing the deal, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), on January 16. However, members of Congress said they wanted ISA to be extended for another decade to send a strong signal that any US president would have the ability to “snap back” sanctions on Iran.
“Unless Congress acts, the congressional sanctions don’t exist after December 31,” Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Tuesday. “The ability to snap back wouldn’t be there on the congressional side.”
“While we do not think that an extension of ISA is necessary, we do not believe that a clean extension would be a violation of the JCPOA,” a senior Obama administration official said on Thursday, according to Reuters.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, a hawkish Republican from Tennessee, said the extension of ISA ensures President-elect Donald Trump can reimpose sanctions Obama lifted under the nuclear agreement.
He said in a statement on Thursday, “Extending the Iran Sanctions Act … ensures President-elect Trump and his administration have the tools necessary to push back” against Iran’s “hostile actions.”
Iran has warned that the renewal of sanctions will be a violation of commitments under the JCPOA, and has threatened reprisal if the US extends the longstanding act.
In a public speech on Wednesday, Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei warned the US against the renewal of the Iran sanctions, noting that the Islamic Republic would respond if the US proceeded to renew ISA which expires at the end of 2016.
“So far, the current US government has committed several violations with regard to the nuclear agreement,” Ayatollah Khamenei told members of the volunteer Basij forces in Tehran, adding, “The most recent of them is the 10-year extension of the sanctions. If these sanctions are extended, it will surely constitute a violation of the JCPOA and they (the US) should know that the Islamic Republic will definitely react to it.”
“‘Initiating sanctions’ is no different from ‘renewing them after their expiration,’ and the latter is also [an instance of imposing] sanctions and violation of the previous commitments by the opposite side,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
Last week, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said Tehran has made necessary preparations and is ready to respond if the US violates the deal.
In case of the final approval of ISA, it will “certainly be a violation of the JCPOA,” he added.
Salehi noted that Iran is ready to respond to any US breach of the JCPOA, saying Tehran, however, will make necessary decisions at the appropriate time and after the assessment and analysis of Washington’s moves.
President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree approving Russia’s new Foreign Policy Concept. The document specifies Moscow’s position on key global issues, highlighting its relations with the US, EU, China and other countries.
Published on Thursday, the concept is now in force, replacing the previous one from 2013. Moscow’s “views on core principles, priority directions, aims and tasks of the Russian foreign policy” are stated in the document of almost 40 pages.
Saying that Russia pursues an independent foreign policy based both on national interests and respect for international law, the concept states that Moscow’s policy is “open, foreseeable” and “shaped by centuries” of Russia’s historic role in the development of global civilization.
“Russia is fully aware of its special responsibility for maintaining security in the world both on global and regional levels, and is aimed at cooperative actions with all concerned states in the interest to solve common issues,” the document says.
Moscow calls for “creation of a broad international anti-terrorist coalition, firmly based on a legal framework, and effective and systematic cooperation among states,” the document says. No “double standards” should have a place in such a coalition, which should become the main force to fight global terrorism.
Nuclear war hazard low, but US missile shield threatens Russia’s national security
Moscow stands for the creation of “zones free of nuclear weapons and other types of weapons of mass destruction, especially in the Middle East,” the concept states, adding that “fighting international terrorism is key priority in international security.”
No country should use terrorist organizations to pursue its “political, ideological and other aims,” it says. Political and legal framework for nuclear and other weapons nonproliferation course is key, to avoid risks of such weapons landing in the hands of terrorist organizations.
Russia stays true to its international obligations in the arms control, and expects the same from its partners. Washington’s development of its global missile defense system is viewed as a “threat to national security,” with Moscow “reserving the right to take relevant counter measures.”
“Russia stands for constructive cooperation with the US in the field of arms control, with a compulsory allowance for an inseparable correlation between strategic offensive and defense weapons,” the document says. Global strategic stability should be the key factor in possible further arms reduction, it adds.
“Despite [the fact] that a threat of a large-scale war, including nuclear war, initiated between key states remains low, risks that [such states] may be involved in regional crisis, escalating them, are growing,” the new Foreign Policy Concept warns.
Russia-US dialogue possible, but only if US abandons its ‘restraining’ course
Washington and its allies have been pursuing a “restraining course” against Russia, aiming to “pressure” it both politically and economically, the document says, adding that such policy “undermines regional and global security.” It also harms long-term interests of both sides, and goes against a “growing necessity for cooperation” and joint counteraction to global threats.
Russia reserves the right to “harsh” retaliatory measures to “unfriendly actions,” including measures in toughening its national defense.
Moscow “is interested in building mutually beneficial relations with the US, taking into consideration the two countries’ responsibility for global strategic stability and the state of international security in general,” the concept stresses, adding that the two nations have significant opportunities in trade, investment, scientific and other forms of cooperation.
The development of dialogue on bilateral relations, as well as on other international issues “is only possible if based on equality, mutual respect and non-interference in one another’s internal affairs.”
In regard to contacts with NATO, Moscow plans to build its relations with the alliance based on its eagerness to be engaged in equal partnership. So far, Russia negatively regards NATO’s expansion, with its military infrastructure getting closer to the Russian borders. Such actions are considered as “defying the principle of equal security” and might cause new “division lines in Europe.”
Meanwhile, Moscow praises the role of the United Nations in “regulating international relations and coordinating world policies,” saying that there are no other options to replace the organization in the 21st century.
Relations with EU among Moscow’s priorities, abolishing visa regime will strengthen ties
Stepping-up mutually beneficial bilateral ties with European countries is named among one of Russia’s key priorities in the new Foreign Policy Concept.
The EU is Russia’s important trade and economic partner, the document says, adding that Moscow also regards Europe as its associate in foreign policy and is looking for “stable cooperation” based on mutual respect. Relations with Germany, France, Italy and Spain are mentioned as being key for the Kremlin in promoting its interests on the international arena.
“The strategic task in relations with the EU is forming a broad economic and humanitarian space from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean,” that will unite and “harmonize” the European continent, the concept says.
“The visa regime remains one of the main barriers in the way of development of contacts between Russia and the EU. The gradual cancellation of the visa regime on a reciprocal basis will become a powerful impulse for strengthening cooperation between Russia and the EU in economic, humanitarian, cultural, educational and other spheres,” the document says.
