19-Feb-17 – Can America reverse its decline?

It’s about Trump. It’s about America. And it’s about America’s role in the world.

Can Trump make it? Can America recover? In an ideal world, what would the magic solution be for America’s revival? As it is, America is just chugging along, at over $1 trillion in Federal debt alone, per year, plus state and local debt, and consumer loans such as mortgages, student loans, car loans and credit cards. At an average of 1.5% economic growth per year, for the last eight years[1], (as opposed to the average post WWII of 2.9%) while the population alone has been growing at 0.8%, this is actually, close to negative growth and it is self-destructive. But when the debt growth is added, it is negative both in relative and absolute terms.

Another ten years of this, and there is nothing left of the US. So again, in an ideal world, what would the magic solution be?

Besides cutting down on the over-extended military reach, and the corporate welfare (including the wastefully comprador health industry, 20 percent of the GDP), what would be the engine of growth?

Trump is proposing $1 trillion spending on infrastructure, such as highways, airports and bridges. But how would that be an engine of economic growth?

When a city’s port is too small to handle the traffic of the growing economic activity, spending on doubling the port capacity does represent a capital investment which is part of the government/business expansion. But building a beautiful boulevard in the middle of the city is a luxury, and it only offers an enhanced lifestyle. More highways, more fast trains, by themselves, cannot generate more productive forces.

If we look at the old book of the Soviet regeneration after the First World War, the programmatic manifesto, which was the basis of their economic revival, was the Leninist call to develop “the heavy industry with the machine-building industry as its pivot.” In the industrial age, “heavy industry” meant steel production and its derivatives, while the machine-building industry meant tool factories. 

Industrial England was the model where the ultimate productive branch of the economy, let’s say, the textile industry, or nail making factories, were premised on the condition of having textile machinery at hand, which presupposes a textile machine fabrication, which presumes an iron- and steel-making industry, Which is also conditioned on having a mining industry to produce the raw material for all of this, which was iron, coal, etc.

So the shortcut for a country like Russia or China was to start with the primordial industry: the extraction/mining industry which included oil and gas, and, for decades, pumping resources into the upstream industrial development.

If we look at today’s situation, what are the equivalents? What is the industry of the future that can build an economic powerhouse? Probably it is the robot industry. So where do you start with the robot industry? Definitely not with highways and infrastructure; but with the same paradigm: energy resources (that is extraction/mining, oil and gas industries), the heavy industry (such as steel, pipe-making industry, in the words of Trump), and the machine-building industry. One then needs qualified engineers and technicians.

Now, look at the US education system today. The only engineers that the US has are imported from India, China, Russia, etc. Where are the indigenous technicians? They are all getting Bachelor’s in business (19%), health (10%), social sciences (9%), etc. Master’s: MBA’s (25%), education (21%), health (13%). Doctorate  degrees: health (39%), legal (25%), education (6%), engineering (5%), biology (5%), psychology (4%), physical sciences (3%) [2].[3]

So, what are the chances of President Trump putting all this together? So far, his emphasis seems to be on the generals, law and order, and the “fake news media” epidemic – which is all to the good, at least as far as a wake-up call and a minimal re-establishment of the framework for going forward with a new plan, but it’s nowhere near to affecting the deep roots of the US malaise and its path to recovery.

Where are the builders of the future industry and of the new economy? I don’t see them as of yet.

[1] https://hudson.org/research/12714-economic-growth-by-president

[2] Of the 1,870,000 bachelor’s degrees conferred in 2013–14, the greatest numbers of degrees were conferred in the fields of business (358,000), health professions and related programs (199,000), social sciences and history (173,000), psychology (117,000), biological and biomedical sciences (105,000), and education (99,000).

At the master’s degree level, the greatest numbers of degrees were conferred in the fields of business (189,000), education (155,000), and health professions and related programs (97,000).

At the doctor’s degree level, the greatest numbers of degrees were conferred in the fields of health professions and related programs (67,400), legal professions and studies (44,200), education (10,900), engineering (10,000), biological and biomedical sciences (8,300), psychology (6,600), and physical sciences and science technologies (5,800). https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=37.

[3] Between academic years 2002–03 and 2012–13, the total number of postsecondary degrees conferred increased at all degree levels: certificates by 49 percent (from 646,000 to 966,000), associate’s degrees by 59 percent (from 634,000 to 1.0 million), bachelor’s degrees by 36 percent (from 1.3 million to 1.8 million), master’s degrees by 45 percent (from 519,000 to 752,000), and doctor’s degrees by 44 percent (from 122,000 to 175,000). Reflecting the overall increase in the number of postsecondary degrees conferred at each level, the number of postsecondary degrees conferred also increased for all racial/ethnic groups at each level between 2002–03 and 2012–13. https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=72.

19-Feb-17 – “Romania: from a “Two-Tiered Europe” to a Europe of the Double Bind”

By Modeste Schwartz.

via Visegradpost

Romania – Not only does Brussels act as a colonial despot toward all second-tier EU countries (or, even worse, considering that France, to take but one example, at least endowed its African colonies with infrastructure, whereas in Romania passenger trains currently run a bit more slowly than they did during the Austro-Hungarian era …), but, especially since the British referee walked off the pitch, a referee who, at times, succeeded in bringing a minimum of common sense to the Franco-German bargaining table, it has begun to look like a chip off the old block of its illustrious predecessor – the Austro-Hungarian empire.

To the question “what is a European”, after Brexit, we can reply by parodying Musil’s famous line: “it is a German, plus a Frenchman, minus the Frenchman”. Not only are the divergences of interest of this two-headed monster forbidding any long-term strategy, they even begin to affect its tactical effectiveness.

For example, in Romania, the Reich-Chancellor Merkel, through her official and unofficial representatives, supports the (nominally) National (and nominally) Liberal Party of president Klaus Johannis, which, alongside the Soros organizations and the secret services formerly controlled by Washington (fatherless since last December), strives, in defiance of both the popular vote and the constitution, to bring down the social democratic (PSD) government of S. Grindeanu, “guilty” (with the “complicity” of previous PSD governments) of having increased the minimum wage nearly two-fold (to the staggering sum of 300 €), without respect for the profits of the (chiefly German-owned) manufacturing sector, profits which up until now have been more than twice the European average.

In July of last year, this same Johannis, conscious of having (in spite of being of ethnic minority stock) a partly nationalist (although also Westernist and Russophobic) electorate, and some support from the ranks of local capitalists, ratified a law proposed by a provincial PSD official, aiming to impose a quota of local products to supermarkets, immediately arousing the ire of the large (mostly French-owned) supermarket chains operating within Romania. The commercial lobby in Brussels has taken up the matter, apparently convinced that a commercial oligopoly is better able to protect the “freedom of the Romanian consumer” (sic) than the government elected by this same consumer. As a result, the European Commission has just announced the initiation of an infringement procedure against Romania (and Hungary it should be noted, which has adopted similar laws). Romania therefore faces a fine of 1.8 million euros (plus 130,000 € / day of delay in compliance), for wanting to privilege the local producers so loudly praised in Western Europe by environmentalist movements, movements which tend to also be very vocal Europhiles (to the extent that some have even incorporated this profession of faith into the name of their respective political parties …).

And Brussels, under pressure from a lobby representing mainly French capital (hugely favored by the Keynesian stimulus policies planned by the Grindeanu government), is preparing to sanction a “protectionist” decision of the Johannis presidency, while Berlin is currently encouraging Johannis to depose the very same Grindeanu government, guilty of implementing … these very same stimulus policies. I can hardly wait to watch the wrestling bouts between EU commissioners, on the model of the Ukrainian Rada.

Having said that, let’s look at the bright side: according to my sources, for the time being, J. Cl. Junker has no intention of having his horse seated at the European Parliament. He would be too afraid of his horse being stolen.

18-Feb-17 – It’s Not Enough To Win the Election, Donald. You Have To Get the Deep State Under Control.

On how the hidden powers are trying to tame or to overthrow the new US president.

Written by Dmitry Drobnitsky; originally appeared at LIFE 16-Feb-17; translated by Alice Decker

Donald Trump, of course, did not think it would be easy. And he was not afraid of the difficulties. His business career was full of ups and downs. He fought rivals, the clumsy bureaucracy of American cities, a shortage of working capital, skeptical investors and staff inertia. And, to all appearances, he did well.

