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Author Archives: Teri

White House statement on the terrorist attacks in Iran.

Updated at bottom: Sunday, 11 June, 2017

Yesterday, Iran suffered two terrorist attacks.  The coordinated attacks targeted the Parliament complex in Tehran and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini, 15 miles to the south.   Nineteen people were killed and 43 wounded.

ISIS has claimed responsibility, although the attack bears the hallmarks of MEK, a cultish group of Iranian exiles formed with the purpose of bringing down the Iranian government through violence and terrorist activities.  More than 16,000 people are known to have been killed by MEK’s attacks since 1979. MEK, also known by the acronym MKO, is the officially titled as the “People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran” or the “Mojahedin-e Khalq”.   Saudi Arabia, one of the US’ foremost allies in the Middle East, and itself a sponsor of extremist Islamic groups such as ISIS, recently said it would “take the fight against Iran into Iran itself” and has sponsored MEK since its inception in the late 1970’s; either terrorist organization, MEK or ISIS, would suit this purpose.   MEK was labeled a terrorist organization by all Western governments until fairly recently; the US removed them from that list in 2012, under the direction of then-Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who lauded their public statements that they were “renouncing violence”.  In fact, MEK simply spent a lot of money lobbying US officials, and have not renounced violence at all, but in the US, money will always top honesty.  Always.  MEK makes its money the old-fashioned way: through fraud and money laundering and from support from Israel, which has donated money to them so they could assassinate Iranian scientists and educators, and from Saudi Arabia, which considers Iran its most prominent enemy.   In the US, MEK simply paid high-profile US officials upwards of $50,000 for each appearance they made giving speeches favorable to the removal of MEK from the terrorist organization list.  This sort of thing used to be known as bribery; now it is called “lobbying”.  The US officials, both retired and active, who prompted the removal of MEK from terrorist designation made no bones about their reasoning: they said they supported MEK on the grounds that they “acted as opposition to the Iranian government”.

Iran has long been a target of the US, partly at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Israel, but mostly due to our own desire to control the entirety of the oil producing areas of the world.  We are constantly told by the media that Iran is the “biggest sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East”, although no-one has yet offered any proof backing this statement, and the evidence is all to the contrary – the biggest supporters of terrorism in the ME would have to be considered the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel, in no particular order.  Iran has not invaded any country in over 200 years.  They are currently involved in Syria, at the invitation of the Syrian government, which asked them to help oust ISIS and al Qaeda from that country.  One might think that would place Iran on the list of US allies in the “fight against terrorism” (aren’t ISIS and al Qaeda the enemies?), but apparently the media doesn’t notice that the reasoning gets somewhat muddled and illogical when American politicians supply the information.  Iran is still “our enemy” despite their fight against ISIS, while Saudi Arabia, whose Wahhabi belief system mirrors that of ISIS and whose money supports ISIS is “our ally”.  The US Congress is working on new sanctions against Iran, which unbelievably and inexplicably revolve around the concept that although Iran is following to the letter the non-nuclear agreement worked out between them and the US under Obama, they need further crippling sanctions levied against them in order to induce them to follow the agreement better.  One cannot even conjecture what they could possibly do to improve upholding their end of the bargain better than perfectly, but the US doesn’t feel the need to explain the nonsensical.  Congress has already passed a resolution that states the president may unilaterally bomb Iran at his whim, without notification beforehand to Congress or the American people, should he feel the need to do so.  This is, obviously, not only a preemptive declaration of war against a foreign country with no reason offered, but an abdication of Congressional power (for whatever that is worth – Congress ceded their powers way back in the Bush era).

We are also assured that the Iranians want nuclear weapons, even though their religious beliefs preclude the use of nuclear bombs.  This alleged “fact” of Iranian desire for nuclear capability has long been proven false by the IAEA itself, the group that monitors the development and stockpiling of nuclear weapons and performs inspections internationally.  They have been allowed unlimited, free access to all Iranian facilities for years.  [By the way, you know who told the US that the Iranian government was trying to develop nuclear weapons in the first place?  Yeah, MEK, the anti-Iranian-government terrorist group that we no longer call terrorists.]  Fact is, the Pentagon and both parties in Congress view Iran as an obstacle, an intolerable one, to completely unbridled US hegemony in the area.  The Trump administration has gone further than even the Bush and Obama administrations in its stepped-up vitriol and programs against Iran.  They have created a new CIA “mission center” targeting Iran in the hopes that we can use American spies to help overthrow the Iranian government (a recycling of that successful coup we did in Iran so long ago).  Our forces in Syria have been told to change the rules of engagement so as to allow them to target the Iranian forces who are there assisting Assad in the fight against ISIS.  Our airstrikes are allowed to be carried out rather indiscriminately now, without consideration of collateral damage; i.e., without concern about civilian deaths or the accidental hitting of another government’s troops.

A few days ago, Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Yemen all cut their ties to Qatar and began an economic blockade against it.  Trump immediately hailed this as a wonderful development, which is sort of deranged, considering the unrest and conflict in the Middle East already.  Furthermore, the largest US military base in the Middle East is located in Qatar.  Maybe he thinks the US should spend a few billion bucks to move the base to Saudi Arabia, or possibly he doesn’t even know we have a base in Qatar.  (The latter is more likely, frankly.)  Iran’s president, Rouhani, on the other hand, immediately came out and offered food and economic aid to Qatar, recognizing that what these other countries are doing could bring on starvation conditions to Qatar fairly quickly.  Rouhani remarked, “We need to have peace here, not conflict,” a statement that clearly puts blame for the Middle East tensions on Saudi Arabia, which had initiated the blockade against Qatar.  It is easy to see how this situation could be twisted to frame Iran for any further escalation in the Middle East, however, especially if the other countries don’t change their tactics, and Iran has to act to fulfill its promise to not let the Qataris suffer unduly.  At that point, we can expect a US-led false flag operation against Iran to occur forthwith.

It is also easy to see how Trump could be convinced that what he really needs to bolster his popularity is a serious war, as opposed to the on-going multiple wars we started and are engaged in around the globe right now.  He wants to get attention away from the Russia investigation fiasco, one of the most remarkable bits of dumbassery and meaningless wastes of taxpayer monies ever dreamed up, all on behalf of Hillary Clinton, who can’t accept the fact that she lost the goddamn election because she was a horrible, hated candidate whom the public distrusts for good reason.  [See my note at the end of this post regarding election meddling.]   Let’s be honest here.  Clinton is toxic.  The only people who don’t want her to just go away seem to be the establishment Democrats, the Clinton wing, who take the party a foot closer to nonexistence each time they parade her in front of the cameras.  And let’s be honest about Trump: the guy is mental.  He’s got the emotional stability of a poorly raised five-year-old and he rows with only one oar in the water.  He appealed to the portion of the population whose tastes run to the louche, the garish; this represents a significant portion of Americans, to be sure.   Enough to get him elected, in any case, although half the eligible voters couldn’t be aroused enough by either Trump or Clinton to even go mark the ballot.  Since the election, the only praise this carnival barker got from the media or the Democrats was when he [illegally] bombed the shit out of the vacant Syrian airstrip and [illegally] dropped “the big one” on a hillside in Afghanistan.  He is not aware of much, but he surely marked that applause, and has noted that both major parties have long sought an excuse to take out Iran.  He sees that the politicians, the Pentagon, and most of the American population loves war, any war.  The creation of war footing and all its attendant financial accoutrements are, after all, the only economic plan Congress has, in the long term.  Of course, since Trump has already given his Pentagon generals unilateral authorization to carry out any and all missions they deem necessary without notifying him or the public first, Trump may only find out we are at war with Iran after the bombs start falling.  He will not stop, and will in fact welcome, the latest iteration of America’s War of Terror wherever it next roars to life, and whatever the given excuse; he will be quickly advised by his padrones that is is a useful distraction against not only the Russia-hacking bullshit, but also gets attention away from the Republican plan to tear up any social agreement between the US government and the US people.  The Democrats will also welcome an exciting new war to distract from the fact that they have no intention of serving the interests of the commoners either and actually agree with all the loathsome, hateful Shock Doctrine ideas the Republicans dream up.  War with Iran, war with Russia, war with Outer Mongolia – throw a dart at the map.  The only good news for the rest of the world is that the uncouth, stupid president of the United States is so rapidly burning bridges with our traditional allies that maybe this time no other country will allow itself to be dragged into whatever new monstrous adventure we Yanks cook up.  Too bad for us that we may find ourselves having to do our wilding alone in the future; but at some point, others surely must call quits to suffering fools lightly and step back to let fate and karma extract their inexorable dues.

So Iran was attacked by terrorists, and here is the official White House response:

Statement by the President on the Terrorist Attacks in Iran

We grieve and pray for the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Iran, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times. We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/06/07/statement-president-terrorist-attacks-iran

That is the statement in its entirety.  Read that second sentence again.  Let it soak in, with all its appalling ugliness, ungodly falsity, and unmitigated American gall and hypocrisy on full display to the world, and be filled with wonder that no country as yet has ever dared to say such a thing to the United States, which, unlike Iran, utterly deserves such denunciations.

