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Thu, 23 Feb 2017
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Duterte's new Philippines marks tectonic shift for Asian autonomy

What a difference an election can make. Since his swearing in as Philippine President this past June, succeeding Washington puppet Benigno Aquino III, the outspoken, plain-talking Rodrigo Duterte has moved his strategically pivotal Asian country away from the US geopolitical orbit. Now President Duterte is on an Asian tour that has taken him to China and then Japan. Soon he has indicated plans to meet Russia's Putin too. He appears set to blow a huge hole in the Pentagon Asia Pivot aimed at encircling China militarily. And the Philippines shift is setting off tectonic shifts across the Asia space from Vietnam to Myanmar and beyond.

Hints of the shift appeared to begin just after his inauguration on his very popular promise to clean up the nation's large and growing narcotics problem. When reports of bounty hunters shooting drug dealers on sight without trial appeared, the US Ambassador, Philip Goldberg and Obama Administration criticized Duterte, who clearly rejected the criticism, chilling relations. Duterte retorted that Goldberg was "a gay son-of-a-bitch," and that Obama was "son of a whore." Leaving aside the question of the veracity of Duterte's remarks, he definitely introduced a new tone into international diplomacy and signaled he was not intending, like his oligarchic predecessor Aquino, to be Washington's lap dog. You can be sure his open defiance did not go unnoticed across the developing world.

However the clear signal of the tectonic shift in alliance policy for the former US occupied republic came during President Duterte's recent visit to Beijing. There he was received by China President Xi Jinping in the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square on October 20.

Network

UK looks East to foster greater economic ties with China

© Damir Sagolj / Reuters
Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May
UK Prime Minister Theresa May is launching a fresh charm offensive on Beijing as Chinese officials visit to discuss future investment in the UK. The PM has restated her commitment to a "golden era" of Sino-UK relations, months after causing upset in Beijing by commissioning a security review into the construction of a Chinese-backed nuclear power plant.

Chancellor Philip Hammond will meet with a Chinese delegation on Thursday for the eighth UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue in a bid to foster greater ties with the Asian superpower.

"I'm determined that as we leave the European Union, we build a truly global Britain that is open for business," May said in a statement ahead of talks. "As we take the next step in this golden era of relations between the UK and China, I am excited about the opportunities for expanding trade and investment between our two countries."

Comment: The elite in the UK may very well recognize which way the wind in blowing in terms of the global economy. China will only be the 'world's second greatest economy' for a short while longer. It has been carefully building momentum for decades, and in preparation of the United States global collapse, it has taken on the responsibility of providing what safety-net it can. And of course the financial powers in the UK want in.


USA

Who Shafted The Working Class?

© Spencer Jones/AP
Why did the white working class abandon the Democrats?

The conventional answer is Republicans skillfully played the race card.

In the wake of the Civil Rights Act, segregationists like Alabama Governor George C. Wallace led southern whites out of the Democratic Party.

Later, Republicans charged Democrats with coddling black "welfare queens," being soft on black crime ("Willie Horton"), and trying to give jobs to less-qualified blacks over more-qualified whites (the battle over affirmative action).

The bigotry now spewing forth from Donald Trump and several of his Republican rivals is an extension of this old race card, now applied to Mexicans and Muslims - with much the same effect on the white working class voters, who don't trust Democrats to be as "tough."

All true, but this isn't the whole story. Democrats also abandoned the white working class.

Comment: Uniting the working class is something that Trump seems to have done, at least ideologically, through his campaign rhetoric. What he does once in office remains to be seen.


Mr. Potato

Imperialists freak out over prospect of Trump "upending global order"

© Damon Winter/The New York Times
Donald J. Trump in Scranton, Pa., this week. His win foreshadowed an America more focused on its own affairs while leaving the world to take care of itself.
Donald J. Trump's stunning election victory on Tuesday night rippled way beyond the nation's boundaries, upending an international order that prevailed for decades and raising profound questions about America's place in the world.

For the first time since before World War II, Americans chose a president who promised to reverse the internationalism practiced by predecessors of both parties and to build walls both physical and metaphorical. Mr. Trump's win foreshadowed an America more focused on its own affairs while leaving the world to take care of itself.

The outsider revolution that propelled him to power over the Washington establishment of both political parties also reflected a fundamental shift in international politics evidenced already this year by events like Britain's referendum vote to leave the European Union. Mr. Trump's success could fuel the populist, nativist, nationalist, closed-border movements already so evident in Europe and spreading to other parts of the world.