Russia to strengthen ties with the East, presence in the Antarctic
Among Moscow’s other foreign policy priorities, the concept mentions developing further relations with its eastern neighbors. “Full-scale” partnership and cooperation with China is on the agenda, as well as “further deepening” of strategic partnership with India. With the latter, Russia has always had “privileged” relations, according to the document, which says that the two nations’ cooperation is based on corresponding foreign policies, “historic friendship and deep mutual trust.”
Japan and other countries in the Asia-Pacific Region are also mentioned as important partners to work with in the near future.
“Russia will also continue its work on preserving and widening its presence in the Antarctic,” the concept states, adding that Moscow is as well “open for building relations with Canada” to cooperate in the Arctic and other regions.
Russia’s position on Syria is also mentioned in the new Foreign Policy Concept, with Moscow standing for the Middle Eastern country’s “unity, independence and territorial integrity.” Representatives of all ethnic and religious groups in Syria should be provided with equal security and peace, and enjoy “equal rights and opportunities,” the document says.
The Iranian official news agency IRNA carried a detailed summary of an interview given by the Speaker of the Majlis Ali Larijani to a Chinese TV network, regarding the fate of the Iran nuclear deal of July 2015 under the Donald Trump presidency in the United States.
These have been the most comprehensive remarks so far since the election of Trump, at an authoritative level in the Iranian leadership. Unsurprisingly, IRNA highlighted the interview. The salience remains to be that Iran is keeping an open mind on the incoming US president’s likely policies. (See my blog Iran keeps open mind on Donald Trump.)
However, Larijani’s latest remarks display a quiet confidence in Tehran that Trump’s campaign speeches regarding Iran will not translate as policies. Larijani is an accomplished statesman and when he flags that an American president’s policies ‘usually differ’ from his election rhetoric, it becomes a considered statement.
Tehran indeed should know. Ronald Reagan’s campaign speeches in 1980 in the middle of the hostage crisis were much more threatening than Trump’s. In fact, Iran was the leitmotif of Reagan’s campaign rhetoric against Jimmy Carter. Yet, some say the Reagan team didn’t want a denouement to the hostage crisis until the November election was over. (In fact, Iranians released the hostages soon after the election was over, but before Reagan moved into Oval Office.)
Reagan’s brilliant but devious campaign manager was none other than William Casey, who later had covert dealings involving Iran as head of the CIA in the new administration. It won’t be surprising if Iranians are jogging the memory. Only the other day Trump had shouted that Goldman Sachs had ‘total control’ over Hillary Clinton and yet his team already is stacked with Goldman insiders – Steve Bannon as chief White House strategist, Steven Mnuchin for the Treasury Secretary job and so on.
At any rate, Larijani pointed out that the US’ European allies (and Russia and China) may not go along with any US move to scuttle the Iran deal or reimpose sanctions. This is entirely plausible.
What Larijani left unsaid was about any back channel contact with the Trump team. He couldn’t have been explicit, of course. Interestingly, he also did not slam the door shut against the idea of Iran working with the US on regional issues. He merely said that so far American and Iranian regional policies have differed.
[Asked whether you are ready for cooperation with the US on regional issues, Larijani said, ‘We think that its policies in the region are against those of Iran’s.’
The US and the Zionist regime enjoy chaotic situation in the region, as they think their interests will be ensured under this condition while Iran has a different viewpoint as it thinks about a sustainable security in the region and believes that terrorism should be uprooted.
‘I think China and Russia are of the same attitude regarding the issues but the US and the Zionist regime think otherwise,’ Larijani said.]
Indeed, Trump’s move to work with Russia over the Syrian conflict cannot but involve Iran one way or another at an early stage itself. President Hassan Rouhani telephoned President Vladimir Putin on Monday and the Kremlin readout said the two leaders “highly rated the level of Russian-Iranian cooperation on the anti-terrorist track and agreed to work closely together to ensure the long-term normalization of the situation in Syria.”
What makes Iran an engrossing regional power is invariably the sophisticated intellectual underpinnings it gives to its foreign policies and regional strategy. So, how does Trump appear through the Iranian looking glass?
Glancing through the range of opinions in Iran, certain elements can be identified. First, in the excessive focusing on Trump’s colorful personality traits (which are, arguably, not more exotic than Reagan or George W. Bush’s), foreign observers have neglected the acuteness of the crisis within the United States, which has been steadily building up through recent decades.
Trump ultimately represents the class interests of the rich and the privileged and there is going to be a glaring shortfall in his ability or willingness to redeem his pledges to the marginalised and alienated sections of society. The seething anger is going to mount as it becomes clear that the ‘swamps’ which Trump promised to clean up remain an enduring fact of life. In sum, much of Trump’s attention will come to be trained on the challenges posed by the domestic political situation.
Second, Iranian scholars underscore the dialectics of the trans-Atlantic relationship. (The EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini visited Tehran thrice this year.) Trump is starting with a handicap since European opinion militates against his rise to power, not only in style but also in the content of his whole political platform. An unfriendly Europe will try to seek a new code of conduct, which in turn will compel Trump to trim his discourse.
Third, emanating from the above two factors, Iranian scholars assess that the US cannot afford to wage wars abroad. It neither has the money needed to spend on wars nor does it enjoy the political respite to take the eyes off the acute internal contradictions in the US’ political economy. Most certainly, an invasion such as the one in 2003 in Iraq is way beyond American capability. Europe will not join any US-led ‘coalition of the willing’, either. Thus, the limits to the US influence in the Middle East are already apparent.
All in all, therefore, a new concert of world powers is becoming necessary and unavoidable, especially with a major potential economic crisis staring at the world economy. Larijani’s cautious optimism can be put in perspective as the articulation of a rational assessment.
While the US could accurately be described as a global power in decline, the ambitions of prominent special interests at the center of its economic and political power still pose a potent threat to global stability and national sovereignty worldwide. In Asia particularly, despite a clear shift in a regional balance of power that has persisted for nearly a century, the US is still actively involved in attempting to dictate which governments come to power in respective nation-states and how they rule and all in an attempt to create a balance of power in Asia that serves US interests.