His 2015–16 campaign was probably one of the most unpredictable and difficult in US political history. It seemed like everyone was against him, all up in arms: the media, the political establishment, Democratic governors, the sitting president, the rating agencies and wealthy donors.

But the slander, the attacks, and the dirt did not stop him. The voters believed him. He won. But immediately after getting into the Oval Office he faced problems that were much more serious than the ones that he overcame during the presidential race.

During the election, he fought the political establishment in the open, in public. One way or another, every twist and turn in this struggle became known to the voters, on whom, strictly speaking, the outcome of the battle depended. And when the mainstream media lied or ignored Trump, the alternative media and social networks came to his aid.

Whatever may be said about American democracy and its electoral system — for which, no doubt, the past political season has been a serious challenge — they have shown to be reliable. The Big Donald was not robbed of his victory. The votes were counted, the vast majority of the electors fulfilled their constitutional duty, and the Senate followed the established procedure strictly.

So now Donald is President. Today there is no one in the world with more formal power than Trump. But this is the moment when his real troubles begin.

With his experience in corporate management (successful enough, by the way), one might have expected that the newly elected president, upon becoming master of the White House, would have full control over the state and its resources — of course, within the law and in accordance with the principle of the separation of powers.

If a lawful order is given, it will be executed. If a decree is signed, it will be put into effect and actions will be taken accordingly. If something is forbidden or unlawful, subordinates and “subcontractors” will not do it.

But it turns out that the state machinery doesn’t work. More precisely, it doesn’t always work.

Literally from his first days in office, Big Donald was faced with almost blatant sabotage by civil servants, judicial obstructionism, and secret opposition from the intelligence services. In the meantime, the attacks from the opposition in Congress and from the press didn’t stop, but rather intensified. Previously they called him a “bad candidate,” and now they are actually calling him a traitor.

Trump’s foes haven’t come up with anything new. They kept repeating the theme of “ties to Russia,” without any particular creativity. But if Donald could simply shrug off the accusations while he was a candidate and almost gracefully repel any attack with a couple of tweets, as the current President he has to take into account the rules of the game. No, not the official rules of the game established by the Constitution on the basis of the social contract, but rules that are informal, extra-legal, and that no one has spelled out, but which are no less strict and rigid.

Trump has not violated any law, has not exceeded his authority or encroached on the holy of holies — the separation of powers — but he has already garnered the charges of “authoritarianism” and even “illegitimacy”.

The president doesn’t even have any special leverage over the Congress — which almost every American leader uses when his party holds the majority in both houses. On the contrary, he is making deals with lawmakers and praising them. Again and again he has praised, and made a deal. It was Barack Obama, in 2009–10, who acted brazenly when it was his turn.

And if anyone has exceeded their authority, it is the judges in Seattle and San Francisco, when they suspended his immigration decree. This, in fact, was a case of everyday conspiracy. The lawsuit was filed in Seattle so that the appeal went to San Francisco, where the most liberal judges in the United States work. And it was a highly politicized decision. But to over-rule it, one has to apply to the Supreme Court. And that takes time. And while the lawyers are working away, it can be said that Trump failed with his first major act. And the press is happy to harp on that.

As for National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, the case against him is all built on “violations of the law.” While he was a member of the transitional administration, in December, Flynn had every right to talk to anyone he wanted to, including representatives of foreign powers, and discuss with them everything he considered necessary.

But did the intelligence services have the right to listen in on him? Was there a valid warrant or order, if not for an actual wiretap (theoretically, it could have been directed not at Flynn, but the Russian Ambassador Kislyak), for them to open a case? And if so, in reference to what? And even if everything is aboveboard, here, still no one had the right to disclose the details of the wiretap to the press. It turns out that those who should be sitting in jail for violating the national security law remain “unnamed sources,” while the honored general and patriot Michael Flynn is considered a traitor.

17-Feb-17 – DHS Insider Says

Image result for spy vs spy

Guest post by VicturusLibertas.com

Via The Burning Platform

VL has been fortunate enough to work with some awesome people! We have loyal and awakened followers who help bring us information, and we also have trusted insiders, whistleblowers and leakers who trust us enough to give us information, too. Today, we have an exclusive interview with a special DHS insider who has answered some critical questions we have on PizzaGate. Our insider prefers to call it PedoGate and what he told us blew our minds!

We are so fortunate that members of the Intel community like our work and feel they can trust us. We have been trying to get to the bottom of PizzaGate for months and the answers we got from our DHS insider stunned and shocked us. Here we go!

DHS interview

Q. So, in the Intelligence community, how chaotic is the atmosphere now?

A. In my 34 years of Governmental service, I have never seen anything like it. It’s the bifurcation of the entire intelligence apparatus.

Q. It seems the intel community has it in for Trump – is this your feeling?

A. There are many Trump supporters within the FBI. The CIA, however, is against Trump because Trump threatens to ruin their game in the middle east.

Q. Can you elaborate?

A. CIA and Mossad work in tandem with British intel. The goal for the CIA was to replace Assad with a puppet and to topple Iran so we could access their oil. Israel works closely with it’s “sister”, Saudi Arabia, to help this dark cause.

Q. So it seems like the intel community has it in for Trump. How can he protect himself?

A. Trump has a tremendous opportunity here, but needs to circle wagons. The travel ban included 7 countries chosen by both Jared Kushner and Rudy. Why did it not include Saudi Arabia, or Pakistan, or Turkey or other countries that hate us? The seven nations mentioned were chosen by Israel, that’s why. And the unspoken alliance of Israel and Saudi Arabia should be exposed. They are brother and sister. Jared Kushner needs to be careful with what he says and to whom. But, the biggest thing Trump can do is expose PedoGate via Sessions. Big names will go down hard, and it gets the blood suckers drained from the swamp. There are as many pedophiles on the Republican side as there is with democrats, but Trump is in a unique position to truly “clean up Dodge”, so to speak. I can tell you that what is in Anthony Weiner’s hard drive, and what videos exist via Jeffery Epstein, WILL BRING massive arrests – in time. Trump’s legacy could be truly great if he was to purge the CIA, stop the extortion, prosecute the pedophiles and reinstate the death penalty for pedo’s convicted a second time. Pedogate is his path to greatness.
Q. How does Russia fit into all this?

A. The CIA and Israel are responsible for the creation of Isis. Isis was created specifically to weaken Iran and destabilize Syria. It worked for awhile until Putin shored up Assad and bolstered Iranian Qud forces. The real reason you see such anti-Russian fever from both Schumer and McCain, Graham and Feinstein, is because the operation has blown up in our faces.

Q. Is Israel behind the anti Russian sentiment?

A. Yes. Israeli intelligence is furious with Trump, and will do anything to keep Trump from working with Putin. Understand that if Trump and Putin work together to defeat Isis, they are actually defeating a CIA/Mossad creation, and furthermore, Syria and Iran grow stronger, which the Saudis and the Israeli’s fear. Their goal was to divide Syria and ultimately destroy Iran’s regime. It is not just an oil grab, but a much bigger attempt at moving the chess pieces to allow Israel and Saudi Arabia to dominate the entire Middle East.

Q. So they demonize Putin and try to tarnish the Trump administration?

A. The Deep State is at war with both Trump and Putin. Understand that when Israeli intelligence hears “America first” from Trump, they go apeshit. Israel has bribed, extorted and intimidated our politicians for decades and suddenly this upstart billionaire threatens to ruin everything.

Q. You mention the word extort. Does that relate to Pizzagate?

A. PedoGate is only a modern term associated with a long history of Pedo-blackmail connected to both Israel and the Intel community. There is a full court press to stop PedoGate from being looked at because if people knew the true motives behind the pedophilia epidemic, they would do more than march on Washington. They could actually seed a revolution, with the spark coming from decent American parents who want to protect their kids. Our politicians are compromised. The senior analyst nicknamed “FBI Anon” alluded to this in his exchange with folks on 4chan and with you.

Q. What do you mean compromised?

A. Do you notice 2 central themes running through the MSM lately? Those themes are “Fear the Russians” and “#PizzaGate is fake news“. Both tropes come from the same place.

