AuthorTopic: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis  (Read 63831 times)

Offline RE

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They are on a very posh, ermine-lined leash but don't do ANYTHING like control the finances of the UK.

Good Grief man, the Crown still owns most of Canada!  Next to the Holy Roman Catholic Church, about nobody (we know about) owns a bigger parcel of the earth than the House of Windsor.


Edit:  Brown Screen of Death.  Here's the link.

https://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-of-the-uk-does-the-queen-own-2017-6#balmoral-castle-aberdeenshire-this-20000-hectare-scottish-estate-has-been-the-private-property-of-the-british-monarch-since-1852-and-the-queen-spends-each-summer-there-princess-eugenie-the-queens-granddaughter-said-of-balmoral-its-the-most-beautiful-place-on-earth-i-think-granny-is-the-most-happy-there-i-think-she-really-really-loves-the-highlands-4
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Offline Surly1

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They are on a very posh, ermine-lined leash but don't do ANYTHING like control the finances of the UK.

Good Grief man, the Crown still owns most of Canada!  Next to the Holy Roman Catholic Church, about nobody (we know about) owns a bigger parcel of the earth than the House of Windsor.


Edit:  Brown Screen of Death.  Here's the link.

https://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-of-the-uk-does-the-queen-own-2017-6#balmoral-castle-aberdeenshire-this-20000-hectare-scottish-estate-has-been-the-private-property-of-the-british-monarch-since-1852-and-the-queen-spends-each-summer-there-princess-eugenie-the-queens-granddaughter-said-of-balmoral-its-the-most-beautiful-place-on-earth-i-think-granny-is-the-most-happy-there-i-think-she-really-really-loves-the-highlands-4

I did specify that they owned plenty of property, didn't I? What I disproved was your assertion that they controlled the exchequer of the UK.
QED.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline RE

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I did specify that they owned plenty of property, didn't I? What I disproved was your assertion that they controlled the exchequer of the UK.
QED.

You disproved nothing.  I never made an assertion that they controlled the Chancellor of the Exchequer.  What I asserted was that when they handed over the poltiical control of Britain to Parliament, they took out into their own private property ownership pretty much everything the British Empire had stolen over the years of colonial rule.

Currently, who do you think is the major stockholder in British Petroleum?  Well, it's owned in large part by JP Morgan Chase, but who are the major stockholders of JPMC?  State Street also owns a nice chunk of that corporation.  You see, it is layers and layers here of corporations and shell companies involved in this, that's how the Monarchy protected its wealth and priviledge.  Has very little to do with your assertion that the chump change paid by Da Brit Goobermint has anything to do with the wealth of the British Empire, that was mostly transfered to corporations and is protected and layered up by British Common Law.  Those corporation in turn control how the British Goobermint works, just as they do here in the FSoA.

You have to look deeper into the way the finance is organized.  Your description does not fit the actual organization.  It's what people are taught in school, but it isn't how it realy works.

QED.

RE
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Offline RE

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Now you are arguing just to argue, because this is what you do. Chief.

This is a violation of the CoC.  The post will be DNFed forthwith.

RE
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Offline Surly1

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Now you are arguing just to argue, because this is what you do. Chief.

This is a violation of the CoC.  The post will be DNFed forthwith.

RE

Pointing out your errors is a violation. of the "CoC." Which you pull out and wave whenever you've been outpointed.  And don't bring up "trying to be consistent," because you are simply not. You are becoming increasingly arbitrary, and I am increasingly intolerant of putting up with it.

Save this thread, and refer to it when you are moved to wonder, "Gee, why hasn't the Diner taken off like other blogs?"

I'll spare you the further burden of my comments. Enjoy your circular firing squad.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline RE

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Now you are arguing just to argue, because this is what you do. Chief.

This is a violation of the CoC.  The post will be DNFed forthwith.

RE

Pointing out your errors is a violation. of the "CoC." Which you pull out and wave whenever you've been outpointed.  And don't bring up "trying to be consistent," because you are simply not. You are becoming increasingly arbitrary, and I am increasingly intolerant of putting up with it.

Save this thread, and refer to it when you are moved to wonder, "Gee, why hasn't the Diner taken off like other blogs?"

I'll spare you the further burden of my comments. Enjoy your circular firing squad.

The violation was the use of the word "chief".  I already DNFed that on Eddie after a warning.  If you just stuck to the argument, no problem.

I could have easily dissected the argument, but I am trying to maintain a standard, which you are not cooperating with.

RE
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💲 The Next Economic Crisis and the Looming Post-Multipolar System
« Reply #756 on: May 24, 2019, 02:14:40 AM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/Csrjh85Id6A" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/Csrjh85Id6A</a>
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Offline RE

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🌎 The Only Solution to America's Political Crisis
« Reply #757 on: May 26, 2019, 02:15:40 AM »
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-only-solution-to-americas-political-crisis/

May 24, 2019

The Only Solution to America's Political Crisis


Fabrizio Spano / Flickr

Hardly a day has gone by over the last two years when one hasn’t been able to learn of yet another soul-numbing outrage on the part of President Donald Trump and his administration. The stories have been relentlessly disturbing:

    Trump’s suggestion of moral equivalency between neo-Nazis and civil rights protesters in Charlottesville, Va.
    The vicious separation of children from their migrant parents at the southern border.
    The concoction of a fake national emergency involving invading criminal immigrants to divert taxpayer dollars to the building of a wall on that border.
    The shutdown of the federal government, inflicting economic terror on millions of government workers, in the name of that white-nationalist political vanity project.
    The assault on international law regarding the right to asylum, combined with the callous cutting of aid to desperately poor Central American states where U.S. policy has long fueled the misery that feeds northward flight.
    The accelerated ecocidal deregulation of fossil fuels, combined with the denial of anthropogenic climate change and the handing over of vast swaths of the nation’s public land to corporate pillagers.
    Repeated sadistic efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s provision mandating that insurance companies cannot deny health coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
    The holding of presidential campaign rallies where Trump calls reporters “the enemy of the people” and purveys xenophobic lies about invading armies of Mexican and Central American rapists and drug dealers coming to despoil the United States.
    A plan crafted by the president’s top political adviser, Stephen Miller, to conduct a giant “shock and awe” sweep-up of thousands of migrants in 10 large U.S. cities.
    Trump’s suggestion that any attempt to remove him from office will spark violence from “tough guys,” including “bikers,” police officers and the military.
    Trump’s determination to run cover for a Saudi monarch who ordered the vivisection of a Washington Post reporter.
    Trump’s reckless sign-off on the export of nuclear technology to the absolutist, arch-reactionary Saudi regime.
    Trump’s brazenly false and repeated claim that the Mueller report is a “total exoneration” of his presidency, when that report concludes by saying precisely the opposite and in fact is a referral for impeachment.

Most recently, the White House is engaged in chilling and open defiance of Congress’s clear constitutional power to oversee and investigate the executive branch. In a recent hearing held by federal Judge Amit Mehta on the administration’s lawsuit claiming that Congress possesses no legitimate power to obtain Trump’s financial records, Trump’s lawyer, William Consovoy, argued that Congress lacks authority to investigate and publicize possible wrongdoing by the president. An incredulous Mehta asked Consovoy if this meant that Congress’s investigations into Watergate and Whitewater (here we night add the Iran/Contra affair and more) were unconstitutional. Consovoy hemmed, saying it would depend upon the basis for those investigations. It was “straightforward,” responded Mehta: “Congress was inquiring into possible violations of the law by the president.”

“In that case,” Consovoy said, “then yes, perhaps Congress did overstep its authority.”

The president, in short, is above the law, according to his lawyers.

Piecing all these and countless other horrific stories about Trump and his presidency together, anyone with any basic knowledge of fascism, past and present, can easily and correctly identify him as an aspiring fascist leader. It is rare, however, for liberal corporate media operatives to go all the way with the F-word—fascism—when it comes to describing Trump.

Their silence here is ironic. Worried talking heads at MSNBC—an outpost of the Democratic Party’s reigning corporate establishment—and across the liberal punditocracy warn frequently and loudly about what they consider the Democratic Party’s “socialism problem.” They do this even though just a small handful of Democrats (Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib) identify as “democratic socialists.” They fret over the socialist menace despite the fact that all these “radical” Democrats mean by “socialism” is capitalism with some long overdue Western- and northern European-style social reforms.

Meanwhile, the party in power is headed by a white nationalist authoritarian buoyed by a significantly fascist base. The norm-smashing president is moving from fascist-style politics to fascist-style policy with audacious speed and zeal. His politics and policies draw heavily on the classic fascist notion that the nation is menaced by a big, radical left—a notion that liberal media is helping spread with its warning against Democratic “socialism.”

Two other mainstream media silences deserve mention in the age of Trump. The first is the absence of any serious discussion of how fundamentally defective the American social and political system was—and is—to allow someone like Trump to rise to power and stay there. The dominant media beyond Fox and right-wing talk radio appear to think that everything was fine and democratic when Barack Obama sat in the White House. In the mainstream telling, Trump and his minions enter the stage of history almost out of nowhere, as if dropped from outer space—or by Vladimir Putin and Russian military intelligence. Trump, his agents and his backers are portrayed as deviant anomalies, strange products of weird quirks in the election cycle, including supposedly potent “Russian interference in our democratic elections.”

This is nonsense. Trump is as American as apple pie. He is the latest poison icing on the cake of an American fascist nightmare that has been cooking in the homeland’s hidden ovens of neoliberal race-class oppression for decades. He is the ugly outcome of a long process of social, cultural and political decay that has been underway since at least the mid-1970s. He reflects our failed, oxymoronic “capitalist democracy”—what Noam Chomsky has cleverly called “really existing capitalist democracy: RECD, pronounced as ‘wrecked.’ ”

It was the neoliberal nothingness of corporate Democrats, with their abject subservience to Wall Street and corporate America and their cold-blooded globalist betrayal of the working-class majority, that demobilized the nation’s majority-progressive voting base and opened the door for the reactionary populist Trump to shock the world (including himself, though not Steve Bannon) in 2016. But, deeper still, the Democrats’ dismal centrism reflects the wildly disproportionate power of concentrated wealth in a plutocratic winner-take-all social and political order in which the democratic promise of elections is trumped by the unelected dictatorships of money and empire (no Russian assistance required). This trumping continues regardless of which party or configuration of parties holds sway in federal, state and local government.

You won’t hear about the deeper system that hatched Trumpenstein on cable news, where, as leftist historian and journalist Terry Thomas told me in January:

    The Trump fiasco allows the inauthentic opposition [Democrats] to sit around and smugly refer to themselves as “the adults in the room,” as if that’s now all that’s required. There’s no need for Bernie or radical change, we just need someone who is not mentally ill, an “adult in the room.” The Democrats act like we’ve got this covered because we’re sane and the Orange Dumpster’s not, our point has been proven, so now just give us power again, and we’ll put everything back together, nothing more needed. But the truth is glaringly obvious: how flawed and fundamentally dysfunctional must the system be to allow something like this to happen?