**  **  **

A note on the election “meddling” involving Russia:  There is a serious lack of proof that Russia did much of anything to influence the 2016 election in the US.  So far, we have one dubious report offered up by the intelligence agencies (no names of actual personnel who work for these agencies, just a generic “all agencies” is attached to the report as authorship).  The report is headed with a disclaimer that none of the “findings” contained within it represent hard evidence or conclusions, but that the report is merely a summary of suspicions, assumptions, or inferences, some of which are based on “previous assessments”.  What the previous assessments are, or if those assessments were found to be accurate, is left unsaid.  The disclaimer states that the report is provided “as is” for informational purposes only, and that “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within.”   Well, alrighty then.  A report based on unidentified old reports, and not guaranteed to be factual; this is the report the media is hanging its hat on.  By far, the biggest section of the report (it uses up 6 out of the 14 pages, and page 14 is blank) is a fatuous commentary on the Russian media outlet, RTNews, wherein it is “discovered” that RTNews has a “pro-Russian bias”, leading to the conclusion that it is – aha! – a “propaganda outlet”.  This is akin to stating that the Wall Street Journal has a “pro-American bias”.  No doubt the Russians have some apparatchiks whose job it is to write findings like these for the Russian intelligence community.  In any case, this lengthy commentary on RTNews, added to the US intelligence summary on Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, was actually written in 2012 (the original date of this section of the report is not obscured), and its inclusion in said report is without merit.  Offered as proof that RTNews is Russian propaganda meant to infect Americans with pro-Russian sentiment is that they covered Occupy Wallstreet and were critical of the treatment of the Occupy protesters, they reported on the increased use of fracking in the US, and (this is my favorite part), “In an effort to highlight the alleged ‘lack of democracy’ in the United States, RT broadcast, hosted, and advertised third-party candidate debates and ran reporting supportive of the political agenda of these candidates.”   Need I say that only American politicians and spook agencies would consider it subversive to disseminate to US voters that there are actually more than two political parties extant in the US.

Aside from this report, we have suggestions from these same political sources that the Russians had internet “trolls” leaving comments attached to articles about Trump or Clinton.  Supposedly, these trolls – paid to leave comments that bashed Clinton – might have swayed people into disliking her and voting for Trump.  This is possible, although it seems unlikely that voters would change their votes based on such things.  Most people tend to argue more strenuously for their own positions when they encounter opposition in a comment section, not have their viewpoint entirely altered.  Speculation about supposed Russian trolls aside, we know for a fact that the Clinton campaign paid people to troll comment sections on her behalf throughout the campaign season.  The Russians did not hack into voting machines (which can’t be hacked into over the internet, anyway), nor did they physically alter anybody’s vote.  As far as one can tell from the evidence presented so far, the Russians didn’t even spend much money, if any, trying to meddle in our election.  Internet trolls aren’t known to make the big bucks.

The entire sideshow about Russian meddling leaves the country bereft of any coverage regarding the serious internal issues surrounding US elections: the results of the Supreme Court Citizen’s United decision, which allows unlimited amounts of corporate and oligarchic monies into the process, thereby vastly altering the potential of actual democratic outcomes; gerrymandered districts; voter suppression; ballot purging; reduction in the number of polling stations; lack of verifiable paper ballots; the peculiar way the primary elections are run (and the fact, disclosed in the leaked DNC and Pedestal emails themselves, that the DNC rigged the primary to assure Clinton would be the Democratic nominee); our arcane electoral college system for the general election; the utter inability of any third party candidate to find a way to be presented to the public, which is engineered deliberately by the two major parties and guaranteed to continue into the foreseeable future through the electoral college system; etc.

The US itself has directly meddled in the elections of other countries over 80 times between 1946 and 2000.  The lists of countries we have fucked with this way only include mild examples of election interference; things like spending money to promote one candidate over the other, articles written in behalf of one or another candidate, US politicians speaking publicly about elections abroad, etc., and do not include the most egregious examples of interference, such as assassinations, forced regime changes, invasions, and coups – all of which the US has done to interfere with the governance and/or political structure of foreign countries.  [Not included on these lists are actions like having Patrice Lumumba, the first person elected democratically in the Congo after they achieved independence from Belgium, kidnapped and shot by firing squad in 1961, shortly after he won his election.  The US also arranged for the coup d’etats in Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, and Haiti in both 1991 and 2004.  Both the coups in Haiti were directed against the elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who had won his second successful election for office in 2000; and in 2004, he and his wife were kidnapped and flown to South Africa, where George W. Bush declared he had to remain “exiled from the Western hemisphere for life”.  During his exile, Aristide’s party, the Fanmi Lavalas, was not allowed to field any candidates in the 2009 Haitian election by order of US president, Barack Obama. (!! Let that one sink in.)  This was widely protested in Haiti, where Aristide and the Fanmi Lavalas party were extremely popular.  Obama finally rescinded the [grossly illegal] exile of Aristide in 2011, although he demanded that the flight returning Aristide to Haiti be delayed until after the run-off elections took place in March that year.  As a condition of his return to his native country, Aristide was forced by the US to sign an agreement that he would never seek public office again.  During the 2016 US elections, there were protests against Hillary Clinton, both in the US and in Haiti, demanding an accounting for the Help Haiti Funds; Bill Clinton and George HW Bush had been put in charge of the funds after the 2010 earthquake there, and the money never seemed to quite make it to Haiti, instead disappearing into the Clinton Foundation coffers.  Also not included as election meddling is the 1996 Russian election, wherein the US finagled an IMF loan to Russia in a blatant attempt to shore up support for the re-election of the alcoholic Boris Yeltsin, whom they then promoted as the only one who could secure financial aid for his country. We were so obvious about this meddling that Time Magazine wrote a cover story about it entitled, “Yanks to the Rescue.”  Since the lists offered in articles about US interference in other nations’ elections end at the year 2000, you also won’t see an inclusion of US direct manipulation of the election in Ukraine two years ago, our messing with Russia’s last elections, or our current manipulations in Venezuela.]

Some articles regarding US election interference in foreign countries:

http://www.npr.org/2016/12/22/506625913/database-tracks-history-of-u-s-meddling-in-foreign-elections

https://ww2.kqed.org/lowdown/2017/03/02/a-history-of-u-s-meddling-in-foreign-elections/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/10/13/the-long-history-of-the-u-s-interfering-with-elections-elsewhere/?utm_term=.9ba0bcac4dda

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/05/americans-spot-election-meddling-doing-years-vladimir-putin-donald-trump

** ** **

UPDATE: Sunday, 11 June:

Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) made comments during a Congressional discussion about the terror attacks in Iran.  He is currently serving his 13th term in Congress (astonishing, but nonetheless factual).  An interesting tidbit, given what he says in the video clip below, from the biography page on his website is this: “Rohrabacher is a most forceful spokesman for human rights and democracy around the world.”  As you will see, this most forceful spokesman for human rights and democracy praises a terrorist group, ISIS, for attacking civilians in Iran.  Whether the true perpetrators are ISIS or MEK is not germane; at this point, ISIS has claimed credit, and this is taken at face value by the US, the US Congress, and the world.  Rohrabacher not only praises ISIS, he flat out states that the US should support them in this attack on Iran.  Support for ISIS, nominally the worst terrorist organization on the planet, is officially against current US law, punishable by imprisonment, but here we have a sitting US Congressman voicing support and approval for them.

Not only that, but within the first minute (the clip is less than 2 minutes long), Rohrabacher suggests that the US is behind the attack and that the Trump administration may be taking what Rohrabacher considers necessary and praiseworthy steps to go after Iran by using ISIS as a proxy force.  This is quite remarkable coming from a US Representative, especially in light of the fact that he is speaking on camera in open session.  This man may be a total whack-job as a general rule, but still, the suggestions that the US, and Trump specifically, are behind these attacks and that the US is (or should be) using ISIS as mercenaries to further our interests ought to be ringing bells all over the place.  Shit, ISIS should be using this clip as a recruitment video.  Now, it may be true, as I think and as many people in many countries believe, that ISIS is a creation of the US and is a proxy group being used by the US and Israel to disrupt the Middle East, but this is, of course, tacitly denied by US officialdom each time they name ISIS as the “greatest threat to mankind”.  Here, Rohrabacher seems to be admitting that US backing of ISIS is either a) the truth of the matter, or b) that it ought to be.  In either case, such declarations ought to concern the US government, which goes to great pains to appear to be dead-set on destroying ISIS.

His statement reveals peculiar labyrinthian thought processes wherein he makes it clear that in his view, our involvement in the Middle East is primarily to shore up and protect the Sunni side of the Sunni-Shia religious argument (and here we’ve thought all these years that it had something to do with 9/11 and terrorism), he can’t seem to distinguish between the mullahs of Iran (whom he thinks were attacked) and the Iranian civilians (who actually were attacked), and includes a bizarre comparison between Stalin killing Nazis to ISIS killing innocent people who just happened to be visiting public areas.  Thankfully, his remarks are brief; surprisingly, they weren’t deleted from youtube already by the CIA.

 
 

Trump celebrates Black History Month.

February is Black History Month in the US.  Following in the tradition of past presidents, Trump held an event on Monday, Jan. 30, to mark the occasion.  His event was called a “listening session”.  He invited a lot of African-American people from various walks of life to attend the session, and opened the event with his own reflections on black history in the US.

Since we already know the man is a buffoonish carnival barker, it will come as no surprise that his remarks displayed a deplorably shallow knowledge on the subjects of black life, black history, and the contributions of prominent African-Americans throughout our history as a country.  However unsurprising his ignorance might be, what is remarkable is that the sitting president of the US didn’t even bother pretending to be interested in the topic.  He clearly hadn’t even asked a staffer to do some internet searches and come up with some facts on a few prominent blacks that he could mention, or a couple of notable quotes from them that he could include in his introduction.  He couldn’t even bring himself to offer up a single sentence about slavery or the civil rights movement.  There was no symbolic reference to unity or equality.  He never uttered the name Obama, although certainly the occasion must have invoked at least the passing thought of our first black president.  Trump’s remarks were almost entirely about….Trump.