From Myanmar to Vietnam, US Ambitions Still a Clear and Present Danger
US ambition to transform Asia manifests itself in a number of ways. In Malaysia, it has been fueling for years the so-called Bersih movement and its campaign for “clean and fair elections.” While the movement attempted to appear spontaneous and independent of any political party, it was quickly revealed that its core leadership was funded by the US State Department via the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Open Society. It was also revealed that Bersih was in fact an auxiliary front of a political coalition headed by US-backed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim who quite literally led the protests in the streets himself.
Extensive US support has been provided to the now ruling government of Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar, including the creation of Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy’s (NLD) entire media capabilities. Pro-NLD media platforms created and funded annually by the US government include the New Era Journal, the Irrawaddy, and the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB). It was also revealed that Suu Kyi’s Minister of Information, Pe Myint, was quite literally trained in Bangkok by the US government-funded Indochina Media Memorial Foundation, which now co-occupies the Western media’s Foreign Correspondents Club (FCCT) office in Bangkok.
In Thailand, in addition to the substantial lobbying support the above mentioned FCCT provides the ousted US-backed regime of Thaksin Shinawatra and his also-ousted sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, the US government funds a large number of supposed “nongovernmental organizations” (NGOs) in a bid to create the illusion of a legitimate, pro-democracy opposition. The Shinawatra family also enjoys continued lobbying support from Washington, with influential firms having registered on their behalf every year since at least as early as 2006.
Currently, US lobbyists are still active in supporting the Shinawatra regime and their political supporters within Thailand. The Shinawatra’s themselves are still positioning themselves to retake power, and the US media is still turning out a large amount of content aimed at setting the stage for continued political conflict within the country.
In Cambodia, opposition leader Sam Rainsy has received years of support from the US government and America’s European allies, including regular political and media support from the US State Department’s Voice of America (VOA) network.
Indonesia strains under pressure put on the government and society by US and Saudi-backed groups capable of mobilizing large numbers of protesters both to augment their own political power and to put pressure on the current ruling government in a bid to roll back growing ties between Jakarta and Beijing.
And while Vietnam lacks any clearly visible, central opposition figure, the US has steadfastly built up an opposition movement with which to pressure the Vietnamese government.
Cultural Colonization via YSEALI
Collectively, across the entire Southeast Asian region, the US is engaged in what some analysts have called “cultural colonization,” particularly with a program it calls Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) in which the US State Department actively recruits, indoctrinates and directs young Asian students and professionals toward building a pro-Western opposition front. This includes a program called “Generation: Go NGO!” in which the US creates and directs a growing network of US government funded fronts posing as “nongovernmental organizations.”
Mirroring a modern day version of the very sort of imperial networks constructed by the British Empire across Asia, America’s reach into Asia seeks to reinvent and reassert Western domination across Asia Pacific. Not only does it seek to dominate the respective people, resources, economies and politics of nations in Southeast Asia, but it also seeks the creation of a united front with which to encircle, contain and eventually displace Beijing’s growing influence in the region.
Asserting Economic Hegemony via the TPP
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a decidedly US dominated project, sought to string Asian states together in an economic alliance opposed to China’s rising regional and global influence. The deal’s details were introduced and brokered in secret, contravening any sense of self-determination for those nations and people subjected to it. Ultimately, the inequitable conditions of the deal required coercion and bribery to move forward, and despite great efforts, it appears that it will not likely succeed.
Nations like Thailand have categorically refused to sign the deal thus far, and nations like Vietnam who had initially promised to sign it, have wavered. The US’ desperation in moving through deals like the TPP may also explain the expansive networks it has constructed and continues to construct to apply pressure on both Asia as a region, and each nation individually.
Combating US Primacy
Such aspirations are more than mere speculation, and are instead derived from the writings of prominent US policymakers, including Robert Blackwill who in 2015 penned an entire paper about reasserting US “primacy” over Asia. Blackwill, it should be noted, served as a lobbyist for the above mentioned US proxy Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand.
For Asia collectively, and for each nation respectively, the need for an international voice as Russia’s RT or China’s CCTV has granted Moscow and Beijing , is essential for challenging and overcoming divisive and destructive narratives perpetuated by the Western media. It is also an important factor in exposing and diminishing the influence of US-backed political opposition parties and the army of US-funded fronts posing as “NGOs.”
And while instinctively, building closer ties with China may seem to be a viable formula to balancing a US that seeks to reassert itself, such ties must be done within a larger regional framework to build a sustainable balance of power. Simply trading US hegemony in for Chinese hegemony, would fail to serve the rest of Asia’s interests well. For each respective Asian state, strong domestic institutions, economies, education systems and military institutions ensures not only America’s inability of asserting its interests over those of each nation’s, but also heads off China from filling in and exploiting the void left by a retreating United States.
“Sweep away the community of honest brokers in America [and] we’ll be left with a culture and public dialogue based on assertion rather than authenticity, on claim rather than fact.”
While you were going about your daily routines this week, the Trudeau Sunny Ways government was rushing Bill C-30 (the act to implement the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement — CETA) through the House. Thirty of its 140 pages are devoted to amending The Patent Act, amendments which will increase annual drug costs for Canadians by up to 13 per cent. We already pay more for drugs than any other country except the U.S. Unless the rewards of CETA are very impressive, this “free trade” zealotry qualifies as a special kind of madness.
Faith over fact
In observing the Trudeau government and its media cheerleaders regarding CETA, I am reminded of U.S. journalist Ronald Suskind’s revelations about how the George W. Bush administration justified their decisions. One of Bush’s senior aides chastised Suskind for being part of the “reality-based community” in contrast to Bush’s “faith-based community.” He told Suskind:
“[You] believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality. That’s not the way the world really works anymore. … when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality …we’ll act again, creating other new realities.”
If those contrasting realities ring a bell, they should, because we have lived for 10 years with such thinking under Stephen Harper and there has been an almost seamless transition to the Trudeau government’s dissembling on international treaties. When it comes to trade and investment deals, the facts mean nothing. Chrystia Freeland simply refuses to answer questions and calls the deal “the gold standard” of trade agreements — full stop.
