For days or weeks on end, a single place - call it Newtown, San Bernardino, or Orlando (one school, one gathering of government workers, one club) - is the center of our universe. The rest of the world? Not so much. However significant the 24/7 event may be, it blots out just about everything else and so plays havoc with our sense of what’s important and what isn’t. It also ensures that, at least in the mainstream, ever fewer reporters cover ever fewer non-24/7 stories.
For so much that's basic to our world and will matter far more in the long run than local slaughters, no matter how horrific, there are few or no reporters and next to no coverage. This means, for instance, that in the distant reaches of the imperium, much of the time the U.S. military can operate remarkably freely, without fear of significant scrutiny. Which is why, on the subject of the U.S. military’s “pivot” to Africa, it’s lucky that Nick Turse has been on the beat (almost alone) for "TomDispatch." Otherwise in our new media universe, what we don’t know could, in the end, hurt us. TomRead more here.
Students are the new indentured slaves? Sounds good to the guys holding their paper.
Benjamin Balthaser, Truthout: Purdue President Mitch Daniels recently received national praise for his "Back a Boiler" initiative, ostensibly meant to address the skyrocketing student debt load. Proposed by Milton Friedman in the 1970s, "Back a Boiler" is less like a student loan and more like an investment in a stock portfolio. It defies the principle that higher education is a social good, not something to be engaged in solely for private gain.
Purdue President Daniels is no stranger to slashing budgets or increasing tuition. During his term as governor of Indiana, he slashed $150 million from higher education. Tuition at Purdue increased nearly 100 percent due to those cuts, inflating the student debt burden to an all-time high of more than $26,000. As Dr. Harry Powell, faculty liaison to the governing board of the University of California system, summarized one legislature's views: "The student is your ATM. They're how you should balance the budget."
Daniels' previous mission as governor of Indiana included waging war on teachers' unions, denying them collective bargaining rights, pushing non-union charter schools and even banning books -- demanding in 2010 that Howard Zinn not be taught in any public school or university school of education.
. . . I would suggest that Daniels' new plan has little to do with lowering student debt burdens, just as attacking teachers' unions has little to do with accountability. It is about turning a public resource into a private source of investment. To Daniels, not all human stock portfolios are created equal. If you are engineering student, according to his plan, then your interest rate is 4.23 percent. Major in something deemed more risky, such as English, and a student would look at a whopping 10 percent interest rate. Should an English major make a yearly income equivalent to an engineering major, the additional charge could come out to an extra $4,000 per (year).
. . . these human capital contracts are part of a larger trend to use the soaring price of higher education to further political goals. In North Carolina, tuition reductions are being deployed as a means to dramatically cut funds for historically Black colleges.
President Obama's higher education plan, announced last year in his State of the Union address, also used the crisis of student debt and rising tuition to introduce a "rating system" that would rank college graduates' salaries as a means to award or withhold public university funds. Like Daniels' plan, President Obama's rating system would emphasize the role of college as a financial investment, rewarding students who were able to maximize profits from their increased human capital.
It's no accident that public higher education, like health care, has become the site of struggle within the Democratic Party. It has become symbolic for a wider struggle over a vision of the United States -- one in which we are private consumers, maximizing our rational self-interest in a competitive market place, or part of a larger social fabric built on solidarity and principles of broad, inclusive democracy.
Which in the end, is likely why Daniels wants to do the public university in for good -- at least a university that does anything other than train people, in George Carlin's words, to be just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork, but just dumb enough to passively accept the status quo. In other words, be a good return on someone's investment.
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Dave Johnson, Campaign for America's Future: Leaders should care deeply about the will of the public, not scheme to subvert it. This push to hold a vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership after the election is an insult to democracy. It is an insult to our economy. It is an insult to voters.
Nick Turse, TomDispatch: At a time when the number of US troops, bases, and - perhaps - missions in Africa are increasing, along with the number of terrorist groups and terror attacks on the continent, hundreds of already murky missions have apparently been purged from the command's rolls._ _ _ _ _ _ _
While the media focused on photo-ops during Barack Obama’s trips to Europe and Asia, the president tried to cement his legacy with trade deals that please only multinationals.
President Barack Obama’s recent trips to Europe and Asia were more than farewell tours with photo ops. While the media focused on an admittedly cute picture of the president shaking hands with Prince George, and dutifully reported his official remarks in Vietnam and Hiroshima, Obama was busy pushing some of the policies he sees as integral to his “legacy.”