Comment: This "world order" of which Baker speaks is the post-WWII American Empire. The U.S. imperialists and their foreign lackeys are having a conniption over the threat that a Trump presidency might change the system of global hegemony America has enjoyed for 70 years (and which the rest of the world has suffered with humiliation and blood). It's unlikely Trump will have such an effect. (Would that he could!) But the fact that they're all so nervous is telling. When was the last time a president so unnerved the global elite?


Question

Will Trump's victory prove to be an epochal event?

Trump succeeded beyond the odds through an indomitable will. That is something that has not been seen in American politics for generations. Trump was accused of being vague on policy (albeit, Clinton did not evince any more detail of policy than Trump) but what he represented is an idea whose time had come, which asserts itself regardless of party platforms, with a personality that was able to withstand the most vicious domestic smear campaign against a politician in memory.

The pundits are right in this if nothing else about Tump: that this was a vote against the Establishment, with much reference among Trump supports in regard to defeating the "elite". Who this "elite" is has been clearly recognised by Trump, and is easy to identify insofar as it provided the funding for Clinton, as it had for Obama: the financial oligarchy headed up by George Soros. Among Clinton's coterie of billionaire donors, Soros was by far the largest, giving over $11,000,000. Trump's largest donor was American rental homes businessmen Bradley Wayne Hughes, who gave less than half a million. ("Hillary is outraising Trump 20-to-1 among billionaires", Bloomberg, Sept. 26, 2016; ). Trump caused controversy to the point of being smeared as "anti-Semitic," when he said before a Jewish lobby that he did not need their money.

Comment: The risks and opportunities the world faces with Trump as president


Dig

Election may not be over: Clinton cabal "may be trying to steal Arizona and Michigan"

You didn't think she'd go down without a fight did you?

The Clinton campaign is clawing it's way to what they hope may land Hillary in the White House. Though Clinton officially conceded the race to Trump on Wednesday morning, a concession is not legally binding. During the 2000 election Al Gore conceded to George Bush on the night of the election, only to begin court proceedings a few short hours later to contest the results and initiate recounts.

According to Jim Stone, the race between Trump and Clinton may not be over just yet:
They may be trying to steal Arizona and Michigan, and then use special powers to flip 9 electoral votes away from Trump. THERE IS A REASON WHY THEY HAVE REFUSED TO MAKE THEIR TOTALS OFFICIAL. THIS IS NOT OVER YET

...

Trump won Arizona. Why has it not been made official? Trump won Michigan. Why has it not been made official? They are calling the counts "unofficial," WHY?

Comment: This possible development should not come as a surprise given what we've seen the Clinton cabal do up until now. One thing's for sure, IF they do go through with this 'full charge' the American public will further entrench themselves in their positions and the animosity between pro-Trump and pro-Clinton groups enflamed like never before. How perfect a strategy for the ruling elite who would like to see nothing more than the people angry, upset and afraid to distraction - while the world falls apart around their feet.

The above article is further corroborated by the New York Post and has already made it to Yahoo News:
For die-hard Democrats holding out hope that they won't have to live through a Trump presidency, there is a last, incredibly long shot for them latch on to — a surprise twist in the Electoral College.

Though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 200,000, Trump has won the minimum of 270 electoral votes necessary to be elected president. As of late Wednesday, he had 290 to Clinton's 228.

According to the Constitution, chosen electors of the Electoral College are the real people who will vote for president, when they meet on Dec. 19 in their respective state capitals.

However, there is technically nothing stopping any of the electors from voting their conscience and refusing to support the candidate to whom they were bound, or from abstaining from voting altogether.

There's even a name for it: becoming a "faithless elector."

The idea of electors reversing their vote is rarely discussed — and was most recently bandied about after the incredibly close 2000 election in which George Bush narrowly beat Al Gore. And electors going "faithless" is exceedingly rare.

Well over 99 percent of electors throughout American history have voted as pledged, according to an analysis done by the New York Times.

It does happen, though.

The last faithless elector reared his roguish head back in 2004, when a lone anonymous voter in Minnesota declined to vote for Democrat John Kerry and instead voted for Kerry's running mate, John Edwards.

The rogue's vote was purely ceremonial, as Bush already had 286 electoral votes, more than enough to ensure his reelection.

Faithless electors are technically barred in only 29 states from ignoring the will of the voters, though the penalties are light. And a faithless elector has never swung an election.

But given the high dissatisfaction with Trump among Republicans, a few faithless GOP electors could well go rogue next month.

One Texas GOP elector, Chris Suprun of Texas, a firefighter, told Politico in August that he finds Trump so unpalatable he'd consider voting for Clinton when he gets to Georgia's capital on Dec. 19th.

