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Sun, 22 Jan 2017
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Killary as candidate - The most stupid thing the Democratic party ever did

It is impossible to know what the Not-Hillary inauguration will bring. Not-Hillary because putting up Hillary as candidate was the most stupid thing the Democratic party and it paymasters could do. She had extremely high negative ratings and stood for everything that one could dislike with the party's policies. Many who ended up not voting or voted for Trump could have been easily won by a different Democratic candidate even with much of the same general policies (see: Obama, Barack).

Hillary would surely have lost against any middle-of-the-road Republican candidate. History will note that she was an arrogant but incompetent Democratic candidate who lost against a rather bad Republican candidate, one who lacked support even from his own party. Trump won barely, but she lost completely.

Seen from the perspective of power centers Clinton once had all the support she needed. But she then lost a decisive group due to her uncompromising neo-conned foreign policy. Here is an interesting take based on a theory from the 1950s:
[T]he power elite can be best described as a "triangle of power," linking the corporate, executive government, and military factions: "There is a political economy numerously linked with military order and decision. This triangle of power is now a structural fact, and it is the key to any understanding of the higher circles in America today."

The 2016 US election, like all other US elections, featured a gallery of pre-selected candidates that represented the three factions and their interests within the power elite. The 2016 US election, however, was vastly different from previous elections. As the election dragged on the power elite became bitterly divided, with the majority supporting Hilary Clinton, the candidate pre-selected by the political and corporate factions, while the military faction rallied around their choice of Donald Trump.
That is only a rough take. The corporate factions are divided within. The oil industry does not like it when wars disturb its long term businesses (see Russia and Libya). Boeing wants to sell planes to Iran. Other corporate parts don't mind such wars as long as they create new markets or easy access to cheap labor. The media love war as it creates ever thrilling content around which they can sell advertisements.

The decisive political point in this election round was the fight between neo-conservatives/liberal-interventionists and foreign policy realists. One side is represented exemplary by the CIA with the U.S. military on the other:
A schism developed between the Defense Department and the highly politicized CIA. This schism, which can be attributed to the corporate-deep-state's covert foreign policy, traces back to the CIA orchestrated "color revolutions" that had swept the Middle East and North Africa.

Light Saber

Russia's Chechen soldiers in Aleppo are not seen as occupiers - documentary

We reported last month a mainly Chechen unit of Russia's military police was dispatched to Syria.

Now ANNA News, a very active Russian-language news service based in Abkhazia, has visited the men in Aleppo and produced a 25 minute reportage.

Comment: See also:

Star of David

Violence: The only language of a Jewish state

© Keren Manor/Activist Stills
Here is another image that conveys the situation of Palestinians - these ones Palestinian citizens of Israel - more completely than any words. The man on the ground is Ayman Odeh, a member of the Israeli parliament, the head of the Joint List, the third largest party in the parliament, and the highest-ranking Palestinian politician in Israel.

Israeli police have just shot him with rubber-tipped bullets, not once but twice - including to the face. Odeh is one of the least confrontational politicians among Israel's large Palestinian minority, a fifth of the population. His message is consistently one of peace and amity between all Israeli citizens, whether Jews or Palestinians. That does not seem to have protected him from the shoot-first, ask-questions-later approach of Israel's security forces towards Palestinians.

This image should be as shocking as seeing a bloodied Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn crawling in the dirt, watched impassively by US or UK police.


Obama's final press conference: 'Big countries don't go bully smaller countries'

A tear for all the lives and nations he's ruined?
The great moralizing president who proved to the world that "yes, we can" lie, bomb, drone, and overthrow the rest of the world has preached his final hypocritical sermon.

Giving his final press conference on Jan. 18th, Obama - like Joe Biden and Samantha Power - elected to use a substantial part of his final statement to assail Russia and Vladimir Putin. The establishment neocon puppets must really be terrified of peace.

The best moment came when Barack propounded for the final time, what he sees as America's role in the world: to ensure "the basic principle that big countries don't go around and invade and bully smaller countries."