As in the U.S., we have assertion rather than authenticity, claim rather than fact.
The federal government makes its own “reality” by crafting “facts” to fit its policy objectives — no matter how outrageous they are when put to the test. Three numbers stand out in the talking points of federal governments under both Harper and Trudeau: that CETA will increase GDP by $12 billion, that it will create 80,000 jobs and that the newly created wealth will boost income by $1,000 per family.
But economist Jim Stanford debunked these numbers long ago — pointing out in 2012 that the federal trade department simply took the $12-billion figure (itself a highly dubious figure) “[a]nd divided it by the number of families in Canada. That assumes that every additional dollar of GDP translates directly into family income. In fact, higher GDP never fully trickles down into income…” The money that does find its way into income goes mostly to the wealthy.
The $12-billion figure came from a study commissioned by Canada and carried out by three EU economists. Stanford pointed out that the model used made some outrageous assumptions:
“[c]onstant full employment (so no one can be unemployed due to imports), balanced trade (so a country’s total output cannot be undermined by a trade deficit), no international capital flows (so companies cannot shift investment abroad), and no impact from fluctuating exchange rates.”
Stanford called the study “outrageous.” He was being far too polite. It was outright fraud. Anyone paying even cursory attention to the Canadian economy knows that not one of these assumptions holds. We haven’t had full employment for decades, we have been experiencing trade deficits for years, NAFTA resulted in the shifting of billions of investment dollars to Mexico and China, and our exchange rate has been all over the map.
Faith gets a reality check
But while the Harper/Trudeau axis trots out its faith-based “reality” others are thankfully stuck in the “fact-based” one. The latest are researchers from Tufts University’s Global Development and Environment Institute (GDEI) who in September produced the aptly named study “CETA Without Blinders.” The Tufts researchers used the Global Policy Model developed by the United Nations. That model, unlike the one commissioned by Ottawa, examined the likely impact of CETA on jobs, wages and inequality. It’s not a pretty picture:
- “CETA will lead to a reduction of the labour income share. Competitive pressures exerted by CETA on firms and transferred onto workers will raise the share of national income accruing to capital and symmetrically reduce the share of national income accruing to labour.
- By 2023, workers will have foregone average annual earnings increases of €1776 in Canada and between €316 and €1331 in the EU depending on the country.
- CETA will lead to net losses of government revenue. Competitive pressures exerted by CETA on governments by international investors and shrinking policy space for supporting domestic … production and investment will reduce government revenue and expenditure.
- CETA will lead to job losses. By 2023, about 230,000 jobs will be lost in CETA countries, 200,000 of them in the EU, and 80,000 more in the rest of the world [the study projects a loss of 23,000 Canadian jobs due to CETA in the first seven years].
- CETA will lead to net losses in terms of GDP. [D]emand shortfalls nurtured by higher unemployment will also hurt productivity and cause cumulative losses amounting to 0.96 per cent of national income in Canada…”
As if to highlight the predictions of the Tufts University’s report, a recent Canadian study underlined just how grim things are already getting for Canadian workers and their families. Researchers at the University of Waterloo just released a national index of well-being which shows economic growth has not resulted in an improved quality of life since the 2008-2009 recession:
“The index shows the Canadian economy expanded 38 per cent between 1994 and 2014, while improvements in Canadians’ well-being grew just 9.9 per cent. … The biggest decline in that time is in leisure and culture — areas that can enrich lives, alleviate stress and build connections with others, such as socializing with others or taking a holiday.”
The start of this two-decade period coincides precisely with federal governments’ (starting with the Chretien/Martin regime) complete abandonment of enormously successful post-war industrial policies aimed at high wages and value-added manufacturing, and putting literally all their economic policy eggs in the external trade basket.
Why any reputable economist would expect a different result from signing CETA is inexplicable — unless you remember that it’s all about faith. Beginning with the original Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA), its promoters saw it as a leap of faith. Peter Nicholson, a former Scotiabank vice-president and later a personal adviser to Paul Martin, was one of free trade’s gurus. He acknowledged that supporters of the free-trade agreement thought it would “cause Canadian firms to pull up their socks … and compete in the North American market.” Instead, bemoaned Mr. Nicholson years later, many companies adjusted to the FTA “by simply moving across the border… taking the path of least resistance.”
Welcome to CETA, back to the future.
Murray Dobbin has been a journalist, broadcaster, author and social activist for 40 years. He writes rabble’s State of the Nation column.
The world, through the ballot box, is speaking out. From the British «Yes» vote on BREXIT – the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union – to the election of the anti-globalization Donald Trump as president of the United States, the world is speaking out against the homogenization of the world into a super-state of blurred and overlapping governments, cultural identities, religions, and politics. The U.S. presidential election was not so much an election as it was a referendum on globalization in all of its malignant manifestations: free trade, open borders, and subjugation of national sovereignty to amorphous international organizations.
From every continent, there is growing popular support for «exiting» international contrivances, from the European Union and International Criminal Court to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and even the United Nations.
In August of this year, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines threatened to pull his country out of the UN in what was the first such threat by a UN member-state since Indonesian President Sukarno successfully withdrew his nation from the UN in 1965.
Proponents of economic and political globalization have not only been dealt heavy blows in the election of Trump in the United States and the success of the BREXIT vote in the United Kingdom, but also in the decision by South Africa and other African nations to withdraw from the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The international tribunal heavily-influenced by global hedge fund viper George Soros that is increasingly seen by Africa as the «International Caucasian Court» primarily targeting African leaders for war crimes prosecutions. In October of this year, South Africa joined Burundi and Gambia in announcing that it would leave the ICC. Ironically and embarrassingly, the ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, is from Gambia.
In 2015, South Africa was condemned by the usual collection of Soros-financed NGOs, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, for not arresting President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, previously indicted by the ICC, while he was on an official visit to South Africa. South Africa rejected the ICC’s interference in its internal affairs and this disgust for the court culminated in the recent decision to depart from the court.