Q. Can you explain?

A. How do we exert power? Via fear. Do you ever wonder why both Democrats and Republicans fall all over themselves to kiss up to Israel? Odd, since Israel is the size of Rhode Island… The fact is, many of our politicians – on both sides – have been compromised by CIA and Mossad for years. It’s actually not admiration they are expressing for Israel, but fear. Notice Lindsay Graham and Chuck Schumer repeating the same salute when it comes to Israel. How does that even happen? The American people are finally seeing that there is no two-party system, but one big shadow Government pretending we have political dichotomy.

Q. So PedoGate is real and “they” have to get Americans to disbelieve it?

A. Let me explain how threatening PedoGate is… Who wins? Trump. Putin. Americans. Russians. The world…. Who loses? Israel, since they no longer can blackmail our politicians, the same goes for the CIA. The Shadow Government loses. But, the people win.

Q. Can you give me specific instances of politicians being compromised by Israel?

A. Sure. Lolita Island. Jeffery Epstein, a billionaire convicted of pedophilia received a soft sentence. His island was rigged with video recorders. Many politicians have been compromised. It was a Mossad/CIA operation. Contact ex-senior CIA CCS, Robert David Steele. Bob knows and has even spoken about this with numerous reporters.

Q. So an ex-CIA senior agent named Robert Steele is on record saying Epstein’s island was a honey trap to lure our most powerful politicians into a extortion scheme?

A. Yes. There are videos of some of the most powerful players in the most humiliating positions. If this gets out, not only are the politicians ruined, but the extortion game is over and suddenly, the influence CIA and Mossad wield over Washington, is gone.

Q. Wow ! Now its all making sense.

A. Yes. lets continue this conversation later.

The interview resumes

Q. So I checked out Robert David Steele, and he mentions Chuck Schumer being on Lolita Island. So does FBI anon. Is that why Schumer is targeting Trump’s cabinet picks?

A. Connect the dots.

Q. How many other politicians have been secretly extorted?

A. One in three, roughly. It’s not just the Island, its all of their activities. The reason #Pedogate terrifies the media, the CIA, the Israel Lobby, is because they are all part of this “shadow swamp”

Q. Former CIA agent, Robert Steele, says Mossad operated Lolita Island and CIA worked with them. That’s treason on all levels.

A. Yes, and its espionage. Just as these leaks from the intel community regarding Flynn. I expect that at some later moment, Trump will leak some of these videos

Q. Wait. Trump has videos of politicians in ‘delicate” situations?

A. No, But the Intel community has them, and Trump has strong support among certain players in the community. Trump has said he wants to “throw a spotlight on the cockroaches”.

Q. But Trump just met with Netanyahu and pledged the usual unbreakable bond with Israel.

A. Theatre. Netanyahu is desperate to both play Trump into attacking Syria,and hate Putin, and to convince him PedoGate is a conspiracy theory.

Q. That is what Robert Steele says, as well. So, exposing the Pedophiles diminishes Israel’s influence in American politics and also changes the map in a critical mass way?

A. The same media screaming “The Russians are coming” is the same media who says “Pizzagate is fake news” That’s CIA and Mossad talking points.

Q. How do social media giants like Facebook and Google fit in?

A. Facebook and CIA are literally the same petri-dish. Google became a Deep State organ courtesy of Eric Schmidt.

Q. Getting back to the Pedo stuff, FBI anon said in July of last year, that the Clinton Foundation sold secrets to foreign nations. Did they also engage in PizzaGate?

A. There are videos of WJC that would destroy him. FBI anon leaked weeks ago, on purpose. There was a reason.

Q. Ok, FBI anon gave Schumers initials, and Barnet Frank and others, but so far we have only seen low level arrests.

A . FBI anon did a “bank shot”. That’s a pool hall term we use. Ask Bob about it. FBI Anon rattled their cages as other DHS and local authorities rounded up all sorts of street-level human traffickers. The big arrests will come in time, but first the small fish are interrogated, and provide information that leads to larger fish. FBI Anon was firing a shot across the bow, much like you shake a beehive to infuriate the bees. Notice how blatantly hostile McCain, Schumer, Graham, and others are? It was what we call a “targeted trigger“.

It worked. By long-kniving Flynn, they exposed their hand. Now, Trump has full executive powers to investigate the CIA and Mossad. Notice how there is sound and fury about “Russian influence” and utter silence on “Mossad” influence in our power structure?

When FBI anon leaked in early July, the whole idea was to expose the Clinton Foundation,and to hint at the sale of “people” i.e. Pedogate. Look back at his exchange on 4chan. He is a gifted analyst, and knows just what stone to throw at Goliath’s noggin. By triggering the shadow Government, he helps citizen journalists ask the right questions and follow the right breadcrumbs, not the rabbit holes the Elite scum want you to follow.

Now, PedoGate victims are speaking out on their experiences! You just had a story on some lady who went through having her family abused by California-Deep-State-sponsored terrorism. If folks knew that CPS in California is tied into a huge racket that kidnaps children from parents, they would realize just how sick this is. Foster homes, CPS, etc… all get paid well to jail parents and then snatch their kids away. These kids suffer abuse, and perpetuate the growing cancer called pedogate. Politicians who have pedophile tendencies are groomed for power, because they can be later extorted and controlled. Meanwhile, victims have no voice- until now. Suddenly, we have citizen journalism, and it will end up saving the people, in the end.

I have to go, but please contact Robert David Steele, the former CIA agent we discussed. I am sure he would appear on your channel. You are providing a real service to the people and we hope you will continue to speak up for the regular folks who are concerned, rightfully, as to the state of our nation. Take care

 

 

16-Feb-17 – Obama Expanded NSA Powers Days Before Leaving Office, Now They’re Being Used to Sabotage Trump

By Chris Menahan

Information Liberation [1]
February 16, 2017

After President Trump won the election, Obama quietly expanded the NSA’s ability to spy on innocent Americans just days before leaving office.

Seeing as how the deep state, which includes the NSA and FBI, appear to be leaking all of Trump’s private phone calls with foreign leaders and took down General Michael Flynn by spying on his calls and leaking them to their friends in The Washington Post and The New York Times, the story is being looked at in a completely new light.

As the The New York Times reported on January 12th [2]:

In its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.

The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. These include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches.

Trump questioned whether the NSA and FBI were behind a multitude of leaks handed to the New York Times and Washington Post.

The change means that far more officials will be searching through raw data. Essentially, the government is reducing the risk that the N.S.A. will fail to recognize that a piece of information would be valuable to another agency, but increasing the risk that officials will see private information about innocent people.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch signed the new rules, permitting the N.S.A. to disseminate “raw signals intelligence information,” on Jan. 3, after the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., signed them on Dec. 15, according to a 23-page, largely declassified copy of the procedures.

These are Obama loyalists who reports suggest may have worked to sabotage Trump by ousting Flynn in order to preserve Obama’s Iran deal [3].

Previously, the N.S.A. filtered information before sharing intercepted communications with another agency, like the C.I.A. or the intelligence branches of the F.B.I. and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The N.S.A.’s analysts passed on only information they deemed pertinent, screening out the identities of innocent people and irrelevant personal information.

Now, other intelligence agencies will be able to search directly through raw repositories of communications intercepted by the N.S.A. and then apply such rules for “minimizing” privacy intrusions.

“This is not expanding the substantive ability of law enforcement to get access to signals intelligence,” said Robert S. Litt, the general counsel to Mr. Clapper. “It is simply widening the aperture for a larger number of analysts, who will be bound by the existing rules.”

But Patrick Toomey, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, called the move an erosion of rules intended to protect the privacy of Americans when their messages are caught by the N.S.A.’s powerful global collection methods. He noted that domestic internet data was often routed or stored abroad, where it may get vacuumed up without court oversight.

“Rather than dramatically expanding government access to so much personal data, we need much stronger rules to protect the privacy of Americans,” Mr. Toomey said. “Seventeen different government agencies shouldn’t be rooting through Americans’ emails with family members, friends and colleagues, all without ever obtaining a warrant.”

Is this what happened to Flynn?

Is this why Trump’s calls with foreign leaders are being illegally leaked to the press in order to sabotage his presidency?

It sure as hell looks like that’s the case.

Remember, the point at which Donald Trump broke away from the pack and secured his victory during the primaries was when the Colorado GOP decided to deny Americans their right to vote and handed Ted Cruz all the state’s delegates, then tweeted: “We did it. #NeverTrump.”

A very similar story is now happening with the deep state’s open sabotage. Even though Americans came out in droves to elect a populist leader promising massive change, the deep state is sabotaging his presidency to prevent him from implementing the agenda his supporters voted for.