Here’s what he had to say about Dr. Martin Luther King, jr.: “Last month, we celebrated the life of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., whose incredible example is unique in American history.  You read all about Dr. Martin Luther King a week ago when somebody said I took the statue out of my office, and it turned out that that was fake news.  (Laughter.)  It was fake news.  The statue is cherished.  It’s one of the favorite things in the — and we have some good ones.  We have Lincoln and we have Jefferson and we have Dr. Martin Luther King, and we have — but they said the statue, the bust of Dr. Martin Luther King was taken out of the office.  And it was never even touched.  So I think it was a disgrace, but that’s the way the press is.  Very unfortunate.”

There ya go; Dr. king reduced to being merely a bust in the White House, which is apparently the sum total of what makes him a famous black person in Trump’s wee little brain.  That was the end of Trump’s commentary on Dr. King.

Trump mentioned Frederick Douglass as well and apparently thinks the man is still alive and is busy doing an amazing job at something or another these days: “I am very proud now that we have a museum on the National Mall where people can learn about Reverend King, so many other things.  Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice — Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and millions more black Americans who made America what it is today.  Big impact.”  Okay, so he knows the names of four black people from history, but he does mention “millions more”, so I suppose that counts for something.  Someone in the press noticed the use of the present tense in Trump’s sentence about Douglass and asked the president’s press secretary about it a day or two later.  Sean Spicer, not to be outdone by his boss in exhibiting blind ignorance to the public, said, “I think he [Trump]  wants to highlight the contributions that he [Douglass] has made.  And I think through a lot of the actions and statements that he’s going to make, I think the contributions of Frederick Douglass will become more and more.”  Whatever the hell most of that gobblety-gook statement means, it’s obvious as fuck that Sean Spicer doesn’t know who Douglass is either, and also thinks he is still alive and kicking.  Douglass died in 1895.  But you knew that, right?  Because you took a second to freaking “google” it, which neither of these two white crackers did before talking in public.  I’m sure by the time Betsy Devos gets done “improving” our school systems as the new head of the Dept. of Education, nobody else will know jackshit about Douglass either; or about anything else, for that matter.   (She’ll be approved for the position; her brother, Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, being such a close advisor to Trump and all guarantees that she will be heading that agency – one way or another.)

Trump made sure to mention his new HUD [Housing and Urban Development] director, Ben Carson, a couple of times, no doubt because the man is pretty much the only black guy he personally knows, and he was present in the room at the time.  Dr. Carson, whose singular qualification for heading up HUD is the fact that he is a home-owner, once said on the campaign trail that he thinks it would be okay to bomb children on general principles.  When asked if he would order airstrikes that might kill innocent children by the thousands, he mentioned operating on kids with brain tumors and how they hated it but later on loved him, and finished his comments by saying,”and by the same token, you have to be able to look at the big picture and understand that it’s actually merciful if you go ahead and finish the job, rather than death by 1,000 pricks.”   So in other words, Ben Carson thinks bombing civilians and children is somehow merciful because it finishes the job quickly.  The crowd applauded the twisted fuck for his bedside manner.  He later dropped out of the presidential race, but has found a way to be Trump’s token African-American in the administration.  Trump’s first nod to Carson in his Black History Month intro is a bit condescending to the black community in general.  He said, “I’ve gotten a real glimpse — during the campaign, I’d go around with Ben to a lot of different places that I wasn’t so familiar with.  They’re incredible people.”  They?  You mean black people?  Those people – are those the ones you aren’t so familiar with?  Asshole.  Later, Trump told the gathering that part of Carson’s job is working on the inner cities, and that “Ben is going to be doing that big league.  It’s one of his big things that we’re going to be looking at.”  Then he threatened the “inner cities” with more law enforcement.  Where’s Black Lives Matter when you need them?  Oh, yeah, they weren’t invited to this Black History Month listening session.  “We need safer communities, and we’re going to do that with law enforcement.  We’re going to make it safe.  We’re going to make it much better than it is right now.  Right now it’s terrible [..],” Trump said.  After his opening remarks, Trump had everyone in the room introduce themselves to each other.  One man, a pastor, commented that some gang leaders from Chicago invited him to work with them on reducing violence in that city and that they wanted to focus on social programs.  Studies show that social programs, jobs, and better educational resources are key to reducing city violence, by the way, as opposed to the “stop and frisk” policies and the militarized police forces that Trump endorses.  While acknowledging that the pastor working with these gang members might be a good thing, he nonetheless managed to turn that compliment into a threat:  “If they’re not going to solve the problem — and what you’re doing is the right thing — then we’re going to solve the problem for them because we’re going to have to do something about Chicago.”

I’m amazed that Trump could find enough blacks to fill in all the seats around that table for his “event”.  The man is not interested in the black community, except as a policing problem.  The people who attended, however, seemed quite obsequious and happy to be there, however, so what do I know?

Below is the entire transcript, which I copied from the White House website.  That way, you know I didn’t just make this shit up as some sort of fake news to make the Dear Leader look stupid.  To be entirely honest, I myself did not believe some of the quotes I had read in other sources were accurate; I thought for sure the journalists were mangling the remarks or taking them out of context on purpose.  But here it is – no deletions, no alterations – Trump’s Black History Month event:

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.  These are a lot of my friends, but you have been so helpful.  And we did well.  The election, it came out really well.  Next time we’ll triple it up or quadruple it, right?  We want to get over 51, right?  At least 51.  [Teri’s note: I’m not sure to what he is referring here.  The number of states he won?  The percentage of black votes he won?  The number of people sitting in the room at that moment?]
Well, this is Black History Month, so this is our little breakfast, our little get-together.  Hi, Lynne, how are you?
MS. PATTON:  Hi, how are you?
THE PRESIDENT:  Nice to see you.  And just a few notes.  During this month, we honor the tremendous history of the African Americans throughout our country — throughout the world, if you really think about it, right?  And their story is one of unimaginable sacrifice, hard work and faith in America.
I’ve gotten a real glimpse — during the campaign, I’d go around with Ben to a lot of different places that I wasn’t so familiar with.  They’re incredible people.  And I want to thank Ben Carson, who’s going to be heading up HUD.  It’s a big job, and it’s a job that’s not only housing, it’s mind and spirit, right, Ben?  And you understand that.  Nobody is going to be better than Ben.
Last month, we celebrated the life of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., whose incredible example is unique in American history.  You read all about Dr. Martin Luther King a week ago when somebody said I took the statue out of my office, and it turned out that that was fake news.  (Laughter.)  It was fake news.  The statue is cherished.  It’s one of the favorite things in the — and we have some good ones.  We have Lincoln and we have Jefferson and we have Dr. Martin Luther King, and we have — but they said the statue, the bust of Dr. Martin Luther King was taken out of the office.  And it was never even touched.  So I think it was a disgrace, but that’s the way the press is.  Very unfortunate.
I am very proud now that we have a museum on the National Mall where people can learn about Reverend King, so many other things.  Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice — Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and millions more black Americans who made America what it is today.  Big impact.
I am proud to honor this heritage, and we’ll be honoring it more and more.  The folks at the table in almost all cases have been great friends and supporters.  And Darrell — I met Darrell when he was defending me on television.  (Laughter.)  And the people that were on the other side of the argument didn’t have a chance, right?  And Paris has done an amazing job in a very hostile CNN community.  (Laughter.)  He’s all by himself — seven people and Paris.  So I’ll take Paris over the seven.  (Laughter.)  But I don’t watch CNN so I don’t get to see you as much as I want to.  (Laughter.)  I don’t like watching fake news.
PARTICIPANT:  None of us watch it either anymore.
THE PRESIDENT:  But Fox has treated me very nice — wherever Fox is, thank you.
We’re going to need better schools, and we need them soon.  We need more jobs, we need better wages — a lot better wages.  We’re going to work very hard on the inner city.  Ben is going to be doing that big league.  It’s one of his big things that we’re going to be looking at.
We need safer communities, and we’re going to do that with law enforcement.  We’re going to make it safe.  We’re going to make it much better than it is right now.  Right now it’s terrible, and I saw you talking about it the other night, Paris, on something else that was really — you did a fantastic job the other night on a very unrelated show.  I’m ready to do my part — it’s the only time I can see him.  I’m ready to do my part, and I will say this:  We’re going to work together.
This is a great group.  This is a group that’s been so special to me.  You really helped me a lot.  If you remember, I wasn’t going to do well with the African American community, and after they heard me speaking and talking about the inner city and lots of other things, we ended up getting — I won’t go into details, but we ended up getting substantially more than other candidates who had run in the past years.  And now, we’re going to take that to new levels.
I want to thank my television star over here.  (Laughter.)  Omarosa is actually a very nice person.  Nobody knows that, but — (laughter) — I don’t want to destroy her reputation.  She is a very good person and she’s been helpful right from the beginning of the campaign.  And I appreciate it.  I really do.  Very special.
And so I want to thank everybody for being here.  Could we maybe just go around the room and we’ll introduce ourselves.  And the press can stay for that, and I’m sure they have no questions about last night because it was such a good launch.  We have a fantastic, hopefully, new justice of the Supreme Court.  And hopefully, that will be — he’ll be approved very, very quickly.  He’s outstanding in every way — academically.  He’s done almost as well as you did, Darrell, in college.  (Laughter.)  Not quite, right?  But he’s a great man and I think he’ll be a great, great justice.  And he’s being very well-received.  It was a big evening.  Very big evening.
So, Paris, why don’t we start with you?  Go ahead.
MR. DENNARD:  Pleasure to be here, Mr. President.  Honor to be here.  Paris Dennard.  Thurgood Marshall College Fund represents the 47 publically supported historically black colleges and universities, which I know you are very much in support of.  So it’s a pleasure to be here, sir.
THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I’m glad you’re in support of me because I’d be all — I’d be in the wilderness without you guys.  You are so effective.  I appreciate it.
MR. DENNARD:  Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.
MR. CLEVELAND:  Bill Cleveland.  I’m a retired Capitol police officer, former vice mayor of the city of Alexandria, and substitute teacher in the Alexandria school system.  Glad to be here.
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you.
MR. MATTHEWS:  Bill is also a Vietnam veteran, sir.
THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, good.
MR. MATTHEWS:  I’m Earl Matthews, sir.  I work for you at the Department of Defense.  I was sworn in an hour after you were.  Also a veteran and a longtime supporter of yours.  I’ve worked for you since late summer.  I’m happy to be here.
THE PRESIDENT:  Lieutenant Colonel — good job.
MS. SCOTT:  I’m Belinda Scott, Darrell’s wife.  New Spirit Revival Center from Cleveland, Ohio.  Pastor of New Spirit.  Great amount of support in the African American community where we are.  We love the Lord, we love our new President, and we are praying for our President on a regular basis.
THE PRESIDENT:  You know, the one thing I didn’t understand about Belinda — I thought they were married maybe five or six years, because look how they look so young.  (Laughter.)  Should you say how many years you’ve been married?
MS. SCOTT:  Thirty-five.
PASTOR SCOTT:  We’ve been together for 38.
MS. SCOTT:  Been together for — but in the Lord –(laughter) —  35, yes.
PASTOR SCOTT:  Two years under — (inaudible.)  (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT:  That’s actually amazing.  I wouldn’t have known.
MS. SCOTT:  But can I say this — I am so grateful that our President gives us that ear to listen to the community — to listen.  And people like us are just here to constantly put that message out into the community.  And we love you for that.  We love you for listening and we thank you for that.
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you very much.
PASTOR SCOTT:  Darrell Scott, pastor at New Spirit Revival Center and black Trump supporter.  (Laughter and applause.)  But speaking of the community, let me just say this real quick.  Omarosa, I told you I’m going to try to throw it in.  I was recently contacted by some of the top gang thugs initiative Chicago for a sit-down.  They reached out to me because they associated me with you.  They respect you, they believe in what you’re doing, and they want to have a sit-down about lowering that body count.  So in a couple of weeks, I’m going into Chicago.
THE PRESIDENT:  That’s a great idea because Chicago is totally out of control.
PASTOR SCOTT:  Well, I let him know — I said, we’ve got to lower that body count.  We don’t want to talk about anything else — get that body count down.  And they agreed.  But the principle is they can do it.  These are guys straight from the streets — no politicians — straight street guys.  But they’re going to commit that if they lower that body count, we’ll come in and we’ll do some social programs.  So they’re in agreement.
THE PRESIDENT:  If they’re not going to solve the problem — and what you’re doing is the right thing — then we’re going to solve the problem for them because we’re going to have to do something about Chicago.  Because what’s happening in Chicago should not be happening in this country.
PASTOR SCOTT:  But they want to work with this administration.
THE PRESIDENT:  Good.
PASTOR SCOTT:  They want to.  They reached out — I didn’t reach out to them.  They reached out to me.
THE PRESIDENT:  I understand.
PASTOR SCOTT:  They want to work with this administration.  They believe in this administration.  They didn’t believe in the prior administration.  They told me this out of their mouth.  But they see hope with you.
PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I love it.
MR. WILLIAMS:  Mr. President, I’m a member of what we call the media, but we try to be fair and objective.  (Laughter.)  Not all media seems to be the opposition party.  There are those that see the good that you’re doing.  We report it.  I’m just honored to have a seat at the table today.
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  And it is — I mean, a lot of the media is actually the opposition party.  They’re so biased and really is a disgrace.  Some of you are fantastic and fair, but so much of the media is opposition party and knowingly saying incorrect things.  So it’s a very sad situation.  But we seem to be doing well.  It’s almost like, in the meantime, we won.  So maybe they don’t have the influence they think, but they really are — they really have to straighten out their act.  They’re very dishonest people.
James.
PASTOR DAVIS:  Pastor James Davis.  We’ve been — Mr. President, we’ve been a supporter of yours from the beginning alongside Mr. Michael Cohen and Dr. Darrell Scott with the National Diversity Coalition.  It helped to bring out a huge number in the black community with respect to the vote.  And we’re still happy to be in support as we go forward.
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  You’ve been great.  Thank you, James.
And, Lynne.
MS. PATTON:  Hi, Mr. President.  Yes, I am, as you know, the former vice president of the wonderful charity that your son founded — Trump Foundation.  I’ve been with your family for about eight years now, right, Jared?  And I was an RNC speaker and I will be landing with Dr. Carson at HUD as one of his senior advisors —
THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, that’s great.  You’ve got a good person.
MS. PATTON:  — and Director of the Office of Public Liaison.
THE PRESIDENT:  That’s great.  You did a fantastic job.
MS. PATTON:  Thank you.
MR. ROBINSON:  Mr. President, my name is Gerard Robinson.  I’m a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and I was proud to be the leader of the education policy team for the Trump transition.
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.
MR. BELL:  Mr. President, good to be with you.  I’m Ashley Bell, Gainesville.  Chairman Priebus called me out (inaudible) African American outreach for your campaign.  I’m glad you support Omarosa, glad to be here, and I’ll be wanting to help you out at the State Department.
THE PRESIDENT:  Fantastic.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.
MS. MANIGAULT:  Tucker was a star at the inauguration.
MR. DAVIS:  I’m Tucker Davis.  I ran your campaign in West Virginia, working for you in the —
THE PRESIDENT:  We did well in West Virginia.  (Laughter.)
MR. DAVIS:  Coal miners love you.
THE PRESIDENT:  And we love the coal miners.  We’re going to put them back to work.
MR. DAVIS:  Absolutely.
MS. LEVELL:  Leah LeVell.  I was at the RNC and also at PIC.  And I helped launch the video series every week — the midweek message that reached out to millennials and college students and helped launch the college Republican chapter at Howard University.
MS. MANIGAULT:  That’s Chris LeVell’s daughter.  We snagged her.  (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, really?  Great job.
MS. ALEXANDER:  Mr. President, Monica Alexander, executive administrative assistant in the office of public liaison, supporting Omarosa.
PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Okay, well, that’s nice.
MR. SMITH:  Mr. President, Ja’Ron Smith.  I’m with the Domestic Policy Council, Andy Bremberg’s team, and I’ll be focusing on urban affairs and revitalization.
THE PRESIDENT:  Fantastic.
MS. MANIGAULT:  And Howard graduate.  (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT:  Howard graduate.  That’s good stuff.  Thank you, everybody.  Thank you.

END

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/02/01/remarks-president-trump-african-american-history-month-listening-session

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2017 in civil rights, elections, Uncategorized

 

A quick note on unemployment numbers.

This year, Sears Holdings plans to close 42 Sears stores and 108 Kmart stores, or roughly 10% of their locations. They already closed more than 200 locations in 2016.

Macy’s plans to close 100 stores this year, 68 of them by mid-year. It is eliminating 10,000 jobs. CVS plans to close 70 stores this year. The Limited is closing almost all of its 250 stores, costing 4000 jobs, although it will offer on-line shopping.  Men’s Warehouse/Jos. A Banks is closing 250 stores. Office Depot will close another 300 stores by the end of 2018, after closing 400 stores in recent years. Walmart is closing 269 stores globally this year.

I guess the bottom line is that when you shop on-line, you are costing someone a job.

The labor force participation rate in the US remains at less than 63%. [It stands at 62.7 right now.] The labor force participation rate (LFPR) is the number of able-bodied, job-eligible, people over the age of 18 who either have a job or who are actively looking for a job. The numbers do not include the military, people in prison, those who are disabled, anyone under 18 or anyone over 65. Do note, however, that if you are unemployed, but looking for a job, you are still counted as “participating” in the labor force. Still, the LFPR is doubtless the most accurate picture of how many people are working in a country, since the other ways they use to count employment rates are so absurdly calculated as to completely discount the reports out of hand. For instance, we are told that our current unemployment rate is 4.7. Utterly impossible, given that only 63% of us have jobs or are actively seeking jobs.  I must make a note here that 100% LFPR is not to be desired, either.  Certainly, no country wants a society where everyone works: it would mean that there are no mothers or fathers staying home to raise the children or care for their elderly relatives, for one thing.  It would also imply that living expenses are so high that every single adult has to work to support themselves, as opposed to a society where one wage-earner can support a family on his/her salary.  We used to have that in the United States.  I believe the low LFPR in the 1950’s and 1960’s was a reflection of this desirable situation rather than an indication that there was massive unwanted unemployment.  In other words, one must use some discernment in looking at unemployment rates, no matter where one gets the numbers.  All that being said, let’s just go with the cold LFPR numbers as the accurate indicator of unemployment rates.

If the labor force participation rate is around 63 (i.e., 63% of eligible Americans have jobs), that means that 37% of able-bodied, job-eligible Americans do not have employment.  How does that not translate into a 37% unemployment rate?

Interestingly, I have noted that when the US media reports on unemployment in foreign countries, they use the labor force participation rates exactly as they should be used.  In Greece, the LFPR is 52, meaning that there is a 48% unemployment rate.  The US media therefore reports, usually with dismayed shock, that unemployment in Greece is 48%.  I don’t understand why it is reported accurately in the one case, and not in the other, unless the idea is to obfuscate the true unemployment numbers here in the US. (One might add “duh” here, but that would be unnecessary silliness.)