These include a military buildup against a newly assertive China and beating the drums for two international trade deals that are increasingly opposed in the United States, Europe and Asia as being too corporate-friendly.
To understand what is driving the opposition to both the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), "WhoWhatWhy" spoke to experts on the countries Obama visited.
Britain is the second largest economy in the EU. This is not lost on Obama, who sees a unified Europe as more receptive to American economic and political interests. So says Robert Gulotty, a University of Chicago political science professor and author of “America and Trade Liberalization: The Limits of Institutional Reform.”
“Few tariffs actually remain between the UK and US, so it is not a surprise that Obama’s push is actually an effort to sustain the European project,” Gulotty told "WhoWhatWhy." “A US goal in TTIP is greater access to European markets which have political barriers against, for example, American meats.”
Obama’s support for TTIP and for a Europe that remains unified comes at a shaky time for the EU. Recently, several member countries elected leaders that oppose EU-mandated austerity measures enacted after the 2008 financial crisis. Governments in Greece and Spain have faced off with the richer EU countries and other lenders, resulting in near expulsion from the bloc for Greece.
Read the entire essay here.
And I shouldn't go here now as this piece is long enough already, but I have never been very good about holding my heart-felt desires unactionated. Remember the good ole days of taking advantage and making huuuge bucks off of those newly independent USSR satellite countries? They're baaaack. Anew.
. . . I recalled a recent news item about Slovakia. Just two months prior to the President’s visit, Slovakia initiated a plan to divert nine per cent of workers’ wages into private investment accounts laden with corporate stocks and bonds as an alternative to a government run social security program.
This was similar to a plan that President Bush had peddled under the banner of the “ownership society.” Fortunately, this was one of the rare occasions when the President was rebuked by Congress.
Today in the U.S., with both corporate bonds and stocks suffering massive losses and over $2 trillion of taxpayers’ dollars doled out by the Federal Reserve to shore up Wall Street firms in various stages of insolvency, we finally grasp the true meaning of “the ownership society:” the Wall Street execs absconded with the so-called profits; the little people own the losses; the next generation owns the bailout debt. This scheme makes Ponzi artist Bernie Madoff look like a piker.
The Slovakia plan was modeled after the program set up in Chile in 1980 and 28 other countries thereafter. According to actuarial studies of the plans in Chile and Mexico, it was an asset stripping operation that allowed Wall Street firms like Citigroup to strip away as much as 20 to 25 per cent of the workers’ wages in fees to “manage” the money.
The Chilean plan was the brainchild of Jose Pinera, who served as Labor Minister under the brutal military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. Pinera later emerged as the global pied piper of private accounts to replace government run social security systems and peddled his pension reform mantra around the globe.
. . . According to Pinera’s web site, www.pensionreform.org (which is registered not to him but to the Cato Institute, a free market think tank), Pinera sat down in the Austin home of George W. Bush, then Governor of Texas, and mapped out his vision.
I had a chance to personally observe this worker-capitalist dynamic in action in August 1994. I was working for the Wall Street brokerage firm, Smith Barney (which had been taken over by the large insurance company, Traveler’s) and was called to an employee meeting by the branch manager and a visiting V.P. from the corporate headquarters. Employees were shown a new benefits plan that deferred anything we might hypothetically get in deferred compensation invested in company stock into the distant future while dramatically increasing our expenses in the present.
While the room was fuming, one of my colleagues spoke up. He said since we’re getting deferred stock over time in the publicly-traded parent company (Traveler’s), and reducing company expenses will boost profits and push the stock price higher, isn’t this something we should support. The room immediately calmed. They had sipped the Kool Aid of shareholder capitalism. (Traveler’s would eventually merge with Citicorp to become Citigroup and in 2008 require a backstop of hundreds of billions of taxpayers’ dollars to prevent the company from collapsing.)
The uproar at "The Post" was over a weekend confab that saw the Federal Reserve guarantee upwards of $300 billion of taxpayer money to bail out Citigroup for the second time in a month and a half. Of that amount, $20 billion was for a paltry equity stake for taxpayers when the whole company could have been bought for $20.5 billion at the prior Friday’s closing price, and that was $4.5 billion less than taxpayers had dumped into the company in October. (It’s not a good omen that the man who helped put this deal together, Tim Geithner, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, has been selected by President-elect Barack Obama to be the new U.S. Treasury Secretary; neither is it promising that Robert Rubin was standing at the elbow of the President-elect in his first press conference, signaling he’s a key advisor.)