A month later, Russia announced that it was withdrawing as a signatory to the 2000 Rome Treaty that established the ICC. After the November Asia-Pacific economic summit in Lima, Peru, Philippines President Duterte also announced his country would join Russia, South Africa, and others in leaving the ICC. Duterte said, «They are useless — those in the International Criminal [Court]. [Russia] withdrew. I might follow. Why? Only the small ones like us are battered». Other African nations are considering scrapping the ICC. They include Uganda, Kenya, and Namibia. In 2015, Namibian President Hage Geingob visited former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete to urge him to follow Namibia’s lead and exit from the ICC. At a summit of the African Union in South Africa, Geingob said, «Some people are saying we are the ones who created the ICC. However, when one creates something to be an asset but later on it becomes an abomination, you have the right to quit it since it has ceased serving its intended purpose».
The BREXIT and Trump victories have emboldened electorates in many other nations to reject contrivances that stymie national sovereign rights. December 4, 2016 represents a watershed date to reject globalist agendas. It is the date of the re-run of the Austrian presidential election of April 24, 2016, one in which the anti-EU candidate of the Austrian Freedom Party, Norbert Hofer, was narrowly defeated by pro-EU Alexander van der Bellen of the Green Party. It turned out that 77,900 absentee ballots were miscounted in what represented a typical Soros-manipulated election. The Constitutional Court of Austria ordered a new election. The outcome of the December 4 election is believed by pollsters to heavily favor Hofer, as Austria has been caught up in the anti-EU groundswell rippling through Europe. December 4 is also the date of the Italian constitutional change referendum.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has staked his political future on the referendum, which if passed, will reduce the power of the Italian upper house of parliament, the Senate, and drastically cut back the powers of the Italian regions. Renzi has tapped support for his referendum from the usual collection of those who do not represent the common people – members of the glitterati of the elite, such as actors, singers, celebrity chefs, professional athletes, film directors, and other diversionary leeches on society. The campaign for Montenegro to join NATO, backed by Soros- and CIA-funded propagandists, saw Montenegrin actors, journalists, and professional athletes appearing on television commercials urging NATO membership for the country even as many polls showed majority opposition to joining the military alliance.
Renzi, a supporter of the EU and global integration, said he will resign if his referendum fails. And fail it is expected to do as «No» voters are far ahead in opinion polls. December 4 may very well go down in history along with June 24, 2016 and November 8, 2016 – the respective dates of BREXIT and trump’s election – as a red-letter day when voters rejected globalization. Renzi will soon join other discredited globalists, including former British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron, former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, French President Francois Hollande, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel as footnotes in a failed history of international integration.
Another important date for GLEXIT was November 13. With the globalists’ world still shaken from the election of Trump on November 8 came word that the pro-Russian former MiG pilot Rumen Radev, a political novice, won the Bulgarian presidential election. The election resulted in the resignation of Bulgaria’s pro-EU government. The same day, voters in Moldova elected Igor Dodon, who rejected a Moldova-EU trade agreement and favored joining the Eurasian Economic Union championed by Russia. The two elections in countries where Soros has infiltrated so much of the media and political infrastructures with pro-EU and pro-NATO acolytes were historic and another indication that the world was rejecting globalization.
In addition to the EU, NATO, and the ICC, other regional globalist-oriented organizations are also teetering on permanent disruption. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has split along pro-Indian and pro-Pakistani lines. A recent SAARC summit in Pakistan was canceled after India refused to attend. India was soon joined by its allies, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Afghanistan. The organization appears to be permanently split, with the other SAARC members of Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Nepal opposing India and generally aligning with Pakistan. Another failed international organization, the Arab League, is a vassal of Saudi and Gulf money and showed its worthlessness in 2011 when it suspended Syria and Libya as members after they were faced with NATO-backed jihadist revolutions. The League also grants membership to the Saudi puppet government of Yemen.
Mirroring the withdrawal of African states from the ICC, Venezuela in 2013 announced its withdrawal from the heavily U.S.-influenced Inter-American Convention on Human Rights (IACHR), a contrivance of the Organization of American States based in Washington, DC next to the White House. Venezuela’s withdrawal also rejected the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CorteIDH) based in Costa Rica. The Dominican Republic withdrew from the court in 2014. Trinidad and Tobago admirably led the way in rejecting the so-called «Inter-American System», that is, American hegemony over the Western Hemisphere, when it withdrew from the IACHR in 1998. Criticism of the IACHR has come from Ecuador, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Peru.
The Commonwealth of Nations, an anachronistic leftover from the British Empire that cobbles together former British colonies into a group of British royal family sycophant nations, has seen Gambia, Maldives, and Zimbabwe leave the tacitly-worthless international organization.
Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) also dealt a body blow to the globalization cause. TPP is dead with U.S. withdrawal. American rejection of TPP left other TPP signatories, such as New Zealand and South Korea, looking to expand trade agreements with China in a display of renewed preference for bilateralism over multilateralism. There is a «New World Order», but not one envisaged by the globalists. This New World Order is one of renewed national sovereignty, cultural and religious identity, and rejection of dictates from unelected international bureaucrats.
US officialdom and their media megaphones have systematically concocted narratives having less to do with political reality and more with their hallucinogenic world view. Pre-election and post-election reportage weaves a tapestry of fiction and fantasy.
We will discuss the most pernicious of these remarkable foibles and fables and their predictable failures.
1. The pundits, prestigious editorialists and ‘economists with gravitas’, have convinced themselves that the election of Donald Trump would ‘lead to the Collapse of Capitalism’. They cited his campaign attacks on globalization and trade agreements, as well as his ‘reckless’ swipes at speculators. In reality, Trump was criticizing a specific kind of capitalism. The pundits overlooked the variety of capitalisms that constitute the US economy. With their snouts deep in the trough, their own vision was limited; their curly tails blindly twirled meaningless formulae on blackboards; their ample backsides flapping away in place of their mouths. Thus occupied, they easily ignored Trump’s glorification of national capitalism.
Trump followed the legacy of protectionism in US policies established by George Washington and Alexander Hamilton and carried into the administrations of Franklin Roosevelt and others. Capitalism comes in various forms and is promoted by different protagonists at different times in our history. Some leaders have championed such economic sectors as domestic energy production, manufacturing, mining and agriculture and depended largely on the local labor markets. Nevertheless, the pundits’ dream of a final collapse of capitalism with the rise of Trump turned into a real stock market bonanza, the ‘DOW’ boomed to record levels, and monopolists rubbed their hands in anticipation of larger and more lucrative merger and acquisitions.
