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Sun, 16 Dec 2018
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Latin American Marshall Plan: Mexico's Obrador has a solution to the border crisis

López Obrador's $20 billion development plan gives Washington a chance to help rectify the historic damage it's done to the living conditions of people in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

Immigrant caravan from Mexico
With President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatening to shut down the government if he doesn't get his wall, it's good that someone in a position of authority actually has a workable solution to the migrant crisis festering on the Mexican border with the U.S.

The day after Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office as Mexico's president on Dec. 1, his foreign minister flew to Washington to propose a $20 billion development plan to make Central America a place for people to stay rather than flee. Three-quarters of the money would help create jobs and fight poverty. The rest would pay for border control and law enforcement.

The plan would be funded by Mexico, the U.S. and the three Central American that produce the most refugees and migrants, according to the size of their economies. The U.S. would pay most, which seems just given the decades of support-including millions in military assistance and police training-that Washington offered corrupt, anti-democratic dictators who oversaw the impoverishment of Central America. In addition, the U.S. backed the 2009 coup in Honduras that has directly led to an influx of refugees streaming towards the U.S. border.

At last there is a plan that addresses the causes, and not just the symptoms of Central America's migrant and refugee crisis: poverty, unemployment, drug trafficking, gang violence, police corruption, the world's highest murder rates. At last an implicit assertion that the U.S. bears some responsibility-and arguably the largest share-for the unlivable conditions of many Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorans appears to be at hand.

Megaphone

Propaganda rag BBC claims chemical weapons helped Assad's victory...but fails to explain how

syria chemical weapons
The BBC published an article in October titled, "How chemical weapons have helped bring Assad close to victory" in which it claims chemical weapons have been "crucial" to Syrian President Bashar Al Assad's "war-winning strategy."

Superficially - the article appears impressive - loaded from top to bottom with colorful charts, graphs, and photographs of supposed victims in gas masks, expended munitions, and craters.

However, never once does the BBC provide an actual explanation as to how chemical weapons brought Damascus closer to victory. Even at face value, the article's entire premise is challenged in each paragraph by the statistics and events the article itself presents.

Alleged Chemical Weapon Casualties are a Drop in the Ocean

The article begins by claiming (emphasis added):
After seven devastating years of civil war in Syria, which have left more than 350,000 people dead, President Bashar al-Assad appears close to victory against the forces trying to overthrow him.
Yet further down in the article under a graph titled, "Estimated number of casualties in the 106 attacks by location 2014-18," the BBC admits that only 55 of the supposed 106 attacks the BBC accuses Syria's government of carrying out even resulted in any casualties at all, and admits that "it was not possible to verify that the casualties reported were the result of exposure to chemicals."

Comment: The BBC, as mouthpiece for the British establishment dutifully prints whatever rubbish its masters wish to promote to the masses...you can bet, IF they had ANY evidence to corroborate their claims, they would be shouting from the rooftops.


Snakes in Suits

Sen. James Inhofe bought defense stock days after pushing for increased defense spending, then dumped it when questioned

Sen. James Inhofe
© Chip Somodevilla/Getty
Sen. James Inhofe
Just days after signaling his support for unprecedented levels of U.S. defense spending, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, reported purchasing tens of thousands of dollars of stock in one of the nation's top defense contractors.

After The Daily Beast asked about the purchase, Inhofe's office said the senator had contacted his financial adviser to cancel the transaction and instructed him to avoid defense and aerospace purchases going forward.

Inhofe, who took over the top spot on Armed Services after the death of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in August, has repeatedly pressed President Donald Trump to dramatically scale up the Pentagon's annual budget, which currently stands at $717 billion. Last week, after Trump hinted he would like to scale back parts of that budget, Inhofe met with the president and Defense Secretary James Mattis, after which it was announced that the administration would seek even more defense funding: a record $750 billion in spending for fiscal year 2020.

Snakes in Suits

EU Chief nominee announces intention to 'unite' Europe with Africa, meddle with Hungary and Poland's democracy

Frans Timmermans
© JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
Frans Timmermans
Named as the centre-left's candidate for the next EU Commission President, Frans Timmermans announced he would crush conservative governments in Europe, insisting that the continent uniting with Africa is "a matter of destiny".

Timmermans, who currently sits as the Commission's first vice-president, was nominated to lead the Party of European Socialists (PES) in next May's elections by delegates at the EU Parliament grouping's annual congress in Lisbon on Saturday.

The former Dutch defence minister, who has previously claimed Europe could "not remain a place of peace and freedom" unless mass immigration-related "diversity" is imposed throughout the continent including across "even the most remote corners", has notably spent much of his time as President Jean-Claude Juncker's deputy ordering eastern EU states to open their borders to third world migrants.

Packed with references to "1940", "Nazi Germany", and "never again", he used his speech at the PES congress to make clear that, under his leadership, the European Commission would have zero tolerance for nations which reject any part of the globalist, 'progressive' agenda including third world migration.

Comment: The man is either a crazed ideologue or a sinister propagandist, regardless, the way things are shaping up in Europe, he's going to be hard pressed to find dupes for his campaign: And check out SOTT radio's:


Arrow Down

France counting up billions in lost revenues after weeks of Yellow Vest protests

yellow vests
© Global Look Press / Giorgos Papadopoulos
Protester laying down as dead with the French Flag on top, Paris
The Bank of France has lowered the country's economic growth forecast for this and next year from 1.6 percent to 1.5 percent, warning that the longer the unrest lasts the greater the losses will be for the national economy.