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“Please don’t insult our intelligence, Thomas adds: “The adults were in the room—by their estimation, Obama was the epitome of adulthood—and it produced this.”

The harsh systemic reality—the ways in which the corporate state discredits liberal institutions and democracy to provide ground for the development of far-right and even fascist politics—is a nonstory in the dominant media and politics culture.

A second and related media silence is on the need for massive popular protest—real resistance—beyond the election cycle to bring down the Trump regime and the system that gave rise to it. The media may come up short by failing to properly portray Trump as a fascist, but they do accurately present a vicious authoritarian, a racist, a sexist, a gangster, a malignant narcissist and a modern-day “royal brute” (to use the Declaration of Independence’s language referring to King George in 1776).

What should the populace do about the presence of a soulless despot atop its government who thinks he’s above the law? Tyrants who would rule like kings are supposed to face popular upheavals, aren’t they? You won’t hear word one about the need for disruptive mass action of the kind liberal talking heads and pundits endorse when it emerges inside such officially designated enemy and “adversary” states as Venezuela, Russia and Iran. The implicit and sometimes explicit counsel here in the supposedly civilized homeland is to play by the rules: Be good citizens and let the Constitution and (to use Thomas’s phrase) the adults in the room (the Democrats) do their good works. The guidance is to chill and the let the business and professional class “experts” handle things. Keep calm and let the system work. Wait for the congressional investigations to reach fruition. Wait for Nancy Pelosi to explain again why she is or is not pursuing impeachment. Wait for the next quadrennial presidential electoral extravaganza to play itself out. Wait for the Democrats to nominate the right-wing, arch-corporatist-imperialist Joe Biden, adding Kamala Harris to his ticket for some deceptive, fake-progressive race and gender identity ballast. Spend our time between now and then learning about all the interesting and wonderfully “diverse” Democratic presidential candidates (up to 24 in number by now) as they fly around the country this year.

It’s bad advice. Depressing Wall Street corporate Democrats and identity politicos like Biden and Harris are part of how we got in this pathetic, creeping-fascist mess in the first place. They are unlikely to break through the Electoral College (which grants disproportionate power to white red state voters) and defeat Trump. Their party is determined to once again (as in 2016) rig the game against Sanders, the Democratic candidate who is running closest to majority opinion on key issues—and the one most likely to rally demobilized and disadvantaged segments of the electorate to defeat Trump.

Even if Biden—or whatever corporate centrist the Democrats will likely affix atop their ticket—somehow defeats Trump (a recession would help), the rightward drift of American society will continue unabated, given the not-so-leftmost major party’s determination to ignore and silence popular voices to its wide and deep port-side. Popular resentment abhors a leftist vacuum.

If we, the people, are serious about stopping Trump, we’ll take to the streets en masse to engage in substantial and unrelenting civil disobedience. If we are serious about democracy beyond just the removal of a single noxious ogre, we won’t go home just because a narrow-spectrum, big money, major media candidate-centered election is being held on its regular, absurdly time-staggered, once-every-1,460-days schedule. We won’t go home even if Trump loses and agrees to leave without incident. If we’re serious about popular sovereignty, we’ll stick around to “dismantle the corporate state” (Chris Hedges) that birthed both Trump and the inauthentic opposition party (the neoliberal era Democrats), along with so much else that has long outlived its expiration date (i.e., the fossil fuel industry and the Pentagon system).

Don’t hold your breath waiting for liberal talking heads or politicos to tell the people the truth about how they need to take to the streets to fight Trump. As Thomas explains:

    There are now legal scholars making the case on national television that the president must be judged by an entirely different standard than the rest of us lowly citizens. That’s how this works: Trump types keep pushing the envelope, and by doing so push the terrain of discourse ever closer to fascism. And if he has sufficiently captured the federal court system, Trump could win. I would say the proper response is for House Democrats to call for mass demonstrations to give evidence that people oppose this authoritarian shit. But they will never do it, in part because they are afraid of the people in the streets. It’s the centuries-old dilemma faced by the likes of John Adams in the American Revolution. Once you put the people in the streets, you run the risk of losing control of them.”
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Offline RE

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🌎 Iran, Venezuela and the Throes of Empire
« Reply #758 on: May 26, 2019, 02:28:04 AM »
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/05/24/iran-venezuela-and-the-throes-of-empire/

May 24, 2019
Iran, Venezuela and the Throes of Empire
by Rob Urie


Illustration by Nathaniel St. Clair

With the Trump administration threatening war against Iran and Venezuela, the question of how the U.S. was brought to this point needs to be considered. To argue that current circumstances are particular to this administration is to overlook U.S. history vis-a-vis both Iran and Venezuela and that between them they possess a material proportion of the world’s proved oil reserves (graph below). In 2019, the pretense that local provocations explain anything beyond domestic political posturing is absurd.

However, domestic political considerations do explain threats of war to a greater degree than should rationally be the case. Removing Americans from the risks of wars the U.S. starts has produced a form of technological nihilism. Just because technology can be used to kill large numbers of people without risk to self doesn’t mean that it should be. Combined with economic motives for launching wars, death, destruction and misery have become just another business opportunity. At this point in history, war is what America does.