. . . More than $31 trillion was lost globally in stocks from January 1 to December 2, 2008 while much of this country is stumbling around dazed, afraid to open their 401(k) and IRA statements, repeating the imposed mantra “I’m in it for the long haul.”
. . . We’ve arrived at the finish line in the race to the bottom and it’s clear there are few winners: once the little fish were eaten, the big fish fed on each other (Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and assorted hedge fund frauds against the wealthy). Now the big fish have nowhere else to feed but at the government’s bailout trough, transferring the debt-ownership society to our children.
Our own money is also being used against us in electing our President and members of Congress. After subsidizing our corporate health care plan to boost corporate profits or paying for it outright and funding our contribution to our 401(k) plan, which provides a steady stream of cheap capital to boost corporate profits, we have little left to donate to political campaigns. That makes it possible for Wall Street to fund the candidates of both major parties.
Don't ya think it's about time for Lyin Ryan, the poorly-educated "Finance Wiz Kid," to whip the privatization-of-Social-Security-in-order-to-secure-its-future-monetarization scam out again?
He doesn't have that many tricks left to pull out of his moldy old bag now (did you see his trying-to-maintain-order clown show as Speaker today?), and some new grift scheme has got to be found to refill the owners' funds after the coming market downturn takes full effect.
On another sad tangent, I've heard that some po' folks are starting to miss the "W" days.
So many fans still wish they could go to his favorite bar and have a beer with that AA sweetheart (and talk over fond old times?).
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So, on to current day misapprehensions.
Of course it wasn't about Islam. Not even by half. No matter what those NSA/Homeland/terrorist-fighting funders are touting.
The young man went to a sex club. Haven't you read anything about Islam yet?
This event was fairly obviously the story of a gay person who had some type of issue (herpes, AIDS?) against someone or many ones at this sex club.
He definitely wasn't going to admit to such, thus the lame ISIS rant (from a self-proclaimed Hezbollah follower) right before he was cut down in a hail of bullets.
Or perhaps it was a G4S/Securicor/Wackenhut maneuver where he wasn't supposed to be killed after he declared it an ISIS affair, shot up the club, and got the country moving to fight all those enemies overseas (and domestic!) again.
And the sex club setting was just for window dressing/PR? It worked exceptionally well as it did get the country mobilized.
June 22, 2016
Though it seems to fit the political agendas of both Republicans and Democrats, the assertion that the shooter responsible for the Orlando massacre was motivated by the Islamic State (ISIS) is certainly wrong. This conclusion is supported by the recent testimony of CIA Chief John Brennan before the Senate intelligence committee. He said that the CIA has found no connection between Omar Mateen, the man who gunned down over one hundred people at a gay nightclub in Orlando Florida on 13 June 2016, and any terrorist group. Thus, it makes more sense that this was a hate crime against gay people facilitated by gun laws that are demonstrably not in the interest of the citizens of the United States.
If this is so, why would Mateen claim on a 911 call, and later on a call to a television station, that he was slaughtering all these people in the name of ISIS? Can we take him literally on this? I don’t think so. Just ask yourself, Why would an alleged ISIS-inspired radical “Islamist” shoot up a gay nightclub full of Puerto Ricans?
Mateen was "very sweet" and liked to be "cuddled," the man told Univision. But he was upset about the way gay men responded to him.
Omar Mateen, the Muslim gunman who committed the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, was "100 percent" gay and bore a grudge against Latino men because he felt used by them, according to a man who says he was his lover for two months.
“I’ve cried like you have no idea. But the thing that makes me want to tell the truth is that he didn’t do it for terrorism. In my opinion he did it for revenge,” he told Univision Noticias anchor Maria Elena Salinas in an exclusive interview in English and Spanish on Tuesday._ _ _ _ _ _ _
He said Mateen was angry and upset after a man he had sex with later revealed he was infected with the HIV virus.
Asked why he decided to come forward with his story, he said: “It’s my responsibility as a citizen of the United States and a gay man.”
The man said he had approached the FBI and been interviewed three times in person by agents.
Univision was unable to independently verify his account. The FBI confirmed to Univision that it had met with him.
The man, who did not want his true identity revealed, agreed to an interview wearing a disguise and calling himself Miguel. Speaking in fluent Spanish and accented English, he said he met Mateen last year through a gay dating site and began a relationship soon after. He and Mateen were "friends with benefits," he said.