Baoky Vu, a Decatur businessman, told the Atlanta-based news site AJC.com in August that he couldn't stomach voting for Trump either, and was quietly convinced by local GOP leaders to resign as an elector.

Clinton would need more than 20 GOP electors to go rogue and vote instead for her — a mighty tall order.

Even then, the new, Republican-controlled Congress meets Jan. 6 to approve the electoral college vote, and would certainly vote to void any roguery, handing the victory firmly back to Trump.

The Founding Fathers created the electoral college because the were "afraid of direct Democracy," according to FactCheck.org.

In fact, Alexander Hamilton thought the electors would make sure "the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications."

It remains to be seen, given Tuesday's surprise election result, whether Democrats — and even some Republicans — who question the "requisite qualifications" of president-elect Donald Trump will push to revisit the Electoral College system.



Radar

Did NATO try to sabotage the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov?

The Russians reveal that a Dutch Walrus class submarine approached the Kuznetsov aircraft carrier in the eastern Mediterranean, hinting that more than a simple spy mission was involved.

Reports from the Russian Defence Ministry yesterday revealed a strange incident involving Russia's fleet deployment to the eastern Mediterranean, which includes the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and the nuclear powered missile battlecruiser Pyotr Veliky.

The Russians say that a Dutch Walrus class submarine tried to approach the fleet, engaging in dangerous manoeuvres, and was chased away. The Russians say the submarine got within 20 km of the Admiral Kuznetsov but was observed and tracked by the fleet's anti submarine helicopters after being spotted by two of the fleet's anti submarine destroyers.

The destroyers in question were presumably the two Udaloy class destroyers that have been reported as forming a part of the fleet deployment.

This incident is more interesting and stranger than the media is reporting.

TV

Filmaker John Pilger discusses the invisible government and mainstream media's efforts to push Killary into the White House


Comment: Of course, we all know how the election turned out in spite of the pro-Killary propaganda on the part of the media. So, not only can the invisible government prop up a candidate, it can also knock them down.


Sputnik Radio host Brian Becker of the Loud & Clear program is joined by prolific filmmaker and journalist John Pilger to discuss the "invisible government" pushing for a Hillary Clinton presidency, and the role Western media plays in the process.

Filmmaker John Pilger recently published the article "Inside the Invisible Government: War, Propaganda, Clinton & Trump," also interviewing publisher Julian Assange, who confirmed that Russia did not provide WikiLeaks with the Clinton emails.

"Propaganda insinuates our lives [...] We appear to be drenched, saturated in media information," Pilger stated. According to the filmmaker, our so-called information age is actually a media age.

Passport

China braced to see if Trump's actions match his campaign rhetoric

© Mike Segar/Reuters
Beijing is apparently waiting to see if Donald Trump's headline-grabbing anti-Chinese campaign rhetoric actually translates into policies once he occupies the White House. Official Chinese media warned the US president-elect against isolationism and interventionism.

During his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump often targeted the policies of the Chinese government, blaming them for the loss of jobs in America. He pledged to designate China a national currency manipulator on his first day in office, and said he would impose a 45 percent tariff on all imports from China.

After the Republican secured his position as America's next leader, Chinese media warned him against delivering on these promises while expressing hope that in practice he would prove to be a pragmatist in foreign policy.

Hillary Clinton was widely perceived in China as being more hawkish than her rival, Reuters reports. But Trump is feared to be unpredictable, with the potential to send Asia-Pacific into turmoil and pose a challenge for stability-focused Beijing.

Comment: Wall Street is the Trump-China missing link


Snakes in Suits

EU Commission president Junker: 'Europe needs own army along with NATO, can't rely on US forever'

© Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters
Europe should build its own army and not rely on security guarantees from Washington, the European Commission president said following the election of Donald Trump. At the same time, Jean-Claude Juncker called for the preservation of the transatlantic partnership.

Speaking in Berlin about the future of Europe sometime around 2050, Juncker had to ad lib, admitting that his speech had been written with the assumption that Hillary Clinton would be the victor of the US presidential race. But reflecting on the unexpected outcome of Trump's presidency, Juncker said that "regardless" of who is the US president, the EU and the US must work together.

"We have to work hard to keep this transatlantic relationship in order," Juncker said. "We remain to be partners, the world needs a close relationship between the United States and the European continent."

Comment: All of this talk of an EU army seems pointless. Russia will not attack Europe and has no interest in doing so. The only threat to Europe is the wars in the Middle East and Africa. Instead of bombing and manipulating, they should cooperate with them like China does for example.