More insidiously, and admitted into evidence that the national Democrats just aren’t very politically astute, two- and one-half years into a soft coup staged by key members of the surveillance and warfare states and national Democrats against his administration, Donald Trump now apparently undertsands the domestic political benefits of unhinged militarism. Through a sycophant press predisposed to support any manner of unprovoked slaughter and the myriad business interests that see their stocks rise with the same, war is apparently a good business to be in.


Graph: the American defense industry, in this case aerospace, generally gives more in campaign contributions to Republicans than to Democrats. However, the contributions appear to be tactical. When Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were running for the presidency, the balance of contributions shifted to Democrats. This tactic keeps Democrats ‘competing’ for contributions from people that profit from war. Source: https://www.opensecrets.org.

The political logic of Russiagate was to re-assert the unity of nation as rising class tensions threaten breaks and fissures. The Democratic candidate in 2016 spent prior decades pledging allegiance to the warfare state. Her ascension would have guaranteed persistent and murderous geopolitical tensions that she had already begun instigating during her husband’s administration and as Barack Obama’s Secretary of State. Whether Donald Trump’s non-interventionist campaign posture was sincere, opportunistic, a ‘Chance-the Gardiner’ moment or a total fraud is irrelevant for present purposes.

There is every chance that Mr. Trump would have fallen in line with respect to warfare state designs on Iran and Venezuela anyway. The business case for murdering a lot of people and stealing their shit is as old as the country. The imperial view that foreign oil and gas belong to the U.S. and its allies is one that he appears to be comfortable with. That ‘crazed dictator’ Hugo Chavez used Venezuela’s oil wealth to feed, house and educate the poor isn’t what American oligarchs want getting around. So, while the claim is that foreign oil and gas belong to ‘us’ in some collective imperial sense, the bank accounts of the rich suggest no such confusion at the top.


Graph: were no mention made of oil, the countries listed here would constitute a who’s who of American foreign policy imbroglios. Between them, current targets Iran and Venezuela hold a significant proportion of the world’s oil reserves. Blather about dictators and freedom is standard fare when American oligarchs want to control global resources like oil. Current propaganda ties to a long history of American wars for resources. Source: worldatlas.com.

With respect to Mr. Trump’s prospects in the 2020 presidential election, joining his warfare-state tormenters will accomplish two things. First, it will get them off his back politically. The anti-interventionist vote that helped get him elected didn’t arise until a decade or more after George W. Bush left office. So, his move toward militarism probably won’t hurt him politically until the body bags start piling up. Second, such a move would deny national Democrats support from weapons manufacturers and the oil and gas industry. As the graph above suggests, defense ‘industry’ contributions appear to be tactical.

With the Cold War playbook now sufficiently dusted off to support another round of wars against resource-rich ‘adversaries,’ American political and business interests are moving to choose the most profitable targets. Through economic sanctions, ‘passive’ war has already been declared against both Iran and Venezuela. Economist Mark Weisbrot estimates that these sanctions have caused 40,000 civilian deaths in Venezuela since 2018. And the Trump administration imposed sanctions against Iran in early 2018 that are now taking a toll on the country’s most vulnerable citizens.

These sanctions are premised in the theory that if enough people are starved and enough misery is created ‘below,’ the political consequences will eventually work their way ‘up’ to force the hands of political leaders. After Bill Clinton imposed economic sanctions on Iraq in the 1990s, half a million women and children died from starvation and treatable illnesses, with little determinable effect on the actions of former CIA ‘asset’ Saddam Hussein. As with Mr. Trump in the present, Bill Clinton was working to reduce the social safety net in the U.S. as he deprived the poor and vulnerable of food and medicine abroad.

This point is made because the human consequences of sanctions don’t appear to be clear to Americans. Economic sanctions were called ‘sieges’ in olden times. And they were understood to be a tactic of war. Their political value lies in the dubious moral distinction between active and passive starvation, torture and murder. Had those killed by American sanctions in the 1990s been lined up and shot, it likely would have produced political repercussions in the U.S. It was liberal icon Barack Obama who imposed economic sanctions against Venezuela in 2015, again illustrating the bi-partisan use of ‘passive’ warfare.

This isn’t to argue that there are no differences between the political parties on the road to war. For the last 2.5 years liberals and Democrats have been attacking Mr. Trump from the geopolitical right. By valorizing representatives of the warfare-state like James Clapper, John Brennan and Robert Mueller in order to discredit Mr. Trump politically, little political space was left for substantive criticism when hard lines are drawn. This explains in part why nationalistic rhetoric overtook the putative left. Framed as geopolitics, their bases in warfare-state propaganda would have been distressingly evident.

To point out that weapons manufacturers and the oil and gas industry are businesses isn’t to reduce geopolitical motivations to profit and loss calculations. Following the end of WWII, the fear amongst American officials was that the U.S. would sink back into the Great Depression. Military Keynesianism, the use of federal defense spending to create jobs and profits, turned warfare into the business of America. Seen through a lens of Marxian / Gramscian hegemony, militarism was made the guiding ethos of the warfare-state. And militarism will remain the path of least resistance for American politicians until political economy is redirected away from it.

In his own ‘attention span of a gnat’ way, Donald Trump challenged this hegemony. Liberals, progressives and Democrats used militaristic chides against him every chance they got. Détente with North Korea? Traitor! Détente with Russia? Traitor! The tyranny of the oligarchs, business interests and the warfare-state that supports them has been rendered invisible. And so, ‘passive’ war against Iran: population 83 million, and Venezuela: population 32 million, has been launched. Surprisingly (not), the early reports of civilian casualties have the most vulnerable and least powerful bearing the brunt of this passive warfare.