Also, I can only shake my head when I read mainstream articles that state we have “recovered all the jobs lost” since the start of the recession.  We lost roughly 10 million full-time jobs since ’08 or ’09 and we did replace them with 10 million jobs as of 2015 – all part-time, low-paying jobs – but this does not do anything about the population increase in the meantime.   Touting the equation of jobs gained = jobs lost does not take into account the millions and millions of Americans who came of age during this time frame with no new jobs actually created for them to work at.

By the way, the LFPR for Russia is currently 69.5% (making it equal to Switzerland in the high number of employed people it has).  We beat the participation rate in Ukraine by a mere 0.3% , and they are currently involved in a civil war (thanks to the “indispensable” USA).  We also have a higher employment rate than Afghanistan, Libya, and Iraq – but we kind of inflicted some problems on those countries as well, to say the least.   The US LFPR is lower than Armenia, the Philippines, Colombia, Italy, Ecuador, Latvia, El Salvador, and Malaysia, just to name a few other countries.  We have a lower percentage of employed people in our population than these countries do; think about that. (We also have a lower percentage than North Korea, but then, I think they do forced labor there.)

It’s not quite the “recovery” that occurred after the Great Depression, is it?  Does it even qualify as a recovery if you have fewer people employed now than you did at the start of the “economic downturn”?  We know for shit sure it isn’t because suddenly everyone in the US is so wealthy that they don’t need jobs any more, and we are certainly not in the 1950’s situation at all, where one person could support a household with his one well-paying job.  And still the politicians can’t fathom the disenchantment of the masses.

 

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2017 in economy

 

Dakota Access Pipeline.

TYT Politics Reporter Jordan Chariton spoke with Native American activist and executive director of Honor The Earth Winona LaDuke, who explained what the Dakota Access Pipeline is really being used for.

They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one; they promised to take our land, and they took it. –  Chief Red Cloud (Mahpiya Luta), Oglala Lakota

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2016 in American Indians, corporatocracy

 

Calls to censor the media and to re-count the vote abound.

Updated below.

There are discussions all over the place about how the media has been manipulated by Russia.  Now we need a war on “fake news”; some news outlets are even publishing lists of what they call fake news or propaganda sites.  It must be that fake news outlets are to blame for the mainstream media failing to forecast the results of the election, because, the thinking goes, the MSM just couldn’t be wrong.  Nor could they have been running questionable polls.  And certainly, they couldn’t have been so in the tank for the war-pig Clinton that they just propagandized themselves into a stupor.  The fact that they gave so much free airtime to Trump all along and drove people to look him up, take him as a serious contender, and attend his rallies to see for themselves what the fuss was about had absolutely no bearing on the election.  Right?  Am I right?  Look, advertising works.  That’s why companies do it.  Even negative advertising works.  People heard Trump’s name over and over.  From the mainstream news; you are the ones who kept talking about him 24 hours a day – you fools are the ones who pushed his name front and center so repeatedly that he actually bragged he didn’t have to pay for advertising.  What did you expect?  Let’s take note of the fact that since the MSM, at the request of the Clinton folks, ignored Sanders until word of mouth brought him a groundswell of attention nonetheless, the opposite principle (lack of media coverage depresses name recognition) worked for a long enough time to help Clinton win the Democratic primary.  Well, that and some good old-fashioned election rigging.  Clinton cost the Democrats the election.  The MSM helped her lose it.  But now we are supposed to believe it was “fake news” sources and the Russians.

To put an end to fake news, there is a push to censor the news.  To censor the news.  Might I remind you that this is in the United States of America.

The Washington Post published an article this week which credits persons unknown for coming up with a list of websites and news sources that are either direct Russian propaganda sites, or that are perhaps “unconsciously being used as pawns by Russia”.  Seriously – they don’t know who the people behind the “information” they are writing about are, and serenely state that the information comes from a group of “anonymous technical experts using scientific methods”.  The anonymous experts have a full list of dozens of such “fake news” sites – all supposedly engaging in “false or misleading news”, most, they claim, is inspired by or coming from Russia.  Some of the websites they list are very liberal sites that I read all the time, with accolades and awards for fine journalism.  Some are financial websites that simply cover the economy.  A couple of them are actually US government-affiliated sites, although the “experts” and the WaPo appear blissfully clueless about that fact.  Breitbart, which is about as tabloid and fakey as you can get, is not on the list.  Neither are FOXNews, CNN, MSNBC, etc.; clearly the coverage from these MSM sources has deteriorated over the years to where one ought to consider them promoters of falsified and misleading information, but the point of this suggested purge of “fake news” is obviously aimed at alternative news websites, most of them to the left of center in political opinion.  

Stranger still is that it seems to be the Democrats who are squealing the loudest about the horrors of what is a contrived Red Scare; in fact, it was Clinton and the Democrats who started this ball rolling with continuous ominous warnings about the Russian Menace during the campaign season.  It’s just pathetic to see the Democrats, once the “party of the people” and “civil rights champions”, usher in a new McCarthy era and restart the Cold War as they flail about trying to explain to themselves how their [despised] candidate could have lost the election.  I can’t stress this enough: we are being pushed into very dangerous territory with these suggestions that certain news outlets or websites be black-listed (i.e., censored) based upon the rantings of some anonymous trolls.   PropOrNot, the faceless group behind “The List”, actually calls for the U.S. government to use the powers of the FBI and DOJ to begin investigations of those on their List for potential violations of the Espionage Act.  They claim that these websites “make propaganda for brutal authoritarian oligarchies” and “are often involved in a wide range of bad business”.  

Ironically, the WaPo is using fake news to write an fake expose on fake news.  And it’s largely the Democrat community that is lauding this Orwellian mess. 

Let me tell you some stuff.  Jeff Bezos (owner, Amazon) buys the Washington Post. Jeff Bezos signs a $500 mm contract with the CIA. Neither the CIA nor Jeff Bezos will state what this contract is for. Do you suppose you can figure it out all by yourself?

In 2013, Congress overturned a long-existing law that prohibited the government from using propaganda in US media to influence Americans. Not that they weren’t directly and openly using propaganda before that – anyone notice the “retired military officers” and “intelligence officers” who outright lied in a successful effort to sell the Iraq war? (Etc., etc.) Changing the law simply made it legal for them to do it again. Do please note that Obama, never a good friend to the freedom of the press idea (see his war on whistle-blowers, for example) signed this bill into law.

http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/07/14/u-s-repeals-propaganda-ban-spreads-government-made-news-to-americans/

The US State Dept regularly uses propaganda to try and sway the opinion of people in foreign countries. They have a branch devoted entirely to this effort. When we do it, it is “spreading democracy”. Assuming Russia does it here, it requires a military response. (LOL – yeah, they got hundreds of agents pretending to be journalists who convince editors to run their pro-Russia stories in the media every fucking day. Sure.  The CIA, meanwhile, actually and provably does have hundreds of agents pretending to be journalists, including in the US, whose stories are guaranteed to be run by editors of the MSM every fucking day.)

Voice of America. Look them up, if you don’t know what VoA is. Our tax-payer dollars used to bring correct thinking to the unswayed everywhere. Propaganda, much?

Also see this article, if you want to understand who is really running fake news:

Who’s the Biggest Peddler of Fake News?

and this 18-minute video is food for thought:


We also have a group led by Jill Stein that is trying to get the election results re-counted in three states.  She thinks that the election was rigged in Trump’s favor.  She claimed in one interview (but not in subsequent ones) that the election results were caused by foreign governments’ interference and hacking into our election systems.  I.e., blame the Russians.  This statement was also up on her website temporarily (she has since erased it, but many people noticed it before she did so). This is so stupid I can’t believe she said it. The voting machines are not hooked up to the internet. No-one can “hack in”. They can have malware installed in them at the factory or at the polling place; are we to believe that the Dread Russians sent over so many agents that they were able to install malware in the machines nationwide? The D’s and the R’s, on the other hand, do have access to all the machines right here in the US. As do the companies that provide the machines. George Soros, ever fond of interfering in the governance of foreign nations and running “color revolutions” to overthrow other countries through “internal” methods, owns the company that provides the voting machines in 16 states.  Any tinkering with the machines is done right here by good old Americans.

I voted for Stein (and voted for her in ’12, as well), but almost didn’t. Want to know why I almost didn’t?  This may sound petty, but here goes: She was the only residential candidate to speak out on behalf of the protesters at the Dakota pipeline. That was very good. You go, girl, and all that.  She went to the DAPL protest site at Standing Rock and joined with the protesters. During her brief visit with them, she got herself arrested. She had spray-painted some graffiti on the pipeline company’s bulldozers. This pissed me off to the point where I began to think that she is just another fraud who is using anything and anyone she can to get attention. I know it’s hard for the third-party candidates to get any mention in the media, but this stunt hurt the credibility of the protesters. The tribes and the other protesters have been extremely careful to avoid anything that even hints at violence, illegal acts, or destruction. They want it obvious that they are intent on protecting the land, the water, and their rights, by peaceful means. By defacing equipment (yeah, I get it – it isn’t like she blew up a bunch of equipment with dynamite), she went directly outside the stringent guidelines and limits the protesters decided to impose on themselves as they seek to exhibit their principles and peacefully protest.

So she actually cast the protesters in a bad light – she is the only person on the protester’s side to date who has done anything destructive or illegal at Standing Rock – and she did it for a self-serving attention-getter motive. She only went there to grab a head-line for herself. It just struck me wrong, that she’d put them at risk of being labeled “rioters” or “eco-terrorists” or as destructive in any way, just so she could make the newspapers.