He described Mateen as “a very sweet guy" who never showed a violent side. He loved to be cuddled. "He was looking for love," he said.
When Miguel heard about the massacre on the news he said he was stunned. “My reaction was that can’t be the man I know. It’s impossible that the man I know could do that,” he said.
Mateen opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle during a Latin-themed night at Pulse in the early hours of June 12, killing 49 people and wounding dozens more. He was killed in a shootout with police hours later. Most of the dead were Hispanic.
Investigators are still looking into the motives for his rampage.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch told reporters on Tuesday that investigators may never be able to pinpoint a single motive and have not ruled out witness reports suggesting Mateen might have had gay interests. "While we know a lot more about him in terms of who he was and what he did, I do not want to definitively rule out any particular motivation here," she said.
In a 911 call from the club, Mateen pledged solidarity with the Islamic State group, and officials say he had explored websites of armed Islamic extremists.
Miguel recalled on one occasion Mateen expressed his criticism of the U.S. war on terrorism and the killing of innocent women and children. "'I told him, you're totally right,'" said Miguel.
Mateen never revealed his name to him, saying only that he was 35 years old and married with a son, Miguel told Univision. He said they met 15-20 times, the last occasion in late December. He said he believed Mateen's second wife knew he frequented gay bars and that his marriage was a smoke screen to hide that he was "100 percent" gay.
“He adored Latinos, gay Latinos, with brown skin – but he felt rejected. He felt used by them – there were moments in the Pulse nightclub that made him feel really bad. Guys used him. That really affected him,” Miguel said. "I believe this crazy horrible thing he did – that was revenge."
Mateen, who liked to drink, expressed frustration over his father's extreme views on homosexuality, which included a belief that "gay people [are] the devil and gay people have to die," Miguel said.
Mateen was especially upset after a sexual encounter with two Puerto Rican men, one of whom later revealed he was HIV positive, he added.
"He [Omar] was terrified that he was infected," he said. "I asked him, 'Did you do a test?' Yes. He went to the pharmacy and did the test … it came out negative but it doesn't come out right away. It takes 4, 5 months."
"When I asked him what he was going to do now, his answer was 'I'm going to make them pay for what they did to me.'"
Transcript of interview with man who claims to be former lover of Orlando gunman
Pay no attention to the man who bought the "Washington Post" for his personal handrag when he speaks in heavy seriousity about the actions of truly honorable public servants.
An article in the "Washington Post" yesterday continued the paper’s unrelenting efforts to marginalize Senator Bernie Sanders and his effort to press forward on his call for a political revolution in America. The "Post" article brandished its most preposterous cudgel yet: the cost of Senator Sanders’ continuing protection by the Secret Service, which it suggested was a drain on taxpayers. Calling Sanders the “now-vanquished Democratic presidential candidate,” the "Post"’s John Wagoner laments that even though “Hillary Clinton has clinched the party’s nomination,” Sanders is still receiving Secret Service protection which could be costing taxpayers more than $38,000 a day.------------------------------
In fact, Clinton hasn’t clinched anything until there is an official vote taken at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 25-28, no matter how much corporate media might wish otherwise. And since there has never been a Presidential candidate like Clinton, who is under an active criminal FBI investigation for violating State Department policy and transmitting classified material over a private server in her home, anything is possible before the July convention — or thereafter.
. . . If this was an isolated smack down of Sanders at the "Washington Post," it wouldn’t trigger speculation about an underlying agenda. But it comes on the heels of an endless series of efforts to marginalize Bernie Sanders at the newspaper.
On March 8, the media watchdog, FAIR, reported that in “what has to be some kind of record,” the "Washington Post" had published “16 negative stories on Bernie Sanders in 16 hours,” a period which included the “crucial Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan.”
The FAIR report noted that billionaire Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, the online retailer, had purchased the "Washington Post" in 2013. It called attention to reasons Bezos might wish to send another establishment candidate to the White House:
“… Bezos has enjoyed friendly ties with both the Obama administration and the CIA. As Michael Oman-Reagan notes, Amazon was awarded a $16.5 million contract with the State Department the last year Clinton ran it. Amazon also has over $600 million in contracts with the Central Intelligence Agency, an organization Sanders said he wanted to abolish in 1974, and still says he “had a lot of problems with.”