As Mr. Trump correctly adduces here, the military industry is driving the push for war. The relationship between the intentions of American Generals and Russiagate can be found in allegations of Iran’s ‘footprint’ across the Middle East. Through the client-state relationship, Iran’s footprint is also Russia’s footprint. The antiquated Cold War chessboard, complete with an Evil Empire supporting ‘dictators’ in Venezuela and Iran, has been re-imagined. Unfortunately, it hasn’t be re-purposed. The problem isn’t that this framing is wrong. It is that other equally cogent and demonstrable explanations exist.

The Cold War was more than anything else, a business enterprise. A more artful quote would have been found were it not for the infliction of Russiagate:

    “(T)he people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.” Hermann Goering, 1946.

Russiagate was used to restore the political fortunes of the death and destruction business to promote the class interests of American oligarchs. Now that the gauntlet of war has been cast into open waters, it is incumbent upon Washington’s incumbents to dive in after it. Alternatively, the history of the CIA and MI6 using the pretext of ‘communist influence’ to overthrow democratically elected governments in order to steal resources and prevent increases to the minimum wage and land reform doesn’t help the argument that the Cold War was motivated by ideology.

But again, this isn’t to suggest that complex relationships and motives aren’t at work. However, the ‘how stupid are you people?’ question must be asked. Venezuela has the world’s largest proved oil reserves. Iran has the world’s fourth largest proved oil reserves. John Bolton stated that the goal of regime change in Venezuela is to gain control of Venezuela’s oil. Russia has the eighth largest proved oil reserves plus strategic access to major markets in Europe. The Obama administration engineered a coup in 2014 in the same Ukraine that is placed geographically between Russian oil and European customers for it.

Furthermore, Iran is a former client state / colony that gave the U.S. the diplomatic boot after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, leaving Israel as the only remaining client state in the region. Earlier still, in 1953 the U.S. and Britain engineered a coup after the democratically elected Mohamed Mosaddeq moved to nationalize Iran’s oil. The pretext of the coup was ‘communist influence’ over the Iranian government, which was a complete fabrication. The coup was engineered to seize control of Iran’s oil. Leading American neocons, including Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, started the Iranian nuclear program a decade or so later.

Assertions that Donald Trump’s saber rattling is a deviation from American history, prior policies and the intentions of warfare and oil and gas industry functionaries, are based on technical quibbles, not fundamental policy differences. As with Iran, American neocons started Israel’s nuclear weapons program through the Atoms for Peace program of the 1950s and 1960s. American deference towards Israel is likewise an ethos that emerges from the client state role that it plays in oil and gas industry machinations and the distribution of American made weapons.

As a client state, Israel serves an economic role at the behest of American oligarchs that in turn supports related industries. The power that Israel holds over American politicians ultimately derives from American military and oil and gas (public) expenditures. This is the same circumstance the American political class finds itself in. Campaign contributions from ‘private’ military and oil and gas companies have genesis in Federal expenditures. The influence they wield is in this sense circular— government expenditures fund ‘private’ influence. The ethos that emerges is self-legitimating for the private interests that benefit.

Two years plus of taunting Donald Trump from the right has left the left holding the baggy for untethering his steely anti-interventionist resolve from the hitchin’ post. And while it’s proper to question the metallurgical integrity of said resolve, he did ask questions in his run for President that landed like an oriole’s chide at Spring’s late arrival apropos the American military’s history of cluster-fuckery. The impeachment plan seems about as well considered. Supposing success that won’t occur because the Republican controlled Senate is needed to convict, Mike Pence becomes president and then what— Joe Biden? If it’s the principle, why didn’t Barack Obama prosecute the George W. Bush administration for War Crimes and Wall Street executives for financial crimes?

It’s the selectivity of the rage that seems suspect. If what you want is Democrats, then win a fucking election.

The related question from 2016 that isn’t going away anytime soon is: how do we get rid of these people, meaning the entire American political establishment? Otherwise, do ‘we’ really need four or eight more years of Democrats not ending America’s unhinged militarism, rapidly compounding climate crises, dysfunctional health care and educational systems and predatory political economy? The idiocy of Russiagate is that any jackass can play the militarist. And now, absolutely any jackass is. Mr. Trump is positioning himself for the job. Well played progressives.
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🌎 Ralph Nader: American Society Is in Rapid Decay
« Reply #759 on: June 02, 2019, 12:00:05 AM »
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/ralph-nader-american-society-is-in-rapid-decay/

May 31, 2019
Opinion
Ralph Nader: American Society Is in Rapid Decay


Consumer rights advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader. (Sage Ross / Flickr)

Plutocrats like to control the range of permissible public dialogue. Plutocrats also like to shape what society values. If you want to see where a country’s priorities lie, look at how it allocates its money. While teachers and nurses earn comparatively little for performing critical jobs, corporate bosses including those who pollute our planet and bankrupt defenseless families, make millions more. Wells Fargo executives are cases in point. The vastly overpaid CEO of General Electric left his teetering company in shambles. In 2019, Boeing’s CEO got a bonus (despite the Lion Air Flight 610 737 Max 8 crash in 2018). Just days before a second deadly 737 Max 8 crash in Ethiopia.

This disparity is on full display in my profession. Public interest lawyers and public defenders, who fight daily for a more just and lawful society, are paid modest salaries. On the other hand, the most well compensated lawyers are corporate lawyers who regularly aid and abet corporate crime, fraud, and abuse. Many corporate lawyers line their pockets by shielding the powerful violators from accountability under the rule of law.