We're not quite sure how peace prize winner Obama thinks he represented that "basic principle" during his two terms. Maybe by setting an example for the world and saying, "See everything the United States is doing? Yeah...don't do that."

Comment: Also see: Obama's last White House news conference: US is 'strongest country... we're going to be OK'


#FakeNews New York Times: Trump Ally Roger Stone Under Investigation For Possible Ties with Russia

Roger Stone
The New York Times is reporting that American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are investigating "intercepted communications" that potentially show ties between longtime Donald Trump ally Roger Stone and Russian officials.

The report confirming the ongoing investigation comes after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government meddled in the 2016 election by hacking the Democratic National Committee, as well as reports that the FBI and five other intelligence agencies have been investigating whether money from the Kremlin covertly aided Trump's presidential run.

In July, reports surfaced that Trump's foreign policy advisor on Russia and Europe, Carter Page, made almost his entire fortune off of investments in Russia. Soon after, NBC News reported on alleged payments to Donald Trump's then-campaign manager Paul Manafort from former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych from 2007-2012. Roger Stone, a racist, sexist conspiracy theorist -- who has previously claimed that there's "greater freedom of the press" and expression in Russia than in the U.S. -- has now also been implicated as another one of Trump's associates currently under investigation. Media Matters first exposed Stone in August 2016, after he claimed to be in contact with Julian Assange regarding an "October Surprise." In early October, Stone reassured anxious Alex Jones listeners that the "motherload" was coming.



Russian parliament ratifies Turkish Stream gas pipeline deal with Turkey

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak (L) and his Turkish counterpart Berat Albayrak (R) sign a "Turkish Stream" pipeline agreement, flanked by Russian President Vladimir Putin (2nd L) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Istanbul on October 10, 2016.
Russia's State Duma, or the lower house of parliament, approved a "Turkish Stream" pipeline deal Friday to deliver its natural gas to Turkey and European markets through the Black Sea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin initiated the Turkish Stream project in 2014, and sealed the agreement with his Turkish counterpart in Istanbul in October 2016 envisioning the construction of two underwater legs of the gas pipeline.

The project, put on hold after Turkey downed a Russian warplane in November 2015 near Turkish-Syrian border, was brought back to agenda in June 2016 when Moscow and Ankara agreed to revive their relations.


Neoliberalism: The killer plague of the 21st century

More destructive than bombs, money has become the weapon of choice for the global elite, for the hidden hand of finance can plunder and conquer entire nations, assimilate whole cultures, exploit resources and rape the earth while force billions into poverty, all with the surprising stealth of pen-strokes and business contracts.

Neoliberalism is the economic and political philosophic driving force in the world today. It suggests that human progress is the result of competition, best expressed by an extremist version of unfettered capitalism, where privatization of profits and socialization of losses are acceptable ethics, regardless of human and environmental costs incurred along the way.
"Neoliberalism is the killer plague of the 21st century. Neoliberalism is economic fascism. It is a criminal doctrine. Globalized neoliberalism privatizes public goods for private profit. Neoliberalism led by Washington with the shameful complicity of Europe has in the last fifteen years killed between 12 and 15 million people by wars, famine, deprived health services... forced refugees. Today a small world elite of corporate and Wall Street CEO's and selected politicians call the shots." ~Peter Koenig
First defined in 1938, its global implementation today is the product of the Washington Consensus of 1989 which describes a set of economic prescriptions for developing and crisis-wracked nations created by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the U.S. Treasury Department. It is a policy which relies on the creation of social and financial crises to distract and soften target nations and peoples, creating problems while providing the 'solutions.'


What constitutes a "legitimate President" in the US?

© Reuters
U.S. President Barack Obama (L) and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump

The furor over Donald Trump's "legitimacy" as president presumes that the U.S. system of rule is, itself, legitimate, at home and abroad. The Democrats maintain "a legitimate President certainly cannot have peaceful relations with Russia." They are attempting to continue the momentum of the Obama period, which "has been the highest expression of the Democratic Party's transformation into the War Party and the most legitimate party of imperialism."