The Colorado GOP’s act of sabotage backfired spectacularly and was the turning point which secured Trump and his supporters their victory, if this deep state sabotage is exposed just the same, this too could be the turning point which sinks the establishment and secures our populist revolution..

16-Feb-17 – Trump White House Links to Neo-Nazis a Reminder of a Sordid Past

By WAYNE MADSEN |

via Strategic-Culture.org

Washington, DC has now joined Kiev as a capital city where neo-Nazis and nationalists rub shoulders with policymakers on an all-too-frequent basis. Ever since the 2014 coup in Ukraine, neo-Nazis in the mold of their «hero», World War II Ukrainian pro-Nazi nationalist Stepan Bandera, have provided the Ukrainian regime of Petro Poroshenko with crucial political support from the far right.

President Donald Trump’s «brain trust» of advisers also includes a close-knit group of far right American nationalists, some with links to a resurgent neo-Nazi movement in the Washington, DC region. These advisers include Trump’s chief political strategist Stephen Bannon; senior policy adviser Stephen Miller; deputy assistant to the president Sebastian Gorka; and Katharine Gorka, Sebastian Gorka’s wife and a reported adviser in the Department of Homeland Security. Bannon has cobbled together an inner White House advisory consisting of far right activists known as the Strategic Initiatives Group. Sebastian Gorka, the son of anti-Communist émigré parents who fled Hungary in 1956, is the former national security editor of the right wing «Breitbart News», where Bannon served as chief editor before joining Trump’s flagging 2016 presidential campaign as the chief executive officer. Gorka proudly wears an «Order of Vitezi» medal bestowed on him by the Hungarian government. The Order of Vitezi was established in 1920 by Hungarian regent Miklos Horthy, who later became an ally of Adolf Hitler.

On the periphery of the Trump White House is the recently relocated headquarters of the National Policy Institute (NPI), a rather innocuous name for what is essentially a re-branded American Nazi Party. NPI leader Richard Spencer, an avowed white supremacist, relocated the NPI’s headquarters from his former home town of Whitefish, Montana to a townhouse in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. Whitefish is a center for neo-Nazi activities. As Spencer took advantage of Trump’s election victory by pulling up stakes and moving to the Washington area, the neo-Nazis announced plans to hold a march in Whitefish to protest against «Jews, Jewish businesses, and everyone who supports either».

Although Miller is now denying it, he and Spencer were reportedly close friends while they attended Duke University in 2006 and were stalwarts of the Duke Conservative Union. Spencer, who conjured up the alt-right term used to describe far right conservatives, moved his headquarters to Alexandria because he is an avid supporter of the agenda of his old friend Miller, Bannon, and Trump. In mid-November, while Washington was still reacting to Trump’s surprise upset election, Spencer held a rally at the Ronald Reagan building for 200 supporters of the NPI who made the Nazi salute while he and the crowd shouted out, «Heil Trump, heil our people, heil victory!» Spencer railed against «the Jews» but made no mention of his close relationship with Miller, who is Jewish. However, Spencer appears to be fond of Theodore Herzl, the Zionist leader whose inspiration helped create the modern state of Israel. However, there is a precedent for such odd alliances in the history of neo-Nazi politics in the Washington area.

In the 1950s and 1960s, northern Virginia, specifically Arlington, was the home and headquarters of George Lincoln Rockwell, the enigmatic leader of the American Nazi Party. Rockwell’s parents worked in vaudeville and their best friends included Groucho Marx, Benny Goodman, Fanny Brice, Walter Winchell, Jack Benny, and George Burns, all of whom were Jewish. Benny, Marx, and Burns attended George Lincoln Rockwell’s church christening.

After serving in the Navy during the Korean War, Rockwell published U.S. Lady magazine from New York City. Among his major advertisers were all the major Jewish-owned department stores in New York, including Macy’s, Gimbel’s, Abraham & Strauss, Saks, Bergdorf-Goodman, B. Altman, and Bonwit-Teller. Ironically, Bonwit-Teller’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue was demolished in 1980 to make way for the Trump Tower.

In 1955, Rockwell moved to Arlington, Virginia. From a brick building on Jackson Street, Rockwell issued orders to his Nazi gauleiters to stage Nazi marches around the United States. Rockwell lived in a hilltop home, which locals nicknamed «Hatemonger Hill». A German shepherd, who Rockwell named «Gas Chamber», guarded the home. Phone calls to Rockwell’s home were answered by tape recorded anti-black and anti-Jewish messages by William Pierce, a Rockwell lieutenant. Pierce later founded the neo-Nazi National Alliance and National Vanguard Books. Pierce also wrote the neo-Nazi inspirational book «The Turner Diaries» under the pseudonym of Andrew Macdonald. Pierce died in 2002. However, Spencer and David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader, eventually took up Pierce’s cause. During the presidential campaign, Trump claimed he never heard of Duke after the former Klan leader endorsed him. Trump’s claim was a lie, one of many the now-president would utter during the campaign trail to the White House.

Unlike Spencer, Rockwell never had a single friend or contact in the White House administrations of Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, or Lyndon Johnson. A former Nazi lieutenant assassinated Rockwell in 1967. When Rockwell and his Nazis lived in Arlington, area newspapers were reluctant to expose them and their activities for fear of retribution. Similarly, Spencer’s renting of a townhouse apartment in Alexandria, which sits above a chocolate shop, has resulted in protests from town folk but Washington area newspapers and websites have been reluctant to publish the actual address. Spencer has indicated that the townhouse, located on the second floor of 1001 King Street in Old Town, will serve as a hub for his alt-right activities. Rents in northern Virginia are extraordinarily high and it is not certain who financed Spencer’s relocation from Montana to Virginia. However, Spencer’s NPI receives financing from the Pioneer Fund, a «junk science» institute promoting eugenics that has been around since 1937 and pushes the notion of white genetic supremacy over other races. Spencer also runs a neo-Nazi publishing house called Washington Summit Publishers.

Spencer’s influence is definitely being felt in the White House. Trump’s favorite saying is the «lying press» or the «lying media». The «fake news» meme used by Trump to describe The New York Times and CNN, among others, is a derivative of the «lying media» trope. Spencer’s favorite slogan in German is «Lügenpresse», the German word used by Hitler’s Nazis for «lying press». The term was a familiar refrain in the speeches of Nazi Propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels to describe the mainstream media in Weimar Germany.

Others members of the far right who are involved with the Trump White House include Charles «Chuck» C. Johnson, who offered a bounty for anyone who could find «Satanic pedophile tunnels» beneath pizza parlors on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, DC. The so-called «pizzagate» story was a ridiculous hoax proffered by several unhinged right-wing conspiracy fanatics, all loyal followers of Trump. A Breitbart reporter, Julia Hahn, now works for Bannon in the White House. Hahn made her mark on Capitol Hill by attacking the conservative Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan as being too moderate.

The effect of the far right on U.S. foreign policy is hard to judge just a few weeks into the Trump presidency. However, given the past rhetoric of the propagandists inside the Trump White House regarding settling old scores with Iran, China, Cuba, Venezuela, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Palestine, it is not difficult to see the end game. Although Trump proclaims «America First», his administration is full of extremists who see an ultimate U.S. war with China, Iran, and, in the case of retrograde advisers like the Gorkas, Russia.

15-Feb-17 – Is the Two-State Solution Already Dead? A Political and Military History of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

By Hasan Afif El-Hasan

Via Algora Publishing

Born in Beit Eiba, a small village near Nablus, while Palestine was still ruled under the British Mandate, Hasan Afif El-Hasan, Ph.D, is a political analyst and journalist whose work is published in Al-Ahram, PalestineChronicle.com and other print and online media.

Dr. El-Hasan lived through the 1948 Arab–Israeli war, then the annexation of the West Bank to Jordan. He witnessed the defeat of the Arab armies, the exodus of the Palestinians, the total dissolution of their community and the ensuing chaos. The Iraqi military contingent camp was on his village’s land in 1948 but as the Iraqi commanding officer said, “We have no orders to fight.” This paradoxical situation inspired the author’s future research and writing. After completing high school in the West Bank, Mr. El-Hasan earned his teaching credentials in Nablus and taught math and science in its secondary schools. Later he came to the United States, where he earned a B.S. degree in electronics engineering and an M.S. in electrical engineering, and enjoyed a successful career in technology. He then earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California at Riverside and went on to study the origins and the context of the current conflict.