Physicians who minister to the needy poor and go to the risky regions, where Ebola or other deadly infectious diseases are prevalent, are paid far less than cosmetic surgeons catering to human vanities. Does any rational observer believe that the best movies and books are also the most rewarded? Too often the opposite is true. Stunningly gripping documentaries earn less than 1 percent of what is garnered by the violent, pornographic, and crude movies at the top of the ratings each week.

On my weekly radio show, I interview some of the most dedicated authors who accurately document perils to health and safety. The authors on my program expose pernicious actions and inactions that jeopardize people’s daily lives. These guests offer brilliant, practical solutions for our widespread woes (see ralphnaderradiohour.com). Their important books, usually go unnoticed by the mass media, barely sell a few thousand copies, while the best-seller lists are dominated by celebrity biographies. Ask yourself, when preventable and foreseeable disasters occur, which books are more useful to society?

The monetary imbalance is especially jarring when it comes to hawks who beat the drums of war. For example, people who push for our government to start illegal wars (eg. John Bolton pushing for the war in Iraq) are rewarded with top appointments. Former government officials also get very rich when they take jobs in the defense industry. Do you remember anyone who opposed the catastrophic Iraq War getting such lucrative rewards?
Related Articles
The Only Solution to America's Political Crisis
The Only Solution to America's Political Crisis
by Paul Street

The unknown and unrecognized people who harvest our food are on the lowest rung of the income ladder despite the critical role they play in our lives. Near the top of the income ladder are people who gamble on the prices of food via the commodities market and those who drain the nutrients out of natural foods and sell the junk food that remains, with a dose of harmful additives. Agribusiness tycoons profit from this plunder.

Those getting away with major billing fraud grow rich. While those people trying to get our government to do something about $350 billion dollars in health care billing fraud this year – like Harvard Professor Malcolm K. Sparrow – live on a college professor’s salary.

Hospital executives, who each make millions of dollars a year, preside over an industry where about 5,000 patients die every week from preventable problems in U.S. hospitals, according to physicians at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The watchdogs who call out this deadly hazard live on a fraction of that amount as they try to save lives.

Even in sports, where people think the best athletes make the most money, the reverse is more often true. Just ask a red-faced Brian Cashman, the Yankees GM, who, over twenty years, has spent massive sums on athletes who failed miserably to produce compared to far lesser-paid baseball players. Look at today’s top ranked Yankees – whose fifteen “stars” are injured, while their replacements are playing spectacularly for much smaller compensation than their high priced teammates.

A major reason why our society’s best are so often last while our worst are first is the media’s infatuation with publicizing the worst and ignoring the best. Warmongers get press. The worst politicians are most frequently on the Sunday morning TV shows – not the good politicians or civic leaders with proven records bettering our society.

Ever see Congressman Pascrell (Dem. N.J.) on the Sunday morning news shows? Probably not. He’s a leader who is trying to reform Congress so that it is open, honest, capable and represents you the people. Surely you have heard of Senator Lindsey Graham (Rep. S.C.) who is making ugly excuses for Donald Trump, always pushing for war and bloated military budgets, often hating Muslims and Arabs and championing the lawless American Empire. He is always in the news, having his say.

Take the 162 people who participated in our Superbowl of Civic Action at Constitution Hall in Washington D.C. in May and September 2016. These people have and are changing America. They are working to make food, cars, drugs, air, water, medical devices, and drinking water safer. Abuses by corporations against consumers, workers and small taxpayers would be worse without them. Our knowledge of solutions and ways to treat people fairly and abolish poverty and advance public services is greater because of their courageous hard work. (see breakingthroughpower.org).

The eight days of this Civic Superbowl got far less coverage than did Tiger Woods losing another tournament that year or the dismissive nicknames given by the foul-mouth Trump to his mostly wealthy Republican opponents on just one debate stage.

All societies need play, entertainment, and frivolity. But a media obsessed with giving 100 times the TV and radio time, using our public airwaves for free, to those activities than to serious matters crucial to the most basic functioning of our society is assuring that the worst is first and the best is last. Just look at your weekly TV Guide.

If the whole rotted-out edifice comes crashing down, there won’t be enough coerced taxpayer dollars anymore to save the Plutocrats, with their limitless greed and power. Maybe then the best can have a chance to be first.
Ralph Nader / Common Dreams
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Plastic Is Just as Destructive to the Climate as Oil and Gas
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Plastic Is Just as Destructive to the Climate as Oil and Gas
A container is filled with plastic waste from Australia in Port Klang, Malaysia. (Vincent Thian / AP)

The phenomenon of climate change invokes images of black smoke billowing out of smokestacks, emissions from exhaust pipes on an endless highway of bumper-to-bumper traffic, or the insect-like cranes of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and drilling operations dotting the landscape. We do not view our plastic shopping bags as part of the climate crisis --- but we should. And just as the thirst for fossil fuel energy is an ugly symptom of runaway capitalism, so is plastic production and use. Both arise from the same problematic system, and both contribute to the same existential crisis humanity faces.

Plastic pervades every aspect of our modern lives. From the keys that I tap on my laptop as I write this piece to the lid on my coffee shop latté, the packaging of the individually wrapped cookies on the countertop, and even the lenses on my sunglasses. While we may worry about the pollution that plastic --- especially the disposable variety --- creates in clogging our landfills, choking our marine life, entering our food chain and disrupting our endocrine systems, we are likely not considering the role of plastic production and disposal on climate change. There is indeed a direct link between the devastating tornadoes in the Midwest this week and the 128 billion plastic bottles that Coca-Cola churns out every year.