Shortly after slashing its assessment of economic growth, in the final quarter, in half, the central bank has cut overall growth on Thursday. Meanwhile, the regulator remains optimistic about unemployment which they expect will continue to fall.

While the new figures show that the economy is expected to slow just 0.1 percent in 2018 and 2019 compared to previous assessment, in real money the sum is quite significant. It may cost the protest-riven EU country up to $28 billion based on the IMF forecast for the country's GDP for 2018 of almost $2.8 trillion.

"Overall the more the movement lasts, the bigger the loss for the French economy," Governor of the Bank of France, Francois Villeroy, told French business newspaper Les Echos.

Wolf

Does Mueller's 'pit bull', lead prosecutor Weissmann have a history of ethics violations?

andrew Weissmann
© New America / YouTube
Andrew Weissmann
These facts raise serious concerns about Andrew Weissmann's continued service on the special counsel's team and justify delving further into the career of the long-time federal prosecutor.

Houston-based attorney Kevin Fulton, of the Fulton Law Group, filed a motion on my behalf Thursday morning to unseal and unredact court records that may expose past misconduct by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's lead prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann.

Since Weissmann took a leave of absence from his top Department of Justice job to join the special counsel's team, critics have questioned his impartiality. Reports suggest the man branded Mueller's pit bull by the New York Times violated internal protocol when he met with reporters from the Associated Press in April 2017. The following day, the AP published an exposé on Paul Manafort's relationship with Ukraine officials.

Comment:


Network

Decline of the dollar: Russia and Syria to dump dollar in mutual trade, agree on joint energy projects

syria
© Sputnik / Mikhail Voskresenskiy
The Moscow-Damascus Intergovernmental panel has reached a series of agreements, including switching to national currencies in mutual settlements and commercial energy exploration in Syria.

"Mutual settlements, transport and logistics - as far as I'm concerned these issues have been settled," Vladimir Padalko, Vice-President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry told journalists on the sidelines of an annual meeting of the Russian-Syrian commission for trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation, taking place in Damascus.

The Russian official added that the countries have picked 200 Russian and Syrian companies to take part in joint projects for rebuilding the war-torn country. The parties are set to sign an agreement that includes 10 extensive focus areas for recovering the Syrian post-war economy.

The parties have also clinched a number of commercial agreements on exploration and production of energy commodities in Syria, according to the Russian office. Russia's Ministry of Industry and Trade and Syrian Ministry of Industry has reportedly approved and signed a road map for bilateral industry cooperation.

The countries have reached 30 agreements on investment projects. Syria and Russia have come to material consent in the area of transport and higher education, according to the Head of the Syrian Planning and International Cooperation Commission Imad Sabuni.

Star of David

Israeli bulldozers illegally raze lands in northern Gaza

israel bulldoze gaza
Israeli bulldozers entered dozens of meters into Palestinian lands in Beit Lahiya town, in the northern besieged Gaza Strip, on Thursday.

A Ma'an reporter said that four large Israeli military bulldozers entered dozens of meters into Beit Lahiya and razed lands while drones flew overhead.

No shootings were reported.

Dollar Gold

US to bill Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates $331M for Yemen refueling

mattis
© Virginia Mayo/AP
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, right, speaks with Saudi Assistant Minister of Defense Mohammed Al-Ayeesh
The Pentagon announced it will bill Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates $331 million after undercharging the two countries for U.S. aerial refueling of their aircraft in the Yemen civil war.

The news came in the wake of reports that the Senate passed a resolution to end U.S. military aid to the Saudi-led coalition and another to condemn Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"U.S. Central Command reviewed its records and found errors in accounting where we failed to charge the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates adequately for fuel and refueling services," Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said in a statement Thursday.

U.S. Central Command, Rebarich said, is "in the process of seeking reimbursement from" the two countries for $36.8 million in fuel and $294.3 million in flight hours. "Our partners have been individually notified about our intent to seek reimbursement, and have been given estimates as to how much they owe," she said.

Eagle

US Senate rebukes Trump, condemns MBS for Kashoggi murder, passes resolution to end US military support for Saudi war on Yemen

Khashoggi
© AFP/OZAN KOSE
The Senate on Thursday passed a resolution condemning Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, ratcheting up pressure on President Donald Trump who has aligned himself with the Saudi kingdom in the aftermath of the brutal killing.

Just prior to passing the resolution by a voice vote, the Senate also overwhelmingly approved a resolution by a 56-41 vote that would require the US to end its military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, a move aimed both at ending that war and expressing anger at the Trump administration's handling of relations with Saudi Arabia.

All told, it amounted to the most significant break within Congress toward Saudi Arabia in decades -- and the firmest response from Capitol Hill since the Khashoggi murder in October. But Republican leaders in the House may put a halt to the push and ultimately side with Trump.

The vote on the Yemen resolution reflected the frustration senators from parties have with the vast human suffering from the war and President Donald Trump's embrace of the crown prince despite widely accepted evidence from US intelligence agencies that he ordered the killing of Khashoggi.

The resolution condemning the crown prince, introduced by Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, serves as an implicit rebuke of the President's own response to the death of Khashoggi and is one of several legislative efforts to target the crown prince and the Trump administration's policy toward Saudi Arabia.