The “Palestinians” or “Palestinian Arabs” in this book are the people identifying themselves as Arabs who had been living in Palestine just before the establishment of Israel, as well as their descendants. The West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem are referred to as “the occupied land.” The Israelis call the indigenous Palestinians only “Arabs” to deny their linkage to Palestine and refer to the West Bank by its Biblical names “Judea and Samaria” to make the historical connection of the Jewish people with this land or the “disputed territory,” to deny its status as occupied land. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) estimates that there were more than nine million Palestinians scattered throughout the world as of 2006. More than one million were living in Israel proper, three and a half million lived in the West Bank and Gaza, two and a half million lived in Jordan and the rest were dispersed through the Arab world, Europe and North and South America. The American–Israel Demographic Group disputed these findings and concluded that the PCBS total numbers are inflated by one million three-hundred thousand.

I strongly argue against the concept of using ethnic origin to define nations today because every community within a geographic area is a mixture of races that came in contact through conquest, migration and intermarriages across time. This applies especially to the self-identified Arabs and Jews in Palestine. Arabs or Jews, or any race for that matter, throughout the world, cannot support their claim of being closely related genetically, by biology. Palestine was successively conquered by Canaanites, Philistinians, ancient Israelites, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Romans and Turks, by Muslims and by Christian crusaders. The groups that lived in Palestine fought, interacted and collaborated, but no group was obliterated in history. The Palestinians are the descendents of all the groups that inhabited the land since the ancient Canaanites and beyond. I therefore reject the myth of race and racial superiority including the ideology that fed the Fascism of the last century.

No population has struggled more than the Palestinians to hold onto their land or to return to the homes they were forced to leave — and achieved so little, if anything. Only the American Indian tribes and the indigenous peoples of New Zealand and Tasmania suffered similar injustice when they were systematically destroyed and ethnically cleansed to make room for British and European colonialists. The Palestinians used diplomacy, negotiations, protests, uprisings and wars but they have failed to save their lands and the refugees never returned to their homes. Even after the establishment of the State of Israel, the signing of peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and the recognition of Israel by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Israel still controls all of historic Palestine and the Palestinians, dispossessed and oppressed, are either living under brutal occupation in cantons surrounded by Jewish-only settlements and roads, check-points and the Israeli wall of separation, or they are living in refugee camps across the Middle East, and a sizable minority inside Israel is treated as second if not third class citizens.

This work condemns all violence for any reason and advocates for a just peace in Palestine based on human rights and international law, a peace which all parties to the century-old conflict and the people of the region need. To that end, the Palestinians should unite and do what is necessary to strengthen the “peace camp” in Israel; the Israelis should abandon the ideology of conquest and stop electing governments that may foreclose the possibility of peace with justice; and the international community (the US and Europe) should live up to the principles of justice that they claim their civilized societies hold dear.

Supporting the right of Israel to exist and prosper should not mean supporting it in subordinating Palestinians’ claims to their historical rights and controlling their destiny. Many Israeli individuals and groups love their country and also support the Palestinians’ right to have their independent state, but they are still in the minority. They question how their Jewish people can celebrate their ancient struggle against slavery and the anti-Semitism of today, claiming moral superiority, but at the same time accept oppressing another people, occupying and colonizing their land under false narratives. The Israeli novelist David Grossman spoke for many Israeli intellectuals and peace advocates when he wrote, “I could not understand how an entire nation like mine, an enlightened nation by all accounts, is able to train itself to live as a conqueror without making its own life wretched.”[1]

This study will put the stories of the two parties to the Palestinian conflict, the Israelis and the Palestinians, side by side and leave it to the reader to conclude why a just peace that addresses the rights of the Palestinians serves the interests of the Israelis as well. To that end, I try to present a critical political discussion based on facts that Israel cannot be simply erased, and it will prosper and be more secure without being a colonial power. And despite their weakness, the Palestinians will refuse to continue living under oppression and in refugee camps. Chapter 1 summarizes what this study is all about. It is an effort to explain the historical and ideological background of the parties to the conflict. It covers briefly major historical events since the 19th century that led to the present sorry state. Only by understanding what has transpired in the past, the reader may grasp the Palestinian issue and why it is time the international community should act with more responsibility and a commitment to resolve the conflict according to international law and justice.

Chapter 2 is a brief review of the Arab nationalism since the 19th century. The link between Arab nationalism and the Palestinian issue today is more emotions and less substance, but under Arab nationalism, regular armies of the neighboring Arab states waged wars against Israel. Palestine was ruled by the Ottoman Turks as a part of Syria for four-hundred years before Britain and France defeated Turkey in World War I (WW I). Syria was the center of Arab nationalism when the Ottoman Empire was dismantled and Palestine was promised as a homeland for the Jews by the triumphant British. Syria was home of al-Baath Party and the Syrian Socialist National Party, organized nationalist parties that advocated the establishment of national state which included Palestine. The two political parties were strong opponents to the establishment of a homeland for the Jews in Palestine. President Nasser of Egypt championed the Palestinian cause as the self-proclaimed leader of the Pan-Arab nationalism. After the 1967 war, Arab nationalism has been replaced by local traditional and sectarian Islamic nationalism. But most Arabs today, even in the countries that made peace with Israel, continue to support the Palestinians and refuse to accept normalization with the Israelis before the Palestinian issue is resolved.

Chapter 3 is a brief history of the Palestinians since the dawn of the 20th century when Palestine was ruled by the Turks. It covers the pre-1948 period, the 1948 war, the PLO and Fatah history in Jordan and Lebanon and the rise of Hamas movement.

Chapter 4 is a review of Zionism and its early leaders and how it succeeded in the creation of modern Israel. The State of Israel has been the crowning achievement of the Zionist movement. Zionism has been the most successful international political movement in modern history. Its founder promised a homeland for the Jews in fifty years, and he was on target. The Jewish community in Palestine before the establishment of Israel is sometimes called the “Yishuv” in this study.

Chapter 5 is a narrative of the Hashemites’ relations with Palestine since World War I. The histories of the Hashemites and Palestine are so intertwined that they can hardly be separated. Sherif Hussein Ben Ali, the patriarch of the Hashemite dynasty, lost his kingdom for refusing to accept the Balfour declaration, and when he was on his death bed, he asked to be buried in Jerusalem. King Abdullah the First of Jordan succeeded in keeping Jerusalem and the West Bank in Arab hands after the 1948 war. And until the 1967 war, the West Bank and Jerusalem were an integral part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It was only in1988 that King Hussein Ibn Talal disclaimed his sovereignty over the occupied West Bank and recognized the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinians.

Chapter 6 describes the relationship between Egypt and Palestine since 1914. Egypt fought four bloody wars against Israel, controlled the Gaza Strip from 1948 till 1967, and now it shares Gaza’s life-line border. Jamal Abdel-Nasser championed the Palestinian cause under the banner of Arab Nationalism.

Chapter 7 reviews the development of Palestinian–Israeli relations after the 2003 Quartet “Roadmap for Peace” plan was announced. Representatives of the “Quartet,” an ad hoc American-dominated committee made up of the US, the EU, Russia, and the UN, endorsed a 2003 US-proposed schedule of conditions and events dubbed the “Roadmap” for breaking the Palestinian–Israeli impasse and paving the way to a peace settlement based on a two-state solution.

Chapter 8 reviews the politics of the Palestinians after the Legislative Council Elections of 2006 and the Hamas victory. The victors in these elections were boycotted by the West, and Israel refused to cooperate with any government headed by Hamas. The Palestinian experiment in democracy was aborted by the very countries that rightly criticize Arab states for their lack of democracy.

Chapter 9 describes the 2006 Lebanese–Israeli war and its impact on Israeli politics. The Lebanese Shiite military group Hizbullah ambushed an Israeli military patrol in a cross-border raid; Israel responded by bombarding Lebanese roads, bridges, ports and airports, as well as other targets. Hizbullah’s response was to fire hundreds of rockets on Israeli targets across the border, killing Israeli civilians including Israeli Arabs. Once it disengaged from Lebanon, the Israeli government was criticized for mismanaging the war, moved even more forcefully against the Palestinians, especially in the Gaza Strip which was governed by the Hamas faction and besieged by Israel.