Manufacturers churn out 448 million tons of plastic a year, a large part of which is disposable, intended for packaging products. Perhaps we imagine the containers holding our fresh organic berries or the sturdy bubble-wrapped packages our Amazon orders are delivered in are easily transformed into new packaging once we toss them into our recycling bins. But only about 10% of all plastic waste in the U.S. is ever recycled, and now that percentage has likely dropped even more. Malaysia announced this week it will be sending back hundreds of tons of plastic waste to their countries of origin --- including the U.S., United Kingdom and Australia. Malaysia's move comes a year after China decided to stop accepting plastic waste for recycling and is the latest in a disturbing trend of a world filling up with unwanted plastic at the same time that manufacturers are ramping up production.

Carroll Muffett, president and CEO of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), explained to me in an interview that "plastics are simply fossil fuels in another form. Ninety-nine percent of what goes into plastics are oil, gas and, to a lesser extent, coal feed stocks." As a result, "the processes that produce plastics begin at wellheads and at frac pads across the United States and around the world." According to Muffett, every step in the production of the plastic we casually use and toss away has an impact on the climate, from the emissions released during extractive processes like fracking to the transporting of the raw materials to plants and beyond. Because ever fewer plastics are getting recycled, many communities across the globe are also burning their plastic trash as fuel, adding more emissions into our already saturated atmosphere. And the plastic that is not recycled or incinerated itself emits potent greenhouse gases like methane and ethylene, as a 2018 study has alarmingly shown.

CIEL recently published a report called Plastic & Climate: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet, which found, among other things, that "the production and incineration of plastic will produce more than 850 million metric tons of greenhouse gases --- equal to the emissions from 189 500-megawatt coal power plants."

In spite of these alarming statistics, Muffett says that "the infrastructure for making new plastics is growing incredibly rapidly." Instead of ramping down plastic production and use, the fossil fuel industry is accelerating its growth. The International Energy Agency (IEA) found last year that petrochemicals, the raw materials from which everyday plastics are created, "are becoming the largest drivers of global oil demand, in front of cars, planes and trucks." Calling it a "blind spot" of the global energy system, the IEA found petrochemicals "account for more than a third of the growth in world oil demand to 2030, and nearly half the growth to 2050, adding nearly 7 million barrels of oil a day by then."

Muffett pointed out, "As global recognition of the need to transition away from fossil fuels for energy and transportation increases, the oil and gas companies --- who are also not coincidentally the same companies that make plastics such as Exxon, Chevron, Shell, Total --- those companies are increasingly relying on petrochemicals and plastics to make their long-term business models add up." In other words, the fossil fuel companies are repackaging the same climate-change-causing product in a different form and selling it to us in the hope that we won’t notice how little difference there is between the two.

A perverse aspect of the industry is the vast extent to which taxpayers subsidize fossil fuel corporations. Earlier this year, the International Monetary Fund estimated fossil fuel subsidies globally add up to $5.2 trillion a year, with the U.S. second only to China in scale. As Muffett noted wryly, "We as a society are being forced to subsidize our own destruction."

If we begin to see plastic production and use as part of the fossil fuel industry's deadly means of turning profits, we may be able to tackle head on the drive to ramp up production. The climate crisis is deeply linked to the plastics crisis. There is a massive supply of oil and gas in our economy, and fossil fuel companies want to make the most of their easily available raw materials in spite of the destructive nature of the products.

Alongside our demand to transition to a new, clean, green economy has to be a call to dramatically cut the production and use of plastics. According to Muffett, the single-use disposable plastic packaging of the kind that most of our products come wrapped in are "actually the major driver for the build-out of new plastic infrastructure." And although plastics producers like to assert they are simply responding to consumer demand, Muffett says that research has shown that "plastics, to a far greater extent than virtually any other product, is actually a matter of supply driving demand."

CIEL's report on plastics calls for an end to the production and use of single-use, disposable plastic and the curtailing of new oil, gas and petrochemical infrastructure. As oil and gas companies build out new processing plants to transition from producing fuel to producing plastic, that infrastructure needs to be stopped in its tracks. As many in the climate justice movements have done, rather than just calling for a transition to renewable energy sources, the way forward is a rallying cry to leave all fossil fuels in the ground.
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The Hypocrisy Of Bilderberg Explained As The Elite Exit Switzerland
« Reply #760 on: June 04, 2019, 12:57:13 PM »

The Hypocrisy Of Bilderberg Explained As The Elite Exit Switzerland


<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/p5hkUSl88HU&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/p5hkUSl88HU&fs=1</a>
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

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🌎 Military vehicles run over protesters in Caracas (GRAPHIC)
« Reply #761 on: June 14, 2019, 07:32:47 AM »
Serious Street Action in Venezuela!  Tops Hong Kong!

RE

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🌎 Sudan's peaceful revolution turns deadly
« Reply #762 on: June 30, 2019, 01:02:47 AM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/ihnMucSIpl4" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/ihnMucSIpl4</a>
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Re: Global Systemic Geopolitical Crisis
« Reply #763 on: July 10, 2019, 08:04:34 PM »


Cracks in the Armour. Here we goooooooooooo..............