The world’s largest billionaire bankers had bankrolled Secretary Hillary Clinton, the ‘million-dollar-a-speech’ War Goddess. Blankfein, Soros and the dirty dozen had bet heavily against the populist-nationalist Donald Trump and they lost. Their pre-paid political manifestos, addressed to the readers of the NY Times, flopped and sputtered: Most readers and investors in domestic markets had placed their bets on ‘The Donald’. Their domestic celebrations pumped up the market after the election. The unimaginable had happened: George Soros had bet and lost! The ‘deplorable’ electorate preferred the obnoxious nationalist to the obnoxious speculator. ‘Who’d a thunk it?’
2. From electoral losers to street putschists, the speculators and their whiny media mouthpieces strive to overthrow the election process. Against the tens of millions of free voters, the speculators bankrolled a few thousands demonstrators, drunk with their own delusions of starting a color-coded ‘Manhattan Spring’ to overthrow the elected President. Decked out in black ‘anarchist chic’, the window vandals and historically illiterate students were energized by George Soros’ promise to replicate the putsches in Kiev and Tbilisi. They took to the streets, cracked a few windows and signed thousands of ‘on-line petitions’ (while denouncing Trump as the ‘Second Coming of Kristalnacht’). The media magnified the theatrics as a sort of uprising to restore their loser-emancipator to the throne – the bleery-eyed Jean D’Arc of the Hedge Funds. The losers lost and Hillary will hopefully retire to count her millions. The stock market soared to record heights.
3. The four most influential financial newspapers, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the Financial Times (FT), the New York Times (NYT) and the Washington Post (WP) had deeply mourned their ‘Paradise Lost’: Long-gone was the rotting vassal-state of Russia under Boris Yeltsin 1991 – 2000, source of so much Western pillage. Their bile turned to venom, directed at the new Nemesis: Putin. The election of Vladimir Putin led to a remarkable economic and social recovery for Russia. From a Western controlled gangster-capitalist ‘thug-ocracy’, Russia has become a modern global power asserting its own sovereignty and national interests.
Gone are the days when Harvard economists could sack Russia of millions through their various ‘democracy’ foundations and Wall Street bankers could launder billions from the criminal oligarchs. Pentagon planners had dismantled Russian bases throughout its previous Warsaw Pact neighbors and set up NATO bases on Russia’s borders. State Department functionaries had overthrown elected pro-Russian regimes in the Ukraine, Georgia and as far afield as Libya. These were the unfettered joys of the US unipolar rulers and their stable of prestigious press pimps and academics, until Putin arrived to spoil the party. And in the run-up to the US election, the Clintonites and their Democratic entourage in the media launched the most frenzied demonic attack accusing Vladimir Putin of financing Trump’s campaign, of hacking Clinton’s messy, unsecured e-mail messages to undermine elections, of bombing Syrian hospitals full of children, of preparing to invade Latvia and Poland etc., etc. If there is one sliver of truth in the vassal press, it is that the demonic changes made against Putin reflected the gory reality of Hillary Clinton’s well-documented policies.
Clinton’s model for a democratic Russia was the drunken President Yeltsin, bankrolled by thugs as they gorged themselves on the corpse of the USSR. But Vladimir Putin was elected repeatedly by huge majorities and his governance has been far more representative of the Russian electorate than those of the recidivist loser, Hillary Clinton. Russia didn’t ‘invade’ the Ukraine or Crimea. It was the ‘potty-mouthed’ Victoria Nuland, US Undersecretary of State for European Affairs, who boasted of having tossed a mere 5 billion dollars into neo-fascist-kleptocratic putsch that took over Ukraine and who famously dismissed the concerns of the European Union… with her secretly recorded ‘F— the EU’ comment to the US Ambassador!
At some point, reality has to bubble up through the slime: Putin never financed Trump – the billionaire financed his own campaign. On the other hand, Clinton was bankrolled by Saudi despots, Zionist billionaires and Wall Street bankers. The mass media, the WSJ, FT, NYT and the WP, dutifully served the same stale, old sexist gossip about Trump in support of the sweet and sour, wide-eyed Madam Strangelove, who never hesitated to rip the lives out of thousands of Muslim women in their own countries. The media celebrated Madame Clinton’s nuclear option for Syria (the ‘No-Fly Zone’) while it ridiculed Trump’s proposal to negotiate a settlement with Putin.
The media accused Trump of being a sexist, racist, anti-immigrant villain, all the while ignoring Secretary of State Clinton’s blood-soaked history of bombs and destruction, of killing of tens of thousands women in the Middle East and Africa and driving hundreds of thousands among the two million sub-Sahara Africans formerly employed in Libya under Gadhafi’s rule onto rotting ships in the Mediterranean Sea. Who in Madame’s media count the millions of people dispossessed or the 300,000 killed by the US-promoted mercenary invasion of Syria? Where were the feminists, who now dredge up Trump’s crude ‘crotch talk’, when millions of women and children of color were killed, injured, raped and dispossessed by Madame Clinton’s seven wars? Given the choice, most women would prefer to defend themselves from the stupid words of a vulgar misogynist over the threat of a Clinton-Obama predator drone ripping their families to shreds. Nasty, juvenile words do not compare with a history of bloody war crimes.
It is much easier to denounce Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump than to analyze the consequences of Madame Candidate Clinton’s policies. The mass media, subservient to Clinton, wave the flag of ‘worker struggles’ and highlight ‘capitalist exploitation’ when they describe China, Russia and the businesses of US President-Elect Trump. But their perspective is that of the ‘Uni-Polar Empire’. They cite non-unionized worker protests in Chinese factories and peasants fighting the rapacious developers. They cite corrupt oil sales in Russia. They find cheap immigrant labor employed on Trump’s building projects. The media describe and defend Hong Kong separatists. They heap praise on the Uighar, Chechen and Tibetan terrorists as “freedom fighters” and “liberators”. They fail to acknowledge that, as bad as worker exploitation is in these examples, it is far less horrific than the suffering experienced by millions of local and immigrant peasants and workers who have been injured, killed and rendered jobless and homeless by US bombing campaigns in Libya and US invasion-destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. The imperial media’s phony ‘anti-capitalist-exploiter stories’ against Trump, Putin and the Chinese are mere propaganda rhetoric designed to entice leftists, influence liberals and reinforce conservatives by playing on workers’ plight inflicted by national adversaries instead of imperial conquests and egregious crimes against humanity.