Chapter 10 analyzes the so-called “peace process” including the 2002 Arab peace proposal and the 2007 US-sponsored Annapolis conference. The Palestinians have been clinging to the US “Roadmap” for peace and the Arab states have tried to revive the peace process, but Israel does not consider itself an occupier. Instead of withdrawing, Israel has built the separation wall and hundreds of new homes in major settlements in the West Bank.

Chapter 11, as the last chapter of the book, talks about the failure of Palestinian and Israeli negotiators to reach a final peace agreement. This study concludes that if there is any hope for establishing a sovereign Palestinian state, the Palestinians must end factionalism; the Israeli electorate political orientation must move away from the ideology of conquest; and the United States must transform its traditional Middle East policy of blind support to Israel into a genuine even-handed approach. The problem is that none of these players is ready to correct course. Chapter 11 thus reviews nonviolent options that the Palestinians may consider if the two-state solution is declared dead.

15-Feb-17 – Euro Error

The Dilemma: Prosperity Or The Single State, A Choice Must Be Made

By Prof. Jean-Jacques Rosa

via Algora Publishing

Dr. Rosa was an economic adviser to the French Prime Minister, 1997-1999. He founded the MBA program and two doctoral programs in business finance at the Inst. of Political Studies, Paris, which takes a practical and broad-based approach to the study of economic, political and social problems; he taught at Sciences Po from 1978 to 2008 and is now a Professor Emeritus.

Who among Europeans could be anti-Europe? In the entire world, the Old continent is the place where the standard of living is the highest, where the culture is the oldest and, at the same time, the richest in diversity, where the way of life is most pleasant, and where democracy is the most widespread.

But if Europeans are so happy with their continent, what kind of Europe do they want for the future? Starting with the formation of the common market at the end of the Fifties, intended to restore the free exchange of goods, services, men and capital after the wave of protectionism and isolationism of the depression years and the war, the European leadership have gone on to erecting a plan for a monetary and thus a political Europe, that of a very great and a single State.

Without that, they would have it, we would be relegated to decline and impotence and finally to obliteration. Not to want Europe unified, statist and monetarist, would be not to want Europe at all, as if the latter could admit only that one definition, only that one design; a typical example of politically correct thinking.

Actually, the European plan and consequently the future of the continent are marked by a deep ambiguity. The concept is economic and liberal when it comes to reintroducing free trade on a continent that had been given over to state intervention and protectionism for half a century: a single market and competition, in contrast to national statist intervention. Initially intended to support the United States against the Soviet threat, the European enterprise has retained a statist and military purpose, which tends to be defined as an end in itself.

It is this statist aspect that today comes into question precisely at the moment when the Soviet threat is disappearing, whereas the aspect of the market and competitive free trade has pretty much been carried out or is about to be completed. This is the moment that the European political leadership chooses to prod us down the path toward a single currency that leads logically and necessarily to the construction of a single federative or confederate State.

As long as Europe wants to preserve a political role in the world, that would appear to be a natural ambition. Of course, it does not please the Americans, who are afraid of competition in managing the planet’s affairs. But that is all the more reason to do it! And it would be so much simpler for companies and travelers to use only one currency for the whole continent.

Unfortunately, this apparent simplicity is misleading. As scientists know, complex problems always have a solution that is clear, common sense, simple . . . and false! Upon superficial examination, the diversity that generates competition, the complexity of States and currencies as well as that of companies, always seems wasteful. To manufacture one product for every consumer, be it the black Ford Model T of the beginning of the century or the unisex uniform imposed on the Chinese by Mao, has a fatal allure for the social engineer slumbering inside each one of us.

In the same way, a single State seems as though it would be more efficient, more “rational” than several, to the Platonic and Cartesian minds that populate the hierarchical and administrative organizations.

That was the “solution” of Soviet planning invented by Lenin: to manage the country as one immense enterprise. We know how that turned out. The source of the error, as Hayek explained, is that central planning atrophies the production and diffusion of information that, by contrast, competition encourages. The single hierarchy dramatically reduces society’s level of information and diminishes the quality of products as well as that of policies.

But what can we say, then, about the example of the United States? Do they not collectively prove the greater effectiveness of a great continental State able to create and multiply wealth at a rate never before achieved? Why not imitate them once again by creating the United States of Europe?

This parallel is tempting but false. Conditions at the end of the 20th century differ radically from those of the end of the 18th. When the American Federation was constituted, its population was homogeneous and very small. Creating the United States, in 1776, was rather like creating a country the size of Switzerland today. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Union hardly counted more than eight million inhabitants and it reached thirty million only on the eve of the War of Secession.

Thereafter, a small federal State was crowned with exceptional success; it became large because it was effective, it was not a State that was more effective because it was large from the outset. At the time, no one had in mind the creation of a giant by merging highly diverse nation-states. The United States represents the example of the small firm that succeeds, and thus grows, not that of the “national champion” imagined by civil servants who pride themselves in playing one of those construction games, like Lego’s. So the American adventure was and will remain the exception.

Another fundamental difference should give the eurocrats pause. For a long time the Americans did not need a single currency. And they transitioned toward a central bank at the federal level over more than a century, from 1790 until the creation of the Federal Reserve System in 1913.

The idea of a single currency and a Very Great State belongs in the domain of administrative Utopia. First, because it proposes to create ex nihilo a common currency for several States, which has never succeeded in the past. Then, because it requires the construction of a single State, the continental Super-State, by merging great States of very different nature, and with heterogeneous populations, which has never been seen either.

The effort appears all the more absurd since the single currency will serve practically no useful purpose. On the contrary, it will necessarily harm the national economies. What is more, the Single State would be a fundamental aberration in the general development of private and public organizations. It will be expensive, useless, and will make still more difficult the essential reform of hypertrophied national States.

The elites in power in Europe actually propose to reproduce on this continent the model of ancient China, against the very spirit of the “European miracle” which led the nation-States of this small extension of Asia to dominate the world. How indeed did Europe come so far?

Through competition and rivalry among the States, a process well described by British historian E.L. Jones1. It is the competition between rival nations that explains the unusual quality of the public services which the European populations enjoyed and which in turn determined the exceptional progress of the economy and the techniques characteristic of our continent, in modern times. This is the reverse of China, which very early on established a gigantic empire in which the State held a hierarchical monopoly on the production of low quality publicservices, which paralyzed innovation and destroyed the entrepreneurial spirit for several centuries. Tomorrow China will explode like the USSR and Yugoslavia. Europeans should avoid such a dead-end.

Hayek described the route toward servitude along which the victorious democracies were unwittingly advancing at the end of the Second World War. Today, we must avoid the dangerous slope of a decline that would affect Europe alone. The danger is no longer that of external totalitarianism, it is our own capacity for error and the soft totalitarianism of our elites.

Thus continental Europe is taking a wrong turn. The last decade of the 20th century will go down in history—for this club of old countries that count among the richest in the world—as a period of moral discouragement and economic decline.

Paradoxically, this period should have been marked by optimism and dynamism. The European nations succeeded in making a flawless economic comeback and achieved remarkable growth since the disaster of the Great Depression and the Second World War. In thirty years, between 1945 and 1975, they caught up with the standard of living and the technology of this century’s world leader, the United States. With the disappearance of the communist threat on its eastern doorstep, and the opening on a world in full process of market globalization, Europe should enjoy a time of full optimism and daring changes. The reduction of the defense effort, the normalization of the price of energy, and the triumph of the democratic market system should have resulted in abundant peace dividends. But quite to the contrary, we see moroseness and stagnation, an incapacity for reform, and aging of the structures that dominate since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Continental growth is stunted since the disinflation of the Eighties and the German reunification which was supposed, according to official speeches of the time, to bring an extraordinary dynamism to the economy beyond the Rhine as well as, by contagion, to those of all the other European partners. Instead, unemployment is now reaching levels close to those of the Thirties. The prospect of an indefinite pursuit of restrictive financial policies that choke expansion discourages those more enterprising who now choose to invest elsewhere.

Against this backdrop of deceleration and economic and social difficulties, the governments lack the courage to tackle fundamental reform of the welfare state—inordinately swollen since the last war by the easy tax receipts that readily flow during exceptional growth.

Taxes and costs are reaching the limits of what the active population can support, inflating the underground economy and contracting the job market. Investors are turning away from a continent where the cost of labor has become prohibitive compared to its productivity.