John Spaid of TheStreet.com says Amazon (like the government’s own books) is known “for its fairly opaque accounting practices.” Spaid also says the success of Amazon’s stock “has been based on slim or nonexistent profits” and punctuates his overall analysis with this: “Amazon’s unusual and obtuse financial presentations should be a very bright red flag to all investors….”
In January of this year, the Editorial Board of the "Washington Post" launched an assault on the accuracy of Senator Bernie Sander’s talking points, calling them “his own brand of fiction.” The editorial specifically called out Sanders for creating the “tale” that Wall Street is playing a pivotal role in why “working Americans are not thriving.” It says Sanders needs a “reality check” because “Wall Street has already undergone a round of reform, significantly reducing the risks big banks pose to the financial system.”
It’s actually the "Washington Post"’s editorial board that needs a reality check. It’s among a tiny minority that thinks Wall Street risks have been adequately constrained. A poll conducted by Greenberg, Quinlan Rosner Research in mid 2014 found that nearly 90 percent of voters believe the Federal government has failed to rein in Wall Street. The poll was conducted among voters across the political spectrum. The poll also found that 64 percent of all voters and 62 percent of voters that own stock believe that “the stock market is rigged for insiders and people who know how to manipulate the system.”
Just this past April, the Wall Street Journal reported that exit polls following the New York primary found that 63 percent of Democrats and 49 percent of Republican voters “said Wall Street hurts the economy more than it helps.” And that’s in a state that Wall Street calls home.
It should also be noted that Bezos has multiple reasons to want to kick to the curb any candidate that poses a threat to his financial enablers on Wall Street. Wall Street banks have underwritten over $8 billion of Amazon debt offerings. The same banking behemoths have analysts on their payroll that can make or break a company with a buy or sell stock rating. For example, Morgan Stanley has been an underwriter of Amazon debt dating back to at least 1999. Last November, Morgan Stanley’s research analysts suggested that Amazon’s stock price could reach $800 (the stock opened at $663.25 that day). Morgan Stanley reaffirmed its “overweight” rating on the stock. Morgan Stanley, which took over the retail brokerage firm Smith Barney, has over 15,000 retail brokers that can, and frequently do, push the stocks that the firm is recommending.
. . . Rigged Wall Street research was a key component leading to the dot.com bubble bust in 2000 that erased about $4 trillion from investors’ brokerage statements. In 2001, Fortune Magazine published a highly critical analysis of Morgan Stanley research analyst, Mary Meeker, and her deeply conflicted role . . . .
In one year alone, 1999, Morgan Stanley paid Meeker $15 million. But after all the hand-wringing back then about corrupted analysts on Wall Street, the same practices continue today. President Obama’s Dodd-Frank reform legislation left Wall Street banks able to underwrite stocks and bonds for their corporate clients while their analysts put buy ratings on the company’s stock. One can also be assured that Hillary Clinton, who has promised to follow in the footsteps of Obama, won’t be touching this sacred cash cow on Wall Street either.
Amazon stock is also traded in dark pools (unregulated quasi stock exchanges) run by major Wall Street banks which have participated in underwriting debt deals for Amazon. This practice is allowed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC is headed by Mary Jo White, who came to the SEC from one of Wall Street’s major go-to law firms, Debevoise and Plimpton. Between White and her husband, John White, who works for law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, every major Wall Street bank has been a client of one or the other’s firms. Under Federal regulations, the conflicts of the spouse become the conflicts of the Federal agency head. None of this stopped President Obama, who enjoyed heavy campaign funding from Wall Street law firms, from nominating Mary Jo White to lead the Wall Street watchdog.
The "Washington Post"’s January editorial stated that “Mr. Sanders’s success so far does not show that the country is ready for a political revolution.” In fact, his success shows exactly that. As Senator Sanders told his supporters in a live-streamed video (see below) last Thursday evening:
“During this campaign, we won more than 12 million votes. We won 22 state primaries and caucuses. We came very close – within 2 points or less – in five more states. In other words, our vision for the future of this country is not some kind of fringe idea. It is not a radical idea. It is mainstream. It is what millions of Americans believe in and want to see happen…
“In virtually every state that we contested we won the overwhelming majority of the votes of people 45 years of age or younger, sometimes, may I say, by huge numbers. These are the people who are determined to shape the future of this country. These are the people who are the future of this country.”
Sanders’ rallies around the country frequently had in excess of 5,000 people in attendance and at times, over 20,000. Hillary Clinton’s rallies were mostly attended by hundreds – not thousands — of supporters.