What Constitutes a Legitimate President in the United States?
by Danny Haiphong
The struggle to legitimize the US Presidency is ultimately a desperate attempt by the finance capitalist-aligned ruling class to stabilize the system with endless war.
A recent piece authored by Robert Kuttner, the founder of the liberal magazine The American Prospect, laid out the criteria for a "legitimate" Presidency. The purpose for such criteria is given away by the piece's title, aptly named "Impeaching Trump." There currently exists a layer of the liberal section of the ruling class that is committed to ousting the President-elect from office. The danger in such a move does not necessarily reside from the elimination of Trump and his particular form of rule. What is dangerous about the effort to impeach Trump is the conflation of the genuine interests of oppressed and working class people with Kuttner's particular definition of Presidential legitimacy.

What defines a "legitimate President" of the United States according to Kuttner? The criteria of Presidential legitimacy are simple. The President must be anyone else but Donald J. Trump. Trump's unsettled business ventures mix "official duties with personal enrichment," which is deemed "illegal" under the US Constitution. And a legitimate President certainly cannot have peaceful relations with Russia. Trump's so-called ties to Russia are grounds for treason and enough to warrant impeachment.

Yet Kuttner's argument for what constitutes a legitimate President rests on the assumption that the system of governance is legitimate in its own right. Yet the system of capitalism and imperialism in control of the US state apparatus has never been mired in a deeper crisis of legitimacy than the one currently in motion. Since Trump's election, establishment Democrats and Republicans have waged a multifaceted campaign of war against Russia in attempt to resolve the crisis. This campaign includes Kuttner's narrative that Russia meddled in US elections in favor of Trump as well as the vast NATO-sponsored military buildup in the Baltic States bordering Russia. The struggle to legitimize the US Presidency is ultimately a desperate attempt by the finance capitalist-aligned ruling class to stabilize the system with endless war.

Eye 1

NATO keeps close eye on Russian warships as they sail home from Mediterranean

© Ministry of defence of the Russian Federation / Reuters
NATO ships are closely monitoring the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and its group as it returns to Russia, a Maritime Command (MARCOM) officer said in a statement.

The Admiral Kuznetsov is returning to its home base in Severomorsk as the chair of the Russian General Staff, Army Gen. Valery Gerasimov, announced earlier in January, having completed its tour of duty in the eastern Mediterranean. To do this, it must pass through both the Mediterranean and the North Sea, where it will be closely monitored and escorted by NATO vessels.

"The Russian Navy is a capable navy, that's why their ships are a part of our routine surveillance plans," Vice Admiral Clive Johnstone said in a statement published on the MARCOM website.

"In the case of the Kuznetsov group, we've learned what we can from the group and how it operates, [and] we'll continue to monitor for any changes in behavior and continue to work closely within the Alliance to ensure all Allied navies are comfortable with the level of surveillance and information flowing regarding Russian Navy assets."

Light Sabers

US propaganda outlet Radio Free Europe reportedly behind RT Facebook ban

© Sputnik/ Konstantin Chalabov
According to the notification from Facebook, the ban the RT broadcaster from uploading videos, images and links to its page on the social network has taken place because of an alleged copyright infringement, the RT press service stated.

A recent decision of Facebook to temporarily ban the RT broadcaster from uploading videos, images and links to its page on the social network has followed a complaint filed by one of the projects of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), the RT press service said Thursday, citing a notification from Facebook.

Earlier in the day, RT reported that its Facebook page had been blocked until January 21 from leaving posts containing videos, images and links because of copyright infringement claim and the ban would last until Saturday morning, effectively preventing RT from broadcasting US President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration on Facebook.

"According to the notification from Facebook, [the ban] has taken place because of an alleged copyright infringement. The complaint has been received [by the social network] from the Nastoyashchee Vremya TV channel — a project of the US RFE/RL, which gets the financing from the US Department of State," the press service said.

RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan has told RIA Novosti that she is not surprised by the partial ban of the broadcaster's Facebook account.