The productive basis of our societies is eroding, while the diminished growth hinders the modernization of businesses.

Having been reformed in-depth, North America, Latin America (having digested its debt crisis), Asia (the dragons, but also continental China, in spite of inevitable mishaps along the way), and Great Britain all already feel the effects of a new world dynamism; but as a result of their restrictive fiscal policies the majority of the continental European economies are just limping along.

15-Feb-17 – Dmitry Drobnitsky: Constitutional Crisis and the Specter of American Authoritarianism

Vzglyad, February 13, 2017
by Dmitry Drobnitsky
Translated by Alice Decker

What if Donald Trump really starts to act like a populist, spitting on the procedural formalities and deciding to end the constitutional crisis by addressing himself directly to the people, relying on the law enforcement agencies?

To say that Donald Trump is being criticized harshly and his policies desperately resisted is an understatement. The crux of the matter is that the mainstream media, professional politicians, lobbyists and PR people are conducting an organized persecution of the newly elected 45th president of the United States.

This is not surprising.

The master of the White House promised to make a lot of changes, and apparently he is going to fulfill his promise. The losers in the elections —the left-leaning liberals, foreign policy hawks and captains of transnational business — fear losing their influence in Washington, and so every day they are attacking the White House in an effort to create an unbearable situation for Trump.

But if Trump’s opponents would put themselves in his place for a moment, they would almost certainly realize how dangerous a game they are playing.

The Donald is not in this for the money, fame or influence. He already has all of that. He has had to radically change his life at the age of almost 70, jumping into a previously unknown field and engaging in a struggle against the entire political class and the media, which together heretofore have easily torn apart any objectionable candidate.

He won — largely due to the fact that those Americans who for too long have felt voiceless and forgotten believed in him. He awakened a social movement, which blew past all the “inevitable winners” and put him in the White House in the hope of change.

And what now?

In the current crisis, almost all the law enforcement agencies are on Trump’s side.

No president before Trump — not Andrew Jackson or Richard Nixon or Ronald Reagan — having won the election, faced such defamation in the media, with such a dirty slander and such well-organized protests, with undisguised politically motivated opposition from the judiciary bureaucratic sabotage and obstruction from the congressional opposition.

And even the new president’s own party is behaving strangely, to put it mildly.

On Trump’s candidate appointees, some interim agreement has probably been achieved with the Senate majority — in every instance with difficulty, but they won the vote in the upper house of Congress. But the Republicans are giving no moral support to the new president even though they owe their party’s victory entirely to him. Worse, they behave as if moral truth is on their side and that it is they who are “allowing” him to become the head of the US executive branch.

This allowed a bipartisan group of senators led by John McCain to take the demarche of proposing a bill requiring the new president (if the law is adopted) not only to explain to Congress in advance why he wants to remove certain sanctions against Russia, but also to prove that his cooperation with Russia meets US national interests.

Yes, the “Russia Sanctions Review Act” is unlikely to be adopted (and it certainly will not overcome a veto by the White House), but such experienced senators as McCain, Graham, Rubio, Cardin, Brown and McCaskill cannot help but understand that they are attempting to limit the constitutional powers of the US president.

Similarly, the District of Seattle Court (Washington State) and the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals (located in San Francisco, California) could not fail to understand that with its decision to suspend Donald Trump’s immigration decree they are initiating a direct confrontation between the branches of power and hence, a constitutional crisis.

Here we should give some explanations.

In accordance with the US Constitution and Federal Statute 8 USC 1182 (f), the United States Congress gave the president the right to ensure national security at his discretion, to prohibit entry into the United States to any category of persons for a period which he considers necessary. That is, the court has clearly exceeded its powers.

Protecting American citizens from external threats — military, economic, or any other — has always been the prerogative of the Executive. Every time Congress, or individual states, or the courts have encroached on it, American history has seen trouble.

The most glaring example is the US Civil War. But there were other examples.

Jefferson, Adams, Jackson, Lincoln, Roosevelt and other masters of the White House were not shy in using all means to call the state governments and the courts to order. They used everything at their disposal: impeachment of judges, the threat invasion by federal troops, and even orders to arrest the servants of Themis.

Thus, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson impeached Judge Samuel Chase, Jackson ignored the ruling of Judge John Marshall, and Lincoln sent federal troops to arrest Judge Roger Taney.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt — in the 20th century! — having heard that the Supreme Court was planning to recognize certain provisions of an unconstitutional “new course,” threatened to “add to the court six new judges to castrate nine old men,” and the judicial branch found it best to quiet down.

Of course, the liberal press prefers not to discuss these examples.

Instead, over and over again they tell the story of Richard Nixon, who was forced to resign in 1974 as a result of the Watergate scandal. The media are trying to present the case from 43 years ago to make it sound as though it was the media who overthrew the White House.

Meanwhile, the security services (primarily the FBI) and Congress played a key role in Nixon’s dismissal from power, having, in the apt words of the historian Arthur Schlesinger, “came to their senses and rushed to save themselves and the Constitution.”

In the current crisis, almost all the law enforcement agencies (perhaps with the exception of the CIA) are on the side of the President.

As for the Congress, the Republican majority, however they make feel about Trump, are hardly pleased with the fact that the country is trying to set straight some of the courts located in the most liberal cities in America.

But it is not only in Congress. Conservatives across America are beginning to lose patience. The press on the right is full of unconcealed irritation at the judicial obstructionism.

Political commentator Charles Hart in the publication The Washington Times called the judges of the 9th District “legal tyrants,” while Patrick Buchanan, in his recent column, called on legislators to take advantage of Section 2 of Article 3 of the US Constitution and limit the powers of the judiciary, which, according to him, is over stepping the bounds.

Tempers are rising in the White House. And for good reason!

The media and Democratic congressmen are fabricating more and more accusations every day against presidential advisers Michael Flynn and Stephen Bannon. In addition, quite an ugly campaign has been unleashed in the press against the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump.

Protesters tried to keep Betsy DeVos, recently approved as Education Secretary, out of a public school that she was going to visit.

Meanwhile, the White House has not put a stop to the leaks, which are very unpleasant for the president, and which are probably arranged by the technical staff.

Well, two miles from the White House, at the fund named for him, Barack Obama has settled in and begun working with the NGO “Organizing for Action” with 30,000 employees who specialize in preparing mass protests.

In general, the Big Donald must feel he is surrounded by universal conspiracy and betrayal.

It is possible that this is all calculated — Trump could get angry and try to take revenge on his detractors, exceeding his authority or directly violating the law, and then the Liberals could legitimately begin a campaign for his impeachment.

But this coin has a flip side.

Donald Trump hates the political establishment and strongly believes that his actions are supported by the people who elected him. The media call him a “populist,” comparing him with authoritarian rulers of the past and present. But what if he really starts to act as a populist?

What if he spits on political etiquette and procedural formalities and decides to put an end to the constitutional crisis by addressing himself directly to the people and relying on the law enforcement agencies?

From a psychological point of view it is quite natural — he is the victim; he became the head of the country and the system met him with hostility. Destroying this system could become his biggest wish.

Of course, opponents of Trump are not enemies of the United States, at least, not most of them. But in calling his policy “un-American,” they provoke the legally elected head of state to make symmetrical charges and take a tough response.

Venezuelan economist Andres Miguel Rondon recently wrote for The Washington Post a quite remarkable article in which he argues that American liberals make the same mistakes that the political opponents of Hugo Chavez made in their day.

Rondon claims that the intransigence of the opposition, the constant threat to overthrow the president, and the demonstration of open hostility to him ended up dividing the society, and Chavez took advantage of this to convince the majority of the population that his political opponents were enemies of the country.

In fact, this is how authoritarianism starts — by identifying those who disagree with you as enemies.

Thus in the escalation of a confrontation, both sides are usually equally at fault. I would even say that, in a democratic society, the opposition has a much greater responsibility.

By abandoning civilized political debates and declaring the person who is in power illegitimate or unfairly elected, by insulting and ridiculing him, they impel him to authoritarian solutions, decisions that are justified as being the will of the voters.

So if I were in the place of American liberals, I would seriously rethink about this behavior.

Calling the 45th president “dangerous,” they may sooner or later turn out to be right, when he casts convention to the winds and takes very tough actions against them; especially because he feels in danger himself.