This election will decide not only the future of the Democratic Party but the future of democracy in America. Billionaires have every reason to fear Bernie Sanders; regular Americans have every reason to listen carefully to his message as presented directly by him and not through the self-serving lens of billionaire-owned media outlets.
Need some insight on today's vote in the UK on whether to stay or go from the EU?
Yes, that's what BREXIT! means.
If you read the presstitute media, Brexit — the referendum tomorrow on the UK’s exit from the EU — is about racism. According to the story line, angry rightwing racists of violent inclinations want to leave the EU to avoid having to accept more dark-skinned immigrants into England.Haven't heard much lately about ignorant politicians?
Despite the constant propaganda against exit, polls indicated that more favored leaving the EU than remaining until a female member of Parliament, Jo Cox, was killed by a man that a witness said shouted “Brexit.” Cox was an opponent of leaving the EU.
The UK government and presstitute media used Cox’s murder to drive home the propaganda that violent racists were behind Brexit. However, other witnesses gave a different report. The Guardian, which led with the propaganda line, did report later in its account that “Other witnesses said the attack was launched after the MP became involved in an altercation involving two men near where she held her weekly surgery.” Of course, we will never know, because Cox’s murder is too valuable of a weapon against Brexit.
There is no doubt that many in the UK are disturbed at the transformation of their country. One doesn’t have to be a racist to feel that one’s country is being stolen from them by people of alien cultures. The British have a long history of fighting off invaders, and many believe they are experiencing an invasion, although not an armed one. An armed one, of course, would not have the government’s and media’s support.
When British people hear pundits pronounce that immigrants contribute more to the UK than they absorb in social payments, what they hear is inconsistent with their experience. Moreover, many British are tired of having to avoid entire sections of their cities, including London, because of safety concerns.
It is a propaganda choice to call these concerns racism rather than cultural defense, and the UK political establishment has made that propaganda choice. Little wonder so many British citizens no longer believe that the British Establishment represents Britain.
But let’s give the propagandists the benefit of the doubt and for sake of argument assume that Brexit is about racism. What is the opposition to Brexit really about? Most certainly it is not about helping the refugees from Washington’s wars that the UK government has enabled. If the British establishment cared so much for the Muslims seeking refuge from America’s invasions, bombs, and drones, the British establishment would not have supported Washington’s attacks on these people.
Opposition to Brexit is based on two powerful interests of Washington.
One is the interests of the New York banks and Wall Street to eliminate the UK as a financial center competitor. This blatant fact has escaped the notice of the City and the Bank of England.
The British have forgotten that they only have one foot in the EU, because the UK was permitted to keep its own currency. The UK does not use the euro and, thus, retains the power to finance the British government. Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, etc., do not have this capability. They are dependent on private banks for financing.
In order to trick the UK into joining the EU, the British were given special privileges. However, these privileges cannot last forever. The EU process is one of political integration. As I reported years ago, Jean-Claude Trichet, at that time the president of the European Central Bank, said that to complete the political integration of Europe, the fiscal policies of member states would be centralized. It is impossible to centralize fiscal policies if the UK is an independent financial center with its own central bank and currency.
Wall Street understands that the defeat of Brexit means a shortened lifespan for London as a financial center, as it is impossible to be a financial center unless a country has its own currency and central bank. As it is impossible for the UK to be a member of the EU and not operate under the European Central Bank, once the Brexit referendum is defeated, the process of gradually forcing the UK into the euro will begin.
The other powerful interest is the interest of Washington to prevent one country’s exit from
leading to the exit of other countries. As CIA documents found in the US National Archives make clear, the EU was a CIA initiative, the purpose of which is to make it easy for Washington to exercise political control over Europe. It is much easier for Washington to control the EU than 28 separate countries.
Moreover, if the EU unravels, so likely would NATO, which is the necessary cover for Washington’s aggression.
The EU serves Washington and the One Percent. It serves no one else. The EU is a murderer of sovereignty and peoples. The intent is for the British, French, Germans, Italians, Greeks, Spanish, and all the rest to disappear as peoples. Brexit is the last chance to defeat this hidden agenda, and apparently the British will vote tomorrow without having a clue as to what is at stake and what the vote is about.
By David Stockman
June 22, 2016
The Imperial City deserves to be sacked by insurgent politicians of the very ignorant kind. That is, outsiders unschooled in its specious groupthink and destructive delusions of grandeur.