These financial scribes are very selective in their critique of economic exploitation: They denounce political adversaries while churning out vapid cultural stories and reports on the ‘eclectic tastes’ of the elite. Their weekend cultural pages may occasionally contain a critique of some predatory financiers next to a special feature on an unusual sculptor or successful upwardly mobile immigrant writer. Day after day, the same financial media publishes predictable ‘bootlickeries’ masquerading as reports on vulture capitalists, warmongers and imperial warlords. They court and offer advice to Wall Street, the City of London and Gulf State sheikdoms. They write in blubbering awe at the bold multi-billion dollar mergers and acquisitions, which eliminate competitive prices and establish effective monopolies. Then they deftly turn to rant against President-Elect Donald Trump’s pronouncements on workers’ rights – he is ‘the demagogue threatening free-market . . . capitalism’.
The fear and loathing of the ‘Wildman’ Trump, so evident in the four most prestigious English language newspapers, is nowhere to be found in reference to Secretary Clinton’s pathological glee over the gruesome torture-murder of the injured President Gadhafi by her allied jihadi tribesmen. The global and domestic implications of the US Secretary of State expressing glee and high pitched squeals on viewing the filmed torture and final ‘coup de grace’ on the wounded head of the Libyan President was never analyzed in the respectable press. Instead, the press superficially covers the plight of millions of immigrants and refugees who would never have left their jobs and homes were it not for the US destruction of the Middle East and North Africa. The respectable media defend the US officials directly responsible for the plight of these migrants flooding and threatening to destabilize Europe.
The same newspapers defend the ‘human rights’ of Chinese workers in local and US-owned factories who out-competed domestic American factories, but ignore the plight of millions of unemployed and destitute workers trying to survive in the US war zones and Israeli-occupied territories.
The Presidential elections made millions of American voters starkly aware of the mendacity of the mass media and the corruption of the Clinton political elite.
The media and the Clinton-elite denounced the Trump voters as ‘deplorables’ and totally mischaracterized them. They were not overwhelmingly unemployed, bitter former industrial workers or minimum wage, uneducated racists from the gutted ‘heartland’. ‘Angry white male workers’ constituted only a fraction of the Trump electorate. Trump received the vote of large sections of suburban middle class professionals, managers and local business people; joined by downwardly mobile Main Street shopkeepers, garage owners and construction contractors. A majority of white women voted for Trump. City household residents, still trying to recover from the Obama-Clinton era mortgage foreclosures, formed an important segment of the Trump majority, as did underpaid university and community college graduates – despairing of ever finding long-term stable employment. In short, low-paid, exploited and precarious business owners and service sector employees formed a larger section of the Trump majority than the stereotyped ‘deplorable angry white racists’ embedded in the media and Clinton-Sanders propaganda.
Post-election media has magnified the political significance and size of the anti-Trump demonstrations. Altogether the demonstrators barely surpassed a hundred thousand in a country of 100 million voters. Most have been white students, Democratic Party activists and Soros-financed NGOs. Their demonstrations have been far smaller than the huge pro-Trump public rallies during the campaign. The pro-Clinton media, which consistently ignored the size of Trump’s rallies, doesn’t bother to make any comparison. They have focused exclusively on the post-election protest, completely papering over the outrageous manipulation by which the Democratic National Committee under ‘Debbie’ Wasserman Schultz cheated Clinton’s wildly popular left-wing rival, Bernie Sanders, during the primaries.
Instead, the media has been featuring Clintonesque ‘feminist’ professionals and ‘identity’ political activists, ignoring the fact that a majority of working women voted for Trump for economic reasons. Many politically conscious African-American and Latino women knew that Clinton was deeply involved in policies that deported 2 million immigrant workers and family members between 2009 – 2014 and destroyed the lives of millions of women of color in North and Central Africa because of her war against the government of Libya. For millions of female and male workers, as well as immigrants – there was a ‘lesser evil’ – Trump. For them, the Donald’s nasty remarks about women and Mexicans were less disturbing than the real history of Hillary Clinton’s brutal wars destroying women of color in Africa and the Middle East and her savage policies against immigrants.
The more bizarre (but transient) aspect of the anti-Trump smear campaign came from an hysterical section of the pro-Hillary ‘Zionist Power Configuration’ (ZPC) and ‘Israel-First’ crackpots who accused him and some of his appointees of anti-Semitism. These venomous propagandists slapped the Manhattan real-estate mogul Trump with an odd assortment of labels: ‘fascist’, ‘misogynist’, ‘anti-Israel’, Ku Klux Klan apologist and White Nationalist. The Minnesota Senator and former comedian Al Franken described Trump’s critique against Wall Street Bankers and finance capital as ‘dog whistles’ for anti-Semites, labeling the candidate as a 21st century disseminator of the ‘Protocols of Zion’. Senator Franken darkly hinted that ‘rogue’ (anti-Semitic) agents had infiltrated the FBI and were working to undermine Israel’s favorite, Clinton. He even promised to initiate a post-election purge of the FBI… upon Clinton’s victory… Needless to say, the Senator’s own rant, published (and quickly buried) two days before the election in the Guardian, did not help Madame Hillary with the security apparatus in the United States. History has never been a strong point with the Comedian Senator Al Franken, who should have know better than to threaten the deep security state: his Mid-West predecessor Senator Joseph McCarthy quickly deflated after he threatened the generals.
The accusations of anti-Semitism against Trump were baseless and desperate: The Trump campaign team has prominently included Jews and Israel-Firsters and secured a minority of Jewish votes, especially among smaller business people supporting greater protectionism. Secondly, Trump condemned anti-Semitic acts and language and did not appeal to any of the extremist groups – let alone ‘cite the Protocols of Zion’.