Maybe that makes me a purist, I don’t know. She’s gotten arrested before, protesting third-party exclusion from the debates; that didn’t bother me. I thought she had a point and was correctly directing her protest actions against the two major parties. For God’s sake, Stein was arrested and shackled overnight for protesting a debate, back in 2008; her arrest then was a disgusting example of how hard the two major parties will fight off anyone threatening their duopoly.  But I am sick of the politicians using us as their pawns in their quest to control the country. And Stein herself was using the Sioux in the Standing Rock case. I found it shameful.  I ended up voting for her anyway, because – well, who the hell else was there to vote for?

I find her involvement in this recount effort a bit mysterious for a third party candidate who couldn’t possibly be affected one way or the other by a recount.  It is quite obvious she is trying to help Clinton with this demand.  Or, cynically, just hoping to raise money to pay off her campaign debt.  I sure hope everyone who contributed to the now over $5 mm she’s raised pays attention to what happens with that money.  

Maybe a recount would lead to something good; perhaps we’ll finally get some
investigation into these damned voting machines, but it might also lead to a civil war.  So help me, it just sounds kinda like another politician looking for money. That remark about foreign governments “messing with our elections” should raise serious questions about her motives here.  How peculiar for someone who ran partly on the platform of ending all the wars and who castigated Clinton for being a neoliberal war hawk to now engage in the same propaganda about Russia that Clinton promoted all during the election season.

I had hoped that the one thing we could count on with the election of Trump, the only good thing, near as I can tell (the man is an oaf, a simpleton, a buffoon, a skell looking for a con, a billionaire who will serve billionaires and spit on the commoners) is that there would be an end to the drive for war with Russia. Obviously, I under-estimated the voracious pull of the Clinton black hole. This bullshit “war on fake news” is dangerous, dangerous shit, and that it is driven by a neoliberal/neocon propaganda push against Russia is going to lead to disaster.

America – of all the things we ever lost over recent decades, I miss our minds the most.

Update 1:

Zerohedge has a brief article up about the mysterious way the Jill Stein recount effort seems to have an ever-increasing need for money.  The more money they raise, the more they need.  How very politician-like.

Just yesterday we noted that Jill Stein was acting on behalf of Hillary Clinton to raise money for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.  As we noted then, we continue to be astonished by the amount of money flowing into the fundraising campaign and would love to see which of Hillary’s mega donors have spent the most on the effort…somehow we suspect this isn’t just a “grassroots organizing” effort as Stein described it.

So, in less than 1 day, Jill Stein raised over $3mm, which is more than the $2mm needed to force a recount in Wisconsin.  While she attributed the accomplishment to “the power of grassroots organizing,” we would tend to be a little more skeptical and would love to see exactly where those donations came from.  Then again, maybe we’re wrong and there really are just that many disaffected snowflakes out there willing to blow their money on an extreme long shot.

But, today a new mystery has emerged in Stein’s fundraising efforts.  Apparently, the more money she raises the more expensive the recount effort becomes.  Courtesy of the Wayback Machine we have the following snapshots from her fundraising page over the past couple of days:

[Teri’s note: I didn’t include the screen shots to save space – they show exactly what this article says they do.]

November 24, 2016 at 3:46AM – In the beginning, Stein figured she needed a total of $2.5mm to fund her recount efforts.  That figure included $2.2mm for the actual filing fees and presumably another $0.3mm for legal fees and other costs.

November 24, 2016 at 1:20PM – Then, just 12 hours later, after the cash just kept flowing in, Stein figured she needed at least another $2mm as her fundraising goal was raised to $4.5mm in total.  Of course, the filing fees of $2.2mm didn’t change but the “attorney’s fees” apparently surged by about 300% and the total costs of the effort skyrocketed to $6-7mm.

November 25, 2016 at 6:11AM – Now, just this morning as Stein approaches $5mm in total donations, her overall fundraising goal has surged once again and now stands at $7mm.

So, with nearly $5mm raised so far, the question is no longer whether recounts will occur in WI, MI and PA but just how much Jill Stein will be able to drain from the pockets of disaffected Hillary supporters to fund her long-shot efforts.

All that said, here is Jill Stein admitting to CNN that she has absolutely no evidence of election hacking….even though she asks that you please keep sending your money anyway.
Jill Stein: “We don’t know” if the election was stolen, but it was a “hack-riddled election” https://t.co/yxsdKzEsVg https://t.co/7y9Obwtpyo
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 25, 2016

And another where she says she would have challenged the election result even if Hillary won…though somehow we suspect she wouldn’t have been able to raise quite so much money under that scenario.
Jill Stein says she would still be raising money for vote recounts, even if Clinton had won https://t.co/9ZwRiCbT9u https://t.co/xKY1au3oRj
— CNN (@CNN) November 24, 2016

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-11-25/mysterious-case-jill-steins-surging-recount-costs

Update 2:

Clinton surrogates now state that they are joining in the recount effort.  Clinton herself is saying nothing.  I’m not sure she has spoken publicly since the election; all statements from the Clinton campaign are coming from spokes-people and former campaign personnel.  Trump has just made the claim, via a “tweet”, that the reason Clinton is ahead in the popular vote is because “millions of people voted illegally”.  So he is also asserting voter fraud and vote rigging, as well.  Of course, he’s too stupid to see that his own claim that millions voted illegally is ipso facto grounds for a recount, but you’ll never hear me accuse him of higher intelligence.


The Obama White House has issued a statement that they find the recount effort unnecessary.  They feel the election was properly run and the results are beyond reproach.

I mentioned in my last post that the people of the US would not have been served well by either Clinton or Trump.  We lose either way.  I would like to expand on that a little here.  I find it unsettling how quickly the Democratic establishment swiveled from the position that Trump is completely unfit for office to one of helpful enabling of the president-elect’s transition into office and his cabinet picks and policy decisions.  I’m not sure, of course, what exactly motivated the Democrats to concede so quickly, but it is clear that the Trump administration and the Republicans in both houses are getting ready to impose the Shock Doctrine on the United States.  [If you have not read Naomi Klein’s book by that title, I suggest you do so.]  America has frequently used shock doctrine methods to neo-liberalize other countries into living hells of economic hardship, corporate/banking ownership of government, and privatization.  Now it our turn.  It is also painfully obvious that the Democrats will offer no resistance to this; in fact, they aren’t even uttering the faintest real protest or any sign that they will oppose what is coming down the pike.  Does anyone remember how the Republican politicians openly sneered at Obama when he won the election in ’08 and vowed that they would work relentlessly to thwart his administration every chance they got?  Trump is not facing any such push-back from the Democrats.

Perhaps the highly-placed Democrats in office didn’t want one of their own in charge as both parties collude to strip what remains of the social safety net, privatize all areas of the public sphere to financially benefit the corporatocracy, and spread further death and destruction on the world.  The plans to do away with Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, public education, environmental laws, regulations on Wall Street and corporate cartels, and other such moves have been supported by both parties for a long time.  What Trump and the Republicans have planned for us, and they will be aided substantially through “bipartisan efforts” from the Democrats, will be the final end to any pretense about whom both parties serve.  Trump himself is a form of Shock Doctrine on the country.  His very election helps pave the way for what is coming.  It will be shocks, austerity, destruction, increased poverty, militant (not to be confused with military, although that may happen along the way) rule.  I’m not sure he understands that he is being used by both parties this way.  In fact, he probably thinks he is somehow the “big winner” here.  He is particularly obtuse and childish for a mogul.  Shit, he isn’t even going to security briefings.  He’s sending Mike Pence to get the inside scoop; there should be no doubt that Trump has his Cheney, and that’s who will be running things.  God help us.

In the meantime, Obama hasn’t yet left office.  He is not doing anything to preserve whatever faint populist part of “his legacy” actually exists, or making any attempt to offer protection for the American people against the bare thuggery of the incoming Trump-ettes through whatever quick executive or legislative actions he could finagle before he heads into fabulously wealthy guest-speaker-land.  No, he is pummeling Congress to give him a “must-pass” increase in military spending, handing his illegal drone program and kill list on to Trump, and expanding the reach of our clandestine military forces around the planet.  

This is Obama’s true legacy:

The Obama administration is giving the elite Joint Special Operations Command — the organization that helped kill Osama bin Laden in a 2011 raid by Navy SEALs — expanded power to track, plan and potentially launch attacks on terrorist cells around the globe, a move driven by concerns of a dispersed terrorist threat as Islamic State militants are driven from strongholds in Iraq and Syria, U.S. officials said.  

(source: Washington Post) 

The most chilling paragraph from this article reads:

The new JSOC task force could also offer intelligence, strike recommendations and advice to the militaries and security forces of traditional Western allies, or conduct joint operations, officials said. In other parts of the world, with weak or no governments, JSOC could act unilaterally.

The article comes from the WaPo, so you are allowed to read it in its entirety.  The WaPo is not on The List of “fake news outlets that ought to be censored”, naturally, since the WaPo itself conveniently provided us with The List.

 

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2016 in American Indians, civil rights, elections, Russia

 

Trump wins. Thank the Democrats.

Donald Trump has won the 2016 election and the Republicans retain control of both the House and the Senate.  

There is no-one to blame but the Democratic party politicians, the DNC, and their big donors. They had a candidate (actually more than one) who could have beat Trump in a landslide, yet they decided they had to do everything in their power, including rigging the primaries and colluding with the media, to give the nomination to a person so universally despised and so obviously corrupt that she couldn’t beat the carnival barker.  Irony of ironies; as the Clinton and DNC emails prove, the Clinton people were pushing for the nomination of Trump as an opponent because they thought he would be easier for her to beat than any other Republican. The fatal flaw of this plan was that the Democratic machine had been rigging everything in favor of the one person who couldn’t beat anyone with enough of a margin to overcome the insurmountable and peculiar electoral college system we use.  [Although they claim she beat Bernie Sanders, running as a fellow Democrat, in the primaries, the evidence of the DNC rigging the primaries is, well, irrefutable at this point and her nomination was cinched by Sanders’ own and finally obvious collusion in merely playing the sheepdog to deliver his innocent flock over to her.]  