The darling of the left-liberal public and mainstream media, Barack Obama, too, was often angry and offended when “they didn’t understand him” — he used to say that about Congress; he replaced laws with own his decrees, and under a cloud of scandal dismissed subordinates (think of the resignations of Chuck Hagel and Tom Donilon!). But the former president was a professional politician; he grew up in the party environment and was coddled by it.

Donald Trump, from the beginning of his incredible political campaign in 2015, has felt at war with the entire political class.

And if this class does not submit to the will of the voters and does not at least stop putting a spoke in the wheels of the head of state, he will take full responsibility for the fact that if he goes down, he will take the whole US political system with him.

15-Feb-17 – Evidence of Secret Cooperation between Putin and Trump?

by Valentin Vasilescu
Translated by Alice Decker

 So far no deal has not been officially acknowledged between Vladimir Putin (who has gotten closer to Recep Erdogan and Bashar al-Assad) and Donald Trump, on cooperation regarding the encirclement and isolation of IS-held territory in Syria. However, the way recent military operations were carried out, on three different fronts in Syria, by three different actors, clearly indicates the existence of such cooperation. Trump is proving that, unlike Obama, he is able to take unilateral decisions, leaving aside the members of the EU (which are also part of NATO), which are considered partners of the US. This hypothesis is supported by Trump’s position of stepping back from NATO, an organization he considers outdated; it was created years ago, and the member countries do not pay the way they should. This is Trump’s first concrete step in establishing real coordination of Russian and American actions, aimed at destroying the Islamic State and other terrorist groups in Syria — which could lead to the lifting of economic sanctions against Russia.

Al-Bab

The Turkish military offensive (1,300 troops, 50 tanks, 15 APC), supported by 2,000 Islamic rebels from the FSA (Free Syrian Army), to capture Al-Bab, began in September 2016. The town of Al-Bab is located 40 km northeast of Aleppo and was an important component of the Islamic State’s defenses for their “capital” of Raqqa. From November 2016 until January 2017, over 5,000 Islamic State fighters rebuffed all attempts to surround Al-Bab from the east and north by the Turks and their allies.

In late December 2016, when the operation to free Aleppo city ended, Presidents Bashar al-Assad and Erdogan concluded an agreement mediated by Putin. Following this agreement, the Syrian army came to the aid of Turkish troops. The Syrian army penetrated 25 km deep, five to eight km southwest, south, southeast and east of Al-Bab, and so the city was totally surrounded. Russian and Syrian aviation provided air support to the Turkish military. Since then, the Islamic State could no longer get any reinforcements to help them hold Al-Bab city. That is how the Turkish army managed to break through the defensive lines of the Islamic State. With Al-Bab, the Islamic State lost its last territory in Aleppo governorate.

Raqqa

The SDF group (Syrian Democratic Forces) consists largely of Kurdish YPG fighters, including some members of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), which Turkey considers to be terrorists. Even if this group is large (10,000 fighters), it is poorly armed and trained. Be that as it may, SDF, which holds a large part of northern Syria, set off an offensive operation against the Islamic State in order to conquer the city of Raqqa. The operation was planned by officers from the US Army Special Forces. Hundreds of soldiers from the US Special Forces are working as SDF instructors. At Rmelan, in territory controlled by the SDF, the American 101st Airborne has a base for helicopters and MV-22 tiltrotor aircraft used in combating the Islamic State.

The defensive dispositions around Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State, are round, and are arranged in at least four more or less concentric circles. This disposition has 30,000 fighters with 200 tanks, 200 APCs and IFVs, over 100 artillery pieces and MRLS. Islamic State has had sappers prepare the area over the last three years, with some areas mined, with counter-offensive installations equipped with tanks and US BGM-71 Tow-2 anti-tank rockets. They have a lot of underground weapons and ammunition depots that have not been detected by American aviation.

The Islamic State has operations planning officers who are as well trained as those in Western armies. They have procured hundreds of drones with which they have created an ISR structure (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) that runs missions to discover artillery sites and motorized or tanks columns, and concentrations of enemy forces. These civilian-type drones include the DJI Parrot (price US $ 1,000), Skywalker X-8 and X-UAV Talon ($200), the quadcopter DJI Phantom 3 ($600) are readily available in Europe and in the Gulf States and the US. Some drones have been modified to launch handmade Islamic State explosive devices, but they did not have the expected effects.

The Islamic State’s defensive dispositions are also based on secret tunnels through which Islamic State fighters can attack the enemy from behind, or create ambushes for supply or support columns. The Islamic State’s offensive counterattacks are extremely well prepared and highly efficient because of their high mobility, provided by thousands of small trucks armed with 12.7 mm caliber heavy machine guns.

Initially, in November 2016, the SDF made on offensive direction was north–south of Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State. Encountering strong resistance, the SDF offensive was stopped. The SDF then tried to encircle the IS defensive positions, shifting the offensive to west–east along the north shore of Lake Assad. Both directions of SDF offensive got to within a distance of 8–15 km from Raqqa, supported by massive aerial bombardments by the anti-IS coalition led by the US. Even with that, the SDF which has only a few armored vehicles, cannot go further.

Therefore, in late January 2017, the US, with the agreement of Russia, delivered about 100 M117 Guardian 4x4s that can carry ten fighters. This light 15 tonne armored vehicle is something between a Humvee and a Stryker ICV. The M117 Guardian is armed with an M2 Browning heavy machine gun (12.7 mm caliber), and an MK 19 grenade launcher (40 mm caliber).

In February 2017, the SDF initiated the third phase of the offensive. For starters, the SDF forces and equipment are moving from north to south and parallel to the eastern border of Syria, to Deir ez-Zor. The aim of this maneuver is to block IS fighters from Mosul, in Iraq, from getting to Raqqa.   After this maneuver, SDF can attack the Islamic State defensive position to the east. It can be seen that American planners intend for the SDF to isolate Islamic State territory to the north and east.

Deir ez-Zor

The “Tamadur” Detachment is performing offensive missions to retake the city of Palmyra city from Islamic State. It is comprised of the Syrian Regiment 800 Republican Guard, two battalions of the Brigade Tiger (Syrian Special Forces), two artillery battalions from the Syrian Army, one Liwa Fatemiyoun battalion (a Shia paramilitary group in Afghanistan), one IRGC battalion (Iran’s Revolutionary Guards) and local units of the Syrian National Defense forces.

After Palmyra is liberated, the “Tamadur” Detachment should be reinforced with additional forces of at least two mechanized brigades. Its immediate task should be to get the 137Mechanized Brigade, the 104 Airborne Brigade and the 121 Artillery Regiment defending the city of Deir ez Zor from the Islamic State. This mission should be easily accomplished even though Deir ez Zor is located 188 km from Palmyra. Between the two cities there are only a few little settlements occupied by small Islamic State groups, since it is desert. If the Syrian army manages to reach Deir ez Zor, it isolates the Islamic State territory in the south after the SDF has isolated its territory to the north and east. To the west, the Islamic State is already almost entirely isolated by the Syrian army.

In southern Syria (the governorate of Daraa and the Kuneitra), the Southern Front and al-Muthanna Islamic Movement, allies of the Islamic State, have resumed fighting with the Syrian army. These groups control the Syrian border with Jordan. They consist of 38,000 fighters and they keep the Syrian Army 1st Corps blocked in the region (the latter is composed of four divisions of tanks and a mechanized division). In the governorate of Idlib in northwestern Syria, 29,000 rebels are concentrated, from al-Nusra Front (the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda) and Ahrar al-Sham. These two groups have just resumed fighting with the Syrian army in the northern governorate near Latakia.

Under these circumstances, it is pretty hard for the Syrian army to come up with two brigades to deploy to the east of Palmyra. After Aleppo was released from the Islamist rebels, the first Russian battalion took over from an operational unit of the Syrian army to maintain peace and order in the city. After that, Russia sent a second battalion of military police to Syria. Also in Aleppo, a Syrian military unit was replaced by a Russian engineer battalion in a demining mission and to remove explosive devices planted by Islamist rebels.

As Trump is applying pressure, a growing number of “moderate” Syrian rebel groups controlled by the Pentagon and CIA are deciding to respect the ceasefire brokered by Russia. We can expect that more Russian military police battalions will replace Syrian combat forces in peacekeeping missions in the localities recently liberated. That will free up several Syrian army units to be sent to the east of Palmyra for the fight against Islamic State.

Nonfiction for the Nonplussed