That’s why Donald Trump’s challenge to the beltway’s permanent bipartisan ruling class is so welcome. He is largely ignorant of the neocon and war hawk catechisms and sophistries propounded by joints like the Council on Foreign Relations.
But owing to his overweening self-confidence, he doesn’t hesitate to lob foreign policy audibles, as it were, from the Presidential campaign’s line of scrimmage.
It is these unpredictable outbursts of truth and common sense, not his bombast, bad manners and bigotry, that has the Acela Corridor in high dudgeon. The Donald’s establishment bettors are deathly afraid that he might confirm to the unwashed electorate of Flyover America what it already suspects.
Namely, that Washington’s hyper-interventionism and ungodly expensive imperial footprint all around the globe has nothing at all to do with their security and safety, even as it saddles them with massive public debts and the threat of jihadist blowback to the homeland.
For Trump’s part, the fact is that most of his wild pitches — the Mexican Wall, the Muslim ban, waterboarding — are basically excesses of campaign rhetoric that would likely get fashioned into something far more palatable if he were ever in a position to govern. By contrast, the fundamental consensus of our bipartisan rulers is a mortal threat to peace, prosperity and democratic rule.
Worse still, the beltway consensus is so entombed in groupthink that the machinery grinds forward from one folly to the next with hardly a peep of dissent. Nothing could better illustrate that deleterious dynamic, in fact, than the NATO warships currently trolling around the Black Sea.
For crying out loud, the very thought that Washington is sending lethally armed destroyers into the Black Sea is an outrage. That eurasian backwater harbors no threat whatsoever to the security and safety of the citizens of America — or, for that matter, to those of Germany, France, Poland or the rest of NATO, either.
The shrunken remnants of the Russian Navy — home-ported at Sevastopol on the Crimea, as it has been since Catherine The Great — could not uncork the Dardanelles with war-making intent in a thousand years. Not in the face of the vast NATO armada implacably positioned on the Mediterranean side of the outlet.
So what is possibly the point of rattling seaborne missile batteries on Russia’s shoreline? It assumes a military threat that’s non-existent and a hostile intent in Moscow that is purely an artifact of NATO propaganda.
In truth, these reckless Black Sea naval maneuvers amount to a rank provocation. With one glance at the map, even the much maligned high school educated voters who have rallied to Trump’s cause could tell you that much.
The same can be said for the 31,000 NATO troops conducted exercises in Poland and the Baltic republics right alongside the border with Russia. These are not isolated cases of tactical excess or even far-fetched exercises in “deterrence”.
Instead, they directly manifest Imperial Washington’s hegemonic raison d'etat.
Indeed, these utterly pointless maneuvers on Russia’s doorsteps are just a further extension of the same imperial arrogance that stupidly initiated a fight with Putin’s Russia in the first place by igniting a Ukrainian civil war on the streets of Kiev in February 2014.
Washington not only sponsored and funded the overthrow of Ukraine’s constitutionally elected government, but did so for the most superficial and historically ignorant reason imaginable. To wit, it objected to the decision of Ukraine’s prior government to align itself economically and politically with its historic hegemon in Moscow.
There was nothing at stake in the Ukraine that matters. During the last 700 years, it has been a meandering set of borders in search of a country. In fact, the intervals in which the Ukraine existed as an independent nation have been few and far between.
Invariably, it rulers, petty potentates and corrupt politicians made deals with or surrendered to every outside power which came along. These included the Lithuanians, Turks, Poles, Austrians, Czars and commissars, among others.
Indeed, in modern times Ukraine functioned as an integral part of Mother Russia, serving as its breadbasket and iron and steel crucible under czars and commissars alike. Crimea itself was actually Russian territory from 1783, when Catherine The Great purchased it from the Turks, until the mid-1950’s, when in a fit of drunken stupor the newly ascendant Khrushchev gifted it to his Ukrainian compatriots.
Given this history, the idea that Ukraine should be actively and aggressively induced to join NATO was just plain nuts. You might wonder what bantam brains actually came up with the scheme, but only until you recall that NATO itself has been a vestigial organ since 1991.
It’s now in the business of self-preservation and concocting missions, not securing the peace of anyone, anywhere on the planet.