Not only that, but the DNC spent all their money – against the party regulations, by the way – on the Hillary Victory Fund instead of spreading it out to the down-ticket Democrats; as a result, they still have a minority in both the House and the Senate. Not to mention that the only down-ticket Democrats that they supported verbally, if not financially, were nothing but ‘Blue Dog’ sell-outs instead of progressives or liberals. Despite losing the hold they had in both houses of Congress and losing state houses all across the country during the 2014 mid-terms, they didn’t bother with getting out the vote, or bother to deal with gerry-mandering issues, or pay any attention whatsoever to what people were telling them – that the economy sucks, people need jobs, Obamacare is really really bad, wealth disparity is dividing the country, Obama didn’t keep any of his promises and people were pissed about it, and everyone is sick of the “bipartisan compromises” that keep making things worse on the ground.  47 million Americans don’t have enough food to eat.  Fully one-third of eligible working-age Americans do not have jobs.  Social Security benefits continue to get cut or remain stagnant despite the fact that people can see with their own two eyes that food, housing and every other expense they routinely have to pay each month continues to increase in price.  Health insurance costs are so high that a family plan now costs more than the average person earns in 6 months.  Wages are effectively lower than they were 20 years ago.  Although the “family income” level was purred over repeatedly by Obama and Clinton on the campaign trail and touted as a sign of how things have improved under Obama, the fact is that according to the reports themselves, family income has not even risen above the level it was in 1999 – 17 years ago.  This is obfuscated by politicians and media pundits who don’t reveal the actual charts, try to equate “household income” with “personal income”, and who never point out the obvious; family income includes the combined incomes of all members of a family living in one household, and we now have the highest number of adult children living with their parents than at any time in our history.  Even if all they have is some measly part-time job at McDonald’s, these young adults contribute to that “household income” number.  Which, despite 1/3 of Americans under the age of 30 having to live with Mommy and Daddy, is still lower than than it was 17 fucking years ago.

I’m just amazed that the political grifters weren’t able to pull off the final fake-out and simply make up the election results like they do the unemployment numbers, economic measurements, or poll numbers and just claim Clinton won; on the other hand, it should occur to everyone that perhaps Trump is just as acceptable to the plutocracy as she is.  Maybe it’s that easy to figure out why they didn’t bother to rig the election – either candidate suffices to get the powers-that-be where they want to be; in total control of all the commons and all the wealth, and so they let the general election play out without interference.   Hell, maybe they did rig it, but didn’t go far enough, underestimating the numbers they needed.  Or – here’s a conspiracy theory for you – maybe Clinton’s health really is so bad that they realized, too late, that they couldn’t let her take office.  It strikes me as odd that she conceded before Trump had officially hit the magic 270 number in the electoral count and well before all the popular votes were in, especially given her determined, bullish, self-righteous pursuit of the office for so many long years.  Or perhaps the investigations into the Clinton Foundation are showing indications that criminal charges are forthcoming; the FBI has not ended those investigations, after all.  However, that will be taken care of by Obama preemptively pardoning Clinton before he leaves the White House so that no charges can ever be filed and the Clinton Foundation’s felonious enterprise will never be publicly exposed.  Perhaps the electoral college will not vote the way it is pledged to, in the end, and Clinton has been told to expect this.  She actually has won the popular vote, after all.  The electoral college does not cast its official vote until Dec. 19.  Supposedly, the electors have to vote the way they are pledged, but they may be convinced to test the system this time on behalf of “DNC primary super-delegate winner” Clinton.  Maybe this election has yet other surprises in store.

The country could have gone either way – more liberal or more conservative – in its presidential decision.  As the results of various ballot measures across the country prove, our societal tendency as a whole is clearly toward the liberal side.  The voters approved measures for legalized marijuana and increased minimum wages in state after state, for example.  It’s the politicians who are trending ever further right.  The Democratic party refused to encourage this social trending and instead offered the most right-wing Democrats they could find.  The voters repudiated that; unfortunately, having been abandoned by the Democrats, voting for Republicans was the only way to voice their discontent.  It wasn’t so much a choice for the conservatives as an un-choosing of the status quo.  In fact, the Republican party can only claim somewhere between 25 and 30% of the voting public as its base.  Clinton, Obama, and her other spokesmen were out there on the campaign trail, however, praising Ronald Reagan, Henry Kissinger, and Madeleine Albright, for God’s sake.  The Republican big-wigs supported Clinton, as did all the neocons and neoliberals.  She talked about the need for more wars (with Iran, China, and Russia, God help us all) and more Pentagon spending, and the only mention made of liberal ideas were to dismiss them as things that might  be “worked out eventually in a bipartisan fashion”.  It all made anything she said about “supporting progressive promises” and “Democratic ideals” look so phony that, in the end, nobody could believe a damn word of it.  I guarantee you, if the Democrats had run seriously progressive candidates and responded to, heeded the message of, the massive support Sanders got and what it implied, this election would have ended differently. It’s too bad, because Trump’s trickle-down economic ideas won’t do a damned thing for any but the wealthiest Americans and corporate cartels, but the people responded at a gut level. They found him to be authentic in his strange, but ultimately Ayn Randian way, and intuitively knew Clinton was a liar, a warmonger and a Wall Street stooge.  Going with their gut feelings was all they had; the billionaires, corporate elites, whorish media, and political parties have finally managed to so dumb down and confuse the population that all the people had left was unfiltered, inchoate anger and primal survival instinct.  They tossed a Hail Mary pass for the one they felt was at least a political outsider, driven by the devil’s bargain that had been foisted on them by party elites.

I think we are going to lose our Social Security, Medicare, unemployment and food stamps benefits no matter who had won, as both parties have been colluding to that end since Bill Clinton was in office.  Obama formed his “catfood commission” as one of the first things he did during his first term, if you’ll recall.  When Obama took office in 2008, he had a Democratic majority in both houses.  And yet he utterly failed to implement any of the progressive platforms he had run on, instead squandering the opportunity (with no objection from the Democrats in either house, mind you) to end torture, take action against the Bush regime, close Guantanamo Bay, end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, punish the Wall Street bankers who crashed the economy, or push for universal health-care.  He brought in Timmeh Geithner and other Goldman Sachs men to run the Treasury and immediately assigned Monsanto people to run the FDA and the USDA, granted permits for even more deep-water drilling, and named a charter-schools promoter to run the Dept. of Education.  Within a few years, he had signed the NDAA giving him the ability to assassinate anyone he chose anywhere on the planet (Trump may love that presidential perq), and expanded our illegal “war zone” to seven countries.  Like the Syriza Party in Greece, Obama and the Democrats took office with false promises and immediately handed the country over to everything the people thought they were voting against.  We were given the discipline of austerity measures, a health “reform” that gave exponentially more profits to the private insurers and pharmaceutical companies, and exposed to the quackery of the Federal Reserve programs.  It is guaranteed that now, at this late date and with the Republicans in charge of both houses and the presidency, there will be no re-regulation of Wall Street, all our tax monies will continue to feed the Pentagon, big corporations will still get governmental subsidies while raking in record profits, there will not be an end to the toxic shit dumped into the water and food, every state will be fracked, and every politician in Washington will continue to ignore the wishes of the people who voted them into office.  Here’s the thing: we weren’t going to get anything good out of this election anyway.  You might not have noticed, but neither party talked about actual policies they might implement.  The media never asked questions along those lines, either.  Climate change was never mentioned in the debates, nor the militarization of the police, nor the legality of the US bombing  multiple countries, none of with whom we are legally at war .  Likewise ignored was civil asset forfeiture, NSA spying, and all the other losses of our civil liberties over the years.  Despite Trump’s promises, the House and Senate won’t spend a dime on infrastructure, jobs, or education, and for sure, climate change or environmental issues are completely dead in the water now (those being not even mentioned by Trump), but at least there isn’t going to be any pretense about who both parties of Congress serve any more. And it isn’t the people of the United States; it’s the plutocracy.  Desperate Trump supporters and the die-hard Clinton supporters may not have figured that out yet, and may never; for we are a supremely fact-free and stupid society now.  

[As an aside, I have to mention that Clinton didn’t even bother to address her faithful in person last night.  She phoned in her concession to Trump, had someone announce to the media that she’d speak publicly in the morning, and just left all those Clinton people deserted in the hall where they’d gathered in the assumption that win or lose, she’d at least grace them with her presence.  She didn’t spare a minute for them, however.  All those sad Clinton supporters, mourning the fact that their very own Caligula had lost the election, were left to catch some rest as best they could in their folding chairs until around noon today, when she gave her official concession speech.  I watched that event live when it occurred.  She had the unmitigated nerve to blather on about how the US “treats everyone equally under the law” and about how “the Constitution” and “rule of law” guides us all and makes us such a great country.  Much to my surprise, a bolt of lightening did not come down from the heavens and strike her dead.]