Thirdly (and predictably) the Zionist Anti-Defamation League (ADL) slapped an anti-Semitic ‘guilt by association’ label on Donald Trump because of his consistent criticism of US wars and occupations in the Middle East, which Trump had correctly pointed out cost the US over two trillion dollars – money that would have totally rebuilt the failing US infrastructure and created millions of domestic jobs. For the loony ADL, the US wars in the Middle East have enhanced Israel’s security and thus any opposition to these wars is anti-Semitic or ‘guilt by association’.
The ADL directors, who have raked in over $3 million dollar salaries over the past 5 years ‘protecting’ US Jews, objected to Trump because Hillary Clinton was the darling of the pro-war Israel-First lobbies and Obama-Clinton appointees.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka (a convert to Judaism) is married into a prominent Orthodox Jewish family with strong ties to Israel; the Trump clan is close to elements among the Israeli elite, including the uber-racist Netanyahu. These hysterical slanders against ‘Trump the Anti-Semite’ reflect the fact that the most prominent domestic Jewish power bloc, ‘the 52 Presidents of American Jewish Organization’ had invested heavily in Hillary Clinton. No matter what the cost, no matter what the land grab, no matter how many Palestinians were ‘killed or maimed by Jewish settler-vigilantes’; the State of Israel could always count on Clinton’s unconditional support. The Lobby would not need to ‘petition’ their ‘First Woman’ President; Madame Hillary would have anticipated Israel’s every desire and even embellished their rhetoric.
In the end, Senator Al Franken’s rabid anti- Trump rant went too far . . . vanishing from the Guardian website in less than one day. Influential Zionist organizations turned their backs on the Senator Comedian; the Zionist Organization of America reprimanded the ADL for its intemperate slanders – sensing that Clinton could lose.
The Franken-Zionist power structure’s last-ditch efforts to attack Trump must have provoked a very negative response within the US ‘deep state’. There can be no doubt that the entire intelligence, military and security elites struck back and put their organizational ‘thumb on the scale’.
The FBI’s release of damaging documents related to Secretary Clinton undermined the ADL’s candidate in the run-up to the election and hinted at an interesting power struggle behind the curtains. The confidential documents, likely including epistles from Chappaqua to and from Tel Aviv, linked tangentially to the pedophilic crimes of the disgraced Congressman (and former Clinton ally) Anthony Weiner was a heavy blow.
The Netanyahu Cabinet put distance between themselves and their favorites, probably telling AIPAC leaders to muzzle Al Franken and pretend his threats to purge the FBI had never been launched. They were clearly worried that their lunatic attack dogs could set the entire US Security State on a hostile track against Israel.
The Franken-ADL trial balloon fizzled and disappeared. The intelligence establishment pounded the final nail into the coffin of Hillary Clinton’s Presidential aspirations. She even briefly accused the FBI of ruining her candidacy – hinting at some partial but oversimplified truth. A Zionist darling to the end, Hillary would never dare to identify and castigate the crazy and incompetent Zionist provocateurs that had helped to turn the Deep State against Madame Secretary.
A last note: Once Clinton lost and Trump took ‘the prize’, the Zionist Power Structure deftly switched sides: the former ‘Anti-Semite’ candidate Trump became ‘Israel’s Best Friend in the White House’. None of the 52 leading Zionist organizations would join the street protests. Only vulture-speculator George Soros (who had bet heavily on the wrong horse) would finance the motley group of goys marching in the streets and collecting on-line petitions for ‘democracy’.
The foibles, fables and failure of the financial press and their keepers lost the election but are back, hard at work, remaking President-Elect Trump into a global free marketer.
Following in the wake of the White House policy, European political elites have been stepping up their groundless propagandistic rhetoric about the growing military threat of Russia, Iran, China, which is aimed at achieving further militarization of Europe at the expense of the social benefits of its citizens.
In his recent speech at an event hosted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, NATO‘s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that he expects a 3% real increase in defence spending in Europe and Canada, however, he added, other than the US, only four NATO members are currently spending 2% of GDP on defence.
Against the background of a string of upcoming election campaigns in the EU, it’s really not that hard to predict how Europeans are going to take the announcement that their governments are planning to increase their military budgets. The most likely scenario is that a number of EU states will vote for their own version of Trumpxit, which means that an outsider candidate will have more chances than those from the ruling elites. As the living conditions of an ever increasing number of Europeans continue to deteriorate, it’s highly unlikely that EU citizens are going to tolerate new military expenditures.
The data provided by the Eurostat shows that in 2015, around 25 million children, or 26.9% of the population aged 0 to 17, in the European Union were at risk of poverty or social exclusion. A total of six member states saw a third of all children being at risk of poverty or social exclusion, these are Romania (46.8%), Bulgaria (43.7%), Greece (37.8%), Hungary (36.1%), Spain (34.4%) and Italy (33.5%).
According to the Guardian, having a child while living in a rental accommodation has become unaffordable for young families in two–thirds of the UK. The most inaccessible place for those wanting to start a family was London, with a two-bedroom rental there costing 60% of the average income for someone in their 20s and 44% for someone in their 30s. This was followed by the south-east, south-west and the east. At the same time, the number of families with children living in emergency accommodations in England rose by 45% in the last 12 months, reaching the highest level in 12 years.
In turn, the Fabian Society says the Tory’s social cuts will increase the number of kids living in poverty by 75% over the next 15 years in the UK, the Daily Mirror notes. Moreover, Berlin has already announced that social disparity will be steadily growing throughout the upcoming decade in Germany.
The Finish Yle notes that the number of children living in poor families has tripled over the last two decades. What is striking is that even those families where both parents are employed full time are unable to earn an adequate revenue.
Ever since 2008, the deepening social crisis in the EU has been making local citizens feel increasingly frustrated with their elected officials. At the same time, local political elites are reluctant to address the most pressing problems of their population, instead they prefer to increase military spending and cut social benefits provided to the poor.
The chain of events, namely the Brexit and the Trumpxit shows the growing frustration of the hard-working people that are still unable to provide decent childhood for their children. And it doesn’t take a genius to know that the ruling elites are going to face a bitter electoral defeat in Germany, France, the Netherlands and Austria. There’s really no way they can win.