The German Chancellor has been spotted trembling uncontrollably two times in recent weeks. The first shaking episode happened on 18 June as Merkel greeted newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Merkel has toned down the concerns about her condition saying that the shaking bouts were caused by dehydration.


https://sputniknews.com/europe/201907101076204118-german-chancellor-angela-merkel-seen-shaking-for-3rd-time-in-several-weeks---report/
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
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😤 Russia protests: Thousand arrests at Moscow rally
« Reply #764 on: July 28, 2019, 12:39:16 AM »
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49125045

Russia protests: Thousand arrests at Moscow rally

    27 July 2019


Police marched away detainees

Police in Moscow have detained more than 1,000 people at a rally, in one of the biggest crackdowns in years.

Demonstrators were dragged away from the city hall as security forces used batons against the crowd.

People were protesting against the exclusion of opposition candidates from local polls. The opposition say they were barred for political reasons.

Some of the candidates banned from standing in the 8 September election had been detained earlier.

Officials disqualified about 30 people, saying they had failed to collect enough valid signatures to stand.

    Moscow crackdown in pictures
    Russia country profile

At least 1,074 arrests were made at the banned rally, officials say, while monitors reported 1,127 detentions.

Moscow's Mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, has called the demonstration a "security threat", and promised to maintain public order.

Anger is widespread among opposition supporters at the way the city is run and the ruling United Russia party.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny, a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin, was jailed for 30 days on Wednesday after calling for Saturday's unapproved demonstration.

Mr Putin was on a trip to the Baltic Sea on Saturday for a dive in a submersible. "There are a lot of problems on Earth, so to diminish their amount one has to go up and deep down," he remarked.
What happened this Saturday?

Last Saturday, more than 20,000 Russians took to the streets, demanding fair elections, and dozens were arrested.

It is unclear how many people turned up for the new unauthorised rally on 27 July but the numbers seem to have been sharply down.

According to police, about 3,500 people gathered, including about 700 journalists.
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Riot police detained hundreds of protesters on Saturday

Police in riot gear pushed back the crowd from barriers surrounding the mayor's office in central Moscow, hauling off detainees to police stations.

A number of protesters could be seen bleeding while at least two members of the security forces reportedly received eye injuries from pepper spray.
A powerful message to the regions?

Oleg Boldyrev, BBC News, Moscow

No -one was under any illusion that the large gathering would impress authorities into letting people express themselves peacefully. This rally went very much the same way others have done - arbitrary detentions, standoffs, crowds breaking off into the side streets.

The question is whether the anger over not being able to nominate a candidate - even for lower-level, city elections - would galvanise Muscovites into bigger, sustained expressions of dissent. After all, there are lots of residents not happy with the way Moscow government and Mayor Sobyanin run the city, or respond to popular concerns.
Image copyright Reuters

Certainly, the would-be candidates, most of them seasoned anti-Putin activists, are hoping that the resentment will linger. That is exactly why policy handlers in the Kremlin are desperate to put a lid on it.

With both Mr Putin's ratings falling and the United Russia party deeply unpopular, chanting crowds in the capital may send a very powerful message to other regions preparing to hold their elections.
How did we get here?

Local elections usually attract little attention in Russia.

The Moscow authority does not control the city's budget or choose key official appointments, and previous votes have passed without major protests or press interest.

But this year some Muscovites are infuriated at what they see as brazen attempts to disqualify independent politicians from running.
Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Lyubov Sobol is one of the opposition candidates barred from standing

Candidates were asked to collect 5,000 signatures to stand. This limit was made even harder to match because a signature "means volunteering one's personal information for the government's database of opposition supporters", democracy activist Vladimir Kara-Murza wrote in the Washington Post.

Many candidates managed to meet the threshold but the electoral commission ruled some signatures ineligible, saying they were unclear or the addresses provided were incomplete, and barred the candidates from taking part.

Opposition groups say the authorities had no reason to rule them ineligible - claims that electoral officials denied. "We have no reason to doubt our experts," commission member Dmitry Reut said, according to media reports.

    Alexei Navalny: Russia's vociferous Putin critic
    Is Putin's popularity in decline?

Mr Navalny, who addressed the crowds last Saturday, is not one of the candidates, although he stood in Moscow's mayoral elections in 2013 and won 27% of the vote in a result he disputed.

Ella Pamfilova, the head of the electoral commission, said the protests would not change their decisions. "It doesn't matter, not even a bit of it," she said, dismissing the demonstrations as "political".

The authorities banned this Saturday's rally on the grounds that there were threats of violence against the commission.

Police then raided the homes of several opposition politicians, and called them in more for questioning.
What's been the reaction?

Election candidate and opposition leader Dmitry Gudkov tweeted that the council had "died under Putin".

"The last illusion that we are able to participate legally in politics has disappeared."

Some newspapers also denounced the raids. Novaya Gazeta ran the headline Moscow City Terror on Friday, while Vedomosti said authorities were using force to suppress the protest "having failed to counter it with political means".
Image Copyright @BBCSteveR @BBCSteveR
Report

Russian government paper Rossiyskaya Gazeta, however, accused the opposition of "blackmail" and "an unacceptable attitude to the statutes of law".

Political analyst Abbas Gallyamov told BBC Russian that the official response was designed to dissuade people from taking part. Any mass action would suggest the opposition had taken the initiative from the government.

Some believe the demonstrations could actually benefit the local authorities by reducing turnout.

"Young opposition supporters will not come to the polls, while the older generation whom the authorities are counting on vote out of habit," Denis Volkov, an expert at independent think tank Levada Center, told the BBC. "The authorities will orient themselves towards them."
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