But whatever happens from here on out, put the blame where it belongs: on the Democrats, who insisted that it was the criminal War-pig’s “turn”, no matter what the voters were saying they wanted.  As it turns out, the fact that she pees sitting down wasn’t a big selling point, and that was the only card they had to play.  What’s the old saying?  Democrats stab you in the back, Republicans stab you in the front.  The Democrats sold us out gradually over the years; from Bill Clinton’s time in office onwards, they turned ever more rightward, leaving behind and deserting the civil rights movement, the peace movement, the unions, and the idea that our society and commons should be the primary recipients of taxpayer monies.  We were at a turning point with this election.  We could have gone more toward the right or toward the left in this choice, as I said.  We had candidates who were clearly more to the left of Clinton, candidates who were kept as hidden as possible by the collaboration of the media and the political parties until it was too late, and the left was deserted.  The Democratic power machine deliberately chose to take the rightward lean, they deliberately chose to ignore what their voter base wanted, and in so doing, deliberately threw away a chance to nudge our society ever closer toward true equality and social uplift.  We will pay the price for a long time and the price will be heavy.  

 

 

Notes on the TPP.

The TPP was written in complete secrecy by corporate CEOs and their lawyers, along with official governmental trade negotiators, over a five year period. The trade negotiator for the US is Michael Froman. He served in the Treasury Dept under Bob Rubin within the Clinton administration, during which time the Glass-Steagall Act was overturned, leading directly to the conditions giving rise to the economic meltdown years later.  After that gig, he and Rubin both went to work for Citigroup (big bank and hedge fund a-go-go). In 2013, he became our trade negotiator. I mention this because it’s relevant that our trade negotiator is a big bank guy who worked for one of the banks that helped tank the economy in ’08.

Obama signed the TPP in Feb. this year, as did all the leaders of the 12 signatory nations. None of them, however, has gotten the deal ratified in their countries yet; i.e., the TPP has not been passed through the parliaments or Congresses of any of the 12 nations yet and so has not legally gone into effect.

They have 2 years to ratify the TPP. If it isn’t ratified by Feb 2018, they can put it into force with only 6 countries participating, if the GDP of those 6 countries combined equals 85% of the GDP of the original 12 countries.

The TPP includes an ISDS [investor-state dispute settlement] mechanism. This clause allows a company to sue a treaty-participating country for monetary damages if local laws affect their business. It does not allow them to make changes to local laws, but it does allow them to sue a government for “damages”. The ISDS is run by a tribunal of 3 judges: all of whom are corporate heads, chosen by a panel of big corporations. It has been pointed out that previous trade agreements with an ISDS clause have pushed participating countries to loosen environmental and labor regulations in an effort to preemptively stave off potential lawsuits under ISDS, thus inherently influencing which laws are passed or altered by signatory countries.  It is the ISDS that ensures an end to our national sovereignty, as if the TPP even without it, weren’t bad enough. Any member of Congress that votes yes for this trade agreement and the president that signs it into law is committing treason, in my opinion.

While the ISDS clause cannot forcibly change US laws, some US laws will need to be changed in order to comply with the TPP itself. Obama had the duty (signed into law with the passage of the “Fast-track” bill; aka the Trade Promotion Authority or TPA) of working with the heads of the various US agencies (Dept of Ag, Commerce Dept, Treasury Dept, OSHA, etc.) to create a list of which laws would need to be altered, and to present this list to Congress at the same time the TPP is formally presented to them for vote. Obama signed an executive order in July handing this duty over to Michael Froman (our trade representative). We will find out what laws have been changed if/when Congress votes yes on the TPP. Congress can only vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the TPP and its attached list of regulatory changes; they are not allowed to amend, filibuster, debate, add to, delete from, or alter any text at all.

Which means that any politician (like Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid) who suggests that the TPP can “be improved” by Congress before it is passed is lying through his teeth. Congress cannot change a word of the TPP. Any improvements that Congress might want to suggest before they would pass the damned thing would necessitate the renegotiation of the agreement with the other countries. (Congress cannot amend the text themselves, but they might, behind the scene so to speak, suggest changes that would ensure passage.) In other words, if Congress says they want x,y, or z clauses to be changed, the TPP has to be re-presented to all the countries with the alterations and the whole negotiation started over again, with the leaders of these countries having to sign a new agreement and presenting that new one to their parliaments for ratification. Obama wants this thing done before he leaves office, so it’s unlikely he would consider any recommendations from Congress that would cause the TPP to have to go into renegotiation. And when Clinton makes breezy promises to “improve” it when she is the president, she is eliding the fact that any improvements she might want will likewise send the agreement into renegotiation. (Remember, the countries only have 2 years to ratify the TPP through their parliaments, so there is little time to negotiate a new treaty.)

The “fast-track” bill that Congress wrote and passed and that Obama signed into law last year has its own stipulations that the media has chosen to completely ignore. This bill governs how Congress votes on any trade agreements for the next 6 years. It reads that Congress can only vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on any of these agreements without debate, alterations, or amendments, as I mentioned above. I also mentioned that it made the president responsible for telling Congress of any changes to our existing laws that have to occur to comply to the agreements (a duty that Obama handed off to Froman).

In case you think I am inventing the idea that some of our laws will require alteration or amendment (or, in fact, to be overturned altogether) with passage of the TPP, it is quite obvious that this is the case, as the Fast-track bill includes these paragraphs:

“if changes in existing laws or new statutory authority are required to implement such trade agreement or agreements, only such provisions as are strictly necessary or appropriate to implement such trade agreement or agreements, either repealing or amending existing laws or providing new statutory authority.[…]”

and:

“within 60 days after entering into the agreement, the President submits to Congress a description of those changes to existing laws that the President considers would be required in order to bring the United States into compliance with the agreement.”

But there are further rules imposed by the fast-track law, and these are overarching requirements for any trade agreement for the next 6 years. Fast-track demands that no trade agreement can discourage or prejudice commercial activity between the US and Israel. It stipulates that trade agreements must discourage movements such as BDS (boycott, divest, sanction) against Israel. This “no-BDS” clause includes everyone; the definition is given thusly:

“Definition.–In this paragraph, the term ‘actions to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel” means actions by states, non-member states of the United Nations, international organizations, or affiliated agencies of international organizations that are politically motivated and are intended to penalize or otherwise limit commercial relations specifically with Israel or persons doing business in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories.”

This formal declaration against the BDS movement was included despite the fact that Israel is not a participating country in any of the troika of trade agreements potentially coming up for vote in the near future. [What I call the troika consists of the TTP, the TTIP, and TISA.]

Fast-track also puts an end to any notion that we will ever have the labeling of products like GMOs or nano-technology, as it includes the following, a provision that none of the trade agreements can include:

“unjustified trade restrictions or commercial requirements, such as labeling, that affect new technologies, including biotechnology; […]”

When Obama signed the fast-track bill into law, he also signed the updated TAA (aka the Trade Adjustment Assistance law). This bill acknowledges the fact that trade agreements cost the US millions of jobs and so Congress authorizes funds for the “re-training” of American workers who will need to find new jobs with which to support themselves. The TAA has existed for years, but was set to expire in 2015. Congress reauthorized the bill and increased the funding because they knew that the upcoming TPP would cost jobs. They had to pass the TAA in order to get the fast-track bill passed: Obama demanded both at the same time, as did members of Congress who otherwise opposed the fast-track legislation, specifically because they know the TPP, TTIP, etc. will lead to job losses. Some of them even said so out loud while debating the fast-track and TAA bills – that the TPP will cost the US several million jobs, which is a vast understatement, according to labor experts. In order to pass the TAA re-training bill, Congress scotch-taped it to the African Growth and Opportunity Act, a trade bill supported by the Congressional Black Caucus, to attract more yes votes. In the updated bill, Congress supplied the necessary $950 mm funding (their estimate of the minimum needed for worker re-training if the TPP passes) by cutting Medicare further. They extended the Medicare sequestration reductions – Medicare benefits have been cut repeatedly since Obama took office – through 2024 and reduced reimbursements for Medicare patients who are on dialysis for acute renal failure. If you are one of the Americans qualified to get “re-training” money to help you “upgrade your skills” so you can find a new job at McDonald’s or WalMart after the TPP erases your current job, thank an elderly dialysis patient. Oh, wait, you won’t be able to – they’ll all be dead. And by the way, the amount of money you’ll get from the federal government toward a “re-training” program is $1500. Good luck.

No-one in the media noted that while Congress was talking about how the TPP was a swell idea, so “wonderful” that they wanted (and got) the fast-track bill in order to get the TPP passed as quickly as possible when it comes to a vote, they were admitting within the body of a bill passed at the same exact time as fast-track that the TPP was going to cost US jobs. Obama’s trade-policy advocates say the TPP will create jobs at the same time they say it will cost jobs. Which is it?  According to them (depending on the day of the week and which shill they have talking about it for them that day), it will do both.  Let’s call it the “Vietnam War Theory of Economics and Job Growth”. This new economic theory is that jobs must be lost in order for jobs to be created, and that a “good” trade deal is one that will lead to lost jobs and lower wages, which then must be partially offset by more federal spending for the displaced work force (funded with the tried and true method of simply taking monies from another sector of the public sphere); said pool of “displaced workers” having been created by the government passing the trade agreement in the first place.

And the TPP is what Clinton calls the “gold standard” of trade agreements, at least until she decided she had to lie about her position on it in order to garner votes.  For some reason, we allow our votes to be heavily invested in outright political lies.

The TTIP and TISA, the other two trade agreements currently under negotiation, have the same issues that the TPP does, and while I am not going into the specific details of those two here, if they are signed and brought before Congress, they will also be enacted within the mandates of the fast-track law. Some good information about both can be found on wikipedia, and websites such as publiccitizen.org are doing an outstanding job of reporting on them.

The TPP and the other trade agreements aren’t about trade. Tariffs are already near zero. They are about giving big, multi-national corporations complete control of and power over judicial and legislative decisions in every country, as well as providing unlimited opportunities for corporate cartels to strip money from wages and reduce governmental spending on the commons.