The Ukraine intervention has already caused NATO, the IMF and Washington to pony up more than $40 billion of aid, which has gone straight down the proverbial rathole. The part that wasn’t stolen by the thieving oligarchs Washington installed in Kiev has been used to prosecute an horrific civil war which has killed and wounded tens of thousands of civilians caught in the cross-fire and destroyed what is left of the Ukrainian economy.
Indeed, it was the neocon meddlers from Washington who crushed Ukraine’s last semblance of civil governance when they enabled ultra-nationalists and crypto-Nazi to gain government positions after the putsch. In one fell swoop that inexcusable stupidity re-opened Ukraine’s blood-soaked modern history.
That includes Stalin’s re-population of the Donbas with “reliable” Russian workers after his genocidal liquidation of the Kulaks in the early 1930s. It also encompasses the large-scale collaboration by Ukrainian nationalists in the west with the Nazi wehrmacht as it laid waste to Poles, Jews, gypsies and other undesirables on its way to Stalingrad.
And then there was the equal and opposite spree of barbaric revenge as the victorious Red Army marched back through Ukraine on its way to Berlin.
What beltway lame brains did not understand that Washington’s triggering of “regime change” in Kiev would re-open this entire bloody history of sectarian and political strife?
Moreover, once they had opened Pandora’s box, why was it so hard to see that an outright partition of Ukraine with autonomy for the Donbas and Crimea, or even accession to the Russian state from which these communities had originated, would have been a perfectly reasonable resolution?
Certainly that would have been far preferable to dragging all of Europe into the lunacy of the current anti-Putin sanctions and embroiling the Ukrainian factions in a suicidal civil war.
After all, the artificial country of Czechoslovakia, created on a political whim at Versailles, was peacefully and inconsequently devolved into its separate Czech and Slovakian nations. The same of true of Yugoslavia.
In that instance, it was American bombers which forced the partition of Kosovo from its Serbian parent. And even then, this Washington sanctioned partition ended up in the hands of a criminal mafia that makes Putin appear sainted, to boot.
In short, the current spat of NATO saber-rattling exercises on Russia’s borders is living proof that Washington is enthrall to a permanent ruling class of educated fools and power-obsessed apparatchiks,
Is it any wonder, therefore, that the Imperial City continues to squander scarce fiscal resources on the obsolete machinery of NATO and the bloated cold war military establishments of its members that have no legitimate purpose.
No wonder Trump’s establishment bettors scolded and harrumphed when he had the temerity to suggest that NATO was too expensive and possibly obsolete.
But of course it is!
It’s mission ended 25 years ago when Boris Yeltsin mounted a soviet tank vodka flask in hand and stood done the Red Army. The very geopolitical earth parted right there and then.
Indeed, two years earlier, President Bush 41 and his able Secretary of State, James Baker, had promised Gorbachev that in return for acquiescing in the reunification of Germany that NATO would not be expanded “by a single inch”.
Time and again that promise has been betrayed for no good reason except imperial aggrandizement. Now a military alliance which had no purpose other than to contain 50,000 Soviet tanks on the central front has been joined by the likes of Albania, Croatia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Bulgaria, too.
Has the ascension of these micro-states added to the security and safety of the citizens of Lincoln NE or Springfield MA?
No it hasn’t. It has actually subtracted from national security by threatening a third rate power with a GDP no larger than that of the New York SMSA and an annual defense budget amounting to less than 30 days of Pentagon spending.
As to the necessity of the current naval maneuvers, even the leaders of Bulgaria—-a nation check-by-jowl to Russia’s Black Sea fleet — have demurred, pointing out the obvious.
To wit, the Black Sea is a place for sailboats and vacationers, not NATO warships.
In fact, that is so obvious that it is no wonder our beltway bettors are frothing at the mouth about Donald Trump. He just might mobilize the country against the threadbare predicates of their ruinous rule.
Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said he would not join a proposed NATO fleet in the Black Sea “because it should be a place for holidays and tourists, not war.”That’s the beginning of good sense. Disbanding NATO would be the next rational step forward.
“I always say that I want the Black Sea to see sailboats, yachts, large boats with tourists and not become an arena of military action … I do not need a war in the Black Sea,” Reuters cited Bulgaria’s Prime Minister as saying at a media briefing. “To send warships as a fleet against Russian ships exceeds the limit of what I can allow,” Borisov told reporters in Sofia on Thursday, as cited by Bloomberg. “To deploy destroyers, aircraft carriers near [the resort cities of] Bourgas or Varna during the tourist season is unacceptable.”
But who would be willing to bet on that?